Monday, August 6, 2012

First Day of School

Today was Olivia's first day at school. Boy, it sure was hard on this momma. She's only going two days a week from 7:40 - 11:30, but it still broke my heart because I can't believe how big she's getting. When I took her to her classroom she said, "bye mom" ... then came the tears.. from me... not her. (Yes I walked out so she wouldn't see me cry). Since today was such a mile-stone I thought I would do a little interview with her this afternoon and here are her answers...
How old are you?
What is your favorite color?
Who is your best friend?
What is your favorite food?
Chicken Nuggets
What is your favorite snack?
What is your favorite song?
Jingle Bells
What is your favorite animal?
Dora (our dog)
What is your favorite show?
What is your favorite book?
Beauty & The Best
What is your favorite thing to do outside?
Play in the water and play with rocks
What did you do at school?
Play, play, play
I think she had a great first day at school. When I picked her up she told me that she played with toys and went to the gym. As soon as we got home she took a long nap. All in all it's been a great day. I still can't believe that she's officially "in school" but I'm loving this stage of life that she's in right now. It's just hard to believe that she's getting so big. God is so good.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Pool Days

It's no secret that this summer has been HOT! We've spent most of our days inside playing and crafting. Some days early in the mornings and in the evenings will enjoy some outside time, but for the most part we've enjoyed the air conditioning. However, the past couple of days we've enjoyed some water time.
The night before last we went to my parent's house for dinner and afterwards the kids played in the sprinkler and ate Popsicles.
They had a blast. Olivia loves water! She loves the bath, the sprinkler, the pool, it doesn't matter to her as long as it's water she loves it. She also loves Popsicles as you can see it all over her face. ha!
Owen on the other hand takes after Ben... he's not really a water person.
Yesterday we enjoyed some pool time over at my cousin's house. To my surprise, Owen LOVED it! It's the the first time that I've really seen him enjoy being in the water. I was thrilled! They also loved playing with my little cousin Katie!
They had so much fun.
I LOVE this picture of them. They are so close. I remember crying for days when we found out that we were pregnant with Owen because they would be so close in age and I knew that we would have two babies back to back, but now, I wouldn't have it any other way. I love that they are so close. They are best friends. It's so sweet. I pray that they always stay this way. They may fight, but I love the special bond that they have. It's so sweet. Ben and I are truly blessed to have these two. There's days that they drive me crazy, but then there's days like yesterday and last night when Olivia told me as I was getting out of the shower, "Wow Mommy, You're beautiful" that makes all the craziness worth it!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Thrifty Thursday ~ My Canning Adventures

My new obsession... CANNING! I never thought that I would be a "canner", but I really do enjoy/love it! It's kind of like I get in my own little zone and just can away.
These are a few things I've canned so far.. green beans or bean greens as Olivia calls them, peaches, plum jelly, sugar free peach preserves, salsa and tomatoes. I'm wanting to can some pickles, tomato juice and maybe some more jam/jelly.
I have found great canning resources thru the web and one of my favorite sites has been This site is stocked full of anything & everything canning. Definitely check it out if you are interested in canning. You won't be disappointed.
I will say canning sugar free items compared to sugar items is totally different. My dad and my Pap Paw are both diabetics and they both love peaches so I canned some sugar-free peach preserves for them. They didn't quite "jell" like my plum jelly did, but I think they turned out pretty good. 
My plum jelly is one of my favorite things I've made so far. It has a great sweet/tart taste and it's perfect on some warm toast. All in all, my canning adventures so far have been great. This year since I've had to invest in my jars, lids, equipment, garden, etc. Canning has cost me money, but in years to come I will end up saving money and enjoy the "fruits of my labor." I have to say there's nothing more satisfying then knowing you grew something and canned it and ate it. No middle man, No Wal-Mart, just home grown good food. If you haven't tried canning, go ahead, give it a try. I promise you won't be disappointed and it's a lot easier than you may think.

