Saturday, February 12, 2011

Do It Yourself Tissue Paper Rosettes Valentine’s Wreath

Thrifty Decorating shows us how to make a Tissue Paper Rosette Valentine’s Wreath for around $3!
Almost Valentine time... while at her site she shows us how to make other projects that may be quicker if your time is limited.
Lets have fun the thrifty way...
Thanks for stopping by... lets keep saving together.. Grace

Friday, February 11, 2011

2011 Booking It January Reading List

I am part of the 2011 Booking It at Life As Mom reading club. I am challenging myself to read two books a month.
During the month of January I read a great mystery/thriller by Vince Flynn " Protect and Defend"
Vince Flynn is one of my favorite mystery writers I love his characters.
New York Times bestselling author Vince Flynn returns with his most explosive political thriller yet. A tour de force of action-packed suspense, Protect and Defend delivers an all-too-realistic and utterly compelling vision of nations navigating the minefield of international intrigue. A true heavyweight in the political thriller arena (Minneapolis Star Tribune), Vince Flynn has created a flesh-and-blood hero that readers can cheer for and a finger-blistering page-turner they won t dare put down.

In Protect and Defend, the action begins in the heart of Iran, where billions of dollars are being spent on the development of a nuclear program. No longer willing to wait for the international community to stop its neighboring enemy, Israel launches one of the most creative and daring espionage operations ever conceived. The attack leaves a radioactive tomb and environmental disaster in the middle of Iran s second largest city. An outraged Iranian government publicly blames both Israel and the United States for the attack and demands retribution. Privately, Iran s bombastic president wants much more. He wants America and Israel to pay for their aggression with blood.

Enter Mitch Rapp, America s top counter terrorism operative. Used to employing deception, Rapp sees an opportunity where others see only Iranian reprisals that could leave thousands of Americans dead. Rapp convinces President Josh Alexander to sign off on a risky operation that will further embarrass the Iranian government and push their country to the brink of revolution. As part of the plan, CIA director Irene Kennedy is dispatched to the region for a clandestine meeting with Azad Ashani, her Iranian counterpart.

But Rapp isn t the only one hatching plans. Iranian President Amatullah, has recruited Hezbollah master terrorist Imad Mukhtar to do his dirty work. For decades Mukhtar has acted as a surrogate for Iran, blazing a trail of death and destruction across the Middle East and beyond. When Kennedy s meeting with Ashani goes disastrously wrong, Rapp and Mukhtar are set on a collision course that threatens to engulf the entire region in war. With the clock ticking, Rapp is given twenty-four hours, no questions asked, to do whatever it takes to stop Mukhtar, and avert an unthinkable catastrophe.

If you have not read Vince Flynn and love thrillers start out with his first book Term Limits and read them in order if possible. Mitch Rapp does not become his main character till the second book by Flynn but Term Limits is his first book and is a fantastic thriller.

My second book was a non fiction book to help me understand my Irish family and what they went through to come to the US. Most of my ancestors came before the revolutionary war but my Irish family came in 1852. I enjoyed this book and it will remain on my bookshelf for me to go back to over and over.

" The Irish American Family Album " by Dorothy and Thomas Hoobler

The Irish American Family Album is a remarkable history and memoir. In their own words--from diary entries, letters, interviews, and personal reflections--and with photographs and clippings pulled from family archives and the press of the day, the rich and colorful history of the Irish immigration to this country is told with a passion and wit that is uniquely Irish. Life on the "ould sod" and the hardships of the great potato famine and British rule, the decision to leave, the arduous Atlantic journey, first impressions of their new home, settling in and building a new life--all are made immediate and real through the words and snapshots of the participants. But not all are happy memories. Most of the immigrants were young people and left Ireland with a heavy heart, believing that they would never again see those they left behind. They faced prejudice in this country--"No Irish Need Apply" was a familiar sign in shop windows and in newspaper advertisements--and living conditions in the tenements they could afford were a far cry from life on the farm back home.

