Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Works-For-Me Wednesday

I've decided that wiping the counter off 352,645,273 times a day gets really tiring. I've also decided that using a paper towel for everything I make gets expensive. And since I'm trying to be less wasteful, I decided that I needed to find a solution to my dilemma. I found that using a plastic place mat does the trick, and then some. It is easy to pick it up to shake off the crumbs (so a lot less wiping). If it needs to be washed off, I can wash it in the sink (I can't move my counter). Also, I don't need a cutting board for all the little jobs just to avoid scratching up the counter. If I'm simply cutting the sandwich in half, the place mat can handle it (meaning fewer dishes!) I can't believe I didn't think of this easy fix sooner!

And that, my friends, is my WFMW trick! For more ideas, check out Rocks In My Dryer.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

In Kelton's World

The other night I made Split Pea Soup for dinner. Today we were doing all leftovers for lunch, to include the soup. Kelton asked what we were eating, so Jordan told him "split pea soup." Kelton repeated "slip pea poop".

...go ahead, say it fast...

Slippy poop!

You have to be 3 to get away with that, and thankfully we were at home and not in a restaurant!!!!! I would have been mortified if I had heard that out!!!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Shopping - Ouch - Power Outage

Yesterday I looked over the grocery sales ads, then went shopping. I think I'm starting to get this whole "savings" thing figured out. Obviously I have tweaking to do, but I'll get there. Here is what I got yesterday.
  • 1 tube of Crest Pro-Health toothpaste (not shown)
  • 1 dozen eggs
  • 2 bags of salad
  • 2 loaves of fresh French bread
  • 2 bags of Ore-Ida Steam & Mash potatoes (they're new)
  • 10 cans of Progresso soup
  • 1 jug of Arm&Hammer laundry soap
  • 2 cross-rib roasts (4.5 lbs and 5.5 lbs)

My total for all this yummy-ness should have been $100.14. However, I only spent $39.54 - - saving myself 61%!! Maybe I should add in here that the salad, bread and potato mashers were free with the purchase of a cross-rib roast (and the roast was on sale too) I bought two roasts, and I got 2 of each free item!

Since I had the french bread, dinner plans were changed up last night and we had pizza loaf on one of the loaves. It was a huge hit...I think Jordan ate half the loaf by himself!

Note to self - when making rice in a rice cooker, it is a really, really bad idea to reach OVER the steam vent, as is shown in the following picture (and yes, it really hurt!!)

Also, last night there was a partial power outage, but only in our house. We designated Wednesdays to be "no power game nights." We made sure dinner, baths, and showers were done while it was still light out. Then, as it started to get dark out, we lit hurricane lamps and placed them around the house so there weren't any stubbed toes and we played games and read by lanterns! We didn't watch any TV or play on the computers - we played cards! The boys loved it and can't wait until next Wednesday! (No, after the boys went to bed, we didn't power the computers back up or flip on the TV! We kept playing cards in the dark then went to bed. No wonder people went to bed so early before the invention of electricity!!!)

Monday, October 20, 2008

Pumpkin Pancakes

Pancakes are a huge hit in our house...they never last long. It's scary to think that I'm almost to the point of needing make double batches in order to have enough. I find this fact shocking since my boys are only 7 and 3 - isn't this something I would need to do when they are, say...17 and 13??!! Feel my pain yet? I thought so...

So anywho - we ate breakfast out on Saturday morning, and the boys had pumpkin pancakes. They were delicious!! They were so good that I had to find a recipe for is what I came up with...and we had them for dinner tonight! Just for the record, they taste wonderful with maple syrup or whip cream (the kind in the can!) and I would suggest doubling the batch too. I ended up making a 2nd batch!!

