I am a Mormon stay-at-home-mom of six. Yeah, I know, "that's a lot of kids"! Sometimes it truly is A LOT. Most of the time it's not. It's simply put...our normal. On my page you'll find spiritual thoughts, tales of trials, happy moments, recipes, funny stories, and more. Enjoy!!

Thursday, January 21, 2016

The birth of a new blog...

Just CRAPTASTIC!! I bored MYSELF!  I KNOW it's bad when I read my own work and I'm about to fall asleep. Oh! My! Gosh!!  Can I really expect my husband, whom I'm reading it to, or anyone else for that matter, to seriously enjoy this if I'm not? Um NO!

I sat there, at the table, reading my latest blog post to my oh so sweet husband. He listened kindly as I BORED THE CRAP OUT OF BOTH OF US!  What am I doing? I've been writing because I feel like I should, not because I enjoy it.  Duh! And I'm efficiently ruining my blog!

I LOVE to write!  But when I'm not even enjoying my own work I need a change.

Oh yeah. Right here. Right now. The start of a brand new blog.  A real blog about real things that REALLY happen.  The nitty gritty of life.  The ugly truth of the day to day.  The moments when I feel like I'm going to rip my hair out of my head...piece by piece...

That's right.  It'll be Just Craptastic!

Drawing his idea of Craptastic...

A pile of crap...hehehe...

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Will I waste my time making a menu?

Let's talk about menus.  Some people are really good at coming up with meal ideas.  They make a variety of meals and are very creative.  I have not always done very well at that.  In fact, one of my biggest annoyances is trying to come up with a dinner idea.  I do believe I have even used the word "hate" in reference to coming up with dinner ideas.  Gasp! It got to the point that when someone asked me, "What's for dinner?" I would get quite annoyed.  Sigh. Not the best response. 

Over the years I have gone back and forth with using a menu and not using one.  My conclusion...I spend WAY too much money when I don't use a menu. Plus, when I spend the time to create one I reduce my stress...and I don't have to answer that pesky little question anymore.  So...

What kind of menu do you use?  

-Menu Cards: At one point I had a stack of menu cards. They were index cards that I cut in half. Each card had a meal on it.  I would sort through these cards every other week and choose the meals I would make.  That worked for a while, but then I got bored.  What I didn't realize is that I needed more variety.  With variety this idea can work.

-Meal Idea list: It's a fabulous idea to have a list of the meals that your family enjoys.  I used to have a list on my cork board that was hanging in the laundry room.  Why the laundry room? I didn't want the paper clutter in the kitchen. You could hang the lists and recipes on the inside of a cabinet door.  Or put your list and recipes into a binder with your cook books.  The list helped me with variety.  I don't have it on paper now, but I have a running list in my notes app on my phone.  That way, no matter where I am, I can always add to the list when I think of something.  

-Calendar menu: You can purchase a planner to write your menu in or a wall calendar would work too. It's handy to have where the entire family can see it. You can also print free blank calendars from the internet. I found a chalk board calendar at Walmart that I was going to use for a family calendar.  It sat on my dresser for weeks before I decided I wanted to use it for a menu/meal calendar instead.  I used command strips and stuck it on the front of the stainless refrigerator.  It came with a chalk pencil and it has a little tray for the pencil in the frame.  

At first I was writing in a meal for every night except one.  After a few weeks we realized that we needed to have nights designated for left overs.  Otherwise the fridge is busting at the seams with left over food.  And then the food goes bad.  And I hate wasting food.  

Yesterday I filled out the calendar with a little help from my husband.  I purposely left 3 days a week blank.  If we don't make a meal one day I circle it so that I know that I can use that meal later. Some days we end up with no time to make dinner and everyone eats left overs, cereal, toast or nachos. I circle the meal or write it else where. Once the meal is used I put a line through it.  

