I am wife to a magnificent man and mother to five wonderful children. Three of my children were born in the Northwest and two were born thousands of miles away in Liberia, West Africa. Birthplace is no matter, all of my children were born in my heart. This is our journey.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Wisdom beyond her years

Yesterday during school my kids and I were talking about college. The previous evening their Dad was telling them about some awards that I had won in highschool for singing and that I was invited to try out at a college with a prestigous jazz group.

The kids were asking me why I didn't go. I shared with them that at the time I was not confident in my ability to make the group and was not sure how I would pay for college. I didn't believe that I necessarily needed college and so because of my nervousness decided not to try out.

My eight year old looked up at me and said:

"Mom, sometimes you just need to jump in without your floaties."

After a good laugh that counted as cardio for the day, I told her that she is right, sometimes we do. But I also told them that I am glad that I didn't go. I met their dad a year later and got married. I was blessed to have them and honestly, no college experience could bring me more joy and satisfaction than raising these neat people that I have been given.

I will try to remember, however, that sometimes I need to jump in without my floaties. That's one perceptive eight year old I have.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Spending, schmending.

This 30 days of nothing has been a struggle. I am generally a frugal gal and trimming the fat, so to speak, proved to be difficult at times. I received a comment here from a friend asking if it was smart stocking up, did it really count.

I completely agree.

It doesn't make any sense for me to forego an incredible meat sale in the name of not spending anything in the month of September just to spend double the price per pound to feed my family in October. So I did end up going back to a grocery store in town and spending another $40 on a great chicken sale. Then in my absent mindedness I had forgotten that a 1/2 beef we were buying would be ready last week and there went another $700. But at $2.29 per pound for hamburger, T-bone steaks, roasts, sirloin, etc, etc, etc that is one worthwhile purchase. My freezer is almost full now with one shelf full of chicken and pork, two plus shelves of a side of beef, one shelf with corn and turkey leaving me one shelf for turkey that will go on sale in November. Did you know that a full freezer takes less energy to run than a 1/2 empty one?

Really what this month has done for me is it has forced me to really think about my purchases. To assess whether or not we really need something and what the motives behind my purchases are. It has also forced me to become more creative in how I use our food and to not be married to what we have always done. My pantry is also a little leaner in a good way. There aren't as many random items which leaves it streamlined with things we really use. These three things have made this month a valuable expenditure of my time and energy.

So what's next in October. Any ideas?

Saturday, September 27, 2008

I wouldn't want you to get the wrong idea

I mean, you know it's my blog and all so you see what I let you see. Most of the time we really do have a pretty easy going house though. Kids reading, working on projects or playing games. Maybe a kid or two outside riding bike but as my neighbors have seen from time to time it can break out into downright mayhem at the drop of a hat.

Without a moments notice the house phone can ring, someone will hit their head, the dog will get out and then the cell phone rings. Can I hear a "Calgon take me away" someone? It seems that these kinds of things happen all at once. Just when I get a phone call, almost without fail, someone needs me RIGHT. NOW. What is it about the phone that brings about more chaos than a buy one get one free sock sale the day after Thanksgiving? You would think at times we were running a zoo but thank goodness most of the time it isn't this way. My children obey and are reasonable people. But something about that little contraption that was invented to make our lives easier brings out the beast in my sweet children.

Picture with me, if you will, a calm quiet house. Two children are sleeping, three older children are about their own business. Pure bliss. Then the phone rings and like any good mother when I answer, I muster up my sweetest of syrupy phone voices and answer "Hello, home of the calmest children west of the Mississippi." And faster than you can spell M-i-s-s-i-s-s-i-p-p-i, the kids blow my cover. Someone is bleeding and needs a bandaid, someone else has pulled someone's hair and again, the dog is out. Oh, for pity's sake. I believe that I should never, ever again answer the phone without another adult back-up. We train and train regarding phone etiquette but somehow a phone call for me is too much sharing of mom for them.

So if I don't answer the phone and we are home, please don't be offended. Really it's because I care about you. I believe that you deserve my undivided attention and at the moment I cannot give it to you. Do leave me a message though and I would be happy to return your call...when my children are not home. (Kidding, I most likely will return your call before then. Maybe. Do you have email?)

