Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Years Resolutions

I am sure the same subject is coming up in blogs all over the internet, but here I am anyway adding mine.

I try to keep mine to no more than 5 reasonable goals. I don't want to fail and making too many changes is definitely not going to help.

1: Exercise Daily. I used to do this. I was a gymnast and ran track as a teen so being in shape was vital. After my younger kid was born, I had a gym membership and I went daily. When we first bought the gym equipment I was all over it. A knee injury, then a chest cold, then pure laziness kept me away. My goal is to exercise every single day even if it is nothing more than a 20 minute walk on the treadmill.

2: Drink more water. I am chronically dehydrated. I don't drink anywhere near enough water. I am lucky if I drink one glass a day (although when I am sick I can't get enough. At least my body knows what is good for me) I want to drink at least 4 glasses (16 oz) of water a day. I think that is reasonable.

3: Do some school work daily. I am a procrastinator. The past two terms I put things off then did a huge scramble last minute. This term hasn't been much better but I can still catch up. I know I procrastinate and setting a goal to stop like I have in the past just doesn't work, so instead my goal is to complete at least one task from my course of study each day.

4: Quit smoking. Remember my one month quit-aversary? Well it wasn't long after that my grandpa got sick, my stress level went up and I fell off the wagon. I am not going to promise to put them down tomorrow and never pick them back up. I do have an overall goal of quitting by April. I turn 30 next year. It seems like a good year to quit.

5. Take a picture a day. Last year I was a part of Project 365 in which a picture a day was taken and posted. I went until April. I would like to make it the entire year this time. I think I will post pictures to this blog at the end of my posts. At least I will be held somewhat accountable then.

Happy New Year everyone. May 2010 be a wonderful, productive year for everyone.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Homemade pizza - $8.01 for 3 pizzas

For a while, every week we were getting pizza. It cost us around $13 to get two large pepperoni which were usually greasy and lukewarm by the time we got them home. I started making our own pizzas which had way better toppings, were hot from the oven, and cost less.

My dough recipe originally comes from the Tightwad Gazette. I was reminded of it from this blog. I make 3 batches of this dough. One for me, one for my husband, and one to split between my kids. This also leaves us with leftovers (and who doesn't like leftover pizza?)

1 Tbsp yeast
1 tsp sugar
3/4 cup very warm water

Combine the three and allow to sit for 5 minutes.

Then add 1 tsp salt, seasonings such as garlic, basil and oregano, 1 Tbsp oil and about 2 cups of flour. Add it slowly until you can't mix in any more. Then knead for 5-7 minutes or until the dough is firm and elastic. Allow the dough to rest for 10 minutes.

Roll out dough building up around outside edges for the crust. Top with 1/3 jar of pizza sauce, 4 oz shredded mozzerella, favorite toppings, and a sprinkling of parmesan to top it off. Throw it in a 450 oven for about 15-20 minutes depending on how thick your dough is.

This is my husband's pizza before it went in the oven. He likes his pizza with pepperoni, jalapenos, olives and onion.

And mine after it came out of the oven, complete with olives, onion, banana peppers, roasted red peppers, mushrooms, and feta cheese. Mine doesn't come out as pretty because I only have one pizza stone and my husband got it this time.

My girls like a simple pizza with just cheese and pepperoni. Everyone gets what they want without paying a fortune at the pizza place to get it.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Oatmeal with cinnamon

No one can deny that oatmeal is good for you. They are a great source of both soluble and insoluble fiber. It lowers bad cholesterol. It has a ton of vitamins, may have antioxidants that help fight cancer and one of my favorite reasons, it slows down the digestion of starches. What does that mean? You feel full longer. For someone who is trying to be more conciensious about what goes in their body you can't get a more perfect breakfast food.

But wait! You can make the oatmeal even better by adding cinnamon. Cinnamon has also been shown to lower LDL cholesterol. It too is a blood sugar regulator. There is a possibility it helps get rid of problematic yeast infections. It has anti-clotting effects on the blood and it too has multiple vitamins and minerals.

