Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day 2011

Saturday, May 28, 2011

In My Mailbox

I have a hobby.
I like to sign up for freebies and coupons that come in the mail because it adds some excitement to mailtime. I do not sign up for every freebie or coupon that I come across as I feel that is wasteful and I don't need things in my house if I am not going to use them. So I only sign up for ones that I feel would be of use to my family.


This week was a lot better than last week for freebies in my mailbox--
---Remedy magazine
---Whole Living Magazine (free subscription through Recyclebank)
---Red Robin rewards card for hubby and I (can register for a free burger for your birthday and other free stuff)

---Health Magazine
---Self magazine (free using a coupon code on Magazines.com)
---Cottage cheese Free coupons (from Kraft First Taste)

---Tasters Choice coffee samples (facebook offer)
---Free Coupon for a bag of Ore-Ida Sweet Potatoe Fries (facebook offer)

---Parenting magazine

---Folgers Special Roast coffee sample (facebook)
---To Win her Heart (from Bethany Publishers to read and review)



What fun stuff did you receive in your mailbox this week?

Thursday, May 26, 2011

My "Real" Age

I like watching " The Biggest Loser" and other weight loss shows. One of the things that fascinates me is when they tell the contestant their "real" age. The age the body thinks that it is due to varying factors, weight, etc. That is so neat. As I was reading through some blogs today, I found Melissa at Mom's Plans had taken a Real Age test online.

Sponsored by Drs. Oz and Roizen, the test measures your real age by gathering information about your lifestyle habits, exercise and diet habits, your current weight and height measurements, feelings, etc. I took this test a few years ago and it said my real age then was 40! Eeek!

I have been making changes in my life and am trying to be healthier. I figured this would be a good measurement of how far I have really come. So I took the Real Age Test.... and my results were....

My current age is: 31 ( I will turn 32 in July)
My Real age according to the test:.....28.8!!!!!!!

Yeah the number has went down! There are still areas that I need to improve, especially in regards to my diet, but I have come a long way! I am so happy that the number is lower!!!!

Have you taken the Real Age Test? How are you doing age wise?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Summer Staycation and Vacation Ideas for across the country


Yesterday I told you of some great staycation/vacation ideas for Mount Vernon Ohio (my hometown).

Today I am pleased to bring you lots of different staycation/vacation ideas from across the country. I am taking part in the Year of Staycation with over 80 other bloggers to bring you the best ideas from around the country to enjoy a staycation in YOUR hometown.

You can click on any of the links below to virtually visit your hometown or a town you may be considering visiting! Enjoy!

New England
Connecticut - Parenting Miracles
Boston, Massachusetts - ‎ Maven of Savin'
Manchester, New Hampshire - Common Sense with Money
Western Maine - Bubblegum and Lollipops


Mid-Atlantic
Erie, Pennsylvania - Growing Kids Ministry
Gettysburg, Pennsylvania - Somewhat Crunchy
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania - Family Balance Sheet
Buffalo/Niagara Falls, New York - Coupons, Deals and More
New Jersey - Oh! Diane


Midwest
Cedar Rapids, Iowa - Indoor Garden Musings
Mansfield, Ohio - Live the Adventure
Cincinnati, Ohio - Savings Lifestyle~Cincinnati
Mount Vernon, Ohio - Living Better One Day at a Time
Dayton, Ohio - Savings Lifestyle~Dayton
Grand Rapids, Michigan - Kitchen Stewardship
Metro Detroit, Michigan - "Cents"able Momma
Oakland County, Michigan - Bargain Shopper Mom
Warren, Michigan - Saving Dollars and Sense
Grand Forks, North Dakota - Frugal Front Porch
Indianapolis, Indiana - Bargain Briana
South Bend, Indiana - Excuse The Mess
Kansas City, Kansas/Missouri - Kansas City Mamas
St. Louis, Missouri - The Pickledpigsfeet
Branson, Missouri - Getting Freedom from Debt
Springfield, Missouri - I Think I Can
Rochester, Minnesota - Everyday Notions
York, Nebraska - Heavenly Homemakers
Omaha, Nebraska - Mom Endeavors
Madison, Wisconsin - Many Little Blessings
Oshkosh, Wisconsin - A Little Bit of This and That
Chicago, Illinois - Chicagoland Homeschool Network
Champaign, Illinois - Chambanamoms
Black Hills, South Dakota - Little House on the Prairie Living


