Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Purging again

Bad blogger strikes again. I’ve been meaning to get on here and post but . . . well, you know . . . things got busy. Not a good excuse I know. But, really, life was busy. I’ve gotten couple groceries and didn’t take pictures and blog about it. I got a few free samples, three kinds of coffee, the new Tide Swash which I’m anxious to try, and something else that I can’t remember what it was.

It’s happening again. The purging bug has bitten and I’m going through things and getting rid of stuff. I even forced encouraged my eldest munchkin to go through things and get rid of all the junk treasures like pieces of paper and old Happy Meal Toys. If he didn’t know what movie it was from, the toy was gone. I’m such a mean mama. I even made him cry when I made him go through his rocks and sticks and only keep what would fit in a small canning jar. He eventually got into the groove and between the two of us we filled a kitchen trash bag. I’m even starting on a second bag!! Isn’t it exciting???

I hope I’ll eventually be decluttered and have a place for everything and everything in its place.

It’s definitely a process.

Now, off the computer and back to my purging!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Grocery Challenge

First off, I have a question. Does it really have to count toward my challenge if my dear sweet hubby tells me to go buy a couple of spiral sliced hams at Aldi’s because they’re marked down to $1.29/lb. Yes, we’ll love eating them, and yes, that’s a pretty good price, but I really needed to spend at least some of that $24.20 plus tax on some baking supplies for Christmas cookies and candies that I’m making over the next couple of weeks for gifts. The stuff I needed to get only cost me around $14, but my total was $38.73.

Okay, I just need to resign myself that I’m not going to keep in my challenge budget this week. I guess I can justify the baking supplies as gifts instead of groceries if it makes me feel better.


Menu Plan Monday

I didn't exactly follow my menu plan last week that well, we ended up with more leftover nights than planned because we had so many leftovers and this week might be the same.

Monday: Leftovers
Tuesday: Sitter night - Pizza
Wednesday: pancakes
Thursday: chicken nuggets & french fries
Friday: scrapbook night - leftovers
Weekend: plans are still in the works, so I'm holding off on planning meals yet.

Whats on your  menu plan for this week?


Friday, December 4, 2009

Freebie in the mail

I got a freebie in the mail today.

I haven't had a chance to read all the recipes yet.  I dont' usually use mixes for things like muffins, pizza crust and cornbread, but I hope to find some recipes I can try.

A house full of packrats

My son is a packrat . . . wait, both my sons . . . okay, let me just say it this way, every male human in my house is a packrat. I have a few packratish tendencies but I’m doing quite well getting over that, thank you very much. But my son, oh my goodness, the kid has two boxes on the bookshelf in the room that the munchkins used to share that haven’t been moved to his new room, since his new room is still painted all girly since we bought this house. (did you like that run-on sentence) He had valentine stickers in there, why does he need valentine stickers? He might be able to use them on valentine cards this year.

Gasp . . . NO!

I’m trying to purge and get rid of things, not save everything “just in case”.

What am I going to do? How can I teach my kids that they don’t need to keep all that stuff that’s not needed?

Maybe I need to convince my hubby to get rid of some old things, cuz you know, Daddy’s are SO cool and if Daddy is doing it, maybe the munchkins will too.

Okay, so how do I convince hubby to start purging?


Free Christmas music

If you haven't been already, make sure and go here and download some free christmas MP3s during Amazon's 25 Days of Free deal. Also check out a free Big Daddy Weave song as well as tons more here including Barlowgirl, Jars of Clay and Casting Crowns.


Thursday, December 3, 2009


Did you hear that? That is the sound of me stretching.

I’m a city girl that married a farm boy. I grew up with chicken that came as frozen chicken breasts, not a whole chicken with all the bones and icky stuff. When I organized the freezer I came across a small chicken that neighbors gave us from their freezer when they moved.

Guess what I did with it!!! I cooked it, and you’ll never believe this one, I picked the meat off the icky bones so I can freeze it and have it ready next time I want to make chicken & dumplings or something like that.

Can you believe it? I still don’t think I can. I’d take a picture of the bones to prove it, but it still kind of grosses me out and I don’t want to see it when I look through my blog.


