Saturday, October 31, 2015

31 Days of Thankfulness: October 31st 2015

Well, I made it, I posted everyday for 31 days!  I am also much more aware of the things I am thankful for in my life.  I won't say this series has been life changing, but it has encouraged me to try and be thankful and content with where I am and what I have.
Today I am thankful for blogs.  Without blogs, you would not be reading this right now.  I discovered the blog community in 2008 when I was just starting to coupon.  So, at that point I was reading every coupon and deal site that I could find.  I started following them, and then thought, you know, maybe I can share my journey too, and so I did, and do.  Now I follow a multitude of blogs on everything from couponing to crafting, organizing, cooking, menu planning, DIY'ing, and so much more.  Blogs are a wonderful thing, they share information, but also experiences, and feelings, opinions, and research.  So, today I am thankful for blogs, and all they allow us to share!

Friday, October 30, 2015

31 Days of Thankfulness: October 30th 2015

Today I am thankful for pistachios. Oh, pistachios, how I love thee, let me count the ways...  It has taken me years to find a snack that is healthy, and that I actually like.  I crave salty things, so I usually end up with popcorn, not great, but high in fiber at least.  Pistachios on the other hand give me some much needed protein, which fills me up and keeps me that way, plus it can lend a little energy boost as well.  So, when the 3 o'clock blues hit, I am so thankful for my pistachios!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

31 Days of Thankfulness: October 29th 2015

Today I am thankful for water pitchers with filters.  The house we live in is over 150 years old.  The water pipes aren't that old obviously, but they aren't very new either.  Our water isn't brown, but it can get a little rusty at times, plus it's city water, so it can sometimes have a not so great taste.  Enter the purifying water pitcher, who saves the day!  Without one, I would have to buy gallons and gallons of water to last just one week for my family's eating and drinking needs.  Not only does it save me money, but it helps keep us healthy, and saves a lot of bottles from going into the recycling.  So, for all these things, I am thankful for my filtering water pitcher!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

31 Days of Thankfulness: October 28th 2015

Today I am thankful for days off from work.  Today is my first day off in quite a few, and I am celebrating with a trip to the thrift store, and Sonic!  I don't think this needs much explanation, regardless of whether you have a job or not, a day off from anything you regularly do is always a welcomed break.  So, today I am thankful for my days off -- when I get them.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Frugal Finds: October 2015 Edition

While yardsaling this past month.  I was able to score some AWESOME deals....
Mint Green Lamp for Howard's Room = $0.50
Bubbles and Magnets for Howard $0.25 each = $0.50
Ipod Charging Dock with Speakers for the kitchen (I am so looking forward to using this during my day-long cookie baking sessions in the coming months) = $3
Window Alarm Lock (we are going to use this for Howard on a door that opens to stairs) = $1
Gun Lock = $2
Metal Cow Boy Boot Salt Shaker (for Howard's Nursery shelf) = $0.25
1 bundle of Magazines for Joe = $2
1 Puzzle Card (Christmas gift) = $0.25
4 Books for Howard $0.50 each = $2
3 Heavy Duty Baby Wash Cloths for Howard = $1
1 Package of Washers for Joe = $0.25
Total Spent: $12.75

31 Days of Thankfulness: October 27th 2015

Today I am thankful for indoor plumbing.  I had a preschool group today at work.  During the tour, I was explaining the chamber pot to them, and they were disgusted, but at the same time thought it was the coolest thing ever.  Go figure.  It reminded me that it is so nice to have a bathroom ten steps away, and in a nice heated house, where I can use the toilet, or take a bath, anytime I want.  People of the 1800's wouldn't have known what to do with such a luxury, I on the other hand, wouldn't know what to do without it!  So today, I am immensely thankful for the luxury that is indoor plumbing, and all the benefits that come with it.

Monday, October 26, 2015

31 Days of Thankfulness: October 26th 2015

Today I am thankful for crock-pots.  I love that I can prep something for dinner, throw it in a crock-pot, and then not think about it for 8 hours.  With my new busy work schedule, plus taking care of Joe and Howard, and the house, dinner is usually the last thing on my mind, until we're all starving and ready to eat that is.  So, I am now in the process of devising a 14-day menu plan which will include quite a few crock-pot meals that I can set and forget.  It should help streamline my shopping as well.  Whoever invented the crock-pot is a genius, and I am so thankful to own 3!

