5 Things Friday- COVID 19 Edition

Did you ever think to yourself- why might could happen if you decided to buy a new car on Friday the 13th 2020?    I am so glad I am not the only one and I do have the definitive answer- COVID!

  1.  We decided to go ahead and trade the 2016 Honda CVR that I have been driving in for a 2017 Chevy Equinox on Friday November 13th.   We actually were going to shop on Friday night and planned to purchase on Saturday but we ended up finishing up all the paperwork and driving away in the new to us car around 9pm.
  2. I am going to share the reasons we decided to trade cars just for future reference and so I can prove to myself that we did think this through and not regret the purchase. First- neither Matt nor I really enjoyed driving the Honda CVR, it was not a car that we would have purchased. It was under powered and although the gas mileage was better than the van, not enjoyable to drive. Next- the payment was extremely high. I actually had to split the payment in half in order to make it fit our budget.  After doing the research, I realized that we could likely reduce our payment by trading even with our upside down status. Finally- Matt has been employed at his job for over a year. Which allowed us to improve both of our credit scores at the same time. By trading and placing the new Equinox in Matt’s name, we reduced my debt ratio and improved his rating with consistent payments.  We have accomplished all we set out to do. Car payment is $100 less, Equinox is a car we both enjoy driving and credit will improve in the next six months.
  3. Sunday, the kids arrived home from spending the weekend with Haley and we took them for a drive in the new car. We ended up eating outside at the Salisbury Cracker Barrel. Matt and I had skipped church that morning because he was not feeling well and we did not want to expose any one to our germs. After eating on Sunday, Zach became sick and threw up.  It was a one time thing so I did not worry about it as this can happen.
  4. Monday- Matt says he is staying home from work so I decided to take Zach to school. He does not have a fever at home or at school. I honestly thought he had a case of the “Mondays”.  I dropped him off at school and headed to work where I was schedule to see 3 kids back to back a 30 minute break and another 5 kids back to back.  I get a call from Matt that his boss suggest he go test for Covid, because he is positive and has exposed the whole office all week. I finish the third kid and as I am checking my phone to call Matt back, Zach school is calling he threw up!
  5. Matt did test positive. By Friday (today) his symptoms are very light and he is only taking medicine at night.  We suspect that Zach had food poisoning – I ate some of the spinach dip that he had on Sunday and it was bad. I threw it out after one bite and had a horrible stomach ache.  By Friday, Zach is completely better! I have had what feels like sinus stuff to me. I have not had a fever, but runny nose and wet cough.   Lily has had a sore throat but feels much better today. Kendall ended up with a headache. Everyone is currently on quarantine. We have not left the house since Monday.  We are praying for two specific things- no one else get COVID and we can have a small family Thanksgiving. We have been told that 3-4 days without symptoms can end Matt’s quarantine and if no one else has symptoms especially a fever before then. We should be safe. the health department is suppose to call  on either Thursday or Wednesday to officially release us as well.

5 Friday Facts

  1.  I am super excited because today, I received our electric bill for the month of October. It is $146.70!!!!!!!!!!!!! This is the lowest our electric bill has EVER been!  It is actually $120 lower than our September bill.  We have been without heat and air for all of the month so I was expecting it to me lower but this just blows me away!  One interesting fact and the only difference from previous year is that in September we had our meter replaced. It now reports directly to the Energy company instead of being read by a person.
  2.  We are continue to enjoy our new “Alexa” purchases.  I am actually hopefully to start changing over several different items to make it more convenient. Zach has even gone so far as to request a echo dot for Christmas.
  3. The weather is continuing on the mild side with temperatures in the 70 and close to 80.  I am enjoying this which allows us to continue to use less electricity. My current goal is to not use heat or air until November. Another benefit of the weather is that we are still getting tomato, pimentos  and green peppers from our garden.
  4. We ended up purchasing a pressure washer last weekend and Matt has been able to clean both the drive way and the siding. We also have finished our entry way remodel. I am planning to share pictures tomorrow.
  5. I had debated making this is  own post but decided it was not long enough.  Next week is looking to be our busiest week of the fall season.  Monday- I am scheduled to work at least one extra hour but I am going to plan on 2 or more additional hours. Kendall starts cheerleading try outs that end at 5pm and Zach has a baseball game at 7:30. Tuesday- Kendall has cheerleading tryouts and Zach has a ball game at 7:30. Wednesday- Ball game at 7:30 which means no youth or kids club.  I am also scheduled to work for 2.5 hours. Thursday-piano at 4. I am scheduled to work at least 3.5 hours.  Which brings us to Friday……..YIKES!

