Tuesday, December 31, 2013


I love and hate facebook. I don't play games on it. I don't spend hours creeping. I don't follow links to articles and videos (which I imagine could eat up hours of ones time) but I do check in about 100 times a day to see if there's that little red bubble up in the corner. AH, that little red bubble! I love posting photos of my son who I waited 10 years of marriage for. I feel like the most proud mommy in the world (I imagine everyone feels the same about their littles). I love seeing photos of my friends and family and their children and furry children. I especially like keeping in touch with friends around the world in such an interesting way. I enjoy reading all the different status updates. I really do like facebook alot.

I hate facebook because there's such a disconnect with reality. People who randomly "un-friend" people because something offensive has been said or they're in a little tiff; come on that's not realistic. Adults have very little reason if any in the real world to un-friend someone but on facebook people do it all the time as a sort of symbolic slap in the face. Really, who slaps people in the face... drunkards? On top of that it's SOOOO easy to offend people/ friends on facebook. All you have to do is post a political statement that's contrary to someone's views (and lets be real very few of us agree on everything) and people get so ticked; nasty fights get started, you begin arguing with someone else's friend (a person you'll never see face to face), then you're grouchy for the rest of the day. There are awful, AWFUL aspects to facebook that are so far from real social interaction it's sickening. I won't even get started on how kids are using the darn thing; bullying and intimidating and peer pressuring. And on top of all the societal deteriorating that's going on within this false sense of community facebook is a huge time eater. Even for me who just checks in here and there, reads status updates and "likes" neat photos posted by my friends SO much time is gone from having been "checking in."

So here's my resolution: on odd days I'm going to be odd. I won't check into facebook. I really do check in like 20, 30 times a day (at least). I can't imagine how much time I will save by just avoiding this one website every other day (If I can do it). I honestly feel badly for people with cell phones (I don't own one). I have to go to the computer to experience all these "fun" aspects that facebook offers. People with cell phones have that darn menace in the palm of their hands almost 100% of the time. That scares me. Yowzers!

2013 In Review

My 104 NO SPEND days goal was a success. Need I shout WOOHOO from the hill tops!!! (today is not over but I truly will not leave the house)

Maybe not by a ton, but I'm less in debt than I was at the beginning of the year. About $7000 less.

My son is mostly potty trained. He's good at home but I'm nervous about taking him places in undies.

I've begun learning how to plan grocery shopping and meals better (yes this is something one must learn) and I have a new approach for next year as far as spending goes.

My fourth nephew was born this month and is perfect.

I've started composting... my own version anyhow.

I baked quite alot of quiche.

My itty bitty baby boy turned one and currently acts like he's three.

The First Annual $12 a day Fund Raiser is underway. I've raised very little so far but I'm proud of my self for putting it out there.

I cooked at home so much more this year than normal... we're becoming less and less normal!

My dogs were successfully groomed at home, the vacuum cleaner bag was cut open and reused, I cut my husband's hair (layered it even), I didn't call a plumber when the sink stopped up; in other words I'm starting to find more creative ways to save money.

I survived Christmas, spent much less than normal, and got quite crafty this year.

And I ate a lot of cookies that I made at home. It was my way of not buying candy and other treats while I was working. I should probably try to eat less cookies next year.

This is the day that the LORD has made;let us rejoice and be glad in it.Psalm 118:24

Monday, December 30, 2013

So Maybe I Can Actually Accomplish a Goal Afterall

NO SPEND day 103 done!

Veggie Lasagna and Cornbread are on the menu for dinner tomorrow. I won't be spending money until next year. Period.

More Stuff and Less Stuff

The countdown continues. Yesterday was NO SPEND 102.

TWO to go!

Today I made a list of all the Christmas gifts that have made our house their home this year. We've 43 new items living here of which 13 are sets or items with multiple pieces. I'm not going to count my son's new 70 piece mega block set as 70 different things and so forth with the other 12 sets. Now I get to hunt through the house for 43 items that we've not used or touched or needed for a year. I should be able to find that many things to get rid of in the next day or two.

The list making process in itself was pretty eye opening. I mean 43 gifts for the 3 of us (of which only a few were from each other) that's pretty incredible. I saw numerous houses in Guatemala with more than 3 people living in them that housed less than 43 things in total. It's a strange planet we live on. I'm feeling a tremendous amount of gratitude right now. My son has been having LOADS of fun with every single thing he was given. He's at the age where everything is awesome. Just watching him play gives me a greater sense of appreciation for what I have.

Well, the hunt begins. Lets go!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

101 down 3 to go

Yesterday was NO SPEND 101.

There are three days left in the year and three no spend days remaining for my goal.

I think I just won't leave the house until next year.

Friday, December 27, 2013

The Official Countdown Begins

With only five days left of 2013 and still four NO SPEND days to go for my 104 goal this is what you call "cutting it close." I need to purchase groceries today which leaves the last four days of this year as NO SPENDs... ideally.

As far as the average daily spending goes, well I was very unreserved this past week and I need to collect receipts to find out what I spent. I'm pretty afraid to tally things up. Working in the stores makes purchasing groceries amongst all the chaos very difficult. When you work in retail you just want to get away as fast as possible. Grocery shopping??? NO! and we ate out a few times.

Wow, only 5 days left of the year! Crazy.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

2014 BHAG: For Me

Big Hairy Audacious Goal

The following goals may not be so hairy or audacious but they're important ones to me/ for me.

I NEED to read more. I love to read. I feel more alive when I read; happier. Last year I totally dropped the ball, read maybe 4 books total. Years prior I'd have read 4 books a month. If I can at least read one book a month and bits of the Holy Bible everyday (that's my favorite book) I'll be so much happier; growing more, you know.

I NEED to focus on health. I'd love to post a weight loss goal but in truth I just want to think about myself before I put food in my mouth. I use food for comfort. For some reason when everything is chaos, when time is lacking (or spinning out control), when my home seems to be crumbling around me, when I feel as if I haven't seen my hubby for days at a time or when my heart is just aching because I am totally an emotional female I just want to eat, and eat, and then eat some more (even if I'm filled beyond capacity). I'm not going to post any crazy work out goals. I can hardly find time to shower but one thing I can do is think every time food presents itself (it seems to do this often). That is my goal: think when food is involved (I guess thinking is always good).

Remember to notice the lovelies. I need to be thankful, grateful, and aware of the beauty and blessing around me. It's too easy to forget to look. I need to look. A journal would be a great tool for these goals. Writing down what I eat always helps keep certain foods away. Writing down what I've read each day can be good motivation to remember to pick up that book. Writing down the lovelies certainly can spark the reminder to look for them.

