Thursday, February 25, 2016

Frugal Friday Wrap Up 2/26/16

   Here we are at the end of another productive and semi-frugal ;) week.  Spring has sprung here and I am so anxious to get out and do some planting, but I know it is far too early for that and chances are we will have more snow and another killing frost.  I would hate to waste time and money on getting a garden in and then having it all die on me.  So onto the savings!

~I stocked up on more liquid hand soap at Bath and Body works while it was 5 for $18 and also got a free body wash with my coupon.  I know that I could spend less at the Dollar Tree for liquid soap but this is one of those "frugal luxuries" that I allow myself.  I gave one of the bottles of soap to my DIL Heather because my grandsons love to wash their hands with soap that smells good. ;)

~I received an email with a coupon for a free bag of cat treats from Petco.  I got the largest bag I could find that was grain free for our special needs kitty.
~My hubby and I have been wanting to get a copy of the movie "McFarland" and I found one at the Redbox kiosk for $5
~We have eaten lots of leftovers this week for dinner.
~I used up more overripe bananas to make 2 regular sized loaves and 4 mini loaves of banana bread.
~I used the butter wrappers to grease the bread pans that I made the banana bread in.

~My hubby has been enjoying hard boiled eggs lately so I boiled up another dozen for him.
~While we were at Goodwill one day they announced that all their dvds and cds were on sale at 50% off.  There were some I had been wanting there so I got 4 of them for $1.50 each and also scored a cashmere sweater for $4.99.
~I've been trying to work my points programs every day.
~Our son Chris and his family invited us over to dinner. :)
~My husband and I have been trying to get out for walks every day with our dog exercise!
~We continue to use SKYPE to talk with our son Josh.

~We went to a fund raiser for a young father with cancer.  We paid for our tickets and did buy our grandsons some chips, but we took our own water and some other snacks.
~We have been watching movies that we own and also ones we borrow from the library.
~My computer has again been a huge blessing since I watch several TV shows online.
~I have been planning my meals around what we have and what needs used up.
~More loaves of Sourdough bread were made this week.

~Jeff changed out a blown fuse in our garage with some we had found on sale a couple of years ago.  Thank goodness we realized that a fuse was blown or we would have lost everything in our two big freezers.
~I froze some leftovers to use for future meals.
~While shopping at Walmart the other day I found bananas for .48 a pound and the following all marked at 50% off, 2 loaves of bread from the bakery, 4 family sized deli pizzas, Italian sausage, fried chicken from the deli, and salads from the deli.
~We bought a battery charger and rechargeable batteries for our nice camera.
~I continue to save egg shells to put in my garden around the strawberry plants when the strawberries are ripening this Spring.  It keeps the slugs from getting to the berries.
~I buried the banana peels from making the banana bread around my roses.

~I needed more moisturizer with sunscreen in it and found my favorite kind, Oil of Olay, in a special value pack.  I now have 2 bottles for the price I have paid for just one in the past.  
~More treasures and needed items found at my favorite thrift store that benefits and provides training for the disabled: seasons 2, 3 and 4 of The West Wing on dvd ($4.99 each for the sets) and a few other dvds, 2 shirts for the grandboys, 2 shirts for my hubby, a brand new item that will be an Easter gift, a fun wallet for the oldest grandson, shoes for the oldest grandson (who is growing out of his shoes at an alarming rate), organizing shelving for my pantry project and some silk flowers that look very life like.
~While doing our volunteer work this week, we were given tons of groceries including 20 pounds of chicken.  We gave 10 pound to our neighbors who have 3 teenagers to feed.  Some fo the other items we received were: bottles of fruit juice, bread and hamburger buns, pasta, canned fruits and veggies, soup, crackers, cereal, coffee, apples, potatoes, cauliflower, 2 dozen eggs, chips, dried garbanzos (I will be making these into hummus),  cookies, and some other items that escape me at the moment.

