Unexpected Savings

I forgot to mention my FAVORITE way to save $ at the grocery store last week but then you might not have believed me then either.  So here it is!

Online Shopping and Delivery:

Who would think that by adding convenience and paying for it you'd actually save money too?  But you do when you have you groceries "shopped" for you and even delivered.  How, do you ask?  Well, by NOT BUYING all those little extras that you would buy if you were AT the perusing the aisles while you shop for what you really need.

Did you know that a study was done on our grocery shopping habits and they found that the average trip to the store for just milk, eggs, and bread, which should cost you $5-12 costs $30, that's THIRTY DOLLARS, simply because we always pick up extra stuff we don't need but it looks good, it's on sale and why not?  None of us need those extra things and that extra cushion around our middles and on our backsides that come from them.

I have been having my groceries delivered or at least done drive through pick up at the store since my son was born almost four years ago, at first I didn't use coupons or any of my other tips from last week on top of my groceries being delivered but I saved almost half of my bill from before and still got plenty of snacks and "extras".  Now that I've added more ways of saving money, I've been able to lower my grocery budget and actually buy more food than I had before.  I have a pantry that is always full with a small stockpile of the things I use the most, I never had extra left over before, and I don't have to constantly ask myself what I'm going to fix for dinner or stuff my kids with candy and treats to get them through a trip to the store.

Fashion Inspiration

I get inspiration from a lot of different people, some famous, some personal friends, some great bloggers as well and it's from this category that I want to share one of my favorite fashion inspirations, Disney at Ruffles & Stuff  makes and wears such wonderful things for both her and her daughter.  Here are two examples:

Aren't they just wonderful?  She's such a great example of taking inexpensive, and even thrift store, finds and turning them into gorgeous, fashionable clothes you're very proud to wear and feel oh so beautiful in.

The Way We Learn

There are seven different ways that we learn according to Howard Gardner of Project Zero at Harvard University, all of us learn well with one or two while others may be really hard. Arming ourselves with this information we can help our children learn how to become better at learning anything by teaching them simple concepts using as many of these ways as possible.

The "Seven Intelligences" are:
  • Verbal/Linguistic
  • Logical/Mathematical
  • Visual/Spatial
  • Body/Kinesthetic
  • Interpersonal
  • Intrapersonal
Although everyone learns well through the KINESTHETIC, or learning by doing, very few of us learn well with verbal lecture and since most teachers still use lectures to teach for our children to succeed in school they are going to need to get better at VERBAL LEARNING. You can also help them learn how they can teach themselves through other methods so that they aren't hindered by an instructors teaching method. We can give this gift to our children as we teach them by using all seven ways and paying close attention to what they respond to best.


If you want to be a part of Welcome Wednesday, just follow these 5 simple steps:

1. Follow the Welcome Wednesday Host (Take It From Me) as well as the 2 Spotlighted Blogs of the Week. (These will make up the top three slots on the Linky)
2. Link up your blog name and URL with our Linky. (You only need to add your info once for it to be seen on all the blog hops)
3. Grab our Welcome Wednesday button and include it in a post about the event on your blog.
4. Go to as many blogs on the MckLinky as you want and Follow them. Be sure to tell them you are from Welcome Wednesday!
5. Be sure to Follow back any followers you have gained from our Welcome Wednesday event!

Why I Started Blogging

Well, the real reason that I started this blog was that I was invited to do a few little spots on a TV show in Utah called Studio 5 back when they were just getting started and I wanted to have a place that the viewers could go to get a little bit more information if they were interested.  Then life happened and I stopped doing anymore spots and we moved, I had another baby, etc.  so I wasn't doing anything on the blog for quite a while and then one day after I had started selling a few odds and ends on my Etsy shop I decided that there were all these things that I thought about, learned about, etc. that I knew other people could use so I decided to get my butt back in the blogging groove and start up again.  It's been a lot of fun since then and though it's always a bit slow going at first I only blog about things I love so it doesn't matter if only 2 people read it or 2000, I'm enjoying myself every step of the way.

Windy Poplars

Thanks Kristin for your always fun questions.
Check out the other great answers at her Windy Poplars site

Pictures by My Son

I love to see the world through my children's eye's and letting my son take pictures is always an adventure for both of us, the things he wants to take pictures of are always so important to him and mostly really funny to me, like the picture below.

Nice shot of my butt, don't you think?  Yeah, not one of my favorites but I love that he always wants to take pictures of us and that we're wonderful to him at any angle.  When I saw the picture though I talked to him about getting close ups so that you can really see what the subject is, not in those exact words, this was the result.

