Monday, June 22, 2009

Menu for 6/22-6/28

Last week I forgot to factor in a Father's Day meal!! So I traded with another night that had a better meal. I realized early on in the week so I had some wiggle room. I did make cinnamon rolls for breakfast though. I had everything on hand for them. I keep brown, white, and powdered sugar (for icings) on hand. We don't use them much so they last for a long time. Sunday is my daughter's birthday so she picked out what she wanted me to cook for the day. I can't believe she chose BLT sandwiches. Next Monday we are taking her out to eat and to a movie. My husband is off on Monday's and theatres and restaurants are not as busy then. We don't enjoy ourselves much when they are packed.

It has been very difficult for me to plan our menu's these past two weeks because I am eliminating dairy to see if my breastfed 6 week old is having a reaction. I am still giving the children dairy just not myself. Next week I will introduce it again to see if his crying fits at night get worse. They seem to have improved. I am unsure if they are colic, dairy or both. I didn't realize how much we use dairy products until now. Going without makes me crave it more. I also realize that we have been eating far beyond the recommended amount of dairy. Something I need to work on.


Pasta with chicken, zucchini (from our garden), carrots, tomatoes, onions, and bell peppers. I make a sauce to go over it. I make up all kinds of different sauces. I don't like using store bought sauces or condensed soups. They are expensive and unhealthy. Sauces are easy and cheap to make. Homemade sauces aren't exactly healthy but they don't have a bunch of names I can't pronounce and they are lower in sodium than the store bought alternative. Homemade tastes better too.


Spaghetti with sausage and veggies


Black beans, rice and veggies on corn tortillas with salsa and sour cream.


Pizza topped with tomatoes, olives, grated carrots, bell peppers, and onions. I'll make me a sandwich or eat leftovers :(


We are going over to our Family's house for dinner. No cooking for me!!!


Our Church celebration of St. Peter and St. Paul. I am going to bring a cake.


Cinnamon Rolls (breakfast)

Bacon, Lettuce, and Tomato Sandwiches on homemade rolls with hash browns and cake. (The lettuce comes from the garden)


Oatmeal (I try to serve this at least 4 mornings because it is so good for you), whole wheat muffins, and whole wheat pancakes. All served with fresh fruit.


We usually eat sandwiches on homemade bread with veggies. My husband brown bags our leftovers from dinner. I also freeze muffins, pancakes, and banana bread for his breakfast to take to work. He works four 10 hour days.


Fresh fruit, Fresh vegetables, homemade yogurt, whole wheat chocolate chip cookies, popcorn, muffins, and bread. At my house if there is left over bread from lunch my children devour it. They LOVE homemade bread. I think it is their favorite food.

What we got:

Strawberry Jelly, two packs of tomatoes (ours in the garden are not ready yet), canned tomatoes, a small bag of white flour (to thicken sauces, the wheat flour doesn't thicken good), 100 corn tortillas, Milk, eggs, Turkey bacon, bag of apples, bag of peaches, bag of plums, carrots, celery, onions, bell peppers, cucumbers, bag of frozen corn, bag of frozen California blend veggies, bag of frozen stir fry veggies, bag of Jalisco blend veggies, 3 boxes whole wheat pasta, 2 rolls of sausage, 2 cans fruit cocktail, 3 cans of peaches, and 4 cans of Mandarin oranges. All of the canned fruit is canned in fruit juices not in syrups.

Our Total: $52.36

I went $2.36 over our $50 weekly budget (excluding our Sam's trip and Breadbecker's order). I did have some extra cash set aside from previous shopping trips that I used. I only take cash with me when I shop to stay within my budget.

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Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day

Happy Father's Day to all of those wonderful dads out there!

Today is the perfect day to reflect on the goodness of God our Heavenly Father. There is no greater Father than he.

God's Love

We do not see the wind,
We only hear it sigh;
It makes the grasses bend
whenever it goes by.
We do not see God's love,
But in our hearts we know
He watches over us
Wherever we may go.

We do not have to see
To know the wind is here;
We do not have to see
To know God's love is near.

- Elizabeth Cushing Taylor

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Works for me Wednesday: Organizing Bills

Organizing bills
We organize our bills to track what is due, when, if it has been paid and how it was paid. I organize everything into columns.... one for the due date; bills to be paid; a check box for after it is paid; confirmation number for online payments or check numbers if mailed; and a total column for large totals still due (ex. Our Mortgage). I know this could be much neater and printed off of the computer but I have always written it and it works for me! I list the bills according to their due date. I also staple an envelope to the back to hold receipts and track our spending on another page. The little pink journal is a password book that contains all of our passwords. I never save them on the computer. I even tally up the total for the entire month so I know at a glance how much our bills are monthly.

