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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

I pu this together on Thursday of last week, after my one hour massage and the pedicure and manicure that I finally went and had done. Thank God for gift certificates!

Normally, I have no problem with planning the next week menu way ahead of time. But I didn't know what Hubby's schedule was, if he's traveling (he's not), etc. I just know it looks like I have a busy week so I figured I'd get it out of the way.

For the time being, no days were assigned to the food, just winging it on that end at this moment!

Bread, using this tried and true recipe along with some Minestrone Soup. If the bread turns out anywhere near as good as it sounds and is really all that easy, then I will buy the book! Planning on Wednesday

Fried chicken thighs (not really fried, baked in the oven til crispy) served with some mashed garlicy potatoes and gravy (made a nice big opening in the garage freezer by doing this!) *did this and boy was it yummy!* Tuesday

Chili Cheese Dogs - doesn't look like it happened previously!

Spicy chicken patties with mashed taters and gravy. Would love to call it Chicken Fried Steak with taters and gravy, but I'm using REAL chicken! This will remove a few things from my freezer, yes! *Ended up just being spicy chicken sandwiches with shredded lettuce, tomato and cheese on leftover toasted burger buns* Monday

Sandwiches, thinking of something along the lines of Hot Browns with leftover bread and gravy ... check it out ... its really just kind of like a glorified open face turkey sandwich :) But oh so darn good. Of course, nowhere near the real thing the way I'm planning it!

I believe may a night out ... friends are in town and I have a few gc's to use up still. Ohhh...maybe Chimas!

Pizza or pasta. Depends on how motivational I am ... we shall see :) *Pizza ... done, from the freezer* Sunday

So how about it? What are you serving your group this week? Take a sneak at a bunch of kitchens and menus, go over to the Organizing Junkie site to get a gazillion ideas!

Weather - Nicole

Oddly enough, as soon as they name her Tropical Storm Nicole instead of JUST Depression #16, they drop the Tropical Storm warnings for South Florida.

Not that I'm complaining, trust me.

I'm at work though, Sonny Boy is at school and well, things are just D. E. A. D. at the office.

See, when a storm warning is issued, insurance companies immediately cease writing. Meaning, if you are in the process of buying a home, or refinancing, then forget it for the day. SO that's where I'm at. 2nd to the last day of the month and 3 closings have been put on hold from yesterday and today.

Of course, I look outside and everything is green and luscious. I don't think it's even drizzling rain anymore ... but then again we do have the rest of the day to look forward to!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Cleaning the Freezers

This is NOT a fun chore for me. It's almost disturbing....

So far, I've gotten th garage freezer "organized"... meaning all the fishy (bait) stuff is contained in to one LARGE ziploc bag and in a little tub (old pull out produce drawer from old refrigerator) so that in the event we ever do get hit with a storm and the power is out for an extended amount of time, that will be the first thing to pull out of freezers.  Yes, fish bait thaws FAST and will stink horrendeously if allowed to do so in a closed environment (freezer) and make everything else smell ... trust me, been there, done that.

Also located 2 packages of top sirloin steaks. Think I will make it a point to get those out within the month of October and make some sirloin (or Triple Crown) burgers. Triple Crown is just 3 cuts of beef, sirloin, ribeye and one other that I just can't seem to think of at the moment.

Veggies, tilapia, smoked sausage, grouper, roll sausage, chicken thighs, and a bunch of other stuff is in there. I'm thinking that will be the first freezer to start eating from :)

I did pull out 2 tenderloins from the main freezer this morning. As its forecast to be rainy and windy the rest of the weekend, figured I'd bake these and serve up with some mashed taters I got the other night. Yes, a 100% frozen meal just not cooked yet!

