Food

Crockpot Freezer Meals

If you are looking for easy dinner ideas, here are some I found.Justin and I did the 31 meals one. It is so easy because it has the grocery list, prep, and recipes. So, all we did was print all of it off. Then went through everything we already had. Next, we went shopping. For the 31 meals we were only out of pocket $218. Then spent about 3 hours with all the prep and loading in bags. Finally into the freezer.

25 Crockpot Freezer Meals with 5 ingredients or less

31 Crockpot Freezer Meals

Do you have some crockpot meal tricks and tips to help with busy days?

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Swiffer-WetJet
Household

Homemade Swiffer Cleaner

Okay, our whole middle floor (our floor plan is a unique split level) is hardwood. With the dogs running in and out, rainy days, etc. the floors get nasty looking. I was just using my coupons and sells ads to find whenever the wet jet cleaner was on sale, but now I found another way.

YOU CAN MAKE YOUR OWN WET JET CLEANER AT HOME!!!

First I will tell you that I still have a lot of Swiffer pads in my stockpile, so I am still using those. But, when those run out then I am going to use some comfy socks and just slip them on. But I also wanted to know how to make the Wet Jet cleaner. There had to be some way to use the original bottle and refill it.

So, when the container was finally empty, I had Justin unscrew the lid. He had to use some channel lock pliers, but it came off and twisted back on very easily. I have a lot of floor cleaners in my stockpile, so I just chose one. The first one I found was Murphys Wood Cleaner. Then you just follow the directions on the bottle. Mine said 1/4 cup of Oil Soap for every 1 gallon of water. So, I just figured the Wet Jet container was approximately 1/2 gallon, so I put water and 1/8 cup of Murphys Oil Soap.

Put on a Swiffer pad and it worked like a charm!

What are some cleaning shortcuts you have to same money and time?

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Household

Why I coupon a lot less than I used too…

So, I used to coupon like crazy. I would spend my Sundays getting up, going and getting 5 papers…and if it was a pretty sweet week then I was sitting in Walgreen’s parking lot waiting for them to open so I could score the first of the weeks deals. I would have my list all wrote up from whatever blogs I found or even scanning my local ad for the perfect deals. And if the Sunday paper had the perfect coupon, then I would sit there and cut the coupons out and add them to my list. IT WAS RIDICULOUS!

But, it saved me money. At that time I was the only one working and had 6 people in the house to feed, plus the dog. I had a stockpile the size of a bedroom. I added it up one time and I believe if I paid full price for everything that was in it, then I would have paid $28,000.  My mom and sister in law and I would do trips with double coupon deals and would spend nothing for about $500 worth of groceries. That is ridiculous. (You are going to hear me say this a lot).

For Christmas and Birthdays people would get things from the stockpile. I would donate a lot of it to people and to the churches and local organizations. But…then it went from being a way to save money to an obsession.

I had 2 breaking points. First, I realized that my family time was being driven by my couponing time. I would spend hours and hours clipping and organizing. Second, when I moved, I could not believe the amount of stuff that I had. There was stockpile stuff everywhere. In order to move it into my house, it took truckfuls! RIDICULOUS….I knew it was time to stop.

Now, have I stopped couponing for good? No, I still coupon. I just don’t waste time with couponing. I still read blogs, but I just have narrowed down my couponing. This is how I coupon now…

First, I look through the store ads and see whats on sale. Then I work my weekly menu around what I need compared to what is on sale. Then, I check my coupons (the ones from the weekly inserts that come in your mail). Then, I look online at Online Coupon Printing Website. Sometimes, Kroger and Meijer will send you coupons in the mail. Kroger has their digital coupons and fuel points. Meijer has their digital coupons and mperks.

Since we have moved into our new house…Meijer has been my store of choice. They seem to have a wider selection, better sales, and more ways of rewarding their customers.

Did you coupon? Do you still coupon? How do you coupon now compared to what you did?