Once I get the month's menu filled out I start a grocery list.  I check to see what ingredients we already have on hand and which ones we need.  I make sure to put snacks, fruits, veggies and other necessities on the list as well.  I also have some foods that come on a Subscribe & Save shipment each month from Amazon.  A couple of the meals this month require chicken broth.  I was starting to fret about the fact that the shipment won't come until the 1st of the month and my husband suggested we swap a couple meals around so that the meal requiring the broth would be made after the delivery.  I had a "DUH" moment! Hahaha! I'm not sure why I didn't think of that, but he reminded me to simplify.  Todd to the rescue! 

When I plan ahead and take the time to create a menu and a detailed list of items needed I save my family hundreds of dollars each month.  Yes, you read that right.  Hundreds.  But remember...we have 8 people to feed.  No matter your family size you will save money by creating a menu and following it. 

I also remind my kids that the food I buy has to last for a month...except for milk, eggs, cheese, bread, and fresh fruit and veggies.  And when they're gone, they're gone.  They won't get more until the next month. If I buy 10 bags of chips, which I don't, they would eat every one of them just because they are in the house.  I buy 2 boxes of regular chocolate chip granola bars at the local whole sale club.  That's 120 bars for the month.  If I purchased more boxes they would eat them all, but there are plenty of them for the month when I buy just 2 boxes.    

We've also found a way to use the calendar to mark the dates that my husband works. I write a small "w" in the bottom corner for "work". This way we can have the meals that he enjoys on the nights that he will be home, and make the meals he is less fond of on the nights that he works.  

So, no, making a menu isn't a waste of your time.  Time is money.  And you'll save a bunch my writing out and sticking to a menu. What are your favorite meals?


Tuesday, January 19, 2016

3 Elements of Weight Loss

When people make blanket statements like: When you exercise for 5 days a week at 30 minutes each day, you will lose weight.  And you don't have to change your eating habits...

I know it won't work for everyone.  For some metabolisms, merely exercising daily can cause weight loss.  But I think that flew out the window along with my 20's.

I've learned a lot over the years.  And I'm going to continue to learn more all the time.  What I've learned about weight loss is you can't have weight loss with only exercise.  There are 3 important elements of healthy weight loss:

#1- Sleep
#2- Exercise
#3- Eating healthy

Number 1:
Don't expect to be able to endure a vigorous workout if you're tired.  We need sleep.  And I believe each person is a little different.  I need about 8 hours each night to feel my best. My husband can get 6 hours and be just fine.  After a couple of nights trying to function with only 6 hours of sleep...I crash...hard.

Make sure you go to bed early.  And set your alarm.  Too much sleep can have negative effects on your body similar to that of sleep deprivation. What are some of those effects you ask? Moodiness, irritability, quick to anger, sadness, tiredness, etc.  There are a lot of them.  A lack of sleep can lead to health problems as well.

Why is sleep so important? According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute...

"Sleep plays a vital role in good health and well-being throughout your life. Getting enough quality sleep at the right times can help protect your mental health, physical health, quality of life, and safety.
The way you feel while you're awake depends in part on what happens while you're sleeping. During sleep, your body is working to support healthy brain function and maintain your physical health. In children and teens, sleep also helps support growth and development.
The damage from sleep deficiency can occur in an instant (such as a car crash), or it can harm you over time. For example, ongoing sleep deficiency can raise your risk for some chronic health problems. It also can affect how well you think, react, work, learn, and get along with others."

So, take care of yourself and make sure you get your ZZZZ's!
Kids are so good a this!

Number 2: 
Exercise! If you expect to see changes in your body, exercise is necessary.  Not only does it boost your mood, but it decreases risks of health problems too.  Exercise strengthens your muscles....not just your thighs and your tummy, but also your heart and lungs.  

It's so important to do an exercise routine that increases your heart rate and makes you sweat.  But remember...listen to your body.  Find something that you enjoy and start moving! 

Number 3:
Eat healthy.  I have had to learn a great amount about foods and what is and is not healthy.  Most Americans simply don't care.  If it tastes good, they'll eat it.  I used to do the same thing.  Due to the food intolerances and allergies in my family I spent a lot of time researching foods.  I've only scratched the surface!  

Eat fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables every day.  Add in lean meats, fish and nuts.  Try eating raw nuts.  They're yummy!  I know some people can't stand them.  If you need the ones with salt, find ones that contain nuts and salt.  You don't need or want all the other junk in there.  