The folders inside of this collapsible filing folder are labeled from January to December. I place the invoices of our bills in here after they are paid. I also place our bank statements, Explanation of benefits, and anything that needs to be saved monthly. I save them until the next year. When I start a new month I shred last years bills. I never throw away pages from my bill book. I use later to compare our bills to previous years. Inside of the collapsible there is a storage section where we keep our checkbook, pins, & etc, and it has a mini collapsible section that we use as an envelope system for cash. The envelope system is suggested by Dave Ramsey.
The bill notebook and password book fit neatly in the back of folder. So all of our bill needs are in one place, in our handy dandy notebook (a sign that I watch too many children shows). For more great tips check out We are that family.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Hearts for home

Gae at is encouraging herself and others to commit to thinking about 4-6 things we can do each week to bring our thoughts, prayers and actions to keeping our 'Hearts for Home'. In today’s busy and aggressive society mothers at home are not given much encouragement to be committed to their role in being home. I thought this was a great idea and something I want to focus on and work on daily.

So here are my four things.

  1. To speak kindly and gently to each of my children.
  2. To be patient and loving.
  3. To be quick to listen and slow to speak.
  4. To say a prayer for each child and for my husband daily.

Herbal uses for Colds

We use herbs and natural remedies when we are sick. Right now Big Al is sick and he has a cold. Limited Edition Herbs makes liquid Combination Multi Tracts that work well They combine the herbs together for different ailments in a glycerine base instead of alcohol. There are also herbs available in Single Multi Tracts (just one herb). The ones we are using right now is Breezblend (for asthma), Magnificent Mullein (dry cough), and Echinacea for Health (immune enhancer). Each blend has more than one herb ex. Magnificent Mullein contains mullein, marshmallow, angelica, calendula, orange peel, elderberries and essential oils which aid the respiratory system. I buy the 8 oz bottle and on the website it was listed for $32.00. They mailed me a discount order form and the 8 oz. bottles were $19. The phone number on the form is 1-800-867-7353 if the discount is still available. The bottles we use the most have lasted almost a year, though we don't get sick often.

Other things to do:
-Simmer onions covered with honey for about 30 mins. cool and give as needed for cough.
-Cut up some garlic and allow to sit in olive oil for the day. At bedtime rub on their feet and put socks on for cough. The next morning they will have garlic breath! Garlic goes straight to the lungs. It works really well. It also boosts the immune system.
-2 drops of Grapefruit seed extract (GSE) into some juice or water 1-3 times a day.
-Glass of warm lemon and honey
-Eat a clove of garlic at bedtime. Now most children will not do this! But adults can and adventurous children can if they want. My daughter will because I bribed her once (with chocolate) and the next day she was all better. My husband doesn't care how much better he will be, he will not eat plain garlic. I will eat a clove in a minute, even if the children are sick and I'm not.
-Also a spoonful of plain honey can help soothe a cough.

I use all of the above together and colds don't usually last long when we do get them. The garlic oil on the feet works wonders even for an asthmatic cough. It even helps stop Big Al's wheezing. If the cold is severe enough I still have to use his breathing treatment. I just watch him very carefully. His asthma only flares up when he's sick.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Menu and shopping trip for 6/15/09-6/21/09


Spaghetti w/ Sausage, Zucchini, onions, bell peppers, carrots (shredded)


BLT Sandwiches and homemade french fries (made in oven)


Pot Roast w/ potatoes, carrots, onions, canned tomatoes


Salad w/ tomatoes, mushrooms, olives, carrots, and fresh dill


Split Pea chowder and brown rice


Chicken, Brown Rice, and mixed vegetables


Chili and baked potatoes


Oatmeal, whole wheat muffins, and whole wheat pancakes with fresh fruit.


Sandwiches with homemade bread and vegetables


Homemade yogurt, fruit, whole wheat chocolate chip cookies, fresh vegetables with dip, muffins, and bread.

What we got:

4 packs sausage, 10 boxes of whole wheat pasta, cantaloupe, 8 peaches, canned pineapple, turkey bacon, beef brisket, 2 cans beans, canola oil, bag of apples, bag of oranges, a fresh pineapple, 8 tomatoes, bag of frozen mixed vegetables, and bag of frozen Tejano blend vegetables.

Our total: $49.30

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Our Sam's Trip (Every other month)

We got Bagel crisps, Semi Sweet Chocolate chips, Baking soda (cleaning), Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Honey, yeast, butter, raisin, craisins, chicken base, beef base, vinegar (cleaning), spring salad mix, and strawberries. We spent $96.76, $3.24 under our budget of $100.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

A little competition goes a long way!

