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Shopping List That Saves You Money...and Stress

Your Shopping List is one of the the main weapons you have in your meal planning arsenal.  If you do not have the key ingredients for a dish, most likely you will veer off your plan or order out. 

My shopping list is an entirely different than my ingredients list,  it is made after I have made me meal planI make my ingredients list while making a meal plan (See my other blog post for how to prepare a Meal Plan).  You may think making a separate list is a waste of time, but the extra 5 minutes I take to organize my list  has saved me time, money, and stress EVERY TIME.

Make Your List By Where It Is In The Store.

After I have already made my meal plan based on the food I already have in my house, I start my shopping list.I print out two lists, one for Aldi's and one for either Sam's or Meijer.  See below for  what I buy at each store.
The list is organized by where I will find it in the store"
  • Dry/Non perishables/snacks
  • Bread
  • Produce
  • Paper goods & Cleaning
  • Toiletries, Health, & Misc.
  • Meat
  • Dairy/Refrigerated
  • Frozen

Make List By Store
To be honest, there are months I get everything from Aldi’s and the next month I do all my shopping at Meijer.   But no matter where I shop, I save money by having a shopping list that works for me.

  • Aldi’s- This isn't your mother's Aldi's! Aldi's has caught onto the health food craze with their lower fat, locally grown, and organic food lines.  Don't forget your quarter and your bags!
  • Meijer-  Meijer is where I get most of my produce, sadly our Adli's just does not have a great selection.  My husband is also particular about coffee, so we usually get our coffee at Meijer.
      • Meijer MPerks gives savings back to one stop shopping.  I wish that every month I had the time to go to the store with the best deals, but that isn't realistic.  Sometimes I need my Rx, bread, milk, and toilet paper all in one stop. No app needed, which is great for me since I do not have smart phone.  Just use your cell number as a login and clip items online at home BEFORE you go to the store. 
  • Sam's.  Sam's is my go to for meat, name brand toiletries, office supplies, and paper products. Buying in Bulk can be tricky, and sometime not possible if you are keeping to  Dave Rasmey's cash envelope System. We used to use Sam's exclusively for diapers, and with twin infants it saved us a ton of money. 

Now you have your list, STICK TO IT and you will do well! Good Luck!

Are you defending or defensive? : Being Secure in My Choice to Homeschool.

I am slowly learning the difference between 'defending' and 'defensive'. Interesting balancing act that can sometimes be based on one's insecurity or pride. Of course many things are very worth defending, but a quick jump to defensiveness can keep you from learning new things or being secure in decisions.

 During a recent interaction with an old friend, I was given 'helpful advice' (or what she thought was helpful) about homeschooling that was based on some pretty ignorant assumptions.  

I was fuming after this conversation, because the 'advice' was hurtful and had taken me so off guard that I had not had time to respond. We were also in company of others and it was not an appropriate time to address the false assumptions she was harboring. And even if we had been alone, I was too mad to reply in a nice way.  My poor husband got  to hear me rant in the parking lot of the restaurant for about 20 min how frustrated I was that she again let her insecurity lead her to make ignorant judgments over MY life, and MY choices

This person does not home school, but has always really enjoyed giving unsolicited advice. I am not sure if her advice stems from arrogant pride or false pride as a mask for insecurity, but there has always been a need to 'fix" everyone else. While I have been used to this 'advice' in the past, when the advice was about homeschooling I want to jump into defending mode. 

 I spent more time than I would like to admit fretting over this. I went back and forth over the next few days and had many conversations (in my head of course) about confronting her "in love". My speech (in my head again) to her was along the line of, "Why are MY choices any of YOUR business?!  I do not try to make you live the way we do or have our priorities. If is isn't a moral issue, then you need to let it go."

 Looking back, how God must have been laughing as I rehearsed a speech for another that was so needed by me. 

Early one morning when I was writing an email on how frustrated I was, God showed me the defending of my choice had turned into insecure defensiveness.  I was typing out words to a friend that God wanted me to read. I was to turn a mirror on myself.   Seeing defensiveness  in another is just not pretty, but even uglier when you see it in yourself.

