If you do stuff, stuff gets done.......

If you do stuff, stuff gets done.......

Friday, January 31, 2014

Friday finances

Linking to Friday Finances at Renaissance
With my homekeeping notebook, it has been simple to keep up with expenditures and things done. 
When I totaled it all up, I was so pleased to see that I had only spent 66% of the grocery budget and 20% of my spending money for January. I did most of my shopping at Aldi with a few coupon deals at Walmart and CVS.  For February, I hope to do the same or even better. 

We have 3 financial goals for 2014 and for January, all 3 have been met. 

January Frugal doings
I have baked all our bread this month, I hope to not buy any bread in 2014. I use a bread machine for most of the work but all the ingredients are just basic, wholesome pantry ingredients. Homemade bread is cheaper than store bread and tastes so much better. 

For all January, We ate all meals at home except my husband ate out lunch one day and I ate out lunch one day.

No sodas have been purchased and I am no longer consuming sodas. Yea Me!

I did our taxes online with Taxact and funded my IRA for 2013. 

All January bills, except our property taxes, were paid online I am big fan of the free billpay our credit union offers, it saves time and postage and is easy to double check. 

I am still keeping up with our freezer inventory. Today, I did a top to bottom organization of the pantry. Knowing what is in the kitchen really helps with meal planning. 

Machine sewing, I learned a new to me trick to sew on a scrap of fabric at the start and end of every seam unless you are chain stitching, to save on thread. It also saves time clipping threads and filling bobbins and buying more thread. 
This month, I've been sewing on a scrap quilt, made a Belle dress and did some alterations. 
I don't worry so much about earning money as I do about spending the money my husband earns wisely,  but I do have fun earning Swagbucks and have made goal there everyday.  I've also got a few ads on my blogs.  Even just a few clicks to the ads earn income ( if you ever do click on my ads, thank you!  I try to click on ads when I visit other blogs too.  Earnings are added even if the ad clicker does not buy anything but just opens the ad window)

I hope all your finances are planned out and in order too.

Babies in the 80s

I've been sorting family photos and I noticed some big differences in my 3 babies born in 1981-1984 and how baby things are done now.
In the 80s, we were to told to put our babies to sleep on their tummies, never on their backs.

No Bumpos in the 80s, babies sat in in little recliners.

Disposable diapers were a lot thicker then.  That biggest Luvs box only has 48 diapers. Now, 48 diapers take up about 1/3 of that in space.

I only had 1 ultrasound - hard to tell that is even a baby in that photo.
My grandchildren had some amazing photos in utero.

Babies happily scooted around in walkers on wheels, with no built in toys. And their older siblings pushed them around like shopping carts.
High chairs were simple metal frames that folded up just like a folding chair.
No rear facing car seats in the 80s.

No warnings against raw eggs and my children all enjoyed unbaked cookie dough.

My children with souvenir corncob pipes- I think my parents got these in Dollywood or maybe Branson. 
This is so not politically correct now.

No computer printers or photo editing then- just a hand written sign to show this son's age. 

Juice was served often and always in a Tupperware sippy cup.

No chicken pox vaccines in the 80s. My daughter had the worst case of chicken pox spots- her gum and pink nightgown were not as bright pink as all her spots that lasted 3 weeks.

These 3 little ones are all grown up- one is a lawyer, one is a school librarian and the other is a handyman extraordinaire.
But how did they ever survive?  

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Homemade goo -Pinterest #4 for 2014

We tried this pin today - homemade slime - goo- goop, it is made from school glue, water, food coloring and 1/2 t borax. It mixes up really fast.

Pin on Pinterest
Ours was not as solid as others I read about. Maybe our glue was not as fresh as it could be.
No matter, the grandsons had a great time with this easy activity.
Gavin is almost 5 and I think this is more age appropriate for him than for 18 month Braeden, 

Getting ready for spring

I saw on Facebook that spring is just 55 days away.
I have not had much success with growing vegetables, so far, but this year I am going to try starting my plants from seeds in the house. 
This is a plate of eggshells that will be used for little starter pots. 
It's easy, just crack your egg carefully on the side of a bowl, just below the pointy end and kind of keep cracking in a circle until the end is off. Use the inside egg for whatever you are cooking. Rinse out the egg shells and let dry. 

As cold and harsh as this winter is, I don't expect any early planting outdoors will survive. So hopefully my plants will get a good start indoors and be strong and hardy when spring finally gets here. 

