Monday Menu Planning

An update on the pantry challenge, this has been a really off week.  I ended up at the grocery store on last Wednesday, the purpose was to stock up on Diet Coke.  While at the store, I ended up picking up 15 pounds of chicken wings for our Super Bowl party.  My spend was $89. On Saturday, we were in Greensboro so we decided to go to Costco. I was very disappointed to find they were out of water   I did go ahead and grab some stuff for the Super Bowl party. My total spend was $285. And on Sunday, I went in Food Lion to grab the waters for the week another $11.49. I will have one more trip this week to finish gathering our snacks but the damage is done!  We are doing much better about food waste which is a positive.

Breakfast- Saturday- Pancakes and sausage. Sunday- I had fried eggs. Monday  Wednesday, Thursday and Friday- find it oatmeal, omelets cereal and milk, French toast sticks, sausage, pop-tarts, and eggs. Tuesday- homemade bagels we found in the freezer.
Lunch- Saturday- Christos, Sunday-Lunch at friends, Monday, Tuesday- leftovers, Wednesday. Thursday and Friday. I have a couple of bowls of chicken stew and I will add some left-overs in. The kids are going to take sandwiches and mac and cheese this week.

Dinner- Saturday-Cook-out , Sunday-Crockpot Cheeseburger Soup (not a repeat) -Monday- Shephard’s pie Tuesday-Chicken Enchiladas   Wednesday- Hamburger casserole from freezer, Thursday Sloppy Joe Cornbread  – Friday- Breakfast bowls or left-overs.

I did start moving some items around in our freezers in the building. I would like to have the chest freezer emptied out before we go to Disney but we shall see. I am already over budget for the month when I add in my subscribe and save. I hope to level out the spending after our Super Bowl party.

January in Review

January should get  year unto itself. I feel like I have been sick the entire month, because I have. We are still doing the pantry challenge.  I will continue to post update on Mondays.   I am hoping for a warm and fun February.

Groceries- Budget $975/ $450 f   $300.33 Goal met! This was more than I wanted to spend but it includes wings for our Super Bowl Party and a stock up on drinks. Unfortunately, February will likely be around the same amount.  My current “goal” is $300 each month until June.  We shall see.

Auto/ Gas. Goal -= $600.  Goal Met!  We have spent $420.75 this month.  In February the tags on the car are due. I am hoping to save $50 by taking to the dealership we purchased at to have the inspection done for FREE!

Blogging- 15 post per month. 12 post this month.  And this has been a struggle. I don’t feel like I have time but I am hoping that when I finally feel better this will be easier!

Exercise- I am down to 207 which is 19lbs!   I did manage to consume my water every day and got to the gym once in the month. Goal for February continue with water and exercise at least one day a week.

Earn extra money: a $50 gift card from Fetch.  I am at 46562. That means I need 6448 more points.  This has become extremely slow but I am going to stay the course and keep working on it.  Other than shopping the sales, I am struggling to find ways to earn any extra money these days!


5 Things Friday- Travel Edition

  1. My mom, Granny, Amanda, Braxton, Lily, Izzy (Lily best friend), Kendall, Zach, Matt and I headed to Haley’s in Florida with the camper on Thursday December 28th.  The trip down started at 4;45 and we arrived around 6:30pm so a 14 hour trip including stops for gas, breakfast and lunch. We headed home on January 2nd.  Lily and Izzy were in the car with Granny as Amanda had flown home on Sunday. We started the trip around 8:15 am. and arrived home at 11:30, a 16 hour trip. It took us 6 hours to get out of Florida instead of 4.   This was I felt like our longest and slowest trip ever.  After much discussion, we are not exactly sure what we could have done differently to make the trip shorter.
  2. Everyone included David and Haley headed to Disney Springs on Friday December 29th, which was Granny’s birthday.  Braxton got his face painted as well!
  3. Saturday was our Christmas celebration. I spent a couple of hours at Urgent Care.  After dinner, Kendall, Izzy, Lily and I headed to the camper. I went to sleep, and the girls enjoyed a girls game which included lots of giggles. Matt and Zach stayed and watched a football game at Haley and David’s. Zach ended up staying at Haley’s for Saturday, Sunday and Monday night. He and Ryder played lots of video games.
  4. Sunday, New Year’s Eve was spent eating and laughing and just hanging out! The girls headed to do a little bit of shopping at Target and Ross. Lots of football was watched as well. I ended up back at the camper early. But everyone else set off fireworks and played with sparkers! It is always nice to spend time with family.
  5. Monday s adventure included a cold trip to the beach! I put my toes in the water, it was cold. Zach and Braxton played in the water. Everyone else watched them as the water was too cold. We all enjoyed just being on a beach the first day of 2024!

