Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Wiped out

Nothing makes you feel old like being wiped out after a day with your kids.  Yes I do say life is catching up with us.  Sometimes the go, go, go  hits you like a wall.  We are not trying to keep up with anyone, nor trying to schedule all daytime hours, nor trying to squeeze every moment out of life we can but we have been exponentially bust lately.  (kinda why I have not been on this blog in over a few two weeks and before only to what turned out to be a once a week update.)  Life moves fast.

So what is it that has kept us busy?

Work, both of us are working.

School, the kids are back to school, and I am trying to finish this semester.  That is always an incredible crunch time.

Easter, we have had weekend after weekend of Easter fun and though enjoyable it takes a lot of planning, organizing, and running.

Tball, I have only 1 kid in an activity right now but that still consumes many evenings.

Sickness, my daughter although feeling well are deep raspy chest coughing all night that keeps everyone up.

Today as I was getting ready for work I took a shower and laid down.  I set the alarm because I was exhausted and new I had a few extra minutes.  And I am so thankful I set it.  Because I fell asleep, hard.  I did not wake to my alarm but to my baby crying in her crib because the alarm kept going off and woke her.  It is a dark rainy day the kind you want to stay in bed or curl up and watch tv.  The motivation needed to get up and going is not there.

I have a few ideas how to work things out better, get more motivated and get moving more.  I will share them with you soon.  I have learned a few things is my 4 week money challenge of savings and want to share those too.  So good things, stores and hopefully helpful advice are yet to come, maybe just after an energy drink.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

March is over!

Whew we made it through the March birthday madness. We still have both mothers birthdays coming up later in April, but that feels like such a nice break till then.  Whew.  I am glad it is over and...just glad it is over.  My daughters birthday was the last of the March ones.  We had a bunch of things planed but the kids were just not their best.  We had lots of running to do to, and that all conflicted with my perfect mental image of a sweet princess/ Angelina Ballerina birthday for her.  However, she was BEAUTIFUL and still had a great time.  More than a few meltdowns from each child and I think at lest 2 from me.

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She turned 3.  She is a grown up still my baby 3.  I am just as crazy about her now as ever maybe more.  This girl is AWESOME!

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I know it is know almost a month past her birthday but that is because it is truly hard for me to find the time to blog anymore.  I try and try but..I am exhausted and always busy.  But that is why I love instagram.  You don't get the stories but you get a glimps about what is happening and really how many of you read what I right or just scroll through and look at the pictures anyways?



She wanted an Angelina Ballerina cake.  I could not find one, I did not have the time money or skill to make one, so I ordered her a princess Faith ballerina cake and she was over the moon she loved it!!  She still talks about "my Angelina cake with my head"  Although it was a bit weird eating Faith.



And the reason we now have back up plans/relighting plans for birthday cake candles.

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They all laugh when it is not their birthday, but when baby blows out the candle on their special day oh they cry.  But each of the others did it when they were babies age too.

We went to watch Frozen again.  But this time in her new costume from  Ms. Ginny, she loves it and still wears it all the time!  Thank you.  And for the frozen microphone and Elsa doll they were perfect and she loves loves them.



I know this is not the best picture but here is baby watching her brother eat popcorn.  If you saw them she was astonished like oh that is how you do it.  And below is another bad picture.  Sorry it was dark in there.  My parents came to to see Faith on her birthday and help me out.  Can you believe they had not seen Frozen yet?!  How did anyone make it without seeing Frozen?

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Yay know idea what my oldest is doing.

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And a selfie of me and Smiley!  My love boy

The movie was great, again, again x8 or 9 times then.  It was so fun to see all the little girls dressed in their Frozen outfits.  Girls are such princesses.

It was a nice birthday even with some of the hardships.  And truly now nearly a month later I don't remember the stress, I just melt at the princess pictures.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Week 5 Savings

This was another bad week.  We spent a lot but some of it will be beneficial in the future.  Such as I paid for a camping trip.  When we go I will just have to pay for gas and food.  I bought Easter shirts for the boys and that does not happen but once a year.  I have the girls outfits already.  I still need pants and shoes for the kids but no doubt payless will have a BOGO going on.  It is funny I used to hate that store and through fits when my parents would take me there.  Still am not that fond of there shoes but last time we were there we got awesome deals on socks!  Cute socks too.

