Friday, December 23, 2011
Tuesday, November 1, 2011
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Thursday, October 13, 2011
Thursday, October 6, 2011
Wow! I can't believe it's October already! I've been tracking my trips to the Stuff Mart for nine months now. I'm surprised I've stuck with it this long.
Thursday, September 29, 2011
If I read those three then I can choose from one of these. I think that will keep my busy well into next fall, unless I find something else I just have to read.
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
Monday, August 15, 2011
Monday, August 8, 2011
August started out with an impromptu trip "home" for the weekend to the fist annual Homecoming. Honey left Sunday, Bean and I stayed so my sister and I could help my dad with some organize/purge projects he'd been putting off. The "girls" also went to do a little shopping at a flea market/craft sale/Amish market. That was a lot of fun, HOT but fun! All my "finds" fit in my trunk. Woo hoo!
Thursday, June 30, 2011
Some of the lessons I've learned are common sense or should be. Starting with the shopping lists, they do help when I'm shopping. They keep me focused and out of the clearance isle! The list also keeps me from making so many "oh, I forgot trips back to the store". The less time I spend in the Stuff Mart the less I wonder around "just looking". That just looking always costs extra! (Duh!) The time I spend in the Stuff mart is proportionate to the patients I have for being there, less time = less patients.
Location, location, location also applies to the Stuff Mart. When I go to a different Stuff Mart, I find things to look at, "oh, that's not at my store!". Item are not located in the same place in different stores (again, Duh!). It saves me time and frustration to just shop where I know where the stuff is located.
The most important lesson, DO NOT take all of my family to the Stuff Mart AT THE SAME TIME! 'Nuff said.
No drum roll here, my totals weren't as dramatic as I had hoped. The trips I made to Stuff Mart for the first six months are 27, total trips (sometimes Honey goes without me) 42. That's about half the amount we made in the same period last year. The cash out flow was the disappointing part, we are only down $200 from last years average. We are going less but spending more.
On to the next six months. I see some mindless shopping still going on, that's what I want to work on. I can already see that it will be a challenge with back to school and Christmas, but I'm ready for it!
Monday, June 20, 2011
The one book I didn't finish (or really start) was The Book Thief by Markus Zusak . I started it and decided it's going to take more concentration that I'll have with the kids home for the summer.
I only read two non-fiction books.
Do the Work by Steven Pressfield was short, simple, to the point, and didn't apply to my life at all. Good thing it was free.
One Simple Act by Debbie Macomber was okay. I don't believe I was in the right frame of mind to receive the book the way it was intended.
Now for fiction!
Knit Two by Kate Jacobs
These Things Hidden by Heather Gudenkauf was a good book and a new author for me
Twenty Wishes by Debbie Macomber
Lady in Waiting by Susan Messiner loved it!
One Door Away From Heaven by Dean Koontz
Riding Lessons by Sara Gruen wasn't as intense as I thought it would be after reading Water for Elephants, but it was still a good story and I really enjoyed it.
These fiction books were added because they were free for a limited time on the kindle.
The Heart of Memory: A Novel by Alison Strobel and
Getting Away is Deadly by Sara Rosett were good stories, a little on the light side but still fun to read.
Thicker Than Blood by CJ Darlington I really liked the characters in this book and I wanted to get to know them better but I felt like a lot of details were left out. The story seemed a little flat and ended without really tying up the loose ends.
My original SRT list was three books. After two rounds of additions I read a total of 11 books for the challenge! Two non-fiction, 9 fiction and 6 were new authors.
Monday, May 16, 2011
I was also $15 under our grocery budget for April. My goal in cutting back our grocery budget is to build up an overage so when I find a great deal (like skinless, boneless chicken breast for $1.39 a pound!) I can really stock up. So far in May I am $12 under budget.
Now for the bad news, May is the time to pay for Beans summer camps and Sissy's marching band supplies add that to Mother's day and graduations, oh my! This is why we have a budget and put a little away each month for one time activity expenses! I've heard this called a sinking fund. I don't like that name! I like to think of these funds as lifesavers! They help keeps us afloat when extra expenses pop up!
The progress each month is keeping me motivated to just keep working on it. Over all I am very happy with how we are doing on our budget! I know our budget will always be evolving because life changes. I hope budgeting and saving help us prepare for those changes.
Monday, May 9, 2011
The spring breezes slowly gave way to the hot humid days of late summer. We didn't have air conditioning in the house, not even a window AC unit. We would sleep in front of the open sliding door on the living room floor, with a fan pulling in the cool night air. In the morning we'd wake up the heavy drapes would still be closed, we knew it was going to get hot that day. We'd spend the day at the pool (we had to be home in time to get cleaned up for dinner). On those mornings Mom would be up early making dinner, so she didn't have to heat the house up later.
