Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Grocery Shrink Plus

I came across something yesterday that I thought was interesting and creative.  On a blog that I occasionally read, written by a mother of 10 children, I saw a giveaway for a menu planning service.  The interesting part, to me, is that the service has been developed by a homeschooling mother of six and is called "Grocery Shrink" because it is based on helping families save money, and busy mothers to save time.  Since I wouldn't mind trying it out and I get entered three times for the giveaway by blogging about it, I am sharing it here!  I also think it seems very well done and interesting.

I was impressed by the creative idea that the owner of this little business had for earning money.  She creates one menu for a week, 3 meals a day, including snacks.  But that's not all.  She includes a shopping list for all the necessary ingredients and an action plan laying out when all of the steps of the cooking need to be done in order to have the food prepared on time for meals.  Even better, her recipes use healthy ingredients such as brown rice, fresh veggies and whole grain flours, (with alternatives given) and are calculated to help your family reduce their grocery bill to $50 a month per family member.  Her recipes even come with adjusted amounts based on your family size, 4,6,8, or12 members.

The owner then emails out the weekly menu on Fridays to her subscribing families.  The cost is just $5 a month per family.  Cool idea, both for me to try and also for her to help families and earn something off of her own research and organization.

I hope I win a trial!  But if I don't, I might have to give it a try anyway.  www.groceryshrink.com

Monday, May 28, 2012

Some Nature and Gardening

 Sam says these are baby Thrush. 
Ben found these beauties growing near the driveway.
 A fledgling robin that he probably shouldn't have picked up.  It's so hard to resist a chance to get your hands on a real, live bird.

 So here's the garden so far...in the picking-out-rocks and forming-mounds phases.
Everyone likes the dirt.  It feels so good to get good and dirty. 
 Not that we condone the eating of dirt.

A cute, hot little girl.

 The man with the rototiller.
Mounds and rows are formed and we're calling it a day.
"It's time for my bath now.  See you next time!"

Monday, May 21, 2012

A Couple of April Birthdays

 Amelia: 5 years old
Going a step backward, I wanted to include this picture that my dad took of Mom and I finishing up Amelia's cake.
 Miss Millie's birthday fell on Easter this year.  The year she was born it was Easter as well.  She is our Easter girl.
 A comforter for her bed.
A special, new doll with hair.
 Brown curls, like Millie herself.
We had the special treat of having Grammy and Papa with us to celebrate this year. 
 Amelia had asked for a pink pig cake.  A very happy birthday for her, for sure.
Next is Ben: 9 years old.
 Ben's birthday dinner, Pork Stew with Tomatillos on brown rice.
An army canteen.
 Ben's first Airsoft gun. 
Ben got several books, including a giant dot to dot book and a magnificent horse encyclopedia. 
 Ben still loves horses, so we dreamed up a new horse cake this year.  We thought it came out alright.  There was help and input from Mom and Dad and siblings that made it what it was in the end.
Another year older.  I can hardly believe he is 9.  He has a big year with a lot of new experiences ahead.  I look forward to watching him making his strides and transition to that bigger, more capable boy.

Friday, May 18, 2012

New Books

 A couple of birthday kids got some new books in the mail from their aunt.  Ben is pretty excited about his dog books.  The excitement is much increased by being able to read them himself.

 And Amelia is very pleased with her new "girl" books.  She can't read these herself yet.  I don't mind.  ;)  I think we will enjoy them very much together.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Pittsburgh Zoo

 Yes, yet another zoo post.  :)  We took a family trip to the Pittsburgh Zoo last Monday.  Some nice ladies passing us were nice enough to take our picture by the Welcome sign.
Peter and the kids inside the Aquarium part.
 I couldn't tell you what this fish is called.  He was in an outdoor pool.  He kept coming up to the surface and opening his mouth.
Here's Calvin getting a good look inside the fish's mouth when it came up.
 Most of the pictures at the zoo were taken by William.  I let him enjoy trying to get good shots of the animals, while his brothers took some time to sketch some of them.  The ones I've included in this post were ones that I took.  Hopefully we'll have time for William to do a post of his own on the animals he photographed.
A teeny, tiny sea horse.
 This is the tropical environment that the zoo has created inside the Aquarium.  It's pretty fun to visit and walk through the tropical plants and see the tropical critters and fish.
There is one hands-on section in the Aquarium.  The children can touch the different rays swimming in this pool as well and crawl through a tunnel underneath the pool to see the undersides of the rays.  Even Elijah got to touch them.
 This is one of the rays they touched.
Another smaller ray.
 This is Peter's smile after we read the sign, "Beware of 600 pound females."
Here is the 600 pound female herself.  Bears of any kind are always Peter's favorite.  He loved this polar bear.
 Smiles before the hanging bridge.
This is one wobbly bridge.  We had to rescue Cecily part way through.
 There is a small playground that was much enjoyed.  It got to be 88 degrees on this day.  We were pretty warm by this time.
One of the last things we saw were the sea lions.  They're always my favorite.  This is a little one that came to say hello to the children.
Always a great field trip.  And a great family day.  I'll have to see if I can upload some of the drawings that the kids did from the zoo.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Afternoon at the Park

This picture was actually taken on a Sunday after church.  Sam made the girls some wreaths from dandelions.
You can thank me for showing you this picture and not the up-close shot of the snake that Ben and Will are holding.  They get very, very excited about anything they catch. 
Now to the park...
Beautiful flowering tree.
One eager little boy heading towards that dock as quickly as he can.
This is the Westover pond that is at Westover Park, near where we used to live.  It's a great place for children to fish and play and so we went back to visit.  It was an afternoon of much exercise for me, as I kept up with Elijah, keeping him from plunging into the lake.
Eventually, I urged the littlest ones to move away from the lake and try out some nearby swings.

Then we picked flowers for awhile.
Last, we went to another part of the park where the main play equipment was.  No fish were caught that day.  But it was a nice outing for us all.