Friday, October 28, 2016

Frugal Friday: Money Saving Weekly Recap

It has been a Hell of a week at sea, sir!!!

It all started Sunday night.  My son took the antibiotics as well as I thought he would (read:  He fought me tooth and nail) and the worst bit was that he realized how terribly open and sore his hands were the more tired he got, so we finally broke down and tried a couple of different methods to wrap his hands for the night, finally settling on lots of Neosporin and Band-Aids.  The son was not happy about his lot in life and was overly tired and into sensory overload.  He screamed from 9 pm to 6 am.  Yes.  Nine straight hours.  By this point I'd been up for nearly 72 hours straight and I have to admit more than a few tears were shed on my part throughout the night, part in wanting to help my poor little baby and part of me just wanting him to be quiet so we could all get some sleep.

By the time he crashed at 6:30 (after I'd removed all but one of the band-aids on his worst finger and gone through nearly every movie in the house until we found one he would settle down to), there was no way we were going to be making it to school on time.  My husband had been able to get some sleep during the night somehow, which was good because he was able to get up and go to work.  I called the teachers and just told my daughter's teacher's voice mail that she was going to be late and I told my son's teacher (who was blessedly in at 7 am) that he wasn't going to be in school all week (they only had a three day week this week due to parent teacher conferences) so I could keep his wounds clean and give him some time to heal a bit.  My daughter was able to crash at about five or so and had gotten a few hours of sleep before the son started screaming the entire house apart, so she woke up at about ten bright eyed and bushy tailed.  By the time I dragged myself out of bed both kids were up and hungry, so I got them something to eat and took my daughter to school at about eleven.

Luckily we made it through the rest of the day alright and I thanked the good Lord above that I'd made beef roast for dinner on Sunday as we just had beef roast sandwiches and popcorn for dinner Monday night.

The son actually slept Monday night, thank the Lord above and I was able to get about seven hours of sporadic sleep as my son had really beat on my bad arm the previous night as I had to keep reapplying band-aids to him so it was hard to get comfortable.

We got my daughter to school on time and I was hoping that the rest of the week would go blessedly well.  No such luck.

I was exhausted still and I finally couldn't keep my eyes open any longer.  My son was sitting on my legs watching TV so I knew I could doze and I'd wake up as soon as he did, so I took a quick nap.  No joke, I was out for maybe ten minutes before my son getting up woke me up.  In those ten minutes somehow my body just turned on me full force.

I woke up with my tonsils swollen about three times their normal size, barely able to swallow and I had a fever.  To say I felt awful doesn't even begin to touch the tip of the "how I felt" iceberg.  I called my husband and begged him to come home as I wasn't sure how I was going to be able to handle getting my daughter or take care of my son when I could barely stand up.  My husband managed to figure out how to pick up my daughter from school and I managed to put on frozen pizzas for dinner (thank goodness I had those in the freezer).  My husband and daughter even cleaned the house to a point while I was lying down.  I didn't eat much and just kept popping Ibuprofen every four hours or I'd start to really go down hill again.

When I woke up Wednesday my left tonsil was down but my right one was a real mess.  It felt like a giant burning golf ball stuck in the side of my throat.  When my husband insisted I go to the doctor, I didn't fight him.  I was figuring they'd tell me I had a virus, although a part of me was a bit worried I was going to hear "tonsillitis" for the first time in my life and was scared to death I'd have to get my tonsils out as we REALLY couldn't afford that (either in money or in down time with me).  Instead the nurse looked down my throat, said some sympathetic things seeing how nasty my tonsils looked and took a swab of my throat.

Turns out I have strep.  I haven't had strep since I was in elementary school.

So I've been on Penicillin the last couple of days and eating a lot of soup, primarily store bought as my husband is willing to pick it up for me.  I have come to realize the last couple of days that one of the things I need to get for the pantry is canned soup and more than just cooking soup to have for things like this.  I don't even want to KNOW how much the soup is costing as I'm sure it's more than an entire big pot of soup would cost for me to make myself.  But I just plain haven't been up to making it :(.

I've felt so bad I've been limiting myself to about one chore a day, which usually revolves around unloading and reloading the dishwasher or doing a load of laundry and calling it good until I feel like I'm a human being again.  I've been drinking a lot of tea and coffee to stop myself from coughing (my tonsils being so swollen is causing that wonderful side effect).  I get up, water and feed the chickens, get the kids things to eat when they need it and such and past that I've spent a lot of time sitting on my butt or lying down on the love seat either watching TV or looking up stuff on Pinterest and avoiding doing too much or I really feel it.

I went to the bank and then shopping with the kids today and that just wiped me completely out, especially when I made the mistake of NOT getting my son french fries before we went shopping and thought, logically enough, that I could get him french fries afterwards.  That led to a miserable shopping trip with me having to tell people that my son is autistic to the point I felt like a parrot squawking for a cracker (I know he still wasn't feeling great when we went, but we were out of so much not going wasn't an option, so I kind of knew it was going to be one of "those" trips with him.  Like any kid throwing a tantrum, it's not fun and with a kid who can't communicate on the normal level and doesn't process "stop it" well when upset?  Doubly so).  I was really happy that I've memorized how the stores are laid out by isle, so we were able to make super awesome time through the store to get through my list for the sake of other shoppers and my kids (I always feel terrible having to go power through a trip and potentially make others miserable in the process).

Thankfully, everyone but my cashier was nice about my son stomping and shrieking at random at me and actually got a kick out of it when my son, in mid tantrum, saw some Halloween themed garland and got all excited by it.  I had the cashier scan it and handed it to him, relieved that he found something to stim on and make himself happy, and he just waved it at people like it was the most awesome thing in the world, laughing and squeeling.  Everyone around us ended up smiling at his joy.  If there is one thing my little man can be it is charming when he is happy.

Luckily, even as scattered as I was I was able to get everything on my list (spent 50.00 more than I wanted to stock up on some things like wet wipes since we were out and I always buy them in bulk, etc) and what was the one thing I forgot in all the hub bub?  Yup.  Canned soup.  Sigh.  Hopefully I'm feeling better by Monday so I can at least go and get some of that and a bag of candy in case we get trick or treaters (I forgot what day it was until my daughter started going on all excited about dressing up on Monday at school).

But, yeah, it's been a week.

I did, actually, manage to get a few things accomplished on the frugal front this week, believe it or not.

1.  I ordered a new scratching post for my cat.  Not really something I was looking to get for the next little bit, but I (for the first time in my life I think) have a cat that actually USES the scratching posts that most cats turn their nose up at.  You know, the ones with rope and carpet on them?  Unfortunately, not only does she like them my cat LOVES them and decimates them.  And if you don't replace them when she wrecks them?  She turns on everything else in the house.

I'd been wanting to get her a new post for a while since the last one I bought didn't last long at all and ended up being super crappy quality, but after checking all of the local stores I found nada, except the same darned post that was sitting in a wrecked heap on my stairwell and they wanted 25.00 for that now.  It finally hit me to look on Amazon for one and I was able to find one for about 8.00 less than the crappy one and one that all the reviews said was good quality.  So hopefully that will come in sometime soon as I'm tired of screaming at my cat to stop scratching on my stairs.  I'm about to pull out the Super Soaker on her.

2.  I flipped the switch on our ceiling fans to reverse the air flow.  If you do this in winter the fans will start to circulate the warm air back down into the room, theoretically saving you money.  Since my son insists on turning his fan on no matter the time of year it is, this sure can't hurt.

3.  I, obviously, stayed home this week and didn't spend money on impulse buys.  Actually I didn't spend any money on impulse buys at the store today either as I was repeating the mantra, "Get in.  Get list.  Get out."  I checked the coupons and things before I went to the store today, though and found that some things I'd been wanting to get were on sale cheap and I had coupons to stack with them.  I was able to get Special K Cereals (part of my diet I'm on as I find the protein ones keep me full without upsetting my stomach like eating too much granola or something will) for cheap and big cartons of Goldfish crackers for 5.00 a piece on the 5.00 Friday sales (this is like 1/2 price compared to normal now a days).  I bought four boxes of Special K and got 4 cartons of Goldfish as well.  It felt good to add those to the pantry as the Special K will last me several weeks for lunches and breakfasts and the Goldfish will last...well the way my son eats them probably about two weeks, but it sure beats having to buy them at 9.99 a carton!

I also found that I had some freebie coupons waiting for me online this morning.  One was for a free bag of Doritos and another was for a free tube of toothpaste (seen up top).  I didn't get to Fred Meyer to get my freebies yet, so hopefully I'll be able to do that on Monday as well as I'd like to get the Hershey bar freebie if nothing else.

4.  I got the results of my blood work back from the health fair the day before I ended up having to go to the doctors so I was sure to bring those results with me and give them to her.  This will save me an entire trip to the doctor as normally there is a "follow up" visit when you talk about your lab work and any concerns you might have but now I can combine it all together in one trip.  That'll save me a lot of money doing it this way.

By the way, I was surprised with the results.  It showed I was .1% into the "pre-diabetic" danger zone for my "current in the blood sugar levels", which my doctor looked at my long term glucose projection and said I was either hypoglycemic (which I've heard from doctors before) or it was within the margin or error in her opinion as my glucose levels were perfect (at least that's what I was getting out of it if she explained it to me right).  I do try to be careful no matter what though as my sugar has always been funky like that and it bugs me.

The other thing I found out was that I have high cholesterol.  I was utterly baffled.  Really.  I watch my diet carefully and have for YEARS and do everything you are supposed to take care of your heart as I lost my dad to heart failure and he always had heart problems before that, so I've always taken my health pretty seriously in that area.  I called my mom and she heard what my cholesterol was and just said, "Hon, in our family you don't worry until you're about twice that.  High cholesterol just runs in the family.  It's the way it is."  My doctor actually agreed when she looked at my weight, asked me some questions about my diet and lifestyle and checked my vitals and everything (which, by the way, my blood pressure was 113/63 Ms. "You're in pre-hypertension so I'm going to make your arm go numb" Jerk from the Health Fair) and said we'd talk more when I go in for my physical next week.  So we'll see what she says.  Either way, I'm glad I know this now so I know to watch it and make sure it doesn't get any higher and that doing what I've been doing for years was a really smart move on my part.

