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Home > Archive: January, 2007

Archive for January, 2007


January 29th, 2007 at 10:07 am

Scalloped Potatoes and Ham

6 cups raw potatoes cut into cubes
1 med. onion minced
2 tsp salt
1/2 lb. cooked ham, cubed
4 TBSP butter
4 TBSP flour
2 cups milk
1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese

Layer potatoes,onion,1 tsp salt and ham into a slow cooker.
melt butter in a saucepan. Stir in flour and 1 tsp salt. Cook until bubbly. gradually add milk. Cook until smooth and thickened. Add cheese and stir until melted. Pour over potatoe-ham mixture, stirring lightly.
Cover. Cook on low 6-7 hours, high 3-4 hours.

From the book---"Fix-it and Forget-it Cookbook" This book is wonderful. Enjoy it. 258 pages filled with recipes for the crock pot.

Menu for the week

January 28th, 2007 at 01:33 pm

Sunday-Chicken Chowder soup and french bread

Monday-delivered pizza due to too many activites and basketball game

Tuesday-ham and cheesey potatoes in the crock pot

Weds-raviolli, salad, bread

Thursday- Grilled cheese and soup

Friday-penne pasta and fetacheni sauce

Grocery Shop Friday Morning

Whew!! What a weekend!

January 28th, 2007 at 01:01 pm

Well I made it thru the High School formal on Friday evening and the rehersal dinner my two little ones were involved with. Saturday I got my son thru the college soccer combine and my daughter's dance....my two little ones got off OK to get their wedding hair-do's done and be in their dad's wedding. The two older ones made it to the reception. My daughter told me there was much, much TOO much drinking and lots of drunks. It was disappointing to me to hear that. Not a great example for my children. I guess the kids sat in different corners in the hall bored and alone. Again....I felt badly for them. I knew that would happen and they would feel lonely.

We made it to church minus my son. One of the girls fell asleep because she was so tired....poor thing! Everyone is napping and when not napping someone is crying and being emotional or someone is being cranky. Everyone got home around midnight last night and various way too late times on Friday night.

Tough, tough weekend for all!

Carrot cake is baking and I am about ready to put together Chicken Chowder soup. Washer is going non stop and dishes are going to be emptied from the dishwasher. Snow is flying and it is super cold out.The fire place will be lit here soon.

I feel like I have had a funeral for a person I knew....is it me? Or was it the ex? Not exactly sure. I have closed a chapter in my life book. It actually feels alright and OK.....my kids will get thru the feelings that sting so hard right now. Time heals. Right now it is super raw for them.

So I did not spend much money this weekend except to grocery shop on Saturday. I will post my menu later.
Heat is down as far as I can go without too many freezing souls. I hope it is a good week with very little spending.

Have a good Sunday everyone.

Keeping warm

January 22nd, 2007 at 09:33 am

Just a plug here for heating pads. I love mine. I can have the heat turned down so low and stay so very warm at night. They are not a cheap investment. If you find one on sale....grab it. They are certainly worth the investment. Maybe they eat up a ton of electricity? I am not sure....but it seems cheaper then running up my natural gas bill.

Paid HALF of my real estate taxes. That was a "gesture" or option from the auditor. Frankly that is all I could afford without dipping into my savings.

My ex took my son out to buy spikes for baseball season. They were $75.00. That was nice he shopped and purchased them for my son. My ex is very very flush...that is chump change to him. That evens it out some as I just purchased $110 pointe shoes for my daughter! I wish my kids liked hobbies that were cheaper.

I hit the library. Tons and tons of magazines to be had in the recycle free bins. None that I "needed". I always like to look. Tons of cross stitch pattern books. I can't stitch nicely, so I passed. I do not subscribe to magazines anymore. Even if they are only 79 cents a copy...I can't be moved in my frugal ways. I hate creating more clutter.

Each week I am going to do a nice out of the ordinary deed for someone. Today I took a tin of Christmas cookies to my church for the Pastors and staff to enjoy with coffee or tea. I will try to do this every week and put some thought into it. It may be very simple but it must be something a little out of my comfort zone. I love my church, but at times I still feel awkward being divorced. I am pretty sure it is all in my own head. So one nice deed done for now. I am hoping to take another lady who is getting divorced out to lunch for a treat as she is pretty destitute. I have already made a phone call and left her a message. I know she loves Bob Evans. We will see what happens.

