Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Menu Making

Often times people ask me how it is that we are able to afford for me to stay at home on Michael's new much smaller income. And one way I try to save tons of money is in the food department. I do this by making menus for the week ahead based off of what is on sale or mostly what meats are on sale or already in my freezer. I have to admit that I have come lazy in the checking sales department but it goes to prove that even you don't check the sales menu making can save tons of money. I normally try to spend less than $100 a week on food only stuff. I have a different budget for cleaning supplies and toiletries. Here is this weeks menu and incase you wonder my total this week was around $88.00 including Easter Candy!

Monday- Taco Salad

Tuesday- Stuffed shells I got this recipe here and decided to leave out the spinach since we don't like spinach

Wednesday- This is my small group week so I had to provide potatoes, butter, bacon and chives for the loaded baked potatoes we are having...YUMMY

Thursday- Pork chops green beans and corn

Friday-Cheeseburger meatloaf, mashed potatoes and pinto beans

I also purchased stuff to make fried potatoes with sausage but we ate at my dad's Sunday and had those leftovers...so that is a meal that can roll over to next week:)

Here are a couple money saving grocery store tips if you don't want to mess with coupons...

  • I always buy dried beans unless I only need a small amount and then I buy the store brand can.

  • I use mostly store brand products. Wal-Mart has a great store brand and it is very good quality.

  • I buy 90% of our meat on sale and only when it is on sale...Like I said above I have been a little lazy and not keeping up with it like I use to but I am getting back on the wagon with that:)

  • I don't buy tons of pre-packaged snack foods. Most cookies, crackers, chips, ect for the kids school snacks I package myself...unless they happen to be on sale.

  • I ONLY buy what we need for that weeks menu and I didn't enclose lunches and snacks on the above menu but of course I buy only what we need for those also.

Those are just a couple of my little tricks...And they really do save us money!

Saturday, April 23, 2011


Ok I know we are not the only Christan family in the US that doesn't do the Easter Bunny...Are we? And why for the first time EVER did I feel like my kids were missing out on something? Ok back "history" for those of you who don't know us...

There was a time when Michael and I didn't see eye to eye on this whole religion thing. Not that he was against it but kind of thought God was out to get him ( that is a post for another day). So I was alone in that boat trying to lead 2 children in the way they should go. Long and short...Michael gets saved and well we sell out for Jesus...He did a wonderful work in us therefore deserving all the glory and credit. So when we decided to change our ways we decided to change up how we did Easter. Not that the bunny had ever been a huge deal but you know. So we decided no over the top baskets, no commercialism and NO BUNNY! Yeap I said it we did it!

We don't do the bunny. We make all the focus of that time of year be on Jesus and what He did for us. Yes before you flood my inbox we do baskets SMALL candy and some sort of devotional, book or you know the sorts. Like this year Duece is receiving a Bible, Jesse a worship cd and well Cooper is getting Color Wonder from crayola since he is way too young for a Bible and we have enough devotions and story books for his age group to start a toddler library. And our take on the egg thing is that when we decide to take up our cross and follow Jesus we become a new life. The egg for us is a symbol of the new creation we are in Him.

I digress...

We have always been happy with that choice. But for some reason as Cooper brought home coloring pages of sweet bunnies from his preschool and talked of Peter Cottontail I couldn't help but wonder...Are they missing out on something? Or have I actually done a good thing by focusing on the real reason we celebrate which is of course the empty tomb!

All my concern was put to rest as my sweet 2 year old crawled in my lap and told me that " Jesus hung high on a cross, got blood ( I think he means bled), and died." I asked him why Jesus did this and his answer was "He loves Cooker ( this is how he says his own name) and so I can go to heaven with Nonnie and Daddys Pawpaw!" Ok case closed...Jesus loves me, I love Jesus, and so do my kids!

Sunday is coming!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Good Friday

The death of Jesus as it is told in the book of Matthew:

45 From the sixth hour until the ninth hour darkness came over all the land. 46 About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, ""Eloi, Eloi," "lama" "sabachthani?""--which means, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" 47 When some of those standing there heard this, they said, "He's calling Elijah." 48 Immediately one of them ran and got a sponge. He filled it with wine vinegar, put it on a stick, and offered it to Jesus to drink. 49 The rest said, "Now leave him alone. Let's see if Elijah comes to save him." 50 And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. 51 At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split. 52 The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. 53 They came out of the tombs, and after Jesus' resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many people. 54 When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, "Surely he was the Son of God!" 55 Many women were there, watching from a distance. They had followed Jesus from Galilee to care for his needs. 56 Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee's sons.