This post is another great blog blast topic from The Parent Bloggers sponsored by the generous people at Take Pride Adventure Learning.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Martha Blogs

Martha Stewart is going to be featuring a few blogs on her blog. You can see the details here. Go on over for a visit.

Preschool and First Grade

We aren't starting formal school for him at just 4 years old but he very much wants to be like the big kids so we got a couple workbooks for him to do "school" in. It's good exposure to begin tracing letters and practicing sounds. When he tires of that he heads over to the busy bins.

Em loves her desk and loves writing and workbooks. She is quite the reader and I try to make sure that she has lots of quality books around to read.

Look at the little lefty. Can't you just see those wheels turning?

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Who's that doggy in the window?

This is where you can find our puggle when the kids go out to play. Yes that's puggle, half pug and half beagle. She can't be trusted out front so she whimpers and cries at them out the window hoping they will come get her.

If she's not in the window then she can be found trying to see them under the front door so she knows just when they are coming. Poor thing. She's so neglected.

While she is in the window, this is where I can be found. We tried our own tomato sauce this year and so far so good. Just one double batch to go and I believe that I will be done canning for the year.

As far as spending goes, I really need to write an update about that. September is a hard month for me to do this challenge. It is really a stocking up month for sure. Maybe next time I will try March?

Monday, September 22, 2008

So sad I could cry...

I have been so careful watching our menu and being careful to not eat out. We have done well sticking to our once per week, until today. Yesterday was football day and we ate out, not expensively and time was short so it made sense. When we got home, I put beans in a large bowl to soak for today. I planned a special meal for my kids with black beans and rice. Seems simple enough but you have no idea what this meal means to my oldest two. You would think I had imported caviar the way they fawn over beans and rice. I don't like buying canned beans so in order for me to make it for them I have to have some forethought. And forethought I had.

This afternoon while I was making tomato sauce, I put the beans on the stove and boiled them for quite a while. I then added the seasonings and rice at the appropriate time getting more and more excited knowing that my kids could not wait for dinner. Time passed and I added more water and decided to head out to the shop to work on some organization while the kids played outside within earshot. My sister-in-law popped by and before I knew it 10 minutes had become 30 and when I returned inside the writing was on the wall. It burned. Not just a little burned. Not scrape off the top and soak the pan burned. No, it was burned through and through and through. The twins assured me that it was no problem, that in fact they liked a little charcoal and I can verify that it is true that they do. Depsite their willingness to eat it however, in the end, they were not able to force themselves to take a second bite.

As a result, we made a trip to Subway. Not a bad choice healthwise and since Daddy wasn't joining us and we had one vote for the lone can of tuna remaining, a mere $13.99 was spent. But that was the hardest $13.99 I have spent in a long time. This was not a lack of planning or sheer exhaustion that warranted the dinner rescue but just my absent mindedness instead. Oh how that $13.99 tasted like crow.

Oh well, tomorrow is another day.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Orange and Red. The new black?

The fine people at Parent Bloggers are at it again sponsored this time by the folks at Toys R Us and with a $250 Visa gift card hanging in the balance, you can't blame me for blogging about their requested topic, can you?

It is my goal as a mom to help my children navigate the waters of dressing themselves with dignity, coordination and if there happens to be some personal expression that happens, well then that's just gravy.

We have had some doosies of outfits that have come down the stairs here, not to mention some of the valiant attempts at 4 and 6 year olds trying to do their own hair, bless their little hearts. But any self respecting mother has to draw the line somewhere between self expression and self preservation. I mean a necklace here or an old loudly colored t-shirt there and possibly a slightly wonky pony tail is acceptable. But orange shirts and red shorts? Oh yes, I have let him wander the cul-de-sac in said outfit. Not just one outfit though mind you. The boy has several orange shirts as dictated by our love for a certain college football team. But where he got the idea that it would go dandily with red shorts I have no idea. Not just once in a while either, several times per week. And if I question him on it, oh my, how he is just confounded as to why I don't get it.

