October in Review

October has turned out to be a very busy month.  I ended up taking on more students in Guam.  The upside is that I have met my goal of purchasing our tickets to Disney.  I am also planning to pay our entire December trip from Guam money as well!   Another change in October is that we started our “smart home” with the purchase of an electronic door lock and several “alexa” devices. So far, I am enjoying the convivence.  Another HUGE milestone is that we managed to reduce our overall debit by $500. It may sound like a small step but it is a step in the right direction.

Gardening-  We are expecting our first frost today (October 31st). So we decided to go ahead and pull out the rest of the summer garden. I managed to freeze two cups of green peepers and roasted over a dozen pimentos.  We also hung up basil to dry, started a small basil plant inside and found a few tomatoes.

Goal #1 Grocery Budget of $550- The total for the month is $552.  This did include the huge ($450) Costco trip that I made the end of September. I am very impressed with this budget and plan to stay around $200 for the month of November.

Goal #2 – Record and keep up with gas/ auto purchase- $248.66 . This is actually less than I had anticipate. Currently any extra in the budget is going to reduce debit. I am very hopeful to totally pay off our gas credit card by the end of the year.

Goal #3-Use a cash envelope system for everything possible!. Becoming easier!  I am currently trying to save the additional money needed for the Memory Maker for our Disney Trip. I think that this will become easier once we finish baseball games.

Goal #4- Blogging- 15 post per month. This is post number 10 for the month! Between working and baseball I am still struggling to make time for everything.

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 in September. I did manage to try 3 new recipes this month so I am very happy.

Earnings_ $30. Swagbucks are really really limiting our earning so I don’t anticipate this to improve significantly before the end of the year. Because of some internet issues this is becoming more of a time waster than anything else. I am going to stick with it to the end of the year but this is something that I may have to re-evaluate and stop until summer.

November appears to be another very different from the ordinary month. I do know that for the first time in a long time, we will be having Thanksgiving at my house and will not be joining my brother.  Change is hard and the unknown is very hard for me, I am hoping by the end of November the world will have returned to a more normal place.

Thursday Thoughts

  • Today is a remote learning day for both myself, Zach and Kendall. We are expecting serve weather from tropical storm Zeta to move through this afternoon. Zach is already enjoying watching the wind and rain bands move through. It is very different based on the fact that we are all working on school related task but at home. I will admit it takes the fun out of missing school but should make the schedule much easier to manage.
  • Following the storm today, it is suppose to turn much cooler.  With freezing temperatures on Sunday night and Monday night. We still have not turned on heat or air so I am hopefully to make it to at least Monday or Tuesday before needing to turn the heat on.  We are also going to have to harvest the remaining peppers and tomato from the garden. This is actually the longest that I can remember having items still growing.
  • November is a very expensive month for us. We have car insurance ($408.27), Microsoft renewal ($100), my web site renewal ($30) and the rest of Christmas presents.   Thankfully I have a ton of hours in Guam this month. I am hoping to cover most of our December Disney trip. A sad realization is that I receive a paycheck this Friday but will not receive another check until after Thanksgiving.
  • We survived our busiest week so far this year!!  I even have a list on the board of task to complete on Saturday.
  • Budget wise October has been a great month. We are at $250 for gas and $550 for groceries.  I am planning to hit my goal of paying of one credit card by the end of December.  We also should not use most of the grocery budget for November and December as our freezers are full. I am now looking a small holes such as soups for lunch and other convenient items. I have also restocked the paper supplies as well.

Saving on Saturday

The front of our house needed some work. We have not changed anything since we built the living room addition prior to Lily’s birth so 15 to 16 years ago. Here is where we started.

Last weekend, when the kids were in Durham we decided to purchase a new light, replace the hardware for both the storm door and paint.  We spent around $300  total for everything, in comparison it would be around $2000 to replace the door and the side lights.   I am really LOVING the difference!


5 Friday Facts

  1.  I am super excited because today, I received our electric bill for the month of October. It is $146.70!!!!!!!!!!!!! This is the lowest our electric bill has EVER been!  It is actually $120 lower than our September bill.  We have been without heat and air for all of the month so I was expecting it to me lower but this just blows me away!  One interesting fact and the only difference from previous year is that in September we had our meter replaced. It now reports directly to the Energy company instead of being read by a person.
  2.  We are continue to enjoy our new “Alexa” purchases.  I am actually hopefully to start changing over several different items to make it more convenient. Zach has even gone so far as to request a echo dot for Christmas.
  3. The weather is continuing on the mild side with temperatures in the 70 and close to 80.  I am enjoying this which allows us to continue to use less electricity. My current goal is to not use heat or air until November. Another benefit of the weather is that we are still getting tomato, pimentos  and green peppers from our garden.
  4. We ended up purchasing a pressure washer last weekend and Matt has been able to clean both the drive way and the siding. We also have finished our entry way remodel. I am planning to share pictures tomorrow.
  5. I had debated making this is  own post but decided it was not long enough.  Next week is looking to be our busiest week of the fall season.  Monday- I am scheduled to work at least one extra hour but I am going to plan on 2 or more additional hours. Kendall starts cheerleading try outs that end at 5pm and Zach has a baseball game at 7:30. Tuesday- Kendall has cheerleading tryouts and Zach has a ball game at 7:30. Wednesday- Ball game at 7:30 which means no youth or kids club.  I am also scheduled to work for 2.5 hours. Thursday-piano at 4. I am scheduled to work at least 3.5 hours.  Which brings us to Friday……..YIKES!

