Thursday, October 30, 2008

Another successful grocery outing!

My schedule has been thrown off just a bit keeping Rachael this week. But, I wanted to report the grocery total for the next 2 weeks. I have in the budget $150. Well, last night we went (we...meaning hubby and kids!). Yes, I know...I was just asking for trouble taking the whole bunch! But, we did fairly well. The total was $150.27! This included all dinners, lunches, snacks and I started picking up baking supplies for the Holiday goodies that are going to be made. Now, there were some things slipped in the cream being one of them, but for the amount of groceries we got I am very pleased! We just shopped at Aldis this time...and I am so impressed I may do that from now on. Just stopping to get detergent and hygiene things at Wal-Mart. I cut down on the sweets and replaced it with extra sugar, flour, coconut, cocoa, vanilla and chocolate chips. This will be made into homemade goodies for consumption for now and for gifts at the Holidays.

I am starting to put together my Christmas list for goodies to be made. I am also still working on my homemade gifts. I promise I will post some pictures when complete! I know that this Christmas is going to be a very...very...very frugal one! My hopes is to have Christmas complete by the end of November! Fingers crossed!!

My Baby is 16 today!!

God has blessed me with my wonderful adorable son! He is 16!! Ugh! Just yesterday I was bringing him home! I don't feel that old! How is it the kids get older while we stay the same age?!

I am truly blessed with Trent! Even now in the teenager years, he is a good boy. Yes, there is the eye rolling and the occasional sassy mouth....and the dirty bedroom....but he is a awesome child! My baby is growing up! work that I no longer understand! Lol!

I am honored and blessed to be able to call myself his Mom!

Happy Birthday Trent!! I love you so much! And I am so proud of you!!!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Our first snow!!

Today we had our first snow! I can't remember it snowing this early in the year before....but I woke up this morning and there it was!
Trent still had school....which I heard whining all morning about how "unfair" it is to make them go to school while it's snowing! Lol! I am keeping Rachael(a friend's 3 year old daughter) this week and her and Autumn are running to the window every 5 seconds to see the snow!

After taking the kids to school, I made the girls pancakes and they sat and discussed the snow and what snowflakes must look like. So, as you can tell there is a buzz in air at the Moore home....the first snow has arrived!!

Celebration time!!! Matt's home!!

Saturday was the big day we got to see Matt; our nephew that just recently joined the Army. He had been gone for a while to complete his basic training and this was his first leave! It is still up in the air whether he will be home during the holidays, so his Mom and Dad (Jeff's brother) wanted to have a huge family get together. There was a ton of food! Lots of family and friends! And we were all so proud and brought to tears to see Matt!

I took so many pictures of him....I got "the look!"

Autumn wanted to look her very best for Matt!

I am so very proud of my nephew! Thanks Matt for serving our country!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Think outside the box!

I couldn't resist posting this picture of my little Tinker Bell from last year. We dress up to go to the church's Fall Festival.

She is into anything that is sparkly! Glitter is her best friend! The more it shines the better she likes it. She likes having her nails and toes painted. She is my little diva child!

This year, we have plans at my brother in laws home while the church is having it's Fall Festival.(We don't do Halloween) My nephew is in the army and this is his first leave since enlisting. We are having a good down home feast to celebrate!

I am hoping to catch the costume clearance sales and snag me some dress up Princess costumes for a good price for Christmas. I will let her have one now (if I find some at a good price)to dress up in so she won't totally miss out. I am also keeping my eye out in fabric and craft stores for sales in all things that sparkle so I can make some Christmas gifts. Now I didn't come up with the idea about buying Halloween costumes on clearance for Christmas presents (I'm not that creative! I tend to think inside the box! Something I'm trying to overcome!) but I thought this was an awesome idea for dress up whether it's for boys or girls. Just something to keep in mind while going after the Halloween Clearance can be more than just about the candy! (Did I just say that!)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Trying to keep the faith!

Mark 14:38 (NLT)

Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak!

Whew! Does this hit home!

Ephesians 4:23 (NLT)

Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes.

