Friday, February 29, 2008

Friday Update

Hehe

She was up and down all night long but the tooth that was almost out now is. Poor baby deserved a treat, a toffee covered chocolate pretzel. I'd say only 10% ended up in her mouth, the rest is all over the TV cabinet.

Her head has been nodding for an hour but I am trying to keep her up until her normal nap time of 11. I don't know what she'll do on Monday, nap time is 12:30-2:30, she isn't going to make it!

I have to go hunting for containers for her lunch. I am thinking about just packing it up in the soft sided cooler that I take to the beach. That way I can add ice packs for the soy milk and include enough snacks so she won't be eating cookies. Any suggestions on how to pack it all up?

Thursday, February 28, 2008

See, this is why I blog!

Read the super sweet post from Stephe on the post below - I feel the love! Right back at ya! :)

I read all comments, they make my day :) She asked a good question...

Did you grow up learning to be frugal?

The answer - no way. I grew up in a very credit card heavy buy this now sort of household. I didn't have even the urge to be frugal until I was 25 or so. I had just split with my ex and decided I wanted to adopt a baby. I knew that I would have to be really careful with my money or I wouldn't be able to afford it. I had some cash off to the side that paid off the car and did a down payment on this house but my day to day money was zero zilch nada. Ever gone to the gas station and saw that someone bought $3 of gas? Well that was me lol

I remember deciding I couldn't afford to live in Nashville anymore and I needed to move back home and finish up my degree. I stayed at my mom's house for about a year while I started community college and house hunting. I scoured thrift stores to sell stuff on Ebay and I scrimped and saved every penny. I was making a whole $6 an hour and working 20 hours a week. I was BROKE BROKE BROKE! I remember what a treat it was to get a sandwich at Subway on campus. I used to sell Disney cards on Ebay and make $1. I would ship things once a week and be tickled with the $15-20 I had earned that week. Did I mention I was broke? :)

I quickly learned the art of money shuffling. I managed to rack up 22K in student loans while I was in school BUT I also almost paid off the house (making $6 an hour). I would take as many loans as they would give me and I would pay off the mortgage first thing then use my $6 an hour to live on. I would ask teachers if the textbook was really needed and they would often loan me one. I would buy books on half.com and turn around and sell them back to the bookstore and make $10. I remember when I got a collections job (I know boo hiss) and made $11 an hour. I felt RICH lol I just didn't know what to do with all this cash lol

So when I got a "real" job several years ago that started me out at 30K I was just giddy with all this wealth! lol I made my final payment on the house Jan 31, 2005 a couple of months after my 30th birthday.

Back when I was married we had a lot of money. We also had a lot of stuff that came with payments. It was nothing for us to have huge car loans on sports cars. But there was some stress with the debt. I tell you now (and please listen if you are young and just now getting into your own finances), there is nothing like going to bed at night not thinking about a bill you forgot to pay. Or not having the money right then and there to pay it. Crazy how we made almost three times what I make now and had a very reasonable mortgage and the rest was just blown. And I couldn't tell you where it went either.

How I track my spending now is easy. I use an excel sheet named for the month. I set up my columns based on these categories and numbers:

Groceries - $160
Eating out - $40
Utilities - $234 (student loan,power,water,cable/internet,life insurance,cell phone)
Cats - $50
Baby loot - $20
Gas - $60
CVS OOP - $15
Walgreens OOP - $5
Baby savings account - $70
Property tax savings account - $54
2008 Vacation savings account- $50
2009 vacation savings account- $40
New car savings account account- $60
House and car insurance savings account - $36
Disney 2012 savings account - $10
Christmas 2008 Savings account - $30
Christmas 2009 Savings account - $15
Misc - $151

Whenever I buy something, I would choose the column that fit it best. Like the groceries yesterday., I put on March because it really was March money I was spending. I do an auto sum on the column to see how much I have spent. Then at the top of each column I take what I've spent and subtract it from what I am suppose to spend. Does that make sense? I also have a tally on everything I have spent for the month and how much more I can spend before I am in the red. It doesn't really matter how you pay for things using my system, cash or credit it is your choice. If you are honest to yourself and write down every single expense then when that CC bill comes in the mail, you'll have the cash in checking to pay it off. Easy huh?

Whew - ok so that is a long book like answer to a very short question :) I still have the same little house and the same little car 8 years later. I take it back in next week for the 90K tune up (they had to order a timing belt) and I'd be happy as a clam if it lasted another 90K. I'll tell you right now, those struggling to make ends meet and wanting to adopt a child...having a baby around is way better than any car you'll ever drive!

I think I'm done rambling now. This post was so long I should leave it up for a couple of days lol

************************************

OH I almost forgot. I got my tax return today, my adoption reimbursement today and my paycheck today. Whew! My account went from $200 to..well, a LOT more! The only disappointment I had with the adoption credit was they took tax out of it. And probably my 401K contribution. Normally that wouldn't of mattered but I had plans for the $ and I was missing $500.

I got my deposit from Paypal for all my Pay Per Post ads that I've done on the site then transferred it into my ING adoption fund, thanks so much for everyone that has signed up or visited the blog :) I can't believe it is so high for such a small amount of work!

Wednesday Update

The problem with going to bed early is that you wake up at midnight all out of whack!

Today was a low key day. We went to the surplus store and I got 20 quarts of soy milk for $.99 each (it is $2.69 on sale for a half gallon so I saved a little bit). The thing I like about it is I don't have to refrigerate it until it's opened. At first I thought that was weird then dad said "um, there isn't any dairy in it". Oops oh ya :) It expires in June so we won't have a problem drinking all 20. I also got a loaf of bread, 12 bottles of green tea and a box of fancy pretzels. Total spent $25.80

We also went to Kroger. In the past two days Dad gave me another 18 pounds of grapefruit so we have that to eat up (luckily the baby and I both love grapefruit). I also bought fresh spinach for the baby, broccoli, asparagus, zucchini, cabbage, grape tomatoes and 2 bags of fish. I am not eating well which is funny because I make sure the baby is balanced every day. Somewhere along the way I stopped making good food for myself and I have gained weight as a result. So I am going low meat or meat free and boosting my veggie intake to loose weight. Like a lot of weight! Wish me luck!

