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Archive for January, 2006

My Birthday present

January 31st, 2006 at 06:50 am

OK so my birthday isn't for a couple months (March) but I know what I want. My mother always asks ever year what I want, usually I pick something for the kitchen, this year I picked a bench for my kitchen. I want a bench running the length of one side butting up against the wall, then later a table, and even later a set of cabinets above.

I know it is a bit weird but I really want it. DH is going to build it and Mom will donate her loot normally spent for it.

For the rest of the time we are in this house I will see it and smile at my awesome birthday! I think that beats flowers or a niknak any day!

January bills

January 30th, 2006 at 06:25 am

Or February, depending on how you look at it.

I balanced the checkbook, found my 3$ error, and came up with no money left, but that is normal.

We also filed our taxes! And we are getting money back, enough to pay off the CC bill..and some left over Smile.

We have no money comming out of the check for federal taxes, for normal hours, but they tax bonuses and overtime like crazy, then since we are dirt poor they give it all back Smile.

Now I get to starty planning our trip to Washington DC! (DS has been begging to go!)

Official pick for February

January 30th, 2006 at 05:49 am

Ok it isn't exactly saving me money, but I want to do this. I want to be able to spend more time with extended family, and I need to be able to do it cheaper. So my goal for February is:

Frugal Family Fun

I don't mean my house family, I spend lots of time with them! I mean the cousins, and aunts and uncles and g-parents.

My first goal is to figure out food, We eat a lot, and when visiting that can be rude or expensive, I want to work on packing more food, and making batches of stuff to share.

My second goal is to work on 'penpals'. Most of our family is far away, so we can't always travel, I want to help DS write notes online. I might set up a kid email to avoid spam, or I might try to figure out a way to get an ad free guestbook on our website.

My third goal, is to use the free cell phone minutes. They are free on weekends, so I need to make a date to call people!

I know the end result will be about the same amount of money, but I am hoping to get more family for my buck!

I already started on the penpals by getting the kids to make Valentines cards. I want to make communicating a monthly or weekly thing.

Reading site

January 28th, 2006 at 11:11 am

I am putting this here cause of the nifty categories, I can ship anyone to BBA category, and have them find all my frugal teaching stuff (plus eventually the stuff I do, which stalled out due to lack of time!). I hope that is ok.

I use starfall.com site with both my kids, DS is about a first grade reading level, and still likes it. DD is back on the letters. It is a great site lots of fun, and pretty easy to use the mouse on.

starfall

and it is Ad free, the best part!

If only I could find a site for math that does the same thing, or make one, but I know nothing about flash editors and the like.

BBA 'stuff'

January 28th, 2006 at 10:40 am

I found a great website with coloring pages of all sorts of things, including DS's favorite the presidents! I love finding work for him. childstory hour

I was looking for a pig, my DD wants to read, but doesn't blend I thought if I let her sound out the word and then asked her to find a picture she might start blending more, or at least I will know if she cant.

Poker final note

January 28th, 2006 at 10:35 am

DH put all the info on his website, so I wont be updating it here, but you can go visit him:
Wixx's Wasteland

or to go direct to the poker news Poker

February goal

January 28th, 2006 at 04:46 am

Each month, err Ok for the last two months, I have had a frugal goal for the whole month. December was 'unplugged' Januarry was 'paperless palace'. Now I need something for February. I really have no idea what to do.

December went well, practically nothing is plugged in all the time, not even the second alarm clock that no one used. And in spite of the coldish weather (NC here, not like PA!) I still managed to contine to line dry at least some clothes.

January went OK, I have switched almost all cleaning to cloth, and most of the diapers. But since we cance;led garbage and recycle more paper I was amazed to discover how much paper and cardboard we still go through in a week! Lots of junk mail, some schoolwork, and some packaging.

