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Life is beautiful whether you're soaking in sunshine or caught in a thunderstorm. I take the beauty of life for granted too often. I have a supportive husband who I don't want to live life without, a beautiful son who is always reminding me of the simple things that really matter, and an independent daughter who is teaching me to throw schedules out the window and live in the moment. My day is made when free samples fill my mailbox. I love discovering a new product and sharing it with others. I'm addicted to coupons and every penny counts. I hope you will enjoy reading my posts and will share your success stories with me as well.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Mexican Pizza Recipe

 
My husband blew me away with the incredibly delicious Mexican Pizza he made us over the weekend.  Seriously.  It. Was. Awesome.  I was so impressed.  Not that he made something great, but that he made something SO GREAT!  :)  And he is so sweet to share his recipe with us...what an awesome husband he is!
 
He used the pizza dough recipe we normally use for homemade pizza.  You can find it here.
 
Ingredients for Sauce
6 ounce can tomato sauce
1 tablespoon taco seasoning
2 teaspoons chili powder
 
Toppings
taco meat
(we just used the leftover meat from our tacos last week)
thinly sliced onions
thinly sliced green peppers
black olives
tomatoes, diced
4 ounces Mozzarella cheese, shredded
 
Bake at 500 degrees for 15 minutes.
 
I'm pretty sure the secret of making this pizza so awesome was light on the sauce and cheese, and full of fresh toppings.


Menu Week of June 30 - July 4

Wow!  Are we really going into July this week?  We tried several new recipes last week and they all went over very well.  I bought some extra zucchini at Mini Miracles Farm this weekend so I'm excited to try some new baking recipes using it this week!
 
Breakfast
Cereal (Earth Fare Honey Oats)
Buttermilk Pancakes (from the freezer)
Homemade Biscuits with Egg & Cheese
Oatmeal & Whole Wheat Toast
 
Lunch
Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwiches
Mac & Cheese
Chicken Salad on Whole Wheat Crackers
Lunch Out
 
Supper
Crockpot Chicken & Green Beans
Sautéed Fresh Vegetables & Homemade Bread
(Broccoli, Zucchini, Squash, & Onions)
Spaghetti (without meat) & Garlic Bread
Grilled Cheeseburgers & Crispy Cucumber Chips
Leftovers
 
 


Friday, June 27, 2014

Third Week of Summer Break

Another fantastic week of summer fun.  We started off Monday with going to Happy Cow Creamery and had the best experience ever!  The kids were able to see the cows being milked and even got to taste the milk STRAIGHT FROM THE COW!! Yes, very gross for the adults, but oh so cool for the kids to experience!
 


 
 
On Tuesday morning we went to the $1 Movies and saw Despicable Me 2.  Then we went to Barnes & Noble to turn in our completed summer reading program and pick out two free books.  I can't tell you how excited I get that these boys love books just as much as I do!  On Tuesday afternoon they played some games on the tablet and then colored and worked in their activity books.
 


 
 
 
We went to The Children's Museum on Wednesday.  There were LOTS of kids there but we still managed to have a great time!  The boys loved the new "The Great Outdoors" exhibit they have up for the summer.  We took a break around noon and ate a picnic lunch in the car before heading back in for another two hours of fun.








 
We had a stay at home day on Thursday even though we didn't actually SAH all day.  We ran to a couple stores, I had a chiropractor appointment, and then we made a stop at the Library to pick up some books I had on hold.  Kaden and Bradley played on the computer for 30 minutes while I checked out some more books for them to read. 
 
Today (Friday), we started the morning off with making bubble snakes.  We didn't use food coloring this time but may try it the next time.  I thought the bubble snakes turned out very well.  We realized this wasn't a great activity for a 3 year old because Bradley ended up inhaling some dish detergent, gagged, and threw up.  It was not so cool.  So unless your child understands the concept of ONLY blowing out and not in, don't let them try this. 
Then we made a trip to Monkey Joes and the boys jumped on the inflatables for almost 2 hours.  They had a blast and I'm so proud of Bradley for finally being brave enough to go on the gigantic slide.  We stopped at a couple used bookstores on the way home and I let the boys use up some of my credit I had on file.  We found some really great books! 
 







 

 

 

My Song For the Day - Kari Jobe "Be Still My Soul"

 
 
God knew that I needed to see the quote above this morning.  The last two weeks I've been trying to make something happen in my timing.  I can't even begin to tell you how stressed out I've been over it.  My massage therapist and chiropractor could hardly get rid of all the knots in my neck and shoulders that my stress has caused.  When will I learn that life happens in God's timing?  When will I understand that I have to be still until God shows me the next step?  Until He opens the next door, I have to have faith and be still.
 

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Costco, Ingles, Happy Cow Creamery, and CVS Deals Week of June 22-28

I shouldn't even really say "Deals" this week because it was more of just buying what we needed.  I almost cried when I came out of CVS because I completely screwed up on a deal.  I should have just gone back in and asked for a refund so I could try it over again.  But that's just not my personality....which is why I wanted to cry.  Maybe I just need a break from couponing for a week or two while I just regroup and I'm able to focus better.
 
Costco - I spent a total of $57.14.  I love their organic ground beef for $17.99.  I stocked up on several snack items to take for our picnic lunches this summer.  I love the organic and healthy snacks that Costco offers.  These Fig Bars have been a huge hit with everyone and they are very filling!
 

