Thursday, July 24, 2008

Thrifty Mama

My bloggy friend Christy, aka "Mommy Brain," has been discussing the effects of rising gas prices on family finances. She was inspired by Jennie @ Far Beyond Pearls, who is an army wife and mother of seven who makes it work on a budget. I have been very inspired myself by the growing discussion of ideas. With that in mind, I thought I'd share my Monday, monthly shopping for my family.

My whole plan of action is about seeking out the very best deal I can get on the staples we use day to day in our home. I shop at Aldi, Dollar General, Super K-mart (who is currently slashing prices and doing a lot of two for ones to compete with our new Super Wal-mart,) Sam's club, and Giant Eagle (like Kroger up here)-for diapers and things I can't get any where else. Giant Eagle also "fuel perks" depending how much you spend a month. I currently have 20 cents off each gallon of gas so far for the month. I make my list and do it all in one day. Although they're all within close proximity of each other.

First, I went to Dollar General, and bought....

Nickles Stone Ground Bread- $1.65
Cheese-its (White Cheddar)- $2.25
2 Martha White Blueberry Muffin Mixes- $1.00 each
2 cans of Pringles potato chips- $1.00 each
3 boxes of Clover Valley cereal bars- $1.15 each
4 cans of Rotel diced tomatoes and chilies- $1.00 each
Stainless steel scrubies- $1.25
A pack of 12 boxes of matches- $1.00
A pack of 3 Scotch Brite Scouring pads- $2.25
A pack of 6 "kitchen "wash cloths"- $1.50
For a total of ...........................................$22.74

Then I went to Aldi and bought....

A 2 lb. package of 80% Lean Ground beef- $4.20
A 3 lb. bag of Boneless Chicken breast (8 in the pack)- $5.99
A bag of Mama Cozzi's Meatballs- $1.99
A pack of hotdogs- $.65
4 cans of tuna in water- $.57 each
2 packs of sliced deli cheese- $2.09 each
2 taco mixes- $.33 each
A bag of frozen corn- $.85
A can of sliced carrots- $.45
1 large yellow onion- $.49
A package of celery-$1.49
2 yellow and 1 red pepper- $.59 each
Bananas- $.83
A bag of apples- $2.49
Red Grapes- $2.79
Strawberries- $1.79
A gallon of whole milk- $2.89
A large 32oz. container of plain yogurt- $1.59
2 packs of Moo Tubes- $1.99 each
2 packs of cookie dough (Snicker doodle and White Choc.Macadamia)- $1.89 each
1 package of pepperoni slices- $1.99
2 boxes of whole wheat pasta- $.99 each
1 jar of Mama Cozzi's traditional spaghetti sauce- $.99
1 bag of Kettle style chips- $1.99
8 cans of OJ- $1.19 each
Kleenex- $.95
For a total of...............................................$60.25

Next, I stopped by Sam's Club for...

Northern bathroom tissue- $16.88
2 boxes of Baby wipes- $12.34 each
1 large All Clear detergent- $12.87
1 case of diet Pepsi (hubby's fav.)-$8.87
1 box of Idahoan instant potatoes- $4.88
1 large jar of salsa- $6.78
2 Family dinners (stuffed chicken w/noodles and cream sauce)-$14.52 each
For a total of................................................$108.17

And last but not least, I went to Giant Eagle for...

18 large eggs- $2.36
10 GE yogurts for- $5.00
GE deli ham- $3.99 (my lovies won't eat the kind from Aldi, even though it cost less. They also like Wal-Mart's deli meat, but sometimes it's higher priced.)
1 box of Lipton chicken soup mix-$1.39
Knorr veggie dip mix- $1.69
1 box of chicken broth- $1.89
2 boxes of GE Farafalle pasta- $1.09
2 boxes of grape tomatoes- $2.99 each (the ones at Aldi were too ripe this week.)
green onions- $.99
fresh Basil- $2.49
fresh Sage- $2.49
fresh Dill- $2.49
1 large tub of Kraft Real Mao- $4.45
1 can of bread sticks- $2.25
1 caramel chocolate coffee creamer- $1.89
1 half gallon of skim milk- $2.39
2 boxes of Pampers- $19.99
Zebra cakes (Trey's all time favorite and treat for the big boy potty.)-$1.59
For a total of........................................$87.72

So, let's see that is a grand total of $278.88
Aside from bread, eggs and milk and maybe Pampers that should last us for a month. My goal is to see if I can get that down to $200.00 next month. I'm also going to do a second post on other ways we cut corners- (kids' clothing, entertainment, etc.) But, more than anything, I'd love to hear your ideas. How do you stay a frugal, thrifty mama? ~Until next time...Be Blessed!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Attention Mommies and Mommies to be!!!

