Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Trying to understand...

Do you ever wonder what in this world God is doing? Do you ever just see things happen and think to can this be allowed? Why is this happening? What are people thinking? Where is God in this?
I'm having so much trouble wrapping my mind around things that are happening right now. I know that God is in control! But, I just wish I just could see what He was doing and why He is doing it.
Okay...okay, I know...suck it up and have faith. Maybe that's what I'm supposed to be learning. Not understanding but trusting that my Lord is in total and complete control. He knows and that's all that matters. Who am I to question Him?!
Just wish that sometimes I could see the picture that He sees!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Patch Work

In the past, a hole in a pair of jeans meant that it was time to be either donated or trashed. My how times have changed! A hole in a pair of jeans can be patched so easily! No need to think tacky denim patches on the outside of the jeans (my daughter would be horrified to wear a pair of jeans with that!).
Just turn the jeans inside out...

Then cut to size the patch and place over the hole....

Then iron...

When turned back right side out, it looks worn, but no hole.

Now walking in stores you will notice that the "worn" look is really in right now. So, no worries there!
Then the pairs of jeans that are just beyond patching, I cut off and either make shorts or capris.

I just cut, then measure and make sure both sides are equal. Roll once, iron and roll again and iron. Then take and tack at the inseams and in the middle of the roll, but making sure you don't go all the way thru, just catch inside roll. This way no stitch work can be seen, but the roll will stay in place. There you go! Easy! I like this too, because I am in control of the length of the shorts! I try to dress my daughter modestly and in today's society sometimes it's difficult to find shorts that is a respectable length.
Another tip, is that if your kids outgrow the jeans or pants in length, but they still fit in the waist, convert them to shorts or capris. It also gives you options when shopping at GoodWill or thrift stores. Always think out of the box. Autumn can still fit into a 6 in the waist, but they are too short in length. If she needs shorts, I can snag some size 6 at GoodWill and convert to shorts.
You can also jazz the shorts or capris up...go to your local craft store and get some cute transfers and iron them on. A little creativity goes a long way!

A part of being frugal is making do with what you have. How much money I have wasted by throwing things away that could be patched, fixed or re-purposed.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Family Day Celebrating Trent's Graduation!

As most of you know, we are on an extremely tight budget. But, your son graduating doesn't come around very often. So, we packed up for a day trip. We went to Gatlinburg, Tennessee. We ate breakfast at home before the road trip and took some snacks with us to eat on the road.
Once down there, we walked around and saw the sights (cheap and fun). Trent has been wanting a Henna Tattoo, so he got one of those. Here's a quick early, after lunch but before dinner. You can get the "early bird" special. So, we ate around 3 and saved tons. Then they boys are big on racing go-carts. So, off to Nascar Park. Now, that could have been expensive, but we all agreed just 2 tracks a piece. Now, you may roll your eyes at that, but in the hot sun and standing in line for just those 2 tracks, my family was more than ready to go home. Something fun, but on the cheap! We had a great time! We laughed and just enjoyed being together and best of all....made memories!

Trent Graduates!!!

It's hard to believe that my Baby Boy has graduated high school! It seems like I just brought him home from the hospital! He has grown into a wonderful young man. When he graduated, he did so with Vocational Honors and Excellence in Technology Education. I am excited to see what the future holds for him.

But, on a completely selfish note...I don't want to let him go! I don't want him to be independent. I always want him here with me. I know I need to let go and let him be the man that God has called him to be. But, it's so hard to watch him grow up and start living his own life. I'm just praying that God will give me what I need to pull away and not be one of those smothering moms. I want to encourage him and support him, but not smother him.

So, while this is a's also, so difficult for me to process that my precious little boy has become a bright, handsome and Godly young man.
Yes, I am truly blessed! I am part of his part may be diminishing a little, but he will always be by precious Baby Boy!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Update on Life

