Saturday, February 28, 2009

Financial Goals Update:February

We have made some progress towards our goals this month! Here is the update for the month of February:

1. Save 3 months living expenses by December 31. We added $80 to the emergency fund this month (not much but something)!!
2. Pay $3,000 towards our "small loan". As of February we have paid off over $2,750!!
3. Make an extra principal payment every month. Since the beginning of the year we have decided to take the Dave Ramsey approach and attack the smallest debt first. With focusing solely on our "small loan" we hope to have it entirely paid off this year and will then focus on principal payments!
4. Keep all Miscellaneous spending (Medicine, Toiletries, Clothing, Gifts, everything but food) under $100 a month. We have spent under $60 on miscellaneous!
5. Sell $500 worth of stuff from around our home by July 31. We sold a guitar, amp & 2 books this month giving us an extra $110 for debt!!

We hope to stay focused on reaching these goals and hopefully the update for March will be just as good!

Tired Puppy

John David filmed another episode of Tennessee FFA Today this morning so we had the 8 state FFA officers and state Youth Consultant here which means major excitement for Mac! He was so excited all morning and played hard with everybody! (He never meets a stranger!) So once everybody left and the excitement died down this is how we found him:



He is on top of my quilt top on the batting and lying across my sewing machine power cord! The camera usually wakes him up but not this time!! Everyone has been gone for 3 hours now and he is still sleeping (although he has changed sleeping spots a few timees!) He is one tired puppy!

Episode 19: Easy Baby Quilt



In this show I am making a really simple, easy to make patchwork baby quilt!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Stuff I've Sold (February)

I have set a goal to sell $500 worth of stuff from around our home in one year beginning August 1, 2008 and ending July 31, 2009!

I haven't sold anything since October, we have not been proactive in getting stuff sold! However we sold 3 things this month and brought in some money to apply towards debt!!

*Baptist Hymnal $3
*Guitar & Amp $100
*The Portable Pep Talk Book $7

Total Sold: $110

Remaining to reach goal: $276.43

So to reach my goal I need to sell $55 worth of stuff each month until July!! That definitely sounds challenging, I will certainly give it a try though!!

Crafting Supplies

I went to Hobby Lobby to pick up fabric for pinwheel quilt squares I will start after I finish the baby quilt I am working on. I already have red gingham & I wanted solid white to go with it! The white fabric was $1.87/yard and I purchased a yard and a half. I also picked up 2 baby bibs so I can cross-stitch them for shower gifts!




I made this sample patch to make sure it went with the quilt squares I already made! They look great together! My original intention when I started the baby blue pinwheels was a baby quilt but I have decided to do the red & blue and make a bigger quilt!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

My Future Garden

We have been talking about our garden for a few weeks now. We still aren't exactly sure where it is going to be but we knew we wanted to raise sweet corn, tomatoes, green beans, and lettuce! I am so excited about getting outside and working in the garden and growing our own food!!

This past weekend we went to the Tennessee FFA Alumni Convention and they had garden seeds for sale and seeds/gardening supplies in the silent auction!


My father-in-law bought me 4 of these tomato pails! They include the potting soil, tomato seeds, tomato labels, and tiny gardening tools! I am so excited about these tomatoes!!



These are the seeds we purchased! We are going to grow:
Onions
Pepper
Cabbage
Lettuce
Broccoli
Green Beans
Sweet Corn
Cantaloupe
Sunflowers


I cannot wait to start growing our garden plants and I will post when we start the seeds!!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Baby Quilt

Last week I was able to take a little time to cut out patches for the baby girl quilt I am working on! I broke the cutting up so it wasn't too much of a job! I now have all the squares cut out so now it's just time to start sewing them together and watch a beautiful quilt take shape!


The 3 different patches on the fabric that will be the backing!


The stack of patches ready for me to start sewing!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Scrap Quilt

Early last week I decided to go through my scrap box and cut out uniform scraps so one day I can make a scrap quilt! It took about 2 hours to cut all of these out and now after I finish up a sewing project whatever scraps I have left will be cut into blocks and stacked with these!


These scraps all remind me of something:

The denim is from jeans that belonged to John David and me.
The red/gold plaid is from our new curtains.
The sunflower print is from the first apron I made.
The green plaid is from a blanket I made my grandma.
The blue is scraps from the couch Kara re-covered!
The farm print is from Jen.
The cream/blue flowers is from our old curtains in our apartment.
The blue/brown/cream checked is from napkins I made.
The baby blue is from my first quilt binding.
The large flower print is from my garden apron!
The blue gingham is from my first quilt & will be in my pinwheel quilt.
The red/blue/cream star print is from my kitchen curtain in my apartment.
The toile is from Kara's couch pillows!

