Two-fer Tuesday

So I have been trying to hide from the world lately.  The past two months have just been killer.  I feel like we keep getting hit with bad news or something bad just keeps coming up.  It hasn’t stopped.  I am hoping that with a new month comes a new outlook on life.  I am no longer hoping for good or great days.  I would just like a normal, stuck-in-a-rut kind of day.

Today our baby had her 18 month appointment.  She had to get one shot and had to have blood drawn from both arms.  Hubs was with her, and from what he has described, it was a horrible experience.  I was almost in tears as he told me about having to hold her down and hold her arms straight as they drew blood.  I don’t know if I could have handled it.  I am so thankful that he has gone to her last few appointments.  I am going to start taking time off work to go to them, so he is not on his own.

Most everything is going well with the little nugget.  She is definitely little.  3rd percentile for weight, 7th percentile for height.  The doctor did think she needed to be saying more words and talking more than she is now.  I honestly am not concerned at all.  She can say about 4 words (that we can understand), but she has so many other cognitive, logical, and reasoning skills, that I know she will develop her speech when she is ready.  She can follow 1- and 2-step directions.  She can do her alphabet puzzle.  She can problem solve by mimicking someone else.  She can match pairs of shoes.  She can build with her mega-blocks.  She loves books.  I think she is working so hard on all her other skills, that her language will come when she is ready.  It is not as though she is silent.  She is rather loud at times, she just makes noise, babbles, and yells instead of trying to form words.

Aside from that, tomorrow I go back to the surgeon for my follow-up appointment.  I hope all is well.  I feel fine, and I am not terribly sore or sensitive where the incision sites are.  I guess we will find out tomorrow if I am healing well.

menu-plan-mondaySince I haven’t been keeping up with the blog, I have a few things to write about.  The first will be my menu plan for this upcoming week.  I rarely miss a menu plan Monday, but honestly, I didn’t have a menu yesterday.  During my plan time at work, I got one written out, made a grocery list, and then went grocery shopping after work.  It is a pretty simple plan:

Monday: Pasta Toss (We had everything at home to make this)
Tuesday: Chicken stir-fry
Wednesday: Baked Ravioli
Thursday: Philly Cheesesteaks
Friday: Spaghetti

I plan to go back to the grocery store on Saturday, so I haven’t worked on my plan for the weekend.  It is a pretty simple menu, which is what I need at this point in my life.


Next I have Saturday Cents, but it’s on Tuesday.  Tuesday Cents just doesn’t sound as cool though.

First, this weekend I had Saturday to myself, so I decided to take my March Madness winnings and go shopping!  I have needed some new clothes desperately, and I was happy to buy some new ones.  I ended up only buying from a discount store and two consignment stores.  I did go into a couple big box stores and a department store, but I was appalled at the prices.  Here is the breakdown of everything I got and the prices that go with them (I paid only cash for all purchases):

Discount Store (Ross Dress for Less)
Skinny jeans: $9.99
Chevron shirt: $7.99
Striped dress: $9.99
Teal shirt: $7.99
Canvas shoes: $13.99
Total: $56.47

Consignment Store #1 (Ditto)
Gap white cami: $4.00
American Eagle jeans: $6.00
Bullhead jean capris: $16.00
Gap top: $8.00
Paper Denim & Cloth skinny jeans: $12.00
Noir Jeans: $6.00
American Eagle shirt: $0.00
Total: $56.52

Consignment Store #2 (Plato’s Closet)
Shirt: $3.00
Shirt: $7.00
Shirt: $7.00
Total: $18.48

Not too bad for the prices!  A lot of new clothes for just over $130!  I had $164, so I stayed well under-budget!  Woo-hoo!  Not too shabby!

Now for my grocery shopping run-down from today.  No HUGE deals, but there were a few good ones.  The big event they have right now is mix and match 4 specified items and save $4.00. (So a savings of $1.00 off each item bought.)  You have to buy 4 in order for the savings to occur, though.

