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Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Week 3: Weekly Menu and Grocery Budget

Sorry for the delay on posting this; I went to a friends' house over the weekend and they sent me home with some leftovers so I ended up moving my menu around a bit and wanted to edit before I shared.

Y'all, in case I haven't made it clear - this has been life changing!
You can find Week 1 and Week 2 here and here.

Let me say it louder for the people in the back, making a weekly menu and following a plan is life changing!  And not nearly as hard as I thought it would be...especially for you since you could just do what I'm sharing here if you wanted to!  Maybe I'm the last person to have this epiphany or make time to do this, but it's been so good for me and my family.

Last week I purchased chicken drumsticks because they were on sale for 69 cents a pound.  I had intentions of using them over the weekend and our plans changed a little so I'm using them this week and the only ingredient I needed to purchase for that recipe was dijon mustard!  Saved me big bucks in my grocery budget this week.

I wait until Monday to do my grocery shopping because that is the day my kids stay with their dad and I can go to Aldi to get the good deals on groceries.  Chicken breast and almond butter were on awesome sale this week if you need to stock up!

I also wanted to share we keep our lunches fairly simple in my house. My son alternates between PB or ham sandwiches.  That's what he likes!  Sometimes he'll request leftovers in his thermos.  If I'm not eating leftovers I generally eat Greek yogurt, fresh berries, fresh veggies, a cheese stick, and some hard boiled eggs.  What do your packed lunches look like?

Here is my weekly menu:

Monday: Leftovers - thanks friends!
Tuesday: Crockpot Orange Chicken over jasmine rice
Wednesday: Crockpot Drumsticks
Thursday: Leftovers
Friday: Crab Legs (steamed by our local grocer)
Saturday: Date Night with friends
Sunday: Leftovers

I threw the orange chicken in the crockpot this morning and I'm excited to see how it turns out!  My girlfriend said the drumsticks are amazing.

Friday, February 14, 2020

The Bathroom Tub Project

I can't wait to showcase the entire bathroom remodel, but I feel like this tub needs a post all its own.  The transformation is WOWZA, y'all!  Like, I can't even.

Here is a little before action for ya.
I forgot to take a picture before I started taping off to paint the walls of the bathroom, but you get the point here.  The tub was great; I love a good tub.  However, it is very much a basic builder grade bathroom and I learn toward cool tones/modern farmhouse style so I was ready to give it my touch.

The problem was I was working on a budget of $200 to do the entire bathroom.  This meant doing new tile was completely out of the question.  (Pretty proud to announce that I came out below budget)

Brace yourself for the after...
How amazing is this transformation!?  I mean, it looks completely custom now.  The color on the walls was a $21 gallon of pre-mixed paint from the shelves of Walmart and the tile project was done using Rustoleum Tub & Tile.

I should probably preface this and say I've never really done a big DIY before.  I've always been inspired to try things, but I never had the courage to just do it.  2020 is my year, y'all!  I read a bunch of blog posts and obsessed over Pinterest and pretty much stalked a few ladies on Instagram, but at the end of the day I decided to go for it.  I mean, what's the worst that could happen?!


This little kit was gold; I mean the impact it had was amazing.  I have to reiterate the chemicals in this stuff are intense so definitely use all the precautions recommended.  We wore masks, goggles, and gloves to be safe.
As much as he wanted to help me this was really a one man job so I ended up doing the tub myself after Ricky went around the edges of the tile/grout for me with a brush.  

To start I taped off everything really well.  I even covered the faucet and fixtures with plastic wrap to ensure that nothing would drip or splash.  I took my time washing the tile and sanding then wiping away any dust before mixing the 2 part epoxy and rolling it on.  

The box said to do 2 coats, but I ended up doing 4 with an hour long dry time between each coat.  

The grout was really gross from my old tile and nothing was getting it clean so after I painted the tile and let it dry for 24+ hours I googled how to caulk a bathtub and went back around the tub and tile with white caulk for a clean line.  

It's not perfect.  Despite my best efforts a little epoxy did get on the tub and the painter's tape left a sticky residue on the fixtures for some reason, but overall I am soooo pleased with this project and my newfound love for all things DIY!

Here is a side by side of the difference.

 

Are you a DIYer?  What's your latest project?!

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Muffins


I have shared this recipe here before; I can't remember.  But, I've recently been making these on the regular and my son loves them for breakfast on his way to school in the morning.

