Thursday, December 8, 2016

Pumpkin Crunch

This is my favorite seasonal dessert. Thought I'd share the goodness ;)

1 can 15.5 oz solid pack pumpkin
1 can 12 oz. evaporated milk
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tbsp. pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp. salt
1 package yellow cake mix
1 cup butter, melted
1 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease & flour 13 x 9 inch pan.
Combine pumpkin, evaporated milk, eggs, pumpkin pie spice, and salt in large bowl. Stir until blended. 
Pour pumpkin mixture into prepped pan. Sprinkle dry cake mix evenly over pumpkin mixture & drizzle with butter.
Bake 25 minutes; remove from oven & sprinkle with pecans. Tightly cover with aluminum foil & bake for an additional 25 minutes. 
Cool & Serve.

Monday, September 19, 2016

My People

It's safe to say that when you are homeschooling, scrutiny is something you just learn to deal with.  As for me, those who come at me with questions like, "When will your kids go to REAL school?," usually get many laughs and an extra dose of sarcasm.  The money my husband & I have spent over the past 4 years of homeschooling would astonish these folks. Yet, it's not even something we consider as an "expense", it's a necessity.  Our children are exceeding all expectations I had when we first began this journey.

Today, I got to spend some quality time with many of my friends at co-op. For those of you who don't know what a co-op is, it's a homeschooling group where we teach classes and fellowship. We joined co-op last year after being invited by my cousin. At first, I was very hesitant. I mean, who wants to add more to a full plate?? Josh insisted it would do us ALL some good, so I jumped on board. The first few weeks resulted in plenty of tears from a clingy Kyleigh. Kade was on board with bells on. Last year, I saw just how much I needed support from other "crazy, brave ladies," like myself. My kids made a ton of new friends, but what it did for me was above and beyond what I expected. I got to just sit and talk and pray with ladies whose struggles were similar to mine. And we just got to enjoy adult talk for a change of pace. 

After one day, I am completely exhausted, but I feel like life is just completed again for the kids & I. We missed everyone over the summer. And we are surrounded by people who just understand our lifestyle and don't question any reasons. I also started teaching a class this year, rather than just helping. I'm very artsy fartsy, so naturally, I picked Art. My class is filled with awesome kids who are excited and love to draw their favorite things and people. 

To each of you at co-op, I've missed you terribly & look forward to our year together!!

Friday, September 16, 2016


Okay y'all, so I recently got my most recent Influenster box.

My kids are PB-aholics. Spoonfuls, on Nilla Wafers, on Ritz Crackers, sandwiches, you name it.

So when I opened my email and found out I'd be a lucky Influenster to try this, I was stoked!

Who doesn't like FREE Peanut Butter???

So, Simply Ground has tiny bits of Peanuts in the PB. My hubby and I made fluffernutter sandwiches. LOVE is the only word that comes to mind. I'm telling you, once you try Simply Ground you may not go back. Take this as your warning.

Monday, August 15, 2016

My Petition to Benefit Homeschoolers

I started a petition today to help end discrimination against homeschoolers. I've shared a link, please read, sign & share folks. Thanks in advanced!!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

The Replacements

I'm having a particularly sentimental day today. I'm realizing more and more of how this season of life, motherhood, is constantly changing. If you feel it's going slow, take thirty minutes and flip through the thousands of pictures and videos you have of your babies. It's a blur. The pregnancy pictures, birth pictures, birthday and school pictures, lost teeth, etc. 

It's a hard pill to swallow. Knowing that those sleepless nights that seem to drag out and the days packed with tantrums end as quickly as they started. And then we are left with the documentation to keep, but babies just don't keep. Right now I'm sitting on the field at my son's soccer camp writing this. And it seems like just yesterday (last year) we were here. He's become a phenomenal player since last year. I watched videos today of my daughter at 18 months old posing for pictures and videos unprompted, saying about 80% of her ABCs in correct order. Today, I realized how quickly that beautiful, chubby girl grew into such a gorgeous, caring young lady. 

