Sunday, September 29, 2013
OH football season how we love thee!! Saturday was spent watching the SEC teams beat each other up as always, Roll Tide. A beautiful fall Sunday afternoon enjoying families cheer on little boys with big dreams. Sitting this evening with AJ the beagle while the doors and windows are wide open, there is no where else I would rather be.
We still have two more days to go before The Pantry Insurance Challenge begins but I thought I would share the rules tonight. To insure everyone who wants to play along is challenged there will be three levels. Pick which one fits you best
Ladies in Waiting - You don't have a well stocked pantry but realize it would be a real blessing for your family in case of an emergency.
Princess - You have a good start on your pantry but seem to run out of things too often. You could feed your family for a week maybe two if need be but there might be lots of complaints from your subjects.
The Queen - You could feed a small army with two hours notice. Purchasing food at full price makes you mad as a hornet. If one of your subjects leaves an empty box or bag in the pantry you are ready to send them to the dugeon.
For any of you British ladies I mean NO disrespect if I have messed up the royal pecking order. In my world Bear Byrant is King and Barbara Bush will always be Queen.
Now that you have figured out where you are on the Pantry level here are the rules
Use CASH only
Use your normal grocery budget
Share with the rest of us your success or failures in the comment section and/or link up your own blog
Ladies in Waiting - The goal is to have two weeks of extra food in your pantry by the end of the month in addition to your regular groceries. Keep in mind your family eats three meals each day and if your like our family snacks are a must.
Princess - The goal is to be able to feed your family for three extra weeks in addition to your regular groceries. Don't forget that birthday's, holiday's, and other celebrations come up even if the pay check stops.
Queens - You got this right? Ha, maybe, maybe not. The goal is to eat from the pantry all month long!! Keep your weekly shopping confined to dairy, eggs, and fruit (in season if you can). You still need to pull out your weekly CASH for grocery shopping but DON"T spend it!! Tuck that cash away for now.
OK, I hope the rules are clear, if not please let me know!! This month will take a whole lot of planning on all levels, lots of work in the kitchen, and smart purchases. I will share the weekly bonus challenge tomorrow. All this talk of food has me hungry for a piece of that apple cake before bed, time to sign off.
Saturday, September 28, 2013
OK on to the October challenge. You might ask what the heck is Pantry Insurance...well it's a made up name for a full working pantry. I consider a full pantry as sort of an insurance policy that you can eat. We all pay monthly/yearly premiums for health, home, car, life, disability and who knows what else insurance should we have and accident, illness, or death. I am sure you are all like we are in that we hope we never have to use the insurance we continually to pay on but having it makes us all sleep better at night.
A full pantry for me is just the same. I hope I never have to cash in my chips (use it all up) But in the event of a job loss, lay off, or unexpected expenses I know we have a safety net to eat from. Like any insurance policy you need to make regular payments/deposits into it. Unlike insurance you can use coupons and sales to cut the cost of your premiums and you never feel like your just sending money out the door to never be seen again cause your gonna be eatting it all in time! How cool is that
In the old days before the recession hit our country the rule of thumb was everyone should have 3 month's of salary stashed in saving in case of a job loss, layoff, or illness. Now days that 3 month's has been bumped up to 6 months salary. Talk about a daunting task!!! I am sure that chunk of change would have even the thriftiest of us cringing in our boots. Like anything else in life worth having it takes time, a little saved here and there over the years and it can be done. In the times we are living these days that task is almost unreachable with the cost of EVERYTHING going up.
Food, clothing, and shelter are the basics in life. If you have enough food on hand for your family that's one less worry in the event of a family disaster. FEMA now suggests that families have a two week supply of food on hand at all times for natural disasters, that's way up from the three day supply of way back when! The average amount families spend on food varies a lot, the middle ground seems to be 15% of the total budget should go towards food. Now if you didn't have to spend 15 % of that unemployment or disability check on food it would sure as heck go a lot farther.