Oatmeal and cinnamon are also both really cheap. It makes it a frugal breakfast choice as well as a healthy one.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Microwave nastiness

The problem with preteen children is their love for the microwave and their inability to clean up spills. My kids love coco wheats for breakfast. I don't mind. It is hot, fairly healthy and fairly cheap. The problem is that when you make coco wheats in the microwave, if you don't keep a very close eye on them, they tend to explode. I broke my cardinal rule of avoiding photographing anything that can be described as nasty, dirty or disgusting just for today's very special post.

Exhibit A: I rarely use the microwave so this lovely mess may be up to 3 days old by the time I discovered it.

So, I am going to share my secret with you. It takes me less than 4 minutes to have it sparkling again. Ready?

Step one, get a clean dishrag sopping wet with plain water.
and throw it in the microwave.

Microwave it on high for a minute and a half.

I then take the microwave carousel out and simply wipe the crap away. It is that easy. No scrubbing. It is very very hot though, so please be careful.

I then run a scrubbrush over the carousel, top and bottom. This takes less than a minute as the grime on it too was softened, and I am back to a sparkly clean microwave.

Now, if only I had the solution to getting my spawn to want to keep it clean as well...

Sunday, December 27, 2009

I have been married 12 years today

I really do have the ideal husband. He cooks. He cleans. He fixes everything. He is a great dad and a truely awesome husband. I am lucky in every possible way. I am not typically a sappy person but he manages to get through my cynical nature. I am looking forward to our 13th year married.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The magic of baking soda

Despite the craziness of the holidays and trying to do ten million and a half things, I needed to share this with everyone.

If you are having issues with heartburn and don't have tums or other convenient tablets, mix half a tsp of baking soda into about 4 oz of water. It will taste nasty. It will work better than anything else. You can adjust the amount of baking soda should you need more or less. I don't actually measure so that is an estimate. This also works for indigestion, gas, and occasionally, upset stomach. It is cheaper than tums, rolaids, pepto and so on too.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

I am a neglectful blogger

to be honest, my brain has just been exhausted this month.

I figured I would start today off with my peanut butter fudge recipe. My family loves this recipe. I have also had it win a candy contest which was a nice little boost. I haven't yet made it this season but will be making some for thing 2's Christmas party at school. No peanut allergies to contend with so it works.

Peanu Butter Fudge $1.25

2 c. milk
2 c. sugar
1 c. peanut butter
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tbsp butter

In heavy saucepan combine sugar and milk. Heat on medium stirring occasionally, until it comes to a low boil. Continue cooking until mixture reaches softball stage. After reaching softball stage, remove from heat, add peanut butter, vanilla and butter. Stir to mix well. Beat mixture until it loses its glossiness. Pour into slightly buttered 8x8 or 9x9 pan.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

More dental work

This is where I recommend that if you grind your teeth, and you don't already have one, get a mouth guard.

I have been doing the jaw clenching thing at night for years. The past 3 years or so I added teeth grinding to the mix. I looked at mouth guards before but at $20-$50 I kept putting it off.

During my last dental cleaning, they found 5 teeth with cavities, all in the front. I had worn the enamel off the backs of my front teeth. I now have a mouth guard to wear at night but it's a little late. Today I had 3 teeth filled. I ended up paying the $20 for the mouth guard anyway (and plan on spending $30 more since the one I have is not comfortable at all) plus I had to spend $72.40 today with another $40 bill coming to cover my deductable. That doesn't include the 2 left to be filled on the 23rd. Not using a mouthguard cost me way more money in the long run.

Cavities are not pleasant either. My dentist is very good about making sure I am completely numb so besides the initial first shot (and I needed 3 shots of that crap total) it didn't hurt, but the sound of the drill is awful. Sitting for 40 minutes with my mouth open is far from comfortable, and now my nose is numb along with my top lip which is just really weird. I only had one cavity growing up and I don't recall getting it filled at all so this was a new experience for me.

