Saturday, September 28, 2013

Well it has been an interesting week

Everyone has them and I am  no different.  Everyday of our loves is a hodge podge of ups and downs.  Some ups are higher than others and some downs are lower.  It's life.  It's what keeps things interesting.  It has been a crazy kind of week.  I have been so busy with stuff I haven't been able to do the "homey" stuff with the exception of making yogurt.  Seriously I love the fact that I can make yogurt now.  Its the little things...ya know? 

Anyway, some of my er ah challenges this week include a leaky roof, a leaking sink, and a washer on the fritz.  Wonderful joyous discoveries.  Dh will fix the sink, but I will need to call our fix it guy for the roof and an appliance repairman for the washer.  All of this and its 3 months til Christmas...THREE MONTHS TIL CHRISTMAS!!!!  Okay, uh  Bye!   Just kidding. Not leaving yet, but I do need to start the ball rolling so to speak.  Also everyone's birthday falls in the next 3 months so things will definitely be busy.  

The joys this week greatly out weigh the challenges.  My son in law received a new position at work which will enable him and my daughter to work opposite schedules so my grand boys won't have to go to a baby sitter.  This will help them immensely. 

I had my yearly doctors appointment this week and all my labs are good, and my weight has held steady, which is 20 lbs down from 2 years ago!  In fact my cholesterol is down some from last year.  177 is the magic number.  WOOT WOOT.  What have I been eating?  Why butter, red meat, whole milk, and all the other things they say no no too. HA  so there!  I am resisting the urge to say neener neener to all the low fat diet folks.  Oh why not!  Neener neener!  Full disclaimer here;  everything in moderation, and I still don't fry stuff too much.

Last night was an evening controlled by our sons Einstein and  Rubic.  We went out to dinner and they go to go to some store they like.  Both of them are training to get drivers permits, but they don't have them yet.  Between Rubic's lessens,  my working and only having the one car, they don't get to get out of the house very much so we wanted to take them out.  This morning Dh and I are going out.  We may be going to walk a nature trail or something, and maybe going to an antique shop or two.  Rubic and Einstein are babysitting our grandsons.  Another reason why they went out last night instead of today.  I am looking forward to a day out with my fella.

Tomorrow is a day that I will be spending with my sister.  Will actually will be sewing cause The Ric Rac is closed on Sunday.  Lol.  I will head on over after church.  I love the times we get to spend together.  Dh will be watching his football.  I know he's happy about that.  Watching it on his huge TV we got at The Ric Rac for 20 bucks!

Also on the good news front, our power bill was less again than this time last year; by about 45 dollars.  I'll take that.  Every little bit helps.  

So there you have it; my week in a nut shell.  Do I get frustrated with the challenges.  Yes I do.  Do I still sleep well at night.  Yes I do.  I do because I know whatever happens, A) there are  many people going thru much bigger problems, and B) God is in control. 

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Another Product endorsement...

Well I hate to admit when I am wrong, but I will do it.  Never let it be said I don't.  I am not wrong often, so make sure you mark this date.  Lol.  I have always believed that all electric dishwashing detergents were created equal.  They aren't.  I bought a bottle of Cascade Dishwashing detergent to make a stain remover recipe I have:


1 cup liquid cascade
1 cup Clorox color safe bleach

Fill your washer with hot(turn off the cold) water and add the bleach and cascade.  Soak whatever clothes you have that have food or grease stains.  Soak them over night.  Then let the washer run thru the rest of its cycle. 

Anyway, I was too lazy to wash my dishes by hand today and so I ran a load in my dishwasher.  I avoid my dishwasher because for years now I have been convinced that it just didn't wash dishes to well.  I could do better hand washing my dishes.  Well that changed today.  I was able to unload all of my dishes and not have to rewash a one of them.  So now being fugal maven and being faced with wanting an expensive dishwashing soap, I am left with no alternative but..... to seek out coupons!  It is for that reason that I emailed Proctor and Gamble and asked nicely.  Oh, and guys....I am using Tide too.  I know, we have fallen down the rabbit hole and into a world of madness!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Once a month grocery shopping part 2

Yes, it is time once again for the next installment of "Once a Month Grocery shopping". I know you guys have been just waiting with bated breath to see what I would write.  Am I right or am I right?  (Smile). 

Some Things to Think About

1.  Unless you have a basement or refrigerated garage somewhere, space to store said groceries will be at a premium.  We live in a Double Wide mobile home ( or for a more high brow phrase, a Modular home) on a foundation.  I wish we had a garage or basement, but alas no such luck.  As a result, I need to be very careful with my storage space.  Remember, I also can garden produce.  Over the years I have redesigned my kitchen to have a large (and I do mean large) pantry.  It Is actually two pantry cabinets installed side by side.  LOVE IT!  My bedroom walk in closet also doubles as a second pantry.  Now you don't need this much space to buy once a month.  I try to keep at least 3-6 moths of food on hand for emergencies.  So I need more space.  You will need additional space though, so get creative. 

2.  I buy staples; partly due to space concerns, and partly to give me more options.  As much planning as you might do; you will run low or out of things before grocery day.  You will also find you have left overs or odds and ends that need to be used up before grocery day.  This is a good thing because it enables you to clean out the fridge and/or defrost the freezer before grocery day.  Makes putting groceries away much easier.  It is during this time my creative juices get to flowing.  This is where you will pull out recipes to make what is needed.  It is a good idea to have convenience food recipes in your quiver.  White Sauce mix- is a substitute for cream soups.  You can find the recipe and uses here.  I also have Choc syrup, Season salt, Granola, Quick Bread Mix and pancake syrup in past blog posts.  Just search for them in the search bar. 

