Penny Pinching Peach


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Don’t Cut Your Pumpkins!!

Kiddos With Their Pumpkins

Kiddos With Their Pumpkins

Don’t cut your pumpkins!!!

If you are like me, you don’t look forward to trying to carve pumpkins into jack o’lanterns. In fact, I am totally paranoid about using sharp knives and carving instruments with my little ones. So, to satisfy their desire to decorate pumpkins while keeping my anxieties quiet, we just don’t cut, carve or otherwise mutilate our pumpkins.

Do decorate your pumpkins!

You can do so many things with them without cutting, and they should last all the way until time to decorate for Christmas! I love to do a pumpkin with a thankful theme. My children like to make pumpkins representing themselves. We have also done pumpkins that were just randomly decorated. Be inspired by what you like! I’m more about making fall decorations with my pumpkins and less about making them holiday oriented. Most Halloween themed things don’t pass my rules, anyway, since I don’t allow witches and wickedness in our dĂ©cor this time of year.

Big Sister Pumpkin

Big Sister Pumpkin

Be creative and have fun!

My kids chose their pumpkins this year. They each chose a small one to represent themselves, and my oldest daughter picked a miniature one to represent their baby sister. They wanted to do their own decorating of their own pumpkins, and to give me ideas of what they wanted me to do for baby sister. 🙂

We used materials we had on hand. My deceased mother in law absolutely adored Halloween, and we wound up with some of her craft supplies. I allowed my kiddos to choose some items from those as part of their pumpkin decorating. We wound up using sequined candy corn and stars, googly eyes, ribbon and paint on the bigger munchkins’ pumpkins in the designs of their choosing and creation. I helped very little, since they were having fun and I wanted them to have pride in creating their own. We used smaller googly eyes, a real piece of candy corn for a nose, raffia and pipe cleaner for the baby’s miniature pumpkin.

Big Brother Pumpkin

Big Brother Pumpkin

Have a safe and happy autumn!!!!

We managed to decorate these with no booboos and minimal stress. My biggest concern was making sure the paint and glue stayed on the newspapers I laid out on the kitchen floor where we were working!

What kind of decorations have you done this fall?

Check out our No Carving Pumpkin Family! I think it’s pretty stinkin’ cute for fall dĂ©cor!!!


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Take Pictures With Your Kids

Take a Picture With Me, Mommy!

Take a Picture With Me, Mommy!

“Take a picture with me,  Mommy! “, my five year old daughter chirped this afternoon.

Excuses immediately ran through my mind of why I would really rather not.  I have a headache,  my hair is a mess, I am wearing no makeup and I have hardly slept in days, so I am not looking my best.

Then I had a flashback to being that girl begging for pictures with my mom, who hated having her picture taken. She usually said no, but those times she actually said yes live on as treasures for me. They are beautiful reminders of the loving,  joyful childhood I had with a mom who put aside her own insecurity in how she looked for long enough to make a record of a moment with her daughter.

My mom passed away at age 44, long before I had my own little girl.

Each snapshot of my mom is an irreplacable memory, frozen in time.

I cherish them, and the ability to share them with the grandchildren she never met. Because of this,  I don’t care if I look like a homeless crazy person,  I will take that picture with my babies whenever they want.  They don’t care about how I look now. Later they will look at that photo and remember that moment with Mom, regardless of what my hair looked like.

Take those pictures with your kids.

How you look right now doesn’t matter.  You don’t have to look like a fashion model to be a fabulous mommy. How they feel and the memories preserved in time do. You won’t regret those messy moments captured in a picture. Those messy moments make up the beautiful, crazy life filled with the love you have for your children….and that’s what those photos will represent to them when they look at them.

Here is a letter I wrote to my mom on her birthday during my pregnancy with our little Sweet Pea, if you would like to read it…

Dear Mom


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Camping With the Cuties

Want a relatively cheap way to spend a weekend with the family? How about trying camping?

With the weather warming up, this is the perfect time to plan a fishing and camping trip! With a little planning, you can have oodles of fun without breaking the bank!

First, where are you going to sleep? Do you have an RV or tent already?

Okay, then are you going to stay on private land, at a campsite or what? Make sure you have any necessary permission or reservations to avoid a last minute scramble to find somewhere to park your sleeping bags! If you don’t have an RV or tent and don’t plan to acquire one, see if you know anyone who will let you borrow one or if there is an inexpensive campsite with cabins for rent (like a National Forest). Wherever you choose to stay, don’t forget to make sure you have comfortable sleeping gear, like sleeping bags or blow up mattresses.

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Next, what are you going to eat? Think about EVERY meal and snacks!

