September in Review

September was interesting to say the least. I did make one huge adjustment this month. We are now using budgets more strictly and I have being very diligent about extra money. My goal is to save the $896 for our remaining Disney tickets in December from extra money or from saving money. This means that I also much cover any overages.  So far we have $200 toward our goal.

Gardening- We ended up digging up the sweet potatoes this week and probably have around 25 pounds which should last us through the winter. We are still getting a few tomatoes and green peppers. Pimentos are still producing strongly. I am planning to start some lettuce and celery to see if we can supplement some food for the winter.

Goal #1 Grocery Budget of $550- The total for the month is $501.  I did also make a huge grocery trip to Costco this week but will move that $450 out of the October budget.  We are completely stocked up and I anticipate both November and December being lower spend months in order to bring down our yearly total and monthly average

Goal #2 – Record and keep up with gas/ auto purchase- $642.18  We had to replace the windshield in the van a second time this year, which pushed out monthly total way up.  I am going to anticipate around $300 for gas in the month of October.

Goal #3-Use a cash envelope system for everything possible!. This is a struggle but has become even more important as we attempt to save ticket money.  We managed 6 no spend days this month. I am going to plan on 10 next month as our needs should be much less!

Goal #4- Blogging- 15 post per month. This is post number 15 for the month! This is thanks to Disney pictures!

Goal # 5- Fitness- Goal is to walk 3 times a week. ummm no comment

Goal #6 – Bible study- Goal- 3x a week –Yikes!

Goal #7-Attempt at least 52 new recipes this year.-  We have met this goal! I am very happy and plan to just focus on what we know for October.

Earnings_ $50. Swagbucks are really really limiting our earning so I don’t anticipate this to improve significantly before the end of the year.

October is a long month with no real breaks. I am ready so bring it on!

5 Things Friday

  1. My COVID test came back negative. This has been so stressful.  One thing that has really bothered me is the fact that we have mandated mask yet when completing contact tracing and talking about exposure, Mask DONT matter. Yeap the question is “Who have you been in closer than 6 feet contact with, with or without a mask?”
  2. Lily made another new recipe today #53 Chicken Florentine Mac and Cheese. We had to make several changes to it because we could not find the specific cheese she used but it was good!  Even Matt who does not like mac and cheese cleaned his plate.
  3. The weather has continued to be fall like which means a HUGE saving on our electric bill. If we can last a month without heat or air, it will reduce our electric bill by $100!  That is the current goal.
  4. I have focused this month on sticking to a budget and moving all excess money to our Disney Ticket fund. We need approximately  $600 to finish purchasing tickets.  My goal is to use all found money for this. Which means that if I forget to budget something like say the Amazon Prime membership. I either have to take money out of it or find it in other places.  Currently I am also trying to cover our second windshield of the year. As of today, we have $200 or 1/3 of what we need for ticket in the fund.  Which means if I can do the same we will be able to purchase these without using my Guam money! Even better both of these expenses have been covered. We are eating out less and purchasing less groceries. The fact that I am not driving to work for two weeks is also helping lower expenses.
  5. The square foot garden is hanging on. This week I have harvested green peppers, a orange pepper, pimentos and tomatoes.  I  can tell we are close to the end of the season as the tomatoes are small but still every little bit helps. I am also noticing that my sweet potato plants are starting to die out. My plan is to wait at least another week before digging them up!

Menu Planning Monday

How quickly things change and how quickly we all have to learn to adapt. This weekend I was in quarantine waiting on the results from my COVID testing.  It turned out to be a much slower pace weekend and I actually felt like I was able to get things around the house caught up.  The good news is that I received my negative results back today but can’t return to work until October 1st. I am working from home so that is yet another positive. So your question is how does this effect meal planning?  I don’t have to plan my lunches as I am home!  I also gain around an hour each day by not driving to and from work.  The hour is much needed as I am working 4 nights in Guam and we have a baseball game!  We are starting to add some variety from the freezer so everything is actually working out on the positive side! Another positive we have managed to stay ahead of the left-overs with little to no food waste!

Breakfast– Saturday-Biscuits with your choice Sunday- Peanut butter and chocolate oatmeal  Monday- homemade bagels (this is a new and simple recipe that will be repeated!) Tuesday,  Wednesday, Thursday, Friday-choice of breakfast muffins, eggs, sausage, oatmeal, cereal or grits, breakfast burritos, bagels or omelets, French toast

Lunch-  Saturday– Sandwiches or left-overs Sunday-Lunch Soup Sunday has returned with Ham Bone Soup

Dinner-  Saturday- Keilbsa and potato soup Sunday-homemade bagels and left-overs  Monday- Salisbury Steak, rice, broccoli and applesauce Tuesday-Chicken sandwhiches and sweet potato fries Wednesday- Cheese quesadilla and Mexican rice  Thursday- Spaghetti pie and garlic bread .  Friday- Lily is cooking Chicken Florentina Mac and Cheese.

Recipe Challenge COMPLETE #52

WOO HOO  I did it!  I have tried 52 new recipes this year!   Today I decided to go ahead and try the last recipe that I have pulled out. Greek Yogurt Bagels!  I did not expect much and was just really trying to use up some Greek Yogurt from the refrigerator. I was almost certain this would not be a repeat because Matt is a bagel snob!   It was just too simple no para boiling, no lengthy process too simple.  I made the first batch before dinner with the intention of maybe having one for breakfast.   But wait, EVERYONE loved these, in fact the only real suggestion was that we add salt to the top of the next batch!!!  After Lily ate the only remaining one for her dinner, I decided to go ahead and make a double batch, this way we could all have one for breakfast in the morning!  I am so excited because these are super easy and really good!   I would even consider making these once or more a week if needed!   Not only is the Recipe challenge complete in September but  I have about at least 20 new foods to add to the rotation!

The official count is
Repeating 27
Maybe 8
No 17

Recipe Challenge #51

I am excited about two things today. First the weather has turned much cooler and less humid. I really like the summer and temperatures in the 80s but when school starts back and the pool water starts to cool down, I am ready for cooler temps! Today, it feels like fall!   I found today’s recipe as part of a Disney group I belong to and have had it printed to try for several years!   The other reason I am so excited is EVERYONE loved the Kiebasa Potato Soup!.  I even heard a “This is the  bomb”  We did decide that some fresh homemade bread would definitely make this soup better!  The kids also said it would be a good snow day soup!    Here is a simple but delicious recipe, let me know if you try it!

-3 or 4 pounds of small red potatoes
– 1 Kielbasa sausage
-2 cans of cheddar cheese soup
-2 cans of cream of potato soup
– 1 cup of milk
– 1 cup of sour cream
-1 cup of cheddar cheese shredded
-1/2 cup of bacon bits

I used my casserole crock pot for this but I am sure a regular crock pot would work.

Chop potatoes and sausage into bite size chucks and mix together in crock pot. Combine soups, milk and sour cream in a large mixing cup and pour over the potatoes and sausage. Top with cheddar cheese and bacon bits. Cook on low for 6 hours until the potatoes are soft.

Serve with warm bread.


The official count is
Repeating 26
Maybe 8
No 17

ONLY 1 more recipe to go! I actually have pulled out several to try over the next couple of weeks !  One goal achieved this year!

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!