Friday, July 10, 2009

New Puppy

We bought a new puppy. A black lab mix that we found at the humane society.

Several weeks ago I wrote a blog about our dog Max who we had to euthanize. A gut wrenching decision for anyone who has ever had to make the decision to put down a dog. A few short weeks ago I was so distraught by the loss of our dog, I thought it would take months to get myself into the place of wanting a new dog. But the cliche holds true, time heals all wounds. While I will never forget Max, I recently found myself ready to add a new dog to the family. Enter our new dog, Odinn.

It has only been 24 hours since Odinn joined our family, but he is fitting in well. He is very calm for a puppy. Cuddly and eager to show affection to all of us. The only family member who is annoyed by the new puppy is our Golden Retriever, Stella. Stella enjoyed being the Princess in the house for 7 short weeks, she truly liked being an only dog. Last night, in a fit of anger she ran out of the house and broke through the invisible fence. A mistake she most likely will not make again. After a jolt, she returned to the yard, ran into the house and implanted her butt in a corner of the family room. I am so grateful for the invisible fence, as inhumane as they may seem, she would have run away. She is a runner, the fence was finally installed after we had grown tired of running around the neighborhood screaming "Stella". I am sure neighbors thought we were reenacting the famous scene in A Streetcar Named Desire or even an episode of Seinfeld.

Look for future pictures of both dogs, as I am sure they will become best friends soon. Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

My baby is turning 7

Tomorrow my youngest, Maeghan, will be turning 7. I can't believe how quickly the last 7 years have flown by. Seven years ago, tonight, I was packing my bag, knowing that the next day I would be induced into labor. It was a very hot night, I was miserable and just wanted it to end. Now, 7 years later, I don't even know what happened to those years. It is a mystery.

But, on to frugal thoughts. Even with birthdays, I find ways to save money. Maeghan always makes that very easy for us. She is easy to please, preferring the simple pleasures in life, with one exception. She has a NinetendoDS, I know, how does that daughter of a frugal mother get something like that? The answer is her father loves technology of all kinds, and he isn't as frugal as I am. All she wants is DS games. So, I bought her 2 this year. One full price and one on sale. I paid $53.00 for the games. I wanted to get her one more thing. So, while at Kohl's today I found at Scene It High School Musical 3 game on sale for $12.00 and I had a $5.00 off coupon. I am proud to say that I spent $60.00 total on her birthday gifts. I bought her what she wanted, she will be happy and it didn't bust the budget.

Her birthday dinner request is also very cheap and easy to make. She loves a dish called Broccoli Pasta. The cost to make this meal is probably no more than $5.00 total and it is her favorite dish. I will be happy to post the recipe if anyone would like me to. She requested an ice cream cake with a chocolate crust and mint ice cream. So, I bought an Oreo Premade Crust for $1.80 and a half gallon of ice cream. She is getting ice cream pie for her birthday. The requested ingredients with a different shape. She is excited about her pie.

Finally, she wants to go to the Milwaukee Art Museum after having lunch at her dad's office. We are members of the museum, so admission is free. Her favorite thing to do there is to go on an art scavenger hunt that is set up for the kids. Our art museum is really very kid friendly, all 3 of my kids enjoy visiting it often. Lunch in my husbands cafeteria will be at a reduced rate.

We will end her birthday, at home, watching the movie Surf's Up, as a family. I ordered the movie from Netflix.

I sometimes feel guilty for maintaining frugality during birthdays. But, I have to remind myself that because I remain frugal most of the time, occasionally we can splurge on something that is expensive. For example, for my daughter's 9th birthday last year, we were able to take her to the Hannah Montana concert on her birthday. She will remember that birthday for the rest of her life. When something like that comes up for the other kids in the future, we will be able to give it to them because we stay frugal.

Monday, July 6, 2009


We received a few more postcards since my last post. As of today, we have our first card from Asia! My husband has a coworker who went to India, he sent the kids a beautiful card. A great big thank you again to everyone who has participated. We have 3 continents down, 3 more to go. I really hope that we are able to get at least one card from Africa, South America and Australia.

Fourth of July weekend turned out to be a blast! Not to mention very cheap and frugal. We drove to my parent's home in Minnesota to celebrate. Because we live 300 miles away, we had to budget for the cost of fuel this weekend, in addition to one meal on the road. Regretfully, I did not think ahead and make a picnic lunch to eat on the drive there. Of course, for the return trip, my mom packed us a lunch. Thanks mom, we were are all very grateful for the tasty meal.

Fourth of July has always been a cheap holiday for us, this year proved to be no different. We attended the obligatory 4th of July parade on Saturday morning. As always, candy and prizes were thrown to the children in the crowd. This year, however, brought a surprise that we never expected. Because we were in suburban Minneapolis, Mall of America had a representative handing out mystery tickets to excited children. At the very least, the kids would get a ticket for a free ride. The best case scenario was unlimited rides for a year or a day's worth of rides. My mom and I decided to utilize the five tickets we had, buy an extra ticket if need be and let the kids go on 2 rides each. As it turned out, we made a good decision to make that extra trip to the mall. Of course, the first 4 tickets we were given had the equivalent of 1 good ride or 2 kiddie rides. It wasn't until I took my youngest to the Ferris wheel for our final ride that we found we had scored the jackpot. The last ticket in our pile had 100 points! A value of over $100.00. Our 4th of July afternoon was set. With 3 very excited children, and a grandma who really wanted to go on the log ride, we took full advantage of our unexpected bounty. For the next 2 hours we went on every ride we had wanted to go on (but too cheap to pay for) and had a truly fantastic time. All for free. Talk about frugality at work.

My parents made a great 4th of July dinner, cake included to celebrate my youngest daughter's birthday this week. We ended the evening with another free 4th activity, fireworks. It was a great weekend. The total lost for this weekend was $78.75, the cost of the fuel and McDonald's. Thanks mom and dad for a great time.

Today was a stay at home day. We have a big blow up pool for the kids. I had 8 kids here today (my own 3 included in that total)playing in the pool, running around, playing in the yard. Doing typical kid summer stuff, of course all for free. Watching my kids play today, made me realize how little kids need to be truly happy. My kids just needed some sunshine, good friends, fun activities, ice cream and kool aid to have a really good time. Grand total for today, probably pennies.

Two more months of summer and I am still enjoying having them home. I have not started counting down the days to the start of school, in fact, I don't know when the first day of school is. I am hopeful that we will continue to have such a fun and busy summer, void of "I am bored", which I have not heard yet.

I am going to start July with another attempt at getting control of our grocery budget. Yesterday, my husband spent $8.00 for groceries. Today, I spent $105.39. Our grand total so far for the month is $113.39. Since it is July 6th, I am hoping that we can get away with spending $400.00 on groceries this month. I am pretty sure that number is unrealistic, but who knows, maybe we can get away with it.

I am signing off now. Looking forward to reading The Giver tonight. My son and I are reading it for a book discussion later this week.