Monday, March 29, 2010

Monday Menu

After watching Food Revolution on Friday, I feel more inspired to eat healthy.  I am trying to keep some perspective and not go overboard, but I really feel that Jaime Oliver is right.  We are what we eat.  On that note, this week's menu will focus on different fruit and veggies.

B: Cereal and milk
L: Leftover Pulled Pork and salad
S: Sausage Gumbo w/ carrots, celery, onions, bellpepper and lots of tomatoes/ rice/ broccoli 
Dessert : Brownies

B: Banana Bread
L: Leftover Sausage Gumbo w/ side of sauteed zuchinni
S: Pork Chops/ Mashed Potatoes/ carrots

B: Pancakes w/ syrup
L: Sandwich/ chips/ fruit
S: Chili w/ crackers

B: Banana Bread
L: Salad w/ CrackersAzsxdcd
S: Spaghetti w/ Wheat Pasta/ Zuchinni

B: Pancakes
L: Easter Brunch
S: Easter Dinner

B: Muffins
L: Leftovers
S: Chicken Dumplings / Carrots

Friday, March 19, 2010

Frugal Fridays

After reading LifeasMom's post for Frugal Friday, I could empathize with her.  I shared some of the same experiences as far as yard sales go when I was young.  Sinking deep into the seat, I wished with all my heart that I wouldn't see any of my classmates at the yard sale.  I never took into account that if I saw them there or if they were having it, it meant they were in the same boat as my family.

If you have ever read my blog, you know my goal is to pay down my mortgage so I have been on the frugal path for a very long time.  In our marriage we have seen times of abundance and time when we have not had abundance, but somehow we have always managed without using credit that was carried over month to month.  Now that I am older, I do not view hand-me-downs the same.  I love them, and so do my children.  Now I understand that their current attitude about used clothes probably will not last as they get older but that is okay.  I believe in living in the moment so when their attitude changes perhaps I will shop sales more, but this is how my family deals with hand-me-downs now.

We shop our attic.  We talk about their wonderful cousins who selected the clothing we are wearing today.  We talk about how they are our heroes and how lucky we are that they give us their clothes.  I take all hand-me-downs and anything I think we can use, we do.  I try to pass on what we can't use.  I shop consignment sales on the discount days and our local Junior League sale.  We get wonderful bargains.  Most importantly, when they get dressed in the morning, I tell them "Cousin Reagan has the best taste.  She dresses like a princess and so do you."  My little girl thinks it is a treat.  I believe a lot about life is about your attitude towards it.  My children view hand-me-downs as a treat because I treat it like it is the greatest thing in the world.  This world is what you make of it.  I will get off my soap box now.  Remember with kids- presentation is everything.

* This post is linked to Frugal Friday.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Netflix Bargains

Since I have been homebound, I have had to find activities the kids can do inside the house so that I can supervise them while propping my leg up.  We have gardening supplies, playdough, baking, coloring sheets, and many toys to play with at the house, but at the end of the day the house is a wreck.  I am limited in what I can do and picking up the amount of toys that four children can drag out in a day is tiring with a normal leg.  Netflix has been my saving grace.

Before my husband left for his business trip, we downloaded some kid movies to our Netflix Streaming Disc.  Each night after dinner, we play a game in which we clean the house as fast as we can.  When we finish, the older boys pick a movie they can watch until bedtime.  This gets my house clean and I can rest with my leg up for a good hour.  Right now, the monthly Netflix fee of $7.99, I believe, is the best deal working for me. 

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Making "Green" Dollars

In honor of St. Patrick's Day, I decided to submit a post to Heavenly Homemaker's blog.  Many people have hobbies that they can make work for them with just a little initiative.

When I quit my job, I was a happy stay-at-home mom.  I tried to stay active by walking around the block and exercising at home.  When my oldest was about two years old, he was saying only a handful of words so my pediatrician suggested I put him in a Mother's day out program.  I decided instead to join a gym that had a nursery.  I also made a commitment to attend once a day five days a week.   I would stay for one hour and after a short time, I noticed that his speech had improved.  When I became a regular at the gym, I was asked to teach a couple of classes.  This became a win-win situation.  Our gym membership was lowered by $45.00, and I made about $150.00 every two weeks.  I have now worked there for a little over four years.  All of my children love it and consider it a second home.  I do not work there very often now, but I am thankful for the time we have had there.  I still go to exercise about 40 minutes and my little girl gets a preschool education for the cost of a gym membership.  My kids are truly loved and cared about there. 

