Free eCourse: 4 Simple Steps to Stress-Free Homemaking!

Are you a stressed-out homemaker? Don’t stay overwhelmed! Check out this free eCourse: 4 Simple Steps to Stress-Free Homemaking!

4 Simple Steps to Stress-Free Homemaking

Are you tired of getting behind on laundry?

Do you struggle to keep your kitchen clean?

Does the dinner hour have you harried?

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If so, you cannot miss a FREE 4-part mini eCourse that is available for a limited time: 4 Simple Steps to Stress-Free Homemaking!

In this eCourse, you will learn:

  • how to never get behind on laundry again,
  • how to wake up each day to a sparkling clean kitchen,
  • how to avoid the 5 ‘o’clock scramble with a super simple meal planning method, and
  • how to set yourself up for success with a quick nighttime routine.

Control My Spin’s Holly Dvorak, a popular speaker and home management coach, and her long-time homemaking mentee, Erin Odom, of The Humbled Homemaker, have put together this eCourse to help curb homemaking overwhelm and give you the tools you need to run your home like a well-oiled machine.

4 Simple Steps to Stress-Free Homemaking will not take you long to complete, but what you learn through it can totally revolutionize your home.

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What comes with this eCourse?

  • 4 videos: These videos are all less than 10 minutes long, so it won’t take up a lot of time to watch them. But they each pack a punch!
  • 4 printable worksheets: We don’t want to just leave you with the teaching; we want you to brainstorm ways to implement it in your life!
  • FREE REWARDS by sharing this FREE eCourse with your friends as well!

What rewards can you earn?

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We let a sampling of bloggers get a sneak peek at this course, and this is what they had to say about it:

Kayse Pratt

“I absolutely loved the course! It was so encouraging for me to hear someone else’s homemaking struggles, and the tips I learned are so practical, I can implement them immediately! Each video is less than 10 minutes, and well worth your time. I’m recommending it to all of my friends!” ~Kayse Pratt, blogger at Kaysepratt and author of Worth the Fight

Angi Schneider

“I was really encouraged by the videos to really think about the little things that make my day go smoother when I do them. Thank you!” ~Angi Schneider, blogger at Schneiderpeeps and author of Hope: Thriving While Unemployed

Jill York

“I cannot tell you how much this simple free course has helped me already! I’ve watched them with my oldest daughter, and we are putting them to action! The motivation it provides can be life-changing! It made me really look forward to digging into the rest of what’s in the bundle.” ~Jill York, blogger at Jill’s Home Remedies and co-author of Homeschooling Day-by-Day

Kristen Smith

“The four mini lessons taught in this eCourse aren’t overwhelming, won’t load you with guilt, and are really doable. There’s also room to tweak the lessons for your family’s unique needs, which I appreciate as a homeschooling mom of give younger children. Instead of feeling like a failure by watching it, you feel motivated to make the small changes that Holly explains.” ~Kristen Smith, blogger at Smithspirations and author of Strengthening the Heart of a Homemaker

Don’t miss out on this FREE eCourse that can help take the stress out of homemaking! Get immediate access by signing up here, now, or click on the button below!

Click here for immediate access!

Disclosure: I have included affiliate links in this post. Thank you for supporting my site!

Feeding My Family of Five for $80/Week

Feeding My Family of 5 for $80 per Week

I’m trying something new for the next month or so to see how it goes.  Normally, I shop for two weeks at a time.  In the in-between week I usually have to run to the store for things like milk, fresh fruit, something I forgot and it never fails that I go over budget.  So, I’m going back to cash.  I have six stores to choose from- WalMart, CVS, Winn Dixie, Publix, Walgreens, and Richards ( a health food store).  I pick the stores with the best prices for what I need.  I know I can price match at WalMart, but I have a love/hate relationship with that store and prefer to go where I get something in return (gas points, ECBs, etc).  That said, they do tend to have the best prices on staples.

To get started, I looked through my cupboards and fridge to see what meals I could make or almost make.  Here are our dinners:

Cheesy broccoli and ham casserole
– Chicken and biscuits
– Potluck at church (we took Welsh cookies, chocolate milk, 2 sodas, & tea)
– Chicken enchiladas
– Corn fritters
– Spaghetti and meatballs
– Hot dogs, beans, and mac & cheese

Breakfasts are always the same – eggs & cheese sandwiches for hubby and half a homemade english muffin with peanut butter for me.  The kids either have cereal, pancakes, or buttermilk biscuits.  Lunches are yogurt for the kids and I and leftovers for hubby.  We also have some carrots or apples with lunch.

