Posted in debt, family, finance, food, mommy, money, savings, Uncategorized

Meh Burritos

Here is another meh meal. This one is extremely budget friendly. I made double batches and wrap the extra in foil then freeze so when we have a night when we need a quick meal I just take the foil off and toss them in the microwave for 2-3min

In a medium size sauce pan add beans, drained tomatoes and 4oz shredded cheddar cheese, warm up until cheese melted, then add to burrito shells and roll up, top with sour cream and salsa with a side of tortilla chips and corn!

Make sure to check Ibotta for rebates bc chips and generic food commonly on there! I’m the queen of generic and store brand food! In most cases it’s cheaper and tastes the SAME!

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Posted in family, finance, food, money, Parenting, savings, Uncategorized

Meh Meals

So our grocery budgeting has resulted in many, what I affectionately refer to as, meh meals. They are easy inexpensive meals that the kids like and I’m fine with.

Instead of having Uber tasty, yet expensive meals all week we have started having one or two NICE meals while leaving the rest to be budget friendly. I have cut our monthly grocery budget in more than half, including diapers, formula, toilet paper, and dog food. We were regularly spending over 1k/ month. Now we are down to a projected $450/month.

I will be completely transparent, the meats are from our freezer, we’re working our way back to zero there. But in the above picture you will see a bag of meat, this was part of a budgeting moment I got three lbs of ground beef from the meat counter at our local grocery, it was about half the cost as buying three individual lbs. then I got home and divided them into smaller 1/2lb portions sealing them all in i individual baggies and freezing them. you will also notice it seems kind of brown, that is bc I marinated the meat for 4 hours before freezing FLAT. It stores super easy and thaws very fast!

Lawry’s are my favorite marinade but sometimes I will use salad dressing.

Anyways I toss 2lbs white rice in the cooker with 4 cups water and two bay leaves.

Brown the meat and then add in the stir fry starters( this one had noodles which is my least favorite, the better ones are just peppers and onions) but heat it all up and put over rice with some soy or teriyaki sauce and you’re good to go. If you don’t have one of these pampered chef meat mashers GET ONE NOW!

My kids like adding shredded cheese to it.

Like I said meh, it’s cheap, easy, and fast, AND the kids like it which is more than half of the battle these days.

Happy cooking!

Posted in family, food, humor, Parenting, places

The incident at Cracker Barrel

the backstory

as you may or may not already know our family is on a homeschool journey. this was not a spur of the moment decision for us and we looked into many different curriculum options. Ultimately going with Classical Conversations for year . My oldest was kindergarten so it seemed like the right time to jump in. That said on the morning of the incident we were rushing around for Parent Practicum which was about 45 min from our house. it was day 2 of 3, and unlike the previous day, i did not have lunch packed and ready to go for break. After the kids and i got around we loaded into the truck and were on our way. the thought was that there were plenty of places around to go get lunch on break and be back for the afternoon session. Anywho morning session day 2 went off without a hitch and i decided we would have just enough time to get to Cracker Barrel, eat, and get back in time for the afternoon session.

So i pack up my 5 year old, 3 year old, and 17 month old into the truck and off we go. My youngest started right away to be fussy, which i figured was just because it was unbearably hot (or maybe it just was to my 6 month pregnant self) or because he was hungry… we arrive and head in. As soon as we walking i begin to think maybe this was a bad idea, but i push those suspicions to the pit of my stomach and press onward. We head to the hostess stand to be seated, this also happened to be located RIGHT beside the lightsaber toys and candy… of course 5yr old has to swoosh swoom voom the lightsaber about after his sister, and im all put it down! shes crying and im carrying a fussy baby, she says follow me, so we do, except when we get to the table my son isnt with us. I turn around and hes at some barrel table playing checkers, aww how cute the kind elderly couple says as they tell me to treasure these days. I smile politely and usher son to the table, strap in 17 mo old. I order right away as the server had been waiting while i corralled my children. the kids play the little skip game and fight over who gets what color crayons, and i am waiting for the food to arrive when dear son tells me he has to go to the bathroom, im like well the food will be awhile so lets go, i haul my preggo butt out of the seat, unstrap 17 mo from high chair and we all trudge back to the bathroom, right by the lightsaber display, which of course dear son has to pick up and swoosh swoom voom about completely forgetting he had to pee. Finally get him to put it down and walk into the bathroom, im thinking this is a great time to relieve my bladder as well, i stand 17 mo beside me in the stall as 3 and 5 enter their own stalls, everything seems to be going well, i hand 17 mo phone so i can unbutton my pants, he promptly throws it into the toilet, which i panic grab it out and think well should i wash it? bc you know germs, or not bc you know water and electronics equals disaster…i decide on wiping it down with papertowels and then damp soapy paper towels, kids are finishing up and im like well not worth going back in to pee, so i help them wash their hands, and we head back out to the table, of course we have to pass by the lightsaber display AGAIN, and of course my son has to swoosh swoom voom it about while i try to keep daughter and 17 month old on track to the table, i tightlippedly say to son PUT IT DOWN…. our food still hasnt arrived, i buckle baby boy into the high chair and negotiate with my older two about not fighting over the crayons, baby begins to fuss, im sweating, worried that were disrupting everyone around us. I make eye contact with a wonderful older lady at the table next to us,and apologize for the fussing she tells me im doing a great job, shes a grandma to 17 kids and a little fussing never hurt anyone so i shouldn’t apologize. I thank her for her kindness, then she brings me some crackers the server gave her for her soup for the baby. Im sooo thankful that hes entertained, the food finally arrives and the kids take maybe one bite, at which point my dear daughter tells me she has to poop. Im thinking were we not just in the bathroom? i ask her why she didnt go then, apparently five min ago she didnt have too.

