Search & Win

Thursday, April 29, 2010

ABC Get To Know Me!

This is called the ABC's of me. How could I possibly pass on the chance to answer questions about myself!

A. Addiction: Redline energy drinks or's a hard choice.

B. Bed size: Queen, though some nights I wish it could adjust larger.

C. Chore I hate: worst? Cleaning in general.

D. Dog or Cat?: Cat. though I do also love Dogs.

E. Essential part of my day: Breakfast. Without it, I am lost.

F. Favorite Animal: I don't really have a favorite...when I was a kid though, I loved Zebras because they came at the end of the alphabet and I thought for sure that due to that, no one paid attention to them.

G. Gold or Silver: Silver, I tend to look sickly in gold.

H. Height: 5'3" Yup, I'm a shorty.

I. Instrument I wish I could play: Guitar, than our guitar sitting around wouldn't be so pointless.

J. Job: Wife and Mom extraordinaire

K. Kids: 1 little girl

L. Living Arrangements: Own home in a suburb (almost too far out to call it that)

M. Mom's Name: Pam

N. Nickname: Sapphire, was my name as a camp counselor

O. Overnight Hospital Stay: I think only with the birth of my child.

P. Pet Peeve: When my husband doesn't look around for something that is within 3 feet of him.

Q. Quote from a movie: can't think of one.


S. SIBLINGS: technically 2 brothers and 3 sisters, but only one of each are actually in my life.

T. TV Shows:Uh...I don't really get to watch tv.

U. Underwear: What about them?

V. Vacation I am dreaming of: Ireland

W. Why I am always late: I have a toddler.

X. X-ray: Had them on my back a few times.

Y. Yummiest food the hubby makes: Sweet and Sour Meatballs from scratch (I promise I will try to post that recipe soon)

Z. Zodiac sign: Libra

So now that we have established how much I rock, what are the ABC's of you?

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Wordless Wednesday With A Twist

It appears as though I was "Photo Tagged" by MN Small Town Mom.

So here are the rules to play along:

1) Go to your photo files, select the 8Th photo folder.

2) Select the 8Th photo in that folder.

3) Post that photo along with the story behind it

4) Then challenge 8 blogging friends to do the same!

Now, I don't have an 8th photo folder, in fact most of my photos are actually backed up on discs in my firebox. So, I did this by going to the 8th created album of mine on Facebook and chose the 8th photo, hope you don't mind.

This was my wedding day. This is my husband and Mother in law dancing for their "Mother-Son Dance". We chose the song "Than They Do" by Trace Adkins...I'm pretty sure this is just before MIL started tearing up.

Now to tag 8 people...
1. My Tots Exactly
2. Rational Mind of a Crazy Woman
3. How could You Not?
4. Piggy Bank Dating
5. The Happy Atheist Homemaker
6. Hearts Make Families
7. Work, Wife,!
8. Loving and Living in TX

If I didn't tag you and you'd like to join, please, feel free to leave a comment and let me know to check out yours.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Together Tuesdays

I am working on a new feature, that I call Together Tuesdays.

I am looking at life, and so many are getting married, which is wonderful and exciting. When I was planning my wedding, it was not unheard of for weddings to breech the $10,000 mark after all said and done. So I would like to share with you how we kept our wedding down to about $2500 or less.

Our first feature is about the Dress. dress was one of the most expensive parts of my wedding. My husband proposed 2 Octobers ago now, and we married last September. I began looking at dresses in February. I ended that same day. I went down to David's Bridal after hearing too many of their "$99 sale" ads.

I asked to see some of these dresses that were so cheap...but I am bigger, and they claimed that they didn't have any in my size...I still don't know to this day if they did. They brought me some truly ugly dresses. One had a giant bow on the butt and looked like they have been trying to sell it since the 1980's! Another looked fabulous-on the model in the picture of it-on me, however, it made me look even shorter than I am.

The manager than brought one and I fell in love. It was a $1200 dress marked down to $600.

We used layaway. One thing I will say is that everyone will offer you credit cards to pay for your wedding. DO NOT DO IT! Either save up, put it on layaway, or don't get it. I have never heard of someone that was happy still paying off their wedding years after the fact.

