Friday, July 30, 2010

2 Cheap Dinner Hits

I have always been a meal planner. I like knowing what we're having and then making my grocery list. (Which reminds me I need to make my list for this weekend.) This is becoming a little more difficult since I'm now feeding 3 times the amount of people! I wanted to share 2 dinners from this week that not only were hits with all the kids (and the man), but were cheap too.

The first dinner was grilled pork tenderloin, corn on the cobb, and mac and cheese. The mac and cheese came from the pantry and the corn came from our weekly csa share, so no money out of pocket this week for those. The pork was on sale so I got 2 pounds for about $6. Then I bought a McCormick grill mates apple wood dry rub. We fed all 5 of us plus S's friend. There weren't any leftovers of course, but everyone got plenty to eat!

The second dinner was breakfast burritos with fruit. We had about half a container of strawberries and blueberries left from munching on them all week, so I cut up the strawberries and tossed them all together. For the burritos I used:

Eggs (2 per person)
Shredded Mexican Cheese
1 Green Pepper (chopped)
Red Potatoes (3-4 per person depending on size)- chopped
1 Onion (diced)
Bulk Maple Sausage
Taco Sauce

Saute the sausage and remove from pan. In sausage drippings saute pepper, onion, and potatoes until soft. In separate pan scramble the eggs. When veggies are done add sausage back in and toss. Layer tortilla, cheese, egg, and sausage mix and roll.

For this all I had to buy were the eggs and sausage! The tortillas were left from big A's birthday last week as was the cheese and taco sauce. The veggies all came from the csa. We even had leftovers! There was enough sausage mix for 2 more burritos. I ate it last night for dinner as hash. Since the big boys were with their mom it was a leftover kind of night.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Two nights in....

Even though little A and I moved in with B last week, it's been 2 nights since all of us have been in the house together. It's definately different. There are things I really like about having a full family again and things I really miss about it just being little A and me.

1. Sleep. I love going to bed with and waking up next to B. Not to mention his mattress is newer than mine so we kept it and the bed is now more comfortable. I'm having issues the last few days getting little A down though. He's never been a great sleeper. It takes an hour to get him down at night regardless of what time it is or what I do to where him out. Then he wakes up 1-3 times during the night and I have to lay with him then too. In the old house are rooms were right next to each other and it was quiet.

The last few nights it's taken 1.5-2 hours to put him down. I have to wake him in the morning because he's still so tired when I didn't before and he is cranky tired all day. Last night when he woke I couldn't hear him call for me because he's at the other end of the house and B likes to sleep w/ a noisy fan on. He came in our room last night crying and scared asking "Mommy I call you. Why you no come to me?" Hard enough to hear as a mom, but the pregnancy hormones didn't help. We're going to stop on the way home tonight to buy a baby monitor.

2. Food. I like organization and plans and knowing what's going on when. I plan my menu and shop accordingly. I don't like coming home 2 days after I've been to the grocery to learn that 2 liters of coke, a container of juicy juice, a pitcher of kool aide, 2 pounds of lunch meant, and a brick of cheese are gone; especially when you were told to stay out of the juice. Then to be asked "We're out of coke and lunch meat. Will you go to the store and buy more?" This does not really make my day. The look on their faces when I told them "No. The food we have has to last the full week. I'll go again next week." was a combination of shock, dissapointment, and a desire to cuss me out. So sad, too bad dude. Drink water and eat pb&j or any of the other food still left.

3. Discipline. B and I have similar parenting styles which is great. Problem is we both give in on different things. Apparently his push over point is not following through when he asks the kids to do something. He told them yesterday to do the dishes before 1pm and that no one was to be at the house when we were not there.

I get home with little A and B is doing dishes. Why? Because the boys didn't do them. They were in their rooms playing video games with a friend (yes, one who shouldn't have been there.) If it was me I would have made the friend leave and made the boys do the dishes after dinner and probably a few more nights. B decides the friend can stay for dinner, washes all the dishes twice, and then takes them to rent a video game.

Of course they're not going to do what you tell them when there are no consequences. Ugh. I'm all for natural consequences. The boys are old enough to make choices and then deal with the consequences of those choices. Don't be a push over.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Monday Giveaways - July 26

I am pleased to announce that when I opened my email this morning I had a wonderful suprise from Denise at Extreme Personal Measures. I won the ouchies giveaway I entered last week! I got to choose 2 tins and decided on the Trucktown and 4 Boyz versions. These will be going in little A's Christmas stocking which is perfect because he loves coming up with "pretend owies" so he can have a real bandaid.

If you haven't read the Trucktown series of books they are great for little kids who love trucks. They range from boardbooks to picture books to early readers.

