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12.11.2009

Big mess....

Well as you can see I have lost my blog. I am in the process of trying to restore all my previous posts but right now I just don't have the time.

Bare with me.

11.17.2009

Weekly totals - August to current

Oh I really hope this works… I finally sat down and updated my grocery spreadsheet. It has taken me all day to put these receipts in order and tallied.

I am far to lazy to put them in week by week so I am hoping you can see the portion of my spreadsheet I copied.

Here are the totals for all the weeks I have missed.
Week Ending Spent Savings Total Value % Saved
8/15 $132 $61 $193 32%
8/22 $318 $66 $384 17%
8/29 $13 $35 $48 74%
9/5 $40 $29 $69 42%
9/12 $291 $58 $348 17%
9/19 $95 $135 $230 59%
9/26 $29 $58 $88 66%
10/3 $129 $77 $206 37%
10/10 $88 $10 $98 10%
10/17 $11 $64 $75 85%
10/24 $241 $387 $628 62%
10/31 $47 $78 $125 62%
11/7 $122 $33 $155 21%
11/14 $17 $85 $103 83%

So there ya have it. Not too bad overall. For the year, our % saved is 49%. I am very happy with that since this does include our toiletries, diapers and paper products and all of our bulk buying at places like Sam’s and BJ’s.

11.14.2009

2 weeks from today

Chris put in his 2 weeks notice yesterday. In his resignation letter he stated his last day would be the 28th of November. Since he happens to be off that day, his last real working day will be the day after Thanksgiving.

I couldn’t be more happy, scared, nervous, excited….

There are a whole mix of emotions going on right now and I am having a hard time turning this completely over to God.

Although I am 100% certain this is His will.

Chris will be going in a totally different direction in his career. He will not be home very often and we will miss him. This will be hard but our family will benefit in the long run.

Please pray for us as a family.

10.23.2009

One of my biggest pet peeves

One of my biggest?

Recipes.

Recipes for homemade food that contains pre-packaged ingredients! UGH.

I know back in the day it saved my mother a boatload of time in the kitchen. She worked full time and most nights, I was in there cooking up a storm for our family. It just made sense to but stuff already packaged. Seasonings and canned soups and rice mixes were a staple in our pantry.

Now… I’m gonna go in a different direction for a minute… stay with me.

I had headaches as a child. BAD headaches. I had testing done but no one ever figured out why I was having these headaches. I’ve worn glasses since I was 5 so that wasn’t the problem.

It wasn’t until about 2 years ago I figured out the problem.

MSG. Plain and simple.

It was the MSG in all the prepackaged foods! Heck I can remember my mother using Accent to season our food at one time! People…. that is PURE MSG!

About 2 years ago my husband suggested that the reason behind my headaches might be the MSG in our foods. We quit all MSG then and there….

…except for the one last pot of chicken and packaged yellow rice mix I made.

Oh man… I thought I was dying after that meal. I completely forgot about the MSG in yellow rice mix and made a big pot… I mean a HUGE pot of the stuff. I’m talking 2 packages here. Talk about MSG overload. I laid in bed that night feeling my chest tighten and my head pounding like it never had before. It took me almost 2 hours to fall asleep. I didn’t want to go to sleep because I had a feeling I wouldn’t wake up. (Of course I’m not dramatic or anything ya know.)

After that day, I donated all the food we had in the house that contained MSG. I wasn’t about to throw it out. Not everyone is as sensitive to it as me.

Did you know that most potato chip flavors have MSG?? And flavored crackers? And taco seasoning? And canned soup?

Don’t even get me started on soups. I ate soup a LOT as a kid. Chunky soups to be exact. WOW… talk about MSG overload.

Cooking meat for a long time in a slow cooker will also cause the meat to produce natural MSG.

Anyone want to buy a slow cooker??

So back to my original rant pet peeve…. I don’t like recipes with prepacked ingredients.

If you are gonna go to the trouble of making a meal from scratch, why mess it up with foods that are prepackaged? I can’t tell you the number of times that I have seen a recipe that looks so yummy only to find out it calls for 5 or 6 prepackaged ingredients. Boo!

I know, I know… I could just substitute a homemade item for the prepackaged one… I know this. I am just too lazy to figure it all out.

And nope… no more headaches. Yay.

10.15.2009

I still got it!

We quit getting multiple Sunday papers a while back and boy howdy did it make a difference! I spent more of everything. More time shopping, more money and more headaches. We are back to buying at least 4 papers just for the coupons. We recycle the rest of the paper. I wish I could just buy the coupons. I have tried the coupon clipping services but I am not the organized. I like to have the coupon in hand just in case I need it right then. Who has time to order then wait for the coupon to come??

When we take the papers to the recycle center, there are ALWAYS stacks of coupons that someone dropped off. Why in the world would people just throw away coupons is beyond me. Chris usually tries to get the coupons but sometimes they are already expired. Oh well… every little bit helps!

I have been trying to get to Publix for almost a week now and just now finally got to go last night. My buggy (does anyone still say buggy or is it just me??) was packed! They had some awesome deals! Combine awesome deals with high value coupons and you have a very happy mommy!

Oh and our Publix does NOT double coupons.

Does anyone else’s Publix not do that??

I walked out of there with nearly $200 worth of groceries and paper goods for a little over $80. I was so excited. I got everything on my list plus some.

I was getting a little discouraged lately about my savings… or lack thereof.

Needless to say, I still got it!

I thought I lost it, but it’s been found!

We won’t be getting just one Sunday paper anymore. Been there, done that!

10.09.2009

Awesome park!

While going to a new grocery store last weekend, Chris and I spotted a great park! The parks in our neighborhood are OK, but nothing like this one. It had BIG areas for the kids to run in as well as the regular playground/jungle gym stuff too. Sunday after Dad left, we decided to pack up the gang and head out to the park. It was slightly cloudy and not to hot. Perfect for the park!








Sophia LOVED the swings….


Lilly… did not…She was getting really hot by now.


Sophia, still smiling. :)


Sonic happy hour makes everything better!!



Caitlin’s glasses refuse to stay on her nose. Ugh.


Chris was the only one to order ice cream… he always has to be different…. :/


And by the way... he HATES this picture. He says he's "slouchy" in it. :)

10.06.2009

Cha cha changes...


…well not yet, but there are some BIG changes on the back burner at our house.
  1. Chris’s job.
  2. Caitlin’s schooling.
  3. Housing.
  4. Schooling for me.

We are definitely in for some big life changes soon. I think the most difficult thing for me to do in all this is let go. Letting go is hard for me. I mean REALLY hard. I am a total control freak to say the least. Letting go and putting this in God’s hands has proven difficult for me to do. I am trying and I think I am getting better at it everyday.




9.29.2009

Key word being "try"

Remember?? I said I would try and get the menu posted and the weekly totals updated.

I did manage to get the menu done for the most part. I am stuck on Saturday night dinner. My dad will be here this weekend and he has agreed to watch the children so Chris and I can go out.

Without kids.

To dinner.

To eat.

In peace.

With no whining.

Or crying.

Or poop.

Or pee diapers.

I know you can possibly tell how excited I am about this. Now don’t get me wrong, I love my children to death! But get this, we have only gone out to dinner 2 1 time that did not involve the kids. One. One time out without kids. It was the weirdest feeling being out without them too. I felt like I was forgetting something. Ha!

So long story short, I have NO idea what to make for Saturday night before we go. I’m sure my dad will say just order a pizza or burgers or something. He really doesn’t care, just as long as it’s good. He isn’t too picky.

I did manage to gather up all my receipts from… like a month?? maybe. Not sure. I can’t even remember the last time I did my spreadsheet.

9.25.2009

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!

That is literally how I feel when I don’t menu plan… and as you can tell by my blog, it’s been a while since I have done it.

As you may know, I lost my PC. Which means I am totally lost.

I have my hard drive backed up on an external drive, but have not uploaded it to my husband’s laptop because, well…. he is the computer Nazi. He thinks I put too much “junk” on here as it is. A lot, and I mean A LOT of my menu stuff is on was on my hard drive and I can’t remember what all was on there.

I feel lost.

I haven’t done my weekly totals in FOREVER!

I tell ya, I am just lost on this laptop.

