Search This Blog

Saturday, August 31, 2013

August Goals Update

  • Lose at least 5 pounds. I keep losing and gaining the same 2 pounds over and over again.  I'm trying to decide what sort of exercising I want to do to try to bump that up (yoga, 30 Day Shred, etc.)
  • Read at least 2 books on my Kindle. Success! I read The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins, and then I read/skimmed several of the cleaning/homemaking books from a 97 ebook bundle I bought a few months ago. 
  • Make snacks to have around each week. I made granola, which usually lasts for a couple weeks, and I made cherry scones (my first time making scones, and I should have done that sooner, because they're awesome!).  I would still like for this to become a more regular occurrence, but it's a start.
  • Do an overall decluttering. I added a few things to the donate bin as I came across them, but we definitely need to do more.
  • Start teaching the boys some of the songs from the liturgy so they can sing along at church. They sing the Alleluias, as well as part of "O Christ, Lamb of God".  Most of that they picked up on their own though. I think I need to come up with a schedule for myself of what we'll work on each week so that it actually gets done.
Overall, this month wasn't very successful, but that's okay.  I have a lot of ideas rolling around in my head, and I need to actually sit down and write some specific plans out.  I've been mulling over doing a bit of preschool homeschooling with the boys to work on letters and numbers and simple Bible stuff, but I haven't jumped in because I'd like to have a plan first.  I guess making that plan needs to be one of my goals for September!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Weekly Coupon Shopping

I don't have any pretty pictures of shops today, but I did do two online deals this week that I want to share.

Amazon.  New sign-ups for Amazon Mom can save $25 off their first order of diapers using the code BABYTIME (good through 8/31/13, I think).  I have been signed up for a long time, but Jesse had never signed up, so I used his account, and added a $25 Amazon gift card from my Swagbucks earnings.  After applying the BABYTIME code and saving the 20% through the Amazon Mom program, plus additional savings from the Subscribe & Save program, we got a big case of diapers for free, plus we still had $12 in Amazon credit leftover. 
Total spent: $0. Total savings: $39.

Shutterfly/Pampers.  If you enter a Pampers Gifts to Grow code at least once a month, you get a free gift every 3 months.  I have been saving my diaper and wipes codes, and then I just enter one each month rather than doing them all at once.  I just recently earned the 6 month gift, which is a set of 25 4x8 photo cards (you also get free shipping!).  I used those to make Jonah's birthday party invitations.
Total spent: $0. Total savings: $27.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Organizher Giveaway Winner

Ding! Ding! Ding! We have a winner! 
The random number generator chose Kaycee to get her own copy of the Organizher Expense Tracker.  (You can read my review here.)  Enjoy!

Weekly Coupon Shopping


  • 4 Dial Body Wash: $2.99 each, get $5 gift card when you buy 4.  Used two $1/2 printables = paid $7.96, got $5 back!
  • Smartwater (not pictured): $0.88
  • Total spent: $11.19, got $5 gift card

  • 4 Pebbles Cereals: $1.75 each.  Used two $1/2 printables = paid $4.75/4, or $1.25 each.
  • 2 Lever 2000 Soap 2-packs: B1G1 $2.49. Used two $1.50/1 printables (no longer available), one of which was adjusted to $0.99 = 2 free!
  • Photo order (not shown): $0.60.
  • Total spent: $5.75

Friday, August 16, 2013

Menu Plan August 16-31

Breakfasts for this part of the month will include:
Lunches will include:
  • Pizza Pasta to use up our spaghetti sauce
  • Turkey and Ham Sandwiches/Wraps
  • Cheese Tortillas
  • Spinach Salads
  • Soups from the Freezer
  • PB&J Sandwiches
  • Snack-y Lunch
  • Ham & Cheese Baked Apples
Dinners will be:

Friday (16)/Saturday (17): Black Bean Taco Salads
Sunday (18): BLTs
Monday (19): Chicken Fajitas (carry over from last time)
Tuesday (20): Fancy Grilled Cheese, Fruit
Wednesday (21): Hot Dogs, Crockpot Baked Beans
Thursday (22): Turkey Ranch Club Wraps
Friday (23): Homemade Pizza (chicken, mushroom, spinach, tomatoes)
Saturday (24): Omelets (ham, cheese, tomatoes, spinach, mushrooms)

Sunday (25) Chicken, Veggies, Rice (or family dinner, but people are traveling, so this is my back-up plan)
Monday (26): Chicken Salads
Tuesday (27): Crockpot Baked Potatoes with Chili
Wednesday (28)/Thursday (29): Beef & Bean Enchiladas
Friday (30): Toscana Soup & Breadsticks
Saturday (31): Pancakes & Sausage

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Weekly Coupon Shopping

With taking most of May and June off of couponing, nearly all of our toiletries have been running out at the same time.  Except toothpaste.  We never run out of free toothpaste.  So I have been trying to find sales and coupons to replenish those bit by bit.  I like to have enough for a few months on hand, but not a huge stockpile that takes up tons of space, so taking those couple months off pretty much used everything up.

