Summer Saturday-6/25/2016

IMG_2604This is a picture that I took last night of Zach. I am truly amazed at it. Zach is the only one of my children who did not like the water. We spend a big part of our summer at the pool most years but Zach has always preferred to play on the edge or just watch others until this year. He decided that he was going to swim on the swim team and then decide he wanted to play in the deep end. When I arrived after work yesterday, he wanted me to watch him go off the diving board, so of course I had to take a picture.

The weather today is different, it is less humid but very cloudy. We spent the morning outside working in the garden. We were able to pick another couple of family servings of green beans, which have already been cooked and placed in the freezer. We also unfortunately had to pull some plants like our snap peas, which have stopped producing and several of our squash plants which have been attacked by the squash bug. We also tied up tomatoes which I really really hope start to produce in the next couple of weeks.

Lily will be arriving home from camp this afternoon so the current plan is to wash her clothes and we may end up renting a movie.

I have several items that I need to take care of on this not the best of days to go to the pool including a monthly calendar and menu plan for the next couple of weeks.

Bring on Summer play!

Bargain Brag 6/23/2016

I continue to stand by my thoughts that saving and couponing is a lifestyle not a hobby.  I was able to purchase this today at CVS for 56 cents.

IMG_26033 12 packs of Diet Coke and 24 bottles of water.

First is Coke Points, I have been adding points and spending points for 3 or 4 years. Today I had a free 12 pack coupon.

Next is CVS sale. I was planning to use a rain check I had 3 packs for $10 but when I saw the sale, I simply put my rain check back in my pocket.

Next, 50 cent off coupon from the CVS app, it was advertised in the sale paper is the way I discovered.

Finally, a $5 gift card that was earned through MPLaces. Basically this is an app that you “check in” (click the button) for place. I usually hit most of the 25 each day at stop lights on my way to and from work.

Total out of pocket fifty six cents which breaks the items down to less than a penny each!

5 Things Friday- Catch Up! 6/17/2016

5thingsfriday-logoRED1. Last Thursday night my mother fell and broke her hip on her amputee leg. I have spent the majority of the past week either at the hospital or talking with some who is at the hospital. Fortunately, she was able to return home last night. I know that the next 3 months are going to be super busy but I am so thankful she is home and not in pain.

2. We did pick up the 120# of chicken on Tuesday. I am planning a post with all the details for this weekend.

3. Lily leaves from her first overnight camp on Monday. She will not return until next Saturday.

4. Zach has been  undergoing some dental work the past couple of weeks. The process is both expensive and emotionally draining.

5. Lily was accepted into a charter school and will begin in the fall.

Prepping for the Summer!

June 9th- 5th grade graduation was the most important thing on the schedule, however this did not occur until 1pm so there were a few more things to accomplish today. Today is the last full day of school and my last day off while school is in session. We have big plans for the summer including using our season passes for the water park and enjoying the pool as much as possible.  I am also really trying to get a good handle on our finances and eliminate/reduce significantly our spending.  Finally, we are schedule to pick up 120# of chicken breast next Tuesday, an hour prior to the beginning of our first swim meet.

Given that information,  my plan for today was to  prepping as much stuff for the summer and next week as possible. We made a trip to both Food Lion and Aldi this morning to gather needed ingredients for our chicken. I am planning a separate post with the specific details of what we are doing differently this time when we pick up the chicken. I did cook 36 cups of rice.  I separated most of this into 3 cup portions to use with the chicken next week. I also made a double batch of taco rice, of which one meal is for the beach, which  went in the freezer but the rest is fast easy meals. I made a huge batch of egg salad and started 6 mini loaves of bread for some real good sandwiches. Our garden is starting to produce so I was able to cook up 3 containers of carrot, squash and onions to use in casseroles this winter. In addition I was able to freeze another bag of dill and basil.

I am pleased with the progress today and hope next week will not be as hetic and busy as I am afraid!