So they are scraps but each of the scraps hold memories that remind me of the places I have lived, people that are close to me, and things I have created in the past. So really my scrap quilt will be somewhat of a memory quilt and I am sure the others patches that will join these will all hold memories for me too!


The patch stack!!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Hanging Curtains...A Family Project

Last Monday we worked on my curtains! I needed John David to help me hang up the rods and I had to measure, cut, and sew them! It turned out everybody had a part, including the dog!

Mac decided to guard the hammer!


John David used the latest technology available to hang the rods!


There is a level application on the iPod touch, how neat is that??


As it turned out all Mac wanted to do was watch John David hang the rods while laying on the curtain fabric!


He just wouldn't budge! Of course it does look comfy & cozy!


John David got both of the rods up and after getting the dog a comfy towel to lay on I was able to work with my fabric! I cut the fabric into 4 equal panels and then sewed up the top and side and hemmed the bottom! I finished sewing them that night and we had them hung up! I don't have photos to share just yet but they are absolutely beautiful curtains and I am so proud that I made them and that the total cost to me was under $50!!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Icky Sickness

I have been sick for almost a week. I started feeling bad Tuesday night and felt bad Wednesday. After church Wednesday I had a temperature of over 100 and had a hard time getting to sleep. Thursday my sore throat kept getting worse and I was coughing more. Early Friday morning we went to a Walk-In clinic and they said I had what is going around here, a sinus infection type thing. I had mucus behind my ear drums and a lot of sinus pressure, the drainage was going down my throat and pulling off tissue causing the awful sore throat. They prescribed me 2 medications and a cough syrup for bedtime. Friday evening around 4:30 I started to feel much better and we even went to an FFA Alumni event, my throat still hurt and my voice was raspy but I felt fine. Saturday morning I woke up at 7:00 and felt great, my voice was still raspy but I felt so much better. I put away dishes, straightened the house, and sewed! But unfortunately yesterday evening I started going downhill and felt awful by bedtime. I was still bad this morning so John David let me sleep instead of going to church (I slept until 11!) Now my nose is stopped up/running (yes it is possible to do both!) my throat is a little sore and I am coughing. Today I have just laid around and taken a nap! I am trying to REST which is hard because I want to cook a good dinner, vacuum the house, blog about my sewing, put everything that is out of place in its proper place but I can't! I am praying that tomorrow I will begin to feel better and that my body will strengthened so I can resume my life, taking care of my husband & my house & blogging!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Wordless Wednesday DH edition.

Posted by the DH
This is the "Simple Life of the Boreings" so I think I am entitled to write on here. Anyway, if I understand correctly this is wordless Wednesday and that is what Rachel has been today. Last night her throat started hurting and when she woke up this morning she didn't feel well at all. She rarely gets sick so I know she really is not felling well. Tonight her temperature is over 100 degrees and has a bad headache. She took some medicine and got in the big comfy recliner to try and sleep. I will take her to the doc if she isn't any better by the morning.

If you would lift a prayer for Rachel's recovery and for me taking care of her. I am reminded how MUCH she does for me and our home when she is sick. She did fix my lunch for tomorrow before going to bed, she is wonderful and now you know for sure that I think so. I hope she will be back to making a regular post very soon, for your sake you better hope she is or you may be stuck with me. Thanks for keeping up with us.

John David

Monday, February 16, 2009

What $100 can buy!

I am a saver! I always have been, as a teenager I saved most of my babysitting money (some of which was used as a down payment on our home!) I have a cash stash from birthday money, Christmas money, & graduation! So, I decided that I was going to spend some to purchase decor for our home and boots! I took $100 cash to town and this is what I came home with!


Fabric (12 yards)....$25.12
Curtain rods....$13.98
Ring clips....$11.98


Once Upon a Wall Letters....$10.20




Solid pink fabric for new baby quilt....$2.81


Black boots....$9.97


Brown boots....$9.97


Purple shirt....$4.97

Grand total: $89 (not including tax) Not too bad for everything I got!!

Here is full price for everything:

Curtain fabric (12 yards) $35.88
Curtain rods $24.00
2 packs Ring Clips $11.98
Pink Fabric $2.81
Once Upon a Wall letters $29.99
Black Boots $100.00
Brown Boots $100.00
Purple Shirt $22.00

Total full price :$326.66

So I "saved" $237.66 which is an almost 72% savings! WOW!!

My total spending was $97.23 with taxes so I still have $2.77 left from my $100! I just love bargain shopping!!

