Sunday, August 12, 2018

Frugal Friday: Money Saving Weekly Recap

This whole, "getting the kids up to get ready for back to school" might not be wearing on the kids much, but BOY is it killing me!  Between the daughter finding it possible to stay up late no matter what you do and a son who refuses to sleep all through the brain is officially jello.

This week was kind of crazy on the shopping front.  I had to go to the store Friday to pick up the son's medications before they ran out and while there I wanted to pick up some stuff that was on 5.00 Friday as the deals I wanted to get for back to school were good deals.  When we get paid this coming week I'm going to have to figure out a way to get as much from the budget as possible to get the daughter an alarm clock for her room (her request...kind of shocked me when she asked, honestly, as she HATES getting up in the morning) and any possible school supplies she might need.  We were going off of the school supply list that they had posted online for her school per grade, which was ridiculous (I mean 96 pencils per student per year?  That's nuts!), but after talking to the front office and getting no answers on why we had to do general school supplies when my daughter was going to have 7 different teachers this year and no answers on even where to drop off said school supplies...yeah we are going back to just supplying her with what she needs when she needs it and to heck with it.  So we'll see how the open house goes early this week and at that point I can figure out if we need anything and get in contact with a friend of mine as she offered me some school supplies if we needed them (hopefully we won't need them, but we shall see :).  Anyway, after we get paid I also have to pick up some things for school this week for the kid's lunches and things, so hopefully we'll still have a few dollars left in the bank after that.  Fingers crossed. Anyway, then we went back Saturday to get Benadryl for the kids and get a few freebies. It was kind of a "doh" type of additional trip, but I guess that happens.

When it comes to what else I did this week, well, I did get quite a bit done around here along with the ever present cleaning, so let's get to that!

1.  I finally gave up on getting the Lazy Susan cabinet in the kitchen repaired.  I was going to take the shelf completely apart and see if there was a way to repair the shelf myself (seeing how it has been MONTHS since I was trying to get the thing fixed and haven't been able to use it for much at all since, seeing as how it was taken about 3/4 of the way apart), but then found when messing around with it that the bottom shelf, on top of the top shelf, was also cracked, not as badly, but at that point I gave up, put the shelf back together (which is a LOT harder than taking one of those things apart as getting everything aligned and balanced right so the cabinet worked was actually a lot harder than I had planned, but I got there) and tried to figure out what to do with it.  The bright side to it taking so long before I got fed up and just figured out a way around the situation is that I haven't used the cabinet for food items in months and had learned to live without it, so when I realized that putting food back onto the shelf wasn't going to work (too much uneven distribution of weight was just going to make the problem worse), I decided to think about alternative uses for the shelf.
I finally, after a lot of thought, turned it into an appliance cabinet.  I've been wanting to put my appliances somewhere that wasn't the hallway closet for a long time, as I want the hallway closet to become more about food items for school lunches and snacks and things like tablecloths and things (tablecloths and dishtowels and things I hope to someday move to the china cabinet with the other linens, when I can get that all rearranged).

I figured an appliance cabinet would work well for the cabinet as this way I have easy access to my most used appliances, and I could stick the lightweight ones on the top shelf (as that's where the biggest crack in the shelving is) and then put the heavier items on the bottom where the weight would be a bit heavy, but more evenly dispersed than if I stacked food items on the shelf.

So far it works well and I haven't noticed any further cracking, so we'll see how it holds up.  The only appliances I couldn't fit in the cabinet were my waffle iron (too tall) and the ice cream maker (which the majority of that stays in the freezer anyway, so not a big deal).  So, overall I'd call it a success, for now.

2.  Shopping went for as little as I could get it to go for this week.  We basically bought the minimum of "boy food" so Alvah didn't starve, and I got a 24 pack of bottled water.  I have a personalized price of 2.45 on the bottled water this week and want to pick up more when we get paid as well.  Not only is getting water this way and then just getting some "to go" mixes to make flavored drinks for the daughter cheaper, but this way we have some back up water to drink if the power goes out.

I also got some more free meat!  I actually found two more coupons for free meat on Just4U (check under the meat category and you might be surprised by some of these coupons yourself).  They were out of the "dinner sausages" (basically doctored up hot dog flavors), but I did manage to get breakfast sausage with bacon added in.

So far I have tried the free hamburger (which contained a lot of fat and the hamburgers I made became mini-burgers by the end, but it tasted okay) and the ground turkey and chicken combo (which tasted like black pepper or something and we weren't impressed with the meatloaf it made), so we'll see how the rest of these products shape up.  Would I spend 7.00 per pound on this stuff so far?  Um, no.  But hey, for free I'll take it :).

I used the overage from the sausage (1.00) toward a box of chewable Benadryl for the kids as their allergies have been awful this summer, so it worked out well.

3.  I ran out of coffee filters this week.  I actually have some on order with my Amazon order that is set to come in this week, so I tried to figure out how to last a week without coffee filters (I have a permanent one, but it stinks and if I have too much sediment in my cup of coffee from the coffee grounds it flares my stomach condition up, so I like to have the permanent filter backed up by another filter to make sure all of the sediment gets filtered out) and decided to go back to my college days when my boss would forget to pick up coffee filters for the commuter center and my friend Dave and I would be working and trying to figure out how to keep our fellow zombies with too little sleep who needed to drive home or get to class, caffeinated.  We used to use a paper bowl with a bunch of holes punched in the bottom of it along with a couple of layers of paper towels to line it with.  It would work alright, so I figured I'd use paper towels for the paper filter part in my morning coffee.  It worked and will get me through till my Amazon order comes in, so that saved me 4.00 off of my grocery shopping for this week.