CVS

2 gallons milk – 3.19 each
1 Easter M&M candies – 2.09 (used $1/1)
2 Dawn dish soap – .99 each (used 2 .25/1)
2 Puffs – .99 each (used 2 .25/1)
1 2L Canada Dry ginger ale – .99 (used .30/1 from CVS)
1 Gold Emblem Select k-cups – 5.49
1 M&M snack – .99 (used .75/1 from CVS)

I also used $8 ECBs.  My total was $10.46.  After I got home, I realized that the .30 soda coupon and .75 candy coupon didn’t come off.  It’s not worth making another trip back and I really can’t prove it…just another reason to always pay attention when your coupons are being scanned!

Winn Dixie

Pillsbury unbleached flour – 2.50
2 Barilla pasta sauce – 2/each
2 1lb baby carrots – 1.99/each (BOGO)
1.7lbs red seedless grapes – 2.87
Simply Orange OJ – 3
Dannon Vanilla yogurt – 2
Danimals Smoothies 6 pack – 2
2 Kraft singles – 4.99 (BOGO)

I didn’t have any coupons for this trip – I was just taking advantage of some sale prices.  Total after taxes – $23.35.

WalMart

1 24 count granola bars – 3.98 (snacks for hubby when he teaches nights)
2 mac & cheese – .40/each
2 chicken gravy – 1.12/each
Arizona sweet tea – 2.78
2 1lb 85/15 hamburger – 4.48/each
2 cans Friskies – .46/each
Oscar Meyer hot dogs – 1.50
hair color – 6.92 (used 1.50/1 coupon)
Cap’n Crunch cereal – 3.98
syrup – 2.50
1 quart buttermilk – 2.34
1/2 gallon chocolate milk – 3.23
2L root beer – .84
36  pack eggs – 4.50

Total – $44.81

Total for the week – $78.62

Cheesy Broccoli and Ham Casserole

Cheese Ham and Broccoli Casserole

I’m not a big casserole person.  As a general rule, I prefer my foods not touching, but I’ve learned that sometimes, it’s OK.  This recipe is the perfect example.  It’s also quick and easy – perfect for nights where you don’t have a lot of time to prepare dinner.

Simply mix the ham, broccoli, cheese, and croutons in your ungreased baking dish.

Broccoli Ham Cheese
Mix the remaining ingredients in a bowl and pour over the dry ingredients.  Mush them around a bit to make sure the croutons get covered.
Cheese Broccoli HamBake at 375 for about 30 minutes.  Enjoy!

Ham Broccoli CheeseRecipe: Ham, Broccoli, and Cheese Casserole

1lb ham cubes (either prepackaged or leftovers also work)
1 12 oz bag frozen broccoli florets
1 bag croutons
8oz shredded cheddar cheese
2 cups milk
1 cup (8 oz bottle) creamy salad dressing (I use Italian)
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 T dry mustard (more or less to taste)
1 T basil leaves

Mix ham, broccoli croutons, and cheese in 9×13 casserole dish. Mix remaining ingredients in mixing bowl and pour over mixture in casserole dish. Stir to thoroughly mix ingredients. Bake at 375 for 30 minutes.  Enjoy!

Repurposing Torn Pants

Repurposing Torn Pants My husband recently had a wardrobe malfunction involving a pair of not-very-old khaki pants.  There was no saving them for him, but the thought of just throwing them away was too much.  They really weren’t that old!  So, I dug out my favorite pants pattern, shortened the legs and made my son a pair of shorts – just in time for Easter. Wardrobe Malfunction I started with my favorite pants pattern – skinny jeans from peek-a-boo pattern shop.  I measured how long I wanted the shorts to be and then folded the pattern to that length.  I made a size 8 and was able to get both legs onto one leg. ShortsPiecesOn the other leg, I put all the other pieces.  I did have to piece the waistband, but that was OK – I just lined the center back seams up and everything was good.  I cut the pocket lining from the pants pocket lining. ShortsPieces

I saved the zipper and buttons from the old pants.

Pants Notions

Then, I had the perfect button for the new shorts.

Shorts Front

Shorts Back

Perfect Fit Shorts Finished

Teaching Kids to do Laundry

Teaching Kids to do Laundry

I hear a lot of people complaining about Mount Washmore.  It seems that laundry just piles up and doesn’t get done until it HAS to be done NOW.  I understand that laundry isn’t fun, but it is necessary just like buying groceries and putting gas in your car.  Don’t do it and you’ve got unhappy people!  I’ve made laundry very simple in our house.  So simple, that my six-year old can do it (and he thinks it’s great fun to pour soap and turn dials!).

