Thursday, September 30, 2010

September in Review

I am actually looking forward to post this, except for the budget but I think "the challenge" will definitely help with that one.

Blogging- I just checked the number of post for the month and it was 18, counting this one. This is a improvement over the summer and almost close to my goal of 20 or 5 a week. I am also pleased that I have once again been posting deals and not just Menu Monday and Wordless Wednesday post. I am going to met my goal in October just to say it is possible. One of the biggest reason I am doing much better is that my work has settled in a pattern. I am actually starting to enjoy some time off and realize I don't have to work as much as possible :).

Reading my Bible- I am continuing to make strides in this area as well. I also am beginning to feel that I not only need to read a devotion but also spend some time just reading the Word, I am reading a devotion at least 3 times a week. The goal is for me to have a devotional time 5-6 times a week. Some have asked about prayer. I prayer several times a day. This is my conversation with God something I value and just like to keep private.

Preschool with Lily and Kendall- I am changing this to include both of the girls because I also want to be able to comment on where they are so I can look back in a year. Matt and I have finally worked out a system that I think is awesome. I am going to attempt to complete school with the girls at least once a week. I enjoy this time and really want to stay hands on in this area. I am also going to take some time each week and develop a lesson plan and pull together all the things needed for the week as far as school goes. This allows Matt to open a folder and have time to really teach the girls instead of trying figure out what to do. Lily is continuing with Reading. She is able to read some short sentences. She has mastered writing number the correct way and we are working on the concept of counting by 5s. Lily understands even numbers and counting by 2s. She continues to work through the workbooks we purchased and she is learning a verse a week at Club 254 at church. We are using this as practice for writing and review so she will be able to quote all 26 at the end of the year. Kendall is able to draw a circle and is working on recognizing colors and K in her name.

budget- We are finally on track in this area except for groceries. So we have decided to try and control expenses by eating out of the pantry. Matt and I develop a menu plan for 30 days with the hope of extending it until we travel to Michigan simply by buying Angel Food this month. We are going to purchase milk and sodas as needed but not ingredients for meals.

Overall, September has been a month of settling into a routine and getting back on track. I hope we are able to continue!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

It has been hard for me to decide what to post about Remington and when. I have a long post that I want to write for myself floating in my head but this week I found these pictures on the computer that neither Amanda or I remembered. With all this heavy rain it is impossible not the think of him. My precious grandson angel..

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Randon Thoughts Tuesday

I love this idea especially this week, when I am trying to blog everyday and I have alot to say.

-Kendall is doing really well with potty training. She stays dry about half the day and is starting to realize she is wet.

- Lily was so excited last night when she was able to read a entire sentence by herself. Matt and her are completing a lesson for reading about 3 times a week with the goal of reading independently around Christmas

-I have been able to do "home school" 3 of the last 5 days. I have also been able to set up folders for Matt to use the other days.

-Reservation for both Birch Run and Claire have been made and paid for. So we are definitely going to MI for Thanksgiving.

- I have already started Christmas shopping and have finished about half.

-We are buying a ceiling fan tonight so hopefully we can go an entire week with using the central air.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Monday Menu Post 9/27 the Challenge

So instead of the weekly menu post that I have been regular doing for the past year, today I am going to review our "challenge" for October. I hope to update the challenge at least weekly on Monday from now until we finish in either October or November.

After not being able to really control our grocery budget at all, I really wanted a change for October. Matt and I tossed around the idea and decided to "eat out of our pantry" for the month of October based on a monthly list of meals instead of a weekly plan. So we developed a list of 30 meals that we knew we had the ingredients for and starting today are going to eat off this list for dinners and try to avoid shopping for grocery for most of the month. In the end, ideally I would like to make a monthly menu plan, shop for the ingredients and add stuff from sales as they come. I really don't think that will happen but at least for the next 2 months I can challenge myself to not spend as much on groceries and free up some space!

Today, Matt decided not to use the list but made Sweet and Sour chicken. He used some of the ingredient that we already had to it will just extended the list into November, ultimately my goal is to limit grocery shopping until after our Thanksgiving trip. We can do this by buying Angel Food in both months and really trying to free up the freezer space and save money all at the same time. We have recently purchased alot of cereal and pop tarts that were on sale so breakfast except for milk will be covered. Lunches are all over the place with me eating at home 3 days, we did not include these in the plan but will start eating some of the extra food that is sitting around such as mac and cheese and fish sticks. I hope this at least helps with our budget!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Awesome CVS Trip