My goals this year specifically for me apparently boil down to read, think, and look. Pretty basic I'd say but detrimental and so easy to lose sight of.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013


I'd planned to not blog today but everyone has settled in for the night and I'm left with my thoughts. In truth Christmas could have been 700 times better. I could have baked more... wait, I didn't bake anything. I might need to remedy that tomorrow. I at least have to make press cookies! We could have had a large Christmas dinner. We could have had more decorations... I say that with a bit of laughter because I put out almost none. I would have loved to give better gifts; I know that's so trivial. I would have loved to... oh I won't go on. I spent very little on Christmas this year and sadly it's gotten to me (I guess I've still got lots of growing to do). I know it's not about all of the stuff (or fancy Christmas cards) but it's sure hard convincing my emotions of this truth.

I write this evening to say that "could have" is in the past and I'm choosing to be happy for what was. My little munchkin has been having SOOO much fun with every single gift he received (except the ones that are still in the packaging because we're rationing his gifts). He had tons of fun at every party we attended. Our family gave us some pretty great presents as well. We saw practically all of our close relatives. Many Christmas crafts were attempted AND accomplished. It was a wonderfully white Christmas. There are at least 2 feet of snow out there. I read the Christmas story to my son from his little kids Bible tonight and he was excited about the baby born in the manger. There was lots of good. I'll dwell on that.

I will be getting rid of one old item for every new item that's been brought into this house over the past week. We're bursting at the seems. Normally I'm annoyed at all the stuff but right now I'm just thankful. We're blessed and blessed again and blessed some more.
Hosanna to the Son of David!
Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!
Hosanna in the highest!
MERRY Merry Christmas!

Oh OH update: today was NO SPEND day 100! Four to go!!!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Eve is the best day to finish sewing your child's stocking right...

All the "this and that" aside I hope that all you fine people have a truly merry Christmas day with your families and loved ones!

Monday, December 23, 2013

30 Days to Think on it Challenge

Patience is a virtue. Good things come to those who wait. It pays to sleep on it...

I don't buy much; other than food, gifts, and household supplies. But working in a supercenter I see so many "ooh, I need that" items. I'll have a, "$2 for that storage tote!!!" moment, or "wow, that toy would be perfect for my son" instance. I just thought of a new "fun" challenge for purchasing stuff. Every time I see someTHING that I "need" or think of an item that I want to purchase I am going to write it down on a list and date it. 30 days after it's been placed on the list I will decided if I "need" the item and it will be purchased or removed from the list.

I like it. I think this will be beneficial. I'd already decided to record all of my THING purchases again this year like I did in 2010 and 2011 but this adds a new aspect to it.

2014 BHAG: Finances

Big Hairy Audacious Goal (in case you're new here)

This year I've had a "baby Abe" category on top of my "$12 a day" spending. In 2014 I'll eliminate the extra category and shoot for $15 a day. This is a pretty big goal, remember this year I'm around $14 a day average PLUS the baby Abe category. I don't know how practical the $15 a day will be but it's my goal. I will go about things a bit differently. I'd like to take a $3 a day average and purchase some bulk items at the beginning of the month: toilet paper, laundry detergent, animal food; for example. I know that buying bulk saves money but I'm horrible at doing so. My new game plan for 2014 is to buy some things in bulk at the beginning of each month and use $11 or $12 a day average for the remainder. I'd also like to explore the world of coupons. I don't use coupons. I grab stuff that's on sale while I'm shopping but coupons to me are a ton of extra work that I can't seem to manage. I'm going to try this year...

One of the things I've failed at all along are gifts. I cannot figure out how to work gifts into the daily spending allotment. I don't have a game plan for this dilemma YET but I'm brainstorming.

I am going to up the NO SPENDs from 2 a week (104) to 3 a week (156). I've learned and grown alot with this years NO SPEND challenge. I think I'm ready to up it. In truth the NO SPEND days do save a good deal of money on the piddly stuff you just randomly pick up on a day to day basis. I do like the challenge.

I don't want to borrow, use credit cards, go into overdraft, ect; It's wishful thinking but it's also a new year. I can start fresh with a goal and a plan and see where it takes me. Any credit card use I've done this year has been due to dipped income. My hours go up and down (we're contracted and work depends on what contracts we get). I want to find creative ways to earn extra income; selling stuff around the house/ garage sales, odd jobs. Like with couponing I am not good with the "extra income" aspect of getting out of debt. It's not that I hate working but time management is not a strong point AND what time I do have I wish to be spent with my son. Also we don't pay child care and my husband and I work our schedules around each other.

Something I've struggled with this year is paying bills on time. I'd really like to make this a top priority goal on my list this year. I don't tend to pay things over a month late but a few days to a few weeks late has been pretty regular. Late fees can be small (tend to be small) but paying several things late regularly adds up. (I don't pay credit cards late because that gets messy FAST) And there's the extra stress. When you know there's a past due bill the constant reminder sets over your head like a little black rain cloud and weighs heavily until the payment has been made. I don't need the fees or the stress.

This is my rough financial plan for next year. I'd like to incorporate a credit card reduction/ pay off goal but I can't seem to come up with solid numbers to do so... maybe in a few months I'll be ready to set something down on paper along these lines.

I don't know why but this song just makes me so happy.
Only one more day until Christmas :)

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Hershey Deer

I'm running around like a crazy woman today trying to finish up everything for my families Christmas party. I'm feeling horribly insecure about my homemade money jars. I had to run to the store this morning for all the remaining odds and ends. I'm hoping I have time to finish everything up and then Hubby calls and say's he probably won't make it to the party because work is holding him over. Gah! We've had a family photo with all of us in it for the past 6 years and my husband is possibly going to be a no show for little Parker's debut family photo. I'm feeling horribly sad. BUT It's beautiful out today (dangerous but beautiful). Everything is covered in at least a 1/2 inch think layer of ice. It's snowing now so the ice is getting covered in snow. It's really magical out there right now.
Well, we finished our reindeer. I've been having Abe color one sheet of paper with brown crayon for the antlers and one one sheet of paper with red for the noses. I'm considering these his gift to the cousins. I don't know if we'll be able to have him hand them out because at this age I'm pretty sure he'll just get upset about not being able to keep them but it's the thought that counts, right. We'll see :)

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Best NO SPEND Day Ever

As I stand here eating a peanut butter ball.

