Friday, July 27, 2018

Frugal Friday: Money Saving Weekly Recap

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How about you?  How did your week go?

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Frugal Friday: Money Saving Weekly Recap

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How about you?  Have a good week?

Monday, July 16, 2018

What's for Dinner: This Week's Menu

Well, I'm back to doing menus on Mondays for now.  Why?  Because I've found myself skipping the store ads on the week after my husband gets paid because I don't shop that week except for essentials, really, so I've found myself being able to make a menu on Monday and pretty much sticking with it through the week without worrying about the ads flipping over on Wednesday messing me up.

Oh and enjoy the shot of the breakfast I had to eat the other morning.  I actually made home made Strawberry Julius for the family (it was actually pretty good, but not exactly like I remember Strawberry Julius being) and I had some of the leftovers with breakfast the next morning.  It was actually a pretty good breakfast :).

First, I wanted to field a few questions people have asked.  One, what are larder beetles?  Well, pretty much everywhere I've ever lived had the suckers, but we didn't know them as larder beetles.  Most people know them as black and tan beetles.  Big thing I've found that the pesticide outfits don't cover is that they nest behind baseboards, true, but they also love to nest ANYWHERE dark, so clutter is a must to get rid of if you want to rid yourself of these disgusting little buggers once they are in your house.  You can read more about them on the following Orkin site Larder Beetles, definition and treatment.  The one thing, I luckily have going for me is that I keep the cat's dry food in a sealed five gallon bucket as well, so now I'm just having to chase (and chase, and chase) all of the little nesting places the icky things have been able to find and eradicate them with extreme prejudice and super duper uber clean things over the next couple of months.  Not easy with a special needs kid, but I'm determined to get rid of the suckers.  Period.

Second, about the Monthly Goals this month.  Well, since nuking the house from orbit to get rid of the bugs once and for all isn't an option, right now my monthly goals are pretty much centered around cleaning, cleaning and cleaning some more.  I do have some other goals that I'm writing down and will share, but they will probably be kind of like my shopping goals and just span this and next month with me amending the list next month as needed.  I've got a lot to do, not enough time to do it in (so it seems every day) and am trying to manage my time more wisely.  Writing things down really does seem to help.

Complicating my schedule is that Alvah is starting intensive ABA therapy through the rest of the summer now that school is over, so we're trying to transition him into that the first couple of days this week  (today did not go well, but I expected that).  He'll be in therapy five days a week for two and a half hours a day, so that bites into my time to get things like cooking, baking and housework done.  So, writing things down, checking them off and such is definitely a must the next little bit :).

So, anyway, now that I've rambled on a bit, let's get to this week's menu plan!

Monday:  Soup and Grilled Cheese Sandwiches (I'm PLANNING on making both tomato and Julia Child's Edible Pea Pod soup, but using just frozen peas in their place and messing with the recipe a bit...we'll see how that goes.  The leftovers will go into the freezer for quick lunches later on). 
Tuesday:  Chicken curry and rice (this is one of the Revolution meal kits I got for free.  Since both kids have swimming tomorrow on top of therapy I wanted to do something simple). 
Wednesday:  Ham steak, potatoes, salad 
Thursday:  French Dips (make rolls for sandwiches), french fries, peaches 
Friday:  Roast chicken, roast veggies, rolls 
Saturday:  Chicken salad sandwiches (use leftover chicken) on home made bread, home made potato chips? (Not sure about the potato chips, really, as it depends on what kind and how much vegetable oil I have). 
Sunday:  Pork Roast, mashed potatoes, green beans, apple sauce

Desserts (tentative depending on time):  Apple bundt cake (Wednesday), ice cream (whenever), Mincemeat tarts (Friday)...leftover desserts can be eaten on different days, of course.

And there you go folks.  What we are (hopefully) eating this week.  How about you?

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Frugal Friday: Money Saving Weekly Recap

Well, this week has been busy and productive, but exhausting.  The battle against bug infestation continues.  Bright side to the massive train wreck is that I am finally getting the motivation and energy to do things that I would normally, being as exhausted as I am, as sore as I am and as sinus miserable as I am (darned dust), just put off or do not to the extreme extent that I'm doing now.  So, there's that.  By the time I'm done, I'm hoping I'll have a decently organized, brilliantly clean (that's inevitable the way this is going) and in control home, but in the meantime...I'm busy (understatement of the century).

So, let's get to the things I got accomplished this week and ways I saved money!

1.  Grocery shopping hurt this week.  We got paid, which was good, but we were out of a bunch of stuff, so I pretty much spent our disposable income for the next two weeks on groceries (the rest will go toward gas for the vehicles).  After having to buy medications, limited cleaning supplies to get by and some meat...well it wasn't a small amount.

Bright side is that I DID manage to get pork shoulder roasts on clearance for 7.00 a piece about and since we NEVER eat a full one without having to shove a bunch of it into the freezer, I instead bought them with the express purpose of cutting them in half and making four roasts out of the two.  It worked well, actually, which I was happy about since they were bone in roasts.  Not the prettiest roast with a slight amount of bone sticking out of one of them, but hey, I didn't have to de-bone them or get a bone saw, so I'm happy with it!

