5 Things Friday

  1. Matt has been working on getting the greenhouse functional this week which including install shelves to hold the planter boxes. We had originally screwed the plastic boxes to the wall and some had already started to crack with the weather change. We are running a small heater at night which has increased our overall electricity usage so this is something we will need to monitor.
  2. We planted 8 more boxes with more fall vegetables. I am hopefully that we will be able to have a mid-winter harvest that carries into the spring. It does appear that some of the lose leaf lettuce has already started to grow.
  3. Matt was able to try a new recipe this week for Impossible Cheeseburger Pie.  Matt, Lily and Zach really liked it. Kendall said it tasted like beef. This will definitely be a repeat for us!  I also found a breakfast recipe that I am going to try in the morning!
  4. We have NOWHERE that we have to go tomorrow. My plan is to work on cooking as much as possible for next week so that I can spend the extra time working on Christmas decorations!
  5. Food Lion finally has a sale on 2 Liter Diet Cokes!   I have already stocked up on 30 with plans to add at least another 10 this weekend.

Saving On Saturday

I have been really quiet the last two weekends, actually really busy. Today, I am going to share why.   Initially before purchasing the camper, we decided to add a couple of driveway spots by extending our current driveway. One of the main reason for that decision was the fact we just re-built our square foot garden beds this spring. Once we got the camper in the driveway, I realized how big it actually was  and then Amanda hit one of the bed with her new car, we decided to rethink .  It was decided that we needed to expand the driveway all the way to the road.   I debated and thought about how we could salvage as much or all of the beds.. I also knew that I did not need to worry about the dirt as it was totally useless and needed to be replaced.  The concrete guys offered to move the beds however I was not sure or even hopefully that they would maintain them in one piece so for the past two Saturdays, we have been working.

I ended up paying each kid $10 an hour to help with this huge mass undertaking. With a total of $200 spent to the kids each weekend.  We also needed to build a small retaining wall next to the driveway to prevent dirt from eroding into the driveway.   A third component of this massive project was the square cement pavers that we had place under and around the beds. I was able to purchase most on sale for between 75 cents and a dollar each, however currently they are costing $1.48 each.  We have over 100 of these.

I am so happy to save that we have managed to save all the pavers, move the beds and it actually appears like we plan the whole operation.

The garden beds have been moved and filled with dirt except for the new sweet potato bed and one last raised bed.  We decided to place two beds directly in front of the house.

The other beds are currently behind the beetle space.

I have no idea what we actually saved but I am very thankful that the entire project is complete.


Tuesday Thoughts

  • Lily was rear ended on Friday while driving her car, unfortunately the person who hit her did not have license, insurance or a tag.  She is very shaken up and we are now trying to figure out what and how to fix her car.  She loves the car and wants it to be perfect. So this will be a huge balancing act.
  • I have declared November to be a no spending month.  I have even gone so far as to tell both Matt and myself that we do not need anything from Amazon!   I have gotten into a bad habit of eating breakfast out 2 to 3 times a week, in addition to my 2 or 3 days of lunch out.  I am definitely cutting back this month. We have been gifted 3 to 4 dozen eggs so it is much easier to find a different way to eat an egg for breakfast every day this week.
  • We have given in and turned on the heat on October 28th was the official date.  We should experience out first freeze this coming week.  The temperature today was a cool high of 59.  I am not ready for winter in fact, I would love to move to a spot with summer all year long!
  • The kids all did awesome during the first grading period of the year. Lily has all A/s even in her college classes. Kendall has all A’s and Zach has all A’s and B’s.
  • The past several weekend have been spent relocating the garden beds in order to expand the driveway.  Hopefully during the next 2 weeks we will be able to start some seeds in the green house.
  • We have harvested our sweet potatoes. This year was a very small harvest of sweet potatoes but small is better than no harvest at all.
  • Tonight for dinner, I took out our entire green bean harvest for the year, and it was all eaten. Again one family serving is better than no servings.

