October In Review

October is typically our busiest month of the year. This year did not disappoint.  I am actually relieved to finish the month and start with November.  I am going to make an effort this year to post an item I am thankful for each day!  I probably will do in groups of five or seven but we can always see how it flows.

Groceries– budget amount is $650.   $500  Under budget and back on track hopefully for the rest of the year. I would plan to reduce the grocery budget for November but Lily has her sweet sixteen birthday party the first Friday of December so I am going to leave the budget in place to cover that!

Auto/ Gas / Insurance: . My goal is  $400 a month. $456.79.   Not Met! Gas prices continue to rise. Currently they are above $3 a galloon.  We also needed an oil change in the van so that has made things more difficult than usual

Cash Envelope system-  Goal met!

Goal #4- Blogging- 15 post per month.  This is post number 8. Did I mention how busy this month was!

Goal # 5- Fitness– Goal is to exercise of some type at least 10 days a month.  Nope Naa

Goal #6 – Bible study- Goal-  Read or Listen to the entire Bible in a year. Need to find something to get started on this.

Earnings– NONE

No Spend Days– Did not keep up with this as it just was too difficulty. We covered all our expenses and that is what is important .

We had some unusual expenses during this month. We also spent a ton of money but in the end, I have been able to balance out most things. We are ending the month with a brand new Tahoe, new to us camper and a huge drive way!  Most of this was covered by Matt’s inheritance so we are grateful.  We also have to figure out how to cover the expense of Lily’s car.

I really really want to attempt a no spend November to keep us on track and help cover the camping expenses for December and January.  So here to a quieter and less expensive November.

5 Things Friday

  1. I have a couple of hours at home alone tonight without it including work!  Matt and the kids headed out to the North vs Central football game.  I have had an exhausting week at both jobs plus I had to take a Humera shot in the middle of the week.  This is my small price for sanity.
  2. The first person we decided to contract with for a driveway addition has disappeared along with my $1500 deposit.  I have tried to contact him several ways including sending a certified letter this week. My goal now is to reclaim the deposit money even if it means a trip to small claims court!  We have decided to add a full second driveway to ease the parking problem we have.  That unfortunately means alot of work!   We will be spending most of tomorrow moving dirt and pavers and eventually the square foot garden beds we built in the spring.
  3. The weather has finally cooled down! But fortunately for us it has not gotten cold enough to need heat yet.  We have met my goal of at least 3 weeks without heat or air.  Now I am setting my goal for six weeks without heat or air that would actually put us around Veteran’s day.
  4. Zach plays his last scheduled baseball game on Monday night. There is a strong possibility that it will be cancelled due to COVID outbreak that cancelled a game on Tuesday of this week with the same team.  The tournament should start on Thursday of next week.
  5. Because of the weather and due to the driveway expansion, we will likely dig up our sweet potatoes in the next two weeks. On a bright garden note, we are still able to harvest one or two tomatoes each week to eat. This is the latest I can find that we have been able to pick tomatoes.

Menu Planning Monday


Menu planning has been a life saver the past couple of hectic weeks. I have enjoyed pulling items from the freezer to bake and eat.  This week we have added soup back to the menu. I enjoy the variety it brings!

Breakfast– Saturday-Breakfast bowls. Sunday- Danish from Costco    Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday-choice of breakfast muffins, eggs, pop-tarts, sausage, oatmeal, cereal or grits, breakfast burritos, or omelets.  My goal is to add a day of baked oatmeal back in but we shall see.

Lunch-  Saturday–Left-overs Sunday- Gregg’s .  Matt made chill to take this week. I am planning to take a couple of days of soup and hopefully some left-overs.

Dinner-  Saturday-Broccoli and cheese soup from Costco .    Sunday-Taco Soup Monday- Chill    Tuesday- Grilled Chicken and pasta salad .  Wednesday- Walking Tacos in a bowl Thursday- Pulled pork and corn on the cob    Friday-Left-overs or egg drop soup if I get adventurous.

Sunday Catch-up

October has historically been one of the two busiest months of the year for us.  This year has been no different. I did make the decision last June that we would not continue piano lessons after the summer.  This has freed up one evening a week but I honestly miss hearing the kids practice. Hopefully maybe even next summer they will be interested in resuming but time will tell.  I am the only one who is missing it. The kids all had a teacher work day last week so they feel like they have gotten caught up on sleep which is great for them.

