Sunday, January 29, 2012

January Progress Update, How We Got Here Edition


The first month of 2012 has flown by! It has been a month of changes. They have been exciting for us as a family trying to live frugally and make our money serve us well. Something we never really committed to in the past.

What changed for us? I suppose it was like most couples. Being sick and tired of  the fear of the unknown financially. What if hubby's job disappeared? What if the engine blew in the car? What is one of us God forbid became ill? What would we do?

The reality finally set into our heads. We control the "what if?" We have one and only one choice. BE PREPARED!  Have a fully funded Emergency Fund, pay off debt, live within our means. Sounds easy hunh? We have tried several times over the last 5 years. Even succeeding for a while. We just would get bored, feel to deprived, have a mini emergency and have to wipe out our fund and get discouraged.

We would tell ourselves, "Why save, every time we get ahead something breaks, or someone gets ill (usually I'm the culprit here) and we are back to ZERO! Well, DUH! It finally sunk in, that's why they call in the Emergency Fund! They were Emergencies! What would have happened if the funds weren't there? We just had to suck it up and quit making excuses. There it was, stop making excuses!

Just like many couples nowadays, sick and tired of being sick and tired! Plain and not so simple! It takes hard work, just as hard as you worked to earn it. Wise spending, frugal living and financial security have to be your second job!

So when everyone else was ringing in the new year, we were sitting down with all of our bills and making our realistic budget and setting goals for 2012. We discussed our strengths and weaknesses, made sure we understood the others wants and needs and made sure we were going to attack this as a team.


Opened a Ing Direct account (right then and there, savers since December, 31 2011!)

Move closer to hubby's work (he drives 180 miles day round trip multiply that by 12 years!)

Set and stick to a grocery and household budget. Menu plan and clip coupons!

Snowflake, Snowflake, Snowflake!!! Make all that extra money and my little baking side gig work for us, while finding other ways to earn money.

Dust off this blog! I love to blog but got lazy about it. Now I will be accountable by posting our efforts here. Who knows maybe make some money at it someday (stranger things have happened)

We are very excited and motivated. I personally am treating it like a game. It works for me to have fun and stay interested or I get distracted. Posting here and joining some really wonderful blog challenges are working for me.

Debt Snowflake Challenge hosted by Melissa at Mom's Plans.
The Year of Zero with Frugal In Florida.

This is how we did so far.

Snowflakes for January- $494.98
Grocery budget -$ 10.35 under for the month (miracles never cease)
No spend days: 14 (still a few days left in the month but we are stocked up and should be safe)
Coupon savings- $33.44
Hopefully I can add more categories to snowflake. We are giving ourselves leeway in the budget for groceries and being realistic that our budget is a ever changing process. We are not going to make excuses and feel like we deserve rewards we haven't earned.

So, that's how it happened for us. I would love to hear about your moment. What got you on your path to freedom? Thank you all so much for stopping by. I am so encouraged by all you other bloggers out there and its so wonderful that you share your journey with the rest of us! Happy Weekend! Bring on February!

                                                             HUGS, Deb!



Friday, January 27, 2012

Debt Snowflake Challenge Week 4 The Month In Review

Happy Friday! Glad you are stopping in for another weekly check in. I hope everyone was busy gathering snowflakes this week. Not real ones, I know this is January which snowflakes would be plentiful but not here in central Missouri, not a flake yet! But that's a different post.

The financial flakes were very good for this week. Our best week so far! The grand total for week 4 was $195.32, wwwhhhooo! They broke down like this, $75.00 for the side baking gig, $17.32 for hubby's raise and $103 for our state tax refund. That was fast, filing time and direct deposit, less than one week. We usually have two pay in a few hundred dollars, so it was nice to see a refund. My tweaking is complete, I will leave it where it is.

I would say that our first month snowflaking has been a success. It just floors me that we have never tried this before. I have read endless articles on it and never committed to it. When I found Melissa's blog Moms Plans and read of her challenge I was ready. It has been so wonderful to have accountability and encouragement from Melissa and the other participants. I get SO excited for Fridays!