2.  I got a new mission in the mail from My Magazine Sharing Network, this time with the theme of a BBQ.  I got a coupon for a free bottle of McCormick Grill Mates seasoning (which I did a stand in for the picture so I could get my mission done...I cheated...I admit it ;), some free Kleenex wet wipes and some free chips.  Missing from the picture was a small bag of Keebler Rainbow Chip cookies (peanut warning on them got them sent immediately to the "peanut containing" box in the garage) and various coupons I received (that I put in the "pass it along" pile to pass along to some friends who might use them).  I sent the potato chips to work with my husband so he can have them for one of his snacks over the next two weeks since we don't really want to spend money on gas station snacks at the moment with how tight money is, the wet wipes got put aside for emergency wet wipes by the entrance to the house so we have them for a messy son and I'll get my free bottle of Grill Mates on my next shopping trip (which I was worried would be after the end date of the mission, thus why I put a stand in bottle of Grill Mates I already had in the picture).

And I got more tissue paper :).  The way this is going I'll have a decent stockpile of the stuff come Christmastime.

3.  We stopped off at the used stores to look, once again, for a decent sized strainer while my son was at therapy (there's a used store like two minutes away, so we can hop over without wasting gas and time) and I FINALLY hit pay dirt!  I was able to get a really nice, big strainer with small enough holes for angel hair pasta not to fit through for 3.99.  I was happy with that.

I was also, finally, able to find a fake plant that would work with a small wall basket I had found at my favorite used store a couple of weeks ago.  I bought both a bigger wall basket (for 1.00) and the smaller wall basket (for .60) to use for a couple of different purposes.  The bigger basket went into my daughter's room and got hung up in the middle of her hat space on her wall and I put a bunch of fake flowers she had in a vase in her room into it.  The vase was always getting put aside into different areas where it would balance precariously and fall off of whatever it was, and I REALLY liked the vase and didn't want to see it get broken (it has, thus far, lived a blessed life in that regard).  It worked great, my daughter loved having the flowers in a location where it wasn't getting in her way and I happily put the vase downstairs where it would, hopefully, be safer.

The smaller basket I had a plan for.  See, I can't do houseplants around here.  I have a son who eats dirt, so that complicates things and he'll also chew on random things, so I'm TERRIFIED he'd eat random house plant leaves (and let's face it...a lot of houseplants are poisonous).  And then I have cats that love to dig.  So, yeah, real plants are out (I was always impressed when I'd go into the bathroom and the Aerogarden would still be alive last year).  But, I kept watching these old educational films on YouTube from the 40's to the 60's and I loved the houseplants that were shown in different homes and how...well...homey they looked. 

So, my plan was to find a fake cloth or silk leafy type of plant, put it into a wall basket, or wall planter looking thing, and make my own fake houseplant.  I even had a place on the wall scoped out, figured out what I would hang with it (a picture that my daughter made in preschool that I love, made out of beans and lentils...I hung it up the day she brought it home and it has hung up in my house since :), figured out where I would re-hang pictures of the kids that used to hang with the butterfly picture (in my hallway where not many people saw either the butterfly or the pictures of the kids), or that used to hang on the wall where the plant and picture were going (a picture of my daughter when she was a baby). 

Honestly, I think my husband thought I was nuts for wanting to get a fake plant and redo everything.  He probably still thinks I'm a little nuts.  But, I'm okay with that *laugh*.

And so, I've scoped out the used stores every single time I went looking for both the wall mount ability and a good fake plant.  Originally I had planned on maybe a fake hanging fern or something that would look more spread out, but rethought that idea when I, for one, couldn't find anything like that at the used stores AT ALL, and two the cost of what something like that would cost if I bought it new and, for three, what my son would do to something that hung down with tons of little parts that could be torn off of it.  So, I decided I'd try and find a leafy type of fake plant, but one that wouldn't spread out too far down the wall. 

I finally found what I wanted at Value Village and it only cost me .99.  I wish they had another so I could have made the final effect look "fuller" but overall, after bending things around and messing with it for a while, I think I got it to come out looking pretty nice.  I am thrilled with how it all looks.

So, for less than two dollars, I got a new home decor element added to the house and bonus is that this section of wall is at the top of the stairs right by my living room so you can see that the plant and picture go GREAT with the love seat's cushions.  I notice these things ;).

4.  I ran into a picture my son had done at school in his back pack and told him how much I loved that he signed his name.  He seemed really thrilled that I noticed his accomplishment, so I hung it up on the fridge.  I really want to try and find a frame around here to frame it and hang it so it's protected.  Him showing pride in his work meant a lot :).

Oh and just because I keep forgetting, here's the picture my daughter drew me for Mother's Day...

5.  We cleaned and organized a lot this week.  We spent two days cleaning out the daughter's room and deep cleaning everything (more time than it SHOULD have taken, but the daughter was being obstinate about doing work and making things difficult until I showed her bugs in my tool bag...that got her cleaning real fast!). 
We are still doing a bunch of stuff to the living room (I'll share more on that when it's more toward being done and less toward being a huge looking mess), but I did manage to get the hallway closet gutted, deep cleaned and reorganized today (well, at least as good as it can get for the moment).