We had snow today, I tried to take pictures of it falling but that didn't work. I don't have any baby pictures today, I am a slacker mommy!

Total $ spent today was $25.80 at McCoys and $24.13 at Kroger. I am counting this against my March grocery budget :)

Ok I know, boring post. I'll be better tomorrow - bye!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Tuesday Update

First of all, it's snowing! We might actually have accumulation! Wooohhooo!

Here is scooter enjoying mashed potatoes. I took 40 pictures, here are my favorite 25 hehe Her wild hair is the result of me trying to train it to go in the correct direction with smoothing milk and her sleeping on it afterwards lol. The kiddo has a killer swirl on the back of her noggin!



I am looking forward to trying snow again with the baby. She wasn't thrilled with it last time and I didn't really have the right kind of snow gear for her to wear. If it doesn't accumulate we are going to buy a couple of cases of soy milk at the surplus place and we'll do a CVS run (yay!).

Night night!

Tackle it Tuesday

Tackle It Tuesday Meme


Here is my list for the day...
Dishes
Laundry
Mop Kitchen Floor
Wipe Kitchen Cabinets
Clean Bathroom
Delete 50 emails from my inbox!!! (my new email is nuts already!)
Tag at least 30 items for the consignment sale on the 14th :)

WHEW! It is 4:30 and I've only done the laundry. EEECK! lol

oh oh!

I have a reader! Check it out on the right! Yipppeee! I feel the love!!!!!!

If you don't have the feedburner service on your blog where it sends out email updates you should consider it. It's free and so much easier for people trying to read your blog. Right now I go down my two huge lists of blogs and right click and open in a new tab. It takes several minutes to get them open but I am able to read them faster. But I have one email subscription and it sends me updates at night. That is sooo much easier :)

Monday, February 25, 2008

A new alternative to Paypal with a free $25 sign up bonus

Revolution Money Exchange is an online bank that is trying to mimic what Paypal does but without the fees.

To spread the word, if you open an online account with them, you get a $25 new account bonus. You will need to provide your SSN because it is a FDIC insured bank. You do not need to deposit any money. It only took me 2 minutes to sign up!

I am sending out referral links to anyone who is interested. Just email me and I'll send you one asap. I will get $10 in my account which I'll transfer to the adoption fund.

I am going to keep this at the top of my posts for a bit so everyone can see. With Ebay fees going up (they own Paypal too) it would be nice to pay for items without having an additional fee.

Thanks a bunch!

Monday Update

Is it still Monday? Today has been the longest day!

But I don't want to go to the doctor :(

I love playing with my socks! And I don't know why she is considered thin, lookie at the chubby wubby legs!!



Why you should only chew on CLEAN socks! Look at that face lol


video

My 2008 and 2009 Money Goals

I have two types of readers that come to my blog. Those who are part of the adoption world that come to check in on Natalie, and those from my frugal blogroll. I post a lot about the baby so let's visit the frugal part for just a minute :)

I know a lot of times it seems like I buy a stuff that doesn't make me frugal at all lol But I do a lot of things that DO make me frugal :) The big thing I do (no not CVS) is to make money goals. Do you have money goals? Money goals are easy to figure out. What do you want to accomplish by the end of the year? Write it down (if it's on paper, it's more real!) then think to yourself, what do I need to do in order to meet these goals? Write those down too. Make copies if you need to. Tape them to your credit card, put it on your computer monitor.

I find it easier to think about my finances and money goals in the current year and the next year. I like to break my budget down into two categories, things I can't control and things I can. Things I can't control are my student loan payment, utilities, insurance and daycare. The things I can control are groceries, clothes..etc..you get the idea.

To help me stay on track, I use an excel spreadsheet. For the things I can control, each category gets a column with a maximum amount that I'd like to spend. As I go through the month I assign everything I buy into a column and excel calculates how much I have left to spend in that category for the rest of the month. Do I always stay within the guidelines? Heck no... but at least I am holding myself accountable for my spending!

There are some big ticket items that I can't categorize because they are unexpected. Things like medical bills or car repairs. Year to date I've had three nice dings to my budget, $500 baby copay, $200 baby copay and about $350 in car repairs. I knew the car piece was coming but I forgot to put it in the list for 2008 ...oops! But I have "Found Money" for 2008 includes my tax refund of $730 (I left that out of my incoming money for 2008 but that is a good thing), my extra tax check of $600 (I didn't have Natalie long enough to get $300 for her too) and all the stuff I'll be selling this year. So I should be ok. Whew!

I am a good saver but I am not good about tagging money for what it is to be used for. I just throw it all into one account. A lot of times I keep it in my second checking account earning practically nothing. As of today all that is going to change! My ING account allows me to create sub accounts and earn 4%. Plus I can get to it, but not as easy as my regular savings account! This is how I am breaking down my ING account:

Main account - adoption funds. $70 a month is going into this fund for pay for travel expenses. Plus I deposited $250 and earned a $25 bonus (more on that later, that is a post in itself). There will be $1955 plus interest in my main account by the end of 2009 plus anything I earn from Pay Per Post :)

Sub account #1 - property taxes. Another thing that just sits in checking earning zero $. My property taxes are $650ish a year so starting with my Feb 29th paycheck, I'll be depositing $27 per pay period.

Sub account #2 - 2008 Vacations. I have prepaid some of my cruise expenses and my beach trip is cheap, like $300 for the week. I am going to deposit $25 per pay period for the cruises. That $450 will pay for tips, gas and parking for the trip. After the cruises this will be my
2010 savings account for vacations yet to be determined.

Sub Account #3 - 2009 Vacations. I know we'll go back t the beach in the off season for $300. Disney will be $800 for my share. I am depositing $20 per pay period for these trips since I have so much time to save for them.

Sub Account #4 - new car fund. My car has 93K miles on it. I hope it lasts forever but it won't. I am going to deposit $30 per pay period to help with a down payment. I know that doesn't seem like much but if I keep it another 5 years you are talking about $3500 plus interest.

