Monday, January 31, 2011

Month spending review

Changing table cost $359.00, I paid $72.00!!!

So how did I do on my no spending for the month of January? Well not so good but better than not trying at all. Here is a list of all the spending, not including bills of course.

Changing table $72.00 original price $359.00 money saved!!

Fabric $12.00 had to pay full price :(

Thread $4.69 got at 1/2 price, saved $4.69

Bath and Body Works $2.37 saved $$15.13 (Gifts)

Bath and Body Works $23.09 saved $101.91 (Gifts)

Water bottles $28.21 saved $97.70 (Gifts)

Groceries/CVS $192.20 saved $293.04

Gas $94.00

Total spent for the month $428.00 total saved from sales/coupons $883.47

I do our banking on Monday's, each week I take out $200.00 for household expences, food, gas, gifts, eatting out whatever. We had 5 Monday's in the month so that's $1,000.00 I only spent $428.00 the excess is now in the savings account $570.00.

OK, that's not as good as I had wanted to do but it's $570.00 more in savings than we had at the begining of the month, I am not gonna beat myself up over it!! If I could pull this off for February I would be super happy but with Valentines Day, middle Daughters Birthday, Bridal shower for a Niece and a list of a few other things I need to pick up I don't expect to save as much. But I am going to try really hard to save something out of the weekly budget. We also put back our Bush Tax Cut Extention each payday, now that is gonna add up super fast!!! So glad we get to hang on to it for at least 2 more years. How did you do in January, were you able to stay off the streets and put a little something back? How did your pantry hold up if you decided to stay out of the grocery store? How about gas for the car, were you able to cut back a bit?

My budget busters were on gifts, but in the long run it will save me when we need to put a little something together. Our pantry is still overflowing, I only made one trip to the grocery/CVS for the month but we would have done fine if I would have stayed home, all I really needed was milk and eggs. Gas is going up in price and now that I am picking up and dropping off the babies each day our gas spending is going to increase big time. Off to bed, I am freezing my buns off.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Sewing on Sunday

Sunday turned out to be a day of sewing, I soooo want to get packages in the mail Monday since I only have one baby. I should be able to figure out how to get in the post office with 3 boxes and a little one without breaking a hip, I hope!! I have finished 3 sets of chair bags along with table runners, and super cute ties for little boys, only two more table runners to go WooHoo!! Whoever thought up Crock Pots should receive a Noble Peace Prize,without it our family wouldn't have had Sunday dinner this week.

It has been a huge adjustment for me having the babies around 5 days a week, by the time they go home in the evening I have very little energy left, some nights there is ZERO left in the old body. Saturday was spent doing errands which took 3 times longer than usual with all the traffic. When I get a little more adjusted to the new schedule I plan on going back to Monday as errand day. I have found that folks are a lot more aggressive and unfriendly over the weekends, the later the day gets the nastier people seem be. I also am gonna need to stop doing so many extras for our girls, as much as I hate to say no to them I need a bit more balance until we all settle into a routine. I would love a snow day!! Didn't get bread made Friday, but with Rambo man out of town I can do without it this week, have some in the freezer if I get desperate.

I did pick up a piece of baby equipment while I was out and about that should make life more pleasant around here (long drive in traffic) at a super price. Lots of moving stuff around in the babies room Saturday night to get it to fit but it will be sooo helpful. Of course spending money in January is a big no no but I will share my justification (sorry a... excuse) later in the week. Off to ride the sewing machine one more hour then to bed with a cup of tea so I will be ready to face a new week at Nanny's place.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

House full of babies

I am wore slap a..... out!! Picked Tyler and Karsyn up at 7:15, Kara came over at 1:00, Thursday is always the hardest day. I can't go potty without having somebody who needs something. Tyler and I were able to cook up a few meals this morning during Karsyn's nap, both of our Daughters are struggling to get a meal on the table after work and all the other must do's Mommy's have in the evening. We made pizza's, lasagna, spaghetti sauce and sun dried chicken Alfredo, everybody went home with a home cooked meal and precooked meals for the freezer. I feel good that I was able to help the kids out a bit but the reality is I should have been cuddling on the couch with Tyler when I had the chance!!!!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Sewing Jinx is after me