Then we have Miss Queen Diva and her love for everything layered. So far the neighbors have been kept from the secret that lies behind our front door. The many near misses of the blue plaid sweater vest, mismatched with long sleeved pink shirt underneath and the green capris that sets this whole ensemble apart. Oh, it's happened. More than once. But heavy was the sigh of relief as I ran to rescue her from herself before she hit the pavement to play with friends.

I'm all for self expression where my kids are concerened, within reason. Sometimes it's best to keep it in our own living rooms, however.

It's a fashion jungle out there, people. Beware.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

I can't live without it

This weekend the Parent Bloggers blogpast is sponsored by Yoplait. The topic is things we as moms can't live without. You know, those things that make our lives easier and more efficient. I am sure that I have a list as long as my arm of things I would prefer to not live without but there are a few that make the short list. At the top of the list for me is my foodsaver. I can visit those big warehouse stores and buy large quantities or stock up on veggies that I can freeze in the summer without anything going to waste. I used the foodsaver this last week for corn. We purchased 60 ears of corn from a farmer for $10. I then blanched, iced, dried and froze them. When they were frozen I packed them in meal sized amounts for my family and sealed them. Now in January we can have almost fresh corn on the cob without freezer burn when we miss it so much.

We do this with all kinds of things. Homemade burritos, meatballs, shredded cheese, lunch meat, or leftover meat from turkeys. I also buy meat when it on sale such as chicken breasts, make a marinade then freeze it and the meat together for meals later when we are busy. This little contraption makes my life a lot easier and allows us to eat at home a lot more when we are busy and just feel like picking something up fast in town. Now that is valuable.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Fridays are for fun

Don't you think that sounds good? Fridays and fun? I have declared that Fridays will still be schoolish but they will look different than other school days. I went to the library yesterday and found some great things to try to see how the kids like them. It seems that Fridays would be a good elective day. After four days of math, phonics, spelling, writing, etc, everyone seems ready for something different. We try to do something fun each day but by Day 5 everyone seems to be ready for a break. Who wants to sit around and do workbooks every day, all day?

Today is Friday and the kids watched a sign language DVD. There was no shortage of signing going on after that. We also picked up a DVD drawing program that a couple of the kids are really excited about. We have one in particular that is an artist in the making. The kids and I compiled a list of field trips at the beginning of the year and I plan to get some of those on the schedule. I think that having some things on the calendar will be good the kids to look forward to. Rewards along the way as we complete the core subjects. During quiet time the older ones are reading about their country of choice. That project has made for some interesting conversations.

After lunch, Em seemed a little concerned as she told me that we didn't do school today. I told her that yes we did, it just looked different. She still learned something and after we talked about it she liked the idea. Last Friday we did a nature walk and that was a hit. I read to the kids as we walked and they observed. Then we came back and they chose a bug, bird or plant to draw and then write about. I was impressed with what they came up with.

So Fridays will look a little different. I am liking home educating more and more as time goes on. It is definitely a process and I will need to be flexible as the needs of the kids change but I am defeinitely seeing the benefits every day.

Oh and while the kids watched the DVD? Yeah, they snapped green beans between signing. I am all about multi-tasking. Teaching life skills is an important part of school and is very high on my priority list of goals for my kids. You've heard the saying that goes something like this "Give a man a fish and he will eat today. Teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime."

So today?
Reading? Check. Writing? Check. Sign language? Check. 7 more quarts of healthy green beans put up? Check. A well rounded education? Check.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Have I told you lately...

how much I love my children's daddy? (Yes, Dad, I tell the kids :-) )Bub was having some issues with some kids on his football team and we decided that he needed to talk to his coach man to man. When Bub gets nervous his speech can be difficult to understand and he was concerned that he wouldn't be able to say what he needed to. Steve came home from work, barely set his stuff down, greeted me and went out to have a chat with him before practice. He didn't even change clothes, he just wanted to make sure they could completely talk it out before they went to talk to coach together. I was sneaky, took my camera with me to the mailbox and snapped it before they saw me(I have an excellent zoom lense). The talk with coach went well by the way, and you can tell just by looking at Bub now that he knows things have been taken care of.