And I'm also like really low on Vitamin D, so I'm probably going to be ending up on some big amounts of Vitamin D.  I pray getting those levels up will give me more energy as I need all the help I can get most days.

5.  My husband changed out the tires on his truck and put on his snow tires.  Doing it himself saved us having to wait in line at the tire place and paying the tire change over fee, so that was nice.

6.  At least by getting strep vs. another type of bacterial infection my medication was cheap since I'm on good old fashioned Penicillin which was only about 5.00 for the script.  Every cloud has a silver lining right?

7.  I was getting impatient to get an updated bill from the sleep center, so I called their billing department and blessedly got a hold of one of the gals who was actually nice the one time I talked to her so I played nice and just asked for a balance, made sure my payment had been applied to the account and that I would be getting an updated bill sometime soon.  Found out that the bill, after comparing the EOB's from the insurance company (that the nice lady at MODA told me how to access online) and everything was up to over 5,000.00 by the time I called shenanigans on the sleep center.  So, after everything got refunded and reversed out we're looking at 1200.00 left on the bill.  It still annoys me that we owe them anything, honestly, but I'm just glad I was able to get the bill down to where I did.  I'm just trying to look at the bright side and move on at this point.  At least it'll be paid off within a year even if I am making the minimum payment we agreed on.

And there you are folks.  My week in a nutshell.  How did your week go?  I pray better than mine!

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Monthly Goals Update and This Week's Goals

Le sigh.  When it comes to goals, I really need to start putting, "Get some sleep and get a shower in" as I don't seem to be able to get either one of those things easily and haven't since...well...let's see...since the kids were born pretty much.

The week seemed to be going so well on Friday and then it just kind of collapsed a bit.  Yesterday, my son was still acting like he wasn't feeling right and was kind of up and down in mood.  We did go to the store, however to get some grocery shopping done as Carrs has some GREAT sales on produce this weekend (it started Friday, but due to the weather I didn't get there till yesterday).  I got a five pound bag of potatoes, a bag of storage onions (3 lbs) and a bag of carrots (1 lb of baby carrots).  All for 1.67 a piece!  And I was able to get a ton of really cheap marked down steaks (like 3.00 a piece) as they'd been chuck steaks that were on sale before they got marked down 50% off.  I did the math and reduced my grocery budget over the next couple of weeks to accommodate the purchases, but I now have a pile of steaks piled up in my freezer.  It was an awesome find.  I also got a couple of bags of frozen chicken.  I got a bag of frozen chicken breasts, one of chicken thighs and one of chicken tenderloins for 5.00 per bag.  I like to keep already boned chicken like this around in the freezer when it goes on sale cheap so that I have it for quick dinners or if I want to make a dish that would call for chicken off the bone (like pasta dishes and things).  I was even able to get a Bertolli bag dinner (I got a soup in a bag of lobster and seafood bisque) and a PF Chang meal (I got Mongolian Beef) for 3.00 a piece.  I'd gotten some 2.00 off coupons in an insert my mom had sent me a while back for both of them and had forgotten I had when I picked up the one bagged pasta meal that was on clearance, but it worked out to get two more of them cheap.  These I put on the door of my freezer just to have in case there are days when I just plain am not up to cooking anything (in case I'm sick or whatever).  I find meals like this can be a real life saver as 3.00 for a bagged meal plus like cooking some rice to go with the Mongolian Beef or making some quick cooking pasta to stretch the soup makes the meal cheap as well as fast and easy.  Works for me!  Once again these were averaged into my grocery shopping for the next couple of weeks to make sure that the grocery budget will all work out in the end.

Last night is when my son's mood started to really deteriorate.  He kept giving me his hand, which did have some really nasty eczema patches that he'd itched raw on his fingers.  Unfortunately, this isn't out of the ordinary for him, so I just assumed (like normal with him) that the patches of skin that had scabbed were sticking up a little bit and bugging him (he HATES things that change the texture landscape of his skin, so you can imagine how much eczema bugs him).  I was terribly wrong.  I awoke at two am, after two hours of sporadic sleep, to my son crying upstairs, so I went up and figured he was just not sleeping well, which has been the case all week (like waking up between midnight and two and just being up all night).  It was then I laid eyes on his right hand and realized that the eczema was swollen, bad.  I yelled down for my husband to come help me as I knew we were going to have to hold my son down, reopen the wound and drain it before it got badly infected.  Once we did that, got a call into the doctor's answering service to see if we needed to take him to the ER or wait until today to take him to Urgent Care (which luckily Urgent care was okay because he wasn't running a fever or anything) and got his wounds clean he was not a happy camper and justifiably so.  I mean how many of us know what it's like to clean out an infected wound?  Yeah, not fun.

By the time we got him through a hot soapy bubble bath on order from the answering service nurse (and scrubbing his hands good with the wash cloth to make sure they were nice and cleaned out), my son was up for the night and my husband (who hadn't been able to sleep till then due to insomnia) had to go and get some sleep because he was feeling sick to his stomach from lack of sleep.  So, I ended up with a wide awake kid, fielding him on about two hours of maybe solid sleep, and just trying to keep somewhat coherent as I made sure the wounds were kept clean and dry.  I think my son and I both collapsed at about eight this morning.  I got woke up by my husband at nine something to get the kids up and ready to go to Urgent Care as soon as they opened.  I got the kids in the car, got my son some food to eat on the way and everything, but forgot my coffee mug on the way out the door.  It's definitely a reflection of my state of mind.

Bright side, the doctor said that we'd caught the wounds just in time before they stepped over the line into an actual secondary infection and was impressed that this is the first time in all of the years (since he was born)  of my son having severe eczema that we'd had to go to the doctor's for an infection as he had a nephew who was about the same as my son and knew how hard it was to keep eczema sores from getting infected.  He wrote a script for some antibiotics to keep the infection from setting in and/or getting worse (which this is challenging as this is the first time my son has been on antibiotics in...good Lord since he was like two or so I want to say) and helped field some ideas on ways we can try and wrap my son's hands up and help the wounds heal.  Personally?  I think we're going to have to eventually slather in as much Neosporin as we can rub into his hands and then take liquid skin to him as I don't think he'll keep anything else on at all and even that's going to be iffy on the outcome as my son HATES anything on his skin.  So, yeah, epsom salt baths are in his future for the next week or so, as well as lots of moisturizer and lots of wound cleanings.  And antibiotics.  It's going to be a rough week for all of us here I think.

Bright side, while I didn't get my sewing goals accomplished due to the weather, kids, being busy with other things and yada yada yada, I did get my upholstery tacks in this week which will come in handy when I finally get the time to really start hammering on the couch and love seat (literally *laugh*).  And the chickens are finally healthy and happy from the way they are acting.  My friend came over with a big bag of feed earlier in the week (the type of feed the chickens were used to before the move) and a big bag of oyster shell to help the chickens with their stomachs.

I would definitely say the new, familiar food and the oyster shell worked wonders to get the chickens comfortable the last couple of days because I went out today and noticed a bunch of eggs in one side of the pen/coop.  My friend braved the insides of the coup to collect the eggs (we don't have any remote method for collecting eggs and the pen I have only has one door on the front of the like 8' pen, so, of course, the chickens moved to the very back of the pen to lay their eggs).  I assumed we had three as we've had one in there all week floating around that we were trying to figure out how to get out (I wasn't really worried about it going bad since it's been so cold out, but figured since I was sure it'd frozen that it was only going to be good for baking), but I only saw two new ones this morning in the new "nesting area" as I like to call it.  But, nope, when my friend collected them and brought them out there was eight (seen up top), so those three little hens have been busy the last couple of days!!!!  So, yay for chicken sitting paying off *laugh*.

So, now onto this week's goals, of which there are many and varied ones.  I hope I can get some of them done.

General Goals:
  • Work on monthly goals for November
  • Work on monthly shopping goals for November
  • Continue to keep chickens happy (hopefully I'll only be chicken sitting one more week until closing)
  • Take care of son and get hands healed up as well as we can (they have a three day week due to parent teacher conferences this week, so I'm thinking of just keeping him home all week to keep on top of his hands).
  • Post menu plan for week (I have some recap recipes I tried and I wanted to share about for one, and for two, if I have it posted on the blog I'm WAY more likely to stick with it as I don't lose the piece of paper it's on).
  • Mull and Can Cider (I REALLY want to get this done this week, so this one is at the top of my list right under taking care of my son) 
  • Get through Parent Teacher Conferences

Sewing/Mending/Repair Goals (if time allows):
  • Work on Christmas gifts  
  • Work on mending
  • Work on couches

And yeah, that's as far as I'm getting with goals for the week.  How about you?  Got anything going this week?

Friday, October 21, 2016

Frugal Friday: Money Saving Weekly Recap

Well, as weeks go this one has been busy.

I've been on the phone a lot this last week going between my insurance company and the sleep center to try and get the bill reduced and also get to the bottom of the truth of what in the Heck happened with the entire affair.  The sleep center was ready to slap us with the entire bill, told us that it was basically a valuable lesson about how deductibles worked and were about as helpful as teats on a bull.  I then called our insurance company and asked to speak to a supervisor who was really nice, friendly, and most important HELPFUL.  She went through and literally read to me the exchange between the sleep center and the insurance company as every time they talk to a doctor's office they make a point of saving the entire transcript of conversation for back up just in case.  In this case it spoke VOLUMES to me as she read it. 