South Central
Checotah, Oklahoma - Blessed With One Income
Tulsa, Oklahoma - Lynn's Kitchen Adventures
Gadsden, Alabama - Aint Mimi
Dallas, Texas - Funky Faith Girl
Dallas, Texas - Grocery Shop For FREE
East Dallas, Texas - Surviving The Stores
Fort Worth, Texas - Smockity Frocks
Austin, Texas - Stetted
Houston, Texas - Moms Travel Tales
McKinney, Texas - Wisdom Begun
East Texas - The Full Pantry
Murfreesboro, Tennessee - Life in a Barn
Nashville, Tennessee - The Country Chic Cottage
Mobile, Alabama - A Penny Saved is a Penny Earned
Birmingham, Alabama - iGoBOGO
Brunswick & the Golden Isles, Georgia - Teri Lynne Underwood
Alpharetta, Georgia - Cuponeando
Atlanta, Georgia - See Jamie Blog
Augusta, Georgia - Hyperactive Lu
Athens, Georgia and Mississippi - Tractors and Tire Swings
Little Rock, Arkansas - It's Real Life


South Atlantic
Ft. Bragg, North Carolina - Military Wives Saving
Charlotte, North Carolina - The Carolina Clipper
Charleston, South Carolina - The Tween & Me
Greensboro, North Carolina - Mrs. Happy Homemaker
Jacksonville, Florida - Saving The Family Money
Orlando, Florida - Orlando's Best Deals
Virginia Beach, Virginia - The Singley Fam Blog
Richmond, Virginia - Daily Dwelling
Hampton Roads, Virginia - A Home Made by Kiki
Charlottesville, Virginia - How to Have it All
Blackwater Falls State Park/Davis, West Virginia - Holy Spirit Led Homeschooling
Treasure Coast, Florida - The Cardamom's Pod
Saint Augustine, Florida - Jypsie Visions
Lake Norman, North Carolina - Stretching Pennies Saving Dollars
Washington, DC - The WiC Project
Baltimore, Maryland - The Happy Housewife
Brunswick & the Golden Isles, Georgia, Teri Lynne Underwood




Mountain
Tucson, Arizona - Saving with Pam
Phoenix, Arizona - Mom Endeavors
Albuquerque, New Mexico - The Chou Life
Kalispell, Montana - Our Family Adventures
Salt Lake City, Utah - Just the 2 of Us
Thermopolis, Wyoming - The McDonald Family
Denver, Colorado - Denver Bargains
Colorado Springs, Colorado - Colorado Springs Bargains


Pacific
San Diego, California - Life As Mom
Yosemite National Park, California -Handbook of Nature Study
Seattle, Washington - Queen Bee Coupons & Savings
Whidbey Island, Washington - Manning the Homefront
Olympia, Washington The Coupon Savant
Portland, Oregon - Frugal Living NW
Willamette Valley, Oregon - An Oregon Cottage


Frugal Vacation Tips
Vacation or Stay-cation: Eating without Busting the Budget - Eat at Home









Monday, May 23, 2011

Menu Plan and Grocery Shopping

On Mondays I share my grocery shopping from the weekend and my menu plan for the next week. I do this to keep an eye on my grocery spending ( I am trying to keep our grocery expenses to under $70 a week) and to have a plan for what to eat during this crazy thing called life. It is just one way that I can live better one day at a time.
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This weekend, I went to Aldi and to Kroger.
I do not have any pictures of my groceries because of this....


We found out yesterday that our application for a house closer to where I work and where Rebecca will go to school next year was accepted and we are moving NEXT weekend!! EEK!!!!

I don't have exact amounts either. I spent around $35 at Aldi and around $35 at Kroger for about $70 which wasn't bad considering I got a lot of fresh produce for this week and toilet paper, sugar, milk, etc. I HAVE to make a menu plan this week as between my work schedule and trying to pack to move this coming weekend, and hosting a yard sale for my mom this weekend, life is going to be a LITTLE CRAZY!!!!!
Now onto my menu plan:

Menu planning is one thing I can do to simplify our life and to help me live better one day at a time! I especially need it this week!



MONDAY: hamburger helper, broccoli
TUESDAY: Fish, Macaroni and cheese, salad, green beans
WEDNESDAY: hot dogs, baked beans, salad
THURSDAY: spaghetti
FRIDAY: Frozen tv dinners (we have a variety in our freezer that we need to use up) and/or peanut butter and jelly sandwiches
SATURDAY: TBA
SUNDAY: TBA
For more great menu ideas please visit... orgjunkie.com

Summer Staycation Fun in Mount Vernon Ohio



With my husband's work schedule and the rising cost of gas and expenses, we have decided to stay close to home for our summer fun in the sun! That means that we are going to be doing things in and around Mount Vernon, Ohio.

