Saturday, February 19, 2011

No Spend Month and other tidbits

So I've been partaking in a "No Spend Month" where I try not to spend $ on things that I haven't allowed for....For the record...We're headed for an epic FAIL on that front.  But I absolutely HAVE to get my spending habits under control. And here is why.....

We are currently getting our hours cut at work AND our Distribution Center is cutting us a truck a week for at least the next 2-3 months.  NOT fun by any means.  Seriously considering looking for a second J-O-B just to have a little more security $wise in my bank account.

On Monday I turn 27...Seriously the highlight of the past week.

My step-aunt's funeral was yesterday.  Liz was loved by a lot of people and for such a sad occasion there were a LOT of happy memories.

Knitting-wise I'm really challenging myself...I'm attempting my first pair of socks.  I've given up on mittens for a little while.  I'm going to have stick with my original pattern.  The one I tried off of Ravelry was giving me serious fits.

The plan for today is to do some reading, some knitting and some digital photography therapy....All of which is great stress releases after a VERY stressful week.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Pastor Ryan's Monkey Bread

I got this recipe from The Pioneer Woman.  She's just awesome!

Pastor Ryan’s Monkey Bread

Prep Time: 20 Minutes  |   |   | 

Recipe ~ Fluffy Biscuits

Prep/Total Time: 30 minutes


2 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
3 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup shortening
1 egg
2/3 cup milk


1. In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt.  Cut in shortening until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Beat egg with milk; stir into dry ingredients just until moistened.

2. Turn onto a well-floured surface; knead 20 times.  Roll to 3/4-in. thickness; cut with a floured 2-1/2 in. biscuit cutter.

3. Place on a lightly greased baking sheet.  Bake at 450 degrees for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown.  Serve warm.

Yield: 1 dozen

Recipe ~ Home-Style White Bread (BREAD MACHINE)

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Bake Time: 3 hours + cooling


1 cup water (70 to 80 degrees)
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons nonfat dry milk powder
3 cups bread flour
2 teaspoons active dry yeast


1. In bread machine pan, place all ingredients in order suggested by manufacturer.  Select basic bread setting.  Choose crust color and loaf size if available.  Bake according to bread machine directions (check dough after 5 minutes of mixing; add 1 to 2 tablespoons water or flour if needed).

Yield: 1 loaf (about 1-1/2 pounds, 16 slices)

Recipe ~ Beefy Vegetable Stew

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes


1 pound ground beef
1 can (28 ounces) stewed tomatoes, cut up
1 can (15 ounces) tomato sauce
1 package (16 ounces) frozen California-blend vegetables
1 cup frozen corn
1 cup frozen broccoli cuts
2 cups water
1 tablespoon beef bouillon granules
1/2 teaspoon sale
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder


1. In a Dutch oven, cook beef over medium heat until no longer pink; drain.  Add the remaining ingredients.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 40-45 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Yield: 10-12 servings

Meal Plan Monday #1 2/14

Good Morning!  We've been trying out meal planning for a little while now...Just have to get EVERYONE on the same page.  So here is our plan for this week, I'll be posting the recipes for several of the items on the list shortly.

Monday 2/14 - Beefy Vegetable Stew , Home-Style White Bread

Tuesday 2/15 - BBQ chicken breasts, veggie, potatoes, Fluffy Biscuits

Wednesday 2/16 - Stir fry and rice

Thursday 2/17 - *Box Night* Mac N Cheese

Friday 2/18 - Pastor Ryan's Monkey Bread

Saturday 2/19 - Grilled Cheese & Soup

Warmest Mittens Pattern Warning

I started this pattern last week in an effort to make myself a pair of mittens.  I have found that if you have a larger hands like I do the number of stitches it says to cast on is NOT enough.  I knitted this up a little ways and found that it was too tight and had to tear it out.  Instead of the required 36 stitches I have cast on 45 stitches on attempt number 2.  I'm hoping that this is the magic number.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

2011 Debt/Savings Challenge hosted by Penny Pinchin' Mom

I just found this challenge on one of the new money saving blogs that I follow and I immediately decided to take on this challenge.  I have decided that 2011 is the Year of ME and part of that is knocking down a considerable amount of my debt.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Have you heard?!

The Packers are in the Super Bowl!  Which is tomorrow!  Even though I'm 99% Steeler fan there still is that 1% of me that likes the Packers.  Ok, so my AFC and NFC team are in the Super Bowl.  Funny how things work out?! I mean they are soooo much better than the Vikqueens and 'Da Bears.

