Saturday, January 31, 2009

Day 30

We did it! We made it through our 30 days of nothing! It really wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be. I am really proud of all of us. There was a few days where we struggled to stay focused but we never cheated. We achieved our goal of of spending $30 for the entire month on groceries. We spent only $5 on entertainment purposes for parking one day. We spent no money on clothes, books, movies or fast food! We only paid for our monthly bills. We kept our energy use down and we conserved our water.

It is going to be difficult to judge just how much money we saved on utilities but I know we have made a difference. We have learned new ideas and strategy's that will stick with us and become part of our everyday life.

As far as spending-it was actually really nice to be successful at not spending any money this month because now I know we can do it! It is going to be a challenge for me each month now to see what we can cut back on, what we can do with out and what we can save.

My goal is to stay living this frugal lifestyle. Maybe not to the extreme as this past month, but I am definitely going to be more aware of what is spent. I will constantly be looking for new ways to save. To help me with that I am actually going to be starting another blog. While I will still be updating this blog frequently, this blog will mostly revolve around our family life and what is going on with us. My new blog will be dedicated to frugal living. My goal is to post tips, coupons, bargains and other ideas to help spend less and save more. If this sounds like something you might be interested in then please join me at Learning The Frugal Life.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Day 28 and 29

We have almost made it!! Tomorrow will be our last day of "nothing". NO money has been spent at all these last couple of days. There is definitely going to be some things that we have changed around here that will stick with me. I will talk all about the experience when it is actually over. I have some exciting things planned.

On the home front things are ok. Everyone has been a little on edge. I am sure some of it is due to the weather and all of us being cooped up all the time. It could also be because we have an almost teenager in the house, and 3 very active other boys. There is never any down time. I don't really have anything interesting to write about so I won't bore you with nonsense. Have a good evening- hope your staying warm.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Day 27

Yesterday was a relatively quiet day for us. If you can really say that with 4 boys in the house. 5 actually because Jake had a friend over after school. I took the little boys to the library in the morning. Yes, by myself. This is the first time I have done it in awhile. I wouldn't say it went great but it was manageable. There was a little fighting and pouting over the train table.

After that we headed to the mall to play on the indoor play equipment there. That was not fun because there was some children in there that were completely loud and the parents were doing nothing. And to top it off the wonderful smelly goodness of Auntie Annies pretzels is right by the play thing. My favorite. We only stayed about 20 minutes and left. So that was kind of a waste but the boys seemed to have had a good time and it wore them out. I myself had a headache when we left. We are just so tired of being cooped up in the house. I really want it to get warm.

We didn't spend any money yesterday. We spent enough the day before to fix our heat :(
My fridge is looking pretty bare. This is going to be a tough couple days because we are running low on everything. Not that we will starve or anything. I know we still have lots of stuff to eat. There is just not so much variety.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

New Tot Book

Here is the new Tot book I made Brodie. If you remember reading in the past I have made him a Cars book and Curious George. He really loves these. He always wants to get them out and look at them. This one is all about construction trucks, his favorite! If you are interested in making this one or any others this blog called 1+1+1=1 has them to download.

Also here is a picture of the new color game I made for the boys. I made one for each of them. I just matched up the paint with the colored pom poms I had and painted the egg holders. The boys have to put the pom poms in the correct color.

This week is the letter "J" Here are the jellyfish we made yesterday. Brodie loved watching the videos of jellyfish I found online. I couldn't break him away! And it was really funny listening to him trying to say tentacles!

Day 26

Well I can't say yesterday went so well. Around noon I was at the computer doing some work when I realized I was getting pretty chilly. I didn't think much of it at first. Finally I got up and checked the thermostat. It was 62*. I cranked the heat up to 69. I went and felt the vents and sure enough they were freezing cold. I called Will who said there was nothing he could do till he got home.

To make a long story short, we spent $115 to have a service call last evening. It turned out to be our thermostat. You wouldn't have been able to tell it was shot because it was still reading accurate temperatures and all the lights were working. Grrr. Anyway for another $200 I could have the repair guy install a new one. I new Will could do it so I told him to just put it all back together and I would have my husband do it.

After Will got home from taking Tony to piano he ran into Menards and bought a new thermostat for $70. He got a nicer one then we had before since the guy told me he has seen numerous problems with the brand we originally had. Will finally got it installed about 8pm last night. The temperature was at 59*. We thought about going to my dads to hang out but we decided to stick it out and just put layers on and blankets. It worked out ok, this morning at 5am it was 64*. So it is working, just slowly.

