Sunday, December 8, 2013

Top 16 Gift Ideas and Recipes Using Essential Oils

I love the Holidays and I love making people happy with gifts and goodies so I have put together a list of links of some of my favorite ideas:
1.) Peppermint Patties!  I love her blog everything I've made off of her blog is really good!

2.)  5 Gift ideas from Doterra blog including the easy Bath Salts and sugar scrub

3.)  Dryer Balls with a bottle of oils (For dryer sheets)

6.)  Roller Bottles..You could make up a group of your favorite oils into roller bottles and 
tie a ribbon around them with some oils info.  When I fill the bottles I fill with a 1-1 ratio 
essential oil to Carrier oil (Fractionated Coconut oil) for adults and a 1-2 ratio essential oil 
to carrier oil for kids.  This is such an easy way for kids to put on their oils.
This is where I buy my bottles great site...

7.)  Room Spray or Monster Spray!  Room spray is a great replacement for air freshener 
that is non-toxic.  Also Monster Spray is pretty much the same thing only I use Lavender for 
my scent and it is the perfect remedy for monsters at night. I even let my kids spray it to put 
them in control of getting rid of the monsters.  Not only do they think it gets rid of monsters it is
full of lavender which will help them calm down and sleep.

....There were many more recipe's for them when I searched bath bombs under Google. 
......Also as a tip: you can substitute Citric acid (which can be hard to find) for half the
amount of Cream of Tartar.

...This is only one of the many recipes when I was searching.
The main idea that I got was equal parts of coconut oil and a butter i.e. like Cocoa or Shea
and then and a little bit of fractionated coconut oil to combine and some of your favorite 
essential oilfor scent and then freeze and package.

11.)  Hot cocoa recipe and popcorn... doTerra Holiday Magazine recipe ideas and prices for 
holiday oils and specials.

12.)  GingerBread Men....I just added oils in place of spices i.e. Cinnamon oil, Ginger oil, and Clove oil and add it into the wet ingredients instead of the dry...This dough seemed really dry when we were rolling them out but we rolled them out pretty thick and didn't over bake and they turned out really nice and chewy yummy!

13.)  Cranberry Chutney...This was really good what a great dip for any holiday party!

14.)  Cheesecake swirl Peppermint Brownie's....I just added a drop of peppermint to the brownie 
mix you could do this with your favorite brownie recipe to give it some holiday flare.  It makes an easy 
classic into something for the holidays and an easy yet yummy filler for those Holiday Cookie Plates.  Also 
try adding a bottle of oils to the top of your plates with a ribbon or a cookies cutter or an ornament.  
Always a nice Touch!

16.)  Fruit Dip and other Yummy and Easy Food and oil recipes The Fruit Dip with Wild Orange is delicious.

....She also has some great spa product recipes and other ideas so search her blog for more ideas!

***When cooking with essential oils make sure you are using food grade oils such as doTERRA!****

You can buy doTERRA product here on my website. 

Happy Holiday's and fun gift and treat making!!!
Helpful links for Essentail Oils info:

Saturday, November 2, 2013

"There's nothing to eat!"

Do your kids complain that there is nothing to eat?  I myself personally hate this, however I also remember saying it when I was a kid.  So I'm guessing that this is a common problem.  The second my kids say it I can list off a number of snacks that they could eat.  So what did I do help aid the snack dilemma and stop the, "There's nothing to eat!"

1.  I emptied out one of my crisper drawers in the refrigerator and designated it as a drawer for snacks.  It was the bottom drawer because I'm tall and my kids are short! :)  This has been a huge improvement for the kids finding a snack.  No more standing in front of the refrigerator with the door open trying to decide what to eat.  They go in, open their drawer, and pick something.

This is what kind of snacks I put in the drawer:
 - string cheese
 - baby carrots
 - cleaned grapes
 - gogurt
 - cut up fruit, vege's, i.e. catalope, pineapple, berries (just clean and place in airtight Tupperware)
 - oranges, apples, and pears
 - mini manadarin oranges or applesauce

The key is to make the snacks ready to eat, without a lot of work for you or the kids to do when snack time comes along.  I love it too because you can have healthy options for the kids, a place for the snacks to go, and the kids know exactly where to go when they are hungry.

2.) Have one place in the pantry for dry snacks.  If you don't have a pantry use one shelf in the cabnets.  One small place.  If I make big trips to cosco/samsclub then I will put extra snacks somewhere else.  Only the snacks that I want them to eat are on the snack shelf.  It limits choices and helps the kids see the available options and helps them make a faster choice.

These are the kinds of snacks I put on the snack shelf:
 - Fruit snacks
 - Crackers
 - Nuts
 - Granola Bars
 - Nutrigrain bars
 - Healthy homemade snacks

I do not put candy or other dessert items here I save these for dessert or family night or just plain snacks they have to ask for.  But with the other snacks I just let the kids help themselves, a little freedom is good and they don't eat me out of house and home either.  If they haven't had freedom with snacks yet they may over eat a bit at first but their body will tell them when they've had enough. Well, I do have one daughter that could eat as many sweets treats as she wanted, thats why I limit those snacks.

3.) I had a friends mom who would put out bowls of snacks on the table for the kids during snack time and they could pick what they wanted.  I like that idea but I could never keep up with it.  But it might work for you too!

*Now what about the opposite dilemma?  Too many treats at Halloween!!!!!!  When I was a kid we had maybe an hour party at school and then trick or treating that night and that was it.  I feel like there is soooo much going on for Halloween.  Downtown trick or treat, Harvest party/Carnival, Library story-time party, ALLLLLLL day Halloween Party, parade, and trick or treat at school, and trunk or treat and trick or treats.  It is too much.  Well anyway, needless to say next year we will be boycotting half of the activities.  Yah I say that now! ;)  Anyway,  my husband is against taking all the candy away that makes it home so I steal all their bags and then I can at least limit how much they eat at a time.  My kids really have learned when enough is enough and I do see them stop most of the time when they've had enough.
A couple tummy aches and even the thing that follows.  But now one of my daughters always says, "I've had enough!"

1.)  One of my friends gives the kids a sandwich size ziplock bag and says what ever fits in here you can keep and everything else either gets thrown away or put away!

2.) My sister-in-law makes a type of advent calender with the candy.  She wraps a piece of candy for each day until Christmas in plastic wrap individually and then let's them eat a piece a day as a count down to Christmas!