Many immigrants found their first jobs here as laborers. They were among the workers who built the Erie Canal, the transcontinental railroad, and the Statue of Liberty. In the west, Irish laborers found work as miners during the gold rush. Irish women often worked as servants in the houses of the upper class, or worked in the cloth mills of New England. Though prejudice tried to keep the majority at the bottom of society, the very size of the Irish American community made them a powerful political force, and in cities such as Boston, New York, and Chicago, the Irish took control of local political organizations and were soon a force to be reckoned with.

It is now February and I am reading another mystery / thriller. This one is by

John Sandford and I am really enjoying it. Will review later.

Thanks for stopping by.. lets keep saving together .. Grace

10 Things We Can Waste Our Money On Every Day

This article was on MSN today ... 10 Things You Waste Money On Every Day
So many of us are living on budgets that are tight. We look for deals on food, clothing and household items. But every day we spend small amounts of money that we may not spend if we were to add up our yearly cost. Just by cutting down some of these items could save us thousands of dollars.

Lottery Tickets .. do you dream of a big win...
With mathematicians estimating your chance of winning a lottery jackpot at around 1 in 13 million, it's safe to assume that you'll never win the big one—or even win back all the money you've spent on tickets over the years. Every time I think of buying a lottery ticket I step back and realize it is really throwing away my money.
Expensive Coffee Drinks
We love our coffee, but many pay a high price for it. Driving by the coffee shops I see people sitting at the tables drinking those expensive cups of coffee. Yes they are yummy.. twice this year I have treated my self to a mocha coffee, but after finishing it I think was it really worth the $4.00 I spent. Just think if you spend $4.00 every day on these coffees that it cost over $1,000 a year.
News stand Magazines
Sometimes while I stand in the grocery line looking at the magazines. I have to admit that there are a few times I have picked up that magazine at $4.99 or more. Once I get home and read the magazine I think " What a waste of money". You can get subscriptions that will give you these magazines for less but even that seems like a lot of money to me. Every once in awhile hubby and I will go to the mall and go into Barnes and Noble and sit for an hour looking at the magazines that interest us.
Dry Cleaning
can be very costly. I take my winter coat in once a year but other than that I buy clothes that are washable.
Premium Gasoline
Many believe that they have to have premium but could you get by with regular gas.. read the article for more on this.
Movie Concessions
I hate to admit that we rarely go to the movies and if we do go it is to an afternoon movie at a cheaper price. And I always want a soda and popcorn . The price of a soda is what I would pay for a six-pack at the store. I guess all of this is why we just stay home and watch TV or rent a movie.
Workday Restaurant Lunches
We no longer work out but those daily lunches can be fun but oh so expensive. Better to bring your lunch. Not only will it will be cheaper but probably less calories.
Professional Manicures and Pedicures
There is nothing like having my nails done. I would treat myself to this while living in Texas every few months. The prices were reasonable. I moved to northern Minnesota and called up the nail saloon at the mall for a price. $60.00 to $80.00 to have a pedi cure. No way I just take care of my own feet and my hands. When I visit Texas I will visit Rosie and I can have both done for about $35.00. I miss you Rosie.
High-Priced Grooming Products
Okay we all know that the products in the salon are so much more than what we find in the drug store. And in the drug store we may even get CVS bucks or Walgreens Register Rewards to spend on other products.
Premium Cable Channels
It is unbelievable to what these premium cable channels can cost. We get basic cable and that still costs more than I would like, but I want more than 3 channels to watch.

Can you see any of these items that you spend money on that could be avoided or at least cut back on so you could put that money on debt or into the bank.

The two areas I need to watch myself on is the magazines in the check out line and maybe a mocha coffee every once in a while.

Thanks for stopping by.. lets keep saving together.. Grace

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Grocery Shopping Roundup 2/10/10

Another week of grocery shopping ... this week included diet coke for a super bowl party and I bought an extra one for us as a treat.

