Friday Update

  1. The Garden- Because of our strange weather here, the garden has been all over the place. We are still finding 5-10 ripe strawberries a day. We seem to be on the last of our snap peas but have been able to enjoy on a very regular basis. This week, we are enjoying zucchini and squash. It appears that my cucumber plants are actually alive! They have started to produce blooms and I am hopeful for some in a couple of weeks. We have tomatoes growing and I am really excited that it appears that all the plants have survived and are starting to produce. I was able to purchase a peach tree that if lives will finish up the eatable border in the back yard.
  2. The weather- CRAZY! For the first time ever in June, we turned off the air conditioning for 4 days this past week. Our average high is 85 but we had 3 days in the 60’s. Unfortunately the humidity got us on the the four day and it is back to the air.
  3. Food- I am very excited and pleased that our school lunch deliveries have improved significantly for the summer. I am thankful for any and all food but this past week, we received lots of raw fruits and vegetables that the kids love. Breakfast food switched from donuts to cereal and pop tarts. My kids are big breakfast eaters so a single donut or muffin is a snack but a bowl of cereal will last several hours. I am now very comfortable with our food storage. My plan for the summer is to continue to replace what we use and what I can find on sale but I am no longer afraid of running out even if I stopped shopping completely.
  4. Summer Break- I am officially on summer break until August 10th! The weather has limited my ability to enjoy but I have been able to read 4 additional books this week.
  5. Budget- We are continuing to save money on gas! I am going to do a budget rearranging in July due to the changes in health care cost. I am most excited to see our debt numbers decrease! I am planning a post this week with lots of details!

May In Review

May was another different sort of month. It definitely did not fly by but was not as slow as March or April. I am still working from home. I was able to get an additional 17 hours from my Guam job so that was extremely nice. We decided to go ahead and tackle one more home improvement in the month of May, our sink room. I am glad it is finished and LOVE the results.

The square foot garden is actually growing! I was getting really discouraged in the middle of the month. The weather was just not cooperating at all but finally in the last two weeks we are starting to harvest some small items and even the cucumbers that I had written off have returned to life. We did have to spray with bug killer today so hopefully we will not lose alot to these pesky insects. We continue to get a ton of lettuce and a finally a batch of snap peas that made it inside instead of Kendall eating them all!

Goal #1 Grocery Budget of $550- I was doing so well but decided to purchase 4 gallons of strawberries yesterday and a trip to Aldi put us at $607.45 for the month. I keep telling myself that spending will decrease soon. We have almost 2 completely full freezers! I have added an additional 3 meals this week along with some simple breakfast ideas! I think at this point, unless we are set with meat. Going to make a realistic grocery budget for next month…. stay under $550!

Goal #2 – Record and keep up with gas/ auto purchase- $284.40 is the total for the month which does include taxes and tags on the CRV. The CRV was filled 3 times and the van twice. I do actually expect our driving to go up this month as I finish up work and start to enjoy the summer. We also will be returning to church and going to the pool. The goal for June keep the gas budget down to $300 with the extra going to pay off debit!

Goal #3-Use a cash envelope system for everything possible. Success! No spend days are 3 this month YIKES! I knew going in to May that spending would increase. But still the goal for June is to have at least 5 no spending days. I am going to change a couple of rules. First, we save change all year to spend at the pool so this does not count as spending! Second an purchases for clothing, hair or piano that come out of a budget envelope does not count as spending as these are “spent” each payday when it is placed in the envelope. I am also planning to switch at least half of my grocery spending to cash as well.

Goal #4- Blogging- 15 post per month. This is post number 17 for the month! At least this is staying on track!

Goal # 5- Fitness- Goal is to walk 3 times a week. yea I did walk 3 times this month but only 3 times. This is something that I definitely need to improve on.

Goal #6 – Bible study- Goal- 3x a week –Not there at all!

Goal #7-Attempt at least 52 new recipes this year.-  Still way ahead of this one! I have blogged on 32 new recipes but I have 3 more to post this week!

Earnings_ $75 in gift cards. Slow and steady.

June is an exciting time of the year! I finish up work, the kids finish up school and we enjoy the summer. I am extremely grateful that we have the pool open this year. I am hopeful that by the end of the summer, our lives will return to normal with a crazy busy schedule! Our first Disney trip is planned for the end of August, my goals for June and July are to save save and find more ways to save!!!

5 Things Friday

  1. My garden has survived. I am very surprised and excited to see that the majority of my plants have decided to grow this week. I did lose about half my cucumbers and have replaced 6 green pepper plants but my tomatoes are looking awesome!
  2. Today is the last business day of May which means I received my final paycheck of the school year. I have an account set up that I do receive a check at the end of June and July. I was able to pay monthly bills for June and get a good picture of our debit and spending.
  3. Disney World announced several changes that are going to affect our upcoming trips. We did learn that we will most likely be required to wear mask in August. This is the change that I am most unhappy about. I am going to remain optimistic that lower attendance and the chance to enjoy more variety will still make our trip special and unique. We are also currently hearing that both the Halloween party and the Christmas party may be cancelled. I am again trying to remain optimistic as this is the whole reason for the two short trips!
  4. Today, all the kids unofficially finish up the school year. I am still working until June 15th. The sad part is next Monday and Tuesday are definitely the busiest two days of the last several months for me.
  5. Our plans for a yard sale have been postponed due to the weather. I am really doubtful at this point that we have a yard sale until the fall. I don’t do well in the heat and I am afraid that once the rain stops the heat and humility will be unbearable.

