Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Superwoman Sleeps

The Infamous Proverbs 31 Woman. She is my inspiration and my nemesis. How many times have I sought to be like her only to fall short like a sack of potatoes at the long jump. How many times have I wondered, how does she do it all? Like in verse 15...

She gets up while it is still dark;
she provides food for her family
and portions for her servant girls.

But when you get down to verse 18 it says...

She sees that her trading is profitable,
and her lamp does not go out at night.

This woman isn't human! She stays up late and gets up before dawn? I've tried that time and again in my quest to be the perfect Biblical wife and this always becomes a stumbling block for me. I can do it for a few days, but after three days (ask my family;) I'm done and ready to be committed to the Home for Biblical Failures. I am tired, crabby and open for attack.

After years of me trying to burn my candle at both ends I think He has finally given me an insight that allows me to go to bed at a good time without feeling guilty that I'm not living up to Mama Lemuel's standards (thankfully my own mother in law is much more relaxed - thanks Mom! ;)

One night I was pulling the old "Late to bed, early to rise makes me productive and eventually fried" routine. Everyone else was fast asleep and I was tired myself, but as the Mighty Proverbs 31 Wannabe Woman I was pushing on.

I was also trying to "watch over the affairs of my household" by saving electricity so I had turned off all the lights but the night lights. Walking through a dimly lit room I repeated the phrase "and her lamp does not go out at night" to myself as my inspirational mantra to stay up just a little longer. "How did she do it, Lord?" I asked Him for the millionth time.

"Why do you burn a nightlight?" He asked.

"So that I can always be ready to jump up if something happens during the night." I answered.

"So did she."

Like a lightening bolt illuminating a stormy night my brain lit up with comprehension. It doesn't say anywhere in Proverbs 31 that she stayed up all night, or didn't sleep. It only says that her lamp doesn't go out. She was always at the ready, like any good household manager, but in the meantime she was probably sensibly resting up for another productive and happy day!

No wonder her children could arise up and call her blessed. She was rested.

Now, of course, I've gone to bed early every night and woken up before dawn to jumpstart my day with a smile and a flourish... or at least that's the plan. Actually, I'm so accustomed to crowding "just one more thing" into my evenings that I still get to bed later then I'd like. I am doing better, however. Instead of going to bed at 2 am I am hitting the sack around midnight.
Every great now and then I actually go to bed by 9:00pm (my goal). The next morning I am always up early, cheerful and bright and the day that follows is always full of blessing and joy. If I can only remember...

Oops! Speaking of, it's already past my bedtime. Let me know what you think of the Proverb 31 Woman's sleeping habits compared to your own. In the meantime.... G'night!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Free McSkillet Burritos on Feb. 28th & 29th!

That's right! Breakfast for the end of February is on McDonald's. They are offering free McSkillet Burritos with the purchase of a medium or large drink during breakfast hours. No coupon needed.

Update: I bought all the kids I carpooled with breakfast this morning and it was tasty! We ordered large hot chocolates (no medium hot chocolates) for $1.45 and got the breakfast burritos. I was surprised at how tasty they were. If we do it tomorrow morning, I'm going to order no hot sauce, though. That was a little too much spice for the kids. Usually I'm no fan, but today I have to say, thanks McDonalds!

Monday, February 25, 2008

We Made WiseBread Quote of the Week & Reddit!

Wow! Penny Pinscher made "Quote of the Week" on Wise Bread's Best of the Web. Wise Bread is one of my favorite places to hang out on the web. The forums are full of experts on everything. Make sure you stop by there for a visit! Thanks Wise Bread for choosing Redneck Economics for your Quote of the Week! :)

On Another Note: Penny Pinscher was also mentioned on Reddit, which I had never heard of before. It looks like an interesting site, and we're pleasantly surprised to find ourselves there. Thanks to everyone who is helping to spread the word about Penny Pinscher and giving us so much support and good will! We love you all!

More Redneck Economics: Investing In Precious Metals

Chickens don't eat much, but as my financial belt tightens every little expense is under scrutiny, including my chicken feed. In my backyard wait 10 hungry beaks. In exchange for my leftovers and some Egg Maker Pellets, my little cluckers give me the best, free range eggs I've ever had.

