Wednesday, June 30, 2010

June unbudgeted for spending

June was a better month, but July has to be $0.

$5 adoption donation
$55 diaper bags for Kaiden (with his name on one)
$50 all natural kids shampoo, relaxing massage oil for Kaiden, and an oil for me (to help not get bite by bugs)
$10 salad at restaurant
$25 adoption donation
$12 Burger King for boys
$40 pictures from Snapfish for homeschool group and of Kaiden
$40 Jason new bike helmet
$25 light bulbs, new toothbrush, water bottle for my sister
$17 mailing box
$10 Father's day gift (a frame and pictures)
$55 green smoothie program
$3 Redbox
$29 junk food (above regular food budget)

about $380

I am very proud that my boys only had fast food two times this month, and I did not have it at all (I did get a veggie sub from Wawa one day but that was pretty healthy.) I bought boys BK one day because we had no time (as reflected in above amounts) and Josh bought Jason and himself Dunkin Doughnuts one day.

Junk food was for Josh who had his second ever friend sleep over (he has had many sleep overs at my moms, but friend sleep overs are different,) so I let them get hot pockets, kool aid fizzers, and chips (they got 5 bags.) They didn't eat it all but it was a treat they got to pick out their own stuff.

Also I reduced my movie budget. We only spent about $3 on three movies at Redbox. And we actually returned them the next day! We also got movies to rent from library.

How did you finish off June?


June bills

All June bills are paid in full! Praise the Lord!


Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Some items for sale

Goal: declutter and raise money

Action: virtual yard sale, if you'd like item, I can mail it to you (you pay shipping)

For Sale:

$5- vcr/dvd player (dvd part works 90% of time, vcr 100%)
$1- Teacup & saucer (white with pink roses and gold trim) (found in attic of my old house)
$5- 25 Pampered Chef catalogs & order forms, plus other misc. show paperwork (I am no longer selling Pampered Chef, maybe another consultant can use these catalogs?)
$2- Sandwich size bag of white & purple shells (bought for a craft, never used)
$1- Sudoku book for kids (only 9 of 164 puzzles done, with answers)
$5- Kid Biz kit from scholastic (includes book, calculator, cd, agenda, & more) Great for kids who want to start a business, cd includes letterhead, business card program, spreadsheets, and more
$1- Otter webkinz stuffed animal (no computer access)
$6- three rolls Mickey Mouse boy wall border. Each roll is 5 yards (two are open, one is still sealed) it is orange with Mickey and friends riding in trucks and hot rod cars, trim looks like tire marks (prepasted) (open ones have some folds near ends)
$1- Nylon Pumpkin Welcome sign with yard stake (goes in ground) Never opened (new in package)
$3 black cowboy hat

Your purchase will help us declutter and raise money.



p.s. Pictures available by email upon request.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Some relief

I actually just got the rest of my stuff from my old house (no one has been living there since I moved out in Dec. of 2009); I have been using it as storage, but my grandmother (it's her house) is coming for a visit (she retired to Arizona) on Saturday. It feels good to have that done. Of course, now I have stuff I have to find a place for at my new house (it was old school stuff, boys toys, old paperwork, some kitchen stuff, my ab roller, Jason's huge loft bed, and a few other misc. items.) Many of these items will probably be given or thrown away, but at least they are out of my old house.

Tomorrow I have to go clean my old house as it is really dusty from sitting vacant for 7 months. Then Tuesday I am going to paint the bathroom, back room, and my old bedroom. I am just going to prime them white to cover paint I put up. Then I will have done what I can to put house back in condition I moved into it (actually it is a bit better as I had back deck fixed, and my stepfather and brother, Eric added an awesome closet in bedroom while I lived there.)

I can not wait until it is done. Then I can start making plans to paint my living room and clean the outside of my house and deck. Can you tell I am really ambitious? I am, but most of what I aspire to do stays on my wish list. A girl can dream though. lol.


I love central air

I just have to say I love having central air. I am so spoiled, but I just can't stand the heat (well I could, but I don't like to.) I keep my thermostat at about 72. I like it cold.

Do you have central air? Air conditioning? What temp. do you like your house? Do you hold out waiting to turn it on to save money?


