Thursday, September 29, 2011

the good ol days

ok, this one is just for fun. this came to me in the wee hours of the morning after hubby left for work i could not get back to sleep. sometimes my brain just wont shut off and i think a million thoughts at a time. this one was kind of fun though.

i have always said i was born during the wrong time period. of course i know God doesnt make mistakes. sometimes i just feel out of place in this modern world. i love the pioneer days. i love everything from the hard working people,to the clothes. i love the family values. i love the simplicity of the life. although they were busy working hard from sun up to sun down it was a simpler way of living. i believe with all of our modern conveniences we have made life busier and more complicated. and at the end of the day they had something to show for all their hard work and busyness. everything they did during the day was to sustain their lives. they made their clothes and food and worked their land. typically both mom and dad were in the home. working the home or working the land.

i often say i was born and raised in california but i am not a california girl. i would love to have some animals on some land. maybe it is just because i love history so much that i find this era fascinating. i watch movies of the amish and i think i would love to live like that if not for their religous beliefs.

when i read the scripture verse psalm 128 " blessed is everyone who fears the Lord, who walks in His ways. when you eat the labor of your hands you shall be happy and it shall be well with you." i think that God is saying it is good for man to work hard with his hands. to eat the fruits of our labor.

what is your favorite time period and why?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

home making

"when you are out in public, in what ways can you show an unbelieving world that you are proud to be a mother?" this was one of the questions at the end of a chapter in the book i am reading by nancy campbell. this question really jumped out at me. maybe because in our modern culture moms, or the career of motherhood are not respected as they once were. i think this question searches my heart because when we have days that wear us out or we feel "trapped" in our roles we can "accidently" show the world, that even we dont respect what we do as moms.

do we complain about our kids to other people, do we yell and look frustrated with our kids all the time when we are out with them, when a stranger asks us what we do or if these kids are all ours do we answer them joyfully?? this is something the Lord works on in me constantly.

our kids pick up on our attitudes also. even when we are at home. do our kids watch us doing our household chores grumbling and complaining or joyfully, as though working for God not man. do they feel like a burden instead of a blessing.

do people look at us and wonder, why did that lady have kids if she doesnt enjoy them? or do they look at us and say, there goes a lady that loves her job.

another question that caused me to think and i hope it does for you too is this " why do feminists seek to destroy motherhood if they think it is so insignificant?" i would love to hear your thoughts on that...

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

family togetherness

there are alot of cute little sayings that promote family togetherness, " the family that plays togther stays together" and "the family that prays together stays together". i think these are both true. God, husband, family is the order in which it goes.
we love being together as a family. we love running errands together, taking walks together, even going to appointments together (dentist, doctor etc.) and one thing i have learned by doing this with all the kids is that it has taught them how to behave in all situations. of course the little ones still get curious and pull an occasional fire alarm, but its something that comes with the territory! and if looked at positively it creates a teachable moment :)
one of the things i love so much about homeschooling is the closeness it has created within our family.
i know this is not a very popular concept in our modern society, but who ever knew me to be "normal" :) it is so important to have your childrens hearts.
enjoy your children today!

Monday, September 26, 2011


a friend of mine sent me a couple of books to read. they are written by nancy campbell of the above rubies magazine. as i was reading this morning on my treadmill i was overwhelmed by the amount of scripture that speaks of motherhood and childbearing. we have such a huge priveledge as women to be involved in giving life.
i was also amazed that scripture speaks so often of the womb. our wombs are life giving, they are a blessing. "websters 1928 dictionary explains that the word woman is a combination of words, womb and man. woman therefore means womb man or man with a womb." i really thought this was a neat tidbit of info.
sometimes it can be challenging to embrace our motherhood. but when we learn that it is a gift and a calling from God it changes our attitudes. God has been working on me over the years in this area. i am now to the point where i am truely embracing my role as mama ( not that i dont have bad days still).
another point i loved in the book is that we as women have a need to mother or nurture whether we have children of our own or not. i can see this all around me. women seem to have an instinct to want to nurture something. children, pets, younger mothers etc. i recall each time in my life that i really begged roger for a pet. each of those times i found out shortly after that i was pregnant! my instinct was overwhelmed with a need to nurture.
how have you embraced motherhood lately?

