• I was this close (imagine my fingers just 1/2 inch apart) to grabbing a fast food meal this week…actually multiple times this week. But each time I managed to avoid it by the skin of my teeth telling myself it’d be cheaper and healthier to eat at home. One of the times it was actually a deal for a $6 pizza, that I almost ordered, but then I thought about how little nutrition was in it…how eating food we already had would probably be less than $6…and I wouldn’t have to drive to town if I just made lunch myself. The one time we did eat out was on Saturday when Long John Silver’s was offering a free fish and fries to each customer. The kids and I enjoyed our free and very greasy meal. :)

Completely free meal for me and the kiddos that Long John Silvers was offering Saturday!



Since this picture, the kids have gotten a second free ice-cream from a different place. I ended up buying one for myself too. :P


  • I’ve been earning more swagbucks recently. This is for 2 reasons, I have more time on my hands and videos aren’t blocked. During the semesters the training center blocks streaming because of all the bandwidth it uses. Sometimes I just play videos while I do other things on the computer, and sometimes I put the kids to work earning swagbucks for me by letting them watch animal video clips. They love learning about animals and I love getting swagbucks! And like I mentioned last week, about buying Cameron’s birthday present with swagbucks, it got in this week! :)
  • Cameron’s birthday was this week and he’s getting home tomorrow!!! We’re all so excited! We have home-made cards and a home-made banner all ready. We also wrapped all the gifts in bags or paper that we already had on hand.
  • Happy 4th of July! To celebrate, we’ll be having a cookout by the lake with some family and hoping to go watch fireworks after that. Enjoy your day!



An old picture....but I love it :)

Have you signed your kids up for your local library’s summer reading program?

Gracia and Little Dude are loving it so much!

What’s been cool about the reading program so far:

  1. Each kid got to pick out a brand new book to keep when we signed up.
  2. Each kid also got an activity book. They have a few activities they have to do for each section, and then read (or have read to them) 10 books.
  3. For every section they complete, they get a prize. The kids already earned their first prize…free DQ cones! :)
  4. It’s great motivation for the kids. While we did it last year too, this summer it’s even more exciting  because since last summer, Gracia has learned to read. So now, instead of me reading to her, I’m having her read books herself! Of course, she still needs help and it has to be beginner books, but it’s been great motivation and I can’t believe she’s done the first 10 books already!
  5. It helps the kids know what books to pick out. Usually the kids each pick a few books, and I pick some for them too, but this summer, I’ve been trying to help Gracia find ones that are simple enough for her to read herself. She’s having to think through what she gets more, instead of just grabbing things off the shelf.

I know every library is different, so yours may not be doing things exactly like ours is, but it’s a great FREE way to not only keep kids occupied, but keep their brains exercising too! And if you don’t have kids…the library still is an awesome place!

Enjoying their hard-earned cones!

I enjoyed these 2 lists, and thought you might too:



I spent $88.38 today on groceries, this is including food and 2 make-up products and paper plates. I don’t buy paper plates very often, but the kids need some to make a tambourine for the library’s summer reading program.

Here’s the saving strategies I employed:

  • Coupon! Yes I actually used a coupon! We don’t get a newspaper or anything, but my parents do, so when I was visiting in NY I thumbed through it and clipped a few I thought I might use. I used a $2 off coupon to get the mascara. It’s not the brand I usually buy, but with the coupon it was cheaper than my usual brand. The sad part is I had another coupon for any Covergirl product (my usual brand) but I was just 1 day too late…it expired yesterday. :(
  • Price-matching. I price-matched the avocados for 29 cents each!!! Can you believe it? And the strawberries for 99 cents/16 oz. They’re one of Little Dudes favorite fruits.
  • Purchasing larger sizes. As you may know I like to buy my eggs in the big cases, cuz it’s cheaper per egg. I also bought a 2 pack of whole chickens since it was cheaper per pound and I can just freeze them until I’m ready to use them.
  • Generic brand. That’s one of the easiest ways to cut your grocery bill!
  • Sale purchase. I needed peanut butter and was pleasantly surprised that the kind I like was on sale.
  • Buying food that’s almost always cheap. As you can see looking at the picture I didn’t purchase things like steaks and wine, but I did buy things like whole chickens and pasta.

