Weekend Wrap Up

This weekend was supposed to be a slower than usual weekend however we still managed to get a lot accomplished.

  1.  Decided on our next house project.   We installed a new kitchen floor in March 2020.  The floor has begun to split and we have lots of pieces that no longer fit and it is becoming a hazard.  We have been talking for several months about replacing the floor.  We are not certain which direction that we want to go.  Matt and I talked and decided for the short run (less than a year) we will simply remove the new floor and return to the wood planks underneath. The current plan is to re-adjust the plank and attempt to nail in place. This is definitely not a permanent fix but solves the problem and will at least give us a presentable floor. We are going to undertake this project next weekend.
  2. Ordered the wood to finish the chicken coop and for the fence along the back edge of the yard.
  3. We have been watering the garden using county water for over a week now. It takes around 20 gallons a day to water so I am very hopeful that we will get some rain in the next 24 hours.
  4. Placed a down payment on our cow order. We should receive the cow some time the first couple weeks of August. Now we are focused on trying to decide what meat cuts we want.  I am also working on emptying one of our freezers. My goal is to get this accomplished by the end of July. However, it is fairly difficult when at the same time we are beginning to get in our summer produce.  Check and balance is all I can hope for.
  5. We ended up going to Costco on Friday night to use our reward check, I was very proud that we only ended up spending $26 out of pocket.  But that was short lived as we also went to Sam’s today.  We spend $260 of which over $200 was on food. I did stock up on Slim Jim’s (3 boxes) Hot Pockets (which the kids have been asking for) Biscuits and Pop tarts for breakfast in addition to some treats.
  6. We managed to only eat out one time this weekend. Matt has been practicing cooking on his new Blackstone.  He cooked two meals yesterday in addition to breakfast this morning!

Let’s get this week started on a good note!

Five Things Friday!

  • The weather is awful!  It is hot and dry. We have not had any rain in almost a week. The last rain was really less than a quarter of an inch over two days. Our rain barrels are empty.  We are continuing to water the garden by hand.  I am hopeful that we will get some rain over the next couple of days.
  • We have been harvesting and drying parsley, dill and a tiny bit of basil. We have harvested squash and zucchini.  I did start a second round of both of these plants so that we can get much more for a longer period of time.  I have started basil in three locations with little to no success. Let’s hope that the third time is the charm. My plan is to remove the dill now that it has flowered and start some basil in it’s place.   I also have started a second round of cucumbers in hopes to extend the harvest for a couple of months.   We do have one watermelon growing and several cucumbers that are very close to being ready.  I have ordered more green bean seeds and plan to replant those as well. This hot weather has made things more difficult to grow but I am hoping that a couple of steady showers will help improve everything!
  • The first full week of Summer break has flown by!  Zach is at Baseball camp this week after Kendall enjoyed a week at church camp last week.  Yesterday we spent the day at the pool with Braxton!
  • We have ordered the rest of the supplies to finish the chicken coop area.  I will be posting lots of pictures in the next week or so when it is all finished.
  • Matt purchased a Blackstone grill to use both at home and in the camper for his Father’s Day gift.  He really enjoyed using the one at Haley’s wedding a couple of weeks ago so I hope this one gets lots of use.

5 Things Friday

  1. Overwhelmed yeap that is currently how I am feeling!  Today is the last day of school for Kendall and Zach. This means that for the short run 2 weeks or so we will have less to none things happening at night so maybe I can get caught up on the things that need doing.
  2. Garden- I am amazed at how much and how well things seem to be growing.  We have baby tomatoes, squash and snap peas. We are currently harvesting Kale, radish, dill and chives.. I want to get some pictures up soon!    One of the goals for the weekend is to finish planting. Amanda brought over a 8 container garden she built several years ago, I need to fill it along with one more container I found under the house. I have planted additional squash and zucchini this week so hopefully they will grow and produce as well.
  3. Summer project list- I have started working on the list of summer projects.  First up is finding someone to clear the area of land at the back of our house. We will be getting chickens in the near future so this area needs to be cleared in order to build a coop and run.  I also need to schedule our septic tank to be pumped.  After these two items are completed, we would like to get the bathroom floor re-titled and maybe get some vinyl in the kitchen.  That is the short list.
  4. Saturday goal- Replace the greenhouse roof that was destroyed by hail last week. We are going to convert it to hard plastic in order to extend the life and reduce maintenance.
  5. Financial goal- I need to do some serious bill pay and establish the new budget for June this weekend as well.