Menu Planning Monday

Last week was interesting to say the least. I talked a lot about it here. I will also admit that I am getting tired of meal planning and eating at home. That may have been the reason that we ate out three meals this weekend. Today, I am a little more back in the grove and since it has been finalized I need to stay in the grove until June 15th (last teacher workday). I have a goal in mind. The goal for this week is to get a new normal routine going so we can survive and thrive in the next seven weeks. Overall I want to get a lot done ahead so that when summer arrives and I am not tied to the computer for the majority of the day. We can enjoy the park, the pool, the zoo basically just relax and enjoy! One positive is for the next six weeks the kids have lunch provided by the school. I should mention that we picked up and processed 160# of chicken breast on Friday last week so you will see that on the menu more often.

Breakfast– This is the area that we are going to begin to struggle in probably within two weeks as we finish up the individual cereal boxes. I do have a plan to start stocking up on breakfast food and we will be able to use what is already in the freezer. Saturday- Bagels from a local restaurant . Sunday-Sausage egg crescent rolls and Cream cheese crescent rolls. .  Monday, Tuesday,  Wednesday, Thursday, Friday-choice of breakfast muffins, eggs, sausage, pancakes,  cereal or grits. –Still have not gotten around to a baked oatmeal but really do need to make one this week.

Lunch-  Saturday-left-overs Sunday- Matt and I grabbed Steak and Shake while going to Costco. The kids ate left-overs .The kids will have school delivered lunches, Matt has 2 days of chicken sandwiches and 2 days of hamburger. I am struggling with lunch for me. Monday- Salmon Quiche, Left-overs and at least one day for a salad should get me through the week.

Dinner-  Saturday- Chinese from Panda Panda. Sunday- Left-overs and Chicken Nachos from Amanda. Monday- Chicken and Broccoli casserole. (made last week so heat and eat). Tuesday-Cheese Quesadilla and Mexican Rice (Zach’s night) Wednesday- Grilled chicken and salad, Thursday-Shrimp and French Fries (Kendall’s in charge) Friday- Million Dollar Spaghetti Pie( this will make 2 meals) Lily in charge.

4/10/2020

  1. This week at home has been more of a struggle for me. I am not sure if it was the fact, I was stressing about some work issues or just this is the fourth week of Covid-19 or my Humira shot. But most likely a combination of all of the above. The good news is that I survived and am hopeful the work stress is behind me as well.
  2. I decided to go out shopping on Wednesday this week in order to avoid the crowds over Easter weekend. Again good and bad news. The good news is that we did avoid the crowds and used pick up for both Lowes and Walmart. The bad news is that it was insane at Lowes. I can’t believe how many people were there. We have spent a total of $77.42 on groceries so far this month. I fully expect to keep this number low this month.
  3. Yesterday, Thursday, the windshield of the van was replaced. It developed a crack from a rock in January and finally reached the point it definitely needed to be replaced. I also will need to get the car inspected and tag renewed this month. I know this will exceed my gas budget even with only filling up once or twice. My plan will be to use some of the gas money from May to help cover the expense as well. I will be at home until at least May 15th so between the two months we should have all the repairs and tags covered.
  4. The weather this week has been beautiful and we have spent a good chunk of time outside preparing the garden. We are expected to have another frost this weekend so if all goes as plan we will be doing a lot of planting next weekend. This also works out with the recommendations by the Farmer’s Almanac.
  5. Speaking of next week it should be a real test of patience and parenting skills. All three kids are out of school for Spring Break. I am off on Monday but have to work the rest of the week. In addition, there is a strong possibility that Guam schools will resume which means I am going to be working both jobs from home. A test of patience is the best description I can give.

Monday Menu Plan

We discovered last week that a menu plan is even more important than when we are out of the house. We were able to stick to the plan last week except for Wednesday when we ate left-overs. I am very proud to say that we have significantly reduced the amount of left-overs in the refrigerator to a normal amount! I also have been cleaning out some expired food and trying to make sure that we don’t waste. Matt and I both are working from home so lunches are left-overs or sandwiches for us. In an effort to try and develop and stay on a schedule sort of I spent several hours in the kitchen on Sunday. I was able to shred the chicken from Costco, make hamburger patties one set for dinner and froze the rest for quick lunches. Made roll ups for lunch. Hopefully we can stay home and stay on track.

