Saturday, January 28, 2012

As the first month of the year comes to an end, I am looking at the resolutions goals I made (mentally) at the beginning of the year and how I'm doing.  Wow, as January ends, Small Fry's 1st birthday is approaching quite rapidly.  I can't believe he's going to be 1 already!

I've decided to put my goals for February in writing.

  • Have fun celebrating Small Fry's birthday.
  • Blog more regularly.  I have so many ideas, but for some reason I never share them with you.  I need to do that.  I sure need the "conversation."
  • Continue tackling the budget.
  • Complete the 28 days of organizing tasks from Get It Together Girl!: A 28-Day Guide to Practical NOT Perfect Home Organization (Get It Togther Girl!)
  • Finish and utilize my Household Notebook.
  • Create a better cleaning concept.  Probably creating a cleaning schedule.  
  • Create more educational printables.  Anyone need anything?
  • Create and stick to a workout schedule.  Maybe go back to use Wii Active and Wii Fit.

  • Try to once a month meal plan and shop (maybe do 2 weeks at a time).
  • Try to use more Love and Logic in parenting.

  • Keep a positive outlook.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Where have I been?

Honestly, I've been a little overwhelmed by everything the past week or so.  I will say that we did a great job of sticking to our meal plan last week.  Then the weekend came.  This included Jolly Green Daddy's birthday.  This on it's own was enough to throw me off.  Though I knew it was coming, I didn't properly budget for his birthday, which meant that I was left looking for how we could make his restaurant of choice work.  Mind you, he really wanted to go to Texas de Brazil.  This would have been great, but for the fact that for birthdays the kids come along.  Small Fry is not really into sitting for long meals.  We are lucky to get him to sit through any meal.  I'm not going to say quietly because anyone who has met Small Fry knows that quiet is a not a word I would ever use to describe him!  We ended up at a local Italian restaurant.  The food was good as always, the kids were pretty well behaved, and as a bonus I got to watch the New Orleans - San Fran football game.  The only downside was that our waitress brought out the check before asking about dessert.  Jolly Green Daddy didn't want to deal with the hassle of trying to get her back, so we went home.  Sprout is still asking me about Daddy's cake...  He may not have had cake, but he did have these Cinnamon Rolls.

Picture courtesy of

Then came the Giants game.  I am a Giants fan at heart (even living in Dolphin's territory).  Now, if you saw this game, you might understand why I was distracted.  Especially, since, my meal plan for the week had ended.  I didn't have a new plan, and I'm kind of low on food.  Ugh.  I managed to feed the kids, but Jolly Green Daddy and I ended up with Five Guys.  Thankfully, we were on the cheap side for this dinner.  But now I am determined to eat at home for the rest of the month...  Wish me luck.

So the no food thing, and the 2 young kids at home thing have me thinking about the people who do Once a Month Shopping.  Quick and Easy Cheap and Healthy has a great tutorial on doing this.  I'm still trying to decide if it will work for our family.  And with what I have left in the budget for this month, I'm thinking that I'm going to try and buy food to get us through the end of the month.  We also have a produce delivery next week.  This will be the biggest help for doing this kind of shopping.

I'm currently trying to plan out meals for the next two weeks.  Jolly Green Daddy would like to make sure we have a variety of foods for lunch.  I guess Cheese Quesadillas, Grilled Cheese and Macaroni and Cheese is too much cheese for my carnivore husband.  Anyone have any suggestions?  I have a list of ideas and things that I would like to make and freeze for easy lunches (and breakfasts too).  Hopefully, I will be able to make these over the next 2 weeks.  I'm sure that Sprout will be happy to help me out.

Add into that the fact that Jolly Green Daddy and I have discussed possible changes to our diets.  We are wondering if making some changes to our diets might help our overall health and well being.  Honestly, the idea of changing our diet further is really scary to me.  I'm already a vegetarian and we already have a Kosher home.  Further changes could make things even more intense (or intensive for me).  I think I've decided that we will wait until I can sit down with a doctor or nutritionist to really decide what will be best for us.

So now to go plan out the shopping I hope to get done tomorrow...

Monday, January 9, 2012

Menu Plan Monday

Welcome to week 2 of 2012.  Here's hoping that this week's Menu Plan is better than the last.

My plan is to get to the grocery store today to pick up some items that we need.  This week I'm going to list what we are eating, but not give it a specific day.  We had spaghetti with "meat"balls for dinner last night.  I hope to get my version of what we ate sometime this week.

This week we are getting a box of produce (yum!), and it is Jolly Green Daddy's birthday.

Waffles (need to make more)
Cereal & Yogurt
Cranberry Orange Breakfast Cake
Cinnamon Rolls

Pizza puffs (No pepperoni)

Caprese Tart & Leek Potato Soup
Quiche (something with the frozen spinach Jolly Green Daddy refuses to eat)
Green Bean and Potato Curry
White Pizza with Broccoli and Mushrooms
Some kind of meat

Red Velvet Sandwich Cookies

2 Loaves of Bread (At least one with be Honey of an Oatmeal Bread)
Pizza Dough 
Pie Dough 

If you want to join us and share your menu plans for the week, you can do so here.  Thank's Organizing Junkie.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

The Food Recap - Jan 1

Well, I had the best of intentions when I created my menu plan last week.  What is it "they" say about the best of intentions?  Yup, it all blew up in my face, but for the most part I was able to recover.

