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Archive for February, 2007

So glad it is March!

March 1st, 2007 at 02:49 am

Yes....glad Feb is over. It was long and way too cold and snowy. I noticed spring is not to far off on the kitchen calendar. I am so glad. I am ready for a change.

I paid my VISA yesterday and was at the bank today depositing my spousal support. I was down to around $200.00.
That is a little too close for my comfort level as far as the checking account goes. My ex paid for a few things he normally does not. I am sure it was because he was not thinking correctly when doing his checks. Who knows.

I am leaving town for a dance competition this weekend. That can spell trouble for me as far as costs go. I am packing alot of my food this time around. I like to have healthy snacks and drinks, so this is so much better than fast food and eating junk. Planning ahead always works best. I hope we are busy but it looks like we have alot of down time. I am bringing a book and some word puzzle books. My dd will do home work and read as well. I will pack some cards as well.

Things seem hectic around my house...just keeping up with my kids. My son starts driving on Friday, my ex will pick up his DL from the judge. I am ready to have him drive. I just pray he learned his lesson and will not get any speeding tickets.

I did finish cleaning the basement. I am enjoying the clutter free zones and using my treadmill. I am trying to work out for 30 mins each day....at least 30 mins for maybe five days. I think it is best to do something as often as possible. I saw my dr and I have lost 62 pounds! My BP is still a concern. I am on the edge as far as needing meds so the dr put me on them again. We will re-check in three months. That seems fair.
There is a chance I will get a better rate on my health insurance as well, my rep is checking into that. I told them any savings would be a blessing.
So I am doing-----I think---pretty good in the weight loss department. I am still highly motivated and feel so much better.
It is a good thing as Martha would say!

My son is narrowing his college choices down and should have his choice in two weeks. I am excited for him. I know he is excited to be college bound. He needs a job asap....that is his next step.

A gentleman from my church just came home from the hospital today. He had a heart transplant! If you think of it please keep BOB in your prayers. He is a wonderful Sunday School teacher and an all around good guy. I can not imagine how blessed he feels, yet we all ache for the person who passed on and their family. What a hard time for them. Bob's wife is named SUE. She has been under alot of stress taking care of her hubby BOB and being his encourager. Just an outstanding older couple who are wonderful examples of marriage partners. Thanks a bunch---

My sister and her family leave for Costa Rico early Friday for a week of relaxtion. She just completed her Doctorate in Engineering. She did it in record time and did an outstanding job. This trip was well earned after so much hard work on her part. If you ever need a new place to try for a vacation...try Costa Rico. It sounds wonderful and they sure enjoy it there. Have a great trip sis!

I wish I had more to report but I do not, so --- have a good evening everyone!

A Cheap Wonderful Workout

February 20th, 2007 at 11:47 pm

Today was a hectic day. Cleaning up the house and laundry. Then running to return those jeans we just bought...too long after all. Tutoring for three periods of school. Taking son's car in for repairs. Going to the Dollar General. Helping with homework. You name it!

I did decide to fit one more thing in my day and that was going to the mall and excercising by mall walking! I know my parents do it and I thought why not??? I was so in the mood to try something different for myself. So I did throw on my tennies and went walking. I walked pretty briskly for 50 mins. It was nice to go on a weekday as it was not so crowded and the folks there were either walking with a toddler or pushing a baby stroller or older people. It worked out really great. I was kinda tickled I went.
My parents walk their mall and well the idea sorta hit me to do it as well.
It was fast, cheap and required very little equipment. Also with so much snow and slush...I was protected from the elements.

I did go to Dollar General as my mom found some great warmup suit type clothing itmes. I went to mine and there was really nothing I saw that was what she described. I did find ---
4 greeting cards....$1.00
Archway cookie pack...$2.00
5 gift bags with matching tissue...$2.45
pack of 10 sympathy greeting cards...50 cents
Tin foil....69 cents
everything was on sale since they are closing. I may go back on Weds and see what other small deals I can get.

