Friday, April 23, 2010

By God's Grace

We moved. I didn’t really want to, I loved my little house but circumstances beyond our control made it a good choice. As in, the land we were renting didn’t even belong to the rental company (!!!!) and the real owner had sold it to the highway department to expand the highway (!!!!!). No, I’m not kidding.

We had a few hiccups while moving such as truck/trailer problems, said truck getting stuck in mud, dogs getting loose while we were gone, chickens being eaten, things being stolen from our old house, utilities not getting connected as ordered and many bumps and bruises from moving everything by ourselves.

But thanks to God’s grace and endless blessings we found an ideal place, began to rent it and had the majority of our belongings moved in 3 days!

Our new place is still a rental property, we’re just not ready for the large down payment to buy and we kind of like the fact that someone else is responsible for the hot water heater etc. = )
It is our dream place really. It’s a 3 bed 2 bath trailer house on 10 acres filled with lush grass, tall trees and a creek running through it. We’re told there is abundant wildlife including: feral hogs, deer, rabbits, opossums, racoons, various birds and , as we found out yesterday, crawfish!?!

The available game coupled with the ability to now raise our own beef and meat chickens and have a LARGE garden plot makes us extrememly happy!

The trailer is nice but needs a little work so I’m busy painting over the ever-lovely color coordinating pink and hunter green wallpaper (yuck!) and will be helping Jason rip up the matching pink carpet and laying down a fake tile the landlords picked out.
I think it will look positively marvelous when we’re done.

On to my favorite part----THE KITCHEN. I’ve never had so much counter and cabinet space in MY LIFE. Its positively inspiring!

My freezer cooking REALLY paid off during this move, no meals to prepare, no dishes to wash. And with this kitchen I can see endless possibilities with continuing this.

The previous renters (who were kind of shady characters) left a large dining table with chairs and a very large hutch behind and the landlords said that we can use them if we want. So my smallish dining table and hutch went into storage and I filled this hutch with our pantry contents. Now, everything is organized and in one place!

Downsides, you ask?

1)Well the front of the property runs along a semi-busy highway but the hosue is set back and acre or so. We can hear the cars but it beats living in the city between 2 highways and by the railroad tracks.

2) Can anyone say fleas??!!!?? I think the previous renters left more behind than some furniture.

3) NO CABLE INTERNET!!!!! = ( The only thing available in this area is dial up, which I’m using out of desperation, or satelite which is EXTREMELY expensive.

So, while moving wasn’t exactly what we had planned, its obviously what God had planned for us and by His Grace everything fell into place. (Hey! That rymed…..I’m such a goober) Thank God for the small things and the big ones too!

God Bless,

Saturday, April 17, 2010


I apologize for the absence from my blog.  It turns out that we are moving rather hurriedly to a new house and I am sure you all understand how hectic that can be, especially when we have yet to get internet set up at the new place. 

But we're excited and I can't wait to tell you all the changes and catch up on my posts!

God Bless,

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

WFMW: Freezer Cooking Week Instead of Day

This is my first ever Works-For-Me Wednesday post!!!!! Can you tell I'm excited?!? It's also a little late....oops. = )

I have just recently started freezer cooking and I admit, it was very daunting at first.  Although we do not have a large family its is still so much easier to have meals 1/2 way prepared so that we are not tempted to eat junk or worse, eat out. 

However, the big day of cooking was not working.  I was overwhelmed and my tiny little kitchen could not handle it. And by tiny, I mean its approximately 9 x 6.  Yep, it was once a porch that the previous owners re-purposed for a kitchen.  I'll be sure to post pictures later = ).

Back on topic, I decided that instead of cramming it into a day I could spread it out over a week.  Its still a lot of work but 1 weeks worth of work is a lot better than the grueling task of figuring out what to fix each. and. every. night and undoubtedly not having anything thawed out.

For example, this week I did my planning and shopping on Monday.  On Tuesday I made my vegetable dishes: broccoli and cheese casserole and deserts: banana pudding.  

Today I made my beef dishes: shepherds pie, Cavatini (to die for!), and browned some extra to toss into spagetti etc later. 

Tomorrow I will make my chicken dishes: chicken pot pie, warm chicken salad and extra chicken for other dishes. 

And finally, Friday I will make my corn dog muffins (I can't remember where I got this recipe, can anyone help?) and homemade ham and cheese hot pockets.  I will also chop up and freeze some onion to have for recipes and make another batch of breakfast burritos, sausage patties and waffles. 

While most people like knocking it out in one day, I find that Freezer cooking is best spread out and that's what Works for Me.

Monday, April 5, 2010

$1 Easter Lilly's at HEB and More

I hit the after-Easter sales today at walmart and HEB.  All of the Easter merchandise and candy are 1/2 off at walmart.  Beware though, some things are still cheaper if you buy the regular type of candy instead of the "Easter version".  I did get a great deal on Resses eggs that are the same as the regular candy. 

This sale is especially wonderful because we don't get to celebrate the commercial egg-hunting part of Easter until the 18th.  So by waiting until today I got everything I needed for Jacob's Easter for 1/2 off! woohoo!

Another tip: If you wait until next weekend the pickens' will be slim but everything will be 75 percent off or more! 

 HEB had Easter 6 inch Easter Lilly's for $1!  They are a spring flower so I don't think they last long but for a $1?  AWESOME.  

Hope this helps!

*Thanks for the image:

Totally free clipart,
 animations and graphics 

Giveaway by At the Well

 At the Well has a fabulous giveaway going on this week. They also have a raffle going with some amazing prize packages.  For details on entering click here

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Baby Food Deal

I know many of you don't use baby food but if you do I found a great deal at Dollar Tree of all places.

