Saturday, December 31, 2011

2012 Goals

-Daily time with God in prayer, Bible reading, and meditation on His word
-Sleep 8 hours each night
-Be asleep each night by 12am
-Wake up at 8am each day
-Lose 10 pounds by end of April
-Lose 30 pound by Oct. 3rd
-Exercise 45-60 min. 5 days a week
-Improve my very limited sewing skills
-Get out of debt. (except mortgage)
-Read 26 books
-Drink enough water each day
-Four no drive days a month
-I also want to be a better steward of everything God has given me, and will probably set mini goals each month to aid in this, such as trying to reduce our garbage, spending, etc.

Are you setting any goals for 2012? If yes, what are your plans to accomplish? For example my goal to lose weight will be accomplished with weekly exercise and Wellness week trip for me in April.


2011 Goals and Progress

Some of the goals I set in 2011:

Declutter 365 items from my home - I was able to complete this goal
Read 14 books (my summer goal) - I was able to complete and exceed this goal
Walk at least 5,000 steps a day - I started this in Oct. and do it most days
Walk at least 15 min. at one time each day - I do this about 4 days a week
Drink 8 glasses water daily - Not there yet
Do not eat past 8pm - Do this about half the time
4 no drive days a month - I have done this about 90% of the time
Stay out of debt (except mortgage) - Did not succeed

I also have lost about 5 lbs. (I know not huge, but a victory all the same.)

Did you set goals in 2011? If so how did you do?


Extreme or Practical?

The other night I watched the show Extreme Cheapskates. I do many of the things the people on the show do. But the premise on the show is that these people are crazy, and the producers will find those who are not the norm. But is it really extreme to do some of these things?

Before WWII most of the things I do (homemade cleaners and laundry soap, no paper products, etc.) were the norm. You would be extreme if you bought paper towels or store bought window cleaner.

Somewhere along the way we became a wasteful society. We waste so much. We waste our natural resources (trees to make paper, oil to make plastic, etc.) We waste our time. We waste our money.

We have to realize that these things are not limitless. Eventually we will run out of trees, and oil, and money. Actually we already have run out of money as our country is in extreme debt.

Nothing I say will make people start conserving, however I can live my life trying to do all I can.

I need to make good use of the time, money, and resources God has given to me.

In 2008 I decided to stop buying paper products (except toilet paper for Jason and guests.) It has been 4 years since I bought paper towels, napkins, tissues, or sanitary products. I have not missed them (except when my dog was sick, so I admit I used some of the paper towels my mom left here to clean that mess up.) I prefer hand towels and rags to paper towels. I prefer washcloths to napkins. I prefer soft fabric to paper tissues. I am so happy with cloth menstrual pads over the disposables.

In addition to that I like them better I have kept approximately:
200 rolls paper towels out of landfills (at 1 roll per week)
6,000 napkins out of landfills (at about 5 a day)
2,000 tissues out of landfills (at about 2 per day)
2,000 sanitary pads out of landfills (6 a day X 7 days X 12 months x 4 years)
200 rolls of toilet paper out of landfills (at 1 roll a week)
all the plastic these items would have been wrapped in

Also before these would have made it to landfill, and made into disposable products, they were trees and other resources. So not sure how many trees were saved, but even one makes it worth it.

In addition to saving trees and space in landfills, I also have saved money
$200 on paper towels (at $1 a roll)
$ 25 on napkins (at $2 a package of 500)
$ 60 on tissues (at $3 a box)
$300 on sanitary products (after spending about $300 on cloth pads)
$100 on toilet paper (at .50 cents a roll.)

About $700 saved, if you subtract extra loads of laundry, I probably have saved about $500 or $125 a year. Not a huge savings, but since I feel the cloth products are superior and I also am saving trees, other resources, and space in landfills I think it is so worth it.

I don't necessarily think we all have to give up paper products (but please buy 100% recycled, so you are not cutting down another tree.) But we do all have to do something. We all have to live within our means with all our resources. Dare I even say we live below our means. Maybe if we can do so we will influence others to do so, and so on right up to those in positions of authority, especially within the government.

As 2012 is approaching in just a few hours I ask you to commit one resource in your control, be it time, or money, or anything, and set a goal to reduce it.


Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Butternut Squash Soup

I just made a yummy, super simple butternut squash soup.

I cut a butternut squash in half (long way.) I baked in oven for about an hour (with cut side up.)
I put cut up onion and half a stick unsalted organic butter in a pot. I sauteed onions. Then I added about 4 cups veggie broth (I had it frozen in freezer, I added it right from freezer.) I added sea salt and pepper. Once broth melted I added butternut squash (that is scooped out and cut into small even chunks. I cooked between medium and high with no lid (to evaporate some of the water.) I did this about 30 min. Then I put whole thing in blender. I hit pulse for about a minute. Yum! Looks like I have about 5 servings.

This soup cost about $2.50. The butter and butternut squash was organic. The veggie broth was made from the ends of mostly organic veggie scraps that would usually just go in compost (including carrot tops.) The onion I got for free. The pepper was also organic. So for about .50 cents a serving we have an almost entirely organic soup, made with no preservatives, and stock full of vitamins.


Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas spending and gifts bought

I spent and bought for gifts this year:

$9.25-for mom- hat scarf brand new in thrift shop for $3.50, my mom is always bundled up outside so she will really use this, pictures $5.50, magnet .25 cents

$10.00-for stepfather-fireman travel mug (bought new at thrift shop for .50 cents), he works outside so this will be used (plus he is a volunteer fireman), hot chocolate, marshmallows, and candy cane at Wholefoods $9.50

$8.00-for sister- jewelry she picked in thrift shop $2, jewelry box $1, pictures $5

$12.00-for Jason's grandparents- Christmas ornament and photo book $12

$80.00-for my nephew- the $10 toy kitchen and $70 on pjs and blues clues toys (I went overboard on him)

$175-for my boys- $100 chip in towards there ps3 (they saved the other $300 them selves.) expensive but I am proud of them for working together to save up money all year, $20 2 puzzles, $10 stocking stuffers, $15 Lego clock, $10 Lego calendars, $20 DVDs

$12.00-for Jason's grandfather- picture book of kids $12

$5.00-library staff- hot chocolate mix and marshmallows $5

$5.00-boys therapist- $5 toys for her office

-neighbors- homemade chicken soup

$2.00-aunt- book and candle $2 at thrift shop (her daughter died, so I get a gift that she would have gotten from my cousin)

$15- niece Wii game she wanted

$22-pj's for needy family (got matching for the two daughters, had a coupon) and a dvd girls wanted

$10.00-kids I babysit- $10 bracelets made by lady at my church (so I blessed her with sale too)

$10.00-Christmas photos $10

$30.00-stamps and envelopes for Christmas letters $30

$10.00-for my brother-$5 ornaments from movie we loved as kids, $5 frames

$20.00-sponsor child- $20

$50.00*- Christmas brunch, all bought at Wholefoods (White organic bread $4, 2 dozen organic eggs $6, organic oj $6, organic strawberry banana juice $3, organic milk $5, 3 lbs. bacon $12, plastic recycled cutlery $5, organic yogurt $5, organic cream cheese $4.)

$50.00*-supplies for dye and high fructose free gingerbread houses

$535.25 total
*$100.00 used Wholefoods gift card that I got as a gift
$435.25 my cost

I spent all this in Dec. even though I said I wasn't going to spend anything. AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!! I just love giving gifts. Plus so many people bless us with gifts.

Now to work on getting all 2011 bills paid in full asap!


Merry Christmas

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Santa then and now

Kaiden with Santa 2010

Jason with Santa 2010

Josh refused to take a picture with Santa last year

Kaiden, Jason, & Josh with Santa this year

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


As seen in previous post, yes my kids do chores.

They will one day be grown men, and I want them to be able to take care of themselves.

The way we are doing chores this year is sort of working.
Each week each child has their own room and either the bathroom or living room. I have my room and kitchen.
They have chores that need to be done every day in each room, and some that only need to be done once that week. So they do they everyday chores and a few of the once a week chores as well. It should take them no more than 30 min. in each room. Or one hour a day.

During the entire day the have the opportunity to earn up to 40 min. of video game time daily (from scvhoolwork, chores, etc.) Regular chores are worth 10 min. But they can only play video games if all schoolwork and chores are complete.

