Square Foot Garden update

After spending many hours on both Friday and Saturday. We officially have a garden.

We added 3 12 foot beds that are 2 foot wide each for a total of 72 squares.

The bed with the wire climber is 8 foot long and 2 foot wide. The smallest bed is 6 foot by 2 feet. This is an additional 28 squares. This brings the new bed total to 100 squares.

We add dirt…

In total we have 100 square feet along with 22 spots for tomatoes and a sweet potato bed.

I am very happy with the look and hopefully after our trip will start to grow lots and lots of veggies!

Financial Update

This is actually a very positive and happy post to make for me. As most already know, interest rates for mortgages are at a historically low right now.  We are receiving multiple offers each week to refinance our current mortgage.  After some prayers, we decided to check into doing a simple refinancing of our mortgage.  We actually did a refinance seven years ago and lowered our rate from 9.99% to 3.85%.  I was amazed to learn that we would qualify for an even lower rate, 2.75% to be exact.

We decided that since we have a sizable amount of equity in the house (over100k) that we could also look at paying off credit card debit.  We did not see any disadvantage to this as in significantly reduces the interest rate as well as allows us to free up over $1000 a month. Our van was scheduled to be paid off in July but we decided to go ahead and pay it off as well. In total we decided to use about $25,000 in the equity. This allows us to completely pay off our credit cards and the van.

We actually received the proceeds today and we are debit free except for the mortgage and the car we purchased in November.  We decided against paying it off as well in order to help establish and build Matt’s credit.  It would also have changed the interest rate on the mortgage.

In order to reduce the length of our mortgage from 15 years to 8 years, which is the length that was originally left we will be paying an extra principal payment a month. Our goal is also to pay an extra card payment each month to reduce the length of that payment as well. Finally we are working to establish an emergency fund of 3 months.

We have been working toward this point for several years and it feels good to finally be at a stable place financially.

Square Foot Garden Update

We (yes all five of us) spent 8 hours working on the garden redo on Saturday. I am so excited to see all the changes finally coming together and starting to look like a neat and organized attempt.

First we started by putting down landscape fabric to help eliminate some weeds.

We added 3 new beds, 2 are 12 feet long and 2 foot wide while that third is 8 foot long and 2 foot wide.

Finally on Sunday, I started some green peppers, rainbow peppers and cucumbers inside  by the back door.

 

I am so excited to get this started!

5 Things Friday

  1.  I have been out of work for 2 days this week because of a stye that became infected and decided to spread to my entire face.
  2.  We have decided and completed a refinance of our mortgage. We dropped the interest rate by over 1 %. We are going to pay off credit card debit with what we decided to cash out. Our current goal is to pay a extra principal payment each month in order to complete pay off the house in 7 years instead of another 15.  One interest fact for me is that my first mortgage was at 9.99% and our current mortgage is 2.75%.
  3. We leave for Disney in 15 days!!!!!
  4. Our stimulus check was used for the following- 4 new pair of glass for the kids, the cost associated with redoing our square foot garden and paying for a condo on a NC beach for a week in July.
  5. Today, I have placed two orders one for lumber $602. and a second for dirt $550. Our trip to Lowes was an additional $135. All expenses for the garden!  I have increased the budget to $1500 after today.

Monday Menu Post on Tuesday

I did come up with a menu plan this week. Really trying to stick to it and use what we have.

Breakfast– Saturday-Biscuit King   Sunday- eggs and sausage links   Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday-choice of breakfast muffins, eggs, sausage, oatmeal, cereal or grits, breakfast burritos, or omelets. New  breakfast muffins included sausage and potato muffins and veggie scrambles.

Lunch-  Saturday–Applebee’s   Sunday- Taco Soup .   Salads were again on the menu along with left-overs

Dinner-  Saturday-  Philly Cheese Steak casserole Sunday-left-overs Monday- Chicken pot Pie Tuesday- Oyster Stew or Tomato Soup due to needing to use up milk from the fridge  Wednesday-Burger King or Arby’s     Thursday- Baked Spaghetti     Friday- Pork Chops.

Recipe Challenge

I did not set an specific recipe goal for this year just because I have so much else I want to work on. But I am still working through some recipes that I have print. And of course I am always printing more.

We have actually found several that are definite repeats.

First is the batter for fried green beans.
1 cup beer or white claw
1 cup self-rising flour
salt and pepper.
This is one I discovered by accident. I need to use up some fresh green beans that I had purchased.  The first batch I used a bottle of beer. The second batch I used lime white claw instead and it was actually even better!

Next up are Egg and Potato Breakfast muffins of course from one of my favorite food sites. Matt helped me make these last week due to our busy mornings that I just can’t seem to get ahead of! Of course getting up an hour early is not an option either. We have a batch in the fridge for the grab and go needs around here.

Last is Philly Cheese Steak Casserole- I used some left-over steak to make this. Matt described it best. It is not bad and I am glad you used up all the stuff we had to make it but it is definitely not something I would make again.

For the next couple of weeks- we are using what is in the freezer. Do you have a great recipe for pork chops?

 

SAVING ON SATURDAY-

This week we are again focusing on re-doing our square foot garden.  I am so excited that we have been able to save all of the dirt that has been ordered and put in our previous beds. We also have 2 large tomato beds, a sweet potato bed and 2 strawberry beds that have cost us absolutely nothing.  Our demolish phase is complete and next week we hope to build out all of our new boxes and get place and the garden part completed. This will allow us to plant the first few weeks of May!

 

Zach wanted his picture with all his hard work. He has even been working after school.

Monday Menu Planning

After a full month of left-over soup, find it and take-out, I am back on track with meal planning. I have the additional goal of keeping our groceries as low as possible for the month with any and all extra money going to our Disney trip in April. Another huge positive is that I am actually working less hours in Guam so I have a tiny bit more time to cook and such. On Sunday, Matt and I tackled breakfast muffins for the week. The goal was to make something quick and easy since we don’t have bagels this week. The kids were gone all weekend to Haley so Matt and I splurged alot and enjoyed not cooking or washing dishes.

Breakfast– Saturday-Biscuit King   Sunday- Biscuit King  Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday-choice of breakfast muffins, eggs, sausage, oatmeal, cereal or grits, breakfast burritos, or omelets. New  breakfast muffins included sausage and potato muffins and veggie scrambles.

Lunch-  Saturday–Burger King   Sunday- Time Square Pizza.    I assembled 6 salads on Sunday. The kids will eat left-overs and Matt also has 2 hamburger sliders to enjoy.

Dinner-  Saturday-  Mexican    Sunday-left-over or muffins . Monday-Steaks and Baked Sweet Potato  Tuesday-Baked Ziti that was found in the freezer.  Wednesday-Corn Dogs and FF.    Thursday- Hamburger Helper    Friday- Steak fataji  or Steak fried rice depending on my mood.

Saving on Saturday

Yesterday, I gave you the reason that I am updating and drastically changing the square foot garden. Today I am going to share a couple of pictures of our progress. 

The best part of these three new beds is total cost was $0.  The tin was salvaged serval years ago from a car shed that my brother was tearing down. The wood and screws were from the previous square foot garden beds which are about half way removed. I also re used pavers from the previous bed.  I should be able to grow a total of 22 tomato plants and enough sweet potatoes to last us an entire year with just these three beds.  This finally picture is just to show where we are at curently.

Lots more work and cost to follow but for the first 2 days of actually work we are at zero cost!