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Archive for March, 2006

Home alone.

March 31st, 2006 at 10:31 pm

DH left for work early this afternoon.
DD3 is out of town visiting with her Papa.
GS & GD are home with their moms...
The phones have been quiet all day...(generally Fridays are like that)...

So Im thinking....

A fire(free), I have a couple of those bathtub fizzball thingys(stocking stuffers from xmas)... a candle(another stocking gift)...a nice bottle of wine(farewell gift from job last year)...and a good book (checked out from library- The Education of Little Tree)....or a half done knitting project- baby blanket-gift(need to get this done!)....I think I will enjoy a relaxing frugal afternoon.

Hmm...

TaTa



Flour...and frugality

March 31st, 2006 at 09:17 pm

I was thinking...today I opened my 3rd 25 pound bag of flour this year.

I tried to approximate how much flour I had bought in my pre-frugal days...and I think I can honestly say that I have used more flour in the first three months of 2006 as I used in all the other 'mom'years combined!!!

Last year when I started baking, I pulled out my baking powder and dusted off the cobwebs...I noticed a shocking experation date...I won't reveal the exact date, we will just say that baking powder was correctly programed to make it through Y2K.... give or take 8 years...lol

When my new frugal journey began, I remember digging though five different cupboards and drawers to come up with all the ingredients and tools needed to make something. By the time I had, I was out of the mood to bake....and not real eager to have to do it again soon...so i rearranged my kitchen and now have a 'baking center' with everything right where I need it. And I bake all the time and love it!

And my family is loving it...This morning, my DS stopped by and asked if I would 'please' make him waffles...so I made a nice big batch of batter that will last all weekend...my secret ingredients...a pinch of nutmeg, a little cinnamon and a tsp of madagascar bourbon vanilla...throw in some blueberries and we have just duplicated heaven on earth in my kids eyes!!!

Dined out with Jane

March 31st, 2006 at 05:20 am

I wrote a blog a few days ago about my good friend Jane. She and i try to get together every few months to catch up in person. Usually with a bogo lunch somewhere.

This morning she called and said she had a $50 gc to a really nice restaraunt and wanted to use it tonight...so I offered to 'pay the difference and tip'...

Reservations at 6...so I headed over at 5:30...the drive there is gorgeous...the road follows the river and there is lots of open pasture land...with daffodil season in full bloom, I can simply say..God knew what he was doing when he created them.
Then with spring here...there was an abundance of lambs and calves enjoying their first days of life. I had to slow down when I got near the small town where the restaraunt is becasue there were 7 deer crossing the road.

Dinner was fantastic...a nice glass of wine, salad, soup, breadbowl, and the main course...all while visiting and watching the river...The bill came...$46...so I left $10 more with the gift certificate...$10...for such a lovely, memorable evening with a dear friend.

The drive home was a little unnerving...it was POURING down...I mean buckets and the wipers weren't working fast enough...had to go slow....got home safely.

Such a nice time...

Karma.....and socks

March 30th, 2006 at 04:43 pm

I am not sure if I believe in Karma...but it is the only reasonable explanation for my experiences with socks....Socks??? of all things, why socks??
To explain, let me start with a definition I found for Karma:

Karma is a sum of all that an individual has done, is currently doing and will do. The effects of those deeds and these deeds actively create present and future experiences, thus making one responsible for one's own life, and the pain in others.

Plainly spoken- cause and effect...what comes around, goes around...

So...in a past life, I must have spent alot of time at the market mixing up socks...putting the reds with the blacks, yellows with greens...because I can NEVER seem to find matching socks...

Or maybe in a past life I mistreated my washer and dryer ....and now they are gobbling up one of each pair to repay me...

Whatever the reason...all I know is that more days than not...I have mismatched socks on. I have a drawer just for socks and it is reasonably full...just not of any two alike...

Where the heck are all the matching socks??? Am I alone in this perplexing situation...or are there others seemingly guilty of past sins as I am???

I am ready to make a public plea and confess my wrongdoings...whatever they may be so that I can finally wear socks without worrying that my pants arent long enough to cover my pink and orange combination for the day....



Poured here today too....

