Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Savings Update

While we didn't meet our goal of 45% savings of our take home pay for the first 1/2 of the year we came oh so very close!! Drum roll please, .........total savings for the first 6 months of 2011 is 42%!!!!! Ya Baby!!! Today is a day of celebration but tomorrow is back to the grindstone. With summer here our expenses increase until the end of the year, vacations, higher utility bills, mini getaways and of course the holiday's in the fall and winter. Our goal for the second 1/2 of the year is to save 35%.

This week I have to revamp our weekly spending, if you haven't noticed Rambo man's gas bill and extras have not been figured in this year's weekly budget. When he is on a project he has a company truck so all expenses are paid, now that he is back home he will be driving his own truck and paying for the gas, he will also need a little spend money or he tends to hit the ATM a little to often or worse yet pulls out the American Express card UGHHHH. Trips to the ice cream parlor after supper is also a vise of his that I don't squawk about to loudly, I do enjoy a dip of chocolate chip in a waffle cone myself. I need to stay focused, inspired and think twice before laying down the cash if we are going to hit our end of the year goal!!

The break down of our savings is at the end of the post, in a nut shell we have 4 savings area's. Retirement, emergency, spending savings, and mad money savings.

Retirement is of course do not touch no matter what, maybe if we are lucky we will have enough to eat on at retirement and a little leftover for bingo.

Emergency savings is for the big stuff as in loss of job, prolonged illness, house falls down that sort of thing. Our goal is to have a full 6 months of take home pay put back, for now we have enough to make ends meet for 6 months but there would be nothing extra, we do however have enough food put back that we wouldn't have to worry on that front.

Spending Savings is money that is put back that we don't need to put our hands on right now but we know the bill or expense is coming, car repair/maintenance, furniture, boat dock fee (just paid this weekend, grrr), taxes, Christmas, gutter cleaning, tree maintenance, vacations that sort of thing.

Mad money savings is for spending, when we just want to go crazy and spend for something totally not needed, fancy sewing machine and speakers for the Harley were our most recent purchases. I don't really fund this account the money is found money, coupons, rebates (I stink at that), refunds on insurance a little check from here or there. If there is no money in the account then we don't have any to spend, end of discussion.

We have 3 separate savings accounts and of course the retirement account is another animal all together. I have been keeping our spending savings and mad money savings in one account up until this week, I will be opening a separate account for the mad money, it is becoming increasingly hard not to dip where we shouldn't. We have one account from way back when, Rambo man's Navy days, I have no idea why we keep that account other than it makes him feel good and doesn't cost us a dime so I am cool with that.

Want to know how in the heck we pulled this off? Ha, stay tuned I will try and pull it all together tomorrow.

% of savings 2011

13% Retirement (Rambo's lucky number is 13)

15% Emergency Fund

14%Spending Savings

0% Mad money account

Weekly Spending

Baby Quilt is underway

It has been a hectic weekend, and a busy morning getting things back on track. Downstairs is clean, wash is almost all on the line, one bath cleaned, have killed dozens of fly's from the doors swinging open all day yesterday, baby is down for a morning nap, Nanny is gonna have to keep it in super high gear today until everything is back in order around here.

This weeks agenda is to get the garden back in shape, finish planting, unpack Rambo man, work on baby shower and get Karsyn back on some sort of schedule, next weekend will be picking strawberries for jelly and restocking the freezer.
Our weekly spending was pretty good, I stocked up on soft drinks for the summer during the Memorial Day sales, we should have enough to last all summer. Rambo man and I don't drink a lot of soda's we prefer juice, milk, tea, water and Koolaid (yes we like Koolaid!) but we like to have drinks around for the big kids, company and boat outings. Gas has gone down to $3.68 a gallon hope it will continue that trend!!!! Since I wasn't picking up and dropping off Karsyn last week our gas spending was way down. I am looking forward to saving a little cash on gas spending once school is out this summer when daughter #1 will be home with her little ones. Took the money saved from the budget last week along with a gift card from Mothers Day and did a little fabric therapy last week while also signing up for 2 classes. Ya me!!! I hope to update the speed sheet with our quarterly spending tonight to share at some point, it is had to believe the year is 1/2 gone, where the heck did the time go? I think we did pretty good with the spending and savings but the summer and fall always seem to jump up and bite us in the buns, hopefully this year I can do a little better.


Gas - $41.32

Groceries - $34.16

CVS - $36.61

Fabric store - $40.00

Total Spent - $151.64

Saved in coupons - $91.99

Saved on fabric - $170.00 (bill was $170.00 only spent $40.00 out of pocket. Fabric was 50% - 60% off)

Total saved this week $261.00

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Home again

Rambo man parking the bike at our room
Bug spray was USED!!!!

So Rambo man says to me "Why are you using bug spray, the room came with a fly swatter" Yep we are talking livin large folks!!