Did I mention I am overwhelmed?

Saving on Saturday

Today has been a very busy but productive day!

Garden/ Yard

  • Used pavers that we had stored to make the boundary for the new Raspberry bed, used the 2 large bags of dirt and 7 small bags of dirt from the greenhouse in the raspberry bed.  We decided to use some stakes and string that we already had as well so we ended up spending  ZERO on the new bed.
  • Purchased 3 raspberry stalks and 25 bare root strawberries from Stark Brother’s nursery for 1/4 of the cost of what I saw locally.  I ended up planting all of these today!
  • Purchased 3 zucchini plants for $1.50 and a 6 pack of marigolds($4.50) from the local farmer’s market and planted these today.

Food/ Meals

  • Made breakfast bowls for breakfast, used left-over KFC gravy on top. We made 15 breakfast burritos and placed them in the freezer to use as a quick breakfast in the coming weeks.
  • Made a batch of cowboy beans in the crockpot.  We had these for dinner, froze one additional meal and have 4 lunch bowls in the fridge
  • Used a pound of ground beef given to us to make stuffed green peppers for a meal this week. I will need to top with cheese before baking. This should be an quick and easy meal.
  • I found 1 pound rolls of sausage priced at $1.99.  I purchased 15 rolls with most going in the freezer for future use.  In comparison the next cheapest option as $3.49 for a roll and this was a sale price. I will likely be stopping by Food Lion again to see if they continue to carry the sausage at this price. If so I would like to collect about 30 rolls for the freezer in anticipation of prices continuing to rise.
  • Used the chicken legs from dinner this week to make chicken enchiladas that even Lily will be able to eat.
  • We have made at least 10 full meals today and did not need to purchase one single item! In fact our grocery spending for the month is at $60!
  • I was able to find a source to purchase a whole cow from this summer. The price per pound it $4.80 which is $1 higher than we paid 3 years ago so I am super excited to finish cleaning out the freezer so we can order the cow!

Zach discovered a water leak under the house this morning. Matt was able to fix with items already on hand. This saved us not only on the cost of calling a plumber but it will also help reduce our water bill as it was a major leak.

Matt purchased new tires for the camper from Amazon ($250 for 4). He took both the old tires and the new tires to a local shop and had the tires mounted for $40.  I am going to estimate this saved over $300 on tires. He did purchase a special tool that he needed. But this will be used in the future as well.

Tuesday Thoughts

  1. I was unable to find strawberry plants on Saturday in town but did find that Stark Brothers has an awesome sale currently. I am likely going to go ahead and order 25 and plant most in the vertical planter and the remaining ones can be planted in containers. As Matt said then if they all live you can transplant next year!
  2. SInce I am ordering the strawberry plants,, I am also debating trying to grow raspberries in the very shady part of my yard. I seriously have a hard time finding information about growing raspberries but I do know that my kids absolutely love them!
  1. Matt and the kids are planning on joining Haley and David for a day on the lake on Saturday. I am excited because this will leave me with lots of time to work on budgeting and bills as well as heading to the grocery store with Mom without pressure to hurry.
  2. We are attempting to leave our air conditioner off as long as possible! I was disappointed that after returning from Disney we had to run the heat for 3 days. So now the goal is to see how long we can go without using the air. With everyone out during the day and baseball games at least 2 nights a week. We should be able to last until May 15th. This would be an excellent way to save on our electric bill as that is the end of the billing cycle!.
  3. I did not share but on Thursday we made an impromptu trip to Costco which blew our grocery budget out of the water! Ugghhhh

