Saturday, January 31, 2015

1st world problem - but it's mine

I almost feel guilty whining about this.  But here goes - it's been on my mind a fair bit in the last 24 hours....this is a bit of a venting but it's really bugging me - it's longish...warning!

I have a smallish kitchen and limited counter space.  I only have room for, my Keurig, kitchen aid mixer, toaster, a few canisters of dried goods, fruit bowl dish drainer and kitchen scale.

Couple years ago, my mom gave me a food processor - it was used,(she worked at a neighborhood thrift)  in great shape though.  And a total pain yo use, clean etc.  it's a well known brand and if I was ever in the market for one - I would have totally bought this one.  She raved about how great hers is, and how many things it could do -  truly indispensable piece of equipment.

When we got married, because I already owned the KA Stand mixer of my dreams, I was gifted some great attachments for it - I use them pretty frequently maybe once a month or so.  They live happily in a basket in a lower kitchen cabinet.

This year I was given the food processor attachment for this mixer.  It us way easier to put together and clean than the stand alone version I have sitting on the shelf in the mud room.  My mom stopped by and was in a bit of a huff that this was here!

Now, I've never used either for making pie crust (the reason mom bought it for me)- it is something I suck at - I have given up on it, come to peace with that decision since it's something both my kids have mastered the skill and enjoy it.  I make a killer filling though :-).

Today's stress is brought to me by the fact mom is coming over for lunch tomorrow - I have no idea what to do with the old food processor.  I have some options - all have baggage with them

  1.  I could give it back to her, she knows it was difficult for me to use & dismantle - she could do with it what she wants....but, that would offend her, she should feel that I was ungrateful - because she gave it to me as a 'gift' and now that there is a new one I don't  want hers.
  2. I could donate it to the next church yard sale - which if she then asked where it was by not seeing it on the mudroom shelf (hawk eye) and I hold her - she would be pissed off that I just gave it away after she spent a good $20 on it - again showing how ungrateful I am.
  3. I could donate it to the next apartment warming our church has for the homeless.  {Where we furnish an apartment for a newly un-homeless person}. Great cause! Usually it's a toaster, microwave, coffee pot, cookware, chairs, dressers....all donated - they are so appreciative.  She would again feel hurt or angry and let me know, because she would have just taken it back to the neighborhood thrift for someone else to buy.
It's ironic, because we were raised that once something was given to you (not loaned) or you bought something from someone - it was yours to do with what you liked once it no longer met your needs or fit your style.  Clearly not the case with her - I'm not imagining it.  She did it to my sister when she liquidated her collection of 50s-70s Pyrex dishes (all patterned & colors). Mom helped her find some of the items - when sister moved across the country, rather than move them or rent storage for what she didn't need in her simplified life she sold a bunch on eBay.  Mom had a fit - granted she was offered them for free first and refused.  Terribly frustrating.

Do you get offended when you give something to someone and they give it away after a bit?  Or do you expect them to keep it until the end of time - like the Pharos did with lining their tombs with items for eternity?

Friday, January 30, 2015

Have to have a plan

In 2 weeks I am leaving to chaperone a week long school trip.  That means that the next 2 weeks are going to be extremely busy for me.  Prepping clothes, helping the teacher get stuff ready.  It's going to be nuts!  I also have to prep for a meeting I'm going to miss- yet owe a report too, attend/run another meeting (hoping for snow so it gets cancelled), do general housework,  it is going to be really crazy.

I have to plan meals for these next 2 weeks or we are going to be eating a lot of cereal and takeout.

The last 2 days I didn't have a plan for dinners and just the thawed meat I had to stop & buy on the way home cost me $9 for 4 chicken breasts last night and $4.69 for a pack of turkey kielbasa girls tonight.  Those costs can't continue!  Tomorrow will find me culling the chest freezer for defrostibles and meals to make.

 I figure 2 weeks of crockpot should also whittle down the freezer so I will have room to put in some crockpot meal kits I found on Pinterest.

The plan behind this is to do a 'big shop & prep day' then I can have 20 crockpot/thaw & bake meals ready.  Then freeze them!

 I did this years ago, we went to a business where you and your girlfriends could go with a bottle of wine and assemble meals that you had pre-ordered and take home entrees!  It was fun, all the chopping was done for you, they had the aluminum pans and ziplock baggies, spices and labels with cooking instructions printed.  It wasn't too costly $9-12/entree for 4 - not when you figure all the shopping & prep work was done for you.  Especially when you consider that a chicken Parmesan dinner out is $14 for 1 entree.  Granted you still had to make a side dish, salad & bread to round out the meal - but still cheaper and healthier than dinner for 4 out at 99 or Applebee's/chilis or local diner or pizza place.  Plus it was a girls night out without the mom of young kids guilt.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Where would you sell this?