Party Time

Yesterday we celebrated Ben's 31st birthday. He had to work the night before so most of the morning he slept. While he was sleeping Olivia & I made him some Blondie brownies.
They were delicious! Here's a pic of the finished product. (Olivia's pretty obsessed with making her "silly face") lol.
After Ben woke up we had arranged a meeting with, how do I put this, a burial plot advisor. Yes, morbid I know especially on Ben's birthday, but it's something we had talked about for awhile.
After our appointment my parents called and wanted us to go to dinner for Ben's birthday. Olivia was ecstatic! All morning she kept saying we need to have "a party, party hats, presents & cake."
She has a thing for birthdays. My mom must be right on target because she brought party hats & noisemakers (to Olive Garden). Lol!
Olivia loved it! Our friends Austin & Allie joined us.
We had a great time. It was fun having a low key family celebration.
After we went to eat we went up to the lake. The kids love it there.
Unfortunately they act like crazy people because they get off their schedules, miss naps and all. All in all we had a great time.
I'm truly thankful for my little family!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Kids Say the Darndest Things

Olivia has been talking, it seems like, since she was born. I know it hasn't been that long, but she's been talking full sentences pretty much since she was a year old. She says the funniest things and since I try to use this blog as my journal I thought I would write down some of the things she says... here it goes..
  • Today is Ben's birthday and the very first thing she said when she woke up was, "it's Daddy's birthday today" then she said (while counting her fingers), "we need cake, presents, party hats and balloons."
  • "I love ________ so very much" The blank could be me, Ben, Owen, CoCo or Dora.
  • Everyday she says, "I want to go to school, I'm going to go to school. I need a backpack, pencil, paper and I need to see my friends."
  • "Mommy, you're so sunny" (As to say Mommy, you're so funny. She can't pronounce her F's too good right now)
  • "I want a Happy Meal. Chicken Nuggets, fries and a TOY."
  • "It's not Sair" (It's not fair). This drives me INSANE! She usually says it when she gets in trouble. I'm trying to break her from it but it's not working to well. Any ideas?
  • Every night we say our prayers and I'll usually pray first and say Now I lay me down to sleep... then she'll say who she wants to pray for and her list almost always includes, "Addi, baby Asher, Chloe" (her friends from church) and she'll always pray for Ben, Owen and me. It's the sweetest thing.
Owen has also started talking. Not in full sentences, but these are some of the words he says the most other than Momma and Dada.
He says, "Papa (for Poppy, my dad), Papaw (Ben's dad), dog, Coco (our dog), Dora (our dog), chicken, Sissy, No, Yes, church, shoe, car, hi, bye, blankie, bath and the other day before we ate he said "God is great God is good Let us thank Him for our food, amen. It was the sweetest thing. Unlike Olivia whose voice is so deep and grown sounding Owen has this really sweet baby voice. He's pretty funny too. I think both of our kids will be entertainers.
Owen loves going around playing the guitar and singing and Olivia acts like she's playing the drums and sings. They most definitely keep us on our toes, but we wouldn't have it any other way.
Happy Wednesday!

