Monday, December 31, 2012

Reflections on 2012

This year has been a trying year.  Some things have been good and some not so much.  Here is a little reflection:

February - Kid # 4 spends week in hospital
Kid # 1 announces they are pregnant and there will be no October 27th wedding ( then starts the hunt for a date everyone can attend)

March -  I start new job outside of the house for the first time in 20 years
Kid # 4 is sent to live with his Father ( one of hardest decisions I have ever had to make but it has worked out well)

May- Husband's graduation from college
          Kid # 2 graduation from high school

June - Kid #1 - wedding.  10 days later premature birth/death of our first grand child
Kid # 2 graduation party

July - loose new job due to them moving out of state

October - Hubby visits the ER for asthma attack

November - I get another new job

December - Hubby gets new position at work

There is our year in a nutshell. Lets hope 2013 is less eventful :)

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Changes Are Coming For 2013

On December 27th my hubby accepted an Accounting position within his railroad.  We are so happy about this!  This is what he went to school for and had worked so hard to achieve.  He will work daytime hours with weekends and holidays off.  He will no longer have to use vacation time just to be able to celebrate a holiday with us.  Those are the good points!

The not so good,  but we can make it work points are, he will no longer be working in the town we live in.  He will have to commute to work about an hour each way everyday now.  There will also be some traveling involved since he will now be doing accounting work for the Midwest division of his railroad.  This includes some out of state travel.

So what does this mean for us and our finances? Well first up we will have to make up about a $600 a month difference in our primary income.  We will need to cut a few expenses and increase some income. 

One of the ways we will do this is with my new job. 

The other will be to take a good look at our bills, namely whether we really need the cable or not.  It is bundled with our Internet and land line, so we will need to see what other options are out there.  We have Netflix already which we actually watch more then our cable channels.  We also all have cell phones so it is a possibility that the land line will be going away along with the cable. I am thinking that will probably save us about $100 a month.

Next up will be the grocery budget.  There are no longer 7 people living here anymore, we are down to just 4 with some occasional visits and family dinners etc with the rest of the kids, yet our grocery budget is still the same.  The few months that I attempted to meal plan for the whole month all at once really saved us alot of money.  I plan to put this back into action and hopefully shave off $100 a month off our grocery bill.  Not only am I going to have to really plan for our dinners, but I also need to for snacks and breakfasts that will be easy for my husband to take along in the car with him.  I am going to have to really sit down and plan this all out.

I have a post planned in the next day or two with my 2013 goals.  2 of those goals are to keep selling our used and unwanted items and also my craft projects.  By doing those to things I think I can easily bring in an extra $100 or more a month. 

My husband also does alot of side work which brings in extra income.  So with all of these things thought out I think the decrease in primary income will not hurt us to badly.

Our biggest obstacle in all of this is my husband is in need of a smaller fuel efficient car.  Hopefully by mid summer if not before we will be able to cash purchase a new to us car for him to drive to and from work.  In the mean time he will use my car during the week and I will drive his 20 yr old car around town.  I don't really like his car much but I DO like being car payment free, so that out weighs my dislike of his old car :)

Here  is hoping for a good 2013!

Friday, December 21, 2012

5 Things I Did That Were Frugal This Week

1.  Went to work 3 days this week :)

2.  Put a family pack of chicken thigh pieces ( 10 total) that I got on mark down for $3.24 in the crock pot.  I got 2 meals from this family pack

3.  Wrapped presents with paper I bought on clearance last year

4. Sold 2 more items and made $20

5. Waited until the last minute to get our living room Christmas tree. ( we put up 2, one real and one artificial) Because of that it only cost us $20.  Which is cheap for a tree in our area

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Started My Job

Today was my second day at my new job.  Yesterday I worked at the Jr High which is the hub of the cafeterias in our grade school district.  All the main cooking takes place there.  Today I worked at one of the grade schools.  I will also be working at the same grade school tomorrow, Monday and Tuesday of next week.  I think I will really like working at the grade schools the best.  I work 3 hrs a day which is just fine for me right now.  Honestly though my feet hurt when I get done lol :)  I am hoping that eventually this may turn into a regular job and not just a substitute position but if not that is ok too.

I will need to sit down and really think about what needs to happen with this extra money I am earning.  I will also need to see how it can play into the goals I will have for 2013.

Monday, December 10, 2012

2012 Goal Update

I realized recently I had not posted much at all about how I was doing on the goals I made for myself at the beginning of this year.  Here is my list and what I have managed to get accomplished. I haven't got everything done on it but I did accomplish my two main goals!

. Credit Card - Done as of 1/6/12 :)

2. Car payment  - Done as of September 2012 posted about it here

3. Kid # 1's Wedding - Done as of June 15, 2012

4. Kid # 2's Graduation Party - Done as of the end of June 2012

5. Main Floor Bathroom

6. Downstairs Shower

7. Kitchen Floor  - Done as of November 2012 posted about it here

8. 6 month Car Insurance

9. $500 School Fund

10. $500 Dog Fund

11. De clutter -this has been an ongoing thing and I have made over $500 doing it :)

12. Weight Watchers

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Saturday Night Dinner/ Taco Bake

Tonight we ha this Taco Bake, a recipe I found on Pinterest but originally came from the blog I linked to.  This meal was awesome, we had it with a salad.  Every single one of the kids ate it including my 5 yr old nephew.  Kid # 3 even commented about how good it was and she hoped we would be having it again. 

We typically don't have Doritos but we do usually have tortilla chips on hand.  We all agreed it would be equally as good with tortilla chips as a topping.  Every other ingredient I we always have.  I love when I find recipes that everyone loves and that we usually have all the ingredients for!

One of my goals for 2013 is to try a new recipe that I have pinned from Pinterest every week for the year.  I'll try to post about the ones that we really like and that will make it into the family dinner rotation :)

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Tomato Cage Tree

I have had a few requests to see the tomato cage tree I made.  Here it is

The only thing I bought for this project was the lights to go on the tree.  I had the pot it is sitting in, the tomato cage and the garland. It is pretty easy to make, wrap the cage in lights and garland, easy peasy!  My tree cost me around $14.  I just saw one similar to this at Walmart today for over $50.  Of course it looks very pretty at night too by my front step :) ( please ignore the fact that we really need to sweep the leaves around it AGAIN.  That corner collects them all year long!!)

Tuesday, December 4, 2012


Today I put 2 gallons of turkey broth in the freezer.  This is what I got out of the leftover carcass from Thanksgiving.  We had been picking the meat off it for a while.  On Sunday I cut the rest of it up and threw it in my two crock pots ( yes I own only 2, maybe one of these days I will be as good as Judy and own many more lol ).  When the broth was done I had just stuck the crocks in the frig.  Today I finished them up.  We will use this later for turkey noodle soup or turkey and noodles.  It will make us several dinners.

While I was in the kitchen I decided to make some pizza soup.  We had homemade pizza last week and I had my husband make a big pot of pizza sauce.  So I put 2 cups of the sauce in the freezer to save for a later time and the rest I made soup with.  I used up some odds and ends that needed to be used up out of the refrigerator.  A green pepper, some leftover pepperonis from the pizza night.  6 leftover sausage links leftover from Sunday family brunch.  My hubby then made some bread sticks to go with the soup and that will be our dinner tonight.

I have slowly been working on my Christmas decorating.  We are done with the outside now I believe.  My husband really does most of the lights for the outside.  He is so sweet about that :).  I did make one new thing this year, a tomato cage tree, which I did have to buy lights for.  I got 2 packages of 50 LED lights which cost about $14 or so.  Hopefully they will last many years.  That was the only purchase I had to make for the project as I had everything else.