I have two choices at this point i ask her to wait until we finish or we leave our food here to go. The thought of leaving food unattended in public was not appealing or safe so i asked her if she could wait until we finish eating. She says ya no pwoblem. so we continue eating, five min later she abruptly stands up and announces she has to go to the bathroom right now because it is starting to come out of her butt…. Oh my gosh, the grandma about looses it she has tears in her eyes. im mortified, but grab my purse unbuckle 17 mo old and grab 3 and 5 and head off back to the bathroom leaving most of our lunch untouched. i attempt to block 5 from the lightsabers to no avail while trying to make sure 3 doesnt go on the floor, finally shake the sabers from his grasp and we all wait for 3 to do her business. She finishes up and i help her was her hands AGAIN, im about to cut my losses and just go pay. I think it cant get any worse, WRONG, of course we have to go back by the light sabers and dear son of mine grabs it and swings it about, i finally manage to pry it from his greasy fingers and stomp over to the cash register.

I breath a sigh of relief bc the end is in sight, were next in line. BUT OHHH NOOOO of course khols cash lady is in front of me!, are you figgin kidding me? to top it off the cashier is a trainee who has to ask a supervisor EVERY dang question this lady is asking, AND THEN she begins to SHOUT across the shop to her friend about some scarf they had last week but she cant find it…. im loosing patience, and my kids are swinging around my ankles, round and around and around again. FINALLY it is our turn i hand him the receipt, turn around to my son to say DO NOT TOUCH ANYTHING, then proceed with the small talk about how was the meal, did we find everything, CCCCRRRRAAAAAAAASH!!!!!!! oh my god, before i turn around i already know its my son, but not only that he has knocked over and entire clothing rack and sits among the heaps of clothing, the jewelry display scatters across the whole front of the store, im panicking, the manager comes out and is helping to clean up the mess, i drag son out of the mess, hes utterly embarrassed as am i.

the kind grandma from beside our table steps up and says youre doing a wonderful job mom, im like did you no just see what happened? tears fill my eyes, the cashier tells me the balance, i insert my card, DECLINED! what? what even is this day coming too??? oh its expired, NEAT, i hand him a different card and head on out dragging my children behind me…. i open the door to walk our and the sheer realization of how terribly bad this lunch hits me, i start cackling, dying laughing my son is truly terrified, if i had simply been cross with him he could have handled it better but the laughing sent him into hysterics, what a pretty picture we made… i skip the second part of practicum and head home, ive had enough of the day….

it was time to cut my losses and try again the next day.

as a mom of 3 soon to be 4 i realized that patience is really just a matter of thought. I dont think that i have any more or less then other moms just i really try to keep perspective on what matters. Yes i could have been mad, and let that ruin my day, but i laughed it off, and took the kids home for 2nd lunch, or as i like to call it the one they actually ate. Also since that day i decided that maybe eating out alone with my kids might just be too much for young kids. classical conversations like to call the parents lead learners not teachers… i definitely learned something that day.

