Goals

Weekly Goal Update for Week 17

1. Walk at least 500 miles this year (149 miles down and 351 to go)

I am being creative with my total miles this week:) I am going to count running up and down two flights of stairs a bajillion times at my church’s seafood festival as part of my mileage. I also ran in and out of stores, lugged signs, posts, and equipment all over Decatur, Alabama trying to make sure there were plenty of advertisements for the festival.  So while I only walked 6 miles in the traditional sense, I know between the stairs and running to and fro at the festival that I surely racked up an additional 4 miles.

2. Eat under 40 net carbs each day

I did this for all seven days.

3. Read two non-fiction books each month Accomplished

Night (Night)

This week I am finishing up Night by Elie Wiesel.  I chose this book because I have always been drawn to learning about the Holocaust.  I also think that it is very important to have numerous first person accounts of the Holocaust in the written word because in today’s society, there seems to be a movement to whitewash certain unsavory parts of our world’s history, which is a total travesty.  Everyday we are hearing more and more stories of countries/governments trying to erase historical records of the Holocaust or even to deny it happened, which is totally unacceptable to me.  So I fight back by exposing my children to as many first person accounts as possible.

I really was moved by this story because it is so different from many of the other Holocaust accounts that I have read.  Throughout this book, it almost feels like you are reading someone’s diary not just reading someone’s story. **In fact, that was the reason this book was written, Elie Wiesel wanted a recording of all of the atrocities that the Nazis committed so that the world would never forget or allow something like this to happen again. If you enjoy history and the truth….read this book!

4. Have two date nights each month

One out of two isn’t that bad:)

5. Have two family game nights each month

We only managed to fit in one game night this month, but May is looking much less busy, so I am sure we will hit our goal then.

6. Have one no spend week each month Accomplished

7. Try to not buy anything new this year

Nothing new was bought this week.

8. Add twelve new products to my Teachers pay Teachers store

The heavens did not shine down upon me and bless us with extra hours in the day, so this goal was not met this month.  So now I need to complete three new products in May to stay on top of this goal for the year…..

9. Five dollar weekly challenge

 

foodbankapril
Here is all of the food I collected in April for our local food bank

 

Kroger had pancake mixes on sale this week for $1.25 each, so I picked up 4 to add to my food bank stash.

 

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Goals

Goal Update for Week 16

1. Walk at least 500 miles this year (139 down and 361 to go)

I was so busy last week helping to plan for our church’s seafood festival, that I totally failed on my daily walking goal. So my sad little total for last week was only 4 miles:(

I will be running around trying to help set up the actual event this week also, but hopefully I can fit in some daily walks whenever I can!

2. Eat less than 40 net carbs each day

I did this for 6 out of 7 days. **On my busiest day, I caved and grabbed a Cajun Club Sandwich from Zaxby’s for a very late lunch and then I had two chocolate chip muffins and a huge glass of milk for dinner….confessions of a low carber:)

3. Read two non-fiction books each month

I read The Reason I Jump last week and plan to start reading The Night by Elie Wiesel this week, so at least this goal will be met for this month.

4. Have two family game nights each month

One down and one to go

5. Have two date nights each month

One down and one to go

6. Have one buy nothing week each month  Accomplished

7. Try to buy nothing new this year

I did not buy anything new for my family this week, but I did buy water guns, sidewalk chalk, bubbles, and tattoos for the children’s area at our church’s seafood festival.  **But I count that as a donation to my church, so it will not affect this goal:)

8. Add twelve new products to my Teachers pay Teachers store

Still chugging along with this but I seriously doubt I will finish both study guides this week….Unless the heavens shine down upon me and bless us with extra hours in our day!!

9. $5 weekly challenge

I went with rice and beans again this week simply because it is what I remembered to grab as I was racing through the store!

 

Recipes

Stuffed Mushrooms (Low Carb/Gluten-free)

Did I mention that I found a great deal on mushrooms last week?? Well I did! I know not everyone cares for mushrooms, but we sure love them around here…well at least my husband and I do, I am working on the kids:)

One of our favorite ways to eat mushrooms are to stuff them with various ingredients.  A few months ago, I came across the idea to stuff them with sausage and cream cheese, which of course turned out to be delicious!  So if you love mushrooms, be sure to try out this recipe because it is definitely a keeper.

**I do not really have any measurements for this recipe. I usually just eyeball it and make it a different way each time and it always turns out fine.  I think the last time I made it, I used a 1/2 roll of sausage and 1/2 a package of cream cheese, which filled about 10 mushrooms. You can of course use more or less cream cheese to suit your taste, it is great either way.