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Freezer pockets, a shaving deal and my first CVS deal of 2014

Some of my children wanted to restock their freezers with hot pockets so I made up four batches of Calzone dough. I did the rolling and they made the fillings, filled and shaped them.
They made breakfast ones, ham and cheese ones and pizza ones- 48 in all. 
When I mixed up the dough, I used the calzone recipe for all the batches but the other pocket dough is good too. I just forgot about it.
Most all ingredients were purchased at Aldi. We did a rough estimate of the cost and decided the total cost was less than $16 to make- not bad for 48 servings of convenience food.
Calzone dough recipe on a previous post
Breakfast pockets recipe on a previous post
Have you heard of the dollar shave club? I read about it on this blog and thought it sounded like a good deal. I told my son about it and he joined. He got his first shipment really quick too. He signed up for $9 a month deal which is a nice razor with 4 extra 5 blade razors. They also sent a sample of their shave butter. He texted me later and said he compared them to his razors at home and thinks the shave club razors are almost the same as much more expensive Mach 3 razors. 
Dollar Shave has 2 other other cheaper plans. 
It seems like a great deal to us if you like the premium disposable razors, 
If you belong to Swagbucks, you can get points there if you go through that link.
I have not shopped there at all in 2014 but they have some great deals this week. This is a good week to earn Extra Care Bucks to have for future deals,
I spent $39.25 and got back $22 ECB.
The Estoven was $10 and had a $10 ECB
The Tea and Hellmans mayo were $3 each, coupons in today's paper for 50 and 60 cents and got back a $3 ECB
Suave body  wash was $2 each, coupons in today's paper were B2G1F and a $4 ECB for buying 12
Pantene was $3.50 each - I used 2 B1G1f coupons from today's paper, a $3/2 coupon and a CVS scanner coupon that was $3 off a $15 shampoo purchase.
I would of spent less out of pocket today if I had done multiple transactions and rolled one ECB to the next deal.  But I don't like to spend so much time in the store and I will use these ECBs in the next weeks to come.
Our sales tax was $4.85 :(
I always wrap any ECBs around my CVS card and secure with a paper clip so I don't lose track of them.m

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Money management-how we spend less on smart phones

When cell phones started becoming common, we had cell phones with AT&T and paid a pretty high monthly fee every month.  We never have spent lots of time using cell phones. The bills were just too high for what we used.
Then in 2009, when our contract expired, we switched to Tracfone, their phones are cheap but work fine, they don't require contracts and the charges for use are really low. 
With tracfone, my husband and I each spend roughly $100 a year for the phone and service. Our old plan was about $80 every month.  $200 instead of $960 a year for cell phones that we don't use much is much better. 

Just before Christmas, my basic tracfone was a year old and I was having a hard time hearing on it. (It had been probably been dropped by me or a grandchild just a few too many times) 
Many stores now take coupons on smartphones and I like to use coupons. So we did some research and ordered a Tracfone LG Optimus Dynamic for me from Amazon. 
Once it got here, we liked it so much, my husband got one too. He ordered his from QVC.

These will probably end up costing us each $150 or a little more a year. Still much better than the $960 we used to spend. 
The Tracfone LG looks a lot like a smartphone.
It is easy to check your balance.
I can read blogs, like this from Terri who writes at BlueHouseJournal, one of my favorites.
I can read silly picture text message for a son
I can read my email
I can pull up store coupons like this one from Hobby Lobby and watch YouTube videos. 

The text messages show up in bubbles on a scroll so it is easier to follow a conversation.

It also takes photos and movies, goes to any website and probably does lots of other stuff that I don't know how to do or even want to do. 

Tracfone used to activate their phones through a call center that I think was in India. That was difficult but now, all activations, questions and number changes can be done though their website and it is very easy. 

If you do buy a tracfone, we recommend you buy one with triple minutes for life. Anytime you buy minutes, you will get triple and that makes them cheaper in the long run. 
This model does not have lots of storage so we added a big memory card to each one. 

If you are a heavy IPhone user, I don't think you would be happy with this one. 
But if you are not big time cell phone users and just want a smart phone with minimal cost, we think these Tracfones are great.

Linking to several parties including
Friday Finances at Renaissance

One little dress up outfit

My granddaughter has a quite full calender and she needs a Belle dress to wear to a Beauty and the Beast event later this month. Her momma showed me a few styles of Belle dresses on Pinterest and requested this dress be more everyday than fancy.
So, I went from there. I used the same peasant dress pattern from the granddaughters autumn dresses and I even had all this yellow fabric, white lace, thread and elastic in my sewing room
I cut the skirt separate from the bodice and added in several inches so the dress would be fuller and twirl. It is 100% cotton with all the seams finished so hopefully it will stand up to some playtime after the event. Granddaughter can dress up and look like a princess but she can play really hard.

Some of the pins I was inspired by, especially the first one. 

This dress was a fun afternoon project. But I have 2 granddaughters and a room full of supplies so I think I will be sewing up some more princess dresses soon. 
I did not mean to take a week off from blogging but the past week was busy and that Monday holiday was nice but got me off my regular schedule. 
I was so happy and surprised to see that my old fashioned tea towels post was featured on
thank you! 
this post will also be linked  up with Show Off Saturday

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

What's happening here

I took the Christmas decorations down around the first of the year but I left this little white tree up and got out the Valentine decorations.  I really like twinkle lights so i may of been 6 weeks early for St. Valentine, but I like it.

My mom crocheted the heart ornaments. The vintage Valentine postcards were my grandfather inlaw's and I made the felt and sequin ornaments. They were a free-hand project that I used the supplies from a thrift store Christmas ornament kit.