I just have to keep the food coming, which costs around $18 a month. With egg prices hovering around $2.50 a dozen here in the Guld Coast, that's a good deal for eggs. My backyard fresh eggs cost me around .96 a dozen.
Still, $18 dollars is $18 dollars I don't want to spend if I can get around it, and the other day I found myself complaining about the situation with my redneck friend.

"Invest in precious metals." he sagely advised.

"Precious metals...?" I asked, seeking clarification.

"Yep," he replied. "Precious metals. What do you get when you find an old grill on the corner?"

"I don't know." I answered. "What do you get from it?"

"Aluminum. About $15 bucks worth." He raised his eyebrows knowingly and nodded.

"Your kidding me! An old grill has got that much aluminum in it? I see those all the time!"

My brain whirred as my mental calculators tried to recall where I had last seen one of these derelict cookers. He grinned, another nugget of wisdom passed on to his unenlightened friend.

I struggled to stay on the road as I drove home that day. My eyes were too busy roving to and fro, looking for cast off metal items. Down a side street I glimpsed a pile of twisted scrap gutters. "Ka-ching!" I crowed to the empty minivan, and I made a beeline for the heap.

After a quick check to see if anyone was looking my direction, I hurried out of the car and opened the hatch. In 30 seconds I had stuffed the ungainly pile in my backseat, slammed the door and jumped in, feeling oddly embarrassed and pleased both at the same time.

Too excited to wait, I made a run to the recyclers to see what my treasure was worth. A short while later found me $7.85 richer, just like that. Inspired, I made up my mind to keep my eyes peeled for 'precious metals' on the roadside and beyond.

I didn't have to wait long. My little pile of scrap metal grew at a healthy rate as I fed it a steady diet of empty cans, corner findings and my own cast offs. Neighbors gladly saved their aluminum for me, after finding out I'd take it off their hands. Suddenly old cooking pots and ugly metal desks looked like piles of treasure glittering under a noon day sun.

The kids on the block got wind of my odd collection and humored me by leaving car flattened offerings on my porch. An old brass fireplace set that I couldn't give away at garage sales went into the pile. Finally, I was out of chicken feed, and it was time to see what my pile of junk was worth.

I was surprised to find myself one of many metal dealers that day. Everyone from suits and foremen to homeless were there with piles of scrap. A gruff and grimy worker directed me to back my van up to a scratched up dumpster type bin and toss in my findings. A forklift carried my bin to a scale big enough for a VW Bug to park on. Another employee sorted my treasures and called out to a cashier, who was taking my weights.

"Aluminum cast!" he shouted after tossing a pile of old cookware on. She tapped and nodded.

"Yellow brass!" heralded the fireplace tools being set alone on the scale. Tap and nod.

"Aluminum cans!" rang out as two large garbage bags hit the scale. He whipped out a magnet to check some more gutter pieces I found. They tested good and were tossed and weighed. Meanwhile, I waited on the sidelines, anxiously overseeing the translation of a month's worth of metal hunting into cash.

"Okay, Honey!" the cashier said, motioning to me. I approached as she dug change out of a cash drawer. Would this all be worth it or was this going to be more fodder for my husband's jokes?

The cashier handed me a small stack of bills and a few coins. "$27.03 for your metals. Sign here please." She motioned to a receipt on the counter. I grinned like a pirate with a treasure map and scribbled my name. I couldn't help noticing they paid me $6 for the fireplace tools I couldn't give away.

Elated, I bought my chicken feed with my essentially free money, and had enough left over to treat my daughter and I to a snack, buy a few staples from Walmart and have change left over to throw in my coin jar. Next time I saw my redneck friend I thanked him for his investment advice.

"That ain't nothin'," he said, taking a swig of Coke. "That's just common sense." I just smiled and eyed his soda can.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Super Saving Saturday

Grand Total? $13.88

That time already? Seems like this week flew by in a blur of coughing, rushing and...coughing. To answer Crystal over at Money Saving Mom's weekly question, here's my good deals this week. Just in case you wonder why I buy so much candy - I donate it to my school to be used for prizes. I try not to buy it at all for home, but it does slip in sometimes....

