Friday, December 30, 2011

5 Things I Did That Were Frugal This Week

1. Had a nice low key Christmas with my family :)

2. Returned a few gifts I got that did not fit and exchanged them for ones that did. 

3. Went for a coffee date with a friend which cost me less then $4

4. Went shopping with Kid # 3 and only bought needed items with my Christmas money.  No extra money was spent!

5. Used up left overs in the frig so that they did not have to be thrown away

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Christmas Plan # 4-The Totals and What I Gave!

Well here is my last Christmas post and my totals for what I spent.   I made several gifts that I gave.  I did a post on a few of those recently and I will do an additional one soon on the other gifts.  If all of my figures are accurate then I spend less then $1000.  Which I am pretty proud about!  I tried to list what I bought by each total for those of you that are interested.  I have already started accumulating amazon gift cards and points from Mypoints to use for Christmas in 2012.  That was a huge help in staying under budget!  In January I will begin to put $50 of my small income I earn each month a side to save for Christmas presents in 2012.  I am hoping to do even better with my Christmas budget next year!

PS:  I didn't list every thing I put in the kids stockings.  But I did spend about $20 additional dollars not added to the list here :)

Photo for Christmas Cards

Christmas Cards ordered
- $24.50

Stamps for Christmas Cards $17

Christmas Tree $30

Kid # 5 picture with Santa - free

Husband - I don't really do a set number of gifts for my husband but we do have a set amount we get to spend on each other :)

1 gift - $30 - fold up metal cart
2 gift - $ 58.32 - pop up awning
3 gift - $7.49 - book on guitars

Kid # 1

gift # 1 -$15.64 - 2 star wars tshirts
gift # 2 - $25.00 - small outdoor table top grill
gift # 3 - $ $36.41- 2 pairs of jeans
gift # 4 - $29.96 - World of War Craft game time
Total _______
$ 107.01

Kid # 1 Stockings Items

1-something I bought a long time ago
2-$3.00 Candy

Kid # 2

gift # 1 - $3 - snow glob I found at Good will
gift # 2 - $5+$3.49 + $19.99 = $28.48 - 2 dresses and a cardigan to match
gift # 3 - $ 13.17 + FREE item - photo book with her senior pics and collage print from Walgreen's
gift # 4 - $ 19.99 - subway style quote wall hanging
Total _____
$ 64.64

Kid # 2 Stockings Items

1-$17.25 -Christmas ornament
2-$1.99 - vinyl cell phone sticker

Kid # 3

gift # 1 - $5 - 1 black and 1 white Cami's
gift # 2 - FREE with Swagbucks - Seventeen magazine subscription
gift # 3 - FREE with Swagbucks -2 Hello Kitty seat covers
gift # 4 - $ 33.93 - winter coat
Total _______

Kid # 3 Stocking Items

1- FREE with Swagbucks - Hello Kitty car air fresheners
2- FREE with Swagbucks - Hello Kitty cell phone sticker
3- $3.99

Kid # 4

gift # 1 - $ 28.94 - fleece lined jacket
gift # 2 - $ 3.00 + $19.99 =$22.99 - Winter hat and Tshirt
gift # 3 - $ 14.00 -moccasins
gift # 4 - $ 40.88 - Ipod charging alarm clock
Total _________
               $ 106.81

Kid # 4 Stocking Items

1-$0.50 at a yard sale
2-$2.99 Hobby Lobby find
3.$4.93 Gordmans
4. $3.00 candy

Kid # 5

gift # 1- $60 + item to go with it FREE with Swagbucks - Nintendo DS and Game
gift # 2 - $ 14.91 - 3 long sleeved layering tshirts
gift # 3 - $30.86 - Fancy Nancy book and one activity book
gift # 4 - $9.99 - used $30 in swagbucks amazon gift cards - Polly pocket jet plane
Total     ______

Kid # 5 Stocking Items

1-$2.99 -Hobby Lobby find

Future Daughter In law

gift # 1 - Free - party lite candle set
gift # 2 -$3 - last name sign I made for her -I will show it in a post soon!
gift # 3 - $ 24.79 - 5 colors of crackle nail polish
gift # 4 - $25.00 - gift card to Fashion Bug
Total _________
             $ 52.79

Mom - $12.98 +1.19 +1.99+0.52 =$16.68 - Family Tree I made
Step dad - Free using my points from Mypoints - Bass Pro gift card
Family gift for nieces and nephew - Free - Harry Potter Game
Sister - coffee cozies I made
bro in law $20.92 - bookends
Grandma - $12.98 +1.99+1.99+0.52=$17.48 - Family Tree I made
Mother in law - $12.98 +1.99+1.99+0.52=$17.48- Family Tree I made
Father in law - Free using my points from Mypoints - Starbucks gift card

Postage to mail Parent in laws gift $9

Roger - $11.86 - 10 pairs of short colorful socks

Jenna - $4 - a few $1 art items

Game Gift
 1 - $10 - gift card to local restaurant
2 - free using stuff I already had - candles
3 - free using stuff I already had - coasters I made
4 - $10 - McDonald's bucks
5 - free using stuff I already had - candles
6- free using stuff I already had - more candles

Teacher gift for Kid # 5 - 1-$2, 2-free using supplies I already had! - hand sanitizer and coasters I made

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas from my family to yours!

 I'll be back next week with a run down of what I bought with my Christmas cash and my final total.  I also will have a post about where we stand finanically and hopefully what our goals for 2012 will be.

I hope each one of you have a wonderful holiday with your families and that Santa is good to all of you!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Searl House Happenings.......

On Friday,  after 6 very long years of going to school part time, working full time and helping me raise our 5 kids, my husband finished his Bachelor's degree in Accounting!  I am so proud of him!  I am so glad he is done lol!

Thursday, was our 11 year anniversary.  Using that as an excuse to go out to our favorite Open Mic night jam, ( my husband is a musician for those of you who don't know and plays in a local rock band. That is however not his full time job lol)  I threw him a surprise party!  It was wonderful and he was truly surprised.  We are definitely blessed with a lot of great friends who came out to celebrate with us!

Although he is now done with school he will be putting off looking for a new job  for a few months.  He does have a really good job right now but he works alot of really crappy hours and never has weekends off unless he takes vacation days.  We have decided it would be best if he waits until May to start looking as this is when Kid # 2 graduates high school and also when the payment for child support will stop.   Financially, switching jobs could mean a pay cut for us.  We plan to spend the first part of 2012 preparing for that.  I will be posting soon about my 2012 goals and where we stand with our debt pay off :)

My husband is living proof that anyone can go back to school!  He did not even start going until he was 40 year old.  He stuck with it this whole time and I am so proud of him!

Hope everyone has a great week!  Hard to believe Christmas is only a week away!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

5 Things I Did That Were Frugal This Week

1. Took Kid # 5 to see Santa at Bass Pro Shop for free and got a free pic too :)

2. Threw my husband a surprise party for graduating with his Accounting Degree for less then $100.

3. Used some Swagbucks to get the last Christmas gift for Kid # 5. 

4.  Menu planned and cooked at home for most of the week

5. Had a couple stay at home days to save on gas

Monday, December 12, 2011

Somethings I have made lately

Here are a few presents I have made for Christmas.  I have several others I will post about after Christmas is over but these I know the person who is receiving them probably won't see :)

These are coasters I made for Kid # 5's teacher

I already had the all the materials to make these. 

