Where Have All the Groceries Gone?

You’ll have to forgive my cheesiness. I just came up with this little poem last night as I was lamenting the fact that all the food I just bought last week is already practically wiped out by growing children. Seriously.

ALL.THE.FOOD.

This one’s for my fellow Moms of hollow-legged kiddos out there…

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I remember it oh so well,

That trip I took just last week,

When I went to the store,

And drove the cart with the squeak.

Grapes, gouda, and granola,

Were tossed into that cart,

Along with beans, butter, bran,

And a box that said Pop-Tarts.

My cart was really quite full,

By that last stretch of aisle,

I had ‘em piled on high,

Paid and left with a smile.

Then I came on home with that load,

Bottles, cans, and many a box,

I filled the fridge, pantry, freezer,

We had everything but Maalox!

“Oh the meals I can prepare!”

“The lunches I can now pack!”

How naïve I was just then

Before that first snack attack…

The kids came home from school,

Cracked open the Cheez-its to eat,

They quickly emptied that box,

And moved on to something sweet.

Next went the apples and grapes,

And the Pop Tarts as well,

Also the nuts and the chips,

The bag now an empty shell…

By a few short days later,

I was struck almost dumb,

For those once filled-up cupboards,

Now contained but a crumb.

My tale is just about through,

It would make quite a sad song,

If you have a houseful of kids,

Food NEVER stays around long!

What I’m Into: May 2015

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Happy Belated Mother’s Day!

Here’s a little up-to-date list of things either myself or my family are into lately:

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*Dutch braids. Both my daughter and myself have been wearing these a lot as of late. Usually we do it along one side with a ponytail. It’s very easy to do and it doesn’t take much time, even with our longer thick hair. I am not one to take time to do my hair, so I am glad for something semi-polished looking and easy to pull off.

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*The Perfect Game. We discovered this movie on Netflix one Friday night and absolutely LOVED it. Very clean and family-friendly, but also based on a true story. I highly recommend it for anyone to watch.

*Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator. This is a sequel to the Chocolate Factory and has the same main characters. We are almost done reading this one out loud together. One of my twins, Josh, is so enchanted with Willy Wonka that he is dying to dress up as him on an upcoming special day at school. He is going to be adorable!

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*Being outside! Can I hear an amen on that one? It has been absolutely gorgeous here most days lately and I am loving every minute of it.

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*Flowers-Just because they are pretty! This is a shot I took at Longwood Gardens, which we visited on Mother’s Day.

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Another picture perfect view from Longwood!

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*Yard sales. I LOVE attending yard sales and scoping out good deals. It’s like a treasure hunt where you never know what you’ll find. Case in point: I found this large basket at one last week for 75 cents. (The rug shown is a crocheted rag rug I just completed! Fun to make, plus it uses up some of my vast fabric stash.)

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*The arts. In the last several weeks we have had a boatload of arts-related performances through the school. I had one in the school play, the same one in band, one in chorus, and a girl who is in love with the violin and plays with the orchestra. My two younger boys aren’t old enough to be in any of those yet, so it could be more of that type of thing here in a year or so!! Lots of performances, but we are now through them–at least until early December.

Last Week’s Frugal Accomplishments

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Hey hey everyone! Hope you’re enjoying this beautiful May day.

I have a few new goodies to share about things that I did this past week to save us some cash:

*My husband cut our boys’ hair (and his own) with clippers. That’s five haircuts that we did NOT have to pay for. Been doing this for years!

*I had a $5 off a $50 purchase coupon I was able to use at a local grocery store. That, combined with another really good coupon deal, helped me to pay only $41 for what would have been a $50+ grocery trip.

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*On a whim, I picked up a 50 cent vintage denim Wrangler jacket at a yard sale. 50 CENTS y’all. I am VERY excited to share that I listed it on Ebay and it sold for almost $90! Wow…proof that shopping yard sales sometimes pays off!

(Fun extra tidbit: I also found a matchbook in the pocket with Hunt’s Catsup advertised on it from the 60’s. It still had matches in it.)

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*I made a batch of laundry detergent, plus glass cleaner and my all-purpose cleaning spray.

*I hung out wash on some nice weather days.

