Monday, February 28, 2011

Daddy's Girl

176.  Nerf Guns and Football
I was always Daddy's little girl, so I don't know why it surprises me so much that "M" is "Daddy's Princess".  Coming home from church yesterday she asked to play football with Daddy.  When she realized that that was not going to happen she crawled all the way under our bed (determination!) and dug out the Nurf supply.

And for Daddy we pray Psalm 144:1 -  "Praise be to the LORD my Rock, who trains my hands for war, my fingers for battle.  He is my loving God and my fortress, my stronghold and my deliver, my shield, in whom I take refuge, who subdues people under me."

Saturday, February 26, 2011


171.  Indoor pools at hotels

173.  Ripples in the water
Like the ripples in the water, the ripples of life sometimes distort our view. 
"Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face.  Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known." ~2 Corinthians 13:12

Friday, February 25, 2011

Frugal Fridays - Traveling with Kiddos

With gas prices soaring (and everything else with it!), traveling is getting to be quite pricey.  But since all of our family lives out of town, and we believe that it is important to see family regularly, we find ourselves on the road quite a bit.  Here are some tips that I have learned to save some money (and sanity!).

*"M" loves apple dippers from McDonald's (as far as she knows McDonald's only serves coffee for mommy and daddy and apples for her) and we used to stop there quite frequently on road trips.  However, I have started slicing apples before we go and putting them in a reusable container.  I can serve her organic apples from home for cheaper than buying the apples from McDonald's, so she skips the pesticides and I save some money - win, win!  We also bake muffins to snack on (and for a quick breakfast in the car), and bring some crackers, sliced turkey, cheese, and carrot sticks for a quick and easy lunch.

*Bring a big bottle of juice and a big jug of water (usually one that I filled up for free from home), as well as a few sippy cups.  When you stop at rest areas, pre-fill a few of the sippy cups.  It is a whole lot cheaper than buying individual water bottles and juice boxes, and you can water down the juice which is healthier and cheaper.  Packing you own drinks rather than buying at a gas station or restaurant definitely saves some money (unless kids eat free!).

*Before heading out on a long trip we swing by the library to check out some new books and DVDs.  They keep the kiddos entertained on the trip and best of all it's free!

*We plan our trips around free activities (parks and recreation facilities) and always try to find coupons (often you can get these at state welcome centers or rest areas) for attractions we really want to visit.

*We also do a lot of camping when the weather is nice, and often stay at state parks.  It's cheap, there's lots to do, and the kids love it!

*And, if you shop at Kroger (using coupons of course - see last week's Frugal Fridays), you can rack up points to save 10cents/gallon at Shell stations.  If using those points, wait until the gas tank is on E so you save the most money for your points (just don't run out!!!!).

Even trying to save as much as possible, the food/gas/lodging of traveling does add up, but it's worth it to see the smiling faces!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

169. He's got the whole world in His hands

"And the arms that hold the universe
Are holding you tonight
You can rest inside
It's gonna be alright
And the voice that calmed the raging sea
Is calling you His child
So be still and know He's in control
He will never let you go "
~from the song "Arms of God" by Fee

"Who has measured the waters in the holow of his hand,
or with the breadth of his hand marked off the heavens
Who has heldthe dust of the earth in a basket,
or weighed the mountains on the scales
and the hills in a balance?
Who has understood the mind of the LORD,
or instructed him as his sounselor?
Whom did hte Lord consult to enlighten him
and who taught him the right way?
Who was it that taught him knowledge
or showed him the path of understanding?"
~Isaiah 40:12-14

"Lift your eyes and look to the heavens:
Who created all these?
He who brings out the starry host one by one,
and calls them each by name.
Because of his great power and mighty strength,
not one of them is missing."
~Isaiah 40:26

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Resting in the Shadow of the Almighty

164.  God is our refuge, shade, and shelter
"He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.  I will say of the LORD, 'He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.'" Psalm 91:1-2

165. Daddy dolls and photo books

166.  Curious eyes opening packages

Makenzie loves Daddy's videos so much that she has figured out how to play them over and over again.