My second son goes to a preschool that costs $200.00 a month.  I could lower this cost by substituting or even teaching there some time.  This is probably something I will look at when my daughter goes to school.  Look at the activities you would like your children participate in and see if you can lower the cost.   By increasing or developing your talents, you should be able to bring in money or lower the outflow in your household.  These are my "green" tips for St. Patrick's Day.

Wonderful Wednesday, Part 2

For the rest of the day, I will be on the couch.  If you read the previous post, you know we spent the day at the park yesterday and my ankle is swollen today.  I will probably add some more books to my inventory so that will help me make money.  I also will make pretzels if I fill up to rolling them out.  We will see.  If I am able to do the pretzels, I will take a picture.  These are wonderful.  I use the same recipe as Heavenly Homemakers.  Delicious and easy.  A great combination.

Works for Me Wednesday

Yesterday, we spent the day at the park.  Spring picture packets had come to the house from the schools, and I felt I could do as well.  Broken ankle and all, we took to the park.  Here are the results.

Little Man

Little Cutie Putie

My Pookie Bear

My Little Princess

By taking my own pictures and developing, I saved at least a hundred dollars so I will call yesterday a Super Saving Day.  I did spend $2.93 in shipping and handling.  Not a bad day at all.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Crazy Monday

Today, I will be resting again.  So far, I have cooked double batches of pancakes and I made french toast from a loaf of bread.  I am hoping that by having ready made breakfasts I will resist the lure of easy cereal breakfasts.  I am on my own this week since hubby is out of town due to work.  My mom is down from Birmingham to help me as far as driving goes.

I would love to post a menu for this week, but I will be the very grateful recipient of meals being delivered due to my broken foot.  I really have some of the best friends ever.  Even though I can get up to make meals, they insisted and so I am going to enjoy the break.

Have a great day!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Pumpkin Chocolate Muffins

Today I whipped up this muffins for snack and dessert. Delicious, if I do say so myself.

1 2/3 c. whole wheat flour
1 c. granulated sugar
1 heaping tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. cloves
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
2 large eggs
1 c. plain pumpkin
1 stick butter, melted
1 c. chocolate chips

Add dry ingredients and mix. Add eggs, pumpkin, and butter and mix well. Add chocolate chips and stir. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes. These freeze very well.

I use pumpkin that I froze after Halloween. I froze it especially for these muffins so each bag contains a cup of pumpkin.

To freeze pumpkin, simply cut into fourths and place in oven at 200 degrees until you can pierce it with a fork. Once done, take out and let it cool. Scoop out pumpkin and throw away the rinds. I put the pumpkin in my Kitchenaid mixer and add a little water. Measure in 1 cup servings and place in sandwich bags. I have used these successfully in muffins and pumpkin rolls.

My goal last year was to eliminate as little waste as possible, and by doing this, I was able to use the pumpkins that normally would have been thrown out. I actually didn't use all my pumpkins and now as often as we have these muffins I wished I had frozen all of the pumpkins I had. Live and learn.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Great News

Super Excited. My second son made it into our local magnet school. It is the same one our oldest son goes to. When the economy went south, magnet school applications soared. People took their children out of private schools and tried to get them into the magnet schools here in Montgomery. We were extremely worried. I asked the secretary how many applications they received last year, 900. Can you believe it? Nine hundred applications for eighty spots. Incredible.

For those of you who are not from here, our local schools are hit and miss. The school we are zoned for is a definite miss. The last time I checked it was failing and had one assault and two weapons found at an elementary school. Needless to say, we were not going to send any of our children to there. We decided if they did not get in I would homeschool. I am so excited though that he will be able to attend with his older brother.

Super Savings Saturday

Today, my sweet husband had to take me and our four kids to run errands today. The first stop was Academy Sports. This particular trip we needed to get the boys a bat so that they could practice baseball. As usual, we did not stick to our list. We ended up buying a bat, baseball bag, iron skillet (Wedding gift), and a pair of sunglasses. I had a giftcard for $13.00 so ended up paying $60.00. Next time, I will have to get their baseball pants.

On to Walmart! There I bought groceries I couldn't get at Costco. I had several free coupon products and ended up saving $11.00 in coupons. I did not veer from the list here. I also bought seeds and soil to start a small garden. We will see how that goes. My husband reminded me to not spend so much on seeds since they probably will not produce. Money spent- $54.XX.

