Saturday, February 28, 2009

Stress and my Financial Well Being.

One thing that I have known about myself since my Hubby's first business trip after Big Girl came- I do not want to be a single parent.

Hubby is in the hospital right now with a lacerated spleen which I am positive resulted from his last car accident. The good news is that he is healing well, most likely won't need surgery, and will probably be home in a day or two.

But, planning and cooking meals or do anything other than basic chores like dishes or laundry is beyond me right now. So, our last two dinners have been take out. Our breakfast is juice and a piece of raisin bread. I even let the kids sucker me into buying them packs of oreos and chocolate milk from the hospital cafeteria. Anything to keep them quiet and still for a minute.

So, right now I don't have a plan except to fold a load of laundry, pray, and call to check on how my Hubby is doing this morning.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Maybe I'll skip it. Sigh. Let's eat some beans.

I found half a bottle of moisturizer under the bathroom sink. That Lancome purchase might have to wait for the next deal. As much as I want to order new stuff... do I need it? Not for awhile. And in this economy it's harder to shop guilt free. Especially when we so badly need to build up our emergency fund after buying a car. Our insurance payment for our totaled car is a lot less than we hoped.

So, more eating at home. More coupons for things we have to have. Less buying what we don't.
Homemade cupcakes for Big Girl's Birthday snack day.
I made chunky tvp stew with gravy seasoning on Monday.
Yesterday I took the kids to IHOP for free pancake day. We spent less than $5 including milks, donation, and tip.
We took the kids out to Cici's pizza buffet for Little Guys dinner last night. While we were there we ate leftover birthday cake from their joint birthday party. Little Guy also got serenaded with Happy Birthday by the local jamboree talent that was playing there. Free entertainment.
Tonight I'm making stir fry with the tofu I bought yesterday. I'll make extra rice to have on hand this week for a bean dinner.
I'm also going to make Heather's bread recipe since I now have flax meal. Hubby had to eat his breakfast eggs on raisin bread (.99 cent clearance on Save-A-Lot) this morning. Poor guy.

Lancome- If Your'e So Inclined.

Here's the latest deal from Lancome- get free shipping and three deluxe samples of their products (eye make up remover, and two spf face creams) with any $35 purchase. If you register with their site you will always get a sample or two with any order. Use DAILYSPECIAL1 for this offer.

Don't forget to go through and get 6% back. Those percents add up. I received a BIG FAT CHECK for $24 last week.

The other day I was scrounging for a moisturizer under my sink in my stockpile and found one sample tube left. Hmm.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Grocery Trip Today: WalMart

I haven't wanted to shop for a while. That created a big list of pantry items, produce and other non- food items. Where can I do one stop shopping? Wal-Mart. Not my favorite I admit.

The list:
Pull up diapers (still working on potty training- a slow process of late)- 10.24
Pull up night time diapers- 15.57
Fruit snacks (it's Little Guy's Birthday so I let him pick a treat)-2.00
2 boxes Beechnut Baby Cereal- $2 (had bogo coupon- for the church pantry)
Box of Beechnut crackers- ($1- had $1 off coupon)
Rye Flour- 2.16
Brown Rice Flour- 3.21
Flax Meal- 3.45
Cocktail Peanuts- 2.28
3 lbs. of Apples- 3.00
Gallon sized Hefty One zips- $1.76- .55 coupon so 1.21
Kraft deli cheese slices- 4.68
Veggie "turkey" slices- 2.58
Boca Chic Patties- 3.12
Crystal Farms String Cheese- 2.88
Morningstar Veggie dogs- 3.72
Organic Tofu cubes- 2.78
Organic Carrots 1 lb.- .88
Bananas (3 at .62 cents lb.) - .76
Frozen Egg Patties (not frugal but nice on a busy weekday morning- 2.62
Whatchamacallit bar (after standing in the check-out line for 15 mins)- 1.00
Kids Bubble Bath (Little Guy picked for his birthday)- 2.97
Cesar wet dog food packet- free after MFR coupon
Wrigley Gum- free after MFR coupon

Total= 74.04 (I blame the diapers... must use cloth)

Total MFR coupons redeemed: $9.23

To see how other did check out Gayle at The Grocery Cart Challenge.

Hubby gave me a $30 budget to purchase special bread flours. I have started my shopping with these three little bags. My last batch was whole wheat zucchini.

Monday, February 23, 2009

A Starbucks Morning.

