- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
I ended up only working 5 hours today which means I had some extra time at home. The weather here is rain rain and rain so in addition to having a short day at work, we also are home this evening. I did make a monthly menu plan over the weekend but made a small change already as Kendall was requesting hamburgers. Matt made a grocery store run yesterday so buns were bought and Hamburgers made the dinner. I am starting to get excited as we are cleaning out items and at the same time starting to re-stock the freezer. We have tons of squash coming in from the garden right now so I am hopefully to get this stocking up done quickly.
Breakfast– Saturday-Bacon and Biscuits. Sunday- Matt and Zach attended the men’s breakfast. The girls ate eggs and grits. Monday-Cereal. Tuesday- Breakfast burrito bowls Wednesday- Choices . Thursday- choices . Friday- Choices. Choices include : fried bologna, eggs, grits, left-overs , toast or cereal.
Lunch- Zach and Kendall have sandwiches, grab and go, and salads. I have a salad packed for Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday and leftovers for Friday.
Dinner- Saturday-Lunch- Pizza bites Dinner- -BBQ chicken plates from a local church
Sunday- Lunch- BBQ ribs, baked beans and squash casserole . Dinner- Leftovers
Tuesday- Mini Corn Dogs
Wednesday- Chicken fried rice
Thursday- Fried squash and something. I planned to freeze another couple of bags of fried squash. Not sure about the meat so this should be interesting
Friday- Steak Fajita
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.
Next we all started digging.
Total savings over $800 not by choice but by necessity.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Yes you read that right, I totally skipped/never got around to posting an April in Review. I decided to included both with the best information I have available. I know that I have some vacation time coming up so I am hopeful to get back on a better schedule. June looks to be a promising month and I am determined to make the best of it!
Debit Reduction: April- our debt increased by $300.
May- reduction of overall debit by $550. This actually puts our overall debit at less than it was in February so it negated the increase with our payments this month!
Blog Post: April 10
Work and our busy schedules have taken over but I am determined to get back on track this month.
Days on Treadmill: April- O
May- 3 days of water walking
Groceries- April – $601
Both of these were very high spending month of us. Our yearly average is $658 a month and my goal is to reduce this over the summer.
Earnings: April $170
May- $200- best month EVER
Matt has been able to earn around $1500 this month through a variety of side jobs and also an upgrade to one of this websites.
As I was typing up this update, I realized that April was a month of complete failure. I did not manage to come close to any of my plans or goals for the month. This is most likely why I did not get around to an update. I am hoping for more steady progress in the next couple of month
As we continue with our busy lives and race into the Summer, meal planning becomes even more important for us. We enjoy spending time at the pool. In fact we spent close to 18 hours at the pool just this 3 day weekend. If we are not diligent about making and sticking to a menu plan, we often end up ordering pizza, picking up fast food or Chinese on the way home. Today was our anniversary, so as a treat we had planned to order pizza, we spent $33 for pizza for our dinner. Even at once a week, that adds an extra $120 a month to our budget, over the course of the summer that is half the cost of the condo we rent at Myrtle Beach, so 4 days at the beach vs. pizza once a week. We have built in a little bit more flexibility this summer as we are beginning to start some harvesting from our garden. I want to use and maximize as much of this food as possible.
Breakfast– Saturday-Pancakes. Matt ended up making a super double patch, which means they will be a choice for breakfast over the next couple of weeks. Sunday- Gray biscuits. (I made extra gravy, to use as dinner or as a choice as well.) Monday-Banana/chocolate chip muffins. Tuesday- Choices Wednesday- French toast in crockpot . Thursday- choices . Friday- Choices. Choices include : fried bologna, eggs, grits, left-overs , toast or cereal.
Lunch- Zach and Kendall have sandwiches, grab and go, and salads. I have a salad packed for Tuesday, chicken salad wrap for Wednesday and leftovers for Friday.
