I am a 31 year old working mom. I have two children ages 6 & 8. I am newly remarried (two years and counting) and enjoy spending time with the hubs! Even though life is busy I try to take a little time to show what is going on in my world. This blog is mainly for daily happenings, finances and such. I have created a whole new blog at Butcher, Baker and Candlestick Maker to chronicle my creative sides. You will find recipes, cooking adventures, crafts and a whole lot of digital scrapbook layouts.


Monday, December 31, 2007

Menu Plan Monday

December 31 - Jan 7
Monday: Emilia is having her cousin Jordan over and we will be having a "girls night" Emilia is going to pick up snacks at the store.....although her main thing she wants is the new cereal straws for the morning....go figure
Tuesdsay: Roast, Red Potatoes, Carrots, Gravy, Rolls
Wednesday: Pancakes, Bacon, Eggs
Thursday: Split Pea Soup, Rolls
Friday: Pinto Beans, Cornbread
Saturday: Leftovers
Sunday: Sheppard's Pie
To help us become more frugal I actually have the whole month of January planned and have incorporated a breakfast night for Wed, soup for Thursday and a bean dish on Friday. I also am purposely not planing food for Mondays and Saturday because I want us to get better at eating our leftovers. We currently throw out more food because we "forget" about the leftovers.

Friday, December 28, 2007

No Spending Months

For the months of Jan and Feb my husband are entering a "no spending" freeze. We are not going out to eat, to the movies, no extra shopping. Just bills, groceries and gas. We are hoping to put every single extra cent towards our credit card debt. I am also going to restart our goals on the right side if the blog to pay off cc debt. Currently it is showing the percentage of debt to the credit limit. Now it will show the 100% as the amount owed on the card and we will go down by what we pay.
The only event that we are doing is a snow-weekend trip that we are looking for the frugalist way to go and a present for Nicholas's Birthday. But I am hoping to get a great gift for him with all the Christmas specials still going on.
I have made a menu for the whole month of January and have purchased quite a bit from the shopping list. I plan on updating daily any "extra" spenditures and and "pay-off" that we make for the two months.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Upward Basketball

Both Nicholas and Emilia are in Upward Basketball for the Next few months. The actually were put on the same team and Margaret is helping to coach the team. We are all so excited. Emilia had fun watching Nicholas when he was doing soccer and she got to play a little on the last day. She choose basketball over cheerleading, so I am glad. I want her to have fun and use her energy for running around. I think this could be a great confidence builder, plus she will get to spend time with Nicholas. Hopefully they will learn to cooperate with each other on the team. We are going to borrow one of Margaret's smaller hoops so she can practice. We have a concrete slab with a real hoop attached in the backyard, but it is way too high for the kids to actually shoot hoops. I am hoping to get her to do a little practice routine, it will also hopefully get the adults out there getting exercise with her. We could use some. If you don't know about Upward it is worth checking out. It is a Christian based team sports for kids.

Holiday Season

Well it is finally getting close to Christmas. I seemed like it would take forever to get here and yet time flys. I didn't get alot of things done that I wanted to. We got the Christmas Tree up, but none of the other decorations that would sit out. Some I was afraid that the cats would knock over. They have already climbed into the tree and bent a few of the branches down and have knocked a couple of ornaments off the tree. Emilia is getting excited, this morning she sleepily asked me what date it was...I replied that it was Wednesday, "no, the date" I was corrected. I told her it was the 18th....oops. Later when I asked her if she was counting down the days till Christmas, she said no that she was counting down till when Nicholas came over....Awwwhhh! She get so excited to spend time with her brother. I will have both the kids all day Friday, Sat, Sun and Monday. Of course we have some things going on. Not too much thankfully, I want to do some fun stuff with the kids, like making cookies, maybe ice skating. I know we plan on caroling over at Margaret's Neighborhood. It should be a fun time for everyone.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Menu Planning

Ok so far, we haven't followed the Menu plan. However, it is because both my husband and I work and so Monday and Wednesday he cooked dinner, but he mostly used items from around the pantry. Monday was Hamburger Helper and Wed was Sloppy Joes. He got hamburger buns from the store because he knows I don't like it on plain bread and he picked up sliced cheese because he likes it....and being a cheesy kind of girl I like it too!!
Tonight we are having the Taco's because I forgot about a ladies church event on last Tuesday. I am going to be making homemade tortillas, hopefully they will turn out.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Kitchen Tip Tuesday's w/Tammy

The ABCs of Flour

What makes a certain flour good for one recipe and bad for another? Gluten! When flour is moistened and mixed for dough or batter, gluten forms from the protein in the flour. Some flours have more protein, some less, forming more or less gluten, which is key to making breads expand and cakes stick together. For the best baking results, learn about these three basic types of flour:

  • All-purpose flour is a blend of hard and soft wheat. The balance of gluten from these creates the texture you want for quick breads, pie crust, cookies and most everyday uses.