Super One
2 24 packs of Diet Coke $5.95 each
2 margarine 49 cents each

Total out of pocket $13.82

Cub Foods

2 jars of store brand gravy $1.49 each
2 cans of store brand mushroom soup 98 cents each
1 store brand egg noodles $1.49
1 package of skinless chicken breast $2.99
4 pounds of ground beef $2.99 a pound
Ham steak $1.36
5 pounds of potatoes $2.49
1 loaf of french bread 99 cents
1 loaf of bread $1.49
milk $2.99

total oop $30.70
trip to Walgreens details here.

total oop Total out of pocket $3.97 and I have a $4.00 register reward to use next week

total spent this week $48.59
total this month so far $89.28
left of monthly budget $150.72

I will be sharing this at

Homemaking Mom

Frugal Follies

Deals and Dishes

Thanks for stopping by... lets keep saving together.. and please always remember
Never under estimate the value of a small amount of money... Grace

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Whats For Dinner Southwestern Chicken Soup using Left Overs

Whats for dinner ... soup using left over chicken Parmesan from the freezer.
Last week we made Chicken Parmesan and after having it twice I put the left over chicken in the freezer.

Tonight it was one of the ingredients in our home made soup.

Left over chicken cut up in small chunks
2 cans of chicken stock ( or your own chicken stock I did not have any)
1 can of fire roasted diced tomatoes
8 ozs of water
1 small onion diced
small amount of left over corn from a couple days ago
a couple of handfuls of frozen mixed vegetables
1tsp of oregano
salt and pepper to taste
8 ozs of pasta ( I cook first and then add to soup to conserve my broth)

chicken, diced onion, orgeno, salt, pepper and left over corn

added a couple of handfulls of mixed vegetables. Simmer for about 20 minutes
Cooked the pasta separate and then added and simmered for another 15 minutes while bread is heating up in the oven.

From start to finish under 1 hour and dinner is tasty and healthy. We each had a couple of small bowls and we have enough left over for lunch after adding some more broth and water. No canned soup can taste as good as this does.

Thanks for stopping by... lets keep saving together.. Grace

To Live With Or Without Credit Cards

To live with or without credit cards is in the news more now than ever with the recent credit problems.

This morning my dh sent me a link for an article he thought I would enjoy called Seven Secrets Of Living Without A Credit Card.

During last year’s Black Friday shopping, about half as many consumers paid with plastic as had the previous year, according to America’s Research Group. And credit card ownership dropped to 67 percent in 2010 from 71 percent in 2008. .. Those are interesting facts.

We have chosen to no longer rely on credit cards to live. We live on a real budget for the first time in our marriage. In the past their was always the budget, which really meant paying the bills. But in the past if we wanted to go to dinner and cash was low we put it on one of our many credit cards. If we wanted to take off to Las Vegas to celebrate our wedding anniversary and New Years Eve no need to save up for it, we would just charge it and plan to pay if off. Of course the Las Vegas trip was not paid off by the end of the month so the debt came home with us. What kind of a vacation is that.

Here is the seven secrets .. go to the article to read it in full.

You’ll spend less... Well that is a no brainer for us. If the cash has run out there is no reason to go out to dinner or buy something we really do not need. Makes us think twice about our money and where we want it to be spent.

You’ll probably save more .. if we do not have that credit card as our emergency cushion
we come with ways to live on less and save more. We are setting our priorities and hoping to be an example for family members.

Renting a car is more of a hassle .. okay some car companies will want to put a hold on your debit account but if we do not have the extra money in our bank account then why are we traveling and renting a car.

Ditto for getting an apartment or a house .. okay with no credit card debt your credit score may not be as high. You may have to do more work to show your income and financial business but that is worth more to me than being slave to the credit card companies. Hubby and sure sleep better at night.

You can always go back.. that is true you give up the credit cards for years. You can always go back to get a credit card. Weekly we get credit card offers with 0 interest for a year. No thank you credit card company I no more want to go back to being in debt to you than I want to start smoking or drinking again. I care about my financial health as much as I do my physical health.

Not everyone thinks it’s smart to live on cash and not have a credit card. It is believed that we can not control our selves. Well okay there were times we could not control our selves. Anyone you carries a credit card balance probably can not control them selves. Otherwise it would be paid off at the end of the month. It is a known fact that if a credit card is used more money is spent.

