On a roll!

Since Chris has been gone I have been on a serious organizing kick. I have become more organized in the last few days than I have in a year!

Sunday I made a list of dinners I would make for the entire month he was gone. Went to the store and bought most everything. Went to 2 more stores and now I am done.

I have cooked and prepared and portioned and froze nearly EVERYTHING to get me through the month.

And you know, it really hasn't taken that much longer.

I had dinner ready at 5:30 on Wednesday, 6:00 on Tuesday. That's EARLY for us. I like it too!

The babies are not so grouchy and are willing to try new things. That makes everyone happier.

The girls are getting into the swing of things. Remember, Caitlin just went back to public school 3 weeks ago so we are kinda still trying to get into the groove. Homeschooling for nearly 3 years made me VERY lazy when it comes to getting up early. Chris was always the early riser.

Speaking of Chris, I miss him dearly. I have talked to him a lot so that helps.

2 years ago he lost his wedding band while cleaning out our gutter during a hurricane (don't ask) and he never replaced it. I wanted to get him one for Christmas, but decided not to. Getting things for the kids was WAY more important.

He bought one tonight and sent me a picture message of his hand and his new band. Sweet. I love it.

Can't wait to see it in person.

He asked me how the coupon organizing was going. Ha! I had to tell him I haven't even started on that yet. One thing at a time.

I'm getting there... I am on a roll!


Saving money at the pump

Do y'all know about this.

Does anyone else even have Winn Dixie around? They must be a southern grocery chain.

Anyway... they have a customer reward card that you scan just like any other store. You get the discounts at the store but get this, you also get a $.05 reduction per gallon of gas for every $50 you buy in groceries.

You need groceries.

You need gas.

You need to reduce the price of gas.

I needed to use up my discount before I lost it. I had 'til the 30th.  (You have to use it or lose it in a certain amount of time)

Wanna know how much I saved at the pump yesterday?

$0.75 per gallon. I know!

And for those not living near here, our gas is $2.73 per gallon. For regular unleaded! Crazy right?

I paid $1.98.

I was actually excited to pay for it. Well sort of...


Check our more money saving ideas at Life as a Mom. She has great money saving tips and ideas!


Kitchen Tip: Canning Funnel

I don't can. Not yet anyways. I have the book and I have the tools, but I haven't learned to can.

I was cooking up a big ol' batch of ground beef today, to put away in the freezer, and had an idea! Since I was cooking 6 lbs and I had to put all that beef into ziploc baggies, I needed an easy way to do it.

Something that I can put into the bag and then just funnel the beef in there.

My canning funnel! That would be perfect!

(sorry for the blurry picture, my camera is not fancy)
And I am here to tell you... it was just perfect! I didn't drop not one morsel of beefy goodness.

Try it next time! I bet you will love it!


What NOT to do in a store...

We took a trip on Sunday afternoon to the circus Wal-Mart. It was a hassle I tell ya! Just getting the kids loaded and unloaded and then loaded into the carts made me have to catch my breath. Whew... I am TOTALLY out of shape.

No, I take that back.

I am in a shape. Round. Too round!

Where was I?

Oh yeah... Wally World...

I get the cart covers on, and head in the big ol' doors. First thing I notice is this "kid" looking the stack of newspapers at the front. He is sitting there reading the comics. He took them out of a paper and is just sitting there reading them. The same comics that my kids likes to read but I have to actually purchase a paper in order for her to read them.

I just keep going past him since really it's none of my business.

So I hit the produce sections next.

Hey! There's that "kid" again! I say he's a kid but he's really like an amazon kid. He looks like Caitlin's age in the face but my word he's a big kid. TALL!!

What's that he has??? A banana? No he did NOT just take that banana off the bunch and start eating it! Where in the world are his parents!?!?!

Oh here comes his dad. He was over at the deli counter... and now I see his mom... she is off getting more bananas since obviously her kid LOVES bananas.

I can not believe he just that whole banana and they didn't say one thing to him about it. The nerve! I would be fuming mad if that was my kids.

Oh no! The dad sees me staring. Look away!


Can I just tell you this... I passed by them no less than 35 more times in the store. I felt like the dad was giving me the evil eye the whole time too.

La de da... I am in the check out line... wouldn't you know it! They are in front of me!

I was behind a lady with a buggy full of groceries so there was no way they saw me... OMG he just saw me!

Both of their kids sat there, the whole time the parent were checking out and not paying attention mind you, reading those little book that are in the check out lanes. Of course the parents didn't actually BUY the books. In the end they didn't really need to... the kids already READ the whole thing!

Now maybe it's just me and the way I was raised, but we NEVER ever did that as a kid. Wooooo my dad would have yanked us up by our ears and taken us outside, spanked us and then expected us to stop crying right away so we could go back in the store. You just don't do those kinds of things!

I mean really... isn't that stealing?

I know the banana is stealing, but don't you consider reading the magazines and books at the store stealing too? Maybe I am overreacting or maybe it just rubbed me the wrong way. I don't know.

What I do know is that it bothered me. If those parents don't see that it's a problem know, when will they see?

As we were headed out the door, there they were again. I can't get away from these people!

On the back of their car was a big bumper sticker.... "I Believe". They also had several "fish" symbols on the car.

They are Christians. Or at least they want people to think they are Christians.

I hope when someone sees our family and then finds out we are a Christian family, they don't have the same negative reaction as I did to this family.

I will be praying for this family tonight.


My old blog posts

They are lost I guess... or are they?

I'm gonna let you in on something. Please, don't make fun of me.

I. Subscribe. To. My. Own. Blog. In. RSS.

There. I said it.

Well, guess where ALL my old posts are??



