Thursday, March 5, 2015

The Groceries We Buy Week 1

One of the most frequent things I get asked is how we only spend $400 on groceries a month.  First let me say, I struggle to keep it around $400, but that’s what we budget.  Second of all, this is going to vary for each of us depending on how many people are in a family, the foods we buy, where we live, how much we cook, etc.  And third, if I could spend $800 on groceries a month, I so easily would. 

Last month someone left a comment asking to share our groceries again.  I did this a while back (you can find them under the Finance tab above) and thought I’d write a quick post showing you what we buy so you can get an idea of how we spend our money.  I’ll try to leave some random tips and any other information along the way.  In my head, I shoot for $100 a week.  The first week is usually the most I spend.

A few facts:
-We shop at Walmart
-Use the Savings Catcher to snag any deals in our area (I don’t have time these days to coupon so this app is nice…gives me money back on items that are cheaper elsewhere)
-Family of 4 (2 young kiddos)
-Include everything you would buy at a grocery store with exception to diapers.
-We eat fairly healthy, but I’ve been getting a few more convenience foods during this time of year when I’m single mommin’ it!
-My husband takes a lunch to work everyday

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Those groceries above were $64.97!  I made another trip mid-week for $13.88 for 3lbs of ground turkey, bread, and deli turkey.   TOTAL GROCERIES FOR WEEK 1: $78.85

That’s really good for us, but I had a lot of food already in our pantry and freezer that I’m trying to use this week.  I do not like to cook on the weekends so that’s usually when we go out to eat.

Our MENU this week:
Breakfasts: We eat english muffins, breakfast sandwiches, oatmeal, pancakes, Nutrigrain bars on rushed mornings
Lunch: We eat sandwiches (chips, fruit), leftovers, or fast food like Chick-fil-a or Subway
Dinner:
Monday – White Chicken Pasta and salad (I went to Chick-fil-a instead this night because we were running an errand at dinnertime and Ryan was gone, so this meal will be another night).
Tuesday – Tacos (Ryan got a last minute game and was gone again, so I had an egg salad sandwich instead because I didn’t want to to cook)
Wednesday – We had Tacos
Thursday – BBQ chicken, au gratin potatoes, Brussels sprouts
Friday – White Chicken pasta
Saturday – Dinner out
Sunday – Dinner out

Hope that was interesting/helpful and I’ll share more next week.  If I buy anything between today and next week, I’ll add it to the next post.

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Wednesday, March 4, 2015

March 2015 Goals

March goals

I meant to post this yesterday, but I’ve been holding a sick 8 month old ALL day long and into the night.  I’m excited to share some new goals for March.  Grace was my motto this month and it’s a good thing because, as you’ll see, I didn’t complete some of the goals.  It’s good to reflect each month and learn my strengths/weaknesses, as well as what is working for me and such.  Here’s how my February goals went:

FEBRUARY 2015 GOALS – REFLECTION

SPIRITUAL:
1. Continue reading Jesus Calling in the mornings - check
2. Read 50 Shades of They by Ed Young.  I was only able to read one book this month (barely).  I’m going to try and read this book in March.

3. Start reading 1 Psalm a day before the year is over – Didn’t do a good job of this, but I will continue it.

MARRIAGE:
1. Read The Power of a Woman’s Words – I have one more chapter, but this book was great.  It really speaks to how powerful and impactful our words are to our husbands, children, friends, strangers, and God.  She provides tons of Scripture as well.  I accidentally ordered the study guide the first time I order it, so I would like to read this again in the future with the study guide.  Recommend.  

2. Go on TWO dates with Ryan – Sure did.  Valentine’s and my Birthday.
3. Make him lunch at least 3 of the 5 days a week – Yes, with exception to last week.  Even though I dislike making a lunch the night before, especially when I remember right before I go to bed, I love knowing he has something to eat.  He’s one to skip or eat a protein bar for lunch.  Most days he heads straight to ref after he’s done working at school, so it’s important he have a lunch at least.


MOTHERHOOD:
1. Constantly see myself through his little eyes – This really helps and reminds me he’s just a kid…even if he pours out my entire bottle of cinnamon.
2. Continue “breastfeeding” (pumping). Check. Tired.
3. Plan out the weeks with play dates and activities – Was doing a good job with this until they got sick.  One things for sure…I love structured days and behavior is so much better as well.
4. Find a dentist for Beckham. Check.
5. Make a behavior chart for Beckham – Didn’t do this, but have a chore/behavior chart planned.