My splurges
Sickness has been running through the home.  I have been working with the girls on no more baby stuff.  Faith has been out of diapers for over a year and baby is now working towards it too.  Once a child turns 3 they have no more bubas (sippy cups) I took binkies (pacifiers) away form Faith somewhere around Christmas and once we lose them I was not replacing them, plus I am trying to ween baby off them too.  We were down to 3.  And they are always lost and I search for just 1.  With baby being so sick and non stop crying for days!!!  I caved and bought 2 more binkies.  -$7
New Sheriff Callie Birthday necklaces for the girls for Gracie's  Cowgirl Birthday, from etsy -$23
Paid for the reservation for a Labor day camping trip with our neighbors to Raytown Lake!  -$150
(non refundable!  so lets pray for great weather and good health!!)
Since I sat in front of the computer so much, I found out that Walgreen's had an "EGG"tra special deal everyday this week.  Recently we hast years of pictures.  Births of babies, holiday, the little moments.  This is the second time that has happened.  I took advantage of their free 8x10 collage picture deal.  And the I ordered a duplicate for my mom made another one too and got prints of all the pictures I used.  It cost me -$23 but is really priceless.
Surprises for my kids.  But from a thrift store.  They loved them -$6
Drive through one morning -$3
Easter shirts for the boys.   -$46

Jay
Still he eats out constantly.  I made him food and had it bagged up ready to take and 1 day he forgot it, the next he did not have time to eat it, the following day "well it was to old to eat". And other things  -$65
He is still trying to figure out his smoker.  Bless his heart he is trying but with no success.  Everything he makes takes like wood.  Yes like you are eating rubbery bark.  Our grocery bill is high because he decided he was going to try to smoke brisket.  Brisket that was not on sale, brisket that tasted ....not that good.  He also tried to grill wings one night they were horrible!  And the chicken you saw last week smoking well eating it as a chicken was bad but mixing into other dishes worked better.  However I am trying to stay optimistic.  He will eventually get it and it will be good, hopefully.

Unavoidables
Groceries -$300
Gas -$143
Dr office co payment -$14

Savings
Family Savings Jar +$20
Pellet/Propane savings Jar +$20

Other Awesome Accomplishments

  • Made a menu plan and stuck to it.  (Jay did not)
  • vacuumed out my car parents in under 4 minutes with time to spare.  Only cost me a buck!
  • did not buy coffee this week but took advantage of McDonalds free coffee promo
  • Got my first paycheck from the YMCA
  • PA is a clothing tax free state so on the boys shirts I found a 15% off coupon, free shipping, and it was tax free, and they were on sale  It took the Ralph Lauren shirts from $150 to the affordable $46
  • My parents took the boys out to see Mr.Peabody and Sherman, no cost to me-Thank You!
  • I had sent the boys to their house to stay a few days with groceries and the boys came back with even more.  again thank you.  I won't be buying hot chocolate for a year.
  • Jay had a few extra $$ in his pay check which made some of that camping trip possible

Advice
I heard this on a radio show (I am a talk radio junky) but they said sit and shop.  Add what you want to the cart but don't buy it.  You will feel satisfied enough at the end that you don't feel the urge to buy.  I have done this for some time now.  Especially lately with the girls getting bigger I want to buy them ever piece of American girl I see.  Sometimes I spend to much time on the site and look around fill up my cart to the best deal possible but then I walk away.  I don't order (usually) and buy the time I distance myself from the website I think why would I spend that much on buying my daughters dolls clothes??!!  It is great advice because often you find great deals but when they are erased by the shipping it makes you not want any of it that much anymore.

If we invite you over form a smoker meal, just pass.  For now at least, just pass.  Or bring over a bunch of delicious sides :)

Goals
Cleaning.  I wanted to have my house Easter ready by now.  In cleanliness, decoration, spiritual preparation, plans, menus, everything, and nothing is done.  So I want to spend time this week cleaning and maybe I can find some treasure to sell.  However I did get 10 pounds of Matzos for FREE from grocery store deals!


And as always check out the other savers HERE

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Spring is no snow

If it wasn't for the snow earlier this week I would say winter is over.  But since it snowed, sleeted and iced up, the following days have been in the 50's and 60's pretty nice.  I am not the only one who is tired of winter overstayed welcome.  My middle son Evan is too.  I found this poem he wrote about spring.  It made me smile so much.