Not sure what the heck is going on with my sewing week but the sewing buggers must be after me!! The morning started out great, Karsyn fell asleep right after her bottle so to work I went. Needed to cut a bit more material for the table runners but ran out before I could finish, UGH, No problem I am gonna blow my no spending budget and run by the fabric store this afternoon, that will also save our Daughter some time their house is on the way so I will drop the baby off, OK good deal move on.
Began working on the chair goodie bags (photo above), they are so cute. Valentines morning you slip a few little goodies in for the kids or whoever is your sweetheart. I am whipping right along when I ran out of thread, double UGH!!!
Didn't blow my cool yet, figured I can spend a little time cleaning up my mess, Karsyn and I will leave early run to the fabric store get what we need then I can drop her off at home. Karsyn had a different agenda, she decided the afternoon would be fussy time, I am to old to take a fussy baby in the car and head to town that is close to an hour away so we hung out at the house until Mommy got off work then off we went.
I droped Karsyn off then headed to the fabric store free of a heavy, wiggley, fussy baby. Don't you know the durn store now closes at 5:00, it was 5:07. The lady came to the door and was so sweet, I know she thought this poor thing she is crying so hard her face has turned red. NO it is pouring down rain thats why my face is wet and I am running a fever thats why my face is red. They use to be opened until 7:00 but due to the economy they started closing at 5:00 close to a year ago. Nice....
Saturday morning I am free of all Grandbabies I will be at the fabric store when they open the doors then on to the chain fabric store to get in on the 1/2 price thread deal. I will NOT give up!!! Have all 3 little ones tomorrow then just the babies on Friday, I don't expect to get a thing done other than play patty cake, surely I won't mess that up!!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Sew Frustrating

I can't remember being so frustrated sewing in my whole life!! I should have been able to whip up at least 3 table runners tonight but one thing after another went wrong, at least I was able to finish this one. I might have found the culprit but to aggravated to do anything else at this point. Planned on getting runners and chair bags in the mail Saturday when I don't have any of the babies, that might be a pipe dream at this point. Maybe tomorrow I will have a better attitude with a good nights sleep and a shot of NyQuil.

I love our grandbabies with all my heart, they are full of life, smiles, giggles and coo's but the little buggers are germ super hero's. Karsyn had a runny nose and lots of sneezing yesterday, by the afternoon I began to develop the same symptoms. Today Tyler, Karsyn and I were all sneezing our heads off, runny nose's and out of sorts. I so wish I could build up enough immunities to ward off all these typical childhood illnesses, I am to old for this crap. Having chills are no fun when you are in the middle of the Freeze Yer Buns Off challenge, even fresh brownies are yucky when you feel like you just swallowed a Brillo pad. Tomorrow is another day, looking forward to a new start.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Sew Fun

Karsyn and I spent the day cutting out table runners and Valentine chair bags. Have lots more cutting to do but one step at a time. As you can see I have plenty of material to keep me busy all winter. Want to make table runners for Valentines Day, St Patrick's Day, Easter, Halloween, Thanksgiving , Christmas and Birthdays. Now you know why I need to get in on the 50% off sale for thread this week! While I was doing a little thread organizing today I found some old spools that cost .95 cents, these days they run close to $4.00, sewing is not a cheap hobby! I made some runners a year or so ago without a pattern, today I pulled out some butt ugly wrapping paper and made a pattern up, sure made cutting out a lot easier. We will be having rain for the next 2 days so maybe I can stay in and sew away. I pick up material on the 50% or 75% off sales during the year, sometimes forget what all I have squirreled away. Surprised myself on how much I had put back for table runners but excited that I can whip up some gifts at super duper prices. Also pulled out what I have put back to make aprons with, that won't be happening any time soon, but when I get ready I am all set (as in holy Hannah, must have been some good sales).
I have the crappiest cheapest sewing machine on the market, picked it up last year when my singer passed away after 37 years, didn't want to spend good money on something I didn't really want. I decided to save up for what I really, really want a top of the line machine that will also do embroidery. Have my name on the waiting list at a sewing center if they get a good machine in for trade, that may never happen, but I can't justify the cost for a new one unless I win the lottery, need to buy a lottery ticket to have a chance at that deal which I won't do.
If the grand babies cooperate I may have a photo or two of the sewing projects to share later in the week.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Girls Day Out

Total cost $17.50, my cost $2.37, total saved $15.13
Total cost $125.00, my cost $23.09, total saved $101.91