~I struggle with insomnia so I took some sleep meds that I had gotten as a free sample to try.
~Since we have had unseasonably warm weather here lately, I have been able to turn the heat way down during the day and let the sunshine coming through the windows help warm up our home.
~Freebies that came in the mail this week: a magazine, calendar, and some coupons.
~I discovered that my old fashioned potato masher is a great tool for breaking up ground meat when you are browning it and also for smashing up canned tomatoes.  I don't have great hand strength so this is a huge deal for me since it does not hurt or tire my hands and wrists out.

~I belong to Pinch Me and signed up for samples that were available on Tuesday.

   Rufus may not be too impressed with my savings this week but I am not sure if that is due to the new pheromone collar that we are trying on him to see if it will help calm him down so he does not continue to destroy things or the fact that I have not given him any of his free kitty treats yet. ;)   I'm pleased though with them and I'm thinking my hubby is too.  He even wore one of the dri-fit shirts I got him at the thrift store to go to his bowling league tonight.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

February $100 Grocery Budget Challenge Update 2/23/16

Homemade cookies

Well folks, I'm over budget by $11.56. :(  In all fairness though, I came across a great deal on HUGE family sized pizzas marked down to $3.49 each in the Walmart deli and I got 4 of them to stock the freezer.  Those 4 pizzas cost me $13.96 but will save me big in long run.  One pizza alone from the take and bake place, after discount coupon, would cost me at least what all 4 of the pizzas together from the Walmart deli cost.  We love having our freezer stocked with pizzas for when the grandkids come over or for last minute family get togethers.  I still had 2 pizzas that I had purchased earlier that we will use on Saturday when Chris and the grandboys and our Rachel come over.  Heather and her mom are having a girl's day and Jaysn has to work, so the rest of the gang is coming here.  They all asked to come over...makes my Momma's heart just fill to overflowing. :)  Oh, the pizza purchases that put me over budget will not be eaten until next month or after that...they were a stock up item.

If I had resisted the pizzas, we would still be under budget by a few dollars, but this was one of those times when it is cheaper to buy now and save big time later.  I really do not feel bad about it at all and even if I did technically go over budget, I don't consider this month's challenge a failure at all.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

February $100 Grocery Budget Challenge Update 2/20/16

Berries picked in our garden last Summer before I froze them. 

   At my last update over a week again, I let you know that I had spent  $48.84 leaving me with $51.16 in cash for the rest of the month.    I have now spent an additional $25 on things like fresh veggies, fruit, hot cocoa mix, milk and some canned goods.  That brings us up to $73.84  spent and $26.16 left in cash for the rest of the month.  

   To be perfectly transparent, I have bought other grocery items but, as I stated when I started this challenge, I would be using gift cards to do that with.  I had a $25 Walmart gift card and a $50 Safeway gift card that I had earned through points programs that I do online.  I did use those cards to buy not only stock up grocery items that were added to our pantry, but also gifts and household items like 2 big containers of kitty litter and a glass measuring cup.  We have cooked up one of the hams that I got with the Safeway gift card (it as marked down at 75% off) and have made several meals out if it so far and still have more.  Most of the food items I bought with those gift cards however  were clearance and marked down items and have gone into the freezer or pantry for future meals.  This is my normal way of shopping.  When I see something at a fantastic rock bottom price, I buy it for future use if it is something that I can freeze or is shelf stable.

   My goal in this challenge was to just have a $100 budget that was coming out of our pocket for the month.  Gift cards are something that I earn and cash in for on a regular basis.  I would say that I average about $60 in Walmart gift cards earned a month.  I use those gift cards to supplement my grocery budget so that it is less money coming out of our actual bank account.  Every 6 weeks or so I buy a huge bag of Pedigree dog food for our over 100 pound White German Shepard mix dog.  I use Walmart gift cards to do that.   

   My hubby and I were talking tonight in our "office", otherwise known as our hot tub (this is where we have our best talks since there are no distractions and we are relaxed) and I was commenting on how well this challenge has been going.  I have been able to still stock up on things for future meals with the gift cards I had and that is an important part of how we keep our food costs down.  This challenge has helped me to be more mindful of what we have, dig deeper in the pantry and freezer and be more creative in planning our meals.  I floated the idea of me continuing this challenge next month also but upping the budget to $150 so that I can still stock up on reduced meats and things at stores other than Walmart.  This would still be less than my normal $200-$250 monthly grocery budget.  He was game to do it. :)  That money saved can then be put towards gardening supplies that I don't already have which would then save use further money came later this Spring and Summer when we can eat more of the food I grow in the garden and not have to buy it in the store.  Win-Win!  I love how this is all playing out!

