No Spend August meals week 4

This is the last full week in August, yay!  September we will begin preparing freezer meals in preparation for the next little baby’s arrival so our grocery trips will be a little bit more expensive than usual, but will save time, money, and sanity in the long run.

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B: Oatmeal (E), Cereal (me); L: Leftover spaghetti; D: Tyson chicken breast, rice, corn

23

B: Peanut butter toast, applesauce; L: Egg salad sandwiches; D:  Leftover butter and parm noodles, mixed veggies

24

B:  Cereal, applesauce; L: Rice, fruit,  D:  Beef stroganoff, peas and carrots

25

B:  Cereal, banana;  L: Leftover beef stroganoff;  D: Spaghetti, mixed veggies

26

B: Waffles, applesauce;  L: PB&J;  D:

27

B: Cereal, yogurt, banana; L: Out with friends visiting town; D: Pizza

28

B: Cereal, banana; L: Leftover spaghetti; D: Blueberry muffins, eggs

Will comes home tomorrow so our month is about to become much more exciting, and much different in terms of meals and this will be the last meal post for August because of that…  Can’t throw myself under the bus just yet! 😉

No Spend August day 28

It doesn’t even seem like this month is just about over!  I’m motivated to do another no spend challenge and hopefully have more success next time.  With that being said I’m still very pleased about how well we did this month.  We would have been much more successful if my husband’s phone hadn’t fried, and if he didn’t need to make last-minute purchases for things he needed (he was in the field all month).  Those purchases are what have hit us the most this month, but were basically unavoidable.

We have both cheated during this month.  I have purchased a few meals out including a slice of pizza at Sam’s club and a lunch with friends visiting for the day.  I definitely rationalize the lunch date, the pizza slice was avoidable but it was $2 and I would not have made it through the shopping trip I was so hungry and drained (keep in mind the 34 weeks pregnant thing).  I have also purchased $33 worth of toys for Elizabeth to receive when dad gets home, as gifts from him.  Alternatively, Will has purchased a few meals here and there, and all of his “last minute needs” in the field are definitely cheats because, well, he has plenty of socks in his dresser, he just didn’t pack them.

Going forward with “no spend month” challenges I want to keep in mind that we will need to:

  • Meal plan because feeding an adult man (who cannot eat as blandly as Elizabeth and I have this past month) will require more thought and preparation.
  • Plan it during a “normal” month when my husband will be home so he isn’t tempted to spend money or be in a situation where he is unable to use something we already own, like all of his socks.
  • Give ourselves tasks to accomplish around the house.  I believe that having a to-do list at home has kept me busy around the house rather than wandering stores impulsively buying things, and it has benefited the home as well!

Which month would you recommend for doing another No Spend challenge?  Have you ever done a challenge similar to this?

Goodbye, husband

I have a love/hate relationship with many things in my life: my temperamental skin, my dining set, sewing, but most of all my husband’s career.  It’s obvious that in this society today we (I’m looking at you, Hollywood) have romanticized men in the military and just how wonderful these relationships can be.  I mean, you get to travel the world with your husband, he gets to look all sexy in his uniform everyday, you get sweet homecomings, but you don’t see the less-obvious hate side.  I hate never knowing when my husband will be home.  In fact we have often realized that it is less stressful for me to simply know that my husband won’t be coming home.  At least on those days I’m not waiting to make dinner or put Elizabeth down.  If I know he isn’t coming home then we can move through the day at our own pace and it stays much simpler, and is much easier, and that breaks my heart.

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There are some days where Will isn’t gone, but doesn’t see Elizabeth at all; he goes to work in the morning some days before 6 am and doesn’t get home until who knows what time in the night.  Then there are days where he doesn’t leave for work until Elizabeth and I are about to eat breakfast, he’s able to join us for lunch (which is why we encourage people to live on base), and then he gets home early.  This is where the military spouse saying “semper gumby” comes in.  Always flexible.  Nothing is ever certain.  I love the days when we see a lot of him and love when we’re reunited after days or weeks of being apart, but this is just the beginning.  I know he will end up being sent away for months at a time, I know that sometimes it’ll be easier for me during those months than it will when he was supposed to be home but became held up at work.  I know we will say “bye” to each other more than most couples because of his career and that we already have spent more time apart than many people do.

