Top 5 Kitchen Tools that Save Money

We all love to learn ways to save money, but we prefer to save it without having to do extra work. Since 2000, I have been making a lot of my own food from scratch to help save money on our family budget. These are my top 5 kitchen tools that help save money, while saving me time in my prep.
Top 5 Kitchen Tools That Save Money | www.joyinthehome.com

Here are my top 5 kitchen tools that save money:

  1. The Wonder Mill – I love my mill for nutritious whole grain or bean flour to use in all my recipes. In literally just seconds, I can have a cup or more of freshly milled flour to make pancakes, waffles, muffins, bread, cookies, cakes and more.  All for just a fraction of the cost for mixes in the store.
  2. Magic Mill DLX Mixer – The Electrolux Assistent – I absolutely love my mixer!  Many woman know the joy of a KitchenAid , but when you use the amount of whole grains as I do, you need something with more horsepower, so you don't burn the engine out quickly. That is why I absolutely love my mixer. It is truly my kitchen assistant.
  3. Food Processor – I use my food processor for everything from shredding cheeses to shredding or slicing vegetables.  I can easily shred several pounds of cheese, saving money on a bulk chunk, within a few minutes.  We often freeze the shredded cheese to use in casseroles or soups.  I also love making my own salsa!
  4. Rice Cooker – My rice cooker is one of the easiest ways to get a healthy meal prepared and in the morning, as well as a way to save money by using ingredients to make my own meals. You can make a whole lot more in a rice cooker, than just rice!  I literally make a full meal, with meat, beans, vegetables and rice in one pot and under 5 minutes to put it all together.
  5. Ninja Blender – One of our favorite things in the summer is freshly made smoothies!  The Ninja makes it so much easier to make and so healthy, all while a great way to save money.

 

Stop Overriding My Parenting

What is going on in our society? It seems more and more strangers are taking the liberty to literally step into a conversation I have with my child and give their own advice, and often times tell my child that they can do the opposite of what I just told them they can't do. This past weekend, I had so many situation of this happening to me that I just needed to make a public stand and ask adults to ‘stop overriding my parenting', while reminding myself not to become these kinds of strangers.

Stop Overriding My Parenting - Who knows a child better than their own parent? | www.joyinthehome.com

Stop Overriding My Parenting

I want to start this out by saying that I appreciate insights and information that I may have missed about one of my children, because I'm well aware that I can't see everything and if you have raised your children already, I cherish the wisdom that you may have for me and long for it most days.

I welcome the little corrections from loved ones, when my watchful eye didn't see something that my child was doing, and love that you care enough to help my child learn to do the right thing, at the right time, as long as it is done with love.

This post has nothing to do with these situations, and involves perfect strangers, who have no idea about my child and where they are struggling or overcoming at the moment. The unknowing face of a person that has never crossed my path or that of my child but seems to have more insight about parenting my unique child in that brief meeting, than I have learned in the years of his life.

This is who I write this for, and hoping that with all ability within me that I don't become this person to another mother that I have the opportunity to share a moment with in public on any given day.

Dear Stranger,

When I happen upon your yard sale or visit your store, and you hear me instruct my child to not touch anything but look with his eyes, not his hands, please do not override my parenting, but voicing in front of him, “It is okay if he touches them.”

Do you not understand that my son may be practicing first time obedience, or maybe he is struggling with nagging me for too many things on this one errand and he needs help to find his self-control.

He may look so sweet with his big brown eyes, and his sandy hair, as you were quick to point out, but he is 100% boy, and those figurines that you are trying to sell are as breakable as the next glass thing that we may encounter on our outings today. Although, you may think it is trivial for this mom to teach her son not to touch what isn't his or that he needs to enjoy things with his eyes, and not his hands, I'm trying to train my son in responsibility, which means if he broke your figurines or the cherished china of the next persons that we visited, I would have to demonstrate that responsibility means to pay for the damage you caused another.

