5 Things Friday 8-11-2017

  1. This is our beach vacation week. It has been awesome to spend time with all 5 kids and my mother at the same time.
  2. The weather has been less than ideal with storms and rain most of the week except for today!  The kids and Matt rode jet skis this morning and then we spent the rest of the day on the beach.
  3. i am usually a little kid person but I am really enjoying this age of the little kids. They are pretty self sufficient but like to hold my hand while walking,
  4. i have never had a problem with my life proof case on my phone until today. My phone got wet and started acting wired. It is drying out and seems to be working better so hopefully it is not a total loss.
  5. Our biggest decision of the week……to head home on Saturday night or Sunday morning…. decided to let the weather decide!IMG_2569

Wordless Wednesday- Baseball

IMG_2497

IMG_2495 IMG_2496

20479702_106057090088354_6406345951751573926_n[1]

Thursday Thoughts – Electric Pressure Cooker

I was so excited and pleased when Amanda purchased me a electric pressure cooker for my birthday and even let me start playing with it early.  I have been watching for about a year and it was on my list of things I wanted but could not justify.  I was planning to LOVE it!  But I have waited a full two weeks before writing this post because I really don’t love it.  I am not even sure I like it.  I am also thinking that once I learn this appliance and find the right uses for it I will LOVE it.  For the present here are some things I have learned.

  • When reading a recipe I really wish that it would say, Allow 30 minutes to pressurize.  This is major reason that I am not in love with it. I have been searching out recipes and reading where it says Cook for 15 minutes. So my brain says ok I can make this in less than an hour. Nope hold up, I need to add 30 minutes to my time in order for the pot to pressurize.
  • BBQ Chicken legs  will be the bomb. I even cooked chicken wings today without unthawing so this will be a great thing to remember when I have not laid out meat to unthaw and need a good meal in an hour.
  • Cheesecake is the bomb in the pressure cooker. I can’t wait to try this desert again.
  • Sunday Soups are going to be much easier especially beef stew. I made a trial run on Sunday and it was easy and really good!
  • Frozen ground beef is easier to unthaw and fry in large batches or even small batches and makes less of a mess than trying to use the electric pressure cooker.

I guess in the end, I prefer my Crock pot for the ease, clean up and convenience.

5 Things Friday

  1. Our square foot garden is producing just not in the manner we had hoped for. Today, we picked our first watermelon, we have pimentos and a variety of peppers. a few tomatoes and a few cucumbers. I did invest in two additional tomato plants that I hope will provide a second and third harvest of tomatoes to place in our freezer.  I have frozen green peppers so far and we have enjoy cucumbers and tomatoes.
  2. I was able to complete some summer cleaning this week and place 8 totes of yard sale items in the attic.  I also am catching up and reducing the to do list for the summer. The goal is to spend a couple of weekends just relaxing by the pool.
  3. One of the area that got a “clean up ” was our kitchen pantry. I am very determined to reduce our spending on food during the next two months. This will involve a couple of things, using the items we have on hand instead of purchasing anything new. For example, we do not have any red spaghetti sauce but do have 5 cans of Italian style tomatoes. I plan to use those to make a homemade version instead of purchasing more. Next to achieve this goal, meal planning becomes so important. I even started writing plans for August on the calendar in order to use some of the hidden items in the pantry.
  4. Because of my work schedule in addition to Tuesday being the Fourth of July, I honestly feel like I have worked three Mondays this week.
  5. Lily will be leaving on her first ever missions trip next Saturday. This should be an interesting experience to say the least.

Things I Learned This Week

  1. The amount of daylight and the time the sunset changes dramatic if you travel far enough.  In Michigan, I noticed one night that is was 9:15 and still daylight outside. I actually watched a second time to make sure I was not crazy and the sun did not set until 9:45pm.  We were on the far west side of Michigan but still crazy to me that it varies that much.
  2. Driving at night is ALWAYS the quickest and best way to travel even with kids that are “older”.  On the trip to Michigan, we left at midnight and travelled until after 5am,when  we needed gas before making the first stop. On the way, home our longest stretch of driving was from 8:30pm until 11:30pm.
  3. Check the weather prior to travelling and remember to take at least one extra change of clothes. I had everyone pack one pair of long pants and a jacket in our suitcases. The night we left North Carolina, the temperature was 75*, the same day in Michigan the high was 68*.  Our jacket needed to be in the car with us and we could have worn at least one other day of long pants if not two days with warmer clothes. It was also VERY wet in Mackinaw City. My pants were wet and I did not bring another pair to change into.
  4. Mackinaw Island is home to 17 different fudge shops, 2 Butterfly house and has a motorized fire truck and ambulance.
  5.  In Mackinaw City, where we stayed two night, most business are open from April to October only, including Starbucks.
  6. It is fun to just explore and take suggestions. One of my favorite stops this trip was the Soo Locks. We only ended up seeing this because it was raining and I asked on Facebook for suggestions.
  7. The fort on Mackinaw Island was taken by the English in the War of 1812.

5 Things Friday

  1. Today is one of my “extra” paychecks. I budget for 2 paychecks a month so on the 2 months a year that I receive 3 paychecks it allows a little bit of wiggle room. This time the majority of the check is going to travel. We are headed on two major week long trips this summer.
  2. Our garden is starting to produce. We are enjoying squash, zucchini, cucumbers and peppers. I have also harvest and frozen basil and oregano. I have been disappointed so far with the cucumbers but there is still hope. I am most excited about the watermelon. We already have one that is soft ball size with lots of blooms and other small one starting to form.
  3. The first week out of school has been just as crazy busy as the weeks before school ended. Monday night was swim team practice. Tuesday night was suppose to be Swim Meet but a storm cancelled that so we headed to Costco. Wednesday night- I got confused and we ended up relaxing at the pool for an hour. Thursday- make up swim meet. Friday- yard work.
  4. We recently lost a close friend who was the spouse of our piano teacher. The girls got a 5 week break from lessons but I am thankful they resume this week. Zach will be attending a reading camp in July so as you can see we are staying busy.
  5. Extra earning this month have been awesome. The current goal is to purchase Zachary’s birthday present with these earns in addition to adding to our Disney fund.

