Wordless Wednesday (Almost)

We were out pulling weeds and watering this afternoon. Zach’s quote “This is a lot of work for food.”

Menu Plan Monday-6/4/2018

As I was searching for the last menu plan, I realized I have not posted once since March. I am seriously hoping to get back on track in June with blogging in addition to everything else. 

This is another busy/usual week for us. This past weekend, the kids went camping with Amanda so our eating has been way off.  Lily finishes school on Wednesday, Kendall and Zach finish on Friday. Zach’s baseball team starts a tournament tonight and will play each night until they lose.   We have quick and easy meals most of the week.  I also purchased lunchables for less than $1 each several weeks ago. These make school lunches so much easier and quicker in the mornings.

Breakfast- Saturday-grits , Sunday- Bacon, eggs and hashbrowns , Monday Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday- Choice of cereal, eggs, pancakes, grits or pop-tarts  Thursday- Baked oatmeal

Lunch- Saturday-chicken nuggets  , Sunday- Costco. Lunchables for the kids and I plan to eat at work several days. My favorite sandwich is on the menu and I am treating myself.

Dinner – Saturday- Arby’s  , Sunday- Shrimp scampi Monday- Chicken Nuggets with French Fries , Tuesday- Soft tacos/burritos Wednesday-Spaghetti with meatballs , Thursday- Mongolian beef? or left overs , Friday- hamburger helper.

 

Saving on Saturday-6/2

I am so excited to share this.  Amanda and three little kids are camping and rafting down the Dan River this weekend. I am getting some pictures and it looks like a lot of fun.  I have been putting off some much needed spring cleaning tasks for several months and this house is starting to look like a hoarder lives here.  I am going to go ahead and admit that the plastic totes from our yard sale were still sitting empty in the living room.  That makes this weekend a perfect time to get some cleaning and organizing done. I decide to tackle the closet in the living room on Thursday. I was pleasantly surprise at how good it looked afterwards.  Did you ever read the book “If you give a Mouse a Cookie?”   This is exactly how my life works.  If you clean out the Living room closet and takes something to the Linen closet, you realize how bad it is and you must clean it.   I was actually able to make a huge difference in the Linen closet using storage bags and rearranging plastic containers. I ended up moving a plastic drawer set from my shower room closet. Did you guess?  Next up was the closet in the shower room.  This is actually a closet that I see daily, so it was one of the cleanest and neatest but I did a little bit of straightening. I decided to move the vacuum into this closet to make it easier to get to out for the kids this summer. I opened the “extra closet” in the dining room to get the vacuum and here is where the real work and savings began.

I, first, should explain that this closet is the access to the garden tub in our master bedroom, and it is also the original front door to the house.  I have always “envisioned” this as an extra storage space. After Matt finished working, I shared my idea with him. The biggest challenge was that we really did not have any money to put toward this project. I am happy to say, we salvaged some wood and nails from my parents house/building last year and it worked awesome for this project.

Empty

full

Next we removed an organizer from the laundry room, to allow for more space. Relocated a shelving unit to the corner and add more storage for our food supply.  Matt and I both spent several hours and ideas but finally were able to re-use the wood from the laundry organizer and some screws that we claimed from my dad’s building.

I am super excited that we actually finished all this! No food is left sitting in the floor and we also moved the plastic totes.   Total time spent was around 12 hours on Saturday.  Total out of pocket $0 (ZERO)!

Five Things Friday 6/01/2018

Did you hear that sigh of relief? Do you have a clue what it means for us?

  1. This is the month, that we hopefully final get our feet back on solid ground. In addition, we are actively seeking ways to increase our overall income as well.  My prayers is that by the end of June, we will have significantly increased our income and can adjust our budget accordingly.
  2. The square foot garden should been to produce. We currently are able to harvest lettuce, basil and cilantro. I hope to add at least cucumber and squash to the mix by the end of the month.
  3. Matt and I will have some “alone” time this month.  For dinner tonight, we used a gift card and enjoy a large meal at Applebee’s. Total spent was $11! Amanda has taken all the kids with her camping this weekend.  All three kids are planning to attend our church camp which be for the entire third week of June.  Currently, I have scheduled myself an additional 10 hours the week they are gone to camp. This weekend, my plans are to finish up some spring cleaning and relax.
  4. School ends for Lily next Wednesday. Zach and Kendall will both finish on Friday. This summer will be a definite change as Matt will be working one or more days. We get to start using our “Wet and Wild” pass for the summer. I am hoping to go twice in the month of June alone.
  5. I am finally feeling caught up. I still have several things I would like to accomplish around the house but they are all things that are simple items that will just keep things moving smoothly.

Thanks for sticking with us!

May in Review

This has been a long EXPENSIVE month. I am so excited to say goodbye to May and hello to June. Matt and I both are still working on increasing our income and hopefully we can start to see increases in the month of June.