  • Huggies Wipes: $5.99. Used $0.50/1 printable and $2/1 (Walgreens booklet) = paid $3.49.
  • 2 Caress Bar Soaps: $1.29 each. Used two $0.75/1 (SS 7/28/11) = paid $0.54 each.
  • Yellow Wexford Folder: $0.19. Used a $0.99RR from last week
  • Total spent: $4.21
Other Coupon Shopping:
  • Target: Used $1/1 Crayola Markers printable (no longer available) to get markers for $0.99. I could have waited for a sale for $1, but I was there, and a bunch of our markers have died recently, so I figured I might as well pick some up.
  • Amazon: I used $25 of credit from Swagbucks to get a big box of diapers for $22.19 instead of almost $50.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Organizher Expense Tracker Review and Giveaway

About a month ago, I got a package in the mail.  I was really excited to open it up and see this Organizher Expense Tracker. 

For a little over a year, I've been an Excel Spreadsheet budget tracker, but I don't have Excel on my laptop, the computer I use the most, so it was kind of a pain for me to move over to our big desktop computer to do my budgets and pay the bills.  That extra step meant I wasn't as vigilant as I could be.  Having a paper copy, where I could keep a running list of what needs to be paid, and what I've already taken care of this month, is really helpful.

In the planner, each month has a few pages to help track expenses.  First, you get a pocket page for bills on one side, and receipts on the other.  I keep the bills in our file folder system (to pay, to scan, to shred), so I don't use that side, but I like to keep the month's grocery/household receipts so that if we go over budget, I can look back and see what we spent the extra on, so I like that feature.  Instead of having receipts shoved in my wallet, on the counter, and on my side table, they're all filed neatly in one spot.

Next to the pocket page is a list page.  The bottom half is nice to list out all the bills that need to be paid for the month, along with columns for the amount and the date paid.  This is pretty similar to what we had in our Excel spreadsheet, so that was familiar territory for me.  The top has space for any miscellaneous things you might want to note for the month.  I've been using it for extra expenses that aren't every-month kind of things (oil change for the car, birthday present for nephew, etc.)  That way we know if we have an extra expense for the month.

The next couple pages are more detailed expense trackers with pre-printed categories.  I have to admit, I'm not really a fan of those, because half of them we don't use, but that could be helpful for someone who has expenses in most of those categories, to see the breakdown of where their money is going.  I just skip over those pages.
All in all, I really like this system.  I've always been more of a handwritten girl than a digital person (call me old-fashioned, but it works for me!), so having this by my side has made it really easy to keep track of the finances.  And the 3-ring binding works just like a 3-ring binder, so you can add more pages and take out the old to keep using the system!

If this looks like a budgeting tool that would be helpful for you, you're in luck! Organizher has graciously agreed to give away an expense tracker just like this one to one of my readers! 

To enter, simply complete one (or more) of the entry options below, leaving a comment for EACH entry separately.  The giveaway will end at 11:59AM CST on Wednesday, August 21.  The winner will have 48 hours to respond to the winning email, or a new winner will be selected.
  • Comment and tell me how you track your finances. Do you keep an electronic list of your bills, a calendar with due dates, or just pay them as they come?
  • Go to the Organizher website and tell me which product would help keep you organized.
  • Like Organizher on Facebook and leave me a comment telling me you did (or already do).
I received a budget tracker from Organizher as compensation for this post.  As always, all opinions expressed are my own.

What I'm Reading...

Check back later today for an awesome giveaway!  For now, here's what I've been reading this week...

Five Tactics For Handling A Clogged Pipe Without Calling A Plumber And Breaking The Bank. (The Simple Dollar)

The Right Path, Wrong Path, Left Path, And No Path. (The Minimalists)

Organizing Stuffed Animals. (I'm An Organizing Junkie)

5 Summer Meals From 5 Chicken Breasts. (Parenting Miracles via Money Saving Mom)

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Weekly Coupon Shopping

Walgreens (last week)
For some reason, I didn't get this posted last week.  Here's what I got:
  • 2 Pull-Ups: $8.99 each.  Used two $3/1 (mailer) = $5.99 each.
  • U by Kotex Pads: $3.99 each. Used $2/2 printable and $2/1 (August Walgreens - took off $4) = paid $1.98/2, or $0.99 each!
  • Total spent: $15.26
This shopping trip was a mess for some reason.  The Pull-Ups coupon in the Walgreens coupon book didn't match the ones on sale, so they were only an okay deal, but we needed them anyway.  And I accidentally pulled the wrong Kotex coupon out, so the register wouldn't take it (obviously).  Luckily my cashier was very sweet!  Maybe she saw all three kids and decided to cut me some slack...