Try consignment shops and thrift stores-I have seen so many different dresses there. There is also a non profit, Brides Against Breast Cancer, if they come to your area with their donated dresses, please consider trying them. All their profits go to breast cancer research.

Also, a bit of advice from my sister is to start asking questions, how much to alter this; What is the designer and style number, etc. If they will not give you the information of the designer and style number/name-you can probably find it cheaper elsewhere!

What suggestions do you have for readers looking for wedding dresses?

Monday, April 26, 2010

Monday's Recipes- Cheese Balls

Have you ever been to a party and seen those awesome cute little cheese balls, then fell in love with the taste. Next you go to the grocery store and get all excited when you see them…and then looked at the price and put it back down. I have. Many a time. This last holiday season, despite the sales, I still could not bring myself to pay the price of those things, no matter how good it sounded.
So, I searched recipes and found this one. We all loved it, though it almost made TOO much for our small gathering of 5 adults and one toddler. It was my first time trying it though so we just used the leftovers through the week.
Here’s what I did:
2 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, softened(you can soften cream cheese either by leaving it out a few hours or microwaving it in small intervals)
1 (1 oz) package ranch dressing mix (dry)
2 ½ cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 ½ c chopped pecans
In medium size bowl, mash cream cheese. Mix dressing mix and cheddar cheese into cream cheese.
Shape into a ball.
Roll in nuts. Refrigerate covered for at least 2 hours, until ready to serve.
Don't forget about our SURPRISE Giveaway!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Sunday Goals

I am starting to get into a routine around here, which is nice, as it helps so much with getting things accomplished.

So last week's check in:
Blog Daily- I missed Friday, because it was such a busy day for me.
Exercise in some fashion each day- Check! The only week day I didn't make it to the gym was Wed, in which Lorelei and I went walking. Pretty awesome.
15 minutes each day cleaning SOMETHING in my house- I did most days, and got the hosue mostly cleaned up, at least decent enough to have people over
Try my best to get my darling daughter to STOP crawling out of her bed and stay in bed when we put her down for the night!!-this is still sucking. I wind up laying in the bedroom for up to half hour each night. If anyone has ideas that work, feel free to pass them on :D

This week's Goals:
Blog at least 6 days.
Work out each weekday.
Clean 15 min each day

What do you hope to accomplish this week?

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Saturday Fun

I take weekends off from working out. Some people go every other day, I like to go M-F, and spend weekends taking care of "business" with my husband.
That being said, I still am trying to watch what I eat and how much. I have never been so overweight as to really work hard to lose it all...and now I'm becoming almost obsessed. Ultimately, I want to lose a total of 50 lbs. I know that it will take a long time to do it the most healthy ways possible, but I'm okay with that, partially because I want to form healthy habits anyways.

Part of something I would like to do is to eat less red meat. We eat 3-5 red meats a week...usually ground beef. My eye opener is that my brother in law has been diagnosed with high cholesterol. I grew up primarily on ground beef though, so I ask you all, how do you eat frugally but healthy?

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Sam's Club, A day Trip

Let me start off by saying that we do NOT have a membership to any of those member's warehouse style places, currently. We had one for awhile and didn't use it enough to justify it.

When we were younger, my stepdad and his brother had a falling out. At that point, I lost contact with my cousins. Recently, we have slowly come into contact with them again, and Friday, I even went to work out with one of them.

I am rather enjoying having a work out buddy in my cousin. Not only is she awesome, but it pushes me harder. So today, while we were panting away on the elliptical, I mentioned that I had promised Mr Scratch that I would pick up steaks and we could use the grill tonight (Super Target has steak on sale for $1.99/lb!) She asked if I just wanted to go to Sam's Club with her, since she has a membership.

Although she forgot what she wanted, we got plenty there! Soil for my veggies, Ink for the printer (it equals out to at least 1 free cartridge!!!), A dress for DD, workout shorts for Mr Scratch, Some of the girl's favorite breakfast foods (that are so expensive elsewhere) and our steak. The steaks I got are enough to make not one, not two, but 6 meals for Mr Scratch and I, and I only paid $11 for the package! That's cheaper than ground beef around here!