Groceries

January 27th, 2006 at 06:04 am

Budget =75
Actual = 36

January budget = 375 (75 x 5 Thursdays)
January total = 361

Nice aint it? course it only worked cause I sent DH this week with 37$ cash! I now the budget is 75 a week but we only had 37, course that is all the cash, so next week we will use the debit card again. And that brought us in under the budget for the month! yipee!!!! Course I am out of a few things, like eggs, and nuts, but.. guess we will survive.

Cinnamon mess

January 26th, 2006 at 05:15 am

Ever try to make cinnamon rolls with no recipie? It was interesting to say the least! I used a roll biscut (err bisquit, biscuit, biscit, whatever!) recipie and spread it with butter, then sprinkled cinnamon and sugar. (that is the BIG mess!) After rolling it like a jelly roll, and cutting into umm rolls Smile. I stuck it in the fridge overnight and now it is in the oven. I hope it works.

We usualy buy the ones in a can, but I really don't like the cost or the preservatives and all that, so I thought since we were out of cans, and I had time (heh, yeah well sortof time!) I would try it. It only took about 20 minutes to mix and roll, would prolly take less if I knew what I was doing. So if it tastes good I will make it a Wednesday night tradition (DH is off on Thursdays)

How far we have come

January 25th, 2006 at 04:36 am

If anyone had told me a year ago that we would:

-hang a fourth of our laundry,
-buy less premade food (I thought I hardly bought any already!)
-use cloth diapers (mostly),
-use less plastic/paper (I thought we hardly used any!)
-pack twice as many meals (we alredy packed so many!)
-use less electricity (unplugging computer, and lower heat/higher air mostly)
-Keep the house 65 winter/80 summer
-Have a food bill around 75-100 a week, with more healthy foods, not less
-drink less than a gallon of milk a day, wiht more kids
-cancel garbage, and compost/recycle more
-and a few other odds and ends

I wouldn't have believed it, there is no way I would have thought I could do so many things different, each one is only a minor dent in the budget, but all together they add up to us being 'in the black' -well other than the outstanding debt, which has budgeted lots down on it each month. Not always as much as I would like, but alot.

Anyway, We've come a long way!

poker update

January 24th, 2006 at 05:10 am

Dh is up to 75$ starting from 20, playing in his off time. Mostly from free tornaments and occasional wins.

The only problem I have is when he takes other peoples money, they prolly don't have it to lose....

yogurt

January 24th, 2006 at 05:08 am

I wonder what happens if you forget to put the lid on the little containers of yogurt?

I did last night, I capped them this morning and put them in the fridge, but I am not sure if it worked, guess I will find out tonight.

I really am not that good at cooking, I sometimes think without modern conveniences, my family would never get a decent meal! And apparently with them I still fail...

Edit to add..It worked fine Smile

We survived!

January 23rd, 2006 at 04:33 am

We made it! and aside from a fortune in gas dinner was only 15$ (only, I so could have cooked it for a fraction, but no stove in the car!)

We also got out of PB sandwiches for lunch, we arrived before lunch and my Father bought oriantle, it was wonderful. Remind me to thank him and send his birthday card.

Now why didn't we use those PB sandwiches for dinner if we didn't have to use them for lunch? because a guy who has to drive 5 hours to see his wifes family (and miss football) deserves a reward, and with my cold a burger is all he is getting!

BTW the Steelers won, but Panthers lost, so I was right, DH missed seeing the last game of the year for one of his favorite teams (well just the hometown team, he actually likes the steelers)

Travel cheap

January 21st, 2006 at 05:36 am

That is an oxymoron if I ever heard one! Well actually we ahve done this trip to GA several times and I think I have it pretty well figured out except dinner.

Breakfast is Engliush muffins in the car,
Second breakfast is prolly grapes, while I nurse DS
Lunch is BBnoJ in the car or while I nurse DS
Snack is cheese crakers
Dinner is the kicker, I ran out of packable ideas, so it will prolly be burgers from Burger king Frown
Packing juice, and flitching a coke on the way home from Bro.

We drive 5hrs up and stay for a bit, then 5 hours back. Loong, but worth it to see my bro, and this time my father too.

Unfortunatly there isn't a vegetable on that menue! but we will load up today and on milk, so one day off wont kill us.