Eat as healthy as you can.  As you learn more about foods you can adjust your diet accordingly.  

Oh. I said that nasty word. Diet.  It has such a negative reputation.  But all creatures have a "diet". Your diet is simply what you consume.  And it's great and wonderful when we can adjust them to help us get healthier.  

Combining these elements will help you lose weight in a healthy way.   And you will feel great while you're doing it.  


Monday, January 11, 2016

A good day!

Today turned out to be a pretty good day in many ways.  Originally, today was going to be spent cleaning, tidying and organizing.  I did do some of that.  And we accomplished a lot, my husband and I.

In the morning my mom and I helped my grandmother take her car in for a repair.  While we waited for it to be complete we went to Walmart and the local grocery store for a few items before heading back to my grandmother's apartment.  Once the car was repaired we went and picked it up and we headed back home.

When I got home I found that my husband had been very busy cleaning and tidying our bedroom...or his side of the room anyway.  I pulled him away and we worked together to clean and organize the little girls' bedroom.  There was so much STUFF hiding and creeping in that room. It was scary!  And we found the source of the smells.  Ugh!

Beds are made.  Extra blankets are folded.  Stuffed animals are in their bin.  Rugs are vacuumed.  An over-the-door hanger is up and holding all of their dresses.  (They used to be thrown into a plastic bin.) Dirty clothing was picked up and put into their laundry basket.  All the toys were picked up and placed in their proper bins.  Sigh! It feels so good to see it clean!

It's amazing how quickly a room can get OUT OF CONTROL!  It only takes a few days and it's complete chaos...toys, books, blankets, pillows, dirty clothes, shoes, candy wrappers...the list goes on and on.  And then it takes so much more time to tame it and clean it again.

I'm so thankful that the 4 year old is the baby...the last of the crew.  There is an end in sight.  Eventually I know she will pass the "dumping" phase.  You mothers know what I mean! And I look forward to those days...all...the...time.

The next part of my day I had forgotten that I had planned.  Thank goodness for notifications on my calendar!  I was able to talk on the phone to a dear friend for a while.  I don't do that often enough and I was reminded today just how much I enjoy talking with this friend.  She always has great insight and so much knowledge and wisdom to share.  Plus she makes me laugh.  That's a great blessing!

Friends are so important.  Each of the friends I have made in each place I have lived have helped contribute to the person I am today.  I'm grateful for that!

At dinner time my dad and mom came down and brought us some homemade lobster stew.  It was a great treat!  Plus, the best part is getting to visit with my parents on a regular basis, since we moved back home.

Here I sit, with a smile on my face, truly appreciating the good day I've had.  It has been simple.  And it's the simple things that really make a difference.

Have a great night!!

Check out this awesome song!


Tuesday, January 5, 2016

So, you want to save some money this year??

I've been thinking a lot about all of these money saving challenges that have been floating around the web; on Facebook and Pinterest, etc. It's the start of the new year and everyone is trying to do better in many areas of life.  Saving money seems to be a big area to focus on.

I even got a new 2016 calendar out with the intention of writing the amount I planned to spend each day or week on it.  But before I started writing I wanted to be sure which plan or challenge I wanted to completely commit to for the year.

There's the Penny Challenge:

.01 on day 1
.02 on day 2
.10 on day 10
1.00 on day 100
3.65 on day 365

At the end of the challenge you will have saved $667.95.  That's a nice chunk of change.

A friend of mine suggested that if you have more income in the beginning of the year you could switch this around and start on day one saving $3.65 and go backwards.  Great idea!

The Dollar Challenge:

1.00 at week 1
2.00 at week 2
52.00 at week 52

By the end of the year you will have saved $1378.00.  That's pretty sweet!

As I started really looking closely at each of these challenges, I realized that the last few months you would have to save a substantial amount.  That means that if you were doing the penny challenge, beginning in January, you would be trying to scrape together $108.50 during the month of December.  If you're doing the Dollar Challenge you would have to scramble to come up with $202.00. You might have to jump several hurdles along with flying through a flaming hoop to get this done!

