Friday, November 30, 2012

Money Challenges

So around Halloween I sat down with the boys and we made a Christmas list. I then priced out everything and I was determined to get everything below cost. So with coupons and deals and eBay I have been working on killing that list. So far I have not paid full price for anything.

For Ethan I said I have budgeted 20 dollars for ds games. I told Ethan I could go and get one game OR I could do eBay and so far I have gotten 2 games for 15 dollars, including shipping. Ethan knowing I have 5 dollars left to spend put a few games in my Amazon List. Trying to show him how to stretch a dollar. Although if Grandma doesn't get that ds, we are up a creek.

I am nearly done shopping. YEAH.

We set up Christmas this week. I am almost done with that tree skirt I started last year!

Cole finished another book. This is just busy work for him. I have all of these books I picked up for really cheap. And since he is the last we need to use up the books.

So after Christmas, hubby and I are going to challenge ourselves like no other. It will be a challenge that may break us, but if we come out the other end things will be much brighter. Now I'm home 6 days a week. Saving us a ton of gas, that gas money is now going towards gifts and such. But after Christmas, I have the next two months sketched out. We will be paying down our Mortgage. If we can make it to the end of Feb. We will be at the 124,000 mark. After Feb, if I can find 80 a week, we will be at 120,000 at the end of the year. Then make a plan from there. Our goal is to get our Mortgage down enough to drop Mortgage Insurance so we really can afford the payment. But of course the more we work on the house the better off we will be.

Our Emergency Fund is getting there. Next year we stop growing that and start working on Retirement. We are so lacking there. Our van will be paid off with our tax return and the rest put into savings to help us live for the rest of the year. 

We have spoken to the kids, explaining we are not only going to be tight, but super tight. Don't' ask for a thing. Money is tight, really tight.

Speaking of which I have found we get the Suze Orman show on cnbc or some money channel like that. Ethan and I watch it every Saturday. Last week it was like a light bulb turned on with him. Most of his allowance went right into savings, he made a new goal and he really wants to save. We also chatted and made a deal. He has been wanting a remote control car, OK wait first. So he has been waiting a remote control helicopter, I found one at goodwill for four dollars. I bought it and I used it to show him how cheap this type of stuff is. In the end we have come to the conclusion it's not even worth the four dollars we paid for it let alone the 40 it's going for in stores. So he has changed his mind and wants a remote control car. I wasn't liking anything at toys r us or such. I saw one at Costco I really liked. So we chatted, if he would to give me 20 would I cover the rest for Christmas...Someone is learning. So tonight under the tree is this big ole car, that he can't have until Christmas. But he is one very happy boy.

So after the first of the year we will set down this road and hope we can survive it. I will do updates later as we get started.

COTM: Gluten Free Chocolate Sunbutter Filled Cupcakes

So this was a request. And boy was it fun to do. The chocolate cupcakes are dreamy. These got 6 thumbs up and were gone by the end of the night.

Gluten Free Sunbutter Filled Cupcakes
By Marcie Dingerson

3/4 cup coconut milk mixed with apple cider vinegar set aside
Flax Egg set aside

Mix Dry Ingredients Set aside.

3/4 cup Brown Rice Flour
3/4 cup Tapioca Flour
1 cup Brown Sugar
1/2 cup cocoa
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt

Mix together

Coconut milk
Flax Egg
3 tablespoons oil

Mix add in Dry, ix well. Bake at 350 for 21 minutes. Let cool, remove a hole in the bottom for sunbutter filling. Spoon in filling top with reminder of cake. Top with powdered sugar.

Sunbutter Filling

1/4 cup sunbutter
2 tablespoons agave (or brown rice syrup)

Being Cheap

So you know it's a sad day, when you can't afford to go to Goodwill and get your child new pants. Because SOMEONE won't stop growing! So to buy me a few weeks I added Monkey pockets to the back of his pants. Now he has a custom pair of pants and I have bought us time until we can afford goodwill. 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


Well Life, funny how life goes some days. Ethan finished off another math book and was rewarded with some Art supplies. So he is a very happy boy, and I'm happy he finished the book without me nagging.

The only thing that has been on my mind lately is Money. Anyone else. I know we are doing better then last year, no more ending week after week in the hole. Now there are some weeks we have 3 dollars left. Party!

