Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Now it's time to clean up and put away our toys

Feeling much better this week! Yay.

The sun came out after days of rain. We needed it for our plants but I guess it does something to my psyche when the sun is hiding.

I started tackling the giant mound of plastic and litter in the toy room. I've filled two grocery sacks with trash and broken toys and I'm only a 1/4 way through the room. Someone please tell me why I found candy wrappers, rocks, seashells, and dirty socks in the toy bin. Anyone?

I'm almost caught up with laundry- and except for Big Girl's room (which is a complete pit) I have most of it put away.

I've been making dinner. Of course, it's prepackaged stuff like mac and cheese and helpers- but it's already paid for and fills a belly. I'm really not liking how salty and bland prepackaged stuff is compared to my own homemade skillet meals. I think I'll skip clipping coupons for it anymore.

The dishes have been done every night before bed. I can wake up and assemble breakfasts and lunch without a pile of dishes to maneuver around.

Today I am caving on the pantry challenge and going to Aldi to get some stuff we need. Avocados are .25 and I would love to make some guacamole. Also, Aldi's multigrain tortilla chips are sooo good. I had Big Girl make the list for me as writing practice. Here's her list:


The front garden where Hubby ripped and trimmed all of the overgrown shrubs is now planted with volunteer pumpkins, squash, a rose bush, spring bulbs, flower seeds, and a few annuals I planted for color. I've kept it weeded and spend at least 15 minutes out there while the kids are playing weeding and seeding. It looks so much better than last year. I'll never have a Home and Gardens yard but I am happy. I can't wait until some of the seeds start popping up.

Gotta get going with my day.

Monday, April 26, 2010

In the Middle of Bad

As weekends go, this last one pretty much sucked. I'm not going into specifics but I can tell you that I am ready to get on with the week.

I rescheduled our morning gymnastics class in favor of snuggling, eating dry store brand cheerios, and watching Pinocchio with my boy. Since we don't have to go out, I am not doing my normal errand/shopping morning either.

My pantry is getting full again and I am thinking about a fridge clean out/no shopping week anyway. So, I'll be making dinner instead of having Hubby drag home some gross Taco Bell that I'm sick of.

What I'm thinking of making:

salsa with our two tomatoes, onion and garden cilantro
pizza with our half container of spaghetti sauce
baked apples with our wrinkling supply of fridge apples.
hamburger helper with our newly outdated box of stuff.. made with tvp/veggie crumbles mix
homemade sandwich bread

Even though I sold, gave away, and donated boxes of stuff just last week- I have started another pile that I'm boxing up and maybe saving for another garage sale in a few months.

The bright spot of my weekend was waking Big Girl up on Saturday and going out for a girl's garage sale day. I gave her $1.25 allowance a day early for spending money. She managed to come home with all of it because she is both a hound for the free box and people love to give toys away to cute kids. She did get me to buy her a vhs tape for .50 cents out of my own money but I talked her into getting rid of a bunch of tapes if I bought it. So, it worked in my favor.
My best find- a vintage Bisquick tin for .50 cents. I'm going to put my Aldi baking mix in it.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

My First Re-Selling Experience

I toted two tubs of kid's clothes, toys, and shoes to a children's resale shop in another town this morning. While they were sorted at the store I picked out two summer outfits for my daughter.

In the end, they only bought about $12.50 worth of clothes. I ended up owing them $2.50 for the clothes I picked out. I'm not sure if it was worth my time or not. I'm going through the tubs I brought home and am finding only pajamas, jeans, puzzles, and one pair of new sandals missing.

At least I got my kid's closets cleaned out. ; ) That's a big plus.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Butter, Gardens, and Selling Kids Stuff

Land O' Lakes wants to give you a coupon for a free product if you send in a UPC for another butter product. Weird, but whatever. Go here for details.

Not much here except working in the front garden patch that Hubby cleared. I planted squash in our front garden. Last night I got busy and planted tomatoes in containers on our backyard patio.
I still have more to go. I started green pepper seeds and I have one cantaloupe baby to plant. Today I might buy a strawberry plant or two for our side garden.

I've got one tub full of kids clothes, shoes, toys, books, and art to take to the re-sell shop tomorrow. And the Veteran's Association is coming by in a week to pick up our donation so whatever doesn't sell is going out anyway. I have a few stained and holey things that I don't feel good about donating. It makes me glad to see the second hand clothes that I used on two kids be too worn out to donate. I think they'll make nice rags or doll clothes for Big Girl.

Gotta go. Hubby's got a coupon for Chinese food burning a hole in his pocket.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

In the Spring a Young Man's fancy turns to Yard work.

Hubby has been outside for the past two days whacking down every sun sucking, gigantic bush in our yard. We have a lot of foliage to attend to.

I am joyful! I have so much to plant outside where the bushes have been thinned. A flower garden once again is in my grasp. A vegetable garden that isn't blocked out by giant looming bushes is a possibility.

Here's what I have available to plant:

Hydrangea from my Father's funeral
Some type of evergreen bush from my Father's funeral.
Daffodils from the neighbors who gave us a pretty Easter gift
Basil that I started in an empty soup can on our window sill
Bachelor buttons the kids and I started in a pot on our window sill
A rose bush I bought at Dollar General for $4
Marigold seeds that I harvested from our flowers last year. Nothing brings that easy punch of color to our house like bright orange bushes.
Wild flower seeds that I plan on scattering under the front window where giant bushes were taking over.
Zinnia, Alyssum, Sweet William, Morning Glories and Cosmo seeds bought on clearance last year.

I have already planted impatiens, pansies, lobelia, and snapdragons in our front flower beds.