Now, I don't know about you, but when you're "poor" or don't have any, and I mean zero, extra money each month, this just isn't going to happen.  There's no way to do it.  There is no way on this beautiful planet to come up with that kind of money.  Unless someone has come up with a way to grow money on trees.  Point me in their direction, because, I want in!

These money saving challenges all sound wonderful...in theory.

And I LOVE when "they" say something fits all budgets or is low cost.  I don't know who "they" are, but "they" probably have more money than I do.  Haha! Or a smaller number of dependents...

I decided I wanted to see just what I'd need to save each month if I wanted to have $1000 by the end of November.  Can we all just laugh out loud for a minute please, because I only wish I could come up with this amount each month...extra...on top of bills and necessities.  I would need to have approximately $90 each month to reach my $1000 goal.

Yes, I can laugh about it right now.  It's far better to laugh than to worry and bemoan my situation.  It is what it is.  And I know it won't last forever.  So, I try to see the positives.  There are a lot of positives!

Instead I've decided that I'm going to do my own money saving challenge that is something I can actually tackle.  Plus, I realize that there are many many people, besides myself, in the world who simply don't have the kind of income that could accommodate these savings plans.

I looked at my finances to see where our money is going.  I searched for unnecessary spending.  Once I found that and added it up I figured out how much money we could save each month.  I've decided to save a certain amount from each paycheck.  It may be small, but it'll be more than we had before. And THAT, my friends, is what really matters.

Whether I choose to save $5 each pay check or $20 from each check, at least I'll be saving.  Even if the amount changes each time, I've made a decision to save, even a little, each month.


Monday, January 4, 2016

Remedies for what ails you

This frigid Monday morning, what is on my mind? How to combat the stomach bug when it attacks the entire household.

New Year's Eve ended with a big bang!  Not exactly what we were expecting. Our youngest little girl started throwing up while we were watching a movie as a family.  Thankfully there were several of us in the room so I had a lot of help.  We had to pause the movie 4 or 5 times...I can't remember exactly.  I started losing track.  Poor thing was so sick.  I ended up going to bed early and Todd slept next to her, on the floor, in the living room all night.  She got sick a couple more times that night.  I woke up and cleaned up the mess and washed blankets and pillows.

A few weeks ago our oldest daughter was sick with the same thing.  She got sick on a Thursday.  Was fine almost all day Friday and Saturday and then got sick again Saturday evening.  So when littlest girl got sick again on Saturday, it wasn't a surprise.

Unfortunately our 4th son got hit with it Saturday night as well.  Sunday morning I woke up to boy #3 all weak a shaky.  He was so pale; ghostly white.  He wanted to go lay on the couch and started walking toward the living room.  I kept telling him he needed to sit down where he was for now.  He didn't want to listen.  I watched his body start to sway and his knees grew weaker.  He start to sink and I caught him and slowly put him on the floor in the kitchen.   Now, keep in mind that he's almost my height.  And he not scrawny by any means. It was not an easy feat to get him to the floor.

He was determined to get to the couch to lay down. He got up again and I had to force him back to the floor, slowly, because he was still weak.  I had Todd get up and help me get him to the bathroom.  After a few minutes I brought him his pillow, in case he needed to lay down.  I'm pretty sure he laid on his pillow, on the bathroom floor, for more than 2 hours.  He never did throw up.  I helped him to the kitchen table, since it's closer than the living room to the bathroom.  He placed his pillow on the table and laid his head there for quite a while.

Eventually he ended up down in the family room.  He stayed on the couch, with a bowl on the floor beside him, just in case.

I went to check on my sister because she was going to drive the healthy ones to church. Ha!  Not quite!  She had been up all night throwing up too.

The worst part was when Todd got up and got sick. Ugh!!!

