Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Busy Busy

I am still here, just busy with life. We had strep throat last week and this week we are working on some colds. Collin had a cold last week and gave it to all of the kids. Love of a baby! I haven't been able to find any time to write right now. Nap time with the little kids has turned into a time of going from one kid to the next trying to get them to go back to sleep after only sleeping for a little while. I am sorry, but a 10 month old needs more than two 15 minute naps a day! The brother/sister pair that I keep have emotionally been a wreck. Their parents are getting divorced and they don't get to see their parents together anymore and it is really making them anxious. They are not sleeping well and acting out. I am just trying to show them love, that is what they really need. We have been reading books and playing! That is what they seem to need from me so I give it to them.

My kids have been busy having friends over, visiting with cousins, church activities, and whatever else they can find to do. They are really enjoying life right now and I am glad!

I have been doing pretty good with our finances and saving money this month. I am still not sure what to do about work for next year. For the past two school years that we have been here I have not been able to get employment in the schools. I have enjoyed watching Collin this year, but we need more money. I can sub next year if I don't get a job. I really don't enjoy subbing, but the pay is good and I can pick and choose day. I would prefer to get a job in the school system so that I can get paid through the summer. I guess I will apply and just see what happens. I will just leave it in God's hands!

Well, I guess I will go get some clothes out of the dryer and fold them before the kids get home. One more day until Friday. I am hoping to take the kids to do something fun this weekend. We will see how the weather holds up!

Thursday, January 19, 2012


It is quiet right now. I was blessed to be able to watch my little friends this week. We love having that extra money! We are trying to save to pay off our van and then buy a camper. We love camping and going on vacation, but I hate hotels. The beds are never comfortable and I always think that they are dirty. I would love to camp and not be on the ground. I would love to be with the nature, but not sweat all night. I would also like to cook and not be in all of the dirt and bugs. I know, that is half of the fun for kids, but not for me.

We are still trying to eat from the pantry. I have only spent $35 this week at the store and $5.00 of that was on a container. I may go back tomorrow for salad fixings and a few things for the weekend. Steven's sister is coming to town. They were supposed to come last weekend, but the little boy got sick. We are also going to celebrate his birthday. I told them I will make a cookie cake for him with blue icing. Yummy!

We are still trying to help my nephew with some of his stuff. He is living with my in laws, but they are charging him $300 a month rent. He can barely pay that and go to school. I am praying that we can talk them into reducing the rent. I keep hoping that we will find some money somewhere that we can use to help him with. He has no car and is barely getting by. We might add on a room here or let him live in the camper if we get it. We are just praying about what to do.

Well, I have to go stir up the rice and broccoli for our chicken broccoli cheese casserole for tonight. I don't think the little kids are getting picked up until 5:30 and it is hard to get anything done in the kitchen with them here. My kids help, but they have homework and it is not really their responsibility. I will share the recipe later. It is so good and easy and it uses up leftover chicken.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Eat from the Pantry a Bust

Well, I went shopping yesterday at Sams and Aldi. I spent too much and busted my eat from the pantry challenge. I was going to lie and say I did great, but I thought that I ought to keep it real. I our defense, we have been feeding extra people most meals, and we are having company for the weekend. We still plan to come under budget for the month, but not like I had hoped. Oh well, we have to live and we have to eat!

This is what I got when I shopped yesterday:

I spent $180.00 at Sams and $60.00 at Aldi, but we should only need a few things to get us through the rest of the month.. Maybe some milk and some fresh stuff.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Nothing Interesting

There is nothing interesting going on today. I say that because I like have our regular routine back in place. Kids going to school, Steven going to work, me staying here with Collin. The mother of the other two kids that I keep two days a week called me out of the blue the other night and said, by the way, I am not bringing the kids this whole month. What? I was counting on that income for the month. It is not alot, $300, but it is money for the kids to have some fun on. It is a handful to have three kids here under the age of three, but the money is so nice. It is a little cushion that we need. Oh, well. The Lord always provides our needs.