So I am starting over.

I am going to “try” and get my weekly totals and my menu plan done by Saturday, Sunday at the latest.

Try, being the keyword here.

(if you are keeping count, yes I said the word lost 4, oops, 5 times. Thesaurus anyone?

I just can't stop...


… sewing!

I am currently making a Halloween twirl skirt for one of the babies. Not sure which one it will end up fitting best. I will tell you this… I need a serger. I have sewn 28 patches of fabric together to make this skirt. Each with 4 sides that have to be “finished” by me with a zigzag stitch. I am so over this skirt!

I ran out of black thread just as I was finishing up one of the tiers. I am soooo glad I didn’t run out before then. I would have been tempted to ditch the whole thing.

I made 2 dresses and 1 skirt over the weekend. Here they are!










9.22.2009

11 years ago today


September 22nd, 1998

That date will forever be in my memory.

I can remember exactly where I was when she told me she had cancer. It was at the dinner table and I broke down. I was only 19 at the time. That was 1996.

Less than 2 years later, she was gone and I am still not over it. It hurts as bad today as it did back then.

I thought about what I wanted to write while I lied awake in bed last night. I couldn’t think of what to write. I just kept crying. It was a long night and I still don’t know what to write.

I keep going over that day in my head. It feels like it was only yesterday and I am still mad about it.

Why my mother??

Why not someone elses mother??

What did she do to deserve this?

I’ll never know the answers. I just tell myself that God needed her more than we did.

Sometimes I am still angry at people for no reason other than they still have their mother. I hate that about myself too. It’s not their fault. They didn’t do anything.

So today, as we celebrate my husband’s birthday, I am also still mourning the loss of my loving mother. I miss her everyday. She would have loved to see her grandchildren. She would be so proud.




9.21.2009

Another year older!

This is the last of the birthdays this year. I’m glad and sad.

The one coming up tomorrow is a B-I-G-G-I-E!

Chris said it was the last day of his life, but he can be a little dramatic at times. (I wonder where the girls get it from)

Tomorrow he turns the…..

BIG 40!

Woot!

He is so depressed excited!

9.17.2009

Support Chocolate Equality... seriously. Do it!

If you don’t read this blog….  tellingdad.com, you are seriously missing out!

So funny!

Join his cause too!!

9.15.2009

3 years old

Yesterday I promised more blog posts. I lied. Well, not really lied.

I intended to put more posts up but then life got in the way.

Yesterday was a busy day.

Kids, screaming, crying, cooking, cleaning, baking : not necessarily in that order though

Lilly turned 3 yesterday. Technically at 12:07 am on Sunday night. For her birthday dinner she requested “pasgetti and cake” and I was more than happy to fulfill her request.

She is such a joy to our growing family. She is a precious, smart, funny, inquisitive, bossy, loving, friendly child. And I love her with all my heart.

Here are some pictures from yesterday.



Dinners here usually consist of eating, pouting and crying… birthdays are no exception.



Sophie after eating dinner. When she actually will eat, she thoroughly enjoys it.



Showing me the “sauce”, aka frosting.



Caitlin enjoying her cake too.

I do have more pics to post, but this laptop is about to get the best of me.

It literally makes me want to scream. It takes me 10 times as long to get stuff done.

I don’t have Photoshop installed on here yet and it shows!

I just want my PC back. :(

9.14.2009

It was only a matter of time

Chris got news last week that his job will end. At least we have about 2 months to figure things out.

In other, better news….

More blog posts to come today.

It’s a special day here. :)

9.04.2009

Silly Lilly


Oh my word that Lilly is just so silly. She cracks me up all. the. time.

I mean come on! Just one look at that face and you KNOW she is silly!



Chris is off work today and of course, Sophie has been crying ALL. DAY. LONG! Not sure what is up with her, but my goodness! It’s enough to drive a grown woman crazy!

To try and calm Sophie down, Chris decided he would take her to the post office with him. Well, that meant that Caitlin would have to go so she could sit in the car with Sophie. Then of course, Lilly wanted to go as well. I say the more the merrier! Do you hear that???

Shh…. listen!

NOTHING! Not a sound in the house. I have it all to myself!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

OK sorry about that. It never, EVER happens and I just had to get that out!

So anyway, Lilly wanted to go as well but since she is no longer in diapers, I took her to the potty before she left.

Here’s the conversation between her and me.

Lilly: Do you hear that? Do you hear my pee pee?

Me: Yes! I am so proud of you!!

Lilly: For going pee pee on the potty?

Me: Yes. You are such a big girl and….

Lilly: … and for picking my nose?

Me: Umm… sure! And for picking your nose.

Bless her heart.



8.24.2009

Happy 2nd Birthday Sophie!


We don’t do big parties here. Caitlin got one this year only because she won it at “Take you kids to work day” where Chris works. For Sophie’s birthday it was just us and my dad and his wife. We had such a nice visit, delicious dinner and an awesome cake!

Enjoy the pics!



It’s blurry, but it’s still cute!




Sophie and my dad. He was telling me NOT to do something… it never ends...he still does even though I am grown.




The cake. It wasn’t fancy. Just really good! It was just a doctored up box cake mix and homemade butter cream frosting. YUM!



Don’t mind the garbage or the laundry hamper OR the honey mustard dressing on Sophie’s shirt.  She loves “sauces” as she and Lilly call them.



She blew them out! Good thing she only had 2. It took her a while for just those.



The inside of the cake. RAINBOW! Everyone LOVED it and was so surprised! It was a hit!

Why yes, that is my pizza pan being used as a cake plate. Don’t tell me I am the only one that does that.



Sophie loved the cake! (No she’s not missing her hand, my camera just stinks at action shots)



Lilly loved it too!

I'm a bad, bad blogger...

I don’t do well when my routine gets changed up a bit. With my PC being kaput I am doing everything on my husbands laptop. Easier said than done. I am NOT a laptop girl. I like the bigger keyboards and number keypads!! It takes me twice as long to type anything on here!

Since I am not working at my desk, I am totally lost. My goal this week is to get organized enough to carry on with my weekly totals and such.

I do have pics to post of this past weekend. I made the most colorful cake for Sophie’s birthday. Everyone loved it!

Caitlin is with her Gramps doing all kinds of fun stuff for the whole week. He will bring her back on Saturday, so it’s just me and the babies this week.  Should be interesting. :)

8.17.2009

Fried PC for breakfast anyone?


Anyone??

I didn’t think so.

I didn’t either… but that’s just what I got last week. A broken and battered PC that just was too lazy to start up. I worked on it for days… nothing came up.. just a black screen. Not too big a deal since we have another computer, my husband’s laptop to be exact, but ALL the kids pics were on my PC.

I mean thousands of pictures of my kids. And hundreds of pictures of my bows I used to make. Not to mention all of Caitlin’s school work that I just finished downloading but hadn’t finished printing out yet, my budgeting and office software… everything!

Needless to say, I was upset.

Last Monday was not good.

Not good at all.

PC fried.

I am thinking it’s the hard drive. It is 6 year old, of course, so I did get my money’s worth out of it. I am actually kind of surprised that it last this long. When I first got my PC, the hard drive fried within 6 months. Luckily it was still under warranty so they just sent me a new one.

This time though… I am not so lucky.

By Tuesday morning I had lost all hope of getting all my stuff off the fried PC.

By Tuesday night though… I was determined to NOT let my childrens’ pictures be lost forever.

Wouldn’t you know it… my PC came on!! My husband and I quickly began savings everything we could to the many flash drives we have until we could find our external hard drive. (it was still packed up from the move)

We found it and were able to back up my entire PC hard drive!!! I was so excited and relived.

I thought maybe, just maybe I will still be able to use the computer since it did, after all, stay on all night.

No such luck. When the PC re-booted after the back-up…. black screen again.




8.09.2009

Week Ending 08/08/09






Not much shopping this week, but we saved a lot on what little we bought!

Total for the week

Shelf Price $34.00
Price Paid $5.00
Amount Saved $29.00

That is a savings of 86%




8.04.2009

My dear little Sophie...