3.) Always take some pieces for yourself when you're inspecting the candy as a tax for the taxing service you provided on Halloween! :)

How do you get your kids to eat healthy and stay away from too many sweets for the holidays?

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Fall Decorating

I love to decorate for each season it is one of my favorite things about changing season's.  It gives me a wonderful feeling to have the feel of fall in the house and out!  I love to do it and so do the kids.  Sometimes I feel like I just want to be creative and then then let the kids do something themselves.

So try doing something for you and then something for them.  

For You:

*I love using items that are naturally found around in nature for the season.
     - Corn stalks, Hay bales, pumpkins, gourds, Indian corn, branches, leaves, apples, branches, pine cones...
*Burlap is also nice this year, and it can go with everything.
* I made this vase of flowers that I found in my yard, I snipped some of the mums and vines from the honey suckle and then the tops of the day lillies after the lillies fall off are a really nice shape.
*Another Hint would be to decorate for the season rather then the holiday.  I do have a few Halloween decorations that I like but mostly I put out fall themed decorations so that I can leave them up a little longer to enjoy!

For the Kids:
* They love the window clings and you can find them for a dollar pretty easily at Wal-Mart or the Dollar store.  Give them a page of those and it will keep them busy while you decorate the rest of the house.
*Give them some craft projects to do that they can hang up and then you can do new ones each year. - Search Pinterest for Halloween Crafts for Kids there are tons of ideas

This Year we made these pumpkins.  We put pumpkin pie spice in the kids paint and then they painted the back of a paper plate.  We let it dry and then they glued on shapes to make faces.

I found the idea on... Growing a Jeweled Rose...

Well this post is a little late, it's been in the works for a bit. :)  So if you've already decorated you can also use these ideas for Harvest dinners or your thanksgiving center piece.  Also, this will give you some ideas to think about when you are at estate sales or shopping after season sales.  It is a great time to buy stuff for next year.

Happy Decorating!!!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Organizing Children's Art Supplies

I have got a plethora of art supplies at the house.  And they are driving me nuts.  Not to mention the fact that my children would get into the supplies and leave them laying around, or color on the walls or furniture or their friends would get into them.  I needed to stop complaining about this and fix it...
Here is a picture of all of the supplies that I gathered up and decided that I no longer liked my attempts to organize.  Sometimes I get really irritated at how much it costs to buy organizational material so that's why I put it off for awhile until it is driving me so crazy that I have a mini freak out on the kids, my husband, or myself.  So what I decided to do was:
1.)  Looked at what I had that could work for what I needed.  I had this older hutch that I held just little extra kitchen things in that I decided they would fit somewhere else.  I measured the hutch and then I searched for some plastic bins that would fit in it.  I found some at Hobby Lobby for a descent price.
2.)  I went through all of the supplies and I got rid of the things that we no longer used or that I had more of one thing of and then I went ahead and organized the supplies by categories.  You will need to choose categories that fit your needs.  As you can see I picked categories like Ribbon and Yarn, Stickers, Paint...Or you could organize your supplies by child.  Give everyone their own bin and let them take responsibility for their own supplies.  Then I placed them in the bins and into the hutch.  Use this as a guideline of how much supplies you want to have once they don't fit get rid of something.
3.) This has worked really well for us.  Our children know where to go when they want something and they know that it goes back there when they are done and I also showed them how to respect and use their supplies.
4.) Don't forget to Label them!
5.)  Think about what you have and how you can use it to hold supplies.  Or look at a garage sale for an old hutch or shelving and see if you can make it useful for you.  Here are some other ideas that I found online:

  • Hanging Shoe Holders
  • Put Paper over canned foods jars and place markers, crayons, etc.  Try a magnet and put it on a chalkboard.
  • Use coffee cups (we always get a lot of these)
  • Use Mason Jars and hang them on a wall or attach it to a desk
  • Overhaul your kids closet.  Hand up peg boards and hang up supplies and add shelving and some of the other ideas from above.
  • Use an old Book Shelf.
  • Containers and pull out drawers labeled on their desk (It's amazing what a label or picture will do)
  • Old Metal Filing Cabinet

  • This Cabinet Makeover is from a book I just love about using and reusing things you have.  The Creative Family by Amanda Blake Soule.
Be creative and come up with a solution that fits your space and your families needs!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Pay Off Debt

I Promised my next post on debt.  Now besides doing all the things I talked about in my last post there are a few other tips I could share.  I kept hearing the leaders of the church talk about how we need to get out of debt and break the chains that bind us.  The feeling I get when I am in debt is a feeling of bondage.  It means that I am living in the past.  I am living with past decisions instead of living with future decisions.  As my husband and I worked hard to get out of debt we found that we have more freedom and choices rather then less.  Now that our "bad debt" is gone we can make the future what we want instead of paying off the past.

1.) Make a Goal
      Check out this link for a Debt Elimination Calender.  I have got a lot of great information on finances on Provident Living.  What you do is you line up all your debt payments such as credit cards and student loans and car loans then you put the one with either the highest interest rate first or maybe one that you can pay off first or one that has the least monthly payments.  Whichever is going to be best in your situation.  You pay that one off first and then when that is payed then you add that payment to the next debt payment.  Since you weren't using that money for regular expenses you can use it to more quickly pay off your debt.  Once the next debt is paid you apply that whole payment to the next and then to the next and so on and so forth until it is paid off.  Figure out what you are going to pay on what and make sure to follow step number one on the last post, quit making more debt.  Go to my post on goal making for more tips.

2.)  Calculate it:
Financial Calculators.  Sometimes it's just hard to know where to start and the debt and money situation can seem overwhelming. This link had some already made up calculators which are easy to follow.  Just plug in numbers and get information like:

How soon could I pay off all my debts?

How much should I save for emergencies?

Where is my money going?

Would spending a little less and saving a little more make a difference?

How long will it take to pay off my credit card?

When will my loan be paid off?

What if I pay a little extra each month on my loan?

What would my payment be if I borrowed?

Should I refinance my home mortgage?

What would be my monthly payment on a new home?

How much should I save for retirement?

Are my current retirement savings adequate?

How much retirement income will I have if I save regularly?

How much should I save to reach my goal?

How much could I have if I saved regularly? 

