Posted in Adoption, Budgeting, Couponing, Everyday, Health, Homeschooling, Inspirational Thoughts, Marriage, Medical, Once a Month Cooking, Organization, Saving Money, Truth and Honesty

Operation “Get Life Together”

Operation “Get Life Together” is underway.  Here is a bit of what all has been going on the last week or two…..

  • Scheduled:  Dental appointment!  This is HUGE because I do not like the dentist, but my teeth do not like me.  It is what it is.  I have had a toothache for a while and because I CHOSE not to do anything about it (excuses:  time, money, don’t want too, doesn’t hurt that bad, blah blah blah), I now have 2 choices…1) get it pulled (insurance pays) or 2) have a root canal (insurance DOES NOT pay).  I also have to have a wisdom tooth out and some cavities to be filled.  As good as I am brushing, my mouth has always been full of cavities (maybe its genes maybe it is lots o candy).  Anyhow, I have my appointment made for my extraction or root canal.  I got them cleaned.  I also have 2 other appointments I need to make and then I will be caught up with my mouth!  Yay me!  And because I’m awesome, I went ahead and scheduled 5 of my 7 kids an appointment for their teeth to be cleaned.  Yes, I’m a rockstar, I know.
  • Scheduled:  Mammogram!  Girls…take care of your boobies!!!!!!!!!!!!  Breast Cancer is curable if it is caught early!  Now that I’ve said that, I will say that it has been 5 years since I had my last one (practice what you preach, I know).  It was also scheduled for today….which I had to cancel because I didn’t want to take the 3 little boys to this appointment and I had no one else to watch them.  I did reschedule for the week after next. I will be keeping that one!
  • Scheduled:  Papsmear!  Girls…..take care of your girly bits!!!!!!!!!  Is it fun?  Heck no.  Is it necessary?  YES!  I did go, but to my chagrin, I was late and I had started my period.  Good times were had by all.  The nurse and doctor sat down with me and we discussed life, my body, what the problems were, etc.  We have a game plan and I have a new appointment on the 25th of August.  I will be getting my bloodwork done (haven’t done that in about 3 years), I will be doing a urine test, an ultrasound on my insides, a hysteroscopy (they scrape the inside of your uterus) and a papsmear.  Getting it all done in one day (I may throw in a tattoo for good measures cause it is right across the street).  Once all of this is done and the results come in, I will be getting a hysterectomy, a bladder sling, and my girl parts fixed.  I am stoked.
  • Scheduled:  Hunter’s OMS follow up appointment and his Pediatric Opthamology appointment.
  • Need to schedule:  eyeballs for all.
  • I have begun working on our ZERO based budget plan and will do a follow up of that when Big Daddy and I sit down and write it all out.
  • We have discussed our debt and how we are getting out of it.  We are on the same page.
  • I have *not* been to the gym yet.
  • I have a goal of getting back into the swing of going to church on Wednesday nights.
  • I have begun a “for me” project…more to come on that.
  • I rocked the freezer meals.  I went and bought our groceries back around a month ago and we still have a good month left of freezer meals….it will last us almost 2 mths!  We have only had to go to the grocery one time (for lunch items and some breakfast stuff).  I spent about $550 on that July trip and we are still going strong.
  • Get my freezer meal ideas on paper
  • Cleaned my room!
  • Organized the laundry room
  • Organized/cleaned the garage
  • Made my purse emergency kit
  • Made my van emergency kit

I’m rocking it all out.  If you would like any info on organization, cleaning, the kits I’ve made, meal planning, etc….drop me a comment below.  I’m considering doing a video on some of these things to help with those who are visual, like me LOL

Posted in Budgeting, Everyday, Health, Marriage, Once a Month Cooking, Organization, Saving Money

Ode to My Instant Pots

Oh, Instant Pot DUO80 7-in-1 Multi-Use Programmable Pressure Cooker, 8 Qt | Stainless Steel

I love you.

Yes, I do.

I love you.

My….oh….my….oh….my…..

I bought an INSTANT POT a while back and I fell in love.  It is not like the love I have for Big Daddy or Cal Sisto…..it is a love of reducing heat in the summer, cooking fast, skies the limit, and endless possibilities type of love.

My love is SO bad, that Big Daddy ended up getting me two more…so now I have a GLORIOUS 3 Instant pots!  I rarely use my stovetop anymore (the Instant Pot has replaced my hot air popcorn popper and my bagged popcorn because that isn’t too healthy).

It has also replaced my Rice Cooker/Steamer and my FANTASTIC Soup Maker (I really do still love my soup cooker).  Now, I still have 1 of my huge crockpots (I gave the other one away) because, in all honesty, the Instant Pot does a CRAPPY job using the “crockpot” function.