*Had two different nights where we noshed on leftovers for dinner instead of letting them go to waste. I call it the “Leftover Smorgasbord.”

*My husband brought home a bag of sausage end pieces for free from work. Occasionally he gets to do this with the different varieties they make at his shop.

Well that about covers it. Not too shabby, eh?

Have a wonderful Mother’s Day!

Easy & Pretty Teacher Appreciation Gifts

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You may or may not be aware of this, but Teacher Appreciation Day is tomorrow, May 5th!

I happen to be highly thankful for my kids’ teachers and all they do on a daily basis. Therefore, I want to let them know what they mean to our family by at least giving them a little something.

As I am also in charge of our school’s PTO, I came up with this handy little idea for all the staff in our school this year:

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Packs of flower seeds displayed on various flower and leaf shapes I made from printed cardstock.

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I attached each one to a bamboo skewer to act as a stem.

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The skewers are inserted into foam blocks I placed at the bottom of several baskets. Colored mesh was bunched up to cover up the foam. I attempted to place the flowers at different heights to create some semblance of a flower arrangement.

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I then made a sign that reads “Thank you for helping our students grow.”

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Hopefully they like it.

Many thanks to all of the teachers out there!

This Past Week’s Frugal Accomplishments

I’m baaaack….and this time with some more frugal stuff.

Here’s what I did in this past week to save a few bucks here and there:

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*Made an apron for my girl as a birthday gift. I bought her a couple of small little items to go with, but this will be her main gift. The fabric had been purchased by my Mom to make goody bags for her party. I used the piece that was left, plus some other fabric I already had, to sew up a cute apron with a ruffle along the top. (Excuse the wrinkles. I had to hurriedly stuff this under something else so she wouldn’t see it one day and it was left there.)

*Didn’t go on a big grocery run. I didn’t absolutely need much, so I grabbed a few fill-in items to get us through until this week.

*My neighbor gifted us with a giant bag of pretzel goldfish packs she had bought for her kids and they didn’t like. Mine happen to like them, so they have been put into lunch boxes.

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*I sold a couple of things on Ebay, including this wasp/hornet nest I found on the ground while walking one day. No worries–it is empty of any flying beasties. This may qualify as the weirdest item I’ve ever sold on there for sure!

*I redeemed a $10 gift card I found to a local store that is actually closing this week. I used it to purchase another gift for someone else for free.

*Started making a crochet rag rug from some fabric pieces I likely won’t use. If it turns out decent perhaps I will do a tutorial on it here one day.

*We watched Netflix Friday night as a family. It was a movie I would highly recommend. Check out “Gifted Hands,” the story about Ben Carson’s life. I was especially inspired by his Mom! (My personal favorite moment–when she unplugged their TV and told her boys they could only watch two programs a week and had to get books out of the library to enrich themselves. It worked!)

Well, those are some highlights I thought of. Hope you have a wonderful week!

This Week’s Frugal Accomplishments

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Today I am launching a new set of *hopefully* regular posts entitled “Frugal Accomplishments.”

If you know me in real life, you may have picked up on the fact that I like to live fairly frugally. I don’t think I was always this way, but as our family grew, I have learned to run this house in a frugal and practical way. Sure, I think we live modestly as far as the “big things” are concerned–we both drive older vehicles, our house is not big and fancy, etc, etc. However, I like to think that saving and living simply with the “small things” do add up in the long run. I am very inspired by other people who make things work by raising families on a modest income and LOVE to hear the little ways they save. So, in turn, hopefully I can perhaps inspire you in some small way by sharing what I do on a weekly basis to save us some cash.

(I totally copied this idea from The Prudent Homemaker, who does this as a weekly post. I love reading what she does for her family.)

Here’s a few things that I did last week:

*With some nice sunny days I was able to line dry many loads of laundry and not run our dryer.

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(Weird but true fact about me: I rather enjoy doing laundry and love hanging it out to dry. It makes my heart happy.)

*I sold a few items on Ebay. An old Michael Jordan jersey, which I found in a bag of free-to-us boy clothes, brought way more than I expected. Sweet!!