Posted in debt, family, finance, money, savings, Uncategorized

debt journey update:

Well here we are less than a week into this journey, and already i can see its going to be harder than i imagined. Dear husband is apparently not as on board as i thought. He has made some purchases that i didnt budget for. Im slightly peeved, because these are HIS student loans and credit card debts. I get that i married him and now they are ours, but i feel his not taking this seriously, even after i showed him the work and budgets and totals that took literally DAYS to figure out.

not only that but i realized that there are somethings i didnt budget for well timing wise. Some of the bills are due sooner than i initially thought so we had to make the payments earlier which is fine but now i have to reconfigure the calendar/paycheck system to make sure everything is paid without going negative in the account. Diapers, toilet paper, and dog food… all the bulk items i get from costco all ended up running out this week, and i didnt plan on purchasing for another two weeks. SO i am hard at work moving things around.

on top of this i want to reference the previous debt post . where we are putting quite a bit away for savings. This is for school and travel expenses, so while we will be saving, it is more a downpayment for these activities. this coming weekend will be the first planned trip we have, and our first withdrawl from the travel savings, it is a small weekend trip to canoe and camp, it will be a relatively small amount we have to take out compared to what we have put away. we need gas, kids paddles, some food (which i already paid for most of it in last weeks grocery bueget, to save both time and the clicklist charge). while i went over my weekly budget amount by spending over last weekend, i am under for the month still. This is a learning process.

The second part being schooling. we homeschool using a combination of Classical Conversations, local CO-Ops, and AmblesideOnline. We are Charlotte Mason-ish. I think the classical model definitely has benefits but ultimately we chose to homeschool because of the freedom it allows us. We do not have to choose just one curriculum, we dont have to use the FULL curriculum. but back to savings… this week will be our tuition payment, (we have been putting into this savings account before this month). it is a large cost all at once. $1056 in one gut check to the savings account. on top of that we begin community day in two weeks and i have to order the rest of year 1 ambleside books, as well as our materials for classical conversations (CC), this year we will only be purchasing the audio cd, and the old world echos. last year we purchased the curriculum book for foundations and wont need to spend as much this year. The ambleside books we felt are a great addition to the cc materials and so we will be using them more as supplemental than base curriculum.

In addition we spoke with our tax accountant this week and she let us know that we would be getting a federal refund, this is maybe the first time that has happened for us. We try to not loan the government money interest free, so our dependents and withholdings have always been set so that we owe about $500/year give or take which is REALLY close. But filed an extension this year as we didnt yet have our youngest SS# at tax filing time. We also didnt adjust our withholdings after our son was born last year. so we will have a little extra money to put into the savings account than originally planned. This is not something we had anticipated but we are glad to be able to have the cushion.

Lastly we have decided to downside our fleet. hubs listed two of our vehicles this weekend, to hopefully be able to purchase cash a new to us vehicle, but cut down on insurance payments and low mpg of the current vehicles. the remainder of the cash will also go into savings. these additional savings contributions go into our long term savings account. any time the savings account reaches 3k we bump everything over 2k into long term savings. our short term “variable” expenses of travel, car repair, homeschool costs, come from the main savings, but frequently we have more time between those costs so we bump it over into long term savings for the kids college fund.

Also for grocery/shopping I JUST signed back up for Ibotta, I’ve used it in the past, they say it’s money back but for me it’s more just coupons. I love using all the store coupons, I’m not a pro by any means but I do the few store apps if it’s something I’m already buying I figure cuts down on bills a little. try it out bc literally just about anyplace you buy stuff there is some kind of reward in Ibotta.

so there is this weeks update on the savings/debt journey. I will update again after these expenses come out and update the timeline for debt. I do not think it will be altering much.

Posted in babies, books, family, humor, Parenting, Uncategorized

My Obsession Part 3: confessions of a domestic failure

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Confessions of a Domestic Failure by Bunmi Laditan

This book was a quick entertaining read. It honestly felt in many aspects that this mom was me. She was a mess and honestly so am I. We pretend via social media to be perfect and put together but the honest and true reality is we’re all struggling. With the changes our body goes thru, the unfamiliar tasks of housekeeping, raising little people who have their own minds, marriage. This book dives into the funny truth we all try to hide. We don’t want to be judged in a negative light. If you’re feeling like you don’t have it all together read this book and know you’re not alone!

Posted in books, relaxation, Uncategorized

My Obsession part 2: Premonition Series

THIS POST MAY CONTAIN AFFILIATE LINKS. I EARN A TINY COMMISSION AT NO EXTRA COST TO YOU AND I ONLY RECOMMEND PRODUCTS THAT ARE VALUABLE. IT KEEPS THIS BLOG GOING STRONG. CLICK HERE TO READ THE FULL DISCLOSURE.

