Sunday, December 5, 2010

Advent


Advent has been a tradition in our house since Lindsey was old enough to know about Christmas. We always wanted to make sure that the emphasis was always on Jesus and the reason that we celebrate Christmas in the first place. Then 10 years ago my good friend Lori Apon gave us the greatest Advent book...Every day beginning December 1 you open a door in this beautiful book. Every day tells a piece of the Christmas story. I get the cheap little dollar store candy advent books with a piece of candy for each day .

Every night we sit as a family...light a candle...read the advent book, sing a song and talk about what Christmas really means then we blow the candle out and the kids eat their candy. Although my oldest haven't eaten the candy for a few years...they still participate in the tradition. It is one of our favorite things about Christmas!

Think back about Christmas's as a child.....most of us can't name many of the gifts that we recieved as a kid but we can remember the traditions that we enjoyed. Make amazing memories with your kids! Get your focus off of the gifts and the money! Make this season special by doing things together. Eat dinner on a blanket in your living room and play a game! Make a car picnic and go looking for Christmas lights. Go together as a family and buy gifts for a needy family...let your kids pick out age appropriate gifts to give away!

Enjoy your family!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Raiders


Our oldest boy..Marshall is a part of ROTC and the Raiders team. Their team made it to nationals a few weeks ago. Boy oh boy was I proud of him and the whole team. They did an amazing job! Here are a few pictures....hope they are not cut off like last time???
Marshall was 2nd in the nation for sit ups and pushups...he did 135 pushups in 2 min??? He is a FRESHMAN!!!
Lindsey and Hunter....AAAHHHH How cute!
The water was freezing!
Marshall and another kid helped everyone over and then jumped over themselves.
Very proud of him!!!!!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Speak Kind Words!!!

I wonder what it would be like if our words were recorded all day and then played back to us. It would not be pretty for me on some days. I have a feeling that I would listen...cringing...crying...at my tone, in many instances! I wonder how many times I have missed the opportunity to speak encouragement and kindness into my husband, my children and others because I was not thinking about the power of words! The Bible is FULL of verses about our words and their power! Here are a few.

Proverbs 18:21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.

Proverbs 12:18 There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.

Ephesians 4:29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.

Matthew 12:36 I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak

Proverbs 16:24 Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.

Lets start thinking about what we say...and how we say it!

Friday, November 12, 2010

One of those days!!!

Ever have one of those days??? the fence is falling down, the toilet is stopped up....the sewage pipe in the basement started leaking today....my dryer is taking 2 cycles to dry everything, the car we were blessed with last week went on the fritz yesterday.... and we have no money!!!!!

The Lord must be up to something big because that is usually what happens around a trial. Lord help me to have the attitude that would please you!!!!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Encouragement!

Are you encouraging your kids..and your husband for that matter...every day???? Sometimes we get so busy with "life" that we forget to give words of encouragement. This can be especially true if you have a really strong willed child. Look back on your day and ask yourself...Were my comments to my children mostly positive and uplifting or negative? Some mamas just seem to be so negative all the time.

A huge part of parenting is correcting...but if we are not extremely careful we will get so busy with that one aspect we forget the uplifting part. One of my kids was so trying..ALL THE TIME...those who know me know exactly which child:)...I spent many many hours praying, crying, begging the Lord for a break through with this child! I kid you not....this struggle went on for YEARS....I thought I had the one kid who could not be tamed. There were many days that I had to look really really hard to find positive uplifting things to say!

As I spent time in prayer..one of the things that the Lord showed me was to encourage this child with scripture and with the child's identity in Christ....so these were some of the statements that I used over and over with all my kids but it started with the one I struggled with.

Jesus loves you so very much! And so do I!!
The Bible says that the Lord knit you together in my womb...I love how He made you!
I can't wait to see the person you will grow up to be!
The Lord has an amazing plan for you!
I am so glad that the Lord gave you to me!
Did you know that Jesus loves you so much that He gave His life for you!
The Bible says that you are a very special blessing just for me!
I love you so much.....just because you are mine!


Look for ways to give praise...notice when your kids have good manners, speak kind words or lend a helping hand. Tell them that you are overjoyed to be their mama!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

JROTC

Marshall is in JROTC this year. He tried out for the raiders team and made it...he loves it. His team is going to Nationals this weekend and Eric is going to get to share his testimony on Sunday morning with all the teams who are there. We still can't believe the opportunities that He keeps getting!! I am so proud of both my boys...Marshall and my main man!!! Here is a picture of Marshall and Lindsey at the last meet.
Below is a picture of Lindsey and Hunter....aaaahhhh aren't they so cute!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Excuses???!!!

We have a whole generation of adults who have been allowed to make excuses for their bad behavior. Those people who never take responsibility for their actions...it is always someone else's fault. I think it starts at home!! Bad behavior is excused by parents and kids grow up to become adults who make excuses for everything in their lives. I'm gonna bet that if you talk with your 80 year old grand parents.....you will get a very different perspective! Below are some common excuses that I hear...

