Saturday, July 31, 2010

Week of 7/2 through week of 7/23 grocery budget

We had done really well early in the month when it comes to the budget!  And then right at the end any of the extra money I had - I blew it.  It's been 12 months we've been doing this and I think only twice have we not blown the monthly budget.  Ugh.  I've GOT to quit that or we're going to need to raise the monthly grocery budget to reflect the fact that we are spending more than what we say.  Here it is for this month:

7/3 Marsh - 1.59, saved 0.00
7/3 Marsh - 70.71, saved 63.34 (47%)
7/11 Marsh - 53.05, saved 36.18 (41%)
7/11 Walmart - 3.18, saved 0.00
7/13 Walmart - 13.31, saved 0.00
7/18 Walmart - 30.98, saved 13.30 (?)
7/18 Marsh - 50.91, saved 41.30(45%)
7/24 Kroger - 16.64, saved 44.79 (72%)
7/24 Marsh - 15.14, saved 12.59 (45%)
7/25 Marsh - 82.72, saved 46.16 (36%)

Our total spent was $338.23 and the total saved was $257.66, which is about 46% savings total for the month.  So yes, spending $338 is better than the $595 it could have been but really...if the budget is $300 for the month then I REALLY need to stick to it.  And it's me!  I know it's me.  There are some deals that I think I just can't pass up (like the $16.64 @ Kroger last Saturday - we could have gotten away with none of that).  Or the fact that I decided (on a whim) to host Christmas in July and spent an extra $19.22 - so just those two things together would have been enough to take it down to $300 (well almost...just $3 shy of that mark).  But the stuff I'm giving away from Kroger (which was actually the FREE stuff) and hosting Christmas dinner was very worth it to once again, we blew budget (by $38.23) and I'm okay with (well, mostly).

Friday, July 30, 2010

Overdraft (not so pretty) opinion.

As a bank employee I've heard a LOT about the opt-in/opt-out regulation change that is happening at banks and credit unions across the county. Now I don't claim to know it all and when I find an article online about the whole thing I like to read it.

So I was reading this article on MSNBC today and agreed with a lot of what the writer put. I do think some of the ads and notices are confusing but this is a confusing regulation. I also agree that people are paying CRAZY amounts of money (overdraft fees) for a small purchase (that $1.50 Coke might end up costing you $31.50 if you don't have the money).

All in all, the article (I thought) was a good article that had good points and made the issues a little more clearer than mud. The part that really got me was one of the comments.  Jei from Ohio posts,

"... Having linked savings accounts is probably the safest (less expensive) way to protect your debit account, but you have to have money in savings for it to be effective --- that means being responsible and actually saving a bit of money every so often. There is no easy or direct solution to this debacle...unless you're wealth or just simply have the funds to cover all your purchases. Hopefully, this mess will convince more people to be a lot more aware of their daily account balances and be more active in balancing their account based on the expenses they know they have."
Really? No easy solution? You don't have to be wealthy to avoid this issue. SIMPLY HAVE THE FUNDS TO COVER ALL YOUR PURCHASES. It's THAT easy. Seriously. If you don't have the money in your account, why spend it? And what if you don't know what is in your account? KEEP TRACK. I see so many people who spend hundreds of dollars each month in fees and then complain that they don't have any money. If they would just quit spending what they don't have - they would have that much more! I don't understand how that is so hard to see.

Maybe it's harder than I think to keep money in an account. But I've done it for YEARS and never had an issue. I do have my savings account linked to my checking (in case of an addition or subtraction error or an error on the part of the bank or a business) but that's for emergencies. I don't depend on that to keep me afloat - which is seems is what a lot of people seem to do with overdraft protection.  And I did this all before I learned everything I know now from Dave Ramsey.

So what's my suggestion? Don't spend more than you've got. And if you do (accidentally or intentionally) - use a savings tied to your checking (and keep money in the savings!) to keep yourself from being hit with huge fees from the bank.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Kroger ad highlights - well, a couple things at least - 7/29 to 8/4

You can get free Crest and Suave deodorant at Kroger again this week!

Crest toothpaste (select varieties, 6.4oz) - 10/$10
Suave deodorant (select varieties, 1.4 - 2.45oz) - 10/$10

There were recent coupons out for both of these items which will make them free.  If I can find which inserts they were in, I'll edit to add that info.

And I *think* you might be able to get free Gillette body wash too. I think I saw a $4 off two coupon (I'll have to look through my coupons again) and if you have two of those coupons, buy four body wash - FREE body wash for you!

There were some other 10/$10 items and P&G items in the buy four items, save $4 sale but nothing that really jumped out and grabbed me as a great deal.  Oh wait - Kraft cheese slices are $1.79...not the best price ever but better than full price.

Happy shopping!

Record your life - sixth grade growing up

So in sixth grade I became a woman. HA! I still consider myself a kid sometimes. But lovely Mother Nature did bless me with monthly visits beginning in October of sixth grade. It was mortifying! I knew it was coming. My parents were very good about the whole birds and the bees thing so it wasn't the shock of it actually happening. It just so happened that my mom never needed feminine type products (she'd had a hysterectomy when I was in second grade) so there was nothing in the house for me to use. And on top of all that - my mom wasn't even home! So I sat crying in the bathroom, waiting for my dad to get me something from the store. Ahhhhh... Nice huh? Oh well. I suppose it could have been worse.

Sixth grade is also the first year that I got to go to the Mall Lock-In for Girl Scouts. I had joined Girl Scouts in first grade and was still going strong in sixth grade. Our troop was very active and our council hosted a lot of events to keep us busy as well. In the last two years we had dreamed about being able to go to the Mall Lock-In! It is exactly what is sounds like...we were locked in the mall - overnight! Several stores stayed open late (or opened very early) and food places like Luca Pizza di Roma and Burger King stayed open all night and Cinnabon opened extra early (mmmmm...cinnamon rolls!).

We did crazy things like a lip syncing contest (which in 80's was awesome!) and had makeovers at the make-up counters. There was music and games and shopping. We ran around all night in our socked feet visiting other troops (this was a council wide event...we're talking 500+ girls!) and meeting new people.

I don't remember any specifics of that first Mall Lock-In. I'm sure we had a great time and slept very little (if at all). I do know that for the next four years we went every October to be locked in the mall and one year I even had the winning design for the t-shirt (which if you were ever a Girl Scout - you know you get a t-shirt for every trip/event you attend). That t-shirt, well the front of it at least, is now on my Girl Scout T-shirt Quilt that my mom made for me when I graduated from high school.

And the best part of sixth grade - I got my first boyfriend. *swoon* Puppy love at its finest. We had been friends for many, many years and thought it sounded like a good idea (and it was). We decided though that we were better off friends...after just a few weeks...and my heart was broken. I think we were boyfriend and girlfriend at least once a year for the next six years though. We still talk today and I've often told people that I think when we're old and grayed and I'm widowed and he's a widower we'll find each other again and finally make it work out.

This is my eighth post with Mommy's Piggy Tales recording my memories in just 15 weeks. If you're interested in doing the same for yourself, swing by her place to check it out!

Click here to read my post from last week, where my fifth grade memories are about some drama.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Marsh ad highlights - 7/29 to 8/4

Marsh is getting on the Back to School bandwagon! They've got a few school supplies on sale as well as some lunchbox type food items. I don't think any of them are spectacular prices. They are also pushing their Fresh Ideas for Education though! If you don't know about FIE or don't participate - you should! All you have to do is use your Fresh Idea card and money goes to your school (you do have to sign-up at Marsh and click on the Fresh Ideas for Education link and follow the steps there). Once you've done that though - your school (or a local school of your choice) will start benefiting.

