This Weeks Goals { February 21 }

Ah, the beginning of another week and back to school too.
We survived school vacation yck7boxce.jpegand managed to stay pretty frugal too.  It really was a nice week and I ended up deciding to not sweat a few things on last weeks to do list.  I will simply do them this week instead.
Last weeks to do list:
  • Go through two bins of books and papers in my son’s room.  Every night we put the books we read that day in a bin so I can rotate them.  The bin is pretty full.  The other bin holds drawings and his Highlights magazines (a gift from Grandma.)  I just want to sort this out and see if there are any items we could recycle.  Add to this week.
  • Box up some of the board books in both son’s rooms to pass on to others.  We’ve outgrown them now but many are still in excellent condition. Add to this week.
  • Add some more books to my request list at the library after checking with my mom to see if she has any of the books I want to read.  The request list at the library can be quite lengthy for popular titles. Done! My mom didn’t have the books I wanted.
  • Condense all of my Advent Calendar items from 2 boxes into 1 bin.  I have lots of leftover crafts and activities as well as games and trinkets we use from year to year.  I want to make sure it all stays together. Add to this week.
  • Maintain my sanity.  Seriously- it is February school break this week and I just want to make it out with my sanity intact.  I think this may require wine and some chocolate just in case.  Happy to report we had a great week!  Already looking ahead to April Vacation!
This weeks to do list:
  • The uncompleted items from above.
  • Straighten out the kitchen pantry closet.
  • Spend some time thinking about ways to reorganize my kitchen cabinets to improve the use of the space as well as flow.
What are you up to this week?  Any big projects?

Week in Review (Week 7)

Good Morning! Happy end of February vacation, woohoo!  We made it without me eating too much chocolate and my sanity intact.  It shows that it pays to have a plan even if it is a loose one at best.  I am already brainstorming ideas for April vacation *smile.*

Last Saturday I sent my husband to the grocery store.  He brought my son with him and I made sure they had the “free fruit” card.  Our local chain store allows each child with a card to choose a piece of fruit (apple or banana) for free.  When the cashier scanned the card it took $1.00 off the bunch of bananas.  A great deal for sure! I promptly did Mobisave and Ibotta with the receipts  I also earned a bit back from Savingstar for this trip too.

My 5 year old was invited to a classmates birthday party.  It was at the YMCA where they put up a bounce house, jumped in a foam pit, and built structures using soft cubes and other shapes.  What a wonderful thing for the kids to get out their energy as it just happened to be a whopping 20 degrees out!  As we were leaving the car temperature read 15 degrees.  By the time we arrived home (a 15 minute drive) the temperature had dropped 5 more degrees!  Brrr….  When we arrived home I promptly started up the oven and made some pizzas using some Naan I had in the freezer as our crust. Delicious!  Desert was the end of the last tub of ice cream.

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Valentine’s Day treats for the boys

Well that polar blast meant we were stuck indoors on Valentine’s Day.  We awoke to -12 degrees with a wind chill of -25!  In the morning I made another batch of pumpkin pancakes for the boys, this time adding in some chocolate chips.  For Valentine’s treats we gave the boys each a Star Wars shirt and jelly beans with a card.  The boys needed some new shirts so I took the opportunity to give them as gifts.  I used little buckets I have that I use each year.  I got them at Target a while back and they are just the right size to hold a few small treats.  My husband and I did not exchange any gifts, deciding we will have a date night later this weekend.

 

Later that day I did some yoga using a free video from YouTube.  Then I went online to use a Prime Pantry credit that was about to expire.  Amazon gave me a credit of $5.99 for selecting slower shipping on a previous order.  The $5.99 covered the cost of the pantry shipping.

On Monday I woke up with yet another cold, thank you boys (not!)  I powered through it long enough to take the boys to the Children’s Museum for a change of scenery (free with our membership.)  We had some friends join us and all the kids had a great time.  We planned our trip around meal times so we wouldn’t spend any extra money.  By the time our outing was done I was ready to crawl under the covers.  My hubby graciously offered to go the grocery store for me and I am happy to report he did a great job!