The results?  The sleep center out and out LIED to my husband.  They told him that the insurance said they'd cover it under preventative care, the insurance company told them that it was a medical procedure, would go to the deductible first and then would be covered 60/40 (in no way does that say "covered 100%" to me).  Furthermore the supervisor, when I asked her about the rent to purchase on the CPAP told me to immediately return the machine as they only do rent to purchase at 13 months, not the three we had been told, and she didn't want us left holding the bag for 345.00 a month rent on the CPAP with the sleep center when we we could buy a CPAP for a about 400.00 online.  She didn't want us to be left holding the very big bill when we were dropped in December, was very sympathetic and explained that it was, unfortunately, a very expensive lesson some people had to learn to always call the insurance company and double check coverage and to make sure bills had been submitted for payment. 

So, I called the sleep center back and told them straight out I was returning the machine, that I wanted a refund for it and that we were getting a discount on the bill one way or the other or I was going to court (by this point they'd been FAR from helpful in the billing department mind you).  They were just going to wipe out the last two months of rent on the machine and call it good until I started going down the line items on the bill where it said, "purchase of..." and demanding we get refunded for those things as we weren't PURCHASING the blasted machine.  Once all the "purchase" bi-lines had been changed to rentals and I'd haggled on every aspect of the bill, I got over 1/2 the bill wiped out (I'm still waiting for an adjusted bill to confirm all of that, but I do have a receipt that I demanded when I returned the machine), got 800.00 that was going to GO ONTO the bill reversed out by returning some spare (overpriced) parts that they'd sent us for the machine that we'd never used. 

So, basically, I'm probably going to end up paying about 1300.00 for an overpriced sleep study we never would have gotten done if we'd known we had to pay for it, but at least it's not close to 4000.00.  A friend is going to give us a spare CPAP machine she has (she ended up having to buy a new one when she moved to Alaska as her things got delayed in transit) as soon as she unpacks it (as she's moving to a new house).  The sleep center drew the line in the sand that they'd never put "preventative coverage promised" in any of their notes as to not reduce the bill even further (seriously, who would even write that?) even though my husband had been told it numerous times and if I miss a 100.00 payment one month they are immediately going to add everything back onto the bill (which if that happens they can go hang as I know that's not legal).  So, a new goal is to wait for the new bill and get rid of that as quickly as possible and then tell everyone I come across not to use the Wasilla Sleep Center unless they are sure their insurance covers things as they lie.

So, anyway, the machine is returned and I'm in "wait and see" mode on the final bill, but at least for better or worse it's over with for now.

I've also been dealing with a sick hen this week as one of the chickens developed stomach issues, probably from the move and then my friend inadvertently buying a type of feed the chickens weren't used to.  So, I've been making doubly sure to keep the water clean in the coop and make sure they have plenty of it so she stays hydrated, and making sure the grit is always topped up for her to hopefully calm her down a bit.  And I've been adding straw to the coop a lot to keep the area clean as well.  My friend is bringing over some probiotics to feed her tomorrow, so hopefully she'll start to feel better pretty soon.

1.  Some good things did happen this week, though and the most notable of them is up at the top there.  See, I have exactly two items that I REALLY want that I've put on my "Christmas list for myself" as I like to call it (I end up doing the shopping, including for my husband and I usually as my husband gets busy and things around the holidays) and a tea strainer so I can make some pots of loose leaf tea has been on there for a while.  I've had that EXACT tea strainer in my Amazon cart for ages, but always found other things to use giftcards and stuff on, so I just keep going back and looking at it from time to time, but this week I found one at the used store!  For 1.50!!!  The smile on my face lit up half the country I swear *laugh*.

Now I just need to find a pie bird at the thrift stores or find one super cheap on Amazon and my list to me will be complete *laugh*.

2.  Grocery shopping went well this week.  I spent 56.00 on groceries this week, all of it at Carrs.  Carrs had some super sales going on this week and I went and took advantage of them.  Some highlights was getting a bunch of different spice mixes by McCormick for 1.25 each (down from like 4.00 a pop), so I bought a bunch to make things like chicken a bit more interesting for dinner.  I also got 10 cans of tomato sauce for 1.00 per big can as they were on a buy 10 get them for 1.00 each sale.  I also go the usual soda and chips and a dozen eggs for .99 with in-ad coupon.  And I got a TON of Idohoan mashed potato packets for .75 each after discount (digging through the 50% off stuff is seriously awesome sometimes).  Since this is one of the things I had on my "stock up" list over the next couple of months, it was definitely a welcome occurrence to run into those.  I even bought a head of lettuce because I really wanted salad to go with dinner.

When I was paying I stood in line with my favorite cashier, a really nice older gentlemen who always talks to me and is super friendly and patient (as I'm always going through with TONS of reduced things, I always appreciate the patient part).  We were chatting and laughing a little bit and he asked me if I was doing the Farberware giveaway (it's a thing where for every 10.00 you spend  you get a sticker and after so many stickers you can trade the sheet in for free pans).  I told him of course I was and he said, "Well, there's been a couple of people that went through who weren't doing it and they asked that I give them to someone who was.  I forgot to do it earlier, so here you go..." and he reached over and grabbed a little pile of stickers that he'd saved from those other people.  I got 12 stickers!!!  I was thrilled as I'm trying to save up enough to get a new non-stick skillet as the one I use for pancakes is the cheesiest thing you've ever seen (I think it was 3.00 brand new years and years ago, is spot welded together, thin and warped) and the handle is really wobbly and about to come off any time now.  That definitely helped me on my way to getting the pan I have my eye on :).  On my way out he also asked if I'd like a balloon as they'd dismantled a display for the new Ice Age movie and his managers had told them to just give the balloons away.  I said sure as my son LOVES balloons.  It was a nice mylar balloon that has, so far, survived three days of constant abuse by my son and he's still loving it.  Really awesome freebie that was :).

See, making friends with your cashiers definitely pays off as time goes on!

3.  I made all of our meals at home this week, which definitely saved us money.

4.  I paid off a chunk of dental bills this week.  It's definitely led to a bit of hurting on the financial end, but it was a relief to get that off of our backs (it was one of the "pay by this date or you'll be sorry as interest will kick you in the head" types of bills).

5.  I've been reading "The Family Save All" online on Google Books.  It's a book that is referenced a lot in "Victorian Farm" and I was watching it and got intrigued and sure enough the book is available to read online.  Saves me from having to buy it for the time being and gives me something to do when my arm hurts and I can't sleep (or when my son won't sleep, which I've had both things happening lately).

6.  I've been really trying to lose a bit of weight as due to my arm just hindering my ability to excercise I stepped on the scale and got upset when I realized I'd gained 10 pounds just due to inactivity.  So, I've been really hitting a diet that works well for me (basically a diabetic diet, but I moderate things like sugar containing desserts and things, but I don't cut out sugar completely) and so I've been actually eating decently cheap by eating things like oatmeal for breakfast and things.  I'm hoping my energy improves soon as I've found in the past (and it's proving true now) that the more weight I gain the more tired I become, so I want to make sure I get back down to a weight I'm happy with as soon as I can.  So far I've lost 3 lbs over the last couple of weeks, so I know it's working (I usually lose about 5 lbs quick and then hit a plateau for a while...I'm sure you're interested in reading about how dieting effects me aren't you?  *Laugh* sorry!).

7.  I've been using up older canned goods in the pantry, so things on the menu this week included meatball subs (using up an old jar of tomato sauce) and things.  I'm feeling pretty good about things in this area as really using up most of my pantry the last couple of years has resulted in cans that are still super fine even by store standards until 2018.

8.  We got six inches of snow the last 24 hours, so hopefully sledding in the back yard will be on the agenda for tomorrow.  Yay for free fun :).

9.  My husband took my daughter to a free event at the school tonight where they will be giving out prizes and having a bunch of games.  My son is home not feeling good (he seems like his stomach is upset), so I hope my daughter gets to have a lot of fun at the event :).

And there you are folks.  My frugal adventures for the week.  How did you do?

Monday, October 17, 2016

Monthly Goals Update and This Week's Goals

Wow, was it a busy weekend!  My husband and I both felt like we needed a weekend to recover from our weekend.

First thing that happened was my daughter's stomach decided it was going to start cycling starting Friday night so we were battling her stomach all weekend.  I kept her home today just to recover a bit before she had to go back to school as she was pretty wiped out after the entire thing, poor little thing.

Then there were multiple things going on in the area.  For one the state was (and is on and off still) getting hammered with high winds from the typhoon hitting California this weekend, so we were dealing with 50 mph gusts (or higher).  Then a fire started a few towns over and started burning through the underbrush like mad.  They know it's human caused at this point, probably due to some moron deciding to burn a burn pile in high winds (and believe it or not they've had to yell at a few other people since the winds started to NOT do that...really???) and is up to 300 acres burning.  The poor fire fighters are having a heck of a time containing the fire with the freezing temperatures, dry conditions and high winds.  Luckily it started in a pretty uninhabited area, although the way it is spreading that might change.  The results for us, thus far, is that we were getting smoke from the fire traveling on the wind all weekend.

Between the things burning and traveling in the smoke and just general allergens blowing around my son's eczema didn't so much flare as explode.  The poor kid is now head to toe eczema again and itchy miserable, so he's home today too so I can keep giving him medicine right on time and hopefully kill the reaction enough that he can go back to school tomorrow.