4.   I have a confession to make.  I've had a hallway table sitting in my Amazon cart "saved for later" (well actually two to three different tables) just as kind of a day dreaming type of thing for a long time.  The idea was to put a table in this corner of my stairway landing to get my vase off of the floor as I thought it would look so much nicer.  Well, I stood on the stool in my laundry room (which we've had since forever and has gone from room to room to room over the years) and noticed it was wobbly, so I thought it might need tightening up.  I flipped it over only to find that one of the major supports for the stool was cracked from all of the use it has had over the years.   I could have just kept using it and hoping that it wouldn't get worse, but instead I decided to retire it.  Instead of throwing it away I put it up on the landing and put the vase on top of it.  It looks nicer than the photo shows.  I'm hoping to put a doily under the vase to cover the carry hole in the stool and see how it looks then.  It's not a hallway table, but it's free and stops me from having to throw something away that can still have some use left in it.  Works for me.

5.  A long, long time ago, my husband's grandfather gifted me a cloth print that his wife had kept a hold of for years and had always wanted to do something with.  Before she died she requested that he give it to my husband and I as she knew that I enjoyed cooking (I didn't know her for very long, but she taught me a lot about cooking in that time) and my husband likes Scottish things.  I have stored and protected the print ever since, but really didn't know what to do with it as it was big and very very plaid, so I wasn't sure where to hang it (or how) and so forth.

Well, this week I decided to say "to heck with it" and just put it in a frame and hang it in Molly and Skip's memories.  And oddly enough, the yellow plaid doesn't really look that bad with the rest of the decor, so I was happy.  To hang it I decided to retire the poster I had from Alton Brown's book "Good Eats:  The Early Years" which I've had hanging in my kitchen for...well as long as I owned the book when it first came out in print, so a long time *laugh*.  I moved the Good Eats poster to the back of the frame so it'll still be nice and straight and protected and then mounted the Scottish print in front of it (with the poster frame inserts flipped over so it gives you a nice white frame around the print you are mounting).  And voila!  A new piece of home decor with some family history attached to it.

6.  An online photo storage and photo gift outfit, Snapfish, e-mailed me and told me that they had some of my photos stored on their site and to keep my account open I would need to make one order per year.  To help me put in my one yearly order they gave me 10 free prints with free shipping.  I was worried about it, as I had no idea how many photos they had of mine as I haven't made an order with them in a long, long time (turns out 10 years in fact when I went to their site).  I was worried I would have a ton of photos and was worried about losing pictures of the kids (as I have already lost an SD card for a camera before and lost about 14 photos) so I went to put in my free order immediately.  Turns out I had exactly 8 photos on their site (which some of the photos were indeed a few of the photos I'd lost on my SD card when it died, so I was super thrilled to find them on Snapfish) , so I just ordered duplicates of a couple (that I'll send to my mom as part of her photo packet at Christmas) of them and voila!  Ten prints are headed my way for free.  I was happy about that.

7.  I went and had some fun looking up meal prep ideas on Pinterest to make some nice lunches for the husband and daughter.  I even found some fun lunch box themes for Christmas and Halloween and things (I'm getting way too excited about the idea of cutting shapes out of cheese again *laugh*).  I have a lot of materials to make Bento box cute lunch box ideas as when my daughter got diagnosed with her stomach condition and lots of allergies, I tried to make her lunches more exciting and cut with Bento.  It failed miserably with her as she just wanted kid kibble types of foods and  just rebelled at the idea of my home made jello from pure fruit juice and things, but I didn't get rid of the materials, just put them away and figured she might be more open to me cutting veggies and fruits into flowers someday, so she's totally getting suckered into dealing with it more this year ;).  My "plan" (if it can be called that) is to hopefully get meal prep done as much as I can on Sunday for the week so that I'm not waking up at 5:00 in the morning like a zombie and trying to put lunches together or the family will be eating goodness knows what during the week (I am NOT a morning person, despite what my son has tried to turn me into over the years).

8.  There were a couple of offers that were offered to me in my e-mail or online that looked like great deals until the shipping came into play (both deals I was thinking about getting promised me free shipping on the items even).  Instead of purchasing the "deals" anyway, I just walked away.  I figure free shipping is either free or I don't have to buy the item.  I don't like to be misled and I sure can't afford to pay more than they are saying it will cost in the e-mail.

9.  My son's teacher was nice enough to e-mail everyone an amended school supply list for my son's ABA classroom.  I still don't have all of the items she is asking for (paper plates, plastic cups and things aren't really in the budget right now), but I know she'll be okay with me bringing in what I have and I'll provide more throughout the year to help out.

10.  When we found out my daughter's open house for her new school was going to be at the same time she was supposed to have one of her last swimming classes, I asked her swimming instructor if she could swim during my son's class instead (which is two hours later than hers is).  She was more than happy to do that for us and my husband to help her out will get into the pool and help instruct the kids as well (he was a lifeguard in high school and can still swim like a fish).  My husband has been able to swim with the kids one week (as he was off and could get enough sleep to get into the pool with my daughter's class as well as my son's class) and with my son one week, so I'm happy that the kids are being able to spend good learning time with their dad during these swimming classes.  I owe my mother-in-law a lot for doing this for us as the kids have learned an awful lot this summer and it has allowed my husband to spend good quality time with the kids, which is something he really wanted to do this summer too.  Thank you, Stacey!

And there you go folks.  Some of our adventures this week.  Other than my husband's car getting possessed by a demon somewhere in the distributor cap (Garfield in Paradise reference for the curious) and then later just starting up like nothing had happened, after my nephews were nice enough to come help push the car out of the driveway where it was blocking us from going anywhere and back into the garage where it belonged (thanks guys!), it was an eventful, but quiet type of eventful week.

