My checkbook is saying July should be over now.

Maxine Checkbook CoverWhy is there more month than money? It seems every summer it’s the same thing.  I fall behind from the spending frenzy called Spring and Summer.

I thought this year would be a bit different.  Since we haven’t traveled or vacationed, dined out or purchased frivolously, I thought I would be in the black easily.  However, my checkbook is telling a different story.

This really bothered me, so I studied my spending diaries starting in May through this month to get a clue as to why this happened.  It soon became very clear why I don’t have as much as I thought I did.

  • End of school year expenses and graduation.  I spent a lot of money for the graduation party and entertaining out of town guests.  (However, it was worth every penny :) )
  • Groceries.  Good grief!  I spent on food over the past 3 months.  I truly have to get this in check.
  • And, along the same line, I thought we didn’t eat out much. Ahem.  I guess all those bagel stops added up. :(
  • Okay, so we did purchase a new washer and dryer.  That took a HUGE chunk out of our checkbook.  (I took what I would normally send to the educational savings account and applied it to this bill).  I would still have only $49 in my checkbook if we didn’t purchase them because I would have sent it to the ESA.  Now I’m a bit behind on my ESA savings, which I’ll have to make up in August.
  • Clothing.  I made some clothing purchases this month for myself as well as the kids.  Bathing suits, shorts, running shoes…they certainly added up quickly.  It really didn’t feel like major purchases when you buy things separately, but the total in the clothing category proved differently….

I did have other expenses these past couple of months, but I had saved for them so they wouldn’t have contributed to the empty checkbook. (i.e. taxes, insurance, summer camp, etc.)

I think what happens is that I tend to spend more freely in the summer time because everything is so relaxed.   When the warm weather hits, I feel better, so I spend more.  Hmmm, maybe a retirement down south may not be such a good idea?? I’m also not following my ‘cash only’ mantra this summer and I suppose that’s contributing to the shortage as well.  Time to break out the cash again and catch up.  Hopefully, I’ll even be able to add something to savings too!

How is your checkbook looking with one week of July left?




Organizing Wednesday: A Kitchen Cabinet Revisit.

Welcome!  Today is Organizing Wednesday here at  MidlifeMomMusings.  Every Wednesday I will organize some portion of my life…work, home, play or anywhere in between. 

Won’t you join me?

This post was supposed to be about organizing my bedside table but I wasn’t feeling very well on Monday (when I planned to do it) and it didn’t get done.  Instead, I thought I would dig into my archives and pull out another organizational project that I had already completed and shared.

This was my favorite organizing project, but I actually have to reorganize a couple of my kitchen cabinets this summer, so this is a good time to share what they presently look like. 

{{original posting date: August, 2012}}

While our kitchen was being done and the house was turned upside down, I was busy organizing closets, drawers, cupboards, etc.  I got rid of over 300 items to goodwill and disposed of 10 bags of trash.  Yikes!

I still have some organizing projects to do, but here are a few pics of the results of my labor:

My junk drawer…now I can find something to write with!
I decided to put my spices in a drawer.  I used this organizer from the Container Store.
Chalkboard labels and an 11″ lazy susan help me stay organized in this cupboard.
I purchased a shelf  to help separate some dishes and make more room.


I was a wee bit obsessed with my chalkboard labels…but it’s so much fun! (And organized, right?)
During the clean out I found my tea cups!  Now they are prominently displayed in my glass cupboard!
A simple organizing tool, but so effective!


This 16″ lazy susan helps find the ‘spirits’ I need want without taking out all of the bottles!


How do you organize your kitchen cabinets?

Product review: Ceramic coated fry pan. PLUS this week’s menu plan.

indexI have been having a hard time finding a good non-stick fry pan.  I’ve used high quality (Emeril) teflon pans in the past, but they haven’t seemed to last.  On several occasions I’ve had to throw out food when chemicals leeched from the pan.  (If a teflon pan gets too hot, it emits poisonous chemicals fumes (PFOA) which can poison both the air and food).  Although stainless steel fry pans are completely nontoxic, the frustration from food sticking had prompted me to find a better non-stick choice.  While out shopping on Saturday, I came across a new non-stick fry pan made out of ceramic and free of PFOA.  The new Simply Calphalon 12″ Ceramic Omelet pan was the perfect size, and I thought I would give this one a try.

Last night I used the pan to saute some chicken cutlets.  This pan was quick to heat up and evenly cooked all of my cutlets.  Best of all?  A breeze to clean.  We’ll see how it lasts over time, but I’m happy to say I believe ceramic is a good alternative to Teflon if you want a nonstick pan.

I thought I would plan my menu utilizing my new pan this week and have created some dinners (highlighted in red) that will put it to good use.

On the menu for this week:

  • Enchiladas, Brown rice
  • Chicken Picata, Angel Hair Pasta, Spinach salad
  • Spaghetti & Meatballs, Tossed Salad
  • Chicken Pad Thai
  • Club Sandwiches (Turkey, bacon, lettuce, tomato)
  • Beef Cubes on the Grill, Roasted Veggies, Corn on the Cob

Have you ever tried the ceramic nonstick fry pans?



All about that base.

Dieting and Exercise.  That’s all I’ve been doing since April.  I’ve lost about 10 lbs, but some of them keep finding me no matter how fast I run.  Sigh.