I was excited on Thursday to read on Southern Savers that I would be able to get Electric toothbrushes for FREE! I also knew in the back of my head that I might have to re-think my strategy in the store if these had already sold out. I originally put together 4 transactions with around $20 out of pocket. When I arrived at the store they were out of the toothbrushes and even the store in the next closest town was out. So I did some rethinking and using my original list for items I need was able to come up with 3 transactions spending $19.21, saving $63.90 or 77%. I started out with no ECB and got no coupons that I used today from the machine. The only variable is that my CVS accepts competitor's coupons so I used 2 $5 off $25 that I printed from Rite-Aid. Here is how it worked

Transaction 1
2 Olay Daily Facial wipes 5.00 2 coupons $1 off
2 Tampax Tampons 2.50 2 coupons $2 off
2 Oral B Toothbrushes 4.99 1 coupon $1 off, 1 coupon BOGO

Total 10.98 and 10 ECB back

Transaction 2
2 Bags of M&M 2.50
1 Bag of Reese 2.50
1 Bag of Snickers 2.50 1 CVS coupon $1 off
1 Bag of Pampers 8.99 1 Coupon $1 off
2 Oral B Toothbrushes 4.99 for one and 2.99 for the other, 1 coupon $1 off, BOGO rang up as 4.99

Used 10 ECB and total was 6.07 of which 2.10 was tax got back 3 ECB

Transaction 3

2 small bottle Mitch deodorant 2.50
Used 3 ECB total due was 2.16

Left the store with rain checks for the electric toothbrushes and I will plan to return on Monday to see if I can pick up if they have any in stock.

Matt did make a trip to Aldi today and spent 10.00 but even he thinks that we can go a month without grocery shopping again!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

A challenge

I LOVE yes LOVE to read (stalk) other blogs, especially those with small kids. I have noticed a common thread of monthly challenges on several. These have included "no dining out", "living on x for an entire month" etc. I consider my entire life a challenge so have not felt the need to participate in any of these until today. Matt and I made a "quick" trip to Costco today to pick up some milk and other supplies. We came home and started putting up the groceries, but man we don't have much space at all. We started talking about trying to use up all the food we have in the house and how menu planning and even sticking to a weekly menu plan is hard, and going totally without a menu plan is even worse. I also am kinda disappointed in how much I am still spending each month on groceries. So I thought it would be awesome if I didn't have to shop for an entire month. Matt and I talked and this idea has grown and develop and refined. So during the month of October I am going to try and avoid going grocery shopping except for milk and Diet Coke. We also plan to purchase the normal for us amount of food from Angel Food in October. We have made a list of 32 different meals that can be made out of the food that is already here. This is not an all inclusive list because we also plan to eat lunches and breakfast at home. I also will continue to go to CVS on a regular basis for "deals" each week. I am actually anxious to see if this can work. I have realized in talking to Matt and planning meals that we do need a trip to Aldi to buy flour, taco seasoning and sour cream to complete the list. If this idea works we may continue to use the 30 meal plan each month and begin with the list of recipes instead of the ingredients. I wonder if anyone would like to join me or have you tried this?? Leave me a comment...

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Potty Training- Kendall Style An update

When I titled this post I realized that I had already posted once about this topic. I was confused and had to look back at the post and the date, May 21, a entire lifetime ago. Wow....

I honestly don't remember potty training either Amanda or Haley. Haley was in daycare at Coggins and also allergic to disposable diapers so I assume that with these combined, Potty training was much easier! However honestly, I don't remember when or how it happened. Yes, Haley, I am a horrible mother. I was home most of the time with Lily so I have a few memories of training her. First, I started sitting her on the potty around 16 months. I know that it took several months for her to get the idea but I also have a vague memory that once she started going on the potty it was less than a week before she was out of diapers.

Kendall has always marched to the beat of her own drummer. She is my latest walker at around 18 months, we noticed and corrected her vision at the earliest age, 14 months. She was actually swimming long before walking. I had a hint that potty training would be the same. She actually asked to go to the potty starting in May. But she rarely peed on it. I decided to leave the diaper off and she peed and did not even blink. So I knew she was not ready. Then with all the events of the summer, potty training was on the list never mind at the top. After her birthday, my mom started hinting about time to train her, but it was actually after Zach's birthday that I finally decided it needed to happen. Matt and I talked about taking her to the potty and we honestly tried. Finally start last week, I have been making the effort to take her often when I am home. Matt has also started seeing way to remind him to take her. She has been using the potty about once a day for the past week. Kendall has also made the connection between using the potty and getting candy. She will even tell anyone what happens! On Wednesday, I had a late morning at work so I took her to the potty first thing... she peed!!! I also made it a point to take her every hour until I left around 11. I was disappointed because she still had a wet diaper and didn't use the potty again. So imagine my excitement when I got in my car and read the text from Matt that she pooped in the potty!!! Awesome not only did he remember to take her after nap but she used it! So before dinner I took her back to the potty and she used it again! And then prior to bath, she used the "big potty" I am excited. The goal is now to have her trained and in panties by Thanksgiving! Even if we have to use diapers at night it will make that trip so much easier! I will try to update on my month in review!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Kendall Loves Outside so since the mornings are getting a little cooler, everyone enjoys being outside playing with the "beep beeps"

