Monday, January 30, 2012

To do list for the week and Menu Plan

This week, I thought I would make out a to do list of the things that I hope to accomplish throughout the week. These are in no particular order but are things that I want to get done.
  • Read at least 1.5 books for review
  • Write 1 book review and 1 product review on blog
  • scour ads to make price matching sheet for grocery shopping this weekend
  • doctors appointment on Thursday
  • work everyday (try to leave early at least 2 days so I can cut back)
  • have 4 no spend days
  • (if Bill gets his w-2 from work) Do our taxes
  • Take blood pressure 2 times a day (per doctors orders)
These are just some of the things I would like to get done. Hopefully I can accomplish them!

Now onto our menu plan for the week:

I make a list of what we have available for the week and then I choose one each morning depending on the mood we are in and what is going on. Here is what we have available for this week:

BBQ chicken sandwiches (crockpot), peas, carrots and cucumber
Pizza calzones and green beans and fruit
Ham and cheese crescents, veggie, and fruit
Pork chop, augratin potatoes, veggie
Hamburger helper

For more great menu ideas please visit:

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Doctor's orders: "Cut back"

Last week, I went to my 27 week appointment at my OB/GYNs office.

The good news is that the glucola test that I did the week before came back fine, so I am NOT developing pregnancy diabetes.

The bad news is my blood pressure is still acting weird. Being high one day, normal another. She is also concerned because I am measuring 29 weeks instead of 27. Both of these things are kind of normal for me and being pregnant. With Rebecca I had pre-eclampsia and she came 3 weeks early. With Jacob I was always measuring further along, and he came 3 weeks early. Maybe history will repeat itself. That being said my doctor wants me to start taking it easy at home and cut back at work.

Cutting back at home is somewhat easier to do. I have given up the laundry duty to Bill. I HATE giving it up because I like to be in control of when the laundry gets done, etc. But I have to do this for my health and the health of the baby. I have also decided that I am going to do our grocery shopping differently. Since our local Walmart price matches everything, I have decided to ONLY do our grocery shopping at Walmart. I started today and price matched from 3 different stores and saved over $20 by doing so. So I have decided that that will be the plan and how I am cutting back at home.

Cutting back at work is a little harder, as last week and this coming week we are short staffed in the afternoon. I have been putting myself on homework duty so that I can sit while the kids are doing homework and I have been leaving one day early. Once this week is over and we are back to being fully staffed, then I will be making my own hours and cutting back even more. I have also given up some of my responsibilities to my boss. She is now snack shopping for the program, which eliminates me having to go to 2 different stores for snacks and prepping snacks as well. I am replacing those hours with doing some computer work from home for the program, so I am not losing too many hours (since once I go on maternity leave, there will be no paycheck for me :(  .....

So I am working on cutting back. I need to do this, even if it against who I am. I like to do these myself, but I have to make sure that I am thinking about the baby and not just of me.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Book Review: I Am Second

I Am Second: Real Stories. Changing Lives.  by Doug Bender and Dave Sterrett, is an inspirational book for anyone who is struggling in any aspect of their life. It is a collection of personal accounts of people who have faced some sort of adversity in their lives, only to come to realize that alone they cannot overcome these obstacles. However, if they realize that they are NOT first, that they are SECOND behind the power of God, then they are able to overcome the challenges. These personal accounts come from everyday people as well as famous people, including Michael W. Smith, Sam Bradford, Brian "Head" Welch, and Bethany Hamilton, just to name a few.

I found this book to be a very easy read. I would read a couple stories a day. They were uplifting and inspirational to me. I found aspects of each story that I could relate to and was uplifted by how these people hit rock bottom and then with the grace of God, were able to rise up and live a much better life.

Disclaimer: I received this book for free in exchange for a review from Thomas Nelson publishing, with the program. All opinions expressed are my own.

Friday Financial Update #4: A Day Late, hopefully not a Dollar Short


Every week in 2012, I hope to have a financial recap of the week so that I can try to keep our variable spending under control and try to get as much money toward savings and debt repayment as possible. Today is the Friday Financial Update #4.