But think of the changes you go through as well.

As I've grown into a mother, here are just a few of the replacements in my life:

As a teenager, I wanted a nice, new car decked out with tinted windows and an aftermarket CD player with subwoofers. Today, I drive an SUV with factory tint, factory speakers & a playlist on my iPhone full of Frozen & Fall Out Boy (picked by Thing 1 & Thing 2.)

I traded days spent watching TV, wondering when Prince Charming would come along for playing pranks on my husband and late nights spent watching UFC when I know only a few of those on the cards. Because this makes him happy. Being with me and watching his favorite things. I've also got him hooked to Glee, Desperate Housewives, Sons of Anarchy & American Horror Story over the years. 

I traded full nights of sleep and sleeping in for sleepless nights cuddling scared, bored and sick children. 

I traded name brand bags for diaper bags and then to a huge Thirty-One bag big enough for couponing supplies & everyone's Apple devices. 

I once had a huge circle of friends and realized through my children which ones were truly friends in the first place 😍 For this change, I am especially grateful. I am able to focus my time and energy on those who truly care for and love my family. I've made friends homeschooling, I've made a whole new family at church, and brought those friends who stuck around that much closer. God has truly blessed me. 

I traded in my experience of being a substitute teacher/staff assistant/aftercare worker for full time mommy. I was working with kids who I knew were being mistreated at home and spending my days encouraging and praying for them. I now spend my days cheering my kids on, snuggling with them every chance they will let me & spending rainy days piled up on a couch watching TV just because. I have always loved children. I teach at church as well. But I've never felt as blessed as I have being at home with Kade & Kyleigh. God truly knew my calling was to be at home with my kids. I resisted for a while, but after 6 years at home full-time, I have no regrets. My family is thriving and well taken care of. 

I gladly traded in my plans to be a working mother who would have her child in daycare or school from day one for a job as teacher. Homeschooling is a passion of mine that is NOT supported by many, but those most important in my family's lives do support us. 

I traded a full closet with endless combinations for blue jeans and t-shirts. Let's be honest, the kids spot those fancy clothes from a mile away and seek to destroy them.

But most importantly, I traded my selfish and immature ways to put my children first. Their needs are always met. They also have about 97% of their wants as well. They never have to question if mommy will make time for them. My dedication to them and to my husband makes my family unit stronger and more fluid. 

I won't say it's easy. There are days I need a breather. Many of them. But there's not a single day I can say that life would be easier without my family. It would be absolutely impossible to live a single day without my husband and kids. They are my reasons for breathing. 

As I continue to replace things, I know that one thing will forever change. How much I love my family, how much I pray over my children & those who come into contact with them & most of all: how thankful I am that God put Josh, Kade & Kyleigh in my life. 

Monday, July 18, 2016

Tide at CVS this week

This week CVS has Tide for $2.94 a bottle. I got 8 bottles, used $1, $2, and $3 coupons along with $3 in ECB (downloading the App!!!). I got my haul for $8.05 😉

Herbal Essences & Aussie deal this week. Run!!!

This week's paper had a $3/2 for Aussie and a $3/2 Herbal Essences. This week my Rite Aid had particular items for $5/2. I stacked 9 of each with a $4/$20 purchase and a 10% shopping pass for a savings of $91.40 and a total of $44.43 for 36 hair items and a bottle of Lavender oil. 

