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Monday, November 29, 2010

Recipes- Holiday Leftovers Turkey Noodle Soup

By now you're tossing or freezing your leftover Holiday dinner (if you haven't eaten it all!).  Tonight my husband reluctantly deboned our turkey (NOT his favorite job) and we decided to toss together a quick, easy soup.

Holiday Leftovers Turkey Noodle Soup

Leftover turkey - still on the bone (we brined ours so was super moist!)
salt and pepper to taste
3 cloves of garlic
2 Bay leaves
Lemon juice
Left over from our Thanksgiving dinner stuffing ingredients:
Cup of real bacon bits cut into small pieces
3 stalks of chopped celery
1/2 large onion diced
3 carrots chopped

Remove as much turkey as you can while you break down the carcass- set dark meat aside but soak the white meat pieces in a little bit of lemon juice (this will make it more tender).  Boil the bones in about 2 quarts water (depending on size of turkey) for 10 minutes or so and let simmer for an hour on medium heat.  While that is cooking, using olive oil, saute onions, carrots, celery and 3 cloves of garlic.  Add about 3/4 cup water and let it cook on low until al dente.
Strain bones from broth and put the broth back onto stove.  Add the sauted mix and the bacon pieces with a couple of bay leaves and bring to a boil (add additional water if necessary).  Add flat egg noodles (or in this case, shells since that's what we had!) and cook according to package directions.  During the last two minutes, add in the turkey pieces you had removed from bone earlier including the lemon juice. Salt and pepper to taste- if flavor is too strong, add more water.
Serve with those leftover dinner rolls!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

SPENDING FREEZE- Part Four. Is this over YET?

These are personal notes from my experience doing a Spending Freeze for the month of November.  For more info, see our first Blog about it at: SPENDING FREEZE- THE PLAN

Description:
RED is what we spent in excesses or was not "needed"
GREEN was money we brought in or "saved"
ORANGE was free stuff
PURPLE was spending that was necessary to living like bills or groceries

Day 18:
5 yr old has no school for next two days (well, next week, too) so we decided to "be still like vegetables.  Lay like broccoli" 

Activity-
  • Housework day since I'm vegging
  • Talked forever on the phone with out of state BFF and sister which should burn a TON of calories (I pace while I talk)
  • Went for a 4+ bike ride while hubby jogged FREE
Spent today-
  • $50 (!!!!!) for tanning for daughter and myself.  Was SO not on purpose!  Told tanning salon to put our account on "hold" through December (I had decided to cancel), and apparently the little receptionist could not count that far...and I can't proof my contract. :(  Have been trying to get ahold of the company but they're NOT calling me back.
  • Hubby spent .85 for a candy bar at work.  Total shocker since he doesn't eat candy.
  • Hubby brought home from work 4 member passes for the Seattle Art Museum to lend to a friend- FREE
Day 19:
Busy, busy, day and most of it before noon! Ugh.

Activity-
  • Allergy shot day
  • Ran some small errands like library, gas, post office, pharmacy, trip to the high school, grocery store and ATM
  • Since I had two unexpected errands, we missed breakfast and were going to miss lunch so HAD to eat out.
  • Chiropractor appointment (hopefully helps this 2 week headache).  This is special from our regular appt since it's Costumer Appreciation Day so fees were discounted
Spent today-
  • Paid $120.32 for milk bill.  This was for 3 months worth.  NORMALLY pay monthly but they switched the deliver date, and they wanted us to start paying online which threw me off 
  • Pharmacy prescription for daughter (she got strep throat) was .78  -thank God for insurance!
  • Had to get gas $48.00 for my car and Dave had to get some for his $41.23
  • Chiro $30 for myself, daughter and husband (included his XRays)
  • McD's was FREE since I just used my Monopoly game pieces.  Saved $7.27
  • Spent $46.00 at Wal-Mart (vomit. Hate that store) which included two undershirts for my daughter (she's cold at work), ingredients for a special French toast recipe and some socks.  Also, bought some items for Christmas charity.  Spent "extra" because of the clearance aisle (I KNOW- shouldn't have walked there) but they had small Lego figures for $7.00 (normally they are $12 and since this is something I was GOING to buy next month, technically I saved $5.00!).  
  • "Made" $6.50 from rebate from license fee for husband's car
  • OK.....in the clearance aisle was also a Transformer costume my 5 yr old flipped over (mask and everything!) so after his chiro appt, I had my hubby pick it up $14.00 for Christmas.  Though technically NOT on our "list" it was a good gift for him and saved us $10.00. Also, we needed coffee so he picked that up for $4.79 (never heard of 8 o'clock coffee...not sure if anybody should buy a LB of coffee for the same price as a cup)
Day 20:

Activity-
  • Hubby went for a hike up Mt Peak- FREE (no, I didn't go- slept in)
  • Had an "at home day" and scanned old Halloween pics to computer
Spent today-
  • $0
Day 21:
BIG snow storm coming!  Batten down the hatches!  Stock up on food!

Activity-
  • We continued to scan photos
  • Ran errands- library, post office, and store
Spent today-
  • MY BAD!!!!!!  We were running all over and popped into McDonald's to use some of our Monopoly coupons and I totally left them on the table!  Darn, darn, darn.  $22.57
  • Went to Fred Meyer for our "FREE" turkey (if you spend $150).  We spent $190.11 but they OVER CHARGED us (watch those receipts!) so total ended up being $175.21.  Turkey was free so saved us $22.42.
Day 22:
Snow was so bad that my hubby came home from work early and we drove our 16yr old to HER job.  Roads were clear at 4pm but by the time we left Costco, it was a complete storm!  Daughter's work decided to close early so hubby and I were stuck waiting for her to close so ate out.  We didn't get home until AFTER 8pm!

Activity-
  • Drove daughter to work, then hit Costco, and mall.
Spent today-
  • Went to Costco- ugh trip.  Got lightbulbs, ground turkey and other other food items.  My middle child has NO COAT so we had to pick one up (bought two so he could have a choice but I'll return it) and then we got three Christmas items we got but all were items we had planned and I didn't want them not available later (and one took a coupon).  Hmmm....also bought Christmas tree lights for the outside of our house.  My husband says this is an extravagance but I think it's a necessity since we've had the old strand for about 10 years so spent a total of $284.00.  Looked outside and it was a WALL of snow so bought two coffees for $2.19.  Coupons made us save $14.75
  • Since we had to kill time, we went to the mall and had to eat at Del Taco $7.63.  I consider this a NECESSITY dining out since my hubby hadn't eaten forever and we WOULD have been home if it wasn't for the snow.
  • While we walked around, I found something on our "list" at Hallmark (and when you're there, you HAVE to get your ornaments or they won't be there later!) $14.15.  I also found a pair of boots on SALE for $15 at Old Navy and at Target a couple sweaters for the chihuahua but we decide on to skip it (actually had them IN MY HANDS!!) on the way out so saved $20
Day 23:
Another snow day.  Kids are now taking the entire WEEK off!

Activity-
  • Cleaned, scanned photos and tried to keep myself- I mean kids- from killing each other.
  • Started some "winterizing" of the house by covering windows and attics.
Spent today-
  • $0
Day 24:
ANOTHER snow day :(

Activity-
  • Clean the table for Thanksgiving (cluttered with scanned photos)
Spent today-
  • Hubby got gas for his car $32 (worse mileage yet but was due to snow).
Day 25:
Hope you all had a nice Thanksgiving!

Activity-
  • Family Day!
Spent today-
  • OH NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Forgot the Cream Of Potato for the Green Bean Casserole!!!  Kids had to run to the store (oh, the shame!) $2.00
Day 26:
BLACK FRIDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Normally this is my "purse day" because you can get such awesome deals!  I told most of my friends to make this their get-out-of-jail-free day so they didn't have guilt shopping.  At first we weren't going to go out but my 5yr old's PJs are about 3" too short so we headed out.

