Friday, March 28, 2008

Super Savings Saturday 3-29-08

This week I have not been to CVS or Walgreens. I plan on making a trip to both later on Saturday morning. I am also going to head to Target for a few sales I saw on MoneySavingMom. This week has been a great bargain week however in the clothing department for our teenager boys.

As I mentioned in my Frugal Friday post, my husband found Levi and Wrangler jeans for two of our teenage sons on clearance for 4.98 a pair! They were pumped. They totally loved the jeans. They are both SO picky on jeans. One likes classic jeans the other son prefers the baggy, full leg type jean. They are so close in age but SO far apart in their style of dress.

Tonight we hit TJMaxx to pursue the sale racks. My boys love to wear the long, madras plaid shorts that have been popular the last few summers. We hit the jackpot with three pairs of shorts for them. We found another pair early last week. More often than not, they share their clothes when it comes to t-shirts, shorts, or dress shirts. We were really excited because they were regular priced at around 50.00 a pair from the manufacturer but TJMaxx had them for under ten dollars! WOO HOO! They are all from a great popular men's designer and look awesome! We have purchased their spring/summer looks for under 60.00 for two young adult teens.

This weekend I am also headed to a couple of Estate sales/garage sales. It is finally the season again and I am on the hunt for wicker sofas for our back patio.

I have checked out I Heart CVS and found out about sales for the next few weeks, so I am saving my ECBs to use on several great items coming up in April.

For more Super Savings Saturday post go to MoneySavingMom.

Frugal Fridays 3-28-08

Gas prices are at an all time high. Going to the grocery store is an exercise is frustration for those of us that do not have nationwide chains that offer super savings. This week reports came out that it is very likely that we will not see low food prices for another ten years! There has never been a time to become more aware of ones finances or to practice the art of frugality. I have said numerous times that it is an NOT an act of denying oneself pleasure or enjoyment. Many think that those that choose to be frugal live a life of despair or that they 'have' to live a lesser life than their peers. Frugality is freedom! Freedom to tell my money what to do. Freedom to experience greater satisfaction and joy knowing I am living below my means.

This leads me to a great find last evening at our local SuperTarget. My husband and two younger sons had to run an errand last evening. Imagine their excitement when they discovered Levi and Wranger jeans on clearance for 4.98 a pair!! My teenage boys are growing by leaps and bounds. One is nearly 6'2" and the other is approaching 6'. My husband snagged all they had in their size. He came home with four pairs of jeans that cost him 17.00 total! Needless to say the boys were pleased with themselves for finding such a bargain.

I took a lot of flak from my children when I started really watching our spending habits. However, it is times like last evening that show me while they may complain at times, they are paying attention. The simple fact that they were so pumped about finding jeans at such an affordable price shows me that they are watching and learning even if they give me a hard time about being 'frugal'.

It is hard clothing teens today. There is so much pressure to fit in. There are ways for our teens to fit in and look stylish without compromising our standards on modesty or putting pressure on our finances.

Here are a few ways we save:
Consignment Stores/Thrift Stores
Hit the season ending sales
Shopping the sales online at Old Navy, Macy's, or American Eagle. Many times you can purchase items for a song by signing up on their websites and getting email alerts. I have purchased items from Old Navy for under five dollars before.

Check out more Friday Friday ideas at Biblical Womanhood.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

WFMW 3-26-08

Life keeps coming fast and since we are now through with spring break there are only nine weeks left in the school year! Summer is upon us friends!

It has always been a challenge for me as a working mom to fill the summers with fun and excitement for my children. Now that they are teenagers that fun usually means a significant outlay in cash!

We try to encourage volunteerism in our teens. For the past four summers our boys have volunteered at the Endeavor Games at the University of Central Oklahoma. The Endeavor Games is a nationally-recognized competition that allows all athletes with physical disabilities to participate in a multi-sport event similar to the Paralympics. The Games also provides training clinics for aspiring athletes. Click here to view 2007 Endeavor Games Video. They have become great friends with a lot of the athletes that come each and every year. It kicks off their summer each and every year.

Vacation Bible School is also another great time to have your teens volunteer. They can make the difference in a young child’s life while serving a worthwhile cause. Our daughter has volunteered at VBS as soon as she was old enough to help. One of our boys always helps with the skits. Our church loves to have teens help with VBS.

Another way our teens get involved is to serve as junior sponsors at our church sponsored Kid’s Kamp. Two summers ago a terrible virus spread rapidly through the camp. Many told us how much they appreciated our sixteen year old son (who was 14 at the time) and the way he comforted the eight and nine year old boys that were very sick. Even many of the sponsors got the virus. Seth cared for these throwing up boys and gave up his sheets and sleeping bag to those that had… ahem… mishaps. The point is….he could have begged off sick and let an adult take charge of those sick little boys but he stepped up to the plate and served and cared for them.

