Thursday, July 31, 2008

Second Hand Home Design

Our local tv station ran a spot about a lady who decorated her entire house from her finds at Goodwill. Watch it here.

Target Toy Clearance- Stock up for Christmas

Right now Target is clearing their toy shelves and marking down toys up to 75% off. I stocked up today for the little girls in my life. I got a VSmile system for $12.00, a pink keyboard for $3, and a Thomas die cast train for $1.74.

Next time I'll be smart and leave the kids at home!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Save-A-Lot Baby Club

I signed up for the Save-A-Lot being well baby club a few days ago. Yesterday I received a welcome package with Luvs coupons and a coupon for a free jar of baby food.
We do use Luvs diapers occasionally.
The baby food can always be turned into muffins or put in a food pantry box.

I love those freebies.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

No Daddy Decadence

Hubby will be home soon but life here has been a study in decadence and ennui. Granola bars and slices of bread for dinner? Why not? Who wants to eat cold cereal for breakfast when we can go have pancakes at Bob Evans? Why pick up the toys now- I can do it tonight? Why not let the kids sleep in my bed?
Life will be getting back to a frugal norm soon. Until then I'll just step over the choo choos and pipe cleaner people.

Friday, July 18, 2008

More Menu Revisions and a new frugal recipe

Last night we had doctored up frozen pizza instead of shepherd's pie. The leftover rice I was saving for Mexican stir fry turned into rice pancakes for tonight's dinner.
I didn't completely follow the recipe as I don't have buttermilk. Instead I mixed two cups of rice, two cups of complete pancake mix, an egg, milk, vanilla, and a sprinkle of maple sugar. They turned out great!
Now I have one more way to use up rice.

While I don't completely follow the menu I have planned it is great at keeping me on budget. We haven't eaten out this week and I haven't done much grocery shopping.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

If I won the lottery..........

Not that I really play the lottery or sit around and daydream about being filthy rich, but I think everyone sometimes plan how they'd spend their pretend millions.

I've always thought that I wouldn't change much about my lifestyle except take more vacations and hire babysitters so we could have dates. Until last night when Hubby took the kids and I to the botanical gardens for a free concert and I fell in love with the Ottoman garden. The sweet smell of jasmine and spicy beds of carnations were a veritable treat for my nose.

I don't want a fancy new car, a luxury cruise, a yacht, designer clothes, a personal chef, or an interior decorator. I'd get a gardener and a landscaper.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Revisions in the Menu Plan

Having a menu plan for the week does help our food budget. But, it never turns out exactly like I planned it would. Poor planning for leftovers, change in our schedule, and time constraints always manage to change my plans. Oh well.

I've made changes to the plan in italics.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Fridge Clean Out Menu Planner

This is a list of the produce and aging items in my fridge that I need to use up this week. I'll be doing most of my cooking from from the pantry, fridge, and freezer.

Leafy Green Lettuce
2 carrots
Potatoes - three or four pounds
Half a Pack of tortillas
Bagged Salad
2 containers of yogurt
Half a block of velveeta
1 tomato

Breakfast- We had French toast and scrambled eggs.

Lunch- Leftover banana pancakes (made with two black bananas- so good) with peanut butter and syrup. Leftover eggplant parm and roasted eggplant. Leftover pizza from Chuck E. Cheese on Friday night (went with friends who have kids our same age and had a blast. They have big ice cream bars for $1 which all in all is pretty good for a vending machine). Watermelon.

Snacks- Leftover cherry pie brownies (mix up brownie mix and add a can of cherry pie filling- cook for 37 minutes. They are super fudgy and very sweet. Next time I'll use just half a can of filling and reduce cooking time). Microwaved popcorn.

Dinner- Salad. Pasta with Alfredo sauce (had coupon) and chopped tomatoes. Garlic Bread from freezer.
The Classico white sauce was not good. I've yet to find a jarred white sauce that is tasty.

Breakfast- PB Toast, Grapes, and Milk. Hot beverages for the adults.

Lunch- Soup, crackers, sliced cheese. Canned oranges.

Dinner- Asian Lettuce Wraps a little carrot, some celery, some Boca crumbles (used coupon from insert), minced garlic, peanuts, onions and other veg from the freezer. Seasoned with grated ginger, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, white pepper and salt. Make pudding with a mix from pantry- use powdered milk to stretch drinking milk.
I didn't make the pudding.

Breakfast- Yogurt with dry cereal. Juice or water.
We had raisin cinnamon pancakes as requested by Little Guy.

Lunch- We had drive thru food for a treat.

Dinner- Mexican stir fry with rice, corn, beans, and cumin and taco seasoning. I'll melt some velveeta to pour over it and we'll make wraps with with salad, salsa and tortillas. Popsicles for dessert.
I made the burgers and fries instead because they were quicker. Hubby wanted to take the kids to the pool.

Breakfast- Cereal with milk.
We had sweet rice with raisins because I made too much rice on Monday night.

Lunch- Canned oranges, ants on a log, crackers.
The kids had leftover raisin pancakes topped with pb, veggie bacon, and sliced bananas. I ate a salad topped with a chopped boca chic patty.

Dinner- Boca Burgers (with velveeta topping- so healthy) and Homemade Fries. (Thaw burger buns and prep potatoes while Little Guy naps). Mix up muffins (use applesauce?) for breakfast.
Leftover Pudding?
We need a quick dinner so I'm making egg salad sandwiches, fruit muffins, and grapes.


