Adventure, Motherhood

Talk About it Tuesday: Clean Your Dishwasher

In April 2019 my husband & I bought our first house. Finally after spending years in family owned rentals and just living with family in general we have our own home for us and our little ones. We love owning our own place and pretty much everything is the same for us its just now the house, appliances, & land is ours not someone else’s.

I have always been good at fixing things and I enjoy learning how things of all categories work so I have no problem fixing what I can understand even if I don’t have a degree to fix it. Anymore pretty much anything can be found online more specifically on YouTube so the confidence is high and what I or my husband can’t get ourselves we do know how to ask for help.

Pretty much every appliance that we became owners of besides the washer and dryer came with the house. The one exception was the fridge which lasted not even a year then we had to replace it. That just leaves the dishwasher and with everything going on in the world we can’t really afford to replace that if needed to.

When it rains it pours because this past week maybe within the last couple weeks our beloved dishwasher has started to act up. It wasn’t draining correctly and had water standing in the bottom after every wash. Not to mention the dishes weren’t quite getting clean. I may have muttered a specific word under my breath when I discovered this. I was irritated its like anything that could go wrong in this year of 2020 just has because it could!
My husband & I were unfortunately faced with some decisions on what we were going to have to do about it.

  • Hire someone to fix it.
  • Look for a used replacement.
  • Fix it ourselves.

What to do was running across my mind pretty much everyday. I finally decided I needed to at least try to fix it or figure out if I could fix it. We can’t afford to hire someone to come fix it because its either gonna come out to too much money or not even worth it and too much money. The money that goes for that might as well go for a newer one but we don’t have the money for a newer one so that doesn’t make the best of sense in my mind. It’s a circle of going nowhere and a lot of time wasted.

The dishwasher we have is a General Electric Eterna Nautilus; I kind of feel like a badass in a way. Excuse the language but I wrestled that thing all day today and now I feel like we have an understanding on how a dishwasher is supposed to do it’s job. Now you see I am not a snob to washing my dishes by hand I really only need a dishwasher to sanitize certain dishes and currently the big ones are bottles, bottle nipples, & pacifiers. I can wash dishes by hand with the right accessories. I have hand eczema that if or when my hands come in contact with different soaps/moisture they tend to break out and become super itchy. I am not a fan when this happens because it hurts a lot. And after getting over a mango allergic reaction just recently not really looking for more painful skin problems anytime soon.

I took the drain guard out and then the drain grate that sets down a hole underneath it because if it wasn’t draining my mind says it probably has an issue with the drain, right? I cleaned both of them off really good and sifted through the drain for anything that may cause the water to not drain properly. I ran the dishwasher to see if that helped and it seemed to but just incase I also ran some vinegar & baking soda inside it during a regular wash as well. Note: (I double checked with YouTube to make sure I took it apart right & also to put it back together correct). After the baking soda & vinegar I put it back together then decided to really give it a deeper clean by getting out all of the built up gunk in the door at the bottom in the little crevasses that needed cleaned. I even cleaned out that little hole in the door for the rinse aid I figured that since the little plug had come out once or twice … it should be cleaned and vinegar & baking soda would probably be fine. It helped bring up some junk that got in there by using the old volcano cleaning method. I scrubbed with vinegar & baking soda then wiped it down and then sprayed over with some Clorox cleaner to sanitize it extra. I of course wiped it out real good to get that up off of the dishwasher the best I could. And because I was cleaning it I ran a full dishwasher load with nothing in it to clean off sort of residue I may have missed.

After a full days work of wrestling with my dishwasher and taking it apart then cleaning it out I finally was able to run a medium sized dish load. Good news is it didn’t leak which is especially great because it wasn’t leaking before so at least I didn’t break it more. This load seemed to get cleaner than expected but only time can tell for the future.

For the most part I feel I tried as much as I can do on my own and I am happy that I tried to fix it. If the problem continues it would probably be best to find a cheap and I mean cheap replacement versus trying to fix it. Can’t really afford it but if it were cheap enough maybe. I have never owned a dishwasher before just used family members. What I have learned is that I will need to make sure I clean it more regularly to keep all the gunk from building up. I would highly recommend that if you have a dishwasher to clean it regularly. I was cleaning it once in a while but will be more on top of it from here on out. Probably wouldn’t hurt to run some bleach through it once in a while but that is my own speculation not something that I know for sure. Anything that I have done with my dishwasher today and in this post has been trial and error things that I have kind of come up with myself/researched myself. I am always open to any tips for this area of expertise if anyone has any. I am not trained in any sort of working with these types of appliances but I am always wanting to learn about more things. Comment below with any tips about cleaning dishwashers or any fun stories if you have any down below!

Thank you for reading my post. Drop a like below and follow my blog. Check me out on social media and stay tuned for more posts coming soon.


Adventure, homeschooling, Motherhood, Review

Sunnie Press October; Your Missing Out!

(This is not a paid or affiliate post) (Just writing)

Last month I did a review over Sunnie Press a monthly coloring activity mat designed to keep kids entertained in more ways than one! I reviewed it because I want to share fun products that I as a parent come aware of and want to give an honest review over the product I share with you. Last month was the September map which was themed around a fun zoo with lots of animals and artwork designed around a zoo with all sorts of zoo features & facts. My kids enjoyed it and are still using it as a play mat, it can be colored for a long amount of time and it has fun little roadways printed on each map for playing with cars or action figures as well. (My Sunnie Press Review)
I figured it couldn’t hurt to show off the October 2020 map to see what you are missing out on because I love this company! If you have ever just needed an activity for multiple kids or siblings more specifically to work on together this is perfect. I am always looking for ways for my boys to work on sharing and just playing together to build the social skills amongst each other. It is important for siblings to play well together and to not only build social skills outside the home but also social skills between siblings so that they are able to create bonds with each other. My boys are at that age where they both are into coloring and cars at the same time so working together on this fun activity is great for them to do together.
I was given the idea to have these mats laminated to make them last longer for the future. That way they could stick around for future generations in our family hopefully; they are great for building memories with your family!

