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Showing posts from July, 2010

Frugal Friday - Planning Ahead!

With kids, big chunks of time are just plain at a premium. It also seems sometimes that no matter what I do, I just have too many things to keep track of. Since I'm someone who likes having big chunks of time to work on things and who likes to have all my ducks in a row, this gets terribly frustrating - especially when financial implications are involved.

How? Well...

Do your children suddenly tell you their shoes 'hurt' only for you to find out that they can barely get their feet in them? Then you find out that no shoes that 'fit the bill' are on sale and you end up spending more on shoes for a 5-year-old than on your own.

Do you realize at 8pm (or later) that you have a party of some type (birthday, graduation, etc) the next day that requires a present? Then you run to the store and scout out the best present for the money - only to find that they have nothing that you like and you end up settling and spending more than you had planned.

Do you open the fridge to…

Super Savings Saturday - $30 for meat, fruit and veggies

This is the I-forgot-to-take-photos version! :) Oops.

We went to the Farmer's Market on Sunday this week and then went to the grocery store quick on Thursday early evening because I realized that what we had planned for dinner was just plain not going to work for 4 adults and 2 5-year-olds. Another Oops! (Can you tell my mind has not been around here lately!)

Sooo, what did we buy?

Farmer's Market:
1 large head of broccoli
1 very large bunch of very large green onions

Total Spent: $2

Grocery Store: (prices are approximate)
1 Gallon Kemps Skim Milk $3.80
1.2 lbs catfish fillets $7
2.5 lbs boneless pork ribs $7.50
2.5 lbs bananas $1.50
2 lbs strawberries $3
2 lbs green grapes $1.89
1 medium head red lettuce $1.50
1 carton Kemps Frozen Yogurt (for my Dad!) $2.50

Total Spent: approx $28.69 (I have no idea what happened to my receipt!)

In spite of being a lot more scatterbrained than I would like (I had coffee filters and Smart Balance on my list and didn't buy them!), I think that's pre…

Frugal Friday - Uniform Swap! (Saving Money on School Uniforms!)

Okay - silly me forgot to download the photo of everything that I was able to get through the uniform swap. So, the photo is at home on my camera and I'm not at home right now. Sooo....I will post that when I get home today. :) Oppps.

School uniforms are something new to us this year. The kids start kindergarten (Where, oh, where has that time gone?) and they will be attending a private school that requires uniforms.

Part of me is sad - my Mom loves to sew and has so enjoyed making clothes for my children the last 5 years. Uniforms mean my Mom will be making far fewer clothes than she has. My daughter also loves really bright, unique clothing and she is very disappointed with her school uniforms ("They're too boring, Mom!" - complete with eye roll and shaking head) as well. I have an idea to remedy that part, but that's for another post! :) I love that my children can express their very different personalities with their clothes.

Part of me is elated - even…

Followers - Now you can be one too!

How's that for a shameless plug? :)

Jenn has been my lone little follower for quite a while now.

Would you care to join her?
And perhaps make her feel a little less lonely here at my blog?
(And maybe check out her blog and see what SUPER adorable kiddos she has!)

I finally added that little widget to my sidebar that lets you see who my followers are.

If you would like to have your blog face (or a little lovely blogger replacement square) up there, I'd love to have you!

Thanks,
Lea

Work Home and Family - Making Time (Our Camping Trip)

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Ahh - camping...

I've never been much of a true "camper" - you know the kind: tent, sleeping bag, hiking stick and backpack and all the rest.

However, I did love spending summers at my Uncle's lake cabin! It was a rustic cabin - no running water, outhouse out back, a lake or a wood-heated sauna (depending on the weather and time involved) if you wanted to wash. But it had walls, and a deck, and a real bed and a real table. Nothing fancy - that was for sure! - but it was on the lake, with beautiful trees, and no telephone or television. Just perfect for getting away from the messiness of daily life and spending time with friends and family. We had many a fish fry with fish caught that morning and wonderful blueberry deserts (picked by those that didn't go fishing that morning!) while chatting with family and friends at that cabin. I remember being to little to either fish or pick blueberries and doing the made-up scavenger hunts my Mom left for me to do with my Gr…

Healthy Habits in 2010 - Eating Right

I had a physical two weeks ago - nothing like that to get you back on track!

