Thursday, January 9, 2014

How I save on my food bill.

We do mostly whole foods eating here. So couponing isn't an option, I mean when was the last time you saw, save a $1.00 on two pounds of apples?  It's unheard of.

I have found out how to get the most bang for my buck here in my area.

With the rising cost of food and having  to feed a family of 8, whole food nutrition. My food bill can easily sky rocket if I'm not careful.

So here's what I do to save. We bought a 1/2 of cow. Big investment, but my freezer is full of meat and I won't have to buy any meat for several months. I should add this is organic, grass-fed, delicious meat!!!

I'm also looking into getting chickens this way too, but haven't found a vendor yet.

Once a month I travel to a neighboring state and buy my raw milk, grass fed eggs. I will also make several stops while out there and pick up things like a 50lb bag of organic sugar for $37.00. 5 lbs. of Raw Cheese, $20.00. And bulk oatmeal, beans, pasta, etc.

For my weekly shopping I utilize Costco and my grocery stores. Costco is usually the cheapest as far as fresh fruit goes, (although not organic) .. I buy the frozen organic veggies from there. And Frozen organic Fruit for smoothies. Half and Half, butter, yeast and quiona.

At local stores, I only shop there clearance. When I'm out running errands I will stop or lucky for me my 19 year old daughter will stop and we ONLY buy what is one clearance. We have super keen eyes for the tags.

I can get organic chicken for 1/2 price. Stonyfield yogurt for 75 % off. Greek yogurt for 75% off.  I'm talking I will pay $1.25 for something that would be $4.99 regular price. 

My latest deal:

fresh sweet and hot Italian sausage 12 oz. packages for $1.25 per pack!!!

One of best investment we ever made was on a huge industrial freezer. I bought it at a yard sale several years ago for $150.00.

If you watch dates you'll know when to head to your grocery, for the discounts.

Shopping this way has help keep out food down to a good reasonable budget.

I do a TON of homemade EVERYTHING.. granola, pancakes, bread, etc.

We don't do much processed at all.

One of the biggest complaints with people making the switch from processed foods to whole foods is the cost. You CAN'T buy both.
So my suggestion is to switch over slowly. Start with getting bread out of the house.  then move to introducing whole food snacks to the kids. Slowly begin cooking meals from scratch, say twice a week, then advance from there.

If you try to switch to quickly this will only cause failure in the process.

The goal is that you successful transition from processed foods to whole foods. I promise you can do this on a budget, and effectively feed you family excellent nutrition.


Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Importance of Date Night

   Date Night is such a cache term. For most people date night is just that, a night out with the boyfriend or husband.

When we had our first child we did not do date night! She went everywhere with us. We felt it was necessary. We had our fun, now it was time to focus on raising a family.

We were young and foolish still.

As we added to our brood, we realized a date night would be great.. but good luck getting someone to babysit 3-4-5 kids at a time!!

SO when our kids were little we took "date night" and adapted it to our life.

Sometimes "date night" was waking up early, Big Daddy and I get a cup of coffee  and go to a quiet place usually outside if the weather was nice or in a quiet room in the house. We would talk, and talk and connect.

Sometimes, when the kids were younger we'd put them to bed, and hubby would go out to a restaurant that had curbside service, he'd bring home and meal and we'd sit in our home-- connecting.

Other times, kids got a separate meal, hit the sack a little early and hubs and I would have a "special meal".

Now that I have older children who can baby sit, we do try and go out.
We use to shoot for once every few months.

But hubby has a new time demanding job, so we now shoot for once a week. 
This isn't usually a fancy dinner meal. It's a hop in the truck, lets go get coffee, an ice cream, or just go sit at the inlet for a little bit.
It's really about connecting when it's just him and I.

Date night really isn't about where you go.. but more about How are you connecting with you husband?

Are you talking to each other about each other? Are you still flirting with him??

We've had many successful date nights just walking around the Home Depot!!!

I always want my husband to feel that he can connect with me. He was the one who actually requested the once a week date night. He misses me while he's at work. And I miss him as well.

He is super busy at his job and there is very little contact during the day, he works a minimum of 12 hours and day sometimes more. 

It's a big change for us.

The point is make "date night" work for you.
As your raising children, your season of life will vary. Each season should be appreciated for what it is. Don't think I miss those going out every night, you will be able to again. It will creep up on you quicker then you can imagine.

Make your date night you own. Weather your home, OR you get fancied up and head out for a night on the town. The idea is to put time, energy and effort into your spouse. They will love you for it!!


Thursday, January 2, 2014

Christmas Eve and New Years..

Every year we host an Open House on Christmas Eve. Christmas is my absolute favorite holiday to celebrate!
However with Christmas coming so quickly after Thanksgiving, it felt very rushed.

This year, our Christmas Eve Open House was a bit different. I lost one of my closest friends to a move far away.

On the positive side, this is the first year in my entire life that I was able to celebrate Christmas with my biological father. That has never happened.

I can remember as a child wishing/praying for him to come to Christmas. After about 10, I think I gave up on it.

