Thursday, October 27, 2011

Entertaining Children

We don't think it is very hard here to entertain our children.  We really don't watch much TV, we don't have a video game system, and we don't have tons of toys.  What we do provide is plenty of craft supplies, Lego's, pretend type activities, and outdoor play equipment.  We also let the kids have friends over on a regular basis.  I think building relationships with friends is more important than providing electronic entertainment.  Now, my oldest has a cell phone (my old one) and we did buy her an i-pod touch for her birthday, but we make her put these things up during homework time and we make her put them in the living room at night.  We also do the same when friends spend the night.  The phones come in the living room at night.

I read somewhere (I think the Tightwad Gazette) that this is called creative deprivation.  You let your kids get somewhat bored, and they will entertain themselves or each other.  I have found that out to be true.  Sometimes I have to hear for a while that we have nothing to do in this house, but then when I tell them that they can do some chores, they quickly find something to do to entertain themselves.  Ha Ha!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The $1.00 Dinner

Last night we had a soccer game at 6:00 and then Ashley had dance class at 7:15 that lasts until 8:45.  So obviously Ashley needed to eat before she went to dance, but Emma and the rest of us needed to wait until after the game.  Ashley has to go with us to the game because dance is just around the corner from the ball fields, so she had to take a portable dinner and  we needed a dinner that can easily be heated up when we got home from the soccer game.  We don't get home until 7:30 and the younger kids go to bed at 8: 30.  So what do we do?  We make soup and homemade bread.

I did chicken soup out of leftover homemade stock and some odds and ends.  These are the ingredients I used:

In the bag is frozen chicken stock that I made last week from a chicken that we had.  I took all of the meat off of the cooked chicken and then put all of the bones in the crock pot, covered it in water and added a tablespoon of salt.  I cooked on low for 24 hours then I strained it and put it in the fridge for a day.  When it was cold I pulled the fat off of it and put it in the freezer.  I consider the stock free for this meal because I already counted the cost of the chicken in the meal last week.  I then chopped some carrots, celery and onion and added them to the stock along with some poultry seasoning and a little pepper.  I chopped my veggies in the food processor so the they would be really small (the kids don't like chunks in soup).  I also added some chopped garlic and then let it simmer for a few hours.  I also had some leftover chicken in the freezer so I added that too.  When it was done I added the ramen noodles (broken up) and one of the ramen seasoning packs.  Then that was it.  I don't have a finished picture of the soup because my camera batteries ran out, but it looked like soup!

I figured that the stock was free and that I had about .75 cents worth of veggies.  Ramen packs are .12 cents so that makes $1.00.  We also at half of a loaf of homemade bread, in which it costs me about .50 cents a loaf to make.  So you can add another .25 cents for the bread.  This meal feed a family of six and we had three containers left over for lunches.  Ashley carried hers in a thermos to the ball field.  Everyone said that it was tasty!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Small Shopping Trip Monday

This week I did a small shopping trip since I did such a big one last week.  First I went to Sams Club for a few things:
I spent about $55.00, but $20 was medication and I have a $100 a month budge for meds.

Then I went by Aldi:

We needed milk, eggs, shredded cheese, sour cream, peanut butter, bread, plus a few other things to get us through the week.  I spent about $30.  I think that is pretty good.  That is why I love Aldi.

Even though it is Tuesday, I will post our menu for the week:

Monday :  Grilled chicken, mac and cheese, salad
Tuesday:  Chicken noodle soup and homemade oatmeal bread (the best)
Wednesday:  Grilled cheese sandwiches, chips and fruit (quick to get to church)
Thursday: Soft tacos or taco salad
Friday: Homemade spaghetti, salad and bread
Saturday: Sausage Casserole
Sunday:  Fall festival at church.  I have to bring two cakes for the cake walk and sausage cheese dip (yum)!

That should round out our week.  I will have to run get the Velveeta cheese and Rotel for the cheese dip.  I will go to Wal-mart on Friday for that!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Things that Money Cannot Buy

I talk alot about money on this site because like it or not we have to have money to buy what we need and survive. There are lots of things however, that money cannot buy. One of those is our health. If we don't have our health, we don't really have much. Our health is something that we cannot buy with money. Now, don't get me wrong, the more money you have the more options you have for treatments, but still this cannot always assure that our health will improve.

We visited today with a young lady who has just had surgery for a brain tumor and is now is in rehab therapy. She is doing well considering what she has been through, but still has a long way to go. I said that we were going to see her to give her encouragement, but really she gave us the encouragement. She is in a hospital and hour from her home, away from her family fighting to regain a normal life and we did not here any complaints from anyone there. In fact, they are praising God in this storm. We were so touched. The kids were a little shocked at first to see her in that condition, and then they were fine with it. Her whole family was there and seemed to be in good spirits. The visit really blessed us all.

