Saturday, October 31, 2015

October Numbers Are In


Our average daily spending for 2015 is $18.41 a day

Average daily spending for October: $25.08

October averages and spending categories:
$13.25 a day on Groceries. Total $397.41
22 cents a day on Cleaning. Total $6.58
75 cents a day on Toiletries. Total $22.36

$1.96 a day on Gifts. Total $58.84
$1.70 a day on Food out. Total $51.03
$1.61 a day on Pets. Total $48.21
$1.25 a day on Christmas. Total $37.64
$3.67 a day on Clothing. Total $110.02
51 cents a day on Stuff. Total $36.91 15.30
23 cents a day on Garden. Total $7

The average daily spending for food groceries for my family is still sticking around the $12 a day mark for the year. My average spending so far in 2015 on food groceries is $12.02 a day.

Jan. $11.36 a day groceries.
Feb. $11.53 a day groceries.
Mar. $12.83 a day groceries.
Apr. $12.56 a day groceries.
May $11.45 a day groceries.
June $13.71 a day groceries.
July $13.21 a day groceries.
August $9.83 a day groceries.
September $10.76 a day groceries.
October $13.25 a day groceries.

Yesterday's Thanksgiving Post; oops

My friends. People I’ve driven around with for hours to nowhere; and sometimes to random faraway places just for the adventure of it. The friends who’ve screamed out song lyrics at the top of their lungs with me while the car speakers made the car shake. People I’ve laughed so hard and so uncontrollably with that it hurt but we still couldn’t stop. The ones who looked past my scowl and liked me anyway. Friends who practically let me live at their houses when I was a teenager. It’s strange how far behind me these memories are but they've all shaped my life and have left me with priceless memories of good times, great friendships, and we sure contributed to the oil/ gasoline industry! I think we should get some sort of reward or free stock. I’m so very thank-ful for all the ladies that traveled the world (really the US and little bits of Canada) and a large part of life with me.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

31 Days of Thanksgiving

This one goes out to all the foster and adoptive parents out there. Thankful doesn’t even come close to how my heart feels about you all. To open your homes, to devote your lives, to extend your hearts to abandoned, abused, hurt, broken; for whatever reason, children who need a home… I believe that when you get to heaven there will be a very special jewel for your crowns. Maybe a jewel that radiates joy into the hearts of anyone who sees it. Maybe a Jewel more beautiful than anything you’ve ever seen. Maybe a jewel that fills hearts with a warmth so comforting it cannot be described. Right now your “jewel,” as each of you know are the children you’ve embraced as your own. I personally extend countless thanks to each of you! The impact you have made in a life or lives of little ones is unfathomable.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

The Learning Never Ceases

Remember the big helper jar? My little guy would get cotton balls for being a big helper and once the cotton balls filled up to the line he'd get to go to the dollar store and pick out a big helper reward.

Not too long ago we switched from cotton balls to pennies. He has more chores now. Some of them are super simple, like brushing his teeth is one of his chores. He gets a penny in his jar for each chore that he completes. We try and count the pennies daily (he counts them while I watch) and when he has ten pennies in the jar we switch them out for a dime. Once there are ten dimes in the jar he gets a dollar for the dollar store. I know, that sounds like A LOT of work for a three year old but his chores are very simple and realistically he can earn a dollar every week.

He is only three but this little exercise has taught him that ten pennies equal a dime and ten dimes equal a dollar. Of course I won't be paying him pennies for chores all his life but right now at the age of three it's working out really well.

The other day before the two of us left for the grocery store I took a few pennies out of his piggy bank (that's different than the chore jar) and asked him if he would like to leave a few extra pennies at the penny pony so that kids who don't have pennies would still be able to ride the horse. There are usually a few pennies set on the horse so kids who don't have a penny can still ride and little Abe and I have talked about this a lot. We always bring a penny from his piggy bank and he always asks about the ones on the horse (if there happens to be pennies sitting there). I always tell him that those pennies are for the kids that don't have their own.

When I told him that it would be very nice of him to take a few of his pennies to leave at the horse he replied, "um, no thanks mom. I would really like to keep those pennies." I told him that if he chose to help out the other kids who didn't have pennies by leaving some of his then I'd let him ride the pony two times (He's always only been allowed to ride it once for many reasons). He replied, "no that's okay. I really love those pennies."

It seems I am really teaching my child the value of a dollar but now I'm thinking I need to start working more on the value of giving. I told him that I understood and that he did not have to leave his pennies at the pony if he didn't want to but now I'm left brainstorming more ideas of how we can give to others a bit more frequently. Such an adventure this parenting thing :)

Thanksgiving, day two

For ten years I prayed for you. For ten years I longed to see your face, hold you in my arms and hear your little cries, coos, and giggles. For ten years I knew that I’d meet you someday but I had no idea when that day would be. I’ve known exactly who I was since I was a little kid. I’ve been strong and stubborn, blunt, not always kind but very loving all of my life. I’ve always been me. And yet, a little over three years ago when I met you for the first time I became someone new. I became your mom. My world was totally transformed. Who I am now has so much to do with you being here. You amaze me every day. You astonish me every day. It never seems possible to love you more then I already do and yet I love you more with each and every day. My little Abe, there will never ever be words to express how thankful I am for you.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

31 Day of Thanksgiving

Today starts my 31 days of Thanksgiving countdown of sorts. I love, love, LOVE Thanksgiving which is ironic because the actual Thanksgiving day has been, hmm, kind of ruined for me over the past several years. Ahhh, family drama. Gotta love it! Still, the food, the feasts, the beauty of fall, the spirit of gratitude and thankfulness taking over, and a great deal of my ancestors came over here from England during the time of the Pilgrims. I just love Thanksgiving. Thinking on things in life that I am truly thankful for brings me more happiness then most other ventures in life.