I meet our oldest Daughter Saturday for a little girl time. I had a few coupons for us to Bath and Body Works so off we went. First trip we had a free coupon for any Signature Collection with a purchase and a free coupon for Carried Away lotion. I hit the 75% off table and picked up a 4 once Fresh Balsam jar candle, that covered my purchase to get the Signature Collection, the Carried Away lotion was free with no purchase necessary. Total spent $2.37, total saved $15.13 GOOD DEAL!!!
When we got home I checked my receipt and saw that I had a coupon for $10.00 off a $30.00 purchase if I called a toll free number to participate in a customer service survey. Check your receipts ladies you never know what you might find!! Now what to do, should I head back over and spend $30.00 to save $10.00 or stay home and save my $20.00? Yep, we hit the road, picked up 10 more candles at 75% off, 4 hand soap dispensers at 75% off, 1 Signature Collection bath Jel free and, 1 Carried Away lotion free. Total spent $23.09, total saved $101.91. Our girls are always needing inexpensive Christmas gifts for ladies they work with, the candles paired with a little something else will be great, the hand soap is perfect for teachers again we will put a little something else with it and have a few great budget friendly gift for next year.
OK, so this wasn't really on my no spending plan for January but I can explain!! Back in December I bought a Sulky thread organizer that came with lots of thread (can't remember how much) cost was $97.41. I was a happy girl, the thread alone would have cost more than that. The next day I opened my little prize to find the latch was broken, durn! I called the store and let them know, the lady didn't seem surprised, most of the shipment were broken. I hung on to it thinking who cares about a broken latch anyway. Friday night when I was setting up for a sewing marathon the hinges broke on the stupid thing. Saturday morning that sucker went back, now had $97.41 in my pocket so spending $25.00 and saving $116.00 seems reasonable to me. Have the rest of the refund money stashed to use on a 50% off Sulky thread sale next week, I need to restock my thread stash for some winter sewing. The way I figure it is that the $97.00 came out of Decembers budget, using it to pick up some super bargains this month isn't really spending right? I knew you would agree!! Want some free coupons to bath and Body works, head over to Hip2save blog, you will have to look at some older posts to find them both but is you buy some of the %75 off stuff you can get out for less than $3.00 and they will then give you an additional coupon for more Carried Away products.

Friday, January 21, 2011


New look for the dinning room
2 portable cribs, 1 cradle, 2 high chairs 2 baby swings, 2 bounce seats, 2 car seats, 1 exerciser saucer, and a rocking chair with lots of mileage
Morning bottles and oatmeal dishes

Still adjusting to having all the grand kids, needless to say life as I knew it is over! Ha Thursday was a bugger of a day but today was a little better, I only had the baby girls today. Started the day at 7:00 Finished at 7:30, longggggg day for Nanny. Washed 2 loads of bottles, changed lots of loaded diapers and received more smiles, coo's and giggles than I deserve. Hope to build up my stamina over the next few weeks so I can do more than just keep up with the little ones
Update on the Freeze Yer Buns Off; Got the electric bill today, what a disappointment :( we did cut the bill by close to $70.00 from this time last year but I had so hoped we would have done better. We are having record breaking cold weather this year, when the temperature drops below 20 degrees our heat pump goes to straight electric, that will burn the kilowatts like crazy. But I really thought keeping the temperature set at 65 during the day and 55 at night would have had a bigger impact, I even kept the Christmas trees off during the week to save on electricity and I wash dishes by hand except Sunday dinner dishes. We have had a rate increase this year so that also plays into the bottom line. Crap!!! Gonna give it one more month and see what happens, now that I have the babies I have the temperature set at 68 during the day, the nursery is set up in the dinning room which is one of the warmest rooms in the house so they are doing fine. I am making an appointment next week to have an energy audit done, I figure I already know some of what will be recommended, replace the 2 heat pumps new attic roof and insulation, replace all the windows, who knows what else. Everything listed are budget busters, we will just do what we can when we can and keep Freezing Our Buns Off.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Love the man in Brown (UPS)

Got a happy box today I needed a little pick me up!! Scored all 6 of these super cute functional water bottles from Pottery Barn for Teens for the super low price of $28.21 including shipping, that works out to only $4.67 each, the regular price was $19.95 each. They are gonna make such cute gifts over the summer, maybe pair them with some blinged out flip flops or a girlie beach towel. Cute, cheap, fast and easy, just like me! Ha
Worked on a little organizing today in preparation of having all 3 grandbabies for the rest of the week. Will meet one of our Son-In-Laws at 6:45 AM to pick up the first 2 then our youngest daughter will drop her baby off in the afternoon. Thanks goodness I have some meals cooked ahead I figure I will be crawling to the refrigerator by the end of the day to find food then my bed! Please Lord help me keep up with these 3 sweet little blessings. Amen

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Nanny time

Our oldest Daughter had a meeting to attend today, rather than have her load up the kids in the cold rain I headed over to their house for a few hours. The kids were doll babies as always but a bit boring! Ha, that is a good thing for the most part but I have a hard time setting still. Decided to clean out her pantry and refrigerator, kept me busy and helped her out. Somebody needs to go to the grocery store!!!