Looking for input here - help a girl out

I went thru the youngest's closet culled 3 bags of outgrown & in good hand me down shape that were already donated.  A few local school team shirts & sweatpants to elementary school nurse for emergency changes, the rest to Salvation Army.

There was 1 large Rubbermaid tub left over.  These are items that are in great shape, as in hardly worn.  Since this child wears a uniform for school these were dress down days clothes, long sleeve no graphics shirts, golf shirts, jeans.    I would like to recoup some of the $, yet sell at a fair price.  In there are 2 winter coats too - one is like new, worn 3-4 times (bought on super clearance for child #1, before, darned growth spurt child #2 inherited  it a has a different growth pattern - also worn maybe 7-8 times). The other coat was bought to replace that mid season & now is too small.

I'm not trying to be cheap, but there are things in the kiddo's wardrobe that the $ would go towards replacing.  Also this kid is now too big for kids consignment stores (where I used to unload stuff like this)

I'm a little wigged out about craigslist or Facebook local TagSale pages - in my area people are snotty if they don't like your stuff - if they bother to show up and I don't have time for that nonsense.

Where do you all suggest?  What's worked for you?

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

"Yuck, LOB again "

Oh from the mouths of babes, well, teens in my case.  Trying to be better about food waste, watching $, just not wasting my energy.  Too bad though.  It was Left Over Buffet night again (last night too).  But the good news for them is I will need to cook tomorrow night as we have finished the leftovers - YAY!
Thinking about a chicken and broccoli casserole - it's supposed to be wicked cold again & I like creamy fattening casseroles when it's this cold.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Thankful for Powder

Blizzard Colbie has been glorious powder - the kind that the former skier in me loves.  It's fluffy and light.

The bargainista in me loves it too - it usually means that power outages aren't because of wet heavy snow taking down the power lines, the wind is still a danger though.  Aldo means that clean up might be less costly.  Only will need one trip from the plow guy, we can handle the rest eith the snowblower and yes, the leaf blower.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Here comes the snow

It's been snowing pretty good for the last hour at my house here in the Southeastern part of the state.
Nice light powder - wish we had gotten the garage cleaned enough to get both cars in this fall, but as long as it stays powdery the dig out won't be too bad for the 1 car.

Laundry is now caught up, on to emails!

Blizzard Preps

I'm all set for this thing!  Bring it on!!  New fridge has meals to re-heat in it, pantry in good shape (keeping 3 months on hand never hurts).  Stopped at SuperWalmart after dropping kids at school for their short day.  Picked up fruit & yes a loaf of white bread.  I felt so cliche, but the bread guy was restocking and honestly I don't believe the pictures on the news now.  There was no shortage of bread or milk at this store.  Eggs were in short supply, but I think we will survive for the recommended 3 days if I run out of the 10 I have.

Back to the bread - we might feel like grilled cheese and tomato soup tomorrow for lunch and while we aren't a big bread eating family (pitas and English muffins are more our thing) I knew I had 1/2 a loaf left in the fridge.  Mostly this is because English muffins and pitas are 3/$3 at the bread outlet and we actually eat them up before they turn stale of into science experiments.  Which is why loafs of bread live in our fridge - postpones the experiment stage.

I was amazed however at what people were stocking up on.  Kraft Mac-n-Cheese, chef boyardee, canned soups (I get that) - eggos....

I guess because I'm trying to cook more of our meals and I have the tools & know how to use alternative cooking sources I would never think of any of those foods as storm foods.
 As I got to the car I saw a Facebook post about spam....almost went back for some so the kids could experience it - but changed my mind.

I have a few bottles of beer - guess I'm all set.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Flea Market Flip

I usually watch TV as I fold laundry.  I've heard of this show & now I'm hooked!  I have so many ideas running around in my head & lots of places to find bits to re-work/up cycle.  Just a matter of time & then place to sell them.
Time being the most expensive commodity lately - ha ha ha.

Seriously? A Blizzard?

Ain't nobody got time for that!  I live solidly in the middle of the high wind 24" snow fall zone.
Now granted, the kids and I wouldn't mind a snow day - mid weekish to sleep in rather than getting myself up at 4:45 and them at 5:30-45, but that can be accomplished without 24" of snow.

