Friday Financials

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If Murphy comes in threes, then I think we should be safe for a while.  In the past week we have had a dog taken to the vet, a wreck, and an emergency surgery.  I would like a calm life for a while.  Here is how our finances are going right now:

*We had to take $150 out of our emergency savings for the vet visit.
*We had to readjust the budget for upcoming vaccinations and medications for the dogs.
*Unless the car damage is over $1,000 it is highly unlikely that the insurance will cover it.  The damage is minor enough that if it is not covered, we will not get it repaired.
*Our emergency fund will be used for medical bills once they start coming in.
*I got $5 for filling out a survey a few weeks ago.
*We got a $100 gift card from when we signed up for Directv.
*We have been spending more than we had budgeted on eating out, as Hubs has been at the hospital with me, and I have not been able to cook.
*Our gas bill was $10 less than budgeted.

Yeah, it’s not pretty.  This week has made me so happy that we have our finances in order and have our emergency fund for these unexpected emergencies.  I am completely aware that we will most likely not be able to hit our $4,000 goal for our emergency fund.  I won’t know how much we will have to use up from our savings until the bills start rolling in.  That could be a month or so, which gives us some extra time to tighten our belts and possibly save a little more.  I also have short term disability insurance, so I am going to apply for that, since I have missed 2 days of work for this and will possibly miss more depending on how I am recovering.  That should help with some of the medical bills.

I don’t have much else to add to this financial update.  It is pretty depressing, but again, I am happy that we have things in order and are not overly stressed about paying for the bills.  We will make it through this rough patch, and we will be stronger for it.

Has Murphy visited you lately?

What a Wednesday!

wpid-20140416_183658.jpgMy current view this evening.

Today has not gone at all how I had planned.  I had planned a regular day at school, but my body had a different idea.

Starting last night around 7:00, I started having a headache and jaw pain.  The jaw pain is nothing surprising, as I have TMJ and a very  bad habit of clenching my jaw and grinding my teeth most nights.  I carry most of my tension in my jaw.  Hubs and I decided to turn in early last night, so around 8:00 we got in bed.  I mentioned to him that my stomach was starting to hurt, but it wasn’t anything too bad.  Around 9:00 I woke up in bed because of the pain.  I managed to get comfortable enough, but woke up again around 11:00.  I went out to the couch and planned to sleep out there.

The only problem was that I could not get comfortable at all.  The pain was pretty high in my abdomen at this point and was very sharp, shooting pains.  It reminded me of menstrual cramps, but not in the right place (or at the right time of the month).  I managed to drift off to sleep for about 20 minutes at a time, but I did get to see each hour of the night.  I thought maybe it was digestive problems or I was hungry.  I frequented the bathroom with no relief.  I ate a few celery sticks around midnight and drank some water.  I started to get nauseous, but figured it was just from not having anything to eat since dinner.

By the time my alarm went off this morning at 5:30, I had managed about 2 solid hours of sleep and about 2 hours of miscellaneous drifting naps.  I thought I would be fine to go to work, but at about 5:45, I decided it just wasn’t an option.  I was in such severe pain.  By this time, the pain had migrated and was very focused in the lower right quadrant of my abdomen.  Hubs encouraged me to go to the doctor, although I figured I would just rest at home while my mom had Miss C.

I finally succumbed to Hubs’ encouragement and decided I would try to make an appointment at a close-by family practice.  They opened at 7:30, so I should have been fine.  My mom was going to be at our house around 6:45, and between 6:00 and 6:45 the pain had become so much worse.  I managed to crawl around and get things ready before my mom got there (dogs fed, Miss C awake and fed, diaper bag packed, dogs gated in the bedroom).  Once my mom arrived I told her that we just needed to go to the ER.  Hubs had mentioned it might be my appendix, so I didn’t want to take the chance.

Mom got Miss C’s diaper changed, loaded in the car, and we were off.  We made the 25-30 minute trip to the hospital (one of the downfalls to living in a rural town).  Because I was having abdominal pain, I was immediately taken back to a room.  I was hooked up to an IV, had some blood drawn, given some pain meds and anti-nausea meds, and made to pee in a cup.  They sent everything down to the lab, and after about an hour I had to have a cat scan.  The cat scan SUCKED!  The contrast that they had to administer through my IV made my arm burn so much.  I actually thought someone was trying to rip out my IV it hurt so bad.  I had to go through this pain 3 times.

