Friday, March 27, 2009

Making It Work

Well it's been 3 weeks since Dh got laid off. Things are actually going pretty well around here. We have had some good news financially and are learning as we go. So how are we making it work?
1. Time together as a family. We have spent a ton of time together. Taking the kids to the park, the beach, reading together, watching movies. Just enjoying the time we have with daddy while he is home. This has helped us see a lot of the positives of the lay off.

2. Good old fashioned hard work. We all have to work together now to come up with less expensive ways of doing things. We are learning to cook more from scratch and stretching the grocery budge. I have some old sheets and stuff that the kids and I will be ripping up and turning into rags/napkins. I have cut up some of our old clothes to turn into other necessities. Some potholders or a new outfit for another child. Our garden is turning green so that's been a lot of fun. Cleaning and organizing does not take a lot of money and it's helping to turn our home into a more peaceful place during this transition.

3. Of course, daily time with God. Prayer and dependence on Him. After all He is the ultimate Provider. He will never leave us or forsake us. Look at how beautifully he has clothed the flowers in the fields. Can we expect less from Him when it comes to clothing our family?
Be Blessed!!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

The News

What do you do when you get hard news? Do you shut down? Do you wail and moan? Do you look towards heaven? A week ago we got some hard news. DH lost his job. I thanked God. I was praising Him for showing us Dave Ramsey so we could get started and have some money in savings. I was praising Him for the opportunities DH can pursue now that he has some time off. I was praising Him for delivering DH from a horrible job he hated. I was praising Him for all the provisions I knew He had planned for us already. You see God was not surprised on that Thursday morning. He had his hand on my DH and on our family. Dh got a wonderful severance package that will help us out in the coming months. But even if he'd walked out the door with not a penny we would be ok, because God says that He is our Provider.
We have many options to pray through. It's kind of exciting. It's a little overwhelming.
Someone asked me the other day if I was freaking out. No. What would that accomplish? Would that help Dh get a job? Would that put food on our table? No. I'm not "freaking" out. I'm very peaceful. We have enjoyed having daddy around the past few days. We both know God has something great planned. It might involve us stepping out of our comfort zone a bit, or we might get to stay all safe and cozy right where we are at. Whatever God has planned for us we know He will provide.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Food Diary - Thursday and Friday

Sorry about missing yesterday. I had a bad headache most of the day and we had some extra errands to run. Here is what we ate yesterday.
For breakfast we had oatmeal. An always filling food. :)
For lunch we had leftovers. Remember the yummy hamburger steaks I was going to make Wednesday night? I did and WOW they were great. Even better the next day. Although I did not have enough for the poor children. They had to survive on peanut butter sandwiches and bananas.
For dinner.. we ordered pizza. *Sigh* Remember the headache and the extra errands? Sometimes it happens.
An even better idea would be to make up a batch of pizza dough and freeze for nights like this. I will work on that.
Today's menu looked like this:
For brunch, because everyone slept late this morning. I mean really late. It was weird, but needed I think. We had oatmeal.
For dinner we had beans and rice. An easy meal and cheap. :)
Tip of the day: Freeze some meals ahead of time. Have some pizza dough in the freezer. There will always been one night that the schedule is off or something happens. I wish I'd had something already prepared instead of ordering pizza. :)
Be Blessed!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Food Diary - Wednesday

For breakfast the kids had oatmeal. I noticed the other day the oatmeal made me sluggish so I opted for two eggs. Dh had an egg sandwich after the kids and I left for our homeschool co-op.

For lunch we had leftover chicken and rice from last night.

For dinner I am making hamburger patties and melting a slice of mozzarella cheese on top. I will also saute some mushrooms and onions. I have some red potatoes that are getting old so we will mash those up. And I know I have some frozen veggie in the freezer. End meal!

Tip of the day: Don't be afraid to make your own. Your own bread. Your own spice mixtures. Your own salad dressings and condiments. It really does save money and it's healthier. If you have older children teach them how to do these things. Call it school. I am teaching my two oldest girls to bake bread in the next few weeks. Eventually it will be their job.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Food Diary - Tuesday

For breakfast we ate out with my mom. This is a tradition for Tuesday mornings. My mom is so gracious and she buys us a big breakfast.

For lunch we had peanut butter sandwiches and bananas. I had to use store bought bread because I did not make any this week. I spent a little extra for good quality bread without high fructose corn syrup. I can't afford some things that are supposedly needed for a healthier lifestyle but I do try to avoid products with MSG and high fructose corn syrup and dyes as much as possible.