Beginning right now many communities will be putting out their calendars for the coming summer months. If you have teenagers find ways for them to volunteer. I would much rather my children serve others than sit in front of the television/video games all day or hang out at the pool each day. Volunteering prepares them for greater things in their adulthood. It develops their character and teaches them compassion. As with anything, a parent must be wise about when and where they let their teens volunteer. Be sure and check credentials if you let them volunteer somewhere other than your own church.

One more thing before I close….many teens get into trouble in the summer months because there is a lack of structure/parental involvement. One event that took place last year among one of our sons friends is each night (at least it seemed like each night) the kids ended up at one of their friends homes. The parents hosted them for the evening with snacks and supervision. Some parents had pools, some had big screen TVs with Guitar Hero and yet others had plenty of games to keep the kids occupied. It was a great time of bonding for the youth of our church who were all going to be attending five different high schools for the first time that fall.

Many times parents may feel that once their children hit the teen years that their job is nearly done. In our experience our teenagers love knowing we are involved and in touch with what is going on today in their culture. Parents, they want you to be involved and they want BOUNDARIES. Find ways this summer to give them opportunities to shine through the gift of volunteering their time. Works for our family!

Here are few more things you can read about teens and volunteering:
Teens and Volunteering

For more Works for Me Wednesday visit Shannon at Rocks in My Dryer.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Super Savings Saturday 3-22-08

Wow this week has been awesome! Truly since last Saturday I have saved a bundle for my family at Walgreen and CVS.

My camera is not shooting clear pictures at the moment so I don't have a picture but let me tell you what I purchased last week:

I hit a couple of CVS stores in the Dallas area when we were down there last weekend.

WOW! How I wish our stores were stocked like these! I made two very awesome transactions. Well actually three.

One transaction my OOP (out of pocket) ended up being .86 cents! I did not even have any coupons to use or CVS coupons. I used ECBs and ended up generating 28.00 in ECBs!!!!! Oh my goodness I was so excited!!! I had another transaction buying the 8.99 Maybelline lip gloss. I used two ECBs, no other coupon, and the OOP was almost 3.00 but I generated nearly 20.00 in ECBs!

Why you might be asking yourself? Well I had forgotten about the online survey I filled out a few weeks ago for CVS. Not only did the transaction generate my 8.99 for the lipgloss but it generated a 10.00 ECB for filling out the survey!!!! WOO HOO!

My last transaction at another store I purchased:3 Vitamin C, 2 Listerene Mouthwash, 4 Lypsyls, 2 pkgs of plastic Easter Eggs, 2 Dove Bars, 2 bags of Jelly beans, 6 Snickers Protein Bars that were marked down to .37 cents each, 1 pkg. of Sour Patch candies for my daughter. I used the two ECBs that totaled 18.99 plus I had three CVS gift cards that I had been given when ECBs did not print out...they totaled: 10.58 and my total OOP was around 7.00! But the big news is I generated: 32.00 ECBs!!!!!

So currently I have 59.00 in unused ECBs and my total OOP for last Saturday for 3 transactions was: 10.00! I did not buy one thing that we will not use. This program has been a huge blessing to me and my family. My daughter could not believe her eyes when I pointed out that the huge bag she was carrying out of the store only cost me .86 cents! I had only shopped at CVS maybe twice in my entire adult life! I felt it was too overpriced and could not understand their Easy Care Card program. Let me tell you that I am thankful for MoneySavingMom sharing her knowledge about CVS and I am now a confirmed FAN of CVS!!

Now on to this week!
I decided I would try and finish a few deals here in Oklahoma. I was not too confident since our stores seems to not have the stock on the beginning of the sale let alone the end. I ended up going to two stores and this everything that I purchased:

1 Lypsyl to finish my limit, 2 shaving creams, 3 packages of Soleil replacement razors, 1 Soleil Razor, 1 hand scrubber, 5 Irish Spring Speed Stick deoderants, 14 Pria Protein bars marked down to .37 cents, 1 Woman's Day magazine, and I think that is all.

My total OOP for both transactions was: 1.47!!! I earned back around 24.00 ECBs.

At Walgreens this week they had Stay Free on sale for 2/5 and I had coupons for 2.00 off of 2. I bought four packages. I also had 1/1 coupons for Rimmel Mascara. All the Rimmel was on sale BOGO so I used two coupons and got the mascara free. I also used Soleil coupons for the razor on sale for 5.99 and I had a 2.00 off coupon. With the purchase of a razor you received the replacement razor heads for free, a 6.99 value. When it was all said and done I had used 8.00 in manufacturers coupons, received a 6.99 gift of razors, and 11.86 was Walgreen sales. My total was 12.45 OOP and I had saved over 26.94. The cashier was amazed, however, with CVS it is much more dramatic in savings.

