Friday, January 30, 2009

Frugal Friday Linkage and a Word on Stockpiling

Though I'm not always faithful to the principles or as disciplined as I'd like to be, I'm a real fan of frugality. It's thrilling to me to find a stellar deal, and I honestly feel more excited about saving money than spending it (though the two often go hand in hand -- you know the saying, "you've got to spend money to save money.").

My kids are at a stage in life where they love chewing gum, and having their very own pack makes them feel much older than they are. Also, The Biggest Loser is on in full force, and Bob and Jillian always tout the wonders of calorie savings by gum chewing -- more specifically, by chewing Extra Sugar Free gum. At Tom Thumb this week, I found Extra Sugar Free gum on clearance for 25 cents a pack. I bought all they had -- 25 packs. When I got home, James quipped, "You spent $6.25 on gum?" Since the packs are normally $1.25 each, I replied, "No, I saved $25.00 on gum!"

While I don't normally buy gum in bulk, I am a fan of stockpiling. If I find a good deal on a type of product we use all the time, I'll often buy the whole lot (provided we'll use it all before it expires. Throwing away unused food cuts into your overall savings dramatically!). If I find an unfamiliar clearance product that looks interesting, like an ethnic ingredient or an unusual brand, I might buy one or two, then search the ingredient database at for ideas on how to use it with things we have on hand.

I even stockpiled when we lived in a small apartment. A coat closet that would have otherwise been filled with clutter held two narrow bookshelves full of canned and boxed goods. I kept the shelves very organized, storing types of items together for easy reference (i.e. canned fruit here, pasta there, etc.). That left our small (also organized) kitchen pantry free to be filled with the things we used on a constant basis. I always "shopped" my stockpile before heading to the store, and keeping my stockpile so well organized helped me to easily see what I should be on the lookout for.

For savings on perishables, we bought a small upright freezer at Sears for around $150 and kept it in an odd corner in our master bedroom closet, filling it with meats and cheeses, prepared meals, and frozen goods on clearance. My mom even took advantage of the space under a bench on her outdoor patio by storing stockpiled canned goods in shallow lidded bins. My friend Karen recently saved $63.00 by stockpiling 18 bottles of her family's favorite salad dressing.

When you stockpile, it's important to manage the goods you have as a grocery store does. First, I suggest a system of organization, or those on-sale items will not do you any good. I use baskets and bins found inexpensively at garage sales and thrift stores to store hard to stack items like beans, pasta, etc. I store other like items all together in specific areas of my pantry: canned veggies and fruits stacked in groups, soups and chilis stacked in groups, canned meats and fish stacked in groups, etc. Cereals live on one shelf, snack goods on another. You get the idea.

Next, as you bring in more goods, it's important to stock it like a grocery store. Move the older items to the front for faster use and restock to the back. Otherwise, you may keep using up the new stuff while the stuff you've had longer could potentially be wasted.

Finally, review your stockpile from time to time. If there are things you find yourself overlooking over and over again, ask yourself if you'll ever really use it. If you think you will, try to use it right away, or at least make a tangible plan for it. If you're sure you won't use it or not sure how you can, donate it to a food pantry or share it with a friend who might enjoy it more. Also, swapping from stockpiles can be fun if you've found you're overrun with items you're tired of. Connect with a friend and trade a few things -- then you both get fresh, new things without spending any money. This is an especially good idea if you have a friend who gardens and is overrun with fresh produce, but maybe doesn't have a supply of non-perishables. That's a win-win situation all around.

Do you find stockpiling to be useful for your family? Why or why not?

How the Stimulus Plan Will Benefit Consumers :: Yahoo Finance

How to Eat Healthy on a Budget ::

Saving on Generic Brand Items :: CNN Video

Have a Baby in 2008? Get $300 from Uncle Sam. :: Sense to Save

Saving Money on Kid's Activities :: Getting Ahead Blog

Money Saving Habits from Money Making Mommy :: # 1, # 2, # 3

Facebook ID Theft Targets Friends :: The Red Tape Chronicles

Problem Gambling May Rise as Economy Falls ::

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Still Pregnant: Reporting on my 12 week Scan

I'm 12 weeks and two days pregnant. Unbelievable. Yesterday, I had my regular 12 week OB check-up, along with the nuchal translucency test, and all was well. The baby was measuring right on track, had a healthy heartbeat, and passed the NT test with flying colors.