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Household

Weekly Menu Plan

Every Sunday I sit down with Justin and go over our weekly schedule. While we look over what we have going on, it helps me to plan the weekly menu. I like to make usual dinner meals that I know my family will eat, but I also likes to try new recipes. 20160325_122425

Once I make the menu, then I look at the items that I will need for the recipes. We have a deep freezer that holds all of our stock food. So, if there are items in there then I will pull them into the freezer in our kitchen. Anything that is needed that I do not have, then I will make a grocery list. I usually put menu items that may need the most items from the store later on in the week, so I don’t feel rushed to go to the store.

**Now during the week if items are needed, then I add them to the grocery list. I feel like these items are mostly staple items like flour, peanut butter, eggs, etc.**

2 things about my weekly menu:

  1. You will notice there is nothing on Saturdays or Sundays. This is because the girls go to their dads on the weekends. So, Justin and I usually just grab leftovers or make little meals just for us.
  2. My girls and husband are not picky. So, whatever I make then they eat.

What are some things that you do to make weekly meals easier?

How do you plan your weekly meals?

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Crafts

Why I organize my Pinterest?

A lot of people that I talk to about Pinterest, have asked me why I keep it so organized. Well, in this post I will tell you.

First, here is the link to My Pinterest.

And now here it the reason…

I have seen many people that have over 1000 pins. To me (I have OCD), that’s too much for me. Now, I understand there are some people and websites that have that many pins pinterest-logo-socialmedia-marketingbecause it is their products or whatever, but it is not for me. I use my boards as ideas. I really want to do the things that I pin. I appreciate having these millions and millions of ideas.

So, like right now…I have 25 boards. I literally break it down into categories that break it really down.

I go through my pins every so often and edit my boards. For instance if I am using the boards because I have an event coming up, then the day of or day after event, then I will delete the board. If I make a craft or create one of the ideas I have pinned, then I will delete it.

I really look at Pinterest like an evolving area for my interests and ideas. You aren’t going to like everything you do today when you look back on it tomorrow.

So, what are your ways of keeping your Pinterest organized? How do you know what you really want to do with your pins?

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NewBeginning
Blog

Miscarriage…4 years later…

I was debating writing this yesterday and today. Then I received a little bit of inspiration. You see 4 years later may seem like enough time to heal, but to me it still haunts me. So, I will start from the beginning (and explain a few things along the way).

Background:

My two girls..Makenzie is 10 and Kenadie is 9. They have different dads. Go ahead and say it…oh my gosh..you…well I will take it. I will explain later about my insecurities. You are not me, so you don’t know all the details, but you may one day. Anyway, a month after Makenzie was born, I left her dad. At that time, drugs were more important than his family. Now, he is an awesome dad. I knew Kenadie’s dad, but really it was just a one night thing and well….one night led to Kenadie (which I would not change for the world). Kenadie’s dad felt that other girls were more important and my career at the time was more important, so I left. In early 2008, I had an IUD put in. It was explained to me by my doctor that it was the same as Mirena, but better because it had no side effects and was newer to the market. In clinical trials this new IUD had zero problems with over 1000 patients. It was called the Essure IUD. In late 2008, I met Jason. Jason had 2 girls. We were married in 2009. We started talking about having children together, but we wanted to wait a few years. A lot happened in 2009. We were married, we brought 4 girls together, and we bought a house, so we wanted things to slow down first. So, in 2012 we finally decided that it was the year.

Now to one of the hardest times of my life…

I went to Dr. A (we will call him) around January of 2012. Dr. A was who put the Essure in me in the first place. Dr. A told me that the IUD I had was permanent and you could not have babies EVER with it. I was unaware of this. My understanding was it was like 5 years like the Mirena. I could have it removed. I was told all my understandings were wrong. I know you are probably thinking that I should have just jumped on a computer and googled this thing before it was inserted in me. Well, I didn’t. I didn’t okay. I didn’t even think to do that. To tell you the truth I still to this day don’t google a lot of things. I just trust a doctor to tell me the truth. I know some are shady….

