July in Review

Blogging:  Goal: 15 per month  Post number 15!  Goal met!  I will be the first to admit that this has been a real struggle for me this month but I am glad to say I can accomplish it!

Weight: Goal to exercise 3x a week and to be down to 150 by December 2014.  The more I look at this goal the more I am wondering if it is realistic. However I am going to leave it in place for now. Officially I have lost 39#  since January. I am getting help with a medication but I am also still try to keep with the goal. I need to focus on the exercise part of this goal for sure.  I am claiming goal met!

Financial Goals:

1.  Pay off credit card debit by June 2015.   I did change this goal to reflect the purchase of the new dryer last month. I did pay off all the debt except for the dryer this month.  Goal met for this month.

2. Emergency Fund to $2000.  We are sliding backwards again on this goal. My emergency fund is down to $100.  I know this needs to be important. I just can’t seem to get it in place!

. 3. Groceries: Spend $600 a month  Total spent $690, this is over $100 less than last month but it has also raised my monthly average to $617. The good news is that we have purchased all the stuff for our vacation. My plan is to at least the first half of our grocery money in August for spending money on the trip. I know that in the next two months I will also be placing a large chicken order so I am not sure if I will be able to met even the average of $600 for the year.

4. Gas: Spend $400 a month with any remaining to be move to Auto fund for repairs.  Total Spent $381. Goal MET.  I am excited to see that we have finally been able to reduce our total gas usage for this month. This amount does include an oil change for the van.  My monthly average is sitting at $417, this will also have to be a goal looked at closely at the end of the year to determine do I need to increase?  I am also increasing this by $100 in August to cover our travel expenses.

 

Overall I did meet 4 of 6 goals. I am feeling much better about this month than in June. I do realize that I simply may need to raise both the grocery and gas budget by $25 to $50 at the end of the year to achieve a balance!

40# of Ground Beef!

Matt and the girls picked up our Zaycon ground beef order. Zach got to enjoy some unexpected big sister time with both Haley and Amanda due to our central air problems.

We were unsure of what to expect but after ordering and enjoying several boxes of the chicken breast, I was hopefully. This meat was awesome. Matt placed the 4 tubes in the cooler with 2 ice packs from around 10:00 until 7pm. Either of the ice packs melted and the meat was still very cold.

I had been debating and thinking about the best possible use of this meat. In other words what do we need to do to get the most use with the least effort. I am pretty pleased with the results so I thought I would share with you.

I frozen 10# raw. 4 bags of 1.5# and 4 bags of 1#.  I will insert that I have been using regular sandwich bags for freezing and have not had any huge issues.

We ended up using 3# for making Taco Rice.  I am going to estimate that this is approximately 6 full meals. We usually keep a container in the fridge for a quick meal. I used 2 of my side by side crocks to simmer  the ingredients while working to prepare the rest of the meat. I am going to estimate this as 6 meals.

Next up in the third crock is Sloppy Joes. I used another 3 pounds of ground beef for this. I am going to estimate 3 total meals.

Matt loves Salisbury Steak so we also made 3# worth of these which totaled 5 additional meals. Last Saturday, I used around 10# of potatoes that were not looking the best to make mashed potatoes. So this is a quick and complete meal.

The remaining 21 pounds we browned with onion to be used in a variety of dishes as it is needed.

Overall meals = 45 meals
Total Time= 4 hours including clean up with both Matt and I work.

 

Weight Loss Journey

On Thursday, I had my appointment regarding the medication I was given to help with my weight loss.  If you would like to read the start please go here.

I have been using the medication for 3 months.  I have also been very consistently counting daily calories and attempting to add exercise in on a regular basis. Exercise is my least favorite thing to do; however I realize that in order to be successful, I have to add this component in. I am finding it much easier to exercise at the pool this summer instead of the YMCA. I have increased the time walking to at least 1 hour per day.

My official weight loss is 25 pounds in 3 months. Prior to starting the medication, I had lost 10 pounds in 4 months. This represents a huge increase. I am currently at the weight at which I was after giving birth to Lily.

I am very excited to have lost these 35# and with permission, I am going to continue with the same plan for the next 3 months. If I am able to achieve the same weight loss in this 3 month period, I will not reach my ultimate goal of 150 but will be a lower weight than when I met Matt and at the same weight I was after giving birth to Haley at age 22!  I will be very pleased with this and don’t know if I want to push much lower however, I have three-month to make this decision so I am going consider and pray over it.

10 Things Tuesday 7/22

Not sure if Carla is going to post this today but I wanted to get ahead of the game and I simply LOVE this format for catching up!

1.  My BFF is enjoying a week at the beach, she had a hard time finding someone to take care of her dog so the little kids are dog sitting for the week.

2.This week and next week should be the slowest of the summer!  Swim team is over and the currently plan is to start cheerleading the first full week of August.

3.Both Lily and Kendall are enjoying piano lessons but neither likes to practice!  I am very impressed with how quickly they are picking up the skills.

4. I did finish the reorganization of the office, playroom and our closet last week. Total spent was $27 but the difference is huge!  I totally feel like my closet is finished now!

