Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Easy Crock~Pot Vegetable Soup



This soup is so easy, and is  yummy.  I love soups, especially on a cold winter night, and paired with some homemade bread!  I especially love that I can throw it all in the crock pot and forget it until supper time.  And the house smells great while it is simmering.

 
Easy Crock~Pot Vegetable Soup
 
 
1# ground beef/turkey~browned
1 small onion chopped
1TB garlic powder
1 pkg onion soup mix
2 cans diced tomatoes
1 bag frozed mixed veggies
 
 
Add all ingredients, including juice from diced tomatoes to crock pot.  Add 1~2 cans of water to crock pot.  Simmer on low all day, or on high for 3 hours.  Enjoy!
 
 
Sometimes I omit the ground beef, and add rice to the soup.  It's tasty either way!
 
Blessings,


Thursday, January 24, 2013

Saving Money Around The House~Laundry

Save Money Around The House

I have found lots of little ways to save a dollar here and there.  This series "Saving Money Around The House" is just a way to compile some of them for you to use also.  You can go back to find out how I save money in the bathroom and in the kitchen. Here's a few tips I've learned to save money in the laundry room.

  • Make your own laundry detergent and fabric softener.
  • If you use store bought laundry detergent, use less.  I have found I don't need to use the full amount that is recommended on the bottles.
  • If you use fabric softener sheets, cut them in half.  They'll last twice as long, and work just as well.  Better yet, get rid of them completely! 
  • Make sure you are washing full loads.  In our house, this is NEVER a problem!!
  • Hang out clothes when you can.  It saves money by not using the dryer, but also helps your clothing to last longer!  I have a line hung from our basement rafters in the laundry room to hang things in the winter.
  • Empty out the pockets of your clothes.  Learned that lesson the hard way!
  • Use cold water to save your hot water heater from working so hard.  I wash everything except towels and bedding (and of course diapers when we are in that season!) in cold water.
  • Clean the lint trap of your dryer after every load.
What are some tips you have for saving money in the laundry room?

Blessings,

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Wearing Skirts In The Winter

Since the weather for the next few days will barely be above freezing, I though it would be a perfect time to talk about wearing skirts during the winter.  Remember, I live in Wisconsin, where it gets very cold, but I still want to wear skirts in the winter.

I am a turtle~neck and sweater kind of girl.  This is what I feel most comfortable in and wear most days during the winter. It is also quite warm.  If you don't like turtle necks (my girls don't!) cami's or shells are great for layering.
Black Tee

During the winter, I most often wear a denim skirt.  They are heavier than my cotton skirts, and therefore warmer.  These are also the skirts I love wearing as they are comfortable, and anything matches with them.  I also have a denim skirt that is floor length for warmth during the winter (my absolute favorite skirt!). 
 
Corduroy skirts should also keep you warm.  I don't own any, but I love this skirt from Deborah and Co.  This skirt is on clearance right now for a great price!  Sadly, they don't have my size or I would be ordering this skirt!
Image 1
 
Tights or leggings are a must during the winter.  I don't care for leggings, but my girls do, and they wear them under their skirts.  I prefer tights, and have found lots of colors and styles out there.  They are comfortable, and keep your legs warm if you are going out.  When I am at home, sometimes I wear a pair of wool socks over the tights.
 
I also have a long coat to wear when I am outside.  This helps keep my entire body warm, and cover's most of my legs as well.
 
Wearing skirts is what I am most comfortable in since I've started wearing them.  Winter in Wisconsin doesn't have to stop that!

Have a great day!

Blessings,

Monday, January 21, 2013

{TRUST}~Five Letters, One Scary Word!

pink_zps0823b869 photo pink_zps0823b869.jpg

Many people have been choosing their "word" for the year.  I have been thinking about that a lot lately, trying to decide if I chose a word for the year what would it be?  I could choose something like "intentional" because I would like to be more intentional with so many things.  I could choose the word "discipline", because I need self discipline in so many areas.   Or I could choose the word "thankful", because I believe that if you choose to be grateful for everything, you can see the beauty in so many things.