God is really working in my life. Sometimes it isn't very pleasant! I have really been hit hard on how much the world and people have influenced my life. I bought into the "More is better" and the "Happiness is stuff" mentality of the world. Our family lost our way and now we are paying dearly for it! Literally! We have debt that we should have never allowed ourselves to have! All to keep up, have fun, and to fit in! Hmmmmm, funny thing is....we never kept up, the fun didn't last, and we fit in only for a moment. Now we have massive debt and really nothing to show for it. Sad! Thankfully, God opened our eyes...even though it hurts, we are better for it. Nope! It's not fun! It hurts! And it is embarrassing! Your friends are going and doing and living the life you used to live and you say "no, we can't" way too many times. But, I have to keep reminding myself that God put in his Word that debt is bondage for a reason. Boy! Do I know that reason! I worry over the money, bills, and the "what ifs" in life. I let it crowd out my joy! I let it overshadow my blessings! It hangs over me in a cloud of depression! All because of this debt mess we have allowed ourselves to get into.

But, now let's look at the positive that this crisis has brought into my family's life! It has brought us closer! Closer to each other and closer to God! (sad that a crisis has to be what drew us closer!) It has made us stop to examine our life and our priorities and readjust them. We now appreciate what the Lord has given to us! We stop to enjoy all the blessings that we used to overlook.

As we walk through this fire that we created, my prayer is for the Lord to refine us! To weed out our heart and minds of all the unrighteousness. To keep our focus, thoughts and hearts on the Lord and not the world! And I hope to help friends and family to wake up to the deceit of the world that we got sucked into. I hope we can inspire them to become focused on God's way and not the world's way. This is a hard walk! I hate that it took this to wake us up....but I have to put my trust in the Lord and pray that He will give us strength and wisdom to get through this!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Cold Yard Sale!

We had decided to have another yard sale today. The rain cooperated and the skies cleared....we thought we were in good shape as we loaded up the van to drive to Jeff's place of business to hold our yard sale (we live in a rural area with not a lot of traffic). So, we got there and started setting up. The wind started blowing and our clear skies turned into a gray cloudy one. But, yet we continued to set up. We had a total of 4 people!!! No one was stopping! It was so cold that we spent most of the time huddled together in the van trying to stay warm! But, on the bright side, we made $27! Hey! That's $27 more than what we had! We packed up after 2 1/2 hours and made our way back home where I enjoyed a piping hot cup of coffee! I'm afraid that our yard sale Saturdays have drawn to a close with the cold weather setting in. I have had no response from any of my many evening job applications either. I guess the economy has slowed that down too. Ugh!
But, on the bright side, I love fall and the many colors it has to offer. I love the chill in the air (except during yard sales! Ha!). I love the warm stews and soups that now can be fixed. I just need to focus on my many blessings and not the negative stuff. So, with that said....I think I will go and enjoy another cup of hot coffee!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Why is it?!

Why is it every time you think you have a plan...or that you might be seeing some light at the end of the tunnel, something happens?!

Jeff got word today that his winter hours will be starting a month early! October will be the last month with overtime hours!! I'm trying hard to suck it up! I'm trying hard not to panic! I'm trying hard not to cry!! Ugh!

I am hanging on for dear life to the verse: I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me!

I'm trying to have faith and I am trying to be strong!! Okay....I just had to vent! I had to whine! I had to freak out before I go and pick up my son from school! Now I am putting on my brave face and trying to assure myself and my family that it will be okay.

Enjoying God!

I have noticed the wonderful colors starting to appear on the mountains here in Western North Carolina. Is God not awesome?! He created such breath taking beauty for us to enjoy! These are pictures from my front porch....