Recipe Challenge #55

I am actually back to have fun with this recipe challenge now that it is complete.  Last weekend I found a couple of new recipes that I plan to try.  This one turned out to be a hit.  This was found on Facebook.  When I googled it, I found several different sites to give credit to so instead here is the recipe. Lily actually put it all together and we are eating left-overs because it was so good.

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Perfect Corn Casserole

1 box Jiffy cornbread mix
1 can cream corn
1 can whole kernel corn drained
2 eggs
1 stick butter melted
1 Cup Sour cream
Mix all together in casserole adding the sour cream last.
Bake in 350 oven for 45 minutes.
The official count is
Repeating 29
Maybe 8
No 18

5 Things Friday

  1. I am full and over the top full in Guam.  I am currently serving 15 schools in Guam and attempting to attend all OT related IEP meetings. What this means is 10-12 hours a week currently.  I have been told that i should be able to reduce my hours by January. I am waiting to decide if this is something I want to do or just continue at the rate I am at.  Currently, I am able to handle most of it but my leisure time and blog posting will be very limited for the next month.
  2. Lily, Kendall and Zach are spending the weekend in Durham with Haley. This is the first time in YEARS that Matt and i have had a free weekend.  Last night we went on a date to Applebee’s  Today we are going to attempt to update the front door.
  3. We are definitively in Fall.  My goal is to go without heat until November 1st.  Our October electric bill was significantly higher than usual due to the summer heat lasting well in September. So far so good as the house is currently sitting at 70 and the outside temperature is 47.
  4. I did a fair amount of shopping on Amazon prime day. Since we are updating our front door including a new keyless entry, we decided to go ahead and start moving toward a smart home. I purchased several echo dots which came with a couple of smart plugs and smart light bulbs and  2 echo flexs (one in my office and one in the kitchen). So far we are enjoying the novelty of them. I also purchased several Christmas gifts and cheap ear buds.
  5. Our December trip will include Braxton, Haley, her boyfriend David and his kids!  We are currently at 60 days!

Recipe Challenge #54

Kendall has decided that she likes baking and wants to do more of it. Last week, she made cupcakes from a  box and brownies from an older recipe.  I found this recipe for Paula Deen Pumpkin Bars on another blog and decided we needed to try!

This is definitely a recipe that takes some time and effort. I did help a little with lifting and pouring and smoothing but not enough to take any of the credit. These pumpkin bars turned out perfect. I actually preferred just frosted and a slight bit warm but everyone else said they preferred the total cool set for a day version.

The official count is
Repeating 28
Maybe 8
No 18

Saving On Saturday

Today we focused on using what we had.  Kendall has been spending ALOT of time in her room lately. Literally staring at the walls. She decided this week she wanted to remove a couple of shelves and make it more decorative. Here is the before picture

Matt was able to cut out the round holders for her “Minnie Ears” using a drill bit that was purchased to help place lights in the ceiling. The wood was from some plywood, he salvaged from cleaning out my Dad’s shed several years ago. The current debate is to paint the circles white or black. I will update once this is finished.

Of course we re-purposed the shelf to use in the kitchen.

Another huge saving today is by re-using a device instead of purchasing a new one. This will take a little explaining but hold on. Zach is currently using the family phone. It is a Iphone 6 plus and the battery life is bad like less than 2 hours.  When we flew to Disney in August, he used the iPad to watch movies and play games on the plane.  Braxton is going with us in December and we have been trying to work out what device both he and Zach could use for entertainment. I have been looking at just replacing Zach’s phone.  But today, I spotted Lily’s old IPad mini.  It is probably close to 10 years old.  We ended up charging it cleaning off everything that we could and loaded around 10 toddler appropriate games for Braxton to use. We are working on figuring out how we could download at least one movie for him to watch. This device is so old that Disney plus nor Amazon prime will run on it.  We are looking into an Itunes gift card that would be the easiest way and cost less than $25 vs $1000 for a new phone.

So today has been a really good saving day!