Menu Plan Monday: 10/26/2015

This week I am trying a few more new crock-pot recipes before I finalize my 14-day menu plan I want to institute.  It's going to be a pretty busy week; I am working most of it, and we have a tea to serve as well.  We're also gearing up for Christmas here at the museum, so things are fairly hectic behind the scenes where I work.  With all of that in mind, I kept things fairly simple on the menu, and tried to plan things that could be prepped ahead of time.  Here's what's cooking in the Rogers' household this week...

Breakfasts -  Waffles, Yogurt, Eggs, and Sausage

Lunches - Leftovers, Salads, Soups

Sunday - Crock-pot Meatloaf, Rice Pilaf, Broccoli
Monday - Running errands tonight after work, so I'll just grab some take-out on the way home
Tuesday - Crock-pot Pork and Sauerkraut, Mashed Potatoes
Wednesday - Beef Mac and Cheese (Homemade Hamburger Helper)
Thursday - Frozen Pizza
Friday - Crock-pot Chicken Fajitas, Mexican Rice
Saturday - Leftovers

For more AWESOME menu plans, visit Org Junkie!

Sunday, October 25, 2015

31 Days of Thankfulness: October 25th 2015

Today I am thankful for having a local ALDI.  Up until last year, if I wanted to take advantage of ALDI's awesome deals, I had to drive almost an hour away.  So I feel so thankful to have one right next to my local CVS, where I also shop weekly.  I LOVE that I can drive 10 minutes, park my car once, and only have to get Howard into one cart, AND I get 2 stores crossed off my weekly errand list.  Having a local ALDI has also helped my family's grocery budget.  I stop there before heading to Giant, and I can get most things crossed off my list at ALDI, saving me a ton of money in a year!  Having a local ALDI is truly a blessing, for which I am so thankful!

Saturday, October 24, 2015

31 Days of Thankfulness: October 24th 2015

Today I am thankful for tiny closets. When Joe and I got married, and I moved into the museum with him, my closet space was more than halved.  We have organized things a variety of ways in the 8 years we have been married -- we've used an armoire, an extra dresser, and a chest of drawers for extra clothing storage, but basically it came down to the fact that we both had too many clothes!  We share one tiny closet, and I do swap our clothing out seasonally, but I am finally getting to the point that I have plenty of space in my half of the closet for my clothes.  Joe's side is still a work in progress, but we are getting there.  Because I have gotten rid of so many clothing items, I am really trying hard to only keep and purchase things that I need, but more importantly, truly love - as in would wear every day love.  So today I am thankful for tiny closets, as they have given me the limits that I need, as well as shown me the kinds of clothing I really love, and look good in.

31 Days of Thankfulness: October 23rd 2015

Today I am thankful for good doctors. When I was pregnant the first time, I was so very nervous.  My mom had just died earlier that year, and my husband and I hadn't been trying to get pregnant, so we were both caught off guard by it.  Needless to say, it was a first for both of us, and I didn't have a mom there to ask the many questions I had.  So, I called my primary care, who listed a few Obstetricians I could try.  I called the first name on the list, no answer, then the second, they were at lunch, and lastly, the third, who did pick up and I was able to schedule an appointment.  God knew exactly what he was doing when he made the first two unavailable.  The doctor I ended up with was SO AMAZING!  She has a very mothering bedside manner, she will answer any question you have, and take as much time with you as necessary.  I ended up having a miscarriage with my first pregnancy, but I went back to her again when I had Howard.  I was very clear that I did not want to have a C-section, or be induced.  She let me go a full 11 days past my due date before she induced, and she let me labor for 22 hours before she asked if I was ready for a C-section, and said she would let me go longer if I wanted.  She let me be in charge, or at least feel like I was, which is so important when you are pregnant and about to give birth.  I would have trusted no one else as much as I did her when I said to go ahead with the C-section.  And, as luck would have it, the pediatrician who was there when Howard was born is the same one he visits today.  We hadn't really researched a doctor for Howard, so, since he was there, we just went to him.  Turns out my husband and him have a similar sense of humor, so there is never a dull moment at Howard's appointments.  Maybe by luck, maybe by God's divine intervention, but we have been so lucky to have such amazing doctors, and for this I am truly so thankful!

