Friday, February 28, 2014

Finances on Friday!

Well, I had intended to do several posts this week, because we had a lot of things going on that I wanted to post about, but then the seven youngest kids started throwing up and I kept forgetting to get Brittany's camera back from her to download the pictures from the week, so here we are and now it's already Friday.

But, that's okay, because it's time for Finances on Friday! And, I can do a recap post tomorrow. Or Monday.

So, Tuesday was our 19th wedding anniversary. David really wanted a steak, but all the steakhouses had sent out email coupons for Valentine's which have already expired, so we ate steak anyway.

Without a coupon.

But, we were still frugal, because afterwards we went to the dollar theater to see Captain Phillips. It was 50 cent Tuesday and I also had a coupon for a free large popcorn with the purchase of two drinks. So, all was not lost.

However, I did have to close my eyes for over half the movie, because of motion sickness. I can usually handle the dollar theater, but maybe it was the fact that the movie took place on water and it was one of those movies where the camera is very "jerky". We went to a movie last summer at the newly renovated theater with the red leather recliners and I had to close my eyes the entire movie. I guess I paid for a ten dollar nap. At least the chairs were comfy.

Anyway, here are a few more frugal efforts this week.................

  • A piece broke on the kids' humidifier and the replacement part on their website was going to cost $25 plus shipping, but I called the company and was able to get the part shipped for only $12 total!
  • The natural grocer sends out coupons for free products about every other week or so. This week is for a free pound of butter. I'll be heading out tomorrow to pick that up.
  • I finished up the clothes and dropped them off for the consignment sale. I needed more wire hangers, so I stopped into the local cleaners and they generously gave them to me for free! I also got on the "preferred consignors" list so I only had to do inspection on the shoes, not the clothes and nothing was rejected. It saves so much more time in the long run, and makes more money, to make sure things are in tip top shape.
  • Bethany and Brooke like to bake and they found a recipe for some quick pizza out of the kids' cookbook. So, they made pizza crust and chocolate cupcakes with frosting from scratch for dinner last night. The cost was minimal- only the mozzerella, sauce and pepperoni were not from scratch, so total maybe five dollars was spent to feed 8 of us. And it was GOOD! The older two kids were out for the evening and David is eating low carb right now, so I heated up some leftover chicken and beans and low carb tortillas (which he'd rather have anyway.) And, for some husband bragging-he's lost 12 pounds in two weeks! Very proud of him!
  • Found some cuts of meat reduced for quick sale at Sam's, so I grabbed several packs for the freezer.

And, where things weren't so frugal........
  • Our local grocery store had bone in chicken breast on sale, and I dillied and I dallied and by the time I got there, they were sold out. UUUHHHHGGG! And, my son even works there! I should have given him money and just had him pick some up, but oh well. This week they have pork chops on sale for very cheap so I'm going to make sure I get some of those.
  • Our propane bill has doubled this winter. I'm sure that's true for more than just us. I know the cost has just skyrocketed and this has been such a cold winter, but goodness.
  • You know sometimes "cheap" is not frugal. I had bought two cheap hand crank can openers in the past six months that were probably about $4 a piece. Both lasted maybe two months and just stopped opening cans. So, I would have to haul out a pair of pliers just to get into the can. Well last week David bought me a $15 can opener and I know that thing will last a long time. It's sturdy and works like a charm. So, $8 wasted on junk that doesn't work. That's one thing I love about my husband. I usually like to get the $4 junk, because it's cheaper, but he'll get the thing that works better and lasts longer.
Don't forget to head over to Renaissance and share your frugal story!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Finances on Friday!

This has been one of the busiest weeks I've had in a long time.

We had 2 dentist appointments, 2 orthodontist appointments, 1 doctor appointment, 1 ultrasound, Awana, a dinner out with my book club, a "bake and bag" teen missions fund raiser with the women's group from church, both vans had work done on two different days, a birthday party tomorrow afternoon that the kids were invited to, a play tomorrow evening, and then Tristan's birthday is on Sunday.  And, on top of it all, I've had a cold.

At least it was beautiful weather this week!

I'm afraid on the frugal front it wasn't all that interesting, but I'm still linking up with Rebecca over at Renaissance for Finances on Friday!

So, here are my few frugal endeavors for this week............

  • David found a $150 shortage on his paycheck (woohoo!)
  • The cost for repairs for both vans was way less than we had budgeted, so the remainder is going into the buying a house fund.
  • Got up early every morning to make David breakfast and a sack lunch so he wouldn't need to eat out (except on Tuesday when he was off we did get $3 6-inch chicken breast subs at Subway).
  • David used his military discount to buy a few things at Lowe's. (He was teasing me this week and said, "You have taught me to be chea....I mean, er, um "frugal".) Ha!
  • Used a discount coupon at Michael's for some card stock.
I've been busy getting some clothes ready for the huge consignment sale coming up next week. I always try to hand down something I know someone else can use, but if not, then I consign and put that money back into the clothing fund.

