Friday, June 18, 2010

Hello everyone!
I'm taking some personal time off to spend time with the family. I will be touch and go for the next 2 weeks. I will have my laptop and will try to get on as much as I can (shsh don't tell my husband) . Were busy with lots and lots of soccer games and trying to finish up our back yard projects. Wish us luck!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Grub time!

Well here we go everyone! Just a little breakdown of our meals from yesterday.

Kids-Slice of homemade cinnamon toast
         1 Organic Banana per child from Marks NW Produce (49 cents per lb)
         Glass of Organic milk ($4.99 gallon)
Kids Lunch
         Reusable water bottle with h2o for each child
         1 orange cut up for each child
         Bowl of homemade chili (used beans I made from dried beans and froze about a month ago)
             Consisted of pinto beans, red/green bell peppers and seasonings for each child
         1 Organic Banana from Marks NW Produce for each child

My lunch & the twins consisted of the following
        1 Organic Banana
        1 Organic Orange (bought 36 lbs for $19)
        1 Organic Apple (Marks Nw Produce)
        Raw cashews from Winco that I can't remember for the life of me how much. Less than $3 per lb
        because I refuse to pay more than that.

Dinner before soccer practice
        Mashed Organic Potatoes (bought 50 lbs of them for $35 from azurestandard)
        Frozen Corn from schwans (Super sweet corn that im hooked on...)
        Salad-Lettuce 99 cents,tomato 99 cents per lbo, & shredded carrot $1.99 bundle all Organic from
        Marks NW Fresh Produce
        Homemade salad dressing using balsamic vinegar(Trader Joe's $2.99 a bottle), olive oil (Winco                     $3.99), salt & pepper to taste. 

After practice snack
       Left over mashed potato's
       Okay I confess I added shredded sharp cheese. And I don't feel bad one bit! So yummy!

Now i'm not sure if you noticed but our day consisted of no meat. We eat very little meat and usually consist of all natural sausage or bacon.  My oldest daughter is a vegetarian and the rest of us teeter on whether we are or are not. My husband would eat meat all day long if he could but he's a pretty good sport about not eating much. We eat TONS of beans which gives us plenty of protein. I make a huge batch of beans, put them into freezer safe containers and usually about 2 cups per container. This makes it easy for my kids to eat them as a snack and also they thaw out faster.
All our produce is bought from Marks NW Fresh Produce. All produce is from local farmers, USD Organic or farms with green practices. This makes my produce very cheap compared to big stores like Whole Foods. I urge you to try our your local produce stands. If you don't know of any just ask friends and family if they can recommend one. I just love Marks because he is a great guy who is very honest. He will tell me whats actually certified organic and which isn't. But he will only buy from farmers who farm green. Being certified cost a farmer about $10,000 and lets face it not all of them can afford that price tag. But they still want to farm green and can do that very easily.  So I trust Mark and his word.
I used to buy Cheez Its type crackers for snacks because I thought it would be healthier than other options. But I glanced at the sodium content and about fell over. So one day I just didn't buy them anymore. Guess what? No one noticed! Now instead I make muffins, cookies and granola bars and feel good about it because I control the sugar and sodium content.

Well I guess that's about it.  I think I will go get a piece or two of dark chocolate (Trader Joe's 3pk $1.49). I might be a little addicted to this chocolate. Well....yeah I am. Have a good day!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Stress Reduction

Okay so today I have way too many errands to run and not enough time. Yikes!! But I managed to find a few freebies and a great post on green Fathers Day gifts. So head  on over to my Facebook and snag some freebies and have a good read.
If your stressed like me, try out my stress management above and hopefully it helps out.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Whats on my mind? Ehhh a few things.....

Hello people! Welcome to this lovely Tuesday morning! Well if lovely is rain and wind than yeah its lovely. Oregon rain!!!! (fist in the air).
This week is crazy and hopefully we survive the whole thing. Were leaving on a 10 day trip soon and somehow have to pack for it this week. I have to finaggle (yes its my made up word) my packing around 4 nights of soccer practice and a tournament this weekend. Thankfully Friday is my girls last day of school.  I am not a organized person so all this stuff is really cluttering my brain. OOuuyyy Veeyy! (not sure where the old Jewish voice came from..)

