Thursday, July 31, 2014

Goals Update

Read the Book of Mormon as a family.  Study and read the scriptures.
We need to be better at this most nights Brian is at work and by the time bedtime rolls around.  I am spent.  Why does the whole process of bedtime seem to take 2-3 hours some nights?  I am continuing to study out of the scriptures and conference talks.  I recently listened to all of April conference while doing my cleaning job and working out.  I miss my scripture study group; but mainly miss my friends who have are now in Montana and France.
Get along with and love my family. I do love my husband and family. Do I sometimes lose my patience with my kids?  Are they mostly cute and good kids?  Yes.  Do I sometimes vent and whine to my husband? Yes.  Does he usually have patience with me and try to do everything to remedy the situation?  Yes.  We love each other and have fun.  But we are not perfect but we are trying to forgive and be better everyday.
Go to the temple once a month.  We are doing better at going to the temple.  I love the peaceful feeling there.  I loved being there with everyone when Logan and Haley were sealed in April.  I love that we have almost all gone on missions and married wonderful people.  My sister-in-laws are amazing.  My brothers have chosen well.
Run a 5k.  Not even close.  No, I have not done this.  I am working out on the elliptical at the Provo Rec Center.  My goal is to do a 5k on the elliptical/treadmill and keep my heart rate between 121 and 14o and do it in under 38 minutes. Right now, I am doing a 14.5 min mile on the elliptical on the treadmill so I need to get my time down a couple more minutes.
Lose 35 pounds. I am down about 8 pounds since the beginning of the year.  Why am I not losing weight?  I know most of the reasons.  I just wish it were easier. 
Invest in relationships with grandparents and great grandparents.  Yesterday we went to Great Grandma Sanders and played at the park.  We pulled plastic and and hose over to the park and the kids made a waterslide down the the hill.  Taylor even accidentally got Grandma wet.  Then we went back to her house, had popsicles, and made chocolate chip cookies.  Grandma Merkley has been at a friend's funeral in Nauvoo but we will get to spend more time with her next week when Jean, Elaine, and the cousins are in town.
Pay off debt and have savings.  We are now and still are debt free.  We are still saving just not as much as we were since we now have the expense of a second car.  We were able to get all the medical bills paid off in May.  Such a scary situation, we are so blessed to still have Ryan with us.  I will do a post on him soon.
Trade in car for SUV/minivan.  We bought a 2004 Izuzu Rodeo from Sean and Amy who will be moving to Pennsylvania in about 2 weeks.  The kids call it the big car and love to ride with the windows down.  It has already been broken in from Hannah peeing on the front seat (but we did professionally clean it) (:  We also took a trip up to the mountains which is a yearly tradition in such a beautiful place.  We still have the other car.  And unless we feel like we can't afford it anymore we will continue to have two cars.  
work on goals with my kids and husband.   This year we have accomplished a lot despite how little I feel like I get done on a day to day basis.  Yes, my house is a mess half the time.  And there are a lot of days, the kids and I look less than presentable.  But we are a work in progress and that is the important thing; we are working and actively working towards our goals everyday.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Menu Plan 7-27 through 8-8-2014

This is a menu plan for 2 weeks.  I am trying to plan for 8 meals since some nights will be leftovers, eating out, or something easy kind of night.

Chicken Bowtie Salad
Cornbread Waffles and Chili 
Pancakes and Eggs
Green Tomato Curry  on Rice w/ coconut and cheddar cheese
Spaghetti and Green Beans (with or without meat sauce; we use ground deer or elk meat so this saves us a lot of money and extra fat)
Chicken Oriental Salad
Mitt Romney's Favorite Meatloaf and Crinkle Fries
Taco Salad

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

My NEW Cash Envelope Wallet - Goodbye Paper Envelopes

My mother-in-law and sister-in-law asked me what I wanted for my birthday.  I told them that I was looking into getting a cash envelope wallet.  The paper envelopes from the bank just were getting to be too difficult o work with and I was losing motivation to stay on track with our budget.  I knew that this investment would save me money right away and since I did not have to pay for it this was a win-win.  I found this wallet on Etsy.  The name of the shop was Budget Owl, the wallet starts out at $26.49 and with add-ins it was $31 + $9 shipping. The wallet is so well-made.  I have been using it for over a month now and I absolutely love it.

Fun Chevron Pattern the color matches my new purse

There are four pouches this one is labeled Emergency; every week I usually put a $20 in there.  Last week, I used it to get the upholstery cleaned after Hannah peed on the front passenger seat of the Rodeo.

Entertainment:  I put $10-$20 every week in this pocket, for going out to eat, a sitter, and drink runs.  I also put our Rec Center Cards and coupons/gift cards in here.

Groceries: $100, per week, usually goes in here.  

Clothes -This pouch does not have any money in it.  I am in desperate need of some more clothes so this needs to be a bigger priority.

It also have a 3 card holder sleeve that fits about 6 cards.  And a place on the back on the inside to put a checkbook but I decided not to include pictures of those to protect our personal information.

The back - just a cute as the front and this is the button to hold it all together

A Costco,Walgreens, and Walmart Grocery Haul

Staying on budget is something, that might be easy for some people, and if that is you then you probably do not want to read about my food budget.  Budgeting is a work in progress for me; but I try to be smart about shopping and saving my family money.  Back in January, I participated in something called Focus on Finances, hosted by the website Fun, Cheap, or Free;  It kick started me into being more aware of what we were spending and coming up with a realistic budget to spend from.  