Weekly Spending Report: 10/18-24/2015

This week I was able to stock up some great deals, including toilet paper, and body wash.  I also grabbed a few things to round out our menu plan, and some snack items.  Overall it was a good week, there isn't much left in the budget for the month, but next week is the last week anyway.  Here's how the shopping went this week...
  • Monday's CVS Trip: $20.03 oop (included, but not pictured is a York Peppermint Patty), Earned $18 ECB's (includes $5 Pharmacy Rewards, and $5 from a rain check)
  • Monday's ALDI Trip: $37.30 oop (included, but not pictured is 4 gallons H2O, and a 1/2 gallon Organic 2% Milk)
  • Monday's Giant Trip: $29.05 oop
  • Saturday's Dollar Tree Trip: $3.48 oop
Total OOP: $89.86
Total Earned: $18
Total Remaining for October: $52.41

Linked to Couponaholic and I heart Publix!

Friday, October 23, 2015

31 Days of Thankfulness: October 22nd 2015

Today I am thankful for auctions.  Today we unloaded SO MUCH STUFF to be sold at auction this weekend.  Between cleaning out a room at Joe's grandfather's house, and my constant purging at our house, old toys we were given but didn't need, stuff we have had out to several flea markets and hasn't sold, stuff Joe fervently cleared from his work room, and other miscellaneous things we found in the basement, we had TWO box trailer loads of junk to get rid of.  I love yard sales, and they can make you some serious cash, but sometimes it is nice to just unload your crap and have someone else deal with it and send you a check.  So today I am thankful for the sweetness that is an auction!

31 Days of Thankfulness: October 21st 2015

Today I am thankful for washers and dryers.  I feel like ever since I had Howard, I am constantly in the laundry room.  I did not realize when I got pregnant, the vast amount of laundry a small person can create.  I cannot even imagine how long I would have to spend washing and drying clothes if I had to do it all by hand.  And sometimes, baby laundry is totally disgusting.  Also, whoever invented programmable washers with a delay feature is a genius!  This one feature has made all the difference in my ability to get the laundry done, and stay caught up on it.  So today I am so thankful for the technological advancement of clothes washers and dryers.

31 Days of Thankfulness: October 20th 2015

Today I am thankful for my ability to listen.  I'm not sure if I have an imaginary sign above my head, or I just have an empathetic face, but I attract talkers.  I have always worked with the public, but even so, everyone always seems to want to give me all their life details.  They tell me about their husband who just passed, their kids, their grand kids, the test results they are eagerly awaiting, or the doctor's appointment they have on Tuesday.  I always listen, I'm not always interested, but I make them feel as though I am.  I have always thought that listening was the polite thing to do, but maybe it's a gift, because there are plenty of people in the world who are not good at it.  So today, I am thankful for being a listener, and I suppose I am thankful for the talkers too, for without them I would have nothing to listen to.  

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

31 Days of Thankfulness: October 19th 2015

Today I am thankful for thrift stores.  Thrift stores have always been fun to look in with so many amazing things to find there.  However, since I've been married, and money has been tight, they have also been a wonderful resource for clothing, and other household needs/wants.  Howard has been pretty much exclusively dressed in hand-me-downs and thrift store purchases; it is very rare for us to have to purchase something new for him.  I also get a lot of my clothes from the thrift store, mostly skirts, tops, and sweaters, as jeans are something for some reason almost never fit me right used.  My husband is big and tall, so items for him are harder to come by at the thrift stores, but we still look, and sometimes can find great deals.  I have found him a couple of coats, two brand new pairs of shorts with the original tags still on them, and quite a few shirts.  I have also purchased frames and books for $0.50 a piece on several occasions, and even a nice lamp once.  Shopping at the thrift stores is fun, but it has also saved us a LOT of money over the years, and for that I am truly thankful!

31 Days of Thankfulness: October 18th 2015

Today I am thankful for sisters.  When my mom died a few years ago, the only people who really understood what I was going through were my sisters, because they were going through it too.  My sisters have always been there for me.  They are a good bit older than me, 13 and 17 years, so I have always benefited from their wisdom and coolness.  They also taught me how to stand up for myself and not let what others think bother me.  They are two very independent women who have been through a lot, and are stronger because of it.  Today my one sister, her husband, my niece, and my niece-in-law came to spend the day with us, and it was wonderful.  I got to hear about everything going on with them, we got to share lots of cool stuff Howard has been doing recently, and we all really just got to enjoy being in each others company, which is always nice.  So, today I am thankful for my sisters, and everything they have taught me.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Menu Plan Monday: 10/19/2015

This week's menu plan is fairly simple.  My work schedule is really crazy for the next few weeks; I work almost every day straight thru.  Also, I am trying out a few 'new to the crock-pot' recipes this week, that I am hoping will work well in my new 14-day menu plan I'm working on.  Here's what's cooking this week...