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Frugal Friday Wrap Up 2/19/16

Movies I got free from using a gift card I earned through Swagbucks

    Another rather satisfying week of savings and boy, could we use it about now.  We just had to pay a huge repair bill on my car on Thursday...$1,128.00 .  OUCH!  Luckily our income tax refund is due in tomorrow so we put the payment on the credit card today.  We will be sending in another payment on the credit card that, in addition to the amount we just paid on it this week, will take care of the charge we just added.  I hope that made sense.  I am so thankful for our honest mechanic though because if I had taken it anywhere else than to him, it would have cost double that amount.   Now onto the rest of the savings for this week...

 ~We were running low on syrup so I made more homemade mapleline syrup (I shared the easy recipe earlier this week).
~I called my health insurance company and specified who my primary care physician is.  This way my visits to him have a $15 co-pay as opposed to a $45 co-pay.
~Got a list of eye doctors that our insurance does cover and found out what our benefits and allowances are so I can shop around and get the best deal possible.
~I  made use of the ends and leftover bread to make homemade croutons.
~Instead of going out for Valentine's Day, we stayed home and I made us a nice romantic dinner here.   We watched a movie I borrowed from the library.

Set of 3 stacking decorative hat boxes that I got for $4.99

~I used gift cards that I earned at Swagbucks to pay for my order at
~Every day I spent time working my points programs and surveys so I could earn points for gift cards and cash.
~Reused the plastic grocery bags from the stores to line my garbage cans.
~Hard boiled a dozen eggs for my hubby to have as snacks and gave the one that blew up to the dog.
~I was craving somen salad but with a Thai flair so I made some using a Spicy Peanut Vinaigrette from Trader Joe's as the sauce along with somen noodles, half a package of coleslaw mix, 2 mini sweet bell peppers, some green onion and a cooked chicken breast.  Oh was it yummy!

Brand new shirt for Jeff that I found at the thrift cost $2.37

~Safeway had some of their hams marked down for a 75% savings.  I bought 2 of them using a gift card I had earned so there was no out of pocket cost to me.  One is now in the big chest freezer and the other became part of our Valentine's dinner served with homemade scalloped potatoes and a pie that I had previously bought on sale and stuck in the freezer.  The leftover ham became sandwiches, ham and noodles casserole, yaki soba, ham salad and the bone is in the freezer and will be used when I make split pea soup again.
~Used gift cards to buy 2 large containers of clumping unscented cat litter.  It is the only kind that our cat Rufus seems to not be allergic to.
~I buy greeting cards year round when I find them at a great price at yard sales, thrift stores or on clearance.  Some are occasion specific, but others are blank on the inside so you can write your own sentiment.  I also will pick them up at the Dollar Tree.  I have 2 fabric covered boxes full of them.  This is where I went to find the perfect Valentine's Day card for my hubby!  If I remember correctly, I bought this card and a bunch of others when one of the stores we go to were switching greeting card lines and were clearing out all of the previous lines they carried.  It was marked down from $2.99 to .50 .
~I put the leftover coffee, while still hot, in an insulated Starbucks pitcher that my parents gave us as a gift many years ago.  It keeps the coffee hot for hours!  Since hubby and I are on different sleep schedules, we have coffee at different times of the day.
~We watched several dvds we borrowed from the library and I requested more.

