Monday, April 30, 2012

Menu Plan Monday heading into May

Menu Plan Monday
It is a little later than I usually post our menu plan, but I had the boys help me with the plan this week.
Our goal is to not go grocery shopping this week and use what we have as part of a challenge I am participating in Live Below the Line the premise is to live below the poverty line and eat on only $1.50 a day. Since I have 2 growing boys and a husband that works hard I put a spin on it and decided I would attempt to not grocery shop this week. Of course today we took our pop cans to Winco, I did not have any money with me so we could only spend what we had in bottle returns ($4.10) I purchased 1 package of Turkey hotdogs, 1 package of buns, and 2 Arizona juice cans for the boys, I ended up getting $.29 back. With that in mind our menu is a little weird this week.

Monday: Chili cheese fries  (I am baking french fries and topping with chili and what is left of the block of cheese (about 1/2 cup))  I usually fix chili mac but decided to mix it up a little.

Tuesday: Meatballs in cream sauce. What is left of a bag of Meatballs for our Costco trip 2 months ago in cream sauce (Cream of Mushroom Soup can, 1/2 cup milk, 1 cup of Cream Cheese)

Wednesday: Chef Salad (I bought bagged salad last week on our grocery trip and saved 1 especially for this week. the bag of salad only cost $.99)  I have hard boiled eggs, turkey pepperoni pieces, canned garbanzo beans, and homemade pickled veggies to add to the salad. All are on hand.

Thursday: Hamburgers. I have pre-made hamburger patties in the freezer from our Zaycon order earlier in the year. I am also using buns we got from the local bread giveaway.

Friday: Chicken and Vegetable stew. I am using up frozen vegetables and frozen chicken from last year's Gleaner's as well as our last round of chicken from Zaycon.

Lunches will be simple this week as well.
Monday: leftovers
Tuesday Tomato Soup
Wednesday: Beef wraps (cream cheese, salad, and beef lunch meat)
Thursday: Lentil soup with Turkey Bacon
Friday: Bagel Dos (I picked these up at our local Grocery Outlet for 4/ $1.00 so even if Mike wants 2 it is still a cheap lunch)

Thursday, April 26, 2012

R is for Rafflecopter win a MomPact assortment

I love Rafflecopter giveaways they are so easy to enter.
So here is one for you to enter featuring Fashion and Function solutions including the On the Cuff  I reviewed earlier this week sponsored by the Mom Inventors of MomPact
ON THE CUFF stops water from running down your arms. 
  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, April 23, 2012

Menu Plan Monday April 23rd

This week I'm in a use it up mood so they menu is going to get a little funky...
Monday:  The guys get Chili Mac and Mommy is have vegan zucchini hazelnut patties with Marinara Sauce (if it turns out I'll share the recipe)

Tuesday:  Fish and Chips (Gordon's Beer Batter Fish and homemade chips)

Wednesday: Beef Stew (crock pot style as we have co-op on Wednesday)

Thursday:  Chicken Casserole with Peas

Friday:  Horseradish Hamburgers on the BBQ

Saturday: Turkey (most likely I will roast it, unless the weather is hot then I will BBQ it...)

What's for dinner this week at your house?

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Scripture Sunday April 22nd thoughts

scripture sunday

This week’s lesson had so many great verses that really spoke to me.  There seemed to be a message within the lesson that I really needed to hear this week. 

He is our light through the darkness!

John12:46  I am come a light into the world , that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness.

Jesus  came to fullfil the prophecies and enlighten the world with the knowledge of God’s love through his ultimate sacrifice. What a beautiful thing.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Mommy’s need time, but don’t always have it #MomPact