Here are another set I made to use as a game gift that I needed for our Christmas Eve celebration

These are both just tiles I bought at Lowe's.  Mod Podge, scrapbook paper and a stamp.  They were really very easy to make!

Edited to add :  I stamped the paper, did one coat of mod podge, added the paper, then 4 coats of mod podge over the paper, drying in between coats.  I have read you then can spray with a clear sealer.  I have also read that if you let the mod podge cure for a few weeks before using then it is water proof.  I opted to do this since I made mine in plenty of time for Christmas.

What We Are Eating This Week 12/12 - 12/18

Monday- Sub Sandwiches and Leftover White Bean Chili

Tuesday- Omelette's, Hash browns

Wednesday - Stir Fry, Rice

Thursday - Turkey and Noodles

Friday - Leftovers

Saturday - going to a party

Sunday -Quesadilla

Saturday, December 10, 2011

5 Things I Did That Were Frugal This Week

1. Had several stay at home days

2. Planned and cooked our meals

3. Posted about an ebook that looked interesting to me so I could get it free! Which btw is a pretty good read so far!

4. Got into Kid # 3's basketball games with the pass I bought earlier which will save me $10 by the end of the season

5. Cooked some dry beans on the stove instead of buying canned!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

2012 Family Guide to Groceries Under $250

I stumbled upon this on Pinterest.  I am really interested in reading this ebook.  I could always use help with our grocery budget :)


Monday, December 5, 2011

What we are eating this week 12/5 -12/11

Monday - Chicken Fingers, Mashed Potatoes and Corn

Tuesday - Spaghetti, Garlic Bread

Wednesday -Goulash, Crescent rolls

Thursday- Italian Beef Sandwiches and Cut up Veggies

Friday- Leftovers

Saturday- White Bean Chili, Corn Bread

Sunday - Waffles and Bacon

Friday, December 2, 2011

Update on Christmas Plan #3

Here is where I stand as of today with my Christmas shopping!  I know what I need to buy in order to get it all finished.  It is more of just a matter of having the time to get it done.  I have not even started my Christmas cards yet.  I plan to get them done next week and hopefully all the rest of my shopping too :)  How are all of you doing on your shopping?

Photo for Christmas Cards

Christmas Cards ordered - $24.50

Stamps for Christmas Cards

Christmas Tree

Kid # 5 picture with Santa

Husband - I don't really do a set number of gifts for my husband but we do have a set amount we get to spend on each other :)

1 gift - $30
2 gift - $ 58.32
3 gift - $7.49

Kid # 1

gift # 1 -$15.64
gift # 2 - $25.00
gift # 3 - $ $36.41
gift # 4 - $29.96
    Total _______
              $ 107.01

Kid # 1 Stockings Items

1-something I bought a long time ago
2-$3.00 Candy

Kid # 2

gift # 1 - $3
gift # 2 - $5+$3.49 + $19.99 = $28.48
gift # 3 - $ 13.17 + FREE item
gift # 4 - $ 19.99
       Total _____
               $ 64.64

Kid # 2 Stockings Items


Kid # 3

gift # 1 - $5
gift # 2 - FREE with Swagbucks
gift # 3 - FREE with Swagbucks
gift # 4 - $ 33.93
     Total _______

Kid # 3 Stocking Items

1- FREE with Swagbucks
2- FREE with Swagbucks
3- $3.99

Kid # 4

gift # 1 - $ 28.94
gift # 2 - $ 3.00 + $19.99 =$22.99
gift # 3 - $ 14.00
gift # 4

Kid # 4 Stocking Items

1-$0.50 at a yard sale
2-$2.99 Hobby Lobby find
3.$4.93 Gordmans
4. $3.00 candy

Kid # 5

gift # 1- $60 + item to go with it FREE with Swagbucks
gift # 2 - $ 14.91
gift # 3 - $30.86
gift # 4

Kid # 5 Stocking Items

1-$2.99 -Hobby Lobby find

Future Daughter In law

gift # 1 - Free
gift # 2 -$3
gift # 3 - $ 24.79
gift # 4

Mom - $12.98 +1.19 +1.99+0.52 =$16.68
Step dad - Free using my points from Mypoints
Family gift for nieces and nephew - Free
 bro in law $20.92
Grandma - $12.98 +1.99+1.99+0.52=$17.48
Mother in law - $12.98 +1.99+1.99+0.52=$17.48
Father in law - Free using my points from Mypoints

Postage to mail Parent in laws gift

Roger - $11.86

Jenna - $4

Game Gift 1 - $10
                  2 - free using stuff I already had
                  3 - free using stuff I already had

Teacher gift for Kid # 5 - 1-$2, 2-free using supplies I already had!

5 Things I Did That Were Frugal This Week

1. Had a couple stay at home days

2. Cashed in some of my Swag bucks for gift cards

3. Cooked at home and made leftovers into my husbands lunches

4.  Made a batch of homemade laundry soap

5. Finished making two more Christmas gifts

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Tuesday Tip

We eat alot of black olives in our house.  I have found that Aldi has the cheapest price for a can of black olives in my area.  The only problem is they come canned whole and not sliced.  Here is my solution to slicing a can.  Use your egg slicer

Take several olives and put in the egg slicer and push down

You then get sliced black olives

It takes no time at all to slice the can

I am sure I probably read this tip somewhere on the Internet.  I have been slicing my black olives this way for awhile now and it works great!

I am linking up to



Monday, November 28, 2011

Whats For Dinner This Week 11/28 -12/4

Monday - Turkey & Gravy, Stuffing, leftover from Thanksgiving

Tuesday - Fajitas

Wednesday- Pepperoni Roll

Thursday - Italian Rice Skillet

Friday - Leftovers

Saturday - ????

Sunday - Eggs and Bacon for Sunday Family Brunch

Saturday, November 26, 2011

5 Things I Did That Were Frugal This Week

1. Had several stay at home days

2. Did not go Black Friday Shopping

3. Made another Christmas present using items I already had!

4.  Menu planned and shopped with a list!

5. Ate our leftovers

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

We are having a nice quiet Thanksgiving this year.  Which is just the way I like it :)  We had our big family Thanksgiving a few weeks ago, so there will only be 3 of us today.  We are having our turkey dinner later this evening.  We are also thinking we may take Kid # 5 to see the new Muppet movie.  We will see........

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!  Hope you all have a nice stress free day!

Friday, November 18, 2011

5 Things I Did That Were Frugal This Week

1. Got a hair cut from my BFF's daughter who just graduated beauty school.

2.  Colored my hair myself :)

3. Bought another Christmas gift with my Swagbucks!

4. Made a Christmas gift using supplies I already had.

5. Kept the heat off for a few days that we had some warm weather this week.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Few Things I Have Made Recently

Some friends of our got married a few months ago and had their reception on 11/11/11.  My husband DJ'd their party which was mainly our gift to them but I still wanted to make them something. 

I saw this and this on Pinterest. I love Pinterest and have to admit I am addicted to that site lol!

Here is my version of the two ornaments

I had everything I needed to make it except the monogram "B".  I bought it at Hobby Lobby and used a 40% off coupon.  Total cost for the gift was less then a dollar!

Next I saw this sign on Pinterest.  I loved it!  Here is my version

I already had the frame and then I just typed it up in Microsoft Word, printed and framed it.  It sits on my desk and makes me smile every time I read it :)

Monday, November 14, 2011

Whats for Dinner this week 10/14 - 10/20

Hmmm good question........One which I finally got figured out this morning!

