Friday, February 27, 2009

Cool Internet Finds

I have been diligently cruising the internet looking for sites to print grocery coupons and freebies.

Here is a site that I just found for freebies for your birthday...

You can google "free grocery coupons" and all kinds of sites come up. I have also gone on websites of companies that I buy their products regularly and signed up for their newsletters and gotten free coupons. Proctor and Gamble, Hunts Ketchup, Dove, Suave, Horizon Organics, Del Monte vegies, etc.

One caution about taking these coupons to Kroger (at least my Kroger), they will only accept 1 internet coupon per item can't buy 2 cans of vegies and use 2 internet coupons...only 1 per shopping trip. And they will double coupons up to 60 cents. I have found some Cottonelle toilet tissue coupons for .50 and Kroger regularly has the 4 pack for .99. So the t. paper is free when all is said and done...I am giving these to the boys for the trailer. As long as I can find the coupons, they will get free toilet paper.

You can also go on the Kroger website and register your shoppers card and get coupons directly downloaded to your card. Quite by accident, I found out that you can use the coupon on your card AND a paper coupon for the same item. That makes this stuff really cheap!!!!!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

He is 20!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

My, my, how time flies when you are having fun. My 2nd born son is 20 years old. He came into this world amid much excitement and fear (emergency c section) and it has been like that for 20 years. Allen is Mr. Invincible, he has great car cleaning skills, he likes to dye his hair and spike it with hair gel, he has an awesome work ethic, and he is very, very independent. He is a super waiter at Cheddars. Life is not dull with Allen around.

Birthday Traditions for our Family...

1. This would be the birthday hat...everyone has to wear the designated hat when they open gifts. This year it is Greg's official Cheese Head hat from Green Bay, Wisconsin or as Greg would say "The frozen tundra". When we were in Wisconsin last year, we drove an hour from where we were staying to Green Bay to purchase this official, lovely, orange, rubber hat.

2. We have a birthday candle that is lit for every birthday. Given the size of our family and the future potential for spouses and grandchildren, our candle is a big, 3 wick candle. This tradition was started by my Mom and Dad many years ago. Our candle was a gold taper and is about 2 inches tall gets lit and we have to blow quick. But that candle has been around since before grandchildren (the oldest is 25). Actually, since its harvest gold, it may be from the 70's.

3. The birthday person picks the dinner and dessert for the day. Allen's choice was grilled hamburgers, french fries, baked beans and homemade oreo ice cream. For some odd reason, he thought he should be able to stick his face in the dish of ice cream...kind of reminiscent of his first birthday...but he didn't.

4. This doesn't apply to him anymore but the birthday kid doesn't have to do schoolwork on their birthday!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! If it falls on a weekend, they get Monday off. Of course, we all benefit when it is my birthday cause we all get the day off! Ah, the joys of homeschooling!

Happy Birthday Al Pal!!!!!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Spring...coming and going

Spring is here and then it isn't and then it is and then its gone again. This weather is going to have everyone sick.

Amy had to go to the dr. for her crud and wound up with 3 prescriptions. I think she is doing a little bit better now. She missed ballet, youth group, science co-op and sunday school this week. I wasn't really too worried about her spreading her germs as everyone else sharing with her and her weakened immune system. And truthfully, her cough sounds awful.

We had a low key weekend and stayed home. Greg got the kitchen counters completely finished and he taught our Sunday School class this morning, which I missed cause I was home with Amy. We have also started walking and took a long walk on Saturday.

We have 2 birthdays to celebrate this week...Allen will be 20 on Monday the 23rd. He won't be a teenager anymore! And Miss Katie will be 16 on Saturday the 28th. Yikes, they are all getting old. They both picked their birthday dinners for me to fix...Al wants grilled hamburgers, baked beans,and french fries. Katie wants tossed salad with popcorn chicken. Easy, easy, easy.