My dad found the Lord several years ago, and we have been able to rekindle a relationship.  What a blessing.. What a testimony to God's timing.  What a testimony to unanswered prayers, at that time in my life.
God had a bigger, better plan.

Reminds me of this:
 sometimes i thank god for unanswered prayers
remember when you're talkin' to the man upstairs
that just because he doesn't answer doesn't mean he don't care

some of god's greatest gifts are unanswered prayers(thanks Garth Brooks)
For my dad, it was his first Christmas home in over 30 years. That's a big deal! God does awesome things when we allow him to work in us. For that I am so grateful!
I wanted my dad's first Christmas home to be so special.  Unfortunately we had a minor cooking issue, which put my hubby in a fowl mood. And it was tense to say the least, but it all worked out for the best. We just ate a bit later then we hoped for. 

We normally head down to Washington's Crossing to watch Washington Cross the Delaware . But it was just too cold to go. 

On New Year's Eve, My hubby got spontaneous and said Let's go to Pennsylvania, for the night. Our camper is located there! I said, Let's do it!!
SO we loaded up and went out for the night. We found a local bowling ally out there and did a pizza and 3 hours of bowling fun to ring in the New Year! :)
My dad came and hung out with us for a bit. He missed the 9 strikes in a row my son got!!  While we went back to toaster warm camper, he went home.
Another first~ January 1st.  We had breakfast with my dad on his birthday. I've never celebrated a birthday with him! We went to Yoder's Buffet and ate really well!!!
I get the feeling that 2014 is going to be a year of firsts. I almost feel as if I have to pace myself!
Great is thy faithfulness, Morning by Morning new mercies I see. All I have needed thy hand hath provided. Great is thy faithfulness, Lord unto me.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Prepared for bad weather?

For the New Year, we decided we would head out to our most favorite place to be. Our camper in Lancaster Pennsylvania.
We  did a bowling party with the kids to bring in the New Year, spent the night in our toasty warm camper, went to an awesome breakfast buffet at Yoder's, ate like little piglets, picked up some delicious raw milk, walked the creek and then headed home.
 You see, we are preparing for a storm here.
I'm prepared as far as food goes. But we had to prepare the house and Big Daddy.
We only heat our home with firewood. That means a lot of it  had to be brought in.  We had two kids working on that. They are saying this will be the coldest our state has seen in several years.

While I make sure the house is well stocked with food,  And I get out those snow suits, hats, gloves, the drying rack, boots, sleds, thermos' .. etc. etc.

Big Daddy is preparing the truck. In the winter, along with his regular job he plows snow. So while this mama is snuggled up cozy with the kiddos. He is out plowing. Making sure roads are accessible.

This could mean up to 18 hours or more of plowing. Just depends on the amount of snow we get.

As long as Big Daddy is home when he gets called in we make sure to send him with a thermos of coffee, snacks and food.

While we miss him, This is his way of bringing in an extra income to our family. I am thankful for his willing spirit to do this for us. In fact, this is how we bought our house. It was a snowy, snowy winter 13 years ago and we were able to put $12,000. away and use it as our down payment.

So how do you prepare for bad weather?

This is what we normally do: We make sure cars are full of gas, the yard is picked up, sidewalks are able to be shoveled, bikes, toys, are put away. Firewood is neatly stacked and tarped. Cars are cleaned out, and then any emergency items are put in them. Blankets in winter, extra clothes (all year around), water, candle in winter, flares.. etc. etc.

We check out food supply and  if we need anything I usually try and get it a few days before the storm hits.

I do keep emergency things on hand though to limit the amount of last minute running I may have to do. 

It's so important to be prepared.  I so often think back on woman in history and realize how fortunate we are.

I mean no weather channel to give you a heads up.

These woman must have constantly been busy making sure that the household would thrive in a bad bout of weather.

I'd like to adapt that to myself. I know that it's super easy for me to hop in the car, run to the store. But why not be prepared for such things. Like the proverbs 31 woman.

Her household did not fear. What a blessing that must have been! Her husband, Her children, even her servants were able to trust in her. They knew they wouldn't do without.  

I'm striving to be more "on top" of things this year.  More realistic with the time it takes to do that. Things don't happen as quickly as you'd like them too when you've got six blessings and a husband who works 60 hours a week.

(confession: I sometimes wait to long to do things and then rush around all crabby like)

I'm trying to reduce the above. (work in progress my friends)

With that said, I hope to encourage you along with myself.

So Mama's if your husband plows, or is an essential emergency personal.. How do you cope? What are things you do to be prepared for their schedules? What do you do with your kids? How do you prepare for Daddy's return?  

When Big Daddy returns from his plow jobs, we make sure there is a hot meal ready for him. The little girls and I will pull out his jammies, start running a towel in the dryer so it's warm for his after his shower, and then usually we make sure it's quite. Cause Big Daddy wants to sleep. :)

While Big Daddy is away my older sons do all the manly things around the house! I am so thankful for them as well, and a Daddy who had trained them up to be MEN!

Keep Sweet! Smile!


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