Sunday, September 28, 2014

Why I do not coupon anymore...

I have gotten several questions and concerns about couponing over the last 18 months. I used to LOVE couponing. It was my "high" so to speak. Lets see how much I can get for free, or actually get money back for buying stuff. I taught some family and friends how to coupon. I was proud to share my "gift of couponing". I got all this food, cleaning products, drink mixes, paper products,etc for next to nothing! How exciting right? Now lets flip the product over and read the ingredients. How many of them can you read/pronounce? How many of them have side effects? Have you researched any of the ingredients you put in/on your body?

I read and researched the ingredients, its scary. I'm not going to give you any examples, you need to take the time and research it. This is about your health, and the health of your kids.

Keep in mind- With couponing you have to go buy papers($1.75 per paper where I live, plus the time it takes you, plus the gas it costs you to drive and get the papers), the time it takes to organize coupons(approx 30-45 minutes), search sale ads( approx 45-60 minutes), then go to the store. Now fight the Sunday crowds to get that sale item. Oh wait you mean you couldn't get to the store Sunday? So now you have to go during the week and hope and pray that the sale item is still on the shelf. Well I'm glad I do not have to deal with any of it anymore. It has taken some adjusting over the last 18 months, but I am proud to say I have done it! I have gotten our shopping list at the grocery store down to nothing anymore. On average my MONTHLY grocery bill is $250 for my family of FOUR.

So since January 2013 (read about my goal from 2013 and January 2014) I have been trying my best to eat healthier and use less chemicals. I can not believe how much simpler my life has gotten. I started slow. We all know nothing happens overnight. When I ran out of something I would look for the homemade versions online. I would try a few "recipes" and see what worked for me. Most of the time the homemade versions worked wonders!

Homemade Laundry Soap - I can not believe how much money I have saved over the last 18 months. For $12 I get ( $4 box of washing soda, $4 box of Borax, $4 gets 4 bars of Fels-Naptha Soap). I have made laundry soap 4 times (in 18 months). EACH TIME I make laundry soap I get 9.5 GALLONS of laundry soap. Oh and did I mention I know EXACTLY what is in my soap!

Store bought laundry soap- Average cost for 1 gallon of soap $12.00 (x 18 months = $216) Oh but you use coupons and wait until its on sale right? That's fine, you still can't beat my homemade price!

$216 Store bought (every 12 months)
- $12 homemade (remember mine is every 18 months)

I have saved $204 on my grocery bill over the last year making my own laundry soap! 

Homemade Eczema Cream- Poor Adyson was having a hard time with severe dry skin/eczema last winter. I took it upon myself to research the problem. The recipe I created worked wonders. I did take her to the doctor. Of course the doctor was ready to write a script and shove us out of the office. I explained to the doctor I prefer NATURAL medicine first and if the script is still needed then we could come back. The doctor wanted to know what I had in mind, I showed her the "recipe" and brought in a what I had already made. She squeezed some out of the tube and rubbed it on her skin. The doctor LOVED it. Her words were "I wish all parents could be more interested in their children's health and try home remedies first".  Yes it cost me $13-$14 dollars to make this recipe, but now I have enough to make several batches and I know whats in it. Oh and that script that the doctor  was going to write me, it was going to cost $30-$40 to fill it.

There aren't many/few coupons for good eczema cream.

Script $35 - $14 homemade = saved $21

Half Homemade Beauty  -Most of these beauty items you can make from what you have on hand. Yes you are still using some commercial stuff, but you can always substitute for the natural/organic. I am switching to the natural/organic as I run out of the original product. Also you may spend some money to get started, but you will be able to make several batches.