I have to give my sweet friend Heidi an official plug here. You may have noticed that I added a link to her website, QT Pie Products on my blog roll sidebar. Heidi is a wonderful stay at home mom, who just happens to be incredibly talented at sewing. And she uses her creative talent to help support her family and afford to stay at home with her two (soon to be three,)children. She, Keira, and Kyle are also apart of our playgroup. She was kind enough to give Anna Grace and I a "mommy wrap," which we've been using all summer long on our outings. We have been strawberry picking in Amish country, to outdoor concerts, the Trumbull County Fair, to the zoo, the Wagon Trails, Fellows Riverside Gardens, picnicking, you name it. This wrap is amazing! I love having it as an alternative to my double stroller. And it makes me feel close to Anna Grace having her all bundled up, snug next to me. It's fabulous! I'm declaring that every mommy must have one. Here are some of the benefits Heidi gives for the mommy wrap:

*Satisfies baby's physical needs for closeness, touch, security, stimulation, *movement and affection
*all of the above promotes optimal brain development
*Carried babies cry less
*Promotes and strengthens parents' emotional bond with baby
*Stimulates neurological development
*Holding helps regulate their temperatures and heart rate
*Baby feels more secure
*Baby wearing facilitates easy outings and travel
*Newborn babies with colic, gas, or acid reflux prefer being carried in an upright position versus a position like the cradle hold. My Keira has Acid Reflux and I would wear her after every feeding. This did wonders for her tummy!! I don't know what I would have done without my wrap!!!

"Kangaroo Care" is skin to skin baby wearing. The baby and the baby wearer's skin is in contact for 2-3 hours a day. This has been found useful in promoting growth in low birth weigh babies.
Try having Dad or Grandpa Wear baby walking and humming. The vibration of the mans Adam's apple can be soothing to an upset baby.

Heidi offers different colors and styles of fabric. You may notice in the picture above that each of us are not only sporting a different carrying style, but our wraps reflect our own individual style and taste, as well. So, stop in and check her site out. And be Blessed!

Just for Fun


As a 1930s wife, I am
Very Superior

Take the test!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Who Am I? - Part 1 of my Testimony

Well, let's see...From what I understand of my heritage, I am part Native American, from the southwestern tribe of Hopi Indians, and part Spanish (~Spain.) I was raised in a very all American, middle class home in the heart of the deep south. That alone should tell you I was influenced in a variety of ways in my up bringing. But, wait, it gets better. You need a little back ground to get the full picture.

I was raised in a three generational home, meaning my dad was born in the 20's, my mom was born in the 50's, and I was born in the 70's. My dad was married and had two children, (whom I was never raised with) before he met and married my mom. My mom was his secretary. And no, as cliche as it may sound, she did not break up his marriage. It is rather complicated though. You see, he isn't my biological dad. (Complicated? yeah. Are ya, still with me?)

My mom worked as my dad's secretary, when he asked her out. She had already secretly commented to her sister that she found him attractive, so she was naturally delighted when he asked her out. That is, until she found out he was married. What?! Yes. Separated, but still married. Well, she was furious and wasn't about to be a home wrecker, so she broke it off. That's when she met my father.

