Friday, March 27, 2009

Say it Forward



My husband and I are firm believers in Pay it Forward. We truly believe if you are able to help someone, then you should. It's that simple. Why wouldn't you??

You can imagine how touched I was to open Jennifer's blog and find this. Thanks, Jennifer. I really enjoy reading your blog.







Thursday, March 26, 2009

Stimulating my Mind

Heather recommended this book for the worriers out there. It's not easy to change, but I'm willing to try things to lessen the anxiety. I checked it out from the public library.

http://www.amazon.com/Happy-Without-Being-Perfect-Perfection/dp/0307354318


Why would I need this book?

My sister was a part of a study. A free study. You know, where they pay you to go to the appointments, you take the medications, report back, etc. It was an anxiety study. But not just anxiety. Like, EXTREME anxiety.

This is an example of her thought process: She gives her daughter a cough drop on the way to school. As her daughter get out of the car and walks to the school the thoughts begin:

What is she chokes? Will anyone see her? Help her? She goes directly to the classroom and nobody is in there. The teacher across the hall peeks in on them. What if another kid pushes her and it lodges the cough drop in her throat? What if the teacher doesn't discover my child until she's on the floor and blue with a cough drop lodged in her throat. Will a kid run and get help if she chokes?? How are they gonna know it's a cough drop stuck in her throat??

And it goes on and on until she works herself up into a worry frenzy.

She said the medications help - so she knows she was not getting a placebo LOL She continued to see the doctor after the study and still takes medications. She said it really helps.

My brother has this to, but a different version. Ever leave your desk in a hurry at the end of the day? CAn you just slip in the next morning and start work? Probably not. You will want to tidy up so you can find things and start with a clean slate.

Most people are like this. My brother? Well.. his pencil/pens have to be in a certain spot. The papers have to go here. The phone there.. not here, THERE. The scratch paper here and the stapler there. Oh yah. He cannot work until everything is in it's place. It's PROPER place. He cannot get the brain fluids going until it's all orderly. Pretty much his whole life is like that. He has an palm pilot that has alarms set for all kinds of things. He has to check it to see what the heck it's reminding him to do! YIKES. He takes medications too. He said they work.

Where do I fall?

I"m the middle kid; the peacemaker. So, it's only natural I fall in the middle.

I can relate to my brother with the desk thing. I just cannot concentrate on work if things are not lined out properly.

I can sympathize with my sister. As a mom, we want to protect our kids. My thoughts can get to the extreme too. I once told Rich I had to worry for him because he wasn't worrying enough!! HUH?

It doesn't help that I'm an extrovert. I have to say the same things over and over. I have to hear them outloud. Then I can start to process things. I'm sure I drive my family crazy. If it don't do this, I'll be the one going crazy.

I know I worry more than the average person. I tend to go overboard often. My sane husband tries his best to keep me in line. I don't feel it's bad enough for medication, but I know now that it runs in the familayer and I need to keep an eye on things.

I don't know if it is a learned behavior - my dad will constantly line things up or straighten things up around him - he cannot just be still. He also loved torturing us as kids. A sleep over? In the yard? No tent? Ick. What about bugs? A dew? Enjoy your sleepover! Uhm, kinda hard now, Dad! My parents also reminded us time and time again, "And what will happen next?" I know they were teaching us about consequences.. but geeze.. I STILL fret over things and plan things for all scenarios that COULD POSSIBLY happen. ack!! Oh, it's great to be prepared and plan ahead.. but they kinda went overboard. It's engrained in me.

I don't want the same for my kids. That's why I'm reading the book. I need to lead by example.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Wednesday - ads

I get as excited on Wednesday's when the grocery ads come out as I do when Sunday's paper arrives with the coupons LOL Yah, I'm nerdy like that.

I think a lot more people are getting excited about coupons. The economy is forcing them to. It really is a shame that people live so far above their means. It's time for a reality check, world. It's time to take control of your spending. Become aware of what you are making, saving and spending.