I couldn't be happier.I lost the pics but that's OK. I still have them on my laptop and can just match them back up to the corresponding posts. I am doing a little happy dance right now.

No, not literally.

In my head I am though.


Penny Pinching Tips: Utilities

Ever since Chris has been out of work we have been thinking of way to cut back on expenses. One of our biggest (I'm sure yours too) was utilities. Fortunately for us, we don't have to pay water or sewer. That charge is included with our rent. We do however, have to pay for electric. And boy it can be a doozie!

To cut back on electric, we first unplugged. Simple yet effective. Everything that wasn't being used was unplugged.

Second, we switched to compact fluorescent bulbs. It's hard to tell just how much this is saving us since we made a few changes at once. But I can tell you this, it HAS made a difference.

Another thing we do is use less lights. We have HUGE light fixtures in the bathrooms. They each have 3 light bulbs. There is no reason to use 3 light bulbs to brush your teeth! We unscrew 2 of the bulbs just enough so the bulbs aren't on. Again, I can't tell you an exact amount we save, but it is significant.

By just doing those 3 things, we have shaved over $50 off our monthly electric bill. I actually look forward to see our bill each month just to see how much we have saved from last years bill.

Extras: Such as cable and phone.

We haven't had cable in over 3 years. We don't watch that much TV and paying at least $70 a month for cable we don't watch is really quite silly. We kept our phone and internet since I used to have an online store. I payed for those charges from the income I made selling bows. Since I no longer sell bows, I needed to cut that bill down some.

First thing we did was get rid of the phone service. We invested in a MagicJack. It costs $40 and includes a year of service. Great deal!

We kept the DSL service through the phone company for a while but it was more expensive since we didn't have phone service. $47.00 plus tax is pretty hefty for internet service. So when our local cable company was offering cable internet for $25 + free limited basic cable, we jumped on it! Limited basic cable is basically what we can get with our digital converter boxes, but with a few local channels thrown in.

I actually like our over the air digital service better! The picture is better and there is more educational programming for the kids. I just think of the cable as a bonus to the internet.

I am loving our cable internet. It so much faster, more reliable and CHEAPER! It's a win, win.... win situation.

What are some things you are doing to cut back? I'd love to hear it!


Getting back into the swing of things

I have been a total slacker in terms of menu planning and organizing my coupons. It all started when Chris quit his job and started attending CDL school. After he finished school, he was home. Every. Single. Day.

Morning, noon and night. And I loved it. Loved every second of it.

BUT... I got lazy. VERY lazy. There were 2 of us here to handle things. I didn't have to worry about stuff as much since he was here.

So I have decided I am gonna make a plan. A good plan. A plan *I* can stick to.

I am also determined to get this blog going again. I should will have free time in the evenings to get it going again.

When we decided Chris would go on the road driving a truck, we also decided that Caitlin, our oldest would go back to public school. I know... I cringed too. We have been homeschooling her for over 2 years and WOW.. what a difference it made. I'm going to toot my own horn, but she blended right in to the class and is not lost at all! She is exactly where she needs to be. I couldn't be happier. She has a great teacher and has already made lots of new friends. She loves it!

I need to get breakfast items made up and put in the freezer so it's easier in the morning for her to have a hot breakfast. I also want my dinners planned so I'm not scrambling in the afternoons trying to figure out what's for dinner.

Y'all should see my stack of coupons! I have about 10 weeks worth of coupons that have not even been sorted!! Oh did I mention we buy at at least 4 papers. So that's 10 weeks worth of coupons times 4 papers. I really have my work cut out for me.

Good thing I have the time now.

Penny Pinching Tip: Save on Spices

So before my blog got lost in cyberspace (read: I deleted it accidentally) I had a post about saving money while buying spices.

I know everyone buys spices and flavorings in those little bottles with the red lids, or the massive bottle from the warehouse clubs, but I have an even better idea!

Look down the ethnic food aisles in your grocery stores!

Go ahead... I'll wait...


OK, good. Did you see them? You know... the el cheapo spices? Aren't they GREAT?

I will never buy "red lid" bay leaves again!

Check this out. These little babies are about 4 bucks at my store... and for 0.12 ounces. Ouch!

2 aisles over in the ethnic food isle sat this little gem.

Aaaaaand for the whopping price of 69 cents for a .25 ounce baggie! Talk about a great deal!

We use a LOT of bay leaves in our cooking. I love the flavor and until I can get fresh leaves, I will buy the cheaper brand.

I also picked up some sesame seeds while I was there.

These are about 4 bucks at my store as well. This is the 1 ounce container.

Hanging right beside the bay leaves were these.

This bag is a 1.5 ounce bag for... get this.... 59 cents!

Now don't get me wrong, I will still buy the big name spices. But I will ALWAYS use a coupon and try to get to the store that doubles. I have gotten plenty of FREE spices by doing this... and you can too!

32 days

32 days from Monday I will get to see my husband again. I really did not think it would be this hard. He has been gone for exactly 3 hours and I haven't stopped crying yet. It was hard for the girls too. Sophie really didn't know what was going on but Lilly and Caitlin cried the whole way home.

I try not to talk about him for now.

I am trying to stay strong for the girls but man... it's hard!

I was printing him out some pictures for him to take today and I totally lost it.

This is the first time since we met that we are spending any length of time apart from each other.

This is a big adjustment for our family, but we will get through it!


New year... new post

So I guess this whole blog crash couldn't have happened at a better time. Really. Think about it. It was the end of the year. It was cluttered.

I get to start over. Brand new.

I plan on using it to my advantage.

I made a resolution this year to be more positive. I don't like reading blogs that aren't happy and I'm sure you don't either. :)

Happy New Year!

Happy New Blog!

Happy New ME!