My Crazy Little Life

ramblings of a crazy woman living her sometimes crazy life with her little family, in their little home, in a little town, in the BIG state of Texas

Archive for July, 2008

MPM

Posted by mycrazylittlelife on 07/28/2008

Wow, it’s already Monday again! Time for MPM!

We made it through last week just fine. Praise God! He always provides!

Here is the ‘plan’ for this week”

Italian goulash, salad, watermelon

Swiss steak, rice, pears

roast beef subs, chips, grapes

salmon, wild rice, steamed broccoli

homemade pizza, salad

Friday we will dine out to celebrate a birthday!

What are you cooking this week?

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It’s Menu Time

Posted by mycrazylittlelife on 07/21/2008

Conversation on Saturday….

dh: I think I misappropriated some funds.

me: K.

dh: No, seriously. It’s going to be tight.

me: K.

dh: Do you hear what I am saying?

me: Yeah.

dh: What am I saying?:

me: ‘Don’t spend a dime until further notice.’

dh: Oh. How can you listen and type at the same time?

me: I’m just talented like that.

Since ‘we’ have somehow ‘misappropriated’ funds…I’m not going to the market this week. It will be challenging to create healthy, filling meals and then make it all last through the week, but I’m going to try! 

Notice how I didn’t say ‘well liked’? Yeah….my kids noticed that too when I posted this list on the calendar. Actually, it’s not that bad. Last week my daughter was away at church camp so there is food left from the last shopping trip.

Breakfasts will be a choice of the following: oatmeal, eggs & toast, toast w/pnut butter, cereal while it lasts

Plus: oj OR a fruit, yogurt OR milk *This is where most of the whining was expressed. They think it’s unfair that they cannot have both. They are so deprived!

Lunches: sandwiches, nachos, homemade soups from the freezer, bean burritos

Suppers: chicken & dumplings, pears *use 1/2 chicken

spinach salad (incuding eggs for protein and bacon bits from 2 strips of bacon I have leftover), watermelon

breakfast casserole (made from potatoes, eggs and 1/2 lb sausage), sliced apples

chicken enchilada casserole (other 1/2 chicken), spanish rice, pears

homemade pizza w/sausage (other 1/2 lb) and veggies from the garden, spinach salad

frittata made with garden veggies & eggs, fruit

tortellini & spinach soup from the freezer, crusty bread, fruit if there is any left!

When the gallon of milk is at the halfway mark, I will add a packet of dry milk & water. The kids balk if they see me do this….but I’m sneaky! They won’t see it and they won’t know!

Anyone else making do with what you have on hand this week?

Menu Pan Monday

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Inexpensive ways to conquer Mt. Neverending

Posted by mycrazylittlelife on 07/21/2008

As promised in my previous post, I’m going to talk about laundry and give you a recipe/instructions for making your own detergent. I know, you’ve been waiting on pins and needles. Yes, you have. Don’t lie.

So….laundry. It kind of sneaks up on me. It’s not my favorite chore, nor is it my most hated either. It’s fairly simple, besides the putting away. But that is one of the reasons I had kids. Just kidding. Get it, KIDding? I kill me.

Anyway, I already mentioned that I don’t dry all of my clothing. Thus reducing my electric bill. There are still a few more tips I have up my sleeve. Again with the pun-i-ness. Ha!

Trent Hamm at The Simple Dollar has an excellent post on how to make your own detergent. Not only does he list the cost comparison, but also a side-by-side performance comparison. Our recipes and methods are similar. However, just for kicks I’ll list mine, tip #1:

<If you prefer dry detergent, grate the bar soap and mix with the washing soda and borax in a container. Use a few spoonfuls for each load of laundry. You will most likely need to allow the washer to fill and agitate a bit to dissolve the detergent before adding your laundry.>

For liquid detergent:

Heat several large pots of water. I use all of my burners equaling 4 pots. Grate the bar of soap. (I use my Salad Shooter for this. It works wonderfully!)

To the 5 gallon bucket, add the Borax and Washing Soda.

Add the grated soap, a little at a time, to a large pot of very hot, but not boiling, water. Stir to dissolve and continue adding soap, a little at a time, until it is all dissolved.

Pour the melted soap/water into the bucket. Stir well to dissolve the powdered substances. Add remaining hot water until the bucket is nearly full. Stir often while allowing mixture to cool. Once cooled, you have laundry detergent! Go you! You can add essential oils to cooled detergent if you would like your detergent to have a scent. Once detergent is completely cooled, it will probably congeal. Just stir it around before using.