Wednesday, December 2, 2009

So pretty . . .

Seriously, doesn’t it look so pretty when it’s organized? I sure think so. I wish I would’ve thought to take a before picture, but maybe I can give you an idea, stuffed full, except for some empty spots on the bottom. (How smart is that?) Things stuffed in wherever they would fit.

Now the after . . .

See, I told you it was pretty. Okay, so pretty might not be the best way to describe it. How about organized and functional? Does that work? I even made a chart to tell where what types of meat was in what area on the bottom. Now we have to see if my dear hubby keeps it that way when he gets in there to get meat out to grill. There is over 100lbs of deer in this baby, a few bags of frozen blueberries, lots of bags of frozen mulberries, some shredded zucchini, a couple loaves of chocolate zucchini bread, and the last bit of pork and two turkeys along with a few assorted other frozen stuff.

Now, on to the freezer section of the basement fridge. There is a tub full of strawberry, mulberry and peach freezer jam, along with all the quick foods that I send with hubby to fix himself while he’s working out of town, or to use for those days that you just need an easy quick meal.

I personally think it looks kind pretty as well.

But maybe that’s just me.


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Okay, I’m seeing a trend here, I keep going over my goal of $30 a week, I’m even going over my “I’ll give myself some leeway as I start off” goal of $40 a week. But I got a ton of groceries for great deals I think. I will enjoy when hubby is not working out of town, then I won’t be buying as many convenience foods to send with him for the week. That should help the budget tremendously.

Here is the breakdown: before coupons $86.62, I wish Schnucks told me how much I saved from their normal price because I got a lot of things on 10 for $10 sale that was super cheap. After coupons I spent $46.07.

Some highlights were”

• 4 bags of chocolate chips free

• 4 bags of chocolate chips for $0.50 each

• 5 free bags of chex mix

• 3 free Green Giant Steamers

• 2 Green Giant Steamers for $0.20 each

• Creamers for $0.79 each.

• The equivalent of 2 free bags of wheat flour when I bought 2 jars of yeast.

Not too bad. I almost didn’t have room on the counter to put all my stuff!

My weekly total is $64.53, so way over my goal. I’ll have to see how I end up at the end of the month and see if I can shave some off in the next couple of weeks


Monday, November 30, 2009

Grocery Challenge

Not an amazing shopping day, but a few necessities that I really needed.  $18.46.  Wow, milk and juice really kick it to the budget.


Menu Plan Monday

Didn’t we just have a Monday? I guess that’s what a holiday can do for you, help you lose track of time. For me, it was a good thing; I had a very relaxing Thanksgiving with my family.

But now, it’s time to get back to the old grind.

Monday: Ham, green beans, baked potatoes and flavored rice

Tuesday: Sitter night, if I have time to get a frozen pizza before then, it will be pizza, otherwise leftovers.

Wednesday: Biscuits and gravy

Thursday: Leftovers

Friday: Homemade pizza

Saturday: Grill

Sunday: 1st Sunday potluck at church. Still deciding what to bring.


Monday, November 23, 2009

Menu Plan Monday and Grocery Challenge

I’m not really making a set menu plan this weekend because of Thanksgiving, and also trying to really cut down the grocery shopping this week as well. Unless some really great sales come up on the midweek ads then I might not do any grocery shopping at all!

Wish me luck!


freebie in the mail

I got a freebie in the mail this weekend.  I love free stuff!


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The blog I got today’s Crockpot Brown Sugar Chicken  recipe said “Seriously. Go to the store. This is what's for dinner.” Let me tell you as well. Go to the store if you don’t have the ingredients and make this chicken.

Munchkin number 1 who is the world’s pickiest eater asked me if I would be able to make this again, I don't think he realized you can get frozen chicken breasts pretty much anywhere.  It was followed by “Mom you’re the best cook.” and in response to my thank you, "you deserve it Mom."  I think that was a pretty emphatic liking of this recipe.

Serve it over rice and make sure and spoon some of the sweet juicy stuff over your rice as well. Yummmmmmmmm.