I hope my son's car does not cost too much to tune and repair. We will see. The mechanic had loads of grease on his hands when I meet him for the first time today. At the dealership they seem to have very clean hands. Funny---

I have to come up with a two dinners for this week and then no cooking for three days. Kids are with dad. I am sure they will have fun. he is the Disney dad so he always has tons of plans and big ideas...places to go and things to do! I am more boring I guess. We are usually too busy with general life stuff.

I have lots of filing to do with papers on my desk and I need to get kinda organized with my tax stuff. I see my tax person in two weeks. This wil be the first time I have had to handle tax return business all on my own. Either my dad had it done for me or my ex. This is one area of my life I am not too comfortable with. Lots of little jobs to do this weekend so I hope to get lots done and do some relaxing as well. I have numerous books started as well...need to read and enjoy some down time getting refreshed.

Cleaning the Basement

February 19th, 2007 at 02:51 am

Today my girls and I cleaned and organized the basement. We are about 80% done. Still have some things to clean and organize. I got rid of four bags of kids clothes that were.....well....very old and not too stylish. I had held on to them forever. My kids made me get rid of them...not even that good for Goodwill. We have some bags for the garage sale. That freed up alot of space for Christmas do dads that needed to be put away. That was wonderful to get that stuff put away finally. The surgery put me way behind in getting things shelved from Christmas.

We threw out alot of boxes and storage containers that were really torn or broken. That was nice. We did box up some toys for the garage sale...puzzles, games and small toys that we just do not need. My girls set up an area to play house and do dress up also an area to play baby dolls. We also added some better lighting, it made things look so much better. We had the lamps but added brighter bulbs.

I also found some wonderful books. They are going to school for THEM to shelve and organize. We can check them out from there. So those are bagged up for school on Tuesday. I also went thru all the gift wrap supplies. It looks so much better and is easier to see things for gift wrapping.

All in a great day in organizing and cleaning. I feel great with what we accomplished!

Many hands make light the work! That was such a blessing to have that extra help! Also to have a large supply of large black trash bags. Monday is our trash day---that was a good thing too. Get it out and be done.

Have a good evening and if you are off work on Monday-enjoy your day! We are off to the mall for a pair of jeans for my oldest dd. Wish me luck! For some reason I am pretty sure it will not be a fast trip in and out.

I made thru Saturday!

February 18th, 2007 at 02:43 am

Oh my it is still snowing around here. It was supposed to be a dusting, but it turned out to be so much more. I had to drive pretty much the entire day! Getting children here or over to there! CRAZY! The snow made my van skirt all over the place. So more shovelling on Sunday, either before the big race or after! I ended up relying on my ten yr old dd to complete the rather elaborate dinner. She did fine. My son's plane was delayed from Chicago.....so I was helpless as far as getting dinner done. Luckily she has some basic skills and got the job done. It was very yummy.

We did stop by Dollar General for a birthday gift my dd needs for a children's party, NEXT Saturday. We got a cute "girlee" assortment for about $7. Our store is going out of business. It IS in a terrible location. I hope to head back on Tuesday and poke around for a few deals. Everything is now 20% off- all sales final. So I will see. They had loads of Christmas wrapping paper...not sure why. Not my favorite store but with some browse time I may find some good deals....we will see.

Have you rented a DVD lately? I just never do that...same for my kids. They never bug me for renting movies. Some families are into that for entertainment. I guess we are boring or are easily entertained! We do have cable TV. My son likes sports or the History channel and the girls like Disney, Style, travel or HGTV in general. Sometimes we play a game or the girls just play. I bought my daughter a paint by number kit. She loves it. She works on it a little at a time. It was worth the 5 dollars. It is very entertaining. We hardly rent, in fact the rental store called recently and offered us a rental for free.....we never went to pick out a DVD! I almost never pass up free. Just not too interested I guess.

How are you doing with leftovers? With the weekend here be sure you are eating them for lunch or re-using for dinner somehow. I bought some crab salad for a treat for me. It tasted very average. I hate to throw stuff out ...but it was terrible tasting. Live and learn! I try to limit waste as much as possible. No one can be 100% in this area, but we can all strive for doing better. I am trying to really stay on top of leftovers. Keeping dinners simple helps....simple food can be re-purposed easier. Again ---it is a challenge that we can all do better at.