All of this beauty and I don't even have to leave my front porch! I'm trying to slow down and appreciate all that God has given me. How many times have I not looked at His beautiful and wonderous creations?! How many times have I let life distract me from this beauty?! Again, I have been distracted by the world and what it offers! I challenge myself every day now to slow down...look at the beauty of creation! Have you noticed the beauty in your husband's eyes as he looks at you? Have you heard your children's laughter...I mean REALLY heard their sweet giggles? Have you savored the loving hugs and kisses that come your way from your kids and hubby? Have you thought about the clean water that you drink? The food you eat? God has provided so much and created so much beauty for us to enjoy! May we all slow down and enjoy!

Psalm 34:1-3 NLT
I will praise the Lord at ALL times.
I will constantly speak His praises.
I will boast only in the Lord;
let all who are helpless take heart.
Come, let us tell of the Lord's greatness;
let us exalt His name together!

Bi-Weekly Shopping trip

Well, another grocery shopping trip has come and gone. I went over my budget of $150 by $.39! 39 cents over is not too bad...but when you consider Aldi was out milk and I was unable to get any, well, the overage is going to be around $5. I buy 2 gallons of milk and Aldi has milk around here for $1.99 each.
I have checked and rechecked my list and I have tried to figure out where to cut even more. We don't use a lot of meat....and have meals with no meat at all. I think the next step will be....I can't believe I'm saying this....the sweets! GULP! I am a chocolate addict! I mean... I am really a chocolate addict!! But, it is not a necessity. When times get have to cut until it hurts! Boy! is this going to hurt! I can save an average of $20. I usually buy 2 packs of cookies, granola bars, fruit bars, cereal, chips and cheese mind you all of this is bought at Aldi where not one is over $2, but it adds up. I am looking for cheap, home made recipes for these items this week. Can I beat the prices at Aldi making them home made? That is something else I'm going to check into...I would love your input! If anyone has any suggestions or recipes, please share with this sweet tooth, chocolate loving gal!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

A Heavy Heart!

A dear friend of mine has had a tragic accident in her family. Her daughter in law has been killed in a car accident and she does not yet know the condition of her son. Her and her husband are flying out to Kansas City to be with the family.
Marcia has been a blessing to me in my life and my heart is hurting for her and Bob. I pray their son will recover from his injuries and that their 3 granddaughters will still have their father! Marcia talked frequently of Tisha and I had only met her briefly while they were on vacation here in the mountains. But, I felt like I knew her through Marcia's words. I struggle with my thoughts of why this has happened; but I know that we are each held in God's hand and I need to place my trust in Him. Today I mourn for Tisha and pray for Marcia and Bob! I am praying that Bobby Jr's injuries are not serious and he will recover quickly and most of all that his 3 daughters will experience the indescribable peace that only God can give them during this time of loss!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Yom Kippur is at sundown!

Well, I must say that Rosh Hashannah was really a neat celebration. Of course, it did involve a lot of pastries! Yummy! But, the whole point of Rosh Hashannah was to reflect on your life, on your walk with the Lord and on the choices you have made! The things I saw was NOT pretty! I am embarrassed and ashamed, but I felt relieved that God had showed me things that I had denied or tried to cover up for so long! It was like a weight had been lifted!
Now at sundown, Yom Kippur begins. It is the day of Atonement, the most holy of days in the Jewish calender. Again, I'm not Jewish (except through my faith in Jesus Christ) but I felt lead to study and incorporate Jewish festivals in my family's life. Yom Kippur is a day of fasting and praying. I have low blood sugar, so complete fasting won't be an option for me. So, I am searching for something that I can fast that would be a sacrifice to give up....chocolate! Sugar! Yep, no sweets at all after sundown! No blogging or computer! And right now....I am saying no coffee! Ugh!!! Talking about PAIN and TORTURE!! This is my plan for myself tomorrow....raw fruit and water for breakfast, raw veggies and water for lunch and Dinner is after sundown so a normal dinner(Yom Kippur is from sundown Wednesday to sundown Thursday,24 hours). Tonight no eating after sundown...only water. During this time I will also try not to do any housework (except that which is necessary to take care of Autumn, she is 4 years old and will not be participating in the food fast!) and spend the day in prayer and the reading of God's word.
Trent is asking questions and is very interested in Yom Kippur, it is so cool to see your teenage son interested in the things of God!
Not as much fun as Rosh Hashannah, but I'm sure the Lord will show me even more during this time of fasting and prayer and I am looking forward to it (did I actually say that?!). Until then.....I am going to overdose on coffee where I will have enough in my system to get me through the next 24 hours of no warm caffeine goodness!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Monkey Munch!!

