Sunday, June 29, 2014

Strawberry Yum

Average daily spending for June: $17.64

Yikes! At this point I think I'm going to be happy to have the average daily spending for the year under $20 a day. Sigh. My goodness I'm not doing well this year... but trying still!

Another yikes: the cheap eggs at the grocery stores I shop in just went up to $1.99 a dozen. I now feel like I'm robbing my new egg lady. She's selling her free range, GMO free brown eggs for $2 a dozen and the grocery store is charging only a penny less for their bottom of the line factory farm eggs. That seems crazy! Want to talk about inflation? The cost of everything just keeps going up, up, up! And I haven't gotten a raise in just about forever. I feel SOOOOO blessed to have my husband working close (we're talking 3 minutes away) to home again!

It's probably super lame but I'm keeping count on the strawberry garden. We've picked 14 beautiful strawberries out of it thus far. The little garden cost $11.31 and it's been a source of gorgeous fruit, incredibly good learning for Abe, daily fun (checking on it and watering it), and is covered, just covered in berries right now. TOTALLY worth every penny and so much more! Even if you have virtually no yard you could plant a little strawberry garden like ours.
(the yellow flowers are behind the container not in it)

Saturday, June 28, 2014

We Have Babies

That title is considerably less exciting than it sounds.

Aren't they darling?

I picked some basil today from our backyard and put it on my grilled cheese sandwich. I felt like a real chef... it was really good! My husband passed on the idea for his sandwiches but I made him taste mine. His exact words, "I see how someone could think that tastes good." He's such a dork.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Can Tomorrow be Friday Please (or Saturday Even)

Today I worked.
Took little Abe to gymnastics.
We FINALLY got rid of the van.
I spent a few moments going over bills/ budgeting.
Oh, we ate two more strawberries from our little garden.

I'm going to have to just call today a victory based on the above and think about numbers some other time.
(I'm fearful of jotting down and adding up the numbers from the past few days)

Monday, June 23, 2014


The boy and I happened upon this little fellow on one of our walks (The bunny. Not Chesterton.) More and more I'm finding such serenity out of doors. Does that have to do with aging? Birds ceaselessly chirping, warm or cool breeze brushing over bare skin, vegetation growing as it should but so beautiful still, the whoosh of waves in the lake, the feel of sand on toes, and wildlife; bunnies, rabbits, chipmunks making their way in our world but almost living on a separate planet. My life has such little, almost no interaction with theirs but we're both here, living. That we have in common. For some reason I smile at that. I'm truly happy when I'm outside noticing nature and paying it the respect I think it deserves. There's so much almost waiting, inviting us to enjoy it's very existence without any requirement to capture or obtain anything. I wish to desire less. Is that an oxymoron?

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Longest Day of The Year

Today I feel like a pioneer woman! That's a gross exaggeration but still; we ate toast with homemade strawberry rhubarb jam on it this morning. Then we headed outside. I rotated the soil in the compost pile and then brought some of it to the row of tomatoes out back. I put compost soil on my tomato plants! Come on, when have I ever been able to say that before? <smile> My kiddo and I spent most of the morning at a park by the water (it's a very comfortable walking distance from our house) where we did a nature scavenger hunt with my nephew. I wrote a list up of: leaf, stick, stone, feather, flower, acorn, seed, and you decide (my nephew picked a wood chip). We found everything plus a baby snapping turtle, a cray fish, a huge snake skin, minnows, dragon flies... We taped the eight items to the paper (not the animals). It took us considerably longer to find everything then I'd anticipated but my nephew had tons more fun then I'd imagined as well. It's been a pretty awesome natural nature-y day. Happy Summer Solstice everyone!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Fun, fun

Average daily spending for June: $17.98

That's horrible. Okay, it's not the $18.57 I averaged last month but it's NOWHERE near my goal for this month. All is not lost. There are still 10 days left of June. But grr, I do not have fun with money. On the plus side (sort of) I've been in a totally weird state of mind the past two days. I've been wanting to purchase just about every single thing my eyes gaze upon. Frankly it's gotten annoying. I was a assembling some cat furniture in the pet department yesterday and I decided at one point that my cat for sure, no questions asked needed a cushiony pillow to lay on and a new water dish. What?!?! My cat drinks out of a mug and sleeps anywhere in the house she pleases. What has gotten into me? Those two things are among the billion other things in the store that "we just had to have" yesterday. And then today was almost as bad.

