Thursday, July 25, 2013

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You can now keep up with our big, busy family more easily and more for MamaInMD on Instagram!!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Preparing to Go Shopping

Shopping...some love it, some loathe it, but it shopping is something that every mom has to deal with.  And, just like any other chore-if you have to do it, you may as well figure out how to do it well and how to enjoy it.

For me, planning is extremely important in making shopping, especially food shopping, enjoyable.  Regardless of what day I will be going shopping, I like to start preparing on Sunday afternoon.  That is a time when my husband is available to help with the children so that I can focus.  Below I will list my routine for planning out my shopping trip.

~"Shop my pantry/fridge/freezer" I look to see what I already have on hand to make meals for the next week.  I also check on my "staples" and begin to make my list.  At this point, I am just jotting things down on paper.  I will write things like how much milk, eggs, cheese, bead, flour, sugar, oil, etc., as well as little notes like "side dish for with chicken", "two breakfasts", "don't forget church picnic" and so on to base my list on.

~Next I make a huge mess of my kitchen table.  I spread out my coupons separated into categories, my meal planning calendar, notebook, laptop with tabs for other stores whose sales I want to check that aren't in the newspaper, paperclips, and sale flyers.

~Once I'm all set up, I go through each flyer and circle the items I am interested in or that I have coupons for.  I may change going through all of them, though, because I usually only end up actually shopping at one store with coupons and then going to one or more discount stores to fill in the gaps.

~At this point, I begin to make a list of what items I am going to buy on sale or using coupons, as well as how much the item will cost.  I also separate it into stores.  Be careful to ask your hubby and kids if there is anything they can think that is needed from the store.  Often times, they will remember things that slip our minds.

~Finally, I type out my list.  I make a note at the top of how much I want to spend in each category.  Then beside each item, I list approximately how much it will cost.  This way I can easily delete items if I go over budget.  If I am under budget at the end, I make a note of that, too, and how much I have left over in case I find a really great deal.

~By the time all of this is done, my husband is usually REALLY ready to have my help again.  So I leave my list in my purse, clipped to my coupons, for when I get to go shopping.  I try to go once a week in an evening so that I can go with just the baby.  It makes the trip a lot easier and I am less likely to forget something or to get talked in to buying extras and counts as my alone time for the week, too.  Another upside to shopping alone is that I can always be on the look-out for birthday and Christmas presents to put away ahead of time!

I have several rules for myself as to how I shop.  How much to keep on hand, how to use coupons, etc., which I hope to share soon.  Tomorrow, I will share how my shopping trip went today and give you a glimpse into how I shop for our family.  Stay Tuned!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

The Freeze Days Three and Four

Yesterday was fairly least until evening.  I spent the day catching up on laundry.  Hubby worked late and was planning on being home around 9:30.  At 9:21 I got a call that his dump truck had an air leak and didn't have brakes, so I loaded up Elizabeth, Aaron, Emma, and Caleb to go pick Daniel and Alex up in Frostburg, 40 minutes away.  We made pretty good time and were home by 10:45, but it was definitely a long night.

This morning, we all loaded back up to take Dan back to the truck so he could fix it and continue on to Martinsburg to drop his load of coal.  Afterward, I took the kids to lunch and filled up the gas tank again-business expenses.  Then did a little bit of grocery shopping.  I never realized how difficult a spending freeze would be for me.  My life is really chaotic and things change minute by minute.  I can never count on things going smoothly or being able to stay at home from day to day.  Because of this I am ending our spending freeze early.  Stay tuned next week, though as I share how we manage our money with a large family.  On Monday, I will share how I prepare to do my weekly shopping.  Back to today...

Our first stop was a discount grocery store, then Martins.  Here is what I got, minus the cold/frozen items that were already put away.

3 lbs elbow macaroni $1.69
2 Pepperidge Farms goldfish shaped bread $1.29 each (2.78)
2 boxes Hungry Jack cheddar and bacon potatoes $.99 each (1.98)
Krusteaz orange cranberry muffin mix 1.29
Pink cupcake sprinkles $.99
McCormick's GrillMates Montreal Chicken seasoning $1.39
4 pack Mt.Olive portable pickles (for our picnics) $.99
Pillsbury sugar free vanilla icing $.89
3 Del Monte pineapple tidbits $.69 each (2.07)
Gatorade mix (makes 8 quarts) $1.99
1 Gallon Milk $3.45
Vinegar $2.29
5 Tony's Pizzas (have coupons for free game of bowling on each one) $10

Total spent in groceries $31.80

I also stopped in at Kids Korner.  Aaron put on shoes that were too small this morning and when he took them off in the car, we couldn't get them back on him.  So he went into Kids Korner in socks.  There I bought him a pair of flip-flops ($1.50) and 4 shirts for Emma ($1.50 each).