I shared yesterday that Resurrection Sunday is my favorite religious holiday. I thought I might need to explain myself...The acts that took place over Holy Week were terrible and the very thoughts of them make me want to cringe. But the self-less love showed by Jesus was immeasurable and what He did for us to this very day amazes me. Celebrating the Resurrection of Jesus is my favorite holiday because it causes us to pause and realize what was REALLY done for us. I can't believe my King huge dying on a cross for me before He knew me to save me! I promise that is the ultimate love! As we observe Good Friday I almost want to hold my breath until Sunday when we all celebrate the empty tomb and our Risen Savior. But He rose ( the miracle of all miracles) as followers we should realize every day is worthy of celebration just for that reason...Because "We sing for the glory of a risen KING!"

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Music Therapy Resurrection Edition!

I can hardly contain myself as Sunday is drawing near...It is my most favorite of all holidays! It is Resurrection Sunday (Easter)! It really wasn't until I knew the unconditional love of Papa God that I began to LOVE this time of year. But as I have yielded to His love for me I realized the what was really done for me. So I am sharing Hillsong "Hosanna" this week as my Resurrection Sunday Edition. I can see the generation that they speak of and I believe we are raising that very generation now! Read...Enjoy...

Hosanna, hosanna

Hosanna in the highest

Hosanna, hosanna

Hosanna in the highest

Hosanna in the highest

I see the King of glory

Coming down the clouds with fire

The whole earth shakes, the whole earth shakes

I see His love and mercy

Washing over all our sin

The people sing, the people sing

Hosanna, hosanna

Hosanna in the highest

Hosanna, hosanna

Hosanna in the highest

I see a generation

Rising up to take the place

With selfless faith, selfless faith

I see a near revival

Stirring as we pray and seek

We're on our knees, we're on our knees

Hosanna, hosanna

Hosanna in the highest

Hosanna, hosanna

Hosanna in the highest

Hosanna, hosanna


Heal my heart and make it clean

Open up my eyes to the things unseen

Show me how to love like You have loved me

Break my heart for what breaks Yours

Everything I am for Your kingdom's cause

As I walk from earth into eternity

Hosanna, hosanna

Hosanna in the highest

Hosanna, hosanna

Hosanna in the highest

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Music Therapy Thursday-Third Day!

I couldn't resist posting this wonderful song by Third Day titled "Love Song" for today's therapy. When I hear this song and sing its wonderful words I can almost hear Papa God singing them to me. I am overwhelmed by the love He pours out on us. And I think the Lent season is a perfect time to remember that He loved us so much He hung His only son on a cross to pay the price for us so we might receive what Jesus deserved which is eternal life with Papa. I have had a really rough last couple days and I needed this song for my own therapy today. Enjoy and know you are truly loved!
I've heard it said that a man would climb a mountain

Just to be with the one he loves

How many times has he broken that promise

It has never been done.

I've never climbed the highest mountain

But I walked the hill of calvary

Just to be with you, I'd do anything

There's no price I would not pay

Just to be with you, I'd give anything

I would give my life away.

I've heard it said that a man would swim the ocean

Just to be with the one he loves

How may times has he broken that promise

It can never be done

I've never swam the deepest ocean

But I walked upon the raging sea

I know that you don't understand

the fullness of My love

How I died upon the cross for your sins

And I know that you don't realize

how much that I gave you

But I promise, I would do it all again.

Just to be with you, I've done everything

There's no price I did not pay

Just to be with you, I gave everything

Yes, I gave my life away.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

If it aint broke don't fix it...

