Monthly Archives: September 2010

You Gotta Eat

Food is the hardest part of budgeting because well, you have to eat! Not much you can cut out of a healthy diet and with the cost of food, not much you can do to get the cost down. But I have been learning little tricks here and there to save some money on the food we eat.

For the past several weeks I have been meal planning for a week at a time–breakfast, lunch and dinner. Then I go to the grocery store and buy only what we need that week. This has been the best way I have found yet to keep the cost down. We are now eating for approximately $10 a day. For a family of four I feel pretty good about that.

Some things I am experimenting with to keep away from cheaper junk foods is instead of starchy cookie type snacks I am buying fruit like apples and grapes–it actually comes out to the same cost and I can feel better about what my toddler is snacking on.

Now my 6 year old is a different story because he only eats white starchy things so a cheap box of crackers made it into the cart. Hard part is that I am a grazer so to not buy an abundance of snack foods is challenging for me. But since I am weaning my daughter and need to start watching weight anyway, I’ll eat some fruit with her and stick to regular meals.

Another thing I am taking into consideration is always buying generic and watching the sales. I wanted to make stuffed shell pasta this week (it was on the menu) but when I went to go buy the large shell noodles, they were $2.79 whereas lasagna was on sale for $1.39. So I changed my plans, we will have rolled stuffed lasagna noodles instead of stuffed shells. I’m realizing even $1 makes a difference in the end.

Now I challenge myself to lower the costs even more in the next few weeks… I’ll keep you updated on how that goes.

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Beaches

Here are some pictures I took on our vacation to Hawaii. Miss the beach for sure!


Weekly Menu

Monday:
Breakfast: Milk Shakes (coffee and fruit)
Lunch: Club Sandwich
Dinner: Pork Chops, Sautéed zucchini and mushrooms, rice

Tuesday:
Breakfast: Eggs and Toast
Lunch: Leftovers
Dinner: Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad

Wednesday:
Breakfast: Cereal
Lunch: Grilled (leftover) Chicken Pitas
Dinner: Homemade Hawaiian Pizza

Thursday:
Breakfast: Bagel and Cream Cheese
Lunch: Ham Sandwich
Dinner: Grilled Cheese Quesadillas

Friday:
Breakfast: Milk Shakes (coffee and fruit)
Lunch: Turkey Sandwich
Dinner: Mexican Chicken and Rice Casserole

Saturday:
Breakfast: Cereal
Lunch: Leftovers (casserole) in a tortilla
Dinner: Grilled Ham and Cheese Sandwich

Sunday:
Breakfast: Eggs and Toast
Lunch: Peanut Butter and Jelly
Dinner: Baked Stuffed Pasta

About Taking That Plunge!

So remember how my last blog post was back in March? And remember how it was all about taking a plunge and doing something entirely different? Yup well, right after I wrote that with all its fantastical ideas, we became stagnate. We became routine bored suburbanites. Depression, constancy, stability, and money all took over our lives. Not to mention fear being the worst of it all. Fear of change, fear of unknown, fear of taking chances, fear of hunger or illness.

“Fear is the mind-killer.” Frank Herbert, Dune..

My mind was rapidly dying. The depression was getting so deep that my husband and I saw no way out. We were officially trapped in our suburbanite lifestyle. My husband’s job was not what he thought it would be and was becoming more corporate in nature. My life was trapped in caring for children and housecleaning and I was beginning to resent both. There had to be more (or less) than this lifestyle. But every time we thought of escape the looming fear won. There was no way we could give up a nice steady income, a stable way of living for the unknown. That would just be stupid, right? … Or would it?… Read the rest of that quote:

“I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.”
— Frank Herbert, Dune – Bene Gesserit Litany Against Fear

“Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.” Well, death is the greatest thing to fear right? So if fear brings death then to fear is to basically bring death upon yourself slowly and miserably right? That’s what I am learning now. If you aren’t living a life of happiness and joy then something is wrong. We knew something was wrong we just had to step to the edge of the cliff–that great chasm of fear. We had to stare down its dark and endless pit. It took us a few weeks and then we jumped. My husband quit his job. Together we are seeking out an untraditional lifestyle.

When we got married, we had many discussions of our love and need for adventure and a fearless lifestyle. Taking each challenge and blessing as it comes. Our stagnation was not who we were or who are together. We had actually fallen into a trap that we are now making our way out of. My husband wants to telecommute, I want to work doing things like selling on my etsy shop or substitute teaching, or getting back into music instruction. We want to possibly switch off the kids while the other works so that we can be together and raise the kids as a family. Having one parent always working is not our idea of parenting. Some people say that the man has to go to work and the woman has to raise the kids–this is often the way it is. But we are a family–there has to be a way to raise the kids in a home where they know both of their parents. We are seeking this alternative out.

So here we are. For the time being we are jobless and that’s ok. We are floating through the unknown but are happy again to not feel trapped. This step is probably going to be the most vital thing we have done in our young married lives and it will build a foundation for happiness and freedom in future years. We will no longer inch up to that cliff and walk away and walk back and stare in its dark unknown with fear holding us back. Instead we will walk up to it with more wisdom and fearlessness and continue down the path we set out on together in the first place. We may end up in some rural country or live on the beach telecommuting in the future. It doesn’t matter. What matters is we took control over our lives and are forging our own path. Bushwhacking our way through life if you will.

Today we went hiking/bouldering with the kids. We climbed steep hillsides over large rocks and scrambled up loose ground and forded a river. As a mother following my family from behind, there were moments where I looked at my children and my husband and the steep looming danger we were attempting to cross and thought of future disaster. My husband led us up mountainsides where if you look at the whole scene it is daunting. Too steep, too loose, too high, too unknown. But once you started out on the path it wasn’t scary at all. Each step had its own moment. Looking at the direct path made it so you were focused on that one step and not the big picture.

Looking at the future is as daunting as looking at a mountainside you are about to climb. If you keep looking ahead you will miss a step and potentially fall. If you look at the future or the whole mountain, you are not only discouraged by the height but you are sure you know where the path will take you and you might miss that next vital step.

Looking at the path, at where you will put your next foot, is secure and you know everything about that foothold. If you slip then you will know the best place to grab hold and pull yourself back up.

We are now following the path we want to be on–one step at a time. We are together in this moment and that is all that matters. Every once in a while we will look up at the peak but how we get there is what matters–which step we choose next is what counts.

Where we are right now matters–its all we have.

Right now we have each other–there is no greater gift than that. We are blessed beyond measure. We have two wonderful children and hope for more. We live at the top of a mountain with beauty in every direction. We have happiness and laughter. We have hope and most importantly we have faith. We have happiness at every turn if we keep focused on what matters.

Most likely we will make ends meet but if we don’t then that is a step we take further up the path. We will live in simplicity, in peace, in the excitement of the unknown.

So for the next few months this blog will be dedicated to our penny pinching, happy lives. I’ll be organizing and simplifying our house and possessions, I’ll be meal planning in order to grocery shop for less, I’ll be sewing and working on projects and I’ll share it all here along with my crazy endless random thoughts that will of course pop up from time to time.