How about you?  How did your week go?

Thursday, August 9, 2018

What's for Dinner: This Week's Menu

I am happy that I had a chance to sit down today and actually figure OUT a menu plan for this week.  Saying it's been hectic around here would be a gross understatement on things between cleaning, new school preparations, back to school preparations and everything else.

When it comes to the menu plan this week, I'm working on using what we have in the house.  I'm out of produce pretty much, at least fresh (all I really have left are root vegetables and apples for the daughter's snacks), so things like salad are out until payday next week (we don't really have any money at all till then).  So, I'm just going to work on using up things I know I have, like I still have fresh potatoes and I do have one bag of pre-made meatballs that have been sitting in the freezer for a while, so I want to use those up.  So, let's get to the menu for this week!

Thursday:  Hamburgers on home made bread. tatar tots, apple pie for dessert 
Friday:  Pan fried pork chops, apple sauce, baked potatoes 
Saturday:  Ham slices (pre-cut in freezer), pea soup (I'm going to take Julia Child's "Edible Pea Pod Soup" recipe and tweak it to use frozen peas instead as I love the flavor of the soup I made last year :), rolls 
Sunday:  Meatball subs (make rolls), French fries, Mince meat tarts for dessert 
Monday:  Parchment baked fish with julienne  vegetables (onions and carrots), rice 
Tuesday:  Country fried steak, cheesy mashed potatoes, green beans 
Wednesday:  Roast chicken, stuffing, roasted potatoes, cranberry sauce (make from the whole cranberries that are in the freezer).

Breakfasts:  Easy croissants (I found a bunch of different recipes online, so I'm hoping to make the dough tonight to have for breakfast tomorrow with jam), toast, granola, cereal, oatmeal.

And there you are folks.  Our menu for this week.  How about you?  Got anything neat planned for meals this week?

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Monthly Goals: August 2018

Hey look!  I'm doing this post before half the month is over! 

*Looks down and mumbles, "Sure, it's 1/3 of the way over" then looks up and smiles like nothing has happened*

Yeah, not half of the way over!  I'm calling that progress!!!

You know, the summer just never seemed to get started up here this year.  We had a handful of good days mixed in with TONS of overcast and rainy days and today it was just pouring all day.  It's been a depressing summer overall, weatherwise.  Luckily, I didn't do a garden this year as EVERYONE'S gardens are failing up here this year.  Even things grown in greenhouses have had mixed success this year, the U-Pick farm just opened a few weeks ago (which is way behind schedule for them) and, yeah...I'm kind of glad I've been able to stay inside this summer and not been out fighting moose and slugs and weather.  Sure, I've made up for problems fighting inside bugs *grumbles nasty things under breath about larder beetles and all the various and nasty ways they should die*, but I can't imagine how bad of shape I'd be in if I was fighting battles both inside and outside.

I do still feel odd not having tons of things to do in the garden on my goals list, though.   Now, this month instead of harvesting various things from the garden and yard, I get to focus on a ton of things that need to be done in the house.  I'm kind of looking forward to tackling some of the things that need to be done around here, but it is challenging with not a lot of disposable income to speak of.  So, we'll see how it all goes as time goes on.

So, here is the long and varied list of things I want to get done this month still (or in some cases at least get started).

Sewing Goals:
  • Make new curtains for master bedroom
  • Finish embroidering daughter's jeans (first project in question seen up top there)
  • Continue to work on quilt (I'm getting there...slowly) and hopefully get the first square done.

Organizing Goals:
  • Finish Boxing up movies in living room.  Reorganize shelves with books and things.  Go through boxes, reorganize them to be more cohesive (as I know things have gotten shuffled bad over the years), label said boxes and see about storing them in the den (hopefully the boxes will keep Alvah out of the videos better).
  • Work on weeding out things in laundry room.  Get rid of things not needed.  Start to try and reorganize the room better so that all cleaning supplies (like the carpet cleaner and things) can be stored in there in an organized fashion.  This is going to take some time as I know I need to find things to hang the broom, mop and things on the wall to save room, I'd like to get some brackets to hang cleaners and things from, etc.
  • Start going through master bedroom closet more and start getting rid of things that we don't use or aren't needed around here.  Start to reorganize so that the space is used better.
  • Go through desk.  Weed and organize.
  • Move things around to make master bathroom more organized (this is basically taking things we already have and repurposing them to work better somewhere else, if that makes sense).
  • Go through china cabinet, especially lower cabinet and see about getting rid of some things (or moving them) so that more room can be used for linens and other household items.
  • Continue to organize around house so that the stuff coming in on the Amazon order goes into place neat and tidy.

Home decor goals:
  • Redo decor in master bedroom to go well with new curtains.
  • Hang up shelf in kid's bathroom (I made a small shelf in college and want to hang it up in their bathroom as it will go with their bathroom theme :).

Cleaning Goals:
  • Continue to clean and battle the bugs.  There that was easy *laugh*.

Food preservation goals:
  • If raspberries ripen at mother-in-laws see about going over and picking some.
  • Make pea soup to freeze and use later
  • Make tomato soup to freeze and use later
  • Make chicken stock to freeze and use later (I love my soups ;).
  • Keep eye out for good deals on produce and possibly buy some extra to preserve for winter.
  • See about getting a few more flats of strawberries to freeze to use in things like strawberry shortcake over the winter months.

And there you go folks.  My most important goals for the month.  Yes, I have other satellite goals that I'm hoping to maybe get done, but doubt I'll be able to do it without finding the ability to spontaneously clone myself.  How about you?  What are you up to this month?

