Happenings on the Vine

Life has a way of just flying by. The last time I was on here, I had a miscarriage of our beautiful baby. I miss that child with a fierceness! There were many health issues as a result of the loss that had to be dealt with. I am so thankful for my health physicians. I was on the road to recovering and a few months later, we were blessed with the news that we were expecting again. This newest fruit has been a blessing and a joy! Our family has been growing by leaps and bounds. We have eldest fruit, the 2 littles in the middle, and baby fruit.

We didn’t put in a garden this year, much to my dismay. The groundhogs came back in the spring and it just wasn’t worth it to see all of our hard work eaten again. We enjoyed visiting u-picks this spring. I took the product of our labors and made a lot of jam….and I mean a lot of jam! Pretty soon it will be apple picking time and I will be able to put those up as well.

Eldest fruit has completed the 3rd grade. I am so proud of her and all of her accomplishments! The eldest male fruit (aka one of the littles in the middle) will be joining us this fall for kindergarten. I am looking forward to this year’s school, it looks to be a fun one! We have switched to Tapestry of Grace and I am excited to see how it fits our family. On the homeschool front I have decided to help start up a new homeschool community. I am in charge of communications via facebook, pinterest, and instagram. God has great things in store for this community! We have been blessed by the number of families that He has drawn to us.

On the debt front, we have hit our $6000 medical deductible this year. It is almost completely paid off! The insurance is now kicking in and paying 80% of our medical bills (yeah, kinda stinky). August and September are our busy months, debt reduction has been put off in favor of school supplies, school books, and fall clothes. We have decided to take a vacation this year and trying to keep it as frugal as possible. In order to come up with the money that we need, I have drastically reduced our grocery budget. I haven’t been able to stick to it 100% I went over by $4 the first week and $10 this week, mainly due to poor planning on my part. So what put us over? I decided to take the children out on an excursion, but I didn’t have any snacks ($4) and baby fruit has gone through a growth spurt, putting a run on baby food ($10). Thank goodness for Big Lots! I was able to go there and stock up on organic baby food ($.30-$.50 each). The only caution I have about buying food from there is to make sure to check the expiration date and plan accordingly. So by now you may be wondering what our grocery budget is.

$50

Yes that is right, I am attempting to feed my family of 6 on a budget of $50 a week. It has been more like $60 though. I am going to try to plan better so that I can get my bill consistently down to $50. No I won’t be able to afford everything organic, but I will do my best and I will feed my family real foods.

So that is what has been going on around the vine. What have you been up to?

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Psalms Prayer Day 2

Why do the nations rage and the people plot in vain? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against His Anointed, saying, “Let us burst their bonds apart and cast away their cords from us.” He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord holds them in derision. Then He will speak to them in His wrath, and terrify them in His fury, saying, “As for me, I have set my King on Zion, my holy hill.” I will tell of the decree: The Lord said to me, “You are my Son; today I have begotten you. Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession. You shall break them with a rod of iron and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.” Now therefore, O kinds, be wise; be warned, O rulers of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, for his wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in him. Psalms 2:1-12 ESV

How do we kiss the Son? I was blessed to be taught by a man on great faith, that we kiss the Son when by declaring His Words to him in prayer.

Dear Jesus,

Let us today kiss You with Your holy words. Many of our brothers and sisters are being killed for their faith. Just as You proclaimed Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all the nations for my name’s sake (Matthew 24:9 ESV) Thank You that You are our King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

Thank You for Your Word says He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away. And He who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.: Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are thrustworthy and true.” And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of water of life without payment. The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son. (Revelation 21:4-7 ESV)

Lord we wait for that day when all these temperal things shall pass away and You make all things new. You are our God and we are Your children. Thank You that You give us water from the spring of life, without payment. It is only through Your Grace, not anything we have done or can do. Thank You for being the beginning and the end. For what You start You finish and we can trust in You, for whatever You say, You do. Send Your Comforter to our brothers and sisters. Remind them of Your Word, of Your promises.

Soften the hearts of those that rage and plot in vain….against You and Your anointed (Psalms 2:1-2 ESV). Help us to Love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us (Matthew 5 :44 ESV) instead of pursuing anger, bitterness, or revenge. For Your Word says Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vegeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; of he is thirsty, give him someething to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.”  Do not overcome by evil, but overcome evil by good. (Romans 12:17-21 ESV) Lord this command goes contrary to our flesh, our human nature. Only through Your power can we do this. Thank You that You are the one who stands as Judge, for You are holy, worthy, and true!

