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?

Hitch Haul – Can’t live without item!

::REPOST – We just used ours again this weekend and had someone ask us about it, so I am reposting!::

I know this is a frugal blog but it is also my family blog AND an in general, “how to make your life easier” blog. You didn’t know you were getting all that in one did you?!

This weekend we went out of town to the Frio river for a long weekend. On Sunday as we were eating lunch it occurred to me that how handy the “Hitch Haul” that we have really is. The Hitch Haul is a platform that you can attach to the back of your truck or car to give you added storage space for your vehicle. This is one of the best, if not the best, under $100 purchases we have made for traveling! Well, beside the adapter to charge my computer while driving…

Sunday we used it as a picnic table to have lunch on, and again on Monday!  Usually we use it for the ice chest, water cooler and extra Rubbermaid’s that don’t fit in the truck. We have used it to haul wood, hay and anything else that is dirty to avoid having to vacuum out the truck when done. We used it for boxes when we moved.

We purchased ours at Amazon for around $70. It has been so used and needed I think it is one of the best purchases you can make if you travel!

How to Make Emergency Hygiene Kits!

How to Make Emergency Hygiene Kits

This is my How to Make Emergency Hygiene Kits supply list and tutorial.

These are cheap to make from your stockpile and a huge blessing to pass along to disaster relief. Pin this, share this, email it to yourself so you have it handy then next time something comes up that you want to help with.

How to Make Emergency Hygiene Kits

Making kits is very simple, and when the need arises and I don’t have the items I need in my stockpile, I get them at the Dollar store. Hygiene kits provide disaster victims with basic items necessary for health and cleanliness.

Assembly Instructions

  • 2 unbreakable combs (no sharp handles)
  • 4 toothbrushes (packaged)
  • 1 tube of toothpaste (6-8 oz., no pumps)
  • 2 bars of soap (approximately 4 to 5 oz.)
  • 2 hand towels (new towels, approximately 15? by 25?. Please do not use dish towels or washcloths. To sew towels, serge or zigzag the edges of terry cloth to make a 15? by 25? towel.)
Obviously you can make them with whatever you want in them, but for official sending overseas kits, the above contents are what they need to have. Locally, you can do them with anything you have on hand!

* Thanks Tracy and Esmerelda for the pre-made hygiene kits from a previous relief aid drive!

Now that you know How to Make Emergency Hygiene Kits, make sure to start stockpiling these items when they are on sale to have them ready!

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!

Couch to 5k Running Program With Kids

Couch to 5k

Working from home and having 7 kids home for the summer means I have to have a good plan to be organized. Having the kids home means it is much harder to get work done and keep the house clean. Which is not the worst thing in the world, as I really love the summer and having them home. It just means *I* need to be able to manage my time and their time better then normal.

I have done the “couch to 5k” running program a few times with the kids and I really enjoy it. It is exactly what it sounds like, it takes you from not running at all to running a 5k (or 3.1 miles) in 9 weeks.

This is a great program for kids. A few of my kids can already run a 5k, actually my 6 year old can, and some are really close. We go early in the morning, before it gets horribly hot. My kids are all required to do something for exercise each day, I don’t care what they do as long as they do it, so all but 1 went with me this morning. When we have done this in the past they all end up wanting to participate.

couch to 5k program

I printed off the schedule and laminated it (my laminator HERE). You can also download the app to your phone. Grab a stop watch and water bottle and get out there!

How to make a Candy Card! {great for Father’s Day!}

How to make Candy Cards

Making a candy card is a really easy and fun way to say thank you! My girls made a few for teachers to go with a little gift they have for them today.

making candy cards

First, take a poster board ( I cut this one in half) and lay out your candy bars on the paper. With a pencil write out the wording you want to use. I just made up mine with the candy bars I could find.

Once you have penciled out your wording, take a marker or paint and do the final draft. Then mark along the side where you want to add your ribbon. I didn’t have a big round punch so I used a hole punch and made a few holes for the ribbon to go through.

Take a ribbon and measure it around the outside leaving extra room for the bow and some “poofs” along the way! Then weave the ribbon around.

Lastly I taped the candy bars on. I have hot glued them before, but it has melted the chocolate and makes it hard to take them off!