ANYWAY…In June of 2012, I started having some weird things happen. I wouldn’t be able to sleep, I would wake up and be throwing up, smells were such a bother, I couldn’t eat anything, my stomach was always hurting, etc. So, I took a pregnancy test. It came back positive. I was so excited. I remember telling Jason that he was going to be a dad and he was like I already am one, then he screamed like a girl and was so excited. For like the next three weeks, it was like a first trimester.

Then, it came like a waterfall. I was at work (I was in the Military). Just imagine me…in my uniform, at my desk, and all of a sudden blood goes everywhere. It really felt like my water broke, but it was more aggressive. My Readiness NCO, SFC Hunter, came running toward my screams. (I believe to this day that she had experienced something like this, but never talked about it because she was so calm and understanding). She knew about the positive pregnancy test. She told me to go in the locker room and shower and change and put all my dirty uniforms in a bag because I didn’t want THOSE uniforms anymore. By the time I got out of the shower, the bleeding had stopped. There was no more. SFC Hunter just told me to go home and call my doctor. When I got on the phone with Dr. A he said, “I told you you could not get pregnant. So, you weren’t pregnant. You just had a heavy period.” I was confused by this because even though I didn’t google anything really, I had read a lot. At the doctors office I read an article about false positives and how cheaper test may show faint lines or blurred lines and that could be a false positive. But, the one I used was a median range. And it didn’t show positive just once, it was twice, and then three times. I wanted to be sure I was pregnant I guess.

So, over the next 2 months, I treated it like it was a period. Never thinking anything else. Trust your doctor right.

At the end of August, I started feeling those same things. I was having morning sickness. Couldn’t eat anything. The smell of everything was a bother. I remember the first week of September I found out that my orders for Active Duty were ending at the end of September. So, it was a huge financial worry for me (You will understand later). How was Jason and I going to have 4, maybe 5 kids and no income?

On October 1, 2012 I started a new job. It was not with the Military. It was a civilian job. I was still having those 1st trimester feelings, but I had kind of ignored them because there was so much change going on with me having a new job, new schedule, changing things around at home, etc.

Nov 4th is my birthday. I started feeling better by this time, so I did not think anything of it. But, this day I felt a flutter. A flutter…could it be? No, Dr. A said I could not get pregnant. So, I didn’t think anything of it. But I guess Jason knew something was going on. So, he bought several pregnancy tests. From cheap to expensive. All came out positive. I just told him and my mom. No one else. I did not want anyone getting excited.

On Thanksgiving day, I went to the bathroom. Something did not feel right. So, when I sat down on the toilet it was like all my insides exploded. (Sorry if too graphic for you). It took me a good hour to clean everything up and come out presentable again. It was so hard to put on this face. It was pure HELL! As soon as we left and started driving away, I broke down and told Jason everything. How in the world could this happen again?

So, I scheduled a doctors appt with Dr. A. “Again,” he says, “you can’t get pregnant with the Essure. It doesn’t happen. Think of it as a tubal.” So, I asked, “Can you at least do an ultrasound and see if something is wrong?” “Why would I do that?” “I thought that if you did an ultrasound then you would see if something is wrong. I am taking pregnancy tests and they come back positive and to me something is wrong.” So, he chuckles a little and says with a smirk, “Your taking pregnancy tests for no reason. You have this all in your mind. You should really just stop thinking about having a baby.” Stop thinking about having a baby! REALLY!!!

November, December, and then January 2013 came…The kids went back to school that first week. The holiday celebrations were over. Everything seemed to be back to normal. Then around the 10th of January, I started to feel those same symptoms again. I would feel nauseous, couldn’t eat anything, and everything smelled horrible. I didn’t get my hopes up though. I just kept to myself. I called into work the next week. I put the girls on the bus and laid in the bed. Jason kept asking me questions and I remember feeling like it was a dream. Like I could see him and hear him, but could not respond or touch him or even comprehend what he was saying. I thought to myself that maybe it was just the flu or something. I mean it was January.

At the end of January is Kenadie’s birthday. So we had a celebration for her. I felt so good during the party, but right after I got so sick. Jason asked me what was wrong and I told him how I had been feeling. He went to the store and bought 6 different pregnancy tests. All of them came back positive. We decided I would take it easy and not tell anyone except my mom.