Now for my menu plan…or more like my ideas of meals that I’m sure I won’t stick with exactly:

Breakfasts: Oatmeal, breakfast rice, smoothies, eggs, and toast

Lunches: leftovers, burritos, and tuna sandwiches or tuna lettuce wraps. Lettuce wraps have been sounding very yummy to me lately. :)


And I just might stop by my favorite dent-foods/bulk store on my way to get Cameron. :)


  • The night before Cameron headed for Mexico, we had a spur of the moment date night. His parents watched the kids = free babysitting. :) We went to Subway where Cameron got a $6 footlong and I got 2 flatizzas for $5, cuz I had a coupon (thanks Mom!). We got waters = free again! Then we went and walked around the outlet mall, which always reminds me how out of touch I am with cool people. We didn’t buy anything, just looked at stuff. Then we finished the night off by going to Sonic for slushies.
  • I’m trying to make use of free and cheap ways to have fun with the kids. So far this has involved swimming in the lake, going to parks and enjoying the library.
  • I just ordered Cameron’s b-day gift off of Amazon.I paid it COMPLETELY with credit earned from swagbucks!!!* Woo-hoo! He’s always making fun of me for doing swagbucks, so I like to buy him things with my earnings, then he doesn’t have a right to poke fun at me! HA!
  • You know how I had myself a little canning lesson? Well…last night, after the kids were in bed, I tried canning all by myself and now I have 4 jars of pickles sitting on the counter. I’ll have to update you after we’ve tasted them.
  • I gave Little Dude a hair cut. Oh how I love the savings of cutting male hair at home!


The kids with their new haircuts...and the cones they earned in the summer reading program.



Not-So-Frugal: Speaking of cutting little Dude’s hair, we took Gracia to Wal-Mart this week and got her hair cut. I have tried to do trims on her before, but I have a bad track record with female hair, so I’m sticking with professionals for longer hair.


*Referral link

Canning is one of those things that’s always seemed daunting to me, and on top of that I usually prefer to learn by someone showing me hands on how to do it, not just reading about it. All that to say I’ve been saying I want to learn to can for years now.

While we were in New York my amazing cousin gave me a canning lesson! And not sitting me down and telling me how to do it, we actually canned! Using the water bath method, we made canned tomatoes and raspberry jam (with raspberries from her garden no less).





That was the tomatoes, here’s the jam:



Do you can? What are your favorite things to can? I’m trying to decide what to  can next (on my own this time! Gulp!), so I’m open to tips, recipes and advice!


Things change in life. But one thing doesn’t, and that’s God.

As I’ve recently been reading about Jesus, I’ve been blown away at who He really is. He’s not just the typical Sunday School type Jesus with a purple robe and serious face.


He loved the people most scoffed at.

He loved the broken, ugly, poor, and sinful.

He loved the ones everyone in society agreed should be cast out.

He loved the ones who didn’t deserve His love.


His love is shown in how He, even though He is the God and Creator of the universe, He became a mere dirty human. His love is shown in how He lived on this sin-cursed earth with foolish humans, disease, heat, sickness, and evil. His love is shown in that He WILLINGLY suffered and died a humiliating, criminal death…even though He’s the only one who didn’t deserve that death. His love is shown in that He loves me…..He’s allowed me, of all the people out there, to hear this amazing message. His love is shown in that He’s allowed me to glory and bask in this incredible love and enjoy it….even though I don’t even fully comprehend how far I am from deserving it.


When I feel like I can’t take it anymore, it’s then I realize, of course I can’t, but my totally powerful, unbelievably loving Father can!


I recently decided to give myself some bangs…which I haven’t had since I was a little girl.

Me with bangs...I'm the one in the middle.

They were a little uneven, so I tried to fix them the next day…then I got them too short…so I went to the hair salon to get help. It was the same lady who swooped in and saved the day with my disastrous highlights from the hair school. I told her I really learned my lesson this time about trying to save money on my hair, to which she replied, “That’s what you said last time.” It was a little embarrassing.

She was able to pull more hair forward for my bangs and kinda cover up my mess. And now that it’s been a few weeks, my bangs have gotten longer.

Anyways…when I was in the stage of not sure if I liked them/mad at myself for trying to do it myself, I thought maybe some headbands would help. So I looked through my clothes and decided that my red t-shirt that was getting holes could be re-purposed. I simply cut a strip off the bottom and tied it on my head. So easy and no sewing. I found the t-shirt material really comfortable as often headbands hurt my head.

