Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Time for a Vacation

The dear sweet man I call my own decided that he needed to join in on a Kickstarter campaign for a band he really likes. One of the "donations" included a copy of the new record they'd be making along with a small listening party with the band. The "donation" was honestly very small in reality (about the same cost as two new video games) but the listening party is in Nashville Tennessee. So really the cost is in driving to Nashville, getting a room, and food and activities along the way. He asked me if it'd be okay for him to make the donation. Come on folks, lets be honest, this is a step in the right direction. I mean the man once bought a Gibson Firebird guitar without asking or telling me.

Together we planned to take a nice little family vacation to Nashville. We've taken little Abe to Chicago twice but outside of those trips we have not had a family vacation, the three of us (and my mother in law went with for both the Chicago trips since both trips involved my hubby and I going to a concert together). For Nashville I'd plan food, pack lunches, and we'd eat cheap. We'd get a discount hotel room somewhere (I love booking hotels online through priceline or hotels.com where you can get really great hotel rooms for super cheap). Most likely we'd rent a car (Since I drive a lot for work I don't like taking our cars on trips, it's more worth it to put the miles and extra wear and tear on a rental). The kiddo is not big on car rides so I thought we could find something touristy outdoorsy where we could all have fun and he could run around maybe half way to Nashville, then he could nap for a good portion of the second half of the drive. Okay, so in my mind this would be a fun trip.

My husband made the kickstarter donation several months ago and I went through our budget and scraped together $700 for the trip. Over the past several months that $700 has turned into about $250. I cannot get my husband to understand that once you spend money it's gone. Seriously, I gave up being mad at him a long time ago and he has come a long way but I could just pull my hair out. Gah!

I told him today that if he still wants to go to Tennessee then WE are going to have to get on the same page and both sign a spending contract. He snarled but I'm fairly certain that with his trip on the line and my foot planted VERY firmly to the ground I might, maybe, possibly will be able to get him to commit, we should be able to have a nice frugal family trip, and we shouldn't have to go any further into debt (always my main goal).

Here it is:

For the record, the exercise goal is so that I have to commit to something as part of this deal as well. You know I can go without buying anything and without eating out (I already do). This will be VERY difficult for him. He would really like me to exercise more often (and I need to) so that part of the contract is for his benefit. I added the "go for a walk together" so that we can not only get exercise and spend time together but also so that we have some quite time to maybe talk about the trip and how we're doing with the contract.

The box at the bottom is to record if we spend money that shouldn't have been spent, or if I don't do the four work outs one week; for anytime we break the contract. It's my personal belief that accountability is enormous and so I want us to have to write down on the contract anytime that we break it.

Here goes!

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Goals

Ugh, I've had it with big life changing, life altering, fix my entire universe goals. Just kidding. But truly I make all these goals in my head, or write a bunch down on paper, and I get my hopes up that life is going to finally fall into place. Haha! Life is never going to "fall into place." I'm a dreamer, unashamedly, so there are always five billion little steps that could be taken to get me down one of twenty different paths I'd love to frolic down. As if there's really a ton of opportunities to frolic through life! What in the world am I thinking?

Now I'm not talking about wash the dishes, take some clothes to Goodwill goals either. I'm really talking about living the healthiest life I can, being the best wife and mom possible, and maybe actually following my dreams (again, way more than one person should own) type goals.

So today, and maybe only today because I'm like a dog who chases a squirrel until it sees a different one to chase I've decided to come up with a list of categories and assign ONE goal to each category. Once the goal is accomplished then that category is allowed a second goal. Why do I blog about these things, really just to maintain my sanity. Thank-you

Health
- Sweet treats must be made at home
With a once a month exception I really want to bake and or make desserts, candy, sweets with organic flour, organic sugar, ect on my own without purchasing pre-made. Ideally this will limit my sugar intake and make our treats a million times healthier. It might be too big of a goal but I'd like to have a go at if for a month at least. I'd love for this to be a permanent thing though. Here goes.

Living a more simple (which does not mean easy), sustainable lifestyle
-Make or get some sort of compost bin
I've been wanting a compost bin for the longest time. Grinding up food scraps with coffee grounds and dumping them outside works but I need more space if I want to actually produce enough real compost for my expanding garden. I NEED a bin!