I almost forgot to get to the plus side of that story; I am happy to report that I ended up spending $1 on a bag of kitty treats for my cat yesterday but I didn't purchase any of the previously mentioned items. Today I did buy a little dust pan and handle sweeper for my son. He's actually been asking for his own broom (weird 2 year old, I know) and a small glass bowl/ jar with a lid for $1.29 that I got for the jam. I only had one container for the jam I made so the bulk of it is in a kitchen glass with tin foil over it. I wanted to get a glass container with an actual sealed lid so it wouldn't spoil too quick. Well I guess that's enough fascinating news from my part of the world today. Hasta Luego

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Farm Fresh Eggs

In May I wrote a post titled Cheap Foods vs. Clean Conscience Foods. I'm trying to slowly make changes towards healthier eating while researching ways to accomplish this task and not sock it to the budget.

I'm part of a local facebook group and someone on there just posted about selling eggs. I messaged her and yesterday I picked up two dozen free range non GMO eggs only 6 miles from my house for $4 ($2 per dozen). They're really free range too. I'll attest to that. I almost ran over three chickens while attempting to pull in the driveway. Her house is on my way home from work so it's not out of my way in the least. She said that the chickens should lay eggs year round so this should be a pretty cost efficient reliable egg source for me. I'm pretty excited. The non GMO free range eggs at the grocery store are over $4 for one dozen. We cannot afford that. The regular eggs, not organic, not free range at the grocery store are $1.79 a dozen. So I'm only paying 21 cents more a dozen for WAY better eggs. Win, win, win!!!

Some egg info:
Cage-free eggs are eggs from birds that are not raised in cages, but in floor systems usually in an open barn. The hens have bedding material such as pine shavings on the floor, and they are allowed perches and nest boxes to lay their eggs.  However, they may still be at close quarters with many other hens -- just not in cages. That depends on the farm.

Free-range eggs are laid from hens that have the opportunity to go outside. Smaller farms may keep birds outside under a canopy area. They may travel in and out of a barn at free will or spend some portion of their day roaming outdoors. 

Organic eggs are laid from hens that may be kept in any kind of caging system, but generally are cage free. They eat an organic feed and don’t receive vaccines or antibiotics. In order to qualify for USDA organic certification, the grains used for the hens’ diets must be produced on land that has been free from the use of toxic and persistent chemical pesticides and fertilizers for at least three years. Genetically engineered crops are not permitted, and hens must be maintained without hormones, antibiotics, and other intrusive drugs.

Nutritional info on free range eggs:
A comparison of nutritional data for caged versus free range eggs found, on average, the free range eggs had:
Twice as much omega-3 fatty acids.
Three times more vitamin E.
Seven times more pro-vitamin A beta-carotene.
A quarter less saturated fat.
A third less cholesterol.
Other tests have demonstrated that pastured eggs have up to six times more essential vitamin D than regular supermarket eggs. They have also been shown to have significantly more B vitamins than a factory egg.

Egg yolks are also a known source of lutein and zeaxanthin, but the pale, watery yellow yolks in eggs from caged chickens, fed the waste products of the grain industry, contain very little.

Lutein and zeaxanthin are two important antioxidants for the health of your eyes. They help to protect the delicate macula region of your eye from damaging UV and high-intensity blue light.

If you’d like to protect your vision as well as improve your overall health, look for the deep yellow/orange yolks you’ll find in real free range eggs.

I googled to find the above info and I linked the sites I chose behind the text. I have read similar info in a few books. I really liked the book "The Compassionate Carnivore" by Catherine Friend. The results from studies showing free range eggs being considerably healthier than caged chicken eggs (the regular eggs at the grocery store) are due to the free range chickens being considerably healthier birds with better diets. It's pretty simple science. Well, that's one more baby step in the right direction for me. Hooray!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Strawberry Rhubarb Freezer Jam

3 c. Rhubarb cut 1/4 to 1/2" wide
2 c. strawberries, crushed
2 c. Sugar
1 envelope of Knox gelatin

Put strawberries in pot over low heat (this is how I crushed them because I was feeling lazy).
Once they begin simmering add the rhubarb and sugar.
Simmer until thick, about 30-45 minutes stirring occasionally.
Remove from heat, stir in gelatin, and let stand for 30 minutes.
Ladle into 12-16 oz jars leaving about 3/4 inches at top for expansion.
Let stand until at room temperature.
Then place sealed containers in the freezer.
Thaw individual containers in the refrigerate when ready to use.

