Tuesday, January 24, 2012

I didn't forget!

I didn't forget...I was distracted. Hubby was home this weekend and of course we had much to do together.
Well, we got out of the diesel sucking truck! Yay.... but into another vehicle payment. But I have to say this payment is MUCH smaller, the truck is much smaller and the gas use is much smaller. So our monthly payment and gas usage will go down several hundred dollars a month. It feels like a weight has been lifted. It frees up more money a month to pay down other debt, if that makes sense.
I found it ironic that the loan company that financed the new truck is the same loan company that holds our mortgage. When we tried to refinance the mortgage we were told our debt to income ratio was too high and we were stuck with the rates we had. But apparently, when the dealership paid off the diesel truck, it allowed room for the new loan. So in April we are going to apply to refinance again...hopefully it will be successful.

I have to say this farm girl in training LOVES the new truck, because it is smaller I am more confident driving it. Hubby says if I clean out my van he will just take that to work and let me have the truck, because I am the one doing all the farm hauling...picking up feed and hay. I'm not going to mention that I only do that about once a month. But I had to get hay in my van yesterday because it was raining and there is no cover on this truck bed.

I went grocery shopping today with my list, and spent $40. I made up my menu from what I had at home and just had to add a few things and 10 of the 40 was a can of coffee!

Yesterday when I got feed I was talking to a few farmers. Got a new lead on hay, learned how to feed my Boer goats, and was filled in on the local goings on...Really, men gossip as much as women!

Ok now my kiddos are home and I have to feed them. They are starving!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Natural cleaning

I scrubbed my toilet today! I know... really...why would I post about my toilet. Well, my housekeeping skills are, shall we say...a bit under developed. But I have been cleaning out and cleaning up. I got my handy dandy steaming machine out and said I'm cleaning the bathroom. I added a few drops of tea tree oil to the water. Tea tree oil is a natural antiseptic, anti fungal, disinfectant...it does it all! Anyway I steam cleaned the entire bathroom including the toilet. But inside the toilet was nasty. We don't use our upstairs bathroom very often, you would think it would stay cleaner. But alas it's ignored. So the ring around the toilet bowl didn't come out with a swish or with a sprinkling of borax or scrubbing with baking soda. So I thought back to those British cleaning ladies and remembered "the pumice stone". I slipped my rubber gloves back on and dove in. That stone knocked off the build up in a matter of moments! I have a sparkly white toilet bowl now and the freshest smelling bathroom without using nasty, harsh chemicals.

I also use baking soda and a half lemon to scrub the tub. The baking soda does the scrubbing, the reaction with the lemon juice helps with lifting out the dirt and cutting soap scum, and the lemon peel releases the natural oils from the peel that soaks into the porcelain leaving the tub lemony fresh.
Vinegar water with a drop or two of essential oils cleaned the floor and baseboards.

So far, I have cleaned the upstairs hallway and all the door frames and doors, my bedroom, my youngest's bedroom and the bathroom. My daughter did a great job cleaning her room and the boys...well, we'll be working on their rooms. My next project for this weekend is getting my sewing room organized. It looks like a room from the Hoarders Series. I'll post a before and after pic of that room!

I've posted a few items on Craigslist to sell to help pay off some bills. If I can go through more of our junk I might be able to sell some more.

I've been listening to Joyce Meyers on CD and the topic that really hit home was about being faithful with what you are already blessed with. She asks...are you faithful with paying your bills, are you faithful with caring for your car, are you faithful with the dirty laundry... Oh my. I keep telling my hubby that he needs a positive attitude and that if we complain about what we do have why would He give us more...Let me pull the log out of my eye so I can see that I am not so faithful with the blessings God has given me...taking care of what I do have shows God I am faithful, sharing the extra that I have shows God I am faithful, taking responsibility for my actions shows God I am faithful.

Natural cleaning is having such a new meaning to me.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Buying in Bulk...

I did my grocery shopping last week. I made up a meal plan for two weeks of meals and made my grocery list to go along with it. I often go to the Amish store which sells foods in large quantities and at great prices. For example: I buy oatmeal for .59/lb/ I got a 7.25lb bag of rolled oats for $4.28. I separate it into gallon freezer bags and keep it in the freezer. I pay .49/lb for flour I can get a variety of flours at that price but I like the pastry flour the best for baking. I buy raisins and dried cranberries at less than half the price at the grocery store. lunch meats and cheeses are the same quality or better than the grocery store. And I can take my own jugs and fill them with apple cider vinegar...I just think that's fun!

Now I don't buy in bulk only because it's a money saver, I have to buy large quantities because I have a large family. Well, some of the homesteading blogs would laugh with their eight to twelve kids, but I feel we are a large family. I feel it even more when all their friends are over for dinner and my family of six becomes ten or more!