Financial- This is the worst month this year in regards to finances. The good news is that I receive an “extra” paycheck in June. My goal is to reset and hopefully get our feet back on steady ground. I blogged here  about most of the expenses. I was not able to cover them all but we are still eating and floating so I am so thankful to head to another month.
Total paid to credit card debit $1173 total, however this did not produce an reduction Instead we increased our overall debit by almost $600.
Grocery budget $475- Total spent $608.08. Yikes, It happened again and this does not include our cow purchase. I checked and we have been over budget in this year for 5 out of 6 months. I need to take a good look at this for the next 2 months and may in reality need to increase this to a larger more realistic number. We are well stocked and I would love to say we are planning to spend much less this month but I honestly think the kids are growing and we are eating more.
Gas budget- $280- Spent $285. This does not include the inspection, or tags on Matt’s van.  I also plan to re-evaluate this during the next two months and may increase if needed.
Kid/Summer expenses : Camp deposit, swim team, baseball games and we are not even going to talk about the medical expenses.
Earned $75-this is the lowest month to date. I am somewhat frustrated but extra is extra so we will continue to attempt to use whatever we can get.
Personal-
Blogging- 9 for the month. No goal met here either
Exercise- 0 total days for the month.

This is real life and just because we have a bad month does not mean we stop working. I am super disappointed but I lived the real struggle this month.  I am praying and holding steady for better times ahead.

5 Things Friday 5/25/2018

  1. I have a 3 day weekend! WOO HOO I am so excited to have at least one day to stay at home!
  2. Our square foot garden is thriving. I am so very hopeful at this point. We have enjoyed lots of lettuce and some basil. I am excited to watch everything grow but even more excited when we start eating out of the garden.
  3. Our freezer is once again full. Matt picked up our 890 of beef on Tuesday. Our chest freezer was a great fit. We have spent several hours cooking, so far we have 13 bags of cooked grounded beef.  32 beef and bean burritos, 12 meals of Salisbury steaks and 5 meals of sloppy joes (minus the buns).
  4. May has been a slow and expensive month. I am holding on tight to make it till June. We are definitely over budget with both gas and groceries for the month.
  5. Lily has not had an episode in almost 2 weeks (Sunday). This is a huge praise in our books.

Happenings-5/20/2018

Things around here are always busy and usually pretty interesting. May has been a really busy and expensive month. Lily’s strange “episodes” have added both and of course cause lots of worrying and frustration. I thought I would try to update on the happenings and upcoming plans for the last week and half left in May.

I am going to start a new part time job soon. It is a very unique experience, providing Occupational Therapy via skype.  I am still wading through the process of learning the ropes and applying for licensure. I am so excited.

We should receive our cow that we purchased some time in the next week. I have spent some of my time trying to clean out the freezers and get a good idea of what food we need to eat in order to store the meat.  I anticipate that we will make a 10 or 15 pound batch of Salisbury steak next weekend. I am also planning on making around 5 lbs of taco meat and turning most of that into heat and eat burritos.

In addition to our 900 pounds of beef, we are also scheduled to receive 40 pounds of chicken breast. Hopefully everything works out so that we have approximately 2 weeks between the beef and chicken. I am planning to make packets for grilled chicken in addition to cooking and shredding some to use in dishes over the summer.

I have been able to finish my hours of continuing education that are required every year and have successfully renewed by Occupational Therapy license. I was also required to purchase malpractice insurance which was more than I anticipated.

All three kids have decided to go to church camp this year. I am excited for them but this is by far the biggest expense of the summer. Matt and I are both anticipating being able to work extra during the week they are gone.  That should help offset the expenses.

We currently have approximately three weeks of school left. Our local store “Food Lion” ran a special this week on lunchables.  Most ended up costing $1 each while others were $0.50.  I decided that this was a justifiable expense and purchased enough for the kids to use for lunch every day for the rest of the school year. Matt and I are also focusing on bring food for lunches so that we do not add to our already, over stretch food budget.

The kids are practicing for swim team in addition to Zach’s baseball games and regular church activities for the next two weeks which again means less time to do anything.

Finally a positive note, I get to look forward to a 3 day weekend starting next Friday!  My goal is to get everything caught up so that I can enjoy at least 4 hours sitting by the pool.

5 Things Friday 5/18/2018

  1. The Square Foot Garden is looking AWESOME!  We are already enjoying lettuce that we sprout from some we had purchased. I am truly amazed at how much we are harvesting.  Everything is growing so well. I am so hopeful that this garden will help us reduce significantly our food bill this summer.
  2. I have really enjoyed baseball season this year and always look forward to swim team starting. However, these two overlapping for 2 weeks has added to the craziness of our schedule.
  3. Lily has been at a series of doctors over the last two week. The official count is 6 and that does not include our trip to the emergency room. I am very grateful for my decent insurance and our medical flex spending card that has help cover most of these expenses.
  4. I should start my part time job in July!! I am super excited at this opportunity not only for the extra pay but a definite change overall for me.
  5. The pool is officially open but with the weather stating rain all weekend, who knows when I will enjoy a relaxing day by the pool?