Monday, October 22, 2012

Money saving tips!

Since I don't work and stay home and home school lots of people ask how we do it.  Do you really want to know how a family of 4 does it?  It probably isn't as pretty as you may think.

First, we don't get to drive or buy new and fancy cars.  Brandon's car died back in February and he upgraded to another car that was already 7 years old.  Crazy, but it only had 55,000 miles on it and we got a 7 year warranty.  Deal?  Maybe, maybe not!

Next, we don't eat out very often and if we do its with coupons and we don't get soft drinks or drink drinks.  Most restaurants are now charging upwards of $3 per soda and only 1 refill.  I think for $12 we can stop as the gas station or the McDonald's for $1 large for a fraction of the price. 

I do cheap tricks at home.  We all love those single packages of 100 calorie snacks right?  Well, they are usually the same crackers you can buy in the big boxes.  I buy the big box and break it up right away when we get home and place the single packages back into the box.  This also works for kids as they are saved from eating 2 or 3 servings in a sitting.  What about the cost of bags?  Well those are pretty cheap at Aldis.

Aldis!  Yes, I shop at Aldis for almost everything.  Sadly they don't carry things like tofu or fresh herbs, but I can usually do one to two weeks of grocery shopping for $125.  That right there saves us tons of money.  We were spending $175 every week at WalMart or other grocery.  And now we prefer how quickly and easily we can shop at Aldis.

Aldis has so many advantages I can't even explain.  First, they take away choices.  You may like standing in the cereal aisle for 15 minutes letting your children pick out a box of cereal only to find out it's not part of the sale, but I have better things to do.  At Aldis I tell each of my kids to run ahead and pick on one box each and I know it's going to be less than $2 and I know what size box it is going to be (it's big enough to last exactly 1 week).  It takes 2 minutes and we are done.  I don't have to try and figure out which brand of milk is cheaper or which pancake mix we are buying.  There is only one choice and 95% of the time I prefer the Aldis brand.  Their chips leaving something to be desired.  Aldis also cuts down on the impulse spending.  Seriously, what is there to buy extra?  A can of beans?  And get this, check out is super fast!!!  They don't bag which means my grapes are not landing in a bag with my leaky chicken breasts.  We drive our cart to the back of the car and I have 2 or 3 small laundry baskets or boxes back there where we pack it all in while we sort it.  Cold with cold, pantry with pantry and so on.  We can leave our house and be back and two weeks of groceries can be put away in under an hour.  Talk about time saver. 

Maybe I should have called this Aldis tips!  LOL. 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

New Dessert!

So our CSA (Community Shared Agriculture) weekly box has been bountiful with apples.  All different kinds.  Needless to say some are those that just don't make for good eating off the counter though. 

I found a new and easy and fun recipe.  Fruit Filled Oatmeal Bars!  My kids called them Apple Pie Bars as they tasted like apple pie sort of.  This only took me a few minutes to whip up and it didn't make so many we couldn't eat them and they travel well.  I have to say I found this in just one of Better Homes and Gardens books as I now have 4 of them.  Yes, 4!  You would think they are the same but each edition has new and different recipes so I've collected 4 of these books over the past couple years.

So bars...

1 cup flour
1 cup oats (I used old fashioned)
2/3 cup brown sugar (I used white)
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup butter or margarine
2-3 medium apples
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1-2 dash cloves

Peal, core and chop apples.  Place is small saucepot with cinnamon, cloves and 2 tablespoons water over medium heat with cover.  Stir often for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile combine flour, oats, sugar, and baking soda.  Cut in butter until it resembles course crumbs.  Place half of  crumb mix in 9x9 or 8x8 pan and press to form crust.  Pour in apple filling.  Top with remaining crumb mix and bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes until browned on top.  Cool and enjoy!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


It's just that time of year again.  Fall!  October!  You can smell the leaves decomposing and the cool air rolling in.  It is exciting and sad all at the same time.

So, lately I've been reading lots and knitting some and trying to squeeze our budget to make us more money.  Busy!  Busy, isn't even the word for it!

I don't know if everyone know we homeschool, but... here goes.

Caleb is doing Lifepac grade 4 in English, Math, Science and History.  I love it.  It's easy to take along, easy to explain, easy to expand, and easy on the budget.

Joel is doing Horizon's preschool program, but I think we might skip ahead a bunch as we're on lesson 40 and it's still long and boring...  That's the best thing about homeshool.

Some of you may be sitting there wondering why we are homeschooling.  Seriously, you didn't finish college?  You didn't get the grades in high school?  You don't even work?

Yes, neither my husband or I have a 4 year degree and we realize it is required in several of the 50 states.  Does that mean we can't teach 4th grade?  I've had terrible teachers with Masters and the best teachers who haven't even finish college.  True, I can tell you all about this preschool teacher... who was still in school.  She was fan-freakin-tastic! 

But how are your kids going to survive without socialization?  We have done school and it was terrible.  Kids are mean, adults and rude and what are they really learning?  We have done groups and there again, the kids had potty mouths and the parents thought the kids were servents.  Seriously?  Maybe I am setting our kids up for failure, but at least for now they value respect and know what it is. 

Okay, so everyday is awesome.  I get some free time to plan menues and to plan more school and play on Ravelry.  I can't really leave our new school room until the "day" is done, but I'm okay with that.  We have a set schedule and stick to it as best as we can.  I did make it easy to rearrange though is we have a play date or field trip.