As a homeschool Mom of 2 boys, I don’t have a lot of time to spend  taking care of me. I get my shower in the morning if  I get to it, otherwise it ends up being a late evening thing.  I don’t always have time to do a whole facial regiment, and I don’t have time for the mess that usually goes along with a full facial regiment.  Thankfully though, I found something that helps the mess, which in turn means I  don’t have to spend time cleaning up after.   On the Cuff, is an simple fix to the problem of  water running down my arms when I wash my face at the sink. on the Cuff 004 Before ON THE CUFF, I would end up with soaked sleeves which meant changing my clothes before I could head out of the bathroom (I usually wash my face at the  bathroom sink if I have time after shower, but before school starts).
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on the Cuff 005
I love how something so simple can help this Mom save a mess and a little time whether it is while washing my face or cleaning the sinks,  ON THE CUFF can save a mess.  ON THE CUFF is  made in the USA of a unique stretchy sponge material that can be dried and used over and over again.
Check out  On the Cuff on Facebook ON THE CUFF is available in a 1 pair pack, packaged in a reusable mesh bag for $7.99   The 4 pair pack with 1 free drying stand included for $24.99  Drying stands sold individually for $5.99

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I try and keep the whole process simple so I was happy to find the  Simple line,  I can wipe the make up off my face  if I happen to wear any that day, then a quick scrub, and a light moisturizer.  I don’t have time for much else.

I am always looking for solutions to making life a little easier whenever possible so I can enjoy the simple things in life,like watching the sunset here in Unionvale
on the Cuff 017

***this post is part of a giveaway sponsored by MomPact, I received On the Cuff as part of my consultant/affiliate kit, no monetary compensation received for this post and all opinions are that of this writer.****
Cariann Signature

L is for love #atozchallenge

Love is everything.
I know it sounds cliché’  but love really is a huge  part of everything.  For me, it is a matter of faith, but also a selfish love. I had to come to the point that I could love myself through  the love of God before I could really love those around me. 
I am reminded often that God is Love and because of that pure love, I am able to Love him with all my heart, mind,and soul; but I am also able to love my neighbor as myself. That was the hardest part for me in all honesty, how could I love my neighbor as myself when I didn’t love myself.  Through a lot of prayer and listening for the still small voice and angel thoughts I could finally see that when I truly opened myself up to the Love of God I could finally love myself and share that Love (Divine Love) with those around me.Cariann Signature

O is for opportunities #atozchallenge#blogboost

Blogging has given me opportunities I could not have even dreamed of 10 years ago.

I'm a writer at heart, I've been writing for as long as I can remember. I was that kid in school that thrived when we had to write in a journal daily, I loved stories and poetry, I could dive into a novel and have it read  in a weekend. I thrived on the thrill of seeing my words printed on a white page, the thrill of producing my first one act play in high school, and the adrenaline rush having a group discuss your latest story idea, and finally the comments on my writing blog as I tried my hand at the annual event NaNoWri.
Now my blog has opened new opportunities to share awesome products, opinions, recipes, crafts, and whatever else  a Mom in small town America finds interesting. DaGa Dar Mommy Party This was just one of the fun Mommy Parties we got to do because of the blog. This one was from Mom Select and was a fun Da Ga Dar  party in  a box that my boys and my nephews loved.
And another fun night again from Mom Select was had when we hosted a Cars2 Oral B party, we watched Cars2 2 and learned about tooth care with awesome goodies from Oral B and Crest

I love that I get to meet new amazing people online and on occasion  I get to meet themIMG_20111007_184150 in real life too… Life in the country can get lonely unless you drive into society everyday and since I’m still recovering my shoulder and can’t drive yet, I don’t get much real life Mommy interaction so I am very Thankful for the amazing people I have met online.  Because of my blogging I was able to attend Women of Faith in Portland last fall and got to hang out with some amazing ladies under these awesome lights and hear amazing real stories to inspire our hearts.
I am blessed because of this blog and all the wonderful opportunities I have received because I love to share.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Menu planning Monday

We went grocery shopping this weekend and it inspired me for the coming week's menu.

Monday: Chili Mac for the boys, spinach and sausage over macaroni for Mommy

Tuesday: chicken fried steak and roasted potatoes with garlic green beans

Wednesday: Beef stew or Beef and broccoli in the crockpot

Thursday: Chicken and rice with peas

Friday: chef salad

Whats on your menu for the week?

Sunday, April 15, 2012

J is for Jesus my redeemer and friend #atozchallenge

There have been days lately that have been really hard and one thing always keeps me grounded and free to recover, the knowledge that Jesus Christ is my redeemer and my best friend have given me the strength that I need to carry through the darkness and stay focused on my boys and daily living. 
I'm am so grateful that I can share my faith weekly with my blog through our Scripture Sunday posts,it has given me strength knowing that  I can do all things that glorify God through Christ.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Scripture Sunday: Atonement

scripture sunday

This week has been a struggle for me on a lot of levels, but thankfully this verse spoke to me.