Mom would make tuna salad with pasta shells for dinner, raw vegetables, (I remember a lot of cucumbers) watermelon, cantaloup and ritz crackers. It wasn't fancy, it wasn't special, Mom made it often as the summer days dragged on. I remember it well not because it was special or fancy but because it was a dinner that tied the summers of my childhood together. When got the tuna and pasta out for dinner tonight that was when I started thinking about my Mom.
Mom's been gone 11 years now but that simple meal keeps me tied to her. I wonder if she had any idea that something so ordinary would be such a special memory for me? I wonder too, now that I'm the mom, if I put too much effort it the "special" things? Maybe I should put more "special" in the every day.
Sunday, May 8, 2011
It's a craft! It's an organizer! It's finished!
Cute and functional! Love it!
Friday, April 29, 2011
How did I go about getting out of my rut? I did some immersion therapy at Hobby Lobby! Hallelujah! Ah (sigh) the inspiration! Just looking at the craft supplies, baskets, and flowers got my creative juices flowing. I came home with the supplies to start a necklace holder and a list of other ideas! No more putting all my creative eggs in one basket. When I clean up the craft area all the pretty things that inspire my creativity are out of sight. Not a good situation for a visual person. If that means my craft area stays cluttered with the things that spark my imagination, I'm ok with that! I hope Honey's ok with it.
Monday, April 11, 2011
Monday, April 4, 2011
Friday, April 1, 2011
Thursday, March 31, 2011
Friday, March 25, 2011
Here are my favorite things from the past two week. The snow falling outside my window is not one of my favorite things.
- We got a surprise package in the mail! My sister made us St. Patrick's Day goodie bags! The kids were excited about their stickers and gold coins. I got coffee!
- Warm sunny days! We've had a taste of what is to come and I can't wait! I love sunshine!
- Everyone is healthy again! It was a very long week with everyone sick, but we are better now, the house has been aired out and disinfected. This is also the reason for my very short SRT list. My TBR list is growing daily!
- Coffee! I was coffee free for seven days! Only partly by choice, I just couldn't stomach it with the flu. Coffee is back, happy dance!
- A trip to the craft store! I found some clearance yarn for a scarf. It's a very easy scarf that spirals; I started a purple one and thought it would be pretty in this yarn too. I may even have them done by the time it's cold enough to wear them.
- Baskets. I replaced basket A with B it was hidden in the closet. Basket A is now a collection point for things that need to be carried to the basement. It looks so much better than a pile of stuff sitting by the steps. The best part…$0!
Sunday, March 20, 2011
I'm looking forward to the challenge this year for all the new books I'll find out about. My "to be read" list is pretty empty. I only have 3 books on my list, so far. I am reading two new authors and one old favorite.
Lady in Waiting: A Novel by Susan Meissner
These Things Hidden by Heather Gudenkauf
One Simple Act: Discovering the Power of Generosity by Debbie Macomber
For all the details and to link up visit Katrina at Callapidder Days! Thank you Katrina for hosting! Happy Reading!
Monday, March 14, 2011
Today's money saving idea, have a child come down with the stomach flu on the scheduled Stuff Mart day. Add to that snow (yes, snow) and that makes for a stay home day for me! I'm sending Honey! How does this save me money? Well, Honey doesn't have to take the children (the children choose not to go, Dad says "no"), he's better at sticking to the list, and he doesn't "remember" what I forgot to put on the list.
Bean had this on Friday, Punkin started today, wonder who is next? It's all good as long as Honey doesn't get it. He has a BIG, HUGH project at work starting Friday, he can't get sick! So, with Lysol in hand, I'll be couponing, reading, maybe a little knitting and waiting to see what else this first day of Spring Break will bring.
Allowance update, I'm leaning to giving Punkin allowance. Giving her a few "must" do chores tied to privileges not money. That was she has money and we can start to learn some money management skills. I have very low expectations for this project to be successful but I hope to get the skills in there so she can draw on them when she gets older. A big Thank You goes out to Karen at Over the Back Yard Fence for sharing her ideas and kind words of encouragement!
Friday, March 11, 2011
Monday, March 7, 2011
On Friday she had money, by Sunday night she didn't have enough cash to buy a soda. I'm suppose to be preparing her for adulthood. When it comes to money management I'm failing. I know if I give her allowance she won't do chores, she complains about simple chores when she does get paid for them. Do I give up her helping around the house to be able to teacher her how to manage her money?
How do you handle spending money for kids? Do you micro manage how they handle money or let them learn by fire? Is it ever too late to teach money management? I would love to hear how you teach or were taught money management!
Thursday, March 3, 2011
It is possible to run out of Stuff Mart plastic bags.
We can get what we want/need without running out to the store every time we have a need. Bean and I learned this lesson because he can wear sunglasses to school tomorrow. He asked if we could go to the store to get a pair, I told him we could go on Wednesday. Having a plan seemed to defuse the urgency for him, and frustration for me, he didn't ask every day if we could go. Wednesday came, we went to the store got the shades, it's all good!
Using a calculator helps me re-think my need for those extras that run up my total.
