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Sunday, December 29, 2013

What I'm Reading...

What I'm Reading:

What I Wish I Knew The First Time I Picked Up My DSLR. (Tech Your Way)

It's Supposed To Be Hard. (Steady Mom via The Art Of Simple)

8 Photos You Didn't See From Obama's Trip To South Africa. (Policy Mic via Life Your Way)

Embrace Imperfection. (The Art Of Simple)

How To Make A Perfect Green Smoothie. (100 Days Of Real Food)

What I'm Pinning:

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Pinching Pennies

I read this post about paying off $35,000 in debt (as linked to from here), and this quotation really struck me: "I committed myself to living like a poor person because — and this is something many people with debt don’t understand — that’s exactly what I am."

We have some credit card debt, as well as student loans, which we are working on aggressively paying down (hopefully off!) over the next six months or so.  I don't consider us "poor" by any means, but we do live leaner so that we can pay our debt off, and I'm sure many people would consider some of the things we do to be "living like a poor person".

So, instead of my weekly coupon shopping post this week, here are some ways I've been pinching pennies lately:

Using coupons. I didn't do much coupon shopping this week, but I did use a free drink loaded to my Starbucks card to save $4.63 on my mocha. I also used a few printable coupons to save $6.50 off of two big bags of M&Ms at Target.

Making homemade turkey broth. We had a turkey for our Christmas dinner, and after Jesse carved it, I put the carcass in my big stockpot with some leftover veggie peels and ends, and let it simmer all evening.  I was able to get 13 cups of broth, plus 2 cups of cooked turkey pieces that fell off the bones, which I'll use for soup.  This was all free from something that would have just been thrown out anyways.

Air drying laundry. Almost every week, I air dry at least one load of laundry.  Each load costs $1.00 or so to dry, which adds up over time.

Mending pants with a sock. Matthew had worn through one knee on his sweatpants, so I was trying to figure out what to patch it with. I had some sport socks that I had pulled out of my drawer because I didn't like how they fit, so I cut a rectangle off of one and sewed it underneath the holes in the knee. 
It's a soft material, so he won't notice a difference, and he'll get some more wear out of his pants. I also fixed his winter hat, my sweatshirt sleeve, and a few t-shirts with armpit holes.  This gets us more wear out of clothes that are mostly fine, so we don't have to replace them.
Emailing potential blog sponsors.  I sent an email to a company that has sponsored a blog post in the past, both in an effort to get a free product for myself that I will use, and also to get new content for the blog (and maybe a giveaway for you!). It doesn't take too much effort to send an email, and I figure the worst that can happen is they'll say no and I'll have to purchase the product if I want it.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

What I'm Reading...


What I'm Reading:

You Don't Regret The Good Small Choices. (The Simple Dollar)

New Year's Predictions. (I'm An Organizing Junkie)

Create Your Own LEGO Minifigure Holiday Card. (Common Sense With Money)

Your Ability To Can Even: A Defense Of Internet Linguistics. (The Toast via The Art Of Simple)

What I'm Pinning:

Thursday, December 19, 2013

The ABCs of 2013

I found this idea here, and I thought it was a lovely way to reflect back on the year that we've had.  Here are my ABCs, all the things I love and remember at the end of 2013.

Amazon. They send me dvd organizers, diapers and baby wipes, seasons of whatever tv show Jesse and I are currently watching, and more.  And I usually get at least part of it paid for by Swagbucks money, which makes it even better.

Bunk Beds. The boys have been loving their fairly new beds, and I like the space saving quality, because it means there's room for Hannah's crib in their room, although she hasn't moved in there quite yet.

Coffee.  Anyone who knows me knows I love a good cup. Every day.

Dresses that my husband forced me to buy. I'm terrible at buying things for myself, especially pretty, unnecessary things, and he has encouraged me to buy a few new dresses this year, including a goal dress in a size 10. I'm really excited for when I get to that one.  Who am I kidding? I'm excited that one is a size 12 and it fits!

Earrings that I'm not allergic to. It's such a small thing, but I love pretty dangly jewelry every now and then.

Fresh fruit. We got a box of mangoes for super cheap this summer, and I learned how to cut them and now I think they're awesome. I had some fresh pineapple the other day that knocked my socks off with sweetness.

Gluesticks. The boys love making projects, and gluesticks are not messy.

Hugs. All of my kids give amazing hugs when they feel like it.

Innocence. Jonah was so excited about the first snowfall. Matthew repeats things that Jesse and I say, even though he has no idea what they mean (nothing bad! but it's still cute to hear grown-up phrases from a two-year-old). I know this stage will be gone all too quickly.

Jesse. He is my rock. He puts up with me when I'm crabby. He lets me sleep in the mornings. He knows me better than anyone.

Kisses from my baby girl. Because who doesn't love big slobbery open mouthed baby kisses?

Legos. The toy that keeps Jonah entertained for hours.

Messiah Lutheran Church. It's our new church home, and we've been overwhelmed by all the love and caring from our new church family.

New recipes. From our month of paleo eating to my pinterest boards full of links, we are never without new ideas for what to eat.

Omro, WI. Our new home. With it's little thrift store, awesome kids' section at the library, Piggly Wiggly right across the street, and Oshkosh just a few minutes down the road. We really like our little town.

Phone. I have a love/hate relationship with my phone, because I know I spend too much time on it sometimes, but I think it's amazing how technology allows us to have all these connections and places to go at our fingertips. 

Quarters. The landlord knows I do laundry every Monday, and he put enough quarters in the dryers to dry all our clothes. Just awesome.

Reading. I've actually attempted to read more this year than the last few years combined. It used to be one of my favorite hobbies and I'm glad I got to do the little that I did.

Sleep. I will always wish for more of it, but the nights I actually get a decent amount are amazing.

Traditions. Old ones, new ones, ones we're just starting. Especially at Christmas time, these things that happen over and over make so many wonderful memories.  This year we introduced the kids to some of my favorite movies from my childhood, and stayed up "late" (by about 20 minutes) watching and eating popcorn.

Upstairs apartment. Because of the heat from our neighbors, we didn't have to turn our own heat on until mid-December, and saved on our electric bill as a result.  We were still warm enough, and it was nice to have a bit of extra money for something else.

Van. I love Hilda. She has enough room to cart around the three kids, all my reusable shopping bags, a back-end-full of thrift store donations, and whatever else we need. And that was just one day.  I used to think minivans were so uncool, but apparently that's part of the mindset that shifts when you have kids, because now I think they're perfect.

Water. Besides coffee, it's my beverage of choice, and I drink it constantly.

Xmas tree overflowing with ornaments. We didn't even have room for them all. The kids like to have me tell them what to search for, like a Christmas version of "I Spy"

Yoga. Who would have thought daily yoga would be so good?  Good for the body, good for the mind...

