Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Typically on Sunday I recap the previous week's good, bad and ugly in regards to finances. But this week I just don't feel like it. I decided to take a break from thinking about finances this weekend and will regroup for September. August was a spendy month and I hope to get a reign on things for September.

Saturday, August 28, 2010


So this week was my first week of work. I am working in the SAACP program afterschool.  I had orientation on Monday. I worked Wednesday afternoon, and the kids stayed home with Bill, who had the day off. I worked Friday afternoon and the kids stayed with my mom. The job is very easy and  I think the biggest challenge I will have is dealing with some of the kids' attitudes. Some of the kids' have major attitude problems. I think that I will enjoy it though. It is easy money as far as I am concerned. The kids do snack time, homework time, and play/activity time. And Fridays are movie day and special snack day. The first week though overall went well! :)

There was one setback. I had to get fingerprints done and so I went and had them done on Thursday. They said that they were accepted, but then we got a phone call yesterday afternoon and said that one of the fingerprints didn't take....and of course they called after the place to get them done had closed. So I have to go get them redone next week. Oh well. That is life I guess. Not everything can go perfect :)

Friday, August 27, 2010

Gifts for the kids for free using online resources

So in trying to keep the budget down, I am trying to use my internet time wisely and being creative with obtaining gifts for my children. Jacob and Rebecca's birthdays are coming up. Jacob's b-day is in October; Rebecca's b-day is in November. And then of course there is Christmas in December. So I have to be creative if I don't want to break the bank.

Over the course of this week, I have ordered 3 books for each child, and a puzzle for each child for FREE! How did I do it...

I ordered Rebecca a Melissa and Doug Underwater 48 piece floor puzzle from Amazon, using a $5 gift card I got in an email for ordering a magazine subscription over a year ago from Amazon magazines and a gift card I got using Swagbucks from So final price= FREE

I ordered a Melissa and Doug Safari Chunky Puzzle for Jacob using Pampers Gift to Grow points. So a puzzle for Jacob for FREE!!

I won $20 in children's books from from a blog giveaway from coupongeek. :) With that I ordered 6 books off Amazon. 3 for Rebecca and 3 for Jacob.
                                                             For Rebecca I ordered:

For Jacob, I ordered:

So a total of 6 books for FREE just for entering and winning a blogging giveaway! :)

I love getting free stuff and these purchases will really help with the birthday and Christmas budgets!

Have you ever gotten gifts for free using online resources?

Monday, August 23, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

Another week....another menu :)

Last week didn't go so well...I had a lot of issues caused by depression and things just didn't get made. This week I hope goes much, much better. (Fingers crossed!) There are a couple things going on this week, most notably I start my new job!! So I have to get into a routine and make sure that I can feed the family without much effort. So with that being said, here is my menu plan for the week:

MONDAY: corn dogs, peaches, peas

TUESDAY: grilled turkey and cheese sandwiches, strawberries and grapes

WEDNESDAY: Beer battered fish, broccoli, rice

THURSDAY: baked chicken, julienne potatoes, corn

FRIDAY: macaroni and cheese and pears

SATURDAY: leftovers

SUNDAY: pizza and fruit

For more menu ideas please visit I'm an Organizing Junkie

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Time for another rendition of the Good, the Bad and the Ugly. This is a weekly recap of my family's financial world in all of it's glory and mess.

The GOOD:: Well this week I won a blog giveaway, which you can read about here. I won $20 worth of children's books that I will use towards Rebecca and Jacob's Christmas and birthday gifts. I was able to get them each 3 books from Amazon. has a great 4 for 3 promotion going on a ton of their books. If you buy 3 of the participating books, you can pick out the 4th for free. It is a great promotion! I also received a gift card from Walmart that I had earned through That will also go toward Christmas or b-days.

The BAD:: I didn't get my fingerprinting done this week for the job. I just did not have time. It really isn't a huge deal but it is something that I have to get done for my job at the school. I have to make it a priority to get this done early next week.

