Tuesday, April 29, 2008

5 Budget Busters!

I've been tagged by Sarah at Fiddledeedee! She shared her top 5 budget busters last week and "tagged" me to do the same! So here goes in no set order...
  1. These first two are totally dependant on planning and organization. We spend less in these areas when I plan and organize. I would say this is true in all areas of spending! Food! Food is a biggie here. With so many mouths to feed and two growing boys , there is a lot of food coming in and quickly being eaten. "What's to eat, Mom?", "What's for ......breakfast, lunch, dinner?" echoed over and over! It's nice when I actually have an answer, and I usually do, because I have a menu plan and shop accordingly. But when things don't go as planned food is a huge budget buster! Feeding so many with take-out, even the dollar menu is expensive. I always think in terms of how many groceries I could buy when we have to spend extra. I need to do a better job in planning for times when I need a quick meal and we could save more in this area. I have said, it's a shame we can't eat toothpaste and shampoo, hee-hee! Fellow CVS'ers will know what I mean!
  2. The second is clothing. When we aren't organized, it is so hard to know what we have and what we need. It is so nice to pull out a well labeled tote of size 2 summer clothes when you need it for the next in line, but it doesn't always work out that way! Having five girls in a row, organization of shoes and clothes can and has saved a tremendous amount of money as they "hand down". I am a "sucker" when it comes to dresses. It is so hard not to add to our dress collection. We have been blessed over the years with a huge collection of dresses. I love having them and try to resist the urge to buy more....I just remind myself..."Tommy's gonna kill me if I buy another dress...OH, this would be so cute on...But, Tommy's gonna...." You get the idea?!
  3. Heating and cooling a 4000 square foot house....enough said!
  4. Hobbies can be a budget buster. Photo supplies and scrapbooking, I love it! I have a small fortune in supplies and little to show for it! Someday I will get it done, I love scrapbooking and if someone can tell me how to get it done with so many littles, please share! Oh, one more thing, babies, sweet babies, another "hobby" of mine:0) I love all the stuff that comes with babies. I have learned to keep it simple in this area, but I have to resist the urge to buy baby things. It helps that I am a home-body and don't shop much!
  5. Lastly, having three babies and moving twice in the last four years has been expensive. I'm not complaining...I love my babies and the moves were job related and God is good to us. We have everything we need and a lot more! I have been blessed with a very hard working husband and I have never had to worry about money.

Now I'm tagging Monica and Tisha!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Just Curious...

I don't want anyone to think that I go through life making decisions based on what people may think. I guess that is fairly obvious based on the facts...seven children, two born at home and all home schooled, breastfeeding past a year, sometimes past two years. With that said, I am curious about something. You see, we live in a neighborhood of lovely homes, most built in the seventies, all well maintained, with about an acre of well manicured yard. Our back yard connects with the backyards of five other homes. It is really pretty especially this time of year with everything green and blooming.
So now I have a question for you. Should I put up a clothesline? Leave me a comment and let me know what you think.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Super Saving Saturday

This week the big "score" at CVS was the Alavert Allergy money maker! I have two suffering with Spring allergies, so this was also a helpful deal. I was also excited to work in the Dunkin' Donuts coffee for me and the mac', as Samuel calls it, and a coke for the kids. This only cost me $1.68 after ECB's and I earned them all back plus some! I have $31 in ECB's for next week!
Kroger had another good sale on cereal and granola bars. I loved getting this for the kids because we are really busy with three in sports right now! Total at Kroger after coupons...$44 and change. (Some fruit not pictured, we had already put it away!)
I'm not a huge fan of Walgreen's yet, but last week a deal there on Aveeno products caught my eye and my coupons! I earned $10 in register rewards. This was a big help for the end of the month budget and I got four dozen eggs and milk for $.44 with that coupon!

