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”

10 Things Tuesday

Decided to join Carla over at her blog for this  10 Things Tuesday.

  1. We had our last “swim meet” of the year today. Next Saturday, we will participate in our county swim meet. I am really glad to see the kids all enjoying a sport that encourages physical activity.
  2. Both Lily and Kendall attempted to swim the “butterfly” stroke today, unfortunately both were disqualified because of their feet but I am so very proud of them for trying!  Lily is now able to swim all four strokes, in fact she earned a first place in the breast stroke today!
  3. My work schedule this week is awesome, I get to work a day and have a day off.
  4. Today, I spent the majority of the day running errands for the kids. Our stops included the orthodontist for Lily, Public library, Education store in town, piano lessons and finally the swim meet.
  5. Lily and Kendall both have become excellent readers this summer. They are spending about an hour each day reading for pleasure!  Kendall has been work on the”  Junie B Jones” series.  At the library today, we were able to find another 10 of these chapter books for her to read!  Lily is reading a series called “Baby Sitter Club” in addition to some of Laura Ingles Wilder books!
  6. The stop at the Education store today has been the excitement. The kids enjoyed a train table and shopping area while I was in search of some Math work books. I am really disappointed to not be able to find a work book of addition and subtraction problems on a first grade level. I will be using flash cards instead to work on this skill.
  7. I made a quick trip to CVS tonight after reading about a great deal on Pantene Hair products. I was able to purchase 9 bottle of shampoo for $10.03 including tax. This is great timing as we were running low on shampoo!
  8. The little kids have been attending Vacation Bible School at my brother’s church this week. The church is providing a meal for them each night. Because of this we are still eating leftovers from Kendall’s party. I hope this will help to reduce our overall grocery budget for the month as well!
  9. Matt was able to make some repairs to  my car last week and it is currently driving like when we first bought it. The even better news is that he spent half of what we had originally thought the repair would cost.
  10. This weekend marks the anniversary of Amanda’s accident and Remington death    I know that it will be hard for both of the older girls so prayers are appreciated.

Weekend Rambling

I have enjoyed 4 full days off work in a row!  I am excited and feeling accomplished that I just had to share all that we have been up to.

  • Both Friday and Saturday, we spent over 5 hours enjoying the pool. I can finally say that I have a tan now!
  • The weather has been awesome, much cooler than in the past week and much cooler than I expected, temperatures have been in the mid 80s by day and even some 50s at night.
  • Because of the nice weather, I was able to spend several hours working not only in our square foot garden but also working in the flower beds around the house. I am very pleased with the results!
  • The square foot garden continues to provide us with fresh vegetables daily, our cherry tomatoes are awesome! Hopefully by the end of the week, we will have some full size tomatoes to go with our cucumbers and squash. Because of the really hot weather, I am not sure if we will be getting any more beans this year but the kids loved planting and picking so they will be repeated next week.  My most exciting discovery this week has been that we have 4 watermelons and 2 cantaloupes growing! I can’t wait to eat these.
  • I have been grabbing some good deals at both CVS and Food Lion this week. I will say that I was most disappointed to find that Diet Coke was not on sale at Food Lion after being told it was by 2 different people.
  • Both the little girls are really enjoying swim team. Lily is now able to swim all 4 strokes but needs to work on her endurance. Kendall is able to swim the back stroke and freestyle without stopping. Kendall has also been working on the butterfly but I am not sure she will be able to compete in this stroke this year.
  • Our new dryer arrived on Saturday and we were able to dry a load of towels in less than an hour!
  • One of the best deals I got at Food Lion was ground chuck for $2.67 a pound, this afternoon in less than an hour, Matt and I put together 5 meals. We decided to combine the ground chuck with venison that we had previously purchased.  All the meals were frozen because we are still eating leftovers from Kendall’s party.  We packed 2 bags of cooked ground beef; these will be used for Hamburger Helper or other meals such as pizza that started with cooked meat. I made a meatloaf and cheeseburger pie and finally Matt made a container of Taco rice that we plan to take to the beach as a meal in August.
  • On Friday, which was the Fourth of July, Amanda came and took Kendall shopping for her birthday. She purchased a dress, 2 complete outfits, a pair of shorts and a couple of Disney shirts. Kendall is so excited to have new clothes to wear!  Haley decided to spend time with us as well. She actually went to the pool. The little kids absolute LOVE when their big sister spend time with them!
  • Tonight, all three of the little ones are attending Vacation Bible School at my brother’s church. I am excited and surprised because Zach wanted to go and did not even get upset when we left him eating with his cousin. I hope they all have a great time. This is the first time that Zach has been able to stay somewhere without either of his parents. He will sometimes stay at the child watch center at the YMCA but other time he refuses so for him to want to stay is AWESOME! I hope the trend continues all week!