 They are delicious, just sweet enough, nutritious, and quick.

When I make these I usually make a double batch because they freeze well and they are super yummy.  One can of pumpkin is enough for 2 recipes so it works out great.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup almond butter (I buy mine at Aldi because it is so much cheaper)
  • 2/3 cup pumpkin puree (not pie filling)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Combine pumpkin and almond butter until smooth.
  3. Stir in eggs and honey.  Add dry spices.  Mix well.
  4. Add chocolate chips.
  5. Distribute batter evenly into 12 muffin cups
  6. Bake 15-20 minutes
  7. Allow to cool on rack before serving.
These make great gifts for coworkers, snacks for daycare, or treats for a birthday party.  Kids think they taste great while adults quietly sit back and chuckle at the gluten free, grain free goodness being consumed by sugar crazed littles.  

Enjoy!



Monday, February 10, 2020

Week 2: Weekly Menu & Grocery Budget

If you want to see my menu from week 1 you can see it here.

Everything was DELICIOUS and my kids especially loved the Lazy Crockpot Lasagna.  If you need something quick and easy for a week night or a potluck, I highly recommend!

I've already spent $75 of my $200 monthly budget which makes me a little nervous about the rest of the month!  So, I walked into the grocery store with a tight grasp on my list and blinders on my eyes.

This week I went back to Aldi for my groceries and picked up some staples.  We eat fresh fruit/veggies, bread, and milk/cheese on a weekly basis since I'm cooking at home and packing lunches for my kindergartener this year.  Lunches are fun, aren't they moms?!

$46 later I had stocked up on our weekly essentials including strawberries for less than $2 a qt and chicken drumsticks for 69 cents a pound!  Man, I love this store.


Here is my menu for this week:

Monday: Leftovers (we had beef stroganoff yesterday - it was AMAZING)
Tuesday: Crockpot Chicken Pot Pie
Wednesday: Leftovers
Thursday: Baked Chicken Drumsticks
Friday: Make Your Own Pizzas using Naan bread
Saturday: Hawaiian Ham Sliders
Sunday: Leftovers

I've also got some extra kale from my soup recipe last week so I plan to make kale chips for a snack.  That's a fun way to get some veggies in!

The past 2 weeks have been FUN as far as food goes.  It's so helpful to have a plan in place and not feel like a chicken with my head cut off in the evenings.  I've also got so much less waste as far as throwing away food and my wallet is a little fatter than normal at this time of the month. 

I do think my budget is too small especially since I'm big on eating whole foods, but I'm going to try to stay as close to $200 for the month as possible. 

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Week 1: Weekly Menu & Grocery Budget

Part of my #nospendfebruary is working on a very small grocery budget.  I'm mostly doing this because I want to show myself how well I can feed my family on a small budget, but also because I have a horrible tendency to go to the grocery store with no plan, no list, and no concern for what gets put in my cart. 

I always end up making great meals throughout the week, but the lack of plan leaves me scraping things together most nights and figuring it out as I go. 

The biggest thing is really all the extra that ends up in my cart like gummies, a shirt off the clearance rack for my son, mustard even though we have a bottle in the pantry...  For these reasons, I find I throw away too much produce that goes bad before I use it which is also throwing money down the drain.

Anyone else struggle with this?

I've been a Pinterest fiend lately since I'm working on remodeling my home myself.  It's been fun to get back on that platform and really use it.  I decided to look up some family friendly, crockpot, freezer, easy meals to have throughout the week to change things up and game plan.

I hit up our local Aldi because although I'm on a budget I'm going to try to eat as fresh and clean and according to my color coded meal plan as possible because it works for us.  I'm not against frozen or prepared foods; I'm not judging anyone, but I prefer whole foods.  I knew I'd get the most bang for my buck here.


I did have to get training pants for my daughter to wear to bed, almond flour for my muffins, and dog food which made my bill a little higher than it would normally be.  I may have to take those out of my $200 budget, but we shall see!

I ended up spending about $75 for groceries this week.

Here is my menu for the week:

Monday: Mexican Quinoa
Tuesday: Lazy Crockpot Lasagna
Wednesday: Leftovers
Thursday: Crockpot Zupa Tuscana
Friday: Date Night/Leftovers
Saturday: Date Night (using a giftcard from Christmas)
Sunday: Crockpot Beef Stroganoff

As part of my #nospendfebruary I did calculate in that we have Valentine's Day plans with some of our best friends and we are taking the kids to Dave & Buster's to celebrate the holiday with them.  I also feel date nights are extremely important and since they are built into our schedule and we don't need babysitters, they are not being deleted from our monthly plans. 
Again, the purpose is to stop spending without a plan. 