Saving on Saturday

Sometime saving is not a choice but a matter of necessity.  Late Thursday night, it was discovered that we had a major water leak. Matt spent most of the day Friday, figure out where the leak was and how to fix it. The leak was in the supply line that runs from the water meter under the foundation and addition to our main water line. The water was actually running under our foundation.  This was not something that could wait. After much research and discussion the only option was to replace the main water line. A professional would charge someone about $100 for this. This option was not even possible on our current budget.  We started working around 6pm Friday. Haley helped by venturing under the 18 inch crawl space under the addition (30 feet) and pulled the water line from a foundation vent in a the front back to the main connection.  We decided to insulate and use a second pipe for protection at the foundation vent.

IMG_0270

Next we all started digging.

IMG_0269And digging……..and digging……and digging……and digging.  Several hours Friday night and again for several hours on Saturday morning.

IMG_0268Next we laid down the new pipe

IMG_0271Finally we moved all the dirt back into the hole and planted grass seed.

IMG_0272The materials ended up costing around $150 including the 50lbs of grass seed that we will save and use in the fall.

 

Total savings over $800 not by choice but by necessity.

5 Things Friday

5thingsfriday-logoRED

  1. June is a very promising month with lots of fun planned. The little kids are all on the swim team. We will participate in swim meets on Tuesday afternoons starting the second week in June.
  2. June is also a three paycheck month for me. I get two of these a year. Because I base my budget on two paychecks a month this become extra money. This extra money will be used to help fund our beach trip and other travel plans for the summer.
  3. We will be traveling to Michigan this month with plans to spend a couple of days on Mackinac Island. I really enjoy this trip with Amanda, Haley and Lily (at 9 months) and look forward for the younger guys to experience something totally new and different. Other plans include time spent with Matt’s family and of course Bronner’s.
  4. The Square Foot Garden is slowly starting to produce. This week I was able to harvest snap peas and squash. I am trying something new and “pre-breading” squash for frying. I would like to have 12 packets of frying squash and 12 packs of squash casserole for the freezer.
  5. Matt discovered a major leak in our main water line late last night. We will be repairing it ourselves not so much fun but necessary.

Saturday Update 5/27/2017

As predicted, this past week has been busy. I have struggled this week and realized that I NEED to “Count my Blessing” more than I need to worry. So my plan for this update is to “Count my blessing, name them one by one, to PROVE what God has done.”

  1. The extra hours at work do mean extra pay. We are slow regaining financial ground and extra pay is always helpful.
  2. We scheduled a trip to Disney World for this November. I actually booked the trip almost a year ago. Because of the struggles we have been experiencing, I was considering changing/postponing the trip. However, God has provided a very unexpected but concrete method to ensure we can pay for  this trip. In the morning, I will be making dinning reservation.
  3. We are very blessed to be able to travel to Michigian this June to celebrate Matt’s father 90th birthday. This blessing is so much more real and important with the lost of my dad.
  4. Our square foot garden is growing and thriving, I have frozen several packs of broccli, made a squash side dish and the kids enjoyed a handful of snap peas. The plants all appear healthy and relatively bug free. I anticipate a good squash harvest this week and we should actually start with cucumbers in two weeks or less.
  5. The kids and I got to spend 6 hours at the pool today. We really enjoyed the time with friends and I was able to just sit for several hours.
  6. I somehow got a screw in my tire last Saturday. My brother was able to patch it on Sunday. The patch worked until Wednesday and then Matt was able to take to the dealship to have fixed.
  7. I will NOT be working on Monday. Instead the plan is to spend most of the afternoon/evening at the pool just enjoying life.

Seven is the perfect number and the number of completion so I will stop there. Do you have any blessing to share?

Update 5/21/2017

To say the last week has been busy and stressful would be an understatement in addition to the sad truth being that this coming week does not look any better. The business is cause by a couple of factors, first baseball and swim team are overlapping for at least 3 weeks in May. Next is my work schedule, which is entirely full with NO opening last week and no opening this week. I honestly don’t ever remember it being this full before. In addition to all the fun already mentioned, we have less than three weeks of school left which means end of year activities several days/evenings a week. I am so looking forward to a 3 day weekend over Memorial day. I am very hopeful that it will be an actual 3 day weekend but in reality I am going to assume that I will need to put a couple of hours of work in so that I will not be too disappointed next Monday, when I do end up working.

I am so very sad due to a death of a close friend this past week. At the funeral service today, someone said, “I did not realize that your heart can actually hurt but it does.”

Now on to more positive news, I think we have again weathered the financial storm and things are definitely starting to look better. Matt has been able to pick up some extra work which helps and I am working crazy hours which in the long run also increases our ability to stay overall on track for the year. I am planning to go back and post an end of the month update for April since it got missed, but May is definitely looking better and better.

Our square foot garden has started to produce small but taste items. I planted 4 broccoli plants earlier in the spring and have been able to harvest enough broccoli for at least 4 meals. This is really exciting for me as this is the first time that I have successfully grown broccoli. I may even attempt again in September when the weather starts to cool down.

One of my plans for the week, includes a HUGE trip to Costco. I managed to stay under budget for January, February and March of this year. But in April I was 50 over and I fully expect to be over by $100 or more for May. Because of the summer, I expect to remain at or under for June, July and August which will definitely balance things out a bit.

Bring on the summer with day spent at the pool.