Saturday, June 26, 2010

Josh and I finished a book

Not exactly the same as finishing a grown up book, but Josh and I read together (he actually read a few paragraphs of each chapter out loud) The Matchlock Gun by Walter D. Edmonds. It has 10 chapters, but we just started on the 22nd and finished it tonight. I am so proud of how well his reading skills are improving.

This book was about a family in New York before it became NY (1756.) We are reading together books that take place in the time before, during, and after America became America as we just finished reading about that time period in History.

That's more good news, we also finished History. Yeah!

Now we have to finish:
Math (they each have 5 more chapters or about 5 more weeks.)
Language Arts
Science (We have 3 more experiments left to do, which will take about 3 weeks.)
Spelling (Isn't going to happen as we only just started this in about March and it is 180 lessons.)

We should finish above things (except Spelling) by end of July. Then in August they will each have to still do:
Bible time daily (reading it for 15 min.)
devotion daily
prayer time daily
reading (Josh 15-30 min daily, with half being out loud) (Jason 45 min. daily)

Only an hour to an hour and a half of work is not a big deal; after another hour or less of chores the rest of the day can be free play.

We also want to research root beer and make our own. That will be more of a fun activity though. I know Jason is looking forward to it.


Friday, June 25, 2010

First summer injury

Jason strained his wrist. Fortunately it is not broken. He has to wear an ace bandage. It is his left so he can still write and finish up his schoolwork. I think he would prefer it was his right for that reason. LOL.


Thursday, June 24, 2010

I feel so special

I won an awesome apron from a really cool fellow blogger and sister in Christ. Check out her blog here

She sent the apron wrapped so beautifully as well (I wished I had taken pictures.) It had a homemade tag. I felt like it was my birthday or Christmas. Once I opened the apron I fell in love with it. It is so pretty and uplifting. I love to wear it all around my house (my boys think I am a bit crazy. lol.)


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Not too bad

Last night I had boys asleep by 11. So instead of watching tv or starting to clean, and do other stuff (which wakes me up) I read for an hour (ok I did throw a load of laundry in first.) I read Just Around the Corner volume 1, I only read the mom half (it has encouragement for homeschooling mom's and dad's.)

Then I went to bed. I was asleep about 12:40am. That is exciting (sometimes it is as late as 2am or 3am and I am still up.)

Today I got up at 8:30am. Josh and I went to the gym we do childcare for an hour and a half. I was calm.

When we got home I did a little straightening up.

I did take a nap today, but as long as I am calm and relaxed and kind that is ok with me.

The boys and I ate a candlelight lunch together at the kitchen table, and just talked.

The boys decided to do a pet sitting and house sitting service to save money for the dog they so desperately want.

They even made a flyer that we are going to hand out at church and to family members.

Last week they earned $80 taking care of two cats. Jason has also pet sat for a bird and dog before.

I am going to keep my expectations low. If I can get through the day encouraging my kids, while growing in the Lord, and keeping the house minimally clean that is good enough for now.


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Summer Goals

I have some summer goals:

read one book a week

go to beach once a week

do a fire in our pit once a week

mow my grass once a week (this is proving to be quiet a challenge as the grass is currently at my knees)

weedwack once a week

sew at least one hour each week

visit Jason's great-grandfather in nursing home at least once a week

visit my grandma at least once a week

go to library once a week

find way to earn money to buy boys Sept. school supplies

exercise 3-6 times a week (even if a short walk or swim)

go to bed by 12am and wake up by 8:30 am, every day except for one sleep in day

have two no drive days each week

declutter ten items per week (completely out of the house, shed, car, etc.)

mop my kitchen floor more (I hate doing it)

hang all my laundry on line to dry (I have gotten lazy about this)

keep my garden alive

Some of these are similar to my new year's goal, some are new.

Do you have any summer goal?


past week green smoothie challenge

I didn't get to have a green smoothie every day of the 7 day challenge, but I did have at least 1 green smoothie, 5 out of the 7 days. Plus 1 day I had 3 green smoothies. So that is good.

My summer goal is 1-3 green smoothies daily. Today I am at 1. It had 1 cup spinach, 1/2 banana, handful blueberries (frozen), and water. It was about 10 ounces. It needed something a bit sweeter.

