Friday, February 28, 2014

Food Friday - Cook? What's that?

I'm slowly getting my "cooking" groove back so I actually have some new recipes in the works for this month - starting with some stuff this weekend. 

So for today . . well, that's all.  We are just trying to stay warm with air temps down to the low -20's . . .. and lots of wind and more snow!!! 

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Weekly Menu

Can you believe that it is almost March?  Where did January and February go?  We've been pretty much home bound most of the last two months due to the weather and are looking forward to getting out a little more in the coming month. This past week I just pulled food we had on hand plus we went out to dinner one night which was not planned! 

I have planned meals for the entire month so, again, I can watch for some sales on things (especially meat!) and have tried to incorporate some new non-dairy meals so we aren't just eating plain meat, veggies and potatoes/pasta every night.  Darryl is still struggling with dairy products which, really, is not fun.  It cuts out a lot of things, that's for sure! Added to that, we are still under a deep freeze here in the mid-west so we are still enjoying some of our "winter" favorites!

Friday - Tacos!!  Just plain old tacos.  Plus chips and salsa :-) 

Saturday - Our "traditional" Saturday night dinner - Mac and Cheese for the boys and then Darryl and I order in . . . he usually gets a Sub from Subway and I usually get a small pizza from my favorite pizza place. 

Sunday - Today we are eating lunch at church and then I'm planning breakfast for dinner - eggs, toast, and bacon.

Monday - We have one of "those" nights.  Darryl has a doctor's appointment at 3:00 in town and I have to go to Choir Practice at 6:15 so I'm just planning Hot Dogs and Fries for to eat in passing.  Simple, easy, and everyone enjoys it.

Tuesday - This is a new recipe . . .Tomato Basil Chicken over pasta.  I'm hoping to add a salad and some rolls.

Wednesday - Beef Stew and French Bread

Thursday - Applesauce Glazed Pork Chops, Savory Rice, Carrots, and rolls

It's actually a pretty cut and dry recipe week.  :-)

Also, one clarification from my grocery post . .. the category of "drinks" . . .includes anything non-dairy such as Pop, Tea, Juice, and water.  We don't drink any alcohol  . .. just wanted to clear that up :-)

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

February Grocery Budget Challenge

I realize that at the posting of this, February won't quite be over but, considering the fact that the next time I grocery shop I will be challenging myself for the month of March, I thought I would share the basic break down of where the money went.  Since this was the first month of my challenge, I really need to track the items we bought so I could see what we are buying and where we can change. 

Fresh Fruits/Veggies - $21.32
Dairy - $54.78
Tolietries - $8.00
Frozen Foods - $34.15
Pantry Items - $121.65
Meat $53.46
Snacks $36.06
Bread - 13.37
Animals 8.28
 Dinks 72.80
Cleaning/Paper Products 60.54

Total : $484.17

A few notes:
* That total is not totally accurate.  Why?  Because I'm sure I missed a reciept or two of a quick run to the store or when my husband stopped to grab milk or something. 
* This really only includes three weeks worth of shopping and I'm already $84.00 over budget.
* I was surprised by the low amount of fruits and veggies . . . but it is also winter and I tend to only buy Bananas and Apples.  Add to the fact that the bananas in the store most of the month were green and hard - we didn't buy as many! 

I'll be honest, I'm not 100% where I can cut back.  Yes, we drink a lot and I can make a change to that category and there are snacks that can be cut out as well.  I think what I really need to do is continue to try to plan for the month and buy stuff when it is on sale and when I have a coupon too. 

Monday, February 24, 2014

Homeschool Corner

This past week, I thought through some goals I had for the boys that I wanted accomplished by the end of May.  There aren't many because they are already close to on target but I want these key things:
1) Count to 100
2) Write their first and last names
3) Know their phone #
4) Know their address
(The doctor informed us that they need to know #3 and 4 . . .guess I hadn't thought about how important that would be!!)

Anyway, these thoughts came to me last Sunday and this is what happened in our house on Monday:

Do you know what they are doing?  They are counting to 100.  Nate pulled out the tape measure and starting counting . . .he did not stop until he reached the end of the tape measure which was around 108.  Then Josh did it.  No, I had not said a thing to them about counting.  Another reason I'm not stressing about preschool.  So now, we move on to names and address/phone #! 

