Sunday, September 30, 2007

We "kneaded" bread...

We needed to buy bread this week, but since we had some "extra" time, I decided to try to make bread from scratch. Thankfully my wonderful husband helped me. We captured pictures through out the process. The recipe made five loaves.

We do not have a stand mixer, so we did it all by hand. After I started mixing it in the bowl, George took over for a bit.
Clearly it was a sticky mess at first, but I was anxious for the end results.
We divided it up into five portions and started kneading.
Next, they all went into the warm oven to rise. (There are two smaller pans hiding in the back.)
The rising nearly completed, it was time to turn the oven up and bake.
Here are three of the four loaves cooling on the rack.
In my opinion this loaf looked the best. We are already down to three loaves, we took one to church today and gave another one to Ben and Julie. Thankfully it turned out quite tasty and I think we'll be doing it again soon! Not to mention how great it is to have the aroma of fresh bread in your home.

Weekly Grocery Shopping

After brunch today we came to the next item on the list of things to do .... grocery shopping for the week. I have been blessed to get some pretty amazing deals at Dillons in the last few months, but today was one of the best. It was a lot of fun to have my wonderful husband join me on the trip...not only was it more fun for me, he was able to learn more about some of the deal strategies.

I'll admit some weeks I just go with what is on sale and just wing it for meals for the week, but today I even have the menu planned for the meals of the week. It made it much easier and gave me a lot more confidence that I was getting everything we need to eat for the week and a few staples we were low on.

Last week Crystal, at Money Saving Mom, did a post on guessing how much her husband spent on a trip to the grocery store. As always, I was amazed at how much they were able to purchase on a limited grocery budget.

Although Crystal recommends shopping with a calculator and knowing what your total should be before you get up to the register, I have not yet mastered that task. So, as we approached the cash register I looked at our cart FULL of groceries, and simply said, "I might have blown it this week". Our cart contained, milk, 2 frozen entres, 7 generic "lunchables", 13 bottles of Propel water, 1 bag of all purpose flour, 1 bag of whole wheat, 1 bag of sugar, 1 head of lettuce, 2 banana bundles, an onion, 1 2L of Diet Coke, mustard, peanut butter, 10 cans of vegetables, 6 cans of tomatoes, 2 cans of beans, 3 boxes of popcorn, 1-5lb bag of potatoes, 2 bags of shredded cheese, and 1 box of Saltines.

Before sales and coupons our total was nearly $87.00!! But when we left the store we had spent less than $33.00!! I was excited to say the least. And we only walked out of the store with 2 things that weren't on our list. A closeout bottle of mustard (which we are almost in need of anyway) for 33 cents! And some nearly rotten bananas.

These "red tape" bananas have seen better days. They sell for a third of normal bananas. We were accidentally overcharged for them today, but when the error was caught, they just gave them to us!! When I came home and peeled a few to add to my stockpile for banana bread, I realized they were just a bit beat up and not even overly ripe! Again, who could have thought grocery shopping could be so much fun!

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Does it balance out?

It's been over two weeks since a blog post. We have been busy, to say the least. We were fighting small colds two weeks ago, then last weekend was Fishing River Association, a weekend-long church meeting in the Kansas City area, and with Tuesday and Wednesday nights booked with Financial Peace University and Bible study, blogging time has been difficult to come up with.

This morning was the first Saturday we have been home since sometime in August. After sleeping late we decided to have brunch. Trying to be more health conscious, I made my first, from scratch, attempt at whole wheat waffles. G said they were a bit grainy for his liking but once he doctored them up with butter and syrup they were better. We had found some link sausage on a great sale so we added that to the meal, and of course, had to fry an egg in the sausage grease. Sounds health conscious, right? I'm hoping the whole wheat waffles and orange juice balanced out the eggs and sausage, but I doubt it. Oh well, maybe next time it will be a bit healthier.

This was G's plate. The blob on the right side of the plate is the didn't look pretty, but it tasted delicious!!

Trying to use up nearly expired milk, I doubled the batch and have a tower of waffles to freeze, then pop in the toaster in the future. It is much cheaper than buying the store bought frozen waffles, and healthier too (when not served with sausage and fried eggs)!

Friday, September 14, 2007

CVS this week

This week we made two trips to CVS. We walked away spending $0.00 and came home with everything pictured. This is a rare deal, but it worked out well for us. CVS currently has a $25.00 gift card available for any new or transfered prescription. I had been needing to get a prescription filled, so it worked out well. So...what little we did have to pay ($4.00), came from the gift card. Not only did we get the monthly deals (see below), we found summer stuff on clearance for 90% off. I picked up a colorful party tray for myself, one for Julie, and a ball for Hannah all for less than $1.00 total!

A few things to check out this month at CVS are their Colgate Total deal, on sale for $2.99 with $2.99 back in extra bucks with a limit of five. Buy one toothpaste for $2.99, and then use that extra buck to purchase another one, etc... or do two at a time. They also have a deal for Adidas deodorant, priced at $2.49 with $3.00 back in extra bucks. Also pictured that are weekly deals are, Speedstick-FREE after extra bucks and with the use of a coupon, and the Excedrin-a profit maker of $3.00 for 3 bottles.

