Thursday, April 29, 2010

Club 254

Last night the kids club at church had a coffee and desert social for the "seasons citizens". The theme for the night was 50's. My friend N was so awesome in offering to make a skirt for Lily. I am not a crafty person and sewing is definitely not my thing. So I was so willing to let her make Lily a skirt. Otherwise Lily would have worn rolled up jeans!
Lily really loves going to clubs and I could not be more thrilled that they are teaching the kids from a young age that we need to be serving others. In November they did a veteran's appreciation and they are also collect items all year to pack shoe boxes for Samaritan's purse at Christmas. Lily loves the idea of giving and she is learning alot in the process!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Triples....

So I made it back from Harris Teeter triples. I ended up spending around an hour actually shopping. I went to my favorite store in Salisbury and it was the busiest that I have ever seen it. And for the first time ever at a Harris Teeter, I loaded my own groceries in the car. But I am still going to return again the next time they have either a triples or super doubles. I was not impressed yesterday as I got my list together and was even less thrilled when I arrived and found that 4 of my 12 free items were either not carried at the store or already out of stock. My initial plan was for 2 trips this week but after today, I have no need to return. I did load my car and go back inside to claim my free loaf of bread and $1.00 off meat.

The details, I spent 32 and saved $66 for a total saving of 67%. Not to bad especially considering that I have 7 coupons that did not triple, four were for a $1.00 each and 2 additional Harris Teeter coupons that don't triple as well as a free item that did not triple.

Highlights- Earth's Best Baby food was on sale BOGO, this is regular priced at 0.89 a jar, I had in my binder 2 coupons for $1.00 off 10 jars so that bought the actual price to around 0.35 a jar. I also purchased boxes of Baby cereal for 0.99 each using both manufacturers and HT coupons. Matt really liked the fried cheese sticks that I purchased 3 packs of for FREE!!

Harris Teeter usually has a "Theme" to their sales. This week it was Mexican I ended up buy chips, salsa, taco sauce and meat today so I am going to change my menu plan and have Mexican instead of steaks.

Budget wise for the month I am currently $60 UNDER budget!!!! YAY!!! This includes a huge stash of diapers and some baby food!! I am excited!

Wordless Wednesday

These are from a party that Lily went to on Saturday. It was at the gymnastic building that she goes to for Parents time out. Princess Tiana was the hit of the party. Matt said she was very patient with the kids and they all just ran up and asked her questions. Lily was so excited to know that she is living at "Mickey's house." She also remember that Tiana's green dress was dirty that is why she had on white.
I am really impressed that these are from Matt's cell phone. I was at home with the babies for nap!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Monday Menu Post 4/26

Matt and I discussed yesterday how nice it is to have a Menu plan for the week. He is great (Ok) with the idea that on the weekends we grab something quick and easy from the freezer or he is in charge of cooking :)!
Spring including warm, pleasant, not to humid weather has arrived and that means we will be using the grill ALOT!

Monday- Hamburgers, Chill cheese fries sounds great as well today!
Tuesday-Chicken-broccoli-rice-cheese casserole. (My plan is the make enough to freeze one dish for the summer!)
Wednesday- Steaks
Thursday- Taco Rice Nachos (Making a double batch of Taco Rice to freeze for the summer)
Friday- Spaghetti

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Paid to Shop at CVS

So I didn't get a picture of this trip but here is what I bought at CVS today:

1 6pk Scott Paper Towels $4.99 on sale, $1.00 coupon
2 packs of "fake nails" one was $4.49 and the other $5.99 but I found a coupon on a pack for $2.00 off the second package
1 Resse Dark chocolate pack, 1 regular Resse cup and 1 Caramello bar, $0.89 each, $.55 off the Dark Resses and B2G1 sale
2 Oral B Cross Action Toothbrushes $2.99 each used $1.00 off coupon and B1G1 coupon for these.

