5 Things Friday

  1. Lily got her permit today! 
  2. Amanda was able to get a new to her car without any assistance or co-signer. She returned the van she has been using since she no longer needs it. We sold the van for $1000!
  3. I am exhausted, this week has been extremely busy with both my regular job and Guam. I am scheduled to work Sunday through Thursday every night for the next month.
  4. Lily and Zachary are grounded.  The reason is politics.
  5. The kids have decided to attempt to start a small business of there own, making Christmas ornaments and pot holders out of wood.  Matt and I will be assisting in the sell but first they need an inventory.

Life Happens- Unexpected Trip

Things change very quickly, as has been proven yet again. Matt’s father passed away on Sunday January 10th. We made the very difficult decision to leave all the kids here and head to Florida to help make arrangements and for the memorial service.  This trip was total unplanned but fortunately we were able to cover the cost without causing significant hardship.  The emotional toil was significantly higher than any money spent.  Amanda was able to spend Monday- Thursday night at our house. Haley stayed Friday and Saturday night.  My mother was the bus driver and made sure that Kendall and Zach got to school every day and to piano.  A friend stepped in to make sure the kids got to church on Wednesday night. I had already written our meal plan so no additional food or groceries were needed at home, although the kids ate out several times as a sister treat.

One thing we learned very quickly was that the small town in Florida that we were heading to was hosting a dog show.  The price of a room jumped from $72 a night to $114 after our first two nights.  Total cost for hotel was $546.71

We chose to drive with both of us going. We did consider flying but would have needed to rent a car for the week so we could not justify this expense. Total spent in gas was $112.25

We did go to Disney Springs on Wednesday night for dinner. On Thursday, we used a remaining day ticket from our December trip to spend the day at Magic Kingdom. I was able to redeem point to cover the parking and several snacks. Although this increased our trip cost by $150, this was a much needed break from the stress of the week and I would not change a thing. Our photo pass from December also was active so I will share some pictures on Wednesday.

Our total cost of the trip was $1471.  We placed most of the expenses on our gas credit card that we planned to pay off this month. During our trip Amanda who has been driving our older van decided to obtain a car loan and get a new to her car.  She returned the older van which we will sell to recovery $1000. This is very unexpected but will enable us to cover the trip with little to no financial strain!

5 Things Friday

  1. I have not used this format since September ??? Really maybe that is the reason I have not been hitting my blogging goal?
  2. Today both the kids and I had a remote learning day due to the weather forecast of 2- 4 inches of snow. Instead, we have had a cold rain most of the day with a change over to snow around 4pm. It has been yucky!
  3. I have made a “extra” money goal. I would like to save $500 a month in January, February and March to use as our food money in April. So far for the first week of January I have “found” or saved $203. If I can get to $475 I can purchase gift cards at Target to save an additional $25.
  4.  We are working hard at staying on track with our budget in January. So far was have spent $55 in gas and $91 in groceries.  I did place a Norwex order for more of Lily detergent so that will be an additional $70.
  5. My van is still in the shop after I hit the deer. Because they are going to repair damage from when I backed in the pole at Baptist hospital while Amanda was in the hospital. They estimate it will be fixed next week. I paid $500 from our stimulus and the insurance covered the rest of the repair.

Monday Menu Plan on Tuesday

It has been over a month since I last posted a menu plan and many of the meal that occurred in the mean time have been take out.  I am not even going to pretend that we did not enjoy each and every one!   But we are back on track with a goal of saving up all of our money to eat on at Disney in April.  I am working really really hard this week to use up most of the left-overs in the fridge. It is already crazy full! The one game changer may be if we get predicted snow on Friday.  This will mean hot soup is a must!

Breakfast– Saturday-pancakes and sausage links. Sunday- I made egg cups and everyone else found left-overs or bagels.   Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday-choice of breakfast muffins, eggs, sausage, oatmeal, cereal or grits, breakfast burritos, bagels or omelets.

Lunch-  Saturday–Matt and I ate out for our “date” to Costco, left-overs at home.  Sunday- Cagney’s (local restaurant)   I am taking left-overs every day this week. Matt is doing the same.

Dinner-  Saturday-  Nachos (frugal win as we used half a bag of meat and the rest will be used on Tuesday.)   Sunday-Crack Chicken Noodle Soup (definitely a repeat as of today none is left!) Monday-Pork Fried Rice (left-over pork from Christmas Eve. I also placed 2 additional meals in the freezer for future use.)  Tuesday-Soft taco and more left-overs  . Wednesday- Left-overs  Thursday-  Corn Dogs or another frozen sandwich from the freezer .   Friday- Chicken and Dumplings in the Crock pot. (I need to use the chicken breast I unthawed last week).


Thanksgiving is a very fluid holiday around our house.  Many of our Thanksgivings have been spent travelling.   We have travel to Michigan and Georgia to visit with family on most of these trips. We also have discovered that Thanksgiving is an awesome time to visit Disney World.

