Wednesday, March 31, 2010

What's Happening Wednesday

On tap for today-

Clipping and filing more coupons for tomorrow's grocery trip (am really behind on this)
Canceling my subscription to the Sunday paper- I won't miss it
Planning our spring garage sale
Hanging another load of laundry outside since it's sunny and nice
Changing the sheets on my bed
Putting away three baskets of clean laundry
Making veggie tacos for dinner
Maybe watching Walking Across Egypt while clipping coupons/folding laundry
Toy pick up and general straightening of downstairs
Watering my windowsill garden. We planted garden seeds in an old egg carton, an ice cube tray, and a recycled soup can. I am hoping to see some sprouts soon.
Playdoh with my boy

This is going to be a stay home and getter done day.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

It's Tuesday- I haven't messed up yet.

Feeling pretty good about my spending lately. I did spend $5 at the food pantry thrift store today.
I popped in for a minute after making a small donation of food and toiletry items.
I bought two blouses for me (bogo), a dress for my Mom ($1), a novel, a Richard Scary vhs, a Veggie Tales dvd, and a bar of handmade soap in a pretty drawstring bag.

I've got our laundry hanging to dry outside. My bread machine is mixing and kneading away at a loaf of onion herb bread. I have dinner planned and even plan on making baked apples for dessert.

I am going to research making my own liquid hand soap out of soap slivers and look online for a discount gift card for a cousin who's getting married soon.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Dinner Ideas, Mail Bag, Library Bag and Couponing at Walmart

Dinner Ideas-
I'm planning on making dinner at home again tonight but I have no clear plans. I have a bag of wheat hoagies and a box of slightly expired hamburger helper to use up. I'm thinking of making veggie "meat"balls for Italian hoagies tonight. The hamburger noodle stuff can wait until tomorrow. I also have some romaine lettuce to use up so I'm thinking Asian lettuce wraps for later in the week. I have a can of low sugar pears in the pantry. How should I fix those so they are a low fat tasty dessert? I was thinking of sprinkling a little cinnamon and brown sugar on them and baking them in a buttered pan.

Mail Bag-

I've been ordering a lot of freebies, book swap and dvd items, and samples for the past month or two. I've been really enjoying checking the mail too. Today there's not much though-

A paperback swapped copy of The Busy Woman's Guide to Healthy Eating by Emilie Barnes and Sue Gregg. I've heard good things about it. Maybe it will inspire some new recipes this week.

An invitation to a dinner and a free reservation for a hotel stay in Kansas City for one of hubby's co-workers retirement party. I'm looking forward to going to this and seeing some friends in KC at the same time.

Grocery store circulars and a few adds with good coupons. I've spent part of the last two days re-organizing my coupon files and getting caught up on clipping and filing. These grocery store circulars will get a thorough going over before they get recycled.

Library Bag-

We managed a long overdue trip to the library to return dvds and books. I was happy to snag two "new to us" Veggie Tales videos and a copy of The Lightening Thief for me. Right now I'm reading Committed by Elizabeth Gilbert and really enjoying it. There are even a few paragraphs I plan on photocopying for my daughter for when she's older. I handed over the few dollars and coins in my purse to cover our fines but I still figure we get a bargain out of our library membership.

Walmart Shopping-

While Little Guy was in his gymnastics class I was working on my coupon files and pulling out any coupon for what we needed. The total $72 before coupons and I spent about $55 after coupons. I did splurge on a sleep tank from the $1 clearance rack though.

So, that's my day so far. What have you been up to?