The UGLY:: I had to go to the doctor on Thursday. My depression and anxiety has gotten to levels that I couldn't control anymore. I was on Zoloft back in 2004-2005 for depression and I went off of it when I was pregnant with Rebecca. I really DON'T like to take medicine for depression, but it had gotten to the point where I felt I needed to do something because I couldn't live like this anymore. And Rebecca asked me one night "Mommy, why are you sad all the time?" It just broke my heart and told me that I needed help. Now that doesn't sound bad, but we do not currently have any health insurance so everything is being paid out of pocket. My doctor thankfully gave me a 20% discount on my bill, but it was still $65 and then my medicine I was able to get the generic for zoloft, was $11 for one month. I have to go back in 6 weeks to get rechecked which means more out of pocket. That is the ugly part, that we don't have health  insurance right now and so everything is out of pocket.

So there you have it, the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly...what is yours?

Friday, August 20, 2010

I WON! I WON! I can't believe I won!

I won a blog giveaway! :) I don't enter every blog giveaway that I see, but I will if it is something that could be of use to our family and be another way of stretching our dollar. Well yesterday I won! I won $20 in Children's book from from Coupon Geek. I am SO EXCITED! I have never won anything before!

If you have never been to Coupon Geek , you are missing out! She puts up the best deals, coupons and sales that she can find. I have used her site many times to learn about coupons and deals that work for me!

Well I am off to browse Amazon for some books for Rebecca and Jacob. I am going to keep them and use them as part of their birthday presents! Yay!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Buying something for me!

In July, I received 2 gift cards for my birthday. I have a hard time buying myself anything or knowing what to spend them on....(but at the same time, I would rather get gift cards than some present that I hate or would never use...) Typically I end up not buying myself anything and using them on the kids or just using them on groceries or something. I am going to try to use these on me and focus on me! I used part of one to buy my new body pillow and cover, a can opener, and some new kitchen rags. Exciting? Not really, but needed. Well today I just realized what I would spend some of the gift card on....

On September 14, 2010 my favorite author releases his next book!! I am SUPER excited. I love this author and while I am trying to keep my book collection down ( I got rid of a TON of books before we moved), I have every book this author has released and have re-read them all many times! So on Sept.14, 2010 I will be buying....

I am super excited. His books make me cry and laugh and cry some more, but I love them.
I am also considering looking into which books have been turned into movies and collecting those as well. I have a couple of them, like The Notebook, A Walk to Remember, and Message in a Bottle. I know there are more though.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Wanting another baby

Something that has been on my mind a lot recently...

So I have a yearning and if fulfilled it would result in us having another baby. I love my children! I really thought that when we had Jacob that our family was complete. We would be a family of 4 and that would be that. We had achieved the typical American, dad, daughter, son. (Now just to add the dog and the house and white picket fence...someday.) Anyways, I THOUGHT we were done.... Thought being the word there. Over the last month or so, I have started to feel the yearning again. Maybe it is because Jacob is 10 months old and Rebecca will be 4 in November. I don't know.

I just know that I want another baby. I get a feeling of sadness when I read or hear about someone else's pregnancy, almost like I am jealous. My college roommate is pregnant with her first and though I am happy for her, I want that to be me. Every time I turn on the TV it seems like another star is announcing their pregnancy or birth of their babies. Even Doogie Howser (Neil Patrick Harris) is having twins. In real life it seems like everywhere I turn people are announcing their pregnancies or have just given birth. There have been 2 friends on facebook that have announced their pregnancies just this week. My cousin's wife is pregnant and due in a month or so.  I am happy for these people. Really I am .

Logically, I know that it is probably not the right time for us to have another baby. We don't have health insurance right now. We are just settling into the house. Jacob isn't even a year old yet. I have high risk pregnancies. Having 3 kids would be more expensive, etc.  I know that Bill doesn't want anymore kids right now. He has said he is open to having more in the future.....

I think I made the decision that I wanted more kids last Christmas when I was asked, by a family member,  "You and Bill are done having kids now, right?" I know that this person didn't mean it the way it sounded. But I was kind of struck by how it came out, almost accusing us of doing something wrong by having 2 children. I told this person, at the time, yes I think we are. But in my heart that question hurt. I know that having more kids brings more stress, responsibility, financial burden, etc. but I don't need anyone to tell Bill and I that we should be done because 2 is the magic number for children.