We even stopped on the way up and spent $30 for Chick-fil-a for our family and no one complained about spending that money either. Now that is also amazing for Steven who hates spending money on expensive food, but he let loose a little on Saturday. We even stopped off and bought the family some gifts and he didn't complain about that either! Good for him.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Shopping Trip

This week I did my big monthly shopping trip.  It is not the only trip that I do each month.  I do go back to the store for fruit, milk, and other sale items.  I hate to miss a good sale with coupons.  My trip looked like this:

Most of the stuff came from Aldi.  The boxes of cereal, cokes, crackers and meat came from Kroger.  I am trying to piece together the cost of our meals, so we spent time marking the price of each item.  We store all of the can goods in the garage along with the pastas.  I have a closet I put snacks in and the rest is in my pantry.  This will last most of the month with a few add ons.  The cost at Aldi was $101 and the cost at Kroger was $41.00.  I will go back to Publix or Kroger a few more times this month to get deals and will make a mid-month trip to Aldi when we get low on milk.  While I am at Aldi I will also go to Sams and get cheese and sandwich meat.  I can't find cheese any cheaper than Sams unless I find a good sale with coupons.

People ofter ask me why we don't shop at Sams more often if we like to buy in bulk.  The answer is that I can usually get stuff cheaper per serving buy shopping sales and using coupons.  If I can't get a certain item on sale then I check the price of the Aldi store brand against the name brand at Sams.  Aldi is usually cheaper except for cheese and butter.  We like the quality of the sandwich meat at Sams also.  I will buy a two pound package and then put half in the freezer.

I budget about $500 a month for groceries and I usually go under that amount.  We will use the excess for going out after Sunday night church or for getting a quick bite at a restaurant.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Spending too much

I have a hard time not spending too much on the kid's clothes. I want them to look nice at school and have what is fashionable. I also have to look at them and want them to look nice. We do get alot of hand me downs and yard sale and thrift store sale, but we still have holes in the wardrobe. Yesterday I went to the Tanger Outlets with some coupons. I spent $75 at Aeropostle and got Ashley a bunch of shirts. I spent $40 at P.S. Aero and got Natalie and Emma a few shirts. I then went to Old Navy and got Evan some shirts and a pair of pants for $27. They had some good deals at Old Navy. I bought myself two shirts at Wal-Mart. My long sleeve selection is sad. Last night I bought Natalie some $30 boots. She is a hard fit because she has narrow feet. No yard sale shoes for her. I also bought Ashley a $25 dress at Marshall's. For what I got at the regular stores I did pretty well, but I hate spending that kind of money on something that they will only wear a few months and then they will grow and the weather will change. Oh well, they have to have clothes and they are happy about it.

We have to go wash cars today to pay for Ashley and Steven's mission trip. I am hoping that we don't have to pay any more money out of pocket. Steven had to take Evan to cub scouts to hike at the Indian mounds, so I am washing cars for him with the girls. Well, we better get some breakfast and go.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Back from Camping

We took the kids camping this weekend. The kids were out of school on Friday, so we went to a campground about 20 miles away. We took a trailer with canoes and bicycles and two days worth of camping supplies. We camped in tents and slept on the ground and had a great time. It was good to get away from the TV, ipod, computer and all the other techy type stuff that takes up our time. We went fishing, canoeing, hiking, and went to an animal refuge. How much did it cost? $25 a night for the campground, I probably spent $25 extra on food that I would not normally have bought, and then the gas to get there. Overall, probably about $100 for the weekend for a family of 6. Not too bad for a fun weekend. We reconnected as a family and that is priceless!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Monday quick shopping

I had just had a few minutes to run into Wal-mart today.  I am trying to cut the budget short for a few weeks to pay a few extra bills.  I have plenty of meat in the freezer, so I just got a few things to help us get through the week.
As you can see I bought nothing that was very exciting.  I got the ingredients for banana pudding for Steven's birthday.  I am making chicken soup tomorrow from the leftover chickens that we smoked this weekend.  Wednesday we will have grilled cheese sandwiches before we go to church.  Thursday we are having chili in the crockpot, that is what the corn chips are for.  We are going camping on Friday and we are having beanies and weenies.  I will need a few other things for camping.  I know we need some bottled drinks.  We usually bring water, Gatorade, and we make hot chocolate and instant coffee.  We also need to makings for smores and we might buy some chicken legs to cook on the grill.  Camping food always tastes good!  I need to go through my coupons and see what I have before I do any more shopping.  I have several inserts from the past weekend that I need to cut out and I have not filed last weeks.  I am behind in my couponing.  I have not really done any in the last month.  Oh well, I better get back at it.  I save so much money!


We went last night to see the movie Courageous and it was so good! We took our two nephews and our niece and Ashley and left the younger ones with my in-laws. It was a pg-13 and we didn't feel comfortable bringing the under 13 crowd. I think every parent needs to see it, especially fathers. Our church rented out a showing and we went instead of going to Sunday night church. It was great! We also took the kids out to Dairy Queen after the movie. Those kids don't get out much, so we go the extra mile for them.

I am going to take Collin to the doctor today for a check-up and maybe a trip to the store. There is a bunch of cleaning to do around here (yuck)! Well, the kids are going to start getting up soon so I better get going.