5 Things Friday

  1. I am full and over the top full in Guam.  I am currently serving 15 schools in Guam and attempting to attend all OT related IEP meetings. What this means is 10-12 hours a week currently.  I have been told that i should be able to reduce my hours by January. I am waiting to decide if this is something I want to do or just continue at the rate I am at.  Currently, I am able to handle most of it but my leisure time and blog posting will be very limited for the next month.
  2. Lily, Kendall and Zach are spending the weekend in Durham with Haley. This is the first time in YEARS that Matt and i have had a free weekend.  Last night we went on a date to Applebee’s  Today we are going to attempt to update the front door.
  3. We are definitively in Fall.  My goal is to go without heat until November 1st.  Our October electric bill was significantly higher than usual due to the summer heat lasting well in September. So far so good as the house is currently sitting at 70 and the outside temperature is 47.
  4. I did a fair amount of shopping on Amazon prime day. Since we are updating our front door including a new keyless entry, we decided to go ahead and start moving toward a smart home. I purchased several echo dots which came with a couple of smart plugs and smart light bulbs and  2 echo flexs (one in my office and one in the kitchen). So far we are enjoying the novelty of them. I also purchased several Christmas gifts and cheap ear buds.
  5. Our December trip will include Braxton, Haley, her boyfriend David and his kids!  We are currently at 60 days!

Saving on Saturday

    • We spent around 3 hours outside today working in both our flower beds and our garden!  The saving part comes in that we did not pay someone to come and do this. A second way we are saving is that by cleaning up the garden we are able to extend the growing season and continue to save on our grocery bill.  I had to take pictures just so that I could remember the differences.

Before

  • Mom and I made a trip to the Dollar Tree today. I was able to purchase new items for my sign for a total of $5.  I am so happy with the way they turned out!
  • Zach wanted Taco Bell for his birthday.  I decide to download the app in order to save time and headache for me placing such a large order. It actually worked the way it was suppose to and we have already earned two extra tacos for Free!
  • We had decided several month ago to have a much less than usual Christmas this year in order to be able to afford our trips to Disney.  I have started working on purchasing gift for the kids and I have decided that I am going to limit it to 3 gifts from Matt and I. The little ones at home will also get a Santa Claus gift but that is all!   Now to stick to this!

Budget Update

I have been monitoring and working on developing a budget the last couple of weeks. We have had several changes to our expenses and I wanted to start the school year with a solid foundation. I honestly don’t remember and could not find the last time I actually shared a budget. So I am going to do that today.

In the area of income, Matt continues to work full-time and I will start next week back at my school system. I am beginning today some additional work in Guam.

I do not budget my earnings from Guam. The first reason for that is that it can vary greatly from $40 to $1500 a month. After our tithe, we have been using the extra money for home improvements, fun money and travelling specifically Disney trips. This will continue for the remaining months of this year. I anticipate that even our April Disney trip should be completely paid off in December. This gives up a good six months to determine our next priority for the extra money.

Now for the actual budget :

Monthly Expenses Total
Hair100
Gas 500
Offering520
Piano120
Clothing100
Credit Card payments 745
Chores/ House cleaning350
Car Payment436.42
Spending180
AAA/Insurance78
Groceries550
Gifts100
Summer140
Saving25
Mortgage  990.96
Water34
Electric260
Internet147.46
Van Payment 344.03
Verizon343.03
Adobe/Computer 32.09

Monday Menu Planning

This weeks plan looks very different than most anything you have seen. The goal this week is to use up the food that we have prior to our beach trip with as little waste and left-overs as possible. We are doing very well on grocery spending so far for the month at $96.85! This is also the last week for school food delivery so I am going to assume our grocery bill will start to increase again next week.