Breakfasts: Waffles, Yogurt, Fruit

Lunches: Leftovers, Soup, Sandwiches

Sunday - McDonald's (there was an event here at the museum, and this is what Joe felt like grabbing while he was already out)
Monday - Out (We're running errands tonight after work, since I worked all weekend.  I'm thinking a salad and pizza)
Tuesday - Crock-pot Chicken Fajitas
Wednesday - Alfredo Tortellini, Broccoli, Baked Chicken, Garlic Bread
Thursday - Crock-pot Pork and Sauerkraut, Mashed Potatoes
Friday - Clean out the Fridge - Leftovers
Saturday - Crock-pot Meatloaf, Onion Rings, Salad

Snacks: Pistachios, Popcorn, Apples with Peanut Butter

For more AWESOME Menu Plans, visit Org Junkie!

Saturday, October 17, 2015

31 Days of Thankfulness: October 14th-17th 2015

With everything going on this week, I have gotten behind in my posts, so I am going to lump the rest of the week together here...

October 14th - Today I am thankful for coupons.  Several years ago, my husband lost his job, and we had to survive exclusively on my part-time salary.  That is when I discovered coupons and deal shopping, and I have never looked back.  I learned that I could get just about anything that we needed for free or very close to it.  Since then, deals have gotten fewer, rebates aren't as prevalent, and stores have changed their promotional programs a couple of times each, but every week, I still coupon and deal shop.  Without coupons, there are many times we would have probably gone hungry, or had dirty clothes.  Coupons allowed us to purchase what we needed, and even surplus that we were able to give away to others less fortunate.
October 15th - Today I am thankful for Joe's grandfather.  I grew up not knowing either of my grandfathers; they had both died before I was born.  When I got married, I got a whole new family in addition to my own, which included a grandfather.  Of course I was 21 when I got married, so a lot of the fun things you do with your granddad, I had already missed out on.  But, he still manages to build me up and make me feel good about myself and my decisions.  He also spoils Joe and I, and now Howard any chance he gets.
October 16th - Today I am thankful for cleaning.  Okay, now before everyone reaches thru the computer screen and smacks me, hear me out.  I LOVE cleaning, or more accurately I love being in a clean house.  Cleaning and decluttering relaxes me.  Being in a clean and organized house actually makes me calm.  Maybe it's because I grew up with my Grammie, who was always cleaning, and it's just what I'm use to, or I might be OCD, or both.  All I know is that when I am stressed out, or upset, I clean.  It calms me down, sometimes even cheers me up.  It gives me time to think things through, and solve problems, plus it leaves me with a clean house, and for that I am so thankful!
October 17th - Today I am thankful for humidifiers.  Let just say that everyone in the house is congested, and having a huge humidifier going all day is the only thing allowing us all to breathe.  And Howard has discovered boogers - for which I am not thankful ;-)

What are you thankful for today?

31 Days of Thankfulness: October 13th 2015

Today I am thankful for my ability to craft.  I don't claim to be an amazing or anything, but I do know my way around a craft room.  I can paint, draw, arrange flowers, and wield a glue gun with immense skill.  I've made cards, scrapbooked, embroidered, and sewn.  These skills have allowed me to express myself while relieving stress, as well as excel at my job.  Today I finished the last of the masks I needed to create for the Mascarade tea we are having here at the museum in a couple weeks.  Not only will each mask give a little fun and joy to the person wearing it, but I got to enjoy the process of creating it, and for this I am thankful.

31 Days of Thankfulness: October 12th 2015

Today I am thankful for a job that I LOVE!  Of course I have days when I wish I was rich and didn't have to go to work, but who doesn't?  Overall though, I love my job, it is the perfect combination of things that I like to do and things I am good at.  I give tours, label and organize the display cases, run the teas, work with volunteers, research, write, and decorate the house.  I have heard some interesting stories, answered some crazy questions, and met some wonderful people.  The job I have isn't what I was planning to do when I went to college, or even when I graduated, but I am certainly thankful that God closed all the doors he did to get me here.

