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Saturday, February 28, 2009

Ever Growing

Groceries are outrageous, we all know that!  I've done several things this year to try to cut our grocery budget .. going back to the basics of meal planning based on sales and available coupons, sticking to a list, taking only cash, shopping at Aldi instead of large grocery store chains, etc.  I try to cut our snacking costs down, without depriving the family of their favorites. I've done this by letting them each pick one snack per week that is exclusively theirs and making more actual frugal desserts that we eat for a couple of days.  These things really do seem to be working despite the continual climb in grocery costs.  

Because of the high grocery prices, and my desperate need to see new growth and green things, I have decided to plant a container vegetable garden on our back porch this year.

Several years ago Dawson decided he wanted to plant a garden.  Rick tilled the hard ground (which is one of our most hilarious family stories), and we planted some things.  I can't even remember what.  But I do remember that we planted some watermelons.  Dawson lost interest in the garden after about 2 days, and we had to fence it to try to keep our digging dog out of it. We ended up with only one watermelon about the size of a tomato.  It was a wasted effort.

Rick's a little cracked-up I am doing this.  He asked me what we were going to do with all of these vegetables if I am successful.  I told him I might can them.  I think he is amazed at all of the things I am willing to try this year.  This is definitely strange for someone who hates change!!  I am having high hopes for this container garden, though.  I've kept it simple, deciding to plant only tomatoes, green peppers and green beans.  We don't eat a lot of green beans, but some of my fondest memories with my grandma are of us picking beans and snapping them.  It was so fun!  I hope we actually get a small crop that we can play with.  I think the little kids will enjoy it.

Brynne and I planted our seeds in our little plastic greenhouse today.  I pray that in a week or two I don't look in there to see absolutely nothing!  I really hope to have some little plants in a few weeks that I can successfully transplant into containers.  I really, really hope to have some fresh juicy tomatoes this summer!!

Step 1 ~ Get all my supplies together

Step 2 ~ Get someone else to do the work (ha!)

Step 3 ~ Jump in and help because it looks fun and  because I'm too much of a perfectionist to let someone else do it!

Step 4 ~ Water

Step 5 ~ Label (because I guarantee you I won't be able to tell the difference once they turn into plants!!!)

Step 6 ~ Cover with dome and place in warm, well-lit area

Step 7 ~ Pray!!!

My bloggy friend Phoebe is going all out this year in gardening.  She even bought a greenhouse! I am nowhere near that level, and only hope I end up with a few plants that produce fruit.  But I am way impressed and am trying to follow what she is doing.  Go check it out!!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Six Word Summary

On the Living Proof blog (you know, Beth Moore), a challenge was given by Melissa today to sum up your life in six words.  What came to mind immediately for me was ...

"Growth from within ~ Necessary for living"

What would be yours??

Friday Funny ~ Or Maybe It's Just My Life

(It's 5:09 p.m. ~ enter Brynne, stage left.)

Brynne:  I want some coffee.
Mom:  Why?
Brynne:  Because I want some.

Oh, I can't tell you how often I have thought those same words!  So, what did I do?  What any "good" coffee-obsessed mother would do .. I gave her some!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Olive Juice Bag Giveaway

Go to this Olive Juice website for an opportunity to win a super-cool purse/bag.  Olive Juice is having a Bag of the Month contest.  These are made here in the USA and the company uses extra fabric that is slated to be thrown away and turns it into a piece of art!  Here is a picture of my favorite one!

You too can enter for a chance to win!  Just blog about the giveaway and copy your blog posting HTML to this email address:

All posts must occur by August 31, 2009.  Good Luck!

Thoughts on Thursday ~ My Least Favorite and My New Favorite

I hate trying on swimming suits!

Last year I went through ordering and sending back about 6 suits to Victoria Secret and then really didn't like the ones I ended up buying.

And, if you want to be assured of getting your size, you have to buy them when they are most expensive and when you are the most white and flabby.  Horrific experience every year!!