All in all it was a very productive week. Tonight I will be putting all the free candy I have received at CVS into the free Easter Eggs I have received....getting ready for the family hunt tomorrow after church and lunch. Easter Blessings All!

For more Super Savings ideas head on over to

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Frugal Fridays 3-21-08

This weeks Frugal Friday post is going to be short and sweet. Today is Good Friday and I really do not want to take a lot of time blogging.

This year I am bucking the trend....a trend that has been a part of my life since I was a small girl. This year I did not get new Easter shoes or an outfit! I did not get my boys Easter clothes and only bought my daughter a new top to go with a skirt we already had and she had cute shoes to match in her closet!

This year I decided that just because it is Easter and all the spring regalia appears in churches all across this great nation of ours.....I was not going to succumb to pressure and 'buy' something new. Instead I am re-working an outfit that I already own and wearing mules that I have had for quite some time! Shocking I know, but it all about Easter baskets, candy, new shiny shoes, spring outfits, and the like? NO! It is about celebrating our Risen Savior! Somehow I think He won't mind if we were good stewards of our finances and all that He has given us by wearing something we already own!

This will be my first STRESS free Easter! I have free candy I have saved up from CVS trips, plus some free goodies to put in my teenagers Easter baskets. I also have free Easter eggs and more candy for my nieces and nephews and the big Easter Egg Hunt after lunch.

Low Pressure and Stress Free....a day to spend with family and to worship our Risen Savior! I'd say that is a winning combination!

For more Frugal Friday ideas head over to Biblical Womanhood.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

WFMW 3-19-08

In a large, busy family someone is always needing a pen, pencil, sissors, tape, paper clips, etc. I have solved that problem for our family and it was relatively easy and simple.

Two years ago I purchased on clearance at Target a cute little desk organizer that spins around and is very compact. I store our pens, a permanant marker, mini stapler, scissors, pencils, and the like in this cute little organizer. It sits on top of one of those mini three drawer towers that you can find at your local dollar store. Mine is clear and it is trimmed out in bright cherry red which matches my kitchen. Inside the drawers I store the tape, a glue stick, notepad, and the top drawer I use to put my rings in when I come home from work and begin to cook dinner.

This has been so helpful. It works better than the item that used to serve this purpose. I used previously for years a plastic, magnetic basket that fit on the side of my fridge and it held all those items but it would sometimes get knocked off or someone would spill its contents on the floor. Every now and then I still find the scissors put back in the container because we still use it but for important info from school for the kids.

This works for us great! For more Works for Me Wednesday head over to Shannon's Rocks in My Dryer.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

My 90th Post!

Wow, I can't believe that I have posted 90 times since early December! Ten more posts and I am putting up a 100 things about me! Can't wait!

Me and my darling daughter are down in Big D. That is Dallas, Texas, for those of you that are not from the Central United States. We drove down yesterday and have been having a great time visiting with friends, eating at great restaurants, and doing some shopping on the side.

Speaking of shopping......I hit a couple of CVS stores here in the Dallas area. WOW! How I wished our stores were stocked like these! I made two very awesome transactions. Well actually three. One transaction my OOP (out of pocket) ended up being .86 cents! I did not even have any coupons to use or CVS coupons. I used ECBs and ended up generating 28.00 in ECBs!!!!! Oh my goodness I was so excited!!!

I had another transaction buying the 8.99 Maybelline lip gloss. I used two ECBs, no other coupon, and the OOP was almost 3.00 but I generated nearly 20.00 in ECBs! Why you might be asking yourself? Well I had forgotten about the online survey I filled out a few weeks ago for CVS. Not only did the transaction generate my 8.99 for the lipgloss but it generated a 10.00 ECB for filling out the survey!!!! WOO HOO!

My last transaction at another store I purchased:
3 Vitamin C
2 Listerene Mouthwash
4 Lypsyls
2 pkgs of plastic Easter Eggs
2 Dove Bars
2 bags of Jelly beans
6 Snickers Protein Bars that were marked down to .37 cents each!
1 pkg. of Sour Patch candies for my daughter
I used the two ECBs that totaled 18.99 plus I had three CVS gift cards that I had been given when ECBs did not print out...they totaled: 10.58 and my total OOP was around 7.00! But the big news is I generated: 32.00 ECBs!!!!!

So currently I have 59.00 in unused ECBs and my total OOP for today for 3 transactions was: 10.00!