There’s a psychological benefit to having a credit card. We use to think of the credit cards as an emergency fund. Now we work at living on less and putting money into a savings account for our emergency fund.

So could you live with or without credit cards?

We can and do .
Yes we do not go traveling like we use to.
We do not go out to eat 3 to 5 times a week.
But we do not owe any credit card company.
We are eating better and less and both of us sleep better every night.

thanks for stopping by... lets keep saving together and please remember
Never under estimate the value of a small amount of money... Grace

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Beef Stroganoff Using Left Overs What's For Dinner Saving Money Eating At Home

Beef Stroganoff is what we had for dinner tonight and it was FANTASTIC.

Normally we buy a piece beef but this time we used roast left over from a past meal that I had put in the freezer. And I have to say this left over roast beef was tasty, tender and better than buying the piece of beef I normally would buy.

Normally we would saute the beef but this time we just warmed the beef up then spiced with garlic and onion. Then add 2 cans of beef gravy and 2 cans of mushroom soup.

While the beef and gravy simmer the No Yolk Egg noodles are cooked

At the end just before we are ready to eat hubby adds a small container of sour cream and lets that simmer for a bit. It is important to not put the sour cream in until the very end otherwise it can get watery.

Add some hot french bread and we were ready to eat..

I will be sharing this recipe at

Potluck Sunday

Monday Mania

Homemaker Monday

Delicious Dishes

Made By You Monday

Southern Fairytale

Hunk Of Meat

Hearth and Soul

Menu Plan Monday

Tuesday At The Table

Tuesday Night Supper Club

Tasty Tuesday

Tempt My Tummy ( hosted at the well this week)

Frugal Food Thursday

Frugal Friday

Tip Day Thursday

Full Plate Thursday

Fat Camp Friday

GCC Recipe Swap

Thanks for stopping by... lets keep saving together... Grace

Monday, February 7, 2011

The Saved Quarter Challenge Update #5,Saved $0

The Saved Quarter Challenge Update #5 ,Saved $0. Sadly I was not been able to save any money this week. What we did not spend on groceries we spent taking my oldest step son and his family out to dinner to celebrate his birthday. Costly but sometimes you need to share what you have with family even when things are tight.

I did sell one book this week on eBay for $6.99 but after costs there is not much profit. Was an error to buy it and I am happy to have sold it first time out. Money will stay where it is so I can use it to buy something to sell.

Will need to share some of my experience of selling on eBay in the future. In the past we have made some good extra cash but slow right now. With spring coming and being able to garage sale I know things will get better.

On Super Bowl Sunday we went to one of my son's house for a party. I spent the time at the dining room table listing Manga books for one my granddaughters. I am not really into football but I love being with my sons and grandchildren.

.. update.. hubby says we have a bid on one of the Manga auctions.. great!!! I asked her what she was going to do with any money she got from her books. Save some and buy some clothes was her answer.

Hope this week will be better with grocery shopping and on eBay.

I will be sharing this over at Saved Quarter Challenge .. stop to see what others are doing.
Thanks for stopping by... Grace

Menu Plan Monday 2/7/11

Want to make your week easier ... plan your menu plan for the week...
this week we are moving 2 items from last week that did not get made. We were invited to my son's for Super Bowl Sunday so did not have to cook one night. Great food and fun times. Time spent with sons and grandchildren ... PRICELESS...

What I have planned for the week

Hubby's Beef Stroganoff ( using up left over roast beef in the freezer rather than buying beef)

chicken Vegetable noodle soup using left over chicken from chicken Parmesan that I put in the freezer last week.

Meat balls with gravy, potatoes and a vegetable ( moved from last week)
Chili Corn Bake ( using chili from the freezer) ( moved from last week)

Grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup

left overs

to be decided still
We will have an easy menu plan this week. I do hope to do some freezer cooking later in the week. Freezer is low on chili and spaghetti sauce.
I am sharing this over at organizing junkie you can see what others are cooking by going here
Thanks for stopping by.. hope that you will stop by real soon.. Grace