Check out lots of other deals and great shopping scenerios at The "Cent"sible Sawyer and Money Saving Mom!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Exciting Mail From Africa

Last Christmas my kids put together a shoebox full of gifts to send to a needy child through Samaritan's Purse. This is a ministry headed by Franklin Graham, son of Billy Graham. We have enjoyed giving in this way for the last three years and have been blessed by sharing with others at Christmas. You don't know who will get your box, you just choose a boy or a girl and an age range.
This past Christmas we chose a boy between ten and fourteen. It is a fun challenge to see how much you can fit into a shoe box. We included toothpaste,a toothbrush, paper, pencils, a pencil sharpener, sun glasses, soap, a wash cloth, index cards, hard candy, gum, and of course a baseball! All of this fit in a Rubbermaid shoe box so "our kid" could store his things for a long time! We also wrote our kid a letter to be sent in his box. We prayed for our kid and dropped it off at our "church across the street." This is the church that we visit for their Saturday night service!
We received a letter from our "kid" this week, exciting mail all the way from Zambia, Africa...Our "kid's" name is Webby and his letter said this...
Dear Family,
Thank you very much for the gifts you send to me in the shoe box, God bless you richly as you are doing the work of God. You know men of God. It's not easy to send something to someone whom you don't know, but God made it simple and easy because you have the true love of Christ in your heart. Greetings to all your family. You are good people, I enjoyed your gifts. All my family are praying for you, and we would love to hear from you soon.
Pass my love greetings to all who love the Lord Jesus Christ and all church members tell them that God loves them.
Yours in the master's service,
We were blessed by his kind words. His letter made my day! What else can I say, he said it all so well.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Making Your Home A Haven

I'm taking Crystal's challenge today to work on decluttering some areas of our house. The clutter multiplies QUICKLY around here! Ok, "keepin' it real" Here are the before pictures...and since you've seen it I HAVE to clean it up, right?
My desk

The top of the steps
"Piles" in the dining room floor (We had to move it off the table to eat:)

Socks and books on the steps
I'll update progress, this may take a while!


We had a good, busy day and we will tackle that dining room pile tomorrow. I don't think it is as bad it looks. Most of it is probably trash! Have a good night!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

My Nephew is Four Weeks Old!

I love this picture on his birth announcement!

This picture was taken today and sent to us. Modern technology is a great thing, when it works that is!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Rose is Twelve Weeks Old

I say twelve weeks because it sounds better than 3 months, ya know? Babies grow much too fast! She just gets sweeter everyday...
Sometimes I am serious....
Sometimes not so much....

I love splashing at bath time....

I catch a ride whenever I can....

I love (no kidding) watching Survivor Man with Big Bro Jacob....(Papa, we could use some new shows:)

This week at CVS

Another great week at CVS. My new goals with CVS shopping are to not spend more that change on each transaction and to get things we need. This was a good week! I was able to purchase diapers, detergent, soap, allergy medicine (for Anna, poor thing), milk (not pictured) and vinegar. I bought bubbles for the babies and M&M's for Tommy! He is sharing with us too:0) It is nice to be able to get needed items and treats too! Almond M&M's are the bomb! Anna is in coupon training. She helped with the big trip in the third picture. Our favorite sweet cashier even gave her a candy bar, which made the shopping experience all that much "sweeter". All this for $2.22 off our gift card and $27 Extra Care Bucks for next week!
If you want to learn more about CVS shopping read more at Money Saving Mom! And I'm a Superstar at Denise's site!

Thursday, April 17, 2008


Fireproof will be released in the fall of this year. This movie is written by the same man that made Facing The Giants, one of our favorites! Visit the movie's website for more details!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

April 16, 2008

Virginia Tech Memorial
Hokie Stones...one for each of the fallen
We remember
Picture credit...my Dad, Thanks, Dad!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Remember To Pray

Let's remember to pray for all those that lost family and friends in the Virginia Tech tragedy. Also, remember those that were injured and the hundreds that bravely responded to the call that day on campus. Their lives were surely changed forever.
I will not forget the feeling in my stomach as I heard the news start to be reported and dropping to my knees to pray. We live about 35 minutes from Tech where Tommy graduated and I have family that works on campus and many that live close by. We will not forget!

Go Hokies!!

Friday, April 11, 2008

A Conversation With Wendy

After Wendy (just turned four) and I read a book we had this conversation....(Baby Rose was on a blanket right in front of us)
Wendy..."Why is she smiling?"

Me..."Because she is happy."

Wendy.."I love Rose."

Me..."Yes, me too."

Wendy..."I don't want a baby in my house."

Me..."You don't?"

Wendy..."We could give her away, and what would you say?"

Me..."I would be sad."

Wendy...(with a big smile)"We could give her to Nana and what would you say?"

Me...."Nana would be happy!"

Wendy..."Would you cry, Mama?"

Me..."Yes. A lot."

Pause and much thought...