Weekly Spending Report: 10/11-17/2015

This week I was able to score some great deals at CVS and Giant.  I was down to my last bottle of contact solution, so I was super happy to have a deal for that this week.  Joe was down to his last two boxes of granola bars, so he was thrilled with those as well.  Other than that we mostly just picked up the usually snack and breakfast foods, as we are still working our way slowly through our pantries and freezers.  It is amazing how much food you can shove in there and not realize it.  Anyway, here's how the shopping went this week...
  • Sunday's CVS Trip: $11.68 oop, Earned $5 ECB's 
  • Sunday's ALDI Trip: $24.44 oop (included but not pictured is 4 gallons of H2O)
  • Sunday's Giant Trip: $45.01 oop, Earned $0.50 Saving Star Rebate (for the granola bars)

Total OOP: $81.13
Total Earned: $5.50
Total Remaining for October: $142.27

Linked to Couponaholic! 

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Weekly Spending Report: 10/04-10/2015

This week I was able to pick up some AWESOME deals on diapers, soups, and fruit!  I also grabbed some snack food for the week and waffles for breakfasts.  We are mostly eating from the pantry, so we didn't really need a whole lot of 'meal food.'  My spending is right in line where it should be for the month, so that makes me super happy!  Here's how my spending went this week...
  • Monday's CVS Trip: $3.78 oop, Earned $11 ECB's (includes $4 for my Summer Spending)
  • Monday's Giant Trip: $27.02 oop (not pictured, but included are 8-2 lts of Diet Rite soda -- this is getting so hard to find :-( and a $3 bouquet of flowers)
  • Monday's ALDI Trip: $32.59 oop (not pictured, but included are 4 gallons of H2O)
  • Saturday's Dollar Tree Trip: $15.54 oop (not pictured, but included are 1 bag of Apple Straws) 
Total OOP: $78.94
Total Earned: $11
Total Remaining for October: $223.40

Monday, October 12, 2015

31 Days of Thankfulness: October 11th 2015

Today I am thankful for time spent together as a family.  We had planned to go to Baugher's today and pick out a pumpkin, but they were nuts, so we decided to try next weekend instead.  Since I was off and we were already out, we ran errands as a family.  It wasn't exactly what we had in mind for family fun, but it was still nice to spend time together.  Usually Sunday mornings are Howard and Is alone time - we hit CVS, ALDI, and Giant, pick up lunch, and head home.  It seems like such a simple thing, but it was nice to have Joe with us.  With the busy and sometimes crazy season of life that we are in, I am thankful for any moment that we can spend together as a family of 3.

31 Days of Thankfulness: October 10th 2015

Today I am thankful for having an amazing 'free-standing' Dollar Tree in our town.  We have always had a Dollar Tree in Westminster, but it use to be located in the mall, and never had a large food section or freezers.  A few years ago it moved into a strip mall, and it's been the best thing ever!  It's larger, so it can carry a better variety of items, and it has cold cases and freezers.  The Dollar Tree is my first stop for a LOT of items, and sets the standard for my deal shopping.  I know what I can get there for a $1, so when couponing, I know if the Dollar Tree sells it, it needs to cost less than a $1 for it to be a good bargain.  They also carry newspapers on Saturday mornings, so instead of paying $2.50 each, I get them for a $1.  I love that the Dollar Tree carries everyday items, like allergy medicine, as well as fun splurges, like decor and craft supplies.  They can be a one-stop-shop most of the time, which with my busy schedule, I am very thankful for.

Friday, October 9, 2015

31 Days of Thankfulness: October 9th 2015

Today I am thankful for yard sales!  This weekend every year we drive from Westminster to Thurmont and hit all of the yard sales that are set up for Colorfest this coming weekend.  There are probably hundreds, we hit maybe fifty or so.  We buy some things for resale when we do flea markets, but we have also scored some awesome deals on things that we were in need of, like a second pack and play to use outside, for $10!  Yard sales are also how we supplement Howard's wardrobe after we weed through the hand-me-downs we are given, and stock his every growing library.  I am thankful for yard sales because they have helped us to provide for our families wants, and needs.

What are you thankful for today?  Are you enjoying this series?