Monday, July 23, 2012

God Supplies All Our Needs

Back in April I wrote a post The Happenings of Our Crazy Life, at that time Ben was still looking for a full-time job. Not too long after that (sorry I can't remember the exact date) Ben got hired on full-time at another local hospital making more money than he's ever made. No we aren't millionaires or anything like that, but it's amazing how God provides. He's working in a sleep lab and there are sometimes that patients call and cancel/reschedule their sleep studies. This just goes along with the job. Last week this happened and I knew from our budget that this month would already be a "tight" month. This happened on Tuesday. Ben received a phone call saying his patient had cancelled their sleep study. When your husband is your only source of income and that's 12 hours of pay gone, you start to worry. It's crazy how the devil just creeps in. Not 20 minutes after Ben received that call, his other job (the prn job) called and asked him if he wanted to come in that someone had called in sick so he could go in and make time and a half for 12 hours! AMAZING!! God is so good! You would think that I would learn not to worry and just leave it to God because He always provides, but being human I don't think I'll ever be able to truly stop worrying, but God is teaching me that if I just depend solely on Him He will provide my EVERY need according to His riches in Glory. I honestly can't tell you how many times things like that have happened these past few months. Ben has been in awe and so have I. God is God and always will be God. He knows our every need before we even ask. I used to think that I was the one in control and I tried to work more or do more and then we would have more, but God is slowly teaching me and Ben that it's not about us at all, but it's all about Him. If we just rely on Him HE will see us through.
This was not even what I planned on blogging about today. I just thought I'd post some pictures of the kids and write about what we've been up to, but it seems God had another plan. If you don't know Him as your personal savior it's never too late to ask Him into your heart. Don't let another day pass without letting Him be in control of your life.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Mexican Chicken Casserole

There's no question, I love Mexican food. I think I could rotate tacos, fajitas, pollo loco, this casserole and other recipes on our weekly menu and be as Phil says, "happy, happy, happy." However, I don't think my husband or kids would feel the same. The other day I posted our weekly meal plan and said I would post this recipe, so here it is. This is one of my most favorite dishes. I love it because it's so quick and easy and so yummy.
Mexican Chicken Casserole
(Photo from:
I forgot to take my own picture, but this is pretty accurate.
2 Cans Chicken or 1 cup cooked chicken, shredded
Flour Tortillas
1 Can Rotel
2 Cans Cream of Chicken Soup
Shredded Cheese, Mexican Blend

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Mix chicken, rotel and cream of chicken soup in a bowl.
3. Shred tortillas and line bottom of 9x13 baking dish
4. Spoon chicken mixture onto tortillas
5. Shred tortillas and top mixture
6. Sprinkle cheese on top of tortillas
7. Bake for 30 minutes.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Mother's Day Weekend

Our weekend started off at the lake. We went up to my parent's trailer and the kids had a blast.
Olivia's favorite thing to do is "dig" and "throw rocks in the water." They had a time let me tell you.
I guess she got a little tired and needed a break. lol.
(Sorry for the blurry picture)
Owen has a slight obsession with putting on my parent's reading glasses and wearing them. He's just so cute with them on though. And because she's such a ham....

Our lake trip was ended short because we had things to do around the house Saturday, so we came home Saturday morning. Saturday evening was the highlight of my Mother's Day weekend. Ben kept Owen and my mom, Olivia and I all went shopping. Olivia was a little trooper. I can't explain how much I enjoy spending time with my mom and my daughter. It's something that I'm forever grateful for. We had a big time. For some reason or another I didn't get a picture of all three of us, but here's Olivia while we were eating.
She shopped until she dropped.
Then Sunday we went to church. I came home with a load of stuff. My mom had got a candle for me (from the kids) and then I got roses (from the kid's in children's church) and then I had made some homemade sugar scrub for all the mommas so I got that too. Ben gave me a card and the day off. ;) I did, however, make Potato Soup (his favorite), but other than that I got to enjoy a day of "coupon shopping" (as I like to call it) all by myself. To some I'm sure that sound awful, but I love it and I find it fun so I really enjoyed it. Then Sunday night we went over to my Grandparent's house and ate dinner with them. However, our time there was cut short because Owen developed a terrible rash on the outside of his diaper on his legs. He was screaming and in pain, so we came home and doctored him up. I guess that's what Mommas are for though, to be there and take care our their kids when they need us.
All in all I had a great Mother's Day weekend. I'm very blessed with my own two kids who call me mom, but then I'm blessed with an amazing woman who I call Mom. My mom truly is my best friend. She's cheers for me when I'm happy and she picks me up when I'm sad. She encompasses everything a Godly woman should. She's probably spent more time on her knees in prayer for me then I'll ever know, but I'm so grateful and so blessed with such an amazing Godly mother and also a great Godly Mother-in-Law. I love them both.
Happy Mother's Day!

