Has it really been a year?

mama bear plus 6

I am clueless to how a year has passed since my last post here at Mama Bear Plus 6!

The kids and I left WA State and moved to Coeur d ‘Alene Idaho and what another amazing adventure that has been, we LOVE it!

1 daughter has left the nest to start her adult journey.

1 on her way out in just a few months and is heading to WSU to study business, GO COUGS!

I finished my Tamale Therapy cookbook, finally! You can find that here http://cookingtamales.com/

We are adding a new member to the family, my oldest daughter and her husband are expecting their 1st baby, a son, in April 2015 (which is weeks away folks, just weeks!)! This nanna is SO overly excited!! You can read about that journey at http://thenannachronicles.com/

mama bear plus 6

A lot of life can happen in 1 year! We have been super busy and why I have not just jumped on and posted updates or recipes or pictures… well I will not serve anyone any excuses because we all know that’s all they are. Honestly I just haven’t made time!

Hope this finds everyone amazing and all the things that have taken place in your life in the last year have been wonderful!

Mama Bear Plus 6+

A large family-How to keep it all together!

If you are like me, trying to keep track of everything without post its, scrap paper taped everywhere, an occasional pen art reminder on the back of your hand, dry erase boards full, desire for a chalk board refrigerator or wall, an overloaded smartphone calendar etc is IMPOSSIBLE! And with all those things I still miss so much, why? NO organization to the madness!!

The dreaded call from the dentist office stating that this is the 2nd time we missed an appointment and next time we will be charged and/or placed on a “walk in and wait basis” and the next time you see the smiling receptionist there she quickly loses her smile and stares at you with the “how dare you miss appointment and don’t call in so we can see someone who takes their teeth care more serious” look… Ya enough is enough! I like having friends and chatting it up with all office staff everywhere I go! It is time to fix this!

My 1st thought, create my own family calendar that has more than the usual “Calender fit for the whole family” (whose family!? NOT mine!) LIE! 1 that will fit all our 6 of us and has room for other family members that I need to remember stuff for, just because they have grown up and moved out doesn’t mean there isn’t any special dates or appointments that I need to know for them from time to time! They just moved they didn’t fall of the face of the Earth!

I get it, I need a unique calendar and so I shall make my own. Buuttt until then, which could very well be by the time my own kids need it for their families or maybe their families after that, or may always remain an idea or thought, I will have to use 1 that works best for us. 1 that can keep up with this crazy thing we call life in this house. I have searched and have found very few that I like. I get it, most families don’t have 6+ kids, but I do so I need what works for us!

I found this Amy Knapp’s Big Grid Family Wall Calendar! It is AWESOME! It is filled with monthly projects, because yes I space so much stuff and need reminders like these, it has space for dinner menus (um heck to the YES!), it has plenty of space for all my crazy crew and all their “stuff”, it has space for mom too (yes occasionally I take time to visit the doc or dentist, I know shocking!), it has space for notes and reminders (thank goodness!), the quotes on each page are an added bonus cause sometimes we need like things like positive sayings to keep us on track, and so on! I am SO digging this Amy Knapp chick, she has a clue about life chaos and I like people like that!

So if you are a nut job like myself and have a large family whether it is your own kids, grand-kids, nieces, nephews, a retirement home, a pet hotel, a zoo, etc grab yourself 1 of these calendars and organize your life this year! Do it for your sanity (and for your children’s safety!) and for your reputation at the dentists office!

 

P.S. Happy Organizing! If you have any tips or calendars or suggestions please share them with us!

Mama Bear Plus 6

Feeding a Large Family Tips

I often get asked about meals, cooking, shopping for a big family.

“How do you do it?”

“I bet that costs a fortune!”

“Is it hard to cook for so many?”

“Do you plan out your meals?”

“Will you share your recipes?”

And the list goes on…

I am not an extreme coupon-er, although I certainly wish I was! A certain level of jealously hits me when I see all these people saving butt loads of money at the store with coupons and here I am handing the check out person 3-8 coupons saving a few bucks. I have always wanted to do it but can never quite figure it out, the only coupons I ever get are for toothpaste, deodorant, all the name brand laundry stuff etc. And it is for all the stuff I don’t use so am I missing something!? Am I not looking in the right place for the right coupons!? I prefer store brand stuff on most things I but (except for fabric softener and Mac and Cheese, no just no!) And I feel I am saving a good amount of money by doing that so this my friends is how I keep the coupon jealousy down to a minimum! I do however follow the Krazy Coupon Lady’s blog and do follow some of her amazing tips and use some of her coupons etc! http://thekrazycouponlady.com/

As for our family I will share with you what works for us and what we also plan to try to see if it is a fit.