So for January we were able to snowflake a total of $474.98! Just amazing! This would have just absorbed into our checking account never to be seen or served any benefit to us. I hope if you are a reader of my blog and you have not yet joined this challenge,  give it a try. Even if you don't have debt or just want to save for a vacation or beef up the kids college fund. You owe it to yourself and family to corral this loose change and put it to work! I hope I am not sounding preachy. I am just so excited for my progress and want everyone to know how it can help you too!

Drop in and see what its all about over at Moms Plans. Have a wonderful weekend and Happy Snowflaking! I will be back this weekend for a round up of the month. I will be tallying up the grocery budget and counting up the no spend days for my Year of Zero participation. See you then!

                                                                     Hugs, Deb!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Menu Plan Week 3, Better Late Than Never

Welcome all! I hope everyone had a wonderful and warm weekend. I'm running late getting the menu plan posted. I was organized with all my meals and shopping, a lazy streak developed this morning and slowed the rest of the day down. Thank goodness that's over!

Just a typical week around here again, no outings or meetings to take us away. Here is whats cookin' around here this week

Homemade Chili and buns with grilled beef franks a little fruit salad on the side

Sticky Chicken Legs, oven roasted potatoes and green beans

Butternut Squash Soup with 3 cheese grilled sandwiches on homemade white bread

Brinner(breakfast for dinner) Buttermilk pancakes, grilled sausages(turkey) and applesauce

Leftovers (anyone for a chicken leg pancake combo? Yikes!)

Chicken and rice with steamed veggies

Kids choice( They will try to get breakfast AGAIN!)

I have been in a uninspired mood this week. I guess it will do me good to stop by Susie's to see what she and the other participants are cooking! I know there will be plenty of great ideas. Have a great week of wonderful meals with your family! Hugs, Deb!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Debt Snowflake Challenge Week 3 Update

Welcome and Happy Friday to everyone! TGIF, right? I hope everyone had a successful week of snowflakes. If you haven't joined yet I suggest you hop on over to Moms Plans and see what our host Melissa and other participants are up to. It is never to late to start!

It was a pretty decent week for me here in the country. Hubby received a small raise in his pay that was unexpected and we decided to just keep on budgeting like it wasn't there. So my total snowflakes for the 3rd week of the challenge is $ 93.20. It breaks down to $26.20 from the raise and $67.00 profit from baking. Not bad at all! I'm getting very excited to find more ways to snowflake as we go.

I love checking in with everyone participating to congratulate or encourage each week. It is wonderful knowing that the same is there for me when needed. Melissa, your hard work in hosting is SO APPRECIATED! YOU ROCK!!!!

Tomorrow I will update my progress in 2012 The Year of Zero. Frugal in Florida is chronicling her year of zero. Go HERE to check it out! I'm going to make those facial wipes just as soon as I use up my stash! What a great idea!

Have a great weekend! Hugs, Deb!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

First Tablescape Thursday in Ages

Welcome and Happy Thursday to you! It has been SO LONG since I posted a tablescape or linked up with Susan at Between Naps On The Porch , if you are new to tablescaping hop on over there and see what you are missing! Prepare to fall in love!

My oldest daughter who is recently out of the Army and living in Colorado Springs was passing through last week on here way to see a friend in Tennessee and decided to stop in for a quick over night visit.

So I scurried around and set a very simple and frugal table for us all to enjoy a rare meal together. We had Cranberry Cherry pork tenderloin, mashed buttermilk potatoes with rolls and salad. For dessert I made Snicker doodle sandwich cookies and ice cream.

So here it is, a little table for a cold weary traveler.

Well I guess it wouldn't have killed me to run a iron over the table runner. Everything else on the table  consists of thrift shop and items I have has for ages. The table runner was a 50% off deal from Target! Gotta love that!

Enjoy all the tablescapes today and don't forget to tell Susan thanks for hosting! Hugs, Deb!