Premonition Series: Amy Bartol

Im going to be completely honest here, when i chose this book it was not because i read great reviews, or it was a best seller, it was based on the cover, the length, and being part of a series.

cover?! did i just say that? that is the one thing youre not supposed to do right? well hear me out, it was only PART of the decision, but i have read some awesome books because they grabbed my attention in the store and i impulse bought, which is sort of how this occurred….

now mind you i was already on an aircraft preparing for departure, i was desperate for a book, any book, that would download in time. the thought of enduring an entire 6 hour flight with nothing to read was unimaginable. It made me wish i was more organized and a better steward of my time (more on that another time). Why did i insist on procrastinating? perhaps i was face-timing my kids or taking too long on my hair, more likely trying to sleep for as long as possible before our early morning flight. whatever the reason i was now impatiently waiting for this book to download. ( to clarify my kindle is the first gen and the downloads not as instant as the newer ones) I am normally a paper book person but the e-readers have definitely made for a convenience i didnt know i wanted. finally the book downloaded and i opened with the giddy anticipation of a flight well spent in another world.

now at this point i will point out that this series is in the young adult genre, which is far from my favorite genres. But the way that Amy tells the story, i was fully invested in my highschool self. the passion for life, the invincibility of youth, the hormones… as a, not so young adult, i fully enjoyed this series. in fact i finished book one before the plane landed and upon landing promptly downloaded the next one in the series. This series in fact made me reexamine my own relationship with religion. As a non so practicing christian, i began to devour every verse in the bible referencing angels. i began to research and read the ancient texts with any kind of link to the angels. Admittedly i had never really cared much for them, but i became so engrossed in the subject that i began my own canvas series on them (amateur). the impact of this book was more than just entertainment, though it was entertaining.

a brief synopsis with slight spoilers:

this is about a young women who finds that she is not what she believed she was. it is about a coming of age and a realization of life beyond ones self. That there is a greater purpose and existence beyond what we may see at first glance. Everyone one around us may not be as they seem and the supernatural surrounds us at every turn. Angels, demons, and other supernatural creatures living among us, being us. As i think all books are an escape from our reality into a reality that could be, this is one i would recommend others to experience. the impact was profound beyond just her writings and something i recall frequently.

Posted in food

Super Cheap & Easy Dinner : Secret Ingredient Pasta Sauce

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This is a 30 min or less meal that is a go to in our house. My super secret ingredient pasta sauce.

Ingredients you will need:

  • 1 medium size yellow onion
  • 1 can petite diced tomatoes
  • 1lb ground beef/or turkey
  • 1 jar/can store brand pasta sauce
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen spinach (optional)
  • 2 TBSP butter NOT margarine or oil
  • 1 pkg Hidden Valley ranch salad dressing and seasoning mix
  • 1 box penne or spaghetti pasta
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella or Parmesan cheese (optional)

Begin by dicing the onion and adding to large pan with the 2TBSP butter. you will need to put on a pot of water to boil. caramelize the onions. when they are nice and brown will adding the spinach until soft(optional), add the pasta of your choice to the water to soften up, then you will add in the ground beef/turkey and brown it. as you are browning the meat you will add in the package of hidden valley ranch dressing and seasoning mix.(secret ingredient)

once the meat is browned you will add in the drained can of petite diced tomatoes, mix in, then add the store brand pasta sauce. let simmer for 5 min.

drain the noodles, and add sauce onto, sprinkle with cheese if desired.

typically we serve with a slice of bread toasted, buttered, and sprinkled with garlic powder. and olives.

and thats it!!!

we freeze the leftover sauce in a gallon freezer bag FLAT, so next time we just have to toss in fridge to thaw and make some pasta.

to make this go further i will first scoop out 1 cup of the store sauce and set aside in a sealed container to use on meatball subs.

if you like this please make sure to follow for more easy meals.

Posted in books, family, relaxation, Uncategorized

My obsession part 1: Outlander

THIS POST MAY CONTAIN AFFILIATE LINKS. I EARN A TINY COMMISSION AT NO EXTRA COST TO YOU AND I ONLY RECOMMEND PRODUCTS THAT ARE VALUABLE. IT KEEPS THIS BLOG GOING STRONG. CLICK HERE TO READ THE FULL DISCLOSURE.

