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!

Saving on Saturday

This first deal is probably one of the best of the year. I headed to CVS to use some of the Extra Care Bucks that I have been rolling since Black Friday. Unfortunately, I let 3 ECB expire so I was very sad. I grabbed a tube of concealer and mascara used two $1 off coupons printed from Swagbucks and Extra Care Bucks. I spent fourteen cent out of pocket, received $7 ECB back and should earn 50 Swagbucks (fifty cent).

Yesterday (Friday) Mom, 4 out of 5 kids and I went after Christmas shopping. We found the best deals at Walmart.

Was 19.98 on sale for 9.99
Regular price $19.99 on sale for $9.99. I also purchased a small Ree figure carrying a pie for $1.98

I found a 6 foot unlit pine artificial tree for $11.00 and stocked up on tissue paper and gift boxes for next year.

At Lowes I purchased a tree topper for $4.01 you can see in the background of the picture above.

My favorite find of the day was vegetable seeds for twenty-five cent each at Dollar Tree.

I finished the day by purchasing more make up at Ulta, a gift box with eye shadow, blush and brushes for $16.01.

Did yo grab a good deal?

Quiet Christmas Budget

I have finally managed to do it! This year, I successfully reduced both the number of gifts and the amount of money that we spent on Christmas. The result has been even better than I anticipated! We have spent the entire Christmas day, enjoying some quiet time and new activities. The kids are not fighting and even more surprising is the fact that I have not heard one single time “I’m bored or Is this all we are getting for Christmas.”

The big girls got 6 presents under the tree!

The little kids got 5 gifts under the tree and one big gift from Santa

Monday Menu Plan

This plan looks a lot different, simply because it is for the week of Christmas. In my make believe world, I would get to enjoy several day of not cooking, however Christmas day or not my kids want to eat. They also want something beside left-overs after a full day of them. I am trying a couple of new things this year to see how they work out, the goal is to make things easier for me and keep everyone happy and feed without a lot of stress.

A couple of things to look for and I will definitely let you know if they work. 1.You will notice that each morning we have a casserole or other make ahead item. We are big breakfast eaters but I am not a big morning person. I am trying several new recipes and hope to make some a part of the normal routine.
2. I don’t want to spend a lot of time on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day cooking. My goal is to have everything prepped ahead of time so that I can dump and pour and/or stick in the oven for a good but easy meal.
3. The kids and I are home all week long. Matt has a couple of days off so lunch becomes a regular meal.

Saturday- Desert day. Most of the deserts for Christmas are made. I do have a couple of place and bake cookies to be made Christmas Eve. Peanut butter balls, Reindeer crack and brownies are all made! Breakfast-Bacon and egg biscuit casserole. Lunch- Olive Garden Left-overs. Dinner- Girls at Youth Christmas party. East Coast Wings for Matt, Zach and I.

Sunday- Breakfast-Toast and Church breakfast. Lunch- Gregg’s(local restaurant). Dinner- Left-overs.

Monday- Preparation Day This is the day that hopefully makes the rest of the week go smoothly. We will prep 2 days of breakfast and all the items need for Christmas lunch. Breakfast-Bacon and sausage casserole. Lunch- Oyster Stew for home, Matt has banana bread and a snack meal at work. Dinner-Pick a left-over or sandwich.

Tuesday- Christmas Eve! Breakfast-Cinnamon Roll Baked Oatmeal. Lunch- Left-over Soup day or Tomato Soup. Dinner-BBQ at my mother’s house.

Wednesday- Christmas Day-Breakfast-Sausage Cresant Casserole and Hashbrown Casserole.  Lunch- Turkey, Dressing, 7 layer salad, Cranberry sauce, Creamed corn, Carrots, Squash Casserole, Green Bean Casserole and Cresant rolls Dinner-BBQ at my mother’s house.

Thursday- Leftover Day! Don’t think this needs any explanation but it is grab and eat. No fighting and no saving!

Friday- Breakfast-Sausage and Egg Casserole. Lunch-Nachos(depending on what is left it may be turkey nachos or it may be beef nachos. Dinner- Taco Turkey Soup. This was a huge hit last time so I hope it is as well received this time!