Toile heart wreath, idea from another blog years ago.

In the craft room, I've been sewing on this scrappy string quilt.
Handwork- I am making a set of plastic canvas zoo animal squeezums. I made them for my children back in the 80s and they had so much fun with them. I don't know if my grands will like this new set, but some of their parents and uncle have seen this set in progress and they acted silly with them, just as if they were in elementary school again. Plastic Canvas is not the coolest of crafts these days but I enjoy it, it is easy and quick. A good project for children to start out on needle skills too. 
Cooking- we've got enough weekend leftovers to keep us going for a few days.  Meals will be easy for this cook for a few days.  

Easy meals will be a good thing because I will have grands here 3 days this week
And this morning will be the 2 youngest grands- 9 months and 18 month old boys! 
Won't be any sewing or crafting going on, just lots of playing and cuddling and feeding.....

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Saturday morning thrifting

I got my once a month thrifting fix today and spent $9
4 vintage cookbooks - 25 cents each
I was especially pleased to find the book by Sophie Leavitt as Precious at Frugal Makes Cents just mentioned that it is one of her favorite books and I had never heard of this author.
2 big rubber stamps - this store had a big tub of interesting stamps and I thought about buying more as they were such a deal but they were not really my taste
Little JJ needed some more winter clothes and I found quite a few- 
1 pair of GAP overalls, 4 pairs of athletic pants, 1 pjs, 1 long sleeve one piece, 2 shirts and a zippered heavy weight hoodie. Most were 50 cents and I think 2 were $1. Most are Carter's and Old Navy brands. 

I am very selective when thrift shopping- I like good deals but I sure don't want to buy stuff that will add to the clutter level in our home. 

Oh, I almost forget these 2 25 cent goodies. Grandson Gavin will especially have fun wearing these hard hats . 

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Homemade carpet shampooer machine solution

Another idea from Pinterest is this simple cleaning solution to run through a carpet shampoo machine.
I had to make a double batch to fill the tank on our machine. 
I used about 3 quarts of hot water, a half cup of hydrogen peroxide, a good squirt of dish soap and a good glub of vinegar.  The original blogger added essential oil for scent.  My scented dish liquid was scent enough.
It seemed to work fine and certainly as good as the expensive store bought kind that is more than $10 a jug.
This dish soap is Meyers Lavendar scent. I really liked the scent for carpet cleaning, but I don't much care for it on the dishes.  I don't plan to buy store bought solution again so this pin is a great money saver. 

I did not take before and after carpet photos. The carpet I cleaned is 14 year old white carpet that is in our 3 extra bedrooms and the big hall that connects them. The carpet is much cleaner after today's cleaning but it hardly looks new. It is better and for now, that is fine. 
 Pin #3 done for 2014. 

Money management- how we buy Gas

    When I watch news stories with money experts helping people with their budgets or debt, it seems the people usually have all their bills in a grocery sack or 2 that is full.  I just cringe and can't imagine how they ever keep up with so many accounts.
When I was working on my homekeeping notebook and looking at sites with printables and forms to keep up with your money, I realized our spending is more simple than most. 
So, how we do things might help somebody, so I will share.

We use cash for most local spending but we don't like having to go inside the gas station twice when buying gas with cash. We tried using our credit card for gas but it seemed when looking at our credit card statement, those gas purchases were just so much. 

My husband likes to buy gas at Walmart, it is convenient to us and they give a discount at the pump when you purchase with a Walmart credit card (no thank you) or with a Walmart gift card. 
Gas prices change often but we tried to budget an amount to spend on a Walmart gift card to use just for gas. At first we were buying a $250 card every month but that was too much as after doing this for just about 4 months, we still had a full card in December and did not buy one that month. The January one was $200 and so far, we think it will be just about right.
If there was an emergency and we needed more gas than we had prepaid for, that would be OK, as we have a credit card and emergency funds too. 

My husband pumps the gas and he keeps up with the card and balance. Some families who choose to do it this way might need their own card. It might be a great way to budget your teen's gas. 

Financial people would say we should not tie up our money like this with no interest but for us, it works and keeps our gas expense at an amount that fits our budget.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

JJ clapping

Just because he is so cute, too cute not to share......

Old fashioned Tea towels

back in the fall,  Manuela posted about ways to make and decorate tea towels.  She had them hung on her stove and I thought they looked so cute.   I remembered I had embroidered some and I found them in my sewing room and got them out. All the embroidery was done but I thought they needed a little something more,  so those towels sat longer in the sewing room......
Until this week,  I wrote in my homekeeping notebook on my things I wanted to
sew quilt squares together
put rick rack on towels
start Valentine dresses for granddaughters.

well,  I did sew rick rack on those 4 towels last night. 
And then I was reading blogs and saw on Lil Red Hen is going to do hope chest things for her 2014 project.  She posted some beautiful red work tea towels.  I am looking forward to seeing what she makes in 2014.  In 2013, she made an apron every month.
So,  for now I have a pretty towel hanging on my oven.  Until one of the toddling grands walks by and pulls it off :)