Have a good Monday everyone!

"You can give without loving but you cannot love without giving." Amy Charmichaiel

Weekly menu

January 21st, 2007 at 10:32 am

Sunday-tuna fish sandwiches, chicken nuggets, mac and cheese

Monday-son is college visiting --sloppy joes and fries, fruit

Tues-not sure if kids are with dad-pot roast with vegies, crescent rolls- in the crocky potty-if they eat with him, will freeze.

Weds-Ravioli, salad, cheesey bread

Thursday-oven BBQ chix, vegies, bisquits and rice

Friday-ex's rehearsal dinner...HS winter formal.....no dinner needed

Sat.--ex's wedding...no dinner needed

A Sad Statement

January 21st, 2007 at 10:20 am

Today I went to the grocery store alone to shop for this weeks' supplies and menus..(which I will post later). Now that we have only one grocery store in town it was of course mobbed on a Sunday.

Because I tend to be very very organized when I shop(detailed list with brand names, quantities etc....) I had my list written out in order of the store and the way I shop....hence it was easy and simple to get thru the store rather quickly. I managed to get right past all the folks talking in the middle of the aisle and the men looking for something that their wives sent them in the store for. I heard one 50ish aged lady make a comment as I was reaching for something. She said fairly loudly that "she is terrible at shopping, can't find her way around and in all likelihood will be back at this store on Monday to shop all over again!" She almost sounded prideful as this was a endearing quality to have. My first thought was how sad and disorganized! My next thought was BINGO for the store....they have to love disorganized mindless shoppers of course. Shoppers who are in hurry or who are hungry or who could care less how much gets slapped on a debit card or VISA. It just helped me realize that the quicker you shop, the faster you get out, the more you know the cost per unit beforehand....the less time wasted and the less time wasted on dollars you should not of wasted! So it does pay to take 15 mins or how ever long to get it together before you shop. Your wallet is depending on it. As is your future and maybe to stretch it...your retirement.

How is January going?

January 19th, 2007 at 07:59 am

How is your month going? I am on track to get to the end of the month without having to spend my spousal check. I have to pay taxes and my VISA bill which I ALWAYS pay in full each month.
I hope to make a deposit into the savings account as well. Hopefully the kids do not need anything major or large to purchase.

Gas price have tumbled. Yesterday they were $1.98 near me. It is nice to see that happening.

Today it is snowing here. It is very cold and gray. I am trying to not go anywhere today and just do laundry. It became a mountain somehow!

I cleaned out a drawer in my bedroom filled with samples. I decided to make a basket of them in my bathroom. Hopefully I will use them and not let them collect dust in a drawer. I have really been cleaning and organizing. Here and there, making due and re-purposing things. It helps to stay busy during the day.

Next week the ex gets married. I have been seeing my counselor every week religiously. She has such good thoughts for me and ways to help my mind and spirit. She really encourages me.

Yesterday I told her some emotions and feelings ----I have to ride out like being on a water ride at a theme park. The kind you ride down shoots on a raft. You just have to go down and allow the water and curves and sides to direct you down to the bottom. There is no telling where you are headed sometimes. That is how I feel with my kids right now. I can not control their feelings, I have to ride them out....holding on and staying afloat. Yet-- some things I CAN CONTROL like not getting too emotional when the ex emails or calls. I have control to not answer or to be business like. I can delete emails or simply change the subject in my mind and move on. Same for finances. Some bills and expenses you just can not control but many others we have complete control over. Does that make sense? As Dave Ramsey says we can tell each dollar what to do and how to act. Why is the money telling me? I have some level of control and mastery over my money or....my feelings and emotions. Not 100% mastery but a large control.

So much to think about. Yes...staying busy really helps. It is one way to stay focused and not too sidetracked. Getting little tasks accomplished is very helpful! Plus how good I feel at accomplishing those things.

Have a good weekend everyone!