After the cat scan, the surgeon came in and spoke with me.  He hadn’t seen my labs, but was pretty sure it was appendicitis.  He would barely touch my abdomen, and I about jumped out of the bed it hurt so bad.  Finally the labs came back around 10:00 and everyone’s suspicions were correct: acute appendicitis.  This meant surgery this afternoon.  The surgery was going to happen around noon.  That was 2 hours away, so I sent Hubs home to get some necessities.  He also went to let the dogs out, give Bandit his meds, etc.

Right around noon, they took me up to a real room.  Then almost immediately it was time for me to go into surgery.  Hubs made it back just in time to head down the hall with me and down to prep.  (At this point my sister was also at the hospital with us.)  Once I was in the prep area, they let Hubs and my sister come back to see me.  We were in that little area for about 20 minutes before I was taken back.  I remember going in the room, getting on the operating table, and that was it.  I was out!  The next thing I knew, I was waking up in recovery.  In all honesty, I just wanted to keep sleeping.  I was so tired from getting absolutely no sleep last night, that it was nice to just lie there and drift in and out of sleep.

I eventually woke up enough to be taken back to my room.  My parents brought Miss C to see me, and then my sister took Miss C to her house to hang out with the crazy cousins.  My parents eventually left so I could try to take a nap.  I got a short nap in, and then Hubs broke some news to me… On the way to the hospital after going back to our house, he had been in a wreck.  It was not a big wreck, but there was a bit of damage to his car.  He and the other person exchanged information, and he was back on his way to the hospital.  The wreck was not his fault at all.  He was driving in the left lane, and a person in the right lane basically cut him off and then tried to make a U-turn in the median.  This was on a highway with a 70 mph speed limit.  Hubs hit the brakes the whole time, but wasn’t able to stop.  The other person’s car had a bit of a scratch on the back bumper, and Hubs’ car had a bit of damage on the front bumper.  Nothing major at all.

So after giving me that news, and me being so thankful that he was ok, we just hung out in the hospital for a bit.  Eventually my parents came back and my sister brought Miss C to see me.  The staff brought my dinner at about 5:15, so I “ate” that.  When I say “ate,” I didn’t really eat anything.  I am on a liquid diet, so I had some broth, jell-o, icee, and apple juice.  I am hoping that I will be on a normal diet tomorrow.

All the family left around 5:30 so they could all eat their dinner and be on their way.  Now it is just me, my roommate, and my computer.  My roommate has her husband here, and I hope that he won’t stay too late, as I am exhausted!  I really hope to get a decent sleep tonight.

I will be discharged tomorrow, although I don’t know when.  I am definitely ready to be home, as this is not at all what I thought my Wednesday would be like.

Let’s just say that after today, I am very thankful for our emergency fund.  I am not overly worried about the hospital bill or the car repairs.  We will be just fine!

Figuring out Finances

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After the vet visit yesterday, I knew we needed to adjust our finances for future vaccinations, vet visits, and medication.  I have spent some time today working numbers to come up with $85 per month to set aside for the pups.  This $85 will solely cover vaccinations, monthly medication (Heartgard and flea and tick preventative), and Bandit’s new prescription.  If there is an unforeseen emergency involving either dog, the money will come out of our emergency fund.  It was a little tricky to tweak the numbers in order to come up with the $85.

I went through our cash envelope categories to see what I could do.  Here is what I came up with:

The cash category is in bold, the new cash amount is in green, the difference (which will go to the new savings for the dogs) is in red.

Dogs: $60  ($20) (This dog money goes to food, treats, etc.)
Clothing: $0 ($20) (We are doing fine on clothing, and if we NEEDED something, we could start saving for it.)
House: $30 ($10) (This is for projects and supplies, not household goods)
Miscellaneous: $20 ($10) (This is for those small expenses that seem to pop up: stamps, postage, etc.)
Carseat: $50 ($10) (We plan to buy a new car seat in September when Hubs changes schedule and we need another one)

That gets us $70.  The additional $15 will just come out of our budget as a new category.  This means that we will put $15 less into our savings account each month.  This will start with our May budget.  I chose to put it off one month because the cash has already been taken out (and some of it spent) for the April budget.