I am very excited to get going on my veggies and see DD in that fun summer dress (a variety of clothes that she has none for this year until now)

Do you belong to a club? What makes it worth it for you?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

In honor of hearing about many recent births, I give you a photo of the day my daughter was born...that is my nephew with us, upon discovering that he couldn't be the "apple of Auntie's eye" anymore.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Container Gardens

I am majorly bummed about something.

Our plan for this year was to finish switching out appliances, as we have a nice stove and dryer in our back shed, than empty that shed and tear it down. Not only is this shed just worn out, but it is taking up precious space where I would like to put my garden in.

We're not going to make it. My very generous friend who will be helping Mr Scratch switch said appliances out, is extremely busy right now. Sucky, but understandable. So, our vegetables will cost a little more than I intended to grow, as we will have to do a container garden.

I would like to share our expenses and plans with you.

I would like to have 13 tomato plants, 6 jalepeno pepper plants and 6 bell pepper plants.

I was also given 4 cucumber plants by my neighbor.

We decided we didn't want to invest in expensive pots, just wanted the cheap nursery style pots.

I spent a night searching online for pots. It was beginning to look hopeless! Many of the websites, I would get excited, a 5 gallon pot would only be $1.50. So, I'd load up my 'basket' with everything we needed...and shipping would cost more than the products! The added shipping would make it more worthwhile to go to the hardware store or Walmart and just buy their cheapest pots and call it a day.

Than I found this website...Alternative Gardening

Their pots were cheap...and so was their shipping.

For a total of 28 pots, and shipping, we paid $57. Most other sites were around $100 or more!

So, we ordered them, and about 4 days later, they showed up.

Next was to figure out how much soil we needed...the answer? almost 400 gallons. I knew that was going to put a hole in my pocket!

After shopping around, we got it down to $38 for all that soil.

Everything else we need has been either given to us or reused from years past, so I don't tend to count those--afterall, if I use these 'new' pots next year for seedlings, I wouldn't count them towards my total spent towards gardening!

I will be lining the pots along my back fence, so they should be fun and decorative too!

How is your gardening coming along?

Monday, April 19, 2010

Monday’s Recipes: Slow Cooker Salsa Chicken

I absolutely love the concept of a slow cooker. I use mine as often as possible. When we know that we’re going to be out and busy most of the day, I usually try to plan a slow cooker meal. One of the favorites for my family is this salsa chicken. Even my toddler loves this.
So, how to make them…
4 chicken breasts
1 cup salsa (when I have my homemade, I prefer mine, but store bought will work)
1 package taco seasoning
1 can cream of mushroom soup
½ cup reduced fat sour cream
1 can black beans (drained)
Frozen corn
1 cup rice
2 cups water

Add chicken, salsa, taco seasoning, woup, sour cream, beans and corn to crock pot. Cook on low 6-8 hours.
Shred chicken (if you are looking for a product to make this easy, Pampered Chef sells a “Mix & Chop” for under $10, I have one and LOVE it), cook rice.
Add rice to crock pot when ready to serve.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Sunday Goals

I am sad to report back on my goals this week. Most of them, I didn't do as well as I wanted. But, I have very good reason.

I am a child abuse survivor. My abuser is my biological father. Until I was 18, I had a restraining order on him. I did not renew it, as I didn't have a "just" cause to do that. My half sister sent me a message on Tuesday. A friend of his was wondering if any of us kids wanted contact with him.

I went into a panic. I freaked about protecting my daughter. The abuse was so long ago now, that at least in my state, I would have to wait until he showed up and tried to do something to get a restraining order to protect my poor little girl. I started making phone calls and have the situation mostly resolved. Now I have to begin working on my end and heal mentally from the fear he unknowingly imposed on me. I also have found out that there is an apology letter sitting with his probation officer that he did in treatment. I haven't quite figured out if I want it for sure.

That being said, I am going to take it easy on myself these next few weeks, and mostly do some very basic goals, just to get my mental health up, stop looking over my shoulder and put myself back on track. I need my normalcy back!!!