5 Things Friday

  1.  Kendall had the stomach bug last Sunday. Today Zach has a stomach bug. This thing is awful.  I am praying that it only last 24 hours so Zach and I both can enjoy Lily’s performances on Saturday and Sunday.                                                                                         Now for more positive news!
  2. I found several packs of tomato and green pepper seeds in my seed box a couple of weeks ago. I decided to use some of the containers I have been saving along with dirt that we had left to try and see if I could grow any plants from seed.  I planted 2 packs of both.  Currently, we have about 75% germination rate for the green peppers and about 25% for the tomatoes which were planted almost 2 weeks later!   The goal would be to be able to transfer these to the garden in mid April and at least half survive. If I can get even 25% to survive that will decrease my out of pocket for the garden!
  3. Gas prices have seemed to level out and have returned to just under $4 a galloon for us.  This week we have focused on having the Tahoe sit as much as possible and using the Equinox which get a minimum of 10 miles per galloon better gas mileage. It has worked so far as we have put 2 additional tanks in the Equinox this week.
  4. I stopped by the store on my way home from work today in order to purchase a couple of items that we needed because of the stomach bug.  I spent $49 which included TIde pods, 2 containers of deodorant, 4 6-packs of soda, a bag of chips and 8 packages of sausage patties. I found the sausage patties on sale for $2.39 for a package of 8 patties.
  5. Our electric bill came in this week and it is over $100 less than last month!! I am so thankful!  The next bill is typically the lowest of the year due to not needing heat or a/c for several days at a time!

 

Saving On Saturday

This weekend I have saved money in two areas food and gas!

We knew when we purchased the Tahoe that it was not fuel efficient, but we also knew it was what we wanted to fit all the needs we had.  With the significant increase in prices, some folks are talking about how they are reducing trips and changing habits to save on their fuel bill.  I can honestly say that although we are seeing a bigger saving, we have not changed how we drive. First of all, we live at least 5 minutes from the closest gas station and Dollar General. At least 10 minutes from the closest store or restaurant, so not driving is just not an option. What we do is to combine trips whenever possible for example, Matt had to attend a parent meeting uptown for Lily yesterday, so I asked him to stop by the store to grab some drinks that were on sale.  We also combined a trip to Costco with filling up our tank to save money as well. The other thing is that we try to use the Equinox as much as possible. I have not left the house this weekend, so the Tahoe has been sitting in the driveway with me while the Equinox is running all the errands.  By doing this we are able to fill the Equinox about the same number of times as the Tahoe for $20 or more less.  Every little bit helps and adds up.

Food is our 3rd largest expense.  Our goal this year is to use up as much of the food in our freezers prior to the summer so that we can restock it.  We currently have a stand up freezer and a chest freezer in our building. Both were completely full at the end of 2021.  This week we have been able to use and move 50% of the items in the chest freezer. Our goal is to purchase a whole cow this summer and we will need every bit of room in this freezer in order to do so.  My plan is once we get the freezer emptied to turn it off and defrost and clean it, then I will begin the hunt for a cow to fill it back up! Another area of savings is that we have not eaten out this week.  We did enjoy Chick A Filet on Friday but we used money that was earned by selling a car box. This was a win win situation for us!  We have several other items listed to sale on Facebook market place as well so hopefully we can continue to clean out and repurpose the funds.  We also have been working really hard in order to use up and not waste left-overs. I decided on Saturday to use the left-over turkey we had from last week to make a Turkey Dorito casserole.  I used this recipe  subbing turkey for the chicken. It was a hit. I also make a turkey noddle casserole that we will eat on Wednesday for dinner.  We added a box of stuffing, sauteed zucchini from the freezer, air fried some corn and that was our dinner.  Matt and I made bagels on Friday night which turned out awesome!  Again it is all the small things that count!

 

5 Things Friday

  1. North Carolina weather in March…last Sunday 80 and this Sunday expected low of 18*
  2. The greenhouse is currently empty. We have moved all the plants outside, one of the reasons is that it was getting over 100* during the day in the greenhouse and that would cause most of the colder plants I had planted to bolt.  We have been enjoying both lettuce and spinach. The best part is walking by the lettuce and picking some to eat.  We have started both tomatoes and green peppers inside. It is easier to start inside for the first few weeks.  They will be moved outside about 4 weeks prior to plants to continue to grow in the greenhouse and for protection against our final freeze that usually occurs sometime in April.  We also turned off the heater to save a bit on electricity.
  3. This week for the first time in history, we paid over $4 a gallon for gas. $4.11 to be exact. But the knowledge that it took 16 years for gas to go from $3 a gallon to $4 should bring us all comfort.
  4. We are doing excellent on the grocery budget for the year. We have currently spent $2.82 for groceries this month.  For the sake of transparency, we did make a trip to Costco yesterday and used our credit card earnings to purchase sugar, dog food and some other items that we were out of.
  5. Our busy season is starting. Lily’s play is next week, Zach is managing the middle school baseball team while enjoying playing his last year at the booster club. I am now working 2.5 nights a week in Guam. And best of all our Disney countdown is shrinking!