My husband likes for me to wear bikinis.  Thankfully, I can still pull that off.  However this year I need either a one-piece or a tankini to wear at youth church camp.  

On Tuesday, while at Walmart, I saw swimwear separates that were actually pretty cute .. and only $12 each!  Absolutely refusing to try them on in the store, I bought a set and took it home. And you know what??  It's adorable!  The fit is awesome, it's stylish and comfortable!!  I haven't felt that good in a bathing suit in years!  I tried to find a picture of it to post but was unsuccessful, and didn't take a pic with my own camera .. you'll just have to hope you get a glimpse of it this summer!!  It has browns and blues and even has that trendy metallic gold!  I think I'll go get some cute metallic sandals to wear with it!  I already have the perfect coverup.

So, if you like cute, cheap, comfortable swimwear, go get a spray tan and run to Walmart .. they're selling out quick!!

And I now have a favorite snack!  (Brace yourself, this is no bombshell to anyone except me!) After my post about how unfulfilling fruit is to me, as opposed to some chocolate poptarts or a full bag of doritos, I put together a combination of fruit yesterday that knocked my socks off .. a fruit plate of sorts!  Seriously, this is no biggy, but it was so good!  It reminded me of when I was in the hospital having Brynne and I ordered a "room service" fruit plate and it was the most heavenly thing I had ever eaten!  What did I do yesterday that was so great?  I cut up a banana, a half-cup of strawberries sprinkled with artificial sweetener and a half-cup of grapes and put them on a plate.  Then I ate them.  Yep, that was it!  They were so good .. and filling .. and only 3 WW points for that whole thing!!  It was actually part of my lunch since my lunch was only 2 points.  I retract my previous statements about fruit.  I guess I just need it presented to my mouth in "room service" fashion.  I'm spoiled that way.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

"What I Got For the Money" Wednesday

I had a great shopping trip this week .. FINALLY!!  I called this an Aldi-only trip, but I did have to go to Walmart for a few things, mostly household items.

(2) pop tarts  3.38
Taco seasoning  .33
Bananas  1.40
Strawberries  1.29
93% lean ground beef  3.73 (for knock-off low-point frozen burritos .. stay tuned)
(2) refried beans  1.30
Flour  1.46
Calcium with Vitamin D  2.99 (a steal!)
Deli chicken breast  2.49 (my husband had it last night and said it is GOOD!)
Granny smith apples  1.99
Red grapes  1.78
Tortilla chips  .99
Cheese puffs  .99
(2) cream of chicken  .98
3 c. shredded cheddar  2.49
Brownie mix  1.29
Mustard  .69
Linguine  .95
Artificial sweetner  1.19
Roma tomatoes  1.29
Eggs  1.15
Toilet paper  .89
Sugar wafer cookies  1.15
Total  $ 39.27


Tortilla shells  2.23
Parkay spray  1.56
(2) tuna  1.56
Frozen spinach  1.34
Bran cereal  1.72
Total groceries  $ 9.13

Paper towels  1.14
Baby wipes  1.44
Facial cleansing wipes  5.97
Freezer bags  1.32
Sandwich bags  1.32
Foil  1.12
Total household  $ 13.36

(3) gallons milk  11.07
Sliced cheese  189
Total  $  14.11

Total Groceries  $ 63.51
Total Household  $13.36

I felt really awesome this week!  This is the FIRST WEEK I have gotten under my goal THIS WHOLE YEAR!  Now, I have to give a disclaimer .. All of that over-spending I have been doing created quite a stock-pile so I didn't need near as much this week.  I really am not quite as hopeful for next week, but we'll see!

I have to say two things.  I love Aldi!  And I have found that most brands I buy there are just as good, if not better than name-brand.  If you have an Aldi near by, utilize it!  It is never crowded, ours is very organized, the cashiers and stockers are extremely friendly!  I enjoy going there! And, secondly, I am extremely proud of the produce and such I bought this week.  Usually my grocery purchases are full of pre-packaged stuff.  I am trying to do better in this area and felt that, overall, my purchases were so much healthier than my norm.

