This blog was started in 2008 when we did IVF for the first time to build our family after 5 1/2 years of infertility. We now have 8 and 2 year old boys (thanks to modern medicine) and we are enjoying our blessed life as parents ♥ In the summer of 2016 we took another huge step and moved across the country from Oklahoma to New York! This blog is about life and everything in between

Friday, February 24, 2012

Saving Money

These days have taxes on everyone's mind and that got me thinking about the ways that I save my family money all throughout the year! I am going to share that with you so hopefully I can inspire someone else out there. We can all learn from each other! Most of my totals are estimates--on the low side--for an example of what the average household pays.

No cable TV=$50/month ($600+/yr)
No cell phones=$75/month ($900/yr)
No car payments=$200/month ($2400/yr)
Couponing for groceries/toiletries=$200-400/month ($2400-4800/yr)
Cut my husbands hair=$20 every 2 months ($120/yr)
Color my own hair=$50 every 2 months ($300/yr)
Workout at home=$25/month ($300/yr)
File my own taxes=$100/yr
Do our own yardwork=$50/month ($600/yr)

These are just the regular things that came to mind first. Other ways to save money include:

Only eating out once a week
Keeping thermostat higher in the summer and lower in the winter
Opening windows when warm outside
Only shop for clothes during seasonal sales
Shop for birthday/Christmas presents throughout the year during sales

Some people look at me like I'm crazy when they hear that I don't have a smartphone, or that I don't have cable. So how do I get thru life?? Let me tell you!

I have a prepaid Tracfone that I pay $20 to load 120 minutes on every 3 months, and I use this for when I am on-call at work, and for emergencies. We ditched cable several months back and don't miss it at all! We got a cheap antenna for local channels (in HD!) and a Roku box for streaming shows/movies. We have a Netflix and Hulu account which total $16/month. I started couponing almost one year ago and have learned to find the best deals for things matching coupons and sales. We went from spending about $400/month on generic food/toiletries to maybe $75/month on NAME BRAND food/toiletries!

My journey to frugalness started when I was 16. I got married, moved out, and had no money. Nick and I both worked crappy jobs while I finished high school and went to college. We started out with nothing so anything more than that is like a luxury to us! We both agree that a simple life is the best life and choosing not to "need" all of the latest and greatest has enabled us to do so many other wonderful things!

I hope this inspires someone out there to take control of their life and start working towards where they want to be, instead of where they have to be due to debt! You can do it!


Thursday, February 23, 2012

Easy Peasy Chicken Parm!

Let me start by apologizing that there is no picture! I baked this last night and had family over for dinner so I was too distracted to have my camera available.

I found this recipe on my new Roku channel AllRecipes.com and knew instantly I had to try it. It is one of those quick and easy recipes you can throw together with just a few ingredients and no measuring! My fave. So here you go:

2-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
approx. 1c spaghetti sauce (your choice)
approx. 1c shredded mozzarella and parmesan
1/2 bag seasoned croutons
olive oil
minced garlic

Preheat to 350. Take a casserole dish that is just big enough for your chicken to cover the bottom and be snug without a lot of room. First drizzle some olive oil on the bottom then sprinkle garlic. Lay chicken on the oil then pour enough sauce over to cover. Sprinkle HALF of both cheeses on sauce, then cover with a layer of croutons. Cover with remaining cheeses and bake for 35-40 minutes!

So very delicious. I made 3 breasts for dinner. Baking them in the sauce makes them oh-so tender! The top layer of cheese and croutons bakes up golden brown and crunchy. You can of course add more/less of any ingredient to suit your taste! Hopefully next time I make it I can take a picture before we eat it ;)


Thursday, February 16, 2012

Healthy Living Update

It has been two weeks since I last posted so I thought I would let you all know how my lifestyle improvements have been going!

When I did the 5 day juice fast last month I lost 7lbs. As of right now I have kept 4 of those off! That may not seem like a big deal but my weight has been at a plateau for many years and I really struggle with myself to get those last 10lbs off. I can proudly say that none of it is baby weight though! I lost all of that within a couple of months.

Mainly what I've been doing different is eating more vegetables, salads, fruit, whole grains, and less meat. As for exercise, I found a workout on Pinterest that I have been doing on my days off:

It takes about 30 minutes and gets my heart rate going! The first time I did it left me sore in places I didn't even think I had worked! I like the variety and how it works all major areas of my body with some cardio thrown in. I don't do the head tilt b/c I don't know what that is, and instead of the two sets of 10 crunches I do two sets of 20.

It may not sound like much but a long journey starts with small steps! Being unhealthy doesn't hurt anyone but yourself, and why would you want to hurt yourself? Being a nurse for almost 6 years now has shown me so many people who are literally dying from being simply unhealthy and making bad lifestyle choices. I don't want to be one of them in 20 years!

While we are on the subject of being unhealthy...here are some cuppies I made for Valentine's day!
They have brownie on the bottom and strawberry cake on the top with cream cheese frosting. YUM. Don't worry--I only kept a few for my little fam then took the rest to work!

For Valentine's Day we usually don't do much--I am one of those who feel it is a mostly commercial-centered holiday with no real purpose. We don't go out to eat b/c everyone else is out doing the exact same thing. For the last couple of years we grab a heart-shaped pizza from Papa Murphy's and enjoy a nice quiet evening at home! I got him some chocolates and he got me a gift certificate for a pedicure :)

Here is a small fleece baby blanket that I embroidered for an out-of-state friend:

I don't know if I mentioned before but I bought our tickets to Seattle! We leave in two weeks and I still haven't booked the hotel or rental car yet...yikes! I am definitely doing that this weekend. We are really looking forward to seeing the Pacific NW for the first time and seeing the mountains again. If you have any suggestions for what to see/do in the Seattle/Mt. St. Helens area please let me know!


Friday, February 3, 2012

Experiments in Healthy Eating

Yesterday I tried a couple of new recipes that I have been seeing on Pinterest. I am always up for a new yummy way to cook and enjoy vegetables! I made homemade guacamole (not a new recipe for me, but took a pic anyway)

First new thing was....kale chips!

Rinsed/dried the kale, cute into bite size pieces, sprayed with olive oil, sprinkled with salt, then baked at 375 degrees for 15 minutes.

They were very crunchy, and just about melted in your mouth. But that is where the positivity ends!! I really did not like the taste--it was like a combination of grass and spinach. My son did like them and ate several.

Next up....sweet potato chips!

I thinly sliced 3 small sweet potatoes, sprayed with olive oil, sprinkled salt, baked at 375 degrees for 10 min then turned the pan around and baked for 10 more minutes.

I really liked these! They tasted great and were mostly crunchy. My silly oven cooks unevenly so some were burned, some were just right. The 3 potatoes didn't make very many chips, but the few that were left did not taste nearly as good today. Definitely need to eat these fresh!

I am glad I finally tried this techniques and was able to share my experiences. I will most likely stick with making baked sweet potato fries instead of chips though! I found a recipe that uses cornmeal to make the fries crunchy, so that will be my next adventure...

It is still in the 50s-70s outside here these days, so yesterday we broke out the charcoal grill and cooked up a bunch of meat to eat on this weekend! I grilled steaks, hotdogs, turkey burgers, and chicken breast. After we ate dinner we roasted some marshmallows too! Yum. Today it rained off and on all day so that was a nice change. One more month until we go to Seattle!

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