… she’s a weird one alright.
  • She loves bread, but not wrapped around her hot dog, aka pigs in a blanket.
  • She loves pork chops, but not BBQ pork.
  • She loves hamburger gravy, but not hamburgers.
  • She loves chicken, but not fried chicken.
  • She loves my homemade tortillas, but not when I turn them into quesadilla.
  • She loves cheese grits, but not plain grits.
  • She loves egg salad, but not scrambled eggs.

I mean… really… what in the world is wrong with her??

Last night… she wouldn’t touch her BBQ sandwich or her corn, but she did eat a whole bun.

She might be weird… but just look at that face!

8.03.2009

Menu Plan Monday

Here’s what’s for dinner at our house this week! Want more ideas?? Check out Orgjunkie.com.

This week the Menu Plan Monday is being hosted by The Happy Housewife.

I totally forgot to post this earlier. I have been so busy finishing up Caitlin’s school schedule that I completely forgot about it.

Monday – BBQ pork sandwiches on 40 minute buns and corn on the cob (we bought 45 ears July 4th at Target. They were on sale…. 15 ears for $1.05!!)

Tuesday – Creamed chicken over rice, green beans and rolls

Wednesday – Tacos with homemade tortillas, beans and rice

Thursday – Chicken sheppard pie and rolls

Friday – Pizza braid and salad

Saturday – Pinto beans with rice and cornbread

Sunday – Chicken fried rice

This was the first time I have ever made homemade hamburger buns. Let me just tell ya, I will NEVER buy store brand again! They were so yummy and literally take no time at all.

I was so proud of myself, I took a picture of them. Feast your eyes on these!!





They tasted just as good as they look!

8.02.2009

Week ending 8/1/09

August already!! This year is FLYING by. It’s already time for school again.

This week we took advantage of a little BST shopping at Walmart. I always check out their book and magazine section up front because they have some really good homeschooling books there. I found 10 books for the girls. (I only bought 9. Yes, I left one there so I didn’t appear greedy, lol). All of them were on clearance for $1.00 each! They are from the makers of Hooked on Phonics and are write-on/wipe-off books. 3 of them even have CD’s to follow along with! Great buy there.

Total for the week

Shelf Price $66.00
Price Paid $25.00
Amount Saved $41.00

That is a savings of 62%

7.30.2009

A little bread, some news, and free museums

Yesterday was a busy day! I made 2 batches of bread. Not sure what happened to the first batch, but the bread dried out really quickly. Not that it wasn’t good, just a little dry. Butter to the rescue!

The 2nd batch I made was for yummy pigs in a blanket. We just love them. I made 32 total, kept about 12 in the fridge and froze the others. They don’t stay long in our house so putting them in the freezer really isn’t necessary, just a habit really. Caitlin wanted them for breakfast so I made up some scrambled eggs and we ate pigs in a blanket with them. Perfect breakfast. :)

I made *the* best bread the other day. It’s a honey, oatmeal wheat bread. And it’s delicious! If I can remember later, I’ll post the recipe and a picture.

We got some good news yesterday! Chris was able to go speak with a lady he used to work on a project with. He was asking her about the different projects going on and if any of them were hiring. She told him, anywhere he wants to go, she can send him! Such good news!!

Chris has the weekend off and since this is the first weekend of the month, it’s free for us to get into our local science museum. I have been wanting to go here for years but just never got around to it. It looks like tons of fun and can’t wait to take the girls. They will have a BLAST!

Off to shape my bread and think of what in the world I can fix for dinner. You would think that ground beef would be easy, but I need something NEW!

7.28.2009

Pulling out my hair!

Let me just start off by saying that we are so blessed as a family. We have our health, my husband has a job, we have a roof over our head and food on our table and I am so thankful for it all.

With that out of the way, I am sick of my husbands’ J.O.B. He has been there for 12 years, 13 in September but they treat him as if he was a new hire. He applies for new positions within his company and time after time, he gets turned down. Sometimes without even an interview. And never with an explanation as to why. It bugs me. And I am pretty sure it bugs him too.

Now what really has me pulling out my hair is that his supervisors are constantly asking people to leave early. Go home, without pay. He can’t and won’t do it. We need the money. He came home yesterday and informed me that not only are they asking people to go home early, they are forcing them to as well. Forcing people to go home without pay.

What if they start forcing him to leave. What in the world would we do.

So far I have been holding up pretty good but today I lost it.

Totally lost it in front of my kids. I hate crying in front of my kids.

My husband is coming up quick on being 40. Less than 2 months, and it scares me TO DEATH to have to start all over.

I feel such a huge amount of guilt with all of this. I love staying at home with my kids, but if I wasn’t at home with them, I could be out there working. Bringing home some extra income and helping out some. Granted, it wouldn’t be alot since childcare alone would cost almost $900 a month, but still. It would be the principle of it.

What scares me more than having to start all over is having to move. Where would we go? What would we/he do? I am just at a loss. Clueless.

On the other hand, what is keeping us from starting over? Moving to a new place can be exciting! Even fun! I remember when I decided to move to this city. I am so exicted. But I was sooooo naive. I grew up in a small town and the thought of a big city was exciting to me! Culture, museums, zoos & shopping! What more could a single mother ask for???

Now with a husband and 2 additional children, I don’t like this city.

The culture?? Eh… Not really feeling it.

The museums?? Haven’t even been to one.

The zoo?? I live in FL where it’s HOT so the zoo is bearable about 3 days out of the year. Been there once.

The shopping?? Too much to choose from. And TOO many people!

How ironic is it that I want that small town back? I want people to know my kids. I want them to notice if we aren’t at church on Sunday. I want to see our neighbors in the only grocery store in town and talk with them about God knows what for God knows how long. I want that small town feeling back. But not so sure I want my small town back.

Wow this post has turned into a big ol’ whine-o-gram. Remember that skit on SNL, Mr and Mrs Whiner? Yeah, my mother used to always say that when I whined. It was really quite funny. Anyway I feel like that now.

OK…. going to stop whining now.

Going to pray instead.

7.27.2009

Week ending 7/25/09

Not too bad this week. We had to get 2 more big ‘ol boxes of diapers so $40 of the total for the week came from that.

My biggest score for the week was at Walgreens. I got 2 nail saver sponges, cough medicine, ear thermometer covers and toilet seat covers all for $4.04. The sponges were marked down to 1.49 each, the medicine was marked down to 3.49, the probe covers were marked down from 5.99 to 1.49 and the toilet seat covers were a whopping $.24 each! I also had a $5.00 register reward to use. Talk about a good trip. $20 worth of items for 4 bucks. :)

Total for the week

Shelf Price $274.00
Price Paid $129.00
Amount Saved $145.00

That is a savings of 53%

Oh I forgot we went to Foodlion this week and spent over 80 bucks on groceries! We wouldn’t normally do this, but they had a great sale on their meat and boy did we stock up! Our saving actually went UP because the entire shopping trip was paid by a gift card that Chris got at work. :) Kinda like a little bonus for doing good on some accounts.

7.25.2009

Coming up for air!

This week has been a busy one. We went to the Salvation Army Thrift store on Saturday. I found a brand new bread machine! Of course I got it. It can make a 2 lb. loaf unlike my other one that can only do a 1 lb loaf. I also found another ice cream maker. This time it’s one of those that uses ice and rock salt. I hope this one won’t quit on us.

Chris took some time off at the beginning of the week for a class he needed to take but the class got canceled at last minute. It all worked out though since I needed to go downtown and really didn’t want to take all the girls with me. Downtown terrifies me. Seriously.

Sunday night, we did a dry run of our route to where we needed to go. It’s a good thing we did because we would have never made it in time without doing that. We got so turned around. We must have gone in circles about 10 times. The homeless people on the side of the road practically knew we were coming by again. (I don’t get why there are so many homeless people here) We had to go to the FDLE (Florida Department of Law Enforcement) and right beside it was a Walgreens with about 10 homeless people on the front sidewalk….. over them read a sign… No Loitering. Ummm… hello??? The FDLE is your neighbor! Call them!

Tuesday we didn’t do much of anything. Chris did move around some furniture that had been sitting in our living room for far too long. We have 2 sections in that room. The living room and the basement. I swear one side of my living room looks like my grandpas basement. Our deep freeze is there, a TV, a shelving unit, boxes we still haven’t unpacked, rubber bins with stuff we still haven’t unpacked….you get the idea.

