Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Great Buys


I found this great idea from $5 Dinners but it was too late for this Christmas. So I started planning for next Christmas. I went to a few stores and got several of these soup mugs ($1 each) and Latte mugs ($0.75 each) on the clearance rack. Next year I will fill them with the recipe for 'Mug Cake' that I found on $5 Dinners and/or homemade hot chocolate mix. This will help tremendously on next year's Christmas budget. I have 4 children so there are several teachers that I have to buy for (2 school teachers and 8 church teachers - 2 per child, 1 Wed. night and 1 Sun. morning teacher). Also, I feel that food is something everyone could use (knick knacks are appreciated I am sure, but a person can only have so many). I wrote this down in my Holiday Control Journal along with the recipe so I will remember next year. If you have any great gift ideas, let me know.

Christmas Crafts



Filet Crochet

I crocheted a couple of doilies for my niece and grand-niece for Christmas. They can be matted and framed and they are beautiful. We are having Christmas with my in-laws this coming weekend, they will get them then. They are both babies and their mothers' can mat and frame them to match their rooms if that's what they want to do.

I love it! We usually have Christmas with my family the week before Christmas and we have Christmas with the in-laws the week after Christmas (New Year's weekend) and we have Christmas with just my immediate family (hubby and boys and Papaw) on Christmas! It is so not stressful this way.

I so enjoy crocheting. My great-aunt taught me how to chain stitch when I was about 8 or 9 years old and the rest was self-taught just a few years ago (bought a book and trial and error). I would love to learn to knit. I have tried teaching myself this also (but with kids running around the house it is difficult to read, knit, read, knit and not get lost). I will get it evetually (I think). I wish I had some of my great-aunt's crochet patterns. She used to crochet us a boggin with a pom-pom on the top. I would love to have that pattern.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Santa Bags







I finished the embroidery on the boys' Santa Bags. How do you think they turned out?






New to Couponing

I am new to couponing, but I went to Walgreen's yesterday and saved 74%. I bought 2 Arm & Hammer Laundry detergents for $1.99 ea. (with store coupon - I think that if I had a manf. coupon I could have used that too for even better savings), regularly $6.99 ea. I also bought Sure Deodorant for $0.49 (it was supposed to be FREE). It was regularly $2.99 on sale for $2.50 (they charged me full price instead of sale price) and I had a store coupon for $1.50 off and a manufacturer's coupon for $1.00 off.

I am proud of myself because just a few weeks ago I bought what I needed when I needed it and never really thought about the price. If I had a coupon, I would use it, but now I am maximizing my savings by matching coupons with sales to get FREE or really cheap items. I am more conscience of my spending and what things cost. I am trying to stockpile FREE and extremely cheap items. I have several tubes of toothpaste that I got a few weeks ago FREE or really cheap (like $0.25 or $0.50).

I am not very good yet, but with time and practice I hope to get better. I am also playing the Grocery Game. That is helping buy more for less. Right now I cannot see my grocery bill going down, but I can see my stockpile getting larger (or even existant before it was non-existant) for the same amount of money I was spending. So I am getting more for the same money, I hope to be able to reduce my grocery bill when I no longer have a long list of 'need' items.

I am watching several blogs for help with CVS and Walgreens (that is all new to me also). I am having fun with it. I am always excited to get my receipt and see (or figure out) how much I have saved.

I am a big Kroger shopper and I love stacking manf. coupons with Shortcuts or Cellfire e-coupons! The other day at Kroger I got 12 rolls of toilet paper for about $0.06 a roll. That's right - not a typo (I paid $0.25 for a 4 pack of Cottonelle). I bought 3 pkgs. for $0.99 ea. I had a coupon from a blinkie at Kroger that said $0.75/3. Then I also had 2 $0.50 Shortcuts e-coupons and 1 $0.50 Cellfire e-coupon. Sometimes I'm able to get them for FREE (a $0.50 manf. coupon that Kroger doubles OR a $0.25 coupon that Kroger doubles and a $0.50 Shortcuts or Cellfire e-coupon).

Also, as an added bonus...Cottonelle toilet paper has Box Tops for Education (I collect them for my kids' school). Isn't this fun?!?!

