Sunday, December 29, 2013

Belated... Bradley Comes to Spend the Night

Bradley came to spend the night right before Christmas but with all that was going on, I did not get a chance to post this. We had a wonderful time with him and he definitely kept us busy!   Grammie had to go and lay down in the bedroom with him to get him to go to sleep at night.  Bradley kept saying "Grammie, hear somethin", to which Grammie would say "That is just _______ Bradley, you are fine, go to sleep".  Grammie fell asleep, only to be awakened by Bradley saying "Grammie, Ellie hiding".  Now Ellie is his stuffed elephant that he sleeps with every night.  So Grammie got up, found Ellie sleeping right next to Bradley and told Bradley that Ellie was not hiding, she was right there next to him.  Bradley got this little cute smirky smile on his face and said "Ellie hiding from Grammie". :D   Oh goodness, this kid is not even 2 yet and is already thinking of things like this...he is going to keep us all on our toes! 

Thursday, December 26, 2013

We will miss you Molly

Our family has been dealing with a lot lately, including our beloved Molly cat being ill.  Today she passed away while in my arms here at home.  She started life out in my hands right after being born and we bonded right away.  She also bonded with our son Josh very tightly.  He and I became "her people".   She became my constant companion and slept with me almost every night.  She knew all my secrets, comforted me when I was feeling afraid or sick and snuggled up on my shoulder to watch movies with my hubby and I.   She was one of a kind with her personality and could be a total snot or the most loving cat around, depending on her mood and what room she was in. ;)

I will miss you Molly...thank you for all the years that you shared with all of us.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Gift Cards, Thrift Stores and Sales

 Life has been a bit crazy around here, especially after Jeff's car accident the other day.   We were really concerned about how much the repairs were going to cost on his car but Les Swab Tire Center in Pullman, WA came through again.  Last week they saved us $800 on tires for my car when they were able to sell us 4 gently used all terrain tires (that someone else traded in) for $200.  Today the repair bill estimate came in way under what we had thought it would be. :)  

Today we also discovered that Walmart has my prescription for $8.00 less than Safeway.  Safeway did however have some great mark downs today in their dairy and lunch meat areas where were were able to save 50% to 75% off on some needed items.  I regularly buy marked down meats and freeze them with no problems.  

I have been doing my Swagbucks points programs and they had a sale on their gift cards that you can buy with your points that you earn at their site.  I cashed in for $30 in Walmart gift cards.  I am also working on my Disney Movie Rewards and points.  I will be cashing in the DMR points for DVDs and for gift cards.

We have been thrift store shopping and below are a sampling of a few of the things that we have found within the past few weeks.

Side table for $9.99.

DVDs for $2.00 each.

VHS movies for our grandsons (we still have a VHS player also) that were half off the marked .47 each.

Supertramp cassette tape for .68 that I can play in my car.

Calvin Klein leather handbag that I scored at half off the marked price...I paid $2.70!  Calvin Klein handbags retail from $200 and up!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Slide Offs and Smiles

Ring Ring...
Me: Hello
Jeff: Hi
Me (sensing something was not right): What's up?
Jeff:  I spun out and went in the ditch.  The roads did not look icy but I guess they were icier than I thought
Me (knowing that he was ok):  Do you need me to come get you?
Jeff:  Yeah, I need you to come pull the car out  :(

That was the start to our day.  One of the tires is toast but luckily we have a spare set.  There is no other major damage we can see and most importantly, Jeff is ok and was not hurt.  Vehicles can be replaced...but my hubby cannot.  I did manage to pull the car out of the ditch with my car...thank you 4 wheel drive!

Things did get better though when we got back home.  I started a big breakfast of homemade biscuits and gravy along with some sausages.  Chris, Heather and the boys came over  and we all had breakfast together.  That made a day that started out rough much sweeter.  I am so thankful that everything turned out as well as it did and that we got to enjoy some precious time with them!

These are the times where you thank your guardian angels for watching out over your family.  They make moments like this possible!  

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Frugal Doings for the Past Few Weeks

   My husband and I are continuing on our quest to be debt free.  While we do this, it is still important to us that we be able to have fun, be able to purchase things that we need, but also things that we want and some would consider "frivolous". ;)  Here are a few things that we have done recently to save money while still having a good time doing it.