*Oh those terrible two's...to excuse fit pitching
*Boy's will be boy's....to excuse brothers fighting, or even pornography as they are older
*Oh she/he is going through puberty...to excuse bad attitudes
*It's her time of the month..to excuse EVERYTHING!!
*Teenagers...to excuse stupidity...crazy how teenagers are just expected to make poor decisions because of their age!!


Look familiar??? My point is that we are raising children who's behavior has not been dealt with and even excused. They in turn are adults who make excuses for everything in their lives. I tell my kids...there are and will always be many things that are out of your control, but you can be in control of your response. A true test of character is how we RESPOND in difficult situations.

Don't make excuses for your own bad behavior and don't let your kids...at any age!

Big Brother!!


Luke had a bad dream that bugs were crawling on him. He told Marshall that he was afraid they were going to return when he went to sleep. Marshall said, "What if I lay down with you until you fall asleep to make sure they do not come back?" This made Luke VERY happy..so Marshall climbed into Luke's twin bed with him and both fell asleep. Does a mama's heart proud to see her 6ft, high school boy take care of his brother. Those of you who know some of our struggles there...know how very proud I am! :)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Bad Attitudes

I know that my personality is black and white....so this may seem harsh...but my husband's personality is not black and white....he is much more encouraging and gentle than I am.... and we are totally on the same page on this one...so you can't blame this on my personality!

Bad Attitudes.....do not accept them!!! Honestly it is that easy! Do my kids ever have them...YES and so do I for that matter! The difference is that they are not tolerated and they are dealt with immediately! We do not accept eye rolling, slamming doors, stamping and stomping, back talking or deep sighing! The instance that we see any of it ..it is dealt with right that second. I might say something like....."I know you are upset but you may not act like that." We do try to give them acceptable ways to handle their emotions but we do not argue with them! If there is not instant compliance there are instant consequences!

When my kids were little I would say something like..."You may not talk to me like that...if you can talk to me nicely or without whining or in a big girl/boy voice...then we can talk...otherwise you may go to your room until you can talk to me properly." I also used this if they were talking to their siblings or friends in an ugly or mean voice.

As my kids have gotten older this is still the same rule...they are not allowed to talk to each other or to us in a mean or disrespectful voice. They are taught to use their words in an acceptable manor to convey their thoughts.....I say to them things like...."Let's try that again." Sometimes I will even say.."Let me show you hoe that sounded" and I will mimic them...and then ask the question....."Is that the way you want to talk or to be talked to??"

So what is the result of this....my older kids...13, 14, and 17 almost NEVER give any attitude..I can't say never because no one is perfect but I will say this...If I ask them for help..If I ask them to do a chore that is not their normal duty...If I ask them to drop whatever they are doing and come to me...THEY DO IT WITHOUT ANY ATTITUDE>>>EVER!!! They occasionally have attitude with each other but almost never with me. It just never has been tolerated. I do not yell at them....I never threaten them...I really do just simply say..you may not act like that or you may not talk like that. I have done that since they were little and they DO IT!

The other day I came down the stairs to find my son..10 speaking so ugly to his sister...I sent him upstairs and I went up to talk to him...I told him that it didn't matter what she did...he could not speak like that and I gave him alternatives that he could have used in the situation but I would not let him "justify" his behavior. I then told him that the entire next day he would serve her. He had to do her chores...he had to clear her plate...He had to make her lunch...get her drinks and speak kind words to her. Along with an apology of course! All was well between them!

SO basically no arguing just do not accept bad attitudes! :)

Friday, October 15, 2010

Poor man's Rice Pudding


I grew up in an amazing family. My parents had very little money especially when I was little but we never really new it. I can remember my mom cooking eggs and giving each of us girls 1/2 of a piece of bacon and she would give my daddy a whole piece. We had a garden and we ate out of it everyday..my mom canned veggies all summer so that we would have them in the winter. We ate rice at many meals..I didn't know that was because it was so cheap! :) One of our favorite treats on a night that we had rice was to take a small bowl of left over rice...put a pat of butter in it and sprinkle with sugar. We thought it was a big deal because we never had dessert so it was a treat. I still like to have a bit whenever I make rice...just for fun! Thank you mama and daddy for always making us feel special!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Parenting..chores

Yes, your children should be doing chores. I recently saw a clip of the Oprah show that a friend sent me...it was about a mother who was working full time and her struggle with the HUGE job of doing the laundry. She had a husband and 3 boys...2 college age and one in high school. I watched in total amazement as they brought in a "specialist" to show her how to get a "handle" on the problem. Things like....special baskets so the boys can sort their own laundry....stain stick on the outside of the basket so they can pretreat.....they showed her how to hang her clothes to save time....they put her on a schedule to help her...SERIOUSLY!!!!! I sat with my jaw dropped.....ALL my kids do their own laundry!!!!!!!! Luke is 8 and he is still in the training process so I help him...which means I oversee what he is doing....but the rest of the kids do this all by themselves...that's a novel idea!