I did not buy one thing that we will not use. This program has been a huge blessing to me and my family. My daughter could not believe her eyes when I pointed out that the huge bag she was carrying out of the store only cost me .86 cents! I had only shopped at CVS maybe twice in my entire adult life! I felt it was too overpriced and could not understand their Easy Care Card program. Let me tell you that I am thankful for MoneySavingMom sharing her knowledge about CVS and I am now a confirmed FAN of CVS!!

This trip has also been so sweet to visit with my dear friend Lisa. I have been blessed with her friendship the last seven years. Lisa reached out to me when I married my husband. She had been his late wife's best friend, mentor, confidant, and prayer partner. She has given me insight into these three children that I now call my very own. Her guidance, prayers, and acceptance have meant more to me than I could ever adequately express. I have often thought about how difficult it must have been for her to accept someone new into the group of friends that they shared. I can say that everyone in that group have been such a inspiration to me.

Tomorrow we will have more fun with the crew. I think the shopping is over with until Tuesday morning when I hit Kroger!! WOO HOO! Can't wait!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Blog Tour with Roberta Simpson, Author of Nana's Bible Stories

Today I am SO excited to have an interview with Roberta Simpson (shown on the left), author of the new children's book, Nana's Bible Stories. Roberta has an awesome story to share and I am excited to tell you that she has given me a copy of her beautiful book to give away to a blessed reader! Please join us for this interview and leave your comments. I will draw a winner on Saturday, March 15th.

Roberta, welcome to Pursuing Simplicity! It is such a pleasure to have you stop by and share with us your beautiful children's book, Nana's Bible Stories!

It is truly an honor to have the opportunity to share some of my personal thoughts and experiences as a new author with you, Vickie, and the Pursuing Simplicity ladies! I am so blessed to see the work you are doing to help and encourage each other!

There are so many gifts lying dormant in the lives of women—just waiting to be discovered or understood. I pray not only that my book, Nana’s Bible Stories will be encouraging to the children in your life—but, also that my personal story will be of encouragement to many of you as you pursue your calling.

Your personal story is one of obedience. You didn’t plan to become an author. Tell us about some of the challenges you faced from family, friends, etc. on your journey.

ROBERTA: Challenges do come, and they come often. Some years ago, I did a writing seminar, here in Barbados. I remember being so excited, as I did want to write, but up until then, I had only written articles for the newspaper, and a few plays for church.

The gentleman who read and corrected all that I had written scribbled all over them with a nasty little red pen. On the bottom he wrote, “You can’t write!” I shrugged and thought, “I have five kids to raise and I have lots to do, so never mind!” He was a very influential man in Barbados – in fact, he was a well known Pastor! Lesson to be learned in this? When God says you can do it, even a well known Pastor cannot get in the way with his negative comments!

Years later, when I knew God spoke to me about writing, I felt excited and flew home (I mean drove!) and started to write. I believe what was important at that time, was obeying God, and not listening to man!

Friends and especially family have totally encouraged me on my adventure, and this is really special!

Jesus told many stories to his adult followers; do you believe Nana’s Bible Stories can speak to adults as well as children?

ROBERTA: Jesus was the greatest storyteller. The story of the Lost Lamb, he told to adults – we tell it to children!

I have had many adults, in tears, telling me how they love the stories. Some adults have bought the book, not having any children to give it to, but reading it themselves. Bible stories are for everyone, regardless of age – they are timeless!!! The truth of the Bible is for all. My prayer has been that many adults, while reading the stories to their children, will be touched and encouraged. In fact, I have had grown women call me crying after reading the stories!

I heard several stories recently that really touched my heart regarding my book. One was the mother of a friend, who was sick in the hospital. The mother wanted the stories read to her, and they brought her comfort during her pain.

Another was about a young man who died of a drug overdose. He had always loved butterflies. When his mom heard about the book, and there was a story about a butterfly in it, she went and bought it.

In Pensacola, there was a five year old little girl who died. Her mother kept thinking about butterflies. She also went and bought the book and felt comforted.

You are a Jewish believer. Do you think your Jewish heritage played a role in the telling of Nana’s Bible Stories?

ROBERTA: Yes, yes, absolutely yes! I always look on the Bible as a Jewish book to begin with. However, my love for Israel and the Jewish people is a big help. I have been to Israel too many times to count, and am in touch with the people and the culture. The land is exquisite, and when I am writing stories, I can picture the people, and the place in which the story takes place.

I do believe that often, we forget Jesus was Jewish, and many things He said and the content of the stories He told were very Jewish.

I have worked closely with the illustrator, Susan Mitchell, who was wonderful illustrator for my book. It was great fun inspiring her with pictures and describing the people as she brought Israel to life through her illustrations. I think she did a great job, in color and characters!