My sister came over this morning and we made Christmas treats: peppermint bark, chocolate and caramel covered marshmallows, and peanut butter balls.
At lunch time she ran out and got food for her, me and Abe. I'll take a free lunch any day! ENORMO thanks little sis!

Once hubby arrived home we went to the first family Christmas party of the year. It was quite alot of fun, my kind of fun. It was one of those parties where seven adults and one toddler casually converse while munching on food for hours. A fire kindles within the television screen and the only other light in the room is from the glow of the Christmas tree. One of three kitties is cuddled up under a comforter and the two Chihuahuas are snuggled under blankets on alternating laps. My son is the only real entertainment but everyone enjoys each other, avoids talking about politics or absent family members; a rare gem of a party. Quite parties without television in the back ground are wonderful! (okay except for the fake fire but that's not the same thing)

I may be unpurposefully sabotaging my NO SPEND goal as there are ten days left of 2013 and I've still seven NO SPENDs to go but today was honestly perfect... I'll leave thinking about all the gifts I've yet to purchase until another day.

Friday, December 20, 2013


I've been intrigued by composting for quite sometime but I don't have a bin, can't currently afford one, am not able to build any sort of composting system in my back yard because my dogs will eat anything (and even that would cost money), plus every time I've read up on it it seems kind of involved.

Recently my garbage service was shut off for a week which prompted me to take action and make a bit less waste... silly, I know. Anyhow I know that coffee grounds are good for gardens. I decided to take my little chopper and mix up my daily coffee grounds and (vegetarian) food waste. I've just been throwing this lovely concoction into the front flower bed. This is the end result.

coffee grounds, tomato and cucumber butts, banana peels, and strawberry tops pictured here

Do you compost? I'm wondering if this is going to backfire on me since I'm technically not composting just dumping junk in my flower bed but of my own wisdom I can't think of how this will turn out badly. Any advice, input???

There's about 4 days of food stuff and grounds in this photo. I don't create this much waste daily. I'll also add that where I'm spreading this mush out is where my roof run off creates a trench so it is fairly regularly getting a rain beating which I think will actually encourage decay and decomposition.


Thursday, December 19, 2013

Lovely LOVELY Christmastime

I honestly do not think I've ever been in such and un-Christmas-y mood. I could go on and on...
Instead I'll choose to notice the lovelies today:

-Hubby sleeping soundly on the couch in his undies and work shirt. It makes me smile/ giggle inside a little.
-Baby Abe running around the house bare bottomed and frantically emptying clothes baskets (one of his favorite "playtime" activities). My kid is cute even when he's causing chaos.
-The snow outside with the moonlight shining onto it is quite lovely. I'm a big fan of snow.
-I'm currently reading 3 books. I'm really genuinely happy about this accomplishment. I LOVE reading but I have not made much time for it this year.
-The Christmas cards that we've received thus far hanging on our wall. They're my very favorite decoration every year and make me really happy.
-Talked to my mom on the phone tonite. We don't talk alot. It was nice.
-I saw my new nephew again yesterday. That was awesome.

I'm a grouch... but there's a lot to be glad about.

This one's for you Ieva.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Busy Beaver

Sluggy inspired me. This is really pretty.

I feel like I have a billion things to ramble on about but I'm also currently trying to accomplish about that many things all at once
Blogging is taking the back burner.

Hope every one is enjoying the holiday season (and not trying to cram in a billion things at the last minute)!

Today's Christmas Craft

Monday, December 16, 2013

2014 BHAG: Respect Hubby

I've a pretty considerable list of stuff to tackle next year (I like the challenge). I've decided to get the party started early since there's no better time for change than right now. The acronym BHAG still makes me giggle so I've decided to run with it. Next year I will have a long list of "B"ig "H"airy "A"udacious "G"oals. Why not? Like I always say if you shoot for the stars you might just make it to the moon (this applies to me and my "halfway" there approach to every goal).

Today I'm starting with what might be the most important BHAG. For the past two years I've had a goal on the sidebar: Get husband on board budget. He's SLOWLY spending less and kind of, sort of, maybe beginning to understand where I'm coming from but we've a lot of tension in our home. There are way too many couples in a similar situation when it comes to finances. Financial stress is the number one reason for divorce, statistically. But when spouses aren't on the same page financially (or with other big issues) there's almost always going to be tension. Sadly you can't make someone jump on board your page anymore than they can make you abandon yours and jump aboard theirs. This year I "intend" to shift gears. I'm making a new goal as it relates to my husband and money. You ready for it: Respect him.

My goal is to act differently. I want to cut the tension, the accumulating separateness, and the disappointment we both feel by dropping the issues altogether and just loving him; just giving him respect because he is a good man that I love and who works hard for us. This is a HUGE goal. This involves DAILY pushing aside emotions and doing what I know I should do, saying what I know I should say, and acting how I know I should act rather than how I feel.

I intend to be more focused then ever on our financial situation this year but when it comes to my marriage and my husband I just want a clean slate. Don't get me wrong, clean slates aren't easy to come by. It can take some serious elbow grease to get the "stuff" off the slate but I intend to work on cleaning it. I wouldn't want any other man and he deserves to be treated along these lines.

Okay, It's only 3PM so I probably shouldn't declare today a NO SPEND just yet but so far so good with day 96... only 8 to go!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

One Goal I Might Actually Reach

NO SPEND day 95 here

ONLY nine more to go

Oh yeah, oh yeah!

I'm not being overly confident. I could still blow this and miss the mark by 1 or 2 but I'm really close and kind of excited. 

A Little Potty Talk

(in the potty)

Who needs riches? I feel like I just won the lottery. This was the second to last piece to the potty training puzzle (it's looking to be about a 5 piece puzzle). I am SOOOOO excited! In case you were wondering, the last piece is him figuring out how to pull his undies down by himself.

Can I tell you that this has taken work (as I knew it would) but my 21 month old is just about potty trained in under one month. AND he's a boy. So many people told me that I couldn't get a boy potty trained before 2. I just told them that I have one smart boy. And it's true!

Woohoo!!! With 16 days to go there's a decent chance my baby will be out of diapers (except for bedtime) by 2014. Thanks to all who gave input too. I'm glad I went with the little potty instead of a potty seat. I'd never thought of having it anywhere but in the bathroom until Ieva mentioned otherwise. Ah, brilliant! Bringing it in any room we're in has helped tremendously in teaching him how to hold it but still having minimal accidents. It is more difficult for a boy to hold that darn pee. He's gotten to put a sticker on his potty each time he's poo'd. Jessica suggested letting him run around bare bottomed for awhile and this has been invaluable. When he's been in a diaper he pees freely but out of the diaper he's intent on holding it in. I'm certain that if we'd used pull ups or training pants in place of the bare bottom approach he would be NOwhere with potty training. He loves M&M's. He's loved flushing the big potty after we've clean out his little one. And the pride he feels each time he's gone is astounding.

