Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Budgeting and Menu Planning

I recently had a friend who asked me how I planned our menu and what I did to prepare our food.  I had some time over my break from school to think about it and I decided to blog about it.  It goes much farther than our menu to embrace our whole lives and what we do each week.


  1. I look at our calendar and plan our menu around our weekly activities.  In this season of life we have wrestling two nights a week, gymnastics one night a week, and at least one other night when we are busy!  So I plan to cook at least 4-5 nights a week.  I adjust leftovers and pizza night around our lives.
  2. I stick to at least 2 things I already know how to cook and don't make plans to learn new things until I'm ready... so weekends are times I try new dishes!  I adjust my schedule so the EASIEST things to cook (crock pot meals) are on my busiest days or the days when I know I will be tired... Mondays and Thursdays usually win!
  3. I plan the meals.  I examine our pantry, fridge, and freezer to see what we have on hand.  After I have taken stock at home I make my grocery list.  Sometimes I plan my menu around what we already have on hand.  I am trying to develop the habit of using the foods we have instead of trashing them...   Sometimes I notice that I already have a whole meal on hand (spaghetti noodles, sauce, and venison in the freezer) so I only have to buy a salad and bread.
  4. I make my grocery list for meals and recipes.  I also take stock of the kids' lunch stash and their breakfast items.  I like to make breakfast on the weekends, so I look at that too.
  5. I know this all sounds like a LOT of steps, but I think I probably spend 20 minutes doing this whole process.  I bring my laptop into the kitchen, pull up my Google calendar, and compare it to the wall calendar.  I begin my Walmart grocery pickup list while I'm in the kitchen!
  6. Once the menu is made and my meals are planned, I begin the process of prepping for them.  Sometimes I make freezer meals ahead of time, but mostly I prep the day before or the day of.  If I have a lot of leftovers I make a freezer meal... or have it for lunch that week too!  :)
  7. I put away the groceries after the pick up day and then write our dinners for the week.  I adjust the menu as needed once the week starts.  Sometimes what I planned for Tuesday actually works better for us on Wednesday, etc.  Either way, I have all the ingredients on hand to make the meals for the week.
  8. Sometimes I have to adjust plans as the week unfolds and we have to move a meal to the next week.  I try to be flexible.  I also try to keep my grocery budget to $100 a week or less.. that includes the household goods and the cleaning supplies...
  9. "Shopping" in my pantry, fridge, freezer before going to the grocery store or even making a list helps me save money AND time!

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

January 2017 To Do List


  1. Plan a weekly menu.
  2. Organize all tax paperwork.
  3. Clean out master closet and dressers.
  4. Clean out master bathroom cabinets & organize them.
  5. Begin cleaning out the playroom closets and  storage dormers.
  6. Exercise 20 times this month.
  7. Start process of ceiling repair in kitchen.  Either hire a contractor OR DIY.
  8. Clean giant window at front of house.  Caulk it.
  9. Print a canvas of the latest family photo session for the living room.
  10. Select a color theme for the MK & dining room.
  11. Research cruises for family in 2018...

Friday, December 23, 2016

Goals: 2017 edition. Intentional Chapter.

Read a devotional book and complete Bible studies as the year goes along.  I just began 'Draw the Circle:  The 40 Day Prayer Challenge' and it will take me through the end of January.  After that I will be INTENTIONAL about reading The Circle Maker and then the book about praying circles around my children.  I know that prayer for my family will never be done.

Grow crops this summer, well really just tomatoes and possibly cucumbers.  I will be INTENTIONAL and get seedlings started in April so I can have food by summertime!  But don't tell anyone who lives in my neighborhood because they are against the HOA rules...

Clean out/organize one room a month, including the closets in each room.  I will post my list of rooms next week so I can be INTENTIONAL about scheduling time for them in the coming months.  I know that purging items from each room is such an awesome feeling, plus we are able to get rid of SO MUCH tiny baby/kid stuff.

Purchase new furniture via living room.  Sell antiques.  I am beyond ready to have some established pieces in my living room.  I'd like to create/find some functional storage pieces for the space.  It is really small and the seating is awkward, so it makes it challenging.  I am going to have to be INTENTIONAL about shopping for it or finding plans to MAKE it.

Repair ceiling in kitchen, repair the wall in the master bath, major yard renovation to grow actual grass in the front yard.  None of this will take large amounts of time, but it may require large amounts of money.  The yard will be the biggest cost of money AND time.  I will have to plan the yard starting in February so we can be INTENTIONAL about getting good dirt and grass.  

Run/exercise 3 times a week.  I feel like this is the biggest struggle of my life.  I know it will make me feel better and be a positive force in my life.  It will make all things better and I know that, but MAKING time for it is my struggle.  I should alter my goal so that it says MAKE TIME TO EXERCISE 3 times a week, which really just means I have to GET UP EARLY and I hate that.  Get over it Carrie.  Grow up.

Become a Mary Kay sales director.  I will work my business 3 times a week for the entire months of January thru March.  If I am INTENTIONAL about working the business then my goal will be a reality.

Quit teaching... must complete the sales director goal first...

Pay off all credit cards.  We have been INTENTIONAL about this for the last few months, but I need to be more disciplined about the process.  The Dave Ramsey plan is moving us in that direction and I've been planning that for us for months!  

