Saturday, August 23, 2014

Stocking a Pantry

 One of the many things I did with my Sister before we took off on our big week or has it been two?) of adventures was to stock her pantry, OH MY!! Being someone who rarely pays full price for anything I got a bit nervous paying full price for almost everything. My goal was to stock her pantry and freezer for at least 6 months. Being that she lives alone I took my "Food Saver" along to repackage meats for her. Her job was to pick out things she liked, my job was to figure out how much of each item would hold her over for the long haul. We hit a second buggy before we were half way through the store, by the end we had 3 buggies full top to bottom. Frozen meat totals, 20 PKG ground beef. 20 PKG chicken breast. 20 PKG pork chops. 20 PKG hot dogs, 10 ham steaks, 10 beef steaks, 2 small turkey roasts, 2 PKG Fish, I think that was about it in the meat department. Canned and boxed goods? More than her pantry could hold :) Toiletries, cleaning supplies and paper products? TONS. A once a week quick trip to the grocery for perishable things is all she will need for a VERY long time.
Tater Tot update :) He is a doll baby, always smiling and laughing but refuses to sleep unless its in our arms, spoiled little guy for sure.
These dirty face little guys have had the house rockin this week, it's a bit hard to go from adult vacation time back to toddler patrol. Today is the end of my toddler week, I am ready for some down time :)

Our budget has been blown out of the water the past 2 weeks. Thank goodness for the EF. I say bring on the fall so I can get that bank account built back up!!!

Pantry stock up cost....Over $600.00 for the first trip, another $200.00 on the second day. Holy cow!!! After getting the lay of the land in my Sisters town we think we have the weekly transportation problem solved. Her town has a bus transit system but the closest bus stop is 2 miles from her home. After a few phone calls regarding her situation we learned the bus can pick her up at her home for the cost of $2.00 each way with a two day notice. That is very doable for her. She has a nice shopping area that includes a grocery store along with lots of affordable restaurants she could enjoy once a week. She NEEDS to get out of the house!!! I NEED to know she has a way to purchase food when she needs it.  It's a win, win for both of us :)

One problem solved (I hope)

The other mini spending was to buy her a small George Foreman grill. Cooking for one is not so easy, using the little grill will make things a bit faster. Best part of all she is excited to try her new kitchen tool out.

Figure I might as well share what she did have on hand to eat. One tub of something that she seemed to think was butter, so NASTY!! A few packets of soy sauce leftover from carry out, a few Popsicle's in the freezer for her grandson. That's it for the freezer/fridge. The pantry. a huge bag of instant potatoes that had no directions on how to prepare it, 2 tin cans of squash, double nasty!!

It is beyond my understanding why people don't have a real pantry. Any of us can face a job loss, illness, bad weather,  or too many visits from Mr. Murphy. It's so simple and cost effective to build a pantry by watching the sales and using coupons :)

Another thing that has me baffled is how can you reach middle age and not know how to cook? I'm not talking about making home made bread, laying the table for 20 guests, or making a gourmet meal. My sister ask me how to make chicken salad.....what??? How long should you cook a hamburger? This is one of the reasons stocking her pantry cost so much. I knew she has no kitchen knowledge. Knowing how to cook real meals from real food is so much cheaper than depending on quick fix meals and baking.

Rome wasn't built in a day. Changing bad habits of eating out every meal every day is not going to be easy. Not having a retirement fund or disability insurance....It's just nuts!!!! My Sister will be living for the rest of her life on a Social Security check of $1,214.00 each month. Could you make that amount work with your budget? As frugal as hubby and I are we couldn't do it...that is why money goes into savings and our retirement account each and every payday. That is why we are willing to pass on the must have newest gadgets/electronics that come out. That is why we live well below our means today so we can eat and have a roof over our heads in the future. If you don't have disability insurance put that Latte down right now!!! Get yourself and your better half a policy today. You might be surprised at how VERY cheap they are!!!

Off to bed for me. We had our Sunday dinner tonight as I will be taking my Sister back to AL tomorrow, had Kara and Tater Tot since 8:00AM. I am done, done, done!!!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Update of our Adventures