We will probably put up our family room tree this weekend.  This is the tree that has all the kids items and ornaments on it.   We also put up a tree in our living room.  We call this one the "mom tree" it has all my pretty things on it :)

OH I almost forgot........I got a job!!!!  I will be a substitute cook in our local school district cafeterias.  I can be called to work at any of the grade schools or Jr high.  It is only a few hours each time and is part time work with no set schedule.  But it could possibly in the future become a full time job with really good hours for me to be available for Kid # 5 who isn't old enough yet to stay home alone.  I will know by 8:30 am or so each day whether I will be called in or not, so I didn't think that was to bad.  At least I won't have to sit around all day waiting to be called.  I can start work as soon as my back ground check comes back which hopefully will be at the end of this week.  This is the first "real" job I have had in 20 years :)  I am excited!

Well that is what has been going on around here today.  I need to go get some sewing done, got scarves to sell :)

Great Little Give Away

You all should go check out Lena's blog.  Not only is she having a great little give away just in time for Christmas, but her blog is also a good read :) I just love the title of her blog too, Frugal and Thankful !

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Fleece Boa Scarves

My friend, Judy, from When I get where I'm going, asked to see what my scarves I have been making look like.   So here are a few pictures of some of them.  They are fleece and about 60 inches long or so.  I have now sold 8 of them :)  This is the first time I have ever sold anything I have made.  It is a great feeling to know someone likes my items that much!

The maroon/gold one and the red/black one are local school colors around here.  Those seem to be the most popular.

5 Things I Did That Were Frugal This Week

1. Cooked at home and ate the leftovers

2. I have been lucky enough to have had people interested in purchasing some of the crafts I make.  I sold two scarves and made $20

3. Used coupons for fleece at the fabric store. 

4. Hung several loads of laundry on the drying racks

5.  Planned my driving to save on gas

Friday, November 23, 2012

5 Things I Did That Were Frugal This Week

I guess I missed last weeks 5 things.  But it has been a busy week.  Here is what I did this week though :)

1. Sold a few more items and made $35 this week :)  I will be using this money to help finish up my Christmas shopping.

2. Found a great deal on chicken leg quarters.  I bought two family size packages.  Put one in  the crock pot, the other in the freezer.  When the one in the crock pot was done, I skinned and de-boned it.  Used half the shredded meat for White Bean Chili.  Saved the other half for another dinner.  I then put the bones and skin back in the crock pot and made chicken stock. 

3.  Made a big pot of Chicken and Rice soup with the chicken stock from above and left over rice from the frig. This went right into the freezer to be used at a later date for dinner.

4. I did not go Black Friday shopping..........enough said lol :)

5. Bought a turkey for 77 cents a pound which seems to be the cheapest around here.  Place it in our deep freeze for a later date.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Kitchen Floor

For the last couple of months we have been working on our kitchen floor.  This really turned out to be more of a project then I thought was going to be.  One Friday while my husband was I work I went to town ripping out the first and second layer.  I of course thought" oh this will be easy".......ya not so much!

So here are some pictures of the whole process
     This is a pic of all the different layers


Here is a pic of the big mess I made when I pulled up the fist two layers

This was the "dining"half.  More peel n stick tiles.  We thought hard wood was under this.

This was the "kitchen" half. 

Eventually we did find hard wood under the "dining" half. But first was another layer of flooring

After 4 layers of flooring on the "dining" half and putting down floating vinyl on the kitchen half, we end up with this :)
This is the view from my living room into my kitchen.  I love the new floors. 

The hardwood is about 50 yrs old.  It is not perfect but it matches with the rest of the wood floors of the house and I love it!

We have new base board also.  We have been without for about two years now :)
So there ya go!  That was one less big project to get done :)  Oh I wanted to add all this whole project cost about $350.  Not to bad for new floors I think!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Family Thanksgiving

Today is our Family Thanksgiving.  We are a blended family with 5 kids who all have other families beside us.  One of those 5 kids is now married and he also has inlaws are also divorced.  With all of this in mind, we decided last year we would be doing our family Thanksgiving on the 2nd Saturday in November from here on out.  So today is the day.

On top of getting ready for Family Thanksgiving we had a kitchen floor to get finished :)

I promise to be back next week and post about what all has been happening here.  Hope you all have a great weekend :)

Friday, November 9, 2012

5 Things I Did That Were Frugal This Week

1.  We finished our kitchen floor project,which I plan to post about and came in under budget :)

2. I made a Thanksgiving banner out of supplies I already had

3.  Sold a few items and made $11

4. Used chicken stock I had in the freezer to make chicken noodle soup

5.  Planned my shopping in order of stops to save on gas

Friday, November 2, 2012

5 Things I Did That Were Frugal This Week

1.  Cooked some chicken thigh pieces in the crock pot.  After they were done I skinned, de-boned and shredded them.  Used some of the meat in soup and the rest for a pasta dish.  I got two dinners out them. 

2.  Saved the skin and bones from the chicken pieces added them back to the crock pot with water and made chicken stock.  Froze it when it was done for future use.

3. Sold several times this week and made $20.50.  Best thing is the decluttering of my house :)

4.  Made a list of all the Christmas presents I have bought so far and realized I am halfway done with my shopping.  I will be done by the end of November :)

5. I searched for a coupon online before heading the the fabric store.  Found one for 50% off.

Friday, October 26, 2012

5 Things I Did That Were Frugal This Week

1.  Caught a charge that didn't belong to us in our checking account. Went right to the bank and had it fixed.  Turns out my hubby's debit card info was some how stolen.  I was the 3rd person who had been in that day whom had false charges appear in their accounts from the same stores in the same area.  BTW: my false charge was to the tune of $221.55.

2. Found Kid #5 a pair of black and brown dress shoes for $6 total!

3. Took pictures of several items to list on the facebook garage sale sites in my area.

4.  Ate leftovers and made lunches with alot of them

5.  Re purposed a shirt of my husbands into a skirt for Kid #5

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Fabric Bin Project

I have slowing been trying to implement more organization into our house.  One of the area's that was in a drastic need of an overhaul was Kid # 5's toys.  Her room is small so we only keep a few things in it and the rest are down in our family room.  A few months ago I bought two of these cubbies from Walmart.   They had them on sale at Target so I used the ad to price match.  Walmart is closer to me then Target is                  

                                                  Cubeicals 9 Cube Organizere

The next step in this organization project was to find some inexpensive boxes to fit the cubbies so that Kid #5 would have to some place to store her smaller toys.  After scouring Pinterest, I decided to make her some fabric covered boxes myself.  I first started this project when I was still working as a Nanny.  So over a few months I bought home all the empty diaper boxes and baby wipes boxes.  I also used a few printer paper boxes I had on hand.  Here is the tutorial I used to make my boxes which I originally found on Pinterest.  I used a painters drop cloth to cover my boxes.  I made a total of 9 boxes.   This is what they looked like when I was done.

I thought they were kinda plain looking but they did work and fit well into the cubbies.  Then I happen to stubble on this tutorial for making fabric bins on Pinterest and fell in love with the handles.  So I decided to add handles to my boxes.  This is what they looked like next


Next I decide they needed some numbers on them.  So I  stenciled some numbers on them.

And here they are with Kid #5s toys all organized in them.  I love how they look and to make all 9 boxes cost less then $25.  They are also sturdier then the fabric bins you buy from the store and I would have spent at least $45 buying them.


