Friday, January 28, 2011

Whats new . . .

Not much is new here, praise the Lord!  We have made it past the holidays and moved past all the January birthdays as well, man there were a ton of those!  Now we are settling into a nice winter pattern, with glimpse of spring ahead; such as seed catalogs and making camping reservations.  Our oldest son received a car for his birthday and it looks like we will pay for his tags, but haven't found a good price on insurance yet.  One more year and our middle daughter will be on the road, heavy sigh.  Hubby is already on the look out for a Mustang for her, not the fox body and not a convertible, that is what she told us anyway.  In the mean time hubby keeps looking at pick up trucks since he gave Z his Camero.  Me?  I just keep driving the Durango - LOL

What else . . . ?   Well we had our taxes done on the first day the Gov. allowed, so hoping to be getting a washing machine in the next few weeks!  I never thought I would make it six months with a hand wring system.  Don't want to do that again soon!  Speaking of taxes, we are also passing on almost all our camping/vacation trips this year, including our annual trip to South Carolina, in an attempt to finish paying up the medical bills from our oldest son.  We almost lost him two years ago, and the bills are bad.  We just want them gone and we are going to use our tax money to try and get most of them paid off.  Each time he had an MRI it was $8000, wow and he had 3.  But we are grateful we have him still with us and hubby had a job with insurance and a way to pay our bills, eventually : )

Lets see, as of today I am 3 weeks soda pop free and am now on decaf ice tea.  Still doing the half calf w/ coffee however.  Did the $GM thing again today, another $5 off coupon.  I had two, so made hubby get a cart and we split it.    It was a good day for shopping as the snow and cold seem to have dissipated and the sun was out.  Ran into an 'ol timer, he has lived here for 91 years and said this was the worst winter ever.  Great, we moved here to get away from that - LOL

Still have the knitting bug and I am doing great if I do say so myself!  I currently have 5 items started on the sticks and two are for me!  LOL  I taught B, and she is left handed, and she is now doing good.  I wish I could talk her into helping me with commission type items.  She still has trouble with knitting in the round and on double point needles though.  Practice should take care of that. 

The twins are learning to read in school, we are working on the difference between short and long vowel sounds.  It is so neat to see your kids learn.   I turned in Z's grades for last semester and discovered he already had 33 credits!  He needed 21 to graduate, but he still needs his Gov/Ec. credit, so no dice yet.  But he will be ready in May.  I can't believe it, 4 months and he is done, wow.  B is in the middle of her first year of high school and seems to be doing well, slightly better than previous years.   Wonder if that is because she and Z are separated and he isn't distracting her?  Hmmmmmmm, not saying he's a drama king . . .   Anyway, trying to start a local co-op so as not to have to drive to far, with a couple of church friends.  Looks promising and we will have a President Day party and presentation.  Looking forward to the fellowship and lots of yummy food!

Blessings, Beth Ann

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The kitten formerly know as "Nala"

Just wanted to share some random pet pic's with you today and thought I would update our rescue kitten Nala.  We found her last fall, half dead under the Camero.  She was about six weeks old and we took her to the vet and got her all fixed up.  Well about a month or so ago our ds Z is poking at her (it's what he does) and exclaims, "hey, he's a boy".  Z claims it's easy to make this mistake with kittens since sometimes their . . . stuff hasn't fully dropped.  What ever.  Anyway, he declares we have to rename this cat.  No one else felt that way, but Z is very melodramatic to say the least.  So we just let him do it, it's not that big a deal.  Now Nala is Chester!  Z loves that name and found it in a series of books he read 4 years ago.  I can't remember the name of the series, but the first book was called 'Bunnicula'.  Now Chester is starting to do unmentionable things to B's stuffed animal's and he is going to get fixed in two weeks, before the spraying starts.  Looks like Z was right, a boy cat.

Here is Chester curled up on B's pillow while she is sleeping.

Back when he was still Nala, sleeping on the laundry basket.

Here is Chester helping K read the bible, while twin dd sneaks in a pet.

What ever his name is or isn't , he is turning out to be a good cat and the only one who could catch a mouse when we had them in our pantry.  What more can you ask for?

Blessings, Beth Ann

Monday, January 17, 2011

Menu's, Monday and More

Hey all, trying to get in the grove here after a major blow=out party yesterday celebrating hubby and son's b-day's.  We were blessed with a sunny  semi-warm day and were able to sit out on the deck sipping wine while hubby grilled and even deep fried some onion blossoms' for us.  The party lasted into the night and I was left feeling amazed at our blessings of friends.  Moving on - LOL

Speaking of the party, most of the food came from a separate budget and not my reg. grocery budget.  K did a couple car jobs and we used that money.  So my total for week three spending in Jan. 2011 on grocery type items was$121.  So right on track.  Hubby and I had decided on enveloping $125 a week for food/paper/pet and house hold items.  I did spend an additional $60 in pet items but was reimbursed by son when he was paid.  That money was put into the gas tank and tithing plate.  I think I mentioned before that our Dollar General Market does a 1cent item each week, with a $10 purchase.  This past week was their brand t.p.  Not the best quality but for 1cent . . . So I made a couple different trips during the week (yes I added them to my total) and scored 3-six packs of cheap quality t.p.  This should get us through to Friday, which is a pay day this week.