I know in my heart that I would not want to have a lot of kids (I taught at a school where there were families with 10, 11, 12, 13 or more children). I do know though that my heart is telling me that I want more children in my family. If that is what God wants for us, it will happen. If we are only meant to be mom and dad to Rebecca, Jacob and to our angel Travis, then I will be okay with that too. I have to be.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Living Better Ideas

There are many things in life that a person can do or can say no to that will help them to live better one day at a time. But the problem is that some things will work for some people, while some things won't work for others. I like to read blogs and other articles online to see if I can gain new tips and tricks that will help me live better one day at a time. Sometimes I find several helpful ideas and tricks, and other times I will find something that sounds good but isn't practical to my own life. One big example of that is Flylady. I know that her ideas and tips work well for a lot of people, but I cannot follow her system to a tee. I took bits and pieces and made it work for me. Other things that work for me are:

1. MENU PLANNING-- this is actually a new discovery. I have tried and tried over the years to do menu planning and never stuck to it. That is because usually I am only cooking for myself and Rebecca. And she is picky! :) Well I decided a couple weeks ago that I needed to plan out our meals because she was eating way too many chicken nuggets and hot dogs and there were many nights where I wouldn't eat until 10 or 11 and then it wasn't healthy. I had to come to terms with the fact that the meals didn't have to be extravagant or even huge. A simple grilled chicken and veggie would be better than what we had been eating.

2. MAKE MY BED EVERYDAY--- I have discovered that if I make my bed everyday that it sets the tone of the day. If it is made, I seem to have more energy and just feel better. If it doesn't get made, I feel sluggish and just blah.

3. GO GROCERY SHOPPING ALONE--- I have started leaving the kids at home with Bill while I go grocery shopping alone. This helps me match up the sales and my coupons and gives me an hour where I am alone with my thoughts. It is so much easier to buy the items needed for the best price when you are not dealing with keeping an eye on the kids.

4. STRAIGHTENING UP EVERY NIGHT HELPS A LOT--- Before Rebecca gets her bath and bedtime started, I make her pick up all her toys and books and put them away. This helps TREMEDOUSLY!!!! After the kids go to bed, I try to make sure that all the flat surfaces are clean of clutter and stuff and that the dishes are done. This helps me to relax at night and helps me feel good that I can wake up to a mostly clean house. When this doesn't get done, then I wake up knowing I have a lot to do and I feel weighed down.

These are just a few things that help me to live better one day at a time. What helps you live better one day at a time?


So another week has come and gone. I think that trying to find a menu plan and sticking with it has helped me to eat better and made my life a little simpler and has helped each day to live a little better. Another way is to review the previous week to see what worked and what didn't before making this weeks menu. So last week, this is how I did.

MONDAY: lasagna with provolone and green beans--YEP!!

TUESDAY: hot dogs, baked beans, and peaches--YEP!!!
WEDNESDAY: grilled chicken, peas (for the kid), green beans (for me), fruit--YEP!!!

THURSDAY: BBQ pork sandwiches (think McRib from McDonalds), pasta salad, fruit (for us); spaghettios and fruit for Rebecca-- nope. We ended up meeting my parents for dinner. We had this on Friday instead!
FRIDAY: chicken tacos for us, chicken nuggets and veggies for Rebecca--Nope had Thursday's me
al, but had this on Saturday instead!
SATURDAY: leftovers--nope. Had Fridays dinner instead! :)
SUNDAY: pizza--YEP!!

So, overall I think I did AWESOME following the plan for the week! Let's hope I can keep this momentum up!

So for this week:

MONDAY: Bowtie noodles with homemade tomato sauce and green beans
TUESDAY: Teriyaki Chicken with rice, peas
WEDNESDAY: Fish sticks, green beans, fruit
THURSDAY: Cheeseburger macaroni and corn
FRIDAY: Macaroni and cheese and fruit
SATURDAY: leftovers
SUNDAY: pizza and fruit

Find more menu plans and recipes at

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly....

