Monday Mania 3/26/2018

We SURVIVED!  Our busiest week of the Spring if not the year was last week. We managed to get everyone to their events and only ate out one  time as a family. I did eat out on Tuesday night but that was planned. My plan is to post some picture this week but we know how things go around here.

Kendall enjoyed her first “Battle of the Books” competition and even got a autographed book from her favorite author.

Zach was the catcher at his first baseball game of the season. Unfortunately, his team lost 10-9 so they only played one game in the tournament. Zach will be playing catcher all year!

Lily participated in the Lexington Youth Theaters “Happy Days” musical. We attended all three shows!

Matt and I both worked and managed to keep the house from falling down.

We had thought that tonight (Monday 26rh) would be the first night at home for everyone in several months but Matt was called in to work. So even with this week being much slower than last week. Everyone will not be home together until Friday night. No wonder I am tired.

Five Things Friday

  1. We have made it halfway through the month of March.  I am so excited to say that we are on track financially for the month!  We have spent $371 for groceries and $153.70 for gas.
  2. Both the vans had an oil change this week and Matt was able to change the brakes on his van.  This was one of the expenses we used our tax return for.  Even better he stayed under budget.
  3. Next week is quite possibility the busiest week of the year.  Kendall has her Battle of the Books. Zach has a preseason baseball tournament. And Lily play starts on Friday night with longer practices every night.
  4. I decided to go ahead and purchase new glasses as I am starting to have trouble seeing. I purchased from Zennni Online.  The total cost was $131. I am very anxious to try them.
  5. We purchased a trailer of mulch today. More details hopefully to follow…

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Seven Things On Saturday- 3/10/2018

  1. My work schedule for the past several weeks has literally been insane. I am working most days from 8am till 5:45pm. I have to leave at 5:45 in order to pick up Lily from practice at Lexington Youth Theater.
  2. Yesterday, was a very long and stressful day. Our good friend experienced a stroke. We are praising God that he has regained all movement and is expected to make a full recovery.
  3. I spent most of the morning working on bill paying and update our budget. I am happy to say that we have survived! Our state tax return came in and with that I finally feel like we are on a solid financial track. We are still working on paying for summer camps and pool dues but those are the only extra expenses I see from this point forward.
  4. Our cable was scheduled to increase by $35 dollars this month. Matt and I are in agreement that we can not continue to pay so much for internet, cable and home phone service. After 3 separate phone calls, we managed to keep our favorite television stations and increase our internet speed but reduced out bill down $60. We are losing our home phone but in the end this works well for us.
  5. Zach is playing spring baseball, we have purchased a new bat and glove. We are very fortunate that he has been loaned the gear to play catcher. I am most definitely ready for warm weather and baseball.
  6. Kendall will be completing both her sign language club and Battle of the Books this month. This will definitely allow for more home time.
  7. We are expecting (predicted) to have one last winter event Monday. I am so ready for spring.

A Very Expensive Day

I often post about how I save money but today I am going to share about why it is important that we save everywhere we can.

Today, all three of the little kids have eye appointments. The appointments are in Greensboro, which is approximately 30 minutes north,   The first stop of the day is Costco.  We needed to fill my van, $26.50.  We needed to pick up several spices and I found a new dress that I love !    Total spent is $58.70. By 10:30, we have already spent $85.20.

Actual eye appointments cost because we have to see a specialist out of network, is $225.   The reason for going out of network is simple, there is currently not a provider in network.

Lunch is a requirement because it is 12:30 and every one is hangry.  We agreed on Mo’s Southwest Grill.   Each of the kids ate an entire kids meal, guess I miss the days of one kids meal for all three,   Our total for lunch $38.70.  Total at 1:30pm is. $348.90.

Now that we are civil again, we are headed to VisionWorks to purchase glasses,  VisionWoorks has a special Buy One Get One Free.   The original plan was for each of the kids and me to get a new pair of glass.  The estimate for my pair was $630 so we decided to order online.  Zach ended up with 2 pair for a total of $299.95 and both the girls got a pair for $229.

The final stop is Costco to order Lily,s contacts.  Lily,s total is $177.95

Total for day= $1054.90,   Yes that is expensive,

Prepping

My mother has always said that “in order to get to church on Sunday, you have to start on Saturday night.”   This is really the case for us and even more so when it comes to living with our crazy busy schedule right now.  Throw in the fact, that today, Sunday was also Matt and I only day off together this week and it has been really busy but productive. We did decided on Saturday night, that we would eat out for lunch today.  Instead of rushing home from church, grabbing some lunch, changing clothes and then heading to Winston, I warned everyone to wear comfortable shoes for walking to church.  We ended up eating lunch at Red Robbin. It is always a fun treat for us to eat out.

After picking up an on-line order at JCPennys and finding  a new glove for Zach at PlayItAgainSports the real preparation for the week began.  Our menu plan is already made for the week but I realized that we have fallen behind on meal preparation.  I used the instapot to cook chicken breast and threw in the Kitchen Aid mixer to shred. We ended up making 2 complete batches of Chicken Enchiladas, one for dinner and a second for March.  I also made a chicken pie for later in the week. On plan has a Shepherd’s Pie for Monday. As I started to gather up the ingredients , I discovered  5lbs of potatoes that had started to spout. These were peeled, diced and became mashed potatoes. I used some to top the Shepherd’s Pie and the rest is in the freezer to grab for some quick easy meals. In a span of about 2 hours, we made a total of four meals that need just to go in the oven.