March 30th, 2006 at 12:30 am

Yes, when it rains, it pours....found out that both my parents will need surgery in the next week or two...

They do not handle stress well anymore...so keeping them both grounded through this is my new challenge...

Thank God I am home to care for them...

anyone got an umbrella?

Code in my node

March 29th, 2006 at 03:22 pm

I have a code in my node and throat today...sneezing, caughing, watery eyes...GS and I have seemed to pass this one back and forth for several weeks now.

Today will be a no spend day here for us...I think I will start counting the number of these we have each month. DH has to drive to work- but that will be our only expense.

DH didn't get home until 6 this morning...we works nights and usually gets off at 1-2am...but he got called on a job at the last minute that took several hours...so he clocked in yesterday at 3pm and out this morning at5am...a 14 hour day. The overtime will sure come in handy.

DD1 and the grandbabies are coming out for a little while today...should be interesting trying to keep them 'quiet' so DH can sleep...especially with this code...Wink

Jane (another long post and tribute to a dear friend)

March 29th, 2006 at 02:52 am

My life has been blessed by so many wonderful people, I thought I would share another with you.

I worked with Jane for a number of years. For many of them, I did not know her very well, she was just another co-worker. I made good money at my job, so going to lunch with my peers was something I did everyday...but I noticed that, although Jane made the same as I did, she always declined the offer to go with and instead ate leftovers in her office.

As time went on, Jane and I became fast friends and I learned so much about the human spirit.

10 years earlier, Jane's husband had died after a long illness, leaving behind Jane and her 8 year old daughter.

Before he died, his insurance had run out and Jane had put more than $70,000 on her credit cards to cover perscriptions and nursing care.

The easy way out would have been for Jane to file bankruptcy, but instead...she started working three jobs.
Three jobs with an eight year old...doesn't that mean a troubled teen down the road???

On the contrary, Jane and her daughter volunteer weekends at the humane society, Jane was president of her daughters band club, Jane started a community education programs for underpriveledged folks...and Jane and her daughter spent their free time counseling single moms on how to get through...

Aside from her three jobs, an unbeknownst to her daughter, three times each week Jane donated her plasma...which was money that went to her daughter so she never had to feel 'poor' or 'different' from the other kids at school...it bought her clothes and occaisonal school supplies that were above and beyond.

Fast forward 10 years...I have known Jane for about 4 years now. The original $70,000 is down to under $10,000...Jane refinances her house and has one obtainable payment for the first time in her life.

And what became of Jane's daughter??? Well, she graduated with a 3.99 GPA and is currently attending West Point Military Academy. Not bad....

I often think about a saying I once read that when we get to feeling as though do not 'have the time' we have the same number of hours in each of our days as Mother Theresa, Albert Einstein, etc....and my friend Jane.

Jane has truly been a remarkable inspriation in my life.

How I spent my day wtihout this site...

March 29th, 2006 at 01:30 am

Hello!

I was sooo baffled all day why I couldn't get onto the site...and I was a little bummed to not be able to read how everyone was doing...so I decided to at least be productive.

I joined one of the coupon trains recently (even though I am not a big coupon user) I thought it would be a fun way to start using them again...so to prepare, I got my moms Sunday paper that she had tossed out and found the coupons and started clipping...then went through all of the magazines lying around and clipped some more.

Then I found the sale ad in the paper for one of our local stores...and there was a $10 off coupon if I spent over $50...which is usually no problem.

So, I looked at all the ads...and started remembering coupons that matched the things on sale...hey, this is kinda exciting...and 99% of the coupons were things I buy...just maybe not the brand.

So, I headed off to town and started shopping....I got a little discouraged to find that the first 3 coupons did not bring the price down to the lowest that I could get...darn, so I just passed those items by...

But then...OH BOY...I het some amazing deals on things I need and use....and I walked out of the store having saved $78.40!!!! off the total...now mind you, some of that is due to the way overpricing the stores do to make you feel like your getting a bargain using the club card....however, I added up all my coupons and the bogo's that I would have purchased anyways....and I saved over $50!!!!!!!

So, in a way, I owe it to the site problems today that I got so motivated....


I am sooo excited about that savings...now I am even more eager for the train to get here!!!

