Sunday, December 16, 2012

Check out my hurricane blog

Read updates on our hurricane story here

Also please share our hurricane blog, pray for us, and if you can make a donation to help us get back home!



Hope Tree

Since the hurricane we have had such an outpouring of love and support from family, friends, and strangers. It has been amazing. I know how blessed we are! I feel loved!

Yet it still is very hard to be in this situation. I am unsure of when we can go home, and at what cost. I am inconveniencing my brother by staying at his place (he is staying with friends, yes he is amazing!!!) I am trying to be upbeat and positive, yet not having my own home is stressful and makes it very hard to relax. I relax by reading a book at home, or cooking a meal, or watching a movie at home, or taking a nap. It stresses me out to be driving around, running errands, shopping, etc all the time.

We still have not even figured out where to put all the stuff we have and need for the next few months (our clothes, most of the boys school stuff, and a few other odds and ends.) It is not a huge amount of stuff, but just the clothes for the three of us (and we do not have that many clothes) seem to be too much for this one bedroom to support.

Today though I am going to leave the errands and go to church and then go see Santa at the hope tree in my town (Union Beach.) After the hurricane a Christmas tree was found and someone set it up in an area of my town. Since then people have been adding ornaments and gift cards. So it has become a symbol of hope for my town and today Santa will be there to take pictures with local families.

You can read about the hope tree here.

I am hopeful that this will all work out in the end and I still know God is in control. The waiting is just so hard!


Monday, December 3, 2012


We are still on the go. We have been staying at different family members homes. This weekend we are going to go to my brother's and stay there until we can go back home.

This has been so stressful and draining on us all.

We finally had the insurance guy out and we should get a check in about 4 weeks, so we can begin repairs. Once we have a check the work should take about 6 weeks.

Pray that I get enough to do all necessary repairs.

I still am praising God and still know how blessed we are.


Monday, November 19, 2012

Prayer request

We have to pack up and move as mold has settled into our home from the storm damage.
Pray for me as I have to pack up entire downstairs in days and find us a place to live.
Pray for Jason who is physically sick from all the stress and Josh who feels so displaced and lost in the shuffle.
Pray for my sister, Samanatha and Kaiden who are also displaced.
Also pray as due to Sandy I lost all my jobs and have no income right now.
Also check out our hurricane blog here.

Friday, November 9, 2012


Here is a blog I created to start to share our hurricane Sandy story.

We just got back internet today. It has been a long and stressful two weeks. But praise God we are safe.

How did you fair in hurricane Sandy?


Monday, October 22, 2012

Some of my blessings

 My blessings for today:

 ~my family
~my friends
~freedom to worship at my church yesterday, and worship God everyday
~my boys sleeping in right now
~this amazing fall weather (I love fall)
 ~me feeling great after procedure Fri.
~awesome day yesterday (out to lunch and time spent outside)
~my new/old relationship
 ~still working appliances (thankful every time I do another load of dishes or wash and dry another load of laundry)
~my cozy bed, and a good nights sleep last night (I got my 8 hours)
~having more than enough

What are your blessings today?

Saturday, October 20, 2012

I read this blog written by a fellow single mom of four kids who is attempting to provide some semblance of a normal life for her children, while being unemployed. She has a great ETSY shop that you should check out here.

Even if you can not buy anything from her at this time, can you please pray for her and her children? Also like her page on facebook and share her ETSY store on your facebook, blog, twitter, or any other means possible?



Friday, October 19, 2012

Prayers appreciated

Today I am going to hospital for a minor gyn procedure. I would appreciate prayers for me to be calm, for the doctors, and for my family watching my boys and driving me. Thanks.


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The present

My last post was pretty much a sum up of the dating I have done for the past 20 years. This post is about the present.

I have mentioned my first boyfriend a few times on this blog, and in my previous post as well. It was 16 years ago that we parted ways. I can still remember the day actually. Over the years we have kept in touch, actually at one point asking each other for forgiveness for the past. (Which was a pretty amazing conversation.)

We had a few phone conversations, letters, and one meet up since then. That was until this summer.

This summer he moved back from out of state, where he had been the past few years. In June, before he moved back I was talking with one of his sisters and felt compelled to write him a letter (I still prefer handwritten letters to texts and emails.) The letter ended up being returned to me. I held onto it from some reason.

Fast forward a few weeks and we struck up a facebook conversation. I mentioned the letter and after more time just having casual facebook conversation we actually met up again and I gave him the letter.

Since then we have continued talking through facebook, texts, phone, and in person. We have spent time together going out to dinner, movies, and doing other things. He even came to our church.

It is strange getting to know someone you once knew. You sort of expect they may be the same, and in some ways he is, but I also see how much he has grown up and matured. He is not that same broken little boy who thought he was a man anymore. He actually is one. He is funny and makes me laugh. He listenes to what I have to say. He thinks about what I would like when planning an activity. He opens up the car door for me. He never lets me pay (you have no idea how hard that one is for me.) 

It has been really nice to get to be a grown up, and do things without the kids, and get to focus on me a bit. (It also has been a challenge to arrange sitters and play dates for my boys, all while still doing everything else I normally do like work and such. That is a topic for it's own post, I am sure.)

Their are still some hesitations. Is he really this nice? Can he really never drink again? (He has not in years.) And my mom, sister, and brother, who knew him and our relationship all to well way back when, have hesitations as well. I know they love me and want only the best for me, and have seen me heartbroken by all my past bad choices, so they have valid opinions. They don't think he has changed (although they have not seen or interacted with him all these years; although my brother may have seen him over the years.) My sister, especially is adamant that people can not change. I do not believe that. I have changed. And we all can change because of the blood of the cross.

Plus how many of us are still the same as when we were 15, 16, 17, 18, or 19?  I thank God I am not that girl anymore. I loved her and she was cute, but I am so much more now. And he is not that person anymore either.

So what does all this mean? I do not know. I am just using this time to get to know him better. I also am getting to know myself a little better, which is pretty cool. And have even challenged myself a bit by agreeing to and not being completely scared of watching a scary movie. (I have not watched a scary movie since I was 12, Pet Cemetery, it literally haunted me for like 15 years.)

