Wednesday, February 29, 2012

"Faux Crab Cakes" with Tuna & Quinoa & Pear salad

Tuna & Quinoa "Faux Crab" Cakes

Here is what my mixture looked like when I was done mixing everything in.

  • 1/3 cup prechopped red bell pepper
  • 2 tablespoons Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt 
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 green onions, chopped 
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten 
  • 1 1/3 cups panko (Japanese breadcrumbs), divided (we used a brand called Ian's)
  • 2 cans of tuna in water, drained 
  • 1 cup of red quinoa, steamed in rice cooker 
  • 1 cup of fresh parsley, chopped


  1. 1. Combine first 6 ingredients. Add 1/3 cup panko and tuna; toss gently. Add whole cup of cooked quinoa to the mixture & stir. Divide tuna mixture into 8 equal portions; shape each into a 3/4-inch-thick patty. Place remaining panko in a shallow dish. Gently dredge patties in panko.
  2. 2. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons coconut oil to pan. Add 4 tuna cakes to pan; cook 4 minutes on each side. Remove from pan; keep warm. Repeat procedure with remaining oil and tuna cakes.
Serve warm with homemade seafood sauce and a salad.

This was a yummy dinner, cheap & healthy!

Homemade 1000 Island Dressing:

1 cup of Greek yogurt
1 cup of organic ketchup
1/4 cup sweet pickles diced
1 teaspoon of agave nectar
a dash of red cayenne pepper

Pear Salad recipe:

Arugula & spinach (or any greens)
1-2 pears, sliced
1 cup crumbled goat cheese
1 cup of toasted walnuts
salt & pepper to taste

Leave a comment and let me know if you tried these recipes and how they turned out.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Stewardship & Tithing message featuring Pastor Lance Hahn!

This ties in to the Money-tip-Monday series I have been doing based on Biblical finances. I was going to share with you what the Bible says about tithing, but after listening to our pastor's sermon, I thought he did a much better job explaining it.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Homeschool Helps-American Revolution Lapbook Resources & Printables!

The American Revolution

We have been studying about the American Revolution in our homeschool, and I thought I would share some of our resources with you! :)

Our Revolutionary War Lapbook:

We used mostly Homeschool in the Woods' Time Travelers: American Revolution on CD-ROM to make our lapbook.

026598: American Revolution: Time Travelers on CD-ROM American Revolution: Time Travelers on CD-ROM
By Homeschool In The Woods

The American Revolution is filled with well-known stories and heroes. Experience it to the fullest with Homeschool in the Woods' "The American Revolution" CD-ROM. Make a haversack or a booklet with this fun, hands-on approach to learning. 25 Lessons may be spread over 5-10 weeks, and include creative writing, colonial recipes, factfile cards, a file folder game, science experiments, notebook timeline, notebooking activities and more. Text and project overview pages keep lessons on track, while masters, photos and drawings make for easy lesson planning. Teacher helps, keys, resource list and "guide at a glance" included. Grades 3-8; 1 CD-ROM.

Here are some lapbook freebies that I found as well. They both have free printables!

Notebooking Nook

Homeschool Share

We have also been watching these videos on Netflix & we are almost finished with them. They have been a great learning tool for all of us. They have made the events and people involved in the Revolutionary War understandable. I highly recommend watching this with your kids!

Product Description-
Caught on opposite sides of the revolution, Benjamin Franklin and his teenage reporters, American colonist James and young Englishwoman Sarah, confront the real, physical dangers of war. As the conflict rages, James and Sarah are compelled to choose between their friendship and their countries, their understanding of good and evil, and the moral dilemmas inherent in war. All the while trying to look after the mischievous Henri, an immigrant French boy whose comical escapades constantly lead them into trouble, as the three bear witness to the highs and lows of the American Revolution.