Time to check out the ads online and line up my coupons.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Bonko

Last night was Bonko. I won 3rd place. Whoo hooo me!

We had a great time, as always. It was nice to get away and escape for an evening.

Rich cooked burgers in the skillet for the kids. I wanted burgers wrapped in bacon cooked in brown gravy. He ran out of time. Hmm, ya think?? I keep telling him he cannot wait until the last minute and throw something together. It takes TIME and prepping takes TIME. I remember when the kids were young it seemed just as I cleaned up from one meal it was time to start another. It was very frustrating.

So, tonight I used the leftover ground meat to cook the burgers that I wanted last night. I also tried a new recipe - crockpot scalloped potatoes. Ehhh.. it's okay, but I think I prefer it in the oven.

Rich is offshore again and should get back later this evening. Sweeet!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Menu Monday, oops

I was off this weekend and didn't do a lick of shopping. Work and life has me so stressed, my wonderful husband decided it was time for some re-lax-ation!

We loaded up 4-wheelers and headed to our hideaway - 20 acres of land about an hour away from here. My sister and her family met us there. We had a great time riding, walking, exploring, roasting hot dogs for lunch and just relaxing. It was very much needed.

Tonight is Bonco. I'll have to fix the family something quick.

Needless to say, I never made it to the grocery store. Hopefully I will get there before Wednesday, because I'm seeing some great items on sale.

Hope you made time for yourself this weekend too!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Almost busted!

Yikes. I recently updated my spending on the blog for the month of March. Yikes! And we still have another 2 weeks to go.

I know I made several Walgreens and CVS runs. This is a big eye opener for me. Am I saving money by shopping at Walgreens and CVS? It's FREE. What can be cheaper than free??

I got the free soap and toothpaste. Now I have to hold in to the ECBs until next week to see what is on sale/free again.

Vicious cycle.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Happy Birthday, Princess!

Today our oldest turns TWENTY!! Can you believe it? I was induced on March 17 - St. Patrick's Day - The day of GREEN, which is my favorite color. She did make her grand entrance into the world until March 18 at 5:53. She weighed in at 9 lb 9 oz and was 22 inches long! She's turned into a beautiful woman. We are so very proud of her.












Tuesday, March 17, 2009

7 things that make me disproportionately happy

Heather tagged everyone who reads her blog for this meme. So I thought I'd play along. Here are my 7 little things....

1. My husband. From the sound of his voice, the silly nickname he has for me to the way he just always has to touch me when he walks by. He makes me feel loved, desired, special, secure, and happy.

2. When my oldest pulls up the stool in the dining room so we can "chat". When any of them share openly with me. I know they feel secure in just talking.

3. When the kids are all together and interacting. They can be sooo very silly. They often leave messages for each other on the dry erase board along with a picture or two.

4. My rosary. It brings me a great deal of peace.

5. Saving money!

6. Painted toenails. There is just something so cheerful about it.

7. Sewing. It is very relaxing and fulfilling.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Menu this week

Our menus are off. Rich is home and he likes to cook. Usually on the weekends we eat leftovers or eat light because we are out and about. The rain kept us in, plus I had to work. (blah!)

Friday - tilapia drudged in fish fry & skillet fried; tater tot casserole

Saturday - Mexican Cornbread

Sunday - Leftovers

Monday - Chicken pot pie

Tuesday - Leftovers

Wednesday - homemade pizza

Thursday - Hominy, bacon, little sizzlers. (family recipe)

Friday - fish sticks; veggies

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Hominy supper!





Rich made his Hominy supper. If you have never tried hominy, you must! This was a traditional breakfast at his grandparents. You know, like, big Sunday breakfast. We always have it Christmas morning. Now and again on the weekend when Rich is home he will cook it. The kids love it. It's really simple. Unfortunately, I was busy while he was cooking and I didn't get snapshots. But, I did manage to snap a photo before anyone ate. You don't know how lucky you are! We have had to increase the amounts over the years. We use the HUGE can of hominy now.