Sincerely,

A Mom Trying to Raise an Honorable Man

Dear Second Stranger,

Do you not understand how awkward and inappropriate it is for you to take a pair of pants off your shelf, and proceed to ‘fit' them to my son, even after I told you there were 2 sizes too big for him and not what we were looking for today.

I'm capable of knowing my son's size and needs, and just because he is the same gender for the majority of the clothes you are trying to get rid of at your sale, please by no means, mistaken my son as a sales tactic and pull him toward you, in the attempt to sell your goods.

And when you scare people away so quickly because of your boldness, I would like for you to consider that his brother, which stood next to him, was already taller than I am, and I don't need to hear you call after me with threats of ‘he will grow faster than you realize' in hopes to get me to turn back and purchase your pushed wares.

Sincerely,

A Protective Mom Who Knows How to Provide Clothing for Her Son

Dear Third Stranger, 

Imagine how uncomfortable you would have been when you insisted that my son could keep playing with the thing that I told him to not play with and he broke it, but I wasn't willing to pay for it (I'm not that kind of person, which is why I insist on my children to not play with things I haven't given them permission to play with).

Do you not realize that I know how rough my boys can be on things, and I'm only respecting your belongings by limited what my children do with them. I would have hoped you would appreciated the care I was taking with watching my boys around your belongs, so they didn't damage them and allow others to purchase them.

I would have staying longer, and looked around more, however I had to leave because my boys mistaken your input as overriding my parenting and caused them to disobey me by continuing what I asked them to stop doing. The best solution was for me to avoid the temptation for them, and just go on with our other things.

Sincerely,

A Mom Who Is Doing Her Part in Raise Responsible Young Men

We run into ‘well-meaning strangers' all the time. I'm sure it is because my boys know how to behave themselves in public, most of the time, and they can see a difference with their responses to me, that they feel that my boys wouldn't be the kind to make a mistake and break something, or get too wild when enjoying a toy.

Unfortunately, they are these types of children because most children don't plan on breaking things or play too hard on a toy, it is just part of what happens too often.

My hopes with writing this post is to help all of us remember that parents know their children best, and even if we don't understand their instructions to their children while they are in our present, doesn't mean they are wrong and surely, doesn't give anyone the right to speak up and override their parenting.

I would hope that more and more people will begin to appreciate the guidelines that parents enforce with their children, and begin to see them as people working to make a better community by raising character filled children, who one day will be adults in their communities.

Encourage them in how they are parenting their children, and recognized that these boundaries are to teach respect of others, and it started at your front door.

 

7 Summer Service Ideas for Your Family

With the extra time that summer usually brings us, I would encourage you to use some of that time for summer service to others. Demonstrating to others that they matter is a lesson often forgotten and so important to learn.  Starting somewhere is a good thing, so I'm going to share seven ideas with you for summer service that your family can do together, but start with the one or two that fit who you are best. You will be glad you did!

7 Summer Service Ideas For Your Family - Make summer meaningful with these ideas! | www.joyinthehome.com

7 Summer Service Ideas for Your Family

  1. Raise Money for an Orphanage – Our hearts are tied to Door of Hope Palawan, but you may know of another. Do a yard sale, bake sale or just collect change and donate it to an orphanage.
  2. Collect Denim to Make Shoes – There is a great opportunity to help those who need shoes for their health and an organization is meeting this need with denim!  Learn how you can be a part of this great way to recycle old denim for a new purpose with Sole Hope.
  3. Collect School Supplies – Every year our family does Operation Christmas Child, which packs shoe boxes for children around the world. They only give one box to one child and that child will hear about Jesus before getting their first gift and owning something for the first time.  Read about how I met one of those children who received a box and literally changed his life. Take the summer when school supplies are cheapest and ask those you know to donate for your own boxes for later in the year.
  4. Collect Winter Coats and Blankets – Often times, summer finds families cleaning out their closets and getting rid of excess. This is a great time to collect items for the homeless in your area.
  5. Visit a Nursing Home – Most people think about this around Christmas time, but all year long is a great time to visit the elderly.
  6. Start a Food Pantry – There is needy all around us and what a great opportunity to do a service in the summer to start a food pantry in your home or church. Collecting canned goods or boxed items and delivering it to those you know could benefit or having them come to you for their needs is a great thing!  If this is too big for your family, considering helping organizations that do this every day, like Food for the Hungry.
  7. Be a Good Neighbor – Do you know of those in your neighborhood that could use an extra hand?  Maybe an elderly couple could benefit from your family doing their yard work, a stay-at-home mom needing some child care help, or maybe new parents or those who are sick needing a home cooked meal.