June Budget Busters

I mentioned several times during the month of June that it was one of the most expensive month that we have seen in a long, long time. I am going to go into a little bit more detail in regards to some of the things that helped bust the June budget. If you missed how bad I did for the month, you can always see it in black and white here.

One of the unexplained increased expenses was gas. During the month, I can not pin point any extra mileage that we had, there are no long trips. However, we were way over in our gas for the month. In addition to the extra gas money that was spent, my car also is in need of repair work. In fact, we spent over $110 of our July gas budget today to make some repairs. My hope is that with the repairs, I will gain at least a few miles per gallon and help reduce the overall expense. This summer, the kids have been super busy with something going on each day so that would probably account for the extra gas if I really wanted to figure it out.

Groceries are a much easier explanation in regards to the overage for the month. Looking at the numbers, I am over $200 over for the month but this does include a LARGE meat purchase that should last around 3-6 months in combination with the two orders from Zaycon foods that I will be picking up in the next several months. In addition to this purchase, I did purchase about 1/2 of the food for Kendall’s party during this month as well. I am been able to maintain an average spending of $610 a month for the year until this month. My goal is that with the meat purchases in addition to a lot of fresh veggies from the garden, I can lower at least the July grocery spending.

Summer activities are next on my list of June budget busters. During the summer, we are involved in several different activities that when looked at over the whole summer are relatively inexpensive however, each of these requires initial cost and most were covered entirely in the month of June. The list of these activities include pool membership, swim team and swim team meets, and piano lessons. Because this is the first time we have taken piano lessons, the purchase of a used keyboard and materials were also undertaken in June.

Finally on the list of budget busters for June is the purchase of a new dryer. Over the past several months, our current dryer which is 6 years old has slowly stopped working. It is taking 2 and 3 cycles to dry most clothes. In addition to the extra electricity that we are using to dry the clothes, it has started making very loud noises. Our electric bill crept up this month from $163 in May to $211 in July. I know that the dryer is not the entire cause of the increase but it can’t be helping matters either. Matt and I have discussed the dryer situation several times and he has attempted easier fixes such as cleaning out the hose. Nothing has worked.  The last dryer that was purchased was an emergency one. Kendall was barely two weeks old and it stopped so we were forced to purchase a dryer on credit. I did not want to find ourselves in the same situation again so we decided to do some shopping.   I currently have a Home Depot credit card and over the past month have received several promotional offers for no interest if paid in 12 months. Using a similar promotion, in the past we have purchased a lawn mower and flooring. I am very proud to say that I have not paid any interest to Home Depot in 2 years so I feel very comfortable saying that I will complete this offer in the same way. Interesting enough, I am scheduled to  make the final payment on the card in July. After looking several place and doing some research on the best options, we chose a dryer that was on sale for $599. It will be delivered on Saturday! I am hopefully that this will actually help our budget in the long run and will plan on paying off the dryer in 7 months just in case I need to stretch out some payments.

I have been some time today looking at our July budget and am very optimistic that it will not contain any more budget busters!

 

Kendall’s Party- Part 2 “The Fun”

Kendall’s Birthday Party- Part 1 Decorations

I have lots of pictures I want to share so I am going to start with the decorations and food for the party!