Some friends of ours just gave me a bunch of rhubarb that they picked from their Grandmother's garden (she can't use it all... and neither can they). I made jam for the very first time tonight and I think I might be in love with it!!! I looked at a few recipes and altered them so that there would be considerably less sugar. All the recipes that I looked at called for 3 cups of sugar and a box of strawberry jello. I used Knox unflavored (or you could use generic unflavored) gelatin instead of strawberry jello which has additional sugar, artificial color, a few different preservatives, a few different acids and flavoring in it.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Widow Home #900

During 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2010 (I think those are the correct years) I spent four weeks in Guatemala building homes for widows, serving food up in the mountains at feeding programs, playing with beautiful little children there (that was my favorite part), falling in love with Guatemala, and praying a lot.

This week a team from the States built the 900th widow home with Manos De Jesus/ Pray America, the ministry that I served alongside there. I had part in building 9 homes, I think. Ugh, I can't even remember.
The 900th Home
Guatemala truly changed me. I'm pretty much certain it had considerably more impact on me then I had on it. But it's SOOOO easy to fall back into "normal" life and not necessarily forget, but stop thinking about the reality that there is so much need and lack in this world, that truly we are so very blessed beyond measure and to fret about the tiniest of things that do not matter. Today I chose to remember, to find excitement in the 900 homes that Manos De Jesus has built for widows in Guatemala, and to just be thankful.

Excerpt from the book I've been writing on and off (mostly off) for the past 7 years. 
Upon leaving the city, the mountains stretched out ahead, inviting us to make our way into their hills. Hidden winding roads carved by hand out of the solid massive rock, fashioned along steep ravines and rising and falling like the track of a rollercoaster awaited our bus. I saw for the first time volcanoes, engulfed in clouds on the horizon. There were banana and avocado trees amidst the corn fields. Men, women and children walked and bicycled alongside the road. In small patches of grass there’d occasionally be a scrawny horse grazing alone, bones protruding out from beneath its skin, and a rope tied to a rock and slung around the animal's drooping neck. Practically every animal we saw was merely skin on bones. There was little life visible in any of them. Their eyes were open, they were standing, but practically all of them, cows, horses, goats, and the dogs were skin on bones, flesh clothed skeletons.   
I saw people walking cows with ropes round their necks, alongside the careless traffic speeding down the winding roads. Gaunt little dogs ran free ubiquitously. Men covered in filth from the day’s labor, lay in siesta from their treks within the grass wherever they chose to stop. The people I saw traveling on foot in the open air beneath the warm sun looked tired. They were dirty and their clothes were ragged. They all moved slowly with obvious destinations ahead of them but no one seemed in a hurry. Accompanied by demonized semi trucks and speedy little cars we rushed by them. I continually marveled at the lethargic pace of the overworked people outside of my window. No one moved that slowly back in the states. 
Men and little boys walking hunched over like Neanderthals trudged along the streets with loads upon their backs two and three times their size. They were human ants. The large parcels often of logs were held together by ropes, set upon half erect man and held in place by a strap that ran across the bearer’s forehead.  I wondered at their journeys. Had these men and boys walked all day like this? Taking a second look at a small boy with his man sized load I could imagine the pride he might feel at doing his part in the family but how he must wish he were off playing somewhere with that heavy pack far from him. When must he have begun carrying his load to be able to bear so much weight at such a young age? I can picture a 1 year old taking his first steps with a rope running across his forehead while a stick dangles from his little back. I wondered at the fear the boy may have had of his father’s wrath if he should fail to be able to carry on to the end. 
A weathered strap clung tightly to his young forehead embraced by the boy’s dark black hair, but I wondered, beneath all that pressure, were there thoughts of school creeping around struggling to escape the confinement? Did he desire to learn more, to walk down a different path? After my brief reflection I looked back at the man walking beside the little boy and I wondered again at their journey. Had the man walked all of his life like this? Had each load left its mark on his back and squeezed out any unreasonable dreams he may have had? Was the small child at his side merely a flashback to the past? Was he a father or a looking glass into the little boy’s future? There I saw a grim past and a sad future walking side by side. So foreign to me this was their reality. 

Monday, June 16, 2014

This Post Just Turned Into A Small Vent Session

Halfway through May average daily spending: $16.90

Yesterday was... not the greatest. We headed over to my in laws to spend time with my father in law and met them on the way out of their driveway. Little Abe cried for at least 5 minutes as we drove away "Grammy, Papa's house!!!" Apparently they already "had plans." It was ridiculous considering my mother in law did practically the same thing on Mother's Day (refused to let us stop by to give her a gift because she didn't feel like seeing people). My husband is REALLY close (like closer than I'd like) to his family and when she pulls this kind of junk it really ticks me off. I was pretty angry most of the afternoon.