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Grocery Challenge

Okay, could I have blown my budget any worse this week? And it’s only Tuesday.

First stop was Walmart where I spent $10.62. I had to stock up on band aids since munchkin number two ripped a toenail off, usually I wouldn’t be buying quite so many unless they were on super sale to stock up. I also have to get the latex free kind for his latex allergy. All in all not a bad trip to Walmart, and now I’m ready to make some Chex mix!

Next stop was Gerbes. Super great shopping trip IMO. I spent $17.08 and had $18.44 in savings. Can’t beat that. The best deal was the cereal for $0.50 a box. Just about everything else was on a 10 for $10 sale and I had coupons for the mandarin oranges.

I probably should’ve stopped there and be great, but no, I had to go to the new HyVee store. I did get the pasta for $1 a box which is good, and the chocolate chips were on sale plus a coupon and a great deal since we love baking cookies around here. Okay, so I love baking cookies and everyone else loves eating cookies. It’s not pictured, but if you know me, you know I’m addicted to Cherry Coke. I have made the sacrifice of moving to the Cherry Coke Zero and it was on sale for 4 12packs for $10. So I HAD to stock up you know. They also had another grand opening deal for buy a ham and get a turkey free(also not pictured). The ham itself was $20, but it will feed us for quite a while and I got a free turkey that was worth $8.90. I spent (hanging head in shame) $39.96.

My grand total is $67.66. If it wasn’t for buying the Cherry Coke and the ham and free turkey I would’ve been fine, but I just couldn’t pass up such a deal. Okay, now I can’t buy anything next week. Which is okay since I won’t be doing much cooking for the week I shouldn’t need much. I just have to not look at the sale ads and realize how many deals I can stock up on.


Monday, November 16, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

It's Menu Plan Monday time again.  I did pretty good last week, switched around  couple of days because of deer hunting and other misc. stuff.  We have a little bit busier week this week with cub scouts and working up more of hubbies deer for the freezer that it will be a little more of an easy prep week.

Monday: Pancakes ( my boys love breakfast for dinner, and so do I)
Tuesday: Sitter night - Frozen pizza (scouts)
Wednesday: Crockpot Brown Sugar Chicken & rice (scouts)
Thursday: Leftovers
Friday: Meatloaf, baked potatoes & green beans (scrapbook night, feed the fam and run!!!)
Saturday: Hubby will be hunting again, so leftovers, sandwiches or hotdogs
Sunday: grilled deer while we finish processing and freezing our bountiful deer harvest.

What are you meal plans for the week?


Thursday, November 12, 2009

Grocery Challenge

Okay, I didn’t make it staying under $30 for the week, which is okay since this is my first week and I’m not sure yet if $30 or $40 a week is going to be a more doable goal for my family. After my trip to Schnucks this morning to get a couple of super cheap things, and a couple of things I just needed anyway, I ended my grocery shopping week spending $41.28. Not too bad I think. I’ll see if I can shave the $1.28 off of next week’s shopping.

There were a few good sale and coupon combos this week, Sundays being the best, but not as many as I’ve seen some weeks.

On today’s trip, I needed potatoes for my soup for All Deer’s Eve tomorrow night, so I HAD to buy those. The two cans of dole fruit I got for $0.05 each, the Cheerios were $1.00 a box, the Progresso Broth was $0.50 and the noodle meals were on sale for $0.75, with $1.00 off in coupons I made $0.25 on each of those!! I spent a grand total of $17.12 on this trip.


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Okay, pretend there are two boxes of granola bars. I had already opened one box and emptied it in the snack tub when I realized I hadn’t taken a picture yet. I got these both for no out of pocket cost. I had a $5 gift card left over from the Glade holiday candle deal that I used and still have some left for my next shopping trip.