Your family has a rich history…tell us a little about your parents and grandparents.

ROBERTA: My life was very interesting with the parents and grandparents that I had. A lot of it was wonderful, but there were difficult times as well. I loved my life as a little girl. My father was a big band leader in England, and we had two pianos in our house. A grand piano in the living room, and a small piano in his music room. Music was such a huge part of my life, and I remember performing in front of his friends, singing and dancing! I even went to a few of his performances, which was a great treat, especially when I went up on the stage with him.

My mother was very beautiful and made a few movies with my father. My grandfather and grandmother were the last Rajah and Ranee of Sarawak. My grandmother, who was JM Barrie’s inspiration for “Wendy” in Peter Pan, was quite a character—she was an artist and an author as well. She took me to many interesting places, many of which she should not have taken me, like scary movies!

When I was around 9 years old, my parents got divorced and I thought it was the end of the world. She remarried to an American Colonel, who for a while was my hero, as he could get unlimited candy, coca cola, and chewing gum! Unfortunately, he was not a hero and that marriage also ended in divorce.

We learn difficult lessons in life, and I can relate to many people because of the things I had to face, including World War II, and being hated and singled out for being Jewish. Through all of the pain and heartache, I loved my family very much.

Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, wrote the foreword for Nana’s Bible Stories. Tell us how she became involved in your work.

ROBERTA: My husband and I have been friends with Prince Andrew for many years and were invited to Fergie and Andrew’s wedding.

We met Sarah the evening before the wedding and soon after they came to Barbados for a short holiday. Even though we do not see each other often, we have remained friends through the years.

I was speaking to her one day, after I had started writing my book. I asked her about the illustrator she used for one of her books, as I loved the illustrations. She was very kind, and really enjoyed my stories. She told me that when I was ready to publish she would write a foreword for my book. I am very grateful for this, and appreciate very much her offering to do this for me.

Thank you for allowing me to share a part of my life and calling with you. If you would like to learn more about me or my book, please go to You may download one of my favorite stories, The Butterfly and the Cross—the story of the crucifixion as told through the gentle and tender eyes of a butterfly. I have also included a special devotional for the story which you may share with your children this Easter season. Cuddle up with a child and enjoy!

Roberta, thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to stop by and encourage those that read Pursuing Simplicity. I must tell you this book is awesome. I loved every single illustration and the stories were beautiful. The book is first rate and I feel so blessed that you have given a copy for me to share with my readers. May God continue to bless you and your family! Thank you again for stopping by today!

If you would like the opportuntity to be blessed by this wonderful book, please leave a comment below. I would encourage each of you to order this book for your family. It is sure to become a treasured family book.


Frugal Friday 3-14-08

Crystal at Biblical Womanhood posed a question today to her readers to see how they have fun frugal family times. I love this topic and thought I would add a few of our favorites.

One of the most frugal fun things the boys in the family love to do is go camping. My daughter and me, not so much. :) Last year began a tradition where my husband took the boys and their friends to the local lake in our community. They pitched camp and enjoyed 'roughing' it for a couple of days. The cost for the camping spot was I believe 7.00. They took all their food and gear and had a great time! They were only about five minutes from our home but they felt like they were worlds away.

We all love to go to the movies but for a family of six the cost is what some of you pay for a weeks worth of groceries. We usually go to the movies when a good, clean, moral movie comes out around the holidays. I have taken the children to the local dollar movie and we always bring our own snacks.

This summer we had planned to take a big vacation. We have not done so in seven years. I had been planning how we could travel through Tennessee and points East. We were getting very excited about the trip and then gas prices shot through the roof. Somehow traveling across this great nation paying up to or more than 4.00 per gallon for gas does not sound entirely frugal. I think we will go to plan 'b' just in case. I can't bear to spend that money on gas, even if it is for a family vacation. I am not complaining, we have made our choices to "live like no one else so we can live like no one else" in the future (credit to Dave Ramsey for that quote). Family travel would be great, but not if it has to be paid for by credit card.

We enjoy our times with each other and some evenings just sitting in front of the television watching an old John Wayne movie and popping popcorn the old fashioned way. We also have a great time each season when American Idol is on or Dancing with the Stars.

We hope to spend more time outdoors this summer with the purchase last year of our brand new grill and glider swing that we found at an estate sale in our neighborhood, plus we bought a chimenea or outdoor firepit so that we can enjoy the night. We love to watch our boys play basketball on our large patio and that in itself is worth an invite to our place! They are VERY competitive.

I think the world puts so much emphasis on what we as families choose to do on our down time. I know our down time is few and far between, but when we are all free and able to relax it is not about going to the beach or heading to Disney that makes our family time more special or is the time spent laughing, sharing, and caring about one another that makes the memories special. Renting a cabin in a small mountain town is the ideal vacation for our family. As long as we have running water and can cook it is all good!