2 Bags of Wonka Mix Ups for .87 each
1 Bag 3 Musketeer Cherry Minis .87
1 Bag Hershey Kisses Trio .87
3 boxes Nerds Card & Candy Valentine kits .62 each
Valentine Ribbon Hair Scrunchies .72
Valentine Hair Bands .72
Love Coupons .50
Reach Dental Floss .20 (.95 minus .75 coupon)
Large Box of Godiva Chocolate for $6.50

My favorite find this week? The Godiva, of course! It was nice to find it at a price that made me glad to share it. I was able to introduce one of the neighbor girls to the nuances of fine chocolate, as well as have a choco feast with my kids and sis-in-law. We were all getting way too skinny anyway! ;)

Scavenger Hunt Is Over!

Wow! Audra Marie over at Six Short of a Dozen got every answer, and FAST! I think she had the answers posted in a day or two. If there's ever a scavenger hunt, I want Audra on my team:) Her website is really neat too - I love the name. I think I'll start referring to my kids as "Eight Short of a Dozen"... or maybe not.

Anyway, email me your address Audra, and I'll get your prize sent off to you Monday. Thanks for doing the scavenger hunt, and I hope you had fun. I did, reading your answers.

On another note - yesterday was my oldest son's birthday. Deecat, as we like to call him, is a big 11 years old! When I say big, he's really big. At 11 he is already almost a head taller then me, and I'm pretty tall myself. (Those of you who know me personally, stop snickering!)

I just want to give him a big, cyber Happy Birthday and tell him I think he's the best 11 year old in the world. Love you, Deecat!

So, now that birthdays, Blue & Gold Banquet and the flu are all done with, I look forward to getting in here and getting some blogging done. My hubby is gone for just over 3 months, and I'm wondering what I can get done while he's away. Lose 15 pounds? Declutter the house? Train our kids? Write a Bible Study? All of the above?

What do you think?

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Okay, I've Got A Good Excuse For My Absence

My husband was scheduled to leave for a long trip next week but his departure time was moved up by 4 days over the weekend. That meant we suddenly had to rush and get Pinewood Derby cars started, an Emergency Birthday party celebrated, his gear packed...

Whew! On top of that we had a new front door installed; I got sick, we had a lunar eclipse and a spy satellite crashing to the Earth! Okay, so the eclipse and the satellite had nothing to do with me, but it was good for drama.

So, bottom line is...we made it. I am a 'married single' mom for the next few months. You can bet that I'll have A LOT more time to devote to the blogosphere.

Note: All sprouter prizes have been delivered. Congratulations again to our winners! Please let us know how you like your sprouters, girls, and if they work good for you - photos welcome. I love my sprouter system - the alfalfa sprouts always add a nice zing to my sandwiches. We want to know details, ladies!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Let the Hunt Begin!

On your mark, get set... go!

You now have until Saturday the 23rd to find answers to the following 20 questions. When you think you have all the answers, publish them on your blog or website and then put the link to it on Mr. Linky at the end. If you don't have a site, then you can email it to me, but I'd rather see it up on your site so I can come visit. All answers are hidden within my two blogs, Penny Pinscher and Emerald Coast Dollar Diva.

The first correct and complete entry gets the prize. All entries will be tabulated next Saturday. The prize is a beautiful blue leatherette coupon organizor with coupons plus a $5 Krispy Kreme gift certificate (thanks Ms. Rosie for donating the Krispy Kremes!)

Good luck everyone, and happy hunting!

Here's the list...

  1. What color was the original Penny Pinscher?
  2. Who makes the Penny Pinscher films on the site?
  3. Who was our first Giveaway winner?
  4. How much was organic milk in one post?
  5. What kind of class do I sometimes teach?
  6. What time does Junkyard Dog Thrift Store close?
  7. What is Cluckingham Palace?
  8. When did I fall off the bandwagon?
  9. What does a ‘warsher’ kill?
  10. What’s The Dividend Guy’s first name?
  11. What does my recycled can money go for?
  12. Where did my reading room furniture come from?
  13. How much do I usually pay for bread?
  14. How many AA batteries are inside a regular 6 volt lamp battery?
  15. What humble freebie created a glamorous border?
  16. What are the best chocolate covered cherries?
  17. Where was my camera left?
  18. If I were rich I’d buy…
  19. What’s my favorite holiday?
  20. What does my older son call me?

