Happy Homemaker Monday, It’s Almost Officially Fall

Fall arrives officially on Friday! I’d be a bit more excited if I weren’t so tired.

It’s yet another week of working a full-time schedule around here. Next week is more of the same. Then, I may sleep for an entire day just because I can!

The computer monitor broke over the weekend so my planning was mostly on bits of paper until tonight.  Glad to join in with Sandra’s Happy Homemaker Monday even if I am posting a bit later than usual.

The Weather

It feels a bit like fall right now and it was a rainy day.  However, all the rain is going to add to the humidity and it’s going to be muggy and in the high 80s later in the week. Right now it’s 71 outside and we have the windows open.

Right Now I Am

Working on this post to try to get a handle on what I need to do this week.  Trying to figure out what I still need to do for Bunco since I am hosting tomorrow night.

On My Reading Pile

Currently abandoned.  Weekend project perhaps?

Movies Or Shows I Watched This Weekend

G introduced me to Parks and Recreation on Netflix.  I’m loving it.  Just the kind of humor I need after some rather long days.  I think my husband and I watched episode 7? of Game of Thrones. It’s slow-going 2 episodes at a time.

My Menu For This Week

This is the part of my post that needs the most work.  First our menu for the week:

MONDAY: We ate at Sam’s Club while buying a new computer monitor. *I worked 7:45-4:15*

TUESDAY: hamburgers and hot dogs *G has early morning band practice* *J has an after school robotics club meeting* *I host Bunco* *I also work 7:45-4:15*

WEDNESDAY: Chicken legs, salad *G has early morning band practice* *I work 7:45-4:15*

THURSDAY: No idea, scrounge through the fridge and freezer/leftovers…*I work 7:45-4:15* *G has evening band practice*

FRIDAY: Subway *Football game night tradition* *I work 7:45-4:15*

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BUNCO MENU:

I thought about making a separate post but I’m just going to throw it on this one instead.

Appetizers: Summer sausage, crackers, hummus, pita crackers

Main Dish: hamburgers and hot dogs (my husband has agreed to cook these for me and we’ll just have the same dinner) with buns and fixings.

Side Dishes: Chips, Pasta Salad, Broccoli Salad (maybe I’m kind of out of steam tonight)

Desserts: Cheesecake Dip, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Truffles or brownies

Drinks: Lemonade, Coke

Table Snacks: Cheese/Caramel Popcorn mix, M&M’s, and one more I haven’t decided on yet.

That’s me trying to keep it simple.

To-Do List

Ha. Ha. HA!

  1. Host Bunco
  2. Reschedule next week’s hair appointment
  3. Attempt to hang on to sanity
  4. Pay bills
  5. Try practice with camera at some point

What I Am Creating

A September Bunco Menu? See above. Not much else although I want to try to make one of these picture walls if things ever settle down.

Looking Around The House

Surprisingly, decent.

From The Camera

This is from a few weeks ago. Sadly, didn’t get a chance to do much with the camera last week.  First one is from J. On the same day he took the photo of the geese in flight, he also took this photo.  The second one is mine of interesting park bench graffiti.

Simple Pleasure

When the recycle bin has more in it than the trash bin.

Quote For The Week

All I can think of at the moment is “just keep swimming” from Finding Nemo.

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It’s just been a Monday is all and not a terrible one at that.  The week will improve.  What do you have planned for the week ahead?

 

 

Spend Less September, Week 1

How did your first week of a spend less September go?  Here’s how the week of trying to spend less went over here. 

Goal 1: Cut the grocery bill in half

A great plan. Not a bad reality although I didn’t quite achieve the half-way mark.  I should note that I am a once a week grocery shopper and not a list maker.  It just works best for me.

I went about $20 over my half-way point and I’m going to call it a semi-success considering I managed to postpone a trip I usually make on either Sunday nights or Mondays until Thursday evening. Going right before my mom’s night out helped keep me focused although it was also a Chiefs game night so the store was busy!

Confession time: We did order pizza on Saturday night but it worked out as we had a coupon and it gave me something different to send in the boys’ lunch on Monday.

Goal 2: No Frivolous Target Trips

Done! Working helps with this. Not much of an evening or weekend shopper.

Goal 3: On-Line Shopping Freeze

Worked very hard at this goal. This is where the temptation is coming from lots of angles! I’ve been cringing and deleting lots of “deal” e-mails all week.  I did order some Gamma Labs G Fuel through Amazon on Sunday evening but it is something I drink every time I work.

Since it’s full of vitamin B & C and a lot more portable (and honestly, tastes better) than the other cold prevention drinks, I consider it a work expense. Certainly, missed it today and was glad to see the package on the doorstep after work.

Other Expenses This Week:

Thursday:

Mom’s night out was last Thursday and we ate out at a local Mexican restaurant. It was a much-needed break.  (about $22)

Friday:

Subway for football game night (planned, about $20), football game admission ($10 for my husband & I, we let J stay home until half-time), food and drink at game ($10, my husband didn’t want to eat Subway & ate at the game)

Saturday:

Finally mailed a package to a friend (about $13 for the box), BK for lunch for the boys & I ($15), and we ordered pizzas for dinner ($20 with a coupon).