The following lists are just things we have on the agenda at no particular time or in no particular order.  We had some of them on the agenda for 2016 but ended up repairing the chimney instead.  Just the 'wish list' if you will...

Home Updates 2017
Trees beside driveway and in back yard need to come down...
Concrete driveway must be repaired
Deck built?
Paint my room--my office
Paint dining room--green and grey
Paint entry way--same grey as dining room
New blinds--Hayes, kids bathroom, playroom, my room/office

BONUS MONEY 2017
Gun
Glass door for front porch
Built ins in living room
Paint shutters, front door, and awning
Desktop computer
Head board master bedroom

Monday, December 12, 2016

Planning Ahead

So, I've been blogging since 2009.
I've made a few lists of things to do since then.


Some of my things have gotten done and some of them are still on the to-do list.
The next calendar year has a few new goals.
I've removed some of the ambiguity of the goal list.


I am proud to say that I am working really hard to get myself ready to work.
I've never really felt like LIFE is work, but I realized that I want to work.

I like ME better when I work.
I like my life better when it is planned.
So my 2017 to-do list will be posted soon!


I try to put a lot of thought into what I want to make better each year.
I love my life, but I know I can do a better job of being ME.
Big DREAMS loading y'all....


Big Dreams!


Monday, November 7, 2016

The Boys

For the 50th day of school the boys all dressed alike.
I guess all of the parents plan the same...
I am not sure when my kid became a gangster, but here he is... in all his glory with his friends.
I just love them and the fun they have.
I hope that he maintains the same level of confidence forever.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Halloween 2k16

Spencer was thrilled to be Princess Elena of Avalor and she was even more pumped about that chocolate that Papa was holding... actually fixated would be a good word.

My Ariel was a pleasant fireball.  She was so excited that she ran from house to house as we trick or treated.  
Ant Man.  Did y'all know that Ant Man can be as small as an ant AND as big a building?  He can.  I learned that after Hayes decided he was going to be Ant Man for Halloween.  He's my rock star and I'm so grateful that he's the role model for my girls.  He is fantastic!

Part of the crew... we were still loading a few up on the trailer...
We did a little Halloween Pre-game on Sunday at the Ephesus Baptist Church Fall Festival.
They were really pumped to spend time running around and having a blast.
Spencer, errrrrrr, Princess Elena was super sassy in her ball gown and cranky when told no.  She was not a fan of waiting in line for the jumping things or the games.  Diva.
I call this, Daryk's child in a photo...
Elizabeth taking her imaginary plane ride very seriously.

Wolverine was SO pumped to cross the monkey bars ALL THE WAY on Sunday evening.
He had a few wardrobe changes for Halloween and that's something we are all ok with!

Tell me how your Halloween went?
Did you get lots of goodies to share with your people?

Friday, October 7, 2016

Goals: October Update

  1. Grow produce this summer.  Start a plan in March and proceed forward with tomatoes and peppers for the summer.  I think I can handle two things.

    Things that didn't happen...
  2. Clean out and organize one room each month.  It will break my little hoarder/sentimental heart to trash some of the things, but it needs to happen.  Starting in the girls' room tomorrow morning.  Closet and drawers need attention.  Hayes' room is in February.  Bathrooms upstairs in March... that's my first quarter done...

    I have removed a lot of clutter from our home, but we still have a LONG way to go!
  3. Paint the rooms... living room, office, dining room... and patch the ceiling kitchen.  While you're at it, let's just go ahead and fix the wires in the living room too., okay?  And purchase new furniture for the living room.  I decided all house updates had to go in the same goal, so I'll have to also repair the master bath wall/ceiling as well.

    Kitchen ceiling patch coming up.  Dining room will be done at Thanksgiving.  Possibly my office too!  The front entry way will get done with the cheer judging money!
  4. Exercise for 30 minutes at least 3 times a week.  Dance parties in the living room count as cardio.  Running counts.  Weighted toddler carry time does not count.

    Yeah, no.
    Still a no.  A hard no.
  5. Become a Mary Kay sales director.  I desperately want to work a job with some flexibility for my family.  I also really like Mary Kay and the company.  Products are good, company philosophy is good, and the atmosphere is positive.

    Still a legitimate goal.  Still thinking about it a lot, but rarely do the WORK required for it.  I need to work on that.
  6. Plan a trip to Disney for 2016.  Purchase a $100 Disney gift card each month to start piling money away for it.  Kroger fuel points AND a Disney trip.  Two birds;  one stone.

    We went in June with my parents!  It was super fun and super hot.  I am working towards a Disney trip in 2017.  I get to travel with my club kids in November!
  7. Complete a Bible reading plan.  I'm looking at a few, but I'm open to ideas and suggestions people!

    I'm a spotty reader at best.  I still love Jesus Calling and I read it sporadically... at best.
  8. Schedule a fun date with Daryk each month.  I'd really like to call it my Groupon event... I would love to buy a Groupon/Living Social/Scout Mob date and go do something different each month!  January and February are so difficult because of wrestling, but we can figure something out!

    We have been more intentional about spending time together!  We need to work on going out and doing grown up things!
  9. Plan and HOLD 5 Mary Kay Skincare and Glamour classes each month.  Who wants to come over and play makeup with me!?

    Still working towards this as well.  I need to up my MK game.
  10. Develop a family routine/plan and follow through with it.  Weekly plans in progress now...

    Daily checklist charts have been implemented.  Everyone likes stickers!