Abundant Frugal Life

Finding Deals, Spending Less, Being Content

Archive for the ‘HOME & FAMILY’ Category


Stamp Out Hunger May 9th

Posted by Lisa

I encourage everyone who can to take part in our nation’s largest one-day food drive headed up by the National Association of Letter Carriers.  They make it so easy to participate!  All you have to do is put your non-perishable food items in a bag next to your mailbox.  Your carrier delivers them to a local food bank.  How easy is that?  Go here for more info on the project and how you can help spread the word.

Mark it on your calendar!


Frugal Meals

Posted by Lisa

Here is a great post to read if you’re low on good ideas for dinners.  These ideas look fun, and the entire family could get in the kitchen together and have a blast.


Frugal Beauty Tips

Posted by Lisa

I came across this little gem and thought you’d enjoy.

Frugal Beauty Tips by Audrey Hepburn
For attractive lips, speak words of kindness.
For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people.
For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry.
For beautiful hair, let a child run his/her fingers through it once a day.
For poise, walk with the knowledge that you never walk alone.
People, even more than things, need to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone.


More Homemade Gift Ideas – Good Ones

Posted by Lisa

I truly enjoy homemade gifts, but let’s face it.  Some ideas are downright cheap & cheesie.  Now I’m distracted.  What is the proper spelling of cheesie?  Back to my point.  Hillbilly Housewife came up with this extensive list of mostly great ideas.  This is a long post, but I will be doing several of these fun projects – and not necessarily for Christmas.  Better still, my kids can do many of them all on their own for friends and relatives.


Best Toys and Catalog Ever!

Posted by Lisa

Mindwareonline.com is my favorite toy buying resource. They help you select toys for children based on age, as do many sites, but this catalog/site also tells you what toys won which awards (Mensa, Mensa Select, Parent’s Choice, Parent’s Choice Gold, Dr. Toy, Games Magazine, Major Fun, National Parenting Center’s Seal of Approval, Creative Child Magazine, Learning Magazine Teachers’ Choice, Oppenheim Toy Portfolio, Oppenheim Platinum, etc.). Many toys list multiple awards. I like to stick with those and have had great success.

We’re a board game family. Here are some of the award winners we love and actually play: Blokus, Quoridor, Sequence and DaVinci Challenge. We still enjoy the classics like MasterMind, Clue, Battleship, Jenga, and of course… Monopoly!


Another Recipe

Posted by Lisa

I just added a quick & easy recipe to my Household Recipes page for a gallon of disinfectant that will cost you less than 5 cents to make.  It only has 2 ingredients!


Free or Nearly Free Prescription Drugs

Posted by Lisa

The Partnership for Prescription Assistance brings together America’s pharmaceutical companies, doctors, other health care providers, patient advocacy organizations and community groups to help qualifying patients who lack prescription coverage get the medicines they need through the public or private program that’s right for them. Many will get them free or nearly free. There is NO COST INVOLVED! Here is their site.

For more Works For Me Wednesday tips go to Rocks in My Dryer.  Feel free to stay and look around my site.


The Heart of Children’s Friendships – Part 3 of 3 (A Mother’s Response to Her Children’s Difficult Relationships)

Posted by Lisa

While we and our children have difficult relationships to deal with throughout life, how do we, as mothers, respond when we see their little hearts break? It’s precious to watch our children experience (what to them is) a huge relational hurt. You can see the pain on their faces, you know the pain they’re feeling and, at times, you know you’re feeling it in your own heart much more than they are. Ahhh, motherhood. If only we could carry the burden of all their little heartaches…but they would never grow up.

It is times like these that a mother stands at the crossroad and guides her children in the way they should go. Your children will watch and listen as you guide them in how they should act and react to others’ unkind behavior. If you fail to step up to that crossroad and give them direction, that will make as much of an impression on their hearts and minds.

There are times to let children work it out amongst themselves, but they must first learn the skills of working it out. I know it’s a tiring, thankless task, but you are the one God has given the job to. How you handle yourself means so much.

Do you blow the children off and let them duke it out? Do you yell at them and not get an obedient response? Do you have their hearts?

In these situations I long to be a woman full of grace. I know children who were rotten when they were young and grew up to be perfectly fine adults. I’m one of them! I want to give other peoples’ children the grace to grow up and mature. I don’t want to judge them or their parents. Not everyone parents the same. There are many different philosophies, methods, etc. Differences can be extreme at times, but we all (for the most part) love our children and seek to do what is best for them.

Not only do I want to be gracious in my thoughts, I want to be gracious in my speech. I remember countless times of comforting little hearts. When something went wrong with a friendship, instead of gossiping and saying something like, “She’s a brat”, I would ask my children how the situation made them feel. I would ask them what they would have done differently, how dealing with an issue straight on would have been better, and when I honestly could say it, I would say, “I’m glad you don’t do that and hurt other peoples’ feelings.”

Listening and talking through friendship issues, and praying with your children are some of the biggest helps you can offer them as you stand at that crossroad for them and with them as a mother.