I was pretty bummed about having to pay the repair guy $115 for 15 minutes of work. Why is it every time you get a little extra money something has to break? I was glad to save $130 though for having a smart husband who could fix the problem on his own.

On a different note we spent the last of the grocery budget last night. We had to get some cheese for Brodie. He doesn't drink milk so I always have to find other ways to get him his calcium. A block of cheese was $4. And that was the cheapest. I hate that grocery prices are getting so high. Now we have to try and not buy anymore food until Sunday.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Homemade Bread

Today I am making homemade bread. It smells so yummy in here! Our bread supply is low and I really hate to go buy another loaf. I looked online to find some recipes and there are so many. I chose 2 different ones to compare. The first recipe only called for flour, yeast, salt and a dab of oil. You were suppose to form 2 loaves and just stick them on a cookie sheet to bake. They are pictured above. This recipe was super easy and required no real rising time. The second recipe called for flour, salt, sugar, oil, milk and yeast. You could either shape into balls for rolls or place in a bread pan. This one takes more time. 2 rising cycles before baking. I am making 2 loaves of each and we will see which one we like better. I know some of you make your own bread. Do you have a favorite recipe you use?


Here is a quick review of some of the things we did this past week.

Thursday night was Tony's Winter concert. It was short and sweet. They sang 2 songs and then we enjoyed 9 Recorder songs! Love the recorder! Tony did really well. Here he is, if you click on the picture it will enlarge and it is easier to see him.

The little boys and I finished up the letter "I". We talked about igloos and then we also painted with paint ice cubes. They weren't as excited about this as I thought they would be. I left them in the freezer to pull out another day to use. I myself thought they were cool. I just added paint to the water stuck a stick in them and froze them in this tin. You could also use ice cube trays.

Here is a few other pics of the boys. They kept busy one morning stringing these foam beads. I was pretty surprised that Drew did so well. And I think he sat for about 20 minutes doing this activity. That in itself is amazing.

Here they are when I told them it was time for naps. I cleared the dishes and when I went to the bedroom to read a book they were both laying under the covers. We have to seperate them from each other for naps. One in my room the other in their bedroom. As cute as they are here, it ended with them fighting over who was sleeping where.

Lastly, our dear friends came over last night. They took pity on us and brought us Chinese food for dinner! It was a wonderful surprise and very much appreciated. We had fun playing games and of course I had the most fun snuggling with their 5 month old baby. Sometimes I miss having a baby in the house. Thank you guys!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Day 23 and 24

Yesterday was pretty easy for me. I didn't go anywhere, therefore no money was spent. We don't have a lot of plans for the weekend. We are having some friends over tonight for some cards and good adult conversation! I did have to shell out $130 for Tony's baseball sign up today. That was a little disappointing. I do have candy bars for sell if anyone is interested. :o) It is a fundraiser for his league. I was a little shocked that I have to sell a box of 50 bars. Tony said "Mom you should have seen your face when they gave you the price of the candy" and then he said "Mom it will be worth it because it says right here on the box World's Finest Chocolate!" Ohhhh my.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Weekly Wrap Up

Here are the things I did this week to be frugal...

We are still doing all the stuff that I have mentioned the last 2 weeks. Here are some new things to add for this week.

*Switched our internet over to a different provider for a savings of over $300 for the year.
*Signed up for TONS of freebies to include Trident gum, H&S shampoo, and tea to name a few.
*Signed up for a FREE 2 year subscription to Parents magazine.
*Kept house temp down all week, sometimes to 66 during the day.
*Taking advantage of all the freezer stash I have. I have made all our meals.
*Cut all dryer sheets in half. This has worked great and I have been doing it for the past year.
*Filed my Walgreens rebate online to save a stamp!

To see what others are doing to be frugal check out Getting Ahead.

Day 21 and 22

I am starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel! I am getting a little nervous though because I had to get a few groceries the last couple days so I am down to $8.00 left for our grocery budget. I seem to have to buy so much bread and I bought some cheese which is never cheap. My family would eat a loaf a day if I would let them. All the boys have had really huge appetites lately.

No real unexpected expenses have come up so far this month (fingers crosses). Tony has baseball sign-ups this weekend so that will be a little chunk of money. Jake thinks he wants to sign up for soccor, so if he stays true to that it cost $60. We have had 1 doctor apt for Drew, and thankfully our family Dr. trusts my judgement when I called and told him Will needed an antibiotic. He just phoned in a RX, therefore we didn't have to spend the $20 for a another co-pay. We have saved a pretty big chuck of money this month I think. Really on cutting our groceries and entertainment. That is a $569 just between those 2 things!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

I'm posting some pictures!