First of all this is a day late (thus the title)...I have been really bad this week about NOT keeping close tabs on financial stuff, partly because I have been tired from being pregnant, trying to adjust to doing some work from home and just being lazy I think. I just hope that I am not a dollar short, but I think that I already know that I am more than that on our variable spending due to my low paycheck.

These are the figures for the week:

1/20--+ 95.61 Pay from school
       -- -40.54 Walmart
1/21-- NO SPEND
1/22-- -29.52 Aldi
           - 41.16 Kroger
1/23-- NO SPEND
1/24-- NO SPEND
1/25-- + 16.00 payment from Trendsource
           - .75 Wendys
           - 6.85 Wendys
1/26-- - 4.48 McDonalds
           - 1.13 Taco Bell
Ending balance for variable spending: $3.45 (to last until next payday which is the 5th of Feb) YIKES!!!!

So there you have it. The positive is that there were 3 NO SPEND days in there. The negatives are 1: that we spent ate fast food too many times. Need to go back to only eating out once a week or less. The sad part is that there were leftovers in the fridge that we could have eaten. :(  And negative #2 is that we are at only $3.45 left in variable spending until I get paid in Feb. I knew that was going to happen because my last pay was VERY low due to Christmas break. I will have to borrow from the fixed expenses (Bill's paycheck) to buy groceries for next week. But that is okay, it just means less will go to snowflake toward debt. That happens sometimes. Better than putting food on the credit card!

Speaking of food and groceries, I am going to begin an experiment this coming week. I usually shop at 3 stores: Aldi, Kroger and Walmart. Well I just figured out that our Walmart price matches everyone so I think that I am going to try to just do my shopping there and see if I can get our grocery spending even down further. Plus that will help me not be so tired after doing our grocery shopping.

So for this week my totals are:

No Spend Days this week : 3 days
No Spend Days this year (goal is 186 days in 2012): 11

Ending balance as of 1/19 for variable spending: $3.45

How are you doing on your financial goals this week? Let me know!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Randomness (including random pictures)

I have a lot going on in my brain...but I can't really focus enough to make different posts so I have decided to just do a random post here....So here is what is on my mind (not in any particular order):
  • I am praying for a mom from my work who has to have cancer surgery next Wednesday. I got to talk to her today and she is being very positive about it. I hope all goes well as this woman is one of the nicest women I have ever known.
  • Found out today that MY mom has to have an ultrasound and a biopsy to see why she is bleeding again after not bleeding for 2 years. They want to rule out cancer...not sure what to think about this one.
  • MATERNITY LEAVE is freaking me out recently. Realized today that realistically I could give birth in 2 months. And I am NOT looking forward to having a c-section again, but it will be okay.
  • It was nice to see my dad and youngest brother and sister tonight even if it was just for 45 minutes before Josh's boy scouts meeting
  • I am thankful that my boss is being VERY understanding of my own health issues and need for doc appts. She is also allowing me to do some work at home so I don't lose too many hours before I go on maternity leave.
  • I need to start figuring out what we have for the new baby and what we need
  • I need to go to Goodwill this weekend to get Bill pants for work since his bosses' are implementing a new dress code (no more jeans and sweatshirts) starting Monday
  • I am thankful that Bill did laundry today and I have jeans to wear to work tomorrow
  • Glad tomorrow is Friday
  • I am so behind on reading and posting book reviews ( have 2 to post about...maybe this weekend)
  • Sick of the rain, but glad it isn't snowing
  • Have the "Octonauts" song in my head
  • I love my kids
  • I love my hubby
And I think that is it for today! Hope everyone has a good night! :)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Commenting problems

I have been having problems commenting on other blogs, reading the comments on my own blog and I cannot respond at all to the comments on this blog! It is SO frustrating. From what I have seen on the web, I am not alone. So if you haven't heard from me in a while that is why! And to those who have commented on my blog, I finally figured out a way to read them, I just can't respond. Maybe it will be fixed soon!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Chinese New Year, Menu Plan, and smoothies

Happy Monday everyone! And Happy Chinese New Year!