On sale this week:
Perdue boneless/skinless chicken breasts - $1.98/lb (save $2.51/lb)
Assorted pork chops - $.98/lb (save $1.51/lb)
Vine ripe tomatoes - $.98/lb (save $2.01/lb)
Seedless green or black grapes - $.98/lb (save $1.01/lb)
Marsh gallon milk - 2/$4
Marsh or Breyers ice cream - $2.48 (save $2.41 or more)
2-Liter Pepsi - $.86 (buy four, get 2 free)
Eckrich honey, olive, pickle & pimento or old-fashioned loaf - $.98 (save $2.01)
Oscar Mayer bologna - B1G1 FREE
Sara Lee chicken breast - $5.99/lb (save $1.70/lb)
Eckrich ham - $3.99/lb (save $2.00/lb)
Dean's chug - 10/$10
Aunt Millie's Hearth buns - B1G1 FREE
Brownberry wide pan bread - B1G1 FREE
General Mills cereals - $1.99 (when you buy two)
Powerade - 10/$10 and get five free when you buy 10
Wonder buns - 10/$10
Dole fruit - 10/$10
Wish-Bone dressing - $1.79 (match with recent $.40 coupons for $.99 final price)
Blistex Fruit Smoothies 3-ct lip balm - 10/$10 (save $1.99 each) - and these might be good for Operation Christmas Child boxes too

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Another Booking It 2010 update...

I went to my books read Excel spreadsheet last night (yes I keep a spreadsheet of books I read) to record The Contemplative Mom and realized I hadn't shared about the previous five books I read.  So here's an update on those books (which I read end of June'ish through mid-July'ish)...

Moment of Weakness by Karen Kingsbury and Halfway to Forever by Karen Kingsbury
These two books follow up the mini-series Forever Faithful.  The first of the three books was Waiting for Morning which I had read (and reviewed) just a few weeks prior.  These two books included the same characters that we saw in the first book, well the first book introduced new characters and then the third book tied the couple from Waiting for Morning and Moment of Weakness together as friends who are all working towards the same cause - religious freedom.  These three books were quick, easy and enjoyable reads.  If you're a Karen Kingsbury fan - be sure to pick these up!

Roses are Red by James Patterson
In the 6th book in the Alex Cross series, James Patterson does NOT let you down.  The Mastermind, a crazy intelligent fellow, is robbing banks around the East coast.  As always, edge of your seat is the best way to describe a Patterson novel.  I've read every one of these books before and still - I'm biting my nails and can't put the book down until the very last page.  And this one...this one made me want to curse at the end!  I was so frustrated with the very last sentence.  I can't wait to get into the next one...Violets are Blue.

The $5 Dinner Mom by Erin Chase
This is the book I was looking for when I found The Contemplative Mom by Ann Kroeker.  I knew that there was some "mom" cookbook out there and couldn't remember the full title so I just searched "mom" on the online card catalog.  I found it!  This book was an easy read and after couponing and bargain shopping for over two years now - this one didn't really teach me any new tricks.  Once I got to the recipes I just flipped through to read the frugal facts - still nothing shocking.  It was an okay read - if someone is just starting out...this would probably be a great book to check out!

Not My Daughter by Barbara Delinsky
At the suggestion of a co-worker, I picked this book up one day.  And I finished it that night.  Yeah - I tend to do that sometimes.  Once again - I stayed up WAY TOO LATE reading a good book.  It was well worth it.  This one is about a mom who is a principal at the local (small town, everyone knows everyone's business) high school who happened to have her daughter at 17-years-old.  And then a pregnancy pact happens.  Three girls (the principals daughter and her two best friends...who just happen to be daughters of the mom's best friends) get pregnant on purpose - not realizing the impact that choice will have on not only their lives but their mom's lives as well.  A very good read, it was quick and I didn't want to stop - I had to know how it ended.

And tonight I hit the library up and got Stormchasers by Jenna Blum, Captivating (both the book and workbook) by John and Stasi Eldridge (same guy who wrote Wild at Heart - from the Dave Ramsey recommended reading list) and Good Grief by Lolly Winston on the suggestion of another co-worker who said it was a good fluff summer read.

I'll be back soon to share these new books I've grabbed.  I'm sure I'll have something good to share!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Booking It 2010 update - The Contemplative Mom by Ann Kroeker

So, this book crossed my path when I was looking for the $5 Dinner Mom book on the public library's online card catalogue. I couldn't remember the name of the other book so I just searched "mom" and a whole list of books came up. I'm not sure where The Contemplative Mom was in the list but I decided to get it the next time I was in. This is written by Ann Kroeker and she's an Indiana girl too.

The first page that really struck me was page four! Kroeker is talking about how having a relationship with God is lacking - if it happens it isn't what you're looking for or maybe it gets passed by completely. "Or perhaps we want to be closer to God - we really want to - and just can't figure out how." Yeah - that's me. I WANT something more - I'm not sure how to get there. This book though has set me on a path to change that.

And then she listed my favorite verse...
"Be still, and know that I am God."  (Psalm 46:10)
A few weeks ago the leader of our praise team sang a song, "Still" by Hillsong and it struck a cord with me that was amazing.  The song brought me to tears (and does every time I hear it).  So with that song still in my heart, I read that verse and knew that this book was speaking to me!  I struggle daily, hourly to have the relationship that I want with God.  I want more than what I have and this book has set me on the path to make it better.

It took me two weeks to read this book.  I could only read a few pages at a time as I had to sit and let what Kroeker said soak in and really mean something to me. She gave me so many ideas though - I'm putting that verse into a frame to set beside my bed so every morning when I wake up, that is what I see.  I'm going to start a journal - that I can write it daily wherever I am to God to tell him what I'm thinking and feeling.  I'm going to create an Ebenezer jar as a memorial to God's work in my life and my family's life. 

And for now - that is all I'm doing.  These few things are what Kroeker suggested trying in just the first half of the book.  I can't do it all at once and if I try to, I know I'll fail.  This is another one of those books that I want to buy so I can mark it up and takes notes and refer back to it as often as I want.  This is going on my "list of books I want to buy" so when my birthday or Christmas rolls around, I can give a list to Brian so he has it easy. 

With a lot of determination and dedication I'm going to walk more closely with God throughout my life.

And just to keep what I track up to date...

Walmart (from a couple weeks ago - Brian had the receipt)

3 California Kitchen pizzas for $6.00
trashbags for $2.47
potatoes for $3.08
And two items that I'm not sure what they are... for $.82 and $.68 - nothing fancy that's for sure!

Total spent was $13.31

Weekly shopping at Marsh (plus a quick trip on Saturday too)

Saturday I stopped by Marsh on my way home to get some ground chuck.  We had some at home in the freezer but I was hungry, Brian wasn't feeling well and I didn't want to take the time to thaw what we had.  Since it was on sale (at my ideal price) I went ahead and stopped to get some fresh.  I also had to grab a few limes for our homemade pico de gallo (yum!).

4 pkgs ground chuck at $1.68/lb - $13.14
limes - $2.00

Total spent was $15.14 and I saved $12.59 or 45%.

And then on Sunday after church, I went with LeeAnn (Brian still wasn't feel well!) to get our regular groceries plus a few things we needed for our Christmas in July dinner. 