Zebra ruffle pants and other cute little girl clothes that I get to dress Hannah in. Sadly, she hates dresses, and at least for now, she's a tomboy, but the little girl clothes are just so adorable!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

On Life's Less Than Newsworthy Moments

A few nights ago, I was attempting to write our family's annual newsletter to include with the Christmas cards. Usually I'll go person by person, updating everyone on what we've all been doing over the past year.  If our family has had a really eventful year, I'll go month by month.  But this year, not much happened.

Now, of course, we had a busy couple of months in May and June. Hannah was born. Jesse graduated. We moved to Wisconsin. Jesse was ordained and officially became a pastor. And those are all a very big deal.

But other than those two busy months, not much happened. At least, not much that was newsworthy.  We continued our real food journey, with some bumps and setbacks along the way.  The boys started to learn how to use scissors and gluesticks. Hannah learned how to sit up on her own.  Cloth diapers aren't working too well for Matthew any more and I get excited when he wants to sit on the potty, but it's always after he's already gone in his diaper.  Jonah can put together a 100 piece puzzle in less than 10 minutes and I'm already running out of things to challenge his little mind.

We do yoga every evening after dinner.  We made a snowman in May.  Some of the greatest fun I have with my husband is snuggling on the couch watching old tv shows after the kids go to bed. Most days a good cup of coffee during the kids' after-lunch quiet time can solve pretty much any problem. 

In my day to day life, these little things are a big deal. But to write them in the big letter seems so small. My life is made up of all of these little details that really only matter so much because they are important to me in those moments.  I think that they're lovely.  And I wouldn't change our simple little life for a thing.

It does make writing a newsletter a bit difficult though...

Monday, December 16, 2013

Menu Plan December 16-31

Last time around I didn't plan all of the lunches. I knew it would probably not work out well, and I was right, because we ended up going out to eat a few times, which we probably would not have done if I had planned a few more meals.  For some reason I have this mental block in my head that spending the extra $5 for something like BLTs for lunch is so expensive. But when we go out for lunch, and it costs $20 to feed the whole family, I guess $5 is not so bad. So. I am trying my best to plan everything, even if it means spending a pinch more on groceries...

Monday, December 16
Breakfast: Eggs and Toast
Lunch: PB&J Sandwiches/Soups from the Freezer
Dinner: Zuppa Toscana Soup

Tuesday, December 17
Breakfast: Cereal
Lunch: Lunch at friends' house
Dinner: Black Bean Burgers

Wednesday, December 18
Breakfast: Chocolate Banana Muffins
Lunch: Chicken Apple PB Lettuce Wraps
Dinner: Dinner at Church (we're bringing a crockpot of chili)

Thursday, December 19
Breakfast: Leftover Chocolate Banana Muffins
Lunch: BLTs
Dinner: Leftover Chili

Friday, December 20
Breakfast: Mushroom and Spinach Frittata
Lunch: Chicken Fajita Salads
Dinner: Chicken Bacon Soup (made with leftover turkey frozen from Thanksgiving)

Saturday, December 21
Breakfast: Leftover Mushroom and Spinach Frittata
Lunch: Chicken Fajita Salads
Dinner: Leftover Chicken Bacon Soup

Sunday, December 22
Breakfast: Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal Muffins
Lunch: Cheesey Mexi Lentil Macaroni
Dinner: Hashbrown Crusted Quiche with Sausage, Peppers, Mushrooms, and Onions

Monday, December 23
Breakfast: Leftover Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal Muffins
Lunch: Leftover Cheesey Mexi Lentil Macaroni
Dinner: Roast with Carrots, Onions, and Potatoes

Tuesday, December 24
Breakfast: Pancakes (with strawberries and whipped cream for a Christmas Eve treat)
Lunch: PB&J Sandwiches/Soups from the Freezer
Dinner: Leftover Roast with Carrots, Onions, and Potatoes

Wednesday, December 25
Breakfast: Eggs with Peppers, Mushrooms, and Onions
Lunch: Tuna Sandwiches/Soups from the Freezer
Dinner: Turkey, Poblano Sweet Potatoes

Thursday, December 26
Breakfast: Oatmeal
Lunch: Grilled Cheese, Tomato Soup
Dinner: Leftover Turkey and Poblano Sweet Potatoes

Friday, December 27
Breakfast: Southwest Frittata
Lunch: Baked Potatoes with Broccoli and Bacon
Dinner: Mini Turkey Loaves, Green Beans

Saturday, December 28
Breakfast: Leftover Southwest Frittata
Lunch: Leftover Mini Turkey Loaves and Green Beans
Dinner: Mini BBQ Chicken Pizzas (made with leftover turkey)

Sunday, December 29
Breakfast: Cereal
Lunch: Chili
Dinner: Sloppy Joes, Carrot Fries

Monday, December 30
Breakfast: Eggs and Toast
Lunch: Leftover Chili
Dinner: Leftover Sloppy Joes and Carrot Fries

Tuesday, December 31
Breakfast: Cereals
Lunch: Clean Out the Fridge/Snack-y Lunch/Mac and Cheese
Dinner: Chicken Fajitas

Extras:
And that's that! I will be taking a menu plan post break the beginning of January, but rest assured - it will still be planned out on paper! I'll be back with more menu posts the middle of next month.

I am linking up to Menu Plan Monday on I'm An Organizing Junkie.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

What I'm Reading...

What I'm Reading:

The Plastic Mind. (The Simple Dollar)

WWJD: What Would Joshua Do? "No, I don’t expect, or even want, anyone to walk around asking themselves What would Joshua do? Please don’t. At least not aloud. Rather, it’s a question I should ask myself: What would the best version of me do in this situation?" (The Minimalists)

Unwanted Blessings - A Matter Of The Heart. (Kitchen Stewardship)

Who Needs Santa When You've Got Jesus? (The Matt Walsh Blog)

Is Project Runway Over? (Just Crafty Enough)

How A Good Book Can Spark Creativity. (The Art Of Simple)

What I'm Pinning:

Friday, December 13, 2013

Weekly Coupon Shopping

CVS
  • 3 GM Cereals: 3/$9, get $3ECBs when you buy 3. Used three $0.60/1 printables = paid $7.20, got $3ECBs, and I'll get $0.50 Savingstar deposit for Cookie Crisp and $0.50 Savingstar deposit for Honey Nut Cheerios.
  • 2 Right Guard Body Wash: 2/$6, get $2ECBs when you buy 2. 
  • CVS Vitamin Cs: $3.99
  • Used $12.01ECBs = paid $5.18, got $5ECBs and $1 Savingstar
Walgreens
  • 4 Walgreens Diapers: B1G1 $8.99. Used 20% off friends & family discount coupon = paid $15.10 for all 4 packs!
Other Coupon Shopping:
  • Shutterfly: I had two free codes for calendars from Pampers (one from points that I redeemed, and one from the Grow On program, where you get special gifts every 3 months if you enter at least one code a month), and mugs were on sale, so I got 3 grandparent Christmas gifts for $19.05 (savings of $53!)
  • Target: We needed toilet paper, so I got a 20 +4bonus roll Angel Soft pack, on sale for $9.49. Used 20% off Cartwheel and $1.50/1 printable = paid $6.39! That's the lowest I've paid for TP in a long time, so I might have to print another coupon and do it again.
  • Starbucks: Filled up a 5 sticker holiday drink card, so I got a free grande peppermint mocha. Saved $4.55!