We are playing a ton of games in this house lately.  The boys are learning rules (and changing rules HA) and are actually playing together which is nice.  Not to mention lots of time outside in the snow. 

This week, I nailed down the K-5 curriculum we will be using in the fall so I can start to pick it up as I find it on sale.  We have made the decision to start Josh and Nate together in the fall.  The boys have shown this year that they would rather work together and do the same thing then to do different things.  Most subjects like Reading, Bible, History, and Science, we would end up doing together anyway.  Math, we are going to start together but if I feel Nate is lagging behind, I will do something different with him.  Now, I am excited to start picking up that curriculum so I can plan next year. 

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Things My Kids Say

I would like to say that my kids have been extra quiet lately so I don't have many things to share but in reality, they are getting busier and busier and I find trying to remember things to write down gets difficult!  So, this is what I remember at least :-)

1. Nate is very into rhyming right now (can you guess where this is going???)  Most things are very simple - bat, cat, sat, etc.  Until he has an Itch.  Then he says, "Mom, I'm Itchy, _itchy  . . .can you fill in the blank? (And yes, it is a swear word!!)  I seriously had to scrap myself off the floor from laughing so hard (which made him say it more) and then I suggested we say "Itchy, witchy".  Obviously, he has no idea that is a "bad" word and I didn't want to make a big deal about it but boy, I hope he doesn't do any "swear word rhyming" in Church!!!

2.  I overheard this conversation this week:  Josh: Nate, you are my friend.  Nate: Josh you are best buddy.  Josh:  Well, you are my best friend and I love you.  Nate:  You are MY best friend and I love you too!  (And then sealed with a kiss! HA!)  Well, then later in the week, they had a little disagreement and we discovered how important this friendship is because Nate, after Josh broke the string on his balloon, told his brother that he was not his friend anymore.  Josh broke down and SOBBED over this fact.  It was priceless.  They truly are best friends

3. Have you ever wondered why your butt is cracked?  Well, Nate has it all figured out . . . .it is cracked so you can poop.  hahahahahaha  OH that kid and POOP!  He described it every time he goes . ."Mom, that one was smooth followed by two hard ones."  Or, "Mom, that one was bumpy, smooth, bumpy." 

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Happy Birthday !

Today I'd just like to wish my husband a very happy birthday! 

I love him with all my heart and he is my best friend; my soul mate (for all of you Anne of Green Gables Fans!).  He can make me laugh harder than anyone else and always has my best interest in mind.  He is funny, caring, thoughtful and kind. 

So, Happy Birthday Darryl!!!! 

Friday, February 21, 2014

Food Friday - Ooey Gooey Cinnamon Swirl Cake

Ooey Gooey Cinnamon Swirl Cake
adapted from Just a Pinch

 Yes, this cake is so good that I had to snap a picture of it before we ate it all!  Every once in awhile a recipe comes across the Facebook news feed that looks too good to not try.  Then, you read through the ingredients and you realize that you have everything on hand!  That happened with this recipe last Saturday and this did not disappoint!  It was good still really, really warm (almost hot), it was good warm and it was good cold.  The perfect dessert.  I altered it slightly so my husband could eat it and I couldn't tell - I have some vegan butter that I use for him and then, well, I just used water instead of milk.  It turned out perfectly fine :-)  


3 cups all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups milk
2 eggs
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup butter, melted

1 cup butter very softened
1 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoon all purpose flour
2 tablespoons cinnamon

2 cups powdered sugar
5 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1.  In a large bowl, mix all of the "batter" ingredients, except butter.  Mix well
2.  Slowly add in melted butter and mix well (It will splash so SLOWLY is important!)
3. Pour batter into a greased 9x13 pan.
4. In a seperate bowl, mix topping ingredients together til combined.
5. Drop topping onto prepared batter and swirl with a butter knife
6. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 40 minutes. 
7. Pull cake out of the oven and mix glaze ingredients in a seperate bowl
8. While the cake is still warm (hot), drizzle glaze over the top.  Let stand for 15 minutes before cutting/serving. 


Thursday, February 20, 2014

Weekly Menu - the one with a Birthday

So, we've been sticking pretty close to our weekly menu lately which is a good thing.  I will admit that I miss some of the dishes I used to make that have cheese in them . . .like Cheesy Rice and Broccoli casserole . .. I might have to make it for me to eat for lunch one of these weeks.  This next weeks plan is a little different as you will see below.