Starring news legend Walter Cronkite as Benjamin Franklin and including guest starring roles by award-winning actors and real-life historical figures like Dustin Hoffman, Annette Benning, Michael Douglas, General Norman Schwarzkopf, Sylvester Stallone, Arnold
Schwarzenegger, Billy Crystal, Ben Stiller, Whoopi Goldberg, Liam Neeson and many more! The complete Emmy and Humanitas Award-nominated Liberty's Kids is finally available on DVD in one six-disc collectors set!

Here is a slideshow I put together of other children's educational products involving the American Revolution. Click on the picture for more information about it.

Happy Homeschooling! :)

Saturday, February 25, 2012

What's For Dinner? - Shredded Chicken Salad & Whole Wheat Quesadillas

Shredded Chicken Salad & Whole Wheat Quesadillas

I found this recipe through Pinterest & modified it a little. This is the blog that it was originally from & where I got the picture from too. It was gone before I had the chance to take out my camera, that is how yummy it was! Ours looked a lot more green since we added arugula, but this gives you an idea of what it looked like.

2 chicken breasts, boiled & shredded
2 limes, freshly squeezed
1/2 tbsp. cumin
salt to taste
1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1/4 onion, diced
1 can black beans, drained
1 bag of arugula lettuce
1 chopped avocado

Toss in a bowl & serve cold with whole wheat quesadillas and homemade salsa! :)  

We made homemade salsa/pico de gallo to go with this. Again, this is so delicious that it was gone before I could snap a picture, so I pulled this off of the internet. But it looks a lot like ours. :)
Here is our recipe for our Homemade Salsa:

4-6 fresh tomatoes depending on how red you like it :) (quartered to fit into the food processor)
1/2 cup fresh cilantro (I like cilantro but if you don't, you can add less or omit)
1/4 red onion (quartered to fit into the food processor)
4-6 cloves of garlic (I really like garlic so you can modify this to your liking)
1 green jalapeno pepper with the seeds removed
1/2 lime freshly squeezed
salt to taste

Put all ingredients in a food processor & pulse until desired consistency. Serve cold with tortilla chips.

Buen Provecho!

Family Fun Night-Friday!

Hi ya'll,
Now that I have fixed the design of my blog, I can focus on more important things. Like Family Fun Night! Yay! If you have read my earlier posts, you know that hubs & I are trying to be faithful in keeping Fridays as "Date Night". Now, that can mean just the two of us or all of us as a family. My husband did the honor of picking a date idea out of our "Can O' Dates" bucket & (after scratching a couple of the ideas we didn't think would work this time around) wound up picking "Karaoke Night"! Whew! Luckily we already had this small karaoke machine. It hooks right up to the T.V. so that you can read the words on a big screen.

So we all grabbed a microphone & tried our best. Though we had some laughter, tears, & off-key singing, it turned out to be a fun & FREE way to have entertainment for the evening and the best part was we were all in it (suffering- HA!) together. Gotta love those times.

We also had an awesome Mexican-style dinner!
I wasn't able to take a picture because it was so yummy, it was already gone before I had the chance to take my camera out! I will post the recipe above in a separate post.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Blog ReDesign

Hi Friends,
I am in the process of working on a blog redesign. I will start posting again when the new blog design is finished! Thank you for your patience. :)

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Homeschool-FREE President's Day Crafts & Activities!

President's Day Finger Puppets

What you'll need:

  • Blue and black construction paper
  • Cellophane tape
  • Lincoln-head penny
  • Washington-head quarter
  • Scissors

How to make it:

  1. Cut two three-inch squares, one from each of the construction sheet colors.
  2. Roll each square into a tube that will slip over your finger. Secure the roll with cellophane tape. Note: By using tape instead of glue, the coins won’t be harmed.
  3. To make the Lincoln puppet, tape the penny to the black paper tube at roughly an inch below the top.
  4. Cut a thin rectangle from the black paper for the hat brim. Tape the brim along the top of the head.
  5. To make the Washington puppet, tape the quarter to the top of the blue paper tube.
  6. Cut a one-and-half-inch square from the blue paper for the hat.
  7. Fold the square in half, corner to corner, making a triangle.
  8. Cut a slit out of the center fold of the square to make an opening. Once again fold the square in half, this time folding the opposite corner to corner, making a triangle.
  9. Slip the hat over the top of the tube finger puppet.
  10. Tape both halves of the triangle together.