She will return to work this Thursday and is beginning to get a little overwhelmed about leaving the baby, keeping up the large new house, having time to play with Ty boy, and all the other stuff that is heaped on Mommy. We made a deal, I like to coupon and grocery shop, she hates to do both so....we are gonna give a trial run of me doing the grocery shopping for her family for a month, our goal is to take a little more work off her shoulders, help the family save money on groceries, and help keep Mommy home after work. Did my first grocery run for her today, only saved 45% on her bill but that's a heck of a lot better than they have been saving. Together we will try and come up with some meal plans that will keep them away from carry out, and be fast and easy to prepare for Mommy. Thursday will be my first full day with all 3 grandbabies, makes my heart race a bit!! If my back will hold up we should be fine. Tomorrow I need to do a quick clean up around the house and double check the nursery (formerly dinning room) to make sure I am stocked up on everything we will need.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Carry Out

Here is our version of carry out. Remember it is still January and we are still on our no spending rule other than groceries and gas for the month. Even if we were not a no spending rule for the month this is pretty much what the refrigerator looks like at the beginning of each week. I pack up enough meals for Rambo Man to take back with him and also meals for myself. Rambo man works crazy hours when he is on a project, even if he wanted to get carry out the restaurants aren't always opened when he is ready to eat and of course nobody can cook like his wife (ya right) I am just to durn lazy to cook for myself so having precooked meals keeps me off the streets and helps with my girlie figure (big lie!) As you can see by all these meals I am supper busy on the weekends cooking or messing with food in one way or another.

Here is what is on the meal plan for the week and how it came about
Lasagna - Precooked and frozen from another time
BBQ Chicken with fixins - Supper from this weekend, I make extra with carry out meals in mind
Filet, wild rice, broccoli, french bread - Leftover from Sunday dinner, made extra for carry out
Stuff Peppers - Stuffing was frozen from last time I made it, I make 3 or 4 batches, then freeze a batch or two for later, all I had to do was stuff the peppers and go
Roast beef, potatoes, carrots and gravy - Leftover from supper, again I make extra for a reason!
Beef and Noodles - Leftover roast beef with a jar of gravy added, throw it over noodles and your done, add sour cream if you want to get fancy
Ham and bean soup - frozen in individual bowls from another time.

Update on my car I love so very much.
Rambo Man and Ty worked on it over the weekend, looks like they fixed it!!!! Thanks goodness! Well at least we think it's fixed, I made him drive it around all weekend to make sure, so far so good. I can't even begin to tell you how thankfull I am. Blessed to have a man around that can fix just about anything and super blessed we have a sweet grandson who likes to do Guy Stuff with his Papaw.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Extreme Coupons

Well I finally got to see TLC "Extreme Coupons" show that everyone has been talking about. Hummmm... seemed like OCD with some hoarding thrown in, some of the people were sorta sad. You ditch your husband to go shopping, cancel plans with family and friends to shop, have 50 years worth of toilet paper in your stockpile. Sorry but that's just not normal ladies. Spending 70 hours a week working on coupons, buying $70.00 worth of coupons from a coupon company? How is that saving money? Dumpster diving with your toddler to get free coupons, that's not what I would consider a day out with your child. What the heck is the deal with storing food in the garage? Do they not know food can't take the extreme temperature changes in a garage? You would think for people who care more about their stockpile than they do with their own family they would at least know how to store the bounty they bring in.

One lady did seemed normal, not sure what her name was, she was a retired nurse who had put herself and Daughter through college and had been couponing for over 30 years. The grocery shopping trip they filmed of her looked like a normal grocery trip to the store, her one cart had a variety of foods, and she save a ton of money. Hope the show didn't turn people off from couponing :(

Using coupons combined with store sales saves our family so much money, I do try to stock up when the sale/coupons are good but I don't have a stockpile!! I like to consider the extras we have as our personal general store, for the most part I have enough in my pantry's to not pay full price for anything until the next sale cycle. There is a misconception that you can only buy junk food using coupons, but that is just not true, yes there are a ton of coupons for crap but I don't purchase junk, I only buy what we eat and eat what we buy. I refuse to pay good money for food then let it set and expire because I over bought, no matter how cheap I got it, waste is waste. Need to get off my soapbox and finish washing Sunday dinner pots and pans, UGH!!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