I have one shelf for snacks (the bottom one there) and past that I just kind of stacked things where I could fit them.  Cereal gets stuck in here by default as there is no where else to put it, the kid's fans for their windows are put in here for the time being because they aren't needed and putting them up into the closets is out of the question until I know that no buggies are sticking around in said closets and things.  Cleaning things like my mop, broom, dusters and the like get stuck in there because I have no where else to put them, etc.  So, even though it looks like a cluttered's better than it was.  Trust me *laugh*.

And yeah, I'm going to call it good there as that's what I've basically been up to other than battling bugs left and right around here.  How about you?  How did your week go?

Shopping Goals: July and August 2018

The Frugal Friday post is coming.  I just put it off till (hopefully) tonight because it was a short week on the frugal front since I posted up last week's so late, so I want to make sure I have some decent content to post :).

When it comes to shopping goals, I decided to combine this month and next month together since this time of year a lot of purchases depend on sales, so it's kind of hard to say when things will go down in price to the point I can afford to get them.  I DOUBT I'm going to be buying anything more this month as we're already down to near scary levels in the bank after getting gas and groceries (the short pay period doesn't help), but who knows what might happen to maybe allow me to get a few essentials in the meantime (like super cheap clearance or something).  I was kind of hoping to be more financially ahead this month as Prime Day with Amazon is coming up in a few days and I was hoping to maybe be able to afford to get a few Christmas gifts out of the way for the family.  Instead, anytime I had any money through Amazon I've ended up spending it on essentials or things that are needed in a more immediate sense, like new sneakers for my husband so he's not killing his feet, or a new backpack and things for the daughter, or replacement DVD's for the son that he's dying without after biting the DVD's and wrecking them (at least I replaced "The Secret of NIMH", we're actually watching it right now *laugh*).  

I did drain the bank account more than I wanted to by taking advantage of some things I found super cheap on Amazon the last few days.  Seventh Generation, I think, jumped on the Prime Day bandwagon early, so they had a 25% off coupon on a bunch of different products.  I have to use their products for the sake of the son's eczema so ANYTIME I can get a good deal on those products, I jump on it.  I ordered a case of six bottles of dish soap that the box had been opened for cheap (hopefully the "Very good" condition wasn't a lie and the dish soap is in good shape *fingers crossed*) and I ordered some dish washing detergent pods as their big container after coupon was cheaper than I spend on a small container of their pods.  I have other things on Subscribe and Save as well (I'll get to that HUGE list in a I'm going to pay for all of it at this point...we'll see how the next paycheck goes.  I can pray, anyway).

School supplies are a worry as I know the daughter is going to need different things this year than she did in elementary school, so I am waiting on pins and needles about how bad THAT is going to be with 7 different teachers making demands this year.  

Basically the larder beetle infestation could not have picked a WORSE time to hit.  There is so much going on (needing clothes, gym shoes, school supplies, etc) and then having to replenish EVERY SINGLE cleaning item I have in the house at the same's amazing I'm not breathing into a paper bag all day.  I can't even reuse vacuum bags as doing that will just spread the eggs and make the bug problem worse.  UGH!!!  I even lost a bunch of embroidery floss yesterday as the miserable things crawled through a small gap in the bottom of my sewing box and spread in there.  At least my tool bag I was able to clean and make sure the tools got washed and oiled and everything could be put back where it came from without worries.  I'm amazed, utterly creeped out and disgusted beyond measure how quickly these things spread and where they end up at.  We got the daughter's room completely gutted yesterday and cleaned everything thoroughly and today it's gutting the hallway closet and seeing how bad they spread in there.  My bugaphobia is at all time highs, and believe me, I have a pretty high level of it already.

Great.  My anxieties have anxieties.  I'm slowly morphing into Charlie Brown *laugh*.

So, anyway, anxious tired tangent there, sorry.  Back to the matter at hand.  Spending money I don't have *laugh*.

So, here we go!  This month's and next month's shopping goals.  This is a tentative list for next month as I will probably amend it and figure out what I need to buy next month (or basically figure out what I can afford, if anything) when it gets here.  

Regular Stores:
  • School Supplies (waiting for the super sale on school supplies there) 
Payless Shoes  (or Amazon, depending on price): 
  • Gym Shoes for both children
  • Socks for both children (especially the son as he keeps stealing mine out of the laundry, since we're in the same size sock now *grumble*)
  • Meat (I got some on reduced this week, but still need to get more if I can afford it and the reductions are good enough)
  • Greens (to freeze for over the winter, since I couldn't plant a garden this year)
  • Storage onions (I only have two onions left, so definitely need these)

Used Stores:
  • Back to school clothes
  • Binders (maybe, depending on size needed for daughter)
  • Jeans and shirts (for clothes are finally falling apart, especially my 20 year old t-shirts and things)
  • Home decor items (this is only at BOTTOM of the barrel pricing as I need money for other things around here)

Cleaning Supplies Needed (in General, will get where cheap and such):
  • Bleach
  • White Vinegar
  • Chlorine Free Bleach
  • All Purpose Cleaner
  • Window Cleaner (to use on mirrors and things in son's room as the smell of vinegar really makes him gaggy)
  • Mop and bucket (bucket is developing a crack and my mop is losing pieces off of it every time I use it now)
  • Broom (it's on its last legs)
  • Dish cloths (I'm going through one a day and need some extras)
  • Cleaning sponges
  • Bathroom cleaner
  • DAP (to redo sinks, tubs, the splash guard in the kitchen, fill in gaps in the kitchen floor, etc)
  • Garbage Bags (contains affiliate links.  If you order through these links I get a small commission from Amazon for shooting the sale their way.  You aren't charged any extra for doing this.  If you order through these links, thank you for your support!):
And, yeah, there's my "Oh my goodness that's long!" list.  How about you?  Got things you need to buy this month?