After much thought (it is almost the end of the month already!), I have decided that my word of the year would be....

TRUST 

This is a very scary word for me.  I know that God's ways are perfect.  I know that whatever He has planned for me will be far better than anything I can imagine.  I know that He will carry me through and provide for anything I need.
 
So why do I struggle with FEAR?
 
I will admit, part of the reason is because I am a control freak.  I like need to know what is going to happen, how it will happen, when it will happen....you get the picture.  Following where the Lord leads means I am giving all control to Him, and accepting whatever His will is.  I really want to do this, but FEAR keeps getting in the way.
 
I fear what the future could hold.  I fear getting out of my comfort zone.  I fear what others would think of me.  I fear failure.  I fear the cost~financial, emotional, physical or otherwise. 
 
I can look on our life and see the times we obeyed God's prompting.  I see how stressed we were making excuses and I see the peace when we were acting in obedience.  I see it during our adoption.  I see it in our decision to homeschool.  I see it in job offers both accepted and declined. 
 
So this year, I will work on trust.  This verse says it all for me... 
 
 "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways  submit to him, and he will make your paths straight".  Proverbs 3:5-6
 
Blessings, 

Friday, January 18, 2013

Have You Used Swagbucks?

Search & Win

Have you heard of Swagbucks?  Swagbucks is a search engine used the same as Google or Bing, but you earn random "Swagbucks" for your searches.  You can then use those Swagbucks to get gift cards.  They have gift cards to restaurants, stores, and online stores. 

It is a simple, easy way to "earn" some extra cash.  I paid for some of our Christmas presents this past year using gift cards I earned through Swagbucks.  If you haven't tried this out yet, go HERE to get started.  You'll get 30 Swagbucks just for signing up!

Have a great day!

Blessings,

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Are You A Stay At Home Mom?


image from Google
If you ask me what my occupation is, I'd tell you I'm a stay at home mom.  But recently I'm beginning to question if this is a true statement.

I've been disorganized lately.  Running to the grocery store has become almost a daily occurrence.  So has running to the discount store, library, and bank.  While I made sure I was prepared for the holidays, now I just can't seem to get it together. 

And my children are paying the price.

We've been dealing with some bad attitudes, pouting and whining.  The kids are frazzled and confused because mom is frazzled and confused.  They don't know what to expect next, because their schedules are off.  "Are we doing school work or not?"  "Do we need to go anywhere today?"  These are a couple of questions I have been hearing a lot lately.

So I need to get it together!

I will get back to regular grocery shopping and running errands.  I will get organized with the home, school work, appointments, and kiddo's.  We will get back to schedules and back to sanity!  We are going to stay at home!

After all, I AM a stay at home mom.  Are you??