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Coupon Overload

I've recently started couponing in the past six weeks.  It has quickly become an obsession. And a good one.  My car has been "acting a fool" for a while now and may need replacement within the next year or so.  The savings have been adding up quickly, and it looks like the goal will be attainable sooner rather than later.  For some reason, my pictures won't upload at the moment, but my stockpile is taking over my garage.  A few weeks ago, I got 16 seven pound bags of dog food for....wait for it...FREE!! My dog's 55 gallon food barrel is full, with several bags to the side.  I've stocked up on cat food, toilet paper, paper towels, gatorade, baby wipes, tissues, trash bags, kid vitamins, adult vitamins, shampoo, ice cream, hot dog weenies, condiments and MADE money doing so.  I went to the store this weekend and got 4 packs of hot dog weenies and 9 boxes of Puffs tissue and made $.70.  I'm slowly working towards a new, third row vehicle for myself, paying my hubby's car off, house remodeling, yard landscaping, and at this rate, an additional stockpiling spot.  I hope to be able to share some of my deals and pictures next week folks ;) Thanks for reading!!

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Five Years Ago.

Five years ago today, I had a laproscopic surgery after severe, sudden pains in my stomach & side.  My OB/GYN also said he would go ahead and do a D & C since he thought I may have some issues within my uterus.  Many people would think that this is perfectly normal.  I just want to raise awareness about how my daughter was nearly aborted because of this simple fact:: DOCTORS & TESTS AREN'T ALWAYS RIGHT!!

December 2010, Josh & I began trying to have another baby.  I desperately wanted a little girl and for Kade to grow up with a sibling.  We tried up until early March.  I went to the doctor with sudden, sharp pains in my side and near my belly button.  I have PCOS and have had many surgeries on my ovaries, had a difficult first pregnancy, so my doctor knows me well.  I told them we were trying to conceive and the tests and ultrasound as a precaution showed nothing.  My doctor decided after just one visit that maybe I had some scar tissue in my uterus and he would do surgery as an exploratory thing and clean my uterus up to help us out.  I left there with my surgery date, thinking I wasn't pregnant. 

The day of surgery,  April 3rd 2011.  Josh and I had still not been preventing pregnancy since we knew it would likely not be that easy.  I asked again for a pregnancy test and bloodwork to confirm before being taken back.  Both showed negative again.  My doctor did the exploratory part of surgery and while in there said that my uterus "Looked plump and healthy from the outside" so he decided not to do the D & C.  When you come out of the anesthesia, you don't consider the word plump to mean anything.  Nor did my husband.  

We carried on with the attempts to have a baby.  I had to have stitches taken out on April 18th but the weekend before I got horribly sick.  I had diarrhea and severe nausea.  I thought this to be a possible infection related to surgery.  Or maybe even a stomach bug.  The morning of the 18th, I asked my doctor if they could maybe get some nausea meds or an antibiotic to help me function (I mean, taking care of a two year old with chronic ear infections IS pie, right??) My doctor then asked me if I'd ever had these symptoms after surgery.  That's when it hit me.  I had these same symptoms the week I found out I was pregnant with Kade.  I told them and they had me go pee in a cup.  It took forever for the nurse to come back to dip the strip in.  Which felt like a lifetime.  I didn't know if I was pregnant and the baby could've been hurt by the surgery.  Or if it was just a nasty bug I had.  All this worry washed over me and then the nurse finally came back.  Moment of truth:: the strip turned within seconds and she mouthed "You're pregnant!!" Imagine the shock when I took a positive test home to Josh when I simply went in to have 11 stitches taken out!  And the worry I would have until my first ultrasound the following week.  I insisted to do it ASAP since I'd had surgery and was frightened for my child's health.  But low and behold, I had a very happy, wiggly baby estimated to be 8 weeks old growing in my belly, dancing around on the monitor.  Sigh of relief!! 

I have a beautiful, sassy, intelligent daughter now.  But imagine, if my doctor had done the D & C as he planned beforehand and I hadn't asserted that I might be pregnant, I could've lost a daughter I didn't even know was growing.  Luckily, God protected her.  I have NO doubts about that.  God has a major plan for her life and started her testimony before she was even outside the womb.  

Ladies, If you even think it's a slight possibility, let the doctor know.  If you don't speak up, something tragic could happen without you even knowing . 