Pay Close attention to the first Calculator for debt payoff.  This information can give you a realistic goal.  I remember being really gung ho about wanting to pay off my credit card debt and every paycheck I would just pay it all off well then I had no more money to buy our needs with so I had to use the card again and then I had a viscous cycle.  If you are going to use a card keep track like a debit card and have the money first and then pay it off.  Don't be in a rush, be patient and smart.  We tend to make these decisions emotional when we are in a lot of stress over it but when we remember that the Lord has promised to take care of us if we are doing all we can then you have to let the rest go and just do the best you can and put the past behind you and work with what you have now.

3.)  Move on and make future plans.  Now on to good debt like buying
a home and make sure to keep yourself in check with your budget.  My sister-in-law is trying to move me into the 21st century so I have been looking into some expense and budget trackers for my smartphone.  This may be the way to go instead of my little notebook.  Anyone know any good ones with minimal cost and without having to purchase extra software?  Or is it worth it to get the extra software?

4.) Do Not Forget to Save.  If you have a savings and make that top on the list in your budget then you will less likely have to go into debt again because there are always things that come up that you have to spend money on, like our health and if the car breaks down in a ghost town...etc...And next time you will be prepared instead of going down the whole again.  But if you do have to go in the whole again at least you know how to get out again.

One Small Step at a time!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Making a Budget That Works For You

My Husband and I were struggling financially for many years.  We had credit card debt and  car loans and student loans and no savings.  It is clear that we had a problem but what exactly was the problem?  It wasn't until we started making significantly less money then we had been and were still surviving that we realized that it didn't really matter how much money we had but how we spent it.  So we decided that we needed to change the way that we spent and viewed our money.  There are a couple of things that really help.  And this isn't in past tense because we still have to do this now to stay on top of things.

#1. Stop Spending Money You Don't Have

Cut up the credit cards.  Quit frankly we didn't cut them up but we got rid of all of them but one and we resolved not to use it unless we had an emergency.  i.e. Stranded with your car somewhere away from home...or medical emergencies.  The very cute sweater that there is only one left of and it is on sale, does not count as an emergency.  I know a lot of people who use their cards for points and then only spend what they have, however if you are anything like my husband and I and you like to spend more than what you have then this would not work for you so do not be tempted if this has not worked for you it probably won't work for you again.

#2. Track your Spending

 For at least two months, if not more, make a very detailed list of everything that you spend.  And I am talking everything.   NO CHEATING!!!  This a very important step, do not skip it.  We tried making our budget and sticking to it before we had done this step and it was not successful.  So this step is very important.  How I did this was I used a small notebook and I kept it in my purse.  Every purchase I made and my husband made was written in the notebook.  My husband would save and give me any receipts of purchases that he made and I would record them in the book.  Especially one or two dollar purchases, you will be surprised how much they add up.  It is important to keep a separate book from your checkbook account recorder because there are always cash purchases made and it is also equally important that you record what the money was spent on.  So let's say you bought gas but you also went in and got a drink and a snack.  So you would write down how much you spent on everything separately.


$52.34  Gasoline
$4.50  Snacks
.75 cents on magazine
$150.67   back to school supplies
$20 Soccer
$230.12 Groceries
$45.78 Toiletries 
$25.09 Wendy's
$120.45 Power Bill
$112.87 Phone/Internet/TV

#3.  Figure Out what Categories you Will need for your Budget

After you compile your lists take all the information and group them by items how you would like them to look on you budget.  For Instance, if you would like your budget to look something like:

Kids Extras
Wants (Or what we call Mad Money)

Then you will go through all the information you have gathered.  Let's say that at the end of the month you found out that you spend $400 a month on groceries.  And you want to group together kids expenses because they are not always the same every month so when you go through the list for example you could combine back to school expenses and Soccer in a kids category etc.  

#4.  Figure out Where You Can cut Back

Once you figured out how much you spent on each category that you have on your budget you will need to figure out what is a realistic amount to spend on each category.  Ask yourself these questions after you have gathered the information...

Am I spending more then what I make?

What categories am I spending too much in?

Where can I cut back?

Is there a bill that I can get rid of?  i.e. cable and switch to netflix, can I get a cheaper phone plan, can I ask any loan/credit card companies to decrease my interest rates for being a customer in good standing, can I sell a car with a huge loan or huge taxes/insurance for a car with less, 

Call your utility companies and see if they will give you a monthly rate so that you can plan your budget more accurately.  All of ours did that and it made making the budget more consistant.  (Usually you have had to have service for a year.  So they can get an average.)

***Caution*** Make sure that when you make your budget and decide where you need to cut back that you are thinking realistically.  If you normally spend $400 a month on groceries then don't say, "oh I could get that down to $100."  You need to think specifically how you will reduce it.  If you are going to become an extreme couponer then that might be more realistic.  However if you do not have 20+ hours a week to committ to that plan then you would not be succesful.   An example of a positive change would be:
If you spend part of that grocery money on bread and decide you could cut that in half by making your own bread that would be taking action to change how you spend the money.  

By just writing on your budget to spend $50 less on groceries without taking any kind of action probably isn't going to happen and then you will feel frustrated that you are trying to keep a budget that doesn't work for you and you can't make it work and then you will just go back to your old ways and the cycle continues.  That is one of the mistakes my husband and I made so take it from me you don't have to do it the hard way.  Do not budget yourself so far under what you can practically handle.

#5.  Make and fill in your Budget

So once you have figured out how much you are going to spend on what you need a template and someway to track it.  You could use a print out and just print it out and write out how much you plan to spend.  You could keep track on the computer on a spread sheet tracker or money software.  I tried all of those though and failed.  I have my little notebook and I write the budget in it then when we get paid I make sure that what we made that paycheck matches the budget because we don't get salary our paycheck changes so sometimes I will have to do a mini switch of something and think okay I can't buy a new shirt this month I will have to wait etc.  My Budget looks like this:

May 1st Paycheck                     2nd Paycheck
Tithing                                         Tithing        
Power Bill                                    Insurance
Gas Bill                                        Phone
Internet/Tv                                   Rent
Grocery/food                               Water
Gasoline                                      Grocery
Extra Needs                                Gasoline
Mad Money                                 Extra Needs  
Medical                                       Mad Money
Savings                                       Medical
(Here I put anything extra for the month i.e. vacation, gifts, house expenses, I usually wait for a paycheck with overtime in order to pay for these things or if we don't have any of these planned I will put more money into savings.)