I could have edited his pictures or at least cropped myself out but I want you to see EXACTLY what he did and I couldn't not post my daughters darling expression, she just adores her big brother.

Saving $ On Your Proteins

I consider protein to be an essential part of every diet, esp. for kids, but I don't like spending a ton of money on it, and I don't like buying something I I feel was raised in an inhumane and unclean environment.  So, I opt for the less expensive proteins for most of my meals, soy, beans, nuts and eggs.  Because I get most of my proteins from them I can afford to spend the extra money on cage free eggs and free range, grain and grass fed meats.  It also helps that I know I only need 7-8oz. of protein a day so, I'm not loading up on them instead of my fruits and veggies which I need 5 cups of a day.

I'm not a vegetarian, clearly, but that is one way I can save money and eat healthy at the same time.

Stretching Your Grocery Dollar

No recipe today, instead I thought I'd share with you some great tips.  There are several great ways of saving money and frustration when it comes to feeding your family and the more of them you use the more you can save.

  • Coupons-   
    • This is the most common and obvious way to save $ but there are two ways of doing it and one way will save you hundreds while the other saves you dollars.  The most common way of using coupons is to simply use which ever ones you feel like buying at the time, the other way is to make it a game and really use the coupons in conjunction with sales and double and triple coupon days to buy your items for pennies on the dollar and sometimes even free.  
      • A great resource to get you started is The Grocery Game where for only $10 for 8 weeks you can get a list of all the best deals for your store and which coupons to use from your mailed coupons and Sunday paper coupons.  With getting only the Sunday paper delivered or at the dollar store being $1 per week the cost to you is $2.25 per week.  I saved over $100 dollars my first week alone and only spent about  $100, so it's well worth the investment.
  • Meal Planning-   
    • Planning out your menu ahead of time saves you so much time and frustration as well as $.  Just think of all the time you spend staring in your fridge, freezer and pantry trying to figure out what you can make for dinner, and even breakfast and lunch. Well, if you simply make a list of all the meals you can think of that you generally make for those meals then in no time at all you can plan out your meals one, two, four weeks at a time.  No more wasted time wondering what to fix and no more wasted food because you forgot it was there or just never got around to using it.
      • If you need help coming up with great recipes for your meal planning Bust-a-Meal will email you a meal plan every week based on your diet preferences and you can even get the shopping list along with the recipes.
  • Mise En Plus-   
    • Mise en plus is a french term that means "everything in it's place" and in the culinary world it means having everything ready before you get started so that you can work quickly, that means pre-chopping, pre-measuring, and having every tool you'll need set out and ready when you start to cook.  How does this translate into saving you money?  Well, if you buy items, like peppers, unprepared and prepare them yourself then you can get them at a lower price and then use them as you need them.  For example, I love cooking with bell peppers, so I stock up when they are on a really good sale and clean, chop and freeze them so that I have lots of them ready for me to use exactly the amount I need at any time.  (Freeze them in a single layer on a baking sheet first and then put them in freezer bags so they're easy to use and not frozen in a solid lump.)
      • Not all foods are cheaper to buy unprepared, for example sliced fresh mushrooms cost the exact same as whole, so if you are going to use them sliced you might as well buy them that way.
      • Prepping your food early in the week means that you save a lot of time and frustration when meal time comes around.
  • Recipe Redo-
    • If you plan on using a specific ingredient or dish that usually has leftovers when you are done then you can save $ by using what's left over in another meal.  Use that roast to make a stew, stroganoff or sandwiches, use left over baked potatoes to make potato salad or twice baked, use your stir fry to make eggrolls and the rice for rice pudding or cereal, use that chicken for a salad, use, well, you get the idea.
I hope that these tips help you to stretch your grocery dollar in ways that you haven't before, $ saved in one area means it can be used in another.

We Love Pasta!

The kids and I love pasta, it's fast to cook up, it's easy for the kids to eat with a fork or their hands and if the sauce is thick, it doesn't make a big mess.  This dish here is just my lazy version of Beef Stroganoff, I use Cream of Mushroom soup with some sour cream and milk for the sauce, beef pot roast from a previous meal and green beans, I know it seems weird, maybe even gross, but I just love green beans in my stroganoff, if you don't then just put them on the side.  I put in plenty of onion and a little garlic, fresh or powdered, and there you have it, "Lazy Mans Beef Stroganoff".  I'm pretty sure the whole thing cost me about $3.50 if you don't count the left over roast and about $5-6 if you do.  It fed my kids and me twice which makes it servings for 4-6, so that's only $0.21-1.50 per serving.