I also have extra chores like the hallways, stairs, shoe area, etc., that are worth extra video game minutes. These extra chores are about 20 min.more playing time. I made these worth 20 minutes so they get done, the boys want extra minutes so it works. They can only do extra minutes after all regular schoolwork and chores are done.)

The boys don't usually have to do their own laundry as Josh is doing in previous post, but they have to bring down dirty laundry and put away clean laundry. Josh just wanted to do his laundry, so of course I let him.

I have a detailed list printed out for each child each week. If an item such as dust the tv, has 1 line, they do it once that week. If it has 5, like wipe toilet, they do it daily. And then check it off on list. This is really helpful for the kids.

I will say they both are doing great at the living room and bathroom. Their rooms are not so great, but this is because I don't always check their work as often as I should.

Eventually I want to add kitchen to their lists, but not yet.

My boys also do things like help me with baby, take out trash, take out recyclables, bring in trash and recyclable cans. They also feed and water the dog. These few things are not on any list, just get done as needed.

My boys also do cleaning jobs with me on occasion, but if they do they either do instead of that days chores or in exchange for extra video game minutes or something else.

I am very proud of how much my boys can do.

Do your kids do chores? How do you organize them?


Josh doing his own laundry

Youth Pastor Update

Continue to pray for our Youth Pastor, Josh as he was diagnosed with cancer recently. He is back in hospital. He is doing chemo, which exhausts him. Lift up his wife, April, also, and their 4 children, Andrew, Matthew, Molly, & Abbey. Thanks!

This picture was taken in Oct. 2011. Before any knowledge of cancer.

So blessed

We are so blessed. I am so thankful for all my blessings. Here are a few:

God and Jesus
Jason (son age 14)
Joshua (son age 8)
Jeannette (mom)
Scott (stepfather)
Kevin (brother age 30)
Samantha (sister age 22)
Lindsey (sister age 26)
Matthew (brother age 3)
extended family
Lady (our dog)
our church
our church family
Pastor Ken and his family
Youth Pastor Josh and his family
our home and yard
running car
our health
health insurance
ability to work
freedom to live as I please
having all our needs met today and everyday up until today
good healthy food
good books
my comfy bed
our free Christmas tree
calmness in our home yesterday and today
having more than enough


Green Clean Gift Idea

Make a green clean kit for $10 or less.

-Gallon vinegar $2
-Print or write out list of cleaning uses for vinegar
-Baking Soda $2 (2-3 small boxes)
-Print or write out cleaning uses for baking soda
-Spray bottle $1 (or reuse an old spray bottle you have for free)
-Cleaning Cloths Free-$3 (make, sew out of old towels, or buy a package)
-Scrubbies Free (make out of mesh that comes on lemons and other fruit and veggies-fold up and rubber band or knot, these work great)
-Tote bag Free-$1 (recycle one you have at home, sew one with fabric you already have, or buy one, food store ones are about $1)
-Bottle Peroxide $1 (use as you would bleach on stains on counters, in shower, etc., and on clothes)
-If you got tote, cleaning cloths, and spray bottle for free you can also add a gallon of homemade laundry soap as well $2

Make up one for everyone on your list.

I would love this as a gift and it creates no clutter.


Homemade applesauce

Just made some homemade applesauce. So easy and yummy. And it was free. I got some free apples the other day. They were already starting to go bad, so they weren't as tasty just to eat as is. So I cut them up (with the skins) and threw in a pot of water. I boiled until they were soft. Then I strained water (which I saved to drink) and put apples in blender. I pureed and that was it. I didn't add sugar, but I guess if you want it sweeter you can add.

We will all have a healthy snack once it cools a bit.


Friday, December 16, 2011

Health update

Since Oct. 16th (two months ago) I have been walking 2-5 days a week for 30-60 min. I have lost 6 lbs, or 3 lbs. each month. It seems small, but it is something, and I haven't gained so that is good. Also I am walking 3,000-10,000 steps a day. My goal is now up to 6,000 a day.

Now to work on my other goals, of more water, no eating past 8pm, and being in bed and asleep by 12.


Thursday, December 15, 2011

December 2011

Dear Family & Friends,

Greetings! I pray that you are enjoying this Christmas season. We have just put up our tree this week and are planning on making gingerbread houses on Sunday (complete with dye and high fructose free treats bought at Wholefoods.)

Jason will be 14 on Saturday. He wants to celebrate by spending the day eating his favorite junk food, Pizza Hut pepperoni pizza, and salt and vinegar potato chips; and playing his Wii and laptop. In addition to video games, Jason still really enjoys reading. He also has done horseback riding all year and loves it. He is doing so well he has been upgraded to more difficult lessons. Jason has a natural repoire with animals, and especially with the horses. He has his own pet sitting business. Jason is in 8th grade and his favorite subject is math. He is learning pre-algebra. He also is enjoying studying astronomy, and our monthly visits to the Franklin Institute.

Joshua turned 8 in May. He prefers to be called Josh. He is in the 3rd grade. His favorite subject is spelling. He also really enjoys studying astronomy and that we got to see the sun with special equipment at the Franklin Institute. He loves riding his bike and scooter. Josh did basketball in the winter and will start again this upcoming Jan. He enjoys it. Josh also enjoys video games, especially the Wii. Josh did guitar lessons for 4 months this year, and has switched to keyboard which he enjoys much more. He really has a musical talent, which he certainly did not get from me. Josh also is an amazing big cousin to Kaiden who is now 18 months old. He is constantly playing with him and teaching him new things.

A typical day in our home starts about 8:30am. Josh, Lady (our dog), and I walk with my mom or Jason's grandmother. We try and walk for an hour. While we walk Jason sleeps in. After our walk we all get dressed and eat breakfast. We have formal school lessons from 10:30am-12:30pm. Then we have lunch. After lunch we do more school, and then about 2:00pm Kaiden comes over. We watch him while his mom, Samantha, goes to work and school. From 2:00pm on boys work on independent work, and help out with Kaiden. At some point we all do chores. Kaiden loves to "help" with chores as well (which makes more work for us.) Kaiden leaves about 9:30pm, and then Josh goes to bed. Around 10:00pm I do a quick straighten of house and check over school notes for next day. Jason and I will then usually watch a show together. Jason usually is in bed about 11:30pm, he seems to take after me in being a night owl. I try to read a bit and force myself to fall asleep by 12:30am.

Of course when you throw in Jason's horseback riding, doctor's appointments, Wed. night family church activities, Josh's keyboard lessons, Jason's writing class, and other misc. activities things can get a bit hectic around here. So we make it a priority to have one no drive stay home all day, day each week.

We all still go to Calvary Baptist Church. We go Sunday at 10:30am for worship service and Wed. evening at 5:30pm for dinner with classes following. Jason goes to the youth group Wed. night and Sun. afternoons (4:00pm-6:00pm) as well. Josh goes to the Wed. evening children's class (which I also teach) and Sun. afternoon (4:00pm-5:00pm) chess and checkers club. We will also be there Christmas Eve at 6:00pm; we would love it if you could join us.

As you hustle and bustle about this Christmas season, take some time to really enjoy your family and celebrate the birth of Jesus, who was born in such a humble way so many years ago.

-Becky, Jason, & Josh

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


Jason turned 14 on Saturday.


Monday, December 12, 2011

Praising for being back

I am back online. Last month my computer got a virus and I was locked from doing anything on it. Thanks to my new best friend, Darren, at Geek Squad I am up and running again. So happy!


Saturday, December 3, 2011

Handwritten, Personalized Letters From Santa

Would you like that special child in your life (child, grandchild, cousin, niece, etc.) to receive a handwritten, personalized letter from Santa?

Please leave a comment with your email address in it for form and payment options. (I will not publish email addresses.) Make sure to include email address, so I can email you form to get info. on child.

$7 includes handwritten, personalized letter, Santa's sugar cookie and frosting recipe, and a special surprise all addressed to the child.


Thursday, December 1, 2011

Three cuties

Jason is 13
Joshua is 8
Kaiden is 18 months

So cute

Kaiden is now 18 months old. I can't believe how cute he is.