His name was Tony. She had known him as an acquaintance from years before, but this time it was different, and so they started dating. My mom said he was very charming and charismatic. She said he was very well known around town, and if they were out at a restaurant or night club with a piano or small band, people would often come up and ask him to sing. She was very quickly swept up in the relationship. Then they found out she was pregnant. Well, she was surprised to find that he was actually ecstatic about the news, and wanted her to meet his family right away. They lived out of state, however, so they took a trip to visit them. While there, she said she started spotting, so they thought she was either losing the baby, or not pregnant as she had thought. They were disappointed and thought that they would wait to share any news when they were sure. Then they had a fight. My mom said that she can't even remember what it was all about. She did however, remember that his mother took his side in the matter, which made her feel very out of place and unwelcome in her home. So, she started packing and decided to leave on her own. She was going to take the bus home, when the next thing she knew, there was my dad. He drove all the way there to tell her he loved her and didn't want to be with out her, and he had finalized his divorce. So, she got in his car and rode away.

When she found out she really was in fact pregnant with me, my dad told her he wanted to marry her, and he would raise me as his own. And he did. He is the only father I have ever known. I remember when I found out about everything, and I wanted to talk to him about it. I sat down and told him I knew and that it didn't matter to me, because he was my daddy and I loved him. I remember he didn't look at me the whole time I spoke, but when he did, he looked straight into my eyes and said, "I don't know what you're talking about." And that made all the difference in my life, because, he never treated me or even thought of me as if I were not his own. Truth be told, I never would have suspected if I hadn't been told the truth, so long ago.

And my real father? My mom tried to let him know she was in fact pregnant, but his family (taking his side of course,) never told him she was trying to contact him. He did find out, when I was about two years old, and he tried to find me. But, my grandmother stepped in and asked him to leave us alone. She told him we were happy and that my dad was a good man and he loved us very much. I do know that he was married at least once and that I have at least one brother and sister somewhere. I'm told that if I ever ran into my sister we would know we were sisters, because we look almost exactly alike. She just has more of an olive skin tone than I. I wonder about them all sometimes. But, unlike many people who have been adopted, I don't feel the need to go looking for my biological father. Even with all the complicated chaos of family dynamics and relationships in my life, I am pretty secure in who I am.

And yes, my life has been filled with drama. (Who's hasn't?) I have survived the effects that alcohol and addiction have had on my family, abuse, an eating disorder, my parents' separation and the threat of divorce at least three times in my life. As well as, my own self loathing/self destructive behavior. And that's just my childhood. But, we will delve into that side of things next time. I am lucky to have had a real relationship with my savior, Jesus, for many years now. I have been deeply loved by Him, and know the security of what it is like to be held in the palm of His hand. He is my rock, my shelter, and my fortress against all the drama and chaos. He is the one and only thing that has never waiver ed or failed me in my life. He is the reason I am still alive.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Blessings and Blog Awards

Spread the Love...Forget Not thy Friend!

This was given to me by Maria at Free to Fly

You Encourage Me to Walk in His Footsteps

Also given to me by my bloggy friend Maria. Wow! Big shoes to fill, but I truly want to encourage others in the Lord. This means a lot, Maria. -Thank you

Blogging With a Purpose

Graciously given to me by Maria. I hope I live my life purposely, and that it shows through in my writing as well. Thanks Maria. -You're the best!

Beautiful as a Butterfly!

This award was created and given by Maria. I'm so touched that you think so highly of me my friend! You are such a sweetheart!

Pleasing Aroma

This award was given to me by Kimberly at A Planting of the Lord.-Thank you so much! This touches my heart.

Arte Y Pico

This Award was given to me by Denise at ShortyBears. -Thanks Sweetie!

Premio al Esfuerzo Personal~Prize for Personal Effort

This award was given to me by Mrs. Susan at Penless Writer -Thank you. I can't tell you how much this means coming from you!

Inspiring Hope, Love and Joy Daily

This award was given to me by Sharon at Quiet Reflections -This truly is a desire of my Heart. Thank you!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Arte y Pico

A dear bloggy friend, Denise @ Shortybears has honored me with the Arte y Pico award. To read about this award please visit here. I would like to pass this award on to the following ladies:

Mrs. Jules @ casa de Jules. A very classy lady, if I do say so myself. If you haven't visited her blog already, please see my side bar. The woman has impeccable taste in decorating.

Katrice @ Monkey See, Monkey Do, Monkey Get in Trouble Two. She has such a sweet spirit and love for the Lord. She also has the cutest decorated blog I've ever seen. Love it, luuuv it!