I almost lost my coupon binder. I think I started to hyperventilate, that thing is my grocery lifeline. Maybe I can blame my husband; we went to Wal-Mart after date night because he needed a few things for hunting. I brought in my binder because you never know if something he’ll decide he needs I happen to have a coupon for. My first mistake was letting him push the cart out to the car. It messed up my routine and it got left in the cart. I called today and they had it at the customer service desk. I was so relieved.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Grocery Challenge

I needed milk, flour was on sale and I had coupons, as well as the Hormel Completes so I snagged one more to send with Hubby to work.  Grocery total = $8.31, saving $2.00 with coupons, which puts me up to $24.16 total.  I still need some granola bars, but they're cheaper right now at Target, so I'll pick those up tonight while out to eat with hubby for sitter night and our "Parent/Teacher conference"  ;o)  I love homeschooling.


Monday, November 9, 2009

$30 Grocery Challenge

Some may think that using coupons for groceries isn’t a simplifying thing. Yes, it does take a little extra time to cut out and organize the coupons, but for me, it is very worth it. Seeing that number on the bottom that tells you how much money you’ve saved gives me such a thrill. I follow several couponing and money saving blogs and have learned a lot about how to get the most out of the money I spend.

One blog I’ve recently found is $30 Weekly Gorcery Challenge.  I’ve decided to try this myself. I’m not sure I can do $30 a week for groceries but maybe I can. I’m going to try to stick to $30 but I’m going to give myself up to $40 for awhile until I get a better stockpile. The trick, from what I’ve noticed, is to buy a ton of something when it is on sale and with a coupon and store it until you need it.

Sunday I went to Schnucks and I am so in love with their double coupons. I spent $24.85 and it says that I saved $17.40 in coupons. Woo Hoo!! And, the best part is, that $9 of that is for Christmas presents (the coffee) so it doesn’t count toward my grocery challenge, leaving me with having spent $15.85.

I had several $0.50 off 1 coupons for the steamers, so with doubling and the 10 for $10 sale, they were FREE!  The only things I didn't have coupons for was the butter and applesauce which I was out of and needed to buy anyway.  The steamers will most likely go with hubby since he works in another city during the week.  They  make for a very easy side that he can do in the microwave.

The challenge is, I need to buy a couple of toiletry items that I haven’t found on sale anywhere recently, so hopefully I won’t blow my budget on those things. As well as munchkin #2 having eaten all the granola bars during the night because the side effect of the medicine we’re now weaning him off of caused him to crave carbs and get up in the night to eat. Eating 7 granola bars in one night really puts a hit on my granola bar stock.


Menu plan monday

I'm trying to keep up with my menu planning so I'm starting to do  I'm an Organizing Junkie's Menu Plan Monday   Having a husband that works in a different city might make my menu planning a little different.  I end up with quite a few leftover days most weeks.  I'm trying to do more cooking and freezing extra to have ready for doctor appointment days and other days that are busier than usual, as well as single serving portions to send with hubby to work.

Monday: Biscuits and gravy

Tuesday: Sitter night so frozen pizza for the munchkins and dinner date for Mommy and Daddy!!!

Wednesday: Grill deer steaks. Homemade mac & cheese, Green beans.

Thursday: Leftovers

Friday: All Deers Eve.  This is an annual night before deer season pot luck party at a friend's house.  I don't know what I'm making yet, depends on when I hear back from the hostess of what is needed.

Saturday:  Leftovers because Daddy will be hunting and hopefully that night we'll be processing deer.

Sunday: Hoping for fresh deer loin to grill, or leftovers if we're still processing.

Lisa, who is really bummed that the new blogger doesn't have spell check.

Hanging my head in shame

Yes, I am ashamed. I started this blog to help keep me accountable at my quest for a simpler life and I haven't posted in months.

Bad, blogger. Bad, bad blogger.

I'm trying to get this into a good habit and to help journal my journey. I haven't done terrible at getting the house ready to show. Okay, not necessarily good either. I'm into the last minute stuff things in the van and do a quick clean before a showing game. I don't like that game. Really I don't, but housework just does nothing for me. I could care less about doing the cleaning. I like a clean environment but I don't like to clean.

So, I'm working on it. I've tried several different plans in the past and just haven't found one that I can seem to keep up with. I've tried assigning each room a day and that day my job is to do whatever in that room that needs done. I've also tried giving myself a chore list for each day with each specific chore listed that I need to check off when its done. Nothing sticks.