Monday - we ate leftovers from our "Family Thanksgiving"

Tuesday - Pepper Steak and Rice

Wednesday - Taco Ring

Thursday- Chicken Noodle Soup using the broth I made from the whole chicken we had last week

Friday - Leftovers

Saturday- Hawaiian Sammie's

Sunday - Eggs and Toast

Saturday, November 12, 2011


We are having our Family Thanksgiving.  This is a new tradition we have decided to start.  Two of our kids are about to be grown.  Kid # 1 will be getting married next year and Kid # 2 will be graduating high school and starting college.  We are also a blended family with many other parents and family for the kids to be pulled to go to for holidays.  My parents were divorced when I was growing up and I remember even after I became an adult I was always torn about who to spend holidays with.  I don't ever want my kids to feel that pressure or guilt.   So this year we decided to start a new tradition for Thanksgiving and we will start celebrating our Family Thanksgiving on the 2nd Saturday in November every year from now forward.  All of the kids thought this was a great idea!  We will also be inviting friends and family when they want to come.  My parents have already said they would definitely like to start attending next year.  We plan to do something similar for Christmas starting maybe next year, we just haven't figured out what exactly yet. 

Hope you all are having a great Saturday!  I need to get back to cooking :)

Update on Christmas Plan # 2

Here is where I stand as far as completing my Christmas shopping.  I am hoping to have all but maybe a few stocking stuffers done by the end of November.  I think I am doing pretty well!  Oh and I have manage to pay only cash for all items or use Swag Bucks and points from Mypoints!  Go me! :)

Photo for Christmas Cards

Christmas Cards ordered

Stamps for Christmas Cards

Christmas Tree

Kid # 5 picture with Santa

Husband - I don't really do a set number of gifts for my husband but we do have a set amount we get to spend on each other :)

1 gift  - $30
2 gift - $ 58.32
3 gift - $7.49

Kid # 1                                                                   

gift # 1 -$15.64
gift # 2 - $25.00
gift # 3
gift # 4

Kid # 1 Stockings Items

1-something I bought a long time ago

Kid # 2                                                                    

gift # 1 - $3
gift # 2 - $5+$3.49 + $19.99 = $28.48
gift # 3 - $ 13.17
gift # 4

Kid # 2 Stockings Items

Kid # 3                                                                                       

gift # 1 - $5
gift # 2 - FREE with Swagbucks
gift # 3 - FREE with Swagbucks
gift # 4

Kid # 3 Stocking Items

1- FREE with Swagbucks
2- FREE with Swagbucks

Kid # 4

gift # 1 - $ 28.94
gift # 2 - $ 3.00 + $19.99 =$22.99
gift # 3 - $ 14.00
gift # 4

Kid # 4 Stocking Items

1-$0.50 at a yard sale
2-$2.99 Hobby Lobby find

Kid # 5

gift # 1- $60
gift # 2 - $ 14.91
gift # 3 - $30.86
gift # 4

Kid # 5 Stocking Items

1-$2.99 -Hobby Lobby find

Future Daughter In law

gift # 1 - Free
gift # 2 -$3
gift # 3
gift # 4

Mom - $12.98 +1.19 +1.99+0.52 =$16.68
Step dad - Free using my points from Mypoints
Family gift for nieces and nephew - Free
bro in law
Grandma - $12.98 +1.99+1.99+0.52=$17.48
Mother in law - $12.98 +1.99+1.99+0.52=$17.48
Father in law - Free using my points from Mypoints

Postage to mail Parent in laws gift


Jenna - $4

Game Gift  1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

Teacher gift for Kid # 5 -$2

5 Things I Did That Were Frugal This Week

1. Sold some of Kid # 5 out grown clothes for extra money

2.  Went on a very frugal lunch date with my hubby to the all you can eat drink, soup and salad for $5 place :)

3.  Bought Kid # 1 a Christmas present using my 30% off coupon from Kohl's

4. Planned, made a list and got the shopping all done for our menu for the next two weeks.  So far we are under budget!

5.  I made a Christmas ornament as a wedding present for a reception we attended of some friends. Post to follow about said present!  It was totally frugal though!

Friday, November 4, 2011

5 Things I Did That Were Frugal This Week

1. Found Kid # 1 a shirt at Goodwill for $3.49 to wear for his engagement pictures.

2. Finally got my peg board put up in the office/craft room and purchased the peg board hooks etc on sale at Harbor Freight for $5.99. 

3. Went to lunch with a friend that has all you can eat salad and soup for $5.  Not only was it a frugal lunch but also a great visit with a good friend!

4.  Had my BFF take Kid # 1 and FDIL's engagement pictures and she was nice enough to do it for FREE!!!

5.  Bought some clearanced candy to use for stockings at Christmas

Thursday, November 3, 2011

What A Busy Week........

Ewe I am so glad it is Thursday!  This is the first day I have had to just stay home and not have much to do!  I have planned Stuffed Green Pepper soup for dinner tonight which will be perfect since it is cold and rainy here today.  I have a few loads of laundry I should get done but if I don't get to them it won't be a huge deal either.

We had a nice Halloween.  We did not have nearly as many trick or treaters as we have had in past years.  Kid # 1 and Future Daughter in law came over and hung out with me while Kid # 3 and her boyfriend took Kid # 5 trick or treating.  We also had Future Daughter in laws Sister's family over too.  So our Halloween candy did not go to waste even though we did not have many trick or treaters.

Tuesday, I took Kid # 1 and Future Daughter in law shopping around at all the local Goodwill's looking for some shirts for each of them to have their engagement pictures done in.  We found Kid # 1 a nice brown dress shirt right away.  Did not have any luck with FDIL's.  She ended up getting one at Gordman's.

Wednesday, I went with them to have their engagement pictures done.  One of my very best friends was nice enough to take their pictures for them and edit them all for FREE.  The pictures turned out wonderful and I am hoping that I get some for Christmas from the kids :)   Here is one of the shots taken and I love it!

My husband finally got his new shed put up and we have slowly been cleaning up and preparing the yard for winter.  Yes, I realize it is now the first week of November but we have had nice and fairly warm weather for this time of year here.  I am hoping we will have it done by the end of this weekend.  We actually made it to November 1st without turning on the heat!  I am so glad we made the investment to purchase new windows last yr!

I have to sit down and do my banking tonight.  I believe we will be able to completely pay off the credit card after I look over everything.  This is gonna stretch us alittle but I am willing to do that in order for it to be gone!  Then we will concentrate on finishing up our Christmas shopping.  Once that is completed we will put all our extra funds towards the car payment!

Hope you all are having a nice week!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Whats for dinner.........10/31 - 11/6

Little late with this post but oh well..........

Monday- Quesadilla w/ left over Spicy Chicken meat

Tuesday- Pizza Pasta Bake, Green Beans and Salad

Wednesday - Ribs, Baked Potato and Salad

Thursday- Stuffed Green Pepper Soup and Rolls

Friday - Leftovers

Saturday - Hawain Roll Sammies

Sunday - ???? undecided

Snackes - Halloween Candy :), Brownies, Popcorn, Cheese and Crackers

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Today I have ............

1. Helped my hubby make a big batch of pizza sauce for tonight's homemade pizza and also to use for a different dinner later in the week.