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I’m not going to say that the sisterhood makes it worth it.  And I don’t mean that in a negative way toward other military spouses whatsoever, I simply believe that I would find a sisterhood in whatever path my husband and I were on.  What makes it worth it is him.  I didn’t marry a marine for the sisterhood.  I didn’t marry him for the obvious perks of traveling, homecomings, or sexy uniforms, I married a marine because the man I was marrying happened to be a marine.  He is what I love most about the military lifestyle.

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Cordless vacuuming

Oscar is 106 lbs of fur.  This dog is made up of nothing except fur.  His thick, gray, wooly undercoat and thick sleek black and tan rough coat are never ending.  Never. Ending.  This dog’s shedding is the never ending story.  Seriously some of his rough coat hairs are easily six inches long, and crimped, some straight, I could go on for days.  I could easily brush this dog daily and get handfuls of fur each time.  I do keep him regularly brushed and groomed (certified groomer here) but shedding is a fact of life for those with a double coated dog, or plural dogs, like us.

In order to live in a clean home with a walking, bouncing, shaking, drooling furball I vacuum constantly.  I vacuum so frequently that we have two separate vacuums that are never put away.  Honestly, they stay plugged in with the cords all over the floor standing up in whichever room I finished vacuuming most recently.  The issue is that I’m truly not crazy about leaving the vacuums all over the place.  Sometimes I step on the cord just right and it feels like I’ve stepped on a big pebble, sometimes I trip over them, the majority of the time I just want it to be put away for the sake of having a clean home.

Here’s where the title of the post comes in:  I want a cordless vacuum.  I want to be done with the chore, walk to its docking station, set it down, and be done.  I don’t want to have to bend over to unplug it from the wall, let alone wind up the cord. Seriously, I’m 39 weeks pregnant, bending sucks and vacuuming this frequently it’s just, no.

As expected with me, I’ve done a bit of research trying to keep open minded as I’m super dyson-bias; both of my uprights are dyson, one is about 12 years old, the other is about 3.  Now, I should add that my dyson-bias is inherited… My mom is a crazy dyson lady.  She has purchased so many dysons either just to try for herself or to gift: canisters, uprights, cordless; fans: the “normal” ones and the ones with heating a cooling, anything they make she wants to try (please start paying her, dyson, seriously, it’s about time).  I enjoy using her cordless vacuum especially for the purpose of cleaning out a car, so the biggest obstacle for me is if I can find one that is capable of coming apart the way the dyson cordless is.

Bestreviews.com compared five cordless vacuums:  Hoover Linx, Dyson DC59, Dirt Devil Accucharge, Shark Bagless Navigator Freestyle, and the Eureka Quick Up 2-in-1.  They summarized that the Hoover Linx was the best of the best and that the Dirt Devil Accucharge was the best bang for your buck.  *Insert whiny voice* But they don’t get small for cleaning cars and the Hoover isn’t much cheaper than the Dyson.

 My first official item on my “no spend October” wishlist is the cordless Dyson V8.  Yes, a V6 would be sufficient, but if I’m looking too practically replace my regular vacuum and wage war against Oscar’s hair then I might as well go for the bigger vacuum.  The realistic money-saver in me says to go for the V6 with the sales that are happening now, but with the 20 minute battery life compared to the V8’s 40 minute battery, I can’t rationalize it.  I just know I would use it too frequently to deal with it dying so often.

What is a brand you have a difficult time separating yourself from?

Montessori-ish

I have become fascinated with Montessori searches on Pinterest.  I’ve always loved the simple clean looks for toy rooms/areas, and I’ve done my best to keep Elizabeth’s bedroom and toy area accessible and tidy, but the more I learn about Montessori the more intrigued I am by it, and I’m realizing I kind of have a knack for this type of thing!  Woo!

