Saturday, June 23, 2007

To Do List:

Last night we had some friends over who have a girl/boy the same age as our kids. So, it was like a playdate for everyone. We ordered chinese take out (with coupons) and I made a pan of brownies. I splurged on a 2 liter of their kind of pop and I opened up our saved bottle of two Buck Chuck wine (from Trader Joe's and actually it's 2.99 a pop).
Everyone had a good time I think but, everyone was tuckered out by the time we got to bed... and we all slept in today until almost 9 am. All four of us in our king bed... cozy but, nice.
Right now hubby and daughter are at her swimmming class. Baby is playing in the floor and sorta watching Elmo do his thing on Sesame Street. I've got the Saturday paper to go through and look for coupons. I hope there are free product coupons in there today. It's been awhile since I've gotten any free stuff.
It's time to take the kids to get their pictures so later today we're heading over to Target. I've got coupons of course. I'm hoping to make at least dinner for us tonight. I'm wanting to clean our the pantry and fridge.
One of my friend/neighbor's has family that are going through major financial problems (both unemployed, don't qualify for aid and have four depedent children).
So, I cleaned out two small boxes of food for them. And I spent 40.00 at Save A Lot buying them a few supplies. I don't really know these people even though I've met them and talked with them briefly. It doesn't matter to me because they have children to feed and you don't let children go hungry.
I have to say that I'm a bit worried if they'll like or use some of the stuff in the box. I put in a small box of powdered milk and I know that I would love to have powdered milk if I were needy. At least to cook with. But, I know that not everyone feels that way. I also put in two pounds of dried beans. Yes, they are more work than canned but, they are nutritious and they go a long way to fill a hungry belly. Should I have gotten them canned? Even though I buy dried beans for myself and would be more than glad to get them if I needed food?
Why am I worried about it? I felt like I needed to tell them that I wasn't being cheap because I was giving the food away but because that is how I shop. But, I don't want to embarass anyone just because I am afraid of seeming chintzy. And why do I care?

Onto a different subject. In a few days my in laws are coming to stay with the kids while hubby takes me on a business trip to Florida. Yeah. Hubby travels quite a bit and had enough frequent flyer miles for my tickets. So, other than my food, incidentals (souvenirs for the kiddos) and an extra night in a hotel.. our trip is free. Yeah! I'm so excited. Oh, I must admit that I have bought myself and hubby about 150 bucks worth of new clothes (aome of which came from Goodwill and some I am returning because I changed my mind).
So, I need to get the house ready for my in-laws. I've been working daily at keeping it straightend up but this weekend I'm hoping to get a few hours in to scrub the upstairs bathrooms and vacuum and dust our bedrooms.
I think they'll have a nice time here. I've got them running the kids to all of their activities so they'll have plenty to do.
Speaking of plenty to do... I should probably go do something productive.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Pickle Burger... it's what's for dinner.

For those of you who aren't acquainted with Amy Dacycyzn's epic saga of thrift, "The Complete Tightwad Gazette" let me introduce you to an idea on how to use up your pickle juice. Now Amy uses sweet pickle juice on pork chops (topped with I think ketchup) to bake into a nice sweet marinated meat.
Since my family is semi-vegetarian and we prefer dill pickles to sweet this is what I do:

Take three or four Boca veggie patties, pour over your pickle juice, top generously with ketchup and perhaps some onion slices. Bake it in a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes.

I served mine with a side of lima beans, real mashed potatoes, and a small salad. And of course a generous helping of familial love.
Everyone... including the 16 month old... ate pickle burger with smiles on their faces.
Now, that's a recipe that I get a lot of use out of.
Hope you can too.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Hair and produce.

I've been really missing my computer. Our personal laptop hasn't been working and I've been having to borrow hubbys work laptop but it doesn't seem that I have that much time with it to get it all done. I guess I didn't realize how much I use the computer for everything (freebie searches, mapquest directions, library searches/holds, recipes, communication....etc.).

I hit the motherlode of produce clearance at Save A Lot. I even took pictures to show you. But, I haven't had time to put them up. Maybe tomorrow.
But, let me just say that for less than four bucks I got a papaya, a zuchini, a few plums, peaches, a mango, a cantaloupe, three oranges, a bag of baby carrots, apples, a lime, five roma tomatoes, and two baker potatoes.
I made a peach crisp with the peaches as they were getting overripe. Sweety took the mango for part of his lunch and tomorrow we'll be eating cantaloupe with our chocolate chip bread that daughter and I made today.

Tonight was not so frugal I guess. I had a buy one get one coupon for a noodle bowl restaurant we wanted to try. It was good but, not worth it without the coupon. And then we headed over to Trader Joes to stock up on tofu and organic milk for the baby.
And we splurged on a container of chocolate covered ginger for an early father's day present.

Well, it's time to help get the young' uns into bed and maybe we have time to snuggle and watch a library dvd.

And tomorrow is a busy day. Haircut for hubby and swimming lesson for daughter.
Also, finally I'm splurging on my hair. It's my once a year highlight session and I'm really looking forward to sitting in a chair for an hour in a half with stinky foils on my hair because I'm doing it for me!