5 Things Friday

  1. I have a couple of hours at home alone tonight without it including work!  Matt and the kids headed out to the North vs Central football game.  I have had an exhausting week at both jobs plus I had to take a Humera shot in the middle of the week.  This is my small price for sanity.
  2. The first person we decided to contract with for a driveway addition has disappeared along with my $1500 deposit.  I have tried to contact him several ways including sending a certified letter this week. My goal now is to reclaim the deposit money even if it means a trip to small claims court!  We have decided to add a full second driveway to ease the parking problem we have.  That unfortunately means alot of work!   We will be spending most of tomorrow moving dirt and pavers and eventually the square foot garden beds we built in the spring.
  3. The weather has finally cooled down! But fortunately for us it has not gotten cold enough to need heat yet.  We have met my goal of at least 3 weeks without heat or air.  Now I am setting my goal for six weeks without heat or air that would actually put us around Veteran’s day.
  4. Zach plays his last scheduled baseball game on Monday night. There is a strong possibility that it will be cancelled due to COVID outbreak that cancelled a game on Tuesday of this week with the same team.  The tournament should start on Thursday of next week.
  5. Because of the weather and due to the driveway expansion, we will likely dig up our sweet potatoes in the next two weeks. On a bright garden note, we are still able to harvest one or two tomatoes each week to eat. This is the latest I can find that we have been able to pick tomatoes.

Sunday Catch-up

October has historically been one of the two busiest months of the year for us.  This year has been no different. I did make the decision last June that we would not continue piano lessons after the summer.  This has freed up one evening a week but I honestly miss hearing the kids practice. Hopefully maybe even next summer they will be interested in resuming but time will tell.  I am the only one who is missing it. The kids all had a teacher work day last week so they feel like they have gotten caught up on sleep which is great for them.

Zach has been playing baseball. Last week due to rain we had three games Monday, Tuesday and Thursday. Each game started around 7:30 which gave us time to eat as a family but most night we got home around 9:45pm.  This week we have games only on Tuesday and Thursday nights.

Lily chose not to participate in the Youth Theater but she is going to youth group on Sundays and also helping with the nursery on Wednesday night. She has complete her first 9 weeks of both high school and college.  I know she has been spending alot more time on school work than in the past . I am also very proud and excited to say that currently she has a 4.0 average!

We continue to sneak in an hour or so each Saturday to work on the green house. I am disappointed in how long it is taking to actually get plants started in there but once we get everything working properly it should be well worth the trouble.

Last weekend we purchased a travel trailer/ camper. We have spent several hours getting it all cleaned up and also trying to get it set up the way we want. Currently we are expecting to take ownership of the Tahoe toward the end of the month. We are starting to plan a couple of small trips to make sure we have everything we need. First we plan a 3 day trip to Asheville to visit the Biltmore house right before Christmas.  In January we hare headed to Myrtle Beach to shop and go to a show. This will be a longer 4 day trip as well as a longer drive pulling the camper as well.

I have been working in Guam several nights a week. My goal is to reduce my hours again to around 7 hours a week and a maximum of 2 nights.  I actually have only 1 night this week but it is a VERY long night!

Hopefully more updates and picture will be posted this week!   I am looking forward to slowing down and having more time at home in the next several weeks.

5 Things Friday

  1. We have been slowly working on the greenhouse since we got the plastic roof on!  Today we have finished the watering path. We ended up purchasing a pump to place in a old trash can that will be used as a rain barrel.  I wanted to have 4 separate watering zones. One is specific for the shelf that will hold tomato plants in the spring.  Matt needs to construct the platform for the final zone. He has plans to add electricity to the greenhouse tomorrow!
  2. I am struggling with work life balance yet again. I ended up working 30 hours in Guam after decreasing my caseload to 4 schools approximately 20 students.  I am going to have to learn to say no and stick to it!   October should be slightly less around 20 hours is where I want to end up.
  3. The girls and I are headed to Durham tomorrow to go wedding dress shopping. Haley has already started her count down.
  4. Food prices are on the rise!  I am working very diligently to keep us on budget. I do have plans to stock up on a  diet coke sale this weekend but the goal for October is the keep the budget under $300.
  5. We have final turned off the air. We are still having days in the low 80’s but between working and baseball games, we have managed to survive a full 2 weeks without air conditioning. I would love to go the entire month of October without heat or air but I seriously doubt that is possible!  My current goal is October 20th!