Walgreens (this week)
Transaction #1:
  • Pure Leaf Tea: $0.99, get $0.99RR.
  • 2 Glade Decor Scents: 2/$5, get $2RR when you buy 2.  Used two $2/1 printables (no longer available) = paid $1, got $2RR.
  • Total spent: $2.24, got $2.99RR.
Transaction #2:
  • 6 Right Guard Deoderants: B1G1 $4.49.  Used two $3/3 printables.
  • Photo Collage (not pictured): free from promo code on Saturday.  Used this as a filler item to use the $2RR from Transaction #1.
  • Total spent: $5.74.
We were almost out of diapers and wipes, and I needed flour and sugars for a cake for church this weekend.  Time to go shopping!
  • 2 Huggies Slip-On Diapers: $9.49 each. Used two $2/1 Target printables (no longer available) and two $2/1 printables = paid $5.49 each.
  • Huggies Wipes: $2.39. Used $0.50/1 Target coupon (mailer) and $0.50/1 printable = paid $1.39.
  • Up & Up Wipes: $4.99. Used $1/1 Target mobile coupon = paid $3.99.
  • Red Pepper: $1.19. Used $1/1 fresh vegetable Target mobile coupon = paid $0.19.
  • 2 Apples: $0.79 each. Used $1/1 fresh fruit Target mobile coupon = paid $0.58.
  • Market Pantry Flour: $2.24. Used $1/$2 or more Market Pantry Target mobile coupon = paid $1.24.
  • Market Pantry Sugar: $2.39.
  • 2 Market Pantry Powdered Sugar: $2.04 each.
  • Total spent: $25.63.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Menu Plan August 1-15

It's a new month! I feel like this summer is just flying by!  Even though I planned out all 3 meals for the second half of July, we didn't even really look at the menu plan for breakfasts or lunches.  I'm kind of okay with that, as long as we have enough different options in the house.  Jesse and I have started tracking our food through My Fitness Pal again, which tracks calories as well as different nutrition information like protein, carbs, and fats.  It's helped us lose weight in the past, and it's time to get back into that again!

Jesse likes to have his food planned out to have pretty much the same thing for breakfast and lunch every day, but I like variety in mine.

Here's his:
Breakfast: 3 eggs, 1 banana, 1 cup milk, spinach and mushrooms (some days)
Lunch: 4oz. chicken breast, 1 cup cottage cheese or 2 string cheeses, salad mix (some days)
Dinner: Whatever I make, hopefully around 500 calories or less
Snacks: yogurt, apples, seasonal fruits

He's not big on just eating veggies like me and the kids, so I'll have to make sure to up the veggies in our dinners so he doesn't miss out.

As for the rest of us, here's the plan for the first part of this month:

  • PB&J
  • Turkey Sandwiches
  • Turkey Pinwheels
  • Cheese Tortillas
  • Snack-y Lunch
  • Freezer Soups (Chili and Bean Soup)
  • Chicken Enchilada Chili
  • Tuna Sandwiches
  1. Loaded Nachos (pushed back from last month)
  2. Crockpot Black Bean and Sausage Soup, Easy Cheesy Biscuits
  3. Leftover Soup and Biscuits
  4. Family Dinner
  5. Ribs, Roasted Potatoes, Green Beans (potatoes and green beans from church members' gardens)
  6. Sausage Stuffed Zucchini Boats (zucchini from church members' gardens)
  7. Red Bean Jamaican Stew
  8. Leftover Jamaican Stew
  9. Mini Meat Loaves
  10. Chicken, Roasted Veggies, Rice
  11. Family Dinner
  12. Black Bean Taco Salads
  13. Black Bean Taco Salads
  14. Portabello & Zucchini Tacos, Mexi Rice
  15. Chicken Fajitas, Mexi Rice

What I'm Reading...

Do You Plan For The Pause? (Simple Mom)

How Do You Get The Help You Need? Practice. (The Happiest Home)

I'm Proud Of My Stretch Marks: Body Confidence After Having Two Kids. (Offbeat Families)

Friday, August 2, 2013

August Goals

It's hard to believe it's already August!  Here's what I have planned for this month.

  • Lose at least 5 pounds.  I've started tracking my calories again, but I need to be more intentional about taking walks with the kids or getting some other sort of activity in my day too.
  • Read at least 2 books on my Kindle.  I've downloaded so many (mostly free) books and I need to get better at actually reading them.
  • Make snacks to have around each week.  I'm thinking things like granola and granola bars, protein bites, trail mix, and maybe even homemade crackers or graham crackers!
  • Do an overall decluttering. It's amazing how things have piled up after only a few months!
  • Start teaching the boys some of the songs from the liturgy so they can sing along at church.