And the winner is...

Rosie R. & Kris O. ! Congratulations to our sprouter winners - these will be on their way to you asap. The movie of our "Penny Pinscher" picking the winners will be up soon, along with the scavenger hunt list. Congratulations again to our winners!

Scavenger Hunt Starts Tomorrow!

Okay, I had such a fun idea (famous last words...;)!

I was trying to think of a way to do giveaways that would be really fun and the scavenger hunt idea hit me like a box of chocolate on the clearance rack. After I announce the winners to the sprouters I will post the list for the hunt. Ladies, start your browsers!

Talk to you later today!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Super Saving Saturday

MMMMmmm! Discount Godiva... :)

Crystal over at Money Saving Moms asked what good deals did I get this week? I found Godiva chocolate at 50% off ($10 for a large box - I splurged on one), a wonderful XXL, red knit henley sweater for $12 new, candy hearts for a school project for .45 and (drum roll, please...) a battery charger plus 6 rechargeable batteries for $7.98 ($12.98 with a $5 rebate).

Now I don't have to cut open any more 6 volts - I still feel silly after falling for that one... ;) All in the name of Frugal Science. The best part, I ran into a dear friend at the store. That was the best deal of the day!

PS The henley isn't in the picture because DH won't take it off;)

Scenes From the Backyard

Cluckingham Palace starts to go up...

The first chickens - they were so much fun!
Everyone loved watching them, especially Moffi!

Harvesting a giant cabbage last summer that my oldest boy grew himself.
Little Bro' can't wait to eat it, which is exactly what Big Bro' is worried about.

Urban Farming - Investing in Backyard Stocks

To live on a farm is to live in the country. You are either the town mouse or the country mouse. You have big city glamour or small town charm. To most people's minds, it's as simple as that, and there is nothing in between. They assume that if they haven't got a place with 40 acres then they must be 'city dwellers'.

Mention farming and folks get a bucolic image in their minds of sweeping fields of grain and fat, contented cattle. Chickens peck and scratch near the barn door as the sun sets behind rolling hills. Gardens bursting with greenery and ripe bounty lay like little quilts across the lawn as twilight whispers by with sleepy sweetness.

Now imagine a small piece of country in the middle of a city. The sounds of traffic are muted out by the soft clucking of hens. Emerald cabbages gleam brilliantly against a fence, causing the passing school children to wonder what on earth these strange plants could be. Fruit trees begin to bud out, promising fruits that will be taken to the beach and the library as snacks, both within a 10 minute drive.

This is urban farming, a third option in between the two extremes of rural and rat race. To me, it's having my cake and being able to eat it slowly, and with relish. I can get up in the morning and fetch my eggs for breakfast, still warm and as fresh and delicious as nature can provide. But if I run out of coffee I have the choice to stop at any of about 8 coffee house choices from trendy to mainstream, the best being PFIA in Niceville. On an urban farm, life is definitely good.

There are difficulties with a countrified city lifestyle. Zoning is one. I'm lucky enough to be considered "county", even though I live in a populated area. Another thing to consider is supplies. Livestock need more then a local pet center can usually provide. I have a feed store close by, the wonderful and infamous Sue's Country Corner, hemmed in with McDonald's, CVS and a car dealership in an eclectic mix of town and country.

The benefits outweigh any difficulties, however, and the opportunities are many. For example, there's a scrap metal dealer around the corner from where I get my hay and chicken feed. All month I save aluminum cans from where I work and around the neighborhood.

When food buying time rolls around I recycle my metals and use the proceeds as a 'discount' off the chicken food. Last month my recycling paid for the food completely, and I still had a few dollars left over! In the country I'd have to drive so far to get to everything the gas alone would negate any economic bonus.

I think of urban farming as a solution for many of the issues we face today. If everyone kept a few chickens in their yard, just think of all the resources we'd save in fuel for delivery, chemicals for packages, trees for paper cartons, waste disposal from large chicken farming... not to mention all the table scraps that wouldn't go to the landfill!