Monday, December 9, 2013

On Why I Didn't Pick 24 Christmas Activities For December

You've seen them, I know. The Advent calendars with a daily "fun" activity for each day in December leading up to Christmas. I've seen them too. And for a long time, I wanted to be a part of that club, to make my own fun activity calendar and do ALL THE THINGS. But every time I would go to make a list, it would stress me out, and for the past two years, I've gotten to mid-December with no activity calendar in sight.

This year, however, I'm not too sad about it. I'm trying to enjoy our Advent and Christmas season with a more simple mindset. We don't have to do ALL THE THINGS, and we certainly don't have to plan ALL THE THINGS, but if some of them happen because that's what we want to do? That's wonderful. We can enjoy them without being sad that we messed up our list or missed something because life got busy.

This is not to say Bah Humbug by any means. We've actually done something festive or Christmas-y almost every day this month.

We decorated the tree. The boys put their own ornaments on, and for the rest of the day the tree was decorated from 3 feet down, and it made me smile. And then I added more ornaments to the top and that made me smile even more.


We made construction paper Christmas trees, and I got to watch my boys use their ever expanding scissors skills to cut out the trees and see their interesting ornament displays (Matthew's float off to the sides of the tree and Jonah's are all in one spot)


We got ice cream as a special treat after an Advent church service.

We watched the Christmas at Bethany concert streamed online from our alma mater.  This brought up fun discussions about the life Mommy had before the kids were born.  They just couldn't quite wrap their heads around that one.

We read a new Thomas the Tank Engine Christmas book and watched a Thomas Christmas dvd.

We made countdown to Christmas paper loop chains.


And along with all that, the boys each have one of those cheap chocolate-a-day Advent calendars, which they get to enjoy if they behave. We also have our Advent candles that we light during dinner every Sunday, and we have an ornament that plays a little 4-line rhyming part of the Christmas story each day.

Christmas is in our house in lots of little ways, but for once I'm not stressing about it. I'm taking each day as it comes, and enjoying the activities that do happen rather than trying to do ALL THE THINGS.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

What I'm Reading...

I haven't yet posted about my monthly goals for December. That's because I really only have one goal: enjoy it! I know my December is always packed full of things to do - buying Christmas presents, decorating trees and cookies, and so on. So my goal is to not stress too much and enjoy the season.

What I'm Reading:

You Don't Have To Save Christmas. (The Happiest Home)

How We Help Curb The "I Want That!"s During The Holidays. (The Art Of Simple)

Becoming An Indie Publishing House Is Amazing, And Not As Hard As It Looks. (Offbeat Home)

What I'm Pinning:

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Weekly Coupon Shopping

Walgreens
  • 2 Wheat Thins: 2/$4. Used two $1/1 printables = paid $2/2, got 1,000 points.
  • 2 Coffeemate Creamers: 2/$3. Used two $1/1 printables = paid $1/2.
  • Total spent: $3.00, got 1,000 points ($1.00)
Target
  • Ghirardelli Squares: $3.33. Used $2/1 printable and $1/1 Target mobile coupon = paid $0.33.
  • Archer Farms Syrup: $7.19, on sale for 10% off, so $6.47. Used 10% off Cartwheel coupon = paid $5.82.
  • Got $0.05 off for using my own bag = paid $6.36.
CVS
  • Triaminic: $4.99, get $4ECBs. Used $1/1 printable = paid $3.99, got $4ECBs.
  • Huggies Travel Wipes: $2.79. Not a good deal on wipes, but I love these cases and I lost mine over the weekend.
  • Used $6ECBs = paid $0.54, got $4ECBs.
Other Coupon Shopping:
  • Shutterfly: Used code BLACKFRIDAY (expired 12/1) to get 10 free cards and code CARD4U (expires 12/4?) to get 1 free card. Combined those with a code for $20 off of holiday cards/free shipping on holiday cards from Kelloggs Family Rewards to get 30 cards for $6.36 after tax. On a separate order, used a code for $20 off of holiday cards/free shipping on holiday cards from Huggies to get 15 more cards for $0.58 after tax. 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Menu Plan December 3-15

It's a new month! How did that happen? I'm going to try to stick to planning out all 3 meals (although towards the end I ran out of lunch ideas, so I'll have to figure something out for those), because that seems to help us stay on track budget-wise. I tried to keep things pretty simple for this 2-week span, because I know we'll be busy with Advent and Christmas activities. The menu plan technically started yesterday, but I've even adjusted it since then, so I'll start with today.

Tuesday, December 3
Breakfast: Leftover Southwest Frittata
Lunch: Eat Out
Dinner: Black Bean Taco Salads

Wednesday, December 4
Breakfast: Whole Wheat Whatever Muffins (with the leftover Thanksgiving cranberry sauce and white chocolate chips mixed in)
Lunch: BLTs
Dinner: Chicken Breasts and Maple Glazed Carrots (these were a hit at Thanksgiving, and really easy to make)

Thursday, December 5
Breakfast: Cranberry Muffins
Lunch: Chicken Salads
Dinner: Refried Bean Quesadillas

Friday, December 6
Breakfast: Cereal
Lunch: Leftover Quesadillas
Dinner: Ham and Bean Soup

Saturday, December 7
Breakfast: Eggs and Toast
Lunch: Macaroni and Cheese
Dinner: Leftover Ham and Bean Soup

Sunday, December 8
Breakfast: Oatmeal
Lunch: PB&J/Soups from the Freezer
Dinner: Steak, Steamed Broccoli

Monday, December 9
Breakfast: Cereal
Lunch: Shrimp Salads
Dinner: Chicken Cacciatore

Tuesday, December 10
Breakfast: Banana Chocolate Chip Monkey Muffins
Lunch: Baked Potatoes with Broccoli and Ham
Dinner: Chicken Cacciatore

Wednesday, December 11
Breakfast: Oatmeal
Lunch: Macaroni and Cheese, Hot Dogs
Dinner: Beef Stir Fry

Thursday, December 12
Breakfast: Winter Squash Hash and Eggs
Lunch: Leftover Stir Fry
Dinner: Roast with Potatoes and Carrots

Friday, December 13
Breakfast: Leftover Hash and Eggs
Lunch: TBD
Dinner: Leftover Roast

