Monday, May 30, 2011

$61.21-44.89=$16.32 May wrap up

               Wrapping up the end of the month I managed to come in under budget. So we got some snacks and ice cream! We've got enough food stock piled to start the June budget on the 4th. So, woo-hoo, s-u-c-c-e-s-s that the way we spell success!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Lucky- after the first week

               Lucky has made himself a part of the family! He loves to be cuddled after his swim. He recognizes his food jar and actually will get in it if your not quick to fill his dish! He knows how to get our attention and has personality in his eyes. He also alerts us to when their are nasty nocturnal rodents out back!

Monday, May 23, 2011

$119.57-58.36=61.21 Week 4/May

               Real quick check in here. This week is the last full week I'll be shopping for the month of May. The next shopping trip will be for 4 days instead of 7. We have plenty of surplus pantry staples such as pastas, canned goods, flour, sugar and spices. The remaining 60+ will be spent on items to make a big pot of chili and beef stew as well as meat for the freezer, extra fruit and veggies that we don't usually get to have and some fun convenient foods!

Friday, May 20, 2011


My favorite spot

               Meet Ducky-Lucky, or Lucky as I call him. (PS, not even sure if it's a boy or girl, we just assume boy, not sure why...) He was rejected my Mama Duck after he was picked up and played with by a dog. He was cold and stunned and alone. He couldn't stand up and Mama had to take care of the other 4 she has. She is still close by but won't take him back. He's at home here with me now. He's a cuddly little thing actually. While I was at the school today Hubby text me telling me he's a noisy thing! But, and here is the cool thing, he stops when I hold him or even look at him! He has already learned that he can peck the side of his box and I'll come check on him. His home is here for now, we'll see what happens as it happens.
"Really? A Moose? Your giving me a Moose?!"

"Ah, well, I guess he's not so bad."

"This is great though! I like this."

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Their trash, our treasures!

               There are not a lot of things that I really like about the city but Bulk Trash pick up is one of those things. I didn't know what Bulk trash pick up even exsisted until we moved back to Florida the end of 2009. I've been a Dumpster Diver, Curb Collector and Treasure hunter for my whole adult life and some as a minor actually. Bulk pickup makes it easier for me now though! Around the 15th of every month all of the things that are too big or too much to go out with the regular trash ends up on the curbs for weirdos like me and my family to drive by and if we see something interesting we get out and take a look and maybe a little dig! This month has been pretty good for us actually. Hubby found himself a cabinet to hold his model cars, a shelving unit for his work area, a fan, and an oil burner. Doodle Bug even found himself a baseball picture frame, some shiny silver wrapping paper and a tire for his toy trucks! I got these!

               There are 4 light wood frames, 1 cherry colored frame, 1 white frame, a clear glass frame, a Disney Wild Kingdom frame, a camera tripod and cute as heck felt lined box (marked at $19.99 on a sticker on the bottom). Some of the frames are missing glass but I'll use them in craft projects. The backs for 5 of them are on the back porch drying to see if I can salvage them, if not oh well, I'll make something for or with them!!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

$185.30-$65.73=$119.57 Week 3/ May

               Half way through the month and still doing great! This week I didn't pay more than $2.68 for anything. And that was for a 5 pound bag of sugar. Another plus to making your own foods, ingredients are way cheaper than finished products! Also I bought 46 items.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Pot Pie Pizza!

               Remember yesterday when I said today's post would need my pot pie filling recipe? Well this is it, Pot Pie Pizza! Did you know you can put *almost* anything on a pizza crust? My pastry shell skills are severely lacking these days and Doodle Bug (who usually eats anything) out right makes a dirty face at it! But he loves this use of my pot pie filling! Even Peanut who picks at EVERYTHING was a clean plater. Give it a try, it's worth it!

          Pizza Crust (If you don't want to make your own you can use the premades or the dough from the dairy section)
1 package pizza dough yeast (you can use regular yeast too, just let it sit for 5 minutes after all ingredients are combined)
1 cup warm water
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2-1/2 cups flour (Regular all purpose or wheat)
Disolve yeast in water. Stir in remaining ingredients until a ball forms. Flour your hands and stretch, pull and roll out flat. Makes 2 thin crust 14 inch or 1 hand stretched 16 inch.

