Monday, June 19, 2017

How I am saving money

Have you ever wondered how you can save more money? You might think I coupon but it doesn't seem like enough. I meal plan but I still am barely making it. I have compiled a list of different ways to save money. Some of them I have been doing for a while now and some of them I only recently found and have yet to try.

  • Bake your own bread. If you don't have a bread machine that's okay! I came across this amazing recipe from Stacy at Humorous homemaking. This is by far our FAVORITE bread recipe! You can find the recipe Here.  (I am not affiliated with Stacy just a HUGE fan!) 
  • Made homemade noodles. This is a long process but oh so worth it to me. The noodles I made were from a better homes and gardens recipe book. You can find the recipe Here.   (I am not affiliated with BHG)
  • You can make your own spaghetti sauce. This is one I have yet to try, but I am so excited to try it. I can not wait! Maybe I'll post about the experience.
  • homemade bagels (Look up Trina Holden on Instagram. You can find the recipe Here.)
  • Freezer meals. This goes along with meal prep and meal planning. However I believe it is vital to have a plan and stick to it (mostly..... with the occasional splurge.)
  • Homemade yogurt. I actually have some in the crock-pot as I am typing this.  I can not wait until it is done! YUMMY! You can find the recipe I used Here.
  • Cloth diapering. It's REALLY NOT THAT BAD! Cloth diapers have come a LONG way since our parents used them. Really you should check them out. Some of our favorites are Bum Genius, Best Bottoms, Alva baby and Grovia. 
  • Mama cloth. I have yet to try this but I can not wait to try. You can even find free patterns online to make your own! If you're handy with a sewing machine you can save even MORE money! 
  • Make your own cleaning supplies. You'd be surprised how far vinegar and baking soda will go. You can even make your own cleaning supplies with essential oils. (I personally use Eden's Garden Essential Oils. It is recommend that you do your homework before just mixing a bunch of oils together and trying to clean with them. Especially if you have little ones. Not all oils are safe around babies.)
  • Make your own detergent. It is not hard to make your own laundry detergent. You can even make your own stain remover. The best part is you can choose if you want a powder version or liquid, and most of them are safe for HE washers. 
  • Exercise at home. Gym memberships are EXPENSIVE! I know I just canceled ours. I haven't been able to go lately due to being so busy and I injured my knee. Now that it's healing I have been using my workout videos at home. Most of them I got at Dollar tree, or Wal-Mart. 
  • Coupon. As mentioned before couponing can save you money. However, when done properly it can help save even more money. Some places will let you stack coupons. Make sure you read each stores coupon policy before you try this. 
  • Gardening. Growing your own vegetable garden is a great way to save money on produce. Produce can be very expensive. 
  • Cook from scratch. Aside from baking bread and making noodles, there are many meals you can make from scratch. Not only is it cheaper, but you can control what you put into it so it can be healthier for you and your family. 
  • Hand wash clothes. Believe it or not even though I have a washer, I still hand wash clothes sometimes to help save money. Besides some garments actually say to hand wash. 
  • Hang your laundry out to dry. No I'm not talking about your undies. Please dry them inside your house. No body wants to see your bloomers blowing in the wind! However, hanging your towels out to dry or even some of your clothes can not only help save money, but it can help with stains too. Ask any cloth diapering mama!
  • Canning. Learning to can was intimidating for me at first. Once you get past the what if's and just use common sense and follow instructions it's not bad at all. It's a great way to stock up on produce when prices are low, or can produce from your very own garden. 
  • Sewing. As mentioned before if you know how to use a sewing machine you can save a lot of money. You can repair your clothes to make them last longer. You can even make clothes!
  • Making homemade beauty products. I actually have a few homemade body scrubs that I LOVE! Not only are they all natural but they smell amazing!
  • Make your own soap. I would love to learn to make my own soap. It is on my bucket-list.
  • Make your own butter. Another thing that is on my bucket-list. I want to learn how to make my own butter. Real butter is actually good for you believe it or not! 

We'd love to hear from you and see what your favorite ways to save money is. Even if it's something you'd like to try but haven't yet. Leave a comment and let us know. After all you might inspire someone else to try too!

Here are some other posts you may enjoy:

Mom's on a Budget                    

 Ways to exercise as a family

Ways to save money                  

 Date night on a budget

How to earn extra money for the holidays            

 At home date night ideas

Cheap or free family fun          

 How to freeze corn

Homemade baby food- Bananas


How I homeschool multiple children



Are you struggling to homeschool multiple children in different grades? Have you thought about homeschooling your children but you feel overwhelmed at the thought of homeschooling multiple children? If you answered yes to either one of these questions this post is for you.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Our home school journey

And so it begins......

Last year at the end of the school year we decided to begin homeschooling our 3 boys. 
I have always wanted to home school. My husband was home schooled. I went to public school and I feel like my education was lacking. I feel like I was ripped off, because I was one of those students who needed the one on one instruction and in a public school setting you can't get that without a tutor. 
During the summer we decided to do a two week trial period to see if we thought home school would even be an option for us. The kids loved it, I loved it and so we decided to dive in. 