Friday, July 6, 2018

Frugal Friday: Money Saving Weekly Recap

I am TIRED right now, so I apologize for the lateness of the post, any grammatical errors and any weird tangents I might go on.  I am going to back schedule this post to "post" on Friday of last week.  Why?  Because posting up a Friday post on Tuesday makes me annoyed at myself, so at least I can trick Blogger into back posting this to the right day *laugh*.

So, ever wonder how to make yourself have the energy to make your home look like it stepped out of a Pottery Barn catalog?  You know, that crisp, "Everything is so CLEAN" look.

Well, I have the answer to that question.  Get yourself an infestation of a nasty bug in your house and you'll be AMAZED how much energy and time you will put into detail cleaning your house each day.

Turns out those little beetles that were flying through my screens because they were so tiny?  Well, not all of them were spruce beetles.  Nope, some of them were TEENY TINY little larder beetles.  Larder beetles are a bug that seek out ANY food you might have in your carpets, around your walls and basically anywhere, lay hundreds of eggs get the idea.  Unfortunately, to make matters that much worse is that I have a kiddo who likes to spread food EVERYWHERE multiple times a day, so the larder beetles found food around base boards and things and just went berserk.

I don't have an out and out infestation, but I'm holding a line and one that could quickly fall to the enemy if I let my guard down for one second.  I've been seeking out and destroying bugs left and right.  They managed to get into my seed storage (which shocked and horrified me when I opened the container), so I had to throw all of my seeds away (I cried, I'll admit it).  I had to put all of my material, that isn't in my sewing cabinet (so far that has come through okay, but I'm keeping an eye on it) into ziploc bags to keep it safe from larvae.  I move ALL furniture every single day to vacuum under it.  I sweep floors multiple times a day and mop with bleach solution daily to kill off anything that might be lurking there.  I emptied the son's closet, completely, including all toy boxes and cleaned thoroughly, but while I was at it I weeded out a ton of old toddler toys that I know he won't play with (he is, after all, underneath it all, a kid who is getting older and getting insulted that we might want him to play with "baby" things).  Last night I found a few beetles in my pantry, freaked, went through and thoroughly cleaned and checked things over (luckily the majority of things that aren't on shelves and sealed up are in cans and the canned goods are the things on the floor right now).

I am out of cleaning supplies now, badly.  I am using the rest of my white vinegar to clean with (which is getting low) and I have nothing resembling all purpose cleaner, bathroom cleaner or anything like that at this point.  I've been clocking in days that end at 2 to 3 am, just cleaning (pulling towels off of shelves and washing them, scrubbing the shelves and getting into every little space and crevice type of cleaning), organizing, weeding (larder beetles love clutter, so I've been going MAD with the decluttering) and getting ready to get up the next day and start the whole mess over again.  The life span of these buggers is TWO MONTHS, so I've got a long, hard fight ahead of me to try and stop them from reproducing in droves.  This is depressing for sure, but it could be so much worse (knock on wood there, please don't take that as ANY type of challenge, Lord!) as at least I store my food to try and protect it from mice and bugs, so that has helped (thank GOD for Tupperware and five gallon buckets with a good seal on them).

We also had a heat wave (for us, I apologize to my wimpy "Alaskan" threshold for temperatures *laugh*) and the temps shot into the 80's last week, which finally we had to install the air conditioner as the upstairs in our house was HOT and the kids couldn't sleep with the heat that bad.  So, my electric bill between the fans and the air conditioner and the vacuum cleaner running constantly...ugh...I don't even want to KNOW what that is going to do it.  We are now back down into the 50's and wearing coats, so we'll see how the weather shakes out the rest of the summer.  The weather this summer is kind of nutty.

So, yeah, now that my house is sparkly clean (when was the last time you pulled off a baseboard and cleaned behind it?) and having to stay that way for a while, let's get to the money SAVING things that happened this week.  I've been busy, so be prepared as the list is kind of long.

1.  The Fourth of July was a pretty good holiday around here.  We had hamburgers and hot dogs for dinner, lemon bars for dessert, a visit from our local sister missionaries (which was fun) and I was even able to make some decorations to go with the few I had already made or had from past holidays.

This year I made paper fans to hang on the wall, which I thought turned out pretty well all things considered.  I used some patriotic looking scrap booking paper I had in my stores and when I didn't have enough to make a second big fan, I used a large sketch pad and made a last one with some paper and markers.  Overall, I was happy with how it all turned out.

