Sunday, May 26, 2013

No New Stuff Challenge: Fourth Week of May

I did a lot of shopping this week. All of it was used of course but man did it add up fast!

Lets see....
*14 dresses (5 for my oldest, 5 for my second oldest, and 4 for me)
*4 pairs of shoes
*Replacement hammock parts (totally splurge but it is my favorite spot in the backyard)
*2 new children's Bibles for my oldest two daughters
*2 Bible covers for the Bibles listed above
*A toddler Bible for my toddlers
*A new book for my summer Bible study
*A calculator for my husband's college class

I *think* that is it. I really wasn't kidding when I said I was on a shopping spree! We should be stocked up for a while now ;)

Total cost new: $510
Total amount I paid: $211.54

Saturday, May 18, 2013

No New Stuff Challenge: Third week of May

This week has been a big week in our house. Our littlest little bit has been doing some growing! She turns 4mths next week and just outgrew her 0-3mth clothes. So all you mom's know what that means.....sorting through boxes and totes full of clothes to get the next size pulled out and in her drawers. You would think that since we have 5 daughters we would have lots of handme downs laying around. That is true for our older 4 girls, however when we moved from Hawaii to New Jersey we needed to cut down on the amount of weight we were shipping. To do this we got rid of all our baby clothes and baby gear. So while we have clothes from 12mths (the size the twins were wearing at the time of the move) and up, we had nothing for the first year. We were very blessed when little bit was just a few weeks old, one of my husband's coworkers gave us an entire wardrobe for 0-12mths! They are super cute clothes and in great shape.  As I was pulling the 3-6mth wardrobe out and getting it all sorted into the correct drawers I couldn't help but marvel at the blessings in our lives. The Lord really does provide when you are faithful and trust in Him! I am looking forward to passing these clothes on to the next person who needs them!

Another side effect of little bit growing is that she is outgrowing her cloth diapers. I use prefolds and covers on my small babies, till around the time they are starting to crawl. The prefolds are cheaper, easier to wash and dry, and easier to deal with out of the dryer. Which is great when you think about how often you have to change a little bitty baby. I did a lot of searching this week to find the next size prefolds for little bit. My last baby grew so fast he went straight from newborn prefolds (birth to 3mths) to standard prefolds (fits 6-9mth olds). Since little bit is growing quite a bit slower I needed to find some prefolds that would fit her from 3-6mths. I did some researching on what new prefolds were going for (about $1 per prefold) and then put the word out on several of my online sites (diaperswappers, my mom's group, and my facebook yardsale sites). One of the ladies on my mom's group had some prefolds with snaps, which are great because you don't have to use a snappi, they however sell for a lot more than $1 per! They run about $12 per prefold new! She was willing to sell me 16 of them for $46 with shipping. That is about $150 saved!

The prefolds have not come in the mail yet, which isn't a big deal since the newborn prefolds are still fitting her at the moment. However since I think every blog posts benefits from a picture I will share a pic of the little bit I have been rambling about....
Amount items would have been if bought new: $300
Actual amount spent: $46

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Meal Plan May 11th-17th

Things around here are snug this month thanks to some unexpected car repairs and doctors bills. In an effort not to touch our savings we are trying to tighten our belt a little tighter than normal. Today is our grocery shop day and after having a look at the meals we had planned for the upcoming week I decided to make some changes. My goal for this week was "healthy and cheap". Not the easiest order to fill but I was up for the challenge. We have some set menu rules in our house that really help with meal planning.

Mondays: Vegetarian
Tuesdays: Meat
Wednesdays: Leftovers or sandwiches
Thursday: Vegetarian
Friday: Breakfast for dinner
Saturday: Homemade Pizza
Sunday: Meat

With that in mind I started searching for healthy meals that fit our pattern and were pretty cheap to put together.

Breakfasts (all served with fruit and milk):
Apple Nut Quinoa 
 *need: apple juice
Funky Monkey Oatmeal
*need: Peanut butter, banana's, coconut, and chocolate chips
Choco-Coconut Granola 
* need: nothing
Banana Bread
*need: nothing

Leftovers or sandwiches

Dinners (Served with side salads):
Chipotle Chicken Chili
*need: V8 juice, diced tomatoes, dried beans
Sweet Chili Thai Pizza and Pepperoni Pizza
*need: pepperoni, tomato sauce, red onion, zucchini, sweet chili sauce, green onions, mozzarella cheese, cheddar cheese
Chicken Quesadillas 
*need: cheddar cheese
Roasted Vegetable French Bread Pizza 
*need: red onion, zuchini,  bell pepper, pesto, mozzarella cheese
Southwestern Baked Potatoes
*need: baking potatoes, dried beans, sour cream, cheddar cheese
Breakfast Tostadas
*need: tortillas

I managed to get this weeks groceries for $135. I probably could have done it cheaper however we use organic milk, eggs, cheese, and juice. Considering I am feeding 8 people I think I did an okay job this week ;)

Friday, May 10, 2013

Recycling in the garden...