Monday 3-27-06

March 27th, 2006 at 06:06 pm

DH is off today since he worked Saturday. He sold a cord of wood that needs to be delivered today so he and his dad are getting it ready.

I suggested that he and his dad deliver it, then go have lunch in town. DH also wants to look for a cover to put over our splitter so we can work when it's raining and when we need shade. I have given him a $200 budget (he had picked one out for $1200)....boy talk about opposite ends of the spectrum on that!!
So he will also look for a $200 cover today.

Was out checking on dogs yesterday and Noticed my little Anna is getting rounder and showing signs of a pregnancy...so we will have a litter of Labs next month!!!! She is a yellow and the dad (Bear) is chocolate. I love whelping time!!! This will bring a little money (about $2000) that I can put away for next winter.

I completed a week of stairs, so will add $14 to my challenge...which brings me to $80!! Sure is fun seeing a little account grow that was non-existent a month ago. (thank you to whoever came up with the challenge idea!!)

Strawberry Pie

March 26th, 2006 at 11:59 pm

My mom made two strawberry pies yesterday. One for her house and one for ours...

Fresh strawberries in strawberry glaze...on chocolate grahm crust with vanilla cool whip on top....

I love this season!!!

Where will the day take us

March 26th, 2006 at 07:54 pm


Today will be a full day.

DH and I take our trash and my parents trash to the dump every three-four weeks.Today is trash day.

Cost: $13 for all- which my father insists on paying...why are parents so stubborn???
If we paid for trash pick-up, it would cost us each $40 bi-monthly so we save $27 each month taking it ourselves. The dump station is on our way to town so we don't use any extra gas for doing it since we plan a town trip that day anyways.

We were given $50 in walmart gift cards (DD2 wins them (and lots of other g/cs)all the time at her job and gives the walmart ones to me because she doesn't like shopping at walmart)So DH and i are going to stop at walmart today to pick up dog food and a few other household items.

Then we are going to 'splurge' and stop by Blockbuster to see if there is a movie we can agree on for tonight...he likes bloody war-type movies and I like pretty much anything that isn't bloody...so we shall see.

Lunch is chicken ceasar's. I pre-cooked the chicken yesterday and made enough to eat off of for a few days yet...can't wait to have some in teryaki rice bowls tomorrow! yum

Dinner will be bar-b-qued london broil that I got a great two for one sale on a while back (a large one feeds us + my parents for under $5)

So meals today are about $7 for 4 adults.

We already have popcorn for the movie...but I would really love some M&Ms...so those will find a way into the cart at walmart too! (2nd indulgence for the day)

The sun is shining today and I think it is warm enough to hang some clothes...so I am off to do that. (Took my mom a dozen daffodils for her table this morning...she loves flowers!)

GS will most likely spend part of the afternoon here pulling his beloved wagon...

Have a good one!


Phyllis

March 25th, 2006 at 06:56 pm

Phyllis was a single mom who lived across the street from my parents. Her daughter and I were good friends and we spent alot of time at each others homes.

When I was 26 I was going through a divorce (abusive marriage, got the heck out thank God) and had 3 children. I lived about 2 1/2 hours from my parents.

It was 1988. The night of my DD2s third birthday...my brother died in a motorcycle accident. I can not even begin to explain how painful this event was or the impact it had on us for years to come.

My ex was not too forthcoming with support and I was struggling. I went to staywith my parents for a week...and made the funeral arrangements. Although taking the time from work was not something I could afford to do, it is not something that crosses your mind at a time like this.

The day of the funeral I was in one of the bedrooms with my childhood friend recalling memories of my brother when Phyllis knocked on the door. She hugged me and handed me money...and said she wanted me to be able to spend more time with my family...it was $200 and I know this was very tough for Phyllis to come up with.

I was so grateful to her...I spent an extra week with my parents...and have NEVER forgot that gift.

In her honor, each year I find a struggling single mom and anonymously send her money...some years it is only $50, other years it is more... Phyllis's gift has turned into over $1500 now...and it is something I will do for the rest of my life.



Whatever it Takes...