Now Dollar Tree, mind you, is a tricky place.  They persuade you into buying things you don't need with their promise of "Everything for $1.00" and often times you can, in fact, get the item cheaper at Walmart.  However, they do have some great deals on things like homeschool supplies, picture frames and baby odds and ends. 

Today, I found Gerber baby food 3 for $1.00, so roughly .33 cents a piece. I usually pay .60 something-cents for the same at Walmart or H.E.B. I know what your thinking, but don't worry, I checked all of the expiration dates and they're A-okay.  The only down side of this deal is the selection.  They usually only have cereal and fruit combination's but its a good staple to keep around.   

In fact, while feeding my latest addition by 2 1/2 year old has been known to steal bites of the oatmeal/apple sauce/banana.  And I know I could make this cheaper but the convenience is hard to beat = )

Know of any good deals?  Feel free to share!

*The graphic used came from the site below*

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Being Frugal with Food---Grocery Budgeting

The 4 Moms, 35 Kids post today inspired me to jot down the methods I use when I budget and shop for groceries. Even though we have only have two little ones at the moment I have adopted a lot of these practices in case there are more in our future. Not to mention, its always good to save money, right?


Because we are only a family of 4 our budget doesn't look anything like a lot of families. We a lot $255 every two weeks for expenses. Expenses include: Gas for our van and my husband's truck, feed for the chickens, dogs and menagerie of reptiles and groceries, personal items and household supplies. So out of that I spend approximately $50-$60 a week on actual food, roughly $15 a person weekly or $60 a person monthly. While I don't think that's too shabby, some may think I'm spending too much. It all depends on where you are in life as to how you look at things.

Eating Out

We do not eat out except for special occasions and then I scour the net for coupons and special deals. If we are going to be in town running errands we pack a lunch or we come back home to eat. (We live right on the edge of the city so this isn't too hard). My husband packs his lunch every day and sometimes gets to come home to eat.

Eating Habits

Okay, now with that budget in mind let me also tell you how we eat. We have meat every day of the week and there is not a whole lot of rice but we do love pasta. We do eat fresh fruit and veggies but only what is in season/on sale. We do not eat prepackaged cookies, ice cream, soda etc. I usually make one dessert item a week, such as a pie or cookies. Soda and ice cream are reserved for dining out on special occasions.

The boys eat what we eat.....or they get awful hungry. Of course I keep in mind if they do have severe aversions to certain foods and I be sure to include an alternative if I can, but this doesn't happen often.


I used to plan a weekly menu around our local grocery ads and coupons. This worked well, but I have found that if I wait for things to go on sale and then buy them in bulk I tend to get a better deal. I then simply base my menu on the stockpile of bought-on-sale items in my freezers and my pantry. This post by Smockity is a good reference on how to grocery shop in your own house.

We only buy things like cheese and some canned goods in bulk. We also find that the produce and meat at places like Sams are both a better deal and often better quality.

I find that the HEB meal deals and sales are often worthwhile and will get most of our other groceries from there.

I hate going into Walmart so I try to avoid it at all costs.

The "day old bread store" is a very frugal place and worth the little extra drive. I usually find wheat bread for .85 cents a loaf so I buy several and freeze them.

The farmers market is a frequent stop in the summer, and this year I plan on freezing some of that great produce so we don't have to rely on non-organic during the winter.

This year we were given a 1/4 of a cow by my parents and intend on purchasing one a year. I believe the beef is still partially corn fed but at least I know where exactly its from and who butchered it.

In a few months we will have some meat chickens to process but until then, if its on sale, we eat it.


I do clip/print coupons and pair them with sales but I have some criteria for this.

  1. The item has to be a really good sale.
  2. The item has to be something we will actually eat.
You would be surprised how many over-priced items that people tend to buy just because they have a coupon for it.


While we avoid most convenience items such as TV dinners, pre-packaged snacks and soft drinks, there are a few things we indulge (or you could say invest) in.
When considering whether or not to purchase a frozen pizza for example, I consider the following:

  1. What is the cost compared to eating out? Take-out Pizza is outrageous!
  2. What is the cost compared to making it from scratch? I have made pizza from scratch before, but sometimes we are just looking for a quick meal due to busy schedules.
  3. Am I willing to sacrifice a little spending money in order to not to have to cook this item from scratch? This is what it all boils down to: Am I willing to sacrifice money for convenience? Often the answer is no, but some days the answer is a definite YES and I go ahead and make the purchase, keeping in mind I have to pull that money from spending because that purchase was not in the grocery budget.
Where I Am Not Frugal

We buy paper towels. There I said it...whew, such a relief!

We are less frugal on certain things like buying paper towels but there is always room for improvement, right?
**Disclaimer**We do use reusable rags etc for most chores the paper towels are more for "emergencies".

Other things I have not been so frugal on:
-Bottled Green tea- its the only thing my husband asks for.....ever. So we buy it in bulk for his lunches.
-Disposable Diapers- I went back to cloth and then my parents gave us 2 cases of diapers. So I guess technically we are still being frugal.
- Buying bread- although I am getting it cheap, I know that homemade is better and cheaper still. I used to make my own, but right now with a toddler and a baby, its one of those sacrifices I'm willing to make. = )
- 6 oz of chocolates for $10!!!!!!- well, this was because I felt sorry for the 2 little boys that came to sell goodies for their school fundraiser. But being that expensive I'm enjoying them even more....hehe.

Things I want to try in the future:
-Home-made granola instead of cereal
-making my own baby food

Do ya'll have any ideas? How do you keep the budget trim and slim every month?
I would love to hear suggestions and like to answer questions!

God Bless,