Monday, April 30, 2012

Toddler Chore Charts {Frugal Freebie}

Pin It I decided it was time for some new chore charts for my 3 year old. I looked around on the web and pinterest then decided to make my own. I wanted something I could laminate and use weekly. With both photo's and text. And with check boxes. I figured why not share this with others in case they are looking for the same thing. I figured I can laminate them or even put them in frames and let her decorate the frames. If they are framed in or plastic you can check items off with an expo marker just as you can with laminating. Or if you want to print new ones weekly you can do that too.

Their are 4 pages in this PDF downloadable pack. 2 charts total (one for pet chores one with out) and charts in both black and white and color.

Download it HERE

If you would like a customized chore chart made please email me for more info! I'd love to hear your thoughts on these please feel free to comment!
*check out my "blog hops" page to see where I'm hopping today!

Tomorrow Starts the "31 days of Pinterest"

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I'm very excited to do this, and get other bloggers involved. In this Weekly "blog hop" Sharing your Pinterest finds. Everyday I will blog about a "pin" That I have tired, plan to try, or something that I think is just to awesome not to share. I will share my take on the "pin" and lead you to the blog or website where it started (when possible) Other bloggers will do the same and will add their links to Saturday "hop" so you can view their Pinterest endeavors. I encourage everyone who plays along to follow the participating blogs, and to leave comments for one another and pin their reviews. I will give a brief explanation with each weeks "hop" It will be super simple I promise. I can't wait to get started and hope to meet lots of new bloggers along the way! You can grab the "31 days of pinterest" button on the side bar to let others know that your playing along.
After each hop I will choose a few links I liked and feature those blogs in the following weeks hop.
If you are featured you can grab the "I was featured" button on the left and post it on your blog.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Frugal Crafting

Pin It I love crafts. I used to get all twitchy with messy things but I learned to let go of that sometime after #2 came along, and now with #4 I find I enjoy it even more. I am always on the look out for cheap ideas or ideas using things we already have. I have found the $1+ bins at Joann's to be a pretty good source for this. We picked up these bird houses at Joann's for $1 a piece and we already had the paint.

We already had the paints so this craft cost us a whole $4 I had to giggle because my 6 year old assumed birds can read and wrote "bird in" on the side so they know to eat their lol.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Take your daughter to work day photos

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I didn't get as many photos as I would of liked, these two where awfully busy I felt I would get in the way. She mostly helped Daddy but she did wait on one table and was super excited to get a nice tip from them. The couple really enjoyed her. She asked them as they cleared the plates "did you like it" all stern like I was cracking up from my booth lol. She was a riot and has us laughing a lot.

Her favorite thing, the french fry cutter she was almost too short to reach it lol

It was really nice because she got to see what I do to (usually when the kids are in bed) I was working on the graphics for the restaurants new website and taking photos for the menu on the site. I talked to her about writing html, and how I make logos and such. Dad's stuff was way more interesting. He loved having a helper he was finished almost an hour early by having a little helper in the kitchen.
Taking menu shots was fun and made me hungry. Here is a little food eye candy for you.
Buffalo Chicken Salad YUM!

Fun food Friday

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I doubt my older sister reads my blog but she would get a giggle out of this. I remember my mom was always trying new recipes and made some strange meat with red sauce and beans. Now from that you may think I'm talking about chili but it wasn't I think squash was involved too. She served it with mashed potatoes. It was awful, and inedible. We piled up our mashed potatoes and used the beans as "clifdivers" and called them bloody divers for the streak of read sauce left on the mashed potatoes. Now mashed potatoes are fun to play with in the kitchen.
How about some meatloaf cupcakes with mashed potato frosting, you can even dye potatoes for different colored "frosting" if you have some fun shaped pans you can make hearts, stars etc. I have even seen it as a April fools cake decorated with peas and "April fools day written in ketchup.
*photo by hhm.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Take your daughter to work day X2

