Thursday, December 29, 2011

New Years Eve Food

Every year for New Years Eve we invite all of Steven's and my family over and have a big gathering.  The kids all play, the adults chat, and we watch the ball drop on TV.  We also make snacks.  We like to make sausage cheese dip.  It is always a hit.


One pound ground sausage, browned
One large block of Velveeta cheese, cubed
One can Rotel tomatoes.

Combine in a slow cooker and serve with chips

We also serve grilled chicken wings, little pigs in a blanket and every one's favorite, buffalo chicken dip!


One cup of chopped chicken
One block cream cheese
One cup ranch dressing
One cup of cheese
1/4 cup (or more) buffalo wing hot sauce.

Melt everything in a skillet on low heat and place in a small crock pot.  Serve with chips and veggies.

We have everyone bring something, and everyone has fun!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas Pictures

I wanted to put up some pictures of our Christmas day:

Christmas in sign language.

Christmas Eve PJs

Jesus's birthday Cake

Opening Gifts

Cute baby's first Christmas
 As you can tell we had a great day.  They must love the wii because they have been playing on it since Christmas day!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas 2011

We had a good Christmas this year. Ashley and Steven spent the week before in El Salvador and were really blessed. They realize how fortunate we are. They built a house for a 93 year old woman who had never had a wood floor. The house was simple, but she loved it. They said she sat there and cried for three days over that house.

We stayed home on Christmas Eve and everything was low key. We went to my mom's for Christmas breakfast and then onto church for a great service. We thought attendance would be low, but it was packed and we had to bring in more chairs! We then came back here and the kids finally got to open presents. We then ate a big meal and played all afternoon.

Instead of getting the kids a bunch of individual gifts we got them something the whole family could use, a wii. I feel like we are the last family in the USA not to get one. I also got a used balance board from game stop and we have been playing wii fit and mario cart. I also got Zelda, but I have not been able to get on it much. They are still playing it, so I think it was a hit!

We still are eating the leftovers from dinner, and tonight I think I will make leftover turkey bean soup. I have a pack of beans and we have the turkey carcase left in the fridge. Yum! We still have some sweet potato casserole, broccoli casserole, and squash. Yum except that I am on weight watchers.

I have to go get on the wii fit.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Gingerbread Houses

We had some friends over today to decorate gingerbread houses.

We also made cookies and decorated them with sprinkles.  I learned from another blog about putting them in muffin tins.  It makes it easier to pass.

After they were done, everyone had a plate of cookies to take home and a house.  They played outside when they were done and I cleaned up the mess,

Ashley and Steven have been on a mission trip in El Salvador this past week.  I have missed them so much, but I know that they have had the time of their lives, and have served the Lord.  They have built houses, served food, and visited orphanages.  I hope that they remember these people and how poor they are and how rich we are.  That is why I want all of my teens to go on a mission trip, so that they realize how fortunate we are.

We are going to my mom's tomorrow to let the kids do some crafts at her house.  The others won't be home until late, so I don't feel like we have to hang out around here all day.  We have tried to do lots of fun things this week getting ready for Christmas.  We have also tried to stay busy so that we don't miss the others so much.

Well, I need to go to bed.  I can't sleep late no matter what I do.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Shopping trip week of December 13

Well I did a small shopping trip this week to Kroger.  They had a special that if you bought four boxes of Quaker cereal (Life is our favorite), you got a free milk.  You could also buy granola bars or oatmeal and get the free milk so I got four boxes of cereal, three granola bars and one box of oats and got two free milks.  I had coupons for the cereal so it made for a good deal.  The rolls are for Christmas.  They were on sale and I had coupons too.  I will keep these in the freezer until Christmas morning.  Here is what I got this week:
I spent $49.58.  I am not buying anything else until I get ready for Christmas dinner.  Steven and Ashley are on a mission trip to El Salvador this week.  They are my bigger eaters, so the rest of us are going to eat from the freezer and just make do.  I will need to make a trip to Sams next week to get supplies for a cookie decorating party they the kids and I are having on Thursday.  I am also hosting Chrstmas dinner here with my family.  I think that we are having 13 people.  Not really all that many.  I will post what my menu is this next week.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Stomach Bug

We have been down for the last few days with a stomach bug. Ashley and I started with it Thursday morning and then Steven started with it Thursday night/Friday morning. We have tried hard to clean and keep the well ones away from the sick ones and so far the younger three are not sick. We have been washing hands and Lysoling where the sick ones were sitting, and using a bleach mixture on the bathrooms in-between people using it. That coupled with much prayer, and the younger ones are not sick yet. I may be back later to report something else, but so far so good.