Here is what we are eating this week. I make a list on Sunday of potential meals, then I pick one each morning depending on what we like to eat or what we feel like. It works better for us than trying to plan each day in advance.

Tonight in honor of Chinese New Year, we are having sweet and sour chicken and rice.

For the rest of the week our options are:

Chicken and cheese casserole
Pizza calzones
pork chops
italian sausage and pasta
hamburger helper

For more great menu ideas, visit

In other news, I am currently on a smoothie kick! I have been craving them like crazy. I had a Yoplait smoothie mix in the freezer that I made the other day and it was SO YUMMY!!!! My in-laws got me a Ninja drink maker for Christmas and it works PERFECTLY for my smoothies.

I have tried making homemade smoothies in the past but I never got the taste quite right. So this weekend I bought 5 bags of smoothie mixes from Walmart. They aren't cheap. Almost $3 for 2 servings. I bought a couple that had yogurt in them and a couple that was just fruit. Basically you put the frozen mix in and then add milk. That is way expensive for me. (But still cheaper than buying smoothies out).

Then yesterday I had an epiphany. I am going to try to make my own homemade frozen mixes. This morning I cut up 1 and 1/2 containers of strawberries and put them in the freezer to flash freeze them. I put a pint of blueberries in the freezer to freeze. I also put 2 ice cube trays full of strawberry peach juice in the freezer to freeze. Then I portioned out 1 container of yogurt into an ice cube tray to freeze. I am going to try to make my own mixes. I will let you know how they turn out.

Well I am off to get dinner made before I have to go to work. This week I hope to stay updated with an update on my pregnancy now that I am in the 3rd trimester (YIKES), 2 book reviews, a Bzzagent review, and maybe a couple other random posts. Hope everyone has a happy Monday!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Friday Financial Update #3


Every week in 2012, I hope to have a financial recap of the week so that I can try to keep our variable spending under control and try to get as much money toward savings and debt repayment as possible. Today is the Friday Financial Update #3.

This week was a lot better than last week. Probably because the weather was cold and icky outside. That being said, I am still struggling with how much we spend with our variable spending.

1/13/2012--NO SPEND
1/14/2012--$8.94 Walmart
                    $ 15.07 Aldi
1/15/2012--NO SPEND
1/16/2012--NO SPEND
1/17/2012-NO SPEND
1/18/2012-$17.66 Duke (gas for the car)
1/19/2012-NO SPEND

Like I said, it was a much better week with 5 NO SPEND days. :)

So for this week my totals are:

No Spend Days this week : 5 days

No Spend Days this year (goal is 186 days in 2012): 8
Ending balance as of 1/19 for variable spending: $16.27

Thankfully, Hubby and I both got paid this morning, so I will have $110 for variable spending for the next 2 weeks. This was the paycheck that was tiny, because it covers Christmas break. Today, I will be starting to pay February bills today, so getting a head start on that. 

Also today will NOT be a no spend day, as we are expecting 3-5 inches of snow tonight and ice, and we are almost out of milk. So I will have to send hubby to get milk. But other than that we are good!

In other financial news, we are just waiting for Bill's W-2 from work, then I can do our taxes. I am hoping to get some back and not owe. We usually get $ from federal, a little from state, but we usually owe city taxes.

Well I am off for the day to pay bills, and get some other things done! Hope everyone has a great weekend!

How are you doing on your financial goals for the year? Let me know.


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

So tired today....

This pregnancy seems to have creeped up on me in the last couple days. I finally look pregnant. I have been having heartburn at night. And I am super duper tired. All in the last couple days it seems this has come on. I talked to my boss about leaving work early 1 day a week. I just can't do everything anymore. I have to listen to my body and rest when I can.

Monday, January 16, 2012

MLK day, to dos, and Menu Plan Monday

Today is a day off of work for me, as it is Martin Luther King Day!

I have a few things to get done today that I really don't want to do...
  • I have to go have a glucola test done at the doctors office. (I hope the lab is open today). This has to be done before Thursday.
  • I need to go snack shopping for work.
  • I need to pick up a couple things from the grocery store for us here at home.
  • Laundry needs to be finished.
  • I have a book that I need to finish reading for a review.
  • And I really should go outside and get the last of the Christmas decorations out of the front yard.