Activity-
  • Ended up running to Fred Meyer, McDonald's, Target, Payless Shoe Source and Sally Beauty Supply for Black Friday
  • Went for a late, late night walk  FREE!
Spent today-
  • Opted out of getting my purse so saved $45.00
  • At Fred Meyer, they didn't have the killer deal PJs that we wanted but DID get a pair for $12.00 (saved $12.00).  An item we purchased at Costco earlier this week was door-buster sale so saved $7.00.  Also, ON OUR LIST was a Pillow Pet which NEVER goes lower than it's $20 price but if we bought it for Black Friday, we got a $5.00 Gift Card so it was perfect timing.
  • Went to McDonald's for early lunch (we missed breakfast).  Used our Monopoly pieces and coffee punch cards (our LAST TWO!) so it was FREE!  Saved $18.34
  • Though Hubby wanted to go home, he was a dear and took me to Target.  We got some cleaning items, hair products and body wash.  They had a couple Black Friday specials that we had on our Holiday List already (can't be tooooo detailed in case kids read).  We spent a total of $90.47 but saved about $40.00.  Frivolous items would be the candy canes Hubby grabbed for $7 since we didn't need them YET since we don't have our tree.
  • We had about a $100 valued Chi flat iron that died during a power surge.  My daughter offered to pay 1/2 the price for a replacement since she uses it the most.  Sally Beauty Supply had a sale so we got a good deal: IF we bought a blow-dryer (which we needed) for $65.00, we got a $65 flat iron she wanted for FREE, a reusable tote, PLUS a $25 valued gift (shhh- present).  Total saved was $99.00.  The sales girl DID talk me into their Club Card for $5 because it gave me two $5 Coupons so I'll save $10 off my next purchase!  Also, since we decided to replace Chi with cheaper iron, saved extra $40.
  • With the big snow storm we had, my 12yr old found out he had no boots so we popped into Payless Shoe Source.  BOGO sale is over but if you give them your cell phone #, you can get 20% off your order right then!  We also picked up another gift we had planned on getting which were Black Friday on sale and with the cell phone text sale it made them $10.00 so saved $10.00.  We ended up saving about $10 on the snow shoes BUT when we got home, we realized his feet had grown so much that he can just wear his dad's snow boots so though it was a good deal, we'll return the boots so technically we saved $45.00 because we chose to share.  
Day 27:
It was a nice day so we decided to go get out Christmas Tree!!!  Normally we go to our favorite pre-cut place but this year we wanted to do a local U-Cut.  (LAST year we tried to cut down a tree with a permit which resulted in two lost days, 3 trips, miserable family members, and having to buy a tree in the lot anyway LOL).  The U-Cut place was wonderful- enough land to make you feel like you're "in the woods" but easy walking and even a bonfire.  

Activity-
  • Hillside Tree Farm U-Cut.  
  • Fred Meyer because we didn't buy enough Christmas Tree lights (50 lights does NOT = feet!)
Spent today-
  • On our way out, realized we forgot to bring water for the 5yr old so had to stop at a mini mart $1.49.
  • Spent $21 for a 9' Douglas Fir Tree (all 8-10' were discounted) so saved $34.00.  Normally we get hot cocoa and/or coffee but skipped it so saved $24.00.  
  • Additional Christmas Tree Lights $45
  • Library fine (I KNOW!)- $6.30
Summary:
Necessities- $1,102.07 (keep in mind- this counts some small items that were on our "list" for Christmas!
Excess- $93.91 (DARKNESS!  This was mainly from stupid Tanning oops and McD oops)
"Saved"- $465.28 (Mainly shrewdness on shopping!  Uh-huh- that's right!)
Weight fluctuation- 2 lbs

Month To Date:
Necessities- $5,308.67
Excess- $141.78
"Saved"- $1,089.45.  WOW.
Weight fluctuation-  Lost 3 lb Whew- this will take forever (and probably will be back on after Thanksgiving has digested)