Funny about the pork tenderloins.  99 cents lb. On clearance at BJ's. Hmmm...I normally would not have bought the hickory sweet stuff but I've made one already for pulled BBQ pork and they were pretty tasty. But, look, twin pack. Less that $4 for the 2. Amazing price, in my opinion. However, here's the "freaky" thing about them ... sell by date: August 30, 2008. Uh huh. Oh oh. IF they hadn't been vacuumed sealed I'd be worried!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Publix Trip - pd $52.19, saved $104.18

I had a few things that I wanted to pick up tonight since it was the last day of the sale.  My original goal was to just do the taters and gravy but then there were a few other things (of course!) that I wanted to get:

6 bags of Steam N Mash taters, $3.99 each but b1g1f
6 jars gravy, $1.83 each
8 tombsone pizzas at $5.95 each, but used my rain check & did b1g1f
Roll of bounty papertowel $2.03
2 bottles of downy fabric softner $5.99 each
2 EAS protein bars $1.25 each
3 bars of philly cream cheese $1.25 each
2 cheddar cheese blocks, $3.19 each
4 hebrew national franks $5.19 each but b1g1f
Tide $8.79
2 orville red. popcorn kernels, $5.07 each, b1g1f
Squishy white bread $1.33 (!!)
2 loaves whole wheat bread, $3.69 each b1g1f
4 thomas bagels (6 per pkg), $3.99 each, b1g1f

And then I used some stellar coupons:
Free roll Bounty
6 $1 off taters
2 $1 off gravy
2 b2g1 f taters (store coupon)
3 $2 off when you get gravy & taters (store coupon, realizing i could have used 3 more!)
2 $1 off cheese chunks
1 $5 off 5 kraft product
1 $5 off $50 purchase
1 $1 off Tide (store coupon)
1 $2 off Tide
2 $1 off downey (store coupon)
1 $2.50 off downey
1 $1.50 off downey
1 $3 off 2 EAS bars
4 $3 off 2 pizzas

I know there are some other coupons that I haven't accounted for, but total coupon savings was $44.37. BUT now I had to move stuff around in the freezer for the 8 pizzas and the 6 bags of taters ... I DID have little holes here & there, but jammed again. I must stay out of the stores!!!

Menu Plan Monday

Or, should I say, Menu Plan Wednesday? 

I had my menu all set to go Sunday morning, but just running a wee bit behind this week in posting!

Nothing exciting, still trying to clear out the freezers and with the hurricane season hitting peak time in Florida (October), I need to get a little more focused and get them organized too.

Sunday - Pizza from take out (don't ask, was a little under from the previous 24 hour excursion)
Monday - penne with a makeshift alfredo sauce (NOT a jar)
Tuesday - grilled cheese (used Tillamook cheddar) with tomato soup
Wednesday - looking forward to a baked tater bar for Survivor night
Thursay - Chicken grilled with rice (chix from freezer)
Friday - Friends are in town, hubby back from PA and I'm leaning towards chili cheese dogs! (hot dogs from freezer)
Saturday - Steaks and veggies on grill (steaks from freezer)

Not a single recipe to share as everything is pretty standard fare.  Luckily, this should remove a few more items from the freezer but not as much as it should ...  I'm a little concerned that I'm running low on chicken breast but sure there's more buried in one of them!

Looking for more ideas for what to serve up? Head on over to the organizing junkie to get a bunch of ideas!

Costco Trip

This time, I went on Tuesday instead of Thursday, only because I was just about out of milk. Had a detailed list but was using the american express as I'm trying to conserve my cash. I know, the best way to conserve cash is to NOT shop at all, but well ... you know how that is!

2 50 pks of Frito Lays chips $10.19 x 2 less 2 $2.50 coupons
3 dozen xtra large eggs $2.55 (cheaper than last time)
black forest ham $7.54
honey roasted turkey $8.89
clif bars $19.89
crumbled bacon $9.49
cashew crunch $8.99
Mrs. Dash $4.49
5 lbs tomatoes $5.49
TP $17.99 less $2 coupon
2 lb mini peppers $4.29 (price has creeped up)
half and half x 2 $1.45
fruit by the foot $9.99 less $2.50 coupon
skim milk gallon $2.29
olive oil $9.99
2% milk x 2 $2.39
onions $5.79
string cheese $7.59

all total $145.38

Chips, fruit things, cashew crunch were not on my list so figure about $40 worth of spontaneous buys.

30 Day Shred

Yes, Day 4 was D.O.N.E. But so much for 5, 6, 7 and 8.

I suppose it's time to START OVER.

I am so bummed that I fell off the wagon So very quick.

What's really sad is I felt better, I felt that my stomach was not as bloated looking, my legs and arms not quite as jiggly.

But now, almost a week after my last workout, I feel it all came back. Ugggg.

I still say there is something to say about PMS and working out. Seriously.