As promised, here is our preschooler area. We have the little rocking chair, preschool sized pillows and as I like to call them - the Busy Bins. Each bin has a different activity and every so often I switch things up so the activities don't lose their staying power.

Currently, in some of the bins, we have lacing boards...

Small books and board books...

Clipboards with scratch paper and stencils and another bin with a puzzle...

Blocks for building...

and what preschooler wouldn't be happy with a view finder complete with Clifford and Thomas the Train scenes?

I have found the more activities I have for my preschoolers that involve fine motor skills, the easier time they have writing when they get to school age. The puzzles help with problem solving in math and the view finder and blocks help with coordination, imagination and problem solving as well. There is also a mini trampoline and jumprope out there as our current preschooler is a boy and physical activity is worth it's weight in gold during school time. Sometimes a boy just needs to move before he can settle. (Girls like jumping too!)

Don't panic

We went back to the grocery store last night because...well...because $.69 per pound for chicken is just downright economical. Not to mention the $1.99 hormone free milk. We now have 4 gallons of that in the freezer as well. So another $41.02 goes to the grocery tally which is the part I am choosing not be in a panic about. On the other hand, we now have plenty of meat for the rest of the month plus we were able to put away 60 ears of corn in the freezer yesterday. Another $10 for that. I really think we are good food wise though, so hoping that $300 budget we set is doable. Time will tell.

As far as school goes, I am feeling slightly overwhelmed. Not in a drowning way, more in a there is so much I can cover just where do I go with this kind of way. We are covering phonics and writing, spelling and math and then the rest is slowly falling into place. We started a biography about George Muller yesterday and the kids were disappointed when I quit reading. That's a good sign I do believe. The older three also began work on a research project. They each picked a country to research and they will present what they learned to the family over a traditional meal from that country. All of my kids love to cook and this is definitely a project that will engage their attention.

Well I am off to the schoolroom. Pictures of that later today.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

S is for parenthesis

Isn't it nice? We think so. My hubster did a bang up job getting our schoolroom together. He built that big wrap around desk for me a few years back when I had a little business I was working on. Now it works very well for school. It has three work areas and we added another small desk for a fourth spot. There to the left almost out of view is a little blue table my grandfather made for us three girls growing up. It has three little chairs that match and it's a great spot for Lij to work on his things. The fact that you can see everything so well is another accomplishment for Steve to add to his list. He added two more lights above the work area and it is incredible how much that extra light helped. Now we don't feel so much like we are in the garage. We have a few things left to get done but this room is serving us well at the moment. We will add a computer counter, another light above the dining/art table and finish organizing the pre-schooler area. We have a little shelf with twelve bins on it filled with activities that get rotated every so often. We placed a small piece of carpet and a couple travel pillows on it for Lij to play when he is tired of being at the table. It's important for him to have some activities that he can do that develop skills but are fun to do at the same time. I will post more pictures of his area and explain what he does while we school when we finish getting it organized.

On a humorous note, Els was reading about Mexico during her quiet time. She was reading about how high a structure was in feet. She asked me if I could tell her what the numbers in the sympathies were. I asked her if she could show me, not sure what she was talking about. "Oh(chuckle), they converted the feet to meters in the parenthesis." Isn't she cute?

Monday, September 15, 2008

Who me? Spending? No way...

So I will confess that the not spending is getting harder to carry out the further into the month we get. I did neet to get some fill in groceries to use some of the things in the back of the pantry. Add to those items milk, butter, sour cream (yeah that's a staple in our house) and chicken that was get this...$.69 per pound. Now that is worth stocking up on even in a month of spending less. Approximately $48 later and we are dangerously near the 2/3 mark at only halfway through the month but I'm not worried. We have plenty of butter, milk, bread or ingredients to make bread, meat and veggies to make it through. If not, the remaining $100 should be enough of a cushion to fill in if necessary. Oh I almost forgot, we did stop by a veggie stand and picked up 20 pounds of pears, apples and cucumbers. That will throw us up and over $200 spent so far but I think it was money well spent. That should help cover snacks for awhile.

I boiled off one of those chickens last night. We had chicken ranch wraps and there was enough chicken and broth left over for soup for a day predicted to have rain this week.