Ever heard of a fruit/veggie co-op? We have used several and really enjoy the produce and the savings! Now these may or may not be located in your city so a quick Google search should let you know. We have used Market on the Move http://the3000club.org/ and they always have an abundance of produce! Not sure if this is only located in AZ but you can always check. 1 we really love and have used for years is Bountiful Baskets! They are in many cities so chances are good you will find 1 near you, if not contact them and start 1! http://bountifulbaskets.org/. They have more than just produce that you can purchase as well, like honey, breads, combo packs etc all at a discount price! Check them out!

Menu/Meal Planning We plan out all our meals, recipes, etc and then make a list based on that for at least 2 weeks and then shop for those items. I use the sales ads to plan the meals and talk about saving time, money & headaches! It saves me from having to go to the grocery store often (which is great for me considering we live 20 min from any major grocery stores) and cooking is so much more fun when you have all you need ahead of time! Plus the kids like knowing what we are having for dinner each night of the week. http://mamabearplus6.com/meal-planning-or-go-with-the-flow/

Quality Discount Meats. We also have used a discount place for meats, chicken, fish, produce, and the best bacon, called Zaycon! https://www.zayconfoods.com/. This is where you buy meats by the case. You can buy the case if you can afford it or go in with another family member of friend to stock up. I have heard there are other places like Zaycon but I have yet to find them so if you know of any please share! Also too, we are considering buy a whole cow and/or pig and spiting it up between our family and my daughter and her hubbys households and may even add a friend on with us. It is a great way to stock the freezer and splitting the cost to make it affordable for everyone. And it supports local farmers, win win!

Grow your own! A GREAT way to feed the fam and eat healthy and what a wonderful experience it is! Seeds are cheap and with effort and love you can have a hearty garden to put food on the table! Our very 1st real garden experience this last summer and I am in LOVE with it! Looking forward to growing it bigger and better every year!

Find your local growers! We spent many days in Greenbluff, which is a local farming area that grows ALL sorts of produce! We would go and pick pounds of fruits/veggies for a great price and so so yummy too! Find a local grower in your area!

Sales! If I groceries on a good sale, I stock up! Meats, boxed sides, household goods etc. Check your store ads weekly so you know what is coming up on sale and can prepare to buy those items and stock up on them. If it is produce that is on sale, buy it, chop it, freeze it, you will be so glad you did! The stuff you cant freeze, create a weekly menu, meals and snacks based on those items that you bought while they were cheaper.

Buy bulk when it makes sense. I say this because it is not always cheaper to buy bulk! On some things yes, but not on everything. I LOVE Costco and I have certain things I will only buy there but there are some items that I can get cheaper like spaghetti sauce hahaha! Always check prices and see if it is a great deal. I love how my teens now always check labels and sue their math skills to see what is cheaper per unit etc. A few seconds of time to do this can add up a great deal of savings over time!

Bulk meals. Something we are new too and just beginning to try is bulk meals. We will be shopping with our family along with my oldest daughter and her hubby to buy bulk, make numerous ready to cook crock pot freezer meals to stock both of our freezers for the winters. I am excited to start this and will surely blog about how it goes. We will include recipes, shopping lists and how the overall experience goes. Stay tuned 🙂

P.S. These are just a few ways that we shop, cook etc and save money! What tips/tricks help you save money!? What would you add to this list!?

 


Mama Bear Plus 6

Back to school time already!?

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Ahhh back to school time is near! I do love this time of year and it is not because I want the kids out of the house and in school, in fact it gets a little lonely around here when they are gone all day, when I say this, it is for them more than for me!

I miss them I miss the noise and the chaos I miss the talks, yells, cries, and the fun we have when they are all home all summer. You kind of get used to your days being so full for 3 months straight that when school is back in and they are all safely on the bus and you walk back in the house the silence is somewhat eerie. They need to go to school; they need the interaction with other children, other adults. They need the structure, because let’s face it, this running around all day, playing all day, eating dinner at 9pm and staying up till 12-1 and then sleeping in till 9am every morning can’t last forever. There are things to learn, things to absorb, friends to make, memories to create and numbers to jumble!