Then we ended up, unexpectedly, chicken sitting (seen up top).  My friend is trying to sign on a house and is going through all the hoops to do so, but it is going slower than she thought.  She bought some chickens from a friend and had them sitting in her friend's coop until she signed, but her friend suddenly decided that my friend needed to come and get her chickens.  In the middle of high winds and everything.  My friend texted me in a panic and asked if she could house her chickens in our rabbit hutch/pen we'd been given until she signed on the house (hopefully in a few weeks).  I told her sure (see, not being able to afford a rabbit yet worked out), which resulted in my husband, my friend and I moving the rabbit hutch into our barn (bless my husband as he had to cut wood slats and cut away some pieces of the bar to fit the hutch into it and things) to help protect the chickens from the wind and then my friend and I spread straw and set up the feeder and everything.  So, anyway, I'm watching chickens for a bit.  Luckily they are a cold weather hardy breed, so they seem to not mind the cold much at all and seem to be adapting to their new surroundings rather well.  Since the hens are layers if they get comfortable enough I'm hoping they'll lay a few eggs for me before they leave as any eggs they lay are mine as a thank you for watching over the little feathered friends.
Next up was my husband wanted to get the cabinet unit we'd bought at the used store for like 10.00 a while ago into the house and out of the garage so he had room for the snow blower.  The cabinet had been bought for the kitchen, but just wasn't going to fit without tearing it apart and making it smaller by about 4 inches, so I decided I'd just put it in the den, empty out the white shelving unit I had my fabric and things on and make it work.  So, the final results are above after my husband cut away and rebuilt the bottom of the cabinet (it broke while I was moving it in the garage one day which made me doubly nervous about moving it this weekend as that thing is HEAVY...luckily my husband used to deliver appliances and knows what he's doing).  I thought it turned out alright overall :).  The white shelving unit went full circle and ended up back in my master bathroom to hold towels and other bathroom supplies, which made both my husband and I happy as it got the Rubbermaid containers out of the bathroom, so it looks a lot better.

We went to Value Village over the weekend, which I took a side course and got the yeast I've been needing from the European Market (they are located in the same mall).  At Value Village I had some good fortune by finding a mermaid costume for my daughter.  It is a Barbie mermaid costume, but for 5.00 I wasn't going to be too picky and she was happy with it.  I have been worried that I wasn't going to be able to find time to get her costume done with the way things have been happening lately, so I was thrilled to take that off of my "I need to get this done NOW" list.

I also managed to squeeze in one Christmas gift this weekend too.  I made a panel project book for either my son or a nephew (not sure yet).  I'd like to give it to my son as he has a tendency to tear paper books, but I'm also worried he'll get insulted by the book as he does seem to get pretty prickly about things that are for obviously little kids anymore (it's kind of cute watching him grow up, though).

The gift itself cost me .25 for the panel at a yard sale a few years ago.  I used some left over all natural cotton batting I had left from making my daughter a quilt a few years ago, so the only thing that cost me money was the panel itself.  Not too shabby really.

Oh and I did find room for my order and managed to get the food storage out of the den.
And I even managed to pull out the rest of my fall decorations and put them all together.  I decided to move my basket that I keep my small fabric remnants in up onto my stair landing to keep things off the floor.  The big vase I had up there, though, was a bit rocky on the basket, so I moved it down into the den and moved the hurricane vase I had in the den up onto the landing instead.  I thought, overall, that the little decorated corner turned out decently nice looking :).

So, yeah, the weekend went by too fast and was super busy *laugh*.  I have to say my arm hurts after doing all of that, but I was really expecting to be crippled for a few days after everything we got done and overall at least I can still move it okay.

So, onto this week's goals!

Cleaning Goals:
  • CLEAN THE HOUSE!  My son has destroyed it over the last three days as we were busy doing other things.
  • Move dressers around into closets and things.
  • Scrub walls and other surfaces as I go.

Sewing Goals:
  • Work on Christmas Gifts
  • Mend daughter's spare winter coat
  • Mend daughter's pants
  • Sew slip covers for love seat and couch cushions (I'm waiting on tacks to repair the back and arms, so I figure I can at least get the cushions done).

 General Goals:
  • Keep on top of sleep center about bill and see how that will resolve.
  • Felt wool for Christmas gift projects.
  • Keep chickens alive and happy (I always get nervous about watching over other people's things).
  • Finish last few days on menu plan for the week.
So that's what I'm up to this week.  How about you?

Friday, October 14, 2016

Frugal Friday: Money Saving Weekly Recap

Sorry about the combining the shopping and Frugal Friday posts, but I did go shopping today, so it kind of makes sense.

This has been kind of an off week.  My son had kind of a rough week at school, which led me to basically sit on pins and needles waiting for calls from school about how he was doing this week.  Why he was in a bad mood?  I'm not really sure.  I suspect because he got picked up early a couple of days last week between flu shots and his sister's stomach acting up, but this week he didn't get picked up early at all and I wonder if the longness of the week started to wear on him?  Bright side is that there have been a couple of days this week where he has actually verbalized a LOT more than before in the way of words.  He called me "mom" three times in one evening (normally as close as he gets is "mama") , tried as hard as he could to say "Coke" when I kept telling him no on the talker about wanting soda too late at night and he even said "night, night" while shaking his head and grinning like he was getting away with something.  It was an upper to hear for sure, but with the way his school days were it didn't lead to a lot getting done around the house.

I went and got my blood drawn at the health fair one day (which luckily my son didn't melt down until the afternoon that day and his teachers were able to handle it) this week and had an experience.  The gal who was taking my blood pressure after the blood draw proceeded to crush my left arm three times with one of those automatic blood pressure cuffs that always feel like they are trying to take your arm off (you know the ones).  This was after I asked her (nearly begged her) to not take it on my left arm due to my arm issues and the fact I'd just had my blood drawn from that arm as that was the only spot the nurse was able to find a good vein to draw from, but she had refused saying she couldn't get a good blood pressure from your right arm.  Then she took a manual blood pressure.  She then proceeded to lecture me that my blood pressure was high and that I was obviously not exercising enough and my diet was obviously bad and I was in per-hypertension.  Honestly, after waiting in line for two hours to get my blood drawn, getting a decent amount of blood drawn too boot, and fasting for 18 hours all I wanted was something to eat and some pain killers for my now TERRIBLY throbbing arm, so I asked her what my blood pressure had been expecting it to be terribly "panic inducing" type of high and worrying I'd have to go and get in to see my doctor quicker than I thought (which I've never been that high blood-pressure-wise in my life, but there's a first time for everything). 

No joke my blood pressure was 121/83. 

When she wanted to take my blood pressure again I told her nicely that if she put that cuff on me again I wasn't going to be responsible for my actions as the agony was starting to set in and at that point I was just done with the entire process.  So she then started to lecture me about health changes I needed to make to get my blood pressure down...note...this did not help my blood pressure.  I finally stopped her mid-sentence, told her I'd had my blood pressure checked twice in the last month and it had been fine both those times, due to the amount of pain I'm in my doctor explained to me my blood pressure might be higher than normal and to be prepared for it, and told her I would be seeing my doctor with the results and if someone was going to lecture me I'd prefer it be MY doctor, thanks.  She shot me some severely dirty looks, but I walked away without her having any bodily harm done to her, so I felt pretty good about that (as my arm was throbbing in time with my heartbeat and I could barely move it at that point).

Anyway as a result of that abuse my arm has been killing me since then, so I have been forcing myself to do a load of laundry and a load of dishes every day and finally forced myself to vacuum the upstairs yesterday despite the pain just to keep my shoulder moving so the frozen shoulder doesn't get worse (bicep tendonitis OR the frozen shoulder clearing up would be great, really).   I can barely lift plates up to put them into the cabinet, let alone getting things like sewing and things that would require me to lift my arm for any length of time, done.  Annoying to say the least.

But anyway, the blood work for a full female health screen blood panel was 150.00 at the health fair where if I'd gone to a cheap lab it would have cost me at least 300.00, so hey, at least I saved 150.00 *laugh*.

So onto other money saving things!

1.  While at the health fair I hit some other exhibits after getting my blood drawn, most notably was the pain ease outfit that was right outside the blood draw room and was giving away bottles of water and protein bars.  I, and others, drank bottles of water while waiting in line and I pocketed the protein bar, which I dug into as soon as I was done with the blood draw stuff.  Some other finds was a pamphlet from the Autism Resource Center that has a library you can borrow from that they run, which might very well come in handy, some free pens and a couple more free granola bars and a free thing of fruit leather.  It helped to tide me over until I could get something more substantial to eat.

I also walked away from the loads of free pens people had up for offer as I already have a ton around the house and didn't need anymore.

2.  Shopping trip recap (part of which is seen above...the other picture didn't turn out as I think I turned off the camera too soon after taking it).

I spent a total of 72.00 on groceries this week.  This was over what I wanted to spend, BUT the reasons were this (read:  Darn I overspent, but I got such good deals I'm sorry, I'm not sorry).  I found that my daughter's flavored water was on sale, unadvertised that I could see, for 2.00 a package, so I picked up 4 (that's nearly 1/2 the normal price) as that will last us quite a while in school lunches.  The other find was our local bulk store Three Bears, when I stopped in looking to see how much milk cost (I ended up going into town when I saw what they wanted for a gallon of milk) I was walking by the meat section and saw an end cap with HUGE logs of frozen hamburger in them.  10 lb logs to be exact.  The hamburger was 73/27 quality, but the logs were only 16.00 and some change for the ENTIRE log!  1.60 per pound for hamburger???  I was SO there.  If I'd had more room in the freezer and more money I would have bought more.  My plan is to mix the high fat hamburger in with ground turkey or pork (you know, lean meats) and using it that way.  Either way, I'm THRILLED to have found a deal like that on beef!

So when it came to the rest of the shopping I went to Fred Meyer and Carrs this week.  I FINALLY found the "Hummus Made Easy" kits at Fred Meyer so I got that.  My friend gave me her freebies, so I got those too while I was there (the Airheads, double Belvita Bars and the other Hummus Made Easy kit).  I'm kind of looking forward to trying the Belvita Bars and the Hummus Made Easy kits as they look interesting and would normally be outside of my price range to try.

