Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

The other day my 3 and 4 year old helped me make cookies. We had a wonderful recipe in our Answers for Preschoolers from Answers in Genesis. While making it we had a chance to talk about washing our hands before we started and measuring out the ingredients. We had a great time and we all loved the yummy cookies.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies 

1 can of pumpkin
1 tsp cinnamon
1 egg
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. oil
1 tsp baking soda
1 c. sugar
1 tsp. milk
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla
2 c. flour
1 12oz bag of chocolate chips

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix ingredients together as listed. Drop by spoonfuls on an ungreased  cookie sheet. Bake for 12-15 minutes. Let cool on waxed paper.

My girls LOVED them!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Weekly Goals

 I really need to keep setting goals for myself. I have a hard time doing much during the week when I don't. It gets too overwhelming when I think about all that needs to get done but never have proof that I've done them. I love being able to cross things off my list. 

This Weeks goals:


  • Exercise 5 times this week
  • Devotion daily 
  • One new recipe, sewing pattern, or craft 
  • Write one blog post
  • 3 days of preschool with the girls
  • Make my husband sandwiches every day he needs them
Around the house:
  • Complete my weekly cleaning list
  • Leave the kitchen clean every night
  • Have the girls do one chore every day

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

I LOVE Paying Cash

On Saturday my husband and I went shopping together. This doesn't usually go the best, but this time we talked about what we were going to buy before we left the house. At the check out neither my husband or I had a panic attack at the amount that rang up. Usually he spends the rest of the trip asking if I needed everything. 

I have changed how I do the envelops and instead leave the money in our checking account and keep track of what is in each category on a spreadsheet. That way we can carry money over from month to month and have the ability to buy without having our envelops in hand. 

The first thing on my list to buy on Saturday was some new clothes. I've bought very little for myself except maternity in the past 5 years. Shopko had some great deals so I picked up a new pair of jeans, a sweater dress, and a long sleeve shirt.

 We also have money set aside for Christmas so I snagged up ornaments now because they are 50% off already and are gone by the time I start looking.
 My largest purchase is one I've been waiting for a long time. My mop broke in the middle of the cleaning challenge back in May. We haven't had the money to buy a new one so I've been waiting for money and a good deal. This is where I believe God made it possible. Shopko had the Shark on sale. I was a little disappointed the next step up was sold out but I am happy I have this one rather than none.
This was one of my best shopping trips ever. I usually get worried about what the husband's going to say and he usually gets upset because it's money leaving our pockets. Budgeting and planning ahead has changed our marriage so much. I don't think we've had a fight about money since we started budgeting in December.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Our little school

As a family my husband and I have decided to start homeschooling our girls. I don't know how long we will homeschool but for now we are doing preschool at home. 

I just makes more sense for our family at this point in our lives. Having our kids so close together means we would have 2 in preschool for three years in a row. Because they would also be in different classes, it would be almost impossible to plan anything during the week. Not to mention how expensive it would get just for a few hours a week at school. 

Today I just wanted to give you an idea of how we have set things up to homeschool. It took me about a week to get everything set up. We have kept it simple with a small space reserved for school time. 

All my pages needing to be laminated

2 Days straight my laminator was going strong

My printer was going as strong

Pages laminated and flashcards cut out and in envelopes

Books picked out for the first few weeks

worksheets and laminated pages ready for the next 3 weeks

Everyone on their spots. Under their butts is tape in the shape of the first letter of their name.

Table work. Each have their own pencil box with crayons and markers. Eventually scissors will be added

Tracing the letter A on our laminated card

Practicing letter A and number 1 on chalk wall

Our work for the day

The girls are loving school time and there isn't a day that goes by that they aren't asking when we get to do school.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Cleaning up fun!

Cleaning up the play room almost always is a struggle for us. The girls can make huge messes in a matter of minutes but don't seem to see the need to clean up the mess. 

I know this is so common in many households. Who wants to clean anyway? I'd rather not clean. I hate cleaning most days. For some reason the mess never goes away. 

Even though I hate cleaning, I don't want to teach my kids that someone else is going to pick up their mess. It is so important for them to learn responsibility for their own things. 

To instill this I have come up with a few ideas and found a few on Pinterest and came up with our cleaning up routine.

The first thing I did was taking pictures of different toy groupings. I have Barbies, stuffed animals, colored pencils and coloring books, books and several more.

 I printed those pictures on then cut them out and glued them on to Popsicle sticks.
 The girls can then pick out what they are going to clean up. Each child gets one to start and when they are done they pick another until they are gone and the toys are all cleaned up.
 Each Popsicle stick earns them one ticket. The tickets can be used to purchase items from my store or traded for a quarter and put in their spending jar. 

 They love shopping in the store. Most items are four tickets and are Dollar Store purchases.

