Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Bad Moods

Today I was in a foul mood. I think part of it was a lack of sleep. Last night I had my sleep test at the hospital and had a hard time sleeping. Every time I'd start to fall asleep my body would jerk and wake me up. This morning when I left the hospital around 6:15 I really wanted to come home and go straight to bed, instead I had to jump in the shower to get ready to go to work. I'll be picking gunk out of my hair for the several days from where they had the wires stuck to my head.

I think another part of it is hormones. I'll be getting my "visitor" any day now.

Regardless, I hate being moody. I am a person that loves to laugh and I truly believe it takes more energy to grouchy and angry. That said - after all the energy I've spent being moody I am very exhausted!

I think I will go lay down with my 6-year old and have her read me bible stories for the a while.

I'll come back tomorrow - when I'm hopefully in a MUCH better mood. : )

Friday, March 27, 2009

Aluminum Foil

A few days ago I posted a tip I got out of the April 14th edition of Woman’s Day. The tip was to put a ball of aluminum foil in the dryer instead of softener sheets, this is supposed to keep clothes from getting static cling. Elizabeth from Small Town Blessings asked it this was a fire hazard (since foil cannot be put in the microwave, is it

According to what I have found it is not a fire hazard. The reason it differs from a microwave is that a microwave gives radiant heat – so that it can cook, since a dryer has blowing heat & NOT radiant heat an aluminum foil ball is very safe.

I actually have did a search just to see what other websites recommend a foil ball instead of dryer sheets. I also found some other cool aluminum foil tips (including using foil for hair curlers! Who thought?!?!). Here’s just a few sites I found. Check them out!




Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Weekend Getaway

Next weekend we are going out of town to the Twin Cities. It is a long overdue trip & we will celebrate April’s birthday by going to Nickelodeon Universe while we are there. A lot of times these kinds of trips stress me out because they always cost a lot of money. You have the hotel charges, the cost of gas, eating meals out, & of course any souvenirs or unexpected expenses.

The first thing we tried to do was get a good deal on a hotel. We checked out all different travel sites & even tried calling a couple hotels directly to see if they could do any better than the prices quoted online. We ended up booking 2 nights at a hotel in Bloomington. Since we are going to the Mall of America we wanted a hotel that was close by, figured it might save a little in gas & time than if we stayed actually in Minneapolis & had to find our way around. Our hotel cost us exactly $80 per night. This also includes continental breakfast (which we figure we’d pay at least $20 for breakfast if we went out), a pool, & exercise room. April is very excited about the trip & especially the pool at the hotel. Not me, I may have lost a few pounds but it’s no where near enough to justify me greasing myself just so I can squeeze into a strip of spandex.

Of course I have already scoped out & printed coupons that I have found online for Nickelodeon Universe & other shops that we know we want to hit. I also have received the travel brochure that has a sticker that you can wear to get discounts. I will make sure to bring a larger purse when we go to the mall so I can bring some snacks & a couple bottles of water – which will probably save us at least another $25.

Planning for snacks seems to be a big theme for trips. This is often where a good portion of $$ goes & you won’t even have anything to show for it! Since April has always been a ‘snacker’ I am very accustomed to always making sure I have snacks. (I even do this if we are just running errands for a couple hours.) I will make trip to the grocery store a couple days before we leave so I can pick up groceries so we have plenty of snack options. I also want to make sure we have bottled water & soda in our room so the vending machines don’t take money.

The gas alone will be about ½ of what we paid last year to go up to the Twin Cities. That price decline is a huge relief!
What are things that you do on vacations/trips to save some money?

Sunday, March 22, 2009

This last week I have been very bad at updating my blog. Sometimes I just can't think of things to say. But this last week the reason was mostly because my daughter has been sick. She has to poop (sorry!) about every other hour. Sometimes it just feels like it and nothing happens. She's been getting stomach cramps when she feel she has to go also. We sent her to school 2 days last week, we got calls from the school that she had an accident & we had to pick her up. Poor girl. It's been 9 days of this going on. If it still continues tomorrow we are supposed to take a stool sample up to the hospital for testing. So today I picked up some rubber gloves, just in case.