 The outlander:

by diana gabaldon

they say when you become a mother not to loose yourself to the job. well easier said then done right? books have been the one thing that always keeps me feeling like me. strange as it sounds, diving into and imagining life thru anothers eye being what makes me, me. maybe its the continual attention and focus on one task, or the ‘adult’ feeling reading leaves me with.

one of my favorite books to pick up is The Outlander, by diana gabaldon. if ever a love story existed this is it! ironically its also the book that somehow got me a stalker (come back later for that incident). when i finished the series i felt a deep depression as if all my family, lovers, and history had passed beyond my grasp. I wanted to live in that world. now im a fan of modern amenities, medicine, and comforts BUT with a love that spans the millennia i think i could give it up. If you think a time traveling story isnt your style, i beg you to reconsider. the first few chapters will leave you questioning my love of this book, but then it happens. and after that youll be staying up into the wee hours of the night, sitting on the toilet until your feet tingle, and planning you next vacation to Scotland.

Posted in babies, family, humor, Parenting, Uncategorized

The incident at the Botanical Conservatory

THIS POST MAY CONTAIN AFFILIATE LINKS. I EARN A TINY COMMISSION AT NO EXTRA COST TO YOU AND I ONLY RECOMMEND PRODUCTS THAT ARE VALUABLE. IT KEEPS THIS BLOG GOING STRONG. CLICK HERE TO READ THE FULL DISCLOSURE.

Let’s talk about the botanical conservatory incident… I’m a mom who simply wanted a couple cute pictures of my children amongst the seasonal flowers. What I got was much more than anyone would conceivably ask for. It’s a normal day back in spring 2017. We had our third child and I thought 💭 hey let’s go to the conservatory and take a couple pictures. No problem. I decide to be brave and go on an outing with my three young children 4,2,3mo. Any fellow mothers of small children I’m sure you understand my initial hesitation. And after this my healthy respect for that gut check. Anywho we arrive, park in the parking garage, I pack up baby in the carrier and grab one hand of each of the other kiddos and we walk out and head to the conservatory. We check in no problem, walk to the first exhibit, right away find the perfect backdrop for that insta pic I can post to my social media right? I get the two older kids situated they’re working with me better than I could have hoped, so I take out the baby and put ever him so gingery into the arms of my 4 year old. Take about two steps back line up my shot and 4yr old: he peed on me. Me knowing it’s just a little baby spit up reassures 4 yr old. 4yr old: no he really peed on me mom. Me ok loosing some patience cause I just want one pic right? I go over to reassure 4yr. But to my abject horror find it’s not a little baby spit up, it’s also not pee, no it’s much much worse we’ve had an epic stage 10 blowout, red alert 🚨 panic sets in… I’ve got to find a changing table I scoop up baby as I run to the bathroom with 4 and 2 trailing me, little bits of the explosion falling onto my clothes, my hands are full of 💩. I push open the door lay him on the table, pull up my hair (cause yes it was just that bad)pull out my diaper bag to clean this whole mess up but find to my utter shock that I never packed the wipes I look around. I see it’s luckily a bathroom with paper towel dispensers, you know the kind you wave your hand in front of and eeeerrrrrrrmmmmm out pops a 4 inch long paper towel. I’m thinking ok I just need about ten right and things will be ok. Meanwhile 4 decides he needs to poop and loudly announces he needs help pulling his pants down bc there stuck 😫 ok unzip and un button(why do kids pants have these buttons with holes and zippers anyways? team elastic waist from now on) he gets down to business, meanwhile baby has been screaming bloody murder for the entire process, finally get baby stripped down to diaper and see the carnage that lays before me. my sunglasses slip off the back of my head, the lense pops out, but I can’t worry about that now. I must wave wait for paper towel eeerrrrmmmm wait for it to reset kachick and wave wait for paper towel eeerrrrrmmmmm wait for it to reset kachick let’s just say ten times do you know the amount of time that takes?! A literal eternity, I get them damp and decide to try wiping up some of the excess but before I can do that PLOP. ???? What was that? somehow 4 and 2 managed to grab the paper towel as it was coming out and yank yards upon yards out it’s over the stall door i have no idea how it got up there, it’s draped across the counter the sink the floor, it’s a giant glob of wet paper towel now plopped onto the changing table sopping wet. Baby is sobbing and thrasing about in a puddle of poop water I’m feeling true panic set in. the floors slippery, im sliding the kids are sliding baby is sliding. I bend over to get to work and my hair that I threw up, falls ever so gracefully from the messy bun and as if in slow motion brushes the poopy cheeks of my baby and splats onto my face. Somehow by the grace of god I get baby dried up, I get the soiled everything tossed in the trash I get myself in order, grab the germ wipes from behind the door, that were behind the door, and wipe down the whole room. Gather up my flock and head out to the exit, I’m crying and the check in lady asks if she can give me a raincheck ticket for another day, I thank her and we go home. It was an utterly shitty day 🙀 and I learned that short trips are no excuse for not double checking the diaper bag.

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