If you want more serving ideas, check out A Year Schedule for Family Charity Fun

A Year Schedule for Family Charity Fun - Raise children that think about their community and helping those that are less fortunate with these easy ways to make a big difference. | www.joyinthehome.com

How to Plan for the Summer You Desire

We all look forward to summer and the feeling it brings. We have some ideas of things we want to do in summer, but do you really plan for the summer you desire in a way that will help you make the most of the added family time and beautiful weather that allows for so many activities outside?

How to Plan for the Summer You Desire - don't just go through summer thinking you will get your wish list accomplished! Plan to make the most of the season with these ideas. | www.joyinthehome.com

Summer time is upon us. How will you spend it?

For many families, they focus on a family vacation and put all their planning efforts to make that week amazing. Why not plan to make the rest of your summer amazing?

How to Plan for the Summer You Desire

Enjoy Your Area

Why not vacation in your own area? These vacations are called ‘Staycations' and are just as amazing as planning one week somewhere else. Often times there are free or cheap things to do with your family in your own area that will prove to make your summer amazing.

Keep Learning ALIVE

Children are often bored if they don't have enough to entertain them. I created a Summer Learning Checklist that my children can do on their own, filled with learning through play that will give them a great summer of learning!

Create a Summer Bucket List

Before the summer comes in a full swing, consider making your own summer bucket list with your whole family. You may not get to everything on this list, but it would be a great list for your family to work on each summer. Add more things as you think of them and just keep working on them, as you go through this summer.

Find Time to Just Relax

Summer is a perfect time to find time to relax, rather at the pool or on your porch in the evening. It is really the perfect time to grab one of those books you have been wanting to read and get started resting your body, and engaging your mind.

Plan to Save

The more you plan for your family's summer, the easier it is to save money while on a summer vacation. Some places have discounted days, or even free days. You just need to plan ahead and you can really save big!

Start a New Hobby

We love to work on skills during the summer, and it has proven to be a good thing to do during the summer. I have list 10 Hobbies Perfect for Summer Fun that I'm sure your children will enjoy, because they are the ones that my children have learned during their summer breaks.

Focus on Helping Others

We all love to do something good for other people, but often times our schedules stand in the way of really doing what we desire. I encourage you to plan at least one of these summer ideas for charities that I'm sure your family will love as much as our family does. Our family always does something special for our favorite orphanage.


You may like my tips on cruising… 

The Complete Cruise Guide All You Need to Know for the Best Vacation | www.joyinthehome.com

 

When Finances Are Scarce

At one point or another, every household struggles with balancing a budget when finances are scarce. Pinching corners may seem impossible, since you have already done this so many times and still struggle to make ends meet. I hope to share some tips and encouragement that will empower you to shine during this hard time.

When Finances Are Scarce - Tight times are difficult, but finding ways to make it easier can make even the hardest budget better. | www.joyinthehome.com

When Finances are Scarce

Most homes have felt the strains that finances can bring, especially to a marriage. Pinching pennies, going without and even cutoff notices are depressing and overwhelming when you are doing all you can do to make your resources be enough for your needs.