I received my new Woman's Day magazine last week. I was skimming through it and saw a tip that I thought was very interesting. The tip was to use a ball of aluminum foil instead of fabric softener to help prevent static. How crazy is that??? I wonder how well that works. Have any of you tried it?? I wonder if you can use it indefinitely, or how often it needs to be replaced. Think of all the money you could save with this tip!! I'll have to try it and let you all know how it works. : )

Weekly Menu

Sunday - green chile pork
Monday - bbq pork (with leftover pork from Sunday), coleslaw
Tuesday - Steaks, leftover coleslaw
Wednesday - Spinach salad (with leftover steak)
Thursday - Parmesan chicken with multi-grain pasta,
Friday - Homemade pizza
Saturday - not sure

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Bargain at Walmart

Tonight April wanted to go to Wal-mart to buy something with her tooth fairy and allowance money. Before we left I dug through some of my coupons that were going to expire that I wanted to use up. I didn't get lots, but I did get things that I use.

So here is the cost breakdown:

Exedrin $1.57 (after $2 coupon)

Clean & Clear moisurizer $2.16 (after $3 coupon)

2 packages of Carefree pantiliners FREE (after 2 - $1 coupons)

Kotex pantiliners FREE (after $1 coupon)

So my total shopping trip cost me $3.73. Not too bad!

Monday, March 16, 2009

March's food budget and weight update

This month is not going to be good on the budget. Last week I spent $45 of my monthly $120 allotment. This weekend I ordered the regular Angel Food box and the produce box, which was $52. So I now have $23 remaining (eek!!). Hopefully I won't have to buy much, other than milk to get us through the remainder of this month. We still have 2 weeks left of the month. I know we won't have to buy meat, eggs, or cereal.

So far I have lost 7 pounds!! That is definitely very motivational for me. I'm starting to feel a difference in the way some of my clothes fit and how I feel overall. I have a little more energy and am able to stay up a little later at night. I've been working on limiting the diet coke as well and have been drinking mostly water, which I am actually starting to prefer.

Here's a tip: To get myself to drink more water I actually prefer it to be room temperature. I notice that I tend to drink it more quickly than I do if it's cold.

Weekly Menu

After taking a week off from menu planning to get used to the new diet the doctor has recommended I have decided it's time to get back into planning mode. I feel like I have a little bit more of an idea of the things I can eat and the things I should stay away from - which should make menu planning easier.

Monday - frozen pizza, salad
Tuesday - chicken breasts, leftover sweet potato, salad
Wednesday - omelets
Thursday - pork chops, lentils
Friday - steaks, salad

I've been eating a lot of salad. I like salad and can put meat into it to get my protein. I don't mind meat so much if it's put into salad.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

I'm waiting for it to fall off.......

This week has consisted of nothing. I mean, there's been stuff. But nothing exciting. Not that it is bad to have nothing exciting. It's just sometimes we could use a little more excitement. I am really looking forward to this weekend though. I am going scrapbooking Saturday with a my friend, Angela. I can't wait! I have scrapbooked since October and when I went did then it was to make a baby album for my friend who had the baby back in November. And before I guess I don't remember when it was that I actually worked on MY albums. So it's a rare treat for me to get to do this. I am very excited.

The 'diet' is going well. I haven't had a single potato, noodle, grain of rice, or pastry of any type since last Thursday. And I have been on the treadmill 3 nights this week so far. I have lost 4 pounds so far. Which is really good. The doctor has said it would be good to follow something along the lines of the "South Beach Diet". So that's kind of what I've been using as a guideline. According to that book I could lose anywhere from 7-13 pounds. Which would be awesome. I am one of those people who needs quick results or I can't stick with it. The words the doctor used was that if I "follow this diet the weight will just fall off" I keep expecting to look behind me an see a butt cheek laying on the ground. : )