Remember I completely over hauled my garden and showed you all those lovely pictures? Well Oregon has had some crazy weather and everything but 2 types of plants decided they would rot. My lovely garden has turned on me and apparently the only plants that will grow are beets and pea's. About 2 weeks ago it rained over an inch in one day. Usually this is not a problem for us, were Oregonians remember! But my not so nice back neighbor has his gutter hooked up to a tube just draining into his back yard. Its just laying on the ground.  Well we have built a retaining wall because our neighbors property is about 5-6 ft taller than ours. Long story short, my garden and my next door neighbors property was flooded out because of all the rain water coming from you know whose drain pipe....uurrrr. Which may be the reason why all my seeds rotted. So I replanted with what seeds I had left over and yesterday I bought some beautiful plants. A 6 pack of celery, 2 heirloom tomato plants, and a zucchini plant. I will keep you posted on my on going gardening issues.

Ooh I also wanted to give you a update of my clothe wipe challenge I signed up for. Well its still up and running. Only a few diving trips to the toilet for them and I can actually say I have saved a bunch of money. Usually I would buy a pack of 12 toilet paper rolls every 2 weeks for $3.99 at Trader Joe's. Now i'm buying them once a month. You might think its not worth it to save $3.99 a month but I think its worth saving $47.88 a year. I see the bigger picture and its worth it to me. So this challenge will be turned into normal living for us. My girls have stuck to it and feel good about using less paper which means less trees cut down.

I announced on Facebook about a week ago that I would be reviewing Glass Dharma straws. Well within 2 days I had three of them in my hands. I will be taking these with me on vacation and test them out. These things are beautiful and really could be a piece of art in their own rights. My favorite is the child size one with 3 green glass dots(Thanks Cheryl!). My kids will be fighting over this one. Next is their regular sized straw just plain and pretty. The last one is a slightly curved normal size straw which would replace your plastic bendy straw.  I'm excited to take these on and will be putting my review up as soon as I get back from Vacation.

Last but not least I found some great reads and thought I would share them with you. Who needs books when you have Google Reader!

Johnathon Bloom aka Wasted Food talks about school's gardening and cafeteria composting. I think this is great and could potentially make any school some money. With budget cuts just about everywhere, this would help any school.

Brilliant frugal living's blog has a Frugalista Diet that has been intriguing me. One woman's challenge to live off a $25 a month food budget. Not anything I would ever do but still im fascinated by it.

Margaret and Helen are the two funniest old ladies ever. These two write letters to each other discussing politics. Although they write only a few times a month, each blog post will keep you busy laughing your butt off. I love these two.

Hippychick's Adventure to Sustainable Happiness lives her life how I would love to live mine. She inspires me.

Ecorazzi is my green version of tmz. I can't get enough of this site. Love it!

As always check my Facebook for all the current freebies. Stop in and say hi or even chat in our discussion tab. Have a question? Ask away or email me at

Have a great day everyone!

Monday, June 14, 2010


I showed up at the stadium at 6:30 stat. Now those who know me, know I do not do mornings. When I first woke up I was in shock that the birds were even up. They were up and chirping away all awhile I was laying in bed confused. So this is what happens so early in the morning...? Crazy talk. Honestly I couldn't sleep the night before and pretty much tossed and turned all night.  I figure I maybe slept for 4 hours. Run 13 1/2 miles on 4 hours of sleep? SURE! Thankfully I was one of the few first to the stadium and really had no issue with traffic or parking. Well if you don't count the 2 little old ladies who were driving in front of me and going 25 miles an hour or what I call snails pace. uuurrrr! My wonderful husband drove separately so he could take pictures and go home to our girls. There was no way we were going to drag them out of bed...oh I have a headache just thinking about it. 