There are tons of things to do either for free or inexpensively in and around our community. Here are some of the activities that are on our summer staycation to-do list:

First up is our list of things to do in town:

FARMER'S MARKET
Every Saturday from May to October, the town holds a farmer's market on the square (in the center of town) from 9am- 12pm. We will definitely be going to this most weekends, as I have a black thumb and can't even keep cacti alive. The farmers market offers a wide range of locally grown produce and fresh baked goods. There is one vendor there who sells the best zucchini sour cream bread! YUMMY!!!


 CHILDREN'S GARDEN
Located at the Knox County Career Center, a Children’s Garden courts kids of all ages. The whimsical garden boasts a multi-colored open-air steel amphitheatre, a giant’s garden with oversized corn stalks and sunflowers, a wishing well, a butterfly house and forts overlooking a model Serpent Mound. It truly is a delight for all ages in every season.


RIVERSIDE PARK and Community parks
One of my childrens' favorite places since we have moved to Mount Vernon is the local parks. Their favorite is Riverside Park with it's newly redesigned playgrounds for big kids and little kids. We will definitely be making weekly trips here.

FAIRS AND FESTIVALS

Every summer Knox County hosts the Knox County fair featuring lots of activities for all ages and a big concert on the last night. This year they are featuring Country music stars Lee Brice and Steel Magnolia. There is something for everyone at the fair--tractor pulls, 4-H kids showing off their projects, fair food and games and lots of other things to do and see.
There are also other festivals and fairs around town, including the Dan Emmett Music and Arts Festival held downtown, the Danville- Howard Turkey festival, Fredericktown Tomato show, and many others!

There are many other activities that we may do around Knox County, Ohio. For more information, please visit: visitknoxohio.org.

Things to do within 30 minutes to an hours drive:
We don't plan on spending ALL of our summer here in town. We do plan on doing a few day trips. The to-dos on our day trip lists include:

We plan on attending the annual Velvet Ice Cream Festival in Utica Ohio during Memorial Day weekend. Ye Olde Mill in Utica is home to Velvet Ice Cream and their 20 acres of activities, including watching them make ice-cream, walking through their museum, a children's playground and of course an ice-cream parlor where you can enjoy many of your favorite flavors.

Every summer we make at least one trip to the Columbus Zoo. It is a great zoo and I am looking forward to seeing their new exhibit--Polar Frontier, featuring 2 wonderful polar bears.

So that is some of our plans for our summer staycation activities in our area. We are going to have fun, not spend a lot of money and just enjoy being with our family and enjoying exploring our community!

What do you have in mind for your summer plans??

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Weight Loss Update #13

I am back to weighing in every Sunday. Here are my current results. I haven't weighed in officially since March 6. I can tell you the number probably isn't that good because I have been eating lots of Easter candy and snacking way too much. Both of which are a sign of stress. I need to find a balance.

So here are the numbers:

WEEKLY WEIGH IN:

DATE: 05/22/2011

WEIGHT: 210.5 lbs.

DIFFERENCE FROM PREVIOUS WEEK:  -1.5 lbs.

That is okay I guess. It is a loss, but when I unofficially weighed in a couple weeks ago I was at 208 so it is a gain. Ughh...I have gotten out of the habit of exercising. Got to get back in the habit. And I haven't been eating right. Things have to change.
   
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Are you trying to lose weight? How are you doing?

Saturday, May 21, 2011

In My Mailbox

I have a hobby.
I like to sign up for freebies and coupons that come in the mail because it adds some excitement to mailtime. I do not sign up for every freebie or coupon that I come across as I feel that is wasteful and I don't need things in my house if I am not going to use them. So I only sign up for ones that I feel would be of use to my family.


This week wasn't a complete waste for freebies in my mailbox--

I didn't get a lot, but even 1 thing is better than none!!
:-)

 
I got a free sample box of Frosted Mini Wheats with fruit and coupons from Vocalpoint.

 
What fun stuff did you receive in your mailbox this week?

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Columbus Clippers baseball game

Last night we took Rebecca to the Columbus Clippers baseball game (one of the things to do on our summer Staycation list (see post coming soon!)). There was a special promotion honoring all the Catholic schools in the area and we could get 4 tickets for $15 total!

Here is some highlights of our surprise for Rebecca...