  • Dress them up by adding details to the puppets using collage materials. You might want to add a gold sequin medallion to Washington's hat, for example, and some white doily paper to the chin for a lace collar. For Lincoln, try adding a shirt collar made from white paper, and some buttons.

Pretzel Log Cabin

What you'll need:

  • Small empty milk carton
  • Pretzel sticks
  • Chocolate frosting or peanut butter
  • 1 Rolo or other tubular shaped candy
  • 1 square cracker
  • Scissors
  • Hot glue or tape

How to make it:

  1. Cut the top flap of the milk carton off and tape or hot glue it closed to form the roof.
  2. Spread chocolate frosting or peanut butter on one side of milk carton then cover with pretzels. Repeat this step all over the milk carton until log cabin is complete. You may need to break the tips off of some of the pretzels to make then fit up the sides.
  3. Break a square cracker in half, then break one of the halves in half. Spread some frosting or peanut butter on the back of the first half. “Glue” it to the front of the cabin as the door. Repeat this step with a smaller broken piece for the window.
  4. Spread some frosting or peanut butter to the bottom of Rolo and stick to the roof.


  • You can make this a larger project using any box and large pretzel logs. 
  • This is an edible craft project, just be sure you check for allergies, especially if using peanut butter as your glue. 
  • Ask children to save their milk carton from their school lunch and wash them out thoroughly before using.

Download this FREE at the link below:

President's Day Barrister Wig

This is a tutorial on how to make a judge's or barrister's wig. This costs less than $5 and takes about 3 hours to make.

Get a cheap fiber Christmas tree skirt ($2.00 after Christmas sale), like the blanket of snow you might put under your Christmas village. It is the same rolled polyfill batting that is sold in fabric stores. Use a ballcap for the base (after you remove the bill) and mold the batting around it.

Make a seam down the middle for a part. Gather the back together then add a "ponytail" made from two flat pieces hot-glued together. Then tie it with a black grosgrain ribbon.

For the side rolls, take long strips of batting (approx. 5" wide) and roll them up like pastries, sewing them shut with a running stitch. Leave a little flap so you can sew one roll to the next. Remove the wig from the ballcap base and try it on periodically to make sure it fits and looks right.

Then make the "bangs". They are supposed to look like a "crewcut" in the front...not easy to do with fiber batting. Cut 3-4 lengths of batting 2" wide, clip the top side of each row and glue them, one below the other across the forehead area, then "fluff" them out.

Take a black sharpie and draw in some "grey" hairs to outline the various parts, especially the bangs and the swirled-up end of the rolls. Without the black outline, the whole thing will look like a bright white towel sitting on a head!

 Found this tutorial HERE

Friday, February 17, 2012

Anne of Green Gables Fan Appreciation Day!

Hi fellow kindred spirits!
Today is "Anne of Green Gables Fan Appreciation Day" & Sullivan Entertainment has some great downloads & freebies. Did you know that in the first Anne movie, the woman who played Mrs. Cadbury (the woman in charge of the orphanage who told Ann she selected her to be adopted) is Megan Follows' real mother, Dawn Greenhalgh? My middle name is Ann but without the "e" and I can relate to Ann's character in so many ways. If you have never seen or heard of "Anne of Green Gables" I encourage you to Google, Youtube, & hunt down the books at your local library. Especially if you have daughters. It is such a beautiful thing to share. It was the inspiration for the title of my blog!

Go to to download freebies & get discounts on Anne movies & other products!