So, yes, I'm going to pick it back up again and start it over from the VERY beginning. :( This does not make a happy person whatsoever.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

30 Day Shred

Day 3, D.O.N.E.

Did level 2 today to switch it up ... still sticking to the P90X theory I suppose.

I got my butt kicked today. Ummm, some of that stuff is definately more advanced.

Unfortunately, Jen over at Beauty & Bedlam does NOT want her blog to become an exercise blog (ha!) so she is only now updating on her facebook page. I'm bummed as I was looking forward to reading about others experiences and cheers ... as I'm not an avid Facebook user, I suppose I'll keep it up over here :)

Hard. Definately harder. Drinking my skim milk with the 25% less sugar Nesquik and going to eat a banana, jump in the shower & go to work. rest for the weary!

So how about it, did you do your Shred today?

Carnage in the Kitchen

This is what happens when you are running late with dinner and a favorite show is coming on in minutes:

Sandwiches, or as the kids corrected me: hoagies!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

30 Day Shred

Day 2.

28 more to go.  I think I'd rather be doing the 30 Days of Nothing (which, isn't that coming up soon with Owl Haven??) ...  but I've committed myself to this and WILL NOT quit after only 2 days!!

Did level 1 again. Was playing with going back and forth between the 3 levels just to mix it up (a throw back to the P90X thoughts) and said the heck with it, I need the pushups this morning! Uh huh. Thats what I said!

Anyways, stayed with the 5 lbs. Cracks me up. Sonny Boy and Hubby make fun of me for only using 5. Uh, you try it guys!  I can remember in boxing when the Manly Men buff boys would come in and insist on using 10 or 15 lb weights when we were all using 2 or 3 and screaming for 3 minutes ... they would drop the weights to the floor after 1 minute. Just goes to show, it's not necessarily the weight as the movement.

My tip for the day: when doing those crunches, make a fist in one hand and put it under your chin to keep you from using your neck muscles. If your neck hurts when you do ab exercises, you are doing it WRONG, don't use your neck :)  Also, always, always, always, cup your ears with your fingertips, never ever put your hands behind your head (let alone interlace your fingers) ... that encourages you again to pull with your arms and put pressure on your neck. Focus on your abs, make sure you are pushing the small of your back into the floor.

FYI - I am by NO means a fitness instructor or any kind of trained professional. Just when I did the boxing stuff for a year, I LEARNED a lot of stuff and it really paid off!

So how did everyone else do? Gotta go check out Jen and see how it turned out for Day 2 with the rest of the followers! 

Oh, yes, I AM drinking my skim, 25% less sugar chocolate milk right now too!

Halloween Horror Nights

Well, looks like I have something to save my money for the next 3 weeks or so ... Halloween Horror Nights at Universal in Orlando!


My boss said that he would pay for the hotel room (me & the 2 teens and a friend, hubby has no desire to be spooked intentionally) at Loews Royal Pacific Resort on site!! Awesome!

I love my bosses. I love my job. I am extremely thankful that I HAVE a job that I love and enjoy going to most days. Trust me. And times like this? Very much so!

Anyways. Sonny Boys girlfriend goes to school there in Orlando. He's been so lonesome and heartsick with her gone (OMG, it's only been 10 days since you've seen her last!!) so him and the Princess were looking to go up the second weekend in Orlando.

I'm not all that comfortable letting them drive Brutus up there. Then this came up. Awesome!! Perfect. Princess will hang with me she said. I so love that she's becoming a very mature young adult. At last!

The hotel is expensive (by my taste) ... but not much more than a night at the Hilton on the beach over here. The tickets for the Horror Nights is V.E.R.Y. expensive in my opinion. I'm debating on doing the park during the day, which would add on to the tab BUT then again, the pool at this place is magnificent and Sonny Boy said that he'd be perfectly happy just hanging at the resort all day. I'm starting to lean that way a wee bit ...

Uh, yeah baby, I think we could just hang around the pool and beach area for a day ...

30 Day Shred - Again!

Oh boy. Maybe THIS time will be the one that works??

Jen over at Beauty & Bedlam (hey, don't blame me if you end up losing 2 hours of your day reading her frugal fashionista section!) is putting a challenge (not really!) per se to join her in doing the 30 day shred.

I've done this stupid program, time and time again, but never for more than a week, at the most.  I don't know. I just don't like Jillian. She's annoying. She's bitchy. I don't know.