Sunday, September 25, 2011

garage sale/bake sale

yesterdays garage sale/bake sale was alot of fun! we did ok. the goodies were a big hit. the girls were a big help at the bake sale. we did not think anyone would buy the cowboy pic but alot of people asked about it and when we finally sold it we all cheered. a big thank you to everyone that heped and baked. with each fundraiser we are that much closer to starting the adoption process!

grocery shopping with the van clan!

everyones a helper! mommy bags with the help of the kids while daddy pays. 3 carts full! teamwork is what makes our trips enjoyable. it was light out when we went in....dark when we came out, lol!

Friday, September 23, 2011

dating our kids

roger and i believe it is very important to have some one on one time with each matter what size family. although we try to create a close knit family that is together most of the time we think this concept of "parent dating" is very important for a few reasons. we try to do this in a few different ways and reinforce certain things while we are out.

one way we do it i talked about in an earlier blog was birthdays. we spend time alone with the birthday child for their birthday movie and often times dinner.

each of our children has a piggy bank and when its full they get to spend a portion of it. this is another way we "date" our children. the child gets to pick mommy or daddy to take them out to spend the money. this provides so many teachable moments! most of the children will take turns. if they took mommy last time they wil take daddy the next. or vice versa. this also teaches our children to be smart shoppers. they are not allowed to spend their money on toys so they get very creative and look for good deals. it also teaches them genorosity. almost every time the children have gone out they have used part of their money to take mommy or daddy out to dinner or yogurt after the trip. we also try to enforce things like holding doors open for the girls if daddy takes them or having the boys hold the door open for mommy.

another way we sneak in dates are errands. for the most part we run our errands together as a family. but sometimes its evening, moms cooking dinner, some of the children are cranky or sleeping so daddy will run quickly to the store for milk or diapers. almost always he snags one or two of the kids and takes them with him. they just love this. what seems to us as a mundane chore is seen as a fun adventure with daddy to the child. with the weather so nice lately daddy has been riding his bike to the store with them. they really enjoy that.

if a certain child has a godparents birthday coming up or a special friends birthday party coming up we like to take only that child to pick out the present.

these "dates" provide teaching oppurtunites like i mentioned before and they also keep a good relationship going between parent and child. it gives the parent a good chance to catch up with that child. see how they are doing and feeling.

i am starting to sense we are going to need to be more purposeful with our older kids in taking them out for more one on one. i think its very important for daddys to do this with their girls. statistically girls with strong father/daughter relationships do better when it comes to their relationships with men. daddy is the first man in her life and hopefully the biggest influence. daddy is going to be the one to teach her what a gentlemen looks like.

on a funny note, i get just as excited, if not more about the kids piggy banks getting full :) i really enjoy that time with them.

Thursday, September 22, 2011


i am looking for ways to get the kids involved in the adoption process. one way i have thought of is to actually study the country of ghana for school. we can study the history, culture, food, religoun, and geography. i also have a friend going on a mission trip to ghana very soon. maybe an interview would be a neat idea!
another thought i had would be for the kids to follow the adoption process with daddy and i. for them to learn what each step is about could get them excited and they could check things off that get accomplished. oh, i cant wait for the day we have a picture of our future child. that will really get this family excited! we need to start now as a family praying for our future child.
romans 8:15 "for you did not recieve the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you recieved the spirit of adoption by whom we cry out "abba father".
romans 8:23 " not only that but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit even we ourselves groan within ourselves eagerly waiting for the adoption the redemption of the body".
romans 9:4 " who are isrealites to whom pertain the adoption the glory the covenants the giving of the law the service of God and the promises"
i couldnt help but have the word adoption jump out to me over and over as i read these passages the other day.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

pumpkins! a hidden blessing

fall is such a fun time of year! harvest festivals, baking, pumpkin picking....although a few years ago we were convicted not to celebrate halloween in the traditional sense we love fun fall festivities. we love going to apple hill and visiting the farms that open for fall. last year we picked our own pumpkins and it was alot of fun for the kids. we dont carve our pumpkins but draw on them instead and decorate the front porch with them. this helps them last longer in case someone feels like baking them ;)

around the middle of summer i noticed a plant over taking our backyard. at this time the kids decided to remind me last year when we cleaned up they were told to take the pumpkins to the garbage and they smashed them instead. so completely by "accident" we had a pumpkin patch growing in our backyard. and it took over the whole yard! and pumpkins actually grew! nice big orange ones. i was really surprised the dogs did not bother them. so to date we have picked 3 beautiful pumpkins. and there are 2 more that i see starting to grow.