We are prepared - but doesn't mean I have to like it.  The only thing I need to buy at the store before the storm is some lettuce for the pets and coffee pods for me.  Those were planned purchases for tomorrow anyhow, but going to the store might be less than fun.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

A give away from Sluggy! It's a good one!!

Look - it's a give away, no strings attached!  How cool is that?

Busy Snow Day

We have about 3-4 inches of heavy snow out there.  I'm pretty relieved to stay in (today's sports events were cancelled yesterday).

I am thinking today would be a good day to organize the pantry (gets out of control so fast here) or go through the oldest child's closet.  At least with the pantry there isn't any teen eye rolling and sighing involved - but that closet situation is making me nutty.

I know - 'it's not your closet, let it go' - that's what the rational side of my brain says.  But the other less rational side says 'why do I have to find your stuff for you - every day?  Put it away neatly and there don't be these hunts'. Sometimes, the less rational thoughts escape out my mouth at a high volume.  Which usually causes said teen to slam the door in a huff & causes hubby to tell me how much of a nag I'm being.

Said teen doesn't realize when they are at camp this summer - that room & closet are getting overhauled.  I already have the closetmaid shelf system bought and stashed away.  This child struggles with executive function tasks.  Seeing as the paint color  has been selected, this is getting done - I'm even hiring a friends hubby to do the install (he is a contractor).  No doors on the closet either - curtain works best - we have already figured that out, I will get the panels at Christmas Tree shop or make them.

Maybe the pantry is the more sane project for the day

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Know Your Replacement Prices

Ouch!  That's what my checkbook said today.
Noticed during the holidays freezer side of the fridge wasn't as cold as usual (softer ice cream). Figured it was because it was stuffed full and air wasn't circulating as well - moved a few things out (ate them) then decided to clean out/purge freezer and wash things down - seemed to work fine after that.  For 3 weeks.  Noticed Monday I had a quart of softserve vanilla - called the appliance shop we buy from.  They sent a guy, condenser was super dusty - we vacuumed it off good then set everything back to normal settings & put a thermometer in.  Waited 24 hrs temp didn't get below 25.  Moved the frozen solid stuff to chest freezer - verdict: it's 14 years old & dying. Could be hundreds of $$s to repair - if they could find the coolant leak.   Last night I spent at HD & Sears looking at new fridges to see what I liked & don't like (other than the costs).  I knew I would buy from the local appliance guy (they've been great over the years - plus the take the dead one away free)

Today went and bought a new one.

Why the ouch?  Well, we had some $$ in the rainy day house money. the 14 years since we bought this one - who knew that a comparable model replacement would be almost twice what we paid for that one?  The way my kids eat and I cook - I couldn't go with a smaller one that's for sure.

I hope we get at least 14 years out of this new one - if so then it will average out fine.  Fingers crossed that nothing else in the kitchen croaks

Bottom line lesson learned & passing on to you all - if you are saving cash for a possible appliance replacement - keep up to date with prices to replace what you have - save accordingly.  Today I priced a cook top, wall oven & range and dishwasher - just in case....  Nothing lasts forever

Monday, January 19, 2015

A no spend day

Love days like this.
All ingredients for all meals in the house.  Not one Penny spent by me!
Hubby however had to pick up supplies at big box hardware store on the way home to fix a drain in the laundry room.
I have every cross able appendage crossed that he can make the repair - plumber is super expensive and we have some other uses for that $.  Don't want to take too much from that rainy day fund.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Crummy cold rain = Nice day in

It's a crummy cold rainy day out there.  I so happy to be in my nice warm house.

I skipped church and took advantage of the solitude to clean the bathrooms while everyone else was there.  After that I started on other areas.  House is nice & tidy to start the week.

Inventoried/listed the items I culled from youngest's closet before dropping off at donation site, this will make it easier at tax time next year.

As I was cleaning out a drawer in my bathroom I came across a tube of bath&body works body creme lotion.  Very thick and super floral scented - but my skin as been so dry lately I'm going to use it up before going out to buy a new tub of eucerin (my winter go to product).  I think the kids gave it to me my birthday last year or in last christmas's stocking - perfect price & timing.

I'm planning on spending my evening with tea and PBS.

Making Soap

Just before bed last night I read CT on a Budget's post about creating soap from bits of soap bars....
Spent the morning gathering soap slivers from our bathrooms and have them in a recycled margarine tub - waiting until I have enough to try this.  I only came up with a few, but I figure I should have enough to give it a try.  Cool thing is we only use 2-3 kinds of soap here (ivory, dove or lever2000) so the bar will be lumpy but mostly white so the family will honestly probably never notice.