Although I just refuse to play the Walgreens game (too time consuming), I did take advantage of their deal this past month of transferring a prescription for a $25 gift card.  Although the prescription itself cost $6 more by filling it at Walgreens, I did get a $25 gift card that came in handy this week!  I was able to stock up on our gummy vitamins and purchase some vapor plug pads (for Kyndal and her stuffy nose) with no out of pocket.  I had also used it a couple of weeks ago for valentines stuff, too.  I totally intend to transfer the prescription back to Walmart this month for the $4 generic deal, and I'm not ashamed to say that I took advantage of that deal!

To see where I am using my purchases in my menu, go here.
To see other awesome stewards of their money, go to The Grocery Cart Challenge.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Simple Woman's Daybook

For Today  ~  February 24, 2009

Outside my window... I see new landscaping (large landscaping rocks moved to our backyard) and have visions of bushes, flowers, plants, a birdhouse and birdbath, a swingset and more!

I am thinking... how excited I am for Spring to get here so that we can feel energetic life again.

I am thankful for... God affirming in Rick what a great employee he is and rewarding him for his hard work, even in these tough economic times!

From the learning rooms... We are STILL working on letter sounds.  Not going so good!

From the kitchen... there will be no cooking today! We are going to IHOP for free pancakes for dinner!!

I am wearing... jeans, a black shirt with pink hearts and black shoes.

I am creating... nothing .. wow, that's nice to have a break!

I am going... to work on my Bible study lessons today so I don't put them off until the night before our group study!

I am reading... my Bible study lessons, and "Woman, Thou Art Loosed" devotions again (they are so good!)

I am hoping... our income tax refund is higher than we expect so we can do even more than we are already going to get to do with our bonus!

I am hearing... The shower upstairs because Dawson wasn't feeling well so is late going to school, Eli and Brynne talking in the bedroom, Eli's skateboard xbox game and Barney on t.v. (but I don't know why because we don't watch it!)

Around the house... is lots of laundry that needs to be put away and floors that need mopped.

One of my favorite things... is, obviously, blogging and I need to learn some balance!

A few plans for the rest of the week...  last night we went to an enrollment meeting for Kyndal to go to High School.  That was so weird!  Tonight we are going to go to IHOP to eat free pancakes for a donation to The Children's Miracle Network.  Then, I believe, we have NOTHING planned for the rest of the week.  Yea!!!

Here is a picture thought I am sharing...

My niece Sophie who celebrated her first birthday this week!  I am a proud aunt!

For true simple women, visit The Simple Woman's Daybook.

Monday, February 23, 2009

I Hate Vacuuming .. But Apparently It Loves Me !!

Well, you'll have to cock your head to the right to see this, I couldn't get it to post upright.


This morning I was vacuuming in the playroom.  When I came out to the t.v. room upstairs, the vacuum cleaner cord was shaped into this perfect heart!  It was weird!  I had to share how weird my days sometimes are.

Weight Loss/Gain Update

As you can see from my sidebar, I gained .2 pounds this week, making my total weight loss 1 pound in 3 weeks.

I'd like to comment on this.  The real goal of getting back on Weight Watchers was to make myself feel better both physically and mentally.  By losing my belly weight, I'd feel better on both accounts.  By also adding more exercise into my week, and eating more fruits and veggies, I'd definitely feel better on both accounts.

This last week I think I really stayed pretty close to my point goals for the week, but I just didn't write them down.  That was a mistake.  By the fact that I wasn't hungry, I am imagining I was a little over in my estimations.

But I am not concerned.  Although I have lost only 1 pound, I've given myself until May to lose the full 5.  And it's obvious that any weight I have or have not lost as been completely redistributed on my body.  My clothes are fitting so much better in the mid-section and I've lost my little muffin top. How could that be by only losing 1 pound, you ask?  It's because of the changes in what I have been eating.  