Here are the giveaways I've entered this week:

Planet Wise Wet/Dry bag from Mama to 3 Blessings

Bebe au Lait hooded towel from Raising Olives

$50 Sam's Club giftcard from Shining 2 Save

12 pack of Luna bars from Freebies and Much More

Set of 3 reusable nuring pads from Confessions of a Trophy Wife

Bummas Wipes from The Thrifty Things

1-year subscription to Taste of Home from Freebies and Much More

$75 gift card for Zutano Kids from Busy Working Mama

EOS shave cream and lip balm from The Coupon Challenge

$75 gift card to Smart & Sexy Lingerie from Ice Fairy's Treasure Chest

$50 gift card to Costumes 4 Less from The Neat Things in Life

Have you thought about Halloween yet? Head on over to The Neat Things in Life ( and enter for your chance to win $50 store credit to You can never have your Halloween Costumes purchased to early. Do not let your child have to wear a Costume no one wanted. Giveaway ends September 1st @ 11:59pm CST.

$25 TJ Maxx/Marshalls gift card from Kiddies Corner Deals

5 flavors of Mrs. Dash from Kiddies Corner Deals area rug from Two of a Kind, Working on a Full House

Kitchen Aid stand mixer from Hallee Housewife

Thursday, July 22, 2010

We've started the move!

Last night we began moving little A and me out of our house and into B's. We currently have 3 houses between us; mine, his, and a rental. Since his had more bedrooms and costs less than mine we're moving in there and putting mine on the market. The plan is to sell it this year and then list B's and the rental next spring/summer and buy OUR house. Big A and S were at their mom's so we only had 1 child underfoot while doing this and actually little A was very helpful.

We started at 5:30pm when we got home from work and were in bed around 10:30pm. It went better than I thought. We managed to get 2 bedrooms of furniture, a couch, toy box, and quite a few boxes in this load. We're using the box trailer from B's work to save money on renting a truck. Plus I don't have my house completely packed yet. It rained on the way home from work and it rained a little when we got to B's, but thankfully it stopped in between for loading.

Little A did wonderfully. He was patient and helpful. He didn't act up. I was nervous because we didn't eat dinner until about 1.5 hours later than normal and he was up about 2 hours later than normal. He woke up in a great mood this morning though and had no problems at daycare drop-off. Hopefully he doesn't crash this afternoon and become a grump.
Of course, B woke up sore as can be from working a physical job all day and then moving furniture.

I think we'll be taking tonight off to recoup and we'll finish off the house hopefully this weekend when all of the kids are with their other parents and we can whip some stuff out. Of course, we may have to take advantage of one of the few completely kid free weekends we have left! ;)

Monday, July 19, 2010

Jeans Sale

Children's Place has their basic jeans on sale right now for $10! Normally you can get them 2 for $22. This is the best I've seen them. If you use code JULY2010A you can get 20% off $50. Go through ebates and earn 3% cash back on top of that!

I just got little A 4 pairs of jeans and a monster truck shirt for $48 shipped. I'll take it! Considering I used money I made reselling his outgrown stuff from last year I basically got them for free. No money out of my monthly budget!

If you've never used ebates sign up! You earn cash back on purchases and can earn money for referring your friends when they sign up. If you're buying it anyway, why not get it for less?

If you've never bought jeans from the Children's Place before, do it! They hold up through mulitple kids and I've always gotten great resale value out of them. These are our go to basic for jeans.

Monday Giveaways - July 19

It's a new week and that means new giveaways! Here are the giveaways I've entered this week.

$50 gift card to Celebrate Express from Sweet Pennies from Heaven

They have a construction party pack that would be perfect for little A's 4th birthday!

Oscar Myer and Kraft Picnic Package from Frugality is Free

We need all the free food we can get!

Coupons from Frugality is Free

Who couldn't use more coupons?

An Undercover Mama Nursing Tank from Mama to 3 Blessings

An Envirosak from Mom's Mutterings

Sid the Science Kid
microphone from Freebies and Much More

$25 Starbucks Giftcard from Chickenista

$15 giftcard to EcoMom from Liz Has a Life

Apple Cheeks cloth diaper from Liz Has a Life

An imagination box from Living Sola Gratia

$20 gift card to Chuck-E-Cheese from Obviously Marvelous

2 Bum Genius 4.0s from Fitteds, Pockets, and Snappies

Northern Essence Diaper Rash Salve from Mommy of 1 and Counting

Stacking ring from Trudie Davies Designs

Make Ahead Meals cookbook from Extreme Personal Measures

$10 CVS gift card from Coupon Challenge

191 Unlimited shirt from Life with 4 Boys

Envibum cloth diaper from 2 of a Kind

2 tins of Ouchies bandages from Extreme Personal Measures

$50 giftcard to from Country Girl City Life

The Red Queen, Animal House, When Mommy Went on Strike, Daddy's Little Angel, The Good the Bad and the Ugly Dress, Careful What You Wish For from GoodReads.