Weekly Meal Plan ~ 5/14/12 -- 5/20/12

This week is all about keeping my groceries under budget and I did just that! I allot $75 per week for our groceries and this week I spent $63.27! This is for an entire week of groceries!! If you haven't started meal planning yet, give it a try. It's amazing how much money you will save. I used to spend anywhere from $100-150 a WEEK in groceries and now I've cut that by half!
Here is my meal plan for this week:
Monday: Baked Ziti, Salad, Garlic Bread
Tuesday: Spicy Tomato Soup & Grilled Cheese (Sometimes I add the beans and pasta in this soup and sometimes I don't. It's good either way)
Wednesday: Grilled Chicken, Baked Potato & Sauteed Squash & Zucchini from the garden
Thursday: Mexican Chicken Casserole (I'll try to post this recipe later this week. So easy & so good)
Friday: Sloppy Joes
Saturday: Chow Mein (I'll also post this recipe later this week. It's also very easy & budget friendly)
Sunday: Roast, Pinto Beans & Cornbread (I cook my roast & my beans in my crock-pots. This is also a very easy meal to throw together. I love crock-pot meals on Sundays because I can put them on before church and come home to dinner).

I didn't post breakfast & lunch this week because we hardly ever follow "the plan." But here's what we rotate and eat:
Breakfast: Oatmeal & Toast, Pancakes, Biscuit & Gravy, Toast & Scrambled Egg, Bacon Biscuit, Muffins, Cinnamon Rolls & Fruit.
Lunch: Mac & Cheese, Soup, Fish Sticks, Chicken Nuggets, Hot dogs, Left overs, PB&J.
Snacks: Fruit, Gold Fish, Smoothies, Cereal.

Here's my grocery list:
Spaghetti Sauce, Chicken Breasts (I buy the bagged frozen chicken breasts at Wal-Mart, $6.98. Depending on how much chicken we eat during the week it will usually last for about a week and a half), Chuck Roast, Potatoes, Carrots, Hot dogs, Sweet potatoes, Manwich, Italian Sausage, Cheese, Garlic cloves, Bacon, Apple Juice, Milk 2% & Whole, Sour Cream, Sugar, Drinks (I have to have my caffeine especially in the mornings & this week I bought four 2 liters for $2.00 at Wal-greens using coupons), Orange Juice & Popcorn. Everything else such as the Garlic Bread, pasta, beans, etc. I already had on hand so I didn't have to buy those.
This week I shopped at Save A Lot, Wal-Mart & Walgreen's. I know everyone doesn't have time to go to all three places so this isn't the most practical idea, but when I go grocery shopping & as I call it "coupon shopping," I don't take the kids with me so it's kind of like my free time. I like to go and see how much stuff I can get for pennies on the dollar. lol. So even if you can't or won't go to three different stores, you can still save a ton of money just by planning out your meals. I hope you give it a try.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Thirfty Thursday ~ Banana Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