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My 10 year old gets take your daughter to work day times 2 this year. As some of you know I do freelance graphic arts and such. I have also been working on things for my husbands work such as signs, menus, photography, publicity, and more recently setting up their website/blog. I am going in with the both of them for a little bit to do some website work and take some photos for the website. Food photography is my favorite! It will be interesting to work with both my husband and daughter tomorrow. She is very excited we had a employee shirt made up for her and got her some new shoes. I hope to get some good photos of the two of them working together. I will be showing her how mommy takes staged photos and how I place them on the website and talk to her about advertising and such. I know she sees some of what I do from home but I never give her tons of details. Who knows maybe she can start writing HTML for me lol. I hope the day gives her some real incite as to how hard Daddy works to provide for our family.

Run for Emily

Pin It Emily was born a month premature, after two months of preterm labor. From birth, she has had multiple medical problems. By her first birthday, she was already followed by a neurologist, gastroenterologist, pulmonologist, geneticist, and metabolicist. Emily's brain does not grow correctly, resulting in a condition called microcephaly. This means "little brain", causes severe developmental delays and she has been diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy. Emily is now 8 years old, and she has had dozens of surgeries. In 2005, she suffered an eighteen minute cardiac arrest. Since then, she has had numerous surgeries, procedures, and tests. In addition to these medical issues, Emily also suffers from a severe form of epilepsy for which she had a Vagal Nerve Stimulator implanted. This device is like a pacemaker for the brain, and it helps to stop the majority of her seizures. In the last year, Emily has had over twenty hospital admissions. Her most recent hospital stay was for surgery to place a tracheostomy to help her breathing. Despite all of this, Emily is one of the happiest and most loving 8 year olds you will ever meet. She has a smile that can warm your heart from a mile away and a laugh that can fill an entire room. She loves to play music and she is never seen without something pink or Hello Kitty on. We have brought Emily to UCLA because our previous hospital was unable to provide the level of care that she requires. Since coming to UCLA, we have been beyond cared for. The nurses, doctors, and Child Life specialists are all amazing. Having a Child Life specialist who knows Emily and her likes and dislikes, makes a huge difference. It is incredible to have such support for Emily as well as us as her parents. We are very grateful for UCLA's Child Life program, and are honored to have been chosen as an ambassador. Will you run for Emily? Sadly Emily passed away here Mother had this to say about the walk
please consider joining Team Emily in the Bruin Run/Walk this Sunday! Emily is one of the few sponsored children chosen by the hospital. We would love to have you walk with us on Sunday! Following this link and click at the top where it says "Help support the cause and register ...". The word "register takes you to the Team Awesome Emily registration page!
Here is the Link Please contuine prayers for this sweet family.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Today I will talk about Fashion

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And if you know me, get past the laughter and read on.
My "fashion" or lack their of consists of the following items
-Long jean skirts
-Brown or gray Tshirts
-flip flops or crocs
-head scarves
-My wedding/engagement rings and my star sapphire ring my mom gave me on my 16th birthday
-earrings optional

In other words I am fashionless, I wear make up on rare occasions only and even then its just powder, maybe a light brown eye shadow and lip gloss.
My hair style is one of two styles Sloppy bun or head scarf

Lame, I know! I guess after being with my husband for 13 years, being a sahm for almost 8 years I just stopped trying along the way. Most days I stay home I actually wear my Grandmothers old moo moos or "house coats" as she called them. I swore I'd never wear ANYTHING like that but seriously don't knock em' unless you have tried them. They are comfy as ever and they even have pockets yay!

I have been losing weight and its inspired me to try to amp up my looks a bit. The first (and only step so far) was getting a hair cut. I have been rocking long hair and ponytails since highschool and I was ready for a change. I still wear it up in a messy bun but their is less of it at least. When we are going out I do try to wear it down and I flat iron it so it looks nice and sleek. I have VERY thick hair and it looks puffy if I don't.

I am severely make up and hair product challenged and I refuse to spend money on these things because I end up looking like an orange with stiff hair and its a waste.