It is very hard for me to make something a habit. I could do it 20 days in a row, then miss just 1 and forget about it completely (like having a green smoothie, sometimes I just forget; or I will not bite my nails for two weeks, then I bite them all off in 1 day.)

How are you with breaking bad habits or forming a new good one?


Monday, June 21, 2010

The beach the other day

Samantha and Kaiden
Jason & Joshua

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day!

Saturday, June 19, 2010


On my way to work I saw all this left over stuff from a church yard sale. They were throwing it all away. I stopped by and get a bunch of stuff. I got a Mets poster for Joshua. I got some craft supplies. I got some frames. Just as I was loading up my car a dumpster came to take the rest away. I can't help but wonder if they even made enough at the sale to cover the dumpster, but at least I got some free cool stuff.

Today we went to a birthday party at the boardwalk. The kids went on rides, played games, and ate pizza and cake. It was a beautiful day, hot, but with a nice breeze flowing off the ocean.

Now, I am at work. The kids I babysit are playing with Jason while I cook dinner (and take a minute to blog as well.)

How was your day?


Wednesday, June 16, 2010


Courtney over at Storing Up Treasures posted about her yummy lunch, so I thought I'd post ours:

organic strawberries
organic mac and cheese (not much healthiest then Kraft I am sure)

green smoothie with
2 cups spinach
1 1/2 bananas
4 organic strawberries
handful blueberries
1/4 cup flax seed (ground up)
1 1/2 cups organic plain yogurt
1 cup water

optional: add some Stevia or honey or sweetener, this was not that sweet

This recipe made entire 40 ounce blender full, which is enough for a few smoothies.

I am also going to have steamed organic cauliflower in a few minutes.

I am trying to use up all the food we have before I go food shopping again.

Tonight we eat dinner at church.

What did you eat for lunch?


Real cost of owning a car

Owning a car is a huge costs. This is a realistic budget for owning a car (in NJ):

$300 payment (to yourself)
$100 car insurance
$200 gas
$55 repairs
$25 for maintenance, car registration, 4 yearly oil changes
$10 AAA membership (necessity with older car, in my opinion)

$690 a month!!!

Now here is how not to get in trouble, in your teens (or now) save for the best used car you can afford. Then as soon as you get car make monthly car payments (as reflected in above budget) to yourself (right into savings.) That way when used car is no longer drive able, you can buy up. Keep doing this and eventually you can buy the new car you want (with in reason.)

Of course you need insurance, $100 seems reasonable in NJ.

Your gas costs may be higher, but find ways to keep this down; carpool, run errands on same day, have one or two no drive days a week, etc.

The repair line is for just that. Your car will need repairs, plan on it.

The maintenance line is for oil changes and car registration. These are needed to own a car. Also a new license fee every four years.

The AAA line is optional, but just one tow a year may cost you $100. The AAA membership comes with lots of others too (free maps, trip planners, discounts on lots of stuff travel and vacation related, and more.) To me I will not do without this since I drive an older car.

How do costs in your state differ? Do you plan for repairs and such?


Pictures from today


Kaiden sleeping

Our trip to Washington D.C.

These were on my brother, Kevin's camera so I have not posted yet. They are from our April trip to Washington D.C.
Kevin, Jason, & Joshua in front of capital building

my brother, Jason, Josh, & me at White House in April

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Delicious almost all organic homemade salsa

I love chips and salsa as a snack, but ran out of store bought salsa.
So I just threw in my magic bullet;
1 clove garlic
2 hand fulls organic grape tomatoes
hot sauce (just a dash)
1/2 organic avocado

I blended and it made a delicious, healthy salsa. Yum!!!

tip: all ingredients can be substitute, increased, or decreased. It is so easy.

I really love my magic bullet. I use it almost daily (especially for my green smoothies.)


Sunday, June 13, 2010

Green Smoothie Summer Challenge

Want to join an awesome green smoothie challenge? Click here

I am doing this. It starts tomorrow, and is one week. so sign up today. It is only $5. Or they have a free 3 day challenge!


Fun, frugal treat

I bought some ice pop molds from Bed, Bath, & Beyond in May. I have been making green ice pops with spinach, strawberries, and bananas. I also made ones from fresh squeezed orange juice.
The other day I got a great seedless watermelon. I used half for a snack at co-op. Then we ate some of the other half, plus I pureed watermelon and put in ice pop molds. The kids loved them.