Or check out the Amazon link below for more great "Anne" products at great prices:

Anne Products at Amazon

Homeschool Helps-Classical Conversations!

We have been using a program called Classical Conversations for the past 2 years. CC uses a classical method of instruction (from the beginning of time and moves forward from there). (Which has been so much easier to understand than the way I was taught history!) The children learn facts in sequential historical order in 3 different cycles starting with Foundations. Though we have chosen to teach our children CC at home with the memory cards and songs on CD, many parents join the local CC co-ops that are located all over the U.S. We have enjoyed learning this college level material to the tune of fun songs, games, & activities.
Here is how we use it:
First, I bought the Cycle 1 Audio CD, and the Cycle 1 Memory Cards on PDF
Then, I printed out the cards according to the colors CC prints theirs in. (You can pay $30 & they will make & laminate all the cards for you, or you can pay $15 and make them yourself) Since I had more time than money, I decided it would be better to make them myself. Plus, if they were ever lost or misplaced I would have the file to make new ones. Also, I was able to cut & make one set of cards for the kids to hold AND made another set that I didn't cut apart but just left them in sheets and put the sheets in page protectors in my CC binder. I had to call CC and ask them which colors went with which subjects.
I got a packet of assorted cardstock through our charter school & went to work.
Here are the subject-colors I used when I printed my cards:
The U.S. Presidents I left white & they are repeated in each cycle so your kids have 3 years to learn them;) Though they probably won't need that long since it doesn't take that long to learn a song!
They also do the same Math for all 3 cycles, so do not be discouraged if your kiddos don't have all of them memorized by the end of the year. There are other great ways to supplement (I will share more later).
Most of the memory work has songs to go with it except for Geography, Science & Grammar. So I went to my iTunes playlist and started matching-up songs with each memory sentence! Boy did that take a lot of work! But it was worth it when I noticed how much faster the kids were learning the facts since it was to the tune of a song.

Here are a few samples of the songs I have matched to the CC memory sentences:
Latin Noun Cases- to the tune- "Hickory Dickory Dock"
Five Kingdoms of Living Things-to the tune-"Farmer in the Dell"
Fertile Crescent-to the tune-"BINGO"
Prepositions-to the tune-"Yankee Doodle"
*Disclaimer-these are meant to help those that have already purchased the CC materials through their website*
Then I printed out my song matches & added them to my binder.
Then I went online and found pictures for the different subjects and printed those out & put in the binder. Voila!
I hope this has helped fellow CCers or anyone interested in CC.

Be sure to leave a comment if you have any questions! :)

To check out CC's website click here:

To purchase CC products for the K-6th grade click here:

Here are my kiddos practicing some of their CC memory songs! It really works! :)

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Tutorial Tuesday- Command Central Binder Mail Organization!

Do you have stacks of mail & paper piled on counters? Are you tired of not being able to find what you need? This has happened to me more times than I can count. I finally found a solution to all of the mail clutter! I stumbled upon this blog called Simplify 101. It has great tips on organizing, plus my favorite-The Command Central Binder!

What you will need:
* A 3-Ring Binder with Clear View front
* Subject dividers with tabs
* Items to put in your binder ( blank calendar, menu plan, financial docs, babysitter info, emergency info, medical info, etc)
(I just Googled blank monthly calendar & then put in page protectors, I typed up med info, & placed any loose important paper work in plastic 3-hole punch sleeves.)

That's it! Now comes the fun part-putting it all together! Here is how mine turned out:

I actually have a separate binder for my menu/recipes & another separate one for my coupons. The Command Central Binder is a great family go-to for everything else. Since I am usually the one who plans our family activities, my husband doesn't know what is going on unless I remember to tell him (usually last minute). This is a great way for the family to see what is going on & have everything accessible when you need it. No more searching around and no more mail clutter! I love it!

Leave a comment and let me know if you made your own. I would love to see how yours turned out!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Money Tip Monday-Stewardship & Challenge!