Groceries

January 20th, 2006 at 06:29 am

Budget = 75
Actual = 50

But that is decieving, we only went to one store (BJ's a wharehouse club) We still need bread, and want a few other things.

I also had to buy an airtight container for flour, I had one but it only held 10lbs of flour, we buy it in 20 lb packs, so I got a dog food container thayt will hold more than 20lbs. It is a bit weird to shop in a pet food store, we have no pets! (the strays outback are not pets, they are working gals Smile, kill the rodents and keep em out!) Wanna guess the cost of one large airtight container? 18$! Ouch... kills the grocery budget.

edit to add the 40 spent on other food.

total = 90

Progress and prosperity

January 18th, 2006 at 04:32 am

As my Daughter was complaining about putting her 'pretty pink panties' in the washer, I reminded her that is the only way clothes get clean. Now I do know how to handwash, I have seen in action old fashioned washboards, and a roller machine, but to me, the only way to get things clean is a washer!

Can you imagine having to handwash all of your laundry? (I did once, long ago) There is no way people would own 50 shirts if they had to handwash it all, we would not be tossing a shirt in the wash after one little spot of BQ or baby spit up! So now we have a society that feels new clothes every day are essential (myself included) being rich enough to own a washer, means you must also be rich enough to own enough clothes to wear fresh every day!

I have mad a 'mud decision' kids muddy jeans are saved to rewear in the mud the next day, I might be thought weird, but I wont have fresh mud to clean every day!

I wonder if that goes for other things to, since I am rich enough to own a dishwasher I have to be rich enough to have more dishes, I need some to use while the dishwasher is full and running!

Since I am rich enough to own a 3 bedroom house (mansion in some countries) I must be rich enough to owna vacuum, all the furniture, and 'stuff'.

As I try to 'destuff' While I do find many things I don't need, I also find many I must keep because I am 'doing well'!

Progress must have prosperity to keep people moving forward... Lucky for America we are rather rtich, only no one seems to know this.

Things were easy....

January 17th, 2006 at 04:58 am

I am reading a book on old indian customs (native American) and I keep comming up on the phrases 'life was easy' 'food was plentiful'. I am wondering if this is really true, or if the authors have no idea how hard it is to grind corn into cornmeal! I think this is a case of the 'good ole days'.

While I do feel that there prolly was plentiful food, I do not think they would have been so frugal (using all of the buffalo for example) if there was plenty of bags, furs and so on. And not to mention you actually had to go hunt said food, or grow it, or collect it! The book makes it seem like before white man came the indians were sitting pretty with food practically falling in their laps! I think everyone has a tendency to assume large quantity equals easy, which I suppose it is easier than if the game was scarce, but it is not easy to skin your meal when you are very hungry!

But then the less stuff they had the less work to maintain said stuff, washing day must have been alot simpler than my daily loads, only one outfit to wash! I wonder just how important 50 outfits is....

Or dishes, less dishes less stuff to wash, if I had the kids use tortillas as spoons, instead of forks, I could prolly skip the plate to! But I can't, I am too much a product of a decedant western civilization! Now I need to go to walmart to get some stuff... (kidding, I banned walmart trips until further funds)

Out of place

January 16th, 2006 at 05:16 am

Ever feel totally out of place talking to people? Yesterday at 'sunday school' We were talking with the group, and one person mentioned the new rewind thing you can do with the digital cable, nothing wrong with that, very cool thing, but totally not in the buidget to get cable much less rent a recorder.

Then they were talking about Christmas, one parent has a kid with 14 build a bears! 14? at 30 ish dollars a piece? No way I have the money nor would I be happily encouraging my kid to get something that will not last with it if I had it! (nothing wrong with a couple, each of my kids has one made for them while I was pregnant with them)

Speaking of build-a-bears, they talked of Girlscout cookies, guess what they did with the money they earned? Bears! People bought cookies in support of a girl scouts prolly thinking of badge earning or enrichment, and the girls got a pizza party and bears!?! I must be totally out of it, I thought the money was spent on something useful, like a learning experience.

