August in Review

August was stressful, both financially and personally. We weathered a lot of changes. Even with the knowledge that all the changes would eventually be for the better, it was stressful and frustrating. One of my greatest frustrations has been trying to reset/ restart our budget in September. To be honest, this process is not complete so I am very reluctant to share all the details. If things occur as I have been promised by next weekend, I will share our new budget in addition to the changes we have been able to make.
Financial- August was a month of wait and see. All the bills have been paid for the month and we did reduce our overall debit by $200. Alot of planning and preparing and re-thinking has occurred with our budget this month. One of the biggest changes is starting in September we are going to be using a modified cash envelope system.
Grocery budget $475- Total spent $550.  I spent ALOT of time and money on preparing food ahead of time the week prior to starting my new job. I am fully stocked on most items and need only to buy a few things hopefully over the next 3 months. My plan is to raise the grocery budget to $500 and use a 3 month rotation of cash. In other words I will carry any money left in the budget for 3 months before adding to saving or paying on debit. There will be no borrowing for the next month because if the cash is gone, find another idea.
Kid/Summer expenses : We spent our week at the beach with a full day of shopping. I also paid school fees, ($14) and baseball sign up ($90). Lily will start youth theater in September and I expect around $200.
Earned $60- Much lower than other month but we were out of town for a full 7 days with no extra earning potential.

Personal-
Blogging-12for the month.  A definite improvement that should continue over the next several months.
Exercise- 8 total days for the month. Small improvements are key in this area. I hope to continue this trend but this is heavily dependent on the number of additional hours I pick up with my skype therapy.

We survived the biggest changes that have occurred in our lives, outside of having kids. I am happy with August. We are beginning September with a clean slate and new beginnings that have us set up for success. I am so optimistic and can’t wait to share!

Menu Plan Monday 8/27/2018

We stuck to the plan for most of last week, except we decided to eat Chinese on Friday night as a treat!  The kids really like the pepper steak so it will go on the menu again. I am really liking the ability to head to the building on Sunday night and pull up items for dinner for the week.  I am finding the theme for this week is clean out the small amount of this and that left in the fridge.

Breakfast- Saturday-Pimento cheese and bacon biscuits , Sunday- Left-over gravy and biscuits. Monday- Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday- Choice of pop-tarts, breakfast burrito bowl, egg muffins, cereal, eggs. eggos or grits.

Lunch- Saturday-hot dogs at Big Toy Day(see pictures) Sunday- Pasta salad and orange mandarin salad. Kids have lunch packed including lunchables, uncrustables and wraps.  My goal is to only eat out on Friday this week: salad, tuna salad, pimento cheese and crackers and left-overs

Dinner – Saturday-left-overs from Amanda, Sunday- general left-overs , Monday- Bacon cheese burger pasta, Tuesday- steak fatijias , Wednesday-Chicken pot pie and cole slaw, Thursday- Spaghetti and garlic bread and Friday- stuffed green pepper casserole.

Inexpensive Saturday Fun!

Fair Warning- Picture or Kid overload depending on how you want to look at it!

The kids start back to school on Monday, so we wanted to make today fun and relaxing! One of the ways to have fun that is usually not crazy expensive is community days. Our community day was “Big Toy Day”. This event was held at the small county airport. Cost was $5 for everyone over 10. Matt was working so it was $10 for Lily and I. Amanda and David met us but they covered their own cost!

The highlight of the day for everyone was the airplane ride. This was free for children between the ages of 8-17. All three of the kids got to ride in the same small plane.

Also present was a variety of different trucks, airplanes, equipment and race cars.

Everything was free except for food. Kendall and Zach enjoyed a turn in the bouncy a house.

I ended up purchasing 3 waters, 1 diet coke, two hot dogs and chips for a total of $7.  The kids had taken their own chore money. Kendall bought a soda with caffeine, and a small shaved ice ($4), Lily a large shaved ice ($5) and Zach a soda with caffeine.