I wish I had a better sonogram picture to share. The ultrasound machine at my OB's office is old school. It gets the job done, but that's about it. The machine at the MFM's office is so advanced, it not only takes clear, gorgeous pictures, it might have a setting to read the baby's mind. Instead of having a beautiful picture to share of a sweet baby face, I have instead a grainy picture of an alien trying to consume me from the inside out. What a special memory. Oh well. It could certainly be worse.

Back to the sonogram: it took a while to get a good read on the NT test, which concerned me. I'd come in concerned since my last scan was at the hospital -- I was concerned we'd come in and see no heartbeat. After all, I was 12 weeks along, and I just don't get that far. Instead, we saw a heartbeat right away, and a baby who was as vigorous and active as before. So vigorous, in fact, that it kept turning spine up, thus preventing the sonographer from getting a good read on the nuchal fold. The sonographer tried and tried to get a good image, then she left the room to have me get up and move around. She tried different probes, had me roll onto my hips, even suggested a hand stand. Finally, at the very end of a very long appointment, the baby turned and the sonographer was able to get three good measurements.

For those who don't know, the nuchal translucency test is a fairly standard test for women at 12 weeks gestation that helps to determine the odds of having a baby with Down's Syndrome. The sonographer measures a little pocket of fluid in the baby's cervical spine, as well as the length of the nasal bone. Babies with Down's Syndrome generally have a shorter (or missing) nasal bone and that pocket of fluid at the nuchal fold is wide and easy to spot. Along with the sonogram, a panel of blood work is run.

These tests don't guarantee anything either way. Everything could look normal when there is a chromosomal abnormality, or the results could look daunting when everything is really fine. This test just helps to determine the odds of a problem, and since (based on age) I was already at a low risk of having a baby with Down's Syndrome, the positive outcome of this test just makes my chances that much more favorable. For that, I am grateful. It's nice -- really, really nice -- to have these instances of great news.

During yesterday's scan, the sonographer even took the time to determine the sex of the baby. The sex organs, while tiny, are generally visible by 12 weeks. Many sonographers won't bother looking this early because mistakes are easily made, but our sonographer was probably more agreeable because she had to have me do so much to take care of her end of the appointment! She showed us two little lines parallel to one another and said, in general, when they're in this formation, it indicates a girl. (A little boy has lines perpendicular to each other.) It's far too soon to buy anything in pink, but it's exciting to have an idea! I have repeat sonograms scheduled at 14 weeks, 18 weeks, and 20 weeks, so hopefully after a little more looking around, we'll feel good to make the call official.

In the meantime, I'm in this very surreal state. The doctor made the comment yesterday about the first trimester being over (though I don't think it officially is until week 13-14), and I'm just astounded to be at this stage. Because of my history, and particularly because of the scares early on in this pregnancy, I honestly did not anticipate making it this far. Could it be that my chances of bringing home a living, breathing baby have increased exponentially? I really do know to much for my own good and know that there's never a time in pregnancy (or in life, really) to take anything for granted, but I also know that statistically, my chances look really good now. Again, unbelievable.

At this point, my prenatal care becomes more routine -- well, routine for me anyway. I'll rotate biweekly between my OB/GYN and my MFM for check-ups and sonograms. Even with the transabdominal cerclage in place, my cervix will still be visually monitored and measured. (However, with that cerclage in place, the pressure of the pregnancy should be dispersed in the uterus among the tendons and above my cervix. As a result, my cervix should hold up just fine.) I'll likely begin the 17P hydroxyprogesterone injections at 16 weeks to stave off any pre-term labor. Other than that, no bedrest is anticipated, and there's a really good chance this could be a normal-ish pregnancy. God has been truly gracious towards me.

"Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you;
He rises to show you compassion."

Isaiah 30:18

"The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God,
slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness..."

Genesis 34:6b

"The LORD is gracious and righteous;
our God is full of compassion."

Psalm 116:5

"...You are a gracious and merciful God."

Nehemiah 9:31b

Then Esau looked up and saw the women and children.
"Who are these with you?" he asked.
Jacob answered, "They are the children
God has graciously given your servant."

Genesis 33:5

Cross-posted on About the Baby

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Breaking News

Here's a compilation of the news broadcasts about the FREE GROCERIES event held at our church on Monday. This was such a wonderful event -- a blessing to the community, a blessing to us. I'm still excited about it!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

We Had a Very Eventful Weekend


  • The kids and I spent time at church helping with last-minute preparations for an community outreach event to be held on Monday, which was the nationally-recognized Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service. This year's Day of Service was the biggest in history (so far).

