Saturday, October 22, 2016

$125 Monthly Grocery Budget for a Family of 5...Say What!?!? ~ What the Heck Did I Buy?

Now that's I've told you what all I do to prepare before I shop, I'm now going to answer the question "WHAT THE HECK DID I BUY?"  

I can answer that with one word: INGREDIENTS.  Prepackaged food costs more and you aren't quite sure what you are getting.  While I know it is more convenient, the cost savings is well worth it if you are sticking to a tight budget.  I do always buy a few prepackaged snacks as extra treats, but when they are gone, I put the ingredients to work and see what I can make.

I've found that the more ingredients I have, the more meals I'm able to throw together.  Here are some examples of INGREDIENTS commonly found in my home:

  • Baking: flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, yeast, milk, butter, oil, cornstarch, etc.
  • Fruits and Veggies: fresh, frozen, and canned
  • Meat: ground turkey, ground turkey sausage, chicken, tuna, canned chicken, fish, and shrimp
  • Dairy: different cheeses, yogurt
  • Grains: crackers and tortilla shells
  • Spices: salt, pepper, garlic, cinnamon are staples and every now and then I'll add another one when the budget allows.

Here are some of the ways I make the INGREDIENTS work on a daily basis:

  • Instead of buying cookies and bread, make them.  With a bread machine, bread is super simple to make and makes your house smell so yummy!  Cookie dough can be made in bulk and frozen for future use.
  • Make a homemade pizza crust for a lot less than buying one in the store.  Add your favorite toppings and you've got a yummy dinner for your family.  
  • Keep pasta, sauce, and meat on hand and you've always got a great dinner.  We add cheese and call it a pasta bake.
  • Make refried beans in the crockpot.  Not only are they absolutely delicious, but one batch makes a large amount that you can use for months.  
  • Keep sides simple.  Put a piece of fresh fruit on the plate or heat up some frozen veggies.
  • Use up a bunch of random veggies by making veggie pot pie.  Put all veggies in the bottom of the dish and just top with one crust.  It saves money and calories.
  • Tortilla Shells are a life saver.  Make homemade burritos (which can be made in bulk and frozen) or individual pizzas in a snap.  Make wraps or cheese roll ups for an easy lunch.
Next Up...Tools of the Trade
What ingredients do you buy?

Check out the other posts in this series: Say What!?!?!Exceptions, Plan Before You GoWhere To ShopHow Often I ShopThe Two Cs, The Other C

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Homeschool Highlights

O Week ~ Obstacle Course

 Writing ~ Five Senses Wheel:

 Lilah now prefers to copy most of the words vs tracing them!
 CMOE Story Time and Story Boards:

Monday, October 17, 2016

4 Truths and a Dare

TRUTH...There was a scheduling error and Gavin's procedure wasn't on the books for today.

TRUTH...I'm slightly relieved because of the crazy weekend we had, even though it will have to be rescheduled.

TRUTH...Gavin was super excited and told Brian and I that we need to figure out a way to make less Riley Trips.

TRUTH...Macie had an awesome three days of celebrating her birthday.

DARE...I'm daring myself to reschedule Gavin's procedure and to start the process for SSI for him (again sigh).

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Macie's Actual Birthday Fun

We try to make birthdays really special around here.  Macie's 8th birthday did not disappoint and she was on a high for the entire day!  When she woke up, she got her present from us and a card from Grammie and Pops.  In her card she found $8 and from us she got a soccer folder, nail polish set and $8 more dollars!

Breakfast was cinnamon rolls and sausage.  After breakfast, she let Gavin and Lilah help her make the goody bags for her party on Saturday.

We hung out at home for a bit, and then were out and about.  We went to several places to cash in the Safe Halloween coupons and then went to Chucke Cheese.  We had some tokens left from Gavin's last birthday and I bought $10 worth and a drink.  That money is pretty much the only money the kids and I spent all day!