My wonderful friend Michele has been training with me for the last month. I convinced her to do the race with me...SUCKER! (Scary heckle voice insert here) I love you Michele! So some of you know who I am or have known me for years. But the rest of you this will be our introduction to each other. Well you saw my body once....I was modeling clothes! Naughty naughty people! But you didn't get to see my face. So here you go! Yep, thats me! Nice to meet you!
 I actually spent money on a Nike hat because I knew it was going to be hot and a hair thing was not going to cut it. But as you know, Mrs.Frugal as I am, the rest is all frugal finds. My Nike Jacket (which someone just commented to me that they paid over $100 for it) I found at Goodwill for $5, my Old Navy running shorts were found at the same store but different day for $5, and my running shirt was bought at the Goodwill Outlet for maybe $1. I have to admit my husband bought me my shoe's and I told him to never tell me how much he actually paid for them. They are SOOOO comfy and I feel like i'm running on clouds. Ahhh

A few other friends showed up finally and I felt a little less anxious about the race. Tessie who blew me away at the start, her mom Judy who hang around with me for a while during the race and her mom's friend (sorry cannot remember her name...don't hate me) who did keep up with Judy. Matt also came to my surprise and he too blew me away at the start. The race began and I did pretty well. I tried to pace myself because I knew if I pushed too hard, I would burn out later. Just think of me as the tortoise from the tortoise and the hare. Mile 3 I thought I was going to have a heart attack. I trained very hard and never had any pain like that. But I kept at it and the pain finally went away.  Mile 5 and I  found a friend from high school cheering me on. Thanks Angela!

I paced myself, kept at it, and didn't give up. Mile 11/12 the wind died down and the pain was getting to me. Luckily there were plenty of people towards the end rooting us on and giving us high fives. Thank you so much for that! The last mile I could hear the stadium announcer, and could see the stadium. It was there and it started to set in. These two older ladies were trailing behind me for some time and were rooting me on. I was amazed by these ladies. If they could do it, I could do it. As the stadium grew closer my emotions started to set in. I really was choked up all the way to the finish line. My family was not there and it was just me but I was thinking about this was the first time I did something for myself on my own. Just as I was ready to cross the finish line I heard "GO NANCY!! WHAHOO!". Tessie you made my day. That bit of yelling really made my confidence fly.  I ran across that finish line like I ran at the starting line. No pain, and almost jumping. I MADE IT!!!

I ran 13 1/2 miles in 2 hours 58 minutes! My personal goal was 3 hours and I bet it by 2 minutes.

Then I ate super yummy Helvatia Tavern burger, downed a bunch of tea and headed home. My lovely children made a huge banner for me with lots of pictures of stick people running. Simply adorable! A big thanks to my wonderful husband for having confidence in me and making a wonderful dinner so I could sit on my butt and relax. I love you with all my heart!

Moral of this story is even a mom of 4 kids can do something for themselves. I am 33, a mother of 4 beautiful daughters, and wife to an amazing man and I did this half marathon all by myself. I did it. Yes I now hurt like hell anytime I sit down and try to get up (if you hear crying pains in the bathroom, don't come in and help me please) but it was all worth it. So whats next for me? More running of course! I have already signed up for a 10 k Pints for pasta race in Portland coming up in September.

So, have I inspired you?

Monday, June 7, 2010

Green Review Wholesome Sweeteners Blue Agave Syrup

Wholesome sweeteners are the nation's leader in Fair Trade Certified, USDA Organic and sustainably produced sugars, syrups, nectars and honeys, all made from nature's best resources.
Based in Sugar Land, Texas, Wholesome Sweeteners is a young company with generations of experience and expertise behind it.  In addition to bringing the best organic, sustainable and unrefined sweeteners to the North American market, Wholesome pioneered the certification process of Fair Trade Certified sugar and honey. Since pioneering Fair Trade, Wholesome has paid more than $2.2 million to farming and beekeeping cooperatives in the developing world.  Fair Trade means that farmers can buy land, send their kids to school, and build thriving communities.