Day one: Today I am so thankful for all the people I know who’ve picked up their lives and moved somewhere else on the globe to minister the gospel and to share the love of Christ, through feeding the hungry, providing housing to the homeless, rescuing children from slavery, educating the poorest children in the harshest of communities. I am beyond blessed to know so many individuals who've uprooted their lives for such a calling. These people have made the world such a more beautiful place and I am very thankful for them.

Sunday, October 25, 2015


I may have found my kryptonite. I've purchased very few clothes for my son during his three and a half years on this planet. Between gifts and hand me downs we have been set. Only recently had I run out of clothing for him that fit. I bought him some new summer clothes earlier this year and now the pants he has are getting too short, he's running out of PJ's that fit and he'll soon be needing bigger long sleeve shirts and sweatshirts. So I hit the consignment shop for deals. I found three pair of pants and a nice shirt for $20.18

There was a sale on PJ's this week in the stores where I work, Buy one get one free. That's essentially half off and I have an extra 10% savings since my husband is an employee there. On Friday I got him two new PJ's and then I found a very nice pair of pants on clearance 50% off for $10, total $30.53 for the three outfits.

Yesterday I hit up an online sale and spent another $39.23 on two sweatshirts, a button down, a nice long sleeve, and socks (free shipping and deep discount). I hate to even type it out but this puts me at $89.94 spent on clothing for little Abe this month (with a grand total of $141 spent on clothes for him this year).

I hate clothes shopping for myself. I pretty much always have. I remember going to the mall with my mom or my friends when I was a teenager and it'd be torture looking at clothes or trying to find clothes for myself. I really genuinely have never liked clothing or fashion or shopping. But all of the sudden I'm really enjoying buying new(ish) clothes for my kiddo. Maybe because I haven't had much of an opportunity to do so before now. Well I'm done! I've done enough shopping to last me (or him) for at least 6 months and I'm done. No more looking, no more buying, DONE!

October historically is not a good spending month for me. Last year I made it half way through October and then pretty much lost track of all spending for the rest of the year. I'm NOT going to do that this year. I'm not happy with my spending this month and I'm a few dollars over budget now but I'm not ditching the rest of the year because I over spent. Keep on trucking! I'm not quite ready to look at my daily spending average because it's got to be back over $18 a day again but I'm not throwing in the towel on my spending for the year either. No discouragement here. Nope.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Frugal Tip

Check the Dollar Store first!

We have two oven mitts. One has a burnt spot right where your fingers grab so I've been having to try and hold that one oddly in order to grab cookie sheets from the oven without getting burnt fingers. The other has the insulation inside the mitt stripped right where your fingers grab. Same scenario really. We haven't been in desperate need of a new oven mitt because I can use towels to grab pans from the oven or hold a towel in the mitt but I have been wanting a new mitt.

I truly do not buy much stuff and I use re-purposed socks as dish rags. We only got our portable dishwasher about two years ago as my Christmas gift from my MIL. Before that we never had a dishwasher and I usually didn't have a dish brush either. Yes, I'm a minimalist. Since having the dishwasher I've noticed that I really don't do a good enough job scraping all the little specks of food from the dirty dishes so that slowly a nice grainy mess had accumulated in the bottom of the dishwasher. I'm sure you're all glad to know that about my life now. I cleaned the mess out but also realized I needed to do a better job of washing the dishes before putting them in the washer. I'm sorry but does anyone else think its crazy that most dishwashers require relatively clean dishes? I came to the conclusion that a dish brush that I can quickly wipe away food residue, crumbs, and ketchup (oh the mounds of ketchup that my guys leave on all of their plates...) would be the best plan of action.

I have been pricing oven mitts and dish brushes for awhile now. The oven mitts I've seen have ranged from $5 to $7 to $11. I couldn't bring myself to spend that on something that isn't really a necessity. The cheapest dish brush I saw $3.49 and they just go up in price from there. A few days ago little Abe and I stopped at the dollar store so that he could pick out a toy. We happened to walk past the dish brushes and I gasped. Every single time I go to the dollar store I find something that I've been putting off purchasing and every single time I'm surprised to see this thing at the dollar store. We saw the oven mitts a short while later. I let little Abe pick the color mitt we should get and I'm very happy with the good quality of it. Some things at the dollar store are such cheap quality that they aren't worth saving the money on but many many of the things there aren't as nice as their counterparts in regular stores but just as effective at their task. It's a tiny bit pathetic but it feels like Christmas to me that I've just acquired two new very useful items that I've been wanting and putting off getting. It's like a gift.