not only was this a fun and exciting venture for our family but a hidden blessing for us. buying pumpkins times 9 kids can be very expensive. and what a sense of accomplishment to have our own home grown pumpkins for fall.

we brought a little country to our city home. and daddy said this year we are smashing more pumpkins!!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


well we are coming up on our next fundraiser. this time we are moving the garage sale to a friends house on a busier street ;) we are also combining a bake sale with the garage sale. im hoping together these will raise more money. sunday the kids and i made lots of flyers to pass out in the neighborhood where we are having the garage sale. thursday we will head over to that neighborhood on put the flyers on doors. the kids are excited to do that!
a big huge thank you to my best friend for allowing us to store the stuff in her garage and have the sale at her house this saturday! this definately takes alot of teamwork.
maybe we can squeeze in a car wash before the weather gets too cool. i will blog about the fundraiser this weekend and update how it went!

Monday, September 19, 2011

peanut butter cookies

this recipe is a fave in our house for so many reasons!!

1. the ingrediants are so simple. they are things we always have in the pantry.

1 egg

1 cup sugar

1 cup peanut butter

beat the egg. mix all together. bake at 350.

2. its quick and easy! its so easy my 12 year bakes this all the time by herself. she often throws it together for a quick breakfast or snack for the kids.

3. since this recipe has no crisco or butter or oil in it and the main ingrediant is peanut butter i consider it semi healthy :) compared to the "normal" breakfast foods. ie. doughnuts, pancakes, waffles, sugary cereal.

you do have to watch the cookies closely, they cook quick and burn easily. you can add alot of things to them to change it up also. savanah likes to add nutella. sometimes she sprinkles the top with coconut. other times she uses chunky peanut butter instead or creamy.

this is such a great, simple recipe for small children to practice with. enjoy!!!

Friday, September 16, 2011

cooking with kids

i tend to be a bit of a control freak. especially in the kitchen. sometimes i just love being left alone to cook. it seems soothing to me. but with 9 kids i need to get over that! and a hubby that enjoys cooking together. kids from a very early age love to help mama cook! i was inspired to write this blog this morning as my 10 year old son was buttering pancakes as i cooked them.
one of the advantages of cooking with your kids in our family is that it creates a one on one time with mom and that child. so effort needs to be put into making sure you take turns with them. there is a conversation sparked between parent and child while they are cooking together.
it also creates teamwork between mom and child. and we know kids love to be part of a team! so often i see my kids light up when they get to contribute to the family meal. they become more talkative, more cooperative.
another advantage of having help in the kitchen is pretty obvious, things get done quicker! even the little kids can do tedious things in the kitchen that relieves mom from doing 2, 3 or 4 things at a time! i also notice that this helps the other siblings learn that mom needs to spend time with each child. it helps them to be less selfish, that they need to share mom. they seem to respect and even get excited for the child that gets mom or dad all to themselves.
i really like letting older children cook together also. the ones that can cook on their own can help a younger child in the kitchen. so much teamwork and comraderie is displayed! it also teaches them patience and teaching skills.
tasks big kids can be given can range from cooking on their own to cooking one dish while mom cooks another. the little kids get to do things like butter pancakes as they come off or stir a batter. even dumping ingrediants makes them excited!
i love being home and homeschooling my kids because it gives me an oppurtunity to teach them these small life skills. they may seem small but in the long run they build on friendships, family bonding, teamwork, respect and confidence.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

birthday traditions

i have read alot of cool birthday ideas for large families. i thought i would share what we do for our kids birthdays. we started our birthday tradition almost 3 years ago. i think its one of the best things we ever did! we love treating our kids special on their birthdays and in a large family something they do not get alot of is one on one time with mom and dad. and something mom and dad dont get is alot of dates.