March 25th, 2006 at 04:22 pm

Ive been asked so many times how we were able to give up my income to stay home.
I made the larger of our two incomes...so by staying home, our income would go to less than half...and we usually found a way to spend most of that each month. (needless to say, there was not alot in savings outside of our 401Ks)

My journey to being at home started at least 3 years prior, when I began reading every frugal-type book out there. I also visited the Dollar Stretcher website weekly (they update every monday)

When I got to the point that I found myself saying that I would do "whatever it takes" and I seriously meant it- felt it to my soul...I knew I was ready.

My first thought was to cash out on the 401k, pay everything but the house off and then start resaving for retirement...but thankfully, talked myself out of that one. (My 401K has grown over $1000 per month by just leaving it alone...)

We decided the best strategy for us (and I am not recommending this to anyone else) was to refinance our home and roll our few debts into that payment. This saves us alot every month...and made the SAH possible.

I had also quit using my vacation for that last year and between my sick time (which I never used) and my vacation time, I had a cushion to fall back on.

We started a firewood business to earn a little extra...and I decided to re-enter the world of dog breeding (which I have always loved) My son also started a small businesss that I run the 'office' of. The office is here in my home and I get a small salary for answering phones and doing the bookwork.

"whatever it takes" was a very scary territory for me. My family was used to a lifestyle of spending. How could I get them to change?

Well, many discussions later and making sure they understood my reasons and how important this was to me.... they agreed to give it a go.

"Whatever it takes" meant no more eating out(and picking up the tab for the whole family)...and now we don't even miss it. It meant no more spur of the moment weekend jaunts in expensive hotels...it meant challenging every line item on the budget- but it meant MORE QUALITY for our family. (Mom stayed WAY STRESSED for too many of those 10+ years)

A year later, "Whatever it Takes" isn't scary at all. It is actually fun to come up with new ideas- and very exciting when those ideas work. My family has adjusted quite well to the simpler lifestyle. 'Whatever it Takes' is my mantra...and it is working for me!


My best frugal lesson (Warning, long rambling post)

March 24th, 2006 at 05:38 pm

Growing up, we lived a feast or famine life...there were some years we ate alot of beans...and others we could afford pretty much anything we wanted.

In my teens, we lived mostly feast years...both parents worked long hours and they were able to afford nice cars, Christmas was usually sprinkled with tiny boxes with diamonds or gold...mom collected crystal, antiques and chinaware...dad had his guns...he built a huge shop and it was filled with tools and gadgets...

They had lots of beautiful 'stuff'.

My dad was a heavy equipment truck driver...and can still recall his busy work days, and his many, many proud moments at his job...but he can't recall being at any of our school or extra-curricular activities (cause he wasn't) nor could he tell you any of our friends names...

Mom tried to be there, but she was pretty tired most of the time...and I never really got the feeling that she enjoyed it..

Don't get me wrong, our parents loved us dearly...and we were a very close family.

One day, they decided to sale all of their stuff because they were tired of it and wanted to become RV gypsies....so they had an estate sale. Their lifetime of hard work for stuff boiled down to $18,000 at the end of the day. $18,000 doesn't last very long when you travel...

I guess all my rambling amounts to this:

The cost of all that 'stuff' was too much. My parents worked themselves to death to accumulate it...and then sold it for enough money to travel and live on for about a year.

I learned the most FRUGAL lesson that day. Stuff sucks...(just kidding)
I decided then and there that we were going to do it differently. Time with our family is our goal...not stuff.

We don't have alot of stuff ~however~ We go to the extra-curricular things, our DDs friends practically live here on the weekends, if you've read any of my blogs, you know about the grandbabies... and life is good.

Pizza's for all!

March 24th, 2006 at 04:01 am

Well, today turned out to be just as enjoyable as I'd hoped.

DD1, GD(6mo) and GS(23mo) all showed up. We romped and played. GS helped 'Papa' and I load a cord of wood onto the truck..then he pulled his wagon at least a mile circling the property (we are on 2 acres)...he fell asleep singing his 'abc's' to gramma (he cant say all the letters, but gramma knows what he's trying to say Smile )

...DD1 and I ran to Costco and stocked up on some pizza supplies and a few other things we needed....oh, and found an adorable outfit for GD ($6.49)

Made 6 large pizza for 4 families to dine on tonight (cost of all, under $10)

And now I am home alone...enjoying some P&Q before I start on my last 10 round trips on the staircase....ugh.