For dinner I had a few packs of yellow rice. DH grilled a few chicken breasts and we chopped them up and mixed them with the rice. The rice was already flavored so we did not even need to season it. The grilling of the chicken gave it a great flavor with no extras needed. I steamed some broccoli and melted butter over it and some salt and dinner was served. The whole family sang it's praises. It was a simple meal with only a few ingredients that went together pretty quickly.

Tip of the day: Save all of your leftovers. Even if' it's just a spoon full of veggies. Look for dishes to add leftovers to and stretchhhhhhhhhhhhh.

Be Blessed!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Food Diary - Monday

I did not have to go to the grocery store for big shopping this week and probably next because I have chicken, beans and rice over flowing. It's nice when I am a little low on funds to have the needed ingredients just waiting for me. I stopped off and picked up 2 18 pack eggs, 2 gallons of milk, and 2 boxes of oatmeal. These are staples that I usually do have to buy every two weeks.
Anyways here are our meals for today.

Breakfast was oatmeal. I can make two big containers last about 2 weeks. We eat oatmeal about 4-5 days a week. Sometimes if we are in a hurry I smear peanut butter on tortillas or we have eggs on tortillas.

Lunch was cheesy rice. This is just leftover rice with some frozen mixed veggies (which I ALWAYS have in my freezer) and herbs (whatever's handy) fried in butter or sesame oil and topped with grated cheese. We either have this, leftovers, or quisadillas for lunch.

Dinner will be shepherd's pie. I take some ground beef, beans if I have some (to stretch the beef), veggies and either bar b que sauce if I have it or some gravy and mix it together with whatever herbs and spices I grab. I top it with mashed potatoes (from real potatoes, it really is cheaper and does not take that long) and shredded cheese. I bake it for 15-30m and boom dinner is served. If I have stuff to make a salad I will throw a salad with it. I do buy the big cans of mixed fruit and sometimes we will have that on the side. Tonight I don't have either one so it's solo. I think I have some apples so we might cut those up and let the kids have that for dessert.

We don't snack a lot around here. I try to keep apples, oranges, and bananas around. If I have them I will cut up carrots ( I always buy them whole and wash and cut myself). But we rarely snack on those. We might have them with a meal or if we are on the go.

Tip for today: Make up big batches of beans and freeze or can. Use them to stretch beef recipes. I can use a little bit of beef and get away with it if I have some beans to either mash up and throw into a recipe or just throw them in whole. Kidney beans and pinto beans work great for this.

Be Blessed!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

At the grocery store

Since finding Dave Ramsey we have been very strict about eating at home as much as possible. We do have a budget for eating out but with five kids lets just say it's not much of a budget. LOL
Now, we have decided to tighten our belts even more for awhile and not eat out at all. (That's our goal) for awhile. Sorry, my Chik Fil A friends that includes my Tuesday lunches. I thought the best way to do this would be to plan every menu before shopping.
After 4 weeks of this I remembered why I don't do it that way. My grocery budget went up about $100-$150 dollars. Not really working out for me so much..
So I'm going back to the old ways. A stocked pantry, meal planning when I get home from the grocery store, crockpots working over time.... the frugal kitchenista. :)
With the above method I can spend between $175-$250 every two weeks on groceries for a family of 7 with leftovers. LOL

I buy a couple of whole chickens either roast them for a meal one night or boil them for meat.
If I roast them I take all the bones and leftovers and throw them in the crockpot with some water, some vinegar, carrots, onion, maybe some spices. I let sit for a little while so the vinegar can do it's magic then I turn on the crockpot. In a few hours I have chicken broth that I can now can with my new handy dandy canner and store. If I boil the chicken I do the same thing as with the roasted chicken except when it's all done I tear the meat off the bones and freeze it for future use. This works great when chicken is on sale. I hear you can do the same with turkey but the only turkey I ever bought ended up thawing in my garage while we were out of town. Yeah. Yum.
We also buy beans and brown rice like it's going out of style. I always have those two staples in my pantry. Doing this we discovered that our family LOVES lentils. Who'd of thunk it? We have a lentils meal at least once a week now.
I only buy fresh produce if it's a great sale. With the exception being greens and carrots. They are so much better fresh. Frozen fruits and veggies are a better fit for my budget though I know some would disagree. Also I am hoping to get more from my garden this year.
I do splurge and buy cheese every shopping trip. I get the cheapest I can find but it goes a long way in helping to pull a meal together. I also splurge on Organic milk and when I can really find some extra money I buy raw milk.
I buy cans and cans and cans of tomato products. I buy salsa and spices. With a few ordinary ingredients it's easy to throw together a meal for just pennies.
Every three months or so I go to the health food store and buy olive oil, coconut oil. and honey. I also get organic wheat flour and pastry flour for my bread.
We eat oatmeal for breakfast most mornings and lunch is either pb or cheese on tortillas or leftovers.
When I get home I sit down and plan my menu for the week. My crockpots pull duty with chicken broth, beans, or meals. My oven bakes bread for the week. My food processors chops and dices and shreds. The stovetop is used to brown beef and cook rice. I do a lot of my cooking on Monday and it's that much easier throughout the week to have stuff ready when dinner time rolls around.
Next week I will blog about meals I made and prep that went into it. I won't be grocery shopping for about 4 weeks but then I will blog about that adventure. :)
Be Blessed

