Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Caleb's Second Birthday

It's hard to believe that sweet Caleb is two years old.  I remember being pretty scared when I found out I was pregnant with him and then we had all kinds of little complications with his pregnancy and I fell madly in love with him before he was even born.

And now, he is a rambunctious two year old.

He loves being outside, though lately he hasn't gotten to spend too much time outdoors.  So, his little at home family birthday party has a picnic-y feel to it.

Please excuse my poor hubby trying to escape the picture.  He didn't move quite quickly enough!

This is just our family, plus my mom and dad and yet it's party a plenty!  That's one of the great things about having a big don't need anyone extra to have a party.

Caleb loved opening his gifts and is shown above with the cool backpack that Grammy and Grampy gave him.  It has a sleeping bag, flashlight, and water bottle.  We gave him...

A shirt with a dump truck on it (Target) $6
A truck board book (Target) $9
If I Built a Car book (from the mail) $0
Two Melissa and Doug wooden trucks (Goodwill) $4
A Cars Backpack and Cars Baseball Cap (Sears) $3
A felt campfire (Handmade) $0

For a total of $22

(Can you tell that trucks are his main interest right now?)

Food was very basic...hotdogs, hamburgers, deviled eggs, fruit skewers and dip, salad, a sugar free trifle for the adults, and dirt dessert for the kids.

I tend to be one of "those moms" who loves to go overboard on birthday parties, but since Caleb slept through a big part of this party I am perfectly satisfied with this simple affair.  How do you celebrate birthdays in your family?

No Spend Challenge Days 12-27

Really the last couple of weeks have been such dismal financial failures that I am ashamed to share them, but I am determined to do better and I am willing to be honest if it helps that to happen...

We planned a trip to Pittsburgh with my sister-in-law, brother-in-law, and two nephews to BounceU as a late Christmas excursion instead of exchanging gifts.  That trip cost us a total of $117.06 (not including the $100 reservation we paid in December).

I'm pretty sure they had fun (and yes, my husband is just a big kid ;-)) so it was worth it.

We also had a birthday (more about that in another post) which cost us $50 including decorations, food, and gifts during this time.  Again, totally worth it.

We went out to eat once and ordered food for pick up once.  This was totally beyond what I wanted to spend, and yet life happens and I'm thankful that work for Dan has picked up enough that we are able to do these things without it causing major strain on the budget.  For those two meals including tip, the total was $96.33.  Eating out with a big family is definitely expensive!

Groceries for January 12-27 totaled $383.44 (and I expect to spend approximately $150 in the coming few days).

Gas cost us $57.15.  Have I mentioned how much I love cheaper gas??!!

We spent $4.23 in home repairs, $8.68 on educational books, and $55.13 on clothing. One thing I am always looking for when we go to thrift store is skirts for my girls because it's hard to find long enough ones to meet our modesty standards and although I can sew them, it frees up my time if I don't have to.  I was excited to find two skirts for Elizabeth at Goodwill in Romney for $5 total.

The other major purchase was ALERT advancement and yearly fees which cost us $158.

So...all totaled we spent $880.02 on items which we have control over (not our tithe or our bills).  I am hoping to get back on track in the coming weeks, for sure, but I am super thankful that this money was there and none of this was enough to keep me up at night!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

90 Day No Spend Challenge Days 1-11

This update will cover January 1-11 because I organize our money saying a week is Monday through Sunday so that weekends are all counted on one week.

We have spent $72.37 on gas (under budget)

Groceries have cost us $66.84.  The only problem is that $11.97 of that was frozen pizzas because I got lazy one night.

We spend $4.24 on two gifts for Caleb's upcoming second birthday.

While in a thrift store, I spent $7 on four books, a glass 9x13 pan, and a purse, As well as $4 on a nightgown for Elizabeth and a sleeper for Evie.

All totaled for a week and a half we spent (in addition to bills)...


I'm okay with that number because it includes groceries and gas.  I will say that this will number is much smaller than next week's number will be.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

No Spend 90 Challenge

Daniel and I have a lot of big decisions to make in the coming month and very limited income at the moment.  So, we are challenging ourselves to a financial "fast"as we pray over our current circumstances.

The idea is simple.  For 90 days, we will only spend money on necessary things.  For us, necessary means...

                      1. We will still pay all of our bills, but we've already cut back my cell phone plan and Dan's will be cut back before the end of week one.

                      2.  We will purchase modest, simple groceries to complete "pantry/freezer" meals.

                      3.  We will put gas in Bertha (our 12 passenger van).  Since our church is 65 miles from home and we go to church on Sundays and homeschool group every two weeks, this adds up.  To combat this, we will combine trips as much as possible.  While I would like to only drive when attending those two things, that's not realistic, as we also have other appointments.

                      4.  We don't plan to purchase any clothing because it seems we have everything we need, but something may come up.

                      5. While we aren't planning on spending any money on car repairs or home repairs, we live in the real world and things come up.  We'll deal with those things as they happen.

                      6.  We will not put anything on credit, regardless of the bleakness of our current circumstances.

There will be a couple of planned-for expenses.  We will be doing a fun day trip with family and celebrating 5 birthdays during this time.  We began this challenge on January 1st and our last day will be March 31st.  I plan on updating each Monday as time allows. :-)

Tuesday, December 30, 2014


I often think of things I would like to share here, but it seems my time is so limited these days with little ones to care for and school, business paperwork to keep up with, homemaking and housekeeping.  But I am making it a goal this year to blog more regularly and share as we muddle through what God is calling us to.  I hope to see you here more often!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Follow Me On Instagram!

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!