Breakfast– Saturday bacon, eggs and toast. Sunday- Waffles (with an entire batch froze)  Monday, Tuesday,  Wednesday, Thursday, Friday-choice of bagels, breakfast bowls or burritos, breakfast muffins, eggs, sausage, pancakes,  cereal or grits. – Or what ever the school sends. IF I get ambitious this week I may do a baked oatmeal for one morning.

Lunch-  Saturday- Pasta salad with chicken, tomato and cucumber added, Sunday- Left-over from Fridge. Last week the kids had a pizza pocket, hamburger, uncrustable, chicken sandwich and egg roll. Each day they also get at least one vegetable so that adds in. I made pinwheels for myself one day and will eat left-overs or salad. Matt is on his own this week.

Dinner-  Saturday- Left-overs , Sunday- Sandwhich Monday- Hamburgers and tator tots Tuesday-Dorito Chicken ( this is a new recipe) and fried apples. Wednesday- Mandurian Orange chicken and egg rolls, Thursday- Steaks and twice baked potato. Friday-Pizza rolls.

Saturday Activities

Today has been a really awesome day, the reason why because I am still in my pajamas and have no plan to leave the house all day! Lily and Kendall are on a youth retreat. Zach is at a birthday party for a friend. Another parent offered to pick him up and drop him off so of course I could not refuse.

I have managed to wash both the sheets on our bed and Zach’s bed. I was not able to hang out to dry but instead ran the dryer during the day to add some heat in the house. The weather is cold with a high of 40* another good reason for me to stay inside.

I made a stop by the grocery store last night. I found whole chicken on sale for $0.99 a pound which is a good price for my area. I prefer to get the already roasted chicken at Costco but we don’t have a trip planned to Costco in the near future. So this morning, I placed the chicken in the instapot. When it finished cooking, I removed the meat and shredded it. I made a huge batch of chicken stew. I have already froze one meal. It will probably work for at least one other full meal. The second half of the chicken, I am going to use in a new recipe this week called Burrito Bowl Soup. Look for a post about it on Monday hopefully.

This coming week is a lot different as everyone is out of school on Monday. Kendall and Zach only go to school on Thursday and Friday. I went ahead and put up the schedule for the week along with meals. I actually went ahead and prepared everything thing I could so that it will be a heat and eat week.


Tuesday Thoughts

I have been very blessed and fortunate because the “little” kids have very rarely been sick, especially Kendall and Zach. Kendall missed two school days last year and yesterday Zach missed his first school day in several years. Zach started complaining with his stomach hurting on Thanksgiving Thursday. He actually threw up on Saturday and Sunday. This morning, he just did not feel like going to school.

While Zach spent most of the day in bed, I found several task to keep me busy all day Monday. I ended up turning five pounds of potatoes into mashed potatoes for future use. I deboned the chicken we purchased on Saturday to make a double batch of chicken enchiladas. I have just enough for use to eat on Tuesday and froze a large batch that will provide dinner another evening with left-overs that can be used for lunch as well.

One of the less fun things that we worked on this weekend was re-organizing and cleaning out the office. Matt was originally the intended occupant for our home office. After completing it use as a nursery, it became his office. I first applied for my position in Guam in February 2017. One of the requirement was that I have the ability to block out all noises from the house in addition to plan walls. So we simply moved everything from my desk in the office and everything from his desk to my desk in the corner of the bedroom. Considering how little time I ended up spending in the office it was crowded but not a big deal. My teletherapy job in Guam has picked up significantly . I am spending between 8 and 10 hours a week working in the office. The crowded room and clutter really started to bother me. So cleaning and organizing occurred. I am very pleased with the result but I am the most proud of the charging shelf that we figured out. This holds all the phones and other devices that need to come in my bedroom at night!

Tuesday Thoughts

I am so excited that I get to spent 3 complete evenings at home this week! We have no football game(cheerleading) or cheer practice this week and only one baseball game. I am planning to get some extra cleaning done around the house as the things has gotten dirty and overlooked during the past couple of weeks.

We are hopefully that we have finally fixed the leaky shower problem. Matt re-caulked the shower pan on Saturday and I am planning to start using it again today. We have already purchased the tile to finish this project but need to find several hours in which we can spending working on it. We may be able to spend some time on the project on Saturday but that depends heavily on the weather as well.

North Carolina is finally experiencing some cooler temperatures. I finally turned off the air on October 3rd. This is very late for us as we usually can get a good week or so with no air in September. I am hopefully that we can at least keep the air and heat off for most of the month of October but we it can depend heavily on when the first freeze of the year is.

Matt loves his new job. The first week was a challenge especially with our crazy busy schedule. I am hopefully that we will be able to get into a good routine that will allow him to work his second job at least 3 evening a week so that we can have some time to work on projects around here on the weekends.

I have spent a total of $47 on groceries so far this month! I am super excited about this and hope to continue this streak for most of the month. I am making a Costco list and am holding out hope that the quarter back sale will appear at Food Lion soon!