Will did his first archery class on Friday. I took lots of pictures but they are still on the camera. He did pretty well for the first time. There are about 6 or 7 boys in the class and 2 leaders.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Signs of Spring

Signs of Spring in Mississippi...

Daffodils, Tulip Poplar, Dogwood, camelias and dandelions are blooming!

Weeds are growing and blooming profusely in the yards we pass on our walks! Lots and lots of weeds (we could consider it ground cover, this explanation works for me in July and August when its 100+ outside).

Greg can ride in his convertible with the top down.

Local guys are setting up their stands to sell honey! Yummy! We use honey to make bread and muffins and local honey is supposed to be good for allergy symptoms.

The kids can jump on their trampoline!

We are nearing the end of some of our school books. Since we school year round, that means we will be buying new books for some subjects soon.

The funky weather means that its warm for a couple of days and then cools off again...right now we are in the warm days and under thunderstorm warnings.

The crud is going around through church, dance and the homeschool group. Katie and Amy both got it. Katie's is on the way out the door and Amy's is holding on and causing misery.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Update on detergent and moving

OK, here is an update on the homemade laundry detergent. I took the cost of making the detergent (.76) and divided it by how many loads we have done so far...36, so that makes the cost .0217 per load. Thats all of our household laundry plus the dirties that James, Allen and Andy have washed here. And the bucket is still half full. The boys are notorious for leaving change in their pockets and washing it, sometimes they remember to get it and sometimes they don't. I have told them all that if it is left, I consider it my tip for providing the washer, dryer, water, detergent, etc. Last week Allen left about $1.75 in quarters, dimes and pennies...its mine now! So that really makes the cost of the detergent $0 and I made money on the deal! As Rob would say...SWEET!!!!!
I do return paper money, but that doesn't get washed real often.

The boys have been moving this weekend. Andy went and got his belongings from college and moved into James' spare bedroom at his trailer. Then Allen decided he would move down there too and take the living room. So the 3 of them are now living about 30 minutes away from our home. Since we own the trailer, the rent is very reasonable...ok, its cheap. And splitting the utilities 3 ways makes this a very affordable option for all 3 of them. Hopefully, this will allow each of them to straighten out and get control of their finances and be able to save some money for their future needs. James and Andy are on early morning work schedules and then they get off mid afternoon. Allen goes to work mid afternoon and gets off about midnight.

Time for our Monday sewing class!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Spring Fever

Its official...I've got spring fever. This weekend, the weather was gorgeous. Temps in the 60's and 70's during the day. Friday night, the kiddies were invited to a birthday party complete with a bonfire and lots of pizza. Greg and I went on a date and ate a yummy Steak dinner at O'Charleys. Saturday, Greg and I went to the farm stand in Tiki Town and they got in some blueberry bushes. We bought 3 of them! As we were driving to Lowe's, I saw a guy set up on the side of the road selling honey. So, we stopped and I bought some yummy, local honey. We use honey as the sweetener in our homemade bread, pizza crusts and some of our muffins. Then it was on to Lowe's for soil, cow manure and mulch. We got home and unloaded everything and worked in the front yard. Greg washed his car and the kiddies rode their bikes. Dinner was salad with popcorn chicken on top. I am really ready for my own fresh tomatoes on a salad.

Sunday morning was Sunday School and Church. Lunch was leftovers from all the homecooked dinners last week. We all watched one of Greg's new DVD's he got for his birthday about Stonewall Jackson. Then we all went outside again. Greg got my blueberry bushes planted and the mulch spread. The boys got a stump up that I have wanted removed for about a year. James has been trying to do it by himself and wasn't quite strong enough. With Will, Andy and Allen lending their muscles...its now gone. We ended the afternoon with a fire in our firepit, roasting marshmallows and making somores. Dinner was grilled hot dogs and italian sausages and baked beans. The only thing that would have made this any better was if Rob had been here too! And yes, Amy is already asking when it will be warm enough to swim. She wanted to put her feet in the pool yesterday. But it didn't happen!

