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.

Spending Our Inhertiance

It was a very sad day in January when we learned that Matt’s father had passed away. The week that followed which included a trip to Florida was honestly probably one of the hardest weeks we have ever faced. We left all the kids here and it was a struggle as none of us are used to being separated that long or being that responsible for that long.

We are very fortunate that Matt’s dad had done lots of planning for not only his retirement but for his children’s and grandchildren’s future as well. He left all three kids with a small college fund that continues to grow each year. In addition to that we will receive 3 payments over the next year.  We received our first check in August and should receive a second check this month.

I have been really hesitant to share about this as it is a very private and sensitive matter but it also has some financial benefit and changes for us as a family.  I am going to share how we are planning to share the money without the exact amounts.

The first 10% of these check will be given to charity. We have chosen to make the donations to Envision Atlanta. This is the organization that we have volunteered as a family with and also one that we feel is doing the most to further the Kingdom.

Next we decided that we should make a couple of adult choices: paying off debt and medical bills. As part of this we paid off the car we purchased in November.

Last but not least for this round of checks fun! We  purchased a camper to use as a family. We ended up buying 2018 Grey Wolf camper home.  We have spent the afternoon cleaning and re-arrange items inside. And in turn “If you give a mouse a cookie” fashion.. we needed a place to park the camper so a driveway extension is already scheduled and we needed something to pull the camper so we are in the process of buying a new Tahoe.

Hopefully I can share some of our adventures soon!

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!

Meal for under $5

I wanted to share a meal that cost us a total of $4.75 plus tax and made 7 meals. All five of us ate dinner. Kendall does not like meat so we placed her brat and some left-over corn in a lunch container. I added some pepperoni from the fridge and a tomato to the remaining pasta salad for my lunch tomorrow.

Brats, these were found on sale for $2.75 for a pack of 5. Each time I stop at the grocery store to grab milk or veggies, I always walk down the meat section just to see if I can find anything reduced.  I think these were purchased last April or May. They were in the freezer until yesterday.

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Suddenly Salad- I usually stock up on these when I find them priced at $1 each.  We often make 2 boxes for a meal or use for our lunches.  I still have around 8 boxes in my pantry for future use. Kendall  made this while I went to the store for produce.

 

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Corn on the cob!  I have been watching prices this summer in hopes of stocking up on these but since this is the cheapest I have found all year and the freezer is full. Guess we can enjoy now! We placed these in the shucks on the grill and man did everyone enjoy!

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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. Today starts our last full week of summer break. Next week will be filled with last minute appointments and some extra fun if we can arrange it.  Braxton will also be with us for the entire week.  Today is a pool day so we plan to spend most of the day at the pool.
  2. I had a huge food waste fail this week- We had an entire watermelon that had not been cut go back and spilled on the floor. I have definitely become a little bit more aware of our food following the clean up.  I did manage to make half a squash casserole with the remaining squash.  I am also beginning to use dill and basil that has been previously frozen in dishes.  I had forgotten about these treasures until we attempted to organize the freezer. Since I was unable to grow either this year, I am thankful to find them.  I did cook our first official meal this summer that include several items.
  3. Tomatoes are continuing to produce.  I had hoped for much more but I do realize that this summer has not been the best for tomato growing.  We have been able to freeze enough spaghetti sauce for the year in addition to eating several times. I should be able to continue to make a batch a week which means at least 4# of tomatoes.
  4. I talked with the neighbor and will start using goat manure to improve the dirt in my square foot garden. I am hoping that with this and more worm casting next year it will support and grow a garden full.
  5. We received our school supply list. I am excited that we need only to purchase a couple of notebooks and clear water bottles. I have been trying to stock up on items as they have been on sale. I anticipate less than $50 for all supplies for all 3 kids!

July in Review

July the official shortest month of the year is now gone!  We spent a week at the beach and last week was probably the single busiest week of the summer with orthodontist appointments, appointments for mom and VBS every evening!  We start back to school in August so I am hopefully to enjoy some less busy weeks before school!

Groceries– budget amount is $650.   We spent a total of $693.49 I have completed my stock up. My goal is to only buy perishable items such as milk, bread, fruits and eggs until December.

Auto/ Gas / Insurance: . My goal is  $400 a month. $414.40. Gas prices are rising! This also includes our beach trip!

Cash Envelope system-  I am going to say No to this.  It is hard to use cash on vacation. Hopefully we will be back on track in August

Goal #4- Blogging- 15 post per month.  This is post number 9. Did I mention that last week was the busiest week of the summer.