Friday - Celebrating Darryl's birthday with my parents.  My mom is cooking and said it is a "surprise". 

Saturday - Darryl and I are taking off for the day to celebrate his birthday.  We'll eat out a few times which is always nice!

Sunday  - We are eating lunch with my parents and brother and his family after church.  We'll have dinner when we get home - either McDonald's on the way in or just some Mac and Cheese/Sandwiches.

Monday - Thursday: Last Wednesday I went to the grocery store and picked up some basics to get us through until, well, Monday.  Then, my goal is to use what we have and spend as little money on groceries as possible.  In fact, most of what I got on Wednesday were things like Laundry Soap, Kleenex, paper plates, etc.  We have meat in the freezer to use, canned goods on the shelves, rice, potatoes and even some noodles.  Not to mention frozen rolls.  Therefore, I'm not really planning at the moment.  I do know we'll have chicken and pork :-)

That's all!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The Olympics are still on.

So, the Olympics are still on which means I'm watching a lot of TV in the evenings and not really thinking about blogging (or reading) too much.  I had every intention to read at least one chapter in my list of books but that did not happen.  I am slowly coming out of winter hibernation, though, and am getting things down around the house. 

That's all for today.  We have a busy weekend planned so hopefully next week I'll actually have some interesting things to right about!

Oh, and Happy Birthday to my Husband's grandma . . . I figure it is notable to mention since she is 93 . . .or 94. . .what's a year when you live past 90?? :-)

Monday, February 17, 2014

Homeschool Corner - Learning, Fun, and lots of Ice

This past week was full of fun.  Yes, we did a little learning.

The boys got these build-a-letter for Christmas but this is the first time they have really gotten into them.  They loved building the letters together and I loved hearing them say words that start with the letter.  They also got out the Straws and Connectors they got also and build a huge "building" which required some serious problem solving on their part.  We've also been working on counting to 100 - we do it at night when we count how long it takes for their clocks to turn from 7:59 to 8:00.  It's been fun listening to them count with greater confidence even though there is silence every time we hit a "9" number (29, 39, ect) as they wait for me to say what comes next HA!

Friday, of course, was Valentine's Day.  Our homeschool group had a Valentine's party which we had to prep for the day before.
 I found this cute idea on line over at Fabulessly Frugal.  I love that it came with a printable and that the straws were so in expensive (Wal-mart Party Section - 6 for $1.00!)  Yes, I put them all together but while I made 35 of these, the boys made their own hearts and wrote names on them for fun. 
Our Valentine Box - yes, I cheated and bought it at the store.  After school on Friday, we stayed long enough to pass our Valentines, then headed home to get lunch at McDonald's. 

Finally, one thing that Josh has asked to do all winter was to see the beach in the winter.  Well, this was the winter to do it because it has been so cold that Lake Michigan is about 90% frozen which, well, never happens.  Josh loves the beach in the summer so this was important to him.  We finally had a weekend where we did not have a blizzard forecasted so, after church we headed out.

Our first stop was a Chinese Buffet.  Now, that is not my favorite style of food BUT we have one little boy who thinks that a Chinese Buffet is the best thing since sliced bread.  Darryl took him to get his food and asked if he wanted french fries (which, of course, they have at a Chinese Buffet) to which he replied, "No, lets start with the fruit" - gotta love that kid.  He picked out everything from Fruit to Jell-O to Fish and Chicken on a stick.  Talk about being proud of his plate!  He told me he got the meat on a stick because he loves sticks - sticks are fun to play with, fun to eat with, and straws are like sticks so we drink with them!  Not to mention, Chinese Buffets always have Ice Cream :-)

From there we headed out to the lakeshore. 

 This mountain?  Ice!  We are walking quite a ways out onto the very frozen Ice Michigan.  As the lake freezes, the waves push huge chunks of ice toward the shore and they froze into gigantic ice mountains.