Friends, I am a carb-a-holic!!  I crave and dream about eating breads, pastas and rices!  Yum! Back in the day of the "no carb diet" I would wake up one day and seriously want to eat an entire loaf of bread!  By doing Weight Watchers, I drastically reduce my carb intake and replace it with fruits and veggies.  So, it immediately comes off my mid-section where carbs like to live.

Not only that, but I'm getting some awesome food put into my body as result of those changes. Do I like to eat fruits and veggies?  Not particularly.  They leave me feeling very empty. That's why I have to dedicate myself to doing Weight Watchers every once in a while .. because I just simply will not make fruits and veggies a part of my normal diet, in replacing carbs anyway.

And how have I been feeling??? FABULOUS!  You can't eat healthy food, exercise daily and take healthy supplements without feeling great!  And that's my real goal.  I have added fish oil supplements to my diet to help with my arthritis, and also added honey and cinnamon to it for the same reason.  I take my multi-vitamin and Bayer with calcium every day, drink my hot green tea, have a bowl of bran cereal with blueberries, have a chunk of dark chocolate, and lots of whole grains.  These things are daily intakes that I enjoy.  And I really do feel great!

So, am I dismayed that in doing all of this I have only lost 1 pound?  Absolutely not!  I am thrilled with the way my body feels!

Menu Plan Monday

Tuesday ~ "Free" pancakes at IHOP
Wednesday ~ FFY (Fend for Yourself)
Thursday ~ Tacos
Friday ~ Tuna sandwiches and chips
Saturday ~ French toast
Sunday ~ Cheesy chicken and rice bake

Go here for more menu plans ...

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Landscaping ~ Phase I

I'm just not sure if there is a warmer moment than what I am feeling right now.  As I sit here in the kitchen, working on my grocery list, doing some computer work, Rick and the kids are outside moving large landscaping rocks from the end of our acre lot to our backyard.  They load up a large rock on a pallet, Rick drives past the rock creek and then Kyndal (yes, Miss 14 Year Old) hops in the driver's seat and drives up the hill to the backyard, while Rick directs her.  He unloads the rock, takes her place behind the wheel and they head back out for another rock. Brynne is in the passenger seat feeling very big and important.  Eli was in here with me, but ran out to tell Rick that "it's beautiful!"  ... and then he disappeared into the Suburban, too.  So there they are, working together as a family.  It's awesome!

Kyndal driving

Our lot was in shambles when we started building our house. Rick worked like a dog last summer mowing down the 1/2 acre next to us and moving thousands of rocks into the creek bed.  What's been accomplished is nothing short of amazing. But there is still so much left to be done.  We only have so much time and so much money to do what we want, so we're having to compromise and only do a portion this year.  

But I can't wait until it's all done!  It will look like a park paradise when it's complete!

Our backyard before they started

Our backyard after they moved the rocks

We are planning to plant some bushes around the rocks that our neighbors said we could take "starts" from.  Just on the other side of those rocks is a steep downhill slope.  We are going to place large rocks on that hill and plant some Ajuga that my friend Steph is going to give us. Other than building the swingset and tower, that will likely be all we do in the back this year. We have tons of work yet to do in the front and on the side of the house.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Watch out Campbell's

A couple of weeks ago Kyndal said she wished there was a chicken noodle soup that didn't have all those chunky vegetables .. you know just chicken and noodles.  (Yes, most of my children are anti-vegetable!!)  I make chicken and noodles all the time, with egg noodles, but she basically wanted Campbell's Chicken Noodle Soup with no celery chunks.

So, I imagined what natural ingredients were in Campbell's Chicken Noodle Soup and set out to make it myself.


I used the chicken and chicken broth I talked about in a previous post.  I heated up the chicken broth (which was about 8 cups), added about 16 more cups water and a can of cream of celery soup for additional flavor. Then I added about 1/3 of my shredded whole chicken and a package of linguine noodles broken into about 3 inch pieces.   I added salt and pepper to taste and VOILA!  It was so good!!  She loved it!  And, it made a ton!  We had enough for dinner last night, Rick and I had it for lunch today, and there's enough for the two of us to have it for lunch on Monday.  And, seriously, it didn't cost more than $3.00 for all of that.  and it was healthy!!

