Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Happy Birthday Brooke!

It has been so busy around here, I never got around to posting a Happy Birthday to Brooke. She turned 11 on April 17!

She had her friend Sarah to sleep over and she wanted hamburgers for lunch. We also made some dairy free brownies since her friend can't have milk. They actually turned out to be pretty yummy!

I meant to take more pictures, but time got away from me..........

Sickness, Conventions and Birthdays, Oh My!

This weekend wore. me. out. I had to take Monday to recover. The kids had been sick last week with pink eye and some of them got a chest cold and some others got a small stomach virus. Then David was sick with Bronchitis this weekend, and he even had a chest x-ray because they thought he might have pneumonia.

Saturday, I had volunteered to hostess some workshops for the Tulsa OCHEC Homeschool Convention. Can you believe that I've homeschooled for fifteen years and this is the first convention I've ever been to?

I hosted two workshops and the first one was about homeschooling with no regrets by Skeet Savage from Wisdom's Gate Ministries. She was so nice and I really appreciated what she said. Basically, you can fill your child with wisdom, but at the end of the day, what really matters? Good words to remind us to keep perspective.

The second workshop was by Cindy Nicolai with OCHEC. She had a great message as well-remember to keep your priorities straight. She gave a baseball diamond outline with God on the pitcher's mound, you are the catcher, your husband is on first, children on second and homeschool on third. Everything else is in the outfield.  I wasn't able to get a picture with her, she was setting up her presentation when I got there and she was talking to an attendee when I left.

While I was walking through the vendor hall, this sweet older lady stopped me to give me a sample of a Bible study she had at her table. She said, "Since you homeschool, I don't know, you might be old enough to have a middle schooler." I said, "Would you believe my oldest is in college?" The look of shock on her face..she said, "You don't look old enough!"

Bless her.

Before the convention I had raced over to pick up my nephew, Devin and Tyler's friend Matt for a birthday sleepover since Tyler turned 17 on Sunday! WHERE does the time go?

Of course they stayed up all night playing video games and eating spicy Doritos.

Sunday morning Brittany helped with a fundraiser breakfast for the three summer missionaries from our church (Brittany included.) As of the breakfast, she has made her financial goal! All money has been raised!

Brittany, Tyler and Timothy stayed at church all day, because it was youth night for the evening service. They do this once a year-the youth take over the whole service. Tyler and Matt did one skit about seeing God in the small things. Tyler and Timothy were in a different skit about being in bondage from choices you've made. I have to admit they did a fabulous job and I even teared up a bit in the second skit. It was a powerful message of Jesus freeing you from that bondage.

In addition to all this, the forecasters were calling for bad tornado weather on Sunday. It rained really hard that morning, but that was about it around here. I know there was a terrible tornado in Arkansas that killed a father and two kids from a family of 11. So sad.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Resurrection Day 2014!

I tried to get some pictures after our church's annual Easter egg hunt. Key word being tried. For having a finicky point and shoot camera, kids with squinty eyes and one who would not look at the camera, they turned out okay.



Clockwise: Bethany, Tristan, Thomas, and Brooke

David and Me

Tyler, Brittany, Timothy

The whole crowd


Bailey, Travis and Brennan

Friday, April 18, 2014

Finances on Good Friday!

Happy Good Friday!! I know the image of Jesus on the cross doesn't conjure up "happy" images, but what we will celebrate on Sunday will! If today hadn't happened, then the Resurrection couldn't happen. And that, Friends, does make me happy!

And, I'm also linking up again at Renaissance to share what frugal efforts I made this week......

  • I filled my gas tank up at Sam's and saved 4 cents a gallon. 
  • David did me a big favor and cut the boys hair today. Although, we did have to buy a new pair of clippers, the money saved from four boys' haircuts has already paid for that.
  • Last week, I think I forgot to mention that I had my sister in law help me color my hair and she also gave me a trim. Total cost- $12 for the color.
  • I downloaded the ebook version of our book club book for this month to read on Kindle on my laptop-saved around $8-9.
  • Found my 13 year old a pair of name brand shoes online with a coupon code. Original price was around $60 plus shipping. My cost: $23 shipped!
  • Sold two more books on Currclick!
  • I have $3 in Shop Your Way points that showed up in my email to use by Wednesday. Last summer I got about an email every week with $3 in points for any purchase. I would go into Kmart and buy dish soap with it. I didn't have to pay for dish soap almost all summer, lol!
Don't forget to link up over at Renaissance and share your frugal ventures for the week!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Conferences and Paper Chickens

Well, my expression in this picture does NOT sum up what I thought about the conference on Saturday, Ha!