Blue Ridge Parkway

We are back from our little weekend get away on the bikes, sunburned, sore rumps and lots of beautiful views!!! The accommodations were about what I expected but I will say I didn't see any bugs, I did however give the room, beds and bathroom a good spray down just in case. The mattresses were in white zip up plastic bags so I am thinking bed bugs might not have been a problem but sleeping was a challenge. Between sleeping on the plastic, bikes pulling in for the night, the bar only footsteps away and a general feeling of what the h... am I doing in a place like this I am looking forward to hitting the sack at home tonight. The food was over the top wonderful, as good as if not better than any 5 star restaurant in the country and the prices were right (health rating was a 99%, yes I checked!!) The ride was as always breathtaking and we even saw deer in the road several times but I didn't get my camera up fast enough, durn.

Before we left for the weekend we needed to finish up our to do list, the last thing on the list was to pick up the jeep that was having new tires put on. On the way over to the shop we were rear-ended by a tattoo covered, pierced bodied doesn't know how to wear a baseball cap correctly young man hard enough to throw us into the car in front of us. Thankfully we didn't have any of the Grands with us!!! My car is in pretty bad shape needs a front bumper, grill, headlights thing, hood, back bumper, side panel, rear hatch and towing package that we know of so far, It is still drivable but not cute! After the holiday I will get it in and see what the shop thinks but we are afraid the insurance company may decide to total it, parts for a 2003 Tahoe with close to 200,000 miles may cost more than it is worth, sooooooo hope that won't happen, we are 2 years away from buying a new (used) car for me.

The guys are settled in for the night watching the race happy to be in the comfort of home and not out at the track with plenty of snacks and cool beverages, I am headed up to my little room of sin to lose myself in a little fabric fun, baby quilt here I come.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Gearing up for the holiday

Hydrangea's are finally in bloom
What will be a baby girl quilt (I hope)

I hit the floor in high gear this morning at 6:00AM thinking if I get the house finished and all the little things that need attention before the long weekend I just might have time to start the baby quilt I need done by June 12th for a baby shower I am giving for a friends first grand baby. I just finished cutting the pieces out, it's 10:59PM UGHHH. I am using two cotton prints from the "Lily and Will" line along with white chenille which is a bugger to cut out!!! Not sure how the chenille will work on the quilt top, it might have to much movement to use but I really want to give it a try. The backing will be done in a textured velour or maybe just stick with the chenille. I don't expect to do a thing with it until the middle of next week.

We have a mini vacation Saturday-Sunday with some Harley buddies. We are headed to the Blue Ridge Parkway, eating lunch at the Snappy Grill in Mt Airy, NC (remember Andy Griffin), checking out Mt. Pilot, NC then an overnight stay at Stations Inn. Stations Inn is an interesting place that caters to bikers, it's a service station, general store, motel and bar/grill with live outdoor music built in the 1950's. As alway's I will be the only lady going along but the boys are great about stoping in at old general stores and that such thing (they like it as much as I do). Saturday night the boys will rock out to the band and drink a little beer while I head to the room with ear plugs a good book and a can of raid bug spray (on sale with coupons of course) I don't know how I feel about staying overnight in a motel from the 1950's, the price is right which makes me even more concerned.

Rambo man unloaded his truck today but we are going to wait until next week to deal with all the stuff, he donated his furniture and such to a local charity in VA. Some lucky family is gonna score big, bedroom furniture, living room furniture, and kitchen table with all the fixin's LOVE knowing someone will be getting some really nice things that needs them so much.

Have a safe Memorial Day weekend and remember it's not just a weekend of fun and cookouts

Memorial Day is a United States federal holiday that honors American servicemembers and is observed on the last Monday of May (May 30 in 2011). Formerly known as Decoration Day, it commemorates U.S. citizens who died while on military service.[1] First enacted to honor Union and Confederate soldiers following the American Civil War,[2] it was extended after World War I to honor Americans who have died in all wars.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Christmas Goal is Meet!!!!

My favorite so far, gift #3
Love the cool decorative stitches my super duper machine will do along with the super duper stitch in a ditch presser foot.

Gift #4. To bright for my taste but the friend this is going to is a sassy southern gal that is gonna love it!

Somebody better get busy cleaning house

I did it 4 Christmas gifts in 4 days!!!

Each gift took a little more than 12 hours so I say that's a job well done. I even squeezed in some fabric store shopping Monday and watched Kara for a few hours today. Tomorrow it is back to reality, the house needs a little attention, I will have Kara for the day, and best of all Rambo man will arrive home tomorrow night for good!!!! He has been on a project for 3 years now, let me tell you I am sooooo ready for a normal life again (and a little help in the yard) Re-entry after living away from each other for long periods of time can be a challenge but we have been at this marriage thing long enough to know as long as we both agree I am always right we will do fine (just kidding sorta)

I am so excited to have these gifts marked off my to do Christmas list, if I would have tried to do this much work while watching the babies it would have taken me a month or longer. I am thinking I might declare a Christmas in June, July and August to finish up some things I didn't get to last year and a few more things I want to do this year but with canning season fast approaching (should already have made strawberry jelly) I am not sure how much time I can squeeze in.