If I would have spent $3.49 on a dish brush and $5 on an oven mitt that's $9 with tax. I spent $2.12 at the dollar store instead and spent $6.88 less. Hip Hip Hooray! Frugal tip for today: Check the Dollar Store first.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Monday check in

I'm looking at another really jammed packed work week. Blah! But the cookie making yesterday was a fun way to start the new week.

It's absolutely going to be a frozen pizza for dinner night here but my father in law just gave us some more goose meat so I will definitely be making a big pot of goose stew again this week (probably tomorrow morning). On the way out of work today I planned to pick up frozen pizza and dish washer detergent (we're out). Well, instead I ended getting frozen pizza, milk, juice, cheese, and sprinkles (I have more dough in the fridge from yesterday but little Abe managed to empty three containers of sprinkles onto the cookies we made yesterday) and no dishwasher detergent. Grr. I spent way more than planned and can't run the dishwasher again tonight. BUT I'm excited about the goose stew helping to bring the spending back into check a little.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

All the color in the trees means that the frigid winter cold is rapidly approaching.
Even so, I can't help but thoroughly adore this time of year.
Happy Saturday to you all my friends!

Friday, October 16, 2015

Well, I gave it a go: Part Two

I mentioned the other day that I needed to buy some new pants for little Abe and that I was going to give the thrift store another try. Shopping the thrift store for clothing is another tip in the book Money Secret of the Amish. Yes, they do make their own clothing and have a very strict dress code but the Amish are frequenters of thrift stores, garage sales, consignment shops. They will buy used clothing and alter the items to suit their needs or use the fabric for much less than it'd cost to buy new fabric.

Inspired by the book, I stopped in a consignment shop on my way home from work Wednesday. The store was HUGE and so well laid out and wonderfully organized. I kind of loved it (and I do NOT like thrift store shopping). A lot of the pieces cost more then something one might find at a thrift store but there were some really cheap finds too. And I'm starting to wonder what has happened to me. They had a sale where any items with brown or yellow tags were 20% off. I was trying really hard to find things that I liked with those brown or yellow tags. I mean really, I'm in a consignment shop looking through marked down used clothing AND trying to save 20%. I have a problem, right?

My goal was to not spend more than $5 on any one time for the kiddo. That was the goal. I wanted to get him pants, PJ's and a nice sweatshirt. This place was HUGE but for some reason all the 3T/4T racks were covered in 3T clothing. I had a VERY difficult time finding any 4T clothes let alone ones that met my criteria. There were only three PJ's and I did not like them. I couldn't find a nice sweatshirt in the right size that didn't cost a bundle. So here's what I came away with:

The grey colored blue jeans with all the original tags still on were $6.34. Yes I went over my $5 goal with this one but they were brand new and had a yellow tag (so I saved and extra 20%).

The grey pants with the stripes were $4 something.

The black pants were $1.92.

The sweater was over $5 too. I think it was $7.92 but I really liked it so I got it. I can see little Abe getting a lot of use out of it.

I spent $20.18 on these four items. That sounds like a lot of money to me but I think I did pretty good. I looked at new clothes at the store before going to the consignment shop. The cheapest, cheap pants were $4.98 so I definitely saved money on the black and grey pants. The grew pants with the white and orange stripes down the leg are very sturdy, very thick, in great condition and are WAY nicer than the brand new pants in the store that I saw for $4.98. The cheapest blue jeans I saw brand new at the store were $10 so I saved money on the brand new grey $6.34 pants too (plus the store tag that was on them said $19.50).

I justified the two "over $5" purchases because of the $1.92 pants. I hate shopping but now he has more pants that fit and a nice sweater. I'll call the "thrift" store shopping trip a win.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Well, I gave it a go

I am really tired and a little brain dead right now but I feel like I have a lot I want to write about tonight. So I've chosen one of today's news stories (haha, I just called moments in my life "news stories") and I will be bringing you another installment of "How I'm trying to put Money Secrets of the Amish into use."

First of all today was a horrible spending day. Horrible! I don't even want to look at all the spending we did set side by side but I think I successfully put two of the book's principles into play. Our oven went on the fritz a few weeks back (and we do not own a microwave anymore). You know how much I adore baking? I haven't done any baking for several weeks except for one time when I decided I'd given the oven enough "rest" so I figured I could try to bake an apple pie. Yeah, um, it took about two hours for the pie to bake fully (it was supposed to take around 45 minutes) and the crust was weird and the apples dried out pretty badly. Epic fail and then "yep, the oven is really broken" reality set in.

My husband had said something about going to look for a new oven. I gasped and said, "Uh, no we need to call an oven repair man." He then goes, I kid you not, "do they have those and how do you think you're going to find one?" Have I mentioned that my husband is the exact opposite of mr. fix-it? Okay, deep breath... "Yes honey." Without telling him that a new oven is NOT in the budget, because really he's sick of hearing about what is not in the budget, I explained to him that our oven is really old but really nice and I am not prepared to scrap it.