5 Things Friday

  1. Yes, it has been a week since I have posted. This week, I ended up working 4 night in Guam for therapy. As you can imagine this added to our already busy schedule.
  2. Better news is that both the kids and I started our Christmas break today. I ended up going back to work one day before them but we all plan to enjoy the next almost two weeks.
  3. Not only have I been working extra this week. On Thursday, both Kendall and Lily both were sick so off to the doctor’s office we go. Luckily it is not the flu but both girls still don’t feel great.
  4. We are doing awesome on budget this month. So fare we have spent $220 in gas and $206 in groceries. This includes stops at two grocery stores today. I am very hopeful that we will end the month less than $250 on each of these items.
  5. I am planning to start the official Christmas cooking tomorrow!

Five Things Friday

  1. I absolute hate our weather, currently it is 34 and raining. We have had several cold and rainy days this weeks with yet another one expected for Saturday
  2. Tonight we are working on some handmade Christmas gifts for both my work and Zach’s teachers. I will share right before Christmas and after they have all been disturbed. We have 12 gifts and currently have spent $8.
  3. I need to decide on a menu plan for Christmas day. In the past, it has always been a sort of find your own dinner thing. But as the kids get older, I am thinking toward a big lunch with left-overs for dinner. Of course, my family needs to eat three meals a day no matter what holiday it is. This also means I need to make a trip to the grocery store.
  4. Our budget this month is looking awesome. We have currently spent $18.54 on groceries. I am anticipating around $100 for our Christmas trip, which keeps us really low for the month but after last month it should be. I am planning to share a detailed budget for next year after Christmas as well.
  5. I have 4 gifts left to buy in December. One is my mother’s birthday present so only 3 left for Christmas. I only have to decide on one final gift. Lily suggested that I need to keep a list of all the things I buy during the year but my only fear is that nosey people would find it. I guess I could be generic and just put the number of gifts purchased. Any Suggestion?

Saving and Shopping

We all know that I enjoy shopping and I REALLY enjoy saving money. To be honest I have done my fair share of Black Friday shopping especially when my kids were smaller and it was really a chance to get out in public without three little people attached. Things changes as we all know. I have no desire to go out and fight a crowd tonight or tomorrow. But I wanted to grab some of the best deals of the year so I did both online shopping and in store shopping on Wednesday. We ended up spending most of yesterday afternoon shopping. Crowds were light to no existence and the deals were awesome. So I thought I would share most of them with you!

  • Zach used his money to order a X Box One from Costco online for $213 shipped. I used my Costco membership in addition to my Costco credit card (which I paid off immediately online). I ended up earning at least $9 back in cash for this purchase.
  • Lily wanted to use her money to buy Air Pods. We had anticipated grabbing the Black Friday deal online at 10pm, Wednesday night. However we failed. I had actually put the Air Pods in my cart around 9:30 but the price did not change when I went to check out at 10:01 and by 10:02 they were all sold out online. I quickly flipped over to Staples where she was able to purchase them for $8 more. I ended up going through Swagbucks for this purchase and earned $4.02 back.
  • Lily is going to a semi formal dance next weekend. At Kohls she found a dress for $38. I purchased several books for $2.50 and t-shirts for Kendall at $10 each.
  • Hobby Lobby is always so much fun just to walk through. I did find some baseball ornaments that I will turn into a curtain for Zach for $4.
  • Our last stop of the evening was Shoe Carnival. I was so excited to learn that their boots were already on sale for $19.99 a pair. I was beyond the moon to find a selection of wide calf boots that actually fit me. I purchased 2 pair of boots for $42. Today, I received a $10 reward certificate in my email which is good until February!
  • We ate at Olive Garden and brought home 6 prepared meals to use this weekend in addition to enough left-overs and soup for three additional meals. A total of 3 meals for $80 is a huge bargain in my book!
  • My only stop today, Thanksgiving was at CVS. I purchased several gifts and grabbed anything that was free and we use. I spent a total of $30.23 saved $76.14 or 72%. I also left the store with over 20 ECB to be used during the month of December.

I am excited to shop and save but not in a crazy exhausted ugly people way!