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Coupon Organizing

February 14th, 2007 at 04:14 pm

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 09:36 am

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 11th, 2007 at 06:24 pm

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 4th, 2007 at 04:33 pm

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 01:58 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 03:01 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.


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!

Saving on Food

December 27th, 2006 at 06:24 am

Are you trying to save on the groceries you purchase? Who doesn't need to work at saving in this department?
Here is a great web site that may be in your state.
anglefoodministires is a web site that is about a wonderful program. It does not matter what your economics are it is open to anyone. I noticed it is not in every state but it is available in many. For a prepayment of $25 you get an assortment of food products. The web site shows the menu each month of the items you get. Also it looks like at least in my state they take food stamps to pay for this program.

I say if you are struggling or you need some help, take advantage of this program. It really looks interesting and an easy way to stretch.

This is an area I tend to struggle in. I am resolving to really get serious in food shopping. One way to spend alot is to take your kids with you. I look at shopping for food as an a outing with my kids. Last night I took my oldest daughter with me. We spend time together in this way. I have to really work on balancing shopping and being frugal with making it "entertainment". It is hard.

By the way I wanted to share what my kids got me for Christmas-
A nice purse
the video series of Love Came Softly.
Kohl's gift card
Silk plant I saw months ago
Decorative item for the family room wall

My ex takes the kids shopping and he tends to let them spend alot on me. Part of me feels a touch guilty. I am not sure why. By the way my son gave me a Christmas card and he wrote "I love you mom" --that was so special to me. I am sure I will keep that card forever.

Please check out angelfoodministires.

Have a good day everyone!

How was Christmas?

December 26th, 2006 at 08:08 am

Hope everyone had a very lovely Christmas. I think ours was very nice. It was pretty relaxing since we do not entertain anyone but ourselves. The children seemed to have enjoyed all their gifts. We had a few laughs as so many were bargains.....it was a good lesson in giving and yet being a tad frugal. My kids had a nice time I think with their dad. It is always very pleasant but yet hard on them. We did not have snow of course, but lots of rain and dreainess.

Today I need to go to the grocery store as I need some items for myself in order to eat what I need. We used to have two grocery stores in town now we have one and boy is it ever crowded 24/7. It is a bummer to be down to one store. I am taking my son to the Dr as he sounds terrible with his cold. I hope to play some games....we got a few from Santa...so I hope we can all play together. I got the kids a BINGO game. We are going to buy some candy and play for candy today. Cheap entertainment.
I sorta wanted to take the kids to a movie. I am so darn cheap.....I hate to go because it is a small fortune. Movies are absolute treats at my house. So far no one seems too intersted so I may hold off and not say too much about going. I wanted to see the Nativity movie....I may go myself when the kids are with dad.

My kids received alot of money from grandparents. My kids are putting some in the bank. I think they also want to spend some....I guess I would rather they would save it all....but I understand they are excited to have some cash.

I am really working on saving money. It will not be easy but when is it EVER easy? I think once we get back to our routine and back to school next week.....the money issues will settle down. With the mild weather.....I have saved on heating bills. I even dried some clothes outside on the rack on Christmas! So every little bit helps.
My dinner last night was a cup of yougurt. That alone is a savings. Just not eating much! Hopefully next month I will be able to put at least $2000.00 in my savings account. Fingers crossed. I also have saved pennies since Jan. 1st....it will be time to cash in my little mason jar filled with pennies. I enjoy this method of saving pennies. After awhile the pennies add up. It is a daily reminder to not waste and to be thankful in all things.

Do you have a lot of returns? Did your re-gift pile get bigger? We have a few returns but not too many. I also do not have anything for the re-gift pile. Sometimes I do. I feel zero guilt about that.
I hope to get some gift wrap and maybe other gift wrapping supplies. We will see.

Well everyone enjoy your day. I feel blessed to be home and with my kids. It is sure wonderful.

Cleaning out the hall closet.

December 20th, 2006 at 11:51 am

Today I spent time cleaning out the hall closet upstairs. I have enough soap and shampoo and other odds and ends to last about four months. I organized the towels and sheets a bit. Other things included shower gels, razors, heating pad, blood pressure cuff, cotton balls and small paper cups. I also threw out some meds that were very expired. This is a good place to load up with things from the Dollar Store. I also get samples galore from the Wal Mart web site. Those were handy to take to the hospital.

While I was out I saw some pretty Christmas dishes. I walked by only looking for a second. I do not entertain what so ever at Christmas. That would be a major waste purchase. I had a set but donated them to the school for an auction. I was glad to donate them but I do sometimes wish I had some holiday dishes--I am not sure why! I also saw some cordless phones. I would like one for the family room as opposed to one with a long cord. Again....walked by and got out of the store as quickly as I could! No spend...No Spend....No Spend!!