Pumpkin Pancakes (single batch)
1 3/4 c. milk
1 c. pumpkin puree
1 egg
2 T. vegetable oil
1 T. distilled white vinegar
4-5 T. packed brown sugar
2 T. sugar
2 tsp. punpkin pie spice
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt


Monday, October 13, 2008

New leaves score ideas

By nature, I am a free-spirit spender. I can walk into a store with a list in hand that only has 3 items on it (you know - a loaf of bread, a container of milk, and a stick of butter...) I shouldn't be spending more than $10 (at most.) However, I will invariably walk out of the store $200 lighter and a shopping cart full of all my "must-haves" that really aren't "must-haves" at all...more like "want" items that I simply...well...must have! The other tactic that drains the dollars from my wallet is seeing an item on the shelf, and I can't remember if we have I'll just purchase it to be safe rather than sorry - and it never fails that I actually have the item (x2) at home. So that is how I shop. David, on the other hand, is a "necessity" shopper, and almost to a fault. I can hand him that same list of 3 items, and he can talk himself out of the entire purchase. It amazes me, this ability he possesses!! Trust me, I don't have it! And with the way prices have been going lately, I'm tired of being broke all the time. David brings in a decent check, and it's a steady one. But by the end of each pay period, we're just about to the point of counting change to get a couple gallons of milk. We shouldn't be doing that, and I'm disgusted that I feel that way. So, I have been totally trying to figure out ways to keep our money in our pocket and not in the pocket of some big company.

It's been about a week now, and this has been really heavy on my mind. I made a start by disconnecting our land line phone. I even reduced our cell phone bill. But I needed more than a couple phone bill reductions, so I spent a good part of Sunday online researching new and clever ways to be "frugal." (That word alone has some interesting mental pictures attached to it, but I'm realizing that it means living better for less. If that is all it means, sign me up for becoming...frugal!) Some of the ideas were brilliant, and some of them were not so new or clever. Some were simply common sense (that I obviously didn't have) such as enjoy what we have. Watch movies we already own or borrow them from a friend. I can re-read some of my favorite books as opposed to buying more. There is also this crazy place that I was pretty sure hasn't existed since high school. They are called "libraries." We can borrow books and even DVDs from there! Amazing, isn't it?!

Here's a no-brainer...Coupons. The concept is brilliant - buy something you use and have a coupon for, and you don't pay full price for the item. Sounds easy, right? Wrong. If it were easy, I would have been a pro at it by now. I've been using coupons for a while now. And although I do save money, it is minimal...I still walk out of the grocery store having spent $235 but I saved $7.85!! Woohoo!!! I guess it can all be in the point of view, right? I saved, didn't I?! But I want to be that person who walks out of the grocery store with an overflowing basket and only spent $37...and saved $124. HOW do they do that? And it isn't all generic either! If you can do such a feat, I am in awe of you and I sing your praises loudly!! Honestly? I'd even be happy if I spent $124 and saved $37 - its still better than what I've been doing! So grocery shopping is one huge area of interest for me. I want to spend as little as possible, and still have good food to eat. I did a lot of reading on how to do this. Today was my first test...I was armed and dangerous with a vague understanding of what I was supposed to do. It was fun...and it worked! Check out my loot! (*mind you, this was a stepping off point, and I pretty much have a stocked kitchen. Today's trip was simply taking advantage of the sales, a concept in grocery shopping that has always eluded me)

I know, it doesn't look like much, but it is...

  • 2 jars of Classico pasta sauce (buy 2 for $4 and get 2 boxes of Barilla FREE!)
  • 4 boxes of Honey Nut Cheerios for $7
  • 8 cans of Spaghettios (4 for $2)
  • coffee for $6.99
  • 5.75 pounds of Fuji apples ($0.88/lb)
  • 22.4 pounds (yes, you read correctly, twenty two+ pounds!!) for $1.88/lb

To sum it all up, I should have spent $144.54 for all this stuff...doesn't look like that much in the picture, does it?! But did you notice the 22.4 pounds of chicken? Those are boneless, skinless chicken breasts!! I spent a TOTAL of $64.16.......that is a savings of *drum roll please* $80.38!!! That translates to a 56% savings today. And the best part was I only bought what I went in there to buy! I'm so proud of myself! (Yes, I did intend to purchase 20+ pounds of chicken. I was physically ill when I realized that I've been spending $3.15/lb for chicken at Sam's Club, because it's Sam's Club and everything is cheaper at Sam's Club because it is in's Sam's Club! I was wrong - way wrong!! It isn't cheaper just because it's Sam's Club as I have clearly just learned!) I still have a lot of learning to do when it comes to cutting down my grocery bill. I have a few ideas what to do, but it's going to be putting them to practice that will be interesting. I hope I can.