 I pray God may give me an opening and a time to discuss the false assumptions she has towards homeschooling, but that wasn't lesson I was suppose to be learning in that particular moment. I do care for this woman, and she is currently overwhelmed by life, and her own choices in motherhood.  When I stepped back, her "advice" really had nothing to do with me.  

 I will continue to try to educate others about our choice to homeschool ,when the need arises, but my motivation must not be born from my insecurity. 

After some time and prayer, I see that my need for Earthly validation led to forgetfulness of WHO called us to homeschool, and WHY we continue to do so.  We are validated in that calling by Him because it works for OUR family, not because we think it works for everyone, and hopefully time will bear that out to doubters.  And if not, oh well.

I am sure I will again need this reminder very soon, but today I am thankful for growth.

Walking away from Insecurity.....Learning To Be Loved

The greatest thing you'll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return.

In 2013, I asked God to rid of me of insecurity.  Oh boy, I had no idea what a ride I was in for.  To be perfectly truthful, if I had known how deep He would have to dig to get to the root of the insecurity, I would have ran the other direction.  

 There has been a time in a my life when I was an insecurity-oholic,  It wasn't healthy, but it as familiar.  I wrapped up in it, pulled it around like a warm familiar blanket. My natural tendency is to run to this familiar feeling when the world throws something new or scary at me. 

False versus Real Confidence
  False confidence was my go to mask for my insecurity. As a young adult, I had the answers for everyone else's problems, and an opinion on every topic up for discussion (or at least tried to fake an opinion).  Combating insecurities by being able to 'fix' everyone else was less painful than seeing the plank in my own eye. There was a deep rooted  belief that value was not in who I was, but in what I knew. 

Thankfully life has flipped my false-confidence on it's head.  Real confidence is not knowing it all, or having an opinion on every topic brought up for discussion.  To me, confidence has been redefined as trust.  Trust that if I don't know the answer, I am still valued.  Trust that someone else will see your strengths AND your weaknesses, and still judge you worth their time Trust to be vulnerable, to let others in.... to see me. 

Seeking Value in Masks 
Always seeking an identity, always seeking a mask to wear, I craved approval of everyone I met. With the stoners, I was a hippie.  At youth group or church, I tried to be the "wise one" with the philosophical answers. With the party crowd, I was the Designated Driver. I did not know my value because I based my identity of what others needed me to be. What mask was I to wear that night, day, hour?  It was exhausting. 

My insecurity has lessened as I stopped looking for my identity in the crowds.  As I step back, I see the masks were projections of only my strengths, always hiding the weakness. I am still a bit of a hippie, try to seek wisdom, and still love to be the safe place in the hurting crowd; but these are my heart now, not my masks.  I can accept my strength because I can accept my weakness. I am these things because it is who I want to be, not who I think other people need me to be. 

Trustworthy with My Weaknesses
As a survivor of abuse, trust is the main key in my relationships.  The people who truly matter to me do not care if I am fashionista, a great baker, or if I am organized (by the way I am none of these).  I have loved many friends in my life, but only in the past year or two have I begun to to trust that some love me back, and are trustworthy.   They have proven trustworthy with my strengths, but also my weaknesses. They are the ones who love me enough to encourage genuine growth in me.  Their motivation for sharing truth in my life is not from a need to control me or feel better about themselves, but to see me have a better life.

I have loved Jesus for a long time, but did not trust that He could love me back. I did not trust He could see the flawed person I am, and still want me. Through daily laying down of my insecurities (still a daily battle folks) I am a child of God, I have my identity in Him. Every other role in my life flows from that fact.  I do not have to be better than anyone else for Him to value me.  He does not seek control out of narcissism, but out of want for my betterment. He will never love me less than He does right now, and he will never love me more. He laid down his son for my life, for my sins.  While I was a sinner Jesus, Yeshua, died for me.  He. Died. For. Me.   This makes me brave enough to me take steps away from insecurity and towards Him. 

I am loved.

"We Love Because He First Loved Us." 1 John 4:19