Now let me be clear I am NOT talking about food storage although there is something to be said for that. You won't see me running around with a tin foil hat in the woods forging for food, I couldn't skin a rabbit if my life depended on it!! I am talking about food we eat every day (all day for some of us that will go unnamed) Think back to the old days when ladies tended the garden, put up food for the winter, and cooked from scratch. It was a way of life. People ate what was in season and preserved for the off season. Now you don't need to pull out the tiller and canner to pull this challenge off but you will have to have a plan and work the plan!!
I'm gonna give you a head start so you will be ready to rock and roll come October 1st. Here is a list of things that will help you get ready. Already have a nicely stocked pantry? There will be a challenge for us as well.
1.) Clean out your pantry. I mean every nook and cranny. If you have expired food throw it out! If you have food your family won't eat donate it to your local food pantry. Organize that thing in a way that works for YOU!
2.) Clean out the freezer. Toss out that freezer burnt food, make a mental note to yourself how it got that way. Did it get lost? Is somebody (again nameless) messing in your stuff? Come up with a plan to stop the freezer burn, it's just money wasted.
3.) Clean out the spice cabinet. If you have 3 jars of garlic salt combine them now while your kitchen is in a mess anyway. Tape an index card or some cute note paper to the inside of the spice cabinet to jot down spices you need to pick up before the holiday's. Hold off on restocking spices if you can as there should be good sales and coupons coming up soon.
4.) Collect your local grocery store flyer's ,coupons, paper, pen, sticky notes and whatever else you use when you plan a shopping trip. If you don't plan your grocery shopping trips you gotta long way to go this month! Ha
5.) Figure out what your weekly budget for groceries is. We will be working with CASH only, leave the debit card at home. Afraid the register might go over the cash you have in your pocket? Better get yourself a calculator or you will be putting stuff back at the cash register.
6.) Take time to think......what works for your family will be very different than what works in others. The goal is to build a WORKING pantry that WORKS for you!!
Friday, September 27, 2013
Looks like it is too pretty a day for toddlers to nap, oh how I miss nap time :( Thank goodness they entertain themselves running like wild animals around the yard.
So what's happening on the home improvement front? Three out of three appointments yesterday showed up!! It's a miracle. The last of the heat pump work is finished, the county inspector approved all work completed so far, another contractor got his bid in for the new roof. I think we are almost ready to make a decision on who gets to line their pockets on the roof contract. Our saving account is looking might sad :( I have reset my goal on all this updating, repairing, replacing on our home. Everyone has until the 3rd week of October to get in and out. I DON"T want to be dealing with this mess during the holiday's. Whatever doesn't get completed may very well have to wait until the spring.
Anybody ready for some money saving, playing in the kitchen, trying something new on the stove or oven for the month of October? I am working up a plan and some very loose rules for an October challenge. I checked my handmade gift drawers/closet to insure I have enough blog candy to give out each week. I will try and get the post up tonight or first thing tomorrow so we can all get ready to rock October 1st.
Wednesday, September 25, 2013
Nice deal at the grocery store today. Total spent $40.27, savings from sale and a coupon $28.65
I didn't plan on grocery shopping this week other than the normal milk, eggs, and fruit but I noticed that one of our grocery stores had a $10.00 off coupon with a $50.00 purchase. Humm, I didn't find much in the flyer that peaked my interest other than 10 for $10.00 deal on canned kidney beans. What the heck might as well wonder around to see if there were any unadvertised specials so I could use up that free $10.00. Hit pay dirt!!
They had some great unadvertised specials on canned goods. Everything pictured above was a 10 for $10.00 special. Now some will say it's cheaper to use dried beans than canned beans and you would be right but......I think there is a place in every pantry for canned beans. Condensed soup mixes can be made at home from scratch but again canned soups are a nice time saver when putting together casseroles and such. I have so many recipes that call for cream of about everything soup. Maybe that's a southern thing! Ha
When I am stocking up on anything I make sure to check the expiration dates!! There are times that the manager special is on foods that are coming close to the "best used by" date. Unless I am running low on something I pass on shelf stable foods that are close to the expiration date. Everything shown here won't expire until 2016. Let me assure you none of it will last that long.
