Birthdays are always a big deal around here. Lily’s 13th was no exception. I always think/assume that her birthday will not be as special as the two that she has spent at Disney but she tells me differently. One of the best traditions we have around birthday is picking your favorite restaurant and the entire family going to eat. This year Lily chose Olive Garden. Granny was not able to go with us on Lily’s birthday, so Lily decided we would wait until Friday to eat out.
Lily did get to chose her favorite food for dinner, baked ziti. She also started the day early around 6:30 opening her last present. She received and used a make up travel bag prior to our trip to Michigan.
She open an Lego advent calendar. It was a huge hit, every morning is up to finish the piece for the day.
A fun filled Birthday Celebration!
This adventurer started shortly after my father’s past away unexpectedly. In the last few years of his life, my dad acquired several building and filled them up. After his death, we realized that no one had been in the 4 buildings nor realized how full they really were. We decided to empty out as many as we could. It took almost an entire year but we were able to move everything that my mother wanted to keep in one building, including items from under the house and attic as well. It was decided that my brother would inherit one building and I would inherit the second. My brother lives across the street from my mother so he moved his building first. In September, I paid to have the building moved from my mother’s house to my house.
This could be considered a huge expense but in my opinion it was well worth the money. The company charged $350 and I came home to a perfectly level building and empty building.
The first “free” project was to build steps into the building. We used material from the deck steps that we just replaced. They are not pretty but very functional.
Next we used 2 old door hinges to cut two small opening in the front to allow for air to circulate in the building. Screen was again salvaged from cleaning of the building at my father’s. Inside the building we discovered several pieces of lumber that had been placed up high for storage. There was also an old rake handle and a multiple nails and screws. We did end up purchasing a fast track storage system at Lowe’s using gift cards from Swagbucks. The candy canes are hanging on an old broom handle that we found after the shed arrived to my house. My father used it to hold the door open with. The chairs above the candy canes are on the rake head that was previously used to hold shovels.
Beach umbrellas, pool noodles and surf boards are placed on shelves that were already in place in the building.
The caddy in the corner was purchased at Aldi for $4.99 and everything on the back wall is connected to hang from nails and screws that were already in place when the building arrived.
Yesterday, we used the wood found in the building to add this 10 foot very sturdy shelf with storage above and below the shelf. The top shelf was already in place when the shed arrived and had been installed by my father for storage.
Total spent on my new “she shed” including cost of moving is less than $400. I have gained a TON of storage and organizing space! Can you tell how excited I am to finally show off the results?
I have hinted several times that big changes were in the works for our family. I am so excited and scared to death to share and start these changes. First let me explain the reasons for the changes. We have been struggling for over a year with two things, first finances and second- how busy we are. The answer to our financial problems seems easy- increase your income. The answer to our crazy busy lives seems much harder. I could have never imagined that both of these problems could be answered at the same time.
Both Matt and I have been actively seeking different employment during the last several months. I am excited to share that we both have been successful and will be changing jobs in the next month. Matt is the marketing manger for the Davie County Humane Society. He actually started with training this past week and will officially start this Monday. I have given my resignation and will be completing my employment in mid August. I have accepted two different contract positions. One is for local pediatric home health and the second is school system contracting in Guam and several other states. Matt position is for 30 hours per week, so he is increasing both his pay and hours. The positions I have accepted are going to start at around 20-25 hours per week but may/ hopefully increase to around 30 hours in the next year. My hours will be school hours (8-2) and 7pm to 10 pm Sunday and Wednesday nights. These are flexible and will allow me to be at home and spend much more quality time with the kids. I am so excited. Kendall expressed why this is so important to us with this statement “Mom, you will be home for dinner EVERY night? That is the best news EVER!” My salary should remain about the same as now depending on the number of patients, I am given to start with. The biggest change will be with insurances and taxes.
Change is scary! Change in jobs is really scary! I will not be able to establish a good budget or really much of any budget until at least September. My best estimate is that we will work paycheck to paycheck until November with the goal of establishing and maintaining a budget by January. There are several reasons that establishing the budget will be so difficult. First, I will have a two-three week period where I am not working at all or very minimal at best. Second, I am still unsure of how many hours I will be working at each position. Third, my hours will continue to be unsteady until at least October. We must also decided and obtain health insurance and figure out our tax liability.
In anticipation of these changes, we have tighten the budget and are really working to save every penny possible during the month of July. I will try and share more about these major changes as I process through them. We have decided not to change our scheduled Beach vacation so that will give us some time to re-charge and actually communicate!
