Emotions

Sad                                                        Exhausted
Frustrated
Sad                                                            Tired
Upset
Unbearable                                              Peaceful                      Exhausted
Strange
Sad                                                               Quiet

Relieved                                Sad
Exhausted

Last Friday morning the unthinkable happened, my father had a massive heart attack and passed away. This was totally unexpected and unacceptable. We are all struggling to make sense of this. Today is Tuesday, I know that I can’t change what has happened and things are being to make at least a little sense. We have accepted that we are not going to be fully functioning for a long time. We also have realized the need to love and support each other. Today, my mother is able to live alone and thanks to God’s provision which is nothing short of a miracle, she is financially able to continue with a “normal” life. I am fortunate enough to have two additional days out of work. I will return to work on Friday, never returning to normal.  I miss my dad, I miss the time he should have spent with his grandkids. I am sad for myself and my mother.  As you can probably tell my emotions are all over the place but above all I am EXHAUSTED. I am not sure when or how much I will blog over the next weeks or months. I am certain we need to continue to work toward a more steady financial place but not sure what that place will look like. Random words on a page, seems to fit my life right now.

January in Review- The Numbers

January ended up being a good start to 2017 overall. I know that I can do better at some things but hey at least there is effort.  Here is a look at some of the numbers

Debit Reduction: $115 (this is an overall number which makes more sense to me. This is the amount that we reduced our overall debit not including our van or mortgage.
Blog Post: 13
Days on Treadmill: 2  (I personally think I should get credit for one more day of walking around the Natural Science Museum in Raleigh).
Low Spend Challenge: We did very well with this. We did not eat out except for our time in Raleigh for the Cheer competition. I had purchased gift cards to use for these meals and spent an additional $20! This is a major accomplishment.
Eat out of Pantry Challenge: $162 spent of Groceries. My initial goal was $100 but this is  a huge accomplishment/success especially when it includes the purchase of 40 pounds of chicken breast. I know that our spending in February will be much higher due to the need to purchase some basic supplies in addition to our “junk food Sunday”.  I will set the goal to spend less than $500 for the entire month.
Gas: $260 spent.
Earnings:  Matt and I combined for a total of $200 this month from our apps and Swagbucks. This is less than December but after doing some investigation this is a steady amount to work toward.

January was overall  a good month. I did not accomplish everything but progress is achieved no matter how small or how long it takes.

February promises to be a very busy month with 2-3 cheer competitions, church and work commitments. My goal will be to file our taxes prior to the end of the month!

 

 

Dinning Room Cabinet

This is the first of what I think will be 3 custom cabinet that I have envisioned for our dining room.  This is a very functional cabinet so I am so excited about it. I will admit that I had originally planned one day to complete this task which including the electric wiring from the breaker box of 4 new outlets. This project ended up taking us 2 full days to complete. The most exciting part of this is the cost. We spent ZERO out of pocket for this. Here are the details on how we accomplished this. First we salvaged the hinges and handles from the cabinets that were removed several weeks ago. Next we used gift cards to Lowes that we earned via swagbucks.  I am so excited to share this first step in the dining room.

step one, including wiring of the new outlets

step one, including wiring of the new outlets

Complete frame for the cabinet

Complete frame for the cabinet

Adding the shelves

Adding the shelves, check out the mess on the floor I want to hide.

front view

front view

side view

side view

final project..... It looks so simple and clean!

final project….. It looks so simple and clean!

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.
  5. MERRY CHRISTMAS EVE EVE

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
Tuesday-Leftovers
Wednesday-  Pork Chops
Thursday- Leftovers or Sandwhiches
Friday- Pigs in a blanket and movie

Lots of food and fun scheduled for this week.

Thanksgiving Thoughts

There is no doubt in my mind how blessed we are as a society, a country, a family and even personally. I could list a million things that I am thankful for but does that make me any better of a person or blogger. I personally don’t think so. I know I am blessed and I need to use gratitude every day all day and not just one day a year. So instead of a list of things I am thankful for, I am going to tell you some special event and things that are happening in my life.

