Sunday, May 29, 2011

Passing Along the Sweetness this Sunday....




Hope your Sunday is just as sweet. :)

Friday, May 27, 2011

Savings Update

05 27 11_2146

After deciding last week to make a real effort with saving money on groceries, I began the week by clipping the coupons I had and attempting my hand at the drugstore game.  I didn't need a ton of groceries this week since I had quite a few items in my freezer and pantry, but needed just a few things like coffee, cereal, shampoo, soap, etc.  I sat down, looked over the three major drugstore ads and found that CVS had way better deals this week.  So, I matched my coupons with only the things I needed, taking into account all the things CVS was offering the Extra Care Bucks on this week, making sure I was only buying it if I needed it.    Then once all the items I needed were decided upon, I made two lists, one for all the items that were offering the ECBs and one for all the other items that did not.  My lists were very detailed so that I wouldn't mess up and end up costing myself money.

I went into the store, bought my list of items offering ECBs then took those items out to the car, clipped my ECBs from my first receipt and went back in.  I gathered my other items and paid for them mostly with ECBs and just a little cash.  All in all, I got tons of stuff that I needed which included enough haircare products, body wash, and toothpaste to last at least a couple of months or more and most of the food items that I needed for the week - plus the $10 gas card that was on promotion for this week.  I paid about $100 for $220 worth of products.  I made one other trip to the local grocery store to grab some chicken that was on sale this week and spent just  a few more dollars.   So, where I'd normally report spending $275-$300 in a week, this week's grand total ended up at $154, happily... with most of my personal care products in a small stockpile!

05 27 11_2156

Next week I'll need to actually go into town for my groceries and am preparing to stack my Target coupons with matching manufacturer's coupons to get the best deals there and, without a doubt, check in with the local drugstores, too.  Along with menu planning and coupon clipping, I'm still making as much homemade food as possible.  I'm still making bread and the garden is finally producing enough food so that probably half of what we eat for dinner each night comes from our own back yard.



05 27 11_2159


I'm curious to see what my total savings will end up being in about three months.  I'm also curious about online places to get coupons or other money saving ideas.  I'm not sure about paying for coupons through websites....that just seems weird to me.  I'd love any input you have about which sites you visit if you happen to play the coupon game.  :)

Thursday, May 26, 2011

flowers and a day out

sunshine and blues


These last few days have been busy doing school work with the kids, starting a new book with the boys, and doing lots and lots of art work because I'm just craving it...every ounce.  I've gone over just a few of the photos I took last week when we went to a cut-flower farm.  There were lots of beautiful, long stemmed flowers just waiting to be bundled up for market.  I loved these blue ones...such a pretty color.



sunshine and blues







On that same day we also ended up at a local resource center, visiting their museum and having a good long walk and a picnic.  It was the very last "cool" day we expect to have this year.  It was beautiful.


half of us





I'm loving the girls' new summer hairstyles...so easily managed and so stinkin' cute. 








After we left the car out in the parking lot and got inside the museum, I realized that I had not charged my battery on my dslr....so, most of the day was shot with my old Minolta XG-1 film camera, using Kodak NC400 film.  The shots inside the building were great, the ones I had to take outside weren't the best
since that particular speed was a bit too much for the sunny conditions.  I'm still sorting the photos from that day, so there will be more to come as I get time to get them uploaded.  There are still some really pretty flower farm shots and some cute kids-climbing-the-trees shots, too.  :)




a walk

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

learning to accept

learning to accept

...the shape





learning to accept

...the size






learning to accept...
...the imperfections





me. today.

...the girl in the mirror.
I'm trying to learn to love
all the parts of her,
leaving all the imperfect
parts in place, trusting
that those are the exact
parts that make her
unique.

And, dare I say...
beautiful.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Chit-Chat




This week has been both great in creative ways, yet stressful in others.  I've learned a few new things about my creative self this week with Creativity Boot Camp and have enjoyed spreading my branches just a bit further and discovering new art forms that I'm really loving at this moment.  The kids have benefited from this as well, joining in with me all week long, leaving an art-loved kitchen as proof! I'm so glad that there is one more week to go and can't wait to see what more my eyes will be opened to.


In the stressful portion of this post lies the ever growing prices of food and everyday living that has begun to, honestly, freak me out.  I'm feeling forced to make some changes to the ways I shop and the food choices that I'm used to making along with many of the personal products that we have grown to love.  With my family of six, the weekly cost has grown to a staggering amount, one that I'm determined to change while reserving as much of the quality as I can.  I'm totally ready to learn the ropes of the coupon game while keeping my mind open for other chances to save. I'm not looking to become the new crazy-coupon-lady, but rather a mom determined to save money and still feed her family well.


"Start by doing what is necessary;
then do what is possible;
and suddenly you are doing the impossible."
~Aeschylus




This week I'll begin researching the best ways to save, using only cash money and no debit card, using the coupons I already have and only for the products that I use, and jotting down notes from a couple of different stores including their prices and coupon policies.  There's a lot of work involved, but if it pays off right it could become the paying equivalent of a part-time job.  :)  We'll see how it goes...my hopes are high!