After spending about two hours out on the ice, we headed back to the truck.  We stopped on the way home for "Chicken and Fries" to end our perfect day ;-)

And yes, the boys were tired!!!  They never made a sound after they went to bed!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Food Friday - Superbowl Snacks

So you may recall that I mentioned prior to the superbowl that I had to come up with some new snacks since Darryl can't seem to stomach dairy currently.  I thought I would just a couple of links to two of the items we tried.  It was kinda funny because as I was prepping the food I discovered that most of what I was making was . . .well, tomato based.  How weird is that?  I will say that I missed our cheese based dishes . . .the dips and spreads. . ..

I decided to try the Pioneer Woman's version of Bruschetta which is slightly different than the one I've tried in the past.  It was pretty good but, to be honest, I like my original one which I think I've shared before.  And yes, that is cheese on top of those little pieces of goodness - I love fresh mozzarella on top of bruschetta. 

Then, I tried a new meatball recipe that used Maple Syrup and Chili Sauce to make the sauce - this recipe comes from Taste of Home.  I used frozen meatballs because I was already doing a lot of prep cooking on Saturday but, as I say every time, I really don't like the frozen meatballs.  I need to make some homemade meatballs and put them in the freezer . . .. we'll see! 

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Weekly Menu

Last weeks menu went pretty well.  I did forget that Darryl planned to go back to practice starting last week so Wednesday nights dinner changed.  The good thing is that I wanted to make a big pan of Lasagna so I could make my own freezer lunches - this gave me a great opportunity to make it since he wouldn't be home to drool over it :-)  So, leftover Thursday was Ham for Darryl, Lasagna for me, and some Mac and Cheese for the boys.  Here is what is on the plan for the coming week.

Friday - Valentine's Day!  Spaghetti with my "famous" homemade sauce (instead of the jar stuff).  I made a big double batch so I could freeze some to use for Sunday evenings and Leftover night as needed. Then we had french bread and Salad.

Saturday - I have two options right now. 1)We will take the boys out to their favorite Chinese buffet if Darryl thinks he can handle eating there.  2)The boys will have something at home and we'll order in.  I'll leave it up to the big "D"

Sunday - Right now, my plan is for this to be my "Day out" so, if that is the case, I'll bring the boys back home after Church and leave them Spaghetti and bread while I head into the City for the day to do some shopping, eat lunch at one of my favorites and just get away for the day.  IF that changes before Sunday, I will do a pork roast in the oven with green beans, Mashed potatoes, and . . .you guessed it, rolls :-)

Monday - Ham Fried Rice and Egg Drop Soup (Mac and Cheese for the boys).  This is a carry over from last week.

Tuesday - Teriyaki Chicken Legs, Savory Rice, Corn and Rolls

Wednesday - Roasted Pork Loin, Thai Noodles, Broccoli and French Bread.  (I don't think Darryl will have practice tonight . . . . )

Thursday - Leftovers!!!!

What I'm NOT Reading (oops!)

So, for the second week in a row, I have nothing to write about when it comes to my list of books to read.  I'd love to say it's because I've been busy saving the world but, no, that is not the case.  What is causing the problem?  Well, I will confess that I've become "addicted" to a game on my computer that is actually Nate's . . .it is a silly little Nemo game where he has to grow a reef by "planting" all kinds of fun things and "earning" algea and for some reason it has sucked me in!  In fact, it is the first game I've played where I have almost spent money to buy pearls so that I can complete some tasks.  No, I am holding strong on my mantra of never spending money on a game but I have gotten all of the free ones I can get for the time being so . . .some tasks will remain undone.

I need to get back into a daily to do list, which I have let slide due to the house being so cramped and crowded lately with kids and their stuff  . . .and the Olympics.

Speaking of the Olympics, I was saddened last night when Shaun White did not place for a medal.  It felt like an end of an era but I was more than impressed with his integrity, how he whole heartily congratulated the winner who said later how Shaun was HIS role model. 

With that said, I'm off to write a grocery list.  My husband is unexpectedly home today so I think my Thursday night grocery run might happen during nap time today instead!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The Olympics

I am an Olympic junky.  I will not lie.  If I could watch it 24 hours a day, I would but, with kids in the house I tend to only get to watch the evening broadcast.  Ultimately, that is the best one to watch since they are going to show some of the best things to see. 

I used to really love Ice Skating but I must admit that now that so many of the big names of days gone by are, well, gone, I'm not enjoying it so much.  I REALLY love snowboarding and skiing though (especially if they fall HA!)