Menu Plan Monday


This week's dinner plan:

Fresh Mushroom & Pepperoni Pizza

Potato Soup

Chicken Enchilada Soup

Hamburger Gravy

Toasted Ham & Cheese Sandwiches

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Valentine's Day

We set a $5 Valentine's budget to buy each other gifts! This was fun & challenging too because there isn't too much you can do with $5!

John David gave me Sun Drop! (I have been craving a soda for a few week & telling him I want a Mountain Dew/Mello Yello/Sun Drop and he got me these!) What a lovely gift & a great gift to share with my Valentine!


Isn't he sweet to arrange them like a heart??



I gave John David a black long sleeve henley! He got a brown thermal henley for Christmas and loves it so I knew he would like this shirt!



So we had a wonderful Valentine's Day and spent less than $10 for our gifts!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Sewing Day



Today was a lovely day! I went to Jen's home for a sewing day! We sewed with her girls & one of her girls friends! I sewed the cuff of my wool pants (every time I wear them I trip on the cuff so the cuff had to be fixed!) I also made two little doll aprons for Katie & one of her friends!

So now I am definitely in the mood to sew, I just love making things and being creative & crafty!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: My Cameraman!



Here is my hubby ready to film an episode of Life:Frugal and Simple!!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Bath-time!

Monday night Mac had a bath, it was the first time John David had bath duty and I took a few pictures of our pitiful little dog that does not like bath-time!




It is amazing, he doesn't even look like our dog when he is wet!


He is thinking, "Please don't take my picture, I am cold and wet and very unhappy!!"

After he gets out of the bath and we dry him off a little he runs around the house like a crazy dog! It is absolutely amazing how much energy he has!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Bruschetta Chicken Bake

Again this week I decided to try a new recipe! Tonight we tried Bruschetta Chicken Bake. I have been wanting to try this for a few months and finally did!

Here it is:



The picture on the Kraft website has cheese on top, instead I layered the casserole dish with chicken, basil, cheese, and stuffing mix on top!


Yummy!

This turned out pretty good, I followed the recipe, I did not omit anything at all! We did decide that next time I am not going to use as much basil or garlic, it was a little too "seasoned" for us. However, it is on the list of recipes to keep!

Menu Plan Monday



This week's menu:

Breakfasts:
Cereal
Yogurt & Apples
Cheese Toast

Lunches:
Leftovers!

Dinners:
Bruschetta Chicken Bake*
Broccoli Soup
Fried Chicken & Hashbrown Casserole (good Southern cooking!!!)
Chili with Cheese & Crackers
Hamburger Steak and Fried Potatoes
Pepperoni & Mushroom Pizza
Meatloaf & Mashed Potatoes

Snacks:
Bananas
Yogurt
Apples
Granola Bars

*New recipe!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Episode 18: New Kitchen




In this episode of Life:Frugal and Simple I am giving a tour of my kitchen!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Buffalo Chicken Dip

John David loves Buffalo Chicken anything!

This recipe was in the Tennessee Farm Bureau magazine, I made a half batch and tweaked the recipe a little bit. It was really simple, spread a block of cream cheese in bottom of pan, spread with shredded chicken & wing sauce, top with Blue Cheese dressing (I also added Blue Cheese chunks), and a little mozzarella!



I even liked it and I don't really care for Buffalo Chicken, however when I make it again I will not put Blue Cheese chunks in it, they are a little too strong for me!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Lessons Learned Making Taco Lasagna

One of the new meals I tried out this week was Taco Lasagna! I was oh so excited about trying this meal because we love anything Mexican and I just knew it was going to be a new family favorite. Well, it still could be a family favorite but due to carelessness and being a little too frugal equaled an edible, but not amazing dinner!

Here is the recipe:
1 pound ground beef
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
1/2 cup chopped onion
2/3 cup water
1 envelope taco seasoning
1 can (15 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (14 1/2 ounces) Mexican diced tomatoes, undrained
6 flour tortillas (8 inches)
1 can (16 ounces) refried beans
3 cups (12 ounces) shredded Mexican cheese blend

In a large skillet, cook the beef, green pepper and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Add water and taco seasoning; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 2 minutes. Stir in the black beans and tomatoes. Simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes

Place two torillas in a greased 13 x 9 inch baking dish. Spread with half of the refried beans and beef mixture; sprinkle with 1 cup cheese. Repeat layers. Top with remaining tortillas and cheese. Cover and bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes or until heated through and cheese melts.

Here is my Taco Lasagna:




Here are my mistakes:

1. I forgot to spread refried beans on the bottom layer of tortillas because I was in a hurry (for no reason!) Since I left them off the bottom layer I decided to just forget the beans entirely!