So time again for the Good, the Bad, the Ugly for the week of finances....

The Good:  I made a menu plan off the sales, shopped the sales and really didn't spend alot of money this week! I find that I go to the store just because I am bored and I usually end up buying a lot more that we don't need. This week I did one run to Kroger for groceries and spent about $80 but that was also stocking up on some things that were on major low price sale. We went to Walmart too on Friday but that was just to get a new pillow (due to the bat thing) and a new can opener. These things I bought using a gift card that I got for my b-day so no money spent there.

The Bad: We got our Directv bill. I have a definite love/hate relationship with this bill. I like having satellite because they offer programming for everyone and I know it is something that dear Hubby wants. I don't like this time of year when the football packages are added onto it. I will say that dear hubby is lucky this year. He called to cancel NFL Sunday Ticket and then he called to cancel the college football package. Well somewhere in there he was told that in order to get us to keep the college football they would take off $20 a month for 6 months. Okay ,whatever. Well we got the bill and they are doing it so we can keep the Sunday Ticket and the college football. I decided not to fight it because this is one thing that dear Hubby LOVES! He has also worked 3 extra days so that he can afford to pay for these packages. So while it is a bad financial move, I will let him keep them.

The Ugly: There really was no Ugly this week other than how I am feeling. I get down and depressed because of our finances at times and yet there are people that are facing so much more than I am. I found out yesterday that my college roommate's mom had died. I found out a couple days ago that a former teaching colleague of mine has uterine cancer and is really not doing well. I feel like such a heel sometimes because we are all healthy (knock on wood) and I just want the financial burdens to go away, but there are people that daily are facing life/death situations and here I am complaining about money. It makes me feel shallow at times.

So there is my good, bad and ugly for the week. What is yours?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


So last night, I had the most terrifying experience. Around 1:15 am, Bill was reading in bed and I was asleep. All of a sudden he woke me up frantic and was rolling off the bed and yelling "bat, bat". There was a BAT flying around our bedroom!!!!!!! EEKKKK!!!!!!! He said he heard it before he saw it and he tried to get me out. I guess I screamed because I woke both kids up. I saw a black bat flying out of the corner of my eye.

After calming down, we took the kids downstairs and decided to try to find out if Mount Vernon has an animal control. (We've only lived here 2 months!) We couldn't find the number so Bill decided to call the Mount Vernon police department. They sent an officer out right away and after a couple minutes (seemed like an hour), he captured the bat and got rid of it for us. After that Rebecca wanted to sleep with us....which meant that she was awake until 5:30 am and I got NO sleep....I finally started falling asleep around 6:15am, when my brother decided to send me a text...ugh.... It is going to be a long day! Hopefully less stressful!

As a side note, I checked facebook this morning and a friend of mine in Lancaster was awoken by a bat in her house at 3am this morning. Creepy.

Sunday, August 8, 2010


So last week I did a little better than the week before...Here's how last week went:
MONDAY: grilled chicken, peas, and apples--Yes

TUESDAY: fish, corn, applesauce, tomatoes and cucumbers--nope, can't remember what we had, but it wasn't fish.
WEDNESDAY: macaroni and cheese, green beans and fruit--yes but with mixed veggies instead of green beans
THURSDAY: spaghetti and garlic bread--just had spaghetti, no garlic bread
FRIDAY: turkey sandwiches, apples--nope, had chicken nuggets and veggies
SATURDAY: leftovers/ pizza--yes
SUNDAY: leftovers/ pizza--yes. We had pizza. Sunday nights are turning into pizza and movie night, watching the hour long movie that NickJr. shows at 7pm.