Now that I have teenagers...I hide food. I put labels on my cheese that say ...I'm using this for a meal, don't eat it as a snack!!! Keeping snacks around is crazy. I bake a few batches of muffins and throw a bunch in the freezer. A few days later I check the stash and there are two muffins left. Now if they were getting heavy and laying around I would shut off the oven but they're not! They play outside, one runs, the others build forts and rabbit traps(they don't ever work, so he can keep building them) One dances to her music...then their friends come over, and they terrorize each other...It's fun. But then they eat and their friends eat and then after dinner they want a snack or a snack before dinner to hold them over. It's crazy. But as long as I can buy in bulk I can afford to feed them all.

I do watch what they drink. We hardly ever have soda. It's Milk, Water or Tea. And I do complain about the milk because I have to buy it at $4 a gallon. I have decided to put a limit on the milk purchasing. I was spending $16 a week on milk alone. Don't tell me it's not worth raising a goat. I think it's cheaper to feed the goat than buy milk 52 weeks a year!

Which brings me to my goats...I'm excited one of my does, is due in mid Feb and my dairy doe is due the first week of March. I love baby goats! I'm trying to talk my hubby into going into strictly dairy goats. We get the milk and can sell or eat the the kids...that does sound mean, but I grow them up to eat them.

Ahh but it is getting time for them to come home for school so I need to make up a snack because they will be starving!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Impulse buying

Today's Daily Goal with frugally sustainable challenge is to plan how not to impulse buy.

I am pretty good about staying out of the stores but I JUST, as in two minutes ago, realized that I have made 3 purchases from Amazon.com in a week. I ordered a book for my son yesterday and I got the book in the mail today- it hasn't even come out of the account yet! See I justified ordering from Amazon because I discovered that I didn't have to use a credit card and could basically use my debit card. 13 dollars here and 14 dollars there... this week I spent over $40!
That can't happen anymore!

Now grocery shopping is where I impulse buy. I have to be ready with my menu plan and grocery list in hand and all by myself. I spend more when my Hubby is along, if I go with my girlfriends or my kiddos. Today I did veer off the list because I got a good deal on a product I use all the time. It is being discontinued and the price was knocked down from 16.99 to 9.99 for 101oz can of olive oil. I'm actually excited about the find! I did some bad impulse shopping too. I bought fried chicken at the deli and a soda... I could probably lose some body clutter as well if I would stop that kind of impulse shopping/eating!

Well, it is really chilly here today. I am going to pop a chicken in a pot and make some broth for next weeks soup. I'm going to get rid of some books and go through the boys clothes and pack a few bags for good will. I even have a lift chair I need to find a new home. Wish I knew someone who needed it--

Thursday, January 12, 2012


So much for a committed daily post! My Hubby was home for three days, so I had no time to sit in front of the computer. Todays Daily goal was to make a plan for getting the clutter out of our lives. I have lots of clutter. Both the kind you can see (stuff) and the kind you can't (debt, emotions, obligations)

I had already started to declutter before I saw the topic on the frugal challenge. I was on the phone with my SIL and noticed my book shelf. I have a host of devotional and Christian books, the sad thing was, there were romance and vampire books right beside them, mixed in among them. And at that moment I felt compelled to pull all those "trash" books out. A verse came to me about not being able to serve two masters at the same time, then the verse about only allowing pure and good things into my life and the verse about a mouth can not say both blessings and curses... Let's just say I removed the books quickly. I still have two more bookcases to go through.
I also started cleaning out my cupboards--- it's really not good to have your glass pans falling out right?!
So slowly but surely, I'm getting the stuff out.

That's the material stuff...

I also have to work on the "unseen" clutter. Debt, is a big clutter. It's an awful feeling that you can lose everything you worked so hard for if the paycheck is too small. So I am trying to do what I can to help. Not buying more, selling what I can and creating items to sell. I think working on the debt will help get rid of the emotional clutter.

Well I have a plan and I just need to stay focused enough to see it through. I really do like to de clutter, but I have to think about doing it, it doesn't just come naturally...

Now for fun.. Here's a picture of the note I found on my night table last night ...

If he brings something back home, he's got to get rid of something else!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Those interruptions!!!

I was committed to writing on my blog every morning but of course there has to be something to cause a distraction...

This is the accident that happened in front of my house this morning at 6:20am!
Fortunately there was just minor injuries. But it does put the pressure on for me to get EMT training. Generally I am the first responder because they land in MY yard. It takes the authorities 30 minutes to get here.

There have been four accidents in front of my house and the neighbors in the last month, the last three in a week!

I need to get flares to slow traffic down. A good flashlight because it is BLACK outside. And A good First Aid kit to stop the bleeding. The kiddos were really good about getting ready for school despite the commotion. The boys brought out blankets for the woman who was hit in the small pick up. Trying to keep her calm and sitting was difficult, her adrenaline was just pumping.
The Bigger truck with the flat bed trailer had been flying. I knew he wasn't making the turn before the accident happened. I could hear how fast he was coming and was already grabbing the phone to call for help when he hit the little pickup that I never heard coming, from the other direction.

