Monday, November 23, 2009

Choo-choo...All Aboard

The budget plan is still underway and is going well!  We are planning hard for Christmas but it may take some more thought before we launch into what we will be spending.  Friday's "Black Friday" trip that Mike loves to take may be the tell all.  Crazy man!  He love to do that.  I, on the other hand, will be happy to wake up, cozy in my bed, and hear about all the great deals.  I guess its great that someone like to take advantage of it!!

This week it was my birthday.  I will start by telling you, it was the worst birthday ever!!!!!  We went out the night before to dinner and managed to get ourselves some food poisoning.  Mike was working on the day of my birthday and it is a tradition for Madi and I to go to the movies.  We had several activities planned including a trip to Borders where they were having a Polar Express party and then the movies to see Planet 51.  By the time we got to the movies, (which we got asked to leave from anyway due to Mackenzie crying), I was so sick I wasn't sure how I was going to get home.  Mike's parents ended up having to come get us from a parking lot nearby as I lay across the front seat dying, with Madison wondering how we were going to live in our car since I couldn't drive us home!  We managed to get onto the turnpike before everything I have ever eaten in my life was on the side of the road in between the construction barrels.  Good driving on the part of my mother in-law!  Needless to say, I spent the rest of my birthday vomiting and dying in bed!  I am requesting a do over!!

Madison finished up with home school group last week.  We will be doing some school at home, a couple of planned field trips and other such teaching events between now and the end of the year.  She is learning to tell time and is writing in 3 sentence paragraphs now.  She is also reading level 2 books.  I am so proud of her. 

I am heading out today to take a big shopping trip including places like CVS and Publix since I have an earned gift card for CVS and need to take advantage of some of the bogo sales at Publix.  I advise looking on websites to see store deals before ever leaving your house and compare with the coupons you have on hand.  Start saving up all the coupons.  You may even want to invest in 2 or 3 newspapers if you don't have access to extras.  I am having terrible troubles with my computer and printing coupons and have for some time now.  I am missing out on some amazing deals.  It is really killing me.  I have read every trouble shooting guide on it that I can find to no avail.  Boooo!  If you have any questions about coupons and bogos and the like, please contact me and I will help.  These can save you so much money.  We are talking Christmas money here!

I am missing my friends lately.  It seems the months fly by and I have hardly seen anyone.  I am happy to say I have befriended Emily, from our church and small group, and she has a similar life style to mine.  It has been wonderful.  I miss you, though, my friends who lives have taken us on crazy paths!!  I hope we reconnect soon! 

I have not read at all this month and have hardly had any time to write.  I definitely slacked in this area.  I have also slacked in cooking but in my defense, I had saved up some food from last month in the freezer.  I am starting to get behind now though, so that is what today is for.  Off I go!!

Things are always kind of busy with home schooling, girl scouts, life in general, and let's not forget shopping for the best deals.  It has become a passion and a challenge to save our money up!  It is almost the end of the month so I can report soon how we did with the rough budget.  So far we are doing pretty well, though I anticipate Christmas may throw a wrench in it.

Last on the list is Mackenzie got a call back to the Miami audition I took her to.  We had tossed it off to experience and out of the blue they called to say she was in!  We are praying she will get it as it could be a great start to a bank account for her future.  It is very exciting!  We will be off to Miami again on Friday!  Keep thinking of us.

Please keep me posted on your lives and what you are doing! 

Hmmm, moments again, are piling up...
-Mike reading Little House in the Big Woods to Madison.  Oh, I cherish those moments!
-Dinner table conversation with Mackenzie getting herself all involved!!  I cannot tell you how funny this is!
-Madison taking care of me while I was DYING, I tell you.  DYING!!  She wanted to make my birthday better.  Poor thing!
-Mike, my loving husband, working so hard on his garden.
-Veggies showing up on the counter as a result of his labors!
-News that Mackenzie got a call back for a photo shoot in a catalog!!!  Yeah! Keep on praying she gets to book it!!

Girl Scout Daisy Troop 4702 at the Pow Wow!


Life was once the train at the Magic Kingdom, now it is a full blown passenger train headed to Alaska!  I hope the bridges are all in tact because we AIN'T stopping!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Delicate Balancing Act

Well, we are successfully in our first month of the Scrutiny Budget! We are tracking all expenses and comparing them to our budget and next month we will re-adjust again. It has really tuned my ears. I looked at our gas bill and immediately I thought, "What trips can I combine to make sure I fall in under budget?" Some people are asking more specifics on what we are doing. I don't want to give out numbers but I will get as specific as possible.

Funny how it works when you scrutinize your spending on paper! It is actually pretty fun. I am also seeing that it is okay to go to Chick Fil A once in a while. We won't break the bank! BUT, it is not okay for us to go out to big dinners or spend a lot of uneccesary money while we are out. We can go out to one nice dinner (like Chili's) and spend about $25 on it for the whole month. That will help us save and that is what we want. We did set aside some money for entertainment, but that includes blockbuster, eating out, and thrift store trips. It is better to set that a little higher so we learn where we can cut. I know I could cut in a lot of areas. If our goal is to save then I need to do EVERYTHING I can to accomplish that including sacrificing things like clothes and snacking while we are out running errands. We both cut out things like coffee or sodas on the run. WE just always bring water from home.

I have stuck very well to $50 per week in groceries still. I do not feel comfortable changing that yet. But I will, someday, trim another $10 off of that. We have been doing a meatless night and a backwards night. Backwards night is bacon and eggs or pancakes. We eat it in the living room and make it a fun night. I also do rice and beans or lentil soup on a separate night. I have been trying to prepare ahead and freeze one meal a week.

My articles on ehow, (see link on the right,) are starting to earn some money which has made me very happy about writing. I am, however, still not working on my novel. That has still been put on the back burner. I think I need a better plan for that. I still haven't gotten as much reading done as I would like. At the very least, I have been reading daily things like bible studies or blogs and such.

Madison has been doing amazing in school. We have done some really neat projects including cooking together. She is reading so well. We are currently studying the pilgrims and we will be starting the 13 colonies as we are talking about the settlers.

Mackenzie is standing and starting to babble Dada and Mama. We think she is reciting the Bill of Rights sometimes!!

Moments...where to begin!

-Madison jumping up and down on the front of the fire truck during our field trip.
-Mike on the floor with 2 precious little girls crawling on him.
-Madison getting her own cup of milk!
-Mackenzie and Madi....well, just them! They are always good moments for me!
-Girl's night with Life Group at nice to be an adult and talk about what WE want!
-Mike home for a whole day!!!
-Madison cleaned out her room to sell some of her thing ans she earned $11 and will be giving $10 to the Net Work project at church!!! I am sooo     proud of her!
-A shower all by myself again! Happens once in a while!!

Balance is delicate, but it can break and be repaired very quickly and with little cost!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Some quick coupon links

First off, be sure you have signed up for a CVS card. Once you have a card, you can scan it each time you go in the store for coupons!

Here are some CVS coupons that will help on their own, but if you can check CVS for some sales or deals that give you extra care bucks, they will become even more valuable. If you don't understand anything I just said, let me know and I will give you some help.

Take a short quiz and get $5 off $30

Then go here for $5 off $20. You just have to peel back the labels and print!

You can go to your store's website to get the week's sales and deals and find out how you can earn some extra care bucks.

Hope you are having a great week! I will have another post out this week.