Past that display I polished up the bi-centennial bowl and put out some blue and red windmills we had around the house and put out the flags we had in a blue bottle in the middle of the table.  I was happy with how the decorations came together.

2.  Shopping went as minimal as I could make it over the week due to wanting to save as much money as possible as next paycheck is our small paycheck for the month.  The biggest happy surprises this week were finding out that Carrs had given me a personalized price on milk ALL MONTH LONG this month!  So, I can get gallons of 2%, 1% or fat free milk for 2.38 per gallon.  I was thrilled with that!  I also needed bacon for the occasional breakfast dinner and had a coupon loaded for Farmland bacon to make it 2.99 per pound (or whatever passes for a pound anymore).  I found some packages 50% off as well, so stacking the discount with the coupon I got bacon for 1.49 per pound.  The 2 lb packages of cheese were also on sale for 4.99 this week with a digital only coupon, so I got some shredded cheese for use in recipes (and I found that the son will eat some of it if I mix it with the Tilamook cheese he loves, so it's working as a Tilamook extender as well).

3.  We stopped off at the used store earlier in the week to look for a new pasta strainer as mine is losing its handles.  I didn't find a strainer, but I DID find a material remnant I picked up for 1.00 (seen on the left above there) to turn into throw pillows for the love seat.  I had to make the material work to make two pillows, so one of the pillows has a seam on the back, but it still turned out looking nice.  I'm not sure why I love this material design so much, but I do.  It's a heavy upholstery fabric as well, so I'm hoping it'll wear well.  I did wash and dry it before using it and it washed quite well overall, so I was happy with that.  I also found a cool Corvette panel that I'm thinking was originally to make a pillow case out of, but someone had cut cut off part of said panel.  I bought it to turn it into a throw pillow for the son's bed as he LOVES the throw pillows on his sister's bed.

Seen above is the unstuffed throw pillows I made before I stuffed them and sewed them shut.  I went through my fabric stores to make new throw pillows for the sofa down in the den as my son had just stained the heck out of the throw pillows I had made a while ago and since I was washing so much stuff around here, I figured I'd make new pillows with the old stuffing from the other pillows.  It worked well and I think the new pillows go with the red cushion covers on the couch a lot better than the blue ones did.

So, finished products.  Here you go...

Downstairs couch (I still need to recover the center pillow in another color, but I don't have any material that goes with the couch better right now).

Son's throw pillow.

And the love seat (I really do love those pillows).

4. I received my latest Generation Good mission to try out wet wipes.  I got three travel sized packages of wipes, so I've been keeping them in my purse for emergencies.  I've already used one, so I'm happy I have them.

5.  As previously stated I've been doing a LOT of cleaning, so I decided to finish up the reorganizing of the pantry while I was at it (I had to rip everything out and scrub the shelves and things anyway).  I was happy in that I was able to empty out an entire shelf off of my home canned goods shelves and moved a bunch of canned goods that I use all the time up onto the shelf and put things like the small amount of vegetable oil I have and things onto the shelf as well.  It makes grabbing things and going for dinner and stuff a LOT easier with the new system.

I was also able to pull the food storage cans out of the sewing cabinet (which worked out because than I could better organize my fabric in said cabinet so it will be easier to tell if I have a beetle problem developing in there) and I put those into the pantry where I can better access them.  The couple of big boxes next to the canning lids are actually boxes with my empty canning jars in them, since I didn't can as much this year due to the garden not happening.

When I took these pictures I was still organizing and cleaning.  All the buckets in the pantry got a deep clean on the lids and sides and I went over the home canned goods well with some cleaner and things as well just to be sure there wasn't any food residue on them to attract bugs.

There's not much room to maneuver at the back of the pantry now due to the food storage being there, but it works.  The condiment shelf didn't move, but got a good clean and everything put back onto it.

6.  While in the midst of the cleaning frenzy/bug war, I rearranged the den and put my sewing table where I was planning on putting a table for cutting fabric.  I couldn't stand being stuck in a small corner at the backside of the den was just kind of depressing to sew there and my table was also right in the middle of catch-all area for the den, so my sewing table always got buried.  So, now it's out in the open, I have a small can to put my thread clippings and little scraps of fabric to be thrown away and I was even able to put my sewing form (under my black hoodie there) in the area.  I've got plans for the dresser, maybe, so we'll see where else this area goes, but I was happy with having the sewing table out in the main area more.

7.  In the midst of everything I was still able to mend a pair of pants, a shirt and added about fifteen things to the mending pile (doh!), which, for now, is being stored in my dresser for fear of what leaving it out in the open might do.

8.  My husband took a four day weekend for the Fourth of July and my son enjoyed spending time with him the most of all, I think.  He LOVED having his dad home and reveled in the attention.  It was cute :).  While having him home, though, I was still able to cook three meals a day at home (since the husband likes eating a decent sized breakfast...I'm not one of those people *laugh*) and we managed to avoid going a lot of unnecessary places, which conserved gas in my truck as we also didn't have summer school last week due to the holiday, so I was able to save (hopefully) enough gas to get me through this week as well until pay day.

9.  I started work on the quilt I want to make.  Once I'm done with my first square or so I'll give you guys an update on what my plan of attack is for it.  So far the two squares I designed have been turning out well, so yay for that!

