Monday, August 30, 2010

Budget Boot Camp Challenge #9~Do It Yourself

This weeks Budget Boot Camp Challenge was do it yourself.  If you know me at all you know I don't do anything myself I have a guy for everything.  So this was a real challenge for me!  Beth gave us some great ideas for ways to do it yourself.  Clair has a whole youtube video series on going green and saving green.  How clever right? 
After reading Beth and Clairs suggestions I realized I wasn't THAT bad and I do somethings myself.  I do make my own cinnamon rolls from scratch--  You can  see that venture on my youtube video.   So I wouldn't call this challenge a complete fail for me because I am definitely willing to try new things especially if I can save money in the process.  Just wish me LUCK!
 I loved Clair's video so much about using an avocado as a face mask instead of spending a fortune on expensive beauty treatments I wanted to share.  I didn't try it yet but avocados are on sale this week so I am going to try it out tomorrow ( I was going to the store today but my hubby accidentally took my wallet to work with him and NO it is not because I spend too much money haha!)  So enjoy this video and depending on how much I like the avocado facial I may do a video of my own.  You just never know about me!



As always visit our facebook fanpage to see what the other challengers are up to and to find great ways to get your budget into shape!

Just a quick update I have noticed a significant difference in our monthly budget.  I am thrilled at all the savings!  To see all the things I am doing to get my personal budget in shape read these Budget Boot Camp posts.  It is not too late to get your budget in shape!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

I do have other children.....

I have to make a conscious effort to take pictures of my older children.  With them gone all day long it makes it more difficult.  Today after school I made them pose for me.  Peyton is way more willing than Dalton he is of course his father's child.....
Those are tired eyes I must admit but I just loved the pose and how the sun made her look...
I had one great pose of this prince charming but unfortunately the amateur photographer here messed up the focus ugh!
Tomorrow I am going to take pictures BEFORE school not after.  The lighting is better earlier in the morning anyway.....
The tired eyes are mostly from an exhausting cry over not knowing the correct bus number.  Traditional school started today and so bus schedules and numbers change for us year-round people.  I found it so sweet that each of them cried because they couldn't find the other after school.  I am grateful they still care about one another!  Bonus mommy points for today I wish those would cancel out all the scary mommy moments!
What do your children do that make you feel like a good parent?  

3 Year Old Photo Shoot for Wordless Wednesday





AHHHH!  A praying mantis.....

And we're done!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Budget Boot Camp Challenge #8~Freezer Meals

Hey all you Budget Savvy friends of mine.  I can't believe we are already on week 8 of this challenge.  I am particularly excited about this weeks challenge because I not only accomplished it but I took it one step further.  
  The challenge was to make an extra meal this week and freeze it.  I actually made a large batch of one meal and froze half of it.  I made a delicious Chicken Cacciatore.  I cooked it in the crock pot all day so it was really no work for me except the initial prep.  I served it for dinner and then froze the remaining portion.  It was a HUGE hit with my kids and so I am looking forward to using it in the next week or so.   I served it over ziti pasta and with corn on the cob.  I only froze the sauce and I always have extra pasta and veggies so it will be a quick easy meal that we LOVE!
 I took this challenge one step further and joined a with a group of women in my neighborhood and formed a freezer meal group.  We are having a meeting this week and we will start doing freezer meals the first of September.  I can't wait to see the $$$$$ (savings).
  Because I completely spaced taking a picture of the chicken cacciatore I decided you might enjoy a picture of the dessert we had yesterday with Sunday dinner.  Chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter frosting.  Oh they were so yummy!!!
Want more freezer meal tips head on over to visit Clair she has some awesome tips and she also is doing a really cool give-away.  Check her out at Mummy Deals.  
And as always for more tips and budget saving ideas visit out facebook fanpage!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Football Practice

This time of year we really miss our daddy and husband.  He works crazy hours as I have already expressed!  So we try to journey up and visit him at work.  Mainly because it is a nice break from the confines of the house.  And it assures the children that he indeed has not moved out.