My son has my DISCOVER CC and I have a VISA. I decided to switch cards with him as DISCOVER offers the cashback. My son only uses the card for gas purchases. So if we switch-- it will mean a larger cashback. I do use Credit cards here and there. I pay them off every month....and have for over 24 years. I own three....the other one is the Wal mart credit card. I am too afraid of balances to ever have one. My parents were pretty good teachers as far as money is concerned. The only debt I have is the house. I am very careful with credit cards.

Have a good evening and a good Sunday.

Menu-partial

February 16th, 2007 at 09:58 pm

Friday-meatball sandwiches, salad, fresh fruit

Saturday-(dinner)Briskett, mashed pot, cole slaw, bisquits, corn
(lunch)-soups, tuna fish

Sunday- (dinner) burgers and fries, fruit (lunch) homemade pizza, apples

Monday-no school (dinner) kilbeasa, bakes beans, corn muffins, vegies (lunch) leftovers

Tuseday-kids eat with dad

New shopping Technique

February 16th, 2007 at 09:51 pm

Today I tried a new way of shopping. Not sure why! After I wrote out my list I went to Wal Mart first. Our store is not a super center. It does have about 8 aisles of basic food products. So I went thru the aisles and purchased all the items I could there. Then I went to the grocery store and bought the rest like fresh vegies, fruits (limited amount) and meats. I think it worked out pretty well. I eye balled alot of prices and feel like I saved a hefty amount. It seemed not too bad as far as time goes. They are fairly close by. It was a small experiment in saving. I did not use any coupons this time...I did take them. I bought generics and WalMart brands, so no need for coupons. I also went thru Wal Mart very quickly as to not linger and spend!


By the way I did unload all those flowers this afternoon at school. The delivery went well. I had to take the back seat of the van out in order to fit 12 buckets of flowers in! So things around my house look a tiny bit better.

This weekend is tons of running around, laundry, cleaning, tidying and cooking. I hope to stay home as much as possible. My son is in Chicago looking at a college. He flies back on Saturday, so I have to run to the airport for him. This is his first time travelling alone. Hopefully he is having a good time and using his manners.

School basketball game is is off tonight as my daughter is sick with a cold...so she is not cheering tonight. I am glad, I want a evening to chill a bit.
Enjoy your evening! It is brutally cold here.....it is just awful.

Coupon Organizing

February 15th, 2007 at 12:14 am

Do you use coupons? I am pretty faithful to use them, as our store gives double coupons each and every day. How to organize those slips of color paper has always been a small challenge for me. I ended up using a cheap and very easy method. I use about 5 photo album pages torn out of an old photo album. They have slips and divided slots on clear pages. I use a clothespin to keep them all together. I also have a clothespin on my purse to clip together coupons I will be using when I check out. I like that I can visually see the coupons. I flip thru them as I shop as well. I use maybe an average of 4-8 coupons per trip. I usually buy generic or store brand but sometimes a name brand wins out. I try to use the coupon but it has to really be worth a savings of course to use the coupon or even purchase the item.

How do you organize? I think most shoppers do not even try to use those coupons. Some really use them alot....at times I watch these shoppers and I am amazed how talented they are at saving. Our store will not take any computer coupons.....I never even knew that. The sales clerk told me there are way too many fraud sites and bad coupons that are not "legal".

Coupons are a good thing if you can get organized in some small fashion and take them with you to the store. It takes a little effort but it can be a profitable habit.

I also do not belong to a warehouse club. When I was married I used to belong to one. I used to entertain my ex's family all the time, it involved large amounts of food and beverages. It was a good way to buy in bulk. Now that I entertain rarely I stopped going years ago. I did always spend extra and felt like I went overboard. Each time I left I felt very guilty. For me I do not miss that type of shopping experience. I have friends with 5 and 6 kids. This warehouse club works great for them.
I will say these clubs are clever and savy. They do have a method to get you to spend. You have to have a plan of attack and some sense of discipline, or you can walk out broke!