This months theme is based around Halloween since that is usually the typical October holiday for the month that brings a whole lot of fun!

Adventure, Motherhood

Talk about it Tuesday: Backyard Snake Hunter

If anyone has ever raised boys or just brave adventurous children it is quite common for those children to develop a sense of invincibility. Most of the time they are dare devils who will seek out the thrill that a lot of people tend to stray away from. My middle son is my little dare devil. He has no fear and that is good to some degree, but there is a limit that this mom has for danger.
My boy has a knack for climbing what ever he can find worth climbing, jumping from tall heights off of furniture around the house or outside playground equipment, he is not afraid of much and even if he is afraid he soon conquers his fears. Although seemingly fearless there are those creepy crawlies that he fears but of all of the creepy slithery things he loves playing with snakes! The only snakes on our Iowa property have been harmless garter snakes the kind that eat worms, frogs, mice or bird eggs so I am not worried that they are dangerous to him. However a snake is a snake and I don’t want my 4 year old playing with snakes!
However boys will be boys. Earlier today similar to another time this boy comes running inside the house from playing outside in our fenced in back yard. He comes running inside and boy did he have a story to tell! I can always tell its a doozy of a story because he starts by saying “So! Let me tell you about it!” It being the thing he comes running excitedly inside about. He tells me that he put a snake in a bucket and that I need to come see it, Now! I let him out side for about 10 minutes and he could only be outside with our family dog because that dog is an alarm and will sound off when anyone walks past any part of our house. Anyways we walk out expecting to see a live snake but I would have to say how proud I was when he informed me that it was dead because the dog killed it.
Why am I proud? Well because the last time his story involved a snake he was holding that live slithering thing in his hands! Slinging it around the yard chasing his less enthused older brother.
He is quite the adventurous boy possibly too adventurous at times!

Have you had a similar experience?
Any fun stories?

I am not terrified of snakes otherwise I might have fainted. I tend to toss them over our fence weekly due to our dog hunting them then ending their slithering lives. He is a terrier and I love that we have our little hunter at times but there are just so many snakes to be had; I wish there weren’t so many sometimes.
I can only imagine the neighbors watching me from their windows tossing snakes over the fence (not toward them of course), what crosses their minds?

I hope to share many other fun stories about our life raising wild boys and other fun family stories that cross our paths in our life adventure! Thanks for reading, drop a like below, & follow my blog! Stay tuned in for more posts coming soon.

Adventure

Tell it Tuesday: No More School Lunches?

Photo by VisionPic .net on Pexels.com

When I thought the title for this post up I wasn’t sure what I was going to write about exactly seeing how I do honestly find myself searching for post to write about. I wanted to start writing about things, people, or events that were actually happening around me. Whether it was thousands of miles away from me, in my own home, or around the area I live. When I saw a post come up on my Facebook newsfeed I knew I wanted to write about it on here and kind of see where this post went on to. It just seemed like a post worth sharing because I don’t see it being a great choice especially in the area where I live where it is not a bigger city area its a bunch of smaller rural towns with people who are on the lower income side and that was pre-covid to give you an idea. Anyways Let me start at the beginning.

Local School Taking Away School Lunch?

I live in a area that has a few rural schools both in my town and other towns surround my town. The school in my town has a wonderful program for breakfast and lunch through the school as I used to work there as a cafeteria worker just last year. The school in my town is not the one in this story which is very relieving to me as a parent and a person in general because that is just unfair in my opinion and sort of crappy. Anyways in a town not far from my town where I live which is in southwest Iowa somewhere…I came across a post made by this other school just about an hour ago my time. It stated in this post that this school would no longer be serving school breakfast or school lunches at all the rest of the school year with the exception of tomorrow mornings breakfast because of short notice. Yes they gave a single nights notice.
They said in a letter sent home to families 9/28/2020 that asked if all students if possible could bring sack lunches to school until further notice. The also mentioned that they would be revising the schools transportation program as well. They mentioned in the letter that they would be providing breakfast tomorrow 9/29/2020 and also extra sack lunches for those who do not have them. Which brings me to a few questions that kind of boggle the old brain…why? They said it was to make sure they have enough staff in their school so they cut lunch out but the thing that I feel is super bizarre is that they are still providing sack lunches from the sounds of it. In the United States in general there are a lot of people who depend on school for food for their kids. There are a lot of people who may work and work and never have that extra bit of money for school lunches.
This seems like a bad choice on the schools part because instead of simply just providing the students with sack lunches instead of hot lunches they are pretty much shutting the kitchen down and helping out who they can instead of fulfilling their duty as a public school to provide meals to kids in their lunch program that is government funded. Since this letter I have seen several posts from community members who are willing to help provide meals since this school system has failed to do their jobs. I feel that if they are still open as a public school and having classes why announce with a letter that seems to announce the discontinuance of school meals. I hope that they are going to continue to provide meals for students who depended on the school for their meals because going all day at a place where there are so many other things to worry about was hard enough without having to worry about not having food as well. I will link the post from the school just to give an idea of what the original “letter” said.
Post Over Schools Decision

What are your thoughts?
Do you agree or disagree?
Have you seen this happen near you?