I'd been eating horribly the last few weeks - lots of potato and tortilla chips for snacks and things like graduation parties and church dinners with an abundance of hot dogs and the like for the meal. Uff da. Stress makes me eat a lot more than I should and we've had plenty of that around here too!

My cholesterol - which I have to watch due to genetically high levels of body-manufactured cholesterol - was high. Not shockingly high or anything like that. It was borderline. Since I'm typically quite good with my cholesterol, that was a noticeable thing for my doctor. I also have some serious vitamin deficiencies that I'm now taking mega-doses of to get my levels back up to 'normal' range.

In either case, healthy eating has moved back to the top of my list!

Not only am I working on portion control and reasonable snacking (and I have been in theory for the last 7 1/2 months!), I'm…

Menu Plan Monday - Week of July 18

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We're eating well this week, in spite of the low grocery budget. I love my mini-stockpile! Anyway, here's what we're eating: July 18, Sunday: Breakfast: Cold Cereal with Milk Lunch: Breakfast Burritos, Melon-Strawberry-Blueberry-Banana Salad Dinner: Chicken with Chicken Flavored Rice, Vegetable Saute, Strawberry-Blueberry-Blackberry Salad July 19, Monday: Breakfast: Banana Nut Muffins with Strawberries or Cold Cereal Dinner: Baked Chicken, Roasted Potatoes, Lettuce Salad, Melon-Strawberry-Blueberry Salad July 20, Tuesday: Breakfast: Oatmeal Muffins and Banana-Peanut Butter Smoothies Dinner: Lettuce Salad with Crumbled Salmon, Strawberries and Mandarin Oranges July 21, Wednesday: Breakfast: Oatmeal with Strawberries and Cinnamon Dinner: At Church (Bring Cookies) July 22, Thursday: Breakfast: Waffles with Strawberry-Rhubarb Jam and Almonds Dinner: Pork Stir Fry, Rice, Melon-Blueberry-Banana Salad July 23, Friday: Breakfast: Oatmeal Breakfast Crisp with B…

These Are A Few of My Favorite Things - No Agenda Family Time!

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This last week we spent 4 days camping in a Camper Cabin at a Minnesota State Park. It was probably the cheapest vacation we've ever taken as a family (about $300 - $350 total after buying some supplies, paying for the cabin and park permit, buying food and stocking up on things like sunscreen) and it was probably the best vacation we've ever had as a family. I'll write more about that on Wednesday in "Work, Home and Family", so here I'm going to talk about the biggest benefit of that camping trip... Family Time.

I love spending time with my husband and children! The problem right now is that with both John and I in school and getting ready to start this new job and all the other things we do, it seems like we're always bound by some sort of schedule - off to school, homework to do, chores to complete, etc. We very, very rarely have time where we can just hang out together.

Oh, don't get me wrong, we can and do take time to just hang out, or play a pic…

Super Savings Saturday - $25 edition

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We're back to a low grocery budget for a while since we've pretty much blown it for a few weeks. We've gotten some really good deals (especially on cereal!) but the budget is way out of whack - enough that I didn't even feel comfortable taking out any grocery money this week! I used the cash we had in the house leftover from our camping week plus a couple of extra dollars we had in our Recreation and Gas envelopes (I didn't take all the cash in the gas envelope since you never know what will happen with gas prices!). All total I had $27 for groceries this week. Here's what we got: Store #1: 1 large cantaloupe $1.50 Cucumber $0.50 Blueberries BOGO 2 for $3.99 Blackberries 1 at $2.50 Total Spent: $8.49 Store #2: 10 ct Mission Flour Tortilla $2 Sweet Corn (8 ears) $2 1 lb Carrots $0.79 Strawberries 2lbs $3 Store brand gallon skim milk (2) $4.98 1 dozen large store brand eggs $0.68 Sargento Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese $2 Total Spent: $15.45 Total Spent at both stores: $23.94 Tha…

Brain Lapse!

