Adventures of an Island Mom


And……We’re Off!! March 29, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — srowe5 @ 6:28 am

It’s Spring Break, and we are headed out for some fun in the sun!!!!

……..or, maybe rain.


It will be FUN regardless!!!  🙂

There will be no MPM this week, and I’ll probably be taking a little break from the blog, as well.  I’ll be spending the week with my entire family——what a treat!!!

Hope you all have a blessed, prosperous, lovely week and I’ll see you back here, soon!!!



Happy 3rd Birthday, Luke!! March 28, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — srowe5 @ 8:22 am

Oh, what would I do without this sweet, little man in my life???

What a true and immense blessing it is to be him Mama.  Truly.

oh.  how.  i.  love.  him.

Happy Birthday sweet boy!!!!!

Here’s a look down memory lane over the first 3 years of his precious life:

~~May God bless you in the coming year, and always~~


101 in 1001— March 26, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — srowe5 @ 11:32 am

Sarah’s 101 goals in 1001 days:

Here’s a little update of my progress so far:

1.  Go Make-up Free for an entire week

2.  Let the kids have dessert BEFORE dinner Completed 2/10.  Ice Cream at DQ before dinner!

3.  Teach Ava and Luke how, why, and when to dial 9-1-1 Somewhat completed 3/10.  Ava’s got it, now, on to Luke!

4.  Get a massage once a month for 3 months in a row

5.  Floss every day for one month straight Completed 2/10.

6.  Give my husband one compliment every day for a week

7.  Offer to watch someone else’s kids

8.  Arrange a “gift-wrapping” station in the basement

9.  Learn how to can fruit and veggies

10.  Give up candy for one week (Ugggh!)

11.  Be up and dressed before the kids get up for two weeks in a row

12.  Pray with my husband every day

13.  Pray with my kids every day

14.  Lose the baby weight in 9 months

15.  Make a Will

16.  Live on our one week’s Grocery budget for an entire month Completed 1/10.  I went $23 over, but we still did it!!

17.  Organize all my ‘bookmarks’ on the computer

18.  Finish Ava and Luke’s Baby books

19.  Start on Anna’s Baby Book

20.  Finish Anna’s Birth Story  (Oh. So. Close.)

21.  Buy a new Vacuum Cleaner

22.  Take down wallpaper on the stairway and landing walls

23.  Get a Bike

24.  Teach Lukie how to go potty on his own  (In progress……maybe by the time he’s five?!!!)

25.  Get to bed by 10pm every night for a month

26.  Go on a Date Night with my husband once a month

27.  Re-organize all the cupboards and drawers in the kitchen Completed 1/10

28.  Paint the landing and the stairway walls once wallpaper is down

29.  Get a new, amazing digital camera

30.  Organize pictures in my drawers and actually put them in albums

31.  Purge all clothes in my closest that I haven’t worn in a year Completed 3/10

32.  Take a mini-vacay, just the hubby and me!

32.  Go camping

33.  Send someone flowers

34.  Sell our house  (our other house)

35.  Get a Vita-Mix

36.  Do the “cash-only” system for groceries for a month

37.  Buy a new wardrobe if I meet my “baby weight” loss goal  (I’m not telling you what it is, though!)

38.  Volunteer at Ava/Luke School

39.  Take wallpaper down in the living room Completed 3/10—Thanks, Mark!!

40.  Paint the living room

41.  Paint the TV room

42.  Take my vitamins everyday for 30 days straight  (In progress….)

43.  Stop drinking Pop for 2 weeks straight  (Ugh.  I’m down to one a day, now.  Can she do it, folks?!)

44.  Take each of my kids out on a “date”, alone, at least once a month (errands not allowed!)

45.  Find at least 10 minutes everyday for alone/quiet time with God  (in progress….)

46.  No Hairspray for an entire week (wearing a hat doesn’t count)

47.  Organize kids’ toys in bins and label with pictures and words

48.  Learn all there is to know about Dahlias and start to build a business selling the flowers and tubers

49.  Educate myself to the nth degree on Vaccines and make a decision Completed 1/10

50.  Read a book—A REAL book. (Us Weekly doesn’t count)