Hominy Breakfast

1/2 pack little sizzlers sausages, cut in rings
1/2 pack bacon, chopped in pieces, reserved 1 - 2 tablespoons grease
2 cans hominy, white, drained
salt
pepper

Cook the sausages in an iron pot until browned. Remove sausages and set aside.. Cook bacon in iron pot until crisp. Remove bacon grease, reserving 1 - 2 tablespoons of the grease. Put the sausages back to the pot with the bacon. Stir. Add the drained hominy. Add salt and pepper. Stir well until thoroughly mixed. Let the hominy soak up some of that bacon grease. Then simmer for a few minutes while you gather the plates, cups, forks, napkins.

Dish up and enjoy!












Saturday, March 14, 2009

Bucket of tomatoes

Richard loves to garden. And I knew he would love this. It is still raining and he cannot stand to be trapped inside the house. Perfect project for him to do on the porch.

By the time I caught up with him, he had already drilled the hole in the bottom of the bucket and put the tomatoe plant through.
















Then I filled it with dirt while he held it up.

















Then he drilled the hole and put the hanger in.
















And here is the finished product! Hopefully this will produce lots. We also did 2 bell pepper plants this way.

Happenings *updated*

Friday I was off. WOOOHOOO. First stop, Berina store in town. EGADS! Have you ever looked at the prices??? I learned a lot, met new friends, and will be headed back for fabric. She has the BEST stuff. I wish I had known what amounts I needed. Oh well. I have enough fabric now and really need to use it up.

After that, it was time to get to the grocery store. Coupon binder in hand, I was off and running. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE making my list according to the isles. I know it sounds anal, but there is usually no backtracking (If I stick strickly to my list). I was in the dairy section when a woman toting a binder stopped and looked at me. She walks over to me and asked where I picked up my baseball card dividers, and then tells me she really needs to get her coupons organized. We chatted a moment about always taking your binder in so you don't miss sales and then she says, "I read on the internet to lay out your coupons like the store isles and your coupons too. That way you don't miss anything." HAHHA See! I wasn't being anal, I was being effecient. We parted ways but I so wanted to give her my number and tell her if she had any questions to call me - heck, even if we formed a coupon swap it would be nice. I could tell she was just getting started and was excited about it. Maybe I'll see her again. I do know more and more people are wising up to coupons.

Then I lugged everything home, unloaded the bags onto the kitchen floor, put the cold stuff away and dashed to get Sarah. It is raining and cold and I don't want to do much. We all took naps yesterday afternoon. Then we lounged around the rest of the night. Felt good just to relax.

Now I have to put away the rest of the groceries - I know, I know! But I was just too tired yesterday. Off to make my day productive.

*Once again, it's chilly/cold/damp/rainy here in the South. Two days ago we were sporting shorts. Now? You better bring a jacket. And an umbrella. Blah!

Hubby installed our fan that goes on the wood burning stove. That thing WORKS. I was sewing in the dining room and got really hot. LOL And it wasn't from the iron. I'm glad it works way better than we expected.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Mini snag & CVS Value Book

Work was slow so I planned my Walgreen and CVS trips for when I dropped Daniel off at work. We pay 9% State tax and 5% city tax. I may not get my stuff as cheap as others, but it's as cheap as I can get it around here.








Walgreens:
Sarah needed a new hamper and they are on sale 2/5.00!
Colgate was .99 using Easy Saver.
Cadbury eggs were 2.00 each after Easy Saver - I am building up my Easter candy.
Bowl fresh were .50 each using Wag Coupon
3 Orbit gum - already snagged up by Sarah - .66 each with Easy Saver

Total paid 11.54
Savings 8.35








CVS:
I made 2 transactions. The first one used everything that had an Extra Buck return. Then I did another transaction so I could use those bucks on my next purchase. I have a bad habit of not returning in time to use them. Now I use them up before leaving the store.
Total paid: 9.13
Savings: 19.31
** The CVS Flyer does not show that the Herbal Essence Shampoo/condition that is on sale for 2.88 will give you a 1.00 Extra Buck for each one you buy. I had a coupon for 2, so I bought them and then noticed that I got a 2.00 Extra Buck. Whoo hooo! There was a booklet by the CVS flyers when I walked in the store called Extra Value Book. It lists things that will generate ECBs. The shampoo is limit 5 per household with card. Check out the book to see what else you could be saving on.