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Worst CVS trip

I checked out the CVS sales last week (thursday) on line and was not that impressed. I also have been unable to find a 5 off 25 coupon in several weeks. So after going to CVS on Tuesday last week and getting more rain checks than actual items. I decided to try my luck on a Saturday night. The idea is that you get the better of the 2 weeks sales. I had a store coupon for diaper so I thought that would help. We are at the point where several needs have come us like shaving cream, contact solution and with both the kids being sick last week, I think we have doubled the use of diapers. I ended up spending 42 and saving only 17. The reason I wanted to post this is because sometimes it happens...hopefully not again soon!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Monday Menu Post 9/20

So I still have not blogged about my worst CVS trip ever and I have another really personal post running in my head but I wanted to make sure this got posted first to keep us on Track!

Monday-Chicken fried chicken, mashed potatoes and corn
Tuesday- Finger foods (Amanda has friends coming over to study)
Wednesday- Shake and bake pork chops
Thursday- Surprise me night...Last Friday I told Matt to surprise me and he made an awesome chicken corn chowder so I am going to see what happens this week.
Friday- Spaghetti or lasagna

Saturday, September 18, 2010

So I know that I need to blog, and I actually have time to sit and write a post without any distraction at least for a few minutes but I really don't know where to start. I have been so involved in life that it feels like I haven't blogged honestly in months, now I don't even know where to start at. After writing, I am going to update in a list fashion things going on or in the planning stages around here. If I get this out of my head then I want to write a post about my AWFUL trip to CVS tonight, so maybe this will actually turn out to be a good thing.

I have been on antibiotics since Wednesday and can now actually care on a conversation without coughing or blowing my nose.

Kendall and Zach are both sick. We hope that Zach is recovering from a stomach virus. Kendall sounds awful when she wakes up, she is so hoarse and has a runny nose. This all started last week so my thought are if she is not much better by Monday it will mean a trip to the doctor between working.

We currently are making plans to go to Michigan for Thanksgiving, we have reservation in Claire where we will actually spend Thanksgiving but I NEED to do some research and book our hotel room near the outlet mall and Christmas store.

We are also making plans for a trip to Disney and Sea World at Easter next year. I need to do some more research into the cost of Sea World as well as the best place to purchase these at.

Harris Teeter has sent me 4 $5/20 coupons so we have been heading that way once a week. This week I combined it with the Super Doubles sale and stocked up on cereal and pop tarts.

Today was distribution day for Angel Food and the monthly bible quizzing competition. I survived and enjoyed both. We were able to purchase an Allergen Free box of basically meats to fix on a regular basis for Zach. I am thinking that other than milk and maybe a trip to CVS next week, I may not have to go back to a grocery store this month!!! I hope this works out!

Finally we were given a dresser today that will be perfect in the closet!! I actually have to offer it to Amanda first and if she does not want it then I will be able to finish organizing our closet and start on my scrapbook table!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


I think I finally have a hold on my life! Today I have managed to get a lot done including this blog and still think I will finish my list :)! So here is a quick update on things happening around here.

-I have a sinus infection and stomach bug. Hopefully the antibiotic will help and I will finally be cough and runny nose free for the first time since August.
-Zach has the same above mentioned stomach bug. We are still waiting to find out why he is not gaining weight. We are adjust to the no wheat diet and finding table food that he will eat in the process. We have accomplished the mission of 18 to 24 oz of Soy Formula a day
-Kendall has a sore throat and is continuing to work on potty training. So far once a day at best but at least it is a start.
-Lily is enjoying home school and likes it even better when both Matt and I get to "teach" her.
- We are trying to plan both our trip to Michigan at Thanksgiving and Disney at Easter.
-Haley is currently ground and has not died as expected from the lack of facebook.

Now to get things done :)

Monday, September 13, 2010

Monday Menu Post 9/13

Last week the plan went out the window. Monday we had dinner with my BF after the pool.On Tuesday night, we went out for dinner at Mi Pueblo. Then on Thursday night, we had company for dinner. So let's hope this week goes better.