HEALTH:
1. No cokes!  I actually did a good job with this.  I had cokes over my birthday weekend like I said I would, but only succumbed to one the last week in February.  It really does make me feel weird (maybe lethargic) after I drink one.

2. Drink a hot cup of lemon water in the mornings – Huge fail, except for when I was sick.  Felt so good on my throat.
3. Get MORE sleep – Ha!  I don’t know why I even make it a goal. It will be my forever goal.  It really does effect my days so I simply have to find time.
4. Find a dentist for me – No but doing this tomorrow.

RELATIONSHIPS:
1. Have friends over for birthday – Check!  So much fun…I need this.
2. Continue new Connect group at church – Yes, but we didn’t meet up last week.
3. Take a friend coffee/breakfast to their house – No
4. Have coffee with a friend at a local coffee shop – No but I did have lunch with my mom and niece in our downtown square.


BUSINESS:
1. JUST fulfill orders – I did do this. 
2. Start making my spreadsheets for taxes due in April – No.  On it as soon as Maddox gets better and I have two arms back (I’m holding him almost all day).

*On the contrary I actually dove really deep into my business and looked at many different aspects of it and where I want to take it.  I actually put a lot of time and research into it this month.

FINANCIAL:
1. Make a “priority list” for things that need to be done around house so we can set our budget to get these things done – No…it’s in my head, but I need to make it for Ryan.
2. Use more of our Groupons – Yes, and our dining budget was under budget!


PERSONAL:
1. Go through dresser and get rid of clothes – Not the dresser in our closet, but I purged and organized my storage under my bed which was way overdue.
2. Decide to sell swing or store away – Not yet.
3. Enjoy my Birthday month – I sure did.  Maybe a little too much considering this reflection of February goals was not very productive.  My motto was to give myself grace, so that is what I’m going to do.


MARCH 2015 GOALS:

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SPIRITUAL:
1. Continue Bible study in mornings – Jesus Calling and a Lent study.
2. Read Fifty Shades of They over Spring Break – This is from last month.
3. Pray about starting a Bible study and make a decision by March 14 – I’m craving a Bible study with women and I don’t know of any of my friends in one, so I thought I should maybe start one.  I don’t want this to be a stressful thing though and I tend to put a lot of pressure on myself with things like this.
4. Start the “Scripture Memory Verse” system to implement next month – This is such a cool system.  It can be for yourself or a family.  Check out the video HERE.

MARRIAGE:
1. Go on 2 dates with Ryan – Dates really help our relationship.

MOTHERHOOD:
1. Do one intentional activity with Beckham a day – I know this sounds like a given, but I haven’t been focused with him lately.  I want him to have ALL of my attention and see mommy having a good time.  Sometimes I think it’s almost easier to not do this as a stay at home mom because you don’t feel rushed to spend quality time with them…at least for me.
2. Pump another month – Yes, I still have to make this a goal because I want to stop badly.  We see the doctor for his 9 month check up at the end of this month and after I talk to him about formula, I’ll make my decision of when I’ll stop (I want to hear his thoughts about the health aspects of it and when I can introduce cow’s milk).   I’d really like to stop by April so I can start getting fit again for the summer…I know that sounds vain, but it’s true.  It is extremely hard for me to workout while having to carry around milk jugs…no pun intended…LOL!  Plus I need a cleanse badly and I can’t be pumping.
3. Create a behavior/chore chart (didn’t do this last month).

HEALTH:
1. Start going to the gym towards the middle of the month – Ryan is done reffing around then and he’ll be able to come home earlier so I can workout before dinner.  Ideally, I would go around 5:30 AM, but let’s be honest…I can’t wake up.
2. No sugar after 7PM – When I wrote this down, I pictured myself stuffing as many sugary items in my mouth at 6:59pm. :)  My sugar cravings hit hard at night when I’m working and that’s probably the worst time to eat sugar.

RELATIONSHIPS:
1. Plan a GNO – I love going out with my girlfriends and if it warms up this month, it would be a perfect time to sit on the patio for dinner.
2. Take a friend coffee (from last month’s goals). 