The problem with starting in May instead of April is that it will put us a little behind when the first refill of everything comes due.  In order to offset that shortfall, I will put any money from photography sessions into this account instead of into our emergency fund savings, as I was planning.  (It will be 1/3 of the income from my photography sessions, as 1/3 goes to photography taxes, and 1/3 goes back into the business).  If we do that for the month of April and May (I currently have 3 sessions booked, and 1 in the process of being booked), then we should be caught up for the meds and should be able to cover the vaccinations that will come due in May.  Once we get to June, our budget will back to normal. (One downside is that our goal of $4,000 in the emergency fund will be a little bit harder to reach, but not impossible.)

There are a lot of different ways to save for unexpected and even expected expenses.  The way we do it is just one way.  I like having the separate savings accounts through CapitalOne360 instead of just lumping it all together into one savings account.  I like knowing where every dollar is going.  Right now we have 6 savings accounts that are saving for future purchases:

Christmas
Photography Taxes
Photography Gear
Dogs
Car Tag Renewal
Car Seat

They are all separate and although they are linked to our checking account, the money is not easily accessible.  It is not accessible at all from our ATM or from the checking account unless we do an online transfer.  It is safe and out of our hands.

I think that is it for our finances now.  I am sure I will have an update again for Friday Financials.

Do you know where every dollar of your paycheck is going?  

Resolution Recap

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I haven’t done a recap this month, and to be honest there isn’t much to tell you.  I haven’t been doing well with most goals, so I am definitely feeling pretty bad about things.  I get to a point in the month when I realize that if I haven’t been doing well, that I just want to ignore everything and see if it will disappear.  Unfortunately it doesn’t work that way.  I am halfway through this month, so my goal at this point is to make the second half of my month successful.

So, here is how it looks for the first half of April:

Finances
*Track Spending: I made a tracking notebook, but I haven’t actually written much in it.  I am having a really hard time getting into this habit.  I also haven’t been doing super great with the finances, so I think I avoid writing things down, as to try to put them out of my brain.  Not the best strategy.
*Save $150 for trip to visit family: We have it in savings, but my goal with this was to have it in our checking account ready to go.  I find that if I don’t take money out or put it in the proper accounts immediately, then it get absorbed with other purchases or unexpected spending.  I think this is what happened with this money.  I have about $80 earmarked in the checking account, but if we go over that, then it will come out of our savings.
*Put $75 into Christmas savings fund: Done!  I had this written in my budget to get it done last week, but I finally got it done today.  Our Christmas fund is up to $234.48.  It is going to be so nice come Christmas time and we don’t have to scramble to buy gifts or have money for travel/hotel expenses.

Marriage
*Watch 4 movies with Hubs: We haven’t watched any movies that are on the DVR.  We did sit down and watch a documentary Sunday night about the Boston Marathon Bombing from last year.  It was really good, and it was nice to enjoy the movie and talk with him about it while we watched.  Normally we are both plugged into our computer or phone, so it is a completely non-engaging activity.  Looks like we may be planning a movie night or two later this month!

Family
*Start having weekly family meetings: Nope.  Instead of having a meeting last week, I sent Hubs a long detailed email about our finances.  I know we would be better off if we sat down and discussed finances, our relationship, kids, etc.  I am not sure why we haven’t started.

Health
*No coffee for the month: I have had coffee exactly 3 times.  The first time it was bought for me so it didn’t count.  The second time it was a business meeting, so it was a write-off.  The third time was Sunday while I was grocery shopping alone.  I wanted to treat myself, and I know I shouldn’t have, but it was the first time I had been out of the house by myself (besides going to work) in a long, long time.  It was a nice treat, and I refuse to let myself get upset about it.  Considering I bought coffee 6 out of 7 days the last week of March, I think I have definitely improved.
*4 cups of water: I do great at this goal during the week while I am at work.  I have my large reusable cup and sip constantly.  At home on the weekends I am terrible.  I am usually busy or running errands and never drink enough.  I need to have water with me at all times at home.
*Fruit and Veggie at Lunch: I usually do one or the other.  Yesterday I had veggies in my leftover stir fry, and I brought a banana.  I ended up not eating the banana, but I did eat all the veggies in my stir fry.
*Walk 5 Days: I have walked exactly 0 days.  I have worked outside a few days, so I am not a complete couch potato.  The weather is a bit bipolar at the moment (shorts and short-sleeves on Saturday, snow on Monday).  I need to force myself to go for a walk after work.
*Yoga routine: Nope.  I haven’t even tried.  I am sure I would benefit from it, as my back is constantly sore.