…there is a spirit in man; and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding. Job 32:8b

Knowing that the spirit is in me and that my inspiration comes from the one and only really gives me strength this week to confront my struggles.

Friday, April 13, 2012

K is for keys to saving money #atozchallenge

We can't all be extreme couponers, but there are some keys to saving that we can all do. 
First now what a good deal is, you can create a list of items you use in your home or pantry staples and what prices you find, watch the weekly sales for your magic number. A good example for me is Chili, my boys and my husband love Nalley’s regular chili, but I won’t spend more than $.98 a can for it. I can buy a chase at Costco and it costs $.92 a can, sometimes I can find it on sale for $.89 a can and when that happens I stock up (usually if I find it for $.89 a can I will buy 20 cans). Another example is pasta, if you follow the blog you know on our menu each week is Chili Mac. Chili Mac takes 1/2 a box of macaroni and 2-3 cans of chili, so I watch for sales on pasta. Recently I was able to buy boxes macaroni for $.50 a box because it was on sale and I had coupons. I also try and get whole wheat macaroni to mix half and half. I usually spend about $1.00 a box on the whole wheat so it averages out to $.75 a box, but I will spend up to $1.00 a box if I need to.
Next , I’ve said this before and I will keep saying it,  just because you have a coupon and it is on sale doesn’t mean it is a great deal.  Now with that in mind, remember it is ok to buy treats but make sure you know your limits.  For example, yesterday I bought chips (I don’t usually buy chips, but I had a coupon and they were on sale making each bag of Kettle Chips $1.50) these are a treat and I got flavors we all enjoy so only 1 bags gets opened at a time and I try to spread out opening the bags so they last at least a week.
Another tip is to make your own snack bags if you can. I saw a blog post or was it a pin on pinterest, anyway, the author had purchased snack size plastic bags and repackaged her bulk snack purchases into smaller bags. I love this idea… Packaged snacks are so expensive and usually end up not lasting through a weekend around here. By making your own, you know exactly what is in each bag, you can use purchased snacks or make you own (dried fruit, nuts, crackers, etc..)  then when the kids want a treat they can grab a bag and head outside to snack.

DSCN0179Finally, plan ahead for gardening or u-picks… Making frozen fruit snacks, dried  fruit, of even jams and jellies is a great way to save money through out the fall and winter months when the prices go up and the quality isn’t the best.  I love freezing strawberries, cherries, raspberries, blueberries, etc.. to each as a frozen candy like treat, or freeze them for making homemade smoothies and save a ton.. We all know  fast food or coffee shop smoothies are crazy expensive. Making smoothies in the morning is a great treat as you head out the door, they also make a great treat after school or practices. 

Thursday, April 12, 2012

F is for Flavor #atozchallenge

Do you like flavors in food or are you a more bland style eater? In our house it is really split.. I have 1 very picky eater who prefers less flavor variety, 1 that likes spicy flavors, 1 that likes a little flavor but not to much, and then Mom who like variety and zest. So how do you cook but still satisfy everyone's tastes?
Here are a couple of ideas that I like to use along with a few pantry staples that I keep on hand to help with that.
Italian Seasoning: I make my own from Basil, Oregano, Thyme, Garlic, Onions, and citric acid instead of salt.
Taco or Salsa Seasoning: I buy this in bulk once a year at our annual Garlic Festival
G.O.H mix: a blend of Herbie, Garlic, and Onion which a low in sodium and a basic seasoning I use for almost everything
Coarse Ground Black Pepper: I buy my favorite twice a year at Costco
Sea Salt: I don't buy iodine salt, since I am not suppose to have a lot of salt, I tend to use Sea Salt as it has a stronger flavor and thus I use less of it..
Dried Jalapeno: I grow them and dry them in our food dehydrator... I can grind them on the cheese grater or smash them under a large knife...
Lavender: it grows like a weed in a pot on my patio... I love adding it to Spaghetti and similar sauces. It also makes a wonderful addition to ice tea or lemonade in the summer
Mint: again grows like a weed on my patio, but I love using it for greek chicken, sauces, and in tea or lemonade.