I was super surprised to see this happening in my area and yes I know there are all sorts of factors that led to these decisions. I know that my kids do not attend this school but I know people who do. I do not agree with this decision and feel like they could come up with something else besides what they have come up with. I mean if it’s such a problem then maybe not having school would be the better thing. Feel free to comment below and share this. I am curious what other people think about this.

Thanks for reading and for checking out my blog. Drop a like below and share this post. Stay tuned for more posts coming soon. I hope you enjoyed this spur of the moment post. If you liked this True Story Tuesday post idea let me know. I am all for trying new ways to write and get content out there to share.



Adventure, gardening, Meal Time, Motherhood

Long Term Storage: Food and Everything Else

If 2020 has taught anyone anything its that being prepared is something that is very much needed. I hadn’t really gotten very far in the past when attempting to store food long term or even as a rotating pantry that was big enough to last a long time if needed. After witnessing first hand not having the food my family needed during a time when food was scarce and some even hard to find such as meats or meat products especially those that are typically used in long term food storage. During that time when stores were near empty and this unknown virus at the time was lurking everywhere it seemed I became afraid. I had never been put in a situation like that where I had to ration food for my family. There was that lurking question, What if we can’t get more? Or What if we don’t have money to buy more?

Those are not questions that I had ever had to face as it was always there. I remember more than a few times where my husband and I had to make the decision not to eat or not to eat as much during this time because our kids needed it more than we did. We would do anything for them including starve because we can take it and that is just the kind of thing you do as a parent for your kids. It was at this moment when I realized how foolish we had been in our spending over the years and would need to change them in the future that was if things ever started to feel normal again. Lucky for us it has started to feel normal again and I know that this is not a feeling that everyone is feeling I mean normal will never be the same again and the normal we feel now is different of course.

Rotating Pantry Vs. Long Term Food Storage

It is important to prepare; that is one big thing I learned just a few months ago and that is exactly what we have been doing with whatever extra funds we have. We are preparing for the winter firstly then plan to continue preparing for the future. For our pantry it is planned to be a rotating pantry that is kept well stocked with foods that we will use everyday but replenished so that we have them on hand when needed. What do I mean when I say rotating pantry? Well that is basically a pantry that is constantly being used up and replenished by using up the older stuff first. The stuff closer to expiring should be used first then so on after that. Then you would buy whatever was used up to replace it in the pantry.

On top of a rotating pantry I am creating a long term food stockpile by using Mylar bags to store items such as dry beans, rice, flour, oats, ect. I suggest that when or if you choose to store food in Mylar bags you do extensive research on what you can store and how to do it properly so that it doesn’t go bad in the Mylar bags. I am not a professional at all and am just sharing with you what I have done and will share future updates on how they all turned out. For me I used 5 mil sized Mylar 1 Gallon bags and a plain old iron to seal up the bags and 1000cc oxygen absorbers to take the oxygen out of the bags. The recommended oxygen absorber for a 1 Gallon Mylar bag is 300cc-500cc I believe I ordered the 1000cc because I had a hard time finding the others and so that’s what I got. Now even though I got a much larger absorber means it will work just fine but I would have been fine with a 500cc as well. No big deal as it will do the job it needs to do!

Above are the bags I put together recently I did several bags of various types of dry beans and some bags of Jasmine rice as well. On each of them I made sure to label what the contents of each were with a black permanent marker and then wrote the date I packaged them up. Even though it may sound a bit funny on the beans I also wrote that they will need to be checked for rocks before using as usually you will find small pebbles that look like beans in with the actual beans. It is always better to be safe rather than break a tooth or worse!

How did I do this whole process of packaging and sealing them up?

  1. Well first I took each 1 Gallon bag and set it in a pitcher like the pictures below.
  2. Next I carefully poured each type of food I was storing in this case each type of beans in the correct bag in increments of 3-4 lbs. in each bag. I stored black beans, 16 bean soup, & pinto beans. Then of course a few bags of Jasmine rice as well.
  3. I sealed each bag with a hot iron on the edge of my table. (You can use a wooden board for this as most people do this but I figured this would work for me as I did not have a spare board lying around). I made sure to leave a space big enough to put the oxygen absorbers in later for the final sealing. I set them all aside for them to patiently wait until I was ready for that very last step of final sealing them.
  4. I made up 10 bags of food in Mylar bags, this is important because this was the amount of oxygen absorbers in one pack. I would be able to use all of the absorbers in that one pack so none was wasted because I do not have a canning jar to seal them in to keep them fresh for longer.
  5. For that last step I set up each bag in a tote and made sure each had that opening meant for the oxygen absorber opened enough to quickly put it in then seal it up when I set my timer, because you have roughly about 15 minute to get them in the bags and sealed up before they are useless. Note: to make sure they are good to even use check the pack for an indicator that should still be pink as ever package of oxygen absorbers should have an indicator sealed inside with them to tell if they have been compromised or are still good to use. Pink is good white is not!
  6. Once I got them prepped I started the timer and went to town placing the oxygen absorbers in each first then grabbing each bag to finish the seal with a hot iron. I sealed the bags on both sides to make sure they were sealed and to double check I checked each seam just to be sure. The whole process to add the absorbers and to then seal each of the 10 bags only took about 6 minutes.
  7. For best results I will be storing them in a tote that is a solid color with a lid. To keep the light out in our basement which will also be great because it is naturally dark, cool, and dry.

    You want to make sure that when storing food it is sealed in some container to keep bugs out, that it is somewhere cooler to keep it from spoiling, and also that it is not somewhere that will get wet or where there is moisture even if the food is sealed in Mylar. Always take precautions because it could mean the difference between starving and not starving some day!