I also used a $5 off 25 coupon from Rite Aid and $10 ECB from last week. Total out of pocket was $2.47 (2.01 tax) and I received back 6 ECB ( 2 from the toothbrushes and 4 from the nails)

CVS paid me $3.03 to take these items home!!! I am so excited and I still have 3 ECB from last week as well!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Random Thoughts for saving money

As I was sitting here thinking I need to blog, it occurred to me that I really don't have much I want to blog about right now! So I thought I would share a couple of the "coupon codes" I have been using this week.
I order 2 hydrangeas shrubs from Silver Hill Nursery for free and paid only the $12.95 in shipping. I have wanted a couple of this plants for several years and just decided to order and I will figure out where to place them when they arrive.

There is a code FREE4MOM that you can use at CVS to order 4x6 magnets. I have to admit I messed up one of my orders and ended up ordering 2 on the same order so it will cost me 6.99 for the 4 magnets that I ordered but my plan is to pay using ECB so it should be ok :).

Harris Teeter is going to be doing Triples again starting Wednesday. I am planning to make at least one trip and we will go from there depending on what is on sale. Speaking of Harris Teeter I went last Wednesday when we picked up the girls new swim goggles and was able to grab 4 packs of diapers at 2.99 each with coupons and I got a rain check for 2 additional packs because they were out of Zach's size :).

Well guess it is time to stop of course Zach is hungry!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Reflections on His Birthday

Listen...what is that sound...the dishwasher..the computer fan... the water running down the drain in the bathtub... what is so special you might ask? Well it is probably one of the best "gifts" that Matt gives me at on Wednesday nights most of the school year. Any clues yet? It is silence and time to just enjoy being me "alone" in the house. Let me define "alone" it does not mean no one else is home it means that no one else is home and awake. I know that I have probably another hour and half before Matt, Haley and Lily will return from church. Amanda is at work so this is my time. Tonight my plan included a bath and shave :), writing this blog post to post on Thursday and then watching at least one of the 7 episodes I am behind of All my Children. I had thought about several things to blog about today being that it is Matt's Birthday. I first thought I need to record how we met, naa that will be for our anniversary but then I decide to reflect first on how luck I am to have met and married Matt and then to give you a glance at how we celebrated!

Traditionally we ALWAYS go out to eat on birthday. But since this is a Wednesday night it would have been difficult to go out and for them to get to church on time. Add in the money issues and cost and it was decided that we would either postpone the dinner out or just skip it. We did get lunch yesterday at IHOP, while running errands in Greensboro and I bought sushi for dinner so that is eating out enough for our budget. Today, I decided to use the grill and then fix some of Matt's favorites to go along with it. After he left for work this morning, Amanda helped me dress and load the babies up for a quick trip to Walmart. He planned to come home at lunch so I fixed "buffalo wings.' as his first surprise. His gifts this year were Dark chocolate candy(probably 5 different kinds) and black licorice and swedish fish and "Adult beverages". I was able to surprise him with lunch and we had Jumbo shrimp cocktail, pasta salad, T-bone steaks, homemade bread and cake for dinner. Haley watched the kids after school so that I could get dinner prepared with no help! It was awesome. My parents came over and talked to us while we ate and held Zach!

I know that when we look back 40 years from now it will not be one of his "outstanding gift" years but I do hope he enjoyed today. We celebrated the way that was best and most fun for our young family.

I hope

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Wordless Wednesday



A friend from our church spends most Saturdays with her husband going to different yard sales, they find some awesome deals and usually share with a lot of people. Recently they have been finding some clothes for Zach on a regular basis. Last summer, she help supply Lily's "dress up closet." This past Saturday she was able to but 7 dresses and 7 pairs of dress up shoes for $3. Lily and Kendall both LOVE the clothes they spent most of Monday playing dress up for weddings and proms and just being "princess." We promised pictures so here are a two (all blogger would let me post today)!



Kendall LOVED this hat/headband that was in the bag as well. She is wearing a "Belle" costume.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Monday Menu Post 4-19/ Week plans

I am convinced that one of the reason that I am doing better with budgeting especially groceries is the fact that I am now planning our meals at least by Monday. This makes it much hard to say "Let's just eat out because I know what I want to fix and we have stuff in the freezer for the rough days. This week in general should be fairly easy as I don't have any time at work scheduled and it really doesn't sound like I will get any and other than driving around Amanda nothing in the evenings. Tuesday we will be going to Greensboro to get the little girls swim googles, diapers at Harris Teeter and a small trip to Costco. Wednesday is Matt's birthday so we will be making a cake during the day as well as going out to eat somewhere for his dinner???. I LOVE the grill in the spring and summer so at least 1 if not 3 of our meals will start being based on using it. We do have to get it filled so that is another trip!

