A Simple Truth: Jesus Rejoices Over You

He will rejoice over you with singing



The Lord your God in your midst,
The Mighty One, will save;
He will rejoice over you with gladness,
He will quiet you with His love,
He will rejoice over you with singing.”

Zephaniah 3:17


Can you imagine Buddha up in heaven rejoicing over you as you become his follower? Oh, he’s dead, I guess he can’t do that…

Well, maybe Muhammad singing over you and rejoicing in your being his disciple? No… he’s dead too.

OK, how about one of those million+ Hindu gods? Are they jumping for joy at your offering this week? No, they just want you to sacrifice to appease them so they don’t curse you more. I am pretty sure there is no rejoicing going on there.

So, why would anyone even want to follow these gods, gods who are dead or who just has to be appeased to keep from cursing you?

Actually, I can kind of understand. I was once my own god. I followed my ways, what I wanted to do, completely driven by myself. This is now the most popular god in the world – self.  In the end, everyone doing what they want, trying to get others to do what they want… it just becomes a big MESS.


Yes, it is a mess, so what do I do?


What an amazing thing it was, that when I turned my heart, repented and followed Jesus, I found He was right there, in my midst. I found that He was waiting to rejoice over me with gladness and that He could quiet me and my soul with His love. And then to find out that He rejoiced over me with singing! What a loving, wonderful heavenly Father. Thank you Jesus for being who you are.

Do you know what it is like to have someone rejoice over you? To continually be with you and care about the smallest details of your life? To quiet the chaos in your mind and soul with love? If not, call out for Jesus today – He is listening.


Note: Thank you to my church, 26:8 and our guest pastor Doug for sharing reminding me of this verse from Zephaniah this week and making it real to me that God is singing over me today.

10 Things For Children To Do This Summer Under $10: #2 – Play At The Park

10 Things To Do This Summer - Park
What is your favorite park like?

Last post, we talked about the free summer reading program. Item number 2 on our top 10 list – playing at a local, public park.

Update 2017: Oh! They were so little! But now we have a new little one and even though the others are older, they still love park days!

I sincerely thank whomever first created the concept of the public park – bless them!!! The park is this frugal families’ saving grace each spring, summer and fall. We make a bi-weekly trip during the summer, especially since we currently have a park within walking distance.

We also try to visit a larger park a few miles away – it is huge and has water features open between Memorial Day and Labor Day. This park was mostly paid for by the city’s recycling program.

I always spend the first part of the park visit with the girls on the swings. This is not only their favorite activity, but this is my time to spend directly with them. After 10 minutes or so, depending if people are waiting, the girls are then sent off to the rest of the playground, and mom rests while keeping an eye on them.

Sometimes I chat with other moms and sometimes I just enjoy a few minutes of quiet pondering. The children are all pretty outgoing, so we usually make a new friend or two each visit. If anyone ever wanted to know how homeschooled children could possibly have social skills, just watch my girls in action at the park!

Please share your favorite park and why your family likes it.

10 Things For Children To Do This Summer Under $10: #1 – Summer Reading Program

10 Things Under $10
10 Things Under $10
What is your favorite free or frugal summer activity?

Update for 2017: Our girls STILL love the summer reading program and we are doing it again this year!

The first item on our 10 Things To Do This Summer Under $10 list is not only free (or nearly if you are like me and have the occasional late fee), but most summer reading programs also give the children stuff – just for reading!

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links.

Our local library’s summer reading program lasts from June 1st – July 31st. There are 3 levels of prizes, which usually include free meals @ local restaurants for the children and free skating, bowling and/or other activities. At the end of the program, the children get a shiny new book. Last year, my children picked out Boxcar Children books.

As you can see in the photo, the girls are excited for the program again this year! As a bonus, my older girls sometimes read the required 20 minutes to the younger one. More reading, less TV, real quiet time, and prizes – this is our families #1 thing to do this summer under $10.