One of the things that is a given on Sunday afternoon is the kids picking out clothes and lunches for the week. I usually check the weather and decide what type of clothing they need to pick out. The clothes are placed outside of there rooms so no changing around is done. We also decide what is going to be taken for lunch and prepare as much of it ahead of time as possible. Matt and I also made our lunches for Monday as well. This saves us so much time that I can’t imagine doing it any other way.

What’s Happening?

I was doing so well and blogging several times a week, and then 7 days of silence what happened?
The short answer is LIFE

But in order to give you an idea about what that looks like for us here is a more detailed answer.

For the next six weeks, Lily has practice for the theater Monday- Friday from 4-6 pm. The good news is that we have worked it out so that Matt drops her off and I am picking her up most evenings on my way home from work. The bad news is that means we are eating dinner at 6:30 which means that the evening does not exist for me.

Kendall stays after school on Tuesdays for Battle of the Books till 3:30 and on Wednesday for Sign Language club. Zach and Kendall both attend a kid’s program on Wednesday nights from 6 to 8pm.

Zach has just signed up for spring baseball this past week. I am assuming that we will start a practice schedule of 2 or 3 days a week very soon. In the meantime, he was asked to play on a different team than he has in the past. This team is playing “kid-pitch” baseball so this adds some interesting changes and expenses to the table.

Matt has been working extra, in fact, today was his sixth day in a row working with it also being his 7th out of 8 days as well. We fully expect this to change over the next month but are open and encouraging to continue try and gain some financial ground this year.

Next let’s talk a little about the weekends.  Friday night, Lily stayed after practice for some fun and food with her cast mates until 8pm.  Kendall attended her very first sleepover on Friday night as well. On Saturday, all three kids had a piano lesson, this is a wonderful opportunity but takes a good 3 hour chunk from our day.  Zach ended up going to a friends house for several hours as well on Saturday.

As you can tell life is back to it’s busy pace around here.

Six Things On Saturday- 2/10/2018

Yes this is the “day late and dollar short” version of 5 Things Friday. I will be the first to admit that the last couple of weeks have been very stressful and emotionally exhausting in addition to being financially straining.

Yesterday, was our first full paycheck for the month of February. The good news is that we were able to catch up from the snow week. I have a plan in place for both our tax returns and am very hopeful that this will allow us back on a slow but steady track to paying down our huge debit this year. We are working to reduce both our electric and water bills to a more normal level. Matt and I have already worked out a Menu plan for the month which means we should be able to keep the grocery bill on a lower than usual level. Another positive is that Matt has been selling vinyl decals on a very steady basis this month. This is definitely helpful as we have lots of unexpected expenses.

I am battling left-overs in our fridge.  Our super bowl party is always fun but we end up with some interesting left-overs.  This week, I made an effort to make meals of left-overs and strongly suggested that Matt and Lily eat left-overs for lunch. Today, I am repurposing left-overs, we had a bag of carrots, and a bunch of celery, several cups of rice and some pulled pork.  I did a little bit of thinking and decided to make pork fried rice.  I chopped up the pork and realized that we had over 4 cups left which is enough to make 2 full meals for us. I let Kendall help chop up the carrots and celery. I added some green peppers and onions and that became our veggies for the stir-fry. One set for dinner and a second set in the freezer for a crazy day of what is for dinner.

Zach has officially started taking piano. He has been asking for over a year but we really wanted him to wait until he was a strong reader before attempting. Kendall started teaching him this week for fun. He even practiced every day without being told. This is definitely an expense that I don’t mind adding.

I am so ready for spring, in fact I have already planned out our square foot garden and added several more containers. I am very hopefully that with a little extra work this year we will have a bumper crop.  I purchased trees a couple of years ago to start work on a landscape line. The trees came with a 2 year guarantee. I received an email yesterday that a new peach tree is being shipped this week. My mother has also been growing several pecan trees in her flower bed. So we should be able to finish the border without spending any additional money!

Our busy schedule has returned. Some days, I am honestly thinking how do we actually do this. This week, Lily has practice for her play, 4 nights and a party the 5th night. Kendall has 2 days of extra curricular activities in addition to church on Wednesday night. Matt has also doubled his hours at work for this week. Yikes, better rest up today!

Savings this week- 1/11/2018

As I have mentioned before, we are on a tight budget this month in hopes to get us on a good financial track for the year.  I have been able to find some really good deals while staying on track this week.

CVS has the best sale that I have seen in a while. Add to the fact that Matt is completely out of deodorant and it was a definite stop. I was able to grab a tube of free toothpaste. Which BTW, I have not paid for toothpaste in at least two years. Matt ended up with one stick of deodorant, two were purchased for me and 2 bottles of shampoo. Total out of pocket was $6.38.

Lily had most of her Christmas money left so I took her to the stores of her choice today.  I was able to grab Oreos on clearance along with a couple of items for Easter baskets at Target for $3.17.  The overall best deal of the day was at “Five Below”, their Christmas items were discounted by 75%. I grabbed 7 rolls of Disney wrapping paper for $3.50, I also added a couple of items for Easter as well. So for a total of $8 between the two stores I am very pleased.

The final deal of the day, cost me the least. We continue to earn extra money through Swagbucks every month. This month, I was able to grab a $25 Bath and Body Works card.  Bath and Body Works also has their semi annual clearance sale in January and July. I was able to use a coupon code in addition to the sale for 20% off. I ended up with 5 bottles of shower gel shipped for twenty four (yes $0.24) out of pocket.