Setting Up a Rotating Pantry

My family has been fortunate to be able to purchase some Mylar bags and oxygen absorbers for longer food storage but it is not required. They are a bit expensive and a lot of places were starting to go out of stock and weren’t expected to get them in anytime soon at least the correctly thickened ones that are meant to last a long time. As there are different sizes of thickness for Mylar bags that effect the ability for the bag and product inside to last for longer and shorter time frames. The recommended thickness is at least a 5 mil or higher as they tend to give the longer storage times versus a lower thickness of a bag. They will hold up better and will keep their seal when they are thicker. I got all of my Mylar bags and oxygen absorbers from a combination of stores Pack Fresh USA and Discount Mylar Bags; I would recommend going directly through these companies rather than through Amazon because you would be in direct connection with the company selling to you rather than through another party. I find this to be the best way to do any kind of shopping for stuff like this.

I have done lots of research even before covid happened I had started this process before just never finished it well never really got going just learned about it through research. I have gotten a late start to this now and I think a lot of people have; so let me make something clear Mylar bags are not a necessity and you shouldn’t feel like you have to do food storage quick at the moment at least. Right now during this time where stores are restocking and people are calm is the time to build a food stock pile or rotating pantry nice and easy. No need to panic buy or rush.

Panic buying will only drain your bank/funds and leave you with nothing or possibly very little depending on when you do your panic buying which is usually at the very last minute possible when things have turned for the worse. Pretty much three months ago for a lot of people including myself. Instead be smart about your food purchases so by that I mean whenever you get your regular groceries grab some extra stuff that you don’t need and this should not be limited to food think about all of the things you need on top of food to make your lives easier like soaps, dishwashing detergent, laundry soap, feminine products, diapers, wipes, sanitizer, cleaning products, medications, and so much more! Just when you can grab a little extra when you are shopping and over time you will be surprised on how much you can accumulate by doing this. I suggest that you shop clearance items and if you are able to freeze things grab extra dairy products or meats and freeze them. You could even learn how to can food but that is if you can find the equipment needed for canning as of lately it has been quite scarce. You should figure up how much you and your family will need for at least a 3 month span then start accumulating that amount of extra stuff and food. Then after that continue to at least 6 months.

Other Things to Think About

So now you have established a plan and possibly started accumulating your Rotating Pantry now what? Well there are some things that you should think about which kind of ties into when I previous talked about storing food in Mylar bags it is sort of the same for any form of food pantry like storage. Where and how are you going to store your pantry and household items? This place should be dark, cool, & dry and free from insects or rodents if possible. If you do have insects or are worried about items be sure to place the items that would be vulnerable to damages into airtight lidded containers that are a hard plastic. Items such as boxed pastas, instant potatoes, or anything that would sustain damage from moisture, light, heat, insects, or rodents should be placed inside such containers. And then of course store these items so that they are easy to rotate so I would recommend organizing them for sure instead of just tossing them in a tote. This will be my next thing I need accomplish in my pantry when I can get all of the storage totes that I need to get that is.

Food and household items are very important things to stock up on but there are other must haves to think about. For instance if you have pets or other animals you need to think about keeping a food source open and readily available for them long term. You should also think of how you would provide clean water not only for them but for you and your family as well. A way to sanitize and clean your water so it will be drinkable is just as important as having a food plan. Then if you have animals depending on you as well as a family you need to think about how to accomplish this whether you get a water filtering system, invest in rain barrels for water collection from rain/snow, or if you invest in some sort of purification plan from other sources. There are a lot of ways to obtain fresh clean water you just need to figure out what will work best for your family and any animals you have!

Now what if a scenario happens that forces you to utilize your food pantry & water system for purification but the power goes out. What would be your plan for a power shut down? Most people depend on electricity in there homes to survive in these modern times but it would be wise to have a back up plan if the power grid were to shut down suddenly. A generator would be something to invest in but one with enough power to power items such as freezers and refrigerators’ or AC units and other important items that run on power. With this being something that would help keep freezer running which are important for my family because it preserves some of our food I would suggest a solar powered generator. Stocking up on enough fuel to run a gas powered generator long term seems like it may not be the right choice since a power grid outage would also effect surrounding business such as gas stations and fuel is a resource that would have to be replenished once it ran out. It would be very unpredictable to assume that you would always have access to a gas station in the future if something like this scenario ever happened in real life. Unless the sun all of a sudden goes out of commission you would have the best luck with a solar generator along with proper knowledge of how one works ect.

Speaking of knowledge being able to accumulate knowledge both in your head and in a physical book will be of great value because a book will generally last longer than the internet. The more knowledge you fill your mind with now will be able to help you in times that may happen later on when that knowledge isn’t readily available to learn at that time. Maybe you print off information from the internet, buy books, or simply copy from the internet or books by long hand if you don’t have access to a printer and also cannot buy books. There are tons of ways to accumulate knowledge but definitely worth investing in it in the end.

Finally one of the last things that is important to think about in preparing for just in case scenarios in this post is that you should make yourself familiar with growing your own food some way and all of the knowledge needed to not only grow your food but to also preserve it and keep it going year after year. It would be wise to learn this skill even if you just have a few plants in containers growing on a porch or if you have a full on farm with animals and crops. Being able to grow/raise your own food will be valuable if you ever ran into future scenario where food was scarce again not only for eating but also as a way to barter for other items that you may need and don’t have. You should not leave any stone unturned when it comes to learning new skills and preparing for the future just in case something like what happened just months ago happens again or much worse! Get prepared!


