How the Stay at Home Mom Saves Money

Back to school is the most wonderful time of the year and a time to take control of your finances. I hope you will find a tip or two to help you save in my post over at Chattanooga Moms Blog. 
Go HERE to read my post. 

The best way to save money is not by finding ways to make more money; it’s by simply doing without. If you cannot afford to buy something, don’t buy it. If you cannot afford to be a part of something, be patient; the season will soon come when you can, if you spend your money wisely. 

Debt is not worth the worry.


My Praying Pots


   I love to cook, it’s a good thing since I have been blessed with four boys who eat like grown men. We had an interesting Christmas. My son shared the flu Christmas Eve & one by one, we were going down. We opened presents. I wasn't feeling too bad at the time so I was able to take my usual fifty-million pictures. The ten year old, Elliot, is stretched out on the living room floor while his Dad is reading through Luke, sharing the true story of Christmas. Jacob the college kid is not willing to share the couch because he feels so bad. The three year old could have been sick, but you would never know it. Spencer, the one who shared the flu, is burning up with fever. The flu hit me later that night. I was in bed for a few days and I wasn't really all that excited about anything other than Tylenol Cold & Flu. So today, four days after Christmas, I took the time to take a look at my Christmas presents. 

   Paul always asks me what I want for Christmas. I usually have to go to the store & point. I let him surprise me this year. I really wanted a new cookware set. Nothing fancy, just new. We have been married for twenty-two years, and I bought my Revere Ware set a few months before we married. They still work,  a little stained & dingy. Well, Paul came through. He bought me the CUISINART, 11 PIECE SET, CHEF’S CLASSIC NON-STICK HARD ANODIZED! It even sounds cool. I opened the box. All the pieces were carefully & individually wrapped. They were so shiny & new. Anodized, I have no clue what that means, but it called for a wow. I soaped, rinsed & dried each piece. 

   I began to take all my Revere Ware pieces out of the cabinet. My heart began to feel sad. How silly, these are old. I put them in a box & set them next to the front door to take to the Samaritan Center. As I looked at the box of pots, I was reminded of all the prayers that were prayed while stirring those pots. I started praying for my husband when we lived in England while stirring those pots. (I was only 19! Eeeek!) I prayed for my son Jacob when he got his braces & I thought I was the cruelest mother on the planet for putting such a contraption in his mouth. He has a handsome smile now. I prayed for Spencer when he was struggling through his math. He conquered it. I prayed for Elliot when he was in the hospital as an infant & I would come home & cook for the other boys before I had to head back up to the NICU to be with him. He has a funny ticker. God has kept him here with us for a reason. Can't wait to see what God is going to do with him. I have prayed for Asher while stirring those pots, that he will know Jesus very soon. 
   
I have prayed for the healing of my mother. I know God hears me, and I take comfort in that. I know He loves her & our bodies are imperfect. Wednesday nights I stir & pray for Rebekah B. I boldly pray that she will stand up & walk. I prayed for my sister years ago when she was dealing with some physical pain. It was usually in the evenings that I would call & check on her while I was cooking. God answered, she has two awesome, healthy children. Prayed for friends when they were going through personal trials. My dear friend Malinda battled cancer last year. I think I left some stressed out stirring marks in one pot praying for her. When my Dad had a heart attack I remember coming home from the hospital & crying while stirring those pots. God answered. 

   I have prayed for college students, Andrew, Sam, Caleb, Tabitha, Brian, Justin, Kayla and others over the years. My nieces Jessica & Katrina as they entered college & culture shock. Pastors, church leaders, Mom’s group & youth leaders. Missionaries that have been imprisoned that were shared in the Voice of Martyrs. I've prayed for our country. I've prayed for the salvation of many. Some have found Jesus, for others, still praying.

   I keep a prayer list on my refrigerator. I see it before I pour my coffee in the morning & I see again when I am cooking in the evening. Prayer is powerful. We are never helpless because we can pray. The power of prayer is never to be taken for granted. 
God has spoken to me while I have stirred those old dingy pots. Boy, they are beautiful! It is such a reminder of all the prayers that God has heard & answered. Some of those prayers were not answered the way I hoped they would be, but they were heard. 


