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Gaming the Grocery Store

Gaming the Grocery Store

When my husband and I started on our debt free journey, we really started looking for ways to cut back on spending. We chose Netflix over cable, got our cell phone bill reduced, and cut back on eating out. But I really wanted to tackle our grocery bill without giving up the quality of our food.

I was introduced to the world of coupons by one of those crazy coupon ladies who had a small stockpile in her basement. I started printing coupons off the internet and bought the Sunday paper just for the coupons. I began getting all my toiletry items from Walgreens where I could save the most money. I would wait for our brands to go on sale, use a coupon that I printed, a Walgreens coupon, and then get a military discount. At that time, Walgreens was the only store that I knew that would let you use a paper coupon plus a store coupon on the same item for double discounts. I would usually end up saving about 75% of my bill by this method. This is always a good thing to ask about at the stores you shop at the most. Most won’t do it, but it doesn’t hurt to ask.

Gaming the Grocery Store

Now, I do most of my shopping at Kroger so we can get the fuel points to cut back on our gas budget. The first thing I do is to check my pantry and freezer to see what I already have on hand. From there, I look at the sales ad on my Kroger app. By buying items that are on sale or in season has proven to drastically cut my grocery bill. Once my menu is planned for the week and my grocery list is made, I look at my coupons. Kroger mails me coupons every month that are usually for items that I buy the most. From there I’ll log back into my app and look through all their digital coupons to see what I can add to my rewards card. This process does take me some time, but the money I save it worth it. I’m able to provide my family with healthy breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks for the week with just $100.

Gaming the Grocery Store

Another trick I have started doing is buying my meat from the discounted manager selections. These items are usually marked down because they are nearing their expiration date, but I put them directly in my freezer when I get home to use the following week. This is why I always “shop” my pantry and freezer first because I usually have extra. For example, I got a 5 lb. pork loin for $7 (it was originally marked at $25). I then cut the pork loin in half, added some marinade, and put it in the freezer. If you can get ahead of your meat purchases this way, you’ll be able to save a lot of money. If you have any additional grocery hacks that have helped you save money, I’d love to hear about them!!

 

 

 

 

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Kids

How to Inspire Creativity in Your Children

how to inspire creativity in your children

I’m just going to be real here, this is one area of being a mom that I absolutely suck at. I have better luck with it in the summer when I have the kids all to myself all day long. But during the school season, not so much. I’m hoping to start taking a day each week to spend a little creative time with each of my kids so we’ll see how that goes.

But why is this so important? The creative process is important for kids for many reasons. It allows them to commit to an effort and make it their own. It lets them express themselves and cope with their emotions. It then allows adults to understand more about what their child is feeling or thinking. Being creative also encourages a child’s problem solving and creative thinking skills. Here are a few things that I’ve done to help me and my kids get a little bit more creative.

how to inspire creativity in your children

Craft Bin. I have one craft bin that I keep put up and bring out for about an hour. It has coloring books, sketch pads, play-doh, slime, sidewalk chalk, activity books, scavenger hunts, and bubbles to name a few. The kids love being able to go through different activities and make new things.

how to inspire creativity in your children

Science Kits. One company I’ve found lately thanks to my mom and aunt is Scientifics Direct. They have so many amazing toys and kits for children. My son has the beginner’s chemistry set and the make your own root beer set. My daughter just recently got the bath bomb kit. And I’m not sure where his uncle got it from, but my son has a huge snap circuit kit that he absolutely loves playing with. And as a mom, I love anything that is creative and educational.

Ice Cream for Breakfast Day

 

Fun Kid Holidays. If you’ve seen some of my earlier posts, I took Lisa Marie’s idea of seasonal living and made it something that I could celebrate with my kids. I just googled a list of fun national holidays and picked out a few each month that I thought my kids would really enjoy. From Popcorn Day to Eat Ice Cream for Breakfast Day to National Goof Off Day, my kids will have an entire year filled with new ways to get creative and celebrate.

how to inspire creativity in your children

Summer Schedule. I mentioned above that I’m better at this whole creative thing during the summer and that’s because I have a schedule I follow, go figure right? My schedule includes Make Something Mondays, Time to Read Tuesdays, What’s Cooking Wednesdays, Be Thoughtful Thursdays, and Somewhere Fun Friday. There’s a ton of examples on Pinterest that you could get ideas to make it fit your schedule and your family. I hope some of these ideas will work for your little ones!