After eating, we headed home to meet Matt and head to the pool for a relaxing couple of hours. I packed a cooler and our pool dues are paid yearly so total cost for the afternoon was $0.

In some ways, I wish that summer would not end!

5 Things Friday 08/24/2018

  1. Matt, myself and Lily have all worked this week. This was my first week at my new job and I LOVE it!  Lily has been babysitting this week.
  2. Matt decided to take Kendall and Zach to work with him on Friday. They LOVED it! I am planning to post pictures this weekend.
  3. Lily started school this week. She has been spending a significant amount of time on completing task. We are unsure if that the work is more detail or if she is taking serious the discussion we had over the summer about keeping her grades high.
  4. The hospital is being very difficult. My resignation did not get entered into the system as it should have been. In fact as of today, it is still not entered. This is causing difficulty with my insurance and payroll in addition to retirement and compensation from the hospital is messed up.
  5. Kendall and Zach start school on Monday!

Monday Menu Post 8/20/2018

This is the week that I am counting on Menu planning to really pay off.  Matt and I both will be working full time and the kids are don’t start school until next Monday. I did try to stock up on Breakfast foods this past weekend.

Breakfast- Saturday-Breakfast burrito bowls (using gravy from Friday), Sunday- Eggs with pesto and cottage cheese for Zach and me, Pop-tarts for the girls and left over burrito bowl for Matt. Monday- Burrito bowl minus gravy for me, fruit for kids and cereal for Matt Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday- Choice of pop-tarts, breakfast burrito bowl, egg muffins, cereal, eggs or grits.
Lunch- Saturday-lunch out with friends Sunday- Pizza from Dominos. I will be eating out most of the week at my new job, Monday- left over pizza and bagel bites, Tuesday- burritos for everyone but Kendall who is eating a lunchable. Wednesday- Mac and chesses, the blue box kind, Thursday- Sandwiches, Friday- left-overs or uncrustables.
Dinner – Saturday- Hot dogs Sunday- Baked potatoes , Monday- Salisbury steak, mashed potatoes, green beans and watermelon, Tuesday- Chicken Enchiladas from freezer, Wednesday-Slow cooked pepper steak , Thursday- Corn dogs from Sonic after meet the teacher and Friday-Pull pork, veggie and fruit.

Matt and I actually planned the menu for the next six weeks but will make adjustments and changes are we see fit. I am so excited and ready to see the kids every night at dinner!

5 Things Friday 8/17/2018

  1. The past week has really flown by. I was able to accomplish almost everything on my list for this second vacation week! Including hair cuts for all of us and a nail trim for Rugar!
  2. Starting Monday, both Matt and I will be working full time. This will be the first time in our marriage (13 years) that we will both be working full-time.
  3. One of the main things I am concerned about is cooking and groceries. We will all continue to take lunches as well as eat the majority if not all of our meals at home. I have spent a considerable amount of time and money on groceries this week. I have visited Costco twice, Food Lion three times and Walmart and Harris Teeter. I have spent a total of $467 just this week. I will probably end close to $500 as I am going to stop at Food Lion for more Diet Cokes over the next several day. I am able to purchase 10 2L of Diet Coke for $9.52 until Tuesday.  After doing most of the cooking on Monday, I have continued to add simple things by cooking double most of the week.
  4. We finally got around to weeding and watering the garden today. I discovered that my lettuce had self seeded and I have a bunch of small plants. I am going to leave and see if any grow larger enough to eat. We also harvested several watermelon and two full buckets of green peppers. I am hopefully that we will continue to harvest tomatoes, pimentos and peppers for at least another month. I was also very excited to see that my sweet potatoes are starting to grow. They can stay in the ground until the first frost which is around the end of October.
  5. I was also able to complete a picture collage using pictures from our Disney 2015 trip. I have only had the collage picture for 4 months!

Did I mention how excited I am to start at Davie County Schools on Monday?