Breakfast– Saturday-Egg and fries omelet Sunday-Biscuit King because we over slept. Monday- , Tuesday,  Wednesday, Thursday, Friday-choice of breakfast muffins, eggs, sausage, oatmeal, cereal or grits, breakfast burritos, bagels or omelets

Lunch-  Saturday- left-overs from the refrigerator Sunday-
BLT with homemade bread and home grown tomatoes . Monday- tomato sandwiches Tuesday- Egg rolls from school Wednesday- Chinese from Panda Panda . Thursday- homemade uncrustables , Friday- pizza lunches from school.

Dinner-  Saturday-Spaghetti with homemade meatballs and sauce Sunday-Time Square Pizza Monday chicken nuggets and carrots Tuesday- corn dogs Wednesday- Grilled Chicken Thursday- spinach ravioli Friday- hamburgers.

Monday Menu Planning

I am excited because, we were able to clean out and organize the freezers in the house over the weekend. I ended up only throwing away one single pork chop but the kids found lots of breakfast items to enjoy. During the month of July my overall goal is to reduce grocery spending. We also are planning a beach trip so we will plan at least 50% of the meal that we eat to take with us to save money. I also want to fill in my pantry whenever possible. I realized that I have several recipes that call for Cheddar Cheese soup. I stopped and purchased a can today on sale for $1.50. By using Amazon Subscribe and Save, I can purchase for $1.25 a can. I have a shipment set up for the end of the month. I am hoping to reduce trips to the store and expense by doing things like this. Summer foods are definitely dominating this weeks menu.

Breakfast– Saturday-Biscuit King Sunday-Breakfast bowls.(Remained was made into Breakfast burritos) Monday- , Tuesday,  Wednesday, Thursday, Friday-choice of breakfast muffins, eggs, sausage, oatmeal, cereal or grits, breakfast burritos, breakfast pizza or omelets

Lunch-  Saturday-Chicken sandwich or pizza bits Sunday- Wings from East Coast wings. Monday- pasta salad Tuesday- Egg rolls from school Wednesday-(ham and cheese sliders school). Thursday- Salad, Friday- corn dogs from school.

Dinner-  Saturday-pasta salad Sunday-left-overs Monday Steak fajitas Tuesday- Cold Plate Wednesday- Instant Pot cheeseburger Macaroni Thursday- Sandwiches or left-overs Friday- sloppy joes.

Recipe Challenge 36 and 37

I have decided that since I am doing so well on this challenge that it would probably be best aka make my life easier if I plan to go ahead and finish the challenge during my summer break. This way, when we start back to school and our crazy busy life, I can enjoy some new favorites! The second reason is that it allows me to keep up with my goal for blogging as well! I also want to get my recipe book and folders cleaned and organized this summer as well.

I decided to try this first recipe AppleSauce BBQ Chicken for a couple of reasons. I wanted a good easy meal with chicken and second I still have some baby food from Braxton that I need to use, applesauce is one of these. The recipe is from one of my new favorites websites One Hundred Dollars a Month. I have only been reading for about a year but it is a wealth of information. This chicken turned out perfectly. I had 5 random piece of chicken breast left in a bag so I decided to go ahead put it all in to make room in the freezer. I was worried about enough sauce but I had plenty! The recipe is a freezer meal but I just added it all to the crockpot, chicken first, onion and then the sauce. I decided to go ahead and shred the chicken prior to serving. It was a huge hit. Definitely a repeat but will likely cut the recipe in half next time because it made two additional meals. The first is below and the second is chicken sandwiches on Sunday.

After dinner I place 3 cups in a bowl for the second recipe BBQ chicken salad. I got the idea for this from Lynn’s Kitchen Adventures but really made it my own. I simply add a bag of Cole slaw mix and 2 tablespoons of lemon to the chicken. Mix it all up and put in the refrigerator. We took this to the pool and enjoyed for dinner on Saturday. Another hit! The original recipe said you could use canned chicken and I may do that next time.

Two repeats in a row! Fifteen more recipes to try sounds very doable at this point! This is the reason I want to finish the challenge finding lots of good and simple meals for the winter! The official count is
Repeating 18
Maybe 8
No 11