DVDs found at the thrift store for $2.99 each

~My hubby and I made a list of dvds that we do not have but would like to own.  This way I know what it is that we already have and what it is we are looking for (we have a large dvd collection).  I will keep an eye out for them at thrift stores and yard sales.
~I belong to Pinch Me which sends out free samples.  This week I received a dog treat, cat food, tampons (will donate these), Truvia and a card for a huge discount on wine.
~Dairy Queen sent me an email with a coupon for a B1G1 Free Blizzard treat.  My husband and I took advantage of this offer as a special spur of the moment treat.
~Found a pizza marked down to half price in the Walmart deli.  I used a gift card and we got it for free.  It is now in the freezer for a future meal.
~My cousin Jeremy had left some beef broth in our refrigerator from when he made beef and broccoli so I used that, along with some leftover red wine, onions, pearl barley and some mushrooms that needed to be used up to make a wonderful soup.  I just seasoned it with whatever sounded good at the moment and it was delicious!

Cashmere scarf found for .99

~While I was making split pea soup with the leftover ham bone, I also threw in some lentils to boost the nutritional value and to stretch it further.  My hubby, who thinks he does not like lentils, was none the wiser and loved the soup. ;)  Shhhhhhhh....;)
~I watched 6 TV shows online that we do not get on our DISH network package.
~I used a coupon for a free bag of salad and used that for a meal.
~Found more marked down sausage, cheese, bananas and froze everything but the bananas for future use. Used a gift card to pay for it so no money out of pocket.
~Used the marked down bananas to make 3 loaves of banana bread, we ate 1 and gave the other 2 away to some of my hubby's co-workers who had put in "requests" for more of my banana bread. ;)  I still have more marked down bananas to make more banana bread for this weekend.

A brand new Spring sweater for me...can you say it "found at the thrift store"

~We went to the thrift store and found 2 shirts for the grandboys, a really nice University of Hawaii long sleeve shirt for my hubby (new with retail tag $30 retail), a golf club for my hubby, a foam wedge to put behind my hubby's back when he goes kayaking at my parent's place, 4 dvds that I had been wanting to add to our dvd library,  sweater for me (new with retail tag $37.50), a nice lightweight cardigan (Coldwater Creek, retails for $69.95), a cashmere scarf and a set of stacking decorative hat boxes that I will be storing my scarves in.  I got all of it for $28.00.
~2 free magazines arrived in the mail...Better Homes and Gardens...Country Living.
~I found a new 2 cup Pyrex glass measuring cup in the marked down section at Safeway for half the original price.  This was added to the gift closet.
~We made repairs to our screened in porch that our cat managed to escape from with materials we had on hand.  My hubby's carpentry skills came in very handy yet again.
~Used SKYPE to talk to our son Josh.
~I had signed up awhile ago for a new men's antiperspirant that is motion activated for my hubby to try, it arrived in the mail on Thursday and I was surprised to see that it was what appeared to be a full sized product.

Free full sized product sample I signed up for

   I think this has been a pretty good week for finding things at great prices and stocking up our home movie library even more.  I was really excited about the University of Hawaii shirt for my hubby who was needing some more nicer casual long sleeved shirts.  He needs to rotate some of his older ones to the "work shirt" pile and get rid of some of the work shirts he has now.  Since he is a freight delivery driver and has to lift heavy pieces of equipment, he is pretty hard on his shirts and stains and rips them while doing his job.  I'm looking forward to seeing what other ways I can save next week.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

What Do Your Want Your Home to Be?

Our home in the Spring of 2015 when we were redoing the front garden bed.

   When my husband and I moved our young family back up to this area many years ago, we searched for an affordable place to raise our family.  Housing was much more expensive up in this area than where we had just sold our home in Southern Oregon and we had very limited choices in the homes that we could afford to buy.  We knew we wanted to raise our boys in a small town but still be close to my husband's parents.  We soon found ourselves looking at the house that we have lived in for close to 24 years now.

   When we moved into this place, it needed lots of work.  It was UGLY!!!  We thought it would be a temporary shelter and stop on our way to buying our dream home.  However, life happened and we are still here.  Over the years, as time and money has allowed, my talented hubby has remodeled the inside of our home and we, including our son Chris, added gardens full of flowers and fruit bearing plants.  We also put in 2 vegetable gardens.  These gardens have nurtured our soul and fed our bodies along with those of our friends and neighbors. 