Okay, while I really want to just surf the web and read other blogs about housekeeping. I really should do something productive first. After I accomplish something, I'm going to start a weekly menu plan Monday post as well as to document my cheap grocery shopping that I've been doing lately. I love saving money. ;o)


Thursday, July 2, 2009

Menu planning

As part of my quest for a more simple life I'm trying to limit my trips to town for 'stuff'. It seems like I'm always needing things in town.

One thing that I used to do and need to get back to is menu planning. If I plan my menus ahead of time, and shop according to my menu plan, then I should be able to shop ahead for what I need.

One other thing I already do, and probably need to expand a bit, is I have a few different quick meals or desserts that I always keep ingredients for so that if I need a last minute snack or meal to take somewhere, then I'm prepared.

So, here's to changing my habits one at a time to help me achieve my goal of a simpler and less stressful life.


Monday, June 29, 2009

The hardest part of my week

I have decided that the hardest part of my week is now Mondays. I have always liked Mondays; it’s a new start to the week, a chance to start off the week right and leave behind any mistakes or issues from the previous.

Mondays still feel like a new beginning, a new chance to do some great things, but I have been getting behind and not keeping up my good habits over the weekend. Throughout the week, I have been doing a good job of keeping the dirty dishes put in the dishwasher so that the kitchen is always only a few minutes away from being able to show the house. The weekend kind of gets away from me in that aspect. I don’t know if it is more that I want to spend that time hanging out with the family, or that my husband, who works out of town during the week is home, so we cook bigger more elaborate meals and make more dishes. It’s probably a combination of the two.

My goal for the rest of this week and through the weekend is to keep up with my dishes. I will strive to put them in the dishwasher as soon as a meal is over, to run the dishwasher when it is full, and get the clean ones put away promptly so there is room for the next set of dirties, and to go to bed with a clean kitchen counter.


Thursday, June 25, 2009

I did it!

Two of the things that often cause my downfall are perfectionism and procrastination. They go hand in hand. I tend to be a perfectionist, which at first look doesn’t seem plausible, but my perfectionism leads to my procrastination. I can’t do the job completely, it seems too daunting to start, I only have a short amount of time and I tell myself it isn’t worth starting if I can’t finish.

I have to work hard to keep myself from falling into that trap too often. If I let things get too far behind then it will feel overwhelming so I don’t start. One of my goals is to do something each day, even if it is something small.

Yesterday I only got one thing done, I cleaned out my purse. Boy did it need it. It would be easy to fall into the trap of thinking it wasn’t enough, it was such a small thing that it hardly counts, but it does. Every accomplishment toward your goal is an accomplishment. Big or small doesn’t matter when you can say, “I did it!”

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Feeling overwhelmed

I mentioned briefly in my first post that one of the reasons I was feeling the pull toward a more simple life was from the past two years of my youngest sons medical issues. If I told the whole story it would take way to long for anyone to want to read, so I'll try to condense as much as I can in order to explain why this contributes to my longing.

My youngest was adopted just over two years ago from China. He was a 'waiting child', meaning that he had some kind of special need. He was born with spina bifida. Since he has been home he has had two spinal cord detether surgeries, a shunt placed for hydrocephalus and a split tendon transfer on one ankle. These things, really haven't been an issue. It has been the previously undiagnosed things that have been much more difficult to adjust too. After he'd been home around 6 months he was diagnosed with Narcolepsy, one of the main hallmarks of that condition is excessive daytime sleepiness. He will fall asleep at anytime and any place. When his brain says sleep, he will, and there isn't much you can do to stop it. He also was diagnosed with a Sensory Processing Disorder. SPD can take on so many different symptoms in a child. One thing for him is auditory defensiveness. If you are in the grocery store and see a friend that you want to visit with, you can tune out all the other noises and focus on your friends words. For my son, every sound will go into his brain and be processed with the same importance. He will hear the squeaky cart going down the next aisle, the special sale on apples over the intercom, maybe even the buzz of the florescent lights as well as the words of the friend. For him, most public places have felt like he was at a rock concert for him. He has improved greatly, and even survived a trip to a busy pizza place with friends last night with only minimal frustration. For him, when there is too much sensory input, he will get overwhelmed and feel threatened then go into fight or flight mode. Needless to say, a lot of busy public places have been difficult. He has learned how to cope in many situations, but there are still some that we just avoid because it isn't worth the risk of a meltdown.