Menu for today:
Breakfast: Egg and cheese burritos with pico de gallo
Lunch: Sandwiches and pears
Dinner: Chef salad with boiled eggs, turkey, cheese and tomatoes. Fruit for dessert.

We did need to pick up a few items for a birthday this weekend but did pretty well keeping it to essentials.

How are you other participants doing? Are you hanging in there?

Giggles, candles and some good football

The girl is hilarious. When we brought out the cake, when she opened every present, when she opened every card she giggled. She had a great 8th birthday and enjoyed every minute of it. After a week with a hurt hip, two trips to Urgent Care and having to stay off of her leg, she was happy to celebrate her birthday feeling better. She had prayed that she would be healed by her birthday and her leg has nearly returned to normal. What happened? Oh just something about teaching her little sister how to walk the plank and then how to fall "off" the plank while playing pirates. Silly girl.

As per tradition, each one on their birthday gets to pick what we have for lunch or dinner. Els picked Chinese food. Yum! Here she is handing our pot stickers to get us started. Her chair was also decorated with tule tied in a bow in the back. It's hard to believe she is eight years old. Feels like it was just yesterday I was holding her in my arms in the hospital saying, "I can't believe she is here and that we can take her home." Happy Birthday Els.

Yesterday was also Bub's first football game of the season. They won the game 19-7 with Bub scoring two of the touchdowns with the help of some great blockers. After the game the coach had a meeting at the goalposts to congratulate the kids on their great teamwork. We are looking forward to more games and I am hoping to get some closeups of him in some plays. Being it was the beginning of the season it was hard to pick up the camera. I was focused more on just enjoying seeing Bub play.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

No pain, no gain

I wish I had pictures for you but well I just didn't think to pick up my camera. Hubby is trying to get a 10X12 shed moved off of our property and it's not going very smoothly. The trailer that we borrowed is, well it's almost 3 feet off the ground. Getting the shed jacked up high enough to slide onto said trailer is the challenge. He got it up to about 20 inches before he decided that taking the shed apart would be something he could do more easily. Now, easily is a word I use loosly and is relative in this case. It won't really be easy but my guy sure does love his mom. She has chickens and has needed a new chicken coup for a very long time. Temporary structure to temporary structure just isn't feasible anymore and since we have this shed that really isn't necessary...you can see where this is going. Or in this case, where the shed is going. We have a nice size yard but the shed is in an awkward spot for all of the other plans we have, so it seems we have a nice arrangement happening but the follow through could be interesting. Check back soon and I will work on getting some picks of the teardown for those interested.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Bikes and muffins

With the help of many practice sessions with mom and big sister...

Emma is now riding without training wheels!

Think she looks proud?

In other news, it seems that we have a mouse or at the very least a smallish person who couldn't wait to try the apple muffins. We tried a new recipe that we saw over at Owlhaven. They are dipped in butter, sugar and cinnamon when they are hot out of the oven. The kids and hubby said they are great. (I will take their word for it as I am not a cooked fruit fan.)

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Day 9 - keep on keeping on

Lil recently did the girls' hair before bed to match their favorite American Girl books. I was impressed with her effort and think she did a great job.

In spending news, things are going alright although I am going to have to keep an eye on the food budget. We are nearly half way into the budget and only a little over 1/4 of the way through the month. It always seems to take me about ten days of errands here and there to get my supplies for the month. Day six included an evening with pizza for our one day out. I got so tired from canning pears that when we all descended on the homefront that pizza sounded like a great prescription. That was a $15.98 hit to the pocketbook and then on Day 7 we spent $5.85 on snacks. I think we are still doing pretty well. We received 3 garbage bags full of clothes in little man's next size from free cycle yesterday.

I also did my mystery shop oil change last night. They pay me to tell them how they did. I graciously accepted their payment though it did cost me emotionally last night. Their reporting system gives you 30 minutes to finish the report. At 27 minutes I lost internet connection just as I was submitting and lost the whole report. Let's just say I had a less than stellar reaction. I am a little embarrassed to say that crying was involved. I again wrote the report, this time in 22 mintues and the day was saved. There is something to be said for going to bed before ten when you need to be up at five the next morning. I did not heed that wisdom the night before and was running on empty last night. Add to that Lij getting up 3 times last night and not feeling well and you have one tired momma today.

