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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Earth Day Post-Frugal Living

I have whined about money. I have praised God for His amazing provisions to our family. I have shared the dramas that have brought us to living on very little money...That is out there. You know that. Through this blog, I have shown you a glimpse into our lives in hopes that it will be an encouragement to others.

I am often asked, "How do you do it?" I KNOW that it's not me. Although, I have always been very cheap. I come from cheap blood and then was raised by a couple who grew up in the depression (and thought they were still in it :) Recently I was asked, on two different occasions, for some tips. I came up totally blank...I don't "do" anything MAJOR. We do try to always, as a family, consider each need and pray. Here are a few of the little things that work for us (they are little but add up)

Buy in Bulk. Buy when it's on sale, and you have a coupon, and you get cents off of gas for purchases. Seriously. Don't ever pay full price. Figure out how often chicken goes on sale and how often you eat it. When it goes on sale, buy enough to last until it is on sale again. This will only take a chunk of money up front. Once you are eating out of your freezer and pantry, it will be cheaper in the long run. Think too about the gas savings of less trips to the grocery store. Keep a price book so you know how much you "should" pay. Sometimes warehouse stores are a good savings. Sometimes not. I buy our olives on sale at Longs Drugs store a lot cheaper than by the case at Costco. Buying in bulk also saves you the expense of going to the grocery store EVERY day. You can only go past the Starbucks kios soo many times, then there are the doughnuts, and the cost of your time and the expense of gas involved.

Has been a big help for us in several ways. No gas money. Over $25.00 ships free. There is the benefit of buying in bulk AND when they have sale codes it gets even sweeter.

Keep your freezer full. Don't pay to keep air cold. If you don't have enough money to keep food in there for a time: either completely empty it or freeze water in empty juice and milk containers.

Don't buy paper towels or paper napkins. Use washcloths, shop cloths, rags, cotton material cut into squares...It costs a lot less to run a washer and dryer full of rags and towels than it would to fill it with paper towels and napkins. I suppose it would be cheaper to use a clothes line but we haven't graduated to that yet.

I also don't use paper plates. BUT I have three chidlren over 8 who can help and a portable dishwasher. Dishes were my nemesis when my husband worked long hours, and I had three children under four years old. I would have gladly used paper plates then.

Use cloth diapers and cloth baby wipes. I acquired our diapers by finding great deals online, buying used, testing out diapers for Work At Home Moms and doing reviews. I was able to "borrow" some from here to ge started:

Pay Bills online. Pay bills on time. I barely have enough money for my bills. I don't have an "extra" 45 cents to mail them, or money for interest and late fees. I either pay through the site of the bill, through my bank or over the phone.
Don't pay for anything "unnecessary" I don't buy trash bags for bedroom or bathroom waste baskets. I use plastic grocery bags (from the places that don't accept my cloth bags or the times that I forget to bring them) I use reusable Tupperware containers to freeze food rather than pay for freezer bags. I dont reuse cheap plastic however.

Don't buy bottled water. We fill our own water bottles from our reverse osmosis system ($15.00/month) This could be purchased and not rented but we also rent our home.
We also don't buy drinks when we are out. We get cups of water at fast food places and try REALLY REALLY hard to support our coffee addiction at home. Or carry a ceramic mug around.
These are just a few suggestions that you may want to slowly work into your home, IF they work for you.

I also reccomend this book:

Miserly Moms
, Living on One Income in a Two-Income Economy by Jonni McCoy.

I learned a lot from her first book. Like how to make baby wipe solution or your own Taco Seasoning or keep a price book. Her philosophy is to get the most out of YOUR life with what money you have. If it takes a ton of your time and saves only a few pennies than it probably doesn't work for you. She has a very good balance and her books read well.

Here are some blog meme's for inspiration:



Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Hey Hey it's my BIrthday!! 100 Things About Me

Well, this may seem narcissistic and it does feel that way. BUT today is my birthday and we're going to indulge.

here are 100 things about me:

