4th of July Candy Craft Snack – Candy Kabobs

If you want to keep your kids (and husband) busy for a while, you can try this cute candy snack that we make for the 4th of July each year to take with us as we watch the fireworks!

All you need are some lollipop sticks or skewers and soft candy. I used mostly gummy candies. I also tried to just use red, white and blue for the 4th of July to make it festive. It would also be cute to do them to match birthday parties with different colors.

I was able to buy ALL the candy at our local convenience store this year. They carry all kinds of bagged prepackaged gummy candy, salt water taffy, and gummy lifesavers. I placed them all in bowls on the table, gave each child/Dad a lollipop stick and let them at it!

This is the one Paul made, actually one of the 10, he really got into it with the girls! We packaged ours in little gift bags with ribbon tied around the top. The sticks and bags we put them in cost $1.75 each at Walmart. You can find these in the craft section at your local store.

On the ones for the girls we have little necklaces for the 4th to go with them, turned out really cute!

Do you have any cute crafts for the 4th?

Hurricane Preparation Coupons! Be Prepared!

This is my front yard the morning after Hurricane Ike. In the days before we brought in all the plants and kids toys we could. We nailed down everything possible and taped all the windows.

While many people were panicking and spending all their available cash on supplies, we were comforted knowing that we didn’t need to join the rush and that we were well prepared. We ran into Walmart on Thursday evening and were stunned to see the shelves. It was a very errie feeling when your huge supercenter is cleared out COMPLETELY!

Because of couponing and my food storage there was nothing that we needed, save for some fresh fruit and vegetables.

On Friday 2008, everything was closed, the kids were out of school and we just had to sit around and wait. Paul, myself and the DuBois, took the shotgun and hand guns down to the creek to do some shooting and relieve some anxiety! We heard reports on T.V. of all the chaos surrounding the stores closing early and people not having any food or water. I can’t understand not being prepared? Why would you live so day to day that you can’t take care of your family in an emergency with the basics of food, when you have the ability with coupons to do it almost free?

Alright, so are you guys out east ready? What about along the Gulf coast? With hurricane memories still fresh, I have gone through our supplies this past weekend to take a little inventory. If you have a chance you might want to do the same thing.

::Here are a few food and supply items that have coupons to go with them!::

::Bottled Water::
– $0.55/1 Nestle Pure Life Sparkling Exotics Sparkling Water; 8 pk 12 oz; 
– 5% OFF Market Pantry Sparkling Water (Target eCoupon) – (exp 08/01/15)
– $2.00/1 Kirkland Signature Flavored Sparkling Water – Costco Monthly Coupon
– $3.00/1 Brita Water Filter (Target Coupon); Includes 3 pk (exp 07/09/15)
– $0.50/1 AquaBall Naturally Flavored Water Drink; Includes 6 pk Only
– $3.00/1 Bobble Reusable Water Bottle (Zip Code 77477)

– $1.25/2 Glade Jar Candles – 5-3-15 SS (exp 06/14/15)
– $1.00/1 Febreze Candle; Excludes Trial and Travel Size; 
– $1.00/2 Glade Jar Candles
– $0.50/1 Unstopables Candle; Excludes Trial or Travel Size;
– $2.00/2 Air Wick Scented Candles or Wax Melts;


– $1.00/2 Clorox Bleach – 5-3-15 SS; Excludes 16 oz (exp 06/30/15)
– $1.00/1 Clorox 2 Product – 5-3-15 SS; Excludes Pen (exp 06/30/15)
– $1.00/2 Clorox Branded Products; Excludes Travel Packs and Sample Size
– $1.00/1 Lysol Power & Free Taptop Multipurpose Cleaner – 5-17-15 RP;  (exp 06/17/15)
– $0.50/1 Lysol Disinfectant Spray – 6-7-15 SS; Includes 12.5 oz or Larger Only (exp 07/05/15)
– $0.50/2 Lysol Disinfecting Wipes – 6-7-15 SS; Includes 35 ct or Larger Only (exp 07/05/15)