I was going to go to the European Market to get yeast today, but I found carts full of discount bread items at Fred Meyer and just got a loaf of bread there instead as I just finally admitted that making bread was going to hurt to do with my arm so bad (even kneading it to put it into bread pans didn't appeal at ALL right now) and I didn't want to do it if I could get out of it.  For the like .83 the bread cost it was worth it.

The hard rolls were on clearance as well for 1.79.  These are going to be made into meatball subs for dinner and lunches (if I can find room I'll probably freeze some of the rolls to use later).  The hamburger and hotdog buns are for my son for lunches and dinners and such (he'll only eat the tops of them and I turn the rest into bread crumbs and stuff).  I also got a 24 pack of wet cat food with flavors my cats actually like for 6.67 on clearance.  It had some dented cans in it, but they were all okay when I opened it.  I added it to my cheap cat food I already had for some variety as the cats are glaring at me every time I open the same flavor of cat food for the third time in a row.  I also got a bag of Luvsome dry cat food as I had a 1.00/1 E-Coupon loaded for it and I was out of dry cat food (it was 3.00 and some change after coupon). 

I also found some unsweetened Baker's Chocolate for 1.69 per box (they were dented).  I got two for holiday baking and other things as they are one of the chocolates that are safe for my son's peanut allergy.

All totaled I spent 18.53 at Fred Meyer.

At Carrs I went and got some sale items that were cheap with coupons.  I got a 64 oz thing of Sunny D for 1.29, or something close (I don't have my receipt in front of me for exacts on change there), not seen as it was in the second picture that didn't come out.  I got Goldfish for 1.49 per bag with in-ad coupon (it was cheaper per ounce than the big containers were at the current price for the big thing of them), big things of string cheese for 4.99 with in-ad coupon combined with manufacturer coupon.

Right so tangent/off topic from the shopping trip at this point.  The string cheese is going to be used for dinner in the coming months and I wanted to share this trick as it is SO simple and so tasty!  Remember the manicotti noodles I ordered from Amazon?  Well, take whatever baking dish you want, size up how many manicotti noodles will fit and then cook the manicotti noodles to package directions.  Drain and cool and then pour a small amount of your favorite tomato sauce (or pasta sauce period I guess) into the bottom of the baking dish and spread around.  Place the manicotti noodles into your baking dish, but stuff each with a piece of string cheese as you go.  Top off the manicotti with the rest of your tomato/pasta sauce and more cheese to melt over the top (I buy the small blocks of mozzarella when they go on sale cheap and just keep them in the fridge for ages to grate up for something like this).  Super easy and believe it or not super tasty!  I had gotten the idea from a recipe off of Money Saving Mom that she linked to years ago if I remember correctly.  The original recipe called for ground meat, lots of add ins and things though and by doing it with just the tomato sauce on top I find it makes a really good meatless meal to make.  No matter how many times I make it for people (for funerals or new babies, etc) they always ask me for the recipe as it's a crowd pleaser. 

I also got some Pillsbury orange rolls while I was there as they were on sale for 2.50 each.  These keep in the fridge for quite a long while and it is kind of an easy breakfast to pull out for something special.  These ones I got with my eye on Thanksgiving and Christmas mornings to serve, but we'll see if they last that long.

I got my son some Golden double stuft Oreos for 2.49 as a treat for his lunches.  Since he only eats the center out of the Oreos, I tend NOT to buy them unless they are on sale cheap.

I also, for the first time in a long time, had to get paper towels.  I got Brawny paper towels as they were on sale for 5.00 for a big pack of them for the 5.00 Friday this week at Carrs.  Worked for me.

3.  Today saw my husband having some tales of frugality.  First he got free lunch at a counter day at one of the local electrical supply outfits for him and his crew (the supply houses tend to have counter days from time to time with free lunch things like hot dogs or brats or something for their customers).  Then tonight we had saved up money to go to Red Robin (versus my son's usual demand to go to McDonalds for his weekend fries run) for dinner.  It turned into a waiting fest as my husband went in and seemed to take forever, but I could see how packed the restaurant was so we waited in the car as I kept telling my daughter to be patient (we get take out and bring it home for the sake of my son's processing issues).  Finally my husband came out and proudly told the tale of how the restaurant had taken forever to get his order done, but didn't have him pay when he put in the order so he waited around and waited around, all the while being patient and polite.  The gal who took his order originally finally came over with his take out bag and handed it to him and he explained he hadn't paid yet, so she went searching for his ticket, but couldn't find it.  She looked in the computer and couldn't find a record of it.  She called her manager over and they couldn't find it either.  So finally they apologized for the wait and just told him to take the meal for free and they'd figure sort out their end later.   The saved money will be put to good use later when we have to take my son out for french fries when he's sick or something (I literally have a "son French Fry" budget envelope).

I did take 20.00 of the money we saved by that happening, though, and placed it into the grocery budget to fill the gap from the money I overspent this week on that end.  I'm hoping in the coming weeks to not need much and just live on what we have as my husband is actually staying rather busy right now and thus it might give us an opportunity to pay off some of the dental bills and hopefully save a few bucks.  I can hope anyway.

4.  I definitely rested this week.  I haven't been sleeping well at night at all so cat naps during the day seems to be the only way I'm getting any good quality of sleep with my arm.  I can not WAIT until this condition improves I'll tell you what.  At least I'm getting mobility back slowly but surely, so I'm saying that's a silver lining if nothing else.

5.  I actually am ahead of the game and have my meal plan pretty much hashed out for next week.  Woohoo!

6.  While at the used store last weekend my husband scored me a fondue pot straight out of the 70's!  I loved going to fondue parties at one of my friend's houses when I was a kid, so the wonderful memory nostalgia was totally there for me.  For 2.00 it was definitely worth getting and I'm looking forward to doing some cheese and hot pot fun in it sometime soon.

7.  I called the sleep center in Anchorage and explained our plight when it came to the bill and told them how upset we were that my husband had been told repeatedly that everything was going to be covered and don't worry about it because we wouldn't have to pay anything.  She said she'd look into it and warned yesterday would be the earliest I'd hear from her, but so far I haven't heard anything.  If I haven't heard from them by the middle of next week I'm going to call and push the issue a bit.  We'll see how it goes from here.

8.  I washed my son's pillows this week.  Buying machine washable pillows is one of those things that just pays for itself nearly immediately with him as he leaks milk on them, so it felt good putting clean smelling pillows back on his bed.

9.  Frugal fail of the week was finding a unmarked bag of ham of undetermined age or origin in the recesses of my freezer door hiding under some margarine.  I saw it was kind of freezer burned, but hoped it wasn't so old as to TASTE like freezer burn, so I defrosted it and was going to fry it up to go with french toast one night.  Right so it tasted weird once defrosted but we hoped frying it would help.  Note:  DON'T DO THIS with freezer burned ham!  Eeeeeewww!!!  It tasted so bad I ended up throwing away the pieces I'd fried.  I tried, with the tiny bit that was left in the bag, to mix it in with scrambled eggs the next day for my lunch.  I was able to choke it down, but it really tasted a LOT like freezer...a lot of cajun seasoning was added to make it edible (but it worked).

10.  Frugal win of the week I have to say was just plain walking away from things that I really didn't NEED but were really inviting to spend money on impulse-wise.  Like the marked down coffee creamer I walked by three times before saying, "No" and going and getting a 1.49 thing of half and half instead so I could have it in tea, coffee, or use it in cooking if I needed to (yes, I bought myself 1/2 and 1/2 as a treat.  It's been stressful and I needed a treat for myself).  Or the marked down flavored instant oatmeal that still wasn't that much of a steal but looked good for a quick breakfast.  I have oatmeal at home and can add my own stuff, so I just walked away. 

11.  I went online and found myself a Peanuts wallpaper from "It's the Great Pumpkin" to decorate my computer screen for free.   I love the fall scenes at the beginning of the special, so I got one of Lucy and Linus in the pumpkin patch.  Love it :).

And there you are folks.  Some of my frugal adventures this week.  How did you do?

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Monthly Goals Update and This Week's Goals

Sorry this is late.  It was a busy weekend.

When it came to the sleep center bill, I finally just told my husband to handle it as his way is definitely not my way.  He's talking about contacting lawyers and suing someone and I'm there begging him not to rack up lawyer fees talking to lawyers as we don't have the money for those bills on top of everything else.  He swears he's going to ask if the calls are free consultations when it calls.  Man, I hope he does.  Why he doesn't just go in righteously angry and negotiate I'm not sure, but I quickly got frustrated, worried and panicky about the way he wanted to handle it, so I just backed away.  I paid the sleep center 100.00 in good faith this week, so that will keep them happy through the end of next month.  So, it's up to my husband after that.

I actually managed to get a decent amount done off of my goals list for the month this last week.  I got the winter tires put on my car, got mine and the kid's flu vaccinations taken care of (my son was good as gold through the shot, but hopped down and ran for the door when he saw the band aid...he hates those things *laugh*), got my daughter through her orthodontist check up (which we don't have to go in for like another six months from what they told me).  And I paid our bills.  Deep hurting was involved for sure, but they are at least paid :).

This weekend I refused to let myself sink into depression or black moods, so I decided to clean and organize instead.  This, my friends, is one of the best pieces of advice I can give.  If your "big picture" life seems out of control or there are things you can't control that are effecting you, work on something you CAN control.  Like organizing a hallway closet (seen up top) and determinedly coming up with a system that allows you to fit your carpet cleaner, your vacuum cleaner and all of it's attachments (which the attachments were stacked over by my heating vent and the vacuum cleaner and carpet cleaner were in the hallway as that was the only place I could find to put them) and all of your cleaning tools (sans cleaners...I'm still trying to figure out a good spot for those) in the closet along with your most heavily used bulk food items (for me it's buckets of flour, sugar and bread flour) in the closet. 
I then moved the bookcase that was in the hallway closet that had previously held baking dishes and things (I rehoused elsewhere) and moved it over by our small bathroom to hopefully place some bathroom items that we need room for.  It needs to be dusted off (white vinegar time!) really bad, but I'm hoping to clean it up and place towels in the empty rubbermaid drawer thingie I found that fits in the bottom (it came out of my daughter's room) until I can find a better system for things.  We shall see how it goes.  Oh and please ignore the particle board.  It was in the hallway closet, along with a bunch of other things (I swear emptying it out was like a clown car effect.  I can't believe all the stuff I had in there!) and I have no idea where it came from originally and no idea where it is going (I have a sneaking suspicion it'll end up in the garage though).