The Time Change

The time change has everyone here in a funk. Everyone except ME, that is. I love getting up before the sun. I feel like I get a jumpstart on my day. I feel like I get a lot more accomplished during the day too.

Sarah has slept late both school days this week. Highly unusual for her. She was ready in no time, but I know she was rushing. Not a good way to start the day.

Everyone is sluggish in the mornings. They end up staying up waaay later than they should, making them tired in the mornings. A vicious cycle.

Even Rich slept late. I know, I know. I had to make note of that on my calendar. First time in 20+ years that *I* had to wake HIM up! He's normally awake at the butt-crack of dawn every day, all cheerful and energized by the time I crawl out of bed. It's highly annoying and he loves to tease me in my sleepy state of brain not functioning yet.

Yesterday he left to go off shore. He had to be to the docks by 5. That meant he had to leave last night, drive all night, get a hotel around midnight, sleep a few hours, go to docks to catch the boat. All was fine with the trip, finding a place, settling in and saying goodnight (how I LOVE cell phones!!) This morning I called at 6 hoping to speak to him before he got out of range. When he answered with that deep, husky morning voice I knew something was wrong. He never got his wakeup call from the front desk. He was not happy. He missed the boat and doesn't know when the next one is to catch. That pushes his return home that much later. Darn it, I miss him already. It's just not the same with him gone. I'm patiently waiting for him to call and tell me the game plan.

But as for me? I am soo enjoying the time change. I love it dark in the morning and staying light longer in the evenings. Maybe I"ll have time to work in the yard some. I thought by now I'd have had some flowers planted or at least some shrubs. I may have to dig up some bulbs that were in a flower bed. We got rid of the bed, but the bulbs are still down in there. If the grass gets long enough, sometimes you can see the small leaves coming up.

What I do not look forward to is the HOT miserable summer.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Sunday Review

I'll get to my Monday Menu as soon as I figure out what to fix this week. I lounged/sewed yesterday, so I never made it to the store. I didn't clip my coupons OR look at the ads either. Yikes!

After the shower I went to the fabric store. Everything was 30% that I needed. I used my KitchenAid rebate card to make my purchases. So it was free to me! Gotta love free.

My friend Angie came over and we visited while I sewed. I made some stuff for her and we designed some stuff together. I think I went to bed around 5 am!

My sister showed up around 9 on Sunday. I showed her all the stuff I had been sewing. We talked a good bit about sewing and when we were younger. She made 2 kleenex holders for your purse and 1 zippered bag. She was so proud of herself. She said it was neat to make it, but liked going into a store and buying it instantly hahahah. We made peanut butter cookies and the left.

I sewed a bit more - made me a wonder wallet. That is the niftiest thing. I made a zippered bag. Then I cleaned the kitchen and went to bed. I was pooped.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Saturday Happenings

Today was Sarah's last basketball game - and they skunked em! Yeah, Sarah! And she made a basket :) AND they got medals for participating.

Sarah goes to a very small school. They have no football team, so basketball is everything!! From elementary on up you can join the "Fun Team". They do not play other schools. They divide the girls up each game and that's the team you play on that day. So, it's really practicing until they get to High School where they can try out for the official team. It's no pressure, all in fun, being with your friends kind of games. yes, the girls take it very seriously, and some of the parents. But it's just playing for fun. They all had a great time. Sarah is undecided if she wants to try out for the High School team. We shall see. She's the tallest one out there. The coaches want her to play.