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Sisterhood Award

Last week I received the "Sisterhood Award" from Jessica. How awesome is that?!?! There is nothing that makes your day more than receiving an award for your blog. Seriously! (Thank you Jessica!)
So I need to pass this on to the people whose blogs I love to read. So I choose............................
1. Miriam - she makes me laugh. Especially the posts from when she stayed at her sister's house and watched her neice & nephew. Miriam has great ideas & I look forward to reading her blog each day to see what's going on in her world. (And she makes awesome looking cakes!)
2. Elizabeth - she is a wonderful mom and someone that seems like she would be a lot of fun to be around. I love reading Elizabeth's blog to see what she & her family are up to.
3. Heather - I love Heather's blog! She is funny and straight to the point. She tells it like it is and has awesome tips for saving money. And she's an organizational genius!
Thanks again Jessica!
Now here's what you do when you receive this.
1. Display this award on your blog.
2. Leave a comment to those you gave it to , letting them know they have it.
3. Link back to the person who gave it to you.
4. Pass it on to 10 or fewer bloggers who you think demonstrate great attitude and/or gratitude.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Expensive Grocery Shopping & Short Fuses

So. I made my first shopping spree since the doc put me on this "diet". I thought I'd hit the store after 8pm since that is when they mark down all the deli meat by 50%. Unfortunately for some reason when I got there (around 8:10) they hadn't marked down any of it. They will also usually announce the markdown over the loud speaker, that didn't happen the entire time I was there. So I ended up spending $45 on groceries. I did get quite a bit, but the disappointment of no markdowns is hampering the experience.

I don't know how this change in "diet" will effect the menu overall. I fully expected to spend quite a bit this time and do feel pretty confident in the choices I will have to eat. I know that I was already needing a little variety in the foods I was eating. I'm hoping to check out some websites tomorrow for some recipes to try out.

When I got home from shopping I was carrying the bags into the house. I try to use reusable bags and I had 2 of those & 2 plastic bags. Of course they packed the reusable bags so heavy that I could barely carry them. But I was determined to get them in one trip and not have to go back out to the car. When I got to the door I lightly kicked it so Layne or April would open the door and help me. Layne did come and open the door. Then he WATCHED me waddle with the bags like some kind of pack mule into the kitchen and set them on the floor. Then I started to put the stuff from the bags away......while he WATCHED. I was getting really angry. I mumbled something about "that's fine just stand there and I'll do everything". He asked what and I told him nothing. I need to remember that men aren't always as smart as women and that unlike women they don't always offer to help when a person looks like they may need it. : )

Okay, that's my little childish dig. I feel so much better already!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Weekly Happenings

April got sick Wednesday night. Not the throw-up kind - thank goodness. She started running a fever and that continued through Friday night. Friday night the fever finally went away. Then she had 1 bout of diahrrea on Saturday. I was waiting for more to come but it never did. After that she was back to her sassy normal self.

My neice was at my Mom's house for the day & was spending the night. Since April was back to normal we went down and spent an hour there. They had wanted to play but the hour ended up consisting of me reading to my neice and April reading to my mom. Afterwards we went out for supper. It was nice to get out of the house - even if it was for only 2 hours!

Since most of the week consisted of nothing but work and taking care of a sick child I really don't have much to blog about. Oh - except that I may need to revisit my $30 a week budget. I had a follow-up appointment with my doctor and he put me on a low carb, low glycemic index diet. Hopefully it won't be too bad. To be honest I'm not much of a meat eater. I like meat in recipes, but not just a bit slab of flesh on my plate. So if you have any recipes for low carb recipes let me know & I'll give you my email address!!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Spring Cleaning Recipes

This time of year everyone starts to get spring fever. We've been cooped up in the house for a few months while the snow and temperatures continued to drop. Now that we've actually had a few days with the temps above 32 we start to get antsy and want it to get warmer. I personally have spring fever (although I don't look forward to the heat & humidity of the midwest summers). I want to be able to open the windows and let some fresh air in.

Still, while it's not warm enough to do that now there are things I can do to start getting ready for the cleaning rituals of spring. I can get my cleaners made and have them on standby. For each of these cleaners make sure you have a clean spray bottle. I also suggest marking on the bottle what the ingredients are so you don't accidentally add something that could cause a chemical reaction.