We headed home and our little guy started screaming when we turned the corner off the highway to head to our house (only about 3 blocks away) "no go home! no home!" We decided to go downtown instead. He ran around in the splash pad down there with a billion other kids for awhile. That's always fun (and super cute). Then we walked around. We stopped and got smoothies and frog cookies before we headed home. On the way home my hubby asked about dinner and I told him what the options at home were, that I also had to go grocery shopping so I could pick up any other meal he might want, and that since it was Father's day to feel free and choose a restaurant. He picked Subway (which he has a strange addiction to) and then we headed home.

Our fathers day outing cost $22.87. I am not including my husband's gift in my spending. Call it cheating but he has expensive and picky taste. He requested a camera for his PS4. He would have bought it for himself regardless. I spent $20.36 on groceries and plan on today being no spend day 39. I don't regret the "outing" cost as I was so grouchy that I feel like in the end I almost ruined fathers day for my hubby. A lot of it was residual anger from Mother's day. Two years in a row she called us in the morning and said "do NOT come over. I don't want to see anyone." I learned two years ago when she pulled the little stunt that she was testing us. It was mentioned all year about how we didn't give her a mother's day card on Mother's Day and what not. Honestly my sister in law and I did a little photo shoot with the three grandsons. I made a very nice photo book for her. It would have been the first pictures she had with the three boys together. My sister in law planted a hanging basket for her. I know that my mother in law saw her gifts at one point when she was by my sister in laws place but for whatever reason she "forgot" to bring them home. Of course this little fact negates that we even got her anything. blah, blah, blah... there's so much drama in my husband's family.

My sister in law talked to her therapist about the "holiday" drama and the therapist told her that it's normal for an alcoholic to sabotage and invent situations to dwell on all year. I think it sort of justifies the drinking. Like I said, my husband is very close with his family and it just angers me so much when he, his sister, and the little ones don't get to spend time with their parents/ grandparents when she pulls this kind of stuff. Sorry, this post was not originally intended to be a vent fest. I'll probably delete it all later anyhow, but for now... I feel a tiny bit better.

In order to reach my goal for the month there's $101.97 left in this month's spending budget. Yikes!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Splendidly Simple Saturday

Today is a scheduled no spend day at my house but I woke up really wanting an adventure. My husband is working pretty much ALL day, 10am to 7:30pm; all day! It's SO nice outside and this morning I couldn't shake the thought that little Abe and I need to get out go. Maybe a super long walk, a stop at the beach, a stroll down the board walk, and of course ice cream downtown. There's no way I could head down there with him and not spend money. We would for sure get something; a hot dog, a pretzel, a cookie, ice cream, lunch; something.

I decided that an adventure in our own backyard would be better (safer, with the no spend in mind). I dug the water table out from the basement. We sprayed it down and scrubbed it with dish soap. For a two year old that alone was a fun adventure; the hose, hose water, bubbles, a scrub brush. He really enjoyed the activity. Then I set up the clean water table in the backyard with a fun assortment of toys (that really don't go in it but they were fun anyway). I turned the sprinkler on too a little further back in the yard to water the tomatoes. We were out there all morning/ early afternoon. He had such a blast. I enjoyed watching the birds fly through the sprinkler water. There were several that took turns at the game. We really enjoyed the tiniest of activities but it was something new for him. He hasn't played with the water table since last summer. I also put dish soap in it so that there were lots and lots of bubbles. He always wants to "help" me wash dishes. It's one of his favorite activities but just a pain in the neck for me. He occasionally ran through the sprinkler as well giggling away. I drank my coffee outside and he enjoyed his smoothie. By the end of our time out there we were both soaking wet, sun bathed, and genuinely gleeful.

I'm glad we stayed home. I think we had even more fun than we would have spending money on "a day away" treats. I think I can safely call today NO SPEND number 38 for the year. Now I've got to get my tired little buddy down for a nap! I hope you're all enjoying a beautiful Saturday as well.

Average daily spending for June: $16.23
$145.20 left in this month's budget
(in order to meet $17.50 a day goal)

Friday, June 13, 2014

Strawberries Have Never Been So Tasty

Friday Grocery Shopping Fun

I spent $34.41 today. I tried to pick up the basics, enough food stuffs for today and tomorrow.

A box of cereal

I was not kidding about being out of practically everything. I also bought a small can off coffee for $3 (it was on sale at least) because I'm out, a bag of smarties for $1 (Abe gets candy for certain rewards and it's usually M&M but my goodness smarties are so much cheaper), and face wash for hubby for $7.20. My bill would have been considerably smaller without that facewash.