Total Budgeted: $180 (Some was rolled over from last week)
Total Spent: $149.58
Total Saved: $37.86

Best Deals

12 Pack Bounty Papertowels
Regular Price: $16.79
On sale: $13.99
E-coupon: -$1.00
Total: $12.99

Generic Brand Vitamins
Regular Price: $8.99
On sale: $6.74
Coupon: -$1.25
Total: $5.49

Ghirardelli Chocolates (x2 bags)
Regular Price: $3.99 ($7.98)
On sale: 2/$6.00
E-coupon: -$1.00
Total: $5.00

Nutrigrain Bars (x2)
Regular Price: $3.89 ($7.78)
On sale: $2.99 ($5.98)
Mega-Event Savings: -$2.00
Total: $3.98

Store Brand Chicken Tenderloins
Regular Price: $9.74
On Sale: $6.95

Pampers Baby Wipes (x2)
Regular Price: $6.57 ($13.14)
On Sale: $5.99 ($11.98)
Mega-Event Savings: -$2.00
Total: $9.98

Stauffer’s Frozen Meals (x5)
Regular Price: $2.69 or $2.99 ($14.05)
On sale: 5/$10.00

PopSecret Popcorn
Regular Price: $3.95
On Sale: $2.50
Coupon: -$1.00
Total: $1.50

So, there ya have it!  Nothing too major, but not too shabby saving almost $40.

I hope to be back tomorrow or Thursday with my May goals.  They are going to look much different than my goals have looked in the past.

Have you found any great deals lately?


Resolution Recap


Ha ha!  Ha ha ha!  Ha ha ha ha!  Ha ha!

Ok, I am done.  I just thought I would get that out of the way, as that is exactly how I feel about my goals this month.  Last week I was pumped up and ready to make the second half of the month a good one.  Little did I know that my appendix had something else in mind.  I guess if you really want to know how my goals went last week, you can just imagine that I really don’t have any.

I guess I haven’t done nothing to help with my goals.  I did get the last piece of my license renewal paperwork.  Now to get everything in a big envelope, write a check, and get it in the mail soon.  I should be able to do that tomorrow.

Honestly at this point I am ready for April to be finished.  I feel like we keep getting hit over and over.  I am mentally, emotionally, and physically just exhausted.  The latest in our string of excitement is our other dog, Rose.  Yesterday afternoon/evening I noticed that she started to look lumpy.  It looked very similar to an older dog who may have some fatty tumors on its body.  Rose is not very old at all (just 5 years old), and the lumps seemed to show up rather quickly.  They were not hard.  They were not tufts of fur.  They were not scabs.  We think she was stung by something and is having an allergic reaction.  We called the vet answering service and spoke with our vet.  He said to give her some Benadryl and a children’s asprin.  We did that, and she seemed to calm down enough and went to bed.

At one point last night I noticed she was licking her paw quite a bit.  I looked at it and she had a bit of an oozy spot between two of her pads.  She did not like me looking at her paw, and I wasn’t able to really see if there was something stuck in there.

This morning she was up and restless around 4:30.  I finally got out of bed with her and gave her another round of Bendaryl.  Her face and head were still pretty lumpy, and she had a few other lumps on her body.  We hope we can avoid another vet bill, but if it doesn’t get better, then we are going to take her in for a Cortisone shot.

Besides that, I am dealing with some personal stuff that is taking an emotional toll on me.  I am not going to get into on this blog, but I am definitely feeling drained.  It hasn’t helped that I have not had a good night’s sleep since Friday night.  My pain meds are messing with my sleep and keep me up much later than normal.  I only had to take one of them yesterday, and I hope to get through today without needing any of them.

I just keep telling myself to take it one day at a time.  Each day that I get through is a victory in my book.  I know that this is all just temporary, and that things will improve.  Right now it is hard to have that outlook, though.  I have a wonderful support system around me, and I couldn’t do it with my friends and family.

I am trying to find my normal again, so hopefully I will get back into the swing of blogging each day.  It is something I enjoy and is a great outlet for me.  If my posts are a bit erratic though, please forgive me.

Friday Financials


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


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:

Photography Taxes
Photography Gear
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


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:

*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.

*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!

*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.

*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.

*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!

*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.

*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.


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:


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


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

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!


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?