The teens can keep themselves busy during the long summer months but the littles need more than an occasional play date. They are bored and mama can only teach & entertain for so long before they are tired of hearing me and wanting social interactions with others.

I wish I could home school, I wish I was disciplined enough to do so but I have to face the facts and those are that I am only so much me and can only be stretched so thin and in all honestly it would not be fair to them for me to pretend like I could provide them all the education they need. So yes, this is me and I rely on the school system to assist me in teaching my kids what they need to know, although I am that picky parent when it comes to schools and teachers. I will not bow my head in shame on the homeschooling subject; instead I will pat myself on the back for facing the reality that I am human and a single mom with no business trying to be a teacher for 4 grades.

The kids all say how much they love back to school shopping… Of course they do! What kid doesn’t! And please tell me what parent does!? I would love to hear from both sides, those of you that just love fight the crowds or deal with that 1 group that loves to stand right in front of what you need and talk about the weather at Wal-Mart’s back to school sections (which really does have some of the best prices/deals!)! Those of you that love to get the 2 page list of stuff they will need for the WHOLE year and your kids need it all today, yes all 50 #2 pencils and 10 spiral notebooks each, those of you that love it when it takes 4 hours for the kids to go over everything on their list and add things to the cart and fish thru it all to take it back out when they find something better, those of you that love when you teens argue over the other 1 picking the same color notebook or backpack even though they are not going to the same school. Geez it is just a color! 

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Then there are those of us that dread this whole process and desire a strong adult beverage about ÂĽ of the way thru the store as I slowly add up the total in my heads, thinking “I should’ve applied for a small loan prior to entering the stores”, while I am trying to listen to the nonstop chatter, yells for “Mom come see this” from the dressing room, the arguing & the giggles. And then there is the best part, how happy they are getting new stuff, how excited it makes them about the 1st day of school. I do love coming home and watching them unload the stuff into their new backpacks, sharpening pencils, yes all 255 of them and them trying on all their new outfits deciding what they will wear for the 1st day/week of school. This process makes me think back over the summer and all the fun we had and also think forward that a new school year is almost here and all the new experiences & memories they will create & have and all the new friends they will make! And that makes it all worth it & me 1 happy mama bear (as long as I don’t think of the credit card statement that will arrive in a week or 2!) 

P.S. Hey, 4 stores, 5 hours of shopping for 4 kiddos and over $500, I earned this! hehe

IMG_20130826_182717_359Mama Bear Plus 6

Must wear pants and bra for this

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I would never be able to count how many times I have heard people talk about their desire of working from home. Ah living the dream, not having to wear pants if they don’t want to or even a bra hahaha of course depending on what type or work at home field they choose. I ran a home child care for 8 years and yes I wore pants M-F 6am-6pm but I was working from home! I also ran a plumbing company from home virtually and on the phone and if I wasn’t already teaching preschool I could be pants & bra free all day! Truly loved what I did for numerous reasons! Work at home looks different for each individual!  I have also heard a few say that they could never work from home for various reasons. I myself am an entrepreneur, always have been. Whether I work from “home” or not my desire to work for myself runs my life.

 

I am a mama of 6,  #1 was born 20 years ago and with her birth my desire to be with my children every day was born with her. I was 17 when my 1st daughter was (go ahead, gasp, its expected). I had already had my 1st and 2nd jobs by then.

 

The  1st being at Dunkin Donuts and the 2nd at a childcare facility. When she was born I had taken time off from my job and had planned to go back when she was 8 weeks old. My plans were shifted as I dealt with the death of my mother just as I was suppose to return. (You can see more about that hurdle in a blog post on here “I wish Heaven had a phone”) Until my daughter was a year  old I stayed home with her before I returned to the childcare field where I could take her to work and be with her at all times. All this time wondering what kind of business I could start to be home with her and my future children.  I was young and dumb (as they say) I like to refer to it as naive. I had tried all sorts of stuff that I got in the mail from stuffing envelopes to babysitting to answering phones from home. None of this worked out for several reasons, scams and not enough inner drive or self discipline. Fast forward about 12 years & 3 more daughters! During which I went to college for medical assistant, pharmacy tech, computers, worked in childcare and still tried & failed numerous “work at home” scams & offers. None of it stuck, no passion, no drive, no fuel in any of those things aside from working with kids. Found myself pregnant with my 5th daughter and wanted out of the workforce but needed the 2nd income, I wanted to be a fulltime mother and knew there were other mothers that wanted their kids out of daycare facilities and if they couldn’t be with them they would love for another mother to be with them that could and would love them so I decided to open a childcare in my home.

