Saturday, April 30, 2011

Adios Cable

We cancelled the cable. We are doing some serious axing to the budget.

Is axing a word? I sometimes say things that aren't technically words. Like grumping. I use it as a verb all the time.

Cable. I'm back. It's gone saving us $15 a month. We also lowered our internet package saving another $15 a month. Boom!

Then this morning Jon and the kids took our dog for a walk and passed by a garage sale. *Sigh* I love garage sales. He found a brand new in the box HD Antennae for $20 which he got for $10.

I love this man.

So now we have 30 crystal clear channels to multiple rooms for a third of one month's savings. It can be done!
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Friday, April 29, 2011

Patience Is A Virtue

I am not a very patient person. In Bible College, I'd always say how patience is not one of my virtues. Really. It isn't/wasn't. But something happened when I had kids. My patience began to grow.

Thank You Jesus. I'm sure my kids are thanking Him too.

I admit when I painted our bathroom last year, and the kids' bathroom a few months ago, and our living room and then broke my toe, that it would leave me for a time. I'm soooo ready to get going with running a marathon or half marathon. But I've learned that if I want something done right, I have to take the time to do it right. Or let it heal right.

In the same respect, if I want something that I can't afford, I need to take time to wait. What is it Dave Ramsey always says...One definition of maturity is the ability to delay pleasure.

There's a trench coat that I've wanted For.Ev.Er. from The Limited. It's so super cute, but $150. So yeah, that wasn't happening. I mean, if I had $150 for a trench, great! But I didn't. So I was at The Limited last week searching (without much luck) for a shirt for Easter. I came across the trench I wanted that was less than half the original price. Still too expensive for my budget. BUT!!! They were taking an extra 40% off every purchase!

I totally bought that coat.

And the best part, I actually had the budget money to buy it! Makes a person feel great.

That's how I buy the kids' clothes, if not from a garage sale. I'll wait until department stores have a major sale, and then usually I have a percentage off coupon to couple with it. They may not have this second's style (because it changes about 4 times during each season!), but they're okay with that. For now, hehe.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

A Perfect Present

I have a niece (who is not my niece by blood but may as well be since I've adopted her as such) who's birthday is next month. She was playing at our house and was in love with Konnor's mini doodle pro. I decided that's what she needs for her birthday!

I was perusing the aisles of Target (Super that is) and was excited to see the Easter candy was 50% off, and non bagged candy was 75% off. Sweet!!!

The best part, it was the last Easter mini doodle pad. BONUS.

So for $1.24 I bought the sweetest little girl a most perfect present.
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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Save Money Without Coupons

I have a lot of friends that don't use coupons. I myself don't use coupons a whole lot, but I do use them if I can to stretch my dollars. It is still possible to save money!

*First* Be aware of what you're paying. Sometimes Sam's can seem like a terrific bargain until you realize you're paying $.45 a roll for toilet paper when you could buy it on sale for $.25 a roll. Know what you like, and what you've paid for it.

Chicken breast is a great example. Most generally, it is around $1.98-2.29 per pound. Wal Mart's Good Value bags of 2.5 pounds are $6 (here) which equates to $2.40 per pound. Yikes! On sale, at Reasor's, it goes down to $1.58 per pound. When it goes on sale, I moved around my budget and meals so that I can afford about 10 pounds of chicken- which is a $4 savings minimum. Then I like to freeze each breast in it's own baggie, or foil. It's much easier to thaw, and I don't feel like I have to make chicken every night for a week because I have to thaw an entire 5 pound package.

*Second* Utilize the price matching. Wal Mart will price match right at the register (have the ad with you and ready as they scan the item) making it super easy. I've never had problems with it. Target's price matching is a bit less friendly. You have to pay, then take your receipt and ad to Customer Service where they refund the difference. A little more work and when you have kids in tow it's not appealing for saving a dollar. $2 on the other hand, well that's an Americano!