One proud mamma here!

He likes peeling the stickers off just as much a putting them on so we're missing quite a few now : )

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Numbers, Goals, Progress and Such

2013 has a grand some total of 17 days remaining.

My average daily spending for 2013 so far is $14.29
The NO SPEND days so far are 94 (with a goal of 104)

I've already shot past $13.50 a day. I REALLY want to come in under $14 a day this year but less than $13.70 would be even better (that was my 2011 number... in 2012 I did not keep track).

There's only $9.08 left for the year to hit $13.69 a day, sigh. But there's $104.78 left for the year to hit $13.99 a day. I'm contemplating taking $100 out of the bank tomorrow and trying not to spend a penny more until 2014 (keep in mind that I took Christmas spending out of the equation... but am still keeping Christmas on the frugal side). I'm planning NO SPEND 95, 96, and 97 for the next three days. That leaves just 7 days to go!

In October I posted a few goals I hoped to meet by years end:
1. Compile financial info for hubby (in case of an emergency). I'd say I'm a bit more than halfway done with this one.
2. Potty train the baby. I'd like to call this one halfway too. As long as I watch him he's been pretty dedicated to pooping in the potty. He's struggling with the other but we're working on it.
3. Read three books. I read one. I'm reading one now. I doubt I'll make time for one more.
4. Write and send ten thanksgiving notes. Kind of half on this one too. Hm, what is with me and making it half way?!?!
5. This ones a bit more vague. I'm feeling down about our financial situation for 2013. With "uh oh's" and loss of hours at work and you name it this year has been rough on our piggy bank. I would like to go over the budget with a fine tooth comb and figure out a way to feel a bit more secure about our financial decisions this year. I'm not positive what that means but that's the point of the goal: figure out how to clean up 2013 financially. $11 a day November really helped with this one. I'm honestly feeling much better about 2013 after that little sprint. I won't know final numbers on everything until January but it's better at least.

It's Normal

It's normal to have several credit cards. It's normal to charge most purchases and pay them back when convenient (if ever).

It's fairly normal to buy a Starbucks beverage (or 2) four or five or seven days a week. I know a few people at my office that do. Do you know how much money that is?!?!

My husband and I used to go to movies at the theater every single week (gee I wonder why we've so much debt). He grew up doing this. When he spent time with his dad on the weekends it was always at the theater. This was normal.

More and more its becoming normal to experience life through a screen. We don't see the places we travel to anymore. We photograph them with our phones. We don't watch events we attend anymore. We record them with our phones. We don't talk to people we're spending time with anymore. We text them with our phones. (you know you've texted someone sitting at the same table with you, or just in another room of your home. You are NOT normal if you haven't) Heaven forbid we speak to strangers at the store or the bus stop. We can just text people we know. Meet new people??? NO! That movie wall-e came out in 2008 and those space people seemed insane. Now with the advancement of cell phone technology we're actually quite close to living just like they did. All we need are those floating chairs (and in most cases a few more pounds).

It's normal at least television shows, movies, and commercials would have one believe to purchase new shoes once or twice a month, to get a new cell phone two times a year, to buy a brand new car every year or two. Buying, having, getting, consuming, and not interacting is normal.

I think it's Dave who says it often: Normal is Nuts!

I don't want to be normal. I don't want to raise a normal kid. I don't want to do things as we're told we should be doing them or to live life the way everyone else does. Lets be weird folks! (I know alot of people who are reading this blog are already weirdos... props to you all!) Thinking to myself today and asking you as well, what "normal" thing might you be doing that's actually nuts? There's always room for change.
… Being implies change, i.e.… being is becoming. Living structures can be only if they become; they can exist only if they change. Change and growth are inherent qualities of the life process.
-Erich Fromm

$12 a day first annual fund raiser (update #1)

First and foremost I'd like to say thank-you to all who've donated thus far and to reiterate that 100% of the money donated will go to the family. During the last week of February which coincides with my birthday  February 12th I will be sending them all of the donations whether they total $8000 or $80. In truth I'm experiencing such indescribable joy seeing that individuals would choose to bless people they've never met in this way. Although I feel very led to undergo this fundraising effort it is an awkward experience for me. Thank-you and thank-you again for being so kind!

I will emphasis that I am not raising money for a specific need. This fund raiser is strictly a way of giving a gift/ a blessing to a beautiful family of 6 individuals who have found each other in an enormous world, who are taking care of each other, and who are changing each others lives.

This family does live in a poor community. The four weeks I spent there opened my eyes to the HARSH reality of the vast differences that exist on this planet. I wouldn't presume to call them "poor" because they are hard workers, industrious, and incredibly studious with what they receive. But there are challenges to be faced as I imagine would be true of any family living in an impoverished area with 3 adopted children. One of the adopted boys has had medical issues arise this year and has undergone several surgeries. In Guatemala families have to pay for each of their children to attend school at any level or age. I'm fairly certain that this momma has a teaching degree and homeschools all of the children. The education these little ones are getting will open SO many doors for them. I have one child, I can't imagine the everyday expenses of raising 4! On the flip side, I understand why they have chosen this spot on the planet to live. I fell deeply in love with the area, with the people who live there, and word's cannot be spoken about the feeling one falls asleep with at night after having reached out into their own community (on a daily basis) and loved, and helped, and cared for those around who are truly in need. There is MUCH need there.

This family/ these people are incredible. I am excited about sending a little (or maybe a good chunk) of "thank-you for being who you've chosen to be" their way.

My original post about the fundraiser is here.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Take Out?

I'm not good with money. I've been attempting for the past several years to get better with money but I'm not delusional. When I really want a soda or a candy bar, no I'm not going to think, "rice and bean, rice and beans... I need to pay off the debt before I spend $2 on extras." Okay, sometimes I think that.

I was on my way out of work today, finishing up NO SPEND day 94 and I thought to myself, "gee it would be neat to bring home fast food." Then it hit me: I'm weird. I'm actually oddly different and weird. I don't ever bring home fast food. I think it's fairly normal in our society to do so at least once or twice a week but it's not even something that's a part of my life anymore. The thought, "gee it would be nice..." was followed by such joy that we've come this far. After my parents got divorced we ate fast food all the time (and I gained an absurd amount of weight between ages 10 and 13). Hubby and I do eat dinner out about three times a month. But it's not normal to bring take out home.