Random Tuesday Thoughts 6/7/2016

  • We are in full summer mood around here even though school still officially has 2 and half more days. We have swim team practice Monday- Thursday nights. Last Saturday, we ended up spending around 7 hours just hanging out in the sun.
  • I had the day off yesterday to attend Kendall’s play at school and both Kendall and Zach’s award day. Both got recognized for basically “student of the month”.  Kendall was very upset because she did not get a certificate on Monday.
  • Both the girls are going to continue with piano this summer, but Lily has asked to stop in the fall so she can learn to play the clarinet at school. I am kinda torn on if this is the best thing or not for her.
  • Lily is going to a camp away from home this summer. She will be gone a total of 5 days. We both are nervous and excited at the same time.
  • Both Matt and I have decided that we prefer the “patty” squash over yellow squash for taste. I may get brave and attempt to save some of the seeds to plant next year.
  • I am very relieved that our sweet potatoes have finally begun to grow and spread.
  • We are starting to get some cucumbers and squash in from the garden. I hope we planted enough to restock the freezer.

Saving on Saturday 6/4/2016

sosThis morning we are trying to make good use of this beautiful day. I am washing all the sheets and comforters. This is a total of 6 loads that are drying on the line. That is a minimum of 8 hours in the dryer. So not only do the sheet smell amazing we are saving 8 or more hours of electricity.

Matt is working on installing a solar power fan in the building to reduce the temperature, protect the freezer and prevent us from using the window unit unless absolutely necessary.

While the sheets and comforters are drying, I am working on preparing several meals ahead of time to help make the next month a little bit less crazy.  Currently on the menu is shepherd pie for lunch tomorrow, a cheeseburger pie to be frozen and potato salad to use as a side for pork chops this week.

We will spend the rest of the day hanging at  the pool. No extra money spent today!

5 Things Friday

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  1. Tonight, while the kids watched Toy Store, I was able to spend a couple of hours with our budget. I am relieved to say that I have developed a plan that should get us back on track for the year by August. We had several big set backs in May including a contract for Matt that fell through and the freezer.  I have been avoiding looking at the accounts but made some realistic decisions and have a plan. I know that continues to provide for us but I also realize that I have to work with the income we are given.
  2. Matt is on board with planning a Disney trip in November 2017. My current goal is to use Swagbucks to place the deposit in September or October. This trip will be paid for entirely from outside my income. It is a huge challenge but something I want to prove I can do.
  3. Our new freezer is AWESOME. We still need to install the solar powered fan in the building to help protect it but yesterday I was able to re-organize all the freezer in preparation for the summer harvest and chicken delivery.
  4. I officially have a three day weekend starting today. I am off work on Monday so that I can attend several different events at the school for the end of the year.
  5. We have four and half day of school left. I am probably more excited about this than the kids. Tonight was also the first official pay out for chores. I know at least one of the kids was upset. I am hoping they will pick up and do more chores with ice cream at the pool as the goal.

Random Thursday Post-6/02/2016

  • imageOur first official harvest from this morning. We have been collecting and freezing  basil for the past few weeks and have used a couple of squash, but this is the beginning of what I hope to be a very productive season for us.
  • Our new freezer arrived today, which gave me a chance to do some arranging and make a list of all the meat that we currently have on hand. I am excited and pleased to report we have meat for 75 meals in our freezers.
  • The bad news is that we also have a delivery of 120# of chicken breast coming a week from Tuesday. I need to get a plan in place of how I want to prepare and use this.
  • Given the above information, I am setting the grocery budget at $150 for the month of June.  I will need to make some purchased to help prepare the chicken but otherwise I am going to stick to Aldi each week for $10 worth of extra health options!
  • All three kids are going to participate in swim team this summer which is my favorite activity to watch. The only down side to this is that I have to find Zach some trunks that he can wear.
  • I will receive my extra paycheck the first of July, our initial intention was to make an extra payment on both the house and van with this check however given our current situation, we will be using this money to help keep things on an even playing field for the summer.
  • The kids have one more week of school left, I think we are all excited to have some extra time.