Final 5 Things Friday for 2016

  1. Today was my final paycheck of the year. It was nice to sit down and pay out the bills. I also spent some time looking at the budget in addition to trying to get a good idea of where we are financially and where we need to head in the next year.  I am planning to share more on this later this weekend.
  2. We have been able to “earn” around $325 this month between apps on our phone and swagbucks. I realize that December is probably a big month but hope to earn at least $200 a month between Matt and myself.
  3. I get to enjoy a 3 day weekend, for me this is rare, in fact I think that this will not occur again until next Christmas.  We also don’t have any plans to travel, so I have made a list of things I want to accomplish this weekend.
    1. Put away all the Christmas decorations- snow village will stay up until MLK day in January.
    2. Help to build platform for trampoline and get it bolted in place. We also need to come up with a plan to get rid of the old one.
    3. Move the small refrigerator to the building and help remove the cabinets hang above it. This is in anticipation of beginning the next stage in our kitchen remodel which is to build a new buffet and officially make a dining room.
    4. Re-organize the closet in the shower room in hope of starting my “major project of the year.”
  4. I have decided that I need to sort through and get an organizational system going for all the kids pictures, art work and certificates. I have books for pictures of Haley and Amanda but realized yesterday that I have over 10 years of pictures in drawers and cabinets that really need to be addressed. I honestly know this will be a MAJOR undertaking but am going to set it as a goal for the year so I will at least need to address it once a month.
  5. We spent the entire day shopping yesterday, it was loads of fun but exhausting. I really am having a hard time staying focus today so hopefully some extra sleep will help.







Monday Thoughts- 12/26/2016

  • We really enjoyed Christmas yesterday, everyone was together at my parents on Christmas eve and then again for lunch at my house. We spent a couple of hours outside assembling the new trampoline.
  • I don’t have a menu plan for this week, first we want to finish up most of the left-overs and second I am just being lazy. Today for lunch I brought out the two cheese balls from last night and added ham salad on crackers. The kids were excited to eat desert since we have enough for several more days.
  • Matt and I both had to work today so I am planning to leave the Christmas decorations up until next weekend. I should have Saturday, Sunday and Monday off and may have half a day on Friday as well.
  • The new dining room would out great and everyone was able to eat in the same room/area. I have decided I want to move around a couple of thing in addition to building a custom buffet on the wall closest to the kitchen.
  • We have a water leak out front which means that we need to dig up the front yard yet again, 4 time this year, and replace the line that brings water into the house.
  • Santa’s delivered a trampoline that was 2 foot wider than our old one so that we are now going to have to add boards to the platform before attaching it.
  • I need to spend some time updating the blog especially the blog roll as now at least half of the bloggers I followed have stopped or moved on. My goal is to get it done this week.
  • I should get at least one post if not two this week for the year in review, but now I am going to go watch the kids outside and do my nails.

5 Things Friday- Christmas Edition

  1. With my ever changing crazy schedule at work, I ended up having a half day off on Monday and another half day off today. I did enjoy the extra time with the kids today!
  2. I am actually head of schedule with our preparation for Christmas Day. I should only have a few hours of work tomorrow and then be able to enjoy the entire day off Sunday! Here is a list of my original plan, I have been able to go ahead and prepare all three of the casseroles today. I let each of the little kids help with one so it took twice as long but really was nice to spend extra time with them.
  3. The insurance company has already settled with me in regards to my fender bender last Friday. I am have really amazed and happy with how smooth it has been. After discussion with Matt, we are not going to have the van repaired, instead that money will go to pay on our planned Disney World trip.
  4. December has been an awesome month for extra money coming in. So far we have cashed in $200 for Swagbucks and at least 50 via Mplaces.

Menu Planning/ Preparation Work 12/19/2016

The week before Christmas, we are staying busy in addition to trying to get some things planned ahead. This year, we will have Christmas breakfast (baked oatmeal) head to church and then home for a huge meal with my parents.  Christmas night we are going to have friends over for an snack/leftover festival. I like the idea of having lots of food but really don’t want to spend my entire day in the kitchen either on Christmas Eve or Christmas day, so I am trying to plan and get some preparation work done early in the week. Here is what our schedule for cooking ahead looks like so far, you will notice that I don’t have plan to do anything on Tuesday or Wednesday.  The explanation for this is my work schedule, if I have extra time great but otherwise I am still prepared.

Sunday- Pull all recipes and finalize plans for food.  Lunch will be Turkey and Ham, both in crockpots, squash casserole, pineapple casserole, stuffing, cranberry sauce, green bean casserole and cream corn.  Desert will be pumpkin and sweet potato pie.  Appetizers for dinner including cheese/meat ball, veggies and dip, chips with dip and 2 types of Mexican dip.

Monday- Cut up veggies including celery and onions for all dishes. Fry sausage for breakfast on Saturday morning and Mexician Dip.

Thursday- Sweet potatoes pies and pumpkin pie. Make cheese ball

Saturday- Assemble all casseroles and get everything in crock pots to start on Sunday morning- make sugar cookies for Santa. Cook cranberry sauce.

Of course we still need to eat this week and with all the planning and work for Christmas day it will be really easy to eat out without a plan. My goal for this week is no eating out!

Breakfast–   Saturday- Big Breakfast- grits, eggs, bacon and biscuits.. Sunday- choices  Monday-Fruit. Tuesday-  fried bologna and eggs Wednesday- choices. Thursday-  Choices Friday- Choices.  Saturday (Christmas Eve) Sausage croissants and hashbrown casserole. Choices include : leftovers, eggs, grits, French toast,, toast or cereal.