When everyone is sick my mind starts running through all the natural remedies I have on hand...and the ones I wish I had.  I got out my essential oils and my diffuser.  I love my essential oils!  I started out with doTerra and absolutely love their oils.  But when you're on an extremely tight budget you can't always pay those kinds of prices. There are so many companies who have great products but are sold by Multi Level Marketing companies.  Their prices are so jacked up that it's almost not worth spending your money on their products...unless you join their company and sell their products. doTerra and Young Living are both MLM's.  I did a lot of research and found another brand I could be happy with: Native American Nutritionals.  They have wonderful oils.  Even still, I felt like there had to be other companies that didn't charge an arm and a leg for their oils.  After much research and reading many many reviews I decided to try Eden's Garden.

Since then I have stuck with Eden's Garden essential oils.  I love them.  They work just as well as the higher priced oils and are a fraction of the cost.  Seriously.  Why pay more?

For upset stomach, nausea, and vomiting, I recommend these oils:

Roman Chamomile
Anise Star
Digest Ease ** all time favorite for tummy troubles**

Rub a drop on your tummy and the bottoms of your feet.  Don't forget to mix with a carrier oil so as not to burn your skin.

To help prevent sicknesses or shorten their duration I use one of these:

OnGuard blend (doTerra)
**Five Fighters blend (Eden's Garden)
Thieves blend (Young Living)

If you don't have one these on hand you can make your own blend.  I put 2 drops of each of the following oils into my diffuser:


You can also put a drop of each of these on the bottoms of your feet.

PLEASE remember to dilute your oils with a carrier oil.  You can use fractionated coconut oil, almond oil, apricot oil, jojoba oil, and even extra virgin olive oil.  Especially when using oils on small children, dilute them to about 5%.  These oils are highly concentrated.

I also pulled out my homeopathic remedies to help soothe tummies and relieve pain since the pain relievers wouldn't stay down.  Sepia 30C worked well for relieving some of the pain. Nux Vomica helped with the tummy. I use the Hyland's brand.  This remedy helps with nausea, and vomiting.  I'm pretty sure it's one of the reasons that my 3rd son didn't throw up.  And why my husband didn't get sick more than once.  Follow packaging instructions and dissolve three tablets under tongue.

Now that some of us are beginning to feel better...we are feeling the need for an electrolyte drink.  The problem with most of those is that they are full of sugars and artificial colors.  So, instead, I'm going to make one similar to the recipe I found here.

I figure, if I can fix it at home, or make it at home, that's what I'll do. Happy first week of 2016! May you all be happy, healthy and successful in your endeavors.


Thursday, December 31, 2015

Take care of our aging family members

I'm sitting here at the kitchen table. My new mug is beside me, filled with hot chocolate. As I sipped it's chocolaty goodness I pondered the day. Our plans originally for today were to go out to lunch and a movie...the 3 generations of us...my grandmother, my mother, my sister and me.  My grandmother has been sick for the last couple of weeks.  So when I called to check up on her to make sure she was up for the trip to lunch and movies she sounded hesitant.  She really didn't feel well.  But she was ready to go out if we were still going. My sister, who is pretty quick on her feet, made the executive decision that we would bring our grandmother lunch and play games with her at her apartment. Gramma loves to play games. So that's what we did!

We gathered the materials for our lunch and drove to her house.  We enjoyed our lunch together and then played two games of Yatzee.  That was a lot of fun.  Most of us hadn't played it in a long, long time.  It took a while to really get the hang of it.  My sister smoked us the first game.  We had some good laughs.

We finished that and Gramma asked us what game we wanted to play next. She really didn't want us to leave quite yet. We decided on playing a round of Golf.  It's a lot of fun!  My mom kicked our bumms!  

I think the best part of the day was being able to brighten my grandmother's day.  She lives alone.  She enjoys her independence.  She also really enjoys having company.  She would have had us stay for another hour or two, but we needed to get back home.  

It made me realize how much just calling her each day is important.  She still needs to feel needed.  She needs to feel loved.  She needs to know that she's not forgotten.  She needs to know that we care. It's so important to take care of our aging family members.  And not only are we taking care of her but we are creating memories and bonds that weren't there before.  We are getting blessed by our time spent with her as much as she is blessed by us being there.  

And as this is New Year's Eve I think it's a wonderful time to add this to my goals for the new year.  What's are some of your goals for the year? Post them in the comments.