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I love how for N he but NO Snow.  He even drew a snowman  with the no sign.  He is not home this week but I hope he is enjoying the warmer temps, playing outside building his fort.

And there is no snow, sleet, or ice in the 10 forecast.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Week 4 savings

Oh boy what a week, what a long week.  It is Friday as I write this and I know I will not post this till tomorrow because as I write at night it becomes nonsense.  Tired ramblings of nonsense.  I have every legitimate reason for being tired and I will explain.  It also shows up in my spending so lets take a look :

My Splurges
Goggles for my son -$10
New scarf and shirt from an outlet store -$9
And yes I ate out 1 day, so much for that goal -$7
Jay
Random things and eating out ugh not happy about this one, a little is okay but that seems like a lot.  And 80% of it is grabbing food at the gas station -$38
Food and more charcoal to try out his new smoker -$45


The birthday girl!!

Oh what a blessing she is.  Faith turned 3.  I had bought boxes of "Faith" decorations ahead of time on a F resale sight so those were pricy but already paid for.  And I did not even use all of them.  But I have them for years to come and some can be used for Easter and Mothers day.  Same with her dress and her sisters outfit I bought those in fall?  Either way they were paid for.  Again with her presents  her grandparents and grandmother contributed most the presents and I had got her 6 pack Disney princess set on a black friday deal for half price and have never seen it close to that price again.  I just had to hold onto it for 4 months.  What we did spend money on for her birthday was pretty new hair bows -$13 pizza -$14 and her cake -$27

She also wanted to go see Frozen again.  I took all of them plus her grandparents came too to the movies for...FREE.  Because it got released on video a church run theater plays it on the big screen for free and it just happened to be Frozen the same night as her birthday.  They also give you unlimited drinks and popcorn.  It is in a historic theater in MD so a little bit of a drive but well worth it.

Unavoidables
Gas -$75
Groceries -$200
I had to buy these kids school food.  They do not have a lunch program so everyday I have to pack a lunch.  Plus they are now home for  2 weeks for spring break so some of that was for them being home, which I believe is already gone though.

Savings
This week we were not able to add to the savings jars :(  it is okay some week are just tighter than other and I hope we can add some in the upcoming week

Other Awesome Accomplishments

  • I got a part time job at the Y
  • with that comes a FREE membership for me.  I just have to pay the difference for the family one
  • I met my goal spend under $50 in splurges!!!
  • Watched a movie at home Friday night cuddled on the couch for free

Goals
With my kids home all next week our grocery bill climbs dramatically.  I am going to spend some time today doing make ahead meals and meal planning to help curb the cost.  But it is their constant snacking that really adds up.  To try to catch this blog up a bit on other happenings besides spending and savings.

Advice
I think the reason I made my under $50 splurge spending goal was because I was so busy.  Between school, and a lot of time in the lab this week, starting a job, running the kids to a doctors appointment and other places I just had to time to rest.  My advice is focus on things you have or can do that are already paid for or free.  I believe idle time leads to unnecessary spending.  I you sit in front of the computer you have to to web-surf and see awesome deals  (which is not bad) but if you pull yourself away and run in and out of stores with a list and a purpose it might help in overspending.

And stop by Rebecca's to read more from the other saving ladies

Friday, March 21, 2014

Week 3 Savings

Again I blew my goals.  I do not think they are that unreasonable, under $50 splurges and no eating out.  How hard is that to make?  I guess for me it is appearing to be impossible.  The rest was not bad but my spending I need to real in, next week for sure.  But this is how it went:

My Splurges
Clothes!!  Wow I spent a bunch on designer clothes for my kids.  And before you say well you don't have to buy designer you can buy from Walmart or target cheaply and save.  Well I did save.  And I saved BUNCHES.  But I still spent a lot for me too, goodbye birthday money.  Plus buying better clothes is a far better deal!  They wear and wash better, last longer and just look nice.  When you are passing down clothes from 4 + girls you need the most bang for your buck and the better clothes with better fabric and that people care more about last longer.  My boys, I gave up.  They are to old and their clothes now only last for that kid, if they even make it through the season.  No I do not have 4 girls,only 2.  But since I usually buy them used that is at least 1 prior girl, then my two, then I give my dearest friend all of Gracies clothes that are in great/good shape for free.  Sometimes these clothes have only been worn a few times through all girls for pictures or a holiday so they are nice.
Each year there is a special consignment sale in our area.  Last years shopping trip with that friend.  We look forward to this one each year.  We know we are going to spend money there.  We, meaning me and all the ladies in the area.  Oh yes it is a mad house, when are good deals not?  But here is the thing many of you may not know.  I live in a Mennonite/ Amish/ little city area  and those women show up in droves.  In taxis(Yoder toters, but shh don't say that to loud because the friend who watch all 5 of my kids last week so I could have my birthday dinner, to make an easy 11 kids at her house, is a Yoder, it is not the nicest saying but not to mean kinda like redneck), vans, buggies, and cars form 3 states (only because it takes 30 minutes to get to 3 different states).  In the romanticized Amish fiction, these women may seen kind, naive, Godly and nice, but in reality they aren't.  Godly yes, but you have to be kidding yourself for the rest not all but most I have found to be judgmental, clickish and unwelcoming.  The men however do seem to me so much more helpful and kind.  And it is not because they are in men to women situations but overall.  However if you try to bid against them on anything at an auction watch out!  They will win, even when it is against your toddler son.  I appreciate their communities but they are out to make money, get good deals and then be left alone to live the life they want.
Off my sidetrack rant, I went there this year and battled those women with my tiny team in tow (that sucked) and the deals were just not as good but I still got 4 pairs of shoes for my for youngest 4, 2 swim shirts/rash guards for my oldest 2, a matching sister outfit to 1 I already have by my favorite Lilly Pulitzer for baby cakes, plus a Gymboree capris sweater new with tags outfit for her, 3 different izod possibilities of shirts for my youngest son to wear to match his brothers and sisters for what was supposed to be a valentines day photo shoot that will now be whenever it is warm, if ever.  And a power rangers shirt he will not take off.  2 Dora outfits for Faith, we will never not love Dora apparently, and 3 Gymboree outfits for her.  Plus a big outfit lot.  It is size 9!!  She is in 3 sometimes 4-6 depending on what they are and how they run but certainly not 9.  I love this set!!  I had quickly grabbed it for that dearest friend, who loves Gymboree, and her oldest daughter is probably a 9  but if not they are dresses so she could go up a size or down.  Either way would be nice and they were a steal for the 3 great dresses and perfect jean jacket with bows and 2 matching hair ribbons all for......$25!!  I was going to give it to her for the $25 and I would be happy, but it is so stinking cute I thought I might hold it back for my girls and then she would still eventually get it, or I could sell it and make back ALL the money I spent that day. I checked ebay prices.   What would you do?  Really I am open to comments because I am a bit torn.

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But for the whole day: -$81 at the consignment sale and then another -$35 for my oldest son for his new Air Jordans.  Oh yeah, you can not beat that price either.  I went to an outlet store because he also needed new shoes and there were none his big size 6 at the sale.  Total clothes purchases for kids -$116  :) I rock!

Taco Bell and Sonic, This shopping day had 3 other stops included.  And we, the tiny team and I, were getting cranky and hungry.  I had to quickly feed us.  -$10

Yugio card for my oldest -$1.69

Spending money for my oldest on a field trip -$10

My oldest again, going out to dinner with his friends -$5

Sam's Fundraiser.  A son, Sam,  of my friend was selling pizza for a fundraiser for his baseball team.  I bought 6 pizzas.  I figured they would be good for a dinner each here and at my parents house one night when they watch the kids.  It will certainly make it easier on them. -$37


Jay
eating out and stuff -$35

Unavoidables
Co payments at the doctors.  Nothings wrong, not pregnant, birthday check up. -$20
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new piano book -$6.50

Groceries -$105
Honestly this bill could have been at least half.  I had plenty of food here and a plated delivery this week so I did not need food except milk, fruit and bread.  But when I was there on Monday, St. Patrick's Day they had all sorts of deals BYGO's and deals on corned beef so I though I would just pick up a few calzones at the savings, and make an Irish dinner for my family to celebrate.  They did not like it but at least they tried it.
Gas -$31
I was home this week no school but that did not stop me from driving everyday. 2 days I had to drive my kids in and pick them up for school.  One because of a field trip and two because of another snow day.  We live in a different school district then where my  kids go so when our district is canceled and theirs is not I have to take them.  Oh well I got things done while I was out making use of the trip one day at least.