4 12pks Mt Dew Code Red was $20.36 for $10.00
2 Wavy Lays was $7.98 for $3.99
4 Creamette pastas was $6.76 for $4.00
6 pkgs ground chuck at $1.68/lb - $10.95
2 pkgs chuck steak at $1.98/lb - $5.56
1 Hormel pork roast was $5.99 for $2.99

sugar - $3.15
bag of ice - $1.89
rice - $ 2.19
minced onions - $4.29
french fried onions - $4.39
Jiffy corn mix - $.44
red bell pepper - $1.88
Marsh bread - $.99
(all for the Christmas dinner I prepared yesterday - $19.22)

Fresh fruits and veggies, bread, buns, milk, eggs, cheddar pasta salad (of course!) and lunch meat made up  the rest of the trip.  Total spent was $82.72 and I saved $46.16 or 36%. 

If you add up these two trips, plus my Kroger trip from Saturday - you'll see I went over budget.  Part of that was because I'd had leftover money from the last two weeks but then after yesterday's trip to Marsh - I still went over by about $10.  Not exactly what I wanted to do to myself but we had such a good dinner last night - I'm way okay with it.

I hadn't planned on hitting up Kroger this week...

and then I saw the vlog that Money Saving Mom shared about her trip to her Kroger affiliated store (Dillion's maybe?).  When I saw she got free toothpaste and deodorant I decided I'd better check my coupons!

So here is what I was able to get:
3 StarKist tuna pouches was $4.77 for $2.00
2 Suave deodorants was $4.12 for FREE (thanks to MoneySavingMom for the tip on this!)
4 Kraft mayo was $16.36 for $3.76
3 Crest toothpaste was $7.17 for $.50 (thanks to MSM for this tip too!)
1 Welch's juice was $4.99 for $1.74
1 Mentos gum was $1.59 for -$.05 (yep - got paid to buy the Mentos - yay!)
2 Pasta Roni was $3.24 for $1.58
3 Eckrich sausage was $14.97 for $3.39

And I grabbed a can of mushroom soup and pie crusts for our Christmas in July dinner. I spent $16.64 and saved $44.79 or 72% - not too shabby in my opinion! And I use neither Crest nor Suave so I'm taking those to church next week to be given to someone who needs it. Everything else has been put away in the pantry for another day.

Oh and I completely spaced the foil pans!  I was so mad at myself when I got home and realized I had missed them.  BUT I work in Lebanon on Wednesday (which is where the closest Kroger is) and I might just head over there to see what I can find in the foil pans.


So I mentioned earlier that Life as Mom is hosting Christmas in July over at her place...  She is sharing all sorts of great ideas on how to save for Christmas, gift ideas and is hosting daily giveaways.  I stopped in just a bit ago to see what she had up today - budgeting tools from Dave Ramsey.

We are die hard Dave fans at our house.  I read his Total Money Makeover book last summer and then together Brian and I went through Financial Peace University last fall.  Making a budget and paying cash has TOTALLY changed the way we work.  Brian and I have never been fighters...but talking about money was never easy.  I hated to pay bills - there was never enough money to get it done.  The money ran out way before the end of the month did.

Anyways, as I'm reading through the comments on this budget tools giveaway - so many people are commenting on the fact that they are struggling and want to get straight.  It makes me hurt to see so many people be where we were just 12 months ago.  I want to send every single one of these people a free copy of Total Money Makeover.  I actually tried to follow through to one girl's blog but the link wasn't right and it said it wasn't a valid blog.  I was really going to approach her about sending her a copy of the book.

I don't currently have any here...but have purchased some before to give away - to friends who I've heard mention of money struggles.  Some people are still struggling...some though have jumped on board just as gung-ho about it as we are.

If you're reading this and you're struggling to make ends meet...your money is never enough and you wish you had more - please read Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover.  It will seriously revolutionize your life and your finances.  It is a very easy read and very easy steps.  If you have questions, please ask me.  I don't claim to know it all but I sure don't mind sharing what I've learned along the way.  I'll even send you a copy of the Excel spreadsheet I use to plan my monthly budget.  I would love to help everyone get some peace when it comes to money.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Christmas in July 2010 was a SUCCESS!

I *love* Christmas.  I love winter.  I love snow.  And I love to spend time with my family over a good meal.  So, Christmas in July seemed like a no-brainer to me.

When I first told Brian about it he seemed a little wary.  But he's a go with the flow kinda guy so we set a budget (which I blew...I'm good at that it seems) and decided to make today - July 25 our Christmas in July.

After some shopping in Lafayette on Saturday evening, LeeAnn and I set up our small fiber optic tree and wrapped one strand of lights around the front door.  She hung two pictures that she had made in pre-school and we even put snowflake window clings on the back door.  When it was all done, I turned on the tree and strand of lights and turned off the lights in the house and she says, "Mommy, it is gorgeous in here."

THAT made it all completely worth it.

So we wrapped Daddy's presents and after she went to bed I wrapped hers (just one from the present pile we keep in the basement) and I set out some of the things I was going to fix for dinner tonight.

After church, we had lunch and LeeAnn was so excited to open her present!  Shortly after that I went to Marsh to get some items needed for cook and then I started on the dinner preparations.  My mom came over to help (she's awesome like that!) and after prepping the pies (Kentucky Derby and pecan) I went to slide the pies into the pre-heated oven...but the oven wasn't even hot!  After some inspection, the heating element was broken and so the pies were whisked away to my parent's oven to bake (thanks to my dad for baking the pies!).

Then it was back to my house to prep the dressing and corn casserole and those went to my grandma's house with my mom and into her oven (thanks to my mom for doing that and my granny for heating her house...just to use her A/C to cool it down again). 

I stayed home to devil the eggs, bake the rolls and make my green bean casserole in the toaster oven (which actually started out in a pan on the stove).  Add in some mashed potatoes and gravy (from the turkey that had been in the roaster all day) and some pea salad (contributed by my grandma) and pasta salad (made by Brian) and we had a regular feast!

The kids had a great time playing together and every time I told them Merry Christmas my nephew looked at me like I had three heads.  It was fabulous though.  The insanity of trying to cook one meal at three different houses was so well worth it.

Brian said I was going to create a monster (you know, Christmas in July and all) but I say I'm creating memories...memories that she won't soon forget.  So now it's time to go take down the tree and that one strand of lights and pack away the pictures and snowflake window clings.  It was totally worth it though.

Merry Christmas in July!

And if you want more Christmas in July, head over to Life as Mom for her annual Christmas in July celebration.  She'll have giveaways daily and some great ideas to make life easier for us MOMs. 

Thanks to FishMama and a friend who baked Christmas cookies earlier this week for my ideas for my own Christmas in July!

Friday, July 23, 2010

A budget plus!

Brian's employer always has a two-week mandatory shutdown in July.  He gets paid weekly and of those two weeks, his employer forces him (and others who have enough vacation accumulated) to use 40 hours of vacation for one of the two weeks (which also means he can't file for unemployment for the second week...because that second week he gets $0 pay).

We know this two weeks is coming.  It's like Christmas - it happens every year like clockwork.  We had plenty of money in our savings account to "pay" us the week that he didn't get paid and then MURPHY happened (and if you've ever read Dave Ramsey you know who Murphy is).  Murphy is that unexpected life happening that comes along when you least can afford it.

This Murphy wasn't TOO bad of a Murphy - we didn't have to access our emergency fund but we did deplete our savings account (that we had planned to use to "pay" us).  And we could have accessed our emergency fund to get the money we needed for his paycheck last week but we are ahead in paying bills (the mortgage payment I just made today is for September 1) so I knew we had a two or three weeks that we could make it up.

Well, as soon as the roof job was done (the Murphy that visited us was a leaky roof) Brian listed the extra shingles (the guy doing the job miscalculated) on Craigslist and returned everything that they didn't use to the stores it came from (Lowe's and Kramer's mostly).  Those returns and the sale of the shingles brought us $298 - we only needed $227 more to make up Brian's paycheck.