   It is a funny thing though, even when I was first dreaming of what our home could look like if we remodeled this and painted that, we still had the home that everyone came to.  Our small, outdated and at the time very dark interior and sorely in need of repairs home, become the gathering place for our kids' friends and our's also.  This taught me that there is a huge difference between having a beautiful house and having a home.  I do want to preface this by saying there is nothing at all wrong with wanting and having a beautiful house, but it is the memories that you make and the love you share with others that makes a house into a home.

   So what do you want your home to be?  For my husband and I it meant having an open door policy for our friends and family.  We wanted our friends and our children's friends to feel loved, wanted and valued when they came here.  They were greeted with smiles and hugs and were welcome to share a meal and spend the night (or many nights in some cases).  We wanted this to be a place of safety and refuge, love, acceptance and laughter.  It was a place where they could be themselves, shed tears, pour out their hearts and know that no matter what, they would be loved unconditionally.  It also became a place where we had to at times do the hard thing of holding those kids that flocked here accountable for their actions, because we loved them and wanted the best for them, just as we did for our own children.  We helped them sort through things and make tough decisions.  We were there for them when their worlds were falling apart.  They became part of our family and we loved them like as we love our own children.  Thus they became our hanai (adopted by love) kids and remain so to this day.  Our friends became hanai family also and are like second parents, aunts, uncles and grandparents to our children.  Those same wonderful people still come "home" to see us and visit whenever they get a chance. :)

   Our grandchildren have their own huge filled toy box  and loads of books and movies to choose from in our home. They also have Tonka trucks and shovels to play with outside and are free to roam around the gardens and pick things to eat to their heart's content.  They have their own bedroom where they stay when they come for special Grammie and G-pa time.  They love to take baths here in my big soaking tub and getting to play in the hot tub is a huge treat that they look forward to.  They even have friends that live right down the street that we meet at the park to play with.  We have are building fun traditions like doughnuts for breakfast, cuddling up and watching movies in Grammie and G-pa's bed and snuggling on the couch to read stories or watch fun kids videos on Youtube. I want my grandchildren to alway feel like our home is their home too.

  Our grown children still enjoy coming home and we try to get together as often as we can.  Now that my cousin Jeremy has moved up to the area, he joins us for many of these fun times.  We usually do a potluck style meal and our kids also know they are free to invite their friends to join us too.  We don't want anyone to be alone, especially on holidays so we have always encouraged our boys to bring their friends here who have nowhere else to go.  We had lots of college kids from all over the world join us for holidays over the years and it was wonderful! We were given a hot tub by my hubby's very generous boss and then my hubby built an enclosure around it so we can all use it year round.  There are plenty of towels and bathrobes for everyone to use when they come out for a visit or stay.  It has been fun to watch our grown kids and their friends enjoy it, then our grandchildren when they came along and were old enough and of course my hubby and I also make good use of it to relax and to soak away those aches and pains that come from hard work and age. ;)

   There are more remodeling projects that still need to be done. Our home is not exactly what we wanted it to look like, but it is exactly what we wanted it to be.  It a place where people are enveloped in loved, feel comfortable to just be themselves and know that they are always welcome.  I hope that we can continue to provide that "home" that our family and friends have all come to enjoy and to do that for other people also for many more years to come.



Tuesday, February 16, 2016

I Don't Understand Why

Our Rachel and Pastor Steve on Jaysn and Rachel's Wedding Day

I will never understand while I am still here on earth why God works the way He does.  I know He loves us, I know he wants the best for His children and I know He wants us to show His love to others.  So why does He allow someone who is one of the most loving, kind and giving people who shows His love to others to go home so early in their life?

Steve McClure died on Sunday after being diagnosed with cancer 6 months earlier.  He leaves behind his beautiful wife Tina and his young children who have have lived through seeing their mother battle and  beat cancer and yet have now lost their father to this cruel disease.  My heart breaks for them.

Steve was an incredible man with the capacity to make everyone around him feel loved and accepted.  Our Rachel, who had lost her own father to cancer when she was a child, met Steve when she came to college.  He was a pastor at the church she started to attend and became a member of.  His genuine caring, kind ways, laughter and encouragement meant so much to her and he became not only her pastor, but a good friend and even a father figure to her.  