The book Money Secrets of the Amish talks a lot about fixing things up that you already have instead of going out to get new versions. The author writes about how often times the Amish will go out and buy used and broken down items and fix those up instead of buying anything new.

Now here's where I could make this very long story short but my husband doesn't get that much credit so I must brag on him a little here. He took it upon himself to find and to call one of these oven repair men that he didn't even know existed. I didn't know until I got home from work one day that he'd scheduled someone to come by. He scheduled the first place that he could get a hold of (many of the numbers he called never answered). The place he scheduled has a $95 service fee. It's also a very high end appliance sales place in town. My husband all on his own decided that the $95 was way too high and that we were going got get raked. Then he got a hold of someone else that his mother recommended. This oven repair man stopped by last week, looked at the oven, ooh'd and ahh'd over the oven, said he used to own a less extravagant version of the same model, "they don't make em like the used to," and then said he'd have to order a part and would get back to us.

He left without billing us after chatting away with my husband for at least 20 minutes and came back today and repaired the oven. The total cost was $140. Here's the most interesting part to me. He said that they had "old" new parts for our oven in their warehouse. This would be a brand new part for the oven but old/ made a very long time ago (just like the oven). The old new part cost $40. The new new part would have cost $95. Mind you we never once brought up price or cost or any financial anything. He said the old new part is actually a lot better/ higher quality and he recommends it but a lot of people would prefer new. My husband was more than happy to pay $55 less for the same part. I guess all my "nagging" is really starting to sink in.

For a brand new oven, we'd probably be looking at a price tag between $500 and $1500.
For the repair we spent $140.
That's a win!

And the oven is working great now. Little Abe currently has handfuls of mini banana bread muffins in his fists. I'm not joking. We LOVE mini banana bread muffins and I've not been able to make any for weeks!

Monday, October 12, 2015

Boring Blog Box Giveaway

No, I'm not doing another giveaway but Sluggy is.

Make sure to head over to her BLOG and leave a comment so you too can enter the Boring Blog Box Giveaway. There's chocolate involved. Need I say more, really?

I'm in it for the chocolate, and the candle, oh and the lotion, actually the toothbrush and toothpaste would be very useful and the Carmex... Click on the picture to get over to the giveaway. Just leave a comment on Sluggy's post and you're entered.

Monday Mission Statement

Autumn strawberry blossoms.
Because even in decreased daylight and colder temperatures things keep growing. 
This week I will keep my head up, try my hardest and not let the pressure break me.

Even though I am looking at WAY more work then I could possibly do in even two weeks time, I will tackle it with my all and do what I can. After that I will walk away, let it go, and live my life!

I will not overeat because of stress.

I will not let my spending get crazy and out of control just because I'm tired and work feels overwhelming.

I will not let the crazy work load steal me away from my child (I won't really see my husband because he'll basically be sleeping whenever I'm home).

I will meal plan and stick to the meal plan so that we don't live off of crackers, or noodles, or fast food.

I will meet all our already planned obligations this week. (maybe I should just call in sick all week?)

I will not make sugar my best friend.

I will take care of me.

And my next paycheck will be much bigger (I keep having to tell myself this).

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Ah, the rollercoaster called life!

There is nothing major going on. I am honestly very thankful for that. Nothing major is always a perk in my book.

There are all these little side swipes and gut jabs though. I have been working so hard at budgeting in Christmas, at trying to get the bills paid on time, at keeping my spending down. I have $591 in the budget set aside at the end of December to pay off the smallest credit card. I'm constantly seeing people paying off thousands here and thousands there. Well, $591 is a lot of money for us and I've been REALLY excited about paying off a credit card this year. It's been way too long since we paid one off. We got a bill in the mail yesterday for $533 for an MRI my husband had last month. I suppose I should have been expecting this bill but I wasn't. I hadn't realized we would still owe so much after insurance (we pay a crap load in premiums and hardly ever use any sort of medical care well except for the Chiropractor that I've just recently stopped going to that I pay all out of pocket for because insurance won't touch it). The plus is that we have the money to pay the bill since I already set it aside to pay off the credit card. The negative is me feeling a tiny bit heart broken.

I just looked at my worklist this week for my job. I have 25 hours worth of work scheduled for tomorrow. Needless to say I won't be getting everything on my workist done (last I checked there's only 24 hours in a day and I'm not planning on working 120 hours this week) but that leaves me feeling scattered all week and then next week and probably the next because I hate not getting all of my completely done and to the very best of my ability. The plus is that I'm not the only one in this situation. It's pretty much like this for all the reps. Too much work came in, the company took it all and now we're all up a creek but boy does it stress me out. It's not even like I could get all my work done if I asked my husband to forgo sleep and I worked 10 hour days all week (I'm not going to do that).

I haven't mentioned it here but our oven hasn't been working properly for a few weeks. Since I'm venting, might as well get it out there. We have a very nice very old oven. A repair guy came yesterday and said he should be able to fix it once he gets a part. I'm very hopeful that it will be getting fixed but that's just another little jab in the gut.