In today's Age of Turbulence, as Greenspan so aptly calls it, we need to think less like consumers and be more creative. Outside the box thinking can be the difference between an impoverished lifestyle and one that finds richness waiting beyond the horizon you only thought was there. Like Columbus, you too might discover that your world has no boundaries.

I prefer my backyard live'stocks & bonds' to any high pressured make it big or bust lifestyle. Take a look around and see if you can't find your perfect solution hidden somewhere in between the layers of what we think of as our limitations. You might just find the best of both worlds.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Back On Track! Day #5

Okay, we missed a few days due to my camera being forgotten at a friend's over the weekend. Pressing onward, here is Day #5, in the morning. This sink challenge has really been helping me keep my sink a priority. Just knowing that you all are out there, holding your breath to see if I kept my sink clean another day (yes, sarcasm...). But seriously, thanks for all the emails and for keeping me accountable.

The Chickens Are In Bed

Hope your Valentine's Day was fun & frugal, whether you celebrated by yourself, with your cat, your sweetie or your sweetie and a passal of kids.

This has been a crazy week for us - I've been sick, then my two sons got sick, then my husband got sick, he's trying to get ready to deploy to Afghanistan... TGIF!

Needless to say, a few things have been slipping. Operation Clean Sink, for one. The sink has been doing pretty well, but I accidentally left my camera at a friend's house on Saturday. GGGgggrrrrr!

The post on urban farming will also have to be postponed until tomorrow. I should have known better then to try and make a meaty post on Valentine's Day. I will be back asap tomorrow - maybe even tomorrow morning. Through the week I'm frequently up at 4:00ish.

So, I will see you very soon with a nice fat post on the thrills and chills of life with chickens. Until then... Keep Reading!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day!

Will you be mine? I hope so!

I will be back on tomorrow evening with a post about Urban Farming starring... my backyard chickens! Having poultry in our backyard has been one of the most rewarding things we've done as a family, and they are so easy!

We don't live on a farm either. I live within 10 minutes of 2 Starbucks, a super Walmart, a K-Mart, a CVS, a Rite-Aid, a Walgreens... You get the idea.

I live in the city. Having chickens in the city is one way to have your cake and eat it too. I don't spend a fortune on driving, but I still have my little farm. You can read all the juicy details tomorrow, in the meantime here are a few Valentine links for you to enjoy.

And don't forget to subscribe for a chance to win the sprouter! XOXOX Penny P.

Valentine’s Pizza
Delicious heart shaped pizza recipe - a great idea for Him!

Valentine's Day Crafts
Valentine's Day Tips & Ideas to Spark Your Creative Cupid ;)

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Thinking Outside the (Valentine) Box

7:00pm It was time for baths and bed in the Penny Pinscher home. The youngest child in the household picked that inopportune moment to inform his mother that he needed a Valentine box... by tomorrow.

At first the mother tried to take the tough love approach, informing him that orders for weekend craft projects needed to be turned in on the Friday before. The youngest child turned on the baby blues, and the mother could feel her resolve waver.

She tried to turn the tables by informing the pint size con artiste that she had just been to the craft store yesterday and could have bought glitter and stickers, but now had nothing, not even a shoebox. On went the waterworks, and mom caved in. Clearly her son expected a miracle.

7:15pm A quick search of the immediate surroundings turned up some interesting leads, but nothing solid. So far mom had managed to gather one empty oatmeal box, a piece of corrugated cardboard, some red metallic ribbon bought on clearance, an empty snack box, leftover Mardi gras beads and markers. How was this pile of junk going to turn into a Valentine box that would break hearts? Then inspiration hit like Cupid in a Mac truck.

7:20pm Quickly the mom pulled the wrapper off the oatmeal container and flipped it over, revealing a clean, white piece of paper on the flip side of the label. Her miniature Romeo got to work decorating the paper with his name and a series of hearts. The marker had no sooner dried on the paper when he was told to hit the sack. Mom was taking it from here.

7:25pm Working quickly, she succeeded in covering up any evidence of this container's true, humble origins. She quickly heated up the glue gun, ready to take care of business. Permanently.

The Mardi gras beads were trimmed to fit around the top and bottom of the container, creating a glamorous border that few of junior’s peers would suspect had recently been tossed from a moving float. Some cheap, metallic ribbon was added to spritz up the glitz. A miniature Valentine was made from the inside of the snack box and added; along with a half dozen corrugated cardboard hearts which gave the box the masculine touch it needed.