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The bottom left is their school.  No snow days for them when mom has 2 four wheel drive vehicles.

Yearbooks for my older 2 -$36

Savings
Family savings Jar +$10
Pellets/Propane savings jar +$10

Other Awesome Accomplishments

  • PA has no clothes sales tax so all the clothes and shoes were tax free.
  • I returned a pair of shoes I had bought that I was only guaranteed the sales price for but not + s/h and because I stayed on top of them and watched for the credit I got the full amount back +$21
  • Gas prices went down a little here
  • again ate a lot of leftovers.  I had some I really did not want either put I could not refreeze (I think that is gross) and did not want to throw away.  So I made a totally awesome chicken cordon bleu form the left over plus all other ingredients I had on hand.  Recipe will be up later this week please check back
  • I took my kids to school on the snow day.  They could have stayed home no problem but I had paid for them to be there that day and they have missed so much because of snow this winter all ready.  Plus they very much wanted to go in and pinch people, little leprechauns.
  • I don't think I had coffee out once this week!

Goals
Same ones no eating out try not to spend over $50 in splurges.  I am curious to see if there is a week I can actually do it?

Advice
Lets borrow this one from an honorable mom of many Michelle Duggar, mom of 19+  "Buy used and save the difference"  Kids need clothes and often.  You can find good deals and good swap circles with other moms allowing you to save lots.

And of course to see other awesome savings form mom click here.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Spring cleaning- the pantry

Last week we had warm beautiful temperatures, then wind and cold warnings.  Windchill's dropping back down to nothing back to the negatives.  With the warm temps came open windows and spring cleaning, sorta.

It wasn't by choice.  Some how a bottle of apple juice spilled in the pantry.  It soaked the floor and everything on the floor.  I found it not right away but the same day.  So it had time to spill, leak and seap into stuff.  wonderful.  Cleaning the pantry was something that needed to be done but not something I had wanted to do that day.  However now I was forced to.  I started to get everything off the ground to clean up the liquid and I pulled a tower of cans the kids had stacked.  They are always stacking cans so I thought nothing of it.  But they had stacked this tower to hid that they had broke the sport beam holing up the shelf.  It had actually been broke for a while and their dad and I just "band aided" it back together so it was so weak.  I am actually surprised and impressed they thought to hold it up with cans.  As I pulled the can out the shelf and everything on it came tumbling down.  It was now an even larger mess, great.


I could not deal with it right then so I mopped up the juice and left it till the morning.  Since the mess was everywhere the kids could not get to the laundry room so on top of the food and mess they through dirty clothes!

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Right after coffee I tackled it with Smiley.  He was eager to help.  Sunday he had made a bank at church.  They were supposed to do chores around the house to earn money for something.  He helped me moves all the cans and boxes out of the pile on the floor.  He helped pull the clothes out and take them to the washer.  And threw all the trash in the garbage.  As we were unearthing layers I would find all sorts of change.  Everything I found I gave to him.  And he was over the moon.  He knows no difference between 1 cent to $10.  The more coins he got the more money he had.  After everything was moved I was able to sweep and mop the floor.  We were surprised by their dad coming home mid day from work so in his time before going back we was able to attach strong railings to the wall.  I can't say how wonderful that was!  I did not even ask he just said since you have everything out I will fix it right.  Smiley replaced all the boxes, bottles and can on the fixed shelf and in front of the bottom space.  A kinda odd arrangement but as we watched him eagerly do it for more money Jay said "you get what you pay for".  Well he is still cheap, and certainly cheaper than the older kids, but look like I would be redoing it soon.  Still I was happy enough.

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I did not organize the upper shelves.  I had a lot of other things I had to do that day and did not want to get into a project I would not have time to finish.  Which turned out to be a good thing because....

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A few days later as I was getting some bread from the very top I knocked over powder chicken gravy, Sams club size, and it spilled everywhere on every shelf the whole way down.  Ugh!!  Smiley just cheered and said YES!  Mom now we get to do it all again :)
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