2. Shredded a 2 lb block of mozzarella cheese for the same reason as above

3. Sliced black olives to use for the above mentioned dinners ( I have a post about this planned for my Tuesday tip )

4. Whipped up homemade pancake/waffle/french toast syrup because we were out.

5. Did several loads of laundry using my homemade laundry powder and dryer sheet.

5.  I still plan to make some granola to use for breakfast's before the day is over :)

Doing all of this saves me some money and also helps my week run more smoothly!  What have you all done today?

Friday, October 28, 2011

5 Things I Did That Were Frugal This Week

1.  I did not go shopping :)

2.  I had a meal plan

3. We have not turned on the heat yet!  Woohoo for replacing the windows and a warmer house!

4. I earned enough points from Swag bucks for another gift card to use toward Christmas gifts.

5. Ad matched at walmart and used several coupons that I had for bogo free shampoo and conditioner

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Old Buffet Project

Just so you all don't think all I do is cook and worry about food lol, here is a project my husband and I did over the summer.  We bought this old solid wood buffet off of Craigslist for $110.  Here is what it looked like originally.

I had decided I wanted to give the stained look on the top and painted look on the bottom of the buffet a try.  So I sanded the top down to bare wood and then just gave a rough sand to the rest of it.  I hate sanding!  But I soon discovered I hate staining even more then sanding!  My husband was then nice enough to buy me a paint sprayer to use with his air compressor to paint the rest of the buffet.  Actually after the staining the buffet sat in the garage for a long time and while I was gone to visit my sister in Arizona,  my husband very nicely painted the rest for me :)  When I got back he taught me to use the sprayer and I painted the back of the buffet doors and the drawers which are located behind the middle two doors. I also spray painted all of the old hardware oil rubbed bronze.  The top is stained Red Mahogany and the bottom is painted Queen Anne's Lace White from Lowe's,  Anyway, here is what the buffet looks like now!

As you can see it now houses our TV and all the accessories that go with it.  I love it and how it turned out!  It hides all our junk and makes the living room looks so much bigger without the giant entertainment center taking up that whole wall!

I am linking up to:


Monday, October 24, 2011

Cheese Soup

A couple of people have asked for the recipe for the Cheese Soup I make.  So here it is :)

1 1/2 quarts water
4- chicken bouillon cubes
2 1/2 cups potatoes, uncooked and diced
1/2 a package (16 oz) frozen California Style Vegetables ( broccoli, cauliflower and carrots)
1 cup onion chopped
1 cup celery chopped
1 can cream of chicken soup ( I use my own "cream of" soup mix)
1 lb Velveeta Cheese, Chopped ( I use Kroger brand or Aldi brand)

Bring water to a boil.  Add the next 3 ingredients to water and boil for 8-10 minutes.  Saute onion and celery in a small amount of butter until tender ( honestly I am a lazy cook and never do this part) and add to boil vegetables.  Add soup and cheese.  Reduce heat, stirring occasionally until cheese is melted.  I usually then take out some of the potatoes and give them a little mash with the potato masher.  I think this helps to thicken the soup a bit.  But this is my own personal preference :)

That is all there is to it.  It is very easy and very good!

Whats For Dinner.......10/24 - 10/30

Monday - Leftover Cheese Soup ( I made this on Friday and then hardly anyone was home to eat it)

Tuesday- Foil Packets with Polish Sausage, Potatoes, Mushrooms, Green Pepper, Onion

Wednesday- Out to Dinner for me and Kid # 3 and 5 ( We are going to see Wicked!!) Leftovers for everyone else

Thursday - Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches

Friday- Leftovers

Saturday - Pizza

Sunday -Crock pot Breakfast Casserole for "Sunday Family Brunch"

Saturday, October 22, 2011

5 Things I Did That Were Frugal This Week

1.  My husband changed the oil in both our cars and in Kid # 3's truck.

2.  I took Kid # 3 to the credit union and taught her how to deposit her money.  We also discussed how much she should be putting in her savings and how to go about saving for her bills etc...( may not seem like a frugal thing to put here but I truely believe that we will be how she learns to manage her money)

3. Menu planned and cooked dinner at home

4.  Do to a mistake on my part with Kid # 5 lunch money, she doesn't have enough to last her until the end of the month.  Instead of giving her more money I just have made her a cold lunch to take more often.  This was a short week at school so she just took her lunch all 4 days.

5.  Made Kid # 5 homemade lunchables which she has been asking for to take in her lunch. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Ravioli Chicken Casserole

Judy from We may be poor, but we are happy ( which is one of my favorite blogs by the way and if you haven't ever read it go there right now and check it out ) asked for this recipe.   So here it is Judy! 

I believe it came from the Taste of Home website but I am not 100% on that. 

1-package 24 oz frozen cheese ravioli, cooked and drained ( I do not cook mine.  I add mine to the pan frozen and cook it in the oven longer.  This saves me on prep time )

3 cups cubed cooked chicken ( I do not always add this.  Tonight I did not because I didn't have any and it is good without it)

6 medium fresh mushrooms, sliced ( I use canned)

1/3 cup chopped onion ( I usually leave this out)

1/2 cup chopped green pepper ( if I have this I add it but sometimes I don't)

1-jar  28 oz meatless spaghetti sauce ( we make our own and I like extra sauce so I used 5 - 8 oz can tomato sauce when my husband made the sauce)

2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

In a greased 13 in x 9 in baking dish, layer the ravioli and chicken.  Top with mushrooms, green pepper, onion and spaghetti sauce.   Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.  ( I bake mine for 1 hour since I to not precook my ravioli).  Uncover, sprinkle with cheese. ( I am a lazy cook so I put the cheese on before I cover it and bake it all together for 1 hour) Bake 10-15 minutes longer or until cheese is melted.

6 of us ate it tonight for dinner with a salad and we have at least enough for 2 or 3 lunches left :)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Tuesday Tip

I haven't done a Tuesday Tip in a while but thought I would share this one with you.  I got this tip from Pinterest!  Have you started pinning yet?  I am so addicted to that site lol.

Anyway, I took an old cloth napkin and soaked it in the last little bit of liquid fabric softner I had.  Hung it on the drying rack to dry.  I have been using it as a dryer sheet and throwing it with my clothes in the dryer.  So far so good!  I have used it over 20 times now and it is still going strong.  It says in the instructions I got from Pinterest that it should last at least 40 times.  I have been keeping track of course cause I want to see if it does lol :) 

Here is the pin,  Dryer Sheets, I got the idea from in case you want to pin it for yourself :)

                                                               I am linking this post up to

                                                                  Learning the Frugal Life




Monday, October 17, 2011

What's For Dinner This Week.....10/17 - 10/23

Monday -Sub-Sandwiches and leftover Spicy Chicken Stew

Tuesday - Hot Dogs leftover from our wiener roast

Wednesday - Ravioli Casserole, Salad

Thursday - Sticky Chicken

Friday- Leftovers

Saturday - Cheese Soup

Sunday - Breakfast Casserole for "Sunday Family Brunch" and feed yourself for dinner.