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Riding slowly on the frugal wagon

I've been gingerly stepping my toes back into the frugality waters. Here's a list of my meager triumphs-

Made dinner two nights in a row- spaghetti with corn and a stroganoff with veggies and veg. chic chunks.
Made orange bread from scratch to snack on
Did not buy anything or go anywhere yesterday
Started working on coupons again but threw away grocery store circulars because I shopped on Tuesday (Aldi)
Am hand washing the silk dress I bought for my cousin's wedding on Saturday instead of taking it to the cleaner. (I bought a silk dress, barely worn life stride pumps, a pretty necklace and a blazer for under $15 total at Value Village for his wedding)
Tonight I'm making a version of Jen's Spicy Thai Noodles with tofu and lots of veggies.
Emptying our collection of sample and hotel shampoos into a big empty bottle. Yeah, not really frugal but I'm decluttering and giving the kids the mini bottles to play with in the tub. Free bubbles.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Orange-Cinnamon Loaf for Your Bread Machine.

Orange Cinnamon Loaf for the Bread Machine taken from Better Homes and Gardens Best Bread Machine Recipes

2/3 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup water
1 egg
1/4 margarine or butter cut into pieces
4 cups bread flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 1/2 tsp orange peel
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp yeast

Makes a 2 pound loaf. If you want to cook it in your bread machine choose the white bread cycle.

Glaze recipe:
Stir together one cup of powdered sugar, 1 tsp vanilla and enough orange juice to make a glaze consistency. Drizzle over your cooled loaf.

Here's how I tweak this recipe for our own tastes:
When I don't have buttermilk I mix plain milk with a bit of orange juice. I substitute one cup of wheat flour for bread flour. I use freshly grated orange peel. I simply grate an orange into the bread loaf pan until my arm hurts or the orange is naked. It's less peel than called for but we don't like the entire amount anyway. I also reduce the salt a bit and increase the cinnamon.
I use one orange for the entire recipe with the pulp leftover for eating. Half of the orange juice goes into making buttermilk, the rind goes into the pan, and the other half helps make the glaze.

I put mine on the dough cycle and rise my bread in our oven with the light on. I make two small loaves but they don't last long. This is our favorite sweet bread.

Forgetting the Joneses & getting back on track financially

Both of the kids had spring break last week so I took them to visit their cousins in Alabama. We had a great time. I brought my recently widowed Mom along for a much needed break. It's always interesting to take a peek into the way other people live. But, I am highly conscious of how impressionable and malleable I am when faced with other peoples attitudes and lifestyles. I also noticed when a part of me started thinking, "Why can't I have nice things like this?" and "I deserve a nice house too." Wow! It was not a proud moment. I already have more than most people do and yet I started to feel dissatisfied with my own lot.

My BIL makes more than twice what my Hubby does. They have a huge house which has been decorated by my SIL's decorator mother. Everything they have is nice and new. This is a lot different from my own home with it's thrifted treasures and furnishings. I began to feel like my own home was shabby in comparison. I forgot how different my own values were from theirs. My SIL and BIL are frugal in their own ways. They buy in bulk from a warehouse, shop for quality kid's clothing at thrift stores and clearance racks, resell outgrown toys and clothes and eat out only occasionally. I could benefit from doing these things also. But, things like turning down the thermostat, washing out baggies, buying generics, and making your own laundry detergent are deemed as pointless and cheap by SIL.

The last month and half have not been kind to my wallet. In my grief and exhaustion after my father's death last month, I took to shopping without a plan, coupons, or worries. If I wanted it, it went into the cart. I had wandered off the frugal path. Our checking account is down to an unacceptable level of comfort for us and there is nothing to blame except my random spending. I bought a deluxe pedicure (something I never do), Born shoes (my first pair), designer perfumes (dirt cheap), an unneeded purse, and mountains of junk food. I ate out almost daily. Now my pants are too tight also.

Now the fog is lifting and I am left feeling a bit ashamed of my financial behavior of the past few weeks. I have vowed to get it back on track. I want to see that extra missing thousand back in our checking account so we can breathe easier. Today I vowed that I would not leave the house and instead I need to clean and cook. I need to take care of what I have rather than wish or shop for a life I don't need or really want.