I like who he is now. I want to continue getting to know him and spending time with him.


                                                                 Jay and me recently

My past dating life

Since having my first son at the age of eighteen, I have not had too many dates or relationships. My son's father was only the second guy I had ever dated. We dated a few months before I got pregnant, and we tried to stay together, but were just too young and immature to really understand all that a relationship required.

I spent the next two years devoted solely to raising my son, and providing for our lives. And some much needed growing up. When my son was about two years old I actually dated a nice guy for a few months. That didn't really work out. Fast forward two years and I started dating my ex husband. We married about nine months into the relationship.

You all know how that ended (just in case you don't when I was eight months pregnant he left me, in another state, with no car; my mom came to my rescue.)

Anyway, I spent the next four years not dating, just getting my life back on track and raising my boys. In 2007 I met this guy online, who lived out of state. We had a bizarre relationship for about two years. He was so wrong for me, I should have ended it after our first meeting.

But eventually I did end it and spent the last three years coming to contentment that I was single and may stay that way for the rest of my life. I finally had peace about it. I turned to the blessings I did have and once again put all my energies and focus into raising the boys (as somewhere along that time I had begun homeschooling as well.)

So in my entire life I have only dated five guys. (Not counting any he's my boyfriend from like grammar school of course, I do not consider those dating.)

You may have gleaned a few things about my first boyfriend, if you have been reading my blog long enough, or if you are family you may already know too many of the details.

We dated from 7th or 8th grade (1992-93) until I graduated high school (June 1996.) We did break up on occasion, as most teens do I am sure. We had an interesting relationship to say the least. But from what we understood love as, we did love each other. Yet we both were so young and so broken. I was longing for the love of my father; he was dealing with his own family issues. I turned to him to fill my longing; he turned to drugs and alcohol. This was not a healthy option for either of us, of course.

We both ended up hurt and eventually parted ways.

I carried that hurt right into my second relationship and beyond. It took coming to know the Lord, time, and much therapy to see what healthy is and to be content with myself and my life.

But despite all the pain and heartache of my past, I am grateful for it all. My past has shaped me and helped me become who I am today.

I am grateful for all the relationships I have been in (ok, maybe not the last one.) I learned something from each of these relationships. And I have my boys from two of these relationships as well.

Of course, I have made many mistakes, and also do not want for my boys to have give a part of their heart to anyone who will not be their spouse. (Yes, that is a natural consequence of having relationships outside of God's will.) I hope to spare them much of the heartache I have had.

But I can look back and hold onto the fond memories of each relationship, and let go of the harsh memories.

So that is my past dating life. Anyone want to chime in on their past dating life? Or thoughts on dating in general?


p.s. Now, as a christian, and a much older and wiser me, I think dating at such a young age is a bad idea. Not even sure I agree with the whole idea of teens dating at all. I like the idea of courting.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Homeschool Update

Last Mon. (10/01/12) was our first day back to school. We went into Aug. with last year, so we took off half of Aug., and all of Sept. as our summer break.

Our first day was a bit of a disaster as Josh was in an extremely rare angry mode (he had dye the day before and this really effects his behavior, I try to have him avoid dye at all cost because of it) and Jason was upset that he actually had to do schoolwork on the first day.

But it is getting better as we attempt to settle into a routine. Right now our biggest struggle is getting started by 10am. Jason, who was getting up at 9am for most of Sept., is once again struggling to get up in the am.

I am up before 8am everyday, as I am taking a little girl to school each day (and also picking her up 3 days a week.)

I drop her off at school by about 8:25am and then Josh and I take a walk about 45min. Then I jump in the shower and make breakfast.

We should be starting school by 10am, but it has been more like 11am.

Each day we start with prayer and bible time. I write down one praise, prayer for another, and prayer for our self from each of us. Then we take turns praying out loud. For Bible we will be reading through the entire Old Testament this year. So each day, we listen to Jason's iPhone as we read along in our own Bible's (this was Jason's idea, so I went with it.)

I take notes while we listen, and then at the end of each chapter ask questions based on these notes. It has been interesting hearing the boys responses and thoughts that I did not even think of myself.

So far we have read up to Genesis chapter 24.

After family bible time we split up and each reread what we just read and have our quiet time with God.

Then the boys attack their daily school lists. Josh and I usually start with Language Arts, since it is completely teacher led (he can not do on his own.)

At some point the boys are demanding lunch so we eat. We have eaten lunch together at the table every school day. I have really enjoyed that, and they seem to as well (surprisingly.)

Josh's daily assignments are:

Bible / Math / Language Arts / Science / History / Art / Piano / Gym
Still have to add in Spanish and Cursive (we do Reading together at bedtime)

Jason's daily assignments are:
Bible / Math / Language Arts / Reading / History / Science / Piano / Gym
Still have to add in Foreign Language

They boys have to do daily chores after schoolwork, and if they complete all schoolwork and chores, plus have good behavior they can have electronic minutes. They can use the minutes to play the computer, play Wii, play Xbox 360, or play PlayStation 3. They can not earn or play more than 60 in one day. They have only had like two days so far that they actually got to play since school started up again.

Usually the boys are doing school work until about 3:00pm (usually later for Jason.)

My goal is to have all schoolwork done by Thur. night so Fridays after my am cleaning job we can do field trips.

If not, we may still do the field trips and also do school on Saturdays, since I really value the field trips (and so do the boys.)

How is school going for your family? (homeschool, public, or private school)


First Day of School

Jason 9th grade

                                                                Joshua 4th grade


                                                                    Kaiden preschool

Monday, October 8, 2012

Praise God

I was able to catch up on all bills. All my bills are current, and all utilities, taxes, insurances, and mortgage payments are paid up in full. This is such a relief.

This month I am also on target to pay all my monthly bills as well.

I still have debt, but all the monthly payments are current.

I am praising God as it is all His money. Also praising my church, family, and friends for all their support and prayers.