Friday, November 26, 2010

Recipes- Brunch with the family: Apple Toffee French Toast

If you're a Costco Member, you probably receive their Costco Connection Magazine.  One of the last issues had a French Toast Recipe that my hubby really wanted to try.  Since the stars weren't aligning, we decided to have it for a dinner during the work week instead of a weekend (you make most of it the night before).  It was a tad on the sweet side so if you like that- great- but if not, I put adjustment tips below. Would also make a GREAT dessert!  Serves about 8.
Apple Toffee French Toast With Apple Syrup
French Toast:
8 cups French bread, cut into 1" cubes
3 tart apples, peeled and chopped
8oz cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar (lower to 1/4 for less sweetness)
1/4 cup sugar 
1/4 cup Tree Top Apple Juice
2 tsp vanilla divided
1/2 cup English Toffee Bits
5 eggs
3/4 cup milk
Apple Syrup:
1 cup sugar (lower to 1/2 cup for less sweetness)
2 TBS cornstarch
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
2 cups Tree Top Apple Juice
2 TBS lemon juice
5 TBS butter
My husband thought it was a good idea to teach the 5yr old to use a knife LOL
To make French Toast:
Place half of the bread cubes in a greased 13x9" baking pan; top with apples.  
 In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese, sugars, apple juice and 1tsp vanilla until smooth; stir in toffee bits.  Spread over apples.  Top with remaining bread cubes.
In another large blow, beat the eggs, milk and 1 tsp vanilla until well blended; pour over bread.  














Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight.  
Remove from the fridge 30 min before baking.  Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 40-45 min or until a knife inserted n the center comes out clean.
While the French toast is baking, prepare the syrup below.


To make the apple syrup:
In a medium sized saucepan, whisk together the sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg, apple juice and lemon juice; heat to boil, whisking constantly.  Boil for one minute, then stir in butter.  Serve over warm French Toast.  Opt: put on a dollop of whip cream!



Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A Borrower Of Books- Someone To Love by Jude Deveraux

At first glance, you'll think this is just some "romance" but actually, this is a ghost story.  


Jace's fiancée Stacy committed suicide three years ago while they are on vacation in England but he cannot believe that she took her own life.  He grows more suspicious when he finds a postcard inside of a paperback she'd been reading with the words "Ours again. Together forever. See you there" dated the day before her death.  Unable to move on with his own life, he decides to purchase the house from the postcard and moves to the rural town in England where everybody knows your business.  


Soon he discovers the house is haunted by an old ghost whose apparent suicide parallels Stacy's.  Not sure who he can trust, Jace ends up getting help from unexpected sources and has to make the decision if he really wants to know the truth of what happened.


Not many love stories are told from the man's point of view so  it was refreshing to have different insights to situations.  I liked how this is not a scary or gory ghost story but handled the ghost side of it as if they really were real people.  Also, the main character has a sense of humor that completely comes across in the audio version (I used a "Playaway" which is the BEST way to listen to a book!).  I found myself laughing out loud quite a few times which is always awkward when you've got headphones on- people think you're crazy!  


Hope that you enjoy!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Eatin' Out 'N' About at Old School Frozen Custard ~ WA

Old School Frozen Custard and on FB, too
Some stores and two locations in WA:
Capitol Hill 1316 E Pike St
Bonney Lake 21210 St Hwy 410E
Right after we went to Mr. Jalapeno's for dinner while my mom was visiting, we walked practically next door for dessert.

At least at the Bonney Lake location, the inside is done with an industrial/old school house feel with exposed duct work and menus made to look like chalkboards.  It's a little intimidating if you've never been there before but the worker is happy to help with suggestions and offers a taste-test.  They have two main flavors- chocolate and vanilla- with a special "flavor of the day" (check their taste calendar for listings).  They serve their custard (which is "a smoother, creamier, and more flavorful than any super premium ice cream") in a variety of ways from Concretes (which is similar to a Blizzard), to plain scoops, milkshakes and more.
We ordered (shown left to right) a Concrete Andes Mint, a Concrete Heath with Sprinkles, one special of the day which this time was Chocolate Peanut Butter (he added Reeces), a Concrete with Kit-Kat, and One Scoop topped with Heath Bar.  
When we ordered, I was helping my mom so didn't pay attention to my husband helping the 5 yr old so missed when they ordered something he wouldn't eat LOL.  So the worker let us put the Kit-Kat Concrete in the freezer to stay frozen until we left and we ordered him a Single Scoop with Sprinkles and Gummy Worms (we planned on giving the extra to our oldest since she was at work).  Everything was SO, SO, SO good!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Friday Flick- My top picks for Meg Ryan