Sunday Catch- Up

Life is busy, difficult, busy, and overwhelming this month. Hopefully I can get catch up and spend a little bit more time with blogging. I also really want to be consistent but at during this season I will just do what I can and give myself some grace!

Financially, I feel like we have recovered from Matt’s short period of unemployment this summer. I am working on finishing the year strong but also starting to look at some changes and plans I want to make for next year.  Credit card debit has really creeped up on me, so trying to balance paying that off and saving and enjoying the few short years of kids at home is a balance that takes a lot of mental energy.  Groceries have always been one of the biggest expenses for us.  My plan and goal for November and December is to pay for what we get and then use any remaining money to pay down the credit card debit. Starting in January, I would like to start saving to purchase another whole cow in the summer. Ideally, I would put $500 a month in a saving account for six months to make this happen.   We have a ton of food in multiple locations and I am really working on keeping it organized and to work through the food that is here before buying new things.  I have found a couple of “guidelines” that are helping with making plan a little bit easier. First we are having a “breakfast casserole” every Sunday morning. This makes getting ready for church much easier and quicker. Soup for Sunday dinner is also going well with occasional leftovers for the week. I am finding that I must cook 3 meals on Saturday or we end up eating out.  Freezer meal are awesome and I already know that I need to have many more in the freezer during the summer.

Kids- Lily is currently in Florida spending two weeks with Haley and David. She has finished her first eight weeks of college classes and is struggling to balance work and school.  She also will need a loan to fully pay for her second semester of college. Zach is playing football which means practice Monday, Tuesday and Thursday with games on Wednesday. Braxton is playing baseball which is one game a week. Kendall is anticipating swim season and has started swimming at least 3 days a week.  We are also currently struggling to get her permit.  Kendall decided very quickly that she did not want to and could not handle working along with school

Chickens- We are getting between 2 and 6 eggs a day. I don’t understand but we have not had to buy any eggs so that is a plus.   We have switched the bedding from paper to wood shaving.  It is more expensive but the eggs are cleaner.  We have purchased another automatic door which is working perfectly. We also still have at least one possum and one racoon who visit once a week. This is a significant decrease from daily so something is working.

Garden- I have probably 3 galloons of tomatoes currently in the freezer. I actually have still been collecting tomatoes this week. We are attempting to keep peppers alive int eh green house. We planted onions and asparagus but that is all for the fall. A couple of beds have paper mulch on them but I would like to move some planters and mulch a couple more beds but again just am struggling with the time.

The word for my job is intense. I really enjoy both the kids and my co-workers but my mental capacities are being exhausted regularly.  I am also struggling with some health issues. Nothing major buy annoying.

We do have several trips planned more details to come!

Vacation Week

We have returned home from our annual family beach trip to Oak Island NC.  It was an awesome relaxing week with lots of fun! My current plan is to post some pictures today and then some each Wednesday for the next couple of weeks.

Braxton went down with us on Saturday and came home with his mom on Wednesday!  We spent lots of time just hanging out on the beach!

Everyone enjoyed reading books and eating candy!

Walking on the beach was also fun!

The weather was awesome with Monday being our only rainy day. We shopped most of that day!

We managed to eat out only 4 times 1. Fishy Fishy on Monday 2. Olivers on Tuesday 3. Pops in Carolina Beach on Friday and our favorite 4.Old Bridge Dinner on Saturday morning!

We spent all day Friday at Fort Fisher touring the fort and the aquarium.  I will do a whole separate post on that one!


Garden Update/ Tuesday Thoughts

This past weekend ended up being both busy and fun!  We had a swim meet on Saturday which really wiped us out for the rest of the day.
On Sunday, after church we spent some much-needed relaxing time at the pool!
Monday, I ran around the world and back.  I did manage to pick up half a bushel of green beans from the farm stand I LOVE!

All of this meant that I really have not had time to take pictures to post with the update.  But this morning, I headed out to do a little bit of garden work and take pictures but wait of course my phone is dead!

