Friday, July 30, 2010

What I'm Working On

Our tv arrived today. I know it's not very frugal to get excited about a big flat screen. But, it is a planned, researched and paid for item and that feels pretty good.

Using What We Have in Baking-

I found a mostly empty bag of m&m's in the cabinet today.
The kids and I made m&m cookies today. I didn't let myself google the monster cookie recipe I wanted to make because I have an overflowing shelf of cookbooks that have been woefully neglected. I need to start using them. I bought a Mouse Cookies cookbook before I had kids and have only used it once to make peanut butter cookies. We made the jumbo chocolate chip cookie recipe and substituted m&ms for most of the chocolate chips. I had Big Girl read the ingredients to me and Little Guy carried them to the table and helped me measure. It was a fun experience for them. Now I just have to remain firm that those cookies will not be consumed by me.

I found six hot dog buns, a wrinkly peach, and aging milk in the fridge. I made bread pudding with them. I'm going to try not to consume this either although it smells really good.

Tuesday I made my normal banana bread with three smooshy bananas. I make banana bread so regularly that I don't even use a recipe anymore. I only measure the baking mix anymore. Here's my quickie version-
2 cups baking mix (I use homemade or Aldi)
1 egg
1/2 cup sugar
2 tbs. oil
Splash of vanilla
3 mashed bananas
Nuts are optional but we like them.
I sprinkle sugar on the top of the loaf too.
Bake at 350 for 55-60 minutes in a greased loaf pan

The kids and I finished our library reading pages this week. They both read 36 books and got:
3 free meals at Bob Evans restaurant
2 free tickets to a minor league baseball game
1 free paper back from Scholastic
1 free night at the Magic House (a children's museum- awesome fun)
3 free food items at Sonic
2 free food items at McDonalds
Blow up beach balls
1 piece of candy
Entry into a drawing for Cardinals tickets

I got an entry into a drawing too but I'm not sure what it's for. I LOVE my library card.

I'm thinking seriously about going cash only for my spending habits. It's so easy to charge on my Discover card and I do. I now parting with cash would be harder for me. And also, tend to hate to got to the ATM.

My gift tubs are full too. Right now toys are on clearance at department stores so I've been buying presents for Christmas. I bought a Holiday 2009 Barbie for $5 at K-Mart this week. The lady in front of me had one too. We must have bought the last two. They were originally over $50. But, if the tubs are full it's time to stop buying. I picked up two retro packs of gum for part of my Father In Law's Christmas present for a quarter at Dollar Tree- Black Jack and Beemans today though. (I also bought Tame shampoo- anyone remember Tame from the 70's? (and no I know I didn't need shampoo- I told you I needed to take the credit card out of my wallet.)

That's all I can come up with for now.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Still Here

Still here. Just busy dealing with life and bad internet access.

Half our bedroom furniture has arrived. No pictures to show now.

Doing ok with WW points although I cheated a bit today since I had no internet access.

Loving zumba twice a week.

Now I must drag my tired self to bed.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Win Some- Lose Some

The Winning-

Blessings like roof over head, food in bellies, warm places to sleep
Working on our bedroom makeover. Hubby hung the curtains and rods I bought 4! years ago.
My Mom is here and she's helping out a lot with rearranging and cleaning. Heart You Mom!
Everyone is relatively healthy.

The Losing-

Soccer Camp for Big Girl is Monday-Friday 6-9 so I don't see her or Hubby much at night.
Hubby and I have been really snarly with each other because of the busyness and the chores we need to get done
I am failing a bit at weight watchers this week and don't even feel like writing in my points today.
I have a daily nagging head ache. No, really. I get the same headache every day. I need to make a Dr. appointment.
I have not stuck to my clothing compact. I'm not going to whine or justify. But, I haven't.

Next week I plan on starting over. Fresh bread. Frugal green lifestyle. Cleaner Home. Smaller Butt. Next week I'll get right on it.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Bread and Life

I'm making this high fiber bread recipe today with my bread machine. Our milk is starting to turn a bit so I'm using it instead of milk powder/water.

I'm down about twelve pounds since I started Weight Watchers about three weeks ago. It comes of so much more slowly than it goes on. While I am a little happy I still have so far to go. And my big pants aren't really even baggy yet. Maybe another ten pounds before I can get rid of my fat pants?

It is raining here and it is such a blessing after days of scorching 90 and above heat. My garden is breathing a deep sigh of relief.

We had chocolate chips and blueberry pancakes for breakfast and are enjoying a lazy family day.

Right now life is good.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

I am the Master of My Bedroom.


Finances finally in order, bedroom measured, and furniture picked out. Hubby and I put in our order today for our new bedroom set. I am so excited!

