Thursday, September 30, 2010

Budget Update

I have really refocused my energy on the family budget after being a bit lazy about it over the summer.  Here is a new update:
* Saved another $20 NOT buying formula
* Made $167 selling used items on eBay
* Saved $27 with coupons last grocery trip (Got several items FREE or for less than a dime!!)

Total this update: $214.00
Total for the year: $3794.93

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Good Bye Summer!

We will miss you!!!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Series of Unfortunate Events

The Bad Beginning (A Series of Unfortunate Events #1)
Well, it was bound to happen...I have been completely neglecting my blog during the month of September.  Blame the addition of kid #4, the beginning of a new school year, the beginning of a new homeschooling year, getting all the extra curricular stuff in order, still not sleeping through the night, getting the eBay/Craig's List stuff listed, working to still tighten the family budget...I am beat!!!

In addition, we have had a series of unfortunate events.

#1.  My dishwasher has died.  Yes, it is sad, but after 11 years it could no longer take being run twice a day.  I refuse to buy a new one until I can pay cash, so we (that is I) will be handwashing for a few weeks.  I also am resisting the urge to buy paper plates!

#2. I drove over some of that crack sealer tar that has been sprayed all over Michigan roads and it stuck to my front tire in my car.  The alignment is now completely off and the tire needs to be replace (maybe 2).  This moves the issue mentioned in #1 down the list a bit.

#3. Kid #4 has been spitting up and a bit fussy lately.  When reading my stacks of baby books for a probable cause I repeated ran into "excess caffeine consumption" as an explanation.  To save a trip to the doctor, I have decide to eliminate caffeine.  Much to my dismay, it worked.  Please pray for me and my family!!!

The good news is I have a list of topics to get to in October and a few other avenues for getting my thoughts out to explore. 

Just a bump in the road on the journey as a family of 6.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Amy's Kitchen Giveaway

I LOVE Amy's Kitchen products.  They are quick, easy and healthy.  They use all organic products.  They have an excellent gluten free selection for Kid #1. 

I have a great coupon pack to giveaway (Actually, I have a few!).  Post a comment about why you love Amy's Kitchen, what your favorite product is, or why you'd like to try Amy's Kitchen products.  The coupon pack includes 2 coupons for FREE Amy's Kitchen Burritos, over $4.00 in other coupons, an Amy's Kitchen magnet and pen.

Post this on your Facebook page or blog (post the link in the comment section below) and you will be entered to win a cute Amy's Kitchen tote bag and soup mug.  The deadline is September 30, 2010.
I will contact the winners on October 1, 2010.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Budget Update

The Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness

It has been a few months since I updated my savings totals.  I have been keeping track on paper and have done a few more things to save money.

#1 Homeschooling #3- It would have cost us $672 to send her to preschool from September -mid December.  I have spent about $50 in supplies, so we have a net savings of $622.

#2 I am beginning to list items on Craig's list and eBay, so far I have only made $50, but there are so many items left around here to list!

#3 My hubby continues to do his own car repairs.  We have saved about $440 on the last one ALONE!!

#4 I opted out of my summer CSA and purchased veggies and fruit locally.  I saved $325 and threw out a lot less.

#5 I have made a trip to resale and sent some items to my mom's garage sale.  I made $160.

#6 I have yet to break even on the cloth diapers, but I will soon and will send another update.  However, I am also using cloth breast pads and wipes.  I have saved about $20 so far.  (I'll add that to my next update.)  I am also breastfeeding and have not purchased any formula.  (One can a week X 6 weeks = $120)

#7 Despite my initial discomfort with my husband "harvesting" deer, it has saved us some money and provided dinner on several evenings.  He is trying to convince me to go...not there yet!!!

My husband and I are making a plan to "live like no one else...".  It really isn't easy, but we have big plans and goals that we want to achieve in the next 12-24 months.  I recommend listening to, reading, and living the Dave Ramsey plan.  I have the book pictured above, listen to his free podcasts, and have borrowed his videos from our library. He is inspiring.   My lofty goal is to be completely debt free (including our house) in 10 years (That is when kid #1 starts college!).

Savings from this update: $1737
Total for the year: $3580.93

Sunday, September 12, 2010

I found it!!! Jules Gluten Free

Nearly Normal Cooking For Gluten-Free Eating: A Fresh Approach to Cooking and Living Without Wheat or Gluten
As a lot of you know, kid #1 has Celiac Disease.  It is an autoimmune disorder that means his body can't process gluten.  Gluten is the protein found in wheat and a few other grains (rye, barley).  HE was diagnosed at 15 months after several months of G.I. distress. 

Now he is a happy, healthy 8 year old, but I have spent the better part of these 7 years trying different baking mixes and such to get a tasty result.  Like Goldilocks some would be to hard, some would not hold together and some would not taste good.  I have finally found one that is just right!!! 

Jules Gluten Free

I recently received her flour mix, graham cracker/gingersnap mix and her cookie mix.  I have not tried the graham cracker yet, but the others are delicious.  Best of all, if you go to her website she will send you a free recipe every week.  This week I received the scones recipe and am thrilled.  My family loves scones!  She also has tons of specials including product bundles, free shipping, and recipe ebooks.

If you know someone with Celiac, cook for someone with it or have it yourself - check her site out.  I will post again when we try the scones and graham crackers. 

I also found a cookbook from her on Amazon - Nearly Normal Cooking For Gluten-Free Eating: A Fresh Approach to Cooking and Living Without Wheat or Gluten.  I have not tried it, but added it to my wish list!

Friday, September 10, 2010

What this mom recommends

When I found out I was pregnant again I wanted to make an effort to be a bit more earth friendly this time around.  I have switched to cloth napkins, kitchen cloths, cleaning rags, reusable sandwich bags and so the idea of cloth diapers was one I was interested in.  However, I was a bit intimidated.  There are SO many from really simple to super fancy and they come in a variety of price ranges. 

I did my research and decided on a hybrid.  The g-diaper.  They are a cloth diaper with a reusable liner, but also there is an optional compostable (and they say flushable - I do not flush them) liner.  This makes trips out and overnight a bit easier for us. 

I spent about $100 to start.  There is a great resale market on eBay.  With that I got 6 diapers and 4 packages of liners.  Since then I have used gifts to buy 2 more diapers and an extra 6 reusable liners.  We are starting in size small (8-14 pounds).  I have not purchased any other stuff.  In a month I am sure I would have gone through at least 6-8 packages of diapers.  Like my 4 year old says, "New babies poop a lot."  I think they have paid for themselves in the money I am saving not buying diapers.

I love them.  Soon I will post a picture of kid #4 in them.  They are super cute.  I am already looking for deals in the next size and am taking extra care to preserve the ones I have to resell.  It is a nice option for us.  I feel better not filling a trash bag with disposable diapers each week and kid #4 has not had any diaper rash issues because her bummer isn't covered in plastic.  I highly recommend gDiapers.