Everything we have been blessed with doesn't come from us. It all comes from the Lord who allots different amounts to His children, based on His plan and purpose for their lives. Someday we’ll be held accountable for the way we managed our allotments.
God owns everything and all blessings come from Him including our ability to work. When we recognize that we are just the stewards or managers of His resources, then we can see all of blessings we have to be thankful for.

Psalms 24:1 says, “The earth and all it contains is the Lord’s.”
Deuteronomy 8:18 says it is God who gives us power to make wealth.
In 1 Corinthians 4:7, Paul asks “What do you have that you did not receive?”

THIS WEEK'S CHALLENGE- Make a list of all of your possessions and then pray & thank God for each one. Then work on giving them back to God & surrender control of them to Him.
Leave a comment and let me know how it's going.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Date Night- Courageous Movie Review!

Date Night- Courageous Movie Review!

My husband and I attended a free event hosted by 103.9 The Fish and Destiny Christian Church. It was a screening of the movie "Courageous", free couple's pictures, dessert, and free raffle prizes. What a fun Valentines date night this was!

My husband & I saw "Courageous" when it came out in theaters. I cried so hard the first time I saw it. My friends were gracious enough not to tell me the details of the movie, so I went into it not knowing it would hit so close to home. For those that have not seen this movie yet, I will not give it away, however, I encourage you to see it! It is a great movie! Guys will for sure like it; and ladies, bring kleenex! :)

You can purchase the DVD by clicking on the link below:

197577: Courageous: Exclusive Collector"s Edition, DVD Courageous: Exclusive Collector's Edition, DVD
By Provident Music Distribution

The latest movie from the creators of Fireproof! Police officers Adam Mitchell, Nathan Hayes, and their partners are brave men well-equipped to deal with hardened criminals. But when they remove their badges, they face a more daunting challenge---fatherhood. As their children drift away from them, can these stalwarts find a way to defend and protect those nearest and dearest to them---and draw closer to God? Rated PG-13. Approx. 129 minutes.

DVD Features:
  • Widescreen
  • Languages: English 5.1 (Dolby Digital), Spanish
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, Chinese, Tagalog, French, Vietnamese, German, Korean
Special Features:
  • The Making of Courageous
  • Commentary By The Kendrick Brothers
  • Deleted Scenes
  • OUTRAGEOUS: Outtakes & Bloopers
  • Courageous In 60 Seconds
  • Heart Of Courageous
  • The Story of My Father
Exclusive Collector's Edition Features*:
  • Casting Crowns "Courageous" Music Video
  • A Church of Prayer
  • The Importance of Fathers
  • Role of a Lifetime: Rev. Daniel Simmons
  • Mark Willard: Ministering Through Music
  • Erin Bethea: Serving Behind the Scenes
  • Sherwood Pictures Retrospective
  • Sherwood Volunteers
* Additional features available only on Collector's Edition

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Thoughtful Thursday-Jesus Calling Devotional #1

I was given this devotion by a dear friend of mine and I absolutely love it! I try to imagine Jesus sitting in front of me, saying these words to me and it gives me strength and hope for my day.  Such a great way to start the day!

"Seek My face more and more. You are really just beginning your journey of intimacy with Me. It is not an easy road, but it is a delightful and privileged way: a treasure hunt. I am the Treasure, and the Glory of My presence glistens and shimmers along the way. Hardships are part of the journey too. I measure them out ever so carefully, in just the right measure, with tenderness you can hardly imagine. Do not recoil from afflictions, since they are among My most favored gifts. Trust Me and don't be afraid, for I am your Strength and Song."