In my job I travel between bank branches and when I do so, I am paid mileage.  Those mileage checks go directly into my savings account.  There was already some money in there and with my most recent check - it was up to $114 - so then we only needed $184 to get to what we needed.

Well today, my check and Brian's check BOTH had "extra" (money over what we budget that normally goes to the debt snowball) on it and I quickly swept that to the savings account and it gave us $661 - $136 MORE than what we needed!  So in just one week's time we were able to make up the check that he missed!

Now...his check had four hours of OT from the week before shutdown (they pay them two checks in one Friday...the one they'd normally get and then another for 40 hours...if they work OT that second week...they don't get it until today), 40 hours of vacation (which was what he was forced to take) and eight hours of holiday pay.  I'm SO thankful that it worked out like it did!!! 

So I was able to pay everything today and we're all done for the month.  Within just a few days I'll be able to tell what all we've paid off in one year's time.  I can't wait to see the final number!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

I am really frustrated right now...

I am so meticulous about tracking some things but I've been looking at our September 2009 versus our September 2010 budget.  While today is only July 22 the budget I'm working on is labeled September (even though we're going into August) because what I'm paying in August is actually for September.  Don't ask me how I got on it that way...I just did.  So I'm trying to figure out how much we've paid off in the past 12 months.  And while I track our balances each month...that balance has gone down (yay!) and up (boo!) because new debt has been added to it. 

And I know, Dave Ramsey would keel over if he heard new debt but wasn't new debt, just bills that came due that we didn't have money put away for yet (we're still working on building up our medical/dental envelope and when insurance doesn't cover $1600 of surgery...we've got to add that into our debt snowball).  And one part of it was taking back the student loan payment that my parents had been making for me.  That was part of the deal when I went to school...they were going to help me (and they have helped my brother) but they actually got to the point where things were tight (due to some choices my brother made and they needed to help with) so I decided to take that loan balance back and add it to our debt snowball.

So here are the balances for the last twelve months (and this is just consumer mortgage in these figures):
09/09:  $22058.63
10/09:  $26704.15
11/09:  $25712.43
12/09:  $24485.66
01/10:  $24658.07
02/10:  $23569.55
03/10:  $22456.59
04/10:  $21101.42
05/10:  $19588.84
06/10:  $18856.25
07/10:  $17591.38
08/10:  $17077.91
09/10:  not quite ready to be calculated

So from high point to low point, we're looking at just under $10,000 but there have been things we've paid for in cash, in full that never hit the budget spreadsheet (things like LeeAnn's dance class in full last semester and the roof job that we just had done that came in at just under $1k). 

Which is where I'm frustrated.  I don't remember exactly what all we have paid for out of pocket like that.  I know I can go back through my checkbook to see what else I can remember but really?  Why didn't I track that stuff better!?  I'm going to start doing that now!  Or at least I plan to...and actually I might start with that recent roof job.  I guess I better ask Brian about costs and such. 

I'll update again in a few days when (if) I get it all figured out. 

I'm linking up to Ultimate Recipe Swap again today!

As you can see from the above image - Life as Mom hosts the Ultimate Recipe Swap on Thursdays and today's swap is picnic recipes.  I have the ultimate picnic recipe!

It has very few steps:

1.  grab a blanket or sheet (we prefer a sheet - easier to wash!)
2.  head to Subway and get sandwiches and drinks (and cookies if you're gonna be a Yes Mom that day) for everyone
3.  head to your nearest picnic place - ours is the local park where we can watch the petting zoo animals while we eat
4.  enjoy your meal and when you're done - just put the sheet into the car and throw away dinner trash and be done with the dinner part...spend the rest of the evening enjoying your time with family

And that's it!  Who doesn't love ease of cooking and cleaning!?

Record your Life... Fifth grade drama.

Fifth grade memories to me are full of drama!  It was the last year in our elementary school (and the first year that 5th grade was the end...a new middle school had just been built) and we though we were it! 

One stand-out memory for me in fifth grade was learning my BFF had diabetes.  And the incident that started it all (well, not the diabetes but the appointments that led to the diagnosis) was something we all always got in trouble for.  During certain subjects (this day it was reading) we broke into groups and gathered in different spots in the room.  This day S. and myself and four others were around the table discussing a book we had been reading and S. had her chair tipped up on it's back legs.  We were always being told "four on the floor" (meaning all four chair legs on the floor) but she wasn't obeying and suddenly her chair tipped on backwards and she busted her head into the chalk tray as she went all the way down to the floor.  She ended up in the nurse's office and eventually at the doctor's (she had a concussion).  In the midst of her doctor's appointment her mom raised some other concerns and after testing, S. learned she was diabetic.  Her dad is severely diabetic and so I think she wasn't too surprised and I don't remember it ever affecting anything else...I just remember that she was diagnosed.

Another memory that jumps out for me is S. giving me my first diary for Christmas that year.  I still have it.  It has a black cover with lime green hearts on it.  And it had a lock and key and everything.  Every so often (when I'm cleaning or the times I've moved and moved it too) I get it out and read a few pages.  It's amazing how my fifth-grade brain worked.  It's mostly about boys and boys and oh yeah, boys.

One entry in that diary talks about A. and the time she purposely tried to break her leg by wrapping her leg around the desk chair leg.  I do remember that we were incredibly mean to this poor girl (looking back now...we were major bullies) but I do not remember why she tried to break her leg.  And my diary is oh so descriptive (*insert sarcasm here*).  It says, "A. tried to break her leg in class today.  She stuck her foot around the chair leg and fell."  That's it.  Nice huh?  I wish now that I wasn't so mean back then.

And the biggest memory from fifth grade?  Our teacher.  He was the only male teacher in the entire school.  Every morning before school started we said the Pledge of Allegiance (which I think is standard) and said a prayer (one we all had to memorize and said daily).  I don't remember the prayer anymore and while I know he is still teaching, I'm sure he can't teach that anymore (this was at a public school).  Anyways.  One day in class he was upset with us (and I don't remember what we were doing) but he SLAMMED his fist down on his desk top and completely cracked the plastic desk protector that he had over his desk calendar.  It wasn't glass but it cracked right down the middle like glass.  We were all so shocked that no one said a single word.  He grab that desk protector, went out the door, down the hall and came back without it and carried on like nothing had happened.  It was crazy.  I still can remember the sound of his fist hitting and the cracking sound that plastic made. 

This is my seventh posting at Mommy's Piggy TALES recording my memories in just 15 weeks. If you're interested in doing the same for yourself, swing by her place to check it out!

Click here to read my post from last week, where my second grade memories aren't very good memories.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Marsh ad highlights - 7/22 through 7/28

4-day only sale! Thursday through Sunday only!
Ground chuck - $1.68/lb (save $1.61/lb) limit 10lbs
In-husk bi-color corn - 10/$2 (save $3.00 on ten ears)
Lay's chips - 2/$4 (save $3.98 on two)
12-pack Coke, Pepsi or 7-Up - 4/$10 limit one
Rib Fest!