Still lots of snow....our street is still blocked. I am unable to get out of my driveway since the street snow is deep with snow and drifts. It was very pretty outside today with blue skies and sunshine. I am now out of bread!!! Time to get out the frozen bread dough and bake.

Have a good night everyone.

Another Winter Blast

February 13th, 2007 at 05:36 pm

I woke up and got the kids going for school. packed lunches.....and then I got a call that school was closed. What a happy day to have all my kids up and ready to go at 7 am. I love my school but gee I wish they would not wait so late to make up their minds about school. I was happy that my son would not be driving in the bad weather but not so happy we all had to be up and wide awake--it makes the day seem so much longer for house bound children. We are expecting 4-8 inches with 8 more overnite!!!! It is very cold and the wind is howling all around my house! Winter is certainly here and staying for an extended stay.

I did have to go out and retrive 400 red carnations! I went to the flower wholesale plant and picked them up. I am running a Valentine flower sale fundraiser for school. I went right away this morning, but it was terrible driving. Cars and trucks were spun out everywhere and wrecks galore. Praise the Lord I made it home safe. I got home in time to put a roaster chicken in the crocky pot.
It is sure a blessing to have a nice somewhat full pantry and freezer for days like today.

So the house is full to the brim with red flowers that were supposed to go right to school....oh well I will enjoy the smells of spring and Valentines Day! I am almost sure we will not have class on Weds either...if so we will make Valentines Day a day later!

I got my heat/gas bill yesterday. It was out of this world as far as price goes. I am shocked to say the least. I have the heat down so much of the time and I hang wet laundry as much as possible. I am very dismayed. Is it from all the showers or dishwasher??? Not sure but it seems high. I am so very frugal I thought.....what must my neighbors be paying! I did feel like my frugal ways were not so frugal and maybe it was all for naught. I quickly changed my mind deciding it could of been alot worse. Well hopefully we can continue to be frugal in this area and then hopefully spring will arrive and the days will be more pleasant. I long for the day when the porch furniture is back out on the porch and the windows are open blowing the curtains in a spring-like window dance.

Have a good Tuesday everyone!

"true strength comes not from muscles but from the soul"

Winter Greetings!

February 12th, 2007 at 02:24 am

Hello to all my frugal friends. It seems like I have been gone for awhile. Not sure why! Busy with children and home I guess.

Have been getting thru all the cold weather. So blessed not to live in upstate New York. Those folks seems to have such a good attitude. I would be going nuts with so much snow. I guess they are hearty souls who have learned how to deal with so much snow.

I have been following my menus carefully and very faithfully. I am challenged this week with a very strange week as we have so much going on. We are busy BUT not always THIS BUSY!!!!! I have to be creative in all my meals this week...easy and quick are the words of the week. My kids were with dad for most of the weekend....so I had a break from meals and cooking. I ate cheaply since it was just me.

I have been using my drying racks. It sure helps. I also use my shower curtain rod that is propped up on two high shelves in my laundry room. I use plastic hangers and hang all sorts of things to dry. It is easy and it holds alot. I have tried to keep the heat down. I can handle the cold but the kids are more sensitive to that.

I went to jazzercise this week for the first time. I did sign up for the monthly pass. It was a great deal....$37 and I get to go for as many times as I want. I am not that great at the dance moves but I got a very good workout on Saturday when I got to go for free. I think it will help me drop the weight even more if I move more. I am excited to go and get motivated. I decided it is worth the money and worth my health to work out.

I am doing very well as far as money goes and bills. I put a large chunk away in savings and I really pushed the envelope so to speak. If I can make it to March 1st I will be doing wonderfully. I have been paying each bill as it arrives and have done Ok so far. I do not say that pridefully---just that I have really stopped needless spending and have really watched myself and what we do as far as buying things. I have cut back on dumb stuff and have been very choosey on where I spend.