The first thing I did was use a sharpie to mark the normal settings.  The only thing I didn’t mark was the water level.  It’s normally a super plus load, if it’s something smaller, I adjust it.  I also don’t sort our clothing.  I know some of you might cringe, but honestly, it works for us.  We don’t have any items that require special washing (I check when I buy things – hand wash, line dry?  It goes back on the rack).  I do wash sheets and towels in hot water from time to time.

Mark the Settings on Washer
Mark settings on washer

Load up the washer and add soap using the pre-marked laundry soap lids.

Kids love to pour thingsRinsing the soap cup?  Lots of fun!

They also love to play in waterThis refillable laundry soap container is such a wonderful invention!  I can fit up to 5 bottles of soap in it.  There’s so much less chance of spillage with this!  Plus the kids think it’s pretty cool.

Refillable laundry soap container - best thing everI also marked the dryer so it’s super easy for the kids to move stuff from the washer to the dryer and start it.

Mark the dryer setting

What about you?  Do your kids do wash?  Any tips for making it easy for them?

Saving Money on Your Car

Saving Money on Your Car

Lately my van (a 2006 grand caravan with 97000 miles) has been costing us a lot of money.  Not as much as a car payment, but it seems like everything is going bad.  We found a local garage that we like and trust.  I’ve taken my car there and they’ve told me what’s wrong, how much it will be to fix, if it’s a must or a when I have time/money.  They’ve even told me that there’s nothing wrong (when the check engine light randomly comes on) and not charged me.

Most recently, I needed new tires and choose to go to a different garage (a chain store tire shop).  They had the best deal on tires and I didn’t give it a second thought.  When they were almost done, one of the guys came in to the waiting room and told me there was a problem; could I come out and they’d show me.  So, I followed him to the garage with my two boys in tow (they were fascinated with the van up on the lift).  He showed me how the front tire wiggled even though he had just tightened it.  He said I needed new outer tie rod ends.  I asked if that was why my tires had worn funny.  He said yes.  Hmmm…OK.  I had been told that it was because they had been under-inflated for some time, but I’m not a car person.  He quoted me a price and said it would take about an hour – they could do it right now.   I told him not today – I had the boys with me and they would NOT be happy for another hour.  I was also unsure of what they were talking about and wanted to at least get a quote from my normal garage.

When I got home, I called my trusted garage and asked for a quote.  She gave me a quote, but added that she would want to look at it to make sure that it really needed new outer tie rod ends.  So, the other day I took it over.  It took them less than five minutes to determine that I do not need new tie rod ends.  What a relief!  They also told me that this isn’t the first time they’ve heard that story – get new tires at the other place and be told that the tie rod ends need replacing.  Makes me mad that they were willing to take advantage of me!  I’m so glad I hesitated!  I “saved” almost $300.

Have you ever had a garage try to sell you something you don’t need?

DIY Ultimate Bundle Flash Sale

*Links and images in this post are affiliate links.

Sale is over.  But stay tuned – the Ultimate Bundle people will be having another sale soon.

If you’re like me, you love the feeling of creating something of your own – and you know that the sense of accomplishment and fulfillment is pretty hard to match.

The great thing about crafting and DIY is that there’s so much to get involved in! You may have started with decorating, or creating gifts, or photography, but there’s this huge world of crafting opportunities out there, and you’ve probably only scratched the surface!

The only problem is… how do you decide which project to dive into next? Not to mention, it can get expensive so quickly, buying more resources, more books, more patterns. What if you had a wide variety of inspiring resources right at your fingertips, but for a fraction of what you would usually spend?

That’s why you need to check out The Ultimate DIY Bundle! It’s your instant go-to library for a whole range of carefully curated DIY and crafting eBooks and eCourses. There are projects that the whole family can get involved in – from pet photography and home decor to chalk pastels and sewing.

For the crazy low price of just $34.95, you get access to a carefully curated library of over 69 eBooks and eCourses from the world’s leading DIY and crafting bloggers – enabling you to pick a project and jump straight into it with confidence. It’s the perfect tool to skip the information overload and throw yourself straight into a new activity.

 

 

Hurry though! The Ultimate DIY Bundle will only be on sale for 2 days – from 9am EST on Monday, March 31 until 9am EST on Wednesday, April 1.

