Saturday, January 30, 2016

Let's Go Shopping!!!

Grocery shopping that is! It is that time of the week for me. I go once a week. Some people go every 2 weeks or even once a month, but I do it week by week. I have 3 teenagers in my house so food flies out of here like it has wings. 
I thought I would share my shopping strategy. Yes, my save money and stay organized so I don't have to keep running back to the store to get more. My goal is to make one trip a week. Sometimes I can do it, but other times not so much.

I start out with a meal plan or menu for the week. I have a list of some of our favorite meals I return to each week to start filling my menu. 
I try to pick out a couple of chicken meals, a couple of  ground beef meals, and a couple of other meals, such as pork or steak. I have a list for breakfast ideas and dessert ideas as well.


If I can't fill the whole week with this list, I break out my cookbooks. I love adding new favorites to our list.


Once my meal plan is complete, I make out my grocery list. I have gone all high tech for this. lol I found a great app I use, called myShopi. It is a grocery list that allows you to add your stores and foods. You can add in prices and quantities to keep track of spending, and check items off your list when added to your cart. 


Don't forget to check out the deals in your area as well. This can help out in planning meals or just stocking up on those items you use the most. 

There is my strategy. It is not anything spectacular but it sure makes shopping easier and affordable for this family of 6. 

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

School Photo Time for my Kids!!

Ok, so it is not really school photo time at least for the schools, but it is for me. I take my kids photos myself. I save so much money doing this and I get the photo I want and enjoy sharing with family. I do this at the beginning of the year, not school year. I have to admit that my kids are not real excited for school photo time. It doesn't get them out of class and having a mom for a photographer....well, they are always being asked to smile for the camera. LOL. 
This past weekend we had some really nice days, so I decided to take advantage of it and get the photos done. The first thing I need to do is decide what I want for a backdrop. Do I want a solid color or an outdoor scene? Can I do it at home or do I need to travel somewhere nearby? For these photos, I decided to use an old shed we have out back that is rusty, but really gives a neat backdrop. 
Ok, so I don't have to travel for these photos. Now, what do they wear? I am not one who feels they always have to be dressed up for photos. I will do that from time to time, but this time I decided to just have them wear something nice, yet casual and comfortable. Easy, right? If I decide to have them get all dressed up, then I will sometimes try to do the photos before church. We go to an evening service typically, so once they are all pretty, I  set aside some extra time to get some quick shots. It saves me the battle of getting them all dressed up. I think it takes longer to do that than it does to do the photos.
Another great idea for school photos is to take them at a special place. I have taken  photos when we were on a trip before. I found some beautiful backdrops that we don't have around home, plus it creates a memory of that year. 

Well, school photos are done for another year. Next year will be really fun, because I will have a Senior on my hands. He will love me! I have been known to take lots of photos for special events in their lives. Lol! 

6th Grade

8th Grade

11th Grade (my non smiler)

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Family Comes First!!

I love taking photos! It has been a passion of mine for several years. But there is another passion of mine that I have had far longer...... my family! I have dreamed of having a family since I was little.  

I loved the show Little House on the Prairie. 

I wanted to be Caroline Ingalls when I grew up! She made being a mom look so fun and rewarding. 
Well, here I am a mom of 4. I am not exactly Caroline Ingalls, but I do find being a mom to be fun and rewarding. 

Weekends are our family time. We do all sorts of things as a family and it is my favorite time. Today was no exception. I started the day with a cup of coffee and had a slow morning. Then, I made breakfast for the crew. On Sundays, it has been a tradition since I was a little girl to have a bigger breakfast. I carried the tradition on into my own family. But today, I only have to cook for 4 instead of 6. My hubby and I decided to start up another tradition we have had in the past but I am sorry to say has gone by the wayside. This tradition is spending alone time with 1 of the kids. 1 parent and 1 kid. Time to really talk and give one on one attention. So, my hubby and my 17 year old son went out for breakfast together and had some male bonding time. Our kids are growing up so fast that we don't want to miss out on anything with them. 
So, back to my breakfast. I decided to make french toast and bacon for the remaining 3 kids that would join me for breakfast. French toast has also been a favorite of mine since childhood. I don't do anything real special to my recipe, just basic french toast. 

I do have a tip for making bacon though. Instead of taking the time to fry it in a pan, I cook it in the oven. I just place it on a cookie sheet and bake it in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes on 350 degrees. Be careful not to check it too often or you may fill your house with smoke. It does tend to smoke a little more in the oven, or at least my oven. Lol.  I transfer it to a paper plate with a paper towel to catch extra grease and that's it. It is so much quicker.  

So, our breakfast is ready, and it looks so yummy! 

I am sure my hubby and son are enjoying their breakfast as well. I can't wait to ask them when they get home.

Our final Sunday tradition is pizza and movie night. We take turns picking out a movie and we all sit and enjoy some homemade pizza and dessert as well as the chosen movie. Our family has grown to love ending our weekend in this way. Tonight I made Peanut Butter Truffles to go with our favorite pizza flavors.

So, all in all it has been another great day. I finish writing this right after hugging and kissing my kids goodnight. I can't wait to see them again in the morning and start another day of memories. 

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Phoenix Zoo!!!

We took a day trip to the Phoenix Zoo as a family. I just love family activities! We packed a lunch and went for most of the day. Even the teenagers enjoyed it! Here are a few photos from our day!

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Heights Church Christmas Celebration!!!

I was asked to take photos for our church's Christmas celebration! Here are just a few of the photos I was honored to take.