BUT I do know that those 20 to 25 minutes DO work. I feel it every single time I do the workout. I don't know. It sure does beat the 45 to 75 minute workouts with P90X!!

So, I hopped on board. I'm a day late (and possibly a dollar short!) but did do it this morning. And hope to stick through the next 29 days. Please, please, please join me, give me hope. Give me encouragement. Tell me that yeah, you mute her to and pretend to box off the freakin smiles on them chippy girls behind her :) I'm not a happy person when exercising. I get very very crabby. But I suppose that's what I have to do to push myself forward! And now that I read what I just wrote about Jillian above, maybe that's my problem? You can only have one bitch during a workout, someone has to be positive and cajoling!

Anyways, used 5 lbs weights. Not much, I know. But I've always used the 3 lbs and felt I could do better. I know the P90X I was moving up ... so I will try to stick with 5 lbs (come on, you can do it ... in my best "voice inside my head" waterboy mimic!)

Oh, and the best thing about doing this every stinkin morning? I'm allowing myself this:

Made with 25% less sugar and used skim milk. My reward ... and a little help with recovery too ...

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

It's another Monday and of course, that means Menu Plan!! Hop on over to the Organizing Junkie to see 100's of other menus for the week. Seriously, when I'm in a rut, I just randomly click through to find an idea that just jumps out at me. It's amazing at the wide variety of menus!!  NOTE to self: link the teriyaki chicken recipe!!

So, a few things going on this week. Trying to empty out the freezer some. Hubby traveling 2 days. Open House (last year!) at the High School. Starting the 30 Day Shred, yet again. Spending Saturday evening with girlfriend for her 51st Birthday ... and life goes on!

Sunday – Tacos (taco salad for me) … this has been bumped so many times it wasn’t funny … I ended up cooking 4 lbs of beef to do this, rest will go in freezer in meal size portions (wait, I’m suppose to be removing things from the freezer??)

Monday – breaded chicken cutlets (great deal from Costco a few weeks back) from the oven with macaroni and cheese and broccoli (broccoli & chicken from freezer)

Tuesday – Hubby out, Princess at class AND I have open house at the HS (last year to do this!!) so me & sonny boy will eat the last lonely pizza from freezer. Most likely, he will eat the pizza and I’ll have leftover taco salad. (umm, freezer and leftovers from fridge)

Wednesday – Hubby out still, not sure about Princess but either way, will be having SANDWICHES since Survivor starts tonight (sorry, that’s the ONLY show that I stay in to watch 90% of the time!) (pantry and fridge)

Thursday – Hubby comes back tonight so I’m thinking something like garlicky chicken with pasta and broccoli (freezer, and pantry)

Friday – It’s Friday, I don’t care it’s Friday … Grillin baby … thinking of steaks, I have filet mignon, I have ribeyes, I have some other stuff beefy stuff too … need to look. That, and some baked taters or the grilled taters (freezer and pantry)

Saturday – Will be out with my girlfriend this evening, staying at the Hilton on the Beach ($$$), hopefully having cocktails on the patio overlooking the ocean, snacking on some homemade appetizers and NOT eating dinner out. We are going back and forth on that as the hotel alone is costing quite a few more pennies than I wanted to commit to ... I'm thinking of shrimp cocktails, cheese with crackers, a spread perhaps, and a small fruit platter. It's just girls so I don't think it needs to be anything heavy so to speak. The family will be on their own at home :)

Monday, September 13, 2010

Weekly Spending/Saving

So, I've tried various ways to track my discretionary spending and announce it to the world without much success. Then I came across this site called Give Me Back My Five Bucks and really liked the way she does her weekly tallies. So guess what? I'm hopping on board.

$11.61 Winn Dixie - needed ice for cooler and coffee for sanity

$50.00 charity/donation

$ No Spend Day

$4.45 Burger King (is this becoming a habit??)
$190.xx Costco

$25.00 Sonny Boy dermatologist visit. I ask if this should be here and I say yes since it's not a fixed expense
$140.38 weekly check

$ No Spend Day

$No Spend Day

Notes/comments: I was doing pretty well. And even the costco trip didn't slip me up too badly, I don't think. I stuck with my list pretty good. I'm also pretty impressed that I had 3 No Spend Days (really, could have been 4 if I didn't count the dr's) and didn't feel the least bit compromised!!  I do need to get to Target to get some kitty food and litter (damn G cat, chow hound, lean mean pooping machine that he is!). But seriously, the fridges, pantry and freezers are fully stocked ... also need to re-evaluate the month to date and get some money moved to the savings accounts.