So, Check in Time!!
Last Week's Goals:

Work out a minimum of 4 days
-I made it to the YMCA only 2 days this week-Wednesday and Friday. However, I didn't sit idle, so I am also counting the vigorous Wii playing on Monday (seriously, I think my heart rate was higher than when I use the treadmill!!), Tuesday, DD and I played outside a lot. Thursday, I had appointments, and yesterday I gardened a ton, with a special event today-Highway Cleanup with a local group!

Start Cleaning one room-
I totally missed out on this. My living room is cleaner, but it's my toddler's fault...and nothing is where it belongs that got "cleaned". She has a new obsession lately, to find bags, buckets or other containers and put things in them. And leave them there.

Blog Daily- I almost made this one! I missed yesterday because we were at my Mom's trying to fix the brakes...again!

More items out than in-consumables not included, 2 items came in- toilet cleaner and a broom (for outside), nothing but normal trash went out this week. However, this goal did prevent me at least from buying meaningless stuff.

Lay a minimum of 15 bricks for my garden's border- I slaughtered this goal. I not only laid 15 bricks-I laid the entire last 25 bricks, than went on to mulch the front garden!

This week's Goals:
Blog Daily

Exercise in some fashion each day
15 minutes each day cleaning SOMETHING in my house
Try my best to get my darling daughter to STOP crawling out of her bed and stay in bed when we put her down for the night!!

Also! Don't forget to enter the latest GIVEAWAY (for those that needed it, there has been a clarification made on the terminology of "Summer Foods" on the post itself!)

Saturday, April 17, 2010

In a Rut-Giveaway.

DH is bathing DD tonight (he usually does), and I got to thinking.

I fell off the meal-planning wagon for the last few weeks. I need to get back on, it is only leading to too many times of "I forgot to thaw something for dinner."

However, here is my biggest issue right now. It is spring. Does anyone else have this thing that when the winter months are over they want "summer food"?

I don't have very many summer recipes...really, especially not "frugal" ones. Most of them are like Stuffed Green Peppers, which I don't like to do so often because it's so much meat!

So, I would like to challenge my readers. My husband will eat nearly anything, as will my daughter.

Using either Chicken or Ground Beef (or no meat), what are your favorite summer dinners?

In fact, I'm not quite sure what I'll give away yet, but we'll make this a giveaway.

So, it's a surprise giveaway. Maybe a gift card, maybe a cookbook...maybe a recipe box and/or recipe cards, I don't know yet!

Here are the rules:

Your first entry must have:
A recipe for a summer food, this means no comfort type foods (like soups or casseroles) and your email address.

Bonus entries:
Each entry must be made into a separate comment to count.

1. You may post up to 3 total recipes for my family to try and each will be considered one entry (if posted seperately)
2. Post about this on your blog. Leave a link to your post.
3. Have 2 friends come by and say "_____" sent me (and post at least the mandatory entry)
4. Followers get a bonus entry, new or old, but you must post that comment as well.
5. Comment on any Monday Recipe post (only comments made after today will count)

To be counted, your comment must be posted by May 1st, 12:00 AM CST.

Good Luck!

****A clarification on "summer foods": In the summer, I tend to try to use my stove as little as possible, so I love to do salads (that can count as a dinner), and tend to gravitate towards a lot more "fresh" items. To me, soups and casseroles and "heavy foods" are great-for winter.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Mary, Mary How does your garden grow

Spring is springing in my area. As a child, this meant playing, as an adult, this is something totally different. I don't believe I ever noticed just how incredibly much green is out there!

We started today taking "death" out of my garden beds...and some life, in the form of weeds. So in the spirit, I wanted to take you on a small tour of the life I have planted in my yard since we have lived here...

Below are the iris bulbs I planted last fall. My neighbor showed up one day and said "do you want some Iris bulbs?" At the time, my MIL was in the process of losing her home-which she had spent 20 years landscaping. Purple irises are her favorite and she always planted them. So, I said yes, and planted them around for her.
This is just a SMALL amount, which borders my shed.

We also took much of her favorite and our favorite plants from the yard. Around the time my sister in law was born, she bought a hydrangea. Traditionally, these bloom either blue or pink. Last summer, we had balls of flowers in both colors on the same bush, we also had some that were half and half and even purple. So, of course, this bush had to come. If you look closely, the buds are starting. It was cut down for winter, as I was told to do, and I can't wait for it to start shooting up and get big again!

