Sunday, April 27, 2008

Raising the next Generation

I thought I would share a little conversation I had today in the car with my guys on the way home from church.

One boy mentioned something about a person sounding like they would never have kids, so we started to talk about that. I told them I had been thinking about what is important and that raising Godly children who will be Godly adults is what really matters. My oldest then told me that in the sermon today (I was loving on the babies in nursery) our pastor said our most important responsibility is raising Godly children.

I know you all know this, but it doesn't hurt to be reminded that those little ones that are crying while the dinner is burning are the next generation of adults for the Kingdom. They are the ones that will teach future generations about the Gospel and the love of the Savior. When we start to think of them has the future of God's church the burned dinners,the mounds and mounds and mounds of laundry, the dirty carpets, and the toys everywhere begin to pale in comparison. Next time your ready to pull your hair out because the toddler is sitting in a sink of water with a dirty diaper on using your lipstick(yes, one of my kids really did that) remember he/she is the one you are raising to carrying on your faith. He is the one who will speak truth to his generation, she is the one who will be raising up more little warriors for the Lord and they are the ones who will enjoy all eternity with us.

Thank you for letting me share in your lives. Have a wonderful week with your children.


Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Top 10 Money Saving Tip from Our House to Yours

Gone are the days of $5 shoes at my house. Gone are the days of $10 shoes. Now we are hoping to find shoes under $50. With 3 boys needing new sneakers and sandals we were talking about an expensive shopping trip. The difficulty is compounded by the fact that 2 of my boys need size 13 shoes (hard to find!). To top it all off, our favorite (cheap!) shoe place has gone out of business.

Our first shopping trip yielded one pair of shoes that my oldest liked. The next shopping trip started at Rack Room Shoes and there we we really hit the jackpot. My husband had said that we'd only buy sandals if they jumped off the rack at us. Four pairs did just that.

We found 3 pairs of Teva sandals for $10 each. The original price was $50 buckaroos. We found a $4 pair of sandals for my youngest. They were marked down from $25 buckaroos. I even found one pair of size 14 sandals which I purchased for my honey. He wasn't with us, but I figured for that price if he didn't like them one of the boys could wear them next summer.

So with the success of the bargain sandals making us all happy we headed to the mall to continue our hunt. Again we were successful and while we didn't hit the jackpot we did succeed in finishing our hunt for shoes. Now my boy's feet are officially set for summer.I get excited when I land a bargain such as these sandals. I know these bargains are God's way of filling a need or a want in our lives. But the big exciting money saving bargains are few and far between. We have to be conscious everyday of where and how our money is being spent.

Here are ten ways we save money in our home.
1. No cable t.v.

2. We drive used vehicles.

3. We limit the number of times we eat out, but we do love $.99 Happy Meal night. We just have to buy the bigger guys several Happy Meals.

4. We shop at a discount grocery store called Aldi. Check them out at

5. We have a pay as you go cell phone plan.

6. When we leave the house we take water, snacks or even lunch if we will need it. Having to purchase food every time you leave the house can add up quickly.

7. My husband takes a lunch to work.

8. We use very few pre-packaged meals. We have found having a few frozen pizzas, stir-fry veggies, or sandwich meat helps on the weekend and keeps us from ordering in or eating out.

9. We limit the size of meat portions or reduce the amount of meat in dinner entrees.

10. Except for certain items, we have found store brand products to be cheaper and the quality just as good as name brands.

Happy Saving!
Below is a photo of one of the big pairs of feet that needed new shoes. At least with feet that big you get your money's worth in leather.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Easy Dinner Idea

A friend gave me this simple, but delicious soup recipe. Depending on the size of your family you may have to increase your proportions. We expecially enjoy soup for dinner in the winter, serve this soup with corn bread for a super easy dinner. (Thanks Margot)This soup is super easy and the kids love it with the cheese and chips sprinkled on top. Add some cornbread using the simple Jiffy mixes and dinner is done.

Taco Soup
1 can of corn
1 jar of salsa or stew diced tomatoes
chicken broth or beef broth
cooked chicken slices or hamburger.
Simply combine all ingredigents and heat well. Serve with grated cheese and crushed tortilla chips on top.

A Rabbit in the Dining Room

Yes that's right Ladies, I have a rabbit that lives in my dining room and a bird too. Let me back up a minute and tell you that my dining room isn't used for a dining room at all. We call it the school room, but we don't do school in there. It should be called the computer/animal room.

Several years ago I read a book published in 1882 by Rev. J.R. Miller called "Homemaker". One part of the book that spoke to me the most was about our home. Rev. Miller wrote about our homes not being show pieces or museums, but being comfortable places for our children. In my home this means the Legos are in the family room and the animals live in the dining room. It means we have an inexpensive rug in the living room, so we can eat in there and watch TV without worries of ruining the rug when something gets spilled. It means piles of magazines and books and shoes in the family room. But it also means that my children are near me, not hiding in their rooms. It means they don't hesitate to work on a project and make a big mess. Sometimes it means that the table gets a burn mark, or hot chocolate is spilled on the carpet, or that you have to step over Legos, but I know the days of not having a full house of children are fast approaching, so for now I'll deal with the mess.

As for the rabbit in the dining room, she really is a cutie.