Wendy..."Mama, you can keep her. I love Rose."

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Healthy Snack Cake

This is an adapted recipe from The Bread Beckers Recipe Collection book. I have had their book for years and it is a great book if you want to learn to bake with whole wheat flour. In the book it is called Streusel Coffee Cake. Calling it coffee cake just confuses my kids, so I like to call it snack cake. This is guiltless cake because it is full of fiber and nutrition. You could add nuts, raisins or dates, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, or coconut...whatever your family likes. We keep it simple here! In the pictures we ate this as a mid morning snack and we ate the whole thing except for the two pieces we saved for Tommy for lunch!
4 cups hard white wheat flour(or a combination of hard and soft pastry wheat)
2 tblsp. baking powder
1 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup oil
3/4 cup organic cane juice crystals(or your choice of sweetener)
2 cups of milk (enough to make the it a little thicker than pancake batter)
*note- I often don't measure liquids, so the milk is an estimate here)
4 tblsp. butter
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 cup organic cane juice crystals
2 tblsp. flour
blend topping ingredients together with a fork or pastry blender in a separate bowl
Directions....Combine cake ingredients until the consistency of pancake batter and pour into a well greased 13x9 baking dish. Crumble topping evenly on top of the cake batter. Bake at 375 for 30-40 minutes or until done in the center. Shield with foil if getting too brown. Best eaten warm right out of the oven!
Join The Natural Mommy for thursday's recipe swap. I enjoy her blog because she is funny and "real"!!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

CVS Diaper Deal!

This week at CVS, if you buy $25 worth of participating baby products, you get $10 Extra Care Bucks. Great deal for us, we have 2 in diapers full time and one wearing one to bed! Here is how I made the deal work for me...only paying $1.10 out of pocket and earning 12 extra care bucks!

transaction #1...
1 excedrin 1.99 (monthly deal)
2 cvs gel caps 3.99 each (monthly deal)
1 cvs baby wipes 2.50
1 jumbo pack of huggies 8.99
1.00 off Excedrin (printed on a previous receipt)
2.00 off Excedrin (manufacturers coupon)
1.50 off huggies (manu. cpn)
2.00 off Huggies (cvs printable)
Paid with 8.00 Extra care bucks and $.96 in change
Earned 7.98 ecb for the cvs gel caps and 1.00 ecb for exedrin

transaction #2
1 excedrin 24 count 1.99
2 huggies jumbo packs 8.99 each
(2) 1.50 off huggies (manufacturers coupons)
2.00 off huggies (cvs printable, above link)
2.00 off excedrin (manu. cpn.)
1.00 off excedrin ( another receipt coupon from cvs)
CVS $4 off $20 (link above)
Paid with 7.98 in Extra care bucks from first transaction and .14 cent in change!
Earned 10 extra care bucks for huggies plus 1 ecb for excedrin for a total of 12 extra care bucks earned from both deals.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Super Savings Saturday

The first four pictures are of my four orders at CVS this week. I am very pleased with these purchases. I was able to buy things that are very useful and not a lot of "extra that we already have in the closet! Here's just a quick run-down...I did four separate orders purchasing what is in each picture, but these are the bottom line totals...
Total ...$93.06
Total spent in cash...$0.76
Extra care bucks for next week...$24.00
This table full is from Kroger! They had a great sale this week that will carry over into next week also. If you buy ten participating items, you get an $5 off your bill. After sale and coupons I spent $58. Twenty dollars was for chicken and another $5 for bananas...can you believe the price of bananas?! .74/lb.!? I have ordered more coupons from the Coupon Clippers to use this week at Kroger for this sale also. I like their site for good stock up sales like this one! Read more from Crystal here.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Technical Difficulties

I may be the only person on the planet that doesn't know what "the blue screen of death" is when it pops up on your computer. Well, I do now. Thankfully, I did not lose any treasured pictures. Yes, I am one of "those" that have not backed up the last year or so of digital pictures. Well, I am in the process of doing so now. I am very "computer challenged" and hope to get better organized with the whole picture thing. Until then, I am not doing much else on the computer.
Maybe by the first of next week I will have all photos copied to discs and will feel safer using the computer. I am looking forward to posting about baby Rose (it has been a while since doing an update on her) and a great recipe I want to share. I also want to post on Wendy's 4th birthday and our trip to Maryland to see my new nephew!
'Be back soon.....