My son
- We need to get rid of the pacifier or at least get it to night time falling asleep only.
This particular category actually makes me feel really good. Even though I can think of about one hundred goals concerning him we already spend a great deal of time outdoors. We read together a lot. I'm working on less TV time. He's learning basic kiddo knowledge really fast, colors, numbers, counting and so forth. He's been potty trained for 1.5 years and is now sleeping in undies too. He eats great. We're trying harder to be brave (working on social interaction). He makes me so happy but he does love his pacifier for falling asleep and calming himself down when he's sad or has gotten hurt. It's "supposed to" be gone by three so I do need to buckle down on this one.

My husband
- Spend time with him.
We honestly spend no time together. This includes family time too, like going for walks or whatever. My husband is always very tired, and as is life we're so busy but we NEED to spend time together and as a family. This has to be a priority and this is an important goal for me to work on.

Finances
- Balance the budget. Period.
I'd like to go into detail on this one but I'm just going to leave it there.

Sanity
- Make/ find quite time. Me time. Everyday for at least 10 minutes.
Yep.

Our home (clean up, fix up, blah blah)
- Paint the chips in the stucco again. DONE
- Create a tiny minimalist quite space for myself.
I haven't come to terms with "getting rid of everything" for tranquility and peace. There's just too much stuff that might be useful. But I would like to pick a spot and make a really quaint minimalist space for myself somewhere in my home. I have a great spot in mind but it's currently covered in storage-y stuffs. Haha, going to make a minimalist spot out of a spot FILLED with storage. Sounds great!

Getting outside my bubble
- Get together with TWO people I haven't seen in awhile.
Easy right? Haha, no. This one will take effort but it's a good goal.

All the dreams
- Make a dream board and talk "dreaming" with my hubby.
Since there are so many of them I might as well start simple and just really lay out in front of me what my dreams are.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Trip to the Library

My little buddy and I have read 100 books in the past 20 days. That means we were able to go to the library for him to get his "100 books read" sticker and a prize as a part of the "1000 books before kindergarten" program. I accidentally referred to the reward that goes along with the sticker as a treat. So when the librarian handed us a box of books that he was able to choose from for his reward he wanted to know when he would be getting his "treat" too. He was pretty adamant about that treat which according to him is specifically something delicious and not necessarily a neat reward.

We checked out a handful of new books for us to read together and I actually took a few extra minutes to find a few books for myself. I can honestly say that reading is one of the many things I now neglect upon having a child/ being a mom and I swore I would never stop reading (and other things) once I had children. I'm pretty happy to have a few new books in the house now.

One of the books I picked up is a title that a very dear friend has been suggesting I read for awhile now. I'm a few chapters in and although it's a book I would never be drawn to myself I'm really quite enjoying it. The one line I've jotted down thus far though is:


Completely true! Made me laugh and I seldom think about food this way. Oh yeah, the book is "The Body Book: The law of hunger, the science of strength, and other ways to love your amazing body" by Cameron Diaz. Yes, Pieliekamais I'm finally reading it :))))

For the kiddo we checked out several books about being brave. He's working on memorizing the Bible verse this week (let's see if I can do this without looking it up), Joshua 1:9 Be strong and brave. Do not be afraid, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. (yep, I did it) We're going to do a few crafts surrounding bravery this week and so we've checked out a few books about bravery too. The one I like the most is Sheila Rae, the Brave. He was thoroughly intrigued through the whole book and when we finished reading it he said that he "really liked that one," with the little excited tremble that he's known to do when he's overflowing with happy. He also had an opportunity to do a bravery challenge at the library. I told him that he did not need to talk to the librarian if he did not want to but that it would be very brave if he stood beside me and did not hide behind mommy's back. He tackled the feat with absolute courage and did not hide behind me at all. He even handed his own books to the other librarian when we checked out. Progress is progress :)


After the library outing I took him to Tim Hortons to get a treat (a donut and milk). I had my treat at the library though. There was a birds nest in the parking garage and a momma robin was sitting on her egg(s). I noticed the empty nest last time we were there and I took little Abe over to look at it. But this time he spotted it and pointed out that there was a bird in it now. We watched the momma sitting there for a little while. Nature is so incredible! He says to me, "can you say good spying?" (He tells me what to say, A LOT). I congratulated him for noticing the momma in the nest. That is the kind of thing that is truly a treat for me.

When we got home from our adventure we decided upon some good outdoor time before reading our books. So we started putting together and painting a box house. He was less interested by it than I thought he'd be but that's probably because I chose to do the activity after a morning of running around. I'll see if he's into it after nap time. FYI, I drive a VERY small car. How I got that thing home from work... I don't even really know. It was a bit like Mary Poppins magical bag if you ask me!