What flavors do you keep on hand?

H is for Hairstyling Help #atozchallenge

As I shared recently I dislocated my shoulder on March 2nd, that morning I received an email letting me know we had been selected for a shopper insight study with Collective Bias that included having pictures done. I replied back accepting the spot then the accident happened. I spent the next few days settling into what my boys refer to as the one armed lifestyle, but in the back of my mind I still had the Shopper Insight study to finish. 
On March 8th, I called the local Picture Me Studio location and secured a spot for that afternoon. I began picking out what we would wear. Then panic struck! I couldn't do my hair and my husband was just learning how to put it in a pony tail.

 I called Laurie at Laura Lee's  Hair Shop in Lafayette for help. I asked if she could help me put my hair up in a silver clip I had.. She said of course.
LauraLee's Hair Shop is hidden away in Lafayette off the main highway and is a nice quiet place to go for a little hair help.  Laurie was amazing and went far beyond just putting my hair up in a clip (according to her husband she doesn't like clips)
 A quick but very classy up-do complete with curls was just he ticket for this mom.  Even with the cumbersome arm sling I felt pretty and ready to have family pictures taken.
Laurie did an amazing job and took my bland mood and moved it up a ton.  I am so grateful that I called Laurie to help out that day.
If you live in or around Lafayette and want to have Laurie help you with your hair, stop by her website and check it out, She is open Monday through Thursday to help with all your hair needs; cut, color, perms, and styles.
It doesn't have to be a special occasion to get hair help!


Monday, April 9, 2012

Menu Monday April 9th

This week is full of life so I hope to keep the menu simple.
Monday: Chili Mac
Tuesday Chicken Salad
Wednesday: Pizza
Thursday: BBQ burgers
Friday: soup
Saturday: Don't have a clue.

There is it...
What's on your menu for the week. Check out what others have on their Menu

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Scripture Sunday : Easter Sunday

This week has been a challenge on many levels for me. I am blogging a lot this week with the a to z challenge as well as in home passive physical therapy for my shoulder and arm , and finally keeping 2 boys on track with their school work even though we are finally seeing signs of spring.

Several verses in this week's lesson helped me get through, but one particular verse stood out to me this week as I read through the weekly bible lesson 

And your covenant with death shall be disannulled, and your agreement with hell shall not stand; 
Isaiah 28:18a

As I read the lesson there was also passages from Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures that stood out and spoke to me.
The prayer that reforms the sinner and heals the sick is an absolute faith that all things are possible to God,  pg 1 lines 1-3
It is amazing what the power of prayer can accomplish and truly shows the absolute power of God to handle everything.

Have a blessed Easter!
He is Risen!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

E is for Electricity #atozchallenge #blogboost

OK this isn’t going to be a huge post about alternative energy or a slam on old fashion appliances. This is however is going to be a quick list of realistic things you can do to cut your energy use.  Since we had a huge price increase over the past year, I’m not going to claim these will save you a ton of money, but I will say these are things you can do to help cut your consumption and possibly save money or at least not feel the pain as much when and if you do get a rate increase.
1. Turn off stuff (lights are a biggy, but the TV, stereo , or gaming system are pretty big on the consumptive scale)
2. Open the curtains during the day and savor the daylight.  As I write this post we are actually having a sunny day ( 4/2/12) and while the temps aren’t high, the sun still feels wonderful on the windows and the natural light is beautiful!
3. Hang your laundry outside whenever possible. Again today since we have a sunny day and a light wind we hung a load of sheets on the line this morning.. It will take longer in the Spring Sun than it does in the Summer but not having that load of sheets in the dryer means the dryer will run half as much today.
4. Again, if the weather is nice… cook outside on the grill (gas  or charcoal.)  This saves turning the stove on and also means you don’t heat up the house.
5. Find the lowest temperature setting on the thermostat that the family can handle and use that as your guide. Our’s is 66 degrees and sometimes I can be stingy and turn it down to 64 degrees.  If  your thermostat is programmable use the feature to lower the temp during the day when you might not be home and set it to come on an hour before you get home. Also lower the temps slightly for late night (everyone can wear extra heavy jammies if needed or an extra blanket)
6. Menu planning, ok don’t think it helps to have a plan? well when it comes time to cook, with a plan I can go to the fridge or freezer and pull out exactly what I need, otherwise the boys and I will stand in front of the freezer with the door open trying to figure out what to have for dinner… what a waste of electricity.