We did start school yesterday and had a great time. We spent some time praying together about the new year, planning field trips and making collages. We did some math, took placement tests, did phonics and the kids read for awhile. It was a nice relaxing first day. Even Lij seemed to enjoy it. He did some preschool work, played with modeling clay, did some lacing and colored in his book.

I am off to start the day. Coffee is on the menu and since Lij just finally feel asleep again I am going to wander into the kitchen to get things started.

Have a great day!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Days 4 and 5 with success

The last two days things have gone pretty well. Day 4 was my trip to the homeschool store two hours away. I had planned to pick up an iced coffee for the trip up. Time ran out however, and not wanting to be late to meet my friend who was going with me, I decided to forego said coffee. I had packed along two water bottles for us so as not to be tempted to stop and get something to drink later. I also had planned that we would need to stop and get something to eat. We stopped at a sandwhich shop and decided to share a large sandwhich. To my surprise when we got to the counter to pay my friend informed me that since I drove she would buy my lunch. I was thrilled and that left day 4 with only school purchases. I was home in time for dinner and cooked as planned.

Day 5 had some grocery expenses again but otherwise was a success day as well. I busied myself finishing up the school room. It is coming along and I am pleased with how it looks. Hubby plans to hang more lights in there for me this afternoon and finish setting up our little computer network and printer. Monday is just around the corner and we are all looking forward to it. The kids have been begging to get started. A good sign I think. Everyone is ready for a more stuctured routine.

This morning most of us are off to can pears while Bub and Daddy go to a football event. We will all meet back here this afternoon to work in the school room and various other activities. I am thinking of trying my hand at drying some fruit as we have a tree full of prunes and a tree full of apples.

Today's Menu
Breakfast - scrambled eggs, cheese and ham on english muffins (also bananas for those who like them)
Lunch - our one time eating out this week
Dinner - Chicken stir fry (that can of water chestnuts in the back of the pantry needs to be used)

I am taking out a roast for tomorrow. I sure do love that crock pot. Depending on time I may also make a breakfast casserole to put in the fridge for tomorrow morning. Less effort on Sundays is a nice tradition. For dinner we will make a taco dip that we love and it's perfect for a lighter Sunday night meal.

Enjoy your weekend everyone!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Confessions of an electic snacker

The topic over at Parent Bloggers sponsored by Brothers-All-Natural this week is snacking. I must confess that we have an interesting mix of snacks in our house. We try not to buy too many convenient snacks being armed with the knowledge that they aren't the healthiest items to consume. Crackers and chips and the like. We do seem to be blessed with kids who really like fruits and vegetables. Nothing disappears like a plate of cucumbers, grape tomatoes, carrots and mushrooms at our house. Kind of weird don't you think? It would be weird except that when our five kids were all six and under, money was extremely tight. Those few years we grew very large gardens and most of snacks consisted of fruits and veggies that we grew. It's what we had and the kids didn't complain. I think what you crave for snacks can be conditioned. What we serve consistently the kids will develop taste buds for.
The last confession I will make though, is that we regularly make cornbread for a snack. Now, lest you think my kids are deprived, it is always at their request. When they were in public school it worked out very nicely. I would take less than five minutes to mix up a batch, put it in the oven and pick them up. The timer usually had just a few minutes to go when we arrive back home. Fresh warm cornbread tends to keep that "What's for dinner?" brigade out of my hair.

“This post was written for Parent Bloggers Network as an entry for a contest sponsored by Brothers-All-Natural.”

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Day 3 Temptation ensues

Day 3 and we are purchase free for today but this no spending thing is hard. I found myself wanting to look for a new swimsuit. Mine is falling apart inside but unless I find one a thrift shop this one will have to do. The suit is still quite usable but last month I could have purchased one, this month I will wait. Who knows, I may find a steal at a thrift shop and I find that challenge interesting.

I have also given up soda for the most part this month and today was one of those days that I really would have liked one as a pick me up in the afternoon. But I perservered and didn't ask hubby to get one on the way home. Instead he came home and made me an iced mocha from scratch. What a guy!