Organizing my savings will help me reach my money goal of 2008/2009 which is to save $22,000. That is about half of my take home pay for two years after I pay daycare, insurance and make a nice contribution to my 401K. The $22,000 is going into my Etrade savings account to keep it separate, plus I like the layout of Etrade savings better than ING. Any extra money I can make day trading will go towards the $22K.

So there you have it, I think if I am good (and frugal ha) I can reach my money goals. Too keep myself accountable for my spending, starting in March I am going to start sharing every penny I spend every day. I know its boring, but I use my blog as a journal and I think this will help :)

12 Month Well Baby Visit

Here are her new stats :)

31 inches tall (I knew this, her sleepers are 31 inches and she doesn't have any room left)
20 pounds 1 ounce (I would of guessed 50 or 60 pounds, boy does my arm hurt lol)
She got a ton of shots and now is a huge cranky butt.

Her car seat has been flipped around and she is a happy camper going in the correct direction :)

She still won't drink milk but does drink soy milk. I still give her formula, I'm not in a big rush to take away her bottles. She'll eat any kind of food but tends to like chicken, peas and carrots the best. She doesn't eat bread like she used to and that makes me happy. She used to choose a basket of rolls over anything else before. She'll eat an occasional saltine cracker now but that is it. She still won't eat sweets, my mom brought her a cupcake and she wouldn't eat it. She doesn't like ice cream or any kind of juice (which is fine with me). She likes apples now but only if they are cooked. She loves ruby red grapefruit and oranges. She doesn't eat bananas as much as she used to. She is all about the string cheese which is good because it is all the calcium she needs for the day and has a lot of protein. I have cantaloupe and plums on the counter ripening, so she'll try those for the first time in a few days :)

She starts daycare next Monday - boo hiss!

I got back to work two weeks from today - boo hiss!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Meal Plan Monday (a little early)


This week will start with a "rubber" chicken. They call it this because you can stretch it into so many meals! You just take a whole chicken, coat it olive oil and salt and bake it like normal. All the greasy goodness will collect in the bottom of the pot (I use my pot that goes in the oven and on the stove top. That is the only way to maximize the greasy goodness). I pull all the meat off and sort it by dark and white. I then add about 6 quarts of water to the carcass plus a couple of onions. All the olive oil that had caramelized in the bottom of the pot will make your stock very rich. You strain the stock and split it into thirds. Once cool, I pour one into a gallon ziploc and freeze it. With the other bits and pieces I'll make...

Monday - oatmeal & fruit, chicken breast & peas & biscuits, chicken stir fry
Tuesday - cereal & fruit, chicken breast & peas & biscuits leftovers, chicken alfredo & green beans
Wednesday - oatmeal & fruit, chicken soup (meat, veggies, pasta and stock), chicken stove top casserole
Thursday - cereal and fruit, chicken and dumplings, leftovers (freeze any remaining chicken or stock at lunchtime)
Friday - oatmeal and fruit, 10 bean soup with ham, ham stir fry
Saturday - cereal and fruit, 10 bean soup leftovers, salmon patties and peas
Sunday - oatmeal and fruit, Chinese!, leftovers

If I stick to my plan, I do not need to go to the grocery store AT ALL this week! Score! I managed to snag some good deals last week (like hormone free chicken was 79 cents a pound - got three) and eggs were $.99 a dozen (like half off). Next week I want to have more meatless meals but I forgot to buy beans this week. The 10 bean soup is my last bag of dried beans boo hoo!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Saturday Update

On my mom's lap, upside down. She flops backwards and just laughs and laughs!

My bathroom refresh is almost done. I got delayed a little bit because I am a klutz. I stepped on a teething ring, slid, caught the xylophone with the other foot, bounced off the walker and landed on the hardwood on the left side of my body. I am bruised and I pulled the insides of my arm out of whack. Unfortunately when I slid on the xylophone it rubbed plastic on the floor that I can't get off. I also managed to carve a nice dent in the floor next to it that you really can't see. I am more perturbed about the floor that my bruised up arm!



But I did manage to get the hard stuff done, the stucco, caulk, paint and grout. I still have to buy a towel bar and put it up. I'd like to add a corner shelf near the window and another shelf above the door for plants. I also need to make a curtain and clean up a few paint drips here and there. But I can do all that once I can lift my arm over my head again lol

My next project is going to be my breakfast nook. The walls in there are stuccoed too (the whole house is). I want to touch up the plaster then paint the walls and ceiling. I want to spray paint the silver curtain rods black. I also want to paint two of kitchen chairs black and order a new small table made out of rubber wood (hardwood that stains like maple at a pine price) in a reddish medium brown color. I want to make new curtains to match the beach theme of the living room. I want to spray paint the old dangle light fixture (which I like, it is just yellow) a cool color and make a sleeve to cover up the dangle chain doo-hickey. I want to add quarter round and add some pretty color china pieces to the glass front cabinet that faces the nook. This is all quite a project, I really hope to get it all done before I go back to work on March 10!

My bargain hunting skills come honestly. I got my Valentine's day present today from my Dad, bought after the 14th on clearance :)

YUM!

And this is why I never throw away gift bags. Even if they are wrinkly and messed up, they make excellent toys!

CVS ECB Deals - Sales for Week 3/2/08-3/08/08

Remember that if the deal is a monthly AND a weekly you will only be able to do the deal ONCE - no double dip I will be adding more to the other deals (not ECB stuff).

Be sure to check out ttp://www.hotcouponworld.com/forums...splay.php?f=62 and http://deals.families.com/cvs,f533 for a more thorough list of upcoming sales and a match up to coupons out there for their products!!