I saute’ the most, in it.  I use the steam function for my frozen vegetables (that is all I buy because you get more product, it is frozen at its peak so it does not lose the nutritional value, and it has nothing added).  Beware with cauliflower and broccoli.  Once your steamer basket is in the Instant Pot, and you have added your 1 c. water.  Place your broccoli or cauliflower, put the lid on, set it to seal, and then manually do it for ZERO minutes.  By the time it comes up to pressure, it is perfect. Anything over that and you will have straight up mush.

Macaroni and cheese in 6 minutes.

Once meat is sauteed, you can make spaghetti in about 6 minutes.

Rice…..perfect.

Boiled eggs…peel like a dream.

Soups in 10 minutes.

If you do not have one (or three)…………..PLEASE go and buy one.  It is totally worth it.

Posted in Budgeting, Health, Once a Month Cooking, Organization, Saving Money

Breakdown of My Freezer Cooking

As you might remember….I did a MASSIVE grocery shopping trip.  I did this in hopes I would be able to freezer cook all of our meals and save me time and save money

Our goal was to not go to the grocery all the time, except for things we do need, weekly (ie fruit, milk, special milk, bread).  The sad part of this grandiose plan, was not what I spent…not the cooking part….but the freezer space.  We, literally, ran out of space in a HUGE deep freeze, another deep freeze, a freezer in our outside fridge and our freezer in our inside freeze *cue tears*.

With that being said, I have not touched the stuff that I have frozen, yet, because I’m still cooking what is leftover in our fridge that I bought.  Does that make sense?

My grand total cost of all that is listed below was $597.  That is for breakfast, lunch, suppers, and side dishes.  This is also for a family of 8 on a good day….9 when the oldest comes…11 when the male friends of the oldest two girls come…13 when my bonus daughters are here…..you get the point.  One thing that we do, every year, is buy our meat (beef and pork) in bulk.  This year has been no different.  We were able to raise a pig and get her slaughtered, so she is in one freezer.  We also buy a full cow (you can buy a 1/2 or a 1/4 of a cow), from my granny’s cattle.  The pig was about $125 for processing and packaging.  The cow was about $800…maybe??? Little unsure of that cost.  We pull out the cost of both of those animals when we get our tax return back, so there was no extra “out of pocket expense.”  We used to raise meat hens, but we do not do that anymore.  We also have some laying hens…so we *always* have eggs.

With all that I did, and have to do…..I have 50 suppers/sides, breakfast and lunches for 50 days, as well….I spent $597 at the store.  Dividing this number by 50 yields $11.92…rounding to $12 cause I suck at math.  That $12 is for one whole day and all that I feed for all three meals.  If all 9 of us ate, here…the cost per person per day would be $1.33.  So…not bad.

BREAKFAST

Pancakes (made from scratch, not from bisquick….we are all about saving money)

French Bread

Zucchini Muffins

Banana Muffins (good gravy these were good……1/2 c. butter, 1/2 tsp. vanilla, 1 c. sugar, 4 REALLY ripe bananas, 2 eggs, 1.5 c. self rising flour.  Bake at 350 for about 50-55 minutes)

Carrot Muffins

Granola Bars

Granola

Fruit bars

McMuffins

Omelet Cups

Breakfast Cookies

Breakfast burritos (taking this off because I used my flour tortillas for enchiladas when I had leftover meat)

Lunch

Meat and Cheese sandwiches (turkey, ham, roast beef, bologna, fried bologna….provolone, American, swiss, cheddar)

Leftovers

 

Supper

Homemade Pizza x 7

Spinach, Ricotta and beef Enchiladas on a bed of rice

Chicken & Broccoli, Scalloped Potatoes, Green bean casserole

Beef Stroganoff

Mexican Casserole

Mexican Lasagna

Mexican, Ricotta, and Spinach Lasagna

Baked Pasta, Garlic Bread, Salad

Burgers/Hotdogs/Fries x 5

Tacos, Refried Beans, Rice x 3

Chicken stuffed cheese/spinach wrapped in bacon, Roasted Potatoes Sweet peas

Pork Chops, Hashbrown Casserole, Corn, Lima Beans

Chicken Cordon Bleu, Cream Corn, Baked Potato

Cheeseburger Casserole, Mashed Potatoes, Sweet peas

Chicken Alfredo, salad, bread

Round Steak with Mushroom Sauce, Broccoli and Bacon, Mashed Potatoes

Philly Cheesesteaks, Homemade fries

Greek Marinated Chicken, Fried Zucchini, Rice (I am not adding the Greek Marinated Chicken to my recipes because I did not like it.  We ate it, but we had a lot of chicken (on the bone) leftover.  I just pulled off the skin and I pulled the meat off the bone and froze it, so now I have chicken for another meal.)