Great analogy

I heard this great analogy once:

"If you hit a parked car, do you drive down the street and hit every parked car or do you stop at one?"

This can apply to overeating, if you eat one snack too many should you keep going or stop?

This can apply to finances, if you buy something you don't need or can not afford, do you keep overspending or do you stop?

This could apply to saying an unkind word, do you keep speaking unkindly, or do you stop?

When I have made a bad choice I try to remember this so I stop instead of making more mistakes.


Verses we are trying to memorize

John 1:12
"To all who received Him to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God"

Matthew 5: 16
"Let your light shine before men that they may see your good deeds and praise your father in heaven. "

James 1: 10
"Do not merely listen to the word and so deceive yourselves do what it says."

Colossians 1: 10
"Live a life worthy of the lord and please him in every way bearing fruit in every good work growing in the knowledge of God"

Ephesians 3: 17-18
"I pray that being rooted and establishd in love may have power together with all the saints to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is love of Christ"

Ephesians 4: 32
"Be kind and compassionate to one and another forgiveing each other just as christ forgave you"

1 John 3:18
"Let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and truth"

Jeremiah 29:12
"Call upon me and come and pray to me and I will listen to you'"

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Nov. bills

I just paid all Nov. bills, except:
$400 tax money ($1,200 is due Feb. 1st)
$100 home insurance ($300 due in Jan.)

I actually made enough to pay all the bills, but I was behind last month, so about $300 went to that, plus I had to pay $150 to have furnace repaired.

I really need to get an emergency fund again.

Praising God though that all utilities and such are current!


What I earned / spent last week

Sunday- $0
Monday- $100 check in mail
Wednesday-$298 childcare pay for 2 weeks
Saturday-$60 babysitting

Sunday -Nov. tithe to church
Monday- $85.00 dog food and groceries at Wholefoods and
$7.00 boys dinner at Wendy's
Wednesday-$22.00 Rite Aid on Misc., $4.28 on homemade chocolate covered pretzels, $1.00 ebook, $45.00 water bill, $80.00 Oct. internet / phone / cable bill that was overdue, $6.40 library fine
Saturday-$40 gas for car

Making ornaments

We were gifted with glass Christmas ornaments and some crafts supplies, so Josh and I made ornaments last night. It was fun, and they came out so cute. I can only show you Josh's as the others will be gifts.

We put glitter and bells and a snowman in Josh's. I put more bells around rim and added a ribbon to hang.



I would like to pay all 2011 bills by the end of the year in full, to do so I will need:

$127 owe dentist
$750 owe Mastercard
$125 owe Kohl's
$600 owe tax money (due Feb. 1st)
$200 owe home insurance money (due quarterly, I think next payment is due in Jan.)

$1802 I am sure this will not happen. AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


p.s. in all of this I still know I am so blessed and am so gratfeul for everything we do have.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Home Ownership

For many years, it was a desire of mine to own a home. Although it seemed I waited a long time to do so, in reality it was just a short time. I bought my grandmother's home two years ago in 2009. I had just turned 30 a month prior to the purchase. This was a pretty ambitious purchase for a 30 year old, single mom of two.

This home was such a blessing from God. Even today their are days that I look out the window into my yard or sit in my home and the pure joy of it is overwhelming. I could not be more grateful.

That being said, I have to mention how naive I was going into home ownership. We have had many unexpected's occur so far.

Days after spending our first Christmas here we had a torrential rain that made its way straight into our living room (I was using garbage can to hold the water and it was half full in half a day.) Come Feb. or March the entire roof was built out and replaced to correct the leaking (I did know about this before buying the home.)

Last year I spent many days without hot water, as my unit worked as it felt like it. The pilot went out almost daily and became harder and harder to relight. This went on over 3 months. I took many cold showers and washed my hands too many times with freezing cold water. Eventually I was able to replace the unit.

This year my dryer and dishwasher both still sort of work, but not really. The dryer drum has come separated from the dryer and things get lost in there or stuck and have to be pulled out (leaving said item covered in rust.) The dishwasher (even after me cleaning out filters and such a few times) is no longer cleaning dishes. If I put in a full load, maybe 1/4 of it comes out clean.

Now I can live without a dishwasher and dryer. The newest problem, however, I can not.

Last night I went to turn the heat on (it was 61 degrees in the house, I usually keep it at 64.) Nothing happened. I upped the heat. Still nothing. The furnace was not starting. I took the covers off the furnace to see if anything was switched off. I also made sure gas was on to entire house and to the furnace. It was. Still nothing. So we all bundled up and went to bed without it.

More upsetting over not having the money to pay the repair man or thought of needing a new furnace (worst case scenario), is not having someone to call who can carry the stress of this newest crisis. The burden is all on me. Or is it?

God gave me this home, He helps me pay each bill every month, He knew that yesterday the furnace would not work. Not only does He not want me to carry the stress alone, He wants to carry all the stress Himself. Although I can't see it right now, He already has a solution to this new problem.

Now, that does not mean I should do nothing. I need to work hard to maintain the home He has given me. I need to not spend my money foolishly, so I can save for an emergency fund. I need to educated my self on the repairs I can do. I need to invest in some tools so I can do those simple repairs myself.

But above all I need to pray and put my trust in Him.


Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

I am thankful for:

my family
my friends
Lady (our dog)
freedom to homeschool
that we have more than enough of what we need


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Calories and walking

I never really cared about counting calories, but I thought I might try and track as I have a goal to lose weight before my wellness week in April 2012 (and hopefully will be able to amp up my exercising after the wellness week to further my weight loss / healthy me goals.)

I realized to maintain my weight (which I do not want to do) I need to eat about 2,100 calories. I read to lose about a lb. a week eat 500 less calories every day (and to lose 2 lbs. a week eat 500 calories less, and exercise off 500 calories.) So I am aiming for about 1,600 calories, with most coming from wholefoods in least most processed form. I am also trying to eat as little meat as possible. That is so I can lower my cholesterol.

I found a free online calorie, food, and exercise tracker here. It is really cool.

Yesterday I ended up eating 2,100 calories, but I did walk an hour, so at least I burned some of those off.

Today I am at 1,400. I still have to have my ground flax mixed in juice, so I will be at about 1,600 today (if I can resist the late night urge to snack.) Plus I walked over an hour today.

I started walking about a month ago. I walk about 3 days a week for about 45 min. I walk at a brisk pace as I bring my dog, Lady who is very eager to explore (ok, she walks me. lol.) According to my pedometer I walk about 5,500 step each walk, or almost 2 miles.

The positives since I started walking:
-I lost 2 lbs
-I am tired at night and want to go to bed about 11
-getting up between 8-9am these walk days help me to get more accomplished those days and I am calmer those days with kids
-bonding with mom and Jason's grandmother (my walking partners)
-Lady is getting exercise
-Josh is getting more exercise

I will say I am so grateful for my mom or Jason's grandmother coming over 3-4 days a week to get me up and walk with me. This has been a huge blessing, as I just don't walk on my own.

Do you count calories?
Do you walk? If yes how often and how long?