I have a chore chart on my fridge divided into days of the week. Each child has a column for each day. Each morning after breakfast they are required to do their chores. It takes them about 15 minutes except for the day that they have to do their laundry and on Saturday they all have a few more chores and it takes them each about 25 min. Remember the last parenting blog about getting your kids in bed early enough to get a good night sleep......well here is where it will show...you can't give them such a small amount of time to get ready in the AM that they don't have time to get this done.

Your children should NOT complain about doing their work...I will deal with this more in another blog.

We do not pay our kids for chores...it is just what you do! I have an "extra" chore basket. I basically go around the house and find those "extra" things that I want done...write them on a card and assign a price that I am willing to pay...they may choose as many as they like to earn extra money. An example..... Clean the ceiling fan in living room(this doesn't require a ladder in my house) including removing the glass light fixtures...washing and reattaching..$3.00

If your kids have never been required to do chores....there will be a season of teaching and training. You can't expect perfection but you can expect them to do a good job or they will have to do it again. But you can't expect to show them once and they know how to do it right.

Below is the list of chores that my kids do....remember they are divided up into daily parts but it will give you an idea of how we do things here.

All children are required to make their beds each morning and pick up their rooms. Each child is given a different day of the week to do laundry and they are required to strip their bed and wash their sheets on this day as well....I help my youngest 2 put the sheets back on their beds. I change the chores about every 3 months so they are not doing the same thing over and over. They all have one night to help in the kitchen...this includes chopping, cooking, setting the table. The first chore listed is a daily chore...whe rest are spread out over the week.

Lindsey 17 Sweep floor in kitchen and dining room daily, including shaking rugs..daily, unload dishwasher, wipe down laundry area, clean girls shower, mop floor in girls bathroom, kitchen help, vacuum downstairs, dust living room

Marshall 14 Empty all house trash cans..daily, un-load dishwasher, kitchen trash, wash clothes, vacuum living room and stairs, clean boys shower and mop boys bathroom (Marshall's schedule is lighter because he cuts the grass once a week.

Emily 13 Wipe down sink and potty girls bathroom daily, wipe down stove and microwave, vacuum living room and stairs, un-load dishwasher, wash clothes, kitchen trash, sweep stairs and vacuum downstairs, dust dinning room, kitchen help

Benjamin 10 Wipe down boys toilet daily, kitchen trash, un-load dishwasher, water plants, shake rugs and sweep boys bathroom, clean all computer and tv screens, wash clothes, sweep back deck help weed eat and blow the yard, kitchen help

Luke 8 Boys sink and mirror daily, kitchen trash wash clothes,un-load dishwasher, kitchen help, sweep front porch and shake rug, move all chairs &wipe down, mop kitchen,

After each meal everyone pitches in and wipes tables and counters, loads dishwasher, washes and dries dishes, sweep

Before bed we all have a tidy to take "stuff" that accumulates throughout the day back to its proper place :)

Monday, October 4, 2010

Parenting..Mornings

Remember these will be short and sweet! If you have further questions ask! I love questions!

* A good morning starts the night before! Lay out clothes and supplies..you do not want to be searching for homework and shoes in the morning. If clothes are already chosen and laid out...it will make your morning smoother.

* Also PUT YOUR CHILDREN TO BED EARLY ENOUGH TO GET THE RIGHT AMOUNT OF SLEEP! Children are cranky when they are sleepy...so am I! :) This WILL make your mornings better!!

*Wake up before your children....get yourself together. Get dressed...get your coffee..or tea..or whatever gets you going!...Spend a few minutes with the Lord! Pray and ask the Lord to help you in your day....pray for your children and your husband! I like to read a chapter of Proverbs...there are 31 of them so I can read the one that correlates with that day.

*Wake your children up so that they have plenty of time to get ready and "wake-up"...I have many times made the mistake of trying to let them get as much sleep as possible and I push the time too close..I spend my whole morning saying,"hurry up!" If they are in bed on time this should not be an issue!

*Start your kids out with a good balanced breakfast. Parents feed their kids a boat load of sugar filled stuff first thing and then wonder why they are bouncing off the walls and unable to concentrate. Doughnuts, pop tarts, toaster strudels, or canned cinnamon rolls are not a healthy beginning!

*Remember to speak kind and encouraging words to your kids and to your husband in the morning. Don't start the day being short tempered, rushed, or even yelling....that is not a good way to start the day!!

Coupons

I had so many call me or find me at church to tell me how much money they aready saving on coupons!! Very Exciting! Here are a few more tips for you.

* Once a month(at the end of the month) Eric and I sit down together and purge the box. We watch a show..or football:) and go through each envelope to throw away old coupons. Doesn't take long and we spend time together. I have been known to bring them to ball practice along with a trash bag and go through them while I wait...I'm all about multi tasking. You will throw away MANY! It is OK. Don't panic!

* I love ALDI.....Great prices on produce, milk, eggs...I am really funny about my meat...but seriously their 90/10 ground beef is awesome! I also buy spiral sliced hams during the holiday season and they are Yummy!

*To save time I look at my whole week and plan when I will stop by certain stores...I try not to make special trips.....I usually always have my coupons with me!

