Thursday, April 30, 2009

Thrifty Thursday

To recap, when I was asked to teach a class at church recently about saving money on food and cooking healthy meals I divided the information into three parts. I've already posted on the first part - PLAN. Today its time for the second part - EXPERIMENT.

By experiment I mean
  • try different cost saving measures and find what fits your style and comfort level. There are many, many options including: Coupons, freezer meals, crockpot meals, stocking up, shopping sales at multiple stores, etc. Not everything works for everybody; try a few methods to find what works for you.
  • try new recipes. Again, it may be a flop but it also might become a family favorite.
  • 30 Meals in One day is a great resource. I used this program with my sister and we both cooked 30 freezer meals for about $150 for each of us.
  • Make your own freezer meals. Make double recipes of family favorites and freeze the second recipe.
  • Make your own mixes. I make my own pancake mix and my own muffin mix. You can make your own "Bisquick" type mixes too. The Make A Mix cookbook series is available from Amazon and other retailers.
  • Ask your friends and family for their own tips and tricks. Then try them on for size, they just might be a perfect fit!

So, that's it for this Thursday. I've also got two new websites you can check out. These come compliments of my friend Vanessa, a fellow frugalista. She uses and Thanks Vanessa!

Remember, experiment and try something new, you just might find saving money is easier and more fun than you think!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Dang it!

Last night while I was laying in bed almost asleep, I thought of a great post topic. It was witty, clever, and everyone would want to comment about it. I was so excited about it and proud of myself! This morning I can't for the life of me remember anything about it except it was good, I mean good people. Dang it!

Lesson for today: Strike while the iron's hot, people, while the iron is hot.

Instead, you'll be treated to this tasty tidbit that Evie and Kallie shared in Primary on Easter Sunday. I was teaching a lesson about Christ and the events before and after the Resurrection. I showed a variety of pictures and the children were to tell me the event and then place them in order. When I held up the picture of the Last Supper and Evie yells out, "That's Jesus' last dinner!" and Kallie chimes in "And dessert!"

Dinner and dessert, it what life is all about! ;)

Have a great day, love ya!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Kindergarten Field Trip

This is Noccalula Falls in Gadsden, AL. The Evie and Kallie had their very first field trip there yesterday. It was a beautiful day and I came along for the fun.

These two girls were so excited to go on their first field trip. They rode the bus, had lunch from Jack's, and Evie took her own camera to take pictures, too! Those will be in a later post.

There were beautiful gardens. Even some with not-so-real flowers. The whole park is full of dappled shade and cool paths to walk on. There's a train that will take you through the entire area if you don't want to walk. We mostly walked and explored the rocky gorges, sandy paths, and pioneer village.

We visited the animal habitat and saw deer, sheep, goats, horses, chickens, rabbits, guinea pigs and even...

A lioness! I couldn't believe there was a female lion in Gadsden, AL! Apparently, she's been at the park since she was a cub. She was enjoying a nice sunbathe on Friday.

We had a great time! I'm so glad the girlies wanted me to come with them. It was a long, fun day. I can't wait for the summer and all the fun we'll have then!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Thrifty Thursday

This week's tip is a quick one. I love to sew and always have ideas for what I want to make but can never find the right pattern. Plus, I hate spending money on patterns when I probably will only use them once! While googling "free dress patterns" the other day I found the site . It is AWESOME!!! There are scores of free or super cheap ($2-$4) and very,very chic patterns. On top of that there are "creations" and tutorials that you can view and use. Many of these are variations of the basic patterns Burda sells. Again, awesome!

While browsing last night I found a pattern for a dress that I'd seen and torn from a magazine over two years ago! The dress is awesome and I can't wait to download the pattern and make my own. Today I found a chic and trendy jacket pattern that is now on my immediate to-do list! The patterns are all rated and reviewed too so you can get tips from people who've used them.

If you sew you've got to check this site out. Be prepared to spend some time there though, because you will totally be inspired by all the creative folks who've contributed to this site! In addition to clothes there are baby patterns, accessory patterns even home and pet patterns!!!

Now, save money on some clothes and get to sewing!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Catching up via FaceBook

OK, I'm slow on the uptake when it comes to computers. I've been blogging for nearly 10 months now and it took me a couple years to get started. Well, now I've become a FaceBooker and I'm getting addicted! I've found so many people I haven't seen or heard from for's been interesting. It's odd though, for me, to try to catch-up with people via FB. We talk differently on FB. All the sentences are short, sometimes not even sentences.

There are little blurbs like Jennie Vaughn "is currently working to develop a cure for BHS - bored housewife syndrome"

Then you can "write on SoandSo's wall" First, writing on a wall?! The mother in me screams, "NOOO! You CANNOT write on the wall!!!" Then, the rebel in me writes something profound like, "Hey SoandSo...How are you? I've got three kids and live in a house...what about you? Duh."