We're going to a backyard barbecue this evening so I don't have to worry about dinner for myself and the kiddo. We weren't asked to bring anything but I still feel badly that I'm not. I tried to think of several different things but I'm really trying to keep the budget down and I just couldn't think of anything practical, delicious, and cheap. I'll make grilled cheese sandwiches for my husband when he gets home from work (he won't be going to the barbecue with us). I figure we can eat eggs and potatoes tomorrow for dinner. So with just these basic items we should be set for two days. The average daily spending is still much higher than I'd like it to be but I am trying.

Average daily spending for June: $16.23

If I were to hit my goal of averaging $17.50 a day spending for the year by the end of the month I calculated that we have $372.43 to spend this month. By those calculations and based on what I've spent thus far there's $145.20 left for the rest of the month/ $9.07 a day... not looking to good.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

A Thursday Kind of Post

Gymnastics with Abe was such fun!
I purposefully did not bring a camera because I wanted to be really involved and really in the moment (not trying to "capture" the moment) otherwise you know I'd have posted photos by now.
I'm doing horrible with groceries, as in there is no food left in our house and I keep picking up random food instead of for real shopping. Ugh! There are literally no excuses for this madness... well maybe a few.
That is all I have for today. I hate shopping so much!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Gymnastics for the Babe

Average daily spending for June: $16.02

Ugh! That's just horrible!
Today was NO SPEND day 37 of the year. Tomorrow I will go grocery shopping. I have some very significant grocery planning to do in the very near future. I'm $36.10 over budget right now.

Ooh, ooh, in other news I signed little Abe up for a little tots gymnastics class at the Y. Tomorrow is the first class and I am sooo excited. It seems like he should still be a baby but he's talking up a storm, potty trained, counting, helps out a lot around the house (feeds the dogs and other little chores like that); he's getting so old! I'm super excited about his first "class" of any sorts. Crazy how time flies!

Monday, June 9, 2014

You Win Some, You Lose Some, You Win and Lose Some

The budget is getting away from me. To be super technical I had $4.59 to spend today in order to get back on track with this month's super tight projected budget. I believe I spent more than that on my lunch... yep, lunch; the lunch I'm not even supposed to be spending any money on this month. Sigh.... long morning. 

I picked up groceries after work and although I'd planned to pick up ONLY essentials I ended up with somewhere around $30 worth of groceries. To put things plain and simply today was not a good spending day. When I'm trying to stick to a budget like the one I've set before myself this month "not a good spending day" can ruin things. I did buy pretty essential things though. I probably just shouldn't have bought them all today. Plus $6.60 of that $30 something was on Cortisone cream for my husband. It might be stress but he's developed an awful rash and even though neither of us has ever used it before we're hoping the $6 over the counter cream will help the situation. Ugh!

On the plus side it's only the 9th. I'll just hold on to that little glimmer of hope for now.

On to the winning: Our electrical issues were JUST finally fixed today. That means I have the AC running right now for the first time since May 26. It feels AMAZING! There are clothes in the wash AND the dryer (which I also haven't been able to use since May) and I can finally get the laundry caught up. You have no idea... 

My husband uttered eight little words this evening that I don't think I've EVER heard him say before. He said that he was planning on taking little Abe for a walk with a friend of ours and the friend's son and then he said... wait for it... "Do you want to just stay home and rest?" I think I heard angels singing.

Call me deranged, judge me all you want, but instantly I could see myself running around the house and yard in silence without my little "helper" (don't get me wrong he tries very hard to help) actually accomplishing a billion things in under an hour. Alone! Alone! Alone! I'm one of those moms that actually hates to go out and have "girl time," or "get away from the kid time." But my husband taking our son on an adventure without me and me being able to stay home and just do my thing... It might only be a two hour window but I feel as if I've just experienced a vacation in Hawaii or some other magical place.

I got the laundry running, took out the trash and recycle, mowed the back yard, even got out the trimmer and weed wacked along the border, watered the front lawn, straightened up inside a bit, let the dogs out, am about done writing this blog post, and it hasn't even been two hours. I think I hear the angels singing again. Ahhhh!!!! This has been one of the best evenings EVER!!! My house is totally silent (except for the washer, dryer, and dishwasher running).

Money wise, not the best day. Otherwise, fabulous!

I do not have receipts in front of me and I'm not going to gather them right now. So, no daily average today. I've been working on writing my book again (the one I've been writing for, lets see, about 7 years now). I'm going to see if I can get a little writing in before the boys get back. How has it been 7 years?!?!? woah!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Sunday Stroll

Our little family went for a nice long walk today with my husband's sister and her little family. We walked to a playground with a huge wooden structure for the three boys to run around and climb on. They had a blast. Us old folks tired ourselves out chasing the two 2 year olds around (my other nephew is 8). After plenty of time at the playground we walked down the board walk and got ice cream. The three of us spent $10.28 on ours. My little guy had his very own kiddie cup of chocolate vanilla twist. The ice cream place put tiny candy eyes on top where a cherry might normally be. It was adorable watching him eat his big boy ice cream with his big boy spoon. It's the first time he's had his own dish at an ice cream place so it was memorable for at least me.