*My kids eat a great deal of cereal.....not just in the morning but as a snack. Since I do not buy "junk" cereals this is a great option for us. My preference would be Kashi cereal and I stock up when they are on sale...Heart to Heart! Since I can't always get it...this is my criteria... No high fructose corn syrup, less than 10g of sugar, No hydrogenated oils.

*I buy my Toilet paper at Kroger...Kroger brand of Scott...you know sandpaper on a roll :) It lasts so much longer than the fluffy kind and Kroger's brand is the hands down cheapest!

*You will get many coupons for soup...I only buy it when Healthy Request or Select Harvest goes on sale....you will find a favorite! Great for cold winter days with a sandwich and a piece of fruit!

I'm sure that I will think of more later and I will post it!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Coupon's for a cause!

Want to help...DO you live in the Woodstock area??

I am teaching a couponing class for the families who run SWO, in a few weeks. These guys are awesome...Eric and I have been involved with them for 10 years...they are making a huge impact on students and the poor community of Andrews NC. They only have an Ingles there to shop at...so I'm gonna learn that system and go shop and teach!

How can you help?? I would love to bless them with couponing goodies...so here is what I need:

Any of your non perishable extras
cleaning supplies
soup and canned veggies
tuna
spaghetti and pasta
ANY NON PERISHABLE items...you know the stuff I'm talking about!
Any and all baby diapers, wash, wipes, powder
I want to give each of them a coupon box.....I will need $70.00 for this.
If you want to donate money toward this instead of food items you are welcome to drop me a check and make sure to designate that on a separate piece of paper...not the memo line! It is tax deductible as long as you do not designate the money....funny how the gov. works:)
Make check to Driven To Encourage Ministries 780 Neese Road Woodstock, GA 30188

You can drop off any goods at my house and I will take them up in a few weeks.

Check them out here.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Ultimate Parenting Goal

I hate long Blog posts....I do not reading them and I sure do not like to write them!! So I am going to break these up into many small parts for my own sake:)

This first post is really central for all the other posts to follow on parenting. The Bible doesn't give a whole lot of instruction specifically on parenting. This is my favorite:

Deuteronomy 6: 5-9 5You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

This passage is the lens through which all of our parenting passes. My main job as a Christian parent is to teach my children to "Love the Lord with ALL their hearts...when..... all day in every situation. When I wake up in the morning and I lie in bed praying for the Lord to bless my day...I always ask Him to help me remember that my most important job is to point my kids back to Him.

Over the next few weeks I am going to try to give some practical helps.... but it all boils back down to those verses for me. What drives you as a parent? What are your goals? There will be many days of discouragement when you will need to remember what the goal is!!!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Couponing Class!

Hey if you live in the Woodstock area come and join me for a free couponing and money saving class this coming Tuesday September 28th 7-9 pm at FBC Holly Springs. I am really excited to share....seating is limited so be on time! Check out their web site here.

Kids driving you crazy??


I always notice how parents interact with their children. Am I curious or nosy? I listen in on the conversation, tone and facial expression. It makes me so sad to see parents who seem not to enjoy their children. What a miserable existence as a parent to just "endure" while children grow up. I will tell you that many children are so miserable to be around I can see why parents feel this way. Many times this is a vicious cycle...parent tolerates bad behavior....kid pushes all the buttons..parent gives in......kid pushes all the right buttons.....parent explodes....kid backs off..only to come back at it again and round and round the cycle continues.

I do not want to paint a picture that all 5 of my children have been perfect children...they have not nor have I been a perfect parent...nor have I always enjoyed every moment with my kids. Those who know us well..know that one of our children popped out of the womb testing us on every level and there were a few years there that I thought it wasn't going to get better and one of us was going to have to die and it wasn't ME! Even through those HARD years there was joy and there were great lessons learned...mainly about myself!

I'm going to take the next few days to talk about some really common issues and how we have dealt with them..so if you know anyone especially with younger children have them tune in! I'm going to talk about Bed Time, Taking your Children Out, Chores, Training at Home, Mealtime Madness, 1st time obedience..and Manners.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Thhis Weeks shopping Trip.

Weird things are going on with my blog??? I Have random pictures that turn when I upload them....even though they are perfectly right before the upload? Crazy!!! Anyway it is late and I want to go to bed so you can click on the picture to blow it up then turn your computer!!! This is the kind of stuff that I show women how to do EVERY time I speak! It really is so easy!!






Notice the milk is 1/3 gone before I could even take the picture??? That would be Marshall!!!!


4 Quaker Oats
3 Quaker Instant Grits
1Ronzoni Bow Tie pasta
1 Ronzoni Linquine pasta
15 Campbell's Select Harvest soup
4 bags of rice
2 Peter Pan PB
5 Del Monte no salt green beans
3 Kens Steakhouse lite dressing
8 cans Starkist light tuna in water
3 bottles Bull's-eye BBQ sauce
2 lg boxes Orville Redenbacher's Pop Corn
1 lg College Inn chicken broth
2 packages Del Monte Pears no sugar added
1 gallon milk
4 Colgate Total toothpaste
4 Reach Dental Floss
2 Carefree panty liners
2 Edge shaving cream

Total Price: 124.27
I paid: 36.29
Savings: 87.98!!!!!