You can buy with complete confidence because you’re covered by the Ultimate Bundles 30-day money-back guarantee. That means you have a full 30 days to enjoy all the eBooks and eCourses in the bundle, and if you don’t think they provided enough value, you’ll get a full refund.

Not only that, but The Ultimate DIY Bundle comes with 4 awesome bonuses, worth over $150. That’s 3x the price of the bundle alone! These include…

A free $15 Store Credit PLUS 8×10 Art Print from Hope Ink ($43 Value), a free online class from Craftsy (up to $71.95 Value), a free sewing pattern PLUS a Premium Video Class from UpCraft Club ($19.99 Value), and free, full digital copies of Where Women Create Magazine and Greencraft Magazine ($20 value) from Stampington and Co.

I’ve been eyeing some of the classes on Craftsy and who wouldn’t want a free sewing pattern?!  To me, those two bonuses make the whole thing worth it!

So, don’t miss your chance to grab The Ultimate DIY Bundle, and get 69 incredible eBooks and eCourses for just $34.95. All you need to do is take action by 9am EST on Wednesday, April 1!

This amazing deal ends in just…

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Pick up your copy right now, before it’s too late. Or, learn more here.

 

 

Disclosure: I have included affiliate links in this post. Read the fine print about this bundle and read the answers to frequently asked questions about the bundle.

Rediscover Your Creative Side – Last Chance


A few days ago, I told you about a free mini-course to help you rediscover your creative side.  If you’ve already subscribed, leave a comment and tell me how it’s going.  If you haven’t, read on to find out why you should.

I’m a big believer in carving out time for being creative: having that outlet away from work and daily obligations is essential, if you ask me! But so many people struggle to find the time or the head space to dedicate even an hour to something fulfilling like creating handmade gifts or learning to take beautiful photos.

And that’s why I’m so pleased that there’s now a FREE mini-course to tackle this problem! It’s called 4 Steps to Rediscover Your Inner Creative Genius , and it’s been tremendously helpful to those who’ve already taken it: they can’t wait to get started on some new creative pursuits!

Want to be in their shoes? It’s your last chance to take the course today! And if you’ve already taken the course, I’d LOVE to know how you’re getting on – so please do reply to this email and tell me!

There’s even better news: once you’ve taken the course, you’ll be one of the first to know about a brand new product from the Ultimate Bundles team! Every quarter they put together a collection of eBooks and eCourses on a particular theme, carefully curating the best content out there and selling it for a fraction of its true value.

Their latest bundle is coming out very soon! And as you’re someone who’s interested in crafting and DIY, I just know you’re going to love it!

If you want to be among the first to find out about and buy the new bundle, sign up to their FREE mini-course today!  Then come back and tell me how you liked it.

Colon Cancer – My Story, Finale

Colon Cancer - My Story

See part one here.

See part two here.

So, my part in the colon cancer surgery was easy.  Next thing I knew, I was waking up in my room.  I remember that I was so tired it was hard to keep my eyes open.  I remember opening them and seeing my parents.  I tried to smile and say something, but it took so much effort!  Then, I opened them again and my husband and mother-in-law were there.  Again, keeping my eyes open was just too much work.  I tried to say “I love you” when they left, but I’m not sure I did.  Then the night nurse came in and asked if I had been up and walking yet.  I managed to say no.  She said that Dr. AB wanted me up and walking.  I remember thinking there was no way I can walk – I can’t even keep my eyes open!  Next thing I knew, I was waking up and it was morning.  So much for walking the same day as my surgery!

Now, I was ready to get up and walk.  I knew from past experience (I had my gall bladder out laproscopically several years ago) that getting up after having your stomach cut open was tough!  The nurse’s top priority was to get me up and walking – at least to the door of my room – and then into a chair!  I remember that it took a lot for me to sit up.  The actual standing up part was easy.  Walking to the door of my room totally exhausted me!  I couldn’t believe it.  The day before I had walked into the hospital with no problem and now walking just a few feet was hard.  Each day I was able to walk a little farther and eventually I was able to walk the halls with no problem.

The other part was waiting for my intestines to wake up.  Our bodies are designed to stop the intestines from working anytime after a surgery.  This meant that I had to have a tube up my nose and down my throat – what a pain – literally!  Nothing could get past my stomach – not even saliva.  I remember being thrilled when it could finally be removed about three days later.