Now this is a bit more labor intensive than you may like, but my husband attached a nozzle to my bucket. It allows me to fill empty vinegar bottles, more on that later, with detergent before it cools. This makes the detergent easier to store and manage. I can just pour the desired amount into the washer. Voila!

Why wouldn’t I just use the nozzle to dispense the needed amount? Well, we tried that. However, because the detergent congeals or clots, if you will, it doesn’t easily flow from the nozzle.

Why do I have an excess of vinegar containers? Aha! That leads me to tip #2, Vinegar! I use a lot of vinegar. It makes an excellent laundry softener. Just add a little (1/2 – 1 cup) to your rinse cycle. No, your clothes will not reek, nor will you smell like a pickle. I promise.

Tip #3, I also use vinegar for cleaning. For a quick cleanup in the bathroom, I just dampen a washcloth with vinegar and swipe the counter/sink/faucet. It easily dissolves hard water stains and mineral deposits.  There are tons of recipes online, feel free to google. 

So, there you have it, an inexpensive way to climb the laundry mountain.

Happy Washing!

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Gas prices are making me cheap!

Posted by mycrazylittlelife on 07/14/2008

I’ve always been frugal, really. Since I was 15, I’ve had bills to pay. I know and appreciate the value of a hard-earned dollar. This has caused me to (usually) spend wisely and sometimes do without. My friends, and especially my daughter, snicker at the things I do to save a buck in general. However, along with the rest of the country, we are starting to really feel the pinch of rising gas prices. In turn, I’m becoming cheap rather than frugal! Here are just a few small & easy examples of how I’m saving money:

  • Shopping sales with coupons. If you haven’t read already, there is much well deserved hype regarding CVS. Money Saving Mom has a wonderful tutorial teaching you how to use your coupons on sale items and find the best deals at CVS. In addition, The Simple Dollar has several entries regarding coupons. If you are going to embark on the Great Coupon Adventure, be sure to read his One Month Coupon Strategy.
  • Making my own/Cooking from ‘Scratch’. This is by far the easiest of all my tips. All baking/cooking mixes are way cheaper to make than to buy. Sure it takes some time and effort. Honestly, though, it’s not that much time and the savings are by far worth the few minutes of work. They are also far more nutritious than store bought items. Some things I make instead of buying: laundry detergent, dryer sheets, cleaners, frozen pancakes/waffles/breakfast burritos, soups and any mixes i may use in the kitchen.
  • Reducing the electric bill. Aside from turning up the air and turning off lights, this is a hard one for me. Since we homeschool, we are home a lot! Something is always running. The children use the TV /DVD players for school and 5 people make a lot of laundry! However, we have found some things to help. My husband installed radiant barrier sheeting across the decking of our attic. So far we have only covered the west side of the house, which happens to be our bedroom, and have already noticed a difference. Since the dryer uses electricity and heats up the house, I only dry sheets, towels and my husbands work clothes completely. The other loads are hung to dry. Another benefit is that the clothes will last a bit longer.
  • Reducing the gas bill. This is an obvious one. I am careful to plan my trips into town. Translation: We stay home more.
  • Redbox. We have a Redbox at our local market and Wal-Mart. They carry the latest movie releases at $1.00 per 24 hour period. Can you say DEAL? Also, if you enter your mobile number, they will text you a free movie rental code every Monday. Yes, it really works! A major plus is that the movie can be returned to ANY Redbox location. So I can rent on Mondays and my husband can return them on Tuesdays near his place of employment, preventing me from having to make a trip into town. Score!
  • Careful shopping. I only shop clearance aisles and Goodwill. Seriously. You can giggle. My friends do.

In the next entry, I plan to post some recipes I use for the items I’ve mentioned.

Until then, are you feeling the pinch? How are you dealing with it?

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Star Spangled

Posted by mycrazylittlelife on 07/11/2008

I hope you and yours had a fantabulous 4th of July holiday weekend. Ours was relaxed and uneventful. Just the way I like it. We hosted our yearly par-tay with much fewer people than usual in attendance. There was swimming, overeating, sparklers, overeating, fireworks and more overeating! Even with all of the overeating…I still threw away food. These are my favorite shots from our celebration.

 

 

 

And because I like to give credit where credit is due: my daughter took these pictures. 

Also, there are no ‘people pictures’ because my camera stayed in it’s bag the ENTIRE day.

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