Yesterday, Chris cleaned out the van when he got home. He also went to our storage unit and got a mattress set out for the girls, 2 tables, his stereo, books and lots and lots of clothes. I made some homemade laundry detergent yesterday too. I’m sure you all know about it. The fels-naptha with washing soda and borax. Well, I hand grated that whole bar of soap. It smells so nice and clean in our kitchen now because of the detergent. It seems to work great so far. I will have to wait and see just how well it does over the long haul with our EXTREMELY hard water.

Today was my unplug from the interwebz day for me. I had enough. I needed to get through this ribbon I am gonna sell and I just needed to unplug. Plus, I really wanted to spend time with these kids. I kinda like them ya know. They make me smile.






Sorry for the long post….. And I thought I didn’t have anything to say. Guess I did. :)

7.21.2009

Week ending 7/28/09

Not bad at all this week. We kept the spending down to a minimum which is always a plus.

Total for the week

Shelf Price $129.00
Price Paid $80.00
Amount Saved $49.00

That is a savings of 38%

Oh and I wanted to add that we have saved over $4000 with coupons and store savings cards this year. A little over 52% for the year. Since we just started doing this seriously at the beginning of the year, I’d say that total is pretty good.

I am anxious to see how much better we can get throughout the rest of the year and into the next.

7.14.2009

I'm ready! Just bring it!

That’s it… I am officially asking for “it”.

What “it” is, I don’t know, but bring it on! I will get through it and I will survive!

Rewind to a couple of weeks ago. Our neighbors car got broken in to. They took his GPS system. That was it. It’s an older car and I guess they figured it didn’t have an alarm. Easy pickens, I’m sure they thought.

We learned that a few days prior to that, the neighbor caught some kids looking in all the car windows in front of our building and even some house windows. I didn’t see them looking in mine, but if I did catch them, I can assure you they would no longer have eyes. :)

Well fast forward to this past Sunday. We had to pick up some thing from the grocery store and of course it was late. I don’t like going anywhere after dark here. It’s too scary for me. I’m a small town girl living in the big city so I am out of my element. It doesn’t bother Chris. He is from NYC so this is like Mayberry to him.

When we got home I carried 2 bags of groceries and Lillian, Chris got Sophie and I have no clue what Caitlin brought in. Anyway, we left the 12 pack of soda on the floor of the van. We were coming right back.

Guess what!?!?

Someone TOOK our soda from our car while we brought our children in the house. OMG. I am just in shock. I mean, come on… soda??? It was 2 bucks for Pete’s sake! 2 bucks!

I just can not get over the fact that someone would stoop so low. I feel ultra violated too. We have 2 car seats in the van. Who would steal a 12 pack of soda from people with babies?? What is this world coming to??

At least they have good taste and like the same kind of soda as me.

Aren’t I lucky?? And we live on the “good” side of town. Sheesh…. Don’t be jealous. :)

PSA: Do NOT move to Jacksonville FL. I repeat, do NOT move here!

Carry on.

7.13.2009

And then it got real quiet

My house is LOUD… I mean really, really LOUD. I can barely hear myself thinking it’s so loud. So when it gets quiet, I have to find out why. Usually 1 of 2 things are taking place. Either cartoons are on, or there is a mess somewhere that the babies have made.

Today, it was the latter of the 2. I knew I shouldn’t have given Caitlin the markers. She uses them for all of 5 minutes and then finds something else to do. Of course, it’s too hard to pick up the markers and put them away. 10 year olds have so many more important things to do during the day then clean up after themselves.

*ahem* sorry… whole ‘nother post someday. :)

It got quiet today. Eerily quiet.

Nope not 3pm. PBS kids would not be on yet. That means only 1 other thing. BIG MESS.

Lilly came in first with her hands behind her back. That of course is never a good sign. I knew they hadn’t gotten into the make-up again. That was on my desk. Paint?? Nope.

Here comes Sophie, screaming of course. Her hands are covered in markers.

See Lilly’s “lipstick”?? She just wanted to be like her mommy.

“Mommy, I look pwetty?” she asked.

“Beautiful” I answered her.

Hey, at least she got it right on her lips. With no mirror I might add. That’s my girl.

Pay no attention to the HUGE bruise on her head. Last week we painted and I put down a sheet over the tile for easy clean-up. Silly Lilly forgot the “No Running” rule and slid on the sheet. She face-planted the tile floor.

Poor baby.

Oh and this is after she ran into the door frame the week before. She was pretending to be a monster or something and had her blanket over her head when she ran smack into the frame. That bruise was just slightly left of the one you see here.

As you can tell, good manners, poise and grace runs DEEP in our family.

I think my kids will get helmets for Christmas this year.

If you don’t read Wendy’s blog then I highly recommend it. That means you Beth! Go read it! Seriously.

Thanks for making urging me to post Wendy. :)

Week ending 7/11/09

This week wasn’t the greatest even though we did buy 2 BIG boxes of diapers. That by itself was $40! We went to the wholesale club and did pretty well spending wise, but of course it costs big time up front. The savings will show down the line when I don’t have to re-buy things.

Total for the week

Shelf Price $219.00
Price Paid $149.00
Amount Saved $70.00

That is a savings of 32%

Cutting back... again.

I was looking over the weekly totals recently and thought, “Wow! I spend a LOT!”. I have to tell myself it’s because that is ALL of our spending. Grocery, household products, EVERYTHING. Well, except like gas and clothes.

I just don’t want anyone to get the wrong idea about what we spend. We are on a VERY limited budget, which needs to be re-done by the way, and we use coupons as much as possible. We have had to cut our trips to Harris Teeter where we used to get great deals because the cost of gas has gone up so much recently. Our savings are not as good as they were at the beginning of the year, but that’s fine.

We will adjust.

7.08.2009

Next year, we are staying HOME

Did you have a good 4th of July holiday??

Oh you did??

WONDERFUL!!!!

Ours stunk big time.

I really don’t know what it is about this town, but we never have a good 4th of July (unless we go over to friends). Is it the people, this town, the craziness of it all? I don’t know. But I imagine, it has to do with all of those things and more.

The day started off GREAT! I had everything planned out, everything was going according to plan. I made the ice cream mixture the night before so it would be chilled, the potatoes were cooling in the fridge for the yummy potato salad I had planned, the burgers, well they just looked marvelous.

I wanted to go ahead and get the ice cream started so it would be done in time for us to still go see the fireworks. They don’t start until 9:45 here so we had plenty of time to get there. (Or at least ride by downtown to see them) I just can’t bring myself to go downtown here. I don’t like it. It’s a major city to me and not the safest. It just plain makes me nervous.

Well, I couldn’t get the darn ice cream maker to work. Remember I bought this one at the Salvation Army for only 5 bucks. It worked in the store, I made sure of it. I could hear the motor coming on, but the little thingy that spins the paddle, wasn’t spinning.

Great.

Let’s try another outlet.

Nope.

Still not working. Oh well, no homemade ice cream for the 4th. No biggie.

We decided at last minute, to go over to a friends house. They live at the beach, but far enough from the main roads that we can shoot off fireworks and not get the cops called on us. Did you know it's illegal to shoot fireworks that go up in the sky in FL?? Well, now you do. :)

We get to the beach and all the girls see are the fireworks from the Jacksonville Beach display. We decided to just ride by there and let the girls see those and then drive on over to our friends house.

Boy did we mess up!! As we headed into the beach, the traffic really started picking up. Next thing we know, we are in a full traffic jam. I’m talking LOTS of cars and people. Why didn’t I think to take some pictures?? It was crazy! They had what they called “Citizens on Patrol” to basically wave red wand thingy around and attempt to direct traffic. The “Citizens” were more like Senior Citizens on Patrol. I felt bad for them, but when you get a few hundred thousand people wanting to leave a small area all  at the same time, you might want to just pay a real cop to do the job right. It was a mess. The beach was basically gridlocked. The whole beach. Ugh.

I don’t know my way around the beach well enough to take the back roads, and apparently, neither did anyone else.

We finally found a back road that Chris knew would led us back towards we wanted to go. Awesome. Let’s GO!

We drive down that road a few minutes and then “THUD!” What in the hack was that!?!?