Here is a post I did last year about how I do clothing for all of us.

Well, one area that was not so frugal this week was my meal out with my book club at Cheesecake Factory. It was so yummy and we only do a meal out maybe once every quarter. We try and stick with a theme of the book we are reading, but this was time was just for fun. My bill with tip was $33! I could have bought food to feed the entire family for a whole day for $33. Sheesh. (But, it WAS yummy!)

So, that's about it this week. Head over to Renaissance and share your own frugal ideas!

    Wednesday, February 19, 2014

    So, is this your first?

    So, yesterday David and I stopped in for a sub sandwich since they have their six inch chicken breast on sale for $3. There was a lady two people ahead of us and she kept eyeing my belly. And, then finally, "When are you due?"

    I said, "End of May." And, she said, "Oh, my birthday is in May!"

    I smiled and she asked, "So is this your first?"

    Now, I've been asked this a million times and sometimes I just want to say, "Yes, Yes it is!", but I always respond honestly, and I said, "No, actually it's number 11."

    Well, her jaw hit the floor and then she said (you guessed it), "Do you know what causes that?"

    David, always a people person and likes to joke, said, "Oh, it's in the water!"

    She looked at me and said, "You need to stop _______  ____  ____."

    Now, if you have over three kids you probably don't even need to use your imagination here, because you may have been on the receiving end of this type of comment yourself, and if you don't have over three, you can probably imagine what she said.

    And, friends, I was shocked.

    The entire place heard her say it.

    I think I made a shocked face, and then I said, "Well, we're married. We're allowed to do that."

    And, she didn't stop there. Oh, no. She kept on.

    She said to David, "Well you do have a job, right?"

    Then, David, remember he's a people person and always pretty friendly unless someone just insulted his wife, said very flatly (and with much self control), "No, I usually stand out on that street corner with a sign."

    If you've ever been to Tulsa then you know the significance of this statement. Many a street-stander have made a good living here on the corner with a sign. But, I digress..........

    She said, "Oh, you do not!" and then laughed, finally ending with, "Well, I SURELY couldn't imagine having 11 kids! Congratulations."

    This woman was probably 70 years old. She should have known better.

    This wasn't the first rude comment I've ever heard and I'm sure it won't be the last. Really, I was shocked, but I wasn't upset about it. You know, all of us large family mothers imagine up all sorts of "shut them up" come backs, but really, if I had been harsh back to her, what kind of impression would she have had of large families then? She clearly already wasn't in support of them, and my rudeness back to her could have cemented that in her mind. People don't get won to Christ with hatefulness. (I'm not saying she hasn't already been won to Christ, but the fruit certainly wasn't in that conversation if you know what I mean.) I tried to keep it friendly, and thanked her when she congratulated me (even after she had humiliated me in front of the entire store.) But, you know what? She even more humiliated herself. After she was gone, the servers apologized for her. She'll be judged for her rudeness one day, but it won't be by me. Really I feel sorry for her. In all her years, maybe she's never experienced the kind of joy that my children bring me every day. The kind of joy that makes people see children as blessings and not burdens or annoyances.

    Regardless, sometimes those comments do sting a bit. Just last month a friend from church asked me how far along I was. After I answered she said, "Oh you look much farther along than that!"

    And, she is my friend.

    Well, maybe not after that.

    I'm kidding.

    I think it's really a lesson to us, especially as Christians, to think before we speak and let our speech always be seasoned with grace.

    And, when we respond, let it always be seasoned with grace.

    Monday, February 17, 2014

    Monday Musings: The God Card Edition

    Last week for Thomas's birthday David and I gave him a card with some money it in. David wrote a little note that said something like "May the God of heaven richly bless your birthday! Love, Mom and Dad".

    Thomas opened the card and read the inscription and pulled out the money.

    I said, "So, who's it from?"

    Thomas said, "Um, I think it's from God!"

    I said, "Open the other flap."

    He opened the card the rest of the way, paused and said, "Oh. It's from Mom and Dad."

    Sunday, February 16, 2014

    Girls Night Out and Baby Bump

    Saturday night I took Bethany and Brooke for a girls night out! First, we went to Braum's for burgers and fries, then headed to the Mabee center for the Secret Keeper Girls' Crazy Hair Tour. We curled our hair and donned our pocket tshirts and set out for some fun!