Store Bought-

Body Scrub $10
Make up wipes $6
Baby wipes $2
Facial Toner $4
Total            $22 -monthly ($264 yearly)


Body scrub $1
Make up $1
Baby wipes $1
Facial Toners $1
Total             $4 -monthly ($48 yearly)

Saved $22-$4 = $18 monthly ( $216 yearly)

Homemade dinners Breakfast and snacks  with these posts I doubled most of the recipes and was able to freeze them for "TV dinners". Some of these I use as a "boxed dinner" recipe. Such as the Sloppy Joes, I can put all the dry ingredients into a plastic sandwich bag, write the full recipe on the outside of the bag. When I want to cook it I add the wet ingredients when the recipe tells me to.(While the dinner is cooking I refill the bag and put it back in the cupboard.) I do not buy "boxed dinners" anymore. I create my own. I know EXACTLY what is in them. No more store bought frozen breakfast meals, or boxed dinner meals. The homemade tartar sauce is the BEST I have ever eaten, and I will NEVER buy store bought again!

To make homemade boxed dinners is simple, most of us have the spices sitting in our spice racks. The noodles/rice in the cupboard. Meat in the fridge.

Store bought boxed dinners $1.79 x 4 nights a week =$ 7.16 x 4 weeks = $28.64 monthly x 12 months = $343.68 yearly

Homemade boxed dinners $0.50 x 4 nights a week = $2.00 x 4 weeks = $8.00 monthly x 12 = $96 yearly

I have saved $247.68 yearly by making homemade boxed dinners

Cleaning stuff  I have been VERY pleased with the cleaning recipe I have created. Its labeled as a floor solution in that post, but you can use it as a Multi-Purpose solution for windows, kitchen, bathroom, floor even making your own cleaning wipes! All from the list of my must haves at the BOTTOM of this post. Its nice to go from 6 different bottles under the sink to 1 bottle under the sink. The kids don't have to ask me "What do I use to clean..."

So I was able to get rid of, glass cleaner , kitchen cleaner, bathroom cleaner, toilet cleaner, floor cleaner, store bought cleaning wipes. The prices below are average prices for the products in general. Some of you use the almighty coupon and wait for it to go on sale. Others of you buy the cheapest brand. Others won't use anything but the national/name brand.

Glass cleaner $3.00 ( I used 2 a year) = $6
Kitchen cleaner $3.00 (I use 4 a year) = $12
Bathroom Cleaner $3.00 (I used 4 a year) $12
Toilet Cleaner $3.00 (I used 4 a year) = $12
Floor Cleaner $3.00 (I used 4 a year) =$12
Cleaning Wipes $3.00 ( I used monthly) $36
Total ....................................................... $90

Homemade cleaner- 
1 cup water
1 cup vinegar
5 squirts dawn dish soap
5 drops orange or lemon essential oil
Put it in a spray bottle and use it just like you would any other cleaner!

It costs me $0.50 per bottle to make my cleaner. I make a bottle a month. Takes 1 minute to make!
Plus buying my reusable wipes (from the dollar store) 2 times a year = $2.00
My annual total is $8.00

Cleaning wipes- keep your container from your old wipes
1 cup water
1 cup vinegar
3 squirts dawn dish soap
3-5 drop lemon or orange essential oil (optional for smell)
2 packs of resuable wipes. They come 10"x 20" so I cut them in half so I get 10"x 10"

Mix liquid together in a cup/bowl. Cut your wipes in half. Stuff wipes in the container. Pour liquid over the top. Use just as you would other cleaning/disinfecting wipes. When you use all your wipes (I put mine a mesh laundry bag)wash them. Takes 1 minute to make.

I save $82 yearly making my own cleaners.

My favorite items that I keep on hand (and you probably won't find a coupon for them)... By using different combinations of the following ingredients you can do/clean EVERYTHING.

1. Dawn dish soap. The PLAIN BLUE dawn. (I am not paying $1.75 for a paper, $3.03 in gas to get a $.25 coupon)

2. Vinegar- both white and apple cider

3. Baking Soda- I buy it by the 12 lbs bag at Walmart

4. Washing Soda

5. Borax

6. Essential Oil- Tea Tree Oil, Orange oil, Lemon Oil, Lavender Oil,

Yes some homemade versions were a fail too! - I tried making homemade dish soap, dishwasher detergent. These failed because in my area I have extremely hard water. I tried several recipes and couldn't get anything to clean the dishes. So I did have to go back and continue buying the store bought versions.