We get out and look.

EGG!

The big ‘ole redneck truck that just passed by us EGGED OUR CAR! I mean, come on. It’s the freakin’ 4th of July for goodness sakes. You don’t egg people’s car on that holiday!

Halloween, yes.

Independence Day, noooooooooooo!

We get back in the car and try to follow them. Of course they are LONG gone by the time we get back in the car. We decided, well, since we are now turned around, let’s just go back the way we came and go back home.

We get back on the road and “THUD!”

O.M.G. They did it AGAIN! Twice. In one night. By the SAME truck!!

By this time, my blood was boiling. What do you do when you are driving, with your kids in the car mind you, and someone just starts throwing eggs at your car?? Do you stop to look up the non-emergency police number or do you call 911?

Well I called 911. I explained what was going on.  The dispatcher was less than enthused with my call.

“Ma’am, is this a life or death situation?” he asked.

“Well what do you think?” I asked him back.

“I’m transferring you to the NON-emergency number. Hold” he blurted out.

I get a nice lady, but there is an awful echo. I can hear myself talking like a second later in the phone. Which, by the way, makes it incredibly difficult to talk. My heart is racing as Chris is literally chasing this truck full of kids. Not fast, since it was in a neighborhood and we had the kids, but it was kinda fun. Makes me wish I was a cop…. in a town like Mayberry. Tee hee.

We finally catch up to them… then they went through an intersection. We stop and get ready to go through and the nice people of Jax Beach decide they would rather BLOCK the entire intersection. Thank you people of Jax Beach. You are too, too kind.

They got away. The dumb kids that egged our car, got away with it. And we didn’t even get close enough to get a tag number.

I guess it’s a good thing we didn’t watch up to them. I would have yanked them up by their toenails and given them a lecture along the lines of this: “How would you like it if someone egged YOUR mom’s car?? How would you like it if YOUR kids were in YOUR car and someone egged it?? Not so funny now being hung up by your toenails now is it?? Not such a prankster now huh???”

I then realized that I sound just like the mean old lady that lived in the neighborhood when we were kids and every time the ball went in her yard, she kept it. Just because she could.

You won this time eggers. But next time you might not be so lucky. We are nice people. The next people you hit with an egg may not be so nice about it.

Next year, we are staying home and doing sparklers and snakes.

7.07.2009

Menu Plan Monday... on Tuesday!

Yesterday was a doozie of a day so I am a day late posting the menu. Actually all weekend was a doozie, but that’s a whole ‘nother post!!

Here’s what’s for dinner at our house this week! Want more idea?? Check out Orgjunkie.com.

Monday – Last minute frozen pizza

Tuesday – Crockpot lima beans with ham, rice and green beans

Wednesday – Pork chops, leftover limas and rice, broccoli and biscuits

Thursday – BBQ baked chicken, corn on the cob and field peas

Friday – Pizza night with salad or broccoli

Saturday – Slow cooked beef steak with onions, egg noodles and green beans

Sunday – Grilled fish, potatoes, peas and bread

It’s gonna be an easy week here. Too much other stuff going on to worry about big dinners. Plus it’s HOT outside!

7.05.2009

Week ending 7/4/09

The savings this week are a little deceptive since we did buy some stuff on markdown at Winn Dixie. Chris picked up 3 boxes of spaghetti noodles for a quarter each, 2 Mexican kit dinners for 50 cents and 99 cents, a can of diced potatoes for 10 cents. He bought about 7 things total for under 5 bucks so the savings doesn’t show up right since they were on markdown already.

All in all it was a really good week. The biggest savings was at Publix. They had great BOGO deals!!

Total for the week

Shelf Price $440.00
Price Paid $225.00
Amount Saved $215.00

That is a savings of 49% – Not too shabby for no double coupons!!

Updated post: I found 2 more receipts in my bottomless pit purse that I forgot about. Oops!

7.03.2009

Happy 4th of July! (early)

Nothing has really been going on except I am EXTREMELY sleepy and tired around this time (5pm) every single day now. Maybe it’s just the weather. We usually have thunderstorms around this time everyday and I love to sleep during a good t-storm. Who knows… at least I’m gonna blame it on that.

Tomorrow we are going to grill hamburgers and hot dogs with homemade buns, along with potato salad and grilled  corn. BTW, Target has ears of corn on sale this week 10 for $1.00 15 for $1.05 at our store!! Can’t beat that!

Since not much has been going on, here are some pictures of the girls from last week and today.

Here’s Sophie looking adorable. I tell ya if this kid gets any cuter, sheesh… she’s gonna be a little heart-breaker when she gets older.


Here’s one of Lilly. I didn’t realize I got Caitlin in the picture as well, but I love this picture of her. She is always thinking about something.



I had been planning on making the girls some dresses but then procrastinated so much I never did make them. Well, last Wednesday I finally made them!! They turned out so cute.





Bad lighting + bad camera = bad pictures. Sorry.

Guess what came today!! My years supply of Kraft Mac and Cheese!! My girls were so excited!

Sophie was VERY excited! She loves anything pasta and cheese.

6.29.2009

Week ending 6/27/09

This week went by so fast we only made it to the grocery store 3 times! I planned my entire weekly menu around items we had on hand so I could use up some of the stockpile.

Total for the week

Shelf Price $46.00
Price Paid $27.00
Amount Saved $19.00

That is a savings of 41%

I was looking on a government website recently and came across this. Wild. I had seen a chart like this before but it got me really thinking about food prices and what the government thinks is an acceptable amount to spend for our family.

For our family it is perfectly acceptable for us to spend $611.60 on groceries each month. Actually this is the cheapest plan. Or as they like to put it… thrifty.  That is more than we spend on groceries and personally more than I am willing to spend on groceries each month. To be quite honest with you, if I did spend that much on groceries each month, we would not have money left over for bills.

Just to put things into perspective, I calculated the “liberal” plan. It came to $1186.70. Could you imaigine! I mean really?? A family of 5 eating buying that much food in a month! That is more than our rent!

We are going to have to buckle down a little more when it comes to buying groceries. We, so far, have been very lucky that Chris still has a job in this economy. Grated, he just lost his promotion at the beginning of the month (along with the raise he received), but at least he still has a J.O.B. With his new, old position comes a decrease in pay to the tune of around $400 each month. Now to some people this is just a drop in the bucket, but to us, it HUGE. That is our monthly car payment, electric bill for the month and 2 weeks of gas, just to give you an idea.

We are praying that something comes along for him. I know he has a lot on his shoulders at the moment and I couldn’t be more proud of the way he is handling it. He is such a good man, an excellent father and a wonderful husband and I truely appreciate him for all he does.

Is "good" customer service a thing of the past?

There is no easier way to get me fired up than for a customer service rep to talk to me like I am an idiot. Let me tell you this… I am FIRED up!

This started last night with a simple trip to the grocery store. Our destination: Winn Dixie for their Pampers special they have going on. We are enrolled in the Baby Club program there, and it has been nothing but a nightmare! They very rarely calculate the baby points correctly or actually give the reward for earning 200 points at the time they are supposed to.

Case in point. Yesterday I knew I had 185 baby points going in to the store. My goal was to pick up 2 packs of diapers to go over 200 points and then get my $10 reward to either be used on the diapers or the cart full of groceries I had.

I put the diapers up first thing. Nope, no baby points. No rewards. Nothing. Ugh.

When she finishes up my order I look on the receipt. No baby points whatsoever. None. The 185 I had from my last visit have just disappeared. I also noticed that my overall reward card savings have been reset down from around $4200 to $53. OK. No biggie. Maybe she scanned my card wrong. She didn’t. It was the right card number. Just something was screwy.

I went to the customer service center. Great. They can no longer help on the card issues. I have to call the 800# located at the top of the receipt. I thought nothing of it since I have called numerous times before and had no problems with anyone there.

Until…

TODAY!

I tend to be very well prepared when I call a customer service number. I hate calling them but I do try to be very nice when I call CSR’s. I know they get all kinds of crazies calling and I really do want them to remember at least one nice caller for the day. But once she had interrupted me 3 times, the gloves came off.

Note to CSRs… do NOT interrupt the customer. Let me say what I want to say to you even if it doesn’t matter. At least that way we can can say that we did notify you of the problem.

