Thursday, March 29, 2012

Time Savers

With two very demanding little girls I have made it a priority to double task and find quicker ways of doing things. I thought I'd share some of my findings, and please if you have tricks, do share!

1. crock pot - i cannot brag on my crock pot enough. dinner started in the morning when I'm already in the kitchen waiting on Charli to eat breakfast and everyone hasn't turned into their evil alter egos. (including me!)

2. set the timer and race yourself. I often set the timer in my kitchen for 5-10 minutes and do as much as possible. I figured this out from microwaving a lean cuisine. I had 6 minutes waiting and I started laundry, loaded the breakfast/lunch dished in the dishwasher, lysol-ed the counters/table and took out the trash. What momentarily overwhelmed me was quickly solved.

3. plan on making phone calls in the car while driving. I always make my calls when I'm driving. My kids are pretty good in the car, especially if they have their songs on so I take advantage. BUT DON'T TEXT AND DRIVE!

4. give a bath to the bigger kids and clean the bathroom at the same time. Charli loves to play in the tub, so while she's occupied I can clean the sink, toilet, and floors while she plays.

5. I usually fold laundry while watching TV at night. I like being productive and still enjoy my shows.

6. Putting the laundry away while kids pick up their room. When it's clean-up time (before we leave the house, before naps or before dinner/bedtime) I supervise and encourage Charli and also put away the her clean laundry- since I fold it while she's asleep I often have a basket to put away the next day.

7. Set out clothes the night before for everyone, prepare snacks for the next day, and get diaper bags, purses, etc. in the car. This amazingly can save a lot of time on a hectic morning. I have a feeling the bigger the family is the more it would be essential.

8. Meal Plan, Grocery Plan, Sort coupons and list according to sections of the store in the order you walk through. Because I try to be super thrifty I actually shop at 3 stores for all of our groceries. (Aldi, Kroger, and Target) This is not a time saver- bc i have 3 stores I hit at least 1 time each every 2 weeks BUT when I'm already prepared when I go there we can get in and out quick.

9. Shop without kids when necessary, if possible. I can go twice as fast alone, so I usually make at least one trip a week to the store after the kids go to bed. The other time saver is go to the store with the kids when they are happy, not hungry or tired, and have something to occupy them. For Charli a snack and a pencil and piece of paper will thrill her for a whole trip- and distract from the cookie/candy/toy aisles.

10. While pumping gas clean out the car. I used to keep an incredibly clean car. Now I have a 2 year old. This is a quick way to find lost food, wrappers, and other general trash and messes and keep the craziness in check.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Father, I know that all my life

So, I think of this hymn often. I love it. Every time I sing it a different line sticks in my brain and ministers to my heart. When we sing it on Sunday I will inevitably sing it the rest of the week. I am so very thankful to be a part of a church that is so intentional to teach us about God even and especially though what we sing.

1 Father, I know that all my life

Is portioned out for me;
The changes that are sure to come,
I do not fear to see:
I ask thee for a present mind,
Intent on pleasing thee.

2 I would not have the restless will
That hurries to and fro,
Seeking for some great thing to do,
Or secret thing to know;
I would be treated as a child,
And guided where I go.

3 I ask thee for the daily strength,
To none that ask denied,
A mind to blend with outward life,
While keeping at thy side,
Content to fill a little space,
If thou be glorified.

4 In service which thy will appoints
There are no bonds for me;
My secret heart is taught the truth
That makes thy children free;
A life of self-renouncing love
Is one of liberty.

Monday, March 19, 2012


I stepped into a new level of thriftiness today. I shopped at Aldi, a discount grocery. I was very impressed with their prices and the produce was especially cheap and looked just as good as Kroger's and better than Wal-mart's selections. Some people might be annoyed with using their own bags, but I already use them to save at Target and they work SOOO much better than the flimsy plastic that most stores offer, and hold 2-4 times as much! I also loved that the store was small, efficient, and practically empty. I plan on doing most of my shopping there from now on. The only downside (for me) is they don't take coupons since most of their stuff is private label. Because I coupon already at Target for paper products, baby food, diapers, and toiletries I get really good deals. (Generally I save 50% of my bill on those items). So, I will continue to buy that stuff at Target. I might be making occasional trips to Kroger as well- based on sales + coupons or on items not at Target or Aldi.

Being a stay-at-home mom can actually be a money-saver if you want it to be. Here's what I am able to do to save money (and a penny saved is a penny earned, right?) because I stay home with my kids.

1. No childcare costs. ($11,666 per year on average multiplied by 2 for both kids... see baby
2. Exclusively breast-feeding ($1,200 for 1 year of baby formula)
3. Time to coupon (I save probably about $200 a month in coupons- over a year $1400)
4. Less cost of gasoline b/c most places I go are close and optional.
5. Eating out less. I cook dinner most every night and we are not as tempted to pick up dinner after work out of convenience.
6. Small "business" opportunities on the side, when time allows. For me this includes private teaching, consigning, and selling handmade hair accessories.

These are some of the direct savings but there are more! How do we calculate the nutritional value of breastfeeding & healthy home cooked meals? (indirectly saving us in medical bills, hopefully!) The 1 on 1 or 1 on 2 attention I give my children, nurture, discipline, etc is invaluable to me as well.

I hope I can continue to grow into a thriftier wife and mom. I'm thinking about a little gardening for my next savings venture. We'll see if I have a green thumb!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Photo Shoot Preview

My talented photographer brother took some pictures of the girls this week. Here's a preview. He did a great job and I'm sure it didn't hurt that he had some beautiful little models.