I finally got my camera charged back up and took some pictures today to let you know what we have been up to. We started the letter "I" this week. Yesterday we talked about ice cream. We made cones out of construction paper, read a book about ice cream and even had ice cream cones for our snack. Brodie got some letter writing in and was excited to see that "I" was so easy to write. Today we read about inch worms and made these cute little creatures.
We also stuck foam worm stickers onto paper and colored them (ok, maybe they are catapillar stickers but who cares). Tomorrow we will talk about igloos and Friday will be insects.

I also made this little contraption. I saw something similar to this on another blog. The one they made was a little more fancy than mine but I figured it didn't need to be perfect as long as it serves its purpose. Brodie is great at counting but his number recognition is what we are working on. I am hoping this helps. I just used lids off of juice bottles and cardboard. I am also in the middle of making another Tot book. This one is really cool and I will post about it when it is finished.
We spent the rest of the morning today putting up our Valentine's decorations. It was a little refreshing to take down the snowman stuff as much as I like having it up. There will be an end to all this cold weather eventually! And as always the boys had fun taking turns between playing in the water and playing in the beans. Always a favorite activity.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Day 20

Only 10 days left! We are still doing well. I did go to Hy-Vee tonight and buyt 2 loaves of bread and a dollar bag of generic corn chips. The chips were a little bit of a splurge but we have been doing so well. I spent $3.75.

My sister left a comment on another post of mine, she asks...You are over half done with your challenge. Have you considered what new habits you'll continue and what purchases will be immediate?

I thought alot about this today. First, I think I have formed lots of new habits that I myself will continue even after this challenge. Mainly the things around the house to save a little money. I definatly will continue to recycle, I have always done this. I will continue to keep the house temperature lower. I seem to not be effected by this as much as I thought I would. And I am really good in the Summer. I will continue to do most of the dishwashing on light cycle and I will keep the heated/dry option off. Washing clothes will continue in cold water, unless I really feel like hot water is needed. I would really like to put up a clothes line in the Spring. (I really wish we hadn't taken down the one that was here originally when we moved in, who would have known I would want one some day!) I know that hanging every load of laundry for 6 people is next to impossible but even a couple loads a week would help. I will still try and bundle my errands into one trip. One thing that will change back though is the shower. I love my showers and it is the only real relaxing thing I do all day! Most days however are probably 7 minutes or less cause I am usually trying to beat the clock to someone getting up and needing my attention.

As far as purchases that will be needed immediately, right now I don't think anything is urgent. Grocery wise I will definately be getting some fresh fruit and cheese. I will need some other things like some baking supplies and such. Also, boys need haircuts. True, I could give them but it would be better to pay someone else! Also, I am sorry but February 1 we are getting Chinese for dinner!

I really feel like this has taught me to think before rushing out and buying something. I have been so proud of us for not giving in so far. Hopefully I will be saying the same thing in 10 days!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Day 19

Today Will was off from work so we took the little boys to the Science Center in the morning. We had a good time. We went on a good day too because they had story time with Sid the Science Kid. He is the new show that airs now on IPTV. Every once in awhile we catch part of it. So that was really the highlight of the day for them. We also met Dan Wardell who is the spokesman for IPTV. I see him on all the commercials but never in person. He is the exact same in person as on TV. Extremely hyper! I was totally bummed that our camera was dead, so I didn't get any pictures.

We ate our lunch there in the food court. I packed a cooler of food for everyone. That was a little difficult because they sell Pizza Hut bread sticks and I love Pizza Hut bread sticks. I chose the farthest table from the food as possible. Only to have some chic and her 6 kids sit right next to us with their pizza and greasy chicken strips and onion rings. I was thinking don't you dare, but she did. Of all the open tables. I was cursing her in my head.

The kids ran all over and got themselves nice and worn out. We headed home and had a quiet afternoon. Once Jake and Tony got home the chaos started again. We had to pick Jake up at 3:30, have Tony at piano lessons by 5:30, we ran to the library and to Redbox to get our free movie rental. Then home for a late dinner. Thankfully I had put a roast on to cook today so it was already done.

Tonight we watched Space Chimps. Wow, I think Brodie was the only one who really enjoyed it and he was half asleep!