– $1.00/1 Rayovac Alkaline Batteries
– $1.00/1 Duracell Batteries – 5-31-15 PG; Includes Coppertop, Quantum,  (exp 06/30/15)
– $0.50/1 Energizer Batteries or Flashlights – 5-31-15 SS (exp 06/27/15)
– $1.50/1 Energizer Ultimate Lithium, Advanced Lithium, Recharge Power Plus, or Recharge Universal Batteries – 5-31-15 SS; Includes AA or AAA, 4 ct or Larger Only (exp 06/27/15)
– $3.00/1 Duracell Alkaline Coppertop Batteries – Costco Monthly Coupon (Valid from 6/11/15); Includes AA or AAA; Limit 10 (exp 07/05/15)

::Supply Kit Items::

Water – at least 1 gallon daily per person for 3 to 7 days
Food – at least enough for 3 to 7 days
— non-perishable packaged or canned food / juices
— foods for infants or the elderly
— snack foods
— non-electric can opener
— cooking tools / fuel
— paper plates / plastic utensils

Blankets / Pillows, etc.
Clothing – seasonal / rain gear/ sturdy shoes
First Aid Kit / Medicines / Prescription Drugs
Special Items – for babies and the elderly
Toiletries / Hygiene items /
Moisture wipes
Flashlight / Batteries
Radio – Battery operated and NOAA weather radio
Telephones – Fully charged cell phone with extra battery and a traditional (not cordless) telephone set
Cash (with some small bills) and Credit Cards – Banks and ATMs may not be available for extended periods
Toys, Books and Games
Important documents – in a waterproof container or watertight resealable plastic bag — insurance, medical records, bank account numbers, Social Security card, etc.
Tools – keep a set with you during the storm
Vehicle fuel tanks filled
Pet care items
— proper identification / immunization records / medications
— ample supply of food and water
— a carrier or cage
— muzzle and leash (shelters require this)
Thanks to NOAA

Pick Your Own Blueberries in Houston – Pioneer Blueberry Farm

pick your own blueberries in Houston

:: Repost from last year ::

For 20 years we have been going to pick blueberries north of Houston at Pioneer Blueberry Farm. It is a small family farm owned by the Harger family.

Over the past years we got to know Ed, and his dogs and looked forward to seeing them every June for berries.

Sadly, two years ago Ed passed away but his 17 year old granddaughter was there today running everything. She was really cute and fun!

Pioneer Blueberry Farm

When we go picking, we get up early and leave the house as the sun is coming up so that we stay out of the heat of the day. Pioneer opens at 6:30 am. We try and be there by 8am.

This weekend coming up, Father’s Day weekend, should be the height of the season.

The berries are the best you can find, they have 4 different varieties, the smaller ones have the most flavor and the bigger ones that are SUPER juicy!

We pack water bottles, and sunscreen some might want bug spray, but I usually don’t use it. The berries are NOT treated with any pesticides. They have buckets for you.

The first trip of the year I usually don’t have any to freeze, the kids will probably eat them all today and my husband will finish them off tonight! Have you ever changed the diaper of a 2 year old who had eaten 3 lbs of blueberries? Interesting. Very interesting.

When I do freeze the berries, I flash freeze them. Do not wash them first or they will become a mushy mess. Place them on a cookie sheet with sides and freeze them for about an hour, then dump them in ziplock bags and they will not stick together so you can scoop them out.

Andie Picking Blueberries

What I love so much about Pioneer ( I do not like Moorehead!) is that the bushes are smaller and so the kids can pick berries easily. At Moorhead, I found that they were always too picked over and the berries were so far up the bushes that the kids were not able to pick very many. Which means then they complain because they are board. Which means then they bug the crap out of me :)

Pioneer Blueberry Farm

Pioneer Blueberry Farm:
Take 1-45 north almost to Conroe, exit loop 336 south and go right or east at the light. Take 336 east until you come to 105. There is a gas station and McDonalds at the corner. Take a right and go east. At this point set your odometer! Take 105 east for 8.6 miles. You will be looking for a little street sign that says Pioneer Lane. Turn left on Pioneer Lane. Ed Harger’s blueberry farm is about 1.2 miles down on the right side. He is open sunrise to sunset every day. Blueberries are $2.25 a pound this year, he uses no pesticides.

