Tag Archive | giving

Christmas Planning…week 6

Last week, I came across this fantastic post by Christy Jordan. For those of you who don’t know, she runs a blog called Southern Plate and also has published 2 cookbooks. She is my blog idol.

Anyways.

She posted about how she makes a Christmas Notebook. It was so easy and simple. And I thought what better way to get organize than to have one place for everything.

I always have half used notebooks lying around so I put one to use and turned it into the Ford Family Christmas Notebook. Her is very fancy, where I just took a sharpie to the cover.

I did everything she did, but I also added in a page for Thanksgiving menu and grocery list.

And I will be adding pages for Christmas Cookies to bake, Elf on the Shelf Tricks and our 25 days of Christmas activities.

I hope ya’ll will find her blog and post as enjoyable as I did.

OH I forgot… Target and Walmart black friday ads is up on the site.

 

Holidays upon us week 5….

Week 5 and 1 holiday down! How was your Halloween? Let me start by saying my plan of action didn’t happen like I thought it would because I didn’t actually go around and find out trunk or treat times. So we ended up in the one neighborhood in our entire city and now I know where everyone tricks or treats on Halloween.

Only 2 of my kids went trick or treating, my oldest was sleeping over at a friend’s house and my middle daughter had a homeschool glow party to attend. So it was just the littles with us.

Halloween 2015 Growing a large family

I was so proud of my zombie make up skills. I started to use the cheap Halloween make up and he immediately turned red. So I used my eyeshadow and lipstick. He loved it.

In character

In character

Our witch had a great time too. Until the next morning, when she realized she lost her hat at the last stop of the night.  Story of our life.. always losing something. But I did learn 2 valuable lessons for next year…

  1. take my own advice and actually plan by finding out the exact times
  2. Buy a wagon for little man to ride in. With his feet problems, he had a hard time walking a long distance.

So we are now in the first week of November. This is the perfect time for a nice deep cleaning. Get a jump on it instead of trying to pile in cleaning and cooking the week before. Halloween is over so I plan on getting rid of all the cobwebs in my house this week. Put away Halloween decorations and pull out anything for Thanksgiving. Reorganize kitchen and give it a good scrubbing. I am also hoping to steam clean the main carpet areas.

Friday before Halloween, I officially started Christmas Shopping! Definitely sit down, look at your list and get started!

Also you want to get an official response on who is coming for Thanksgiving or maybe where you are going. Get the menu set in stone this week and let everyone know who is to bring what.

Do you have family members that can’t stand to be in the same room? Me too! Usually this is never a problem because it just worked out that they weren’t in town at the same time. But this year, I am running into this exact scenario. I am going to tell you how I am handling it. I called one (the one I knew would be upset the most) and explained SO & SO is going to be here on Thanksgiving. You are more than welcome to come but I understand if you don’t want too. The response I got was “we will play it by ear.”

So what do you do with a response and situation like this? You don’t want to rely on someone for cranberry sauce and then they don’t show out of pettiness. Give them the small stuff. Say well if you do come, we would love if you would bring a dessert or a drink. Don’t give them any part of the main meal. Give them an item that someone else is also bringing so if they show and you have extra YAY. If not, then you are still covered.

In my family, I take over and do 99% of the cooking. My hubby likes my particular way of cooking things and I enjoy cooking and feeding people. It’s the southern in me.

Happy Holidays, Ya’ll!

Holidays upon us…week 3

Good Monday Morning ya’ll. I hope this week is so much better than last week. Maybe I can play catch up on my To-Do list. So let’s jump right into it.

Halloween: You should be pretty well prepared for this Holiday. I picked up the last 2 items I needed this past weekend. But I know some of you have kids in school and sometimes they do a Halloween party. Start thinking about what you want to donate for that. Even though we homeschool, I make a big deal out the holiday and make it feel like a fun day. We have special treats and theme lunches or breakfast. Ghost pancakes anyone?

Growing a Large Family

Throwback pictures

Those of you in neighborhoods that participate in Trick or Treating, buy your candy now. And make sure it’s candy you like! This way if it’s one of those years where not many kids came by, you aren’t stuck with a bunch of candy you can’t stand. I personally like to buy plain chocolate bars, M&M’s, Reese Pieces and peanut butter cups. Why? Because they can be frozen and made into yummy desserts throughout the whole year. I also buy lollipops or goldfish crackers for the little ones who can’t eat candy.

Thanksgiving: Make your invite list. And start putting the word out that those people are more than welcome to come over on Thanksgiving. But give them a deadline on when they need to give you a definite answer. Start thinking of your menu and what items you want to be in charge of. I am also making up my cornbread and freezing it this week for my cornbread stuffing. I am changing it up a little bit this year. I will post the recipe later in the week.

Throwback pictures

Throwback pictures

Black Friday: I added this category this week because I know a lot of people are into that day after Thanksgiving shopping. I did it once, with a 4 month old, while being exhausted and sick. Thank god my hubby and brother went with me. But since then I haven’t seen anything that has made me jump up and rush out at 3am! But I do still check the ads, which is what you should be doing too. Starting now, keep checking for Black Friday ads online here. You know everything gets leaked on the internet and these are no exception. As of this morning, there aren’t any out but you can sign up for ad alerts when they do start hitting the net. And believe me they will start coming out very soon! So why not get a heads up!?