So overall not too bad, but not too great either. I need to become more consistent. This is what I came up with for this week. I hope we can do this. What I did this time, was look ahead at the forecast to see what the weather was supposed to be like (HOT, HOT and HOT!!!). So we shall see how this week goes. Our menu for this week is:

MONDAY: lasagna with provolone and green beans
TUESDAY: hot dogs, baked beans, and peaches
WEDNESDAY: grilled chicken, peas (for the kid), green beans (for me), fruit
THURSDAY: BBQ pork sandwiches (think McRib from McDonalds), pasta salad, fruit (for us); spaghettios and fruit for Rebecca
FRIDAY: chicken tacos for us, chicken nuggets and veggies for Rebecca
SATURDAY: leftovers
SUNDAY: pizza

Find more menu plans and recipes at

The GOOD, the BAD, and the UGLY--August 8, 2010

Another week has gone by. Time to recap the good, the bad and the ugly of our family's financial world....So here goes.....

THE GOOD: I found my reference letter that I thought had been thrown out! One of the requirements of the school job is that they have 3 letters of reference on file. I had one on file from a courtcase that I had last year against a former employer (it was written as part of the settlement). I called my former principal at Mater Dei Academy and she called me back and agreed to write one for me and to mail it. And I emailed my college advisor and he agreed to email one to the woman who hired me! Yay! So I have the 3!  I also have already done one of the other requirements...the Protecting God's Children class that is required for the Catholic Church. I did that when I was teaching full time. Now just to get the fingerprints and background check done. I had it done in 2001 but it has to be done every 5 years. So things are looking up in regards to that job!

THE BAD: We are still pretty stressed about money. We are fine each month, but we don't have hardly any left over to save for a used car or to put toward debt. And my dear husband is SO stressed out about his job, money, finances, our kids, etc. and that is bad. I have shown him that his income meets our needs financially, but he still is so stressed and when he gets like this I really don't know what to do.

THE UGLY: The job that I thought I had at Walmart didn't work out. (I won't go into details, as you can read about it here. ) That stopped any plans of getting a car anytime soon. It is so frustrating because I basically wasted a whole day away from my husband and kids and it made Bill and I get into a huge fight, etc. I am so frustrated because I really want to be able to move forward and it seems we are stuck in neutral.
Another Ugly, was we got our interest statements for our student loans. Both of our loans are in deferment as Bill had lost his job and I wasn't able to work because of Jacob's birth, etc... We owe around $55,000 in Student loans...UGH.....And neither of us are using our degrees. That is what makes this an ugly. I wish I could mail back my diploma and say thanks but no thanks. But I know that is not how it works. I am just tired of seeing the amount of debt that we have. (although it is better now than it was 1 year ago.)...

So there you have it. The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of our financial week. What is your GBU?

For more info visit: Digging Out From Our Mess

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The job that wasn't...

So I had posted before about how I had gotten 2 jobs. One for an afterschool care program and one at Walmart. Well yesterday was my orientation at Walmart. I should have known from the beginning there was going to be a problem...the woman running it had no clue as to what we were supposed to be doing. She never checked our books to see if we had the right answers or were participating in the program. At another point she was supposed to show us how to use the compactor and baler...that consisted of us walking back and her saying there it is and walking past. She kept asking the personnel manager if these forms were the right ones, etc. The manager on duty was supposed to come and talk to us, but she didn't even call for him. She assumed he was too busy. (He was out back smoking as we saw from our "tour" of the back.) Very, very disorganized! Right before we leave, she rushes us through clocking out and then hands us our schedules for the next 3 weeks....I look at my schedule and think..."what the...?".. My schedule had me working from 10pm to 7am, 4 days a week. Okay so I got hours, so what is the big deal? The big deal is that I told them that the earliest I was available for overnight was midnight or later. During my last interview/ job offer I told them that again and the manager, the same one who was supposed to do our orientation, told me that was fine, they could do a 1am-7am shift. I brought this to the attention to the personnel director who seemed ticked that I was balking at the schedule they gave me. She got an attitude with me. So, she then took it to the manager on duty, the same one who told me that. After like 10 minutes, she came back and got me and he asked me what the problem was. When I explained the problem, he said " don't recall saying" He would not look me in the eye. He asked what other positions I could be put in and unfortunately (or not) they didn't have any other openings and "are not allowed" to do different shifts than the 10-7 shift. So looks like I will not be working at Walmart. As I was leaving, the personnel manager did tell me that I would be paid for that day.....ugh...