Shopping Trip.

I had an awesome shopping trip but I am so exhausted and it is so late...you will have to wait until tomorrow!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Football Game with Grand-daddy Put!

My daddy took all three of the oldest cousins to the football game this past Saturday. They had a blast. They cooked chicken on the grill and did a lot of people watching. They walked the campus and Lindsey decided she definitely wanted to go to Clemson...she will need a scholarship! Then they all experienced their first college football game. It was awesome!

I thought the picture below was awesome....When I was growing up daddy had an old Clemson shirt that we all wore at one time or another and Daddy eventually made it his painting shirt. Lindsey got her hands on it and wore it to the game...with all her jewelry of course! As Jeremiah says, "Lindsey in't the life of the party...she IS the Party!!" I would agree! She was happy to pick out another shirt from a shop there in Clemson though! But I still like the picture below!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Internet Safety

Is your computer safe????? We use Safe Eyes and love it!!! No filter is 100% but if you do not have filters on ALL your computers and ITouch and IPad...It is like having dirty magazines lying around and telling your kids not to look! Get a free trial HERE.

Do toddlers Hit?

Most all of us who are parents have seen our child pitch a total fit! Most of us have even had a child hit us in the face. How is it that a child who has never been slapped can learn that? This even happens in homes where parents do not spank so that argument is null! They all do it! If you have a child who has never attempted hitting, kicking or screaming...you should not have anymore children because it was a fluke and it will never happen again!!!!

I was at the grocery store the other day and a mother was there with her 2year old. The child started screaming. As soon as the mother picked her up she started hitting the mom in the face...now I don't mean she was flailing around and in so doing hit the mother..OH NO she was going for it big time! She was angry and she wanted her mother to know it! Now I was not appalled at the child...as I have said we have all had a child get angry and strike out....no I was amazed at the mother. This was her response, "Honey why do you always act like this when we go out? I know you don't want to hurt mommy. If you don't stop I will not buy you candy" Really...Really...I'm thinking to myself...I can tell you why she always acts like this....because the first few times it happened you did not take swift immediate action to insure that she knows who is in charge!!!!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Our Great Marriage!


Want to know why our marriage works? There are lots or reasons but the single biggest word that I can think of is intentionality! It does not just happen effortlessly!

We intentionally pray together!
We intentionally pray for each other!
We intentionally encourage each other!
We intentionally praise each other!
We intentionally brag on each other!
We intentionally go on dates and make time for one another!
We intentionally dream together!
We intentionally hold hands!
We intentionally tell each other how much we love them!
We intentionally share our fears!
We intentionally share in each others interests!
We intentionally give each other compliments!

I could go on and on! But you get the picture..we work at our marriage! It is easy to get busy and let the work slide and that is when we find ourselves in a marriage that is not amazing! I woke up a few mornings ago to the notes on my mirror shaped in a heart in the picture above. They say things like....I love you...My heart still races when you walk in the room....You are Beautiful..You are a great Mom...

Now that my friends is intentionality!!!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

My New Island!!


I have wanted an island in my kitchen for quite a while now but I couldn't afford one.....Eric's parents replaced their island top and gave us the old top but when we went to buy a cabinet to go underneath it was more than we could afford. We found this chest at the thrift store for $15 and it was in good shape except for missing a piece along the bottom. I sanded it down.



My good-lookin husband put a piece of bead board across the bottom and the back. I painted it black...replaced the knobs and scuffed it up a little with sand paper and.........






VOILA!! I am thrilled with it. We let the top hang off the back and one side and put bar stools underneath.

Where are my days going??

Oh me Oh my.....my days are crazy!!!! Homeschool is awesome but I have to sit down and reset my schedule. I do not have anytime for myself! I love to blog and think of a million things to write about everyday and then I get so busy I never get to it!!!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Paper article!!

Below is the article that appeared in a local paper here in GA!

Local coupon mom shares strategy
Published: 01 September 2010
Print
Print
PDF
Article PDF

Michele Helms has an assortment of groceries splayed on her kitchen table, everything from salad dressing to diced tomatoes to cereal and wheat bread. And she only paid a jaw-dropping $10.80 for it all.

Janet Pelletier | Ledger-News.

She didn’t have to beg, borrow or steal. It was all in the art of coupon clipping. She’s become a sort of guru in it.

The Woodstock mom of five and her husband have a full-time ministry. Through that, she began speaking about women’s issues, more specifically the topic of modern-day families and the importance of everyone eating at the dinner table despite their busy lives.

“A lot of families find themselves at a drive-through or sitting in front of a television because they feel like, to prepare a meal and to sit down with their family, is just something you did in the ‘50s when you had more time or when women didn’t work as much,” Helms said. “I think that’s a myth. There’s lots of ways with proper planning. Planning sets you free. You think it won’t but it does.”

