Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Back To School Slog

It's been crazy around here. This morning I finally finished filling out the mountain of paperwork for the kids schools.

I just signed both kids up for after school activities and tonight we're looking into joining Girl Scouts. Needless to say, I've been more chauffeur lately than frugal blogger.

I did hit a great bread thrift store yesterday with a rack of 79 and 99 cent bread and sweets. I put a couple loaves in our freezer. My Mom, the kids, and I hit up garage sales on Saturday. I didn't buy much but I lucked out with a giant DK/Merriam Webster's Kid Dictionary that Big Girl has been wanting. We paid a dollar for it. Dinner at home has become more of a priority too. Last night I made lasagna and garlic bread (with thrift store texas toast).

I joined two more zumba classes. The diet isn't going so great. But, I plan to keep on exercising. I may not lose weight but I know my health will improve. I can tell that my endurance is better.

My Mom is here visiting and we're rewatching Frontier House so she can see it.

Other than a date night this weekend, not much is going on.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Back on Track 15 Minutes at a Time

As much as I miss my kids, I've been looking forward to getting back to a routine so much!

I made a list of chores to do and I've been whittling away 15 minutes at a time using my Flylady timer. I know what's for dinner and I have a plan to get it cooked.

I went to Zumba last night even though I originally planned on skipping it because I just didn't feel good. I was dragging a little bit more than normal during class but I did it and kept on. While I'm not back to logging on WW online I am trying to watch what I eat. I have a small salad plate that I've been eating my dinner from and last night I went to bed hungry.

Except for spending $18 at the grocery Monday night (for milk, fruit, etc) I have not shopped this week. The kids each have a week's worth of new back to school clothes and Hubby has enough new clothes now too. No one needs anything and that's good because I don't feel like shopping. Our Discover card bill is ginormous this month because we charged our vacation, furniture, and other expenses on it. But, we'll pay it off and move forward. It's just more incentive for me to keep it in my wallet.

My timer's about to ding so I must get on with the rest of my list.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

What's On the Menu

I made a slap dash menu board with a framed flower picture I had set aside to garage sale. I really like it but had no place to hang it.

This Spring I was lucky enough to find a pre 1986 copy of a Betty Crocker cook book in good condition (Amy D fan's who know about the potato bread recipe) for 50 cents at a thrift store in Alabama. Sunday I flipped through it and chose a few recipes to fill out my menu for the week. I picked recipes that would would use items we had on hand so a special trip to the grocery store is not required.

Monday- Spaghetti with Mushroom Sauce (the mushroom sauce is a flour and milk based gravy with mushrooms, reminiscent of canned mushroom soup but tastier)

Tuesday- Tastefully Simple Beer Bread and Cheese and Potato Soup (using up things in pantry for a quick but tasty dinner)

Wednesday- Hash browns (recipe in book), scrambled eggs and watermelon

Thursday- Cheese and Rice Pie (recipe in book)

Friday- Deep Dish Veggie Pizza (recipe in book)

Saturday- Leftovers (if we have any)

Saturday, August 14, 2010

What I'm Thinking About

Last week was vacation and next week is back to school time. This week has me in a chaotic flux where I don't know if I'm coming or going but hoping to get there soon.

Like the start of the year, school starting has me thinking of getting organized and having a routine. When the school bus pulls away this year I will have many hours alone to do much needed decluttering and cleaning. Little Guy is going to be in preschool many more hours this year and while I will miss him terribly, I am looking forward to getting on the ball and tacking chores without distraction. The days that I have him to myself will be even more rewarding for both of us. He's still my little snuggle bug.

I'm thinking of making this write on/wipe off menu board for my kitchen using things I already have around the house. Also, the recipe she lists for Ski Country Pasta sounds awesome (with some veggie bacon).

The no purchased clothes shopping compact hasn't been a 100% success. But, I have reduced the amount of clothing coming into our house by at least 50% (probably better). Big Girl picked out a few new things for school and we went through her clothes. She has about a week and a half worth of new clothes for Second grade (gulp!). When did I become the mom of a Second Grader? Seems like yesterday she was sitting in her high chair and happily growling at her food.
Now she's reading, writing, losing teeth and riding a bike without training wheels!
I purchased a new pair of exercise shorts on clearance today. My zumba sweats are getting embarrassingly baggy and stretched out.

My diet is on stall right now but I am carrying on and haven't given up. I am looking into joining another zumba class because I realize that I enjoy zumba more than I do dieting. I do feel better physically.

My garden is virtually dead because I gave up on watering it. The heat here is a killer.
I am seriously considering doing the 6 items of Clothing per Month challenge. I tend to wear the same things over and over anyway. I already know my uniform is a t-shirt (v neck or boatneck) and capri pants. I would need to add a cotton skirt and my work out clothes and I'd be good to go. Because of my diet/exercise routine (stalled but not over) and clothing compact I have been slowly weeding baggy and unloved clothing from my personal stash. Doing this challenge would inspire me to do even more. I could use more closet space.