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

A day in my life


went to bed at 1:20am
woke up at 7:45am
took dog out
feed and watered dog
threw on clothes
brushed my teeth
8:00am walked in mist with Jason's grandmother for an hour (6,000 steps or 2 miles)
came home, contemplated going back to bed
took a shower instead
Josh woke up while I was in shower, he needed to pee (we only have one bathroom)
got out of shower and got dressed
made Jason get off couch (he was sleeping there because he is pet sitting a cat and didn't want to leave it alone all night)
sent him upstairs to sleep a bit more, but not before giving him his medicine
made breakfast for Josh (cereal with milk, a banana, and peaches)
went online
talked with Josh
got hungry
feed cat (we are cat sitting)
made my breakfast
10:30am ate breakfast (homemade bean burger on 2 slices wheat bread, topped with avocado, with a side of peaches, also had pomegranate juice with 1 tablespoon ground flax mixed in)
thought about going back to sleep
did some school work with Josh instead
made Jason get up and have breakfast (cereal and a banana)
went online
did some laundry
Josh and I made homemade sushi
1:30pm ate lunch (the sushi and 1/2 a Wholefoods brownie)
posted pictures on facebook of homemade sushi
blogged about homemade sushi
did more schoolwork with Josh
checked on Jason's school progress
helped Jason move cat stuff (we are cat sitting) to keep Kaiden out of it
3:00pm sister dropped off Kaiden
fed sister sushi (she liked it too)
fed Kaiden lunch (some sushi, a peanut butter sandwich, and applesauce with ground flax mixed in)
played with Kaiden
more laundry
straightened up kitchen
4:30pm had a glass of nog (coconut milk non egg nog) with 2 tablespoons ground flax seed mixed in (so yummy)
regretted giving dog left over beans this morning (pu Lady)
5:00pm put Kaiden down for nap
finished schoolwork with Josh, after he threw a tantrum (fun!)
made dinner (baked potatoes and cooked peas)
got Kaiden from not actually napping
checked Jason's schoolwork progress (not too much since I last checked)
set table
ate dinner at table with Josh and Kaiden (Jason got mad and went back in his room)
cleaned up Kaiden
cleaned up table
wrote down everything I ate today with calories (1,800 so far)
gave boys snack
8:30pm started Josh to get ready for bed
got Kaiden ready for bed
9:00pm Josh bed
watched Lost with Jason (we watched season 1-4 over summer and now are watching 5, we never watched when it was on tv years ago)
11:00pm ate a bowl honey nut cheerios with almond milk
realized I ate now just 2,100 calories(YIKES) and broke my no eating after 8pm goal
11:30pm went to bed

and this was a no drive stay home day (walks are ok)

What does your day look like?


p.s. Kaiden is my 17 month old nephew. I watch him Tues., Wed., & Thur. 2-10, Fri. 9-12 & 3-overnight, & Sat. am-6

Homemade sushi

Today I made homemade sushi for the first time. It was super easy, as I used a frugal recipe from Penniless Parenting.

They took very little time to make and I didn't even use a sushi mat or anything. They tasted good, even my sister and Joshua agreed.

I didn't use any fish, but I plan to get some salmon for next time. I used carrots, cucmber, and avocado in the center.

The best part is 6 pieces was about 200 calories, and it was only under $4 to make three rolls (enough for 3 people.)

Have you ever made sushi? How did you make it? What did you put in, or on sushi?


Homemade bean / veggie burgers

I made these super easy and frugal bean / veggie burgers the other night. Yum.

1/2 cup dry lentils
1 large potato, grated finely
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 cup bread crumbs (homemade works great)
1 egg
2 tablespoons soy sauce (I used Bragg's)
dash salt

I soaked lentils overnight in a glass bowl with 2 cups filtered water. The next day, I combined all ingredients, except lentils. I mixed. Then I added lentils and mixed again. I formed into 4 patties, and baked in oven at 400 degrees for ten minutes, then I flipped burgers and baked another ten minutes.

The lentils were organic, but the other ingriedents were not. I know white potatoes are not that healthy, but I was gifted with ten pounds, so I am trying to use them up. Plus it is only 1/4 a potato per patty. It cost about $1.00 to make the 4 patties, and I suspect with all organic ingriendients it will cost about $2.00. That is reasonable.

They taste good as well.

I am going to make another batch tomorrow, but I am going to substitute ground flax for the egg, plus I am going to use fresh garlic, and add shreadded carrots as well. I also think I am going to puree the lentil beans before adding to mixture. I also might add mung beans, as I now have lentil and mung beans soaking.

Does anyone else make bean / veggie burgers? If yes, how do you make them?


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Shark Vac then Steam

Back in March I wrote about my Shark Vac then Steam. I foolishly bought off an infomercial, and spent $390 for two units with shipping and extended 2 year warranty. Having buyers remorse quickly after purchasing I called company to return. I was told I would have to send back at my expense, would not be refunded the super high shipping I spent to get units to me, and their was a restocking fee. So I ended up keeping one and gifting my sister with the other unit.

I did like how easy unit was to use and my floors looked good in about 5 min., this would make doing floors daily possible.

Fast forward 5 months and my unit stopped working. I let it sit. I cleaned out container and filter, yet still the vacuum barely sucked, and the steam stopped coming out.

I called today to evoke my warranty. Surprise they were more than happy to accommodate, if I paid to ship unit in and sent them $20 to ship it back to me, then if damage was covered under warranty they would repair and send back. Or for $39.99 plus tax they would just ship me a brand new item with my original warranty (which expires March 2013) still valid.

It would cost me $20 to ship it to them and the $20 they wanted to ship it back, so I just paid another $42 (with tax.) Hopefully the new unit works more than 5 months.

What a waste. Never buy anything from an infomercial. EVER! I saw the same unit at Costco after I bought for like $130. And I could have returned it there for a full refund if it stopped working.

So far I am out $429.59. Two units from Costco would have only been $260, $170 less than what I paid, plus I would be out nothing once I returned since the unit stopped working.

That is a very costly mistake!!!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Fresh Wreaths Make Great Gifts

The boys and I are selling fresh wreaths. These come to you directly from Wreaths of Maine. You choose the shipping week. You can order online directly or through me. Either way shipping is only $3.95 per wreath.

Nine styles and prices to choose from. These make great gifts! If you order as a gift they will enclose a free gift card with your personalized message.

If you order online please enter #4903 Rebecca Rivera at checkout so we get credit for the wreath.



Sunday, November 13, 2011

Still hurts

Today Jason's dad is visiting. I don't like to post too much about him (or Josh's dad) those are really their stories to tell.

But on my end I am feeling a bit stressed about it. He has not been here to see Jason in over a year. It saddens me that my boys do not having the dad's they deserve. But these visits create stress and anxiety in me, and in Jason. In fact Jason did not really want this visit. But I have tried very hard over the past few years to put my feelings aside and continually reach out to his dad and encourage him to be a part of Jason's life.

As I sit here preparing today for his visit I am struck of the feelings that this visit arises in me. First, I am sad. The honest truth is I wish that I was in a Godly marriage and so desperately want that for my boys (a dad who loves the Lord, me, and them.) Second, I am a bit mad. I am mad that he doesn't do more to show his son love. Also I am mad that I am parenting alone. It is such a hard job, especially with the special needs thrown in.

Now, don't get me wrong. I do not have love feelings for his dad. If I am honest with myself, I can say I never really did (it was more of a lust relationship. This was when I was just 17 and did not know Christ.) And I have forgiven him for all he has done (although it is still a struggle as he still does things that I need to forgive, so just by forgiving him for the past doesn't just end it.)

I am not usually wallowing in sadness, but it still hurts. As I reflect on the pain of having a child with a man (really a boy) and then having him betray me by cheating and then leaving for that woman (really a girl); I want to tell young teens how valuable sex is and that the pain of that sin will be with them their entire life. Yes, I am a stronger woman and I have learned many lessons through my life circumstances, but I still carry those memories with me.

As a teen I would never have imagined that choices I made would affect me at 20, 30, and beyond. But God knew, and He gave me instructions for living in the Bible. The Bible says that sometimes our children will suffer the consequences of our sin
Exodus 20:5 – “You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me.” (NIV)
Read some great thoughts on that here.

What I need to do now is continue to go to God in prayer, ask for healing, ask for Him to spare my children some of the consquences of my sin (which he has done so many times already,) and try to live each new day for Him completely, as His ways really are the best ways.


This was me in Dec. of 1996. I had just turned 17. I was a freshman in college. I was dating Jason's dad. One year later in Dec. of 1997 Jason was born.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Fresh wreaths make great gifts

The boys and I are selling fresh wreaths. These come to you directly from Wreaths of Maine. You choose the shipping week. You can order online directly or through me. Either way shipping is only $3.95 per wreath.

Nine styles and prices to choose from. These make great gifts! If you order as a gift they will enclose a free gift card with your personalized message.

If you order online please enter #4903 Rebecca Rivera at checkout so we get credit for the wreath.



Family Shoot by Janet Vignes Photography

A good friend of mine now has her own photography business. She took photos of us last year and offered to do so this year as well (for free.)

She is such a blessing to us. Here are a few of the shots:

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Reader Question

I got this comment from a reader, Becky (great name.)

"I have a question for you: do you think a mother needs to have a passion for learning/teaching in order to homeschool her children?