So for everyone out there saying "I don't have time" think about this. You just spent how much time on Facebook? Pinterest? Google? Couponing? Playing a game on your phone? But you have the time to do all those other things. Its a commitment, just like couponing, etc. You just have to say "I'm going to do this". Now if you go back and add up all that I saved. I have saved on AVERAGE $770.00 THIS PAST YEAR just by taking a few minutes ONCE A WEEK to make my own stuff.
I also know exactly what is in EVERYTHING I make and to me that is PRICELESS.

So what are you going to make? 

Friday, June 27, 2014

Backyard Camping!

Poor Adyson always feels left out. Big sister gets sleepovers, goes places that Adyson can't. Daddy travels for work so sometimes it's just us. I know she loves spending time with me, but she's getting older and wants to do more.

Soooooo, she came up with the idea of camping! (I could go for a night out, the dog has been having some gastrointestinal issues. So my house smells like rotten egg, YUCK!!!! and if anybody knows how to fix these issues please let me know) She wants to roast marshmallows and tell stories, run around the yard and catch Lightningbugs, etc. I checked the weather.

Clear skies, with the exception of Friday being 50% chance of scattered showers, and Saturday at 20%.

Before I hauled the tent out I had a little talk with Adyson. "You know Adyson when you camp there is no electricity." I said to her. Her eyes got a little big with a hint of a question coming.

"What do you mean there is no electricity?" She asked very confused. 

"There are no lights in the tent." I replied.

"That's okay I still have everything on my iPod. I'll be fine". She said.

"Adyson when your iPod dies I can't charge it in the tent. Remember there is no electricity in the tent." I said. 

"Okay I'll bring books. And I'll need my flashlight!" She was getting so excited!

 I hauled the little tent out of the garage and around to the backyard. Little dome tents are fantastic, they go up so quick and easy! I have the tent up in no time. Everyone came to find out what was going on. 


Then it was time to gather firewood. So I loaded up Adyson into the little wagon started the lawnmower and headed out to the field. And of course everyone gathered around to find out what we were doing. Chocolate the goat had to taste the lawnmower! 

Next we went inside to find blankets and sleeping bags. Adyson was so excited to be able to use her ninja turtle sleeping bag! My cousin bought it for her,  and until now had only been used in the house. She was so excited that she already had a sleeping bag! 

So we get the blankets, sleeping bag and pillows by the back door. Round up the flashlights. Pack our backpacks, because you know we have to put the flashlights and books in the backpacks along with a change of clothes, per Adyson. "Just in case we need extra stuff Mommy." was what I was told. It works for me! We got out the roasting sticks, got our snack bag together with all our goodies. We did our evening chores ( feeding and watering all the animals, watered the garden, etc) then we headed out for our "great adventure" as Adyson put it! 

Now it was my job to light the campfire. I pondered how to light this fire. I had never been in charge of lighting a fire before. So I go collecting cardboard and magazines and start layering everything up! It only took 6 cardboard cereal boxes and 3 magazines to get the fire lit. Hey I was impressed I pulled it off! The fire gets going and we sit back to enjoy. We are both starving by this point so it was time to roast weenies! 

She was so excited to be able to "cook" her own dinner! She was proud of herself. My mother's dad was an avid camper. He taught all of us grandkids early to roast marshmallows and weenies. I think he is looking down and smiling right now!

Since Adyson is normally not allowed outside after dark she was having the time of her life playing in the backyard. She wanted to Shadow Dance. So I held the flashlight while she danced and laughed at her shadow.


Since the bugs were bothering me, (in Tennessee the bugs are ridiculous) but Adyson was having the time of her life I suggested we go sit in the tent. The fire had gone out by this point. So we made our way in to the tent where we read books to each other and did shadow puppets!!! 