BUSINESS:
1. Add at least 3 new listings a week to my shop – I cannot tell you how many signs I have just waiting to be added.  It takes time to list an item and I just haven’t done it. 
2. Find one blogger to post one of my signs to their blog or Instagram – I’m planning on contacting some bloggers that I follow and sending them one (or more) of my signs in exchange for a little shout out.  If any of you bloggers are interested, let me know. ;)
3. Do a Giveaway on my Instagram – Trying to build my Instagram following.  @joyfulartdesigns – shameless plug
4. TAXES – I hate this part of business…who doesn’t?  But I must finish them this month so we can file by April.  Ryan has his own business (reffing) to do as well, and then we will also do ours together.  We do our own taxes  Ryan does our taxes. 

FINANCIAL:
1. Update our budget EVERY night before I start working – We write down every single expense  in our Excel budget.  Sometimes I procrastinate and when I have to go back several days or even a couple weeks, it makes it take WAY longer.  Plus, if I’m updating daily, I have a better idea of what I have left to spend.
2. Read Living Well Spending Less by Ruth Soukup – My friend Kristen, got me this for my birthday and I can’t wait to read it. 
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PERSONAL:
1. Find a CAR –  Our plan is to test drive the few we’re looking at, rent one for the weekend, and buy if I like it.  It’s just about going to test drive them at this point.
2. Plan a “ME” day – I truly believe you have to take care of yourself and reward yourself every once in a while to re-energize.  Work hard. Play hard.  It’s been a hard basketball season with 2 kids and I exhaust every ounce of fuel I have each day, so I don’t feel bad focusing on myself every now and then.  I plan to go to Starbucks in the morning and read there.  Then maybe shop for some clothes.  Then have lunch with my mom (and aunt and grandma) in our downtown.  Then go home and hang with the fam, eat dinner out, and possibly end the day with a massage.  I’m assuming this will take place over Spring Break, but I just need to set the date. 

These are the books I plan to read (top 2).  If I have time, I'd love to read that bottom one.  I found it at the bookstore and couldn't resist getting it.  I read a few pages from it and I'm really excited to read it.

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My motto this month is #likeaboss!  Meaning, just get it done…like a boss!  Take control and run a tight ship.  I know there needs to be flexibility when you’re taking care of children all day (case in point last week), but I find the less scheduled I am, the more chaotic it is.

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Monday, March 2, 2015

Life Lately–February Part 2

My life lately…both mentally and literally.
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That ecard is perfect with how I’ve been feeling lately.  I have really been motivated to expand my business/brand lately, but with that comes HOURS of extra work, specifically in regards to research.  So not only has my brain had 2, 857 “tabs” open, but my computer has too.  I thought that ecard was funny as well.  It’s the truth.

Anyway, this last week, Beckham was really sick and he passed it along to Maddox so now he’s super sick.  Couple that with the snow/ice days we had at the beginning of the week and we’ve been cooped up in this house for over a week.  I’m about to go crazy.  And I HATE when my kids are sick.  Poor Maddox has been sick probably once a month since he was 3 months.  Hmmm…breastmilk is better for a baby’s immune system?  If so, I can’t imagine what he’d be like without it.  Beckham didn’t get sick till after a year old, so this is really frustrating.  I feel so bad for the kid.  Needless to say, that’s why I haven’t blogged a ton lately.

Here are several snippets of our life lately since I last posted on my birthday.

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Rocking Buppy to sleep

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Ice cream after school…Maddox was licking his lips for some :)

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Our matching Texas shirts came in from HERE.

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He learned how to open the fridge…yikes!

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This guy is crawling.  Ignore the laundry.

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A peaceful morning where they played for more than 10 minutes together.

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I went to the store the night before bad weather was forecasted to come in and this was the bread aisle.  Oh Texas!

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Our first bout with the “snow”…here in Texas it’s ICE.  He was standing on solid ice.

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Ryan had off Monday and Tuesday last week due to the ice, so he watched the kiddos while I went and got a pedicure.  This nail salon (and Starbucks) is right around the corner so I was able to drive there easily.

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Reading him a book!

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This kid was sick, but he sure didn’t pass up cake batter.

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I spent a lot of time designing this week too.  I can’t wait to list them all.  This one I did list.