Throwback pictures

Throwback pictures

Christmas: Maybe you aren’t the hit all the stores and get everything done the day after Thanksgiving type of person. Me neither! But I do like to shop and I like to shop in my jammies! Shopping online has become my favorite past time. And if I have to buy something why not get a little money back or points towards a gift card for myself. My 2 favorite websites for shopping is My Points and Ebates. My Points also has a store where you can buy gift cards and earn bonus points. Get an account set up and familiarize with the website and how things work. Also look for their daily deals where you can get double or triple the points. Might even see a deal you can’t pass up.

Also if you are one of those people that buy little things throughout the year (like me!) then now is the time to go through all that stuff and make a list. I always have list broken down of who I need to shop for and what I have bought them already. This year I will add an amount category.

I hope you are enjoying this series as much as I am enjoying writing it. See you next Monday for week 4.

Hello 2015!!

New year 2015

 

I know I am a little late, but honestly I don’t start my new year resolutions until after my birthday on the 5th. Why deprive myself of cake and celebration!?! I made it another year and, dang it, I earned that slice of cake!

So my new year starts when winter break is over and normal life resumes. Well as close to normal as this bunch can get.

I have thought about my new year’s resolution for sometime now. Months actually! I feel like 2014 was my year to find myself. I found out that I have a passion for homesteading that I never knew was there. And not only homesteading, but natural living, without all the chemicals and medications. I like being able to keep my family healthy without the use of antibiotics or over the counter drugs. I like cooking from scratch and knowing what is going into my food and that the items are of the best quality that I can find.

But there were many areas that I floundered at. I don’t want to say fail because that is so negative. I feel like I never failed. I may not have put my best effort in to them, but I never failed, so floundered is the perfect description.

So here they are my resolutions:

  1. Learn more and love life~ Enjoy it, every minute! I noticed my anxiety has flared up a little bit and I want to get a handle on it better so I can accomplish this task. Just get healthier in general. I see too many family members fighting different diseases and I don’t want that. I wanna be around for a long, long time.
  2. Expand our homesteading. I would love to get where we can raise our own meat and add some more egg layers to our little flock. Ducks are coming only because they are so cute!
  3. Separate myself from the negativity. Too many times I let other people’s life choices stress me out and worry me. Yes, they are my family and I love them, but they are not my immediate (in my household) family and those are the ones that need my guidance and attention. So I am going to learn to Let it go! (cue Frozen song here)
  4. Blog more and interact with more bloggers. Expand this and possibly make a business that will thrive and I can be extremely proud of.
  5. Spend more time with my kids. This year my oldest is turning 18!!! How did that happen I have no idea?!? But I feel like I blinked and her childhood was gone. So I am using that as an eye opener and cherishing every moment I have left with them all.

To help me with these, I will probably set little mini goals each month. I seem to do well with a to do list type thing. Sometimes I get so busy with just the everyday stuff that I look up and a whole month has gone by. I would like to try to slow down a bit and that is my overall theme of the year.

Slow down and enjoy being me!

3 year Blogiversary

 

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Growing a large family 3 year blogiversary

 

It was 3 years ago today that I decided to start a blog. A place where I can vent and connect with the world. I also did many searches for large family blogs and couldn’t find any. So I decided that that was the direction I wanted to go. Over the years it has morphed into an eclectic collection of moments in our lives from homeschooling to homesteading. I try to keep it real, but classy and positive at the same time. I hope I have provided some humor along with some ideas and tips to help with your lives. All I ask is that you spread the word.

 

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Now let’s take a look back at my top post over the last 3 years.

First Day of School 2013

Homemade Pizza Dough

Building our Coop de Ville

 

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My Favorite Post:

I’m Southern and I can’t bake biscuits

This is my favorite post because I always ask myself why can’t I make biscuits. I grew up watching Grandma make them. I have tackled some pretty difficult recipes and have honestly impressed the heck out of myself sometimes. But biscuits are my Achilles heel! UPDATE: I still haven’t found and made a good biscuit yet!

Selfie! OH wait am I too close!

Selfie! OH wait am I too close!

 

Theses are the post that sum me up as a person. These post show who I am perfectly.

Our Frugal Disney Vacation

City Girl living a Country life

Check in with my flock

Family Dinners

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Let me know your favorite post and what you would like to see more of.

 

 

Cooking with kids~Pumpkin Cookies

Today is the beginning of a brand new series here. Cooking with my kids is something I am trying to do more of. Sometimes it is easier to just get in the kitchen and do it myself. But other times it is easier to involve one of them because then it cuts down on the fighting from boredom.

In celebration of hoping and wishing for fall here in the deep south, Lil Man and I made Pumpkin Cookies. I have to admit I have never tried these. I don’t like pumpkin! *GASP* There I said it while everyone is counting down to Pumpkin this and that, I am looking forward to apple flavored items. But my family loves these easy cookies. And they don’t last long at all, so they must be good.