Career
*Mail out license renewal paperwork: I have 2/3 of the paperwork ready to be mailed.  I am waiting on one more item, which I hope to have by the end of this week.  Once that is done, it will be in the mail!  My license expires on June 2, so I should have it all in and renewed in plenty of time!
*Book 2 more photo sessions: I am half way there!  I had a meeting with a client earlier this month (the one when I had coffee).  The meeting brought a wedding!  I am going to be shooting their wedding in October!  I am also in the process of getting another session booked for next month.  It is a cute family of 3!  If that gets in the books soon, then we are good to go!

Recreation
*Finish 2 books: I have read exactly 0 pages towards this goal.  I love reading, but it is not a high priority so I have trouble making time for it.

Home
*Organize junk basket: I finally got the kitchen cleaned on Sunday.  I added junk to the junk basket, so I hope to get it organized this week at some point.  I am not holding my breath on this one.
*Clean up after dinner every night: Sunday night, I did this for the first time this month.  My hope is that I can keep it up for the rest of the month.  I just feel so much more relaxed in the evenings and the mornings when the house is picked up.  Last night while I gave C a bath, Hubs cleaned up the dishes from dinner and got the dishwasher running.  After C’s bath, she and I picked up her toys in the living room.  2 days in a row!

So, there are the goals.  They aren’t pretty, but I hope that I can make the rest of the month much better!

How are your goals going?

Bandit Budget Buster

Had to take the pup to the vet today.

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This was after the doctor had been in to seen us.  Bandit has faced itchy skin for the past few years.  He has scratched his head, face, neck, and ears open more times than you can count.  He lives in a cone whenever we leave.  Unfortunately we were at the vet because when I went out to work in the yard on Saturday I forgot to put his cone on him. Here is the worst part:

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That is a hot spot.  We thought he had ear infections again, since he seemed to scratch at his ears the most this time.  I took him to the vet expecting the regular routine: shaved head, cream, antibiotics, cortisone shot.  This time, though we had a surprise!  When I told the vet tech what we were there for, she got really excited about this new medicine that has just come out: Apoquel.  It is specifically for itchy dogs.  It is supposed to quell the itch in about 4 hours and completely stop the itch in 24 hours.  The vet didn’t even really want to discuss it… he said he was prescribing it.  He has seen Bandit so many times for this very issue, that he said it would be perfect for him!  I was very excited, but nervous about the cost.

The trip today was quite expensive, but not the worst we have seen.  The total was $247, but I also go heartworm prevention medicine for both dogs, which upped the cost.  Here is the breakdown of the bill:

Examination: $36.00
Apoquel (50 tablets): $80.00
Cefpodoxime (antibiotic- 14 tablets): $32.90
Heartgard for Bandit (6 month supply): $39.60
Heartgard for Rose (6 month supply): $58.50

Total: $247.00

The dogs had $100.00 in their envelope, so I paid $100 cash, and the rest will come out of our emergency fund.  I am also looking at their vaccination records, and it looks like they will each have 1 vaccination coming up in May.  Rose will have 1 coming up in June.  Both will have 1 in October, and Bandit will have 1 in November.

I am going to have to go back over our budget and adjust for those vaccinations coming up.  Right now I put aside $80 a month.  This has been enough for now, but since it emptied their built up supply that would have covered vaccinations, I will need to up their amount for probably the rest of the year.

Another adjustment will be for the Apoquel.  This is a medication that Bandit will be on for the rest of his life.  After the first two weeks he will only take 1/2 a tablet a day.  For these first two weeks he will need 1/2 a tablet twice a day.  The 50 tablets will get us through almost 3 months (12 weeks).  In the future the 50 tablets will get us through 3.5 months (14 weeks).  That comes down to saving about $25 a month for just that prescription.  I also need to make sure that we save $17 per month for the Heartgard refills.  I think I may start an online savings account for the medicines.  Trying to keep that much money in their envelope for that long will prove too difficult.

I think I may try to lower their monthly cash to $60 (this will cover food, treats, etc.).  That will free up the other $20 to put into a savings account.  That leaves me with finding another $22 to add to it for meds, and then about another $40 or so for vaccinations.  I should be able to do that with no problem, although there will have to be a few adjustments made (not eating out as much, not as much money for clothing, household items, etc.)