Ingredients

Stuffer mushrooms

cream cheese, softened

ground pork sausage, cooked and crumbled

salt and pepper to taste

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees

2. Wash the mushrooms and remove the stalks.

3. Cook the sausage and drain well.

4. Add the cream cheese and sausage together and mix well. *If you feel it needs more seasoning you can add salt and pepper to taste.

5. Stuff each mushroom with the cream cheese and sausage mixture until it is slightly overfilled.

 

IMG_1938
Here is a picture of how they look before you cook them

 

6. Place the stuffed mushrooms into a well-greased casserole dish and bake for 25 minutes or until the topping is slightly browned and the mushrooms look cooked (The mushrooms tend to have a medium gray color when they are cooked all the way through)

 

IMG_1940
How they look when they are done….delicious

 

7. Let cool for a few minutes and then enjoy!

 

 

 

Frugal Accomplishments

Five Frugal Things

1. Kroger deals

Some of the deals I picked up this week:  a variety of mushrooms for ½ price, 2lb blocks of cheese for $5, and large bags of cereals for $1.79 each.

2. Discovered two new-to-me, free homeschooling websites

This week, we tried out the Khan academy, which is a site full of videos and exercises on a variety of math, history, and science topics. My daughter really liked how the instructor explains the math topics because while I love math, my teaching leaves a lot to be desired. I think we will mostly use this site to introduce a new math topic before we dive into our textbook work for the day. I really love how they have exercises that test the student’s knowledge and they also show you how to correctly do the problems you miss.
The other site was called The Good and the Beautiful. This site is mostly for lower elementary grades and it also is a new company, so they have not released all of the curriculum to the public yet.  However, I noticed that the language art workbooks for grades 1-5 are totally free as a download. Since I will have a second grader this fall, I plan to download the language arts workbook for free and then only print off pages that need to be filled out, which will save me paper and time in the long run.

3. Donated books

After cleaning out our bookshelves, I found a lot of children’s books that my daughter had outgrown that needed a new home.  I considered trying to sell them, but they were really well-loved, so we decided to give them away at our homeschool co-op instead. (We put them on the free table and they were literally gone in 10 minutes…we are talking close to 100 books)

How is this frugal? Well it opened up bookshelf space for me to add more age appropriate books for my kids, which in turn, helps me to avoid building additional bookshelves for our library (We may have a book problem…)

**More importantly, it was extremely frugal for someone else. It makes me feel wonderful to know that another little girl will get to enjoy these wonderful series.  I also expect that their new owners will pass them on when they are done with them, which is what I like to call Frugal-cycling, so everyone wins.

4. Used leftovers wisely

Food waste is my arch nemesis! Whenever I can find ways to use up all of my leftovers and avoid cooking additional meals, I do it. This week, I saved leftover waffles and gave them to my husband for breakfast the next morning.  I also made sure that my husband took the leftovers he had avoided earlier in the week for lunch before they went bad (evil laugh) **Don’t feel sorry for him, I am usually the one who eats the undesirable items in our fridge each week…which I secretly love, but don’t tell him!

5. Avoided late fees

Luckily, I remembered to check and see which day our library books were due (which happened to be that day!!) so I avoided a lot of late fees by renewing the books online and then returned them the next time I ran to town.

 

Goals

Goal Update for Week 15

1. Walk 500 miles this year (135 down and 365 to go)

I had a busy week so I crammed all of my 10 miles into three days, which kind of defeats the purpose of daily walks, but I did get my miles in:)

2. Eat under 40 net carbs each day

I did this for all seven days and found a new low carb recipe that we loved!

3. Read two non-fiction books each month

The Reason I Jump: The Inner Voice of a Thirteen-Year-Old Boy with Autism

In addition to all of the fiction I have been reading this week, I also found a really interesting book on autism at our library called, The Reason I Jump by Naoki Higashida.

My 26 year old sister, Becca, is autistic and we have always wondered why she has all of the behavioral quirks that she does.  This book really opened my eyes as to how an autistic person sees the world and develops certain behaviors that make it more livable for them.

This book was written by a 13 yr old autistic boy after he was asked to explain why he had certain behaviors.  I really liked it because each section begins with a question on a certain autistic behavior and then the author explains the mentality as to why this behavior is so appealing/necessary to an autistic person.  For example, one of the questions asks, “Why do you like to watch certain movies again and again?”, the author answers, that being able to predict what is about to happen tends to bring a sense of calmness to an autistic person.

**My sister has always watched certain movies or clips again and again, and we have always wondered why she enjoyed something that we would have found so boring.  This really helped me to understand how seeing the same clip again and again, brings Becca a sense of comfort in a confusing world.

If you or someone in your life is touched by autism…read this book! It is a short read, but very informative and helpful for someone who deals with autism and the many unique behaviors that pop up along the way.