Reposted

Don't Say Anything at All

Movie night is a big deal in our house and one of my all time favorite movies is the delightful story of Bambi. The first few scenes are very intense for most children but by the time Thumper is introduced we have all warmed up to the wonderful imaginary world of talking animals. 


Thumper the rabbit is full of great wisdom. Do you remember his famous line in the movie? I have kept those words inside my heart since the first day I heard him say, "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all". 

Some of the best advice I was ever given and it came from a bunny.

Click HERE to read my post over at 


Summertime is Slipping Away


I have huge plans to post all kinds of stuff on this blog but I have just been so very busy! Here is my May post (a whole month ago) over at Chattanooga Moms Blog. 

I'll be back and will share some HOMESCHOOL inspiration and maybe a new recipe very soon. I'm at the pool, hanging out at home and spending some quality time with my family. 

Click HERE if you would like to read my blog post and find out how I feel about this summer. 

Broken Shells are Beautiful

This is my recent post over at Chattanooga Moms Blog. Click on the link below to read. I hope my post is an encouragement to you.

Best Pumpkin Bread Recipes



Celebrate the fall season and bake the BEST PUMPKIN BREAD recipes around. 

Go HERE to view and print. 

There would be pictures, but we ate it all.




Pretty Pumpkin ~ Fall Craft for Kids

When your child creates a craft it becomes a memory of a time spent with you. I have been creating "memory crafts" with my children since they were able to hold a crayon. This year we are making crafts that would be perfect to give as a gift or decorations that just may become an heirloom you will treasure for years to come. 

You will need:

Wooden pumpkin and jewels were purchased at Hobby Lobby.
pumpkin $4.99 (40% off sale)
jewels $4.99 (40% off sale)
You can find acrylic paints at most craft stores. I found these paints at Walmart.



Paint your pumpkin orange and the stand another color. I chose brown but gray or white would also be a great choice. One coat of paint is all you need.


Spread glue evenly over one section at a time. Make sure your jewels have plenty of glue holding them in place. Don't worry if the glue looks too heavy, it will dry clear.


Add some lights...


and they will say, "I made that!".



Before My Feet Hit the Floor




I have now been a mother for twenty-three years. That may seem like a long time but for me the years have flown. When you stop and think about it we really do not have our children in our homes with us for very long. This is a short poem I wrote in my journal after my second child was born. It took two children to realize that I must pray every morning before my feet even hit the floor. I would sit on the side of the bed each morning listing all the things that could happen that day and asking God to help me through each of them. Some days there was more listening to God than praying.



As a mom I would like to challenge you to do this. This became a practice and then eventually a very good habit which I am sure saved me from many mistakes we make as parents. 



Psalm 5:3
My voice You shall hear in the morning, O LORD;
In the morning I will direct it to You, 
And I will look up. 




Rate the Recipe and Never Beg Your Children to Eat


Do you spend your dinnertime begging your children to eat their food? 

Not this girl

When I introduce a new food to my children I put a very small amount on their plate and they have to eat it. They may not eat every bit of it but if they try it with a good attitude and refrain from saying "yuck" then it has been a successful dinner. I have found that when I continue to put a small amount on their plate they eventually eat it; sometimes without even realizing it. 

It wasn't this way with my first child. (we never know what we are doing with our first) I was determined that he was going to eat his green beans whether he liked them or not. The idea of being forced to eat these long chewy green things with dry beans inside of them (sounds appealing) made him more determined that he was not going to eat those long chewy green things with dry beans inside of them. Well, as usual I was more determined than he was. Looking back if I would have just put a small amount on his plate each night he probably would have eventually eaten his green beans without a battle. 

Imagine if this was you sitting there being told that you are going to eat a new food whether you liked it or not. Cooked cabbage smells weird to me & why would you want to eat something that looks like cooked lettuce. This is exactly how they feel sometimes when food is set in front of them.

Over the years I have tried different recipes and for a time we had a New Recipe Night almost every week. I started asking the kids to give me a score on all the meals. If it didn't make a high enough combined score I never cooked it again. We now call these new recipe nights "RATE THE RECIPE".