November 19th is Meg Ryan's birthday.  Back in the day, she used to be one of my top-pick actresses.  I may snuggle up this weekend with my all time favs:

Sleepless In Seattle (obvious choice!)
American Comedy Award Funniest Actress In A Motion Picture (Leading Role)
Nominated- Golden Globe Award for Best Actress- Motion Picture Musical or Comedy 
Nominated- MTV Movie Award for Best On-Screen Duo (w/Tom Hanks)
Nominated- MTV Movie Award for Best Female Performance
I've always had a fascination with Seattle growing up and now live near here so it's one of my favs.  Co-Starring Tom Hanks (if Meg Ryan is the girl next door, he is the BOY next door!), this is a different love story as the main characters (SPOILER) don't meet until the end.  He's a widow and she's recently engaged but for some reason, she cannot stop thinking of him after she hears him talking to a local radio show about how much he loved his late wife.  There are a lot of references/coincidences that run parallel to the movie An Affair To Remember
Favorite scenes: conversation with the radio program (of course) "...what was so special about your wife?" "...how long is your program?" and the part about the woman who's remodeling and keeps wanting to move the cabinets, and the shot (you can see Pike Place!) where they discuss how women are into butts now and his best friend checks out his butt for him- too cute.
With Alec Baldwin (back when we all liked him), this story is one of my TOP favs of all time!  It's about a woman who on her wedding day, is asked by an elderly gentleman if he can kiss the bride.  When they do, their spirits switch places (he's in her body, she's in his) causing her husband to have to see beyond the physical to the person within. 
Favorite Lines:  "...you're doing it again.  You take a perfect situation and you pee all over it"  (actually, I use that line A LOT...never realized this is where I got it!) and "Can I give you two a piece of advice?  ...FLOSS."

Nominated American Comedy Award Funniest Actress In A Motion Picture (Leading Role)
Love, love, love this movie!!!  Meg's character (Kate) is deathly afraid to fly so when her husband (Timothy Hutton) goes to Paris on a trip, she bails out.  While there, his phone calls become less frequent until one night, he confesses he's fallen in love with a French woman!  Kate jumps on an airplane and ends up seated next to Luc (Kevin Kline).  They have all these adventures together as he "helps" her try to get her fiancée back.  
Favorite scenes with these lines "Lactose intolerance!!!!!!!!!!!", and "Fester, fester, fester.  Rot, rot, rot.", and "Ooooooh!  Beautiful!  Wish you were here!"  All said with Meg Ryan flair- can hear her voice in my head right now!

When Harry Met Sally (another obvious choice!)
American Comedy Award Funniest Actress In A Motion Picture (Leading Role)
Nominated- Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Actress
Nominated- Golden Globe Award for Best Actress- Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
I love how this movie uses interview format for part of it as if they were speaking to real in-love couples.  This is about two people that meet a few different times in their lives and go from deciding to not be friends, to being best friends, to being lovers, and then to hating each other.  Of course with the fine line between love and hate they (SPOILER) end up together in the end.  This story touches on the complexity of relationships between men and women and centers around the question if men and women can JUST be friends. 
Favorite scenes- the conversation about the Days Of The Week Underpants:  "Where is Sunday??...They don't make Sunday...because of God", the part where he's signing Surrey With A Fringe On Top karaoke and his ex walks up, and the scene about putting your name in all of your books NOW because you'll be arguing over them someday.



Thursday, November 18, 2010

A Borrower Of Books- The Year Of Pleasures by Elizabeth Berg

The Year Of Pleasures by Elizabeth Berg is about a recently widowed woman (Betta) trying to cope with life when her husband (John) dies of cancer.


Betta and John are one of those couples that complete each other so perfectly that they don't need anybody else.  So when John passes away and she has no ties to the community, Betta decides to follow their dream of selling the house and moving somewhere in the mid-west without any specific plans in mind.


This book deals with the "recovery" time when your spouse dies and how a widow is "supposed" to act.  Though I've been very fortunate in not having this happen to me, the author writes with such great description that I can totally understand how Betta feels and how devastating it would be to lose my husband.  Simple things like who will tell you that you have something in your teeth or somebody that already knows your life history seems so silly but the little things are part of what make you a couple.