    Brittany is making these cute pocket tshirts to raise money for her missions trip this summer. Bethany and Brooke picked out and sewed their own pockets, though. Bethany even shortened her tshirt from a full length sleeve to a 3/4. They are all becoming very handy with the sewing machine.
    A friend took the girls to a Secret Keeper tour right after I had Travis and they talked about it for a long (looonnggg) time, so I thought it would be fun if I surprised them with tickets. We did have a lot of fun. It was a cute little show-definately worth going. And, a good modesty message as well. Plus, quality time with the girls is always worth it.
    Well here is the baby bump...............
    According to the ultrasound tech a few weeks ago, my due date is June 14, but that doesn't match up with the gestational age that she gave me at the ultrasound. After I got home I counted it back 40 weeks and her date was off by a week. My calculations had been closer to May 28 and the doctor's had been May 25. So, I just don't know when I'm due. I have an appointment Tuesday which will be the first one since I had the ultrasound, so we'll see what the doctor says and if he adjusts the date.
    In the meantime, I'm just enjoying not feeling blah and having a little energy back!

    Friday, February 14, 2014

    Finances on Friday! Trouble Shooting with Homemade Laundry Soap

    I'm linking up with Rebecca again over at Renaissance for Finances on Friday!

    Well, I needed to make some more homemade laundry soap on Tuesday, but I was busy doing something else, so I asked my oldest son to help me make some. Actually, he was going to make it by himself with my instructions. I'm not sure exactly what went wrong, but it never quite set up to the right consistancy.

    I think people have a love/hate relationship with homemade laundry soap, and I have to admit, so have I.

    I started making my own soap, I think, six years ago (?) at the encouragement of a friend.  And, I've had to trouble shoot a bit, but I think I'm at a point where it seems to work adequately.

    Here's the recipe I use for the liquid version of homemade laundry soap:

    1 bar of Zote soap, grated
    1 cup of Arm and Hammer Washing Soda
    1 cup Borax
    1 cup Oxy Clean (or similar alternative)
    1 cup salt

    Melt the grated soap on medium heat in a large pot filled half way or so with water. You'll want to almost continually stir this and I use a wisk to break up the clumps of soap. Place the other ingredients all in a five gallon plastic bucket. When your soap is fully melted pour the entire thing into your bucket of powders. Use a long handled spoon to stir until the powders are dissolved. Then use your pot to fill the bucket almost to the top with warm water (cool will cause it to set up a little too quickly) and stir it all with your long handled spoon. It will need overnight to set up, but you can go ahead and use it right away if you need to.


    • The original recipe was for Fels Naptha soap, but I like the Zote better. I couldn't get Zote in South Carolina, but they sell it in Walmart here in Oklahoma. Once I used Ivory and I didn't feel like it made the clothes seem quite as clean. The Zote grates easier, is less than $1 and smells a lot nicer.
    • At the suggestion of a friend, I added in the Oxyclean. I've also tried the cheaper Sun brand and it works just as well. The ingredient list is practically the same.
    • At the suggestion of the same friend I also added the salt. After we moved to Oklahoma I felt like the original recipe didn't seem to work as well as before. I don't know if it is hard water or what, but the salt seems to make a difference-maybe softening the hard water.
    Certainly this isn't the only recipe out there, and you could also add in some essential oils, but I just haven't done that yet.

    We all wear hand me downs, so by the time we get them, someone else has deemed them useless (for whatever reason), so our clothes aren't in pristine condition when we start out with them. I am particular however, because I don't want us walking around looking like we always wear second hand clothes. lol! But, it does take a little effort to keep them looking nice.

    Here's what I've come up with:

    • I keep a medium sized bucket by the washer for soaking clothes in Oxyclean (or Sun brand). If something is really stained (shirt collars, food on the front of kids shirts, or whatever) I'll stick it in the bucket and soak it with a scoop of Oxyclean. Sometimes I'll have to leave it in there a few days, but it has almost always worked. The only time it didn't get a stain out that I can remember, was a few months ago Brennan got some sort of weird grease stain on a shirt and it would not come out. I don't know what the stain was from, but it wasn't a normal grease stain.
    • Homemade soap doesn't have the brightners in it that store bought soap does, so during the summer when everyone is wearing brighter things, I'll look for a sale with a coupon and get some store bought soap. Last year Kmart had a sale and I bought a huge box of powdered off brand soap and only used it for the bright loads. It worked great and lasted me a LONG time since I was only doing maybe 5 loads a week with it.
    • I do about 4 loads a day. (There are 12 of us.) Unless there are blankets or something and that makes more loads. I tried hanging the loads out on a clothes line a few summers ago and it didn't seem like it was saving me as much money as the time it took was worth. So, for now I am just sticking them in the dryer.
    • I don't use fabric softner because it makes my kids' eczema break out. I know there are some homemade recipes for that also, but really I don't even notice not using any.
    So, if you've been putting off making your own, or you've made a batch and just didn't love it, don't give up on it! It really does save me a significant amount of money. The ingredients do last quite a long time. Try some of these trouble shooting tips and see if they work for you.

