A new mom dives into parenthood. Will our heroine survive?

Friday, December 28, 2007

My Frugal Christmas Gifts

Christmas has come and gone, but my frugal memories remain! One of my frugal gifts this year was instead of buying expensive gifts for my brothers and father I made them dinner! The cost of the food was much less than purchasing gifts and I was able to give them something they appreciated much more! My brother especially has begun making his own money and therefore purchasing what he wants when he wants it. So making him a home-cooked meal was probably a better gift than anything I could have afforded to buy him. I made a somewhat fancy dinner for my gift to them, but spaghetti would have sufficed if I'd been on a tighter budget! So next time you need to come up with a nice gift, try giving the gift of time spent in the kitchen! Click for my Christmas dinner post. And for frugal tips visit http://www.biblicalwomanhood.com/

Thursday, December 27, 2007

My first Christmas dinner party

Last night I hosted my first ever family Christmas dinner. My mother recently got me a book called "The One Armed Cook" and its great! It describes, in detail, a timeline for creating a delicious Holiday feast. Most of the menu is cooked and frozen ahead of time, defrosted the day before, and reheated in the oven just in time for guests. Since the author's menu was for 12, and we had 6, I only made a few of the things on her menu. I chose to do an Asian theme: Orange-Glazed Carrots, Curry Chicken w/ Coconut, Asian Noodle Rice, and a soup appetizer of Curried Squash Soup. The food was great and I thought it livened things up a bit to serve a non-traditional menu.

While this wasn't my first time having people over for fun and serving dinner, it was my first experience with "entertaining" in the formal sense. Not that it was all that formal, but I did break out the nice china, and set the table in a traditional style - complete with a centerpiece! I also received some beautiful warming/baking dishes from my brother for Christmas that match my china so I used those to display the food.

The evening went very well and I learned something important about myself. I never thought I would be good at party hosting, or even cooking for that matter! But since becoming a homemaker, I've been trying different things around the house and learning what tastes good in which dishes and I think I've actually gotten somewhat decent at it! Hurray for me!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas!

Enjoy the wonderful holiday!

Friday, December 21, 2007

I'm back!

After spilling sweet tea in my laptop two weeks ago (is that a southern thing to do or WHAT?!), I am officially back! Thank you hubby for my wonderful new Christmas present!


Frugal Friday, Overspending at Christmas.

Most of us really over do it around the holidays - we cook too much, we eat too much, and we SHOP too much! Stastically speaking, consumers not only buy presents around the holidays each year, but we also consume more ourselves! Have you been a part of this phenomenon? I know I have!

Yesterday we went to the mall to finish our Christmas shopping, but we did more than just that. We had lunch for $11, (which we wouldn't usually do), I got a haircut and purchased the suggested styling product for $18, (which I NEVER do), and I actually almost bought something because it was on sale even though I KNEW I didn't need it! Luckily they did not have the size I was looking for or I would have overspent there as well!

I'm not really sure why this overspending phenomenon occurs. I imagine it has something to do with all that generosity you're bestowing upon your loved ones and so that little voice in your head says, HEY! I deserve something too! Or maybe its all the sales and you just literally get sucked in! I guess its the one time of year many people allow themselves to splurge (As we did yesterday).

But if you're trying to live within your budget, as we are, its important to find that healthy balance between splurging and being frugal. You don't want to be a scrooge and not enjoy the holidays, but you also don't want to over do it and land yourself in debt. So be careful out there! Think about your purchase before you ring it up. Do you really need it? If not, is it something you really truly want? I like to put the thing I want back down and continue shopping. If I can't stop thinking about how much I love it, and if its a worth a trip back to its location then I allow myself to indulge. But if I forget about it, or its not worth a drive back to the store, then I know I really can do without.

Happy Shopping!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

More blogging on the way!

Hi everyone! Just wanted to update you all on my computer status - Hopefully we will have it by next Wednesday and then I can get back to blogging! (I've been borrowing computer time from family) Happy Thursday!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

The Good, The Bad, and The Laptop...

Saturday Evening, 7pm: I was drinking a huge cup of delicious sweet tea, while working on the computer. I found a bunch of really cute clothes at a yard sale, and was in the process of posting the images on Ebay to see if I could re-sell them. I was really focused on what I was doing and while reaching for the sweet tea I fumbled! It went everywhere, and by everywhere I mean INTO my laptop. My first reaction was to say "crap!" and grab the cup before it could dump anymore tea onto my most important piece of technological equipment.

A voice comes in from the living room, "What?"- I respond, "I spilled tea in my laptop!"

Lay it down flat and put a towel under it!

You mean like this?