Tuesday I wasn’t really feeling much better.  I sent my 5 year old to his grandma’s house to play with his cousins while my4 year old and I just chilled out.  We cleaned out a big bunch of school papers, only saving those items that were a bit more special.  When I went to go get my son my mom had given the boys a McDonald’s gift card as a Valentines surprise.  We decided to use one of them to pick up Happy Meals on the way home for dinner. I choose to eat some leftovers at home. A night off cooking for me!

On Wednesday my Prime Pantry box was delivered and contained a free sample of moisturizer.  I made one of the recipes I wanted to try – Green Chili Rice Casserole.  I made some adaptations, and it was rich and delicious.  Look for the recipe next week.

Thursday we went to Grandmas for lunch.  Then I brought my 5 year old to the mall for a free science show.  It was really awesome!  They made bubbles and fog from dried ice, balanced a beach ball using a leaf blower, and squeezed an egg into a flask.  My son thought it was all magical!  At the end they were able to each make a bit of putty to take home.  Apparently this mall has more of these kinds of free activities during school breaks so I will be making sure to check out April’s schedule.

Tonight we are going to head to my sister in law’s to watch a movie.  Her apartment complex has a clubhouse with a small movie theatre that the residents can use.  I was able to get a free movie from Redbox (Hotel Transylvania 2.)  We will order a couple of pizzas and I will bring drinks and brownies from home.  The boys love to do this!

I am thrilled that we were able to have such a frugal week despite it being school vacation. I think it get’s easier all the time and really doesn’t take all that much effort now that we have had some practice.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend.  See you Monday!

 

 

 

 

This Weeks Goals {February 14th}

So where were we? Germs. Oh yes, the kind that keep on giving.
Now that both boy’s haveyck7boxce.jpeg been sick they have lovingly passed it back to me.  Seriously, I am over it already.  Hoping that some heavy doses of vitamin c, hot lemon tea, and getting some extra z’s will do the trick.  On a bright note the polar blast we were hit with seems to be over.  Thank goodness!
Last weeks to do list:
  • Finish up Valentines for school.  I am waiting for further information from my son’s teacher.  Some classes you may write the children’s names on them and some say no.  Just not certain which is the case for my kindergartener.  Success.! My son loved exchanging Valentine’s with his classmates. 
  • Go through that box of documents/papers. Done, yay!  I found those gift cards which was a bonus and motivation to go through another box.
  • Organize coupon inserts.  (I don’t do a lot of paper couponing these days, but I hold on to them for the occasional great deal.) I recycled all the outdated inserts and removed pet coupons we would not use.  Then I wrote the date of the insert on the front in sharpie so I could find it easier. 
  • Take a peek at some baby clothes I found in a box downstairs.  Figure out if there is anything I can consign.  Pass on other items I know family members can use.  Didn’t get to this one….
  • Start to set up inventory system for pantry and write a post about it.  If it ever stops snowing and the kids get back to school……Almost doneHoping to find an hour this week to finish up.
  • Spend some time in each room cleaning and decluttering a little.  Boy the house sure got a little out of sorts last week!  My husband helped me out with this.  So very thankful!
This weeks to do list:
  • Go through two bins of books and papers in my son’s room.  Every night we put the books we read that day in a bin so I can rotate them.  The bin is pretty full.  The other bin holds drawings and his Highlights magazines (a gift from Grandma.)  I just want to sort this out and see if there are any items we could recycle.
  • Box up some of the board books in both son’s rooms to pass on to others.  We’ve outgrown them now but many are still in excellent condition.
  • Add some more books to my request list at the library after checking with my mom to see if she has any of the books I want to read.  The request list at the library can be quite lengthy for popular titles.
  • Condense some all of my Advent Calendar items from 2 boxes into 1 bin.  I have lots of leftover crafts and activities as well as games and trinkets we use from year to year.  I want to make sure it all stays together.
  • Maintain my sanity.  Seriously- it is February school break this week and I just want to make it out with my sanity intact.  I think this may require wine and some chocolate just in case.

Week in Review (Week 6)

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Banana Bread, Yum!