All about using it up!

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Planning my Sunday

Wow what a busy day!  Up at 5:30 to get oldest up, fed, ready for a  school sporting event by this morning (45minutes away). Spent the day there ($3 at DD for my coffee), busy watching so I didn't go to the snack bar.  Couple of errands on the way home (dropping off stuff), then to a dinner function with the family.  Thankfully, no school Monday.   So far I have a busy Sunday planned, church, tidy up the house, look through grocery store flyers & make my lists (sales based, needs based & stock up based).  Maybe a trip to one grocery store, since it's supposed to rain tomorrow - that may just wait until Monday.

Need to work on some menu plans for the weeks ahead.  Pull stuff from the freezer and get some ideas from the family about what they want to see come out of the crock pot/oven for dinners - based on the extracurricular plans and practices.

I have one freezer (side-by-side) cleaned out and organize, need to get the chest freezer done.  A rainy day might be what I need to make me do this task.

Friday, January 16, 2015

ALDI There's an App for that!

If you have a smartphone and you shop at Aldi there is an App for them!  I love it.  It goes with my list love.

It shows you featured items for this week and next.  As well as the weekly ad AND you can make a list in the app so you have an idea of what you'll be spending :-).

I love this since I never get a paper copy of their ad unless I go to the store (not in the path of my daily trips - requires a special trip). And I can work on the list while I wait for the kids to get out of school  in the parking lot.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Lists & why the are critical

Lists, we all make them.  Some of us use our smartphones to store them, some use little notebooks, scraps of paper, envelopes or what have you.

I'm a huge list person.  I have a list on the fridge of things we run out of as we run out of, a list by the chest freezer (contents) - the idea behind that is to cross it off if you take it out to eat, I have lists in my phone too:  my parents dr info, family member sizes,  measurements for home items (tables, windows etc), there is also a notepad in my purse to write quick shopping lists on as I remember things while out.

My Sunday night/Monday mornings find me making a list of things that need to be accomplished during the week & deadlines.  Hubby laughs at me for all my lists, but I'm trying to volunteer at school, community & driving kids to practices and school & appointments AND manage the house.  I NEED my lists of stuff gets forgotten and not done.  I have found that always ends up costing me $$.

On my list today is:
Fill up car with gas
Post office (mail a package & get stamps)
Walmart:  restocking on lettuce and a couple items I forgot to get on Monday (didn't take my list!)
Kohls: birthday present for relative
Dollar Tree:  monthly trip - trying to limit my trips there
Sports practice

By writing this all down, I am able to see how I can combine my trips.  Gas and post office can be done on the way to get kids from school (no bus to their school). The shopping trips can be done while the oldest is at sports practice tonight, nearby that location.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Make Do - part 2

Lost another sock.....that leaves me with 3.5 pairs of the black ones I love.  Definitely will have to go to the store this weekend.  I made the switch to this sock system in September 2013.  I guess it's time that some should start kicking the bucket....

Make Do

Today's theme is make do.
This came to me as I put on my socks. Odd timing you think?  Here is the back story.  I will wear socks until the elastic or soles wear out.  For this reason, I have few pairs of cutesie socks, but lots of utilitarian socks.  I tend to stick to ladies crew socks in black or white no shows.  I also buy them during tax free week when back to school stuff is happening.  This year I didn't need to restock so I didn't.  What's nice about this method is if one sock wears out before the other - there are always back up socks available.  Well thus week I lost (put to rest) 4 socks.  It was sad, but the went in pairs so they aren't lonely in the sock afterlife of  shop rags.  Bummer for me is now I'm down 2 pairs until another sale. So my choices are to figure out if I can make it through the winter until the next Tax free week in August or look for a sale on the ones I like now or suck it up and just pay what they cost.  Really a 1st world problem - but I'm trying NOT to spend money on things like this now.  Trying to be a squirrel and establish a bit of emergency cash on hand rather than just in the bank.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

I'm back

The holidays and some personal stuff caused me to drop off blog land. But, I missed reading what others are up to and sharing my frugal finds.

I may be sporadic but I'm back.  I found this was a good way to see there were others out there that were trying to live frugally as they used their financial resources to do other things they felt were important (saving for a new home, travel dreams, kids college tuition, retirement, or your own college tuition).

When I went to reactivity my old blog I got an error message it was gone & unretrievable :-(. That's ok...starting over is good.