Saturday, July 19, 2014

A new way of eating for us: the Rotation Diet

The first zucchini from our garden!

Homemade zucchini bread that my husband can eat!

Delicious pumpkin muffins made with many substitutions.

My dear husband has endured food allergies his entire life. He has known that he is allergic to peanuts, tree nuts, dairy, eggs, and gluten, but it seems like his body has become more and more sensitive to more and more foods and he now reacts to many different foods. After seeking the aid of an allergy specialist and also a nutritionist, Jesse had several tests run and we've found out that he has over 30 food sensitivities on top of the main allergies listed above.

One hopeful solution to help his body heal and potentially start to add some more foods back into his diet is to try a 4-day rotation diet for 3-6 months. Basically, only certain foods can be eaten each day and then rotated so that he isn't eating the same food consistently, but only once every 4 days. 

Since he can only eat meats, certain produce and grains, and certain oils, all on a rotating basis, my grocery budget has gone out the window... or at least has tripled since this time a year ago. But, I have come to terms with it (as hard as it is for me) and know that that's okay if it is helpful and necessary for my husband who never complains about such a lifelong "thorn in the flesh."

I also eat gluten-free as it has significantly helped my own health and digestive problems over the past year, and I try to maintain a gluten-free diet for the kids when they're at home (if they're served crackers or something at church functions or cake at a party, I let it slide). David is allergic to egg however, so we have to be careful with baked goods and other outside food for him.

I would share my 4-day menu with you, but I don't want to bore you too much with detail. But as an example, day 1 is beef, day 2 is chicken,  day 3 is turkey/salmon/elk, and day 4 is pork. Also, each day has certain fruits/veggies, as well as oils that I can use. It seems that day 2 is best for baking as it is rice day (rice flour) and I can manage to bake a few recipes that are gluten-, egg-, nut-, dairy-free and meet the requirements with the oils and fruits/veggies. We put pumpkin and zucchini on day 2 also, so I have been baking pumpkin muffins and zucchini bread this week (which, excitedly, we also have had some zucchini growing in our garden).

I'm also freezing any leftovers (or at least any that I can grab before they're ate up) for that crazy time in a few months when we're due to have a newborn in our house and ready-made food is such a help!

Operation Christmas Child: Time to stock up on school supplies for pennies!

I really can't believe that it is already time for back-to-school deals, but apparently we are in the season! This is one of the best times of the year to stock up on items for your Operation Christmas Child shoe boxes, for mere pennies out of pocket! Check out the weekly fliers for office stores, such as Office Max, Staples, and Office Depot each week to see what items they have marked down.

I have a local Office Max right next to one of the grocery stores I frequent,  so this works out perfect for me to stop in and pick up their sale items each week. Yesterday, I was able to find 24 count crayons for a quarter each and a four pack of glue sticks for a quarter also. I paid $1.06 after tax for the above items! The glue sticks are needed for our kindergarten home school, while the crayons will make wonderful additions to some shoe boxes come Fall.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Today's Frugal Accomplishments with the Laundry

Can you see the hole I mended?

A pile of stained laundry that I treated with the best home made stain remover!

I have been busy mending and cleaning stained laundry today. I was given a super adorable sweater dress for Anna, but it had a hole in it. I'm not an expert seamstress, but was able to find some gray thread and mend it up fairly well. A light shrug over the top of the dress will probably work even better.

I also made up a batch of my favorite, easy stain remover (see recipe here) and treated a whole pile of stained kids' clothes that I had been accumulating for a few weeks.

I don't have any pictures of my clothing bins, but I've also been organizing the past few days for all three kids with the clothes we've been given for them. It's helped me to be able to see what each child needs in which size.

AND The Children's Place has a great sale going on for the rest of today (7/8):  40% off plus free shipping with code EXTRA3 at checkout. I was able to get a pair of black tights for Anna for $2 shipped (I love the quality of their microfiber tights).

Now, back to the folding and putting away of all my laundry accomplishments (my least favorite part)!

Monday, June 30, 2014

Free 2 day Shipping plus 30% off at Old Navy!

Old Navy is having some great discounts today on their online site. Get 30% off items (including clearance, excluding "Everyday Steals") plus free 2-day shipping (today only, 6/30). Use code SURPRISE for the 30% off and FREE for the free shipping!

Plus, they have adorable toddler girl tees in French! I got this sweet tee for Anna's next birthday ("Je t'aime" means "I love you") for only $4.20 shipped after the discounts.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

$7.48 for Toddler Girl's Sneakers at!

I just bought these adorable sneakers for my daughter off the Target website. The pink ones are on clearance right now for $7.48 and if you use your Red Card you get an extra 5% off plus free shipping. I also shopped through to get an extra 4% cash back.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

A peak into our week! Frugal fun and many blessings.

The kids were excited to visit one of their favorite places last week, our friends' farm! Here, they're sitting on a pig statue.

Jesse with his early Father's Day gift, a bike! Plus, David is enjoying the free rides, too.

We had some wonderful friends over for dinner and the kids had fun playing in the kiddie pool and eating ice cream!

Jesse and I took the kids to a free event on Saturday called, "Wheeley, Wheeley Fun." Here they are in the cab of a big snow plow. They also got free shovels and buckets (which their old buckets had recently cracked, so that was Providential).