And here is a rosebush. I absolutely love roses, they are amongst my favorites. This is for my daughter though, whose middle name is Rose.

She also had a few fun hostas, here are a couple different varieties. I didn't know much about Hostas, and this is my first time experiencing them coming up. The more purple one we didn't think made it through the winter. However, we removed some dead leaves and there it was!

This is just a pile of SOME of the "branch-like" death we pulled out. We intend to set them aside for kindling for some fires this summer.

As you are about to notice, I rather like lilies. This is one of my five "Happy Return Lilies". They bloom all summer and just keep going.

We were given some Oriental Lilies as well, and those are shooting up, despite the fact that we had a hard time keeping them going last year.

One of my housewarming gifts was a few mint plants. I excitedly planted them...than learned they take over quickly. As each vine grows out, it roots down! These will be replaced in the garden with something else and moved into pots because I just don't want to fight them this year.

Day Lilies. I am not hugely fond of Day Lilies as they take a lot of space and each bloom only blooms for one day, I just haven't figured out what I would like there instead so they're staying for now.

And, last but not least, these are the seedlings I have started and am starting. Since the beginning of March, I have been rotating seedlings through that little greenhouse flat (which works awesome, it was only $5 at Wal-Mart too!) until they get too big for it, than they go in a larger pot with friends, and will be moved into the gardens when it's time.

Off the top of my head, there are marigolds, tomatoes, bell peppers, cucumbers, daisies, squash, canterbury bells, lavender and so much more!

What's sprouting up in your gardens?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

I have a confession...

I was not very frugal the other day.

My husband and I have been tossing back and forth the idea of purchasing a Wii, for about 6 months. We are not very big on gaming, like some are, but as an occasional form of entertainment, we love to game. We have 2 old Playstation 2s. But it just wasn't doing it for us anymore.

We did do it in the most frugal manner possible-we purchased used/refurbished from the gaming store.

I feel like I should explain...When we got our tax return, we bought a few things we needed-like a safety rail to convert our daughter's crib to a toddler bed. We bought a car recently, being as the need came up for it. Aside from that, our return was sitting in savings. My husband was unemployed at that time and has now been at his new job 2 weeks and is doing great there.

However, I won't pay $45 for a game. I limit myself to sub-$20 games only, or save up for awhile and purchase the expensive ones out of my fun money (which usually goes to "fun" necessities like if I find a shirt for my daughter that I absolutely love)

I will hang my head in shame now ;) and go play my Wii.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Monday's Recipes-Sausage N Peppers

This is another slow cooker favorite. It can be done as a very spicy dinner or very mild.
3 lbs Italian Sausage in casings (we buy it very hot)
3 cloves crushed garlic
2-3 red bell peppers and 2-3 yellow peppers (green, if cheaper or more in your budget are also acceptable to cover all peppers)
2 cans tomato sauce
1 can tomato paste
Italian seasonings
Cut links into approximate 3 inch chunks.
Brown in pan with olive oil, turn heat down, add rest of ingredients, slow cook at least 2 ½ hours (I have been known to just toss it all into the slow cooker uncooked and let it cook all day)
We usually serve this with noodles or rice.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Sunday Goals

This is the second week of our feature of listing our goals for the week and checking in on last week's goals.

Last Week's Goals

Make it to the YMCA-Everyday. Swim twice a week just me and DD, minimum 25 min on treadmill each day, plus muscular on non-swim days.
-I did fairly well on this. We did miss Monday, Wed, and Saturday. Monday was an exception on the basis that we spent Sunday overnight in the ER trying to find out why DD was screaming instead of sleeping. Wed just got too busy, I had an obligation at 1, and just couldn't make it that morning. Saturday was because we found it more important to fix the car. I am proud of myself on this though, as I pushed myself harder on the treadmill-and have lost 2 lbs since I began working out.
Not eat out.
-I failed this mission. DD and I had Burger King one day because of being out so much. We also ate at Subway after our work out today. Oops.
Blog Everyday.
-Mission Accomplished!
Clean a room in my house.
-Total failure, I forgot this goal!
Somehow, get rid of more items than come into my home.
-I did this!!! I tossed out a bunch of stuff, including some sheets from my husband's childhood, and only brought consumables into the house (I am not including the car parts...I see those as consumable at least to some degree)

This Week

Work out a minimum of 4 days

Start Cleaning one room

Blog Daily

More items out than in

Lay a minimum of 15 bricks for my garden's border.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Almost There!