Gotta rant a bit before I head to bed. So I am set up in my favorite chair tonight with a bottle of water, some hand sewing and a chocolate or two ready for "Extreme Coupon's" and who do they put back on but that nut case Amanda, WHAT the h...... that lady is not only crazy but she is mean!!! I thought she was gonna whip her poor husbands butt for misplacing her envelope of coupons. This is a show I am beginning to love to hate, what's up with a Mom who would buy 50 boxes I think it was of sleep aides then stores them on a self low enough that her little kids could get into them. I better not have bad dreams about mean people or of babies who OD on sleep aids or I will be sending TLC and note in the morning.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Christmas Gift # Two Done

Gift #2 I'm liking this red more than I thought I would
Super short post tonight, watching the weather in Dallas where our Niece who just married lives in downtown, another Niece is in Oklahoma City, they made out just fine but it has been a nerve wreaking afternoon watching all the storms again. I have Christmas gift #3 almost complete but the weather channel is more important right now until I know our Niece is safe in Dallas, won't take me long to finish it off in the AM then on to gift #4. I used a new decorative stitch on this gift, pretty cool looking gonna try something different on gift #3 as well.
Prayers are with all the families who continue to get hammered by violent storms this year, when will it end.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Weekly Spending

$37.82 worth of candy for $.43 cents!!
Finally the purse we made in class

Crappy photo of the flower embellishment

Two weeks in a roll under budget!!! Coupons, rewards points, sales and a full pantry continue to be the key (staying away from the fabric stores helps) I cashed in my quarterly reward dollars at CVS that were going to expire to pick up a load of chocolate that were on sale coupled with coupons the whole thing cost me $.43 cents. What the heck are you going to do with all that chocolate you ask, it will be melted down for chocolate covered strawberries or peanuts at Christmas, chopped up for deserts who knows but we will use it up. I have a nice pile already put back from after Valentines Day and Easter sales and of course I sweetened the deal with coupons. To be totally honest a nice piece of chocolate with a glass of cold water makes me sleep better, that's my story and I am sticking to it.

Used staples quarterly rewards to pick up a black ink cartridge for $.72, regular price $19.99. Gas prices went down a few pennies, not that it had a real inpact but still every little bit helps. Last but not least our grocery was running a buy on get one free sale on Miracle whip, I had $1.00 off coupons put it together I saved $15.24. We didn't need a thing at the grocery so the Miracle Whip was all I picked up. So here is my rant for the day, what the heck is going on that the price of Miracle Whip is up to $5.89 a jar. We don't use a lot of the stuff in the winter but in the summer we need tomato sandwiches people we live in the south, what about egg salad, chicken salad, tuna, macaroni salad, devil eggs I mean really you gotta have the stuff and it has a super short shelf life so it's not like you can stock up much.

Sooo.... I did really good on the budget, a disciplined person would have run right to the bank and put the surplus in the savings account but no not I. The savings along with a $50.00 gift card from Mothers Day headed to not one but two fabric stores. I hit the store that will be closing Friday for some last minute deals on the 60% off fabric then went to the regular store to sign up for June classes and pick up my class supplies, even had a 20% off coupon for frequent shoppers (that's not necessarily a good thing)
Christmas gift number 2 is almost finished, if I would have kept my fabric happy butt home it would have been completed, tomorrow I will have to push a little harder.

Weekly Spending

Gas - $73.40 gallon down to $3.78

Grocery store - $8.32

CVS - $.43

Staples - $.72

Eatting out - $27.00

Total spent - $109.87

Total saved - $71.90

Under budget - $91.00

Short post

Little peek at completed Christmas gift number one

Karsyn hung on every word the Priest had to say at her Baptism!! So funny

Mommy and Karsyn

Stayed up until 2:00AM on my first night of the Staycation finishing up the first of the Christmas gifts. I can only show a little piece of the gift in case the recipient should read the blog this week. I am not a purple person but the buddy who will open this Christmas morning is all about purple, she will go gaga over the colors.

Karsyn loved her special day Saturday at the Baptism, as soon as the priest walked in she never took her eyes off from him, so funny!! When it came time to pour on the water she never cried a peep she just tried to turn around to play in the holy water.

Tyler sat with Papaw and I, when the priest came out he said "look Papaw it's God" loud enough for the whole church to hear. I must say the outfit he had on was over the top beautiful (don't beat me up I'm not Catholic so I don't know what the outfit is called). Rambo man explained that he was the priest who would do the ceremony for Karsyn. After the service was over Tyler said (loud enough for all to hear) "I can't believe God didn't show up for Karsyn's special day" took some explaining that God is everywhere at all times we just can't see him. Wish the old Art Linkletter show "Kids say the darnedest things" would make a comeback. Talk about a REAL reality show, little kids make the world a better place!!!!

Will post the weekly budget tonight when I have the time I'm on vacation!!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Some early morning sewing

Karsyn took an unexpected 3 hour nap this morning, rather than clean house I worked on some camera strap covers. When the whole family gets together for a special event we end up trying to figure out who's camera is who's. I made enough for everyone to have a different cover (all from leftover fabric), that is if they like any of them. Pictured above are 3 that I have finished, also sent one home with a friend who's neighbor's Daughter just graduated from USC with a photography and journalism degree. One of these little babies and a check will be a perfect gift.

