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Friday, November 28, 2008

Crescent Ham Bundles

A friend made these for us after F was born and they were so yummy the kids ask for them on a regular basis! The same friend had made us a variation with chicken after G was born. I've also made them with a turkey and gravy mixture inside, so this would be a great way to use some Thanksgiving leftovers! Basically, mix something up and wrap it in a crescent roll and it will almost always be yummy! You can also freeze these for later, so often if crescent rolls are on sale I'll buy a bunch and make up a few batches of bundles (or packets, as my kids call them) and freeze some.

-- makes 12
2 -- 8 oz. packages diced ham (or 3 cups cooked chicken or turkey)
1 -- 8 oz. tub chive and onion cream cheese (or cheddar cheese, or both mixed)
5-6 T. melted butter
3 T. milk
1/2-3/4 t. salt
1/4-1/2 t. pepper
3 tubes (8 oz. each) crescent rolls
1 c. crushed croutons OR seasoned bread crumbs (I used the latter)

In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, half the butter, milk, salt and pepper until smooth. Stir in the ham. On a greased work surface, unroll crescent roll dough into 12 rectangles (4 per tube; each rectangle contains two crescent triangles). Press dough perforations together. Spoon a little less than 1/2 c. ham mixture into center of each rectangle. Bring short ends together and pinch to seal. Take each remaining end and fold upwards towards other seam; press to seal. Pull the dough slightly along both ends to really seal the bundles as well as you can.

Brush each bundle with butter, then sprinkle crumbs on top, pressing crumbs down slightly so they stick. Bake on ungreased cookie sheet for 20-25 minutes at 350, OR freeze bundles on a cookie sheet first, then wrap individually in foil for later use. Thaw before baking.

**I've found you can skip the butter to cut down on some fat because the crumbs will often stick to the bundles pretty well without it. You can even go without the crumbs altogether and just bake them as is.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Things I'm thankful for:

My wonderful husband
Our 4 beautiful girls
Ted's job that allows me to stay home with said girls
Our extended family and friends
The home God has provided for us
The freedom we have to worship God freely and proclaim His name
That gas prices have gone down! :-)

Obviously this isn't an exhaustive list, but it's a great start! It's great to count our blessings, not just at Thanksgiving, but all throughout the year. What are you thankful for?

Monday, November 24, 2008

Sock Rings

Do you hate sorting and pairing up socks? It's not so much that I hate it, but it just takes time, which is a precious commodity for me. While growing up, it was a precious commodity for my mother as well. She had 4 kids, too, and didn't have time to sit around finding matches for hundreds of socks. So as long as I can remember, I've used sock rings.After you wear your socks, you put both socks together and push them through a sock ring. Throw them into the washer and dryer (sock rings are safe to launder) and then back into the drawer, still paired up! They are sold in many colors, so each person in your family can have a different color, making sorting laundry that much easier! Some worry that they would leave a dirty ring, but I've used them for almost 30 years and have never had a problem!

Sockpro sock rings are made of rubber and come in 5 colors. They offer free shipping if you order 3 or more packs, their best value. This is the type I use now, and they seem to hold up well so far.

Sock Locks are made of plastic. They have 7 colors and are cheaper, but you also have to pay shipping. This is the type I used growing up. The plastic teeth eventually break off, leaving just the ring, but they still work for a LONG time.

As far as I know, sock rings can only be bought online. Christmas gift idea, maybe? I'm telling you, I love these things!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Mapping McDonald's

When we do road trips, we like to stop at McDonald's along the way because they have playlands so the kids can burn off some energy from all that sitting in the car (what we affectionately call "car butt")!