My New Favorite Shoes

I have to say that I am really surprised at just how much I really do love my new shoes, I got them two weeks ago and have worn them everywhere.  They feel great, they look great and you can throw them in the dishwasher if they get dirty, I even wore them to church and a friend remarked that she thought they were leather.

Since I also love sales I'm telling you all about them now because they are having a 20% off sale, until Monday the 25th,  and some of my very favorite styles and colors are discounted so now is the time to check them out and snatch up a great pair.

Use the promo code: MORECOLOR

Why I Share...

I know that I have a tendency to come off rather dry at times, and I really wish that I was better at that, but I want you to know that I really love all of you, my family and friends and even those I don't really know, I love knowing that you're on this journey with me and that you have a lot of the same hopes and dreams, questions ans concerns, thoughts and ideas, wishes for our children, etc. that I do.  I listen to my friends and I watch them and I see whats going on in the world and I hope that I can help in some small way with things that I do, have learned, and can share in some small way.

I share my cooking...
because I see so many of my friends doing the best they know how to feed their children delicious, nutritious meals and yet they still struggle because they were brought up with their moms cooking things like casseroles made with mostly canned ingredients that are LOADED with sodium and preservatives and they just don't know how to cook any other way or how good and fast cooking with fresh ingredients can be.

I share my "Fashion Tips"...
because I see so many beautiful women with closets full of mediocre clothes that don't fit too well in the name of saving money instead of saving money by making every dollar really count and only buying what they love and feel beautiful in.

I share what I create...
because Who DOESN"T love to show of what they've done?  But really, I love to share what I've done so that it can also inspire others.

I share all of this and everything else because in my own small way I hope that what I share has helped you and that I have helped your world be a slightly better place.

Creamy Tomato Sauce & Penne

My kids and I love pasta and sauce, so most days are some variation of that, for tomato sauces I always add a big dollop of tomato paste because the thicker sauce makes less mess and it also means more concentrated tomato goodness.  I am on a spinach kick lately so this sauce is tomato paste, cream cheese, a little chicken stock to thin, herbs and spices, and a little spinach.  I thought it looked a little boring with just the sauce and pasta so I added a little cheese for the pictures but you really don't need it.  The best part is that the whole big pot of it only cost me about $3 and serves 4, which makes it $0.75 per serving, YEAH!!!

I don't know the calories, but I only put about 3 tablespoons of the cream cheese so it's still very figure friendly.

Fashion Friday - Why Quality is Worth the Cost

I found this NY Times article through DailyWorth.com and it really explains well why a pair of khaki pants are really worth $550.  Although I doubt that I'll ever be able to afford anything that pricey it is a great reminder that "investment pieces" really are worth it if you take your time to find those perfect pieces that will be with you for a long time.

A Perfect Pair of Khakis

Everyone needs a really great pair of Khakis & these by Michael Kors fit the bill, you can dress them up, down and they are great all year round.  Now, all you need is is a super cute print top to go with them, like this from DKNYC

or these from Mod Cloth

Or even these from Kmart

and speaking of Kmart, they've got lots of super cute baby girl dresses for less than you could make them for, like these:

Summer Reading Fun

I've started the group on good reads and I've found a great book to start us off:

Now I just need your email to invite you to our goodreads group.  There is one other option that I plan on doing next, it's a free for all, from picture books to big, thick novels, the only requirement is that you tell us about it.

Kindred Connections -Summer Fun

Windy Poplars

It's that time of the week again, I just love Kristin's questions and all the great posts by everyone who participates that I'm just going to have to do this again.

1. How do you most like to entertain during the summer (pool party, picnic, cookout, etc.)? - Or if your situation doesn't allow for entertaining right now, what do you look forward to being able to host? 
2. Do you have a favorite summertime dessert?
I really love to have people over, whether it's just to hang out or for a big ol' Shin Dig, I'm all for it.  My favorite thing to do during the summer is a cookout, my DH runs the grill and makes his amazing salsa and I get to make my absolutely favorite dessert, sliced baguettes with Nutella fresh raspberries and whipped cream. It's light, fresh, easy and oh so yummy; after all the heavy bbq and sides it's also the perfect finish.

3.What is your best outdoor summer date idea?
Any date with my DH is wonderful but I really love to go down to the beach with him and just talk.

4. Share any outdoor decorating tips/ideas you have... 
I'm afraid I'm not the "perfect" hostess because when it comes to decorating, I don't.  I find it fun to think up and get the decorations but when it comes to adding that to everything else for the party then I just get stressed, esp. because then I'm trying to keep them away from my kiddos, so I just skip them for stress free fun, maybe I'll get better at that though.