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I was going to bed one night and saw this…Ryan says I’m the girl from the movie Signs, where the girl leaves her water out everywhere around the house, but it ends up being used to kill the aliens.  I tell him I’m just preparing for the aliens.  Anyone seen that movie? Lol

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Ironically, on Wednesday when all the schools were back in session, it snowed the prettiest snow, and a lot…for us (2.5-3 inches).  Some schools did release early though.  It snowed all day long, but we couldn’t really play in it because of the sickness!

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We did manage to go out for about 5 minutes and he loved it.

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I ordered some oils a while back and they came at a great time.  I’ve been diffusing Theives to help our immunities fight these sicknesses.  Feel free to leave me comments about other good uses for them, especially for babies/children.

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On Friday, I was supposed to go to my friend’s wedding, but the weather made everything difficult and I wasn’t able to go, but my parents made it and my mom took this picture.  It was the sign I made for her!  I just love how it turned out.

Tomorrow I’ll be sharing my goals for March, and how my goals for February went. 

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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

30 of my Loves

On my last two birthdays, I have posted facts about myself on my 28th and 29th birthday.  This year I decided to simply write 30 things I love.  Maybe you’ll learn a few more things about myself.

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I LOVE…
1. Coffee – It’s an experience for me.  My favorite is Sticky English Toffee from a fundraiser at my parent’s church and Starbucks of course.
2. Nail polish – Duh.  I’m obsessed.  Sinful colors is my favorite and super affordable.  And red is my favorite color.
3. Reading faith based books.  One day, I’ll make a reading corner just for me somewhere in our house.
4. Michael Buble.
5. Social Media.
6. Pancakes from a restaurant.
7. Fuzzy socks.
8. Fast food – I know…so bad.
9. Coffee mugs.
10. Words of affirmation – my love language (receiving).
11. Organization.
12. A clean house – I’m not sure there is a better feeling.
13. Fonts.
14. Candles.
15. Pedicures.
16. Fall – Such a relief from the Texas summers.
17. My engagement ring.
18. Pizza – Love is actually an understatement.
19. My kid’s laughter.
20. Juicy Fruit gum – It reminds me of my grandpa (he always had a drawer full of it).
21. Simplicity – I do not thrive on busyness.
22. My Life Planner.
23. A movie and dinner with my hubby.
24. Cookie cake.
25. Blogs – Primarily about organization, frugality, and other moms similar to myself.
26. Home décor – I know it’s material things, but I believe the way you decorate your home can truly welcome someone in.  I lean towards the dark, handsome décor, but Pinterest has converted me to clean gray and white.
27. Chapstick.  I cannot go a day few hours without it.
28. Earrings.
29. Baking.
30. Beach.  NOT the ocean.


So there ya have it!  30 things I love.  I did not go deep, but kept it short and sweet.  Have a great day!

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Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Valentine/Birthday Weekend

Last weekend was great!  Our Valentines celebration was on Friday and my birthday was on Monday so this was the weekend to celebrate both.  My husband and I haven’t been on a date since our anniversary in August, so it was way overdue.  Friday night my mother-in-law watched the boys while we went to dinner and a movie (my favorite kind of date).  We went to Blue Charcoal (a Brazilian restaurant) and saw American Sniper.  Such a good movie!  It was great to get away and recharge. 
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We took Ryan’s Vette (our date car) and the sunset was so pretty…even in the city!  It’s so weird to drive without kids.

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There are two things I’m obsessed with at these Brazilian restaurants…the Brazilian soda, Guarana and the cheese rolls.  So good!


Saturday morning (Valentine’s Day) it was just the boys and I since Ryan had a college game all day.  During Maddox’s morning nap, B and I played Chutes and Ladders while drinking coffee.  He kept begging me for coffee so I doctored up a cup for him.  He thought he was big stuff.  I love this guy!
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Then this dude woke up…he’s laughing at Beckham.  Yes, we’re still rocking Christmas jammies. 
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I decided to take them out to lunch so we could get out a bit.  It was GORGEOUS weather so we sat outside at Panera. The rest of the day we just hung out and relaxed.  
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Sunday, the day before my actual birthday, my mom and dad had our whole family over to celebrate!  This is the same house I was brought home from the hospital to.  Haven’t known another house.  Even though they live relatively close, I love coming home.  My parents go BIG with parties since they’re so many of us and it’s always fun.   
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Cookie cake is my favorite!  I was blown away with my gifts.  So many things to list, but my parents gave me two special things this year…they paid for B to go to a summer program one day a week this summer.  I’m blown away by that.  And my dad made such a special video of me playing soccer.  I posted it on my blog yesterday.  You can see it HERE.  After we celebrated at my parents house, my parents watched the boys at their house OVERNIGHT so we could have a birthday date night and I could sleep in the next day (Ryan had to go to work on Monday).  Lots of planning on my part, for Maddox especially, but it was worth it. 