Thursday, October 4, 2012

The post about let down

Ever since I was little I would always get really excited about a holiday or my birthday or just a special day. Once the day came and went though usually my expectations were not met and I would feel let down.

Yesterday was my 33rd birthday. It was a great day. Josh made me breakfast in bed. My mom also brought breakfast. Jason's grandmother brought lunch. I got flowers from my friend delivered via a florist. I was spoiled.

Yet still I found myself sad at the end of the day. I actually went to bed having a good cry (doesn't every girl need one of those now and again.)

I do not want to seem ungrateful, because I really am. I am so blessed. I have so many amazing people in my life who love me so much.

Yet I still get these over the top romantic ideas in my head about how things are supposed to be. It is like I am wearing rose colored glasses half the time.

One of the things that did upset me is that my son Jason did nothing to acknowledge my birthday. No homemade card, no sweet thing (like Josh who made me breakfast in bed.) He actually said a few times yesterday, that he forgot it was my birthday. Now I am not sure what I expect from a 14 year old, but it hurts me like he does not care. Even though I know that he does.

Another thing that made me upset is that is was a Wed. and thus no celebrating could actually happen (like going to dinner or out to do something fun.) It was just a regular day for me with work, and homeschooling, and even some chores.

In my life I have set things up to fail many times just by my expectations. I expect if I plan a field trip the boys will not fight that day. I expect that if I clean my house it will stay that way for longer than 5 minutes. I expect a holiday to be all fun and loving and perfect.

But even I know their really is no perfect. Besides my idea of perfect is not the same as someone else's idea of perfect.

One thing that helps me with my let down is to be grateful for everything I do. Also to help and do special things for other people really lifts my mood.

Turning the situation from about me to about Christ is really the best thing to do. I should have cracked open my Bible last night instead of having a pity party. I should pray about each day and seek His will and not my will for each trip, vacation, holiday, and special days.

Do you ever get let down about situations?


Monday, October 1, 2012

In an Instant



In mid Sept. my mom and stepfather treated us to a family vacation down at the Jersey shore. They rented the cutest beach house and bought tons of food. A week of relaxing, bike rides, board games, swimming, boogie boarding, and lounging around in the sand was planned. The above pictures, I think are from the first day.

The second time we attempted boogie boarding had different results. I think it was the second full day of vacation, I was up at the house making lunch. My sister was in the house reading. My mom had Kaiden down playing in the sand. My stepfather was boogie boarding with Jason and Josh. Apparently they all got caught up in a rip tide and ended up being pushed sideways and out to sea. Jason managed to use all his strength to  swim back in and run up to the house. He could barely talk as he tried to tell me to call the police. Once I realized it was not he who needed immediate medical attention, I ran down to the beach to watch helplessly as Josh and Scott were managing to stay on boogie boards but without actually coming back to shore. Someone else had already called the police and an off duty lifeguard at this point.

I have never felt such fear and helplessness in my life. I was staring into my son's face, and thinking if Scott can not get him back in what could I do. I began to pray and hold in the tears. Finally (I think they were about there about 12 minutes total) the lifeguard used a surfboard to bring Josh in. He just fell into my arms in tears. I had to continue to fight mine back. I walked him up to the house and he stayed holding on to me for a long time.

All three were exhausted from the ordeal. We did nothing else that day. After Josh was calm and Jason was resting I went into my room and bawled my eyes out. In an instant I could have lost my boys. Praise Jesus I did not. Having lot my cousin Cristie and then Eric made this ordeal all the more haunting, all the more real. A new day is not guaranteed to any of us. Today is all we may ever have.

So this incident sort of halted our vacation. No one wanted to even go near the sand, let alone in the water (except Kaiden, who was blissfully unaware of the entire ordeal.) I know that we live near the ocean and bay and we will get back in, but immediately after was just too soon.

By Thur. we decided to just cut the trip short and go home. (We were supposed to stay until Sat.) It was a relief for us all just to leave the nightmare behind.

This trip could have had a different ending, and I am so grateful it did not and that we all came home safely, just with a new respect for the ocean.

I am grateful my for stepfather, Scott being there and keeping Josh calm and safe. I am thankful that Jason managed to swim back in on his own (and I am quiet proud of him as well.) I am thankful I have a family who wants to vacation with us. I am so blessed.


us exploring the beach on our first day (Lady was there too)

                                                  I was there too, with Josh and Kaiden

                                            the backyard of the beach house we rented

Financial Update

Here it is Oct. 1st. I have not posted too many financial updates, because I have been behind on everything for some time now.

I am currently all caught up on:
Car Insurance
House Insurance

I am behind on:
$200 Water bill (this is like for 4 months)
$160 Phone/Cable/Internet (this is 2 months behind)

My debt is higher than it was, but all monthly payments are current:
$700 Mastercard
$400 Kohl's
$1,000 Amazon

I have had to ask my church and family for help to get the stuff that I caught up on. It is very humbling and frustrating; but for July & Aug. I received no child support from Jason's dad, which really impacted my budget.

The Mastercard was used for Lady's grooming and unexpected vet bills and medicine as she was sick last month. I also had to fix a van that was given to me and register and get plates for it; all went on the Mastercard.

I should be able to pay all my regular monthly bills this month. I will not have any extra to throw at past due water and phone/cable/internet bills, but I should be able to make one full payment to each, avoiding shut off on those items. (By the way I am required to have a home phone for in home daycare, or I would just cancel it completely.) Hopefully Oct. will not have any emergencies that once again blow my budget (we have had so many in past 6 months with sewer backing up into house, multiple car repairs, Lady getting sick, and so on.)

I am so thankful for my family and church for helping me from falling off the edge. I am so blessed.