My first thought this morning was about taking a trip to McD's to get a McCoffee.   Saved by the goodies Hubby brought me back from his last business trip.  I'm not much of a coffee snob but this coffee is really good.

I've been on a slight vacation from my budget but that doesn't mean I've been doing a lot of grocery shopping.  I'm running low on a lot of staples and everyday items like flour.    I'm determined to wait a few more days until I have a longer list to make it worth a big trip to the grocery store with the best sales.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Learning to do without.

I used to be a tv junkie.

It's been months since we did away with fancy dtv and tivo.

This is the first year that I don't even know who is being nominated for an Oscar and I have no desire to find out.

Hulu, a limited Netflix account, and the occasional library dvd have kept us more than entertained on a limited budget. And I enjoy it a lot more now that I am choosing what I want to watch rather than clicking through channels to see what else is on.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

A personal products hiatus of sorts and what I've learned.

Except for a few can't pass up deals and Walgreens freebies I've been trying to avoid buying personal products for myself since last January.

I've learned a few things about myself and what I like and what I don't and where I'll spend my beauty product money in the future.

Lancome eyeshadows and cheek blushes are worth my money because the color is so pigmented and they last a long time. When I need more (which won't be for a long time) I'll wait until I can get free shipping, ebates cash back, and free deluxe samples.

My favorite mascara was on clearance at Family Dollar for .90 cents. But, even at a standard $1.50 a pop I'll continue to buy L.A. Colors Lash Building Mascara. I did not like Rimmel Glam Eyes or any Maybelline mascara I've tried lately.

I'm happy using generic baby lotion for a quick hand cream during the day and free samples from Wal-Mart keep my purse stocked. But, for slathering on before bed I need something more emollient like Gold Bond Therapy Lotion.

My favorite lip products are more on the sheer side. I feel too made up for day to day tasks with opaque lipstick. I keep Sally Hansen lip treatment in Soothing Spice and a sample tube of Calgon Get Juic'd lip shimmer in juicy nude in my purse. Unfortunately I don't think they make the Calgon lip gloss anymore which is a shame because it is great.

No matter how many free bottles of Garnier Fructis Walgreens gives out, I don't like their shampoo or conditioner. Their hair stying items on the other hand are great. Truth be told, I have yet to find my must have shampoo. I do best by mixing it up here and there.

I don't have time to do my nails anymore so I don't pay for nail polish. If it's free on a rebate that's great. Until then I'll use what I have when I have a special occasion.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day

Hubby dropped me off at Aldi after our lunch out so I could pick up a few things. I couldn't resist a 3.99 bouquet of flowers and chocolate hazelnut wafers.

When I got in the car I said, "You got me roses and chocolate for Valentines. Thanks."

He gave me a big smile because after 12 years of marriage I know he loves me and gift romantic buying is really not his thing. The first few years of marriage he sent me expensive bouquets from delivery florists. Those were great and I was happy to get them. But, I'm no less thrilled by cheaper flowers and the savings are substantial.

The man works hard all week, helps care for the kids when he's home, comes home every night to his family, and provides for whatever we need. I don't need him to spend a lot of money to tell me he loves on one day of the year when he tells me he loves me everyday in so many other ways.
Happy Valentines Day, Sweetie! Thanks for knocking out that mortgage payment every month.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The results of the DNA test are in...

My big sweetie is:

Boxer, Chinese Shar Pei, Beagle and Chihuahua.

Good news for us. I wanted a boxer and Hubby wanted a chihuahua. Now we have both rolled up in a big hairy package.

Not getting Mother of the Year any time soon.

You guys, I have been out of it for a while. It's been sneaking up on me for some time- this exhaustion and brain fog. Even my Dr. suggested that I might need to get my thyroid tested because I'm fatigued. I didn't even tell her that I was tired all of the time. It didn't even occur to me that I am tired all of the time. I've been taking iron supplements just in case.

Yesterday I forgot that it was early pick up day at Big Girl's school. Even though I'd mentally reminded myself multiple times and I had it written on the calendar. Thankfully she was not even a little upset with me since she got to spend some time in the after school care with her school mates. But still.

Add potty training a stubborn boy. Hubby car wreck and injuries. Stomach Bugs. Car shopping. And two birthdays this month. I'm not even going to the Valentine's Day party at school today (I didn't volunteer for this one) because I don't have the inclination to take Little Guy to the drop off care center.