I found this recipe on Pinterest. It only takes 2 ingredients can of pumpkin puree and box of spice cake mix.

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Mix them up real good.

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And bake at 350 degrees for about 8-10 minutes. Let cool. These are a soft cookie so they won’t take long to bake and less likely to dry out.

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I am a huge fan of Pinterest! You can follow me at http://www.pinterest.com/jeanetteford/.

Enjoy!

 

Getting challenge ready

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Creating a Master Menu

In my household, it is very easy to jump into the day and get caught up in all the things that need to be done. Homeschooling, laundry, cleaning, chickens and then there is meal time, by the time I get a chance to breathe it is 4:00 and I have no idea what’s for dinner. I need a plan. It’s one of many ways I keep my life organized and our budget on track.

This summer I took my meal planning to a whole new level. I went through my cookbooks (believe me there is a lot!) and made monthly menus for breakfast, lunch and dinner of all of my families favorites. I have enough menus for 5 months worth of dinners. We only have 1 or 2 months for breakfast and lunch, but are trying to expand on those also. We will begin using these menus in September. I love trying new recipes so the weekends are left opened for those. I also only use these during the school year. Summer is all about finding new favorites.

 

Creating a Monthly Grocery List

Another thing I am starting to do is a beginning of the month huge shopping. I make a grocery listing everything I need and then go through and cross off what I already have. From there, I go through and add things that I am getting low on that I know are necessities and we will need before the month runs out.

Now I break down the produce items by the week. Obviously, buying fresh produce for a whole month and expecting it to stay fresh until the end of the month is unrealistic. So I do a quick produce and milk shopping every week.

Why I do a monthly shopping
I live out in a rural area and it is not economical for me to be driving to the store multiple times. Not only that but I have a big family. So I choose to take one weekend to do my huge shopping. One day I drive North to BJ’s and stop at a Publix. And then a few days later, when I go to my mother in laws, I stop at Costco, Fresh Market and a Meat market if need be. These are all close to her house. I am technically not making an extra trip because I have to go pick up which ever kids are at her house anyways. Plus this just works for me. If I lived in the city or closer to these places, I probably wouldn’t shop monthly.

 

Where I Shop

I usually shop at BJ Wholesale, Publix and Walmart. In doing my research of the variety of products, I have decided to drop Walmart stores. The stores are very limited on in store organic or natural products, but online they have an amazing selection with some items cheaper than Amazon. Plus by shopping online and using the mypoints.com website you will earn points towards gift cards for Amazon, Walmart or Visa. I honestly cannot tell you how much I love this site. But that is another post.

 I also just recently purchased a Costco membership after reading many blog post about the amount of organic items and doing a walk-through of the store. I also did this through an email deal from MyPoints and earned extra points. So September will be my first month shopping there.
Near Costco, there is a meat market that sells grass-fed beef for the same price as regular beef at Publix. I am driving by so of course I am going to stop there and get my beef and anything else that looks good. Again I haven’t been there yet. This is based off of my research.
But I have been to the new Fresh Market by my Mother in Law’s house. AMAZING! It was a real food culinary dream. I will definitely be stopping there when I need fresh seafood. Very little meat is prepackaged, it all gets wrapped by the butcher when you order it. Plus they have an amazing bulk section.
I will post updates on my Facebook, instagram and of course here as to how this worked for me.
Throwing out all the junk
Now is the time to begin. Go through the house and throw out all the junk and buy all organic and natural items. NO!
The frugal side of me cannot suggest or even fathom doing this. I hate waste! It drives me crazy! Use what you got until it gone and then switch to the healthier version. This summer, we had already made the switch to organic milk because I was buying a half gallon for me, but realized it would be cheaper to just switch out our gallons for organic. My eggs are 90% farm fresh because my neighbors have been letting me buy their extras for next to nothing. Once in a while I buy eggs at the store and get the vegetarian eggs.
I am finally getting low on some items and I will be switching them over in September. I knew how awful vegetable oil is but I didn’t toss out what I had, I used it up and now can switch to coconut oil. My sugar is almost gone so I am switching to organic. And I am finishing up the meat in the freezer, but am hoping to buy 90% all natural, grass fed or wild for what I need to buy.
If you have some stuff that is unopened and really want to make the switch, then maybe donating to a local food bank is a great option for you. Remember no waste!
Don’t be too hard on yourself
Remember, nobody is perfect 100% of the time. There will be times when the kids are starving or your out running errands and you just NEED to have that Pumpkin Spice Latte to get you through. I know for a fact that this coming month is going to be hard for us because our Disney passes are back and we will be going almost every weekend. But we are going to try our hardest and not fret over the times we can’t. My goal is 80/20. If I am at home, I want to make a meal instead of loading everyone up and going out and then feeling yucky afterwards. I want to feel better not be strict. I want to know I am feeding healthy options to my family, instead of crap that does nothing to for the mind and body. But am I overly crazy about it? NO, just doing the best I can do. One day, week, month and food choice at a time.