Archive for January, 2011

Goals for 2011

Okay, so I know this is way later than most people are posting, but with DH’s job, our year tends to start in late January instead of January 1st.  He works a LOT in November and December, since he’s in retail. We take some days off in the middle of the January as our “holiday” and take time then for a mini vacation and usually a nice long planning session with DH.

We planned out a lot of things and made lots of resolutions, but the two I want to share now are:

1) Do/learn a new thing each month. I have way too many projects I want to do and things I want to learn that I never get around to doing.  I think I can handle one thing a month.  The next few months: January – learn to hem pants.  February – sew curtains for kitchen. March – make birch bark vases.

2) Do a “photo shoot” of DD at least once a month.  I’ve found myself taking fewer and fewer pictures lately.  I know I won’t be able to commit to a project 365 or something like that, but I’m  sure I can take a bunch of pictures at least once a month.

And since deciding on those goals I’ve gotten both done for January!  I hemmed five pairs of pants using two different types of hems (all learned from watching youtube videos), so DH has a whole new wardrobe. 🙂  And I got in a little photo shoot of DD the other day at the playground.

So after debating for a while, we decided to take vacation week completely off of the challenge. It was just too much to try to keep track of when out of town. So I’m acting like it never happened.

Didn’t take money out for my goals and didn’t track spending.  So that makes last week #3.  I will be continuing this challenge through the month of February as well, but may change up a few things.

I didn’t get pictures this week at all, but bought the following:

-4 yo-plus yogurt 4-pks

-1 bunch bananas

-8 whole fruit sorbet

-1 coke 12-pk (free item coupon)

– 1 bag organic tortilla chips

-1 bag cat litter

-8 cans rotel tomatoes

-1 big tub plain yogurt

-1 dozen eggs

-3 bags cornmeal

-4 pouches gatorade (DH likes these before long runs)

-1 pack tofu

-1 bag cough drops

-1 cucumber

-1 sweet onion

– 2 heads red/green leaf lettuce

– 1 bottle of hair gel (paid full price because we ran out – yikes!)

Total Spent OOP: $21.02

Total Saved: $52.83

Leaves me with .32 cents left over from last time, so next week’s budget is $20.32


After a play date today, Autumn and I hung around the playground a few minutes longer and I finally got some sweet pictures.  It is getting harder and harder to get pictures of Autumn.  She likes to pose and she has a definite “camera smile” which can be cute, but just isn’t the real thing.  With lots of playing (and a little tickling) I got some shots I just love because they look like the real smile I see every day.

Little Bit Creative

It’s sad, but since starting homeschooling, it seems that there is very little time left for crafty endeavors.  I got in a couple projects for an online crop the other day though. I’m actually really happy with the layout, but unfortunately the pic I took of it is terrible.  This new camera just doesn’t like to focus when there isn’t a lot of sunlight. Looks a lot crisper in real life.

Menu Plan Monday 1/24

So after the last week of vacation, we decided we really need a low-carb week! 🙂

Breakfasts: eggs with veggies, yogurt and fruit, fruit smoothies all with V8 and coffee

Snacks: veggies, jicama, hummus, nuts, roasted chickpeas, fresh fruit

Sunday (soak chickpeas, start sprouts)
L: Tomato Soup
D: Grilled chicken tenderloins and pineapple, steamed veggies
L: big salad with tuna/chicken
D: chicken stir fry with jicama, chinese mushrooms, bok choy
L: chili
L: vegetable soup and salad
L: leftovers
D: lettuce-wrapped cheeseburgers, fruit salad, green beans
L: taco salad
D: out
L: chili
D: rosemary roasted cauliflower and apple chicken sausage

Ok, so even on this $20 a week budget, our pantry is still getting filled up!  I’m seriously considering continuing the challenge through February as well at this point. There are a few things we are running really low on, but I certainly have enough to keep feeding us for a while.  The deals have been really great this month too, which helps!

Saturday’s Shopping Trips

Spent OOP: $12.95

Bought: 8 boxes pasta, 8 jars peanut butter, 2 boxes frozen veggies, 2 bags frozen smoothie kits, 3 bags cornmeal, 2 bags mixed fresh veggies, 1 bag fresh cauliflower, 1 bunch cilantro, 2 eyeshadow, 2 nail polish, 2 soap, 1 carton half and half.

I messed up a bit on this trip and spent $4 more than I meant to. Oh well, good thing there was extra $$ left from last week.

The pasta isn’t something we will eat, but as it was free, I went ahead and picked it up since it’s a great item to share or donate. Also free: the nail polish, frozen spinach, and soap (DD LOVES these – she was so excited!). I didn’t NEED this much peanut butter for this week, but at .24 cents a jar it was a great deal.  We go through a lot of peanut butter in our house, so this is an item I never seem to have in the pantry.  And if we end up with too much, it’s an item that is always in great demand for donations.