On sale all week:
Boneless chuck steak - $1.98/lb (save $2.41/lb)
Perdue thighs or drumsticks - $.98/lb (save $1.01/lb)
Bone-in Ribeye or New York Strip Steaks - $5.98/lb (save $4.01/lb)
Del Monte Gold pineapple - $2.99 (save $1.00)
Sargento shredded cheese - 50% off
Marsh bread or buns - $.99
2-liter Pepsi - $.86 (and if you buy four, you can get two free)
Buy 10, save $5 when you use your Fresh Idea card on select Kellogg's cereals ($1.99 final price) or Keebler cookies or crackers or Sunshine Krispy Crackers ($2.49 final price)
Sara Lee deli meats - $5.99/lb (save $1.70/lb)
Aunt Millie's Hearth bread or buns - B1G1 FREE
Wonder white bread - B1G1 FREE
Gatorade - 10/$10
Lipton sides - 10/$10
Quaker rice cakes - 10/$10
Creamette pasta - 5/$5
Bounty and Charmin - $5.99
grapes - $1.69/lb

Monday, July 19, 2010

And of course - for my husband...

It seems strange that it's been just over seven years since I met the man I married!  I'd known who Brian was for a long time...since middle school.  And one mutual friend swears he tried to set us up years ago.  But alas, we had to find each other on our own and I'm so glad we did.

But today...TODAY is his birthday!  It is the day I look forward to ALL YEAR LONG because (for a few months at least) we are the same age and he can't give me crap!  I love my husband, I do, I do, I do but he loves to make sure that everyone knows (and reminds me often) that I'm older than him.  Not by much...just nine months and four days but it's enough for him to be younger than me for a while and to rub in it. 

So, to my wonderful husband, amazing father and best friend - Happy Birthday!

Weekly shopping - at Marsh of course!

As always - I love Marsh!  I walk in there and it feels like walking into the bar on the old show "Cheers".  LeeAnn goes and gives her favorite cashiers hugs and we're on our way!  This week we got:

3 California Kitchen personal pizzas for $4.50 (used those $1.00 coupons that Walmart wouldn't take because our Marsh takes expired coupons)
2 Edy's ice cream for $4.49 (on sale B1G1 FREE and had a $1.00 coupon)
2 large Marsh eggs for $1.98
2 Heluva Good dips (used our last two coupons) for $1.50
4 Food Club cream cheeses for $5.00
3 appx pounds vine ripe tomatoes for $3.11
1 Aunt Millie's bread for $1.45
4lb strawberries for $4.97

Along with sour cream, yogurt, pasta, lunch meat, fresh fruits and veggies, slice cheese, milk and some Chef Boyardee for LeeAnn and we spent $50.91, saving $41.30 or 45%. 

Weekly shopping trip - Walmart first

I don't hit up Walmart very often.  I am not a big fan of the store (which I've said more than once!).  I searched through old posts and found I was just there at the end of June, so it's only been about two weeks but I had a few coupons that were going to get me items at half price - so I went!
3 California Kitchen personal pizzas for $6.00 (had $1.00 coupons but they were the pizzas anyways - they are good and easy for work lunches)
2 30oz light Kraft Mayo for $3.50 ($2.50 each and had a $1.50 off two coupon)
2 3-way light bulbs for $2.84
4 TicTac mints for $2.08 (used two B1G1 FREE coupons)
1 pack heavy duty paper plate for $4.87
2 18ct Tampon Pearl for $3.92 ($3.96 each and used two $2.00 coupons)
2 Head and Shoulder shampoos for $4.72 ($4.72 each and used one B1G1 FREE coupon)
1 Kraft Bleu Cheese dressing for $1.00 ($2.00 each and used a $1.00 coupon)

Total spent:  $30.98
Total saved:  $13.30
Percent saved:  appx 31%

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Record your Life - Fourth grade

Fourth grade felt like second grade all over to me!  Our elementary school would often switch teachers around and I had the same teacher that I had in second grade for fourth grade.  So while it really didn't feel the same as second grade, it was kinda strange to have the same teacher!

My stand-out memory from fourth grade was having the lead in our Christmas children's musical at church.  Sadly, I can no longer remember the name of the play, the songs we sang or what it was about really (I was about the spirit of Christmas but remember very few details) but I do remember that I beat out a girl like six years older than me for the lead!  I felt amazing!  And the male lead was my best friend from church - he and I were very close and spent many a weekend at his aunt's house (who kinda "adopted me" as a niece) sharing the bunk bed and playing with her dolls.

Another vague memory from fourth grade is of playing a game at recess called kiss 'em and ditch 'em.  I'm not sure if anyone else ever played this game but it was basically tag and there was a boy "it" and a girl "it" and when you tagged someone you had to kiss 'em and then ditch 'em.  We had so much fun with that game!  We had to be careful the recess monitor didn't see us though - Jeff would get all over our tails for playing that game!
And while this memory may not be specific to fourth grade, I just remembered the house beside our school had llamas and goats in the pasture that ran along the playground.  I remember spitting at that llama trying to get him to spit back.  And one day the goats got out and ran wild all over the playground, on the equipment - even down the slides!  What a crazy recess that was.  After that the neighbor fixed his fence to be taller so the goats couldn't get out anymore.

What a crazy bunch of random memories!

This is my sixth posting at Mommy's Piggy TALES recording my memories in just 15 weeks. If you're interested in doing the same for yourself, swing by her place to check it out!

Click here to read my post from last week, where my second grade memories aren't very good memories.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Marsh ad highlights - 7/15 through 7/21

It's Strawberry Fest at Marsh!  Hope there are some strawberry fans out there...there's a lot to be had this week!
Strawberry Fest:
4lb pkg strawberries - $4.97 (best price!)
4pk Aunt Millie's dessert pastry shells (mmmm...shortcake!) - $.99
Food Club whipped cream - $2.49
Marsh ice cream - B1G1 FREE
10oz Angel Food cake (in the bakery) - $1.97
2lb pkg strawberries - $2.97
1lb pkg strawberries - $1.97
5lb box blueberries - $9.99 (save $10.00)
pint blueberries - 2/$5
Ocean Spray blueberry drink - 2/$5 (free pint blueberries when you purchase two)
6oz pkg red raspberries or blackberries - $2.99

Also look for:
Boneless rump or round roast - $1.98/lb (save $2.21/lb)
Western style pork ribs - $1.28/lb (save $1.01/lb)
Marsh dozen large eggs - $.99
Aunt Millie's bread or buns - B1G1 FREE
Vine ripe tomatoes - $.99
Edy's ice cream - B1G1 FREE
Food Club cheese - $1.68
General Mills cereal - $1.49 (when you buy six in one transaction with Fresh Idea card)
Fiber One, Nature Valley or General Mills bars - $1.99 (when you buy six in one transaction with Fresh Idea card)
Hostess Donettes or Entenmann's Little Bites - B1G1 FREE
Pop Secret - B1G1 FREE
Charmin and Bounty - $5.99

And that's it for me.  Happy shopping!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

It's been a long time - a blog recommendation

Every so often I go out in search of a new blog to read and learn from.  I stumbled upon Couple Money a few months ago and sometimes I forget about it (I have two I visit daily, maybe I need to move my favorite link for this to between those two, huh?) but when I do remember to read it, I really enjoy what is shared.

Some of it doesn't apply to me or appeal to me but like all blogs, I just skip that post and go onto the next.  Check it out, there just might be something that appeals to you!

Monday, July 12, 2010

I mentioned below we spent under our grocery budget...

I forgot until I was just looking at receipts that I spent $3.18 at Walmart yesterday for some wasp/hornet spray.  Apparently Brian and his buddy were battling more than the sun and heat yesterday - some unfriendly flying insects had to invade the party as well.  While I'm not one for killing animals (even an ant or spider) I'm glad they were able to use this spray to protect themselves while working yesterday!