Today, Thursday is the kids last day of school before Easter and Matt had to go into work tonight so I decided this was a good time to dye Easter eggs. I am a day ahead on something!
I mentioned yesterday that we had purchased a trailer of mulch. The cost of the mulch was $15. I was totally amazed at the amount of mulch that we received. Here is a picture of the trailer AFTER I worked on spread for a couple of hours on Friday night.
This was a picture of the mulch uncovered about half way through Saturday.
I have never purchased mulch this way before. I am used to purchasing by the bag at Lowes. I would have been able to purchase approximately 7 bags at Lowes during the best sale which is $2 a bag. This was ALOT of mulch. We were able to apply mulch to all 3 flower bed around the house in addition to the two areas in front of the building and the new area I started in front of the kids play house.
Finally I decided to add mulch around the square foot garden and mulch in the area directly beside several of the beds. I have been doing some research and the mulch should help maintain the temperature better, hold water and prevent weeds.
I will admit defeat, I was unable to use the entire trailer of mulch, left approximately a fourth of the mulch for someone else. It did take a lot of effort or more accurately plain old hard work but we saved over $200 in mulch.
I am super excited to share about my trip to Harris Teeter. I receive the weekly email but often delete it before checking it out, however this week the 12 pack of Cokes for $1.99 caught my eye. I also was glad that I found packs of shredded cheese for $0.99 each. I stocked up on my limit of 10 and may have convinced by Mother to purchase another 8 on her card. The other really exciting part of this trip was that they are doubling coupons up to $2 this week. This is the most I have saved!
By the numbers:
Total before VIC Card and coupons $176.18
VIC savings $126.20
Coupon Savings $19.98
Total Savings $146.18
Total spent $57.30
Saving Percent 77%
This is another busy week with 2 Baseball games, Musical practice 4 nights and church activities on Wednesday night. I will admit that this week is starting to show a little bare spots in the pantry and we are going to need to get creative to keep things on our tight budget.
Breakfast- Saturday and Sunday- Sausage cheese cresant rolls (this is the same mix we used last week so a total of four breakfast for less than $10. Monday- Banana chocolate chip muffins. Tuesday- Choices, Wednesday- Choices. Thursday- Cheese Grits or baked oatmeal , Friday- choices. Choices include- left-overs, eggs, French toast, cereal or toast.
Lunch- Saturday- left-overs Sunday- Olive Garden to celebrate Amanda’s birthday. We are back to a regular lunch week here this week we have salad, sandwich, grab and go, dipping day and wraps.
Dinner- Saturday-Copy cat lettuce wraps Sunday- Sandwiches Monday-Chicken nuggets and tator tots Tuesday-Chicken helper and egg rolls Wednesday-Tomato soup and grilled cheese. Thursday- Orange Beef (new recipe in slow cooker) Friday- Hamburger helper.
The first way I am saving is the easiest and I have blogged about it several times. I am staying at home. Even if I decide to run out just to grab one item, I am 100 times more likely to spend money than if I simply stay at home. I should also add that I am avoiding online shopping as well. Unless I find a deal that is below stock up price I simply do not shop.
I am saving time and money both my cooking ahead. This morning, since we are at home. I made a batch of Breakfast Burrito bowls. Totally cost for at least 3 mornings of breakfast for all of us $4. I was able to use green pepper from the garden which helped reduce the cost. The kids love Banana Chip Bites. These are basically milk and bananas blend and frozen in muffin tins. They also add chocolate chips to make them special. My using bananas that were previously frozen, this makes a really cheap breakfast or desert. Some of our other favorite for cooking ahead right now are meatloaf muffins and chicken enchiladas.
The final way I am saving money this Saturday is by shopping my pantry and freezers. I am trying to dramatically reduce our grocery budget over the last several month of this year. In order to accomplish this I am trying to make sure I use what is in our freezers and pantry. I headed out to the building this morning to bring up stew beef, cubed steak, roast, ground beef, chicken and chicken fried rice. We have a menu plan but I usually don’t plan ahead for weekends or Thursdays. This gives us a chance to eat up leftovers or be a little bit more creative, the only problem is that I forget what we actually have in the freezers. This morning I brought up several items that are not on the plan but that I can use to create a meal. I also made sure to restock our snack drawers and found three additional boxes of pasta that can be used over the next several months. I know myself well enough to realize that if my freezer’s are full than I won’t “think” I need to go shopping even if that is really not the case. At least for the next week or so, I know we have plenty of food so I will continue to try and use what we have to make meals.