Pioneer Farm Houston

We picked 2 buckets worth in about an hour, each bucket held around 10 pound. I should say *I* picked most of it as the kids ate blueberries and ran around.

I like to set my bucket on the ground and squat down looking up at the branches. I use 2 hands and pull the berries off and drop into the bucket. The bigger ones always seem to be on the underside of the branches in clusters. OR I will prop the bucket in the tree and pull the berries into the bucket that way. It just depends on how full the bushes are.

Pioneer Berries 
2512 Pioneer Lane
Cleveland TX 77328
Closed Sunday  – Open till the berries are done or July 4th

* Call ahead to make sure they are open for the year!

TruGreen Killed My Lawn

TruGreen Killed my lawn

This is my lawn. Currently it is dead and brown. It is April, it should be coming in beautiful and green for the summer, but TruGreen killed it and now they are not returning phone calls. See how pretty it was? :(

Last fall we started noticing that our lawn was getting more and more weeds and seemed to just not look as nice as it had. I suggested to my husband that maybe we need to have someone else take a look because TruGreen had been servicing it and we never had the same person twice.

Before we were able to do anything TruGreen came out and sprayed the lawn. The next day we noticed it turning brown and within 2 days it was completely brown. In fact, it was so dead you could see where they sprayed it in patterns.

We called to see what they did to it and we were told that the service person who had been out to the house failed to mix the chemicals in the tank and sprayed the lawn with straight ammonia and other chemicals. Our entire lawn was completely dead.

You can see below our backyard where they had sprayed the lawn and it died and where it was dying from their previous “service.” Apparently a LOT of people were calling in that day angry, because every house the tech guy sprayed that day died.

Remember that this is our BACKYARD, that is important…


A TruGreen person came out and apologized and said not to worry, it looks bad now but the roots are fine and it will grow back next spring. Hang on, so now I have to wait 6 months for my lawn to look good again? This isn’t the north where your lawn is covered by snow all winter, this is Texas where I am going to have to look at dirt for 6 months?

We also still have not had the same person twice come out to your house. It is ALWAYS someone different.

I was really angry, but decided to wait and see what happened. My husband on the other hand was not going to hope that our lawn grew back and continued to call TruGreen to speak with someone about how they were going to fix this. We never were able to get anyone to come out to the house.

In February a tech guy came out and wanted to spray the lawn. He and Paul chatted on the driveway for a while, and Paul had to leave to get the kids from school. I was inside and sat and watched the tech guy from my desk. He started to spray the lawn, and watched Paul leave. Looking over his shoulder the entire time as soon as Paul’s car was out of sight he packed up and left not spraying more then 10 feet into the yard. Didn’t come up the driveway to get by the house and didn’t go in the backyard. I watched him the entire time.

Now completely furious we called TruGreen and demanded a regional manager. No one returned our calls.

I finally took this to the TruGreen Facebook page. Within 2 days a manger called my husband and came out to the house. He apologized and agreed our lawn was in terrible condition and PROMISED TO RE-SOD our yard. He claimed he would call back in a few days. TWO WEEKS LATER he still had not called and no one was returning our calls. I posted on Facebook and again within a day he was calling us….

This time he wasn’t so nice. In fact he was really rude and told my husband that he didn’t like to be held hostage on Facebook. My husband reminded him that he wasn’t being “held hostage” he was being HELD ACCOUNTABLE. Then the manager claimed we didn’t have a BACKYARD policy that we had a front yard only policy. Excuse me? Rewind. Now, after you looked over our entire yard, and had been spraying it for over a year you are going to claim (and have someone change) our policy to a front only so you don’t have to re-sod as much???

REMEMBER the pictures I have of where TruGreen was CLEARLY spraying our backyard?? Now they are lying to us? My husband called back and offered to send them the pictures and they REFUSE to call us back. NOTHING, no word from them in 2 weeks.