Weekly grocery shopping - Marsh

It was a quick trip this weekend.  Brian and a co-worker spent approximately 26 hours in two days (and this morning) working on re-roofing a section of our house.  It was a long, hot, drawn out process but it's done and for that we are thankful!  Because Brian was so tired after working all day (he got burnt at an auction Friday trying to buy materials for this job on top of the physical work) we went for just the basics.  Here is what we came home with:

3 StarKist tuna pouches was $4.77 for $2.00
6 Pasta Roni's was $9.72 for $6.00 (thought we had coupons but I misread them...)
3 Food Club shredded cheese was $8.37 for $5.04
2 Mission tortillas was $6.38 for $2.00 (used my last two coupons too...bummer)
2 packs Perdue split breasts was $14.74 for $4.39 (@ $.88/lb)
1 9-roll Charmin was $9.18 for $5.49
1 8-roll Bounty was $10.28 for $5.49

And of course we got the standard milk, lunch meat, bread, fresh fruit and veggies, LeeAnn's fave pasta salad and a treat (gallon of green tea) for Brian and spent all of $53.05 and saved $36.18 or 41%.  This leaves us $22 for next week's groceries (if we decide to use it) and just might keep us under budget this month!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Every so often I link up to Ultimate Recipe Swap

at Life as Mom and today is one of those days!

Today's recipe swap is for cool recipes - those you can fix on the hottest days of summer and not heat the house anymore than it already is.  I found this recipe just a couple weeks ago in the June/July 2010 issue of Taste of Home's Simple & Delicious magazine.  As soon as I read this recipe, I knew I had to add it to our list of recipes we use.

Sweet Cucumber Salad
3 cups thinly sliced, quartered cucumber
2 tsp minced fresh cilantro

1/4 cup sugar
2 tbsp water
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
2 tbsp lime juice (we squeeze a fresh lime for ours)
1 green onion, thinly sliced
1/2 tsp salt

In a salad bowl, combine cucumber and cilantro.  In a small bowl, whisk the dressing ingredients.  Drizzle over salad and toss to coat.  Serve with a slotted spoon.

And that's it!  So easy.  So fresh and cool.  And just the right tang between the lime juice and cilantro.  Yum!  We also found that preparing it the day before and letting it sit overnight is better than making it and serving it, but that could just be us.  Try it both ways and see what you prefer for you.  Enjoy!

Nutrition facts:  3/4 cup equals 64 calories, trace fat (trace saturated fat), 0 cholesterol, 297 mg sodium, 16g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 1 g protein.  Diabetic Exchange:  1 starch.

Record your Life - Third grade pen-pals

Why is it that last week I struggled so much to remember even a small inkling of second grade but I've known since I first heard about this project that I was going to share about pen-pals and our Tennessee trip when it came to talking about third grade? Isn't it strange what the mind holds and what it doesn't?

Third grade was the year that everyone looked forward to in our school. That was the year you got a pen-pal AND you go to visit them too. I don't remember my pen-pal's name or anything about writing her specifically. The writing part was actually part of our school work, we were graded on the letters and whether we sent one or not and Miss Carter always gathered all the letters and sent one big package of them to the teacher of the students we were writing. And then when we got our letters, we all got letters on the same day.

The BEST part of having a pen-pal was the field trip that we took to Tennessee that spring to visit our pen-pals. When you load up an Imperial Travel bus (a travel bus) with a whole load of third graders and their chaperones for a week long trip to Tennessee, you're bound to have fun (and mishaps) along the way.

I don't remember much of the bus ride really. I do remember the librarian's son being with us (which was strange because he was a year older than us and even went to a different elementary school than us...same town/school corporation, different school) and singing Rocky Top (a song we had to learn in music class about Tennessee).

And I don't even remember meeting my pen-pal. Well, I take that back. I do remember meeting her (we all met each other on their playground) but don't remember anything we talked about. I do remember that we slept in the school gymnasium (girls and boys! - a big deal when your a third grader) and that the bathroom stall doors were SHORT. I could see over the tops of the doors when standing up. It was so strange to me because our stall doors were normal height (like what you'd find at a store or something). Strange, strange, strange.

The most memorable part of the trip - we went to Cades Cove and hiked to the waterfall. On the way back my best friend tripped and broke her ankle. I remember our teacher and another parent (not sure if it was a mom or dad) putting their hands together between them and Shari sitting on top of their hands so they could get her back to the parking lot and then to a hospital for a cast (they had to call for an ambulance so the rest of the class didn't have to leave in the bus as well).

I don't remember the ride home or anything else about the trip - just going and Shari falling and breaking ankle (which means for once it was someone other than me who was a klutz!).

This is my fifth posting at Mommy's Piggy TALES recording my memories in just 15 weeks. If you're interested in doing the same for yourself, swing by her place to check it out!

Click here to read my post from last week, where my second grade memories aren't very good memories.

Kroger ad highlights - 7/8 to 7/14

It looks like Kroger is having a 10/$10 sale - a lot of the same items that Marsh has on sale...nothing that really jumps out and grabs me. Other things that did grab my attention are:

Kraft singles - $1.49
6pk Coke, Pepsi or 7-Up 24oz bottles - 4/$10
Kellogg's cereal - $1.99
California peaches or nectarines - $.88/lb
Driscoll's strawberries (1lb) - 2/$3
Post cereals - 2/$3

Exciting, huh?  Yeah, I didn't think so either.

Marsh ad highlights - 7/8 to 7/14

There are a LOT of 10/$10 items in this weeks ad! The website advertises that there are over 50 10/$10 items so here are those listed first:

2-Liter Coke, Pepsi and 7-Up products
Marsh bread
Eckrich loaf or sliced pepperoni
Louis Kemp imitation crabmeat (save $19.90 on ten)
Emge roll sausage (save $1.59 each)
Parkay, Fleischmann's or Land O Lakes butter/margarine
Assorted ice cream
Pillsburry rolls or biscuits (select)
Banquet meals
Hamburger Helper
Tony's pizzas
Food Club or Reser's dip
King's Hawaiian rolls
Jose Ole burritos or chimichangas
Gatorade Thirst Quencher
Dole fruit
StarKist tuna
Food Club marshmellows
Sunny Delight or Tropicana fruit drinks
Rice a Roni or Pasta Roni
Quaker rice cakes
Aim toothpaste
Dial hand soap
Food Club softener sheets
GE Light Bults
Right Guard or Soft & Dri deodorant
Betty Crocker Suddenly Salad
Betty Crocker brownie mix
Red Gold tomatoes
Bar-S franks or bologna
Tennessee Pride sausage gravy
Mildford Valley Farms kiev
SoBe Life, Glaceau Vitamin Water, Gold Peak, Fuze or Snapple
David sunflower seeds
Assorted movie candy
Bush's baked beans
Dean's or Shamrock Farms milk
Food Club potatoes
Simply Juice or Minute Maid
Food Club dill spears
Food Club ketchup or marinade
Act II popcorn
Food Club singles
Food Club soft cookies
Bisquick pancake mix
Domino sugar
Red, yellow or orange bell peppers
Large seedless cucumbers
Butter, romaine, green or red leaf lettuce

As for the rest of the week:
Hostess snacks - $1.99 (save $2.00)
Eckrich smoked sausage - 2/$5 (save $3.38 on two) match with recent $.75 coupons for $1.75 final price
Combo pork chops, ribs and roast sale - $.98/lb (save $1.51/lb)
Food Club cheese - $1.68
Perdue split breasts - $.98/lb (save $2.31/lb) limit three
Marsh or Breyers ice cream - 50% off
Washington State Bing cherries - $1.99/lb (save $3.00/lb)
select grapes - $1.28/lb (save $.71/lb)
Bob Evans roll sausage - 2/$6 (save $1.98 on two)
Cyrstal Light - B1G1 FREE
Aunt Millie's bread or buns - $1.19 (match with recent $.55 coupons for $.64 final price)
Charmin and Bounty - $5.99 (match with recent P&G coupons to save $.25 - doubled to $.50 - on each)
Vine Ripe or Red Roma tomatoes - $1.88/lb (save $.61/lb)

And that's it for me.  Anything catch your eye?