167. Making music to the LORD

"Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth.
Wroship the LORD with gladness;
ome efore him with joyful songs.
Know that the LORD is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thans to him and praise his name.
For the LORD is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations"
~Psalm 100

 Rebekkah enjoys joining us in "circle time"

New Tot School Blog

For those that just want to follow our "Tot School" Tuesday blogs, please jump on over to and follow there.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Tot School Tuesday - Here We Go!!!

We recently started our Transportation Unit - how fun!  We really like things that GO, especially since Daddy is a helicopter pilot :o) 

"Have I not commanded you?  Be strong and courageous.  Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go." ~Joshua 1:9 (emphasis mine)


Urban Trend Chew-Chew Train Place Setting

Melissa and Doug Pull-Along Zoo Animals

Garanimals Train

Infantino Train

Go Diego Go Wooden Cool Copter

Melissa and Doug Recorder (Train Whistle)

Melissa and Doug Vehicles Sound Blocks

Plan Toys Geometric Sorting Board 
(use Red, Green, Yellow Circles for Red Light/Green Light, use shapes to make vehicles)

Black beans and yellow ziti noodles (to make roads)
Assorted vehicles
I have since added some blocks with vehicles on them.
"Scooping beans with a spoon back into the sensory bin. 

CRAFT TIME: Paint with a Car or Tractor's wheels!

Vroom Vroom!  Lots of fun!

And, of course, we had to paint some with our hands too!

We also worked with some of the printables from Homeschool Creations Transportation Preschool Pack.

"M" has also been working on signing her ABC's - shown here signing "S"

Can you think of form of transportation that begins with an "S"?  

Discovery Toys - Vertical Banner

Monday, February 21, 2011

158. Sending love across the miles

"M" kisses the package of brownies.  Here you go daddy!
159. FoodSaver - Keeping goodies fresh for thousands of miles

162.  Joyful Hearts
"A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones." ~Proverbs 17:22
"If you're joyful and you know it clap your hands...
stomp your feet...
say AMEN!"

Friday, February 18, 2011

Frugal Fridays: Couponing

Have you heard the song "This is the Stuff" by Francesca Battistelli?  I think she wrote it just for me!  I'm sure she didn't, but it so characterizes everyday life around here...  "I lost my keys in the great unknown.  And call me please 'Cuz I can't find my phone"...  Oh it just makes me smile and laugh everytime I hear her song!  So a while back when I had first thought of trying to clip coupons to save money (we're talking about a year ago), I just laughed at the idea... as if I had time for that!  But we were commited to try to lower our cost of living so I went at it how I think most American who give it a shot do.  I would get the circulars (Red Plum, Smart Source, etc.), cut out the coupons I thought I might use, toss them in a pile, and often forget about them until one day when I'd be picking up only to find them again and realize they expired!  I was wasting a lot of time and saving hardly anything!  I've learned some over the past year, but I learned A LOT this past weekend at a couponing workshop.

Biggest tips I've learned (and want to share with you!):

1.  DO NOT CLIP COUPONS!  Get yourself a binder and some of those plastic page protectors.  Then get the Sunday paper EVERY week, take the coupon inserts, put them directly into the plastic page protectors, and mark them with the Sunday you received them (for instance 2/13/2011).

2.  Take advantage of online websites that do all the work for you - huge timesaver!!!  I personally love, but also check out and  Such websites tell you what is on sale that week and where to find the coupons (online or which insert to look in).  They also have coupon databases where you can type in the item you need to buy and it will tell you where you can print or clip the coupons.  It may take some extra time at first trying to figure out the websites, but they can be VERY helpful and eventually will drastically reduce your prep time.