K'nex value tub and model set from Tatum's Family Reviews

Birthday fail or learning lesson?

Saturday we had dinner and cake to celebrate big A's bday. He's turning 14 this week. He requested tacos and chocolate mint cake. Since one boy doesn't eat beans and one doesn't eat rice I decided to make grilled mexican corn on the cobb and a latin fruit salad as sides. Since there were 8 people eating by the time A's friend joined us and T's fiance I decided to make 24 tacos. Little A doesn't eat tacos so this easily should have given us 3 per person. WRONG!

Do not have a taco bar with teenagers. This is the lesson of the day. By the time all of the kids made their plates and B and I went to make ours there was no meat left! 5 people took 2 pounds of meat. Insane. When I went to check on little A I noticed big A took 6 tacos and had a ridiculous amount of meat in each. To make it worse he threw 3 out. None of the kids touched the sides that were supposed to stretch the meal.

Are you kidding me?! Needless to say I was a little livid. I get that teenagers have little awareness for others, but come on.

I've decided that when we do tacos in the future I will plate the taco w/ meat and they can just add their toppings. When they eat all of their food (including free sides) then they can have more.

On the plus side, Big A loved his meal. The adults who actually ate the mexican corn thought it was great and everyone loved his chocolate mint cake. I'm sharing the recipe below.

Chocolate Mint Cake

1 Box triple chocolate cake mix
1 Can chocolate frosting
1 Package Andes mints
2 c powdered sugar
1/2 c softened butter
1 tbsp water
3/4 tbsp mint extract
3 drops food coloring

Bake cake according to package directions (for 2 rounds) and let cool completely. Mix sugar butter, water, mint, and food coloring in medium bowl w/ mixer. Spread mint center on 1 cake layer and cover with the second. Frost the cake. Coursely chop Andes in food processessor and press on side of cake.

Little A LOVED helping make the cake. He was so proud of himself that while we were eating it he told everyone what was in the mint center, how he helped, and that it was his favorite part.

Next month we get to do this all again for S's birthday. Let's hope we don't run out of food again!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Snap, Crackle, POP!

I have been having major pain in my tailbone with this pregnancy. I'm not referring to normal pregnancy discomfort that is tolerable. I'm talking bring tears to your eyes pain. It hurts to sit and it really hurts to stand from sitting. I mentioned it to the ob and he suggested I get a coccyx cushion and not sit so much. The cushion I can do, but the sitting? I have a desk job. Not so feasible.

Then I asked my yoga instructor & massage therapist if she had suggestions. Her suggestions were pretty much the same as the ob w/ the addition of sitting on my birthing ball. The ball really does help and has become my chair at home for the most part. There are some yoga exercises that help with tailbone pain, but they're generally not suggested in pregnancy because of the twisting involved.

Finally I decided to try the chiropractor. This morning was my first appointment. I've never been to a chiropractor before. While I've heard the general gist I haven't heard about it in pregnancy other than that it's safe. I learned that chiropractic care in pregnancy can shorten labor! Now there's a selling point. Why doesn't your ob tell you that?!

After my initial exam where they looked at and felt my spine and neck they put little heat things on my back that showed them where I was out of alignment. Then the chiropractor came in to talk to me and finally my adjustment.

The table was awesome! It dropped down in the middle so I could comfortably lay on my stomach. I think I want to trade in my bed for one for the next few months. Then she adjusted my low back, my side, and my neck. I could do with out the neck adjustment, but the rest seems to be helping so far. The true test will be the end of the day though after sitting.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

I'm Outnumbered!

There is no doubt that I am outnumbered. One significant other, 2 teenage boys, a toddler boy, and pregnant me. Yes, there is T, but since she is grown (and engaged as of this weekend) I'm grossly outnumbered. While on Good Reads this morning I came across this book:

I immediately added it to my "to read" list. It's too be realeased late this summer and looks promising.

Up until this point my parenting reading has focused on babies and toddlers. My favorite series are the No Cry books by Elizabeth Pantly. They are FANTASTIC! As little A has moved from baby to toddler I've started looking for more books specifically to raising little boys; especially since until recently it's been just us. I'm currently in the middle of this one:

One reason it appealed to me is the focus on how mother's can influence their sons lending very well to single mom's. It also has a Christian slant rather than a psychological development slant.