I've also cleaned here and there as I went about my business trying to get things nice and clean so I can implement a cleaning schedule.  So far the swath of destruction that are my kids have thwarted me, but I'm working on it.

This week's goals are including things like finding room for 12 boxes of manicotti noodles that are coming in from Amazon.  I added those onto my monthly order as I kept thinking of things I'd like to get for winter and on a whim I checked the price of manicotti noodles.  I'd bought the 12 pack of manicotti noodles YEARS ago (and I mean like when my kids were tiny type of years) and had paid like 28.00 for them, but they'd lasted forever and then I look on Amazon and in pure disbelief they are like 7.00 and some change for 12 BOXES of manicotti noodles!  I immediately ordered it (without the 5 items on Subscribe and Save to get the 15% off, when I checked yesterday they were only like 9.00 and some change for the 12 boxes.  Compared to what these go for at the store, I'd definitely check that out if you use them :).

So, this week's goals are lofty, but I'm still hoping to get them all done. 

Cleaning/Organizing Goals:
  • Clean and scrub children's rooms (hoping to work on this today)
  • Move video shelves upstairs one at a time.
  • Once video shelves are moved prepare to move china cabinet (glass shelves and husband's help needed as while pretty light it's still bulky).  Luckily it's in two pieces
  • Find room for order when it comes in 
  • Move daughter's dresser into closet

Sewing Goals:
  • Work on daughter's Halloween costume
  • Work on Christmas gifts
  • Mend daughter's pants

General Goals:
  • Felt wool for one Christmas gift (praying this works alright and I can do it without clogging up a washer or a dryer.  Here's hoping!)
  • Sit down and plan menu for next week with daughter (she's earning the right to call a meal every week IF she does what she is supposed to do.  She's also going to start helping me to cook and do the dishes.  Whether she likes it or far not *laugh*).
  • Work on reupholstering couch and love seat (waiting on my husband to get me some bulk tacks from the industrial hardware store).
So there you are folks.  My goals for this week.  How about you?  Up to anything?

Friday, October 7, 2016

Frugal Friday: Money Saving Weekly Recap (and One Step Forward, Two Steps Back)

 This has been a disheartening and just depressing day.  A day when your normally not very cuddly cat comes up and sits on you and purrs to try and calm you down type of day (despite her disdainful expression she was actually purring when I took this).

It started out with my son waking up at five am so I ended up dozing the last two hours before getting up for the day.  Well hour and a half I should say as then my daughter came in and complained about her stomach hurting, and unlike a lot of other times when I could see she's over-exaggerating her lot in life, this time she was actually legitimately not feeling good.  So, I got up and got her a Zophran and prayed that it worked for her to go to school today as it took two days for my snow tires to come in and get studded and I desperately just wanted to get them onto my car and out of the way for the winter.  Luckily after a lot of digging around about how she was feeling we figured she could make it, especially once she figured out that if I have to pick her up early from school I have to pick her brother up early from school and he needs the therapy and activity OF school and such (she hadn't thought of it from that perspective before).  I could tell she wasn't feeling up to 100%, but prayed we could get through the day as I had a lot to do and knew even if she was up to going with me she'd have more fun at school.

So, I get the kids dropped off and head off to get my tires on the car.  That took three hours.  Whoever put the tires on my car somehow didn't fit all of the summer tires in the trunk (first time that ever happened) and he stuck one in the back seat, which led to a lot of me flinching as I drove home with it rolling from one side of the back seat to the other.  Finally get home and get the tires unloaded out of the way and then I figure before I run to the bank (and subsequently run home after that and get lunch) I'd check the mail.

Man was that a stupid mistake.  When I got the mail my appetite for the day was shot.

In the mail was a bill from the sleep center where my husband had gotten his CPAP machine from.  When he originally went in for the appointment to get evaluated for sleep apnea, his doctor and the sleep center doctor both assured him that our insurance would cover the cost of everything having to do with the CPAP machine because it was preventative care.  And here, in my mailbox, was a bill for over 3000.00 staring me in my waxen shell shocked face.

I called my husband to ask that he handle things with the sleep center as he was the one who talked to his doctor and the sleep center people and everyone else and I figured he was the one qualified to handle it if righteous anger was going to be involved in any way as I had no idea what was going on, but I quickly realized that he didn't have time or the energy to deal with it (he's not big on dealing with any financial stuff,  normally anyway).  So, I headed over to the sleep center in person to see what I could figure out as I didn't want to do it over the phone if I could help it.

Well, an hour later and many phone calls between the very nice office lady, her billing department in Anchorage and our insurance company and basically it came down to that we got screwed by our insurance company.  What everyone was assured would be covered by preventative care, wasn't.  They instead just slapped every charge from the sleep center onto our deductible and that was all they were willing to do, period.

I sat and fought tears most of that hour.  Especially when I found out that they normally would require us to pay the bill within 10 months at the sleep center and explained to the lady there was no way we could do it as 300.00 a month might as well be 3000.00 a month for a payment right now as we just plain don't have it.  I explained about the dental bills and our financial situation and said it just wasn't going to happen. The billing lady, hearing all of this over speaker phone was really understanding and did some voodoo on her end and asked if I could somehow swing 100.00 a month.  Even though I'm not really sure how I'm going to do it until the one chunk of dental bills gets paid off in December (as that will free up 100.00 a month) I said yes.

My husband is furious about the entire situation and just wants to not pay the sleep center, but I can't blame them for what happened as they had been told an entirely different thing than what happened when it was all said and done.  And the insurance company doesn't care because all they have to do is hold out for three months and then they are out of Alaska anyway, so why WOULD they care.  I honestly blame me for this.  I was dubious about the insurance company paying for the CPAP and even though my husband kept asking the sleep center about it, I should have called our insurance myself, at least four times, gotten names and answers and figured out if what they had been told was true or not and gotten all of the details.  But, I didn't.  And now I'm paying for it.  Literally.

So, I cancelled my physical next week as there is no way I'm going to be able to afford labs for myself on top of all of the other bills staring me in the face (such is life).  And now I know why the Good Lord put all of the deals over the summer my way as we're going to need them as money just got that much tighter around here.

I just got done doing all of that, took a 20 minute nap whether I wanted to or not (when I get depressed I get even more tired than normal), got up and poured myself a quick bowl of cereal because I hadn't eaten anything yet, and then the call comes in from the school to go and pick up the daughter with her stomach problems.  Which led to me having to cancel speech this afternoon.

So, yeah, I am thoroughly, thoroughly depressed tonight.  Sigh.

Things will settle, my brain will somehow start to function past the panic and depression again and I'll once again figure things out, but for tonight I'm just bone deep tired.

I'm sure there are some bright points to dig up for the week though, so let's list some of those.

1.  I called around when I went to order my snow tires and found the outfit we normally used were, once again, the cheapest option.  And snow tires were 200.00 less than the last time I bought them, so that was a nice find for sure.

2.  When I realized how tight money was going to be at the beginning of the month (because of last month with all the health issues and things) I went on Amazon and redid my order.  I cancelled the peanut free nuts I'd ordered and used the 12.00 associate fees I had to put toward the bulk Parmesan cheese I wanted to order.  When I redid the order I also found that the Parmesan cheese had gone down in price, which saved me a couple extra bucks.  It was a nice find.   I also went through and figured out exactly what I needed on Amazon vs. what the cheapest option was.  For instance I'd ordered thyme in bulk, but then started thinking about it and realized that a 2.00 jar of thyme on Amazon would supplement my thyme probably through the entire winter and would work okay.  And I'd wanted to get Cream of Wheat for breakfast on the weekends (my husband likes it) and had found that Bob's Red Mill brand is super cheap on Amazon, but you get a ton of it (like 4 bags).  I just cancelled that and got the box of Cream of Wheat at the store for 4.99.  It's way more expensive per ounce, but still 7.00 cheaper to buy just the one box at the store, so that's what I did for now.  Just because it was more per ounce didn't mean it wasn't good enough to get us through.  As a result of doing things like this I probably shaved about 1/2 the cost off of my Amazon order items.

Now that I'm realizing how bad money is going to be I'm doubly glad I did that.

3.  We cut my son's hair this week, which with my arm I've been dreading.  This time my son was super awesome compared to how he has been in the past getting a haircut.  Normally my husband and I hold him down and just get his head as well as we can with the clippers, but this time he cried and got mad about the hair down the back of his neck, but was super good compared to how he's been in the past.  And as soon as we pulled his shirt off after it was all over and got him in the shower he was just fine (normally he's mad for HOURS afterwards at us).  It was definitely an upper.

4.  I got my flu vaccination this week.  I got it at the store pharmacy at Carrs and got my 10% off a grocery store order coupon for my trouble of getting it there.  It's good till like July of next year, so I'm going to hold onto it until I need to spend a decent amount on groceries and use it then.

I didn't use it this week as I spent a whopping 30.00 on groceries this week.  I just got the basics (soda, chips and milk) and called it good, although I did manage to get some au gratin potatoes (store brand) with some pocket money I had, so I got four boxes of those for 5.00 (normally I'd be a Betty Crocker snob when it came to Au Gratin potatoes, but cheap is cheap and they taste okay, so that's what we're using this winter).  And I did get the aforementioned cream of wheat in with the shopping, so I guess I did get some pantry things this week despite the small amount spent on groceries.