Tuesday’s Shopping Trips

Total Spent OOP: $8.15

Bought: 2 bags pistachios, 2 bags planters trail mix, 2 gingerbread house kits, 2 big tubs of twizzlers (for vacation this summer), 4 jars peanut butter, 2 boxes pasta (to donate), 2 boxes deluxe shells and cheese (to donate), 1 chocolate orange, 1 tube concealer, 1 microwave meal, gift set of pez, 3 regular boxes hot cocoa, 1 30-ct box hot cocoa, and one bag of pepperoni for GF pizza (not shown).

This is a mish-mash of several different stores.  I was going stir-crazy after being stuck in the house all day yesterday and most of the day today, so ran out this afternoon for a bit.  Since we don’t really eat them anyway, I’m thinking about saving the gingerbread kits to decorate next Christmas. I also bought a couple gifts for next year using a gift card for that purpose.

Thursday Shopping

I made a quick stop in to pick up a free Dole salad and also grabbed some eggs and a package of markdown bratwurst while I was already out.

Spent: $3.27

Friday Shopping

Spent: $4.34

I was out dropping DH off at work and really needed trash bags, so made a quick stop.  I had some great coupons, but turned out they were on sale, too, so it was even better than I thought.  Couldn’t pass up free popcorn (DH has been on a popcorn kick lately) and the coffee mate and coolwhip produced a little bit of overage.  The paper towels are the free ones I ordered last week that arrived today.

Total Budget for the Week: $30.05

Total Spent the Week: $28.71

Next Week’s Budget: $21.34

We will be on vacation this next week, so will definitely be eating out more.  I’m going to try to keep tracking our grocery spending anyway.

I’ll be picking up a couple more boxes of trash bags (can’t beat $1.49 after coupon and sale!) and I’m hoping to find some great prices on frozen veggies and eggs as we’re really running low.

Menu Plan Monday…On a Wednesday

I’ve been using this menu plan this week, just forgot to post it.  A lot of soup/salad combos again as we’re having cold wet weather and trying to work through the pantry.


B) cereal

L) tuna and spinach salad, fresh veggies
D) chili with home-raised beef, corn bread
B) smoothies
L) leftover chili
D) homemade tomato soup and grilled cheese
B) eggs
L) black bean soup and salad
D) GF pizza
B) oatmeal or eggs
L) leftover pizza, fresh veggies
D)roasted chicken, sweet potatoes, sauteed kale
B) oatmeal or eggs
L) salad with shredded chicken and almonds (make chicken broth from chicken carcass)
D) Grilled pork tenderloin , rosemary roasted cauliflower, pear sauce
B) eggs or smoothies
L) leftovers
D) GF buckwheat blueberry waffles, sausage patties, fruit
B) oatmeal
L) Out
D) Mexican chicken soup using homemade broth

I started off the week forgetting to pack Matt a lunch, so off to a bad start, but we finished up pretty well.

We spent a total of $9.95 on groceries this week and bought the following:

  • 1 lunch from the grocery store
  • 2 packages chicken sausage
  • 1 clamshell container of baby spinach
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 package paper towels (free)
  • 4 boxes Excedrin (paid tax only)

And we ate out for lunch today (using a BOGO coupon), but that’s it.  Crazy thing is how little we actually ate up from the pantry/freezer!  We could go for a long time at this rate.

Also took a bunch of extra food to the local food pantry.

So I’ll be carrying over $10.05 to next week, for a total grocery budget of $30.05.

We had a really wonderful Thanksgiving at our house this year.  Lots of company and beautiful weather!  We ate outside and it was perfect for hanging out and spending time with family, even after it got dark.

I was so happy with how all the mis-matched plates and linens came together in the end.  And I didn’t have to buy much at all.  I did use a 40% off coupon at Hobby Lobby to buy 10 yards of natural colored muslin.  Rolled it right off the bolt to cover the tables!  Less than $20 for enough “table cloths” to cover six tables!

There really wasn’t enough space on the tables for candles or place cards or any decorating, but I put candles all along the wall instead.  I actually had all of these in various places around the house and pulled them out.  Loved how cozy it made things feel after dark.

The beaded pumpkins came from garland I got at over 90% off and then de-constructed.  Packed up now to pull out again next year. 🙂

The last couple months have been pretty crazy around our house.  We hosted Thanksgiving and Christmas this year after spending all of November being sick.  So it’s been a whirlwind.  Here are a few pics of our Christmas decorations. Lots of handmade stuff this year again.  Including the new coffee filter wreath over the old window frame I saved from a trash pile.