I wish I could better express in words the giant swell of pride that began welling up inside of me upon the realization that I am really growing. Sometimes when you're taking baby step after baby step you look behind you and it seems you've been in this same spot FOREVER. I guess it helps to look farther back to see that really you've come so much farther than the here and now would let on.

Only 10 more NO SPEND's this year!!! That seems do-able...

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Frugal Christmas Carding

I may have accidentally put an extra cup of flour in the brownies tonight... oops. But I purposefully used maple syrup in the chocolate frosting (instead of corn syrup) and the frosting WAY makes up for the really puffy yet dense "brownies."

Today was NO SPEND day 93. Only 11 more to go and still $4.16 left in the budget this month in order to come in at $13.50 a day average for the year.

Today's Christmas craft was a bit more of Christmas craftiness. I'm getting really frugal this year. For the past five years at least I've been making my greeting cards. I purchased boxed sets before that though and I knew there were stragglers somewhere upstairs. Abe and I went on the hunt and I found quite a bit more than I'd expected. Christmas cards are one of my very favorite things about this time of year and as much as I'd like to purchase a few of the really expensive boxed sets that I've been noticing at the store, and as much as I'd like to make a ton of cute ones myself like years past (I send out 50 some cards... I might not decorate my house to the nines but I send out cards by golly!) I am going to do the sane thing and start by sending out the stragglers. Hey I liked these ones in the past. They should be good enough for this year too. Hoping to get out 10 cards tomorrow.

Also, everyone here is feeling considerably better. Looks like we're finally on the mend. Hooray!

Day 93???

I'm off to work now. Here's hoping!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Good

I really do have to balance out that last post. A few days ago my husband left this little treat on the seat in the car so when I left for work there were two chocolate chip cookies waiting for me. Yep I saved an empty cookie wrapper. I might be a hoarder. He NEVER does stuff like this and it was awesome. Can you see the man's sense of humor? And he chose cookies... he knows me well.

I'm exuberantly happy that the garbage was picked up today and that I was able to get the giant bag of trash out of our basement (that's been there for a week and wouldn't fit in the fully loaded can outside).

The roads on my side of the state are horribly icy today. Sections of highways and expressways have been closed down all over the place today due to accidents. It took my husband 2 hours for his regular 45 minute commute. BUT the entire 40 minute strip that I had to travel was perfect, not a bit of ice. I'm not a scaredy cat winter driver. I honestly think I could do the ice road trucker thing. But I just kept thinking that it was my very own bit of "a break in the clouds." Horrible roads everywhere except down my path... pretty neat.

I heard a young man on the phone in the automotive department at the store today trying to figure out which type of anti-freeze to put in his washer fluid compartment (anit-freeze goes in the radiator). I listened to the entire conversation with the biggest smile on my face. It was really REALLY silly. There can be "anti-freeze" in washer fluid but you don't put anti-freeze in the washer fluid compartment. He was standing infront of the radiator antifreeze section for most of the conversation. I really don't like cell phones but sometimes they make for pretty amusing situations. This was honestly one of the cheeriest parts of my day.

When I arrived home from work my hubby was zonked on the couch (with a one year old climbing all over him). I took Abe in the kitchen and brainstormed for a bit on how I could turn my grumpy self around. I decided to have a kitchen picnic. We ate dinner on a blanket on the floor. He thought it was silly. Then I cooked up some home made hot cocoa on the stove. Yep, I made whipped cream to go on top. It may be fatty but there's hardly any sugar in it (don't tell Abe). He had his first cup of hot cocoa tonight. That's Christmasy right? I gave him almost none but he thought it was awesome. He kept calling it tea, haha!

AND no spend 92 is done. Finally! My baby Abe is also acting very much better this evening. We'll see tomorrow morning but he's almost back to normal right now, just a little sniffly.

Because I Can

And I need to vent somewhere.

All financial factors aside this month has been awful so far. I was hoping to really get in the Christmas spirit, listening to music and watching lots of Christmasy programming while Christmas crafting a little each day (in hopes of saving a few pennies). So far during the last 10 days my son has gotten sick. This in itself is just heart breaking. He keeps asking me to make his nose better and I cannot. He keeps complaining that his ear is sore and I haven't anyway to let him know that the medicine is helping (slowly). He does not understand why I am not making him better. I always make everything better. I can't stand that I'm unable to make him better. The potty training was going TERRIFICALLY. He has been the one excited about it. He has been rocking it. But the past two days he's been so frustrated that he couldn't care less about his little potty and I'm not pushing it on him. This is terrifying for me. I've never done this before and I feel like we're back at square one when the finish line had looked so unbelievably close just two days ago.

Additionally my husband is feeling ill. I don't want him sick any more than I'd wish it upon my son but I'm just going to say it, the man is such a baby when he's ill. I've had very little sleep this past week and I cannot nurse him back to health too. AHHH! Can I tell you I'm popping vitamin C pills like candy right now. Lets just stay in this vein. My littlest dog is very prone to bladder infections and she is showing signs. She has not urinated in the house which is the tell so we're watching her closely and hoping otherwise but seriously, no, no, no, no! Why!?!?!

The microwave died earlier this month which just complicates things further and right now we're not even thinking about the expense of buying a new one. Watching Christmasy programming has in fact caused the opposite of what I had hoped. I've watched a lot of movies on TV and Christmas kids shows during the sickyness and crafting and I've not noticed ONE, not one single reference to the birth of the baby Jesus. I like decorating the tree. I love Christmas decorations. Santa is a fun story. I don't mind one bit that the programming is trying to focus on the three holidays, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and Christmas. But the ONLY aspect of Christmas any of the shows have mentioned is Santa Clause and decorating a tree. The ONLY reason I celebrate Christmas is to rejoice at the birth of Jesus. I'm feeling really let down, a bit depressed, and sad. Apparently Jesus is now so offensive that we not dare mention Him on television. I'm feeling so un-Christmasy that I just want to cancel all together. And my house is not decorated. In fact it looks worse than it has in a very long time, just trashed. My son just wants to be held. I just want to hold him and there hasn't been much cleaning (or anything else) taking place here lately.

Also I burnt my coffee on the stove again today and I dried my pants too long. Now I have to drink weird coffee and wear tight pants to work. Keep it coming!

This month, the past 10 days have been horrid. The strange thing is that every December looks similar to this. What is it about December? My next post will have to be about all the wonderful things in life. AHHH!