Pork Roast with Feta and Mushrooms, Mashed Potatoes, Sweet peas

Baked Chicken, Cream Corn, Cauliflower and Broccoli Au Gratin

Beef and Broccoli, Fried Cauliflower rice

Garlic Cheddar Chicken, Mac and cheese, Roasted potatoes, sweet peas

Tater Tot Casserole, Green Bean Casserole, Corn

Pork Roast, Mashed Potatoes, Lima Beans, Asparagus/Feta

Ethiopian

Spaghetti, French Bread, Salad

Lasagna, Garlic Knots, Salad x 2

Breakfast (Sausage and egg casserole, bacon, biscuits, pancakes)

Soups x 7:

  • Stuffed Pepper Soup and Chili
  • Vegetable Beef and Cheeseburger
  • Chicken Noodle and Tomato
  • Tortellini and Zuppa Toscana
  • Broccoli and Potato
  • Enchilada and Beef Stew
  • Chili and Chicken Noodle
  • xtra chili

Roast/Potatoes, Asparagus and feta, Green Beans, Mac and cheese x 2

Posted in Budgeting, Couponing, Health, Homeschooling, Inspirational Thoughts, Marriage, Medical, My Lady, Once a Month Cooking, Organization, Saving Money, Truth and Honesty

Enough is Enough

Tonight, I had this overwhelming feeling of being suffocated by debt.  I hate that feeling. I hate the fact that I am a slave to money.  That is not how it is supposed to be.  When we moved into this house, about 10 years ago…we had no debt (other than our previous house).  We do not do the whole credit card thing (learned our lesson from that), we didn’t have new furniture…if we did, we paid cash for it.  Our cars were paid for, no student loans…nothing.

Now…..shazaam……we have a van payment, a student loan, an equity loan, another type of loan, a house loan, medical bills, bills from where things have broken and they have to be fixed.  It could be worse.  I know that, but I feel like, right now, this is worse because I know better.  I know what Jesus teaches us and instead of walking that narrow path that He chose for us….we saw the bright shiny-ness of the wider road and we took it.  Now, we are standing on the little strip of dirt between the wide road and the narrow road.  I equate it, in my mind, as those little pieces of dirt between the different lanes of the interstate.  Where it is posted no U turn.  That is where we are standing.  The wide road is so shiny and it is filled with new vehicles, coach bags, sports obligations, vacations, and movies.  The narrow road is not so shiny, but it is being protected, from the elements, by these beautiful weeping willow trees.  It is filled with discipline, being trusted with little, tithing, paying cash, not serving two masters.

I am over it.  I am ready to walk on that narrow road…not sure if Big Daddy is, but I also know he is tired of it too.  This is scary.  It is a hard road.  We’ve walked on that road.  We’ve made sacrifices.  We succeeded.  We can and we will, in the Name of Jesus, succeed again.  It is time to hand over this endeavor and because we are so weak…..we need to lean on Him because He is SO strong.  He is our Strong Tower.

Another issue that we have given lip service too is our health/weight.  We are fat.  We are fat people.  We are not fluffy.  We are not round around the edges.  We are not jolly.  We are fat.  Straight up.  Our health sucks.  We get winded walking up the steps to the bedroom.  Big Daddy can’t hardly walk because of pain.  We have purposed, for years, that the next year will be the year.  It is the magical year we get fit.  We give it a week…we only lose 4 lbs of pee weight and we are done.  We want a double quarter pounder super sized with a coke the size of my face and a side of a double decker death by chocolate cake.

I am over it.  Done.  Just done.  I do not want to give the illusion that we eat crap all the time.  Frankly, I do not buy sweets (now there are other people in my house that do, then eat it all in one sitting). I do drink coke.  I am going to try and cut that down to 1 a day.  We only drink water.  I cook with tons of veggies.  We do not eat much bread or pasta.  We are fruit eaters…..we do not do things badly BUT we are completely inactive and we do not blink if we want to eat out…we eat out. So, we are affecting our health and our finances by poor choices along those wide roads.

I will be documenting our journey of getting out of debt and getting this fat off of us.  You are welcome to follow along.  You can subscribe to my blog >>>>>>>>in this side bar>>>>.  You can also follow me on any social media platform (also on that side bar).  If you have suggestions, by all means, give them too me.  Suggestions on stay at home jobs, how to make some extra money on the side, healthy recipes, or exercises.  Anything.  I am open.