David's favorite part of the event was the John Deere tractor. He didn't want to get off of it.

Jesse and David riding on a four wheeler on Father's Day.

David received a toy tool box with tools as a gift from a family friend! It is a perfect gift for him and he loves it. Notice the new bucket that also came with the gift (Anna got one, too). I guess we don't need to buy any, since we went from two broken buckets to four brand new ones in a few days (I love those little reminders of how God provides and looks after us)!

I had Jesse snap this picture before church on Sunday with the kids. We're usually looking our nicest on Sundays, so I wanted to make sure to get a picture! Anna is wearing a super cute Gap dress that I found for about a $1 at the local Goodwill!
Other frugal blessings this week:
- We were given a huge bag of clothes for Anna by a friend.
- We are starting a new venture in life (more details to follow) and have seen God provide for that opportunity in encouraging, humbling ways.
- Anna wore out her flip flops and I was able to order a new pair last night from The Children's Place for a $1.84 shipped.
- We've been invited by a friend to her neighborhood's pool, which makes it a free pool day for us!
- I'm getting a replacement smart phone for free, since the one I just got had some sort of glitch where the touchpad wouldn't work or just go crazy at times. Thankful the new phone is free and hoping it will work just fine.

I think that's about it. I've had a hard time waiting, but tomorrow is the big day where we get to find out if our baby #3 is a boy or girl! We're having a gender reveal party for our family afterward, and I'll be baking either a blue or pink cake for my mom-in-law to cut into. We did the same thing for David's announcement and it was a lot of fun. 

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Making leaf wrapping paper for Father's Day

Today, while David was napping, Anna and I made our own leaf wrapping paper for daddy and grandpa's Father's Day gifts! Anna took this craft very seriously and had a lot of fun, too. We're learning about leaves this week in homeschool kindergarten and I thought this craft fit in well. She started out making leaf prints by rubbing a crayon over a leaf on the underside of the paper. Before long, she decided to just draw her own leaves and other images. :)

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Who wouldn't want a blue face?

My daughter loves this blue sunscreen I found for 50 cents a stick at a local discount grocery store! Who wouldn't want a blue face?

We've been getting back to normal again after I made a quick trip home to NY during Memorial Day weekend to spend time with family after my grandfather passed away. I came home with a nasty cold bug and I'm finally feeling myself again after 10 days.

It's been a low key week of getting back into homeschool and enjoying the warmer weather in our backyard. The kids love their kiddie pool and swing set, Jesse and I have enjoyed eating outside at our covered table and grilling!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

My first smartphone and a peak into our week

Some of our old pots/pans and dishes I listed for free on Craigslist. I was intending to donate these to our church for a fundraiser yard sale, but they were inundated with donations (a good thing). If you ever want 50 e-mails in a short time frame, list your dishes for free on Craigslist.

Anna at her gymnastics class, she is sitting in the middle front of the picture, the second from the left. She loves gymnastics and it's a perfect fit for her to get her energy out. 
Mailing out many, many support letters for a new ministry opportunity that we're hoping Jesse can work full-time for, serving with a Bible translation organization.

Anna's sand art.

The beginnings of a baby bump, here I was about 15 weeks pregnant.

I took this picture of my innocent looking children the day that David got covered in mud outside and then pooped in the tub. I'm usually not grossed out with motherhood, but that moment was difficult.

David enjoying some frozen yogurt!

David's older cousin and uncle made this bike a few years ago and I thought it was cute how David was driving with his screwdriver in tow.
Anna working on painting a sun, during her S is for Sun kindergarten unit.
Proudly wearing her sun badge, "Jesus is the light of the world!"
So I finally got a smartphone after having my "dumb" phone for four years. I didn't want to upgrade and pay the $30 extra a month data fee from Verizon, so I held out until Jesse let me know that we would no longer have to pay extra for my smartphone with a new plan and it would equal out to about the same monthly payment!

I was able to upgrade to my new phone for a penny... and I love it. I didn't think I'd use it as much as I do, but I absolutely love the to-do list app that I have now (I get a lot more accomplished during the day with its reminders) and I love the camera features, too. It makes it so much easier for me to capture those moments with the kids and to send them instantly to the computer. It is tempting to spend more time fiddling with it, so I try to refrain from the extras during the day (facebook, instagram, games, etc...) until the kids are in bed.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Having fun with some recent freebies

I've been able to enjoy a couple recent freebies around our home:

I got these free, machine-washable labels in the mail a month or so ago and put them on our free sippy cups we got at K-mart last week!

Here's the 8x10 I got free from Walgreen's photo offer last week! It's hanging on our picture wall and was a much needed update, as the previous picture of my two children was from when David was a newborn!

And this wasn't free, but Anna has been asking for a "princess movie" and, because she has me wrapped around her finger, I ended up ordering her Frozen off of eBay for $10 shipped. What a great investment for mommy to get some things done around the house! :)

We saw this movie in the theater back in November, and Anna was so excited to have the whole movie to watch again (we've been watching clips on YouTube). This is her little movie nook, in the corner of the living room, where she watches her shows during afternoon downtime.