Monday, August 6, 2018

Shopping Goals: August, 2018

Man, I'm tired today.  I am attempting to start getting the kids up earlier in the morning.  Their sleep patterns have really suffered this summer, to the point that the last couple of weeks they are staying up till 1 am or so and getting up at ten no matter what I do to try and dissuade it.  So, this week I'm working on getting them up at seven in the morning and then next week at six as we have to get into the habit of getting up early before school starts next Thursday.  Not fun, but necessary.  Combine that with Alvah's eczema flaring bad over the weekend to the point that even with the clonodine's help to get him to sleep at night, he hasn't slept in about two days now, and's been a fun day so far.

I've made some headway with getting some shopping goals from last month accomplished.  I was blessed with money I could spend on Amazon.  Per usual with me and Subscribe and Save orders, I think and think and think and redo my order about 18 bazillion times before I settle on what I want to spend money on.  I ended up completely redoing my Amazon order for this month and ended up getting less cleaning supplies and more food for school lunches and things.  Enjoy Life products were on sale last month as part of Prime Day specials, so I got some of their trail mix to put into my daughter's lunches and for snacks (since peanuts are obviously out for us with Alvah's allergy). I also ordered another container of Seventh Generation laundry pods as they actually came out with a 30% off coupon this month for their products.  Between that and last month's Prime Day coupon on the laundry detergent I will hopefully be set on laundry detergent for a while.  I'm really looking forward to my Subscribe and Save order coming in this month as it's all things we could really use around here and will also help me store up some food for winter (like BBQ sauce and tomato sauce, for instance).

In order for the money I had for my Amazon order to go further I cancelled the order for the bleach pods and the chlorine free bleach pods and just went to the store and bought a bottle of cheap bleach and a bottle of chlorine free bleach.  The bottles don't go as far as the pods would have, but they were also a lot cheaper, so it was worth it.  I used that money on Amazon to put toward paper towels and toilet paper as we are in desperate need of both and with the son still kind of still learning the ins and outs of potty training (as he didn't potty train till he was seven) he is kind of blowing through toilet paper and wet wipes (which is good that he wants to be independent in that regard, but isn't great on the money saving front).  I was also blessed with some vacuum bags and some lemon pie filling, which was an upper to my month :).

The only meat I've bought the last month has been the free meat that I got from the Mighty Spark coupons and the fish I got and some other clearance meat, that I wish went further.  Past that there just wasn't good enough sales and not enough money to make that goal happen to any great degree (which mind you I am VERY grateful for what I was able to get).  Greens weren't accomplished either.  Instead I put that money toward fruit and other produce that would be more immediately used.  I DID manage to get a bag of storage onions and some carrots, which I was out of both of those, so it was nice to be able to put those back into my stores.  I'd still like to get another bag of storage onions soon as we do blow through onions around here, but at least I'm not in desperate need of them anymore.  I also had my husband just go down and get a huge bulk box of garbage bags because we've just been blowing through them like mad around here with the beetle issues and all of the weeding I've done.

So let's get to the list of things I would like to buy this month and probably the beginning of next month too the way pay periods are scheduled.

Regular Stores:

  • Garlic:  Minced (jarred) and fresh
  • Storage onions (if room in budget)
  • Lettuce 
  • Apples (additional for daughter's school lunches)
  • Eggs (more than normal to make hard boiled eggs for school and work lunches)
  • Grapes (for lunches...if not too expensive)
  • Tortillas (to freeze for later meals)
Used Stores (or Regular Stores, depending on where I can find them):
  • White Dress Shirt for daughter for orchestra concerts

Bulk Store/Three Bears:

  • Cooking Oil (I might get this at the regular store if the sales/personalized prices are there)  I'm just going to hit the highlights here as the son is rewriting the book on cranky today and needs my attention.

Note:  The Following contains affiliate links.  If you order through these links I receive a small commission from for pushing sales their way.  This doesn't cost you any additional money to do.  Thank you for your support if you order through these links. 

Cleaning Supplies (on going needs, will get when I have money in the budget):

  • White Vinegar
  • All Purpose Cleaner (refills)
  • Window Cleaner (probably get the bulk container of it and fill up some empty spray bottles around here)
  • Mop and Bucket
  • Broom
  • Dish Scrubbers/Cloths
  • Cleaning Sponges  (found a few buried in the depths of my laundry room, but would like to buy some back ups)
  • Toilet Bowl Cleaner
  • DAP

Linens/Bedroom Needs (once again this is an ongoing list that I'll get when I have money in the budget or run into super duper cheap and can't pass up):

  • Queen Sized Duvet (I want to switch to a duvet and just make covers for it instead of having to invest in 4 different comforters a year at the used store that are constantly falling apart and wasting money, not to mention the logistical problem of finding room to store multiple comforters when you have a house that has nothing resembling a linen closet or storage closet period, really)
  • Queen Sized Sheet Sets (we have two sets and both are ancient and worn out)
  • Standard pillows for son's room and master bedroom
  • "Satellite use" pillows or master bed (going to see how far I can get making my own with what I have on hand)
  • Thick Queen sized mattress pad/feather bed (mattress is causing a lot of discomfort in my hips and arms as well as my husband's back and this is going to be WAY cheaper than buying a new mattress)
  • Curtains for master bedroom (I'm going to attempt to make new ones out of materials I have around here).

And there you go folks.  Some of the shopping goals I have this month (well Amazon really isn't so much a goal as that has all the money put aside and is essentially paid for).

How about you?  Got things you need to get this month?