So one $3.99 watermelon made:
co-op snack for 10 kids and 4 adults
snack for home
12 large ice pops (I just made a second batch.)

I have seen boxes of 4-8 all natural frozen fruit ice pops for about $4.00, so I certainly have saved money by making my own.

Saving money is useless if the kids will not eat them, but my kids begged me to make the second batch, so these are a safe bet.

Side note: I did make a green smoothie with about 6 ounces watermelon juice, it was too sweet for me. Today I added about 2 ounces to my smoothie and it tasted much better to me.


June 13, 2009

On June 13, 2009 was the last day I ever saw my brother, Eric, alive.
He stopped by for a minute. He told of a plan to go to a friend's barbecue. His visit to my house was just a few minutes.

I had actually spent much of the day before (June 12, 2009) with him. We went to my ankle doctor's with me and to the library. Weird, going to the library with my brother. I love books, but hadn't seen him read much.

I am so glad I have the memory of a day with Eric. My older brother although extremely popular was also introverted and reserved. He was a man of few words.

But I would give anything to hear a few of those words again.


Extra cash

Just logged into my Pampered Chef account to see $46 was deposited from end of May commission.
Also logged into my Chase account and had $16 in there that came from my debit card rewards (I opted for cash instead of a gift or gift card.)
The $46 will pay my car registration. The $16 will go in the gas tank.
I love getting some extra cash.


Saturday, June 12, 2010

Proud of myself

I just mended two shirts. This is the first time I have ever mended clothes. They both had small holes. One is also stained but I am making coffee to dye it in, so hopefully it will look nice afterwards.

I also fit in a pair of capri's that last year I did not, which is a huge blessing because the capri's I have been wearing almost everyday since it got warm have a hole (that may not be mendable, I will try to patch, but am unsure if it will work.)
I also found two pairs of shorts that also fit me.

So now for summer I have for bottoms:
one pair of capri's, possibly two (if I can mend one pair)
two pairs of shorts
one denim skirt (that is casual enough to wear daily)
three summer skirts (more dressy to wear to church and out to eat, etc.)

I just did all laundry so I can see how many shirts I have for summer. I know I have two nice white blouses that will go with nicer skirts. I think I have about 6 casual shirts I can wear daily, but still leave the house in (and still looking put together.) I also have a few more shirts that can be worn around house for cleaning and yard work and do projects with kids, but not actually leaving the house.

As far as shoes go I have a nice pair of sandals and a casual pair (that needs replacing, but will do for the rest of summer.) I also have a pair of hiking type sandals.

I found two old bathing suits. Neither is in great condition, but with a t-shirt worn over will do the job.

I absolutely need to budget for next summer to get:
new bathing suit (I need good upper support, so this can be costly)
new Birkenstocks (these are my casual sandals, I buy a new pair every few years. So comfortable and worth every penny!!!)
some new casual shirts

But I feel so blessed to have enough clothes, shoes, and swimwear to last all summer.

I also am so blessed to have working wash machine to clean my clothes, and a dryer and clothesline.

How is your summer wardrobe?


Wednesday, June 9, 2010

My blessings

The pity party has really begun here so I will post my blessings:

my boys are healthy
new nephew Kaiden
my family
my church family
my friends
my home (with my name on the deed)
awesome yard
my garden
ability to speak God's name out loud
ability to homeschool
ability to worship freely as I chose
fresh veggies and fruit at my disposal
all May bills are paid in full
having enough money in bank to get me through summer
running, nice looking car (that was gifted to us 2 years ago)
new roof (that is paid off)
very little debt ($100 to one thing, which I have; and loan to my dad, which I also have)
not having any needs that are not met
so many wants that are met as well
so many desires that are met as well
access to free books (library)
boys that love to read

Repost of some great money saving tips

Some of you may already be doing this sort of stuff, so the savings will not be as much, some of you may think I am too extreme. But by doing all of these things I saved over $1,000 in 2008 and again in 2009.

1) Make your own laundry soap. Cost about $20 for 20 gallons. Get the recipe I use here.
Savings about $160 a year (if you spend $15 a month on laundry soap.)[Bonus the homemade stuff is free of added scents that irritate my son's skin.)