Friday, March 18, 2016


SOOOO guys, I went to my local Walmart & found The Ice Action Elsa (normally $27) for $3. This isn't a test.  Run to check your local store to see if any are in the Clearance section!!

Thursday, March 17, 2016

My petition to help homeschooling families out ((HOPEFULLY!!)

Hey guys, so a friend of mine and I were talking about the mass amounts of money we drop every single year to homeschool our babies.  And how at tax time, we just don't see anything coming back in because we are simply not allowed to write our expenses off.  Textbooks, supplemental material, books for reading, construction paper, glue, scissors, crafts, co-op and association fees, graduations, field trips, memberships to zoos and museums, etc. The list goes on for days. We do this gladly, because it is OUR choice for our family.  However, not getting that help and paying huge chunks of our taxes to benefit schools our children won't set foot in, feels like we are being discriminated against.  College kids and kids who attend school and daycare outside the home get that credit, we should too.  This needs to be an equality thing.  We need the help too sometimes. If you feel led to sign my petition, I would be thrilled.  We just need this to at least be a consideration.  Thanks in advance guys!!

Monday, March 14, 2016

Top 10 reasons why homeschooling works for my family

If I had a nickle for every time I've been asked "WHY do you homeschool??," I'd be a rich lady. I'm also asked, "Don't you ever get sick of your kids?" And my favorite is: "I need me time and I need my own money."  My answers to those who inquire vary depending on how snotty the person asking is or what their reasoning is.  I've been told before that I'm "doing my kids a disservice" by being with them (by people who eventually had kids that see on a very minimal basis.)  I'm sorry, not trying to be ugly, but i know what works for MY family. So, here go my top twenty reasons for homeschooling, although I have hundreds or maybe thousands.

1. I homeschool because I'm able to.

I've been blessed with a husband who has us financially stable on just his income. We aren't high maintenance.  We have zero credit debt.  And not to mention that my husband absolutely backs my decision to homeschool our children.  I realize that not every family has the option.  My best friend is raising her son alone and has no financial support, leaving every bill including daycare up to her.  She provides everything without a single complaint rolling off of her lips.  She's a phenomenal mother and friend as well.  I'm beyond blessed to have her in my life.

2. We can speak freely about God and pray, whenever we want to!!

My kids LOVE to pray.  About anything and for everyone.  I'm raising absolutely well-rounded kids who have amazing faith. I'm able to do bible curriculum and answer any question they hurl at me with scripture without fear of backlash from cranky parents or a school district.  

3. I like to be with my kids.

Plain and simple.  I'm not saying that they don't drive me crazy.  They do.  Daily.  But at one point in time I was told I'd never have kids. They are my life.  I'm never going to look back on my time at home with them and wish I'd worked to give them more toys or a bigger house.  Our house is the perfect size.  And their main concern: the yard is huge. They have plenty of toys (my parents adore them and never say "No.") The folks who know me personally who've addressed my lack of income, I'm fairly certain my children will not regret my decision one bit and will look back fondly of a mom who chose them.  

4. I know my children are safe at all times.

"You can't shelter your child from everything." Blah, Blah, Blah.  By homeschooling, I am able to protect my children from school shootings (never hurts when mama is packing), from sexual predators who may be lurking inside the school, and from little punks who like to bully kids who are different than they are. My son had a speech delay because of bad ears.  He was bullied plenty of times (starting at the age of 2) because of his speech.  My son has made so much progress and playground bullying made that seem irrelevant the first time that happened.  To see stuff like that is heartbreaking as a parent.  I knew when it happened, if possible I wouldn't subject him to that on a daily basis.  Since then his speech has caught up, but I still don't have to worry about kids who take their bad home life out on my kids at school.

5. Standardized tests aren't for everyone. 

I was a horrible tester through school.  Cringed at the thought of them.  And bombed ones I had studied for for days.  It just wasn't my thing.  And SC law doesn't require any standardized testing.  Thank goodness.  My kids breeze through their schoolwork like it's nothing.  I know what they're learning and I know their weaknesses.  Eventually, we will check into testing, but no time soon.