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Trading my old goals for new ones

I think I've been living in the zone of needing to pay off debts instead of the zone where I'm working towards saving and investing. For some reason my brain just does not get excited about the investing and saving part. I guess the rewards of saving aren't as immediate as the joys of finally having a credit card or loan paid off. I am good at paying off debts. Am I good at investing? NO. My brain shuts off when I hear the words mutual funds, dividend or stocks.
This is my new stumbling block and something that my husband wants me to work on so we are working toward retirement rather than paying off student loans and credit card debt and debts to parents. Other than paying off our mortgage (which is part of the saving plan.... pay off the mortgage in half time) I just don't have much of an idea of what to do to start saving. And the idea of paying someone else to handle our money (and perhaps they do it poorly) just irks me.
I suppose I should read some Suze Orman or Bob Brinker.
Should I check out a retirement for dummies book?
Anyone have any suggestions?

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Rambling notes on how I spent my Saturday.

4:30 Saturday afternoon. We're all taking a little siesta from our busy but fun day.
Everyone else is watching a library children's video on volcanoes in the tv room.

Let's see:

We went by the bank and on the way there say a sign for a neighborhood garage sale. Hubby and I both looked at eachother and said, "Yes, I believe we will." And we did for about an hour and a half.
Something I'm beginning to realize something about myself that I need to work on. I get really excited at the first two or three garage sales and find that I almost 'need' to find something to buy. Whether I really need it or want it. Granted, it's usually a two dollar or less item but, sometimes the purchase just isn't that satisfying as when you stumble across something you have been looking for or something you love. My first impulse purchase was an older (not antique.. the frame is plastic) oval shaped picture of a pond/house scene. I don't know why I like it but, I do. Of course, after carrying it for awhile I noticed the glass was broken right across the center. I think maybe it happened after I bought since I didn't see it then. But, I'm disappointed. Even though it was only .50.
Later I found two really nice pictures in great shape for .50 apiece too.
And at almost every garage sale someone wanted to give our 4 y.o. DD toys or kiddie jewelry. Erg. And of course, she found some toys that we needed to buy her.
But, with her toy room in the horrible shape it's in (toys strewn everywhere and no walkways) we made a bargain with her. She could get one toy for every three toys she would give up in her toy room. AND IT WORKED!!!!!!!!! She got rid of a box full of stuff. She's looking forward to selling it in her own garage sale to get money for her pig bank. Yeah! I'm so proud of her.
Then we were all tired, thirsty and hunger. Garage sale hunting is hard work. ; )
So, we tried out a Mexican restaurant we'd been eyeballing. The baby was a crank-monster and wouldn't sit in his high chair so lunch was fun. But, we had a meal that we'd never had before and we quite liked called Chilaquilles. It looked pretty easy to make (corn chips or tortillas crunched up and served with scrambled eggs, tomatoey sauce and some hot pepper and cheese for a topping. We ate them with freshly made flour tortillas. So yummy. It almost made me wish I had an icy cold Dos Equis to go with it and I don't really drink. It was a tasty and hearty lunch (three dishes and two pops for 16.00 including tip and tax).
Since I've managed to lose our baby's shoes somewhere in the house and he was barefoot today and hating being held we decided to stop by the Payless across the street for a spare pair of sandals. Yes, it seems frivolous.. I know. But, I have no clue where his one pair of fitting shoes went. I even looked under the couch.
Anyway, I walked right past a re-sale shop that had toddler shoes on my way to the Payless. And I noticed the price tag on new looking sandals (in his size) was 3.00.
Ok, mental note in case Payless does not work out. In the Payless the sandals were 15.00. 15.00 for a tiny pair of shoes. So, right back to the re-sale shop I went and found him a nice pair of new sandals for 3.50. Feeling a little satisfied with myself I went to the laundramat where my DH and DD were playing pinball while baby and I shopped so we could show off his new shoes. For less than two dollars they were having such a good time playing a Johnny Mnemonic pinball game. DD did talk me into spending a quarter on a big bubble gum that she ended up spitting out because she thought it was gross.
We ended our expedition with a trip to the Goodwill. Books were 50% off today so I bought a teachers edition of The Robert English Series from 1966. I couldn't resist when the first page I opened to was a copy and illustration of The Jabberwocky. I love the Jabberwocky.
Oh, I found two cute summer dresses for DD for 2.00 each. It sure beats the 12.00 that I was going to spend on one dress last weekend from TJMaxx. And I picked up a wrapped package of five new picture frames for 5.00. They will come in handy when I get out the pictures I had printed for free at the grocery store.

Right now I'm going to go fold laundry and plan for tonight's dinner. Veggie Dogs, salad and Mac and Cheese sounds doable.
I'm looking forward to putting the kids to bed and watching a library DVD with my sweetie later too.

It's been a frugal good day so far.

Saturday Cravings

It's Saturday morning. I haven't yet ventured downstairs to fix our breakfast of pancakes, eggs, and veggie sausage. I haven't fished the newspaper... full of coupons I hope... off of the driveway.
I haven't done anything yet except make the bed and send hubby downstairs to get the kids their morning cups of milk.
The day is new. I love Saturdays like this when there is nothing planned.
What I'd like is to make breakfast for the family, get dressed and break away from everyone for two or three hours to go to the Goodwill, Walgreens to check out the FAR items, and maybe stop at a garage sale or two.
What needs to happen? Laundry, yard work, house work, and cleaning out the toys from all over the house that seem to be multiplying while we sleep. And there has been mention that it's time to take our brood to the zoo again. Oh, I wish we had like ten Saturdays in a row so it wouldn't be so hard what to decide to do with our precious 48 hours before we send hubby back to work again.
Time is so precious isn't it?