If you look back to Sunday's post, you'll see this week's goals. I almost didn't post today, than remembered about that post...

If you recall, we purchased a used vehicle a week and half ago. It ran great on the test drive...and the owners chose not to divulge to us that it doesn't always start well.

I have put our daughter into her car seat and gone to start the car several times this week, only to have to flood it to get it going. My mechanic friend gave us some ideas of how to start off...first he wanted us to do a tune up (and while we were at it, we thought we might as well do an oil change).

Let me tell you--if you can learn to do these things on your own (or have a friend who will do them for you), you will save TONS! Our cars are somewhere where we buy quality parts not always the cheapest!

I do not know yet if my car is "fixed" because the problem only occurs on the first start up and is inconsistent. The inconsistency also makes it difficult to diagnose. However, here is the breakdown of price for everything we paid for for my car today.

5 quart jug of oil- $9.50
Oil Filter- $2.88
Rotor- $11.99
Distributor cap- $9.99
Spark Plugs (2 sets of two) $8.88 each (with the ones we purchased, we also should not need to purchase spark plugs for my car ever again)
Spark Plug wires- $32.99 (Lifetime guarantee too!)
Valve stem covers (discovered two were missing) $2.99
Lug Nuts (discovered one was missing) $5.99-they only came in a set of four, so we have three extra now.

The only thing that I paid extra for fun were is my valve stem covers-I paid an extra dollar to get colored metal ones vs the standard plastic.

So, today, my dad taught my husband how to do a tune-up. We found an old receipt from my husbands last tune up--he paid $60.00 just for the labor part, and each of his parts were more expensive!

My dad and husband got to create some new memories over my dad's favorite topic-cars, and we saved a decent chunk of change in car maintenance.

Next mission for the two of them? Fix my husband's breaks, starting with installing a new master cylinder.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Friday Follow.

Once again, I have hooked up with other blogs to do a Friday Follow. So, first I say, WELCOME, to each and every one of you!!

By now, if you're anything like me and my family, you're done working for the week and your brain has checked out, so if you're looking for a big in depth post, please look below.

A few things about us. We are a young family, learning to make it on our own with a little girl who is 18 months old. I am a stay at home mom for many reasons, one is the absolute joy I find in it, alongside the fact that the jobs I could "easily" get to contribute wouldn't even hardly cover the cost of child care in my area and expenses of me working.

So, to make it as a single income family, we try to live as frugally as we are comfortable with, including making things from scratch and other things. I love to share tips I find and use with anyone and everyone, as well as stories of our lives and pictures of my daughter.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Reading Frugally

Books are expensive.

Seriously, they have gotten ridiculous! Fortunately, I have a few suggestions for those like me who can devour a book a day if they are feeling like it.

Use Your Library This may seem obvious, but if it is a book that I do not intend to keep or read over and over again, my first stop is the library. My local library is really awesome about having many copies of most books in stock. Ours is a network throughout our county of approximately 8 or 9 libraries. If I want a book that is at the southernmost library and I'm live at the northernmost, I can request it right online and usually within 2 or 3 days, I get a notice right in my inbox online that it's there. Even better, they have movies there too! Some are free and others are a buck for 7 nights! That's better than redbox!

Buy at the Library! I have heard that library book sales are dependent on the library. Ours has a constant bin that you can go through at each branch. Books usually are as cheap as .25 or as expensive as 1.50. I have heard that some libraries save all the books up and once a year have a huge sale. Find out what yours does.

Borrow. I watch other avid readers' shelves and carefully borrow my books out as well. I keep a little note pad near my books stating who is borrowing what and go from there.

