Friday, May 31, 2019

Wrapping Up A Thrifty May

Amazingly, when the month began I still had half a tank of gas in the car.  As my oldest was gearing up to take her driving test (she passed) she did the majority of the driving in April in her car so I didn't use mine nearly as much as I usually do.  A big win for Mom!

May was a BIG month for us.  My oldest daughter graduated from high school, we had a big party for her and prepared for the big day.  We had company come, we started preparing for a family vacation and sadly one of us got really sick and ended up in the ER with loads of doctor appointments before and after to keep us hopping.  I haven't mentioned it until now because said person is incredibly private and doesn't want people to know about it so for now that is all I will say.  Prayers however are always appreciated.  Oh, and we did get the go ahead from the doctor to take our vacation.  Phew!

As per the usual I paid bills and contributed to savings at the beginning of the month, bought some groceries, not a lot, and managed to work some overtime each week to add a little more to the coffers.  It was very nice to have that option and I took it!  By mid month I filled up my car, paid the mortgage ahead of schedule and wrote a big check to the high school for summer dance camp for my youngest.  I did manage to add to savings as well, but not quite as much as I'd hoped.

The medical bills have just begun to pile up and I'll be tackling those in June.  For now I'm trying my best not to panic or get overwhelmed by it all.  It just isn't enough to be worried about the health crisis you are facing, then you get the financial part on top of it too.  I keep reminding myself this is why I have an emergency fund and to take deep breaths.  It will all be fine, it will all be fine.  Because it has to be.

I ended the month with some money in my pocket, most of my goals met and a daughter successfully graduated from high school.  Not perhaps the thriftiest month I've ever had, but certainly not the worst either.  We shall see what is in store for us in June.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

The Busyness That Is Spring

It has been an incredible year so far and with June right around the corner summer is well on its way.  Spring is my favorite season, full of freshness and new life.  Sunshine and warmer temperatures take over and no more scraping my windshield in the morning before I go to work!  Spring is also the prelude to summer, my other favorite season of the year!

We've enjoyed a rather wet spring here in Boise.  I think we've had far more rainy days that days that didn't rain.  And not just a little bit here and there, but a lot of rain, which is good.  Everything is lush and green and I haven't had to water the lawn or anything.  Always a silver lining.

It is difficult to get things done when you have to dodge the stormy weather, but I managed to get quite a bit done nonetheless.  I was able to get the yard spring cleaned which I'm always chomping at the bit to do each year once the snow melts and I can see what winter has left me.  I started at the end of our driveway and headed toward the backyard.  I raked up leaves, pulled a ton of weeds (thanks to the rain the weeds are doing great!), mowed and trimmed the lawn several times, spring cleaned our front porch, planted my flower pots, refreshed the hose area, did some repairs and spring cleaned the chicken coop.  Did I mention I pulled a ton of weeds?

Along with all the yard work I had a few projects going on.  I gave our fire pot a much needed facelift.  I overhauled a BBQ we picked up on Craigslist for FREE and built a grilling station to go with it.  We even managed to upgrade our patio furniture on our deck.  I also picked up three loads of wood from the FREE WOOD bin near where I work for a project I've got planned this summer.  All of that wood had to be "processed" which meant pulling out nails, staples and removing screws to make it usable.

Did I get everything done I had hoped to?  Nope.  And at first I was really disappointed in myself until I sat back and took inventory of what I had done and realized I'd done A LOT.  Mostly on my own too as the girls have been incredibly busy with school and my oldest works.  They pitched in to help whenever they could though.

I still have two fence posts to replace this year.  One leftover from last year that I didn't get to and a new one that snapped this winter.  Funny thing, the one that broke this year is the very first one I replaced 25 years ago.  I think I got my money's worth out of that post.  Once the ground dries out a bit I'll be tackling that project.

What projects are on your list this year?  What have you done so far?  Has it been raining a lot where you live?

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

My Grocery Budget 2019 - May Update


I am fairly certain you will be disappointed in me once again and you have every right.  I didn't track my grocery spending like I usually do.  Two months in a row!