We have been there several times in our own home and I have learned a lot during those difficult times. A few of these learning moments, were more about my own spending habits, beliefs that my ‘needs' were actually want's and that convenience wasn't necessary.

Learning these habits were not something that I wanted at the time and really took time for me to see, but looking back, I'm happy that our journey included some rough patches financially because it really taught us how to prioritize and work together as a couple on budgeting (although at times, we still don't see eye to eye… that is the real that I promised!) and our financial goals for our family.

I want to share some tips that I have implemented to help during the times when finances are scarce or when we are working toward a goal of paying down debt or saving for a high ticketed item, so you are empowered with the resources you have available to you.

Empowering Womanhood Series - Real, Meaningful, Life-changing | www.joyinthehome.com

Women need a break in the kitchen.

Let's face it, going out to eat is all about getting mom out of the kitchen or for the convenience of not having to go home and wait for a meal to be ready. However, when our family goes out to eat, it is easy to spend $75 for our family of 6 (and we only drink water!).

Of course, we live in the country, so having a delivery isn't possible. This makes the idea of pizza not so attractive because it requires someone to go get it and these days, it is still $25 or more to feed our family the pizza we prefer from a restaurant.

Our budget friendly solution to this real need is to buy frozen pizza and have the kids make cook it. Our taste are so different with frozen pizza, so my husband and I get one that we like and our children choose two they like. Now, I can have a break and we can eat for about $18 or less for a convenient meal.

A few other convenient meals that we take advantage of to replace eating out are:

  • bagel and eggs for breakfast
  • toasted cheese with canned soup
  • hot dogs and mac & cheese

Family dates are important and necessary but hard on the budget.

We love to go to local parks that are free and play ball, walk, ride bikes or play at the park.

We also love renting a movie from a Redbox and calling it family movie night. We splurge on a dessert and hunker down in the family room, which beats the price at the theaters and the comfort as well. Oh, and don't get me started on being able to control the remote for scenes that we prefer not to watch or for bathroom breaks.

We love to do memberships to some of the places the children love because for the most part, they pay for themselves after two visits. Talk about a budget saving idea! We do this for birthday gifts, Mother or Father Day gifts, since gifts are already expected and they can be enjoyed for the whole year.

Save money on the wants that feel like ‘needs'.

Today electronics are everywhere and they really take a toll on our finances. If you go without them, you can really feel like you are missing out and depending on your family, you could be.

If everyone in your house has a cell phone, shut off the house phone can save you a lot of money each month.

If you have unlimited data, you may want to watch your favorite shows on the internet or through your Prime membership from Amazon (they even have movies included) or another provider and cancel your television service.

Save money on groceries can seem daunting.

This is where many people feel overwhelmed because you need to feed your family. In times when we were having financial problems, I would use beans and rice as fillers in our foods, like soups, salads or tacos. They were cheap and healthy, plus the perfect addition to making many of my recipes stretch further.

I saved a lot on meats doing the beans and rice as fillers and by adding the right seasonings, my family didn't mind it.

Coupons are obvious to everyone, right? Of course, some stores have great sales without the coupons. I always shopped the sales and then made my meals around the sales items, instead of going with a menu plan and buying what I needed. This has always been a great way to save money in the necessities of life.

Make home an amazing place to be so your family will be happy to spend time there.

The meaningful part of the times when finances were scarce was finding things that made us happy at home. Board games are the perfect way to fill an evening at home and save money on fuel and things that aren't necessary for your life at this time.

Making sure our children has things to fill their days with fun was important to us because we wanted them to feel happy even when spending most of their week at our home. We never put them in sports, but made sure they had sports equipment to do at home or at a nearby park with us. The memories we made doing this was priceless. The reward is that as our older children are in their early adult years, they love spending their free time with us.

 

 

 

When Marriage Becomes Difficult

All marriage couples will tell you, if they are being honest, that there are times when marriage becomes difficult and requires more work than other times. Others would say that it becomes so difficult that it was easier to give up on the marriage and call it quits. I desire to share with you why I feel it is important to keep working through the challenges that your marriage has and find the solutions to making it work.