And can I just say how much I appreciate dental insurance once again? $72.40 is a much better deal than paying the $362 it would have cost without it.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Bartering services

This is probably one of the best ways of saving money. Everyone has their own strengths.

I had a small leak under my sink that decided to soak some things today. My husband was at work and the valve thing wasn't doing much. I called my neighbor, who happens to be a plumber and he came and fixed it up for me. Don't ask me what he did because I have no clue.

My husband is amazingly good at computers. He can fix anything. My neighbor has been having issues with his computer. My husband has offered to fix it before but I don't think he wanted to bother us with it. So I told him he now has to bring it over to be fixed so I can pay him back. I don't have a ton of money but we do have some knowlege. I have also traded photography services for things as that is my area (although that is another of my husband's areas too. The man is good at everything, I swear)

So network and use your talents and you can get some things done.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Rest in Peace Grandpa

You will be very very greatly missed.

Darwin Joe Morgan
9/10/35 - 12/8/09

Monday, December 7, 2009

Save some gas

This post is probably pretty obvious to many, but I am sharing it anyway.

I drive a lot lately as my grandpa is still in the hospital an hour away, my kids are in school, my younger kid swims and I still have errends to run. I do whatever I can to save gas.

1. Combine trips. I live out in the country. It is a 15 minute drive to get just about anywhere. I combine trips as much as possible. I go grocery shopping after I take my daughter to swim practice while I am in town. I do all my grocery shopping in one big trip and usually do things like get gas at the same time.

2. Accelerate slowly. If you punch it everytime you take off, you are using more gas than if you do a slow, steady acceleration. You should also try to maintain your speed, and though it can be tempting, avoid speeding. Most cars get optimum gas mileage between 45 and 55, so take your foot off the gas.

3. Public transportation. It isn't all that available where I live, but I do utilize what we have, which means my kids ride the school bus home in the afternoon. It is coming by anyway. Might as well use it.

4. Carpool. Again, not a whole lot of that happening way out here, but since my husband does go right by the school in the morning on his way to work, he takes the kids in the morning, and includes the neighbor kid. Not really saving gas since they would otherwise take the bus, but not wasting it either, and my kids get a little dad time in the AM.

Of course there are other things you can do. Keep your car tuned up. Make sure your tires are inflated to the proper pressure. Walk when you can, or ride a bike. Save a dollar and be a little more environmentally friendly.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Cheap date?

My husband and I have recently taken bowling back up. It really is a lot of fun and at $2.75 a game, it isn't a bad price either. You can bowl two games easily and still be ahead of going to a movie. It's one of those things that everyone can play and have fun, even if they are not good at it.

My husband got a ball and shoes for an early Christmas present. The shoes will save us money in the long run as shoes can run anywhere from $1.50-$3.00 to rent. Rentals just are not comfy either. So I spent $30 on shoes that will probably last forever. I still have my shoes from when I was a teen and they are in perfect condition. I am talking 15 year old shoes that still look like new. Not bad.

The ball will not save us money. That was purely comfort and a nice present. I am really looking forward to getting out more with my husband. We really have hit the golden years with our kids. They are too old to need a babysitter, but too young to ask to be dropped off at the mall. I plan on enjoying some free time with my husband, which we haven't gotten much of since my oldest was born.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Because I am so proud of my kid

for not chickening out of this meet, I am posting this all over the place. I finally got to see what all our swim money is going to. Check back because I will keep posting videos as we get them up.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Work, work, work

I subbed at the daycare center I used to work at. I have only been gone 3 months but wow did those babies get bigger. I had an awesome time and it was a good reminder about why I loved my job. I was also essentially offered my job back.

It was so hard to turn it down. I did though. As much as I adore those babies, I am not the greatest at multitasking. I miss the weekly paycheck sure. However, my school needs to be a priority and I can't seem to manage that and work and the house and family.

So I will sub in for the rest of the week, and make up a little bit of what we spent on Christmas. I will enjoy every minute, then go back to being a housewife.