"Hope, confidence and the joy of living come from believing there is something good waiting for you around every corner."

This weeks menu

January 14th, 2007 at 08:55 pm

Sunday-Cheeseburgers and organic fries

Monday-moms Lasagna, salad, cheesie rolls

Tuesday- Kids eat SUBWAY with their dad

Weds-Roasted chicken in the crock pot and vegies, pears

Thursday- meatballs and rice, Bisquick biscuits

Friday and Sat-kids with dad-no cooking

Movie Question

January 14th, 2007 at 08:49 pm

Saw Charlettes Web tonight. Boy was that cute!!! My two little girls enjoyed it so very much. One read the book the other has not. All in all a great heartwarming family movie. I thought I would be bored silly-but I was not!

Question. I tend to take candy and drinks into the theater with me when I go. I do not purchase snacks at the movie theater. Is this wrong? I have thought all along that the refreshment stand is there for folks who forgot their snack from home. My kids and I will bring snacks from home to the movies about 95% of the time. I will admit it is usually placed in my purse and I do not make a big deal about showing off that fact. Am I teaching something wrong to my kids?

Just wondering and being curious as to other movie habits of thrify frugal types out there. I guess I have never felt badly as I know so many others who do the same...yet I was not sure if that was very wrong indeed.

Tax Bill

January 14th, 2007 at 10:00 am

I just got my NEW real estate tax bill. WOW.
It was very discouraging to say the least. I will probably pay it off completly. Our town got hit very hard. It basically stinks. I know alot of the older population were mad as heck over this huge tax hike. Oh well....with so many jobs leaving our state they have to get the money somehwere! It is hard when they are surviving on a fixed income.

I was trying like heck not to spend my spousal support check this month and bank a HUGE,HUGE part of it. Well now I have to pay this bill. I am going to make the month really stretch and then use the check to pay off my tax bill. It seems you make movement and then wham you are back to square one again. Just have to get really really creative in a few areas. Should not be so bad as I feel I am always doing that.
Anyone facing a huge bill?

Note to self....start a Christmas club account at the credit union. Money not seen is saved money.....every little bit helps. Anyone else for a Christmas club? I am sure it is not a great "investment" but it is a simple way to save for the end of the year.

Have a good Sunday everyone.

Menu Planning

January 13th, 2007 at 11:25 am

Just a note to encourage everyone to really try to plan ahead for the upcoming week and plan out your meals. It is such a cost saver and stress buster to have things organized for the week. I ususally write my menu out for each day on my very large kitchen calendar. I always take into days that I have little time to cook and days I can cook from scratch. I also am sure to know when the kids are with dad for dinner. It all adds up to feeling good about being organized. There is less waste as well it seems, at least for me.

Some jobs we need to do this weekend--
1. shoe shop for HS winter formal
2. clean out sock drawers
3. hit craft store for school project
4. get some groceries
5. return formal dresses we are not keeping
6. laundry

Last week I was able to see my counselor which was a BIG...HUGE Help!!! Yes! I am on the right thinking and parenting track and my ex is completely insane! That sounds bad---I know! It is helpful to have good wisdom. It sure helps and is worth every penny.

My parents visited and we had a nice time. Dad fixed the fireplace screen for me and picked up a mirror that needed returned. My mom purchased a very nice set of flatware for me from Marshall's. It is a very early birthday gift. I think she did not like the cheap mis-matched silverware I have. She asked if I wanted it as a gift and I said YES!!!! So I do need to wash everything and put it away. What a nice treat!!!! My mom is pracical with her gifts which suits me just fine! They did shop at the discount place we have close by that she loves. They loaded up on breakfast cereal that was a deal. All in all a nice short visit. My kids had fun as well.

Glad there is no school on Monday. It will be nice to hang out at home and maybe sneak in a short nap! My oldest daughter told me today that some kids in her class have been making fun of her alot, poking fun at her voice and some clothes she wore. She got a detention I guess talking in class defending herself a bit.
She started to cry on the way to dance today....sobbing I should say. It truly broke my heart. She said she has tried to tell me for a few days how hurt she has been feeling and betrayed, but she has been so busy. Things have been so hard for my kids with the divorce....and now this upcoming wedding of my ex's.....I have to be extra sensitive to their needs and heartaches it seems. I keep praying to stay very open to their needs. I wish I could make everything go away and make the hurts stop. that is not real life. That is not how we grow either. Hard lessons are not easy but they make us stronger and wiser.