Apparently I was interested in whatever was happening on the stage. (I think they were doing the giveaways.) So, I stole Mrs. Rita's photo off Facebook, since I didn't take any pictures myself.

And, my belly! Good grief!

It was a fun time. There was a GREAT dinner on Friday night. The speakers were a little too "charismatic-y", which isn't surprising here in Oklahoma, but it is a little surprising given it was a Free Will Baptist Conference. David and I are not Free Will Baptists, but God has led us to this church for a reason.

Sunday I stayed home with three kids who had pink eye. I must have had some burst of energy because I had David go rent me a steam cleaner and I cleaned the carpets, cleaned out my closet, my bedroom, mopped all the floors and generally got everything in order. I'm sure it had absolutely nothing to do with being pregnant, since I had an emotional breakdown beforehand about the house being "so filthy".

Anyway, Monday night Brittany, Bethany, Brooke and I went to an Origami Owl party. I ended up getting a locket with charms for myself and a necklace for Bethany and Brooke. Brittany bought herself a necklace.

Origami owl selfie

I'm justifying it as a mother's day/birthday gift, and birthday gifts for the girls. It is Brooke's birthday tomorrow.

The Origami Owl representative has a "paper chicken" email. Someone asked her once what that stuff she sells is? The "Paper Chicken"? Funny.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Finances on Friday!

So, it's Friday and you know what that means...............I'm linking up with Rebecca at Renaissance for Finances on Friday!

This, friends, was a stellar week for saving money.

  • First of all, remember that conference I forgot to register for a few weeks ago? Well, I was really disappointed that I wasn't going. It turns out that another lady had bought a ticket and wasn't going to be able to go and she offered it to me! So, I'm going after all! I'm really excited. There are six of us going from church. It was an option to stay overnight, but no one wanted to, and it's only ten minutes away. I'm really looking forward to the encouragement and refreshment!
  • One of my favorite coupon sites, Hip 2 Save, had posted a deal about laundry soap being on sale at Sears. I had bought this same soap last year when Kmart had it on sale. I really like making my own soap, but especially in the summer when I do a lot of brights and whites, I notice they get a little "grayish" after a while. So, if there's a good deal I'll get some store bought soap and just use it on those loads. Well, that same morning I got an email with a Shop Your Way reward for Sears for $7 off a $20 purchase. I also had a some bonus points from when I bought my purse and the kids shoes a few weeks ago. All in all, I got two HUGE boxes (180 loads each) of detergent for $9.72!! I picked it up in store at the mall about 5 miles away.
  • I also made a batch of laundry soap this week, so I should be set to do lots of laundry! (yippee...)
  • I've had my eye on a pack of onesies at Target that are gray and yellow. I'm doing gray and yellow with owls for this baby. We never find out the gender beforehand and this is really gender neutral. I stopped into Target for something else, and they had those onesies on sale for a dollar and five cents off so I went ahead and got them so baby has something to wear in/at home from the hospital.
  • And, now for my awesome deal of the week........ Babies R Us is discontinuing their maternity line in June and had ALL of their maternity and nursing wear marked down to FIVE DOLLARS A PIECE!!!! I almost always wear used maternity clothes that I get at thrift, garage sales or consignment sales and I will wear it until it is not fit to be worn. I just always hate spending money on clothes for myself, but this was too good to pass up. I got a denim jacket, pants, capris, 2 dresses, maternity shirts, nursing shirts, nursing tanks and bras, and even some nursing jammies so I will look cute when I'm at the hospital! This was such a blessing! I think I probably got about thirty things and spend less then I would have on ONE regular outfit from a maternity store. I've got about nine or ten weeks left, and I know I'll still be wearing those pants for a little while after, too.

So, here I am in my new outfit heading out to the conference.

Don't forget to link up over at Renaissance and share your financial ideas and efforts this week!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

You know, the usual.......

Well, this weekend and week has been the usual. And, by usual, I mean stuff like having to take the back of the dryer apart to retrieve an oxyclean lid that a child, who will remain nameless, dropped down the lint trap when he/she was switching laundry.

Our ladies group at church had a prayer breakfast Saturday morning. We had biscuits and gravy, juice and scrambled eggs and whoever was in charge of the decorations had decorated the tables so cute with an Easter/spring theme. We all had little seed packets and chocolates. Breakfast can't bet much better than that. Then, we all went into the sanctuary to have a little uninterrupted time to pray alone. You could go ahead and leave when you were done, and I was the last to leave the sanctuary. I'm not sure what that means............