Right inside of the park

First pitch of the game. We were sitting in the first row!!!

Daddy and Rebecca

First ballpark hot dog

Future major leaguer?

They had a parade around the field for all the Catholic School kids in attendance

Cotton candy! Yum!

Overall it was a great night! Rebecca was so surprised when we took her. The rain held off, after having rained for 3 days straight. The weather was great.

And the best part was that Rebecca and Bill got to go down on the field after the first game of the double header to be a part of the parade! And Bill got the first foul ball of the game! Pretty cool!

And it was relatively inexpensive...Here is the breakdown of what we spent:

Tickets: $17
Food: $40 (things were WAY more expensive than I remembered!)
Parking: $5
Babysitter for Jacob: $20
------------------------------
Total $ 82
Experience: PRICELESS!!!!






Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Yard Sale 2011

This past weekend, I put on my first yard sale in years. We are in a house now on a busy street, so I thought the opportunity would be great to declutter and get rid of stuff. The money would be nice, but getting rid of stuff would be even nicer.

So even though the weather called for rain showers, I decided to proceed. I began a few weeks ago gathering stuff and decluttering throughout the house. I put the stuff that I wanted to sell in the yard sale in one area of our basement and in our mudroom. I started pricing things on Thursday and Friday and bringing them up to our kitchen.



On Saturday morning I put everything out in our yard. (We put an ad in our local paper to advertise the sale)...and the sale was on. We only had to pull stuff up on our porch for about 10 minutes on Saturday during a brief shower. For the majority of the day the weather was great! Then after we got everything put away for the day, it started pouring down rain.




On Sunday, the weather was drizzly and cold, but we decided to go forth anyway. We didn't have a lot of stuff left, but a friend brought some of her stuff over and we proceeded to sell.


Overall our total profit for the two days was $175. My friend's profit was $50. I think that was great, considering we didn't advertise very much and I had priced things low because I just wanted to get rid of them. When all was said and done, I put the rest of the stuff in my car and took it to Goodwill Sunday night for a donation!

I am so glad to have the stuff out of our house and some extra money in my pocket! I consider the Yard Sale 2011 to be a success!



Monday, May 16, 2011

Menu Plan and Grocery Shopping

On Mondays I share my grocery shopping from the weekend and my menu plan for the next week. I do this to keep an eye on my grocery spending ( I am trying to keep our grocery expenses to under $70 a week) and to have a plan for what to eat during this crazy thing called life. It is just one way that I can live better one day at a time.
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This weekend, I did a quick run to Kroger for milk and bananas, and to Rite Aid for their deal on Arizona Iced Tea ($0.50 a can). We had a yard sale at home this weekend and my hubby was gone for most of Sunday with work so I did not do a big shop. I decided that that was okay, I want to use what we have. I may pick up a couple things on Wednesday at Walmart, but it won't be much.

This weekend I bought:

Kroger : $1.09 + 6.77 = $7.86 (for bananas, milk and taco seasoning)
Rite Aid: $6.86 (for 11 cans of iced tea, and a $1 donation)
Food total for the week: $7.86+ $6.86 = $14.72!!!! YAHOO!!!!!!
UNDER BUDGET by $60.82! YAHOOOOOOOOO!!!!!
Now onto my menu plan:

Menu planning is one thing I can do to simplify our life and to help me live better one day at a time!



MONDAY: grilled cheese, chili (from freezer) and veggies
TUESDAY: Fish, veggies, macaroni and cheese
WEDNESDAY: Pot roast, potatoes, carrots, hot dogs, nachos
THURSDAY: leftover pot roast
FRIDAY: hot dogs, baked beans, veggie
SATURDAY: baked fish, rice, broccoli
SUNDAY: unsure as it is my niece's birthday dinner
What are you eating this week?

For more great menu ideas please visit... orgjunkie.com

Friday, May 13, 2011

In my mailbox

I have a hobby.
I like to sign up for freebies and coupons that come in the mail because it adds some excitement to mailtime. I do not sign up for every freebie or coupon that I come across as I feel that is wasteful and I don't need things in my house if I am not going to use them. So I only sign up for ones that I feel would be of use to my family.


This week was a so-so week for freebies in my mailbox!
But I am not complaining because they were FREE... :-)
Here's what I have gotten:

--Woman's Day magazine (can't remember where, but I know it was a free subscription)
-- 2 Free product coupons for Yoplait kids yogurt (one was addressed to me, and one was addressed to my hubby. I think this was a facebook offer, but I am not sure)


---Coupon for a FREE Beechnut Stage 4 toddler food (signed up for their newsletter)
---$1 off any Coke product (from Recyclebank)

What fun stuff did you receive in your mailbox this week?