*Third* Shop around if you can. Walgreens, Wal Mart and Reasors are all on my way to and from dropping Isabella off at school so I'm not using gas by going somewhere I don't need to. Aldi is not on my way, but is right next to Super Target. If Aldi has great produce prices, I will make the 10 minute trip and stop by Target if they something I need. Especially because we eat A LOT of fruit and vegetables.

Groceries can get out of control. Especially with costs on the rise. But with a little planning and purposeful buying, you can work your money.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Dressing Up Leftovers

Leftovers are...tolerated by the kids if it's not pizza or spaghetti. I try to disguise them cleverly. Leftover taco meat becomes Southwestern Beef Salad. Which is what's pictured. Minus cheese.

Not because I don't have any, I just didn't feel like it today. Which is rare.

It was so good I had it again for lunch. I made the corn relish for the first time with dried beans. Normally I crack a can, but...rising prices make me skip the cans. It was really easy and totally replicate worthy.

Get a small saucepan. Pour in the beans (I did about 1/4 cup dried) and pick out any rocks or yucky stuff. Rinse and drain. Add water to 1/4 inch under the rim. Sprinkle in 1tsp. salt and boil away for about an hour. You may need to add more water. They need to be tender to the touch but not mushy.

Boil 2/3 cup apple cider vinegar and 2/3 cup sugar until the sugar dissolves. Drain the beans. Open & drain 1 can of corn. Add to the vinegar and let set in the refrigerator until it cools. It's even better the next day.

I first tried corn relish at Tin Star, a restaurant here in Tulsa, and my mother in law found something similar in my Betty Crocker cookbook. We've added tomatoes, red bell pepper, onions and green pepper at different times. All were good!

Make it your own! For less than $1(if your corn is less than $.40 a can), it's a great salad topper, or party dip with tortilla chips.
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Monday, April 25, 2011

Monday, Monday

The Mamas & The Papas are in my head with their song right now.

'Every other day (every other day) Every other day...'

It's in your head too, now, isn't it?

It's the day after Easter! Hit up those stores for candy and next year's baskets and activities!
By far, my favorite photo from yesterday
 My children have far too much candy. What in the world do we do with it all?! We actually still have some candy from halloween in Isabella's bag. So we have a plethora here.
My cute kittens

One of my good friends had a great idea. Freeze some for summer! Around here, we have a movie theater that does free movies 3 mornings a week. The concessions are not free of course, but we take our own candy. If we go with our friend, we'll buy the large combo and fill the kids' cups and bowls and get a free refill.

I may make M&M sugar cookies. There is a candy cupcake recipe I've been wanting to try too. I could take that to my MOPS Mom's Night Out tonight. The possibilities are endless! What do you do with your leftover candy?

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Long Weekend Fun

Yesterday was Good Friday. Isabella didn't have school due to a 'Professional Day' for the teachers. I was thanking Jesus for that day off. Last week was SAT's. Around here, that means early bedtime, early waking and everything being in order. The last part is hard for me. I've learned to embrace some of the chaos around here. But the days had to be orderly, so they were. I'm a team player.

We have an Aquarium membership which has been a huge blessing. For $85, two adults and up to 4 kids can visit any time. When Isabella was homeschooling, we went probably once a week. Since we live in Jenks, though, we get the membership for half price. Bonus!!! So due to the day out of school, that's where we went with some friends.

It can be difficult to have kids home from school. They're so used to doing something all the time, which is fine if the weather is great, but that's not a guarantee. I always try to keep a good craft on hand.

The peel and stick foam pieces are amazing! Last year (after Easter sometime) I was at Joann's Fabric Store and ran across an egg peel and stick kit. It had 60 eggs and lots of stickers to decorate them. Regularly $7.99, it was on sale for $1.99. Did I grab it? You betcha!

They worked on those babies for almost an hour.

Isabella was done first, which was not surprising, but once she saw Liana writing on her eggs a whole new idea formed. So she got her eggs and went to work on them again.

Liana is quite methodical in her approach. She didn't want to even start decorating her eggs until she had all of her supplies. Plus a pen. Pen's are not part of the deal with Liana, because I have pen drawings on everything in my house practically. It hasn't quite clicked that we draw on paper.

