August in Review

August is a very slow moving month around here. Not that we don’t have alot going on but it was 5 long weeks of anticipation for all the fun scheduled in September!

Groceries– budget amount is $200 NOT Met! $974.87 I did not include Amazon so I am going to realistically say we spent $1050 this month. Groceries are continuing to rise. My goal is to spend bare minimum the rest of the year, whatever that may look like.

Auto/ Gas. My goal is $400 a month. NOT met! $ 587. Uggh no explanation or ways to really reduce this.

Cash Envelope system- This worked well for us!

Blogging- 15 post per month. This is post number 17f or the month. I am going to guess that this is the first time EVER to post this often. Probably not going to happen again but hey once is good!

Exercise days- 2 days…….. I just want to feel well!

No Spend Days-Did not keep count again!

This is the first full week of school for all the kids and my second week of work. Last week seemed to work well and we managed to eat at home every night!  So we are doing a repeat with different food. I am thinking that some of our weeks will start to look very similar due to use the food we already have on hand. I have even thought about going back a couple of years and doing repeat menu plan.  Just might be fun to see if our taste and preferences have changed.

Breakfast- Saturday-BLT. Sunday- Made to order omelets Monday- Homemade everything bagels Tuesday- Zucchini bread Wednesday Thursday and Friday- find it oatmeal, cereal and milk, French toast sticks, bagels, breakfast burritos and pancakes.

Lunch- Saturday-leftovers Sunday-Christos   Monday-left-over Tuesday- chicken salad Wednesday- left-overs Thursday- Summer lunch, Friday-eat out.

Dinner- Saturday-Chips and dips Sunday- Youth group dinner Monday-country style steak, mashed potatoes, fried squash and green beans Tuesday Taco Pasta Wednesday- Chicken fried rice Thursday- Hamburgers and FF Friday- Genghis grill for Zach’s birthday

Every Bit Counts Challenge- It made sense for me to include this with Menu planning as they are both food related. Things are busy and crazy, but I did manage to get a couple of things done. This is likely the last week of preservation as most things are slowing way done. The goal is to continue to harvest and use items as we can!
Tuesday August 23rd frozen bananas
Wednesday August 24th Salas
Thursday August 25th- shredded zucchini
Friday August 26th-
Saturday Augst 27th-
Sunday August 28th-Dinners prepared and tomato soup for lunches
Monday August 29th- Froze a gallon bag of tomatoes. .

5 Things Friday

  1. School officially starts Monday. Lily is a senior at Davie County High School and completed her second year at DDCC for her associates degree. Kendall is a freshman at Central Davidson High School and Zach is a 7th grader at CDMS.  3 kids at 3 different schools.  I am starting my 5th year at Davie County Schools.
  2. We have a couple of quick trips plan during the month of September. Both are going to be using the camper. This makes things much much easier as we can pack in advance!
  3. The first week back at work full time has been busy and stressful. I am hoping to establish a good routine over the next couple of weeks.
  4. Zach will be playing in his first football scrimmage tomorrow…not sure how I feel about it.
  5. We are finally getting green beans and cucumbers from our garden!!!! Been waiting all summer for these!

Monday Menu Planning

This week, I have changed and hopefully improved our menu planning and preparation.  In addition to planning the menu, we tried to prepare as much as possible. For example, I made the mashed potatoes for dinner tonight yesterday and reheated in the oven.  The goal is to reduce the amount of time it takes to get a meal on the table to 30 minutes each evening.  It worked really well today!  This is my first full week of work, Lily’s second full week of school and Zach’s second week of football practice.

Breakfast- Saturday- Big breakfast of sausage, bacon, eggs and toast. Sunday- Biscuits with choice of meat or sweet. Monday- Find your own. Tuesday- Homemade everything bagels.  Wednesday Thursday and Friday- find it oatmeal, cereal and milk, French toast sticks, bagels, breakfast burritos and pancakes.

Lunch- Saturday-Left-overs Sunday-East Coast wings   Monday-I had a salad Tuesday- left-overs.  Wednesday- sandwich Thursday- Summer lunch, Friday-eat out.

Dinner- Saturday-Chips and dips Sunday- Tomato soup or Matt’s chill Monday-Beef stew with mashed potatoes and squash.  Tuesday Chicken Sausage Alfredo.  Wednesday- Egg roll in a bowl Thursday- Stuffed green peppers Friday-Breakfast Pizza

Every Bit Counts Challenge- It made sense for me to include this with Menu planning as they are both food related. I knew this would become harder as I started back to work. It is also harder as the garden has slowed way down as we approach fall.

Tuesday August 16th 8 cups of diced tomatoes
Wednesday August 17th Dried spices
Thursday August 18- Batch of medium salsa
Friday August 19-
Saturday Augst 20th- We finished on a new cabinet for the kitchen a
Sunday August 21st- 2 bags of cabbage for Future Eggroll in a bowl dinner
Monday August 22nd- 4 cups of Diced tomatoes.


Saving on Saturday

This week we are saving by building a cabinet.  We needed some more cabinet space!  I sold an older decorative corner cabinet on Facebook Market place in order to make more room in our dining room.  I attempting to find a new cabinet online with no success within my $500 budget.  So, Matt agreed to build one for me. The total out of pocket expense was $250!

Blank wall

He first built the structure outside and then attached it to the wall

Added sides

Then shelves

Finally doors

And I added all the things!