Here is how we Rate the Recipe.
1. Choose and prepare a new recipe. 
You can ask your children to choose a recipe in one of your many cookbooks or check out some of the websites listed below.
2. Ask your family members, including yourself, to rate the recipe using the scale of 1 to 10. 
1 being the lowest and 10 the highest.
3. After each meal add the total points received and divide by how many is in your family.
This does not include the two year old or the dog. 

Examples:

RECIPE 1
Possible score - 60 points
Dad - 9
Mom - 8
Jacob - 7
Spencer - 10
Elliot - 8
Asher - 9
Score - 51 - I will prepare this recipe again.

RECIPE 2
Possible score - 60 points
Dad - 8
Mom - 9
Jacob - 5
Spencer - 4
Elliot - 1
Asher - 5
Score - 32 - I will NOT prepare this recipe again.


Your children are more likely to eat the vegetables on their plate if they enjoy the main dish.


Recommended  Cookbooks & Magazines

Southern Living Cookbooks
Best Recipes from American Country Inns and Bed & Breakfasts
Everyday Food (Martha Stewart)
Cooking Light
Taste of Home 
Better Homes & Gardens
Southern Living COOKBOOK - America’s Best Home Cooking
3 Books in 1 - Old Fashioned Cookies,
Country Casseroles, Grilling &  More
Better Homes & Gardens
Easy Slow Cooker Cookbook
Rachel Ray

Recommended Websites 

My Beach Post ~ Mother Bear Does Not Compare


I always like to be ahead of the game. My children have told me that when they leave home I should send them off with a hand-stitched pillow with these words. "It's better to be 15 minutes early than 15 minutes late". Life happens, things come up or we sometimes procrastinate. (me!)

My blogpost was all ready for CMB and I thought I would "clean up" my computer while I was on vacation. WHOOPS. 
So here is the blogpost I wrote for CMB while I was enjoying the waves. Probably one of the corniest posts I have ever written. But hey, I was on vacation. 

Hope it encourages a mom or two and reminds us all that it's okay. It's really okay. 

Holly






Back to School ~ I Don't Want My Kids To Be Cool.

It's that time of the year again. 
Time to go back to school. 
As moms this can be a time of concern for our children especially if they are entering a new school or high school. Have no fear, Mom. If you have raised them to seek God in all they do, they will be just fine. 


My post over at CMB.

No "Face In The Phone" at Lake Winnie

My family moved to Chattanooga when I was thirteen years of age. Australia was my home and I longed to go back but that was not the plan God had for us. I am thankful that God led my family here and I have been able to plant roots with my husband and my children. 

Chattanooga is a wonderful place to live with so much to see & do. We have parks, aquariums, trails to explore, awesome shopping, antique malls & more. 

My first year of a high school I made a wonderful friend and her parents would take us to Lake Winnie during the summers. We grew apart over the years, but I have fond memories of our times there together. 

Sure, I make jokes about Lake Winnie and the need for anti-bacterial hand sanitizer & a tetanus shot before spending the day there, but deep down in my heart I really enjoy every minute of it. 




Here's my post over at Chattanooga Moms Blog. A little nostalgia along with a dash of wisdom from my seven year old son. 




Come on, get HAPPY!

Summertime and My Thighs




January 1st, the day we make that New Year's resolution to get in shape and to drop a few pounds. Life gets busy and we are hit or miss at the gym. Before we know it, May is here and it's now time to pull out the shorts. Well, it's June, and I am having to settle for capri pants. Some of you know how I feel about capri pants. I think they are weird and even weirder when men wear them. 

I tore my hip months ago and it will never be the same. This old girl has to pop her hip back into place every now and then. It hurts and it sounds awful. I was cleared by the doctor to run months ago, but there is a fear that I will injure myself again. My thighs are fluffy (okay fine, they are fat) and my core is weak so I must overcome my fear.

For several days I packed up the car and checked out all the different trails in the Chattanooga area. Chattanoogans, we are blessed with so many beautiful places to walk. 