we love movies around here. we thought it would be fun if we started a birthday movie tradition. so for each of the kids birthdays we get a babysitter for the other kids and mom and dad take the birthday kid on a movie date! i spend a few days before hand looking up movies and checking their family friendliness reviews. its a win win. the child gets one on one time with mom and dad and a movie and candy and popcorn! mom and dad get to see a movie on what we call a mini date :) its also a win because its cheaper than a birthday party. we can get 3 tickets, goodies and even sometimes dinner or frozen yogurt after for less than it costs to do a party and gifts. its also alot less stress!
and no we do not buy any gifts for them. this is our gift and we have NEVER had a child complain once that they didnt get a gift.
i like to start the morning off letting them pick out a birthday breakfast. they also get to pick dinner and we have their choice of dessert. the birthday movie usually follows that weekend after or the one right before their birthday.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


beans are another versatile staple we always keep in the house. we definately buy our beans in bulk. i like to cook a huge crockpot full of beans and use them for several meals. its so easy. i get the beans ready the night before by seasoning with taco seasoning and pepper. hubby gets up at 4 to leave for work so he pours in the water and starts them and they cook all day, and make the house smell yummy!!!
some very easy cheap meals we use beans for are:
beans and chips
a bowl of beans
sour cream
shredded cheese
tortilla chips
top your beans with the sour cream and cheese. serve with a side of chips. i love to scoop my beans with the chips. cheap, easy and less dishes!
chili cheese dogs
hot dogs
cook the hot dogs. add the buns. top with beans and cheese!
i already gave my nacho recipe in the rice article. this is another way we use our beans. but any easy mexican dish can use the beans. we make burritos and quesadillas with beans too. beans are healthy as well. beans also freeze well. if i dont think we are going to get through the leftovers in a good amount of time i will freeze. this makes a nice dinner for a late, busy night!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


my kids have always been big helpers around the house. they all had their regular chores. but it seemed like i was nagging them all day to do their chores. i started to hate the sound of my own voice by the end of the day.
so i came up with an idea that would urge my children to get their chorse done on their own without so much prompting from me. each child has a chore list hanging up in their room. i divided up their chores by morning, afternoon and evening. so now all i do is tell them go take care of your morning/afternoon/evening chores and they go get it done.
the rule is that morning chores are done first thing when they wake up. some of these include: feeding the dogs, picking up dog poo, making beds, cleaning rooms, checking garbage bags, wiping bathroom counters,helping mom with breakfast, and showers.
afternoon chores usually happen when we stop school for our lunchbreak. while im making lunch they conquer these chores. some of these chores include, checking the laundry, practicing instruments, rechecking garbages, walking dogs and schoolwork. even the little guys have a list of things they get to do. like cleaning up their toys so we can sit down for lunch.
evening chores are usually done while i get dinner together. alot of the chores repeat themselves but need to be kept up on. so some of these chores are making dinner, checking laundry, garbages, and picking rooms up again.
we do give our kids an allowance. i think alot of the things they do is expected in teaching them that it takes teamwork to run a family. but i also think by giving them allowance it allows us to teach them about money. i dont have a set amount they get. but they do get a little each week.
i like being more organized this year. it has really helped our days run smoother!

Monday, September 12, 2011


i am very excited to add a recipe section to my blog. i get asked alot if i have any "to die for" recipes. i dont really think i do. but i think i am gifted at stretching food. rice is something that can be very versatile and added to many meals. i can cook a big pot at the beginning of the week and plan several meals around it during the week. here are just a few recipes we use rice in:
build your own nacho night
tortilla chips
cooked beans
queso sauce
shredded cheese
ground turkey
taco seasoning
sour cream
brown the ground turkey and add the taco seasoning
cook the rice
cook a big crockpot of beans, leftovers can be frozen and used for other meals
heat up the queso sauce
i put all the ingrediants out and let everyone build their own plates. of course you can add many other things to nachos. and this is a cheap, easy meal. and its pretty healthy despite what someone might think hearing the word nachos. we use ground turkey instead of ground beef. its cheaper and healthier. the cheese is surprisingly low in fat. you can use fat free sour cream. and there can be lots of vegis added.
breakfast rice
cook the rice. add butter and sugar and serve it up! this is a classic. i grew up on this stuff. its quick, easy and cheap. add a banana or some strawberries on the side for a complete meal.
crockpot meat over rice
a meat of your preference ( we usually use pork)
bbq sauce
can of soda
cook your meat in a crockpot all day. when its done it will shred. the can of soda helps it to shred. pour bbq sauce, soda and any other seasons in the pot. cook the rice. shred up the meat and eat over the rice. again, this is easy and cheap!
there are so many other things we can do with rice. i will add more later! im still experimenting and finding new ways to use it too!