I write how much I am going to spend in each category, by now I have pretty well figured out the magic number in each category but it took some time.  A lot of time.  I had to practice and we had to make a lot of mistakes.  The point is, is that we did not let failure get us down, we kept going and we kept trying and we kept making mistakes and we kept learning and getting better at it.  You will also notice that I have no debt payments right now however if you have credit cards or loans to pay off you will need to add that to the budget also.  I will post next about how we paid off our debt.

#6. Seperate Your Money to help manage your spenging.

  I do not put all of this money in the bank.  After I write the amount after the category I will write an A or a C.  A is for Account and C is for Cash.  i.e.

Power Bill $120 A
Grocery $200 C

I take out cash for many categories that it is easy for my husband and I to over spend in.  Like Gas and Groceries and extra "needs" and Kids activities etc.  This ensures that I will not over spend.  The money that I put in the account is for things like accuring bills that do not change much and savings.  Like the water bill and insurance etc.  Also, things I will be using online bill pay for (which is awesome by the way if your bank has it it would be worth checking into.)  And things that I need to write a check for.  After I have got the cash out or payed the bill I will cross it out and write the acctual amount next to it.  So I thought that the Water Bill was supposed to be $80 and it was more this month I will write $85 next to it and then cross it off.  If there is a month that you made more start hiding some money in your checking account incase you have a situation like this where you spend slightly more then planned for but don't make it an excuse to buy something extra.

Mad Money is very important.  We tried cutting out wants all together when we first did the budgeting and we ended up over spending in that area because it was too resritcted and we were unable to follow it.  But if you think you've got the will power then go for it. ;) It's kind of like when you go on a diet and you cut out all sweets.  In the end you end up purging on sweets and junk because you didn't get any of it.  So moderation is key.

My husband and I both get $20 a check to spend/save on anything we want.  I usually save mine for clothes or other.  My husband usually spends his or saves for guns, which was one of the things we noticed we were over spending on when we did our months of checking out our expenses, now we have a set amount and it always seems to be enough.  It was hard, very hard at first, but I no longer have the urge to spend frivolously when I don't have the money.  Our money freedom has been a much better feeling then the thrill of a fun purchase and the guilt after.  I actually enjoy spending that money I have saved and I have no guilt or regret afterwards.  Mad Money is a Must.  Infact, I give the kids $20 a check too, my kids are still too young to give it to them but I use this to pay for activities they want to do or things they need for school or rewards for good behavior.

#7.)  Keeping the Cash Organized

I have colored paper clips in my Wallet.  Yellow means food, blue means Gas, Pink means extra needs, and silver means kids Mad Money.  Then when I go to pay for something I know where to get the money and I know that I can't spend any more in that category until the next paycheck when the money is gone.  Even if it's a need.  Groceries are a need but if I'm out of money in the Yellow paperclip (unless I don't think I'll need any more extra money for the pay period and I have some left of that) I will not buy more groceries untill we get paid.  We usually don't have to wait very long.  And the left overs in the fridge or the can of soup left in the cupboard will do.

It is fast easy and it works.   The cash system has been nothing but postitive for us we are staying within our means and spending less then we make.  We have paid off our debt and we are saving money.

****Check out the Privident Living Website for more Advice. There is also a budget template so check it out if you need some more ideas for your budget.

 This was my personnel experience you may have to tweek it somewhat for your needs.  But it is worth the journey.  Just remember that on your journey you will have to make changes and make mistakes and keep going and it is a good idea after to do your detailed recording every once and a while to make sure you are sitll on track.  It can be easy to fall back into old habits.  The more you do it the better you feel and the better you get at it.  In the beginning it was hard to see an end in sight but now that I'm where I am, I am glad we did all the work to make it happen and you will be too.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Wild Game

My husband loves to hunt, his man bonding time.  But we also love to eat what he hunts.  We usually have a lot of elk meat and need to eat it.  It's never good when the meat is dry or gamey so that's why I have put together some good recipes for eating our wild game that we really enjoy.   My sister-in-law gets to share in the joy of our husbands past time of hunting and wanted some ideas, so this is for Shauna. 

If your husband does like to hunt but you don't like to eat it you might try to experiment with some new recipes.  After all, not only is it using our resources it is a great way to eat healthy.  The meat is more lean than beef and it is organic.  No added growth hormones or steroids in this meat.  Just good old fashion grass from the prairie.  If you refuse to use wild game then here are some good recipes for your beef. ;)

The main way to keep meat from tasting gamey is to treat your meat right.  Make sure the animal gets dressed right away and put in a cool dry place until you can butcher it.  Which should be as soon as possible.  Then I freeze it.  When I'm ready to use the meat for cooking there is a delicate time in which the meat tastes good after de-thawing it.  I take mine out the night before and put it in the refrigerator and I do not wait more than two days to eat it.  I do not de-thaw it in the microwave or in hot water.  Unless I'm in a pinch but there is a taste difference.  It just tastes more gamey if I do that.

Top 8 recipes for Wild Game in our home:

1.)  Sloppy Joes

I got the recipe off of and tweaked it.  I love this website you can find almost any recipe even ones your mom used to make.  But now that I just said that I cannot find this recipe, I guess I didn't save it to my recipe box so here is my version.

1 lb Ground Elk Meat
1/2 onion chopped (My husband can't eat them so I leave them out and add onion powder.)
1-2 minced garlic cloves
2 Tablespoons white flour
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
1/2 cup Ketchup
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
3 Tablespoons soy sauce
8 hamburger buns

In a skillet cook ground elk, onion/onion powder, and garlic over medium/high heat until meat is no longer pink.  Slightly cook in the flour, just until you can't see white.  Add the remaining ingredients except for the buns. :)  Simmer for 15-20 min. stirring occasionally.  Scoop 1/2 cup of the meat mixture onto each bun.  And eat!  Make sure you have a napkin!

2.) Cheddar Loafs

I love this recipe.  I tried it with ground Elk and fell in love.  Individual meat loaves, and they are delicious.  They are moist and full of flavor.  It is not your average meat loaf.

Meat loaf Ingredients:
1 egg
3/4 c. milk
1 c. (4 oz.) Shredded Cheddar Cheese
1/2 c. quick-cooking oats
1/2 c. chopped onion (once again we don't do onion, I use onion powder and garlic powder about a tsp. of each or you could use a clove of minced garlic)
1 tsp. salt
1 lb lean ground elk or beef

2/3 c. ketchup
1/2 c. packed brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp. prepared mustard

Beat the eggs and milk in a bowl.  Stir in cheese, oats, onion(or powders and garlic), and salt.  Add the ground elk and mix well (I use my hands.)  Shape into eight loaves; place in a greased 13x9 inch pan.  Combine all the sauce ingredients in a separate bowl, spoon over loaves.  Bake uncovered at 350 for 45 minutes or until the meat is no longer pink and the meat thermometer reads 160. Serves 8.

