ramblings from the past week

// I really wanted a drink. And then I discovered the rum was gone.


I ended up having a margarita that was missing triple sec because apparently, we managed to run out of triple sec, too. I see a liquor store run in our future.

//The cat has decided he doesn’t like any of the food that we’ve been buying him. So, the other day, I went to the natural grocery store and bought him a whole bunch of super crunchy natural organic canned cat food. He’s still turning up his nose. My sympathies are starting to be gone, mostly because I don’t think he’s sick, I just think he’s being picky. Why must animals be so difficult sometimes?

Update: He decided Wellness cat food is acceptable. Trust my cat to pick the most expensive food Petco sells…

// The only update on the husband’s job situation is that the company that said they’d call “mid week” with either a no or a yes has not called yet. We’re thinking it’s probably a no. I mean, maybe we’ll be wrong, but it’s not looking super promising at this point. It’s…been a hard week and I feel really bad for him.

// Our minivan also died this week. Have I mentioned it’s been a hard week?

// Morale being down has also meant I’ve gotten behind on my “keep track of what we spend at the grocery store” project. So! to update…

  • 8/14: Kroger for some odds and ends. $30.16
  • 8/16: Aldis for a ton of food. $117.00
  • 8/18: the local natural food store for allergy-free food. $76.09 I might talk more about this in another post…
  • 8/23: Kroger for Saturday night alcohol. $8.47. We ended up getting tipsy and then playing old DOS games on an emulator. Do we know how to party, or what?
  • 8/25: Kroger for the weekly shopping. $57.24
  • 8/27: Costco for a chicken, because we were desperate for something fast for dinner. $5.29

So let’s see. The total before all those trips was $258.25. After all those trips it went up to $552.50. Not quite my $500 goal, but that’s still not bad at all. When you pull up the USDA Cost of Food chart for July 2014, that puts us under the Thrifty plan for a family of 4, and since we have 5 and two of us have food allergies, I think we’re doing okay.

// This is also with slacking off in the cooking department. We’ve been eating a lot of fruit, yogurt, sandwiches, nachos with beans, salsa and cheese…all really easy stuff. I have a few recipes bookmarked to try – I want to try Oh She Glows’s Falafel with a Twist and Iowa Girl Eat’s Roasted Red Pepper Hummus Burgers this weekend though and hopefully break the cooking rut. I’ll report back if they are any good…I am really craving falafel so I REALLY hope that recipe turns out okay.

everything is awesome, according to reid

Reid turned 5 this past week – Wednesday, to be exact. It was a great birthday for him – he hit the presents jackpot (4 Lego sets! Hotwheels! an American Girl puppy dog! a Buzz Lightyear! an Angry Birds playset!) had a cake he loved (even if I didn’t grease the pan and it got stuck…still tasted good), got to bring cupcakes to his KINDERGARTEN class…

We had his back to school open house night Thursday. He is in about the best situation I could hope for, public school wise – his class skews young and his teacher (who Levi had last year) is doing her best to tailor the class to 4-5 year olds while still staying within the mandated guidelines for K. He’s making friends, he’s doing well learning the rules and routines of kindergarten, and his pencil grip has already improved.

Reid MVP

August 2009. He still sleeps with his hands like that, even now.

Reid with his cake, August 2014

August 2014. He was so happy about that cake.

I can’t believe he’s 5. How did he get so big? Craziness. I posted a picture of him playing Legos on Facebook last week, and one of my friend’s moms posted in the comments that it reminded her of when her boys were little – and to enjoy every moment, because life doesn’t wait.

Here’s to life – and to five year old boys. I hope he has a fantastic year.

first week of school

// We survived the first five days of school! They all three seem to be very happy to be back, although Levi was annoyed that first grade doesn’t come with as many toys as kindergarten. However, today he brought in his favorite book as part of an ‘About Me’ homework project (Roar of a Snore) and he came home so excited. “Mommy, I was the only person who brought in a book and she read it to the entire class!”

// Also, what would first day of school post be without pictures?





// In other news, job hunting land has some promising leads. Cross your fingers for us, it’s going to be a longgggg few days while we wait for more news.

// In the grocery total project, we hit up Kroger & Publix this past week. Kroger ended up being $88.29 for groceries, Publix ended up being $14.51. I hit a TON of good sales at Kroger, including one of those “buy 5 of XYZ items and you get $5 back”, and at the end, my receipt was all, You’ve saved $40!!! So that was cool. Monthly total is now at $258.25, assuming my math is right…if we can stay out of the grocery store until the 10th or 12th or so (which should be pretty do-able – we have plenty of frozen fruits & veggies, so we’re even okay on produce) we’ll be on pace to only spend $500ish this month, which is pretty freakin’ good.

// We have not really cooked anything exciting this week though. We’ve instead had really gourmet meals like Let’s Use Up The Bananas Before They Go Bad Smoothies, Breakfast for Dinner, and Frozen Pizza. Haha.