My dream of having a little sparsely filled cottage to share with Hubby after the kids leave is clashing violently against the life I tried to lead recently. So, I'll be resorting my priorities and making choices that outline and define the life we truly want to lead.
I want a life filled with love, joy, and family. I can't buy any of those things.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Mini Rant.

The paper. Geez. The paper is killing me.

I even sort my mail over the recycling bin. But, even still piles of paper.
Greeting cards, receipts, homework, school notes, mail, bills, newspaper clippings, etc. etc.

Drowning in the paper.
If I could figure out a way to handle the paper I think my house might just be self cleaning.

March 9th and 10th Happenings

If you would like a spring cleaning sample kit go here soon.

Yesterday I:

Got an oil change

Went to ToysRUs to use a $3 off of $3 coupon. I bought a Cooties game for 2.24 after coupon. Plus, I have a rebate form for $2 off this game.

Stopped in Once Upon a Child to get an Easter dress for Big Girl. I bought a winter coat for next winter, two dresses, and a swim suit for her for $19. Not great but I did get some cute clothes.

Stopped in Dollar Tree for juice boxes and Easter basket fillers.

Stopped in Sports Authority for soccer socks and guards. Found some for Little Guy on clearance for $1.97

Shopped at Global Foods for Kinder chocolate eggs (Easter), tofu, more Hoison, and some fruit. Splurged on a bar of soap.

I was exhausted by the time I picked up Little Guy from preschool. So, besides laundry and dishes I didn't get much done besides dinner.
I saved a pack of sugar spice for seasoning a ham from the trash at my Mom's house. I used it on a tofu and veggie roast last night. It was a little sweet for my taste but we did try something

Tonight we're having a $5 cheese pizza from Little Caesars. We have teacher conferences.

Today is cleaning and hanging out with my little boy. It's a nice sunny day so I'm going to open some windows. Welcome Spring!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Goings On

Paying Bills

Doing Laundry with homemade detergent and dollar store fabric softener sheets and not being disappointed with the results

Behind on home cleaning - again

Trip planning without stress

Turning rebates in on time

Posting and sending books and dvds on paperbackswap and swapadvd

Using the library for our entertainment needs

Eating out WAY too much

Catching up on homework with Big Girl and realizing that she's not as behind as she was. Major Happiness there.

Spending too much money on new glasses and contacts. But, feeling happy with the outcome

Considering and planning the possibility of a new master bedroom.

Depositing rebates checks with relatively tiny amounts on them and feeling good about it

Using up shower gel at a break neck speed. We might actually be out by year's end.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Happy 2nd of March. What's going on around here.

Hubby had to leave the house early this morning for a business trip.
Today I:

Got the kids dressed, fed, in their coats with their back packs full of the appropriate items and out the door on time for school today.

Watched an old movie while I folded laundry, ate breakfast, and read my emails and favorite blogs.

Took an unplanned hour long nap (sweet decadence).

Took the dog for a walk and ran an errand at the same time.

Returned books to the library and checked out some Mommy videos to watch after the kids are asleep.

Picked Little Guy up from pre-school.

Took him to the play room at another pre-school for an hour.

Ran through Save-A- Lot to pick up some things for tonight's dinner and bought some pantry donation stuff.

Did homework with Big Girl. (We're struggling with making change and telling time)

Now I'm making dinner while the kids watch a .50 vhs video from the library. They really like this video and I like that it's educational.

(Brief interlude while I finished dinner and fed children).

Now we're having some leftover birthday cake. Sigh.

Looking forward to putting the kids down early, talking with Hubby, and finishing fold laundry while I enjoy a video I picked out for myself.

Tomorrow is cleaning day.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Hello March.

I'm so glad February is over.

Now I feel like we can start fresh this month on our goal of getting our house and lives in order.

Dinner is simmering on the stove. The kids are playing nicely together. Hubby is on his way home.

And I'm actually looking forward to tomorrow.