Thursday, October 8, 2015

31 Days of Thankfulness: October 8th 2015

Today I am thankful for time spent alone with my son.  I love when Joe, Howard, and I can do things together as a family, which with the hours I have been working lately, doesn't happen too often.  However, the time that I have with just Howard is even less.  Every Sunday Howard and I spend the morning together running my weekly errands - CVS, ALDI, and Giant.  We pick up lunch on the way home and Daddy helps us carry everything upstairs before nap time.  It's a scheduled outing that I actually look forward to.  I enjoy being able to share something I love (couponing, shopping), with someone I love (Howard).  Today Joe had a funeral to attend, so it has been just Howard and I all day.  We enjoyed a morning of Magic School Bus, block playing, book reading, and a lunch of curly noodles.  It's nap time now, and I'm off to clean the house.  By the time Howard's up from his nap Daddy will be back home, and we can enjoy the evening together as a family, but for now, I am thankful for the morning I got to spend alone with my son.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

31 Days of Thankfulness: October 7th 2015

Today I got to serve a tea.  That seems a little simple since it is part of my job as the tea room manager and docent at the museum, but it is the part of my job that I enjoy the most.  I love being able to serve others, and make sure that they are having a good time and enjoying themselves.  It brings me such joy to make others happy!  So today I am thankful for the ability to serve others well.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

31 Days of Thankfulness: October 6th 2015

Today I am so thankful for ramen noodles, or curly noodles as I grew up calling them.  I know, you all think I'm off my rocker after yesterday's sappy post about the first 5 things I am thankful for, but stick with me.  When the weather starts to get that little chill in the air, like it is now, I crave comfort foods.  Many of these foods take a lot of time to prepare and a whole host of ingredients.  Ramen on the other hand takes three minutes and some boiling water, both of which I can manage.  These noodles taste yummy, and bring back memories of my Grammie, who would make them for our lunch often.  In fact, as I sit here with my bowl of curly noodles, enjoying their warm saltiness, I can almost hear her voice.

Monday, October 5, 2015

31 Days of Thankfulness: October 1st-5th 2015

I have thought about this 31 days series for a quite a few months.  There are many things that I could write about, but none of them really sparked an interest in me, if you know what I mean.  I have been trying very hard this year to have a grateful heart, and be thankful for all of the things I have in my life.  Maybe it was because I turned 30 last month, and I felt so upset about it.  Not upset about getting older, that has never bothered me, but because there were so many things I wanted to accomplish by that time, and I haven't even made a dent in the list.  So in an effort to make thankfulness a priority, I thought I would write about the things in my life that I am thankful for, for 31 days.  I read somewhere that it takes 30 days to form a habit, so by listing something that I am thankful for everyday for 31 days, it should foster the quality of thankfulness in me.  Joe, Howard, and I have been away for the past few days, so I am just getting around to posting this now, but for the rest of the month, I will be posting daily.  So, without further ado, items 1 through 5...
  1. I am so thankful for my loving, and caring husband.  He makes me laugh when I need it, and is always takes such good care of me.  Although we bicker sometimes, and have plenty of things we disagree on, I would not want to go through life with anyone else by my side.  He completes me, so to speak.  Even though the puppy dog love phase ended ages ago, I am still madly in love with him. 
  2. I am also very thankful for our son, Howard.  He is everything that I waited so long for.  Joe and I were married for 7 years before he was born.  There were two things that I have always wanted for myself, to be a wife, and a mother, and now I am both.  Being a mother is just as trying as being a wife, both require a LOT of work if you want to be successful at either.  But he is just like his father in that I cannot be mad at him for long.  He does something he's not suppose to, I correct him, and then not 2 minutes later he's doing something else that brings a smile to my face.  He fills my life with so much joy.
  3. I am thankful for our home.  Although it is not the house that I envisioned we would have by now, it is still our home.  It keeps us safe, dry, watm, and cool.  We lease our apartment, so we can't do anything to the horrid red goose 1980s wall paper in the kitchen, but I have found ways to decorate and make it feel welcoming and cozy.  I have some painting and decluttering projets planned for this winter, but after 8 years of living here, I am finally starting to be content with our little 'homestead.'
  4. I am thankful for full pantries and freezers.  There have been times in our marriage when the cupboards would give mother hubbard a run for her money, and other times when they are packed to the gills.  Right now, we are experiencing the latter.  I'm fairly profience in couponing, we finally got an ALDI nearby, and I'm still learning how to cook for three, hence the surplus.  However, I wouldn't trade it for the world.  Winter is fastly approaching, my bones can feel it, and I love having the ability to say, "it's too cold to go shopping, I'll just have Joe grab some milk and bread on his way home."
  5. I am thankful for extended families.  Our family is always there when we need them.  Our family has spoiled us to the max with clothing and toys for Howard, free babysitting, books, things for resale, meals after Howard was born, and so many other things I can't think of right now.  We are so blessed to have them in our lives.  I also get the benefit of having a grandfather, which I never had before I was married, and I still have a mom even though mine died a few years ago.  It's not exactly the same obviously, but I still have someone I can ask mom questions to, and talk to about things that only mothers understand.
 Come back tomorrow to read about what else I'm thankful for.  What about you, what are you feeling thankful for today?