Its supposed to be in the 70's this week and start raining later we are going on our walk before doing school!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Field Trip

Today the kids and I went on a field trip to the Nissan Plant in Canton, MS. They don't do alot of tours and ours was scheduled through a friend of a friend deal. This plant has been burned by another "christian" homeschool group and wasn't real thrilled about setting one up for another group. the other group just never showed up for their scheduled tour and never called with any explanations. So, we were up against the reputation of a different group.

We were all there in plenty of time for the tour to start exactly on time (we were all fearful of casting a bad light on all homeschoolers, so we weren't going to be late). Our tour started with 2 short films about the plant and the painting process...they don't let you in the painting area. then we were equipped with safety glasses and headphones and boarded the trams. The tram drivers were great at explaining everything we were seeing and what all the workers were doing. Most of the assembly line workers stopped their jobs and turned and waved to all of us. We waved our way through that huge plant. It really felt like we were in a parade, we just needed candy to toss to the workers!

This plant manufactures 5 different vehicles including the Altima and the Titan Truck. The process from stamped autobody parts to finished vehicle takes about 16 hours. We saw most of the steps being done. One of the most fascinating was watching a cab and a truck bed being joined together.

After the tour, it was back to the meeting room for questions and answers. W had 2 tour group guides and they told us that we were one of the best behaved groups that had come to Nissan. Way to go kids. Our group was about 50 people and the kids were ages 10 - 18.

No pictures because recording devices of any kind were prohibited. And they didn't give any free samples...not even a voucher toward a new car! Does that sound fair? Doesn't good behavior count for anything?

Dr. Adrian Rogers

"You cannot legislate the poor into freedom by
legislating the wealthy out of freedom. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving. The government
cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from
somebody else. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have
to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the
other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else
is going to get what they work for, that my dear friend, is about the end of
any nation.
You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it."

~~~~~ The late Dr. Adrian Rogers, 1931 - 2005 ~~~~~


Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Laundry Detergent

A big expense at our house is laundry detergent. For 3 years we used the Tide HE detergent. Last spring I read in the "Urban Homemaker" catalog about their very concentrated powder detergent and I ordered it. It has actually worked great. I spent $22 for a box of detergent and it lasted for 6 months. That was a huge savings from the Tide. I only had to use a teaspoon per load. And yes, it cleaned the clothes well. Then, I read on different blogs and saw on different tv shows about people making their own detergent. So, last week we gave this a try.

Here is our recipe...

1 bar Ivory soap
1/2 cup Arm & Hammer Washing soda
1/2 cup Borax

Grate soap and put in saucepan. Add 6 cups water and heat till the soap melts. Add the washing soda and borax and stir until dissolved. Remove from heat. Pour 4 cups hot water into a 3-4 gallon bucket. Add soap mixture and stir. Then add 2 additional gallons of water and stir. Let the soap sit for 24 hours to gel. You use 1/2 cup per load.

We have modified this in that we use 1/4 cup per load and it works great.

I got this recipe from

My cost for this batch of laundry detergent is...
.21 borax
.22 washing soda
.33 ivory soap
?? 2 gallons + 10 cups of water

Thats .76 for a big bucket of laundry detergent. We are keeping track of how many loads of laundry we get out of this bucket to figure our cost per load.

I had read on several blogs about getting buckets from bakeries or grocery stores. I asked at Kroger in the bakery and they gave me a bucket that icing came in, for free. It did take 2 trips to Kroger for the bucket, but I am at Kroger once or twice per week so I didn't make a special trip.

The kids enjoyed helping. I took pictures and helped stir. We will do this again! I will be able to get 18 more 1/2 cups of borax and 13 more batches of washing soda from the boxes I bought last week.

E Book Offering from Living on a Dime

Follow the link above to get the Living on a Dime ebook for Valentines for free. She usually has some really neat frugal ideas about everyday life and special occasions.