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Frugal Friday: Money Saving Weekly Recap

You know, I'm officially looking forward to school starting again.  I'm nervous and anxious about having both kids in two different schools and definitely nervous about having to get both kids up an hour earlier than they are used to as they are both not morning kids (well during the school year anyway), but I'm definitely looking forward to being able to have some time to myself to do things like blogging during the day where I don't have to worry about the son getting into things while I'm working on something else.  I'm looking forward to getting back to regular menu plans and things again.  Being this disorganized is driving me a bit batty of late.

This week was insanely hectic.  My husband took a couple of days off, which gave him a five nights off.  Monday he got home from work, mowed the lawn and then slept till about 9 pm.  While he was doing that I dropped the son off and picked him up from therapy and in between went shopping for the few things we needed as it was pay day. 

Then Tuesday we had therapy and swimming lessons for both kids as well as dinner at my in-laws after the swimming lessons were over (which it was about 9 pm when we got home) AND we went to the school and met the daughter's orchestra teacher while the son was in therapy.  Wednesday we had therapy and we went to the library while Alvah was in therapy to see if my daughter wanted to get a book (she did) and after therapy we went to the music store and got Armina the books she would need for orchestra, got her a humidifier for her violin and are on the waiting list for a shoulder rest for when they come in next week. 

Thursday we had the kid's six month check up with the dentist, which blew therapy for that day.  It went well and no cavities to worry about, thank goodness (the idea of Alvah getting cavities gives me huge amounts of anxiety as he has to be put under to get any dental work done, which is always worrisome).  Friday we had therapy and Armina's final violin lesson of the summer. 

Somehow in between everything else we managed to get the kids school shoes, got the kids some last minute school clothes at the used store, dropped off a gift for my sister-in-law to thank her for the violin lessons (jellies and jams are awesome for these occasions) and my husband fixed his car that had broken down.  AND I kept the house clean.

It's amazing I remember my own name at this point *laugh*.

In between all the other hectic things going on, there was some money saving things that happened too, so let's get to those!

1.  I finally sat down and forced my daughter to go through her clothes in her dresser.  I'd told her to go through them about fifteen times, but she never had many clothes to show for doing it, so I knew she wasn't REALLY doing it.  So, I sat down and started weeding.  I found some things that were just plain in tatters that my daughter was keeping because she loved the items so much (and some things that were way too small too).  The one item she was in tears over was her favorite unicorn shirt that was way too small for her now a days and had developed a few holes  in the back from being so thread bare.  I felt bad for her about it, so I asked if she would like for me to frame the unicorn picture on the shirt instead of throwing the shirt away.  She jumped at the chance.  So, I took the picture she'd drawn of Elsa off of her wall, carefully removed it from the scrap booking paper I'd used to pad out the frame with (I had her put the picture into her special folder for her artwork to keep it safe), cut out the unicorn portion of the t-shirt and mounted it in the frame instead.  It helped the daughter's heartbreak a little bit anyway.

In other news I'm thinking that a room decor redo might be in the future for the daughter's room.  She is definitely going into more of a fantasy vein in her tastes.  I'm seeing it kind of clashing with the country cottage type of decor I have going on in her room right now, but we shall see how it goes :).

2.  I've spent a lot of time on Pinterest pinning different ideas for meal prepping for the daughter's and husband's lunches.  Armina will be without a microwave at lunch during middle school (as they eat in the cafeteria instead of in the classrooms) and neither she nor her father really like sandwiches all that much, so I'm trying to find other options to make meals that are things they'll actually EAT and also be different than sandwiches.  And things that I can make ahead of time on the weekends for the week ahead so I'm not going nuts all week long getting up super early to make lunches.

3.  I am one of those shoppers that outfits like Williams Sonoma hate as I always wait for a really high value coupon combined with free shipping and then I go and get some low cost item I need.  I got one such coupon this week for 30% off of my order and free shipping with a personalized code, no minimum purchase.  There's a small list of things I need, so I went looking for the low cost items to see if I could get one of those items cheap.  I managed to get a vegetable brush (which I've DEFINITELY needed as my other one plain fell apart) for about 3.00 shipped from Williams Sonoma which beat all the local stores on cost for getting a brush that would work for the purpose I needed it for.  So, yay for that!

4.  I shopped carefully this week as I knew money was going to get tight with all of the school things we had to spend money on.  Freebies (as I posted about last time) and coupons helped and I'm planning only picking up the essentials the next couple of weeks to conserve what money we have left (since next pay period is always our short pay period with the mortgage being due and all).

5.  I emptied out some plastic drawers that had been sitting in my master bedroom closet for years and not only found some of my good art supplies (which I've been looking for for a long time now), but I was also able to move the drawers into the kid's bathroom and used it to hold some spare wet wipes (as it seems I always need them for the son and suddenly I'm holding an empty container of them) and other items we always seem to run out of, need, and really don't want to run into the hallway to get them out of the china cabinet. 

6.  I finally plucked up my courage and went out and checked the raspberries in the yard to see if we had any this year.  I found that the bushes along the very front of our yard had been taken out by a bear (plucked those bushes clean) if the bear scat and the crushed underbrush was any indication, which stunk (and worried me as I REALLY hate when the bears get that close to my house, human beings and the highway as that means they are way too comfortable with all of those things) but the back yard raspberries that survived the moose eating them off have a few on them.  I did manage to harvest a small handful and I harvested a BUNCH of rhubarb this year off of my one monster plant by the house (I really need to take a picture of that's amazing how big it is now a days).  We won't get many raspberries off of our bushes this year, at all, but I texted my mother-in-law and she said it was okay to pick her raspberries again this year.  Since I don't need as much raspberry jam this year, I'm really looking forward to being able to get some bags of raspberries into the freezer as well as get some for other uses.  I'm really grateful to my mother-in-law for letting me pick her berries as those are platinum plated if you buy them at the stores :).