When our Jaysn started dating Rachel, he got to know Steve and a friendship and mentorship of sorts was formed there also.  After Jaysn and Rachel became engaged, they had premarital counseling with Steve who was very realistic about both the good and the difficulties in marriage.  He helped our kids come up with plans on how to handle finances, conflicts, and that communication was key in any successful relationship. 

 Steve loved our kids and they loved him.  So deep was their love for Steve that they not only asked him to preside over their wedding, but also asked Steve if he would be the one to walk our Rachel down the aisle.  I will always cherish that day with our Rachel looking so radiant and happy to be marrying our son Jaysn, and our Jaysn seeing his beautiful bride coming down the aisle to him.  Steve, beaming like a proud father, walked Rachel down that aisle to be united with Jaysn and took great joy in being the one who pronounced them man and wife.

Steve not only united Jaysn and Rachel in marriage, but also our hanai (adopted by love) kids Ricky and Naomi.  It was such a joyous and fun wedding, with Steve again beaming and making the day all the more special for the nervous but happy bride and groom.  He had a gift for making you laugh and calm down when you were nervous on your special day.

Steve's life was one of giving so much to others.  He genuinely loved the Lord and loved people.  He was there for them and accepted them for who they were.  He helped calm people when they were in the midst of the storms of life and did so with a wonderful sense of humor.  He helped young couples start their lives on the right foot.  He counseled them on how to set up a reasonable budget and pay off debt as quickly as possible.  He was their cheerleader, encourager, sounding board, counselor and friend.  My husband and I will always be so grateful to Steve for all he did for our kids and for the love and encouragement he showed them.

My heart is breaking for Steve, having to say goodbye way too early to his precious wife and children.  For his wife Tina, who is now left to raise their children without the love and support of her best friend and husband.  For his children, who loved their father and who they know fought hard to try and beat cancer and be there for them and watch them grow up.  My heart also breaks for their extended family, their church family, and for all their friends who are going to miss this wonderful man.  I know that my husband and I, in the brief times that we spent with him, came to really respect him and enjoy his company.

I don't understand why God did not heal Steve while he was still here with us, but instead chose to heal him in heaven.  I don't understand the how and why He heals some people, who, in my own human understanding, are mean spirited and not appreciative of that gift of their healing, while someone like Steve, who is kind and loving, and has dedicated his life to serving the Lord is taken home so soon.  I wish I had the answers to that question, but more than that, I wish Steve had been healed while he was still here with his family and had lived to see his children grow up.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Homemade Mapleline Syrup

   I grew up in Hawaii where most everything we ate, wore, or used had to be shipped in.  The cost of shipping things in contributed to the high cost of consumer goods.  One of the ways my mother tried to combat the high costs was to make as many things herself as time allowed.  This included most of our clothing and some grocery items. 

   One of the things that my mom did on a regular basis was to make homemade Mapleline syrup.  I actually prefer it to commercial brands because it has only 3 ingredients, tastes great and has no strange sounding stuff in it.  It takes me about 5 minutes of hands on time to make it and it is much cheaper than buying the premade stuff.

Mapleline Syrup:

2 cups sugar
1 cup water
2 teaspoons Mapleline flavoring

Combine your sugar and water in a heavy saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring constantly to dissolve the sugar.  Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Your syrup should reduce down and become thicker.  Remove from the heat and stir in the 2 teaspoons of Mapleline flavoring. This syrup will thicken as it cools.  Use hot or store it in the refrigerator after it has cooled completely for future use.  Yields about 1 1/4 cups of syrup.

I hope you enjoy it!

Friday, February 12, 2016

Frugal Friday Wrap Up 2/11/16

    I think overall we did really well this week with the exception of my hubby not being able to work on our car after all.  We took the part back to the auto supply store and got a refund on it.  Our wonderful mechanic, who only charges for parts and for actual time worked on your vehicle fixed one of the problems but unfortunately, another even costlier problem showed itself so we are now waiting on parts for that and he will hopefully have it back up and going for me by Tuesday.  So, without further ado, let's look at the ways I saved this week:

~I bought a Elmo floor puzzle for my youngest grandson Isaiah, who is 2 years old and loves to work on them.  The puzzle was $2.99 at Value Village and was a huge hit!
~I froze some leftover Venison stew and rice for a future meal.
~Since the weather has been unseasonably warm, I was able to get out and walk with our dog Caesar more often.  Great exercise for us both!
~I worked on my points programs and cashed out at Swagbucks for $15 in gift cards.