Sorry for the long and random post. I haven't been posting much lately and I just wanted to take a moment in between reading and my kiddo napping to drop a hello. So, hi everyone! I hope you're all enjoying this fabulous summer. I'm trying to stay a little ways away from the computer and spend lots of time out of doors. So far so good! I have not tallied or added up the spending for, gee, at least a week and I'm afraid I might have lost a few days due to my negligence. I'll get at it soon though! I promise-ish 

Monday, June 22, 2015

Fresh Strawberry Pie Recipe


We went Strawberry picking today with some friends (in case you hadn't seen the last post).  Now THIS is summer!!! Juicy fresh picked berries. I left with 11.5 pounds of the red beauties. MMMMmmm! I feel like I've been washing, slicing the top off of, and flash freezing strawberries on cookie sheets all evening. But I did manage to make an awesome pie too. I combined several recipes and came up with this one. There wasn't enough fruit in any of the ones I saw and too much sugar in most of them. I did not want to use a box of strawberry jello as some of them called for, but wanted to use a gelatin envelope instead. This is what I came up with and it's a keeper!

Fresh Strawberry Pie Recipe

1 c. water
2 tbsp. cornstarch
2/3 c. sugar
1 c. fresh strawberries, sliced
1 env. Knox gelatin

1 pie shell, cooked


3 cups of fresh strawberries, sliced
(that makes 4 cups total)

Whipped cream (optional)



Bring water, cornstarch, sugar and one cup of chopped strawberries to a boil on med or med high heat. Boil until thickened, stirring regularly. I cooked mine on medium heat with a very mild boil. It took about 15 minutes to thicken. Cool and then stir in the Knox gelatin.

Place two cups of chopped strawberries into the cooled cooked pie crust. Pour cooked strawberry mixture over top of the fresh strawberries in the pie crust. Top off the pie with the remaining one cup of fresh chopped strawberries. Cool for 2 or 3 hours until set.

Top with whipped cream for an extra special treat. But this pie is awesome all by itself too.


I think I use a different pie crust recipe every time I make a pie and I still always end up with pretty slopping looking crusts (I don't think I'm patient enough to perfect a pie crust) but this pie turned out awesome (despite the ugly crust). It's such a deliciously juicy fresh summer pie. It's absolutely not too sweet so that the strawberries are really the star. If you wanted it a little sweeter absolutely go with a cup of sugar instead of the 2/3 or top with whipped cream for a bit more sweet. Please don't get me wrong though I don't think this pie recipe needs any more sugar. It turned out perfect!

Guess what we did today

Yummy outings are my favorite!


Sunday, June 21, 2015

TV Time Tracker (Super frugal version)

I feel like my child watches a lot of TV. He only watches educational little kid shows (when he's with me) and he generally plays with his toys while watching TV but still. My husband grew up in a household where the TV was always on. When I was a kid my brother's and I were ALWAYS outside but towards the end of my days at home with my mom and siblings the TV was always on and someone was always watching it. I prefer the TV be off more often than not. None the less it feels like the TV is always blabbing away in the background at our house.

Many years ago a friend of mine showed me how her boys had to earn screen time. She used Popsicle sticks and cups. Her boys were school age and if I remember correctly the Popsicle sticks were assigned different time limits, maybe 5 minutes for some of them, and 10 or 15 minutes on others. Since my little buddy is getting bigger, comprehending SO much now, and I am a bit concerned about how much the television is on here I decided to finally (I've been meaning to do this for awhile) put into use the idea she gave me years back.


I am a huge proponent of re-using jars. Thus the empty pizza sauce jar came into play; peeled off the label, gave it a washing, and now we have a TV Time jar.


I don't remember the last time we ate Popsicles so we don't have any sticks lying around that can be re-purposed. I did price a bag of craft sticks at the store. There was one with something like 100 sticks in it for $2.99. Nah, too much. This spring when I was pruning the bushes out back I actually kept a bundle of sticks I'd trimmed that were nice and straight thinking I could maybe use them for something crafty in the future. I trimmed one of these sticks that had since dried out nicely into six equal parts and then spray painted them with a can of yellow paint I had. And there you have it, a FREE TV Time Tracker; my favorite kind of craft. I may spray paint the word's TV TIME onto the jar but for now my mission is accomplished.


