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Profiles & Talking Points

The Evolution of a Domestic Engineer

Posted by Lane on June 14, 2011 at 7:56 PM Comments comments (2)

by Jamie Anne Grimes


Lane has asked me to take a few large steps out of my comfort zone and tell you more about little, old me. I love talking about gardens, saving money on groceries and making wonderful food, but I tend to clam up when it comes time to talk about myself. Where to begin?

My name is Jamie, I answer to Mom, honey also. I recently turned 40. I've been happily married to my sweet husband for over 14 years. We have two wonderful kids, aged 13 and 11. I'm a stay at home parent and domestic engineer. I've been a housewife since before my 13 year old was born. I never had huge career goals, I never wanted to be the boss, being a "bad ass" business woman never appealed to me.

For as long as I can remember, I wanted to be a wife and mother. The kind of mother who was home when her kids got home from school, the kind of mom that made fresh cookies and made the beds....the kind of mother who was able to let her kids......be kids. I came from a home touched by divorce. My mother had to work, I was a latch key kid, I spent a lot of time looking after my younger brother. I was not much of a kid by the time I was 13, I was a little adult. A little adult with adult demands and a child's temper. I'm sure I was a peach to live with.

Lane and Jamie at 13.  Ah, the 80s.

And at 16...And at 39

The main point of my teenaged angst was that I wanted to do it differently. I wanted to be at home. My ideals lined up with the 1950's more than the late 1980's- early 1990's when I was a teen/young adult.

Housewives and stay at home parents are more common today in 2011 than they were in 1997 when I got married. It was shocking to my family that I wanted to stay home, I'm not sure they understood. I was raised by a strong, independent Mother and I also had a strong, independent step-Mother. I wanted to be a strong, independent domestic engineer...it confused them. My domestic skills have evolved over the years.

I'm embarrassed to say that when I was 21 I had no idea how to cook. I tried to make French toast, put the egg in the pan and covered it with bread and milk. I'm pretty sure my friend peed herself rolling on the floor laughing at me. I'm not kidding. I was clueless. The only thing I knew how to make was reservations. I was awesome at ordering things through the drive thru also. ;) After the French toast experience, I made myself a promise that I was going to learn how to cook. It's been an interesting ride. I've had many successes and many FAILS.

By the time I was 24, I felt brave (or crazy) enough to host a Thanksgiving party for my friends and then boyfriend (later husband) Wes. It went pretty well, but I'm sure the large quantities of wine we ingested helped a lot. Wes and I married in 1997 and my sweet husband has at least "tried" to eat everything I've subjected him to. Venison steaks, sta-goo (too much liquid in my stuffing) and funky pumpkin pies....he tried them all.

Now I make homemade oatmeal bread, granola, and a rocking slow cooker lasagna. I've come a long way, baby. I'm not saying I'm perfect, because I'm far from it. A basket full of clean clothing, that need to be put away, is eyeballing me as I write this. My beds are not always made, my floors get dusty and sometimes I lose my temper with my kids. I'm a work in progress, but aren't we all?

My blog, a Dash of Domestic follows my domestic adventures, successes and failures. I'm not too proud to post my FAILS. I truly believe that anyone, even those who feel they can burn water, can learn some level of cooking skills. I do my best to write easy to follow recipes with lots of pretty pictures. Thanks for reading!

A Dash of Domestic: Working that Budget

Posted by Lane on April 22, 2011 at 6:55 PM Comments comments (0)

by Jamie

Budgeting, girlfriend to girlfriend.

Last week I gave you a basic overview of my budget. That gives you a little peek into a household budget.

It might leave you with a few questions. This week I plan to share some planning tips to help you set your budget amounts.

How do you decide how much money to set aside for each category? Honestly, this is really personal. A good place to start is trying to figure out how much you ALREADY spend, and how much you would like to spend.

On a side note, did you know that according to the NTFB , "The maximum an individual in Texas can receive in food stamp benefits is $200 a month- about $6.67 a day." I'm not sure what 4 people, the size of my family, would get in food stamps, but $6.67 a day isn't a lot. I will share my grocery budget info with you. My budget is $220 every 15 days, if you want to break it down it would be $110 every 7 days. That includes Grocery items, laundry & cleaning items, toiletries, paper items and soda/water. I use coupons, which makes the grocery bill that would cost me $200 only $100 per week. Be honest with yourself. Will you coupon? If you won't, then set a budget you can live with.

How much do you want to be able to play with each month? Be realistic. Divide it in two and set it aside each pay period. Honestly, you pay your bills each month, shouldn't you pay yourself as well? The same goes for your savings. How much do you want to set aside each month? Is it realistic?

Decide how many nights per pay period you want to be able to eat takeout. If it is realistic, set it aside.  My husband and I need to adjust our dining out funds. We set the budgeted amount before our kids were tween/teen. They eat adult portions now, not kid portions. It has limited our ability to dine out.

I can't tell you how much to put into every area of your budget, but if you look back at your earlier spending (perhaps check previous bank statements) you should be able to get an idea of what you have spent each month. That should give you a starting point to begin from.

How often do you go to the doctor? Do you take daily medications? What are your co-pays? That amount should be set aside monthly. More longer term....Worst case how much would an emergency room visit or hospital admission cost you? How much do you have to pay for out of your own pocket? I would set at least that amount aside.

Plan for birthdays and holidays, set aside a little money each month, then you will have a "pot" to pull from when you need it.

I hope this helps. If you have questions, please feel free to ask.