I love books! I have a desire that all of my children will love books. I try to introduce exciting good books to them. Love bug likes to read and she will read some on her own. Normally a few pages out of a chapter book almost every day. I've wished for her to be enthralled in them and to find one that she couldn't put down. Well......Her friend likes to read and shows her how many pages she has read in one day. My daughter has to prove that she can read that many too. So she started reading as many pages as she could in a day to impress me with the numbers! On top of that our library is having a summer reading program. The child who reads the most wins a prize. This has never motivated her before and I don't encourage it because I believe you should read for the joy of reading. But I am not going to complain. She has been reading non-stop!!!! She has read at least a chapter book (not pages) a day! One day she read two of them. On top of that she is reading other small books every day to herself and her brothers. She has read 6 books since Wednesday. She has found that they are so exciting and she said she can't stop. Ahhhh the learning that's taking place makes me one happy Mom!! I just hope it continues after the reading program is over.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Cool Bug!!!

Mr. Ant found the coolest bug on our window. I caught it and we investigated to find out exactly what it is. After some research we found out it is an Ant Lion. It goes through metamorphosis like a butterfly. It starts out as a doodlebug and makes a cocoon and comes out as an Ant lion. Too Cool!! Here's a video

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Grocery Shopping

I grocery shop a little different than most people. I still try to keep the rule of thumb of $2 per person a day that Crystal Paine gives on Every other month I go to Sam's club. Every three months I order from Breadbeckers, a food co-op( in addition to our weekly shopping trips. I make our bread, cookies, cakes, muffins, pancakes, tortillas, pizza dough, cinnamon rolls, etc from scratch. I use freshly ground whole wheat flour. I order our wheat, oatmeal, and brown rice in 6 gal buckets from Breadbeckers. I also order many other things from there. I buy yeast, dried fruit, butter, and other staples from Sam's. I don't buy meat weekly. I only purchase it when it is marked down and then I stock up. We have 6 people at my house. The youngest (1 month old) doesn't eat from the table so our budget equals $70 a week to feed my family. We spend $50 weekly, $100 every three months at breadbeckers, and $100 at Sam's every other month. Dividing up the totals into weeks we spend $8.30 weekly for breadbeckers and $12.50 weekly at Sams which equals $70.80. That's close enough to our budget for me!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Menu and shopping trip for 6/8/09-6/14/09

Oatmeal with sliced bananas-Breakfast
Grilled Cheese sandwiches (on whole wheat) w/corn-Lunch
Tuna Casserole (Whole wheat pasta, cheese, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower,corn, &Tuna) -Dinner

Sliced Peaches & Cream Oatmeal-Breakfast
Egg Sandwiches (on whole wheat) w/ green beans-Lunch
Spaghetti (Whole wheat pasta, cheese, zucchini, onions, black olives, & bell peppers)-Dinner

Sliced Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal-Breakfast
Peanut Butter & Jelly (on whole wheat) w/ carrots-Lunch
Lentil, Brown Rice, & Veggie Bake (carrots, zucchini, bell peppers, onions, celery)-Dinner

Sliced Strawberries & Cream Oatmeal-Breakfast
Whole wheat crackers, tomato slices, cheese, and celery sticks- Lunch
Red Beans & Brown Rice (cut up carrots, celery, bell peppers, onions, and zucchini)

Whole wheat Apple Cinnamon Muffins-Breakfast
Tuna Sandwiches on whole wheat w/ carrots
Whole wheat Pizza (topped with cheese, black olives, sliced tomato's, bell peppers, and onions)-Dinner

Whole wheat pancakes with sliced strawberries & bananas-Breakfast
Grilled Cheese Sandwiches on whole wheat w/ corn-Lunch
Indian Chicken over brown rice w/ broccoli, carrots, and cauliflower-Dinner

Banana Nut whole wheat muffins-Breakfast
Egg Sandwiches on whole wheat w/ green beans-Lunch
Spinach, Cheese, and Brown rice

Snacks for the week: Homemade yogurt, wheat bread, apples, bananas, and muffins.

Desserts: Ice Cream and Whole wheat chocolate chip cookies.

What we bought:
6 cans Hunts Spaghetti sauce, Annato seeds, bag of potatoes, cheese, peaches, 2 cans black olives, 2 cans of corn, elbow whole wheat pasta, spaghetti whole wheat pasta, whole wheat crackers, bag of apples, bananas, celery, butter, zucchini, carrots, tomatoes, mushrooms, ice cream, milk, and eggs.

We spent: $49.94
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Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Crystal. I am a homeschooling Mom to Love Bug (8 almost 9 girl), Mr. Ant (4 1/2 boy), Big Al (2 1/2 boy) and Lil Andy (1 month old boy). I am married to a wonderful man, Tim. Big Al calls him big daddy although we haven't figured out why yet. I like to find humor in everything. Some days you have to laugh to not cry. I use herbs and natural remedies. I figure if it came from God it has to be good stuff. We try to eat healthy and I enjoy cooking. Although I do have to admit.......I am a Chocolate addict. I love to bargain shop and find ways to save money. I have a hard time paying full price for anything. I am a Catholic convert and a Pre-K Catechist at my parish. I like children better than adults. Their perspectives are glorious.

I love being a Mom and wife. They are the most important jobs I have. I hope to share what works for us and learn from others.