 

 

 

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Spiritual

5 Things I Love About My Church

5 Things I Love About My Church As a military spouse, I’ve moved around the country quite a bit. I’ve lived in Florida, California, Texas, New Mexico, Ohio, and now Virginia. And with each move comes the challenges of finding the right neighborhood, the right school, reestablishing my businesses, making new friends, and so on and so on. But one of the biggest challenges I always faced was finding a church that I truly felt comfortable in. While I found one in New Mexico and Ohio that I went to, I never really felt at home. I felt like I was lost in a sea of people and like I didn’t really belong. But I definitely hit the church lotto here in Virginia. Here’s the 5 things that really stood out to me and made me feel at home.  How welcoming everyone is. With my anxiety, I don’t do well in new situations. My husband is my rock in this area and helps buffer me until I’m comfortable with my surroundings. Unfortunately, he doesn’t attend church as often as I do and I wanted to stake out new churches before I started taking my kids. So it was a huge deal for me just how welcoming everyone at Northridge was without being over-the-top, in-your-face that you might sometimes get. But what really stood out for me was what happened the second week. After feeling invisible at so many churches over the years, I was nearly shocked speechless when the lady at the door greeted me by name when I went back the second time. Considering I didn’t speak much outside of normal introductions the first week, I was really surprised that she remembered me.   The small groups. I’ve always wanted to join Bible studies and other small groups at churches but with my anxiety and feeling invisible like I stated earlier, I never joined in. I tried hosting a Bible study series in my home with some of my close friends, but it slowly fell through. But I quickly became comfortable at Northridge and so when I received an invite to join one of the women’s group, I did. Now, I’ve attended several different groups, a Financial Peace class, and a Leadership Class. I’ve also stepped up to lead 2 small fitness groups as well, and even taught a few Sunday school classes. And now my daughter calls several of the ladies from these groups her great grandmothers lol.   The reach outs. My mother will definitely understand where I’m coming from on this one because it seems to be something that she is seeing with different churches she’s tried in her area. I really love the effort Northridge goes through to keep everyone updated on information, and to reach out to those who may have stopped coming by. As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, I went through a funk not too long ago. I was missing a lot of church and small groups. But they didn’t forget about me. Several people would reach out to me to see how I was doing and told that they missed seeing me around.   The mission trips. While I haven’t been on a mission trip yet, I do love the fact that Northridge does what it can to reach out. Since I’ve been here, they’ve been to Kentucky, Florida, and North Carolina. It may have been a small group or just 2 people, but they went. We are planning our next trip and I’ve joined in to help with it. I’m praying that it’s a trip that I can go on this time.   As much as this might go to his head, the pastor. I’ve been to several different kinds of churches from Baptist, Methodist, Non-Denominational, and even a Wiccan one while I was in the military. So needless to say, I’ve seen a lot of different kinds of pastors. I’ve seen the monotone ones that worked better than Nyquil at putting me to sleep. I’ve seen the Fire and Brimstone ones. I even had one pastor do a back flip on stage on his 50th birthday to show he wasn’t “that” old. Considering you’re listening to the pastor the majority of the time you’re sitting there, it’s important that his or her preaching style speaks to you and makes you comfortable. I don’t want to feel like I’m just having scripture thrown at me. I like hearing in plain terms and how it really does apply to my life. And I like a little humor thrown in. So yeah, Pastor Bob at Northridge is probably one of the best preachers I’ve listened to in my short life. But don’t tell him I said that!

 

As a military spouse, I’ve moved around the country quite a bit. I’ve lived in Florida, California, Texas, New Mexico, Ohio, and now Virginia. And with each move comes the challenges of finding the right neighborhood, the right school, reestablishing my businesses, making new friends, and so on and so on. But one of the biggest challenges I always faced was finding a church that I truly felt comfortable in. While I found one in New Mexico and Ohio that I went to, I never really felt at home. I felt like I was lost in a sea of people and like I didn’t really belong. But I definitely hit the church lotto here in Virginia. Here’s the 5 things that really stood out to me and made me feel at home at Northridge Community Church.

How welcoming everyone is. With my anxiety, I don’t do well in new situations. My husband is my rock in this area and helps buffer me until I’m comfortable with my surroundings. Unfortunately, he doesn’t attend church as often as I do and I wanted to stake out new churches before I started taking my kids. So it was a huge deal for me just how welcoming everyone at Northridge was without being over-the-top, in-your-face that you might sometimes get. But what really stood out for me was what happened the second week. After feeling invisible at so many churches over the years, I was nearly shocked speechless when the lady at the door greeted me by name when I went back the second time. Considering I didn’t speak much outside of normal introductions the first week, I was really surprised that she remembered me.