So what did we eat last week?


Well, I did the post on Monday, so I knew what we ate Sunday.  Yeah, I cheated a little.  But at least that plan worked.


The plan was to have Lettuce Wraps for dinner.  The chicken wasn't defrosted, so I had to come up with something else.  I though about making the lasagna, until I realized that I didn't have the ingredients.  Oops!  So I made a Marinara Sauce and we had it over spaghetti with garlic bread.  It was a Giada recipe, and was really easy and came out great.  I cut in half as I only needed enough for dinner.  Next time, I will have to double it and freeze some for future use.


Thought about making the lettuce wraps, but it was cold for Florida and I couldn't really wrap my head around the whole idea.  And I think we needed lettuce. What we had left wasn't going to work.  I made mini veggie pot pies.  I wish I had a recipe to share with you, but I kind of made it off the top of my head. I used purple potatoes, carrots, peas and chard.  I also used the Puff Pastry cups, as I had them in my freezer.  It was a great change for this classic dish.


I was already to make a chicken stir fry (I gave up on the lettuce wraps).  That was until I opened the chicken and it smelled funny.  Ugh!  I had exhausted all of my last minute ideas, and was stuck.  We ended up going out for dinner. :-(  I was really bummed and felt like I was failing my family 4 days into the new year.


I worked hard to recover from the night before.  We had lasagna.  Jolly Green Daddy's request, so he went to the store and bough what we needed.  He was very happy that he saved $3.40.  I am too, but he spent more on some items than I would have.  But I knew what I was getting into when I sent him to the store.  So, that trip to the grocery store took another $14.54 out of our grocery budget.


I pulled some meat out of the freezer.  I thought it was a roast.  There was something on the label to give me that idea.  So, I planned on making Momma Neely's Pot Roast.  When I started cooking the meat, I found out that it was not a solid roast, but some kind of flat piece of meat that was tied up like a roast.  I cooked it as I had planned.  By the time it was done, it was falling apart.  I've heard that's a good thing with meat, right???  Jolly Green Daddy and Sprout enjoyed it.

I made Delicata Squash and Kale Minestrone in the crockpot.  I used this recipe from The Sweets Life as my base.  She used butternut squash, but I had the delicata in the fridge, so that was what I used.  My only other comment.  Is that I did add the elbows at the end of the cooking process.  When I went back for seconds it was clear that they were continuing to absorb the soup and by the time I got to the leftovers for lunch there was no liquid and it was pretty much mush.  Such a bummer for such a great soup.  Next time, I think I will make the elbows separately and add them to the bowls, so that they don't get mushy.  Sprout liked it, Small Fry ate some (though he was quite fussy and didn't really want anything) and Jolly Green Daddy said it was good except for the squash, but he doesn't like squash so I wasn't surprised.

The final part of our meal was Challah (I'll have to type up my recipe at some point).  The only problem was that the oven was being used to make the Pot Roast.  I wasn't sure what I was going to do.  I decided to hedge my bets and try making it in the toaster over.  Yes, I baked my challah in the toaster.


On the positive side, we had very little food left in our fridge this morning.  Sprout was asking for fruit, and I had nothing to give her.  So I thought we would go check out our local farmers' market.  (One of the plusses to living in Florida is that we can get fresh local food in the winter.  The summer is questionable, but the winter no problem.)  So $50 later we had brussels sprouts, the biggest portobello mushrooms I have ever seen, strawberries, grapes, leeks, a red pepper, local honey, smoked white fish dip, smoke salmon dip, fresh local mozzarella and kettle corn (that was for Jolly Green Daddy).  That should keep us going for a while.

Tonight we had portobello mushrooms stuffed with spinach and artichokes.  Wish I took a picture.  I used this recipe from The Savory Sweet Life, added frozen artichoke hearts and used whatever fresh spinach we had left.  Jolly Green Daddy and I really liked it.  Small Fry ate every bite I gave him, and Sprout was being persnickety, though she did eat (and ask for more) all of her brussels sprouts.

Starting Amount: $300
Amount as of 1/4: $291
Amount as of 1/5: $276.46
Amount as of 1/6: $227. 48 (found a really good deal on Brother's All Natural, both kids eat these so they're good to have on hand and tough to find a good price on)
Amount as of 1/7: $182.08 (kettle corn not included)

 I will make this work!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

CVS Trip

Today I went to CVS.  I had mapped everything out thanks to CouponMom and Living Rich with Coupons.

I took Sprout after her gymnastics class today.  I knew that bringing a 3-year-old with me gave me a good chance of messing it all up, but thought we would try it anyway.

We went to the CVS I thought we would have better luck at, only to find that they didn't have the items I was looking.  Sprout told me we should try a different CVS.  So, we went to the one that is closer to our house, but I don't typically have good luck there.