Gosh, it's hard to believe that it's been almost 5 months since I have written on my blog! Wow!
Let's see, I have learned to do some canning!! I'm super excited! It's so easy y'all!! I can't believe that I was nervous over doing it! I made eight 8 oz. jars of strawberry jam! I can't wait to can some more! I do need to invest in some canning stuff, but I used regular stock pots and it worked out fine. You just make sure the jars do not rest on the bottom of the pot. I placed jar rings on the bottom and placed the jars on them to process. If you are nervous about trying...don't be!! I just followed the directions and went step by step and it worked out great!
I'm growing a bigger garden this year too. We worked really hard this spring clearing out a larger spot for the garden. Now, if my plants will cooperate and not die on me! Lol! My tomatoes are looking great, my cucumbers, squash and beans not so much.
On another note about veggies, we went to the Farmer's Market and I was amazed how much money you can save!! Soooo much cheaper than the grocery store!! The only draw back is that it's 30 minutes away.
We are still on a really tight budget...really tight! I won't go all into the financial stuff we have faced these past 6 months, but let me tell has been ROUGH! Wouldn't you know it, as soon as we completed Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University, things seemed to get worse! But, we are pressing on. Our emergency fund is gone, so we need to start all over on that. Ugh! I am struggling trying to figure out how to bring more money in. I even debated going back to work! I checked on summer and after school daycare...WOW! I wouldn't be bringing home more than I am now. It's crazy! I am praying that God will give me direction and wisdom! I'm so tired of being broke and in debt up to my eyeballs! Ugh!
I will try to do better in blogging. I can't believe that I have let it slip away like I have. I'm hoping to change that though!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Uses for White Vinegar!

Love, Love, Love White vinegar!! It has so many uses and it's CHEAP!! Lol! Yep, and we all know how cheap I am!
Vinegar can kill most mold, germs and bacteria because of it's acidity. It can be used to deodorize too. It can be used as a laundry booster, it makes the whites whiter and the colors brighter. It can also be used as a fabric softener.
You can pour it on weeds to kill them. Vinegar can deter ants too!
And did you know that white vinegar can remove hazy stains from inside of car windows. Speaking of can be diluted with water and used to clean windows.
It can tenderize meats, make the onion odor on your hands disappear and keep your eggs from cracking while boiling if you add a tablespoon to the water.
I have switched to using baking soda and vinegar cleaning my shower and tubs. Sprinkle the baking soda and spray vinegar on top and let it soak just for a 1 minute and scrub a little!! Clean and deodorized!!!
Give white vinegar a try! It's natural and cheap!!!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Fast and Quick Breakfast for the Kids

I don't know about you guys, but in the morning we struggle getting ready in time for school. So, I am constantly looking for quick and easy breakfasts that the kids can grab in a hurry. I do the typical cold cereal and pop tarts, but I wanted something more. So, I read where you can make pancakes and freeze them. Perfect, hot breakfast that will be fast, but I also need cheap! Looking at the pre-packaged pancakes, I soon discovered that they were pretty pricey considering what they are made of. So, I decided to make them on my own. I made 2 batches (24 pancakes) and placed them on a cookie sheet and placed them in the freezer. You keep them there for around 20 to 30 minutes remove and place in a freezer bag and place in the freezer.

The kids can grab the pancakes in the morning and heat in the microwave for 1 minute and there you go!!
It only took me around 10 minutes preparation time, and the kids have a hot breakfast in 1 minute!! Cheap, Easy and Quick!!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Homemade Laundry Detergent

As homemade laundry detergent recipe (well, not mine, but the one I use).
Here is what you will need:

The Borax I get at Wal-Mart for $2.98, Washing Soda at Ingles for $3.38 and Ivory Soap at Wal-Mart $.33 (12 Pack for $3.98).
The measurements are as follows:
1 cup Borax
1 cup Washing Soda
1 bar of Ivory Soap
Place the Ivory Soap on a plate.

Place it in the microwave for 2 minutes. Keep your eye on it and if it gets too big, take it out and let it cool. Take the "fluffy" part and crumble in a bowl and place back in the microwave and let it expand again. Repeat this process until all the soap is "fluffy". It will look like this:

Take the cup of Borax and Washing Soda and combine it with the crumbled soap. I take my hand and keep crumbling the Ivory Soap while I work it into the mixture.

I use an empty coffee container to store it in.

I use 2 tablespoons per load. Place in the bottom of the washer and load with clothes. This has worked great with our laundry. Jeff's clothes can get really dirty and I have never had a problem. This is also an all natural laundry detergent!! I use 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup of white vinegar for fabric softener. This kills odors, disinfects and softens the clothes. Again this is also all natural and it's cheap! Your clothes do not have a vinegar smell, nor does your laundry room. I buy a gallon of white vinegar at Wal-Mart for $2.98. White vinegar can be used with lots of cleaning...I will post more about that later!!