Have both babies again tomorrow then I have to get the floral arrangements done for Karsyn's Baptism Saturday. After that I am on VACATION until next Thursday, I might just sleep, eat, read and sleep some more.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Expensive day

Found a Styrofoam wreath in the scrap book during the big clean out, dug up some green ribbon to wrap it in then cut apart a few hydrangea stems, now have a new wreath for the door at no cost and no wasted gas!! This was the only thing the babies and I got done today. We were stuck in the kitchen and family room all day while the carpet cleaners worked. Now of course I can't walk on them for an additional day. We went ahead and sprung to have the living room and family room couch's cleaned, between AJ the hound dog and the little girls they were both in need of a little freshening up.

Last but not least the tree man finally came by. We had 2 small trees come down in a recent storm and needed others taken out or trimmed back to get more sun in the garden. He found 2 HUGE oaks that are in really bad shape close to the house, they gotta go. We are lucky they haven't ended up in the bedroom with all the storms we have had this spring. In all we are having 8 tree's taken out at a cost of $1,400.00 UGHHH. Thanks to using coupons, watching the sales and trying to hold down spending we can handle the expense but that doesn't mean I like it!! Early to bed so I will be ready to face the babies in the AM and get all the furniture back in place.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Love it

Finished the purse I was making for Daughter #1 today, I really do love it, she on the other hand didn't think it would work for her, grrrrr Having girls can be a real pain in the butt.

I'm not much of a purse girl but you can bet I will be sporting this sucker Saturday at Karsyn's Baptism. I changed a few things on the pattern, some that worked some not so much. To start with the original pattern was just to big, I wanted more of a standard size purse so I changed the measurements by 4 inches all the way around. I like a bit more structure to a purse so I added batting and quilted the main body, then added batting to the top panel as well, did lots of top stitching to add even more structure, added 5 pockets inside, a magnet closure and went with a "Bag-E-Bottom" size D, ditched the bow that was called for and used just a tie instead. Liked everything except the pocket, I put it in way to low, but next round I will know to move the pocket up!! I think it turned out cute, maybe a bit hip for my age but who cares. I still haven't added the fabric flower to the purse we did in class Saturday. I bought a pattern for a flower I really liked, read it, gave it some thought then lost the durn thing, it makes me crazy when I can't find something!!!! Tomorrow maybe I will get some sorta flower done and be ready to show it off.

We have carpet/furniture cleaners coming tomorrow, should be a real pain in the you know what but it needs to be done. The gutter guys can today and cleaned the gutters in the pouring down rain, tree man was suppose to come after 6:00PM tonight, bugger hasn't shown up yet, he is like that most of the time. Eventually he will show up and do a great job at a reasonable price but it is very frustrating.

Have to run to the grocery and use my Miracle whip coupons from the Sunday paper before it goes off sale in the morning, I can't believe how high Miracle whip has gone up, we were down to the last jar so I need to stock up for the summer. So excited to show off this stinkin cute purse!!

Weekly Spending

Tyler and Blakley at Wedding in Key West, ring bearer and flower girl

What can I say other than the coupon, sales, and rewards fairy was very, very good to me this week!! Lets start with the furniture for the scrap room. Each piece was marked down to $129.00, I used a 20% off coupon to bring the price down even more, used the $200.00 I made from the coffee cozy sales, that brought the cost down to $7.00 out of pocket!!!! I planned on using the cozy sales to buy more fabric but after seeing what I had on hand I ditched that idea and went for the furniture. I even got the cost at the pump down a little this week, not sure how but I will take any savings where I can. Karsyn and I spent the day doing what else but sewing!!!

I am working on a new purse for Daughter #1, I bought the pattern that is really cute but decided to make some changes, I don't know why I even bother buying patterns I always make changes. I should be able to finish up the purse tomorrow if the stars line up just right and Karsyn will take a morning nap. Also whipped up a dozen coffee cozy's to have on hand, a neighbor I treated on Mothers day with one wanted 5 more for work this week, cool! here is a run down on the spending

Gas - $74.60 up to $3.89 gallon

Groceries - $32.16 Saved $98.12

Christmas gift - $10.81 Saved - $120.00

Tyler shirts - $3.32 Saved $32.62

Eating out - $16.00

Furniture - $7.00 Saved $251.00

Total spent - $143.89 Total Saved - $501.62 UNDER BUDGET - $57.00

Wish every week could turn out this good, but it will all average out at the end of the year, sometimes being frugal sucks, but every once in a while it ROCKS!!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Say yes to the nest

The work on my little nest is coming along nicely!!I transformed the die cutting/cricut area into the sewing area. As I use up the supplies in the drawers (could take a lifetime) it will free up a little more space for sewing notions, for now I could only clear out one drawer. I thought about sticking with the "Crop in Style" units I already have in the room for fabric storage but I can no longer get them locally, the shipping is outrageous and they run a pretty penny so I had to step out of the box a bit to save some cash but still keep with the white furniture theme. Seems the more space I devote to scrap booking/sewing the larger the stash seems to get. I decided to go small for fabric storage to try and hold down my over zealous spending, if I have no where to put it I am less likely to buy it. Also if it is in my face but still nice and tidy I tend to be a bit more inspired to use it up and stop hording the oh so cute stuff.