Ashley @ The Ingram Gang. This is an official hollar out to one of my peeps. -A true soul sister! I love her honesty, her humor and her wit. She truly seeks after the heart of God and His path and provisions for her family.

Dawn @ By Sun and Candlelight. I am in total awe of the diligence, organization and creative effort this home schooling mom puts into her children's education. Wow! I love checking in to see what their up to everyday. I love getting ideas for the future, or even down scaling ideas for now, to expose my lil' loves to the wonder of the world around them.

and finally...Maria @ Free to Fly. I have been infinitely blessed by her insight and her friendship. She is a true gem!

These ladies are all unique and offer something lovely in their own special way. Please take the time to visit them, and be Blessed!

Now, here are the rules ladies.

Pick five blogs you consider deserving of this award, whether for creativity, design, interesting material, or contributions to the blogging community, no matter what language.
Name each nominee and link to his/her blog.
Show the award and include the name (and link to his/her blog) of whoever presented you with this award.
Link to the Arte y Pico blog so everyone knows the origin of this award.
Post these rules.
Have fun passing this blessing along!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

My sister and friend

I am so thankful for the women in my life. Strong, sensitive, caring women whom I have had the privilege to know and become friends with. And in this case, have as a beautiful sister. Demetria is my sister by marriage, but in my heart she really truly is my sister. I couldn't love her more even if we had the same mother. We've dropped the whole in-law thing. And we're connected by blood- it's just the blood of Jesus.

It's been almost thirteen years now, since we first met. It was the fall of '95, and I was going thru Rush at Delta State. I remember during the first part of the week, I just happen to walk up to the front desk in Brumby Castle, where we were staying, as a group of girls were asking her questions. She was working as a Rho-Chi, which is kinda like a counselor/ dorm mother during Rush. I remember wondering what sorority she was in, and hoped I'd end up in the same one. She was so helpful and kind to everyone. I remember my first impression was that she seemed very genuine and down-to-earth.

I was pleasantly surprised at the end of the week to find that we were indeed going to be in the same sorority. And we became friends very quickly. Have you ever had the kind of moment where you're the new girl in school and you walk in, not really sure where you fit in, when suddenly the most beautiful and popular girl in the school invites you to come over and sit with her? Well, that is exactly how I felt with Dena. She instantly made me feel at home. I'll never forget walking into one of my first chapter meetings. She called out my name from across the room and waved me over where she had saved me a seat. Even though she didn't end up as my official "big sis," she always looked out for me and helped make the tradition and ritual behind our sisterhood mean more to me than anyone else. She was so excited when she found out that I had met her brother, Hugh, and that I was taking him to our Fall Fling. It meant so much to me that she was excited for me. We were like two giddy school girls, talking about it and making plans. I'm sure she could tell, I was smitten from the start, and she did all she could to help with the match making.

Some of my fondest memories over the next few years were of waking up early on the weekends at her mom's house for breakfast. Ms. Donna,(now~ my mother-in-law) would already be up making bacon, eggs and biscuits from scratch. Demetria and I would sit across the bar reading a magazine, or doing our nails, and the three of us would talk about everything. We have always been able to laugh and be silly together. I'm so lucky that way with my family. I have many friends, who are not close with their in-laws, and it can be very stressful at times. But, I know the Lord carved me out a special place in this family long ago, because He knew that I would need them to be so close and dear to my heart when I lost my own.

I am so thankful that the Lord has only strengthened and deepened the bonds of friendship and sisterhood between Demetria, myself and M.C., within the last year. I am so lucky to be able to draw upon the strength of these two beautiful women. They are my very own Steel Magnolias.

Many of you that occasionally read my blog already know Demetria, and what a wonderful woman she is. For those of you that don't, here is how I would describe her: daughter, sister, wife, mommy, friend, radiant beauty, crazy fun to be with, glamorous, stylish, hilariously funny, creative and talented, energetic, encouraging, warm and outgoing, comforting, supportive, sensitive, caring, artistic, intelligent, charming, engaging, endearing, talkative, expressive, sentimental, sophisticated, graceful, sometimes quiet and introspective, persevering, surviving, sassy southern girl.

Friday, July 4, 2008