30 Ways to Be a Nicer Person suggestion #2...

2) Put your shopping cart back where it belongs instead of leaving it in the middle of the parking lot.

~Jena

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Children

Rance came running through the house the other day without a stitch on. He took everything off (including his diaper) and said "I nakned, I nakned." (That's 2 year old for I'm naked, I'm naked.) Kids are so funny!

Weight Awareness Wednesday

Yuck! Yuck! and Yuck! I am up 2 lbs. :o<

It seems like people are less and less nice (especially during the holidays - what's up with that?). Well, I can't change anybody else, but I can change me. So, how to be a nicer person. I found an article in the Nov. 9, 2004 issue of Family Circle (yes, I am getting rid of my paper clutter, but I am looking through them one more time before they are gone). The title of the article was 30 ways to be a nicer person.

1) Try to make everyone you meet laugh at least once.

Stay tuned for more...(one at a time, don't get in a hurry).

~Jena

Monday, December 8, 2008

Earrings

What is that one something that makes you feel special? Mine is a pair of silver toned (not even the real stuff) hoop earrings. Not small, not big, just average. They have a spring loaded clip on the back so that if they get pulled out by my kids, I will loose an earring and not an ear. I found them when my oldest (9 soon to be 10) was an infant. I have lost several over the years. I buy another pair the exact same and if one of those gets lost I still have a pair. Well, my son lost both earrings a few months ago and I haven't been able to find "my earrings," so I haven't been wearing any earrings.

I found "my earrings" today! Yeah!!!!!!!! I bought a pair and after standing in line for quite some time with 2 cranky toddlers I found out they were on sale. (I will go back later and get another pair.) I put them on as soon as I got back in my van. Now I feel like me again. It's strange how something so small and insignificant makes me feel special, makes me feel pretty.

What's your 'something special?' Is it a favorite shade of lipstick? A favorite parfume?

~Jena

"There isn't any mountain you can't conquer." -Unknown

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Crock Pot Candy

"Height matters not, heart matters a lot." - Unknown

I just made some crock pot candy and it was good. Here's the recipe...

16 oz. unsalted peanuts
16 oz. salted peanuts
1 bar German chocolate
6 oz. peanut butter chips
12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 pkg. (18 squares) of vanilla bark

Layer these items in the order listed above in your crock pot. Turn crock pot on low and cook for 2 1/2 hours. DO NOT LIFT LID UNTIL THE 2 1/2 HOURS IS UP!!!!! Then stir the mixture up and drop by teaspoonfuls onto wax paper and leave until firm. Then store. Makes about 80 - 100 pieces (according to how big you make them.)

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Home Made Simple

I love Home Made Simple. They have such great ideas. Check out their party journal.

~Jena

Deck the Halls





Last year I made these "Santa" bags for each of our kids. It is a great big red sack that they leave under the tree on Christmas Eve and Santa leaves each child's presents in the appropriate bag. It's a new tradition that we started last year. This year for Mother's Day I got an embroidery machine, so now I have to embroider their names on their bags.
Lee put Anthony in the bag, then he put Rance in the bag. Lee makes a great Santa.
I put my crockpot on with the scents of the season, thanks to the Crockpot Lady. Part of the time I had Christmas music on the computer and the rest of the time we watched Polar Express. It was nice while decorating our trees.
I have one tree that stays up all year long (I have deocrated in the "Lodge" look and the tree is part of the decor.) and we just decorate it with "Lodge" ornaments at Christmas. Then last year I picked up 5 smaller trees for less than a $1 each at an after Christmas clearance. Each child has his own tree to decorate and then there is an extra one for their bathroom vanity.

Sweet Pouting Face


Isn't this the sweetest pouting face? He hurt himself and cried himself to sleep in my arms, I had to lay him down and get the camera. When they are sleeping you can almost see the halo above their heads.

Weight Awareness Wednesday

I had a gain of 1.2 lbs. this week. Not bad really, considering it was Thanksgiving and we had 2 Thanksgiving dinners (one with my family and one with the in-laws).

"Your state of mind is your state of life." - Unknown

~Jena

Monday, December 1, 2008

Building Up

"Building up is always harder than tearing down. But when you build up, you have something. When you tear down, you have nothing." -Unknown
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