4. Have at least two family game nights each month

One down, one to go

5. Have at least two date nights each month

We had an at-home date last week, while my kids visited their grandparents.  While it might not be exciting, enjoying lunch together and walking at the park is always a nice, cheap way to spend time together:)

6. Buy nothing new this year

Nothing was bought this week except for groceries, so that was easy.

7. Have one no spend week each month

I am currently in my no spend week, so I plan to only buy a few groceries and nothing else for the remainder of the week.

8. Add twelve new products to my Teachers pay Teachers store (Two added and ten to go)

I am currently working on a set of worksheets about important women in history.  I also hope to start a new Harry Potter study guide next week because I need to complete two products this month to keep on pace for this goal….yikes!!

9. $5 weekly challenge

cereal

Kroger had a great deal of bags of cereal for just $1.79, so I picked up three to donate to the local food bank. *Apparently cereal is a really popular item for their customers:)

Recipes

Italian Sausage Portobello Pizzas (Low Carb/Gluten Free)

portobello pizza

I recently stumbled upon the amazing world of Italian sausages and have been finding a lot of ways to spice up a few of our favorite meals. One of our favorite summer meals are Portobello pizzas, mostly because they can be made very quickly on the grill…..oh and they are delicious! Once I realized how awesome Italian sausages were, I knew they would make our mushroom pizzas even more tasty. Here is the way I made them:

 

Ingredients

-Portobello mushroom caps with gills and stalk removed (bigger mushrooms are better for this recipe, because they shrink as they cook)                                                                          -Italian sausage (links or ground meat)
-Spaghetti sauce or pizza sauce (I like Classico’s Tomato and Basil spaghetti sauce because a ½ cup of sauce is just 6 net carbs, which is crazy low compared to other brands)
-Mozzarella cheese

 

Directions
1. Preheat the grill to medium heat
2. Remove the Italian sausages from the casings and cook over medium heat until cooked all the way through. (I basically use one Italian sausage link for each pizza, but you can adjust that to your taste)
3. Then add just enough sauce to cover the meat. Heat until its bubbling and then take off the stovetop.
4. Spray a little cooking spray onto the underside of the mushroom caps and grill the mushrooms with the bottoms facing down for 5-7 minutes.
5. Then flip the mushroom caps over, add the meat/sauce mixture, and top with mozzarella cheese.  Continue to grill the pizzas for an additional 5-10 minutes or until the cheese is completely melted. (If you like a more toasted top, you can skip this step and place the mushroom pizzas in an oven to broil for 3 minutes, until nicely browned)

Notes
**You can make these to your taste and top with different cheeses, meats, and even sauces, because the possibilities are limitless.
**Italian sausage can be quite spicy depending on the blend, so to remedy this, you can always mix the sausage with hamburger meat or simply make sure you pick a mild Italian sausage.

 

 

Frugal Accomplishments

Five Frugal Things

1. Kept cold food cold

We were without power for 18 hours so I made sure to only open the refrigerator and freezer when we absolutely had to.  I also put half of the ice we had in the ice maker into a bowl inside our refrigerator, which helped to keep the temperature lower.  **I am happy to say we did not lose any food, so that was a great blessing.

2. Free item at Bath and Body Works

A few weeks ago, I received a card in the mail from Bath and Body Works that was good for a free full-sized item.  (I have to admit I am terrible at remembering to use the coupon within the time limit given, so I made a special trip last week to pick it up) How is this frugal?? Well I let my daughter pick out a fragrance that one of her friends might like, so she can give it as a gift later in the year.  **All teenage girls love Bath and Body Works, so it works out to everyone’s advantage:)

3. Kroger deals

This past week, our local Kroger had a great deal on bratwursts, so I made sure to stock up for the summer. (Grilled meals are so easy!)  I also picked up five blocks of cheese for just $.99 each and four packages of chicken thighs marked down to $.99/lb.

4. Fels Naptha

I am in charge of washing the altar linens for our church during the month of April each year, so I spend a lot of my time soaking and scrubbing communion linens each week.  **Let me tell you lipstick does not come out of white linen very easily!!  Each year, (besides time spent scrubbing) I have to buy new products to remove lipstick smudges that never really work that well.  This year, as I was walking along the detergent aisle, I came upon a bar of Fels Naptha, which I had heard lots of people use as a stain remover.  So I bought it and lo and behold, it is a miracle worker.  I think the bar was just $2 and it saved me at least an hour of scrubbing time…so that is a definite win!

5. Decluttering finds

As you might remember, I have been on a much needed decluttering kick lately. This week, I found a pair of jeans that I had bought awhile ago hidden behind a box in my closet.  This was especially nice because my current jeans are starting to get really worn and I had started to looking for a new pair at the thrift store last week (which can be very time consuming) So, I was really thankful to find a new pair already waiting for me in my closet:)

How did you save money this week??