Instead of:

My small, white girl's dresser
Hubby's broken 70's dresser
Lumpy bed frame and box springs (no headboard)
Small boxy tv (which I am fine with btw)
Small plant stands that I bought to use as night stands on

We will have:

A wooden bed frame with storage for Hubby & a beautiful headboard
An electronics console/dresser to put our dvd/vcr and Hubby's electronics and video equipment)
Large flat screen tv (Hubby's dream)
A large chest for me with lots of drawers and a large mirror.
A night stand with built in outlets

Our bedroom has no decoration at all. We haven't hung the pictures, shelving, or curtains that I bought for it four years ago. Our bed doesn't even have a dust ruffle on it. It has truly been our last priority in decorating our house. I'm looking forward to actually turning my own room into the haven we need it to be. This week we'll be working on moving stuff out, hanging our decorations/curtains, and deep cleaning before our new stuff comes in.

It's been a long wait in finding what we wanted, deciding to actually purchase, and getting the money together. I am so excited!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Today I puree squash for a Coconut Curry

I found this surprise squash in my front garden. I thought it was a zucchini that had turned yellow from all our heat. Next time I'll let the little guy get a little more yellow. But, this one is destined for the cooking pot.

This is a great idea I got from a old friend on Facebook-

"so easy to make: puree chopped raw yellow squash or yellow belle peppers, raw garlic cloves, & fresh herbs of your choice with coconut milk to cover. Pour mixture into pot with heated olive oil and stir.Add curry, turmeric, cumin, salt, cinnamon to taste. While cooking puree, add sliced onion and raw meat depending on cooking time, add raw veggies of choice toward end. I made mine with seitan, red onions and more squash & served over coconut basmati rice."

I am going to add tofu and zucchini to my curry mix.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Today I Bought Clothes

Way back in May (before the clothing compact) I earned $25 Gymboree Gymbucks redeemable this week. So, I took my opportunity to shop for the kiddos and scoured the online clearance items.

I bought:
3 summer shirts for Big Girl (will fit her next summer)
2 shirts for my nieces (part of their Christmas)
3 hair ornaments (one for each girl)
A pair of shorts for Big Girl (saving for back to school)
A ringer tshirt for Little Guy
1 pair of undies for Little Guy

Total after Gymbucks- $32.71

I still have $10 in Old Navy rewards to use up. I'm hoping to get some socks for my nieces to go with their other Christmas items.
Now back to the compact.

Weirdness Afoot- And I discuss Winnie the Pooh Characters too much.

Hubby had to listen to me chatter until about 2 am. Who was keyed up last night? Me.
Except for the sleep deprivation he's been quite happy to have a smiley chatty Cathy for a wife.

You see, when I'm happy and content I tend to be quite bouncy and gleeful. Picture Tigger. And I haven't bounced in awhile. Actually I've been more of a cross between Rabbit and Eeyore. Ok, so they are all annoying- but at least Tigger is happy. (bouncy, fun fun fun)

Which reminds of something silly Little Guy did yesterday. I asked him if he wanted a snack and he put his hand to his forehead and tapped and went, "Think, think, think. Yes, I do want a snack."

See yah- gotta bounce.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Money Tally Tuesday & Wednesday


I spent $90 at Target in no time. I bought a few back to school items (some to donate), some groceries, and a few birthday presents. Before you know it- I had spent almost $100. sigh.

Sonic got $5 for drive thru drinks for the kids and I. Man is it hot outside.

Chuck E Cheese for dinner and fun for 28.00 after coupons.


Drive thru lunch for $7.

I was hoping we'd see a big improvement in our bottom line since I'm actively not buying clothes or personal care items but it hasn't really shown yet. I did buy a dress at Target yesterday but I returned it today. Eating at home would save us a lot of money. I'm definitely making dinner at home tonight.

(Doing great at WW lately. I ate plenty of pizza and salad last night and still had 4 points left at the end of the day).

From Messy Messerson to Decluttering Maven- I hope.

I have a new favorite blog- A Slob Comes Clean. I'm a lot like Nony in that I also am trying desperately to overcome my slob like tendencies.

I buy and read books on home organization and decluttering. I watch the Clean Home shows and Hoarders for inspiration. It does not come naturally to me to be organized. My brain doesn't want to seem to bend that way. My husband is the same way. Together with our kids we can turn our house into a big old mess. Flylady has helped off and on but it's like a diet and I just haven't managed to stick to it yet.

While I am trying to lose weight I also want to try and change the way we live in our house. My children don't really know how to do chores as I never really require much from them except for the occasional forced toy pick up (which often comes with tears and raised voices). I don't want them to grow up lacking the proper cleaning skills too.

I know that Hubby and I are both happier in a simple and clean environment. But, we also have our piles and treasures that we haven't figured out how to sort out yet.