We've used the TV time tracker for two days. Right now each stick is allotted 30 minutes of TV time. 30 minutes amounts to two little kid episodes. He has to take a stick out of the jar and give it to me when he wants to watch TV. Then I start the timer (I've had a timer specifically for him for a long time now; we use it mostly for time outs or if we say, "okay, only 15 more minutes until..."). When the timer goes off then we turn the TV off or he has to give me another stick and then I start the timer again. When the sticks are all gone then we're done watching the television for the day.

There are a few really great things about this simple tool. It helps him better learn to prioritize and make choices. It's a great way for me to keep track of how much TV he's watched/ how much the TV has been on during a day. It's a visual way for him to recognize that, say there's one more stick left in the jar, there's only a small amount of TV time left so once it's been used the TV will not go back on today. I have had this idea in the back of my mind since years before ever having a child so I'm pretty excited to have finally brought it out. 

We've started simple with a few sticks being in the jar at the beginning of the day and each stick holding the same allotment of time. As time goes on I almost certainly will have him earn sticks and I will probably give them different allotments of time (much smaller than 30 minutes) as well as adding, oh heaven forbid, video game time. (Maybe when he's 25 he can start playing video games)

Now please, don't get in your into your imaginations that I'm a super structured mom (I'd love to be actually). I'm not. I mean sometimes we eat dinner at 3:30 and sometimes we eat dinner at 8:30. We'll do five crafts in a week and then won't do another for three weeks. I've been an artist with an artistic personality all of my life and structure is, well, it falls pretty far off my radar. But things like this little trick are a great way for me to get structure into our lives and teach my son a few really simple but valuable lessons along the way.

The really great news, (mind you after only two days) is that the TV thus far has not been on nearly as much as I'd thought. He's only used three sticks each day, and one thus far today.

Saturday, June 20, 2015







We are having a spectacular summer day. I hope you all are thoroughly enjoying this weekend as well! (the carrots are quite a bit bigger than that now but I really liked the quote I found for that photo)

Thursday, June 18, 2015

CARROTS!!!

Patience is NOT my strong point. The carrots have officially been thinned.


He ate at least four before I got a photo of him with them. He took photos of me with the carrots too... and then about 100 photos of EVERYTHING in our backyard. 


Yep, there are a few clovers in the grass right behind the house (I like them). This is one of at least 15 photos he took of the lawn. 



Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Now That's a Garden Salad!






The carrots will need to be thinned once they're big enough but seeing as they're buried under ground and seeing as I've never grown carrots before I have no idea if they're big enough to be needing thinning yet so I've pulled up one carrot each week for the past three weeks. We've eaten the small white root and it's gorgeous green top each time we've "checked" how big the carrots are getting but today I turned the little orange fellow into a tiny garden salad. (yep, they're starting to turn orange now) 

One perfectly adorable baby carrot and one juicy ripe strawberry from our garden along with a little bit of balsamic vinegar, grape seed oil, and a sprinkle of blue cheese made for a splendid little backyard garden salad.

Perfection!


Monday, June 15, 2015

Its Monday

I have virtually no motivation, several things I need to get accomplished this evening, and a list of things I'd like to do as well.


I made it colorful in hopes the pizzazz would be extra inspiring.

Happy Monday!

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Saturday Pie and Produce

This is a Saturday!

Other than a minor struggle with my child while trying to get him to fall asleep for his nap (for over an hour (because his schedule was WAY thrown off yesterday from a graduation open house)) today has been what every Saturday should be. We've chilled at home. Gone for a nice long morning walk. Made the Saturday run to the grocery store. I stuck to my list and saved a ton of money on my cart full. I feel like I've been baking ALL day and that I've used every dish in my kitchen to do so but I haven't done either really. I now have my very first, from scratch, homemade, hot chicken pot pie to show for all the hard work. Ahhh! I love food and considering I used organic veggies, organic chicken and organic flour to make the handsome fellow I am pretty much on cloud nine right now.


First I made the chicken stock from a large chicken breast that's been in my freezer for seemingly forever, carrots, a large onion, a few fresh basil leaves (from that plant I bought awhile back), some old garlic cloves, and salt and pepper. Then I baked a few chicken breasts for the pie filling. I had to make the filling next; carrots and butter, flour, chicken stock, skim milk, salt and pepper, corn, peas, broccoli, and chicken. The filling was supposed to cool before being put into the pie crust so I made the pie crust while the filling cooled. I pretty much used THIS recipe but didn't have any onion or celery for the filling and used corn and broccoli instead.