If this medicine does what it claims, we will in fact save money in the long run.  The food that we feed Bandit is specifically formulated for healthy skin and coat (but we have not really seen much difference in his itchiness).  It is about $60 a bag.  I can buy 2 bags of Rose’s food for that price.  We also sprinkle a supplement on his food, which is about $20 for a small bag.  The supplement lasts about 2 months.  We buy Benadryl for Bandit, which is cheap, but is an added expense.  We seem to go to the vet 3-4 times a year for itchy problems, which is about $50 a visit, and even more if he gets a cortisone shot.

After all of this, I can definitely say I am happy we have our cash envelopes and emergency fund.  I can’t even imagine what we would have done if we would have had to find $247.00 on short notice.  I don’t know if it would have been possible in the past.  I was able to schedule Bandit’s appointment without worrying about the cost.  There will be some long-term adjustments to make, but it isn’t as stressful as it could have been.

Any budget busters in your life?

Menu Plan Monday

menu-plan-mondayAnother week, another menu!

This week it is all about easy.  I picked meals that I can make without looking at a recipe.  I was getting very bogged down with trying new recipes and trying to make gourmet meals.  It was tiring and just too much for me.  This week dinner will be set on cruise control.

Monday, April 14: Spaghetti.  Nothing fancy about this: noodles, ground beef, and a jar of Prego sauce.  We will have steamed veggies and some rolls.

Tuesday, April 15: Tacos.  Another easy one: ground beef, seasoning, tortillas, and the fixings.  Raw veggies served on the side.

Wednesday, April 16: Grilled hotdogs and brats.  Super easy.  Already have the hotdogs and brats in the freezer.  I will just thaw them overnight, grill them outside, plop on a bun.  Steamed veggies for a side.

Thursday, April 17: Pasta toss.  I actually haven’t made this in a while.  It is often on the rotation, so it will be good to have it again.  Steamed green beans and rolls on the side.

Friday, April 18: Chicken kabobs.  I am off from school this day, so I will prep these as soon as the little missy goes down for her nap after lunch.  Then let them marinate.  I will throw them on the grill early, so they are ready to eat right before Hubs comes home.  I will eat, feed the little one, then head out to a photo shoot!

Saturday, April 19: Out of town!  We are heading out of town to see our new niece!  We don’t have anything really planned, but do have the money set aside for this trip!

Sunday, April 20: Easter at my parents’ house.  My mom will make a turkey, ham, and the potatoes.  I will probably bring the rolls and some veggies of some sort.  It will be a big meal for the special day!

That’s all I have for you!  I am looking forward to some yummy, but easy meals this week!  This weekend is going to be super busy, so I am not sure yet when I will get the chance to do my grocery shopping for the upcoming week.  I may have to go on Friday afternoon, once Little Missy gets up from her nap.  I plan to do some clothing shopping in the morning, then meet my friend for lunch.  By that time it will be nap time for the little one (and me too!).  I have a photo shoot at 6 and will need to start dinner around 4:30.  Hopefully she will sleep from about 12:00-2:30 and we can go at 3:00.  It takes me about an hour to shop, so that would work well.  It will be busier than my normal early weekend morning time, but I don’t know if I have another option.

What is on your menu for the week?

Sunday Cents

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I got some great deals today!  I went to two stores this morning: Target and Dillon’s (grocery store).  Both stores I managed to save a lot!  I will do a break down of each shopping trip.

Target Trip

Total Spent: $97.82
Total Saved: $30.74
Extras: $20 in Target gift cards

Best Deals:

2 boxes of Pampers Diapers:
Price: $34.99 (x2): $69.98
Coupons: -$2.50 (x2): -$5.00
Total: $64.98
Extras: $10.00 gift card for buying 2 boxes
And another $10.00 gift card for spending at least $50 in the baby department (This was from a coupon I had)

Lysol Toilet Cleaner:
Price: $2.99
Mail-in rebate: -$2.99
Final total: FREE!

Birthday gift:
Price: $14.99
Cartwheel App: 10% off
Total: $13.49

Using our Target Redcard:
5% off total: -$3.75

Dillon’s Trip

Total Budgeted:
$160 ($120 from groceries, $10 from gifts, $30 from medical)
Total Spent: $160.21

Money Saved:
From sales: $20.93
From e-coupons: $13.99
From paper coupons: $11.54
Total saved: $46.46

Best Deals:

Bag of Pampers diapers (for a gift):
Original price: $9.42
Sale price: $8.99
eCoupon: -$1.50
Total Spent: $7.49

Birdseye Frozen Veggies (x6):
Original price: $1.25 ($7.50)
Sale price: 10 for $10: $6.00
Total saved: $1.50

Velveeta Cheese Slices (x2):
Original price: $4.29 ($8.58)
Sale price: $2.49 ($4.98)
eCoupon: -$0.50 (-$1.00)
Coupon: -$1.50 when you buy 2
Total Spent: $2.48

Claritin Allergy Medicine:
Original price: $26.99
Sale price: $24.99
eCoupon: -$6.00
Total Spent: $18.99

Nestea 12 bottle pack:
Original price: $6.99
Sale price: $3.99
eCoupon: -$3.99
Total Spent: FREE!