51.  “Camp out” with the kids by the Christmas tree

52.  Sleep in a tent in the yard with the kids

53.  Be completely debt-free (except for our house)

54.  Plant an herb garden Completed 3/10.  It’s a mini herb garden in my kitchen.

55.  Prune Apple Trees (Almost done!!!)

56.  Give a monetary donation to someone-anonymously

57.  Make a Cheesecake

58.  Create a fire escape plan and practice it with the kids

59.  Teach Ava and Luke about strangers

60.  Build stairs on our deck

61.  Build a flat, cemented area for the kids to play, ride their bikes, play ball, etc

62.  Double, even triple the amount of veggies we plant in the garden  (in progress…..lots started already!)

63.  New curtains for every bedroom

64.  Go to a coffee shop and enjoy the afternoon—solo

65.  Cook and host a Holiday Meal at home

66.  Have a party!!  (just because!)

67.  Host a cookie swap

68.  Set up multiple play dates for my kiddos

69.  Use re-usable shopping bags when grocery shopping Already FAILED this one!

70.  Keep our eating out budget at or below $100/month Already FAILED this one!

71.  Buy a Christmas gift for a needy child

72.  Pay for the person behind me in a Drive-thru

73.  Get back to selling on Ebay

74.  Let the kiddos take a small portion of their Birthday money to buy an item that THEY pick out

75.  Start the tradition of letting the kids pick out their favorite cereal for their Birthday morning breakfast

76.  Have a Girl’s Weekend with my SISTERS!

77.  Take a trip to Disneyland

78.  Plan a surprise Birthday party

79.  Fast for 24 hours

80.  Save up to spend a ridiculous amount of money on a really, really great pair of shoes (or an amazing handbag!)

81.  Let my hubby take a Saturday all to himself

82.  Let myself take a Saturday all to myself

83.  Pray before dinner every night—whether in public, or not

84.  Teach Anna sign language  (in progress…)

85.  Have a family devotional time at least once a week

86.  Start on the addition to our house

87.  Take a class—(photography would be my first choice, hence the need for #29!)

88.   Write a letter to each of my kids, to be opened on their 16th birthday

89.  Read my Bible at least twice a week (if not MORE!)  (in progress…)

90.  Take 10 Internet Breaks (an entire day)

91.  Have a family dinner by candlelight Completed 1/10/10

92.  Re-do kids’ chore charts and stick to them

93.  Kiss my husband when he comes home from work*everyday*whether I feel like it, or not

94.  Do 10 “real” push-ups in a row

95.  Spend an entire day playing on the beach with my family

96.  Get over my insecurity of been videotaped, and start a video diary to my children

97.  Go to a concert (NKOTB, again?!)

98.  Take the kids to a play/live theatre

99.  Come up with a better laundry organizing system

100.  Expand my vocabulary–Learn 50 new words and their definitions

101.  Donate $5 for every goal I don’t meet


Buttons! March 25, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — srowe5 @ 12:23 am

My kiddos are at the age where they love doing anything with their hands:  sorting, organizing, coloring, drawing, water play, beading, magnets, etc, etc, etc!  The list goes on an on!!  Ava, especially, is our “sensory” gal and could work on these types of hands-on projects for days.  She even asks if she can “ordonize” the pantry for me.  She takes out all the canned food, lines them up on the floor and puts them back in again.  She loves it!! (Hey, that’s another frugal activity right there!!!)

So, here’s a great,  super frugal, creative and fun activity for your kids, and all you need is this:

  • A Plastic Fruit Holder.  We are using a clear, plastic apple holder (from Costco, I think?).  Which, is another frugal tip:  save all your fruit trays, egg crates, berry bins, cereal boxes, etc.  You can ALWAYS find something to do with them!
  • Buttons.  If you don’t have buttons, you can use any sort of small sorting object.  I just love using buttons for the different shapes, colors, sizes and textures.