As many of you know, I did a Green Review on many of their products back in January of this year. I was so excited to get a email from them again. Not only do they sell amazing honey and sugar but now they sell yummy blue agave syrup. Say goodbye to your hum drum syrup and grab yourself some of this! New cinnamon is my daughter Hailey's favorite. She says it taste like cinnamon buns . Next on the list is maple and this flavor you could use to make the switch without anyone noticing. You get healthier syrup and the kids think its their usual. My twins favorite flavor is strawberry and honestly I have to monitor their use of it. They would drink it if I allowed them to. Yep, its that good. And last but not least is vanilla my personal favorite. Not too sweet with just a hint of vanilla.

All 4 flavors are:
USDA Organic
GMO Free
All favors but vanilla are raw
25% sweeter than sugar which means you use less and small bottle goes a long way
No additives
Organic flavors
No artificial ingredients
Kosher Certified
Raw Blue Agave

Best part of these syrups is you can use them for just about anything. "These are amazing...From pancakes, to coffees and iced beverages, I can think of a million uses and tons of recipe ideas for each new flavor!" Karen Stevenson, Wholesome's taste-test team. I couldn't agree more. These syrups are super delish and you really could use them in so many things. Poured on ice cream, flavor your regular coffee, or even use in cooking recipes. Want to learn new recipe's? Check out their recipe library where you can look them up by meal type, product, season, by Celebrity Chef, or just search by word. 

You can shop online which makes most peoples life much easier. They have a whole page of their products sold on Amazon which is great for larger families because they sell larger product sizes. Plus you can get some really great deals there too! Usually free shipping too! (spend over $25 and get free shipping!)They also have a whole page dedicated to  their products sold at My Brands. Want to find a local store who carries these? Check out their store locator to find your nearest store who carries them. I have even found it at my local Costco in large sizes.

My Review-First of all Wholesome Sweeteners contacted me in regards to me wanting to try their new products. They are not paying me one cent for the review and have not asked me to say or write anything in regards to this review. I give my honest opinion and try only the best green products whether its a good opinion or bad opinion.

I have to say the size of the bottle is a bit too small for our family of 6. One bottle would last maybe 2 meals for us. I will have to buy online larger sizes because my nearest store that sells these in particular only carry the 11.5 ounces size. Also this wonderful syrup comes in plastic bottles. Would really love if it came in glass this way I can recycle it or better yet reuse the bottle for something else. Homemade salad dressing comes to mind. Why do I dislike plastic so much, just ask Beth from Fake Plastic Fish. She can give you so many reason why to avoid it.  Thats my only negative comments about this product. They are so delish and yummy! They have a lovely light sweet taste with a light flavoring. I will never go back to our regular hum drum syrup. I myself do not use syrup on my pancakes but my kids and husband do. The first night they tried it, it was the quietest meal ever. Which means they were too busy eating their food and enjoying it. Ahh it was nice. I do use it in my coffee. Vanilla and maple are my favorite. The syrup adds a great flavor to my boring regular coffee.

Go try this amazing product and I promise you, you won't regret it. Its that good!
Don't forget to check Surviving And Thriving On Pennies on Facebook. I have daily freebies are up to date current green events and headlines.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

June Food Stamp Challenge

The non-consumer advocate is having a great challenge this month starting today. Non-Consumer Advocate readers (and Surviving and thriving on pennies readers!) attempt to feed their families on the amount they would receive if they were food stamp recipients. Some of us already meet this description, while others do not have to budget for our family’s food needs. This can be a great way to save money and donate to a local food shelter program or maybe you just need to start saving money.

How much can I spend?
Depends on how many people live in your household. Go here and find out how much you can spend. You can stay within that limit or give yourself a limit.I have 6 people in my family so I have a $952 limit which really makes me giggle. My budget right now is $600 per month for everything we need from food, shampoo, toothpaste, etc. But everyone has their own budget so i'm sure many people can get some use from this. I think I will try to cut my budget a tiny bit more. One point I must add is I buy 95% of my household items organic, fair trade, homemade or made from recycled materials. So no excuses! If I can do it, you can do it!

What do you think of this challenge? I know this is for Oregon Food Stamps and each state is different but the same rules apply to each person. What do you think of this challenge? Wanna join? Add your name to the list and join the challenge!