Konnor also had something distinct in mind. First, he did not want any girl colored stickers. So he traded with Liana for the blues and yellows. For some reason pink eggs were ok. Then he took his eggs and the little 'ribbon' stickers and made train tracks. So boy. So cute. So he made his eggs into train tracks that love to lay right across my keyboard.
Sunday is Easter! That means Monday will begin the slashing of prices on Easter themed products. Candy will go first. But look at the little toys and fillers. Think ahead. Do you have birthday parties coming up? Treat bags for school? If you want to stock up on Easter toys for next year, think of fabric stores like Joann's or Hobby Lobby. Sometimes the best finds are in the least likely of places.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Garden Plants at Lowe's

I got a mailer from Lowe's with tomato & pepper plants advertised as 2 for $1. When we got there, the pepper plants were out of sight. After a little help from an employee we found out they hadn't come in.


BUT! They were substituting with the Bonnie plants. That's a great deal! So we spent $3 on 6 pepper plants (hot & bell) when 1 retails for $3.24.

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Free Starbucks

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Today is Earth Day. The one day of the year when everyone is supposed to be conscientious of how much energy they're using & use less!

Starbucks is giving free brewed coffee to every person that brings in their own re-usable mug from 5am-9pm.

Leave a little early and go get some! A little tip though, if you don't like Pike Place (which I don't) then get there before 10am. They brew 2 different coffees until then. Happy save money on earth day day!

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I'm hate to admit, but I've had an extreme attack of 'Mom Brain'. If you're not familiar with that term, let me fill you in. 'Mom Brain' is actually a lack of brains. It's like they fell out. Even my most organized friends have an occasional onset of this, so I'm not too worried.

You may ask what the symptoms are. That's easy, you forget. In my case, I have forgotten each and every time I've gone to the store to buy shampoo and conditioner. Normally that wouldn't be a problem. I usually keep quite a stock of personal care items but having found a product I love I don't keep it stocked. The reason is because it's expensive. $7 per bottle. Which in some cases may be a deal...just not in my case.

So here I am, without shampoo or conditioner which happens to be a travesty. I am one of those people that have to wash my hair every day. If not, it's like an oil slick landed in my hair. Disgusting.

Don't worry, I had a brilliant plan. I love to take the shampoos and conditioners from hotels to use for overnight trips, or short weekend getaways.  Well, not all hotels, but the ones that have good product. The Hilton, Radisson and DoubleTree all have good product. We haven't done a lot of short trips, so I had about 4 sets on hand. Crabtree & Evelyn were the first to get used. Now Neutrogena. I'm at the end of the supply which means I have to remember when I go to the store today.

Pray that my brain returns!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Increasing Prices

Groceries, cable, internet, water, gas...the prices of everything are going up. This is not a problem if your income is rising at the same time. If your income is not increasing, then you may be in a bit of a bind.

I just got the bill for our cable. We have basic. When we first got cable 2 years ago, we got a bigger plan. It had the Disney channel! Our bill for cable, internet and phone ran around $90. It started inching up until for some reason our bill was $120 a month.

We decided to get rid of what we didn't need. With 2 cell phones, a landline wasn't necessary to us. Then we reduce our cable to basic where it's been ever since. Then this past month, the cable bill went up by $4.

$4 is not much, but when it's a 33% increase, then to me that's a lot!!! So it's time to revisit whether cable is worth having. When deciding, you need to look at everything, not just the savings. If we dropped cable we'll save over $120 a year. We will, however, have to get a digital box (can be fairly inexpensive) and I believe an antenna because of where we live. So we need to look at the cost of that, plus installation.

I'm not sure yet, if we'll keep cable. We honestly don't watch a whole lot of TV. And the shows we do enjoy (Amazing Race & Castle) can be seen online the next day. What is hard to do is watch the news on the laptop when there's a tornado warning, but there's live streaming everything. It's nice to have the option, but if the budget can't handle the increased cost...then it goes!