I really want to go get some fabric. Can you tell I'm a bit addicted to sewing now? My friend Amanda said I am going to have pouches/bags/totes/purses/wallets out the whazoo soon. And she's right. I'd like to build up a little stash to keep on hand. Who wouldn't love a little zippered pouch with a present?? I am thinking end of the year presents for the teachers, their friends, etc. I am also thinking of making some for Cmas this year. I have plenty of time and can pace myself.

I was telling my sister about making the pouches and she wants to come over tomorrow and sew. I'm so excited. Something else for us to share. Being 6 yrs apart, we always seem to be in different stages of life with marriage and kids. Cooking and sewing seems to give us more in common. I'm hoping she will love it as much as I do.

Time to get moving. I have a wedding shower to attend.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Frugal Friday/paper systems

In my life, I can pretty much come up with a topic daily to blog about. There is always something happening. Leila left a comment about me being frugal. It's true. I have always been frugal. It comes naturally and I love being frugal.

I remember checking out Tightwad Gazette from the public library (cause I would never buy it when I can read it for free) and being disappointed. I pretty much did most of those things. That was many years ago and I'm sure I could use a refresher course. I'll have to get on the list; that book is always checked out.

Then came the internet. AHHHHHH! (singing angels) And I am able to connect with so many people all over and learn from them. And learn I have. Many people already do composting, and have for years. Many people cook from scratch. Many people use coupons. And many people are frugal. Not cheap, but frugal; big difference. Though, sometimes I think I may dance on that line more than I should.

All day I kept thinking about being frugal. What would seem frugal to someone else? What frugal thing did I do today?? Surely in one day I did something frugal? I grabbed my pen and paper to make a list of the things *I* see as frugal from my day. Then it dawned on me. My paper is the envelope from some junk mail. I keep them just for jotting down notes that I know I don't need to keep. I also reuse paper from the printer. Sometimes I cut it into squares and staple it in the corner. Sometimes I fold the paper in quarters and flip it around as needed.

The notes I do need to keep are in my notebook on my desk. Each day I write things down that I need to remember - kids schedules, phone messages, calls to make, calls to return, messages from work, school. I need a central place to keep these things. Because it's in one place I can reference things too. At the top corner is the current date. Then I list things on the lines. As they get accomplished, I put a diagnal line through the first part of the line. That way I know it's been taken care of, but I can still read the line if I need to. At the beginning of each day I check back over previous day. If something doesen't have that mark through it, I carry it over on the current date and put a line on over it on the old date. If my day ends in the middle of the page, that's where I start the next day. I'd never leave 1/2 a page empty LOL Sometimes I highlight. Sometimes I scribble on the sides. It's a running list of... stuff! I always know I have paper/pen while on the phone. I know where to find information. It's a good feeling to see all those things marked off at the end of the day.

What frugal thing have you done today? Do you have a paper system to share?

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Do you like Dove Soap?

Have you heard? It's all over the internet.

WHAT?? You don't know what I'm talking about??

You could do a search to see what all the fuss was about!

I did this 3 times last night along with the toothpaste.

In the end, I was standing in the store with 10.00 in my handing wondering what on earth I possibly MUST buy. Then it dawned on me. EASTER CANDY.

So, with my 10.00 I bought 6 bags of Easter Candy that was on sale and used the Super Saver coupon to boot!

I tell ya... I just love saving money. My truck and my laundry room smell Dovely heavenly.

If I am not mistaken, this is a March promotion. If we go into a depression, you will be able to spot all the Frugal People instantly. They will be the ones with fresh breath and clean skin! hahahahahaha

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Thanks so much

Thanks for the compliments on my purse. You are only fueling the fire for me to sew more.