Goals For The Coming Week:

  1. Cut Grocery Bill In Half, continue to find meals from items we have on hand
  2. No Target Trips!
  3. Only Eat Out One Time This Weekend (Need to be realistic over here)
  4. Keep Up On-Line Shopping Freeze
  5. Take A Day Trip Somewhere Free

*****

Clearly, weekends are my spending downfall…not sure how we’ll do this weekend.  No football game so that should help.  I also work until 6 on Friday evening and expect I’ll be too tired to go anywhere.

We’ll see what this Saturday and Sunday bring.

Please share in the comments if you are meeting your spend less September goals. Or are you like me still struggling a bit to reign in the summertime spending habits?

 

 

Happy Homemaker Monday, Another Full-Time Work Week

I’m putting my post together on Sunday night as I have another full-time work week on the horizon.  This is usually a slower month for my work as sub but not this year.

I’ve found it’s quite helpful especially on my busier weeks to have a weekly plan. So, I’m happy to be joining in with our host, Sandra from Diary of a Stay At Home Mom, for another Happy Homemaker Monday post.

Lots to do tonight to be ready for tomorrow so on to the post…

The Weather 

While the weather is wrecking havoc in the coastal states, we actually are set to have a really nice week here.  Highs in the upper 70s to mid 80s all week and lots of sunshine.  Seems almost wrong to say we could actually use a little rain.  One benefit of working at a preschool all week is that I know I’ll get to spend lots of time outside enjoying it. The Labor Day sunset was a cloudless, strange, beautiful red orb. We enjoyed it a lot less once we learned the smokey haze from the wildfires burning in the west caused the bizarre red sunset.  The photos don’t really capture the essence of it well enough.

Right Now I Am

Wondering when I started working full-time?  Half-listening to the football coverage on the television.  Trying to figure out how to make my part-time wardrobe work this week and thinking I need to probably do a load of laundry.  Thinking that J didn’t bring his P.E. clothes home. Wondering what else is going on this week. Lots of thoughts bouncing around in my brain…

On My Reading Pile

I’ve decided to set aside the Game of Thrones book for a bit.  Will probably look in a bit and see what the Amazon Prime free book selections were for September 1 and choose one of those to read.

Movies Or Shows I Watched This Weekend

Netflix finally added season 7 of The Walking Dead so I watched 2 episodes of that.  I already knew who was going to be at the end of Lucille but I was still a bit sad.  My husband watched about 15 minutes of the second episode of season 7 with me before deciding nope. He’s never been interested in the show & the teenager makes fun of me for watching.

Needed something light later so I sat and watched the musical, Bye Bye Birdie.  I’d surprisingly never seen it but it turned out my 7th grader had watched it in elementary school.  I really enjoyed it!

Oh, and my husband and I watched one episode off our two episode disc of Game of Thrones.  He’s almost done with the show…says he’ll give it 2-3 more episodes before he decides.  I’ll probably keep watching it.

On My TV

Maybe the Master Chef finale if I remember. I watched the semi final last week so I’m sort of hoping Karma catches a chef I thought was incredibly rude and disrespectful to another contestant.  Haven’t been watching the whole season just bits and pieces of the shows so I don’t really care who wins.

My Menu For This Week

The word for the menu this week is SIMPLE.  Of course, I’m still working my way through the great pantry, fridge, freezer clean out and on a Spend Less September so it will be interesting.

MONDAY:  Tacos  *I work 8-4*

TUESDAY:  BLT’s *I work 8:30-3:45* *G has early morning band practice*

WEDNESDAY:  Chicken of some sort*I work 7:45-4:14* *G has early morning band practice*

THURSDAY:  Ham Steaks *I work 9:30-6:00* *class ring order night for G* *G has evening band practice*

FRIDAY: No idea, spaghetti?  *I work 9:30-6:00*

To-Do List

  1. Any of the stuff from last week that I can didn’t do and can fit in to this week
  2. Set out fruit fly traps. It’s that season!
  3. Laundry, pick out clothes to wear this week
  4. Make a “I am not available” work date list
  5. Confirm some of my current work schedule since I’m a bit confused by it

What I Am Creating

Well, I did organize the fridge back on Labor Day.  Does that count? And bonus, it still looks pretty good a week later!  These photos are from last week.

Looking Around The House

I think I missed the party!

From The Camera

Super excited to have spotted this monarch caterpillar on some milkweed in our backyard on Saturday afternoon. Simple Pleasure

Watching the little biographical shorts a local movie station airs before it’s Saturday afternoon selections. I don’t make an effort to tune into them so it’s always a pleasant surprise when I come across one.

Quote For The Week

In remembrance of today:

United We Stand.  

*****

And in true busy week fashion (yes, I’m aware it’s only Monday), I’m finishing the post I started on Sunday night at 5:00p.m. on Monday.  What’s on your agenda for the week?