I really like this guy a lot this year. Yep that is Shaun White and yes, he has cut his hair.  I watched a special on him a few weeks ago and have found that he has matured through the years and, on top of that he reminds me of this guy:

My nephew  - Breadon.  Even more so now that Breadon cut his hair different then the photo above.  When I was watching that special I mentioned I kept trying to figure out who Shaun reminded me off . . . and then it hit me!

So with that said, I'm watching Olympics more and writing less right now :-)  

Monday, February 10, 2014

Home School Corner - Our way :-)

We been having a lot of fun this last week.  The weather finally "warmed" up enough that the boys could play outside.  Josh loves to be able to play outside when it is actually snowing and last weekend we got hit with some big snow again.  

Was it just a week ago that we were watching the Superbowl?  I guess it was!

We all enjoyed snacks throughout the day from popscicles to chips to chicken wings!

More snow fun!  Yes, they have their bikes out and were riding them on the snow covered driveway (for the record, training wheels do not work well in the snow!)  Then, the gathered all of the snow balls from the sledding hill, piled them on a sled, pushed them into the garage and filled the wagon with them before having a snowball fight in the garage.  Pretty creative.  On this particular day, they played outside for about 2 1/2 hours . . .but they did come in half way through to "refuel" - a snack and a drink were sorely needed.  I made them sit on the entrance rug so I didn't have to pull all of their winter gear off since they were headed back outside!

Obviously, not a lot of true "schooling" but . . .when you ask one child what 8 + 8 is and he tells you "16" without blinking an eye and the other counts backwards from 10 out of the blue without missing a number, I figure that they are doing ok.  ;-)  Not to mention that one of them will say "C" and they will randomly shout out words that start with that letter sound before moving on to the next one. 

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Things my kids say

* Nate picks up little things we say as most kids do.  Lately it is the rod "ya". He'll say, " I'll move it for ya."  Or "dad is playing a game with YA on his computer".  It makes me smile and, no, I don't correct it.  I love hearing their mispronunciations and incorrect grammar at this age.

* We walked into the doctor's office last week and Nate proudly exclaimed, "I love this place".  Then, while seeing the doctor, Nate stood right next to his favorite doctor and watched every single thing he did to Josh HA!  The doctor said that he can take over for him when he retires.  I asked Nate if he liked seeing all of those things and he said, "Yes and that he wants to do that some day.".

This past week there were several times the boys said something cute or interesting and then, I forgot to write it down right away.  This is why I do these posts - to write down all of those cute things the boys say!   I need to do better and getting right to the computer and typing that stuff up!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Grocery Shopping on a Budget

This is week one of my goal to save money on our grocery budget.  This may bore some of you to death and some of you will just find it interesting.  Either way, this is just a way for me to track the spending.

Trip one to the grocery store.  I had to go to the store on Wednesday because we were out of a few key things.

Meijer - Wednesday (Day before shopping day) - $23.06
Paper Towels - $7.00 - this was a huge deal - they had some paper towels on clearance so I got two huge packages of paper towels for 1/2 price.
Milk, Bananas, Peaches and yes, some ice cream ;-)

McCords (a local store) - Thursday $18.54
Two bags of Lay Chips - $4.50
Two bags of Chicken Leg Quarters $4.65 - Seriously folks, at $0.59 a pound how can you go wrong?  So amazed at that price.  They were $1.99 a pound at Meijer.
Three Pork Roasts - $9.39  That is not a typo!!
--I told my husband that this is now my favorite store to go to for meat.  I will  be changing a few meals I had planned later in the month since I picked up a couple extra pork roasts. 

Meijer - the main shopping $183.53
Don't choke :-)  I had to pick up some tolitries and also bought to huge packs of TP and got Paper Towel free because of it.  I guess really $7.00 needs to come off that total since it included 2 snow shovels for the boys that were on clearance. 
This should be the biggest shopping week of the month.  I will not need to buy things like paper towel for probably two months and I should be set with TP for at least a month.  I also picked up 2 packs of paper plates (without a dishwasher we eat on Paper 99% of the time) that were on a great sale. 

So, I've spent $225.13 so far for the month.  Yikes.  That only leaves me $174.87 for the rest of the month.  I'll be honest, I'm not 100% sure I can meet the goal but I'll see how close I can come.  I know there are a few things on our weekly grocery list that I need to figure out other options for such as fruit cups that my husband takes to work.  They add up fast. 