I was very proud of us today for not caving and buying something. Will and I both really wanted to cheat. Lunch out since it was going to be cheaper without the older kids, coffee smelled wonderful at the Science Center, but we stayed strong! We only had to pay for parking and that was because we couldn't find free parking anywhere that wasn't extremely far away and it was just too cold to make everyone walk that far. I did however find .37 cents on the ground in the parking ramp. That was pretty cool!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Day 17 and 18

Hope everyone is enjoying the weekend. I am happy that we have left the house the last few days. Yesterday was busy. I worked for a few hours at moms shop. When I got home I got a quick snooze in with Drew (I seem to be napping a lot lately, this cold is really dragging me down). In the evening we went to my nephews Boy Scout fundraiser pasta dinner. It was delicious and a lot of people showed up so that was pretty cool. After that we came home and met mom, Joel and Jen to celebrate Jens birthday.

Today we spent the morning at the mall. We went there to speak with the Qwest people to see what they had to offer us as far as deals on our internet and phone. We decided that cell phones were still a little out of our budget but we did add long distance to our land line and we are changing our internet over to them. We get internet free for 3 months and then we will be paying $24 less each month using their service! I was super excited. So we will be saving $327 total for this year by switching to their internet service. It is only costing us about $10 more each month to add long distance. This will be great since we have family and lots of friends that are not local.

I did pick up 2 loaves of bread and broke down and bought Will 2-2 Liters of Mt. Dew. We spent $5.38. If I don't count the birthday gift I bought yesterday and the donation I gave for dinner last night we are still under our $1 a day grocery budget for the month.

This afternoon and evening we have just been quiet. Got some housework done and my lesson plan for the letter "I" that I will be starting with the little boys next week. Will is off tomorrow so that will be nice. I am very happy that the weather is no longer 30 below hopefully we can get out more this week.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Weekly Wrap Up

This is my second week participating in the weekly wrap up of the things I did this week to be frugal. To get more ideas read the post and comments from Getting Ahead.

This week wasn't much different from last week. These are some of the things we have always done even before starting our 30 day challenge...

We recycle our cans, glass, paper and plastic.
Will takes his lunch to work.
I do really good keeping all lights off during the day unless necessary.

This week we also...

washed all clothes in cold water.
kept heat at 67/day 65/night
I didn't drive hardly anywhere this week since it was sooo cold!
I didn't do any grocery shopping except buying bread and yogurt.
I cooked a 12lb turkey and so far have gotten 3 meals and lots of lunches off of it and still have enough left for 1 more meal and one more batch of leftover creamed turkey.
I have only done 6 loads of dishes in 7 days and always late at night on off peak hours.
We are looking into changing our cable/internet to save more money.
We did our 2009 monthly budget and goals for the year.

Please feel free to share any ideas you have.

Also, today is Day 16 of our challenge and no money went out. Total spent so far this month not including our necessary bills...$8.04.

Thank you to Maria over at Very Blessed Mommy for nominating me for this award! I am passing this award along to The Ory's over at Our Frugal Journey. I just started following this blog because they too are a midwest family with young children, living on one income, learning to be more frugal and trying to get ahead in life.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Day 14 and 15

Well not a whole lot has happened the last couple days other than it is COLD. My temperature gauge outside read -9. The kids didn't have school today and Will would have worked from home except that we have been having troubles with our Internet since last night so he had to go into the office. It was a miserable 63 degrees in here when I woke up this morning. Our furnace just couldn't keep up.

I had to take Drew to the doctor today. He really has had a time beating this cold. He has been complaining of his ears hurting all week. He is on day 7 of his drops so I decided it was time to go in. He has bilateral ear infection...again. So he is on an oral med now too.

The only money spent the last 2 days was for the co-pay and antibiotic for Drew today. We are really struggling tonight because Will and I are really wanting to get Chinese food. My mouth is watering just typing it :( I am realizing that we have a bad Chinese food addiction . Unfortunately I don't even have the ingredients in the house to make homemade Chinese. Will has also ran out of Diet Mt. Dew. It could be a brutal 2 weeks with him not having any. Thankfully we have a couple 12 packs downstairs of other diet pop, but it is not the same for him. Today I am really having urges that I haven't had the last 2 weeks. Maybe it is because it is cold, dreary and all we want to do is be lazy. That is when the temptations are the worst.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Day 13

I am getting ready for bed and the snow is really coming down. It will be interesting to see what it looks like in the morning. We will see if the boys have a late start for school. We are closed tight in our house. We have quilts on all the windows, our new draft stoppers along the doors. Everyone has an extra blanket tonight. This weather makes me so grateful that we have a roof over our heads and a warm comfortable place to sleep.