Thomas Bagels (x2):
Original price: $3.99 ($7.98)
Special: Buy 1 Get 1 Free
Total Spent: $3.98

Gerber Baby Yogurt:
Original Price: $2.99
Coupon: -$1.00
Total spent: $1.99

Beneful Healthy Dog Treats (x2):
Original Price: $3.99 ($7.98)
Coupon: Buy 1 Get 1 Free
Total Spent: $3.99

Meat*:
1.20 lb 90/10 ground beef
Original Price: $7.74
Manager’s Special Price: $5.02
Total Saved: $2.72

1.93 lb Boneless Beef for Stew
Original Price: $11.56
Manager’s Special Price: $7.63
Total Saved: $3.93

*I did not plan to buy any meat this week, but always check the sale meat for good deals.  These are the meat that’s sale by date is today.  You need to either immediately cook this meat or immediately freeze it.  I always portion it out and freeze it for later use.  With the price of meat so high right now, it is nice to save some money by checking the manager’s specials.

So there it is!  I am so happy with my deals and savings.  I also received a number of Catalina coupons from the grocery store that will come in very handy!  I did spend more than I had wanted to.  I think we have enough stocked up, so next week’s goal will be to stay way under budget and just buy what we need.  I hope to have some money from the grocery budget left over next week so we can carry it over and stock up more in two weeks!

Did you find any great deals today?  

Menu Plan Monday

Before I get started with my menu plan, I would like to review a few things I have learned today:

1.  3:00 AM seems to be a great time for our government to strip teachers of their rights.
2.  Check the basement for a little brown and white dog when you go back upstairs.  He is rather stealthy and doesn’t always follow you up immediately.  (He was finally found by Hubs a little bit later.)
3.  I have high expectations for those around me, especially when it comes to being professional and taking your job seriously.  Others do not feel this way.
4. I REALLY need to break the habit of going to bed and then browsing online on my phone.  I am always tired the next day, and it is a waste of perfect sleeping time.
5. I am not going to make it through April without my coffee.  I enjoyed my coffee yesterday morning (it was a client meeting, therefore a business write-off, therefore I don’t think it counted).  I am really wanting some right now!
6.  I really do have the best friends a girl could ask for.  And the best part is that I work with some of them and get to see them almost everyday!  I am so lucky!

So, there is what I have learned for the day.  It has been an up and down kind of day.  Hopefully the afternoon will go smoothly, and I am able to get some things done around here.

Now on to the lighter side of today’s post… a menu for the week!

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I will start with this past weekend just to get you all up to speed:

Saturday, April 5: Grilled hotdogs and brats!  I did try to make homemade fries.  I burned them, but I think they would be good.  I have one more potato left, so I may try to make a very small batch and see if those turn out.
FYI: This was our first meal that we have grilled out this spring, and it was delicious!  I love using the grill, so it was a nice treat!

Sunday, April 6: Sweet and sour chicken.  This was ok.  It was too sweet for my liking, and we weren’t thrilled with how the texture turned out.  Miss C enjoyed it for the most part.  It was pretty labor intensive, so I don’t think I will make it again… and I almost started a fire, so another reason to not try it again.

Monday, April 7: Slow cooker salsa chicken.  This is a recipe that we haven’t tried before.  It sounds really good and simple, so hopefully it will be a homerun, and we can add it to our regular rotation.  We will probably throw on some shredded cheddar cheese when we make our soft tacos.  But other than that, we will follow the recipe exactly.

Tuesday, April 8: We are going out to dinner to celebrate my sister’s birthday.  No cooking for us!

Wednesday, April 9: I was going to make homemade pizza, but I may have to readjust and wait until the weekend.  I am out of sugar, and I need it to make the dough.  I will pick some up this weekend while at the grocery store.

Thursday, April 10: Tortellini Bake.  This sounds yummy!  We both love pasta, so hopefully another good one!