Parmesan Crusted Talipia

Welcome all! Thanks for stopping by. I am doing something quite shocking today. A recipe post! WOW, hunh? I feel ashamed really. I have fallen into that old "mechanic doesn't want to work on his own car after work scenario". But no more I say. I have a bunch of great things to share with you so by golly I'm going to suck it up!

This is such a easy recipe. Very yummy and budget minded too! My youngest daughter requests this for her birthday dinner. You may notice in the picture a lei around the plate. That was from her luau dinner last year.

Parmesan Crusted Talipia

1 package of frozen talipia fillets( I get mine at Aldi)
2 eggs
1/4 cup of milk or buttermilk
2 cups Italian bread crumbs
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup parm cheese
2T lemon pepper seasoning
2 teaspoons garlic powder
Olive oil for frying

Mix all dry ingredients in a shallow dish and set aside. Mix egg and milk in a dish big enough to hold talapia. The Aldi package usually yields 7-8 fillets. Rinse the fillets and place in egg mixture, coat them well and let set for a few minutes. In the mean time add a few TBS oil to pan on medium heat. Roll your fillets in bread crumb mixture and let rest while pan is heating. Just about 3 minutes on each side and they are perfect. Drain on paper towels and serve with lemon wedges! Easy peasy! They are very delicious to boot!!!!

This is a very forgiving recipe you can change it up anyway you want, use corn meal, panko or any fish friendly spices or herbs.

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do. I have never tried it in the oven. If you decide to, let me know how it turns out for you.
Enjoy your Wednesday! Hugs, Deb!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Weekly Menu Plan The Late Edition

Hello there everyone! Hope you weekend was wonderful. I am getting a late start on the menu plan this week. That dead fridge really messed up the menu plan last week. We had to eat different things to clear space and beat the clock with the perishables.

So here is the plan for this week:

Chili Lime roasted pork sirloin chops
Creamy Corn casserole
cottage cheese

Homemade Pizza

veggies and ranch dip
oven fries

Honey Brown Sugar Ham
Mashed Potatoes
Green Beans with Caramelized Onions

Grilled Chicken
Steamed Rice

Hopefully this week will go off without too much kitchen chaos. Hop on back tomorrow and I will be posting a easy Talipia recipe. Make sure you stop over to see Susie and link up you menu plan or just get some great ideas!
                                                                           Hugs, Deb!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Debt Snowflake Challenge Week Two Still Plugging Along

Hello everyone, HAPPY FRIDAY! It's time to link up with Melissa at Moms Plans for the Debt Snowflake Challenge. Participating has been really motivating for me. If you haven't been by to check it out I suggest you scoot on over there ASAP. I am staying accountable and learning new ideas too. Much love Melissa!!!!!!

I am slowly plugging along in my second week. The death of the fridge is still stinging in the area where our Emergency Fund once lived. All the more reason to eliminate debt, right? RIGHT! Build old EF back up to its former glory and LARGER!

The snowflake total for this week is $80.97. It breaks down to baking profit, $67.00, Rounding hubby's pay to nearest ten $8.97 and a $5.00 deposit from my bank for a customer satisfaction survey. They are tiny but rolled together they are mighty!

I'm hoping to get that grocery budget tamed too. There are some really great deals this week so I'm hoping for a under budget trip this week!

How are your snowflaking efforts going this week? Cant wait to stop by and visit everyone! Have a wonderful weekend! HUGS! Deb

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Murphy Stopped By Today!

Welcome all! It has been a very unfrugal day here in the country! OUCH! I woke up to a horrible screeching sound in the middle of the night. It was my kitchen nemesis, the REFRIGERATOR! This side by side beast has been a thorn in my side since I bought it almost nine years ago!

                                                    photo credit-

It has made noise and broke down on a nonstop basis. I have had it repaired 4 times under warranty, 2 times under the extended warranty(one rare time it ended up being worth it to purchase a extended warranty!) and 3 times out of our pocket, all small things of course.