They don’t have to be perfect!! Just make it fun!

easy candy cards

Traveling with kids – Packing the Car Tips and Tricks

Traveling with kids is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you are going to get…

My parents always traveled with us 6 kids growing up. We never flew anywhere. Paul and I do the same with our kids, we drive any place that we have to go. For a few reasons…

  • 9 plane tickets is expensive
  • When we get there, no one has a vehicle that we can rent that will fit all of us. We have to rent 2 and that stinks.
  • They get to see the country
  • We get to spend more time together

Yes there are many drawbacks, but that is another post! There are a few things that I do to get ready each time. Make sure that the oil is changed, the car is vacuumed out, and the laundry is done.

Each child is allowed a back pack and a duffle bag or their rolling suitcase. The back pack goes on their lap or under their feet in the front of the car, this is what you can find in them:

  • Books
  • iPod and ear phones
  • 1 change of clothes and P.J.’s
  • Personal things they want to have with them while driving
  • Blankies

They are not allowed to drag a bunch of stuff into the car, all they can have is what they can fit in the backpack. This is also what they will bring into the hotel/motel when we stop. We don’t want to unpack the entire car each time we stop, so this is their overnight bag also.

In the duffle is the rest of anything they are bringing, all their clothing etc. Each child also travels anywhere we go, day to day in town as well, with a water bottle that is their own and that they are responsible for filling up when we stop.

Behind the driver’s seat, is where I always have had the baby seat. This works for us as a lot of open space for extra things since it is not interfering with anyones legs. I have 2 tall Rubbermaid’s with lids that hold a few important things…

First one is filled with all the snacks. I try and not get anything that has a lot of little wrappers as I don’t want them all over the car. This time we have fruit snacks, nuts, M&M’s, beef jerky, apples, granola bars etc.

Second one is the art box. This has anything that I am bringing for the kids to do. Crayons, colored pencils, paper etc. This box will also go in the back row under the little kids feet there, a big kid can help them get things out of it.

Last is the yellow bag you can see, this has diapers, wipes, books and a few things for the baby. I usually have a package of wipes in each row of the car. You always seem to need wipes!

In the back of the car are all the duffles and suitcases. Plus the cooler, unless it is on the hitch haul on the back of the truck, and a few more Rubbermaid’s.

I have a small bucket for all the electronic cords for all the devices that come along. Otherwise they are falling out of everywhere and kids are losing chargers. I have even written on the lid what we have with us on trips to keep from leaving a charger in a hotel room or a cord somewhere. Kind of anal I know…

The last few buckets are all the supplies to make breakfast ( if needed) lunch, and snacks on the road. We like to stop at rest stops or when we get gas, make sandwiches and swap out snacks. It really saves us a lot of money to not eat out along the way, plus it is just healthier for you.

A 6 pack of soda {the bottles with the tops on them} is $3.48 at Walmart. These 20 oz. sodas in a gas station are $1.39 – $1.59 each! I pay $.58 by getting them at Walmart before we leave and keeping them in the cooler. We stocked up on Goldfish from the mega event sale at Kroger last month for $1 each, price matched at Walmart. The chips I got at Randalls BOGO last week and the fruit was price matched at Walmart from Fiesta grocery store. I cut all the fruit up before we left and used leftover Glade Christmas containers to store it all in. I would rather have the kids snacking on fresh fruit then junk all day in the car. Somehow a large bag of M&M’s made it in… but that is ok! We are teaching the baby her colors and that is the only way to do it right?!

Traveling with the kids can be a lot of fun, you can even make it easier on yourself by having things for the kids to do in the car, and keeping the car uncluttered and organized.

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How To Use Instagram and Have Fun!

Instagram is a free app that you can get on your iPhone or Android. You can take pictures and apply filters making your pictures really cool and fun to look at! It is right on your phone and you can instantly post your pictures to Twitter, Facebook and even email them.

* I took that picture above this fall. Those are my kids. I realized they were all sitting on the same side of the table and I was shocked how many there were!! When did I have sooo many kids!

Plus you can tag the pictures and see thousands of other photos with the same tag. To tag a photo you add a # to the front of the topic. Like #kidsatbeach #redheads then you can see other people who have tagged the same kind of photos.

I keep looking for the #juicing #healthyeating and I can see all the other photos people have taken.