Left with scraps of worded phrases from her late husband and a roll of undeveloped firm, Betta makes the effort to reach out to others by reconnecting with her old college roommates, meeting new people, and ultimately making plans for the future.  


In the book, she makes a conscious decision to take the time to appreciate the small pleasures in life (hence the title).  The book is filled with so many wonderful turn of phrases that makes you want to just sit still for a moment and actually look, listen, and feel the world around you to enjoy the small things in life.


I think this is a wonderful book for anybody to read.  For book clubs, there are so many things to discuss (plus it's short!), and with so many people being touched by cancer, I think that a lot of people will relate.  




Some parts of the book that stuck with me:

  • Having the slightly guilty feeling of the freedom to blare music that normally her husband couldn't stand but that she loved.
  • When she has to shovel the snow on her own and it takes her so long, that she has to do it twice because the snow falls faster than she can shovel.
  • Her quotes on falling snow (the author wrote one too many but they are still visually pretty!).
  • The story she tells about the gal that does her nails.
  • When she remembers a conversation she and a girlfriend had years ago about a woman that lost her husband.
  • What she decides to do with her future...OH, I sooo would want to do that!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

SPENDING FREEZE- Part Three.

These are personal notes from my experience doing a Spending Freeze for the month of November.  For more info, see our first Blog about it at: SPENDING FREEZE- THE PLAN


This was a S.U.P.E.R. stressful week for us!  Between everything- I SO wish I could have indulged in a mindless spending spree!!!  This Freeze probably saved our bank account haha.  Well, at least I got to "escape" in a couple movies and good books.  LOVE the library and Netflix!

Description:
RED is what we spent in excesses or was not "needed"
GREEN was money we brought in or "saved"
ORANGE was free stuff
PURPLE was spending that was necessary to living like bills or groceries

Day 8:
Mental Health Day due to frustration with a malfunctioning light in the fridge.  It continues to stay on causing an ENTIRE case of Costco eggs to spoil [ARGH!].  Stayed in PJs and was lucky to at least load the dishwasher.  

Activity-
  • Went for about a 5 mile bike ride while hubby jogged FREE
Spent today-
  • Automatic payment went through for Netflix (online movie rental club) $9.75
Day 9:
Went to get my allergy shot today and I SKIPPED going out to eat!!!  Sounds silly but this is HUGE for me.

Activity-
  • Allergy shot day and went to the library
  • We went for another jog/bike ride for about 3.5 miles this time FREE
Spent today-
  • Skipped going out to eat- saved $11.00
  • Daughter's car got a flat tire so Husband had to pick up a new spare at Les Schwab $120.73
Day 10:
Clean house Day!!!!

Activity-
  • Cleaned house...isn't that enough? ;)
Spent today-
  • $0
Day 11:
Had a  horrible night.  Daughter's car was involved in an un-claimable accident so we'll now be looking for ANOTHER car (just got this one a couple of month's ago).  On the plus side- we can now return the spare tire we bought LOL

Activity-
  • No school for Veteran's Day so had a full house of kids!
  • Went to car repair shop
Spent today-
  • Car repair estimate- FREE  
  • Gas for husband's car $40.12

Day 12:
The Hungry Housewives got together for their monthly brunch.  THANK GOODNESS!  I SO needed this....it's like my own personal therapy.  Huh, what's the going rate for a therapist?  I just saved a TON!  See the recipes from our day at: Brunch at Dawn's

Activity-
  • Spent a very nice day at HH Dawn's home for brunch and conversation (well, and we had a mini business meeting, too) 
Spent today-
  • Lunch at Dawn's home- FREE


Day 13:
Once a month, my husband and some buddies get together to play poker.  Since he's needing a therapy session JUST as bad as me (though men don't talk really, do they?), there's NO way I would ask him to skip out!