 To say life has been busy here lately would be a HUGE understatement!! After spending two days in AL getting my sisters pantry stocked to overflowing and taking care of a million and one business things that she can't do we were off to IN for our family reunion. What a great day seeing cousins we hadn't seen in over 10 years, the day went by too fast :) Left to right, myself, my sister, and one of our very closest cousins
 No trip to IN would be complete without a visit to our family that has passed on to a better world. This is our Great Grandfather who left us with incredible journals of he and his families daily life over so many years. Priceless!!
 We decided while in IN that my Sister needed an extended vacation. With the commitments I have here at home she had to settle with a visit to our home this week. Since we had a little extra time on the way home we stopped in at one of our favorite ever vacation spots, The Great Smokey Mts.
" Goats on the Roof" as always was a hit :)
 Our evenings are filled with simple beginners scrapbooking. We are working on a heritage scrapbook for my Sister to take home.
 Terra is a big NASCAR fan. Of course we had to take the tour of Charlotte Motor Speedway and a spin around the track.
No visit to our home would be complete without a celebration Tea Party :) Mason Man and Karsyn went all out using one of their favorite Tea Party table runners. This photo is of me with the kiddo's. My Sister and I don't think we look that much alike but others think we do, from here on out I have to write our names on the back of photo's I am thinking
Terra was a bit overwhelmed yesterday with the three toddlers and Tater Tot (Blake) It's loud, busy, messy, and at times a touch of violence will break out. She was out cold in the recliner by 6:00 PM last night from observing the action.
It has taken me 3 days to get this post together, yes life is that BUSY!!! The little girls are in the sandbox, Tater Tot has a gas bubble, and Terra is just shaking her head in amazement. My advice to her this morning was to put the heels away, grab a pair of tennis shoes and hang on for dear life :)

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

My Sisters Keeper

 I have been spending hours the past 2 days in my little spot cutting and chopping paper
The end results, more mini Project Life scrapbooking kits than any one person could use :)
 The cutting and sorting are finally complete (for now) everything is tucked in these containers along with a massive amount of embellishments that were sorted as well.
 What started as 5 crammed full shelves of paper has been reduced to just 3 shelves. I am still sorting cardstock but time has run out.
I hate, hate, hate, to leave overhauls unfinished but...It's mini vacation time. I grantee everything will be just as I left it when I return :)

As hard and fast as I have been working the past two days it seems to me I should be finished with the scrapbooking clean out...but I am not :) Close, oh so close. It will take another day or maybe two for me call it completed. The more I worked, the deeper I dug, the more paper and embellishments I found. I think I missed my calling in life. I should be a CEO of a moving company. I can cram more stuff in a small place than anyone I know!!

The goal for when I return home is to finish this major overhaul. I still have a few drawers to clean out, sort, and share with others. Lots more scraps to repurpose into 3x4 and 4x6 cards for home made Project Life kits. Last but not least is to deliver all the excess to our woman's shelter.

I'm off today to my Sisters to begin the first leg of our mini vacation back home. Our summer budget is out the window!! Between motels, gas, eating out, stocking my Sisters house, new wardrobe for her, and a whole lot of extras our vacation/fun account is looking pretty bare.

Wish me luck (and a few prayers) that two people that are absolute opposites don't kill each other on this adventure.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Where Have You Been

 This entire week has gotten away from me! Between cuddle time with this little fella
 Cutting up old scrapbook supplies to use with the Project Life system
 Tyler's 8th Birthday party
Scanning, printing, organizing, and burning CD's of historic family photo's
I can't believe its already Sunday!! This week has flown by!! I am thinking next week will be no different :)
Yesterday it was just Kara and I, it seems like forever since the wild child and I have had a day all to ourselves. Since it was pouring down rain a trip to the park was out of question. Second best thing is a trip to the grocery store :) Since Tater Tots arrival we haven't been doing our weekly grocery store trip. Loading and unloading that baby travel seat is something I avoid at all cost. Once we had the "right" food in the house she helped me sort TON's of old scrapbook paper, Oh My.
I have an enormous amount of scrapbooking supplies. I tell you even I had forgotten how much was neatly packed in the drawers, cabinets, shelves, on the table, under the table, everywhere :). As of this morning scrapbooking paper has taken over the whole house. Piles to keep, plies for charity, a few piles to share with friends, more piles to sort. Way back when I was a scrapbook instructor, for awhile I sold CTMH scrapbooking, and of course there is my own personal stuff holy cow, its a lot. 
In the evenings as I have been working on Kara's album using the "kits" I have purchased I kept thinking what a waste of money knowing I had tons of paper and stuff stored away in my room. You see I was just too lazy to dig into the mess knowing it would be a huge task once I got started...and it is :) Throwing down a 40% off coupon, opening a new "kit" all pre cut is just so easy :). As of now we have pre cut home made kits for Fall, Halloween, Christmas, and Winter as well as divided the extras to give away. It's progress.
Last night I spent HOURS sorting CTMH kits to share, precut, and organize for full "old fashion" layouts later. My goal for the end of the day is to have one scrapbooking shelf empty! Sounds easy? Well it's not!! Ha I am going to devote the next 3 days to this scrapbooking clean out. I know I won't hit it all but something is better than nothing.
Can't forget photo's.....I am continuing to sort and print Kara's photo's. The clerk at Walgreen's and I have become close friends :) I know the coupon codes by heart :) Is all this mess and expense worth it all?
Yes it is, Kara ask as soon as we got in the door yesterday morning where her "Kara Book" was. I can't leave her alone with her "Kara Book" yet as she is way too interested in trying to figure out how to get the cute embellishments off the pages. We are having a pretty good time looking at photo's and hearing from a toddlers perspective what was going on in each layout.
Off to tackle that shelf on this rainy day