These cleaning solutions are incredibly easy to make and are very budget-friendly. The best part is that you know what is in them and there aren't a bunch of crazy chemicals!

Floor/Woodwork Cleaner
1/2 c. ammonia
1/3 c. vinegar
2 Tbsp baking soda
1 gallon water

Multipurpose Cleaning Solution
2 c. rubbing alcohol
1 Tbsp ammonia
1 Tbsp dish soap
2 qt water

Furniture Polish
Combine 1 part lemon juice with 2 parts vegetable oil (How easy is that?!?!)

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Crockpot Meals

One of the kitchen appliances that I really should use more often is my crock pot. It truly makes food taste wonderful with little effort and you can use it to make most anything. I was having an email conversation with one of my friends today and we were discussing how we really should make more use of our crockpot. It can make ordinary ingredients taste like something special. And the meals are ready when you get home from work - no more having to spend 30-60 minutes cooking each night!

Yesterday I knew my dad and youngest (half) brother were going to be stopping by. My dad lives by himself and probably doesn't cook "meals" frequently. My brother lives with his mom who is absolutely worthless in the kitchen - and that's being nice. Seriously. The only thing she's good at is reproducing and ............ okay, nevermind. ANYWAY, they never get real meals so when they are stopping by I like to have a home-cooked meal for them. Yesterday we had boneless, skinless chicken breasts; potatoes; and carrots in the crock pot - we also had some frozen corn and breadsticks. The meal honestly took me about 10 minutes of actual work before I left for my job in the morning. When I got home from work everything but the corn and breadsticks were ready. You have to love a meal like that!

So I am curious ................. what are you're "go-to" crock pot meals? What do you throw in there at the last minute when you're desparate and don't want to spend a lot of time cooking?

Monday, March 2, 2009

Job Loss

In September 2004 I had loss a job that I had been at for over 9 years. Even though there had been talk for months about job loss and it had even happened to other people out there I never thought it would actually happen to me. I was lucky and received a good severance package and found a job right when the severance pay ran out.

I was at that job for 2 1/2 years when they announced the plant was closing. I started putting out my resume right away and interviewed at 3 places right away. Of those 3 interviews I was offered 2 of the jobs. I went with the one that felt right in my gut, it didn't pay as much and wasn't as glamorous but something about it just felt like it was the one.

I was lucky. Both times I lost a job I was fortunate enough to find something within a week of beginning my search. Right now there are so many others that are not that fortunate. People are losing their jobs in record numbers, with that job loss comes stress, depression, and a loss of self. Often times people come to define themselves by the job they have. When they lose that job they aren't sure how they fit into the picture anymore. Job loss often causes loss of insurance, etc and may cause a snowball effect.

Many people, like myself, are in the process of paying off credit card debt. While paying off the debt is important, during these times it's actually more important to build up an emergency fund. If you were to lose your job you can negotiate terms with the insurance company. However your mortgage company, utility company, etc may not be as understanding. This isn't to say they don't care, just that in some places the number of people losing jobs is so huge that they many not be able to give you a discounted rate. If you have an emergency fund you will be able to buy food, medicines if necessary, pay utilities, etc.

Right now the most important thing we can do is to save what we can, be mindful of waste, and most importantly say a prayer for everyone affected by job loss and the down-turn in the economy right now.

Weekly Menu

Sunday I made a ham that my husband had received from the company he works for around Christmastime. April and I love ham! Layne? Yeah, not so much. The best part about ham is the leftovers. You know - the ham and bean soup, scalloped potatoes and ham, ham sandwiches, etc. BUT since Layne isn't big on leftovers I did freeze most of them to use later in smaller batches later.
Monday - leftover ham, mashed potatoes with gravy, mixed veggies
Tuesday - either chicken and dumplings or crockpot chicken with potatoes, carrots, etc.
Wednesday - not sure yet, something quick cause we have church Wednesday night
Thursday - steak, baked potatoes, steamed broccoli
Friday - cheesey hamburger and macaroni
Saturday - leftover steak, pan fried potatoes with onions