Saturday, September 10, 2011


another way we have always saved money is by shaving the boys heads. we have not taken the boys to a salon in years. but today was a first for me. hubby taught me how to shave their heads. i have never done it before and it was pretty easy. i practiced on hubbys head first and then moved on down the line of boys. i did them all except for the baby. my fingers were numb when i was done.
another first for me was trimming the girls hair. i was a bit nervous but i told myself, its just hair, we have long hair, and we have curly hair. noone will notice if its a bit crooked ;) i think i was pretty succesful. except when it came to my hair. i let hubby trim that. i think my new goal is to become as self sufficient as i can. learning how to do as much as we can on our own. plus it was fun! 2 and a half hours of haircutting family time!!!
i discovered a couple of things about my boys. they have a few knicks on their heads, resulting in scars. and they dont wash their hair very well. i dont think jonah has ever washed his hair! his head was so caked with dirt. and it stunk!!! it gave us all a pretty good laugh though.

Friday, September 9, 2011

meal planning

with a family this size our grocery bill is definately our second largest bill....right after our mortgage. im sure there are ways to cut back even more in this area and i would love any tips people have.
some of the things we have done is buying in bulk. we buy things like rice and beans in big 15 pound bags. this can last us for 6 months and easily be added to any meal. the beans i cook in a big crockpot and freeze. i can use them for many meals like, nachos, burritos, and chili dogs.
we also buy alot of bread and freeze it. bread is very versatile too. we can make lunchmeat sandwhiches, pb and j, french toast, grilled cheese, toast, and even personal pizzas.
tortillas are another staple in our house. they can be bought in large quantities and frozen too. we use them for quesadillas, burritos, tacos, and breakfast burritos. and they can be a quick snack . the kids love to grab one and eat and hubby loves to spread peanut butter on one and eat it.
i also love to have a big box of bisquick in the house. i can really get creative with it. we make pancakes, many different flavored muffins, and dinner buscuits.
my daughter is great at whipping up many different kinds of cookies and desserts with minimal baking items. i will post some of those recipes another time.
the rotisserie chickens are great for many things! they are very cheap at costco. and when we tear them up and add them to a recipe they are good for one dinner. when we break it down its much cheaper than buying the frozen chicken breasts. and so much more convenient. we buy 3 or 4 at a time and freeze them.
i have learned by buying versatile foods i can really stretch our food and make it last longer. my husband likes to say that when we have no food in the house i can always whip something up. i like to compare it to the account of the loaves and fishes. and i have seen God do this in our house many times!!! i hope i am passing this "gift" on to my girls. i would like to post in more detail some of the recipes that really work for our family on a budget later!!!
i think we have cut our grocery bill in half by following these simple steps. i would absolutely love to be able to cut it back even more! i am always tweaking things and trying new things out to see if i can save a buck here or there :)

Thursday, September 8, 2011

envelope system

i would like to go into more detail about our envelope system. i like to share our envelope experiance because it has probably been the best decision we have made concerning our finances. it really jump started a series of good decisions. last year our church offered the dave ramsey financial peace university course. i had heard of the envelope system before and we had tried it in the past. but this course really got us motivated again. of course we have played around with it and tweaked it to fit what works for our family.
basically the way it works for us is each payday we calculate our bills and gas we have to pay out of that check and thats the amount we put in our checking. everything else is cash and seperated into envelopes. some of our envelopes include, doctor, kids, church, camping, birthdays, christmas, food, pets, home, school, savings, car, date, adoption, and misc. some of these can encompass quite a few items. for instance the kids envelope can include clothes or shoes or even diapers. doctor envelope is for co pays, medicines, or dentist appointments. birthdays is a great one. it covers their birthday movie, and any special dinner or dessert. the date envelope can include a date night for roger and i or even a family date. we do alot more family dates than date nights :) our pet envelope covers dog food, dog accesories and we also save for any vet visits that might come up. the home envelope has a wide variety of uses. currently we are saving up for a little commuter car for roger in the car envelope but we may also need to use it for any repairs or items like oil for the van. the camping and the christmas envelope are always so fun! those get fed all year long but not spent until its time for those events. so its so rewarding to get to spend that money after saving for so long!
its so comforting to have this money set aside for specific purposes. dave ramsey says to give every dollar a name. this makes so much sense to us. we found out we had so much money being wasted every month because we were not allocating it. now its like we have found money we didnt know was there. i like to say the envelopes are magic, if i believed in magic :)
the envelopes also help us to practice self control. if we do not have any money left in an envelope we dont purchase the item. it teaches us to save. in many cases it teaches us delayed gratification. which is so rare in this day, where we live in a gotta have it now generation.
we are teaching this system to our children as well. especially the delayed gratification. piggy bank money does not get spent until the piggy bank is full. and we are teaching them to divide their money too. some goes into savings, some goes to church and the rest is spent. as they get older they can add more envelopes. like last year the 2 oldest kids had small jobs and had their own christmas envelope.
i know we get asked alot about how we stretch our dollars. i hope this has encouraged someone that is struggliing in this area!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