Thursday, November 3, 2016

A letter to our unborn child

When my husband and I first started trying to have children we got pregnant faster than we expected. We were both so excited. As I took that pregnancy test I remember feeling like my heart was going to pound out of my chest. In just 3 little minutes we would find out if our lives would change forever. Much to our surprise it was positive.




photo credit: Daquella manera Dos rayas via photopin (license)

We barely had time to get use to the fact that we were going to be parents. We told only our closest family and a few close friends. They were so excited for us.

I wish I could say our story ended happily, but a short while later at just 11 weeks I lost the baby due to a miscarriage. The hospital called it a "spontaneous abortion". I despise that word,  I would never have an abortion. I had a miscarriage, and to call it an abortion on any level is just wrong in my book.

It has taken me many years to even type these words, but I wanted to publicly write a letter to our unborn child. Why publicly? Because I want other moms to know that they are not alone! You are not alone!

Dear Baby,
Hello, I am your mom. Unfortunately, soon after we found out we were expecting, we lost you. I am so sorry we never got to meet.

I want you to know that you were wanted very much. You are missed each and every day and you are loved.

 I often wonder if you were a boy or a girl; I wonder who you would look like; what your voice would sound like. I wonder what your personality would be like. 
 I wonder what your hopes and dreams would be. I bet you would have a kind and caring heart. I often wonder if you would have played sports or been in band. Who you would have dated and who your friends would have been. 
Would you have been a girl who loved pink, hair bows and ballet? Or would you have been a boy who loved to play sports, play in the dirt and mud, ride bikes and collect bugs?

I think about you ALL the time!  
When we lost you, you were so tiny you could fit in the palm of my hand, but I could see where your tiny eyes would be, your tiny arms, and where your tiny little legs would soon grow. 
We never got to hear your heartbeat, or see you on the ultrasound screen. 

You were born into heaven. I imagine Jesus holding you and saying "Do not be afraid, you are safe here and will meet your mom someday soon." 
I know that you are safe and will never have to experience any pain that this cruel world causes so often. 

I love you baby and I can't wait to meet you someday soon!

Love always, 
                                   Your mommy 


Thursday, August 11, 2016

Things I wish my kids knew

I'm sure you have a list of things you constantly tell your kids. Turn off the lights when you leave a room. Be kind to others, always. Money doesn't grow on trees.... etc.
There are some things I feel like I am constantly telling my kids. Things that I wish would stick and I would have to constantly repeat them. These are the things I wish they knew.


  • Electric actually does cost money. If you can use natural light instead. Turn the lights off when you leave a room. Don't leave your tv or games running when you're not using them. 
  • Germs really are EVERYWHERE!!! Yes, you have to wash your hands before touching food. I don't care if they don't look dirty. Always Always Always wash your hands after using the bathroom, even if you didn't touch anything. (This must be a boy thing, I don't know?) Handwashing slows down the spread of germs and think about the person after you who has to touch the same doorknob you just left germs all over. 
  • Mom does NOT mean maid. I will do what my kids are incapable of doing for themselves. However, at a certain age, they need to learn to do it themselves. Even a 2-year-old can pick up toys. 
  • You don't know everything! (This is for my tween boy who has recently become a know it all and not in a good way.) 
  • Who cares about the latest fashion trend? BE YOURSELF!! If you like the fashion trend that is one thing, but don't let peer pressure or fear of not fitting in make the decision for you. 
  • How much I love them! (This one I don't mind repeating many times a day) I encourage you to tell your kids how much you love them. Parents no days don't say it enough. Tell them how you feel! 

Some other posts you might be interested in:
Mom's on a budget
When you feel like you can't go on
Cheap or free family fun
10 ways you can help someone who is sick
How I clean with kids

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Mom's on a budget

I get asked all the time about how to budget. I've been married now for 11 years (As of August 5th) and a mom for 10 years (This September) While I'm no expert, I do have a few pointers and tricks up my sleeve that I've learned over the years.  

Mom's on a budget


Image courtesy of pazham at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
(This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.) 

  • Start off by figuring out what your total monthly income is. (If you tithe' take 10% of your total income)
  • Next add together all of your monthly bills. (Don't forget to add bills that may be every 3 months. For us this is water.) 
  • Subtract your monthly income minus your total monthly bills. This way you have an idea of what will be left each month. 
  • Decide how much you will need for groceries.
  • Decide how much you will need for gas.
  • How much will you need for car repairs, regular car maintenance; such as oil changes, new tires, brake pads, etc.   
  • What about birthdays, anniversaries, etc.
  • Do you have a savings account? If so how much will you put in it, and how often? 

Once you set a budget stick to it!   

You have to expect that gas and the price of groceries will rise and fall. But how do you plan for that? Here are a few ways.....  