My husband is at a movie with a buddy now. The total spending for today is the $10.28 for the ice cream. (My husbands movie spending does not come out of my daily budget) My hubby had talked about wanting to go to the zoo today, or we may have driven out of town to a touristy shopping beach town not too far away. They have a really huge sand dune there that's "fun" to climb up. The walk around town, playground, and ice cream were plenty fun family time. I'm quite thrilled with the spending total for this planned no spend day. I had imagined it would come in much closer to $30, $40, or $50. Whoo! (and I got my flurry too) It's practically a miracle that we didn't eat a meal out. We always eat out on a "family" day. And none of us are feeling the lesser for it. Now I'm left wondering if I need to make an enormously filling breakfast every time the two of us have a day off together (we virtually never have a day off together). That might be why we didn't dine out though... hm
In other news I'm absolutely in love with our tiny strawberry garden and my kiddo loves checking it out with me everyday to see how many berries there are; are any red yet, and so on. I love it!!!

Average daily spending for June: $14.90

Family Fun Day

Today is going to be difficult as far as spending goes. We all feel like we're starting a brand new chapter. Today begins the very first page. My husband has today and tomorrow off before he starts at the new location. He hasn't had a Sunday off (maybe 2 or 3 for special occasions) in the 15 years he's been at his place of employment. He wants to have a fun family day today and I'm not going to say a word about spending or not spending. I think it'd almost be evil of me to do so and rain on his parade in that sort of way. I will be trying to limit any spending that might take place with subtle comments. I've gotten pretty good at that. He doesn't seem to mind the subtle comments just full on restrictions.

Please do wish me luck! I'd planned today as a no spend. I'm still hoping to get the yearly average to $17.50 a day this month but there's very little straying from the budget allowed in order to make that happen. Today could be a killer but I think we can responsibly pull it off and still all enjoy each others company.

Hubby is almost done with his shower. I need to get some pants on little Abe. We're heading out for a morning stroll around town and then from there...

You can consider this blog post my early morning self control booster/ pep talk.

(I'm pretty sure there is going to be a flurry somewhere within the lines of this chapters first page)

Saturday, June 7, 2014

On To New Things

Today was my husband's last day at his current store. His team made him an enormous good bye card. He cried. Several of them cried. It's nice to feel loved but why do we show people we care most often when we're losing them?

It may have been good-bye for his team but as far as I see it next week I have my husband back. He'll be "working" two hours less a day (in as much as he'll be driving 2 hours less a day). 10 hours a week. 40 hours a month. I think it might start to get weird, seeing so much of him.

Today I ALMOST took my son for a walk to get ice cream. I mixed up a box of chocolate pudding instead but I was this } { close. A snickers flurry from the neighborhood ice cream stop sounds so good right now. Whew! NO SPEND day 36 is in the books!

Average daily spending for June: $13.61
considering tomorrow as a no spend day

Friday, June 6, 2014

Today was NO SPEND day 35 of the year.
We're almost one week into June. So far so good!

Average daily spending for June: $13.61
considering the next 2 days as no spends

Fellow Travelers

Those who are going nowhere can have no fellow travelers.
-C.S. Lewis

I read this and thought of you all. We are fellow travelers! We blog and write about life; family, finances, each our own journeys. We are in a way traveling together. That's my happy thought for today. Many of us shall continue to remain faceless, but we're still in it together.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

June Five

Average daily spending for June: $13.61
that considers the next three days as no spends

Today WAS going to be a no spend day until we had a major crisis. You'd never believe it but we ran out of hot sauce! My husband was insistent that I pick some up asap and simply explaining to him (even though he was made aware on Monday) that today was a no spend day didn't cut it. That term means absolutely nothing to him. After 11 and 1/2 years of marriage I choose my battles rather wisely. I was not going to fight about hot sauce.

I did the responsible thing. During my break at work I sat down and made a very well thought out list of everything I figured we'd need to make it to Monday. The next three days are "planned" no spends; heaven forbid we run out of something like pickles.

I blew my budget even so. Sigh. I'd hoped to get everything for around $36 but no matter how many things I crossed off, put back, and decided against I still spent $46.15 on what looked to be a small amount of necessities.

