Thursday, April 29, 2010

Dinner Update

I don't have much time- but I was really excited about this week's menu and shopping. We only spent $15.47 at Aldis this week! Our menu for this week -now that it's almost over haha!

Monday - Hamburgers, alfredo noodles and corn (plus any leftovers from Sunday)
Tuesday- Chicken Stirfry
Wednesday - Breakfast for dinner -eggs, bacon, toast
Thursday- sauce, salad, bread
Friday- Friend's house for dinner
Saturday -Pizza- but not homemade
Sunday- communion parties

This week most of my dinners have been planned by using what we already have. Jeff is leaving tonight for Chicago so I may just order pizza on Saturday. The kids have ball practice and it's been 3 weeks since we've had fast food! We deserve this treat. Other than picking up staples for lunches and milk and bread - we have only spent slightly over $15. I know this week is really cheating though. If I hadn't made a big shopping trip last month, we wouldn't have had all the ingredients for Monday and Tuesday's meals. Anyway, I was so excited about this week's meals and how little we spent that I had to share. Even I get pizza on Saturday, we will still only spend about $30 on food this week! Yay!

Monday, April 26, 2010

What was I thinking?

I wasn't planning to write this post until I could put up pictures but I couldn't wait. Yesterday, Jeffrey Michael received his First Holy Communion and I've been running myself crazy getting all the little details done. And honestly, what was I thinking?

I asked myself this question Saturday night after spending the entire day from 6 am until 11 pm on my to-do list. One of the items on my list was to hang and steam the curtains I purchased for my living room in January. Yes. I know. The free sheers that have been hanging for the past 7 years didn't need to come down this weekend. Especially since I've had the new curtains for the past few months. Why the rush? Why this weekend with all the other things that I had going on did I feel the need to spend time on these curtains. No one would care - they're used to the old curtains. Didn't I have other more important things to do for my son- like gathering his Baptismal pins, getting his hair cut, charging the video recorder?

While the curtains do look nice (still need to get a sheer for underneath cause they're too dark pulled closed) I could have allowed myself the extra hour and half for my other tasks. I'm not alone though. My friend and I were talking Saturday night and I mentioned this to her and she said she does it all the time. In fact, she uses throwing parties as a way to help her get all those little things done around the house that otherwise she'd put off. I told her she was nuts!

Though hanging the curtains did not prevent me from completing all the other things, it certainly made me think about why I do let some tasks go by for ever. I started a to do list of all the things around my house that I've been putting off. These aren't just areas around my house that need decluttered and cleaned though some of those have made the cut. It's more of a fix it, clean it, get rid of it, kinda list.

Do you find yourself trying to finish undone unrelated tasks when getting ready for important events? While I know it's impossible to have my house completely task free (it is over 100 yrs old and always has something breaking!), I would like to get all those little things fixed (like my curtains). Those little things that always make me cringe when company comes over. Some things, like my laundry table from last month, don't bother me if guests see. No one goes into my basement that's why!

I do think God was having a good laugh at me too while hanging those curtains. You see, they have grommets. And we all know how fun they can be. One window in particular was trying to send me to the nut house as they kept sliding off the rod every time a moved. Did I get the hint?? Nope. I just kept hanging them curtains.

But all in all my son's day was really special. He looked so handsome and sat still during the whole mass. He turned and snuck a peek at us after receiving the host and wine. It was so cute.
I'll post pictures later.

In other good news, I was just at SmallNotebook and could not believe she quoted me! ME! I answered her question about lunch ideas never thinking mine was anything special. Wow. I can't believe that something so little that I do might help out someone else. That makes blogging all worth it. Now to just figure out the answers to the rest of my life!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

After work chaos

Last night after work was completely chaotic. First my husband had to fill in at a track meet and so he was gone till around 7:30/8. Paige went with a friend after school which was nice and Jeff M had Communion practice which my mother in law was able to shuttle him to. So while I was able to sit in the church parking lot relaxing for about 30 mins till his class was over, it was a complete disaster afterward.

First Jeff M wanted to go to the library to look for books. No problem, I actually like it when he wants to read since he is really lazy about it. Of course he couldn't find anything - but I did. Then we headed home and I started getting dinner going. It was about 6:30 by then and Paige had gone out to dinner with her friends family so I couldn't pick her up like planned. As soon as I got the french fries in the oven she texts me to come get her and like NOW! Ugg! I thought my girlfriend was going to drop Paige off since they were out anyway, but Paige left her school bag at the house so they just took her there. Off we dash to get her, hoping that the house doesn't burn down. Then we get home and I finish our steak salads. Jeff just ate the steak, Paige ate nothing, and I wolfed down a quick plate.

As I am trying to get the next day's dinner ready and clean up the dishes, Jeff M wants to play a board game. At this point my mind is mush, I still had to run over the neighbors to get her steamer and throw a load of clothes in the wash. Dishes done, steamer got (but needs cleaned), nixed the laundry, I cuddled on the couch with the outside kitten and went to sleep. Now that I write this it really doesn't sound all that busy. I guess it was more my attitude than anything. It's amazing how at the time I was all frazzled and miserable. But now this morning it occurs to me that if I had approached it with a better attitude I would have a better night. Maybe I would have joined in the board game. I really missed a nice night with my family.