The banana bread turned out great yesterday! But, what I really want to share is the chocolate peanut buttery goodness of Monkey Munch!! I tried to take a picture, but with the powdered sugar, I think it was hard to distinguish what it was!
This is a simple and cheap sweet snack that makes a ton of the yummy goodies!

9 cups of Chex cereal (I use Aldi's brand rice chex for $1.69)
1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips (Aldi's brand $1.19)
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Place chocolate chips, peanut butter, butter in a microwavable bowl...microwave for 30 seconds, stir and repeat until melted and smooth.
Add vanilla and stir.
Pour over cereal while stirring.
Place in Ziploc freezer bag and add powdered sugar and shake until coated.
Spread out on wax paper and cool.
Keep refrigerated in airtight container for storage.

*Wendy's helpful hints*
I combine a little cereal and a little chocolate mixture at a time to coat instead of the whole cereal mixture at one time.
I microwave chocolate when it starts to harden with a 1/2 tsp. or less of oil and stir and continue to pour over cereal.
I seemed to mash my cereal a lot when I did it all at one time and I found it coats the cereal more evenly when done this way.

When cool, I separate in Ziploc snack bags and store for quick snacks. Yummy! Now, I need to go and wipe the powdered sugar from my keyboard from where I did a taste test!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Weekend update!

This weekend was a very busy one! We got up early on Saturday morning and we went to set up our yard sale. We have to go somewhere besides our house because we live in a very rural area. We set up outside of Jeff's work (permission was given!) and started the yard sale. We did okay....not as much as I would have liked. We didn't even make a $100. But, we did make some money. What was really sad was an elderly lady stole some belongings from us. She had a box of curtains in which I was selling and I guess she stuck some things under the curtains. She waited until I was busy and put the stuff in the car and then told Jeff she owed him $2.50. We had bagged up each individuals items so we knew exactly what was sold and what was not...well, we got to missing sweatshirts and jeans. Jeff asked if I sold them...I had not, and we concluded that this lady was the only one that neither of us had totaled up her items. It made me mad, but at the same time I have to think how desperate she had to be to steal from a yard sale! How sad! We packed up after 4 hours of selling and headed home. We arrived home and ate lunch and set out to Mom and Dad's to help them put new siding on one side of their house. We worked until dark and still didn't get it all done! We were exhausted!
On Sunday, we had church. Afterwards, we had to unload the van of yard sale stuff that was not sold and put away for a future yard sale (I am following Dave Ramsey's advise about selling so much stuff your kids grow nervous that they are next! Lol!). I made lunch and we took a long deserved nap! Weekends go by so fast! You blink and they are gone!
Today I am having to play catch up on housework and laundry from the weekend! I am hoping to be caught up enough to make some banana bread later this afternoon! Yummy! I guess I better stop and get busy or else I won't get my list completed! I hope everyone had a wonderful and blessed weekend! Happy Monday! Yes, that was sarcasm! Maybe with another cup of coffee and handful of M&Ms....but, I'm not holding my breath!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Already thinking Christmas!

Yep! I am making myself think Christmas! I have been making lists and checking it and Santa are very close! Lol! But seriously, I have been working on some Christmas projects.

What do you think?

First time....not too bad!

I have also been working on another project, but unfortunately I haven't gotten it completed yet. I just need to do a little more! But, I will post it soon.
One thing I have noticed is when you are trying to save money, you become tuned in to your creative side! Lol!