(If you have small children and don’t pack snacks, I promise that you will regret it.) We often pack hot dogs and marshmallows to roast over the campfire, which covers one meal and a fun dessert of s’mores for an easy prep. Lunch can be something simple like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, premade for zero prep other than taking them out of the cooler to gobble up. Also, make sure you have whatever it takes to prepare the meal when you get there, whether it be a portable grill like this fairly inexpensive one my husband uses constantly, even at home Backyard Grill 278-sq in Portable Charcoal Grill, Black, matches or a butter knife. It’s not going to magically appear in the wilderness! 😉

Don’t forget to grab the gear for whatever activities you have planned

Fishing poles and all the accessories, if that’s your chosen pastime (and could provide a meal, but have a back-up plan in case the fish don’t wanna come to dinner! 😉 ). Comfy shoes and water bottles for hiking. Binoculars & camera for bird watching. Buckets and containers to store berries in for berry picking. Reusable bags if you decide to scavenge for hidden treasures like arrowheads and interesting rocks. There are sooooo many fun things you can do outdoors that cost very little! Whatever you are doing, don’t forget the sunscreen, sunglasses and bug spray! Trust me, I’m talking from my own painful & itchy experiences here, y’all!! 🙂

If you are camping with small children, make sure to bring their “comfort objects”.

Add them into the headcount while packing up to go home, whether it’s the teddy bear who rides with them in their car seat or the rocket ship they must have tucked in next to them to be able to rest at night or any special blankets. I love to bring these cute flashlight pals Flashlight Friends – The Huggable Loveable Child’s Flash Light and/or dream lights Pillow Pets Dream Lites – Pink Butterfly 11″ with us, because it helps make up for the absence of a regular night light with my scared-of-the-dark little ones. Both of my kids have their own, and they love them for home and especially for travel. My son has the blue camo dog in the dream lites and the dinosaur flash light pal, while my daughter has the butterfly dream lite and the unicorn flash light friend. They are AWESOME!!

What is your best tip for camping with kids?

Camping can be fun, just make sure you are well prepared with everything possible that your little ones may need or be accustomed to. It will make a huge difference in the outcome of your trip if you go prepared instead of flying by the seat of your pants. Need tips for traveling with little ones? Head on over to Traveling With Little Riders! Looking for gift ideas for your outdoorsman? You need THIS LIST!!!

For more great summer kids posts, check out:

Simply Rachel


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Homewreckers

Peanut the Conqueror

Peanut the Conqueror

My kids give a whole new definition to the term “homewrecker”. There are times when the little varmints seem intent upon destroying our home and everything in it, nailed down or not. Take the first couple of days of last week, for instance. We had just returned from a short vacation, and our kiddos were excited to be home again. Their response to their joy at being back in their home sweet home? My little darlings turned into a two tot demolition derby!

The first full day at home was the beginning of the madness. My sweet little Peanut, who just turned a year old, pulled the leg off of our coffee table and then did his new-walker “monster run” around the living room trying to whack anything that couldn’t skedaddle. Princess Peach strewed every book she could find all over her bedroom floor while I thought she was nicely reading on her bed, and her baby brother thought the books were perfect for one of his favorite games, Shred The Paper. (I should’ve known better than to think the fact she was on her bed quietly looking at a book and baby was on the living room floor with a toy meant it was safe to go to the bathroom alone, for once.) While trying to fix a quick supper, with them right behind me, Peanut dumped out the trash can and was frantically trying to dig through it before I could grab him out of the mess. After supper, I thought I could do dishes with them in the kitchen with me. Nope! Baby Peanut was pulling them out and throwing them as quickly as I could set them in, and my daredevil Princess was stacking empty boxes to try to climb on the counters to get at things she wasn’t supposed to have. AVALANCHE!!! They both fought sleep until the bitter end that night, and since I didn’t even begin to detail everything the little boogers got into that day, it took me about an hour of clean-up once they finally lost their battle with the snooze monster for me to be able to go to bed that night. This is even after making my daughter pick up every single book and all the toys she had scattered hither and thither across our humble abode.

She colored her face with blue crayon

She colored her face with blue crayon

I figured by the second day that the gruesome twosome would’ve settled down a bit. They were pretty good while I took them to church and a fundraiser spaghetti dinner afterwards. Apparently, that was merely to lull their dear ol’ mom into a false sense of security.