My son is only 15 months, but I'm already thinking about whether I will homeschool or not. The thing is, I have never been passionate about learning. School was easy for me - I was able to get A's and B's with almost no effort. I did one year of technical college and was glad to be done with homework forever :)

I'd love to hear your thoughts!"

Thanks for your comment, Becky, here are my thoughts.

I think homeschooling begins the day your bring your child into this world. With books you read, songs you sing, including the child in all you do. By asking questions and delighting in finding the answers. I am sure you are already doing that. Do you find joy in your child discovering a caterpillar for the first time? Or by drawing his first masterpiece (hopefully not on the wall)? This is all learning.

If we are called by God to homeschool then He will give us the joy (maybe not right away) but we know we need to do His will (because our ways just don't work.)

I would venture to say what you did in school was not learning, therefore you had no joy for it. It was probably a lot of busy work. I did a lot of that too.

I can tell you without a doubt that much of the learning we do brings me joy. Just yesterday we went to the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, PA. We have a family pass and try to go once a month. We had kids ages 6 to 15. They all had fun, but all learned something as well. The moms too. And no, not everyday can be spent at a hands on educational museum. But everyday can be spent joyfully.

I actually enjoy my children and want to be around them. I believe priorities should be God and then family. By being with my boys all day we have a great bond, plus so do they with each other. Yes it is hard and they do fight, but I get the best part of their days.

Beyond having joy daily, You get to define what school and learning is. Not the government, not the Superintendent, but you. Only you know how your child will learn best and only you truly have his best interest at heart (I know their are wonderful teachers, I know many, but they still will never love your child as you do.)

My goals in homeschooling are:

-raise Godly men of Godly character
-have my children's hearts (after God)
-teach them to love learning (learning should be a life long process that brings us joy!)
[I can't teach them everything, no public or private school can either, but I can teach them how to learn and do so in a way that that want too as well.]

Some added perks to homeschooling:
-being able to pray, use Bible, and sing to God all day long (my kids hate when I sing, so it has the added benefit of annoying them. lol)
-sleeping in
-learning in your pj's
-being there when you child gets something for first time
-hugs all day (still get them from my 13 and 8 year old)
-going to museums when barely anyone else is there (or going on vacations, day trips, etc.)
-no homework (yes,we are technically learning all day, but we don't have to do worksheets and etc. after a long day at school.)
-allowing your young child to use curriculum with God as center, young children are so easily influenced that if they read at school that the world was created by the big bang theory, they usually will believe it (that being said with my kids as they are older we explore other options and then compare them to what God's word says.)

I would encourage anyone considering homeschooling to pray and check out Proverbs. The entire book is about not educating, but discipling our children. That is what God calls us to do.

So, Becky, my additional advice to you is to find joy in everyday learning now, and by the time your child is school age you will realize you have been homeschooling all along.


Raw Sauerkraut

Even though I despise hot dogs, I do enjoy sauerkraut. I had no idea though that most sauerkraut you buy is void of most nutrients. Raw, uncooked sauerkraut on the other hand it a superfood. You can read more about it here

Wanted to eat very little processed foods, I decided to make my own sauerkraut. It was super easy. Back in Oct. when we visited Lee Turkey farm I actually got two heads of cabbage (we picked them ourselves, so cool) for $1.00 each. Great deal.

I made a coleslaw with raw apple cider vinegar with the first head. The second I have been fermenting into sauerkraut. I just ate a cup full and it was good.

Basically it was super easy.
I washed the cabbage.
Then I cut into tiny pieces.
All the recipes I found online talked about putting it in a crock, which I do not have. I almost bought one, but in the interest of frugality I made due with what I had.
I put about 1/3 of the cabbage in a large canning jar, adding seas salt every few layers. Then I covered with filtered water, leaving about 2 inches of nothing above water. Make sure all cabbage is covered. Then I put cheesecloth, and then plastic wrap over the top. To hold it in place I put the rim of the canning top (but left off the lid, air needs to escape.)
I put the other 2/3 in a glass wine container I got from a friend (I wanted a glass container to make sun tea in.) Once again I covered cabbage with sea salt and filtered water. Then, I covered container with cheesecloth and plastic wrap, then rubber banded the two in place.
Every few days I check to assure all cabbage is below water line.
Occasionally I have stirred. But mostly I have done nothing.
It has been fermenting about 3 weeks now and already taste good.

I will let it continue to ferment, eating some as I please.

Have you ever made homemade sauerkraut?


Thursday, November 3, 2011

Please Pray

Our youth Pastor, Josh, discovered today that he has cancer. He is being transferred to a hospital in NY tomorrow to have surgery to try and remove one of the tumors on his spine. He is 39 years old, married, with four kids ages 6, 4, 4, and 4. (the kids are all adopted, so not triplets, a set of twin girls, and a 4 year old boy.) He was otherwise in good health, and only had pain in past three weeks. He had no idea he had tumors in his body.

Pray for complete healing and peace for his family!



Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Nov. budget

10% tithe
$ 38 offering to Compassion Child
$ 22 offering to Solutions Pregnancy Center

$400 mortgage
$400 taxes
$100 home insurance
$ 70 gas bill (budget option)
$ 100 electric bill (budget option)
$ 50 water bill
$ 50 sewer bill
$ 80 internet / phone / cable
$ 90 car insurance (phone in before 12/8)
$120 gas for car ($30 a week)
$ 32 Jason writing class
$ 50 Mastercard
$ 30 Kohl’s charge (to pay in full)
$350 Food (human and dog)

I should make exactly this much this month. Not one penny more (actually about $50 less, but will tweak as needed.) Praying for no emergencies.

How is your Nov. budget?


Oct. bills

I have paid all Oct. bills except:
$108 electric bill
$70 gas bill (due already)
$80 cable / internet / phone (due Nov. 11th)

I had money for electric bill, but my car broke down on Monday (snapped brake line) so I had to use that money to pay mechanic instead.

My Sat. job owes me for a few weeks (probably about $180) so I will use that to pay the electric and gas bills. My Sat. boss said she sent me a check the other day so I should get any day now.

At the end of the week I should only be behind by the $80 cable / phone / internet bill (which technically isn't due yet.) Not too bad.

This month my property taxes were due ($1,200.) I also had this money.

If I have no emergencies this month I should be able to pay all my bills.

Praise God!


Operation Christmas Child

Operation Christmas Child is a ministry through Samaritan's Purse that sends shoeboxes filled with toys, school supplies, hygiene items, hard candy, and the gospel message in the recipient child's language.

They get the shoeboxes from people (like us) who fill them and send to distribution center.

Our church participates in this project every year. Last year we filled and sent 48 boxes. This year our goal is 100 boxes.

If you would like to help us meet that goal we are asking for $15 to sponsor each box ($7 is for the shipping.) You can send to my church:

Calvary Baptist Church
491 Lloyd Road,
Aberdeen, NJ 07747
put OCC in the memo line of your check

or you can paypal me a donation (I promise it will be used for a box):

Or you can find out about drop off locations in your area and make your own box, or you can send a donation directly to Samaritan's Purse through their website.

If you can not find a local drop off site, mail completed boxes to:
Samaritan’s Purse
Operation Christmas Child
801 Bamboo Road
Boone, NC 28607

This is a wonderful project to be involved with, and one that young children can really understand. They can actually pick items to put in the box.

Would you please help send a gift to a child in need this Christmas?

All monies are due by Sat. Nov. 12th (so we can assemble boxes and get them shipped to NC, so they then can get shipped all over the world.)


Sunday, October 30, 2011


The boys and I are very upset. We have to take down our trampoline. Eric picked this up for us and put it together in April 2009 (we lost him in June 2009.)

Not only is it sad because it has Eric memories attached my boys use that thing all the time. They love jumping on it. It is a good outlet for their energy.

We have to take it down because I had to get new homeowners insurance (my old policy dropped this area after all the hurricane claim damage.)

So the boys and Kevin are outside taking it down. Sad day.


Thursday, October 27, 2011


Today would have been my cousin Cristie's 35th birthday. I say would of been because she is no longer with us here on earth. Five years ago we lost her in a tragic gun accident. You can read more about it here

She is still greatly missed!