I mentioned our backyard produce in my last post so I really felt the need to run out back and snap some photos of my happy plants (they make me very happy at least and I like to thing they're happy too). Yes, I need to mow the lawn.

Tomatoes, Carrots, and Strawberries all in a row

Those are tiny baby tomatoes in the middle there

I think I'm way more proud of these carrots then I should be

And our awesome strawberry pots; Deliciousness!

We're almost done munching on our pot pie dinner. I think we'll be heading into the steamy outdoors to play in the sprinkler in a few minutes. I hope everyone's been enjoying this splendid June Saturday!




Quick Update

Remember that upswing?
Last month I did great with spending.
This month I was/ am hoping to ride out the $17.76 daily average.

Right now:
Average daily spending for 2015: $18.47
That leaves $149.70 left to spend this month in order to hit my goal.

Yikes!

The secret to my overspending is that I've been buying lots of organic this month, still finding sales and getting store brand items BUT organic spikes the cost no matter. Sigh.

OH, and I just spent $24.95 on coffee grounds. I earned a $5 store reward by doing so and saved $10 on the purchase and it was coffee I really enjoy. Lets just say I'm stocked up on good grounds now so I'm not going to have be buying the cheap stuff and filling it full of flavored creamer to mask the cheap coffee taste. I'd say that's a win win.

In other news our backyard carrots are getting really close to their first thinning. We've been picking a few splendidly delicious strawberries from our little pots each day for the past week about. The tomato plants all have the tiniest of tiny clusters of the first tomato flowers. They're not flowers yet; just little green specks but it's just so exciting! At least I have some very low cost organic food growing in our yard. That's a plus.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Self Portrait

1998


This drawing looks more like me then any photograph I've ever seen. I struggle with bouts of depression, and over eating. I'm generally not very comfortable around people, or I feel out of place at least. And not because I'm uncomfortable with myself but rather I've never felt that I "fit in." I don't often enjoy interacting with others unless there's a conversation involved with substantial substance and generally... nope.

I actually despise fashion, have no desire to ever wear make up, and am very comfortable in my own skin despite having never felt like "one of the girls." I like to get my hands dirty, make messes, and be outdoors. I don't care what anyone thinks about me or if anyone likes me although I despise hurting, offending, or upsetting people.

When I drew this photo I wanted to look like this: proud, strong, not feminine but yet still totally a woman, "hear me roar." I was not comfortable in my skin then. I was repulsed by me actually. When I happened upon my reflection, which I avoided, it actually hurt to look at me. There was something inside of me that told me I was hideous, unlovable, disgusting, needed to crawl in a hole and hide and never crawl out. Except for my friends, middle school was a horror. I really truly wished I had the power of invisibility so that no one would have the displeasure of looking upon me. Most of high school was just as bad. I remember praying almost every single night for a miracle, that I'd wake up in the morning and miraculously be fifty pounds lighter and beautiful. I truly woke up every day hoping that my dream had come true.

One night I prayed, sobbing, that God would change me, that He would fix me. I don't know what was different that night but I heard Him say, "do I make mistakes?" To be clear it wasn't an audible voice coming from beyond my ceiling but a gentle voice inside. I answered, "no. You don't." And then He responded, "what makes you think I messed up with you?" Something broke off of me in that moment. That thing inside that told me I was hideous vanished. I felt the Lord say, "look at my trees and the hills. Each one is completely different but they are all beautiful in their own way, no? Each one is made exactly as it should be, as I intended. You are mine, my masterpiece."

I've looked like this drawing ever since. I am not gentle and sweet, or beautiful in a way the world plasters on magazines. I don't strive to look like or be like ANYONE but me. I am strong and honestly proud and I really, really like me. I have lots of broken parts, things that need fixing, places inside of me that have been damaged or wounded but the broken pieces are in the Lord's hands to be placed back together, fixed as they should be and I like me.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

1000 Books

Made a trip to the library today. I haven't gone in ages which means the little guy hasn't gone in a long enough for him to have remembered going. I thought we had something like an $18 fee because my husband kept several CD's for a LONG time. The fee was only $1.95 (I suspect he must have gone more recently than me and paid the huge fee). I was so relieved at their not being a large fee. I was totally prepared to barter and ask if I could still check out books but only pay a $5 portion of the fee. The librarian was probably confused at my excitement to pay the $1.95 fee. Okay, okay enough talk about how irresponsible we are at returning books.