It's Alway's Something

Here is the good stuff, made two new cards using the January SOTM today. It was hard to get a good photo of them since it is already after dark and the cards are also dark. Cleaned in the scrap room today, what a mess, I need to keep up better!! Now for the bad part.
Went on errands this morning, all was going great until after one of my stops when I started the car. Lights started flashing and beeping, not a good sign. The dash thing said engine low power or something like that. Well I figure that is an important bit of information so I headed home as fast as I could, luckily I was only 2 miles from home. Friday traffic in our area is nuts, 2 miles can take 20 minutes. UGH At first I though I could smell a little gas but then again maybe not. Finally got through the worst traffic light and I am on home the stretch. The car began to go slower and slower, I had the gas peddle to the floor and couldn't get it to over 35 miles an hour. Thank goodness I didn't get my A.. run over! Not good, I did make it home and parked the old girl. Now what to do, I called Rambo man he can fix just about anything but from 300 miles away it was going to be a challenge. He did give me directions to disconnect battery cables, do something with the fuel line, reset something else........all Greek to me. Thankfully (sorta) the project has some sort of problem so he will be coming home tomorrow for a few days. Sure hope the fix is easy and cheap but not to hopeful, my car has 180,000 miles on it, 8 years old but looks like new and normally runs like a charm. Fingers, eyes, and toes are crossed I DO NOT want a new car I love my car!!!!!!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Playing around

Had all three grand babies for part of the day, wheeee they keep me jumping!!!! After the kids left I decided to work on a page for Karsyn. This will be the cover page for her scrapbook. I used a WOTG kit from CTMH, "Sophia" along with the January's stamp of the month "Find your Style". Love how it turned out!! The new line will go on sale Febuary 1st, really cute stuff with 8 new paper lines. I feel like most of the papers are very girlie, but there are 2 sets that I can't wait to work with for Tyler. Other than changing diapers, making bottles, changing diapers, feeding them lunch, burping babies and, changing more diapers I didn't get anything else done but I'm cool with that. The kids all left clean, full and happy.
I have Kara tomorrow afternoon, would love to get her cover page done, maybe I can work on a design tonight so I am ready to rock in the morning. So far $.00 spending this week other than the coupon trip yesterday, still have 1/2 tank of gas, maybe I can get by without filling the tank again this month!!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Fell off the wagon today

Fell off the no spending wagon that is. But technically I am still within the bounds of no spending for the month of January because I only spent at the grocery store and CVS. Groceries and gas were exempt from the no spending challenge, however I really thought I would just get by with purchasing milk and eggs this month.

That all changed this morning when after cleaning up my coupon binder I realized how many coupons were due to expire at the end of the month, after checking the sale paper for the grocery and CVS I couldn't afford not to go!! I don't feel one bit guilty for the spending or should I say savings!!! Total spent for the day was $192.20 total saved with sales and coupons... drum roll please......$293.04 my heart is still racing with the excitement!!!!

CVS was soooo fun, I had a lady behind me that only had a few things so I offered for her to go ahead of me. I had 2 buggies full, she was appreciative of the small kindness :), Then we got talking about the whole coupon deal combined with the sales, she decided to hang around to see how much I saved, no problem it's fun to share the excitement. A bit later 2 more ladies came up behind me I apologized for taking so long but at that point the clerk was scanning the coupons so they were interested to see how it would go. Now we had a gang of ladies hanging around with baited breath. The bill went from $308.32 down to $113.38!!!!!!!!! Saved a grand total of $194.94. Have 3 new ladies in our area that were headed home to dig the Sunday paper out of the trash. The clerk at CVS told them she sees so many more people using their coupons now days and how much fun it is for her to ring them up and share the joy of the savings they are getting. Can't wait to open that box of Bengay and head to the couch with the bag of Dove's dark chocolate for the night! Ha
Grocery store was really good also, brought the bill of $150.58 down to $78.82. I haven't spent so much in one day of couponing in a long time but the sales were good and the coupons were about to expire whats a girl to do? Stay off the streets for a good long time and clip more coupons would be a good idea, don't you think?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Icy Hot Tub

It would be nice to sit in the hot tub and soak my bad back if I felt like shoveling snow then knocking off the ice from the cover. It ain't happening! I did get the front porch and steps cleaned off and put down some ice melt, that better do the job cause I don't plan on doing any more unless I really and truly have to. Our schools are closed again tomorrow, the kids are lovin it for now but come spring break time, gonna have some unhappy campers. Who knows when this will ever clear up, forecast is for below freezing temperatures all week. One local station thinks it is possible that we could get another round of snow/ice over the weekend. NOOOO!!
I worked on my coupon binder today, lots of expired coupons, cutting new coupons and printing even more. Think I have it all back in order so I can hit the deals come February 1st. Printed more pictures of the grand babies and cleaned up photo files, man we have a lot of pictures. Other than that just didn't feel like doing anything else. When the roads clear enough I am headed to the Dr. to get an anti inflammatory. I have been doing every home remedy I know but gonna need a pro to help me out. So thankful that we have power, while I think we have a good back up emergency system in place I am glad that I don't have to use any of it when I feel so bad. Hopeful that a good nights sleep and a few more back exercises will get me on my feet, the old lady back problems are no fun.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Winter Wonderland