Free is the operative word, as Helms regularly finds deals on items at the grocery store where she doesn’t have to pay a cent. She credits a girlfriend of hers, who encouraged her to start clipping coupons.

Helms said she used to be vehemently opposed to coupons. In fact, a book she wrote, “Time around the table,” which stressed the importance of family dining, featured a chapter about saving money in which she said “as a rule, I do not clip coupons because I find most are junk and prepackaged stuff.”

Her friend was persistent and eventually, Helms gave coupon-clipping a try, vowing if it didn’t pay off, she would write it off for good. She’d always considered herself frugal, having lived on a shoestring budget her whole life.

“I thought, I’ll give it a month. If I don’t see something significant in a month, I’ll stop,” she said. “That was about three years ago and it’s unbelievable.”

Helms said she spends $5,200 a year on groceries and toiletries, and estimated the average family spends more than double that, $12,000, on just groceries.

“The real thing I tell women is this: I could probably feed my family of seven on $50 a week if I had to, and feed them a lot of pasta and you know, just cereal,” she said.

“For us, on $100 a week, I can feed us well and a lot of good-for-you stuff, tons of fresh stuff and good meats,” Helms said.

It all starts with the Sunday newspaper, where she said she gets 90 percent of her coupons. She buys four papers and simultaneously opens them side by side, scissors in hand.

The Internet has also been a big help, as she said she uses a Web site, southernsavers.com, which lists the deals for the week at the local grocery and drug stores. Armed with her deals of the week, she then pairs that savings with coupons.

“I sit down, and I look at the things and I say to myself, would I use this if it was free or almost free?” she said.

She then files the coupons in a bin that has dividers for different categories.

“What I’m doing is, I’m basically waiting for the items to go on sale because almost everything you see on (my kitchen) table here has a six-week cycle, where it goes back on sale,” she said.

When it does go on sale, she stocks up, storing the rest she’s not going to use right away in a cabinet or the freezer.

Recently, she bought 10 loaves of wheat bread for 39 cents apiece. “I’m going to make batches and batches of French toast that I put in the freezer, and my kids can pull out and pop in the toaster,” she said.

Another tip she suggests is finding grocery stores that offer double coupons. At least one major supermarket offers double coupons up to a 50-cent limit per coupon.

Instead of sitting down to prepare what she’s going to make for dinner for the week, she said she first takes an inventory of her kitchen and decides what meals to make based on that.

“There’s almost always fresh stuff I’ve got to add,” she said. “But because I save so much on the other stuff, when I add the fresh things that we use, that’s where the bulk of my $100 a week goes.”

Helms recommends people stick with their favorite store because each one will have a cycle of sales it runs.

Helms, like many others, felt overwhelmed with coupon clipping, but she got the hang of it.

“Most people don’t realize that it’s really this easy, and they feel very overwhelmed,” she said. “I learned it myself; anybody can do that.”

She spends 45 minutes preparing for the store and saves about $150.

Because she feels so strongly the benefits of coupons, she gives free seminars to groups.

“I show people routinely how to cut $400-500 out of their grocery budget a month,” she said. “For us, being full time in our ministry, it’s been a lifesaver. We showed a woman whose husband had to take a pay cut and she had her two children in private school and wanted to keep them there. She completely did it by cutting their grocery budget.”

Helms will be teaching a free class titled “Time and Money Saving,” on Sept. 28 from 7-9 p.m. at First Baptist Holly Springs, 2632 Holly Springs Parkway, in Canton.

For information, call (770) 345-5349. For more information on Helms, visit her blog at the Driven to Encourage Ministry Web site, http://michelehelms1.blogspot.com

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Daddy Dates


Since my kids were about 18 mos old Eric has taken them on "Daddy Dates"...they love them! He has done so many different things over the years. Each child gets to spend $5.00 and they get a few hours of alone time with their hero. He and Emily went a few days ago to the tractor supply store...Emily likes to dream about owning her own horse farm so they walked around and Eric listened to her stories about horses and all the fun things at the store. Then they went to get a sweet tea and a chicken sandwich. I love that he has consistently done this with the kids for the past 15 years! The night is all about the child not about himself....some of the outings have been interesting some have been quite boring for him but he NEVER lets them know...he makes them feel important and special! I love him for it!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Buying $100 of groceries for $2.00?????

I am asked all the time about getting a ton of groceries for almost nothing. Let me first say that there are many things that I get every month and I pay 0 or almost 0: hair care, shaving products, dental products, body washes, deodorant, all cleaning products, condiments, frozen veggies, rice and rice mixes, pasta, spaghetti sauces, salad dressings, over the counter medication, feminine products, make-up

Other things I routinely get for 50 - 75% off: soups, canned veggies and fruit, yogurt, cereal, oatmeal, protein bars, peanut butter, jelly, salsa, taco dinner kits, cheese, sour cream, cream cheese, butter, brownie and cake mixes,

Now back to the original question....could I buy groceries for my family and spend 10 a week......yep I sure could but I do not because to do so I would not buy fresh fruit and veggies or any meat. Above is a picture that I found on a popular web site showing how this person didn't pay anything at the register for those things. Now PLEASE hear my heart...I am not legalistic about food and if we didn't have any money to budget for food for whatever reason.....my standards would be different. BUT....I would not feed most of those things to my family on a regular basis. Have I ever given them boxed mac and cheese...you betcha....but I do not routinely buy it. I do buy processed foods sometimes but I really try to limit the amount I feed my family. You notice that I have cake and brownie mix on my "routinely get" list......I always have those things on hand for a special treat or to take to parties and get togethers.