One thing that was on my list to do that I finished was our menu plan. I have found that if I just make a list of meals and then choose the morning of the day what we are going to eat, that it works much better for our family! So here is this week's menu choices:
  • Hamburger helper/ leftovers
  • Chili and grilled cheese
  • Ham and cheese wraps, green beans, and salad
  • Italian sausage and pasta skillet, macaroni and cheese
  • Pork chops, augratin potatoes, green beans
  • Spaghetti and meatballs
  • I also plan on making a whole chicken in the crockpot at some point this week to use for making chicken enchiladas and chicken and broccoli alfredo.
So there you have it. My menu for the week. For more great menu ideas, check out

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Saturday to-do's

Today I feel better than I have in about 2 weeks. I still have a runny nose, but it is not as bad as it has been. It stinks being sick. 

It is so cold here... 20 degrees...and snowy! UGH! A good day to stay in and get some things done.

Here is my to do list for today:

Laundry (I have at least 4 loads that need washing and drying and another 3 loads on top of that need to be put away----I HATE putting laundry away! )

Need to hem thicker curtains for the kids' rooms. There rooms are colder than the rest of the house and they need heavier curtains on their windows.

Need to hem Bill's pajamas.

Make out grocery list and find coupons to match.

I think that is about it. There are some other things that I could do, but the above is what I must get done. What are your plans for Saturday?

Friday, January 13, 2012

Friday Financial Update #2


Every week in 2012, I hope to have a financial recap of the week so that I can try to keep our variable spending under control and try to get as much money toward savings and debt repayment as possible. Today is the Friday Financial Update #2.

Sorry this is late today. We had a snow day from work and school, so I spent the day napping, making brownies and just relaxing as much as possible, while trying to get over this nagging cold that I have. That being said....

Here is how we did on our variable spending this week. It was a spendy week, because everyone was sick, including Bill and I and we had some car maintenance that needed to be done.

1/6/2012--NO SPEND
1/7/2012--$3.97 Kroger (milk)
                 $25.96 Firestone (oil change)
                 $34.88 Kroger (gas for the car)
                 $35.00 Big Boy (date night for hubby and I)
1/8/2012--$8.44 Walmart (Sunday paper and a couple groceries)
1/9/2012--$20.42 Kroger (meds for Bill and ice cream for his sore throat)
1/10/2012-$2.52 Taco Bell (hubby lunch)
1/11/2012-$11.00 Papa John's Pizza (this was for a mystery shop and I will be reimbursed for this)
1/12/2012-$50.00 TRP order (this is for gift cards ordered through Rebecca's school--we get a % to help with cost of tuition)
                  $4.38 Walmart (milk and donuts)

Like I said, it was a spendy week with only 1 NO SPEND day. :( I think that I just need to plan better. Especially for date nights and car maintenance. My plan for tonight is to figure out what we have in our pantry and freezer to see what we can use up and HOPEFULLY (fingers crossed) I won't have to spend much at the grocery store this weekend, as we are down to $40 in variable spending money left until pay day next Friday. Unfortunately I will have to get gas, but I think I am going to take that out of our bills money instead of putting it on a credit card.

Speaking of bills....all of our bills for January have been received and paid! We had $21.27 left over and I will be putting $14.64 in savings and $6.63 onto our Sears Credit card. When I paid our Sears card I did twice the minimum payment so in total I will have put an extra $31.63 payment toward that card this month! Yay! I just have to keep reminding myself that every little bit helps.

So for this week my totals are:

No Spend Days this week 1 day

No Spend Days this year (goal is 186 days in 2012): 3
Ending balance as of 1/13 for variable spending: $40.28

We so need to do better with our variable spending. I HATE this living paycheck to paycheck. Am not sure what other steps to take. Today I am feeling defeated even with my small victory of paying more toward the credit card.

How are you doing on your financial goals for the year? Let me know.


Thursday, January 12, 2012

It's been a spendy week....