3.)  Stuffed Peppers

We love it when the grocery store's have sales on produce like bell peppers.  This is the perfect time to make stuffed bell peppers.

8 bell peppers, we used Green
1 cup onions (onion powder, my permanent change)
1 lb ground elk
1 clove minced garlic
2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp pepper
2 cans tomato soup
1 1/2 c. shredded cheddar cheese
1 1/2 c. cooked brown rice (or white)  I just start the rice cooker before I start cooking dinner.

Boil the peppers 3-4 minutes on the stove top after you cut off the tops and take out the seeds.  Combine the onion, garlic, chili powder, and pepper in the skillet on the stovetop and cook until no longer pink.  Add the remaining ingredients until heated through.  Then stuff the peppers with the mixture and bake at 350 for 20 min.  You can also save some of the cheese and top the peppers with more cheese.

4.) Bacon Wrapped Hamburgers

I also got this recipe from  Click here for the link.  I did make a few changes.  I used ground elk instead of ground beef.  I added 1-2 cloves of minced garlic. About a handful of cilantro and 1/2 teaspoon Grandpa Lyn's Seasoned Salt. You can find Grandpa Lyn's here.  It is locally made.  This salt is excellent you can use it on anything.

5.)  Marinated Steaks
I love to marinate pretty much any meat with soy sauce, lemon juice and olive oil.  Make sure to let it sit over night to really soak in.  Then we grilled the steaks.  You will want to use the best cut of your elk for this one and tenderize the meat.  Here is a link for some other ideas of what you could add to your marinade and how much of each to use.  I usually just use a combination of other things depending on what I have in the house so I don't have to make a trip to the store late at night.  Well, I can't.  I live in a small town and that isn't possible.  So make do there are a lot of yummy things right in your pantry.

6.) Beef and Broccoli/ Crock Pot

I found this recipe on pinterest.  Here is a link.  I am all about fast, easy, good, and mix and match with what you already have in the kitchen.  This makes a good base.  I also added fresh grated ginger and garlic.  I love that I can stick it in the crock pot and put the rice in the rice cooker and have an easy and tasty dinner for a busy night.  The elk steaks cut into pieces work really well.

7.) Taco's and Fajitas

We love Taco bell spice packets from the store and the are fast and easy.  Brown your meat, add the water, and spice.  Make some Spanish rice for a side dish.  A few vege's, sour cream, and cheese on a tortilla and this elk meat tastes great.  And once again, it was fast, easy, and tasty.

8.)  Your Own Family Recipe Favorites

Take your family recipe favorites and replace them with wild game.  You'd be surprised at how much you will like it.  We use wild game in our Chili, Spaghetti, Portuguese Soup, Egg casserole (with the wild game breakfast sausage), Shepard's pie, breakfast burritos, and anything you can think of really.

Do your own experiments.  Some you will keep and some you won't, but that's how we found some of our favorites.

What is your favorite thing to make with wild game?  How do you keep yours from tasting gamey?

Sunday, March 24, 2013

They're Growing!

I am really having spring fever this year and I can't wait for spring to arrive so I've started bringing the spring indoors.  I also hate waiting all summer for new blooms so I've started growing indoors this year.  I promised a post on New Growth #2 so here it is...
Here are 4 ideas on how to grow:

Reuse and recycle things that you already have to grow indoors.  I used toilet paper rolls, paper towel rolls, or wrapping paper rolls.  However, the toilet paper rolls seem to be molding so I would choose one of the others if I had to go back and do it again.  It kind of makes me think twice about using them for kids crafts too.

1.) Growing garden seeds indoors:

You could always spend a little more money and just buy a seed starter kit at the store but this really worked good because I like to reuse anything I can to save money and the environment.  I got this idea from Intuition Physician Blog.

Step one:  Save plastic containers, cardboard tubes...i.e. Strawberry containers, lunch meat containers, and paper towel rolls

Step two: Pick out some flower seeds or garden seeds that you would like to start indoors.  Honestly, I wouldn't waste my time with hardy annuals that will grow pretty fast and strong outdoors after the fear of frost.  I bought perennial seeds last year when they were on sale and I chose Lavender, Columbine, Pampas Grass, Sweet William, and Lupine.  I'm also starting my tomato's and peppers so I don't have to buy a start this year.  Make sure to follow the instructions on the seed pack.  Even if it sounds weird.  The lupine pack gave some instructions completely different then the rest of the seeds such as put them in the refrigerator.  I'm sure glad I followed the package instructions precisely because they are sprouting up already and I haven't gotten them out of the fridge yet.

Step Three:   Cut your cardboard tubes to fit your plastic containers.

Step Four: Fill your tubes with healthy potting soil.

Step Five:  Water, plant seeds either on top of the soil or slightly in the soil depending on the instructions.  I had tried to grow Sweet Williams for years now I was planting them slightly within the soil like my other seeds said but this seed needed to be planted right on top of the soil. I did that this year and they grew like crazy.  Then Water again.

Step Six:  Put them in a warm sunny place unless of course your package says to put them in the fridge or somewhere else. Keep watering them.  I watered them twice a day when they were seeds and once a day once they started to grow that seemed to work well.  I used a spray bottle to mist the water on most the seeds and it didn't disrupt the soil.  I also covered the plants with the plastic tops and it gave the plants a small green house effect.
*Don't forget to label them so you remember what you are growing and where.

Then watch them grow.  Pay attention to the germination dates on your packages I almost gave up on my columbines but they have a 30 day germination period so I'm still watering them and I'm starting to get some to grow.

2.)  Growing trees

Step One:  Sprout your seeds.  I took my seeds out of our fruit from the grocery store.  Put them in a wet paper towel either in a clear plastic container or a plastic bag.  Water the paper towel and then place them in the sun.  Continue to check on the seeds and water the paper towel when it dries.  I used Pear, Apple (all kinds), lemon, and orange seeds.  My lemon and orange seeds haven't sprouted yet but they may take more time.