  • We went to a homeschool play date at a neighbor's house. We live in a large neighborhood, and a large population of people in our neighborhood homeschool, but getting even a few families together is like pulling teeth. The host mother was very gracious to have us and two other families over, but the children of the house weren't too happy to have guests. It was a short play date, to say the least.
  • Bub had a basketball game very early. Despite leaving the house around sunrise, Bub played so well, stealing the ball time and again and scoring basket after basket. He said their team won 44-6, and while I think that's a slight exaggeration, I don't think his numbers are that far off. I learned Bub's team nickname is "High Rise", and I was proud to watch him win the Best Offense award that morning.

  • James and Gracie harassed me with baby names. I think we have a top-three list of girl names, but we are struggling to agree on any boy names. James doesn't think that's a problem -- he's certain this baby is a girl. I have an odd list of name restrictions that complicates matters enormously: I dislike consonantal alliteration between first and last name (so prospective baby first names can neither begin with an "h," nor end with an "n" or an "s"), I'm not a fan of professions as first names (Baker, Miller, etc.), and I refuse to pick a name that's too "Texan" (I can't explain what I mean -- it only makes sense to me). We'll need the whole of the next six months to come to some kind of reasonable decision.

  • Since she was home sick last Saturday, Gracie cheered at her first game this weekend. She was so excited and did so well. Obviously, she was the cutest cheerleader in the whole place. Her squad did a special half-time cheer and she was the only girl who didn't know how to do a cartwheel. Fortunately, she was a good sport about it, but having never learned to do a cartwheel as a girl myself, I was a bit sad for her. I'm looking into tumbling classes now.

  • We went to Gattitown for dinner, looking forward to a meal of sub-par pizza and an evening of video game play. Instead, I thought I had a miscarriage in the Gattitown bathroom and we spent the evening at the emergency room. As it turns out, I'm still pregnant and no one knows what happened to me. Somehow, I'm not surprised.
  • After Saturday's excitement, we planned a low-key Sunday. I rode with James to pick the kids up from Mom's house, and we stopped at IHOP for omelets on the way. As we waited for a table, my OB/GYN came in to eat. We ended up debriefing with him in the IHOP lobby, and an experience that freaked us out completely didn't trouble him at all. I'm not sure why he wasn't a bit more concerned, but he wasn't. Maybe I shouldn't be.

  • After we picked up the kids, we went to Babies-R-Us to look for a fetal heart doppler. Bub became suddenly sick and threw up boiled eggs and sweet pickles in the bedding aisle. We thought his sudden nausea may have been related to something he ate, but he threw up again in the car on the way home, then developed a fever later in the day. Since Bub was likely contagious, we had to shuffle our childcare plans for Monday. We were both scheduled to serve at the community outreach event at church, but James (who is awesome!) decided to be Mr. Mom for the day to let me honor my commitment.
  • Our church had been invited to host a community outreach event formed out of a partnership between the Presidential Inaugural Committee and Feed The Children, a well-known relief organization. I'd been invited to be a part of the Operations Team, and as a result, I was able to be a voice in the planning and had leadership responsibilities on the day of service. I felt (and still feel) so honored to have been included. I was up by 5:30 A.M. , and arrived was at church by 6:45 A.M. By the time I arrived, the place was already hopping. The buzz was unbelievable! We had a plentiful number of volunteers both from our church and from the community -- people who read about the event on the Obama website and just showed up to serve. 400 boxes of groceries and toiletries were distributed to people from all over North Texas, and we heard amazing feedback from both recipients and volunteers throughout the day. I don't think we fully anticipated the positive ramifications of this monumental event, and I feel really blessed to have been a small part of such an amazing day.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Update: Peanut Butter Warning

Evidently, peanut butter from a jar is safe to eat, but peanut butter in everything else -- sandwich crackers, cookies, ice cream -- is not. It's the peanut butter paste in these products that has been linked back to the national salmonella outbreak that "has sickened more than 430 people in 43 states" and killed five people (The Huffington Press, Jan. 15, 2009). Read the current warnings on and use caution when picking out snacks.