adoption was always something i thought was "neat" or would be "cool" to do. as a child i thought i would have some kids and then adopt some kids. not really understanding the meaning behind adoption and how God was the inventor of adoption. how as believers we are adopted into Gods kingdom.
well, life got busy and the house started filling up with kids. in the back of my mind i always thought ill have kids as long as i can then maybe start adopting. i never thought i would have 9 biological kids! after having a very easy time with most of my pregnancies and deliveries i never really thought i would be "done". i thought well im just made for having babies and i will probably have 20. when we decided to let God have control of our family size i never imagined He would say we were done having them biologically. but when number 9 came along and my body just about quit on me we thought God must be closing that door. after several doctors told us i would probably die if i had anymore children we thought that was confirmation. there are days ( many) that i am full of regrets for not continuing to have children. but then there are days i look at my children and think about how much they need me here.
when hubby said that word adoption i was filled with so much hope. not only do we believe that all children are a blessing and deserve a loving home but we know that being parents is our calling. that our house is not "full". that we said we would let God control the size of our family that meant he knows no boundries and could use adoption to do that!
how many children are too many? i dont believe theres such a thing. and i am well aware that there are millions of orphans in the world and that we wont change that number by adopting 1, 2 , 3 or more children but we can change those children. we will show them what a loving home is, what family is, what unconditional love is, and who Christ is.
so how did this journey begin. well my heart was ready a year and half ago. but that was not the right timing. although hubby was very sure he wanted to pursue adoption he was not quite ready yet. when josiah turned one we started doing some research. over this last summer we have really researched. we have gotten in touch with a placing agency and a home study agency. we have also joined an orphan care ministry and soaked up as much wisdom from veteran adoptive parents as we can!
some days it seems we are going in slow motion but i know its Gods timing, not ours. i know that the process can snowball very quickly once it gets going and we want to make sure we are prepared when it does.
some things we have done....we have applied to a placing agency and have been aproved to adopt through their ghana program. some things we are doing....we are fundraising and taking donations. we are saving our money. we are really close to turning our home study application in. i look foward to blogging through the process. i hope through my blogging i can give a face to adoption and encourage other people in their journeys. i know God has put so many people in our life to encourage us. its amazing the poeple i have met on this journey...and we have only begun!
if you feel led to donate to our adoption you can go to the donate button on the side of my page. but most of all please join us in praying!!!! praying for the process to run smooth, praying for Gods perfect timing, and praying for the children waiting to be adopted.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