~I cashed out at Pinecone Research for $10 in cash.
~I pulled some more of my favorite coffee creamer out of the freezer.  I had bought multiple containers of them while they were on sale during the holidays and froze them for future use.
~Taxes...I did them myself and went through Swagbucks link to one of the Tax places there and was able to efile for free and get 250 points which I used to cash in for more gift cards.
~We had a last minute Super Bowl party here at our house and everyone brought something to share.  :)
~There were lots of leftovers from the party; sushi, beef and broccoli, Little Smokies, grapes, and cherry cheesecake so we have been enjoying those.

~I made 2 loaves of sourdough bread and a batch of chocolate chips cookies.
~The Dollar Tree had oatmeal cream cookies and Slim Jims marked down to .25 each so I bought some for snacks for my hubby to take to work with him.
~The door to our garage from our breezeway blew open because the latch was having issues and our dog escaped.  That is NOT a good thing.  We were able to get him back pretty quickly with the help of our neighbor.  My hubby found a new doorknob/lock in package at the thrift store and changed that out.
~I found a new with tag shirt at the thrift store and a very gently used Chico's sweater there also.  The sweater retails for about $80 alone.
~I borrowed more movies and books from the library instead of buying them or paying to go to the movies at a theater.

~The hubby and I were craving Mexican food and salads so I made a huge taco salad with things we had on hand for dinner.
~Jaysn and Rachel gifted us a huge bag of tortilla chips from Costco.
~We took advantage of using our hot tub on multiple occasions and our youngest grandson really loved being able to hot tub with us while he stayed here over the weekend.
~I have been catching up on some of my favorite TV shows online.
~The mail has included free magazines, a free book I ordered for my DIL Rachel that I thought she would enjoy, free feminine products and coupons for free products.

~One of our favorite snacks is popcorn popped in a heavy pot and some butter and salt to season it.  Perfect treat on a cold night.
~We SKYPEd with our son Josh and our littlest grandson was thrilled to see his uncle's cat Peaches. :D
~Tuesday was a beautiful and unseasonably warm day.  I met Heather, Chris and the grandboys at the park that is halfway between both our towns for some play time and an impromptu picnic.
~Jeff and I had a date day last Saturday.  We went out to lunch instead of dinner (much cheaper) and then came home and watched the movie "The Martian" that we borrowed from the library and then hot tubbed.
~I trimmed my bangs that we just getting too long and heavy.

   I am simply amazed when I add it all up and see how much we have saved over the course of just one week.  When I added up the cost of what it would have been to either buy these things or purchase the service vs me making them, shopping for them on sale or doing it myself, I found I save more this week alone than I made on average substitute teaching for an entire month.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

February $100 Grocery Budget Challenge Update 2/11/16

   The last update I did had me at $27.37 spent leaving me with $72.63 for the rest of the month.  On Tuesday we stopped at Rosauers and I bought 2 packages of mushrooms, some ice cream, cheese, cole slaw mix and 2 Asian chicken entrees in the frozen food section.  I spent $16.47 with tax.  That brought my total spent so far to $48.84 leaving me with $51.16 in cash for the rest of the month.

   We hosted family here for a Super Bowl party and everyone brought things to share.  We ended up with leftover rice, beef and broccoli, Little Smokies, sushi, grapes and cherry cheesecake.  We really enjoyed those leftover and only that grapes remain at this point. Jaysn and Rachel also gave us a huge Costco sized bag of tortilla chips.  I tried to pay them for it but they said not to worry about it. :)

Sunday, February 7, 2016

February $100 Grocery Budget Challenge Update

   So the last time I checked in I had spent $15 of the $100 I budgeted for groceries this month.  Yesterday I spent some more.  We stopped at the Dollar Tree and they had some of their filled oatmeal cookies and their Slim Jims marked down to .25 each.  I spent $3.50 on them and some tamales.  