What now? Well, I can promise you that I will make it my mission to make sure that NO ONE has to go through what we have with TruGreen and tell everyone I possibly can about our TERRIBLE experience.

front yard

That above is my front yard currently. It used to be beautiful. Pulling in my driveway would take my breath away because of how pretty my yard was. Now it is a mud pile. No thanks to TruGreen :(


Make Your Own Scented Wax Cubes {DIY Tutorial}

make your own scented wax cubes, free scentsy

 – Pin {DIY Scented Wax Tutorial}

:: My episode aired! I missed it though :( You can see my segment HERE ::

About a year and a half ago I had the chance to do a DIY tutorial for Disney’s LiveWell station, with host Kat Cosley on how to make your own scented wax cubes. We filmed at my house for a few hours and I taught them how I reuse and make my own scented wax for my Scentsy wax warmers.

They were awesome and Kat is SUPER cool and really nice.

I have a TON and really I have a TON of Scentsy warmers, I am not telling you how many because my husband would flip! :) A Scentsy warmer is a name brand wax warmer that basically melts a piece of scented wax using a light bulb, that makes your whole house smell awesome. You can buy cheaper versions of these from Better Homes and Gardens at Walmart from $5 – $15. They are really cute, and make nice gifts. I like them because I don’t like having an open flame with a lot of kids running around, and I like the way candles make my house smell good.

After the scented wax has melted and the smell is gone after about 12 hours, you are left with disks of hard wax. You can toss them or you can remelt them and add some more fragrance. This is one way to reuse the wax, I have 2 different methods I taught them.

Scentsy sells the scented wax of course, and you can buy off brands at Walmart, Target and even the Dollar Stores. Personally, I think Scentsy smells the best, but it is pretty expensive.

Scentsy also says that by using any other wax in their warmers you void your warranty on your warmer somewhere in the fine print. Just FYI.

When new, the scented wax comes in little plastic trays and you break them apart and pop them out like you would a ice cube tray. When my trays are done I save them to use as mold to pour more melted wax into.

The first tip is to save your wax when it has lost it’s smell and add more scent to it. I melt the wax either in the microwave or on a warming tray (below) in a bowl and pour it into the saved wax trays. You can get a warming tray by the candles at Walmart for $5. Many places sell scented oil and you only need a few drops. After adding the melted wax to the trays place it in the freezer for a while to harden, then use like you would new wax!

  • Melt the wax
  • Add scent
  • Pour in trays
  • Harden in freezer
  • Use again

reuse scentsy wax for tart burners

The second way I make these is with leftover candles I have OR with new candles I am given that I don’t want to have burning in my house. I get a lot of the Yankee candles and don’t want to light them so I make them into scented wax so I can safely use them.

Again I melt down the wax, either in the microwave (be careful of the metal tab on the bottom of the wick) or on a warming tray until the wax is completely melted. Then I pour them into the trays or into ice cube trays.

Put the trays into the freezer and when they are solid you can pull them out and you have scented wax from your candles that you can use in your warmers! This is the method that I use the most. I have found the Yankee candles when melted down and made into scented wax cubes smell better and the smell lasts longer then the Scentsy scents. But overall it is just safer in my home to not have an open flame.

As much as I love the Scentsy scents and buy them often, I love other candle brands as well that don’t make the scented wax. This is a great way to stretch your budget on the extra things in life by making your own. I would rather spend my money on the darling designs of name brand warmers, then on the scented wax.

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Superbowl Food and Recap! (From Last Year)

superbowl menu plan

:: This was a post from LAST year, but the tips are helpful anytime! ::

Our superbowl night was a lot of fun! No matter who we have over, family, friends or just us, we always have a lot of food. I love to cook and this gives me an excuse to make a lot of the fun and fattening dishes I have wanted to make for awhile.

As a blogger, I have gotten in the habit of taking pictures of everything before we eat it…. Didn’t happen this time! The only pictures I have are of the mess as I was cleaning up!

I have to tell you a story, but let’s keep it between us.

We had a taco bar for dinner, which included taco shredded chicken and taco seasoned ground beef. I let the ground beef unthaw and cooked 3 pounds of it at the last minute and was going to add it to my warming tray with the chicken and some taquitos. I set the pan on the kitchen island and walked into the other room to get all the paper goods. The baby and I were the only ones home and she was asleep, so when I heard some noise in the kitchen I was a little scared.