Saturday fun

See the Twins in the upper right hand picture?  We played with them on Saturday.

Went to Boca Lake and Sonny Boy went for the ride.

What a blast. Beautiful weather, surprisingly.

Ocean was FLAT, surprisingly.

Water was DEEP yet crystal clear. And still warm!

And the people watching was amusing.  Sonny Boy was highly disappointed that one boat played the Universal Fist Pump song (I have NO idea what the song is) and didn't do the fist pump. At that point, he asked if he could switch the Ipod to his, we said sure, and promptly listened to some mighty fine head banging hard core rock. :)

Hubby and I tolerated it for what we felt was a fair amount of time (45 minutes or so) before switching back to our funk and groove music :)

Again, food was brought from the pantry and fridge/freezer. Sandwiches (wraps), fruit, granola bars, sodas, water, beer (well, hubby bought the beer when he picked up the ice ... ICE is another one of those things that irks me but that's for another post, another day!).

Great day to be had by all, good bonding time with the boy (Princess was working) ...

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Starting a BIG task

So I got home from work last night and thought, heck, let me at least try to get ONE freezer organized.

Ummm....not quite as easy as it looked.

I got ONE shelf done.

The top shelf. Here's what was crammed on the ONE shelf:
Top Sirloin Steak, 3 packages
Large ziploc of pre-patted burgers (70/30), 2 (probably about 15 per bag)
waffles, 2 packages
cheddar cheese (self bagged) 2
flat out wrap (these are on the counter to use today)
small ziploc of breaded shrooms and breaded mozz sticks
sliced fresh mozz. cheese
large chicken breast (one lonely breast)
perfect portion chicken breast (2 lb bag)
spicy chicken pattys
medium ziploc with breaded (raw) chicken tenders
medium shrimp platter
2 lb bag of raw shrimp
clam strips, 5 total (there's plenty MORE in the freezer, I tossed these little packages in a large Ziploc to contain)
broccoli x2
mashed red taters

Um, I think this shows just how unorganized the freezers really are.

And wow, that was discouraging. I also tossed a few stray Popsicles. Brutal, I know, but it's gotta be done.  The shrimp platter made me VERY excited as I can use that next weekend for the girls night out at the hotel for appetizer! Woohoo!!

I do hope to get more time over the weekend to finish at least one freezer. We are boating on Saturday so that's probably out of the question, unless I start it NOW (no, uh uh, don't make me!) ...

Friday, September 10, 2010

Freezer Cooking

There is a whole new world out there when you start to look into Freezer Cooking.

I mean, check out Life As Mom. Or how about Money Saving Mom. Or even these people linked up at the end of the posts! Their are some pretty creative and smart cooks out there!

I, myself, do NOT do a day or two of dedicated Freezer Cooking.

Believe me, not that I don't want to.

But I can't.

I have 3 freezers. 2 are from my side by sides. The other is the garage, over the top of fridge.

And ALL THREE freezers are jammed packed.

Yeah, there might be a few little gaps here and there. But I don't even have room for ice cream. Yes, sorry state that we are in, no ice cream in this house!

So my goal is to eat from the freezer too. However, it's a little different. Sure, I have some leftovers stuffed in there. I think I saw a bag of caramelized onions, along with another bag of bbq pork. So yeah, I can say that's a freezer meal ... when really, it's just leftovers that no body else was excited about eating again at the time.

But mostly, it's meat. And veggies. Some of the meat is already marinated. Others are just big chunks of stuff (like the 1/3 of a whole pork tenderloin from Costco).  I have filet mignon. I have ribeyes. I have chicken breast. Marinated chicken breast. Unmarinated hunks of chicken breast. Hamburgers. Ground beef (there is a difference, the burgers are already formed, woohoo!)

And then, I have veggies. Large and small of the prepackaged stuff. Large and small of my own packaged stuff. Fruits (bananas, strawberries, blueberries) both prepackaged and mine.

Bacon. We have quite a bit of bacon. I WISH I had precooked it ALL before freezing. But I will make an effort to at least do BLT's on one sandwich night. That would make the animals (teens) happy, I'm sure!