We are currently in Sandy Springs Georgia which is just outside of Atlanta. Both the older girls have work commitments so it is just Matt, myself and the not so little kids. We spent today with Matt’s sister, her family and Matt’s Dad. The kids had a truely special treat by going to “Legoland” with their two older cousins this morning. They really enjoyed it and I honestly could not be sure who had more fun the big or little kids. The rest of the day was spent enjoying conservation and tine with family that always loved not always close enough to share with.
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I am also extremely grateful for a daily devotional given to me by my sister in law called “Daily Gratitude”. I can’t wait to start getting a daily reminder of who and why I am blessed.

The plans for tomorrow are very vague at this point but I do know that we have “Afternoon Tea ” schedule at the American Girl Bistrow, my girls are so excited and so am I.

Thursday Thoughts

Many things are going on around here, so are money saving and some are just fun so I thought I would share some .

  • Matt is working on digging holes for our new trees that are scheduled to arrive today. I purchased 6 fruit trees last month. I realize that these may take several (3-5) years to produce but I am so excited to be able to do some eatable landscaping.  We are getting 2 apples and 2 pear trees, so they will cross pollinate, 1 cherry and 1 peach tree.  They are going in our backyard along the property line to create a natural boundary.
  • My goal for the weekend is to get my snow village up and in place. I am so excited to have time to spend on this project this year without feeling rushed. I will refrain from placing other Christmas decorations until after Thanksgiving but the snow village can go up now and stay til at least January.
  • We picked up our Zaycon steak order this morning! Both boxes were less than one pound off the promised weight so we have a $15 credit to use on our next order. The steak look amazing! Can’t wait to try them tomorrow night.
  • Menu planning has definitely not gone as planned this week. Last weekend we spent trying to finish up left-overs and made some head way but not enough. We are not eating out just not eating what is scheduled. Today, I am making broccoli-cheese soup and steak will be on Friday. I am betting that Saturday will be left-overs again.
  • No grocery spending this week!
  • The temperature has finally turned to fall and we ended up turning on our heat on Sunday. Our first hard freeze is expected this weekend which means the end of tomatoes and green peppers. I did plant some lettuce and we are getting a small amount from that so I hope that will continue for a few more weeks.

Saving on Saturday-11/05/2016

  • The weather is continuing to cooperate. We have not used heat or air in 45 days! This may one of the longest streaks ever! I am very hopefully to make it till the 15th of November.
  • I washed and hung out to dry 4 loads of sheets today. That saved at least 4 hours of dryer time. Matt was able to wash and hang out a load of my uniforms earlier in the week as well.
  • Eating left-overs, I am in charge of cooking on the weekend and I usually enjoy cooking at least 3 meals in a two day period.  This weekend, beginning on Friday, we are eating out of the fridge. I will make a pot of soup for lunch tomorrow before our pictures but otherwise this is food that will go to waste if we don’t eat so at least four or meals it is. I did make one change to our rules this time. You can only eat breakfast foods for breakfast.
  • Trimmed and polished our nails at home instead of getting manicures before our family pictures on Sunday. This step alone saved at least $75.
  • Found a local photographer who is willing to travel to my brother’s house. None of my family does well in a crowd but we all LOVE pictures. Over the past several years, we have discovered it is much easier for all of us to hire someone to come take family pictures. I also think in the end it saves money and allows a less stressful time.
  • Combining online deals. Zachary’s sheet have a mysterious hole in them. They are unfortunately the only set of “boy” twin sheet we have. I was able to combine a doorbuster deal at JCPenny’s along with a coupon they set to me. I was able to purchase 2 sets of sheets for his bed, a set of flannel sheets for Lily’s bed, a hoodie for Kendall and 4 shirts for me all for $113. I will receive back $10 in JCPenny Rewards in addition to $7 in Swagbucks.  Sheets are normally expensive so I counting all the clothes as free!
  • Meal planning- we have spent $100 at Costco so far this month and I hope that will be the extend of our grocery spending. In order for this to happen, meal planning is a must. We currently have enough meals planned for the entire month of November!
  • Matt and I both are continuing to make an effort to earn money via apps. Our current goal is to make between $150 and $200 a month. We are on track already for November with $50 this first week.