Travis threw up yesterday. I hope that was an isolated incident.

I've packed or gotten rid of just about everything I can at this point. So, nothing to do now, but keep on keeping on and see what happens.

Did I  mention that David bought me a new laptop? I didn't? Well, it is AWESOME. I still have a special place in my heart for my old one that David surprised me with at Christmas a few years ago. It still has a little life left so I think maybe the kids can use it for school assignments. I was a little nervous thinking I wouldn't be able to figure out the new windows screen and all the updates and features, but really it was pretty easy. The kids will not be getting their dirty little hands on this laptop. Mama's new toy is OFF limits.

So..... that's about it except for the homeschooling, cooking, cleaning, laundry and other shenanigans that usually take place.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Finances on Friday!

Okay, so I linked up again over at Renaissance for Finances on Friday!

What were my frugal efforts this week................?




I need to start making myself notes. I can barely remember what I planned to make the kids for breakfast this morning much less what frugal things I did last Monday.

Well, let's start with today, because that's at least fresh on my mind. I kind of hesitate to share this, but I'm going to anyway. My son, who'll be 17 this month, has been working at a grocery store since last year. I let him have some time just to spend a little money, since we usually don't have much extra to give the kids allowances or spending money. In January I told him I was going to start putting half his money into my savings account, so he wouldn't be tempted to withdraw it because he wouldn't have access to it. He could have the other half for whatever, but he's really good about buying his own necessities as well as buying the other kids things if they need it. Anyway, as of today he has over a thousand dollars in savings! In just that short amount of time! He'll definately have a nice little sum to buy a car with in the next six or eight months when he gets his driver's licence.

We ate from the pantry for three days this week. Now, I know that isn't a lot, but I was out of bread and peanut butter (gasp!) and so I went through what we had and it lasted three days. I actually don't even have a pantry. This rental house kitchen is so impractical for this family of 12, I don't even know how we've lasted three and a half years. The cabinets were full of bugs when we moved in (unbeknownst to me when I signed the lease) and I have never been able to put anything in them even after we got rid of the bugs. Maybe psychological, but eeeewwww. It's a small 50's style ranch kitchen with no counter space. So, all of our food, and kitchen utensils are on one big metal shelf in the corner of the kitchen. Now, I do have an extra fridge and a small chest freezer, which is hugely helpful, but I just don't have shelf space for a lot of nonperishables. And, I just don't buy a lot of convenience food either, so for us, three days was a long time.

Oh, yes. Last Saturday we went and bought 13 new chairs for our table. We had been using yard sale chairs that were hanging on by a thread and kept breaking one by one, so we knew we were going to buy new chairs with our tax refund. Four of the chairs they had in stock were scratched a bit, not bad really, but David asked the assistant who was helping us if he'd give us a discount. The guy said 5% was all he could do. He went ahead and asked the manager, who said go ahead and do 10%, then when we got to the register, she gave us 20%. That was basically like buying 12 chairs and getting one free! I didn't even think of asking for a discount. Score one for the husband!

I've still been packing and decluttering for whenever and wherever we may get a house and move. Sometimes it's good just to purge and let things go. We ended up getting rid of a ton of stuff, even my beloved baker's rack that David bought me 16 years ago. I get a little sentimental about stuff sometimes and I wanted to keep it, but it was getting bent and the drawers were breaking, so I decided it was time to move on. There are two free landfill days this month, but by the time we tried to load all that in the van and probably have to make two trips there, I thought it was just worth paying the $5 extra so the garbage men could take it all.

Well, that's about it. Don't forget to link up over at Renaissance and share about your frugal week!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Well, on occasion we get negative comments about the size of our family (as evidenced here), but much more often we get curious questions. And, we do get quite a few positive comments.

Sunday, David came home from church early to start grilling out some lunch for us. I stopped in the grocery store on my way home to get some lemonade and soda.

There was a lady right behind me in line and she leaned over and said, "OH! It looks like you're going to have a little blessing!"

"Yes!" I said. "Actually it will be number 11 for us." Normally I wouldn't just volunteer that out there, but I felt it was the right thing to say.

"Well," she said, "You're still so young, you have energy to care for them all. And the time just goes by so fast. You know what the Bible says? Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of children."

I said, "Yes, it sure does! But, not everyone feels that way........."

She smiled and said, "You know, it's just none of their business!"

Bless her heart.

She made my day.

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