Monday, November 22, 2010

Calculator Shopping

There are people out there that bring their calculators with them when they grocery shop. They have a budget and then use that little crunching machine to stick to it. Those people are amazing. They are also the same people with the organized coupon book. Again, I'm in awe. But I finally get it. Today, I used my calculator. Let me be more clear. Today, I went grocery shopping with Chris and he used his I-Pad (purchased by college) calculator. It all felt a little ironic. Let me give you the background....

Last week as I was crunching numbers, I saw that we would have more money the end of this month than I thought. So, when I made the grocery list, I went to my trusty Pampered Chef recipe book and pulled out some recipes that looked SO tasty. I was sick of our standard budget fallback meals. We needed some excitement back in our diet. While Pampered Chef recipes are not expensive, they do require fresh produce, which may be good for the diet, but cost more than some alternatives. So, I made out the list and it was big. Real big. Add the fact that I'm hosting Thanksgiving dinner to our family and a couple other families (Thanksgiving Orphans), I knew the grocery bill would be highern than a traditional week. AND, we're hosting missionaries Friday, so I wanted to have something delicious and different for them.

Then the heart breaker. I did my number crunching again this morning and we were $7 short after the bills were paid, leaving $0 money for groceries or gas. We don't have any creditcards, so it's not like we can use those for safety nets (which is not a bad thing). Immediately, my heart fell. Why am I sharing my financial woes with you? Not to make you feel sorry for me, but to maybe gain something from my experience. I took a look at what bills were left and noticed that one bill (auto/homeowners/renters insurance) was being paid on November 30 but wasn't due till the 1st. Considering our bank is the same company as our insurance, I knew this could be changed. I called them up and asked. That's all I did. And you know what, they were the nicest, sweetest customer service agents I have ever dealt with. I'm thinking that whenever I'm feeling down, I should call them cause whenever I hangup the phone from talking with one of their sweet operators, I feel 10X better. My hair is kinked, call my children tracked mud onto the carpet, call my bank. When I hung up the phone, I knew that I had money for groceries. Course, I had exactly a certain amount (that bill - $7) so that's where the calculator came in. And would you believe it, we were only $1.62 over the amount, which is fine, because I have the amount lying around. Yea! We get our Thanksgiving meal! I modified our menu (only slightly) so we still have fun and healthy food to eat, but probably saved a lot on the snacks/treat area. Even if our wallet wasn't so tight, I learned a valuable lesson. I-Pad calculators are nnnnnIce! And I can shop under a budget during Thanksgiving week without sacrificing yummy goodness.....well, as long as the budget is high enough.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Pitty Party is OVER!

I recently read in my friends blog about feeling lonely. I thought about that. I have a confession to make. Okay, another confession, since I seem to be full of them. I watch Desperate Housewives. I didn't start until I moved to Casper, but since then, I've been hooked and playing catch up. My point in this--I'm jealous. No, not of all the scandels, but of having good friends close by. The ones you can say anything to and not feel stupid. Really, it's my own fault. I don't like to put myself out there. I don't open myself up to make good friends. There's potential here. I see lots of people who I'd love to call and say, "Do you want to do lunch?" And do you know what's even worse? I don't just want one good friend close by. I want many close friends close by. In Rexburg, I had the best set of friends and I miss them horribly. Christmas is coming and I know that they will be doing their 3rd annual "My Favorite Things" party. I want to be there. You know what else was great about this group? They were (and still are) so positive. I can find out what's happening back home without having to hear trash talk. It's so refreshing. When we got together, it was not to husband bash. In fact, we would often invite our husbands to come along with us--we all got along and even went on the occassional trip together. Game night. We had a monthly game night. We took eachother out to lunch for our birthdays. They had a monthly neighborhood lunch, and even though I wasn't in their neighborhood, they thought to invite me. I miss them so much. Sure, we still keep in touch by phone and facebook and email, but it's not the same as hearing their laughs and lifting eachother up over icecream. So, what can I do about that? Well, I think it's time to put myself out there and invite some people over for game night.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

My Happy Birthday

I'm not going to include any pictures. Just simply my thoughts. Yesterday was my birthday. Chris and I had agreed some time ago that we would forgo (sp?) our birthday gifts to each other (his is exactly a week later) this year and save for something we really want, a tv above our fireplace (not any other place to put it). We also decided to save ourselves on Christmas for this exact same reason. So, that meant there would be no packages to unwrap on this very special of days (my birthday). So do you know what I did? I set up a Spa Day with my MaryKay buddy and invited my friends over. It was so simple that I wondered why I hadn't done this before. It was so wonderful being surrounded by friends, with our feet wrapped in towels. That night, Chris and I used our free IHOP birthday certificates and went out to eat. While very little money was spent (we did tip our waitress), not having that birthday pressure was the perfect present.

I do have to say, I was not without my gift(s). Todd made me a delightful comic highlighting some everyday moments and ended it with a special message just for me...and a few of my friends that I just had to share it with. Geneva made sure I had oreos. Shem cleaned without complaining (or maybe I'm making that up, but maybe). It was truly one of the happiest of birthdays. Thanks everybody!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

This and That

I just needed to give a quick shout out and THANKS to for my new background. I have no idea how she did the header, but it's much more interesting now. I won this on her blog. Go over and check it out.

Thanksgiving Printables

Chris and I have decided to stay in Casper for Thanksgiving. I'm feeling kinda sad about it at the moment, but know that we need to save the money. Grown-ups sure have to make tough choices (yes, I know! Kids do to. And teenagers as well). I'm hoping to find some other Casper orphans we get together for a less lonely Thanksgiving dinner. I pulled out some of my printables from

There are activities for all age ranges. So, when I'm in the kitchen trying to figure out how it is that one stuffs a turkey, kids can be at the table, coloring Harvest pictures, grown-ups can be on the couch challenging each other to a little Thanksgiving trivia. And when they're done with that, no worries, I've got 28 more printables for them to try out.

[Product review & giveaway disclosure: I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255 "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."]

Halloween Games

I was so excited when I came upon these downloads.  They had all kinds of games you could do with your kids.  Trivia, puzzles, crosswords, coloring pages, you name it.  Since we didn't go Trick-or-Treating in traditional sense this year, it was nice to get with our neighbors and know we had things to occupy the kids.
Check it out:

[Product review & giveaway disclosure: I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255 "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."]

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Now I've gone and done it!

I have a messy room in my home.  Alright, I'll be honest with you, there are several messy rooms at any given moment in my home, but I have one messy room that's never been cleaned. 

At least not since we've lived here.  I decided that this room needed to get cleaned, but not in the traditional sense.  I needed to make it fun.  I enjoy crafting.  I love that creative outlet.  There's nothing like looking at a finished project and knowing I was the one who created it.  But problem is, crafting can get expensive.  So, I decided I was going to craft....without spending any money.  Since the messy room just so happens to be my craft room, I have made the leap to blog about my crafting on a zero money budget all the while, cleaning this room.  I can't throw anything away (I'm free to recycle or giveaway or sale).  I've got to use only what I already have on hand.  So, I would LOVE for you to join me in my journey as craziness.  Feel free to forward my new blogs link to all who may be interested.  In the future, I hope to expand and have "guest bloggers," giveaways, and craft and/or organizational ideas and tools.  So, without further adiou:  is waiting for you!