The focus in our family never really has been about gifts....well, in my immediate family that is. As a Christian, I try to celebrate the "true" meaning of Christmas, the birth of our Lord and Savior. However, I was watching the news one evening and they were discussing the fact that Christmas decorations were already being displayed in stores. The hopes of the stores is that the earlier you see these items, the earlier you will buy them. It all comes down to spending money. Sad! But, let me stop and say until recently I was right with the masses of consumption! I know I have mentioned before that I struggle with trying not to become materialistic. I have had my eyes opened to how greedy, self centered and world focused I have been and it's not pretty! I found myself following the world's idea that if I didn't own or have the newest or best that somehow I was less than those around me. Somehow I lost focus that it's not important how the world sees me, but how God sees me. I was NOT a good steward with my resources! But, with the Lord's help, that is changing! All of that said to say this....some of the best presents are not those bought in a store. Get in tuned with your creative side! I am sure that the person who receives it will appreciate the time and effort you took to make or bake their gifts. I hear my mind saying to me....not all people some of them will look down their noses, and if they do? If expensive presents or the amount of money is the most important thing to them....should we even have them in our lives? Just saying!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Low Rise Jeans!!! UGH!

Okay! Please allow me to vent about these ridiculous jeans! These jeans mock my body and all it's squishy parts! Once I had these jeans on, I thought that they looked pretty good. I was in style! I was pleased with my thrift store find. A pair of LEI jeans that looked hardly worn, they were dark blue with the appropriate faded areas and a flare leg and they were only $2!! I was pumped!
I couldn't wait to wear my freshly laundered jeans. I excitedly pulled them on and admired that I still fit (or so I thought) in a size 4. I looked hip! Well, as hip as a Mom age 39 with 2 kids could look anyhow. Then I went to take the load of kids to school (I drive my nieces and son to and from school). Once I sat in the van I noticed the horror!! The explosion of squishiness that spilled out over the top of my jeans! Ugh! I pulled at them trying to stuff it all back in but it was in vain! I then frantically pulled at my shirt to cover the mass of squishiness! Maybe I somehow put the jeans in a bind or twisted them when entering the van that caused them to fit differently (yes! when faced with the squish factor you try to rationalize things!). As the day continued I was constantly tugging, pulling and adjusting but to no avail! What kind of stinkin jeans were these?! Ugh!
I soon realized my age! I no longer had a firm tummy, two kids took care of that for me and I am not willing to be uncomfortable to be hip! So, where are the jeans you ask...well, yes, I will wear them again. No! I don't like to torture myself; however; I am a tight wad and the jeans were $2. So, they will be paired with a large shirt that covers the white, squishy mound of flesh that protrudes from them when sitting...or bending...or reaching....or MOVING!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Finding good deals is exhausting!

Not even a bag of miniature marshmallows could help!! Lol!

A successful grocery trip!

Okie Dokie! I'm back from my shopping trip. It took longer than usual because I surfed the clearance racks at Wal-Mart. But, here is my total....are you ready? $149.97! I was 3 cents under my budget!! Yea me!! Yes, it's the small things in my life! Lol! But, really I am very encouraged to hit under my budget this time because this trip had things that my future trips won't have. I had to get detergent, bleach, freezer bags and I got a $5 Christmas gift. So, I am hoping the next trip will be even lower than my $150 for 2 weeks. Jeff was saying that his winter hours will start soon; which means even a lower paycheck. Ugh!
Now I have had people (the mockers and nay sayers to living on a budget) say that I couldn't have possibly gotten enough food for 2 weeks (breakfast, lunch and dinner) for that amount. First, let me say that there are those that can feed more people for less than that! My heroes! But, here is pictures of my haul!

And another angle of my haul!

I know that you can't see a lot of the things clearly because they were stacked on each other; but this is just for you to get an idea of how much food there was. I have been told so many times how impossible it is to stick on a budget. It is hard! Trust me! I struggle everyday! But, you can eat well and live well without all the stuff! Something I wished I realized a lot sooner than I did! I could have saved us so much money!! I could have been debt free!! Ugh! I could kick myself!
There is lots of room for improvement and lots of tweaking that needs to be done to my budget, but I will NEVER EVER do without a budget again! (picturing "Gone with the Wind" while typing that! Lol!)