1st time : Interrupted me to tell me that the total saved that it says on the receipt is not the amount saved at my last trip. i.e. I didn’t save $4200 on my last shopping trip. Ya think?? I know I didn’t save that much on my last trip, but I do know that over a couple of years, I HAVE saved that much.

2ns time :  Interrupted me to tell me that my baby must be over the age of 2. Ummm… no. She won’t be 2 until mid-August, thankyouverymuch.

3rd time:  Interrupted me to tell me that she can not give out any information to me since my name is not Christian. Ummm… my hard working husband is at WORK. And what information is soooooo secretive about my grocery store savings card that you can’t tell me over the phone.

LET ME TALK TO YOUR SUPERVISOR

4th and final time : Interrupted me to tell me that the supervisor will tell me the same thing. LET ME TALK TO YOUR SUPERVISOR

Supervisor FINALLY picks up the phone. Proceeds to tell me that the CSR is correct in that she can’t give me any information. Whoa… did he just say the wrong thing.

“I don’t need you to give me any information. I just need you to do a little research and figure out where my baby points went! There is no information that you can give me that I don’t already know about this transaction other than the fact that you guys screwed up! What is so secretive about reward points anyway? I can call a Dr.’s office and get more information from them and that is important personal information. I can give you his SS#, his birth-date, his address, his phone number and even his first borns' name if you want. All you need to do it find out where my baby points went!!! ”

I think he got the point. He will be calling me back today. :)

Menu Plan Monday

I was bound and determined to get my menu done by yesterday and I did it!! Monday’s are always pretty busy and I just was running out of time to make up a weeks worth of ideas. I hope to be able to eventually do 2 weeks at a time. That way when we go to the store, I  get what we are going to fix for dinners, along with other essentials. But at least I’ll always have what I need on hand.

Here is what I came up with for this week’s menu plan. You can see more menu’s over at orgjunkie.com.

Monday – Pork chops with scalloped potatoes, green beans and bread

Tuesday – Grilled stuffed burritos with black beans and rice and a salad

Wednesday – Chicken & dumplings, peas and carrots and any leftover bread

Thursday – Baked fish, squash, broccoli and bread

Friday – Homemade pizza and a salad

Saturday – Hambugers and hot dogs on the grill, potato salad and grilled corn

Sunday – Tuna noodle casserole, green beans and any leftover bread

6.23.2009

What a difference a week makes

Last week I proclaimed that I hated suppertime. It was just too stressful. I have just recently started menu planning and since it’s easier for me to see exactly what needs to be done, I acutally do it! Imagine that!!

Last week went very smoothly. Yes, there were a few bumps in the road, but boy howdy was it much less stresful than the weeks leading up to it.

Last night was meatloaf night. I got an awesome deal on some ground beef that was marked down to $.99/lb and it was a 5lb package so I have plenty to work with. I used  about 2.5 lbs last night on the meatloaf mixture. It made enough for 12 meatloaf cups and then I used the rest to make the meatballs for Wednesday’s dinner. So while the meatloaf cups baked, I rolled meatballs. Almost 40 of them!! Then popped them in the oven and they were done in mere minutes. I love getting things made ahead of time. Makes me feel a little organized.

I commented to Chris last night about how I don’t have headaches anymore. At least not as much. I am a firm believer that it was the MSG in the packaged food we used to buy. We haven’t bought anything with MSG in it for a little over 3 months now and NO headaches for me! :) I can’t believe all the things at the grocery store with MSG in it. Soups, bullion, ground beef helper meals and even some potato chips! If MSG is in there, we won’t buy it.  I make my own cream soups now, as well as my own beef helper meals and stocks and broths. It’s tastier and much better for us.

Right after dinner last night, and after a HUGE thunderstorm, we noticed water dripping from the upstairs condo. I had heard their dog barking earlier during dinner so I thought they weren’t home. The first thing that went through my head was that their ceiling had either leaked or completely caved in and it was now coming in our house. (I know… I get a bit over-dramatical)

Chris rushed up the stairs to see if they were home. The husband was. He came downstairs and then right into our house. OMG… we had JUST finished eating dinner and dishes were everywhere and I didn’t have on a bra. I’m sure you know what boobs look like after 3 kids and no bra! I was trying desperately to hide behind the table. Not sure if it worked.

Turns out… the ceiling wasn’t leaking at all. His dog got spooked during the storm and knocked a tube out of his fish tank. Yup… stinky, dirty, poopy fish water was leaking into our dining room and down our living room wall. It stopped dripping after we chatted a while. Turns out they have been doing the Dave Ramsey plan. We chatted about that and about where they go to church. We may have to visit sometime.

So… organizing, cooking, fish water and boobs…. Now where else can you get that kinda of variety??

6.22.2009

Menu Plan Monday

This whole week has been planned out with only the items I have on hand at the moment. We really don’t need to go to the grocery store during for anything except maybe milk and butter.

There are a few things that didn’t get made last week. I totally forgot that last Wednesday was our anniversary so I didn’t want pigs in a blanket for that special dinner. We ended up having Shrimp and Pineapple Stir-Fry. It was so yummy.

I ended up making beef stroganoff with the cubed steak instead of having it with the rice and beans. Let me just tell you, it was AWESOME! I got the recipe from a VERY old GoodHousekeeping recipe book that used to belong to my mother. The pictures are classic 70’s colors and I love using it. I have nice memories of my mother and I cooking from that book. :)

This week’s menu plan looks like this.

Monday – Meatloaf, three-cheese potato bake, broccoli and leftover homemade bread

Tuesday – Chicken noodle casserole, green beans, carrots and Puerto Rican bread

Wednesday – Polynesian meatballs (with homemade meatballs) over rice and a green salad

Thursday – Stuffed burgers,  oven roasted potatoes and carrots

Friday – Baked fish, packaged noodle mix, green beans and rolls

Saturday – BBQ chicken, bacon and onion pizza braid and a green salad

Sunday – Creamed chicken over rice (bumped from last week), carrots, lima beans and potato rolls

So there ya have it. I hope to stay on this menu all week since last week I had to rearrange a little. You can see more menu’s over at orgjunkie.com.

Week ending 6/20/09

Not a great savings week this week either. A big chunk of the weekly total was for 2 large boxes of diapers. I also splurged and bought steak for dinner tonight (at least it was on markdown). Grilled steak with mushrooms, onions and capers in a red wine sauce, butterflied shrimp, smashed red potatoes, green beans and homemade bread. Chris said it was the best Father’s Day he has ever had. :)

For breakfast this morning I made homemade pancakes and sausage. I bought some heavy cream the other night since I have been wanting to try and make some homemade butter. Since I thought today was as good a day as any, I filled a jar about 1/2 way full with the cream and handed it off to Chris. About 15 minutes later, we had BUTTER! It was so cool to watch the different stages of butter forming. It made about a cup of butter and about a cup of buttermilk which I will be using for biscuits later this week.

I hope to get a menu plan up in the morning. It really helped me get things in order this week.  Anyway, here is the total for this past week.

Total for the week

Shelf Price $263.00
Price Paid $165.00
Amount Saved $99.00

That is a savings of 37%

I am really hoping to get our weekly average down to about $75 sometime soon. I know we can do it.

6.16.2009

Pictures, MRIs and Ice Cream, oh my!

Whew… 2 very busy days in a row is something that I am NOT used to. I had an appoint with a specialist yesterday and they wanted me to get an MRI done on my foot. Well I thought it would be next week but the MRI place wanted me to come in today. Soooo I got up at 7:30 on a Saturday. Ugh.

MRI’s are not fun. My hips felt out of the place the whole time. Lucky for me it was an open MRI and only 1/2 of my body had to go in. All went well and I go back to see the Dr on the 29th for another follow-up. Hopefully, nothing will be wrong. The Dr. did tell me I need to start physical therapy for my foot and ankle, so that will be something I will tackle next week. 2 days of therapy a week  for 6 weeks is not something I am looking forward too. I would rather just stay in my little cave here and never leave to be honest with you.