The whole time DH and I were feeling completly out of place, we live around middle class people, but we are not middle class, we totally do not fit.

But then I was talking about a friend of ours, she has a kid staying with her whose parents left him, at 17, they up and left? Then there is the friend of hers who is pregnant for the 4th time and wants someone to adopt the kid, for the 4th time. 4 times you get pregnant and don't want the kid? I don't know anyone who wants to really give away their kid, or anyone who would run away from home or leave their kid, or any of that! I don't understand that. I live around middle class people with middle class problems, but I totally don't understand any of them either.

MUD!!!

January 16th, 2006 at 05:03 am

I let the kids come outside while I hung a load of laundry, I figured a little mud never hurt anyone,...well A LOT of mud does hurt the carpet, and the bathroom, and the mirror, and how do you get mud off a furry girlly pink coat! I really don't want to deprive DD of her girly stuff, and I don't want her to think messy fun is bad, but no one will comment on DSs dirty coat 'boys will be boys' everyone will wonder why I let DD get dirty in her pretty coat (cause it is the only one warm enough!)

Groceries

January 16th, 2006 at 05:01 am

budget 75
actual 100

grr, well actually it was 96 but still, not good. We used cash, and I still have some left for the month, but I am not sure we will have enough for the month, I think I may have to get creative in the kitchen in order to make it for the month..

We stopped by the recycling center and they take everything, which is awesome, plus we found a dump for the garbage.

We also spent the afternoon at the playground, it was great to let DS run and not have to yell at him! Poor kid doesn't get to run enough.

Canceled Garbage

January 11th, 2006 at 06:20 am

Well I finally did it, I decided to cancel the garbage pickup, I might be crazy!

We can take the recycling to the local park, they have a cool center there. But I actually am not certain what we are doing with the rest!

Right now we actually can use the worksite dumpsters, but I don't want to do that forever, I just want to spend less than 300 a year on garbage.

I have started recycling the paper more, sending it in with DH for work, and we already fling a lot of the food scraps to the backyard woods. I keep telling DH the goal is to get a family of feild mice or something so the cats have prey, but so far I think they erradicated all small animals, we havn't had any 'presents' in ages. I love the fact that I can drive to major stores and malls and Drs and Hospitals usually in under 30 minutes (traffic depending) but out my back door I have deer, and occasionnally a raccon, but I think Fire killed it... (fire is the momma cat)

Busted Laptop!

January 9th, 2006 at 07:22 am

This is terrible! I meed my laptop!! Err make that want, I want to be comfy on the couch for nursing DS, but... I can't, and I can't see the screen right on my desktop cause of the sun (which I am greatful for, I need it to dry my clothes and heat my house!). I may have to think about moving my desk so the sun isn't a problem, wonder where though?

Dh completly took apart the laptop, but he still can't get the fan running and he thinks the reason it won't work is that it overheats with no fan. We are not buying anything and we don't have spare laptop parts. So I doubt I will ever get the laptop back.

On a diaper note, we had two poop blowouts uesterday, so I had no covers left, we had one disposable diaper blow out last night and another this morning! this kid is a super pooper! I can't wait for solid formed poop! (though the smell will be worse then)

Tithing

January 8th, 2006 at 05:01 am

I would like to tithe, but DH hates organized religion, and that is where the money would go. Plus we have about 200 a month to fail or send to the CC, I really need to send it to the CC, but God does say to 'fill his house' and all that. This is something I have been struggling with for most of our marriage, and especially now that we have kids. What am I saying when I don't give money to church, that our 'stuff' is more important than God?

The cost of cloth

January 7th, 2006 at 07:16 am

My 2yold DD who used to be dry every night has started wetting the bed again GRRRR.

I was debating on getting pullups for her at night, but then I asked myself 'is it cheaper to wash sheets 5 times a week or use a diaper for 7?' and I am pretty sure the answer is yes! I is cheaper to run an extra load or 5 than to buy plastic, especially since I wash sheets once a week anyway.