ECB Specials
$2 ECB WYB Neutrogena Mineral Sheers Foundation or Blush – PSA $11.79 – Limit 2
$2 ECB WYB Tylenol or Motrin IB 80-100ct. $8.99 - Limit 1
$2 ECB WYB Bounce or Downy Lint roller or refill, Fabric Softener liquid 34 oz or Sheets 45-80 ct. 2/$7.00 - Limit 1
$4 ECB WYB Keri Moisture Therapy Lotion 15oz or serum 4oz $4 - Limit 1
$6 ECB WYB Gillette Venus Embrace Razor $9.99 - Limit 1
$6 ECB WYB Gillette Fusion Phenom $9.99 - Limit 1
$10 ECB WYB Rogaine Triples - Limit 1
$10 ECB WYB Alli $59.99 - Limit 1

$2.99 ECB WYB Colgate Total Advanced Toothpaste, Advanced Clean Whitening Paste or Advanced Fresh 4 oz. 2.99 - (limit 5)
$5 ECB WYB Gillette Mach 3 Razors 3ct. $7.99 - limit 5

$2 ECB WYB $10 of New CoverGirl products CoverGirl TruBlend Makeup foundation, powder, concealer or blush $6.99, Outlast All-Day Lipcolor $6.99, Lashblast Mascara $6.99 - Limit 1
$5 ECB WYB $10 of All Garnier Nutritioniste PSA $5.99 - Limit 2
$5 ECB WYB $20 of Neutrogena Skin Care - Limit 1
$5 ECB WYB $10 of Any Tresemme product - Limit 5
$5 ECB WYB $15 of John Frieda Buy ONE Get ONE FREE
Nature's Bounty Vitamins or Supplements
All Maybelline Mascara
Twizzlers $2.29
Russell Stover Gift Box $11.99
All L'Oreal HIP Lip, Eye or Face
Arizona Tea $.99

Buy ONE Get ONE 50% off
Wrigley's Multi-Pak Gum $2.49
Noxzema Disposable razors, Shave Gel, Shave Cream
Olay Cloths, Cleanser, Scrub, Day or Night Cream
All Neutrogena Eye Makeup
Maybelline Minerals Other deals
Pantene $2.88
Hersheys Mini eggs, kisses $.99
Tide $4.99
Bounty Basic $4.99
Lever/Caress 2 pack $1.79
Free 2 Liter Mountain Dew WYB (3) Pepsi 2 Liters - (3/$4) - Limit (4) 2 liters
Free Gillette Shave Gel (excludes foamy) WYB Gillette Razor Cartridges 4-8 ct
Free Kodak Picture Maker Print 8x10 sheet WYB two (2) 8x10

Don't forget!!! When in doubt and they are out, get a RAINCHECK! they can be used at ANY store and DO NOT EXPIRE!!!

Any questions regarding the ECB program please browse through our 1st thread at:http://disboards.com/showthread.php?t=1378963

Abbreviations:
ECB = Extra Care Buck
PSA = Prices starting at
CRT = Cash Register Tape
WYB = When You Buy

Helpful websites!!!
http://www.cvs.com/CVSApp/cvs/gateway/extracarehome
http://deals.families.com/cvs,f533
http://www.terismessageboard.com/showthread.php?t=13237
http://www.hotcouponworld.com/forums...splay.php?f=62

All information is compiled from various sources - other forums, friends, family, personal experience, and the actual ads themselves. My location is in central MA as well as others are country wide, so keep this in mind when reading posts and be sure to confirm your local ad as well before actual shopping. Happy ECB'ing!

CVS ECB Deals - Sales for Week 2/24/08-3/01/08

For for awhile I was putting these ads on my site in advance then I just forgot to do it. For those of you who would like to plan it out tonight, here is next week's deals. I'll post the next week too :)

________________________________________________________


Remember that if the deal is a monthly AND a weekly you will only be able to do the deal ONCE - no double dip I will be adding more to the other deals (not ECB stuff).

Be sure to check out ttp://www.hotcouponworld.com/forums...splay.php?f=62 and http://deals.families.com/cvs,f533 for a more thorough list of upcoming sales and a match up to coupons out there for their products!!

ECB Specials
$5 ECB WYB $10 Assorted Nestle products – Limit 1
$5 ECB WYB Schick Titanium or Trimmer $7.99 – Limit 1
$6 ECB WYB Gillette Venus Embrace or Fusion Phenom $9.99 – Limit 1
$2 ECB WYB Two (2) Stayfree Pads/Carefree Liners 2/$10 – Limit 1
$2 ECB WYB Tylenol RR PM/Extra Strength (20/24 ct) $4.99 – Limit 1
$1 ECB WYB Softsoap or Irish Spring $1.79 – Limit 1
$1 ECB WYB Softsoap Bodywash $3.99 – Limit 1

$10 ECB WYB $20 Revlon Cosmetics or Beauty Tools – Limit 3

$2 ECB WYB Johnson's Lotion – Limit 5

Buy ONE Get ONE FREE
All CVS Vitamins, Minerals, or Herbals
Gold Emblem Nuts
CVS Power Flash Camera
M&M’s
CVS Alkaline Batteries
L’Eggs Tights or Leggings
Nature made Heart Health
Osteo Bi-Flex

Buy ONE Get ONE 50% off
CVS Food Storage Bags
All Artificial Nails
Select Designer Fragrances
Maybelline Minerals
Organix shampoo, conditioner, mousse, coconut oil or serum
Christophe Beverly Hills Hair Care
Ocuvite PreserVision Vitamin Supplements
All One A Day, Citracal, or Flintstones Vitamins
Special K Protein Bars
Bic Disposable Razors
CVS Foot Care Beauty Tools

Other deals
Scott 8 pack paper towels $4.99
Gain/Tide $7.99
Folgers Coffee 13oz - $1.99
Rubbermaid TakeAlongs 2/$3.00
Poland Spring 24 pack $4.44
Kleenex Tissues $.99
Coke, Evian, Gatorade, or Propel 5/$5
Sunlight Dish Soap $.77
Degree or Dove Deodorant $1.99

Don't forget!!! When in doubt and they are out, get a RAINCHECK! they can be used at ANY store and DO NOT EXPIRE!!!