I ran a little without any problems and I cannot wait to take off and sprint. I will be 45 years old in a few months and I could give you plenty of excuses to why I should not be running. I could give you more reasons why I must. 

So today is June 1st, my January 1st. If you live in the Chattanooga area and you are a "MOM ON THE MOVE" I would love to hear from you. Share your pics of you on the move on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using tag #momsonthemoveinchatt.

Go to MOMS ON THE MOVE IN CHATTANOOGA to read my post over at Chattanooga Moms Blog to plan your "MOVE" day. 

If you see me running at the park, please be sure to wave at me as we F-L-Y by each other. 




MOMS ON THE MOVE IN CHATTANOOGA.


DIRECT LINK HERE



Dear Young Mom, Let Them Be Kids


It is very important to teach your children to respect and obey their elders. We just need to make sure that we are not controlling their every move and preventing them from experiencing life. 
Children learn from experience just like I have & I have discovered that I needed to allow my children to be children.


Click the title to view the post.
Dear Young Mom, Let Them Be Kids


Bathroom Makeover on a Budget

The time has FINALLY come to re-do the scary bathroom.

KEEPING - The cabinet is at least ten years old but it was built to last, unlike the new ones you purchase in the home improvement stores.


REMOVING - Floor, fixtures, mirror, countertop, curtain rod, toilet.....
Wallpaper was removed before I took this picture. I started tearing it down the day we moved in. 


THE DESIGN PLAN
Walls - The walls were not prepared properly before the previous owners applied wallpaper. The walls either needed to be repaired or covered up since removing the wallpaper basically destroyed them.


We covered the walls with floor to ceiling beadboard. A very inexpensive way to update any room. You can find this at your local home improvement store.

Paint - Chose a NEW color that I haven't seen anywhere before. It just hit the shelves a few months ago at ACE hardware. I have always been a bit of a Benjamin Moore Paint snob, but I love this color and I wanted to give Valspar another chance. 
 



Floor - Super excited about my flooring. I made a trip to the Home Depot to purchase some flooring very similar to this design. Someone had ordered Pergo in Coastal Pine & changed their minds. DISCOUNT! Regular price is $39.16 a box. It was marked down to $29.66. I bought four boxes & I actually like it better than the one I had originally chosen.

***UPDATE: Floor still looks great a year after installation. The floors pattern doesn't show any wear or fading as I have seen other floors do. I have been very pleased.

I call it an instant coupon from God. 


Before
                        


               

It was time to get to work!

Paul laid the flooring. I lightly sanded the cabinet and stained using CABOTS PREMIUM WOOD FINISH. I chose Espresso. This is the BEST staining product I have ever used!

***UPDATE: Stain still looks like new and cabinets can be wiped off easily without any streaks. Planning on using this brand of stain to redo some living room furniture this summer.



New light fixtures, found at Lowes.

Found a new mirror at Homegoods for only $16.00!!

I removed the hinges from the doors and cleaned with mineral spirits. Instead of purchasing new hinges I spray painted the hinge with Brushed Nickel spray paint. 

Purchased a rust-free shower rod found at Amazon.com.

Replaced the cabinet knobs & hinges.

New toilet.

New towel rods and door hooks

New toilet roll holder. YAY, it's the little things.

New countertop and faucet.





 A BIG THANK YOU to my wonderful son Spencer! He scraped, sanded & painted the ugly old popcorn ceiling.

Postpartum Isolation and the Power of Friendship

Do you have a friend who recently had a baby? Have you checked on her lately? My post over at Chattanooga Moms Blog shares ways that you can be a help and an encouragement to a new mom. Not all moms deal with loneliness. If they have feelings of depression, it doesn't mean that they are weak or that they don't have it all together. It means that we may not be doing the best job as a community, as a friend. 

GO HERE TO READ AND SHARE.