I have starts of tomatoes and squash in my windowsill as well that are ready for transplanting to pots and the vegetable garden. My vegetable garden last year was pitiful. It doesn't get enough sun and the path is hard to negotiate to weed and water. My tomatoes will be containerised and the experimental veg like squash and zucchini will have to battle it out in my garden.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Happy Garage Sale Days are Here Again.

I finally had a good reason to venture out on this pretty spring day with a few dollars from Hubby's wallet and go to garage sales. I am finishing up my shopping for the family in need.

I bought so much that I just filled up the washing machine when I walked in from the garage instead of dragging it into the house. I have more than enough now so that each child will have a full summer wardrobe, two pairs of shoes, new undies, new socks, and a swimming suit. Plus, I will fill in any gaps for my own children's summer wardrobes. We always seem to be low on shorts for Little Guy in the summer. Not this year. I did not buy any pajamas for them. It is hard to find second hand pajamas in good shape and it's easy to come up with something to wear to bed. I used to wear my dad's t-shirts as nightgowns when I was little. It worked great.

I also bought:

A Rachel Ray cookbook in excellent shape $1
A brand new big jar candle $1
A carrying caddy for my under the sink cleaning supplies .25
A travel guide for families going to Florida .50
A quaint serving platter with a turkey on it for our Thanksgiving Tofurkey .50
A new juggling guide with juggling balls for Hubby $1
Three children's paperbacks for Big Girl's collection .75
Men's khakis .50
A box full of cables and a modem for Hubby- free
Shoes for Big Girl- .50
A mini needle point stocking Christmas ornament- .25

I spent about $20 or less total.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Dinner Inspiration- Lemon Garlic Pasta

Normally I know what I am planning on cooking for dinner early in the morning. Today is an exception. I do have three grilled vegetarian "chicken" patties in the freezer.
Thank You Little Squidgen Home for this timely Lemon Garlic Pasta recipe. I have everything I need for this recipe without going to the grocery store and it sounds really good too.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

All About the Clothes: Mount Washmore, Kid's Wardrobes, Helping Those Who Need Clothes,

Mount Washmore

I haven't been on top of the laundry this week and boy has it caught up with me. I try to do a load a day so this doesn't happen often. So, I'm sorting the piles and starting the wash.

Kid's Wardrobe
It also makes it quite obvious that my children don't need so many clothes. I'm taking this flylady challenge to heart. According to Flylady, my kids only need seven outfits plus two play/two nice outfits. Also, I have been inspired by Katie and Martin of Making This Home's No New Clothes Challenge. I am so ready to clean out the closets and donate and sell what we can't use. Hopefully this summer all of the those clothes will fit in a drawer that closes easily.

Helping Others
The preschooler got to take me to school as his helper today. One of the ladies who helps in the preschool class and I normally chat a bit while I'm there. I know her husband has been out of work for months. He's in construction. I know they have been struggling. I haven't wanted to pry up until today when I asked her flat out if she needed anything. I could tell she was a little embarrassed to admit to needing a few things but finally said she needed summer clothes for her three kids. Now you all know how much I love to buy clothes for others and how I tend to overbuy "bargains" for my own children. I volunteered to go shopping in my closet and the the thrift store for them. I knew that I wouldn't find much for her oldest daughter who is three sizes larger than mine. So, I stopped at Value Village and filled a cart with girl's clothes and one boy outfit for her son. I spent $64 on their clothes and one bag of assorted toys for Little Guy. I bought about ten pairs of shorts and skirts, a dozen shirts, and two dresses for them. I need to buy some shoes, undies and socks. I'm trying to keep my total under $100 for all three of them. I raided Little Guy's closet for a few items but I need to find some nicer 4t shirts for church wear, etc. I think Saturday I will be hitting up the garage sales.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Having the Faith to Keep Moving Forward

I haven't climbed out of the emotional muck yet. I am struggling to find joy in the little things. I know this phase is temporary but I have been discouraged. I feel as though I am literally hanging on to the Lord's shoulder while he helps me along. It's hard to count my many blessings when so much is wrong or difficult in my life right now. Temporarily I am failing as:

a parent
a wife
a financial steward
a responsible adult

Still, my silent prayer every night is thanking the lord for my many blessings.

Thinking about making of list of the mountain of tasks I need to do is more than daunting. This is what I need to do today:

Mail paperbackswap book (ready for P.O tomorrow)
Dishes (unloaded and reloading- dishwasher is running now)
Make beds (done)
Put away clean laundry
Sort dirty laundry and wash two loads. (done)
Plan and make dinner (fettucine recipe from Make Your Own Convenience Foods book) (done-delicious)
Do homework with Big Girl (done)

That's it. That's enough to keep me from feeling like a complete failure. Even though the back of my mind is nagging me to- clip coupons, clean kids' rooms, sweep kitchen, water garden, pack up consignment stuff, go to the store for medicine, make dr's appointments, clean bathrooms, walk the dog, play with the son, watch library dvds, return items to library, go to the grocery store for sale items, set up date night with Hubby etc etc etc etc etc. I can only do what I can do and I have to be happy with that whether or not anyone else is pleased with my efforts.

Thank You Lord for the courage to face another day and Thank You for my many blessings.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Good Reads

BabyCenter shares a list of 25 things that are good about raising kids in a bad economy.

Donna Freedman reminisces about what her family's hard times have taught her. Would you be willing to work picking and cleaning carrots for 2 cents a bushel?

Trent at The Simple Dollar
blogs about how to help our parents as they age. This is something I have been thinking about a lot lately as my Father has passed away and my Mom is retiring soon.