Cheap and Easy Peanut Butter Cookies

I recently discovered this recipe that I had to share. It's super easy and did I mention CHEAP!!
1 cup of Peanut Butter (your choice creamy or crunchy)
1 egg
1 cup of sugar
1 tsp. of vanilla

Yep, that's it. No flour! Combine ingredients and mix well. Place a teaspoon amount on baking sheet and flatten with fork (I used a teaspoon and then took the mixture and rounded it and flattened it). Then bake for 10 minutes. Cool. Done!
These cookies are very sweet so I may reduce the amount of sugar. But, everyone gave them the thumbs up. Fast, Cheap and Easy snack! If I used organic peanut butter and natural sugar they might even be considered healthy!
I have stored them in an air tight container
and hid them for consumpation control! Lol!

Grocery List and Menu Update

I had a car wreck a couple of weeks ago. This resulted in a $95 tow bill and a $100 deductable. So, add this in with that I absolutely used all extra money for in very blunt terms, we are broke right now. So,the challenge was to get groceries using all of our Wal-Mart gift cards from Christmas and not use any cash.
So, here is what I got:
Dog Food
White Vinegar
Generic Cereal
Grape Capisun (School Lunches)
Toilet Paper
Dawn Dish washing liquid
Dried Beans
Generic unsweetened lemonade
Taco Seasoning
Baking Soda
Snack Bags
Canned Soups
Green Chilis
Canned Chicken Breast
Hamburger Buns
Coffee Creamer
Turkey Smoked Sausage
Large Generic Yogurt

Grand Total: $78.30
Mission accomplished!

Okay, so with all that said...I have some supplies on hand (another reason for food storage!!!!). Listed below is my menu plan for the upcoming 2 weeks.

Menu Plan
Breakfast Dinner (Bacon and Eggs)
Smoked Sausage
Butter Beans with potato cakes
Deer Steak with Onions and Mushrooms
Lemon Pepper Roasted Chicken
Breakfast Casserole
Shepherds Pie
Rice with Venison and Mushroom Gravy

Those are my main dishes and they will be served with veggies.

The kid's lunches and ours will be soups, sandwiches, and spaghettos. Snacks will be popcorn and homemade cookies. Breakfast will be pancakes, cereal and oatmeal.

Monday, January 3, 2011

2011 Goals

2011 Goals...where to begin....there is so much I want to accomplish, I can get totally overwhelmed by it.
1. Continue to get my debit paid off. This year was the first Christmas that we absolutely did not purchase one thing on a credit card. It felt great!! Yes, Christmas was a lot smaller in the gift area, but you know what it was GREAT!! We had a wonderful and blessed Christmas without the "stuff"!! So, it has really empowered me to even be more intense about living simpler and with more of a purpose than just collecting stuff!
2. Become healthier in our eating and lifestyle. I continue to get the processed junk out of this house! Christmas was a bit of a slip up with all the sweet goodies. But, now it's back on track. I am constantly on the search for healthy frugal recipes and I am enjoying the journey. Also, I am becoming more aware of the chemicals that I am using cleaning and using on our bodies. I have made several improvements and will continue to work on this.
3. Learn to cook venison. I am still a beginner. I have been blessed with some deer meat and I am experimenting with it and look forward to cooking more with it.
4. Making more cleaning products. I have started making my own laundry detergent that is so cheap and healthy!! I will post the recipe later. Next I'm making my own dishwasher detergent and natural cleaning products. My great friend Elise gave me a book for Christmas with lots and lots of recipes I'm excited to try! Not only is this going to be healthier for our family, but also save us money.
5. Start back on my stockpiling of food. My goal is to get at least 3 months or more of food stockpiled. For those wondering why...well, we never know what the future holds. I want to make sure that I have the means to take care of my family. Prices are going up but not paychecks, jobs are uncertain, economy is scary and honestly I am not sure how much tribulation the church will see before the rapture. My spirit has been telling me for a while to get prepared. I have been distracted or unable due to money, but I truly want to get back on track with this. I have storage issues, but that's not going to stop me!

Well, that is my narrowed down list. There are a couple of things that I did not list, but I consider them a given...
I want to strive to put the Lord first in my life, read the Word more, Worship more, Serve more, submit more, surrender more....I want MORE of the Lord!!
I want to be a better wife and Mom.
I want to slow down and enjoy life instead of going wide open and feeling like I have to constantly be doing something...I want to spend more time just being. To savor each moment instead of looking for the "next" moment to happen.
Okay, I could possibly go on forever with this list, so I will stop now.
So, there you have condensed version of my 2011 goals!!