Step two: Once they sprout put them in soil in a plastic cup.  Make sure you put wholes in the bottom of the cup so that the water can drain.
Step Three: Water them everyday and watch them grow.  Plant apple and pear trees outdoor in the spring or fall.  You may want to research more information on what trees will grow well in your area.

*If you live in cold weather you could plant lemon or orange trees in a pot and bring them indoors in the winter.  The leafs and plant of the trees are really pretty. *If you use clear cups you can see the roots grow.

3.) Avocado

Step One: Put three to four toothpicks near the point of the avocado seed (they go in easy).  We took our seed from on avocado from the grocery store.

 Step Two:  Place the seed bottom side of the seed into the jar or cup and the pointed side goes up and is not in the jar.  And fill the jar with water and keep it full of water.

Step three: Wait...It took a couple months for us to get a root.  You may need to peel the brown seed cover off the bottom it helps it root faster.  My daughter broke off part of our root before I could get a picture and so I started growing another one and this one is cracked and you can see the root starting inside.  It's pretty cool.  My mother-in-law started our avocado seed at our house and we have been having fun with them.

Step Four:  Once the root grows pretty big you can start to gradually add soil to the seed and then plant it in a pot you can use it as an indoor plant if you are not in it's ideal environment.  You probably won't get fruit because it won't be pollinated but it will be a nice house plant.

4.) Plants that will grow from themselves...

*Pineapple -
Step One:  Twist and pull out the top of the pineapple (it surprisingly comes out without a knife.)Then pull off the bottom about four layers of "leaves."  and cut off the small bit of pineapple that will be on the bottom when you pull the top out of the pineapple.

Step Two: Put the end of the pineapple in some water in a container.  I cut the top off a soda pop bottle.  Do not fill the water up all the way.

Step Three:  Watch the roots grow.  You will probably see some already growing once you pull away some of the green and cut off the pineapple.  Let them grow some in the water in the container.  Then you can move them to soil and have a beautiful spiky indoor plant.  You may even get a pineapple if you give it enough time.  My youngest daughter and I were having fun watching video's on YouTube.  Check this one out on the pineapple.

* Onion, Potato, and Garlic -

Plant potato underground outside in your garden and let it multiply.  Use some that have already started to root when you didn't use them up in time.  Look at my onion try the same thing with these.  I just had mine in my vegetable bowl on the counter and I didn't use it for awhile and this is what it did.  Plant it in the dirt and let it grow.  The garlic I am most excited about though.  Plant the pointy tip up in some soil in a small pot in the house or even outdoors during growing season and get some fresh home grown garlic.

What are you growing?


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

New Growth

Do you ever compare yourself to other moms?  Do you ever compare your kids to other kids?  Telling yourself, oh man she has got this all together, what is wrong with me?  Or all the other kids are reading big books and we are still sounding out words.  I know I am tempted to do this and I need reminders to get my thoughts far far away from them.  So there is the doubt so let's work this thing out!  I love this time of year and I start thinking about spring and new growth and my thoughts are turned to the Savior and his resurrection.  I have been getting spring fever and I have been planting seedlings all over the house.  I will post my indoor growing methods on the next post new growth #2. :)  Okay but today "New Growth" is a metaphor.  I love metaphor's they really help lessons to sink in.  So I'm going to share the lesson I learned from my tree's today.

1.) First you have to look at how well my tree is growing...

2.)  Okay now you have to look at how well the rest of my trees are doing!

3.)  Did you compare the two?  You automatically thought my little baby tree wasn't doing very well didn't you?  Ha! Okay well, maybe you didn't but I did.  I was pitying this poor tree.  What is wrong with this tree I keep asking myself.  He's been in the same environment and everything else.  Then when I realized that ya this tree is smaller and doesn't seem to be doing as well that it could really end up being a strong tree if I don't give up on it and keep watering it, it will just keep growing.  When I look at this tree on it's own I think that this tree is doing pretty good put the second I look at the other tree's I think he isn't doing very well anymore.  This is the same way with us.  When we look at how well we think others are doing then we forget to look at how well we are doing.  We only see our weaknesses.  I know that as we look at our strengths and cultivate them and embrace ourselves the way we are that we start looking better and better.  Not only do they look better our strengths grow and our weaknesses can become strengths.

4.)  When we start comparing our children to other kids then we give them a disadvantage.  Of course we want our kids to do well and to be healthy and grow and be the best they can be.  How are they supposed to grow to their full potential if they are being compared to somebody else? When our kids see that they have to live up to some standard or to other kids then they miss seeing all the good that they have and can't develop those qualities.

I used this idea for a Family Home Evening Lesson and let everyone hold the small tree and asked them about the two tree's and all the kids said that my tree was better (the big one).  Except Dad could see what was happening so he tried to say that the small one was better. Stinker, oh well, he didn't get it right either neither of the tree's were better, just different.  Then I talked about how, when we compare ourselves to others we can't see the good in ourselves.  So then I went around the room again with both tree's and asked them again about the tree's and everybody talked about the good qualities of the small tree.  Even one of my daughters said that the fact that the tree was small was a good thing.  She herself is small and later I asked them to look at the good things about themselves and she said, "I'm small."  I asked her why that was a good quality and she said, "It makes me good at the limbo."  Even things that are looked at as negative can really be good qualities, you just have to look at them that way.  It reminds me of the movie "Wreck it Ralph"  which by the way if you haven't seen it then you need to it is sooooo good.  Ralph is the villain in his video game and he just wants to be good and be appreciated like the hero of his game.  So he goes out and tries to change his role in the game and anyway he finds out that he is really just needed the way that he is and when he embraced it he found the good in himself and didn't have to change at all he just had to find the good in his situation.  Here is a trailer.

My oldest daughter always struggles with this.  She will come home from school and talk about how other students in the class can read better then her or are faster with the math facts then her and on and on.  I could see her really listening to this lesson and she talked about how she is a good swimmer.  I remember she needed help with her reading so we really worked at it.  We stopped looking at what others could do and started focusing on what she could do and where she wanted to be.  We had some practice reading sheets the teacher had given us and the words per minute that they were "supposed" to be able to read by then end of the year.  Instead of saying you are supposed to be here we made this her personal goal.  When I first tested her she had eight words per minute, the goal by the end of the year is 47 words per minute.  So then we said okay if you do 10 more words per minute each month we will get there.  So we practiced everyday and at first she really struggled but now she is almost there and she still has at least another month to go.  Another thing that helped was her confidence.  I had a very strong feeling that she needed to be on the US swim team this year, so we decided to do it and it turns out that she is a natural.  She got 28th and ended last every heat the first meet and by the end of the season she placed third overall in the backstroke at B State and got the bronze.  Not only that, because she has something that she is good at her confidence has grown and it affects other areas of her life.  Her reading has gotten so much better and before she was very shy in class and wouldn't participate and now she asks questions and answers questions and believes in herself.  We are excited about the positive changes and I know that it was because we started focusing on what she could do and not on what she couldn't do.  We stopped worrying about what others were doing or not doing or what they thought.  We also did not pity her or feel sorry for her or feel like there was no growth for her, we simply helped her with love and patience and we believed in her.  Just like we need to do for ourselves when we struggle and feel like we can't live up to others.