Finally, with a pair of sharp scissors, mom stabbed the plastic lid, carving a heart shaped opening. More Mardi gras beads were fused around the opening and a snip of a satin ribbon was added as a bow. The deception was complete. Now junior had a Valentine box he could be proud of, one that didn't look like it was made in the few minutes it took (mom hopes) and cost nothing. Mom was pleased. Another emergency project completed. Case closed.

***Calling all subscribers***
Get new Penny Pinscher posts right in your inbox! Not only do you ensure that you're always one of the first to know what's going on here, but you'll also be entered for a chance to win this awesome seed sprouter :) and a packet of alfalfa sprouting seeds to get you started making delicious greens for your sandwiches, breads and salads. Delicious and frualicious? Someone's singing my song! :) It's you own personal kitchen garden.

So don't delay, subscribe before Saturday the 16th for a chance to win!

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Operation Clean Sink #3 & #4...

Guilty confession... again?

I fell off the bandwagon last night and went to bed with dishes undone again. I'm sure some of you noticed that no sink photo went up last night. Now you know why. So, true to my word, here's the photo...

Not as bad as before, at least. If you're interested in excuses (few people are;) I was really sick, it was Friday night and I wound up going to bed at 6:00pm. I woke up later to do a little bloggy work, but then went back to bed, dishes undone. Guilty as charged.


Next exhibit:
Tonight's dishes. Actually, everything in the sink was clean except hubby knocked it all down and accidently poured chicken grease on them.
Technically, as far as I'm concerned, they count as clean. Just 'greasy clean' instead of 'squeaky clean'. I will rewash them tomorrow.
If this shocks and disappoints you, you might want to go to Martha Stewart's blog instead. It states that it's Martha "up close and personal." I've got her beat there. You never see her dirty dishes. That's personal.

It's Give Away Time!

This giveaway is for all subscribers and it's OPEN!

To subscribe to Penny Pinscher enter your email into the subscriber box in the upper left hand corner. Subscribers will receive email updates of new posts in their inbox. TWO (yes, that's right... TWO;) subscribers will be randomly drawn and will win the seed sprouter shown as well as a packet of sprouting seeds.

The sprouter and seeds will be mailed to the winner and shipping paid by Penny Pinscher. You can subscribe to Emerald Coast Dollar Diva or Penny Pinscher, or both. One subscription equals one entry.

You can unsubscribe at any time. One subscription equals one entry, and all previous subscribers will recieve one entry. Winner will be drawn next Saturday, February 16th and announced no later than the 17th.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Emerald Coast Dollar Diva is Live!

What do you do with all the great deals you find out about that are only for your local area? You publish a new blog just for them! So, just for my friends in the Emerald Coast area (say, Panama City to Pensacola) here's a blog just for you. It's truly your blog, so be sure to send me all the great deals you find out about and I will share them. Some of the things I'm looking for are:
  • Area artists and businesses
  • Great thrift shop sales
  • Grocery deals for Food World, Albertsons, Winn Dixie, etc.
  • Drugstore deals from Rite Aid, Walgreens and CVS
  • Mall deals and sales
  • Local good stuff, like where the pecans and blueberries are and when they're in season
  • Garage sales
  • Events, like Cub Scout car washes, bake sales, etc.

So send in the info asap! There's already some posts up!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Operation clean Sink, Day #2

Operation Clean Sink
Okay... there are a few dishes in the sink. It's not perfect, but I'm going to bed anyways. I have a bad cold and have been working and running kids around all day. The cups can stay. I do feel guilty, but the cups are staying anyway.

Battery Hack EXPOSED!

Ever see the video that a regular 6 volt battery contains up to 32 regular AA batteries inside? If you've never seen this tightwads' daydream, watch it here:

6 Volt Battery Hack! You'll Be Amazed! - video powered by Metacafe

Pretty amazing, huh? When my digital camera, which uses AA batteries, needed fresh input I remembered this hack and decided to try it. At the grocery store I bought one 6 volt battery by Eveready for $2.31. At home, armed with a screwdriver I pried open the top of the battery, which was quite easy after I got the hang of it.

