Five Things Friday- January 30th

1. Matt was able to secure the contract for 3 new web sites this week! We are so excited to have this boost in income!

2. In an effort to reduce our overall food budget, I ended up cooking 5 crock pots of beans on Thursday.

3. Both Kendall and Zach are not feeling well, I am hoping to avoid the doctor but I am getting more and more doubtful this will occur.

4. This morning, we (Matt, Zach and I ) are attending Lily Honor Roll Assembly. She made straight A this quarter. Kendall did just as well but because of her grade they don’t have an honor roll assembly.

5.Work has been extremely busy this week. So I have stayed tired in the evening that explains my lack of posting this week.

Sunday Catch Up and Menu Planning

We had an unexpected weekend at home due to our cheer squads not being ready for competition. I am not going to complain because I honestly think that I am more tired tonight than I was on Friday. We definitely have stayed busy this weekend.  I will share a few highlights before our Menu plan for the week.

  • I have completed our taxes for the year. We are going to receive a refund but it is less than half of what we have received in years past. I am very proud and glad of this as it means I am letting the government borrow less of my money interest free!  We are going to use this money as a down payment on a family trip to Disney in November so everyone is excited!
  • Matt finished the required repairs to our new to us van including a new heater/cooling fan in the back. And we have started to make some other repairs that just make it look and feel better. The best news is that so far we have not spent any money on the cosmetic repairs such as ripped seat covers but instead used some supplies from the house. I am pleased to say that at this point, the van looks and runs as good as or even better than we hoped. I am really really enjoying the power sliding door!
  • I have also been able to keep caught up with an online Bible course  that we are taking.

Now on to the menu plan..We were able to stick to the plan last week except for Tuesday and Thursday.   Sonic offered 50 cent corn dogs on Tuesday so we splurged for those.  Because of the cancelled cheerleading competition we did not end up eating out this weekend so actually are way ahead of our low dinning since that eliminated at least one meal out if not two. On Thursday we ended up purchasing a chicken at Costco and using it for dinner on Thursday and a chicken pot pie for lunch today.

Breakfast-  Less choices this week unless I get ambitious toward the end of the week. Choice of  toast, grits, cereal, pop-tarts or Egg/Spinach dish (left-over last Friday). The kids can also request an egg any morning they remember it is available.

Lunch- Both of the girls have picked out and we have packed school lunches for the entire week. I am planning to use my soup at work most days as well.

Dinner-  We are back to activities 4 out of 5 nights this week.
Monday- BBQ Chicken Pizza with sourdough crust.
Tuesday- Beef Stew in the Crockpot. This is one of 2 remaining meals from our bust of a cooking day!
Wednesday-Chicken Enchilada- box mix we purchased several weeks ago.
Thursday-  Cheese Tortellini Soup-new recipe attempt.
Friday- Grilled Chicken
This should allow us enough leftovers to actually only cook on Sunday next weekend.

Finally we are looking forward to our Annual Party next week. It is one of the few times in the year that I just lay food on the table and the kids are allowed to eat what and when they want.  I have purchased everything needed including wings so I hope to keep the cost as low as possible as I am already way over budget for the month.

5 Things Friday- The Money Version

The bills for our really cold end of December/first of January have started to come in and it will be some rearranging out our budget for February. So here we go…

1. The water bill was $8 more than last month and $5 more than our largest bill ever due to the frozen pipe that burst and sprayed water for several hours before we found it.

2. The electric bill jumped up $85 this month. I am pretty sure this is due to the extra heater we are using in the Living room but thing that the treadmill and new fridge may also be part of the problem.  The good news is that it is not our highest bill ever just much higher than the past 3 bills.

3.The cable bill increased by $8 this month, I am so upset but pretty much stuck because of where we live and the limited choices in high speed internet.

4. I was able to reduce our Verizon bill by $50 a month by changing to a new plan. However the cost will go up approximately $30 a month when Matt gets a new phone. But $20 in savings is still saving money.

5.  I am in hope and prayer that we are done with all the repairs on the new to us white van. One positive is that the oil was changed just prior to us getting obtaining so that does help reduce budget for February, along with the declining price of gas it all should make my like cheaper!