*I went to a couple of yard sales on Friday. I scored a pair of kid snow pants for next year, a dressy shirt for Andrew, and a hooded sweatshirt for Heidi for a couple bucks. I also got a pair of knitting needles and some vintage quilt squares for free. I was just asking what the price was and the lady very much insisted that I just take them!

*Though it wasn’t directly for my own kids, I was able to easily alter a couple dresses for my brother’s girls so they can wear them this summer.

*Instead of doing a store run, I hit up my closet “gift stash” to provide a birthday gift for a party my daughter attended.

*We watched a few things on Netflix.

*With some coupon dollars, I was able to save a whopping $20 on a new backpack for my latest birthday boy. We have always bought LL Bean brand packs and they hold up for MANY years. He has had the same one all through elementary school and is now in 6th grade. This is the one he picked out–here’s to hoping it lasts through the next 6 years!!

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*We planted part of our garden on Saturday. That day we did 3 types of potatoes, green beans, and a little bit of sweet corn. Peas, onions, and a couple of other things had already been planted.

*I cut some early spring flowers from our beds outside the house and used them for decoration inside. There’s just something about fresh flowers!

Well, that was a sampling of some of the things I do. Stay tuned for more!

Have a blessed week.

Rachel

What I’m Into: April 2015

Happy April! Thank the LORD we may actually have Spring within our sights now.

Here is a second installment of a little series I call “What I’m Into,” where I divulge what either me or my family members are currently into.

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I am one of those rare people who enjoy coffee AND teas. Recently I discovered this wonderfully strong blend of Chai tea and loved it. I never thought I liked Chai, but apparently I had only experienced the wimpy kind until now.

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My baby girl is turning 10 next month! We let our kids have a special party at 1, 5, 10, and 16, so we are planning a cute little party for her and some friends and family. This is a pic of some invites I threw together today.

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This is a shot of my girl in the fabric store, picking out a cute cupcake fabric for her party’s goody bags. We love us some fabric.

Like mother, like daughter. It’s a little frightening!!

Though we have read this book aloud before, I am reading it again to the crew when we can before bed. I love the fact that though they are all pretty strong readers, they still enjoy being read to.

Know what this is?

Yeah, I didn’t either until a couple weeks ago when my sister-in-law discovered triangle loom weaving. She and her husband (my husband’s brother) made a couple of triangle looms and I inherited one that they made! What a nice surprise! Since then I have learned to actually use it and enjoy it. Once you get the hang of it it’s rather relaxing and easy to do.

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I didn’t take a picture of my actual calendar, but this is the time of year where it’s looking a bit ugly and full. A little too full for my liking.

I feel as if every school event, field trip, concert, play, birthday, and any other activity we are even remotely involved in is crammed between April and the beginning of June. Lots of extra stuff going on right now and it makes my head hurt a little.

Though we had a terribly rough winter in many ways, none of us had been physically sick at all. That is, until 2 weeks ago when 6 out of 7 had a stomach bug. Then we had a week’s reprieve. Now it has came back for a second round. Ginger ale and crackers are a staple here at the moment.

With warmer weather starting to creep in, we took our first hike of the season the other day. It was glorious! Looking forward to many more this year. (FYI–no one was sick at the moment in this pic, though my one that’s not smiling got sick that night.) Also, this was taken at the bottom of a pretty steep hill. It may have been amusing to see an “after” shot of everyone once we dug in and made it to the top. Probably not such a cute picture at that point, haha.

Right now I am loving  song from Brandon Heath called “No Turning Back.” If you haven’t heard it yet, go ahead and give it a listen!

Here is the link to an acoustic version: No Turning Back

Yes He does!! I have this exact quote on a chalkboard in my kitchen right now. (Mine doesn’t look quite this pretty…)

This Easter season I was once again reminded of what Jesus did for me on that cross. Our church had a “Stations of the Cross” on Good Friday, which our family participated in. Near the end there was a picture on a screen of Christ on the cross. One of my twins stared at it with a troubled look on his face. I asked him what was up. He whispered, “But Mom, He didn’t do anything wrong to deserve that punishment.” No He didn’t, but He went through it anyway because of His great love for us.

Canvas & Doily Art

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Hey all.

I have a quick, easy, and eye-catching little project to share for the week.

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All you need is a basic white canvas, old doilies or lace, and a can of spray paint.