Where my butt goes, so does my mind and my money. At home I make the shopping list of what we need and some of our wants. Then when I'm walking around the store, things I didn't know I needed at home end up in the cart. Sometimes I do remember something we need, most of the extras are just that extras.
The total trips to Stuff Mart for February are 4! Honey 1, Me 3! We eliminated 10 trips this month. The store didn't have to close it's doors and I don't feel the pressure to go just because some one wants something.
Monday, February 28, 2011
I just started coupon 3 weeks ago, in the 3 shopping trips this month I got an extra $60 worth of groceries from my coupons. I'm not calling it saving because I'm not to the point where I'm under budget, yet. This is coupon central; I got 2 Sunday news papers, I was given some more coupon inserts, and printed some from the internet. I spent about 3 hours over the month printing, clipping, sorting, and organizing.
I'm using a 3 ring binder with currency protectors to store the coupons. I ordered these from Amazon; they were cheaper than "coupon" organizing pages. I use coupons for items that we use, not buy something just because I have a coupon. I make the grocery list and then find coupons for things I'm going to buy. I also make a list of things that I would like to get if the budget allows. These are the things I can stock up, but until I'm under budget, stocking up only goes as far as the money allows. Yes, I do take the binder with me to the store.
I discovered some bonuses to shopping weekly rather than bi-monthly like I had been doing. We aren't wasting as much food especially fresh food or being completely out of items as often. I also don't seem to be forgetting as many things due in part to a shorter shopping list. This is a work in progress and I'm sure it will evolve as I learn more.
What are your tips and techniques for saving money?
Friday, February 25, 2011
Powered by Linky Tools
Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list...
#1 Semi-Homemade Chicken and Dumplings. Yesterday was cold and rainy (yuck!). It was a perfect night for comfort food. The chicken simmered most of the afternoon making the house smell wonderful. Bean even helped me with the dumplings!
#2 Quilting. On Thursday nights a few ladies get together to quilt. Some nights we even get some quilting done between the stories, laughing, and encouraging each other.
#3, 4 and 5 Color. The walls are (mostly) painted! The living room finally feels like we live here!
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
Friday, February 18, 2011
Powered by Linky Tools
Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list...
Without further rambling here are my favorite things for the past week.
#1 My kids are involved in the same activity! Punkin is the assistant coach for Bean's basketball team, with an eight year age difference, opportunities for them to be in the same activity is limited. Go Cheetahs!
#2 Punkin defended Bean when someone was picking on him. Apparently she is allowed to pick on him but anyone else that picks on Baby Brother BEWARE! Be still my Mommy heart!
#3 Bean was awarded a certificate at school for modeling good listening skills and participating in class. I got to be there when he got his certificate.
#5 We have finally picked a paint color for our living room!
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Making lists, lots of lists, is helping to cut down our trips to the store. I'm putting things on the list when we open the back-up stock of an item. That way I have some time to get the item before we run out. That also gives me time to look around the house to see if we have something that will work. I was able to cross a few things off the list and before I had to make a trip to Stuff Mart. I went to the grocery store and crossed more items off the list. By the time we did go on Sunday I had one item and a return. The main reason we were going was to get Valentine's gifts for Punkin's friends. Since we were going already we added a few things to the list that we would get there anyway, sweatpants for Bean and allergy medicine, which I forgot. I think Honey needed an excuse to make a trip to the store and I gave it to him. The Stuff Mart list is blank, maybe I won't have to go until March!
Friday, February 11, 2011
Thursday, February 10, 2011
Just like every where else it's snowy and cold and snowy here. Did I mention cold? I'm tired of it! I would really like to hibernate, snuggle up in my cave and just not go out. With two kids and Honey that's not possible. But I can do the next best thing curl up in my chair, with a blanket, a cup of (insert hot beverage here) and a book (sigh). Katrina at Callapidder Days hosts a fall and spring reading challenge, they are a lot of fun. (I wonder if book sales go up after Katrina starts her challenge?). I know I've found several books to add to my list. I'm looking to Katrina for inspiration for my own "Spring Can't Get Here Soon Enough" reading list. The picture was taken by my very long time friend Monica. It's beautiful!
I trudged through finally just finished American Wife: A Novel by Curtis Sittenfeld. I wouldn't say I disliked the book but, well it wasn't my favorite. I'm going to leave it at that. Now I'm ready to pick some new books, hopefully I'll enjoy my next selections. In no particular order here they are.
Finished A Vintage Affair: A Novel by Isabel Wolff
Finished The Winter of Our Disconnect by Susan Maushart This is a book about a mom who unplugs her family,it's Non-Fiction, in our house totally fiction!
Finished The Face: A Novel by Dean Koontz
Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet: A Novel by Jamie Ford
I'm excited to get started on my list. Maybe the weather will cooperate enough to keep my kids in school so I can do some reading. With them trapped stuck spending quality time at home with me it's hard to complete a thought let alone get into a book.
Leave me a comment and tell me what you're reading or how you're surviving until spring. I love comments. Happy Reading!