I really enjoyed having the extra day off yesterday and was able to spend the entire day in my pajamas but……. we all overslept this morning which made me late for work.

I think I am going to really enjoy the new to us van we purchased. I drive great and has some super convenient feature that I would not want to lose but…. it seems that we are spending a lot of money to get it back to what I consider “excellent” shape. I am not even talking about the windshield which I consider a freak accident. We or should I say Matt has replaced the back brakes (no cost to us for material), replaced the front brakes and rotors, has ordered a new part to fix the rear heating and air and today realized that he will be changing out a transmission line as soon as the part comes in because it is leaking.

We have been doing really well with our goal for the month of not eating out but…. Sonic had 50 cent corndogs today and I could not resist!

Our budgets for the month are looking great. I have around $200 left in the grocery budget and $85 left in our gas budget but….. the additional cost of the windshield and repairs to the white van will easily take this amount and maybe more to cover.

I have been walking on the treadmill 6 out of 7 nights a week for the past 2 weeks since getting the one in our bedroom but…. I still have not been able to drop any of the extra weight I gained over the holidays. I have to be honest and say this most likely has something to do with the Girl Scout cookies that we purchased. I ate.

I have and really want to share some exciting news but… I am so afraid that I will mess it up if I share before it happens that I am going to keep my mouth shut for now at least.


Menu Planning 01/17/2015/Grocery Update

A grade from last week will be a “C”, we did eat out one time for lunch on Tuesday in the middle of the windshield problems and I grabbed a dozen donuts from Krsipy Kreme after Zach’s appointment. Total spent less than $30.  I am going to try and tighten the belt even more due to a water line freeze and a new heater/blower for the white van so I am digging in the freezer all week. I made a quick trip to Aldi for fruit and veggies. I have spent $386 so far this month for groceries with less than two weeks left.

Weekends usually end up the time we most likely eat out so I plan on BBQ Chicken Pizza for lunch, and Philly Cheesesteak Pasta for dinner on Saturday, both are new recipes but they use things in the house!  The pizza was a huge hit so it will definitely go into the cycle to be used again! Sunday I already have laid out a Chicken Broccoli Casserole for lunch and plan for leftovers for dinner as I have a church meeting.

This week will be a somewhat unusual week as the kids are out of school Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Goals for the week no eating out till Saturday.

Breakfast- Choice of grits, cereal, pop-tarts, pancakes (left overs from Saturday) , Baked Oatmeal  or Egg/Sausage Burrito (from last week). As you can see all these are quick and simple heat up. Sunday morning will most likely be biscuits and gravy.

Lunch- Matt will be in charge of lunches on the days the girls are out of school and will use some of the convenience meals we try to buy on sale. I have recently stockpiled a bunch (8 cans) of soup at work so if I don’t have any leftovers, the I am sticking to quick this week so no planning ahead with that.

Dinner-  The kids continue with another busy week this week so we just want to eat together if possible.
Monday- Country Style Steak, make ahead mash potatoes and squash casserole. I am only working a couple of hours so this will be an extra treat day!
Tuesday- Chicken nuggets, green beans and fruit
Wednesday- Hamburger Helper- from the stockpile so they will choose the flavor.
Thursday- I have to cook or if I get busy this will be a left over day. I am thinking toward Shrimp but will wait till see what is going on.
Friday- Pork Chops, mac and cheese and applesauce.

I am hoping this week goes as well as last week.

5 Things Friday

I just really did not like the pink background so I decided to borrow this one from Carla as well!

1.  I checked back through my blog and it would appear that Friday is my least favorite day to post. In fact I have rarely posted on Fridays.  This may be just the “encouragement” I need to hit my monthly goal.

2. My checking account is currently very disorganized and inaccurate. I had a direct draft come out earlier than expect, one direct draft that I cancelled came out even after being cancelled correctly and my pay day switched from Thursdays to Friday starting this month.