Saturday, December 14
Breakfast: Eggs and Toast
Lunch: TBD
Dinner: Chicken, Black Olive, and Mushroom Pizza

Sunday, December 15
Breakfast: Cereal
Lunch: TBD
Dinner: Chicken Fajitas

I am linking up to Organizing Junkie's Menu Plan Monday.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

November Goals Update

Personal
  • Complete the 30 Day Plank Challenge. We started this last week. Done!
  • Do DDP Yoga with Jesse at least 5 nights a week. I actually did yoga every single night except for one. Woohoo!
  • Read 2 books, Kindle or paper. Done! See below for details.
Parenting

  • Learn two new songs/verses of hymns. Through no fault of my own, the kids have picked up on a few of the songs of the liturgy. I caught them singing along during church. We've also been working on the verses to "Go Tell It On The Mountain" but we haven't quite finished yet.
  • Go to the Omro Library. We've lived here 5 months and haven't been there yet. Not done.
Food

  • Come up with a healthy version of the Thanksgiving menu (we're hosting!) We had turkey, Maple Glazed Carrots, Poblano Sweet Potatoes, Cranberry Sauce (based on my faint memory of my recipe last year), and Paleo Pumpkin Pie. Yum!
  • Include more (a lot more!) Paleo recipes in our meal plans.We survived a month of Paleo eating. Read more about it here.
Books I Read This Month:
  • Adopting The Minimalist Mindset by Ben Knight (free on my Kindle): "The journey to becoming a minimalist isn't difficult, but you do need to practice discipline...Remember, the first step is to change your mindset and take a hard look at how you value your life. If you can see that most items don't improve the quality of your life, you can then focus on the items that bring you joy." I've found that a lot of books on minimalism are pretty similar, but there are usually a few good nuggets of wisdom in them.
  • 100 Pound Loser by Jessica Heights (bought in an ebook bundle in spring 2013): I was actually really underwhelmed by this one, maybe in part because I didn't realize it was only 30 pages long.  I guess I was expecting more stories, more journal-type anecdotes from her experiences while losing 100 pounds.  Still, good for her for losing the weight with 4 kids and dealing with fibromyalgia.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Thoughts On A Month Of (Mostly) Paleo Eating

For the past month or so, we've been eating a mostly paleo diet.  It was actually easier than I thought, at least in some ways.  Here's a breakdown of how it went:
Budget. Our food budget has gone up.  We were at $150 each month, along with $50 for household items.  However, looking at our past few months of statements, we had also been spending a couple hundred dollars a month on eating out.  Ouch! We really needed to reign that in anyways, regardless of how our grocery budget changed.  We ended up spending about $250 on food, but we only ate out I think twice, so we ended up spending less total, even thought the grocery budget went up.

Time. Obviously making real food, especially with lots of veggies, takes time.  I have already been making quite a bit from scratch, so it didn't add too much extra time to that. I did spend a lot of time chopping veggies and portioning meat over the first few days after each grocery trip though.  It also took me longer to plan the menu each two-week cycle because I didn't have a lot of paleo recipes to pull from, so I had to go find those, then make detailed ingredients lists, then combine those into shopping lists.

Grocery Shopping. Because paleo eating requires so many veggies and fresh produce items, even though I made a two-week menu plan, we went shopping at least once a week.  We did a bigger trip for non-perishables and produce that would last for two weeks (as well as items that freeze well that I could prep and throw in the freezer), and then a smaller trip the second week.  I was definitely more conscious of not wasting food and making sure every bit was used up since the grocery bills were a bit higher than I was used to.

Recipes. We used mostly recipes from Everyday Paleo, a cookbook we picked up from the local bookstore. Out of all that we tried, there were only two that weren't really hits, although the kids didn't like quite as many as we did. 

Kids. We supplemented the kids' paleo eating with milk, yogurt, bread, pasta, and occasional treats. We did this mostly because they are used to eating these things, and to help them adjust to eating what we were eating, we included some things they were used to that weren't paleo.

Cheating. I have some candy in a cupboard, and we each pulled an occasional treat from there. Some of our meals contained beans. We had cereal and oatmeal for breakfast some mornings, which also included milk.  And I continued to have my almost daily coffee.  Not perfectly paleo, but these cheats helped us stick with the rest of it.

So will we continue? Generally, yes. We will include many of these paleo recipes in our monthly plans. However, we've both agreed that we will not stick completely to the paleo diet, as it is also more budget conscious for us to include things like beans and brown rice in our diets rather than just meats and veggies.  Plus, we do have some favorite recipes that aren't paleo that we would like to include.  We will, however, try not to return the the hundreds a month in eating out, because that was a bad habit we were glad to break!

What about you? How do you feel about the paleo diet?

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Weekly Coupon Shopping

CVS
CVS ran some really good deals this week.  I wanted to do this deal to get the $50 ECBs, but our location didn't have those cards. The manager was willing to manually put it in for a different prepaid card, but they only take cash for those, and I didn't have that, so I decided to skip it. I still got lots of good deals!
  • 2 Sparkle Paper Towels: $1, get $1ECBs (limit 2). Used B1G1 printable = paid $1, got $2ECBs.
  • 2 Kraft Mac & Cheese: $0.99, get $0.99ECBs (limit 2). Used free coupon from mail = paid $0.99, got $1.98ECBs.
  • Right Guard Deoderant: $2.99, get $2ECBs.
  • 4 Hershey's Bagged Candy: B1G1 Free $3.99. Used two $2.50/2 CVS printables (no longer available), $1.10/2 printable, and $1.00/2 printable = paid $1.88/4.
  • Reese's Pieces Theater Box: $0.99, get $0.99ECBs.
  • Hershey's Bar: $0.79, get $0.79ECBs.
  • CVS Wipes: $0.99, get $0.99ECBs.
  • Glade Plug-In Warmer: $1.25, get $1.25ECBs. Used $1.00/1 printable = paid $0.25, got $1.25ECBs.
  • Colgate Toothpaste: $3.00. Used $2.50/1 CVS coupon machine and $0.50/1 (SS 11/24/13) = free.
  • Orbit Gum: $1.00, get $1.00ECBS.
  • 5 Gum: $1.00, get $1.00ECBs.
  • 2 Starbucks Refreshers (not shown): 2/$3, get $3ECBs.
  • Used $10ECBs from last week = paid $8.74, got $15ECBs!
Other Coupon Shopping:
  • Starbucks: Used the Free Hot Chocolate When You Buy Any Espresso Drink from Amazon Local (which gave us 2 kids hot chocolates for free when we bought 2 regular drinks), along with a 50% off of any espresso drink, to get drinks for the whole family for just over $5. Awesome!

Monday, November 25, 2013

On Meeting New People At The Laundromat

Once a week, I load up our clothes and head to the laundromat. For about an hour, I watch the machines spin around and play on my phone. And usually, there is at least one other person watching the same spinning.  Sometimes, we talk.