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Goals update

I have set some goals for myself:

-walk 5,000 steps a day
-walk at least 15 min. at one time each day
-drink 8 glasses water daily
-do not eat past 8pm

My progress:

-Most days I have gotten my 5,000 steps in (my goal.)
-About half the days I have taken a 15 min. or longer walk. Yesterday and today I even walked about 45 min.
-I am at about 4 glasses of water a day (and I feel fine, so not sure if we really need the 8 or not.)
-I am doing very poorly on the eating past 8pm.

I am still reading up on giving up meat, dairy, and eggs and embracing a vegan lifestyle for health reasons. I have read about four books on the vegan lifestyle so far. I have even tried a few recipes. Some I have enjoyed, some not so much.

One thing I am certain is that foods in their most whole form are the best for us. I was convinced long ago to eliminate white flour products, and I started using whole wheat, even grinding my own grain. Now I am going a step further and eating grains that are soaked. This is the best fiber their is.

I also believe that raw fruits and veggies are excellent for us. Tonight I had a cabbage and vinegar salad, along with a veggie and grain burger without a bun, and an apple for dinner.

I also have been convicted to give up processed sugar. I do not have it in the house for baking, however I am still addicted to candy and had 3 carmel candies minutes ago. So I have to take the next level and stop eating processed sweets. I will still be using raw honey and pure maple syrup.

So this are enough changes for now.

Off to bed (as a long time goal is to be asleep by 12am and up by 9am.)


2011 income, expenses, and debt update

I know exactly how much I have made so far in 2011. This includes all earned and unearned income. This includes every gift as well.

I also know exactly where 90% of it went. The other 10% was misc. And if I went through my bank statements could figure out probably where 99% of it went.

I like to know this to keep me accountable from wasting money.

I also know my exact debt:

$177 dentist
$720 MasterCard
$116,200 mortgage

My goal is to have dentist paid off before 2012, and credit card before I get my 2011 tax refund.

How are your 2011 finances?


Saturday, October 22, 2011


If you share about my wreath post you will be entered to win a $10.00 Amazon gift card.

Here is how you can get entries:

1) write a blog post linking my wreaths post

2) post a link to my post on your facebook page

3) twitter with a link to my wreath post

4) email 10 friends about my post with a link to my wreath post

After you do one or more of above leave a comment, letting me know which ones you did.

You can enter once in Oct., Nov., & Dec. (so you can earn up to 12 entries.)

Winner will be chosen on Dec. 10th.



The boys and I are selling fresh wreaths. These come to you directly from Wreaths of Maine. You choose the shipping week. You can order online directly or through me. Either way shipping is only $3.95 per wreath.

Nine styles and prices to choose from. These make great gifts! If you order as a gift they will enclose a free gift card with your personalized message.

If you order online please enter #4903 Rebecca Rivera at checkout so we get credit for the wreath.



Thursday, October 20, 2011

Yesterday's progress

Yesterday I did not get in 5,000 steps or a 15 min. walk. It rained all day and we were stuck inside. I made it to just over 3,500 steps. I did drink about 6 glasses water, so that was good. I also ate past 8 because I took a veggie burger to church to eat instead of the meal they were preparing (we eat dinner at church on Wed. evenings.) Somehow my roll got lost and just a veggie burger is not very filling. So I ate when we got home.

I did however wake up at 8am before my boys and have time with God, so that helped the entire day to run more smoothly and I was calmer.

Today is a new day, I will start over.

These are my goals again:
-walk 5,000 steps daily
-walk 15 min. in a row (briskly)
-drink 8 glasses of water throughout day
-don't eat past 8 pm
-30 min. daily with God (preferably in am)


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

For Me

I discovered this Christian conference center, Sandy Cove in Maryland, about 2 1/2 hours from my home (from searching the web.)

They are having a wellness week at the end of April / beginning of May. Once I discovered they give scholarships for those in need, I became very excited. After talking with my mom about babysitting and other logistics, I decided that I needed to be at this conference. So yesterday I put down a deposit and am waiting for scholarship paperwork. If I do not get a scholarship I can get my deposit back.

The idea of a week alone focusing on my walk with the Lord and me, sounds amazing!

Plus since it is 6 months away I can use those 6 months to begin my healthier me journey with goals I mentioned yesterday.

I am super excited! I pray I get the scholarship!



Last month I was able to pay all bills, except the electric bill that ended up being higher than expected. I just got a readjusted bill, and I only owe $100 (and that is for service all the way up to Oct. 14th.) Apparently they estimated my bill and when they did the actual it was much lower. That is a huge blessing!

Now I am all caught up on my bills and all Sept. bills are paid in full!

Praise the Lord!


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Today's me progress

Today I have walked over 5,000 steps (5,060 as of right now.) I also walked for 15 minutes straight while at Jason's horseback riding, and it was a brisk walk. This also allowed me to watch Jason for the other 15 minutes (he enjoys when I watch him.) I haven't eaten anything since dinner.

I did not get 8 glasses of water in. I got about 4. That is better than none.

What I ate:

breakfast: heated barley (I soaked it overnight) with chopped apples and ground flax seed in it with a glass of pineapple water (water I soaked the pineapple core in)

lunch: peppers and beans that I heated and added some taco seasoning (the peppers were some from my garden that I cut and froze) with a glass of water

snack: 4 dates and a coconut water

dinner: homemade stromboli with wheat dough, almond cheese, marinara sauce, and vegan pepperoni with a glass of water

I feel like I am leaving something out as I was really full all day. At breakfast that was just 1/3 cup barley with 1 chopped apple and I could not even eat half (I saved for tomorrow's breakfast.)

I am also sipping water now, and plan on having a cup of sleepy time tea in a bit.

I feel proud. Now to keep this up.


Healthy Me

As you can probably tell I do not take much time to take care of me, physically, emotionally, and especially spiritually.

I need accountability in this area.

Physically my plan is:
-walk 5,000 steps a day, with at least 15 min. being done at one time (with plans to eventually increase to an hour)
-drink 8 glasses water (I have stopped doing this and need to get back)
-no eating after 8 pm

I am contemplating giving up meat, eggs, and dairy as my cholesterol is really high (like 3x's normal.) I am praying about that. I also know God wants me to give up sugar, as it is an addiction for me. I have done better, we have no sugar in house just raw honey and raw agave (which I don't like.) But it is not enough as I seem to have gained weight still.

I am the heaviest and out of shape I have ever been. That being said I am also probably at the lowest income I have been (as compared to expenses.) So my plans for physical health have to be virtually free, as the walking, and water is.

Emotionally my plan is:
-??? hoping working on other two areas will help with this

Spiritually my plan is:
-30 min. with God at 9:30 am everyday, this will be 10 min. in prayer (in my journal), 10 min. reading Bible, and 10 min. doing a study book I have

Are you struggling with something, maybe we can be accountability partners? We can do so through email, letters, etc. Let me know if anyone is interested.



Lee Turkey Farm 2011

My family has gone to Lee Turkey Farm to go apple picking every fall since I was a little girl. I love this place! This year we went on Oct. 10th. We was my mom, sister, nephew (the cute baby), Jason, Josh, my sister in law, my niece, and my mom brought her pastor's daughter. Oh, I was there too.

We picked apple, corn, and cabbage. We did the 6 acre corn maze. We played on the playground. We also did the farm tour hayride. It was a great day!

Lee Turkey Farm sign

in the apple orchard (I was taking picture and Jason didn't want to be in picture)

mom and sister

nephew in apple cart

sister in law and niece

Josh (what boy goes anywhere without a sword? lol)

Jason taking a break from pulling apple cart

entrance to corn maze

nephew in pumpkins

Jason on tree stump of tree that used to have tire swing (we were sad about the tree being cut down)

sister and Josh on hayride

nephew on hayride

Back online

I had to take my computer down and move it. My nephew, Kaiden pulled the wires and so I decided it was not safe to leave in the living room. I moved it to the kitchen, but had to wait until yesterday to get it back online.


Thursday, October 6, 2011

Should not have stressed

"Your heavenly Father already knows all your needs, and He will give you all you need from day to day if you live for Him and make the Kingdom of God your primary concern"
Matthew 6:32-33

I need to keep the above verse in my heart and not allow the stress of finances to overwhelm me.

In a previous post I was extremely stressed about where I was going to come up with monies needed, but God already knew.