Any way moving on....this is the dome on our state capital. Which our governor has turned Green and Gold in honor of the Packers being in the Super Bowl!  My mom and I went out at the wee hours this morning and shot some REALLY AWESOME SAUCE pictures.  Between the 2 of us we have a couple hundred pictures and I have a pretty AWESOME "blooper reel" that I might feel the need to share with everyone!

Friday, February 4, 2011

I'm moving my banking...

Recently my parents changed banks to State Bank of Cross Plains and opened a new checking account where they will actually earn a considerable amount of interest on their balance.  I've decided that I am also going to open one of these checking accounts, since today is payday I'm doing it as soon as the bank opens!...I'm tired of my money being lazy.  Here's the skinny on this Ultimate Interest Checking Account (from the bank webpage):

Finally a Checking Account You Can Get Excited About! Open your Ultimate Interest Checking Account today!
  • Earn 2.51% Annual Percentage Yield (APY)* on Ultimate Rate paid on daily balances up to $25,000 or 0.05% APY* (standard rate paid) when account conditions are not met and on balances over $25,000.
  • To qualify for this “Ultimate Rate” you must meet the following requirements: 1. Make at least 16 completed Debit Card transactions per monthly statement cycle. (ATM and PIN based transactions are excluded). 2. Receive a monthly eStatement. 3. Must have at least one direct deposit into the account per statement cycle. 4. Log onto eBANK! once per statement cycle.
*2.51% Annual Percentage Yield (APY) paid on daily balances up to $25,000 and 0.05% APY paid on all balances over $25,000 each statement cycle the minimum requirements are met. If you do not meet the requirements per statement cycle, you will earn the Standard Rate of 0.05% APY, your account will still function as a Free Checking account with no monthly service fees and no minimum balance. Rates are accurate as of December 16, 2010. This is a variable rate account, and the rate may change after the account is opened. Available on personal accounts only.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Me vs Our Pantry

So my goal for today...after I post this post to tackle our pantry.  We know we have all sorts of food...we just can't find it in all that mess.  Wish me luck...I'm going to need it.

Oh, and on the no spend front...I did spend 3 dollars last night....I needed caffeine (I'd forgotten my beverage at home) or I was gonna murderize someone and I didn't care who.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

February is declared a NO SPEND MONTH!

I've recently posted about how I am up to my eyeballs in debt and how improving my knitting skills has caused me to blow my budget.  So I have decided to declare February (with 1 exception day) a No Spend Month.  I found this post which lead me to find this blog, which is also having a No Spend Month this month, who linked to this blog post, which had me coming up with my own No Spend Month.

Now we're 2 days into February already and I know I need to be extremely frugal with this paycheck that's coming in on Friday. Because of the blizzard we are currently having (which has resulted in me NOT going to work) and being in a slow time at work where we are getting our hours cut I will be short 2 days on my next paycheck and I still have bills to pay.

Here is how my No Spend Month is going to break down....

1 exception day...February 21st....My 27th birthday

My Goal:  To put an additional $100 into my savings account by the end of the month.  NOTE:  I have $100 taken out of each paycheck and directly deposited into my savings account.

The Details:  I am allowing myself $200 for the month of February to spend on anything I want.

What's included in my challenge:

~ Food
~ Gas
~ Clothing
~ Household items...which includes dog food
~ Entertainment
~ Valentine's Day

What's NOT included in my challenge:

~ Fixed bills (car insurance, credit card bills, cell phone)
~ Tithe
~ Medical Expenses
~ Car expenses (oil change)

Here is what I'm starting with....

~ A full tank of gas (it has a trip to and from work on it)
~ $17 cash
~ At least 2 weeks worth of soda
~ A library card
~ A full pantry...just have to clean it out and organize it figure out what kind food we have in there.
~  I'm hoping for a boat load of support from my bloggy pals.

And we have MITTENS!

Oh yeah!  Check those bad boys out!  My first attempt at double point knitting is finally complete!  Putting on the thumbs was a little challenging just because of the awkward angle.  They are made out of Three Irish Girls Irish Sea in their bulky weight.

Scene's from our Blizzard

So I live in the Great White Midwest...More specifically...Wisconsin.  Since Monday it has been pretty much snowing non-stop here with the exception of about 10 hours...But that was before the REAL blizzard showed up and raised all sorts of hell.  Below are some scenes from the blizzard.
 The little bit of green you can see is a flower window basket attached to the side of our deck and the post is the corner post of our deck...We have a covered deck so that my mom could have a porch swing.  As you can see at about 3:15 this morning the snow was as high as our deck and it's not supposed to end until later this morning.
 This is the same corner post just a different angle.  The red thing is a shovel...we have to dig out a path/area for our dogs to do their business.  Again it's deck high on this side too.
The snow depth according to our patio window.