I discovered a nice resource a few years ago for mapping out which McDonald's have playlands along our route. Go here and click on McDonald's Trip Planner. Type in your addresses and hit submit. They will give you directions that you can print out (like MapQuest), but look between the map and the directions. There's a box that says "Show me the McDonald's along the way" and then I change the drop down box to within 0.25 miles because I want easy-on/easy-off locations. It comes up with a list of McDonald's locations along your route and you can see on the menu which ones have playlands. I mark them on our map so that I always know how much further to the next playland.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Doing Him Good

Awhile back, Shari pointed me towards the blog Girl Talk where women were sharing ideas of how to do your husband good:
"She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life." Proverbs 31:12

Because of the busy-ness of life with young children, this is an area that us moms can sometimes forget about, being intentional to bless our husbands. This is something I've been thinking more about lately, especially after seeing the moving Fireproof. As much as our homes and our children are screaming for our attention, our marriages need it, too.

A couple weeks ago we were talking in our Bible study about showing love in our speech and in our actions. We may love our husbands, and even feel loving feelings about them all day long, but if we aren't taking the time to tell them and to show it, will our husbands see that love?

One of the things I try to do to show love to my husband is to make our home a sanctuary for him. I want him to enjoy coming home, so from when my first was a baby, I started I try to make his arrival a fanfare. I yell, "Yeah! Daddy's home!" and we all go running to the door to hug and welcome him home. This always brings a smile to his face, especially after a long day at work. It shows that we love and value his presence.

I also asked him awhile back, "what are 2 things I can do to make you feel more relaxed when you come home?" It can feel overwhelming when you have a to-do list a mile long, but narrowing it down to 2 specific things that your husband would appreciate makes things more manageable. With 4 kids ages 5 and under, housework isn't my top priority. Thankfully, my husband is full of grace in this area! However, there are a couple things that make him feel better, like an empty sink. Personally, I hate doing dishes, so I let them pile in the sink throughout the day. But when I know he is on his way home, I try to take a few minutes to load the dishwasher. (Often it needs to be unloaded first, so the loading doesn't always quite get done, but I do try!)

And most importantly, make sure you are praying for your husband. Every so often, ask him what you can be praying for specifically.

Now I'm the first to admit that I don't do these things every day, but I try to, and when I do, I know it makes a difference to him. I love my husband, and I want to do him good, and not harm, all the days of his life.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Better than Free Toothpaste!

This week CVS has Colgate Total toothpaste Buy One, Get One Free. They are $2.79. Print off two coupons for $1.50 off, and get two tubes of toothpaste for better than free!

*In my experience, CVS didn't give overage, so buy a little something extra to absorb the extra .21.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Too Many Blogs?

It's true that blogging begets blogging. Once you start reading blogs, you find more blogs and subscribe or bookmark them to read later. Some bloggers post once a year, once a month, once a week, once a day, or even more often! I am subscribed to 35 blogs, and they all post at a different frequency. Once you are following several blogs, things can get out of hand quickly!

At first, I tried bookmarking all the blogs I was following and tried to check them every so often, but sometimes there would be nothing new and sometimes there was a lot to catch up on! This was very time consuming because I had to physically click on each blog to see if something new had been posted.

Then, some of my blogging friends offered subscription via email (with FeedBurner or FeedBlitz). This worked pretty well for the ones who offered it, because I would get an email each time they updated their blog, so I was able to take those off my bookmark list. It helped, but not everyone offered this option. Plus, sometimes my email would play tricks and people's blog posts would get buried in my inbox, or I'd get the update much later than they had posted it.

Now I keep tabs on my blogs with Google Reader. It's like a separate email box for your blogs, and it makes it easier to organize them. It has REALLY simplified things for me. (Again, thanks to Ted for helping me set it up!)

Once you have set up your iGoogle page, add a gadget for a reader. When you click on this gadget, it will open up a new window with your Google Reader. On the left side, you'll see a green bar that says "Add Subscription" and "Discover". If you know the exact web address of the blog you want to subscribe to (like, just enter it into the box and you're done! If you don't know the exact address, you can click "Discover" then on the "Browse" tab. Scroll down to where you can search and browse based on keywords. You can subscribe to any blog that is public. (You'll still have to manually check the ones that are private.) This is called an RSS feed, and is what the little orange box is for on my right sidebar. After you have set things up, if you see a blog you want to subscribe to, you can click on the orange button and it will add it to your Reader.