For other good recipes go see The Recipe Swap at The Grocery Cart Challenge.

Friday, February 20, 2009 ~ Eat $35 for $12

I know I am bombarding you with posts today, but I just wanted to make you aware of the 80% off discount at  

At this site you can choose restaurants in cities all over the country, purchase a gift certificate (typically a $25 gift certificate for $10) and with a minimum dinner order of $35 you can use your $25 gift card. So, a $35 meal would cost you $20.

But, right now (and I don't know for how long) you can purchase the $25 gift card for $2 instead of $10 if you use the code DINE at checkout.  That means you get a $35 meal for $12. I have heard from numerous people that this is awesome!  I just ordered two $25 gift cards for $4 .. one to TeKei's in Tulsa and one to Jazmo'z in Tulsa.  These might not be my top picks for restaurants (I'm an Olive Garden or Carrabba's kind of girl), but what a great frugal date night!!

You Can't Win if You Don't Play

Today I received, in the mail, the iPod Touch I won over at The Centsible Sawyer.  So, I am now a believer in taking a couple of minutes to do something that might reward me in a big way!  

My bloggy friend Trina posted about a giveaway over here for a $250 Target giftcard.  Worth my time?  ... you bet it is with Easter coming up and swimming season, etc.!!  All I have to do is revisit my Top 5 Favorite Posts.  So, here goes ...

That was SO much harder than I thought it would be!  In reading my posts I was trying to find the Top 5 best ones for you!  But then I realized that I was supposed to be picking my top 5. You might read these and be bored.  Or you might read them and wonder why they would be my favorite.  I have my reasons for each one.

Have a great weekend!


Last night I enrolled Brynne in the 4-year old program.  First of all, my baby is starting school next year???  And second of all, my baby is starting school next year??

What a surreal week this will be for me.  Not only did I enroll my youngest baby in school, but I am enrolling my oldest baby in HIGH SCHOOL next week.  When did this happen?

In addition to that, Dawson will officially become a teenager this year and Eli will start all-day kindergarten.  I truly am overwhelmed with the enormity of these four events all happening at the same time.

Pre-k enrollment was to begin last night at 6:30 p.m.  When I enrolled Eli last year, I just went in during the week because he's on an IEP for his speech.  I was not prepared for what I encountered last night!  I showed up right at 6:30 p.m. to streets lined with cars.  I thought, "uh oh" !!  I went in and found three lines the length of the building.  A teacher told me that people started lining up at 5:00 p.m.  I quickly started adding in my head.  It was originally said that they would only take 200 students.  I was suddenly very nervous!

The pre-k program will be at the new school being built across from our subdivision (thank you Lord for blessing my gas budget!)  We drive by that new school at least four times a day.  And we talk about it every time!  Eli talks about how he is going to go to kindergarten there and Brynne says she's going too.  I've really been pumping them up about it getting Eli prepared for the transition.  

But last night I seriously was beginning to wonder if Brynne would get to go.  Let's just say that child would never forgive me if she didn't get to go to that school next year!

After waiting in line for 1 1/2 hours, it was finally my turn. Come to find out, out of all of those people in line, only 35 or so had actually been enrolled (of course there were 2 other lines with as many).  But, shoooo!  I was saved!  Then we were assured that all kids would get in.  I guess they will just hire more teachers if they need them.

Anyway, the baby girl is enrolled.  I am so excited for her! But, so sad too.  She'll only go half day next year, but this is my last year home with her .. or any of the kids.  They will all be in school so soon.  Then, what will I do with myself???

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Thoughts on Thursday ~ How Well Do You Know Him?

This is another Survey that is going around Facebook.  How well do I know my husband?  I'm about to find out ...