Now let me also say that I absolutely do not consider myself a hoarder. I love to get rid of things. I am sitting next to a pile of stuff right now that is marked for a garage sale and I really want to box it up and donate it but we're supposed to have a sale next month. Trash and recycling days are great days here too. I've never met a newspaper I didn't want to recycle. Still more needs to get gone.

In the next month I will be tackling bits of our house to reduce the clutter so it's easy to keep clean. I also need to give my children each a few chores too so we're all involved in the work that needs to be done. My four year old can dust and my 7 year old can clean mirrors and sinks.
Maybe I can even get the dog involved and put my husbands socks on her and she can swiffer the floors. It's a start.

Monday, July 12, 2010

There comes a point when you have to say no to a bargain

I just deleted a Walgreens add for bogo vitamins. Just willy nilly. A year ago I would have jumped up to look through my coupon file for vitamin coupons. Not today. Now my coupon file is pretty thin since I stopped getting the paper (too much clutter). And my basement is full of things I got free or dirt cheap and stockpiled for use someday. Someday is here.

I haven't completely given up shopping (note last Saturdays small garage sale haul) but it is definitely losing some of it's allure as I pile up things to sell and catalog what we have stored.

We had at least 20 bottles of shampoo alone under our bathroom sink. We use up a bottle about every two months. I'm probably going to donate a few of them. I'm tired of taking care of all of the bargains I've scooped up. I wonder if it's worth constantly trying to spend little to nothing on something we don't need right now.

Money Tally for Monday

Today was an errand day. Thankfully we didn't need much.

15.62 at the Post Office for stamps and two paperbackswap mailings
1.25 at the library in overdue fines (even with fines we save so much money at the library)
32.89 for gas

In other news, I only ended up losing two pounds last week. My pants aren't baggy yet. I have another zumba class tonight so maybe that will kick me into gear.

I discovered that the Fit & Active multigrain wraps sold at Aldi are only a point each. I wonder if they'd make a decent pizza crust. Also, the Morningstar link sausages are a better choice than the patties.

I'm spending the rest of my afternoon doing some housework. I am way behind on Mt. Washmore and the sink is full of dirty dishes. Refrigerator/freezer scrounged soup sounds good for dinner. Maybe a casserole with a side of corn on the cob.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Money Spent Today

$9 on two toy sets (bought on mega clearance) for Big Girl to take to a classmates b-day party. The toys are being donated to the local children's hospital.

$5 on a quick take out lunch for the family.

I haven't had gazelle intensity where the diet is concerned. I still track my points and mostly stay within my numbers. But, I admit this week has not been fun. I'll be pleased if I'm only a pound less than last week. To inspire myself I found a few things in my closet I've been saving for when I was thinner and tried them on.

Hubby has been cleaning out our master bathroom and I definitely will not be buying personal care products for a long time. A big stash is going in our basement for storage.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Portrait of a Good Life

My Mom was visiting for a few days and we went to garage sales this morning. I didn't find much but I did get a few goodies.

Free Wooden Hangers
25 cent VHS kids movie
$1 one cup coffee maker that I don't have to buy those expensive mini cups for
25 cent wire basket for mail
$3 alarm clock for Big Girl
50 cent princess wall decoration for Big Girl
Not pictured is a smocked yard of material we made into a skirt for Big Girl

This giant matchbox play set was free.
Here are two of five zucchinis I've picked this week from my front yard. I sent my Mom home with three of them. (And also a loaf of banana bread we made)

My front porch area. I love my new chair. The cosmo seeds I collected from my mother-in-laws plants last year have really been a hit. Great punch of color and the bumble bees love them. See also the pile of rocks and geodes that we collected last weekend at my in-laws farm.

Here is my Mom sewing a dress for Big Girl. We found a scraps in the pile of stuff from my Grandma's collection that were already cut for a skirt. It was the perfect size for a sundress for Big Girl. Mom did most of the sewing because I am very sewing challenged. We already had the machine out for the skirt material we bought anyway (which is technically not me buying new clothes, see?)

Here's Big Girl wearing her new dress and holding up the skirt we sewed up for her. I found some butterfly appliques in my craft stash. It think this sun dress will be even cuter with a t-shirt underneath of it. My Mom left the straps long so I can adjust it as she grows.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Working it all out

I did my second zumba class tonight. I can't say it's fun yet because I never was much of a fan of sweating, but I think eventually I'll look forward to my class.

Doing Weight Watchers has been bearable. I am making smarter food choices and being honest when I splurge. I lost three pounds last week. But, I can't really care too much about the actual pound loss or I'll get discouraged. Right now I'm only focused on the tasks (exercise/eating right) instead of the goal (getting rid of the clothes in my closet because they don't fit).