Sights on the road

One of our new favorite things to do while we are in the car traveling is read. We will pick out a book we are both interested in and I will read aloud to George as he drives. It works out well for both of us, because George gets too carsick to read in the car, and I retain the information better by reading aloud. Well, on the way home from Edwardsville my nose was buried in the book, and all the sudden George interrupts me mid-sentence ..."Honey...WOW...look!" I looked up expecting to see a fancy car, a license plate from some far away state, or maybe even a car accident, but instead I looked up and saw......

Yes, I think George might be just as hooked on CVS as I am. We had never seen a CVS truck before so, as sad as it is to say,...we were both slightly excited about it. The next few miles of conversation surrounded CVS and if perhaps they only had one truck to service all the stores, which would explain why the truck was going nearly 80 mph. Perhaps we should chase down the truck, to get all this weeks deals, "hot off the truck". Perhaps married life has gotten the best of us when we are so excited by three simple letters....C-V-S. :)

Monday, September 10, 2007

Last Weekend

It is hard to believe that almost a year ago we moved to the Kansas City area. This weekend we were able to go back to Edwardsville for a visit. George was asked to fill in for Brother Chris who was going to be gone. We headed over Saturday morning and arrived late afternoon. The Zimmerman family had invited everyone from church over for some time for fellowship. Sunday morning we attended services at Little Flock. We had a wonderful time seeing old friends and being back around our old stomping ground.

Brotherly/Sisterly love as demonstrated by Isaac and Lydia.
Sister Wandena and Sister Michele visiting.Miss. Rian, who has doubled in size since we last saw her.
Big Sister Tressa, and Uncle George.

Middle Sister, Abi, doing her piggy imitation.

Thursday, September 06, 2007


"Freedom," the words we hope to be able to scream some day. What am I talking about? Freedom from debt and creditors. Before I go any further, I don't want this to sound like a cry for help, because we are blessed abundantly, but just trying to change the way we think about money. Many of you may have heard of Dave Ramsey. For those of you who have not, he has been a wonderful inspiration to us. His book, Total Money Makeover, was given to me as a gift when I graduated from graduate school. George and I both read it and agree with the principles in it.

The main idea behind Dave Ramsey's school of thought is to get out of debt and stay out of debt. This includes no credit cards, no borrowing, no school loans, no car payments...if you can't pay cash, you can't afford it. The resounding saying through the book is, "Live like no one else [now], so you can live like no one else [later]". It is a very easy read and not full of financial jargon. It is NOT a "get rich quick" book, but rather a reasonable approach to getting out of debt and how to build wealth.

He also offers a course, Financial Peace University, through many churches and homes. It is a 13 week course where a portion of the time is spent watching him on video with that week's designated lesson, followed by small group discussion. We decided to enroll in the class to gain additional knowledge and guidance on how to follow his plan. In our class there are several other couples near our age, as well as a few couples a little older than us, and a few single individuals as well.

This week was just the introduction, and because we have been such big Dave Ramsey fans, there wasn't much "new" information to us, but it was nice to meet other couples that have the same desires as we do; to take what we have been blessed with and use it in an honoring way.

I hope to do weekly posts on the class lesson that week, and share information that we have learned. Also, for those interested, and those new to Dave, he ahas a radio program where he answers financial questions that is fun and educational to listen to. Once callers have finished paying all of their debts, they can call in and share their story of success, (some pay for years and years to be debt free)--Dave is truly excited for each and every person that has had the discipline to get out of debt. After they share their story of reaching financial peace the following conversation takes place,

"who's yellin' with you?" Dave asks.
Then the caller says "children, family, wife, etc." Whoever is has been a part of the process.
"Let's hear it!" Dave says.
"We're/I'm DEBT FREEEEEEE!!!!!" they all yell at the top of their lungs, as the Braveheart track plays in the background "Frrrrreeeeeddddddoooommmmmm"

It is quite funny to listen to, not to mention encouraging and motivating to hear others' success. While we are a ways off from making that big call, we have the hope and desire to get there someday.

Tiger Stomping Ground

On our way home from George's family gathering we decided to stop by to see Daniel for just a few minutes at his place. We had been to visit the facility he is living in prior to him moving in, but hadn't seen it since he put his special touch on it. I think George, a fierce Illini fan, felt a little out of place. Daniel is a clear, through and through, Tiger fan. I tried to take a few snapshots of his massive collection, but there was just too much. We had a great time dropping in and eating ice cream. Rumor has it he even vacuumed for us!! He was quite the host!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

This weekend started the first of many traveling weekends in the next few weeks. On Memorial Day visit we had planned with George's family to come back and visit again Labor Day weekend, which was our next three day weekend. So...Friday night after work, we headed toward home and arrived just after midnight. With the exception of Uncle Jim (who couldn't come due to his son being ill), all the York children and a few others got together to have a cookout. Most of them we hadn't seen since the wedding, so it a great chance to catch up...not to mention eat some good food! All in all, I think a good time was had by everyone.
Uncle Lloyd takin' it easy.
Aunt Marge and KathyG
Aunts Nancy and Betty
Uncle Don and Dad

Cousin, Kathy