3.  Make a shopping list based on the SALE ITEMS!  Try not to buy something unless it is on sale.  This can be hard at first, but eventually you will get enough of a stock that you will need to do very little impulse buying.  You will rarely find coupons for produce or meats, but you can still stock up on these when they are on sale and freeze/dehydrate/etc.

4.  Stack your coupons as often as possible.  At most stores you can use (1) manufacturer's coupon, (1) store coupon, and (1) e-coupon (coupons that you load onto your card - like a Kroger Plus Card).  You can find e-coupons at,,, and  Keep in mind that some stores double coupons (for instance, Kroger will double any coupon up to $.55 or $.60 depending on the store).  You can also stack up on offers, for instance buying two cans of soup and using a "Buy 1 Get 1 Free" (B1G1) coupon on the one and a $.50 manufactor's coupon (which would be $1 off if it doubles) on the other.  Even better would be to use a printable manufactor's coupon for $.50 off and an e-coupon for $.50.  This is how you can potentially make money (yes, I said make money!) buying items with coupons. 

Some rules: 1.  You can only use one printable manufacturer's coupon per item (could not use the B1G1 and two $.50 manufactor coupons when only buying two items).  2.  You cannot have more coupons than you have items!  If you run into this problem, buy a "filler item" something that only costs a few cents (like a laffy taffy) so you can allow for all of your coupons to be used.

5.  Time to shop!  Put all of the coupons in an envelope (that you clipped/printed according to your shopping list).  Place a paper clip on the envelope.  As you pick up the items, move the coupons from inside the envelope to under the paper-clip so you are not fumbling when you get up to the register. 

How much time does it take?  It took me 45 minutes this week to make my list, print/clip/and load the coupons, and get ready to shop.  And I actually spent LESS time in the store thanks to my list and the envelope/paper clip method.

How much money did I save this week?  $52.92 (43% of my bill) and that was with buying ORGANIC produce and meats!  The key is that I got a lot of items for FREE and even got PAID to buy a few items (like toothpaste - which I did not really need right at the moment, but if you're getting PAID to buy it I figure I can give it away if we don't use it).  In fact, I bought Organic Odwalla Bars, which we had never tried before but they were 100% free with coupons, and my daughter ended up LOVING them!  (To read about how God has multiplied this savings and blessed our lives read yesterday's post.)

If you'd be interested in attending a coupon workshop, let me know.  I'd also be happy to try to answer any questions you have.

Please check out - she puts on couponing workshops to raise money for their adoption... if you find what I've learned useful would you consider making a donation to her please.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Tot School Tuesday - Snow, Hearts, and More!

It snowed in Central Arkansas again this week!  What a crazy winter we are having.  Since EVERYTHING shuts completely down with even the "chance" of snow, we spent a lot of time indoors at home.  I had put away our snowmen and penguin activities, but pulled them back out to celebrate the snow.

Below "M" is working on a snowman shapes match-up from  This website always has wonderful printables for the tots.  We also used the Snowman Uppercase Cards, Snowflakes ( so many things you can do with these - drop them from the couch/chair and have child catch them in a bucket, count them, sort them, etc.), Five Litte Snowmen, and Snowmen 1 to 10 (which is seen in the third picture below).

We then painted a snowman made from playdough.  See last week's blog for more info on how to make this.

Our final snow project of the week was making snow ice cream, which you can read about here.  "M" enjoys practicing pouring from one cup/bowl to another.

The following Daddy's Little Lovebug idea I got from  The photos were taken before we put on the pipe cleaner antennae but you can get the idea.

 And our last craft of the week, a Puffy Heart, was taken from 365 Preschool Crafts and Activities.   What fun this turned out to be! By the end of it we had shredded paper ALL over the house!

Reuse an old paper grocery bag.  Cut two hearts and staple, glue, or tape them together leaving an opening at the bottom.  Decorate as you wish.  Stuff with something else you can reuse/recycle (we used shredded bills!).  Staple, glue, or tape shut.