 

Why hello from the house of germs, lol!  Seriously, there is some really yucky stuff going around the kids schools.  Last week it was the 5 year old who got sick and now this week the 4 year old.  It has made for a rough couple of days I’ll tell you.  I’ve been told the first year of school is the worst while the kids “build up resistance.”  I am not sure if that’s true, but if so bring on next year, ha!

 

 

Despite germ sharing we have had a really nice week here. On Saturday we took the kids to the science museum.  Entry was free with a reciprocal membership (we are members of the children’s museum.)  This saved us $80!  I brought lunch and  drinks from home to have while we were there.  We only ended up paying for parking which was $15.00.  We left mid afternoon and were home in time for me to take some taco meat out of the freezer for dinner.  Freezer meal for the win!

On Sunday morning my husband took the boys sledding at the elementary school.  They had a blast- cost free!  Later in the day we went to see the new Star Wars movie.  We went while we could still pay a matinee price.  I brought drinks and leftover Halloween candy with us.  We did purchase a large popcorn but we split it 3 ways.  I again pulled dinner from the freezer -some homemade mac and cheese- that we combined with some leftovers.  For dessert we enjoyed the last Girl Scout Cookies and the bottom of a tub of ice cream.

On Monday we had yet another snowstorm and the kiddos had no school.  I broke out some of the kids Christmas gifts I had stashed away to keep them busy. I cooked up a bag of potatoes that needed to be used up.  I ended up baking them all and have had a potato for lunch with a little cheese every day this week.   We received a refund check in the mail for Sam’s club.  Since they closed all their stores in our area they were offering the price of your membership back.

I started to go through a box of papers and documents and ended up finding a bunch of gift cards!  This box had been set aside when we moved last year and I didn’t think there was much in it.  Boy was I wrong!  There was a Visa gift card with $3.00 on it, 2 $15.00 McDonald’s gift cards, a $25.00 Barnes and Noble card, and what I think is a $10.00 Walmart card.  Woohoo!  This is why I really need to get organized!

On Tuesday I picked up a couple of toys on clearance to add to my gift stash. I found a Star Wars Play-Doh set for $9, a string art kit for $3, and a projector alarm clock for kids at $5.  I’ll use these items for birthday parties my children are invited to.   I received a few samples from Pinch Me in the mail (vitamins, Truvia, and a top that turns any cup into a sippy cup by Boon.)  My son and I enjoyed pumpkin pancakes made with pumpkin from the freezer and mix from the pantry.  He thought it was fun to enjoy pancakes on “Pancake Day.”

On Wednesday we worked on our homemade Valentine’s Day bookmarks that the children20160212_090431.jpg will give to their friends at school.  They were made with craft foam I had at home, a tag I made using Microsoft Word and printed at home, and some stickers I had purchased at Michaels for 50% off.  There were so many stickers in the box that I have plenty for the next 2 Valentine’s Day card exchanges!  My mom gifted me two DIY Pot Holder kits to use as gifts.  These are the old fashioned loop ones!  I gave her some more soup in exchange.

Thursday morning I took my little one to the doctor (a $30 copay. ugh.)  There were at least 15 children there and as mom’s compared notes we realized they all have the same thing.  We grabbed two lollipops on the way out and we went straight home.  I have plenty of supplies to make us feel better in my pantry.  I completed a Pinecone survey while we snuggled.  Then I requested a book and a few movies from the library.  I love Redbox, but the free codes only seem to be coming on a Monday or Tuesday which are not all that convienent for movie watching here.  We had Sloppy Joes from the freezer for dinner with some sweet potatoe wedges.  Yum!

Today begins the deep polar plunge we will be experiencing for the next few days. We will be staying home (the little one is still sick anyway) so no money spent!  I am pulling out some Naan bread from the freezer that I am going to turn into pizzas for dinner.

I spent $102.74 this week at the grocery store.  This leaves me with $181.81 left to spend this month.  My shopping included adding some items to my pantry per my plan.  In the last two weeks I added: Belvita, spaghetti sauce, tuna, 2 bags of chocolate chips and 1 soup.  This coming week Nutrigrain bars are on sale, as well as chocolate chips.  I still haven’t caught a good sale on canned fruit.  I will set aside a little of my grocery budget to purchase a small amount regardless.