We have our parents as teachers lady coming tonight and it's going to take me all day to shovel the toys up and vacuum the dog hair. My MIL gave me a dog breed dna testing kit for Abby. I sent it off a week ago and I am so looking forward to seeing what all is going in there.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

I stimulated the economy a little today.

Yesterday I bemoaned that we only have four cloth diaper covers that fit the boy. And they are -not- leak proof.
This morning I remembered that I had a $5 gift card to K-Mart from some past promotion. So, I went to the Gerber web page and printed off a coupon for more diaper covers. One two pack was 7.49. Ouch! We just got one package.
While there I noticed the racks of clearance clothing and Little Guy found a Handy Manny pant set. It was $4.99.
And then I remembered that my friends son turns 3 next week and I hadn't bought him anything yet. I spent $15 on Thomas trains.

I might take back the pants set.

I'm torn. Right now Hubby still has his job firmly in place but so many are losing their jobs left and right. And our bank account has taken a large hit with the new car purchase. But, I feel guilty for both spending and not spending in this economy when we can technically "afford" it.
I realize that spending $20 at K-Mart is not going to keep the economy moving forward or even save that one store. So, why do I feel guilty?

Diva Cup Giveaway over at Grocery Cart Challenge

Sick of spending your hard earned money on a wad of cotton and a piece of string? Are feminine hygiene products giving your budget a beating?

Stop by Grocery Cart Challenge and enter to win a free reusable Diva Cup.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Flours For Valentines Day and Reduced Food Buget this Week.

photo from
We spent $45 at Goodwill today buying school clothes, Disney videos, educational computer games, birthday presents (NIP) and Easter basket fillers. My favorite purchase was is a copy of the Fix-It and Forget-It Cookbook.

So, that leaves me with $15 in grocery and household money if I don't want to cheat this week.
All I really need is milk and fruit anyway so I think we're good.

On a sweet note: Hubby was hinting that we wanted to get me special flowers for Valentine's Day and we should stop at Whole Foods (lovingly referred to as Whole Paycheck in our house). I said, "Don't go to Whole Foods, go to Aldis. They have cheap flowers." Then he admitted that he wanted to buy me specialty "flours" like kamut and spelt so I could expand my bread making repertoire. He must know I was bemoaning my ability to splurge on those. Yay! That's a gift I'll love. I'm sure that he wasn't thinking at all about how nice it will be to have all those fresh loaves of bread to try. Not all all. ; ) Now I just have to get out my bread machine books and write down a list of ingredients for him to purchase. It feels like Christmas. Nothing like buckwheat flour in your stocking.

What am I getting Hubby for Valentine's Day? A box of after Christmas chocolate with a big old Christmas tree on the front and a new car.

Feeling Scratchy and Frugal

Today I'm:

Cloth diapering- Little Guy isn't quite done potty training and I'm not really pushing him that hard. Our supply of pull ups is low and I need to save them for outings and Kids Day Out.

Soaking mung beans for sprouts

Soaking pinto beans for tomorrow nights dinner

Making pizza from a scratch crust and sale purchased toppings.

Cooking yogurt in my thrifted yogurt machine

Menu Planning: Nine dollars and some change for grocery shopping this week.

Even shopping for Valentines Day card candy at the Dollar Store took a chunk out of my budget this week. (The cards are a combination of last years leftovers, after Valentines discount, and salvaged from my Grandma's house. The fun in this is that my kids got to choose from a lot of different cards for each school friend. If I can't find more cards after Valentines this year I'll definitely be making homemade ones with the kids from construction paper and paper doilies that I have stockpiled. )

I have just enough for milk and some produce at Aldi.

This week I need to: Soak pinto beans, thaw the tofurkey roast, and make yogurt for breakfast.
Monday: We had three Burger King veggie burgers. Still not feeling great and this was our dinner low cost option.

Tuesday- We're having pizza. I found some frozen dough in the freezer, half a bag of mozzarella , and half a jar of spaghetti sauce in the fridge. I've also got some spinach in the crisper that has seen better days so I'll salvage what I can for a topping.

Wednesday- Pinto Beans, Fried Taters and Onions, and Corn Bread. I've been craving this for awhile. Anyone else eat this growing up? I remember the potatoes sometimes had a crispy crust like corn meal on it.

Thursday- Tofurkey Roast and stuffing. I found one last clearance tofurkey in the basement freezer. I'll make a small heart shaped cake for Valentines Day and top it with any leftover V-day card candy.

