Archive for July, 2010

  • Crock Pot Pulled Pork

    Date: 2010.07.30 | Category: recipes | Response: 3

    3 lb pork shoulder roast

    12 oz tomato paste

    1 cup splenda

    1/2 cup cider vinegar

    1/2 cup water

    4 TBS chili powder

    4 tsp Worcestershire

    1 tsp salt

    2 tsp dry mustard

    Combine all ingredients and pour over pork in slow cooker.  Cook for 10-12 hours on low (switch to high for last 4-5 hours for less shredding).  Use two forks to shred pork and serve on whole grain buns with coleslaw if desired.


  • More on saving money

    Date: 2010.07.23 | Category: saving money | Response: 1

    In yesterday’s post I forgot to mention a few other sites I like-

    All three of these companies offer local deals, so you’ll have to see if they’re available in your area.  I’ve purchased several $25 gift certificates through for $2 each- not a bad deal!  I’ve also used their site to purchase gift certificates for others- an easy way to send a meal to someone after they’ve had a baby!  Groupon and mamapedia both offer a deal of the day- right now I could purchase $86 worth of gymnastics classes through mamapedia for $28 if I were interested.  If you know you’ll be traveling you could easily sign up ahead of time for the area you’ll be visiting- you might discover a yummy restaurant or score 1/2 off of an attraction that you were planning to visit anyway!  Another deal a day site that my husband is a big fan of is– he’s purchased several items at significant savings through their site.  Like groupon and mamapedia, they send an email with a deal of the day- if you’re interested you buy it, if not just wait for the next deal.

    After yesterday’s post I had a few friends suggest savings sites that they use- two that caught my eye are-

    I have one other idea for today that friends of mine have put into practice.  This isn’t an online deal, but I think it’s so great that it’s worth mentioning.  For the kids birthdays they’ve asked the grandparents not to give toys, but rather to gift them an experience.  Sometimes the grandparents pay for swim lessons or soccer registration.  They could treat the child to a day at an amusement park or a children’s museum.  They could take a granddaughter to an event at the American Girl store or to a salon for a new haircut and pedicure.  You get the idea… if there is something that your children would love, but if it’s just not in the budget why not ask the grandparents to provide it?  We all have too many toys laying around the house anyway!


  • Saving money online

    Date: 2010.07.21 | Category: saving money | Response: 0

    I’ve been snooping around the internet lately- discovering new blogs, clicking on links to see where they take me.  One of the subjects I discovered is this whole world of online savings.  Did you know there are entire blogs devoted to saving money?  There are blogs that give you budgeting tips and hints, blogs that tell you all the latest deals at your local grocery store, blogs that give you links to coupons and coupon codes, blogs that tell you where to find a great deal on almost anything!  I had no idea.  All this time I’ve been bumbling along saving money on my own and there was an entire community of savers out there just waiting to welcome me.

    I’ve mentioned before that I am trying to simplify my life.  During this process I’ve discovered that I can generate income by saving money as well as by earning it.  In fact, when I save $40 it’s even better than earning $40 because we don’t have to pay taxes on it (again)!  If I save $40 or $50 with an hour’s worth of research, or coupon clipping, or what have you that’s a nice hourly wage!

    I’ve started following a few financial savvy blogs- some that are local and some that aren’t.   Money Saving Mom and her family purchased their first home recently- using 100% cash!  Jennifer of Balancing Beauty and Bedlam haunts the local thrift stores and puts together designer outfits for under $15.  Colorado Springs Bargains lists local stores and restaurants and the deals they’re offering.  Tasha of Thriftliving comes up with all kinds of out of the box ideas to creatively save money.  You get the idea.  By simply checking in on a handful of blogs each week I am learning all kinds of ways to decrease our spending and increase our income.  Tasha recently posted a clever birthday gift idea.  Money Saving Mom introduced me to ebates and cashbaq.  Several of these blogs publish coupons that if I had a working printer I could simply print off of their sites!

    A few of my favorite money saving blogs are

    Upon discovering them, I signed up with both ebates and cashbaq.  Both sites offer a percentage back to you when you click through their site while doing your online shopping.  This week I bought 2 books online.  I found the best price, then went to ebates and discovered that if I clicked through to the store I was going to use anyway I’d get 4% cash back.  Easy!  I sometimes buy our diapers through I discovered that I can get 1-4% back for those purchases.  Every year I do quite a bit of Christmas shopping online, so I’m hoping this will reduce the money we spend come the holidays.  (If you use my link to ebates or to cashbaq I get a referral bonus too!)

    I’ve also started using swagbucks as my search engine.  I downloaded a simple toolbar and now instead of using google (sorry Heidi) I search with swagbucks.  I win points that I can redeem for gift certificates and cash just by doing a search.

    Now, none of these resources will make me rich on their own, but together I’m hoping to start seeing some significant savings.  If I can save several hundred dollars a month I can rehire the cleaning lady- now that’s a goal worth shooting for!

    I’d love to hear how you’re family is saving money and what resources you’ve discovered to help you do it.  Are there other blogs that I haven’t yet discovered that you love?  Let me know!


  • Summer vacation

    Date: 2010.07.07 | Category: friends, parenting | Response: 0

    This summer we got to take not one, but two family vacations!

    Twelve hundred miles.  Two kids under two.  Six days.  Can you say road trip?

    In June we drove to Omaha to attend Chris’ cousin’s wedding and to visit with his family.  We had a blast hanging out at the lake, visiting with cousins and aunts and uncles and his immediate family, eating Nebraska beef (it cuts like butter), and taking JT on his first trip to the zoo.  We lucked out that we were able to house sit for a cousin who was out of town- it was so nice having a whole house to spread out in without bothering anyone!  Despite the craziness, I enjoyed the time in the car with the kids.  I especially enjoyed the chance for our kids to spend time with Chris’ extended family.  We were so content to just spend time with everyone and let them get to know our kids a little better.

    Round two was even crazier, though…

    One old jankety and leaky trailer.  Same two kids.  Our dog.  Eight families.  One other dog.  Four nights.  Two rainstorms.  The great outdoors.

    We spent the long 4th of July weekend near Glenwood Springs on a camping trip with 7 other families.  We had 17 adults and 17 kids (most of whom are under the age of 6) crammed into a tiny group site.  We played in the dirt.  We played in the water.  We found sticks and rocks and leaves and a dead mouse.  We roasted and we froze.  We ate junk food for breakfast.  We sang praise songs acappella.  We slept in our sleeping bags.  We woke up several times a night to put JT back into his sleeping bag.  We saw fireworks.  We ate s’mores.  We had so much fun we decided to stay an extra night.

    I feel so blessed to have a husband who gets summers off from work.  While I enjoy the help around the house on a day to day basis, I love the opportunities it gives us to be together even more.  I’m so thankful that we have the flexibility to spend time together as a family.  It doesn’t have to be fancy (obviously!), it’s the time we spend laughing and playing and relaxing that really matters.

    I hope you and your family take a vacation this year.  Even if you don’t go farther than your backyard or the neighborhood park, spend a few moments reveling in the laughter of your children and your spouse.  I’m glad I did.

    melodyCamping Trip 2010

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