Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Happy 95th Birthday!!!

Happy 95th Birthday to one of the most interesting and wonderful men I have ever known!
I wish I could be there to celebrate with you, to love on your neck and give you some sugar!
I love you and am so happy that you are my grandfather!
Happy Birthday!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Last Weeks Frugal Accomplishments

The frugal updates for the week are:

*52 Week Savings Plan:  I have not actually deposited any money into this account yet as I have been unable to get to the bank due to my injury.  I hope to deposit another $30 in to this account which would give me a balance of $80 but it is not in there yet.  I will let you know next week.

*Christmas Jar of Change:  I only added $1.54 to the jar this week but when added to the previous balance I have a total of $51.54 in the Christmas Jar of Change.

*Favorite Frugal Accomplishments:

-I accomplished one no spend day.

-I signed up for Groupon and used it to buy an airsoft party package at a significant discount for Bishop's belated birthday party. To further my savings I entered the Groupon site through Ebates and received a small percentage back.  Also, as an introductory offer to Ebates I will be receiving a $10 WalMart gift card soon.

-I also made a purchase through Living Social, via Ebates.  I paid $5 for $10 worth of pizza at a restaurant just around the corner from the theatre which will come in useful during tech week and during the month of Shrek performances.  I am trying to plan ahead in order to reduce some of the expenses I inevitably encounter during shows.

-Also through Groupon I purchased a highly discounted voucher for a photo to be printed on canvas.  This was a fantastic offer for me because one of the items on my gift list was a photo on canvas.

-I had received a coupon for a free calendar from Shutterfly.  When I set up an account with them they gave me a coupon good for developing 50 photos free.  They also had a promotion that allowed for free shipping if I ordered $30 worth of product.  So for $35 I was able to have a photo calendar made, 289 photos developed and all of it shipped to me.  The calendar is to be used as a gift and between the coupon and the free shipping I paid absolutely nothing for it!

-It has been tremendously cold in our neck of the woods so we have been having to run our heater consistently and have been leaving the faucets dripping to prevent the pipes from freezing.  This has a negative impact on our utility bill but, inspired by Brandy, I have been paying more attention to our light usage and making a concerted effort to reduce it.  Every little bit counts!

- I have effectively used my menu plans to utilize the food stuffs that we have at home.

*Last week I slipped on our concrete front stairs and landed on my lower back.  I didn't break any bones or damage my kidneys, for which I am tremendously grateful, but I did significantly traumatize my muscles and have been largely incapacitated.  I have been unable to fulfill most of my duties here at home and my dear boys have had to take up the slack.  They have done a stellar job.  But it is obvious to me that I could organize things in my home differently that would allow others to take over my responsibilities more readily.  One evening we ordered takeout and spent a not-so-frugal $50.  If I had had some meals prepared and in the freezer that the boys could readily have utilized then I could have saved that $50.  However, on the up side, we have only purchased one takeout meal and I have been largely incapacitated for 5 days thus far.  Thank you, my wonderful boys!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Lifestyle of Learning 2014 Edition: Volume One

Life became very busy and hectic and documenting the ways in which we are learning as we simply live has gone to the wayside.  As I peruse the past months of this blog I find that I miss reviewing the little things that make up our lives.  Although I hope to get caught up on documenting our adventures I know that the best plan is not to get any further behind.  So, without any further ado, I present to you just a little sampling of what we have been up to in this new year.

Maceo has spent much time during this new year at the theatre.  He is still in an acting troupe requiring rehearsals for two hours per week and the troupe has had one performance this year thus far.  He was cast in Music Man Jr. and had many hours of rehearsal.  He had a promotional performance on Martin Luther King Jr. day.
Not great pictures but...

you can still see Maceo.  He is partner dancing on the far left side of this picture.

And he performed his role of Charlie Cowell in twelve showings of this production.

His acting choices were VERY funny!  It was a delight seeing him in this role!

Also, he auditioned for SHREK and was cast as one of Farquaads guards.  So he continues to stay busy at the theatre.

Once the holidays were complete and the weather permitted Bishop resumed Boy Scouts.  He attended a Merit Badge University where he was able to earn the fingerprinting merit badge and complete all but one requirement of the entrepreneurship merit badge.  The troop has also recently begun working on the cooking merit badge, which is now an Eagle required badge.  Of course, cooking is one of Bishop's fortes and he does plenty of it at home.  Here is a sampling of some of Bishop's most recent culinary creations.

Buffalo chicken breasts and bacon for chicken sandwiches.

Super-duper yummy hamburgers.

Bacon and onion grilled sandwich.
And currently Bishop is helping me prepare every meal since I am virtually incapacitated due to injuries caused by a rather stupid slip and fall accident.

Bishop has also had some science-related fun in the kitchen with some lemons and a delightful book on the science of lemons.

Bishop and I have started taking drawing lessons.

 Bishop introduced the fun of perler beads to some friends.

And had some fun at the Discovery Center with other friends.

Panning for gold!

We love the Kapla blocks!