Transaction 1:
4 Nivea Lip Care Products - $2.50 each
3 Special K - $3.33 each
1 Colgate Toothbrush - $2.74
1 Colgate Toothpaste - $2.74

Coupons Used
Nivea Coupon (1/1 RP) - $3.00/2
2 Nivea (printable) - $1.00
Special K (printable) - $1.00/3
Colgate Toothbrush (1/1 SS) - $.75
Colgate Toothpaste (1/1 SS) - $.75

Spent: $18.46 ($11 ECB)
Nivea - $5.00
Special K - $4.00
Colgate - $2.00

Transaction 2:
4 Pantene Hairspray - $3.33 each
3 Duracell Batteries (8 pk) - $5.99 each

Coupons Used:
2 Pantene - $3/2
CVS Coupon - $1.50
Duracell (12/11 RP)- $1.50
2 Duracell (1/1 P&G)- $.75
$11 ECB

Spent: $11.58 received $10 CVS Cash Card

Total Spent: $30.04
Total Saved: $30.05 (on top of sales)
Everything purchased was on sale: Total Savings: $54.47 or 65%
Received $10 CVS Cash Card to spend in the future

Starting Amount: $300
Amount as of 1/4: $280.27 (batteries not included)
               I am adjusting this to not include toiletries.  I have given them their own area in the budget.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Tiggerific Tuesday Blog Hop or Bounce

Magical Mouse Schoolhouse

It's Tuesday and that means it's Tiggerific Tuesday.  Join Magical Mouse Schoolhouse and Return to Disney and get to know fellow Disney folk.  Join in on the fun.

If you are visiting from the Bounce be sure to let me know that you stopped by!

Hope you have a Tiggerific Tuesday!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Budgetting in 2012


I'm rather shamed to admit this, but for the first time in my life my family has a formal budget to use.  In the past, we always had ballpark ideas, but this year we have decided to be more formal about things.

In 2012, we are going to use our budget to manage our money and our spending.  I have to say, I am feeling a little nervous about is.  Having never done this before, I'm wondering how hard it is going to be, and if failure is looming off in the distance.  We have determined how much we have to spend everything month, and have spread it out amongst our needs and expenses.  I am using You Need a Budget to manage this.  It is an electronic version of an envelope system.  This means that we can still use our credit cards (which will be paid off in full each month) and get the benefits involved (i.e. 5% off at Target).

I will spare you most of the details of our budget, but I will discuss food.  Anyone who knows us well, knows that we like to eat out.  I've always known that this is an expense that we should try to limit, but...  Well, it was just too easy to go out.  As a vegetarian with a meat eating husband, it was easier to go out and please everyone than to plan out our meals for the week in a way that would please everyone.  The plan is for that to change.  Over the past couple weeks we have been really good, and I'm hoping that will continue.

Now, I will admit, that I probably fudged things a little and tried to start 2012 off with a clean slate.  I'm not sure how legit this is, but I wanted to start off feeling like I was getting ahead of things, not falling behind before we even started.

We have budgeted $400 a month for our family of 4.  This will include food, personal items, and non-prescription medications.  It will also include eating out, as a family.  If someone chooses to eat out when running errands without the rest of the family, it will come out of their own "mad money."  Now, I will admit that every other week, we get a $45 box of organic produce that I work for, coordinate and distribute to other members of the group.  As a result, I don't have to pay for my box.

As of today, we have $400 to spend on groceries and food for the rest of January.  I hope to keep an ongoing tally of what we have spent and what we have left to spend.

Does anyone have any tips for me?

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Menu Plan Monday - 2012 Week 1

Welcome to 2012!  One of my goals for this year is to get my act together and have regular meal plans that we stick to.  I spent the past 2 weeks practicing and we did pretty well.  I'm feeling good about this coming week as I am stocked up on groceries.

I need to continue to stock up on basics...

Here is what we are going to eat this week:


Dinner:  Katie Lee's Fish Tacos from Rachael Ray, Guacamole and the remains of our 7 Layer Dip from New Year's Eve.  I'll share the rest of our New Year's treats in a different post.


Breakfast: Yogurt and Cereal
Lunch: 7 Layer Dip (Yes, we still have more.)
Dinner: Lettuce Wraps (Chicken and Tofu), Fried Rice


Breakfast: Waffles & Fruit
Lunch: Sandwiches
Dinner: Lasagna, Garlic Texas Toast, Salad


Breakfast: Smoothies (Sprout has been asking for them, so I'll see what I have in the freezer.)
Lunch: Macaroni & Cheese
Dinner: Chili and Cornbread or Johnnycakes


Breakfast: Pancakes?
Lunch:  Chili/Lasagna
Dinner: Pizza


Breakfast: We'll see what strikes our fancy, but probably something from the freezer.
Lunch: Tuna
Dinner: Chicken


Breakfast: ???
Lunch: ???
Dinner: Pasta?

If you want to join us and share your menu plans for the week, you can do so here.  Thank's Organizing Junkie.


Search Amazon