Other ideas I've learned about or come up with for saving a penny here and there include:

  • Taking our cans and plastic to a recycle station and getting paid for it. There is no sense in the school getting the money from my son's Gatorade bottles, or even the garbage company because they pick up the recycling with my trash every Tuesday. (And Dad, if I had a scrap metal problem here, I'd even do that!)
  • Unplugging the things not in use - like the coffee pot, my flat iron, the cell phone chargers, night lights during the day, etc. (thank you Oprah show!)
  • Have family game nights by candlelight. I love hurricane lamps. I've played a card game or 3 by light of a hurricane lamp during a power outage. So why not make our own "power outage" and save on the power bill and have quality family time?!
  • Cut dryer sheets in half. A box of 80 magically becomes a box of 160
  • Don't buy drinks or snacks while on the go. Take them from home!
  • Spend-free weekend. Assigning a weekend where NO money is spent is going to be a challenge, but I hope it will pay off since this is when we end up spending a lot because we are out as a family.
  • Bake my own bread. I even have a bread machine! Its probably time to dust it off and put it to work!

This list is just a few of the things I have come up with. I don't think any of them are too crazy-out-there. I'm not ripping the electrical wires out of the wall, or grinding my own flour or anything like that. But they are simple things that could/should work for me. And if I end up with a few extra dollars in my pocket because of it? Even better!

So what are your ideas for keeping the money in your pockets? Please share them with me! I'm game for all the ideas I can get!!!

And so I close this rather lengthy post with these famous words, because I'm gonna need a new motto...
"I think I can...I think I can....I know I can...I know I can!!"

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Minor turn of events

On Thursday, I received an email from the girl who got Cash for her dad. She wanted to know if I would mind taking Cash back as her dad had been in the hospital twice in two weeks because of the back pain. It turns out that he has cancer that originated in the kidney and metastasized to a vertebrae in his back. They did not learn any of this until that day, and she emailed me as soon as she got home from the hospital. So, due to very unfortunate life circumstances, I got Cash back on Friday morning.

However, this story does actually have a happy ending (thankfully!) I contacted the girl that I got Cash from originally as she said that she would be more than happy to have him back. So on Saturday, I drove down to deliver the puppy to her. She told me that she completely regretted ever getting rid of him and that she was very happy to have him back! And if I didn't know better, I'd swear that he recognized her! His tail was wagging away, and he just didn't know what to do with himself.

I'm so happy that it has all worked out. He was where he needed to be the whole time. His brief new owner had him when he needed a companion the most - while he was laid-up on the couch before going to the hospital. We needed the additional time with him to love him a little more before he went back to Des. It all worked out.

As for Rick, we wish you a speedy recovery and hope all is well with you soon enough.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

And then we were 4

Yesterday was a rough day for me. I took Cash to his new owner. He needed more time than I had to give him, or that we, as a family, had. It was a tough decision, but one that is in the best interest of Cash. At his new home, he will be loved, spoiled, and doted on by just one person. Isn't that every dogs have one human? I'm sure of it.

We will miss you, Cash

Friday, October 3, 2008

Meltdown Repeat?

Ok, last year for Halloween, I found the most adorable costume for Kelton. It was an elephant, and he was way too cute for words. However, when he got the costume on, he began crying and saying "I don't wanna go!" (trick-or-treating.) We have fondly referred to it as his "Halloween Meltdown" ever since. Here is a picture so you can see just how cute he was... (I tried to upload the video, but it wasn't working)

So let's jump ahead to Wednesday....

We were trying to figure out a costume for Jordan this year. I had the brilliant idea of making him a "shrunken head" football player. I went and found David's old high school football jersey (because it does still exist!) and stuffed the shoulders with pillows. You know, I had to see if it would even work! But it didn't look how I had it pictured, so Jordan took it off. Well, Kelton had been jumping around laughing...I thought it would be funny...

I guess I was wrong...

Here is our repeat...and its just as cute as last year!


Thursday, October 2, 2008

Kelton is on a roll

Today Kelton seems to be in rare form, and it isn't even 1:00 PM! So here is a list of things he's done already:

1. He walked into the living room and announced his toe was broken.
2. He then announced his toe "had a dream" (probably to live in harmony with the other toes, I'm sure)
3. I walked into the living room to say something to David, and I was "Shhhh"ed by Kelton! It appears that the opening cartoon castle drawing at the beginning of Disney movies it to good to be interrupted...which I was clearly guilty of.

At this rate, it's going to be a long day.....