Sooooo, here's what I went with

This is a sofa table I picked up and Marshall's Home goods store to hold my fabric, regular price $265.00 their price $129.00. For some reason it doesn't look like much but each piece is 2 yards or more, I never know for sure what I might want to make, 2 yards will normally do the trick no matter what I make with plenty of leftovers. Had to move the rocking chair in front of the closet door for now, I like to rock and think in my little room. The closet didn't get any TLC this time, it's fine for now(translation, it is such a disaster I don't even want to think about it) There is NO more room for fabric so the brakes are on for now until I use up some of what I have.

How cute is this cabinet? Picked it up when I was in Marshall's in the bathroom department, marked down to $129.00.This is devoted to works in progress I guess you could say unfinished projects but that seems so negative to me. I love that I can see whats stored in there so I know what project to pick up next. It has been a VERY long weekend getting the room put together, taking an 8 hour sewing class Saturday, mowing the lawn, housework and still pulling off Sunday dinner with the family, I stayed up until 3:00AM last night to finish the room, I knew I could never get it done unless I pulled an all nighter, I am to OLD to go without sleep!!! I will give you the rundown on the price of the furniture tomorrow, only had to pull $7.oo from our weekly budget!!!!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Blogger is back

Blogger has been down since Wednesday night so I have been unable to post what my weekend chore is.

If you guessed the scrap room pictured above you are correct!!!! I didn't even take a photo of the other side of the room but trust me it looks just as bad. Anyone who knows me can tell you this is NOT how I roll. The scrap room has turned into more of a dumping ground for all the memorabilia of the grands, family, trips and such this year. It is also the holding area of all things creative and I need to make room for the ever growing pile of fabric I have here there and everywhere. I can NOT work in such disarray!!! Thursday after the babies left I started collecting fabric from around the house and all the bobbles that go along with it, dumped it in the room and started brainstorming on what the heck to do with it all.

I think I have a plan, at least I am working on a plan that hopefully will combine both passions in one location. I did a pretty good clean out of the excess stuff in the scrap room back in the fall, packed it all up and sent it off to deserving homes. That being said the cabinets, drawers, closet and surfaces are still pretty full. Where in the heck could I house the beautiful fabric, partly finished projects, patterns in the making and the cutting table that is marked down 45% off that I break out in a cold sweat just looking at that so desperately needs a good home. The cutting table is out of the question, no way no how is it gonna fit and me still be able to get my ever growing rump around the room, the kitchen counter will have to do. I found a couple of pieces of furniture on sale Thursday night that look like they might help house the fabric and the price was right. Friday night was spent sorting, folding, and getting some of the family treasures from the past year in some logical order. Son-In-Law #1 even brought over the umbilical cord from Karsyn, he also hung on to Tyler's, I have yet to find a creative way to incorporate them in a layout, who keeps this sort of S...?

I hit the floor on fire this morning (Saturday) with intentions of working on the room until my sewing class started at 1:00, CRAP for some reason I checked the class schedule and realized the class was at 10:00 AM until 5:00 PM. Scrambled around found all the supplies I needed packed up the fancy dancy sewing machine loaded it into the oh so cute tote and headed out. The class was wonderful, the project super cute but the scrap room looks the same, grrrr. I have until 5:00 Sunday to work some magic in the room, after that all bets are off, the babies will be back bright and early Monday morning. Stay tuned....

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Cashing In

King size quilt
2 Little boy's Gymboree shirts

Karsyn and I hit the streets this morning to do a little cashing in of rewards bucks. We stopped in at Gymboree with a 30% off the entire order coupon along with $10.00 in rewards bucks. Tyler can always use a few new shirts for the summer. We picked up shirts that were on the sale rack, then with the 30% off and the extra $10.00 off we scored $35.94 worth of shirts for only $3.32, good deal!! Saved $32.62

On to Kohl's to spend our $30.00 in rewards bucks, they still had the quilts on sale for $39.99 so we picked up a King size quilt regular priced at $129.99 our price was $10.81. Saved $120.00

I still have reward dollars for Staples and CVS but I wasn't excited about any of the sales they had going on this week so we held off until the Sunday ads come out. The rewards will expire next Tuesday so no matter what we will be picking up some deals by then.

Did a little work on my coupon binder this afternoon, seems to me the coupons are having a shorter and shorter lifespan. Use to be coupons would be good for 6 months or longer some that I have seen lately are only good for a month, sure makes a lot more work keeping my binder updated but the money we save is still worth all the extra time it takes.

Off to bed with Dave Ramsey again tonight for some inspiration in saving. Poor Dave can't seem to keep my attention the past few nights, I fall asleep after only a page or two. It really isn't Dave's fault, between the heat, humidity and Karsyn there isn't a whole lot of energy left by bedtime!!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Orange Update

11 1/2 pounds of oranges before and after dehydrating

I think the photo of the dehydrated oranges might be deceiving, they all fit in a gallon ziplock bag, for some reason the angle of the photo makes the bag look much larger. I decided to go ahead and dehydrate the last bag of oranges left from our Florida trip since the first round did so well. I will use the oranges for orange tea and for cooking, I didn't care much for them to snack on but that might just be me, I have a thing about food texture sometimes. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE our dehydrated food that I put back from whatever is in season at the time. It stores wonderfully, makes putting together a meal a snap and doesn't require I stand over a canner all day. Just slice or dice and load, easy peasy.