My food budget will be drastically cut. My lunch is a small yougurt....dinner a cup of food,it is very nice! I will be saving some money on the food budget. I will be grocery shopping on Thursday. Hopefully it will not cost me a fortune bringing my three girls along! I did buy some candy and candy canes. I hope to make a nice display and let the kids enjoy it.

Last day of school today. I am glad as we all need a break! It is nice to be home and with my kids. I am so blessed to not have to be working. I hope we can all just sleep in, nap, play games, bake and just enjoy the time. Next Christmas my son will be in college. He leaves with his dad to visit some on Thursday.
I was looking at his baby pictures in tears. He is my firstborn. Going thru the divorce and seeing his dad in some photos made it very hard for me. Divorce heals over time but it still hurts here and there. Yes my son is growing up.

Quick question....have you received less Christmas cards in the mail this year? I used to get a ton....I hardly got any. I also only got one Christmas letter. Partly I think because I am divorced. So many of our friends were couple friends....I was just wondering. I do not send out cards anymore.

Have a good Weds. everyone!

Where is Jesus?

December 20th, 2006 at 11:40 am

Sorry I have to rant here! Our nativity set is missing! I have looked everywhere in our house.....it is not to be found anywhere! I am betting it was in a box and somehow it got thrown out....! I decided to venture out to the many stores and look for one. Gee whiz....not one to be found. When I asked the gal at Sears she asked if I was looking for Christmas Tiffiany? I said to her....NATIVITY! She still stared at me till I said ya know Mary, Joesph and that baby named Jesus. She then continue to stare at me like I had asked her if I had three eyeballs! I finally gave up and went hunting. I found plenty of blow up outdoor snowglobes, plasic candy canes and spongebob ornaments......but no Jesus. Maybe they are all sold out. Maybe I was too late. Maybe this is not a good year for Jesus. Not sure. Maybe Jesus is not so "PC" right now. Again not too sure. Even WalMart was out or never had. What is a mother to do? I am sure I can find Jesus online.....right??

Merry Christmas!

December 17th, 2006 at 09:25 am

Sorry I have been gone so long. I was recovering very nicely and then I got a very bad cold. I was not able to do much and hence not eat much. I am finally able to drink my meals again. I had alot of popsicles, which helped a bit.
I received some wonderful meals from some friends. Tonight an entire turkey dinner with the fixin's arrives tonight from my very good friend. It helps cause well I am not too intersted in food with this cold and I am still recovering a bit. Monday I get to stop the liquids and eat baby food type food. I am kinda glad.

I paid my visa off which was HUGE. I am almost ashamed how large it got. I had some big out of the ordinary expenses so I have to go easy on myself I guess. I hope like everyone lese in the world, to have a light expense month in January to catch up a bit.

I know my food budget will be less since I am eating practically nothing. Less pop, less bread, less sugar, less everything. It helps. While my parents were here my dad did alot of little repair jobs and garage organizing. It sure was a help.

As far as budget goes I hope to just stop spending as much as possible and recover a bit. I know I am due a hospital bill from the anthesialogist. That was not covered with my payment originally. Thankfully it is in my emergency fund waiting for the bill. I have no clue what the amount with be.

I am looking forward to Christmas. My ex has the kids on Chirstmas eve and I have them Christmas morning till noon. Then the kids are with the ex and his family. Only my oldest daughter will stay home with me.....she never likes to go and finds it boring with my ex's family. All I have to do is make a nice breakfast on Christmas morning with the kids and I think just something my dd wants for Christmas. So it will be very quiet for me as usual. That is ok.
I would not know how to make a huge Christmas dinner....I have never been in the position to have to do that.

So GLAD my shopping is done. I highly encourage others to really change your ways and shop early. I find it helps keep the stress down and the focus centered better. I also make a small stash of gifts. I have been able to bless a few folks easily with a gift.
It sure helped to have my mom wrap gifts for me. That was a HUGE help.

Well enjoy your Sunday. I will be doing some laundry and cleaning with the kids help. I hope to take a nap.....I was finally sleeping normally again till the cold hit. I guess when you are older-it takes a just a bit more to recover and get healthy after a set back or two.


December 10th, 2006 at 05:56 pm

Just a quick note to say I am now home.
Surgery went well and I had pretty much no complications. My parents picked me up and are home with me. My kids are spending another night with their dad so I have some time to adjust a bit. I have some pain but meds are helping. I have no appetite. I have felt great mentally as well. I had some visitors and some nice phone calls which were very healing and uplifting! I def. will be using my college student to help me out. I already can see I WILL NEED HER!! I am not able to lift anything for 6 weeks. I tried to lift the kitty and my mom scolded me. How easliy we take things for granted. My nurses were super too. I just hated gettitng my vitals taken all night long...not fun!!!!!