Cooking Ahead

One of the biggest changes or should I say most difficult change for me, is going to be that I am responsible for dinner most days of the week. Both Matt and I will be working until around 4:30pm each day.  I know myself and realize that if I don’t have something that is already complete in the crockpot or can be placed in the oven with five minutes or less of prep than I will want to eat out. But really after working all day who does want to cook?  With this in mind, I spent most of my day today working on meal preparation. I know there are a couple of people who wander what and how so I am going to provide probably too many details.

First up was left-over chicken and pasta from the beach.  This was an excellent meal made by Amanda but we had leftovers especially chicken breast.  I shredded  1/4 of the chicken breast, mixed in about half a block of cream cheese together with the left-over pasta and this was our lunch today. I shredded the rest of the chicken breast, added a bag of frozen vegetables, cut up a potato, 2 cans of cream of chicken soup mixed with a cup of chicken broth and pour on top. Kendall wrote a index card with the directions for the topping and in the freezer it went.

I purchased a 10 pound bag of chicken breast from Costco that I pulled out next. I used my insta pot to cook approximately 4 pounds, really as full as it would go. Next, the kitchen aid shredded the chicken. I was able to make 2 containers of Chicken Broccoli Casserole .    I have learned that I needed to chop up the broccoli in order to make everyone happy.  I also made 2 batches of Chicken Enchiladas-  I don’t add the salsa or cheese on top before freezing. Finally made a regular Chicken Pie. Kendall added a card with instructions. I also labeled both the top and side with what each thing was.  I added about another 3 pounds of chicken breast to the instapot and cut this is cubes for Chicken Fried Rice. ( I will try and add the recipe for this soon). I left 6 breast in the bag and added a bottle of Italian dressing. This will marinate for 3 or 4 days and become awesome grilled chicken. That is a total of 8 meals from one bag of chicken and 9 meals prepped for the day.

We, Matt and I did an inventory last night and we have 2 meals of cowboy beans, a meal of taco soup, several meals of Salisbury steak, taco meat and sloopy joes all prepared.   Matt is also excited to find 10 more frozen burritos.

Taco meat is easy, brown 5 pounds of hamburger dump in crock pot along with water and seasoning, cook on low for 3-4 hours. We divide ours into 1# bags for either tacos or nachos.

Sloppy joes are similar with 5 pounds of browned hamburger, this also cooks in the crook pot for several hours. These are also packed in 1# bags, which feeds the 6 or 7 of us easily.

We also have lots of beef from the cow we purchased. I do want to make some easy breakfast this week but am starting to feel more comfortable with our meals. The last stage will be writing out a meal plan for the month some time this week.

Five Things Friday 8/10/2018

1. We are currently on vacation in Cherry Grove South Carolina.  Our vacation started last Sunday and we will head back home this Sunday, the August 12th. Haley came down on Sunday and stayed to Wednesday.  My mother came on Monday and will be leaving on Saturday. Amanda and her significant other arrived late Wednesday night and will stay till Sunday.  We have had the perfect beach weather with lots of time on the beach!

2. On Tuesday, I was offered a position at Davie County Schools.  I accepted it the same day. This is a different school district than the kids are in, but the schedule should be similar enough to allow us the flexibility we need.  I will get off two months in the summer in addition to a couple of weeks at Christmas, a week in the Spring and all major holidays.!

3. After accepting the new position, I realized that I have been wearing scrubs  for the past 7 or more years. I have purchased some jeans and shorts but did not have but one pair of pants other than jeans.   We have also spent some time shopping at the outlets near by.  I was able to purchase 3 pair of pants, 2 shirts and a long sleeve dress for $125.00

4. Today is my 46th birthday!  We spent the morning on the beach. We shopped at the Nike outlet this afternoon, prior to going to eat real fresh seafood.  We also spent time shopping at a Christmas store. Both LIly and Amanda purchased new items for my birthday at the store. This has been an awesome birthday.

5.On Saturday our lawn mower, started an untimely death. We will have to replace it during this next week.