Friday- Leftover Buffet.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Ouch, My Checkbook Hurts

Our "new" car is a 2008 Scion XD. It's not pretty, but it's paid for. This one had better make it longer than 9 months- that's all I'm saying.

Our old "new" car was deemed officially totalled today by our insurance company. I hope the insurance check is not tear inducing.

What's Going on Around Here.

1. It was my turn for the nasty stomach virus so the past 24 hours have been a blur. So far, I've had half a juice box (Little Guy demanded the rest) and a Slim Fast bar and they seem to be staying put. Yay!

2. Hubby thinks he found a "new" car (Scion). And I need to drive him around to get it checked out with our mechanic and we'll write the check today or tomorrow. GULP!

3. We had a tiny disagreement about money for a new Yaris versus money for an older car. Of course, this was after two days of driving around looking at and test driving cars. I voted for getting a new car (which we've always said we'd never do) and Hubby said I was being ridiculous since I spend hours clipping coupons to save $50. My only comeback was that I actually enjoyed clipping coupons and I hated shopping for a car.

4. We are out of pop. All I really want is a fizzy coke or pepsi right now too. At least I have coupons for Pepsi when I get around to going to Wal-Greens.

5. We've eaten out a little more since we've been out of the house and I've been sick. But, Pizza Street and Taco Bell are at least on the cheaper side. We have two more weeks of Little Guy eating free before he turns three.

6. I'm feeling better but not great and now I see how much housework I need to get done. I even let a load of clean wet laundry sit until it soured. The kids and Hubby keep commandeering my laundry baskets for toy storage.

7. Despite the messy house, broken car, and illness- I still feel very blessed. I have showered and put on clean clothes (ok, sweats and a t-shirt) and I am ready to take on the world one slow step at a time. We even have fresh bread that I made before I got sick and it's pretty good.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Baking Days and Holes in the Freezer and Pantry.

Baking multiple items at once is a great energy saver. Here we have sweet bread and savory bread sticks.
Today I'm making muffins with whatever I can find in the fridge and pantry that needs to get used up. I also found a new bread maker recipe that uses things I already have in my pantry.
Grandma's Oatmeal Bread


  • 1 cup water, boiling
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon dark molasses
  • 1/2 cup oats, old-fashioned
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 3 cups bread flour
  • 2 teaspoons yeast, sprinkled over flour


Put oats in a mixing bowl; pour boiling water over the oats. When oats have cooled but are still a bit warm, add remaining ingredients according to bread machine manufacturer's manual. Bake on light setting. Makes a 1 1/2-pound loaf.
(I substituted a cup of whole wheat flour for one of the bread flour.)

The $60 food and household budget (which is more like the $70 dollar budget) doesn't leave much room for stock up so my freezer and my pantry are becoming less and less full. I love using up things that I had forgotten about (like the eggplant I froze months ago and made into Parmesan last week) and seeing what I have at a glance rather than doing a big excavation. A big part of keeping to a budget is that I shop at multiple stores to get the best deals rather than doing one stop and shop. Stores like Aldis and Save A Lot (my favorite because they take coupons) are great for pantry stock ups but nothing beats combining a coupon with a loss leader sale.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Budget Gone Awry with Poor Planning.

Shop N Save Today:

Quaker Oats- 1.50 (had .60 coupon so .90)
Quaker Simple Harvest Granola Bars- 2.50 (had $1 coupon so $1.50)
Quaker True Delights Bars- 2.50 (had $1 coupon so 1.50)
Morningstar Bacon Strips- 4.19 (the price of this has shot up! I will be buying these less and less)
Free Reusable Shopping Bag with purchase of 3 Quaker items
Total: 8.45

Dozen eggs- 1.49
Dog Rawhide- 1.00
2 cans of Pringles- .99 apiece
Bag of Sixlets candy- .99 (a treat Big Girl picked out for her hurting Daddy)
Crest toothpaste- 2.99 (had $1 coupon so 1.99)
Secret Deodorant- 1.79 (had $1 coupon so .79
Tampax Tampons- 4.49 (had $1.50 coupon so 2.99)
Gallon of Skim Milk- 2.79
Cascade Dishwasher Gel- 3.99 (had .55 coupon so 3.44)
Downy Liquid Fabric Softener- 2.99 (had $1 coupon so 1.99)
Joy Dishwashing Soap- .99 (had .30 coupon so .69)

I messed up by not correctly tallying my P&G items (italicized) so I was less than a dollar short to redeem my receipt for a $10 rebate. So, now I feel quite foolish, I am way over budget, and Hubby is less than thrilled with me buying extra stuff.
Total= 21.52

Over budget by 9.46.