 

Goals

Weekly Goal Update for Week 14

1. Walk at least 500 miles this year (125 down and 375 to go)

We have had a lot of rain this week, so I did most of the 11 miles I walked indoors.

2. Eat less than 40 net carbs each day

I did this for all 7 days this week!!

3. Read two non-fiction books each month

I will be reading two non-fiction books this month, but I am currently rereading all of the Julie Garwood books I own (I got sucked into the first one and then the others just started to make their way to my bedside table…)  If you enjoy historical romances, you have to try out Julie Garwood…she is my absolute favorite. **There are a few racy scenes, but the books are really well-written.

4. Have two family game nights each month

Highlights of our game night this week:  I made cookie-topped brownies with ice cream for dessert and then we played Apples to Apples (Emma won), Tri-dominos (Matt won), and Pie in your Face (Matt and Emma got creamed!).

5. Have two date nights each month

Not yet

6.  Have one no spend week each month

Not yet

7. Buy nothing new this year

I actually only bought groceries this week, so I am doing pretty good on this goal so far!

8. Add twelve new products to my Teachers pay Teachers store (2 down, 10 to go)

I am falling behind on this goal due to pure laziness….hopefully I will get something going this week….

9. $5 weekly challenge

mac

This week I saw these 5-packs of macaroni and cheese on sale at Kroger for just $2.48 each, so I grabbed two to add to my food bank stash.

 

How are you coming along on your New Year’s goals??

Blessings

Blessings this Week

With so many ugly things going on in the world and the news, I think it is important for our mental health to recognize all of the wonderful things that are present in our life.  Here are some of the blessings that I received this week:

1. Avoided storm damage to our property

We had a really strong windstorm on Tuesday night and it knocked a tree over in front of our house (it actually opened our mailbox with its branches!)  Since we live in a no-outlet street, the road was blocked for seven families and the power lines/phone lines were completely knocked down.  **Our phone lines are still down but the power came back on in the late afternoon…not having Wi-Fi is a challenge for 6 year olds!!

We were very lucky that was the only tree that fell, because we have many trees that lean into our yard and could have easily caused a lot of damage. So I am very thankful that did not happen and that the tree fell into the street and not onto my neighbor’s house or car. **She actually had a large tree to fall on both of her cars a few months ago…so she is a little rattled.

2. Hot coffee and a warm breakfast make things all better

When we woke up after the storm the next morning to no power or Wi-Fi, everyone was a little grumpy to say the least.  Luckily, I remembered that our gas grill had a small cook stove feature that allowed me to boil water for coffee and to cook a hot breakfast in a skillet…so that was wonderful:)

3. No Wi-Fi = Lots of downtime

Without a blog to work on or Facebook to look at (again and again) I actually got a lot accomplished.  I completely cleaned out my son’s room, reorganized my closet, and cleaned/decluttered my bedroom so that felt really good.  My daughter and husband also had a lot of time to read and talk without the distractions of the internet to sidetrack them.  My little boy had the hardest time, but he survived and actually ended up playing with toys he had not used in a very long while…first world problems….sigh….

**I am always amazed at how an uncomfortable situation can quickly become a learning experience or even create blessings in your day (as long as you can keep a good attitude and a sense of humor about it!)

How were you blessed this week??

Frugal Accomplishments

Five Frugal Things

1. Thrift store deals

I found a nice selection of clothes at the thrift store this week. I got two button down shirts for my little boy for just $2 each and a beautiful Easter dress for my daughter for just $4.50.

2. Free items

My mom was decluttering her kitchen this week so I grabbed a few items that I thought I might use in the upcoming years.  Since Ben has actually started eating pancakes (finally)and loves the Ninja Turtles, I thought a Ninja Turtle pancake maker would be a fun thing for him.  I also grabbed an electric skillet (which I have always wanted!) and a small griddle to keep as a backup for my beloved one that I have had for many years.

3. Decluttering finds

One reason I love to declutter is that I always find something I forgot we had…sad but true:) This week, I found an old train set, lots of children’s books that I had stored for later, and a pair of slippers for my son.  **Frugalness is sometimes just using what you have and being thankful it.

4. Budget-friendly Easter

I intentionally kept the children’s Easter baskets simple because I knew that we would be going to several egg hunts and parties this weekend. So they had a decent amount of candy and a few small trinkets to enjoy on Easter morning.

5. Found a new zucchini recipe

This is frugal because every summer we are swamped with zucchini, so any recipe that uses a ton of zucchini is great.  This recipe was a low carb spin on a popular Korean beef recipe, which turned out great after a few tweaks.  *Also, if you haven’t tried zoodles (zucchini noodles) yet because they sound sketchy…well trust me, they are delicious!  Zoodles are also a cheap and really great low carb way to enjoy pasta-type meals again.