And that’s it folks…..that’s all you need!  Spread it all out on a table and have at ’em!  My sister bought the buttons we’re using here, but, to be super frugal, seek them out wherever you go!   Garage sales, thrift stores, etc—you can get all sorts of different kinds of buttons on the cheap, and, sometimes, even free!!

Having the kids use their imaginations and play with them as the wish is always great, but, you can also have your kiddos sort them.  They can learn to sort them by size, shape, color or texture.  Here, Ava’s working on sorting hers by color:

She could probably sit here for hours and do this.  She is just fascinated by it!!

You can also make shapes and letters out of them.  Lately, Lukie’s imagination has been running wild, and he sees shapes and letters in everything—food, clouds, nature, toys, etc!  So, I sat down with him, and I started making letters to see if he could mimic the letter I formed.

Here’s my “B”:

Here’s Lukie working on his “B”:

And, here it is:

Not too shabby for a 2 year old!!!

Working with buttons is fostering great learning and creative skills for my little ones, and, they really enjoy it!


Are you using too much Laundry Soap?? March 22, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — srowe5 @ 9:53 pm

Did you know that you could be hurting your appliances and your clothing by using too much?  Not to mention, you could, literally, be pouring money down the drain.  I certainly hadn’t really given it a second thought, until my Hubs told me all about it.  He’s been researching this topic and found out some great info that I thought was worth sharing.

The #1 sin, according to repair people and appliance experts, is, adding too much soap.  Most of us don’t think we use too much soap, but, apparently, we are all in denial.  Washing machines are made to use far less water now, than their older counterparts, and therefore, need less soap.  At the same time, detergents have also become extremely concentrated—-a little goes a long way!  Following instructions on your soap container is a good first step, but, it’s been shown that you usually only need to use one-eighth to one-half of what is recommended.  That’s a big difference!!

And suds.  Do you see suds?  Well, according to our research—you shouldn’t.  Suds means you’re using A LOT of extra detergent.  Here’s a test to see if you’re over-sudsing:

  1. Throw 2-3 clean bath towels in the washing machine
  2. Don’t add any detergent
  3. Switch to the hot water setting and medium wash and run it for about 5 minutes
  4. Check for soap suds
  5. If you don’t see any suds right away, turn off the machine and check for soap residue
  6. If you see suds or residue, it is soap coming out from the previous washes!!
  7. Run your towels as many times is needed to get all the soap out

I have to admit—–we did this, and it turns out we had the makings of a major bubble bath in there.  Suds, suds everywhere!!  It took numerous cycles with the towels to get all the soap out!  Yikes, I had no idea.  But, once you get all those pesky suds out, folks, you can breathe a sweet sigh of relief and start your laundry washing adventures anew!!

Save your machine, save your clothes and save your money!!!


Menu Plan Monday March 21, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — srowe5 @ 7:51 pm

We had a great weekend—-hope you did, too!!!

Some Highlights:

  • My parents and my sister, Martha, up for a visit
  • A fun spring celebration day at A and L’s school
  • Gymnastics class for Ava
  • Out to lunch with G-parents and Auntie
  • A beautiful, lovely day to play and work outside
  • Dinner and a movie (after the kiddos were in bed) for the Hubs and me
  • A little shopping for “Cars” supplies and decorations for L’s B-day (And a lot of squeals of delight!)
  • Relaxing, enjoyable Sunday getting a lot done in the house

Throughout the great weekend, I also cleaned-out/re-worked my 4.5 freezers and realized I still have A LOT of meals in there!!!  So, our menu plan this week will consist of a lot of them.  Here’s what we’re having:

Monday:  Chicken Delight Casserole (freezer), Steamed Broccoli, Buttery Rolls (freezer)

Tuesday:  Meatloaf (freezer), Mashed Potatoes (freezer), Roasted Carrots

Wednesday:  Chili Nachos, Smoothies

Thursday:  Amish Baked Oatmeal, Scrambled Eggs, Bacon

Friday:  Homemade Mac and Cheese (freezer), Polish Sausage, Green Beans

Check out I’m An Organizing Junkie for more menu inspiration, and check back with me tomorrow for my post on Laundry Soap…… you know if you’re using too much???