2) Use cloth paper towels. Chances are you have plenty of cloth towels in your home that will work just as well as paper towels, if not better. Savings about $240 (if you spend $20 a month on paper towels.)

3) Use cloth napkins. Again chances are you have some nice washcloths or a set of cloth napkins already. These work better than paper napkins. Savings about $60 a year.

4) Use cloth tissues. Use some of the washcloths, towels, etc., you already have around the home. One of my cloth tissues works way better than about 5 paper tissues. Savings about $60 a year.

5) Use cloth menstrual pads or a Diva cup. Switching to cloth menstrual pads has been amazing for me, read about it here. In 2008 I bought a set, so in 2009 & 2010 I have no costs. Savings over three years, about $500. Buy here from a great work at home Christian homeschooling mom.

6) Use cloth toilet paper. I just cut up old clothes, see here. Savings about $120 a year.

7) Line dry your clothes. Did you know it cost .30-.60 cents per load to dry clothes in the dryer. If you wash 4 loads a week, that is about $2.00 to dry your clothes. $2 x 52 weeks is $104. I actually do about 6 loads a week, so for me that would cost $156 a year. So I line dry my clothes from March-Nov. Saving about another $100 a year. [Bonus it works out my arms to hang the clothes.]

8) Clean with only baking soda and vinegar. Savings about $100 a year (or more.)

9) Use white vinegar as fabric softener. Savings about $20 a year.

10) If you need something, look around and see if already have something similar that will do the job before you buy something new. Savings can really add up.

11) Join This site was created to keep good items out of landfills. Join online for free and post things you need (and want to give away as well) before you go out and buy something new. I have gotten rugs, toys, clothes, and so much more. Savings can be very high. [Bonus you can give away stuff and declutter while not feeling guilty that it will be in landfill.]

Leave a comment with a great money saving tip you have. Thanks!


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Doctor visit

I went to the doctor yesterday. She sent me for blood work. She did some regular test (like cholesterol;) and also a thyroid and vitamin deficiency test, (I hope, I asked her to order one.)

I will see in a few days if there is a simple reason I am so tired and having these stomach issues. Otherwise I have to go to a GI doctor.

Even if I was not feeling weird, I wanted to get all my blood work to see if three green smoothies a day improves everything in about six months.

How is health lately?


Monday, June 7, 2010

What should I do?

not my picture

My boys are watching squirrels mating? Should I defer their attention elsewhere? Not sure if this is considered educational or just wrong?


Kindness experiment

I was overly nice to tech who took my blood work today. I think she appreciated it.

I have yelled a few times at kids, but nothing major.

I made the boys tacos for dinner (even buying them the white tortillas they like, while I got wheat.) Tacos is their favorite meal.

How is your act happy, be kind day going?


Weight progress

I have been going to Weight Watchers since March 29, 2010.
I just went tonight to get weighed in. I am down 13 lbs since I started. That averages to about 1 lb. a week. Not too bad.
But honestly I have not really been following the plan. More so I am trying to drink three green smoothies daily and limit my meat, especially processed meat (like cold cuts, hot dogs, and sausage.)
I also am drinking pretty much nothing but water (the smoothies I consider more a meal than a drink.)
In addition I try to buy nothing with added MSG, or corn syrup. And I have switched all bread products to whole grain. I try to buy whatever bread, tortilla, etc. that has the highest fiber content.

I am excited and hope I can continue to take some weight off and hopefully get my energy level up.


Do something nice

Today to get over my pity party I am going to try and do something nice.
I will start be being kind to my boys (so far today I have been.) I will see where it goes from there.
I will post about it later.
The theory here is if I act happy and unselfish, it will come true. Let's see.

So I encourage you no matter how you feel today to act happy and do something kind for someone else. Even a smile to a stranger will count. Then blog about it here.

I am sure even on Jesus's saddest days, he was still loving and kind. I want to be more like Him.


June is a good month to stay in bed

It has almost been one year since Eric died.
My great grandfather died a couple of days ago.
My grandmother is in hospital with a broken hip, conditions are not favorable to operate and she is is drugged up to keep her asleep to alleviate the pain.
It is hot out (more so than usual June weather.)
I am literally sick to my stomach every day (going to doctor today to discuss this.)