Friday, April 10: Chicken stir fry.  No recipe, just chicken, snow peas, carrots, onions, mushrooms.  Stir fry and add a store bought stir-fry sauce.  Serve with rice.

Saturday, April 11: With Hubs’ schedule change, he will now be working Saturdays 12:00-10:00pm.  (But we get Sundays off together now!)  He will leave home at 11:15, so we will have early lunches together as a family.  For lunch I will make chicken kabobs and grill them out.  I just use italian dressing as a marinade for them.  I will prep them first thing in the morning, let them sit in the fridge for a while, then start grilling around 10:15.  We can eat right around 11:00, then he can scoot out.
For dinner I plan to make a stromboli for Miss C and I.  This recipe doesn’t have a cooking temp or time, so I am going to just go with what is on my can of pizza dough and hope it turns out.

Sunday, April 12: Again, because Hubs is home now for the day, I feel it necessary to actually make a lunch and dinner.  I used to just wing it when it was Miss C and I and wouldn’t make much or worry about it.  Now that it is a family meal, though, I need to prep more.
For lunch I will make toasted ravioli. It seems easy enough and sounds yummy!
For dinner I will make tacos.  I have a photo shoot (depending on the weather… it’s calling for rain right now) from 6-7 and will need to leave around 5:30.  Taco are quick and easy and I can have them made by 5:00 and eat before I need to leave.

There ya have it!

What is on your menu this week?

Sunday Night Chit-Chat

1978882_672146562846001_7038309541609412847_nThis is one of my favorite photos from today.  I know that there are a number of things wrong with it technically, but I just love it.  (One of the problems with being a photographer is picking apart your photos.  I tend to get rid of photos that I am not happy with technically, but I just couldn’t get rid of this one.  I love it too much.)

Today has been a very simple and relaxed day.  It did not start out that way, but the majority of the day has been very lovely.  This morning I had a client meeting at 10:00.  Well, Hubs and some friends stayed at a hotel after going out and celebrating a friend who is moving away soon.  I had okayed this last night without thinking.  I figured I would just take Little Missy to my sister’s while I went to my client meeting.  At about 7:30 I realized that the carseat was still in Hubs’ car.  Oh no!  I had no way to leave the house without the carseat.  I called my mom (who was out of town) to see if she had left her carseat at home.  If she had, I was just going to ask my dad to bring it over, so I didn’t have to wake Hubs up early to come home.  Unfortunately she still had her carseat with her across the state.

I had no choice but to call Hubs.  I called twice and both times it went straight to voicemail.  I got a bit upset, thinking he had turned his phone off.  Well, his phone had actually died and wasn’t charged.  I ended up calling a friend who was out with them.  Then the friend (who had already gone home) had to call another friend who was out with them to tell Hubs that he needed to come home with the carseat.  Luckily they were already awake, so I didn’t wake him up, but he didn’t get to go out to breakfast with all his friends.

He got home in plenty of time.  I went ahead and took Miss C to my sister’s, so Hubs could get some additional sleep.  It all ended up working out fine, and Miss C had a great time with her cousins!

The rest of the day was pretty low key.  I had done all the picking up yesterday, so I didn’t have chores to catch up on.  Hubs and I just vegged out on the couch while the little one napped.  Then we played and enjoyed our evening together.  I slaved over dinner, which turned out ok, but it won’t be worth the hassle to try again.  (Part of the hassle was seeing a flame shoot up from our burner… I was ready to grab the baking soda, but it didn’t flame up anymore.  Just a note: Make sure the heat isn’t up too high when you are frying things, especially when the oil is spattering out.)

Now enough with the storytelling and on to the chit-chat:

What…

Are you watching? International House Hunters on HGTV.  This channel is almost always on.  Hubs and I both enjoy it quite a bit.

Are you reading? You’re Already Amazing.  I planned to read last night, but ended up not.  I watched HGTV instead.

Are you looking forward to this week? My family is going out to dinner to celebrate my sister’s birthday.  I always enjoy getting together with my family.  My brother and his wife won’t be able to join us, as they live out of state.  But everyone else will be there.
I also have a photo shoot next Sunday with three very adorable siblings!

Are you planning for this summer? One of the perks of being a teacher is having summers off.  We have a lot of projects around the house, so I will be working on those.  I need to get the basement unpacked and somewhat organized.  There is always painting that needs to be done, and some work in the yard/garden to do.  A lot of work this summer!  I am also moving up to 2nd grade, so I will be moving a classroom!  That is always a big job!