Have a great week!!!



Coupons 101 Part 3—Re-post March 18, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — srowe5 @ 1:25 pm


Just because you have a coupon does not necessarily mean you should buy that item. In fact, if you buy items just because you have a coupon, you will end up spending MORE money on items you don’t really need, and are still over priced. The trick is to wait for the item to go on sale or clearance, THEN USE YOUR COUPON, which is an even better deal.

  • WAIT FOR A SALE: Wait for the items that you want to go on sale, then use your coupons!    Then, buy several of that item so that you won’t need to buy it, again, until it goes on sale again.  It’s sometimes hard, but your item will more than likely go on sale, so WAITING is the key!
  • BUY ONE GET ONE FREE (BOGO) SALE: When a store has a BUY ONE GET ONE FREE sale, this is a great time to use your coupons. You can use TWO coupons. One for the item you are buying and one for the item you are getting for free. WHY???   Remember that a coupon is like cash, a form of payment.  The store IS getting paid for that product, by the Manufacturer.  (They get back the coupon price, plus 10 cents (or so) shipping)  So, the store gives you the second item for free, but they can turn in the coupon and get paid for that item they just gave you for free.   Example-  Granola Bars are on sale, buy one get one free. You pay $3.00 for the first box of granola bars, and get the 2nd free.  But you have 2 coupons for $1 off a box of granola bars. You can use both of those coupons. One coupon is applied to each box of granola bars (although one box is considered free) Both coupons are applied to the TOTAL SALE PRICE.  It brings the total to $1.00 for 2 boxes of granola bars. You would have paid $6 for 2 boxes of bars, but by using the Buy one get one (BOGO) free sale you have saved  $5.00 on two boxes of granola bars!!!  Quite the deal!
  • STACKING YOUR COUPONS: Stacking your coupons is when you are able to use 2 coupons for one item. You are able to do this when you use an IN-STORE COUPON ( a coupon that the store prints, normally in the weekly ad, or on their website.  It will have the store logo on it) along with a MFR (manufacturer coupon). When you use the in-store coupon and the MFR coupon together this is called “stacking” your coupons. So watch for those in-store coupons, and see if you have a MFR coupon to go along with it.  When I figured this one out, I was OVERJOYED!  (I know, it obviously doesn’t take much to get me excited!!)  But, what a great deal you will get if you have a MFR coupon to go with the store coupon!!  Always keep an eye out for that!
  • REBATES: A lot of companies offer a mail in rebate for their items as part of a promotion to get you to try or buy their product. Many times this makes the item free after rebate.  Example- Rite Aid is selling shaving cream  for $3.00, and they have a mail in rebate for $3.00, which would make the item free.  But, let’s say you have a $1.50 coupon for that particular shaving cream; after you turn in your rebate they will send you a check for $3.00, and you only paid $1.50 for it!!  Rebates are very easy to do, and with most companies, you can just do it online, type in a little info from your receipt and they’ll send you a check.  Completely easy and painless!
  • STORE MATCH OR DOUBLE: Some stores do this every week, but seems as if the local stores I frequent only do it a few times a year. They will match your coupon amount, which gives you the chance to get twice the amount of your coupon. Example- the store is selling juice for $1.00 but I have a coupon for $.50 off, The store them matches the price of my coupon giving me another $.50 off, making my juice FREE.   I have been getting a lot of “DOUBLES” from Albertons, lately, and it’s been great!  I’ve received a lot of free items! Normally if a store matches or doubles coupons, they only let you do a limited number of items per shopping trip. So I plan to make several trips through the checkout line, or plan another trip back to the store at a later date.