Today we stayed busy. We made chex mix this morning. The little boys played with lacing beads, cars, Mr. Potato Head, read books and even took a bath before naps this afternoon. I worked at my moms for a couple hours while Will went to the library with the boys and rented a movie (free from Hy-Vee redbox). After work I went to Ankeny to pick up some perscriptions for the boys. I bought one loaf of bread at Target for $1.19. It was cheaper there than at Wal-Mart and I new the loaf I bought Sunday wasn't going to last long. Maybe tomorrow I will bake a loaf of bread.

As I waited for my RX at Target to be filled I wondered around the known clearance spots. I found a few things that looked interesting but didn't have any real temtations. I am feeling really good about not buying anything. I think maybe I will have changed my spending habits for good after this challenge. If not for good then at least for awhile I hope. Not that I was ever a big shopper or spender to begin with, but I think I will at least take a step back and ask myself do I really need this?

Monday, January 12, 2009

Day 12

We all stayed home yesterday. With the weather being bad Will worked from home. The older boys had the day off anyway because of teacher in service. Everyone is still a little under the weather so we had a relatively quiet day. The older boys played outside in the morning. We have accumulated quite a bit of snow so there is a nice hill of snow that has been plowed in the driveway, always great for playing on.

While the older boys played outside the younger boys and I sat down for some learning time. We started a new letter this week. H. We colored the letter and read Horton Hatches the Egg and then we made these houses. Brodie was even excited to sit and practice writing the letter H which he picked up on right away.

No one left the house which means no money went out! With the looks of the weather I won't be going anywhere for most of the week.

Day 11

Yesterday I spent the afternoon at my sisters. I used her and her crafting expertise to help me shorten the curtains in the dining room and living room. She made short work of it. It makes me really want to get a sewing machine and learn how to use it.

The other project we accomplished was making these tow draft stoppers.
She had made one for my mother as a gift for Christmas and I thought it was quite clever and we needed one really bad for our dining room door. Just sitting in the dining area you get a wind that blows across your feet. Not any more! I was stoked to get them done. The only bad thing...I spent $3.91 at Pet Smart for the animal bedding inside. Was it a necessity? At the moment, no probably not. But I wanted to do them correctly. And with the below temperatures we are going to have this week and the wind, I believe it was money well spent. And look at how much I saved by making them. Commercial stoppers can be quite expensive. The jeans were donated by my mother, the cord and thread by my sister and I got the sand out of our sandbox. I felt really guilty about spending the money at first but I feel like it was worth it. I am sure I will save $3.91 on my electric bill for the rest of the Winter. At least, that is what I am telling myself.

So, if we have $1 a day to use for our goal, that is $30 for the month. I have spent $5.15 so far. I also went to Wal-Mart and bought 1 loaf of bread and 1 yogurt for Tony costing $1.70. So I have spent $6.85 in 11 days. So I am still on budget for our dollar a day.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Days 9 and 10

Our spending freeze is going really well. I am pretty sure that I will not be depleting my freezer any time soon. It is still quite full. I am however craving Chinese food in a bad way. Also some ice cream would be nice. Staying strong though. I am bummed that I am out of syrup. I make breakfast every Sunday and usually we have pancakes or french toast. I guess not tomorrow... or next Sunday. I am almost out of fresh fruit and I will definitely be buying bread tomorrow. I was going to make some but is it really cost effective? All the ingredients are so expensive I think it is just cheaper to buy a loaf. I wanted to check to see if there was a bakery outlet around here. I thought there was. As far as the fruit goes, I still have quite a few canned. I am very happy with how all of it turned out when we canned last year. I have pears, peaches and pears and peaches together. It is all awesome. I know now that I could definitely use at least twice the amount next year if not triple. My family is defiantly fruit eaters. After 10 days I am still feeling really good about this challenge.

Will and Tony have joined the rest of us with a cold. We did NOTHING today. We watched some movies, played a couple games of Scrabble and that was about it. Will and the older 3 boys did go outside for awhile. Drew is still pretty sick so he stayed in with me which he wasn't happy about! He kept walking around saying "I go too" he even put his own boots on all by himself. I distracted him with Mr Potato though and all was good.
Jake started his own blog. Not sure how long this will last. He is grounded from everything in the world right now. Will suggested he start one to keep him busy doing something. Here is the address He had a lot of fun playing around. Enjoy your weekend.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Just a few pictures to share. The first picture is the 3 younger boys doing a spelling pre-test. I was studying with Tony and the other boys wanted to be tested too. The piece of paper is what Brodie did today when we were practicing our letters. He has done really good with the letter "A" and wants to write it all the time. Today he did letters A, T and E on this paper. Not too shabby. The next picture is of the Origami cup I made with Tony yesterday. I think it is suppose to look like that. He couldn't find the wallet that we made. The last picture is of Brodie playing with his Curious George tot book I made him. He really enjoyed that.