Man, this week has been spendy. Not really in big purchases but in small stuff. I was hoping to get some no-spend days in this week, but I don't think that will happen. I will have an update tomorrow....

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Doesn't it feel wierd?

That is the question that my dear hubby asked me the other day.

We were sitting in the living room watching TV and he felt the baby kick me in the stomach. He asked "Doesn't it feel weird to have a baby kicking you from the inside? Isn't it weird to know that you have another human being growing inside you?"

I never really thought about it as being weird. It has always felt completely natural to me. It is a feeling that I cannot express into words, but I don't think weird is anywhere how it feels to me. It is a feeling that I cherish. It is a feeling that may bring on anxiety and fear for the future, but one that I am grateful that I get to feel.

What will be weird is if we go through with getting my tubes tied after I have this baby. I have been pregnant 5 times since we got married in 2005. Miscarried in 2005, had Rebecca in 2006, Travis was born silently into Heaven in 2008, had Jacob in 2009 and now am pregnant with this baby boy. Bill and I have talked about getting my tubes tied when I go in for my c-section with this baby. In fact I am supposed to sign a paper of intent next week when I go back to the doctor. If I do not get my tubes tied, Bill says he will get a vasectomy.

I am torn, because part of me says that it is unnatural for me to get my tubes tied. But part of me knows that we cannot financially or emotionally succeed if I keep having children. I also know that it makes more sense for me to do it, since I have health insurance throughout this pregnancy and Bill does NOT have any insurance.

So that is what feels weird to me. Having to make a decision to stop having children permanently? Weird.  Having a child growing in my womb and kicking me and moving around? That is NOT weird to me.

Just some thoughts for today.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Menu Plan for the week

Man the weekend went by fast. We had a good day on Saturday. Had a date night with Dear Hubby, so although money was spent it was nice. Sunday, I had to go to the grocery store and just didn't feel good. I still don't feel good. I think I caught the cold that has been plaguing Rebecca and that made us take Jacob to Urgent Care last week. Yuck. Well as a mom, I guess I just have to keep going....

So with that being said here is what we are eating this week:

Tuna Helper and Macaroni and Cheese
Pork Chops, scalloped potatoes, green beans
Ham and Cheese wraps, veggie
Baked Ziti
Italian sausage and pasta skillet

What are you eating this week? Check out for more great menu ideas!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Friday Financial Update #1


Every week in 2012, I hope to have a financial recap of the week so that I can try to keep our variable spending under control and try to get as much money toward savings and debt repayment as possible. Today is the Friday Financial Update #1.

Here is how we did on our variable spending this week. We had some unexpected things happen that equaled only 2 no spend days.

1/1/2012 --NO SPEND
1/2/2012 --21.96 Kroger (Groceries)
1/3/2012 --69.91 Walmart (Dear Hubby's Hobby)
1/4/2012 --NO SPEND
1/5/2012 --10.32 Walmart (Meds for Jacob)
               --10.75 Subway (Spend the morning at Urgent Care with Jake, needed lunch)

As I look back over this week, I can see that the grocery spending was because I ran out of stuff and went to the store for milk. I had been doing really well at only going 1 time a week, but with being at home over Christmas break from work and the kids being home, we just went through milk and food faster than normal. The Walmart charge is part of my Hubby's hobby. Yesterday, Jacob woke up with what sounded like whooping cough or bronchitis, so off to Urgent Care we took him. He has severe head congestion, so we had to get antibiotics and claritin at Walmart. And since I was not able to have more than 10 minutes without Jacob wanting to be held, I had Bill pick up lunch from Subway for us.

I guess the week could have been worse.

 As I look forward to next week, I can see more spending as our car needs an oil change, we need to get gas for the car, and I need to get maternity pants. (I only have 2 pairs of pants that I can wear and neither are really appropriate for work). Ugh...I really wish there are times that I can just say no spending for a week. That would really help.

So for this week my totals are:

No Spend Days (goal is 186 days in 2012): 2
Ending balance as of 1/5 for variable spending: $236.95

How are you doing on your financial goals for the year? Let me know. 