1. He's sitting in front of the TV, what is on the screen?  The Golf Channel or some weird movie that I come into the room and say, "What in the world are you watching?"

2. You're out to eat; what kind of dressing does he get on his salad? Always ranch.

3. What's one food he doesn't like? I really don't think I've come upon one.

4. You go out to eat and have a drink. What does he order?  Iced tea .. or a Sam Adams if we're having a drink.

5. Where did he go to high school?  Tulsa Webster

6. What size shoe does he wear? 10 1/2

7. If he was to collect anything, what would it be?  books about famous and inspirational golfers

8. What is his favorite type of sandwich?  Probably a good 'ol egg sandwich

9. What would this person eat every day if he could?  Avocado toast

10. What is his favorite cereal?  Crispix

11. What would he never wear?  Crocs

12. What is his favorite sports team?  He's loyal to OSU

13. Who did he vote for?  Not the winner

14. Who is his best friend?  Me

15. What is something you do that he wishes you wouldn't do?   put on my pjs and robe at 7:00 every night .. not too sexy!

16. What is his heritage?  I believe he is Black Dutch

17. You bake him a cake for his birthday; what kind of cake?  Not a cake eater

18. Did he play sports in high school?  Wrestling .. football

How'd I do, babe???

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Cool Wheels and Deals ..

Man, I feel better!  I have been so behind lately, for no good reason!  My laundry wasn't done, my house was dirty and a mess, I'm behind in my Bible study, I haven't gotten the info together for our taxes.  And, it wears me out to be like that!

So, today, I got caught up on all of that, except for the Bible study and taxes.

I even managed to construct Brynne's cardboard box Barbie convertible for her drive-in movie day at preschool tomorrow.

Cool, huh??

She decided she wanted to help me paint, which I was all for.  So, we threw on play clothes and headed outside.  Luckily it was a pretty nice day today!  She painted about 1/8 of one side of the box.

In that short amount of time she managed to get paint in her hair ...

... and on her shoes.

But, the finished product was awesome!  She can even steer the steering wheel.  Her license plate says "BRBGRL" .. Barbie Girl if you're not good at license plate deciphering.

The other thing I accomplished today was crockpotting a "young" chicken.  Walmart had them on sale yesterday for .88 a pound!  I bought the little 4 1/2 lb. booger for $3.74.  I have planned to make homemade chicken noodle soup and chicken quesadillas this week.  Purchasing boneless skinless breasts would have cost me almost twice that.  So, I put it in the crockpot this morning, filled with water seasoned with garlic powder and salt, and cooked it all day.  It literally fell off the bone when I took it out.  And, look at all of this chicken!  

It will be more than enough for those two meals, and I'll probably be able to squeeze out a pot of chicken tortilla soup next week, too!  That's about $1.25 per meal in chicken. Cheap!!  And this was the little young chicken!  I should have bought more.  I will definitely be doing this more often. Bone-in chicken has so much more flavor than dry old boneless skinless breast and I ended up with about 8 cups of all natural homemade chicken broth to use in my soup. Yum!!!

"What I Got For the Money" Wednesday


Groceries ~
Peanut butter  2.28
(2) cereal  5.00 (totally didn't need these, but had a coupon so went ahead, but then didn't buy enough to use the coupon .. urgh!)
1.75 lb bananas  1.17
Bulk goldfish  6.46
Frozen broccoli  .93 (coupon)
(3) frozen pizzas  3.00
(3) mac and cheese  1.50
Penne pasta  1.16
Rigatoni  1.16
Chocolate chip cookies  2.50 (Dawson snack)
Mandarin oranges  1.77
Sour cream  1.06
Tea bags  1.44
Junior lunchable  1.94
Apple juice  2.27
(2) chicken broth  1.72
Cream of celery .54
Ranch dressing  1.88
Frozen burritos  2.98
Poptarts  2.88
4.5 lb Whole chicken  3.74
Swiss cheese  2.08
Sausage  1.50
Koolaid  1.76
Hot dogs  .88
Bag carrots  1.68
Flaxseed  1.86
Garlic powder  .50
Apple sauce  1.08
(2) Yoplait yogurt  1.53 (coupons)
Turkey breast  2.98
Shredded parmesan  1.98
Shredded mozzarella  1.98
Cream cheese  1.22
Butter quarters  .83
Minced garlic  1.34
Linguine  .97
Eggs  1.32
(2) Fruit snacks  3.01 (coupons .. Kyndal's snack)
Bisquits  .62 (coupon)