What are your favorite ways to cut electricity use? Share your ideas below and have a wonderful week.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

D is for Date night #atozchallenge

D is for date night and while it doesn't happen as often as I would like, it is important to make time for your spouse.
I know, people will say they just don't have time with kids and work, but honestly you can't afford to not have time for each other.
Here are a couple ideas for date night:

Rent a Movie (Redbox and Blockbuster Express are really easy to use) and fix his favorite meal
Rent a Movie for the kids and fix simple fun snacks for them while you and your spouse have a picnic (in a different room)
If you can send the kids to Grandma's house and have a picnic in a park with your spouse.

What are your favorite date Night activities that don't cost a bundle?

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

C is for Coupons #atozchallenge

Just thought I would share a couple of important things to think about if you are going to use coupons for your shopping.
1. Be Honest! Please don’t copy coupons or print more than allowed.
2. Know your store’s coupon and price matching policy. If possible print a copy off their website and keep it handy when you are shopping.
3.  Remember that most store take store coupons first, then manufacturer coupons, followed by double coupons.
4. Many stores will only allow you to get he product free rather than overages. Again, no your store’s policy before you go.
5. Etiquette: Don’t hoard! leave some for other shoppers. If the quantity on the shelf seems low ask someone if there is more in the back and if they offer rain checks.
6.  Just because you have a coupon doesn’t make it a good deal! check your price and compare it will store brands.
7.  If you find something that is a great deal but isn’t something you use often, consider picking up a couple and donating to your local food bank or favorite charity.
8. Organize your coupons. How many times I’ve come home to realize I had a coupon at home for something in my grocery sack.
9. Reusable  grocery sacks are not only great for the environment but many stores offer a credit for bringing your own bag, while it isn’t a lot  in my budget every little bit helps.

Monday, April 2, 2012

B is for Bulk Foods #atozchallenge

I don’t buy a lot of bulk Foods , but when I find a deal I try to take advantage of it.
Several of the local grocery stores have bulk food bins and I have found that I can save a fair amount of money if I plan ahead.   Staple products for the pantry are usually a better deal in bulk. I have purchased whole wheat flour, rice flour, brown rice as well as wild rice in bulk saving about half what I would have paid buying prepackaged. 
Bulk food can also be purchased at Wholesale Club stores such as Costco but you need to watch and know  your prices and have a budget before you go.
Finally, my new  favorite bulk food buying option. Zaycon Foods, is located in Spokane , Washington but ships to events all over the country. We have purchased lean ground beef and boneless skinless chicken breast. During the Summer and early fall they also offer a variety of fruit in bulk.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Monday Menu Plan April 2nd- April 7th

Monday:  Chili Mac ( super easy meal that my boys can make)

Tuesday:  Chicken Salad (not sure if it will be on sandwiches or on lettuce)

Wednesday:  Pizza  (Papa Murphy’s most likely as Wednesdays are our co-op day and take it out of both Mommy and Daddy)

Thursday:  Roasted turkey dinner  (I scored an extra turkey after the holidays and have been saving it for a mid week surprise)

Friday: BBQ burgers (hopefully the weather will improves little)

Saturday:  I don’t have a clue!  (hey honesty is a good policy)

I am thankful for the weekly link up to keep me on track with my menu plans.

A is for Anything Goes #atozchallenge

Here at the Spot really ANYTHING Goes. So many groups online ask what’s your niche? and I want to scream I DON”T HAVE a niche!!!
I like to review products, I love cooking and sharing recipes, I share crafts and scrapbooking on occasion, I love books,I love coupons,  I love working with Collective Bias on projects, so what is my niche? I really don’t have one, sorry this blog is an anything goes kind of blog.
Now with that in mind, I love sharing my honest opinion about things and love promoting products that will help Moms. I also love social media and love sharing my thoughts, opinions, and favorite pages on Facebook and twitter.
So there it is the basics on the Spot.