 Macie was super brave at Chucke Cheese and even wanted to take a selfie with him!
 Next up, we went to CMOE.  We spent two hours there doing story time and playing.
After CMOE, we went home to relax.  Macie had a soccer game that night.  It was an awesome game and her team won!  The final excitement of the evening was going to Red Robin with my family. Macie had been talking about going there for months because she wanted a root beer float!
 This face says it all!  
Not only did she get the floats, but they sang to her and brought her a sundae.  She is one lucky girl!

Frugal Family Fun ~ Safe Halloween Coupon Books

Gavin goes to the local Easter Seals for PT and OT every week.  They do a fundraiser every year where they sell coupon books for kids.  They are $1 each and have all kids of free treats in them.  One day after church, we went to Azzip to get free kids' meals.  They are $5 each so we were doing great after that coupon alone!  On Macie's birthday, we decided to cash in a few more coupons.
 We went to Rally's for free fries:
 At Wesselmans, we got free rice krispy treats:
 At Donut Bank, we got three free donut holes:
And not pictured, the kids got mini cupcakes at Gigi's.  There are still some coupons we hope to use before they expire in November.  The $1 is well worth it and the proceeds go to a worth cause.  A win win in my book!

How does your family have frugal fun?

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Dear Macie

*If you hadn't noticed, all previously scheduled blog posts have been postponed because today is Macie's birthday.  She is is this possible!?!?!?!?! As is tradition, I write each child a letter on their birthday.

Dear Macie,

Where do I even begin?  How are you 8?  Don't I say that every year?  You are growing so very fast and always like to point that out to me.  You are my first born love and the one who made me a mommy.  You have the brightest blue eyes I've ever seen and when you are happy they sparkle and shine.  You experience and feel all emotions to the fullest.  You still love soccer and your foot skills have greatly improved this year.  You are amazingly artistic and love all things crafty.  Your love of reading has taken off lately and it makes my mama heart happy.  School is so much more pleasant this year as we've settled into a routine and you are "rockin it"!  You've worked really hard this year with Mommy and Dr. Below and I'm really proud of you.  You remember everything just like your mama and love to create things.
I can't wait to see what the next year has in store for you.  I'll be there with you every step of the way!  Always remember: you are loved, you are smart, you are beautiful, you are kind, you are important!

All my love,

Macie Interview ~ 8 Years Old

How old are you?: 8
What is your favorite color?: yellow
What is your favorite show?: Clifford
What is your favorite movie?: Hannah Montanna
Who is your best friend?: Lilly
What is your favorite thing to do with mommy?: go shopping
What is your favorite thing to do with daddy?: snuggle him (exact same as last year)
Where is your favorite place to go out to eat?: Red Robin
Where is your favorite place to go for fun?: ChuckE Cheese
What is your favorite food?: tomato
What is your favorite thing to do during school time?: math
What is your favorite toy?: Kit
What is your favorite animal?: elephant
What do you want to be when you grow up?: rockstar
What is your favorite book?: Junie B Jones
Is there anything else you want to tell me?:

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Homeschool Highlights

Tuesday Art Class: We have started going to a weekly art class at Central Library.  Last week, the kids did leaf prints.  At first, I was just planning a random outing.  It has now been added to our weekly calendar and we plan to make it as often as possible. 

 G Week ~ Glitter:
Mneme Therapy: Macie started a new therapy last week. It is 30 minute session and the results are amazing!  She did the art piece below.  The most amazing thing was how calm and subdued she was at the end of the session.  I've never seen anything like it.  Because of the cost, we are only able to do it once a month.  My dad decided he wanted to add one more this month and we are going to apply for a voucher.  I can't wait to see what she creates next!