Bargain Books I absolutely love that Borders and Barnes and Noble each have Bargain books sections. I have found everything from children's books, to classics, to even some current fiction for real cheap prices there. This is a wonderful website. I have been on it for over a year now. What you do is gather all your books that you no longer want. Sign up for the website, and type in all of the isbn's. This will list them as available. When someone wants your book, you approve the request and depending on when you say you'll mail the book by, you have up to a week to mail it out. You do pay shipping (usually around 2.50 for Media Mail). When they mark the book received or if you use shipping confirmations, you get a credit. You than use your credit to order a book which will show up on your doorstep within a few weeks of ordering! You can also "purchase" credits for about 3.00. They have a bargain books area as well now, where you can pay with a credit as well as a little cash to get a brand new book from a warehouse.

Dollar Stores I have never had luck *yet* at finding books for myself at the dollar store. However, kids rarely care what the story is about, and so my daughter and nephew get tons of books from the dollar store and dollar sections of Target. They are cheap so that we simply can't care if they get destroyed-and slowly but surely, they do!

What do you do for inexpensive ways to read?

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Wordless Wednesday-

What did you put into my bath?!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Tuesday Giveaways

Unfortunately, I don't get a lot of giveaways that I enter. In my goal to unclutter, I only enter giveaways for things I really want in my home or would be awesome gifts.

STL Mommy is running one such giveaway that I'd love to win, or see one of my readers win. My daughter loves yogurt, and I'd love to let her try this new "Simply...Go-Gurt" and with it would come an etch-a-sketch and a little binder style book.

Enter Here...and tell them we sent you!

Monday, April 5, 2010

This Sucks.

I am so glad that I have posts written out for certain days. It has been hard for me today to get anything done.

Let's back way up...
Saturday evening, we brought the minivan we were borrowing/storing for my MIL down to her apartment. Now that we have my cute little car, we just had no room or desire for it. We wound up eating down there and sitting for a bit before coming home.

Now our daughter usually goes to bed about quarter to nine. That night, she didn't go to bed until at least 10 and didn't seem to settle down and fall asleep until 11. She still got up at her normal time. For two days now, she's been fussy.

Come last night, she slept an hour and somehow woke herself up and screamed and cried, writhed and wriggled all over me when I was holding her during it. Finally, I tried putting her back to bed. I decided that in 20 min, if she hadn't calmed, we were calling the nurse line through our clinic. Sure enough, 20 min later, I got her to stop screaming long enough to call the nurse and be told to take her to Emergency Room! By the time we got to the ER last night, it was just after midnight. I am used to the waiting room wait game at the ER. I have thrown my back out several times and had to go in.

We had no wait. We got there, the nurse line had given them a heads up, so they had a room ready for us. They took her vitals, gave her a teddy bear and tried to calm her. We did tummy x rays to make sure all was well. They did a catheter in case there was something the urine could tell us.

All came back fine. Her diagnosis: mild gas. Seriously?! I realize it could have been something life threatening but I had to keep her awake until 2 am for mild gas?

By the matter what time she goes to bed, she's up between 8 and 9. She woke me at about 9 this morning. Not horrible, I know, but not what we're used to!!

Monday’s Recipes: Enchiladas

My family absolutely loves Mexican food. My husband adores his family’s sour cream style enchiladas, however I am very much not fond of the flavor of those, therefore I tend to make these as a compromise.
6 tortillas (I like to have extra because it always seems that I have more filling than tortillas)
1 can diced tomatoes, drained
1 can black beans, drained
1 c shredded cheddar cheese
Enchilada Sauce (below)
Fill tortillas with beans, tomatoes and cheese
Roll and place in pan
Top with sauce than add more cheese
Bake at 350 until cheese is melted
Enchilada Sauce:
3 Tablespoons Vegetable oil
1 T flour
¼ c chili powder
2 c chicken stock
12 oz can tomato paste
1 t oregano
1 t ground cumin
½ t salt
In med saucepan, heat oil, add flour, smoothing and stirring with a wooden spoon.
Cook 1 minute and add chili powder and cook 30 seconds
Add Stock, tomato paste, oregano and cumin
Stir to combine
Bring to boil, reduce heat to low and cook 15 minutes. Sauce will thicken and smooth out. Adjust seasonings to taste.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

New Feature: Sunday Goals

Every Sunday, I find myself thinking of things I'd like to get done that week. I also find myself better at my goals if I tell others, of course, so I thought...why not blog them? Many of them relate to either frugality or bettering my life in some way. I wish to not only help people on the road to living more frugal lives, but also to help them live better lives.