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Private Selection Frozen Food Review: The Dessert

Being a BzzAgent has it's perks! For one you get to try out products that are brand new on the market and review them, for FREE!
As a BzzAgent, I get the opportunity to try out new items and to review them. I was delighted to be included in the Kroger's Private Selection bzz campaign to try their new appetizers, pizzas and desserts. I recently reviewed their Southwestern Style Chicken Trumpets appetizer.  I found that they were yummy but not worth the price. I also reviewed their frozen Pepperoni and Roasted Garlic pizza. I found that I didn't care for it all that much.

So with these two reviews in the past, I went into trying the dessert wondering if I was going to like it or not. On New Year's Eve, after we put the kids to bed, hubby wanted to watch Captain America and wanted ice cream. I wasn't really in an "ice cream" kind of mood, so I decided to try one of the new private selection desserts.

According to

  • Private Selection® Frozen Desserts ($3 - $5) have rich, delicious flavors, making them a divine indulgence. Decadent treats include Blueberry Peach Panna Cotta, Northern Spy Apple Crisp, Pineapple Upside Down Cake and a wide selection of Ice Creams (like Strawberry Harvest, Vanilla Bean and SeaSalt Caramel)

  • I had actually bought 2 different kinds of the desserts...I bought the Northern Spy Apple Crisp and the Chocolate Croissants. On New Year's Eve, I decided to try the Northern Spy Apple Crisp. This dessert comes in a package of 2 and each crisp is individually wrapped so you can make one at a time and not worry about the other getting freezer burned. According to the packaging, the Northern Spy Apple Crisp has baked, freshly peeled apples topped with a brown sugar, cinnamon oat crumble. You can prepare them either in the oven (for a firmer topping) or in the microwave for a softer topping. I decided to make mine in the microwave.

    My verdict: It was SUPER YUMMY!!!! There was just the right amount of apples to topping ratio and it was not too sweet and not too tart for me! And I love the fact that it was a great size for one serving. Also the price was pretty reasonable for what you got. The package of 2 crisps costs $3.29 at my local Kroger store. Not terribly expensive for a convenient dessert.

    The only downside that I found was that it cooked unevenly in my microwave, and so I had to heat it longer than the package said to. The package said to heat on HIGH for 50-65 seconds. I had to heat mine for closer to 90 seconds to get it heated all the way through. But that was a minor setback.

    Overall, I was quite pleased with the Private Selection Northern Spy Apple Crisp and definitely recommend it to all of you!

    Disclaimer:  As a bzzagent, I received these products and coupons free for review. All opinions expressed are my own.

    The Exceptional Life by Stepen Arterburn

    With the new year upon us, it seems to be the perfect time for people to want to read self-help books and books to help them hopefully reach their goals that they have for the new year. I am no different. The first book that I have read in this new year of 2012 was: The Exceptional Life: 8 Powerful Steps to Experiencing God's Best for You  by Stephen Arterburn.

    The Exceptional Life is for people whom feel they have aspects of their lives that need to be changed. It is for people dealing with isolation, anger, and/or guilt that is stopping them mentally and emotionally from leading a fulfilled life. Arterburn addresses 8 common emotional issues that may hamper a person from living what he calls an exceptional life. These issues are: guilt and shame, resentment, fear, anger, instant gratification, learned helplessness, isolation, and addiction. Arterburn includes many personal stories from himself and others to help illustrate how these issues stop us from living the life we were meant to live. He then goes on to show how to replace these issues in our lives with good emotional health that includes hope, love, trust, patience, power and freedom. At the end of each chapter, Arterburn offers discussion questions that can be answered alone (as I did) or in a small group setting.

    Overall, I felt that The Exceptional Life offers great advice for healing in the New Year. I am glad that I read this book as the first book that I read in 2012.

    Disclaimer: I was provided with a copy of this book for free from Bethany House Publishers. All opinions expressed are 100% my own.

    2019 Christmas Parade

    Sunday afternoon the kids walked in our town's annual Christmas parade. Usually it is held the Sunday following Thanksgiving, however th...