If anyone out there sews.. can you let me know what kind of machine you have? I am currently using a Domestic that my father bought my mother in 1974! She's 34 years old and sews very well, but I am sure machines have made great strides since then.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

I totally ROCKED my purse

















I finally bit the bullet and made my purse, and it rocks, magnetic closure and all. I decided to make the purse like the pattern and then see if I wanted to make any changes on the next purse. I'm glad now that I didn't put pockets in it. It would have weighed it down in an awkward way. I made a box bottom and then went back and added a seam to help it stand up. Medium interfacing gives it enough stability, but it's not stiff like cardboard.

The pattern? It was free in a book I checked out at the public library. No pattern really, they just tell you the dimensions to cut and then outlined the steps. My wonderful husband made a cardboard pattern to keep for future reference. I copied the steps on the printer and put them in page protectors in my sewing binder to keep them safe and sound. Most of my patterns are freebies. And the internet has wonderful free patterns too, along with awesome tutorials on making things.

I loved this material the moment I saw it. It's thicker than cotton, feels like denim but it's not as thick. Best part, it was in the clearance bin. I'm about to make the matching wonder wallet and a purse tissue holder. I already made the zippered bag that matches.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Menu Monday

MENU MONDAY

Monday - Homemade sub sandwiches with all the fixings on jalopeno bread. Chips/dip.

Tuesday - Roast, rice w/gravy, potatoes, carrots, salad.

Wednesday - Chicken enchiladas or chicken pot pie, salad.

Thursday - Left overs.

Friday - Fish sticks, mac & cheese.

Busy week for me. Rich is waiting on a call to go offshore. That means all meals, kids, house, animals will be left up to me. Ugh. Planning a menu this week is KEY!

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Sewing and shopping

Sewing - I made Sarah a zippered pouch last night. Really cute. I was able to use up the very ugly blue zipper - it match perfectly with the material she chose and it's no longer ugly. Funny how that works.

I finally cut out my material for my purse. I know, I know. Sew the damned thing already. I figured out what my problem is. I do not want to fail. So, I don't start! That way I cannot fail. I'm a perfectionist. Sometimes it really is annoying. I am getting better. Knowing why I keep self-sabotaging myself is half the battle.

Shopping:
Sarah and I hit the library. She surfed the internet while I clipped coupons and made my grocery list. I do not allow them on my computer since getting a virus. It's my work computer and I cannot take that chance that they mess it up. She doesn't mind using the computer at the library. It gets us out of the house, we sometimes get books, and I get to spend some time clipping coupons.

We ventured to Walgreens, CVS, and Kroger. I read a blog where the woman posts her steals with a picture. The visual really helps. Unfortunately, my haul is just waaay too big for pictures. I don't go just for the deals, I go for the weekly shopping.

My shopping total is HIGH already and it's the first day of March. Egads! I'm supposed to be saving money. And I am. I was just about out of specific items and lo and behold this week had some great sales!

Tylenol - extended release tablets
Excedrine Migraine.
Band-Aids.
Dish soap.
Laundry soap.
Dryer sheets.
Toothbrushes.
Toothpaste - free at Walgreens!!
Pads.
Batteries.
Qtips.
Epsom salt.
Deoderant.
PRILOSEC!!

Sarah likes coming shopping with me and I love having her there. I know she is learning so much about price comparisons, sales, coupons, menu planning, etc.

My haul went like this:
Walgreens - 20.00 - tide, splenda, paper plates (3), epsom salt, excidrine, tylenol, dawn dishsoap, toothpaste (free), Band-Aids, qtips. Even the cashier said it was a great savings. I did my RRs first and then used the 4.50 off for my other stuff.

CVS- 82.00! Two 42 ct Prilosec!!, 3 pkg pads, 16 ct batteries, 8-pk bounty, 9-pk charmin (free), 3 dawn dish soap, bounce dryer sheets, deoderant. I got 3.00 extra care bucks and a 10.00 off 30.00. Must use in the next 3 days!!! Blah!

Kroger - Groceries! 225.00 - 57.00 savings = 168.00!!!

While the total of the three stores seems like a lot, I'm pretty stocked up on items. I'd rather buy them on sale ahead of time instead of full price when I need them. Every little bit of savings helps.