So, Each Sunday, I hope to make a post detailing how I did on the previous week's goals and to set that week's. Obviously, this is just starting, and I can only remember some of the goals I thought of this week (hey, this has been a long long week for me!) and so I will recap those and set this week's!

Last Week
Begin some sort of exercise regime
Force myself to "bite the bullet" and meet with that Personal Trainer for free at the YMCA
Find a Car
Make it through Easter Alive

Well, I got my new car on Tuesday, which led to more ability to get out and exercise. So, Wed, I didn't make it out--I had to buy tabs and do so much stuff that by the time I was done, Honey was home and we had stuff to do together so no exercise.
Thursday, Friday and Saturday I exercised. Friday, I even met with the personal trainer. He did his tests and gave me a few goals, which I am going to start working on immediately. Ultimately, I would like to lose about 50 lbs. I know that that will take some work.
Making it through Easter Alive! Well, I did. Barely. Normally, it's seeing all that family and doing all that busy in one day that is just too much. Today, it wasn't that bad, honestly. It was the fact that my daughter was a cranky mess! The only time she was decent was playing with her cousin, really. Oh, and watching Tinkerbell with Grandma.

This Week
I have high hopes.

Make it to the YMCA-Everyday. Swim twice a week just me and DD, minimum 25 min on treadmill each day, plus muscular on non-swim days.
Not eat out. Life's been hectic lately and it's become too easy to eat McDonalds and the like.
Blog Everyday.
Clean a room in my house. It's all getting messy and cluttered again.
Somehow, get rid of more items than come into my home.

Of course, my daughter is not yet asleep which is odd and has me very worried that she is ill again which could throw any or all goals out the window.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Now Announcing...

The winner of my springtime giveaway.

Kimberly has been contacted through her blog and has 24 hours to respond before I go for another.

Keep your eyes open for another giveaway soon!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

April Fools Day

In honor of April Fools, I would like to tell you about some of the pranks that I have either witnessed or helped pull.

Before my dad could no longer work, he worked at a local auto parts store. It was only about a mile up the road. Often, a co-worker would pick him up, or Mom and him would do the shopping and than she'd drop him at work and run and get him.

One April Fool's day, she dropped him off, not even realizing the date. As he ended his shift, he called to remind her to come get him. She sent my brother out to start the van, as it was still cold that year, while she got her shoes and stuff on.
After a minute, he came running in. "MOM!" he hollered, worried sounding. "The van is gone." She thought my brother was messing with her, so she looked outside. Than she called Dad and told him. After playing along, about the time that Mom said she had to let him go so she could call the police, he finally said it..."April Fools, I had (coworker) run me home to get it on my lunch. I'll be home shortly"

It was than that we started planning the next year against him.

I am a recovering addict. I spent my sophomore year through senior year of high school in a sober school for others like me who carried the concern that I did-finishing my high school career staying sober, despite the desire to get high. Sober Schools, by nature are very small. At the time of our story we had approximately 10 students and 2 teachers. We also had open campus lunches. Often, I would bring a lunch, sit inside and eat it and than walk off school property to have a quick cigarette.

That years' April Fool's Day, I purposely did not bring a lunch. I went to the local McDonald's to eat and have my quick smoke. I needed Dad to see that I was definitely going off campus that day. About 20 minutes after lunch ended, I sat peacefully working on my schoolwork, at my desk, while 5 feet away, my teacher, Erick called my dad. He told him I didn't come back from lunch and that some kids saw me go off with some known druggies. He was able to act genuinely concerned about my well being. I managed not to laugh while Dad said he would call Mom and be to the school as fast as he could.

He did call Mom (who knew this was happening) and she kept a straight face. She said she couldn't leave work at that time and to keep her updated. She than called us and let us know that he had called.

We waited 5 more minutes before I called Dad back and asked what the date was. He, of course, was asking where I was. I persisted him to look at the calender, at which point he started laughing and admitted that we finally got him back for the crap he pulled on us.

What have been some of your favorite April Fools (or even everyday) pranks?