A bunch of libraries are doing a program called "1000 books before kindergarten" to encourage parents with small children to read more with their little ones. I saw something about it online yesterday and thought it was such an excellent idea. We signed up for the program today and the librarian at the kids center gave my little guy a free tote bag, bookmark, and really quite impressive looking book log. After each 100 books you read you can return to the library and get a sticker to place in your log and a free prize. I imagine the prize will be something like those 1 cent toys you get at the doctors office but still, pretty fun for a three year old.

We also checked out a book about honey bees, one about lady bugs, an eye spy book, and two books about dragons. Little Abe specifically said he wanted to find a book about dragons. I must add that the librarian was a beautifully helpful person. I have encountered several very mean librarians in my time. I reluctantly admit that I used to have a despise for books and reading and I also used to have a terror of libraries. I overcame both those things years ago but still... After we were done signing up for the program I asked the lady if she could possibly direct us to books about bees, wasps, honey bees, ect; She looked them up for me, took us to the section and was the absolute kindest all throughout. I thanked her and mentioned casually that we would be looking for books about dragons next. But I never even hinted at the possibility of her finding said books for us.

I looked at books about bugs and bees and butterflies while little Abe looked out the window on the second story overlooking the road. He was quite intrigued by the idea of being stuck on the roof and told me all about how he'd manage to get off safely without hurting himself or worrying me or falling onto any cars. After I selected several books, put them all back, selected several more, put them all back and then selected a few others I started to glance at the shelves hoping that a book about dragons would pop up so that I wouldn't have to go look it up on the computer. Yes, I write a blog pretty much daily on my laptop computer but still at age 35 hate using the library computers. Suddenly the very kind librarian walked over to us holding about 10 books about dragons. She showed each one to us individually, reading each title and saying what she liked about said book and then I laid them out in front of the little guy and asked him to pick two. I've NEVER had a more pleasant experience in a library. Her gesture was above and beyond for sure. Not to mention my child who WILL NOT talk to strangers, he doesn't even like looking a them; he hid behind my leg through almost the entire 1000 books sign up, very joyfully thanked her for bringing him books about dragons. It was a splendid morning and I suspect he and I will be reading a bit more often and visiting the library more often as well.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Wild Roses

And bees!








Over ten years ago when my Grandmother asked me if I'd like her to transplant one of her wild rose bushes to my yard, I said something like, "uh, sure. I guess so... Okay."

The little poky fellow grew some, got ran over by a truck, grew some more, sends out shoots like the Dickens that I'm constantly having to uproot so they don't take over my yard, attracts more bees than anyone could ever want in their back yard (something I'm a little proud of) and is now taller than me and at least ten feet wide.

I didn't know ten years ago that every time I glanced at one of its delicate pink blooms, smelled its honey sweet floral aroma, listened to the sound of the bumble bees buzzing their legs in it's pollen, and smiled at it's absolute beauty that I'd think of my Grandmother. What a gift!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Pizza Night

We had such fun making our little pizzas.
The pizza dough recipe I tried HERE turned out really well.
It's the first time I've tried homemade pizzas (I know, about time!).
And we had a wonderful picnic in the yard once the pizza's were ready.
We were both so very proud of ourselves and thrilled over our super tasty pizzas.

Food always tastes best when you've had fun making it and thrown a pinch of love in the mix.













Wednesday, June 3, 2015

June spending update already

My spending budget this month is $532.80

After today I better start keeping close tabs on how much I have left to spend for the month. I've purchased some summer clothing for the little guy. We've not had to buy much clothing for him as we've had good friends who've given us tons of hand me downs but after going through his wardrobe I found he was in need of some shorts and I picked up a few tank tops (my kid can sweat) and a few t-shirts in bigger sizes than what we've currently got.

I also made the dreaded dog food purchase today. We buy good food for our dogs, not the budget stuff so it's costly. At least my dog will be happy. I picked up some groceries (that I'm rather excited about since we'll be attempting homemade pizza tonight) and somehow an organic basil plant managed to jump into my cart, scan itself at the u-scan and come home with me. What a rascal!

In all seriousness though I really want to have very focused spending this month and the basil plant was a silly purchase (I will be putting fresh basil on the pizza tonight). Last month was great but my spending follows a very up and down pattern from month to month so I'm hoping to reign in that swing a little and have a lesser up this month.