I went to the kitchen to check it out, walking quietly and slowly to take a look.  I was SHOCKED, completely SHOCKED to see my 75 lb. Labradoodle dog, STANDING on my kitchen island EATING the ground beef! I screamed at him, “GET DOWN!!” The funny thing is that I don’t think he knew I was home and I scared him just as bad as he had scared me! He jumped and knocked the rest of the pan on the floor and he bolted outside. I followed him screaming at him, as he ran!

We had company coming in 20 minutes and I had only a little bit of ground beef unthawed, the rest was frozen in 2 pound rolls. There was not enough chicken by itself and I really needed that meat. I cleaned up the mess, tossed what he didn’t eat from the pan ( I was not about to let him have it) and quickly cooked up the rest. Somehow we managed to feed the 20 people here with the chicken and a little beef, no one went hungry, thankfully!

What is so crazy is that my dog NEVER is even allowed in the kitchen. He wont even eat food that has fallen on the floor, he is so picky. I have no idea what got into his head to do something crazy like that! But the image of that big dog on my kitchen island will stick with me for a LONG time! I have to laugh now, no matter how mad I was because startling him and scaring him was pretty funny!

Screen shot 2013-02-03 at 11.32.15 PM

For dinner we did a big taco bar with flour tortillas and corn hard shell tacos. We had chicken and beef, with all the toppings you can imagine. I had a huge bowl of fruit and a few sides. There was hot artichoke dip, homemade guacamole, and our friends brought over a big croc pot of Queso.

For dessert we had Nieman Marcus $250 cookies, cake pop truffles, and Hershey’s chocolate cake. My truffles turned out really nice this time and I think I am getting the hang of dipping them so they look good and not a messed up blob of chocolate. One thing that I used which has been worth every penny is my warming tray. It has 3 compartments and is awesome for company and big dinners. I use mine about 5 times a year and every time I am so glad I have it!

I hope you had as much fun as we did, and ate some good food with family or friends!

The best laid plans…



Well, that WAS our dinner the other night.

I think they are starting to conspire and work against us… the dogs used to only seem to look out for themselves, but lately I am starting to think they actually secretly like each other and have started to realize their best bet is to work together!

Miller, the big dog pulled the chicken off the counter and the little dog started ripping is apart before I could get to them. Miller being older and I think a little smarter, saw me and immediately slinked away, the little dog only just got annoyed I was talking her meal!


Fast forward to the next morning… Andie tried to make this work for a good 30 minutes. Until both she and the dog were completely annoyed with each other, and she gave up!

Dream big!


Thankful for a husband who TAKES the bad jobs in our home.

Screen Shot 2015-01-13 at 8.26.22 AM

I really miss being personal with you guys, and that is one of the changes that I am making in 2015, going back to sharing a lot of family stories with you.

This is necessarily a family story, but an observation that I had last weekend, I posted it on my Instagram page, and wanted to share with you guys my update:

“Currently, my husband is sitting in his car on the side of the road waiting for a tow truck to come and tow his truck away because I wrecked it. I am humbled to think of all the times Paul does the things for us that are unpleasant. Husbands, in my opinion, don’t always get the thanks they deserve now days, and I am guilty of it. No one was injured, but because I clipped a curb, 2 tires and 2 expensive rims were destroyed which will result in about $1,200 worth of damage. He was not mad or frustrated, he asked if we were all ok first thing, then he met me at the car, transferred kids to the other one and sent me on my way. He stayed with his car for 2 hours waiting for it to be towed, making sure we were safe at home.
Last week, a precious pet died. Paul had to be the one to to do the horrible job of collecting our loved one and burying him ( I am not ready to talk about this) something that I am sure I would not have been able to do. He gets the absolute worst jobs in our home, and does it without complaining. I am so grateful for him, and his service to us.”

In 2015, I am making it a point to thank my husband for all the things he does for us, especially the things that I don’t want to do, or have to do!

Elf on the Shelf Ideas for Dads! *Warning, send kids away*

 – Pin me!

The Elf on the Shelf is really popular at my house. Our elf is named Chocolate Buddy and somehow we got a naughty elf.

*If you have kids reading over your shoulder, make them leave now….