 I still have to keep encouraging them but with a promise of a reward they are much more inclined to help. 

I know some out there might not agree with a reward system but I encourage you to think about this: when you go to work what do you receive? A paycheck. The chores you reward at 3 years will probably not be rewarded at 12 but you are starting to develop a work ethic in your children that will continue to grow. If you didn't receive a paycheck would you continue to show up everyday and do your work? I'm sure the answer is no. 

As your children grow the chores and rewards will change. There are things around the house that my kids will do without rewards. As a parent you can decide what is worth rewarding and what isn't. Cleaning up toys is the hardest chore to get them to do so it makes sense to reward that job. Making beds and wiping down the kitchen table are things they want to do so they need no external reward. 

Just think about what you want your children to look at 18 as they move out and on their own. What do you want to teach them before then?

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Weekly Goals

Didn't do so hot, but hopefully next week will be better.

Last Weeks Goals:  
  • Exercise 5 times this week
  • Devotion daily 
  • One new recipe, sewing pattern, or craft 
Pumpkin Cream Cheese Bread


  • 5 days of preschool with the girls ( only did two days, I think we need to change this to 3 days instead)
  • Make my husband sandwiches every day he needs them (I forgot Wednesday night and made one for Friday and he had a rain day, so do they cancel each other out?)
Around the house:

  • Complete my weekly cleaning list (did more then half)
  •  Leave the kitchen clean every night (so close but hopefully this will become habit soon)
  • Have the girls do one chore every day (we really need to work on this)

This Weeks goals:


  • Exercise 5 times this week
  • Devotion daily 
  • One new recipe, sewing pattern, or craft

  • 5 days of preschool with the girls
  • Make my husband sandwiches every day he needs them
Around the house:

  • Complete my weekly cleaning list
  •  Leave the kitchen clean every night
  • Have the girls do one chore every day

Thursday, October 3, 2013

God's Gift

There are moments in life where God really pours out his blessings. One of those moments for me was when my 4 year old asked Jesus into her heart.

It started out as a conversation about Jesus and how he is in my heart. It was so easy her to want the same thing. It took everything in me not to cry when we prayed asking Him into her heart. I am blessed to be the mother of wonderful little girls. God showed me his love that day in a way that is rarely seen by adults.

My daughter was so trusting and faith comes so easy. Jesus is good and loves us so why wouldn't she want Him in her heart. I am again reminded what it means to have the faith of a child. They don't over think and analyze everything. There is only black and white for them. No gray, no middle ground. Either you trust or you don't.

To have faith like that is such a powerful thing. I want that but to get there is going to take a lot of work on not only my part but God's as well.

Now my daughter and I have conversations about what it means now that Jesus is in her heart. We talk about how she needs to show her sisters she loves them by sharing toys and not fighting. That is also means that she needs to love and care about others because it is what Jesus wants us to do.

The faith comes easy but the living it out is always the hardest. My prayer for her is that she will continue to try to live for Christ and as the years go by she will continue to live for Him.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Adventures in Budgeting: Update

Well my husband and I have been on this adventure for nine months now. It has been such an amazing journey. I always knew that money is one of the most argued about topics with married couples. I think I understand that better now then ever before.

Until we created a budget we had no control over our financial situation. The bills kept coming and we kept paying. It seemed like we were on the hamster wheel. We kept running but went no where.

My husband would get upset at least a few times a month because I spent X amount of dollars at a store or he thought there should be more money in our bank account.

I understand now it wasn't that he was mad at me but at our situation. He works long hours to bring home a paycheck that is gone before we even get to see it. Since he is the bread winner of the family, it is disheartening for him to see all his hard work not paying off.

For the first time ever I can buy clothes or shoes and my husband knows that we already have money set aside for that purpose. He doesn't get upset thinking that his money is disappearing too fast. Although he rarely looks at our budget, he is welcome to any time and I don't feel I have to hid anything from him. We discuss almost all purchases making sure it is worth spending the money and we have the money to spend.

I never thought I'd say this but I actually enjoy paying my student loans. Of course I hate that we have less money to spend or save but when we started 9 months ago we had 6 debt payments totaling over $37,00. We are now down to 2 debt payments totaling $21,000. We still have a ways to go but we are paying things off faster then I thought possible. I enjoy being able to pay extra to my student loans that is at least 9x the normal payment.

God has really been blessing us on our journey. Money seems to just start appearing out of thin air. Never before have we ever paid this much extra towards debts or had this much in our savings. Going into the winter we feel confident knowing that we will have money in savings to cover the difference of unemployment and our expenses.

We are finally in control of our money and it feels good. We don't have a strict budget but a flexible one but we are still more cautious and consider our purchases more diligently. We never spend more then we take in. We are on our way to becoming debt free!