So more power to the Freezer Cookers. Cooks? Cookies? Cookets? Maybe next month I can join in!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Swagbucks and Amazon

I am sure everyone out there knows about swagbucks by now. And hopefully, you've all joined up and are using it as your search engine.

Because of Swagbucks, I've currently got $40 in my little amazon account, waiting for the right thing to come my way ... most likely something along the lines of an Earth Box. :) Yeah. I want to try an earth box, and heck, if I can get it for "free" just from my searches, I'm all over it!!! 

I'm actually getting ready to redeem a few more points here which will put me at $65 in the account.  Sweet!

FYI - I didn't realize it at the time, but when someone refers you to swagbucks, they get points when you I am NOT trying to get anyone to sign up, really ... but I wish now I had known that as I can't even remember WHO it was that I clicked through to sign up. That's kind of sad in a way as there are some people out there in the blogsphere that I'd help sooner than others!!

Anyhow, I've had no spam, no junky stuff, no funky anything.  I use it for just about everything ... even from going to my own site. It may seem like it takes forever to get points accrued (maybe I just think that way since they changed the point structure recently) but they DO add up.

Go ahead, go on over to and sign up and get rockin!!

Costco again

Yes, it's Thursday and I went to Costco. I had to! I needed milk. 4 gallons almost lasted the 2 weeks.  I find it amazing that I can buy milk with a 2 week expiration date. And it was still good.

Had to renew my membership. $50.

Took back the Sam-E and the Triple Flex vitamins. Got back $51. That sort of washed out the renewal.

So, $196.57 later (including the membership renewal), here's what I got:
36 cout Welch fruit snacks $9.99
Activia yogurt $10.29 less $2.50 instant rebate
bag of limes $5.29
bag of lemons $6.99
6 lb muscle milk protein powder $29.99 (it seems to be cheaper this way then buying the stuff for Sonny boy premixed)
5 lbs tomomatoes $6.49 (price went up!)
3 english cucumbers $3.29
romaine lettuce $3.99
half & half $1.45 x 3 total
2% milk $2.39 x 3
skim milk $2.29 x 1
dunkin donuts coffee $15.79 (I'm a little ashamed of myself for doing this but it was so good the last time!)
string cheese $7.59

oxiclean (15 lbs) $15.79 less $4.00 coupon
gallon freezer bags $10.19 less $1.75 coupon
bagel thins $4.19
2 lbs strawberries $3.49 (I looked, and looked again, this is a GREAT price)

Notice, no meat. No cheese, no nothing really. I am aiming to get the freezers in order soon here ... they are litereally stuffed full. Oh, I have a few gaps here and there, but no room to really put anything more in ... so no meat or anything else that requires freezer services!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

Happy Tuesday! It really should be Monday but the 3 day weekend has me all messed up!  Stuck and in a rut (like me??) then hop over the organizing junkies site to look at 100's of other menus!

Sunday - BBQ and leftovers
Monday - BBQ (yet again) and leftovers
Tuesday - tacos to give us all a change!
Wednesday - soup/salad and sandwiches to get ME in the Survivor night groove (the one show I watch and hate to be stuck in kitchen watching!)
Thursday - leftovers
Friday - steaks
Saturday - chicken

Yeah. I know, no recipes. And honestly, that menu is subject to change real quick. I mean, come on, Steaks? Chicken? How vague can I be??

I want to try the rice cooker mac & cheese but not sure when I will do it. Could be with chicken. Or steaks :)

Labor Day Weekend

We prepared and consumed a lot of food this weekend being the 3 day weekend it was … Sonny boy had friends over on Saturday and I had 2 girlfriends and a few others show up too to keep me company … luckily my g/f brother showed up to entertain Hubby after a while … he was Master Chef til that point!

Then Sunday was to be a casual catch up day and I had all intentions of floating in the pool, which I did, but then my neighbor came over looking to see if we had any leftover potatoes salad (we had sent some home with her the night before to eat while she watched Inglorious Bastards) … and while we were hanging out under the temporary gazebo, another girlfriend came by which led to us each having a beer, digging out the leftovers and going in the pool.

Monday, we have a couple of friends over and will be doing wings and chicken thighs. Kind of a strange thing, I know, so to even it out, I have 6 burgers left to cook too … Hubby makes some pretty awesome wings in the oven so I had picked up a bag last week to do on the smaller crowd day … more to go around!