Thanks for reading my post and checking out my blog! Drop a like below and follow my blog for future posts. Check out some of my other posts why you are here and follow me on social media. Stay tuned for more posts coming soon!

Adventure, Review

Sunnie Press Review

You know me always on the look out for all sorts of neat and fun things; preferably something I can do with my boys that is both engaging and fun. I will start by saying that this is a review I am doing on my own and am not being paid and do not have an affiliation with this company.
I have been seeing these ads on Facebook for Sunnie Press for some time now and I thought it was a pretty neat idea but wasn’t sure if I wanted to try it out but after some debating I went for it. Stick around for my review down below but first I want to share what Sunnie Press is and what exactly they sell.


What is Sunnie Press?

Sunnie Press is a unique service that was based around the idea of providing a fun activity for kids without the need for TV or Video Games but still engaged them in something well fun! Every month a fun and exciting map is sent out to you; this map is huge and is meant to be colored and played with. Every month there is a different theme and something different to learn about on them by including fun facts about each design/theme. Maps feature map like designs that can be used for more than coloring. As long as your kids have big imaginations then the sky is the limit. (Map size is 20″ x 26″ and will be folded down to a 7″ x 10″ for mailing) with free shipping for all subscription rates.

How does it work?

  1. Just head on over to Sunnie Press.
  2. Click Subscribe.
  3. Then choose you subscription rate which starts at $8/per month, $7/per month for 6 months at a time, & $6/per month for 12 months at a time.
  4. Be sure to check out their social media pages for discounts on you first order. Here’s their Facebook & Instagram.
  5. Enjoy the Fun!

Speaking of Fun: Here’s a Review Over Sunnie Press

(This is not sponsored at all!)

Sunnie Press Fun Facts

  • You can order past maps when available. (Sometimes there are extra maps printed up and that means that you may be able to get a previous map ordered if you missed it before signing up! Keep an eye out.)
  • During checkout you can add your child’s name to the shipping address for some added fun; nothing like getting something special in the mail as a kid!

Our Thoughts

Color Explosion!

Seems pretty clear from the picture above that my kids loved this fun activity. They are still working on it and probably will for a while and even when they are done they can use their cars and other toys by playing a whole new adventure with the map. They are anxiously awaiting Octobers map to come in the mail, I have to keep reminding them that it is not October yet.

I think that for the uniquely low price just for the map and for the fact that shipping is free due to its size this is a great deal for the price and it is a fun activity for kids to work on and keep them busy with hours of fun.

I love that each map is different and that they have different scenery/designs on them. The fun facts on the maps are neat too. This one was for the month of September which features a Zoo print theme; on one side it is a map of a Zoo and on the other it has all sorts of fun facts on the different Zoo animals/creatures as well as some fun activities.

Sunnie Press is affordable and also very fun at least it was fun for our family. I do recommend trying this out and I have not had any issues or complaints to note. Be on the look out for a update post for the Halloween map coming in October. I am loving this awesome company and their unique product! So check them out at Sunnie Press.

Adventure, homeschooling, Review

Keep Calm and Read On!

Keep Calm & Read On, 20% off

Now seems like a great day to start a new adventure. In our house we tend to have a lot of different adventures that kind of just happen all around us. My boys are always full of energy and looking for some kind of adventure to go on or get into. We have been home for almost half a year now not going anywhere except to those occasional doctors appointments or if mom/dad need to run to the store. After a while being home all of the time starts to wear on you emotionally and physically. You get interactions through the computer or TV for the outside world but not like it was. My kids need to have things switched up to make things feel like they aren’t always the same because that is…. So boring! (as my 4 year old would say) He’s right it get’s boring after you do the same things over and over. To combat this we have started to change out toys switching between different sets and of course reading more books. Especially since school just started back for us just a couple of weeks ago. Reading has become something we do a lot of everyday. I read to my boys during their homeschooling as well as afterwards, if they are not tired of hearing my voice that is! My 6 year old is just now starting to read and is getting pretty great at it too. Just today he read through an entire book by himself with very minimal help.
I would say that reading has become a staple for fun in our household and that may be a weird thing to say for most people who might have already had a reading time implemented in their households. For our family books were a once in while thing like a super special time that we tried to do and that was if no one ripped, ate, or threw a book that day. My boys went through various stages of each of those…I as their mom was kind of in shock and wondered why they did those things. In my mind maybe they just weren’t ready for books. That might have been true then but today they are totally different for the most part about books. They have become more excited about them and believe me that didn’t just happen. I had to start over and over with book for my kids until I came up with a solution. We would create a library of sorts. If you wanted a book you would have to check it out and then return it if you wanted another or just a plain old toy. It seems to be working as its so far so good.
With that they have learned to take care of their books more during school and when school is over with. I also have started to feel more connected with them through books and learning. Every time I open a book they get so excited and we enjoy that time together.
According to The American Academy of Pediatricians “Shared reading promotes children’s language development, literacy and bonding with parents,” lead author Tiffany Munzer, M.D., said in a news release. “… We found that when parents and children read print books, they talked more frequently and the quality of their interactions were better.” I would definitely agree with that statement as I already mentioned earlier I feel closer to my kids being able to read books together. And I am loving the adventures and new memories we create together.
With schools starting back now during all the chaos whether you are homeschooling like my family or sending your kids back to physical school buildings I encourage you to make time for reading. Go on your own adventures to keep your minds busy and focused on fun things. Just remember to Keep Calm and Read On!