The budget I came up with was $140/ week for a family of five.  We have two adults, and three kids ages 4, 2, and a baby.  My budget includes: diapers, formula, toiletries, eating out, clothes,medication, birthday gifts for kids and extended family, etc. 

More details on all of this later.  I will just jump start to what I bought and how much I spent.  I lost my first two receipts so this is what I remember.

3 dozen eggs - 99 cents/dozen used $3 in POINTS 
Total : 6 cents !!!!

2 bags Veggie Straws - 4.99 each
9 pound box of crinkle fries - 6.49 a box
3 cantaloupe - 5.49
6 head of romaine - 3.39
40 oz Infant Formula - 17.99
2- 3 lb bunches of bananas - 1.39 each
48 pack of AA Kirkland batteries - FREE with coupon from Groupon deal
Total: $47 and some change

Next stop, price matching, at Provo's new Neighborhood Walmart.  I could have gone and price matched at a store called Lo-Lo's but I need to look ads up on my phone to show them and their produce quality is pretty hit and miss.

Red grapes - price-matched 99 cents/lb normally 1.98/lb
6 - 4 lb bags of sugar - 1.59 each normally 1.98
4 - 8 oz bags of shredded cheese ( I got taco blend, sharp cheddar, swiss, and mozzarella) - price-matched $1.67 a bag normally $2.50
Green cabbage (hiding under Hannah) 33 cents/lb normally 50 cents a pound
A bag of green onions
Celery Hearts
Aluminum Foil
Sandwich bags and Freezer bags
Total: $34.35

We made another run today to the neighborhood market and bought 2 cans of pineapple to make our new recipe for Chicken Bowtie Salad.  (We spent a little over $2 there; we saved money by buying the store brand which saved us about $1.20).

We put grapes, celery, pineapple tidbits, green onions, and cashews in the salad this time.  A couple of weeks ago, I taught several sisters in my ward how to make it, at a monthly cooking class, I decided to run for my new church calling.

Now, that we have two cars, I take the kids shopping with me more so that we have more time as a family when Brian gets home.  It has been an adjustment but for the most part the kids have been great and pretty good and helping me stick to my list.  I must say, I do have cute kids (:

Total spent on all 4 trips:
Around $84

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Life Update

I fail to write on this blog because I feel like I do not have a organized way of documenting our lives.  I want to share this wonderful journey we call life but my brain feels like scrambled eggs and I am easily distracted. However, I am always glad when I make the effort.

Today, I went cleaning, for my cleaning job.  I had to make a short Target run and hit up 7-eleven too.  My phone was dead as the car charger cord was not working and so, as I was cleaning, I was left to my own thoughts.  Pretty scary, as I was thinking about everything from, the homeless man, outside the offices I clean, who lives in his van and the young mother holding a sign on the side of the road that read, "recently widowed, single mother", who reminded of my friend who recently found herself in that exact same situation.  I also think of weird things like how do you spell the word rhetorical and what is the definition of infirmities.

I have realized some things while cleaning these past several months, the smaller spaces are often the dirtiest and it is often just as easy or easier to clean up after a many people as it is to clean up after a few.

Also about two months ago, I was called to be a compassionate service leader, and now I feel like I am walking around with my insides on the outside.  When you care; it hurts.   I have been searching the scriptures more and have felt like I have been in a constant state of prayer for all those I love and care for.
The one thing I need to practice more is smiling at other people.  I think when I am in my sweats running an errand on my way to go clean or on the way back I don't always smile much as not to bring attention to myself. (:

My kids are growing fast. Taylor will be turning five in a few months, Hannah is turning 3 in a couple weeks, and Ryan will be turning 1 in about a month.  They are still little and often beyond reasoning but they are coming into their own.  Taylor is learning basic reading and math and just finished his first swimming lessons.  He took like a fish to water and he was pretty much at his happiest.

Hannah is the Energizer Bunny.  She is always either into something or busy talking a mile a minute.  She has taken to calling Ryan, "Oddie" or "Artie"  depending on how you hear it.  She misses her friend, David "Choke" Choate, whose family is spending a year in France and often adds his name into our nightly family handshake.  She says sweet prayers and often uses the excuse, "Jesus told me to do it."

Ryan smiles from the moment he wakes up.  He is always standing up and pulling himself on things and will soon be walking.  With Mom or Dad right behind him he can climb all the way to the top of the stairs and he has just started saying Mama.  In the sun, his hair has a reddish tint and his is starting to lose some of his baby looks.  He got his first haircut from my friend, Krystle, and he is pretty much eating anything and everything now.  The only two things the doctor said he can not have at 10 months when he went in was liquid honey and cow's milk.  Other than those two things, everything else is fair game, ice cream, cheese, and scrambled eggs, etc.

Brian, last but not least, has gotten back into running he has run another half marathon and a 5K and has a 5K coming up next week.  We went on a date to the Provo Rec Center a couple weeks ago.  Brian ran around the track while I used the elliptical we both put in about 35 minutes.  And then went to the hot tub.  But that got boring and we decided to try a little bit of everything: going down the waterslides, jumping off the faux cliff in a deep pool, and swimming laps in the Big Pool.  We both were quite nervous jumping off the cliff, we are getting old, and are losing our daring sense of adventure.  We need to work on getting some of that in our lives.  I love this man and it is amazing how my love for him grows richer but is definitely different from the feelings in the beginning.  I love him and I love our little family.  He is such a wonderful and devoted father and husband.