Hope all your Christmas plans, shopping and fun are coming along nicely. I am so glad I did my shopping.....there was no way to do it now.

Thanks for the nice comments from beforehand. I am glad each day I am healing and getting closer to health and personal goals.

Signing off for now

December 5th, 2006 at 10:31 am

Hello frugal friends. Just a quick note to say my cooktop is getting installed as I type! Hip Hip Horray!! It looks so nice....and really modern and up to date!
I am really excited.

I am getting ready for my sugery on Thursday. I have things to do .....but what I do not get to....well too bad.
My sister called today from VA to wish my luck and prayers. I always can share with her and vice versa.

I hit WalMart yesterday to get some things I need.....hopefully while my mom is here she can also run out to the grocery store for more to replishen. I was told not to buy too much as my taste can change after surgery.

All gifts are purchased as far as I can tell...that feels nice.

I will be sure to blog as soon as I can and let you all know how it went. I am starting to get nervous.....like an adreline rush of sorts. I am sure by the time I am laying in recovery I will be exhausted from the surgery and everything else I have had to deal with mentally it seems. I need to not worry about my children. Their dad is capable as much as I hate to say that....but they are good kids that can do so much for themsleves at this point. I am sure I will miss them alot.
He has some things planned to stay busy so that will help make the time go faster.

By the way it snowed here....it looks very pretty outside today.

Have fun getting ready for Christmas----talk to you all soon!


December 2nd, 2006 at 11:13 am

Why are rebates so confusing and so timeconsuming?? I guess so you give up and never send it in! I have one for my cooktop and one for some contact lenses. All I can say is what a major pain! That is my goal to get these done and mailed.

My cooktop is STILL NOT IN! How awful it has been. It is still all sitting in my garage. My installer is due on Tuesday. I told him I had to have it in due to surgery. Hopefully it happens on Tuesday.
It is past the point of getting mad.

Had to have the Geek Squad out. They seem pricey but they were out in 24 hours to do some major repairs. The man who serviced my computer.....had Weight loss surgery three months ago. He asked as he saw some bookmarked favorite sites.
He was very open and enjoyed sharing his journey. It was pretty neat to hear how wonderful he felt. He has his own web site on WLS. It has been amazing the number of neat things God has placed in my path regarding this surgery and life style change. I am trying to get ready for my surgery on Thursday. I feel overwhelmed by the loose ends I have. Yet I know I have to release it and let it go for now.

I saw the Nutcracker yesterday with my first grader at the local college. Boy was it good!!! I am going back on Sunday to see with my daughter who dances. The ticket yesterday with the school was $7 and on Sunday the ticket is $25!!!!It pays to go with schools and enjoy field trips. I had to drive five children but I was able to take the teacher in my van so we were able to chat which was very nice.

I have been trying save money--
1. Limited use of heat when kids are not around
2. Limited use of lights when kids are not around
3. Not shopping anymore for Christmas
4. Stashing cash and keeping up the change jar. I will cash it in on December 31st or so.
5. Sewing and repairing clothes and using hand me downs with the kids.
6. Very little eating out or fast food.

I was in Amish territory this week. Boy did I have fun! My gal pal and I went shopping for the entire day. I ended up buying a few items. My gal pal gave me the most beautiful card and a gift of money to spend on me. It was such a neat blessing. She wrote some sweet things about friendship that I started to cry in the van.

We went to alot of shops, ate at the Amish place we love and hit the cheese factory as well. I bought some swiss cheese. We also went to the hardware store where they had the biggest selection of drying racks I have ever seen! Huge ones! It was neat to wander all thru this amazing store filled to the brim with old fashioned items. I bought a few things for stockings in the toy department. I saw lots of buggies and little Amish children with their mothers. It is a different world there...but very delightful. Simple and cost effective that's for sure.

Well I hope to get lots done and organized this weekend. I am starting to get nervous. I gathered a few photos of my kids to take with me in my hospital bag. I decided that would be a help if I felt blue or lonely for them. I am sure all will go well and it will speed by quickly. Each day I will be getting better and more healed. Fretting is really not needed or profitable for me. How we think on things can determine the outcome....positive or negative.

Have a good weekend.


November 25th, 2006 at 07:00 pm

Last week I hit a small jackpot for my dd. I found her four Laura Ashley sweaters at the Goodwill. My Goodwill has the best stuff. I guess becasue we draw from a nicer area. It is wonderful! They were $14 all together. One was a lambswool sweater. She needs clothes so badly so this was nice.

I see all kinds of folks shopping in Goodwill. It is kinda nice. I plan on using it more and more now that I will be losing weight and needing to update my clothes rather quickly. I am really excited about that. When you are big...... clothes shopping is the pits.
Enjoy your Goodwill or other thrift store.
They are a blessing!

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