“Play gives children a chance to practice what they are learning.” – Fred Rogers

I’ve always considered myself a “lazy” parent.  I don’t want to deal with constantly scolding my daughter or preventing her from getting into things so the temptations aren’t there, simple as that.  The entire downstairs of our house is Elizabeth-friendly.  A simple day can go by without me having to chase her down because she wandered into another room, how cool is that?

She has and will learn boundaries as they come, but not in a way that is constantly teasing and taunting her.  I would be frustrated if Will was always doing something that I thought looked great but whenever I tried it he prevented me; so that thought process has inspired me to try to look at things through her eyes and create a little world for her to explore freely.

Two blogs in particular have been so much fun for me to explore lately, and have become such an inspiration for me.  I believe in Montessori and The Kavanaugh Report are highly recommended and unbelievably helpful in helping me learn, to help my daughter learn.

“Play is the work of the child.” – Maria Montessori

I don’t consider myself a Montessori parent because I’m not fully educated on the topic, maybe someday I will be, maybe I’ll stick with what we’ve been doing so far, but I hope to keep you updated on our learning adventures together regardless.

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No Spend August day 22

Since the last “no spend month” update I’ve completed Elizabeth’s quilt which I plan to do a post for in the days coming, I have sold the daybed and two dressers, and continued the pre-move clean up around the house.

I’m hoping within the next week to prime over the painted wall in our guest bedroom, get started on baby #2’s quilt, and to continue working toward emptying the pantry and not purchasing a lot of food.

At the beginning of the month I had expected to build a big wish list of all these things I would want to buy during this month but in all reality I haven’t really wanted anything badly enough to add to a list.  Luckily things that I’ve been craving are foods so I’ve been allowed to get them even with keeping the grocery list short, sweet, and cheap.  Instead of this wish list of things to purchase I’ve been creating a wish list of things to accomplish for September which so far include stripping and re-staining our dining table which we’ve intended on doing since we purchased it last November and repainting our buffet.  The reason I would like to get those two jobs completed is because while we’re in this house we can cordon off our dining room whereas whatever house we move into next will have a more open floor plan so we’d have to move the pieces to the garage to really work on them.

We’re also hoping to make a trip to IKEA sometime in September which we are both so excited for.  Who doesn’t love IKEA?!  The nearest IKEAs are in Charlotte, NC and in Woodbridge, VA so we’ll be going to the Woodbridge one and staying with his parents, two birds one stone! 🙂  I’m hoping to make a post after visiting about the best items under $50 from IKEA so keep your eye out for that.

What would you recommend most to purchase from IKEA?  There are a couple furniture pieces we have in mind and a handful of smaller and cheaper items to help keep the home more organized.

No Spend August meals week 3

This week starts off with a couple leftover meals in the fridge to go through, and a few meals I’d love to make but have been putting off in order to use up perishable ingredients.  I’m excited for our upcoming meals!

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B: Oatmeal (E) Cereal (me), pears;  L: Out to eat (courtesy of visiting Grands);  D: Delivery (courtesy visiting Grands)

16

B:  Oatmeal (E) Cereal (me); L: Leftover roasted chicken and potatoes, broccoli (me), leftover mac and cheese, chicken (E);  D: Swedish pancakes

17

B: Cereal, banana; L: Sloppy Joes; D: Leftover sloppy joes.

18

B: Waffles, yogurt; L: English Muffin Pizzas; D: Pizza delivery (courtesy of visiting friends)

19

B: Peanut butter toast; L: Leftover pizza; D: Chicken and cheese quesadillas

20

B: Yogurt; L: Peanut butter sandwiches; D: Spaghetti

21

B: Cereal, applesauce; L: PB&J; D: Roasted chicken breast, potato and green beans

I had been craving quesadillas for a few weeks, and the salsa we have on hand is definitely not my favorite, so although the quesadillas themselves were delicious I wasn’t feeling them with the salsa we have.  Elizabeth loved hers though she gobbled up an entire half of a quesadilla!

This week we were also spoiled in that a few meals were paid for by visitors, probably out of pity, you know, being 33 weeks pregnant with a 13 month old and all… 😉