I guess all the excitement wears you out. It wasn't long and she was sleeping! 

Being raised in the camping life. You learn to take your shoes off before you go in a tent. So I had taken my flops off when we went into the tent. When I woke up (thankfully in the morning) I looked outside and found my beautiful big boy staring me in the face. Doesn't he kind of look like he is grinning? Let me tell you why.  

HE STOLE MY FLOPS, in the middle of the night. So I made the trek to the house, in the dewy grass, dodging dog poo, BARE FOOT!!!! Thank goodness I did not have to get up in the middle of the night! 


All in all it was a blast. The best part is Adyson wants to do it all over again! :) Gee I can't wait! 

P.S. I found my flops in the dog house. I guess that was his way of saying "Thanks for not letting me in the tent!"

Friday, June 20, 2014

Going to the Drive-In...

So me being a stay-at-home mom I am always trying to think of some things that are inexpensive to do.  Most of this summer its just Adyson and I this year. I do want us to have fun doing things, but I do not want to do the typical summer activities. I want to find native places, historical sites, and they must be CHEAP!

So as I sit racking my brain on what Adyson and I can do this summer, 
I keep forgetting I live so close to a DRIVE IN MOVIE THEATRE!!!! My theatre is awesome, you can bring your own food and drinks (if you buy the food pass). So I decided it was time to take her to her first Drive in movie!!! So you know me I always talk to Adyson about everything (she's not much on surprise situations) so I gently bring up a drive in movie, the conversation went as follows...

"Adyson, do you know what a drive in movie is?" I asked. She replied "Nope". 

So then I begin to explain what a drive in movie is. "We will drive our car into what looks like a small field. We'll sit in our car and watch the movie! We can bring snacks and drinks." I play this up with the most enthusiasm and excitement in my voice. The response that came was not what I expected. 

"So you mean we are going to sit in a field and watch a movie? Ummm it does not sound like fun, but I'll go." She replied with a wrinkled face looking as if she had sucked on a lemon. Then she asked what movie we were going to see.

 My reply was "The dragon movie you keep seeing on TV, you've asked to go see it".

"Ummm I guess" was not the response I was expecting either. 

So we both agreed we would go to the "car movies" and watch "that dragon movie". 

So we get there. I pay for the tickets. I get us parked. I do a huge forehead slap. I forgot the lawn chairs! I forgot a blanket.  The ground is soaked from the rain storm an hour earlier. So we have to sit in the car. 

We get situated. I get out the drinks and snacks. The movie comes on. Everything is going great, then those famous words every child says ... "I have to go pee!"

So we get our shoes on. We get out. I lock up the car. We start walking to the bathrooms. Then Adyson realizes the movie is still playing. "Mommy you forgot to pause the movie!!" She yells. 

I wished I could've taken a picture of the look on her face when I replied "Adyson this is not the DVR, I can't pause the movie."  Her eyes got huge, mouth dropped open. 

Her reply "Holy shrimps!!! You can't pause this? But mommy can't you just ask them to pause it"

"No Adyson I can't, that is not fair to everyone else here watching the movie."

Her response a disappointing, "Oh". 

So after that all of the kinks have been worked out about going to the "car movies", she had a blast! She says she wants to make it a regular thing going to the drive-in movies! 

When was the last time you went to the drive-in? 

Do remember what you saw the first time you went to the drive-in? My first time at the drive-in I saw E.T.

I was looking through the App Store and found a great app called Trip Advisor. You can enter your city and it will give you everything to do in that city. History, hotels, attractions and sites! It also gives you the reviews of people who have already been there! Go check it out you won't be disappointed. 

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Busy, Busy, Busy

Sorry its been so long since the last post. Its been busy around here!

We did a bigger garden this year! I can not wait to have watermelon and cantaloupe from the garden. I even planted GIANT pumpkins for Adyson this year! I can not wait to see the look on her face when those pumpkins get to be 20-30 pounds (they are suppoed to get 200 pounds but I am just hoping for 20-30 pounds)! We also planted the Mammoth Sunflower seeds they grow 8 foot tall, and the flower is about 12 inches across. I can not wait to have sunflower seeds!