Family fun trip became a bargain trip!

When we left for Indiana Beach on Tuesday morning I had no intentions of sharing about the trip but it became a bargain for us so I had to share about our experience.

Indiana Beach is an amusement park about an hour north of us. I hadn't been in years - probably 15 or so and neither had Brian but he decided we needed to take LeeAnn. So we did.

We packed a picnic lunch (because the food and drinks there are outrageous) and ate in the car when we got there. Because we could go in and out of the park as often as we wanted, we left the bag with the swimming gear in the car. Tuesday and Thursday at Indiana Beach are Coke product days - take any Coke product and get $10 off. So we grabbed a couple Coke product cans and paid $43.10 for Brian and LeeAnn to ride and swim as much as they wanted. General admission is free (so I didn't have to pay anything).

After a couple hours of rides (in Kiddyland and some bigger rides that Brian and LeeAnn went on together), LeeAnn decided it was water park time. We went back to the car, had a quick snack and drank some water (it was hot out!) and headed back into the park. As we were walking in, two others couples were walking out and told us they were closing the park due to power issues.

We went back into the park to the Guest Relations desk and yep, the park was closing temporarily due to power issues. They gave us two free passes to come back another day and mentioned that if we wanted to hang out for a while to see if the power issues would be resolved, we could and we could still keep the free passes. Brian decided to go to the pool area to ask if the pool was closing (we figured the slides and Lazy River would - no power to run the water through them) and sure enough - the pool WAS open! So Brian and LeeAnn were able to spend the next two hours swimming and within 45 minutes the power was back up, so they were able to enjoy the Lazy River and water slides as well. After swimming were more rides and games and we ended the day at Treece's - a small-town restaurant that is "famous" in our area.

So - our trip for three that cost us $43.10 plus gas (and eating out at Treece's - $30.00) because a half price trip because of those free passes. I don't have another day off anytime soon so the next trip will be just Brian and LeeAnn (I went more for the dressing room changes than anything...well to spend time with my family but I neither ride nor swim). He decided that he can do it himself (the showers in the men's changing room were closed stalls - that was his biggest concern). So hooray for half price amusement park trips!

Weekly shopping trip - should have been posted Monday.

Went to Marsh on Saturday this past week instead of Sunday. With the holiday on Sunday, we knew we were cooking out and going to the fireworks and didn't want to try to throw grocery shopping into the mix. Here's what we got:

4 Kraft shredded cheese was $14.36 for $6.76
2 Heluva Good dips was $4.98 for $1.50
2 Mt Dew Code Red 12pks was $10.18 for $3.98
2 Mission flour tortillas was $6.38 for $2.00
2 Wavy Lays was $7.98 for $3.99
3 Aunt Millies bread/buns was $9.57 for $1.54
2 Pampers wipes was $5.98 for FREE

Along with lots of ground chuck (@ $1.68/lb), lunch meat, meatballs and hotdogs, canned beans, milk and fresh fruits and veggies and we spent $70.71, saving $63.34 or 47%. Yay for under budget!

I so hadn't planned on being MIA for the last week

but that's how it happens sometimes!  I've been on vacation since Saturday and am headed back to work today (just a short vacation!).  I had full intentions of keeping up with my posting schedule but that just didn't work out for me.  I spent a lot of time with my family and friends - which is exactly why I took the vacation to begin with.  I did sit down at the computer a few times but mostly to research things - like prices for a close-by amusement park and to see the TV my husband thought my granny should get (when she's looking for new electronics, Brian does all the research beforehand). 

So, I'm back and this afternoon/evening there should be a LOT of catch up posts here. 

Saturday, July 3, 2010

I finally found my CVS receipt from last week...

I had some ECBs that had just expired (the 21st) and one of our CVSs in town takes them within a week or so.  I had no idea what was on sale or what was generating more ECBs and since I haven't been following CVS anyways, I just decided to spend them to get rid of them while still getting a good deal.  Here's what I got:

2 Soft Soap body was $9.98 for $4.79 ($.20 off and B1G1 FREE)
1 Dove candy bar was $.89 for -$1.11 (coupon for free candy bar or $2.00 off a bag, and it still took $2.00 off)
1 Dentyne gum $1.29

Subtotal -$.03 (yep, before tax they owed me money)
Tax $.49
Total $.46
Saved $12.19 (like 99% savings)

And I didn't take money from the grocery envelope or use my CVS card - I just dug $.46 in change from the bottom of my purse and paid with that. Woohoo!

Week of 6/4 through week of 6/25 grocery budget

6/6 Marsh - 95.35, saved 69.60 (42%)
6/12 Marsh - 59.25, saved 61.38 (51%)
6/20 Marsh - 55.06, saved 25.51 (32%)
6/21 Marsh - 3.53, saved 1.01 (22%)
6/21 Marsh - .99, saved .50 (34%)
6/22 Meijer - 13.98, saved 15.72 (53%)
6/23 Kroger - 40.28, saved 46.83 (53%)
6/24 CVS - .46, saved 12.19 (99%) and didn't use grocery budget monies
6/27 Walmart - 30.77, saved 18.76 (30%)
6/27 Walmart - 3.00, saved 5.00 (62%)
6/27 Marsh - 49.41, saved 32.05 (39%)
6/28 Marsh - .75, saved 1.74 (70%)

Total spent: 352.37
Total saved: 290.29
Percentage saved:  45% or so...

Over budget by 52.37 - BOO.  We knew a couple of those weeks though that we were pushing it.  And as always, we're okay with that. 

Friday, July 2, 2010

Booking It 2010 update

It has taken me almost two weeks to read just two books! This is the reason I didn't dedicate myself to one book a week. Although, the book I'm working on now might be finished tonight (which would be one book in one day).

I read Eats, Shoots & Leaves by Lynne Truss on the recommendation of another Booking It participant.  What a great read!  I have a BA in Journalism and for a long time thought I'd be a copy editor so I love things like words, word use and punctuation.  This was a funny book and while I've always said I'm a punctuation nerd, maybe I'm not as bad as others.  And I like to make smilies with my keys.  :)

After that I picked up Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters - 10 Secrets Every Father Should Know  by Meg Meeker MD.  This book really, really, really affected me.  I don't normally share such long reviews of one book but this one was really good and really touched me.

Even though this was written by a woman (who is a daughter) to dads, this book really hit home for me. I think because I saw a lot of my dad and I in her stories and descriptions. And I see the starts of what Brian is doing for LeeAnn. I read this book for several reason. It was on Dave Ramsey's list of recommended reads (so I probably never would have heard of it if it hadn't been for that), my dad and I have a great relationship and I want LeeAnn to have that with her dad and Brian's not a reader...I wanted to check it out to see if it was worth trying to get him to read (and it is!).

Dave says, “This is the best book available on being a father to daughters. I have two daughters, and this book inspired me. I liked it so much that I provided a copy for every dad on my team who has a daughter. If you are a dad with a daughter, you must read this book TODAY.”

From the back of the book,
"Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters is a sobering reminder of the awesome responsibilities of fatherhood. It strongly reinforces just how important (and unavoidable) a father's influence is on his daughter's life – for good or ill – and how dangerous this world can be for girls whose fathers aren't there to protect them, guide them, and even fight for them. It shows, in the face of the popular culture, that strong dads are essential for strong daughters. Dads, you owe it to your daughters – and to yourselves – to read this book.