Weekly Wrap Up

I have been following a blog called Getting Ahead. Jennifer hosts a post every Friday called Weekly Wrap Up. It is a list of the frugal things she and her family did for the week. I really enjoy reading it and looking at other peoples links hoping to find some new ideas that I can incorporate with my family. I am thinking about doing this every Friday or at least when I remember! Hopefully I can inspire others as well. For this week the things I did to be frugal were...

Washed and reused ziplocks.
Washed all laundry in cold water.
Turned down thermostat to 67 during the day 65 at night.
Shorter showers.
Very minimal driving this week.
Signed up for lots of freebies online!
Tuned off heat/drying cycle on dishwasher.
Tried to remember to turn off lights when not in a room.
Opened south curtains on sunny days to warm the living room.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Day 8

Well another day has passed. Not much exciting around here. We had kind of a tough morning. The little boys were not getting along and Drew is still sick. He has had 2 days now of a high fever. He has just wanted to snuggle alot which is kinda nice. Brodie on the other hand is feeling better and just wanted to run and play. He couldn't understand that mommy and Drew were not up for all that excitement.

Will got off early today since he was on call last week so I headed in to my moms shop to help for a couple hours. When I got home Will was making dinner. It was our normal evening chaos. Dinner, cleanup, chores. I did get to do some Origami with Tony. My sister gave him an Origami desk top calendar for Christmas. Tonight we accomplished 2 days. We made a wallet and a cup. It is pretty fun actually. We had to do each of them twice to get the hang of it. I will get pics up of them tomorrow.

It was nice to have a little one on one with Tone. I need to be better at that with both older boys. Its hard because the younger boys require so much attention all the time. It is very difficult for me to balance it all. It is something that really bothers me and I need to just schedule my time better. If only there was more hours in the day...

On a happier note it is Day 8 and the only money we have spent so far has been $1.24. We have paid for gas in both vehicles and our normal monthly bills but other than that we have spent nothing. I am excited about all the things I have learned and tried to change around the house since starting this challenge. I am also excited for the ideas we have for Spring to make our family a little more "green". For example we have plans to make a compost box and our own rain barrels to help water our garden. My sister has a pretty sweet rain barrel and I am hoping to copy hers!

Day 7

We made it through one week! So far it has not been as challenging as I thought it was going to be. Food has not been a concern for us since we are very lucky to have a very good variety of stock pile. I will however be going sometime this week to get bread. That really is the only thing I can think of that we might need besides fresh fruit but I am going to use my canned fruits.

The kids have been a little more relaxed again about turning lights off. I have to constantly remind them. Showers have still been quick (with the exception of Jacob). Temperature turned down in the house, all laundry has been washed in cold water and done on non-peak hours. I feel like we are doing a pretty good job.

There have been some urges to buy or grab something quick to eat but it hasn't been too bad. I have a feeling it is going to get harder in the weeks ahead.


The little kids and I are still sick. Drew started in with a fever yesterday and is already up this morning with a fever of 102.9. We had a very lazy day yesterday which was good. We watched a movie in the morning and we were all in bed for naps at 10:45am! No one even objected, not even Drew. I was so grateful for that. I still feel pretty lousy today so I am sure we won't be doing much again.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Day 6

Well I am officially sick. I have the cold that everyone else around me has had. I am not suppose to get sick. It really cramps my style. It makes me tired and lazy and I hate that feeling.

Yesterday was a tough day for me. I read lots of blogs that were posting lots of good deals around town. I found lots of good stock up things in the Walgreens ad. I went to Kohls with Jake last night to exchange a Christmas gift and there was still TONS of 50-80% off racks. Looking through them with Jake I found lots of shirts and stuff for him that I really wanted to get. I had to hold back. I hated it in the store that I couldn't purchase it, but later after thinking about it I felt better. Does he really need any of that? No. He got a couple outfits for Christmas and I know he will be getting more for his birthday next month. There was lots of good deals but definitely not a necessity.