10.  I. used an Amazon gift card I had to purchase some new sneakers for my husband and a new backpack and lunch box for my daughter (who was thrilled with the "Ever After High" lunch bag and backpack I was able to find).  I was thrilled to get my daughter a few small things that are helping to make her more excited for the coming school year as sometimes that makes all the difference in the attitude in those beginning school days (and she desperately  needed both items anyway, so I figured I might as well buy her something she'd really love to get).  I'm anxious about her starting Junior High and really want to make it as easy on her as I can, so I was thrilled to be blessed with enough money to make that a bit more possible.  Money is so tight that any amount to make it stretch is a huge blessing, so I was feeling really grateful for that this week.

And, yeah, that and more happened this week, but there are SO many pictures and things on this post I'm sure it's a virtual novel to page through by now, so I'm going to leave it there for now.  I still have a bunch of redecorating I want to get done around here, I have school supplies I have to buy coming up (that'll be interesting with how tight our budget is) on top of a ton of other things, and I am going to be in the trenches fighting bugs and I guess making my home really nice looking in the meantime as well (I even pulled down pictures and dusted them and things this week...amazing once you start detail cleaning your house constantly how things like dust REALLY start to bug you).

So, how did you all do this last week?  Well I hope?

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Frugal Friday (times 2): Money Saving Weekly Recap

First, I'd like to thank those who e-mailed me and asked if we were okay around here.  We're still alive.  Life has just been hectic around here.

First there is therapy, summer school and swimming lessons.  I have to say that I'm thrilled with how Alvah is doing this summer.  This is the first summer he's actually NOT fought going to summer school and is actually seeming to be enjoying it, which is wonderful and he's made every day with the exception of one day where he just plain wasn't feeling well (which is definitely a good thing as normally he misses at least half of the session with different issues).  He's doing awesome in swimming lessons (I keep meaning to take pictures of him, but I go into mom "oh my God be careful" mode and keep forgetting) and so is Armina.  And therapy has been kind of sporadic on what days we go in due to appointments the speech therapist has and such, but get this, she RESCHEDULES HIM!!!  It's wonderful :).  We've been able to get him in twice a week with the exception of this week where he was in once (she was out a town for a full week and just couldn't fit him in twice), but he's doing good so far.  I'm hopeful that he'll start to make real progress here.  So far, so good.

 We found out that a good friend of ours had lost their home to fire on Father's Day weekend.  They lost three of their dogs and their home is a total loss.  We felt terrible for all of them (stater of the obvious am I) and did what we could for them with what we had.  We dropped off a care package and some dinner and visited with them for a while, making sure to let them know that we would help any way we could in the coming months as they try to rebuild their lives after such a tragic event.  At least their insurance company has been really good to deal with and they have a plan to try to get some type of a home type environment built by winter, but really hammers home how things can happen in an instant and change everything.  They did have a couple small miracles occur in that somehow their printed photos survived the fire as did our friend's mementos from his days in the military.

We saw another friend of ours that I haven't seen in years this week.  He called out of the blue and told us he was coming over with pizza to repay my husband for a midnight call he did to help him out months back (he's the type that always repays his debts, so I didn't even argue or he would have showed up randomly with pizza one night *laugh*).  It was great seeing him again and funny enough I made the appointment with him to come over and then later realized it was the same day as my husband's and my anniversary.  So, we had pizza for our anniversary and a visit with a good friend.  Nice way to spend it, really :).

Oh and random side note to other locals.  I found out via e-mail a couple of days ago that our local LDS cannery in Palmer is closing permanently as the owner of the property the cannery sits on is selling everything as he's retiring and selling off the farm.  Not only does this close the door on the cannery, but also makes me wonder if the U-Pick farm is going to be closing down as well as it's the same property.  It's also the same property that the fall festival and things is held at.  So, this could very well be a REALLY depressing turn of events as we have had some good times there.  On the cannery front, the cannery instant mashed potatoes were the only ones I actually liked, so I told my husband that I'm going to be peeling potatoes from now on and having to make mashed potatoes the old fashioned way.  Less convenient, but way better tasting than the store bought potato flakes.

And right, on top of all of that I've been busy around the house, so let's get to some of that (I'm still buttoning up other projects I've been working on with my son's room, my master bedroom, my daughter's room and the den, so those pictures will be coming at some point in the near future here).

1.  Right, let's start with shopping.  Last week shopping was really sparse as we didn't have any money to spend, really, but I did pick up a full sized package of laundry packs at Carrs for cheap.  Generation Good (the Seventh Generation product testing group I mentioned in an earlier post) sent me some Free and Clear laundry packs to try and I was surprised with how well they actually did in our cold well water and I can have my daughter do laundry now as it's super easy to just tell her to throw in a packet instead of worrying about her trying to lift a heavy thing of liquid down from the shelf to fill up the little cup and pour it into the laundry.  Carrs had a package of the packs on clearance for 50% off and then I had a 2.00/1 coupon on Seventh Generation laundry items from the same Seventh Generation mission, so I bought the package for less than 8.00.  I needed laundry detergent, so that worked out well for sure (seen up top there).