Not much of a frugal nature to report. I did go to Goodwill yesterday but I bought housewares instead of clothes. I found some funky 70's Sears collection towels on half price, a new Smith and Hawken fragrance diffuser and some pretty wooden candle holders to adorn our future bedroom furniture. It's getting closer to furniture purchasing time. Our finances (we're paying cash) are in order for a big splurge.

For entertainment I've bee reading Dan Ho's Rescue from Domestic Perfection. His language can be a bit salty but I find his decorating ideas refreshing. Matchy Matchy is out. Looking like a spread out of a magazine is out. It's not a book about decluttering- although some of his ideas definitely encourage paring down. He has a whole paragraph dedicated to getting rid of your garlic press since it only does one thing and a cutting board will do. The only thing I absolutely cannot agree with him on is his severe distaste for candles. I love candles. I won't give them up no matter who tells me they aren't in vogue.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Hungry Washrag

It feels like I've been eating nothing but fruits and vegetables for days. I'm drinking so much water I feel sloshy.

I am constantly hungry. Not voracious. But, there is a nagging hungry sensation that eating a giant plate of green beans doesn't cure. It's not unbearable. It's just annoying. I'm not dreaming about giant wedges of cheese and gallons of ice cream yet but it might be coming soon.

I started my first zumba class tonight. I felt rather foolish since I'm the only one who doesn't know the moves. I don't know if I ever will. Coordinated I am not. I sweated up a storm though and my calves are aching. I feel like a wrung out washrag. A hungry wrung out washrag.

I stopped by the grocery store after class and miserably filled my cart with high fiber low fat foods. Tomorrow I promise to enjoy myself more. It will get easier. Though I can't say I'm looking forward to the high fiber cereal I bought for breakfast. Maybe I'll shoot straight to the moon and won't need zumba class anymore. I wonder how Jamie Lee even gets to leave her house for commercial shoots. Maybe the Activia crew comes to her home for the commercials?
Fiber Schmiber. I want some candy.

I did dream about clothes shopping last night. I gleefully filled up a cart full of new clothes and then I remembered that I was on a no clothes shopping hiatus. I want to hurry up and lose weight so I can go through all the clothes in my closet and have to shop otherwise I'll be running around nakey. Why can't I have normal dreams about being on a secluded island with my husband (who just happens to have the dream body of Taylor Lautner).

Even grouching. I think I'll go gnaw on some leather and rub my poor cankles.

Friday, July 2, 2010

What's for Dinner- Clean Out the Fridge

We had:

4 eggs
4 apples
1 cup of milk
1 garlic bulb
1/2 pack of gouda (some will be snacks for tomorrow)

I made a pantry friendly weight watchers apple strudel recipe and used up the eggs. I popped the garlic bulb dabbed with a tiny bit of butter in the oven to bake with it. Scrambled the eggs and topped tostito scoops with them. Hubby and I topped our eggs with a bit of salsa. We had gouda on the side.

Weird but satisfying. And all within my weight watchers points guidelines. Plus, we'll have leftover apple strudel for breakfast tomorrow.

Ready To Fling

So, I've been trying to keep the downstairs clean.

The dishes are done daily. The trash and recycling are taken out frequently. The bathroom gets scrubbed a few times a week. I sweep or vacuum and pick up toys every two or three days. But, my house is still not pretty.

We have too much stuff! I can't organize or clean clutter to make it pretty. I'm ready for a fire sale.
And as much as Hubby would like to believe it- it's not just toys and "Jenny stuff". I see piles of electronics and video game equipment that desperately need to be put out of sight.

I'm ready for that garage sale. Everything must go.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

It's like that liposuction thing where the fat just moves somewhere else

Now that I'm consciously not shopping for clothes or personal care items- I've been spending a lot of money in other areas so it hasn't really been a frugal move. The money leaks out in other areas.
I've splurged on a pedicure, a eyebrow wax (my first one- ouch!), expensive food (Tastefully Simple), exercise class, and now a lipstick mold kit for remaking old lipsticks into new. In a few weeks I have an appointment for the good hair stylist for a cut and highlight. Part of it is me coming out of a bit of a grief coma and trying to re-make my life. I just haven't felt good about myself for awhile and now I'm starting to perk up a bit. I want and deserve a clean house, good food, and healthy body.
I want a happy life. And right now I feel pretty content.
I have a date with a friend to see Eclipse tonight while my Hubby sits on our kids. I have the best husband in the world!

I have to log my weight watchers points and get to picking up the house for tonight.
I'm doing really good at WW and haven't used all of my points. I've been eating a lot more fruits and vegetables and my energy level is pretty high. I don't feel deprived at all. Life is good.
I did spend $4 on tube socks for the kids today. I forgot about putting socks on them for the playdate at a McDonald's playland today so I picked up a pack while I was grocery shopping. McDonalds sells $1 socks for the play land but they are kind of junky.