Zach has been playing baseball. Last week due to rain we had three games Monday, Tuesday and Thursday. Each game started around 7:30 which gave us time to eat as a family but most night we got home around 9:45pm.  This week we have games only on Tuesday and Thursday nights.

Lily chose not to participate in the Youth Theater but she is going to youth group on Sundays and also helping with the nursery on Wednesday night. She has complete her first 9 weeks of both high school and college.  I know she has been spending alot more time on school work than in the past . I am also very proud and excited to say that currently she has a 4.0 average!

We continue to sneak in an hour or so each Saturday to work on the green house. I am disappointed in how long it is taking to actually get plants started in there but once we get everything working properly it should be well worth the trouble.

Last weekend we purchased a travel trailer/ camper. We have spent several hours getting it all cleaned up and also trying to get it set up the way we want. Currently we are expecting to take ownership of the Tahoe toward the end of the month. We are starting to plan a couple of small trips to make sure we have everything we need. First we plan a 3 day trip to Asheville to visit the Biltmore house right before Christmas.  In January we hare headed to Myrtle Beach to shop and go to a show. This will be a longer 4 day trip as well as a longer drive pulling the camper as well.

I have been working in Guam several nights a week. My goal is to reduce my hours again to around 7 hours a week and a maximum of 2 nights.  I actually have only 1 night this week but it is a VERY long night!

Hopefully more updates and picture will be posted this week!   I am looking forward to slowing down and having more time at home in the next several weeks.

Spending Our Inhertiance

It was a very sad day in January when we learned that Matt’s father had passed away. The week that followed which included a trip to Florida was honestly probably one of the hardest weeks we have ever faced. We left all the kids here and it was a struggle as none of us are used to being separated that long or being that responsible for that long.

We are very fortunate that Matt’s dad had done lots of planning for not only his retirement but for his children’s and grandchildren’s future as well. He left all three kids with a small college fund that continues to grow each year. In addition to that we will receive 3 payments over the next year.  We received our first check in August and should receive a second check this month.

I have been really hesitant to share about this as it is a very private and sensitive matter but it also has some financial benefit and changes for us as a family.  I am going to share how we are planning to share the money without the exact amounts.

The first 10% of these check will be given to charity. We have chosen to make the donations to Envision Atlanta. This is the organization that we have volunteered as a family with and also one that we feel is doing the most to further the Kingdom.

Next we decided that we should make a couple of adult choices: paying off debt and medical bills. As part of this we paid off the car we purchased in November.

Last but not least for this round of checks fun! We  purchased a camper to use as a family. We ended up buying 2018 Grey Wolf camper home.  We have spent the afternoon cleaning and re-arrange items inside. And in turn “If you give a mouse a cookie” fashion.. we needed a place to park the camper so a driveway extension is already scheduled and we needed something to pull the camper so we are in the process of buying a new Tahoe.

Hopefully I can share some of our adventures soon!

5 Things Friday

  1. We have been slowly working on the greenhouse since we got the plastic roof on!  Today we have finished the watering path. We ended up purchasing a pump to place in a old trash can that will be used as a rain barrel.  I wanted to have 4 separate watering zones. One is specific for the shelf that will hold tomato plants in the spring.  Matt needs to construct the platform for the final zone. He has plans to add electricity to the greenhouse tomorrow!
  2. I am struggling with work life balance yet again. I ended up working 30 hours in Guam after decreasing my caseload to 4 schools approximately 20 students.  I am going to have to learn to say no and stick to it!   October should be slightly less around 20 hours is where I want to end up.
  3. The girls and I are headed to Durham tomorrow to go wedding dress shopping. Haley has already started her count down.
  4. Food prices are on the rise!  I am working very diligently to keep us on budget. I do have plans to stock up on a  diet coke sale this weekend but the goal for October is the keep the budget under $300.
  5. We have final turned off the air. We are still having days in the low 80’s but between working and baseball games, we have managed to survive a full 2 weeks without air conditioning. I would love to go the entire month of October without heat or air but I seriously doubt that is possible!  My current goal is October 20th!