A little lunch and a little fun after the Discovery Center.

And there would be a slew of other activities as well such as:
Bishop making gelatin targets for practicing shooting of his new air soft guns,

both of them making progress on their goals of working through a Biology and a math textbook, Bishop attending a class on animal senses and another class in which he got to dissect a squid (sorry, no pictures because a friend took him to the class and I was at the hospital after the aforementioned stupid slip and fall accident), Bishop watching Animal Farm, Maceo reading Death of a Salesman and any other script he can get his hands on, Bishop going to open gymnastics, Maceo continuing with vocal lessons and proudly beginning work on an Italian aria, Bishop resuming history group and discovering books on the kindle, and both of them discovering the joys of sledding,

It seemed like such a slow start to the new year but after listing some of what the boys have done I am pleased.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Last Weeks Frugal Accomplishments

The frugal updates for the week are:

*52 Week Savings Plan:  Ok, so I have finally allocated money towards this savings plan for the first two weeks of February.  I set aside $21 for week 5 and $19 for week 6 increasing my previous balance of $10 by $40 for a grand total of $50.00!

*Christmas Jar of Change:  The previous balance in the jar of change was $46.45.  After finding some change in the laundry room and a bit more in my purse I get to add $3.55 to the jar.  This will result in a grand total of $50.00!

(Hey, lookie there, between the two savings plans I have set aside a total of $100 and I am just getting started!)

*Favorite Frugal Accomplishments:

-I had TWO days of NO spending! (Please remember that last week I was thrilled to have just one day of zero spending).

- I have been fighting some icky crud by drinking lots of water, getting plenty of rest and taking some master tonic.  Frugal yet effective ways of eliminating crud.

-I really stuck to the menu plans and they helped me resist spending money on convenience foods.

It is all becoming easier, more natural and my most frugal child, Christian, has recognized my efforts and commended my efforts.  That is a huge accomplishment!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Go Broncos!

Superbowl XLVIII - party on!


Last Weeks Frugal Accomplishments

The frugal updates for the week are:

*52 Week Savings Plan:  Still at $10 until I figure out how much I can contribute from this pay period.

*Christmas Jar of Change: I have discovered another handful of change while cleaning and a bit more when I dumped out my purse for a total of $4.05 to be added to the Christmas Jar of Change.  The previous balance in the jar was $42.40.  With the the new handful tossed in as well the balance is $46.45. Yay!

*Favorite Frugal Accomplishments:

-That Christmas Jar of Change is going to come in handy come Christmas time but it is not the only thing that I am doing to be prepared for the end of the year money crunch.   I am already making Christmas lists so that I can look for bargains and actually make some gifts.  And I have begun making some of those gifts using items that I have on hand.  I would give you a sneak peek but the intended recipients might also get a peek and I just can't let that happen.

-Organization was a very important part of this weeks frugal accomplishments.  Not only did I organize my annual gift giving but I made three weeks worth of menus using primarily what we already had on hand.

-I did do some grocery shopping and got some really great bargains.  I purchased a years worth of pasta at $.49 per pound.  I also got 10 pounds of ground beef for $1.75 per pound and ten pounds of pork loin for $1.79 per pound.  I divided the meat into meal sized portions and popped them into the freezer.

-I scored twenty pounds of potatoes for $.10 per pound and have enjoyed getting creative with the potatoes.  I made some really fantastic potato soup and some super duper fantastic potato rolls.  Please note that I can't bake bread but I DID bake bread - its a huge accomplishment for me.

- I resumed tending to my Swagbucks and have already earned a $5 Amazon gift card.  I intend to pay for some educational resources using what I earn on Swagbucks.

-I had a "spend nothing" day which is really a big deal for me - another huge accomplishment.

-I downloaded a free kindle app for my mac.  It came with three free books and then I purchased another book for a mere $.99.  Bishop has already completed that book and he truly enjoyed it.

-My neighbors had some trees removed and I scored four large logs so that I can make these toadstools.  They have yet to decide what to do with the rest of their logs.  I am hoping that they will let me have it for firewood.

-I found a free Merit Badge University to send Bishop to.  He earned two Boy Scout merit badges at no cost to me.

-My favorite frugality of the week has to do with FREE entertainment.  On Friday evening, my sister, Roxie, and I went to our community theatre for a performance of Music Man Jr. (the Jr. means that the entire cast is eighteen years of age or younger).  We were able to attend this performance for FREE; I had two complimentary tickets because Maceo is performing in the show.
I then saw the show for FREE twice on Saturday.  I ushered two of the shows which allowed me to see the performances after getting everyone seated.
And, as a performer,  Maceo's hours of FREE entertainment have been numerous.  Being a performer is a huge time commitment but requires little financial investment, particularly if you live as close to the theater as we do.  We are only about 3 minutes away!
If you have a community theatre in your area and are interested in this sort of thing you should check it out.  There could be countless hours of free entertainment available to you.

Now I must get off of this computer and get my Superbowl party ready to go.
Go Broncos!!!!