A little trip to Trader Joes

At the beginning of the month I was doing fine, then life got in the way and that was that.  I misplaced a couple receipts, which I almost never do, and lost my momentum.  Again!  Will I find it again in June?  At his point it is hard to say, but I certainly do hope so.

A little trip to Winco

To add to my dilemma the grocery ads lately have been less than stellar, to say the least.  Nothing in them has made me feel like I have to go shopping or feel inspired to stock up on something.  In turn that has actually saved me some money and also pushed me to use up what I already have.  That is a very good thing!

A bigger trip to Winco mid month

I'm now seeing spaces in my pantry as well as the freezers, both the one in the house and the one in the garage as well.  It was good to have space available as we needed to stockpile ice for the graduation party and as a result we were able to do just that.

The freezer filled with bags of ice

We plan to finish out the month as well as the first part of June working on our current stash.  We still have plenty of food, including leftovers from the party, to keep us going.  Who knows?  I may get that chest freezer defrosted after all!

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Last Week's Thrifty Moves

Sunday morning I was beat!  We had a great party and it lasted until dark.  By the time I got to bed it was late and for some dumb reason this girl could not sleep.  I woke up at 2:00am and was wide awake.  I finally went back to bet at 7:00 and slept until 10:00.  I think my brain was on overload or something.

Vacuum cleaner marks make me happy

I rattled around until noon, then kicked everybody out of the house (the kids went to a graduation party) so I could shower, get dressed and put my house back in order.  It didn't take long, surprisingly.  I put away the party supplies, did my Sunday chores and a couple loads of laundry and we were back in business.  By the time the kids got home all was right in my world once again.

Monday began my youngest's final week of school and we were plenty busy right up until the end.  Tuesday was our busiest day as she had both an orthodontist appointment and a violin lesson after school.  Wednesday was my oldest's graduation ceremony and the only day she didn't work all week.  Thursday and Friday was much, much quieter and I had absolutely nothing going on and no where I had to be.  It was really nice to have a chance to slow down and catch my breath.  Saturday was a whole other deal however and I'll be telling you more about that and what we did in a post later on.

Edith stopped by for a visit

I sold two dozen eggs to a friend.

I worked some overtime and earned a little extra $$.

We set out a very full trash can at the curb for collection.  We added a lot of items to our blue recycle bin too.

This little girl "helped" me crochet for a while

The chickens made out like bandits and helped us eat up leftovers from the party.  We had enough food leftover to carry us through the entire week.  I even sent some home with friends and took some into work to share with my co-workers.  No one went from away  the party hungry, that's for sure.

My assistant asleep on the job...again

Some of the 15 Minute Chores I accomplished to keep my home in order:

Laundry Room & Half Bathroom - vacuumed floors, shook the rug, cleaned sink & mirrors.  Daily swish & swipe.

Dining Room - vacuumed floor, wiped down table & chairs, dusted light fixture.

Kitchen -  vacuumed & spot mopped floor, cleaned silverware tray and drawer.

Bedrooms & Main Bathroom - vacuumed & dusted.  My oldest cleaned the bathroom.  Daily swish & swipe.

Other - four loads of laundry, vacuumed & dusted living room, hallway & entry.  Swept front porch.

Leonard really loves this girl

How was your thrifty week?

Friday, May 24, 2019

Comments On My Blog

I am always touched and amazed at how kind and wonderful people I have never met in person can be when commenting to posts on my blog.  It truly means the world to me when someone cares enough to take the time to share an idea, an opinion, a well wish or an experience.  I try to make sure I reply to each and every comment I receive.

My original intent when I began this blog was to share my experiences and inspire others who may share similar interests.  I love to write and be creative and blogging has been the perfect outlet for me.  I'm so happy I decided to begin this blog clear back in October 2011.  Like everything else, it is hard to believe it was really that long ago.

I spend a great deal of time writing my posts, taking pictures, coming up with ideas and ultimately sharing my life with you.  It is my favorite hobby and I hope to continue with my blogging for a long time to come.  This blog is a place for positive and inspiring communication and I think we've accomplished that rather well.