Breakfast- Scrambled egg yolks leftover from fries recipe for Hubby. Muffins and applesauce (in pantry).
No leftover egg yolks. Hard boiled eggs if we have leftovers. Otherwise cereal and milk.

Lunch- Yogurt with bananas.
Make bread in bread machine for dinner- use soy flour.

Dinner- Shepherds Pie (make mashed potatoes earlier). Bread maker bread and spread.

Breakfast- Muffins if we have leftovers. Grapes. Oatmeal.

Lunch- If we have tortilla leftovers then quessadillas. Applesauce. Leftover canned fruit or grapes. Pb's if needed.

Dinner- Any Bagged Salad that's leftover. Homemade Pizza- use up any velveeta.

I think this menu should almost clean out my perishables. I'll buy milk this week and that's it.

Frugality Now!

Remember the Serenity Now Seinfeld episode? That still cracks me up.

Frugality is as much about what we aren't doing as much as what we are doing. Sometimes instead of shouting, "I should blog this" it's a mere whisper of "Hey, this is still part of being frugal."

Yesterday we went to my hometown for a family reunion picnic and then to my Grandma's house to help spruce it up for sale. Our only shopping was a trip to the grocery store for generic soda to fill the cooler for the reunion. We did eat Taco Bell for dinner before we drove home. I think for all of that it was less than $15.00.

Today we are spending the day at home cleaning. The toy mess is beyond my capabilities. Although we have already gotten rid of quite a bit we're down to the favorites and most played with toys for both kids... and all their various components. Half of it is going into storage because I just can't take it anymore. The two benefits of this are: 1. When it's time to switch out toys it will be like getting new ones. 2. The kids and I will have an easier time of cleaning them up at the end of the day. We'll also be eating our leftovers as we get hungry.
If I get the energy and time I will weed my sad tomato bed and fertilize. I will have my first ripe tomato in a few days which is great. My tomatoes just aren't getting that big though. I really need to fertilize.

This is my tomato bed two months ago.
We're also going to sit down and work on bills and write a bonus check to our mortgage company. Our mortgage is like an albatross around our necks. I think almost daily about moving to a cheaper house. But, I don't think I really want to move as we are making friends in our neighborhood and we've done a lot of work on the house that wouldn't get reimbursed by selling. So, my favorite choice is just scrimping and sending extra checks to pay our mortgage off quicker.

BTW, if you live here a Schnucks grocery here's a coupon code for ten free digital prints- 8JULY7

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Fling Flang Flung

Have I ever told you how much I love my trash can and my recycling bin because of the joy in getting rid of clutter?

Clothing drives and donations to Goodwill and Freecycle are second on my list.

Rather than the vacuuming and toilet scrubbing that I need to be doing- I've been spending my spare time gathering unwanted household items and clothing to send away. Tomorrow another load will leave my house and while losing those few boxes and bags probably won't be that noticeable- if I keep doing it eventually it will be.

For the first time in a long time I have multiple unused hangers in my closet and all of my clothes are folded, put away, and accounted for. Dressing in the morning is almost joyful since I know where everything is and long lost items are worn like new. I even put rose scented liners in my dresser and hung some lavender and rose potpourri bags from spare hangers in my closet.

I'm off to prep dinner- baked eggplant parmesan and cherry pie brownies.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

And when I'm feeling blue....

Not wanting to cry in my beer (or tap water) but lately life has gotten me down. And nothing cheers me up like new beauty products in my mailbox.

I bought some Lancome moisturizer ($35!!) that I really like. I am neither out of moisturizer or unable to use something from Wal-Mart but, I like Lancome. Ridiculously expensive Lancome.

Free Shipping on orders of $35 + Free gift with Code DRALSTER. Plus you get four samples and when you sign up for their emails you always get a sample of something when you purchase anyway.

A lot of my samples will go in my Mom's birthday baggie- but I'm keeping the moisturizer.

And I don't even feel guilty.... much.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

The 'Shrink Ray' and To Do list

It seems I've hit a stall lately when it comes to new ways to stretch a dollar so I've had little to blog about. Right now my biggest needs are to tackle clutter and clean my house because it's affecting me mentally.

I spent a big portion of my cleaning time decluttering and cleaning out my closet- again. I've already cleaned out and decluttered my clothes twice this year for charity drives and I keep finding more. I think this time may be the last and next time I get a call I will truthfully be able to tell them I have nothing to donate.

I know that when my house is clean I like to be in it rather than trying to escape it. For me, decluttering is a frugal activity since it keeps me home rather than out shopping.

Here's an interesting article on how companies are continuing to decrease their products and fool the consumer.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Patriotic and Frugal Foods- Eating What We Have.

I'm scrounging in our pantry for 4th of July foods for a small feast for the four of us. I'm making quickie baked beans and grilled veggie dogs and grillers. We splurged on juicy peaches at Costco so instead of watermelon we'll be having that. I don't have potatoes for salad so I may make a cold pasta salad. I spent a dollar on a cake mix with red and blue decorations. I'll make my own frosting. Or I could make a dump cake with it and skip the frosting altogether. Or we can eat it plain- cake is it's own reward.

I used this coupon to get a box of Bomb Pops at Wal-Mart for .50 cents.

We'll be taking the kids to see Fireworks instead of buying our own. I'm looking forward to a nice holiday weekend.

Happy 4th!

This is a quote from a frugal founding father, Ben Franklin:

Waste neither time nor money, but make the best use of both. Without industry and frugality, nothing will do, and with them everything.