Goal # 5- Fitness– Goal is to exercise of some type at least 10 days a month.  At least there is improvement this month. I managed 6 days of 30 minutes of exercise this month!

Goal #6 – Bible study- Goal-  Read or Listen to the entire Bible in a year. I have finished the bible podcast. On hold until school starts.

Earnings– Zero

No Spend Days-Zero. We are enjoying the summer with extra ice cream and other fun!

August should be interesting to say the least!

Five Things Friday

  1. No Monday Menu will be posted this week. Next week our church is hosting Vacation Bible School from 6 to 8 Monday thur Thursday and a pool party on Friday. Dinner is provided for workers and their children.
  2. Our new oven has arrived!  I have been experimenting and getting use to it over the past couple of days. So far I am very impressed!
  3. With only 3 weeks left of summer vacation, I have established a couple of goals that I want to work toward which will make my life easier in the fall. First- prepare easy to heat and eat meals as much as possible. This week we have focused on making pizza dough. We have all the ingredients but it takes around 2 hours to make the dough. Kendall has made 12 this week. This will make for easy pizza in the fall. Simply unthaw the dough in the morning and add toppings. We also made 2 additional cheeseburger pizza toppings to add to the dough. Second- Stock up and organize the freezers and pantry.  This is also close to completion. I will be adding a couple of cookie, bread and cake mixes during the next week. Finally-enjoy lots of down time by sitting by the pool.
  4. Square Foot Garden- we are making plans to add cement to complete this area but I am also continue to try and figure out how I can improve the soil for next year. We are fortunate to get tomatoes but I am so frustrated that the money I spent on soil is basically worthless this year!
  5. July has turned out to be one of the most expensive months EVER but we are still holding our heads above water. I am ready to start reaping the benefits of all my bargains and saving.

June in Review

June has come and gone!  I am enjoying my summer off but to be honest, we are staying extremely busy it seems. We did not receive our new stove in June so that has added a little bit of  expense and stress. Braxton is staying with us lots which is always fun. We have enjoyed a family shopping day and several days in the pool. I am hoping for a less expensive and less stressful  July.

Groceries– budget amount is $650.   We spent a total of $1346.80 this month which included $800 for 1/4 of a cow. I am happy to say that our pantry and freezers are stocked up. The focus of July will be making some easy to prepare either just cook or throw in the crock pot.  The budget should also be alot less so it will help even out our spending.

Auto/ Gas / Insurance: . My goal is  $400 a month. $428.50. Gas prices are rising and we have made several trips to Durham to visit with Haley.   I may need to increase this due to cost but will wait and see,

Cash Envelope system-  I am going to say No to this.  We ended up shopping at the outlets.  I am happy to say that I was able to cover all expenses without incurring interest!

Goal #4- Blogging- 15 post per month.  Post 15!   Success at last!

Goal # 5- Fitness– Goal is to exercise of some type at least 10 days a month.  At least there is improvement this month. I managed 5 days of 30 minutes of exercise this month!

Goal #6 – Bible study- Goal-  Read or Listen to the entire Bible in a year. I have finished the bible podcast. Need to get back on track with this

Earnings– $45 in gift cards. I had my oldest spam email account hacked this month so I doubt that I will be able to continue this but it has been an awesome source of extra income.  Matt and I have discussed that my job in Guam is alot more profitable and I will continue to work this second job but at a much more limited amount!

No Spend Days- One is an improvement but I don’t count that as successful.  I will likely not stress over these until school starts in August. Summer is fun and spending~

July our full month of summer and fun- Here we come!

5 Things Friday- Spending

This will be a little different from my random post of 5 things. This time I am going to tell you 5 things that we have been spending money on this month.

  1. Mattress and box springs for Kendall- Kendall’s antique bed is technically a three quarters bed. It was given to me when I was single and needed a bed. Matt and i have been married 16 years so likely 20 years ago. The same mattress and box springs have been used the entire time.  Definitely time for an upgrade. Total spend $500.
  2. Shoes- We spent most of Sunday shopping. Even needed new shoes. We ended up with the following Matt a pair of dress shoes, Kendall a pair of sneakers and slides, Lily a pair of sneakers and Zach two pair of sneakers. Kendall and Lily both bought themselves a pair of Van shoes as well.
  3. Clothes- Lily will be going to school in January for the first time in 6 years. Kendall is actually taller than me and Zach wanted.
  4. Hair and nails- I ended up with a cut and color this week. In addition I am getting my nails done every 2 weeks over the summer.
  5. Swim stuff- All three kids are swimming this summer. New suits and googles were needed.