How is your budget?


p.s. I know that I should have an emergency fund. I did at one point, but it is all depleted. Right now, even though I work over 40 hours 6 days a week, at numerous in home and out of the home jobs my income is only just about my bills. Their is barely money for our needs, let alone wants. Praying for no more emergencies for now is the best I can do.

p.p.s. I just paid my entire past due water bill. Now the only past due bill I have is my cable/phone/internet bill which is $160 (since it is 2 months behind.) Praise the Lord!!!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


As you know it is already Sept. So far this month we have:

had family barbecue to celebrate Jason's 8th grade graduation
celebrated family birthday's (mom, sister, grandmother, cousin, aunt, brother)
fixed some holes in the walls
painted Josh's room
primed Jason's room (to be painted today)
gotten Lady shaved
taken Lady to vet for a UTI
went to Jason's dad's family picnic (we go every year, Jason's dad does not)
Jason had one visit with the chiropractor
watched Kaiden
watched Ava, (before and after school care)
cleaned out old homeschool closet
got awesome new shelf for homeschool closet (at a yard sale $20, so it is new to us)

Still to come for Sept.:

finish both boys rooms, including new blinds, and some shelving
organize all homeschool stuff
homeschool lesson plans
first day of homeschool Tues. Sept. 25th
family vacation to South Jersey (coming soon)
I have a class (childcare, I have to do hours each year to keep my daycare license)
Josh is going to see Sesame Street live with Kaiden
I am going to my first ever chiropractor appointment
I have two or three houses to clean
I will have a small gyn procedure done
I am participating in a Walk For Life to raise money for Solutions Pregnancy Center
Jason will have another chiropractor appointment (he goes every two weeks)
I will have a visit from the agency that issues the daycare license (they do three a year, two scheduled, and one surprise)
I will do some out of home childcare
I will do some in home childcare
We will have two or three more no drive days
We will attend Church on Sundays
We may attend church on Wed. evenings for children and youth night
One car will get fixed so I can have a car again

What are your Sept. plans?



Summer is almost officially over and yet we didn't really embrace it this year. We had some limitations with my car being out of commission, and also limited financial resources this summer that may have contributed to the lack of doing too much summer stuff. Also Jason was still sick on occasion with his Epstein Barr and food allergy / sensitivity stuff.

Josh and I went to Sandy Hook once for a horseshoe crab class. Josh also went there again for a fireman class with my mom. We all went to the bay once to play in the sand. But we never actually swam in the ocean this summer (this is very odd.)

We did do Six Flags Great Adventure twice. We did Hurricane Harbor (water park) once, but it rained after one hour of us being there. We did Runaway Rapids (water park) once as well. We all went to the boardwalk once or twice with my brother. And Jason went to Wildwood with his dad's family once. We did go swimming about ten times in a few friend's pool. Jason did get to kayak once at the house I babysit, and once with Scott. Josh did a clay art class. I took six awesome walks in the woods while he was in art class.

We also participated in my church's Vacation Bible School; which we do every summer.

We really just had normal days, with a bit more relaxing added in. My work schedule remained the same. Jason did his horseback riding throughout the summer as well. We actually were still doing school until the beginning of August.

We did make some yummy sun tea a few times, and awesome fruit puree ice pops as well. We did lots of grilling (the clams were my favorite.) We got bite by tons of mosquitoes. We chased a few bunny rabbits. We looked at the stars and moon a few nights, and attempted to catch fireflies as well.

Josh said his favorite thing about summer was, "swimming in pools."

My favorite thing about summer was central air and walking in the woods barefoot after it rained.

Jason is still in bed, so I will ask him later.

How was your summer?


Monday, September 3, 2012


Jason has finished 8th grade and will be starting high school soon. I am so proud of him.
This is my mom and Jason
                                                       Jason, my mom, and stepfather
                                                                      Me and Jason
We had a great party at my mom's today. My mom and stepfather are so amazing. They do so much for us.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

At the bay

I live in walking distance (like 5 min. walk) to this bay. We went there yesterday.

              This is Ava and I being silly. She is a really awesome girl. I love her so much.
This is Josh. He is so handsome. Nice smile too.
                                                    Ava and Josh playing in the sand.
                                                             This is me, taken by me.
                                                              Ava again. She is so pretty.

                                                           It was a nice day down at the bay.
                                     (Jason was there too, but he hates to have his picture taken.)

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Budget update

Yesterday I paid my Aug. tax bill. It was the last day to pay and not avoid the late fee. So now I am actually caught up on my taxes. This means I am actually all caught up on May and June bills. Yeah.

Now I need to catch up on:
$100 water bill (two months)
$160 electric bill (two months)
$160 phone/internet/cable (two months)
$60 sewer (one month)

Other debt:
$220 Kohl's charge
$1,000 credit card (yes this has gone up)

So I am about $1,700 in debt.

I also have a $2,000 house insurance bill due in Nov. that I will need to pay.

Any other money I get this month (about $400) will go to pay my mortgage for Sept. 1st.

How are your finances?


Saturday, August 25, 2012


Lately I am just stuck. Not sure of where I am going, not really wanting to get there anyway. I am doing lots of relaxing, and sleeping, and thinking. I am thinking about my past choices and those I make today. I am what ifing so many things in my head. I am also romanticizing those choices as well.

I am also desiring to have a peaceful, loving, safe home. I am not sure where it went awry and why it is not like that, but it is not. Sometimes I don't even want to be here. Other times I turn a blind eye so that I don't have to deal with it. Certainly not the mature, responsible thing to do.

Some days I cry out in prayer and angst that I am not really doing His will at all.

I really do want to do His will. I really want to be a better person. But right now I am stuck in my own head and selfish ways. I have been here before. Too many times. And each and every time, I have chosen my way. Let me tell you that HAS NOT WORKED! I think it is time to really choose His ways.

Please join me in prayer regarding this.



Friday, August 17, 2012

Trying this out

You will notice for the first time I have an ad on my blog. Every time someone clicks on it (no purchase necessary) I get 1 penny. But they do not pay out until I have $100.00 or 10,000 clicks. So every time you read a post would you please click the above ad first. Thanks so much.


Let there be Meat

In my previous post about my $300 a month food budget I gather you figured we do not eat a lot of meat because it is costly.