Now when you open up your Google Reader, the blogs with updated posts will be in bold. As you scroll through them, they will be marked as read and won't be bold anymore. However, if there's a post you want to read, but don't have time for, or one that you want to save for later, you can mark it as unread on the bottom of the post and that will leave it in bold. Another option is to star the item and then it will be kept in a special box. Ted uses this option a lot, but I'm not particularly fond of it, because "out of sight, out of mind" means I'll forget about it if it's not in bold!

Another benefit is that the Google Reader is updated throughout the day, so you rarely miss anything, whereas an email subscription usually only goes out once a day. I hope this helps you with your blog management! It sure has helped me!

Monday, November 17, 2008


Google has a fairly new option for making your own homepage, called iGoogle. I was skeptical at first, but now I am totally hooked (thanks to Ted for helping me set it up)! Let me tell you the reasons I think it's so cool:

  • You choose gadgets to customize your homepage, even a header you like
  • You can centralize all your bookmarks with a bookmark gadget, so that you can log onto a computer anywhere and have all your bookmarks on your homepage (this alone is awesome!)
  • You can easily set up a Google Reader to manage your blog subscriptions (I'll explain this later)
  • You can have separate tabs for home, work, games, etc.
To get started, go to Google and in the upper right hand corner, click on iGoogle, select your theme, and then customize your page by adding "stuff" (on the right side). When you search for gadgets, I recommend adding one for bookmarks. You can also have one for your yahoo, gmail, or other mail account so that you can click straight to it from your iGoogle homepage. You can also add a Google Reader now (I'll help you set it up later). You can click and drag your gadgets around until you like where they are on your homepage. If you think of something you want, just do a search for it. Have fun and let me know if you have any questions!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Packing List

Before we left on our last trip over Labor Day, I was talking to my friend Sara about all the things moms need to remember when packing for a trip. The list goes ON and ON, doesn't it? I start pulling things together like a week in advance (or more!) to make sure I don't forget anything, and through the week I write a list of last minute items I don't want to forget. And even so, as together and organized as I try to be, in the past I've forgotten things many times.

Sara said she has typed up a list of things to pack on her computer, and every time she is getting ready for a trip, she prints out the list and then crosses things off once they're packed. Put everything on there. You can always cross it off if it doesn't apply this time.

WOW! This might not be a new idea to you, but I thought it was sheer genius--don't rewrite your packing list each time, just print it off! Thanks so much Sara!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Mmmm, Hot Chocolate!

I make up a batch of this hot chocolate recipe every few months throughout the year. Ted puts a scoop in his coffee every morning, which has helped us to dramatically cut the Starbucks bill!

4 1/2 cups instant dry milk
1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
15 oz. powdered chocolate mix (like Nesquik)
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup coffee creamer (opt.)

Mix ingredients well and store in a tight container. For a cup of hot chocolate, add 1/4 cup mix per 1 cup hot water, or to taste. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Shoeboxes for OCC

Every year our family loves putting together shoeboxes to send to other countries through Operation Christmas Child. It's a great way for our kids to learn about reaching out to other countries and sharing with others who have less than they do.

One item we put in our boxes were some free Buddies soaps! They are normally priced at about .97 at Walmart. Print this $1/1 Johnson’s buddies printable coupon twice to get 2 free Buddies soaps! Even if you printed this coupon before, it has been reset and I was able to print off 2 more that don't expire until Christmas. (I had to print it in Explorer, Firefox didn't work.)

It's fun filling the boxes with other things, too, like a toothbrush and toothpaste, socks, a necklace, little stuffed animals, stickers, markers, crayons, paper, and other things. As we pack the boxes, our girls ask who will get it? What's her name? Where does she live? While we don't know the answers to these questions, we can pray for the little girls who will be blessed by these gifts and hope that they will come to know Jesus as their Savior as a result of them.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Not for the faint of heart. . .

Do you have a plastic ice-cream bucket laying around? Do you have one in your freezer waiting to be emptied? If not, go buy yourself a bucket of ice cream. Why, you ask? Well, you asked. . .