5 Things Friday

  1. We don’t have any set plans or goal for the weekend!  This is very exciting for me as I have been really really tired the last couple of days!  We also will start AAU baseball in 2 weeks which means an end to Saturdays at home.
  2. We have decided to add electricity to the greenhouse, this will make it much easier to heat and cool as well as adding a watering system.
  3. Matt’ is beginning to receive some of his inheritance from his father. We are staying very quiet about this and plan to use to make some updates and upgrades that are needed.  We have spent many hours discussing what we want to do and will share some things in the upcoming weeks.
  4. Lily has decided not to participate in Youth Theater this fall. She did not feel that she was given a fair chance at auditions. She also did not want to devote the next 2 months to it.
  5. The weather remains really really hot. 2 days in the next week are predicted to be over 90.  At this point I am ready for fall and some cooler weather to stay around at least so we can open the windows soon.

Saving on Saturday- Upcycling a Playhouse

The project for this weekend is to upcycle the old playhouse into a greenhouse.  The playhouse is at least 30 years old if not older. The kids are all to big for it.  It is very small inside so I wanted to make the most use of space available.

Before pictures….

The inside..

First thing was to remove the roof….

Stage One complete…

Next we added planters and shelves to the inside…

A shelf for new plants and for storage was also needed…

Finally we added plastic to cover the top..

We have spent $0 at this point on the green house. The plastic and wood to secure the plastic were purchased with swagbucks gift cards that we earned. Matt and I decided that we we go ahead and purchase a watering system to use. We already have the rain barrel and by using rain water only we will basically save the cost of the system within a couple of year!

Can you tell how excited I am?

5 Things Friday

  1. Everyone except for Lily has a 3 day weekend. Lily is working all three days. The next scheduled holiday or break from school is Thanksgiving.
  2. Our project for the weekend is to convert the old playhouse to a green house. We will be removing the roof and replacing it with plastic. Adding shelves and a watering system. We are hoping to reuse most of the materials. The plastic has already been purchased with a gift card!  I will plan to share pictures this week.
  3. Zach has officially started baseball practice. We have agreed to let him play both rec ball and AAU team. The AAU team is only going to travel in state and hopefully less than 2 hours away.
  4. The weather has finally decided to start to cool down a bit. We have been at or above 90 degrees for most of the month of August.  Fortunately we have no more 90 degree days in the forecast but I expect it to be close to the end of September before we are able to turn off the air conditioning.
  5. This week we are having a drive way addition installed. It will also include cement around the garden boxes that we bulit in the spring. I can’t wait to have a finished product!

Saving Money

It feels like forever since I have been focused on saving money! I looked back on the blog and realized that in May we started survival mood which meet cooking without an oven. Our new oven did not arrive until after vacation in July. Exactly 2 weeks later our air conditioning went out. This was honestly one of the hardest times for me.  But I am very thankful to say that we have both a working stove and working air conditioning.  I also want to get a good handle and feel for our budget but this will also be changing in the next month.   I will post details once we have things finalized and money in hand!

Now to our ways of saving:

  • Using items already on hand to help improve the square foot garden. Today we placed the contents of my shredder on one of the garden beds. We also added the coffee grounds from the week and topped with a good dose of water from our rain barrels. We have also placed banana peels in water before pouring on the garden as well. Hopefully we will be able to improve the soil for the next year.
  • Ordering from Amazon-  I continue to shop for deals on subscribe and save!  We are expecting to be stocked up on soups by our next delivery date.  I am also watching for “deals” on any item that we use on a regular basis. This week I found “magic erasers” for fifteen cent each.  My goal is to eliminate the need to purchase items not on sale.
  • Making meals at home- We have eaten at home every day since Tuesday with two exceptions, Matt purchased Bagel  on Saturday morning and we enjoyed Sunday lunch with friends.  We are currently in the best financial position we have been in for many years so these small treats will remain part of our regular budget. Just not eating out every day and some times 2 times a day!
  • Packing lunches and making sure we have some convenient items on hand for lunches. The kids can eat lunch at school but for Zach this usually means more stomach issues and Kendall simply does not like most of the food.
  • Eating items from our pantry and freezer. Although I have spent $234 this month for groceries we are starting to look at and plan ahead for most meals. I have also added some treats that the kids enjoy!
  • Saving electric by turning off lights, using both the dishwasher and dryer at night so as not to add heat to the house.

What have you been doing lately to save money?