What are some of your favorite parenting or family books?

Monday, July 12, 2010

Monday Giveaways

Big A's birthday is next week. He'll be 14. He asked for an xbox so B and his ex-wife both chipped in to get it for him. Since S's birthday is next month B asked him to start thinking about what he wants. He replied an xbox, xbox live, and some video game. I hope he doesn't really think he's getting all of that or he'll be dissapointed. That would be one expensive birthday!

This led into the discussion of Christmas. This will be our first Christmas all together. B mentioned wanting to get the boys new tvs for their rooms and how one of his siblings works for an electronics manufacturer and can get us a discount. I asked how much they would be and he replied $200. I kindly pointed out that if we do $200 on just the wrapped gifts (not counting stockings or santa) that we will spend $1000 on the kids alone. He's rethinking the tvs now.

A great way to save some money and get some free stuff is entering giveaways. Many bloggers host reviews and offer givewaways of the products. Of course you have to be lucky enough to actually win. I've never won on a blog giveaway. I've won a book from Good Reads, but never from a blog. One of my girlfriend's wins ALL THE TIME. I don't know how she can be so lucky. Regardless, it doesn't stop me from entering because you never know. Today I've entered the following giveaways:

Pillow Pets from How Many Kids?

She's giving 1 lucky reader a pillow pet of their choice. I would choose the lady bug if I won.

A Toys R Us goodie bag from Children Teaching Mama

A $15 gift card to Diaper Vine from Children Teaching Mama

A box of Cheerios and a $25 gift card from Gettin Healthy

A hand blender from Saving Dollars and Sense

Bummas cloth wipes
from Mama to 3 blessings

$50 gift card to CSN stores from Practical Mom

A pair of Pedipeds from Pieces of Me

I LOVE pedipeds. They're all Little A wore until he was in hard soled shoes. I think he had more shoes than me at one point.

Charleston Naturally serving tray from Pieces of Me

Power Cape from Being Allison

Bella Maternity nursing bra from Home Grown Families

Eli Monster AIO cloth diaper from Home Grown Families

BioKleen laundry detergent from Mommy of 1 and counting

BioKleen products are amazing. I'm so dissapointed our Kroger no longer carries them.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

I'm scared of the grocery bill

I am a budgeter. As a single mom it's a necessity. Because of this, I know how much I spend each month on each aspect of living. One of the areas that is going to make a huge jump this month is groceries. Since I've just been feeding myself and a toddler it's been pretty inexpensive to eat and I always have leftovers. I only have to cook 2-3 times per week too.

I've accepted that there will be no leftovers and I will cook every night in a house of 5 solid food eaters. What scares me is the addition of teenage boys and a man who has a physical job. These are people who can EAT! After asking a few coworkers with teenage boys what their weekly grocery bill was like I am now scared. Very scared.

Then I heard a teenage boy needs to eat that much because he's growing and needs 2800 calories per day. I thought this surely can't be right so I did some searching. It wasn't right. It's a low estimate!

According to, here are the caloric needs of each member of our family. Of course these needs go up with the more activity each person does and it's summer so that means active kids.

4-8 year old boy: 1742 calories per day
9-13 year old boy: 2279 calories per day
14-18 year old boy: 3152 calories per day
41 year old man (active): 2800 calories per day
30 year old pregnant woman: 2200 calories per day (This will jump to 2500 when nursing.)

I am shocked to learn that even pregnant I'm the second lowest in need of calories! I'm really shocked to learn that the teenagers really will eat us out of house and home and for a valid reason!

I'm no longer scared of the grocery bill. I'm petrified. How do you keep your family full in a healthful manner without breaking the bank?

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

A Fresh Start

I've had a private blog about my son for about 2.5 years. My family is spread throughout the country and after getting the same questions every few days I decided to start a blog that everyone could check on their own and get updates.

Our family is changing though and I'd like to share some of the issues and changes more openly, so I'm starting this blog. We will be going from a family of 2 to a family of 6 soon. My significant other has 3 children from previous relationships and we are expecting our first together. As I've searched for tips and ideas about combining 2 households and managing a household 3x the size of my current one, I've come up short. Surely I'm not the only one looking for this info. Hence my new blog.

Hopefully someone other than me will find it helpful!

Here's an introduction to us. First there's me; a 30 year old working mom who's slightly crunchy and a little controlling. B, a 41 year old working dad who's completely amazing. T a 21 year old college student who lives on her own. Big A, a 13 year old boy into music and video games. S, a 12 year boy into video games and quick witted. Little A, a 3.5 year old boy into all things construction and vehicles. Baby E, a girl, coming in November.