But today was different. The compressor locked up and a horrible smell filled the kitchen. I am glad its dead, really I am. I just wish it didn't take our emergency fund with it. I just had it built back up from the September dryer fiasco. Will we ever surpass the initial $1000? Feeling defeated toady but maybe tomorrow I can be thankful we could replace it. Sigh!!!

Ever wonder why Murphy loves to visit in January? He needs to lose my address. Dave said he will try to move in. Have you had a visit from Murphy lately? So much for a spend free day!

Well, I am off to wait for the delivery men. Have a great, calamity free day!
                                                                     Hugs, Deb

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Weekly Menu Planning #2

It's week 2 already. I guess this year is going to try to fly by me too. While I might not be able to control time, at least I will be organized and frugal as possible.

The house is finally back to normal schedules and the older kids are gone. So hopefully my grocery budget will creep back down. The bad news is I am $15.79 over budget this week and for week one $22.34 bringing my negative total to $38.13. BOOO!!!! I keep telling myself it isn't too bad considering we had New Years Eve and company.

Now back to regular life! Phew!

I am dusting off some family favorites this week. My family got neglected in the weeks leading up to the holidays due to my busy baking season. So this is our menu this week.

Parmesan Crusted Talipia
Roasted Asparagus
Baked potato

Sticky Chicken
Cheesy Corn casserole
Spinach salad with lemon vinaigrette

Homemade Pizza with whole wheat crust
Pepperoni for the kids
Canadian bacon with pineapple and jalapenos for hubby and I

Leftover night (Probably Wednesday)

Ham and beans with homemade cornbread
(made with yummy ham bone from the holidays)

Soup and salad (french onion and some crusty bread)

One night for sure we will be running around like maniacs and just forage through the refrigerator. Does anyone else do that? Oops. told on myself!

So that's the week in food. What's cookin' in your neck of the woods? Have a wonderfully frugal week!!! 

I just wanted to add that I will be linking up with Susie at SusieQTpies Scraps of Life for Menu Planning Monday. I just love her blog and am so glad I found it. Go check her out!
                                                     Hugs, Deb

Friday, January 6, 2012

Debt Snowflake Challenge Week One and Having Fun!

Happy Friday fellow bloggers and followers. It has been a great week for snowflaking. It's so motivating to collect up my little "flakes" and package them for debt repayment!

Why I have never tried this, I will never know! For several years I have read lots of blogs which practiced this method. Everyone had wonderful success too, but did that motivate me? Nope!

Recently I stumbled upon this wonderful blog. Melissa will be updating every Friday. She had had some great luck this week with a unexpected deposit fee. Stop by and see what all the buzz is about!

The hubby and I have decided that all of our snowflakes will be tucked away in our new ING Electric Orange account.Then once monthly they will be assigned to the smallest debt to quickly clear up according to Dave Ramsey. I know its not the popular method over paying off high interest debts first but I like Dave's ideas. He the the "go to" guy in my book.

Here is the breakdown for this weeks "flakes".

Profit from my little baking gig $94.00

Rounding off my hubby's paycheck to the nearest ten dollar increment $8.65

A check for $2.84 from old insurance company

This makes a grand total of $105.49! In the old days this would have floated away somewhere on the weekend. What a waste! But no more, every dollar is going to work as hard as we do!

I am kind of still in limbo on what to do about my coupon savings $ and the balance in my grocery envelope. Currently they are hanging out together. The plan for now is to build a stockpile of no more than 3 each items of all our toiletry and household supplies. We have only two choices for grocery shopping in a 40 mile radius Walmart and Aldi. Not as great as I would like but I am determined so save regardless.

I welcome any input on this. I would love to hear how you all do it. You just gotta love feedback from the pros! Have a wonderful weekend and happy snowflaking. I am off to see how everyone else did with their first week.
Hugs, Deb!!!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

More Frugal Blog Love!

                                                              photo credit:

So glad you dropped in! I hope everyone is enjoying the new year. I was blessed with some free time over the New Year's break and I decided to revisit some of my old favorite frugal blogs since one of our resolutions for 2012 was getting back to frugal living and eliminating debt. I found several amazing new ones also.