I just got a huge blessing though. Today I went to to Stop & Shop to get organic apples and milk. But I found in their natural (no hormones or stuff added, and meat feed a more natural diet, but not certified organic) meat section packages of chicken on sale 4 big pieces for about $1.50, with a .50 cent off coupon because they were expiring soon (no big deal, they just went in my freezer.) I bought all 5. So we will have 4 pieces chicken for only $1.00 (.25 cents each.) In the same natural section they had packages of 4 turkey burgers for $4.49 with a $2.00 off sticker on each, making them $2.49 for 4 burgers or .63 cents each. I also got two small steaks on sale for $4.26 with a $2.00 off coupon, making it $2.26 or $1.13 per steak. (I can stretch to make the two pieces into a meal for all 3 of us.)

So I got 11 packages meat (for 11 meals) for $19.71. Average of $1.80 per meal. Since my lunch budget is $3 and my dinner budget is $4.00, that gives me $1.20 or $2.20 worth of veggies and starches to add to lunch and dinner.

I also will stretch by making broth with soup first, and using left over veggies and rice to make soup for another few meals. I also use the broth to make rice instead of using just water to cook it in.

For $94.74 I have almost enough food for the entire week (with a few things I had at home as well.)
 I just have to still get Jason's soy and corn free bread ($4.00 a loaf) and some more fruit.

I got organic soy and corn free granola bars on sale. The boys can each have one a day. I also got fruit bars that are nothing but dehydrated fruit for snacks (also on sale.)

I got a gallon organic milk (not on sale almost $6 a gallon) and Jason's soy, corn, and gluten free cereal (2 boxes, also on sale.) I got Josh cereal too (2 boxes for $2 on sale and with coupon.) I also got a dozen cage free organic eggs (not on sale, regular price at $4.00, but eggs we notice the cage free organic ones taste better.)

I needed olive oil (that and butter is all we use.) The organic jar was on sale for $6.99, but the same brand non organic was $3.99. I bought 2 of the non organic. Almost double in price for organic was just too high. That oil will last a month.

I also got 2 gallons white vinegar (not on sale, but only $5 for both gallons.) These are for cooking and I use to clean and as fabric softener. This will last all month.

I got 2 bottles organic, corn syrup free ketchup (on sale for 2 for $3.00.) I also got a jar of sofrito to make rice and beans with.

I only went into to the store for the organic milk and organic apples. But I could not pass up these deals, plus I needed to food shop for week anyway. I did get those apples. 14 organic apples (1 each a day for the boys) for $16.42. The most expensive thing on my list. But worth it. My boys love apples and they will each now get 1 per day.

You may be asking why does someone with only $300 a month buy anything organic at all. If I could I would buy all organic because GMO's scare me. Also organic has no chemicals which are gross. Plus some studies show organic stuff actually has more nutrients than non organic stuff.

Since I can not afford all organic, I still get a few things organic because these are the things that we really notice taste better: milk (which was $5 something a gallon regular, I paid almost $6, a small difference), eggs (which were about $1.50 more for the cage free organic ones, so much tastier though), and apples (about $1.00 more per pound, but again we now hate the chemical taste of non organic.)

The ketchup I got organic, but mostly because it is corn syrup free. Plus it was 2 for $3.00, which is same price as other ketchup's. The granola bars I bought because they are also corn and soy free.

I was just so excited about the deals I got that I had to come home and blog about it.

And God said, "Let there be meat" (just kidding He didn't actually say that to me, but I see these deals as a blessing from Him.)

What awesome deals have you gotten lately?


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

My $300 a month food budget

We have about $300 a month for food. It is not much with two growing boys (especially with their food allergies and sensitivities.)

$300 a month is $10 a day or $2 for breakfast, $3 for lunch, $4 for dinner, and $1 a day for snacks.

An example of this:
scrambled eggs (2 each, total 6) $1.00 (at $2 a dozen)
apple slices $.50 (1 large apple sliced, half for each boy, I go without) *
toast $.50 (homemade gluten free bread)

homemade rice and beans $1.00
raw broccoli $1.00

baked potatoes $1.50 (includes sour cream and cheddar)
grilled zucchini $ .50
spinach salad with croutons $2.50 (spinach, tomato, cucumber, croutons, and dressing ingredients)

homemade gluten free peach muffins $2.00 (total cost of batch was about $8 with gluten free flour, eggs, butter, and peaches used, but that will last 4 days)

In this scenario, I spent less on lunch, but more on snacks. This also assumes I have staples like sugar, and spices already in house. Also these are non organic prices. I try to buy some items organic, but find it very difficult.

Thankfully I have family and friends who give us leftovers and produce and such to help supplement.

That way I can have a meal like tacos (Jason's favorite)
$3.00 1 pound ground beef
$1.00 tortillas
$1.00 sour cream
$ .50 salsa
$ .50 cheddar
$ .50 beans (to stretch the meat)
$ .50 lettuce / tomatoes

Strange how a $7.00 dinner is luxury.

How much is your food budget? What low cost, healthy meals do you serve?


* apples are one of the things I still buy only organic as we can taste a difference in the non organic ones, so in reality 1 organic apple is about $1.00, but I used non organic prices for above scenario.

Monday, August 13, 2012

This photo was taken by my awesome friend, Joanna. I was in this very spot here today and tried to get my own shots, but only had my cell phone camera. This is an amazing spot overlooking the reservoir. This is on the trail that I now walk barefoot, every Mon. while Josh is at art class. Because it feels so nice. Last week is was so wet and muddy. I was giddy for it all.

Today I walked to this very spot and I just sat there to soak all the beauty in. It made me want to cry it was so beautiful. It also made me want to write. I didn't have a pen or paper so instead I thought and prayed and listened. The listening part is really hard. Even alone in the quiet of the woods my thoughts cloud out what God may be saying to me. But I did hear some from Him. I heard Him in the birds songs. I also felt Him there as well. I felt him in the shade of the trees. I even saw Him in the beauty of the trees. I also felt Him send His love with a beautiful lingering butterfly. It was all so amazing.