So June is a good month to stay in bed.

(Don't worry I am actually out of bed as I type this, but it would be nice to wake up and have all troubles and pain gone. Praise the Lord that one day when I am in heaven I will get that.)


Saturday, June 5, 2010

Great Adventure

my nephew, Alex

The boys and I went to Six Flags, Great Adventure all day. We went on rides, had food, and went to a Third Day concert at night. The kids had a really good time. I did too, but this blog is about me, (lol) and it was really hot. I drank like 100 ounces of water. I thought I might pass out. I literally put sunblock on every hour.

But during the concert singing along with the band and worshipping the Lord with my kids was amazing! At one point the band asked us all to hold hands with the person on our right and left and pray for those people as well. The guy next to Jason reached out his hand and Jason took it. I almost starting crying. With his sensory issues, that was big!

I am happy to report the kids are sunburn free, and so am I about 95%. I got sunburn on my head, I didn't put sunblock on my head (eww.) I should have wore something on it, but thankfully I am not in much pain from it.

I was really happy Great Adventure had trees for shade, so as kids went on rides I could wait in shade for them. Also park was really clean and well staffed.

Knowing how expensive everything is at amusement parks, I tried to be as frugal as possible. I thought I was was prepared, we ate breakfast before we left, we brought lots of drinks and snacks, and had a prepaid lunch voucher (part of the concert package.) I thought I was covered not bringing any cash, but I was wrong. We were not allowed any bags, purses, even water bottles on any ride, so outside each ride they had lockers that were for one time use while you were on that ride for your stuff. They were $1 each time (only good while you went on that ride.) I had a small bag with my sunblock, keys, and water bottle. I needed these all day and could not leave in car (unless I went back to car every hour, not realistic.) So I ended up not going on the rides so the kids could and I could watch the stuff. What a jip!

Even if I did have cash it would have cost $15 or more for me to go on all the rides. I get that some rides it is not safe to have a small bag, but we used to just leave our stuff at platform (and all the times I'd been there as a kid never had anything stolen.)

Oh well, live and learn, and always carry cash (my mom's always telling me to carry cash just in case.)

What did you do today?


Thursday, June 3, 2010

Only one day left to help

Please go here and make a small donation (or large.) Only one day left to make a difference in the lives of 26 families. What does God want you to do?



Tuesday, June 1, 2010

So freaked out

Something, either a large centipede or a mouse just ran behind my tv. I say centipede because I have seen those before, but I also say mouse because it was huge.

I am SO FREAKED OUT right now!


May unbudgeted spending

Oops I did it again!

I overspent this month on:

$300 Pampered Chef products
$480 Homeschool convention and school supplies for next year
$35.98 new underwear for Joshua
$13.90 nursing stuff for sister
$12.49 herb plants
$30.82 misc. health supplies
$13.73 Red Oak diner
$68.00 green smoothie program
$3.88 Walgreen's
$11.00 mailing stuff to a friend
$110.00 Chinese for Josh's birthday
$10.56 gloves and bags for childcare I do on Wed.'s
$13.99 Stevia
$104.15 natural cleaning supplies
$117.50 plants for garden (organic)
$30.00 library fee
$46.35 Debbie Meyer's green boxes for all my greens
$107 rebounder

$1508 (I rounded cents)

I also am now at the point where I only have 6 months living expenses in my emergency fund, so I am doing some serious praying about what God's will is for me with working and homeschooling in Sept. Please lift my decisions up in your prayers as well. Thanks!


All May bills are paid in full

May bills

10% tithe
$76 sponsor children (two)
$22 donation to local pregnancy center

$400 mortgage (for June 1st)
$400 taxes
$100 home insurance
$94 gas bill
$100 electric bill
$60 phone and internet
$50 water
$50 sewer

$100 Freedom account
$72 allowance

$82 car insurance
$128 gas for car
$500 food
$30 non groceries
$11 HSLD
$40 Weight Watchers
$40 last payment on carpet cleaner

All paid in full!

Praise God I was able to pay all May bills


Today's Challenge

Go here and donate $1.00. If you donate $5.00 or more you will be entered to win some awesome prizes, but every dollar will help!

Everybody can do at least a $1.00. Please!