Consumers Urged to Use Caution Eating Peanut Butter ::

photo credit:

Friday, January 16, 2009

Frugal Friday Linkage

Another Friday, another group of my favorite links about frugality and other money issues. A frugal victory this week: secondhand stores that resell children's toys escape the testing restrictions of new lead laws going into effect.

There was a consideration to remove all toys from secondhand stores to prevent possible exposure to the lead that some manufacturers recently discovered in their goods. That was an acceptable idea, but in reality, there are probably more toys in secondhand stores that do not contain lead than there are those that do. At that point, it would have become less of an issue of child safety, and more of an environmental concern as secondhand stores and consumers sent all unsellable goods straight to the landfill, exponentially increasing our already irresponsible level of waste. As it turns out, the responsibility of ensuring safety for their children remains with parents, as it should.

Toy manufacturers in the small business realm, as well as those who make and sell homemade toys, are still being effected. They'll be required to pay large sums of money to have their goods tested for safety before being sold. The cost of that requirement may cause smaller manufacturers to close their doors.

Kellogg Warns Not To Eat Its Peanut Butter Crackers (Including Austin Brand) :: (These cheap snacks might be in your pantry.)

Frugal First Steps :: Like Merchant Ships

Author Advocates Personal Finance Tough Love ::

Second Hand Stores Escape Lead Laws ::

Golden Thimble's 527 Free Crafy Links ::

More Businesses Using Freelancers :: Living @

Free Webinar : Organizing Your Classroom 101 :: Homeschool Connections

India's Poor Could Help Save Economy ::

Low on Cash, French Quarter may Stink Again ::

Homemade Pancake Syrup Recipe ::

Store Bankruptcies Can Burn Shoppers ::

New Year, Same Old Scams ::

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

A Look Back at the New Year

We were still being secretive about the pregnancy at the dawn of the new year, and because I was concerned about spilling the baby beans, I didn't post about about how we celebrated. Better late than never, I guess.

My mom happened to be scheduled off for New Year's Eve and the two days before. She asked to have the kids over during that time, and we, of course, complied. Since her availability was a last-minute surprise, James began looking for a kid-free environment where we could go to celebrate. After two days of deliberation, though, we couldn't come up with anything.

Realistically, we knew that we were limited on what we could go do. James had to work a half-day on New Year's Eve, so we couldn't go out of town. Of course, we were late making plans, so we knew many of the local things we'd want to do would be booked solid. More than that, though, we knew there was a good chance I'd be unable to make it past 11:00 P.M., and if you can't stay awake to actually ring in the new year, what's the point really?

Instead, we went to The Cheesecake Factory for dinner, then to the movies to see The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Afterwards, we picked the kids up and made a quick stop for confetti poppers and glow necklaces. (But seriously, how embarrassing is it that we turned down free childcare on New Year's Eve? We're practically geriatric.)

When we got home, we made hats out of black card stock, glitter, glue and Christmas tinsel destined for the garbage. The hats turned out a bit more Napoleonic than I intended, but the kids had fun making a midnight craft. Around 10:00 P.M., we sat outside to watch all the fireworks in the neighborhood and the police doing their best to get the chaos under control. At 11:00 P.M., we watched the ball drop in New York, we popped our poppers, we hooped and hollered, and then we went to bed.

The New Year at Waterloo

Party Animals
(Gracie's not wearing a coconut bra as it seems.
She's holding close her new African-American twin baby dolls.)

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Because I'm Not Immune to Melting Down

Last night, I had a major meltdown. I'm sure a good bit of my emotional outburst was induced by my currently raging hormones, but I had a moment of being completely overwhelmed.

With lots of crying.
Along with some snot.

First, I should say that I have an incredible sense of peace about this pregnancy. I don't necessarily know what to predict as far as an outcome goes. I'm hopeful that we'll come home with a baby in July or August, but I know whichever way the tide turns, God is faithful and He will sustain me. To clarify, I don't feel an imminent sense of doom, and I don't necessarily feel like I'm going to have another miscarriage. I really just feel sort of ambivalent about this pregnancy, disconnected -- like it's something that's happening to me instead of really being a part of me, a part of who I am, a part of my core makeup. I find that I'm excited with reservation, hopeful with a healthy dose of reality, and most of all, confident that my strength lies outside of my own abilities -- regardless of what outcome befalls me.

But last night, this whole pregnancy "situation" just sort of overtook me.