Keep Calm & Read On, 20% off

Recently I wrote a review for Bookroo HERE; check that post out to learn more in detail about Bookroo and their company. When I first learned about their awesome company I knew I wanted to be able to share them with you! Bookroo is a monthly box subscription service that sends books for children neatly wrapped up like presents in the mail every month. You have a few choices between types of boxes offered; there are three to choose from: The Board Book, The Picture Book, & The Chapter Book Box. Each for a specific age group (0-10 yrs). Each book sent out is individually wrapped in wrapping paper like little gifts I know that my kids were so excited to open the previous box they felt special when they got to unwrap their book. I think that wrapping them up give it a unique personal touch to this monthly box. It helps them stand out from the crowd! For the entire month of September Bookroo is offering a special promotion check it out below and follow the links provided to get the deal! Don’t forget to use the special code at checkout.

Bookroo has a very special promotion going on through the entire month of September 2020. Get 20% off any 3 month subscription with code KEEPCALM! Monthly or Gift included. (Code cannot be combined with any other offers or used more than once per household. Valid Sept. 1, (12:01 am ET) – Sept. 30 (11:59 pm PT).)

This month we were very fortunate to receive a second box from Bookroo to unbox for you! I am happy that I get to share this one with you as well. Bookroo offers three different types of boxes this one is the chapter book box. If you are more interested in seeing what the picture book box is like click HERE for my previous review/post.
Everyday for our homeschooling we have read aloud times where I grab a book usually a chapter book as they tend to last longer than a single day read and I read a chapter or two to both of my older boys. While they listen they usually have something to keep their little hands busy such as play dough or drawing in their reading journals over what I am reading about currently. I love being able to read to them and just share all sorts of adventures with them in every book that we read!
The chapter books came very nicely packaged just like the picture books came! Both were wrapped in different wrapping paper and I love that they are always wrapped in different kinds/designs of wrapping paper instead of it just being plain. My middle son helped with this unboxing he loved opening up “his presents”… I believe today was also his birthday party as he always says! He tends to have a birthday party every day. This made his day for sure.
Our first book is by Cornelia Funke; Lilly and Fin: A Mermaid Tale. This book looks like a great read for our home school read aloud’s. We are looking forward to going on another adventure, this one looks like it will take us “Under the Sea”. After we venture down to the deepest depths of the sea we will journey back to the surface for our next adventure!
For our last book it looks like we will set out for an adventure in the stars on a magical journey with The Star Thief by Lindsey Becker. This one looks like it is going to be a fun magical adventure for our school year. It is a bit on the thicker side so it will definitely last us a great while longer for our read aloud’s. Longer books also mean bigger adventures for our minds to escape into!
Again I encourage you to check out Bookroo so you can go out on your own adventures too! Grab a book and escape from today’s reality, set your mind on something great! Remember to Keep Calm & Read On!


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Keep Calm & Read On, 20% off

Adventure

Parenting: 5 Life Lessons

Parenthood can be a rough gig at times; its not all sunshine & rainbows. As a mom of boys its more like that movie Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs; they are messy little beings who spread chaos through my home. I feel like I spend more time cleaning up after them than spending time with them at times. 24 hrs a day 7 days a week, chaos! What’s that old saying? Boys will be boys; I wonder if that person who originated that saying ever did have boys! Boys are strange little creatures; I often catch myself trying to figure out why they do, what they do exactly. They are crazy and chaotic sure, but I they are mine. Being a parent of any kid not just rambunctious boys can be quite the task, you are responsible for another life. One that is not your own life. You have to feed, clean up after, and make sure that kid or kids are well cared for. When you become a parent your not allowed to be selfish anymore, unless you finally get some you time which rarely happens if at all for myself. There are going to be the best times ever on this parenting journey as well as not so great times. Both are learning experiences for parents and kids alike. I like to look at my life with my children as one big learning experience and since you only get one life it is the ultimate learning experience!

Photo by Tatiana Syrikova from Pexels

Everyday brings some new adventure to light; like when my 6 year old learned to ride his bike for instance. He kept trying and trying some days he wanted to give up but each time he tried, he learned something new until finally all of that learning payed off. I learned something as well; at the time I felt like maybe I had been too hard on him as I encouraged him to ride that bike every time we went outside. I pushed him to learn it, as I knew if I never helped him make that achievement he may have regretted it one day. That learning experience taught me that it is good to push our kids and try to get them to do something even if they fail at it for the first several times; because one day if you help them and guide them enough, they can be capable of victory! They just need to believe in themselves first!
Life lessons come in all shapes and sizes; during the course of our lives as parents you will learn many lessons. It’s a bunch of trial and errors; never a perfect thing. Parenting will push you to your limits at times. I find myself pushed to the edge on a daily basis; I am constantly having to help my boys think about things, remember things, and also reminding them things that they have already learned; day in and day out! I yell & scream, I laugh & play, and so much more as there is an unlimited amount of daily tasks I do as their mom. I am constantly learning new things about being their mom; new lessons for our adventure.

What lessons have I learned as a mom?

Lesson #1: It’s Okay to Mess Up.
I have messed up as a mom multiple times during my journey. Whether I say the wrong things or do the wrong things. I am by no means perfect. It’s normal to mess up. I’ve yelled at my kids gotten to the point that I felt like I couldn’t return; I messed up. Guess what? It wasn’t the end of the world, it was going to be okay. It’s okay to say the wrong things or do the wrong things as a parent, because its a learning experience this parenthood thing. Everyone is going to mess up at some point. Whether it’s getting too mad at your children or something else its part of being a parent.