The kids have been swimming for a large majority of their free time this weekend and are so tired and pink and freckled.  I'm  hoping that they all sleep good tonight.  I'm looking forward to the coming week, becoming a better household manager, completing Creativity Boot Camp, and more than anything just spending time with the kids.

I hope your weekend was a great one!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Just now

Just now

...outside my window as I sit at the computer
these hydrangeas are a gorgeous pink filled
with the morning's sunlight and cool, crisp air.

...the kids are just beginning to move around and
I'm hearing showers run and doors gently opening
and closing

...I'm returning from my morning walk. These last
few days I've walked iPod-free, listening only to my
own thoughts and senses, hearing the birds chirp
and the squirrels run away as I get too close.
It has turned a usually void morning chore into a
more beautiful meditative process.

...I'm about to get dressed and start breakfast
for the kids. We should be off to the library today,
a little grocery fill-in, and then to a new
farmer's market that is trying to get started.



...creating is also on my list for today and I'm surprised
with how my own direction last night in my art journal led
me to a perfect place for this morning's prompt over at
Creativity Boot Camp. There are some things in life in
which you're sure of and this creative outlet and the way
I'm including the kids with me is absolutely one of those things.
I feel like, for once, I'm in exactly the right place at
exactly the right time.



Wishing you a Tuesday full of blessings. xo

Monday, May 16, 2011

Feeling Creative

creative.


It has begun.
Two weeks over at
Creativity Boot Camp.
{There's still time to join in!}
Yesterday was a great
first day and I'm excited
to see what the next two weeks
will bring.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

On this Sunday...

Then you came along...

on this Sunday I'm

choosing joy
finding happiness
letting the song
sing over me

feeling inspired by

the sunrise in the window
the encouraging words read this morning
the unseasonably cool morning {it feels, and smells, like fall...a treat indeed}
the open windows
a page written in my journal
a plan to make pretty things
a plan to become more than the "now"
a delight in this very moment
a start in the right direction



I hope your Sunday is a beautiful one.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Weekends are for...

Saturday Morning



French toast
and maple syrup.

Late cups of coffee.

Reading in spite of
the laundry waiting to
be folded.

Talking to the boys
about being self-confident
and believing that what
you have to say is without
a doubt important, so say
it proudly.

Writing princess stories
with the girls and helping
them to illustrate the books
they're working on.

Letting one of the boys
be in charge of the grill
for tonight's dinner.

Finally enrolling in
Creativity Boot Camp
and feeling excited to
begin tomorrow!

Listening to music
while the kids are
outside playing.

Picking up my camera
just for the fun of it.

Doodling on notebook
paper.

Snuggling on the chair
with the dog.

Watching movies like
Pride and Prejudice.

Watching the sun
set behind the trees,
just a bit later everyday.

Finding time to rest
and focus on the
coming week, getting
things off to a good start.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Revelation

finding beauty


finding beauty

in the breakdown
of spirit
of burdens
of being off-course
for such a long time.



finding hope

in words
and messages
and symbols
and just knowing,
by faith.




i feel humbled,
i feel that my soul
has just taken a deep breath,
that my burdens have
been lifted and that
my spirit was filled
instantaneously
with revelation.


i am broken
but blessed.


i feel loved.



Tuesday, May 10, 2011

{not} catching up

green.


phew.
life really has a way of taking over.
or so it seems.

i've really not been picking up my camera
much these last couple of weeks.
things are still happening, and i'm still
in the moment, but sometimes it just feels
better to Be in the moment instead
of looking at every thing through the lens.
sometimes a break is in order so that
i can refocus on those important things
and breathe in the moment before me.



{not} catching up


this week:

airplane show with the kids
baking bread and making tortillas
finding new recipes to try
thinking a lot about healthy food choices
thinking a whole lot about making a healthy food blog
     to share recipes i find, those recipes that i create, some inspiration for myself,
     and my food photography...
clipping a few coupons
letting go of a particular project i started at the new year and feeling totally okay with the decision
reading books for myself and some with the kids
looking for "older-boy" style books for my almost 13 year olds 
eating picnic-style with the best neighbors ever...twice
being surprised with a great gift from my neighbors
a lovely, low-key mother's day spent with my  mom
the kids giving me the BBC version of Pride and Prejudice - the very best ever
the kids swimming the afternoons away
list-making
music-listening
my girls getting a summertime haircut...a cute little swinging bob.
prayers said for sick family and friends
i even found time to sneak in a monster-migraine yesterday, the worst in years, but on the bright side
     it forced me to catch up on some sleep that i have been lacking in a major way lately, leaving
     me feeling quite good today.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Springtime Breakfasts

breakfast 122:365

fresh from the garden






chopped

rinsed and chopped






breakfast

tossed in the pan to lightly sautee.
Springtime breakfasts may be
the best of the year.


I hope your week is off
to a great start!