Are you obsessive about? I think the more reasonable question would be “What are you not obsessive about?”  I am very particular about most things: handwriting, folding clothes, cleaning things my way, writing utensils, symmetry, making lists, etc.

Is your #1 goal for next week? Keeping the kitchen and living room cleaned up during the week.  I am also going to try and get the junk basket clean this upcoming week.

Best/worst financial decision this past week? Best financial decision was actually made a few weeks ago, but didn’t pay off until this past week: Hubs and I paid into a basketball bracket challenge.  I am terrible at it, but it is always a fun gamble.  We both paid in $10, and we have come in the top two spots!  That means I win $120 and Hubs wins $60!  You know what that means?  Mama is getting some new jeans!  Yay!
Worst financial decision: We did eat out a few times this past week, and we used the debit card for them.

Happy you accomplished this weekend? The kitchen and living room are picked up.  The laundry is was done (it never stays done for longer than one day).  I had a great client meeting today and hope to hear back from them soon!

There ya have it!  Thank you always, Carla, for hosting!

I would love to hear your answers!  Feel free to answer in the comments section, or on your own blog and link up with Carla.

Enjoy the last few bits of the weekend!

Successful Saturday

Today has been quite successful as far as getting things done.  Here is a run down of what all got accomplished at the Confessions House:

*Showered, did my hair and make-up- The little one slept in until almost 8:00! (As did Hubs).  I was up around 7:00, so I took the rare, quiet morning to myself and actually got myself ready this morning.  I typically don’t worry about my appearance on the weekend, but I thought since I had the time, I would make myself look presentable.

*Family grocery shopping trip- I wasn’t too happy about Hubs joining the grocery trip, as I am a woman of my routine.  It was not a fun experience at the beginning, as I have my way of doing things, and having him there was just interrupting that.  By the end of our trip, though, it had gotten better.  I may even let him come on another shopping trip in the future. :)

*Made homemade mac and cheese for lunch- I know homemade mac and cheese sounds like it takes forever or is a hard process, but it really isn’t.  I prefer it over the box mac and cheese, and it doesn’t take any longer to make.

*Blogged- I blogged earlier today about my savings and deals from the grocery store.  It is honestly one of my favorite things to blog about each week.  I know, I am a nerd!

*Washed and prepped produce- I haven’t portioned it out yet, but I have all my carrots and celery cut.  I washed my snow peas, pears, cucumber, and bell peppers.  They will be cut as I need them.

*Attempted to make homemade french fries for dinner- I say “attempted” because I ended up burning them.  They were definitely crispy, but not in the good way.  I found one or two that I was able to taste, and from what I could tell, I needed more salt.  I will try them again, as it really was not a hard process at all.

*Unloaded, loaded, unloaded, and now loaded again the dishwasher- I had a lot of dishes hanging around on the counter, so I was able to run a full load during the day.  I just finished unloading that load and put in the dishes from dinner.  It wasn’t full enough to run it, but I am sure with breakfast and lunch tomorrow it will be ready to go.

*Did laundry- My last load is in the washer.  Once the current load is finished in the dryer, I will switch them over, and be done with laundry!  It has been a very long, slow process this week, but I am ready to have it done!  (I have even folded the loads that are finished.)

*Played with Miss C- Even with all the chores and staying busy, I made sure to take some time to play with the Little Missy.  We read book, built blocks, laughed, and played.  I love spending time with her!

*Cleaned up the kitchen after dinner- There are no dishes left out on the counters.  No dishes on the table.  No ingredients from dinner are on the counter.  The kitchen is picked up and countertops are wiped down!  This is a huge one for me!

*Picked up the living room- No books strewn everywhere.  No shoes hiding under the table.  No dangerous Duplo blocks to step on.  The living room is picked up and it looks so nice!

*Balanced checkbook- That is what I was working on before I sat down to blog.  Everything came out perfect!  We are right on budget, and everything is good to go!

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Now that I have all those things done, it is time to do something just for myself.  I am going to go grab a little something to snack on, a big glass of water, and relax on the couch with my book:

wpid-20140405_190036.jpg

I am about two chapters in, and I really enjoy it!  The writing is super easy to read, and it feels like a good friend is talking to you.  I highly recommend it so far!

Did you have a productive day, or did you just take it easy?