Lesson #2: Failure is Something to Learn From.
As a parent you are going to fail. When you do, let yourself learn from it as it will only make you stronger in the end. Instead of seeing a failure in parenting your children as a bad thing learn to see it as a good thing. It is something that can be learned from. When you feel like you have failed your children think of it like, okay how can I? or what can I do differently next time? When we are able to change our state of mind we can change the situation and outcome the next time.

Lesson #3: Never Lose Your Control.
The title can be deceiving like what is this lady telling me! I mean you the parent need to be the one calling the shots, you need to be in control. A child is a child; they don’t have the mentality to make adult decisions until they have become an adult and experienced adulthood! Even if they are 16-18 years old they haven’t been out there in the world or at least shouldn’t have had to. They need to be treated like kids big or little depending on ages but never as an equal because plain and simple they are NOT! Kids need to have rules & boundaries otherwise they will never be able to learn any sort of respect toward you the parent or any other adult that will be in their life. They will walk all over you and see you as some sort of push over if you give them control; it is a must to stay in control both parents.

Lesson #4: Be Unique.
As a parent you may try to compare yourself to other parents out there; always striving to be more like them. You don’t need to be like some other parent. You need to be able to be your own kind of parent/parents to your children; being different is the way to go. No one person can be just like another so we as parents shouldn’t try to be someone we are not! I want to have my own parenting style not someone else’s. My parenting should be as unique as my children not someone else!

Lesson #5: Allow Wiggle Room
You need to have a set of rules in your household that is learned by everyone and is respected; it needs to be what is expected of your children in your house. However in giving these set of rules you should allow for some lenience. Some wiggle room if you will. Give them room to make mistakes. This can be a way for them to learn from mistakes. It also helps to not be too set in stone, as kids are going to make mistakes. Rules will only be respected if you can also be able to forgive, when they are broken.

What are some life lessons that you have learned as parents?
Any nuggets of wisdom for other parents out there?

I have learned so many lesson already on my adventure with my boys, and I know that there are many more to learn. I wish I could share them all with you, my readers. Being able to give some sort of guideline for how this thing called life works is a dream because that is not how it works. I will continue to learn along the way. If I had any advice I would suggest paying attention to each and every day. Treat each day differently; there will be a new lesson, if not more each and every day on your adventure. Don’t expect each day to provide the same lesson as before; be open to the new even if it is scary. Remember our roles as parents are crucial to the raising and well being of our children; what we learn will allow us as parents to teach our children and what our children learn just might teach us something as well.

Thanks for reading my blog! I do appreciate it and just hope my writings/words are helping and connecting with someone out there. Drop a like below and follow me on my social media links also below!

Adventure

Homemade Mac N Cheese

Welcome, here I hope to connect with you through my kitchen tips, tricks, and recipes. Sharing some of my kitchen knowledge with you!

Today I am going to take you through the steps of how I make homemade Mac N Cheese from scratch.

First thing that I do is take a large pot and fill it up about half way with water, you should have enough in the pot to cover the pasta you pour into the pot. You can use any kind of dry pasta; get creative you will find out what works best for you. I use whatever kind of pasta I have on hand. Pour the box into the water so that the water covers it and bring it to a rolling boil; cook until the pasta is Al Dente meaning not too mushy but not hard in the middle somewhere. I gauge it by the is this how I want to eat my pasta method. Just use your best judgment when testing the pasta as it cooks until it is the right consistency.

While the pasta is cooking I will take another pot or deeper skillet and melt about a half a stick of butter down on medium heat. You want to then add in flour by sprinkling it in with your melted butter whisking them together until it forms into a paste. At this stage is when you want to add in your milk. Then whisk until the milk is incorporated with the butter flour mixture. Then while continually stirring bring it to a boil, this will activate the flour as a thickening agent.

After it has started to boil reduce the heat and add in your cheese continuing to stir until the cheese is incorporated at this point you should have a thickened sauce; you can add more cheese depending on your liking. Cheese will help thicken it up. (if you have cornstarch you can follow package directions and use it instead of flour) I would add cheese to thicken it however if you messed up and its not thick enough you can add flour after the milk & cheese stage the only thing is that you may have some lumps of flour in your sauce.

Once cheese sauce is to a thickened consistency and you have drained your pasta. Mix both of them together with optional seasonings or meat/veggies to mix in. (you can add meat or saute’d veggies to add a little more to it). Your final product should look and taste like Mac N Cheese.


Recipe

Adventure

Grocery Budgeting Tips/Easy Meal Ideas

Yesterdays post touched up on budgeting on a tight income; I wanted to continue that discussion a little bit more. If someone else out there is struggling like our family is I wanted to add some things you can do to cut back on groceries and some quick meals that will help you scrape by.


Budgeting & Making a Grocery List/Order


First up having a budget for your money is crucial to being able to know how much you are able to spend on anything you need to buy. You need to know how much each check is going to be then subtract any bills out of that amount that is owed for that check period. If you have a bill that won’t be due until the next check figure out if it can wait or not. Its basic stuff I know but sometimes people may not think about it this way and being able to get those bills taken care of should be a priority. In saying that you have to be able to find a balance between bills and lets say starvation if its to that point. If I needed to get food versus paying a bill I wouldn’t just ignore it, never ignore your bills that just makes them worse, instead I would try calling the place where that bill is owed and seeing if they can work with me on it. I would explain my situation. Asking for an extension on a lot of bills is allowed; unfortunately some people do not know this, I mean I didn’t until a year ago. Now some places may not work with you but there are still options out there that can help you out.
In the past my family and I have used both food stamps through the government and our local food pantry through our city to help out with food for our family; there is no shame in it so don’t allow anyone to make you feel any less. I do believe that there are people that abuse the system and don’t really need it and those people have just given everyone all together a bad rap for using government assistance. Stand strong keep your chin up it will get better. Those programs through the government are there to help you when you need it, if you can get approved that is. Now I will say this after having it in the past and not needing it for a very long time there was a time not too long ago my family needed some help once again and after applying we were approved for a ridiculous amount of $2.00 for a family of four for a month. My husband was out of work due to losing a job and I was working my full time during the school year and then a part time job during the summer. We were barely getting by; I am not ashamed to say we needed help. After unfortunately being turned away via food stamps, we turned to the food pantry in our area until we could make it work ourselves.