    Don't forget to link up at Renaissance and let us know any frugal tips or ideas you have!

    Thursday, February 13, 2014

    Happy Birthday Thomas!

    Well, our birthday marathon is starting and first up is Thomas. His birthday was yesterday and he turned 7!

    This is the only picture I have and I took it with my flip phone. Yes, I said flip phone. (Well, it still works and I can't bring myself to go update it. I don't need to do anything but call and text anyway.) I still don't have a camera and Brittany's camera battery wasn't charged. :(  Maybe David could get me a camera for our upcoming anniversary? Hint. HINT.
    He wanted a ninja turtles theme so we just went with a few green and purple decorations and the girls made him the cutest pinata. It was a turtle face with a purple mask out of crepe paper. I took a picture of it but somehow it got lost on my phone. Anyway, it was very creative.
    David and Brittany had to work, and last night was AWANA, so we waited until after that when everyone was home to have cupcakes and celebrate. Thomas got a little money as a gift and now he is BIG STUFF.
    Happy Birthday, Thomas!

    Monday, February 10, 2014

    Monday Musings

    Travis (3) and holding up fingers: "Mom is this Twosday or Thirdday or Fourday?"

    Friday, February 7, 2014

    Finances on Friday!

    I'm joining Rebecca over at Renaissance for another Finances on Friday post!

    Here is what went right this week:

    -Used a coupon for a free order of chips and queso at the mexican fast food place down the street.

    -Signed up for Google Ads. We'll see how it works out!

    -Gave the kids haircuts. I cut all the boys' hair except Tyler. I don't know if he wants a shaggy look or he doesn't trust me.  I am NO EXPERT. And, I hope no one else notices that either. Their hair actually did turn out decently. Decently. I cut Bailey's (4) and Brooke's (10) hair, also, and might have gotten a little scissor happy, since around three inches came off instead of one. But, it turned out really cute in both cases. I have cut the girls' hair in the past, and David used to cut the boys, then when we moved here and my sister in law started cutting it. But, instead I decided to start taking matters into my own hands and this is probably the third time I've cut the boys' hair.

    -A very kind man from church always looks out for us and on Sunday gave us a box with apples, oranges, some individual cereal boxes and some french toast slices leftover from a co-op at his workplace.

    -The cashier at the shoe store looked up a coupon code today and saved me $7 off of $50 shoes for my son since I had a store rewards card. (THANK you nice cashier guy!)

    -Stretched two random cans of soup into feeding all the kids for dinner. I put the two cans in the crock pot, added a few chicken breasts and some chicken stock from the fridge and a loaf of french bread-$1.18 from the discount bread rack at Walmart.

    And, this is what went wrong this week:

    -Had to spend $20 on another white button down shirt for my son for work since somehow a pen got into the laundry.

    -Burned up a half tank of gas in two days doing errands. (I have a 15 passenger van with a very big, expensive gas tank.)

    -Bought lunch while out doing those errands. (with nary a coupon! Shocking, I know.)

    -The lemon pound cake I made for a fundraiser at church met it's demise before making it to church.  Let's just say it involved a vehicle, and sliding on ice.

    Link up over at Renaissance and let us know what you did that was frugal, or not so frugal, this week!

    Tuesday, February 4, 2014

    Snow, More Snow (did I mention snow?) and the Duggars

    Well, no one can say this hasn't been a real winter.

    On Sunday it snowed for the fourth or fifth time since November. It snowed again today and is supposed to snow again on Thursday and Saturday. I can't even wrap my mind around it. When we left for church Sunday morning there were BARELY a few snowflakes falling and I thought, "Oh, this will probably stop in a few minutes," but by the time we left church it had snowed THREE inches! I didn't even know how we were going to make it home, but thankfully they got the highways plowed and it wasn't really ice, just snow.

    I'm so ready for summer. (Will I still be appreciating that statement when it's 110 degrees? I don't know.)

    So, on Saturday, Brittany went to a party at the Duggar's house. Yes, the same Duggar's from 19 Kids and Counting!

    My friend has a friend who knows the Duggars from some political endeavors that her friend's husband has been involved in. The Duggars agreed to host a surprise party for the husband, and my friend's daughter invited Brittany to come along.