Hubby and I had to cram as much as we could in this morning as he was leaving for TX in the early afternoon. This long distance relationship can be hard on a traditional family like ours. We seem to live by a list most of the time. What we have to do, what we need to do, what we would like to do, did I remember to tell you this, what bank account are you using, you used the wrong credit card yet again. The lists and reminders go on and on, it gets old :( The nice thing about this trip home was hubby agreed to fly instead of driving for 2 days just to get home! After I dropped him off at the airport I made a quick trip to the bank for a saving account deposit, drop off to Goodwill, picked up prescription meds, the final stop was the grocery store. I was not in the house more than 30 minutes before hubby called to tell be he had arrived in TX safely. LOVE THAT!!!!
Meet with yet another contractor late in the afternoon for a bid on a new roof, but that is a whole post of its own. I am past the point of wanting all this craziness to be over. I feel like my brain will explode some days working with all these people. I will never understand why people won't do what they say they will do!!
Tuesday, September 24, 2013
So what do you think? What I thought would be a 3 day project turned into a 3 week marathon. The budget of $600.00 was blown out of the water or should I say toilet. Final cost....$916.00, dog gone it!
Where did the money go? Here is the list
Paint - $117.42
Paint Supplies - $53.48
Faucet and plumbing - $102.00
Toilet paper holder - $15.98
Tile - $37.00
Hardware - $48.18
Electrical - $98.94
Toilet - $238.00
Counter Top - $205.00
Total cost -$ 916.00
Man it adds up fast!!!
Where we saved
Professional wall painter - $200.00
Plumber for sink and toilet - $300.00
New vanity instead of updating the old - $500.00
Electrical work - $125.00
Tile work - Have no idea
Paint vanity - Have no idea
Total saved for sure $1,125.00
After searching around in home improvement magazines, internet, and such seems the average price of remodeling a powder room is $3,000-$6,000, holy cow!!
I ended up doing more than I planned at the start of this what I thought would be an easy DIY. Our SIL who is a plumber suggested we update our old pipes and all that jazz while we were at it. Hubby also thought the electrical stuff could use some updating. Hubby and I both agreed a taller more water efficient toilet would be a good idea since we will be retiring in place (we hope). I could have gone cheaper on the vanity paint but this room gets a whole lot of action as it's the only bath on the first floor, the good stuff was a must. We could have Made Do with the original counter top but it was beginning to show its age. All in all I don't regret any of the decisions we made or money we spent. We both figure now is the time to do as many improvements we can afford before retirement.
We have enough leftover vanity paint to update both of our full upstairs bathrooms, which in time I will do but NO time soon!!! Ha I hope to find someone who could use the 1/2 gallon of leftover grey paint as I don't need it in any other rooms. Most of the painting supplies can be used again as long as hubby doesn't get his hands on it all and store away where no one can find it!
I am so glad this longer than I expected more expensive than I planned project is complete!!! Now if I can get the durn contractors to get those bids in maybe we can cross a few more things off the to do list. After a break of a week or two I need to get started on the family room. We have bought a couple of new pieces of furniture but a TON more elbow grease and work needs to be done. All in good time
Monday, September 23, 2013
Instead of a clothes line to hang the completed quilt I had to scale a mountain side to show her off.
Meandering FMQ was all I could do since I left my quilting gloves at home
My hubby is a nut. I forgot to share as we were coming into town we always make a stop at the "Bush Beans" museum for a potty break and wondering around. As I was in the checkout line hubby shared with me he thought he had forgotten to pack any shirts for vacation. What???!!!
Him - Ya, I was going to go back upstairs to throw some in my bag but I think I forgot to do that
Me - You are just saying that so you can get some new tee shirts, forget it buddy I am on to you.
Him - No really I think I only have the one I am wearing. Do you really think I would be interested in a Bush Beans shirt?