Surprisingly, the weather has held. Its rained in the evening and early morning which is ok. But Monday, was thundering still at 11am and people were due around noonish. Oh no! The Lawn Boys showed up at noon to do the grass. I was a little surprised to say the least. Told them that they had better hurry it up in the backyard AND don’t get any in the pool. Luckily a friend of ours was able to speak to them (I do NOT speak Spanish) and explained the situation at hand … Monday night the rain came down in buckets at about 8pm. It rained forever after that. Tuesday morning I see that my easy up canopy didn’t hold up to the rain. Need to wait for daylight to evaluate the damage and if it’s salvageable.

10 lbs hamburger
3 lbs dinner franks
10 bratwurst
Bag of tortilla chips
Bean dip
3 lbs potatoes salad
2 lbs pasta salad
48 plus beers
60 plus bottles of water
12 plus cokes
8 plus diet cokes
8 plus sprites
Bottle of clear tequila
Bottle of jack daniels
3 lbs of cheese
1 bag of ritz chips
½ chip dip
½ bag of chips
5 lbs of chicken wings
8 lbs of chicken thighs
1 box of brownies (these were gone within minutes of the animals)
8 cupcakes
Mass amount of hubby’s bbq sauce
5 lbs of tomatoes
3 lbs of onions
2 heads of lettuce
Unknown amount of jalapenos (these come from my plant and end up sending home with people as I have way more growing than I can use!)

Someone (Sonny Boy’s g/f mom!) opened the pantry to see if I had any cups in there, and came out and said something to the effect of “I wasn’t peeking in your pantry, but WOW, you are stocked!” … I think they are frugal minded but need to investigate a little more ;)

I wanted to try and do this all from my stockpile. Came close but had to buy the hamburger (10 lbs at 2.09 lb), buns for hot dogs and hamburgers, hubby bought the tater salad and doctored it up big time (its sooooo good) and I also picked up the wings, sodas, water and beer. All in all, I probably spent about $70 for everything. Not bad for a 3 day feast of mass quantities in my opinion.

Weekly Spending/Saving

So, I've tried various ways to track my discretionary spending and announce it to the world without much success. Then I came across this site called Give Me Back My Five Bucks and really liked the way she does her weekly tallies. So guess what? I'm hopping on board.

$ No Spend Day!

$ No Spend Day

$40.00 gas for Brutus
$8.xx McDonalds (me and Sonny Boy did the 59 cent cheeseburgers and a large fry)
$1600.xx bi weekly pay with bonus. $600 should go towards the no touch savings based on my new budget plan, however, it can't as I need to finish the insurance payment this month.

$200 - Hair (yikes! But it looked great!)
$45.00 gas for my truck

$25.xx Publix
$47.xx GFS
$80.xx Publix
$140.38 weekly pay

$ No Spend Day!

$ No Spend Day!

Notes/comments: It's Labor Day on Monday so I had to shop for the 3 day weekend and festivities. Check out the amount of food I figured we prepared and was consumed in 3 days. Wow. I can't even put an estimate as to how many people we fed. It was just all day Saturday (cleared out by 10pm thankfully), 6 hours on Sunday and another 8 hours on Monday. I had hoped to not spend a whole lot of money for the weekend, intending to simply raid the pantry and freezer, which I did, but still, 4 18 packs of beer really added up!
Also, I didn't do a grand tally as I dont' have all my receipts in front of me to add up...AND well, ho hum, I'm too lazy at the moment!!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Labor Day Festivities and Teens

We decided (again) to let the kids invite friends over and have a BBQ on Saturday in honor of the last weekend of Summer, technically!

Sometimes I ask myself why we subject ourselves to this ... then think that its often better than trying to entertain adults.

After all, with teens, simply give them food, healthy refreshments, a pool, and some music and they are all set to go, and perfectly happy.