Monday- Apricot Pork chops in the crockpot, maybe a broccli rice cassrole or maybe just a fruit and veggie.
Tuesday- Steaks on the grill and a salad
Wednesday - Happy Birthday MATT!
Thursday- Grilled chicken and pasta salad
Friday- Seafood night (probably grilled or steamed jumbo shrimp, deviled crabs) side dishes will be leftovers from the week or steamed corn on the cob!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Monthly Update (April)

I am really excited about how this month is going that I am going to update in the middle and again at the end of the month!

So far this month we have had 4 "official " preschool days and at least that many if not more of days where I am working with Lily on Reading and Math on the computer or in the van. So this is a definite improvement over the last several months.

In the area of budgeting we are making progress. This month our grocery bills have been WAY down. It is around half of previous months and I dont plan to spend more than another 200 for the month which would be under still! We also got our electricity bill for this month today. It is down by $100!! That is awesome. I am hoping to get it down another 50 and keep it this low for at least 3 months but we will see. Hanging clothes out seems to make a HUGE difference as well as washing less!

We hope to plant next weekend! I am busy reading and figuring out which plants need to go where! The side flower bed is mulched and looks cool!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

My Thursday

This is a typical day for me around the house with a couple of excepts. The first being that we did not have "Preschool" this morning. I can't explain why but I just didn't make myself stop and do it. I will mostly likely let Lily work on the "starfall" reading tonight on the computer. But I have loaded and unloaded the dishwasher because I wanted to clean the old food out of the fridge. But I knew that if I didn't empty it first I would not have enough room. There is one load of clothes in the dryer. I have folded one load and organized Zach's clothes. This means cleaning out and repacking his box of "too big" clothes. I did realize that he already has several pair of 12 month jeans and will mainly need shirts in the fall. I also packed up all the "winter" clothes that were left out and started moving all his clothes to his new dresser. (This dresser is a freebie that has been sitting in the living room since Sunday). I moved his hanging clothes to the laundry room and threw away or boxed up all the extra hangers I have. I want to be able to move the metal shelf to it's final home this weekend so that was the reason for this change. I have gone thur 2 bags of clothes that Haley pulled out of her room yesterday. 3/4 of them will go straight to "Goodwill" tomorrow but I did find several to try and take to the consignment store as well. I have bagged up the Fisher Price jungle gym to go in the attic and decided to leave the boat out for Zach to sit and play in. I just realize I should also box the bouncy seat up as well. Zach is now dressed and playing in the floor and I just realized it is 1pm so I have to get dressed shortly and head out to pick up Haley. Where has the day gone?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Monday, April 12, 2010

Ways I Try to Save Money!

As I was hanging out clothes this morning, I was thinking about all the ways I am trying to save money and get this family on the right financial track. I thought it would be interesting to make a list of all the things, I am currently doing and then maybe look back next year and see how we are doing and if it was worth the work. So here goes

1. Currently and as a general rule, in the Spring and Fall if the weather is not predicted to be above 80 for 2 days in a row, then we turn off the A/C and enjoy the outdoors! For the last several days our house has remained rather cool even tho it was 78 yesterday and around the same today, we only have the kitchen windows and my bedroom windows open. In an ideal world we would not use the A/C until June but since we have already had it on 3 days I can hope it last at least a couple of weeks.
2. I am hanging ALOT (most of the laundry) out to dry. The exceptions are the towels and underwear. Today I have 3 loads on the line and have used all the clothes pins. I could wash and hang out Zach's clothes but am going to wait and do it tomorrow. I have 87 more loads to hang out this summer before I "justify" the clothes line!

Since our grocery budget is the one area I seem to be unable to get a good handle on the next set of the items are a direct effort to buy less groceries. I will say that I include all cleaning supplies, laundry supplies and diapers in this total.

