Jul 31, 2012

Family Fun: Hiking

Our family really wants to invest in the necessary supplies needed to go on a weekend camping trip. It was even one of my "goals" of 2012 I hoped to accomplish. We still may but, of course, it is a large investment if you only consider a family-sized tent, a camp stove, and sleeping bags. I can think of a few other items I would want to purchase if we were to be camping regularly such as few tarps, rope, a hatchet, a lantern, and probably more camp chairs. Since we are a way off from committing to these investments, we are taking the kids around to visit local parks with decent hiking trails (the more un-paved the better!).

Jul 30, 2012

Weekly Menu 7/30-8/5

If you looked closely at this picture before you started reading, you probably noticed I made a few food choice changes. Nothing huge. Nothing drastic. But, Casey and I feel that our family should continue our journey toward Real Food eating. I say "continue" because I've been reading about eating Real Food for a few years and do make a lot of our food from scratch but we're no where near the 80/20 yet. We feel making babysteps is best for a lasting, more natural formation of a healthy-eating habit for our family. There are some people who have switched and never looked back and I admire those people, so this slow-paced attempt is just how we do it and not really meant to be advice for anyone else unless it appeals to you. I'm just learning and attempting to implement changes as I go.

Jul 27, 2012

"Feminine Appeal" Book Review for Feminine Friday

Ever read Titus 2 and wish you had your own personal "older woman" or mentor? I know I sure have. Perhaps you are a newly married woman and have moved to a new town where you don't know anyone yet. Or, you are a mom with young children and can't get out to a Bible study or even to visit a friend in this current season of life. Some seasons of life make looking for a mentor or even a godly friend challenging. Look no further! This book sits on my nightstand or kitchen counter and I read it often for encouragement and guidance during naptime or in the evening. It shouldn't replace our Bible study but it acts similar to a mentorship from an "older woman" by gently teaching us the principles of Titus 2 and how we should be living them out in our lives.

Jul 25, 2012

DIY Laundry Soap

There are about as many recipes for laundry soap out there as brands you can choose from in the grocery store. Then there is the decision of whether you should make powder or liquid laundry detergent.

Decisions, decisions.

Jul 24, 2012

Teaching Traditional Manners/Behavior to Children

Teaching your children politeness and manners is not something that happens overnight or even likely by age two. It is a balancing act of establishing your expectations for good manners to your children while purposefully modeling the appropriate behavior that you wish to teach them. You will be less successful teaching your child to say "thank you" or to be a good sport if you yourself do not display verbal gratitude and a cheerful spirit despite the outcome of the game. Let's talk about what behaviors and manners my family values and how we plan to guide our children to learn our expectations.

Jul 23, 2012

$90 Grocery Budget Challenge - Week 4

Can you believe I totally forgot to take pictures of the groceries again? Don't answer that if you know me in real life *cough*. Anyway, I got home late and Casey and I wanted to watch a library movie so I tossed all the cold items in the fridge and we sat down to watch "Dinosaur." Okay, so its probably not what most people would choose to watch on their Saturday night but I'd never seen it and it was free and it was pretty clean which equals a winning two hours of entertainment in my book!

Jul 20, 2012

Feminine Friday

Hurray, its Friday! I had Casey, my husband, take a picture of me yesterday as we were setting out to go pick up our car from the "car doctor." It needed some parts fixed. I'm not really a "car person" so I pretty much just make the appointment and pay the bill. All I know is that Casey said it was running really rough and we discovered the exhaust pipe had come unattached from the engine! It ended up costing us a few hundred less than they originally quoted because one part didn't need completely replaced after all. We were immensely grateful for that!

Jul 19, 2012

Thankful Thursday: My Gifts

A few pictures of things I am thankful for this week! This picture is of a gluten free and dairy free cookbook my husband brought home as a surprise early birthday present!

Jul 18, 2012

Burt's Bees Sunscreen ~ Review

I'm a big fan of Burt's Bees. They have quality products that are made in none-other than my home state of North Carolina. Today I want to review their sunscreen.