one income

we certainly get this question alot "how do you guys do it on one income?" while i wish i had some secret recipe, i do not. but what i do have is alot of mistakes. and what are mistakes good learn from. we know that God is our provider. Jehovah Jireh!! not until we let go of our fears and give this area of our life to God did we really start seeing the blessings from it. the desire of our home is to have mama at home. this is something hubby is very convicted about. and we have seen so many blessings come from this as we have surrendered and let God provide through a modest single income. another conviction we have is to live a debt free life. while this is something we are still working hard on, it feels good to be working towards a goal. so how do we accomplish these two things ...
1. pray and trust God. He has proven ( not that He has to) Himself to us over and over again.
2. hardwork! hubby works very hard. he works alot of overtime. we do alot of things ourselves instead of paying someone. like bathing the dogs, washing cars, home repairs, haircuts.
3. minimize our bills. we have as few bills as we can. the bare essentials as they say! no credit cards, cable, and soon no car payments!
4. hand me downs. we have been so blessed to always recieve hand me downs from family and friends. we rarely ever have to buy clothes for the kids.
5. sacrifices. we sacrifice alot to minimize our bills and cut back on the money that goes out. small sacrifices can add up to alot! like not eating out. but these things dont seem like sacrifices anymore!
6. buy food in bulk. this is something we learned a long time ago. buying foods like rice and beans in big bags at costco is so helpful! these bags can easily last us half a year and can be added to anything to make a complete meal. and the leftovers freeze well for the next dinner.
7. sack lunches. one way we avoid eating out is to always pack up our lunches and snacks. we do alot of running around so lunch and snacks always go with us. i always pack hubbys lunch for work as well.
8. homeschooling. this area could fall under hand me downs too. i very seldom buy school books. i love getting hand me down books. i also purchase used books for very cheap.
9. reuse and recycle. we reuse our water bottles for as long as they will hold up. we also recycle cans and plastic. it adds up!!
10. think long and hard before purchasing big or little items! i find the longer i think and pray about a purchase the more i realize one of two things,either i can live without it and am often thankful i didnt waste money on it, or i can get it somewhere else cheaper or used.
11. envelope system. i think this is the most important tip! this one most definately deserves its own article! but just to skim the top, using a cash only envelope system has been the best thing we have ever done! ill give details on how our system works in another post.
i hope that this blog is helpful and encouraging to someone out there. maybe someone that has always wanted to stay home with their kids but isnt sure how to make that work. we are still making mistakes. but with a teachable heart we can learn from those mistakes and use them to make our family stronger.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

gold rush days

today was a pretty fantastic day. a "free" family fun day. about as free as things get these days. with the cost of gas...and water bottles. this weekend is the annual gold rush days in old sacramento. i am such a history nerd. i often think i was born in the wrong era. and this is one of my favorite time periods.
we knew parking would be an issue. we were not sure if our big van would clear a parking garage so we drove around a bit and found a parking lot with an all day flat rate events parking. not a bad price. did i mention nothing is ever "free".
our first stop was the old one room schoolhouse. i love this museum. with my 50 cent donation i got a school rules poster. very cute. i think i will hang it up on our wall of fame at home. after we left the schoolhouse we were handed an event schedule. to our pleasant surprise all the museums in old sac are having free admission for the whole week end. i was ecstatic. that meant we were definately making our way to the train museum.
we made our way over to the civil war camp. the kids got to pet horses and get our family picture taken with a group of soldiers. we must make a bathroom stop in between almost every stop. someone always has to go potty or wash their hands. my favorite coffe shop, steamers is a must when we go to old sac. which isnt very often. 1 peppermint mocha freeze, 3 waters, 1 chocolate milk and a rockstar and we are only out 14$ water bottles are saved and refilled at all of our potty breaks.
now off to the museum. we sat outside and had our packed up lunch. sandwhiches and chips, before heading into the museum. there were quite a few people inside. must have had something to do with the free admission thing :) the kids had so much fun walking through all of the old train cars. the wax people really tricked the kids. in the old money order building they walked up to one and sat by him. to their surprise he said hello!!! oops not a wax one. all of the actors are great. i think they are all volunteers. but they take their job seriously!
we got done in just enough time to make it back to the middle of town for the shoot out. the kids did not want to miss that. on our way we made a pit stop and watched them set the canon off. unfortunately we didnt make it back in time to get a seat on the shady side of the street. but the kids were troopers and wanted to sit in the heat and watch. it was worth it.
after sitting in that heat we decided to treat the kids to some ice cream. we werent the only ones with that idea! imagine the poor girls face when i got up to the counter and asked for 9 kiddie cones...and 1 adult cone. she deserved a tip! and only 2$ for kiddie cones :)
after the ice cream had been devoured and we found a bathroom and washed sticky faces and hands we made our last stop. candy heaven. all barrels with blue signs were for free sampling. that was the icing on our day! except poor zaccy. with his caps he cant have gum, sticky, chewy or hard candy. so a pixie stick it was! i would have loved to stay longer but everyones feet hurt. so we made our way back to the van and headed home.
all in all a great day! although free is never completely free we did pretty good for this family of 11. and no guilt since we used our date envelope. and i think this qualified as a family date!