5. What will we find you wearing most in the summertime?
One of my jersey dresses, I'm in love with dresses right now and jersey dresses are perfect for summer, I just got the Old Navy ones that I featured in a Fashion Friday Finds post and I have been wearing them a lot, for $10.99 who cares if they only last me til the end of summer?  I also got the purse and a super cute zebra print belt that was on clearance at Target for only $5.  I love it when I find great things at super great prices.

Now go to her website and checkout all the other great posts there.

Green Eggs

My son LOVES eggs and the color green so I used this opportunity to make him "Green Eggs".  I've made them for him lots of different ways, a spinach quiche, fritatta with green peppers, omelet with pesto, etc.  Today I made them literally green by blending frozen spinach into the eggs and using them to make scrambled eggs, this is actually the second time I've made them and they were such a hit the first time that there wasn't anything left for pictures so I made Dylan take pictures before he could start eating them.

I just put the spinach, eggs and cheese into the blender with a little milk and blended until smooth, then I added some garlic and onion powders with a little salt and pepper.  once it started cooking I added a little more cheese.  I used Feta because I love feta with spinach but use what you like.  The ratio was almost 1/1 eggs and spinach but again do it how you like, it does have extra moisture so you have to cook off the extra moisture once the eggs are cooked but I just put my burner on high, kept stirring and it was all done in a couple of minutes.

One serving has:
2 eggs-   180 calories   $.22
1/4 ounce cheese-   20 calories   $.13
1/2 cup spinach-   15 calories   $.80
splash of milk-   @ 15 calories   $. ?
herbs and spices-   0 calories   $. ?

230 Calories   $1.15  per serving

A Little Light Summer Reading Anyone?

A friend of my from BlogFrog, Kristin, and I have decided it would be fun to have a summer reading group.  We will be reading only short, fun, easy books, at least to start, with a weekly discussion question you can answer at any time during the week and a chat at the end of the month for anyone who wants to really talk about the book with everyone.  No specific book has been decided on yet so if you have any suggestions let me know.

I can't wait to get started, how about you?

Fashion Friday- Etsy Finds

Here is a dress that I'm coveting from Lirola, can you tell I'm in love with dresses right now, I promise my next post won't be another dress though.  This dress is so versatile, not only in how you can wrap it but in how you can dress it up, down, with a jacket or blazer, it's just such a great classic piece and with the great material she uses and all the care that goes into it you can be sure that you'll get a lot of value out of this one piece wonder.  (It'd be wonderful for traveling too.)

And this darling little headband from The Mustard Seed Co's is so sweet, you could wear it with so many outfits it's the perfect hair accessory to have on hand.

And of course I can't help but point out that my necklace kit would be a great addition to this look but then I am a bit biased.

I'm leaving out shoes and purses this time because there are too many options that I can think of that would really set off this combination and I just can't commit to only one or two.

A few of my favorite fashion tips

Always use at least one classic piece to "anchor" your look.

If one item really makes a statement, then keep everything else fairly minimal.  (I really like using one "Statement" piece.)

Don't make everything "match", think more coordinate.  If you struggle with this then have one item with a print that you can "pull" colors from like a floral print skirt and then pick out two colors in it to use in your other pieces.

Never wear more than one trend at a time.

Your hair is an accessory too.

Take your time, never buy something just because it's a great deal, buy it because it fits you well and you love it.

So what are some of your favorite tips?  What questions do you have?  What would you like me to cover, I have a whole thing on "Dressing for Your Age" but I don't want to post it unless there are plenty of people interested.  I'm at your service, just tell me what you want to see here.

Who Knew?

I had no idea that Wednesdays were such a busy link party day but I saw too many that I loved and so here comes another one.  This one is from Sachiko at Tea Rose Home and it's a project one which is great for me because that means PICTURES!

Here is the Teddy Bear I made my DS!

I made the pattern and then traced it onto the fleece and sewed right on the pattern line, I get much better lines this way and it goes faster.

Here's it is with my DS holding it, it's not finished in this photo because he couldn't wait to hold it and play with it so I gave in and let him have it and then finished it while he was sleeping.

It turned out so well ans was so easy that I put the pattern up for sale on my Etsy shop and now it comes with an adaptation for a bunny and I just finished making a pattern for an elephant that I am hoping to have up in about a week.  (here's a preview)

Thanks for hosting such a fun party Sachiko, check out her party here.

Kindred Connections

Windy Poplars

I love Kristin over at Windy Poplars and so when I saw that she was doing a "Kindred Connection Party" I was all in.  Her KCP's are every week and she has some great "get to know you" questions.

