Pantry Challenge Day 4

I really, really want to grocery shopping! I actually enjoy doing it and it’s hard not to stop at the store when I know things we eat are on sale. It was made even harder by the Sunday paper deities decided to bless me with five. coupon. inserts!


Tonight we ate chicken nuggets and french fries for dinner. It’s healthy because the nuggets are breaded in whole wheat. That’s healthy, right?

This challenge couldn’t have come at a better time. We had yet another car expense to pay today that wasn’t planned for and after the mortgage check cleared, we were down to the smallest amount of money I think we’ve ever had in our bank account since we got married.

I keep reminding myself of the verse Ed Dobson spoke about in church on Sunday: “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.”

I spend too much time thinking about how things will work out tomorrow, what else will cost us more money that we were trying to save. Sometimes it feels like we’ll never reach our long term goals because we keep getting kicked while we’re already down. All I can do is try to thank God we have enough to get us by today and remember that today is enough for me. He’ll take care of my tomorrows.

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The pantry is full and our pockets are empty.

We soon discovered that since I have switched grocery shopping habits from buying what we needed to hardcore couponing, we had more food that two people could eat in many, many months. Our kitchen pantry is stocked; our downstairs storage is… overflowing.

(Enter the Eat-Out-of-the-Pantry Challenge)

Money Saving Mom and Fishmama have offered up the challenge of eating out of the pantry for the month of January. There are many reasons to do it so they encourage each participant to create her own goals best tailored to fit the needs of her family. Since we have so many different types of food stored away and an extra tight budget this month due to unexpected car repairs etc, I have based our family’s goals on those two things.

Develop weekly meal plans around the abundance of food already in the house including ground beef, pasta, frozen veggies, and some forgotten items pushed to the back of the freezer.

Purchase ONLY the necessary produce and fresh dairy items for less than $25 for the month. The remainder of our $200 grocery budget will go toward paying off the car repair bill.

There is a little leeway in the spending goal simply because the grocery budget also encompasses household paper products and toiletries and there are some things our family seems to always be short on like conditioner for a certain curly haired someone. Even so, I feel like $25 is a reasonable figure considering the amount of fresh veggies and fruit we eat during the winter.

I hope to be documenting this whole experience here on the blog so I can share any success (yay!) or failure (boo!) with you.


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I think I am a little obsessive over paperclips. They can’t be bent or rusty. I use small ones all morning and only large ones in the afternoon.

Perhaps a lot obsessive?

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Growing up

One thing I’ve heard from my friends (and myself) often is that we don’t see each other enough. We live only a few miles from each other and yet go weeks and sometimes months between seeing each other. Is this a part of growing up? We’ve all got more responsibility than we did in college but life is that much harder without each other.

I don’t think I’m ready to grow up yet.

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O Christmas Tree

We put up our Christmas tree today! You might think today was early but really, I’ve been asking Brian if we could get it out since before Halloween. There is something about a brilliantly lit tree in the living room that makes me want to stay home more often. The kitties were pretty excited; they love laying underneath, staring at the branches. They didn’t try to climb it last year but Squints is pretty adventurous now that he’s gotten older.

As soon as the Christmas tree arrives in our house, my excitement for Thanksgiving and Christmas just grows. This year, like every year it seems, money is tight and we’re carefully sticking to our gift budget by bargain hunting (don’t forget the clearance aisle), homemaking gifts for those who will appreciate it and plain creativity. The gifts we’ve gotten for Kellie, my youngest sister, is a good example of all of those. I found a tutorial online to make curly barrettes out of ribbon laying around the house. I made three sets: teal, sheer purple and cream, and pink and white checked. She is also getting toys bought on the after-Halloween clearance aisle. One of them, a Halloween Mr. Potato Head that she enjoys playing with at our house, I had a coupon for $2 off so I only paid $1.50 for a toy I know she’ll love.

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Year in Review

After once again being inspired to write in this thing by my more talented friends and role models, I will attempt to quickly explain what has happened in our lives over the past 12 months.

  • Brian’s been working a lot for and His House
  • I’ve been working a lot, still at Network180. Great job, still challenging.
  • We bought a house in Grandville. It’s adorable and we love it.
  • Trying to figure out how planning for the future fits into the present
  • We’re still caring for and working with local college students in His House Christian Fellowship

Trying to explain all that has happened over the past year would be like trying to explain to a 3 year old what causes chicken pox. It’s all a bit overwhelming and staggering.

Above all, God has been good and hasn’t let us down. Through all the uncertainty that life can bring, He’s held us together and we’re growing into a stronger family (kitties and all!).

Now, like the (responsible) person I am, I’m off to bed.

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Whoa, long time!

It’s been a loooong time since I’ve posted anything.

I had to share with someone what fantastic deals that I got today at Target. Today is the best day to buy candy all-year-long. Yup, day after Halloween. I bought about 20 lbs of candy (almost not an exaggeration) all for 50% off, bounty napkins (200 for $1.50), tealight candles, two packs of catnip sticks for $2.50 each (the kitties went NUTS), Glad containers- small and large for $1.50 each, a Halloween Mr. Potato head for $2.50, a bag of small play-do containers, cat treats ($2.50 for 4 bags and there was a $2 coupon inside), plastic zip top bags, and a pez despenser.