I'm a very self-reliant person, but because of lifting restrictions, I now have to wait for James to unload the groceries, move bins of Christmas decorations into the garage, and do various other sorts of suburbany feats of strength. I suddenly felt overwhelmed by my new found "disability," as well as the dishes, the laundry, the decluttering, and the newly-spayed dog pinned in her crate. I felt overwhelmed by kids making messes and needing snacks and being sick. I felt overwhelmed by appointments and practices and play dates and lesson plans and wondering how it would all work if tragedy should strike.

And then I felt overwhelmed by how it would all work if tragedy didn't strike -- if, say in 6 months or so, I brought home a squirmy little person who would need lots of me in the midst of kids making messes and needing snacks and lesson plans and having play dates and practices and appointments. How would all that work then? Could I hold it together? Could I keep all the plates spinning? And if not, which plates would fall? Could I or could I not do it all?

Then I felt guilty. I felt overwhelmed by guilt because I felt so overwhelmed in the first place. I felt guilty because my emotions absolutely seemed like a lack of trust in what God can and will do in my life, and in this situation, however it goes. I felt guilty because I knew how extraordinarily terrible I would feel if I did indeed miscarry -- like I'd wished the whole thing on myself.

Rationally, I know this is a season, but emotionally, I was momentarily consumed. I know as far as my new "disability" goes, I'm sacrificing so little for the potential of such reward. It's just that I'm in those weird weeks of waiting -- those weeks where I feel okay physically, but I don't really feel anything else. Since I'm not yet far enough along to feel the baby moving, it's all still so abstract, and that makes me feel like I'm not pulling my weight around the house or in life in general. May this be a time that I look to the Lord for the simplest of needs, and may God meet me at even my basest place.

"But may all who seek you
rejoice and be glad in you;
may those who love your salvation
say continually, "Great is the LORD!"
As for me, I am poor and needy,
but the Lord takes thought for me.
You are my help and my deliverer;
do not delay, O my God!"
Psalm 40:16-17

"And this same God who takes care of me
will supply all your needs..."
Philippians 4:19a NLT

Cross-posted on About the Baby

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Words Escape Me -- Baby P Is On His Way!

Introducing Beautiful Baby P

I'm staring at a blinking cursor thinking there just aren't enough words in the English language for me to weave my thoughts together right now. I am absolutely stunned by God's incredible, unbelievable faithfulness. I am humbled by His ability, and long to spend the day on my face praising Him for His tender mercies. I am amazed by what He has done.

I have been prayerfully waiting (from a distance) with a couple from my church -- Holly and Ben -- who began an adoption journey only nine short weeks ago. I keep their blog link handy and look to their story for encouragement in my own situation. Last night, they got the official call that they were going to be parents to a beautiful baby boy!

Holly tells her story much better than I'm able to, but I'll share a brief synopsis of their miraculous adoption events:

  • They were chosen to parent after only nine short weeks of waiting. (I think it's amazing that she's been waiting and I've been pregnant exactly the same amount of time. That fact is completely irrelevant, really -- just interesting to me. What's most interesting about it is that I thought of Holly before I announced my pregnancy. I was concerned that in her waiting, her heart would be burdened by my news. I know what it's like to sit and wait while the world goes on without you. I strongly considered delaying our announcement only because I didn't want her heart to hurt. Little did I know God had a baby for her right then.)
  • Though they're approved to adopt nationwide, they were chosen by an in-state birth mom, making a last-minute trip to the hospital much easier.
  • The birth mom and her family are a close, loving Christian family (an answer to a specific prayer) who have embraced Holly and Ben and want them to be at the hospital and share in the birth experience.
  • The birth mom who chose them chose them alone. She knew in her heart they are to parent the child she's carrying.
  • Baby P's due date is only 10 days away. He could arrive anytime!

I am so blessed and excited by Holly and Ben's news. God's faithfulness and provision cannot be denied. Please visit her blog to read her adoption story in more detail and to offer your congratulations, then stick around to see what else God has in store for this sweet family and their beautiful baby.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Frugal Friday Linkage Postponed

The regular ol' Frugal Friday Linkage will return next week when I anticipate having a bit more time and energy to lay around reading news stories and blogs I love. (Isn't it sad that I need more energy to lay around and read?)

In the meantime, do you have any interesting links or posts regarding frugality? If so, please share them in the Comments section.

I'm Either an Awful Mom, or an AWESOME (!) Mom

But what I am for certain is an awful blogger of late. Today's topic is one of the most boring ever -- our choice of breakfast food!