It is hot as Haiti here today with a humidity level of 62%, it is hard to move to fast in this heat. When the barometer is bouncing around like it has been today I am in a terrible fog with a headache that won't end. We should get rain at some point tonight, sure hope it will cool things off a bit. It is gonna be a bugger of a hot night to sleep without the air on. I broke down and took some meds, fired up all the fans in the bedroom and have my fingers crossed for some rain. I wonder if it is really worth it to save a few bucks and endure this discomfort? Maybe Dave Ramsey will have some advise on that in the book I am re-reading.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Weekly Spending

Check out one of my new screen doors Rambo man got for my Mothers day gift. He bought 2 in total one for the back door going on to the deck the other for the kitchen door going into the garage, no way am I gonna post a photo of the one going out to the garage, that is my sweet hubbies domain and he is NONE to neat!!

Weekly spending was once again over budget..GRRRR The fabric store did me in this week and of course gas is no help. But the savings were over the top good so I am giving myself a pass on the overage. Total saved using coupons, buying on sale and cashing in rewards bucks was $574.00, pretty good haul I am thinking!!!! I am getting sloppy in my spending and seem to be collecting fabric again so I need to set myself down and have a long talk. I want to cut back.... by tracking our weekly spending I know where the leaks are, now I just need to plug the hole (me)

One thing I have become aware of this year is how hard it is to not spend when you can afford to spend. If you don't have the money to start with there really are no options but to watch every penny and give up all the extras. In my quest this year to become more frugal I am learning how hard it is to stay self disciplined. Rambo man could care less what I spend as long as we have a roof over our head and a table full of food with our kids all around he is a happy man. Now some ladies would think he is a dream come true (he really is the pick of the litter I have to say) but there is a downside to being the one who holds the purse strings, you have no one to blame but yourself when things don't go as planned, that sorta sucks. I am going to re-read a few of Dave Ramsey and Larry Burkett's books to get back on track. Daughter #3 received the Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University kit as a Wedding gift from their in-laws. She is letting me borrow the kit, if I can figure out how to use the DVD player I will get my head out of the cookbooks and hopefully get back on fire to save more.
Groceries - $49.70
Gas - $83.76 Gallon is up to $3.85
Christmas gifts - $36.72
Starbuck's Mothers Day cider - $28.40
Fabric store - $160.00
Eating out - $5.35
total spent $363.93, over budget by $163.93

Money saved
Grocery store - $118.60
Khole's - 246.00
Fabric store $210.00

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Love Mothers Day

Wonder what all this might make
Sweet baby fabric

Maybe a table runner or two?

AWWWW, wouldn't this be a great baby girl quilt?

Something for fall who knows what yet

Had the best Mothers Day at Brunch with all the kids and Grands. Rambo man made it home in time to join us so the family was complete. We brought Tyler home to help Papaw with some projects for Nanny, NEW SCREEN DOORS!! Ya, me. I had to make a double batch of M&M cookies to keep the fellas strength up to finish the project and to pass around with Starbucks Carmel apple cider dressed up in sweet cozies for Daughter #3 and all the ladies that had to work on Mother Day, also hooked up a few neighbor ladies and friends as a special little treat in the evening. LOVE having the time and means to give out a few little "Feel Good" gifts.

While at Starbucks picking up a whole lotta cider!! Everyone in the place wanted a cozie, I had just enough with me to finish up my little prize run for the day so I couldn't sell what I had but 2 ladies ordered 10 each that I will get to them Thursday evening!!
I told them $10.00 each, they never blinked an eye, they were so excited to get their hands on some. The fella in the line behind me (let him go ahead since I had such a big order) told me to make a pile of them and get them on the market, hum.... I ask him if he thought they were cute, he just laughed and said the ladies in his office would go nuts if they saw them. Of all the sewing I do and the time it takes I can't believe people would pay that much for something so very simple, go figure!!

I will be picking up $200.00 Thursday evening after dropping off the little girls and put back for my fabric fund. Our fabric store that is closing is running a 60% off the end of bolt sale until they sell out. That's where I scored all the yummy fabric above on Saturday. I went in with no plan or project in mind but the wheels were turning let me tell you. Now that I know how good the sale is (and I have $200.00 bucks) I will get a list together of what I really do need/want for patterns I have picked up or made up lately.

Yesterday's post received the most hits of any posts I have ever had on this blog. I was worried that it might be to much to share but felt in my ever growing gut it was the right thing to do. Sometimes we all need a kick in the butt to bring us to our knees and thank God for all the blessings we have, even if those blessings make us crazy!!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Mothers Day

June 1960, left to right; me, our Mother, little sister in front, we are wearing dresses our Mother made us

I have been torn since yesterday if I should do this post, is it just too sad for folks to read when tomorrow is a day to celebrate Mothers or is it just right? Some Mothers are here for just a short period of time but leave a lasting impact for generations to come. My Mother was one of those special ladies. She died June 10, 1960 at 21 years old, I was 3 1/2, my sister was 1 1/2 years old. This photo is of her with my Sister and I the day she left for the hospital for a routine surgery, she never returned home...a rare hereditary brain disorder took her life in the form of an aneurysm. About a month ago I received a letter that my Father (who has also passed) wrote to my Mothers sister soon after her death, while his outpouring of love and grief wasn't as long or as eloquent as the attached blog post (end of this post) it is filled with the love and overwhelming grief he was feeling as well as the enormous responsibility he faced bringing up two little girls on his own that continued to ask why can't Mother come back home, we need her.

