Thursday, July 31, 2008

Here is Heaven's Birthday cake. This year she wanted to make and decorate it herself. She did a great job and had almost as much fun making it as eating it! She turned ten and is growing up way too fast!

And here is five months of my life! Chad's friend found out I could crochet and asked if I could make an afghan for his bed with his college logo on it. It was quite an endeavor as I have never used more than one skein of yarn at a time and I can't count how many times I frogged, but it's finished, it's huge, and I am really proud of it! He was really happy with it when he got it!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

In light of our economy

Well I have been thinking a lot about the state of our economy and the affect it has had directly on my family. I have been brainstorming ways of saving money and eliminating waste (trying hard to be ecology friendly too!) So here is what I have some up with so far!

1. Our electricity: living in Arizona, I find myself dreading the monthly bill! This month we topped out at over $400 for energy use! In all fairness we did get hit with a stomach bug last month so I was doing laundry around the clock and trying to keep the temps extremely comfortable but here's the new plan.

a. We are gonna keep the thermostat at 80 and run fans in the rooms that we are in.

b.We are gonna unplug our cell phone chargers and anything electric that draws power when not in use (this will be especially hard for dh as he is so used to the convenince of not having to bend over and plug something in! tee hee).

c. I am gonna line dry everything except towels and big bedding during the warm weather. In all honesty I could line dry everything but I love the feel of a fluffy towel warm from the dryer! But for everything else, it seems a little crazy to me to ignore the fact that the 100+ degree temps outside could dry the clothing (and even make it last a bit longer) just as efficiently as my dryer can. This should cut down on the dryer by about 3/4. (just a heads up, i actually dry it all on a rackin my garage, just as hot but doesn't sunbleach or bake your clothes and give them the "crunchy" feeling!

d. Am phasing out incandescent bulbs in the house and replacing them with cfl's!

e. Turning of lights when they aren't in use (the kids thing the closet monsters need light even when the kids are somewhere else....this MUST be remedied!

2. Our groceries: as I am sure you can imagine nine people need a lot of things. Food, personal care items and pet essentials alone are enough to make anyone cry when they see the receipt!

a. COUPONS, COUPONS, COUPONS! I am gonna strive to work harder in this area. I have become a bit lax over the years with less time to dedicate to clipping and such. But it can easily become a good lesson to the children on good stewardship and being smart with your money. Am proposing a coupon club with a few of my friends where we all clip coupons and share with each other what we don't use.

b. Catching the sales! I use to have a shopping list and I bought what was on it no matter what it cost us. No more of that! Gonna shop the sales and just get creative with recipies (which can also be a good lesson to my kiddos, home ec, anyone?)

c. Garage sales. I know this doesn't fall under the heading of groceries but 7 kids can do a number on you clothing budget! So I am gonna hit garage sales to keep my kiddos in playclothes and then replenish undies, socks and dress clothing a couple times a year from department stores.

d. How does your garden grow???? With the price of groceries being what they are, I am learning how to turn my thumb green! Gonna spend fall and winter prepping our yard and in the spring a new garden is going in! I have done a lot of reading about urban homesteading and victory gardens and realize now how much freedom there is in being able to provide at least some of your own food!

3. Holidays: I have to admit it, I am addicted to holiday cheer! I have been known to get out of hand with my spending and that tends to make a very grinchy dh!

a. Start early! I already have a few things tucked away for the kids! I send away on line for freebies for things like lotions, lip balms, etc and those will be collected for stocking stuffers. I also double up on school supplies and keep some for those stockings later.

b. Nothing says love like hand made! I am a firm believer that there should be something handmade under the tree!

c. Read emails for gift cards! I belong to mypoints and get at least five points for every email I click through. When I earn enough points I send for a $25 gift card to a department store of my choice. The cards don't expire so I save them until the holidays and it's free money to christmas shop with, if you watch the sales you can save even more! An added bonus is to use the gift cards for online purchases and schedule to pick them up at the store so you beat the crowd, spend the time at home shopping, don't have to pay for shipping, and earn even more points for shopping through the mypoints site! If you are interested in this let me know and I'll refer you!

That is all I can think of for now, I will keep you all posted on how all of it works!

Love and Hugs,