Costco was our next stop. Once again, we kept to the list. I managed a $5.00 coupon for diapers. I have never tried these before so I sure hope they work. I could have probably worked a better deal elsewhere, but the truth is I can't really run around chasing deals. My husband can be pretty patient but trying to run from store to store is not his cup of tea. Total spent $123. XX

With this broken ankle, deal shopping is probably going to be at a standstill for awhile. Making Money is where I will be focusing my time and energy. We will see how well that goes with one foot.

Hope you guys are having a great Saturday!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Frugal Fridays

When I look at the Frugal Friday links, it makes me feel good to be part of this online community where frugality is celebrated and appreciated. After reading Heavenly Homemaker's Frugal Friday, I realized that I needed to be more aware of how I present my own frugality. I feel there is a difference in being frugal and being cheap. Frugal living, to me, means I am careful of my money so that it allows me the resources to be able to help those in need. I do this each month to a significant degree so I am satisfied that my priorities are in line.

On to my Frugal Friday tip! I am on the Weight Watchers maintenance plan. Each night I fix a meal that is allowed on the plan. I make a note to go ahead and weigh out my portion for the next day's lunch. If it is a meal that my kids particularly enjoy, I also go ahead and make them a portion to reheat for their next day's lunch. I microwave it in the morning as hot as I can get it and then put the portion in a thermos. Nothing is wasted. My preschooler and toddler gets any small leftovers with a fruit added to round out the meal. I am never at a loss as to what we are having the next day.

By having a plan and sticking with it, I save a ton of money. I am never tempted by the drive thru because I know 1.) it is unhealthy and 2.) expensive with four kids. The kids know I will not stop for a drive thru on the spur of the moment whim. Every meal we eat out has been planned, and the kids are told prior to going to the restaurant. This is a habit so the kids rarely ask to go to McDonalds, Burger King, or Chick-Fil-A. This works for us.

*This tip is linked to Frugal Fridays

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Making Money

I picked up my checks from the consignment sales and deposited $77.00 and some cents. YEAH! Maybe it will help with the medical bills due to the broken ankle. My husband and I sold some chairs for a total of a $100.00 and I sold some books for $15.00. I know that is not a great sum but some is better than none.

Today I will
-submit for some rebates
- eat leftovers for lunch and have dinner in the crockpot
- do some work for my daycare
- did school with son and need to do a little more this afternoon

Activity is light due to ankle and I'm in a lot of pain today. I think I have done a little too much on it. Hoping for a better day tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


As I sit here with a broken ankle propped up, I feel very grateful. Here are just a few things that I feel very blessed to have.

- great friends who are willing to take and pick up my children from their schools since I can't drive
- a great online community that makes me feel less weird in the everyday world (i.e. cooking with whole grains, not eating processed foods, frugal living, etc.
- the ability to pay for care I need for the broken ankle
- medicine to aleviate the pain
- natural remedies for allergy relief
- a wonderful husband who forces his stubborn wife to go to the doctor for her sprained (?) ankle
- four wonderful kids who allow me each day to smother them with hugs and kisses
- my brillant husband who fixed our furnace for drumroll please :-) $16.00

Really, could life get any better?

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The Little Things

Lately, we have started to view the economy differently. Because of this, we have had to reassess our own view of finances. I talked about this earlier when I started to write again. As I go through my day, I think about the little things that I do that cost money. Can I change those things? I feel that I can as long as I stay aware. What are the little things that I am doing?

1.) Not throwing away leftovers. By being clever, I can usually find something to do with leftovers.
2.) Turning off lights when I leave the room
3.) Turning down the thermostat - Do I really need to be able to sit in my underwear in the middle of winter?
4.) Using what is in the freezer - It might have a weird taste, but I'm not vomiting. That's a good sign. Seriously, I am not going to the extreme. Look through the freezer and see what lovely creation is in the back.
5.) Monitoring my soda intake - Notice I didn't say give up totally. I'm not crazy!
6.) Using my time at home wisely - cooking from scratch and using food storage
7.) Ebaying extra stuff
8.) Watching the pennies, turn into nickels, then to dimes, on to quarters, and miracle upon miracle many dollars

I feel that by concentrating on the little things I will be able to accomplish my goals. I am very excited about the future and feel that by continuing to do these things I will be able to reach my ultimate goal.What are the little things you are doing? Share and teach me.