I’m making the girls some skirts today. Nothing fancy. Just a simple skirt. It’s hot here in FL and a cool skirt is best for them. After that we are planning to get our garden going. Since this condo is just temporary, we will be planting in raised beds that can easily be taken with us. I am really excited too. I just love homegrown (homegrowed as my kids would say) veggies.

I am also gonna make some bread and ice cream today. Since the Dr. gave me a boot to wear, I am actually able to walk around a lot better so we went to the wall-to-wall mart last night. It’s brand new and so lovely. The aisles are so nice and wide. Lots of goodies and cheap too! So I picked up some cream that I needed to make the ice cream. We have some bananas in the freezer left over from a HUGE batch I got on markdown, so I am thinking banana ice cream would be just yummy! Maybe some peaches too. OooO…peach-banana ice cream. Yum.

As you know tomorrow is Father’s Day. I don’t have a thing planned. I am thinking steak sounds good and I am pretty sure Chris would not object. I found a yummy sounding recipe for chocolate malt cookies and figured “What the heck” I’ll give it a try. Chris love chocolate malt and these sound good. I think they would be pretty tasty with the ice cream as well.

I haven’t taken many pictures lately but here are a few that I took a few weeks back.

I hate how blurry this pictured turned out but she was jumping up and down so fast, my el cheapo camera couldn’t keep up. This was right as she saw the skates.


I know she doesn’t look happy in this one, but I told her to stand still and this is what I got. Yes, I know she needs a haircut. She seriously looks like a bum in her mismatched clothes as well.


Skating around the living room. Pay no attention to the unpacked boxes in the back. Don’t pay attention to the orange bench or the baby foot on the back of the couch.



The orange bench is from a kids table and benches set that my dad brought when he came to visit last month. We are HUGE Florida Gator fans around here and although I asked him to paint it a pretty red color, he thought it would look best painted in Gator orange and blue. :)  Love you Dad!

This was the view I had the other night from my computer. Chris was sacked out and the girls were jumping all over him while watching a Baby Einstein DVD. They love those movies.



So not too much going on. I will have the totals for the week posted later tonight. I am going to spend the rest of the day enjoying mi familia!

Week ending 6/13/09

This week was pretty much a weird week. We didn’t do much grocery shopping since I was laid up in bed.

The majority of the items bought this week were Motrin, Pampers (CVS deal – got $15 ECBs back!), milk, butter and flour. LOTS of flour! I have been a bread making fool I tell ya!! I love my new, old bread machine. No more tired arms!! YAY!!

Total for the week

Shelf Price $104.00
Price Paid $60.00
Amount Saved $44.00

That is a savings of 42%

It sure pays to be thirfty!

Before my o’ so graceful fall on Saturday night, we hit up the thrift stores. There are 2 stores within 5 miles of here that I really like to go to. Goodwill and The Salvation Army Thrift Store.

1st stop… Goodwill. Found some cookies cutters, for 29 cents each, 2 super cute baskets with removable canvas liners, a Wilton silicone 12 cup muffin pan, 3 spice cabinet spinny thingys, and a devotional book for Caitlin.

The Goodwill is OK. It’s new and clean and not stinky, but I much prefer The Salvation Army because it is, seriously, like a regular store. I have bought lots of kitchen thingys from there as well as books for the kids.

2nd stop…The Salvation Army Store.

One of my favorite books we picked up there was a kids dictionary. Every time Caitlin comes in and asks me what something means, I go tell her to look it up.

“Mom? What does flabbergasted mean?”

“Go look it up.”

“Mom? How do you spell spectacular?”

“Go look it up”

“Mom? Can I have a snack?”

“Go look…. er… sure!”

You see, I love for her to find things out on her own. That way there is alsways a little schooling going on whether she realizes it or not.

I bought my hand mixer as well as my (unused ’til this day) coffee grinder from there, under 5 bucks for both! The hand mixer works like a charm. They have awesome furniture there. One day I’ll remember to bring my camera and snap some pics so you can see. It’s like 1950’s housewife meets 1990’s grunge band in there. Such a funky mix of stuff.

So on Saturday, I went in seach of dining room chairs. Our current “set” consists of the 1 wood chair left from a set of 4 (Catilin broke the other 3 by leaning back in them), 1 leather desk chair and 1 VERY uncomfortable mesh back desk chair (mine of course). I found some really nice couches, but no chairs. So we made our way back to the “appliance” section. Lots of goodies!! I just love all the older gadgets. There was a Kabob-It for 10 bucks a waffle maker for I think 3 bucks. A bagel slicer…. cause you know… knifes are sooooooo last year.

Then I saw it…. “Hello there beautiful. Do you want to come home with me?? I have been looking for you lately. It’s HOT outside and we need relief.”

What was this little beauty you ask???

None other than an ice cream maker! And one you don’t have to crank yourself. Although I would might enjoy watching the kiddos sweat a little for some yummy ice cream.

$10.

An ice cream maker for 10 bucks! In the cart you go!

Then Chris saw it… The one thing I have being DYING to get. My poor arms are about to fall off from all the work they have been doing lately…. my fingers will surely thank him for eyeing this gadget.

A BREAD MACHINE! OMG and it STILL had the manual. Score, again. Ooooo and it’s 10 bucks also. Well I hadn’t planned on spending $20+ tax on gadgets that day so I was feeling a little guilty for wanting them both. I walked around the store tying to convince myself that this is a GREAT deal. The ice cream maker was worth $30 alone! Of course while walking the store I found some other things I just had to get. A new basket for bread, a brand new solar system wooden puzzle, and 2 books for Caitlin.

The check out lines are now clear and calling my name.  I strike up a conversation with the nice lady that gets behind me….She likes my kitchen gadgets. :) Then proceeds to tell me how it’s my lucky day.

Yup. It sure is! Even though I would rather have new, I will make do with my used appliances. Thankyouverymuch. :)

“$16.38″ the man tells me.

“Oh no sir, that’s not right. It should be more than that. These alone are $10 each.”

“No mam. One has a green sticker and one has a blue. They are 50% off today”

“Wait… what?!?!?” (Hi Wendy!)

“5 bucks each. WOW!…. This IS my lucky day.”

Then later that night my luck promptly ran out and I fell and hurt my foot.

Well it was my lucky day.

Just wanted some milk but got something else...

I am beginning to think I just need to stay inside the house ALL. THE. TIME. I am either EXTREMELY clumsy oooorrrrrr cursed. Take your pick. Right now, they seem about dead even. The outside light on our building has been out for about a week. We have alerted the condo association, but of course, nothing has been done yet.

Last night we needed milk and flour and some other things from the wall to wall mart. So we set out about 10 pm. That is my favorite time to go there since there are not many people in the store at that time. Chris got the youngin’s loaded up and I was finishing gathering up some coupons for the trip.

It had been raining ALL day and it was dark to boot. Well… you know me… Miss Graceful.. I just had to trip and fall on the very last step before getting to the car. O.M.G. I thought My foot broke off. I was in soooo much pain. I broke this same ankle when I was a senior in high school and had to have Orthoscopic surgery on it to repair the damage done to my cartlidge. All I could think about was having to go thru that again. Oh the pain.

But I haven’t mentioned that I am also VERY hard headed. But I like to call it “strong willed”. That just sounds better. There was no way I was going to the ER at 10 pm at night. I could just see all the banged up people in there… and then my kids wondering around asking people “What’s wrong with you??”. No way, no how was I doing that. OK then… we will get up in the morning and go. First thing.  Anyone who has 3 kids, 2 of them being toddlers, knows how hard it is to get going in the morning. Especially when mom can’t walk. We didn’t even get tot he ER until 3:45 in the afternoon.

There was all of 2 people in the ER and I went straight back to see a Dr. which was wonderful. I thought… Awesome… I’ll be in and out of here in like an hour. 3 hours and umpteen X-Rays later I am finally released. No broken bones. Thank God. Just a really bad sprain. Bed rest for 5 days and an appointment with an Orthopedist. There is a chance it may still be broken but just not shown up on the X-Rays.

I just wanted milk, but now I have a brand new shiny pair of crutches.

I will NOT be asking “What could happen next?”.

I don’t dare.

Week ending 6/6/09

Well this week wasn’t as bad as I thought, even though it wasn’t great. We still managed to save about 1/3 of the total grocery bill.