While I'm not looking for sympathy here, like I said nothing major is going on, it does feel good to vent. And I wrote all of the above to say that I'm going to be trying my darnedest to focus on positives all week this week. Instead of freaking out and shutting down I'm going to be looking for positives. I think I can, I think I can... Instead of eating everything in sight and then finding more things to put in sight so that I can eat them I'm going to focus on positives. I think I can, I think I can... Yay, for a new week. Sigh.

My job is really stressing me out the most, making it difficult to sleep well, adding pain to my back (stress is big contributor to pain), and making life more exhausting and gloomy. So job positives first:

1. Practically my entire income has gone to debt payoff this year. The reality of that means I could very well be a stay at home mom without the debt. While this is a positive/ negative observation I look at it as a positive thing.
2. Despite annoying changes as of late my job is really very flexible so that I can work without having to need daycare and can spend the amount of time I desire to spend with my enormous blessing (little Abe).
3. I get weekends off. That's always nice, right.
4. It's kind of fun to drive all over my half of the state for work, no really, I do sort of like the variety of location from day to day.
5. I get to have different co-workers for each day of the week. (they're not technically co-workers in that they don't work for my company but I do get to work with these people in all my stores per-se each week) I mean that's particularly nice if you happen to not like anyone that you work with.
6. More work then I'd like/ am comfortable doing/ working outside of my availability does mean extra income. That's a perk and a no brainer.

That's all I've got for now. Here's to a fabulous new week! < I do not feel that way right now but I am working on it.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Fruits of our labor

Autumn is upon us. One day I'm looking intently to find leaves in the trees changing their hues and only a few days later the horizon seems to be splattered with color throughout forests. Photos of people apple picking and strolling through pumpkin patches are beginning to decorate the many corners of the world wide web. The stores are in full swing Halloween mode. I've enjoyed several candy corn binges. Oh autumn! (I LOVE fall)

It's getting cold at night now but the day time temps are keeping really nice. My four tomato plants are scraggly and probably ready to be pulled but these babies keep cranking out the fruit. There are even new blossoms all over them. I think my tomato plants have yet to get the memo. Summer is over.

The fruit has gotten smaller and smaller as the summer has drawn to a close but it just keeps on coming. Today I went through the plants and picked all the green tomatoes. Oh, I love how they smell as I'm pulling them from the plant. Gardening is a gift I'm joyously grateful to have partaken of again this year. 

The small batch of green tomato chutney I made in August has all been eaten and I've learned that I LOVE green tomato chutney. My very favorite use for it was to spread on top of cream cheese that I'd spread on a hot morning bagel. So I was eager to slice up all these beautiful green gems. I tripled the last batch I made. I took a photo of all the fresh ingredients in the pot and somehow deleted it before it made it's way to the computer. It was really pretty. So instead you just get to see the brown goop simmering away. Oh, the yummy brown goop.

I've been wanting to have a go at canning (or bottling if you live in the UK) for quite some time but I'll admit I've been terrified of it. I could never bring myself to just buckle down and give it a try. I always figured that one of these days I'd rope a friend into showing me how or learning how with me. Until today. Okay, I have a confession to make. Chutney because of it's high sugar and vinegar content is self preserving. You don't need to technically "can" it, you know with the boiling water bath and pressurization and all that jazz. BUT, I says to myself, "ah ha, here's a chance to have a go at canning and for the most part I can't screw it up and give someone food poisoning from a faulty seal or whatever because, well, chutney is self preserving." Perfect! I did buy these jars today so this little venture ended up costing me $7. I did not however buy any of the canning supplies that are beginning to fill stores now a days. You know the lid plopper on-ers, the wire dunking in pot basket, the green puller out of pot thing; yes I could go on and on and on. There are so many canning accessories. It really boggles my mind.

And there you go. I now have nine jars of green tomato chutney (that I LOVE) all properly canned. My very end of summer, beginning of autumn fresh green tomatoes that I grew from four little seeds are all tucked away in those brown jars with apple, onion, raisins, a lot of brown sugar, a good helping balsamic vinegar, and ginger. In all honesty my cup is overflowing right now. I feel like a conqueror. AND my kitchen is clean (that's another victory for me; normally a day like today would include my going to sleep for the night with a very messy kitchen). I've had a really great day!

Ahhh, good night!

Happenings here

So, guess what I'm doing today. Hint: My first batch of green tomato chutney is all gone now.

Friday, October 9, 2015

One of those "Lost my marbles" moments

I knew the electric bill was coming up so I went to schedule the payment online today. That's one I normally pay late and I fully intended to pay it on time this month. So I went to the bill bin, found the bill rather quickly, and started to schedule it online. I was rather taken aback at the amount we owed.

The bill said we owed $368 but that I hadn't payed last month. Well, okay I did pay late last month but my payment also had cleared before the billing date so that didn't make a lot of sense. I budgeted $135 for electric this month. I paid $133 last month. That still left me owing $235 this month. Yikes! That's $100 more than I had anticipated.