So I wrote two posts last Monday and saved them instead of posting them.

Duh.

Sheesh.

Back to 'normal' this week.

Camping was GREAT and I'll post a couple of my 300 pictures on Wednesday and I'll be back later today with my Super Savings Saturday post!

We're having a heat wave here (90+ F) and lots of direct sun so we're trying to stay cool today in addition to catching up from camping (I'm almost caught up with the laundry - only 1 more load to go!) and trying to get back into the swing of things this week and next before really jumping in head-long for fall.

Excuse my brain lapse, and check out my goals update (I'm pretty psyched about it all!) and our menu from camping last week.

Note about last week's menu: we ended up eating at McDonald's (something I despise and only do about 3x a year if absolutely necessary) because we had a tornado watch out and we didn't want to go home in the middle of our camping trip, yet we didn't feel safe at th…

Goals Update - Is it this far into July already?

Are you with me when I say I can't believe that July is this far along already? Good grief!



Even though it's this far into summer, I finally have managed to get some things actually done and completed! Yay!



Check out my side bar... :)

I'm pretty excited about the whole thing!


So what have we gotten done?



Two house projects - the 'parking lot' for the garbage cans is done and so is the painting that we wanted to complete! Whoo hoo!



Two budget goals have been met - my tuition is saved for and our 'date' fund is funded! In addition to that we've got the kids' uniform fund filled and part of their tuition fund filled. Happy dance!



The house is half cleaned out - the upstairs except for the office and under the stairs. We've gotten rid of a ton of stuff and I can't believe how much easier it is to clean when I don't have shuffle stuff. :) I'm hoping to get the whole thing cleaned out before my new job starts a bit later this summer (mid-august!)…

Menu Plan Monday - Week of July 11th! Camping Edition!

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We're taking Monday through Thursday this week and going camping! It's the first time John and I have taken the kids camping and we're 'cheating' by renting a cabin at a state park (no indoor plumbing but real beds and walls and we're paying the extra $5/night to get electricity). It does mean cooking over a campfire for the better part of 4 days, so that's a hair challenging with our menu!



So what are we eating this week?




Sunday, July 11:

Breakfast: Cereal

Lunch: Waffles with Raspberries and Almonds

Dinner: A Friend's Graduation Party



Monday, July 12:

Breakfast: Oatmeal with Cinnamon and Pecans

Lunch: Tuna Sandwiches, Melon, Ants-on-a-Log

Dinner: Salmon, Potatoes, Salad and Strawberry-Melon-Grape Salad



Tuesday, July 13:

Breakfast: Oatmeal Muffins, Bananas

Lunch: Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches, Potato Chips, Carrot Sticks, Grapes

Dinner: Kielbasa, Corn on the Cob, Salad, Melon-Grape-Pineapple Salad



Wednesday, July 14:

Breakfast: Pancakes with Raspberries and App…

These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things - Getting Things Done!

I'm a big believer in having goals.

I mean seriously - if you don't have a goal to reach for, how are you able to get anywhere? If you aim at nothing you hit it every time. I would prefer to aim for something.

Are my goals overly ambitious? Many times, yes.
Are they crazy to others? Many times, yes.
Do I still make them and strive for them? Absolutely!

I had a conversation with my Mother-in-Law a couple of years ago about my working on this PhD. She told me about a friend of hers, working on a medical degree, and having a plan for several years about how she was going to get to the goal she had in mind. My MIL told me that she was so impressed by both of us because it just was more work than she could handle - so much work in fact that she didn't have anything she was striving.

Too much work?

I guess I've always thought that everything worth having is worth working for.

Relationships? A ton of work if they're going to be good relationships.

Raising kids? Definitely t…