5 Things Friday

  1. I was able to plant my fall garden today. It consisted of 2 types of lettuce, broccoli and cabbage.  I am planning to plant a batch of carrots when the sweet potatoes are dug up. I think we are at the end of the tomato run but anticipate one to two tomatoes a week for until the end of September. I may have enough green beans to make a meal out of the third round of green beans I planted. We also are getting cucumbers and squash! This has probably been the best garden we have ever had.
  2. The chickens have learned to climb up and down the ramp to the coop independently after 2 days. We are still working on getting them to go up at night but hopefully this will happen in a couple of days. I did decide to add a water container to the coop at night. I just want to make sure that they can drink if they don’t realize it is time to be locked up.
  3. Zach is currently playing football at the middle school. Games will be on Wednesday.
  4. I survived my first day back at work. I know that I am going to be fairly busy this year but it is good to have a routine.
  5. We are hoping to finish up the new cabinet in the dining room this weekend. I will have to spend a chunk of time rearranging to make things appear less cluttered and more functional.

Thursday Thoughts

  • The chickens have officially moved outside!  We made the move yesterday. We did install a temporary door that has to be manually opened and closed. I actually went out at 6:28am this morning to open the door. Lily also went down and helped them exit the coop this morning.   We did decide to order and install an automatic door that should arrive in the next couple of weeks.  This will allow us to open and close the door remotely once the chickens have learned to go into the coop each night.  The expense of the chicken has finished increasing, I hope. I did use a gift card to order the outdoor chicken feeder. I spent $32 on a watering container and the door was $99.   Again, this confirms that these are pets.
  • Today is my last day of summer break.  I did a couple of errands, including having the Tahoe cleaned and attempted to mow the yard but managed to get the mower stuck. We all have haircuts this evening as well.
  • My plan is to make a couple of batches of stuffed peppers today. One for next week and one will be placed in the freezer for future use. I also want to try a batch of tomato soup just to see if it will turn out.  I also have a couple of new recipes for dinner as well. Sounds like a lot of cooking so we will see how it goes.  Yesterday after cooking most of the summer, I ordered pizza for the first time all summer.
  • I am actually kind of excited to go back to work and get in a regular routine again!

Monday Menu Planning and #Everybit counts Challenge

The back to work countdown is in the single digits… like 3 single days. This week I am focusing on keeping up with the garden and doing so heavy preserving each day. I also have to get the oil changed, cars washed, glasses ordered and a final grocery stock up as well.  In the area of menu planning. I decided to try a new to use recipe each day until Friday when sloppy joes are on the menu!

Breakfast- Saturday- BLTs Sunday- Steak, egg and cheese scramble. Monday- Steak egg and cheese burritos Tuesday- Homemade everything bagels.  Wednesday Thursday and Friday- find it oatmeal, cereal and milk, French toast sticks, bagels, breakfast burritos and pancakes.

Lunch- Saturday-Tomato Sandwiches Sunday-Applebee’s Monday- Leftovers Tuesday- Sushi lunch treat for kids.  Wednesday- Left-overs or sandwich Thursday- Summer lunch, Friday-eat out as I am back at work.

Dinner- Saturday-Leftovers. Sunday- Left-overs Monday-Big Mac Salad Tuesday Peanut Chicken with rice Wednesday- Beef Lo mein  Thursday- Chicken Quesadilla Tex Mex squash and Friday-Sloppy Joes.

Every Bit Counts Challenge- It made sense for me to include this with Menu planning as they are both food related. This will continue for at least this week if not the rest of August

Tuesday August 9th Nine Breakfast items
Wednesday August 10th Apple Butter
Thursday August 11- Stevia and Squash Casserole
Friday August 12- Diced Tomatos
Saturday Augst 13th- We worked on a new cabinet for the kitchen and repairs to the greenhouse
Sunday August 14th- 1 cup portions of Celery frozen
Monday August 8th- Diced Tomatoes and Salsa

Official food preparation count: 58
Breakfast count:33
Spaghetti Sauce: 25
Salsa: 4 full batches (I would honestly like to make 2 more of these but we will need to wait until I get another batch of Wax Peppers in)
Tomato Sauce: 13 1/2 cup portions and 2 1 cup portions (I would like to have 12 cup portions before moving to diced tomatoes)
Diced Tomatoes- 16 cans- I would like to get 8 more to call it good!

Saving on Saturday

This week we saved money by using what we have!!!  When we decided to purchase chickens, I did not want to purchase or even make a brooder box. The reason being my plan is for this to be a one-time experience. In the future, when we need to replace the current chickens because they have stopped laying, I will purchase pullets that are almost ready to lay.

To start with I grabbed a large plastic tote, that we have collected after donating items from my building. This worked well for the first 3 weeks. As the chick’s got bigger, I added a screen that we had used in the past on top of the rain barrel.  However, this week the chickens were even bigger, and I honestly think they could jump out of the plastic tub. I also wanted to add a roast as they were sitting on the top of the food and water containers, I called it playing “king of the hill”.

My mother offered a box that she received from Walmart. To be honest this is likely the biggest box I have seen in a long time!
The screen is again the one from a rain barrel that we are no longer using. The box was FULL of brown paper, so we decided to shred it to use as bedding.  Kendall shredded 2 full shedders from the packaging. We used one each time we change the inside which is every couple of day at this point due to the smell.  Matt helped by drilling a hole in the side of the box and we used an old scrap of wood for a roast.

Happy Chickens at no cost!