Me - After cleaning out your closet...yes as a matter of fact I do believe it would be just what you like. Oh my gosh, find one on sale and bring it up,grrr.
Saturday was a rainy raw day, perfect for staying in the cabin for some college football, Roll Tide. The boys however were getting board so they decided to run around town. Hubby called.
Him - We are at "Bass Pro" they have nice shirts I like on sale. I only have the one Bush Beans shirt with me. Should I buy more shirts?
Me - As long as they are not tee shirts or camouflage go ahead.
Him - As he walked in the door so proud with his bag of shirts. We went by the Harley dealer, they had tee shirts on the clearance table but I only bought one. Figured you could use it in a tee shirt quilt one of these days.
Me - Not likely
I love him so, but the tee shirt obsession makes me nuts
Sunday, September 22, 2013
Me - "Nite, nite bubba and Happy Anniversary"
Him - "Nite, and Happy Birthday"
The room busted out laughing, rolling in the floor laughing.
"Dude it's your Anniversary not her Birthday"
Him - " Oh Ya, that's what I meant to say, sorry honey!!"
I took today off to spend some alone time in the cabin. I needed to recharge my batteries, have some fun on the sewing machine, and make country bread for tonight's dinner. We have a large group this year, had to rent two cabins to fit everyone in, it has been a blast. Some from North Carolina, Alabama, Ohio, and even Canada!! Heather, our Canadian friend is having the time of her life hitting the shops and outlet malls, seems the prices and selections are much better in the US than the Providence she is from. I say LOAD up gal, the US economy could use some stimulation! Ha
This is the first year in a LONG time that other ladies are along for the trip, it's sorta nice to have fellow human beings who have nice lady like manners. The boys are always respectful and thankful for each and every thing but some of the nosies that are expelled from their bodies is well..... a bit much. While I cook the majority of the meals "from the freezer at home" the other two ladies kick in side dishes, set the table, and join in for the clean up. NICE!!!!!
I packed two quilts for vacation I would like to do the FMQ quilting on while enjoying the mountain air but...I forgot my quilting gloves :( So far it's not going so good. I didn't realize how much harder it is to quilt without gloves. No gloves, no problem. I downloaded lots of books on the nook before leaving home along with MY quilt from home. I might just be rocking and reading for the rest of the day!!
Thursday, September 19, 2013
Today has been a comedy or errors, mistakes, problems, and irresponsible contractors. Hubby doesn't count, in his hurry to surprise me things went wrong but his heart was in the right place!!!!
We had a window contractor come by this morning, from the start he hit it off wrong with me. I don't need any fast talking deal makers. Slow it down buddy, I know what I want. We need a few windows repaired or replaced, all windows recaulked and painted. The slick fast talking continued... Three windows need to be replace. OK sounds right to us. His plan was to replace them with vinyl. NO SIR!!! I told you from the start we are sticking with wood. grrrr A few sill or something or other also needed replacing. Here goes the fast talking again, we well just tear out the old and set you up with some great vinyl, no muss no fuss, no more maintenance. NO SIR!!! I have said over and over again we are sticking with wood. I do not want any plastic repairs made. Thankfully hubby was around to run interference for me, I was ready to wring the guys ever loving neck!!!!.
Pressure washer was due at 12:00, he was an hour late.....sigh He reminded us before he started to check all of the windows to make sure they were down and locked as sometimes unlocked windows can creep open when the water pressure hits them. Good idea seeing as how the window man just left. You never know, he might have left some windows opened.
As I walked into our bedroom to check the windows I found a path of mud on our just cleaned carpet. You have got to be KIDDING ME!!!! The chair that sits in front of one of the windows was in the middle of the room. The good news is that by the time the window man had reached the second bedroom most of the mud had been cleaned from his dirty boots, grrr Each and every room he had been in he had left whatever furniture was in his way out in the middle of the durn floor. I of course didn't know this until he was long gone.