When Marriage Becomes Difficult - If you are married, you know how difficult it can be at times, but it doesn't have to stay that way. | www.joyinthehome.com

When Marriage Becomes Difficult

A disagreement here and there is normal in a relationship where two people live together and share space. However, I want to be real about what to do when you find your marriage becoming difficult and struggling with the thoughts of ‘Is it worth the work to stay together‘.

Absolutely, your marriage is worth the work to stay together!

My marriage has had a few times when it was a real struggle for us and finding a solution to fix the problems seemed impossible. That fact about why marriage is so difficult can easily be summed up with the sacredness of the vows that were exchanged with the man or woman of our dreams, to only find out that they have real flaws after you return from the honeymoon.

How dare the person you just vowed your life to, until death do you part, bring pet-peeves, habits and sin into your marriage?

The fairytale seems shattered when reality of who you just gave this ‘once in a life-time' position, as your spouse. Next thing that takes place is that the more you think about these flaws, the more you start doubting your choice and their love for you. The negative thoughts replace the once blissful thoughts that brought the two of you together.

Realizing that you married a ‘broken person‘, you set out on a mission to fix, change and better them.

Before long, your spouse will begin to wonder why you are finding so many things wrong, while overlooking the things that they clearly see in you that needs fixing and starts adding this to their agenda for the sole purpose of their defense.

A little spark of negativity begins to replace the sparks of love. Ammunition has been securely fastened to each spouse's mind and an invisible line have been drawn, with spouse facing off against spouse. Determined to be the last one standing, marriage vows are replaced with survival instincts fills both soldiers, I mean lovers.

And thus is the start of when marriages become difficult!

It is time to learn how to fight for your marriage!

Marriages are not battle grounds. Spouses are not our enemies. No one is without pet-peeves, habits or sins.

Empower your marriage by changing the mindsets that cause the root issues in your marriage.

You BOTH are Fallible People

Identify the things you are finding faults with and then realize where your spouse could be finding fault with you.

I'm going to just come out and say this to women (myself included)…

“Do you really think you have it all together and your husband is the only one that needs to improve in your marriage?”

At one time in our marriage, I believed this whole-heartedly. I saw how hard I was working to make our house a home, have dinner on the table, keep a spotless house, be the only one to tend to the needs of our children, always be available when my husband needed me and so on.

I overlooked my tone in my voice, my rolling of my eyes, my temperament and even my words, because I justified them all by believing that ‘if he wasn't doing what he was doing, I wouldn't be doing what I was doing'.

This is the biggest lie that married couples believe, making their marriage difficult. 

Stop Nagging and Get to the Root

For most of us women, it really isn't about the socks on the floor. It may be that your husband isn't respecting your work around the house. All along, you are arguing about the socks on the floor and he scratches his head trying to see how that is different than you leaving a cup in the car.

Men have no problem getting to the root of the problem.

Men tend to be straight shooters, so they will just come out and say what the problem is and often times, it comes off rough and hurtful. Considering how your spoken words can sound to a sensitive person can help to get your point across and eliminate the strain that speaking your mind can do.

Discuss the Sins, Work on the Habits and Overlook the Pet-peeves

Marriages have it all backwards when it comes to working on a marriage and often times it takes being married for years before you realize how backwards you look at your spouse.

Most marriages struggle with the pet-peeves of the other person, and then graduate to ripping apart their habits, while never really seeing the sin of the other in a marriage.

When a spouse feels like they are being attacked for the little things, like pet-peeves or how they have done things for the last 20+ years, it is easy for them to entertain sinful thoughts that lead to sinful behavior.

What we have found when our marriage is difficult is that one of us has a sin that needs to be confessed, discussed and eliminated. Overlooking the sins, when we feel like the Grand Canyon is separating us, can be the very thing that will end a marriage in turmoil.