This morning when it was time to eat, I was tired of the every day selection. Cereal -- bah. Fruit and yogurt -- bleh. I thought about pancakes or waffles, but I always make pancakes or waffles. Instead, I used said pancake batter and made funnel cakes! Breakfast food for carnies!

I just used our regular pancake mix and prepared it according to the package directions. Then I poured it from a measuring cup into a skillet of hot oil. The results were okay, but next time I make funnel cakes for breakfast (or lunch, or a midday snack), I'll change a few things.

  • I'd thin the batter down a little more. Our funnel cakes were very puffy, not crispy like at the fair.
  • I won't use a measuring cup to pour the batter. I'll use a funnel, a squeeze bottle, or a piping bag.
  • I won't make three funnel cakes. Just like at the fair, one is enough for everyone to share.

I think today's breakfast was a hit with the kids. Gracie told me I needed to get a job at Six Flags making funnel cakes full time. Silly girl!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Because If I Said Anything At All, I Would Say Too Much

That's what I've thought these last several weeks as I've held onto a juicy secret that's kept me far away from really blogging -- the secret of my newest pregnancy. I know it's not really a secret to too many anymore since I announced it yesterday on Twitter and Facebook, but I wanted to publicly announce it here for those who read by blog, but are otherwise disconnected from every other waking moment of my life.

Today, I'm 9 weeks and one day pregnant. We've known for five weeks and two days. On ultrasounds, the baby's been measuring two days ahead, but due dates aren't really relevant in my situation -- they're more of a general guide to a c-section date. If I were reproductively normal and if I were allowed to carry to term, I'd be due on August 11th. It's going to be a long, hot Texas summer!

A couple of people have made the connection of this pregnancy's timeline to Zachary's, so to clarify: this pregnancy is 2 weeks ahead of my landmark dates with him. I'll be 24 weeks pregnant when we honor the 2nd anniversary of his birthday and dying day in April. Zachary was born prematurely at 22 weeks. Thus far, I've been okay with the similarity in dates, and I'm hopeful I will continue to be as stable as time passes.

So far, I'm feeling great. I don't normally have issues with morning sickness, and I haven't been sick during this pregnancy. I have been very, very sleepy, but that's because of my unbelievably good progesterone levels. It would be nice to say this has been a completely uneventful pregnancy, but that wouldn't be true. This pregnancy is a miracle, and has been fraught with unusual circumstances from the start. (You can read more about our pregnancy journey and about earlier events on my newly non-secret baby blog:

We're hopeful that the worst is behind us. My blood hormone levels are monitored with lab work every three days, and once a heartbeat is heard or seen on ultrasound, the rate of miscarriage falls to less than a 5% chance. We've seen a healthy heartbeat and a growing baby now five times by ultrasound, so we're hopeful that reduces our risk further. Despite the projected good outcome, my care team is still very cautious and I'll be expected to see my OB/GYN or Perinatologist once every other week, rotating between the two for check-ups and sonograms for the duration.

We're so grateful for this pregnancy, and thank God for the many, many miracles He's already done. We'd appreciate your prayers as we progress.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Frugal Friday Linkage: New Year 2009 Edition

I laughed when I read my friend Amy's recent Facebook status update. She wished her friends a Happy New Year, then said, "May your resolutions fail within one week, so we can all get back to normal!" Such a sad sentiment, and yet, so accurate. How often do we commit to outlandish ideas, and then beat ourselves up when they don't work out? Too many times, I'm sure.

As for us, we've resolved to alter our spending in 2009. Our expenditures have unexpectedly changed in some areas, while in other areas of budgeting (like dining and entertainment), we've grown lazy and wasteful. It's time once again to tighten that budgeting belt. Instead of heeding Amy's suggestion, may each of our resolve for the new year be certain and successful.

Most say they'll rein in spending for New Year :: Houston Chronicle

10 New Year’s Resolutions for Saving Money ::

2009 Calendars: Freebie Printables ::

Beautiful Black-Eyed Pea Salad :: Cheap Healthy Good

Being Organized is Frugal ::

Keep Track of your Money with Suze's Expense Sheet ::

Gas Prices at 5-Year Low and Falling ::

Corporate Darwinism - Only the Strong Will Survive ::

(Local News) Economy Hurting Attendance at Boy King's Exhibit ::

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