I really do heart Pinterest!


Stuffed Green Pepper Soup

1 lb.- Ground Beef
1 cup- diced Onion -fresh or frozen
1/2 - teaspoon Basil
1/2 - teaspoon Oregano
1- ( 14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
2 cups- chopped Green Pepper
1 - ( 15 oz) can Tomato Sauce
3 cups- Water
1 Tablespoon - Beef Bouillon
1 cup - cooked Brown Rice

Brown beef and onion. Place in crock pot with the remaining ingredients on low 6-8 hours.  Or place in a large stockpot and simmer 1 hour.

*I usually cook mine on the stove.   I also do not cook the rice ahead of time if I am cooking on the stove.  If I do not have brown rice on hand I have use white rice also and it works fine.  We love this soup and I frequently make a double batch and freeze it for lunches.

Friday, October 19, 2012

5 Things I Did That Were Frugal This Week

1.  Used up and apple in some muffins that was getting kinda mushy, instead of throwing it in the compost bucket.

2. Sold an items making $5 to add to my ER fund.  I also have $22 pending in sales right now.  I am suppose to meet the people later this evening.

3. Made a big pot of Stuffed Green Pepper soup for dinner and used up some green pepper that were starting to go bad.

4. Made a batch of laundry soap

5. Grocery shopped with a list :)

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Mid-Month Check In

I tallied the numbers for our grocery expenses so far this month and they totaled $257.55.  Not to bad but I was really hoping we could just spend that amount for the whole month, not gonna happen.  I have a small grocery list that I need to go purchase.  I think that will be it for the month though.

One thing I have learned in all of this is we are snackers.  We go though alot of snack foods and I doubt that will change.  So I really really need to plan for these also.  I will be starting that with my small grocery list for the rest of the month.  I also need to be more proactive about making some snacks for us from scratch.  I think that would really help with keeping our grocery budget low.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

5 Things I Did That Were Frugal This Week

1.  I sold a few items and earned $32.50 to snowflake to my ER fund :)

2. Cooked at home and stayed out of the grocery store

3. Cleaned out the refrigerator, made up several lunches for my husband to take to work, froze the rest of the leftovers

4. I have wood floors.  I really thought I wanted a dust mop, my floors not only get dirty but sometimes just dusty.  Instead I took a scrap piece of fleece out of my fabric stash and used it on my swiffer ( which I hardly ever use anymore).  I love it!  This is what I will be using from now on.

5. I am working on a command center in my kitchen.  Instead of buying the items I think I need I am coming up with creative ways of making them myself.  Post to come on this soon :)

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Doing A Little Kitchen Work

After my husband left for work this afternoon I decided to busy myself getting some kitchen work done. 

Today I made hot chocolate mix and 2 different Lipton rice mixes to use for side dishes.  One of the mixes I found here.  I made the Creamy Herb Rice.  The only thing I did differently is I added dried green peppers that I had picked up in Iowa at the Amish store, instead of the minced celery.

I grilled two chicken breast on my George Foreman grill and then added them to this Ramen noodle salad.  I did not buy the broccoli slaw.  Instead I made my own with my food processor.  Next time I think I will make my own Cole slaw mix also but otherwise I followed the rest of the recipe.  I am having this for dinner and then there will also be enough for several lunches.  By the way I am a follower of One Creative Housewife. It is a really good blog, you should check it out!

I am also getting the prep work done for homemade pizza for dinner tomorrow night.  I have grated a 2lb block of cheese.  I still need to dice some onion, green pepper and black olives.  But those really should not take long.

Not bad for a slow Sunday!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Taking Care Of Me

This week,  my blogger friend Judy fromWhen I get where I'm going, wrote a post about taking her of herself.  I could totally relate to her post.  I am guilty of putting myself last often. 

So today I  colored my hair.  Kid #3 didn't have school today so I had her help me with the back.  I have vowed to keep up better with my color and to do it every 4 weeks like I need to so that the gray doesn't start peeking through.  I feel better when my hair is done, which in turn also makes me in a better mood.

I also spent sometime in the shower shaving :)  Ya ya I know I should prolly do that more often but honestly I am just lazy.  But yet again,  I feel much better about myself when I keep up with this sort of thing :)  I am sure my husband probably appreciates it also ;)

One other thing I did this week, I called an got myself an appointment at the OB/GYNs office.  I am not even gonna tell you how long it has been since I have been there.  But I realize that going and having my yearly done is equally important as any other thing I could do for myself.  So I called and made the appointment.

Thank you Judy for inspiring me to take a look at my own habits.  I am so glad you are back to blogging!

5 Things I Did That Were Frugal This Week

1. Sold a few items and made $25 to add to my ER fund

2. Stuck to the menu plan

3. Did not go shopping

4.  Worked on a few projects using items I already had.  I am really trying to DO the projects I had previously bought the items for and then not completed.

5.  Worked on our budget and made a plan for where our money will now be going :)

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Another Cheap Light

I love the tripod lights I see on Pinterest and around the blogs.  There is no way I am gonna spend the money to buy a real tripod floor lamp from Pottery Barn though no matter how much I love it.  I couldn't seem to come across any cheap or inexpensive wooden tripods either so I decide to make do with what I had.

 I spray painted an old camera tripod that we had laying around with oil rubbed bronze spray paint.

 My wonderful hubby then wired it up with a light kit we already had.  I bought a lamp shade which cost was the most expensive part of the whole project.  Here is what we have now.......

I love it and we get several comments about it when people are over.

October Dinner Menu

The once a month planning of the dinner menu has been going so well that I did it again for October.  One of the main things I have figured out for this month is that I am planning to many dinners and we are not getting to them all in a month.  So for this month I decided to plan only 20 meals instead of 24.  I will keep adjusting as need be until I find the right number for us each month.  I also found that it is helpful to try  and plan snacks and side dishes too.  I created my own printable to put in my home management binder under the planner section.  This really made the planning much easier.  Every Friday I now have decided will be leftover nights.  We are usually busy on Friday's so this will help alot.

Anyway, here are our dinners for October

1. Leftover chili, sandwiches and salad
2. Lasagna and salad
3. Crock pot Cheesy Rice Chicken and Salad - this is a new crock pot recipe I am trying
4. Mexican Pasta Skillet and corn
5. Leftover Sloppy Joe's from the freezer and seasoned fries
6. Homemade Pizza
7. Pork Loin, baked potatoes and green beans
8. Tomato Soup and grilled cheese sandwiches
9. Goulash and green beans
10. Tacos
11. Perogies with peppers and onions, salad
12. Stir Fry with rice
13. Leftover meatball subs from the freezer, chips
14. Pizza soup, bread and salad
15. Fajitas from a leftover roast in freezer, peppers and onions
16. Fish, rice and green beans
17. Lasagna skillet and corn
18. Stuffed green pepper soup and bread
19 Taco Ring
20 Sub sandwiches, chips and salsa

So far I have done a majority of the grocery shopping for this month.  My total so far is $211.15.  Not to shabby I don't think.  I do have a few items to get at Walmart still which I have not done yet.  I'll update on how this is going again later in the month.

Monday, October 1, 2012

So now what??

When I started this blog "the plan" was to pay off my car and become consumer debt free by the time I turned 39.  Well I am now 39 plus a few months and we accomplished my/our plan.  I can't imagine that I will suddenly become some spendy person.  That is just not in my nature.  I don't plan to change any of my habits as of now.  I like my frugal lifestyle and the way we live.