Total Groceries  $83.01  

(2) gallon 2% milk  7.38
(1) 1/2 gallon 1% milk  1.94
Total  $10.11

Loaf whole grain bread  1.29
Loaf light wheat bread  1.39
(2) discounted Hostess 90 calorie carrot cake snacks  3.50 (this is a bargain, as the cheapest I ever find them is $3.00 a box.  These are great 1-pt. Weight Watchers snacks!!)
Total  $  6.71

Household Items ~
Toilet paper  1.27
Dust and shine 2.72 (coupon)
Humidifier filter  4.96
Dish detergent  2.13 (coupon)
Fabric softener  2.48
Immune C gummies  5.49
Cascade rinse aid  FREE (coupon)

Total Household Items  $ 20.62
Total Groceries  $  99.83

** As you can see I have divided Groceries and Household Items this time.  I am starting that now, to give myself a better idea of what I am actually spending on groceries.  Obviously, if you've been following this blog, you have seen that there is no way I can feed this family (in the style we eat) on $75 a week, let alone include all of our household items in that.  I'm still shooting for that .. that is my "dream amount".  My "realistic goal amount" is $90 a week.  And my "budget" is $125 a week.

I have an extra $50 per month that, up until now, has not been accountable to any budget slot. So, that will now become my "Household Items" budget.  I am adding that envelope to my system starting now.  Our vitamins, pet supplies, cleaning supplies and such make it additionally impossible to get anywhere near a $75 per week goal.  So, I am taking that out and putting it where it needs to be .. in a category of it's own.

With the stockpile of food I now have, even snacks, I seriously should have a small grocery bill next week.  (Although I seem to keep saying that.)  And, I'm doing another "Aldi only" week to help out.

The photo does not include purchases at Braum's or the Wonder/Hostess store.

Don't forget to go visit The Grocery Cart Challenge!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Simple Woman's Daybook

For Today  ~  February 17, 2009

Outside my window... It's looking cloudy and cold, but I really have no idea because I haven't been outside.  However, I was really hoping for some SUN!

I am thinking... that I thought once January hit that I wouldn't have hardly anything to do .. and that I might even be a little bit bored.  Then why am I having trouble getting my house cleaned, or staying organized, or doing my Bible study?  I need to look into that.  I probably don't need to look any further than my computer screen, though.

I am thankful for... healthy kids though this continual sick season.  Can I just say it again that I can't believe we have managed to stay so healthy when I know some families who have had a sick kid almost continuously since about October!  It's been us in past years .. does diligence pay off?

From the learning rooms... We're still working on letter sounds, although begrudgingly!  Brynne has also really been practicing using scissors.  We have had several pieces of paper cut into tiny pieces over the last couple of days.  She got the idea from the Charlie Brown valentine cartoon when one of the characters is cutting a valentine quickly and paper is flying everywhere.  She keeps saying, "Look at my valentine, isn't it perfect?"

From the kitchen... a plate full of hershey kiss cookies is staring at me .. but I shall resist!

I am wearing... Gray sweats, tennis shoes and my Eskimo Joe's t-shirt (I just worked out).

I am creating... a pink Barbie convertible out of a cardboard box for Brynne to take to drive-in movie day at school on Thursday.

I am going... to stay on top of my busy day today so I can sit this evening and watch as much television as possible!  We had school breaks on Friday and Monday and I've been runnin' for several days straight!  And I'm going to do two lessons of my Bible study tonight!