I went online and scheduled the payment so it wouldn't be late but then I was really curious about the huge difference in what I owed and what I thought I should have owed so I called the electric company. Turns out we actually owe $145 this month and aren't behind at all (I didn't think we were). Yay! I was really excited when I got off the phone and then I rushed really quickly back to the bank website to correct the scheduled payment before it was too late. Whew, got that fixed too.

After all was said and done and I was thrilled to be owing $10 more than I'd anticipated rather than $100 more I looked at the bill and realized it was a bill for October of 2014. Where in the world did that come from? Really on top of things here! And now I'm off to go find my marbles. Hope everyone has a fantastic weekend. Hooray for Friday!

Thursday, October 8, 2015

This Week's Christmas Craft

I apologize. I am being completely facetious with that title. I've already seen people on facebook complaining about Christmas merchandise being stocked in the stores. I know that there are a great deal of people who get really flustered by the mention of Christmas before Thanksgiving. I am not trying to tease you folks.

The little guy and I did inadvertently end up doing a Christmas craft this week but I promise it was unintentional. And while I personally have never been a fan of seeing Christmas merchandise on the shelves during the beginning of October I feel a little differently about it this year as I have been working on getting my Christmas gifts all planned out since sometime last month.

I wanted to do a craft this week with little Abe. I've done this craft before while I worked in a learning based day care years ago and I really liked it back then. I went upstairs to find my stock pile of tissue paper (which I'm now wondering if I disposed of when I did the basement clean up). All I could find were various types of Christmas tissue paper that I'd saved from gifts I've been given at Christmas. And a few new sheets of red, green, and white as well. "Hmm, I already planned on doing this with him, well, I guess we're just going to have to do it in Christmas colors now."

This is the simplest craft ever. But my little guy did end up struggling with it. First he and I tore some tissue paper into square-ish pieces. I put a little elmer's glue into a dish. I'm talking like 1/4 or 1/2 teaspoon little. Then I added probably two tablespoons of water. I really watered it down a lot. I stirred the water and glue up and then we painted one side of the torn tissue paper with the glue water. As soon as the tissue square is covered in glue water you press it to the side of the jar. Once the jar was completely covered I went over the whole jar with a layer of glue water. And done. After it was dry I set a candle in it and we got to see our lovely craft glow. The specks you see on ours are because we had a few sheets of tissue paper with glitter in the paper.

Little Abe was having a difficult time "painting" the squares of tissue with the glue water. His tissue kept tearing and balling up. I think he was just using too much force which is completely understandable for a three year old. I felt badly that he struggled with our fun craft so once the jar was done I randomly pulled an old pizza box off the table (that I'd completely meant to throw out that very morning) and told him that he could paint sticky water all over the box and decorate it with all the torn paper that he'd like. While I personally am not as fond of how visually stunning the pizza box covered in tissue looks compared with the jar holding a lit candle he really enjoyed painting the box, sticking tissue all over it, and then doing it again, and again, and again. The only problem is that now he thinks we're going to be keeping an old pizza box covered in tissue paper. Oops.

Number 22

22. Give out 15 compliments in one day. (preferably to 15 different people)

I've been slowing working my way through the 31 happy to-dos I wrote out for this month. I saved number 22 for today because, well frankly I like more of the people who work in the stores that I had to service today.

I did not accomplish this goal today. Although I'm determined to do so this month. I did however go out of my way to give compliments to a handful of people and it was really rewarding. The compliments were genuine. Each person I complimented was really grateful to have received my sentiment. I think I brightened the day a bit for a few different people and I've returned home from work feeling really good about today.

One of the things that is really hindered by the debt situation is the ability to give. I think more often than not giving is done monetarily. Today's little task helped me to realize more fully that there are so many ways to give without having to come up with the finances or even in today's fast paced world, very much time at all.

I look forward to attempting this to-do again another day.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

October Budget

We're almost a week in and I've yet to set down a spending budget for this month. Yikes! Today is the day. I've been flying by the seat of my pants for six days so back to business.

I'm setting a high spending limit for myself this month. I'm hoping to do some Christmas spending so that December isn't financially crazy. I've already had some large (for me) spending during these past six days. I want to get a few more pairs of pants, a sweatshirt, and one or two new PJ's for little Abe. Wait for it... I am going to go to a thrift store/ second hand store before I look at getting brand new clothes; inspired by the Money Secrets of the Amish book I recently read. I am NOT a fan of thrift store shopping but I'm going to give it another go. I also need cat food this month (didn't end up getting any in September), already purchased a bag of dog food, and pretty sure we're going to need shampoo and conditioner for the first time in a very long time. Don't you just hate it when your stock pile runs out!?!?

My budget for the month is $577.74 which leaves $377.78

Monday, October 5, 2015

Oh Monday, Monday!

Today did NOT start well. Between hacker problems (or a huge glitch on MSN's part) and leaving for work without having had any coffee, and starting work without having had any coffee... can you sense how great my morning was?