Activity-
  • Did some shopping errands.  Walking through the Christmas decorations was therapeutic.  
  • Went out at a weird time so ended up popping in for fast food
  • Husband went to his monthly poker night so I stayed home and worked on upcoming blogs
Spent today-
  • Poker Night w/buy in, snacks and couple of beers: $28.50.  Hubby did well at Poker so brought back $15 of his $20 buy in!
  • Target: $37 for some lunch items and toiletries.  Out of that, $5 to add to a birthday present for son's friend.  I did break down and get about $8 in stocking stuffers (my mental excuse was if I don't start now, it'll suck in December!)
  • Safeway.  Spent $4.78 for two Advent Chocolate Calendars (not a necessity but such a small thing to have and I wanted them before Dec 1st!)
  • McDonald's $3.49.  We used coffee punch cards and FREE food item coupons from last month's Monopoly so saved $18.34


Day 14:
We spent a lazy morning together before taking our 5 year old to a birthday party today.  It was over in Puyallup which is about a 1/2 hour drive.  

Activity-
  • Went to a Birthday Party for son's friend.
Spent today-
  • Skipped going for coffee on the way- saved $12.00
  • Skipped stopping on the way home for fast food- saved $15.00

Day 15:
Whenever we go to the Orthodontist, we usually hit some place to go out to eat since it's kind of a drive but we SKIPPED it again this time!!!!  As my husband said, the 5 yr old threw a Mc-Fit but he was mainly grouchy because he was hungry and didn't want to shop (I DID offer him snacks from my purse!).  
Also, to keep spending lower, we only did basic school supplies and clothing this year.  I kept trying to figure out why my 12 yr old's Converse shoes were wet...so, yeah, umm...he had two HUGE holes on the soles!  Needless to say, we HAD to hit the shoe store!  Normally we would go to the mall or Fred Meyer but he was actually open to going to Payless's BOGO sale.

Activity-
  • Took son to Ortho- booked next appointment after Christmas
  • Went to Payless Shoe Store
Spent today-
  • Took son to Orthodontist- gave them debit card number for payment to go through on Friday since I was a little short the full amount (they raised our minimum w/o telling us and we had been paying the wrong amount for months) $180
  • $40 for two pairs of shoes for son- one everyday pair and another new pair for PE
  • If there is a BOGO sale and I'm buying something, I always get AT LEAST a pair for myself so didn't. even. look.  Which sucked because actually, son and I both need new slippers but we can wait until Christmas.  Saved about $35.00
  • Skipped eating out (though meant eating dinner at 8pm)- saved $15.00

Day 16:
Rainy, stormy night last night so stayed home to work on laundry and brought in extra blankets. Lots of people's electricity went out so I wanted to be prepared!

Activity-
  • Errand and chore day with library drop offs and post office   
  • Worked on getting a hold of insurance to remove daughter's banged up car- Saved $50 by car sharing (though that's temporary...hopefully)
Spent today-
  • Gave daughter $20 for gas since we're sharing the car right now (usually she pays for her own)
  • Gave son $5.00 to go to coffee shop with his friends- let him keep the change for school snack line.

Day 17:
Another stormy day weather wise.  Spent most of my morning on the phone setting

Activity-
  • Took daughter to Dr appt because she had a sore throat and gave her (our first EVER) flu shot since she works at a fitness place
  • Went to Win-co for some groceries
Spent today-
  • $15 at the Dr for co-pay.  Luckily she wasn't sick enough for antibiotics so didn't have to pay for those.
  • Spent $65.11 at Winco for some dinner items and lunch stuff.  Also bought third Christmas Advent I was looking was and two stocking stuffer items: $5.00, and $2.50 in candy as a thank you to friend that has been driving daughter to school (red cause probably had something at home I could give).
  • Offered to take my daughter to Starbucks for coffee/cocoa to warm her up but she said she'd wait until she got home (bless her!) so saved $10
  • Daughter owed us $50 and her car insurance (she is going to pay bi-monthly) so received $180
Summary:
Necessities- $561.21
Excess- $28.77
"Saved"- $361.34
Weight fluctuation- lost another 1/2 lb.  This could take awhile!

Month To Date:
Necessities- $5294.52
Excess- $47.87
"Saved"- $624.17
Weight fluctuation-  Lost 1 lb