Blessings,

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

8 Ways To Bless Your Husband

  hubby took this picture while camping with one of our sons this past summer
 
My marriage is one of my most important priorities, but sometimes it can slide to a lesser priority if I don't work at it.  Here's a few ways that we can all work on our marriages, while blessing our husbands at the same time.
  • Listen to him.  Listen to him when he tells you what he likes or doesn't like.  My hubby doesn't have much to say about what I wear (do you like pink or blue better?), how I style my hair (do you like it long or short?), meals (do you want chicken or beef?), and many other things.  But one day he stated that he likes the smell of coconut shampoo.  I went and sniffed out all the shampoo's in the store to find one that smelled like coconut~just because he likes it!
  • Look attractive for him.  If you are a stay~at~home mom, it is easy to throw your hair in a pony tail and wear your most comfy pair of whatevers.  Comb your hair, put some color on your lips, put on a clean shirt (because we know that there is spit up, spaghetti sauce, and something else we can't recognize on our shirts by the end of the day!!) and greet him at the door with a smile and kiss when he gets home.
  • Create a peaceful environment.  Make sure the house is picked up, kids are cleaned up, and supper is warming when hubby comes home from work.  It is easy to think "Good he's home, now it's his turn to take care of things!"  If he likes to unwind after work, give him a few minutes.  If he enjoys some rough~housing with the kids, let supper wait 15 minutes.  Whatever he needs to get in the right frame of mind for his family, allow it.
  • Let him know you miss him.  I am not a huge fan of texting, but a simple text or e~mail letting him know you miss him and are looking forward to his return will make him rush home after work.
  • Do things with him that you  know he likes.  I don't particularly enjoy football, but my hubby is a big Green Bay Packers fan.  I used to enjoy annoying him during the games, but now I feel differently.  This is something that he enjoys, so I sit (mostly quietly!) with him and watch the game with him.  Try this in any area~movies, sports, concerts, games, etc.
  • Be available for him.  It is easy to focus all your attention on your children~especially if they are small~and give hubby our leftovers.  Make yourself available for him when he wants to talk with you.  He'll know that he is a priority in your life and he'll be happier.
  • Pray for him.  This is by far the most important in my opinion.  I love the book "The Power of a Praying Wife".  It has 30 things to pray over your husband.  I have them written down in my bible, whatever date we are on is what I pray over my husband that day.
  • Love him!  What used to be cute, you now find annoying.  What you once thought attractive, you now find ridiculous.  It's easy to let those little things become big things.  Love him like you did on your wedding day.  Sometimes that's easier said than done, but ask the Lord to direct you in this area.
Looking over this list, I'm reminded that I need to work on some area's of my marriage.  I think I'm going to go text my hubby right now!! 

Blessings,

Monday, January 14, 2013

Large Family Living~Meals


As in most families, our grocery budget hasn't gone up as fast as our family size has.  We have a family of 7, and feeding our family on a limited budget can be challenging at times.  Stretching our grocery budget has at times become a necessity, and creativity is key to make it happen sometimes.

Sometimes I need to make food go farther.  Ground beef is something we use a lot of, and making it go farther helps out our budget.  I will also sometimes add rice to our ground beef to stretch it.  We usually use this trick when we are making taco's.

We use a lot of side dishes.  A salad is good with things like spaghetti or other pasta dishes.  Applesauce is a good side dish.  Veggies and fruits are also good things to use as side dishes~we've used them both raw and cooked.

We use bread a lot.  This may not be a good thing for every family, but our family loves bread and butter.  It's even better if it is homemade bread!

We eat a meatless meal once a week (or more).  Our favorites are Cheese and Bacon Quiche or French Toast.

I make a dessert.  Dessert doesn't have to be anything fancy~cookies, puddings, or a cake.  Our kids LOVE it when we have dessert (although, really, don't we all!).

Feeding a family of any size can sometimes be difficult on a budget.  What are some things you do to stay within your budget?

Have a great day!

Blessings,

Thursday, January 10, 2013

The Best Of Christmas 2012


 
Christmas is my favorite time of year (have I told you that before??)!  I love everything about Christmas~the baking, decorating, music, the grace and peace that seem to come along with the holiday, the Christmas pageants and movies, and just sitting in my living room snuggling with hubby in the glow of the Christmas tree sipping egg nog (while snow gently falls outside would make it absolutely perfect!!).  Someone recently told me I make Christmas sound like a Hallmark movie. 

Isn't it?

We were blessed to have family together, and even though my grandpa's stroke prevented him from attending our family get~together, we were still able to spend time with him (this was his 85th Christmas!).  We had a family Christmas eve service at home which I enjoyed and hope we will continue.  We were able to continue some of our Christmas traditions~driving around and looking at lights, Christmas movies, Christmas eve candlelight supper, and baking goodies for our neighbors just to name a few. 

One of my best memories of this past Christmas was enjoying the antics of one of our children.  He has been re~arranging our Christmas decorations all over the house, but has spent a considerable amount of time re~arranging our manger scene.  I must admit, at first I couldn't believe that he was messing with the manger scene.  Of all things, re~arranging how things looked that first Christmas!  But, this is our prankster child, and we all had a good time laughing about it. 