It feels weird. (Kind of like when your picutes don't have anything to do with your post!) Don't get me wrong, I really love that I've found so many of these people but, its still a little surreal. I like hearing voices and seeing faces. Guess I'm old-fashioned that way!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Thrifty Thursday - Planning Part II

Last Thursday I gave you the first half of my planning tips. Here's the second half; hope you find something you can use!
--Find the clearance, reduced or manager's special section of your store(s). Most stores have specific discount areas.
--If you don't shop the sales or use coupons Aldi, Sam's Club, and Dollar Tree have good prices daily. (Ex. Aldi's milk is $2.00/gallon for skim and 1%)
--A deep freezer can be invaluable! Think about investing in one. We bought ours (7 cubic feet) at Wal-Mart at the end of summer on sale for less than $200. Also, ask friends or family if they want to part with their freezer or share. When I taught my class the other night a friend said her empty-nester parents have 4 (!!!) deep freezers they aren't using and she also offered to give me her large one that she doesn't need. I'm going to take her up on that!
--Shop the bread store for loaves, buns, bagels, and snack cakes. Day old bread at the bread store is still fresher (and cheaper) than most bread at the grocery store.
--Shop after holidays to stock up on candy, snacks, and specialties. Many candies (like chocolate) can be frozen and then used in baking, etc. (contributed by Shauna Johnson)

Well, that's it for Plan! Next Thursday - Experiment...

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

As promised

On Saturday night we told the kids that we should try to catch the Easter Bunny when he came that night. They thought this was a great idea so we set out a "trap." This was actually a cage with a string tied to the door with a trail of lettuce and carrots leading to it.

Needless to say, we didn't catch the Easter Bunny. But, we did "catch his little brother." This is Licorice. Isn't he cute? The Easter Bunny left a note saying that his little brother got caught in our trap but then decided that he liked our house and wanted to stay. He asked the kids to take good care of his little bro. Well, he's being cherished. He lives in Holdyn's room and gets frequent out-of-cage time.

Unluckily, I discovered that bunnies make my nose sneezy and my eyes watery! Oops, guess we should have checked on that before "setting the trap." Oh well, its nothing a Zyrtec can't fix until I adjust to his fluffiness.

As for my new niece, her name is Isla (prn. I-la). She was born early on Easter morning and is too cute. I'm still working on getting her pics up. I've got to figure out how to copy them from her parents' blog.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


We had a great Easter and the Easter bunny brought us a lots of treats including a real bunny of our own and a new niece/cousin! I'll get pics of both up soon but I'm taking the rest of the day off! I just finished a term paper for my Contemporary European Lit class and I'm beat. My brain feels like it just ran a marathon! I can barely type this post, my synapses are firing all over the place and I feel kind of foggy. I'm going to rest - have a great day!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Introducing Thrifty Thursday

Several of you commented that you'd like to know some of the tips I collected for my recent "Cooking Healthy on a Budget Class." There are a lot so I thought I'd start a regular feature and give a few tips each Thursday, hence Thrifty Thursday. I hope these are useful. If you want to contribute just email me. I'll post them and give you attribution. Let's save some money and time together!

For the class I taught I divided my information into three sections: Plan, Experiment, and Prioritize. For this segement I'll give tips regarding planning.
1. Always plan a menu. Plan your menu for at least one week. I plan for two weeks and would stretch it to a month if my kitchen had enough storage room. Plan your menu around the ads for your local store(s).
2. Set a budget and DO NOT exceed it. Our limit is $180-$200/two weeks, that includes any clothes, socks, sundries, etc. There have been times when things went back on the shelf because I was too near the limit. We lived and nobody noticed anything missing.
3. Shop for as much as you can at once. See number 1. Stopping by the store "just for a few things" rarely works - you always end up with more than you intended.
4. Use coupons only for items you'd normally buy. A name-brand coupon may not be a deal if you usually buy the store brand.
5. Try to buy ahead. Stock up on items you regularly use when they are on sale.

So, that's about half the list of Plan tips. Next Thursday I post the other half. Remember, if you've got a great tip to share send it to me and I'll get it up. Cha-ching!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Thanks to All

I just wanted to say a quick thank you to everyone who commented or emailed with tips for healthy cooking on a budget. I taught the class last night and it went really well! I'm probably the person who learned the most, though. So, again, thanks for helping me and imparting some great tips, hints, and recipes. I'm considering sharing these with all of you and making it a regular feature. What do you think? I will of course give attribution to the person who shared the tip/recipe with me. But, would anyone be interested? Let me know!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Sweet Relief

So, as my family well knows, I have some sort of stomach ailment (undaignosed, of course) that causes me to have an upset stomach and its accompanying symptoms EVERY night. I am not exaggerating, just ask K. Every night at about 8pm I get sick to my stomach - this has been going on since I was pregnant with Holdyn so um, 8 years.

Anyway, I finally decided (or K threatened to leave me) that I would try to take something over-the-counter and see if anything helped my situation. I am VERY, VERY anti-medication. I don't know why - I'm just wierd that way. But I thought I'd try a probiotic and see if that helped.

At Wally World I found this probiotic called Sustenex. The package says its different b/c the probiotic is in a gel-cap instead of solid pill form. I don't know anything, but thought I'd try anyway. Also, the package warns that it may take up to 14 days to take full effect. Anyway, I've been taking them since Monday and haven't had an attack since Monday night!

I cannot tell you how much better I feel! It is incredible, really, I'd never have thought it would be that simple. I was sure that I had some incurable form of IBS or something. I mean these were not your normal unsettled stomachs. These were full on doubled over in cramps upset stomachs with much toilet time involved.

TMI, sorry!! The point is, I feel like a new person! I was stupid to let myself suffer so much. Thank you K for your drastic measures. Maybe next time I won't be so hard-headed. Well, I probably will be but thanks for loving me anyway!!!!