Clothing is least of my worries I am pretty comfortable with what I do wear but am considering branching out to different colors. My absolute favorite color is brown, I hate light or pastel colors but I could consider some dark blues and greens, or maybe a maroon? I don't know I do have one pink/coral shirt I wear from time to time but it only made it in my closet because I like the material and it was on clearance for $1.99. "function before fashion" as my husband says.. it fits the purpose of being a comfortable shirt so we can overlook the color.

So help ladies.. I need a makeover BADLY... and of course it needs to be cheap!

I'm Hopping over to this blog hop. Hopping these fashioneastas can point me in the right direction!

Because we can! {video}

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They where doing some water work in our area yesterday and needed to shut the water off for a few hours. Lucky us! They said we had about an hour before it would go off and that it would be back on before 5pm. We took a huge Rubbermaid bin and filled it with water. When I say huge I mean HUGE I could easily bathe two kids in it. I had to run to the store for a few things and I thought hmmmmm... Maybe the kids would enjoy bobbing for apples. Lets toss some school into it and talk about buoyancy and such. It was a lot of fun however, our tiny bathroom is not the best place to host Apple bobbing for 5 lol. I seemed to have miss placed my camera card once again so iPod pics are the best I could do. Which brings to light another question "why are those camera cards so stinking small" I lose them all.the.time. Logically one would return the camera card back to the camera after uploading but logic is sometimes lost on this overworked mama.

One thing I learned about this little fun moment is 3 year olds are cheaters lol. And quite frankly we didn't play by all the apple bobbing rules like removing the stems or blind folding. Blind folding was something I don't remember about apple bobbing but my husband swore he did. So you will have to tell me how you apple bobbed in your day.

We did a few little "sink or float" buoyancy activities but they didn't get to pull items out of the water with their teeth so it wasn't nearly as entertaining as the apple bobbing. We learned some things but mostly we all got really wet and laughed a lot. I'll call that a win!

We made a little video so we could show it to Daddy later.

Oh, and the apples where on sale for $2.99 so not only do we have fun, science but we have a healthy snack too

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

You don't have to take it.

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I have lost more hope for humanity that is for sure. My husband and I where running errands we had to get a shirt made for our 10 year old for "take your daughter to work day" And I had to drop off some signs I made for his work. We where going to go to his work first then swing back to get the shirt and I happened to look to my left and seen a horrific sight. I told him "PULL OVER NOW"

Monday, April 23, 2012

A date night at home

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While everyone loves a good "Dinner and a Movie" date night on a budget that can be tricky. My husband and I recently went to see The Hunger Games and for the tickets, shared popcorn and drink it was around $40 (counting the dollar store candy I had stashed in my purse) When our kids where younger we went years with out a "Date Night" but now that we have a built in babysitter we can slip out now and then.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Fun Food Friday

Pin It I often see these adorable lunches made by other moms. I usually sigh, and say to myself "some people have too much time on their hands" Then, I started showing my kiddos some of this food art and saw their little faces light up and realized nope, these are just moms coming up with creative ways to get their little ones to eat healthy. While I certainly don't have the time to do this daily I aim for once a week and "Fun Food Friday" was born.

My youngest little sweety going gaga for fruit kabobs

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Busy Mom Breakfasts

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I'll be the first to admit that my kids love cereal and would be content with that nearly 7 days a week. It's a no effort breakfast for me because 3 out 4 of them can fix cereal with out assistance and they can help the one who does need help. I don't like to spend a lot of time on breakfast and cleanup because we have school work to get to but I have found a few easy, low clean up breakfast ideas that I have added into our morning routines with ease. Some things I have done forever and other things are wonderful Pinterest ideas.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Fly high Hello Kitty Princess

Pin It It's with great sadness that I share that Sweet Emily Passed away last night. She fought a long hard 8 year battle with Mito and other illnesses. Please keep her family in prayer as they grieve their sweet daughters passing.

Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there; I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glints on snow,
I am the sun on ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning’s hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circling flight.
I am the soft star-shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there; I did not die.
by:Mary Frye

Monday, April 16, 2012

Snack system

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I sometimes dream of going back in time and never introducing the idea or the word "snack" into my children's vocabulary. Its treated as a entitlement anymore and they feel its something that should have no limit. I have tried a few systems to monitor snacks and most of them have failed. Yes, partly my fault for not keeping on top of it feeling like a mean mom for not indulging their hunger pains and the futile attempts of claiming "starving children in Africa....." You get the jest of it. Now what started happening more recently after I was down and out after gallbladder surgery is that I just answered "yes" when ever a snack request was made. Yes, again my fault I didn't want to deal with tantrums or being bothered much with requests. Then, a day or two later I would hear "we don't have anything to eat" then, I was puzzled but I just bought two 18 packs of granola bars, 8 cracker packs, 2 bags of grapes...etc. and its all gone...yep. Lord help me! what I saw in my head as two weeks of snacks where gone in two days. Now with 4 kids with their hand in the cookie jar so to speak I have learned to expect things like 1 pint of strawberries equals 1 snack, or a bag of apples will last 2.5 snacks (assuming its a bag of 10) So my solution (while time consuming to a degree is this)
you get 2 snacks per day. period. no exceptions. (well one exception which i will explain)

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Easy Dinners to feed 6 for about $10

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Now I am writing this assuming you have some of the basic ingredients on hand like butter, condiments etc.
As a homeschooling mom with a husband who works crazy hours I don't really put a lot into our dinners. I'm sure their are some fantastic recipes for cheap meals out their but a recipe that is long or has to many steps, or to much prep is a big old turn off. It's not to say that I don't ever cook anything like that. I just rather reach for the easy, little thought, low prep meals that my family loves.
Please keep in mind I am giving price estimates, based on the products we buy in Ohio where food may be cheaper or more expensive than your regional location. All our meals feed 6 (2 adults and 4 kids, but to be fair my oldest 2 eat adult portions)

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Saving at Kroger!

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If your anything like our family aside from household bills this is where the bulk of the monthly budget goes. You have to eat so of course this is unavoidable. Now I'd love to be one of those super efficient mega couponing moms but I just don't have that kind of free time or dedication. Now those of you who can do it you get two thumbs up and a pat on the back from me. Now in our area our shopping choices are not that terrific. We don't even have a Target (for shame!) Our closest store is Kroger, followed by Walmart, Aldi and Riesbecks. I am not a huge fan of Walmart while they may have some good prices I never walk out with just food, and its a further trip to our Walmart than it is to our Kroger. Kroger also gives gas discounts so its kinda win win on that front.
As a self professed non coupon clipper the following tips are how I rack up the Kroger card savings

Welcome to my new blog.

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Just to introduce myself. My name is Michelle, I am married to my best friend. I know everyone says their husband is their best friend but he truly is. He makes me laugh every single day. He puts the needs of me and the children far above his own. He is just the best. Together we have 4 daughters ages 13,10,6 & 3. And we also have two kitties and a precious pup who is 8 months old. We are a Homeschooling family who recently moved to Ohio. We are the crafty type we are always working on some new project, and love to play games and have picnics in the park. We have been a single income family for nearly 8 years and we have found plenty of tips and money saving tricks along the way.

I think the most commonly asked question is "how do you do it" and its laughable to me because my snarky side always wants to say "how do you not do it" I don't always know which thing in my life do they wonder "how" I do it, if its the single income, the having 4 girls or the homeschooling. So of course their is no simple answer to that question. So i figured, I'll blog it.

Our life isn't simple, our life is not normal. Everything else just sounds boring to me. I hope you enjoy the blog and that you will show some love by following us.

And please take a moment to look at our prayer list and pray for them. Little Emily is nearing the end of an 8 year battle with Mito and its breaking the hearts of her family and friends. If you know a child who needs our prayers please post a link for us so we may add them to our list.

My Family from