1. I am terrified of mice.
2. I don't wear a watch.
3. I tend to run a little late (maybe I should wear a watch)
4. I text too often and know it.
5. I am TERRIFIED of mice.
6. I come from a lONG line of great cooks.
7. I am not a very good cook.
8. I despise Earl Grey tea.
9. I have a lazy eye (one goes cross eyed)
10. I did eye exercises as a child and it is now control ed.
11. I wore an eye patch in junior eye.
12. I was very into Beverly Hills 90210 in High school.
13. I was VERY into U2 in High school.
14. I rode in the bed of a truck to another state to see U2 in concert.
15. My mother had four children but I was raised as an only child.
16. I don't like only children too much :)
17. My mother was never married.
18. I was married 2 months and 2 weeks after becoming engaged.
19. No I wasn't pregnant.
20. I did get pregnant on our wedding night, using two kinds of birth control.
21. I have no rhythm.
22. I cant even clap.
23. I am lactose intolerant.
24. I eat chocolate anyway and get sick.
25. I got a job right out of college, Director of a Crisis Pregnancy Center.
26. I promptly got rid of all my hippy, teen clothing.
27. I bought dress shoes too.
28. I wore Doc Martens with all my new dresses :)
29. I am extremely clumsy.
30. I need glasses but am too lazy to wear them.
31. I eat Pb & J (or honey) everyday for lunch.
32. I am not competitive AT ALL.
33. I tend to be a little over aggressive.
34. I am a VERY passive driver (I get a lot of honks and people passing me up :)
35. I didn't pierce my ears until I was 17.
36. To do so, I lied about my age.
37. I am a bad liar.
38. First ear piercing place didn't believe that I was 18, at 17.
39. I am terrible at shaving my legs.
40. I either cut myself
41. or leave hairy patches
42. Usually I do both.
43. I am too lazy to pluck my eyebrows.
44. I try to use a razor (keep in mind my problems shaving my legs)
45. I don't know my place.
46. Why do people insist that "we" have a place.
47. Who gets to decide this place?
48. Maybe I just disagree with my decided place.
49. My two year old insists on putting his hand down my shirt.
50. In public.
51. I always jump, and sometimes I scream too.
52. I have a tattoo. It is visible but rarely "brought up."
53. I think that 100 things are very hard to come up with.
54. Others over commit, I have no problem saying "NO" but no one seems to listen.
55. I don't listen to Country music.
56, Somehow, I am always quoting Country music (usually crying) and getting others to listen.
57. They usually don't.
58. I speak Valley, circa 1982.
59. Very fast
60. I have lived in Ohio.
61. I have lived in MA.
62. They noticed.
63. My father has never voted in a political election, of any kind.
64. I come from a long line of great seamstresses.
65. I cannot sew.
67. My maternal grandmother died when I was 7 or 8, she was 50.
68. My mother died when I was 9, she was 34.
69. From 7-14 I lived with my grandfather's third cousin and her husband.
70. They were then in their 70's.
71. My bags were always packed.
72. I was told, daily, how no one wanted me and how great they were for taking in someone like me.
73. At 14, I went to "set up housekeeping" for my father.
74. My parents were never married.
75. My dad owned a bar and lived a wild, bachelor life.
76. I spent my high school years on the beach and made the most of it.
77. At 9, I walked myself to a Baptist church near by.
78. They were teaching "soul sleep" in the Sunday School class. I left.
79. But not before asking the Baptist lady to show me in the Bible where soul sleep was taught.
80. I went to the Catholic Church nearby.
81. I spent every Sunday from 7:30-past noon there "helping"
82. I went through Catechism and Confirmation courses and was baptized and confirmed on my 12th birthday.
83. When I lived with my father, I walked myself a few miles each Sunday to the Catholic Church.
84. I had usually partied the night before.
85. "Home" was a violent and scary place and I found other places to be.
86. There was alcohol at most places.
87. Sometimes I brought it.
88. I started having tea with an idealic Christian family.
89. Once a week and then more.
90. I had somewhere else to be.
91. I went to a Christian Liberal Arts College.
92. It got me out of my house.
93. I hold a Bachelors Degree in English (journalism.)
94. I became involved in Operation Rescue and Sidewalk Counseling while in college.
95. After graduation, I became the Director of a Crisis Pregnancy Center.
96. My husband and I met at a Bible study, we were close friends for a few years before anything clicked.
97. My mother loved birthdays, she made me Barbie cakes and princess cakes and all the hooplah. Really, all I wanted was for to truly be happy, and not crying, or hiding bruises.
98. After my mom died, my birthday wasn't celebrated again. Not until our tea days. I didn't know what to do when everyone tried to celebrate me. I am still so uncomfortable at Baby Showers and celebrations for me.
99. I was given a baby shower welcoming EVERY one of my five babies.
100. You made it through 100 random facts about me. You actually got through the shallow and on to the painful and shocking. You know more about me than you need to. More than maybe you should. the focus was on me, now its back to you and what you do with this information. It is always scary to tell anyone anything about yourself. It's back on you now-You can bring mice to my house and terrify me, bring me chocolate, wonder why I react when made me feel that I dont belong or am not good enough, or you can extend me Grace and Acceptance.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Menu Planning Monday

Monday- Tacos with spiced meat
Tuesday- Homemade Pizza ??(unless it is as hot as predicted)
Wednesday- Hamburgers
Thursday- Spaghetti (Mac n cheese for oldest son)
Friday- Chicken

Im feeling pretty burnt out on shopping and food in general. Vons is having a special -buy $30 of certain items and get $10.00 back. Things like frozen dinners, Newmans frozen pizza, trash bags, Capri Suns, canned legumes....Im trying to find coupons for yhos items and plan a few shopping trips in the next few weeks.