Dinner- Saturday-Lunch- Hot Dog with chili and slaw Dinner- -Pasta salad with chicken
Sunday- Lunch- Roast and sauté squash. Dinner- Leftovers (Zach-hot dog with cheese grits, Kendall-broccoli cheese soup, Lily pancake, Matt- sausage ball, and me egg over grits and gravy.)
Monday- Pizza to celebrate our anniversary
Wednesday- Pork chops with squash and/or carrots
Thursday- ?? Beef and broccoli
Friday- Grilled chicken salad.
After starting this post I realized that I have not posted this since mid March. Opps. So I thought I would give a food update as well. We have used approximately 1/2 of our whole cow. One of the biggest problems right now is not eating beef 5x a week. We are actually starting to run out of vegetables which works out well. I did purchase and freeze 2 gallons of strawberries earlier this month in addition to make jam. We have to finish up out sweet potatoes from last year before September. A final food challenge of the month is our planned trip to Michigan at the end of the month. I need to sit down and make a plan, at least for our travel days, we have already been gathering gift cards that will make it much easier and decrease the overall expense.
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.”
- The extra hours at work do mean extra pay. We are slow regaining financial ground and extra pay is always helpful.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?
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.
Today was a really exciting day for me… we harvest our first items from our garden, broccoli!
They don’t look very large but they make excellent Mickey ears and we harvest two of our four plants. Just two gave us enough for 2 meals.
I stockpile for a couple of different reasons, first is savings, second is convenience and third is nutritional. Today, we used up our loaf of sour dough bread that I made on Thursday so I decided to make another batch. I have been putting dates on the items I buy in bulk to determine if I really am saving money. I used the last 6 cups of bread flour that was purchased in March 2016. The savings is broken down this way, $15 for a 25 pound bag which lasted fourteen months. That is $1 a month for not only bread but also pizza dough. Even if the cost of the other ingredients is $1 a week, I am still saving at least $5 a month on bread by making our own.
Today was also the day that we chose to go strawberry picking this year. The kids LOVE this and it actually saves us $3 a gallon to pick our own. We have enjoyed lots and lots of strawberries today in addition to make strawberry jam that will be enjoyed for the next year. We also have frozen a gallon for use in smoothies.
The weather in North Carolina is just about as random as my thoughts and updates. Yesterday, it was 83 degrees and sunny, today 52 degree with rain and wind.
- We are currently working on fourth week with no heat or air. I am doubtful that we will make it a full six weeks because of the forecasted temperatures for the end of the week.
- Our electric and water bill for the month of April are both significantly lower than budget. Our water bill is most likely due to fixing the leak that has been present in the front yard for six month or so. We are also utilizing our rain barrels for planting.The electric bill is from lack of heat or air and diligence in turning off things.
- The weather has been helpful in some ways. Because it has been so warm, I was able to begin planting a full 3 weeks soon than I expected this year. I have been very cautious but our last possible frost date is April 30th. I currently have planted 14 cucumbers, 5 yellow squash, 15 sweet peppers, 2 banana peppers, 2 jalapeno peppers, 4 broccoli, 2 cabbage. I also have planted 5 asparagus plants for the future. My oregano, mint and rosemary all survived the winter. The plant is to finish planting the square foot garden this coming weekend.
- I seriously did not think our schedule could get more full, but we were unable to attend piano last week because we did not have an hour of spare time.
- I am spending part of the day cooking ahead for the week. I am scheduled to attend a continuing education class on Friday. The following week, I am working only 2 days as Kendall has field day on Monday and Zach has one of Tuesday.
- Summer plans are starting to come together. Currently, we are planning a trip to Michigan in June and a trip to the beach in August. Swim team and lots of pool time will also be on the schedule.
- We are planning a yard sale in mid May. The kids are actually sorting through toys and clothes today to add to the sell pile.
- Lily has decided to continue in charter school for the next year! We all agree that this is the right decision!