Friday, February 7, 2014

Food Friday - Ham, Potatoes and Beans in the Crockpot

Ham, Potatoes and Beans
adapted from

  In the effort to cut down on the grocery bill, I have been trying to use stuff in the freezer.  So, with that in mind, there has been a recipe on my Pinterest Board that I have wanted to try but was "afraid".  HA  Well, I had some ham from Christmas in the freezer and needed something to make for dinner one night last week so I pulled out some green beans from the freezer, cut up some potatoes and onions and threw it all in the crock pot.  I was really thinking this would be a fail - boring and just not note worthy but it was the complete opposite.  This was SOOO good.  The ham flavored the beans and potatoes just perfectly and everything was cooked to perfection.  This is a true 8 hour crock pot meal to ensure the potatoes are cooked all the way through :-) I think I want to get left over ham stocked up in the freezer for the summer because, as weird as it is, this would make a good dinner in the summer since it all goes into the Crock Pot and really is not "heavy". 

8 red potatoes, scrubbed and halved
1 (16 ounce) package frozen green beans (or fresh)
1 large onion, cut into about eight wedges
2 cups ham, cut into bite sized pieces
vegetable broth or chicken broth (1-2 cups depending on how full your crock pot really is!)
salt and pepper

Add all of the ingredients to the crock pot and cook on low for 8-10 hours

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Weekly Menu

So, first, I would like to totally acknowledge that I missed my book post yesterday.  Oops!  Now, on the the menu this week.  This is the first week of my new grocery budget challenge so to begin with I am trying to use stuff up in the freezer while using the sales to pick up meat for the following weeks.  Yes, I have written a basic menu for the month so I CAN shop sales better and get what we need for the weeks to come.  I also must say, it is really hard to come up with Dairy Free Side Dishes that aren't plain.  So much has cheese or cream in it! uugg!

Friday - Our Homeschool group is having a fundraiser - a Pasta Dinner - so the plan is to attend that and support the group.

Saturday - Mac and Cheese for the kids; Pizza/Sub for Darryl and I after the kids go to bed.

Sunday - Ham, Sweet Potatoes, Salad and Rolls (after church); Sandwiches for dinner later in the evening.

Monday -Fried Ham Slices (leftover from Sunday), Honey Roasted Potatoes, Green Beans and Rolls

Tuesday - I have a board meeting so I am going to leave Hot Dogs and Chips for the boys.

Wednesday - Ham Fried Rice and homemade Egg Drop Soup.

Thursday - This is something new . .. .We are going to try for Leftover Night on Thursday in order to use up food instead of throwing it out.  As a back up, I will always have Spahgetti on hand to cook up - it is easy and Darryl and the boys love it.

Our breakfast foods are pretty simple - the boys tend to eat 1 of 3 things - Pop tarts, Cereal or Fruit.  I usually have some cereal or treat myself to Toaster Strudel.  Lunch is a rotating cycle - I have bout 2 1/2 weeks worth of lunches that I know all three boys WILL eat like PB and J, Grilled Cheese, Spaghetti, Waffles and Sausage . .. just to name a few

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

A Grocery Budget Challenge

A blog that I've recently started reading called Don't Waste the Crumbs has inspired and challenged me to get my grocery budget severely back under control.  Sure, gone are the days of the $50.00 grocery trip for the week but I don't think I need to be spending $800.00 a month on groceries/toiletries either.  Geesh.  I'm the first to admit that we I buy a lot of "fun" stuff at the store and we do enjoy food :-)  Yes, I know I over spend and we sometimes are wasteful but, I've been working on changing that - I made better choices in January, used coupons and online store savings but I can still do more.  Obviously.  The author of the blog mentioned above has a grocery budget of $330.00 a month.  Now, truth be told, my grocery budget is "only" $500.00 a month (which is still huge) but we spend well over that thanks to the mid-week, sometimes every day runs to the store to get just "one" thing.  That one thing turns into a $60.00 trip (trust me, I did that on Sunday when I went for Milk and Ice.) Back to the blog author, that budget is for a family of 4 and includes paper products and toiletries.  So, what is my grocery budget goal for this month? (Drum roll please) My goal is $400.00 this month.  Sure, I'd love to do $330.00 but I think starting out by cutting it in half is a good start.  This months project is two fold.  1) To try and knock down the grocery spending but also 2)To follow the concept of keeping track of all of the grocery spending and breaking down it all down at the end of the month to see what I'm really spending on.  Then I can make a more realistic budget and maybe even save more money.  I think that in order to do this, I also need to create our monthly meal plan so that I can watch for clearance items (like my husbands favorite juice that is normally $4.00 but was "clearanced" for $1.50 a jug) and also buy items when they are on sale and match up with the digital coupons.