Any questions regarding the ECB program please browse through our 1st thread at:http://disboards.com/showthread.php?t=1378963

Abbreviations:
ECB = Extra Care Buck
PSA = Prices starting at
CRT = Cash Register Tape
WYB = When You Buy

Helpful websites!!!
http://www.cvs.com/CVSApp/cvs/gateway/extracarehome
http://deals.families.com/cvs,f533
http://www.terismessageboard.com/showthread.php?t=13237
http://www.hotcouponworld.com/forums...splay.php?f=62

All information is compiled from various sources - other forums, friends, family, personal experience, and the actual ads themselves. My location is in central MA as well as others are country wide, so keep this in mind when reading posts and be sure to confirm your local ad as well before actual shopping. Happy ECB'ing!

------------------
I have 40 coupons for the Revlon tools. My plan is to buy the inexpensive nail files for $.49 and use the $.51 cent overage towards more expensive things. I am trying to grow my $15 ECB into a $20 Revlon one (doing the deal twice). This year I want to compile little Revlon/Makeup kits for Christmas stocking stuffers :)

Friday, February 22, 2008

Friday Favorite Five

Meredith asks What are your five favorite resources for meal planning? Where do you find new recipes and come up with ideas for your meals each week?

Here is my list:

1) Church cookbooks, they are a wealth of info. You are often able to find the same recipe made different ways, it helps you be creative.

2) Blogs written by vegetarians. They always have the best recipes!

3) www.allrecipes.com

4) budget blogs :)

5) sometimes just out of necessity I put together some weird items from the pantry that end up pretty good :)

If you want to play go to http://www.stretchingabuck.blogspot.com/

I'm one of the cool kids

I've been tagged woot!

You will have to tag 5 other bloggers and just keep adding on to the list. (Do not replace, just keep on adding! Yes we hope it will be a long list!) It’s real easy! Tag others and see your Technorati Authority increase exponentially! I tagged 5 of you guys so check the end of this post. tee hee

The benefits of Viral Linking:
One of the fastest ways to see your technorati authority explode
Attract large volume of new traffic to your site
Build your community
Make new friends

The Strategist Notebook ~ Link Addiction ~ Ardour of the Heart ~ When Life Becomes a Book ~ The Malaysian Life ~ Yogatta.com ~ What goes under the sun ~ Roshidan’s Cyber Station ~ Sasha says ~ Arts of Physics ~ And the legend lives ~ My View, My Life ~ A Simple Life ~ Juliana RW ~ Mom Knows Everything ~ Beth & Cory's Mom ~ A Mind Forever Voyaging~ enjoying the ride ~ Jennifer's thoughts ~ Mom of 3 Girls ~ Amanda ~ Don't Make Me Get The Flying Monkeys ~ ExPat Mom ~ Just Jessie ~ Wilson Six ~Krisitn ~ Nuttier Than You ~ Shonnte ~ Summer's Nook ~ Laura Williams Musings ~ Melissa's Idea Garden ~ Confessions of an Everyday Housewife ~ Blah Blah Blog ~ Stop the Ride! ~Soap, Blings & Girly Things ~ It's All for the Best ~ Keeping Feet ~ Junky Love in Freehand ~ Getting Out of Debt ~ Free From Broke ~ Money Matters ~ Arohan's Investing Life ~ My Investing Blog ~ Finance and Fat ~ Iowahippiechick ~ ~ Cathlawson.com ~ Making Cents Of Debt ~ DebtDiet ~ MakingMoneyJournal ~ Life Liberty & The Pursuit Of Money Mrs Micah Brightside of Debt Fiscal Musings Paid it Down and Moving Forward Phoenix from the Ashes Canadian Saver The Good Life on a Budget Last One In Line Finding Financial Peace CT Mom ~ Dimples Divine Domain~Mrs Nespy's World ~ Neatokimmo

I tag...
Nicole
K
Ozimum
Down to Earth
Jenny

Have fun! :)

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Thursday Update


Cutie pie got some cute stuffed animals for her shower, Christmas and her birthday. Plus mama bought her a bunch too. Every so often I give her a new one. Today it was the purple hippo, she's giving it some love :)

Today and tomorrow sort of got flip flopped. My Mom had the opportunity to work out of state and make an extra $40-50 in mileage money so she didn't come over and watch the baby. So tomorrow is my great bathroom refresh/makeover! :)

Carla, her mom, the girls and I went to eat Chinese for lunch. It was rather tasty, I had the General Tso's chicken which wasn't spicy at all. The baby had noodles (of course). Here are some pics...

Bring me my stinkin noodles!

mmm mmm good!

Tia was so cute eating her fortune cookie :)

Then we went to baby depot. In my great trying on session with clothes, I discovered I didn't have enough clothes for Natalie to make it through a week at daycare. I guess I hadn't thought about how many PJ days we were having (7 pairs of jammies, 3 real world outfits lol). So I thought about it and decided to return the 3 pairs of shoes I got at Target because I though the strap would not hold on the Mary Jane sneaker if she was trying to walk. And that the purple ones wouldn't hold up to walking. So with that in mind (trying to keep in budget here, we have tutus to buy) I got her two daycare outfits and a different pair of shoes. I think the shoes are really cool, they are similar to the purple ones but have nice gripper traction bottoms. Sort of a flexible tennis shoe hybrid.
This ended up being too big, it was the only one they had. I am going to keep it and it will be her 5th fall/winter daycare outfit for later this year. It is soft and loud, I love it lol

This is a dress over leggings, cute huh?

The tennis shoe slipper shoe hybrid

And of course in typical Kim fashion, I bought two dresses that were too big for her. They are identical cuts in different sizes. The burgundy is marked a 3T but measures more like a 24 month. The green is a size 5 that measures more like a 3T. So I figure this year and next :) Tia got the green dress in the same size as Natalie's burgundy dress and they are going to have pictures made together this fall!
These dresses were just $3.50 marked down from $22.99, aren't they pretty?