Now go ahead and read the rest (yes, I know there is only 5. I promise someday to get to 10):

10 Things To Do This Summer #2

10 Things To Do This Summer #3

10 Things To Do This Summer #4

10 Things To Do This Summer #5

Extreme Cheapskate Challenge 3#: What Are You Willing To Pay For?


I have enjoyed learning through this series. If you haven’t read them yet, please check out Extreme Cheapskate Challenge #1 and Extreme Cheapskate Challenge #2.

For the last of the Extreme Cheapskate Challenges, I ask the question:

What are you willing to pay for?

We can’t get everything for free or even cheap – and there are just somethings that are worth our money and resources.

For me, these are the things I am willing to pay full (or nearly full) price for:

  • Special occasion meals out at a Japanese / Sushi restaurant.

  • Homeschool curriculum that support ministries or missions like YWAM (affiliate), Voice of the Martyrs Kids of Courage, or Master Books.

  • A quality bed.

So please share this week what you are willing to pay for.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links.

Extreme Cheapskate Challenge #2: In What Area Of Your Budget Could You Be More Extreme?

In what area of your budget could you get more EXTREME in?

I am humbled by last weeks Cheapskate Challenge #1. I posted the challenge, many women responded to the post, and I learned that I was not a frugal as I thought – or as I could be.

This is what lead me to this weeks challenge:

In what area of your budget could you get more EXTREME in?

For me, I realize that it is time I start making my own soaps and other household items, especially since I have a very sensitive child and all our soaps and detergents need to be fragrance free. I want to get extreme in our household / necessities budget.

If you have a great homemade, fragrance free recipe for:

  • Soap
  • Laundry Soap
  • Dish Soap
  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Deodorant
  • Toothpaste
  • Other???

Please share it!!!

Don’t forget to share where you could be more extreme in your budget!

BTW, If you don’t have a budget, then You Need A Budget!

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

Extreme Cheapskate Challenge #1: What Is Your Extremism?

Extreme CheapskateChallenge_1,jpg

In light of the recent contact from the TLC Reality Show “Extreme Cheapskates – Season 3,” I have decided to lay down a challenge to my community.

What is the most EXTREME thing you do to save money? 

I watched a couple of clips of the show and here is what some folks do:

  • Don’t use toilet paper, use soap, water and towels instead.
  • Shower together / time shower for 2 minutes, sharing their shampoo (like taking the suds off of the woman’s head and putting them on his).
  • Dumpster diving.
  • Entire living room furniture consisted of a TV on the floor and a card table with 4 folding chairs, one of which was broken.

One of the most extreme things we do to save money is not use paper towels.  I purchased a cheap pack of washcloths from Wal-Mart – a 12 pack for $4.95 – and we use them as napkins, to clean up messes, and as rags for cleaning. The last for about a year and we save around $150 a year on paper towel costs.

I look forward hearing your stories.

Simple, Healthy, Cheap! Recipe: Vietnamese Chicken Pho Soup

Asian Soup
Free Recipe!

This Asian soup is full of flavor, nutrition and it is very inexpensive to prepare for a large family. It is also very soothing and filling – one of our family favorites.


  • 1 to 1 ½ lbs chicken

  • 2 Tbs oil – olive, coconut, grapeseed

  • 8 – 10 cups water – optional to add chicken bullion / substitute chicken broth

  • 2 Tbs honey

  • 2 Tbs fish sauce

  • 1 Tbs Chinese 5 Spice

  • 14 oz rice noodles

  • 1 cup cabbage

  • ½ cup shredded carrot

  • cilantro for garnish

  • lime for garnish

  • sweet chile sauce for garnish


  1. Dice the 1 to 1 ½ lbs chicken.

  2. Add the 2 Tbs oil and chicken to a large pot and sauté / brown for about 10 minutes.

  3. Add the 8 to 10 cups water and bring to a boil.

  4. While waiting for the water to boil, chop the 1 cup cabbage and shred the carrots for 1/2 cup.

  5. Add the honey, fish sauce, and 5 spice to the pot.

  6. Add the chopped / shredded veggies to the pot – cook for 10 minutes.

  7. Add the rice noodles to the pot. Check the instructions on the noodles. Some rice noodles cook in 3 minutes and some take 15.