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Girl Time with Project Life

 My GF is going to kill me for posting this photo but....Its the only one I took of us working the past 3 days. I have yet to figure out how to crop photo's on the new laptop :(  or I would have cropped her out. Please forgive me Mama "M" For those of you who are not scrap bookers you might be thinking what a hot mess!! For those who have scrap booked you know the table looks pretty darn good for two people sharing a table :) Notice too there is a nice LARGE platter of home made cookies and Biscotti slap dab in the middle just as it should be :) What a fabulous hostess!!
 It took me some time to get over just sticking photo's in page protector slots. It was soooo out of the box for me. My GF did share with me that by using a corner rounder on the photo's it gives everything a softer more finished look. She was right :)
 I branched out a little as I went along adding some bling and OLD stickers.
 Cutting 6x4 photo's down to 3x4, oh my I thought I was going to have a panic attack. I love the results. Lots of photo's of wild child Kara all on one page, done in no time at all!!
 I will try to get better photo's soon of another trick my friend shared with me. The photo on the far right of Kara sitting on the counter was cut in half to fit into (2) 3x4 slots. Pretty cool.

So what do I think of the Project Life kits? Hummm....I think the only way to go with them is to first use a 40% off coupon, second to find at least one friend (two would be better) to share the supplies and cost with. I would get tired of using the same color family after a while, there are a ton of cards in the kits to share. Now that I sort of have the hang of it and realize that spending an hour to two hours on a traditional page is out of the question this is the only way to go for me if I want the Grands to ever see albums of their own.
Wanna see what  you can do in three short days? Drum roll please.......116 pages!!!! AMAZING!!!!

Happy, TIRED, excited, did I mention TIRED? So excited to see in person and realize that this new to me scrap booking system can work with my lifestyle.

Are all the 116 pages complete? Na, I will go back to do journaling (my least favorite thing) at some point in time. I also plan on doing a bit of embellishing and add some traditional 12x12 pages through out the album but for now Kara has something she can see and touch. I have stepped way out of my comfort zone!!

Do you need the "Kit's" to do the project life style scrap booking? I don't think so. The page protectors are a must and are sold by lots, and lots, of companies, 40% off coupon's are a MUST. I do think using kits for the first time is helpful in moving the pages along fast but...I have so much traditional size paper just collecting dust that could easily be cut into the sizes needed. The traditional paper I have on hand is paper I like, colors, and themes that I use to use most often. In time I will be cutting up some home made kits from what I have on hand.

I need a good night sleep, a late night snack, and some AJ the Beagle time for now. Oh how I miss that little hound dog snuggled up with me at night :) In the next few days I will try to share more on how I plan on working "Project Life" into our family memory keeping.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Project Life Scrapbooking

Forgot to post this photo of me and my mini shopping buddy Miss Karsyn. Karsyn is her Mommy's girl say the word MALL and she heads to the car, me not so much :)

Photo printing from this week. I think (hope) I have all of Kara's pictures printed. We are talking over a thousand, the count maybe closer to two thousand :) Maybe half of them are of the other grands too but I have no way printed all that I have stored on the PC.
 This is the container I am using for Kara. I have sorted by holidays, seasons, and everyday photo's. 8x10's and 5x7's are in an additional container. Once I make a dent in Kara's pages I will reuse this container for Karsyn, Mason, then Blake. To be fair to all I am going in birth order, for now at least.
 One of the project life basic kits.
 There are SO MANY cards in the kits that 2 other friends have agreed to share kits among ourselves.
 They also sell mini kits. I found a deal on one brand for $1.99 each. They too are labeled for events, holidays, seasons and such. Hope this system works:) Once I get the hang of it all I plan on cutting up the TONS of scrapbook paper I have collecting dust.
 This sorry heap of stuff is memorabilia. I have a filing system for all this stuff but...filing never seems to happen. Throwing everything in a basket ? Ya I can do that :) I spent nap time today sorting all this mess. At least Tater Tot doesn't have much yet.
Once everything was sorted I tucked it all in a hopper for each grand. My plan (dream) is this system will be a quick grab and go method.