I usually post DIY products on Thursdays, but today is an exception. I'm still being thrifty, but I'm cooking instead of making up some concoction like laundry detergent. I had some bananas that were ripe and needed to be used or pitched. Since I didn't want to throw something away that I spent money on this recipe was born.
The Best Cupcake EVER... Banana Cupcakes ... You will want to make these.
2-3 Ripe Bananas, 1 cup All Purpose Flour, 1/8 tsp. Salt, 1/4 tsp. Baking Powder, 1/4 tsp. Baking Soda, 2 large eggs, 1/2 cup Sugar, 1 Stick Softened Unsalted Butter, 1 tsp. Vanilla, 1/4 cup Sour Cream.
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line 12 muffin tins with cupcake liners.
2. In a small bowl. Smash & Mix bananas. Set aside.
2. Mix Flour, Salt, Baking Powder and Baking Soda together in a bowl and set aside.
3. Cream Butter and Sugar together. Add Sour cream and vanilla. Mix together. 
4. Add in eggs. Mix together. Slowly add in dry ingredients. Mix.
5. Add in Smashed Bananas. Mix together.
6. Pour batter into cupcakes liners and bake for 20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
4 Tablespoons of Whipping Cream, 1 Stick softened Butter, 2 Cups powdered Sugar, 1/4 cup Cocoa Powder, 1 tsp. Vanilla.
1. In a bowl cream butter.
2. Add powdered Sugar and Cocoa Powder, mix on low.
3. When mixture is combined, add vanilla and whipping cream. Mix together.
If mixture is too thick add a little more whipping cream. If it's too thin add a little more powdered sugar until you get your desired consistency.
Here's the finished product with a couple bites taken out of it. ;-)
They are so good. I honestly think it's the best cupcake I've ever made. They're very moist and the frosting with the banana is just delish! So, if you've got ripe bananas laying around you can make some really good cupcakes! 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Coupon Extravaganza!

I recently got back into couponing and I couldn’t be happier. I know I posted yesterday about my grocery budget only being $75.00 per week, but on top of that I also budget $20 a week for couponing. This covers my weekly papers ($4.00) and gives me money left over to purchase items that happen to go on sale. I used to have a pretty decent size stock-pile and now it's dwindled away, so this $20 (well $16 after paper costs) lets me stock my stock-pile. I also try to budget $10 a week for diapers. So with that being said, I went to CVS today and here’s the break-down.
Transaction 1. Two Packages of Huggies Little Mover Diapers ($10.00/pkg.), One package of Huggies 148 ct. wipes ($6.00/pkg.). I had $1.50 ECB (Extra Care Bucks) left over from a previous transaction and then I used a $2.00 off diaper coupon and a $1.00 off wipes coupon. The total for this transaction was $22.97. I received $10 in ECBs.
Transaction 2. Three Boxes of Cereal. Lucky Charms, Cinnamon Toast Crunch & Cookie Crisp and one roll of Bounty Paper Towels. The cereal was buy 3 boxes for $9.00 and receive $4.00 ECB. I used a $1.00/3 boxes of cereal and I used a $0.25/1 roll of paper towels. I paid with my $10 ECBs. My total OOP (out of pocket) was $0.58.
Transaction 3. Children’s Allegra $9.99. I used a $2.00 off coupon and I used my $4.00 ECBs from transaction two. My total OOP was $4.59 and I received $4.99 in ECBs.
Transaction 4. One gallon of milk ($2.99) and 5 cans of Campbell’s Chicken Noodle Soup (0.69/can). I used a $1.00/5 cans of soup and then I used my $4.99 in ECBs. My total OOP was $0.45.
(Here's a pic of everything I bought)
My TOTAL OOP was: $28.59 for a total savings of $67.82! A 70% savings!!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Weekly Meal Plan ~ 5/7-5/13