Rella checking out the garden!

With us being so busy with gardening, setting up the "Big Girl Chicken Coop" and  painting the coop we have been living off of my freezer meal/left overs! To get the freezer meals almost every time I cook I double the recipe. I LOVE having left overs. I shove them in a plastic bag (in individual servings) and toss in the freezer. So on days when I lose track of time there is something HOMEMADE in the freezer. Just pop it in the microwave and you have dinner. It works with almost all meals. This is also great when everyone wants something different! 

Summer is a relaxing time for me! I LOVE summer time. I do not keep such a tight schedule during summer months. I am also more into salads for lunch and dunner during summer. I live in Tennessee, its too hot and humid to cook anything in the evening. No one wants to turn on the oven if they don't have to. 

We found a baby bunny in the garage! 

The "Big Girl Chicken Coop" as Adyson calls it. We think it has a 1960-1970's feel to it. Don't you?


So we decided that it was time to get kittens. We need them to be barn kitties! So Adyson and Brittany helped pick out the names.... Drum roll please.... Anna & Elsa... Yes from FROZEN. 

Brittany and Anna
Adyson with Elsa

Its also that time to make some more Half Homemade Beauty Products. I use the body scrub and facial wipes almost everyday.


1 cup Olive Oil
1 cup Sugar
2 tablespoons used coffee grounds
2-3 drops Essential Oil/Perfume oil -(When using Essential oils or Perfume oils a little goes a LONG way.) I only use these so the my scrub smells pretty! This is optional.
16 oz bottle

Pour/Mix all together in a reusable bottle 16 oz bottle. Shake the bottle very well to mix everything together. I LOVE this recipe. I use it every time I get in the shower, especially in the winter. I went to Hobby Lobby and bought a soap perfume (which means its safe for skin, do not buy a candle perfume!!) to add to my oil, I bought LoveSpell it smells wonderful. I want to try Orange Blossom Essential Oil next! 

 CAUTION- shower may be slippery after using this, make sure you spray a little cleaner/vinegar afterwards!!!! 


1 roll BOUNTY paper towels (cut in half)
2 cups DISTILLED water
2-3 drops tea tree oil
2 teaspoon coconut oil *
2 teaspoon of facial soap (do not use the "scrubbing/exfoliating" washes, the "scrubbies" will sit on top of your wipes)

Put your paper towels CUT SIDE down into your container. Mix all your liquids together by stirring. Do not shake them as this will activate the bubbles and you will have a sudsy mess! Microwave 30-45 seconds. *Make sure you melt the coconut oil, so it seeps into the paper towels. Pour over the paper towels starting on the inside cardboard and work your way out. Let it sit 5-10 minutes, then flip and sit for 5-10 minutes. Pull the cardboard out of the middle, and this should start the roll. If it does not then pull out out of the middle. Do not pull out of the sides, it will not work well! 

So as you can see I've been busy the month of May.
What have you accomplished?

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Losses and Gains...

When my husband and I started our little farm we decided it was best for the kids to learn the truth about life and death. After all living on a farm there is going to be new life and there is going to be death. We decided to teach our children that everyone and everything goes to Heaven. We teach our children that EVERY life is precious and worthy. We also decided that we would not "sugar coat" things that happen on the farm. It is very important to us that our kids learn that life is NOT "sugar coated".  This has made our children more aware of what goes on to keep a life alive. It takes work and care to tend to all the animals on our farm. All the animals require food, shelter and water. When the animals get sick we try every effort possible to make them better. Sometimes despite all efforts there is still loss. I am proud that my children understand the efforts it takes to run a mini (2 cows, 8 goats, 2 dogs)  farm like ours. I am proud that my children understand where food comes from and the work it takes to get it to the table. I am proud that my children understand once something is gone, its gone.