One of them is Frugal In Florida. Frugal is a working mom of grown kids trying to keep it on the cheap in balmy Florida! That alone is enough to hook me! But while browsing around her blog I found out about her great plan for 2012 The Year Of Zero . Hop on over to see her rules for 2012. I personally love 1, 9 and 10. I have joined in and they are in my rules for 2012! Nothing like making blogging buddies with the same ideas to keep you accountable in the year ahead.

What rules would you have for finances in 2012? I think Frugal In Florida is going to inspire us all in 2102. What are you still doing here? Get on over there! I'm right behind you!!!! Let's all be fab and frugal!!!

                                                                   Hugs, Deb

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Goals For 2012. Keeping It Real!

Two posts in one day??? I'm really going nuts hunh? In keeping with my goals for the year it is necessary. One of my personal goals is to blog more. A perk of blogging is that it keeps you accountable. Totally win-win for me!

Crystal at Money Saving Mom's is blogging about goals, setting them and being more intentional. This is a great post and a great blog! Make sure you stop by and link up with your 2012 goals.



This goal servers many purposes. Financial, will save $600 per month driving expenses alone. Of course this means a higher rent of $325.00 more but it will cut out huge costs on tires,oil changes and general wear and tear on the car.

The biggest benefit is that my husband will gain 4 hours a day. We are all winners on this one, not counting his safety and sanity!


Because we live so far away...we wore out our car. As much as I would like, paying cash is out of the budget. We will have to settle for a decent down payment then pay off aggressively.


We will be snowflaking any cash windfalls, rebates, or money earned in overtime and the baking and soap business profits. I will put up my weekly and to date totals on my sidebar to keep me on track.


Sadly, hubby and I put each other on the back burner! No more! We are going to set a frugal date night and keep it once a month. If you have any ideas, share them PLEASE! I will post any of our great ideas as we try them out.


My baking business is slowly growing, I'm catering small affairs, Doing 2 sandwich deliveries a week plus my monthly bread customers and holiday orders for baked goods TRIPLED in 2011 season! But I could do more. I will be adding products and participating in our local farmers market this year again. My soap and body product line took a backseat at Christmas. This year Country Moon Apothecary will expand and debut at the farmers market. My goal is to add at least 10 new items by the end of the year.

That's about it. Not many I know but it is a handful for us. I want to be diligent and succeed so this is just right for us. We are so excited for the new year. So many possibilities and the whole year to tackle them!

What do you want to accomplish in 2012? Share with us!!!!!!!!!!

Welcome 2012!

Hello All! It's a new year, time to make some goals for the new year! Isn't it great to have a clean slate? A whole fresh clean calendar full of possibilites! As you may have noticed, I am very exccited for a new year! What are your resolutions or goals for the coming year?

I have been surfing around looking for some new frugal and personal finance blogs. One of my mains goals this year is to make our money work harder. I have lapsed into somewhat of a unfrugal mode in the last few months. It has left me and the budget feeling bloated and wasteful. Being disorganized is the key problem that always leads me to unfrugal ways!

SO..I am getting in gear and throwing out all my wasteful unfrugal habits! I will be menu planning, cutting the fat from our budget, making better use of my coupons even snowflaking my savings and small income streams.

What is snowflaking? It is taking extra money and pooling it to pay off debt. Now this is a incredibly basic definition. There are so many wonderful examples out there so I will just let you go HERE this is a wonderful explanation.

I found Melissa's blog, Mom's Plans and I have been so excited! I'm on board for the Debt Snowflake Challenge. Please visit her wonderful blog and join in. We have nothing to loose but debt!

I have another great blog to share with you to but I thought I would do one per post. Got to give these bloggers each their due!

What are some of your 2012 Goals? I will be sharing as we go. Blogging about them is a great way to keep me motivated and accountable? How about you?

Thank you so much for stopping by. Now that I am getting on track I can frugally dream about my other loves, tablescaping and gardening. Its going to be a exciting year around here hope you will follow along! Happy New Years and best wishes in all you goals!