August and September's Goals Update

August and September were such crazy months, that I am just now getting around to writing a goals update post for them both.  The museum has been crazy busy with weddings and picnics, we did a couple of flea markets, and I celebrated my 30th birthday!  We also went on vacation and did some outlet shopping.  They were two months fill with a LOT of fun, but I am so ready for some down time.  Here's how the goal area has played out so far this year...
  1. De-clutter the whole house in January, February, and March -- Done!
  2. Do a Deep-Spring, and Deep-Fall Clean in March and November  As well as keep up with my weekly, bi-weekly, and monthly cleaning chores. -- I managed to stay caught up on all of my cleaning tasks, as well as the laundry!
  3. Paint the Windows/Sills/Trim in the Kitchen and Nursery. -- Still hasn't happen yet.  I will have January, February, and March off this coming year (probably for the last time), so I plan to take full advantage of the time off and paint everything then. 
  1. Write a 'love letter' to Joe each month - I wrote him a card each month.  Joe really seems to appreciate this, so I will try to keep it up even after this year if possible.
  2. Take a trip to Maine in June with the hubby, and Howard.
  3. Take a Trip to Ocean City in August -- We went to Ocean City this year the last full week of August, and Howard absolutely LOVED it!  His favorite spot was the pool and splash pad.  We spent an entire day there, and went back a couple of other times, including the day we were leaving.  He actually dug his swim suit out of the dirty clothes basket and brought it to me that morning, so I decided that we would spend a few more hours at the pool, and he was so happy about it!  We also ate a lot ot delicious meals, that I didn't have to cook, which is always nice.
  4. Get together with family at least once a month -- We did spend the day with Joe's family twice, my dad on several occasions, and both of my nieces came to visit as well.  It was all just lovely!  I am hoping that maybe we can all get togther in October, but we'll see.  With my nieces in college, and everyone's work schedules, it's a lot to work around to get anything planned unless it's a holiday and everyone is off.
  5. Plan and Execute Howard's 1st Birthday Party 
  1. Have 2 Freezer/Pantry Challenges (January and July), post updates on the blog, and defrost the chest freezer 
  2. Post my Menu Plan, and Weekly Spending Report every week, along with at least 1 other post per week.  This may be an update, a reveal, a recipe, a shopping trip, some Aldi Deals, or a frugal find. -- This basically hasn't happened since like April or May.  I don't know why I even bother to keep it on here.  I do have a couple of frugal finds posts to share with you, but other than that, not much.  I've been working a LOT of crazy hours, like twice what I'm actually contracted for.  The big paychecks are nice, but it means I have less time for things I enjoy, like blogging.  I am hoping that I can get ahead on work stuff this year, so next year I won't have to work as many extra hours.
  3. Plan and execute a 31 days post for October. -- N/A
  1. Lose at least 20 lbs -- I have reloss the same 20 pounds that I lost last year, and holding strong.  I would like to add a little more exercise into my daily routine for October, but we'll see if I can make the time for it.  If I can, I can probably lose maybe 3 or 4 pounds next month, and that would be excellent!!
  2. Drink plenty of water, eat healthy, and do exercise of some kind everyday. -- This is something that I have been able to check off each month.  Now that the weather is cooling off, I am finding myself craving warm comfort foods, which are usually full of calories.  I am looking into some soup options that I can make ahead and stash in the freezer.  Also, I am finding myself wanting to go outside more, since it's not burning hot out, which means more walks for me and Howard!
  1. Do at least 5 Flea Markets throughout the year, and list at least bi-monthly on Amazon/Facebook Yard Sale. -- We sat up at two more flea markets, one in August, and one in September.  That brings us to 4 total for the year.  We have one more to do in October, and then that's it until January.  I did not get anything listed online during August or September, but with the holiday season soon approaching, I know that I need to get that done sooner as oppose to later.  I have 2 small boxes of books I hope to get listed on Amazon, and another small box of items to list on a Facebook page.  Then in November, I have 2 more larger boxes of books to list.  I am hoping to get most of the books listed on my next day off during Howard's nap time.  Amazon makes it super easy to list the books, so it really doesn't take that long once your account is set up.
  2. Earn Swagbucks everyday by completing the daily poll, toolbar log-in, and NOSO offers daily.  (Try to earn $10 a month) -- I FINALLY reached the amount of swagbucks needed for a $25 Amazon gift card.  It is SO much harder to get to that level than it use to be for me.  Once Joe and I update our phones, I can start using the apps, which should make things a little easier, or at least I hope it will.
  3. Set a monthly budget, and coupon and deal shop as needed to stay within our budget. -- I was able to stay under budget for both August and September with about $2 to spare, so I am really happy about that!  I posted my August budget update here, and September's here.  It always feels so good to look back over these posts and realize just how much I was able to squeeze out of our budget!
  4. Put at least an extra $100 a month on Joe's Credit Card starting in May -- We did this for both August and September.  I actually paid different amounts each month, but I did put a total of $200 towards this debt for both months, so I guess that is really all that matters.  I am happy that we are plugging away on this and I really would like for it to be gone next year, but we'll see how it goes.
  1. Scan the huge-a** box of photos we have had since my mom died two and a half years ago, and get them sorted to give to people, as well as put the ones I decide to keep in albums. -- I'm not even planning to work in this until later in the year,  possibly not until Fall, we'll see.
  2. Continue to work on Howard's baby book 
  3. Try something new at least once a month and blog about it.  I have a LOT of new recipes and crafts I want to try -- Did not happen again -- I am seriously considering putting this off until next year, but, we'll see.
How have your goals gone so far this year?