I hope you all had a great week too!

 

 

This Weeks Goals { February 7 }

yck7boxce.jpegWhat a week last week turned out to be.  My husband went away to a conference for several days and my 5 year old got sick.  Add in a snowstorm and boom you have one busy mommy!  Between shoveling and playing nurse it is a wonder I was able to keep up with anything.

I will admit that I dislike the feeling of not crossing everything on my list off.  I suppose most of you feel the same. Onward and upward right?!

 

Last weeks to do list:

  • Get caught up on laundry.  Seriously, it looks like a clothing factory exploded here.  While I’ve been sick I did the laundry but it never got put away. I have tamed the laundry beast!
  • Go through that box of documents/papers.
  • Shop for supplies for two craft projects. I had hoped to get this off my list today.  Unfortunately we are in the midst of another snowstorm that has cancelled school and will bring 8 more inches. I am going to take this off the list and move on to something else.
  • Earn some Swagbucks.  I’ve been slacking off on this and I my wish list on Amazon is getting bigger. Time to earn some gift cards. I did SB a few times this week.  I need to make it part of my daily routine. 
  • Make sure to use Ibotta, Checkout 51, and Savingstar after shopping. I think these apps are great but it is a bit of a pain. I really wish I could just link all my loyalty cards to these apps. I strongly dislike taking pictures of receipts. I did this all week and earned some money back from each.  I am getting closer to being able to cash out on each app.  Once I do I plan to add the money to my Christmas fund.
  • Make some banana bread for a snack and to send with my husband to work. I also will make some banana strawberry ice cream. I have a bunch of bananas and strawberries in the freezer.  They will be making lots of appearances over the next few weeks. I made 4 small loaves.  My 5 year old ate a loaf by himself! 
  • Start to set up my inventory system for my pantry and write a post about it. Adding this on to this weeks list.
This weeks to do list:
  • Finish up Valentines for school.  I am waiting for further information from my son’s teacher.  Some classes you may write the children’s names on them and some say no.  Just not certain which is the case for my kindergartener.
  • Go through that box of documents/papers.
  • Organize coupon inserts.  (I don’t do a lot of paper couponing these days, but I hold on to them for the occasional great deal.)
  • Take a peek at some baby clothes I found in a box downstairs.  Figure out if there is anything I can consign.  Pass on other items I know family members can use.
  • Start to set up inventory system for pantry and write a post about it.  If it ever stops snowing and the kids get back to school……
  • Spend some time in each room cleaning and decluttering a little.  Boy the house sure got a little out of sorts last week!
What are your plans for this week?

February 2016 Plans

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I am finally getting around to setting some goals for February despite being a week into the month.  Where does the time go?  With any luck this month will be more productive than January turned out to be.  Fingers crossed!

 

Food:

  • make cookies, pizza sauce, and spaghetti sauce for the freezer.
  • try 2 new recipes: Taco Pasta Casserole and Green Chili Rice Casserole.  Both are freezer friendly.
  • Clean out the freezer above the fridge.  Use up all odds and ends.  Once finished move on to the upright freezer downstairs.  Defrost the upright freezer.
Finance:
  • continue to research savings in any areas we can.  Specifically cellphones, vehicle insurance, etc.
  • take a look at my credit card points and see if we can use them to purchase some gift cards to use for upcoming birthdays.
  • January had an extra pay period so we are trying to figure out how to allocate that money.  We will pay off one credit card for certain.
Family/Fun:
  • We have a family fun day planned for the science museum (free admission) as well as going to see Star Wars.  I will bring snacks and drinks from home on both adventures.
  • Have 2 stay at home dates with my husband.  There are several movies available at Redbox we would like to see.  I am hoping I can find a code to get them for free.
  • February school break is coming up.  I found out there are 2 science shows at a local mall for free.  My mom has offered babysitting for the little one so I can take my 5 year old.  I will be researching other fun and free activities this week.
Fitness:
  • continue to exercise at least 4 days a week.  I had done pretty well with this until I got ill in January.
  • drink more water.  I have no excuse.
Home:
  • clean and organize the storage cabinet in the 1/2 bath where my husband and I keep all of our toiletries.
  • purchase new pillows for our bed.
  • purchase new shades for our bedroom if I can catch a great sale.
  • spend some time cleaning out the basement storage area.  It got really messy over the holidays.  I need to make room for more shelving to hold pantry supplies.