Unfortunately, instead of finding a treasure of AA batteries I found this:

What in the heck are these?!? I know they're not AAs!

Nonetheless, I consider my $2.31 well spent in the name of science. Now I can stop looking greedily at the 6 volt batteries, imagining the wonderful secret hidden inside. I figure there are three possibilities to why I don't have any AAs from my 6 volt...

  1. Only certain brands have the AAs inside.
  2. The manufacturers changed their technique.
  3. The whole battery hack is a spoof to see if people like me would really do it.

What's your take? Does anyone know the answer? Please enlighten us in the comments section. I still need AAs for my camera, and now I'm $2.31 in the hole ;)

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Next Giveaway Kicks Off Saturday the 9th!

This is going to be a double giveaway!

For all you gardeners who are just itching to plant something, I will be giving away two seed sprouters complete with sprouting seeds! Sprouts are delicious, nutritious, frugalicious and satisfying for the winter bound gardener. So get ready to save some green by going green and check back here this Saturday to find out how you can be a winner of one of these sprouters!

My Dirty Little Secret

Okay, true confessions time. I'd rather blog than wash my dishes.

Right now, as I happily tap away to you, my breakfast and dinner dishes are piled up waiting for me. I think some of last night's dinner dishes may be lurking in there also. I know this sounds horrible, but I'm seriously thinking about just surfing for a little while longer and then going to bed...without doing the dishes!

I know some of you are horrified, and I'm sure to lose readers do to my sudden 'coming out of the cupboard', but I value honesty and I must come completely clean with you (except for, of course, the dishes.) I hate doing dishes, always have. I love cooking and otherwise piddling around in the kitchen, but dishes stink.

Unfortunately, leaving my dirty dishes presents me with a few issues;

With a sink full of dishes from the get go, I probably won't be able to make lunches before I go to work. The kids will get hot lunch at $7.40 (that's for 3 kids, two of which always get seconds) My husband will also get lunch out for another $6 - $10. I will also be hungry and I will probably buy lunch myself for $2.20. Right off the bat, my dirty dishes will cost me $16.60! Ouch!

After school the kids will still be hungry, and so will I. We will pass a Subway, McDonald's, Burger King, Sonic, Starbucks, and Asian drive thru. They will all look incredibly tasty and cheap as we drive past them. I will probably be convinced to stop and drop around $25 in one of them, bringing our total to $41.60. Double ouch!

Then, after we're home I will look at the pile of dishes and feel overwhelmed. Instead of washing, I will get involved in homework, filling out fundraiser forms and agreeing to donate blood. The dishes will sit, except now they are no longer dormant... with each sip of water and discarded snack plate the dish mound will grow...and grow! About then dear hubby will call and ask if we need anything on the way home. I'll ask him to pick up a pizza for $8 each from Sam's Club He'll get 2 for $16. Grand total for the day of dirty dishes? $57.60!

This sounds like a lot to spend in one day, but this is actually a pretty normal, dishes-not-done kind of day. Trust me; this is one of my areas of expertise. It seems silly to clip coupons to save $10 on groceries (my meager savings for today's trip) when I'm spending $57.60 because my kitchen is messy. So, my belated New Year's goal is to always have a clean sink. And you all are going to help me. No, my plan doesn't involve you washing my dishes for me.

They say it takes 21 days for a new habit to become established. For the next 21 days I am going to post a photo of my sink every night so you all can see it. I invite you to comment with constructive criticism and encouragement. Of course I'm not going to want the blogosphere to see my messy kitchen, so I better get in there and clean it. See where I'm going with this?

I've been washing dishes, and in 15 minutes look at all I accomplished! I'm nearly done already!

Twenty minutes later and I am finished with wiped counters and ready to enjoy a cup of tea. I feel good, and I know tomorrow will be pleasant because the heart of our home is clean. And, in only 35 minutes I saved $57.60, no clipping required. So here's a photo of the finished product and my first photo for Operation Clean Sink...

Shoot! There's my unwashed tea cup!

Monday, February 4, 2008

First Giveaway Was a Success!