I've been very fortunate to be well treated by my readers.  I know other fellow bloggers that have not been so fortunate and it is heart breaking to hear them tell of their struggles with nasty comments and trolls.  I used to have an open commenting format, but a few years ago was forced to turn on comment moderation when the spammers got out of control, darn them!

A handful of times I've had a few not nice comments left for me, sadly some of them were from my own family members if you can believe that, but in the rare instance that it does happen I simply hit the delete button.  There is no room here for that kind of nonsense.  We have become such a community of good, kind and positive people here and that is exactly how it should be.  I'm not about to let a few bad comments ruin that for us.

To all of you who visit my blog, read my posts and care about me and my family I thank you from the very depths of my heart.  Thank you to those who leave such wonderful comments and keep me inspired to keep writing and posting.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Party Food On A Budget

We had a barbecue for my daughter's graduation party and we did it Thrifty Mom style because that is pretty much how we roll.  This year has been fraught with lots of expenses.  Most were expected and some were not.  So it was really important I pull this one off and stay within my budget.

I incorporated items into my regular grocery shopping as much as I could

I had $50 outside of our regular grocery budget to work which meant that as much as I could squeeze into our regular grocery shopping the better.  I began early, before Christmas even, "collecting" items for the party.  Foil pans, paper plates, cups, utensils and napkins were picked up here and there, on sale and with coupons or at the dollar store.

This set was less than $8 and we had more than enough

I picked up non perishable food items as well.  Baked beans from Dollar Tree, condiments at Walmart, rootbeer, punch and lemonade in 2 liter bottles wherever I found it priced at a $1 or less.  I picked up a case of bottled water on sale for $1.49 at Albertsons last month.

Frozen 1/4 pound burger patties, veggie patties, smoked sausages, polish sausages and wieners were purchased on sale and tucked into the freezer each month this year until we had enough.  I also stockpile ice cubes in gallon bags to make sure we had plenty to keep the drinks chilled.

We baked desserts using all items I already had in our pantry so there was no extra expense there.  We had a really nice assortment of cookies as well as some cupcakes I made using a cake mix and homemade frosting.

The salads were all made from scratch as well and I kept it fairly basic and simple.  I cooked the pasta, eggs and potatoes all ahead of time and then assembled them all the night before the party.  I prefer to make macaroni and potato salads a day ahead so all the flavor have a chance to mingle.  I think it makes for a much better salad.  The fruit salad was a simple one made with two boxes of orange gelatin and a large can of crushed pineapple.  I made that one the day before as well.

The morning of the party we hit up the Franz outlet bakery to get all the hamburger and hotdog buns we needed.  They were plenty fresh and cost a fraction of what we would've spent at the grocery store so well worth the trip.  On the way home we stopped at Wal-Mart, as it was literally on the way. for a few fresh produce items and that was the end of the shopping.

Our "new" grill worked out perfectly as did the grilling station

Once home all that remained to be done was to assemble a quick veggie tray, set out food and condiments in the serving dishes and put the drinks and all the ice I'd stockpiled into the cooler.  We lit the briquettes in the grill about 15 minutes before the party started and we were ready to get grilling and eating!

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

It's Graduation Day!

Today my oldest daughter is graduating from high school.  It seems like only yesterday I hopped on a plane and flew to the other side of the world to pick up my little bundle of joy, yet here we are.  She is all grown up and ready to take flight.

I am so very proud of my little girl.  She has grown up to be such a fine young lady.  Beautiful inside and out.  Raising her has brought me tremendous joy and fulfillment.  I cannot imagine my life without her in it.  It will be exciting to see what all she does next.

This year has meant a lot of changes for all of us.  I've parented her much less and encouraged her to make her own decisions, choices and plans.  While I've had a few opinions here and there, for the most part, I've allowed her to be her own person and do her own thing.

Though my role now will be much diminished moving forward I will be here for her nonetheless.  I will always be someone she can talk to, share a confidence, express an opinion or idea, cry at or simply ask for help.  As her mom I will always be her mom.  And as I always tell her, "No one loves you like your mom does."