Things NEVER Go as Planned

NO SPEND day 92 is proving to be one of the difficult ones and I had "planned" to knock out as many days as possible in the beginning of the month. My no spends have been getting ruined by necessary things; needing to purchase medicine when my boy got sick, my nephew's birth (the most handsome 5 pound baby you'd ever see!!!), I was NOT going to meet the tiny fellow for the first time without a gift; I just keep missing day 92 by a hair. On the frugal front (and I think my sister in law would be proud of me): I saved the cutest gift bag I had for his gift (so I didn't need to purchase one) and I made a congrats card myself. I do like making cards.

Easter egg hunt results: I found $6.77 in change and bottles. Hawaii planner, you were VERY close. I'm sure I would have done better but it's -9 degrees Fahrenheit outside right now and I could not properly search the car. I didn't actually use any of my finds for yesterday's spending so at least I have a little extra that I do not have to take out of my budget next time I go shopping. Our kitchen currently houses a silly assortment of food that my husband is grouchily expressing the desire to not dine upon but we'll make it. I found 5, including yesterday's dinner, meals worth of food.

My spending for the month is QUICKLY dwindling but I have hope for the final daily average none the less. I've 13 more NO SPEND days for my 104 goal. There's $4.16 left in this month's budget in order to come in at $13.50 a day spending average for the year. Yep, $4. Oops.

On another note,
WELCOME TO THE WORLD LITTLE PARKER!!!! I love you so much already!

Monday, December 9, 2013

It's Like An Easter Egg Hunt In December

I've been brainstorming. Today I'll be crawling on hands and knees through our house looking for change. My husband gets spending "cash" each week but he seems to think change isn't money. I know there's change lying around in our room and down stairs I just have to find it.

Then I'm going to gather refund bottles (Michigan has a 10 cent bottle deposit on carbonated beverages). I'm pretty good at taking them back but I know we have at least $2 worth around the house right now.

Next I'll take a second look through the fridge and cupboards and jot down all the meals we have food for. I'll try and get my hubby to agree to eating those meals before I buy stuff for any other meals. I'm pretty good at not throwing out any food since I usually only plan meals 4 days out but we have a few odds and ends that need to get eaten right now. He spent $27 on dinner last night now we get to eat scraps for a few days (okay, not scraps really).

Today's mission: find money and meals, strategically compile a grocery list for tomorrow, and knock out NO SPEND 92.

Today's question: just how much money can I hunt down? Results later!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Beef Biryani

My husband decided that we needed Indian food for dinner tonite and brought some home. I've skirted around his spending like this a few times but it was a lot of food and dinner for all of us so I'm not going to dodge this one. I'm just going to suck it up and add this spending to the budget for the month. I'm so close to the finish line too. $27 seems like hundreds to me right now. I'm not going to call today a no spend either. I didn't buy anything. I didn't spend any money BUT we ate a $27 dinner that was purchased this evening so I'll bite the bullet on that one too: not a no spend today. I'm actually a little bit more flustered by that than by the $27 dinner (and lunch for tomorrow; it was a lot of food). Today would have been number 92. I guess tomorrow will have to claim that title.

I've 13 more NO SPEND days for my 104 goal. There's $40.78 left in this month's budget in order to come in at $13.50 a day spending average for the year. I'm pretty sure I can make it one week longer with the $40.78 which in itself is pretty good. But then the count done begins for the last two weeks of the month. What will the average daily spending for this year end up at??? I'm getting anxious.

Also, there has been no Christmas crafting the past few days even though I'd planned to do at least a little every day this month. My son is still not feeling well and no one is sleeping well. The past few days I've been spending all of my time snuggling him and getting him things to calm him down/ soothe him. This is his first real illness and it's a doozy. On top of it he's really on track with the potty training but poo patrol can be unbelievably time consuming. The good news is that we haven't had one single poopy diaper for 5 straight days and he has 9 stickers on his potty! I am very proud of the little guy!!! The Christmasy stuff can wait.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

$12 a Day First Annual Fund Raiser

I've been blogging for 4 years. Where has the time gone? I've decided that for my birthday next February I'd like to raise money for a family of eight  six who live in Guatemala; one mom, one dad, one biological daughter and five three orphans. (I had to edit this because 2 of the children have gone to live with their older siblings) While I attempt to pay down my debt there isn't much wiggle room for philanthropy. Awhile back I was day dreaming about all the things I want to do once I am debt free. The very first thing I thought of was blessing this family with $6000. I know, it's a crazy number but my heart is really set it. Although asking for money is not something I do well I quickly came to the realization that I don't have to wait until I am debt free to bless this family. There are people right now with the means and willingness to give them this gift. I have chosen to dine upon a slice of humble pie and institute the very first annual $12 a day fund raiser.

The first three years that I went to Guatemala a young Guatemalan man was working with the ministry there. He wasn't from the mountain village where the ministry was based but several hours away from the hustle and bustle of Guatemala city. He was staying in the spare room at the missionary house and he helped out with anything the teams who visited needed. The teams would build houses for widows and also help serve food at feeding programs in the mountains. This particular young man did whatever was needed; lugged building materials up hillsides to get to home steads, bridged communication gaps between those of us who came to help and the indigenous people who came for food, ran errands for supplies, answered our one million questions about the people and their culture; he was a jack of all trades really. One of the things about the trips I took there that stood out most to me was how selfless and accommodating the people who worked for the ministry there were. We didn't go to Guatemala to help those workers but rather the people in the mountains who had such little food and virtually no earthly belongings. Yet the workers all bent over backwards and sideways to serve us in anyway they could.

This young man was no exception. He was in his late teens, early twenties, living in a spare room in a remote area far from home and always without fail cheerful. He showed love and compassion to the people we'd come to help as well, always playing and giggling with the children, discussing matters of need or concern with the mothers with babes slung on their backs. And our team threw him a monkey wrench when the person who was to interpret our Sunday school type services at the feeding programs bailed. The missionary volunteered this young man for the suddenly available role. He was nervous like you wouldn't believe but he did it without a question. We had puppets, games, a skit; the kids were amazed at all these fantastic things they'd NEVER seen before and he translated every word we spoke all week long.

During our second visit I ended up speaking a small message at each service about how God had made each of those beautiful children special and different than anyone else on the planet, different than anyone who ever was or who ever will be because, "You are the only you there ever will be. You can chose to be a very good very special you or you can choose otherwise." The words flowed effortlessly and their eyes were glued. When I asked them to look at their fingers, at their very special very unique finger prints every child in the room gazed at their hands in amazement. The adults did too. I don't think they knew they had unique finger prints honestly. These moments are ones that will hold a very special place in my heart always. In those mountains I was being the very special me that I was meant to be.