Ok this is possibly my new out look on birthday parties. Since I think somewhere in all the keeping up with the Jones we have lost sight of the simple pleasures all kids enjoy! So Duece is getting what I have been calling a "throw back" to the way it use to be done...with our spin on a few things:) I need to say right now that I DO make a BIG deal of birthday's at my house. Because when you have more than one child I think they need one day that is ALL about them and what they want to do with their little friends. Let me take you back... In February we attended a lovely birthday party at our local (ok hour away) Build-A-Bear. I thought it was a wonderful idea since the store does 90% of the work for you. Duece and I talked about having his there since it is his favorite store ever. But when he couldn't tighten up the invites to a manageable...I mean affordable number we had to come up with a different plan. Since our house is rather small I suggested the bouncy house. That was a NO! He didn't want to do the same thing as we were planning for Coops upcoming July b-day. Soooo since the use of our church is always free and I was trying so hard to rein in the budget (point of not doing B-A-B) I suggest we have it there and play REAL party games. Duece looked at me like I had grown an extra head as I explained that when I was a child we didn't have bouncy house, Build-A-Bear, or other outrageously priced parties that we played actual games at our parties. So ounce I sold him on a little pin-the-tail on the donkey, bean bag tossing, 3 legged race, musical chairs, face painting, fishing, and a horse race (using pool noodles) the planning began. We decided not to have a "theme" we would use a very gender neutral red and blue color scheme with lots of balloons and streamers! I think it is going to be alot of fun. I am going to set up several games inside and then a number of them outside split the kids into 2 groups let them rotate around to 3 of 7 games the switch saving "fishing" for last to collect their goodie bags. I have enlisted the help of several moms, friends, and grandparents to run the games. I think it is going to be alot of fun...He is excited and so am I. These games are sure to be a crowd pleaser:) I am happy to report that so far I haven't spent more than $20! And doing it on this budget I can actually offer lunch which Duece really wanted to do (I have no idea why). So if you ask me I think this is a wonderful way to celebrate a birthday...the old way! Because hey if it aint broke don't fix it...right?!?!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Cheeseburger Meat Loaf

So many have asked me for this recipe. I have to admit it is super cheap, easy, and extra yummy! And I promise the kids will approve. I hope you enjoy. Cheeseburger Meatloaf 1 lb ground beef 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese 3/4 cup uncooked regular oats 1/2 cup milk small onion chopped fine 1 lg egg 1 tsp worcestshire sauce 1/2 tsp salt 1/4 tsp garlic powder 1/4 tsp pepper 1 cup chili sauce for topping ( located with the ketchup and condiments use as much or as little as you like) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine first 10 ingredients in a large bowl; stir just until blended. Shape into a loaf in a 13X9 pan or lace in an ungreased 8X4 inch loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Pour chili sauce over top and back 15-30 more minutes or until no longer pink in the center. Let stand 10 minutes Drain and cut into 8 slices. To freeze: If you used meat that had not yet been frozen, you can freeze this uncooked. When you're ready to eat, thaw, and follow the above instructions for cooking. If your meat was already frozen, bake without chili sauce on top. Freeze. When you're ready to eat, thaw meatloaf. Pour chili sauce on top and heat in oven until hot.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Happy Birthday Duece!

Happy Birthday to one of the "Best Little Boys I Know"! My Duece is 7 today and I almost can't believe it. It seems like yesterday that we were on our way to the hospital to have him. I promise I will never forget the day of his birth....things happened so quickly that my mother-in-law who lived an hour away almsot didn't make it. I think he was born something like 90 minutes after we checked in. He was the best baby slept wonderful and was so sweet and chubby. We have traded all that for a kind, compassionate heart, a total love for all people and a true childs heart for God. I believe Duece sets aside all stero-types for boys since he is not rough, rowdy and almost always really kind. Happy Birthday Duece Mommy and Daddy, Jesse and Cooper love you so much. *Photo from Duece's first day of 1st grade this year! Believe it or not he has already changed:)

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Weight Loss

One topic I don't usually touch here at the McClendon Madness is...Weight Loss! But I guess it is going to be touched on some now. I had some blood work done several weeks ago and went Friday to get the results. Most of it was normal but for my age my cholesterol was too high and well my hormones (the real reason for the test) were really out of whack. And while you may not think weight and hormones go together...they do! My BMI is way too high, I feel like crap most of the time, and I am no longer ovulating. So along with hormones to try to jump start the later I was strongly advised to drop some pounds. And while this was nothing new to me I was faced with it head on as something I now HAVE to do. So here's my plan and I am telling all of you (AKA the world) so I can/have to be accountable for what I am doing. My first step was joining the gym, I have to start moving around more I was way more sedentary than I had imagined. And for now I am eating the same just smaller portions. I want to do a total pantry over haul but I have to make food changes as money allows and since I have a full pantry I can't justify trashing it all. I also joined here to help me keep a log of my calories and how much moving I am actually doing. I feel like I am off to a great start! After logging the past 3 days on my counter I found while I was staying in my recommended 2000 calories I wasn't getting enough protein and was getting way too many carbs never mind if they are good or bad! I have some how talked a friend into joining me at the gym and we have been going every day and believe it or not I am still walking at least a mile a day in addition. I don't know if any of it will pay off but here is to hoping! I still have a long way to go but I am proud that I at least have started. I have alot to work on since I tend to be an emotional eater. But I am putting this one in God's hands and I will keep you posted and tell you what is and isn't working for me.