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