Tuesday Thoughts

  • On Saturday, we spent most of the morning working in and around the camper. We also practice setting up and taking down the tent.  We have started to add some drinks and food along with electrical cords and fans that we are anticipating needing on our Disney trip.
  • Saturday afternoon we ended up going to Costco which totally blew our grocery budget for the month. I also found 2 pairs of shoes and Matt found one.  We purchased all the drinks except for individual milks that we plan to use in April along with some drinks for my lunch and for Zach. Total spent was $207.  This amount seems large but I decided to figure out what we would “likely” spend at Disney. We will be there for 8 days, I think 2 additional drinks a day is good with 6 people going. That starts at $60 a day just for drinks multiplied by 8 days is $480 which is double the amount I spent at Costco.  Guess that turns it into a huge saving.
  • We are experiencing Spring-like weather which really has me thinking and anticipating our garden.  I am planning to plant lettuce and broccoli in the front beds and cover them with glass jars along with some broccoli seeds which I will cover when they begin to grow. I will be starting a packet of peppers in the house.  I have a packet that was purchased last year so if they don’t grow I will not be too concerned.
  • We are continuing to eat from the freezers and pantry.  I am looking forward to repeating some of our favorite meals in March as I wanted to give us a lot of variety during February. We actually had no repeated meals this month.
  • I have taken on several additional schools in Guam which should bring me to around 10 hours a week or double what I am currently doing. I decided that the extra money would be a nice boost to keep us on track with lots of planned spending happening this summer.

Thursday Thoughts

  •  I was able to see our electric bill for the month of February on the app this week. $301.49.  This is definitely the highest bill in recent memory, but I am also thinking all time high as well. It is also $40 over what I budget each month to cover the electricity.
  • I made a trip to the grocery store to mainly pick up salad supplies and fruits for the kids to use for lunches next week.  I also grab to loaves of French bread at $1.00 each. My plan is to make a batch of French toast on Saturday with adding some in the freezer for quick breakfast. Total spent 21.47 which brings our monthly grocery total to $127 before Amazon. I will add in Amazon at the end of the month when it is billed.  I will need to stop at Aldi or Food Lion to pick up eggs tomorrow as we are down to 18 eggs and with plans for French toast those will be gone quickly!
  • We ended up ordering Zach an electric toothbrush this week, which was totally unplanned, but the hope is that he will use this regularly!
  • I found a single steak in our black freezer and had put on the menu to make steak fried rice today. It turned out AMAZING!   We had enough for all 6 of us (Mom provided desert) both Zach and Matt have already been back for seconds, and we still have one serving left for leftovers.
  • I have a list on the side of the whiteboard of items that I want to put on the menu in the next week or so in order for us to continue to eat out of our freezer.  I am trying to use at least one item a week that is not a preferred items in order to make things go easier.
  • I decided to go ahead and put some eggs in the insta pot so I could use those on salads next week.   I ended up making egg salad for Zach as he wants to take it for lunch tomorrow. I may have to have an egg salad sandwich for breakfast.
  • When we first went into COVID lockdown, I was able to purchase air filters for ninety-seven cent each. I purchased six or seven case. We usually change at least 2 a month. Sadly, we only have 6 filters left. I am not at all hopeful to find this type of deal again.
  • After months of turning down extra work in Guam, I have agreed to take on four more schools.  I am hopefully to maintain only working 2 nights a week, but this will be a significant boast in income that should allow us to continue to live comfortably the remainder of the year and cover some unexpected medical expenses as well as tax payment that is needed.