The small groups. I’ve always wanted to join Bible studies and other small groups at churches but with my anxiety and feeling invisible like I stated earlier, I never joined in. I tried hosting a Bible study series in my home with some of my close friends, but it slowly fell through. But I quickly became comfortable at Northridge and so when I received an invite to join one of the women’s group, I did. Now, I’ve attended several different groups, a Financial Peace class, and a Leadership Class. I’ve also stepped up to lead 2 small fitness groups as well, and even taught a few Sunday school classes. And now my daughter calls several of the ladies from these groups her great grandmothers lol.

The reach outs. My mother will definitely understand where I’m coming from on this one because it seems to be something that she is seeing with different churches she’s tried in her area. I really love the effort Northridge goes through to keep everyone updated on information, and to reach out to those who may have stopped coming by. As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, I went through a funk not too long ago. I was missing a lot of church and small groups. But they didn’t forget about me. Several people would reach out to me to see how I was doing and told that they missed seeing me around.

The mission trips. While I haven’t been on a mission trip yet, I do love the fact that Northridge does what it can to reach out. Since I’ve been here, they’ve been to Kentucky, Florida, and North Carolina. It may have been a small group or just 2 people, but they went. We are planning our next trip and I’ve joined in to help with it. I’m praying that it’s a trip that I can go on this time.

As much as this might go to his head, the pastor. I’ve been to several different kinds of churches from Baptist, Methodist, Non-Denominational, and even a Wiccan one while I was in the military. So needless to say, I’ve seen a lot of different kinds of pastors. I’ve seen the monotone ones that worked better than Nyquil at putting me to sleep. I’ve seen the Fire and Brimstone ones. I even had one pastor do a back flip on stage on his 50th birthday to show he wasn’t “that” old. Considering you’re listening to the pastor the majority of the time you’re sitting there, it’s important that his or her preaching style speaks to you and makes you comfortable. I don’t want to feel like I’m just having scripture thrown at me. I like hearing in plain terms and how it really does apply to my life. And I like a little humor thrown in. So yeah, Pastor Bob at Northridge is probably one of the best preachers I’ve listened to in my short life. But don’t tell him I said that!

 

 

 

 

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Recipes

What’s For Dinner

What's for Dinner

As most of you know, I love my Wildtree products. My pantry is overflowing with it so I took an inventory of everything I had. I then went into my Wildtree app to update my pantry and ended up planning an entire month of meals with what I had. The only thing that as made this even better is the new addition to my kitchen thanks to my amazing husband. He bought me an Instant Pot for Christmas and I’ve been tweeking all the recipes to cook them with the Instant Pot. You can find all the recipes on my site here. So here’s a look at what we had for dinner this week.

Cajun Brisket with Roasted Potato Salad

Sunday Night – Cajun Brisket with Roasted Potato Salad

Lemon Pepper Balsamic Chicken with Lemon Rosemary Asparagus

Monday – Lemon Peppe Balsamic Chicken, Brown Rice Quinoa Mix, and Lemon Rosemary Asparagus

Mojo Chicken Burrito Bowl

Tuesday – Mojo Chicken Burrito Bowl

BBQ Chicken Chili

Wednesday – BBQ Chicken Chili

Brisket Nachos

Thursday – Nachos with leftover BBQ Chicken Chili, Ranch Style Beans, and Leftover Cajun Brisket

What's for Dinner

Friday & Saturday – Drive Thru (I was sick in bed all day so the hubs took care of dinner.)

 

 

-Elizabeth

 

 

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Fashion & Beauty

Valentine’s Day Outfit

 

It’s not very often that the hubby and I get out for a date night, and I honestly can’t tell you the last time we’ve gone out for Valentine’s Day. I usually prefer to make us a nice steak dinner to enjoy together to avoid the crowds. But this year is going to be a little different and here’s a little look at what I’m wearing tonight.

 

valentine's day outfit

I decided to wear pants because I get cold extremely easy and the temperature here in Virginia is still a little cool for my taste. (If anyone is wondering, I got our laundry baskets at Target. I got the larger ones for us and the smaller ones for the kiddos.) The pants I got a few years ago at my friend Barbie’s boutique, MiraBella Boutique in downtown Fairborn, Ohio. I absolutely love her taste in clothes and all of the unique items I would always find there. The top I bought last year from the Pulse boutique, which if you’re not familiar with is a huge online boutique that always has some really cute clothes.

The heels are a pair of BCBG studded heels that I got while I was living in Ohio. I don’t remember what store I got them from exactly but they are one of my favorite pairs. They’re not as tall as some of my other heels and I can walk in them for hours without my feet hurting.

 

 

 

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