This year we are quarantined.  Technically, Matt has been released but the kids and I are officially quarantined through Monday November 30th. The good news is that Matt is definitely better. I am starting to feel human again. I am positive that I have experienced COVID twice now but did not chose to test on either occasion. The kids all have not had any symptoms.    I chose not to test this time because the kids would end up needing to quarantine another 14 days after my test. They have been really troopers and this really would benefit no one.   We did end up cooking both the turkey and ham along with multiple side dishes. We have been enjoying and even packed some lunches for next week.  Thanksgiving was not cancelled just quarantined.

Zach has been experiencing some stomach issues. After multiple discussion with his pediatrician’s office, we don’t feel they are COVID related. Instead, a food intolerance. We are going to watch his diet as well as complete some testing to try and get a handle on what is causing this.

The goals for the rest of the holiday are to get the Christmas decorations complete!

5 Things Friday

  1. The weather has finally turned cooler this week. I turned off the air on Monday. The temperatures are going to take another cooler turn with highs on Sunday expected to be 63.
  2. Square foot garden- I pulled up 8 basil plants and hung in the building to start drying. I also bagged the ones that had been hanging since last fall.  I am not sure if we will use but for right now I want to save as much as possible. I am still getting a few tomato a week from the garden which is highly unusual for this late in September. Pimentos and peppers of several varieties are still growing. But by far the most exciting news of all is that we have sweet potato flowers!  I am going to leave these in the ground at least another couple of weeks before pulling up in hopes of even more flowers.
  3. Honesty disclaimer- I really debated sharing this so that is my reason for trying to hide it in number 3.  A coworker who I work in the same room with on a daily basis has tested positive for Covid-19. She texted me early this morning to let me know. I have been tested and will likely have results between Sunday and Tuesday. In the mean time, I have been advised to quarantine. The fear and stigma associated with this along with unreliable information is 100 times worse than even waiting to get my results. An example, when I spoke to my supervisor this morning, she stated that I did not need to get tested and did not need to quarantine. I chose to go ahead and get tested because of my Humira dose is due. By this afternoon, the story had changed to my co-worker could chose to get tested or just quarantine for 10 days while continuing to work remotely. But on the bright side, I will not be spending any money this weekend as I am stuck at home.
  4. My second job in Guam is starting to pick up. My goal is to work around 35 hours a week. So far I have been successful on scheduling around Zach’s baseball games.
  5. Lily will start Driver’s Education in 2 weeks!

Monday Menu Post

Last week we ended switching around several days because Baseball started!  I am so excited but it does bring a new level of complexity to our lives and schedule. Zach and Kendall start in person school 2 days a week. In some money saving news, our schools are going to provide breakfast and lunch for each student free until December 31st 2020.   Both Kendall and Zach are excited because eating at school is a treat for both!  We will save money by not packing lunch and we also will receive take home meals for the days they are not in school. Hoping to establish a good routine very soon.

Breakfast– Saturday-Bacon, eggs and toast Sunday- bagels  Monday- . Tuesday,  Wednesday, Thursday, Friday-choice of breakfast muffins, eggs, sausage, oatmeal, cereal or grits, breakfast burritos, bagels or omelets, French toast

Lunch-  Saturday- Pasta salad  Sunday-Lunch supplied by friends! I have tuna salad, pasta salad and  two regular salad for lunch this week.

Dinner-  Saturday- Taco Bell  Sunday-pizza from Aldi  Monday- Chicken nugget bowls  Tuesday-Taco Pasta . Wednesday- Ravioli ( found on sale for $1 a package, 4 packages for us!) Thursday- Left-overs .  Friday- Chicken and dumplings

Five Things Friday

1. Disney was awesome!  We really enjoyed the family time together and it was a nice escape from the reality right now. It did confirm that we will be going again in both December and April regardless of the mask requirements or what is open or not.  We did miss some of the food but I think that knowing what we know now it will be better in December without any changes.

2. A  rock flew up and hit our new windshield in the van! This is the 4th different windshield in the van and the third that I have specifically paid for.  I am a lot frustrated but at least it is a relatively easy fix. The new windshield is installed in the driveway so it does not mean a trip anywhere.

3. The goal for the weekend is to tame and reclaim the garden. Between the heat and trips to Disney and the beach, the weeds are winning. I am planning to break the work in separate sessions one or two a day and hopefully by Monday it will resemble a garden again. 

4. Remote or online learning continues to be a huge challenge and struggle for us.  Matt is able to work from home a couple of days a week but it is super stressful. I am hopefully that at least soon the kids can return to school a couple of days a week for now., ANYTHING has got to be better than what we are doing now! 5. I am looking forward to the long weekend and a more normal schedule starting next week.   I don’t have another break until November so we need to get the garden and house under control.  I think I am more excited about starting a more normal routine next week with my job. It is something that has not happened since March and will provide stability!  The kids will be going to school starting in two weeks at least on Monday and Tuesday so again this will provide stability. 

5. I am looking forward to the long weekend and a more normal schedule starting next week.   I don’t have another break until November so we need to get the garden and house under control.  I think I am more excited about starting a more normal routine next week with my job. It is something that has not happened since March and will provide stability!  The kids will be going to school starting in two weeks at least on Monday and Tuesday so again this will provide stability. 

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!