It's the start of another week and while I usually make my meal plans out from Saturday-Saturday this weekend we were way too busy, so my meal plan for this week is Monday thru Sunday. My goal is to only spend $75 a week to feed our little family of four- this includes breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. This is my first week to lower our budget to $75. Before I was trying to keep our grocery budget below $100 per week. I did pretty good considering it was my first week with our new budget. I spent $80.24. So I was a few dollars over budget, but all in all I'm pretty happy to keep our cost that low. Like I said it's for an entire week and it includes all of our meals. It even includes STEAK! :-) 
Last week there was a couple of times we ended up eating over at my parents house, so the meals that I had planned last week I just moved over to this week. (I hope this makes sense).
Meal Plan ~ 5-7-12 -- 5/13/12:
Monday: B: biscuit and gravy L: Grilled Cheese D: Cracker Barrell Chicken Tenders, Sauteed Veggies, Baked Potatoes & Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cake with Chocolate-Peanut Butter Ganache
Tuesday: B: Cinnamon Rolls L: Chicken Nuggs (as Olivia calls them) D: Tacos with all the fixins'
Wednesday: B: Toast & Scrambled Egg L: Mac & Cheese D: Grilled Pork Chops, Grilled Cabbage & Crescent Rolls
Thursday: B: Pancakes L: Ham Sandwich D: Orange Chicken Skillet
Friday: B: Oatmeal L: Fish Sticks D: Spaghetti, Salad & Garlic Bread
Saturday: B: Muffins L: Soup D: Steak Kabobs, Sauteed squash & Baked Potato
Sunday: B: Eggo L: Crock Pot Potato Soup  & Strawberry Lemon BarsD: Left overs
For the kids snacks I rotate fruit, smoothies, yogurt, granola bars, cookies, crackers, cheerios. I don't know about you, but my kids are bottomless pits! I believe they could eat all day everyday.

I've had a couple people ask me how to get started meal planning... 
First, there's no right or way to meal plan. Some just plan out dinner. Some only plan during the week and then leave the weekend open to eating out. You can do it however you want, but this is how I make out our meal plans.
Initially when I started meal planning I made out a list that includes our most favorite recipes. Then I went through my cookbooks and looked on Pinterest and other websites and wrote down several more recipes. You will want to have a decent list to start with that way your not eating the same thing every week. Now on Saturdays (usually), I get out my list and start making out my plan. Sometimes it comes easier than others. After I decide what we're going to eat for that coming week, I make out my grocery list. Afterwards I look through my pantry and mark out what I already have on hand. (This also helps keep our grocery budget down). Then I go grocery shopping. It takes some time and a little planning, but it's saved us a ton of money! It's not only saved us from eating out all the time which can get very expensive, but it's also kept me from buying random junk at the store. Like I said, I'm hoping to keep our grocery budget to $75 per week. I think that's pretty reasonable for feeding a family of four for only $300 per month.


We have been busy little bees around here. This weekend is a complete blur to me. The past couple of weeks we've been gearing up for our church yard sale and Saturday was the big day. It went really well! We still have lots of stuff to sale, but we sold a ton of stuff too. Just from that alone, I'm exhausted!
I think the kids are a little worn out from it too. lol! Owen has recently fell in love with Olivia's Olivia chair. He always wants to sit in it. I'm going to have to find him a Cars chair.
Other than the yard sale, it was business as usual around here. Olivia running around keeping us entertained. :-) She's really getting a little personality. She's so much fun to be around. She's always making us laugh. This is her scary/silly face.
Friday while we were running around getting stuff ready for the yard sale we had to make a trip to Burger King. I thought Owen looked adorable with his little crown on. They both liked playing in the play area. Olivia actually climbed up to the top which I couldn't believe.
We had a fun, but busy weekend. We're looking forward to some rest and relaxation this week. I hope you had a great weekend too!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Thirty Thursday ~ DIY Fabric Softener

I found this DIY recipe here. It was a starting point for me, but I tweaked it a bit because it seemed to work a little better. You will first need: 
6 Cups of Hot Water, 1&1/2 cups White Vinegar & 1 bottle Suave Conditioner (your favorite scent). I used Lavendar.
Pour your hot water and bottle of conditioner into a small pot. Bring to a boil and stir until competely dissolved. On The Frugal Girls site they just mixed everything together until it dissolved, but I found that if you boil your water and conditioner together first it mixes better.
Stir in your vinegar. Mix well.
Pour into empty fabric softener bottle or milk jug or whatever you have on hand. Use 2 tablespoons per load during rinse cycle or pour into your downey ball and throw in the machine. I've been using this fabric softener for a few weeks now and I really like it. Plus it's so easy to make and so much cheaper then buying it in the store. I think the conditioner cost $0.98 and I had the vinegar and water on hand. So for an average price I'd say maybe $1.50-2.00!! You can't beat that for fabric softener. Let me know if you give it a try.
Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Party Chicken