 

Giving On A Budget

For today’s Tiny Tip on A Thursday, I thought I’d share some of the ways I’ve found for giving on a budget.  

Sometimes the extra money to donate is just not there.  A quick and easy way I’ve found to give back in this situation is to use my reward program points.

I tend to be one of those people who simply let my points in these programs pile up and once in a while, check in to see if I’ve qualified for anything worth the effort.  Many of these programs used to offer charitable donations as a reward option.

Unfortunately, the My Points program no longer offers charitable donations as a reward option.  However, following an idea suggested on their Facebook page, I cashed my points in for an Amazon gift code and then used that code to send items to the charity’s wish list.

If you would like to specifically donate to the Hurricane Harvey relief efforts, both Hip2Save and Money Saving Mom offer great suggestions!

The Swag bucks page has a “Do Good” option under their reward options where you can donate 5 plus Swag Bucks to the charities listed.

We really don’t travel much but many hotels also offer the option to donate their reward points to charity.

Note: When giving to any charity, I highly recommend first doing your research about it.  A favorite site of mine for this purpose is Charity Navigator.

They give charities 1-4 star ratings and you can see at a glance how the charity applies their funds between programs, fundraising, and administration costs.  It’s always ideal to look for a charity with the biggest piece of the pie going to actual programs.

Other Ideas for giving on a budget:

  • Have a garage sale and donate the profits to a charitable organization
  • Our local grocery stores offer cash donation options at the register, forgo an item or two on your grocery list and use the money saved to donate
  • Check for places matching donations, maybe your $5 donation could be worth $10
  • Share posts about places taking donations, it might help get it to someone with extra dollars to give

What ways have you found to give back while on a tight budget?

 

 

Spend Less September

Who wants to join me in a spend less September?   spend less

August turned out to be a rather expensive month around here.  Really expensive.

Why was it so expensive here?

  • School started in August so there were fees to pay and yearbooks to purchase (I highly suggest buying yearbooks at the start of the school year!)
  • one of the kids needed new shoes.
  • Picture day came in August
  • Car tags came due in August and there was a tax error so additional taxes were due also
  • We still had to pay the normal bills to have electricity and stuff like that

Why not a spend free September?  I really did consider it and then, decided against it.  It would be setting myself up for failure and on top of that, I have some obligations plus there are school things going on that would make going for a spend-free month pretty impractical.

So, I compromised with myself and settled on a Spend Less September instead. The goal is pretty simple: Spend less money this month and maybe just maybe even save a little money as well!

My Spend Less September Goals:

These are the areas where I’m hoping to spend a little less this month to make up for last month.

  1. Planning to cut my grocery store budget in half, just for this month!  My hope is to do this by eating most of our meals out of the things already stashed in the pantry, fridge, and freezer.
  2. No frivolous Target trips! Home cleaning items and decor for fall has to come from here this month.
  3. On-line Shopping Freeze!

We’ll see how I do at this.  I can tell it’s going to be a bit of a struggle.  Hopefully, I can stick to the grocery budget during today’s trip.  My plan is to simply buy some produce and lunch items for the boys.  Target, I shall miss you! I keep thinking of a throw pillow on clearance I passed just a few days back.  Since just this morning, I hopped on Amazon to order some steam mop pads, I thought it important to add the on-line shopping freeze to my goals.

A few exceptions:

Here’s why I’m going for a spend less and not a spend-free month.

  • It’s my month to host Bunco. While I don’t plan to use a month’s worth of grocery budget on it, I do plan to serve a decent spread.  I can keep an eye for sale items but I’m not hosting based on what’s in my pantry, fridge, and freezer this time.
  • It’s still marching band/football season and Fridays are busy. No way I’m taking our Subway tradition off the calendar.
  • My hair appointment and Mom’s Night Out are much cheaper than a couple of hours of therapy would be, so they stay on my calendar as well!
  • I have been dabbling with the essential oils and I’m out of some that I consider, well, essential.  Also, I promised J I’d order the cinnamon oil for us to try this month. Can’t wait to smell that mixed with orange for a fall scent.
  • With fall arriving seemingly a bit earlier than usual around here, I think J may need a new jacket (he’s outgrown his old one).

What am I planning to do instead of spend too much money at the grocery store, Target, and on-line?

My plan is to start organizing and de-cluttering the house.  I’ve been trying to make myself follow the Fly lady zone missions a bit more often. Also, I’ve decided to attempt to follow the Holiday Grand Plan

I’m hoping the Holiday Grand Plan missions won’t interfere too much with the primary goal to save money this month as some of the suggestions do involve spending a bit of money. I may just skip or try to figure out a free way to accomplish those tasks.

I’ll probably make Pinterest my friend on the days I have the on-line shopping bug and pin my purchase wish lists to an applicable board.

Want to talk about on Tuesdays?

I’ve decided to share my progress on Tuesdays in September.  Let’s see how much less we can spend and how much we can save in the next 25 days!

Please share your Spend Less September goals and plans in the comments!

 

 

 

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