Bless his heart and dirty, he will NOT be doing any work at our home. Two window contractors down, more to go, where it ends nobody knows. All of this home improvement/repair stuff has turned me into a very grouchy girl today. Vacation can't come soon enough!!!
We did have one funny thing happen today. The pressure washer fella ask hubby to step outside so he could show him that we have little holes all over the front of our roof. Could be hail damage they both thought. If it is hail damage our home insurance would kick in for the replacement. Hubby was getting a little too excited as they shared the news with me. Boys, better wipe that smile off your face. I am thinking the damage might have been done by that flock of woodpeckers that I was running off all day every day for weeks this past spring. Who knows, maybe something really will go our way for a change, not likely.
Wednesday, September 18, 2013
I have been going non stop since 5:30 AM this morning after staying up late last night trying to finish up 101 odds and ends. Is it done? Na, Lots more to do yet today but my motor is running low, time to kick back and rest up before giving it another go tonight.
Hubby is FLYING in this afternoon!! Hubby DOES NOT fly, however he is going to have to give up his fear of flying for awhile. Texas is just to far a drive for him to make each month for a visit home. We will have a grand total of 34 hours at home before we leave for our yearly anniversary trip in the Mountains, talk about cramming a whole lot of family time in a short window of opportunity. Along with catching up on things around the house that I just can't do on my own we need to go over our home improvement budget which is getting out of control. It's time to prioritize our list.
Today the final work was done on the new AC units, the contractor suggested we update the circuit box, typical with an older house there is always something unplanned that pops up.
Painter #1 came by to work up and estimate to repair the ceiling in our bedroom, remove popcorn ceilings in hallway up and downstairs along with the kitchen, those are must do's. Our would like to do's are, refurbish kitchen cabinets and paint trim/windows in the kitchen
Painter #2 has already gotten back to me for the regular no frills painting, OUCH Three rooms, two hallways, and trim in two rooms $1,400.00. Until painter #1 has made the changes to the ceiling #2 will not be able to get started.
Window repair man sure as heck better show up at his scheduled appointment time tomorrow. Figure his estimate will be jaw dropping as well.
Still to go, new roof.
I have some big budget crunching to do while on vacation. Seems like a crazy time to work on a budget but I can't seem to find quite time to think these days at home. Maybe a cup of hot tea, sitting on a porch overlooking the Smokey Mountain's will make things look better.
Home improvements seems to always turn into a big old snow ball rolling down a hill. I am thinking I will have to park the sewing machine for some time, roll up my sleeves and do a whole lot or work on my own to keep the costs with in reason. Anybody want to join in? Ha
Tuesday, September 17, 2013
After a run to the dump this morning and watching DD# 1's little ones while she knocked out some errands the rest of the day has been spent getting caught up on some sewing projects. With all the home improvement things going on lately I have fallen so far behind on all things sewing related.
First up was to get the sewing room back in shape. Sometimes I think gremlins sneak in at night to make a mess of things in my sewing room. On to working up this weeks "Cake Walk" blocks and pin basting two quilts that I want to clear out of the pile of numerous quilt tops waiting in the wings.
Four different contractors should have come by the house today, not a single one showed up. Go figure!! I did get e-mails from two of them that they would try and get by later this week. The electrician that is to install a new circuit box promises to get the work complete by Wednesday. I sent a note back to the window restore/repair man not to bother. He has set two appointments with us, a no show for them both. He must not need the THOUSANDS of dollars it will take to complete the job. I called the third fella, he was able to give me an estimate over the phone from past work he has done for us, sure hope he showes up as promised on Thursday. Forth fella is will let slide as he has been out of town (so he says) for a family emergency. We have an appointment for 10:00 am Wednesday morning, I think he knows I am not willing to play around any more. It's just nuts that with so many people out of work and or underpaid you can't get reliable (I use that term loosely) company's to do what they promise.
AJ the beagle and I are ready for bed with a cup of tea and what I hope will be a good book. Lots more work that needs to be done tomorrow, gotta get our beauty rest.