It's ending quite well though. And I love lists. Have I said before how much I love lists. I made my 31 happy to-dos list yesterday and today I was determined to at least mark one thing off of it. It was a gloomy coolish day all day. When I got home from work my little Abe was very wide awake (should have been napping (Oh Monday, Monday)) and in a really good bubbly mood. I made an executive decision to skip his nap, call over to his Grammy and Papa's house, and see if Papa would be willing to teach him how to shoot his bow today. I bought this bow and arrow set on clearance, 50% off at the beginning of last month. Today is the first time I've given it to him. He was in shock. Number 31 on my 31 happy to-dos for October is now marked off. And my kid is on cloud nine!

Little Abe with Grammy and Papa

For a child who wants to be Robin Hood when he grows up today was amazing. He is very, VERY proud of himself for learning this new sport. He actually got one arrow in the ring right next to the bulls eye. At first he thought it was a miraculous feat. Then he emphatically exclaims, "Hey, I'm almost Robin Hood now." You cannot help but laugh at that. Right? Haha!

Loving lists on this Monday Monday! I also see an early bedtime in the near future and some hot cider, first of the year. Oh, how I love hot cider!

31 things to Spice up this October

My list is complete.

I've been inspired by Anne in the kitchen to make an October to-do list that's less of chores and needings to be done and more along the lines of things that will make me happy. There are a few things on here that I want to get accomplished this month but I think I've put together a pretty decent list of things that will add a bit of happy spice to this October 2015. Will I accomplish everything? HA! Maybe half if I'm lucky but here's to a happy month of hot beverages, leaves changing over to their most beautiful vibrant colorful hues, nights growing longer, temperatures growing colder and APPLES! Wishing everyone a very lovely October!
  1. Create a new Pinterest board for this month of October. DONE.
  2. Capture some beautiful moments in photo. DONE.
  3. Pick out a toy with little Abe to gift to a friend of his.
  4. Bake a pumpkin pie from scratch.
  5. Leave quarters w/ a note at the quarter machines with little Abe.
  6. Go apple picking.
  7. Draw something.
  8. Fill the house with lit candles and drink hot cider or tea.
  9. Have a bon fire.
  10. Get together with a friend.
  11. Read one book for me.
  12. Read one chapter book with little Abe.
  13. Dream up a fabulous vacation all details included, just for fun.
  14. Invite someone over for a snack. Actually invited the in laws over for goose stew. DONE.
  15. Take the dogs for a walk (they usually just run in the backyard).
  16. Have a date night.
  17. Make a new lunch or dinner.
  18. Visit my dad.
  19. Make a trip to the post office. DONE.
  20. Use Olive Garden gift card. (Find Olive Garden gift card)
  21. Do a pretty debt payoff doodle. DONE.
  22. Give out 15 compliments in one day. (preferably to 15 different people)
  23. Listen to music and dance.
  24. Start collecting leaves.
  25. Hike the dunes.
  26. Craft something. (thinking altoids tin dollies/ a Christmas present)
  27. Put a box in the kitchen for Dee (our cat). DONE.
  28. Take a walk as a family. (the three of us)
  29. Do a messy craft with little Abe. DONE.
  30. Go out of the way to help somebody.
  31. Shoot bow and arrows with little Abe. DONE.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

October Spice

Anne in the Kitchen over at "New Happenings at the table and whatever" has posted a fabulous 31 to-dos in 31 days list for October. She made it her mission to post a to-dos list of things that would bring her happiness. I LOVE her list! I particularly like numbers:

1. Remind myself of every good thing that fills my life
3. Send a "just because I care" card
7. Introduce myself to someone new.
17. Go alone to a movie in the middle of the day
24. Listen to Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet Suite
31. Wear something in a color I never wear. (This might or might not bring joy.)

There are a ton of great things on her very creative list and I think this is a fabulous idea. I'm going to attempt to make a list of my own. I'm excited about this new month. New beginnings are always fun. I'm glad we have 12 months to begin a new with each year. I think filling this start to Autumn with a bunch of extra spice and happiness is a phenomenal idea!

Saturday, October 3, 2015

There's movement at the hoarder home again

All morning I've been walking to my kitchen to glance out the window at a crew of guys who are pulling piles of rubbish out from the hoarders windows (two house down from mine). Someone is standing at the hoarder's backdoor literally shoveling this man's belongings out the rear of his home. He's filled it to the brim with his collection. There have been items trying to squeeze their way out from virtually every window in his house for months now.

I'm glad someone is dealing with the mess. It needs to be dealt with. The city is talking of condemning the home. At the same time I see a pirate, a conqueror who spends his every waking hour sailing the seven seas of concrete on his bicycle collecting treasures a plenty. His secret hide out has been infiltrated (by a relative of his) and every last precious gem (or at least everything he's been able to pack into his kitchen) is being thrown haphazardly into an ENORMOUS dumpster that was dropped off onto his driveway yesterday. The dumpster is just about full now after a morning of hard work by a now dirty crew of guys in dust masks. And I don't think the kitchen is completely emptied.