5.  I traded some #10 cans of dried soup mix that I'd had from the LDS pantry for years (I liked it so I was holding onto it since they don't sell it anymore) for some canned fruit with a friend of mine.  I traded two cans of soup mix for a pantry pack of fruit cocktail, a pantry pack of peaches and a pantry pack of pears.  I'm thinking between what I have canned myself, the canned goods I bought and those that we're set for fruit for the winter (and the expiration date on the fruit is still good for another year.  She had to downsize the stores of things she had in the garage and was moving things out to an unheated shed, so she wanted more freeze friendly foods).  Hopefully, with the rhubarb and things at least fruit variety won't get too terribly boring.

6.  I enjoyed long phone calls with my mom and step mom this week.  Having unlimited long distance for cheap is never going to get old for me.  It has paid for itself many, many times over.

7.  Even though I couldn't be at a friend's wedding I got to enjoy seeing pictures of it that another friend of mine took.  It was wonderful seeing pictures of her so happy on her big day.

8.  I went to the used store and looked around for a back up costume for my daughter in case the mermaid costume wasn't to her liking (which I think it'll be fine, but always good to be prepared).  I managed to find a home made dress that someone had donated that looked like the pink dress Ariel wore in "The Little Mermaid" for .50!  My daughter loves it and is happy to wear it if the mermaid outfit doesn't happen for some reason, so I consider that a victory.

9.  I started gutting out our hallway closet and figuring out other things that need to be done around here.  I've found my son is just trashing our video shelves downstairs (pulling videos down and yanking TONS of them upstairs with him to the point we have piles going all over all the time) and we just need to move the shelves upstairs to keep an eye on them, so I'm working on finding room for those.  When we pull those upstairs I want to move our china cabinet downstairs as it'll go better with the den decor anyway and then the one cabinet my husband and I bought and didn't fit into the kitchen is going in the den to put my sewing things in instead of the dresser I have there because it needs to get out of the garage so my husband can put the snow blower in.  It's going to be busy around here for a bit.

And there you are folks.  My week in a nutshell.  How's everything going with you?

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Monthly Goals: October 2016

This month's goals were actually kind of hard for me to sort out.  Normally, this time of year is a whirlwind of activity for me.  I'm usually getting ready for dividends to come in and preparing for the one huge grocery trip of the year where we would go and buy food for the pantry and freezers and get the majority of the Christmas shopping done for the kids.  This year, oddly enough, most of that is done.  When it came to Christmas, I knew not to have too many expectations this year.  Between us being super tight on money and then my extended family having problems of their own with money, I was figuring if I could clear "S Man" gifts I could make everything else and it would be fine.  And so far, so good.  I've gotten a gift here or there on Amazon with gift cards I've had for under the tree and picked up a few small things here or there on clearance (like I found a "knobby" type of therapy ball for my son on clearance at the store for .38 after all discounts were taken).  I've also had some gifts fall in my lap, usually through the generosity of others (thank you), so I put those aside to add to the Christmas gifts I bought.  I figure if worse comes to worse the "S" man gifts are bought, so that is the most important thing.  Luckily, my kids are actually pretty easy to please, so that helps :).

It's kind of depressing in a way that no food will be bought with dividends this year as the kids usually enjoy the "wow" shopping trip for the year, but I feel good about not having a huge grocery bill staring me in the face either *laugh*.  The pantry right now is sitting pretty good, which is a good feeling for sure.

The funniest part is that part of me doesn't know what to do with myself this month.  Normally this month not only am I preparing for shopping, but then I'm ripping apart the pantry and freezers to find the room I need to put said food and also this time of year is usually when I spend part of dividends to buy things like apples to process and put up food for winter.  Thankfully, with all the reduced produce I've found throughout the year and canned, I don't need to do that this year either.  So, instead of running around like a chicken with it's head cut off, I'm sitting there going, "Wow.  It's done already.  What do I do now?"

So, after much thought, I decided this would be a good month to just start really focusing on Christmas gifts and getting some other projects done (including a Halloween costume for my daughter).  So, here are this month's goals!

Sewing Goals:
  • Sew Halloween costume for daughter
  • Work on Christmas gifts
  • Work on mending
  • Make son his weighted hat (I've been messing around trying to make him a weighted baseball cap, but haven't found the right thing to weight the hat with that would weigh enough.  My husband thinks he's got a good idea, so now it's trying to find said thing to put in said hat :).

Cleaning/Organizing Goals:
  • Get hallway closet gutted, supported better, reorganized and put back together.
  • Clean walls in children's rooms (getting there on getting them cleaned to that point)
  • Move daughter's dresser into closet and reorganize room to hopefully work better.
  • Continue to recover the house from being down and out with the shoulder and then implement a cleaning schedule once done completely.

General Goals:
  • Get winter tires on car (hopefully I can order those today and just get them on tomorrow or Friday)
  • Get daughter through orthodontist check up (done yesterday.  It went fine :).
  • Get children their flu vaccinations (my son gets the flu for 21 days if he gets it, so we make sure we get this done every year period now).
  • Get flu vaccinations done for myself and husband
  • Get through yearly physical (here's hoping we have money for this).
  • Get son through third "long wait" allergy shot.
  • Have a safe and fun Halloween for the kiddos
  • Pay bills and be able to do so without deep hurting (I can hope anyway).
So, there you go folks.  Some of my goals for the month.  How about you?  What are you up to this month?

Monday, October 3, 2016

Monthly Shopping Goals: October 2016

October is usually a pretty depressing month when it comes to prices on groceries in Alaska and this year is no different.  When I went shopping Friday I noticed a bunch of things at Fred Meyer had jumped in price in preparation for winter.  I've seen this happen pretty much since I moved here.  As soon as tourist season is officially over you see the prices start to creep, but as soon as the "winter months" start, they know that they have resident Alaskans held hostage for the winter, and so the prices don't so much creep as leap.  For instance, I noticed that the normal price on Pringles (unfortunately one of the things my son considers to be "food") went from 1.69 a few weeks ago to 2.19 Friday (I decided to wait and hopefully there will be a sale at some point) and that's just an example of a decently "cheap" item normally.  And I saw many more things that had lept in price when I wandered around the store.  So, to say that I'm glad that I'm stocked up on a few things is a vast understatement.

This month I am hoping to fill the pantry a bit more with things that I need and/or I got at a good price that we use a LOT.  For instance, I am ordering a lot of 12 containers of Kraft Parmesan cheese off of Amazon this month.  My son eats pasta with olive oil and Parmesan cheese on it at LEAST twice a week, sometimes as many as four times (and that's not counting the pasta he takes for school lunches).  I had ordered some Parmesan cheese in bulk years ago off of Amazon and had been using it slowly but surely to supplement the big containers I got at the store, but I finally ran out and when I noticed the price of a big container of Parmesan cheese is up near 10.00 (I mean GEEZ!!!) I decided that I needed to get the bulk order from Amazon as we'll definitely use it.  Unfortunately my kids are Kraft cheese snobs, they won't "do" generic brand Parmesan cheese, so this was definitely the most cost effective option for me.

This month is also going to be seeing me reducing my weekly grocery budget back down to 50.00, since produce sales are pretty much over for the year.  I might go over here and there to get some good deals on produce, but I'm figuring for now reducing it back down won't harm anything.  My freezers are PACKED full right now (to the point I'm wondering where I'm going to fit the chicken thighs I bought Friday into them *laugh*), so at least I'm prepared to start having to live more out of the freezer in the coming months.  God has been good to me when it came to sales, making sure I had money to buy meat when the sales hit and other things (like produce).  I am very very grateful as with dividends already spent before they are even in, I am going to need all the help I can get to hopefully get dental bills paid off on time (thank goodness that tunnel finally has a little light at the end of it.  Two more teeth to go and my husband's mouth is done for the time being!  After that it's just getting a permanent false tooth put in here and there as we have money.  Yay!!!) and the other monetary trains moving smoothly in the coming months all the while TRYING (I hope not in vain) to save money and put some pennies back into the bank.

Some things have gotten added to my list this month in the way of spices and/or herbs as I have come to realize looking through my spice cabinet that I have to replace some of them as they are over 14 years old and a lot of them just don't TASTE like anything anymore so they need to be replaced.  And in some cases, like with allspice berries, I went to mull apple cider (thank goodness I hadn't started the canning process yet!) only to find that I'd put an empty container back into the cabinet when I used the berries last (I'm assuming last Thanksgiving as that's the one time of year I use a decent amount of them for the turkey brine).  The same thing happened with my powdered ginger, although I'm not quire sure when I used that last.  I replaced the ginger and allspice berries last month, adding them to my Amazon order as I ran into them super cheap (the powdered ginger was 2.22 for a decently big container and the allspice berries were less than 4.00 for a HUGE bag of them...what I'm going to do with all of those berries I'm not really sure, but it was a LOT cheaper than than the nearly 10.00 the store wanted for a tiny jar of them).

So, here's my list of things that I'm hoping to get this month!