Week in Review (Week 5)

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Today’s snowfall.

On Saturday my son was invited to another birthday party.  It seems we have reached that age (all of these children are turning 6) where the invitations are arriving fast and furious.   My son is a bit shy so we are thrilled to attend these parties as it provides an opportunity to improve social skills.  I had a gift on hand here (Kinetic Sand and tools) plus the gift bag, etc.  We were also invited to another party that afternoon for a close friends child.  They are great host and we were able to enjoy the excellent food and conversation.  Later that evening we went out to dinner with my brother and sister in law.  Again, wonderful food and conversation.  It was a very nice day.

With all these birthday parties recently (and more to come) I have depleted my supply of gift bags.  I stopped by the Dollar Tree and picked up 2 sizes of gift bags in solid colors (red and blue) along with some tissue and curling ribbon. These should work out great for any occasion.  We have lots of materials to make tags or cards as needed.  I think I am going to plan to pick up a set of bags every month for a little while.

While I was at the Dollar Tree I picked up some seeds for the garden at .25 each.  I choose several herbs and some lettuce.  I am going to plant these in containers.  I am actually secretly hoping to have my husband and his friend build me some raised planter boxes, and a planter box bench.  If not, pots it will be.  I have some from last year.

On Sunday my husband took our boys to visit family.  I stayed home to get some rest and enjoyed a free moment.  I watched a movie I had taped and enjoyed a cup of caramel hot cocoa I had been given for Christmas.

On Monday I took my little guy for a haircut.  I was able to use a coupon for $3.00 off which covered the tip.  I wish I could cut his hair but he moves so much and his sensory issues play a factor (she uses scissors not clippers.)  I have found that it is better to pay someone else to do this!

We had unusually warm weather here for several days this week.  I got out and walked around the neighborhood.  It made me long for spring even more.  Perhaps the groundhog will be right!  Note: of course as I am typing this it is cold and rainy with snow on the way.  School is cancelled and we will be stuck inside all day. Wah, wah…..

I was able to get a great deal on some shirts for my boys.  Topcash Back (like Ebates) was offering $5.00 cash for a purchase made before 2/5.  Children’s Place was having a big online sale.  For $14 I was able to get 6 shirts (3 short sleeve and 3 long sleeve) with free shipping.  This is after the $5 bonus and cashback.  I was thrilled as my little ones are rough on their shirts as I am sure most 4 and 5 year olds are.

I went to the warehouse club and picked up some needed household items: tissues, toilet paper, etc.  and a few grocery items that were good deals.  I had a few item coupons as well as a $10 off $100 purchase coupon.  After all my items were rung up I was short by $3.00.  I grabbed a set of 3 large reusable shopping bags that were by the register for $ 4.99.  These will turn out handy as they are a great size for carrying beach toys and towels. Overall I saved $21.00 on my purchases there.

I took some time to look over our insurance for our vehicles to see if we could find some savings there.  It has gone up about $20.00 a month.  Turns out that we are now being charged an installment fee for paying month by month.  When our policy comes due in April I will pay it up front, eliminating this fee.

This morning I had to take my son to the pediatrician for a cough that has been causing a bit of wheezing.  I learned that our copay has gone up by $5.00.  Thankfully, the prescription copay was only $10.00.  I will need to make a plan to increase to our sinking fund amount for medical expenses.

I spent 215.45 this week on groceries.  I stocked up on many items that were on sale.  That leaves me 284.55 for the rest of the month.  I earned $4 back from Savingstar, Ibotta, and Checkout 51.

How was your week?  Have a wonderful weekend everyone!