  Besides that it helps me get excited for the season.  I love watching the players practice up close you never get to see them that close at the games and they always look so small down on the field.  Believe me these boys are not small!
This is how my kids watch practice.  They are more concerned with what there is to play with and where the water is located.  Oh and don't forget the bathroom which is a complete adventure... sorry no picture of that!
Linking up with Angie over at Seven Clown Circus for Wordful Wednesday. 

Frugal Online Shopping

  

Are you sick of my budget tips yet?  I hope not I have only a few.  Believe me I didn't know there were so many ways to actually save money!  Honestly why have I been paying full price for everything for so long? 
Do you shop online?  I am sure you have ordered at least one item from the internet. Wouldn't it be nice if you knew you could save money on your online orders?  Especially this time of year when planning for the holidays or when sending your pictures to be printed?   Well I have discovered a site that will help me save money when shopping online and it is called Coupon Chief.
  It is a site that lists online coupon codes for when shopping online.  Not only does it list coupons for all kinds of sites they also have an option for you to enter coupon codes you have discovered AND if people use your coupon code you can get paid. It is called Pays-2-share.   How sweet is that deal?  They have a great tutorial video that explains just how easy it is to use.  And before you start shopping online go search their database of thousands of online stores.  You might end up saving more than you expected!

I was compensated for this post however the opinions are my own.





Monday, August 16, 2010

Budget Boot Camp Challenge #7~Grocery Price Book

The challenge for this week was to create a Grocery Price Book.  Not to difficult right?  But why on earth would I want to write down the price of everything I buy?  Well I will tell you why because then you know when items you buy frequently hit rock bottom prices.  Now who wouldn't want that info?  I certainly would because if I know when it is going to be the cheapest I can maybe live without it for a week or so right?  Beth tells us that most items go on sale in 6 or 12 week cycles.  When items are at rock bottom that is when you can stock up on those items especially items you use a LOT.  


Beth has some awesome suggestions in her post about the price book.  She being the crazy organized person she is created a spreadsheet that she generously shares with us all.  You should definitely check that out.  
For now I am just using a notebook and making notes of what I am buying and what is on sale at that time.  Once I have a few weeks down I am going to attempt the spreadsheet.  They scare me you see... 


As always check out our facebook page for more great info on how to get your budget in shape.



On another note I am starting to see some real savings at the grocery store.  Last week I shopped the sales and used my coupons.  I spent $74 and saved $79.  I always do a little happy dance when I save more than I spend.  I am sure the people in line behind me enjoy this as well haha!  Oh I also got $7 back in vouchers for my next shopping trip.  That is my favorite part as well.  So really last week I made money at the grocery store.  Well almost.... haha!  

Friday, August 13, 2010

I'm Going to Miss this... GMYBS







I am going to miss the warm weather, the water filled afternoons, and having the pleasure of just enjoying being outside.  I feel like my summer was cut short this year.  Not sure why.  Oh well...and yes the little one is drinking from the slip and slide in every photo.  And I can't figure out why my kids will not slid on their stomachs... 
Joining up with Lolli from Better In Bulk for Give Me Your Best Shot!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Perfect Harmony

I am so glad I took these pictures this morning before school because now while I enjoy the silence of sleeping children I don't feel so guilty about how crazy it gets in the evenings around here.




Notice the multitasking of the 3 year old.  She is playing, singing and checking the ads!  I have taught her well.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Dinner and Budget Boot Camp Challenge~ Week 6

  Last night for dinner I was inspired by kitchenmonki.com where I was doing some menu planning.  Working on three months at a time.  Now that is a challenge in itself but to also try to menu plan around items that are on sale AND that I have coupons for almost impossible.  I said ALMOST  I promise it can be done.  This is my secret.... oh and I didn't invent the secret I stole it from someone.  I theme menu plan.  For example on Monday we will be eating something from my Pampered Chef cookbooks,  Tuesday  my old standbys,  Wednesday Mexican, and so on and so forth.  You get the idea.  That makes it a little more flexible for me to match sales with my menu.  Anyway I digress what I cooked was Chicken Kabobs.  That's easy because I bought chicken on sale a few weeks ago and have it in the freezer and I have been going to my favorite farmers market for fresh produce once a week.  I followed Clair's advice and only bought fruits and veggies that were priced around $1 per pound.  So not only was this meal yummy and a crowd pleaser but it was also inexpensive and healthy!  I think I should get bonus points for that.