I've been reading books by Joyce Meyer and watching her on tv before work. I started a post about her last month (it's still in my drafts!) because I really like her. She is very different from the people that I normally watch on EWTN. But for me she works. I need that kick in the rear kind of talking. Have any of you read her books, watched her programs. or gone to one of her conferences? I'm thinking of going to the Love Life conference in September. That's if I can afford it after our cruise!

Oh, and we're having the whipped cream tonight with our sundaes!! Jeff appreciates the condolences.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Rounding up all the little things

Jeffrey M is getting his First Holy Communion this Sunday. A lot of things are done, but there are a few little things to finalize. Some I'm not too sure about. Like the tie that came with his suit. He opted for a black suit- and with his complexion and dark hair makes him look like a young Michael Corleone from The Godfather movie- instead of the old traditional white suit. The tie was nothing special and he has a tie from another suit that would work. Honestly, I don't think anyone will really notice. My husband may not even want to buy a new tie- remember he hasn't spent any additional money since last week! He may find buying the tie unnecessary since we have a couple to choose from.

I am happy to say that we did stick to our dinner menu all week! By Thursday, Paige and Jeffrey M were eager to pick their dinners again. One of the best surprises was Friday night. Paige wanted roni rolls and we made them homemade. She told my husband that she loved them and wants them again this Friday. But the ultimate was her telling him they were better than the ones she used to make us buy at the local pizzeria. Yes!!

This weeks menu is the following:

Monday - Steak salads
Tuesday- Roast Chicken, potatoes, carrots, salad (I'm gonna try this in the crockpot)
Wednesday- Turkey breast, sweet potato / bake potatoe, noodles, salad - (Jeff M loved this last week
Thursday - Sauce & macaroni, salad, italian bread
Friday - Roni rolls
Saturday - Hot dogs, hamburgers, linguine salad, baked beans - we're planning to grill out!
Sunday - First Holy Communion Party- leftovers

Jeff only spent around $77 dollars this week. I can't find the receipt from Aldis, but he said it was only about $54. Giant Eagle - 8.93 for steak and 11.98 from Save-A-Lot. If we actually make it through the week again without having to stop at the store it will be awesome!

Jeff shopped really good and followed the list. He only forgot one thing. Imagine his surprise when he was at the bar with his buddies watching the Penguins playoff game last night and he got a text from me asking him to stop at the store and bring home whipped cream!! He said he nearly fell off the stool and ran out to the store right then! Unfortunately, when he texted me back some rather suggestive things we could do with the whipped cream,I had to burst his
bubble by telling him it was that time of the month and it really was for desserts!! Not the first time I've done that to him and won't be the last!!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Mini Monster

It's rainy and cold this morning! The sun is suppose to shine later on today- but it's not fast enough for me. It looks more like fall than spring. Eww!

Last night dinner went so easy. Jeff cooked the ground meat and it only took minutes to put everything out on the table. Loved that! We ate dinner and I had the kitchen clean by 6:15pm.

The kids kept going to the refrigerator to look at the menu and kept asking if we were really having turkey for today. So far so good. I did get the potatoes and carrots ready last night and left a note for Jeff to put Jeff M's sweet potato in earlier. Baseball practice is to start at 5:30pm and if dinner can go in the oven by 4-4:15pm, it will be done in time for them to eat before leaving. Those are the days that will really make a difference.

My husband kept informing me that he spent ZERO yesterday. He's like a little kid! He even stated that he wants Dave Ramsey to personally set up our budget. I think he's turning into a budget monster! Luckily he left for an hour last night to go to the high school to work out with some other teachers. I needed the peace! When he came home last night he was telling me how hard it was to lift the weights. He complained to his friend about how much his arms hurt to which his friend replied- dude, we're working on our chests! You're gonna be in deep trouble tomorrow when we actually work on our arms! Haha!

Dmoms emailed me her template for her cleaning schedule. Head over to her blog and see how nice her lists are. My kids looked at it and were not as impressed as me. Though that might be to the fact that they do not like to be told to clean daily. They would rather clean when they feel like it - which is never. But I just wanted to send another Thanks! to her for helping me. I can easily see in my mind how I want things to look whether it's clothes, decorating my home, etc, but never seem to be able to reproduce it in reality. Then I bog myself down with the minutae. For example, I will spend a ridiculous amount of time searching for just the right font when I working on the computer. I miss the old days of typewriters. Two choices -10 or 12 pitch. That's it. Now I get to choose all the fonts that I would see but could never use on a typewriter. Too many choices for me. Even the template for this blog. I've changed it so many times. Especially when I find a new blog with a really cool template. Anyway, the inner designer in me is trying to work it's way out. Lord help us all!

Monday, April 12, 2010


Thought this was too funny- Jeff just texted me to let me know he had a no spend day! I challenged him to see how many days we can go! I'm gonna make a PF blogger out him one day!!