Snacks - Homemade Brownies, Popcorn, Graham Crackers, Apples and Peanut Butter

Friday, October 14, 2011

5 Things I Did That Were Frugal This Week

1. I found a Christmas present at Goodwill for $3.49

2. I bought Kid # 5 a pair of brown flats which she was in need of at Goodwill for $ 3.99

3.  I had $27.80 left from my two week grocery budget which I will be applying towards my credit card payment!

4. I had a couple stay at home days

5. I cooked at and we ate at home every day!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Spicy Crockpot Chicken Stew

This is what we are having for dinner tonight.  I have made this several times and everyone likes it, which is always good :)

3 or 4 large chicken breast cut into 1 inch pieces ( I used 3)
1 can condensed fat free chicken broth ( I used 2 bullion cubes dissolved in water cause that is what I had)
1 can tomato soup
3 carrots cut into 2 inch chunks
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup water
3 TBSP minced garlic, or 3 whole cloves minced ( I buy the big jar of Our Value minced garlic at Walmart)
1/2 TSP black pepper
2 TBSP chili powder ( I left this out because I make my own taco seasoning and it is kinda spicy by itself)
1 package taco seasoning or 1/4 cup if you buy in bulk
1 -15 oz can diced tomatoes
1 - can kidney beans
1- can navy beans ( I am using black beans that I made myself, out of my freezer)

Put all ingredients except beans in crock pot.  Cook on High for 4 1/2 hours ( I cook mine on low all day) Check to make sure the chicken in done.

Add beans and cook another 10-15 minutes on high ( I add my beans in at the same time as everything else)

Top with sour cream and/or shredded cheese, jalapenos, green onion or any other topping you might like. ( we do the sour cream, crushed up tortilla chips and shredded cheese)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Christmas Plan Update

Here is what I have accomplished so far on my Christmas Plan. I hope to be finished with all my Christmas shopping by the end of November.  We will see if that happens :)  I had planned to have my Mom, Mother in law and Grandmothers gift completed by the end of September but that just didn't pan out.  I do however have most of the items bought that are needed to make the gifts.  Hopefully I will have that done in by the end of this week :)

Photo for Christmas Cards

Christmas Cards ordered

Christmas Tree

Kid # 5 picture with Santa

Husband - I don't really do a set number of gifts for my husband but we do have a set amount we get to spend on each other :)

1 gift so far - $30

Kid # 1

gift # 1 -$15.64
gift # 2 - $25.00
gift # 3
gift # 4

Kid # 2

gift # 1 - $3
gift # 2
gift # 3
gift # 4

Kid # 3

gift # 1 - $5
gift # 2 - FREE with Swagbucks
gift # 3
gift # 4

Kid # 4

gift # 1 - $ 28.94
gift # 2 - $ 3.00
gift # 3
gift # 4

Kid # 5

gift # 1- $60
gift # 2
gift # 3
gift # 4

Future Daughter In law

gift # 1 - Free
gift # 2
gift # 3
gift # 4

Mom - $12.98 +1.18 = $ 14.16
Step dad - Free using my points from Mypoints
Family gift for nieces and nephew - Free
bro in law
Grandma - $12.98 + 1.18 = $ 14.16
Mother in law - $12.98
Father in law - Free using my points from Mypoints


Jenna - $4

Teacher gift for Kid # 5

Monday, October 10, 2011

Menu 10/10 - 10/16

Here is what we are eating this week!

Monday- Quesadillas w/ homemade refried beans

Tuesday- Meatloaf

Wednesday- Spicy Chicken Stew - carried over from last week

Thursday- BBQ Sandwiches - using pulled pork from the freezer

Friday - Leftovers

Saturday - Wiener Roast

Sunday - French Toast and Bacon for "Sunday Family Brunch" and Sandwiches later

Saturday, October 8, 2011

5 Things I Did That Were Frugal This Week

1. Found Kid # 5 LL Bean snowboots at a yard sale for $2

2. Planned our menu and ate at home for all dinners

3.  I needed a black mat for a picture I wanted to hang up in our family room.  I repurposed one I already had with a little spray paint

4. Used up the leftovers for my husbands lunches

5.  Made some homemade dryer sheets that so far are working awesome!  I will post about this soon!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Searl House Happenings..........

I finally got all of my fall planting done that I had been putting off for the last few weeks.  I also transplanted some things to a couple different locations.  We are planning to get a new storage shed hopefully by the end of the month.  Some of the flowers and things I transplanted were in the way of the spot we would like to put the shed.

Yesterday on the way home from taking Kid #3 to the Orthodontist we stopped at GFS Marketplace and purchased a few items.  I picked up a two -2lb blocks of cheese that we will shredded as needed for different meals. I also got a 1 lb bottle of chili powder and a 2lb 6oz container of dry roasted peanuts.  Total spent $24.50

Today I did my big grocery shop at Aldi.  I am to tired this evening to list everything I bought there but my total was $84.17.  $9.99 of that was on a utility/shopping cart, you know, like the ones you see old ladies walking and pulling around.  I have wanted one of those for a long time and they had them marked down from about $15.  I live close enough that I could walk to purchase some of my groceries but I would need a cart or wagon or something to be able to get them home.  Now I have one :)  I will add the 9.99 back to my grocery cash.  So I have about $59.70 left in my two week budget.  I have to make one more trip to get sugar which I forgot and the kids are out of salsa.  I need to look over my two week menu and see if we actually have to have the salsa for any of the meals or if they will need to just deal without it until the next pay period.

Last week was Homecoming here for Kid # 3 and 4.  I have posted before that we had a surprisingly cheap and frugal homecoming.  Kid # 3 found her dress and shoes at Goodwill for a total of $20.98.  She wore long black gloves from Kid # 5's dress up box.  She already had earrings and she borrowed some bracelets from Kid # 2.  I made her corsage and her boyfriends boutonniere.  I did pay a friend $20 to do her hair.  That may or may not have been pricey but since the friend is 9 months pregnant and did a practice session on Kid # 3's hair before homecoming I think it was OK.   Here are a couple of pics of the corsage and boutonniere :)

For Kid # 4 I found his homecoming clothes at a yard sale.  I paid a total of $1 for his dress shirt and dress pants.  Woohoo for me!!  He needed a royal blue tie to wear with his shirt and it turns out that Kid # 3 and her boyfriend wore that color last year so he borrowed the boyfriends tie.  Kid # 4 and his date opted not to do flowers since neither of them are old enough to have jobs.  I was OK with that if they were.  I did give Kid # 4 $15 to buy the tickets required to be able to attend homecoming.  So total spent for two kids to go to the dance was less then $60.  I do not think that was bad at all and the best thing is they both had a wonderful time.  Both Kid # 3 and Kid # 4 attended the dance together with both their dates which I also think is wonderful!

So that is what has been happening around here.  I will post my Christmas plan update soon!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Cleaning The Pantry

This evening as I was cleaning up the kitchen I decided to get out my label maker.  My idea was to label some of my storage containers that I keep things like rice and stuff in.  I have these bigger size storage boxes in my pantry which is just off my garage.  I had half of a large batch of homemade hot chocolate in one, pinto beans, and popcorn kernels in the others.  There are also two sitting empty which previously held homemade pancake mix and a bulk rice purchase that we had finished up. I had some unopened bags of white rice and brown rice that I thought I would go ahead and fill up some glass jars with and the storage boxes.  As I was looking at the bag of brown rice I discovered it had bugs in it.  So did my storage box of hot chocolate mix and my popcorn kernels.  Ugh I so should have know better then to keep these things in the pantry during summer.  The pantry is not really climate controlled like the rest of the house.  It is off the garage so it does get hot in the summer and cold in the winter just like the garage does.  I should have put the bags of rice and popcorn kernels in my freezer and the hot chocolate mix in my extra garage refrigerator.  I had to throw out the brown rice and hot chocolate mix.  I put the popcorn kernels in a different container and threw them in the freezer hoping to salvage them.  I also put my extra bags of white rice in the freezer also.  I hate having to throw out food!!  I also hate that I could have prevented this if I had paid more attention.  Ugh!  I do not think my storage container I have been using seal good enough so I think I will be using different ones from now on.  Hopefully I can prevent this from happening in the future!  I think I will be doing alittle more research on how to store these types of items better.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Grocery Shopping Today