    We learned something from this experience. My family may, in fact, actually be the Duggar family.

    I will allow you to come to your own conclusions:

    Tristan and Jackson could be twins.

    Josie and Travis could be twins.

    I have been told I sound like Michelle.


    Now, if that isn't enough evidence I don't know what is.

    I would love to meet her and ask her how she keeps up with all the kids toothbrushes. And, how many pencils does she buy for the school year? I bought probably 200 pencils last August. We now have twelve left. TWELVE. Half way through the school year. WHERE DO THEY GO???  It's these type of things that I just haven't figured out yet as a large family mother. And, how, HOW can children possibly eat so much food?

    Maybe you just smile and deal with it the best that you can, because you know that in the blink of an eye they will all be grown and then you'll think, "Well, what am I going to do with all these 200 pencils?"

    Monday, February 3, 2014

    Monday Musings

    Me: What happened to your doll's clothes?

    Bailey (4): Well, apparently Bethany and Brooke were playing with them and (hands up with quotation marks) "got them torn up".

    Some well know Christmas carols according to Bailey:

    Joy to the World: "repeat the seeds of Joy, repeat the seeds of Joy....."

    "We wish you a Merry Christmas to you and your Kim, we wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year..............."

    Saturday, February 1, 2014

    Finances on Friday! Except that it's Saturday!



    That's where we are this week. Thankfully there is no puking (I even hesitate to say that too soon) but lots and lots of snot and coughing. That might be TMI, but I like to keep it real around here. Unfortunately, even I, the one who really doesn't get sick often, have fallen victim to the yuck. I haven't felt terrible, but on top of being pregnant, I'm really drained of energy.

    So, I am a day late, (and maybe even a dollar short which would fall within the theme of frugal living) to link up to Rebecca's Finances on Friday post over at Renaissance!

    I still managed to do a few frugal things this week:

    -Bought a scratch and dent dryer that saved us $300.

    -Made burgers with elk meat added to some ground beef. We were given a freezer full of elk meat last year. The ground meat really blends in well with whatever you're cooking. Now, the steaks taste a little "game-y-er" which is the reason we don't care too much for venison. Even the ground venison tastes too much like game to me. But, I can handle the ground elk. I had taken a little break from cooking with it while I had morning sickness, because if I eat something that doesn't sit right with me when I'm pregnant, I don't want to eat it again. EVER. And, since we still have half a freezer of elk left, I didn't want to risk it. I used two pounds of ground elk, 1 pound of ground beef (80/20), chopped jalepeno from our garden last year, chopped garlic, salt/pepper and some Eskimo Joe's meat seasoning. They were yummy!

    -I'm trying to keep the heater at 68 degrees. It has been a super cold winter here since November. Crazy. The windows here are AWEFUL, probably the original 50 year old windows, so we are trying to keep blankets over them when it is really cold. We can't hardly stand it set any colder than 68, but it does make a big difference on the bill when we don't bump it up to 70.

    -One other thing we do regularly around here is to reuse towels after baths before we wash them. Especially if it's just a little kid who doesn't get the towel very wet. My mom made me do that when I was a kid and I HATED it, but my kids don't seem to mind. And I appreciate having a little less laundry to do!

    And, where things went awry........

    -Forgot to put the garbage out at the curb (twice!) and had to buy $3.00 worth of tags for the extra bags that wouldn't fit into the can.

    And.........update on the house hunt!

    We've been house and land hunting for about a year now and seriously looking for the last six months. We have been wanting to do some small scale farming since we first got married and feel like the time for that to become a reality is finally here. I've been praying that God would bring the perfect house at the perfect location for the perfect price at the perfect time. Well, last Wednesday a friend texted the number of two houses she had passed on her way home. One number she'd given me last month, but I didn't call because of some other things going on and we were just going to take a break for Christmas.

    Anyway, long story short, I called them Wednesday, David happened to have a long break between driving on Thursday, and we went to see the house during his break.

    Well, we loved it! I feel like it's exactly what I've prayed for! It's only two acres, where we had really wanted five or ten, but it already has pens for animals and plenty of room for probably two cows. It meets all the other criteria that I had in mind, and an older Christian couple own it and have lived there for many, many years, so it's very well kept. The only thing we know of that needs to be done is some siding boards and trim need to be replaced. And, the financing company will not approve it until that is fixed. Also, we don't know if they may find any other problems upon inspection, that could make it not be approved. So, I am praying, praying that if this is the house God wants for us that the boards and trim can easily be repaired and that nothing else is wrong with it and it can be ours!

    Thank you for visiting my blog this week! Head over to Renaissance and see what ideas others had!

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