– David Limbaugh, nationally syndicated columnist and bestselling author

From the inside flap,
Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters reveals:
  • The essential characteristics and virtues of strong fathers – and how to develop them
  • How daughters take cues from their fathers on everything from drug use, drinking, smoking, and having sex, to self-esteem, moodiness, and seeking attention from boys
  • Why girls want you to place restrictions on them (even though they'll complain when you do)
  • How to become a hero to your daughter – and why she needs that more than anything
  • The one mistake fathers make that is the primary cause of girls "hooking up"
  • Why girls depend on the guidance of fathers through, and even beyond, their college years
  • Recipe for disaster: the notion that girls "need to make their own decisions and mistakes"
  • Why girls need God – and how your faith or lack thereof, will influence her
  • How to communicate with your daughter – and how not to
  • True stories of "prodigal daughters" – and how their fathers helped bring them back
A couple areas that really spoke to me where:
pg 163
Dr Meeker is sharing the story of Alicia and her dad and how her dad asked her to not marry Jack, the man that Alicia believed was the man of her dreams. Her dad asked her several times to not marry him, that something just didn't feel right. An anonymous call lead Alicia to hire a private investigator and come to find out, Alicia's dad was right. Jack had four other names, three wives, had never been to law school (told Alicia he had), had two children by two different women and had a warrant out for his arrest in another state. Alicia said her dad never rubbed it in that he was right. "He just came and helped me take care of things." The part that touched me most, she said, "You know, even while my dad was warning me during that time, something really bothered me about Jack: he was so different from my dad. Of course I didn't want to tell anyone. I mean, he talked differently and I caught him in a few white lies. My dad never did that. My father was quiet and honest. It never dawned on me that I couldn't trust him, but I wasn't ever quite sure whether or not I could trust Jack. ... I knew, I knew, deep in my heart that I could never marry someone so different from my dad, but I don't know, I guess I was just totally blinded by infatuation. How could I have been so stupid?"

WOW. This is me. Well, kinda. I got engaged to a boy (and he was a boy) my senior year of college. I thought for sure he was the one. Up until this point, my dad and I emailed each other daily. We told my parents about the engagement on a Sunday. I never got another daily email from my dad. I think he was so disappointed in me. My dad never told me not to marry him but I know he didn't want me to. Finally, the drugs and lying and the unfaithfulness were too much and I left. It was actually my mom who came to save me but my dad was there when I got home. And now? Brian? He is just like my dad.

And another:
pg 225
Since you are competing with e-conversations, e-songs and e-relationships, steal her away from the screen as often as you can. Remember, when all is said and experienced, you are a better communicator than cell phones, e-mail or chat rooms. They can't comfort her when she's in the hospital. They can't walker her down the aisle toward her future husband. You will.

In the afterword I read this that I really liked, "Many days we are disappointed. We find ourselves grasping for that elusive "something" that will make us feel complete. But the more we search for it, the more distant it becomes, because what we're searching for is sitting right there. It's not your job or your hobbies. It's not more money or more sex. It's your family - your children, your spouse - and God. They are the real center of our lives."

  •  Realize who you are to her.
  • Open your eyes to her world (it's different from yours).
  • Fight for her body (error on the side of being overprotective and you'll hit is just right).
  • Fight for her mind.
  • Fight for her soul.
  • Fight for your relationship with her (the bottom line is she needs more time with you than she does with her friends. So be with her).
Last page - last paragraph: "One day, when she is grown, something between the two of you will shift. If you have done your job well, she will choose another good man to love her, fight for her and be intimately connected to her. But he will never replace you in her heart, because you were there first. And that's the ultimate reward for being a good dad."

So. This book has touched me in so many ways. Even though I'm the mom in the equation, I'm going to employ some of these tactics. And this book? I'm going to buy it. I want to mark it up, refer to it and use it as we raise our baby girl into a woman.

Now that I've finished that amazing book I'm back to Karen Kingsbury's A Moment of Weakness that I had to take back to the library a couple weeks ago.  It has been REALLY good and I've read over 100 pages of it already today.  I'm thinking I'll need to hit up the library tomorrow to get me through the next few days - I don't go back to work until Thursday now...

Kroger ad highlights - 7/1 to 7/7

Not much on sale at Kroger that caught my eye...and there were a few things at Kroger that were a smidge cheaper at Marsh anyways. 

Ground chuck - $1.77/lb ($.09 cheaper/lb at Marsh)
Seedless watermelon - $2.77 ($.78 cheaper at Marsh w/ $15 purchase and in-ad coupon)
Lay's - $1.98 (same as Marsh)
Kroger cheese - 2/$3
Betty Crocker Hamburger Helper - 10/$10
Betty Crocker cake mix - 10/$10
Hunt's Snack Packs - 10/$10
Kroger sugar (4lb bag) - 5/$10
Breyers ice cream - $1.97 each (when you buy any 10 participating items) - the only item that caught my eye in that sale!

So I think I might hit up Kroger for Breyers ice cream and that'll be it for me!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Record your Life... Was I a second grader?

If I was, I don't remember it!  Is it bad that nothing sticks out from second grade? I mean, I remember little things - like that was the year my brother started kindergarten and the year my mom started working for the school system. That was the year we were introduced to a reading program where we read a book and then took a test and I was the first student to read through every level and pass all the tests. Our Girl Scout troop took a field trip to the Indianapolis Zoo that year - I even have pictures of my and my best friend in our Brownie uniforms and pigtails. And my favorite part of the school day was when I got to go to school early with my mom and brother and was able to visit the other second grade teacher and play with her ticky-tack stuff that she used to put posters on the wall (I was easily amused - what can I say!?).

Why is it I can't remember anything big from that year? Did nothing exciting happen that year? Was second grade really so boring that nothing sticks in my mind?

So, what happened in 1983, the year I would have started 2nd grade?

Pet Sematary and Christine by Stephen King were two of the top five fiction books for the year (and I've read neither!).

The last Delorean (the car from Back to the Future) was produced.

The final episode of M.A.S.H. aired with more than 125 million viewers (which I know I watched!).

Rubik's Cube and Cabbage Patch Kids were popular (although I probably had neither at that time...).

The 1983 Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor and Best Actress are all for the movie "Terms of Endearment" (which I've never heard of).

In 1983, the 26th Grammy Awards granted Michael Jackson four awards (for "Thriller", "Beat It" and "Billie Jean").

The Washington Redskins beat the Miami Dolphins 27 - 17 in the 1983 Super Bowl and the Baltimore Orioles beat the Philadelphia Phillies (4-1) in the World Series Championship.

Of the top 19 shows in 1983, I don't remember really watching any of them. I recognize the names of shows ("Dallas", "60 Minutes" and "Dynasty" top the list). I know I watched others in reruns ("The Jeffersons", "The Love Boat" and "Kate and Allie").

And in 1983 Reagan was President, the unemployment rates was 9.6%, you could buy a new Ford Escort for $6900 and a loaf of bread was $.66 (with coupons I can beat that!).

So maybe second grade didn't happen?  It almost feels that way.  But really, I KNOW I went through second grade.  My teacher was Mrs Borges and we called her Gorgeous Borges (although she wasn't was just what rhymed!).  And I do remember my mom starting work and walking to school with my brother and reading through that whole reading system.  But nothing big must have happened for me that year.  That's okay though, I have plenty of other memories to reflect on!

This is my fourth posting at Mommy's Piggy TALES recording my memories in just 15 weeks. If you're interested in doing the same for yourself, swing by her place to check it out!

Click here to read my post from last week, where in first grade I really (truly) lost a tooth.