3. Zach is now on Soy Formula completely so I am trying to make some baby food. I grounded up leftovers last night from dinner and he was not all that happy with it but today I have made 4 containers of carrots and mashed an avocado . Either Lily, Kendall nor myself liked the avocado so I wonder if he will even eat it.
4. We are regular buying Angel food and I am making it a point to use all the food. Some of the items like carrots, cabbage and even apples have been wasted in the past but this month I have decided that nothing will be wasted because of it not being used in time. Along with making baby food it is taking extra time but again we need to get our grocery bill under control.
5. Couponing- I now have my stockpile underway so I am trying to only buy things at stock pile prices or things we absolutely have to have! This is the first month I have been able to do this and am anxious to see if we reduced our 700-800 a month down this month.
6. Square Foot Gardening- We have already got a box built and the dirt placed. Matt is going to make a vertical garden behind our box and we hope to plant and harvest veggies all summer long to help reduce our food bill and actually eat healthier as well.
7. Potty training for Kendall
8. Menu planning/ only eating out one time a week.

As I was typing/feeding Zach/eating my lunch I realized there were several other things I wanted to include so on to the rest of the list....
9. Switched to Digital phone and locked in pricing for 24 months.
10. Signing up and receiving Free items(today I got a reusable bag and a pack of gum in the mail)
11. Rebates.. I have completed 3 of these and only do ones that are simple and I get money back!
12. I am saving for Christmas with "points" currently I have accounts with Swagbucks, NCP (national consumer home panel), Huggies and Pampers. I use swagbucks as my search engine, by far the NCP is the most trouble but I am hoping that I will be able to cash in for a large electronic items in October/Novemeber for a Christmas present. I am planning to do the same with Huggies and Pampers and Swagbucks. My goal for this is to reduce my Christmas spending by half.
13. Recycling paper.. I have requested and received paper that has been used on one side from my church. I print coupons, Lily's worksheets from the internet and the girls color and draw on this free paper.
14. Ordering ink in bulk from the internet. I like Clicks and 123ink. I got 7 ink cartilages for $35
15. Cheap Pictures.. I LOVE Pictures but have not paid over 9cent a print including shipping for pictures since October of last year. I have a lot more i want to print and hope to catch up with all my "free prints" again soon!
16. Yard Sales/Cosignments/ Ebay; These are my preferred methods for buying clothes and furniture. This summer I hope to be able to buy clothes for next winter without the dash I had to do in the Spring.

Any Ideas for me..Leave a commment

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Catch up!

It feels like forever since I have had a chance to sit down and blog! But I am excited to say that I think***Hope**** that is going to change. So this post will be a random list what I can think of that I need to write down post! I am waiting for my tub to fill with hot water so I can enjoy a LONG LONG bath and hopefully a phone conversation (uninterrupted) with my BF.

I just checked my menu plan for the week and realized that I had Pork Chops down for Wednesday but that will not be happening as there are only 2 pork chops in the freeze. This week is a hard week because although we have PLENTY of chicken, that is about all the meat we have. Friday evening we had "Cabbage Rolls" which are by far my favorite cabbage dish and I will be making again so I am going to move the chimis to Tuesday since they will be a heat and serve dish after me working. I just have to remember to get them out of the freezer. I actually have a new cook book from Pamper chef so I may try something out of there as well.

We have decided that instead of buying a temporary sink for the new bathroom, on the day of inspection we will move the one from our bathroom to it. After the inspection is complete we plan on re-financing and buying the sink we want then. So at this point, we need $300 for a new hot water heater to be ready for our "Certificate of Occupancy." I am hoping/praying that our State Income Tax Refund comes in this weeks so that we can get this ball rolling.

Matt and I attended a free "Financial Peace University" class today. The good thing was that it gave us some time to talk in the van. We have decided that we have to make an emergency fund a "MUST" so starting this month I am going to deposit $100 in it prior to paying bills and as soon as we get able to make the budget then we will stash anything extra in it until we have the $1000 that is recommended. We also talked at length about me working more and I think that Matt understands he is going to have to "sacrifice" some of his work time in order for it to work. This is a huge adjustment in his way of thinking but I hope it works.