Wow! Did we ever have a blast with the chocolates giveaway. My daughter had so much fun doing the Penny Pinscher film that she can't wait to do another. We're thinking about doing giveaways once a week for awhile (until I run out of stuff to give away;)

What's your opinion? Is once a week too much? What kind of contests would you be interested in seeing? Leave me a comment with your ideas, but right now the unofficial idea is to do a "Monday Madness" kind of blog once a week with different criteria for entering.

And, by the way, for those that have emailed wondering where the "meaty" parts of Penny Pinscher have gone (Fruganomics, Centsible Ideas) rest assured that they will be back. Making the contest movie clip took more of my technical abilities then I bargained for (Thanks so much, Starr, for stepping in and saving the technologically impaired mom;) and that was followed by a wicked cold. I am going to bed now, full of lots of Sambucol (that was free from CVS with $13 rebate on its way;) and tomorrow I WILL be better. Prayers always welcome! So look forward to some more good stuff tomorrow! Until then, leave me those comments!

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Congratulations Melissa!

These chocolates will be on their way to her tomorrow morning! This was so much fun I think I will start making a monthly giveaway - every month on the 2nd I'll pick another winner. Keep checking back for more details... and as always - thanks for reading! :)

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Tomorrow I will be posting the film clip on the chocolate covered cherries winner! There were so many great comments - I loved reading what you all had to say. As promised, the winner has been picked through a high tech, scientific process. Tomorrow the vid clip will go live and announce to the world who is the winner. It has been one challenging give away - I almost ate these chocolates myself one day after work.

On another note - I got a nice surprise when I came across my Redneck Economics post up at Pokeberry Kitchen. I love Mary T's take on "eatin' gopher", but what really got me was her post on being a packrat. I DO identify!

I'd also like to welcome Dear Diary... into the blosphere. I have a special place in my heart for this little poster - she's my daughter, and when she saw how much fun I was having here she wanted to try it for herself. Please give her page a visit, if you can, and leave a comment. It will mean a lot to her.

Not much else tonight, so I'll see you all tomorrow to tell who I'll be sending the chocolate goodness to. As always, thanks for reading!

Friday, February 1, 2008

Last Chances for Giveaway Entries!

Get those comments in by tomorrow, February 2nd! I will be officially closing the entries at 12:00pm Central Time. My fellow Penny Pinscher, Abby (my dog), will be helping me to select a winner. My goal is to make a movie clip of the whole process to post here. Good luck, everyone!

And remember... tomorrow is

Glass Half Empty or Full? Depends on How Thirsty You Are!

Another title for this blog could have been; "Why an Emergency Fund Helps Me Sleep at Night", but that's not as catchy. Besides, I like the mental picture of a clear glass of water, partially filled, and your thirst is what determines whether you can view it as an optimist or as a pessimist. But really, isn't that how we view everything – through our needs?

When I have more bills then money, it's hard to sing with the bluebirds in the sun. I'm more likely to gripe because the birds pooped on my car and now I have to clean it off. My financial lack creates a pair of morose tinted glasses that colors everything I see in a shade of grey.

When my bills are paid, however, and I have a bit set aside as padding (a.k.a. my emergency fund), I take the "mo" off my "morose tinted glasses" and put it in my pocket. Having "mo" always makes me feel good, whether it be "mo" money, "mo" groceries or "mo" gas. Taking the "mo" off leaves me with "rose tinted" glasses, and suddenly everything looks good.

What is an emergency fund? I'll leave all the technical how-to and where-fors to smarter folks than me and you can read further here or at Get Rich Slowly's blog. They answer all the great questions like how much and where to put it. All I’m trying to communicate is that if you have a fat emergency fund, you feel more secure and can look at a glass of water and think positive thoughts about it. You know that if the manure hits the fan, you’ve got your goggles on.

No emergency fund is like walking into the woods for a campout expecting that you will eat fresh fish and berries the whole time, so you leave any extra food behind. As night creeps in and you ask yourself "Where's the fish?!?" you find yourself hungry and wishing you had been better prepared.

A few dollars squirreled away now can make a real difference as to whether you have a good or horrible daily experience. Take a good look at your savings, and if it's looking low, do what you can to fill 'er up. Then when someone asks the water glass question you won't be tempted to toss it at them.