It's no secret that I'm addicted to Pinterest!! I LOVE IT!! At night when Ben and I are watching TV, I'm usually half watching and pinning things at the same time. Who said I can't multi-task? lol! One of my favorite things on Pinterest is all the recipes! I blogged about our meal planning here and I said I would post the recipe to the "Party Chicken" so here it goes.
Unfortunately the pin that I pinned (crazy verbiage) did not link me to the actual site (I hope that makes sense). So here's my version of Party Chicken:
Chicken Breast, cut into tenders or pre-cut Chicken Tenders (not breaded)
1 can Cream of Chicken
1 cup Sour Cream
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Wrap Chicken tenders with bacon. If the chicken tenders are small cut the bacon in half and wrap it around the chicken
3. Place bacon wrapped chicken in a 9x13 dish
4. Mix sour cream and cream of chicken in a bowl
5. Pour over chicken
6. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until chicken is done
7. Enjoy
(I forgot to take a picture of the chicken until I had almost ate it all, but here it is along with a biscuit and fried okra. Delish.)
The chicken is so good. It's tender and with the bacon... YUMMY!! It's probably one of my favorite meals that I've pinned. We will definitely be adding it to our favorite recipes and meal plan.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

It's Potty Time!

Potty training has officially started around our house and I couldn't be more excited. It may just be me, but do you have those times when you start to doubt yourself as a parent? When it came to potty training that's how I felt. As soon as Olivia turned two people were telling me, "it's time for her to start using the potty." So since these were seasoned parents that were telling me this, I tried to start getting Olivia to use the potty. It was AWFUL!!! She would scream and cry every time I set her on the potty. We bought all the fun potty chairs, the one that sings, the one that has the comfy seat, one that goes on the toilet. Everything that we tried she hated! Too stressed and ready to throw in the towel, I started reading online about how your not supposed to push your child. They will give you cues letting you know when their ready to go to the potty. So, it's been almost six months since Olivia turned two and just over the weekend she started showing interest in the potty!! YAY!!! Yesterday was her first day to pee in the potty. I was so excited! Someone posted on my Facebook page, "it's the small things." That's so true. Olivia peeing in the potty wasn't just that she was peeing in the potty, but to me, it confirmed that I'm not an ill fit parent and that with enough guidance and prayer, we'll get through this too. :) Obviously I don't have all the answers. I'm usually the one with all the questions, but here's what's worked for us so far.
She loves her Dora potty seat. It goes on the regular toilet. I figured she'd rather use her singing potty chair, but nope, she likes this one the best.
It's all about the "praise" around here and this chart does just that. I found this potty chart idea and made it my own. I love the free printables that they have, but I didn't have any foam board around the house, so I just pieced card stock paper together and went from there. I love the way it turned out and it's been a huge hit! I take Olivia to the potty every 15 minutes. (I'm hoping to add 5 minutes more a day or every two days so tomorrow it will be every 20 minutes. Yesterday it was every 10 minutes). When she "gives it a try" she gets to put a pair of panties on her chart. When she pees in the potty she gets to put a pair of panties on the chart and so on.
I also have a bag of goodies. (Mainly items for the dollar store). When she pees in the potty she gets to pick an item from the goodie bag. If she has an accident in her panties then she has to give me her item back and then when she pees in the potty again she gets her toy back and so on. So far this has worked great too. I don't plan on giving her "treats" forever, but probably for the first week she will get a prize. I'm so proud of her. :)
Here's the end result. Pure bliss. She's been so proud of herself too. When she gets done she will jump up and down and clap and say, "I did it, I did it." It's so sweet! Life with toddlers is definitely about the small things. If you're in the midst of potty training and it's not working, take a break. Who cares what everyone says. That's what we did and now she's done it in her own time and she's so excited about it. If you've had luck with potty training what did you do that made potty training such a success? I'd love to hear about it.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Weekly Meal Plan (4/30-5/6)