I am glad there is no school....she needs a break.

Have a good weekend everyone---

Odds and Ends

January 10th, 2007 at 05:21 pm

I did see my surgeon yesterday and I have lost 32 pounds in four weeks. I have been doing very well my Dr told me. I have nothing to complain about. All is very well with me! I have started to excersie. I am riding my indoor bike. I did 20 mins today. I hope to do it four times a week at least.
I saw my regular Dr. today. She will be taking care of me and doing the blood work. All in all a good few days as far as medical things go. I am trying to contain my excitment. I am happy for myself but know that this is a lifestyle change for health. My blood pressure is already so much better. I have a ways to go yet so slow and steady ....so to speak....will win this race!

I am drained as today my ex was giving me all sorts of "business" to deal with. I am pretty drained from all the babble and no where conversations. It was uterly ridiculous!

Nothing too new to report. I did clean out the fridge and the pantry. I hit the discount store to shop for food and the grocery store for stocking up a tiny bit.
Basically I am in great shape. I am trying very hard this year to really menu plan and stick to it. I broke out some Gooseberry Patch cookbooks to stir up some new dinner ideas. It helped to get inspired. I got those from my ex MIL. I asked for four one year for Christmas. She got me four. That was when my ex's family thought I was square and a nerd. Everyone wanted martini glasses and wine cork openers and stuff like that and I wanted everything homespun and old fashioned.....like I still do today.

Good news. I did get the bill for the Dr. who put me to sleep for surgery. $1925.00. They sent me a note that if I pay in 30 days they would lower the bill to $1200.00. It is very very nice to have that emergency fund ready for such a time as this. I have to pay the bill...so why not pay it in a timely fashion and save some money. That is a good thing.

My parents are visiting for the day on Thursday. I was going to drive there as I need to pick up something my dad built for my daughter. They decided that was not a good use of my time and they would drive the 2 1/2 hrs here. That was so sweet. I am sure it will be a lovely visit. Plus they get to visit their favorite discount store that is a local highlight that they love. Frugality runs in my family!

I did ask my parents if they could shop while I run to my therapist.....I placed a 911 call to her, so she knows I had a bad day and I need her assistance badly! It is so nice to have someone who cares and who can lend an ear....even though I have to pay for it! How weird in a way.
It does help. I have really learned a ton from her.

We did hit the dollar store. I can not resist the dollar boxed valentines for school chums. I made me daughters pick and decide, I just wanted to be done with that little job. My other daughter wants to make them. I told her that is fine but she needs to use up what is around in the craft area. We have tons of odds and ends. Everyone bought candy to hand out. It will not be long....spring will be here. Maybe I am pushing that idea a little too soon!

Well I hope everyone is now fully recovered from the Hoildays. My daughter took her Christmas tree down in her bedroom finally. She decided I was right....time to pack it away for next year.

Have a good week everybody!

Mild Winter

January 4th, 2007 at 05:29 am

Here in the midwest it is mild! I feel so badly for those out in the Denver area with all that snow! I mean they have been hammered as far as the weather goes. Here....it is mild and really pleasant. It has been wonderful! My heating bill has been so low. I am truly thankful for the break. I even noticed I have not even used my space heater. What a break we have had....FOR NOW. Who knows what lurks around the bend.
I thought about putting up the clothesline again.....but resorted to using the drying racks. Plus I did not want to make my neighbors too mad at me. Sunshine....glorious sun!

Our school got a nice break from the local brick and mortar STAPLES. They had a huge pallet of printing paper, copier paper that was slightly damaged. Part of the boxes had been crushed or messed up somehow. One mom was at the store and asked about it. They were going to THROW out about 16 boxes of paper reams OUT IN THE TRASH as the boxes were not "pretty" to put on the sales floor. So she offered to take it all. She hauled every box to school in her mini van making at least 2 trips. We have enough paper to last the rest of the year I was told. We tend to throw millions at public schools and then they always need more. Our school runs basically on a dime. Our school takes NO MONEY FROM THE GOVERNMENT. Radical I KNOW! It sure is inspiring when I hear stories like this. It never hurts to ask. I can not imagine throwing all that paper away. What a blessing we received from a mom who opened her mouth. Radical school....radical moms. Making a difference one frugal step at a time.