3.  Disclaimer here:  Putting the groceries away will take longer FYI.   But you are only doing it once a month so it all evens out.

4.  Things that help me save and stock up at the same time;  buying items on sale and stocking up with enough to last til the next sale, Getting some of my items at a warehouse store ( again, know your prices.  Not everything is cheaper), buying staples and cooking as much as I can form scratch, and growing what I can. 

Everyone's needs and ways for monthly shopping are different. It won't take long for you to adjust one thing here or tweek something there and you will be shopping like a pro. 

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Once a month Shopping Part 1

So you guys have my friend Emily to thank for this one.  She called me yesterday wanting my advice on this topic.  Kudos to Emily.  I know her from work.  She is a nurse who chose to become a stay at home mom, homeschooling her soon to be 4 children.  The 4th being due in 3 days.  I want to help her in any way I can.   It is for that reason (and also cause I love to talk) that I am posting this blog post today. 
Buying your groceries once a month has some advantages; less gas used; fewer trips to the grocery store means less time wasted in line, putting up groceries, etc.  It does take some planning, especially in the beginning.  Once you get it down though it is a great benefit.  I have shopped once a week, bi-weekly, and once a month.  There are advantages and disadvantages to each.  I have finally come up with something that works for me and that is shopping once a month with money left over to grab a really good sale. 


Many of you , if you have read my blog for any length of time, have read about my preparations for "grocery day".  It is a methodical plan of defrosting the freezer, organizing my pantry, cleaning out the nearly empty fridge, and going over ads.  Just as my monthly trips require planning; when you are first starting to transition to once a month shopping, the best thing to do is go back over your last month of grocery shopping to get an idea of how much of each item you used/purchased.  Use that as your guide.  No worries though, you will tweek( no twerking people!) it over time.  I have heard a lot of people say to make a menu for the month, but that means extra work and I always change my mind about what I want for dinner.  Instead I know what meats, etc I use regularly, and I plan to have those things on hand.  Rather than plan meals, I buy staples: butter, sugars, rice, potatoes, meats, flours, veggies, etc.  Then I make up my meals depending on what I have on hand.  This also enables me to try new recipes using what staples I have.   I mean, seriously, the pioneer folks couldn't menu plan when they needed to take a days ride to the nearest general store to get provisions for winter.  They  bought staples and built from there.  If it is good enough for them.....
So anyway, your planning phase also includes going over grocery ads to see what is on sale.  Now while I do get a good bit of my regular groceries at Aldi; I watch ads.  This week I am getting a good bit from Kroger.  I know SHOCK!  My mother once told me that grocery shopping is WAR!  Those sneaky grocery people's job is to take as much of your money as they can. Your job is to keep as much as possible. The only way to be successful at that is planning, planning, planning. 


Some are advertised, some aren't.  I always, always, always (did I say always?) check out mark downs in the meat, bread, and dairy sections of the store.  OK, Before the shocked gasps drag unsuspecting people in off the street, please note:  This food is perfectly safe to buy even though the sell by date is that day or a couple of days away.  It just means the store can't sell it after that date.  It also means you can take it home and either freeze it ,or cook it (can it too).  There are significant savings in stocking up on marked down meats, etc.   When you see a particularly good sale stock up on what you can to keep you from having to buy it full retail.  This doesn't apply to fresh produce unless you are planning on canning it or dehydrating it. 


In order to know if a sale is any good, you need to know what prices are good.  If you are someone who has always just gone to the store, picked out what you want/need, and checked out without really paying attn. to prices (Boggles my mind), this will be a learning experience.  Check out the ads for more than one store.  I always look at the online ads for Kroger, Publix, Aldi, Sams, and a local store called J&J.  I may not go to all of these stores, but once I check out the ads I can decide where I am going to get each part of my groceries.  When you look at these ads, you can compare prices for certain items and get an idea of the range of sale prices for any given item.  When you begin to grasp the range of prices for an item, you will develop a personal price range.  You will have your (rare) "AHH I can't believe my good luck I am going to stock up for sure" price , and you will have your " Eh, not great, but I really need this so I guess I will have to get enough to get by.  Maybe it will go on sale soon" price.  I also have my "I guess we will go without, I am not paying that for this" price.   Here are a few examples:

Cereal-  I love to find cereal for 7 cents an oz.  When I find it for that price I get a lot.  Like uh funny looks from the cashier a lot.  I will buy what I have to cause my son loves cereal at 10 cents an ounce, but I am not happy about it.  Anything over that, sonny boy eats something else. 

Chicken breast, boneless-  I love to find it for $1.49lb.  YAY!  I will buy what I have to at 1.99 lb.  I will look for a different cut of chicken when it is over $2 lb. 

Sugar- UGH!  I am not that old, but I remember having a sale price of .99 for 5 lbs.  (Sigh) those were the days.  Now my stock up price is any combination that gives me $2 for 5 lbs.  I have gone as high as $2.87 for 5 lbs, but that is reluctant.  Luckily I store sugar in large volume, so I have the opportunity to wait for good sales and stock up.  I have bought so much sugar in stocking up that I have gotten questions from the cashier like " uh are you making moonshine?".  Really you would think the first thought would be maybe I am making jam, but I guess it depends on who's doing the asking.

Well I am still typing and I am sure your eyes have glazed over, so I am going to end this segment for now.  I will be bringing up part two in a bit.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Please stand by....

Just wanted to check in with everyone and let you guys know that I am going to be posting an update Sat.  We just got back from Fla yesterday and we aren't even unpacked yet.  Instead we are both feverishly working our jobs til the weekend.  I am trying to make up missed days so my hours are crazy this week.  So stay tuned, I am sure I will do something crazy in time for a Sat post.