O.K.? We good? Kids gone?

The reason our elf is so bad is because my husband is really my 8th child and has for some reason taken it upon himself to be the Elf mover each night. Which is good because I will forget. However, we have had nights where it has been an almost 3 hour long adventure with him creating some crazy scene for the kids to wake up to.

I love that he gets into it so much, it is fun for him and makes it SOOO much more fun for the kids. Even when the laugh is on me. I have woken up with my nose purple along with the kids, and went to bed one night to find Chocolate Buddy in my bed with a Barbie doll in a bit of a compromising position. “Honey! Very Funny! You better move the Elf, I am not explaining to the kids what is going on here in the morning!”

If you want to give your husband some ideas so they get in the spirit, if you have a mischievous elf or even a really sweet elf. There are a few of my favorites below:


Some of you might remember “fight club” from a previous year. This was my husbands masterpiece one night. The Elf is hanging from a thin thread from the ceiling. He even positioned the other stuffed animals and pinned their hands where he wanted them. The kids were thrilled! 

Well, and not every family will go this route, but I couldn’t help but laugh at my friend Brandon’s idea for their Elf. His wife nixed this one, but all the adults got a good laugh! Actually, I am still giggling because those very cookies were posted to the blog the same day. I wont do this for my little kids, but I have a teenage boy who would appreciate it!

This was another favorite for my kids. OMGosh! Look how much they have grown! Anyway, they LOVED it because unbeknownst to me, my nose was PURPLE as well! Haha, very funny honey…

Chocolate Buddy ended up going on Vacation with us for Christmas. We love staying on the Frio river and stayed at the TreeHouse. This is a deck built around a large tree over the water with a walkway out to it. It must be 40 – 50 feet above the water. I seriously don’t ever want to know how they got that Elf out on that rope swing like that. It was all the men folk, and I don’t nearly have enough life insurance on Paul for him to be doing stuff like this. But the kids FREAKED out in the morning. They talked about it all day long, that crazy Elf!

From She Knows, this has not happened yet at my house…. but my husband has it on his list! I will let you know when it does!

Lastly, I am a fan of The Bloggess ( minus the language ) and about peed my pants last night when I read about their Elf. I am warning you, the language is bad. If you want even more adult funny Elf ideas, here are the Top 11 inappropriate Elf Pictures.

Can’t believe I even just gave you guys that link. It must be Friday!

I know not all Dads find poop humor funny, or want to harass their children, I am sure some do sweet, nice things with their Elves. However, every Dad I know has been the one to do something crazy with the Elf at their house and it is a lot of fun!

If you have any crazy Dad Elf pictures, send them on in and we will get them posted! 

YOU can do so much through couponing!!


Many of you are “newer” couponers, but some might remember the huge donation drive that we did for the people in Joplin Mo. 3 1/2 years ago when their town was destroyed by tornados.

My husband and son hauled all the supplies YOU guys donated and spent some time helping rebuild. It was a great experience for them to work together. My Mom was also driving through at that time and took some amazing and haunting photos of the aftermath and the devastation. These are her pictures in this post.


Today on my site a women named Rachel left this comment:

I live in Joplin. I just happened upon this sight in a Google search for sending coupons to the troops. (lol). And yes, I realize this is an old post. And it’s been almost 3 1/2 years later. But I CAN NOT thank you all enough for any donations or help you might have done/sent. It was unimaginable. You could never dream the amount of Volunteers we had here. The people literally walking down the road handing out supplies, or wanting to help you find what possessions you had left, or clean up the debris. My heart goes out to you all. Our hearts, as a community, go out to you all. There isn’t one person in this town that I have ran into since, that wouldn’t tell you the help that poured in was amazing. We never dreamed that so many people would come to help people they never met. Or send the amount of supplies you did. Thank you, thank you, thank you! And honestly, thank you still doesn’t describe how appreciative we are still. You helped us manage a time in our lives that we didn’t know how to go forward.


I am pretty much still bawling… Couponers are awesome people! I tell you all the time we donate so much! I am so grateful for couponing that has allowed me to be able to give back, because I am no longer struggling to just take care of myself. During this holiday season we should look for opportunities to give back and help one another!