Have a good day everyone!

Pennies from heaven

January 3rd, 2007 at 05:38 pm

Well actually it is pennies from my purse and my penny jar. Yes today as it is customary to end the fiscal year, I cashed in my pennies today! I love to guess how much I will have. I had about 630 pennies. It is was kinda neat to watch them flow into the coinstar. A river of little brown coins. An entire years worth! I was glad to have a new empty jar again. I did not buy anything special with the money unless you call buying a bunch of banannas special! The store finally had them! I checked two stores yesterday....each store was out....are others watching their weight or trying to kick off 2007 healthy??? Not sure.
My daughter wants to have a change jar too....hers will house all types of coins. She kinda thought it looked like fun and was a good way to save...we will see.

Article in the city newspaper today about a family getting into trouble in their very nice neighborhood. You see they built an outdoor stone fireplace to sit around and enjoy. The only problem is it 14 feet high. I guess it is too high and is not in "CODE". I have no problem with codes as I tend to break a few in my neighborhood ( the dreaded clothesline for one and two the mailbox I have never updated-mine is fine thank you!) and frankly it makes me nuts all the rules that make no sense. The kicker is the fireplace cost $8000.00 Am I the only one here who thinks that is just nuts!!!! I saw the photo of the nice suburban family sitting around this fireplace in the middle of their yard and had to wonder a bit. I mean that fireplace would grow nicely into a hefty college account or maybe pay off some credit card debt. It seemd wasteful. I am all into family fun and doing things together....but how about a firepit from TARGET or WALMART for so much...SO much less!maybe I am way too practical, but come on....$8000.00!


Happy New Year!

January 1st, 2007 at 11:31 am

Blessings to each of you! Happy 2007!
Hope everyone had a great Christmas season. Now it is back to reality!

We took the tree down on Sunday afternoon. It is a big job but everyone pitched in. I got everything put away in the basement. We are working on laundry, washing sheets and getting our bedrooms organized a bit.

Have you made some new year resolutions?
I have made a few. One is stay on track with my new way of eating. It is now become so much of a lifestyle for me. It is a good way to start the new year. When I was married I hated New Years. I always felt 100% terrible about myself-basically I had very little self esteem. When I was married I never felt good about myself-ever. I hated holiday parties becasue I felt like I never measured up to what my husband wanted. Every New Years he would lecture me on my weight and how unattractive I was. It was miserable for me. I always wished I could live under a rock for about a week during the Holidays. I felt awful. Now that I am divorced- New Years is not as scary to me. Eating smaller amounts and all healthy is a great way to start the year. Truly I feel so good emotionally-it is a nice change.

I also have to pay myself first! I have to make that a habit for 2007. Saving is key. I have done well but I want to do a better job in 2007.

I want to try to find a way to make some extra money part time. I have to really open my mouth and tell people I am ready to look for something to do. I need to get the word out. I did tell my friend and she has offered to talk to her boss about a PT job at he nursing home she works at right down the street. Who knows?

I also promise to keep better track of my time. Hopefully that equates to some time to walk and excerise. I have to if I am to really get off the weight.

It is great to start a new year. This is the first year of doing my own taxes as well. I have never done a tax return, so I am looking "forward" to meeting my tax advisor. Time to get educated even more.
Also my son should be finalizing colleges. I have his graduation to look forward to in June.

My ex gets married on January 27th.
It will be good to January over with. I am not looking forward to all the "emotional stuff" that will more than likely occur. I will try to focus on ME and the kids all the positives going forward. My middle daughter has made some cards for her new step mommy. It still hurts and I am still wounded a bit. I am still learning to let go of the pain. Not always easy to be the "adult" and "grown up"!

Well enjoy and again ----Happy New Year!