I am thinking of getting a trac phone when my verizon contract is up. I talk on my cellphone for about 30 mins a month. I have like a zillion mins to use. I feel like I am wasting money- I am on the cheapest plan they have. I will have to see.....I wish I did not even own one....but I need it since I have four kids. My cable is now ridiclous as well. There are days I wish I lived far away from all things modern.
So many things that are truly needless in my mind and for my lifestyle.
That is why saving is so important to me.
Saving for retirement is no laughing matter. I enjoy saving money in large and very tiny ways....it all adds up. The challenge is so rewarding to me. Yet giving is as important. There are ways to give in large and small ways. This week I treated a friend to lunch out. I am still trying to do kind deeds for others. It is rewarding to be a blessing. Some weeks I can do it in small ways...other weeks I can be more "lavish".

Have a good Monday everyone and stay warm.

"Do not fear change. Change is simply the opportunity for new happiness to enter into your life."

Cold Weekend

February 5th, 2007 at 12:33 am

Hello, hope everyone in winterland is fairing well with the bitter cold. I did manage to run out a few times. Craft store, office supply store, drugstore, church, dance studio, Subway for my son, budget hair salon for my youngest. It is very bad out there. I have placed blankets around doors and in between doors.....also some cardboard as well. Any little way to keep cold out. I hated running around but each trip was at least close by. Still I disliked being out and about......alot of people seemed to be out and not too bothered by the cold.

School is already closed for Monday. I was making dinner when my ex called to tell the kids he heard that news on the radio. I think everyone was glad to have more time to work on school projects. We do not have any school bus service so all parents drive their children to school. Some families drive a fair distance. It is 30 mins. for us one way. It is just too cold and too dangerous to be out on Monday.

How are your weekly menus going? It helps me since I have little time to think creatively it seems each day. With a menu, it is all laid out for me...no brain power needed.

I have been reading and working on my journalling. I really enjoy it. Cheap entertainment for me. I have plugged in my coffee maker again. Coffee tasted awful to me with my surgery....now I like it again. It has been a nice treat to have some coffee. I have been sticking to cereals for breakfast, salads for lunch and Lean Cuisines for dinner. Easy and simple for me. So far so good....I am going to weigh myself soon. Part of me is always nervous to weigh myself....it is still hard to see myself getting thinner. I feel so much better and I have much more energy.

Have a good evening. Enjoy the superbowl if you are into football.

Weekly Menu

February 2nd, 2007 at 09:58 pm

Friday---fettecini and chicken, bread, peas

Saturday---chicken cordon blue, vegies and mashed potatoes, gravy

Sunday---Veal Parmesan, cheesy bread and salad

Monday---Chicken nuggets, rice, fruit, vegies

Tuesday---Slow cooker chicken with stuffing, vegies, home meade bread

Weds---no dinner, dad has the children for dinner and basketball game

Thursday---Spaghetti and meatballs, salad and bread

Friday, Saturday, Sunday--weekend at dad's house.

Deep Freeze!

February 1st, 2007 at 11:01 pm

WOW it is so cold here at my home. How to stay warm....layers and more layers.
Moving around, lap blankets....you name it. It is going to get super cold over the weekend. My girls were in the snow today playing. They do not last long as it is so cold. They had their saucers out and had fun sledding on a little hill behind our home. It DOES look very pretty outside.

I am going to hit the grocery store on Friday morning. The thought of shopping over the bitter cold weekend with the superbowl fans leaves me feeling queasy! Hopefully it will not be too busy at 8am! Menu planning will begin tonight once the kids are in bed. Coupons will be organized for my morning trip as well. I will post my new menu on Friday. We were invited to a superbowl party but to be honest by Sunday evening I like to get cozy and hunker down and relax. Call me a dud...sorry.
My ex gets back in town from his Mexican honeymoom on Sunday. Hopefully he got sunburned.

I put alot of my money in the money market fund this week. It was a stretch but I feel if I do not try to push myself a bit I will get more lazy as far as savings go! I will have to really watch. I look at it as a "fun" challenge! I have to make it work with what I have leftover. I have never really had a budget, that I stick to...I just try to not spend. That probably sounds strange....but that is how I have operated and so far it seems to work.

Nothing else very exciting as far as financials go. Like most of you just keeping my head above water.

I keep wanting to hit the thrift store....but I am resisting. I really do not need a thing!!!!! Less time in a store---- any kind of store---- the better!

Have a good night everyone.