Monday- Big Breakfast
Tuesday- Tacos/Burritos
Wednesday- Steaks
Thursday- Chicken ala surprise
Friday- Sandwiches or out to eat.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Monday, September 6, 2010

Monday Menu Post 9/6

This week was a hard week to plan. For some reason I just ran out of ideas to fix. I did make an excellent meatloaf for dinner Sunday night so on Monday we will have pizza at the pool or something fast. Last week we stuck to the plan with the exception that on Thursday we ALL went out to eat Mexican and on Friday, Matt fixed rice and kielbasi

Monday-Pizza or something easy after the pool
Tuesday- Grilled steaks and salad
Wednesday- chicken casserole TBD
Thursday- Seafood night
Friday- Mexican at home or sandwhiches

Friday, September 3, 2010

On Track

That is exactly how I am starting to feel! The month of July with all events really threw me for a loop. It affect everything from budgeting to couponing. August started with a bang, Matt lost his job July 27th so by the end of the week, we were starting to make plans. One of the best decisions that we made was to go ahead with our week of vacation. But that in itself also messed up the developing schedule. At that point I decided at least for August to work as many hours as humanly possible for me after vacation. Both Amanda and Haley started school a week apart as well. I decided that after vacation, I would try and get a sense of normalcy back in our lives. But I forgot that Zach's birthday party had been schedule so we had to pull it together. Finally just this week things are starting to slow down. Tonight it occurred to me that wow we might just make this work. So I wanted to make a list of the areas that we are focusing on and changing with out new arrangements.

The first major obstacle with Matt losing his job has now been solved. We were able to purchase a car. It is a 1999 Chrysler Concorde LSI, it is a very nice car both inside and out. We have found that the driver side floor mat has a hole and the sun visor clip is broken. We paid CASH for the car with the only downside being it has 205000 miles on it. It was a pleasant surprise to find that all three car seat fit across the back easily! So we now have 2 operable vehicles! Once we are able to reduce our debt load we will begin to save in earnest for our next car purchase which hopefully will occur a year from now :)

Next in the area of budgeting, I am beginning to coupon shop again. Tonight we made a trip to Harris Teeter to use a coupon they sent me. My goal is to get our food budget down to 600 a month or less by October. Angel food will play a huge roll in this as well but I think it is achievable. The current plan is to start within the month using all of Matt's unemployment to pay off debt such as credit cards,taxes and outstanding medical bill. The rationale for this is that unemployment is limit so if we can reduce the amount need each month then when this stops we will have a smaller budget overall and also be living on my earning alone. Finally the biggest change that we have agreed on in the area of budget is our tithe and gifts. We will start tithe on the income we receive instead of a "best guess." This will be deducted first and not included the two gift we currently are giving on a monthly basis.

Finally, after working as much as possible, I have developed a schedule for regular work week which should allow me to be home every evening by 5:30 and earn enough for our current budget. My current plan are for two days a week to be "light" days which will allow for scheduling of doctor's appointment and other things that have to occur during business hours. I am aware that it will take several weeks for this schedule to be implemented complete but even this week as been much easier for me!

On the right track...exactly how I feel today... now next week this may change

Thursday, September 2, 2010

August Month in Review

WOW I am not sure where the month of August went but it has flown by. I wanted to update on the goals that I set in January. Things have changed dramatically so far this year but I am happy to report that I have a feel I am actually going to met some of these goals.

Blogging- I just checked the number of post for the month and it was 14. This is a improvement over both June and July but not my highest so I still have something to aim at. I would like to blog at least 3 times a week with a goal of 5. I am also hoping to return to talking about my good deal that I find as well.

Reading my Bible- I can honestly say that this is the area of biggest improvement this month. I am reading a devotion at least 3 times a week so that is much better that I have been doing. I also know that I need to improve in this area as well but at least there is some improvement.

Preschool with Lily- Matt has taken on this task with me preparing lesson plans and helping him to know which direction to go. Preschool started on August 16th and is occurring at least 3 times a week. In August, I came across an educational store where I purchased a Kindergarten/First grade math work book as well as a Kindergarten book that has a little bit of everything in it. Lily is currently working on writing lower case letter as well. Kendall is beginning to blossom by counting to 10! I think that this will be amazing to see the progress at the end of the year!

budget- UMMM let me see.. this month the budget has undergone some major changes. Our much needed vacation makes it difficult to even get a feel for the money we spent on Groceries. I have also not been in the swing of coupons but hope to get back on trace in September and report awesome improvements!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010