We weren’t prepared on Saturday afternoon after going shopping, so we ended up going to Publix and getting some fried chicken with beans and potato salad. Boy it sure was an expensive dinner! I won’t be doing that again!!

Total for the week

Shelf Price $136.00
Price Paid $92.00
Amount Saved $45.00

That is a savings of 33%

1st EVER Menu Plan Monday



Last night I proclaimed at dinner that I HATE dinner time.

(Not the best choice of words in front of my kids, I know)

Even when I have things prepared ahead of time, it seems like it still takes me forever and a day to get dinner on the table. Once I do have dinner ready, it’s like herding cats trying to get everyone to sit down, get drinks, silverware and napkins.

Before we moved in here last month, we hadn’t eaten a family dinner at a dining table in over 3 years. Sad, I know. But I kinda got used to eating on the couch and just getting up to get something that I needed.

Sitting at the table is different. Once I sit at the table, I like to be done getting up and running after things. Because of this I have started to plan out my weekly meals. I haven’t ever posted them, mainly because they haven’t been helping with the stress level at dinner time.

This week, it’s GOING to be different. I am not going to get stressed at dinner. I will have things ready when it’s time to eat, and we will NOT be eating at 8:30 or 9:00 at night. Not happeningno way, no how.

Here is what I came up with for this week’s menu plan. You can see more menu’s over at orgjunkie.com.

Monday – Slow cooker Pork tenderloin, lentils, rice and Quaker bonnet biscuits (recipe at CooksCountry.com)

Tuesday – Cubed steak with onions, olives and tomatoes, black beans, rice and homemade tortillas

Wednesday – Pigs in a blanket, broccoli and black eyed peas

Thursday – Creamed chicken (double batch), rice, green beans and homemade bread

Friday – Baked fish, buttered noodles and mixed veggies with any leftover bread from the week

Saturday – Creamed chicken bake (2nd batch of creamed chicken, add frozen mixed veggies and bake, then top with mashed potatoes, cheese and french fried onions, bake until bubbly) Soooo yummy and makes enough for leftovers -  Homemade rolls

Sunday – Pancakes and sausage for late breakfast and leftovers, pigs in a blanket or sandwiches for dinner

So there it is. I’ll let you know how it went. Wish me luck!!

Week ending 5/30/09

Whooo hooo it was triple coupon week at Harris Teeter and boy did we rack up the deals! We actually got some good deals at Winn Dixie as well so we scored all around.

I got some freezer meals prepared this week as well. Oh but let me just tell you about an awesome deal we got at Winn Dixie. They had Ball Park hot dogs on sale. Buy one get one free. I had several $1.00 off 2  coupons and right beside the hot dogs there was a coupon for a free pack of Sara Lee buns with the purchase of 2 packs of hot dogs. But get this… the buns were also BOGO free. We bought 8 packs of hot dogs, got 8 packs of buns for free. All in all, it cost less than $6 for all that. I couldn’t believe it.

I ended up putting most of the buns in the freezer and made these yummy pigs in a blanket with 2 packs of the hot dogs. I will definately be making these things again. They are a HUGE hit in our house. Plus since you cut each hot dog in half, you really only eat 1 hot dog. Love that!

Total for the week

Shelf Price $689.00
Price Paid $254.00
Amount Saved $435.00

That is a savings of 63%

Week ending 5/23/09

This week wasn’t that great but we did manage to save. That’s what matters to us.

Total for the week

Shelf Price $154.00
Price Paid $99.00
Amount Saved $55.00

That is a savings of 36%

Free float night! I am so there.

We love Sonic. Who doesn’t?? ( Don’t answer that!)

When I was pregnant with both babies, all I wanted was a lime slushie. Actually, I want one now! I am not real big on their food, but the drinks… the drinks I love!

We are gonna head out tonight after dinner and get our FREE root beer float.

http://www.sonicdrivein.com

I am so behind again on my weekly totals. Hopefully I can get those done within the next few days.

Caitlin got her skates in. She LOVES them! I got a picture of her opening them up that I will post shortly. It was priceless. Made me so happy for her.

6.02.2009

Farewell...

Farewell my friend, for I am leaving you. I am going to bigger and better places.

OK maybe not bigger but definitely better.

I am over at WordPress now. I fell in love with it when I have my website blog there. Bare with me as I make the switch.

Please join me there.

http://lovetopinchpennies.com/

5.29.2009

Weirdest week EVER!

This week has been one of those weeks you just want to forget. First of all, it had been raining for like 7 days straight so when Sunday came around, we wanted to get outside.

I was outside behind the house trying to get some pics of these birds all gathered around each other. I thought it was strange since they were all different types of birds. Don't they usually stick together... with their own type?? I'm no bird expert... I would have to ask my 10 yr old. But I can't do that... No way am I letting her think she is smarter than me!

So as I am taking pics, of course it start thundering. So the saying goes... "Don't like the weather in FL? Wait 5 minds it will change." It is so true. I got a picture of one of the Great Blue Herons but then just as I was taking another picture, this HUGE crash of thunder and lightning came down and scared the beejeesus out of us. I'm talking HUGE!! We all start running for cover. Granted it wasn't the smartest move... standing under the tallest 2 trees in the backyard while it was thundering. But ya know?? We are parents and we sometimes forget.


Here is the picture before the lightening.... I didn't crop or anything... so yes the junky empty condo is in the picture.


Here is right when the lightening hit. I did not adjust this picture AT ALL. I can't believe the contrast. It was pretty scary. But I am a chicken.


Anyway, as I was running, I forgot that I was down the embankment a little and when I turned around to run inside, I started stumbling and fell right to my knees. Yes embarrassing. All I could think of is that the neighbors must think we are soooo weird. Screaming and running in the middle of the day. What a site that must have been.

I hurt my knee in the fall. Nothing bad, just twisted it a little, but then it started stinging. I thought I must have landed on a pine cone or a wasp or something and got stung. So I pull up my pants leg and feel on the back of my leg and there is a bump. A weird feeling bump. I look at it. Oh my... it's a blue bump. Weird. Never seen that before.

I immediately go take a shower. Why you ask??? Well silly, I need to be clean in case I need to go to the ER. Even though I am hurt... I have to be clean. I call my dad... he tells me I will not die. (Thank GOD) He tells me that even though he is not a Dr. I will be just fine. Aren't dad's the bestest! My Aunt called him after I hung up with him and she told him it was probably a broken blood vessel... that it happened when I twisted my leg. It should go away in a few days.

Well... I am on day 6 and it looks as bad as ever.



What I am about to show you is gross... and weird.

The gross part is my big fat leg... the weird part is the bruise left from my eloquent fall.

This was taken on day 2 or 3. I can't remember. I thought... wow.. it's getting better. HA!



This shot was taken today. Weird huh. I did crop this pic. I have a huge tattoo on this leg and some people may not like tattoos. If you happen to like them... sorry.. I'll leave it in next time... if you don't like them.. well.. it's your lucky day... you get to only see an ugly fat leg and a gross bruise!


OK now onto some seriousness.

Yesterday was the scariest day of my entire life. Chris was off work and Harris Teeter is having triple coupons(yay) so we were planning a trip to the store. I was here at the computer and he was at the vanity. Which is kinda like in a hotel where the sink is in the room, but the toilet and tub are in a separate room. The point is we were BOTH in the room at the same time. I reach up to get my list off the printer and to check on the babies... I turn around for 2 seconds to put the paper on my desk and I hear a loud crash.

Then crying.

Then panic sets in.

The chest of drawers has just fallen on both of my babies. I can not tell you the fear that I had at that very moment. I could only see Lilly. She had somehow managed to get to the side of the chest when it fell. Luckily it didn't fall right on top of her, it hit the laundry basket and was on just half of her. I could not however see Sophie. Chris rushed over and picked up the chest and there was Sophie. I totally broke down. Sophie managed to get wedged in between the chest and some boxes we have not unpacked yet. She got 1 tiny little scratch on her lip. That was it! Thank God she was OK.

We are so lucky that something very bad did not happen. I truly believe that the unpacked boxes and laundry basket saved their lives. If they had not been where they were, I know they would have been crushed. We are planning on anchoring that sucker to the wall. I will NOT let that happen in my house EVER again.