( Flip-flops not shown because they have already been left on the ground by the swing set!)

Friday, May 3, 2013

The Freeze Day Two

Yesterday, we started our day off like normal.  Breakfast, school, etc.  Once those were done, we headed 2 miles down the road to walk at the C&O Canal followed by a picnic.  Free fun!  Yay!

 Then we went to town to do our shopping for Sunday.  I had all the ingredients already for the baked goods I am making for church, but needed to pick up some fruit and drinks as well as lettuce, tomatoes, and charcoal for the picnic we plan to have with my parents afterward.  Unfortunately, I also had to stop and put some gas in the van.  It may not seem like we're doing very well with this spending freeze, but remember that the point of this was to eliminate unnecessary spending for a little while.

So, yesterday I bought....

1/2 gallon chocolate milk
1/2 gallon apple cider
5 tomatoes
head of lettuce
bag of charcoal
can of chocolate icing
for a total of $18.48
and spent $30.09 in gas
So my total spending to date is $52.32

I also rented a movie from RedBox while in town with a free promo code on hubby's box of Dr.Pepper.  So we were able to eat dinner in the living room and enjoy the movie last night, too!  :-)

Thursday, May 2, 2013

The Freeze Day One

So, yesterday was day one of our spending freeze and we almost failed before it even started!  At almost 10:00 pm on Tuesday, the nose pad broke off my glasses.  I cannot see anything without them and we didn't have any on hand, so off went my wonderful husband to save the day (or night :-)) and finally found them at Wal-Mart 45 minutes away.  He made it back home at 5 minutes til Midnight....not yet technically day one!  He then got up at 5 am to head off to work needless to say, he was tired last evening!

We did end up spending a little money, though.  We had to take trash to the dump.  We love going to the dump, because you never know what you might find!  This is what we brought home yesterday...

The chairs, not the children :-)

So, our total spent during the freeze so far is $3.75

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Join Me for a Modified Spending Freeze

I have often read accounts of others who have "frozen" their spending for a set amount of time and thought it was a fantastic idea.  Then, I would think over what was coming up in the next week, month, whatever and decide that I couldn't do it and give up entirely.  Starting tomorrow, I am instituting a modified spending freeze.

We will still spend money, with the goal being to eliminate non-necessary spending.

~We will still buy groceries once per week.  I have always done pretty well staying within a budget, but I am trying to change my mindset from looking at a paycheck and dividing it up and then trying to stay within the maximum amount I have to spend to looking at a paycheck and trying to spend as little as possible.  So, we will be eating from out pantry and freezers for most of the next few instead of meal-planning and then shopping.  That shouldn't be too hard as they are well-stocked.  We will still shop to fill in the gaps (fresh items, items needed to round out meals) with an eye toward doing it as cheaply as possible.  Also, items like toilet paper, laundry soap (when my homemade runs out), baby wipes, etc. will be purchased as cheaply as possible on an as-needed basis.

~We will still buy gas.  We travel 60 miles each direction for church and have several doctor/dentist appointments coming up, so we will still have to purchase gas for those as well as the already-planned things in our calendars.  That brings me to my next point.

~We will still spend money on the "big things" that we already have planned.  Dan and I are going to Harrisburg on May 10th and 11th for a home school convention and we will need to spend money while we are there.  I am in charge of refreshments for church this week and will purchase items for that.  If we decide to keep doing this freeze through the end of May, we have some things already planned during that time, as well.

~We will take it one week at a time.  For now, this spending freeze will run until we leave for the home school convention.  If we are both still okay with it, we will definitely continue beyond that.

~Daniel can override this freeze at any time as the head of our home.

So, what do you think?  Will you join us?  Let me know in the comments and I'll update on Day 1 tomorrow!

And now for a picture of our newest little one since I have let this blog go for so long....

Caleb Daniel Leonard~January 15, 2013  :-)

Saturday, August 25, 2012

So Tiny~17.5 Weeks Ultrasound Pics

We had our ultrasound yesterday and I am constantly amazed at the technology.  How can they get pictures of so many different things when Baby is so little?  He/She weighed in at a whopping 7 ounces and it's femur measured only 2.5 cm long and yet it is perfectly formed!  In case you are wondering, we do know what we are having...we just aren't ready to share that information.