Blessings to all,

Sharing dinner recipes

Here is a great idea from a reader. If anyone has any recipes to share we would love to see them. Just click on "comment" to share your favorite dinner ideas.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

What's For Dinner?

"What's for dinner?" Preparing meals seems to be an endless job for us moms. Sometimes the cooking of the meal isn't the hardest part it is figuring out what to make. In our house if my husband says "Thanks for making this.", that means it's edible, but not something he is really enjoying. If he says " This is good.", it really is GOOD. Tuesday night was one of those nights and I can only take credit for finding the recipe; my 14 year old son and 10 year old daughter did the cooking.
One thing I find helpful is to prepare a menu for a week or two weeks at a time. This can take awhile to do, but is a time saver during the week. You could make several menus and corresponding grocery lists and rotate them. As I make the menu I write down everything I need to purchase to prepare that dish. It is also a good idea to check the grocery store ads and plan your menu using meat that is on sale that week. I might purchase pork chops if they are on sale and freeze them to use in the future as it is a real money saver if you can get your meat items on sale.
We purchase the bulk of our staple items at Aldi- a German based stored that sells mostly their own brand of product, it is a very basic, no frills store, but the prices are the best around. Since there is one in Woodbridge my husband will stop after work and do a major purchase for us about every 2 weeks. I email him our grocery list and he gets everything he can, certain items that are more specialized I have to pick up later or do without. We will also purchase some pre-made items for the weekend, ie pizza, stir fry veggies packs, hot dogs. Even though these items are more expensive they save us from spending money on take-out or going out to dinner.
I hope these ideas help you out with the never ending job of making meals. Lastly here is the recipe for our successful, delicious entree that we had this week.

Nacho Spuds
prep time 15 minutes
4 servings
Slice 2 large potatoes into 1/2" thick rounds(no need to peel), toss these with a little olive oil. Lay the potatoes on a baking sheet in a single layer and bake at 450 until tender, about 20 minutes.
While the potatoes are baking, cook 1/2 lb. ground beef. Mix in a 15oz can of black beans(any beans will do), 2 tablespoons of taco seasoning and 2 tablespoons water. Simmer on low heat for 10 minutes. Layer the potatoes in an 9x11 over proof dish, sprinkle with 1 cup of cheese and layer the meat mixture on the potatoes, top with another cup of cheese. Place in the oven and turn the oven off. Let sit in the oven 2-3 minutes or until the cheese is melted. Serve with sour cream, lettuce, black olives if you like.

We had to use a lot more potatoes, about 2 per person and a pound of beef and additional cheese in order to have enough to feed everyone. (I have 2 teen boys that are really putting the food away these days).

Have a wonderful week.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Jobs for Toddlers

My kids have been handling the meal preparation in our house for the past month while I recoveryed from surgery. Now they are wondering when I'm going to start fixing the meals again, but I'm enjoying having them handle the majority of the meals. They have been doing a good job. Obviously toddles aren't going to be handling meal prep for a long, long time, but they can learn other ways to help.
Here are some ideas:
1. move the clothes out of the dryer into a laundry basket and slide the basket to the room you need it in.
2. fold simple laundry items like wash clothes, dishtowels and sort socks by colors or dark and lights.
3. put the silverware from the dishwasher on the counter for them and let them stand on a stool or chair to sort and put away for you.
4. remove plastic items from dishwasher. If you have a lower cupboard for the kids dishes they can put their own away and even get them as needed.
5. set the plates on the table
6. pull the blanket up on their bed-top sheets can be difficult, so my kids for the most part didn't use them.
7. pick up toys
8. carry their plate to the sink after meals, depending on the mess left on the plate.

Most jobs given to a small child take a lot of work on the parents part to train them how to do, but once they have the job down they enjoy being able to help. Plus you are teaching them how to serve and be part of the family. Most of the time the end result isn't done very well, but nothing says it has to be perfect, except usually us moms. Once you have a child or two trained in a job they can then be given the responsibility of teaching a younger sibling. I still team my younger two children up with an older sibling. I told the older ones I trained you, now you train them. If they do a good job training the younger sibling it makes the job easier for the older one; this is good incentive to train their younger sibling well.

We don't pay our children an allowance for chores as we feel the chores are part life as a family. They get room and board with out charge. If we have extra jobs we would like done or if they are looking to earn some money we will pay them for those jobs.

It definitely is work to teach our children how to work, but in later you will reap the reward for your effort. So when all the dish clothes are in a "folded" mess and the dinner plate hits the floor for the hundredth time take heart and remember some day it will be worth it.

Having fun with the kiddos

One year to teach my kids about spring I had a first day of spring party. It had been beautiful weather several weeks before and I imagine us planting seeds out on the deck. We invited our friends to plant seeds and eat dirt cake with us. The first day of spring arrived and with it SNOW!! We ended up planting our seeds inside, but we still had fun.

As my kids seem to be getting old quickly, I realize the time is limited to have fun with them. Before you know it they want a job to pay for clothes, a car or other stuff they desire and then they aren't as free to go have fun with you. So take some time this week and enjoy your kids, have a picnic, color together, have a pillow fight or visit a museum. Whatever you do, don' t over do it, roll with the punches it doesn't have to be a perfect activity just fun and remember to quit while everyone is still having fun.

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