Yesterday a friend posted on FB an attachment to a blog about her neighbour and Mother of a little girl on her own Daughters soccer team. I will forewarn you get a box of tissue before you go to the blog post, it is a heart breaking story much like the letter my Father wrote that I have just recently received. Mothers are so very special even if they are only here with us a short period of time, celebrate your Mother tomorrow but don't forget to celebrate yourself and all the love and devotion you have poured into your own children, you are each a wonderful gift from God.


Thursday, May 5, 2011

Cup Cozy

Hot Carmel Apple Cider all dressed up

Our Chunky Monkey little girls

The girls had a great time playing together today, I was just around to take pictures and keep them from wrestling each other to much!! They are such a hoot together, always laughing at each other or making silly faces, even if I wanted to get something done I wouldn't, who would want to miss out on all the fun. I don't expect the big girls to pay for me setting with the babies this year but I think I will begin to hint Nanny is gonna need a little help with all the laugh lines that are taking over her face.

I was determined to finish the cup cozies today, daughter # 1 wanted to give some as gifts for the Mom's on her team at school in the morning she is going to run by Starbucks and pick up some hot cider on the way to work then use the cozy instead of the typical cardboard deal they give you. Daughter # 3 has to work on Mothers Day this year so she has requested an additional 7, no time to waste!! Thankfully they come together super fast so I was able to finish up 8 of them today during nap time the rest will have to wait until I get some free time over the weekend. I found this idea on a great blog http://halfdozendaily.wordpress.com/, this lady is soooo talented, always has the cutest handmade stuff in the world posted. Check out her blog it is one of my favorites, love seeing how so many young Mom's are flexing their creative muscles while caring for the family and keeping on budget!! I checked on Etsy to see what they were charging for the things, looks like $10.00 is the going rate, I was able to make 8 out of 2 fat squares, already had plenty of buttons and elastic so the only cost was my time. This is going to be a great little project to use up a few more scraps that keep piling up!! Thanks so much for the inspiration Moralia!!!!!!!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Indian River Fruit

On our way home from Key West we picked up a few bags of local fruit. Oranges run between $1.00-$1.25 each here at home. We picked up 23 pounds of oranges and 11 pounds of grapefruit for $27.00, pretty good deal! I haven't had great luck dehydrating fruit so far, they turn out to sticky to suite me. Not willing to poison the family trying to save a buck or two so I only put one load in the dehydrator for now. They have been in for 11 hours at this point and still seem sticky so I am gonna run then all night and see how it goes. I know I have passed this website on before but just in case you missed it check out "dehydrate2store" this lady is AMAZING!!!! We won't have any problem eating the fruit up before it goes bad if dehydrating doesn't work out, everyone loves oranges and Rambo man and I can polish off the grapefruit.

Stayed up to watch "Extreme Couponing" on TLC tonight, seems like they are putting a bit more normal people on these days than when it first started. I still don't understand why so many of them store their food in the garage, that would never work here in the south, everything would go bad whether in boxes or cans. One lady had a cool idea of storing her envelope mixes in a clear over the door shoe rack so she could see at a glance what she has, might have to give that idea a little more thought. I store our pakages of mixes in a plastic container that I have to thumb through to see what I am getting low on. What the heck would you do with 97 bags of croutons? Now we do love salads but there is no way we could use up that many croutons before the expiration date. Hopefully the show will inspire more folks to start clipping and save a few bucks, our family kicks butt with coupons but I can tell you I don't spend 35 hours a week playing the coupon game. I did do a little couponing this week on deals that were to good to pass up but that is for Monday's weekly spending post.

Working on a sewing project I saw on a super talented ladies blog, can't wait to hopefully finish it up in the morning while the babies nap, I am close..oh so close! Tomorrow is one of the 12-13 hour days, I pick Karsyn up at 7:15 until 5:00 or 6:00, Kara will arrive at 2:00 and stay until 8:00 or 9:00 PM, thank goodness for precooked frozen meals or I wouldn't be eatting tomorrow, gotta keep up this girlish figure you know.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Jingle bells, Jingle bells, Jingle all the way...

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Karsyn and I did a little Christmas shopping today using our Kholes bucks. I intended on getting the traditional Christmas socks for everyone but since socks were not on sale we went with towels, quilts and some games that were all on sale at a great price!! All this loot was only $36.72, can you even believe it!!!! Kholes is having a super duper sale on quilts, all sizes are only $34.99, regular price on the king size is $129.99, the towels were only $3.99 each and I had coupons for the games from the Sunday paper a while back. Total saved was $246.00, now that's what I call a real deal.