The last two weeks in September I almost made it to my goal I posted about here of only spending $100 for two weeks.  We spent ( I had some help from the husband) $ 106.38.  I really don't think that was to bad.  This two weeks ( Sept 29 - Oct13) I withdrew my normal $200 in cash but I am really hoping to spend way under that.  I have planned out my two week menu and included some snacks which really seems to be helping.  I have made my grocery lists for all the different store I will need to shop at.  Here is what I have spent so far:


4-bars Fels Naptha Laundry Soap - 0.97 cents each =$ 3.88
1- Box Borax - $ 2.98
1- Box Washing Soda - $ 3.24 ( I do not think this is the cheapest place I have seen this priced in my area and will be shopping around to see)
( can anyone guess what I am making?)
1- Walmart Brand Coffee Creamer - $ 2.12 ( this has went up in price I noticed)
1 - Walmart Brand Jar Salsa - $1.98

Total = $ 15.45

Kroger -( Kid # 1 works at Kroger so we get employee discount on Kroger brand items)

1 - Kroger Brand Gallon Milk - $ 2.99 - 0.30 discount = $ 2.69
4- Frozen Kroger Brand Veggies - $4.00 - 0.40 discount = $ 3.60
1 - Box Kroger Brand Kosher Salt - $ 1.25 - 0.13 discount = $ 1.12
3- Bags Kroger Brand Tortilla Chips - $ 3.00 - 0.30 discount = $ 2.70
1- Kroger Brand Applesauce Cups - $ 1.61 - 0.16 discount = $ 1.48
3 - Italian Sweet Bread Loafs off the bakery discount rack - $1.29 = $ 3.87

Total = $ 15.58

Kroger - ( Sunday morning trip by husband and Kid # 5)

1- Dozen Bakery Doughnuts = $5.99

Total = $ 6.05

Dollar General Store

1- Poster Board ( normally I do not count this in with my groceries but it was 50 cent) -$ 0.50
1 - Duracell Batteries ( I do count this as part of my groceries along with all cleaning supplies) - $ 3.75

Total = $ 4.54

So as of right now I have spent $41.62.  I still have a couple of grocery shops to make one of them is a bigger one at Aldi.  I will update later on how I have done.  So far so good though!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Update on September To-Do List

So I accomplished about half of my to-do list.  As you can see I got the stove cleaned, the garage refrigerator cleaned and the kitchen counters wiped down.  I did not however get the floor ripped up and probably won't until the spring :(  I also have yet to clean the kitchen refrigerator but hope to get that done this week. 

I have purchased most of the things to make my Mom, Mother in law and Grandma's Christmas gifts.  They are all getting the same gift made just a little different.  Now I just need to get them all made.  At least I got all the things bought :)

I did manage to get all the kids at least on gift bought.  A couple of the kids actually have 2 things purchased for them!

I'll be writing a post soon about our frugal homecoming for Kid # 3 and Kid # 4

I don't think I did to bad really and I hope to accomplish the rest of these things in October!

Clean stove, inside and out
Rip out kitchen floor

Clean behind everything on the kitchen counters

Clean kitchen refrigerator

Clean garage refrigerator

Looks like September will be the month to really deep clean the kitchen!

Make my Mom and Mother in laws Christmas gifts. Get one gift bought for each of the kids.

Make Kid # 3 corsage and boutonniere for Homecoming. A post and pics to follow :)

Menu 10/2 - 10/9

Monday - Sub-Sandwiches and Leftover Soup

Tuesday- Stir-Fry and Rice

Wednesday - Beef Taco Rice Skillet ( new recipe I am trying)

Thursday - Spicy Crock pot Chicken Stew

Friday - Leftovers

Saturday - ???? undecided as of yet

Sunday - Crescent Roll Hot Dogs

Friday, September 30, 2011

5 Things I Did That Were Frugal This Week

1.  My hubby took in our aluminum cans and we made $51 in extra cash

2. Made a list before going to Walmart and stuck to my list when there :)  Sometimes that is hard

3. Came up with a menu for the next two weeks and made a grocery shopping list from that.

4.  Went to lunch with a friend which is cheaper then going to dinner :)  Plus it was fun too!

5. Bought a few more supplies for some Christmas gifts I am making and used a coupon to get them :)  Saving 40%!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Pizza Soup

On Thursday we will be having Pizza Soup for dinner.  This is one of my favorite soups and we have it often in the winter.  I orginally got the recipe here.  I no longer follow this recipe exactly since my husband makes our pizza sauce himself and we no longer buy jar sauce.  So here is my recipe in case I am not the only one who makes their own pizza sauce :)

6 cups pizza sauce
5 cups water
1 - chopped up green pepper
1- can chopped up mushrooms or fresh mushrooms if I have them
1 package browned and drained sausage or sometimes I leave this out if we don't have any
1 cup chopped up pepperoni slices ( we usually always have these since we make alot of homemade pizza)
1/3 to 1/2 cup Orzo pasta

Add all of the chopped up veggies and meat to the crock pot.  Then add the sauce and water.  Cook on low 7-9 hours.  Top with mozzarella cheese before serving.

I basically add anything that you would eat on a pizza.  I have made this on the stove top before also. This is a really good soup that even my kids enjoy! 

Monday, September 26, 2011

Menu 9/26 - 10/2

Monday - Leftover Pizza Pasta Bake.  We need to eat this before it goes bad!

Tuesday - Foil Packets on the grill with potatoes, green pepper, onion, mushrooms and polish sausage

Wednesday -Moroccan Chicken Skillet

Thursday - Pizza Soup

Friday - don't know yet

Saturday- Leftovers

Sunday- Omelette's for Sunday Family Brunch and Sandwiches later on

Friday, September 23, 2011

5 Things I Did That Were Frugal This Week

1. I made my daughter corsage for Homecoming next week.

2. Made all our snacks utilizing things we had in our pantry

3. Cleaned out my sons closet which is very big and we also use it for storage.  Listed some items for sale that we no longer use.