I don't have the baby today because we switched days, so I am going to go and volunteer at the school with the special ed pre-k. I was bummed last week to find out that the lady in that class who was going to retire decided to stay another year. I am still going to apply for something for next year, but I am not getting my hopes up. Jobs in schools are so scarce right now. I really want to go back and work with the special kids. Maybe something will open up. I am getting together my new application.

After that is church tonight and just picking up around the house. I feel like I lead a boring life. I wish sometimes that we lived in the 1950's when most moms stayed home and knew their neighbor. I hate not having ladies to go and visit during the day. Everyone I know either works, or homeschools and large family and really can't make time to visit much. Don't get me wrong, we have made some good church friends here, but I really would like some ladies to visit.

Well, I have to get the crew up. Justin (my nephew) is starting classes for his GED today. Wish him luck. I hope it doesn't take him a terribly long time to get done. He would like to take some college classes next year. Well, the kids have FCA today and no one is moving. I better get off the computer.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Menu Monday and Pantry Update for Jan. 9

So far this week we are doing well on the pantry challenge.  I was going to have tacos tonight, but we were low on flour tortillas so I changed it up.  I don't want to do unnecessary shopping.  This weekend I made two trips to the store.  I went to CVS to get dish washing detergent.

I only paid $1.78 for all 4.  I had coupons and extra bucks.  Love this stuff. I run my dishwasher twice a day and we have well water.  This stuff gets my dishes clean with no film.

I also went to the grocery and got lettuce.  They were on sale for .88 cents.  I am not a big fan of iceberg, but everyone else is and it was cheep.

 Now, here is our menu for the week:

Monday:  Spaghetti and salad

Tuesday: Crock pot turkey breast, mashed potatoes, peas

Wednesday : Chicken soup and homemade bread

Thursday:  Crock pot roast beef, potatoes, carrots, and onions

Friday: Pizza

Saturday:  Grilled chicken, mac and cheese, and salad

Sunday:  Hot dogs and hamburgers.

Our breakfasts are usually scrambled eggs, oatmeal, muffins, or cereal.  I always let them choose cereal if they want.  Evan always wants cereal.

I will make a trip to Wal-mart for some coffee creamer and some mayonnaise later tonight.  That is about all for the week.  I will probably head to Aldi on Friday or Saturday.  I know by then we will need milk and eggs and fresh stuff.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Eat from the Pantry Update

Well, we have been eating from the pantry but I have also been shopping. There were some really good deals at Kroger on Tide detergent and I had $2.00 off coupons. They also had a sale on bone in chicken breast, bacon, and had it so that you could get free milk with the purchase of Nurtra Grain cereal bars. I got all of this plus a few extras for around $50.00. I also repeated the scenario at CVS, but I only bought two toilet papers and six shampoos. I spent $16.00 and got another $10.00 gift card. Now we are stocked up on TP and shampoo. I really didn't want to spend this much on a bunch of non foods, but I really hate to pass up a deal.

Last night I made chili for a crowd. We always have extras stop by right before church, so I try to make a soup or casserole that can feed a crowd and can be cleaned up quickly. I cooked the beans from scratch, and added ground deer meat, tomatoes, onions, green peppers, and spices. My chili is never the same twice in a row. I just add stuff until it taste well.

Tonight I made potato soup and two loaves of bread. We ate one with dinner and can toast the other for breakfast with homemade jam!

Tomorrow is pizza. I have everything we need for that. We are off to a good start even though I have overspent a little this week. I just have to make up for it next week.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Beans for soup or chili

We all know that dried beans are frugal and good for us, but many come to my house and say they don't know what to do with dried beans or say that they always forget to soak them.

The good news is that you don't have to soak dried beans.  In fact I really never do.  I just rinse them, pick out any trash, and then start cooking them with a teaspoon of salt.  If I am cooking them on the stove I check them after an hour or two and they are usually getting soft.  I then add my other ingredients to make soup or chili.  If I am using the crock pot, I cook them on high for about four or five hours and then add my other ingrediences.  Important tip, don't add tomatoes to beans before they are soft or your beans will not get soft.  I have learned this the hard way.  Tomatoey rock beans, yuck!