No - not an angle! You're draining all the liquid into the hard drive!

Well if you would stop talking maybe I could concentrate!

Your laptop is DONE!

Noooooooooooooooo!!!!!!

We patiently and calmly waited it out overnight, giving my loyal companion plenty of time to air out. This morning I pressed power - and nothing happened. I plugged it in - was it the battery??? Nope - its gone!!

My computer has finally bit the dust after 3 loyal years of companship. I'm not sure if that is a long lifespan for a computer or not - but I'm honestly surprised that this particular computer has lasted this long.

I recieved this computer in 2004 when I started working as a traveling marketing person. This laptop has been to 42 states, and probably 100 different airports. It went from being packed tenderly into a laptop bag and stored underneath the seat in front of me, to being shoved into a suitcase and thrown into the overhead bins. The hard drive has failed twice and one of the pixels was burned out. And the kicker - I had no "M" or "B" button. The cat knocked the M off and the B came off while I was typing. I've been triggering those letters by digging a fingernail into the empty button space for 6 months. But I'm a frugalizer so I've been making do and hoping it would last a little longer with each passing day that it was still around!

So what's the good news in this story? I'm getting a new laptop!! Oh yeah! I'm so so so excited I can hardly wait! And I have to wait for Christmas! Thank you hubby for such a great Christmas present. And just so I'm giving credit where its due - Hubby informed me this morning that he was already going to get me a computer for Christmas anyway - its just not going to be a surprise anymore. What a sweetie! And thanks for letting me use your yucky PowerBook in the meantime hubby. :)

Happy Monday everyone!

Friday, December 7, 2007

Frugal Friday - Use less gasoline

Around here, as in most parts of the country, gas as has become outrageously priced. I long for the days only 10 years ago when I got my first car and could FILL IT UP for about 12 dollars. Boy those were the days. It now costs more than $30. Unfortunately the people who put the dollar signs on our oil know that we have to have it, and therefor they can charge us up the whazooooo and we'll still pay. I believe that it is possible however, to make the price come down a bit.

The problem is that to do this, we all have to make some sacrifices. We have got to stop consuming so much energy. I am probably a hypocrite for even writing this, because today I'm taking a two hour drive each way to visit some friends of mine in my old town - I miss them and I'm going! But I do need to stop driving so much. If I complain about gas prices being high, I have myself to partly blame. Because its a known fact that if you're willing to pay the higher price for something, then big companies are going to charge the higher price.

It might be hard, but we can all make tiny sacrifices to help ease our pocketbook strain during this time. Try consolidating your shopping trips into one big trip. Or postponing a visit until its on the way to another place you need to go. It's not only good for stretching your dollar, its good for the environment!

Check back next Friday for a piece on Helping others during the Holidays. For more frugal tips visit BiblicalWomanhood.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Z-Pak is my favorite friend.

I started coming down with a sore throat last Friday and it, or course, got progressively worse and worse until Tuesday I was completely out of commission. I normally wouldn't go to the doctor unless things were really dire, but now that we have a Goose in the house, I felt I ought to take better care of myself in case he gets it too. Doc prescribed me a Z-Pak and let me tell you - I feel SO SO SO much better today. I plan to be completely back in the game in time for Frugal Friday. Have a great Thursday everyone!!

Monday, December 3, 2007

Menu Plan Monday

This week I am apparently using a lot of chicken. They have been recalling a lot of ground beef in our area and now I'm scared to buy it!! I found a great deal on chicken at BJ's, so now every night is chicken night at our house!! :)

Monday - Caesar Salad

Tuesday - Ginger Sesame Chicken

Wednesday - Spaghetti

Thursday - Baked Chicken and Rice

Friday - Cream Cheese Chicken Pockets

Saturday - Leftovers...yummy

For more menu planning fun, please visit OrgJunkie.

Where we buy our milk.

At Wal-Mart this past weekend I saw a gallon of Maola Milk for $6.12. WHAT!? Since when is milk twice as expensive as gas? It is for this reason I wanted to do a quick post about where we buy our milk, and that place is BJ's Membership Warehouse.

When we moved three months ago, I wanted to investigate the savings to be had at members-only stores, so we headed over to BJ's. As we walked around I noticed some prices that were slightly better and others that were slight worse. But then we saw the milk price - $3.14. In our part of the country that is the cheapest milk I've seen.

I calculated the savings of purchasing our milk here for one year and it outweighed the cost of our $45.00 annual membership. So now we buy all our milk from BJ's. They have raised their prices but only to $3.31, and actually this past weekend they were down by 10 cents to $3.21.

If you have any other milk purchasing advice, please let us know in the comments!