The madness began again as soon as they got home. They found an open bag of potato chips, which they both proceeded to try to cram into their jowls as quickly as possible before I could deprive them of their prize. The result? Well, chips & crumbs from head to toe to floor….everywhere! They pulled out just about every toy they owned, and a few I didn’t even know existed anymore. When I attempted another ill-fated attempt at relieving my bladder, this time taking Peanut in there with me while I thought Princess was watching a cartoon, she climbed the counter and got into some chocolate. She had it half eaten and smeared all over by the time I got out. I even heard her opening the wrapper and hollered from the potty. Did that deter my determined diva? Nosirreebob!! It just made her gobble faster. This went on and on all day long, one thing after another.

Cut to the grand finale of that lovely day…

The Princess' Potty

The Princess’ Potty

At one point I thought I could keep an eye on them and check my messages online, since I hadn’t been on a computer for a few days. Princess Peach took off for the potty as I was logging on. I gave her a minute to do her business before I followed. BIG MISTAKE!! By the time I got in there, she had crammed a ton of toilet paper into the toilet and repeatedly tried flushing it. Can we say FLOOD??? Yep, it was an overflowing mess! Did I mention that my husband was on duty at the fire department? But of course he was! 😉 As yours truly was hurriedly turning off the water and ordering the incorrigibly cute culprit to timeout, Peanut was trying to swim in the mess. Once I got the floodwaters to shop rushing, I had to strip him down to a diaper and toss him into the playpen. Picture this: Screaming Peanut, ringing phone, whining Princess and mumbling Mommy rushing back and forth with a bucket tossing water outside, plunging, hauling buckets of water, plunging again, yadayadayada. It took about a dozen cycles of plunging and water hauling to get the toilet fixed up. After that I had to remove everything from the bathroom, clean everything, put back what I could and explain to Princess Peach exactly why Mommy was so far beyond irritated with her at the moment and why she should never do that again. Of course, next it was baths all around and off to beddy bye. Also, of course, they fought sleep yet another night to the bitter, nerve wrecking end!

Now, I don’t think any of these things are all that unusual in a day of life with munchkins. They just went on an absolute homewrecking spree there for a few days! This wasn’t even the end, since the next week included another flooding of the toilet, painting the bathroom with pink toothpaste, many more raids of forbidden snack stashes, destroying of items they shouldn’t touch, etc. My nerves have yet to settle down, since both of my kiddos are in some high maintenance stages right about now. Why am I sharing this? Maybe ’cause I’m a mess of a mom sometimes, and am too tired to care that everyone knows. Maybe to let other mommies who want to go outside and howl at the moon in frustration know that they aren’t alone in loving life with their precious children at the same time as wanting to crawl into a hole and cry. Maybe ’cause life is crazy, but it’s meant to be shared. Maybe so these little lunatics I am raising can look at this later when their own progeny are driving them up the walls and see that it’s just the way things are sometimes.

I’m convinced that God made children adorable and innocent so that at times like this, when they make their parents want to scream, howl and have a toddler sized meltdown from frustration….we look at the source of our frustration and think “You’re lucky you’re so stinkin’ cute, kid!”. LOL

My messmakers

My messmakers

Off to make sure Princess Peach isn’t wrecking havoc in the temporary silence of a napping Peanut. If your kids are at home and quiet….CHECK ON THEM!!!! 😉 I have to add that the little booger was yet again brushing the walls with pink toothpaste, as well as dumping water all over the floor and squirting pink toothpaste into the sink to use for her painting. I shouldn’t have left her alone, because she’s rarely behaving if she’s quiet lately. What’s a mommy to do??? Gotta laugh or cry! *laughing now that I’ve cleaned the bathroom and let her out of timeout* LOL! AHHHHHH!!!!

Anyone else had fun times like this?? Tell me I’m not alone, y’all, pleeeeeeease!!! 🙂


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Whispers From Heaven

 

Mom, Nana and Me

Mom, Nana and Me

Have you ever had a time when you were struggling with life and worrying over something, and would just like a hug or some comfort?

This morning I was not feeling well and was just really overwhelmed by everything I needed to do and discouraged with my growing limitations and discomforts of pregnancy. I didn’t even want to get out of bed, so I just grabbed my phone to look at what was new on Facebook for a few minutes. If you’re familiar with the feature they have where they show you memories from that same day in previous years, it’s one of my favorites. I came across this one from 2010, and it touched my heart in a way it needed this morning…

I found a little poem card my mom gave me sometime. It made me cry, but it is exactly what Mom felt about me while she was alive & like a much-needed message from her now. It begins…

” Daughter, today and always, please know that I see you. I see the path that you’ve made that’s all your own. I see the many talents & gifts you have to share…

I see your brilliance, your enthusiasm, and how deeply you care and hurt sometimes. I see your hard earned wisdom, your soft pure innocence, your courage and compassion…

I see what a difference you make in this world, and I hope you know how very much I love you, and how proud I’ll always be to have a daughter as wonderful as you are.”