I keep an ice-cream bucket in our minivan at all times. 99.9% of the time it is filled with miscellaneous things like sunglasses, sunscreen, a bottle of water, etc. It's very useful for keeping things from rolling around on the floor. However, it has another very useful quality, for travel emergencies.

We took an impromptu road trip last week, and we were very thankful for the bucket on our way home. We were driving in the dark, in the country, in the middle of nowhere, when H started complaining of an upset stomach. I asked her if she thought she was going to throw up and she said, I think so! I quickly dumped the bucket of its contents and passed it to her, and she promptly threw up in it. All I can say is I'm so thankful we had the bucket. We've used the ice cream bucket several times for this purpose, because we know from personal experience that cleaning up throw up in a car is NOT pleasant. Need we say more?

The bucket can also be used for an emergency potty seat if needed. Thankfully, due to M's recent potty training, we had brought along our potty seat, so we didn't need to use the bucket for that this time.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Another Kellogg's Opportunity

Did you miss last week's Kellogg's deal at Target? Never fear! CVS and Walgreens have another deal this week where you could get cereal for $1 a box, as long as you have some coupons (there were some in Sunday's paper). CVS is easier, since you won't have to mess with the RR's at Walgreens, but if you normally go to Walgreens, that'll be fine, too.

At CVS, Kellogg's cereal is on sale 2/$4
Use $1 coupons
$1 per box after coupons!

At Walgreens,
Buy 4 boxes of cereal for $10
Use 4 $1 coupons (either printables or from the paper)
Get $2 RR
Like paying $4 for 4 boxes!

As for the printable coupons on, it's possible they're gone, but according to Deal Seeking Mom there is a daily print limit, so if you haven't printed any and check early, you may luck out.

Sunday, November 9, 2008


The girls LOVE going to AWANA! It's a high energy program where the Word of God is central. G is in Cubbies (for preschoolers) and H is in Sparks (Kindergarten through 2nd grade). They earn patches or jewels for their vests by memorizing Bible verses. They also play games, have worship time, learn Bible stories, and just have FUN! Every week they come back excited. It's so important to us that they learn God's Word, and we love it that they're having fun and enjoying it! I highly recommend the program.

Some parents have asked me about the fact that it runs past their bedtime. Yes, they do get home late, but it is only once a week, and for the benefits they are gaining, we think it is well worth it.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

My bathroom is clean!

The good news is my bathroom is now VERY clean. The bad news is what it took to get there. I told you that M started potty training last week. Overall she's been doing a great job. We even took an overnight road trip this week and she didn't have any accidents in the car! This morning I was getting F dressed when H yelled upstairs, "Mommy, there's poopy EVERYWHERE!" Not something anyone wants to hear.

She had just gone potty 10 minutes earlier, but had now gone #2 in her underwear. She's trying to be a big girl, so instead of calling for help, she went to the bathroom and quietly tried to clean it up herself. She took off her pants and sat on the potty seat, but the damage had already been done.

Oh well. These things happen. My bathroom probably needed to be cleaned anyway. Thank goodness for the Lysol Disenfecting Wipes and Scrubbing Bubbles Flushable Wipes I had gotten on sale last month! And it could have been worse. At least it was contained to the bathroom!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Cereal Deal at Target!

I'm sure you've printed off your $1 off Kellogg's cereal coupons and have been holding on to them, right? This week might be a good week to use them! Target has Kellogg's on sale for $2.75 each, and you get a $5 gift card when you buy 5 boxes. Here's the deal:

Buy 5 boxes Kellogg's cereal = $13.75
Use 5 Kellogg's coupons - $5.00
Equals $8.75 OOP
Get a $5 Target gift card
Like spending $3.75 for 5 boxes of cereal, or .75 each!