We now have hopefully enough smoothie fixins, juice, milk, crackers, fruits and veggies to last till Monday. These are my main concern with the little guy in the house. I have food in the house for 5 dinners:
Chicken burgers
Cheesy eggs & potatoes
Fish sticks & mashed potatoes
Chili (homemade and yummy) & cornbread
Grilled cheese sandwiches

Additionally I picked up a container of baby wipes, I did buy a Coke today, and I also bought the hot sauce. All in all 3 NO SPEND days out of 5 days total so far this month is pretty good. $13.61 is $1.20 a day higher then I'd like to be for this month's goal but it's a heck of a lot lower than this years current daily average of $18.31.
Not bad, not bad at all.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Someday We'll Move to a Small Farm (And Sit and Watch the Snow Fall)

Average daily spending for June: $12.55
that considers tomorrow a no spend

Today is NO SPEND day 34 of the year.

We still have an entire gallon of milk in the fridge and I plan on shopping Friday. Milk was the only thing I thought might trip up "the plan."

I better get started on Friday's shopping list because Lord knows I am not good at writing one up but I need to if I'm going to stick to any sort of tight budget this month.

We ate our gorgeous first strawberry yesterday. I cut it in half and Abe and I each had a bite.

I think that's about all of the updates for now.

I shall return to my previous occupation: listening to piano music and reading C.S. Lewis' "The Four Loves." <windows open, birds chirping away gleefully in the background on this dreary but lovely day, cool breeze meandering through the hosue> Maybe I'll brew another cup of coffee while I'm in such a peaceful state. (Little Abe is napping)... grocery list? what grocery list?

This is Lindford Detweiler (of Over the Rhine) playing piano.
I have two of his CD's; my very favorite "naptime" music.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Our First Strawberry

I'm going to call today NO SPEND day 33 of the year. But I'm only about 1/3 through the day and my resolve is incredibly low because my frustration is incredibly high. Things are chaotic with scheduling at work and every bit of my frustration is screaming at me that if I just buy a donut, or a cupcake (or like 6), or a brownie, or... you get the idea; then I'll feel so much better. At times like these working in a supermarket can be a very VERY bad thing.

I figure declaring a no spend day now will make it easier to stick to. Who wants to retract a no spend right?

In other news (which is kind of lame but super exciting to me and little Abe) we have our first strawberry! I think it'll be perfect to pick today. This photo is from yesterday. If you look closely you can see a finger nail gash in the side of the berry. My little guy has been attempting to pick it for a week and he scuffed it a few days ago. Isn't it gorgeous :)

Average daily spending for June: $12.55
The above average factors in no spends for the next two days.

Monday, June 2, 2014

C.S. Lewis on Two Kinds of Pleasures

Might I attempt to not bore you with excerpts as long as a book but I am reading "The Four Loves" by Lewis and I have suddenly had that "ah ha" moment when you stumble upon the exact words you've been looking for for months, words to perfectly define a thought you've been unable to properly gather.

While pondering what delight one may find in a life of frugality and simplicity; noticing the little things and being happy with them I still have yet to come up with my own words to explain why simple can be so grand.

Now it is a very old discovery that pleasures can be divided into two classes; those which would not be pleasures at all unless they were preceded by desire, and those which are pleasures in their own right and need no such preparation. An example of the first would be a drink of water. This is a pleasure if you are thirsty and a great one if you are very thirsty (need-pleasure). An example of the other class would be the unsought and unexpected pleasures of smell - the breath from a bean field or a row of sweet peas meeting you on your morning walk (appreciation-pleasure). You were in want of nothing, completely contented, before it... an addiction may turn what was once a pleasure of the second kind into one of the first. For the temperate man an occasional glass of wine is a treat... but to the alcoholic, no liquor gives any pleasure except that of relief from an unbearable craving... Need-pleasure is the state in which appreciation pleasures end up when they go bad. -Lewis

He is certainly not calling need-pleasure bad but that an appreciation-pleasure can be ruined is indeed fact. I'd like to hypothesis that in our society many of the appreciation-pleasures have gone bad and they've turned to need. So many of us need to go shopping for shoppings sake, need to redecorate our homes (lavishly), need to acquire new clothing (for fashions sake), need better and nicer food. We are very in need as a society when it comes to pleasures; not very easily satisfied, if ever. I think one of the main goals to frugal/ simple living is to need little. And in needing little our appreciation-pleasures abound to greater lengths. There is something so incredibly beautiful about appreciating tiny things because your mind isn't bogged down by an ever increasing list of wants/ needs unmet. Truly the more one "needs" the more unsettled one is.

I may be stepping out on a limb but I don't think I'm wrong in stating that our society has turned many an appreciation-pleasure into need. We need so much more these days to be contented. But do we really? That is what simple living is about; needing so much less than the average joe and appreciating so much more.

