Wednesday, April 24, 2013

This Mom Recommends - Savings Challenge

As I mentioned before I am participating in the Savings Challenge at  So far the "Family Christmas Fund" is up to $120 ($136 this week).  You can start with week 1 now and end this time next year or catch up to $136 (week 16) and add $17 dollars next week.  This is a fun family challenge and a great math problem!  How do you save money?


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Letting them grow up!

Kid #1 is almost 11.  I think of all the things I did at almost 11.  Riding bikes to a friends house, walking to the library.  Overnights in my friends backyard in a tent. Sleep away camps.

It gives me a sad feeling when I think of my "baby" being out on his own.  But I realize there is nothing I can do about.  Well, I could keep him in the house for the rest of his life, but that hardly seems right.  He is taller than me, his feet are bigger than mine, but he is my baby.

So this is the summer that I will let him go away to camp, ride his bike to activities in town and spread his wings a bit.  He will be a 6th grader and he is pretty responsible, but I don't have to like it!


Sunday, April 21, 2013

Freezer Cooking

I have been on an never ending quest to make my life easier.  I meal plan, try and get the family on a schedule and am decluttering like a wild woman.  (Easter Seals got a huge donation last week!)  Sometimes, we all get up late or I underestimate how long it will take to get from here to there and I get stuck!  I have been freezer cooking to help with those crazy times and resist the urge to order pizza or drive through.  I was inspired by Jessica Fisher's book, Not Your Mother's Make Ahead and Freeze Cookbook.  There are some many more options than meatloaf.  We will be eating "real food" from the freezer.

Over the weekend I made and froze 2 patches of muffins, taco meat and breakfast cookies.  I also made homemade granola, smoothies and sliced vegetables.  I am also working on pasta sauce and shredded beef filling.  Once I get in the swing it is easy.  My plan is to spend some time every weekend prepping. Baked goods one weekend, breakfasts on another, lunch stuff, then dinner entrees.  Meal time has the potential to be a disaster here, we are all tired, hungry and out of ideas.

What are some of your meal time tips?   Share them here please, I'd love to hear.


Monday, April 1, 2013

Spring Cleaning - Inside and Out

I have this week off and as you can imagine I have a huge "To Do" list.  It is full of the basics: decluttering, cleaning out closets, and deep cleaning. In addition, I am using this week to refocus my efforts on our budget, our faith and our diet.

I have spent some time looking around and we have too much.  The kids and I are going to make some hard choices in the basement.  The debate is whether to wait for a May yard sale or donate now.  I am also posting some on Craigslist and taking some to the children's resale shop.  We will spend some time each morning on a room (or two) until we have the whole house done.

I have energized my Pampered Chef business and I have 4 parties this month!  I need to get those items organized and ready to go.  It is my hope that this will supplement our income a bit and pay for the "extras" like summer camps for the kids. I also started a savings plan from Getting Freedom From Debt.  This will help with the expenses of the Christmas holiday.  I also will be calling around for the best price on insurance and dropping our cable.  We need to start "living like no one else".  I have clipped and organized a ton of coupons.  I am going to try and cut the grocery bill by $150 or so.

I will also be updating our family calendar and will be scheduling time for faith and church together as a family.  With all of our activities, this has become more difficult that I expected.  I also need to get over not having "the right" clothes to wear to mass.  We have stayed home because someone had grown out of their church shoes.

Finally, I will be cleaning and organizing the pantries this week.  Again, our schedules have had us relying on convenience which is not always healthy.  In addition, meal time has been stressful and unplanned. I need to get a meal plan and STICK WITH IT.  One day of forgetting to put something in the crock pot can totally ruin the night.

Well, I have designated 9:00am as the time we all get to work and it has arrived.  I will be posting our progress.  Wish me luck!