The big truck driver tried to tell the woman he slid on ice. She and I disagreed with him together. I said I heard you coming, she said you flew around the corner in the other lane, then skid when you hit the brakes.

It's amazing. That incident took up most of my morning.First when it happened, playing EMT, then I had to walk the neighborhood kids to the corner of the next road to catch a bus,then wait for the police to get all the info they needed, then the firemen swept up the accident scene( awesome firemen/women) then the tow trucks pulled yanked and hauled away both trucks. Shwoow!

By the time everything was done and traffic was flowing again it was 9:30.
So that is my post today!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Going to the Dr is being frugal?!

I thought about it over and over. I hate going to the Dr. I'm a big procrastinator and cheap.
I think there is a difference between being frugal and being cheap. When I think of frugal, I think of being discerning. Being frugal is thinking about what your spending your money on and making good choices. Cheap is going without because you don't want to make an effort to make good choices.

Getting regular check ups is a way to be frugal. Taking care of yourself, eating right, getting exercise all saves money. Because if you let yourself go, you end up sick and unhealthy and having to go through a pile of medical expenses.

So, I'm going to the doctor today. I'm hoping that I'm not too late and that my issue is not life threatening. Not only am I a procrastinator and cheap, I have the "ignore it and it will go away" attitude. Doctors don't appreciate that.

If we will get regular check ups, if there is a problem, and it can be caught early and dealt with, then life can continue with just a blip of interruption. When we skip regular check ups and only go to the doctor when the issue is already interrupting our lives, that leads to many visits, more expenses and an upheaval in not just our own lives but of our family's lives.

So pray for me today as I go to the doctor this morning to have a lump on my back examined.

Update----- Dr. visit went well. It is a cyst and nothing to worry about. Thank you God!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Time management

I was thinking of different ways to be frugal. Time management seems to be what I keep focusing on. I am a big time waster. I get sucked into the computer, drawn to junk TV if it's on, and THE PHONE!

So, I'm making a plan. Consciously spending my time. If I had a job outside of the home I would have a schedule, a list of duties needed to be done. I am doing that for myself at home. I have to be flexible but have a general plan so I can make the most of my day.

5:30- Up and dressed.
make list for the day of what needs to be done. Drink my coffee read my Bible (God and caffeine)

6:15- Wake up the kids
Farm Chores
Make breakfast and get them moving for the day.

7:00 Kids on the Bus
Computer time- returning emails and blogging

8:00 general house cleaning

10:00 Errands
Try to keep errands in an order and in one area for that day.

12:00 lunch
start working on dinner preparations
mending,sewing,repairs/maintenance (whatever needs to be done)

2:30 first round of kids come home

3:30 second round
finish cooking dinner

4:00 Farm Chores

5-6:30 Dinner depending on evening schedule

6:30- 8:30 Evening activities
Scouts, baseball, picking up daughter from work
Family time

8:30-9:00 Bedtime

10:30 My bedtime

So that is what I'm going to work on for the next 30 days. Making this schedule a habit and not allowing myself to spend three hours on the computer, not getting sucked into TV and if I'm on the phone, making sure I'm multi-tasking and getting my work done. I can also keep myself from those activities by leaving them off.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Welcome to 2012

Baking Christmas cookies

Our Christmas tree

The aftermath of opening gifts because I didn't remember to take pics while they were opening gifts.

We drove to my Mama's house and spent Christmas Day with my Mama and her husband.

Now onto 2012.

I have a few goals this year.
1. Become more frugal, save money where I can and make extra when I can.

2. Get rid of Debt notice the capital D, because Debt has become a real entity in our life. We were always very careful to stay away from frivolous debt (credit card) we had the mortgage and the vehicle payment. When the economy fell out from under us, jobs canceled, work became scarce and people got weird(trying to get a $2000 job for $200) We started using our credit card for groceries and even utility payments. That's over now. Hubby has a good job and my goal is to have the credit card paid off in one year. As well as working on paying back my Mama who helped us out last year.

3. Take care of myself--- I'm not going on a crazy diet or becoming a workout queen. I'm going to go to the Dr. Get my check ups, take care of my teeth, and make a very conscience effort to feeding my family a well balanced diet and move more.

My Family

These are the crochet dishcloths. I gave them as gifts this year and now I'll be selling them for $2ea. They really do clean better then my other dishcloths!

This is my healing salve I made using lavender infused olive oil, beeswax and essential oils. I gave this as gifts this year and am waiting to get feedback before I try selling any.

Of course I will be making more soap. My family is using the batch I made last spring. Now I'm going to experiment with essential oils and added ingredients. Although I do want to make a batch of straight lye soap to use in my laundry detergent instead of buying the fels naptha soap.

I'm also going to participate in the 23 day frugal challenge. Look for the button on tomorrows post. Yes, I'm setting a daily schedule to post! Happy New year to everyone and please join me in learning new ways to be frugal- that is a farm girl skill!