Need-love says of a woman "I cannot live without her"; Appreciation love gazes and holds its breath and is silent, rejoices that such a wonder should exist even if not for him, will not be wholly dejected by losing her, would rather have it so than never to have seen her at all. -Lewis

Grocery Shopping, Meal Planning, Clothes Drying, and Pee

Yesterday was NO SPEND day 32 this year.
I'm planing no spend days 33-35 for Tues, Wed, Thurs.
Today I spent $62.75 on groceries.

I took back deposit bottles and got $3.50 which I put towards a clothes line and clothes pins. We had a clothes line that snapped and we had clothes pins that have all vanished. The dryer is still not working because of the electrical issues we're having and the clothes are piling up. I only have enough space around the house for one or two smallish loads a day. We make much more dirty laundry that than. $5.51 for the two items minus $3.50 in deposit bottles makes $2.01 for clothes line and clothes pins.

I also bought pee spray. We don't do well with firework holidays around here. I thought I cleaned up the mess our dog made over memorial day weekend but there's still a stench so I had to pick up more spray. We have good dogs who have few accidents but the constant fireworks are a bad things for our oldest dog and our carpets. $9.54 for pee spray. I LOVE this spray. <- linked here It's like magic but I must have missed a spot somewhere.

I bought and have on hand enough produce, yogurt, juice, and milk for my son's smoothies for the planned no spends. I purchased two types of crackers for him, a can of beef stew and some hot dogs.
I bought enough food for 5 dinners: cheesy eggs and potatoes,
grilled cheese sandwiches, 
chicken burgers, 
and hot dogs and chips. 

I also got two boxes of pudding mix. I picked up a tomato sauce and rotel for chili later on. Almost forgot, I bought coffee creamer too. Hopefully the gallon and a half of milk will make it 4 days. I'm skeptical. That would be the only foreseen ruin for the planned no spends. Total spent on food groceries $51.20. I went to the store with a list. I planned to spend $62.17 in order to stay on track with this month's mission. I spent $62.75 and am quite proud of myself. I didn't even have to put anything back. Oh, my son bought himself a donut with piggy bank money. We intended to get another little car but he decided he'd rather have a "cookie." He's never had a donut so we got a plain cake donut with green frosting on it instead of a cookie. He ate half of it and was in heaven. It was cheaper than the car so he got to put half the money back into the pig. 

Average daily spending for June: $12.55
The above average factors in no spends for the next three days.

Now I just need to bring food to work/ avoid purchasing food while working and steer clear of coke. And maybe ration my husband's milk intake.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

June Spending Brainstorm

IF I wanted to get my average daily spending for the year back in check, say $17.50 a day average THEN I'd have $373.06 to spend for the month of June. That's $93.26 a week.

Ways to help me hit the mark
Bring food to work. (when needed)
Skip the luxury items. Ice cream for example.
Eat home cooked dinners. The stove/ oven is still not working from the electrical fiasco so that's an issue.
Don't buy any extras. Pennies add up fast.
Put it back. Like when you think you NEED those batteries... nope, not this month.
Shoot for a ton of no spend days. Plan. Plan. Plan! and stick to the plan.

I might have to revert this blog back to the original format = boring daily lists of every single purchase.
It's amazing how much those lists keep me in check. When I'm not rambling on about why I did or didn't purchase that chocolate bar it gets really easy, REALLY fast to forget that I shouldn't be buying that chocolate bar for more reasons than one.

Let the lovely month of June commence!!!

May, Oh My

Did someone say they'd like to come in under a $19 a day average for May? Oh, yeah, that was me.

Average daily spending for May: $20.55

Grumble, grumble, grrr! I'd like to go on and on about why I spent so much... but nah, no point. I definitely need to reign in work spending again. I bet I bought 15 cokes while working this month. My hours picked up and my resolve dropped to the floor. That's $25 alone in pop. Just the coke probably raised my daily average for the month a whole $1. Stupid Coke. I also bought a considerable amount of food while working; a pre-made sandwich here and a box of crackers there will add up pretty fast. Back to basics: bring food to work!

June WILL be better! We're stocked up on cat food and cat litter (at least for June). I probably need to buy a bag of dog food but at present we do have a full one. I think we're good on toilet paper and maybe have enough laundry detergent for the month. I'm not planning on buying any gardening stuffs this month. If I just don't buy food at work but spend the same way I did in May I would probably be closer to $18 a day. I can totally get closer to $15 a day this month (my original goal for 2014). Yep.

With 9 days off the record
Average daily spending for 2014: $18.57
31 NO SPEND days (horrible, I know)