   Next stop was Walmart.  We have a tradition of getting doughnuts for breakfast when the grandkids stay here.  We have the youngest staying with us tonight and he got here bright and early so Grammie bought a $3.98 box of a dozen doughnuts from their bakery.  I also found boxed of cereal clearanced for $1 each so I bought 3 of them.  We were out of bagels so I bought a package of them for $1.89.  So here are how the numbers are stacking up: $15 spent previously + $12.37= $27.37.   Subtracting that amount from my $100 leaves me with $72. 63 for the rest of the month. :)

Friday, February 5, 2016

Friday Frugal Wrap Up 2/5/16

My "assistant" helping me with my big pantry organization project.

You will have to excuse the layout of this post.  Blogger is doing strange things tonight and not allowing me to do the kind of layout that I would like to.  :P  I'm also sorry that I am getting this posted so late.  It has been one of those days when my motivation to do much of anything was severely lacking.

My big project this week, and one that will save me the most money is trying to get my pantry organized.  My plan is to move all the crockpots, waffle iron, blender, etc. off the bottom shelf.  That will leave more room for me to group things in a more logical way and keep track of what we have better.  The appliances will be finding a new home in our converted hallway coat closet.  The shelves in there will be adjusted to house all the appliances along with the kitchen linens.  I am hoping that this will make life easier for all of us.

Here are some other things I did this week to save us money in the long run:
~made my hubby's favorite tuna pasta salad and bulked it up with some chopped celery
~I also made my favorite Italian veggie and pasta salad with some small cheese raviolis that needed to be used up
~we had the grandkids here with us over the weekend and we took them to McDonald's for breakfast and ordered off the value menu
~the grandkids enjoyed playing for about an hour at the McDonald's Playland

~we had a family dinner with Chris, Heather and the grandboys here on Saturday night serving pizza and pie (that I had gotten marked down and then froze them) followed by hot tubbing
~my hubby, our grandboys and I all cuddled up in our bed to watch a movie
~cut up a bunch of junk paper to make lists on
~the grandkids used scratch paper to draw on

~found multiples of things in the pantry and got them organized in bins so that I do not overbuy products

~received free samples of dog food, cat food, sleep meds and a coupon for a deep discount on wine in the mail
~signed up for a free magazine for my DIL Heather
~got 2 more free magazines in the mail this week
~made 2 loaves of sourdough bread
~used one of my crockpots to make venison burger stew since I had carrots and potatoes that needed to be used up, this was over rice

~borrowed another book and some movies from the library
~bought the grandboys 2 winter coats, a pair of pants and some shoes (they looked like they had been worn only a few times) at the thrift store and luckily for us they were marked at half off
~also found a pair of pants and a blu ray/dvd combo movie for my hubby at the thrift store and another blu ray movie at the Dollar Tree

~was able to find and buy Cinderella and Inside Out from Redbox for $5 each
~working on my point and surveys programs 
~cashed out for a $25 Walmart Gift card via Swagbucks
~found a code online for free shipping on my supplements order from Puritan's Pride and also went through Swagbucks so that I will get 6 points per dollar spent
~bought some books that I have been wanting, the hardback books were $1.99 each and the paperbacks were .50 each

~used SKYPE to talk to our son Josh in Maryland

~received some free kids toothbrushes and toothpaste in the mail
~the thermostat went out in my car so my hubby bought the parts and a repair manual and will be fixing it himself this weekend
~bought some car touch up paint to paint over where our car got hit by another car and scratched up
 ~got caught up on some of my favorite TV shows that we don't get with our DISH package by watching them online
~our youngest grandson had an accident and wet the bed so I washed the featherbed in the big deep bathtub and then my hubby set it up over some portable sawhorses to dry in the house

I'm still doing all the normal everyday stuff like keeping the heat turned down at night and using extra blankets on the bed.  I did manage to get the dog out for a walk this week so that was free exercise for both of us and it was much needed.  I know it looks like I spent a lot this week, but in the long run, these things save us and our kids money.  Be blessed!