As our teenagers get older they have their own ideas about how they want to spend their summers and down time. One thing is for sure they have learned that being frugal is not about denying oneself pleasure or fun but choosing peace of mind over frivilous expenditures. Now I expect not everyone who reads this blog feels the same way and that is okay. I just know for our little family sweet times can be had at home, at our friends home in Dallas, at the lake, beside a mountain stream, and even at our beautiful local park.

I believe fun is 10% activity and 90% attitude.

Kinda my own take on Chuck Swindoll's quote about attitude, ""The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me is more important than the facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company. a church. a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for the day. We cannot change our past. We cannot change the fact that people will act a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90 percent how I react to it. And so it is with you. We are in charge of our attitudes!"
- Charles Swindoll,Insight For Living

This is the season where people are gearing up for trips and vacations. I am heading to Texas with my daughter so she can see two of her dear friends for the weekend. I am looking forward to the trip and hope to hit the grocery stores there for some great deals too!

For more frugal ideas head over to Biblical Womanhood.

Also check out this post if you have not already and see the great giveaway I have for the beautiful book, Nana's Bible Stories by Lady Roberta Simpson.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Special Guest Interview 3-14-08

Stop back in tomorrow, because not only will I have a Frugal Friday post, but I will also have a wonderful interview with Lady Roberta Simpson, author of the new children's book Nana's Bible Stories. I will also be giving away a copy of her beautiful book! You don't want to miss it!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

WFMW 3-12-08

I love to decorate and have always taken great pleasure in coordinating my home decor. Something that has really worked for me in the past is placing items of inspiration into a three ring binder. I use the clear insert pages plus I also use some of the pockets that are made for a binder.

I keep what most would call a storyboard in the binder that has samples of fabric, paint colors (with name and vendor), wallpaper samples, flooring, etc. I also keep in a small pouch in my bag paint chips, wallpaper and/or fabric samples so if I am out shopping and I see something for my home I can match it up right away with the small samples I have with me.

In this binder I also keep ideas that I have found on the Internet, blogs, magazines, and brochures. It works as my dreamboard and the place I start formulating ideas for the rooms that I want to re-do or the few that I have yet to tackle.

Having a place for all these items helps me keep my ideas together in one place. I keep my notes in one of the pockets so that I can update as needed. It is also very handy to keep business cards of contractors available so I always know where I can find the information when I need it.

I have placed an image below of the cover I created for my binders in Publisher, however, the darling black and white checked border did not show up and that is a shame. It really sets it off! I have binders for everything...household, home inventory/warranties, kitchen notebook, and my great ideas binder.

For more Works for Me Wednesday ideas head on over to Shannon's at Rocks in My Dryer!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Randomness and CVS

Wow, I have been so busy that I did not get a menu done this weekend. Too be honest, I could not get it together! However, tonight my sixteen year old son, Seth, cooked dinner for us. He made the most delish whole wheat pasta dish. He loves to cook. He created this garlic butter white sauce with shrimp and added it to the pasta. Oh my goodness it was so yummy!! I told him that next time I would like to try some sauteed spinach and add some roasted walnuts or pine nuts to his mixture. M-m-m-m-m it was fantastic!

I am loving the weather today! Here in Central Oklahoma it was BEAUTIFUL!! Hardly any wind and the temperature was in the high 60s. I came home after work and exercised outside. I am so ready for spring!

This weekend my dear husband had his first experience with CVS! I had a bang up day on Saturday, some of which I shared on my blog post that day. However, we went to dinner with a sweet couple and afterwards we hit CVS in Oklahoma City. Eureka!!! I found all the Colgate toothpaste! Edmond was out of it but I found some and loaded up. My husband bought five and I completed my deal by buying the one I lacked. We found one Vitamin C, one Lypsyl, and some Blistex. We also bought some Tresamme. My out of pocket after coupons and ECBs was .61 cents. My husband floated me a loan. :) My husband did not have ECBs to use but he did have some coupons. His OOP was 18.00 but low and behold he got back....drum roll please......over 38.00 in ECBs!! He is SOLD on CVS! We hit another CVS on the way back home and racked up some bargains again. I will probably re-post this later in the week but will have pictures to share.

Right about now my children begin to get really tired of school. I think we have a Spring Break in March for a refresh and renew their minds. This year I am excited that at the end of the break we will celebrate our Risen Savior! What a wonderful way to end Spring Break!

My daughter and I will be headed down to Big D to see some friends in Flower Mound and of course shop a little. I am going to hit CVS while I am there but my big excitement comes from having the chance to hit grocery stores that we do not have here in Oklahoma. Kroger here I come! I am taking my coupons and headed down South to see if I can get some of those great items all ya'll talk about on your blogs!