We had a relatively quiet day around the house yesterday. Both little boys are a little under the weather. Drew has had croup the last couple days. Brodie on and off has had a cough and earache. I am hoping for a nice quiet day today. Maybe even pop in a movie and just lay around sounds nice. You can tell I don't feel good right?

I am kicking myself that I have to fill up my gas tank. Will filled up Monday afternoon and it was $1.54. 2 hours later when we left to take Tony to piano it was up to $1.74. I am going to sit on my quarter of a tank for as long as I can and see if it goes back down. Wishful thinking probably.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Day 5

Well we survived everyone going back to work and school. The kids and I had normal day at home. I got a little cleaning done. I rearranged Tonys room for him so that it opened up the wall by his heater. His room is always so chilly so I am hoping this will help. This motivated Jake to rearrange his room as well last evening.

The little boys and I played with lots of different toys. Here is some pictures of Brodie, I don't know why I don't have any of Drew, probably because he didn't sit still long enough yesterday to have his picture taken. The first picture he is playing with our new felt board from my sister in law. I am very excited to make some new items for the felt board. Unfortunately I need to wait to buy the felt! The next picture he is putting together a 24 piece puzzle given to him by my sister. He did really good for his first time ever putting a puzzle like this one together. He also had fun playing with the homemade blocks also made by my sister.
My fridge is starting to look a little bare so I figured now is a good time to get it all cleaned. I have added that to my to-do list. We didn't really go anywhere yesterday except to Tonys piano lesson and to Redbox for our free Monday rental so no money was spent yesterday!

Today looks to be a little bit more busy. Brodie was up half the night with an ear ache so a Dr. apt might be in store for him. We have a conference with Jake's teacher after school to discuss his grades. He hasn't been doing so hot. Not really looking forward to that. Not sure what else will pop up.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Day 4

We celebrated out final Christmas of the 2008 year with my dad, step-mom and all my siblings last evening. We had a really great time eating, chatting and playing a new game called Carcassonne. The kids has a lot of fun too and were extremely exhasted last night. The only bad thing, I forgot my camera.

We did have to head into Ankeny for some quick errands after the party. I stopped at Wal-greens to get a Rx and then I did purchase a package of Electrosol gel tabs for the dishwasher and a box of aluminum foil. After coupons my out of pocket was .98. I didn't realize I would have to pay tax on the total before coupons so my total came to 1.25. I was a little bummed I went over my $1.00. I used my giftcard to pay for it. The only factor that I feel good about is the fact that there is also a $1.50 rebate that I can get from the gel tabs. So in theory there is a profit of .25!

Other than that there was no spending yesterday. Everyone did good on the shower thing. In the afternoon, we opened our curtains on the huge picture window facing the south to let all the sun come in. It warmed the house up fast! I love having this window here. Natural heating. I didn't do any laundry and only 1 very full load of dishes on the light cycle!

Off to another day. The big kids both go back to school today and Will to work. Things will get back to normal again. Although I am sad to have everyone gone. the little boys and I will get back on some sort of schedule to include some time for our learning again. Today we start the letter G. Giraffe, grapes, and Curious George will be the topics. Plus the use of the new felt board we got for Christmas from my sister in law along with some new puzzles and wooden beads. Should be a fun day!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Day 3

Pretty easy day. Ran some errands in the morning. I had some returns to take in. All the stores were so crazy I didn't even want to check for any clearance items. I did hear someone mention in Wal-Mart about a bunch of toys they had on clearance. Part of me wanted to go see, but I didn't. I did score lots of good toy sales there last year at this time...

No money went out today. A few things I learned were I can dry a load of laundry on 40-50 minute setting on my dryer. I was in the habit of turning the timer to 80 min and walking away. So I have reduced my time by about 30 minutes per load. Also on the dishwasher since I usually pre rinse my dishes (now in cold water instead of hot) I can put my cycle on light instead of normal and they cleaned just fine. I also turned off the hot/dry button and the sanitize button. Pull open the door and let them air dry.

I dropped the house temp to 66 degrees throughout the day yesterday. No one ever complained. This morning however I am a little chilled. My thermometer reads 0 degrees outside. I think I will just go snuggle a child for warmth!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

I know this is the second post of the day. I have had a lot on my mind that I thought I would share.

I had a conversation with Will about the reasons why we decided to do this challenge. The original blog that I read did the challenge because they wanted to live 30 days without consumerism. They were haunted by the way some people lived. Here is a quote from their blog...Today, across the world, 1.3 billion people live on less than one dollar a day; 3 billion live on under two dollars a day; 1.3 billion have no access to clean water; 3 billion have no access to sanitation; 2 billion have no access to electricity.1

This was the first blog that inspired me to do this experiment. I wanted to do this challenge for a few reasons.