As of right now almost all Sept. bills are paid in full. The only one still due is the electric bill of about $180.00.

I also have my taxes that are due Nov. 1st ($1,200.)

I also have a new home owner's and flood insurance policy that is set to go into place as of Nov. 1st.

And I have a new car insurance policy that is set to go into place next month as well.

My current debt is:

$177 dentist (was able to pay $40 this month)
$180 owe electric bill
$750 credit card

This month I will be able to pay at least $30 on credit card and $30 on dental bill, plus all my other bills. I hope to also pay half the electric bill due (plus the regular monthly bill.)

This is all because of God!!!


p.s. also want to thank my mom for looking into house insurance policies for me; and want to thank HS for donating to my monthly bills as well.

Almost free, healthy snack

I got some free apples that were on their way to being rotten. Last night I juiced some and made apple juice (which was more like cider.) Then I took the pulp and mixed it in with the dog food to give her a healthy treat.

Today I took the remainder and made applesauce. It was super easy.

I had about 3 tablespoons raw honey left in my honey jar so I added warm water to the jar (about 1/2 a cup) to get it all out. Then I put the water / honey mixture in the blender. Then I cut up about 6 apples (with the skin still on.) I put one slice of apple at a time in the blender and hit the chop button. I added a slice every few seconds and chopped for about 1-2 minutes. Then I blended the whole thing. I also added about 1 tablespoon lemon juice to keep the applesauce from turning brown.

I poured in bowls and we had a healthy snack. I added flax seed to mine.

This made about 5 cups applesauce. We (Kaiden, Jason, Josh, and I) each ate about a cup and I put another in a glass bowl in fridge for later. Not sure how it will look / taste later, but if you are going to eat immediately that is not an issue.

I added the raw honey because the apples that were given to me were green and a bit sour. I may not have added any sweetener to another brand of apple.

I really liked the applesauce, so did Josh and Kaiden. Jason didn't like the texture since occasionally he would taste the peel. Gotta love those sensory issues.

Have you ever made applesauce? Did you cook the apples? Did you wonder why you had to cook the apples?


p.s. I have a pretty bad blender (I so want a Vitamix) that was given to me free years ago. It probably would be about $20 in stores today and yet it still did a good job on making the applesauce.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Great Birthday

I woke up to a great card and lego woman from Josh (which he wrapped in a shirt of his he cut up with a thumbtack, so funny.)

Then the boys and I went to the Franklin Institute in Philly, PA (we have a family membership for the year.) At the museum my friend got me a photo and key chain of the kids at the museum (we went with friends who also homeschool.)

Last night my sister cooked me dinner and my mom and stepfather brought pound cake with cut up strawberries and whip cream. My brother came to dinner too (I love spending time with family.)

Sat. I got a pedicure.

I also got a kids stuff coupon book from my friend, and a card from my dad.

I am so blessed! 32 is going to be a GOOD year!


Sunday, October 2, 2011

Walk for Life

Today the boys and I walked in the Walk for Life which supports our local pregnancy center. We raised $405 for this great ministry!

The walk was held on the boardwalk in Belmar, NJ. It was so nice down by the beach, with a cool fall breeze blowing. It also was nice to have fellowship with the other walkers.

Plus I got some exercise which is always good!

It is not too late you can still add a donation if you click here.



Thursday, September 29, 2011

Welcome new follower

Hello Mr. & Mrs., thanks for following my blog!

Money Stress

I am stressing about money (who isn't?) Most months I have already paid all my bills by this point. But here it is Sept. 29th and I have not paid all bills and will not be able to either.

I still owe:

$168.65 electric bill due Oct. 4th (this was unexpected as my budget plan ended but I owed more than they had budgeted)
$80.06 car insurance due Oct. 8th
$70.00 gas bill due Oct. 10th
$50.00 water bill
$ .00 internet/ phone/ cable (should be $80.00, but may be a double bill)

I think I will put the car insurance on my credit card, and use my Sat. night work money ($60.00) towards the electric bill. This is technically Oct. money, but I will apply it towards Sept. bills since there are five Sat.'s in Oct.

The worst part is my debt has grown this month:

$670.00 Mastercard (increased)
$217.00 owe dentist (same)

AHHHHH!!!! I hate debt. I hate stressing over money.

I need to give this to God as He doesn't want me to stress like this. He has been so amazing in the ways He has provided over the years. I need to trust in Him, and not spend one penny on wants until the bills are all caught up and I am debt free.

How are your Sept. bills?


Welcome new follower

Welcome UhOh! Here We Go !!!

Planet Project

Today we did a science project. The big yellow balloon is the sun (although it should be about three times the size in relative to other balloons.) The objective was to see size of planets in comparison to each other, and in order. The distance in between was not a factor in today's project.

The planets

Jason & Josh under the planets

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The problem with glass

Being concerned with all the chemicals I don't want in my body or my children's, I have switched most of our containers to glass. I also try to buy food only in jars. The problem with that is that things seem to fall a lot in this house. Did you know that glass shatters when it hits the floor? Did you know that glass with sticky stuff (real maple syrup) still shatters? The worst part is that the shatters end up everywhere and are so hard to clean up.

This isn't my picture but you get the idea. This is sort of what we just cleaned up, once again (plus with half a jar syrup mixed in.) Fun.


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Our week

first Mon.of every month field trip, other three Mondays
9:00-10:00 get up, get ready for day, breakfast
10:00 family time with God (we are reading through and doing a study on Proverbs)
10:30-2:30 school
2:30-6:00 cleaning job
9:30 Josh bed
10:30 Jason bed
12:00 me bed

9:00-10:00 get up, get ready for day, breakfast
10:00 family time with God (we are reading through and doing a study on Proverbs)
10:30-2:30 school
2:00-10:00 watch Kaiden
2:30 leave for horseback riding
3:15-3:45 Jason horseback riding
4:15-5:00 doctor
9:30 Josh bed
10:30 Jason bed
12:00 me bed

9:00-10:00 get up, get ready for day, breakfast
10:00 family time with God (we are reading through and doing a study on Proverbs)
10:30-2:30 school
2:00-10:00 watch Kaiden
5:00 leave for church
5:30-8:30 church
9:30 Josh bed
10:30 Jason bed
12:00 me bed

9:00-10:00 get up, get ready for day, breakfast
10:00 family time with God (we are reading through and doing a study on Proverbs)
10:30-2:30 school
2:00-10:00 watch Kaiden
9:30 Josh bed
10:30 Jason bed
12:00 me bed

9:00 get up, get ready for day, breakfast
9:00-12:00 watch Kaiden
10:00-12:00 school
1:00-2:30 Jason writing class
1:30-2:00 Josh guitar
3:00-overnight watch Kaiden
9:30 Josh bed
10:30 Jason bed
12:00 me bed

am-4:30 watch Kaiden
5:00-10:00 babysit (I go to their home)

10:00 leave for church
10:30-12:30 church
4:00-6:00 Jason youth group
usually dinner with parents and siblings
9:30 Josh bed
10:30 Jason bed
12:00 me bed

We eat lunch about 1:00, and dinner about 7:00. We have some snack times thrown in as well.

A later schedule works well for me since my entire life I have been a night person. I get my energy at night and am a zombie until about 10am.

What does your week look like?