I was SUPER excited to be able to actually harvest several things this morning!  So excited I had Kendall take a picture to share!

Chives, lettuce, a handful of green beans, 2 squash, 2 cucumbers, a zucchini and snap peas!   It is small but at least we are getting things from the garden!

The other garden news is not nearly as exciting or happy!  We found 2 tomato worms on Sunday. Unfortunately, it was after they had stripped at least 2 plants of the leaves and consumed half of my biggest tomato.  We fed them to the chickens as protein!  I have been keeping a watch on the plants to make sure there are no more and so far so good.   Our tomato plants are now taller than me and we are starting to see little tomatoes forming!   I really want a good harvest this year but I am going to be contend with what we are given at least that is what I keep telling myself.

Final thought- One of my big goals this summer is to have a year’s supply of food on hand for the next school year. I want to complete this as doing a little each day as long as possible.   That is actually my reason for purchasing the green beans.  Zach and Kendall have helped with snapping the beans and we have canned 23 pints of green beans. This is one jar every two weeks which is likely what we will use. I am going to use our home grown beans to freeze to make fried beans.

Saving on Saturday

When our old rain barrel was cracked and we decided to replace it. Matt and I both had the idea to build a small gardening shed to store some things in.  I am so excited at how well it turned out and we actually spent nothing on it!

We had to empty and remove the old barrel but used the wood we had attached the barrels to the house with.

Matt recycled all the word and screws. He was able to locate some old shingles under the house. I am super excited at how it turned out!

Garden Update

Garden is not a fast process. I know in my head that it will be toward the middle or end of June before I start harvesting. But when I read on Facebook, that I have harvested squash or peppers I get disappointed.  By taking a picture each week, I am able to really tell a difference!

This week I am most excited about the height of the tomatoes! All the plants have reached the top of the boxes. I also spent a little bit of time pruning some of the leaves and stems from the bottom of each plant.

We are still waiting on blueberries.
We have harvested a small squash and we have several more coming up. They are tiny but still good!

I have been disappointed in my zucchini plants but we do have at least one small zucchini that is forming.

I was hoping for much more growth from cucumbers but they are growing and we have small ones.

Small growth on the beans and other varieties of squash

Peppers are looking better

Sadly the Cherokee purple tomatoes just are not doing good.

Although the watermelon and cantaloupe have survived I don’t see alot of growth.

Monday Menu Planning

This is the week that we have something almost every night!  With lots of driving and lots of new stuff!  I just want to survive this week!

Breakfast- Saturday- pancakes with strawberry syrup. Sunday-Bagels and sausage balls.   Monday, Tuesday Wednesday and Friday- find it oatmeal, omelets cereal and milk,waffles, French toast sticks, bagels, and I also have breakfast burritos, breakfast hot pockets, sausage mcmuffins and sausage egg and cheese mcmuffins in the freezer.

Lunch- Saturday- creative left-overs Sunday Panda Panda , Monday-
salad  Tuesday- salad Wednesday- ??  Thursday- Lily’s lunch choice .  Friday- out to eat.

Dinner- Saturday-Meatloaf cups and French toast uncrustable.   Sunday-more left-overs  Monday-Burger King Tuesday- Meatball casserole
Wednesday- Corn dogs and French Fries   Thursday- ?? Not sure maybe steak bites in Air Fryer and twice baked potatoes. Friday-Grilled chicken salad.

Monday Menu Plan

I have a feeling that this is going to be the end of evening at home and easy menu planning, so I am going to enjoy this week!  I already have most items prepared so I can heat and eat most days!  I also want to enjoy the sunshine.

Breakfast- Saturday-French Toast and sausage. Sunday-Cinnamon rolls and eggs.   Monday, Tuesday Wednesday and Friday- find it including oatmeal, omelets, cereal and milk, French toast sticks, bagels, The goal is to make at least one breakfast ahead of time, but we will see about that this week.

Lunch- Saturday-Finished up breakfast and left-overs Sunday Panda Panda , Monday-Tuesday, Wednesday- left-overs, salads, soup or sandwiches, Friday- out to eat.

Dinner- Saturday-soup Sunday-Breakfast Casserole or Dutch Pancake Monday-Sloppy Joes and tator tots Tuesday- Taco pasta (left-over version), Wednesday- Baked Potato Casserole and Salad Thursday- burgers and fries?  Friday- RIce and Kielbasa.