Finally- Damn Ramsey and meal planning

My husband is on board again with watching our spending! Last summer we fell off the budget band wagon. The two rental properties were vacant and paying those mortgages along with our household bills really hit hard. But we sold the one property and the other is rented and so for the past few months we haven't had any hiccups paying bills.

I have been asking Jeffrey to go on the Dave (Damn) Ramsey envelope system. He thought it was a good idea but not something he wanted to do. Well, he still doesn't want to go on the envelope system, but he did say that we have to stop wasteful spending, ie buying lunches at work, grabbing fast food, etc. He said that he noticed a lot of wasteful spending on his account. Most of it was buying lunches at his school and fast food for the kids. We used to do a half baked job of menu planning each week and it did cut down on spending.

We talked about eating at home more often and Jeff wanted to join a monthly menu planning service. I agree that we do need to eat at home more often, but am not a fan of menu planning services. While they probably do help a lot of people, I don't think my family would benefit because we are rather picky eaters. I'm probably the pickiest of them all! So I suggested to Jeff that if we put together a week worth of menus, we can work the night before doing any prep work needed so that getting dinner made wouldn't be too time consuming. This would help tremendously especially since baseball/softball season is starting.

To get the kids involved, I suggested allowing them to pick one dinner each only stipulation is that it must be home cooked - no fast food! Surprisingly, they were excited about this and were even trading ideas for other days of the week. I put together a menu chart (thanks dmoms!) and included night before instructions. My Aldi's list (work in progress but I will share once done) made it easy to check off what was needed for each item. I supplement items at our local Giant Eagle and now that a Save-A -Lot opened on our side of town, I will save even more. Giant Eagle is a very expensive grocery store compared to Aldi's and Save a lot. The only things that I purchase there are their meats (when on sale), fruits & vegis(on sale) and lunch meats. Everything else can be found at the other two stores. The best thing is that they are all within a mile of each other on the same road!

Our menu for this week is as follows-

Monday - Tacos and Nachos
Tuesday- Turkey breast, salad, potatoes, Parmesan noodles
Wednesday- BBQ Ribs, corn on the cob, salad (I'll prob eat leftover turkey -not a fan of ribs)
Thursday- Spaghetti, salad, and Italian bread
Friday - Home made pepperoni rolls and pizza ( Jeff M wants to try making homemade pizza)
Saturday- Pork chops, Parmesan noodles, salad, corn and asparagus
Sunday- Spaghetti, salad and Italian bread

While most people would not like having sauce twice a week, but as Italians, we (mainly me) were raised having sauce on Thursdays and Sundays. Trust me, I hear about it if we don't have sauce - especially on Sundays! We may not have sauce every Thursday, but Sundays is a given.

I am going to keep track of what we spend each week to see how well we do. I may not post my menu's or spending on this blog but will keep you updated on how it's going.

The above menu and our regular grocery needs broke down to the following-

Giant Eagle - 29.08
Save-a-Lot - 33.29
Aldis - 54.34

Total - 116.71

These totals are all food items. He didn't buy any toiletries, cleaning products, or pet food. That was just coincidence. In fact, I have to run out to the store to get dish soap and toilet paper! I am also going to try to watch Giant Eagle's sales flyer and a grocery store near my work place for meat items on sale. That way I can stock up on things and keep the weekly tally low. Is $400 a month on meals expensive? I've never really thought about what we spend buying groceries or buying fast food, but last week we spent around $40 in food for just 2 nights dinners! A few dollars here and there really do add up.

I try not to eat out at work. I've kept it to just once a week and spend maybe 2-3 dollars. I am going to try to stop altogether this month. Jeff's taking a more conservative approach and is just trying to go this week. Hey - baby steps I know! We've also explained to the kids what we are trying to do and I'm hoping they don't go through withdrawal too bad. The next hurdle would be to get Paige to take more lunches to school. She has stopped taking her lunches and it's adding up considerably especially since they can buy ice cream and various treats in addition to lunch. Again- baby steps. Don't get too far ahead of yourself now Rochelle!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

The new addition to the house

No- it's not another child- or animal! It's this monster. The kids received it as the family gift for Christmas last year. Of course with the weather being in the 80's. Wait. Did I just say 80's? Considering a couple months ago we had almost 2 feet of snow in our yard, it's shocking that we've had summer like weather and it's only the 3rd day of April. June rarely sees those type of days in our area!
But the kids badgered my husband into setting it up and I don't like it. My fear is that a wind storm will blow it away and cause expensive damage to some one's property. The netting makes me a little less worried about the kids getting hurt as it's really sturdy. We will inspect it every month to be sure it's still safe and secure. Since this picture was taken, we did move it up closer to our house. It blocked my view to the swing set and I didn't like that. Last night we all piled in for a few minutes to bounce. I think my husband likes it a lot as he was bouncing for a long while. Even our cat Chester was having fun playing underneath it!
Today we have to finish getting things for Easter dinner and Paige's Easter basket. I hope everyone has a great Easter. And remember this quote I heard from a little boy in Target yesterday- " Easter is awesome. The bunny comes and celebrates Jesus dying for our sins." He's got it- hope everyone else does too!