My children enjoy one-on-one time with me. It seems funny because we’re all home together 24-7-365. My husband even works from the home so we are all really together all the time. You’d think my children would be sick of me.

When we have “Mommy and (insert name of child) time”, we go into my bedroom, close the door, sometimes eat a snack/drink hot chocolate and talk. Sometimes there is an issue on the heart he/she wants to discuss. Sometimes I start with asking questions, or I have them fill in the blank with sentences like, “When I’m a grown-up I will never _____.” I see where there hearts are with those kinds of questions. It’s a precious time – especially if I get a back rub.

Sometimes you just have to take a hit for your child. I will allow myself to be the scapegoat if my child feels he/she is in a predicament. I’m willing to look like the bad guy if it saves major face in certain situations. That can be a tricky though. We want our children to take a bold stand for truth and what is right. However, there are times when their young immature hearts can’t handle peer pressure. I’m fine with them saying, “My parents won’t let me do that.” if they’re tempted and pressured beyond their own abilities and need me as their out.

Finally, though I hurt for lonely hearts, I know that loneliness is far better for a child than bad influence. I would rather my children make friends with books and use their imagination in self play, and play with one another than keep company with corrupt acquaintances. I would rather they be painfully lonely than endure what long term consequences come from keeping bad company.

You’re in a serious, precious position of guardian over your children. Keep at it, press on, this time is short. I know it doesn’t feel like it when you’re in the thick of diapers and spit-up, but God is at the crossroad for you. Lean on him.


Father’s Day

Posted by Lisa

I had the best Father’s Day. My dad died 8 years ago, so we weren’t able to celebrate the day with him. However, I had the coolest dream.

My daughter and I were getting out of the car, and Dad came walking over to us with a big smile. He looked young – in his early 50′s, with no gray hair. I knew he had been dead and I wanted to ask him how he got here, but I knew we only had about a minute with him. I said, with excitement, “Honey, get out of the car, that’s your grandpa!” She got out and from the look on her face I could tell she remembered him.

There were no hugs or words. He was sort of walking by, but saying a big happy hello to us with his facial expression. I remember thinking – Oh no! The boys aren’t here! Then I woke up. It was good to see him looking so young and happy.

My best friend died about 10 years ago. On occasion I get to dream about her as well. Though I don’t read anything into the dreams, aside from the obvious fact that I miss them both, I always wake up thankful for the visit.


The Heart of Children’s Friendships – Part 2 of 3 (Guarding vs. Entrusting Your Children’s Hearts)

Posted by Lisa

As discussed in Part 1, we deal with difficult people all throughout life. Ideally, our young ones would have only relationships full of love, respect and kindness. Though we do seek out those positive influences, we all have disagreeable family members, neighbors, church friends, and kids at the grocery store our children also interact with at various levels.

We guard our children’s hearts from worldliness, bad attitudes & behaviors, the herd mentality, defensiveness in relationships and resistance to correction (this is the short list). This doesn’t mean they don’t struggle with this on their own. Our little darlings are plenty selfish and sinful. However, I don’t want to willfully put my children, for extensive lengths of time, in the company of others who are oblivious to this type of training.

I want to make it very clear at this point, that I’m not someone who feels she must protect her children from undisciplined, impolite, selfish, spoiled children. Quite the opposite is true. They need to experience all types of people. However, who we closely associate with, spend much time with, and entrust their hearts to are those individuals who breathe life into their little hearts and minds.

Yes, my children have friends who point them to Jesus, who are honest, sensitive, respectful, loving, wholesome, humble and fun. No, these children, like mine, are not without their faults – and sometimes big ones.

My children are, at the moment, 7, 8 & 13. There are children they play with on a daily basis who they don’t consider close friends, and some they do consider close friends. They know that when a friend has to one-up you, lie, deceive, tell secrets and laugh at you, act like their your best friend when it’s just the two of you but exclude you when others are around, etc. that person is not a true, close friend.

However, our kids have friends who live at least a 30 minute drive away and they only see them a couple times a month at best. They are truly close, dear friends our children have learned they can entrust their hearts to. These friends include one another, purpose to not leave anyone out, are giving and loving, sincerely get excited for one another when someone succeeds, etc.

Because we started early in defining what a good friend is (even among siblings), our children can easily identify and tell me why someone is or isn’t a good friend. In turn, they know when they are or are not being good friends themselves.

Life is not picture perfect at our house. This is a relationship skill that is always a work in progress (for mom and dad as well). We are such selfish, pathetic people when left to ourselves, and we always need to be aware of that fact. This is all part of fighting the good fight. Our children need us to pave the way and live a life of example (ouch).

Stay tuned for Part 3 – A Mother’s Response to Her Children’s Difficult Relationships


The Heart of Children’s Friendships – Part 1 of 3 (Intro)

Posted by Lisa

We have chosen to homeschool our children for character and discipleship reasons, both of which play out in relationships. In one sense, all of life is about relationships.

God blesses us with fun, easy friendships with people who prod us to consider how we act and what we think. They challenge us to be like Christ. There are also difficult people God brings into our lives for various reasons. We and our children will interact with them all our lives. They too are to mold us to the character of Christ. We need to teach our children how to deal with both kinds of people.