It also made me think about who I am...
daughter of the King
my mother's daughter
a niece
a cousin
a mother
a sister
an aunt
a friend
a teacher
a steward of the Earth

It made me think about what I enjoy...
the woods
the trees
lazy mornings
taking pictures
scrap booking
coming up with recipes with whatever we have
when those recipes taste yummy
using things up (with out wasting)
having enough
a dip in in a cool pool or ocean or lake

It made me think about some things I would like to do...
learn to make pottery
learn to play guitar
go to and hike down the Grand Canyon
be able to run and love it

I also had time to reflect on who and what I am not; and how I can be better at my current roles.

It was an amazing walk in the woods with the Lord.
How did you spend your time with Him today?



Josh and I just watched this movie. I was hesitant to watch it. I want to support Christian films that value family; however the topic of the movie is a hard one for me. I grew up without my biological father, as I have shared here before. And now my boys are growing up without their father's as well. This makes my heart ache. I still bear the emotional scars of longing for my father's love as a child. Even today at 32 years old I sometimes long for it. I know that I can not blame not having my dad on my adult choices, and I need to make the right ones irregardless of my past, but that doesn't erase all the pain.

It hurts a young girl to not really know she is loved by her dad. It hurts forever. I am so thankful that today I know I am a daughter of the King. His love heals so much and carries me through each day.

That all being said, if you are a parent right now you can choose not to cause your children that pain. Start by watching this movie, pray, and seek His will for your parenting.

You can also check out this website for some study guides to go along with this movie.


the Help

I just finished this book last night. I started it Sat. and could barely out it down, but I am like that with almost any book I read. The writing is done well. I really felt like I was watching these interactions and conversations.

This book added to my recent thoughts about my jobs. I watch children and clean homes. But I am personally involved in all of these situations. I talk with all the families as friends. Recently I was talking with a friend about her ex boss's thoughts on the cleaning service. Basically his view is they are to be neither seen or heard, just do their job and be gone. Makes me wonder if I cross the line with my jobs. But I genuinely care for these families and their homes. I think they care about me too.

I do get that all work relationships do not have to be personal. But I don't think people in jobs such as cleaning are less of people. We are all people. We are all created by God in His image. He loves us all the same, and gives us all the same opportunity to love Him as well.

Have you read this book? What did you think of it?
What else are you reading this summer?


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Great giveaway

                              A fellow blogger is having and awesome contest. Check it out here.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

5 years of blogging

I thought I started this blog in Aug. 2007, but just discovered that it was July 23, 2007.
Read my first post here.
I have been blogging for 5 years now. I am so glad I have this blog as a journal and scrapbook of our lives over the past 5 years.
                                                                    Us in 2007:

Jason with a virtue pet

Joshua in his orange phase

both boys together



I have grown so much in the past 5 years. I have moved 2 times (from apartment to rented house, from rented house to my own house.) I am now homeschooling, which I was not doing then. I am no longer parenting any preschoolers. I also have a teen now. I had surgery and my ankle did recover. I was in another bad relationship. I ended that relationship. I learned that the worse that could happen, did. I lost part of my heart when I lost my brother, Eric. I am still hanging on. I got a dog. I started my cleaning business. I reopened my in home daycare. I turned 28, 29, 30, 31, & 32. I gave up disposable paper products. I discovered I have a love for cheese (Emmathaler yum.) I started cooking and baking from scratch. I made some successful dishes.

I have seen the hand of God bless our family so many times, some beyond anything my mind can comprehend.

I am looking forward to the next 5 years.

Here are some of my goals for that time:

grow in my walk with the Lord
give God my stress
read through the Bible 2 times
lose and keep off 50 pounds
have exercise be part of my DAILY routine
continue homeschooling
graduate Jason from high school
graduate Josh from 8th grade
pay off all my non mortgage debt (about $2,000)
read at least 50 fiction books
read at least 50 non fiction books
take a pottery class
improve my sewing skills and be able to make basic clothing
go to Niagara Falls
replace all the carpet in my home with wood or laminate

It is strange to take a few moments and look ahead, especially when I am so busy with the things at hand. But as looking back reminds me, it goes by so quickly. It is good to have some goals to strive for.

How many of you have been reading my blog since the beginning?



me, brother Kevin, brother Eric, Mom, sister Sam, stepfather Scott, & grandma
I got my AA in Education

                              my younger brother and me, at my graduation celebration barbecue

                                                               me and my brother Eric

My brothers and me in 1985 or 1986

Me as a toddler

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Illness and parental stress

In the past few months Jason has been ill on and off. Their are days he literally can not get out of bed (way above and beyond the normal teen stuff.) His doctor suspected Epstein Barr. Blood work results we got back this week confirmed this.
Basically this is viral and not responsive to antibiotics. The best things to do are let him rest and give him good nutrition.
I also have him on fish oil, a food grade multivitamin, vitamin d, and a supplement for infection daily.
From my research this takes a long time to recover from and the virus never fully leaves your body.

I am not happy that my son is sick, and I hate when he is not feeling well. But I have to be honest, sometimes I just get exhausted parenting a special needs child with all the doctors appointments, therapies, precautions, preplanning, stressful days, and more. And now on top of all of that he is sick as well.

Especially as a single parent, if I have to go to work and he is in a mood or not feeling well I am always unsure as what to do. Cancel work or wherever I have to go, make him go anyway, or leave him home alone. None of these options are great. Especially since if I do not work, I do not get paid.

If I have to cancel work or wherever I have to go it shows irresponsibility on my part and I may even lose that job. If I make him go anyway he may get further stressed or take longer to recover if he is ill that day. Leaving him home is something I do not like to do. He doesn't really like it either. Sometimes he gets very overwhelmed and nervous and so being home alone adds to that. (Although occasionally he enjoys being home alone, for the quiet.)

So all this makes me a bit insensitive to my children's illnesses and challenges. For example if they are not feeling well, I get upset that they can't do their chores. I know, terrible. But when what they are dealing with (illness, stress, etc.) happens so often (almost daily) it is frustrating to me.

Please pray for us!!!