I have been able to "find" some awesome deals this weekend. I made a trip to Food Lion yesterday and because of couponing I was able to purchase 1 gallon of milk and 2 packs of Oreo cookies for $1.63 but in reality I also spent $72 first to be able to do this deal. I am hoping that we can greatly reduce our food budget this month and it appears that will work but with a 5 week month that may change. Our neighbors were throwing away a dresser and nightstand that we decided to get. The dresser will end up being Zach and nightstand is ours and we may decided to go with a "wrought' iron bed frame for the new room. The night stand is really cool so if we can find a bed to match that will be awesome.

Zach decided that sitting up was not enough of a milestone and is now able to crawl across the floor. He is also very difficult to get down for naps and bed so I am hoping that will get easier in the next few weeks. Currently he has been crying for 30 minutes. I am thinking that I will go and hold him and see if I can get him asleep before he wakes up Kendall.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Zach's Surgery

I am so far behind in blogging, I can't believe it is the 8th of April. I seriously think I have lost the past 7 days. I think this entitles me to skip a monthly recap for March, but did actually do one in my head sort of.

So I decided that I need to blog about the most important thing I should remember about this week, Zach's ear tube. I may or may not catch up on some other things later this week but for now this is what you get. We (Zach and I) went for pre-op on Monday and learned that we would need to be at the hospital at 6:15am on Wednesday. Matt and I had been talking about how to arrange it and that was the deciding factor. Tumble Tots is closed this week and so someone was going to have to stay with Lily and Kendall as well as get Haley to school. My dad volunteered to ride with Zach and I so that made things a little bit easier.

I woke up at 5am on Wednesday got dressed and had to wake Zach up to change him. We arrived at the hospital at 6:05 and waited less than 5 minutes before they took us to the Outpatient surgery unit. Pawpaw sat in the waiting room because it was more room. The staff was awesome. Zach did not even need an IV. He was under for less than 10 minutes. Zach left me around 6:55 with 2 RNs. Erica D. came out to speak to me and the doctor was back to tell me everything was a success at 7:11am. I did have a chance to call Matt and then sent a text when surgery was over. Erica brought Zach to me around 7:30 and stay and talked with me for about 15minutes. At around 8am Pawpaw came back because he was getting worried. I had told him 30-45 minutes after surgery we could go but they made us wait an half and hour after he came back to me. We left the hospital around 9 am.

I am a little concerned as Zach has a bad cold with a low grade fever but I will watch him and see what happens. I did give him Motrin yesterday for a the fever combined with his not feeling good. I definitely think the tubes were the best choice. The MD told me that he did have more fluid behind his ear drums, so if we had not been on an antibiotic, I am sure we would have been back at the doctors. We have to put drops in his ears 2x a day for 10 days but other than that he is awesome.

Today at Angel Food we looked over and he has learned to sit up off the floor alone. He will stay sitting up for about 5 minutes before falling over. He also woke up EARLY this morning and "talked" for about an hour before crying for me to come and get him! He currently has 2 teeth on the bottom only!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Monday Menu Post 4/05 and 4/12

I am posting this one day late this week but am including two weeks in my planning. My life is ahead of me right now and I am trying not to stress! I am planning to get caught up on posting soon! But in the mean time. I just checked back on my plans for last week and we ended up eating Seafood twice on Tuesday We also had spaghetti on Sunday after our Harris Teeter trip with some bread sticks and cheese sticks. I ended up ordering Pizza on Friday. But that is the only time we ate out!

Plan for this week
Monday- Clean out the fridge night!
Tuesday-Hamburger Steaks with salad
Wednesday- Grilled Chicken (Matt) with slaw and potato salad or regular salad, pineapple for desert
Thursday- Tilapa (Broiled or saute) with some veggies
Friday- Chimicagas

Week of April 12th
Monday- Chicken Fried Rice(large batch with some to freeze)
Tuesday- Spaghetti
Wednesday- Pork Chops ( crock pot something or meal in one)
Thursday-Salisbury steak ( double/triple batch to freeze) rice and veggies!