6. iPads are taking the place of paper and pencil in schools.

My kids have iPads.  They go everywhere with us.  But they're not allowed in my classroom.  We do workbooks, activities, experiments, nature walks, read, etc.  We even watch Magic School Bus for science.  But my kids are going to learn to appreciate paper and pen!!

7. Common Core.

Common core standards are just plain stupid.  I've seen "new math" and read excerpts of sex ed that were directed to an audience as young as 8-9 year olds.  I'll pass.  My kids have learned and will continue to stack math and do it the "old school" way.  And sex ed is not in my future for nearly a decade!!

8. We like to move.

We have a big backyard with a creek and spring.  We keep a garden.  We like to visit the kids' Mimi & Papa when we please.  We love field trips.  We like long breaks between subjects to play.  The kids do karate, soccer, drums, cheer & co-op. Busy is our way of life. 

9. I love to watch my kids learn.

The look on my sons face when he read his first word at 2 years old.  My daughter's excitement when she finally wrote her name without copying it or having it spelled for her.  It's a magical thing.  I used to think I would want to be a teacher because I loved kids.  But then I realized, maybe God knew I would teach my own and be happier.

10. We make school fit around life.

Sports, doctor appointments, sickness, days Josh takes off work to be with us, field trips, etc.  When we have beautiful, sunny days with comfy temps in the middle of a rainy week, we cancel school.  We do school in pajamas most days.  We just do life and we do it comfy. 

Like I've said, there are many more reasons why this works for my family.  I'm not knocking anyone else for their choice and what works for their family.  I just figured stating it at least once daily gets old.  And sometimes, mamas who do what you do read your words and it's like a high-five to them.  We just need to stop the mommy wars, ladies.  It's not worth it.  No one is doing a better job because they do life different or because "their way is right".  The point is, you keep your kids alive and that's what counts.  Be kind to one another!!

Monday, March 7, 2016

No-Sew Fleece Blanket

 This past week Kyleigh asked me why she only had one no-sew blanket.  She also let me know that she's "not into" Hello Kitty anymore.  We decided to break down and make her a new one.  She chose her My Little Pony fabric at Hancock and helped me a little bit with this process.  Super simple.  Super soft blankets.  Here are the steps::

You will need::

(These will make fleece blankets big enough to cover a twin bed)

2.5 yards solid fleece fabric
2.5 yards themed/patterned fleece fabric
Crafting/Quilting Scissors

Lay both pieces of fleece out on top of each other. I keep my theme piece facing me since this is the side that will be facing up when in use typically.  Line them up together and begin to trim around. (Most fabric that has a copyright will have a white strip on the edge with writing.)  

Next, you are going to cut your corners.  You will cut a 4 inch by 4 inch square off of each corner of your blanket.  

Then, you will cut 1 1/2 inch strips all the way around the blanket.  These will be your knots around the edges. It doesn't matter which corner you start at either.

You will tie these strips together (the set will have a solid and printed piece.) Do This all the way around until this is your finished product.

Final Step:: ENJOY!! It took me roughly an hour and forty five minutes to make this just because my baby girl wouldn't quit trying to jump over it.  I also got pictures of her with it but they all had silly and blurry faces.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Calming Sensory Jar

I decided to jump on the bandwagon & make the kids a calming sensory jar.  Their spats have been getting particularly difficult to diffuse lately.  Maybe because they're both always right HAHA. I grabbed the stuff I needed to make it from Walmart last night & they helped make it.  I chose blue glitter because it is somewhat neutral.  Kade likes Blue and Kyleigh says it looks like Elsa blue.
I didn't take any pictures of the process but it's fairly easy to do.