Life on a budget and I have a love/loathe relationship hehe.

Monday, April 18, 2011

It's Broken!

Well, I went to the doctor on Friday, just to make sure it was only my toe that I'd hurt. An hour and 3 x-rays later I was told 'No half marathon'. It was broken clean diagonally.

I'm not gonna lie, I cried.

I've been training since the end of November and am only 6 weeks away! So my player to the right is gone. No longer necessary. It's so irritating for someone to say 'Well, you never know what could have happened if you ran it' or 'All things work together for the good of those that love Him'.

Let me take a moment, I just threw up in my mouth.

I absolutely know that bad things can happen, but I'm not going to live in fear of that and do nothing. Plus I'd rather something happen while I'm running instead of not even getting to try. I know people try to make you feel better, but being spiritual doesn't help. Kind of like when people say 'Well now they aren't suffering anymore' when someone passes. That doesn't make it feel better! Just say you're sorry and give a hug. Grieve with the person!

For me, my dream was just killed. I won't be able to run my half marathon before I turn 30.

Ok, I'm done with the pity party!

Trying to be a half full kind of girl, maybe I'll try to do a full marathon before the end of the year. Who knows! I do know that we've spent a little more money than normal on food. Jon's had to make dinners a few times hehe. He's a great cook, really. Hamburger Helper is awesome.

I hope your weekend was great and full of fun! Happy Monday!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Prodigal Phone Returns!

Last month I told you in the recap of our Spring Break Adventure, I told you how I lost my phone. My cell phone. It had sooo many photos from the trip. It had video from our trip. I was devastated.

Lucky for me (or actually Jon) my friend Becca gave me her phone which she had just upgraded from. Awesome! Jon was getting tired of having an old piece of crap phone that 4 years ago was crazy expensive and a top notch phone.

So this morning at 7am my phone buzzes. Four times to be exact. That's how I knew it was a phone call. I answer, and it's my mom. Not exactly surprising. Mom's an early bird. She's laughing a little and says 'You'll never guess what your dad found'.

MY PHONE!!!!!!

Where was it? On top of a stack of plates in a cabinet that's never used. I'm still wondering how it got there!

I did learn a lesson, though. It's so tempting to get the latest gadget or phone. The bad thing, is they are outdated quite fast. Jon bought a laptop and less than a year later they had a better one. Ugh! But, such is the nature of the beast.

So if you're going to spring for the newest gadget, I figure there's one of two options. One, be ready to upgrade when the new one comes out. That way, it's not so out of date that it isn't worth anything and you can sell it for something. Or two, use it and enjoy! For a long time. When the 'latest' version comes out, don't catch the fever.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

$30 at Aldi

I have seen normal, everyday people leave Aldi with an entire cart overflowing with groceries. One time, I did also. But my mom & dad paid, and it included a cart full of 'Nana & Papa' buys.* Read fruit snacks, pizza, ice cream, cookies, etc.* On a normal basis though, I spend around $20-40 dollars there per week. Today I spent $30.

Let me just say, I did not buy any meat. Because we bought a quarter cow, we don't buy beef. I do buy chicken when it's on sale, though. And fish when we decide to mix it up a bit.

Also, I bought a few things I never buy because of the upcoming Easter party at Isabella's school. I love making cupcakes to celebrate Jesus' resurrection! And I bought chips and LOTS of tortillas because we're having company. All of the extras that wouldn't have been in my cart added up to $8. Still not bad!

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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Birthday Parties

In a post a few months ago, I talked about how birthday parties can break the bank. This past week, Isabella has had 3 birthday parties.


One is our good friend's son, so I bought him a present quite a while ago. But I didn't have any 'age appropriate gifts in my box (unless a manner's book is ok. I think the parents would be offended as their kids are very well behaved) so that means a purchase! I had a Groupon that expired in a few days to Barnes & Noble which I thought would be perfect to use for their presents!

After picking out a smallish present for both girls, I only had to pay $2 out of pocket which brought the total to $12 for two birthdays, or $6 each. That's something I can handle!!!