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Around the house..

Somebody turned 9 yesterday. Of course if you go to the Walt Disney World website you will see that this year you can go free on your birthday. Guess where my husband and I took little Miss Kelsie yesterday. All. By. Herself. She has celebrated five birthdays with us. I'm amazed that God took this amazing darling girl and placed her in our family. She is a huge blessing. She says yesterday was her best birthday. She's so sweet.
In other news around the house we are still ripping up carpet. We priced flooring the other day. I'm waiting for my darling to come up with final numbers so we can look for it in the budget. I'm sure it's there. The house already is starting to look better as I become more diligent in keeping up with it. I can't wait to get the floors and really start opening our home up.

I have some new recipes to share. We are doing great with our eating at home challenge. Of course my grocery bill went up with all the food I have bought, but that's my fault and I know how to fix it. I will share more on that later. I have been making some notes and pondering on the issue of legalism vs. holiness. It's been a fun discussion topic around my house lately and I will share some of my thoughts on it very soon.
I hope you all are having a blessed week.
Be Blessed!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Guarding your mind.

Philippians 4:8, "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things."
Through all the trials and tribulations of the last few months one thing has become abundantly clear to me. People don't give up on their marriages over night. Spouses don't turn to someone else to fulfill their needs on the spur of the moment one day. We don't turn our children over to the enemy on a whim. No one has ever become an alcoholic after one drink. A junkie just because they were in the car with someone who was lighting up. These are all things that happen gradually. Especially in a believer's life. A Slow Fade if you will.

How should we avoid the Slow Fade? BE ON GUARD! If I think my husband is not happy about something in our marriage we need to talk about it now. If some man is trying to get my attention I need to notice it for what it is and let my husband know. If I see one of my kids heading down a dangerous path I need to stop them. We must, must, must be on guard. To be on guard we HAVE to be aware of what's going on around us. To be aware of what's going on around us we need to be in CONSTANT fellowship with the Father.
Some people scoff at me but I pray all the time that if my kids are getting away with something that I will catch them. This has led to many instances where I have caught my children in lies, stealing, cheating, anger.. whatever. I have to be aware of what's going on in my family. One lie could lead to many. One day my child will be an adult and not know how not to lie if I don't stop it now.

To be on guard means to be aware of what we are putting into our minds. What are we allowing in? I watched a video the other day on the homosexual agenda in America. In 1989 a book came out about how the homosexuals were going to turn America around. The first thing? Desensitizing. They got into Hollywood. Homosexuals on movies and television shows were like able buddies. Characters you grew to love and empathize with. Even in the Christian church we don't so much condemn the sin anymore because that would be too close to letting our buddy down.
What about something not quiet so dramatic. Language. Some of the language you hear just running errands now a days would have been thought completely wrong just a few decades ago. Now, some kid says a bad word on T.V. and America laughs. Because we heard it so much on television and in the movies it's ok to say it now. Desensitizing.

Our preacher gave us a list of how to renovate your mind. I am going to share it with you now.
1. Take all reading, listening, and viewing materials not good, pure, helpful, just, lovely.. and throw them out.
2. Replace the above materials with God's word. Practice meditating on God's word.
Psalms 1:2, "But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night."
3. Pack your mind full of God's word. Read it, study it, meditate on it, memorize it. Read books by Christian authors. Elizabeth George, Charles Spurgeon, Voddie Baucham, George Whitfield, Matthew Henry, Elizabeth Elliot, Billy Graham.. there are so many great Christian authors out there.
4. Put a picture, a full size portrait, of Jesus in the front of your mind. Keep it there. I also walk around just saying Jesus' name out loud to keep him front and center in my mind.
5. Be aware of His presence, purity, and power. This will cause wrong thoughts to move under His control.

I hope, my friends, that you understand that this is just something I am working through in my own life. If it helps someone else out thats great! I appreciate you letting me share this journey with ya'll.
Be Blessed!