Regular Stores:
  • Jack O' Lantern Pumpkin (done).
  • Dishwashing Detergent
  • Halloween candy (tootsie pops, starburst and smarties as I can use those for my son's reinforcers later if we don't get many trick-or-treaters). 
  • Keep eye on sales on baking goods and safe for son chocolate.
  • Thyme (my plant didn't produce enough to see me through winter this year, so I'm supplementing)
  • Cumin (big container)
  • Peanut free nuts (ordered some peanut free pecans from "The Pecan Farm" down in Texas.  I LOVE pecans and was so so thrilled to find some that I could buy that were safe from peanut contamination.  I used my associate fees to pay for it.  Thank you to everyone who ordered through my link.  I really appreciate it!).
  • Gillette Fusion razor with 2 refill blades (this was 4.69 after discounts and coupons a few weeks ago so I ordered it for my husband who is getting low on razors).
  • Good Sense Nasal Decongestant PE (super duper cheap for Sudafed, which is one of those meds my husband likes and, unfortunately, our medicine stores are finally shot after all of the years living off of my coupon bought stash.  An end to an era.  It made me sad *laugh*).
  • Good Sense Ibuprofen 500 caplets (once again SUPER cheap for Ibuprofen!)
  • Crystal Light (my husband agreed to start trying to drink more of things like this instead of the huge amounts of Coke he tends to consume as he knows all of the sugar in his diet isn't good for him.  I know it's not ideal, water would be more ideal, but it's a start :).
  • Kraft Parmesan Cheese, lot of 12

Bulk Store:
  • Onion Powder (I need to comp shop it and see how expensive it is as I didn't really like the prices on Amazon).

European Market:
  • SAF instant yeast (the only place local I can find it and it's decently cheap too!)
  • Hunter's Sticks (these are kind of like Slim Jims, but hand made with different types of game meat.  My husband really likes them and they are actually pretty reasonable in price, so I want to get some and stick them in the freezer as part of his Christmas gift). 
So there's my list for the month.  How about you?  Got anything on your list this month?

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Frugal Friday: Money Saving Weekly Recap And Goals Recap

Well, this last week was busy.  So be prepared for a long recap post (I'm lumping in the monthly goals update in with this since it's a new month and all starting today :). 

It was a week of worry when I realized how terribly low we were on funds.  Once my husband and I did the math we realized he'd missed the consistency of an entire week of work between the days here and there he had to miss due to my arm issues and his bronchitis and things.  So, between that and the medical bills...ouch.  We're praying hard that this month is better as it looks like my husband should be pretty busy for a bit.  If we can stay healthy finances will hopefully improve.  Praying for a very healthy month for sure.

My cold kind of took me out at the knees the last few days, but I had a decently productive start to the week anyway when it came to getting things done.  I have managed to squeeze a couple of hours of productivity out of myself per day despite the cold and shoulder (note:  Getting a cold with the aches and things while having frozen shoulder can be REALLY painful when your shoulder aches.  And it sucks).  So, my kitchen counters are finally cleaned off and nice looking, dirty dishes are caught up (blessedly so), and the laundry is starting to look more manageable (still got tons to do, mind you).  My son's bed got detail cleaned and put back where it belongs and his carpet got vacuumed a lot as a result of moving furniture around. 

Halloween decorations were hung up as well.  I pulled out one of my fall themed table runners and put that on the table (seen above).  I feel good that at least the majority of the fall decorations got put up before October anyway (I still need to finish decorating the den, but that is going to wait until I can clean it really well...hoping to get that done today). 

I also got some quotes for studded tires for my car.  I guess my size of tire is getting kind of hard to find so they'll have to be ordered from Anchorage and transferred out to the Valley and I'm PRAYING they stay in stock until dividends get in this week as I desperately need new winter tires.  Bright side, if all works out well, the tires should cost about 1/2 of what I thought they were going to cost (600.00 vs. 1200), so that'll be good.  I just keep sending up prayers that it all works out.

So, yeah, now onto the money saving stuff that happened this week!

1.  Grocery shopping went blessedly well this week.  I went to Carrs and Fred Meyer this week.  Fred Meyer didn't have much in the way of sales that I wanted to hit, with the exception of they have chicken on sale for .99 lb this week and believe it or not I'm actually starting to run low on chicken!  So, I went and got a big package of chicken thighs.

While there I took my time and cruised around the store (I had taken a full dose of NyQuil the night before in an effort to be able to breathe through my nose and had knocked myself out all night so I actually slept really well for the first time in a long time, thus was actually with it that day) and found a package of marked down hamburger for super cheap (nearly 5 lbs of hamburger for 12.75!).  Since we are getting kind of low on things like hamburger, I grabbed it and decided we'd have hamburgers for dinner that night, so I grabbed a package of tater tots while I was there.

While cruising through the frozen foods section I noticed some things on clearance cheap and went looking to see if I could find anything worth buying.  I found a Bertolli pasta kit, complete with chicken in it, on clearance for 1.80!  Down from nearly 9.00!  I had to dig at the back of the freezer and found it'd gotten stuck behind the other flavor kits (I always like to look to see if someone missed one).  I figure this will make a really cheap dinner one night when I don't feel like going through a ton of effort to cook :).  Since I'd be making this for three of us and it probably won't go that far, I will just make up some extra pasta and throw it in with the kit when I make it (it really helps to stretch those type of things).

I also got a couple mini-squashes for 1.49 lb.  I'm going to use them as fall decor on the table (seen up top there...I forgot that bag in the car and didn't include it in the grocery picture...oops) and if they start showing signs of not lasting I'll cut them up and cook them as needed to go with dinner.   Not the cheapest option, I probably could have gotten decor pumpkins cheaper, but at least we can eat the decor instead of just using it for decoration only.  Squash comes in such pretty colors and things anymore and more and more heirloom varieties are popping up.  I think it's really cool :).

I then went to Carrs and got coke and chips yesterday as party sized bags of Frito Lay products are on sale for 3.99 each Friday, Saturday and Sunday this week and most bags have a 1.00/2 coupon on them.  I stocked up on Cheetos for the next couple of weeks hitting this sale since this is the cheapest way to buy Cheetos.  I also got 2 liter bottles of Coke as they were on sale there this week as well.  And I got some big barrels of cheese balls on sale for 3.49 each this week (cheese balls are one of my son's reinforcer foods).  I feel good about being somewhat stocked up on snack foods right now as that is usually what costs me a MINT each week out of my grocery budget to buy.

I also got a pie pumpkin for 5.00 at Carrs (unlike Fred Meyer and elsewhere where the pumpkins are sold by the pound Carrs has them for a flat 5.00 each, so I just went and found a nice one that weighed a decent amount and bought it).  I am going to keep it on the kitchen table and see how it does and if it starts showing signs of distress I'll just chop it up and turn it into pumpkin puree for use in pie later.  If it lasts I'll turn it into a mini jack-o-lantern for Halloween and THEN turn it into pumpkin puree.  Either way, I figure, I win ;).

In a side note, I noticed that the prices at Fred Meyer jumped on a bunch of different items again, which means that I'm probably going to be doing more and more of my shopping at Carrs again unless Fred Meyer has some awesome sales going on.  Sad really as I was enjoying the cheap prices at Fred Meyer.

So, all totaled I spent 62.00 on groceries this week between Carrs and Fred Meyer.  I thought that was pretty good overall considering everything I got.

2.  I pulled out the kid's winter coats this week as the temps are definitely dipping below freezing during the night now.  I never regret buying winter gear in the next size up with the kids and realizing that my son was definitely too big for last year's winter coat it made me feel great just grabbing the new coat I'd gotten on Land's end super cheap during the summer and knowing he wouldn't have to be cold that day or uncomfortable in a too tight jacket.

3.  I resisted the urge to buy new Halloween decorations this year.  I normally go to Target and get window clings and things from their dollar section to hang up around the house and windows, but this year I just said, "No" as every time I go into Target I end up spending more than I plan to and I just wanted to avoid that this year.  I figure we'll just make some decorations for the windows with some construction paper.  It'll be fun and it won't cost us anything to make them :).

4.  I took plenty of naps this week to help recoup from my cold and other issues.  Not only invaluable, but also free.

5.  My daughter has been fighting reading, even though it's like her only homework she's supposed to have each night.  My husband kept trying to get her to read history types of books as with common core she's getting holes in her education on things like that (which irritates us both), but I knew she was going to fight him on it because it's not something she's interested in yet.  So, I went to a weekly sale at a local used store where everything kid related, including books are 1/2 off.  They also had a sale where if you bought 3 books you got the fourth one free.  After giving the poor cashier fits trying to figure out how to make it all work and walking her through it all, I was able to get a huge stack of books for 2.00.  I managed to find a bunch of Disney Princess books, some Froggy books (we found a love of those books through the Scholastic book flyers when she was younger) and some other books that just out and out interest her.  She's been reading all week as a result, voluntarily, for hours sometimes.  So, I consider this a huge mom win *laugh*.

6.  I darned a weak spot on a kitchen towel this week before it developed a hole.  It had gotten caught on something in the washing machine and wasn't looking good, so I figured I'd better darn it before I had problems.  It works fine now.  Might not be the prettiest dish towel in my stash, but it works just fine.

7.  I repaired a couple of toys of my daughter's this week.  Instead of super glue, as the toys were that rubbery type of plastic material and super glue just seemed to give on the repairs, I used a DAP product that makes a water tight flexible seal instead.  It sure seems to hold better and will hopefully help me to stop buying super glue in bulk (I doubt it, but I can wish).

8.  I broke two glasses this week just doing dishes.  Seriously.  I have no idea how this happens sometimes.  It's like two glasses clink together and whammo!  Suddenly you have broken glass.  Luckily I had a bunch of glasses in storage that my husband had picked up over the years before we moved here (our last kitchen had more cabinets in it so he kept bringing the 1.00 Coke glasses home from McDonalds over the years and things), so I grabbed a few out of that stock instead of having to run and buy some .50 glasses from the used store or something. 

9.  My daughter desperately wants to be Ariel from "The Little Mermaid" for Halloween.  I was dreading buying a Halloween costume for 20.00, but figured a mermaid costume was probably outside of my ability to do.  BUT I found a tutorial on Pinterest for a costume that you make out of, all things, an apron type of pattern and then the kiddo can use it easily later instead of asking you for help with velcro and things (and if I do it right she could use it as an actual apron too).  I'm curious as to how it might turn out, so I might give it a go.

And there you are folks.  My money saving endeavors for the week.  How did you do?