As I spoke I had to remember to pause every few words so that this young man could translate. I don't understand Spanish perfectly but hearing my words spoken in Spanish was almost like listening to them in English. The thing that fascinated me about this young man was how even though he didn't want to be up there in the spotlight translating he glowed as he spoke each word, as if they were coming from his heart not mine. He actually spoke my message better than I did. Truth be told I loved those beautiful little children so much but he loved them daily. They were much more special to him than they'd ever be to me even though I cried upon leaving them there.

I hadn't thought of it as much then but now I realize that this young man could easily have been back in Guatemala City working a regular job and making a good income, buying expensive clothes and all the things young adults blow their money on. He chose to be there in the mountains serving at a ministry that builds houses for widows and feeds the hungry. Before working for that missionary he worked in an orphanage. I remember him telling us about how he first met his American girlfriend there. She came to work at the orphanage, I believe it was during summer break while she was still in high school. He said that he was embarrassed to speak to her because she was so beautiful, like an angel. I think he went most of the first summer she was there without ever talking to her.

They're married now. They live in that same small mountain town where a large part of my heart resides. In fact he is working for the ministry there still. They have a BEAUTIFUL little girl and as I've mentioned before they've taken five three orphans of various ages into their family. It's really sad how children can be so easily abandoned. A father will leave a family, the mother will get re-married and the new dad will dis-own the children of the first man; just throw them out on the street. Or a mom will die in child birth and similarly the new wife will disown the children from the previous mom. The last time I was in Guatemala I met a 3 year old girl who'd just lost her entire family in a mudslide (which are very common there). I don't know how these five three children were orphaned or how they came to find a home with this incredible couple but I do know that now all of them have a family, a very loving home, a tremendous father and precious mother who love them SO much. They have new lives. Honestly $6000 would probably be a huge gift to them but I think it's nothing compared to what they're giving.These two people in my eyes are changing the world.

I'll post a fund raiser reminder once a week until February. I'm putting up a donate button shortly. 100 percent of your donations will go directly to this family. This is one of those moments when I'm thinking, "How awkward... will anyone want to give to these strangers they've never met? People are going to be annoyed that I'm asking for money. <heart beating faster and faster> Well, here goes!

$12 a day first annual fund raiser update #1
$12 a day first annual fund raiser update #2
$12 a day first annual fund raiser update #3
$12 a day first annual fund raiser update #4

$229.62 was donated to the family in Guatemala.

It's not $6000, it's not $600, but I couldn't be happier. It's $229.62 more than I could have given them all on my own. It's $229.62 more than they had before you gave. Thank-you to all who made donations. From the bottom of my heart: THANK-YOU!

February 17, 2014

$14 a day

Christmas is still more than two weeks away and for some reason all day today I've been brainstorming goals for next year. I'm making myself crazy. So much potential. So much possible failure. AHHHH, new years are so exciting!

Today was NO SPEND day 91 for the year. This leaves 13 more to go for my goal. There's $68.31 in this month's budget in order to come in at $13.50 a day spending average for the year. Right now my average daily spending for the year is $14.27. In truth coming in under $14 a day would be pretty great.

Friday, December 6, 2013

blah and more blah

I think I got 4 hours of sleep last night.
The boy is starting to feel a little better though. At least he was running around the house playing and giggling right before bed tonite... OH, maybe that means he will sleep tonite! Honestly more for his sake I hope this is true.
Today I spent $24.54 on groceries for the next three days.
This leaves $68.31 in this month's budget in order to come in at $13.50 a day spending average for the year.
I've 14 more NO SPENDs to go for my 104 goal. I'm planning 3 in a row, Saturday, Sunday, Monday.
Today's Christmas craft was on it's way until my son shredded it. However no fuss, it just involved him coloring with red crayons on one paper and brown on another. I'm having him make a small simple gift for each of his cousins. But he decided that the brown paper needed to be demolished. All boy this one (even when ill).

Thursday, December 5, 2013

This is Supposed to be One of Those "Go Get Em" Posts

I apologize ahead of time if this entire post ends up sounding like a jumbled mess. I am very tired (probably shouldn't be blogging). We just arrived home from the pediatrician's office. My boy has an ear infection, fever, and horrible hacking cough. Even when his nose is slightly runny he doesn't sleep well thus I too haven't gotten much sleep the past few days.

On the way home from the pharmacy my husband felt the need to inform me that our pediatrician is the exact same age as me. To which I replied, "WOW, she is accomplished!" This 33 year old woman has gone through and graduated med school. She worked at a very reputable university hospital for sometime before moving to this side of the state. She's currently pregnant with her 3rd child. I'm sitting in the back seat of our car next to my sad boy while thinking of all the things this woman has accomplished; what a long road she's traveled in 33 years! I'd honestly be proud of myself if I could figure out how to shower everyday. How did she do it all?

To be fair I don't want to be a doctor. I don't want to work at a hospital. I don't want to take care of sick children every single day. My heart is beating extra fast just sitting here next to my congested son, wondering if his fever has gone back up and if I should check it again. I am not a doctor but I am the CEO of me. That's right folks I am very important. In fact I get to make all the decisions about my very important life. If I want to be a stay at home mom then I need to buckle down and take the classes and do the "homework" that will get me to that career (metaphorically speaking with a bit of a pun just in case I confused anyone). If I want to run a ship shape organized cozy little home then I can. It just takes work and learning. If I want to travel I need to get some miles under my feet; I need to get up and go... in more ways than one.

I admire my son's 33 year old pediatrician: a wife, mom, successful career woman. But I don't want to be her. I want to be me. I really honestly do want to be the best me I can be (oh, that sounds cheesy). BUT doing so should take just as much work as graduating med school, honestly, life is not supposed to be easy. I'm not sure why sometimes I feel the victim, like "my life didn't end up as I'd planned. boohoo hoo." Of couse it didn't. I am ONLY 33. There's LOTS of road to travel. I can sit here and be done or I can work hard, walk far, and travel!

I need to take care of me! (Right Ieva) Often, I need these little pep talks. The end (for now).

There is no passion to be found playing small - in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.
Nelson Mandela
Thank-you for living your life to the fullest Mr. Mandela. You've drastically impacted our world.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

I crossed day 90 off my NO SPEND chart today. This is a cool one because if I could lump all of my no spends together in a row I would have gone all of January, all of February, and all of March without spending one single penny. Yay!