I’ll still track my calories and exercise (as I’d like to drop at least 20 more), but I sure was happy to see this new video from Megan Trainor.   Somehow I feel better about myself already.

Haven’t seen it? I have it right here for you.  Enjoy!


I saved $333 today!!!

Three is my lucky number and I saved 3 of them today! Hee, Hee, get it? 3 3′s?


I tried to write a ‘money’ post this morning as I was sipping my morning coffee, but I was coming up empty.  So, I shut the computer and dove into all of the chores I had planned on doing today, hoping that I would get inspired.

It wasn’t until I was walking Ben when I thought about how much I actually accomplished today and how I used to pay other people to do these chores.  Now, I do most of them all of the time, saving a lot of money in the process.

Hmmmm, how much did I actually save today doing everything myself?

Here’s what I came up with:

Cleaning House $100 (I actually did 6 loads of laundry too, but I have no idea how much someone charges to do that!)

Mowing and trimming lawn $45 (My son did this, but I imagine someone else would have charged at least $45)

Grooming Ben (Wash, dry, trim and brush) – $100.00 (I have never taken Ben to a groomer, but I used to take my other golden retriever.  It was very expensive because she was a big dog.  Ben is bigger, so I guessed on this figure, although I’m sure I’m not too far off.)

Color and shampoo hair $60  (I get my hair professionally colored three times a year, but I do it every four weeks, just when I can’t stand looking at the grey roots saving me big bucks in the process.)

Delicious Philly Cheesesteak Subs$28.00 (I used to always eat out on cleaning day (I never wanted to mess up the kitchen) but today I made delicious Philly Cheesesteaks with what I had on hand: roast beef, mozzarella and/or american cheese, onions, mushrooms and Kaiser rolls.  They were delicious!  If I had taken the family out, it would have been at least $28.)

So, when you add them all up you get a total of $333.00!!!

Not bad for a day’s work, right?

What chores do you do yourself to save money?




Organizing Wednesday: That mess under the kitchen sink.

Welcome!  Today is Organizing Wednesday here at  MidlifeMomMusings.  Every Wednesday I will organize some portion of my life…work, home, play or anywhere in between. 

Won’t you join me?

Today’s home organizing project is the dreaded kitchen sink cabinet.  For some reason, this space gets so disorganized, yet I use it every single day.  Time to do something about that.

I first opened the cabinet doors to see what I had to work with.

IMG_1589 copyThen I proceeded to shut them real quick in hopes that I would forget about this project……

Nah, I should do it.  Yep.  So before I reopened the doors,  I wrote down what I wanted to keep under the sink and what I wanted to get rid of.

Here’s what I kept:

  1. Dishwasher tabs
  2. Dishwashing detergent
  3. Dish towels and scrubbies
  4. Fire Extinguisher (bet you didn’t think of that one, huh?)
  5. Granite and stainless cleaner
  6. Scrub brushes
  7. Rubber gloves

I felt ready to tackle this project, so I opened the doors back up and removed everything out of cabinet only to discover that the floor of the cabinet was gross.  Really gross. Yuck.



Also, I noticed there’s really not a whole lot of room to work with under the sink, as the garbage disposal takes up a lot of room, as does the hoses from the dishwasher.

Even so, I knew I could make it better.  I made a list of everything I needed to complete the project.

  1. Contact paper:  (A must to cover up and protect the floor of the cabinet)
  2. A Lazy Susan to easily access cleaning supplies/rinse aids
  3. Containers for dishwashing soap and dishwasher tabs
  4. A door organizer to hold my most used cleaning products
  5. A new fire extinguisher as ours expired

I decided to limit my spending a bit (I’ve been known to overspend on organizing supplies….) so I made a budget of $20.00.  I didn’t include the fire extinguisher in budget, as that is a home safety expense and fits in a different category.  Luckily, I had most of what I needed already including the lazy susan, so I was confident I could stay close to the budget.

After I put my list together, grabbed my purse, I was off for the supplies.

I went to Dollar Tree and Target.  I purchased the contact paper  (an elegant black and white print) ($1) and the plastic container holding the dishwasher tabs ($1)  from Dollar Tree, the door organizer ($12.99) and command hooks ($5.99)  from Target.  Total Cost: $21 plus tax.  Close enough. :)

The last step, of course, was to put it all together. After I hung the door organizer and extra command hooks for my cleaning brushes, it was easy to put the rest back in.

Ready for the reveal?

Here is the AFTER:  Ahhhhh, much better. Why did I wait so long to do this?

DSCN5632Command hooks are absolutely amazing.  I used them to hang up brushes, my door organizer and my rubber gloves.  (I have my rubber gloves hanging from a binder clip)

DSCN5634 DSCN5635

On the door are all the cleaning products I use on a daily basis for my kitchen.  In the back is my stockpile of dish detergents.  The Lazy Susan is housing more cleaning products, veggie wash from Trader Joe’s and rinse aid.  I also keep my dish towels and scrubbers in the pull out drawers.  The fire extinguisher is behind the white pipe.

I’m so happy with the result, I can’t wait to tackle other cabinets in the house!

Do you have a spot in your home that needs organizing and is driving you crazy?  Please share!!



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