** on a nice note, the clerk at the library renewed my lost library book one more time so hopefully I find it soon.**

Seeing all of my purchases laid out makes me realize how much I spend on convenience items and snacks. I could definitely have an easier time staying on budget if I just bought staples and pantry items. The problem is getting myself to want to do all of that extra scratch cooking. I like cooking- I just don't like cooking three times a day.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Here We Go Again with the car shopping.

First of all let me say that if this is my biggest problem than I am so blessed.

Hubby got broadsided on his way home from dropping Big Girl off at school. Thankfully he was alone in the car and other than being very sore with a few abrasions he is fine. We spent the morning in the ER getting him checked out. I am so thankful that he is sitting across from me watching a Monty Python video with a dopey, drugged grin on his face. Things could have turned out much worse.

His "new" car that we bought last April (after the last car accident) is probably a total loss. I'm thinking in my head whether or not we can feasibly be a one car family for any length of time. This for sure is making public school seem more attractive since we wouldn't have to provide transportation anymore. Lots to think about, but right now I'm just so darn happy that my beloved husband is home on the couch resting and indulging in his love of Monty Python.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Grocery Trip Today: WalMart and Dierbergs

Bananas (.62 per lb.)- 1.28
Cheddar Cheese Ramen cup- .28
Charmin Plus (Hubby's special request tp.) 6.36
Smart Deli Vegetarian Roast "Turkey" Slices- 2.58
Total= 11.17

Huggies Overnight diapers- 10.99 minus $1.50 coupon
8 cups of Dannon yogurt (special sale plus starter for yogurt batch)- 3.50
Bulk Organic Pistachios (as per Big Girls request)- 1.76
Store Brand Canned Veggies- 7 cans at .33 apiece- 2.31
Stacy's Pita Chips on the markdown shelf- .99 apiece
McCormick Root beer Flavoring- 3.79
Strawberries- 3.99
Blackberries- free with Strawberries purchase
Total= 28.32

Total for all of this was: 39.49

Left in budget: 20.51
I still have to stop by Aldi or Save-A-Lot for staples and do some cherry picking at Shop N Save.

That's not including the special trip to Costco in a few days for pet food and litter. Sometimes shopping within the confines of this new budget can get really depressing. I so much wanted to fill the cart with special flours so I can expand my bread making repertoire. But, at $4 and up per bag I just couldn't do it this week. At least we're all set for canned corn for a while.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Being Lazy Works too.

I have yet to spend any of our $60 allotment. I bypassed the fast food restaurants on the way home from an appointment even though I wanted a garden salad so much. All we have in the crisper is a bit of white and icky ice berg lettuce.

I've started working on a list of things to buy but today I am just too tired to go anywhere and I am loving being home and hanging out with my Little Guy. He had cereal for lunch (his request) and I had some southwestern pocket thing that I found in the back of the freezer.

Maybe tomorrow I'll be back on my game. Walgreens freebates are calling my name and we are out of bananas, peanuts and veggie lunch meat for Big Girls lunch.

I've also got to make a trip to the ethnic grocer in another town to get specialty items like Devon clotted cream and hoisin sauce.
When I was in San Francisco, my friend Anne made these delicious crepes and I had one filled with chopped strawberries, clotted cream, and lemon curd. It was so delicious!!! I can make my own lemon curd and crepes too. MMM. Getting hungry just thinking about it. But, not hungry enough to go to the grocery store today.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

I'm back where I belong...

I love to travel. But, the best part of leaving home is getting to come home again. Our trip began in San Francisco where we stayed in a hotel near the wharf.

I got to visit with some old friends and see some redwoods. Then we went to the conference for Hubby's work at the Asilomar Conference Grounds. This was the view from our room.

On our way back to San Fransisco, we stopped by the beach and checked out some tide pools. The night before we left we took a night tour of Alcatraz.
Alcatraz is creepy at night. Here I'm in the door way of one of the solitary confinement cells. Once the door is closed, you are in complete darkness.
And this is what we returned home to. All of my old barbies were washed and drying on the carpet outside of Big Girl's room.

It's good to be home.