It's wonderful, you can add a can of any kind of beans you may have on hand, a can of diced tomatoes if you have any. The best part is cooking the meat in a large dutch oven and then adding all the other ingredients to it with seasoning and water. Letting it cook/simmer all day and enjoying with a some bread and butter (of course I buy mine at the bread outlet at $.79 a loaf!! and stock up the freezer) or saltines.
It's nice to have leftovers for lunch the next day too. It only gets better tasting!
As far as clothes, there are Goodwill stores in about 4 different towns within an hour of us. Who can NOT spend $.99-$1.99 per article of clothes for the girls. I have done this since both girls were infants. There are clothes that are in great shape and name brands! No one needs to know where you got them, of course I'm not too proud to say that I found them at Goodwill!! Another great thing in our area is a free clothing pantry at a local church. I have found sweaters from Penney's, Target, and other name brand stores for GP and many pieces of clothes for the girls. This past Saturday I found a beautiful embroidered white blouse and black velvet jumper to match for Lauryn. It was is perfect condition, except for a stain on the cuff (it's white for goodness sake, put a little bleach there and then rinse it out before washing it). It was also from The Children's Place. FREE!!!!!
Now for entertainment. There are two options we use often for videos. Our local library rents out vids for $1 a week. They are really good about getting new releases quickly (of course it doesn't hurt when aunt Cheryl works at the library, she often will let us watch a new release that she has picked up for the library before she takes it in) FREE!! There is also a chain video rental place that lets you take out children's video's FREE! Then there is always, always, always table games. We love playing games with the girls (even tho' GP isn't able to play with us). Some are easier for Li than others, but she is always wanting to play or be on someones "team". Of course our kids are like most other children in this world in that they have toys and such. FREE entertainment!! We often cook, serve, and sell things from the play kitchen, restaurant and store!! Money from the Monopoly game.... etc.
Family fun and traditions. We do have things that we really like to do as a family that the girls really love and get terribly upset if we miss doing it for one reason or another. Friday nights are Sleepovers. The girls get out their sleeping bags and pillows. Greg or I sleep on the couch (this gives the other on a chance to enjoy the queen size bed, quiet time reading or listening to music). The girls enjoy staying up as late as they can eating popcorn or another snack and watching cartoons and/or movies. Sunday evenings we have a PJ party with the family. Everyone gets into their jammies around 5 pm and we have time for making brownies (a great dad and girls project), playing games (board games or made up games), having family devotions and some singing/dancing time. We often will end up eating brownies and laughing at Americas Funniest Videos before getting the girls into bed at 8 pm ready for school the next morning.
So, this isn't my usual witty, snide and sarcastic entry that so many of you like. It is something that is on my mind a lot. Money and your kids have an enjoyable life, when you don't have the extra funds to spend on classes or camps or things like that!! I think we are doing great, I think my kids aren't missing out on anything that other kids get!
Besides who has time to run kids to classes, and camps when you are constantly picking up and cleaning up after them!!