Talking to strangers doesn't come easy for me. I'm an introvert, and by nature I would rather just sit on my phone. It's also one of my only breaks during the week, so I want to do what I want. But. I've met some interesting people.

There was the grumpy old couple with the broken machine at home, who fit all the stereotypes of crochety old woman and her husband who just follows along.  There was the man whose beer can fell out of his pocket as he collected his clean clothes from the dryer.

And today, there was a woman who started off talking about the weather, and ended up talking about baby spacing and infertility. We only scratched the surface of her story in the twenty minutes or so we shared, but it was a real human connection.

I don't know why we had this conversation. Maybe she needed to talk, even after all these years. Maybe I needed to hear it to realize how blessed I have been to have my babies spaced so evenly pretty much when I wanted them to be.

I want to have more conversations like this. I psych myself up thinking it's so hard, but really? It just starts with the weather, with saying hello.  Maybe next week...

Sunday, November 24, 2013

What I'm Reading...

What I'm Reading:

Useful Finds From Antique Stores. I love shopping for antiques, but it helps to have a few items or purposes in mind when you go. (Little House Living)

If You Shop On Thanksgiving, You Are Part Of The Problem. (The Matt Walsh Blog)

What Downton Abbey And Meyers Briggs Taught Me About Living Simply. I'm Lord Grantham, apparently. Not sure I like that - I like the assessment, but he's one of my least favorite characters. (The Art Of Simple)

What's Going To Replace Trans Fat? (Kitchen Stewardship)

How A Slow Cooker Can Save Your Family Hundreds Of Dollars. (The Simple Dollar)

I'll share more of what I've been pinning next week.



Sunday, November 17, 2013

What I'm Reading...

I'm a little late on this one today. Two of the three kids have colds, so we haven't slept much the past couple of nights. It's throwing everything a little off schedule...

What I'm Reading:
Touching Portraits Of Mothers With Their One-Day-Old Babies. (My Modern Met via The Happiest Home)

The 80/20 Rule, The Impending Bombardment Of Sugar And Teaching Kids About Sweets In Moderation. (Don't Waste The Crumbs)

10 Rules For Grandparents. (People I Want To Punch In The Throat)

Do Simple Living On Your Own Terms. (Home Your Way)

I'm Not The Only One Who Has A Right To My Body. (The Matt Walsh Blog)

What I'm Pinning:

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Menu Plan November 17-30

The first two weeks of Paleo eating went pretty well. I actually didn't miss baking as much as I thought I would (the only thing I baked was the pumpkin pie for Jesse's birthday, which was amazing). I've still had a bit of sugar in my daily coffee, as well as the occasional square of chocolate, but otherwise, I've cut back on that a lot as well.  The food has been nearly all delicious, at least for the adults. The kids have been less thrilled with a few of the veggie heavy dishes, but they know they have to eat what's in front of them, so they have (for the most part).

Here's the plan for the rest of the month, including Thanksgiving, which we are hosting for our parents.

Monday, November 17
Breakfast: Cereal
Lunch: Chicken, Apple, and Peanut Butter Wraps
Dinner: Chicken Cacciatore

Tuesday, November 18
Breakfast: Winter Squash Hash & Eggs
Lunch: Chicken Fajita Salads
Dinner: Leftover Chicken Cacciatore

Wednesday, November 19
Breakfast: Leftover Hash & Eggs
Lunch: Chicken Fajita Salads
Dinner: Stuffed Mushrooms

Thursday, November 20
Breakfast: Oatmeal
Lunch: Turkey Chili from the freezer
Dinner: One Pot Chicken Drumsticks

Friday, November 21
Breakfast: Eggs, Fruit, Toast
Lunch: Salads with Leftover One Pot Chicken
Dinner: Sloppy Joes, Sweet Potato Fries

Saturday, November 22
Breakfast: Cereal
Lunch: Tomato Soup with Chicken
Dinner: Leftover Sloppy Joes and Sweet Potato Fries

Sunday, November 23
Breakfast: Eggs, Fruit, Toast
Lunch: Leftover Tomato Soup with Chicken
Dinner: Chicken Stir Fry

Monday, November 24
Breakfast: Oatmeal
Lunch: Leftover Chicken Stir Fry
Dinner: Beef Taco Salads

Tuesday, November 25
Breakfast: Eggs, Fruit, Toast
Lunch: Pumpkin Chili with Chicken
Dinner: Beef Taco Salads

Wednesday, November 26
Breakfast: Creamy Breakfast Quiche
Lunch: Leftover Pumpkin Chili
Dinner: Mexican Meatballs, Side Salad

Thursday, November 27
Breakfast: Leftover Quiche
Lite Lunch: PB&J, Fruits, Veggies (snack-y lunch)
Thanksgiving Meal (mid-afternoon): Turkey, Poblano Sweet Potatoes, Maple Glazed Carrots, Cranberry Sauce, Paleo Pumpkin Pie
Lite Dinner/Snack: Leftovers or Sandwiches

Friday, November 28
Breakfast: Cereal
Lunch: Leftover Mexican Meatballs
Dinner: Leftover Thanksgiving Dinner

Saturday, November 29
Breakfast: Southwestern Frittata
Lunch: Leftover Thanksgiving Dinner
Dinner: Slow Cooker Chicken Curry

Sunday, November 30
Breakfast: Leftover Frittata
Lunch: TBD
Dinner: Leftover Chicken Curry

Thursday, November 14, 2013

On Yoga And The Ups And Downs Of Weight Loss

I like results. I'm one of those people who uses feedback for constant motivation. So when I'm trying to lose weight, I weigh myself every day.  The weight fluctuates, but in general it's been moving in a downward direction, which is good.

I've been doing DDP Yoga for 2 months now, kind of. The first month I did it for about a week straight, then got frustrated, and stopped. Even with that little amount of effort, I lost several inches (no weight, but inches are good too).  A couple weeks later I picked it up again, and now I've been doing yoga for almost 3 weeks.  I really like it. I can tell that I'm getting stronger, and more flexible, and my weight has been going down slowly.

It's not all sunshine and rainbows though. Shortly after I started up, I thought I got the chicken pox. Based on my own unofficial diagnosing (and baby Hannah's lack of pox, which she would have caught by now), I may be allergic to my own sweat. Until recently, I didn't even know that could happen, but apparently when a sedentary person starts exercising, the toxins leaving the body through sweat can produce an allergic reaction, which peaks between ages 26-28 (I'm 27).

I basically have chicken pox looking bumps in random spots on my body, most noticeably near my ankles, knees, and lower back.  I've been showering immediately after working out, which has helped make things more manageable, but it has been an unexpected challenge, to say the least.  (If that's more than you wanted to know, I apologize, but I wanted to share my experiences as I lose weight, because it is an important part of my life right now.)