1. I want to show our kids and ourselves how good we have it. We have no idea what it would be like to not have water, electricity, or food to eat. Not that this challenge is going to give us any idea but it will teach us to be a little more grateful. We aren't really living the life of these poor people but it does show us how much we spend on nonessential things.
2. I like the idea of being a little more "green". Using less water, recycling, reducing our energy cost. Hopefully what we learn and do now become habits that we continue to do.
3. Obviously money has a factor in this challenge as well. We are definitely going to be saving some money. Do we have big plans for what to do with the money we save? No, not really.
4. I am hoping this challenge gives us something new to talk about as a family both now and later. I am hoping it is something we will remember later on and share with other people.

Anyway, just thought I would clarify with everyone why we decided to do this. If not for you then at least for ourselves.
I have found lots of informative websites since starting our challenge.
Did you know you could save up to $200 per year if you wash your clothes in cold water VS warm or hot water? Also if you have a deep freezer, which we do, you should keep it as full as you can to save money.

This morning Jake asked me where the timer was for his shower :) Also the boys have done a good job using the same cup the last 3 days. I didn't do a load of dishes yesterday which was a first! I felt good about my curling iron, stupid thing I know but it has a super fast warm up. So I only had it on for about 3 minutes total. I let my hair almost dry completely before I used my hairdryer. We didn't turn any lights on all morning except when Will and Tony played LEGOS and for our showers. All these things add change to our electric bill. I never really paid much attention until now. But all the small things add up.

As far as the lowering of the temperature during the day I haven't really noticed a difference. We went from 69 to 67 degrees. At 10pm it turns down to 65 degrees. The first night we tried it was the night Brodie was up sick in the middle of the night so I did turn it up to 67 for a couple hours. Last night however we kept it 65 from 10p-6a without a problem. I just added another blanket to my side of the bed.

We have implemented many of the things we said we were going to with the exception of the 5 gallon bucket in the shower to use for our toilets. We haven't started that yet. I'm not sure if I want to.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Day 2

So far, so good. I was in and out of the shower before the 7 minute timer went off this morning! 7 minutes is actually longer than I thought. The only problem might be on the days I shave. Will said I should just do one leg a day! LOL.

We had a nice quiet morning this morning. Brodie has come down with a terrible cough and was up in the middle of the night getting sick. This led to a chain reaction of events that lasted over 2 hours before he finally fell back asleep. Only to sleep for 2 more hours. So much on the cutting back of laundry. I had sheets and lots of towels and blankets to clean this morning. Oh well. I did find this link that I thought was helpful
- here. One of the tips there is to run your appliances on "non peak hours" and we already do that so I was happy to see that we were doing some things right already.

Our meal plan was easy today. Granola bars and fruit for breakfast. No one wanted a morning snack. Then we had PB&J sandwiches and oranges for lunch. Tonight we celebrated my moms 60th birthday at my sisters house. We had pizza and onion rings which were awesome. We chipped in $20.00 for the food. Not really a necessity item but we had already agreed to share the cost with my siblings before we started our 30 days of nothing experiment.

Total money spent today...$20.00

Day 1

Well we kicked off the challenge. Proving to be a little difficult already. I took my shower yesterday and forgot I was to limit my time in there. Pretty sure once I remembered I was in there for about 10 min. Not too bad. I will struggle with this because I love to relax in the shower. So, today I will bring in the timer, hurry and wash and then spend the next however long relaxing!

I felt pretty good yesterday morning. I went to Kohl's and Wal-Mart with my mom to look at some stuff she wanted to get the boys for their birthdays. I had to return some stuff to Kohl's but didn't buy anything. I did thumb through lots of 80% off racks of clothes but felt good about not wanting to get anything. Wal-Mart had some peanuts on clearance for .50. Thankfully Will was there earlier in the week and stocked up on those for me! So, I left without paying for anything there as well.

Meals were good for the day. Definitely not lacking on the food yet. Breakfast we had cereal. Lunch was frozen pizza. Dinner was loose meat sandwiches, pears and apples and carrots. Thanks to my father-in-law I have quite the supply of cheese its, crackers and granola bars for awhile. He helps out SOOO much. We are very lucky.

Total money spent for the day...$0.00!! Actually I have a POSITIVE 4.24 in cash and 52.00 in gift cards. Not too bad!