~bought a brand new 6ft tall pre-lit artificial Christmas tree at a thrift store to replace the one we have had for years that has seen better days $14.99
~bought a bunch of unbreakable Christmas ornaments for $1.89 a bag and $4.00 for a large box...they look like mercury glass but are safe in the hands of toddlers and dogs with huge tails ;)
~borrowed dvds from the library, we are watching Iron Man 3 right now
~hit the Black Friday sales and found some great deals on Blu-Rays and dvds along with some other things that are gifts for our kids and grandkids
~also hit the Black Friday sale at my favorite thrift store and found a purse there that I bought for 1/2 off $4.97 that was sold new for over $200 and was in great was exactly what I had been looking for
~found 2 Whiting and Davis bags at another thrift store on Black is in perfect shape and the other just needs a minor repair
~hit the clearance area at one of the thrift stores that I go to and found lots of outfits for my grandsons and capri pants for my DIL among other things for .47 each
~have been reading magazines that I managed to get free subscriptions to County Living, Everyday Food, Parents, All
~using coupons combined with sales to get the best deals possible at the grocery and drug stores
~used my Register Rewards Points at Walgreens to help offset the cost of a gift for someone special
~made all our bread from scratch
~made various soups and froze some for later
~made cranberry orange bread and froze some for a party later this month
~watching TV shows online that I do not get on our current plan
~my handy hubby is making all kinds of home repairs and renovations here
~handy hubby also doing all the work on our cars that need to be done
~working as much as I can at my job so we can pay off our debts and take some trips and vacations this coming year
~traded in some books at the used book store and got credit to use on future purchases there
~our son Chris gave us lots of venison which really helps keep our meat costs down
~keeping the heat down when we are sleeping or not home and dressing warmly in layers when we are so we do not have to turn the heat up too high
~using our Trac phones to make all our long distance calls (we dropped our long distance on our land line)
~took advantage of some free photo deals at Walgreens
~price matching at Walmart and taking advantage of their policy of giving you the full value of a coupon and giving you the overage if the product cost less than the value of the coupon
~used gift cards to go out to dinner 
~traded in some old dvds that we no longer watch for credit at Hastings
~doing surveys and points programs and trading in the credits for gift cards at, Walmart and other places


Thursday, December 5, 2013

Why Did I Move Here From Hawaii???

 You know it's cold when Molly is either curled up UNDER the covers in bed with me or has taken over Jeff's spot on the love seat so she can be closest to the warm pellet stove.  She is one  HUGE cat with lots of  "padding" (though she claims she is just big boned).  

As our outdoor temperatures continue to plummet into the negatives, with dangerous wind chill warnings starting tomorrow, I have to ask myself WHY I MOVED HERE FROM HAWAII!

Could it be that I met and fell in love with the sweetest, kindest, most loving gentleman whom I would be lost without? Could it be that he got "rock fever" after about a week on the Big Island of Hawaii?  Could it be that the price of living in Paradise is just way too high even if that show on HGTV "Island Life" says it is not?  Could it be that my husband and I wanted our kids to have more diverse opportunities in life than they would have had there even though Hawaii has so much to offer?  The answer to all of the above is yes...but on these really frigid days and nights I am ready to throw out all those good reasons, hop on a plane and go lay on the beach and get warmed up again. ;)

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Isaiah and Auntie Mollie Finally Meet Each Other

   If you have been reading my blog for any amount of time you will know that we have lots of  hanai kids.  Mollie has been a part of our ohana (family) for many years and we love her dearly.  She just graduated with a degree in nursing after working her tail off.  We are so proud of her!  She was able to make it home for Thanksgiving and she finally got to meet Isaiah and also see Bradley again.  We had to laugh because Auntie Mollie did not want to put Isaiah down.  I think they were just having too much fun together! :)  Oh, and did I mention my family are a big bunch of goofballs? ;)

   This crew cracks me up...we do have fun, that's for sure!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The Humble Potato

The humble potato is an amazingly versatile and frugal pantry staple.  There are so many wonderful ways to prepare them beyond just doing baked potatoes or using those baked potatoes as a base for many toppings.
No parts need to be wasted.  You can season them and bake them at 400F for about 20 minutes until they are crispy or even fry them up.  Potato peel nachos anyone?

Peeled or unpeeled (and just scrubbed really well) they can be used as either the basis for a dish or as a wonderful component of it.

For Thanksgiving, I made a huge crockpot full of creamy mashed potatoes for the big extended family meal.  Sure there was a stick of butter in there along with milk and salt, but it was still very frugal when you consider how many people it fed.

Some of the leftover mashed potatoes were transformed into this delicious potato soup topped with chopped green onions and cheese.  It made the perfect meal on a very cold night that warmed us from the inside out.

Another favorite soup made last month was a ham, potato and corn chowder.  I have been experimenting with making chowders that do not have milk in them.  My DIL Rachel and milk do not get along well and I wanted to find or make soups that are chowders but would not cause her grief.  This one was delicious and one I will definitely be making again!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Sometimes the Delete Button is a Good Thing


   I had a blog post all typed out and was ready to hit the PUBLISH button when I hesitated.  I had already saved it.  It was well written, concise and something I felt that many others could relate to.  It expressed so clearly what I had on my heart and some of the things that we had been dealing with and how they affected me as a friend, sister, daughter, mother and wife.  So why did I hesitate?
   I finally came to realize that sometimes you just have to move on with your life and put the YUCK behind you.  After having done all you can to "fix" a situation or situations and being met by resistance every single time, there is nothing left to do.  Dwelling on it does no good (and boy is that hard, especially with the holidays upon us).  All I can do is make life for those that I love the best that it can be and pray for those with hardened hearts.