All in all...a great family kinda day!

Fun Day Here Today

March 23rd, 2006 at 05:49 pm

Today is sure to be a busy, fun day. DD1 is coming out with her baby (6mo dd) and bringing my other grandbaby (23 mo GS)...DD3 is out of school for spring break...

All us girls are going to make homemade pizzas for dinner tonight...this will feed my family, DD1s family and my parents for about $7...and I will have plenty of leftovers for lunch/dinner tomorrow...and we have so much fun doing it!

GS always loves coming out here so he can pull his wagon all over the property.

I better go get dressed and ready...Everyone have a great day...

The Green Dress

March 23rd, 2006 at 12:45 am

As I mentioned earlier, I needed to come up with a formal, dark green dress for DD3 by tomorrow night....

The first store we went to had the most beautiful dresses...in just about every pastel shade you could imagine...PASTEL...I need DARK GREEN

So we go to the back of the store..and find a clearance rack...and what do I see??? a beautiful dark emerald green dress...but what size...I quickly look...size 8 PERFECT...and DD3 is not saying 'yew" with that look all teenagers have perfected (you know the look)...

So I look at the price....gulp $120...
oh boy...well, let's try it anyways...after all, it's on sale...must be around $50-60...she tries it on...with her red hair she is GORGEOUS...

We get to the register and the grand total....$20.39 OMG!!!!!!

Well, the dress is strapless and she has to have something on her shoulders (youth group rules) and so we look at a simple black shawl...$14.99....on sale for $12.74.... Shoes...$14.99 (and she can wear both the shawl and shoes with her pink and black 8th grade graduation dress that we got on clearance long before I knew we would need a dark green one.)

Grand total.....$48.12!!!! I am smiling here!!!

Spend Day for me-

March 22nd, 2006 at 04:36 pm

My 14 yo daughter is going on a youth function this weekend and I just learned that she needs a dark green formal to wear....egads. Today is an early out day for her school, so as soon as she's out we are off to the stores to try to find this dress....She will also need $30 spending $ for food/gas/etc. (There goes my allowance for this week and next)

I have a litle money saved ($50)in our clothing fund...unfortunately, the miscellaneous fund is -$3 because I just got eye glasses that I hadn't planned on...Frown

So, my goal is to find an appropriate 'dark green' dress for under $50 by tomorrow night...

We have a Ross and a TJ Maxx in town...and hopefully dark green dresses are off season (and on clearance) right now. Keep your fingers crossed for us!

I will be updating my Stair Challenge money weekly- since I am setting it up to transfer once a week.(but I am at $4 for the week so far!!!)

ReIntoduced to Rebating

March 22nd, 2006 at 04:40 am

I used to rebate years ago when I was newly out on my own. I did pretty good...then after a twist in the road of life..I became a single mom (with 3 babies) and between work and home and no time, the rebating became a thing of the past....until today.

Thanks to this site- I am sending off my first two rebates in 20 years!!! I am doing the Colgate rebate and the Venus Razor rebate (about $12 between the two).

My 14 yo daughter was baffled how we could get them for free...so we had a nice chat about it. Hopefully, she will experience LOTS more of this and become a frugal/rebating young woman too.

I have to say, I am feeling 'bit' by the rebate bug....

25 trips...up and down

March 21st, 2006 at 03:55 pm

I made it 25 times up and down those steps...which means $2 towards my $20 challenge!

MI Clason has joined us too...so we are looking forward to hearing her progress!

66 + 2= 68 in my challenge $


Ima saver- great job on hitting 28!! Im going to try to keeo up with you!!!

Oprah and poverty

March 21st, 2006 at 12:55 am

Did you have a chance to catch Oprah today? Her show was about poverty in America....and the differing circumstances that put folks into poverty. I was really touched by those stories...and It made me think how wonderful it is that a site like this was created for all to share and keep our families from suffering the fates like those on the show.

Clearly, we have all different income levels and spending habits...but we share a common goal of wanting to do it a little differently...for the better of our families.

Sure was an eye opener...I appreciate even more the tips you all share- Thank you!