One of THOSE Days, grr

Ahh, a new day. Yesterday I woke up ready for a no spend day. My son and I were going to have a calm morning. I would go into work later (after hubby got home) and work five or six hours. The "fun" started when my son knocked his blueberry beets smoothie out of my hands in the living room. There was smoothie all over the beige carpet. A short while later the garbage truck drove right past our house without stopping. I called and apparently I'm behind on the trash bill. Uh, okay, a notice would have been nice. I paid it as soon as I found out but now we have a can FULL of trash that won't be getting collected for another week. They only bill us 4 times a year and I lose track on that one too easily. I burnt the creamer in my coffee again while trying to re-heat it on the stove. Yummy; I drank it. Next the sink sprung a leak and water sprayed all over the entire kitchen.Luckily I was able to fix it but I had that moment of panic as water shot every which way, "OH NO THE HOUSE IS CRUMBLING!" An hour after my hubby should have arrived home he called to say he would be late. Okay, so now my late work day is turning into a late, late work day. GREAT!

I walked out the front door 2 hours later than planned. I honestly wondered to myself if I should just turn around, sneak back into the house, crawl into bed, and sleep for the remainder of the evening (yeah right). I was literally scared the car would break down half way to work; I'm not superstitious but I was not wanting to take my chances with this crazy day. Nothing bad happened but I was on edge. My no spend was NOT easy. I wanted to buy every piece of candy I saw the entire time I was working (yes I have problems). But I did not. I did not buy anything. Can I tell you how happy I was when I finally got to bed last night? HAPPY!!!

Today's Christmas craft is a jar of candy with $10 inside for my 5 year old nephew. Yes I glued a pig to the lid and spray painted it blue just to add a bit more pizzazz. It was the only color spray paint I have. The pig was the only little toy animal I could find around the house (compliments of my sister Starr). The jar is a pizza sauce jar from last week's homemade pizza dinner. This gift cost me $12. Ten dollars cash and two dollars worth of candies. My brother might not be too keen on me giving his kid a jar full of candy but then again I'll bet he eats half of them.

Today I'm planning NO SPEND day 90. That leaves 14 for the year. I have $92.85 left in this month's budget in order to come in at $13.50 a day spending average for the year. Today's NO SPEND should be cake after yesterday, right...

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Debt Quote Tuesday

I've been trying to craft a little Christmas everyday. I worked a bit more on my son's stocking this morning.
His name will be on it eventually.
Today is NO SPEND number 89. That leaves 15 more for the year. I have $92.85 left in this month's budget in order to come in at $13.50 a day spending average for the year.
It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.
Baby steps right...

Monday, December 2, 2013


Today I spent $102.74. Now keep in mind my December challenge was to make it as long as possible with $210.59. I bought everything today: dog food, laundry detergent, eggs, butter, sugar, cheese, coffee grounds, milk, fruit, veggies, food, and a zebra; November left my house EMPTY! So now after December SECOND I need to see how long I can make it on $92.85, YIKES!

I think I've finished one Christmas gift. Maybe I'll make a few more ornaments for it. There's money on back too, and quarters in the jar.

$15 Money Tree
I almost forgot, our family of 3 went to toys r us to pick up a Christmas gift today that I ordered online at 50% off. The store had refused to give us the online price. I had to go home, order it online with in store pick up and then return to the store to get the same box we were holding in our hands 2 days prior. Can you say, "holidays make everything insane!" My husband took our boy to a store next door so he wouldn't see his gift. Before we parted hubby instructed me to also pick up a Zebra figurine that Abe was googly eyed about when we were there 2 days before. I grumbled a bit but I've learned to pick my money fights wisely and this one I knew wasn't worth it.

I picked up the Christmas gift along with the Zebra, took the toys back to the car, placed the Zebra in Abe's car seat, and then headed off to find my boys. When we all got back to the car Abe saw the little toy instantly. He perked up and started babbling, Sea-bee, Sea-bee, Sea-bee!!!! That's how he say's Zebra. I couldn't help but smile and know that my husband was right on this one. Our boy played with his Sea-bee all the way home just beaming from ear to ear. He was making up noises that a Sea-bee might make. He was asking my husband to look at the toy over and over again. He played with it for quite sometime after we arrived home as well.

The thing is, he's not deprived but we do not spend a lot of money on Abe. I buy him organic milk, organic yogurt, some organic veggies. I make sure he eats really well. He has a smoothie everyday packed full of good stuff. There was a quarter of a raw beat in his smoothie today. That's a big deal to me because I think beets are disgusting but they're crazy healthy. He scarfed the whole thing down like it was chocolate. That's what the "Baby Abe" category on my purchases page is all about. There is food that I buy just for my son but we really do not buy him new clothes or toys hardly ever. He wears LOTS of hand me downs from friends and family and so far pretty much all of his toys are the result of last Christmas and his 1 year birthday party. I actually felt stupid spending $7 on a toy Zebra but I can calmly and proudly say that today I'm glad I did. That's what you call a treat.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Thinking Outside of the Gift Wrapped Box; December Challenge

$11 a day November was fun? My December project is just crazy!

I have $210.59 left in the budget for the year in order to meet my $13.50 a day spending goal. If you haven't quickly done the math in your head that's $6.79 a day for all of December; cue thee hysterical laughter.

For December I want to see just how long I can make it with $210.59. Three weeks would be GREAT! I'm NOT including Christmas gifts in this month's spending. Cheating? Maybe, but it's my challenge. I need 16 more NO SPEND days for the year to meet my 104 goal. I want to get frugal creative with Christmas this month as well. I have several ideas for homemade gifts. The only twist is that I'll need to find stuff around the house to make them with. Buying stuff to make gifts can cancel out the money saving factor. I want to sew a stocking for my son and maybe a matching one for hubby. I'll send out cards but probably less than normal and I think I'm just going to gather supplies from around the house and make as many of them as I can.

I guess you could say that this month's challenge is spending as little money as possible, while thinking outside of the box, and still keeping Christmas festive and fun filled; cutting costs but not really cutting corners.
Abe's Christmas stocking is in progress

Welcome December

Our microwave is shot. It started sparking something fierce the other day and it seems there is a fried spot on the metallic plate where the waves come through.
Let me tell you that it is possible to burn coffee on the stove, at least when it's already got creamer in it something weird may happen if you boil it too long. oops
Maybe I will be making two smaller cups in the morning for awhile instead of one large one that I must re-heat several times. I have a single cup maker so I can't just leave the coffee in the pot which would solve this little dilemma.
I drank the strange coffee anyway.