So now what will we do???  

I will continue with $200 per month we already put into savings and throw any extra money at it until our emergency fund hits $2,000 right now it sits at about $1200.  That is where I feel comfortable with it sitting for a while.  We have started a home improvement project on our kitchen floor.  We are still in the demo stage of it ( post on that to come). When we reach the point of needing to purchase new flooring I plan to be able to pay cash for it.  Once that is done I will go back to building up our emergency fund.  I would like to have at minimum of 3 months bare bones living expenses saved.

Tomorrow I will be setting up an automatic transfer so that the money that was allotted for our car payment will automatically be transferred to our saving account.  My husband drives a very old car ( not by my choice, he loves his old car) and the reality is he is going to need to replace it very soon.  We are hoping to make it until the end of tax season in April/ May next year.  We plan to use the money we are saving now from our old car payment plus whatever he would or could make doing taxes to purchase him a new to us car with cash.

I also need to start saving for new heating and air conditioning.  Our units are almost 20 years old.  It is time to get those replaced hopefully by the end of next year.  If my husband should make enough doing taxes next season to purchase a car and the new furnace/central air that would be great but I am not going to count on that solely happening.  I have not really allotted a set amount to this fund yet.  I need to sit down and run some numbers again to see what I think would work.  I hope to finish the kitchen remodel first before I start this savings.

On top of all of this I need to finish up my shopping for Christmas.  Yes I have already started!  Have you??

Monday, September 24, 2012

Well it finally happened.....

This is my car debt thermometer.  It hangs on my refrigerator and I mark it off as we pay off each $1000.  Notice anything about this picture???

Saturday, September 22, 2012

5 Things I Did That Were Frugal This Week

1.  Stuck to the menu plan and ate at home!

2. Boiled a left over whole chicken and then made chicken noodle soup with it using a few other leftover out of the frig :) The roast chicken fed us one meal.  The soup fed us 2 dinners and then 4 single servings for my husbands lunch! ( so we probably could have gotten 1 more dinner out of the soup if I didn't use it for the single servings!)

3. Sold a few things this week on the Facebook yard sale sites in my area and made $88 to snowflake towards my car!!! 

4. Combined my driving so that I didn't waste gas when I was out.

5. My husbands car has finally died.  We own a van which he uses for hauling music stuff around.  We also have my car and Kid # 3 has a car.  We have decided to not replace my husbands car for a while until we can pay cash for one.  We will be making due with the vehicles we already own.

Friday, September 14, 2012

5 Things I Did That Were Frugal This Week

1.  I did not do any grocery shopping! 

2. Sold a few more of Kid # 5's outgrown outfits making $ 8 to snowball towards my car.

3. Cooked dinner at home and we ate what we had!

4. Made some homemade all-purpose cleaner and some homemade wipes ( which I plan to post about soon) using grapefruit cleaner

5. I worked on my home management binder making some adjustments for the new school year.  I made some of my own printables for it instead of spending the money and buying them from someone else.  This was actually not that easy since I am not that computer smart.  But I did it anyway!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Household Cleaners I Make Myself

1. All- Purpose Cleaner

2. Laundry Soap

3. Powdered Laundry Soap ( this is the recipe I am currently using)

4. Grapefruit Cleaner

5. "Dryer Sheets"

I am linking this post up here:
Tuesday Tip button

List of Things I No Longer Buy Premade

1. Frozen waffles

2. Pancake/waffle mix

3. Syrup

4. Most soups.  I do still buy Tomato soup though cause I just haven't found a homemade version I like better.

5. Bisquick Baking Mix

6. Taco Seasoning Mix

7. French Dressing

8. Ranch Dressing

9. Biscuits

10. BBQ Sauce

11. Granola

12.  Frozen Pizza

13. Pizza Sauce

14. Spaghetti Sauce

15. Rice packets ( like the Lipton Rice ones you buy at the store)

16. Cream Soups

17. Italian dressing

18. Sloppy Joe sauce

19. Coffee Cakes

20. Muffins - I never buy the box mixes for these anymore.  They are so easy to just make from scratch

Friday, September 7, 2012

5 Things I Did That Were Frugal This Week

1. Made a menu plan for all of September

2. Shopped with a grocery list

3. Sold somethings around the house and made $35

4. Listed some more items on the Facebook sites to sell

5. Completed several projects around the house that I had previously bought the items for and never finished

Thursday, September 6, 2012

$5 Light From a Yard Sale

I've been on a roll with getting some much needed projects done lately.  This week I completed several.

A few months a go I found a much prettier over head light at a garage sale then what I had in my craft room originally.  The only thing I didn't like about it was that it was brass.  But I figured for $5 I could go ahead and get it and remedy the brass color.  I bought it right home and gave it a couple coats of brushed nickel spray paint.  Then it sat and sat waiting on my hubby to take down the old light so that I could paint the ceiling around where the new light would go in.  This week my awesome hubby did just that.  After the ceiling was dry he installed the new light for me.  Here it is    
I just love the pretty little bowl shaped shade it has over it.  It is also much much brighter then my old ceiling light!  Not to shabby for $5 at a yard sale huh?
One of these days I will post pics of my craftroom :)
I am linking this up to
Curb Alert

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

5 Things I Did That Were Frugal This Week - Really Late!

1. I made my nephew a present using items I already had!

2. I recovered some pillows using material I already owned

3. Listed several items to sell on the Facebook yard sale sites in my area.

4. My husband changed the oil and did some car repairs himself to save us money

5. Followed my menu plan

Hmmm I thought I had published this lol but as it turns out it was sitting in my drafts.........oh well :)

Totaling The Numbers For August

Having a menu plan for the whole month of August went really well.  I liked it so much that I am just finishing up one for September.  I will be posting it soon :)  I did not use up all of the meals I had planned in August.  I just carried them over into this month. 

I did find that menu planning for a whole month did save us some money but not as much as I had hoped.  Our total for August was $294.86.  My budget before has always been around $400.  So this saved us about $100.  I am hoping as I do this more I will get better at it and save even more money. 

Now in my $294.86 that I spent for August, this included $45 worth of pet supplies which I should not have to buy for September.  It also included a good deal on coffee I stumbled upon.  The coffee should last us until the end of September I am hoping.  My budget also includes all paper product ( not that we use many) and toiletries for the month.  I could probably do better on those items if I got back into playing the "drug store game".    I will have to think on that some.

Anyway not a bad experiment and one I plan to continue for a while.  I'll keep you posted :)

Friday, August 31, 2012

Few Projects I Have Worked On This Summer

Just so you all don't think I spend all my time worrying about food, I thought I would so you a few things I have done over the summer :)

I have slowly been recovering my couch pillows.  They are looking kinda shabby but the fill in them is still good to use.  I have been making simple envelope style pillow covers to place over them.  Here are two that I have made so far.