Last day of Vacation

Well, the kids go back to school tomorrow and their winter vacation will be over. We have enjoyed the break. We have stayed in our PJs until noon and played wii fit in the evening. I am looking forward to the return of routine. I am a routine kind of person wether I like to admit it or not.

The kids want to go to a fast food place today so they can play on a playground and the older kids want to go to the mall. I don't know if we will go or not. It is really cold out right now and our mall is outdoors. Our nice indoor mall has gotten trashy and is now not in a good part of town. I won't go over there unless we have to.

We do have church and AWANA tonight, so we can't be gone all day. I have to look at my lesson for the 2 year olds. We don't do anything fancy, but I do have to gather materials for them and a snack. Never forget a snack with little ones.

Well, that is about it. Tomorrow the kids are in school, but I don't have any kids here so it is vacation for me! I am reading the bible at church in the morning (we are reading through the whole bible as a church) then I am free. Maybe a trip to Kroger to use some coupons but that is it!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Eat from the Pantry Challenge

Good Cheap Eats http://goodcheapeats.com/ is hosting an eat from the pantry challenge,

I have never formally participated in anything like this, but we do often just eat out of the pantry and freezer.  We have a deep pantry that I keep pretty full and a deep freeze that also stays full.  We are pretty well spent out right now because of Christmas and the El Salvador trip, so this is great!.

Most people are trying to spend about half of what they normally spend so I will go with that.  I normally spend about $500.00 a month at the store, so this month I will go with $250.00.  That includes household and grocery items.  I will, however, stock up on bargains when I find them, I just won't be spending as much on food items that are not necessary.

Last night I went to CVS and did my first shopping of the year.  This is what I got:

I spent $13.50 out of pocket and I got a $10.00 gift card back.  I was so glad that the toilet paper went on sale because we were down to the last pack that I got on sale last year.  I used coupons and some extra bucks that I had to bring the cost down.  The skinny cows were almost free.  They came just in time as I have started a new weight loss program.

So, I have spent $13.50 and that leaves me with $236.50 left for the month!

Monday, January 2, 2012

New Years Goals

Well it is the new year and everyone is setting some goals for the new year. Everyone needs to make improvements in certain areas, and setting goals is a great way to do this. My biggest two goals are financial and and to do with weight loss. These are mine:


  • I hope to really trim our budget in several areas, mostly in food and household spending. We do pretty good most months, but I want to do really good. I am going to cut more coupons for our household items (soap, shampoo, toilet paper, etc.) and cook more homemade items when I can.

  • I want to pay off our van. It is a peace of junk van that we paid way too much for that has given us problems, but I want the payment gone!

  • Pay cash for another trip to El Salvador. We would like for Ashley and I to go next year. We would love also to add Natalie and Steven to go back. We will see if we can save or raise this much. We do not want to rely on fund raising and donations again for trips. We want to have the cash up front.

Now my weight loss goals and heath goals:

  • Ultimately I want to lose at least 30 pounds. More would be nice but I want to keep it real. I have already signed up for weight watchers online . New Years Eve kind of crashed the two pounds that I had taken off. Oh well, we start over today.

  • Get some exercise daily. I tend to be a couch potato. I do work around the house all day, but outside yard work and strenuous stuff I leave to the men. We have a wii fit and on nice days I am going to try to get out and walk. I feel so much better when I exercise I just don't like to make time for it.Drink more water.

I think these goals are reasonable. I don't like to make goals that I cannot reach, but these are doable.

On another note, the kids have three more days until they go back to school. I hope they enjoy them and don't get too bored. I don't really have anything planned for them to do. Natalie is going to Emily's house today and Ashley and I are going to clean out her closet and dresser. We were given two huge bags of clothes last week and we need to figure out what to do with them. Wednesday is church, so we will have some kids over for dinner and then go to awana. That is about it. Not an exciting week, but we will be busy!