These are my daughters this past summer, the oldest and the youngest. Having this app on my phone makes it so that I can take pictures all the time as I always have my phone on me.

You can follow your friends and family and keep up with them as well. You can follow me at Mylitter. (The site seemed to be down as none of my pics were showing up earlier today)

There is a star looking button in the app that is a “popular” button which will show you all the trending photos.

I use the regular camera feature on my phone and then I import the photo into my Instagram to change it around and apply the filters. That way I have a regular copy of the photo.

The regular photo is on the left and the Instagram after the filters on the left.

* I am posting this recipe tomorrow, just FYI.

Once you have downloaded the app you can play around with it and check out all the different settings. There really isn’t anything you can mess up, I promise.

I have found this to be a really good way to keep in touch with the Grandparents that live far away with our everyday lives.

Above is the photo I took on my camera, on the right I cropped it and added a filter to make it a much cuter picture. She is cute anyway, I just made her “pop” more!

Anyway, to wrap up this rediciously long post, Instagram is a fun way to stay connected and take great photos! Go HERE to download the app!

I am heartbroken


Yesterday I lost my beautiful Grandma Davis. We were headed out Memorial Day weekend to celebrate her 99th birthday but she was just too tired to wait for us.

I can’t tell you how grateful I am for the opportunity to have known her and to have the amazing experience of living with her while I went to barber school when I was a teenager. Paul and I named our oldest daughter after her, Emma Evelyn, because we thought it was the most beautiful name ever. She hated her name  She could not understand why we liked it, but she sure showed Emma off to everyone and was so proud to tell them her middle name was Evelyn, after her! She taught me how to cook good food and how to clean. My Grandma smelled like fresh Folgers coffee from the can and Dove bar soap, two of my most favorite smells in the world, right behind new baby smell. She loved chocolate and a good salad. She hated raspberries with a passion, called them “seedy little devils” and avoided mexican food because she just wasn’t sure about it. My favorite thing that she said all the time was “Oh, Goody!”

My Grandma was the classiest lady I know, she got dressed up to go to Walmart, changed her purses out with the season and never wore white after Labor Day. She got her ears pierced for the first time in her 70′s. She was born on a farm, rode in a horse and wagon, played basketball in high school, watched the men build the railroad and cooked them breakfast. She picked wild asparagus in the ditches, read by candlelight, lived through the Great Depression, eloped, sent my Grandpa off to war, waited for him as a POW, had 3 boys, worked full time at JCPenney’s, took care of her aging parents, and mowed her lawn and shoveled her driveway into her 90′s. My Grandma was the hardest working person I know. She loved to laugh, she had the most beautiful laugh, and she loved hearing jokes and telling them. She might not ever have known, but I think her greatest talent was playing with little kids. She KNEW how to PLAY with them. She would get on the floor, and right down on their level and actually PLAY with them. She would look them in the eye and you knew she loved them. She could play with babies and little kids for hours and not get bored, but she wasn’t a softie. You had to work to get a hug.

My Grandma watched Tucker for me when he was a baby so I could go to college. She was 82 years old, but didn’t mind. I had to schedule my classes around her line dancing and bridge playing though  Paul and Grandma played bridge together a few times a week, they shared a love of buffets, and would secretly eat lunch without me. I didn’t mind. They kept each other out of trouble. I am going to miss her so much, although I know happy she must be right now to be back with her husband, her beloved sister and brothers, her parents and Grandmother. She is truly one of the greatest from the greatest generation. I can’t imagine all that she has seen in her lifetime and how graceful and classy she she has always been. She is such an example to me of how to work hard and I can only hope to be like her in anyway and can’t wait to see her again.

Dr. Bob’s Beanie Babies!

Dr. Bob Beanie Babies

Guys!!! I am just DYING here!!! This is the BEST story I have heard all day!

An OB, Dr. Bob, KNITS each baby he delivers a beanie hat to wear home! What a beautiful gift. Just the thought and time it takes to do this is awesome. Many OB’s seems more worried about their tee time (as has had happen to me) than delivering a a baby, let alone, knitting them a hat!

See Dr. Bob’s site HERE 

See the story on Dr. Bob HERE.

P.S. I just told my husband I am having another baby and Dr. Bob is delivering, so I can have a beanie baby hat! :)