Here’s to having my belly full of ENOUGH.

Onward and upward.

Posted in Everyday, Health, Homeschooling, Inspirational Thoughts, Marriage, Medical, My Lady, Once a Month Cooking, Organization, Truth and Honesty

Motivation Monday

This funk has GOT to go….so go it will.  As my Lady always says “pull yourself up and get outta that pit.”  With that being said….I’ve got things to do, places to go, and people to see!

  • Get thank you cards mailed
  • Email G her letter from the kids
  • Make a dentist appt for me and Noah
  • Make dentist appts for the three younger boys
  • Reschedule eye appt.
  • Schedule ACT for Noah
  • Let him drive (insert me vomiting)
  • Pack for Lville and our next drs appt
  • Call dr with update on Hunter
  • Wear makeup
  • Work on Family calendar
  • Pull some homeschooling stuff together
  • Get my letter of intent finished
  • Call OT to cancel appt
  • Reschedule said appt
  • Clean my bedroom
  • Go through and super clean the boys’ rooms cause there is a nasty smell that, frankly, scares me.
  • Call my mama
  • Go see V’s new apartment
  • Set my month’s goals (yes, we are 1/2 way into July but why wait)
  • Start my Bible reading again
  • Clean of and prepare homeschool computers and tablets
  • Read to my baby
  • Finish Freezer cooking
  • Baseball……….Baseball………….and more baseball
  • Go and see my Lady.

This season has sucked.  This year has sucked.  I have not enjoyed any of 2017 and not a whole heck of a lot of enjoyment was had in 2016 LOL.  What holds me together is knowing that known of this surprises Jesus.  He has got all of this.  He has my family.  He knows the beginning from the end.  I just have to buckle in and deal with the twists and turns of the rollercoaster I have been living on for the last year or so.

Time to live.  Time to breathe.  Time for a new season of life.  Time for new beginnings…..this is where Eccl. 3 comes into play.

Ecclesiastes 3 (NLT)

A Time for Everything

For everything there is a season,
    a time for every activity under heaven.
A time to be born and a time to die.
    A time to plant and a time to harvest.
A time to kill and a time to heal.
    A time to tear down and a time to build up.
A time to cry and a time to laugh.
    A time to grieve and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.
    A time to embrace and a time to turn away.
A time to search and a time to quit searching.
    A time to keep and a time to throw away.
A time to tear and a time to mend.
    A time to be quiet and a time to speak.
A time to love and a time to hate.
    A time for war and a time for peace.

What do people really get for all their hard work? 10 I have seen the burden God has placed on us all. 11 Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end. 12 So I concluded there is nothing better than to be happy and enjoy ourselves as long as we can. 13 And people should eat and drink and enjoy the fruits of their labor, for these are gifts from God.

14 And I know that whatever God does is final. Nothing can be added to it or taken from it. God’s purpose is that people should fear him. 15 What is happening now has happened before, and what will happen in the future has happened before, because God makes the same things happen over and over again.

Posted in Adoption, Couponing, Everyday, Health, Once a Month Cooking, Organization, Recipes, Saving Money

Once a Month Cooking Menu

Recipes will follow but for now, this is what is on tap for me to cook for this month (actually a month and a half because we have some stuff already put in the freezer).

This list will be for Breakfast, some Lunches, Dinners and sides that will go from July 10-August 31.  For lunch…we eat leftovers regularly, so I’m not going to break the bank buying stuff to make some gourmet lunches when my kids will happily gnaw on what is left in the fridge.

I WILL NOT cook on Sundays, so that takes out 7 days.  Also, on Thursdays (with the exception of July 31 which is Daniel’s 13th bday and I will cook whatever he wants) is ALWAYS pizza night…so that is 7 days worth of Thursdays.  The other date to note is August 24th, which is Jude’s 11th bday . I can already tell you that he wants Ethiopian food.