  • When you grocery shop, don't be afraid to shop around. Make a list of what you need. Check sale ads for the best prices. There are a few websites that will actually put the coupons and sales together for you. How simple is that? They do all the work and you just shop. You can print coupons here!

     http://www.shoppingwithshana.com/
               http://thekrazycouponlady.com/ 
                http://www.krogerkrazy.com/ 
     
  • Match sales with coupons! (See above)
  • Stock up when you have rock bottom prices and coupons. When you stock up you won't be forced to pay high prices when you run out.
  • Menu plan. When you have a menu plan, you're not scrambling at 5p.m. wondering what to cook. You're also more likely to cut down on fast food which is healthier and saves you money.
  • Crock Pot meals. Save times when you can simply put everything into your crockpot and walk away. You could get so much done while dinner is cooking without having to babysit it. 
  • Freezer meals. This goes hand in hand with menu planning and crockpot meals. You can simply take something out of the freezer and pop it into the oven and it frees up more time. Same goes for crockpot meals. (NOTE: thaw meats and poultry in the fridge first to keep from causing any illness). 
  • Shop at thrift stores or second-hand stores.
  • If you sew you can mend or patch your clothes to help them last longer. If you're really good you can even make your clothes. (I'm not that talented)
  • Hand-me-downs are great, not only for kids but adults too!    

If you have no idea how to set a budget and can't afford a financial advisor, maybe you could ask a friend or mentor for help.

Check in once in a while and let them know how everything is going and don't forget to thank them for their help.
You might also read these books:
  • Dave Ramsey The total money makeover.
  • Crystal Payne The Money Saving Mom's Budget .
You can buy them or see if your local library has them and borrow them for free!
  
 
 

 

Here are some other posts you might enjoy

Benefits of a Sam's Club membership                           Cheap or Free family fun

Cheap or Free family fun night ideas                            At home date ideas 

Date night on a budget                                               Ways to make money from home 

Ways to save money                                                  How to earn money for the holidays

 

 

   

 

 

 


Saturday, July 30, 2016

Keeping kids busy during the summer

Schools been out for a while now and it's inevitable that your kids are going to get bored. In our family we have three boys and they can really get on my nerves easily if they are cooped up in the house all day long. (Please tell me I'm not alone in that.)

When I knew school was about to end I started doing some research and putting together a list of things we were going to do this summer. We have done quite a few of them, however summer is not over yet, so we still have some we are planning on doing. Some of them cost money, but some of them are FREE!
 Photo by Stuart Miles at freedigitalphotos.net

I did a google search for free or cheap family fun near me. I also use Cincinnati Parent Magazine, and Cincinnati Family Magazine for free and cheap family fun. Sometimes if you're lucky you can search your local city or townships webpage and view their events page or calendar. I happened to get lucky there and my son went to a fire academy provided by our local fire dept totally FREE! How awesome is that? (I scored major mom points for that one!) (This post may contain affiliate links in which I receive a small commission at no charge to you.)

Here are some other ideas:
  • Lazer Kraze - Or some other Lazer tag near you. 
  • museum (you can go on free days, most museums have them during the summer)
  • Some movie theaters have free or cheap movie days.
  • Zoo (we actually bought a family pass and have definitely got our moneys worth.) However most Zoo's have half price day or dollar day admission.
  • Explore your town and see what it has to offer. When we first move somewhere new we like to drive around and "get lost" or see what we can get into. You'd be surprised what free fun you can find. 
  • Park- The park is always a great place to have some free or cheap fun. 
  • Camping-  As long as you already have a tent, sleeping bags, and a few other necessities; camping really isn't that expensive. Sometimes there is a small fee for the camp ground. If you camp in your own back yard it's FREE! No it's not exactly the same but hey beggars can't be choosers. 
  • Some bowling alleys have free bowling for kids during the summer. Check out kidsbowlfree.com   
  • If your church has a VBS (although most have this at the beginning of the summer)
  • Home Depot has kids workshops you can sign your kids up for. http://workshops.homedepot.com/workshops/kids-workshops?cm_sp=vanity-_-Kidsworkshops-_-DEC13
  • Lowes has their build and grow program. https://lowesbuildandgrow.com/
  • Some parks will have local bands that play free concerts. 
  • You might also be able to find a park that does nature programs free or cheap. Our local park has a "Meet a reptile day" etc..... where the kids get to touch lizards and snakes and learn hands on about them. 
  • Last but not least don't forget to check out your local library. They have many programs for all ages. Our library had Lego time, a summer reading program, and summer lunch program where the kids can eat free every day, story time, toddler time, play groups, movers and shakers (a music and dance fun program for little ones) and so much more!
  • Baseball games. If you get tickets online or at Kroger you can get them cheaper usually. Park further away and walk to help with the high parking prices, skip concessions if you need to. I highly recommend bringing something for concessions if you have kids who are constantly hungry like mine. 
  • We love to get the fire pit going out back, roast marshmallows and make s'mores. Try to catch lightning bugs as the sun goes down, then bring out the telescope and start gaze, look at the moon or what ever planet is visible that night. 

Here are some other posts you might enjoy:
Cheap or free family fun                   
 How I clean with kids
My favorite things about fall