This is one of those instances where I'm putting myself first, and that's really difficult for me. I work out after dinner, and while I sort of keep an eye on the kids, I'm primarily focused on what I'm doing, and letting Jesse take care of the kids.  And then I take even more time for myself to go shower.  This shouldn't be hard, to take 30-45 minutes to myself, for my health, but it is something I still struggle with sometimes.  I'm really good at mommy guilt for things like this, especially when the kids are whining and making a mess, and there's a stack of dishes in the sink, and so many other distractions. 

But just like all my other skills, I'm working on it, and I'm really proud of how far I've come.  This is only the beginning.

Weekly Coupon Shopping

Walgreens
I stopped at Walgreens to pick up a prescription, and grabbed 6 boxes of Kleenex too, on sale for $0.99 each. Used three $0.50/2 coupons (House Party booklet) = paid $4.74, got $1.50RR.

CVS
  • 2 Colgate Max Clean Toothpaste: $2.99 each, get $2.50ECBs (limit 2). 
  • Schick Hydro 3 Razor: $10.49, get $4ECBs. Used free coupon from mail = paid $0, got $4ECBs!
  • CVS Acetaminophen: $4.99. Used $4.99/1 CVS coupon machine = free.
  • Total spent: $6.82, got $9ECBs.
Other Coupon Shopping:
  • Starbucks: Used 50% off drink loaded onto my gold card = saved $2.17.
  • Target: Used 10% off Lunchables (saved $0.25 on 2) and 15% off Kids Shoes (saved $3.00) on Cartwheel App.
  • Target: Used 15% off Threshold Desks to save $16.50.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Weekly Coupon Shopping (Times 2!)

I did do some coupon shopping last week, but I didn't get a chance to finish the post.  So...here's last week's shopping, followed by this week's.

Last Week:

We got a CVS! That was my big excitement for this week. So of course I went on the opening day and shopped the sales. They weren't actually that great, but I did get a few things...

CVS

  • 3 Dawn Dish Soaps: $0.99 each. Used three $0.50/1 (P&G 9/29/13) = paid $0.49 each. I am finally almost out of dish soap. I think the last time I bought it was about 6 months ago.
  • 2 Sobe Lifewaters: $0.88 each. Used two $1/1 CVS printables (no longer available) = 2 free!
  • Pampers Jumbo Pack: $8.99, get $1ECB. Used $1.50/1 printable = paid $7.49, got $1ECB.
  • Gillette ProGlide Razor: $9.99, get $5ECBs. Used $3/1 (P&G mailer) = paid $6.99, got $5ECBs.
  • Total spent: $16.90, got $6ECBs! Not a bad start!
Other Coupon Shopping:
  • Starbucks: Used free drink coupon loaded onto my gold card = saved $4.88.
  • Target: Bought two cans of Libby's pumpkin at $1.69 each. Used two $0.50/1 printables = paid $1.19 each.
This Week:

Target
  • Gerber Formula: $23.99. Used $2.25/1 printable = paid $21.74.
  • 6 Gerber 1st Foods: $0.99 each. Used $0.85/6 printable = paid $5.09/6.
  • Powerade (not shown): $0.59.
  • 2 Coloring Books (not shown): $1 each. Used 10% off of Dollar Spot items (Cartwheel app) = paid $0.90 each.
  • Saved $0.05 for using my own bag.
  • Total spent: $29.29
Walgreens
  • 4 Lindt Chocolate Bars: 2/$4. Used four $2/1 printables = 4 free! They were out of my favorite flavor, but these are still good.
  • 2 Nice! Eggs: $0.99 each.
  • Butterball Turkey Bacon: $0.99. Used $1/1 printable = free!
  • Total spent: $2.37.
Target (again)
  • Huggies Jumbo Pack: $8.99. Used $2/1 Target coupon (Target mailer), $1.50/1 printable, and 5% off Target Cartwheel = paid $5.14.
  • 2 Pampers Boxes: on clearance $14.84 each! Used $1.50/1 printable (I only had one with me) = paid $28.18/2!
  •  I bought some other items and I misplaced the receipt so I don't have a total for this one.
CVS

My mother-in-law didn't want her grand opening mailer, so she gave me the coupons from inside. Score!
  • Gummy Bears: $0.88. Free with coupon in mailer.
  • Colgate Toothbrush: $1.87. Free with coupon in mailer.
  • Bottled Water (not pictured): $0.88.
  • Paper Towels: $0.79. Used $0.79/1 from red coupon machine = free.
  • CVS Diapers: $12.29
  • CVS Wipes: $6.99. Used $3/1 CVS item purchase in mailer.
  • Used $5/$15 coupon in mailer, and $6ECBs from last time = paid $6.73.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Reformation Breakfast and Menu Plan November 4-16

My friend Tricia came up with this idea for her Sunday School activity/treat, and I thought it was awesome, so I borrowed it for our Reformation breakfast.  On Reformation we celebrate Martin Luther's nailing the 95 Theses on the Catholic church's door, thus starting the break from Catholicism to what eventually became the Lutheran church, which we are a part of.  One of the symbols is the Luther seal.

So we made the Luther seal on pancakes.

The pancake for the yellow ring, blueberries for the blue, whipped cream for the white rose, strawberries for the heart, and chocolate chips for the cross.  Pretty and delicious!

One of my November goals is to add more Paleo foods into our diet. It's something that we want to try to see how it affects how we feel, weight loss, and so on. If it helps, and if we can fit it into our budget, we're going to keep it going, at least part of the time.  This does mean, however, that I'm back to planning all the meals, which I don't love doing (although it does make life a whole lot easier in the long run).

Monday, November 4
Breakfast: Cereal
Lunch: Soups from the Freezer (Chicken Enchilada Chili or Tomato)
Dinner: One Pot Chicken Drumsticks

Tuesday, November 5
Breakfast: Winter Squash Hash & Eggs
Lunch: Chicken Salads (using leftover chicken from last night)
Dinner: Crockpot Italian Sausage with Peppers & Onions (doubled)

Wednesday, November 6
Breakfast: Leftover Hash & Eggs
Lunch: Leftover Italian Sausage
Dinner: Pear & Ground Pork Stuffed Sausage

Thursday, November 7
Breakfast: Scrambled Eggs & Fruit
Lunch: Vegetable Soup
Dinner: Chicken Fajita Mix, Refried Beans

Friday, November 8
Breakfast: Cereal
Lunch: Tortillas with Refried Beans and Cheese
Dinner: Crockpot Beef & Broccoli for us, hot dogs for the boys

Saturday, November 9
Breakfast: Creamy Breakfast Quiche
Lunch: Vegetable Soup (made on Thursday)
Dinner: Chicken with Mushrooms & Onions (making extra chicken for salads for the next two days)