 

8 years of awesomeness! 8 years of loving, nurturing, teaching & caring for numerous children most of which came to me less than 6 months old and stayed till they went to kinder! Many sets of amazing parents that became lifelong friends for which I am beyond grateful for! During the years I worked from home with the childcare I was also able to go school and get my Associates in Business Management. While I was running the childcare my spouse at the time and I also started a plumbing/handyman business that I managed from home which was also a neat adventure! As with any business it had some ups and downs but by far life changing in such a positive way and if I had not outgrown this adventure I would still be doing it. Anyone looking to work from home, love children & to teach, has tons of patience, and a safe environment should certainly look into running a licensed childcare facility in their home!

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With 95% of the children I had in my care going to kinder and knowing that I would have to start with a almost all new batch of kiddos, plus all my kiddos in school fulltime during the day, I chose to close my doors with the childcare (although I kept managing the plumbing company) and step out in the work force once again and put my degree to work as an office manager at a wonderful Alzheimer’s facility where I stayed till my children & myself relocated to WA state (yet another blog post if you want to read about that adventure) I enjoyed working outside the home and met a great team of people but the entrepreneur in me & the drive to help others just can’t be contained any longer!

 

When we got to WA state I knew for sure my plan was to work from home & was not going to pursue anything else but chasing my burning desire to help others and change the world 1 person at a time! We have been here over a year and I have worked from home since moving here along with studying at the School of Online Business and Coaching Cognition to become a life coach and grow my own business and create my own products. Who knew!? So my exciting, well paying, financial freedom, debt free future, chasing my dreams, living life to fullest, dream is all falling in place and coming together  & I truly owe it all the Man above for His guidance in my life every step of the way!

 

P.S. Are you or someone you know looking for a life coach, need some guidance in your life & with your future? You can reach me on Ingenio 🙂 http://life-coaching.ingenio.com/Coaching%20with%20Kelly

 

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Mama Bear Plus 6

I Am

I Am

I am a daughter, granddaughter and mother

I am an only child

I love Disneyland

I miss my mom

I am responsible for my own happiness

I am emotional

I was raised by only my mother (she was gay & a great mom!)

I am a fighter

I love to cook

I am skeptical about “happily ever after”

I am and always have been an entrepreneur

I tend to over-analyze almost everything

I am crazy but fun

I am strong (I have been knocked to my knees a few times but refuse to stay down)

I love God

I have a crush (is that even allowed at 37!?)

I don’t like silence

I love traveling, but don’t do it often enough

Other people’s lives interest me

I am a single mom to 6 rockin kids

I am kind

I am curious about network marketing

I love animals but I am more of a dog person

I wish Heaven had a phone

I laugh as much as possible

I have “save the world” syndrome

I am loyal

I love to give my time to help

I am still not sure what I want to be when I grow up

I dance when no one and everyone is looking

I am in the process of creating a passion filled career

I believe in people’s right

I want to visit an orphanage in another country

I try to the positive and/or in every situation

I am very sensitive

I love being a parent to my own & other children

I love to feed people

I want to always remember the lessons life has taught me along the way

I am determined

I will follow my dreams till the day I die

I support gay marriage

I am passionate

I will create my own successes

I love thrift stores

I want to make a difference in the world

I am restless

I am afraid of love & a broken heart

I am late, often

I talk to myself, a lot

 I am not into politics, at all

I try to be the friend I would like to have

I am forgiving, even when I don’t want to be

I love hugs

I believe in the afterlife

I am very curious about life

I am powerful

I love rain and the smell of it

I want to learn everything I can about everything

I have many dreams

I am not afraid to die

I love sunsets

I fear failure & occasionally fear success

I dislike hate

I have never been in an airplane

I want to see the world

There are a lot of things I am not and can’t do, I rarely focus on those things unless I plan to change them into things I am & can do. Life is too short to focus on the stuff that doesn’t matter! I have found in life I need to focus on the who and what is important cause when the hour glass runs out of time there is no turning it over to start again!

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Mama Bear Plus 6