What You Need:
1/2 Bottle Glitter Glue (we used a no-name brand)
1 vial of glitter from the crafts section (we used a good amount per kids' request)
1 jar (we can, so we keep mason jars on hand)
hot tap water
**Optional: Food Coloring (we didn't use any)

First, put the half bottle of glitter glue in the bottom of your jar. Then put the hot tap water in.  Sometimes the glue won't break up good if the water isn't hot enough, so get it HOT. Then, dump your desired amount of glitter into the jar.  Make sure the lid is secure.  We screwed our lid on tight.  You could also super glue the lid on if you'd feel better.  Shake the jar and try to break up the glue.  Final Step:: ENJOY!! When the kids have a spat or a tantrum, sit them down with this and make them sit and watch until all of the glitter has fallen to the bottom. Can take up to 2-5 minutes.

I'm telling you Moms, this is therapeutic for us as well!! I've enjoyed this one and so have the kids!!

Monday, February 8, 2016

My First Valance (Hand-Sewn)

This weekend, I finally got fabric to make my master bedroom and master bath curtains and valance.  We have yet to paint the rooms, but the light in the mornings on weekends is just a bit much.  This is a quick tutorial on how to sew a valance.  I had to hand sew this because I have yet to fix my sewing machine. 

First, measure your window & add an additional 15" to the width of your curtain.  You will also want this piece of fabric to be 20" long.  Trim the fabric to this size and press and pin a 1/2" seam along the bottom and the sides of the panel.  On the top, you will want to fold your fabric 3" over.  You will place your first seam of your rod pocket here.  Then, measure down 1 and a half inch from the very top of the panel and sew the other seam for the rod pocket.  

My Fabric of Choice

Sewing the seams.

Finished Product. Again, the color will be changed soon!

Thursday, January 28, 2016

General Tso's Chicken...QUICK & EASY!!

One of our absolute FAVORITE meals is General Tso's Chicken with rice and veggies.  It's also one of our splurges as far as calories and price.  I recently decided to make it at home.  This recipe is simple & easy to make and clean up after.  This had my husband running up the hall to investigate the source of the smell ;)

1 lb chicken breast cut into small nuggets
1-2 cups of flour (for dredging)
2 tbsp. EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil)
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup pineapple juice
1/4 cup white distilled vinegar
1 tbsp. minced garlic
1 tsp. ginger
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tbsp. cornstarch, mixed with 3 tbsp. water

Heat oil first, on medium heat.  Dredge chicken in flour and cayenne, fry in oil until golden brown and crispy. Drain excess oil.  While your chicken is cooking, get your sauce mixture going (sugar, soy sauce, pineapple juice, vinegar, garlic & ginger), heat this mixture on a lower setting. When sauce is smooth and well-mixed, add cornstarch mixture SLOWLY and stir until you reach your desired thickness.  Then pour the mixture over your chicken.  Serve with your favorite veggies and rice.  I used Squash and Zucchini from last summer's garden, along with Broccoli and Basmati rice. 

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Kids Rooms are DONE!!

We FINALLY got the kids' rooms done.  We moved in last February after our floors were done.  And we decided to put painting off until we were settled in.  We decided that Christmas was THE perfect time to do it.  Everything is magical, suprises abound & the kids were BOTH SO appreciative for their newly painted rooms.

Kyleigh's room was a horrible Pepto-pink with a wallpaper accent wall. If you check out one of my previous posts, you'll see JUST how awful it was.  When we thought we had a house the previous year, I had picked out a beautiful color called Pre-dawn Sky for her.  It's a poppy color that just fits my daughter's personality.  Here is the end result (ALONG with her IKEA Trofast organizer that has simplified life just a tad.)

Kade's room was just a flat, dull, boring white.  Which is the absolute complete opposite of my entertainer of a boy. He chose a "creeper" green (you Minecraft parents & peeps know what I'm talking about!) I don't have  a before picture but it's easy to imagine a blank room. And here is the end result of his room.

I have SO many more plans for this house.  And hopefully, many more posts showing off things we've accomplished due to many hours of Pinteresting & HGTV binging.  Thank you for reading!!