Focusing on unhealthy habits together often times will be things to bring us together.

While the pet-peeves end up being the thing that brings laughter to our relationship, because they are the things that make us… US.

Pray Together

When we are feeling like we can't do anything more to fix our marriage, we couldn't be any more right. We can't. After all, we are the very reason our marriage was ending up in the difficult spot we found ourselves in.

This is when we lean on God, who we believe made us for each other and brought us together.

Praying together is one of the strongest things a marriage has to staying together, through the difficult times. Praying out loud, sharing your hurts through prayer, asking God to help, and heal will be one of the easiest ways to soften a heart, open a heart and fill a heart with love.


A Family Guide to Richmond Virginia

Have you ever wanted to visit the history filled Richmond, Virginia area? Both the Revolutionary and Civil wars have marks on Richmond and the surrounding area, making it a great place to learn from hands-on field trips or to just take in the beautiful parks and nature that is found all around this beautiful city.

A Family Guide to Richmond Virginia - The beautiful, history filled city of Richmond has so many opportunities for adventure. | www.joyinthehome.com

A Family Guide to Richmond, Virginia

Whether you are a visitor or new to our area, you will find a lot of things to do for free in the Richmond, Virginia area and some things completely worth paying to do.

Historical

Outdoor Fun

Museums

Entertainment

Things worth the drive…

President's Homes

Amazement Parks

Looking for a great place to stay while in Williamsburg, Virginia?  Take advantage of a special from Westgate Resorts with Reference Number #9018954900.

 

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5 Ways to Build Sibling Relationships

Sibling rivalry is becoming more and more of an issue to families. I often hear people asking for ideas to build sibling relationships within their own children, so I thought I would write a list of things that we have done to help create a natural way for siblings relationships to blossom.

5 Ways to Build Sibling Relationship - Sibling rivalry doesn't have to be the norm! | www.joyinthehome.com

5 Ways to Build Sibling Relationships

  1. Refer to Your Children As Best Friends – We have always told our children that they are each others best friends and we worked hard to make their relationship this way, by creating lots of memories for them with in our home and on outings to build this important relationship.
  2. Set Sibling Time Daily – Our afternoon schedule includes a set time for sibling time. This is time that they play together for the purpose of building relationship with each other. I have found this to be a great way for them to learn how to prefer each other's likes over their own and to find common interests.
  3. Limit Strife in Your Home – Children are going to argue, there is nothing that you can really do to keep this natural part of a relationship for happening, especially when you share the same home. Creating a way to limit the strife is key to building a good sibling relationship for your children. We did this by getting to the root of a situation, not just the action, that was causing strife. Often times, parents correct a child that hit another child because hitting is wrong. However, the hitting was the reaction to a root issue and if you don't find that root problem, you can easily build resentment in one child, while empowering another in being mean with their words and actions to that child. This is the biggest issue in most sibling rivalry and often because parents don't want to take the time to get to the heart of the problem.
  4. Don't Allow Physical Fighting – We are a family that will wrestle, throw pillows and play rough, but we have never permitted our children to hit each other for the purpose of fighting. To allow it, even in a young age, will only create division and allow for bullying to happen with a family.
  5. Require Heart Felt Apologies – Children will apologize when you tell them to apologize to each other, but it doesn't mean they mean it and children know if an apology is meant. I have so many memories of having my child hug each other when strife was present and not letting go until I could see they had moved past their anger and had a heart of love for their other. Over time, the time it took for their hearts to soften toward each other lessened and lessened until it was never needed because they would quickly apologize when they realized they hurt the other.

Our children are not perfect in their sibling relationship, but they love each other and it is very evident, even to people who just meet us. They don't stay frustrated with each other for long and spend a lot of time together. That is saying a lot when you see a 20 year old spending time with a 5 year old because they enjoy each others company, or when a 19 year old takes his 12 year old brother golfing with him to just spend some brother time together.