The first one you can see where the envelope opening it so that I will be able to take these off and wash them.  The second pillow cover I made from two dish towels I bought on clearance.  I love them both!  I have some more material left from the first pillow so I plan to make at least one more of that pattern :)
I also recently made a new cushion for my swing on my patio.  I could never find one that fit correctly.  Last fall I bought all the items using coupons and sales to make the cushion but never followed through on it.  This year I made sure to add it to my to do list!
I have slowly been working on fixing up our patio.  For the last several years we hardly used it.  This summer since I have arranged better seating and added some flowers and things we have used it alot more.  I plan to post before and after pics of it soon :)
I am linking this post up here :)

Sunday, August 26, 2012

5 Things I Did That Were Frugal This Week

1. Stuck to our menu plan and cooked at home

2. Found a great deal on ground beef and stocked up.  This may not seem frugal now but it will save us money next month on dinner meals

3. Completed a few projects using stuff I had bought along time ago and never followed through on.

4.  Made some homemade cinnamon rolls for breakfast last week.  Needed something different to have.

5.  Made homemade hamburger buns since we were out and I didn't want to shop :)

Sunday, August 19, 2012

5 Things I Did That Were Frugal This Week - Late Again :(

1.  Ate up a ton of leftovers :)

2.  Turned off the air conditioning since the weather has turned so nice

3.  Gave an old lamp, some new life :)  I'll have to post about this one soon.

4. Needed a black picture frame and just spray painted on I already had using black spray paint I already had.

5.  Had a couple stay at home days :)

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Update on our August Dinner Menu

I realized recently that I had not been keeping up with my posts about our August dinner menu.  So far it is going well and I updated the list of dinners we have used so far.  I actually think we will have a few of the dinners left at the end of the month. 

I have a small list of items that I need to go to the grocery store for.  We have also purchased a few things in the last few weeks so I have about $65 left of the $200 I was hoping to spend this month.   We will be hosting a big family breakfast on Sunday with most of the kids and my in laws who are here visiting for a few weeks.  I am not sure if I will be able to purchase everything I want to and keep under budget.  We will just have to see how it goes.

Usually for a month my budget is $400 to spend on groceries and personal care items.  This week Kroger has some really good sales on meat so I plan to take $50 or so of the $200 I am saving and stock up on meat for my freezer.

I'll let you all know how the shopping goes :)

Sunday, August 12, 2012

5 Things I Did That Were Frugal This Week - Late!

1. Did laundry and hung it out on the clothes line.

2.  Turned off the air and opened the windows since we have been having such nice weather!

3. I am slowly cleaning out and organizing kid # 5's stuff.  Many many things will make it into the yard sale pile

4. Took some pictures of a few things I plan to sell that we no longer need

5.  I had two stay at home days!  I love weeks like that.  It saves on gas!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

What About Breakfast, Lunch and Snacks???

If you read my August dinner menu post then you know I planned out our main course to have at dinner time for the whole month of August.  You would also know that I have only spent about $124 for August so far at the grocery store. 

I thought I would do a post about what else we are eating during the day.  After all it is summer and I do have Kid #3 and Kid# 5 to feed on a daily bases.  Then I have also had Kid #4 here for part of the summer.  Plus there always seems like there are extra kids here to feed at least once or twice a week.

Anyway, Kid # 5 is the main breakfast eater.  Today she had leftover pancakes that we bought home from when we went to dinner at Cracker Barrel and a glass of milk.  Sunday I made Cinnamon Roll Cake which I originally found on Pinterest.  We had this for breakfast 3 days this week.  She has also had bagels with cream cheese.

As for lunches, we often eat leftovers.  I also have chicken nuggets on hand but Kid # 5 loves then so much I had to set a limit to only having them once a week.  One can of tomato soup has made 3 lunches for her.  We have also had sandwich items and grilled cheese. 

As I type this Kid # 5 has just come in and asked if she can have Ramen for lunch lol :)  With this we will have grapes that I bought on sale. 

As you can see our breakfasts and lunches usually consist of easy items and dinner is our big meal of the day.  Once a week on Sunday I make what I like to call " Sunday Family Brunch" and we have a big breakfast.

We have cheese and crackers, cereal bars, peanuts and we have been eating the last of the girl scout cookies also to eat for snacks.  I also have on hand all the ingredients to make brownies and cookies.  We also have bananas, apples and grapes.  The kids ate on a big jar of applesauce for several day this week too.  My husband has also made homemade salsa a couple of times this week and I do have tortilla chips on hand to eat with it.

We are definitely not going hungry :)

Monday, August 6, 2012

Snowflakes and Dinner

This week I managed to sell one item for $3 and had $22 left from my grocery budget.  So I was able to add $25 to the car fund!  Slow and steady wins the race as they say :)

Saturday night we ended up eating free sub sandwiches given to us at a benefit my husband's band played at.  So nothing used off the dinner menu for August on that day. 

Sunday was Kid # 4's birthday so we went to dinner at Cracker Barrel for that. Which was one of the planned eat out days for the month.

Tonight we at BBQ Country style Ribs cooked on the grill.  We also had salad and cheesy broccoli to eat with it.  So here was another of our dinners used off the menu.  So far the once a month planning is working out well.  Let hope it continues to do so!

Friday, August 3, 2012

5 Things I Did That Were Frugal This Week

1. Cleaned my refrigerator and deep freezer. Inventoried what food I had on hand.

2. Made a meal plan for the whole month of August.

3. Went grocery shopping with a list and shopped more then one store

4. Used my rain barrel to water all my potted plants

5. Shopped Goodwill and a few yard sales for clothes for Kid #5  who has grown two sizes over the summer.

August Dinner Menu Plan

Earlier this week I cleaned out our deep freeze and refrigerator.  I used this time to make a menu plan for the entire month of August. Some of the meals I had all the ingredients for and others I just needed a few items.  My goal was to see if I could stay under $200 for the dinners for the whole month.  I planned 24 dinners, with 5 leftover nights and 2 eating out nights.  Here is my list of the 24 main courses

1. Stir Fry*
2. Country Style Pork Ribs*
3. Hot dogs on Grill*
4. Sloppy Lentil Sandwiches
6. Roasted Whole Chicken*
7. Chicken and Noodles*
8. Grilled Pork Loin*
9. Grilled Fish*
10. Quasadilla
11. Sub Sandwiches
12. Chicken Alfredo
13. Hamburgers
14. Breakfast for dinner
15. Chicken Taco Bowls*
16. Porgies*
17. French Bread Pizzas
18. Cheesy Chicken Bacon and Tator Tot Bake -crock pot meal*
19. Mexican Chicken - crock pot meal*
20. Ranch Pork Chops - crock pot meal*
21. Hawaiian Sweet roll sandwiches
22. Zucchini, Black Bean and Rice Skillet
23. Taco Salad
24. Fajitas

The meals with the stars by them are the ones I found in my pantry, refrigerator, freezer already.  Everything else I needed at least one item to complete the dishes.  My total for the grocery shop to complete all these meals was $123.29. This also included some breakfast and snack items plus some condiments and milk etc.  I will probably have to go back in a couple a weeks to replenish our milk and fresh produce but I don't think that will be more then $50 or so. 

I will also try to post and update on what else I serve with each meal to complete them. We have alot of things in our pantry etc to complete these meals.

As you can see we have already had two of the meals this week. The Zucchini Skillet was our complete meal and was a new recipe that went over well. We will probably have it again sometime.  The Tostada meal was made with refried beans and cheese.  I then served it with sour cream, salsa, lettuce, tomato and black olives. This is a meal we have often and Kid # 5 really likes :)

Monday, July 30, 2012

So So Close!

Today I sat down to see how close we are to paying off the car loan.  At last check we were about $3000 short.

 I have been doing several things to try to come up with this extra cash.  So far I have saved $240 from my babysitting money.  Sold Kid #2's old bike for $ 25.  Sold Kid # 5's outgrown clothes just by offering them up cheaply on my facebook page and also utilizing one of the facebook yard sale sites in my area, making $40.

 I have shaved $100 off our grocery budget in the last few weeks.  By doing all of this I have come up with an extra $405 to put towards the car loan.