The goal still stands: $17.76 a day spending this month.
That's $532.80 for the month.
Only three days in I'm at $133.76.

Average daily spending for 2015: $18.29
Left to spend this month $399.04

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Prizes Six and Seven

The 1000th post giveaway that wrapped up in April included artwork from my little guy and a dollar store pick by him.

The winner of the giveaway, Cindy, has recently e-mailed me a photo of prizes six and seven displayed on her refrigerator.


At the dollar store he chose a fiber optic butterfly with a suction cup on it. I can't believe the things they have at the dollar store (it's a real genuine, everything in the store is $1, dollar store). It was such a pretty butterfly.

For anyone who may have still been wondering, there you go :)

Monday, June 1, 2015

Wishing Everyone A Joyous June

June means that all the trees have almost re-grown their leaves and glorious greens are everywhere to be seen. (Green is my favorite color followed by the sky. The sky is my second favorite color) The lilacs have bloomed, the poppies have popped, and the fruit and veggie plants out in the yard are (most likely) past the threat of overnight frost. The strawberries are green and ready to ripen. The sun is staying up later now making each day feel as though it's grown longer. And there is warmth outside to be felt on bare skin. Oh June!

I intend to head outside now. It's a splendidly beautiful day. I can't resist the beauty. These walls cannot contain me. Adios, oh, and hello June!

Average daily spending for 2015: $17.74

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Weekend To-dos


  1. Plant watermelon seeds out back.
  2. Tidy up the yard. DONE
  3. Really clean up the kitchen.
  4. Mail out one friendly hello.
  5. Start starfish pillow. DONE
  6. Finish starfish pillow. DONE
  7. Bake something... bread, pretzels, something fun and yummy but maybe not super sugary. DONE
  8. Catch up and keep up on daily Bible reading (trying to read through the Chronological Bible in six months).
  9. Clear off the buffet and dining room table (much bigger job then it sounds, sadly).
  10. Weather permitting, GET OUTSIDE BUNCHES! We spent a TON of time outside during April, not so much in May however and we need to get out there more again. DONE
  11. Look through June's budget and set spending goals. DONE

Bonus
   12.  Tackle my bedroom closet; ooh, scaaaary!


7. Bake something

I finished number seven tonight. I was thinking of baking bread or pretzels but I strayed from the plan and started looking up donut recipes. I settled on THIS ONE for baked strawberry donuts BUT I don't have a donut pan so I ended up making mini strawberry glazed muffins in my mini muffin tin with the donut recipe.

I think this recipe turned out really well but I tweaked it quite a bit and I don't see how this mini muffin is anything like a donut at all. Maybe the non-resemblance is just because of the muffin shape but I tried to convince myself this was a donut hole and still no, totally muffin. It's a rather moist yet airy muffin and again I really liked the way they turned out but no resemblance to a donut.

In case anyone cares my tweaks were: coconut oil in place of the butter, apple butter syrup in place of the maple syrup, also apple butter syrup in place of the vanilla in the glaze and I added a little cinnamon to the glaze. I also halved the glaze portion of the recipe because 3 cups of powdered sugar seemed absurd to me for the amount of mini muffins I ended up with (one full mini muffin pan worth). Also, these glazed strawberry mini muffins are perfection topped with a fresh raspberry. 

5. & 6. Start and Finish starfish pillow

I'm not totally happy with how my almost entire days worth of work Saturday (or half a day at least) turned out BUT it's FINALLY done! I am happy about that. Side note: I can't use a sewing machine. Apparently I don't know how. Every time I've ever tried I end up spending more time monkeying with the machine then what I do actually sewing so I always sew by hand. I like sewing by hand anyhow but it sure takes more time.

I made a plain white insert for this so that the cover could be more easily washed/ thrown into a washing machine (instead of just making a solid decorative pillow) and this little project is the first time I've ever made a pattern or used a pattern for anything (except for a pair of pants I started to make for my sister once and never finished). But the insert is just a bit too small or the cover is just a bit too big so that the finished work of art is a bit more wrinkly than I'd envisioned. I purposefully made the cover just the tiniest big bigger because I thought if the cover and insert were the exact same size then it would be too snug. Sigh.

Well, I marked 6 out of 11 things off my weekend to-do list. I'll wrap up a few more tomorrow. Over half done isn't bad for me.