3. We finally got the windshield replaced on Tuesday but I have spent close to three hours on the phone with the company since then because they keep wanting to charge my account. The 3rd charge posted this morning and I  will have to deal with them again in the morning.  This company has provided the absolute WORST customer service experience EVER!

4. The sun was shining today (after a week of rain and cold). IF the weather is half as nice tomorrow we are planning to replace an outside faucet that broke over a week ago. The even better news it that this repair should cost nothing but time!

5. I officially paid off my two smaller credit cards. JCPenny and Lane Byrant. This leaves the Home Depot Card and American Express Card to focus on. Baby steps, remember baby steps!

Menu Planning

Even before all the fun and expense of the white van this week, I was trying to tighten up our budget for at least the next 4 months. When we start adding in the additional expenses, then I know I need to put on the brakes of spending.  One of the largest expenses for us is groceries and especially eating out. We have decreased our eating out significantly in the last year but I find it very easy to grab a deal especially when we get busy.  By Menu planning and doing a lot of prep work on Sunday, I am hoping to not eat out at all for the next two weeks. We have a cheerleading completion on the 24th so that means we have to eat on the road but otherwise my goal is to not eat out any other time this month.

Breakfast- Choice of grits, cereal, pop-tarts, French toast (left-overs), Banana French toast (left-over from Sunday morning), Baked Oatmeal (left-over from Friday), Banana Muffins (Saturday morning) or Egg/Sausage Burrito (made on Sunday). As you can see all these are quick and simple heat up. I am so thankful for these as mornings are not my favorite time.

Lunch- The girls have decided on and I have already packed 4 out of the 5 days this week. They both wanted sandwiches one day, so I can easily do these Thursday morning. I also have packed my salad for Monday and have cans of soup for the rest of the week unless I choice left-overs. Matt and Zach have a choice of what ever we have since they are home during the day.

Dinner-  The kids have an activity every evening this week so we are going for simple/convenient in order to make sure we don’t eat out.
Monday- Crockpot Rio Chicken  with rice. The rice is already cooked and can be heated. We also have bananas and oranges for a fruit this day.
Tuesday- Grilled Pork chops with potato salad, cranberry sauce and pineapple.
Wednesday- Chicken Enchilada- kit we purchased last week. We have all the extra stuff for these and will add applesauce or a can of fruit.
Thursday- I have to cook or if I get busy this will be a left over day. Since I don’t work on Thursdays I usually see what I feel like for dinner that morning. This gives us a little wiggle room as well if we decide to change plans mid stream.
Friday- Salisbury steak, rice, green beans and fruit.


Sounds simple…… Let’s hope so!


Life Happens….

10433159_10203603076506430_892410298076543538_n[1]This could be an example of how I viewed my life over the past week and that would be an accurate picture indeed; however this is actually the windshield of our new to us white van.

We purchased this van back in November with the idea that it would become a vehicle for us to use for travel, in addition to next school year replacing my car as a daily driver because all three kids don’t fit well with book bags and lunch boxes. Prior to the purchase we knew it needed work on the rear brakes and after driving home I knew it needed work on the front brakes as well. there also was a small crack across the bottom of the windshield which we talked about needed to replace eventually.

Last week, Haley’s car died and she needed to be able to drive to college starting Monday so we made the decision to sell my car to her on a pay as you can parent loan. With this decision, we ramped up our efforts to get the brakes fixed. Matt was able to fix the rear brakes using the parts that were given to us with the van and some good old fashion labor. On Thursday, we were pleasantly surprised to learn that we could definitely wait on replacing the windshield because we did not need to get it inspected until next year. Matt purchased new brakes and parts for the front and replaced those today and asked me to take it for a test drive.

The brakes work awesome, I was on my way to my parents house when the hood latch failed, the wind caught the hood as I am driving at 40 to 45mph and above is the result.  I am so thankful that none of the kids were in the van and God’s hand of protect kept the damage to things that are replaceable.

Total Expenses so far for this van:
$126 tags, tax and title
$119 brakes
$217 new windshield
$60 increase in insurance
$20 hood pins to replace the broken latch
$542 total in addition to the initial cost of the van

In January it would appear that Life happens to be very expensive.