 Kid # 3 has been making $100 monthly payments to us also since we helped her purchase her car. I added that money to our car repayment.

Our total still owed is now sitting at $2,375.53. 

I plan to post once a week our progress on coming up with this extra money.  I have made a list of several things we have that I want to try to sell.  I am also having a yard sale with my daughter in law and her family so hopefully I can make some money at that too!

I am trying my hardest to have this loan gone by the end of September!  Wish me luck!

Friday, July 27, 2012

5 Things I Did That Were Frugal This Week

1. Cleaned out Kid # 5's closet and sold some of her out grown clothes making $22 to add to the car fund!

2. Hung clothes on the clothes line

3. Did more kitchen prep work to save us money at the grocery store

4.  Used my rain barrel to water all my potted plants.  I love that thing!

5. Stretched my gas in the  car to one day short of two weeks between fill ups!  Go me!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Taco Seasoning Mix

Here is my recipe for Taco Seasoning Mix.  I found this along time ago on All Recipes.  I usually triple this recipe and make one big jar at a time.  I store mine in a recycled salsa jar.

6-teaspoons chili powder

5-teaspoons paprika

4 1/2-teaspoons ground cumin

2 1/2- teaspoons onion powder

2 1/2-teaspoons garlic powder

1 1/2-teaspoons cornstarch

1 1/1 teaspoons cayenne pepper ( this does make it spicy.  I have left this out before when I have not had any and it was fine)

2- teaspoons salt

Mix all together and store in a jar with a tight fitting lid. 

To use  add :

2-tablespoons + 1 teaspoon  Taco Seasoning Mix and 3/4 cup water to 1lb ground beef.  Cook as you usually would.

Friday, July 20, 2012

5 Things I Did That Were Frugal This Week

1.  I did some kitchen prep work to save us from buying prepackaged food

2.  Hung the laundry on the clothesline.

3.  Used my new rain barrel to water all my potted plants

4. Lined my remaining living room curtain panels with some room darkening fabric I had found at a yard sale for $3.  Our big picture window gets the hot after noon sun so this will help alot!

5.  Sold a bicycle that no one uses anymore and added the money to my car fund

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Work in the Kitchen

This week I will be getting a few days of work with my daycare kids while their parents get the house they live in ready to sell.  Instead of going to their house today to watch them I had the babies over to my house.  I decided I could probably keep the babies entertained at my house and still get a few kitchen pantry items done in the process.  I went through my cabinets and refrigerator and this is the list I came up with:

1. Taco Seasoning Mix- we were completely out and I use this for many different recipes.

2. Cream of Soup Substitute - again we were completely out and I like to use this instead of buying cream of chicken soup in a can.

3. Seasoned Rice Packets- these are like those Lipton Rice packets you buy at the store.

4. Re fried Beans

5. French Dressing

I got the first two items done but when I went to make the rice packets I realized I probably did not have enough rice to get them done.  Thursday is grocery shopping day so I will get the rice bought then and finish the packets on Friday.

The re fried beans I will throw in the crock pot before I leave to go to work in the morning and they will be done by evening time.

The French dressing I am still hoping to get done before I go to bed tonight.

I'll try to post some of the recipes I use soon :)

Not a bad start considering I was watching a 22 month old and a 9 month old for most of the day :)

Monday, July 16, 2012

Frugal Watering

My husband recently made this for me

This is my new rain barrel!  I don't know why I have never had one before.  It is awesome.  We had a pretty good thunderstorm early Saturday morning which filled the barrel to overflowing!  The hose you see coming off to the side is the overflow and it runs into a flower bed along the fence.  I have used it everyday since to water all my potted plants that I have on my patio ( project spruce up patio photos will follow soon!) and deck.  This is a trial run with it.  It has a small leak around the spout that my husband plans to fix when it is empty again. Which at the rate I am using it and it is evaporating do to the heat won't be long. 

Just another thing we are trying out in order to save some money :)  Anyone else have a rain barrel???

Where things are now..........

I have finally had a chance to sit down and run the numbers to see where we stand in our debt pay off.  We are now under $3000! Woohoo!  My original goal was to have our car paid off by my 39th birthday.  Well that has came and went.  But at least we are making progress.  This will be paid off by the end of this year though if not before.  Murphy has paid us a visit at every turn so far this year.  I am hoping that the rest of the year will be much better for us!

Other news........I am back to being a SAHM!  Our friends that I was Nannying for are being transferred out of state with the husbands job.  It was nice to have the extra income and I LOVED those babies to bits, but honestly the hours were alot for the little pay I was making.  I was gone from my house 55 hours a week.  That is more then I care to be working at this point in our lives.  My plan now is to go through the house and clean out as much stuff as I can and sell, sell, sell!  I am hoping to raise at least part of what we still owe on the car by selling our used stuff.

I have been setting aside money for the school fees in August so that won't be a concern.  I also have most of Kid #3 and Kid # 5's dance lessons fees for the year saved.  I need to go through my school box and see if I will need to purchase any supplies this year.  Now that most of my kids are in high school I don't have to buy nearly the supplies I use to.  I think I maybe able to go through the box and sell some of the supplies too.

Hope everyone is having a good summer.  I think mine has been as well as can be expected considering everything that has been going on.

I'll post again soon about some projects I have been working on!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Still here.........

I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who has thought about my family and I in the last couple of weeks!  I am still here and we are all doing the best we can be at this time.  I will post again soon and have alot to update on.  Hope all of you are doing well and staying cool this summer! 

I'll be back soon :)

Monday, June 25, 2012

Sad Sad Day

Today my daughter in law went into premature labor at 21 weeks. 

Today I watched along with Kid # 1 and his Mother in law, my granddaughter be born. 

She weighed 15 oz and lived a few hours.

 I was lucky enough to get to hold her. 

Today I watched my first born, loose his first born and I will never be the same :(

Friday, June 8, 2012

5 Things I Did That Were Frugal This Week

1. Ate at home :)

2.  Hung laundry out on the clothes line and made use of the new line my husband added for me.

3.  Ordered the floating candles and flower petals I needed for decorating Kid #1's tables at the wedding reception, online.  It was cheaper to do it that way even with paying shipping then it was to buy them at Hobby Lobby even with a coupon.

4.  Shopped a few yard sales and picked up some items to help with "project spruce up the patio".

5.  Did a few other projects around the house and reused items I already had!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Things We Do To Save Money At the Grocery Store

I recently shared an article on my Facebook page about some celebrities who were doing the Food Stamp Challenge.  In this article it talked about how each member of the family would be allotted $31 per week.  Right now we have 4 people living here full time and 1 that comes every other weekend and 3 more who eat here occasionally.  So for my full time family members we would be allotted $124 a week to spend on groceries.  This is more then I spend on average anyway.  After I shared this article on Facebook, there were several comments about how I could do this and what we are eating.  There were also several comments from people who thought they could probably do it if they had too.  This got me to thinking about what it is I/we do to save money on groceries and keep our food bill low.