(If you haven't printed them off yet, go to and print off 2 of each Kellogg's coupon right now!)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


Ta Da! If you're reading this in email or a reader, you'll have to click straight to my blog to see the changes I made to my background and header. What do you think? Does it still hurt your eyes? Is it too hard to read? I appreciated your feedback last time, and I'd like it now, too! Which header do you like better, the one above (blue with cranberry words), or the one below (with the clouds)? Help me decide by leaving your vote!
Some more changes have been happening here at home, too. We decided to jump on the "potty train" with M! Whoo, whoo! Friday and Saturday weren't too bad, but only because we were putting her on the potty every 15 minutes. I didn't think she was getting it, but after the first two kids, I knew not to give up. We put her in a Pull-Up for church on Sunday because we were going to be there for two services and didn't expect that she'd stay dry because she wasn't volunteering to go potty on her own. When I picked her up, I was shocked to see she was still dry, and she remained so all day (except naptime and bedtime, when we put her in a diaper). Monday she stayed dry (again, except while sleeping) and today she even stayed dry during naptime! She isn't volunteering to go on her own, but she is keeping her underwear dry for longer and longer periods of time, only going on the potty. Yeah, M! We're so proud of you!

F has started on rice cereal. Of course, the first few bites she wasn't sure what to do with this mush in her mouth, but she's really taken to it ever since! She grabs at our hands and the spoon, trying to get it in faster!! She's still not sleeping ALL the way through the night, but she usually goes from about 8pm to about 3:30am. She prefers to sleep on her tummy and loves tummy time in general.

Free Starbucks for Voting!

I hope you are going to get out and exercise your right to vote today! After you vote, head over to Starbucks for a free cup of their brewed coffee.

Thanks to Freebies 4 Mom!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Free Movie Rentals

Looking to rent a movie? My favorite source for free movie rentals is our local library, but another source I recently discovered is Redbox!

Go to their website and see if there is a location near you and to see a list of movies they have available. Then keep your ear tuned to Deal Seeking Mom (check on my right sidebar), who posts a free rental code every Monday. You need to enter a credit card in order to rent a movie, but with the free rental code, you won't be charged as long as you return it the next day.

Don't want to wait until Monday to rent a movie you've been itchin' to see? They're only $1 per day all the time! Not free, but still cheap! If you forget to return it, don't worry, you'll just be charged another $1 for another day. Redbox emails you confirmation of your rental and your return and what your credit card was charged (if anything).

For a step-by-step guide on how to use Redbox, visit Deal Seeking Mom's Redbox 101!

UPDATE: Today's free code is 67JFP8

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Giveaway Winner

Thank you to everyone who participated in my first giveaway! I really appreciated the honest feedback you gave. A lot of people mentioned a new header or background. I did enter some giveaways for a new header or blog redesign, but no luck there...but I got some good suggestions on where to find some backgrounds, so I appreciate that! As you can see, I am in the process of playing around with things. Any feedback you have would be appreciated!

On to the winner of my giveaway, I used to generate the winning number. Congratulations to paryjeja! I have emailed paryjeja and will mail out the prize when I receive an address. If I don't hear back from her by Monday morning, I will pick a new winner.

It was fun participating in the Bloggy Carnival! Though I didn't win a blog redesign, I did win a few things for the girls (baby food, a paper doll, and yogurt). Did you enter any giveaways? They say this is quarterly, so I'm going to try to remember to look for it again around the end of January. I've already been thinking about what I can give away next time!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Freebies for your Suitcase

Will you be traveling for the holidays? I like to order free samples of products to take on our vacations. They're usually just the right size for packing, and hey, they're FREE!

Here are some ideas of travel-related freebies. If there is a hyperlink, that means there's one you can request right now!

Shampoo and Conditioner (and here)
Toothpaste and Toothbrushes
Feminine Products (and here)
Laundry Detergent

Another source for free travel items is the trial size section at the store. I blogged about getting free (or better than free) travel-sized items (like Shout wipes, detergent, and toothpaste) here.

My favorite places to get free samples from are Walmart and Freegrabber. You can subscribe to Freegrabber in a reader so that you will get notifications of any new samples out there. Save them throughout the year and you'll be all set for traveling!

What free samples do you take when you travel? Do you have any other travel tips to share or questions to ask? I'd like to do more posts on this subject with the holidays coming up. Let me know what you'd like to see!

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