The Art Box: A Unique & Affordable Gift for Children

As I mentioned in my post last week, every Thursday in December (and maybe a few other days too) I will be sharing some unique Christmas gift ideas that move beyond Toys-R-Us, won't break the bank, outlast 2013, and, hopefully, create beautiful memories for your children. This post contains affiliate links. Thanks for supporting my site! The Art Box WHO is it for? The aspiring artist or any toddler or preschool-age child who likes to doodle I first started making Art Boxes for my … [Read more...]

Make Meal Planning Work for You: Create a Family Cookbook

I recently posted on how to make meal planning work for you, but I know some people think it's too time-consuming. You know what? You're {a little} right! Meal planning can be a daunting task because of all the factors that come into play when deciding what to fix each week. What do we have on hand? What will my family eat?  What's on sale? What can I fix early in the day when we have activities at night? What meals have we already eaten recently? What will my family eat? (Yes, we have … [Read more...]

5 Strategies to Make Meal Planning a Reality

I've been meal planning for a few years now. It's just one of those things I do every Sunday as soon as the new grocery store sales ads come out because: 1) We're on a budget, so I need to see what meats and vegetables are on sale in order to plan our meals for the week; and 2) I like having a plan in place so that when Monday afternoon rolls around, I'm not scratching my head and scanning the pantry shelves trying to decide what's for supper in the midst of children and a home that need … [Read more...]

Creating a Library of Good Children’s Books: #2 Find Them Frugally

Last week I shared with you how to establish criteria for building a library of good books for children. Once you've determined the kinds of books you want for your children, then you need to find them! First of all, I would recommend sitting down and making a list of specific books and authors you're looking for. Otherwise, when you're out looking, you will become overwhelmed by all the choices and may pick a few that don't meet your criteria at all.Here are some great book lists that I've used … [Read more...]

How to Make Homemade Yogurt the Easy Way

Cora enjoying a yogurt parfait with fresh blueberries & granolaIf your family eats a lot of yogurt like mine does, then chances are you've noticed how expensive it has gotten in the stores lately. We used to buy the individual cartons, but for economical reasons have switched to the 32-ounce tubs instead. Still, yogurt isn't cheap.But after finding a simple recipe for homemade yogurt that doesn't require purchasing a yogurt maker, I started making my own. I have been making our family's … [Read more...]

Pursuing Peace Week 3: 5 Tips for a More Peaceful Holiday Shopping Experience

It's already started.The honking, the name calling, the tailgating, the finger pointing, arms flailing, traffic jams everywhere you go.You know the holiday season is upon you when people all around you are suddenly in a BIG hurry.I'm that person a lot of the times. Ask my husband.But this season I am resolving to...Slow down.Keep my cool.Relax.Enjoy this time of year.I don't want to get caught up in all the commotion, the stress, the rush, rush, rushing around.I want peace.What about you? I want … [Read more...]

Encouragement for Challenging Financial Times

 If you are a regular follower of this blog, then you know that for the past six weeks we have been looking at different ways to save money at the grocery store. My purpose in this indefinitely long series has been to stimulate you to reevaluate your spending habits and provide you with some helpful ways to stretch your dollar. Ultimately, though, my goal is to encourage us to be good stewards of the financial blessings the Lord has granted us.With rising gas and food prices and increasing … [Read more...]

"Saving at the Grocery Store": Use Cash!!

 If you really want to start saving money at the grocery store, leave your debit and credit cards at home and bring only cash. Recently, my husband and I started using Dave Ramsey's envelope system for certain areas of our budget: namely Groceries, Gas, Entertainment, & Clothing. Each week when I deposit his check, I take out a lump sum in cash that is allocated to each of these four categories. The objective is to spend only our budgeted amount for each category, and when that amount is gone, … [Read more...]

"Saving at the Grocery Store": Where to Find Coupons & Other Deals

Last week in our series "Saving at the Grocery Store," we looked at some of the pros and cons of couponing, and I challenged you to determine for yourselves whether clipping coupons is a valuable way for you to save money.For me, the money I save on non-food items in particular--namely toothpaste, diapers, dish soap, detergent, and other household items--more than compensates for the time spent locating, clipping, and organizing coupons. Honestly, I haven't bought a tube of toothpaste in two … [Read more...]

"Saving at the Grocery Store": Couponing, The Pros & Cons

So far in our series on Saving at the Grocery Store, we have looked at some basic ways to save:(1) Make a Price Book: To keep track of the best prices on foods and products you buy most frequently and where to purchase them.(2) Menu planning: To plan meals around grocery sales ads and what you have in your own kitchen pantry or freezer.(3) Shop at Multiple Stores: To stock up on "loss leaders" and get the lowest prices on everything else.Today, I want to discuss couponing.Because there is a lot … [Read more...]