I will say right now, and I've said it before, we are heavy drinkers HA  - Milk, Juice, Water, Soda, coffee k-cups . . .A HUGE part of my grocery budget usually goes to drinks.  I've got to figure that out! My plan is to give you a weekly update (thrilled, aren't you) on the grocery trip, which usually occurs on Thursday evening (so look for it on Saturday!).  I am probably going to have to shop multiple stores to get the best deals - Meijer, Wal-Mart, and a local store, McCords but we'll see!  I really don't like going to multiple stores but when I know I can get a BIG box of pop-tarts for less money at Walmart and my husband and boys LIVE on those, well I need to do it!

Anyway, I plan on sharing my spending/savings on Saturdays with you (aren't you all thrilled).  I love what my husband said when I told him this.  He said, "But you still need to buy what we need so don't freak out if you can't stay under that budget."  He so gets me!

This week I'm going to work on some planning for the month and come up with some menus.  My husband told me that our local market has chicken leg quarters on sale for $0.57 a pound so I know I want to pick up some of those to use in soup and some of our favorite chicken thigh recipes.   I also plan on going through the pantry, freezers and cupboards and cleaning stuff out plus making a list of everything I have on hand so I can use what we have and work towards buying stuff on sale. 

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Things My Kids Say

* One day last week, Nate came walking into the kitchen, pulled down his pants, turned around and mooned us . . .and laughed.  This happened the day he returned from Papa and Nana's which tells me one thing - he learned that at their house! HA!

* Nate was eating a popscicle one afternoon when he ate the end of it (he usually just licks them and throws them away).  He said, "Mom, I ate the big part, I'm so proud of myself." :-)

* Nate picked out socks to put on before going outside but they happened to be slightly different. He said it was ok because that is how God made them at his sock factory in heaven. 

*It is so much fun to watch my kid with a vivid imagination teach the kid that is realist how to play make believe. "Come on, Josh those are hot lava rocks, jump over them", "Where, Nate, that's just the floor", "No LOOK, they are so hot don't touch them", (Josh) - "Ohhhhh I think I might see them now." hahahahaha


Saturday, February 1, 2014

Snow, Snow Snow!

Michigan has gotten hit hard in January with snow and freezing cold temperatures.  Be freezing I mean air temperatures that feel like -30 below.  Every day the boys open the door to see if it is too cold out and, it has been for weeks.  We have told them that their ears would fall off and China, the dog, would eat them as snacks.  I know, I know, but at least they stop asking to go outside.  Well, yesterday it was finally a nice day; in the upper 20's without any wind so after lunch, the boys and I headed outside.  I was able to get most of the Christmas stuff done . . .. except the lights and extension cords that are frozen under 8 inches of snow . . .and another 8 inches of ice under that!  Then, we had fun.  Our plow guy has made huge drifts along the driveway so we got the sleds out and, let me tell you, a 6 foot drift to a 4 and 5 year old is the perfect sledding hill :-)

 Josh quickly mastered getting up the hill,getting on his sled and getting himself down the "hill".

 Nate needed a  little help controlling his sled while he was getting on it so his best friend helped him out . . Josh.  These two boys have become each others "I've got your back" friend and it is awesome.

 I love the smiles - they had so much fun!!!
 Josh had to take a rest after a few trips down the "hill".

 Nate was in and out about 3 times throughout the afternoon but Josh stayed outside for about 3 hours before finally coming inside.
The boys ended the day by playing games with Darryl.  They played Bingo, Memory and Trouble.  They are just now starting to learn how to play by the rules . . . . well, kinda.  If Josh starts losing he wants to quit . . or cheat HA! 

We are home today ready for another "huge" storm.  It's supposed to decent temperatures though so who knows, the boys may end up back outside before the day is done!