Further reading: Psalm 27:8, 2 Cor. 4:7, Isaiah 12:2

Christianbook is having a 41% OFF sale on the "Jesus Calling" devotional book. Click on the link below to learn more or to get it now:

451884: Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His  Presence - Devotions for Every Day of the Year Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presence - Devotions for Every Day of the Year
By Sarah Young / Thomas Nelson

After many years of writing in her prayer journal, missionary Sarah Young decided to be more attentive to the Savior's voice and began listening for what He was saying. With pen in hand she embarked on a journey that forever changed her along with many others throughout the world. The result of these meditations is the classic devotional, Jesus Calling, Enjoying Peace in His Presence. In these powerful pages are the words and scriptures Jesus lovingly laid on her heart. A year's worth of daily readings from Young's journals are now available for you, in order to bring you closer to Christ and move you deeper into His presence and His everlasting peace.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

What's For Dinner- Wednesday- Super Energy Kale Soup with Kale "Chips"!

We had this for dinner last night and the whole family really enjoyed it! That is a very hard thing to accomplish!

Super Energy Kale Soup

This quick and easy version of potato kale soup has extra vegetables for more flavor and nutrition and takes little time to prepare.
Prep and Cook Time: Prep and cooking time: 40 minutes
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 5 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 medium carrot, diced into 1/4-inch cubes (about 1 cup)
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 2 red potatoes, diced into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 3 cups kale, rinsed, stems removed and chopped very fine
  • 2 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 tsp dried sage
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Chop garlic and onions and let sit for 5 minutes to bring out their hidden health benefits.
  2. Heat 1 TBS broth in a medium soup pot.
  3. Healthy Sauté onion in broth over medium heat for about 5 minutes stirring frequently.
  4. Add garlic and continue to sauté for another minute.
  5. Add broth, carrots, and celery and bring to a boil on high heat.
  6. Once it comes to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and continue to cook for another 5 minutes. Add potatoes and cook until tender, about 15 more minutes.
  7. Add kale and rest of ingredients and cook another 5 minutes. If you want to simmer for a longer time for extra flavor and richness, you may need to add a little more broth. 
 I also roasted another bunch of kale in the oven & made kale "chips" to eat with it or sprinkle on top of the soup. 

Directions for Kale chips:
Wash kale thoroughly and pat dry with a paper towel. Peel the dark green part of the kale away from the middle stalk and toss the stalk. In a mixing bowl add 1/4 cup of grapeseed oil, 3 cloves of fresh chopped garlic, and 3 dashes of sea salt. Whisk together. Then toss the kale in the mixture until evenly coated. Place on parchment paper covered cookie sheet at about 300 degrees for about 20 minutes or until kale is crispy.
(My whole family loves eating kale chips and the upside is that they are so healthy for you!)

Serves 4

* I also added zucchini, & brown rice to this soup to use up some ingredients I had in the house and it made it more filling. You can add any vegetables to this that you have on hand. 

Adapted from George Mateljan*

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Tutorial Tuesday-Creating Digital Valentines Using MS Word!

I found this cool tutorial here and wanted to share with you in honor of Valentines Day next week.

This is an easy project that can be done without fancy software through MS WORD.

You can make custom Valentines cards, gift tags, type your wedding vows, scripture verses with this technique and frame it! Wouldn't that be beautiful?
Here are the step-by-step instructions on how to format any text into the shape of a heart:

STEP #1: Type your text into MS Word. See picture below.

STEP #2: Save your document as an image. Highlight your text. Copy and paste into a new paint file. Save as .jpeg or .bmp file. Once you have saved the file as an image, open the image and crop away any white space.

STEP #3: Insert your "Auto Shape" heart in MS Word.

STEP #4: Fill your "Auto Shape" heart with your saved picture file from Step 2. Right click your shape. Select Format Auto Shape. In the Colors and Lines tab select Fill Effects. Click on the Picture tab. Select picture. Find the image you saved of your text. Insert and click OK. Remove border around shape by selecting No Line on the Colors and Lines tab.

STEP #5: Print and enjoy! You can resize your auto shape heart depending on your use of the graphic. Small or large and the text will adjust too!

Leave a comment and let me know if you tried this project and how it turned out! :)

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Money Tip- Monday- 5 Money Saving Tips!