Woke up to snow, snow, and more snow. The snow changed over to sleet and freezing ran around 5:00 and is coming down hard. I measured at lunch today, we were up to 5 1/2 inches, that might not seem like a lot for ladies north of the Mason Dixon line but I can tell you it cripples the south. The freezing rain tonight is what will be the worst, doesn't take much to bring down the power lines, so far so good our girls are all doing OK and I am staying warm and cozy.
Spent the day working on photo files, they were a mess! Printed out lots of pictures of the grand babies and sketched a few layouts but never put adhesive to paper. Last Friday I threw my back out and am really struggling to move around, didn't fell much like setting and scrappin today with this bad back. I had hoped to get in to the Dr this morning before the storm hit but out of luck with that, the office was closed, more than likely they won't open tomorrow either. Taking lots of Motrin, using ice packs and back exercises to get it back in shape.
Tomorrow will be another day of hibernating. Would love to get busy on a few layouts if I can get my back to loosen up, if not then it is another day of self doctoring. Continuing the Freeze Yer Buns off challenge, going pretty good so far. I do run the heat up when the babies are around but other than that it is 65 degrees daytime and 55 at night. No spending in January is going great, I did a money transfer last week of $25.00 from what I wanted to spend but held off on. Our tax extension savings was also transferred into savings Friday. Sure is nice to have the extra money so we can make decisions of where to spend it.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Here Comes The Snow

First off our hearts hurt for the family and friends of the victims in AZ, hope each of you are praying for their comfort in this terrible time. Had to turn the news off yesterday, I couldn't stand to hear any more of the horrors.
We are getting prepared for what might be a big winter storm, lots of cooking today!! I cooked up enough for the kids to all take home 5 meals each, Chili, Potato soup, Minestrone soup, pizza's and egg salad. Still have leftovers from Saturday's cooking, Ham and Baked pork chops. Nobody should go hungry if the power goes out, they can at least warm up meals on gas grills, I will be using the wood stove. If it looks to get bad they will all head to our home early tomorrow where we have plenty of wood, and the fancy dancy generator that I have no clue how to turn on. Need to put learning how to work the generator on my to do list.
I made the minestrone soup pictured today with dehydrated food, the only thing I had to add was canned tomatoes, chicken stock, pasta and potatoes. I use the recipe from Olive Garden that you can find on line, even the boys love this soup. Took no time at all to put together since everything was already pre chopped. I do have dehydrated potatoes but they are hash browns or sliced, we like chunky potatoes but if need be I could always use the sliced ones. We like shell pasta in this soup just like the resturant, boxed pasta is cheap as dirt so who cares.
Big step for our oldest Daughter this week. I sent her home with the fixins for chicken noodle soup, dehydrated veggies and spices with homemade stock and noodles. I hate to share this but my girls are not much into the whole cooking deal. She called the next day to tell me they LOVED the soup and it was super easy, now keep in mind this kid has been eating the exact same soup all her life but I think because she cooked it herself it was a little more special. I don't have visions of her hanging out with me this summer canning, dehydrating, blanching or freezing foods, working in the garden ain't gonna happen but maybe just maybe she has a little more appreciation for how I roll. I have been fussing at the girls to get to the grocery store since Friday, youngest Daughter went Saturday and had no problem, middle Daughter is single and could care less, oldest Daughter went today after Sunday dinner, found empty shelves!! Hello what did you expect girl, she posted a photo on FB showing the empty shelfs but I haven't figured out how to get it to the blog, maybe tomorrow.
Doesn't the Chocolate chip bunt cake look yummy? Having a slice tonight with a cup of tea, gotta keep up my strength for the cold weather ya know. Here is the best part... The grocery store paid me to take the mix off their hands. After Christmas the quick bread mixes were on clearance for $1.15, I had coupons for $.75 off which they double, end results is they paid me $.10 to get them out of the store. Super happy that I had 6 coupons so I stocked up. Also got a deal on M&M's they were marked down to $1.25, had some $1.00 off coupons so they were only $.25 each, of course the are holiday colors red and green but who cares. I even thought hey I could open them up and sort them out, use the red ones for Valentines day and the green ones for St Patricks day, thought again, who am I kidding my family could care less what color they are.
Figure we will all be home bound tomorrow so I will put together a few page kits tonight to work on for the next few days. I am determined to finish the durn Halloween scrapbooks. Thought I would be working on updating the Christmas albums by now :(. Hope everyone has a safe, warm few days if you are in the path of this southern storm.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Hold On Baby