Amen.

The Great Outdoor Weekend ~ Sept 28 & 29

Does the feel of sunshine on your face or the wind whispering through the trees make you smile? Well the end of this month might be for you! All of Cincinnati various parks, companies, and local attractions are coming together for the annual Great Outdoor Weekend. Is there something that you have been wanting to try but putting off because of time or money? This is your weekend! It is an awesome opportunity for the outdoor (or wanna be) enthusiast.

                                                         O’Bannon Creek Loveland Ohio

One of our family’s favorite places to visit is the Cincinnati Nature Center. The actual center itself has displays of local flora and fauna. The center also houses an interactive children’s play-scape that is always a favorite for the little ones. There are miles of hiking trails to enjoys the beauty of the woods, ponds, and creeks. For those that are concerned there are a few paved trails for easy wheelchair and stroller access. This weekend they will be hosting several events at the center including (but not limited to)  bird banding, hawks/owls/falcons…oh my!, and s’mores and more in the play-scape. The Cincinnati Nature Center is definitely something you don’t want to miss!

                                                     Little Miami River

Do you enjoy being out on the water? Here are a few ideas for you:

      

Great Miami Rowing Center

Row G.O.W.  It’s never to late to try rowing! With people taking part in the sport from ages 12 to 90, you should never feel like you missed your chance to get involved.

 

Izaak Walton League

This is a basic introduction to canoeing. Participants will learn how to select the proper equipment, maneuver the canoe with different strokes, and what supplies and equipment are needed.
 
Mill Creek ReCreation Celebration: Canoe Outing (w/ Mill Creek Yacht Club)

The canoe outing is part one out of our three-part event on Saturday, September 28. The event is free of charge; paddlers will receive a Mill Creek Yacht Club t-shirt. 
 
Kayak the Little Miami

ODNR Watercraft staff will take 4 trips of 8 paddlers from the Ikes Lodge to Lake Isabella on Ocean” Kayaks, a unique and forgiving open-cockpit type kayak.
Come early to reserve your spot! Reservations are required in advance.

For information on these events and more check out http://www.cincygreatoutdoorweekend.org/

 
 

                                               

Girl’s Night on a Dime

One thing that almost all women need is bonding time with their girl friends. A chance to let loose, talk to your hearts content and just be. In this hectic society that we live in finding time and money to make this happen can be difficult. Whether you are married, single, working, not working, we women need to have connection with our friends.

I had been having a blah day, just tired and over emotional. Nothing happened to cause it to be a bad day and in all honesty it wasn’t a bad day. I spent the afternoon exchanging text messages with a friend who was also having some stuff going on in her life. I sensed that we both needed some time away. So with a few quick phone calls to hubbies we arranged to go out.

It wasn’t anything glamorous but it was fun and well needed. We headed out to my gym where we soaked our worries away in the hot whirlpool, chatting and laughing. Then enjoyed (separate) hot showers. If you are a mother, you can understand how priceless it is to have a shower with out children interrupting. If you are married you also understand how wonderful it is to get a hot shower (and you didn’t even have to race your spouse to get it!) Actually that is one of the things I love most about my gym, I look forward to my showers after working out, it feels like a reward!

Afterwards we headed to Starbucks for a drink. Aside from the amount of gas to drive, that was the only money we spent, less than $4 each. We didn’t need to go shopping or out to eat, honestly if it wasn’t so late I don’t think we would have gone to Starbucks so we could continue talking. Both of us ended the night feeling completely refreshed having a chance to just get away from all the responsibilities that our lives entail. For me at least it gave me renewed energy to face the rest of the week.

What do you enjoy doing when you hang out with your friends? Do you find that you spend a lot of money when you hang out with them?

How to get rid of fruit flies naturally

I don’t know when or how, but our house was invaded by an army of fruit flies. They didn’t take long to start multiplying! I must have brought them home with something from the store or the farm. A week ago I was telling a friend about my problem and she told me how to get rid of them. At first I was a little skeptical but out of desperation I finally gave it a try

It’s a little hard to tell but there are 11 of those little buggers dead in that bowl. So what was my friend’s tip? I combined dish soap, apple cider vinegar, and water. That’s it! I filled the bowl up left it on the counter and a few hours later, Voila! So thankful for my dear friend. I can’t wait to tell her how well it worked.