Lunch- Zach and Kendall have chicken and stars soup,  uncrustables  and homemade lunchable. They are out of school on Thursday and Friday, Zach has already requested pizza Quesada . I have salad, and leftovers.

Dinner-  Saturday- Lunch- chill  Dinner- cowboy beans/chilli
Sunday- Lunch- Baked Potato bar. Dinner- Chicken cresant rolls
Monday- Hamburger Helper
Wednesday-  Pork Chops
Thursday- Leftovers or Sandwhiches
Friday- Pigs in a blanket and movie

Lots of food and fun scheduled for this week.

Interesting Weekend and Other Random Things

  • I was heading home from work on Friday, when I was rear ended at a stoplight.  I ended up with a massive headache and a few paint scratches on the back of the van. Saturday morning my headache was gone. I did start the process of filing a claim to have my van fixed but I have a feeling this may take a long time and more paperwork than I want to complete.
  • Matt and I are continuing to work on earning money using several different apps. This month, we have been cashing out points for gift cards to use for food. One of the biggest expenses associated with our cheer trips is food. We have to eat at least one meal if not two or three each weekend. So far this month, we have use free money to purchase the following:  $15 Taco Bell, $10 Burger King, $25 Papa Johns, $10 Dominos, $25 IHOP and $50 Chills. One of the main reason we have been so successful this month is taking advantage of special sales.
  • Zach and Kendall have three days of school while Lily has four this week. I am working all week but we will start celebrating next Friday night when I get off work.

5 Things Friday

  1. I have just completed the busiest work week all year. I worked eight hours over this week. I am very grateful for this extra income but really do miss seeing my kids each night during the week!
  2. The cow we purchased is currently hanging. It did turn out to be larger than expected but I budgeted enough excess that we still should cover the cost without touching our monthly budget. After much thought and discussion, the way to account for this purchase is by dividing the amount over the first 6 months of 2017.  I will take that amount out of each month’s grocery budget and pay toward our credit card debit.  December provides an extra check for me, initially I planned to use to pay down our debit but this was a deal we could not pass up so instead we purchased meat.  Once the final cost for the cow including processing is paid. I will share what amount will be deducted each month from our budget.
  3. I am planning on doing holiday baking tomorrow. I checked out my baking list and hopefully have purchased everything we need for this fun day. We will make another batch of cookies on Christmas Eve for Santa.
  4. I am finished shopping for the month of December. I will continue to watch sales but unless the item is a need and at the lowest available price, I am going to avoid shopping the rest of the month.
  5. All three of the younger kids will be performing this weekend in our church’s Christmas musical. This should make the weekend go by really really quickly.


Saving on Saturday 11/19/2016


I will admit that I have been doing quite a bit of shopping both online and some in person the past week. Last weekend, I ordered the girls some new boots. Kendall needed a new brown pair and both needed black boots to wear to cheer competitions. I found a decent sale at The Children’s Place.  This weekend OLD NAVY has a good sale on jeans, Kendall does not have enough jeans to wear for a week so I ordered both girls a couple of new pair. The best part of both of these is that I shopped online and order through a link on Swagbucks so should receive back money on both. I did not pay shipping on either.

I went to Harris Teeter on Thursday and spent $90, I was able to save $160. This was a very planned trip that included 10 cases of diet coke and 3 6 packs of bottles. Everything I purchased was on sale or a rain check and my saving average was right at 60% so I count it a win.

I have been finishing up my Christmas shopping. Today on Shutterfly I order a calendar and a couple of other small gifts. I also used a cartwheel at Target for 30% off toys which was in addition to 5% off and free shipping for using my Target card.

I am extremely happy to say that I need to order one additional calendar and purchase a gift card which will be the official end of my shopping for the year.

Snow Village 2016

I finished in one and half days! I am thinking that the ladder may have speeded up the process especially with all the electric cords. I am so excited at how it turned out this year!

Picture overload!

The ladder!

The ladder!

opposite side or I like to call it the farm!

opposite side or I like to call it the farm!

Individual shelf of the farm. Lily LOVES the flamingo house and I am really amazed at how pretty it turned out.

Now some closer pictures of the ladder. Each level represents a different scene but together they make a mountain!




5 Things Friday 10/07/2016-

5thingsfriday-logoREDMost if not all this weeks event are financial!

  1. Several of our monthly bills are lower than expected this month including cable (refund on over tax), water and electric bill.
  2. I purchased an Orchard In A Box. We will be planting when it arrives in November. I am super excited!  We should be harvesting fruit in 3-5 years. This is long range planning for sure but in 5 years we will have 3 teenagers including a boy so I am fairly certain that our food bill will go up instead of down! I did take this expense out of our normal grocery fund.
  3. Zach is growing! I really this morning that we are going to NEED to purchase at least 5 new pair of pants for him. He and I will be heading to the local goodwill tomorrow. If we are not able to find things there it will be a major trip to Winston on Sunday.
  4. I have finished the majority of my Christmas shopping!  I still need to buy my nieces gifts and we will be purchasing pictures for my parents. I am so excited to have this expense out of the way.
  5. In addition to the orchard, we are going to add pavers around the square foot garden in order to make it easier to maintain!  We are using gift cards earned from Lowes and Swagbucks to cover this expense.