Boy, isn't that the truth?

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Let's Party!

Months of planning and preparation have culminated into this!

Friends galore!

Loads of food!

Music and laughter.

Great fun!

Memories to last a lifetime.

Monday, May 20, 2019

Last Week's Thrifty Moves

So. Much. To. Do!

I had a lovely Mother's Day and I hope all of you mommies out there did too.  It was a busy one, but still very much enjoyable.  It started out with a list and a trip to Wal-Mart early that morning with my youngest to pick up more things for the graduation party.  On the way home we stopped at the mall to use my $10 OFF $10 Purchase coupon at JC Penney where I picked up a pair of denim shorts for only $7.99 out of pocket.  I haven't had a new pair of shorts in ages.

After lunch I went outside and grouted the tile top on the grilling station the girls and I had made the week before.  With it finished it only seemed right to test it out so later that evening we grilled up a couple rib eyes and declared this project a complete success.

I pulled out all of my serving bowls, platters and picnic ware to add to the pile of what I bought.  I made a final list of items to pick up last minute like produce and buns.  I stockpiled more ice in the chest freezer.

Monday after work I picked up the kid's prom pictures I had printed off at Walgreens.  They turned out pretty nice again this year.  I made two copies so each one of them had a set.  Total cost of prom pics came in at just under $5!  Including the photographer (me)!

Tuesday was insane.  It started with a doctor appointment first thing in the morning, a trip to Walgreens after work to pick up a prescription, followed by picking my daughter up from her violin lesson and stopping at Dollar Tree to pick up some last minutes party items.  While at Dollar Tree my oldest texted me to tell me her final band concert was in forty five minutes! Ahh!  That is just how crazy our life has been lately.

Wednesday it was time to start gearing up for the weekend, mainly the graduation party.  That morning I hard boiled a dozen eggs for potato salad, washed all of the bowls and platters I'd pulled out of the pantry and gathered up all the ingredients I needed for that evening's baking session.  After work we baked.

After work on Thursday I boiled.  After work on Friday I assembled.  Both days I watched it rain and hoped like crazy the weather forecast would be correct and it would stop raining by Saturday.

Saturday was the party.  I was up early and off to the store with a list for last minute items.  Once at home we I scrambled around decorating and setting up.  Fortunately, my daughter's boyfriend had arrived from out of town the day before so we had a second pair of helping hands.

As far as how the party went, check back tomorrow and I'll give you the scoop on that.

The chickens made out like bandits with all the cooking I was doing.  Loads of kitchen scraps to fill them up and keep them busy.  They were pretty happy about that.

I used ice cream buckets I've saved over the years to store food and baked goods.  I stockpiled more ice in one gallon Ziploc bags throughout the week.  I washed out all of those Ziploc bags once they were empty so we could reuse them.  No point letting all of those bags go to waste or to the landfill.

I added water to an "empty" jug of dish soap, gave it a good shake and had enough soap to wash dishes all week.  I also did that to a laundry detergent jug and we had plenty of soap to wash the bunny's blankets.  I used up the last of a bottle of shampoo that I'd set upside down in the shower a few weeks back so we got out every drop.  I added the truly empty bottles to our recycle bin.

We set out a full blue recycle bin at the curb for collection, but had no trash to put out.  I added a full collection container to the compost bin in our backyard - onion skins, coffee grounds, tea bags, egg shells, banana and avocado peels.

Some of the 15 Minute Chores I accomplished to keep my home in order:

Laundry Room & Half Bathroom - wiped down the washer/dryer, vacuumed floors, cleaned the mirrors.  Daily swish & swipe.

Dining Room - vacuumed floor.

Kitchen -  vacuumed floor, cleaned microwave & range hood.

Bedrooms & Main Bathroom - vacuumed & dusted.  The girls cleaned the bathroom.  Daily swish & swipe.

Other - three loads of laundry, vacuumed living room, hallway & entry.  Swept front porch.

How was your thrifty week?

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...