The younger years are hard but so worth the reward when you put time into building sibling relationships.


If you like this post, you may like…

How to Stay Encouraged While Parenting a Strong-willed Child | www.joyinthehome.com

5 Essential Oils Fragrances Perfect for Homemade Products

Do you ever make your own homemade cleaners? Some homemade cleaners are a great way to save money but they don't all leave the kind of freshness that you would desire. Essential oil fragrances are perfect for homemade products. Rocky Mountain Oils can help you do that, one oil at a time, with a 90 day guarantee!

5 Essential Oil Fragrances Perfect for Homemade Products | www.joyinthehome.com

5 Essential Oil Fragrances Perfect for Homemade Products

Who doesn’t love a fresh smelling house?

The problem with many cleaners is although the may smell good, they are often times toxic as well.

If you are like me, you may want to reduce or limit your cleaning toxins that you use to clean your home, but you may not know where to start.

Essential oils can help you do that, while saving you money on cleaning supplies!

We all have different favorites, but consumers show again and again that the most popular ones are keepers. Depending on the quantity of the homemade product, you will only need a few drops. If you find that you would prefer to have more, it is better to add a drop at a time than to over do it.

  1. Lavender Oil
  2. Lemon Oil
  3. Peppermint Oil
  4. Pine Oil
  5. Orange Oil

Essential oils have a lot of uses, not just cleaning. You may be new to essential oils and not sure exactly how or what to use them for, so I would love to share this helpful graphic that will give you easy ways to add them to you home, one oil at a time, as you desire to explore them.

I love to use lemon oil in my home, even to just freshen the air. We also enjoy Lemongrass and orange in the air!

With just a simple tip here and there, you will find the confidence to add more of these beneficial oils in your home, and in your household cleaning. It really only take a few drops to get the job done, saving you money in many places.

How to Use Essential Oils - Rocky Mountain Oils | www.joyinthehome.com

 

So, if you are ready to add a little essential oil fragrance to your home, take a look at the Rocky Mountain Oils, one oil at a time. Have the peace of mind if for any reason you don’t like the oil or it doesn’t work for you, you can return it within 90 days. Oh, and there is FREE shipping on your products, so you can really save as you explore the health benefits and amazing fragrances of essential oils.

Email me if you have any questions about the oils!

 

20 Easy Date Ideas for Parents To Do With Their Children

Family time is always important to everyone. As important as it is, one on one time with our children are always the kind of thing that build lasting memories and often times will be the thing that children talk about often because they always make them feel special. We love to date our children, but sometimes, we can't always fit it in one on one, so we will try to do what we can, when we can.

20 Easy Date Ideas for Parents to Do With Their Children - These easy ideas will make the best of memories for both you and your children! | www.joyinthehome.com

20 Easy Date Ideas for Parents to Do With Their Children

  1. Go to the Park
  2. Build Something With Legos
  3. Make a Cake
  4. Watch a Movie
  5. Do a Puzzle
  6. Go for a Bike Ride
  7. Build a Model Toy
  8. Make Cards
  9. Do Something Silly
  10. Go to the Library
  11. Help a Neighbor
  12. Make a Movie
  13. Read a Book
  14. Go to a Museum
  15. Run Errands Together
  16. Play a Game
  17. Make a Tent
  18. Go for Ice Cream
  19. Make a Meal Together
  20. Create a Memory Book

 

If you like this post, you may like… 10 Things Parents Should Do With Their Children at Least Once

10 Things Parents Should Do With Their Children at Least Once | www.joyinthehome.com

 

 

10 Must Buy Food Staples

Buying groceries seem like a never ending cycle in our home, especially with 3 boys, two of them in their teens. I love when I can make my grocery list easier and budget friendly at the same time. This is where my must buy food staples always come into play when we do our meal planning.