Ryan and I drove around looking for a place to eat.  We hadn’t planned anything except that we were going to see the movie Gone Girl. We happened upon the most wonderful restaurant in Plano.  If you’re local, you really should try it out.  It’s called Taverna Rossa.  It’s a wood-fire grilled pizza place.  It was a bacon filled night.  I got pizza with veggies and bacon and a chocolate whiskey cake with cinnamon ice cream served over candied bacon.  Oh goodness!  It was all so good.  Our waitress was one of Ryan’s former students from his first year teaching.  She was so sweet and adorable.  I got my dessert free by the way since it was my birthday.  Wish I had a better picture of this food, but I feel like an idiot taking a picture of my food in public so I snapped it quick. :)
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Popcorn is a must at the movie theater.  Why does it always taste so much better there?  Maybe I don’t want to know.  Gone Girl was really good.
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We were driving home from the movie around midnight and I get this text. 
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Logan is my younger brother.  My sister in law was due the 24th.  She had her first baby 16 days early so we figured she’d delivery before her due date, but it was still so exciting.  We had JUST seen her several hours earlier at my parents.  It was officially my birthday at midnight so I knew I’d have a birthday twin.  Funny thing is they had their first baby on my mom’s birthday, November 1.  I went to sleep around 2:00am and woke up at 8:30 to a text that said he was born at 3:19am.  Can you believe it?  Super fast!  She barely got an epidural.  Eek!

After all that excitement I wake up to this.  It took me a while to notice the “30”
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I didn’t take any more photos after this except of my nephew so this was the rest of my birthday…

Showered in the morning…such a little detail, but such a HUGE thing that us mamas can understand.  I didn’t have to worry about anyone else that morning except for ME (remember, boys are at my mom’s still).  Drank my coffee and picked up a bit, read some blogs, and got ready.

My mom brings them back to our house to drop them off with my mother-in-law who watches them here.  My mom took me out to lunch downtown on the Square.  It was so fun!  After that we headed to the hospital to go meet my nephew!  How stinking cute is he?  His name is Nolan.  He was 6 pounds 9 ounces…such a tiny little thing.  I’m obsessed with tiny babies, especially considering I just gave birth to a toddler…haha just kidding.  But I’ve always loved little babies.  He’s absolutely perfect!  Him and Maddox will only be 7.5 months apart.

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After that I ran some errands on the way home before I had some girls over to hang out.  I came home and Ryan was already there with the kids.  He took them to McDonald’s to eat and play while I cleaned and got ready.  He took care of the kids with baths, bed time and all, while the girls arrived, and didn’t ask me for one thing so I could fully enjoy hanging with my friends.  I was really impressed!  We had fajitas, chips and salsa, beeritas, and mini bundt cakes, while we watched The Bachelor.  It was a great ending to an amazing weekend!!! 

But wait, once all the girls left, Ryan gave me this gift inside my card…
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This is the front of the card if you’re curious.  The quote at the top is an inside joke between my family.
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This is just a key to show what the present WILL be, but now I’m on the hunt for the perfect car to buy asap!  I was a little confused, but he explained that all I have to do is pick out a car and we’ll go get it…well, you know, if it’s in our budget.  We had planned to get one, but way down the line when we had the money to buy it in cash, so I thought.  He has planned for it much earlier than I thought.  Sidenote:  Really important to buy your cars in cash if you can.  They’re one of the worst (and easiest) ways to ruin your financial freedom.  10 years since a new car.  Any suggestions?  We’re looking at an SUV.

It was a wonderful weekend and I'm always so amazed seeing the love around me.  I definitely felt special.