Sunday, November 10 (Jesse's birthday!)
Breakfast: Leftover Quiche
Lunch: Steak, Steamed Broccoli, Paleo Pumpkin Pie
Dinner: Chicken Salads

Monday, November 11
Breakfast: Cereal
Lunch: Chicken Salads
Dinner: Turkey Crockpot Chili (doubling the vegetables)

Tuesday, November 12
Breakfast: Scrambled Eggs & Fruit
Lunch: Turkey "Sushi" Rolls
Dinner: Leftover Turkey Chili from last night

Wednesday, November 13
Breakfast: Cereal
Lunch: Curry Chicken Salad on Cucumber Slices
Dinner: Mexican Beef Skewers, Poblano Sweet Potatoes

Thursday, November 14
Breakfast: Family Frittata
Lunch: Tomato Soup
Dinner: Leftover Skewers and Sweet Potatoes

Friday, November 15
Breakfast: Leftover Frittata
Lunch: Leftover Tomato Soup from yesterday
Dinner: Mini Meat Loaves, Carrot Fries

Saturday, November 16
Breakfast: Cereal
Lunch: TBD
Dinner: Leftover Meat Loaves and Fries

Unless linked otherwise, a lot of these recipes are from the Everyday Paleo Family Cookbook, which we bought a couple weeks ago.  We're not completely Paleo - you can see that we're still having cereal for breakfast, and we do have the occasional non-Paleo item. But overall, it's a good introduction.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

November Goals

We were gone on an Evangelism retreat this weekend, so I didn't get a chance to post this yet, but here are my goals for November.  I'm actually really excited about most of them, which means I should have more success.

Personal
  • Complete the 30 Day Plank Challenge. We started this last week.
  • Do DDP Yoga with Jesse at least 5 nights a week.
  • Read 2 books, Kindle or paper.
Parenting
  • Learn two new songs/verses of hymns.
  • Go to the Omro Library. We've lived here 5 months and haven't been there yet.
Food
  • Come up with a healthy version of the Thanksgiving menu (we're hosting!)
  • Include more (a lot more!) Paleo recipes in our meal plans. This also means the return of the full meal plan - breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I still have to do my shopping, so I have no idea if this will work with our tight budget. But we're going to try it.

What I'm Reading...

I found lots of good reads and things to pin this week!

What I'm Reading:

Practice: The Best Way To Overcome Fear. (Money Saving Mom)

Less Waste In, Less Waste Out. (Simple Mom)

Battling The Idol Of The Schedule. (Gidget Goes Home)

Handling Negative Net Worth. (The Simple Dollar)

Organic Milk vs. Conventional Milk: What's The Difference? (Don't Waste The Crumbs)

Help, Doc, I'm Bored By Boring Things. I Think I've Got The ADHD! (The Matt Walsh Blog)

What I'm Pinning:

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

October Goals Update

Household:
  • Post pictures of items on Facebook garage sale site. I haven't made it completely through the bin yet, but I've been clearing more things out of the house, especially out of the kids room.  Progress is something!
  • Reorganize the Legos in bins. Done! This is working pretty well so far. You can read about it here.
  • Figure out laundry and budget accordingly. We have decided to do laundry at our place for the time being. It's faster and less of a hassle than driving to Jesse's aunt's house, although we did appreciate it.
Food:

  • Do a no-restaurant challenge for a week. Not done officially, although I think we went out to eat maybe three or four times in the whole month.
  • Be more intentional about snacks. This kind of happened, although I didn't end up making as many things as I wanted to, so we did fall back onto crackers and treats.
Parenting:

  • Create a spot for Hannah at the table for meals. Done! And she started eating the pureed veggies, which she thinks are pretty tasty.
  • Go through clothes, shoes, and winter gear and make sure everyone has everything needed. We ended up needing some hats and mittens, which we were able to get at the store already. The only other thing we might need is a coat/snowsuit for Hannah if she grows too much. We have a 6-9 month one that's a little big for that size, which is where she is now, so we'll see.
  • Teach the kids two more songs/verses. We are in the process of learning the second verse of "Silent Night". I don't think we've started a second new song though.
  • Get back to using cloth diapers more frequently. Done! What also helped me get back in the habit was that I had 11 disposables left for Matthew and about 5 days worth of waiting for an Amazon gift card on my Swagbucks account and then the couple days of shipping for the diapers to get here.  We made it, barely!
  • Make a toothbrush sticker chart for the boys. Not done.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

What I'm Reading...

What I'm Reading:

This Map Shows The Most Famous Book Set In Every State. (Business Insider via Simple Mom)

Finding Real Food Heroes: Real Food Isn't Easy. (Kitchen Stewardship)

Amazon.com: Must Spend $35 To Get Super Saver Shipping. (Money Saving Mom)

Leaving A Legacy Of Community And Hospitality. (Gidget Goes Home)

We Are Going To Homeschool Our Kids, But That's Only Because We Hate Education. (The Matt Walsh Blog)

What I'm Pinning (which wasn't too much this week):

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Weekly Coupon Shopping

All of this week's coupon shopping is brought to you by my organ check for $40. I was asked to fill in at the last minute on Sunday, so I picked up some extras (and some essentials) with the unexpected money.

Walgreens
  • 2 Peanut Butter Snickers Fun Size: 2/$5. Used $1/2 (October Walgreens) and two $1/1 printables = paid $2/2!
  • 2 Coffeemate Creamers: 2/$3. Used two $0.55/1 printables = paid $1.90/2!
  • Lindt Bar: $2.49. Used $5RR from last time.
  • Total spent: $1.76
Target

  • Gerber Formula: $23.79. Used $5/1 coupon (printed last time I got formula) = paid $18.79.
  • 2 Gerber Pureed Foods: $0.99 each.
  • Red Pepper: $1.19. Used 5% off Target Cartwheel and $1/1 fresh veggie Target mobile coupon = paid $0.13.
  • Boo Berry Cereal: $2.50. (I normally don't pay this much for cereal, but this is my husband's favorite)
  • 28 pack Angel Soft Toilet Paper (not pictured): $9.99. Used $1/1 any toilet paper Target mobile coupon, 5% off Target Cartwheel, and $0.55/1 printable = paid $8.54.
  • Saved $0.10 using two of my own bags.
  • Total spent: $31.66.
Other Coupon Savings:
  • Hobby Lobby: Used 40% off coupon to save $1.20 off a 12-pack of gluesticks (and paid with what was left on a gift card from my birthday).
  • Starbucks: Used 50% off a food item to get a cookie for the kids for only $0.75 (and paid with a gift card earned from Shopkick).

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Lego Organization

Sometimes I feel like Legos are a never-ending project. Jonah is currently at the stage where he likes to put the sets together following the directions, but a lot of his sets had gotten mixed together, making it hard to find the pieces.

