Kris Mares

Just a woman trying to love Jesus and others a little bit more…

The Joy of Paint, Glitter and Glue February 10, 2010

It’s snow day #2 this week. Yesterday, as the snow was falling outside, Girlie, Professor and even Blue made Valentine Day boxes. You remember doing them as a kid… the shoe box with the hole in the top and decorated with an assortment of items (I was fond of aluminum foil and construction paper hearts). Since we were having a snow day, I decided I’d get out the paint. We had a glorious mess!! The boxes were covered in brown paper grocery sacks (when I forget my reusable bags, I like to ask for paper) and then on to the painting!

It’s interesting to watch kids paint whatever they feel like painting. No direction, no suggestions, just their creativity. Blue painted hers all orange and put yellow stars. Professor started with some kind of map (I think it involved the Sea of Galilee) but ended up with all grey.  Girlie simply painted. I just let them paint. There was paint on the table, paint on them and I know if Racer had been here (he’s home now… FINALLY), he’d have been having a fit. I, the organized one, don’t mind a mess when it involves creativity. Weird, I know. Afterall, it’s just a box to put some Valentine cards in (which probably won’t happen afterall because I’m sure school will be out the rest of this week). It’s not a beauty contest and who cares what they look like. If the kids are enjoying creating them, then that makes them and me happy.

And oh, they got to glitter and glue foam hearts on too. I think I still have glitter in my hair!

They also made Valentine card for family.  Girlie got to practice her name and for being not quite 3, I must say she writes her name incredibly well.  Professor made Venn diagrams of color and color blending for one of his cards (you see why he’s the professor?) and Blue made a wierd, sweet card for Racer.  I helped Gorilla make some hand print cards too.  He loved closing his hand into a fist when the paint was on it!  As we were doing this, I was wondering whatever happened to homemade cards?  My kids were having so much fun, but these days, it seems like we just go “let the kids pick out a card.”  We let the card companies write the sentiments of our hearts and serenade loved ones with “special” songs.

We are losing the art of writing and creating.  Sometimes I think we forget the joy in working to make something with our own hands and seeing the face of the recipient when they know it took time and effort to make the gift.  Instead, we keep a gift closet and pick up stuff on sale (or regift – both of which I readily admit I do).  We go and grab a gift card.  I realize, as adults it is hard to find the time to shop and always know what another wants.  I also know that I treasure a handwritten note with gratitude, a story or a prayer.  That is often much more meaningful than any gift that could be purchased.

So as we approach Valentine’s Day, let’s forget about spending money and buying cards, flowers or chocolate.  Instead, give the gift of time and sentiment.  Give and old-fashioned, hand-written card or letter to a loved one or friend.  Tell them what they mean to you.  Tell them how your life is better because they are in it.  Tell them a story about how they have touched your life or warmed your heart.  Tell them how you have seen them grow.  Tell them how beautiful their spirit is and how you are better because they are a part of your life.

Don’t we all need just a little love like that?

 

Another Coupon Game Win! February 5, 2010

Filed under: Frugal living — Kris @ 2:20 pm
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I did it again!  This time I saved 71% – YEAH ME!!  So earlier this week, I shared my first real success at playing the coupon game well.  Today, I’ve been doing even better.  I’ve been reading other blogs about frugal living, saving money and couponing.  So I used what I learned and went to my main grocery store, armed with my printable coupons and other coupons loaded onto my store savers card (click here and here for more info).  So, here is what I bought:

12 roll pkg. of toilet paper, 4 bags chex mix snack, 1 pkg. steam veggies, 2 boxes granola bars, 4 bags of fish crackers

The grand total:  $10.22 

That’s right – I saved $25.99 – 71%!!!  This was almost all snack stuff that I wouldn’t usually buy, but it was on sale, I had coupons in hand, PLUS my new love – coupons that you “send” to your store saver card that automatically deduct. 

As for the not shopping and cooking with what I have…  so yeah, I went shopping.  Let me say, however, that I have meals planned out for the entire next week based on what we already had at home.  Nothing that I bought will be used for meals – just snacks. 