Sure, I know, alot of adults would be happy too, but some not so much :)

So, we have a houseful of teens coming over on Saturday. Maybe like 20 or so? There will be a couple of adults, like our friend from Colorado, Sonny Boy's g/f mom and aunt & uncle, maybe my neighbor. But really, it's for the kids. And I'm excited. Here's what I'm thinking of having for the food stuff:

Layered Bean Dip
Oriental Salad
Layered Southwestern Salad
Pasta Salad
Baked Beans (I'm sure Hubby wants to make some)
Burgers (with tomato slices, lettuce, onions, pickles)
Dogs (with mustard, relish, onions, etc.)
Chicken (maybe)
Fresh Tomato Stuff
Chips and Dip (regular HRV chip dip)
Fruit Platter (watermelon, cantelope, strawberries, grapes, blueberries)
Celery and Carrot Platter (and maybe some sliced sweet peppers!)
Brownies or Cookies (have both mixes for ease)
Cupcakes or Cake (leaning towards cake for time saving)
Sodas, Water, Gatorade in cooler

I have just about everything except the fruit stuff. Nice having a full stocked pantry and freezers for parties!

I told hubby I'd like to set up the little canapy thingy and tell the kids they can set up and play out there (music) but not so sure if it's really a good idea. They'd have to do it during the daylight hours and I don't know how they'd feel bringing all the equipment outside? But what fun that would be for them and their friends?

Budgeting and Goal Setting

Here it is, the 1st day of September! Wow, where DID the summer go? Sort of makes me sad, but then again, time goes on...

So you already know that I do a spend/save post every week. This is just the discretionary spending stuff. The stuff that can and does change frequently. The stuff that can be eliminated for the most part in times of need.

But then I also have a regular budget, so to speak. These are the bills that come in every month, that MUST be paid, you know, like the electric, phone, etc. So here’s how THAT looks:

FPL       $400.00
AT&T     $45.00
Tmobile $220.00 (this will be back to about $165 in 2 months or less - $60 will be applied to cc or kitty)
Water     $150.00
sprinkler $20.00
bug man $24.00
cap1       $150.00
Gas*       $125.00
Publix*    $400.00
Costco*  $300.00
Target*   $100.00
Kids*      $100.00
Misc*      $60.00
kitty/cc*   $128.00

It should be noted that I make about $2700 a month and that does not include my monthly bonus of anywhere from $300 to $500 average. Of course, if I stuck with this budget, I’d have quite a bit of money saved in both savings accounts, wouldn’t I? But I don’t. I only have $600 in the no touch account and $300 in the sunsave account. The sunsave should be for the bills like insurances and taxes that come up periodically. The no touch account is suppose to be my vacation and real savings account but that’s not working too well either.

I know, you don’t see a mortgage. Hubby pays that. Yes, we DO have separate accounts. Always have. Always will. No big deal, my money is still his and his money is still mine. If I could get the kids to jump on board, that would be GREAT!

So a few new categories were added in for September. Costco. Target. I did the Publix as my general grocery since that’s where I shop the most. And I did Costco on it’s own as I’m going to try and stick with that every 2 weeks.

Based on the way it’s laid out up there, every penny is accounted for. $2722.00 exactly. See the Kitty or cc? That’s the “free money jar” or apply towards the credit card. I have ONE. Capital One. It sits in a drawer here. I do not use it very often, but it’s nice to have for an emergency. I try to put $75 on payment every other week. About $1200 or so for my balance but HIGH interest. I know, technically I should just pay it off and be done but…I don’t know. Dedication? Discipline? That stuff? Uh Huh.

Let’s see…some of those are very flexible and marked with an asterisk. And then some, electric (FPL) for example, goes from one end to another. My bill last month was over $400. But 4 months ago, it was like $250. I pay a lot for electric. Large house. Big air conditioner units. Lots of stuff.

Ironically, hubby was saying once he knows where he will be landing after the CHANGE, he wants to get himself a BETTER financial advisor and discuss options and ways to approach to become debt (mortgage) free within the next 5 years. Huh. I don’t think we need to hire a NEW financial advisor to tell us how. Fire the one we have now (if we want a BETTER one, why keep the one we have?) … but definitely need to get a little more focused and dedicated to the common goal. Oh well. This will have to be a conversation to approach again in the near future.

So there you have it. My full budget. Of course, it’s not set in stone, as it should be. The stuff marked with an asterisk comes to about $1100 a month. Generous, don’t you think? I believe the problem most people have when they set a budget is keeping everything too low and too tight, therefore, undoable. I know, I’ve been there, hence the high food allowance. If I stay under (trust me, I should) then that can be applied towards either the credit card OR the savings account.