I have high hopes this new way of scrapbook will finally get all of my sweet photo's of the grands into albums they can enjoy. While I love the way traditional scrapbooking looks with as many little feet and hands we have around it is just not possible. Tyler has always enjoyed looking back on his baby scrapbooks when we have a new arrival to see what he looked like at the same age. The toddlers have nothing other than to sit in my lap and look at the PC files.

If I can get my To Do list completed tonight I am off on an adventure with a friend who is going to let me pick her brain regarding this new to me scrapbooking method for the next few days. Nanny needs some me time with another adult!!! Not sure how many pages we will complete but no doubt we will have a good time :)

Friday, August 1, 2014

My Sisters Keeper

 Where have I been the past few days? Shopping, UGH!!!! I hate to shop!! This week has been a HUGH act of kindness sorta time :) My side of the family is having a family reunion in a few weeks the first in more years than I can remember. Trying to figure out a way to get my disabled Sister to the reunion has been a nightmare. She can't drive the 10 hours required for 2 reasons. Reason number one is she is without a car. Hubby and I have been trying to buying her a used car for the past two month's from long distance. It is NOT working!! As soon as hubby returns home we will purchase a car for her in our area then deliver it. Reason number two is she can't drive any distance, just getting around town in all she can do. Flying her in wouldn't work as the closest airport in an hour from her home, the other BIGGY is she would never be able to figure out how to make the connecting flight, sigh. Sooooo...I will be driving down 6 hours to pick her up then do the best we can to make the drive up to IN. I am giving myself 2 days for the 10 hour trip with her as she has a ton of motion problems. Thinking the plan had been worked out when I spoke to her this week she had decided she just can't go, WHAT. After a long talk over the phone I found out the last hurdle is she didn't have anything to wear. We are not talking the typical "I have nothing to wear" so many ladies complain about, she literay had nothing she could wear that still fit :(  I assured her that was not a problem, I would work it out. She IS GOING!!
 Let me just tell you if you need to build a waredrobe bottom to top now is a great time to do it, the sales are AMAZING!!!! Here is a sneak peak of three dresses of the 11 I found for my Sister along with costume jewelry. As much as I HATE to shop I am super excited to see her face when I turn all these bags over to her.
 The final extra item I needed to add to her haul was a purse and wallet. It might seem odd to buy a high end purse and wallet for someone who has nothing but let me tell you the deal DD#1 and I got.... Clearance purses were on sale for 50% off. in addition the store had an additional 50% off all sale items. The savings didn't end there!! We had a 20% off your total purchase coupon!!!! End results...$1,482.00 worth of purses and wallet for a grand total of...$406.77!!!! Holy cow. Now I am not a fancy name brand purse sorta person, for the most part I carry hand made (by me) purses but I know from family and friends this brand of purse will hold up for years, the style is classic and will work year round. My Sister is worth a little something special and...Christmas shopping has begun :)
All of this shopping and saving had me dragging around this morning when Tater Tot and Kara arrived. It has been POURING down rain here for the second day, keeping Kara locked up in the house...Lord help me. I explained to her this morning Nanny was super tired I was going to need her to be my big girl helper. She jumped right in having a ball helping in every little way with her sweet little brother. She really enjoyed being the BOSS of the day. She told me as she left today that she was a "Super Hero" I have to agree she got my engine running with all her ordering around :)

I just have to share the total over the top savings (to me) I was able to score on this new wardrobe. Here is the list.

11 Dresses 7 of which are long  (there was a reason for this)
2 Pairs of Capri's
5 Shirts
4 Infinity scarves
3  Hip sweaters, the kind that are long in the front
1 Denim jacket
1 Pair of PJ'S
2 Packs of undies
2 Bras
7 Necklaces
1 Wallet
1 Purse

Total price for everything? 534.23!!!!!! Total savings $1,240.00. How is that for some super saving?

OK now for an explanation of the long sleeveless dresses. We live in the south, my Sister is even farther south than we are. By throwing a cute sweater or jacket along with a scarf and closed toe shoes with those dresses they will work from Spring until late fall. You can get a lot of bang for your buck when it comes to long dresses here in the south. The other bonus? No waistband!! I'm just sayin :) You can dress a dress up or down with zero cost. I LOVE long dresses.

Was this extra expense in the budget? No!! Times like this is where that EF comes in handy. The need is there, we can meet that need and do a little extra to boot. Clipping coupons, watching sales, cooking at home, making do and all that jazz....Heck ya I am all in!! I just have to tell you this was one "Murphy" that has me smiling from ear to ear!!! Even the whole shopping and driving around town was well worth the pain :)

Time to hit the drug store for today's photo order, OH MY. Ladies DO NOT let you photo's set in your PC for years and years putting off for the day to print them out. All I can say is OUCH!!!!