Kara is so funny, when the kids put her in the car set now she grabs on to the carrying handle. She must be afraid Mom or Dad might dump her out! Ha

Today was manual labor until Kara came in the afternoon. Loaded all of the outdoor decorations to the back shed, cleaned up the garage (tidying up might be a better description), Put together the shelving unit to store the sun oven, dehydrator, and canning supplies. I could use an additional unit to put the cookware for the sun oven and all the cast iron but that won't happen until February and even then I'm not sure if I have the space for it. I have a REALLY large kitchen but I keep running out of room :(.

A post from one of my young Mommy buddies on facebook last night got me thinking that I need to share a few accomplishments from 2010. first and maybe foremost was the savings we had from shopping on sale and using coupons only at the grocery store last year. Total savings were $2,035.00!!! Wish they would put a running spent total on the receipt as well but that might shock to many folks. Generally I saved 60% at least this year, might have been a bit more. That might seem like a lot for just 2 people but keep in mind I cook a huge meal at least a once a week for our whole family and whoever else might be around. We do the food for all holiday's, vacations, Birthday's and I send meals home with our Daughters on a pretty regular basis when they are working. Along with what we grew and put back from the garden we have saved a butt load of money. I grocery shop pretty much each week after checking the sale paper and comparing it to the coupons I have, if the deal is good I shop, if not I stay home. Best I can guess we averaged under $300.00 a month for food.

I didn't keep up with the savings at CVS this year but I did hang on to the fall savings receipt. It showed $512.00, not sure how many quarters they have but I do a lot more shopping in the late summer and fall to stock up for the winter on over the counter meds, toiletries, toilet paper and such. The drug store savings were in the 80% range I am sure.

I began shopping for Christmas gifts in August when socks, undies, jeans and the basics were on back to school sales. Each month after I worked the Sunday sale paper for any deals on gifts, Kholes is one of my all time favorites, LOVE the Kholes dollar back days. Certainly I saved on Christmas gifts but we still spend more than we should.

For the month of January I won't be spending anything on groceries other than milk and eggs, same goes for CVS zero spending at the drug store. We should be getting a little snow tomorrow and possibly a large storm Sunday-Tuesday, love that I won't be one of the ladies hitting the grocery store over the weekend paying full price for the necessities of a possible ice storm.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Staycation comes to an end

My staycation is almost over :( I haven't finished our family Halloween scrapbook but only have 7 more pages to finish so I am happy with what I have been able to accomplish. I still need to update our oldest Daughters family album but that will be super easy to finish, just need a few more photo's, for some reason I didn't get many of their children, as soon as I get a copy of what they have I can knock it out. I am gonna keep at it until I finish them all, I already have the huge mess all over the family room, no need to clean it up yet, I should be able to work on them in the evening after Kara goes home.
Had to do a few errands today before I could play. Rambo man is running out of meds and can't seem to get to the pharmacy in VA, sent him a package. Returned a Christmas gift for one of our Daughters, somehow I misplaced the receipt, then on to BJ's to pick up formula for our youngest daughter (they don't have a membership card). No spending other than at the post office, did you know that priority mail has gone up? Almost double what it was before Christmas.
Normally when I head out early in the morning I stop in at a local restaurant for the breakfast special that runs $5.45. Money saved! It was cold and dreary here today, I got a heck of a chill running around on errands, passed a Starbucks (Carmel apple cider), also past a Dunkin Donuts (hot chocolate and maple donut) figure I saved an additional $5.00 by keeping the car in drive and not making the stop. Added $10.45 to my total saved this week list and made myself a cup of raspberry tea to warm up with. Speaking of warming up I have really noticed how cold it is in the house this week while continuing the Freeze Yer Buns off challenge. Just setting and scrapbooking all day and most nights doesn't keep my blood pumping enough. Sorta looking forward to running the vacuum tomorrow and doing a little baking to keep the chill off! Our power bill better show an improvement over last year!!!!!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Staycation Continues