I am also still working out the kinks of cloth diapers for my youngest, I seem to need to use the dryer to sry them because they NEVER get dry outside, that and I only have room to hang one load, I could do diapers or I could do the dark/white for the day. The darks generally dry, but the diapers dont if it is cloudy, so I think I will be drying the cloth diapers from now on, is that still a savings? I hope so.

grocery shopping

January 6th, 2006 at 07:27 am

I forgot to put in here, we got grocerys on Wednesday.

Budget 75
actual 80

not to terrible, and it included diapers (I am not using cloth out of the house, sorry)
Since last week was under by 20 I am happy Smile.

Medical bills

January 5th, 2006 at 12:08 pm

Last night I sent off the money for my newest birth. 350 for the hospital co pay, and 19 for misc tests, very reasonable compared to DDs 5k birth!

Today we took the kids to the DR and squared away $81 in previous bills. Todays visit should be covered completly under the new insurance.

And we managed to only eat what we packed, no splurging on lunch! We did splurge on gas and went to the nature center though.

poker update

January 4th, 2006 at 09:36 am

Apologies, I misremembered what the winning total was. Well that and he won another hand.

DH put in 100
Bonus 100 (nonwithdrawable yet)
winnings 7.50

I suppose it is pretty good since tecnically he can walk away with 107.50 right now if he wants.

I also learned that you can get referal bonuses at some of the sites, so if anyone is gambling, look for referal bonuses when you pick your site and get your friends addicted to gambling too! (kidding, please gamble responsibly Smile.)

yogurt failures

January 3rd, 2006 at 07:35 am

I got a yogurt maker for christmas, it works and the kids like it though DS prefers it sweeter than just with fruit, I think we will try adding powdered milk to thicken and sweeten it.

but last night we broke the thermometer, so we guessed and ruined a batch of yogurt Frown. no fun and right now instead of saving me money this yogurt maker is costing me money! We have to go buy yogurt for DH for work, and for starter, and we have to buy a thermometer, this time I want a candy thermometer so it covers all the temps and is muti purpose.

the poker challenge idea

January 2nd, 2006 at 06:15 am

a lot of poker sites offer a start up bonus, you put in some money and they match or double it. of course there is a catch, you have to play poker to take out the bonus match. But they also have free tournaments. so I think you open an account for the best deal you can find, then you play their free tournaments. while you are getting practice playing poker you are making money (for only the electricity and internet costs). Then of course you use your money at the casino to play 'raked hands' to get your bonus money 'withdrawable'.

this would be especially cool if you like poker, and/or have a job that involves lots of sitting and waiting, like EMS, poker is something to do for the long hours of boredom (in between the sheer terror).

Unfortunatly, while I am online quite a bit while nursing my kids, I have no luck at all. Smile

Dh on the other hand does, he is trying/playing so far he put in $100 was matched 100, and won 1.40. not to terrible I guess

link poker site

actuually the link is not working for me, not sure why but it works for others so I bet the trouble is local to my computer, DH will work on it when he can. sigh and now it wont turn pretty Frown

Week one of a challenge

January 1st, 2006 at 12:02 pm

I know later never came yesterday, I will get there, honest!

Ok so I have no ideas that I have the ability to do that will earn my money now, but I have always wanted to build a preschool program. I made up the stuff for my oldest and I am making more for DD, I want to put it all together in an easy format to search and print (not all kids need the same thing at the same time, nor do they pick it up at the same rate, which is why I hate the standard everyone do this at this rate programs)

Anyway I decided that I will challenge myself to work on one thing every week that is actually able to be used by anyone, not just my kid. If I get it finished I will see about selling it, or at least sharing (My mom will be homeschooling her adoptee). It prolly wont make any money, but it is about time I did it. (been thinking about it since I taught preschool)

Today I started a new game for my two to play with shapes and some math. I still need to finish all the questions but I will get my Mom and DH to help. I have lots of time sitting at a computer while nursing my newest.

pdf of it so far