And check this out! Carla told me that Tia drank from a sippy cup with a flexible spout. I got one for Natalie and look! She likes it!
(yes I was taking pictures in Baby Depot hehe)

I got the two outfits and the shoes for the same price of the Target shoes I am returning. The cup and dresses...well ok I just bought those :) I am trying hard not to spend money but this month for some reason I am having a hard time. And tomorrow I have my 90K mile tune up on the car at the "tune" of $600 eeeck!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Disney Bound Sept 2009 :)

Ok, so the trip is tentatively planned for Sept 2009. I am not quite sure of the dates yet, I am so hoping for free dining! Being the Disney fan I am, I'd go every year if I could. But my mom is the only one I know who likes Disney too but she doesn't like it THAT much! So every three years will be the cycle. That makes Natalie 2.5, she'll be able to interact a little bit with the attractions, that will make it fun. I know she won't remember it, but I will and that counts :)

The reason for a trip in September is the hope for free dining. It is considered the off season and Disney offers the basic dining package for free to drum up business. You get one counter service (think lunch, fast food type stuff and a drink) a dinner (a NICE dinner like steak, a dessert and drink) and a snack (something under $4) for FREEEEEEEE. If they don't offer it (waaaaaah) then I'll plan the trip with a coupon code before she turns three.

Our trip will be TEN days! Woohhooo Now before you kick me out of the frugal club, let's look at the costs.

POP for 10 nights - $900
2 - 10 day tickets - $450
gas - $150
food - zeeeero
souvies - $100 maybe. I like to shop at the outlets more than the parks
So $1600 for 10 days at Disney for 2 adults and a toddler. Score!

The reason for the length of the trip is because we did a 6 day trip last time and ran ourselves ragged. We felt like we had to see everything. This trip we'll wake early, eat breakfast in the room (hey - that's frugal!) and head out to the parks early in the day. We'll eat lunch right when they open at 11 then head back to the room on a Disney bus to take a nap. Then we'll play at the pool (we didn't do that at all last time) then head back into the park after we eat dinner in a resort restaurant. Anyway, back in the park for the parades and fireworks then back to the room pretty late. With 4 parks and 10 days, I feel like we can spend just 6 or 7 hours a day in the parks instead of 12.

Not to be obsessed with the food, but check out the places we'll eat.
Boma - Flavors of Africa

Chef Mickey's FunTime Buffet

Cinderella's Happily Ever After Dinner at 1900 Park Fare

Olivia's Cafe

Kona Cafe

Whispering Canyon Cafe

Captain's Grille

Le Cellier Steakhouse

Restaurant Marrakesh

Cap'n Jack's Restaurant

YUM!

I am already planning out goodies for the trip. Natalie will be too little for the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique but she'll still have the outfits (and hair if she'll let me). I want to have three costumes for her (ok, 5 or 6 ha) and this is the first one I have picked out that I am trying to win on Ebay:

She'll be just adorable!

At BBB they put the girls hair up in a bun, attach fake curly hair and put in a little crown. I defiantly want a little tiara for her hair and I've even considered the fake hair lol Can you tell I'm excited to have a little girl? :)

She'd make an awfully cute Snow White and Belle too, those are the costumes I hope to pick up over time. When you add in the dresses (I am trying to keep them under $30), some kind of slipper shoe, tiaras, fake hair (ok, I am starting to sound like a pageant mom now) it can add up. So I am putting a Disney trip planning column into my monthly expenses so I can spread it out a bit.

For our regular clothes I am going to make tie dye Mickey head shirts. Yes you heard that right. And I'm excited about it too! lol

Whew I think that is it for now! I am excited about the trip even though it's so far away. But that gives me plenty of time to save up for it and make it a great trip :)

Wednesday Update

I am still practicing with Natalie's hair. It is a lot of fun now that her hair is getting longer :)

First we started with three!

But she didn't like that at all. Plus Miss Squirmy wouldn't let me get one in very well. The kid's a live wire!

She liked the spout effect!


But note to new mamas, if you put in their spout when their hair is wet, it stays in better. And when you take it out..um...well

This was the next day. It took a good shampoo to get it to go back down hehe.

Their is a lunar eclipse going on tonight. This was the best pic I could get...look really hard...

Let's see, what else is going on... I am going out to lunch tomorrow with Carla and Tia. We are eating Chinese woohoo! Then I have to run to CVS to finish up the $15/$30 Huggies deal. I really hope they continue with the Huggies deals, scooter has to wear disposable diapers at daycare.

I want to talk about Disney some but I am going to put that in a separate post. Did you notice I put labels on a lot of the posts? Because I don't have a homemade template, I can add things like that now woohoo! Oh, and I am keeping this layout, the widget maker is SO easy!

New Blog Design?

My old blog was making me go blind. It was pretty bright and the font was small. I also lost a lot of features in an attempt to make it cute. I couldn't create a feed and I'd lost my search feature and my go back one page button.

I know this is plain but is it easier to read? I kept the old code to change it back. I think I'll keep it for a couple of days just to see how it goes :)

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Tuesday Update

I spent 1.5 hours going through Natalie's clothes tonight and trying them on her. She was a good sport and only got whiny around outfit number 40 or so. Out of 45-50 summer outfits that I had saved for this summer and next summer, 19 fit. Yup, you read that right, nothing was too big and the bulk of it was too little already!

I can't complain tho, all my true favorites will fit her this summer :) I only need to buy a couple of pairs of denim capris to go with all the tshirts I have for her and that's it! All the extra clothes are going into the consignment sale on March 14th. I am really excited about that sale, I have a lot of items to put in it from my days of therapy baby shopping. Once I get the extra baby stuff cleared out and I can see everything a bit better, it's on to the bigger items. I think my goal is to get rid of half of everything. I know that sounds odd but I use the same things over and over. I can go months (years) without seeing or using something. That tells me I don't need it and it's clutter.