I am reading... still mostly just my Esther Bible study materials and the Word.  Occasionally I look through a magazine.  I have a book to pick up at the library, but I can't even remember what it is now.

I am hoping... we get the super-low interest rate we've been quoted on our refinance (... we're just trying to take advantage of these low interest rates before they start going up!!)

I am hearing... Clifford, our cat, kindof howling at Bandit, our bearded dragon, upstairs.  He kindof does this same ritual every morning.  He growls at him from the bottom of the stairs then runs upstairs (which is loud because he is a HUGE cat) and then lays at the cage and stares at him.

Around the house... we have a yard that needs weed killer sprayed on it and flower pots that are begging for spring!!

One of my favorite things... is planning, as most of you know.  I'm lost if I'm not planning something!  Yesterday Steph and I sat down and worked on the plans for our vacation this summer.  Our family will be driving, with theirs, about 2500 miles round trip (about 50 hours in the car) to go to the Black Hills of South Dakota (Mt. Rushmore and Crazy Horse), Cody Wyoming, Yellowstone for three days, Jackson Hole Wyoming and home.  It astounds me to look at the map.  We will touch 6 states on that trip!

A few plans for the rest of the week...  today is, say it all together, Grocery Day!  Kyndal has an ortho appointment and then we are vegging!!  I declare it so!  On Thursday I enroll Brynne for the pre-k program next year (seriously????) and we have a birthday party to attend.  I also have Bible study that morning and am helping a friend work on her blog in the afternoon.  On Friday Kyndal has a birthday party to attend, and Dawson is leaving for the weekend to spend some time with his dad.  On Saturday we have a, yet another, birthday party!  So far, Sunday is clear.  Then on Monday I am attending an enrollment meeting for Kyndal to go to HIGH SCHOOL!  Oh my gosh, I'm going to hyperventilate!  What a year!  Kyndal will be in high school, Dawson will become a teenager, Eli will start kindergarten and with Brynne going to the pre-k program I'll have all four in school.  Seriously, I just brought each of them home from the hospital last week, right???

Here is a picture thought I am sharing...

The eyes are the window to the soul ...

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Monday, February 16, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

** For some reason I am unable to post the header right now.  I'll try to add it later.
Here are our meals for this week ...

Monday ~ Mexican pizzas
Tuesday ~ Cheesy broccoli rigatoni
Wednesday ~ FFY (Fend for Yourself)
Thursday ~ Homemade pizza (from last Thursday)
Friday ~ Homemade chicken noodle soup and grilled cheese
Saturday ~ Bisquits and gravy
Sunday ~ Chicken quesadillas

Check out other menus at OrgJunkie.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Valentine's Day Recap

We had a nice Valentine's Day this year!

Dawson and I had to go put out American Flags for President's Day, so I got up early and made "sweetheart cinnamon rolls" with pink icing for the family.

I served Rick breakfast in bed and gave him his valentine, which was a homemade card and a bag of his favorite Hershey kisses.  He got me a Bebo Norman cd that I wanted.

The kids got cards from their grandparents.

Then Dawson and I were off to do flags.

Once I got home I immediately got started cooking.  I was originally going to make "love pizzas", but since Loren brought us pizza on Thursday night I replaced it with Thursday's intended dinner of baked salisbury steak and homemade macaroni and cheese.  I made the patties into hearts.

I also made a tray of chocolate covered strawberries and kiss cookies.  Yum!!

Rick blew bubbles with the kids and I worked on the computer planning our summer vacation to Yellowstone.

Then we all bundled up on the couch to watch "Space Buddies".  I would like to say it was a good movie ... but, oh my.  Eli and Brynne enjoyed it, and even Dawson enjoyed parts.  Rick, Kyndal and I just couldn't get over how cheesy it was.  But, it was family time and that's what really mattered to me.

And, as you can see from my previous post, it ended on a high note when I won the iPod Touch and $10 iTunes gift card. Awesome!

I hope your Valentine's Day was fun!  Leave me a comment to let me know what you did!!