I need prayer to have more empathy for them. I also need strength to handle all these challenges and issues. I also need wisdom for what to do when I am in the midst of a child's illness, or episode, or outburst.
Jason needs prayer with this new diagnosis of Epstein Barr, among his other challenges.
Joshua needs prayer for his challenges as well.



Sunday, July 15, 2012

More followers please

Next month I will have been blogging for 5 years! My goal is to have 50 followers by then, please let your friends know about my blog. Thanks.


Sandy Hook

We live near Sandy Hook, which is a beach, bay, and so much more. It used to be an army base and is still a coast guard station. We went there the other day.

                                              Jason and Josh walking in the Mortar Battery.

Josh attempting to climb the battery wall.

                      Jason made it to the top of a lookout (shhh, he is not supposed to be up there.)

           Joanna and I. We have been friends since I was in 7th grade (20 years ago actually.)

What have we been up to

Our summer schedule looks sort of like our regular schedule. We do have my nephew less as my sister is not taking college classes this summer. It is a nice break (some days we had him like 7:00am or 8:00am until 9:00am or 10:00pm.)

Our schedule right now is:
leave am for cleaning job
four hour cleaning job cleaning job
while we are at cleaning job Jason does online math class 11:15am-12:15pm (the client lets us use their wifi)
after cleaning job Jason piano
after piano Josh art class (this starts tomorrow) for two hours
night Jason chiropractor

4:00pm Kaiden comes over
10:00pm Kaiden leaves

4:00pm Kaiden comes over
10:00pm Kaiden leaves

Jason has online class 11:15am - 12:15pm
Therapy in the afternoon (we alternate, each week it is someone else.)
afternoon Jason horseback riding
4:00pm Kaiden comes over
10:00pm Kaiden leaves

Fri. ~
My goal is field trip Fridays,
but we have been doing doctors appointments
and / or extra cleaning jobs

Sat. ~
8:00am Kaiden arrives
6:00pm Kaiden leaves
night I go babysit (I drop Kaiden and boys at my mom's on the way.)

Sun. ~
night usually dinner with family (mom, stepfather, sister, nephew, & brother)

Somewhere in the schedule, I have to do food shopping. I also try to visit Jason's great grandfather weekly, and my grandmother too. They both live about ten minutes from me.

For now Jason has weekly: math class, piano, horseback riding, and chiropractor. In Aug. he will not be doing piano.
Josh has: art class (I had also signed him up for a class at Sandy Hook, but he didn't like it)
They each have therapy once a month as well.
I am also trying to make sure they have time with friends weekly. Just today Josh had a friend over after church.

I don't always clean on Monday. Also I don't always babysit on Sat. nights. It stinks when they don't need me as I don't get paid when I don't work and I really need that money.

We try and do things outside daily, even if just eating a meal outside. Last Wed. night we went to a local park and had a picnic dinner there with my friend and cousin's kids. It was fun. Plus the weather was mild for a NJ summer night.

We have season passes to Great Adventure but have not really been utilizing them too much (mostly because my car needs brakes and new tires, so I am only driving it local. Great Adventure is about forty five min. away.)

I am happy with our schedule as it is right now.

Is your summer schedule different than your regular schedule?


Customer Service and Product Satisfaction

I do not have a lot of available funds, so when I spend money on a product I expect it to work as it should. When it doesn't I do not hesitate to write, call, or email the company.

Just this week I got a terrible sunburn, even after applying sunblock. I had bought about nine bottles of sunblock from this company, All Terrain. They were not all the same. One bottle was for kids, two were a lotion, but six were a spray. Previously I had used the kid one and the cream. Both worked great. The day I got the sunburn I was using the spray. I have very sensitive skin and burn very easily, so I have learned to be very diligent with applying sunburn. This day in particular I applied it three times over a four hour period. I was concerned to use this stuff again, and I had five more bottles as well, so I emailed the company.

They asked me to return the six bottles, at their expense, so they can test these bottles. They also are refunding me retail value for the six bottles (even though I no longer have the receipt.)

I am so impressed with this response, and especially how quickly this was handled.

Also even though I usually make my own laundry soap, and also have some soap nuts, I was not finding great success with either lately; so I bought a bottle of Method Free & Clear laundry soap a few weeks ago. It was not really cleaning my clothes. I tried cold water, I tried hot. Some loads had to be rewashed two or three times.

I emailed the company again. With in two days they had figured out the bottle I bought was made in 2009 and past its prime. The store should not have been selling it anymore. (Method said their product has a 2 year shelf life.) They recommended I take the product back to the store, but I don't still have the receipt. I told the company that. They are now sending me free coupons for Method products. I will try a fresher bottle of laundry soap next time (the customer service rep said the first two numbers in the lot number are the year it was made, and the next numbers are the day made.)

Now I can take the refund from All Terrain and buy more of the kid stuff and cream sunblock. So I will still have sunblock for the rest of the summer (we use a lot.) And I will also have a new bottle of Method laundry soap as well.

I am very pleased and will continue to do business with these companies again.

Also I referred a friend to Groupon back in March. She signed up as a new customer, and bought a Groupon her self, but I never got the $10 referral credit. Groupon made good this week and credited my Groupon account for the $10. I wasn't even going to email them, but I am glad I did.

On the other side of customer service, last Fri. Jason had to go for blood work. This is extremely stressful for him. We were so fortunate to get two amazing techs who were so patient and kind with him. You better believe  I took the time to thank them both personally and also sent an email to their boss explaining how amazing the two techs were.

I like to also let a company know when I think they are doing a great job.

Do you contact a company if you are unhappy? Do you let them know when you are really happy? What have been the responses from the companies if you did contact them?


Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Today I had some family and a friend over for a barbecue. My mom and stepfather brought most of the food. It was so good too.

 The clams with butter and garlic to dip were my favorite. It is really nice to live near the ocean and get fresh local seafood.

The weather was hot, but we have some nice trees in my yard, so we had nice shade.

I also had a baby pool set up and Kaiden and Josh enjoyed it.