That's about it.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Revisiting and updating an Old Post: Finding More Ways to Save and Scrimp

This was originally posted October 6th, 2008.

We don't have a lot of extras that we can cut loose but we can:

Cancel our subscription to the local paper and try to find a cheap or free resource for my coupons saving us about $9 a month.
I canceled our subscription in July. I haven't missed it one bit.

Take our aluminum cans to the recycling center instead of throwing them in the recycling bin.
We'd make about $3-$5 a month. Is it even worth the gas money?
Still haven't decided if it's worth it or not. We're still putting them out with the normal recycling.

Taking shorter showers. I've started getting wet and turning the water off to soap up.
I still do this some of the time but need to start doing it all the time again.

Hang dry our clothes. I'm hesitant to do this because it is extra work, it's against our home owner's association rules (grr) and I don't like how line dried clothes feel. But, we could do this and save a few dollars a month.
Totally fell off the horse with this one. Our outside line is pretty crumby and dirty. Aldi has drying racks on sale this week so I'm thinking about buying a few.

Put Little Guy back in cloth diapers. This will happen sooner than later as we're running out of disposables and I'm not buying anymore. Great for potty training anyway.
We're down to one nighttime disposable diaper a night. Our cloth diapers are in the garage waiting for our next garage sale.

Keep the a/c off and postpone turning on the heat. I've been opening the windows for a cool breeze. And I put flannel sheets and thicker blankets on our beds for those chilly nights.
Oh my goodness, It's been in the upper 90s so much lately turning off the idea is a crazy thought.

Refuse to buy things that I don't really need. I really like the More Time Moms Family Organizer calendar. I buy one every year. This year I'm going to fix a pocket onto a free calendar and use that. I won't like it as much but it will be free.
I did not like using a jimmy rigged calendar at all. Some things are definitely worth the money.

Returning my Library materials on time. I haven't incurred any overdue fees this month. For me that's a big thing. And every bit counts.
I'm doing much better at this. I try to get to the library once a week and always do a sweep for any returns and have them ready to go.

Shopping the sales at the grocery store. I normally just go to Save-A-Lot or Aldi without looking through the fliers for other grocery stores. If I cherry pick and use coupons I can save us a lot more and pick up some extras for the food pantry donation.
I'm too busy right now to deal with coupons or sale shopping. I've been grocery shopping about once a week and don't even want to go more than that.

Finding a better way to organize my coupons. After my little cardboard accordion coupon wallet from the dollar store fell from my cart and spilled onto the store floor I knew it was time to find another method. The challenge will be to not spend any money on it.
I still don't have a perfect way to organize coupons. It is better now that I have two files: one for food and one for everything else.

Harvesting the last little garden goody before it frosts. We have a ton of tiny green tomatoes on our vines. If I forget them then we waste money. What a relief it was to walk by the starchy tasteless grocery store tomatoes and know that we had some at home.
Critters have been at my tomatoes and my zucchini and I rarely get a vegetable to harvest for my family. But, I do plan on picking every last tomato before the last frost.

Using less of what we already have in the pantry and cupboards- less dishwashing liquid, less shampoo, less ketchup, less body wash, less sugar etc.
I'd forgotten about doing this. We have so much extra to use up I haven't considered it much lately. I'm working now on getting rid of bottles by using them up. No more personal care clutter.

Buying less or just not buying what we don't absolutely have to have. Are paper towels really necessary when you can use cloth napkins?
We're still using paper towels but with much less frequency. I have a clean stack of cloth napkins always ready to use.

Does anyone else have any ideas? What are you doing to economize? What have I overlooked?

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Temporary Happiness of Acquiring.

I love to shop. I love the idea of hunting for a that gem of a bargain that seems like will fulfill a grand purpose. Problem- I don't really love paying for shopping, taking care of more stuff and acquiring more stuff. I don't have room for anymore stuff. And what's more is that I want space more than I want things in my space. It's two warring halves of my personality. Minimalist desires mixed with the relentless drive to acquire and consume and it doesn't work very well.

I love the shopping but not the acquiring anymore. I don't feel joy anymore just the nagging drive to find things. Quitting shopping is like dieting. You can't really stop buying things forever anymore than you can stop eating. I'm always going to need something- toilet paper, socks, scotch tape, etc. just like I'm always going to need to eat. I just have to adjust my thinking on how I go about both of those things. And that is where I am right now. Struggling to change lifelong habits of shopping and eating.

I feel quite torn lately and I'm not having an easy time of it. So, right now I'm stalled.
And that's where I am right now.