I know it's a disease. I know there's something in the brain that needs to acquire, that needs to keep, that needs to possess. I know that hoarders, like my neighbor have a problem. This is a problem that reaches a little too close to home for me. I'm not a hoarder. Like me, I think most American's have hoarding tendencies hidden deep within but aren't actually hoarders. We're constantly being sold something. We're constantly being told we need something else or something newer or something bigger. We place an awful lot of self worth and identity in our things. We find joy and jubilation through the acquisition of stuff. We might not ride around on bicycles collecting discarded items on street corners but rather use our debit cards and credit cards to purchase shiny new treasures.

Watching the scene unfolding two doors down is a terrific motivating factor for me in my desires to live more simply. If someone came into my home and discarded all of my belongings where would that leave me?

Friday, October 2, 2015

And then she splurged

You know how when you have a really stuffy nose and then it clears up you end up getting this wonderful sense of delight just from being able to fully breath through your two nostrils? You know how when you're really really thirsty and you get to a tall glass of water practically your entire body says "ahhhhhh" as you indulge in the simple clear liquid? You know how when you have a horrible headache, or sore throat, or aching back, the kind of pain that won't allow you decent sleep, sits on your mind at almost all times, and picks away at you like torture, when that pain lets up and your head feels normal again, your throat has no ache in it, your back regains its strength you feel like a million bucks just from feeling normal?

The $10 a day challenge was really good for me. I WAY held back on spending during it and I am very happy that I got the overall average daily spending for the year down a good bit. Yesterday our kitchen cupboards, freezer, and refrigerator were wiped! I went to the store hungry (which my mom always says you should never do) AND after having just spent maybe 20 minutes on pinterest (this of course means that I was interested in trying out the recipes for cinnamon roll pancakes, pineapple bars, and pumpkin cheesecake monkey bread I had just pinned). I did not have a shopping list written up and I was planning to splurge.

After 10 days of really limiting my spending I came away from the grocery store with Oregon chai tea mix and almond milk (to mix with it), a bin of mint chip ice cream, candy corn (FINALLY) and store brand oreo cookies (to put in the ice cream). I think it's been a few years since I bought that chai mix. I NEVER buy almond milk. Of course I bought other things too like food and tissues that my husband requested because his nose is stuffed up right now. Little Abe specifically asked for bacon which I thought was crazy since we basically never eat it. Apparently he had some at his aunts house the other day when him and my husband were visiting over there.

I was terrified as the cashier was ringing up the groceries. I mean like imagining the total would be close to $200. When the total came to a whopping $46.46 I was not only relieved but impressed that although I was totally splurging I had also apparently practiced an unknown to me large amount of restraint. Yay! When I got home I heated up the almond milk and chai mix on the stove. Now, I'm a really big fan of hot beverages. Hot cider, hot coffee, hot cocoa, hot tea; these are the sort of little pleasures in life that make everything vastly better in my world. I don't think I've ever enjoyed a hot beverage as much as I enjoyed that cup of hot chai. I drank it feeling proud to have accomplished my mission with the challenge, proud to have not spent $200 at the grocery store, and really happy to be treating myself with absolutely no guilt associated. ahhh.

Average daily spending for 2015: $17.91

It's up again BUT under $18. I bought dog food today and spent money on Christmas. I'm very okay with a $17.91 average right now.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Super Duperly, Incredibly Awesome Soap Giveaway

My friend over at Rock Creek Soaps who donated to my first ever (and only) giveaway is doing her own giveaway now.

It's really easy to ENTER and you could win some great soap!

This wonderful small business was just starting up (they actually hadn't even launched yet) when I went to them and asked if they'd be willing to donate a prize for my giveaway back in March. They also sent me several small sample bars so I could test out the gift they were donating for my giveaway. Their soaps are awesome. Not only do these soaps look really neat with a plethora of different colors and swirls but they smell AMAZING!

Rock Creek soaps uses incredibly high quality natural ingredients, essential oils, and many of the soaps have beneficial additives like the Stardust soap with activated charcoal, which is tied with the Black Raspberry Vanilla as my very favorite of the ten soaps I got to sample. I LOVE those two soaps.

This is a very small family owned business that is just starting up, although they already sold a lot of their wonderful soaps at craft shows over the summer and are selling in some shops now. Yay! They may be new to the scene but my oh my they are cranking out an amazing product with LOTS of options already to choose from.

I'd encourage everyone who has a minute to enter their giveaway. Again, you could win free soap. Entering is pretty easy and it would show support to a little mom and pop business who very eagerly donated a wonderful prize to my first ever blog giveaway.

Okay details, details: Rock Creek Soaps has just received five new fragrances: Lumberjack, Alpine, Lemon herb, Rose Garden, and Sweetie Pie. The giveaway is asking that you comment on their blog post with which fragrance you'd most like to see made into a new bar of soap for their line, and you should get creative and comment which colors you'd like to see in the soap and if you'd like there to be additives in the new bar. After you've commented they're asking that you post a link to your facebook page telling others about the giveaway. Pretty straightforward right?

enter the giveaway here:
Rock Creek Soaps Giveaway

Oh, yeah it's a short little giveaway that ends in two days so you have to hurry over there and enter.