New Target Deals 7/28/13

After checking out the target ad and the target coupons, I made yet another trip to Target. So here are the deals that I got today:

2 up & up 24 packs of crayons @ $0.25/each (on sale)
2 up & up bottles of glue @ $0.25/each (on sale)
– combined with $1.00 off any 4 up & up school supplies mobile coupon = FREE!!!

Annie’s Cheddar Snack Mix $3.39
– target online coupon $0.50 off combined with manufacture coupon $0.50 off = $2.39

Right Guard $2.99
-target online coupon $2.00 off = $0.99

Target pasta sauce $0.97 (on sale)
Target pasta $1.00 (on sale)
-Target online coupon $1.00 off when you purchase both target pasta & sauce = $0.97

Target 6 ct bagels 2/$2.50 (on sale)
-combined with target online coupon $1.00 off any 2 (6ct) target bagels = $1.50

Target Ice Cream $2.79 (on sale)
– target online coupon $1.00 any 1.5 qt ice cream = $1.79

Target Organic Raw Wildflower Honey $1.98 (on clearance)

Deals this Weekend 7/27/13

 So my family was in need of a few things and in want of a few others this weekend. Have you ever done that? Stopped to evaluate a purchase to decide if it is a need or a want? I am trying to get in the habit of that, although it can deflate your shopping bag if you are truly honest with yourself. Not that it isn’t ok to get wants, it’s just when you are on a budget they might be less often.

So here are a few of our wants:
1. A new swim suit  for our oldest daughter. She currently has one that fits really well and the others are getting small. Since we are going on vacation in less than 2 months (excited to share our trip!) we wanted her to have 2 suits. One for the ocean and the other for the pool. We were able to pick up a cute one at Old Navy for just $5! It was an awesome deal and our bank account was happy for only a small dent.

2. School Supplies- You might be thinking, wait aren’t these necessary? Yes and no. We already stocked up on school supplies a few weeks ago. This trip our daughter wanted to purchase a small composition notebook so she can keep a journal. As we walked into Walmart we were greeted with a list of suggested donations for a local organization that gives children in need school supplies. Mindful of our budget here are a few items we picked up to donate:
6 pocket folders with clasps $0.15/ each
2 composition books $0.50/ each
4 packs of 24 crayons $0.25/each
2 packs of #2 pencils $0.47/ each

Even though it was just a little bit it was nice because it sparked a great conversation with 2 of our children (the 3rd is still a baby). We explained why we were purchasing them and talked about how blessed we are. Which in turn also lead to talking about gratefulness. I love taking these little life moments and using them to teach!

Our needs:

1. Underwear for our middle child. He has almost out grown his underwear, so when we found a 7 pack of licensed characters at Target for just under $6 we grabbed them up!

2. Groceries. I picked up a few of our groceries and was able to get some great deals! Annie’s mac and cheese was on sale 10/$10, croissants for $1.79, (2) 16 packs of tortillas for $0.69, (3) Applegate Sunday Bacon $2.49 each, and finally a free tube of Colgate toothpaste! Yes FREE! Kroger’s had a online coupon that you can load onto your plus card for a free 4.6 tube of Colgate toothpaste!

3. Winter Clothes– Thanks to some shopping a few months ago I bought some winter clothes for the baby and our son at Gymboree (on clearance!) I spent enough on them to earn Gymbucks. This weekend is the last weekend to redeem them and I was able to purchase 4 new pairs of pants for $25 for our 7 year old.

So what great deals do you score this weekend?

Welcome to Happiness on a Dime

Daises are such a cheerful and whimsical flower! Pure white petals full of promise, surrounding a sunny yellow center. These happy little flowers seem common place next to exotic lilies or romantic roses. Yet these flowers never fail to bring a smile to my face. I’m a daisy type person. I may seem common place, but I have a lot going for me. So why do I fall into the trap of keeping up with the lilies and roses (aka The Joneses)? It to took me a long time to figure that out and I am guilty of forgetting sometimes. What I have learned is that trying to be something that you are not can breed discontentment. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to live life like that. This blog is dedicated to my learning how to live a cheerful, happy life, even if it is only on a dime!