So today’s dinner menu – chili with drop biscuits.  I’ve got lots of stuff marked in my trusty, go to cookbook.  Now if the kids will just cooperate and let me cook… 

Maybe I’ll just let them help!

 

Coupon Game Success!! February 2, 2010

Filed under: Frugal living — Kris @ 11:52 pm
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Today, I am claiming a small victory at the grocery store!!  I went in prepared and came out a victor.  I matched my coupons up with what was on sale – especially the buy 10 save $5 items.  Then ground beef was on sale (with my store saver card) and so was frozen chicken, both of which my family eats a lot of.  Then I had some coupons for cleaning products – buy 2 get this product free (one of the options was on sale too).  Then I had 2 coupons for a new product out – $1 off a package of toilet paper and a $1 off OR a free roll.  So here is the list of what I got:

2 boxes store brand corn flakes, 96 oz. bleach, 12 rolls toilet paper made from recycled paper, 1.5 pt. ice cream, 3 boxes fiber granola bars, 6 bags fish crackers, 2 containers of disinfectant cleaning wipes, 3 lbs. store brand frozen chicken pieces, 1 lb. polish sausage, 8 lbs. ground beef

The grand total before discounts and coupons was about $82.  I paid $33.27!!  Yeah for me!!  The store paid me $1 to take the toilet paper out of the store (they read the coupon wrong in my favor) and I got the bleach and cleaning wipes for $2.01.  I know there are people out there who do a far better job playing the coupon game, but this was the best success I’ve had yet, so I just had to share.  I’m learning and that’s what it’s all about!! 

Now, on to my challenge to cook from what I have for the next 2 weeks (minus milk, bread and lunch meat).  I have the menu planned and ready to go.  I’ll let you know how it goes…

 

January Rubber Turkey January 16, 2010

Filed under: Frugal living — Kris @ 8:42 pm
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So today, I made a turkey.  I put it in after breakfast and it was ready for lunch.  And I learned that I am woefully inept at carving turkey.  The funny thing is, I made the turkey, not so much for lunch, but for the recipe I was making for dinner… or supper.  Whatever you call it – the last meal of the day.  I, by the way, call it either one.  We have breakfast, lunch and then dinner/supper.  Anyway, I needed the meat for dinner, but I didn’t want to just cook the turkey for that and then tear it apart…

So lunch was turkey and macaroni and cheese.  Well balanced huh!?  Then after lunch, I tore apart the rest of the turkey and saved the meat for my dinner recipe.  Then, in my proud frugal, “waste not want not,” cheapo moment, I put the carcass in a pot with water and set it to boil.

For dinner, I made this mexican casserole (with my turkey instead of chicken because I had a turkey in the freezer, not a chicken) with nacho cheese chips, LOTS of cheese, cream of chicken soup, diced tomatoes and onions.  It was YUMMY!!!  As the casserole was baking, I started putting my “turkey broth” in jars for later use.  I got 2 1/2 mason jars, well 2 mason and 1/2 spaghetti jar, full of turkey broth.  What’s great is that when I go to use it, I can totally scrape the fat that has “globbed” up on the top and get rid of it!

So, lunch was good, the casserole was good and the broth will be great for later.  I have some turkey meat left for a sandwich.  Some casserole left for lunch tomorrow and broth for another day.

I only share this because at times, I am proud of my cooking.  Not that I create anything original, but I’m proud of my planning.  I’m glad that I am able to use the resources I have and make them stretch further.  Sometimes I wish I lived in a place and time when we HAD to make everything stretch super far, so that I could better appreciate what it is that we do have.  I admit, we waste food.  There are times I throw out fresh veggies that I didn’t use in time.  Leftovers that molded because no one wanted to eat that again.  And then there are kids – families – in our own community that would love to have had the food that we allowed to go to waste.

Anyway, my challenge this year is to plan our food better so that we are using our food money the best we can and using the food we have the best we can.  One week in the near future, I’m going to have a pantry week and force myself to use what is in the pantry and not go the grocery.  I’ll let you know how it turns out.

 

 
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