We were going outlet shopping for baby clothes on Thursday but now that is my bathroom makeover day. I have lived in this house for 5.5 years. Although not completely remodeled things that I first fixed now need to be updated. Well, not really updated as refreshed. The walls in my bathroom are a stucco type and I am going to touch up the walls and sand them down. I am then going to prime and paint it. Nothing too exciting, just white again. I am also going to get all the paint off the light fixture from the first paint job a kajillion years ago lol Then I am moving to the grout in the shower. I am going to do a high tech toothbrush scrubbing job and put another layer of sealer on the grout. Then I am going to caulk the weird line along the side of my tub and paint all the trim in a gloss finish. Then I am going to move to the door and sand it down and repaint it too. Somewhere in the basement I have towel racks that I bought several years ago that I hope to find and install (hey, they have to be in one of 80 rubbermaid containers lol). I am also hanging my new to me shower curtain. Once I make a new window curtain, my bathroom refresh should be complete. Mom is coming over to play with Natalie, I think I can get all this done in one day, wish me luck :)


I am totally fascinated with www.backyardaquaponics.com. Basically you have two tanks, a fish one and a plant one. You have two pumps as shown in the picture. Your fish water pumps into the gravel lined plant pots then drips back into the fish tank. That provides a nutrient and oxygen exchange and your plant grow like no one's business. Oh ya, you eat the fish too! I like to fish so that part doesn't bother me. I so want one of these systems. This company is in Australia so that doesn't help me, but I understand the concept. It's just a matter of finding the materials to build the tank and finding out how big of pumps I need. Oh, and I also need fish stock. I am thinking I am going to practice the hydroponics part of it in my kitchen this summer. I have a tall goldfish tank that I am going to try to grow veggies in. Maybe next summer? A four bed system would be half of our food for the year. And it can be as organic as I want. I SO want one of these systems! That and solar panels. Oh and chickens, like 4 of them. But I don't think I can have those in the city. Rambling done - have a good night!


Monday, February 18, 2008

Little Piggies :)

When you can't have pony tails, you have pigtails. When your pigtails aren't very big...well then you have little piggies! :)






hehe

I've had a lot of luck with those teeny tiny black rubber bands (I think they are scrunchi or something like that). They stay in her hair and she doesn't act like it pulls. I am trying to get her used to having something in her hair so I can turn her into a bow head :)

Did you know at Disney you can go to a boutique and they'll put all sorts of shiny stuff in your hair? We are so going to do that Sept 09! I am on the lookout now for princess dresses that she can wear in the parks :)

Woot! I've been tagged!

I feel the love! I've been tagged!

1. What is the one BIG goal you hope to accomplish this week? To tag the clothing I am putting in the consignment sale :)

2. What is the one household chore you do NOT like to do? dishes!!!!!!!!!

3. What would you buy if someone gave you $2,000.00? (all debts and bills paid) I would buy a big fish tank thingy like Down to Earth!

4. Describe yourself using one word. Spacey!

5. What is the one saying or theme that you live by? Things will happen when and if they are meant to!

6. What is the one household item you can NOT live without? My computer :)

7. If you had one chance to go any where in the world where would you go? New Zealand

8. List the one person you admire the most. hhmmmm..me? HA! HA! Just kidding :) I like a lot of people but I can't say I admire anyone, that is a pretty strong tag to give someone.

9. What is one thing people may not know about you? That if I could do anything in the world I'd set up a solar power farm outside of Las Vegas to provide CA with cleaner power solutions (I'd set it up outside of Vegas so I could gamble on the weekends LOL).

Jane Makeup is on sale again :)

Ok I am not sure how I did it, but I feel like I robbed Walgreens today. No I really didn't I just had overages with coupons for the first time ever with them and got a lot of stuff for nothing. Usually my lots of stuff for nothing store is CVS (love me some CVS) but the Jane deal at Walgreens is just too tempting.

You go here first and print out 2, 10, or 50 of these coupons (ha!)

Then you go to page 7 of the monthly coupon book and get the $2 off a Jane mascara.

This makeup is BOGO and you can use 2 $2 coupons per pair. A lot of the makeup is $3.99. Ummm..that is free :) Even better, the mascara is $3.99 for two and you can use two of the printables and one of the walgreen's coupons for a $2 overage :)

Soooo...4 mascara, 2 blushes, 4 mineral makeups and a hair of baby hair rubber band thingies and I am OOP $1.50. hee heee heeee

Ask me how I did it? Heck if I know. This all occurred BEFORE the HUGE starbucks I drank. If you can't tell by the post, it is now coursing through my veins..in a good way. I think I typed this post in 2 minutes. Go me!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Sunday Update

Today we went shopping (big shock there huh?). My Mom had a coat to return to Kohls so I went along with the baby. They were having a big sale, 60-75% off of baby loot. I managed to find 9 sleepers from 12 month to 4T PJs, all by Carters (It's an addiction I tell ya) for about $46. A smidge over $5 a pair, I though that was a good deal :)



(my camera isn't working well, I am afraid I am going to have to replace it)

And here is scooter in her cute hippie shirt. Nothing is more satisfying that seeing her wear something that I bought during the wait. When you shop for a baby that isn't here, you do a lot of daydreaming. The real thing is so much better :)

(I can't seem to catch her looking at me either!)

Goodnight!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Saturday Update

My Mom came over tonight to babysit so I could go to CVS. The baby did ok while I was gone (I was secretly hoping she would be torn up) but the hello I got when I came home was fantastic! I think that child levitated because her little legs were kicking so much! I also got a true squeal of joy and a hug when I picked her up :) I'm the mama :)

I took this picture not so much to show how messy the house is (it is trashed) but to show how long and full her hair has gotten. Isn't it pretty?

Ok back to CVS!

I did three transactions.

One
Meter 19.99
- 9.95 manu coupon
------ 11.XX oop

Two
3 boxes of Cascade
3 bags of the Cascade gel packs
------------------ $1.06 OOP

Three
8 Dove hairsprays
2 Dove mouses
5 Dove shampoos
5 Dove conditioners
---------------
BOGO
then
20 $2 off coupons - $6.XX OOP - this was my fun transaction, it was over $100 then they zapped my card and did the coupons. I got a wow from the lady behind me heee heee heee

That used up all my ECBs for that card. I know, I am bad, I do have two of them..it was the Cascade temptation that made me do it! But now I have enough to last for a year. That seems to be a theme with me, I want to stock up on everything for a year so if I start missing deals when I am working full time, it won't be a big deal. I'll be able to slack off :) Tomorrow I get to stock up on Ziplocs woot!