We've been meal planning for awhile, but since I'm at home all the time now I've recently started planning for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner... every week. I love planning out our meals. It's great to have a home cooked meal every night and it's been great for our budget. (Dave Ramsey would be proud)! I'm going to try to start posting our weekly meal plans along with my grocery costs and recipes... let's hope I can stick to it.
This week (April 30th - May 6th):
Monday: Breakfast: Biscuit & Gravy, Lunch: ABCs, 123s, Dinner: BLTs
Tuesday: Breakfast: Eggo & Fruit, Lunch: Chicken nuggets & smoothies, Dinner: Party Chicken & Okra
Wednesday: Breakfast: Banana Muffins, Lunch: Mac & Cheese & fruit, Dinner: Pizza Casserole
Thursday: Breakfast: Toast & Scrambled Egg, Lunch: Ham & Cheese Sandwich, Dinner: Southwest Chicken Skillet
Friday: Breakfast: Oatmeal & Toast, Lunch: Fish Sticks & Fruit, Dinner: Grilled Pork Chops & Grilled Cabbage
Saturday: Breakfast: Pancakes & Fruit, Lunch: Church Yard Sale (having food there), Dinner: Chili Dogs, Ben's choice ;)
Sunday: Breakfast: French Toast Casserole, Lunch: Slow Cooker Chicken & Rice (I use my slow cooker at least once a week, usually on Sundays), Dinner: Left-overs. 
(I will try to post the recipe for the party chicken tomorrow. This will be our first time to have it, but it sounds amazing!)

I am getting back into my couponing kick, but this week I didn't use any coupons and I went to Save-A-Lot and spent $60.69. I've also been going to Save-A-Lot for awhile and while they don't carry everything that I like to use, they usually do have a really good selection of meats. I pretty much hate all things Wal-Mart, but those of you who also live in Mayberry it's really the only other place to shop. Thankfully I only had to go to Save-A-Lot this week. I've also started using this grocery list. I love it because it has absolutely everything on it. If you also meal plan, I'd love to hear what recipes you use or how you plan out all your meals. I've found a couple blogs of moms who meal plan by the month! Yes, you read that right, by the month! I don't think I could ever do that, but I definitely admire their efforts. If you don't meal plan, give it a try. We really love it. It's nice to know what we're eating and it's really nice to have a plan when you go to the grocery store instead of just buying random stuff. I hope this gives you a jumping off point.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

No Boil Laundry Detergent

So last week I did a post on DIY laundry detergent. Since then I've used my detergent, which I like, but I don't love. When you boil the soap and actually use your product, it's really thick. I usually have to add a little bit of extra water and then it pours out and it's clumpy... it gets my clothes clean, but it's just not my most favorite thing. So when I posted my recipe on Facebook I had a friend comment that she doesn't boil her soap, she just mixes up the ingredients and uses it as powder. I don't know why I didn't just think of that. lol. She also said she uses any kind of bar soap. As long as it doesn't say "Beauty Bar" on the label, you can use it. You want the label to read "Bar Soap." So today, here is my new and revised DIY Laundry Detergent and I'm in love with it!
As The Pioneer Woman would say, here's the cast of characters: Washing Soda, Borax and this time (instead of Fels-Naptha soap) I used Softsoap Honeysuckle and Orange bar soap. It smells soooo good.
1. Grate your soap.
2. Measure and pour 1 cup each of Borax and Washing Soda, add to your grated soap.
3. Mix together.
4. Store in air tight container. Use 1-2 tablespoons per load.

I've washed a few loads with my new detergent and I love it. I love the way it smells and I love that it's not all clumpy and gross and it only takes about ten minutes to make up. It's so easy. I hope you try it.