Sorry about the randomness of this post. My brain is a little tired tonight! Blessings Ya'll!

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Super Savings Saturday 3-8-08

Wow this week has been such a rush for me saving money for my family! It started last Sunday. I went to two CVS after church because I could not find everything I wanted/needed at one store.

The above photo combines the two visits. Missing from the photo are several packs of gum, a hair prodcut, and distilled water.

My first transaction my OOP was .72 cents!!!! I had manufacturers coupons, ECBs, and the 5 off of 15.00 coupon. I was able to purchase six bags of candy for my teens Easter baskets and the Easter egg hunt with all my nieces and nephews; 2 boxes of cookies, gum, distilled water, one crest mouthwash, four Colgate toothpaste. I earned back in ECBs around 21.00! There was a young woman standing behind me when I was purchasing these items. She started laughing when I was handing over my coupons. It was around 44.00 at first. I then started handing the cashier my coupons and when he said, "Wow, that will be .72 cents!" Then the ECBs started printing and he told me the total on the long tape. As I was walking out the door I heard her ask him, "How in the world did she do that?" Yea for CVS!!!

My second transaction consisted of one more Crest mouthwash, a pack of gum, a snack pack of cashews, and a free bag of candy I earned when I scanned my card. I paid with a 5.00 ECB and a coupon for the Crest. My grand total OOP was .76 cents but it came off a CVS gift card that I had been given two weeks prior due to an ECB not printing in reality it was free! Plus I earned the 3.49 for the Crest!

Last Sunday my OOP from my own pocketbook was .72!!!!! I was on a roll!!!

Today I just got back from a run to the CVS closest to my home. A man was stocking the shelves by the razors and I have been looking for the elusive Venus Embrace. He asked if he could help me and he pulled one out of the infamous blue bins he was unloading. He then told me he was the manager and we struck up a conversation. He told me when the stock arrives at all the stores in my area. He was so nice.

I ended up purchasing quite a few things we needed plus some had ECBs coming back. The grand total scared me a bit since I have not spent money like that since beginning CVS. I do not mind paying for things OOP everything now and then, since I am no longer lining the pockets of those at corporate in Arkansas; home of the big box store.

Grand total at first was 88.00!!! But after my ECBs from last week, coupons, my 5/30 that I got in an email this week my ending total and out of pocket was 37.91. However, I received around 27.00 in ECBs back!!! Making my true OOP around 10.00!! I was able to purchase some protein bars that were marked down 75% off for .30 cents and .40 cents a piece! My boys go through them like crazy. I bought nothing that we did not use or need.
All in all this week has been a very good week indeed. My kids are getting on board more now in regards to spotting deals and letting me know their needs ahead of time. The boys now ask if I have a coupon for such and such. I think they see the change. What great lessons they are learning for their futures!
For more great saving ideas, head over to Money Saving Mom!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Frugal Fridays 3-7-08

I have so many exciting things to post today and tomorrow! I have had a great week of savings for our family of six. Tomorrow I am going to share my great finds at CVS! It was my best yet!

Yesterday my husband came across a deal at our local Wal Mart Supercenter. I rarely shop at Wal Mart anymore since I really started watching our budget and discovered Walgreens and CVS for great savings. However, last night my sweet husband rounded up some great deals. The most exciting was finding the rotisserie chickens were marked down to 2.50 after being nearly 5.00! He called me to see what I wanted him to do. I got so excited. I told him to buy as many as he wanted. I am pulling all the meat off of the bones and putting it in freezer ziploc bags for future cooking uses! I am then going to boil the bones and make some great chicken stock. He came home with 6 chickens last evening!

I was at dinner with a one of my most precious friends. I had been sharing with her about CVS and the things that I have learned lately. About the time I was really getting into our discussion Mike called to tell me what he had found! She began to laugh because here I was sitting in Panera Bread all excited that my husband found chickens on sale for 2.50! When I got off the phone she said she has never seen me more excited about saving money! I admit, it has become almost an obession with me to see how much I can save. I know our bank account has never looked better! I am giving the Lord a mighty handclap of praise for waking me up and showing me the Light. I always thought I was good at saving money but I truly had no idea that it could be this good!!

My family has really jumped on the bandwagon with me in this quest to be more deliberate in our spending. I have seen it really make a difference in a couple of our teens who like to spend the green stuff.

My husband and sons went to the Wild Game Dinner at church tonight sponsored by our Men's Ministry. Our daughter had found out today that she got a singing part in her middle school performance of Annie later this spring. I took her to dinner to celebrate. We went to our favorite Chinese eatery and she suggested we share a meal. We had PLENTY of food and saved about 9.00 bucks in the process.