7.  My mother-in-law made my daughter a case to hold her music stand and sheet music so Armina doesn't have to hang them in a reusable shopping bag on her door (which worked, kind of).  She made it out of two old place mats, some old ribbon and a piece of belt material.  It works well and I was impressed with her frugality :).

8.  I got the laundry all caught up and put away and got the bedroom closet a bit more organized. 

I picked up a copy of Martha Stewart's Home Keeping Manual at the used store and was reading it this week (which, by the way, if you want to feel like you are an absolute failure as a home keeper definitely read the book.  Just the amount of dusting you are supposed to do every day blew my mind *laugh*).  I found a lot of good information in the book, including the various types of pillows and what they are used for.  I have some poly fiber fill stuffing and a couple of old pillows that I can use the stuffing from, so I am thinking of trying my hand at making more pillows for my bed as my husband and I are both suffering from discomfort from our bed of late (I KNOW we need a new mattress, but we can't afford it, so I'm going to make it work with what I have if I can).

And yeah, there is more that I did this week, I'm sure of it, but darned if I can remember it all, so I'm going to call it good.  I am working on my shopping goals and monthly goals period and am nearly done, so I'm hoping to have those up tomorrow, so stay tuned for that :).  How did your week go?

Friday, July 27, 2018

Frugal Friday: Money Saving Weekly Recap

This is one of those posts where I'm going to back date it to Friday of last week.  Mainly because I REALLY wanted to get this post done on time, but unfortunately for me I didn't get to it.  Why?  Well, turns out that doing all of that moving of furniture all the time and other feats of strength will not only make you put on some muscle quickly, but in my case I threw out something in my neck doing so and ended up with my bicep tendinitis flaring up its ugly head this week.  So, instead of a date with my blog and getting caught up in that regard, I instead had a date with an ice pack and a heating pad (and many doses of Ibuprofen) the last four days or so.  Not ideal under any circumstances.  So far I can still move my arms above my head (thank the Good Lord for that), but I'm feeling it.  If I can stave off frozen shoulder I'll deal with the pain, honestly.  Pain I can deal with.  Inability to move my arms at more than like a ten degree angle...that's hard to deal with.

I'm somehow still managing to hold the line with the bugs, although I've had to rely on the daughter more to get some sweeping and things done.  Unfortunately, I didn't get very far in additional cleaning chores due to my body telling me "No, I ain't doing that" , but at least I was able to keep the cleaning I have done in tact.  Not exactly easy with the son running around busy as can be, but I'm doing it.

Some interesting things happened on the money saving front this week, though, so let's get to that!

1.  Let's start with a really remarkable piece of customer service.  I had recently used some of an Amazon giftcard I had to order my son a replacement/back up blanket to augment his beloved baby blankie that he's had since he was a baby and really does look like it's been through about four post Apocalyptic futures.  The biggest hiccup I had with finding another blankie for him was that his was a very distinctive shade of green and wasn't made any more.  I had found one on Amazon that I thoguht might work, so I ordered it, in green.  When it came in the blanket was obviously blue and someone had covered the UPC code up and had then stuck a "green" inventory sticker over the original sticker showing that the blanket was blue.  Well, when I went onto Amazon and realized that the "not getting a green blanket" was a complaint more than a few people had, I decided to return it, wrote my own nasty one star review (this is like the third item in the span of a year Amazon had done the "bait and switch" tactic on it and I was mad) about the whole color thing being important and how upset I was about the blue versus green blanket (as returning it to Amazon requires me to run to the UPS stores, which is always a lot of fun when you are busy).

I was shocked when I checked the mail and found a mystery package there one day, and was doubly shocked when I opened the package to a very nice letter from the owner of the company stating how sorry they were that Amazon had messed up my order and with the letter was a free green blanket.  So, yeah, if you are looking for a nice green baby blanket (or pink, or blue) and want to support a small company that has some VERY nice people running it, check them out on Amazon (the picture is so you can look them computer is being funky, so I can't get it to copy the link).

2.  Next up is shopping.  This was a week for more free meat!  I checked the Carrs app when my Just4U coupons didn't work this week (that is another level of frustration, which luckily Carrs was nice enough to refund my money when I showed them what I was SUPPOSED to pay).  When I checked the app, I was shocked to find two more free coupons for meat, this time for the other two products in the "Mighty Spark" line of products.  So, I got a free thing of ground chicken blend and a free fresh bratwurst!  I used two loaves of bread to eat up the 1.99 of overage from each thing of free meat to get the bread for .01 per loaf, so after tax I paid .56 out of pocket for two loaves of bread and two things of meat.  It was pretty awesome.

3.  I got my latest mission in the mail from My Magazine Sharing Network and was able to redeem the coupons they sent for a free loaf of bread and a free box of sandwich bags this week (which is great because I needed the sandwich bags BAD!).

The kit also came with a very nice insulated lunch tote, which I'm hoping to use to help make packing smaller lunches for my husband easier for him to carry.

4.  While at Fred Meyer to redeem my other coupons, I also redeemed my one mission coupon for a free thing of Grill Mates seasoning blend.  I was happy to find a flavor I haven't tried before, so I'm looking forward to trying it out :).

5.  I received some free samples this week.  The cat food was actually kind of a surprise as I don't remember requesting it (although I'm sure I did at some point) and to my surprise Belkar, a cat who hates to eat and barely eats enough to keep herself alive (I like to half joke that I have a cat with an eating disorder) LOVED the new cat food.  So I'm definitely going to keep my eye out for it at the store.