Here are this week's questions:
1. If you had a day from this past week that you could "live over" (either for good or bad), which one would it be and why?
I try to live my life in a way that I never wish I could "do it over" but sometimes it happens just the same, The only thing I wish I had done differently this week was that I had gotten more done for my DH while he's been out of town, I love it when he comes home to something done esp. for him, he's always so surprised and grateful.  Oh wait, I still have today, I'm sure I can think of something to do for him.  (Any ideas?)

2. Do you work outside the home? Are you a SAHM? Are you self employed?

I'm a SAHM and I love just about every minute of it, you set your own schedule, it's always changing, never boring and the perks are priceless.

3. What are two blogs that you really love, and why? 

I love Angry Chicken, she has posts on so many great things and she's so talented, it's always fun to see what she's been up to.  I really can't pick a second, I love so many blogs, I have to say that I do love my own though, not because of what I put in it exactly  or that I think it's so great, it needs a lot of work, but because I love having a place to share myself and many of the things I do and think about and I love knowing that those things are enjoyed by others and sometimes maybe even a little bit helpful.

Well, there you have it, I am so glad that Kristin found me over at BlogFrog and that I've been able to enjoy her wonderful site and share with all of you, I can't wait to check out all of your blogs as well, I always love making new friends.

Dishing It Blog Party- Mom Edition

Yeah another Dishing It Blog Party Hosted by Amanda at Serenity Now!!  This one's theme is all about moms and she has a great little questionnaire to help you share all about yours. 

~What's the best thing about your mom?
Well, I'd really have to say that she's MY mom and I only have to share here with my brother and two sisters but aside from that would be that she's one of my best friends.

Here's a picture of my mom with my two LO's and me from her visit last spring.

~If your mom isn't around, do you have a family member or mentor who can stand in for her?
My mom is in Utah while I'm in VA so she's not close by but we still talk all the time.

~What's your relationship with your mom like (do you just tolerate each other, or is she your best confidant)?
I love that my mom and I are so close, I tell her pretty much everything, she knows all the worst things about me because I told her and I knew that I could tell her.  There are only two people that I can truly tell absolutely everything to and my mom is one of them.

~If there is one quality about your mom that you could emulate, what would it be?
I would have to pick two, her patience and her loving nature.

~What's the best advice your mom has ever given you?
Two things, neither of them really advice though, first, she told me many times when I was in trouble for something " I may not always like what you do but I will always love You."  Which taught me that I am not my mistakes.  And second, she told me "If you life to be 80 or more then even if you don't get married until you're 40 you'll still be married for half or most of your life."   Which gave me a whole new perspective on not just getting married but just how fleeting youth really is and many other things about life as well.

~Describe the most embarrassing outfit your mom made you wear when you were growing up. (If you have a photo of this, I will give you ten bonus points!)
My mom never made me wear anything I really didn't want to, she encouraged me to be my own person with my own tastes and ideas.

~If you're a mom, what's your favorite thing about motherhood? What's the most difficult?
My favorite thing about motherhood is watching my children grow and change into their individual little selves and personalities and my family as a whole growing and changing along with them.
The most difficult would be watching them go through any hurt or pain that I can't fix.

I loved sharing with all of you, you'll have to excuse me now, I need to call my mom.

My New Pattern

There's only one problem, I can't get to my sewing machine right now, so if anyone out there is willing to make it for me I'll send you the pattern along with all of my other ones for free.

Wishing I Was in Utah

...so I could get this:

from Goldsmith Co. Jewelers, just print out the coupon here then go to Goldsmith Co. Jewelers between May 3rd and May 8th

Goldsmith Company is located at 120 N. University Ave. Provo, UT

Look What My Son Cooked Up!

White Beans, Rice and Spinach

Okay, so I helped a little, I mean we are talking about cooking on the stove here but he picked out all the ingredients and helped stir.

It's a really simple but yummy and filling dish, canned white beans well rinsed, instant brown rice, spinach and plenty of herbs and spices.  Put in whatever herbs and spices you like, I put in onions, poultry herb mix, garlic, pepper and a little chili powder.  It only took as long as it took to cook the rice, about ten minutes, I added the beans with the rice and added the spinach and herbs about half way through.

My DS was so proud of his dish that I had to take a picture of him with it but he ate it so fast not much was left when I took it.

Each Serving has:
1 Cup Beans-    53 Calories    $. 50
1 Cup Rice-    218 Calories    $.76
1/2 Cup Spinach-    15 Calories    $. 40

286 Calories    $1.66

Grow Paper tutorial

The Long Thread has her tutorial at Alpha Mom for this super cute activity you can do with your kids, it's perfect for Mother's Day.

I think I'm going to have to do this with my kiddos, I'll probably modify it though, like I do everything. :)