// I hope everyone else has had a great week. Anyone else go back to school this week? Or do you have awhile yet?


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’twas the night before a new school year randomness

//My kids are so excited about school starting tomorrow that two of them can’t sleep.

//We are finishing up The West Wing and I’m sort of sad it’s coming to a close, I’ve grown attached to those characters. I’m also really glad that Josh and Donna finally got together. :P Trying to decide what show we should start next…maybe How I Met Your Mother? 


//We hit up Whole Foods today and got two boxes of that new Earth Balance vegan macaroni and cheese, some cookies for my daughter’s teacher to keep in her classroom for Emergency Treats, and some yeast. $11.82 total, so $155.45 for the month so far. I’m curious to see if this mac & cheese is any good. Some people on my Milk Allergy Facebook group are claiming it tastes almost like Kraft mac & cheese. I had a mildly embarrassing fondness for Kraft mac & cheese back when I could eat cheese, so we’ll see…

//We have been actually cooking lately, it’s great. Some things we’ve tried and liked:

  • One Pot Sausage & Mushroom Pasta by Budget Bytes. I used ground beef instead of Italian sausage, and let people add their own parmesan/fake parmesan/whatever. Next time I’m going to try to replace the meat with sautéed zucchini & summer squash.
  • Beef & Pineapple Enchiladas by Budget Bytes. I was shocked at how good these were – we were skeptical because no cheese, but they were good. Next time I’m going to use an entire can of drained pineapple and leave out the ground beef. I didn’t use a jalapeño – I just used a few shakes of jalapeño hot sauce. And used small wheat tortillas, instead of corn.
  • Easy Guacamole by {never}homemaker. I halved the recipe and used the juice from one fresh lime, instead of lemon juice. I then left it in the dining room and walked back into the kitchen. When I came back in, Levi had grabbed the serving spoon and was eating it off the spoon. Ha. (And yes I did get a new spoon)

//Still no job for the husband, but I think I’m going to get a clean garage out of it this week? So that’s not so bad…

august groceries, part 1

So! My big project this month is to cut back our food budget, preferably without eating total junk. I was trying to think of an easy way to a. keep track of what I buy and b. make this slightly more exciting than a pile of receipts or a Google Drive spreadsheet and realized hey, I can blog about it! This is probably going to be THE MOST BORING BLOG SERIES EVER, unfortunately, but hey, it’ll keep me accountable and all that jazz.

If I get really  motivated later, maybe I’ll blog about what we make with all this food?

For background: we’re a family of 5, two of us with food allergies. We generally shop at Kroger, Aldis, Trader Joes, the local natural food store and Costco.

Today, we grabbed at the natural food store…

  • 3 single serve cartons of vanilla greek coconut milk yogurt at 50% off, which still puts them at $1/each. ouch.
  • bag of Daiya mozzarella shreds for pizza, which were $4.99. also ouch.

That trip cost a total of $8.15.



Look at me, using my bags from #BlogHer14. Haha!

Then I went to Aldis, and got a ton of produce:

  • bag of limes
  • bag of butter lettuce & head of hydroponic lettuce
  • bunch of bananas
  • a cucumber
  • an avocado
  • bag of green seedless grapes
  • bag of sweet onions & bunch of green onions
  • box of mushrooms
  • bag of baby carrots
  • frozen fruit for smoothies
  • natural/no sugar added applesauce cups, and a few sweetened applesauce cups for Sydney
  • single serve fruit cups (mandarin oranges & pineapple) for Sydney’s lunches
  • bags of frozen fruit for smoothies
  • canned pumpkin & pineapple
  • canned tomatoes
  • can of mushroom pieces

In dairy/deli area, I grabbed:

  • tons of greek yogurt for the boys. I ended up getting the single serve fruit flavored cups, only 75c each. I could get this even cheaper by just buying a larger carton, if I wanted.
  • gallon of milk (only $2.89!)
  • block of colby jack
  • 2 dozen eggs
  • hummus
  • 4 cheese pizza – this sucker was huge for only 4.99. 16″, I think?
  • bottle of Naked mango 100% juice smoothie
  • package of spicy chorizo
  • package of precooked chicken strips (Sydney’s lunches)
  • package of deli turkey meat (also Sydney’s lunches)

In frozen, I grabbed:

  • fish sticks
  • precooked breakfast sausage
  • frozen potatoes (french fries, diced hashbrowns)

And then in general grocery products, I got:

  • sourdough bread
  • pita crackers, cheez-it knockoffs, animal crackers
  • box of cookies
  • pasta & gnocchi
  • Jiffy corn muffin mix & brown sugar
  • various sizes of tortillas
  • box of cereal
  • two types of salsa
  • two things of juice
  • tortilla & potato chips
  • two cans of chicken
  • a couple jars of spaghetti sauce

Total was $135.48 for a TON of food. We’re trying some new things (the sourdough bread, the frozen fruit & the fish sticks) so hopefully they’ll be good.

And for the month, $143.63 so far.