If you have room in your budget, buy cheap giftcards on Groupon when you can. You never know when they'll come in handy!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Mother's Day Again!

Yesterday I told you about Snapfish's photo mug deal. Today on Groupon, Oklahoma City has a deal for photo books from They have terrific options, and you can make it look scrapbooky without all the scrappy work.

I love to buy photo anything deals, because I know I will use them. Mixbook's Groupon is not valid on shipping, but still paying $15 for $50 worth of photo products (cards & prints included!) Is a great deal.

Unless shipping cost $20. That would stink.

Follow the link below to get the deal!

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Monday, April 11, 2011

Chili's Alert: Queso On The House!

 While I myself will not have a margarita at the bar, I will definitely eat queso. Especially when it's on the house! If you're planning a dinner out tonight, print this coupon out and get a free queso. It's only valid today, so if you're going tomorrow no luck. But if you're going, enjoy some for me!!

Think Mother's Day!

Since we live far away from all of the kids' grandparents, I try to get them photo gifts. We have given them a photo book, a collage of pictures, photo mugs, magnets...I think that's all but there's probably more. The photo mug we gave them was homemade, however. One item that did. not. last.

Well, the mug is still in tact, but without their picture on it!

Today, however, Snapfish has a promotion going on through April 13th, to celebrate their 11th birthday. When you buy one collage photo mug, you get 2 free. That's 3 mugs for $12.99!  You can use up to 15 pictures, choose from 14 backgrounds and add a title if you wish. Use the code 11MUGS at checkout.

Remember, you will have to pay shipping. I'm not sure how Snapfish does with stacking coupon codes (using more than one per order), but you can always try. A good way to know if they allow it is to look where you put the code in. If there are more than 1 spaces, then chances are you can use more than one. Check out RetailMeNot to see if there is a free shipping code or percentage off to use with the code for the mugs.

Happy making!

Sunday, April 10, 2011


The kids have a book called 'The Last Straw' about a camel that the Three Wise Men use to travel to see the Baby Jesus. In this book, the camel is continually complaining to himself about his aches and pains.

"My joints, my gaut, my sciatia."

I feel like Hushmakaka today. On Friday night I broke my toe. I kicked a ladder that I left up for painting. So I cry (which I never do) and it's hurting like crazy. On Saturday I accidentally kick the same toe on the door.

How? Have no idea.

So last night I wrap my toes in an attempt to help it heal straight. This morning Jon made a splint and wrapped it for me. There was a point sticking out a bit that I caught on the carpet and pulled the wrapped, splinted toes bruising up my foot.

See, I'm like Hushmakaka.

So now I'm chair ridden. Jon won't let me up for a couple of days, save the essential needs. I'm hoping this helps it heal faster. The average 4-6 weeks heal time puts me right at my half marathon...I don't even want to think about that!

So we'll file this one, also, under Life's Lessons Learned...The Hard Way.

P.S. Any tips on helping my toe heal faster are most welcome!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Testing...1, 2, 3

So this is a test to see if my mobile blog posting works. If it works...totally awesome. That means I can post a blog on the go when I'm out & see a great deal!

Sa-weet !!!

Currently, it feels like 100 degrees in Oklahoma. Hopefully it's not a sign of how the summer will be. It's hot here anyways during the summer. A cooler summer like the ones I had as a kid would just fine by me!

This was a test. And only a test. Stay cool!

P.S. Don't forget to wear sunscreen.
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Thursday, April 7, 2011

Stretch That Meat!

My kids are growing every day. That is more evident in how much they are eating. I send Isabella a whole lot of lunch and she's starving when she climbs in the van at the end of the day. The other night I made tacos. Usually 1lb of ground beef is enough with plenty left over. Not so this week! We ate nearly all the meat in one meal.

Of course it was super delicious.

But still.

Thanks to Taco Bell, the term 'fillers' has gotten a bad reputation. I, however, still love it! I totally use fillers to make my meat last. When making tacos, I add half and onion or more chopped fine. I also have started to add green pepper, also finely chopped. Beans are another great addition to make taco meat last longer.