1.  I plan our meals and we cook at home often.

2.  I shop sales and try to buy ahead as much as I can.

3.  We have a deep freeze that we use to put said purchases from # 2 in.

4.  My husband makes our own spaghetti sauce.

5. We rarely buy frozen pizzas.  My husband makes our own pizza dough and pizza sauce.

6. I never buy frozen dinners such as lasagna.  I always make ours and sometimes double up and put one in the freezer.

7.  We cook with dried beans and I make a big batch and freeze what ever we will not be using that day for later use.

8. I shop more then one store and always check sale flyer's. If I don't get a certain stores sale flyer in the mail or newspaper then I check it online

9.  We use cloth napkins

10.  We use rags for cleaning and rarely buy paper towels but do have some in the house.

11. I make most of our cleaning products.

12. I make my own laundry soap

13.  I make my own "dryer sheets"

14. I play the "drug store game" and use coupons for most of our personal care items.

15. We use real plates, glasses and silverware to eat with.  The only time I buy disposable is if we are having a party.

16.  When we do have parties we try to make them potlucks.  Which every one seems to enjoy.

17.  I do buy the occasional 24 pack of soda but for the most part we drink water, tea, lemonade or milk

18.  We have meatless meals at least every other week

19.  I rarely buy cereal.  If I do it is usually a treat.

20. I rarely buy soup in a can.  I make homemade soups all winter long using alot of our leftovers and then freeze them into individual portions for my husband to take to work.

I am sure that I could list more things we do but this is good for now.  One of these days I will have to do a list of everything we now make homemade instead of purchasing.  I believe alot of us frugal bloggers do many of the same things I have listed here but perhaps this will help someone who is not yet jumped on the frugal band wagon :)

I am linking this post up to here :)    Frugal 
Tuesday Tip button

Friday, May 25, 2012

5 Things I Did That Were Frugal This Week

1.  I walked to do some grocery shopping and hit up CVS.  Also to do my banking at the ATM.

2.  I have started playing the "drugstore game" at CVS again since we are running low on personal care items.

3.  I shopped the grocery store sales also and had $105 left in my grocery budget at the end of my two week pay period!

4.  Hung laundry on the line and have informed the kids that they must do so also!

5. Cooked and ate at home even though there were times I wanted to eat out!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Searl House Happenings for May

Wow I can not believe it has been several weeks since I last posted.  Life is very busy around here and I guess I just haven't had time.  May is always such a busy month for us. We have 3 birthday's and this year we have two graduations also.

 We are all still trying to adjust to my working outside of the home.  Sometimes I doubt myself and wonder if this was really such a great idea.  But I do love my job still and find it very rewarding.  I miss having free time though to work on being frugal and do projects and crafts.  I am finding it a struggle at times to strike a balance with working and getting the stuff done at home.  I am sure most working Mothers have this problems at some time too!  My job may not actually be a permanent position as one of my employers has interviewed for a promotion within his company which if he gets it will take them out of state.  Hopefully, he will hear something soon so I can kind of come up with a plan for what I will do if they move.

Kid # 1- will be getting married June 15.  Luckily they are not having a big wedding since that was derailed by the baby coming at the end of the year.  June 6th they will have a sonogram and hope to find out if they are having a boy or girl.  I plan to attend this sonogram too and really look forward to seeing the baby.  It is still seems unreal to me that my "baby" could possibly be old enough to have one of his own.

Kid # 2- will be celebrating her 18th birthday this month and graduating high school over Memorial Weekend.  We will be traveling to where she lives with her Mother to attend the graduation.  Luckily for us it is not to far of a drive.  She seems to be looking forward to starting college in the fall.  We haven't seen her as much as we have in the past due to her busy schedule but she will be spending a few weekends here and there with us over the summer.  We plan to give her a graduation party at our house at the end of June.  When I first met her she was 5 yrs old and not even in Kindergarten yet!  Hard to believe 13 years have past and she is now grown up!  It was not an easy ride to get to this point but I sure would not have traded it for anything.  She is a lovely young woman and is always willing to help people if they need it.  It will be interesting to watch her grown into her adult life.

Kid # 3- will finish up her Junior year of high school on Monday.  She is happy to be working at her job and recently we helped her buy a car.  It was a much needed item since I am now working outside the home.  We were having a hard time figuring out transportation for everyone.  She had saved over half the money and we helped her with the rest. She will now be making car payments to us each month until she has us paid off.

Kid # 4- is still living with his Father.  I now believe this will be a permenate decision as he seems to be happier there.  Now it will just be a process to work out the legal kinks to make this permanent.  It is never easy dealing with my EX and usually any decision made about our kids boils down to money with him.  I find that very frustrating! I also have some concerns that my EX is not taking counselling for Kid # 4 seriously enough or the need for him to take his medication correctly.  These are major issues I feel must more so then who pays for what with the money!

Kid # 5- is finishing up 3rd grade next week and a will also have a birthday at the end of this month.  She is very excited about both of those things.  Two days a week for the summer she will stay home with her Dad.  The other 3 days she will either go to work with me or stay home with Kid # 3 depending on her work schedule.  She really wants to take golf lessons so she can play with her Dad so I plan to sign her up for those.  She also says she would like to take swim lessons and there just happen to be a pool right down the road from where I work that I can sign her up for them there.  We can even walk to  the lessons!

I have to be honest and say that I have really been struggling with my emptier nest.  I was prepared for Kid # 2 to graduate and grow up.  But I was not at all prepared to have two kids leave the nest this spring and it has really been something that has weighed on me.  I really miss my busy house and all the kids being here.  It is something I realize I will have to adjust to....... but honestly it is hard!  The problems that Kid #4 has had have really weighed on me and I second guess my decisions on a regular basis.  Sometimes the hardest decisions are the best ones though...........

5 Things I Did That Were Frugal This Week

1. Made a menu and cooked at home

2. Meal prepped ahead of time for a couple of the dinners we had this week

3. Hung some clothes on the line.

4. Finished a really big project with items I had already or bought at a yard sale

5.  Cleaned out Kid # 5's dresser and added to the yard sale pile for later in the summer :)

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Homemade Syrup

This is the syrup recipe I make.  I am not sure where I got the recipe, but I have seen it posted several times on many blogs.  Or at least something similar.

4 cups white sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

2 cups water

2 tsp maple flavoring or butter flavoring or vanilla ( most of the time I use vanilla because that is usually what I have on hand)

Mix water and sugars in a pot and simmer for 15 minutes

Remove from heat and stir in flavoring

Let cool completely and then pour into a container. 

This does not have to be refrigerated.  I do find that after awhile it starts to crystallize at the bottom of the jar. But this only tends to happen if it sits for awhile.  This is all my family uses now for pancakes, waffles and french toast :)

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Today is....

Prom night for Kid # 3.  We did a pretty good job of doing her prom as frugally as possible.  Her dress was bought from my BFF's daughter who never wore it for $50.  Her shoes she already had from a previous dance.  She bought her own jewelry with money she made from her after school job.   I am making her flowers for less then $10. All the items for that we bought at Hobby Lobby using 40% off coupons.  She also paid to have a spray tan done but yet again she used her own money.  She had her nails done but we gave her a gift certificate for her birthday and she used that to pay for it. One of the most expensive parts of  Prom was the tickets which were $100 for a couple, but at least this included dinner also.  Hopefully, next year we can continue with this trend!

Friday, April 27, 2012

5 Things I Did That Were Frugal This Week

1. Packed Kid # 5's cold school lunch with all reusable containers.

2.  Used a travel mug and thermos to take my coffee to work.

3. Planned a menu and ate at home

4. Didn't do much grocery shopping because we didn't really need much.

5. Kid # 3 broke the zipper in her prom dress.  Took it t the alteration shop to see if they could fix it instead of rushing to buy her a new dress. Cost of repair $8, = $100's in savings!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

It has been a long month!

I have been at my job a little over a month now.  It has definitely been an adjustment for everyone!  The days are long but I do love my job!  The people I work for are great and always appreciative of everything I do.  The extra money has been wonderful also!