Still on my staycation and lovin it.
Update on the zero spending for the month of January... I so wanted to call in carry out tonight. I am sick to death of the holiday leftovers, wanted a little something different. A good hearty pasta meal is what I had in mind. I can justify the spending in that the servings are really large I can make it into 2 meals easily. Since I would be having it crub side I wouldn't be out $3.00 or so for a drink (don't drink caffeine, lemonade costs more), still needed to give the car hop a tip but I figured the total cost would be $14.00. Two meals would work out to only $7.00 each, not to bad I was thinking. Came back to my senses.... Pasta cost next to nothing at home, I have store box pasta in the pantry and home made pasta in the freezer, throw a little sauce on it ( precooked in the freezer), toss a little chicken in it ( Precooked in the freezer) and its done for zero spending. Too lazy and hungry to even do that so I went with eggs, bacon and toast, bumped it up a bit by pulling out some home made strawberry jelly. I added $14.00 to my money saved list, when I do the banking Friday I will take whatever I would have spent but didn't and transfer it over to savings. Complicated I know but it works for me.
Spent the day working on our family Halloween album, I am switching over from a 9x9 album to a 12x12 album. No way was I gonna rescrapbook all the pages that were done, instead I am mounting the 9x9 pages onto 12x12 pages, sounds fast and easy right? Well not so much, it is taking much longer than I would have thought and I am not crazy with the results. Finished 19 pages, still have 16 more to go, I really thought I would knock it out early today so I could work on this years Halloween photo's, durn that ain't gonna happen. Maybe tomorrow I will do a little better and finish it up, yes tomorrow is another staycation day, the last one. Have a few errands in the morning then the rest of the day and night is all mine...sweet!!!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Great Day of Blessings

Over the past year this blog has taken more of a focus on economics in our home, becoming a little more self sufficient, and preparing for emergencies that can hit any of us at any time. The continuing deteriorating economy has hit our family personally in the past year, tonight I feel that I can finally share a bit of the struggles that have hit our children. Our youngest Daughter and her husband were hit a double blow when she had a high risk pregnancy that took her out of work for 16 weeks, only 6 weeks of that time was with pay, at the same time her husband's hours were cut from 50 hours a week down to 25 hours a week. The kids faced this blow with a fierce determination that they might be down but they were not out. Thankfully they are both back at work full time and have worked hard to get back on their financial footing, such a blessing!!!

Our oldest Daughter was also pregnant this year, they bought a larger new home in June, in July her husband was laid off. The kids faced the economical blow with dignity and grace, they didn't know when our Son in Law would find a new job but they knew no matter what they would not throw up their hands and give up. Luckily she was able to work up until her scheduled due date and has been receiving her maternity pay throughout her leave, today her husband started his new job!!! Once again we have been sooo blessed!! As parents it breaks our hearts to see bad things happen to our good children, the blessing is that we have been able to help when needed, and had the privilege to watch our children face challenges and turn them into victories.

That being said I am continuing my self imposed vacation, had a few errands to run this morning before I could move on to a little fun. Had lots of problem getting my fancy dancy photo printer to work so I could get started on some layouts, ended up doing a work around without blowing my top (to much). One of the many projects piled up in the scrap room was to start a Halloween scrapbook for our youngest Daughters family. It is done......YES!!! Can't wait to give it to her later in the week, each year I will add a few new layouts for them to enjoy for years to come. Now on to our oldest Daughters family Halloween album, looks like I will need to get a few more photo's from her to get their book finished but I have a pretty good start going tonight, hope to finish it tomorrow then move on to our own Halloween album. So exciting to get back to some play time. No cooking, still have leftovers, no cleaning, no laundry, no decorating or undecorating, no baking, no shopping, no bedtime and no alarm clock, gotta love vacation in January!!!!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Nanny Time

It has been a longggggg time since I have been able to take some time for just me, for the next 3 days that's what I will be doing. The kids, grand kids and Rambo man are all on notice and agree that Nanny needs a little me time. After our New Years meal today I set myself up a little nest in the family room to work on winter cards. I didn't take the time to write a note in many of our Christmas cards and I am not really crazy for family newsletters. After receiving Christmas cards from family and friends I wanted to send a note to some of them so tonight I made some winter cards to send out next week. I scrap lifted the card idea from the Christmas card Close to my Heart sent to consultants. Made a few changes since I didn't have all of the same supplies but they still turned out cute. It is hard to see the rhinestones and prisma glitter from a photo but they both really blinged the cards out.
It feels so good to create something for a change, might even do a little more creating over the next 3 days, for sure a nap or two will be in order, want to catch up on a little reading and print out a few recipes from the Internet. May or may not even get dressed tomorrow!! Since we had a family meal today we won't be having Sunday dinner, no need to get dressed, and I have enough leftovers so I don't even have to cook for a few days, woo hoo for me.
Hope everyone had a great New Years and will give yourself permission to take some time off for just you. Mom's work their tails off during the holiday the gift of time is what we all need!