I do not buy coke, candy, chips, sugar cereals or sugar filled bars and I never buy pop tarts :) I have not found that it is very realistic to think I could feed my family a healthy, balanced diet on 10 a week. My family gets enough junk in their diets from other sources so I try to feed them good stuff at home. What couponing does for me ....it cuts my overall bill by 50% or more even buying the healthy stuff.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Blessings keep coming!

This picture makes me laugh! My boys wanted to take a photo to make it look like they were not wearing a suit! Boys are so funny and different! Love my boys!

I have so many blessings! My amazing family is such a blessing! Salvation...beyond amazing!

I wanted to give you guys an update on the ministry. We have been so very overwhelmed lately. There are still many things that I just do not understand! We still have many needs especially stuff here at the house....things that have been put on hold year after year because we have not been paid. It seems like so many times the Lord allows us to get right to the edge...and then He swoops in....it is a VERY exhilarating place to be to see God work is is at the same time a frightening place to be....sort of like six flags....the scarier the better! :)

We have continued to get paid every week albeit late most weeks...still I have paid all of our personal bills on time. Well on the 29th of July I told Eric that we needed $2000 before the 31st to pay our salary, payroll taxes, health insurance, cell phone bill and another small bill for the ministry. That was at 9:00 am....at 11:00 am a man called Eric and asked Eric to forgive him....he said that God had laid us o his heart months ago and that he just kept forgetting to bring by a check. The check was for MORE than we needed by the 31st. It was so neat to see how the Lord had already started the process of the provision months before we actually needed it!

Eric is asking the Lord for 50 schools to speak in on top of the other commitments that he has. He is already getting many calls and we are so excited about that! I am speaking more this year as well. I LOVE to speak to women of any age but especially to women who are just starting off with their families...it is so awesome to encourage them as they are raising their babies!

I love ya'll! Please keep us in your prayers.....I know that the enemy loves to discourage and frustrate us and I want to be all that the Lord wants us to be!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

contact me

If you were at the galleria and emailed me about a coupon box and you live in Alabama......Please Please contact me again! I accidentally erased your email before responding!! :(

Lots and Lots of Chicken

I bought 6 packages of Tyson Chicken Breast on the bone for .99 cents a pound. My total bill was $15.39. I brought it home...rinsed it all and put it in 2 large pots, fill with water to cover..add 1 stalk of celery to each pot. Bring to a boil...reduce to simmer..cover and cook for 1 hour.

I have 18 huge pieces of chicken from this batch. I personally prefer to have boned chicken when I am boiling it but I use boneless sometimes as well. I always use boneless to grill.

I pulled all the chicken and cut it into chunks.....Skimmed the fat off of the broth. I used 3 breasts tonight for our dinner. Chicken and rice...YUM a family favorite! I put about 1 cup in a small baggie and spooned a few teaspoons of broth over it so it wouldn't dry out and stuck it into the fridge for quesadillas tomorrow night. I made homemade chicken salad with part for lunch over the next few days. The rest I divided into family size portions for Chicken Soup, and Chicken Pot Pie for later. This saves me money and time!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Blog fixed!

I am so excited....Cosbie came to my house and brought the adorable girl he is dating and she fixed my computer blog issues with one click.....seriously! I love her!


Mama....teach your children basic table manners! This is an ongoing process...it doesn't just happen because you pointed it out to them once! There are LOTS of lessons to be learned at the table! It is just plain gross to watch an adult eat like a messy child! You can even make this fun.....almost any lesson can be fun and entertaining. Sometimes at our house we even have..how not to eat...and we all join in on bad table manners....even I show everyone at the table the food in my mouth and we have burping contests...there really are times and places for that! So have fun and work on a skill that will follow them forever!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

More meal ideas with coupons

I make ooddles and ooddles of french toast all at once. I buy 5 or 6 loaves of bread on sale...I just got 10 loaves for 39 cents each at Kroger. I buy 3 dozen eggs and use about 6 cups skim milk, a little cinnamon and 1 stick of butter. The total cost is less than $6 and I make 100 - 120 slices of French Toast . I serve it with eggs, grits, and the toast on the night I make it and I freeze the rest. My kids pull it out in the mornings and pop it in the toaster. I very rarely cook breakfast in the mornings......besides scrambled eggs which we make a few times a week.