Last year as we were digging deeper and deeper into the hole, you look at your budget and you are asking yourself where does all the money go? Well a big chunk went to gas, and school supplies, There always seem to be something going on at school. So we cut school and I only leave the house once a week. Cutting my gas from 125 plus a week to 20 dollars. Sometimes that 20 can last two weeks. But on the flip side I'm HOME ALL THE TIME. Which has been OK, but since being home, a lot of de-clutting and you quickly realize how small your house really is.

But on the flip side of that we are no longer going into the hole every week. We are able to send extra money to Mortgage, we are able to buy books if the kids want something. Our van loan will be paid off soon turning all our focus to our Mortgage next year. But right now I'm focused on Christmas and getting a few things a week so it doesn't stress me out much. I am able to coupon and look for deals and have yet to pay full price for anything.

But my mind always seems to be on the budget. I use a system where we only have so much money for gas, and food and such and once it's gone it's gone. Any extra at the end of the week is split between savings (well lack of) and the van. It's been tough, we can't just pick up and run errands or go to the library. But yet the boys like being home so that has been a plus.

Next Spring a lot of my focus will be the garden so I can cut our food budget even more. I will hit Mortgage goals next year. My end goal is to pay it down to a point we can do one final re-fi and have payments we really can afford. Instead of having it take up nearly 3 paychecks.

We finally have some emergency money saved. I have a fear if hubby looses his job what will we do? Well we have two months. No real retirement. So I need to work on that next year also. His work retirement has climbed since I took over that after we got married. Well he wasn't adding anything. But it's not enough and at the rate it's going it won't be enough. But yet if we cut our Mortgage we won't need a big retirement, but I would like to be ok. So a lot on my mind with money.

As I'm able to now, I have been buying seeds, and my herb garden next year should be something. I have been out clearing the area where the new herb garden will be going and I should have well over 100 herbs. So stay tuned for that. If you buy seeds and herbs now, no one bids against you on Ebay. I have saved many of my seeds from last year and I can probably grow enough squash for my small town.

Since I have some down time, I have been working on the family tree. I have my family traced clear back to the King of England, but there is a new branch and they came over on the Mayflower. To read some of the stories has been amazing and printing as fast as I can in case I can never find this info again. Come spring we have a trip planned to go and see some family and learn more, we may stop mid-way where some family is buried and check out their graves and see all I can learn. But a fun project to into-mix the kids with.

This is the Fruit Punch Mint I bought off Ebay. It just bloomed. Could you see some Fruit Punch Simple Syrup to mix with the Chocolate Pops?

So life is slow and steady. Thanksgiving is coming and I'm doing a big meal here for us. Just us. Won't be going to my mother's house at a camp ground. I won't deal with her drunk. So utterly done. Kids are looking forward to it. So we shall see? 

Playful Tuesday: Tomato Powder

I make Tomato Powder. I adore my powder, this is the second year I have done this. I just cut a tomato, put them on the dehydrator, and powder in the Blend Tec, you can use a coffee grinder. I use the powder in many, many, many things. From Taco's, so my Mock Mrs. Dash. It's something fun to play with in the kitchen.

Go and Play!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Garden News

Well that should be Green House News? I have to say my Lemon Balm is very fertile. From the mom I got many, many babies. I went and moved these babies about a month ago and they did ok. About a week later I went out to cover the bed and found more babies. Those babies were pulled and put into pots and put into the green house. Well two out of the five died. But in dying they had babies. These are their babies. It's hard to see the baby in the first photo so I took another but it came out blured. The third one is a baby that was born about a week ago. They are really teeny tiny.

Then I have this tomato. I don't know how or why this happened. But it just grow and grow and grow and it's actually still growing. It has weave it's way through the ladder and shelves there. It has produced a few cherry tomatoes.

It has just grown.

In other news I have LOTS of new herbs coming...Stay tuned for those come next Spring and Summer.


So Friday afternoon Ethan curled up with me and finished off his Math Book. Bye Bye Saxon 3 Part 1.

Why? Because he had this waiting. He picked it out at a sale we went to. But he had to finish off his book to receive it.

Do you notice the bunny? oops, this is our blind bunny, we nearly lost him awhile back as he was outside in a cage and couldn't find his food or water. We found him on his death bed. Nursed him back to health. And he has been in the cage ever since. After the kids go to bed, he will jump out of his cage and run around the house. There have been a few times I've had to rescue him.