CVS - My total was $4.76 and I saved $10.28.  If I would have purchased one more soap item, I could have had it for free and received a $10 gas card back. 
Now you know why I wanted to cry.

Ingles - I paid a total of $29.66 and saved $13.75.  When I got to the register, one of my coupons for the cheese had expired two days ago.  Another "I just want to cry" moment.  I was completely out of dishwasher detergent so thankfully the Oxi Clean had a coupon on the bag.  I've never tried this brand so I'm hoping it will work.  They had a great sale on paper plates and I'm always stocking up since we go through a lot of these during Growth Group. 
 
Happy Cow Creamery - I know I took a picture but I just can't seem to find it.  I bought one gallon of whole milk, one gallon of chocolate milk, 1/2 gallon of buttermilk, one dozen eggs, two containers of cottage cheese, one container of sour cream, and one package of salted butter.  My total was $30.44 but I did have a credit of $7.74 for returning some cheese that didn't taste right.
 
Miscellaneous items purchased this week were:  $7.55 at CVS for a case of bottled water (my husband uses these at work) and anti-itch cream for the hundreds of mosquito bites I had. $7.58 at BI-LO for two cans of coconut milk for a new recipe I was trying.  I couldn't believe how expensive canned coconut milk was!
 
My grand total spent this week was $137.13.  I kept it under my $150 weekly budget but I could have done better if I had all my ducks in a row.


Monday, June 23, 2014

Our Butterfly Garden Experience

 I bought the Insect Lore Live Butterfly Garden off Amazon awhile back when it was on sale.  I thought it would be a great summer project with the boys...and it was a huge hit!  Our caterpillars came in the mail two weeks ago and we've had a blast watching them change into butterflies.  What a fun, educational experience for the kids and the adults! 
 
The caterpillars went to the top of the jar within 3 days of receiving them in the mail.
 
They hung upside down for two days and then became chrysalides.
 
After two days of them being chrysalides, we moved them to the butterfly habitat.
The boys thought this part was so cool!
 
All 5 caterpillars became chrysalides!
 
The boys were so excited!
 
It was almost 4 days later before they became butterflies.
They actually startled me when I went into the bedroom.  4 out of the 5 made it into beautiful butterflies!

We gave them watermelon and flowers with water droplets.
We kept them for 3 days and then released them.
 
This part makes me so sad because I accidentally deleted my memory card with all the pictures from their release. :(  My niece and nephew helped Bradley and Kaden release the butterflies and there was one moment where one of the butterflies landed on my nephew's foot.  It was so cool to watch them fly off into their new home.  I kept the butterfly habitat and we may just have to do this again very soon!


 

Menu Week of June 23 - 27

I found a new fruit and vegetable store, Mini Miracles Farm, which is located about 10 minutes from my house!  I love the fact they only sell organic fruits and vegetables.  I went on Saturday and bought white corn on the cob, zucchini, squash, onions, and a tomato.  We had the corn yesterday for lunch and it was delicious. I'm going to love this new place and we are going to have two vegetable only suppers this week!
 
Breakfast
Toast on Whole Grain Bread with Sliced Bananas
Buttermilk Blueberry Pancakes
Cheesy Eggs
Cereal
Homemade Cinnamon Rolls
 
Lunch
Mac & Cheese
Egg Salad Sandwiches
Chicken Quesadillas
 
Supper
Coconut Rice with Zucchini, Squash, and Onions
Fried Chicken Bites & Broccoli
(I love using coconut oil for frying these)
Leftovers
 
 
 


Friday, June 20, 2014

Second Week of Summer Break

I'm pretty sure I'm having as much fun as the kids are this Summer.  I can't remember the last time my Summer was so fun and relaxing!  I'm blessed to take care of Kaden this summer...he's a great kid!  And I'm blessed to be surrounded by good friends and family who come along on our adventures with us.  Two weeks down and eight to go!  I'm hoping they go by slowly because we still have a LOT more places to go.
 
We had one stay at home day this week.  The other 4 days were filled with trips to the $1 movies, Pelham Road Library for Pirate Day, a friend's pool, Herdklotz Park, Butler Springs Park, and George the Train.
 
Fun at the Park with Karlie and Brina!


The boys stayed at this park for 3 1/2 hours one day this week!

Racing down the slides.


These two would eat all day long if I'd let them.
They are both very good about eating healthy food and drinking lots of water!
 
They already completed their reading assignment (48 books) for the Summer Reading Program at the Library.   They received a medal, magnet, a coupon for a free taco, and a free ticket to the Greenville Drive game!  They both love to read.  Now to start on the Barnes and Noble reading program!
 
We made Flubber one afternoon!

They loved watching their Flubber spread out and making long snakes with it. 

Chalk time under the porch...it's been a very HOT week!

Pool time with sweet Kalli! 
Thanks Melissa for letting us hang out at your pool!

The boys loved Pirate Day at the library!

Our $1 movie was The Pirates Band of Misfits which went along well with the Pirate theme that day.  I received a coupon for free popcorn and a free drink...yay for freebies!

PlayDoh kept the boys occupied for 2 hours one afternoon!  They love that stuff.
 
My nieces came over on our SAH day and the kids had fun in the Bounce House.
 
We actually had fairly nice weather that morning...a nice break from the heat.

A two seater quickly became a 4 seater! 

Building tents is always a huge hit. 

George the Train was so much fun with my nephew and niece!

Water fights between the boys which quickly led them to both gang up on me!

The little pool actually provided a ton of relief from the heat and the kids had a blast!