February came and went. I felt great. Normal 1st trimester. I thought it was weird because it seemed like I would have an on week or two then an off week, on week or two then an off week. It seemed to be very scheduled. I was scared a couple times during the month of February, so without anyone knowing (I think) I bought several more pregnancy tests just to make sure it was still showing positive.

Everything was fine until March 17th. This was a Sunday. I was in the garden pulling weeds. I can remember it like it was this morning. It was like 70 degrees outside. Jaycie (she was Jason’s youngest) was playing beside me in the sand pit. She kept shoveling the sand and not realizing the sand was going into the garden because when she flipped it behind her back it was going right out of the box. So she was laughing at me because I was pretending to pick up every grain of sand and put it back in the sand box. We were laughing because I was telling her mommy sand and daddy sand can’t live without baby…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………The words would not come out of my mouth. I could not say sand. That was so silly. I could. Then the cramping started. I thought maybe I just had to go to the bathroom. But I couldn’t get up. I couldn’t move. I couldn’t speak. A hundred thoughts were running through my head. Jaycie got Jason and he took me inside. He laid me in a bath (I don’t take baths…you will learn more about this later). I remember calling my best friend and telling her what was going on. She told me I needed to stop going to see Dr. A and go see Dr. B. She said that she used to go to Dr. A and Dr. A told her she would never have babies and so she switched to Dr. B and had two beautiful babies.

The next day on 3/18 I scheduled an appt with Dr. B. He didn’t have any appointments until later that week. No one could go to the appointment with me. I explained everything to Dr. B’s assistant. She immediately wanted an ultrasound. The ultrasound room has an exam table and 3 tv’s and the ultrasound machine. The 3 tv’s are on both sides of the table and one in front of the table. She pulled it up and I could see an embryo sac. You know the one with the black circle and the small round little baby. Yeah that one. Except for there wasn’t just one…I noticed the look on her face and she said, “excuse me for just one minute.”

When she returned, Dr. B was with her. I had never met him so it was a cheery hi, nice to meet you, until he seen the tv on the opposite side of the room. He sat down and asked for a nurse and then the ultrasound tech, and then the nurse again, and then the nurse who does the labs, then the nurse again and then he asked everyone to leave the room except the ultrasound tech, him, and me. There is no way to put this except exactly as he said. “Michelle, you do have babies. The only problem is the Essure did not let you carry them to term. All your babies have passed. There are a total of 13 (13!!!) embryo sacs. All of them look to have went to the 3rd or 4th week except for 2. They look to have went longer. They would have been twins. They look to have went to the 16th or 17th week. I need you to immediately go to the hospital. You have to have a D&C, then you have to have a hysterectomy next week.”

I just sat there…stunned. Emotionless. 13 Babies! Really! Is that even possibly? Trust the doctor right? That philosophy went out the door.

Now fast forward…It has been 4 years since my 1st miscarriage and 3 since my hysterectomy and final knowings (as I like to call them). It is not easy, but somehow the coping part has been better. The coping part is easier with time. The missing my babies part is hard.

There are two things I always wonder…

  1. Would it be easier if I would have met them and been able to say goodbye?
  2. What would have happened to me if I didn’t go to Dr. B?
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Household

All natural face masks

Today, Kenadie wanted to make face masks. I am very timid about what we put on our face because it seems like every time we try something new, then our face breaks out.

We made two masks.

The first one was a guacamole mask. Ingredients were 1 tsp milk, 1/2 peeled & mashed avocado, and 1 tbsp of honey. The milk will soften, the avocado will moisturize, and the honey will cleanse and soothe.

The second one was a sweet and sour mask. Ingredients were 2 tbsp of sour cream, 1/2 peeled and mashed banana, and 1 tbsp honey. The sour cream will moisturize, the banana will moisturize, and the honey will cleanse and soothe.

So, what are some home remedies you all do to make your face feel nourished and refined?

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