Ima Saver...Im at 20...5 more to go before bedtime!

What a GREAT Day

March 17th, 2006 at 11:25 pm

Can I just share a great day with you all?

Today I am watching my GS (23 months)- The sun has actually popped out from the clouds a few times...and my daffodils are all in bloom. DH, GS and I took a nice long walk while GS pulled his wagon. GS splashed in puddles, petted the kitty, pointed out an airplane and thoroughly enjoyed his self.

While DH (aka PAPA) bar-b-qued, GS and I went up to the 'big bed' and layed down til GS fell asleep- where he is right now.

DH had to go to work...and stopped to have taxes done on his way - He just called and we are actually GETTING A REFUND this year (as opposed to paying through the nose when I was working outside the home) WOO HOO!!!

Now the house is all quiet...GS is soundly napping and I am so relieved about the tax news...

This, indeed, is a good....no GREAT day. Happy St. Paddies!!!

Dinner with friends

March 16th, 2006 at 03:08 pm

In my past life (work outside the home mom) I thought nothing of picking up a mocha an my way to work, eating lunch out everyday, going out to dinner almost nightly, etc.

But now... I went to dinner with two friends last night ~ one of them had picked the location. I planned to spend $11 tops, but there was nothing on the menu that was under $10.

I got there early and the restaraunt was cold so I ordered coffee ($2.60!!) For dinner I had a half order chicken fetuccini($11) and the 3 of us decided to split a dessert...but since I asked the waiter for it, he put it on my bill ($6) gulp... with tip I spent as much on that ONE MEAL as I can feed my family for 4-5 nights (with leftovers!!) (My goal is to keep the cost of dinner with left overs under $5)

We had a great visit- but I am struggling with the cost of the meal...I guess somewhere in the past year that Ive been home, Ive made a transition 'cause there was a time I wouldn't have thought twice about it.

$20 challenge update

March 14th, 2006 at 05:58 pm

I referred my son to ING and he opened his account last night...I received a $10 bonus in the account today!! This will go towards my $20 challenge money.

$56 + 10 = 66!!!

Sigh of relief....

March 14th, 2006 at 05:47 am

I hit the enter button earlier today on my $20 challenge...so proud that I had started to save....and a nano-sec later my washer started making this horrible noise....and then stopped working.

Egads...stressed all afternoon until DH got home from work.

He pulled out the water pump and found, of all things, a KEY lodged in the pump. Once he got the key out and put it all back together...my washer works like new!! (Hooray) However, we have NO IDEA where this mystery key came from-

I am breathing a heavy sigh of relief tonight that we did not have a huge repair bill on my 1 year old washer!!!

but this darn key is baffling me...

oh well...off to do laundry!

Busy Day

March 13th, 2006 at 02:44 am

My DH and I spent the day cutting (he)and splitting (me) a cord of madrone firewood that we are delivering on Wednesday. This is one of our little side businesses that we use to suplement his income now that I am not working outside the home. (I just have to chuckle when I compare wood splitting to sitting in the board room in a business suit last year...what a difference!)

We made homemade dough for pizza's last night and had enough left over to make more for a late lunch today...so eating was really cheap this weekend. (I made sure he assembled them, so he could see how much fun home cooking can be....he had a blast!)

We live 13 miles outside of town on 2 acres. To earn extra money, we do the firewood and I breed labradors. To stretch the money, I cook from scratch as much as possible ~ quite a feat for someone whose daughter once said "mommy, sometimes I like to eat with a fork" (obviously too many burger pitstops! when I was working those long hours)

Keep smiling!

Love this site!

March 11th, 2006 at 07:12 pm

I found this site about a week ago and have read so many helpful blogs!

I became a WAH wife and mom after making a tough decision to leave a well-paying (but stressful) job in 2005. The primary reason for the transition was that my elderly parents, who live in a small home on our land, needed more assistance than I could give while working/commuting 50+ hrs a week. My DH supported the decision and the serious lifestyle changes needed- and the reward for giving up the 'things and stuff' has been a much richer, fulfilling life.

I am enjoying your blogs and knowing that there are others out there who have made the hurdles we struggle with regularly.

Ray