Over the last week we have had  2 losses and a few gains.

Twilight about 1 week old.....

As most of you know Twilight (Adysons little goat) got severely dehydrated for whatever reason. We brought her inside and gave her bottles and electrolytes and she seems fine in the middle of the night.


When I checked on her at 4:30 she seemed to have taken a turn for the worst. She passed away about 30 minutes later. Everyone asked how Adyson took the news. She was upset at first and when I explained she went to Heaven to be with Roxanne & Hazel(Papa Jacks dogs ) and our Max in Heaven she seemed fine.  She asked if she could help bury her in the animal cemetery I said sure.

Adyson laid a flower for all the flowers she ate. Adyson also laid an onion for all the onion I fed her.


My father in law also had a loss. He lost his beloved Roxanne.


Even though there is loss there is also gain! Drum roll please!!!! 

I'm so excited!!! 

I can't wait!!! 




Tessa checking out Papa Jacks side mirror and steering wheel! 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Hope everyone had a great Easter!

Just some cute pictures of Easter!!!  The girls are so proud of their eggs!!!

Brittany and her Hello Kitty Egg
Adyson & her Donatello Egg



As Adyson realized there were "girl colored eggs" and "boy colored eggs" she made Daddy hunt eggs with her! 



Hope everyone had a great Easter! See you next week! 

Foods of the week April 14th...


Homemade sausage gravy-

1 pound breakfast sausage
1/2 can of ROTEL
1 small onion finely chopped
1/2 cup of flour
3 cups hot milk
1 teaspoon pepper

Brown onion and sausage and Rotel together. Once browned sprinkle flour over-the-top. Mix flour and sausage together. Add milk and pepper and stir vigorously. Until you reach your desired consistency. 



Roasted cauliflower-

One head cauliflower- rough chopped
2 tablespoons crushed garlic
4 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon pepper and onion powder

Preheat oven to 425°. Mix all ingredients. Using a cookie sheet lined it with aluminum foil and spray it. Poor cauliflower onto cookie sheet. Make sure it's all one layer. Put it in the oven for 15 minutes. Pull it out flip/stir the cauliflower, place back in the oven for an additional 15 to 20 minutes or until done. 

Half homemade macaroni and cheese -

1 box Horizon macaroni and cheese-  follow directions on the box
1/4 cup feta cheese
1/4 cup cottage cheese

Mix the cooked macaroni and cheese (after you followed the directions on the box) add feta and cottage cheese. Return to stove and cooking additional five minutes stirring as needed. 

Homemade tartar sauce- I will NEVER buy tartar sauce again!!!! 

This recipe is for individual use you can easily double it if you need more.

2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1/2 -1 teaspoon lemon juice (start small, you can always add more after you taste)
1/2-1 teaspoon dill (start small, you can always add more after you taste)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
a few shakes salt & pepper

Mix and taste! 

Sloppy Joes- These were amazing

1.25 lbs of ground beef
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoon Montreal Seasoning
1 onion chopped
1 red bell pepper chopped
1 tbl worchestershire sauce
1 -16 oz can  tomato sauce
2 tbl tomato paste
4 rolls/buns

Brown onion and meat together. Then mix everything else together and simmer for 10-15 minutes. ENJOY!!! I added shredded cheese to mine! 

Hamburger Taco casserole- 

2 lbs ground beef
1 onion chopped
1 -16 oz can tomato sauce
1 - 15 oz can black beans
1 can Rotel
8 8" tortillia shells
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 tbl chili powder
1 tea ground cumin
1 tbl crushed garlic
1.5 tea oregano

cook beef & onion in skillet until done. drain grease. add all other ingredients and simmer 5 minutes.

Pour 1/2 cup of beef mix in the bottom of  9x13 sprayed with non stick spray.
Layer with shells, the beef then cheese. Repeat until beef mix is gone. Top with cheese

Bake 350 for 20 minute! 

Sorry for such a short post. I'm having computer issues!!! More to come next week!!!