5.)  If you look at someone else and believe they are perfect then you are mistaken.  We each have strengths and we each have weaknesses.  The problem is that we can't see every one's mistakes or weaknesses, especially as much as we see our own.  Some of us expect that we ourselves need to be perfect so it's hard to accept our failures.  But when we accept them then we can learn from them and keep making ourselves better.  When I remember my Savior, Jesus Christ, and all he has done for me then I can accept my faults easier and know that because The Savior Died for me he will make up the difference and that it is not possible for me too, then I can surrender and give my life to him and I will be made perfect Some Day.  It's exciting!  This Easter Season as we think about the Savior his sacrifice and his resurrection then we can remember that just as winter comes so do our faults but just as Spring comes and brings new growth we can remember that we grow also.

I read this talk by President Uchtdorf that talks about how we can avoid comparing ourselves to others.  You can read, watch, or listen to it here. Great Talk!!

Stop asking yourself, "What's wrong with me?" and start asking yourself, "What's right with me!"

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Super Mom Syndrome

As a mom I often struggle with "Nap Time Just isn't Long Enough Syndrome." My sister has an almost one year old walking around the house and she asked me for some advice on how to get things done around the house and get working from home stuff done and "me time" etc. I had a few words to the wise but I felt it was best to extend this question to some friends because there really isn't one solution to this problem. Everyone has there own method you just have to find one that works for you and your family and then when your kids change you'll of course need to change again. I remember this age just being the hardest because those kiddos are so busy and that means so are you. So I've put together a list of the top solutions from my friends and I...I'm thankful to my friends for the help... Here are the top ways to get some work and relaxation in while keeping kids top priority...

#1. This tip really just gives you perspective ... do you suffer from Super Mom Syndrome?  Or in other words "I CAN DO IT ALL AND HAVE IT ALL" I know I DO.  This thinking and overachieving attitude, only leaves me feeling frustrated and unsatisfied by the end of the day.  There is no way to achieve the same amount that you did before you had children unless you can live without sleep...I KNOW I CAN'T. TRUE or FALSE I can work, spend a wonderful long fulfilling amount of time with my kids, and cook and clean and have a magazine cover of a home all the time and I'm involved in church and community activities and events and I volunteer in anyway possible and still have quality family time and husband time. If you said FALSE that is the correct answer.  It really just isn't possible to have IT ALL 100% of the time.  I remember trying really trying hard to make this happen when I first started out as a mom and I failed at it and therefore everyday I felt I was a failure and I could not feel good about all of the great things that I did accomplish in a day.  The great crafts I did with my kids or the the nice meals I had prepared or half of the laundry I had completed, because all I could see was the dirty bathroom, or the bag of fruit snacks they ate, or the other half of the laundry that wasn't done, or the project that I didn't start or finish, the scrapbook page that isn't finished....the list goes on and on.  So when kids come you've got to change the way you look at your life.  You've probably already decided that your kids and family are number one on the list of priorities.  And even if you have you sometimes need a reminder to keep on track... Here are some things to think instead when you think you can HAVE IT ALL!!!
  • "Kids don't get in the way of me doing other things, other things get in the way of me spending time with my Kids." - ME
  • "It's not all or nothing...It's Do Something." - ME
  • "Our main goal is to be together as a family.  So why are we continually looking for ways to get a break from them?" - Frana
  • "These beautiful little spirits who came from us really are a part of us so as they develop and grow, so do we." - Frana
  • "Until my kids are 2, I personally consider myself at their mercy when
    it comes to time management." - Rene
  • "...'Me Time' is important and essential as a mom. The bad news is, as soon as we start having kids the me time we are used to will never be the same..." - Emily
  • "The Time that we have with our Kids is Short DON'T WASTE IT." - ME
In other words if you think being a SUPER MOM is doing it all then you better change what you think being a SUPER MOM is, it's adjusting your schedule and priorities so that your family is number one! Check out my other post on Expectations.  Something else that helps me get back on track is looking at old pictures it reminds me how fast time goes and how special my children are and it renews my efforts to serve my kids now and not "later" or "in a minute."

#2.  Now with that being said, I find it pretty hard to believe that you are going to be happy or good at taking care of others when you yourself aren't taken care of.  Remember to keep this in perspective, you now have kids, so for you to expect a lengthy amount of time pampering and relaxing is just not going to happen or even working, for you overachievers.  So what do you choose to do with your time and how do you get the best care of yourself in the small amount of time that you do have for yourself?  The TIMES OF DAY that my friends and I all agreed were the best times to do this were all pretty unanimous...
      1 - Mornings, before they get up.  This time is best if you are a morning person and you will feel good the rest of the day getting "me time" in before you even get started.
     2 - Nap Time
     3 - When they go to sleep at night  This time is best for "me time" if you are not a morning person and you will feel refreshed and ready for sleep you can be ready for the next day and you can look forward to it when working hard the whole day.

Thank goodness kids have to sleep more then us.

Other solutions when you have to get something done with a deadline...You must admit defeat and in list the help of others.  It is not a weakness to give in to your pride and call a babysitter or for goodness sakes ask your husband to change a diaper, read a book, cook dinner, or even yes I'm going to say it...DO THE DISHES!  Believe me your kids will be happier having someone else take over for a moment instead of you being a distracted or uninterested mom.  PS Let your baby cry when someone else is in charge, if you go over and save the day every time your baby cries then there is going to be no one who can help you because that baby knows that momma will come running.  If you have to have a sitter at home if you work from home or if dad helps while you do the budget etc.  then just remember that they are in charge so pretend like you aren't.  You might be surprised what a good job they do without you....occasionally of course, you wouldn't want to be replaced. ;)  Also get a sitter for a date night with your hubby a couple times a month and have Dad have a turn with the kids while you go on a girls night out a couple times a month.