To make pot pie pizza (I made 1- 16ish inch pizza) take your crust (made or premade) top with about 2 cups of pot pie filling. Add your favorite shredded cheese on top and bake at 425 degrees F for 25 minutes. Yummy time! Enjoy your pizza and watch it disappear!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Pot pie filling

               Look, the rare weekend post! Okay, so I wanted to post this tonight because it will be needed for tomorrows post. I also didn't want to do this one tomorrow and then wait to do the next one on Wednesday!
               Anyway, this is my basic chicken pot pie filling. I make it in batches and freeze it for future quick grabs.

It's easy, all you need is:
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cooked and diced
1 bag frozen veggies (corn, peas, and carrots)
1 family sized can of cream of chicken or cream or mushroom soup
1-1/2 cups of milk
Salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder *optional
Mix it all together in a big bowl. Add salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder to taste. Freeze in approximately 2-1/2 cup portions for family sized pot pies or 1 cup for smaller. (You'll need about 2 cups for the recipe I'm sharing tomorrow!)

Friday, May 13, 2011

$300 a month is enough!

               First off, let me say thank you Angel, for introducing the world to your budget plan. It is amazing! You have taught me so much, and helped me get back on track.
               This month has been my first month on the $300 a month grocery budget and it's going great! As I've said before I used to be a whiz at budgeting but after being a working mom for a bit it was hard finding my homemaker side again. I do think this challenge was exactly what I needed. I have quickly found myself again and learned some new tips and tricks. I would like to share some of the things I do to save with y'all now!
*One thing we grew up doing and I can't do without is my LIST! Without the list I can't go to the grocery store and feel productive. With so much to drool over temptation takes over and I end up with a cart full of over priced nothingness, and its not healthy usually!
*If over spending is a problem, leave the debit/check/credit cards at home! Once you've made out your list and priced it out (according to the store of your choice) you know about how much your going to spend. Go to the bank and get out that much then leave your cards at home. Worst case scenario you get to the register, go over and have to pass on something. Okay, no biggy, it'll be there next time and you can plan for it.
*Take your calculator, or get to know the one on your cellphone. Every time something goes into the cart, you enter it's price. This works for three things. Number one, it keeps track of where you are in your budget. Number two, it helps you remember how much things were. Number three, once you get everything on your list you could have some money left in the budget for one of those yummy treats you saw earlier but passed on!
*One big thing to remember is it doesn't have to be name brand. The mind set of "brand name is better" is, for the most part, an advertising ploy. If there are one or two things that you really must have the brand name of then by all means get it. The money disappears all to quickly when you get all brand names.
*Make it yourself! Homemade is not only better for you, but you can make so much more for the money and you can customize it as well. Little Jr doesn't like peas? That prepackaged meal has them though. So look it over and figure out what all you need to make the same thing. For example my pizza pasta was inspired by a Homestyle Bake. I can make a LOT more for the money and it's healthier and tastes better than the Homestyle Bake (that barely feeds my family with one box).
               I hope this helps some of you get your grocery budget under control too, and thank you again to Angel for being such a great inspiration!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

My brand new $0.50 Dry Erase Board

               On a recent trip to the Dollar store I found this frame tossed into the clearance bin. It was originally $2, but I got it for 50 cents! I wasn't sure if I was going to leave it as is with the distressed look or paint it. So once I figured out I was going to make it into a dry erase board I let Doodle Bug decide.
He decided on red.
We did two coats of red acrylic paint.
We distressed it again because the paint was still see through and I knew it would get scratched and scuffed anyway.
I cut a few colors of card stock to fit the frame and stuck them all in behind the plexiglass. That way we can change the color as we like. I have some plastic that I'm going to cut to put in there later tonight so it will be kid safe.
So there you have my $0.50 dry erase board!
Doodle Bug was pleased with the result as well! Here he  was showing me it made him happy and he drew me and him with hugs and kisses! How cute is he?