I am so blessed, some of my blessings today are:

being an America
freedom to speak God's name anywhere and everywhere
great food
family and friends
my grill *
my outside table and chairs *
my baby pool *
amazing weather today
my central air for after the barbecue
my dishwasher (on it's second load of the day)*
my wash machine (that is washing clothes as I type)
barbecue left overs (yum)

What are you your blessings today?


* was given to me or I found FREE

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Budget update

I have been waiting to post that I finally have all May bills paid in full, but I can't, because I don't yet. I paid everything for May except my taxes. This is $400.
Last month I had some unexpected plumbing issues and car repairs that were almost $800 all together.
So now my taxes are two months behind, and my other bills are all one month behind, except my mortgage which is still current.

I am just trusting the Lord to provide enough work to pay my taxes (they are actually due Aug. 1st $1,200.)

I do the best I can, so I have to stop stressing and pray about if I need to have different work, or work smarter somehow, or just stay as I am.

I am so blessed. We still have everything we need each and every day. God is so amazing!!!

My other debt:
MasterCard $40
Kohl's $217
Amazon $325
Mortgage $117,00 (about)

How are your finances?


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Food allergies / sensitivities

Recently Jason and Josh have been diagnosed with some food allergies and food sensitivities. Here are some good sites to explain these:

These are not life threatening, however we are trying to avoid these foods, as instead of digesting and getting all the nutrients from these foods their bodies actually attack the foods, much like they attack a virus that enters the body.

Jason tested positive for soy and corn allergies; and gluten and dairy sensitivities.
Josh tested positive for yeast and mushroom allergies; and gluten, soy, and dairy sensitivities.
Since it has been overwhelming to eliminate these all at once we have eliminated one each month. May was soy. June was corn. July will be gluten. Aug. will be dairy.
Before this we also eliminated all artificial food dyes and high fructose corn syrup.  We are still eliminating these as well.
I also have switched milk already and at home the boys use non sweetened Almond milk (some brands have way too much sugar.) I cook with this in place of milk as well. Occasionally they still will have a glass of organic milk to drink (they don’t mind the almond milk in their cereal, but hate to drink it as is.)
So what can they eat?
Safe foods are:
all fruits
all veggies (except corn)
meat (as long as it has no added soy, corn, or gluten; some hot dogs and cold cuts add these things.)
white rice
brown rice
any of these products
potato chips (as long as the oil is not soy or veggie, veggie usually has soy.)
almond milk
gluten free certified oats
The hardest thing has been bread. Almost every bread you pick up on the food store shelf has soy or corn, and gluten of course. I found one brand at Wholefoods that has no soy or corn added. I also have used Pamela’s flour to make bread and pizza dough and homemade bars. Pamela’s is free of all the things the boys shouldn’t have (except when I add yeast to bread.) I will use this exclusively when we eliminate gluten as well.

Jason has noticed since eating like this he has less headaches and stomaches. They are not completely gone yet. Both boys also seem to have more energy.
After we have eliminated everything (end of Aug.) we will maintain that for 3-6 months and then start to reintroduce some of these foods. Sometimes with food sentitivities after some time a person can have them again. That is Jason's hope. And mine as well, as this allergy / sensitivity stuff is hard work on me (and costly too.)
Although 100% elimination is the goal, we are human and that is hard, so it is a good day if we have 85% or higher elimination.
But this could be easily be blown with just one processed item that has all of the above, so we still have to be careful.

Do you or your kids have any food allergies or sensitivities?


Sunday, June 17, 2012

Blessed with many Father's

Father's day is hard for me. I did not grow up with my dad in my life (although he is now.) And my boys are growing up without a Father as well.

I am so grateful for the love of my heavenly Father who has never let me down, and who has never stopped loving me.

In addition God has blessed me with many father's over the years. He blessed me with my biological father, John. Who helped to give me life.
He blessed me with my stepfather, Gary, who helped raise me. This man loved me and cared for me and did so many things for and with me. This man sat through a New Kids on the Block concert with my best friend and I.
He blessed me with, Andy, who had no reason to love me, but because of Christ did. At a time when my biological dad and stepfather were unable, Andy stepped in and became my dad.
He blessed me with Scott, who is now married to my mom. Scott is an amazing Grandfather, deliberately seeking my boys out at least weekly to do guy stuff and more. He helps me care for my home, and so much more.

So I can choose to be down and sad and think about what I didn't have or what I missed out on, but instead I choose to see the blessings that God has always been there for me and in addition has provided an earthly father in all seasons of my life.

HAPPY FATHER'S DAY to all my fathers and to yours as well.


Thursday, June 14, 2012

Three Years Ago

Three years ago today we lost my brother Eric.

                                     These are the stones for both my brothers, Adam & Eric.

Today at a get together in Eric's memory. Many of his friends were there and skateboarding in his memory. This was Eric's bike, which Kevin now has. This is me, Josh, Kevin, Sam, Kaiden, Jason, and in the background is Scott. My mom took the picture.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Summer Reading Books 1 and 2

Each year I challenge myself to read a book a week from Memorial Day to Labor Day.
So far I have read two.

The first book I read is:

This is an ebook, and is currently only .99 cents here. It is a great book for those just starting to homeschool or those who have been homeschooling already. It reminds you why you should simplify and some ideas on how to do so. I went to a class given by this author at Enoch. She was very down to earth. She also has blog that I also am enjoying as well. This book is a quick read, but still worth it.

The second book I just completed (for the second time) is:

The author was at the Wellness Week I attended in May. She was so encouraging to me on my exercise journey. I bought this book at Wellness Week and quickly read it while there. But I wanted to reread it and fully digest each chapter. It is a great book. It also is a great motivator to seek Christ in all your endeavors, and give exercise to Him as an act of worship. It has a lot of heart from the author and also testimonies from others throughout the book. All while centered in Christ. You can buy the book here. Of course yours won't be an autographed copy like mine, but you still will want to read this book.

What are you reading now? What is on your summer reading list?


p.s. I was not given free copies of these books, nor was I paid to do these reviews. These are just my opinions on these books. I also do not get any commission if you buy these books from the authors directly or any online stores.