EASY Crockpot Lemon Pepper Chicken Pasta

CROCK POT - EASY - MAKE AHEAD - FREEZER MEAL - KID APPROVED



Lemon Pepper Chicken Pasta

1 pound chicken breast sliced in 2" strips
Lemon pepper seasoning
3 tbs butter 
1/2 onion, coarsely chopped 
1 (10 ounce) can golden mushroom soup
1 (15 ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 (8 ounce) uncooked bowtie pasta

Pat chicken dry with paper towels and rub lemon pepper seasoning on each piece. 

Melt butter in large pan.  Place chicken in melted butter and brown. 
Spray the sides of crockpot with cooking spray. 
Place browned chicken in the bottom of slow cooker & pour melted butter over chicken.
In a separate bowl combine onions, mushroom soup & diced tomatoes.

Pour mixture over chicken.

Cover and cook on LOW 4 hours. 


Cook bowtie pasta as directed. Mix with chicken and sauce and serve. 


Serve with salad & Italian bread.


Variations:

Don't feel like slicing chicken - buy 1 pound of tenderloins instead.
Want to cut the fat -  substitute butter for olive oil
Love onions - add a whole onion.
Instead of bowtie pasta - use a box of angel hair pasta.



Positive Words are Sunshine to the Soul of a Child

The words that we say to our children have a huge impact on their lives. They believe the words that you say, and they become them. I hope this blog post will help you as you raise your young child and that it will guide you to find new positive words to share as you go through the teenage years. 

Click the title below to view the post.

Permanent Ink, Permanent Scars




Proverbs 25:11
A word fitly spoken is like apples of golden in pictures of silver.

Writing, writing, writing. Texting, texting, texting. We are doing it all the time. We are becoming a non-verbal society. It’s as if we are mute. First it was e-mail, then texting & now social media. Social media? What is it really?
Social Media (noun plural but singular or plural in construction) forms of electronic communication through which users create online communities to share information, ideas, personal messages & other content.
Online communities? That even sounds weird. We “friend”, we “unfriend”. Some even feel the need to announce that they are going to have an “unfriending” day. It’s like being in the third grade again, hoping to get an invitation to a birthday party. “Unfriend” quietly, please. We block, we follow, we unfollow. It’s just all so unnatural.


Now don’t get me wrong. I love sharing on Facebook. My life is sunshine everyday, a much needed rain in the afternoon & then a rainbow right before a beautiful sunset. NOT! “Life” on Facebook isn’t real. Sure I share prayer requests & encourage others that are going through difficult times. But there is something missing, and I believe it is personal contact. Seeing a persons face in a conversation is important. Cluing into their body language & embracing them with a hug can’t be shared on Facebook.


The scariest thing to me is realizing that my writings are in “permanent ink”. My words will live on forever. Same with e-mails. This writing will become our legacy & how we will be remembered. Think about it. When we are gone this will be evidence of our existence. Words that are spoken can never be taken back. Words in writing are permanent ink. Some seem to find great joy in setting others straight through messages, but would cowardly walk away if confronted face to face. This is what we seem to be forgetting how to do. Relationships can’t be restored unless you see each other face to face & shake each others hands.


This is the same with spoken words. Words that have been spoken are recorded in the mind. They are replayed even after forgiveness. They are permanent scars. When our name is mentioned, these will be the memories that they have of us. There have been many times that I have had to go back & apologize to my husband & children for unkind or harsh words. I can never go back & erase those words. They are there forever. All I can do is make it right & promise to never do it again.


Yes, there are times when we have to respond to those who have wronged us. Let it be direct & to the point. Listing all the wrongs, as I have determined through personal experience, doesn’t make you feel any better. It just brings up more animosity. Sometimes you just have to let it go & let God take care of it.



Proverbs 17:27
He that hath knowledge spareth (restrains)his words: and a man of understanding is of an excellent spirit.


 My New Year’s resolution is to spend more time with family & friends. It’s so much easier to just send a message. When Facebook first made its debut, I thought it was great. It saved me from being on the phone during my busy day. If I needed to tell someone something, it would just take me a few seconds to write them a quick text. Now I kind of miss talking on the phone. What if a friend really needed me to call her? One of my friends went through a difficult time last year. I wasn’t there for her. I regret that. I was too busy to be a good friend.
I always love to receive cards or notes from friends & family. I have kept every single one.