BREAKFAST

Pancakes (made from scratch, not from bisquick….we are all about saving money)

French Bread

Zucchini Muffins

Banana Muffins

Carrot Muffins

Granola Bars

Granola

Fruit bars

McMuffins

Omelet Cups

Breakfast Cookies

Breakfast burritos

Lunch

Meat and Cheese sandwiches (turkey, ham, roast beef, bologna, fried bologna….provolone, American, swiss, cheddar)

Burritos

Quesadillas

Supper

Homemade Pizza x 7

Spinach, Ricotta and beef Enchiladas on a bed of rice

Chicken & Broccoli, Scalloped Potatoes, Green bean casserole

Beef Stroganoff

Mexican Casserole

Mexican Lasagna

Mexican, Ricotta, and Spinach Lasagna

Baked Pasta, Garlic Bread, Salad

Burgers/Hotdogs/Fries x 5

Tacos, Refried Beans, Rice x 3

Chicken stuffed cheese/spinach wrapped in bacon, Roasted Potatoes Sweet peas

Pork Chops, Hashbrown Casserole, Corn, Lima Beans

Chicken Cordon Bleu, Cream Corn, Baked Potato

Cheeseburger Casserole, Mashed Potatoes, Sweet peas

Chicken Alfredo, salad, bread

Round Steak with Mushroom Sauce, Broccoli and Bacon, Mashed Potatoes

Philly Cheesesteaks, Homemade fries

Greek Marinated Chicken, Fried Zucchini, Rice

Pork Roast with Feta and Mushrooms, Mashed Potatoes, Sweet peas

Baked Chicken, Cream Corn, Cauliflower and Broccoli Au Gratin

Beef and Broccoli, Fried Cauliflower rice

Garlic Cheddar Chicken, Mac and cheese, Roasted potatoes, sweet peas

Tater Tot Casserole, Green Bean Casserole, Corn

Pork Roast, Mashed Potatoes, Lima Beans, Asparagus/Feta

Ethiopian

Spaghetti, French Bread, Salad

Lasagna, Garlic Knots, Salad x 2

Breakfast (Sausage and egg casserole, bacon, biscuits, pancakes)

Soups x 7:

  • Stuffed Pepper Soup and Chili
  • Vegetable Beef and Cheeseburger
  • Chicken Noodle and Tomato
  • Tortellini and Zuppa Toscana
  • Broccoli and Potato
  • Enchilada and Beef Stew
  • Chili and Chicken Noodle
  • xtra chili

Roast/Potatoes, Asparagus and feta, Green Beans, Mac and cheese x 2

 

***Recipes to come***

 

 

 

 

Posted in Everyday, Health, Once a Month Cooking, Recipes, Saving Money

Gearing Up For a MONTH of Cooking

Pray for me, folks.

Sometimes, when I’m in a season of depression “Uncle Joe” (as my friend Ron calls it), one sure fire way of occupying my mind is to cook.  I love to cook and I love to have healthy choices for my family.  I have a large family with 7 children and Big Daddy….but we have added a couple of bonus daughters and some hairy legged boys who are “dating” said daughters…so I’m feeding a slew of people.

I’m blessed that my kids are not picky.  I’ve worked hard at always trying to make new things and having them try new things (ie Fried Radishes).  When they were younger, I would load up their food with hidden fruits and veggies.  Chocolate chip cookies with white beans….also, chocolate brownies with spinach and blueberries.  We also did carrot bread, banana bread, zucchini bread….you can throw in so much food in spaghetti sauce…I became a master.

This time around, I’m going to focus how I can get the most bang for my buck, in a healthy way.  Healthy food (fresh fruits and veggies) are expensive.  It can break the bank to eat well and be healthy.  That is really sad.  The fact of the matter is that, as Americans, we are large people.  Processed, boxed food is easy to make, filling, and cheap.  How pathetic is that.

I will tell you, that we have laying hens…we usually always have eggs.  We also buy our cow (a whole cow) once a year and we buy a pig to slaughter once a year.  So, when I go to the store, I do not have to buy meat and that makes my grocery bill look a bit different than yours.

Take stock of your pantry, fridge, and freezer.  Write everything down.  Work your menu AROUND what you already have…that means you buy less.  Do not buy fresh veggies (with the exception of a few things)…buy them frozen.  They are frozen at their peak and it seals in all the good nutrients. I generally cook Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday.  Thursdays, my husband makes me a pizza and the kids either has frozen pizza or leftovers.  Sunday, I do not cook.

Start out with freezer cooking for a week or two weeks at a time.  It prevents you from going to the store everyday.  Take cash and a detailed list of what you are fixing.  If you do not have freezer space, I freeze things in gallon baggies.  I lay submerge the baggie in warm water (after the food is placed in it and I’ve sealed it about 3/4 of the way).  Once it is in warm water…you can seal the rest of the bag because the baggie forms to the food.  You can either do that or lay it flat with a straw in the corner to get all that air out.

Get out your calendar and mark down the dates that you are going to cook for for 2 weeks.  Include breakfast items, lunch items, breads, supper and then mark off what you already have and the rest you need to buy.

Once I get my menu ready (later today), I will post what I will be cooking and my grocery list if you want to use it.  I’m excited…first time I’ve been excited in a while.

Happy Cooking, friends.