Thursday, September 22, 2011

Homeschool binders: chores

Here are the boys weekly chores (the lines indicate how many times during week each item must be done.)(They each have their own room and either bathroom or living room each week. The kitchen is my room):

Make Bed _ _ _ _ _
Put all toys away _ _ _ _ _
Put all books away _ _ _ _ _
Put all cds away _ _ _ _ _
Put all dvds / vhs away _ _ _ _ _
Put all legos away _
Clear floor _
TV wiped down _
Frame(s) dusted and cleaned with glass cleaner _
Night stand dusted _
Light switch wiped down _
Inside window cleaned with glass cleaner _
Window sill wiped down _
Baseboards wiped down _
Vent dusted _
Top of door frame(s) dusted _
Door(s) wiped down _
Door knobs wiped down _
Put all dirty clothes in hamper _ _ _ _ _
Put all clean clothes away _ _ _ _ _
Floor vacuumed _

Living Room:
Put all toys away _ _ _ _ _
Put all books away _ _ _ _ _
Put train pieces away _ _ _ _ _
Fold blankets _ _ _ _ _
Baseboards wiped down _
Frames on wall dusted and cleaned with glass cleaner _
TV screen wiped down _
Top of TV wiped down _
End table dusted _
Clean train table with cleaner _
Inside window(s) cleaned with glass cleaner _
Inside window sills cleaned _
Light switch wiped down _
Door(s) wiped down _
Door knobs wiped down _
Floor vacuumed _ _ _ _ _

Toilet wiped down with cleaner _ _ _ _ _ (everyday)
Sink cleaned with cleaner _ _ _ _ _ (everyday)
Mirror cleaned with glass cleaner _ _ _ _ _ (everyday)
Tub scrubbed with cleaner _
Shower walls scrubbed with cleaner _
Light switch wiped down _
Inside of window cleaned with glass cleaner _
Window sill wiped down _
Cabinet wiped down with cleaner _
Light bulb(s) dusted _
Walls wiped down _
Floor swept _ _ (Mon. & Fri.)
Floor mopped _ _ (Mon. & Fri.)
Door(s) wiped down with cleaner _
Door knobs wiped down with cleaner _

Extra Weekly Chores (to earn extra video game minutes):

Take toys off toy shelf _
Clean toy shelf with rag and cleaner _
Put toys back on shelf neatly _
Remove stuff off top of desk _
Dust desk _
Put stuff back neatly _
Dust and clean with glass cleaner pictures on wall _
Sweep floor _
Mop floor _

Back Room:
Pull out all shoes _
Clean floor where shoes goes (sweep and mop) _
Put all shoes back neatly _
Hang all coats neatly _
Clean backdoor with cleaner_
Clean glass on backdoor with glass cleaner _
Wipe down door to bathroom (use rag and cleaner) _
Wipe down door to garbage (use rag and cleaner) _
Wipe down door to school stuff (use rag and cleaner) _
Clean doorknobs with cleaner _
Sweep floor _
Mop floor _

Remove everything _
Put stuff from stairs away _
Sweep stairs _
Clean stairs with non slip cleaner _
Vacuum rugs or shake outside _

Upstairs Hallway:
Put away all books _
Put away all clean clothes _
Put all dirty clothes in hamper _
Clear desk _
Clean desk with cleaner _
Vacuum rug _

With children it is good to list everything in detail. Also they need to be shown how to do each item on the list, probably numerous times before they can do it on their own. My kids have already done about 3/4 of these chores before. This year I have added some new chores and will teach them before I expect them to do it on their own (and I do not expect the jobs will be done as well as I do them either.)

Today I showed Josh how to clean the shower walls and tub. I even gave him a special scrubby that his hand slips into and he actually had fun cleaning the shower wall.

Do your children have chores? Do they have different chores each day, each week? Do you plan chores in advance or just assign them what needs to be done at the moment?


p.s. I use all non toxic, mostly homemade cleaners, so I don't worry about the kids using them.

Homeschool binders: earning video game time

In my last post I wrote how I have made binders for the boys for schoolwork, earning video game time, and chores. On the back of their school work page is how they can earn video game time (the one motivator that works with both of them.)

They can earn up to 60 min. a day but can not play until all daily schoolwork and chores are complete. They also must be done playing by 8:30 pm (so they have to start by 7:30.) That way they can have some calm time before bed (9:00 for Josh, with 30 min. read time with me, making his lights out time 9:30. 10:30 for Jason.)

Earning Video Game Time:

You can earn up to 60 min. a day

Wake up to 10:00am – worth 10 min.
take medicine (Jason) _ _ _ _ _
eat breakfast _ _ _ _ _
get dressed _ _ _ _ _
be ready for school by 10am _ _ _ _ _
no arguing or fighting with brother or mom _ _ _ _ _
no unwholesome talk _ _ _ _ _
no hitting or kicking or yelling _ _ _ _ _

10:00am-2:00pm – worth 10 min.
do all school work _ _ _ _ _
no arguing or fighting with brother or mom _ _ _ _ _
no unwholesome talk _ _ _ _ _
no hitting or kicking or yelling _ _ _ _ _

Chore time – worth 10 min.
do all daily chores _ _ _ _ _
no arguing or fighting with brother or mom _ _ _ _ _
no unwholesome talk _ _ _ _ _
no hitting or kicking or yelling _ _ _ _ _

Verse – worth 10 min.
Say weekly verse from memory _ _ _ _ _

Extra chores – worth 20 min. (can do 1 a day)
Hallway _
Back room _
Stairs _
Upstairs hallway _

Homeschool binders: schoolwork

We started school on Friday. This year we are trying a slightly new system. Each child has their own binder. Each week they get a new sheet of what they have to do for school, chores, and to earn video games time.

Jason with his binder (he didn't want his picture taken so he made this face)

Jason's weekly school work

Jason's schoolwork sheet says:
Mon. date __________
Jason, each week by Friday 12:00pm you must have done:

Read 30 min. daily (120 min. total), and write what pages you read _ _ _ _
Do 1 devotion daily (4 total for week) _ _ _ _
Write 1 verse daily (4 a week) _ _ _ _

Write 7 sentences daily in your journal. Must be neat, check spelling, and punctuation.
_ _ _ _

You must have all lessons for week plus test done _ _ _ _ _ _ test _

Mon.-read chap. __ _
Tues.- do test questions _
Wed.-listen to chap. on cd _
Thur.- activity pages _

Read ______________________ _
Do report on book _

Assignments for class _

Tues.-read chapter __ in book _
Wed.-do activity pages in book
Everyday-moon observation _ _ _ _ _ _ _

* must do everyday, all else just have done by Fri. at 12pm

Josh with his binder

Joshua's weekly school work

Josh's schoolwork sheet says:
Mon. date __________
Joshua, each week by Friday 12pm you must have done:

Read 15 min. daily (60 min. total), and write what pages you read _ _ _ _
Do 1 devotion daily (4 total for week) _ _ _ _
Write 1 verse daily (4 a week) _ _ _ _

Write 3 sentences daily in your journal. Must be neat, check spelling, and punctuation. _ _ _ _

You must have all lessons for week plus test done _ _ _ _ _ _ test _

Mon.-read chapter __ _
Tues.-do test questions _
Wed. –listen to chapter on cd _
Thur. –activity pages in book_

Language Arts:
First Language Lessons for the Well Trained Mind _ _ _ _

Spelling _ _ _ _ _

Read ______________________ _
Do report on book _

Map _ _

Tues.-read chapter __ in book _
Wed.-do activity pages in book
Everyday-moon observation _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Practice guitar 10 min _ _ _ _

* must do everyday, all else just have done by Fri. at 12pm

So far they have done most of their stuff as you can see by all the check marks.
These sheets help the boys stay on schedule and also will serve as records of what we did all year.

In my next post I will show the other pages of their binders.


Sunday, September 18, 2011

Yard Work

Three hours of yard work and we still only did about 1/4th of what needs to be done.

We still have to:

-mow half the yard
-weed whack front yard around decorative stones
-weed whack edges of side yard (it is a slight hill and can't use mower there)
-weed whack entire back yard in front of neighbors fence
-cut huge pile of limbs into three feet pieces, bundle with rope, put to curb (these fell in storm)

I can do all of the above, except the last stuff as we have no way to cut the limbs, unless we use Josh's hand saw which should take about 8 years that way.

A bonus of today is that I discovered in my garden (that produced almost no produce this summer) there are green tomatoes, a few green peppers, and 2 white eggplant. At least my garden was not a total bust this year.

Another bonus is that yard work is good exercise.

Now off to empty out homeschool closet and organize it to fit this year's progress, and cook dinner for my sister who is coming over at 6.


Friday, September 16, 2011

First Day of School

Today we officially started school again.

We started our day with:

opening up back to school presents (a hammer, a nail clipper, new t-shirt, a bendy book light, a new journal, and dye free cotton candy.)

opening up back to school presents (a hammer, a nail clipper, new t-shirt, a bendy book light, a new journal, and dye free cotton candy.)

Then we wrote verses and journal entries about the summer:

Josh writing in new journal

Jason writing in new journal

We also had some outside time:

Joshua first day of third grade

Jason first day of 8th grade

too cool for school

back to school sentiments