  8. Serve with garnishes.


This should last a family of 4 – 5 two meals.

What is your favorite Asian recipe?

Want more Asian inspired recipes? Here are some quality Asian cookbooks:


Disclosure: This post includes affiliate links.

Feed A Family For Less Than $60 Per Week: Asian Week

I love Chinese Buffets. It is a weakness of mine. However, even though the price of a buffet usually ends up less than a sit down restaurant, we still don’t eat at one very often. So, I decided to do my own week long Chinese Buffet, making a different Asian dish each night and having leftovers for lunch. The challenge is to use similar ingredients and keep the budget under $60 for the week!

Asian Week Menu:

  • Orange Chicken, Rice & Veggies
  • Pho (a Vietnamese soup)
  • Green Thai Chicken Curry with Pineapple & Carrots, & Rice
  • Pad Thai
  • Lettuce Wraps + Pho
  • Sesame Peanut Chicken Noodles
  • Fried Rice

Note: Our breakfasts were American – we ate oatmeal (x3), grits (x3), and waffles (x1), eggs with some of the hot cereal days (x3)

Shopping List:

  • Orange chicken (frozen, much better than what I can make from scratch) – $6.95
  • Fresh veggies – cabbage, onion, romaine lettuce, shredded carrots – $5.75
  • Fresh herbs / Spices – ginger root, cilantro, garlic – $1.60
  • Lime juice – $.80
  • 2.2 lbs rice noodles – $2.75
  • 3 lbs chicken breasts – $6.95
  • Fish sauce – $2.00
  • Thai Chile Sauce – $2.00
  • Curry paste – $4.95
  • Sesame oil – $3.00
  • 2 cans coconut milk – $3.00
  • 1 can pineapple – $1.40
  • Tamarind concentrate – $2.65
  • Rice Vinegar – $3.25
  • Soy Sauce – $4.00
  • Ground turkey – $2.65
  • Water chestnuts – $.75
  • Grits – $2.40
  • Eggs – $1.75

Note: We got most of our Asian ingredients from an Asian Market. They get imports that are usually less expensive than similar items in the American stores.

Pantry List:

These are items we purchase throughout the year in bulk and usually have on hand.

  • Rice
  • Wheat
  • Oatmeal
  • Baking Powder
  • Sugar
  • Salt
  • Oil
  • Peanut Butter

Curious about my recipes? Follow my blog and I will post them over the next couple of weeks.

Print Free Coupons

Not sure what your budget for your groceries even is each week? You Need A Budget!

Here are some HOT Asian Cookbooks to inspire!



Win A Trip To Disneyland / Disney World: Sweepstakes For May

Disney Castle
Win A Trip To Disney

Are you dreaming of a vacation this year? Would you like the visit Disneyland or Disney World, but you don’t have the money to do so?

Have you ever tried to enter a contest to win the vacation you would like? I mean, somebody wins these things, right? I figure, it is worth a try and if I don’t win, maybe someone I know will… and they will be kind enough to send me a postcard:-)

Here are links to a few contests:

Southwest Airlines – https://www.southwest.com/flight/contest/14119134256213

Disney Family Movies – http://dadt.com/dfm/sweeps/junglefun/2014/jfs-login.html

Disney Movie Rewards – http://www.disneymovierewards.go.com/promotions/sweepstakes/junglesweeps?cmp=DMR%7cFBK%7cSWPB%7cjunglesweeps

Boogie Wipes – http://www.boogiewipes.com/motherhood-contest/ Note: you will need a smart phone for this one

Visit Orlando – http://www.visitorlando.com/promo/win-a-trip/

Family Vacation Critic – http://www.familyvacationcritic.com/win-a-family-vacation-at-new-b-resort-in-downtown-disney/art/ Note: You have to write a review of a previous vacation to enter.

What could be more frugal than winning a trip (other than not taking one)? What could be more simple than having the vacation planned for you?

Where would you like to go to be refreshed and/or have fun this year?

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Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links.