How does this contribute to my tug toward a simpler lifestyle? We chose to not do many things, and not go to many different places because we knew it would be overwhelming. You know what? Most of those busy things, I really haven't missed.

So, my question for myself is, if I can survive without those things in my life, what else can I survive without?

I just searched through my book shelf to find "Celebration of Discipline" by Richard J. Foster. I read it years ago one summer in college at a bible study and wanted to reread the chapter on Simplicity.

"The Christian Discipline of simplicity is an inward reality that results in an outward life-style." He goes on to say that having the outward life-style without the inward discipline it leads to legalism. I can see how this could so easily happen. I don't just want to have a clean house or an orderly house. I want a simpler lifestyle. I want to be happy with what God has given me. I want to be a good steward of the gifts He has granted me.

Our culture worries more about what you have, how good of a job you have, what kind of vehicle you drive, how big, or what neighborhood you live in. As we gear up to move to a larger metropolitan area, this has been on my mind quite a bit. How can I help protect myself and my family from getting even more into the 'stuff' culture.

Foster also says "It is time we awaken to the fact that conformity to a sick society is to be sick." I don't want to be sick. I don't want to conform to that society.

As I work toward an outwardly simple life, I must work even harder on the spiritual discipline of contentment and simplicity.


Stretching me

I am a messy. I admit it. I always have been it seems like. My mom is the total opposite, she is a clean freak. I don't know if my messy tendencies have anything to do with that or not, but I'm tired of it.

Our house is on the market, so therefore it has been a HUGE job to get things ready to sell. Its all about staging, and in reality, tricking the potential buyer to thinking you have more space than you do. That or I just had way too much stuff. Probably the latter.

I have spent months decluttering. With everything I come across I ask myself. "Is this worth paying money to move?" If the answer is yes, then it needs to find a home in my house, if the answer is no, then trash or to Goodwill it goes. I've lost track of how many van loads I've taken to Goodwill in the last couple of months. The scary thing is, that there is still so many things that I really don't need. Now that the house looks good, I've started going through closets and drawers and getting rid of more junk . . . I mean, good useful things that I really don't need and can easily live without . . . no, I really mean junk.
Here is a picture diary of one afternoon of my work. I never thought I would say this, me . . . the messy . . . but I actually enjoyed the process. Even more than the process, I LOVED the end product.

Corner kitchen cabinet before:

Can you believe all this stuff came off of that top shelf?

What was left on the top shelf. All of the cake decorating stuff, food coloring, sprinkles etc. are in the tub.

Look at all those cookie cutters. I make cut out sugar cookies only sometimes on holidays.
The holiday cutters I kept are in the tub on the left, the small Gladware container houses the thermometers for when the kids get sick.
Drum roll please . . .
Here is that same stuffed full and overflowing cabinet after:

We had so many medicines and vitamins that were all over the place. Now, on the middle shelf in the white tub are all the cold medicines. It is now easy to just pull that tub out when it is needed. The green tub holds the boys medicines and vitamins that they use on a daily basis. I can pull that tub out and fill their daily pill boxes each week.
On the bottom shelf I have, sorted into bins, the medicines and vitamins that we use on a more regular basis. All easily accessible and visible.

Longing for simplicity

Recently I have felt a tug toward living a more simple life. I don't know how much of this tug is God wanting me to grow more and teach me something, because of the current economy, because we are trying to sell our house, or because of the last two years of medical issues with my youngest son.

Either way, I feel a pull to live a less hectic life, to rely less on stuff and more on God.

I started this blog as a way to chronicle my journey as well as to keep me accountable. I figure even if only one person ends up reading this, it will help keep me going as I move forward in this personal and family journey.