So, with the sickness in the house there has been no bargain shopping. I ran to Wal-mart and got the bare essentials and extra Gatorade and Sprite. I spent about $60.00 and really didn't get much. Our local Wal-Mart is a small one and the prices are higher that the bigger ones. We have one grocery store (Ingles) who will run good specials, but overall prices are high. I usually make a run to the next town over (20 minute drive) to go to Aldi, Sams, and Publix or Kroger, but this week it wasn't in the cards. That's OK, we just adjust and it is OK.

When you have a family, you have to expect the unexpected. Your plans can change as soon as the baby is sick, or kids are throwing up. That is OK! Just be prepared for an emergency. We keep a few bottles of Gatorade, bottles of Sprite and crackers on hand for such an incident. I do not want to have to drag a sick child out to go shopping if we need these things. Steven often travels with his job and my parents live 20 minutes away. If I am prepared it is easier to deal with sickness. It is also a good idea to keep Tylenol, decongestant, and other medications ready. It always seems like you need these in the evening, and you don't want to have to run to the store.

My other two favorite things when we are sick are Clorox wipes and antibacterial hand gel. Even the kids can use the Clorox wipes to clean the bathrooms and the hand gel is good for kids who try to get out of good hand washing. Both of these products are cutting corners, but it is some protection.

Well, I need to find out what these kids want to eat for breakfast. Maybe some scrambled eggs or some grits.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Christmas Tree Farm

We went to the Christmas tree farm today to get our tree.  We found a really nice one and cut it down.

They had to help Daddy get it to the van.

The crazy shot.

Natalie really wanted to get a blue spruce tree but she was the only one.  I told her that I would take her picture in front of it instead.  It wasn't the same, but everyone can't pick their own tree.

We enjoyed going out there and tree shopping.  It was a nice day and the farm is located on some beautiful property.  Now it is in my living room and we are working on decorating.  I am glad that I am not babysitting tomorrow because my house is not ready for little kids!

Saturday, December 3, 2011


There are times in your life that you open yourself up for criticism, weather it is ask for or not and you have to decide what to do with that criticism. This is an open blog to the public, but I don't care if everyone knows what we have been going through. My husbands parents have custody of his brother's children. They are ages 14, 16 and 18 and the grandparents have expressed that they are having a hard time raising them right now. They are getting older and the younger two are teens, couple that with some difficult background and these kids are hard to raise. They would be hard to raise for anyone, but for older people (I am sorry, but that is what they are) it is truly a struggle.

We have offered to let the younger one and the middle one (it would be her choice) come and live with us. We only live five miles down the road, so they could see the Grandparents on a regular basis, but could live with us who are more age appropriate for raising children this age. Steven mentioned it to them last week and he said that they were receptive to the idea and wanted to pray about it. This week we went out to dinner to talk about it more and it was very clear that they didn't think we could handle the job, in fact they are not impressed with the way we raise our own children. They think that we allow them too many privileges before they are ready ( we let our 13 year old have a cell phone so that when she is not with us we can call her) and that our kids are not respectful ( because they came to their house to go swimming at the river and wore bathing suits and didn't have shorts on and the boys could see the outline of their rear ends). These comments really hurt me because child rearing is the one area that I feel like we are doing the right thing in. Everyone at church and at school loves our children and want them in their classes. When we had this discussion, I was not prepared for criticism for myself and it hurt my feelings.

In the end, we think it is best that they stay with the grandparents. We are going to try to help them out when we can (if they will let us), but the grandparents need to finish raising these kids. They are not ready to let us or anyone else take them. All we wanted was for the Grandparents to have an easier time and for the kids to live in a happy household. If those things can happen and they can stay where they are then that is for the best. I am usually a giver and give with the attitude that it is from the Lord and from my heart. That is why it hurts for them to think that I would open my home to these kids for any other reason than because I love them and want what is best for them. Again I had to listen to critics that I wasn't ready to hear from.

Just pray for the kids involved. I don't know if the relationship between the grandparents and us can be completely mended (I am a forgiving person, it may just take a while) and that will make it difficult for us to spent time with the kids involved. They love our kids and love coming over here so I will make the effort. I don't want these kids to miss out on there cousins.

I know this is a money saving blog, but I also want it as a documentation of what we are doing on a weekly and daily basis. I want to go back and read my posts and see where I was compared to where I am. I think that is a great way to grow in the Lord and yourself.

I other news, we are going to go get our Christmas tree today and Ashley is in a parade today with her dance. I am hoping that we can make some memories an have a great day!