I also got cheap eggs last week (.99 with a digital only coupon), cheap milk (1.99 for a gallon with a digital only coupon), cheap cheese (1.49 per 8 oz. shredded packet with digital coupon) and cheap bread (.79 with digital only coupon).  My friend even gave me her milk coupon and I was able to get two gallons of milk cheap :).

At Fred Meyer I got free juice, free bread, free Oreos and a free Knorr side from Freebie Friday items and also a Best Customer coupon (for the Oreos).  I would have taken a picture of the things, but I was rushed as that was the day we went to visit our friends and deliver dinner and such.  Basically, the juice went in with their dinner, the bread we ate (it was good bread, actually, for store bought) over the week, the Oreos lasted two days tops before the son consumed them all.

This week was the big shopping day as it was pay week.  I impressed my cashier and the guy behind me as I had to pick up EVERYTHING pretty much (I still forgot to get cat litter too) and the only thing I got that WASN'T on really good sale or personalized price was the milk.  I experimented with some milk I got on reduced cheap a few weeks back and had put three gallons worth of half gallons into the freezer to see how well it would defrost.  It worked great and no one can tell any off flavor from having been frozen, so I'm seriously starting to wonder if I might be able to go further between shopping trips by buying a few more gallons of milk and freezing them to use later in the month.  It'd be nice to only have to go shopping for produce and a few minor items through the month as needed and not worry about having to go and get milk multiple times a week.

I have to say the highlight of this week's shopping trip was getting value packs of chicken for 5.00 a piece as part of 5.00 Friday and getting two 3 lb chubs of hamburger for 50% off, so I got six pounds of hamburger for about 13.00.

2.  Downside to getting paid was that I realized that my husband's check was actually less than his old checks were.  We aren't sure why yet, as the way his pay stubs break down you can't track deductions for things like retirement and health insurance and stuff at all well, but that was REALLY upsetting.  I mean he just got a raise.  He's supposed to be making more, not less.  We're going to give it a couple of pay periods, he's going to talk to payroll and the union and see where we end up as the way the state does the pay periods gets wonky and hard to say how the hours fall, so we'll just have to see what happens.  But, yeah, life might be getting tougher instead of easier on the money front.

3.  I did a HUGE amount of cleaning and organizing the last couple of weeks.  We've been getting bugs this year inside the house.  The usual spider mite problem hasn't been a thing the last couple of years due to the rain and colder than average temps, but this year we have spruce beetles EVERYWHERE!  The baby beetles are small enough to fit through screens and get into the house through any little hole, so of course they are escaping the rain and cold outside and coming into my house.  Which ICK!!!!!!  And then we are having these black milipede looking things that just randomly show up and creep me out, and so it was time for a complete purging of anywhere bugs could hide (still working on it, but we're getting there).  Every knook and cranny has been been getting scrubbed with bleach water to kill anything that might be lurking and while I was doing that I started getting other stuff done on the organizing front.

One of the big projects was the kitchen.  I realized that my cabinets were bowing, bad, in some cases and I had to do something to stop the problem from getting worse.  So, I went through and figured out which cabinets had some support built into them and went to work.

Welcome to the new kitchen cabinets, designed in probably the craziest system possible.  The cabinets are getting organized by weight.

So, the old glasses cabinet became the baking cabinet.  I need to adjust up the top shelf so that my hand mixer can stand upright, but everything fits alright.  You can see where the shelf, especially in the middle, was bowing pretty bad.  It has a lot less weight on it now, as does the top shelf, so hopefully that will help the shelves not bow constantly.

The cabinet that used to hold my measuring cups and things for baking, which can actually take a decent amount of weight as it's got small shelf space, I used to put our most commonly used cups and glasses in.

Our corner cabinet had the sturdiest build to it as it doesn't have the cheapie adjustable shelves with the plastic tabs to hold them, but instead had actual shelves built into it.  So, the bottom shelf houses the plates and more cups around them.  The next shelf up has bowls and yet more glasses and cups around them.  And the top shelf has instant oatmeal and food items that might not be safe for Alvah, so we keep them up and out of his reach and out of sight.

This was the cabinet where I had my mixing bowls originally and had things like cereal and stuff stored.  The cereal and things went to the hallway closet (no other cabinet had shelves tall enough to work) and I moved my light weight Tupperware dishes and things into it.  The bottom shelf resembles Swiss cheese as the previous owners drilled a bunch of holes through it to hang a paper towel holder under the cabinet, and it just made the bottom shelf that less reliable.  I don't know if the picture really shows how badly the bottom shelf bows, but it really does bow pretty bad, so I'm hoping the Tupperware dishes will work better in there.

And this is the cabinet that used to house the plates and bowls and things.  The shelves were suffering from the weight (you can still see where the top shelf is bowing from the weight from some of the dishes my grandma gave to me and a couple of special occasion dishes), so I moved some Tupperware storage containers here as well as a couple of other "miscellaneous" pieces (like the ice cream bowls and the salad dressing containers) to help alleviate the weight on the shelves.

It's definitely a system that has taken some getting used to, but we're starting to figure it out.