I put the plastic in and it works so much better than a cheap glass that was in the frame originally. The plastic I used was from a big frame I got from Wal Mart awhile back. It was a poster frame with a cheapy, flimsy frame and cardboard backing. The plastic is covered with a protective film when you buy it and it's fairly thin, but durable. I am able to cut it with a couple runs of my rotary cutter. I've used it for other kid friendly projects in the past and it really does stand up to them. (And Peanut is rough on things!)
Shared on

Monday, May 9, 2011

$251.24-65.94=$185.30 Week 2/May

               In case your new to HH, let me catch you up. I'm trying to feed my family of 4 on a budget of $300, inspired by Angel at Heart, Hands, Home.
               Week 2 went well. After writing out my list and totaling it up it came to about $50. We got a few extra grab-n-go foods which brought us to $65.94, still good. So we are looking at $185 for the rest of the month, which still seems very doable.

               Last week I was asked what some examples of a meal is for us. So each week, maybe more, I'll add a meal we make. This week it's a family favorite that my sister and I grew up on and still do to this day! It is super simple, cheap, and has veggies, carbs, protein.

               Mac and Cheese, Tuna and Peas!
               You can make it with one box or double it and it's still really cheap.
               For 5 servings you make the mac and cheese like you normally would, stir in 1 cup of room temp peas (or any veggie you like) and a can of drained tuna. Stir and serve. The kids love it and it was quick and easy!

               Sorry this post is so short, Doodle Bug was home sick from school today and I'm beat! See you all on Wednesday!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Not enough hours in the day

               This is my blog, and I control it... right? Well to me "controlling" it is pretty simple, I just want to be consistent. My form of consistency is posting every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Unless Doodle Bug gets a day off school. (In the summer I still plan to post every M-W-F) This week however I missed Wednesday. Technically Friday as well seeing as I'm writing this at 12:13 AM, hey it's still Friday to me until I go to bed!
               At what point does this kick in in adult life? I remember as a kid days seemed endless! Especially if something big was happening in the next few days. Time would crawl! Now I feel like I can barely grab a hold of it to whip it into shape! I think it really started when I was pregnant with Peanut. I remember my pregnancy with Doodle Bug seemed like forever, but with Peanut it just went so fast. It hasn't slowed since actually.
               Anyway this week just really was not long enough. It was Teacher Appreciation week and I got really caught up in all of it! No mater what I did to save time and try to shove everything I needed to into the days, it wasn't fitting so my poor bloggy got left behind! So here is a wrap up of what I did for Teacher Appreciation week. Doodle Bug has one primary teach then his speech teacher 3 times a week so M-W-F we did double gifts.
Monday- Fabric bookmarks

Tuesday- Over the shoulder water bottle holder

Wednesday- Homemade Granola Bars

Thursday- Elf figurine
 The Elf poem made her cry! And of course when someone else cries so do I! The kids were so confused watching us blubber like that first thing in the morning!

Friday- Milk and white chocolate toffee crackers (which I forgot to take pictures of)

Monday, May 2, 2011

$300-$48.76=$251.24 Week 1/May

               Friday was supposed to be my first post about my new challenge to spend $300 or less a month for groceries. Seeing as I didn't go shopping Friday as I normally would have that post is now today!
               So here goes! I started by going through my kitchen and finding out what all I did have in there. From there I made a list of meals for the next 7 days. Most of these meals were based on ingredients I already have. Then I put together a list of items I would need to make these meals, and how much they cost at Aldi's where I normally shop. Once I had this list together I double checked it to make sure we would have everything to make 3 meals a day plus snacks. My list showed that I should be able to buy everything for under $50, awesome!
               I was able to get everything on my list plus some extras for $48.76! So my family and I are fed for the next 7 days, until at least May 8th and we still have $251.24 for the rest of the month. My mini-goal inside of my big goal is to spend no more than $50 a week. And ya know what? I'm pretty sure I can do it! Oh, yeah, a big helper is to leave the cards at home! Only take as much cash as you want to spend. Also even when you calculate and use your calculator as things go in the cart, you can get distracted and forget to enter something or the price isn't clearly marked. So if you get through the check out and your total goes over, think back to how much things were and take out something you can do without. For example I was standing in line thinking, "Okay, so if I have to the tuna was 52 cents a can, the mac and cheese was 35 cents a box..." Luckily I was nicely under budget this time and didn't have to take anything back!