August in Review

The weather outside makes it easier to remember fall is just around the corner. And another positive note is that I see small progress.

Debit Reduction:  Failure
Summer is always a tough season for us in regards to spending. Accountability is going to make me get these number down.
Blog Post: Fail
This is post number 14 for the month. I am back to steadily increasing  I should hope to get back on a minimal of 15.  I did some checking and this is actually the closest I have came to meeting this goal in a long time maybe even this year.

Days on Treadmill or Walking for Disney: 16
Water walking days-1
I am so excited to see this being met. I hope to continue in the next couple of months as well.

Groceries- Fail!  We spent a total of $792.17.  I am hoping that we can manage a couple (or 3) months of low grocery bills in order to get us back on track.

Gas: Goal Met! We spent $211.35 for gas including filling both our vans today (31st) in anticipation of a price jump and maybe shortage.

Earnings:  August ended up being a good extra money month of us. We had a week break for our beach trip in addition to being out of data for the final week of the month which really affected MPlaces.
Swagbucks: $75 for Me, $105 for Matt
MPlaces/Cricket Rewards:  $10
Shopkicks: $10
Total for the month $200!

I am choosing to celebrate the small gains this month with extra money and gas budget met. I can also see progress toward all the other areas so even if we did not met this goal we are making progress.

Menu Planning Monday 8/29/2017

Everyone is back on school, which means it is a little bit crazy but of the manageable sort.

Breakfast–   Saturday-Bacon, Eggs and Grits   Sunday- Cereal  Monday-Left-over hash brown casserole and sausage balls Tuesday- Banana Chocolate Chip muffins  Wednesday- Choices . Thursday- Choices .   Friday- Choices.  Choices include : eggs, grits, left-overs, pancakes, French toast , toast or cereal.

Lunch- We are back on track with the kids picking out lunches and packing on Sunday, which also makes me get a head for the week.

Dinner-  Saturday-Baked Ziti
Sunday- Lunch-Breakfast including pancakes, hash brown casserole and sausage balls Dinner-  Hamburgers and hot dogs
Monday- Twice baked potatoes
Tuesday- Salisbury steak, rice, green beans and white slaw. Matt made brownies for desert.
Wednesday-  Rice Kreola
Thursday-  Beef and broccoli .
Friday-  Mexican something

At least we have most of a plan in place!

Five Things Friday- 8/25/2017

Today I am going to post 5 things we are currently doing at our house. Some are an new attempt and others are ways we stay sane around here.

  1. Each child is responsible for their own laundry.  To break this down, you are responsible for getting your dirty clothes in the basket. A parent, usually Matt will place in washer and move to dryer, if you are younger than middle school. We started this several years ago, around the age of 2, a child starts helping put away the clothes after they are washed and folded. By Kindergarten, you should be folding and putting away most of your own clothes. Currently, Zach needs help folding socks and with some hang up clothes, he is second grade. Kendall, fourth grade is totally responsible for moving from dryer and getting put away properly. Lily, 7th grade, is responsible for doing her laundry completely.
  2. Clothes for school must be picked out and approved on Sunday afternoons.  This saves a ton of time each morning. The difficult part is “fun” weeks when you get to wear pajamas to school and such.
  3. Lunch and snacks for the entire week are planned and prepared on Sunday as well. The only excepts  are sandwich days. They must be planned but I try to make the day of for fresh bread. I will be the first to say this also encourages me to plan ahead so I don’t have to spend 15 minutes each morning figuring out what my lunch for the day is going to be or worse yet spending $7 for lunch in the cafeteria.
  4. 100 miles to Disney- We have our Disney trip planned for Thanksgiving. Our 100 day mark was just after our beach vacation. I enjoy walking down the beach but the kids really disliked it and complained about how far it was. Their complaining got on my nerves but also got me to thinking. I have read several times that you can walk up to 10 miles a day at Disney, this translates to several hours of whining which really is no fun. Here is my interesting solution- Each person needs to walk 1 mile a day in preparation. So far we are doing excellent. I am encouraged to see the kids walk and it is super motivating for me to make sure I get at least a mile of walking in.
  5. This is our newest thing. I am making the kids responsible for keeping all toys,clothes and crap out of their floors. Each night when I kiss them goodnight if they have stuff in the floor it will go in a bag. You may purchase the bag back for $5 at the end of the week. I started this yesterday and allowed extra time and reminders to clean up. My goal is by the end of December for this to become a habit and I wont have to reminder everyone to clean up before bed.