 G Week ~ Guitar:
Fun with Friends: Because schools were out last Friday, we had Lilly and CJ over to play for a while.  On Monday, we invited the Bernardins over to play.   Jackie's kids have a unique situation this year where they are in school part time and homeschooled the rest of the time.  She is trying to decide what to do in the future and we had a great time chatting and sharing ideas while the kids played.
G Week ~ Gingerbread Cookies: 

Time Puzzles: Gavin and I had fun putting together the time puzzles.  He had to match the digital and analog clocks.
Fact/Opinion ~ Animal Opinions: This week in their fact/opinion book, Macie and Gavin had to "color" animals based on different opinions.  It is fun to see their different opinions.
 Gavin above, Macie below
 O Week ~ Opposites: Lilah and I used this book to talk about opposites today.
 Tuesday Art Class ~ Scraping CDs:
Junie B Jones: I've been giving Macie reading goals for every month.  This month, one of the things she had to read was Junie B Jones' book Toothless Wonder.  Although she's a great reader, she sometimes fights me.  Today was different.  She read the entire book except the first chapter.  I was so proud of her.  She decided to read a Frog and Toad book after.  She's on a roll!

What are some highlights from your homeschool this week?

My Loved One was Diagnosed with a Disability or Illness...What do I do now? ~ Physical Disability

Dealing with a PHYSICAL DISABILITY is different than dealing with mental illness.  Sometimes they go together, but today we are going to focus on the physical part.

As I've mentioned before, my son has Klippel-Trenauney Syndrome (KTS), which is a physical disability.  He was born with a large birthmark on his right leg.  That birthmark has led us on quite a journey and I know we have a long journey ahead.

Although he has a physical disability, his cognitive abilities are fine.  In fact, they are more than fine thankfully!  This means that he is very aware of what's happening to his body and what is happening around him.  He hears doctors say things and asks questions.  He notices that he can't keep up with other kids.

Including your loved one in their care if they are able (age appropriately) is crucial.  Some other things to consider are:

  • Are there any therapies needed? (Physical, occupational, developmental, etc)
  • Are there any specialists needed? (Orthotist, Dermatologist)
  • What equipment is needed? (Wheelchair, lifts, braces, orthotics, compression garment, etc)
  • Is their home accessible? (Can they get in and out of the house? Get around in a wheelchair if needed? Shower chair, hand rails, etc)
  • Are they eligible for disability? (Quite the process, but could be worth it)
  • Do they need a handicap parking tag? (Apply through the BMV)
  • Do they need a caregiver? (If it is you, can you lift them if necessary?)
  • What medications could help? (Is pain management needed?)

Next Up...Mental Illness

If this tip was helpful, check out the other posts in the series: Our StoryInternetGrievingLearn Your RoleSpouseChild in Home, Not Living in Home

Monday, October 10, 2016

4 Truths and a Dare was our 52nd day of school.  Our goal is to have a 100th day party before Christmas!

TRUTH...I'm bouncing around between 10 and 12 pounds lost.  I really need to crack down.  My goal is to lose 17 pounds by Christmas.

TRUTH...We have no appointments today, tomorrow, or Thursday.  I have no idea how that happened and I hope that I didn't just jinx myself!

TRUTH...Macie turns 8 on Thursday and that seems way too old to me.  She's half way to driving!

DARE...I dare myself not to cry on Thursday.  I don't know why, but the kids' actual birthdays are so emotional for me.  I can't believe how fast time is flying.  I should be celebrating because we survived another year!

What are your 4 Truths and a Dare this week?

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Fall Soccer ~ Blue Blizzards

This year, Macie's soccer team is called the Blue Blizzards.  There have been quite a few changes this season.  She is older and has moved up to playing games with refs.  This is also the first season that her bff Lilly wasn't on her team.  
Despite the changes, Macie has an awesome coach!  He is so good with the girls and you can tell that he really enjoys what he is doing.  The team as a whole has learned so much and they are really working together.  They've played 7 games and are 5-1-1.
Macie has really struggled this season.  We are trying some new medicines and hoping to get things balanced out soon.  She's had some really good times and some tough times.  She truly loves soccer and practices all of the time at home.  I'm praying we can figure this out sooner rather than later.
She has two games left.  One is on Thursday, which is her birthday.  The last game is on Saturday right before her birthday party.  Fingers crossed she gives it her best!
The last two pictures were supposed to be silly!