My Mom worked a wedding today with her BFF who caters. They had a lot of no shows and I ended up with the leftovers. I have 20 pounds of fruit and 150 little sandwiches in my house right now (to go with the 15 pounds of fruit I already had!). I am not quite sure how I am going to with all of it. I did take the apple slices and bake them because I figured they'd turn brown. I am going to freeze those and start on the fresh fruit. Unfortunately I cooked a huge meal today and we are overrun with leftovers!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Valentine's Day Pictures

We had a playdate at the rat's on Thursday. There were 15 super cute little girls there!

Outta my way, I'm driving here!
Varrooommm
What?

Hey Tia, need a ride?
Me and my peep Tia!

Wheeeeeee!

What $27 and a lot of planning can get you

I felt like I spent the day shopping. Oh wait, I did. For $27 I got...

18 Dove hairsprays
40 string cheese
2 blocks of swiss cheese
ponytail thingy for the baby
3 large boxes of Cascade
3 bags of Cascade Tablets
a box of baby aspirin
a glucose meter
3 pounds of plums
2 pounds of bananas
2 boxes of honey bunches of oats chocolate
4 boxes of cheese its
a pack of Kraft cheese singles
5 boxes of Kraft mac and cheese
a box of Kleenex
a box of eggos
a tub of countrytime lemonade
a donation to easter seals

All of this was from deals posted by my Frugal buddies on their various blogs. I went to 2 CVS', Food Lion and Target. I could of spent just $21 but I forgot to hand the cashier my ECB. I was pooped, I make mistakes when I'm tired. It was lots of fun tho, I should of taken a picture but I put it all up, toooo late!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Walgreens Photo Deal

Free or almost free groceries!

I am reading a lot of blogs tonight. I have yet another cold (going to the doc tomorrow to see if I have something worse) and if I lay down it is pure sinus pressure misery. So I am surfin baby!

Go here and print out the coupon twice for Honey Bunches of Oats with Chocolate! Buy it at Walmart and it will be free or almost free :)

And visit thriftyfloridamama for info on getting some freebies at Food Lion :)

There is a Food Lion in VA, right next to my fav CVS. How convenient is that?

Free Arbys! Woot!

Borrowed from mimisjewelbox

Join Arby's Extras and you'll get a coupon in your email for a FREE Arby's French Dip. You do need to purchase a medium fries and drink, so it's not 100% free...but it's a goody ! You'll also receive a coupon for more FREE food on your birthday and info on upcoming promotions and valuable coupons delivered to your email. So sign up today!
http://www.arbys.com/

5 Favorite Things

I saw this on stretchingabuck I think it's a great idea.

This week is kitchen stuff. For me it is:
1) Chinese dried mushrooms
2) tofu
3) sushi wrappers
4) Target fancy trail mix bags
5) I have to agree with one of hers, real butter. At $3 a pound it makes fake plastic margarine look good!

Be sure to visit her site and sign the Mr Linky to join :)

Wednesday Update

Sorry, no pictures today. But she was really cute like normal!

Today we went to her daycare to check it out. It seems to be ok, there are just two things that bother me. One, there are some HUGE 1 year old kids out there that look like they are 4. Two of those "kids" are in her class and one was really rough. He doesn't leave until May, that doesn't make me happy at all. I hope that today he was showing off for new people and doesn't act that way normally. If he does, his mother and I will have a chat.

Two, I can't believe the crap they serve the kids and call it lunch. Bologna, hot dogs, pizza bites? Um, I don't think so. They are serving green beans once this month but I am 90% sure they'll be from a can which has zero nutritional value. So I'll be packing her lunch and she'll be the weird kid whose Mom loves her enough to pack carrots, peas and chicken for her lunch. I thought it was just this place but reports from other parents tell me that this type of stuff is served everywhere, at school too. Ick!

Besides that I think I feel ok with the place. The women in her room seemed really nice and the kids were willing to be held by them. The kids were healthy, not a drop of snot in sight. The kids themselves were disheveled, but that was more probably from the parents not combing the bed head out of their head (nap time hadn't happened yet). The women (I call them girls in my head because they are younger than me) were ponytail, running shoes type of girls, that made me feel like they do play with the babies.

And I guess Natalie isn't really a baby or she'd be in the baby room. She got so big so quick!

On to more fun things, the baby got shoes today. We went to Target and got...

In a size larger for this summer, aren't they cute? :)These are darker in real life, they match her Carter's outfits that she'll be wearing in the fall. Good indoor daycare shoes I think.

I also bought my first reusable bag. It is larger than most that I have seen, it was $1.50. All my purchases fit in it and that is one less plastic bag in the house. Woohoo

I had fun today when we went to the salvage store (busy day huh?). They have some really weird stuff in there at good prices. 80% of it is expired, you have to make sure you aren't getting anything bad. All of my stuff is good well into 2008, I got 2 kinds of soy milk for 99 cents a quart, 3 pounds of fresh apples for $1, pickles for $1.19, cream of wheat cereal for 33 cents, 6 lipton green tea bottles for $1, some fancy smansy rice for 77 cents, old bay for 69 cents and LIME scented windex for $1.50. I really didn't need any of this, but it is fun to look. Actually between my grocery shopping for fun and Dad sending groceries to my house (today it was a pound of ground beef, a mountain dew, a chicken noodle soup, a can of ravioli, a jar of homemade spaghetti sauce and a box of velvetta shells and cheese) I have a ton of stuff. A few days ago he sent this:

And my mom is cooking enough food to feed the baby for a week, I am really overrun with stuff. My Monday Meal planning is totally shot!

Tomorrow is the baby's Valentine's day playdate :) We have 15 little bags of M&Ms with Valentines attached that have tattoos inside. How cool are we? :)

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Tuesday Update

Singing :)



Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Photo Printing - Photo Books

Deer + Cat

I wish this was my house. First, I'd like to have one huge snow. It's not snowed in 5 years here easy. Second, I like deer :)
Taken in Carter County TN, closer to the mountains than I am :)