The main challenge for this week was to only buy items that were on sale AND that I had a coupon for. So after going over the sales for the week and my coupons I went to Target.  They were having their famous buy two items get a $5 gift card.  So I knew my husband and I needed razors and a few other items.  The razors were a huge savings I got 4 Gillette Sensor razors for my husband normally $8.99 and I got them for about $2.49 a piece.  I also got my razors and replacement blades for a great deal.  I also got my favorite body wash for FREE.  I was so excited!!  We did need sunscreen as well and I did not have a coupon for that but I went with the store brand and saved that way this week.  I only bought produce and milk this week at the grocery store so overall I am SAVING, SAVING, SAVING!!  
Are you getting your budget in shape too?  Join me and check out our facebook fan page for more info!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Life's Little Joys

I know the mirror is dirty.  Seriously that is why I was in there,  to clean the filth, and then I noticed it the sweet little muddy/soapy hand print. It was left by a 3 year old trying to wash her hands.  I am sure she slipped and tried to catch herself or maybe she just wanted to make a mess.  Who knows?  What I do know; that little 3 year old hand is going to turn into a mother's hand one day and I hope she enjoys little muddy hand prints on her mirrors as much as I do on mine.  What I really hope is that I am teaching her to enjoy the little muddy hand prints.  
What do you hope you are teaching your children about life and messes?





Thursday, August 5, 2010

Writer's Workshop: Football Version

The official beginning anyway.  For those of you keeping track football never really ends around here.  We eat, drink, sleep football pretty much 24/7/365.  It is our life. However those not officially affiliated like we are get really excited this time of year.  I am excited but I am also a little sad.  You see my husband packed his BIG bag to move into the dorms for the next 2 weeks.  He will of course come home for brief periods of time to make sure we are still here.  
This is from the first game last year. (or one of the first games)

After reading Mama Kat's writing prompts for this week I asked myself: if I could do it over again would I still choose to spend my life with a husband with this crazy schedule.  The answer is a resounding YES! I know that by January I may be questioning my answer to that but I wouldn't want it any other way.  Here are some reasons why.

Things I have learned from football:
1.  Texting your husband is sometimes more romantic than seeing him.
2.  There is nothing like a fly over during the national anthem
3.  Stadium hotdogs although not good for your waistline are sometimes just what I need
4.  The hard work and long hours really pay off 

So if you could do it all over again would you?
Linking up with Mama Kat for her Writer's Workshop.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Look Mom I Can Climb the Wall.



I wasn't sure what she meant when  she started calling to me.  Now I get it!  


Linking up with Angie over at Seven Clown Circus for Wordful Wednesday.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Budget Boot Camp Challenge #5~ Organizing Coupons

So I got a little ahead of myself in my post last week about coupons.  I talked about organizing them already and really I wasn't even supposed to do that yet.   This week I have photos of my organized coupons.  Prepare yourself it isn't anything amazing I promise.  In fact it is so simple that you might consider joining me in my budget/coupon mission!
I know I built you all up and there you have it.  That's it.  One small pink file folder with coupon booklets in it.  They are organized by month.  I keep up to 5 months at a time.  I don't store it on the chair normally just put it there for the photo.  
This is how I label the individual coupons and then I file them away.  Kayton even helps out....
I am not going to lie sometimes this is how they stay organized for weeks.  But thanks to Budget Boot Camp they only stay here like this for a day or two at the most.
I also use printable coupons; those I just print as I need them I have found that less wasteful!  
Just to report on my progress last week Smiths doubled coupons up to $1.  They NEVER do that here so I was thrilled I made my shopping list and clipped my coupons.  I spent around $70 and saved just over $40 shopping the sales, using coupons, and buying the store brand.  We have also been eating at home much more.  
We did go out for dinner on Saturday night but that was an Anniversary/return to football last celebratory effort.  Well worth it!  


Any questions/comments let me know!  Visit the master minds behind this whole boot camp effort Beth and Clair.  They always have great tips and ideas.
 
Image: istock photo, Design by Bloggy Blog Designz Copyright © 2010