My reaction to this....anger, upset about being lied to, upset because I "wasted" a day of stupid orientation that had nothing to do with the job itself. The more I thought about it though, I was relieved. My gut had been telling me that this wasn't right. Even Bill said he wasn't feeling all the great about me working there and being full time mom. The money would have been nice, but I can't leave a 4 year old and a 10 month old home alone just so I can go work at walmart at 10pm. Oh well, lesson learned. I have had a lot reaction on facebook from family and friends who have worked at walmart and they were not surprised and told me that I was better off.  (As a side note, I will probably not stop shopping at Walmart all together. Where we live there are not a lot of shopping choices for groceries. That being said I will probably try to shop more at Kroger and Aldi before Walmart. But I will warn others who are talking about applying there for a job.)

So what next?  I will still be working for the after school program, I am in the process of getting that stuff done. Getting reference letters, etc. together. That I am looking forward to doing and is more in line with who I am anyway. I feel so positive about this opportunity. I am also going to be putting ads out for tutoring and lessons; something I have done off and on for the past 3 years. I am also brainstorming what else I can do. Any suggestions??

Monday, August 2, 2010

Menu Plan--August 2- 8, 2010

So last week didn't go so well again. SIGH... But that just means things will be switched over to this week. This is how I did last week:

Monday: leftovers/ chicken fried rice, melon--had this

Tuesday: hamburgers, fruit--nope, had leftovers I think. (can't remember)

Wednesday: (my b-day): hot dogs, fruit-- nope. Ended up going out to dinner with my parents for my b-day

Thursday: dinner out with my in-laws for my b-day-- yep, went to dinner with my hubby, kids and inlaws.

Friday: grilled chicken, broccoli, pineapple---nope, we had leftovers from the dinners out and from Subway lunch that we had at the park that afternoon

Saturday: fish, corn, applesauce-- nope, the kids and I spent the day in Utica with my parents and we met Bill for dinner at Roosters.

Sunday: leftovers or pizza night-- Yep, we had pizza.

Overall last week was a nightmare on our diet. We ate out way too much (although we didn't have to pay for any of the eating out! :) We shall see what this week brings with me going back to work and not sure of what my schedule will be. But here is the plan:

MONDAY: grilled chicken, peas, and apples
TUESDAY: fish, corn, applesauce, tomatoes and cucumbers
WEDNESDAY: macaroni and cheese, green beans and fruit
THURSDAY: spaghetti and garlic bread
FRIDAY: turkey sandwiches, apples
SATURDAY: leftovers/ pizza
SUNDAY: leftovers/ pizza

For more menu ideas, please visit Laura at

Sunday, August 1, 2010

The Good, The Bad and the Ugly--August 1, 2010

It's that time again. Time for the Good, the Bad and the Ugly of the previous week. Let's see what last week held.....

THE GOOD:: I got both jobs. I am going to be working overnight at Walmart and then I found out that I got the St. Vincent job as well! This will be a huge help for us financially, however I am very, VERY anxious about working again and leaving the kids.
Also Bill decided that giving up Directv's Sunday Ticket this year made sense. I told him we couldn't afford the $350 that it costs, especially if he wasn't going to be home to watch many of the games. After some hemming and hawing, he agreed!

THE BAD: I didn't use any coupons this week at the grocery store. And it was mostly because I didn't have them with me. Now, I didn't spend a ton at the store, but I just didn't feel like going back home and getting them. This week was rather low spend at the grocery store, so I am okay with it, but every little bit helps.

THE UGLY:: I have had to dip into our savings account again to keep bills paid up. We still have our $1000 emergency fund, but that is about it. This move and the insuing costs of paying for 2 different places and the utilities for 2 places over the course of the month really threw our financial picture out the window. And the expenses that we didn't see coming...(Att bill, $140 repair on car, etc.). I don't like that our bank acct is this low again, but what are you going to do?

So there you have it. Our Good, Bad and Ugly for the week. How was your week?

For more info visit: Digging Out of Our Mess