  • Bread flour has a higher gluten-forming protein content, creating dough that is nice and elastic. This makes it ideal for making kneaded breads.

  • Cake flour is made with soft wheat, producing less gluten, so your cake will have that perfect delicate and slightly crumbly texture. Note that self-rising cake flour is different.

This tip comes from Whole Foods Market for more tips from bloggers just like you go here.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Menu Plan Monday #1

So I am trying out posting a weekly menu for the rest of December in hopes of getting in the habit for our "savings month" of Jan and Feb. I am relying on old favorites as well as looking for new frugal recipies.

Monday: Leftovers, clean out fridge

Tuesday: Taco's @ Margaret's

Wednesday: Spaghetti, salad, bread sticks

Thursday: Grilled pork chops, veggie, peach cobbler

Friday: Beans and Cornbread

Saturday: Meatloaf, veggie, rolls

Sunday: Turkey, mashed potatoes, veggie, rolls

Breakfast is: cereal, oatmeal, grits, Orange Muffins

Lunch is: leftovers, sandwiches

snack is: apples w/ caramel dip (already made), carrot sticks w/ranch, various items in the house.

Trial recipe to try to make this weekend: Beef Pepperoni

I get alot of recipes from Pioneer Woman and Tammy.

Credit Card Tally

So to the right I have posted our Credit Cards and the percentages to pay off. I have listed them in importance of payoff....for instance any extra money right now is going toward the CitiBank card with the 32% interest rate. It is a little misleading, because the amount owed varies from as little as $40 to upwards of $2000+ on some cards. Bear with me as I explore how to best display this. The Visa and Sams are both nominal amounts and I might get those knocked out with any extra money before applying it to the CitiBank, just so that I have less monthly payments. I plan to move money off the CitiBank to the Capital One from 32% to o3.99%.

Total debt:$7,814.16

I don't count car/house in this debt. I am hoping to knock out most of this debt by 2009. I know it is ambitious but here is my thinking:

Tax Returns = $1500 (very conservative)
3rd paycheck me 2x in 2008 = $1600
5th paycheck Steve 4x in 2008 = $1200
Monthly $200 x 12 months = $2400

Total: $6,700

Now this does not include any overtime or extra jobs that Steve gets, plus any number of creative way we come up with to save money to go towards our debt.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Debt Reduction

Okay, so Steve and I have decided to really get serious about getting ourselves out of debt. We both have a $200 item in mind to get with our tax returns

(Steve wants a dvr recorder and I want to purchase some backpacking gear)
so we have made a deal with each other. For the months of Jan/Feb we are going on a spending fast. Except for needed items we will not be going to the store, out to eat, to the movies .....anything. We will each "earn" $50 toward the item we want for each sucessful pay period "two weeks" that we abstain from spending. I am going to post how far we get in paying off our debt. Feb is a 3 paycheck month for me and a 5 for Steve so I am hoping that we will be able to get alot paid off. I will keep you posted.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Homemade Caramel

Ok, so I found a recipe for Homemade Caramel on TammysRecipies.com....and since I LOVE caramel I thought I would give it a try. Tammy prefers the dark brown sugar so I made it will the dark. I have to say that next time I think I will try the light brown sugar; it turned out great, but I think I would prefer a lighter tast to it. The recipe makes 4 cups and believe me it is alot....I made the mistake of doubling the recipe and now I have tons of caramel on hand.....yummy! I will just have to get creative and bring treats into work.....lucky them. I think I will make some brownies and top it with the caramel, maybe bring in some apples to slice up. I am looking for some pretty jars and maybe I will make some to give for Christmas Presents. I wonder if it will freeze.....I will have to email her to find out.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Snowball Fight

Non-Crappy Starring You! eCards on JibJab

The Charleston

Non-Crappy Starring You! eCards on JibJab

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Pampered Chef Cookbook Contest

So Stay at Home Mommy is having a give away for a Pampered Chef Cookbook. I so want it. I love pampered chef recipes, they are so good. Most are really easy to do, but can be "spiced" up by an experienced cook. And most don't have any funny hard to get ingredients. If you want to try for it, write a post on your blog and post a link in her comment section here.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Crazy 8

Okay....so I got turned onto an online store called crazy8 that is an off shoot of Limited too. I also like a local store called Justice that has great "cool" clothes for Emilia. Justice is a girls only older girls sizes 6-16, but Crazy 8 has boys and small sizes from birth on up. I don't buy there "expensive" clothes, I look for the items on sale, I just bought pjs for Emilia for $8 for each set and they are really good quality. I have gone back and bought matching jammies for Jordon her cousin and a similar themed jammies for Nicholas. They have them set up as outfits and to purchase separates. Right now there is no shipping cost option, I am not sure if that is a promotion or an all the time thing. I think it is great, because Emilia and I can go online and pick out an outfit together. I am a new customer and have not had to return anything yet, but so far I am extremely happy! Cute Stuff. (They are very similar in prices to Walmart's expensive stuff) I plan to keep my eyes peeled for more deals.