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Showing posts from September, 2014

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Our Family Chunk Clock

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I listened to a wonderful seminar from The Homeschool Coach, Mary Ann Johnson , on Hecoa's free Not-Back-to-School Summit about the family chunk clock.  It was so amazing, I watched it again and took a LOT of notes and then also listened to the audio and printed out the handouts to make ours.  My daughter Katie has voiced to me before that she feels like she doesn't know what is next each day.  I knew that this would not only benefit me, but especially her! How it works is, you divide your day up into chunks of things you do.  If there are days where things come up, someone gets sick, etc. (and they will!) this chunk clock helps you see a visual of what is important to finish that day, what you can skip and to help you refocus when you get off track .  You can listen to the audio on her website, just google the homeschool coach and family chunk clock. We wanted a catchy funny name for our clock instead of the generic -- Family Chunk Clock, so we came up with "Got Chu

Making Freezer Pizza & Spaghetti Sauce in Bulk

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I'm back to doing a lot of freezer cooking, though not as I did before my son was born when I made 3 months worth of meals but I'm getting there.  One thing I do like to make in bulk is our pizza and spaghetti sauces. I make enough pizza sauce to last us for two months.  I divide it so that we have enough for 2 pizzas on Friday, using the leftovers on Saturday for lunch.  We used to only make one pizza and this sauce would have lasted us 4 months but now we are utilizing the extra pizza for leftovers.  On Friday morning, I sit one of these on the counter from the freezer and by the time I make the pizzas it is thawed completely.  I also normally do these in Ziploc bags but when I went to get them, I was out, so I had to use the containers we normally use for spaghetti and jam. I couldn't find the recipe for the pizza sauce I use on Crystal's website (The Family Homestead), so I'm posting it here.  The one she has up now does not include the soy sauce.  I'

Natural Remedies for Colds and Coughs

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We have added more to our alternative medicine cabinet recently, mostly a lot of herbs, and I have been busy finding good recipes for natural remedies.  Since colds have made their appearance in our house this week, I was able to try several new things and am finding they are working! Here are the recipes I used for each: Elderberry Syrup Thyme Cough Syrup Garlic Syrup Sage Gargle Rinse The elderberry syrup recipe called for cloves but I didn't have any so I left that out.  All of us have been taking it a few times a day, even my toddler but I've had to give it to him in a syringe in order for him to swallow it.  It is very sweet!  My husband is taking it in hopes of not catching our sickness and so far, so good.  Elderberries have more vitamin c than oranges and are ant-inflammatory and contain an antioxidant and antiviral properties. The thyme cough syrup was from Dr. Low Dog, who is an expert on herbal medicine.  It can be used for everyone of all ages.  My d

Family of 4 $200 a Month Grocery Budget - How We Do It

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We have always been pretty frugal before my son was born spending anywhere from $120 - $150 a month for food, but since he came along with his and my health issues and I haven't been doing freezer cooking, our costs have gone up dramatically.  Now that I'm doing better, we are getting back to a lower food budget as I'm able to make more homemade foods. This month we are going to see if we keep our food budget at $200 for our 4-week period that starts today.  It is possible but takes planning and a stocked pantry, which we do bi-yearly.  If you spend $500 a year on stocking your pantry, that only equals to about $42 a month and it saves you a LOT of money by buying in bulk!  There were a few stockpile items I had to buy this month and I don't count those towards my $200 monthly budget as they are part of our yearly $500 stock-up fund. *My son is only 22 months old but he eats the same serving size as my 10-year old daughter at dinner!  He also eats a good amount d

Living Debt-Free Series - Part 2

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In Part 1 of this series I shared with you how to stay debt free and steps you need to take to ensure that you are not reliant upon credit/debt.  In this part of the series, I will share ideas and tips on how you can live within and even below your means. To live within or below your means follow these basic ideas:                 Within Your Means                                               Below Your Means Pay 10% Tithe and Give Offerings              Pay 10% Tithe, Give Offerings + Extra Housing at 35% or below income               Housing at 25% or below of income Save on Utilities as you can                        Cut costs drastically; Basics, cut out luxuries Keep car maintained & plan trips               Same but also stay home more Keep insurance costs low                            Same but consider high-deductible plans Buy discounted personal items                   Get creative and make your own Plan meals, Shop sales                               Cut

Living Debt-Free Series - Part 1

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Upon the heels of my Financial Budgeting 101 series, I wanted to do a series about Living Debt-Free and give you tips and ideas on how you STAY debt free.  If you have something to share, please leave a comment to help me and others! #1 Task for Staying Debt-Free  - The first step to living debt-free is to make sure that you have an emergency fund!  If you don't do this, then you probably won't STAY debt-free for long because things break, cars need repairs, kids get sick and on and on and if you don't have money set aside to pay for these things, then what will you do?  Borrow or put it on a credit card and pay interest.  Many financial advisors recommend you have 6 months worth of living expenses (not income but expenses) saved up in a savings account somewhere that you can get to easily in the case of an emergency.  This will help ensure you staying debt-free when trouble shows up at your door and it will. #2 Save for future purchases - If you plan on buying a