I haven't posted a menu in a while, but if your my FB friend you still get to hear about what we're eating! LOL  Here is a look at this week:
Monday ~ Ground turkey Shepard's pie w/ fauxtato topping
Tuesday ~ Beef & Broccoli stir-fry w/pecan rice
Wednesday ~ Cheesy Chipotle Soup (taken to church pot-luck)
Thursday ~Chicken risotto w/broccoli
Friday ~ Turkey loaf w/baked pot and mixed veg.
Saturday~ Crock pot Jambalaya
Sunday ~ Cream of Cauliflower soup and salad

Breakfast usually are eggs cooked in a variety of ways, our favorite is eggs in a hole, oatmeal, and some home made spelt muffins.

Lunch this week looks like this; left overs from party, sandwiches, hot and sour soup, chicken salad and a meatza.

Most of these meals are lo-carb and high protein as we try to get back on track from all our holiday and post holiday/b-day celebrating.  Remember, no white bread, white sugar and mostly dark green veggies.  Oh, we are day 9 with no soda and half/calf coffee.   Well everyone except Z.  He asked everyone he knew for Mt. Dew for his b-day.  Kids.

Blessings, Beth Ann

Monday, January 10, 2011

Snow day pic's

It was another snow day here in middle TN. and you know what that means . . . snow pictures!  LOL  Yep, we got about 2" here and it was the good packy snow, so in between  school work we took a snow break : )

All four kids worked together and came up with these 'snow aliens'.  B felt the classic snowman had been done to death I guess.  The twins were thrilled as we had just finished reading a book called 'What snowmen do at night' a couple nights ago.  Love that book, it was an old RIF book of B's

This is the baby alien with E's scarf.

Here is the adult alien with B's scarf.  Both feature carrot noses (don't tell the rabbit) and leftover holiday hard shell nuts for eyes and buttons.  I believe pecan eyes and almond buttons.

Isn't it beautiful?  Snow makes even the mundane look elegant.

Our road early this morning, looking towards Davenport's.

We were also visited by snow angles.  We are so blessed.

Everyone was chilly, so I served hot tea with pineapple corn muffins for a snack.  Please ignore the large sleeping white cat that should not be on my table runner.  Grrrrr.

So there you have it, a snow day here in the 'bury.
Blessings, Beth Ann

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Saturday Shopping

I prefer to do my shopping on Friday mornings, it's the best time for mark down food at the local market (and I did get some), but today was the only day for the $5 coupon at the $GM.  On top of that the store was packed as there was mention of possible snow flurries tonight (oh my).  So braved the hordes and loaded up a cart for me and a cart for hubby (don't tell).  We were able to use two of the $5 coupons and I also had two 1cent egg coupons to redeem : )    I prefer farm eggs but these are good for making hard boiled eggs (farm eggs are not).

First week total for Jan. ended up being $78 as of last Thursday the 6th.  Second weeks total started Friday the 7th and is currently at $145.  I would like to do better than this, but it does include pet food.  I am also proud to say that all food choices and purchases were with high protein/low carb in mind and was successful.  I almost caved yesterday as I had been battling a flu bug and didn't feel like cooking but decided the cost of prepared food/frozen for all of us was not much cheaper than a nice piece of corn beef I found and plopped into my slow cooker with a bunch of veggies.  Much more satisfying and tasted delish!  Today sees a nice roast with low starch veggies in my crock pot and a wonderful smell in my kitchen.  I also whipped up a batch of bread machine hot dog buns made with spelt flour (have you seen what is in the commercial pack). 

I do have a couple of recipes to share but want to point out that sometimes there are other benefits besides financial.  I will share a recipe for toothpaste and deodorant.  Besides being cost effective they are extremely earth and health friendly.  There is no fluoride, and you don't need it, in the toothpaste and  no aluminum (why do they put it in there) in the deodorant.    Just trying to be the best me I can be.  If you would like the book info on where I get my information just drop me a line.

1/4 cup baking soda
1 teaspoon salt.

Mix and store in an air tight container.  You may also add a couple drops of any natural oil you prefer for taste.

1/4 cup baking soda
1/4 cup cornstarch

Mix it up.  Store in air tight container.  Use powder puff to apply.

Whats next for us?  Well I am officially giving up soda.  Eventually coffee too I hope, but baby steps for now.  I will drink ice tea and half/calf Folgers.  When my tea bags run out I will then switch to decaf. green tea.  I am also only buying brown sugar and using local honey to sweeten.  Eventually only the honey .  Just some small steps for us to look forward to : )  Will keep you posted as the month progresses and so does our money spent on groceries.