10 Must Buy Food Staples - Save on your grocery budget and in meal planning with these 10 items . | www.joyinthehome.com

10 Must Buy Food Staples

These are the items that always make my grocery list. ALWAYS. Of course, I prefer to buy them bulk because we use them all the time and it does help me save money, and keep our meals healthier.

  1. Broth – We use mostly chicken broth, but beef and vegetable are great options as well. You can do any kind that you prefer but at the moment, we are buying them in boxes. I use this to make my rice and homemade soups.
  2. Tomato Sauce – We go through so much of this that I think we should garden just tomatoes. I use tomato sauce in my soups, chili, rice and more.
  3. Diced Tomato – Although my husband once despised seeing diced tomatoes in anything warm, this is now something that we eat in almost everything. We love mexican food, so this is a great addition to many of our dishes.
  4. Frozen Vegetables – I do use some canned vegetables, but if I'm making a dish with seasoning in it, I will pull out the frozen vegetables because they are cheaper and healthier than the canned ones. We love to buy them in bulk for the extra savings.
  5. Pasta – Many times, I can make a soup and have some left over that when I add pasta to it I can feed my family one more meal from it, instead of just a few of us. My family loves the variation to some of our soups when they get to enjoy it the second time with different pastas, since I use what I have on hand.
  6. Rice – This is a great way to add some grains to your diet and if you love your rice cooker like I love mine, you have already realized that the first four items on this list can be thrown together with some rice (and beans or meat) and make a full meal in just 5 minutes in the morning and is ready for you at dinner. You can make just regular rice and add it to left over soup as well or make a casserole with leftovers as well.
  7. Eggs – Our family buys a lot of eggs. We use them in baking and for meals. I can't go to the store for groceries without buying them. Our children love just having hard boil eggs to eat for a snack!
  8. Beans – I try to have large batches of baked beans made and put in freezer bags for meal portions to save money, however there are times that canned beans are a necessary, so I try to keep them on hand for those days I forget to get them out of the freezer and thawed in time for a recipe.
  9. Oatmeal – Oatmeal is a staple for our family. My family loves it raw for breakfast (but not me), in bars and in desserts. We couldn't imagine not having this to grab!
  10. Potatoes – Potatoes are a great staple meal. They can be used in soups, as a side dish or just baked for a meal of its own. Left overs are perfect with eggs or in casseroles, so I always make more than just for the meal.

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10 Items I Always Buy in Bulk www.joyinthehome.com @Titus2Teacher

Slow Cooker Beef Enchilada Soup

Our family loves enchiladas, but I also love the simplicity of a slow cooker, especially on homeschooling days. I had made some beef stew and had some beef left over, so I thought that I would throw together a new slow cooker recipe using some of the basic ingredients to one of our favorite soups, Taco Soup. It was a success!

Slow Cooker Beef Enchilada Soup - Easy to put together and delicious! | www.joyinthehome.com

Slow Cooker Beef Enchilada Soup

Brown the beef stew meat first using these ingredients:

2 TBs of oil
1 pound of beef stew meat
1 cup of milk
1 cup of flour
1 TBs of Simply Organic Grilling Seasons Steak Seasoning
1 tsp of Real Salt

Place the oil in a sauce pan and heat up, while you mix the seasoning and salt into the flour. Dip the beef stew meat into the milk and then the flour before putting it into the sauce pan. Brown on all side, but don't over cook the meat.

Slow Cooker Beef Enchilada Soup - Easy to make and delicious | www.joyinthehome.com

While the meat is browning, place the following ingredients into the slow cooker and mix thoroughly:

1 box of Beef Broth
1 can of tomato soup
1 can of diced tomatoes
1 can of enchilada sauce
1 can of corn
1 can of black beans

Add the browned beef stew meat in to the mixed ingredients and mix in the meat.

Cook on low for 4-6 hours.

Would you like a printable recipe card for this Slow Cooker Beef Enchilada Soup Recipe Card?
Slow Cooker Beef Enchilada Soup Recipe Card | www.joyinthehome.com