What is on your menu this week? 
Do you find this helpful?

Saturday, February 1, 2020

No Spend February


I know this is a much more popular concept in November or whatever, but I've decided to go the month of February spending nothing extra. 

I'm usually reallllyyyyy good about watching my budget and I even worked with a life coach in creating and tracking my budget after moving out on my own last year.  I won't lie, Amazon Prime got the best of me through the holiday season.  Anyone else?

The plan is to remind myself I don't need to reward all good behavior with things for my kids.  That I have more than enough in my closet, my home, my pantry.  And to get a handle on spending in general.  Again, I'm not in debt or living paycheck to paycheck, but in the past I've had a tendency to spend and buy.  Looking back, I was filling a void, but I definitely don't want to fall into old habits.

So here is how I'm doing it:

I've already purchased my kids' Valentine's gifts.  I did this to 1. truly go into the month without a need to buy a gift and 2. so that I can avoid stepping foot in Walmart this month. 

I have credits in my Dave & Buster's account from the first time we went 2 months ago that I plan to use to celebrate Valentine's Day with the kids which will keep me from spending new money on another experience.

I am not purchasing anything from Amazon Prime.  Not one thing.

I am giving myself $200 in cash to use for groceries throughout the month.  I really want to see how much ends up in my cart that doesn't belong there and try to use up what is currently in my pantry.  I have a tendency to stock my pantry when I find things on sale which is a great tactic, but I do it a little too extreme.  I grew up in an area where we literally had no grocery stores and had to travel 30-40 minutes and do grocery shopping once a month.  Now I live in an area where I have about 10 different grocery stores within a 5 miles radius.  No need to stock up all the time.  Again, trying to break old habits.  Also, I want to focus on meal planning and this budget will require a plan.  Let me know if you'd like to hear the plan each week!

I did give myself a $200 budget for my bathroom renovation and $300 for my bedroom.  The bathroom is just about done and is below budget.  My bedroom only needs a few more things and is still significantly below budget.  Some of those project materials have already been purchased so I will focus on those for the month and then if I find a chandelier I'll go for it.  I've found myself getting a little excited with the home remodel bug so I need to slow my roll and stop adding things to my Amazon cart before I finish the projects I've started.  No Spend February will force me to do that.

Have you ever gone a month without spending?  How did it go?!

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

2,3,4

Have you taken the enneagram test everyone is talking about?

I took it a few years ago after hearing Rachel Hollis rave about it in so many of her podcasts and at her live event for my company.  And I must say I prefer it to the other personality type tests I've taken in the past.

Essentially this test assigns you numbers that go along with your personality and I know that my core values haven't changed in the past 2 years, but as a person, I've come a long way so I wanted to see if my results had changed.

Again, I was a 2 with a wing 3 which is what I've always been and it as accurate as can be if you know me...
















I am totally the helper and as much as I hate to admit it feeling unwanted or disliked is my absolute worst nightmare which is why the events of the past 2 years have been sooooo hard on me.  I am super sensitve and nurturing.  As far as my "wing" - this just means it's my next highest number and it's so high that it could easily be used to describe me as well - yup, that's me, too!

I a an achiever.  I want to win and goal crush and do all the things.  And I'm always in my friends' corner cheering for them as well.

A cool thing happened this time though.  I ended up with a second "wing."  This was equally weighted with 3 and THIS is what has changed about me in teh last 2 years.  This is something I am most proud of.  I have always felt confident about my character; being a good person.  But, with all that I've experienced I've made a point to stop living life by society's terms and expectations and to stop doing the "right thing" just because it's the right thing.  I've started to have my own opinion, my own voice, my own beliefs and if they don't align with everyone else's so be it.  I've realized it doesn't make me a bad person to be my own person.  So I'm proud of this wing...


It's true.  I'm sensitive, authentic, creative, and empathetic almost to a fault.  I have also become extremely self aware of my personal needs and desires.  I am inspired to be creative.  I hate it when people ignore me now - I use to sit back and let it happen.  I've been called dramatic a handful of times and maybe I am, but mostly I think people just aren't use to hearing my new voice.  

Get use to it, y'all.  Here I am.

Here's some more info on the test if you decide to take it.