Menu Plan Monday: 10/05/2015

This week I am test running part of the 14 day menu plan I am working on, so, we'll see how that works out.  Otherwise it's going to be a pretty sedate week.  We are going grocery shopping this evening as a family to pick up a few needed items, but most of the food for the menu is coming out of our pantry.  Here's what's on the menu for this week...
Breakfasts: Waffles, Yogurt

Lunches: Soup, Leftovers, Quesadillas

Sunday - McDonald's on the way home from a Flea Market
Monday - Take-out while running errands
Tuesday - Beef Mac and Cheese (homemade Hamburger Helper), Vegetable
Wednesday - Crock-pot Chicken Fajitas, Mexican Rice, Corn
Thursday - Crock-pot Pork Roast, Sauerkraut, Mashed Potatoes
Friday - Tortellini in Alfredo Sauce, Broccoli, Sausage
Saturday - Frozen Pizza, Vegetable

For more AWESOME Menu plans, visit Org Junkie!

September 2015 Budget Update

This month I did a fair amount of shopping, and still managed to stay under budget!  I love it when that happens.  We spent the month eating through our pantry and freezer, so I mostly just purchased good deals to refill the items used and the needed items to make meals, and not a lot of extra stuff.  I also FINALLY earned enough swagbucks for a $25 Amazon gift card.  It takes a LOT longer to do that then I thought it was going to.  I'm going to try and earn another one before Christmas, but we'll see.  Here's how the month broke down...
  • Week #1: $94.93 oop, Earned $9 ECB's
  • Week #2: $78.95 oop, Earned $16 ECB's, $6 Saving Star Rebates, and $25 Amazon Gift Card from Swagbucks -- FINALLY!!!
  • Week #3: $103.97 oop, Earned $15.50 ECB's
  • Week #4: $19.81 oop, Earned $1 Saving Star Rebate
Total OOP: $297.66
Total Earned: $72.50
Total Remaining from September: $2.34

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Weekly Spending Report: 09/27-10/03/2015

This week there wasn't much left in the way of grocery money, so I just picked up a few deals at CVS and the needed snack food and water at ALDI.  Needless to say, I'm ready for the fresh start of a new month's grocery budget!  We are still working on eating down the pantries and freezers, I am hoping that by Thanksgiving we can start fresh with a new 14 day menu plan.  My hope is that I can devise a meal plan for two weeks full of things that we love to eat and that are easy to cook, and then repeat it over and over again.  Any way, here's how the shopping went this week...

  • Sunday's CVS Trip: $1.98 oop, Earned $1 Saving Star Rebate (Advil)
  • Sunday's ALDI Trip: $17.83 oop (included, but not pictured are 4 gallons of Water)
Total OOP: $19.81
Total Earned: $1
Total Remaining from September: $2.34

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