A Dash of Domestic

Posted by Lane on April 14, 2011 at 11:24 AM Comments comments (0)

by Jamie


I'm going to say an ugly word. It's ugly, but necessary. Budget. I know it's horrible, but girlfriend you need a budget.



If you don't already have one, please take the time to set up a household budget.



People with budgets tend to spend less on their "extras". I don't have science to back this up, it's just common sense.



My husband and I have a household budget. We plan out how much we intend to spend on certain types of items, how much we plan to save, mad money, and so on.



I won't go over my budget numbers with you, because your situation and mine differ. I will tell you what we budget for on a bi-weekly and a monthly basis.





We budget for these items monthly.



Hair cuts






Auto care



Our long term savings (our happy little nest egg)





Bi-weekly (or every two weeks) we budget for these items.



our 401k



Our short term savings (used for gifts, minor car repairs, vacations, school costs, and eye care)






Minor medical expenses (prescriptions, over the counter meds)



Dining out



Lawn care



Kid's allowances



Mad money for my husband and myself



Dry cleaning



Tuba lessons for our son



It's up to you what you budget for and how much money you add to each category you choose, but being prepared helps you stay on track.



I can promise you that as far as grocery shopping goes, a budget is a must. If you set a budget, you're less likely to over-spend.



Another good tip is to pay for your groceries in cash. Go to the ATM and pull out the amount you want to spend. If you're keeping track of what you are placing in your cart and how much money you have to spend then you will be less likely to go over your budgeted amount.




A Dash of Domestic: Now What?

Posted by Lane on April 8, 2011 at 11:28 AM Comments comments (1)


by Jamie

You've got coupons, now what?





Brave soul, fear not!



This is the last start-up post on couponing. I may talk about coupons again in future weeks, but I'm done with the newbie set up posts.



You've got some coupons....now what? You need some way to organize them. The Coupon Organizer. It's not a monster...I promise!



You need some way to organize all the coupons you've clipped from the Sunday paper or printed from online sites.



If you're not planning to do more than the e-coupons then you don't need this information YET! I'm sure once you start saving money using e-coupons you'll want to know how to save more. Then...come back, we'll still be here.



I found this website with a lot of information on coupon organizers Honestly, it's A LOT more information than you need to get started, but I post it so you can check it out. Please don't let it overwhelm you though.



I have a plain, purple coupon organizer. I bought it at Wal-Mart, in the office supply area. Mine is plastic and accordion style.







I found super cute fancy ones on ETSY I'm sure there are more from other sellers, but this is one I found.



You could just use envelopes or ziplock bags...



I separate the coupons by type.... Store coupons **(Tom Thumb, Target, Walgreens, CVS) **



Snack items (including chips, crackers, soda, coffee, water, cookies, etc..)



Paper goods (including t-paper, paper towels, foil, trash bags, sandwich bags, batteries, etc..)Health and Beauty items Produce and refrigerated dairy goodsMeatsCanned goods, pasta, saucesCereal, baking goods, sweeteners and spicesFrozen itemsCleaning supplies (including Laundry detergent and dish soaps)



**Don't forget that the store coupons can usually be combined with manufacturer's coupons**



Happy Saving!






A Dash of Domestic: Home Ec with Jamie

Posted by Lane on April 1, 2011 at 11:30 AM Comments comments (0)

Jamie, from Dash of Domestic shares more about couponing this week.


Hello WWK readers, it's me again, your resident domestic adviser. This week we're talking about coupon stacking and Internet printed coupons or IP coupons for short. I was going to focus more on IP coupons than coupon stacking in this post, but I believe they deserve equal time.


Most people know what an IP coupon is, but fewer people understand coupon stacking.

Coupon stacking.

It's about increasing your savings. Using store coupons in concert with manufacturer's coupons to get the most for your money. Not at all like stacking the deck, because this is not cheating, and no one's going to take you out back and break your fingers for doing it.

Many stores offer STORE COUPONS. Walgreens has them in their weekly ads, some grocery stores offer them (like Tom Thumb and Albertsons) and Target has printable coupons on their website and sometimes printed coupons in the Sunday coupon section. These store coupons can be combined with a manufacturer coupons for increased savings.

For instance, let's take the Tide I bought at Target on Wednesday. I had a Target store coupon for $1 off Tide and a manufacturer's coupon for $3 off Tide, so I got $4 off of my $11 Tide purchase. To see my Target trip this week, click this link


IP coupons.

Internet printable coupons are very popular right now. I see commercials on TV about IPs, I've heard radio ads, even Wendy Williams spoke about IPs on her show last week. Don't ask me why I watch Wendy Williams, I just do.

Many companies offer coupons on their websites. If I buy a certain brand or a certain product, I check the company website for a coupon. After all, it's easy to check the website while I'm online catching up with Facebook posts.


There are also websites devoted specifically to coupons.




There are others, but that's the three I mainly use.

Sign up with your e-mail address on the websites of the brands you use.










First go sign up for a free e-mail account at your preferred mail site (like Yahoo) then go to the websites of the brands you buy and sign up for their e-mail list with this spiffy new e-mail address (that way the promotional e-mails won't clog your real inbox) then you'll be notified when they have promotions or offer coupons.


Check Facebook, I print coupons from "fan" pages all the time.

Okay, I think I covered it.



Stacking, printing, NEW E-MAIL, signing up, "like"-ing.


That's it for this week's post. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask.

Happy saving and have a great weekend.