There are some much more exciting menu plans and ladies to meet over at :

Sunday, April 12, 2009

He is Risen

I realize that I don't need to preface this, and if we have met--you know that I am about to :) I want extended family for my children and the time and energy and budget to do for and with them what I think we *should* Life seldom works out that way.

My husband worked holy Saturday and Easter Sunday this year. We are grateful that he is working. I couldn't find one of my Easter boxes. I know that I am "missing" table clothes and decorations....My camera quit working. (Yes I'm still complaining) I tried to suck it up and do the best with what I had at the moment...Here is what we did do.....

Friday morning the children and I attended an art class with a dear friend and we each painted, in water colors, a Resurrection scene.

That afternoon, we had an Easter Egg hunt in our backyard:
This little guys has the sweetest disposition but in pictures he has thee most annoyed expressions...maybe he's taking issue with my camera too :)

We went to Walmart to see the Easter Bunny. My two year old screamed the entire way to the car. Literally kicking and screaming, "No Easter Bunny." Once we got there, He was instantly intrigued and cheered and pointed and cheered some more.

He talked the rest of the day about how the "Scary Bunny" bit his ear...uh..."no"

In past years I have catered to my highly dye sensitive son and made our own dyes....this year I asked if he would mind just having white eggs and spent the 99 cents to get the artificial (and quick) stuff

Easter morning, my youngins and I got up and headed out the door in our Sunday Best. My dear daughter had on a new dress and lip gloss :)

Service was great. I got really vested in a few hymns, that is until my toddler drowned me out with: "no sing Mommy. NO SING!" Apparently, he's not a fan.

Waiting in the van for us was a mini-cooler of ice and chocolate crosses, and a chocolate bunny for my, future American Idol judge toddler.

I asked him to hold his bunny up for a picture.

When we got back home. This lady came:

With a honey baked ham, the fixings, and candy from William Sonoma.


Gabriel had his first food--sweet potato. He wasn't impressed.

God is so good to us even when Im pouting about how things *should* be. Everything turned out wonderful and there ARE pictures :)

Friday, April 10, 2009

Easter Preperations....

"Normally," we start our celebrating 40 days ahead with a family devotional, candle lighting, Resurrection Eggs, and plenty of decorations....

Nothing happened this year. Around here, there was just alot of uneventful laundry and meals ????

One Palm Sunday we sat down and read Scripture together and talked about Jesus Procession.

Our Resurrection Egg held a donkey. We talked of the humility it brought to recognition of our Savior.

We cuddled up on the couch, under "Cowboy Blanket"

and watched this guy on TV....

my camera
was a gift. Although a very thoughtful and generous gift, it never worked very well and has helped many a "big kid" take pictures of their younger siblings. One child stepped on it, hard, last week. My husband dropped it, hard, yesterday. I took it apart with needle nose pliers AND if I play with it JUST right I can get it to work. Sometimes.

I am, not so secretly coveting this:

and one of these:
from HERE

I DO have a birthday coming up and am trying to figure out swoopo where the 1,200 camera I want just soold for 46.00 plus the cost of bids and shipping.......I still dont have any money for it wether I can justify it or not--BUT how can we have Easter and a toddler on the hunt for eggs and a baby's first Easter without a working camera?

***If you too are curious about swoopo auctions, email me and I'll email you back a link. :)

Thursday, April 9, 2009

And the Bracelet Goes to.....

This beautiful keepsake:

belongs to....

The Mama at Mama and her Love Bugs
I couldn't be more excited! She is such a great gal and has two beautiful little girls!

Thank you to everyone that entered my first giveaway! I wish that I had a bracelet for each of you...I do have a discount code!!! You can go to ANY OF Jules shops and use voucher code --BLOG for 10% off!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Praying for Stellan

Prayers for Stellan

Any sick baby can break your heart. Here is a very young, very sick baby. He has SVT. We know that. But it is not a textbook case of SVT and no one can figure out just what to do.

This family has amazing faith, and three other little ones at home (two of them were so sick this week they were rushed to the ER.)

I KNOW that it shouldn't matter, a single bit, what I think of these people. BUT I really really like them!! Their latest post is titled "I will praise You in this storm" ....see what I mean? and Stellan's mom is funny too. But I'm not going to convince you :)

Please head over here and look around. Please pray for this family. For each one of them. There is also a place to make donations and an Etsy shop is set up. Then....could you kiss your little ones for me, your nieces, nephews, (not your neighbors, better just wave to them) Why do terrible things happen to some and not others? Why are children ever sick? I can't answer that but am so glad that I know the One who can. Please remember Stellan when you spend time with Him.