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Saturday, February 16, 2008

Day 34 and Basketball is Over

Well, it's the end of an era. Josh had his last basketball game today. It's weird to know that I won't be going to anymore of his high school basketball games. Although, financially, it's probably a good thing. I don't even want to know how much we've spent getting into and traveling to basketball games over the last few months! Unless Tasha changes her mind and joins a sport, I guess our high school sports days are over, until grandchildren (or great-nieces LOL).

Friday, February 15, 2008

Day 33 and It's Been a Month

Well, yesterday was a month since we started this journey and I started the blog. I gotta tell you, this is hard! I know it's going to pay off in the end, but I'm hoping it gets easier! It helps knowing if I screw up, I'll have to come here and post about it, so that has helped save me from doing something stupid a couple of times. LOL! Wednesday night, after our date, we were so tempted to go to Sonic and get drinks, but we resisted. After the day I'd had, a Sonic drink just sounded sooooo good! I worry about slipping back into the habit of getting Sonic drinks several times a week, or eating out too often. So I want to be sure that if we do decide to eat out, it's a planned expenditure and comes from the food money. It's those spur of the moment, "I don't feel like cooking, let's just eat out" that kill us. Dave says to "Live like no one else, so later you can live like no one else". I just try to imagine the feeling of not owing anyone any money. I don't think I've been debt free since I was in high school and I got my first car loan. I can't even imagine what that is going to feel like.

I'm amazed at our progress with the baby EF. Tom got paid for the guitar lessons that he gives last night, and he added that money to the EF. That brings it to a total of $485. It's not all the way funded, but we're making good progress!

I've got a homework filled weekend ahead of me, and at some point, I have to get our taxes done so that I can file Serenity's, Josh's, and my FAFSA for our college financial aid. I can't believe that this fall I'm going to have two children in college!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Day 32 and Happy Valentine's Day!

Well, I survived yesterday with my sanity intact, although just barely! Tom & I went to Enid and used our Chili's gift card last night. Tom gives guitar lessons this evening after work and plus we figured Chili's would be really busy tonight. Since I was so fried and worn out, we decided to go last night. It was a really nice evening and I'm glad we went. Thanks again to whoever sent us the gift card! I've been getting sweet e-mail messages from Tom all day long with things like "I love your laugh" and "I love your eyes". I made him a card yesterday and put it on his pillow while he was in the shower so he would see it when he came back out. I'm making him a special supper for tonight.

Oh, and I must confess, we brought the kids McDonald's last night, so now we have spent $12 on eating out this month ($9 for their food and $3 for our tip at Chili's).

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Day 31 and a bit more progress on the EF

I had a drop-in child after school yesterday, and made $20 so I added that to the EF to bring it up to $460!!!!!

It's been a rough day and we're having our Valentine's party after school so it will probably get rougher. My brain (or what's left of it) is about fried right now. Keep your fingers crossed that I survive the party intact. LOL!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Day 30 and Hamburger Meat

This is a crockpot sloppy joe recipe that a friend gave me years ago. I've made it many times, and it is yummy. Because I try to keep hamburger meat browned up and in the freezer ready to go, this is very simple for me to throw together.

Crockpot Sloppy Joes
2 pounds of hamburger meat (browned and drained)
1 onion, chopped
1 cup ketchup
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon mustard
1 tablespoon liquid smoke

Mix all together in crockpot and cook on low for 3-4 hours.

Hamburger meat in bulk
hamburger meat
quart size ziploc bags
measuring cup

I have a huge skillet that can hold about 5 pounds at a time. You can also use a big stockpot and cover the hamburger meat with water (if you do it that way, you have to stir a lot or it gets really clumpy). When you use the stockpot, you have a beef stock that you can freeze to use in soup recipes. I cook it until it's done all the way through, then drain and rinse the meat. I put about 2 cups (this is roughly equivalent to 1 pound of browned hamburger meat) in a quart size ziploc bag, squeeze as much air out as possible and zip the bag closed. I squish the bag flat and lay the packages in the freezer. When they are cooled enough, then I stack them all together in a tub in my freezer. Doing this is great for quick meals like tacos, hamburger helper, spaghetti, throwing together a pot of chili, or anything you need browned hamburger meat for.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Day 29 and the EF is going to be over $400!!!

The deposit finally got made today which will bring our baby EF up to $440! WOW! I am totally amazed. That is incredible for us! The Christmas club account is set up and we need to decide how much we will be depositing into it. We are going to use it as a gift account so that when things come up that we need to buy gifts for (birthdays, weddings, baby showers, etc.), then it won't come out of our regular budget.

Okay, some goals for this week:
1. Continue to avoid Sonic drinks (except Tom will get one before band practice tomorrow)
2. Continue to avoid eating out (except for when we use our gift card that we were blessed with last week!)
3. Find some more stuff to sell. Dave says: "Sell so much stuff that it makes the kids think they're next!"
4. If we have any ballgames this week, only pay to get in and avoid the concession stand.
5. Fill out the paperwork to get Tom's student loans put in deferral or forebearance so that we can concentrate on some of this other stuff. Mine is already there since I'm going to college full-time.
6. Fill out the pro-rata sheet from Dave's book and send to our credit card creditors and try to work out something with them.

Another crockpot recipe that I'd like to share:
Salsa Chicken:
1 cup salsa
Shredded Cheese (optional)

Put the chicken in the bottom of the crockpot, and pour the cup of salsa over it. Cook until it's done. Shortly before you're ready to eat, sprinkle a little shredded cheese on top, if you wish. As always, it depends on how fast your crockpot cooks on how long it will take to get done. I can start mine around lunch time and it will be ready for supper. I usually serve this with Spanish rice. If there are any leftovers, I shred the chicken and mix it with the rice and roll up in tortillas to make chicken & rice burritos for another meal.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Day 28 and Being Content With What we Have

We studied this verse in our Sunday school class this morning:
Hebrews 13:5-Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said,
"Never will I leave you;
never will I forsake you."
Have you ever noticed how hard it is to be content with what we have? We always seem to think we want or deserve something more, something bigger, something better. That is something that I struggle with almost everyday. Tom got himself an MP3 player with some of his Christmas money, I suddenly want one, too. Now I like music, but I hate ear piece headphone things and it's not like I can walk around listening to it while the kids are here. (Although it sure would come in handy sometimes. LOL). I look at a toy catalog and I "need" one of those toys for my kids. I walk down the clearance aisle at Wal-Mart, and I "need" something because it's on sale and it's cheap. I used to go to garage sales and come back with tons of stuff and have to find somewhere to put it because it was "only ___". I did finally break myself of that habit! We fill our lives with stuff, maybe trying to fill some kind of hole inside-I don't really know. I'm sure a lot of it is marketed to us (and our children!) to condition us that we need or want their product. I want to learn to be content with what I have. I have a wonderful husband and children, terrific friends and family, a lovely home, plenty of food to eat, clothes to wear, cars to drive, the list goes on and on. What more do I truly "need"? I can't think of a thing! Anything else is not a need, it's a want! And I don't want it more than I want financial peace!

Today is 4 weeks into the FPU class, our 5th class is tonight. In these four weeks, we have saved $380 for our emergency fund. That's an average of $90 a week that we've saved! We've paid off around $1171 in debt, that's about $293 a week or almost $42 a day! Of course, some of it would have been paid anyway, but some of it wouldn't have been, the car payment that we just made on Friday comes to mind. Not only did we get it paid, but we got it paid on time so there was no late fee.

Thank you to all of my friends and family for your support, and thank you God for the wonderful blessings you have given us, far above what we truly need.