Once you have taken out for the bills (I would include daycare or any other expense that may not exactly be a bill in the bill pile), you can more than like start your grocery budget. Some people will separate food items from other items we factor them all together since it is an expense coming out of grocery. I start by making a hand written list (feel free to type on up), on this list I write down everything that we need to get; I also simultaneously go through my kitchen and the rest of my house to figure out what items I am currently low on or out of.
After it is all written out I go back through and figure out if what we may have which is low is enough to make it by or if we indeed need to restock. Some things like soaps, toilet paper, paper towels, & detergents; if we have enough to scrape by we will do so. Once that is out of the way I go back down through my list and figure out what is a necessity vs. something that isn’t really needed right away with food items. I try to put my food items at the top of the list because you can’t eat paper or soap products but still factor them in as important parts of our home.
When making a list depending on where and how I am going to be shopping I will look at that stores ads. Being able to compare what is on my list to what is currently on sale at that store is going to save us money. If there is an item that I don’t normally buy like a type of brand that is on sale cheaper than what I had planned to buy I will switch to the on sale item. Brand name items are usually just that, brand name, you are paying more for a specific brand when the store brand or off brand is just as good and a lot of the time much cheaper!
Always shop the store ads; if you are a coupon’er or if you want to save more money use your manufacturer coupons with your in store deals and store coupons. A lot of stores allow you to stack in store coupons and deals with manufacturer coupons to give you a better deal. Check out The Krazy Coupon Lady to learn about how to start couponing, as this is an entire post on its own. I have learned so much from this site then of course venturing out on my own as I learned.

By now you have your list together you have gone through it at least three times maybe more; double and triple checking you are within your budget for the money you have available to use this grocery trip. If you are using online shopping you have a total price pretty much set up as online prices are pretty much on point unless something is out of stock ect. You will have gone through your cart or list making sure you have the best deal possible. I will note that if you are going into the physical store you have an advantage of possibly finding bonus clearance items that may help give you some wiggle room for your grocery haul in the long run. Always check the clearance aisles! Depending on the time of year you are shopping you may also find that there are deals running just for a specific holiday or time of year so always keep your eyes peeled for those prices on items that will make a great stock up deal for the rest of the year if you are able to budget that into your shopping list. A lot of the time being able to buy in bulk can save you money in the long haul if the price is right.

Now its time to shop or submit that online order. There is something about putting a shopping list together that pinches as many pennies as possible. It gives you a sense of accomplishment as you are saving your family money. That money could be useful for savings, an emergency situation, or just any other item that is still in your budget after everything else has come out (like gas money). When budgeting to have an extra even $20 gives a bit of a cushion; you should aim for more of a cushion for an emergency situation but sometimes my family is down to that last dollar. The cushion got used for the emergency of not starving this week!


Simple Meals Ideas to Make it Through

Let’s pretend it is the end of your two week grocery haul you are low on supplies; or it may be the beginning of your two week haul and you want some ideas of stuff to stock up on to make simple meals. I will try my best to give some ideas for simple meals my family utilizes quite often to just make it through. You may or may not have the items or all of the items needed.

  • Mac N Cheese is a huge staple in our house; whether it is made from a box meal or scraped together from scratch. It is an easy meal to put together. If you want to venture out in this direction, I encourage you to get comfortable in your own kitchen. Check out this post on my Meal Time blog page for a quick made from scratch recipe guide on how to make your own Mac N Cheese. Once you have the dish made you may want to spice it up by adding some saute’d veggies or some sort of meat product to it.
  • Simple Fried Rice. I will type out a quick recipe Here.
  • Ramen Noodles. Ramen is one of the cheapest pastas that you can buy, it its probably the best as food goes but it is cheap. You can make it a variety of ways and it will feed your family on the cheap. You make as the directions tell you to, then you can add in all sorts of veggies & meats of your choice if you want to or even eat it plain.
  • Butter Noodles; it is pretty darn simple. Boil the noodles of your choice and drain. Saute the noodles in a skillet with melted butter, salt/pepper, & anything else you wish to add to you pasta dish.

    Most pasta dishes are just so simple. You just need boiled pasta, Seasonings, & a Sauce of your choice. Most sauces like the cheese sauce I make in the recipe link above can be tweaked. I usually start off any sauce I am making the same way by making the roux (flour & melted butter (other oil) paste) then add in what I will use as a base from there. Perhaps some water & beef bouillon. I will sometimes cheat & just use beef gravy then thin it out to make a beef broth. You can also do a lot with rice. Get comfortable in your kitchen, it is okay to experiment if you have the resources. Cook more often from scratch/recipes or just cook period. You will become more comfortable in your kitchen over time. Learning to cook from kitchen staples is going to help pinch pennies & save money. Why buy something like pie crust or biscuit dough when you could make it your self! Flour, Sugar, Eggs, & Salt/Pepper can go a really long ways once you know how to utilize them to their full potential. It’s much easier to buy something that is pre-made but keep in mind it is also so much more expensive too.

How comfortable are you in the kitchen?
Do you have any tips or tricks?

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