Blessings, Beth Ann

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Ferret Fun

Decided today was a good day for a quick ferret update.  We adopted 3 ferrets about a month ago now.  None are siblings but all are neutered and de-sented.  We are there second rescue home, first one could no longer afford them as she had other animals and was attending school.  Ferrets require a huge amount of time and unfortunately money.  Seems like Z's entire paycheck goes to vet bills and animal food, that's with us chipping in too.  Anyway, they all had mange, flea's and ear mites.  Actually the worse case of mites the vet had ever seen.  One, the oldest - Bob, had a tumor on the tip of his tail the size of a nickle.  We had that removed about two weeks ago and since then he keeps breaking the stitches.  Good thing son has the patients of Job with animals (funny enough not with people however).

Here is Z holding up Bob.  Isn't his tail bandage cute? : )

Here is the other male, Hobb, he is a cinnamon.  Z dressed him up in an elf outfit for Christmas.  Gotta love kids - LOL

The last ferret is a small white female named Squish, for obvious reasons when you see them all sleep.  I am happy to announce that all the mange is on the mend, and Squish has grown most of her hair back.  The flea's are on the run, but the mites . . . well we are still battling those.  Oh, and they have all gained a bit of weight as well.  So all is well that ends well, just look at Bob's tail if you don't believe me!

Blessings, Beth Ann

Monday, January 03, 2011

Sock it up

I did it!  I finished my first sock ~ ever!  This was my third attempt at it too.  First attempt, dog at it and my needle too.  Second attempt, small child pulled out all the needles (used 4, knitting in the round).   Soooo, you can see why I am so excited.  It even looked better than the other attempts as well : )  Now I am just praying I have enough yarn left for second sock (wouldn't that be irony).  It has been so long since I started this and with losing some yard to . . . lets just say acts of nature, well I don't have the saved yarn wrapper to tell me how much was in my skein so that I can compare it to the pattern.  I am just moving forward with the assumption I do, and yes I know what they say about assuming.

This was a tub sock knitted in a spiral round, funky huh?

Oh ye of little faith, it does fit and doesn't look to bad either : )

Sigh, just waiting for a mate, but sooo comfy.  They say once you wear a hand knitted sock there is no going back.  You will never want to wear a store sock again.  Oh and as I was trying this on, Z walks over and wants to know when he can get a pair.  I swear he will not make it to his birthday in 11 days!  Just something for me . . . once . . .

Blessings, Beth Ann

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Getting Started

Today is the first day of a new year and a whole bunch of new possibility's!  I usually do my grocery shopping on Friday, but with the holiday decided to hold off a day.  Another motive was my $5 off coupon at $GM and starting with a clean shopping/budgeting slate for the new year.  Starting with today's trip, I will keep all grocery receipts for the year, in order to get a better grip on our spending habits, in hopes of it helping our budget bottom line.  I was real worried as hubby had just shared with me that food cost in 2011 would go up 3% and gas 6% (his pay only went up 2% - that's a major corp. for you).  Anyway, my goal was higher protein, low carb and more veggies (a-la-Leptin diet).  This being a tight after holiday week (real budget will start with first pay day in Jan., which is next week).  So with $40 (cash - always use cash) and my coupon to pay for tax, I went to the $GM.  I was so happy when I left and felt goals had been met!  I ended up spending$37.64

Here is what I found:
2 bags Romaine- marked half off - $1.50
2 bags 1lb. carrots-$.85 each (we share these and the romaine with bunny)
2lb. bag popcorn kernels - 1.85 (great snack in our air popper)
1lb. Mexican chorizo sausage- $2.25
2c. shred. cheese - $1.85
pkg. sliced provolone cheese - $2.00
4-1lb. ground turkey chubs- $5
green onions - $1
creamy peanut butter - $1
celery - $1
head of cauliflower - $2
3lb. bag sweet potato - $2.25
cinnamon broom marked half price - $2 (total splurge)
pantyliner - $1
pretzel sticks - $1
wheat bread - $1.05
15oz. tomato sauce - $.55
season salt - $1.65
4% cottage cheese/16oz. - $2
3lb. bag frozen chix tenders - $4
2 - pint size bottle 2% milk, marked half off - $.75 (will be used in morning coffee)
2 dozen eggs - $3

The chicken tenders were only $1 more than hot dogs for lunch and wayyyyyyyy more protein!  They will be great cooked on our table top grill with a little season salt.  Great price on those.  I probably should have skipped the broom, but I do enjoy the smell.  I try to get one every year and hang it on our pantry door.  Besides, it's right across from the ferret cage if you get my drift . . . LOL  Unfortunately I will have to pick up a few more items during the week, such as rabbit and dog food and maybe t.p. for us.  I will keep those receipts too.  Not sure how I will sub categorize them at the end of the year i.e. pets, paper products, food, ect.  But I feel this is a step in the right direction in reclaiming our pocket books and getting a handle on being a good steward of the blessings God brings us.

Here is twin dd E.  She went out with me today and wanted to spend some of her Christmas money.  She did well also, she got these two fairy dolls for only $2 each!

Not sure why I am tossing in this pic, but here is where a ton of our money goes!  Tina, the narcoleptic cat.  She has junk in her trunk, as the kids say : )  Here she is passed out next to our coffee cups on the hutch in the dinning room, on a pile of Christmas stockings awaiting to be put away.  Can we say precarious?

So here's to you and yours and hoping we all have a healthy and happy new year!
Blessings, Beth Ann