I did not document the process portion of these with pictures, but it’s fairly easy to explain.

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If you want one of the colors in your artwork to be white, just let your canvas alone as a base.

However, if you want a different color as a base color, paint over the entire canvas with that hue and allow to dry.

Then you can lay out old lace doilies in a design that appeals to you and make sure they are lying flat on the canvas ( no curled edges).

Take a can of spray paint in a contrasting color (in this case, navy blue) and spray on a nice layer of paint.

If you need to, allow that to dry without removing doilies and spray on another layer to get a saturated color.

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Once everything is dry, pull off the doilies and admire your new artwork!

As you can see, I made a couple of these and placed them above the headboard of my bed. Actually, I may make another just because I think a trio would look better.

This is a semi-cheap project to make because plain white canvases can be purchased relatively inexpensively at Wal Mart or a craft store. Old doilies or lace can be scooped up at thrift shops or even yard sales. They can also be reused for this type of project.

Laying a piece of old lace over the entire canvas makes for a neat look too.

I used spray paint because it goes in all those little holes better than a brush-on paint ever would.

Love my new wall art!

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Thanks for stopping by,

Rachel

The Jelly Jar

 

“When it rains, it pours.” I’m sure you’ve heard that one before, haven’t you?

Or perhaps you’ve felt like this is what has happened to you. Not just one or two things in a row that go wrong, but a multitude of them.

To be completely transparent with you, this is how I feel about the last few months.

(Spoiler alert: This will start to sound like a whine session, but turns out kinda good. Keep reading:))

Our family has been hit with one mishap after another. Just when I think to myself that surely this is “it” for awhile, something else happens.

It all started with a fender bender I had on Black Friday and things have pretty much gone downhill from there. Nothing that is the end of the world in the grand scheme of life, but still…here’s just a little sampling of our life in the last 3 1/2 months: one fender bender, 3 separate flat tire incidents, an oven that caught on fire, frozen water pipes, septic issues, one broken humerus, one injured wrist (a week after being released from the broken arm–same kid, different arm), anxiety issues at school, and I could go on but I’ll stop there.

The topper was this past week when my husband’s vehicle had to be in the shop for a few days to repair a head gasket, plus some other goodies that the mechanic found when digging under the hood. We literally picked up his car Friday night–after paying a mucho hefty garage bill that made me cringe.

“Good grief, hopefully this is IT!” I really said that to myself and out loud to him. Yup, things were looking up….that is, until the very next morning when he hit a tree that fell into the middle of the road and couldn’t slam the brakes in enough time. With the same car we had just shelled out big bucks to fix. Oh, my poor man. Thank the Lord he was safe. The car, however…not so good. I could have cried, but held it together until after we had the police come out, cut the offending tree up and moved it so no one else suffered the same fate, and determined that we actually did not need a tow like originally thought (big praise here–it was actually drivable and not messed up underneath!). We got ourselves home and held each other, not even knowing what to say or how to react.

Well, after a few minutes I happened to look over at our counter where my husband typically places his wallet, and there was a pile of crumpled dollar bills and coins.

“Where did that money come from?” He didn’t put it there, and I know I didn’t put it there.

“Hey, does anyone know where this money came from?”

Well, my pure hearted Andrew, my child who has struggled the most this winter, came out to the kitchen with a sheepish look on his face.

“I did it,” he said. “Dad, it’s for you to help fix your car.”

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Ever seen an ugly cry? Oh my heavens, I cried buckets and Jeff was just barely holding it together. We hugged our boy and assured him that everything was going to be fine, we have money in our savings, and he could keep his own money for other things.

My sweet boy had emptied his little jelly jar marked “Andrew Craig- College Savings” to try and help us out. I could still cry all over just thinking about it. What a beautiful example of sacrificial love. It blew me away.

Well, hopefully things are looking up from here. Sure, it’s been a rough one, but God is good. He never told us that we wouldn’t have troubles, did he? In fact, I’m certain it states in the Bible that we WILL have them. Thankfully I can trust that He only wants what’s best for us and we’ll just lean on that promise right now.

I hope you enjoyed my little story. It touched me so much that I just had to share it with you all.

Blessings to you,

Rachel