We have not dined out yet. We are allowed once per week. I even packed a lunch to eat on the way to the waterpark yesterday when convenience would have served me well.

Today's menu
Breakfast: Breakfast burritos and bananas
Lunch: Turkey sandwhiches
Dinner: Crockpot roast with onions, mashed potatoes and gravy, salad

Tomorrow's menu
Breakfast: Oatmeal
Lunch: Packed lunches with sandwhiches, string cheese and fruit (kids at their aunt's and me heading to a homeschool store out of town)
Dinner: Hamburger helper (I know, not my first choice either but I possibly won't be home for dinner, it's in the back of the pantry and the kids like it; time for it to go.)

Onward and upward people. We can do it!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Day 2 of "Squash My Spending"

Here we are at day two. Today I plan to go to a great little place in town that carries dented cans and close to expiring boxed food. We love this place. They have great deals there and I need to stock up on microwavable soups for hubby for those days when we don't have any leftovers. They almost always have them, he loves them and for 50 cents each you can't go wrong for lunch. Plus, it beats him going next door and spending $5 for lunch.

I also need to get gas but I have more than half a tank so that shouldn't be too bad. It's the beginning of the month so there will be quite a bit of spending this week preparing for the month ahead. We will be very careful though in our decisions of what will cross the threshhold at our house.

We are also heading out to go swimming today, one more expense. It's our school is starting hoorah with a few families we know that homeschool.

If you want to keep up with our spending, keep an eye on my sidebar. I will be tracking our purchases there under the verse.

It will be fun to be creative. I would love to hear any other great ideas on what we can do to save more. Feel free to leave me a comment.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Details for 30 days of nothing

The time is here. It is September which means we are staring our 30 days of nothing today. I got the idea from the neat family over at Owlhaven. I love her recent post as to their motive for doing this. I have been pondering the same sense of entitlement that we as Americans have adopted. We recently changed the way that our kids can spend their money. It used to be that every once in awhile we would let the kids take their wallets to the store and shop. We would spend hours walking up and down isles looking for items. With five kids this is no small task. We plan to still do this every once in awhile but doing it often was leading to a mindset of "I have money, I need to spend it". To shop for the sake of shopping.

I want my kids to have a healthy view of money. They have always tithed but we have changed what they do with what is left. Most of it now goes into savings. If there is something they would like to save for we now make a note of it. If in several weeks time they still would like this item and they have enough money we then we purchase it and transfer the amount from their savings to our account. This seems to foster more of a working towards something mentality instead of "I have money, let's go find something" which is a more self gratification consumer mentality. Just two weeks ago Lil was able to purchase her own sewing machine and she is very proud of her purchase. She has been sewing bags and gifts in a lot of her free time. I can see the accomplishment that she feels. Much more satisfying than the little purchases of gum, candy and plastic toys of the past.

This challenge can look however you would like. We made out list today trying to be realistic as well as making it a challenge. It's not an experiment or a challenge if there is no sacrifice.

So here it is:

1. No auctions. (Hubby has a favorite place he goes to auction every Friday evening, it will be painful for him)

2. No garage sales. (This one is painful for me)

3. No Fraps. (Homemade varieties are ok since I can make them for 30 cents; one exception is long trips such as the one I have planned to Homeschool store two hours away)

4. No more than one time per week eating out. (It is Football season for Bub so we are being realistic here. Where's that Crockpot?)

5. No new purchases such as clothing, shoes, home items, etc, unless they are schoolroom or curriculum related. Toiletries are ok. I would rather not lose friend due to poor hygeine. I have decided to move my hair appt to October because I can go an extra two weeks between appointments.

6. No home improvement stuff. (One exception will be the backyard we are tilling up and replanting. We sold 3 cords of wood to do the yard and the money is another account set aside soley for this purpose)

7. Food budget is $300. We have a lot in our pantry that we need to use up.

As you can see most everything has exceptions. We wanted to make this a challenge but be realistic at the same time.

If you are interested in participating let me know and I will link to your blog. I would love to hear how you are managing and will be posting how we are doing as well.