It isn’t a chore to deal with friends. It’s pure pleasure. It is, however, quite a challenge to deal with difficult people. In this post I’ll talk about those easy relationships.

My children, to this day, have no idea that their father and I have hand picked their close friends for them. They don’t see it as unusual or suspect that their best friends are children of my best friends. They don’t see that since I’m the one who has to spend energy and time helping them develop those friendships (driving time, getting to know the parents, hosting little people and little people parties) that I’m the one who makes the decisions suggestions of who should come over. They’re just excited to have any friend over.

Let me qualify that last sentence for those of you who don’t homeschool and think – oh those poor children are stuck at home with no friends. Ha! Truth be told I’m the one stuck at home with no friends :) They have more of a social life than I could dream of (don’t get me started on the lack of socialization for homeschooled kids). I wish they had less and I had more.

Back to the subject. We are our children’s God given authorities and we are to protect and provide for them. Friendships, and all relationships, are not the exception. We believe our children need a healthy dose of great relationships of all kinds. They also need the difficult relationships in small, bite size time allotments. We, as parents, need to closely watch and guide their little hearts, minds and mouths as they learn patience, understanding, forgiveness, kindness, and selflessness in general. We need to let their little hearts break and tears fall while we are there to hold them, comfort them, guide them and wipe their tears. How will they mature in their faith and in relationships if we never let them experience the pain of those difficult people in our lives?

Yes, they’re young and their pains seem so little compared to what older people dole out to one another, but their pain is real. The sooner you teach them how to deal properly with difficult people and situations, the fewer relational bad habits you’ll have to break when they’re older. Help them establish good relationship skills while they’re so very young. It will pay off richly and serve them in their older years.

I’m no relationship guru, I’m just sharing with you what I’ve learned along the way – and I’m still learning!

Part 2: Guarding vs. Entrusting Your Children’s Hearts

Part 3: A Mother’s Response to Her Chidlren’s Difficult Relationships


Teen Party Snack Ideas

Posted by Lisa

Rocks in My Dryer is hosting Works for Me Wednesday. Here is my list of what I serve my daughter’s teen friends at parties and gatherings. If you keep coming up with the same things, maybe something from this list will spark new snack fun, or easy fixing. Your teen could prepare any of this himself or herself.

  • M&m’s
  • Spray cheese & crackers
  • Cucumber & cream cheese sandwiches (cut in fourths)
  • Tostidos with the Rotel Cheese Dip (1 can Rotel, 1 lb. Velveeta, 1 lb. cooked & crumbled sausage-all heated in the crockpot)
  • Ham/roast beef roll-ups (with wheat/rye bread, mustard/mayo, tomato, lettuce)
  • Franks in BBQ sauce (we love K.C. Masterpiece Original)
  • Brownies & ice cream
  • Chocolate chip cookies/honey peanut butter cookies
  • Rolo pretzels (On a foil lined cookie sheet place pretzels, top each one with a rolo, bake at 250 for 4 min. press pecan half in before it cools. Refrigerate and peel off foil.)
  • Popcorn/pretzels
  • Crunch n Munch
  • Chex mix
  • Bagel Bites/pizza rolls/frozen little quiches
  • Rice Krispie treats
  • Fruit salad
  • Deviled eggs
  • Cut up apples with caramel dip
  • Veggie tray
  • Fruit pizza (Pillsbury sugar cookie dough rolled out on cookie sheet. Bake to brown. Make icing with 1 8oz. pkg. softened cream cheese & 1C confectioner sugar. Top with slices of fruit – strawberry and kiwi are our favorites)

Please add to this list. It’s great to have new serving ideas.


Prescription Helps

Posted by Lisa

Blow Up Pools!

Posted by Lisa

How do you keep your children’s boredom at bay during the summer months?

One thing will never go wrong with children – water! They can spend all day at the beach, in a pool, under a hose, having squirt gun wars, taking baths, and washing dishes or toys by hand in soapy sink water.

We have always invested in blow up pools. They fit perfectly on our back porch where we can watch the older “little ones” from inside the house. The pool is right up against our family room window giving me a 100% view from that room and the kitchen. I can watch them from the comfort of the air conditioned house.

The kids don’t want to come in for lunch. They request to eat on the deck and I oblige.

Now that my children are too old to use blow up pools (although I think my 2 younger boys would still love it), we have daily access to a neighbor’s pool. If we didn’t, I wouldn’t think twice about paying for a season pass to one of our city water parks or pools. They’re well worth the investment.


Cash Back for Caregivers

Posted by Lisa

Caregivers Marketplace is a website any caregiver or person receiving care (you/your parents) may join in order to get a partial reimbursement for certain products you purchase for your children, yourself, your parents (whoever you give care to).  You send in your receipts along with the form from their website and they mail you a check.  Great support for all caregivers.!  Glad to see someone giving care to the caregivers.  There aren’t a ton of products in this program, but I’m hoping the more people take advantage of it, the more it will grow.