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Crockpot Chicken and Chicken Tacos

I get many recipe ideas off of my favorite blogs. Sometimes we like them. Sometimes we don't.

One recipe that I found and that has become a staple in our house is how to cook a whole chicken in a crockpot. The Happy Housewife gave me a SIMPLE, NO FUSS way of making a whole chicken in the crockpot.

Whole Chicken in Crockpot
Take your chicken out of the wrapper.
Remove the innards.
Rinse and dry the chicken.
Place in crockpot.
Add seasonings on top.
Put lid on.
Cook on low for 7-8 hours.
Enjoy.

Super Duper Easy.



I made one last week and used McCormicks grill mates seasoning on my chicken and it came out Delicious!

We ate it with mashed potatoes, and green beans. We had a TON leftover.


Since I have been trying not to waste food, I took the leftovers and made chicken tacos on another night. Another super EASY, QUICK recipe.

CHICKEN TACOS
pre-cooked chicken
package of taco seasoning
2/3 cup water
taco shells
favorite toppings for tacos

Heat up chicken in your skillet.

Add taco seasoning and water.

Cook until heated through (about 3 minutes or so)
Place meat mixture on taco shells.
Add toppings.
Enjoy.



Have you made anything quick, easy, and/or homemade this week? Tell me about it!


For more great cooking ideas, visit Keli at Feeding Four!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

I love Goodwill

It has been kind of warm here the last few days. Yesterday it was 80, today it was 85 and humid. Definitely shorts and t-shirt/tank top weather.

I went to put shorts on Jacob yesterday and realized that all the shorts and short sleeved shirts that I had bought him 2 months ago were all TOO SMALL!!!!! (I bought him 2T shorts and shirts) He has had a major growth spurt! Thankfully I had gotten him 2 pairs of 3T shorts, so all was not lost. But 2 pairs of shorts won't cut it for a summer wardrobe.....

So off I went to day to my favorite store for kids clothes....GOODWILL!!!!

I love the Goodwill in our town. There are actually 2 of them here. One is smaller and doesn't have a lot of clothes. The other one is huge and I can usually find what I need there. Most of the clothes that I get there look brand new and are in great shape. Today my goal was to get Jacob at least 4 pairs of shorts and 4 shirts in size 3T to get his summer wardrobe in check. So off I went with that in my mind....

And I scored!

I got Jacob 5 pairs of shorts and 5 shirts that will fit him (until his next growth spurt that is! LOL).


I got Rebecca 2 pairs of shorts, 2 shirts and a dress.
(She really didn't need any summer clothes, but she loved the Hello Kitty shirt and the Kailan shirt)


I also picked up 3 shirts for me--2 tank tops and a short sleeve shirt for work.


So all in all it was a GREAT day at Goodwill! And I have decided that the other shorts and shirts that are too small for Jacob (which I had also bought at Goodwill) will be put in our yard sale this weekend so it isn't a great loss. And anything we don't sell is being donated to that same Goodwill! So it all works out!

Have you had any luck at Goodwill or your local thrift store recently?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

My Mother's Day recap

I had a great Mother's Day! It was very low key and non-stressful and just wonderful.

It started with getting to sleep in. Bill got the kids up and got them breakfast, etc. Then he and Rebecca brought me up breakfast in bed--- eggs, turkey bacon (because Bill knows I am trying to be healthier), toast and orange juice. Rebecca gave me a card and a picture that she had colored. After eating breakfast, Bill, Jacob, Rebecca and I cuddled in our bed for a while and just talked and laughed and Bill and I tickled the kids. After we came downstairs I was met by a dozen roses, a card from Bill and a shirt from the kids for Mother's Day presents.

The only thing Bill asked is if I would watch the kids for half an hour while he went and ran. I said of course. While he ran, I watched the kiddos and did the dishes. Then showered and got dressed in my new t-shirt.

For lunch, we decided to get a quick bite to eat at McDonalds, as I have been loving their sweet tea lately!


We then headed out to my Mom's house for a cookout with my parents, brothers, sister, sister-in-law, niece and nephew. It was a nice day out and Rebecca and Jacob had a blast playing with their cousins.

Overall it was a great stress-free, delightful, low key Mother's Day. Just the way I like it! (Thanks honey, if you read this! I love you!)