6.  My daughter outgrew her favorite Ever After High jeans and of COURSE no one carries anything like that anymore (I mean it got cancelled in what, 2016?), so instead of going onto E-Bay and paying goodness knows what for some clothes, I instead asked her if it would be okay if I just embroidered some things onto her jeans.  She was thrilled with the idea, so now I'm working on some custom embroidered jeans.  I pray they come out okay looking as it's been kind of hard to concentrate this week between the arm pain and lack of sleep due to the arm pain, but we'll see how it goes.

And I hate to cut it short here, but I'm going to call it good for now as my son is DEMANDING a bath and is not waiting for me to finish without throwing a huge fit, so it's definitely time to call it a night and get this kiddo to bath and bedtime.

How about you?  How did your week go?

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Frugal Friday: Money Saving Weekly Recap

Late again.  I've been so busy that it's amazing I'm remembering what day it is, let alone getting the energy to do a blog post.  At least when it comes to cleaning and decluttering...I'm getting there.

Every time I see a bug, I get creeped out and worried that I might never get on top of the infestation, but then I comfort myself that while I'm still finding bugs, there's less and less of them as time goes on, so hopefully one of these days I'll go weeks without seeing them instead of days.

I have to say, though, as weeks go, this one was pretty productive, so let's get to that!

1.  Let's start with shopping.  I was THRILLED with my personalized prices on things this week, as well as just general sales and things.  It was a producepalooza this week!  Check out these prices!

  • Cherries for 1.68 lb (Personalized price.  I got two big bags, which cleaned and pitted yielded me 1 gallon of cherries for the freezer AFTER we snacked on some too.  And they were super sweet and yummy!)
  • 2 lb thing of strawberries for 3.88 (they gave me a limit of one on this one, so I got my one and cleaned it and put it into the freezer to use for things later)
  • Grapes 1.99 lb (these were just on sale, but I took advantage of that price)
  • Bananas .79 lb (personalized price)
  • Cantaloupe 2.88 each (I got one, but it's missing from the photo)
  • Watermelon bowl for 2.50 (my daughter really wanted one, so I got it and she ate it for a snack before I could take the picture *laugh*)

When I checked in with the Safeway app to make sure I was getting the right cherries (at 4.99 to 6.99 regular price per lb, I wanted to make SURE I was getting the right thing for sure), I found that they had a couple of freebies that I could load to my card pop up, so I loaded the freebies.  They were for free meat, so I went looking for them.  I couldn't find the cherries I had on personalized price or the free meat at one Carrs, but when I hit my favorite Carrs I found both the meat and the cherries AND I found that they had my favorite frozen fish that is cheap and I've been loving to buy on "reduced for quick sale" which I was worried meant "we're not going to be carrying this any longer" so I got two packages of frozen fish for 2.99 per package.  I hope they continue to carry these as I have loved being able to buy fish for less than like 6.00 per lb.

So, yeah I was able to get free hamburger and free buffalo beef sausages stuffed with bleu cheese (I'm not sure what we're going to think about those, but it was free, so we'll give it a shot :).  The best part is that the free meat was also on sale so I MADE 1.99 per item on the freebies, which went toward paying for the cherries.  It was a pretty awesome shopping trip.

2.  And now onto the other non money spending things I did this week!

I started decluttering as much as I could around here this week as I've found ANYTHING that bugs can crawl under, be undetected for a few days and spread, they do.  So, one of the areas I've been tackling is the pile of frames in my bedroom (small though it is) that I've been meaning to do this or that project with for years and haven't gotten around to it.  This particular project I put at the top of my list because the original picture my daughter did in preschool was mounted on construction paper and the paper was actually disintegrating after all of this time and I was worried it was going to disintegrate her picture right along with it.

To remount the picture, I raided my shrinking stash of scrap booking paper (since it's acid free) and started messing with the patterns I had to see what I could find that wouldn't overwhelm the picture.  I then cut up another, more busy patterned paper and flipped it over so that I could border the entire thing in white to fill out the frame correctly.  I mounted the entire thing with masking tape and then put it in the new frame (I'll get to why I didn't put it back in the original black frame in a second here).  For a .50 garage sale frame and some scrap booking paper I was given as a gift...I think it turned out looking pretty nice (the frame is going to be a pain to dust, though...figured that out when I was dusting it and cleaning it).

3.  So the original frame that the picture my daughter made sat in, well it wasn't an empty frame.  My husband's grandmother had given us a cute picture in a frame of a Scottish boy walking his dog and at the time of my daughter making the picture I didn't have any frames in the house at all and sure didn't have the money to go looking for one, so I took the picture in the frame apart, mounted the drawing to the glass (so as not to damage the print) and put it all back together, carefully (with a couple of pieces of acid free paper in between the print and the drawing to help protect it).  So, when I put the daughter's drawing into the new frame, I reversed what I had done and put the original print back into its frame.  I then hung it up where the butterfly picture that now hangs in the stairway used to hang.  I think it looks nice where it is now and it's nice being able to enjoy the picture in it's original state.

4.  So, I've been cleaning like mad around here and have started the really deep, deep, detail oriented cleaning normally reserved for people that are like showing their houses and things as the bugs are determined, but I'm more so.  One of the areas that was starting to drive me nuts was the bathroom.  The original owners of the house decided to adhere the baseboards in the bathrooms on with some very gooey, very sticky and VERY hard to get off adhesive that over time has just smeared and spread as I cleaned to the point that the bathrooms could be cleaner than clean, but you'd never know it because the edges of the bathroom always looked like the above picture (and yes, you can see the cuts in the linoleum and things in the bathrooms...whoever put it down didn't do a good job).  While deep cleaning under the bathroom sink, I found a wonderful thing that I kept wanting to pick up, but kept forgetting or couldn't afford.

I found my Goo Gone!!!  I knew I had a bottle that we moved with, but could never seem to find it.  Why it was under the bathroom sink, I have NO idea, but hey I found it!!!