Jul 17, 2012

Age Appropriate Chores For Toddlers and Preschoolers

Little children are great at finding fun and entertainment in about any situation, that is, except for when you need them to such as when they are strapped into a shopping cart or their carseat! They can spend an hour bounding around the living room from couch cushion to couch cushion (which are on the floor and not on the couches) or battle with sticks outside or build a fort out of pillows and blankets. They know how to have fun and use their imaginations when given the opportunity (meaning: no organized activity every 10 minutes and no TV on). However, their daily adventures and play and regular activities of getting dressed and eating make about a million, okay only a hundred (each?) messes a day. Mom may be responsible for keeping her home but that doesn't mean she should have to clean everyone of those messes when the very capable hands that created those messes can be recruited to help clean them up again.

Jul 16, 2012

$90 Grocery Budget Challenge - Week 3

Today is week 3 of my grocery challenge. I brought home bags of groceries and, without thinking, put them away before I took a picture! I went to ALDI and Target Saturday evening (when I forgot to photograph my purchases) and then visited Hyvee on Sunday afternoon. I was able to remember to pull out my camera before I put the groceries away but not before opening the bag of cheese to put some on the kids' dinner.

Jul 13, 2012

Feminine Friday

This week is my first "Feminine Friday" post. I want to begin by assuring you that I am no fashion diva. I just like to look nice and I try to have my own sense of style that I prefer to focus on over fashion. Feminine Friday is about all things feminine and not necessarily just clothing. It can be anything with a feminine (meaning pertaining to a female) flare. I don't always wear dresses and skirts. I am currently pursuing attempting to wear skirts and dresses more often than pants. My husband desires that I dress modestly and I am slowly keeping this in mind when I add to my wardrobe.

Jul 12, 2012

Thankful Thursday

In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God
in Christ Jesus concerning you. ~ I Thessalonians 5:18

I guess I could stop right now and let the picture speak for itself! Ha ha!

Jul 11, 2012

Pumpkin Donuts

Last week I made some super yummy pumpkin donuts and I was so excited about how well they turned out that I, of course, knew I had to share them with you! These were not challenging or requiring of tons of weird ingredients. That is, once you go gluten free, there isn't much left that sounds weird! ☺

Jul 10, 2012

An All Day Struggle

Its a typical day.

The children vacillate between boisterous playfulness, obnoxious tantrums, deliberate disobedience, and moments of tenderheartedness. Often in the span of 5 minutes. I can be accepting a gift of a flower from the dirt-covered fist of my four year old or a sweet puckered kiss from my three year old, only to moments later have to discipline them for breaking a rule or hitting someone with a stick. As a mother, I attempt to compose myself and remain sane between the time they wake up and the time they go back to bed but it is a challenge.

Jul 9, 2012

$90 Grocery Budget ~ Week 2

Pictured here are my Target purchases.

Welcome back to my second week attempting to spend only about $90 to buy my family's weekly groceries. This week I had about $110 for personal spending and groceries after we paid our bills. I checked out all the local ads and made a list of what items I wanted to purchase based off those ads as well as items I needed. Target had hamburger on sale for $2.50/lb so I went to Target first. Unfortunately, Target's hamburger was out of stock! This messed up my budget just a bit but I had the money given I had the extra $20 for discretionary spending. Now, if only I'd thought to ask for a rain check!

Jul 6, 2012

10 Gluten Free Lunch Ideas

Lunch, for our family, needs to be fairly hearty and filling. Casey often comes home for his lunch from work and is very hungry because he doesn't have time to eat breakfast in the morning before going to work at 6 or 6:30am. He likes me to serve meals with meat. Here are some of my lunch ideas that I like to serve:

Jul 5, 2012

Thankful Thursday: Two Vehicles


We've had our van for over a year now. We decided it was time go ahead and buy a van when we added a third carseat to the backseat of our car. Saying it was crowded was an understatement. It was almost tough to shut the doors! So we got our first "family" vehicle. But, as with most used vehicles, it came with a problem. DUN, Dun, dun...

Jul 2, 2012

What Can I Get For $90?

This week I'm doing something a little different than my usual posting of my menu. I am opening up and sharing how my new weekly budget for food and normal household purchases has changed and how those changes have effected my grocery purchases and menu.

The above photo is every single item of food that I brought home with me from the store yesterday evening. Sorry its not a better photo!