Grilled chicken or grilled flank steak.....I am always looking for a sale on these meats because we eat them all the time! My family is a real meat and potatoes kind of family....so these things are staples here! I use Italian dressing and Teriyaki sauce for a marinade.( I routinely get these for free or almost free with coupons) Here are some things I serve with the meat. Frozen veggies....I buy all the time with coupons for around 25-50 cents a bag. Green beans...again I collect them when they are on sale. Some kind of potatoes...I love potatoes I could love on them alone! Therefore we eat them alot! (I get lots of sour cream for free or almost free if I want to use it for these.) Salad....we eat alot of salad and raw veggies so I look for sales. I try not to buy items that are not in season and have a higher price tag. Mac n cheese..(pasta cheap with coupons...cheese on sale.....freeze in the bag for baking)

OK I will think of more later!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Couponing

It has been a busy week! Spoke at the Galleria..that went great! I spoke twice to packed rooms. Boy do I love to be able to encourage women! I read something the other day that said 95% of adults are fearful about speaking in front of people. I am in the other 5% for sure...the bigger the crown the more I feel I can let loose!

Started homeschool this week!!! Great start!

Had an interview with a local newspaper and that went well!

One of the questions I was asked over and over again this weekend was...what meals do I make with my couponing stuff... I have a few meals that I make with almost all couponing stuff but for the most part I use that stuff for supplementing my dinners. Where couponing saves me the most money personally is.....cereal, toiletries, cleaning products, snacks, yougurts.....below are some meals that I regularly cook with couponing stuff.


Spagetti...I wait until I have enough jars of sauce(they go on sale a lot!) to make a HUGE pot...while I am collecting those jars i pay attention to ground beef that goes on sale and I buy it along the way and freeze. I make as much sauce as my largest pot will hold. I usually add some spices to the sauce and also some crushed or cubed tomatoes either from a can(coupons) or fresh from Emily's garden, and the ground beef (tip: rinse the ground beef in a colander to get as much fat as is possible off before adding to your sauce) Freeze in gallon size freezer bags for meals later. Noodles are all from coupons. I add a salad and bread.

Taco's.....Taco kits routinely go on sale and I am always looking for ground beef just like for the spaghetti....When I find a good sale on the GB I bring it home and cook it all at once in a super large frying pan...I rinse it as well in hot water...season it and freeze what I do not use the first night in family serving sizes...make sure that you write on the bag what it is and a date. Now you have another quick meal for another night. I use the taco kits hard and soft...I take the seasoning packets out and store them to use next time I brown meat. I add cheese(which I routinely get on sale and freeze or store unopened in fridge...it has a long enough date to do this)Add lettuce, sour cream(another coupon regular with a long shelf life..... unopened) Any left overs are served the next day as taco salad.

Another post tomorrow...I need to school the kiddo's! Love you guys!Remember some days may feel like an eternity but you only have one shot with your babies and it goes so quickly...don't wish it away....embrace it with gusto!!!!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Sweet Onions!!

I am so tired of trying to undo whatever I did to make my blog mess up??? I have a ton of pictures that I have taken of some really great recipes but because it is all messed up..I can't! Anyway...I'm going to give you one of my favorite summer time side dishes....I will write it all out and then put a few pictures to follow.

Start with a nice sweet onions...Vidalias are my pick here in the south! Cut the top..peel the onion leaving the bottom in tact. Use your knife and scoop out the top. Put onion on a piece of foil...drizzle top with olive oil. Put about 1/4 pat of butter on the top...garlic salt and pepper. Put a small piece of beef bullion or a small amount of granules if that is what you have. Wrap foil around onion and twist at the top. Place onion in a baking dish. Bake for 1 hour at 350. These are great to take to cookouts...they pull apart so easily and are so wonderful!

OK..I hope these are in order??? If not you will have to figure it our...cause once I put them in I can't change them!!!
Nope they are backwards????










Wednesday, July 21, 2010

So what happened at AMTC?



This is a picture with Carey Arban and Lindsey on the last day.

Lindsey and I got home after a very long delay at the airport.....we got home at midnight and I had to get Benjamin packed and ready to leave for elementary camp the next morning. Lindsey slept in her bed then started repacking to go to Washington for 4 days with SLU.....It has been crazy to say the least. I have been decompressing for over a week!

I have lots to share over the next few days...but Lindsey did amazing...she received 3 call backs from NY 1 from Atlanta and she won a $1000 scholarship to the NY Conservatory! The proof is on the next month or so...she has already been contacted by some of the agents....where will it go now...well we will see. She hopes to get some work here in the Atlanta market with print work or commercial type stuff. She would LOVE to do something with Sherwood films...we will see what the Lord has in store! She is open...she made Eric and I very proud with the way she represented us but more importantly the way she represented the Lord! Weather she was interviewing with a big wig from NY like Barry Shapiro or signing autographs she didn't miss a chance to talk about Jesus and encourage others. And yes it was very weird to see her sign autographs!!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Bus pictures

Lindsey and I walked about 7 miles yesterday so today we decided to try our hand at public transportation. It was great. It is a great place to people watch...Lindsey made me use antibacterial stuff as soon as we exited the bus. She is funny! And you have to scroll to the next blog post and see her funny video! I look like I have been hiking in the hot sun all day but I thought it was funny of her. Have a great day!



 
Designed by Lena Graphics by Elie Lash