I am so blessed to have been raised by a mom who genuinely loved me & showed it each & every day of her life.

I have no regrets in my relationship with her. We had our fusses at times & nobody’s perfect, but we communicated our feelings to each other while we still had time. Cherish every moment with your loved ones. Let them know what they mean to you. The impact of your relationships will live long after you are gone.

Read when I share about another way I’ve heard whispers from heaven through butterfly kisses from heaven!


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Ramen Noodle Crust Pizza

Ramen Crust Pizza

Ramen Crust Pizza

Yep, you saw that right! Ramen Noodle Crust Pizza it is! I have been trying to cook from the pantry a lot, and happened to have ramen noodles and pizza topping ingredients galore, so I made this concoction. It was quite a hit with my kiddos, and a super simple cheap weeknight meal! 🙂

All I did for the “crust” was boil a pack of Ramen noodles while preheating the oven to 400 degrees, then mixed it with 4 eggs, a generous sprinkling of Parmesan cheese and some garlic powder. (If my husband had been home, I’d have doubled that.) I spread it on an oiled baking sheet.

The toppings were just the typical stuff I would put on a pizza. Tomato sauce with seasoning to taste, mozzarella cheese, pepperoni, lots of spinach and onion. I baked it for about 10 minutes, and it was ready to slice and serve. It wasn’t quite as sturdy as regular pizza crust, so we ate it with forks. It was really quick and tasty, though! 🙂

Anyone else have weird- but delicious- uses for Ramen noodles?


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Dear Mom…

Mom Laughing

Mom in Joyful Times

Dear Mom,

Happy 9th birthday in Heaven!

You should have been 53 today, but you’re forever frozen at 44 in my mind’s eye. I know you’re at peace and free from pain up dancing there in heaven, but I’d rather be able to celebrate the life I feel like you should still be living here on earth.

Just the other day, my oldest daughter- your much longed for granddaughter- came to me sobbing like her little heart was breaking.

Once I calmed her enough to find out what was wrong, my tender hearted, deep thinking child said “Mommy, I’m so sad! My Grandma Dorinda never got to meet me, and now my baby sister will never get to meet our Grandma Dorinda or our Ganna! Both my mommy’s and my daddy’s mommies are in heaven now! It’s not fair! I miss them! They should be here!”. I had no words to comfort my little girl for awhile, because my words were drowned out by the tears I was swallowing for my own grief that came rushing like a flood from the vast void that she reminded me of so powerfully.

Finally, I calmed my own spirit enough to speak, asking God to help me be the

Mom, Nana and Me

Mom, Nana and Me

kind of wise & loving momma I always felt blessed to have. I told her that her Grandma and Ganna were probably watching together from Heaven, bragging to all the other souls up there about having the most beautiful, amazing grandbabies that ever lived. I told her that they both live on in our hearts, in the love we still have for them, and the stories we can tell about them. I told her that love never dies. It lives forever in the hearts of those we loved, no matter what. I told her how lucky she is to have her two grandpas, step-grandma, two great-grandmas and a great grandpa still on earth to give her hugs and see her and all of the other children in our family. I told her Grandma and Ganna want her happiness more than anything in the world. You know what? She calmed. She believed. She went back to play calmed by the love that is very much alive in our family.

Mom & PawPaw

Mom & PawPaw, Together in Heaven Now

The next day, my sweet girl came to me with some news.

She reminded me of her firm belief that you chose her as the perfect grandbaby for you, and the perfect daughter for your little girl. She went on to add that she is had great news. “Mommy, my Grandma Dorinda and my Ganna did a wonderful thing! They went together through all of the babies in Heaven, and chose my baby sister for us! You know why they did that? They heard me telling Jesus that I wanted a baby sister more than anything in the whole wide world, and they wanted to make sure I had the best little sister for me! Wasn’t that sweet of them?? They really do love me lots.”

Mama, you may be gone from us physically and never got to meet any of your precious grandchildren, but the love you so desperately wanted to share with your grandbabies has been shared.

They can feel it, believe it and cherish it. Your body was taken from us far too soon, especially for them, but that love lives . It ripples and whispers through our hearts and lives at just the right moments in just the right way. It will never die. You have proved to me that the love of a mother and a grandmother is stronger than distance, stronger than pain, stronger than cancer, stronger than loss and even stronger than death.

So…..happy birthday in heaven, Mom!

I miss you every day, but especially days like this. I’m thankful to have something so amazing and precious to celebrate today, though. We are celebrating 53 years of your love.

Love Ya Bunches!

Your Daughter