So we decided to reorganize. We picked up seven of the small clear containers at Walmart ($0.96 each), and 2 larger blue ones ($0.97 each).  We also used a blue pencil box that we had gotten earlier, a round Ziploc container (not shown), and a bucket.
And then we sorted. We dumped out all the Legos and lost the living room for 3 days while we put the different sets back together. So now they each have their own container, with the directions tucked in too. (The old direction organization method was good for when we only had a few sets, but was not working for all the new ones). We also have a container for all the extra pieces, and one for all the mini-figures.
Now Jonah can take out one or two sets at a time to work on. It's still not a perfect system, and we do have some missing pieces, but overall, it's much better than it was.
Now I just need to find a home for them in the boys' room instead of next to the coffee table.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Menu Plan October 16-31

Fall is here! We just got pumpkins, and I'm excited to roast some pumpkin seeds for snacks.

Here's what's for dinner for the rest of the month:

(16) Wednesday: Mini Turkey Loaves, Green Beans
(17/18) Thursday/Friday: Black Bean Taco Salads
(19) Saturday: Cheesy Hashbrown Crusted Quiche
(20) Sunday: Double Smothered Chicken
(21/22) Monday/Tuesday: Veggie Minestrone Soup, Easy Cheesy Biscuits
(23) Wednesday: Loaded Baked Potatoes
(24/25) Thursday/Friday: Pinto Bean and Ground Turkey Enchiladas
(26) Saturday: Breakfast Skillets
(27/28) Sunday/Monday: Beef Stew, Simple Bread
(29) Tuesday: Thai Peanut Noodles with Chicken
(30/31) Wednesday/Thursday: Chicken Fajita Soup, Crockpot Refried Beans

I am also going to cook up another batch of granola (we go through that fast for snacking around here), and some sort of muffin.  Maybe I'll do pumpkin, since it is fall. 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Weekly Coupon Shopping

Target


Transaction #1:
  • 4 Starbucks Coffee: $7.49 each, get a $10 gift card when you buy 4. Used $2/2 printable (I forgot my second one at home) = paid $27.96, got $10 gift card.
  • Got $0.05 off for using my own bag = paid $27.91, got $10 gift card.
  • I will also get a $10 Starbucks card for entering the 4 codes on the bags, and I could turn each one in for a free tall coffee (although I usually get specialty drinks in the stores).
Transaction #2:
  • Pull-ups Jumbo Pack: $9.49. Used $2/1 mobile coupon and $3/1 (House Party booklet) = paid $4.49.
  • 3 Huggies Wipes: $2.39 each. Used 3 $0.50/1 (insert), $1/1 Target mobile coupon, and two $0.50/1 Target mailer coupons = paid  $3.67/3!
  • Quaker Granola Bar 3-pack: $1.00
  • Powerade (not pictured): $0.59.
  • 2 pound bag baby carrots (not pictured): $1.00. Used $1/1 Target mobile coupon = free!
  • Got $0.05 off for using my own bag. 
  • Total: $10.31. Used $10 gift card from transaction #1 = paid $0.31!
Other Coupon Shopping:
  • Walgreens: 2 Pampers Jumbo Packs: $18.00. Used two $1.50/1 printables and $5.00 in points = paid $10/2!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

September Goals Update and October Goals

I realized today that I never updated my September goals, or posted new goals for October.  My mommy brain is strong these days...

September Goals
Personal:
  • Continue to track my eating/workouts with My Fitness Pal. Done! I want to say it told me I was at 85 days straight this week.
  • Read three books. Did I read The Hunger Games series in August or the beginning of September? If it was September, I accomplished this. If not, I'm pretty sure I did not read much else this month.
Food:
  • Try 1 new muffin recipe. Nope.
  • Try 1 new snack recipe. Nada.
  • Make a cool Lego cake for Jonah's birthday. Done!
Parenting:
  • Teach the boys at least one song from the liturgy. We learned the first verses of "God's Own Child, I Gladly Say It" and "Silent Night" instead.
  • Continue my homeschool research and finalize letter of the week plans.  Hopefully I can get this started this month too! I have continued to read more about this, but I've put off letter of the week stuff for now. I am interested in this, but apparently not motivated or passionate enough about it to actually do it.
  • Throw a Lego party! Done! The party was awesome, and you can read more about it here.

October Goals

So...it's obvious (at least, to me) that just making a list on the blog is not enough for me to remember or achieve my goals each month, unless they are going to automatically happen (like the birthday party/cake).  I think this month I will try printing my list and posting it on my closet door so I constantly see it. We'll see if that helps me get more done...

Basically, a lot of my goals this month are to get things back on track in areas that I've been successful in before, but have gotten lazy about lately. It's time to fix my bad habits...

Household:
  • Post pictures of items on Facebook garage sale site. I've had things sitting in a bin for a few months and just haven't photographed them yet.
  • Reorganize the Legos in bins. I'm cheating a bit because we just finished this this morning. But it was definitely an October goal, and I'll post about what we did later this week!
  • Figure out laundry and budget accordingly. We have been going back and forth between using Jesse's aunt's machines (a hassle and it takes all day, but free), the coin laundry at our apartment (the dryers are terrible), and the laundromat (more expensive, but they work and everything gets done in under 2 hours).
Food:
  • Do a no-restaurant challenge for a week. We've fallen back into old habits lately, especially going out for lunch a lot (says the girl who had Chinese for lunch).
  • Be more intentional about snacks. The kids have eaten crackers/cookies a lot lately, and I usually resort to some kind of sugar. Bad habits...
Parenting:
  • Create a spot for Hannah at the table for meals. Basically, this means shifting chairs and pulling the extra booster seat out, something I've been meaning to do for awhile.
  • Go through clothes, shoes, and winter gear and make sure everyone has everything needed.
  • Teach the kids two more songs/verses.
  • Get back to using cloth diapers more frequently. I've been slacking lately and using disposables a lot even when we're home, so I'd like to get back to cloth at home, disposables when we're out and at night only.
  • Make a toothbrush sticker chart for the boys.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Weekly Coupon Shopping

Target (last week)
  • Huggies Jumbo Pack: $8.99. Used 5% Cartwheel (took off $0.45), $2.50/1 printable, and $2/1 Target mailer = paid $4.04!
  • 2 Lindt Bars: $2.49 each. Used two $2/1 printables = paid $0.49 each! (these are my favorite!)
  • 2 Up&Up Kleenex: $1.39 each. Used $0.50/1 printable (I had two, but 1 didn't scan and I didn't notice until later) = paid $0.89 and $1.39.
  • 5 Lego Minifigures (not pictured): $2.99 each. All 3 of my boys are obsessed with these.
  • Total spent: $21.54. Most of that was on Lego guys...
Walmart

 2 Schick Silk Effects Plus Razors: $3.98 each. Used two $4/1 printables (no longer available) = 2 free!