5.  On Sunday, I spent most of the afternoon, sorting our recipes. I filled a 3inch 3 ring binder with recipes we like and really want to make again or several times, a second 1 inch binder with “stockpile” or make ahead recipes and a third binder with recipes that I have printed from the internet and want to try.

6.Zach finished swim lesson but still does not like to jump into the pool. He did tell our swim coach that he was planning to swim on the team next year so we shall see. I am glad that he is able to go underwater now and is a little bit more comfortable without arm floats.

7.Because of the odd weather we have been having, dry and huge temperature swings, I had to throw out our squash and about half of our bean plants already. We are able to harvest tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers on a regular basis still.

8. We were all excited to realize that currently we have 3 watermelons and 2 cantaloupes growing so far. I am guess we should be able to eat one of each in the next week or so!

9.July is one of two months that I receive 3 paychecks in the month. It has really helped to cover not only our beach trip but also to set aside money for cheerleading fees for the girls.

10. We saw “Planes Fire and Rescue” on Saturday, the kids really enjoyed it but it definitely is not on my favorites list!

Food Facts

I realized the other day that groceries are the single biggest category of expense that we have each month, yes it is more than our mortgage payment! So it is fitting that I share some interesting, at least to me, facts about this number.

  • Based on the budgeted amount for July, we spend about $3.90 a day per person for food, toiletries and other supplies. That averages out to $1.30 a meal.
  • For the month of July, I am currently $4 over budget but I know this will go up by at least $10 due to the swim team party on Thursday, I need to purchase several items to use for my dishes.
  • Included in the spending for July are school supplies, I decided to stock up with the sale prices. I also had to purchase a new book bag for Lily and several new lunch containers. The only remaining supplies I know of for the girls are new 3 ring binders.
  • Matt and I have been shopping in our freezer today, we have no ground hamburger and no chicken at all.
  • We will be picking up 40# of ground beef on Friday from Zaycon. My plan is to cook at least 20# and freeze in individual bags.  The other will be used to make “sloppy joe mix, meatloaves (4) with the remainder to be frozen uncooked for anything else that may show up!
  • Our menu plan this week included the swim team party and at least one night of leftovers.
  • Over the last 2 weeks we have been attempting to eat most of the leftover food from Kendall’s birthday party. We did end up throwing out a couple of hamburgers but otherwise we have been successful. I am going to bring the plates, cups and napkins to the beach as well.
  • I have already cooked and frozen 4 dinners and 1 breakfast meal for the beach. We most like will eat out 2 times and use the final night as left overs.
  • I am a recipe follower- I am afraid to just try things most of the time because I don’t want to waste food; however, I made a chicken/vegetable casserole today without a recipe and it turned out great!
  • We have been able to cook and freeze at least a couple of packages of stewed tomatoes a week to use in the winter.
  • I made approximately 10# of mashed potatoes today because I realized that the potatoes in our closet were starting to go bad.
  • The current plan is that any unused grocery money for August  prior to our beach trip will become “fun” money. To assist with this I will not be going to Costco until after the trip in addition to purchasing only items at CVS for stockpiling. The overall goal is to add $300 to our fun money!

Organizing and Decluttering! 7/12/2014

I was inspired by this post. I actually had already decide on Thursday that we needed to rearrange/organize the office but after reading the post and seeing the difference, I decided that there were several areas of the house that also needed a little extra attention. So far, I have emptied the paper shredder twice and also thrown away several full bags of stuff. We have been able to reuse and repurpose many of the items, so the expense for this has been minimal $27 at this point!

In the office, we added 2 shelves to help eliminate some of the clutter on the desk top. I also purged the filing cabinet and moved some to a file box. All the office stuff now has a home in the office but it honestly does not feel any smaller.

My bathroom closet has also been reorganized…check it out…It is now offical
photoAll the containers have been emptied out from other areas of the house. If you notice, I currently have 4 empty containers. My plan is to feel these with school supplies as they go on sale in the next several weeks. There is also a shelf that is above the one you see, I was able to remove all the “extra” food from my bedroom closet and place on this shelf.

I also was able to clean and organize my desk, in addition to cleaning out the storage cabinets above the desk. I still need to spend some additional time in these. My goal for this area is the end of the month.

There are two additional areas that still need some more organization. My goal is to complete at least one by next weekend. I have already started working in my closet and it feel bigger with all the items removed from the floor. I am planning to move some additional storage bins from the playroom so this will not be complete until after the playroom. I have also begun reorganizing the playroom. In fact, I am hoping to repurpose an entire shelving system from it.  Today, I started by moving all school supplies out of the playroom and into the stockpile clothes so this only leaves a few more items to move to free up the system.

I am very pleased with the progress but hope to keep the momentum going to finish this job.

Wordless Wednesday- More Kendall Celebrating

Kendall chose to eat at “Golden Corral”. Her reasoning “Where else can I eat Chocolate and Cotton Candy?”

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After lunch we headed to Hanes Mall for a little bit of shopping and “Build A Bear”