Thursday Thoughts- Summer Ending

  • Zach and Kendall have Meet the Teacher night today. They will start school on Monday so it will be back to a crazy busy regular routine again. Zach is planning to play baseball and Kendall wants to try a couple of new things at school.
  • Lily is almost finished with her first week of school. She has been working for several hours each day this week. She is very excited to continue in the online charter school and even more excited that she is planning to join several clubs this year. Another big thing in her life right now is that she is planning to audition for the youth theater.
  • Our garden is nearing the end as well. We ended up pulling up two huge carts of dead plants this week with. We do have several watermelons that are left and peppers but otherwise there is not much happening.  I spoke with my neighbor this evening and at least she made me feel much better that her garden did not do very well either especially the tomatoes.
  • We completed our back to school shopping trip tonight. I had not been looking forward to the trip so at least it will be easier to start packing lunches and snack now that we are stocked back up.
  • Matt and I had a date night Monday. The not so little kids went over and spent the night with Amanda for pizza and a movie. We used an Applebee’s gift card for dinner. After the experience, we had it has solidified our decision not to purchase any more gift cards to Applebee and therefore not returning to that restaurant chain for a very long if ever again.  We ended our date night by going to Walmart where we used 2 gift cards from MPlaces and finished earning and use 2 additional gift cards from Shopkicks to buy some cereal.

5 Thing Friday 8/18/2017 Square Foot Garden

  1. Overall, I have been really disappointed in the amount of vegetables that we have been able to harvest from the garden this year. But each time, I say that or think about it, I realize that we have not had an abundance but we did harvest enough. We have enough diced tomatoes to last till next summer in addition to 4-5 containers of spaghetti sauce.  We have had enough cucumbers to enjoy in salads but not enough to make relish. We have enough squash frozen for the entire year. We also definitely have enough peppers. I am beginning to wonder if this is not something that we need to learn. Enough is enough to be thankful for.
  2. We did not harvest any corn this year. After two years of very poor performance, I know that we need to move this to a different bed. I am not sure if it is the seeds or the soil or a combination of both that is the problem. I do have enough seeds in the freezer to try again next year so I am going to try to corn in both the “squash bed” and in the long front bed.
  3. We have really enjoyed the watermelon from the garden. The watermelon have been small in size but we are definitely keeping the watermelon in the same spot for next year. Currently, we have eaten 6 watermelon and have 4 more ripening.
  4. I am really disappointed in the amount of tomatoes so I am going to try a different bed with the tomatoes as well. Currently, I am thinking that I will plant tomatoes in the corn bed, using large tomato cages to support the growing vines.
  5. The biggest surprise this year from the garden has been the pimentos. I planted one plant on a whim. We are really enjoying homemade pimento cheese spread. Next year we will definitely double if not triple the number of plants.

On a side note, I am hoping that I can locate this post next spring before planting!

 

Menu Plan Monday 8/14/2017

Vacation was awesome but now it is back to reality. I am hoping to keep our total grocery bill to under $300 each month until December so I am going to focus on using food especially meat that we have on hand. This week I also am able to add in vegetables from the garden for variety.

Breakfast–   Saturday-BEACH.   Sunday- BEACH Monday-Breakfast burrito bowls  Tuesday- Choice Wednesday- Choices . Thursday- Choices .   Friday- Choices.  Choices include : eggs, grits, left-overs , toast or cereal. No real plan this week but we have 2 boxes of cereal and I can always add a baked oatmeal one day if I get motivated.

Lunch- I have salads for several day and may even add tuna salad with crackers one day. This is a find and take kind of week for Matt and the kids as well.

Dinner-  Saturday-Beach
Sunday- Lunch-Wraps , . Dinner-  Spaghetti
Monday- Salisbury steak, rice, green beans and white slaw. Matt made brownies for desert.
Tuesday- Taco Tuesday
Wednesday-  Chicken Fried Rice
Thursday-  Stuffed green peppers from the garden again. .
Friday- Breakfast- Matt and Lily will be out of town so it may be a pizza night for us.

What does your menu plan look like

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