It all started with a lone goat.  I've affectionately named him Chester.  This poor little fellow has had quite an experience this year!  He has been placed in many places that he's never been in before!  He's been carried by wisemen...
 
he's been carried upside down! 
he had to stand in a corner! 
he got a roof~top view of the entire scene
 then the wisemen got into the silliness, also!  Apparently one had business with an angel to work out!
Mary and Joseph got to spend time with little Chester, also!
 
 
This was all done in fun, and made our Christmas quite jolly!  It became something all the kids got into, as we were all looking to see where Chester would end up next!  These are the things that make me smile!
 
Have a great day!
 
Blessings,



Monday, January 7, 2013

Saving Money Around The House~The Bathroom

Save Money Around The House
I have found lots of little ways to save a dollar here and there.  This series "Saving Money Around The House" is just a way to compile some of them for you to use also.  You can read the tips I had for the kitchen HERE.  Here's a few tips I've learned to save money in the bathroom

  • Make your own cleaners.
  • Clean the shower while you are in it! 
  • Bathe children together.  We've always had our little ones take a bath together.  Saves time this way also!
  • Use towels more than once.  You don't have to get a new towel every day, after all, you are clean when you come out of the shower, right?!
  • Make your own toothpaste.  Haven't tried this yet, but I've heard many people who do really like it.
  • Use a timer to cut the time you're in the shower.  We have a 15 year old who needs this (and truth is I might need it, too!)!
  • Use a low flow shower head, and turn it off when you don't need the water to be running.
  • Shave outside of the shower.  Shaving while in the shower is a huge water waster!
  • Make your liquid hand soap go farther by using THIS recipe!
What are some tips you have for saving money in the bathroom?

Blessings,

"So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God"
1 Corinthians 10:31

Friday, January 4, 2013

Welcome 2013


The new year has started, and I'm ready to go forward and see what is in store for our family this year.  We already have planned to move into hubby's family home this spring, and I'm creating idea's in my mind already about painting and decorating.  Change can be scary, but it is also exciting.  We also have a family vacation planned to Creation Museum, and we really looking forward to this. 

I also have some goals for 2013 in mind.  I am a list person, but I also think writing down goals for the new year help me to keep focused on them and help to make them happen.  My goals this year include....

~~Spend time with the Lord daily. I need to purposefully carve out time each day for this or other things will crowd into this time.  It is so easy to get busy and miss that quiet time each day, but I've found I need it for so many reasons.

~~Spend less/save more.  We'd like to see our savings go up, and our spending go down.  This will require more organization on my part (see next goal!!), but it will be so worth it!

~~Get organized!!  This is not just a desire, but a necessity.  I need to be more on top of things in our home and life.  This includes everything from groceries to cleaning, appointments to homeschooling, and everything in between!  By getting organized,  I know we will save time and money.  Organization will especially come in handy during our move!

~~Get healthy.  I not only want to loose weight this year, but I also want to get healthier.  I want need to eat better and exercise more.  This will also be a benefit to our children to see!

~~Pay more attention to my Etsy shop.  I truly love sewing rag quilts for my shop, and I want to spend more time on that this year.

~~Spend less time on the computer.  I know that sounds strange coming from someone who writes a blog, but I also spend time doing useless things on the computer.  I'm thinking setting a time limit for computer usage will be a good thing~and not just for me!

~~Monthly date nite with hubby.  My marriage is one of my greatest priorities, and this is just one way to connect with each other.  I'd like to have a weekly date night, but I've got to be realistic also!

~~Spend more time with our children and listening to our children.  With our oldest child turning 16 this year, I know how fast they grow and how important it is to spend time with them.  I'm not a big fan of the terms quality time and quantity time, but I know that it is important to me that my kiddo's know that if they ever need anything, I will always be here for them.

~~Grow my blog.  My goal is not to have a certain number of readers or followers, but to provide encouragement for women.  I have some things in mind for my blog this year, and am excited to have you come along with me!  I pray that this blog will bless others and will be a place for encouragement and fun! 

These are some of my goals for 2013.  I'm getting started right now!  How about you?

Blessings,