#3. How to Spend your time Most Wisely!?!  Quick, you don't have much time, cram as much crap as you can in that hour nap or try to do three different things at once to multi-task efficiently and make sure to check your emails and face book updates....NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO none of these options are very good.  Rushing through things and not enjoying life or taking the time to stop and smell the daisies, as they say, is not enjoyable I have to remind myself of that often.  Multitasking is NOT a Good Idea as a MOM or as a person with high anxiety or anyone really.  We have learned throughout school and the work world that multitasking is a good quality to have but I am here to break this trend and put it to rest.  You are a MOM not a machine or some character from a comic book.  Take one thing at a time.  Have you tried to get some sewing done and your child is trying to talk to you at the same time.  Well, did you really listen that well or sew that good?  Have you tried to make grilled cheese and help someone with homework at the same time?  My grilled cheese comes out burnt every time.  My point is make a choice!!!  Do one thing and then do the next or save the next for another day another time.  Put your all into one thing your kids will notice how much you are paying attention to them and so will your other duties.  You will be able to do them much more efficiently and proficiently and with better quality.  Not to mention with more joy and ease.  Bye bye anxiety and hello choices.  Also, don't forget that awful feeling you get after you waste minutes or even hours on social networking and other computer time wasting junk.  Just don't do it, you'll feel better when you do something else.  Here are some good choices...

  • Have a Schedule, a routine!  Kids do better with one and to be frank so do you!!!  See my post on Routine.
  • Pick one or two things that really need to get done for the day, or things that really get under your skin if they aren't done!! Keep your plan, schedule, and to do list but pick the two that really need to be done. Do those things right away in the morning.  You will already feel successful about your day and you will get those things out of the way so you can take things as they come for the rest of the day. Some days it will be laundry other days it will be dishes some days you will feel it important to plan something fun with the kids, make it something that is top on your mind or nagging at you.
  • Don't forget to take a nap!  Research shows that a nap helps people in many ways (Google it! :) not to mention if you aren't sleeping at night with kids you will need a nap.  My friend Emily said, "For me personally naps are essential. If you are super exhausted you won't be productive with any of your chores around the house so I think it is important to get a 30-minute boost me up nap so that you can be productive when the baby naps again. A lot of people view napping as a waste of time, but I think I am much happier and more productive with a little nap."  And I agree.  Also try to remember that she said little nap not a whole day of napping and pitting yourself.  I'm only saying that because I tried it and it doesn't help.  Also I'm grouchy when I'm not well rested and everyone around me feels it too.  So, do it for your kids, do it for your husband, do it for your friends, and don't feel guilty that it helps you too.
  • Baths, reading, writing in a journal, spiritual and uplifting meditation or reading, and even a little fun are important but once again you'll have to remember you may only have an hour so do it in the morning before the kids get up or when they go to bed.  Do make sure the kids go to bed early.  About 7 or 8, kids need to get enough rest.  Which is good for you because it helps give you that break and also time with your hunny or time to call a friend.
  • Use a Timer to help you manage your time. Mine has become my friend. If I only want to work on something for an hour then I set the timer and work on it. It is actually a good motivator too when I really just don't feel like doing something, like chores, I will say to myself, "Only 20 min." (20 min. doesn't seem like that long) and that gets me started and I usually can finish dishes or dusting in 20 min. Another thing, we all use the computer now for work, research, shopping, and blogs are nice too :) but enough is enough so limit yourself and set a timer to do it.  Also, I always get a feeling when it's time for me to log off, I don't always listen so the timer kind of reminds me of actually how much time I've spent doing something and snaps me back into reality.  Don't however let time or a timer be a crutch, if you say you're going to do something for an hour and the baby wakes up early and needs you, stop and switch gears.
When the Kids are awake...
  • Do chores and cooking, include them, let them "help" (Kids love to help you could even make them their own cleaning bucket with water or something.) Let them sit with you by the sink when you do dishes and splash around and even make a mess.  My Mother-in-law would always set the kids up on the sink and let my kids "do the dishes" with her and they loved it.  Taking pots and pans and other goodies out of the kitchen cupboards is also a fun past time for little ones.
  • Socialize!  Have a play date, join a playgroup, or start one once or twice a week sometimes being home with the kids can get lonely and isolating make sure you have some friends and the kids will get some too.
  •, bank, post office etc. etc.  Don't forget the suckers at the bank!!!
  • Include them in as much as you can and with whatever your doing.  Yes it will take ten times longer but they want to be apart of what you're doing and they are learning too.  Be patient with them and realize how much you are giving your children by including them.
  • I also had a box of things that they could do one their own, if they got bored with "helping" I'd give them their box and they could have something fun to do until I could give them my full attention.  My friend Emily suggests Baby Einstein video's that are really good for keeping their attention for awhile.  Another friend or mine, Rene, has a list of activities that the kids can do on their own or with minimal help and pulls that out when the kids need something to do or they are bored.  I like her thoughts on time with the kids she said, "Every baby brings an adjustment, and sometimes we forget that we need to just breathe and accept the fact that we have to share our time with them until they are off to school. If they've given you 10 minutes, give them 10 minutes."
  • I like to spend some extra one on one time with the kids especially before quiet time or bedtime reading to the kids or talking with them.  This helps them relax and it also helps them get the time they need before having to have some alone time.  We often times call this our "2 Minutes." It usually lasts longer but I know that I can give each of my children at least two minutes of one on one undivided attention which every child needs and sometimes we just get so busy the time we are having with them is distracted or shared.

I'm obsessive and if starting a project without finishing it drives someone nuts that's me.  That is why I would dread the cries that meant nap time was over because "I hadn't finished yet" and I wanted to pout and scream and sometimes I did.  Well, now I can learn the skill of stopping and putting it away and starting again later or just deciding that's all I could do today without sacrificing my top priority, my family.  For instance, I have to stop right now as I am writing about this and visit with my husband.

I have the whole rest of my life to fulfill my dreams, my kids need me now, which is really one of my dreams is to love, inspire, and lift them.  Soon they won't need me like they do now.  If I think that I'm working for a bigger better house or fancier and bigger and better things for my kids, I think that I am mistaken.  They will appreciate more things that I sacrificed for them and the time that I spent with them then the fancy things that I gave them.

What do you do to spend time wisely by blending you, work, spouse, kids, friends, and more together?