Saw some cute summer dresses that would be great for running around in that I will go back to check out when I don't have the babies, they are giving out Kholes bucks again this week so I can pick up even more gifts later on. I think I will be passing on buying any shorts this summer, gonna have to go with what I have, everything I am seeing in the stores are cut up to your you know what or are some sort of spandex thing, some cute summer dresses will be the summer look around here for the year. No tight waistband to deal with that make that new muffin top (old age deal ladies) more pronounced and maybe I can even catch a breeze up the bottom of the dress, now that will help conserve energy and save a little more on the electric bill, see I can justify anything if I want it.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Weekly Spending

Look who is setting up now!!

Durn if I am not way over budget this week. My trip to the fabric store, a stop at the garden center, along with a stroll through Wally world for replacement umbrella's busted the budget big time. Thankfully I rarely have weeks that turn out this bad. Getting the garden, yard and deck back in order for the summer takes money and we are not done spending yet. Our tree guy should be over this week to give me the depressing news on what it will cost to thin out tree's and cut back others, things have gotten so overgrown that we have very few sunny spots left in the yard for the garden and raised beds. We also ordered 2 pear and 2 peach trees that were planted Friday at a ridicules cost, in a few years the investment should pay off but for now it was a pretty big expense. I have ask for a screen door to the deck for Mothers day, I am thinking in the long run it will save us money on the electric bill if I can leave the back door open to get a cross breeze in the house so.... more money. The mosquito's are getting so bad already that I hate having the back door open for fear of getting ate up by the buggers. Karsyn and I worked the coupon deals today (more spending) but I am pumped at what we were able to save and stock up on, one of our local stores are doubling coupons up to $1.98, that's a deal I couldn't pass up.

I stayed up way to late last night soaking in all of the news on Bin Laden. It feels sorta yucky to celebrate the death of another human being no matter how evil he was, instead I am trying to focus on the hero's our country is so blessed to have. I am afraid what Alkaid might do to our country or it's citizens around the world in retaliation of Bin Laden's death, scary times we all live in. One thing that is P.... me off right now is the criticism over the decision to give this evil man a burial at sea. One of the many things that makes being an American so special is our country's commitment to freedom and dignity for all people not just Americans, giving this dirt bag a Muslim burial was the right thing to do as Americans, not that he deserved it but we should never begin to conduct ourselves in the barbaric way other countries do. Seems that some people will find something to criticize our military for in everything they do even when they are doing the honourable thing by such and evil man.


Gas $83.67 price for gallon up to $3.79

Groceries $3.72

Flowers for deck $63.37

Fabric store $92.12

Wally world $ 235.00

Fruit trees $363.86

Total spent $930.19, over budget by $730.19

Sunday, May 1, 2011

April Callenge is finished

Irises from my Grandmother's bulb's who passed in 1979
Mothers Day rose bush from 1994

Our zero spending for April other than milk and eggs is over!! Total spent at the grocery this month was $18.98. You might think I was up early dressed and ready to rush out the door coupons in hand ready to do some grocery shopping today, Na... we really have no need to. I know when I get back to regular weekly shopping I will be shell shocked by the price increases over the past month but for now I am getting my coupon binder back in order and organizing coupons from today's paper. We have a local store doubling coupons up to $2.00 this week until Wednesday, need to check out the sales and see if I can score any good deals to add to the pantry.

I did this little challenge for a couple of reasons, certainly saving a little extra this month helped defray the costs of our trip to Key West but more importantly I wanted to test out our pantry. Have I planned and bought wisely, did we have everything we needed on hand to make 3 meals a day along with snacks, drinks and whatever goodies struck our fancy with out running to the store. How about paper protects, toiletries, cleaning supplies, laundry detergent and whatever else we use around the house to keep it clean (well sorta clean) and orderly. Yes, yes and double yes!!! Ya me!!!

If we should have and emergency due to job loss, economy, natural disaster or whatever else could be thrown our way I know we can handle the food end of the deal for well over a month and we have not invested a ton of money. We have however invested a TON of time in the garden, clipping coupons, watching sales, preserving food, cooking from scratch and learning to make leftovers not look and taste like leftovers. As an added bonus I tried to keep in the back of my mind could I cook whatever I was doing with an alternative method. The answer is yes! We have the gas grill that has an extra burner for pots, regular charcoal grill, smoker grill, wood burning stove, Sun oven and more cast iron cookware than I care to admit. And there is always the big boy generator that we could run for some period of time to keep our frozen food safe.

This whole experiment hit close to home after the devastating tornado's in Alabama last week, while having a full pantry and a way to cook without modern convinces like electricity wouldn't help any of the families who lost everything, having what you need at home would make life a little more bearable for the folks who were spared the storms full force but are now dealing with close to a week with no power and in some cases they are looking at a lot longer than a week. Having what your family would need on hand also frees up the local government's overwhelming job to provide for the whole community. I don't know about you but I'm not much for the standing in a line waiting for food that may or may not be something that I can even eat.

A full pantry and garden are one of the many insurance policies we have for our family. It helps bridge the gap in the ever increasing inflation at the grocery store and the pump. By paying a little premium each week (grocery budget) we can get a big return in the event of an emergency. Instead of "Your in good hands" we could call it "Your in good cans". Need to get my head out of the pantry and on to the pillow, the babies will be here bright and early!!