When I was finally discharged (I believe I was in for 7 days), I still couldn’t lift anything over 5lbs.  That in itself was hard!  My youngest was still in diapers and wanted to be carried by Mama.  I couldn’t go grocery shopping by myself, because while individual groceries don’t weigh over five pounds, the bags of groceries do plus the cart was too heavy to push.  Ever go grocery shopping with your mom and not help her?  She unloads the cart, puts the bags back in, loads everything into the car while you just watch?  It was a definite learning experience.

I was very fortunate!  After visiting three oncologists, the consensus was that I didn’t have to have radiation or chemotherapy.  There was much celebrating!  For three years I had bloodwork every three months, and I’ve had a colonoscopy each year.  This past December I had my five year colonoscopy and it was clear.  I’m officially considered cured.

I had some genetic testing done, and it came back negative.  There’s some family history of colon cancer, but no direct links.  I’ve read a lot of recent studies about ways to prevent colon cancer and that it’s one of the most preventable cancers.  As always, better safe than sorry – get checked!

 

Colon Cancer – My Story, Continued

Colon Cancer - My Story

See Part One here.

I called the gastroenterologist’s office and made my appointment for 3:30 the next day.  They assured me that the results would be in by then.  The next day, Thursday, was very snowy and the doctor’s office had a lot of cancellations.  They called me to see if I could come in at 11:00.  I asked whether or not they would have my test results.  They assured me they did (I’m surprised at how quickly some test results come back and others seem to take forever!).  I called hubby to make sure he could go with me.  I picked him up at work and we drove around to the doctor’s office.  I remember being taken into her office and waiting for her, wondering what she was going to say although I was pretty sure I knew.  When she came in, she started off by saying that she had my results and then she said I had cancer.  I remember thinking that it was almost like she didn’t mean to say it so soon – like it came out before she intended.  I wasn’t surprised, but  I didn’t want it to be true.  I had three little kids and I wanted to see them grow up!  She asked if we had any questions.  My only one was, “Now what?”

Dr. MB was all business (which at that moment was what I needed – someone to tell me what to do) and quickly got me scheduled for a CT Scan on Friday (it took all of 10 minutes to have done) and got me an appointment with a surgeon on Monday, February 1.

The surgeon, Dr. AB, was very nice. When he walked in, he looked at me and said “You’re 35 and have colon cancer?!” He was totally surprised (or at least he appeared to be) much like us. He recommended surgery (the sooner the better) to remove the cancerous part of my colon and then reconnect the remaining halves (colon resection). It was scheduled for Feb 16. Although it was only two weeks away, it seemed like forever.  Especially since I knew there was a cancerous tumor growing in me.  I could just imagine it getting bigger and bigger everyday.  I’m sure it didn’t grow that fast, but I just wanted the surgery date to be here!  I’ve never been so eager to be in the hospital.  After the surgery they would biopsy the piece they took out and look for any signs of the cancer moving to other areas (nodes). The results of the biopsy would determine if I would need chemo and/or radiation. He also wanted to take out my ovaries (and my uterus since it doesn’t behave without the ovaries) as a preventative measure so he called my gyno, Dr. S.   He called me to talk about it and to have me come into the office to sign paperwork. I also had a mammogram as another preventative measure (that was normal…whew!).

The day before the surgery was the worst!  I had to do the prep again!  This time however, I had the “good stuff” – a free sample from the doctor’s office (I’m so glad they took pity on me!).  It involved two little pills and drinking maybe 16 ounces of liquid.  Totally doable!  The clear liquid diet is never fun and spending a good portion of the evening/night in the bathroom isn’t fun either.  Because my OB/GYN had regular office hours on the 16th, they requested first surgery.  That meant I had to be at the hospital bright & early.  Fine by me – I wanted it over with!

I don’t remember what time I had to be at the hospital, but it was early – before my daughter had to be up to get ready for kindergarten (my parents and mother-in-law were staying with us for several weeks to help out).  After getting checked in and IVs in place, the nurse gave me the most wonderful invention – a warm blanket!  Seriously, I was absolutely freezing!!  Then, they came in with another even more wonderful invention -a machine and blanket contraption.  They hooked up the machine to the blanket contraption and it blew warm air into the layers of the blanket.  Ahhh….so wonderful!  At some point before I went into surgery, I found out that my daughter didn’t want to go to school.  We had figured that this would be a possibility and the school knew what was going on, so it wasn’t a big deal to us.

Finally it was time.  I don’t recall being overly nervous, just eager to have it done with.  I knew I had the easy part for now – I would be out and have no idea how much time was passing.

Come back tomorrow for the final part of my colon cancer story.