Frugality is not about denying pleasure or joy from our lives. It is a way of living that is more economical. I like to think of it as living life on purpose. Being purposeful/intentional with our budget. Becoming more economical with our resources that have been given to us and finding ways to stretch that dollar a little further.

For more Frugal Friday ideas head on over to Biblical Womahood.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

WFMW - 3-5-08

This week is a Backwards Edition of Works for Me Wednesday. Last time was such a great help for me when I posed the question about making bread.

I would love to hear from those that keep a written budget, either pen/paper or computerzied. I have always been a little leery having the information accessed on my computer. I have never been sure of the security features of software such as Quicken or Microsoft Money. We have Dave Ramsey's software and I have saved a few templates from Microsoft in Excel. So my question is for all of you that have a monthly budget, how do you do it? Paper, ledger, Excel, Binder, Software.....please fill me in. Also if you have success with the envelope system I would love to hear about this as well. Come on everyone....I know you have great ideas!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

MPM 3-3-08

Last week I tried a new recipe for skillet lasagna. Actually when I got home from work my sixteen year old son had it all put together and all I had to do was serve it up once it was cooked. He has told me that if I give him a menu he will help me out on the days that he is not at practice. He loves to cook and would love to be a chef one day. Of course this is after his illustrious NBA career and being a FBI agent. He loves to cook and is good at it so I am going take him up on the offer!

This week we are having:

Monday: Oven fried chicken legs, mashed potatoes, green beans, salad (We are taking chicken legs and after giving them a good rinse and removing the skin we are going to pat them dry. Dip in an egg wash and then roll in a mixture of plain bread crumbs, a little flour, parmesean cheese, and Italian seasonings. Spray the cookie sheet with a little cooking spray and baked until nice and golden brown. My son and I have kinda made this up and we are not sure of times yet. I will post an update.

Tuesday: Santa Fe Chicken Soup and cornbread (it is a new crock pot recipe I am going to try out. I will post it next week if it is good.)

Wednesday: Eat at church

Thursday: Turkey Meatball Sandwiches and whole grain chips

Friday: Pizza Night

Saturday: Tortilla Soup and Quesadillas

Sunday: Crockpot Lasagna, salad, and broccoli

Tune in next week. I am going to post my smoothie recipe that I make at least twice a day and have since April. One day this week I am going to try and take pictures of the process. Stay tuned!

For more great menu ideas head over to Laura's blog at

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Super Saving Saturday 3-1-08

Crystal mentioned getting ready to increase their grocery budget from 35.00 to 40.00 per week. The news is full of stories that can make one a little uneasy about the future of our finances and budgets. Every time you turn on the television or pick up a newspaper you can read stories of recession, gas prices, grocery prices, and on and on.

Today, on Super Saving Saturday, I wanted to share a few ways we are trying to be proactive and find ways to lower our food budget. I have mentioned before with four teenagers, three of whom are boys, we cannot feed our family on 35.00 a week or even 60.00 a week. I wished that we could. However, we have been trying to find ways to cut back on our grocery bill. One thing I will not resort to however, is buying convenience foods, even if I can get them free or nearly free. We also are not going to go back to buying regular pasta instead of whole grain. The health benefits far outweigh the cost associated with these items.

One thing that we are doing this spring that I am so excited about is planting a garden! I have always wanted a garden. We hope to have tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, yellow squash, cabbage, carrots, and I am not sure what else. If ya'll have any ideas, please let me know! My goal is to have plenty of fresh produce throughout the summer and to flash freeze some of the peppers, onions, squash for use in the fall and winter.

I have printed off the plans from Martha Stewart for a cold frame planter so that we can grow some items during the fall and winter such as spinach. We buy at least two bags of spinach and salad greens a month from Sam's. I have already noticed the prices have gone up to the tune of over 1.50 just on the bagged spinach alone.

I posted yesterday about what we have done to save money on snack items for our children.

Saving money for me has become like a game. It is a thrill, however, I have had to pull back and reevaluate to make sure that I am only purchasing things that we really need. It is easy to jump on the savings bandwagon and begin to buy items that perhaps you have never used before or would never consider using in the past. The thrill of getting something for free or nearly free is a rush. I have noticed that there are never many coupons available for organic or health foods which is what we tend to eat the most in our household.

My Super Saving Saturday this week is much like that last few....I have saved more money out of the store than in it. Today I am going to try and make our own protein bars. I can't wait to see how they turn out. I am hopeful that they will be more economical than the purchased ones we buy each week. I am also making homemade granola.

For more Super Saving Saturday ideas go to Money Saving Mom.