Later I was scrounging around the mission barrel (a place students and staff donate/take things for free) and found some dark brown stockings. I took them home, cut part of one of the legs off and it works great as a headband. I sometimes even safety-pin a fabric flower to it. I love just pinning the flower on that way if I want to change it up, it’s a breeze! Plus it’s quicker than sewing it on.

Do you have any great ideas for making your own headbands?



I don’t even know where to start, the past month has been crazy with trips, time with both sides of our family, Little Dude moving back in with us again, and as of this morning Cameron headed out to Mexico to help install a water pump in a remote village. So, it’s just me and the kids for a while. I’m hoping to get lots done while he’s away, like getting un-packed, now that Little Dude is with us again, we’ve changed our plans some and will be basing out of Missouri for the time being, so all that packing I did was for nothing….sigh. I’m also hoping to get plenty of school done with the kids, but I’m excited to incorporate the library’s summer reading program into it! And I’m also super-duper pumped about getting back to blogging!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I have a million and one blog posts in my head, I just need to get them typed and posted, so stay tuned!


The kids getting ready for a tea party with my Mom



Sorry the posts have been so few and far between lately. We’ve been traveling and lots has been going on, so that’s my excuse.

Speaking of traveling….we had our nice clothes on hangars laying on our luggage to pack into the car before coming on this trip…then we moved the clothes on the hangars to the couch while packing the luggage….and you guessed it…we forgot them.

It wouldn’t have been that big of a deal except that we’re speaking at 2 different churches. So Cameron, me and Gracia all ended up buying a new outfit. Only Little Dude (oh yeah, 2 days before we left it was decided he’d come along too) had all his clothes in a suitcase and didn’t need a new outfit.

I had looked at TJ Max for either a dress or skirt/shirt I liked, but wasn’t finding anything, as I drove to another store, I all of a sudden remembered a consignment store on that road and figured it wouldn’t hurt to check it out. I was in the store about 20 minutes and came out with a little black dress. The dress still had a tag on it from Marshalls. Marshalls was selling it for $19.99, but apparently wherever it had been before that it had been priced at $40. The consignment store was asking $15.65. The store certainly lived up to its name, Fabulous Finds!

I also love shopping consignment because I know somebody’s on the other end making a little money off the dress they decided they didn’t want. It’s a win-win!


Sounds like something a greedy little toddler would say, right? But it’s what I’ve found myself saying, in my head at least, multiple times lately as we yet again pack up.

“I love these mason jars, I can’t just get rid of them, surely I can find things to put in them, so I have an excuse to keep them.”

“Getting rid of almost all of our kitchen things and replacing them in West Africa sounds great…but what if it ends up being expensive and it takes us a while to restock everything? That might mean super simple cooking, and making do with what we have may end up being a pain.”

As all these thoughts roll around in my head, I think the main thing I’m trying to avoid is  discomfort. I really, really hate not being comfortable, whether that discomfort is inconvenience, not getting my “me time” or worried about what others think of me.

But that’s focusing all on me, and the purpose of my life should not be to make it as comfortable as possible. Not that my purpose is to make it uncomfortable either. My job is to spread Christ’s love…..often that means I’ll have to get a little uncomfortable.

Living on this earth wasn’t fun and comfy for Jesus, neither was dying on the cross, but “…For the joy set out for him he endured the cross…” (Hebrews 12:2).

Paul’s life was full of prison, persecution, ship-wrecked and so much more, but he said in regards to the things he lost suffering for Christ, “…I regard them as dung! – that I might gain Christ,”(Philippians 3:8).

As I struggle with a love for my stuff, I’m so thankful that when Jesus was talking with the rich young ruler, who also felt sad about giving up his things, it says, “…As Jesus looked at him, he felt love for him…”

As you go in that story, the disciples are confused at how Christ said he should give all he had to the poor and follow Christ. And that it’s easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for rich people to get into God’s kingdom. When they say, who can be saved then??? Jesus says some words I absolutely love, ” This is impossible for mere humans, but not for God; all things are possible for God.” (Mark 10:27)

In conclusion:

  • I’m thankful for the many wonderful things I’ve been able to use and enjoy.
  • I’m reminded that they’re just tools, and if they don’t help further Christ’s message of love….then I’ll be just fine with out them.
  • And it’s okay if my life isn’t perfectly comfortable, I’ll be plenty comfy in heaven for the rest of eternity. :)

Lord, help me to not just say these things, but really believe them!

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