It was a good morning!

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Simple Woman’s Daybook 2

For Today… August 4

Outside my Window… the world is slowly lightening and it feels like it is waking up along with me.

I am thinking… I can make it through this week, I can make it through this week.

I am thankful for… the opportunity I have to work outside of the home and earn a little money to contribute toward family expenses

From the kitchen… nothing. I am not cooking anything today, which, in my mind, is depressing. I don’t cook dinner on Monday due to Monday Night Grill and Chill at the Lowell’s and my darling husband made me breakfast and packed my lunch so I could sleep in another 15 minutes. Yesterday I made soup from scratch, without a recipe. I think that counts enough for today.

I am wearing… the same thing as the last Simple Woman’s Daybook post. It’s my go-to outfit when I either don’t care what I wear to work or am too tired to think about it. Plus I get to wear my red shoes. That has to make today better.

I am reading… Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder. It’s the last from the series this time around. I’m waiting for my other library books to arrive.

I am hoping… that tonight I will convince myself that a little extra sleep is very, very worth it.

I am hearing… the clicking of the computer keys and little else. The office is earily quiet without the students running around the hallways.

Around the house… clean laundry, organized cupboards and closets, and no dirty dishes in the sink. No, I didn’t do it. It’s all Brian. I worked all weekend.

One of my favorite things… surprise visits from friends. Or visits that run into 2 hour chats in the living room on our new couch!

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week… work between 50-60 hours for the last time this summer, begin my Christmas shopping, go to Chicago for the weekend and celebrate Dad’s 50th birthday

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you… Our new Couch! It was a wedding present from Doug and Patti. I like it a ton!

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I am tired. I can’t make it any clearer. Just once I would like to stay in bed as long as I want without having to rush off to work. This weekend isn’t any better. I’m even working Saturday.

I don’t want to work, I don’t want to clean my house, I don’t want to cook. I just want to sleep.

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Simple Woman’s Daybook!

While browsing my blog subscriptions this morning, I came across The Simple Woman’s Daybook. For someone who has had a blog to call her own for less than a week, the writer has given me a simple way to share my life with anyone who would happen to read this blog. Thanks!

For Today, July 22, 2008…

Outside My Window… is a parking lot which only means that I am working. Only 4 more hours until I get to go and enjoy what is out there myself. Today is the least humid and least hot day in the past week.

I am thinking… that I might be getting a headache. Today is not the day for it. I refuse.

I am thankful for… Crockpots. Brian and I have implemented Crock Pot Tuesday in our family. Tuesday night is His House Christian Fellowship night (our campus ministry) and there have been many Tuesdays where we haven’t eaten dinner until 9:30 or later! We discovered that if I start something in the Crockpot before leaving for work, dinner is ready by 5 and we get to eat. Crockpots are magic.

From the kitchen… Chicken Tortilla Soup is already cooking. The best part about Crock Pot Tuesday is that I get to go home and smell whatever delicious thing is simmering away. My container garden has taken off enough that we get to have our own lettuce for salad as well. Yay!

I am wearing… dark gray dress pants, light gray 3/4 length, beaded cotton top, navy blue cami and red, pointed toe, leather shoes. There is something incredibly empowering about wearing red shoes. It always makes my day better.

I am creating… curtains for our bedroom. At least, I’ve bought the pattern and the fabric. I have not yet started sewing them. I want the curtains badly but I’m none too patient with my sewing machine. I keep saying I’ll start. Maybe I’ll start tomorrow night after I get back from Detroit?

I am going… to do 2 loads of laundry this afternoon. I never thought I would hate doing laundry as much as I do now because I’ve always kind of enjoyed it. Now that we live in the apartment where each load costs $1.50 to wash and $1.25 to dry, there is nothing convenient about doing the wash. Grandpa and Grandma have graciously allowed us to use their washer and dryer but that still means a several hour time commitment to being somewhere other than home. Someday I will have my own washer and dryer…

I am reading… Anne of Ingleside, the 6th book of the Anne of Green Gables series. I recently rediscovered the books I had put in storage at my parents’ house before leaving for college and have been devouring them as quickly as possible. I am incredibly thankful for a job where I can read while traveling almost every weekend.

I am hoping… that I hear back from Network 180 soon so I can either plan on the change or plan on staying the same.

I am hearing… the hum of the air conditioning unit at the office. At home, I’d be hearing fans whirring, the cat meowing to get my attention, Brian typing at his computer, birds outside the window. I wish I was there. I am meant to be a stay at home mom but unfortunately the cat doesn’t need constant mothering.

Around the house… I need to clean the bathroom. It has gotten out of control. There are fuzzies everywhere. That is not a task for today.

One of my favorite things… is praying with Brian before going to bed. It helps both of us put life back into perspective and is a great way to help both of us get back in touch with our Creator.

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week: Clean bathroom, start curtains, search and destroy spiders, visit the bakery, travel to Detroit for work, and catch up on sleep. Hahaha!

Here is picture thought I am sharing…

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