Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Budget Time - Starting with Food

The hubby and I decided that it was time to take another look at our budget since the old car payment was out and the new car payment is in - including increasing insurance, cable, etc. 

After taking a look at last month and doing all those fun little calculations of income vs outcome, the number one thing I wanted to tackle was our food bill. We spend approximately $500 dollars a month on our grocery bill. This does not include any eating out we do. 
With two adults, one half-time child, and one baby. 
I blame Marlee. She is eating us out of house and home. 

But seriously, something had to be done. And considering I am the main meal planning, grocery shopper, cooking lady - I needed to take a good look at the next couple weeks. I took a day to write down two weeks of meals, write the list of items I needed, and even collected a couple coupons for my shopping trip.
(Ok confession, Giant Eagle just sends me coupons. I do not go out and find them.)

My goal was to knock off approximately two hundred dollars from my shopping trips. I wanted to keep each trip close to $150 and with planning every two weeks, we could have a $300 grocery shopping bill. That extra $200 dollars we saved could go to savings - maybe. We are bad at saving too. Focusing on groceries though!

So my meal plan for the next two weeks is as follows:

Tuesday: Frozen Pizza 
Wednesday: Chicken Tetrazinni
Thursday: Leftovers
Friday: Grilled Cheese
Saturday: Steak Carnitas with rice
Sunday: Honey Lime Tilapia with asparagus
Tuesday: Leftovers
Wednesday: Spaghetti and Meatballs
Thursday: Leftovers
Saturday: Leftovers
Sunday: Breakfast for Dinner
Monday: Grilled Cheese

Purple days are the days I work. I try to do something easy on those days since sleep is really my main priority. I provided links to all the recipes since I am a bit of a Pinterest addict and I get most of my recipes from there. If I do find that something is extra delicious and my family loved it, I will do a more detailed post on it. 

Feel free to use some of these recipes! My other blog friends deserve all the credit for posting such delicious meals!

Update!: Nick and I went to the store and the bill came to $135! Fifteen dollars under budget! I used the Giant Eagle coupons and saved $16 which put us under the target $150. I was so excited and Nick was amazed with my skills. I actually did surprise myself too. 

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Hurray Easter!

Last week was the week from hell. Without getting into too much detail; we not longer have a dog, Marlee was nicknamed Satan, and I was more excited to go to work then what is humanly possible. And it was not because I like my job.
Yet, with all the negativity going around, I decided to be optimistic.
I was able to get cheap gas, I squeezed fit into a size 10, the sun was beautiful on Easter, and I was able to catch the oatmeal before it exploded in the microwave!
I make and explode a lot of oatmeal.
Yes these are super lame to be excited over but I am old and excitement doesn't exactly take a whole lot of effort now a days.
And it's optimism people! Get on board!
Even though I had to work Easter night (which is not a paid holiday! wtf?), the day could not have been more perfect. We (well Marlee allowed us) to sleep in until 8am and we did the whole Easter basket/egg search thing. The whole things annoys me but I don't even have time to touch the edge of that topic. Marlee and Isaac were so excited though and the pictures make me smile.

"For me! Thank you!"

Isaac gave up candy for Lent so this was total bliss for him.
And of course, Marlee raiding her brothers basket.
We then had enough time to get all done up for the day - which started with church. The homily was so perfect and so fitting. It really spoke to me and made me take a moment to be grateful for the things and people in my life. Sometimes we need a quick moment to put things in perspective. We even took a couple pictures outside of church.

Hough Family 
After church, we did lunch at Grandma Farris's house and we were able to get some more pictures. Marlee crawled all over the place and enjoyed all the company. Of course, Marlee ate and ate and ate. She even enjoyed a little bit of candy. The beautiful girls of the Farris/Carbone/Hough family (minus one) were able to get a quick picture before on to the next stop.

Family is Everything
Then we headed to the Tozzi house and were able to spend the afternoon eating, laughing, and watching the boys play whiffle ball. It was a wonderful ending to the busy week we had! Marlee was a little cranky because of the lack of nap but she perked up with all the cousin loving going on. We were able to get some more family pictures that are all frame worthy!

Hough Family
Cousins Minus One
Dark Haired Cousins
Marlee was thrilled - ha!
And thank you Bri for this beautiful picture of Marlee - my heart.

So overall, the lesson learned is that the sun always comes out after a storm. Easter was definitely full of sun and it was the light at the end of a dark week. Now on to another long week and trying to stay optimistic. Luckily, I am able to surround myself with fantastic family and friends.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Happy Nine Months Marlee

Marlee did not want to cooperate with pictures this month. 
Or any month for that matter.
But today was extra difficult. She was in a bad mood and was not afraid to show it. 
And add in the fact that I put shoes on her, total meltdown mode.
I did get to put her in these cute little jean shorts which made my day. I am trying to convince summer to hurry the heck up!

Marlee has reached the fearless stage in her life. She likes to jump off the couches, dive face first into hard objects, and just let go of the furniture - even though she does not know how to stand without support yet. So far she has a scratch on her chin, a bruise on her cheek, and a cut on her lip. And this all happened this week! 
Future boxer? Possibly.

Still no teeth! I swear she has been teething since she was four months old. The drool! The fussiness! The chewing on everything and anything! Yet, no teeth. She is going to be gumby forever. I have to admit that I am terrified for these teeth to finally come in. She is going to chew holes in everything we own. Kinda like a sweet little, bad puppy. 

She actually really is like a puppy. She now crawls all over the house pretty efficiently. She will follow me wherever I go. Which is good and bad. I always have creepy little eyes following me no matter what I am doing. Pee in peace? Not anymore! But at least I don't have to carry her from room to room now. Unfortunately, she is now destroying every room of the house. I found a bottle of wine just sitting in the middle of the dining room the other day. When did this happen? No idea. She is a sneaky little girl. 
And has good taste, obviously.

Ok now for the real reason everyone reads the blog: picture time!

"What are these things on my feet mom?"

"Ok mom, you get one minute to take my picture."

"Times up! Mickey Mouse is on!"

"I am over this mommmmmm!"

"Ok, I am out of here."

Happy nine months Marlee! So excited to see what the future brings. 
More stubborn personality and beautiful smiles, I am sure. 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Fun at the Park

The weather is finally starting to warm up!
Keep in mind it supposed to snow tomorrow but we are not going to talk about it.

It was gorgeous yesterday and we were able to get out of the house and head to the park. The sun is good for the soul!

It was Marlee's first time on the swing and she did not care for it. It was pretty funny. More for Nick and I but we didn't leave her in it for long. Just long enough to get a few pictures and push her a couple times. She just looked so uncomfortable.

Then we gave the slide a try and it was not much better then the swing. Once again, we took a couple pictures and moved on. 

We decided Marlee was still a bit too small for the park and went for a nice walk in Magnolia. We have been giving her a little more independence by leaving her unbuckled and she enjoys being a 'big girl' and sitting up without having to be strapped down. 

Of course, this added independence means she wants to be a daredevil.

She rode like this for quite some time and it was funny to see her so excited. I think she liked the wind through her hair. 
I did have to strap her down eventually. She tried to jump out and that was the end of her independence. 

With the upcoming snow (ugh), it was nice to get out with the family and enjoy the spring. Hopefully it warms back up soon because more outside time would be fantastic. And I want to get started in the garden!