I also cleaned the screens this week as with the cottonwood pollen they needed it and I took down all of my pots and pans and cleaned my pot rack thoroughly.  I had some lids from old pans on top of the pot rack, so after thoroughly cleaning those, I put them into better storage where they won't get a bunch of grease settling onto them like they did when they sat on top of the pot rack.

Oh, and in case some are wondering where we got a pot rack like this one.  That's actually a remnant of cable tray (it's used in commercial electrical work and you hang it to literally lay data cables and things on the track to keep them tidy in ceilings and things) that my husband saved from the dumpster one day along with a few other small pieces that he ended up using as shelving.  I realized that it would make a good pot rack, so I stole a piece and had him hang it for me.  Some "s" hooks from the hardware store and we were in business :).  It works great and fit perfectly in the space.

I did find when cleaning it that since the metal was kind of rough in places that it was hard to actually get all of the dust and old grease off of it (I have no actual working hood in my kitchen...the hood butts up against the bottom of a cabinet and doesn't do anything for getting stuff OUT of the kitchen), but when I finally got it done it looked good and I was happy with it.  And really for a pot rack that cost me like 6.00 in "s" hooks and other small parts to secure the thing...I am not complaining about any little hiccups cleaning it *laugh*.

4.  The son has been destroying DVD's of late.  He goes through phases and this is one I was hoping wouldn't come back.  He waits till your back is turned doing something and than will stick a DVD into his mouth because he likes the sensation and just destroys the DVD with his teeth marks.  My husband and I decided it is time to pull some containers from storage and to just start boxing up movies and accessing them through the containers as we need them to try and minimize the damage as we both know there is no way we can afford to start replacing movies left and right.  The one that got to me the most this week was him destroying my "Family Fun Edition" of "The Secret of NIMH".  That's one of my favorite movies and it really bugged me that it was gone.  I bought the son a digital version of said movie for his I-Pad (he loves the movie too, so I didn't want him to be without it) and I will pick up a replacement copy of said movie for myself soon (luckily it's a cheap movie to replace).

5.  So, being broke is probably the worst possible time to want to start redoing your home decor, but I am determined to try and get some things to just make things look nicer and more finished around the house.  I've had the same home decor items for YEARS and they are looking tired in some cases.  So, I sat down and made a list on top of a few items I actually need.  So far I'm not having any luck finding a new strainer/colander (I can't believe how rare those are to find at the used one I found at a used store a while back I think was for home decor type of use only as the handles are falling off and it's actually rusting, which shouldn't be happening with stainless steel) or a copper bowl (to whip eggs easier...I've wanted one for years...still no luck finding one, but hey, I'll keep looking), but I DID find a few things on my list the last couple of weeks!  I found a nice silverware holder for 1.00 (it had gotten stained by a blue marker or something leaking on it, so it was cheap).  It took a good day of cleaning and running it under a lot of water to remove the blue dye from it, but it cleaned up nicely and now I have a nice looking silverware holder :).  My old system was a basket I had found with mason jars stuffed into it which worked OKAY, but was hard for the daughter to see what silverware she needed to grab to set the table.  It's a lot easier now and it looks a lot nicer.

I also found a kitchen clock for 1.50 (not seen as I haven't taken a picture of it yet) that my husband and I are going to work on repainting to look more vintage, but that was another item off of my list. 

We also bought my daughter a bunch of clothes this week as she's grown about two sizes so far this summer.  Definitely a needed development on her part as she was the smallest kid in her class, I think, but not the cheapest thing to field.  We spent 30.00 on clothes for her, but I comforted myself knowing that we got her about five different outfits with that money (including a nice looking dress shirt to wear over her beloved leggings), where if we had gone to the box stores we wouldn't have been able to get half of that.

6.  Back to the house and organizing.  I redid the layout of my living room the last couple of weeks to accommodate shampooing the carpet, for one, and to give more people good views of the TV.

The kids love the new position of the love seat, I like the position of the rocking chair for the days where my back is hurting me and everyone can see the TV well and now we can run the remotes easier as the furniture is lined up with the TV and DVD player a lot better.  I still have more shampooing of carpets to do, but I'm getting there slowly but surely.

7.  We dropped off donations to the used stores the last few weeks, which was nice to be able to reclaim space and get some clutter out of the house.

8.  I used up things in the freezer that needed to be used and incorporated them into the meal plan this week.  We had a sheet pan dinner with kielbasa, brussel sprouts, green beans and a couple other different types of vegetables that needed to be used from the freezer one night and tonight we had Cornish pasties with cherry napoleons for dessert (basically some puff pastry I needed to use from the depth of the freezer that I baked in small rectangles and then carefully cut in half when done and filled it with a mixture of whipped topping combined with thickened vanilla pudding and then some cherry pie filling for the final layer in the middle.  Sprinkled some powdered sugar on top and voila!  Fancy dessert and really yummy!).

9.  I started hitting Pinterest for some ideas on what to make for Fourth of July decorations to add to what we already had around the house.  I have some ideas, so we'll see how it goes making them in the coming days :).

And yeah...there's other projects that aren't quite done yet, but I can safely say that I think there isn't a room in the house that hasn't been worked on the last couple of weeks.  How about you?  How have you all been?