At the end of March, I made a decision to send Kid # 4 to live with his Father ( we are a blend family remember??).  I have second guessed this decision several times in the last month and I am still struggling with it.  Kid # 4 has always been a difficult kid but the last couple of years have really been bad.  I feel alot of guilt for enjoying the peace we now have in our house.  Kid # 4 was causing alot of conflict that I don't really think we even realized or maybe had become so accustom to it that we didn't think about it much anymore.  I don't know honestly that living with his Father will help Kid # 4 or even is the best or wisest choice but I do think maybe it was the best choice for the rest of the relationships in our house, including my marriage.  Being the Mom to teenagers is sometime not for the faint at heart :(  I do hope as Kid # 4 grows older he will realize that I only wanted what was best for him...........

My husband is finally done with tax season for the most part.  He will still work 1 day a week for a while at the tax office.  But for the most part he is done.  The extra money he made is sitting in our savings account.  There are few things that will be coming up that I want to take care of then I will use the rest to pay off the car.  I think we are going to be really close to it being paid off.  I will post about that soon!

Kid # 1 has moved up his wedding to June 15 which is fast approaching.  Luckily the wedding itself will be small with just family there.  There will be a large reception following the wedding though.  We have been very lucky and the table center pieces have been loaned to us by a friend.  The rest of the decorations we will be working on in the next couple of months.

Well that is what is happening around here..........I really hope to be posting on a more regular bases now.  I have some great projects to post about very soon!

Monday, April 16, 2012

5 Things I Did That Were Frugal This Week - LATE AGAIN!

1. Followed the meal plan and ate at home

2. My washer was having issues and my hubby looked at first and fixed it.  Saving us the expense of having a repair man come :)

3. Logged on to my libraries website to request some books instead of buying them.  They called me when they were in and ready for pick up

4. Worked on a few projects using items I already had!  I will have a big project reveal coming up soon!

5. Had a yard sale with my future daughter in law and her Mother and Sister! 

Monday, April 9, 2012

5 Things I Did That Were Frugal This Week - LATE!

1. Hung some clothes on my clothes line on the warm sunny days

2.  Did not go grocery shopping since we were not in need of much

3.  Left my heat turned off even though we had a few chilly days here

4. Solved a decorating problem using items already had!  Love when that happens!

5. Used up as many leftovers has possible in order to reduce our food waste!

Friday, March 30, 2012

5 Things I Did That Were Frugal This Week

1. I did not eat out even though I was tired several nights after work and wanted too :)

2. Walked with my babies I Nanny and bought a few groceries at a local store instead of driving

3. Used my library this week to get books to take with me to work

4. Took my own coffee to work instead of buying some at the local gas station

5. Made Kid # 3's birthday cake myself instead of buying one :)

Monday, March 26, 2012

Grapefruit Cleaner

I have been trying to make more and more of my own cleaners.  By doing this I not only save money but I also believe it is better for us.  I have seen several posts on other blogs and also some pins on Pinterest for homemade orange cleaner.  We don't eat oranges every often but after doing a little research I realized you can really use just about any citrus fruit and get the same results.  My husband does eat several  grapefruit a week so that is what I used for my cleaner.  I have been using this recipe for about a year now and I really like the results.  I keep a spray bottle in the bathroom and I recently made my own home made wipes with it also.

This is a picture of the start of my cleaner.  It is an old ice cream tub filled with the peelings of grapefruit and then covered with vinegar.  At first I didn't have enough of the grapefruit peels.  But my husband has a grapefruit most days at work for lunch, so he just brought them home to me.  I then added them to my vinegar and grapefruit mixture until it is full.  Now I will let this sit for about 3 to 4 weeks.  When the time is up I will strain out the grapefruit peels and leave the vinegar liquid solution.  When I need to refill my bathroom squirt bottle I will fill it with half the solution and half water.  I love it and it works great!

Monday, March 19, 2012

What's For Dinner This Week

Monday - Tacos

Tuesday - Goulash and Salad

Wednesday - Tostadas

Thursday - Crock pot Balsamic Chicken, Green Beans,  Potato

Friday - Leftovers

Saturday - ???

Sunday - Coffee Cake for Sunday Family Brunch, and Sandwiches later

Well I survived

my first full week of work.  So far the start of this week has went just as well.  My kids are on spring break all this week.   At least one of them will be going to work with me everyday.  Today, it was Kid # 4.  I left Kid # 3 at home and put her in charge of starting dinner and watching Kid # 5.

To make traveling with the babies I nanny for easier on everyone, I purchased a car seat and a double stroller.  I found both of these used on a facebook yard sale site in my area for $45.  The car seat has not been in an accident and it is also not expired.  Just thought I would throw that out there before someone asks :)  I still need one more car seat but my cousin says she has one for me and I should be able to pick that up next weekend.

I have found that having a meal plan now that I am working is invaluable!  It really made evening time last week a heck of alot easier.  I have a white board on my refrigerator that I write the menu for the week on which made it easy for everyone to help out with starting dinner.  I also have a hook with a clip hanging from it inside one of my cabinets and that is where I hang any recipes needed for the week.

I really do love my job and it is nice to not have to worry about what to do with my kids this week.  Has anyone started to think about Easter baskets yet?  I have been collecting little trinkets here and there to use for them. 

I am working on a project for Kid # 3's birthday next week.  I will share it after her birthday is over just in case she read my blog :)

Friday, March 16, 2012

5 Things I Did That Were Frugal This Week

1. Had a meal plan and used it!

2. Combined my driving to save gas

3. Walked to places I could instead of driving

4. Worked on a project using supplies I already had

5. Posted on my facebook asking if anyone had a car seat they wanted to get rid of first before I went and bought one.  Turns out someone did!  I could really use one to keep in my car for my Nanny kids :)

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Funny How You Forget.....

that taking care of babies is hard work!  I have now worked two full days at my new job.  I love it!  But tonight my back is killing me lol :)  I know it is from holding and rocking and picking up one heavy 4 month old and one even heavier 18 months old.  Funny how I forgot how much work taking care of babies can be..... but oh wait I never had babies 13 months apart and now I know why!

All kidding aside, I really do love this job.  It has been an adjustment being at someone else's house but so far it has went well.  Hopefully we continue to do so. 

It has been a challenge trying to coordinate rides for all the kids to and from their various activities especially since my hubby is still working his side tax job.  But so far we have managed.  I think once hubby is done with that things will go much smoother.

One of the best things I did to keep us on track is have a meal plan!  That has been a super help and something I will definitely have to keep up with.  I will have to adjust when I do grocery shopping though.  I maybe able to run and do small shops with the babies in tow but I doubt I will be able to do big ones like I am use to.

All in all the first two days have went well.  I hope it continues on this path!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

I've Got News :)

For the first time in almost 20 years of being a stay at home mom.........I GOT A JOB!  I am so excited!  I start on Monday.  I will be putting my skills of being a mom to many to go use and I am working as a Nanny.  Since most of my kids are now teenagers I really look forward to taking care of small kids.  I am working for some friends so everything is very flexible and I will be able to bring my kids with me on school holidays and summer vacation if I want or need to.  I won't be making a ton of money but I will be making enough to satisfy me.  I tried to give our friends a break financially as they are young and I can remember what it was like to be that age with several small children. 

This extra cash will definitely come in handy though to help me reach my goals for the year.  I am really excited about this opportunity.  I am sure I will have many posts about how my family adjusts to me being a working mom.  Should be interesting!