If someone had told me years ago that I would be giving advice on money, I wouldn't have believed them. I was not really taught these principles when I was younger and have struggled with money in the past. But over the years I have learned, mostly by trial and error, the things that have worked and the things that haven't. My grandparents were actually an amazing Biblical example of how to be good stewards of the resources we are gifted with. They owned their home, they shopped at garage sales, they saved, they worked hard and were very careful where they spent their money. Since the economy crashed, my husband and I have searched for ways to save money. We have found these things to be helpful to us in saving money. I hope they can help you as well. :)

5 tips on Saving Money

1. Live on a cash budget- Get rid of the credit cards and ONLY buy what you can afford. If you cannot afford to buy something, instead of using a credit card, wait and save for what you want. You will not only eliminate more debt this way, but you'll feel pride in the fact that you saved & bought it in cash. We opened up a separate savings account and have a small portion directly deposited into it every month. It is not a lot, but it quickly adds up. Especially because it does not have a debit card attached to it. We intentionally did that so that it would make it more inconvenient to take money out.

2. Buy groceries, meal plan and eat at home- Eating out is very costly and adds up quickly. You can find tons of free recipes online and make virtually the same meal at home for a fraction of the cost. Planning your meals also eliminates the stress of scrambling around last minute to figure out what to make for dinner. Plus, you will be eating healthier since you know all of the ingredients that are going into your meal.

3. Rethink your hobbies and entertainment-These are other areas that can add up quickly. I used to compete in ballroom dancing. It added up & became a very expensive hobby. I have learned to reprioritize and find other things I enjoy doing that are free or inexpensive. We also shut off our cable and telephone (landline) services and only have internet through the local provider which has saved us hundreds of dollars a year. We subscribe to Netflix which has instant shows and movies without commercials and we like the educational videos they have for homeschool. We also use MagicJack instead of a landline incase of an emergency and our cell phones aren't working. We bought ours at Best Buy for around $30. It plugs into your computer and it works as long as you have an internet connection. I think there is a fee of like $12 a year or something, but this is very small in comparison to what we were spending per month for our phone service. Going to the movie theater can also be very expensive $40-60 for a family of four! There are options if there is a movie coming out that you just can't wait to see or want to support, such as Groupon or LivingSocial. You sign-up for free and they will send you daily coupons for your area for movie tickets, restaurants...etc. I have seen a Groupon deal before listing movie tickets for $1! Four dollars for a family of four? Now that I can do! :) But if you are able to be patient for a little while, you can rent New Releases for $1 through RedBox. Of course the library is another option for free movies, games, books, cds & more.

4. Shop smart- When you do need to buy items, check out Craigslist, eBay, garage sales, or thrift stores first. When grocery shopping, use coupons! It may not seem worth it to get the paper just for the coupons, but we have saved $20 in coupons in one shopping trip before. We subscribe ONLY to the Sunday paper and find it is well worth it for the extra savings. Some retailers such as Target, Sprouts, Whole Foods have printable coupons you can print from their website. Another place for couponing is Couponmom.

5. Save on Gifts- I very rarely buy brand new, name brand gifts for anyone. I used to, until I realized how much money I was spending on gifts. There are SO many creative ways to give a gift to someone. You can make them a mixed cd, you can bake them their favorite treat, you can give them a favor coupon (to mow their lawn, etc), you can crochet a hat or scarf for them. Just think about the unique personality of the person you are giving the gift to. Do they love to read? Go to a second hand bookstore to purchase a book you know they would love. I have found so many gift ideas on Pinterest. You can check out my pins if you click the "Follow me on Pinterest" red button on the right.

1 Corinthians 16:2
"On the first day of every week each one of you is to put aside and save, as he may prosper, so that no collections be made when I come."

I hope these tips can help you, friends! Leave me a comment and let me know which ones have helped you or if you have any other tips to share! :)