4. Called about getting our cable bill reduced.  It didn't work but at least I tried :)

5. Found Kid # 2 a dress and necklace to use for her senior pictures and a shirt to wear for a wedding at a few yard sales I went to on Saturday. Spent $2.25

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Grocery Shopping

This two week pay period the grocery budget is pretty tight.  I over spent the last pay period and did alot of stocking up on sale items.  In order to make up for my over spending I gave myself a $100 grocery budget for this two week pay period, Sept 15-28.  So far I have spent $86.73.  I have everything I will need for all of our dinners from now thru Sept 28.  So we will see if I make it on $100.  Please keep in mind I do have a small stockpile of items in my pantry and a freezer full of meat.  Here is what I have purchased so far:


2- Banana - $ 2.38
Granny Smith Apples - $ 3.99
3 - Baby Carrots -$ 1.47
2- Sugar Snap Peas - $ 2.98
Gala Apples - $ 3.99
2- Avocados - $1.98
2- Gallons Skim Milk - $ 5.56
2- Tomato Juice - $ 2.58
Vanilla Yogurt 32 oz - $ 1.99
2- Spaghetti O's - $1.38
Sour Cream - $ 1.29
2- Chili Beans - $1.10
Quick Cooking Oats - $1.99
2- Diced Tomatoes - $1.10
Butter Quarters - $ 2.79
Cream Cheese - $1.29
Flour Tortillas - $ 0.99
Wide Egg Noodles - $ 0.99
2- Fiber Bars - $ 3.78
2 - Cereal Bars - $ 3.78
2 - Graham Crackers - $ 2.58
Snack Crackers - $ 1.69
Sliced Pepperoni - $1.99
Cheetos ( aldi brand) - $ 0.99
2 - Eggs - $ 2.74
3- Bread - $ 2.97
Hot Dog Buns - $ 0.79
Total w/ tax = $61.76


Honey - $ 4.99
Total w/ tax = $ 5.04


Potatoes - $2.99
Lettuce - $0.99
Zucchini - $ 1.19
3-Green Pepper - $1.69
Mushrooms - $1.69
Mexican Shredded Cheese - $2.99
3lb Polish Sausage - $ 4.29
5 - Hamburger Buns - $1.95
4 - Hot Dog Buns - $ 1.56
Total w/ tax = $19.93

While I was at Aldi today they Hamburger and Hot Dog buns marked down to $0.39.  So I stocked up on them for my freezer.

I have $13.27 left in my $100 budget.  Hopefully this will be enough to get milk or bread if we need it before the end of the pay period.  I'll let you know how I do!

Monday, September 19, 2011

After School Snack Today

I am trying to be more mindful of planning the kids after school snack each day.  This is really helping me to stay within my grocery budget and not over buy snack items.  The grocery budget is very tight for this two week pay period so I am especially making sure to plan things.  For today's snack I made a dip to go with the Granny Smith Apples my kids like to eat.  It is super easy to make and should last us for at least a few snacks.  Here is the recipe and it was given to me by my Mom :)

Fruit Dip

1 - 8 oz package cream cheese
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix all ingredients together and refrigerate.

                                                           Linking up to:


Menu Plan 9/19 - 9/25

Monday- Grilled Cheese & Tomato Soup ( a request by my kids)

Tuesday - Tacos

Wednesday - Balsamic Chicken - Crock pot ( I got this off this great Facebook page Crock Pot Girls have you seen it?)  Rice and Corn

Thursday - Chili and Corn Bread

Friday - Chili Dogs, French Fries and Cut Up Veggies

Saturday- Leftovers

Sunday - Sub Sandwiches with Cut Up Veggies

Here is my plan for snacks this week, Sliced Apples & Dip, Popcorn, Cookie Bars, and Graham Crackers with Milk

Friday, September 16, 2011

5 Things I Did That Were Frugal This Week

1. Made a boutonniere for Kid # 3's date for Homecoming. 

2. Bought a Christmas gift for Kid # 5 and saved a bundle by buying used

3. Found some wrought iron patio furniture on craigslist - 9 pieces for $70. Again saving money by buying used :)

4. Made chicken broth from Tuesday nights whole chicken and used it for soup for Thursday nights dinner

5.  Cleaned out Kid # 5's closet and went through all of the boxes of her outgrown clothes.  I have someone interested in buying some of them in the next week or two

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Good and The Bad!

I set down today and did our banking.  Today is pay day and since I have put together my bill binder it has made my life so much easier.  So while doing the banking I really took a look at our numbers and where we stand as far as debt repayment.  As I posted here we owe on our credit card again.  I just paid a big ole chunk on it this month.  My husband has been working alot of overtime so that has really helped but we still owe around $1000 on it.  I hope to have this paid off by the end of Oct if not before.  I plan to make a much better effort at planning our purchases and keeping an eye on what is being spent.  My husband uses this credit card for some business purposes too.  But he does not always tell me when he makes purchases on it and then I do not have a plan for it.  Alot of times he uses the card to purchase things and then is reimbursed the expenses at a later date.  I need to keep better track of these things.  I also need to make sure when he is reimbursed the money goes where it is suppose too. I plan to try and check the credit card statement once a week to make sure there are no purchases on it that are not accounted for.  Hopefully this well help.

I have to admit I am discouraged by our progress.  I now realize we are not going to meet my goal of being debt free, except our house, by June 2012.  I do however think we could be by December 2012. I am not giving up on my goal of doing it by June though and I am rededicating myself to meeting my goal.  But I am also not gonna be terrible upset if I don't meet it as I now realize that is a possibility.  We will see how it goes.....

On another note, I have an opportunity when I go home in a few weeks,  to visit my Mom, to sell some of Kid# 5s outgrown clothes.  If all goes as planned I should make about $50 on this deal.  I also had an opportunity to buy a used Christmas gift for Kid #5 and spent $60.  This is an electronic item for her and it was a really great deal and she will love it!  So the $50 I will make on her outgrown clothes will be added back into my Christmas fund.  It looks like I will be meeting my goal of having each one of the kids at least one gift bought by the end of September!  Do any of you buy used items and give them as gifts?  I have several times and not one of my kids has ever noticed or if they did they didn't care!  I am trying to keep a tally of how much I have spent so far on Christmas gift.  When I do an update of my Christmas plan I will try to add the tally to it.  I am thinking this will better help me stay on budget.

Anyway hope everyone has a nice day!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Menu Plan 9/12 - 9/18

Monday - Corn dogs ( a request from kid # 5 )

Tuesday - Whole chicken, Rice, Green beans

Wednesday - Pizza Pasta Bake, Salad

Thursday - Chicken Noodle Soup ( made with leftover chicken carcass from Tuesday)

Friday - Leftovers

Saturday - going to a friends wedding

Sunday - Eggs, Bacon and Biscuits

I am also trying to plan out my after school snacks.  This is what I have for this week:  graham crackers and homemade icing, popcorn, bar cookies, grapes and popcicles.

Friday, September 9, 2011

5 Things I Did That Were Frugal This Week

1. Bought some cheap, 50 cent,  mums at Lowes on Labor Day to help spruce up my yard . Spent $3 total :)

2. Made waffles from scratch for the freezer.  These make for an easy breakfast on school mornings.

3. Used some coupons combined with a good sale at Kroger and stocked up on some cheap hygiene products

4. Had several stay home days

5. Had a girls nite at a friends house instead of going out some where which was much cheaper and only cost me the price of gas to drive there

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Update of Yearly Goals

I thought it might be time to update this again!  I am pretty sure there will be no more major remodeling projects done this year.  So anything that is not marked off the list by now it probably not going to get done.  I am getting ready to work  on the kitchen floor and that will be the last remodel project of the year!

Personal/Family1. Visit more with my girlfriends. Shoot for once a month. I have been keeping up with this one pretty well over all I think.
2. Invite friends over for dinner or out to dinner. Shoot for every other month. We were doing good on this for a while but then we got busy over the summer and have not kept up with it :(
3. Be more mindful of the amount of time kids are using the computer. I am seriously failing at this one I have to admit!
4. Be more mindful of my own computer time. Probably failing at this one also :(
5. Read with Lilly more I think we are doing well with this!
6. Ask for help from everyone in my family more when I am feeling overwhelmed this one is a learning process :)
7. Teach the kids to cook a few basic meals Kid # 3 does pretty well with is but I am failing at teaching the others
8. Family movie night once a month We have went to a friends house several times over the summer for an outdoor movie in their back yard.  This is a family event!
9. Go to the library more We have done this alot over the summer and I plan to continue it through the winter!
10. Read more books I have been doing this
11. Wiener Roast 2x not yet but I am hoping to get to do this soon
12. Camping at least once this year DONE!!
13. Be more mindful of scheduling my time work in progress
14. Make more gifts this year for bday's and Christmas I/we have done this alot!
15. Exercise more big fat fail!