2. I didn't use 3 cups cheese (that is a lot of cheese!!) Sometimes I tend to be too frugal and sparing with cheese but I should have layered it on thick to get a nice and cheesy casserole!

3. I didn't do a top layer of tortillas. We make our own tortillas and I didn't want to make up a huge batch so I didn't and left off a part of the casserole!

4.I didn't read the entire recipe (this is an old, bad habit of mine that I thought I had broken...guess not!) I didn't bake covered...it was a little dry, hubby even suggested that next time I cover it so it will be more moist! Guess he was right (I just fully read the recipe when I typed it!)

So the poor Taco Lasagna turned out nothing like it should have and I learned a very important lesson: when following a new recipe, follow it exactly and if we like it, then I can make changes and try to make it less expensive!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

TV Night

Last night was TV night! We don't have cable (which is a good thing, it is amazing how much time that is saved when you don't have TV shows taking up your time!) When we moved into our apartment (in May) we had no cable and no TV whatsoever so for 8 months we watched nothing! Now, just because we didn't watch TV doesn't mean we didn't waste time...the computer is a great time waster too!!

When we moved to our home we set up a computer in the living room and are able to watch shows from Hulu and Boxee. These are free services and are great since we don't have room for cable in the budget! So, for the past few weeks we have been watching our favorite shows, Chuck, House, and The Office! We really enjoy TV night and since John David started his job as Media Director at church and is around computers and technology all day, when he comes home he doesn't want to spend too much time in front of the computer! So now we are spending more "screen time" in front of the computer that is our TV....isn't that complicated??

Anyways, last night we watched House and Chuck....in 3D!

Here are a few pics:
Gotta love the awesome 3D glasses!

Mac.. he isn't really into the TV thing!

And a chocolate chip cookie brownie tops the evening! (One of my great deals at Kroger this week!)

Wordless Wednesday: Sweet Little Dog



Check out more Wordless Wednesday!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

White Bean and Chicken Chili

We tried out White Bean and Chicken Chili this past week! It was a good meal that is a keeper! I followed this recipe closely but it needed a little more seasoning in it, we added pepper to our bowls of chili and that made it a little better.



I got this recipe from an issue of All You. Here it is:

2- 15 ounce cans white beans, rinsed and drained
4- cups low-sodium chicken broth
1-Tbsp. vegetable oil
2-whole bone-in chicken breasts (about 3 lbs.)
Salt and pepper
2-onions, chopped
4-cloves garlic, chopped
2-4 ounce cans roasted green chillies, drained
1-Tbsp. ground Cumin

1. Place beans and broth in a slow cooker. Cover and cook on high until beans are tender, 2 hours.

2. Warm oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Place chicken, skin side down, in skillet; cook until brown, about 4 minutes. Turn and cook for 2 minutes more. Transfer to a plate; remove and discard skin. Drain all but 2 Tbsp. fat from skillet. Add onions and garlic; cook until softened, 5 minutes. Add onion mixture, chilies, 1 cup water and cumin to a slow cooker. Stir; add chicken.

3. Cook on low for 6 hours, stirring twice. Remove 1 cup beans plus 1/2 cup liquid from slow cooker. Puree in a blender; return to slow cooker. Remove chicken, shred it and return to slow cooker. Spoon into individual bowls and serve.

All You said that this chili serves 6 at a cost of $1.58 per serving, which is $9.48 for the whole dish. That is too much for me! I didn't use canned beans, I bought dried beans @$1.98 a bag and used 1/4 so I used about $.50 worth of beans. I didn't purchase chicken broth, I cooked a whole chicken 2 days before I made this and used the broth from the chicken which really made that FREE! I only used 1 chicken breast to cut costs and there was plenty of chicken in the chili. The green chilies were $2 for 2 cans. I spent under $5 for this which is great for a dinner and we had leftovers for lunch!

Spinach Cheese Swirl

I tried out two new recipes last week and they both turned out pretty good. This Spinach Cheese Swirl has Spinach, Chicken Chunks, Garlic, Onions, and Mozzarella Cheese in it. It was pretty good however it was missing something! I followed the recipe exactly but I don't know exactly what it needed. Next time I am going to add more salt, pepper, and cheese to see if that makes it better!






Doesn't it look absolutely delicious?

Monday, February 2, 2009

Menu Plan Monday


Once again this week I am trying out a few new recipes! I have been enjoying trying out new meals the past couple of weeks.

Dinners for this week:

Taco Lasagna*

Lemon Chicken with Green Beans & Potatoes*

Scalloped Potatoes & Ham

Vegetable Soup

Hamburger Gravy


*New recipe I am trying, I will post my thoughts once I cook it!