Here is as fun fact for you. After 9 years of marriage I can still embarrass my loving husband. The poor guy, he really does put up with a lot of quirky ideas. My latest escapades in my garden have thrown him for a loop it seems. I needed some supports for my peas and tomatoes. Since we are in the middle of our no new stuff challenge buying the supports was a bit difficult. I did however have two toddler beds that were no longer needed (one was broken and the other one had lost all it's hardware in our last move). Instead of throwing the beds away I decided to use them in my garden. Now this wasn't a product of my own creativity, I saw someone do something similar with crib parts over on pinterest (I need a pinterst intervention it seems). 
As you can see from the pics the toddler bed pieces work perfectly. I had some wooden stakes leftover from last year that I was able to tie the metal frames to to keep them upright.  I also had some metal poles that were part of a shelving system that broke long ago (I don't know why I still had the poles I found them as part of the great shed clean out)I can't decide if this is thrify recycling, being cheap, or just being a redneck. Since no one but the UPS man sees our backyard I don't think it really matters much. I am happy and my plants are happy so I guess we are good to go. Good thing my husband is a good sport :)

No New Stuff Challenge: Second Week of May

Where does the week go? Seems like time is flying around here these days. This week has been pretty busy here at our house. I finally finished our vegetable garden! Yay! I plan to get some pictures when everything starts to sprout. I think I embarrassed my poor husband when I used recycled materials from around our house to act as trellis and stakes. I however had several old toddler beds just laying around and they work perfectly in the garden. Luckily no one can see in our backyard so poor dh should live ;)

I planted:
Bell Peppers
Flat leaf parsley

Once I had all the vegetable and fruit plants in the ground my daughter and I were able to plant some pretty flowers. Even better news is that the flowers and the mulch were free from our housing office. I am all over free!

Also this week I finally had enough of looking at our dirty carpets and decided they needed to be cleaned. Trouble is I sold our big carpet cleaner a few months ago because I didn't like that it had a cross-action brush instead of a rotating brush. My original plan was to sell the machine I didn't like and buy a new carpet cleaner. However we started this challenge before I could actually do so. Since buying a new machine wasn't an option I sucked it up and went to self help to borrow the cleaner they have there. Of course all three were already checked out the first day I went to see about getting one. Luckily the next day I was able to get one of the machines....okay...the thing is HUGE, and LOUD. Not the greatest thing when you have to lift it in and out of the back end of your SUV, and are trying to clean carpets while the kids are asleep. Ugh. It was however FREE, even the soap! So I dealt with the inconveniences (including having to take it back within 24 the rain). My carpets look brand new now and I am a happy mama once more.

This week also found me on the search for more feety pj's for my 2yr old son. I don't know what it is with this kid. He grows like a little weed! He just turned 2 last month and fits a 3T perfectly. My husband felt he needed more pj's and I agreed with him. So off to the thrift store I went. I was able to find him 4 pairs of feety pj's  (the only kind he can't strip off at 2am and pee in the bed while wearing) for $9. I was very tempted to go ahead and get some 4T ones while I was there (and they had them) but I held out. Call me an optimist but I would like to think he will be past this stripping naked and peeing everywhere phase by the time he can fit in a 4T...which at the rate he is growing will be in just a few months.

Remember how last week I said I wanted to learn how to knit? Well I did it. I taught myself how to do it (thanks to youtube!). I admit I got SO frustrated with having to keep ripping out my rows because I made mistakes. After decades spent crocheting I admit it was really hard for me to go from one needle with a hook on the end to two straight and LONG needles. Once I stopped dropping stitches it was actually pretty easy to do. Here is my current project. My entire family keeps asking what it am going with a washcloth for now ;)
Total I would have spent this week: $410
Total I actually spent: $104

(Budget for the garden was $100 and I spent $95 on plants and seeds)

Saturday, May 4, 2013

No New Stuff Challenge: First week of May

We started this week with cleaning out the storage shed which left me in a bit of a depressed mood. So much stuff.... 

May is always a bittersweet month for me, it was the month that I first became a mother....9years ago! Yep my oldest daughter turns 9 years old this month! We decided to have her party this week since it worked out better with her school schedule.

I started off the planning by asking her what kind of cake she wanted. She decided she wanted a butterfly, and that set the theme of the whole day. I did a quick search on pinterest and came up with a super cute idea for the cake using round cakes.I let the girls decorate the cake with M&M's and they were SO excited!
For the party we decided to have a very simple get together here at the house. My daughter and her best friend got together to decorate simple brown paper bags to use as the goodie bags. We added a few pieces of candy and called it a day. I made up a bunch of scavenger hunt clues and hid the bag of goodie bags in a bush. The kids LOVED following the clues and had a blast searching for their goodies bags.
As for the gifts we continued the butterfly theme. My husband and I got her an animated butterfly in a jar, a Dr. Suess book about butterflies, and a butterfly nightlight. All used of course. She had an amazing day and it was a lot of fun to watch her play with her friends.

Also this week I made a trip to the library where I checked out the Blossom Street series by Debbie Macomber. The books are set around a yarn store and learning to knit, I read through all 5 books  in 5 days. Of course I then had to learn how to knit. I was able to order two knitting for beginners books off  of amazon used, and a massive set of used knitting needles off of ebay. I have a massive amount of yarn in my closet so hopefully I can figure out how to knit with the help of the books and youtube and clean out my stash.

My second oldest daughter came to me this week and told me that her scooter was missing. Sure enough it is gone. Since she was getting a bit big for her old scooter we went ahead and ordered her a new one on ebay. She was  crazy excited to be getting a pink scooter and I was crazy excited about the price ($9).

Amount I would have spent this week: $217
Amount I actually spent: $89


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