1. Sewing desk for office
2. Shelves for office
3. Closet shelves for office
4. Peg board for office Just bought the materials to get this one done!
5. Organize office
6. Downstairs bathroom floor
7. Kitchen Floor
8. make better use of chore notebook
9. organize coupon binder
10. Make a price book
11. Make a household notebook


1. Pay off the balance on windows
2. Save for South Carolina trip
3. Pay extra towards car I have been doing this and I am tracking it with the ticker at the top of the blog!
4. Sell on eBay
5. Pay cash for downstairs bathroom floor
6. Try to shave $50 a month off grocery budget Some months I have done well with this and some not so much.
7. Save for Christmas I have been keeping up with this every month!
8. Track clothing/shoes purchases for family for the year I just went threw all my receipts and updated my tracking on this!
9. Pay bills on time lol I wrote a post about this :P
10. Possible bathroom remodel

Searl House Happenings..........

There is really not much happening around here lately.  The kids are all back in school  and so is my husband.  We are not yet into the full swing of activities but it will be starting soon. 

Kid # 2 has recently got an after school job. We got pretty lucky since it is for the before and after school daycare program and only during the week. This will not affect our visits with her at all,  except maybe for school holidays. 

Dance classes for Kid # 3 and # 5 will be starting tomorrow. Kid # 3 will get to help at the dance studio this year on Saturdays and because of that her lessons will be FREE!! Woohoo!   Kid # 5 is involved in Brownies, also, which has not yet started for the school year. 

Kid # 3 is having a very difficult time finding a job that will work around her school dance squad schedule.  I just tell her to keep trying and eventually something will come along.  If she does happen to get a job this could possible effect her ability to help out with dance classes and then we would have to go back to paying for her lessons.  We will cross that bridge though when and if it happens.

Kid # 4 seems to be enjoying high school so far.  I really hope this continues for the rest of the year.

It has been an adjustment not having the kids home all day.  I think I am finally getting use to it.

We have started several projects recently but none of them are completed as of yet.  I am hoping by the end of this month I will be able to blog about them.

One project I did put together in the last couple of days is a "bill binder".  I will be posting about this in the next day or two.  I also plan to discuss where we are at as far as paying off the credit card we used over the summer and my car.

Hope everyone enjoyed there Labor Day Weekend :)

Monday, September 5, 2011

Menu Plan 9/5 - 9/11

Monday - Waffles and Turkey bacon

Tuesday - Pork Spare Ribs, Baked Potato, Salad

Wednesday - Sloppy Joe's, Pork N Beans, Green Beans

Thursday - Crock pot Chicken Spaghetti

Friday - Leftovers

Saturday - Party at a friends

Sunday - Breakfast Burritos

Saturday, September 3, 2011

5 Things I Did That Were Frugal This Week

1. I menu planned and made a shopping list

2. I stayed home :)

3. I used my clothes line and hung my laundry outside

4. We shopped around for some materials we need for a yard project to make sure we are getting the best price.

5. We had a leftover night and ate our leftovers for dinner

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

September To- Do List

Clean stove, inside and out

Rip out kitchen floor

Clean behind everything on the kitchen counters

Clean kitchen refrigerator

Clean garage refrigerator

Looks like September will be the month to really deep clean the kitchen!

Make my Mom and Mother in laws Christmas gifts.  Get one gift bought for each of the kids.

Make Kid # 3 corsage and boutonniere for Homecoming.  A post and pics to follow :)

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

My Home Management Binder!!

Well I have finally finished my binder!  I have been using it for a couple of weeks now and it is awesome!  There are a few things I have taken out and added in but over all it is how I wanted it.  The only thing I purchased to put this together were some more page protectors and that is because I ran out of my original ones.  Anyway here it is:

This is the spine and cover: 

I used a binder I already had that my husband had probably picked up at a yard sale some place.  We buy binders alot when we see them places and they are super cheap.  First I decorated the front of the binder.  I cut a piece of scrap book paper to fit. Then added a piece of white card stock and named our binder with scrap book stickers. The covered up portion is our last name.  I also used a few more stickers to add a little decoration :)  I then used the scraps from the orange poke a dot paper to decorate the spine.  I didn't have enough stickers to spell out the front page title so I just put "House" on it and figured if anyone had to find my binder they would be able to figure it out with just that.

On the inside of the binder is a pocket that I added an " Emergency Information" page I printed out from Life....Your way.  I also have a zippered pouch that holds my pencils, pens and dry erase markers.

After that I added a whole year calendar in a page protector for 2011 and 2012

The first section of the binder is my "Planner" section.   I used some file folders I already had and cut them down to size to fit the binder and use as dividers.  I then printed some clip art and glued that on each divider.  I also used my label maker to make labels for the tab section of the divider.

All the pages in my binder are in page protectors.  In the planner section I use dry erase markers on them so that I do not have to continue to print pages. So far this has worked out well.  My first page in this section is a daily planner page

The next two pages are a weekly planner page.  This makes it easy for me to see at a glance what is going on in the week.  All 3 of these pages I found at Organized Home .

Next I have a two page blank monthly calendar that I can fill in with a dry erase marker myself each month.  This has been very helpful when making appointments to be able to look at the whole month.  I found this calendar here I forgot to take a pic of it so you will just have to click the link to take a look :)

Next I have a cleaning checklist that I found here at Simple Mom . Then I also have a menu planning page that I printed from The Project Girl .  I printed this on both sides of the paper so I could menu plan two weeks at a time. The very last thing in the Planner section is some notebook paper that I use for grocery lists.

The next section in my binder is the Calendar section

I have a calendar program I use on my computer to add all important dates for our family.  I have printed this off up until December of this year.  At the beginning of each month, I plan to make sure the calendar in the binder is up to date with the one on my computer,  if not I will print it again.  I also have each of the kids school calendars as well as my husbands gig calendar and college calendar.

Each of the 4 kids who are still in school have their own sections. I printed some clip art for them and also added their names with my label maker on their dividers.

Kid #2 

Kid # 3

Kid # 4

Kid # 5

In each of their sections I have put an "Medical Information" page which I printed from Finding Home .  I also included another copy of their school calendar, bus schedule, bell schedule and class schedule if those things apply to the child.  I will also be including any extra curricular activity schedules they may have.  In Kid # 5's section I will be keeping her weekly teachers notes and spelling lists that she brings home on Friday's.

The last section in the binder is my projects.

My husband made me this form for me to keep track of the things I would like to accomplish in our house.  There is a space to fill in for each room of the house.

I have a book list and movie list that I also printed from Finding Home in this section too.  The very last thing is more notebook paper which I have already started a "wish list" on for items I would like to have as gifts.

That is all there is to it.  It took awhile to put the binder together but I am so glad I did!  It is proving to be very helpful already this school year!  I however,  did not include a financial section in this binder.  I have decide to create a separate one for those items.  My home management one will occasionally leave the house with me.  I do not want to be carrying around my important financial information with me so I decided to make a separate one that will always stay in our home in a safe place.