So, after about five applications of Goo Gone and some elbow grease, I got the baseboards to look more like this...
So, so much better!!!

5.  While in the kid's bathroom I took some old DAP (caulk that is made for bathtubs and other areas that get a lot of water around them) that was a pain to work with it being so old, and re-caulked their tub.

Their bathroom is now deep deep clean.  I even deep cleaned the toilet brush holder (it's a ceramic holder shaped like a frog...I'll have to share a picture sometime).  The bathroom looks really nice now.

6.  We started to box up the movies so that my son doesn't have such easy access to them.  He was just wrecking too many of them.  So far I got one video shelf completely packed up (pretty much anyway) and we took the books from my daughter's closet and put them out on the shelf where we can actually access them.  It's nice being able to get to the children's books a lot easier.  I then took the board games off of the top of the entertainment center and put them up on top of the bookcase instead.  It definitely made the top of the entertainment center look a lot nicer and it helps to keep the board games up and out of the way.

Speaking of which, I deep cleaned the entertainment center and emptied everything out and vacuumed the lot, just to be safe.

7.  I deep cleaned under the kitchen sink and reorganized everything.  I had to clean out every nook and cranny to remove any old food as the garbage can used to be under there.

Oh and the dish soap I ordered from Amazon came in and all six bottles were in perfect shape!  I was happy with that find :).  I now have dish soap to last me for a while, which is a good feeling.  I saved a couple of the old empty spray bottles to fill up with cleaners later on and things, but I did end up getting rid of a lot of different things (especially empty bottles) that I had been saving in case I needed them.  I fully figured out what I might need versus what I was just on the verge or hoarding and got rid of a bunch of stuff.  It felt good to get things more stream lined.

8.  Turns out I had a pretty epic frugal fail this week.  I made pasta for the son and went to use my spiffy new colander to drain it.  What both my husband and I thought were the perfect sized holes to drain the angel hair pasta in...well it was the perfect size to clog the pasta into the strainer.  It was a mess.  So, I'm back to using my wire mesh strainer to drain the pasta until I can find something better to use.  You win some, you lose some.
We went to the used store while waiting for my son at therapy to see if we could find a strainer.  We didn't find one, but we did find something that we've been looking around for years for...a match holder for our furnace matches!  I've been storing them in a tall tin beer stein for years, but when we saw the match holder for 1.49, we grabbed it quick.  We got home, figured out where we wanted to mount it and onto the wall it went!  It's great having the matches where they can be easily accessible now and the match holder looks nice, so double bonus.

9.  I deep, deep cleaned the upper portion of my stairs this week.  This is a pain because the vacuum with the brush on it doesn't really work on them and then the upholstery attachment for my carpet cleaner broke about two days after I actually started to use it, so I end up having to buy carpet cleaning foam and using one bottle per portion of stairs.  I had one bottle that I could use on these, so I did that.  I still need to get another bottle and do the bottom portion of the stairs, but that will have to wait until pay day.  I also took the vacuum with a small brush attachment on it and scrubbed the cat's scratching post area down really well, removing all the old cat hair from it so that the bugs wouldn't be tempted by it (so far it's been alright, but with me deep cleaning every crack in the house, eventually they are going to get desperate).  I carefully moved the carpet up around the edges and got the vacuum in the nooks and crannies as well as I could to keep bugs from being tempted by that.

10.  I moved the fridge and stove this week and deep cleaned under both of them as well as scrubbing the surrounding cabinets and walls.  Every time I move the fridge, something breaks, most times the water line, and this time was no different as it started to leak at both the shut off valve and where the water line met the fridge.  My husband rushed to get it fixed before going to work and managed it, barely.  I felt terrible about it, but was lucky that I have a husband who can fix things.

The stove I was TERRIFIED of moving as the first time the fridge water line broke, it turned out that not only did they NOT install a shut off valve on the thing, but didn't make the water line long enough to do anything with the fridge, so I moved the fridge out about four inches to get something that had fallen under it and the water line broke off at the floor, I had to vice grip the water shut at the floor while my husband was out of town (thank GOD I knew exactly where the shut off valve for the well was...I made my husband show me first thing when we moved into the house, just in case) and it was a huge mess.  So, to say I was worried about how they installed the stove and whether the gas line was installed with enough slack and that I wouldn't end up with an explosion danger...well it'd be an understatement to say I was terrified about moving it all these years.  Luckily the stove had enough gas line to move the stove out completely, I got the yucky mess under it cleaned up and scrubbed down, and now after all of that mess the kitchen is very, very clean.

11.  I deep cleaned the tops, bottoms and anything that wouldn't cut the heck out of me parts of the heaters this week to keep bugs out of there.

12.  I've found myself enjoying becoming more simplified in some ways as this whole deep cleaning mission has gone on, so one of the things I did was remove some of the fake flowers from the large vase I have on the landing.  It was kind of overstuffed the way I had it before.  It looked okay, but I wanted to be able to appreciate the yellow flowers more and the purple flowers I had in it was kind of overwhelming the vase.  So, I removed them and put them into storage in case I want to switch to purple flowers when I get bored with the look.  I think it came out looking pretty nice (the pictures, on the other hand, were kind of a pain and didn't want to come out looking as nice as the vase enjoy a slight shot of the carbon monoxide detector that hides behind the vase *laugh*).

And there you are folks, there are some of my adventures this week.  Every day is an arm and leg workout around here...I sure ache at the end of the day.  But, hey, I've dropped some weight and the house is looking nice, so it's worth it overall I guess.  And, most importantly, I'm seeing less bugs, so progress!

How about you?  Have a good week?