When I make spaghetti sauce, alot of times I'll add pureed carrots. You can't really taste the difference and it adds more vegetables to each serving. Also, I like to add a can of diced tomatoes if I'm using canned spaghetti sauce.

There's a whole world of possibilities when you start adding little things to your recipes! What are your filler secrets? Do share!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Soul Surfer

Last night I had the opportunity to take Isabella and Liana to see the movie 'Soul Surfer' for free! Our local Christian radio station has been running ads for the last couple of weeks to see it before it's released. So I went online and filled out I wanted to go and wanted 3 tickets. I don't know what I was thinking, putting in 3 tickets when there are 5 in my family. But I did. Monday afternoon the confirmation e-mail was in my inbox!

I was interested in it not only because of the interesting story based on real life events, but also because it had Anna Sophia Robb, Helen Hunt, Dennis Quaid and Carrie Underwood headlining. It was a delightful surprise to see Craig T. Nelson (hello Coach!) and Kevin Sorbo (of Hercules fame!) in the film as well.

While I was a little hesitant to take the girls, knowing the storyline, I prepared them ahead of time. They knew to expect she was bitten by a shark and that was very scary, but they also knew that she doesn't die. Seeing the story on the big screen, though, brought all of us to tears. I am the only one that will admit it!

Bethany Hamilton with Anna Sophia Robb (Bethany)
It was a great movie, with a great message. It's so disheartening to take the kids to see a film that is full of suggestive, disrespectful and vulgar language. Even in G rated films insinuations and double meanings run rampant. This movie did not have one moment when I cringed thinking they were going to have a new attitude or saying that was going to have to be corrected. Bethany Hamilton's faith is very evident in the film and that is refreshing to see!

If you're going to pick a movie to see next weekend, pick this one. It's a tale of triumph in the face of tragedy and adversity. It's about finding your way when you can't see through the storm. You will leave feeling warm and encouraged, and able to look your mom in the eye!

Monday, April 4, 2011


I remember the days when my kids were young, and everything was put into rhyme form. "Owies from the sun, that's not fun!" was our sunscreen rhyme. Now it's more like "Sunscreen on first!". The girls are great about it, and Konnor follows the girls so there are really no problems.

If you're my friend on Facebook, you may have noticed my status update as 'I love the feeling of being crispified by the sun' or something along those lines. Well...I take it back. I take it ALL back!

No, I didn't use sunblock. The (not so) funny part is Friday was April 1st, and I wish it were a joke. However, these blisters are no joke. Yep, I'm blistering.

So this is your friendly reminder that when the sun is out, put the sunscreen on. What does this have to do with budgeting? Absolutely nothing. File this under 'Life's Lessons Learned... the Hard Way'.

I hope your weekend was great! I have been working hard on getting together prices for my Grocery Budget that will hopefully go live this weekend. Also I am in the midst of cleaning. Still! I have a lot of ground to cover here!!!

Until tomorrow.

Hopefully without blisters.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Returning An Item

Today I'm going to return a dress to Kohl's. It's a beautiful navy blue dress that I absolutely love (I'm super into jewel tones!) but that in all honesty I'll never wear. The regular price was $78, I paid $13 for it. That makes it harder to was soooooooo inexpensive!!!!

But it's not a good deal if it never gets used. If I'm honest with myself, there are things about the dress that I don't like. I'm a taller person, and the top puts my hips about 2 inches higher than where they are. I don't actually like the pockets, but you can't really see them.

That's the end of my dislike list.

So I'm forcing myself to take it back. Luckily I got the dress from Kohl's where you don't need your receipt, just the card you purchased it on. They truly do have one of the best return processes ever! They aren't lying in their commercials.

Friday has become our 'coffee date' morning. We all load up and drop Isabella off at school, then hit a coffee shop and have as much quality time as we can with two other little kiddos in tow. Then I have errands to run. I absolutely love Fridays!!!

Have a terrific day. Try to not fall prey to any April Fool's Day jokes *hehe*.