Thursday, December 13, 2012

Oven Baked Chicken Fajitas

I found this recipe on Pinterest and decided to give it a try. I figure I have so many recipes pinned on Pinterest I should at least try a few of them. :)

I fixed this last night and my family loved it! I liked the idea of just throwing everything together and sticking it in the oven while I worked on other things.  I threw everything in the pan and stuck it in the oven and left to pick the boys up. My 14 yr old daughter was home and took it out when it was done. All I had to when I got home was put it on the tortillas and feed it to my hungry crew.

I made slight changes from the original recipe using what I had on hand. Here is what I made.
  • 1 1/2  pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips
  • 2 Tbsp Vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes with oregano
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 1 large green bell pepper, seeded and sliced 
  • 1 large red bell pepper, seeded and sliced
  • 12 flour tortillas
  • Toppings such as cheese, sour cream, and guacamole – if desired
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place chicken strips in a greased 13×9 baking dish.
  2. In a small bowl combine the oil, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, dried oregano, and salt
  3. Drizzle the spice mixture over the chicken and stir to coat.
  4. Next add the tomatoes, peppers, and onions to the dish and stir to combine.
  5. Bake uncovered for 20-25 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and the vegetables are tender. Serve on tortillas with desired toppings.

Next time I make it I think I will increase the spices since I added more chicken and 1 more pepper. My husband and kiddos all said it was spicy enough though.  We topped ours with sour cream and cheese.   It does not get the same crispness as the fajitas get in the skillet but I liked the convenience.  There was enough to feed my family of 5 and for my hubby to have leftovers today.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Menu Plan Monday

It has been a crazy few weeks at my house. I have had bronchitis and just didn't feel like doing anything by the time I got home every night.

This week is crazy busy and it looks like we will be eating in shifts every night. The two boys have Christmas musical practice at Church every night this week for the Sunday performance. This is a little excessive to me but I am not the director. We did have to tell her that both boys won't be at every practice.  Daughter has Christmas Concert at School , Cheerleading practice and a Basketaball game this week. Oldest boy besides Christmas musical practice has basketball practice 3 nights and the High School is recognizing all the 5th grade basketball players at the Varsity Home game on Tuesday night.   I don't think I can fit anything else in my schedule.

It looks like we are eating in shifts this week so here is what I have on the menu.

Monday: Ground Beef/ Penne Pasta - quick casserole using what I have on hand.
Tuesday: Roast/Carrots/Potatoes in the Crock Pot
Wednesday:  Oven Baked Chicken Fajitas - first time trying this recipe
Thursday: Sausage and Potato Bake.
Friday:  Beef and Noodles - Using leftover Roast
Saturday: Family Christmas
Sunday: Youth Group Christmas party at Church.

Linking up to I'm an Organizing Junkie

Monday, November 19, 2012

Menu Plan and Stocking Up

Menu Plan 
Our plans changed for Thanksgiving so it looks we will be home and I will be cooking Thanksgiving Dinner for our family of 5.  Here is our Menu Plan for the rest of the week.

Monday: Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
Tuesday: Ham n Beans
Wednesday: Spaghetti / Garlic Bread
Thursday: Turkey Day
Friday: ??
Saturday ??
Sunday: Leftovers

Since we were supposed to be gone this weekend we thought we would go ahead but  do something fun for the kids. We are throwing around a couple ideas of places to go for Friday/Saturday/Sunday so our weekend plans are up in the air.

Stocking UP
Our local Grocery store has had decent sales going on the past couple of weeks. One week was all the baking supplies. I stocked up on Flour, Sugar, Chocolate Chips, butter. etc. This week and last week it was all the items for Thanksgiving dinner. I stocked up on several more items canned vegetables, pickles, olives.
My husband thought I was a little crazy but I know everything will get used up before it goes bad.  Some of the deals were just to good to pass up. I know the point of the sale is to get customers in the store so they will be buy something else but for the most part I stuck to the sale items. Between Thanksgiving and Christmas I know everything will get used.
I had set aside some of our budget money for this stock up. I knew it was coming as the store does it every year.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Crazy Week

I did not end up posting my Saturday update last week because I was working. We had a software upgrade go in over the weekend and I spent Friday night installing and Saturday troubleshooting.
Last Week. I ended up breaking even with my weekly spending money. 
$130 Gas
$20 Bowling
$100 for Household.
I don't have the exact breakdown for the Household but the money was divided up between Groceries, Supplies for Son's Log Cabin project at school and eye/hair stuff for Daughter's cheerleading team. She is the captain and thought she had to bring enough for everyone in case they forgot. We chased all over town getting the right eye glitter glue/gel crap. :)  We also had to pay to get into the game. 
Of course once we get to the game the boys are starving and want food. The school  moved the games up an hour to 5:00 this year so not as much time to eat before the game.  I agreed to buy popcorn and a drink.

This week:
I didn't do a menu plan this week as the weekend got away from me. I have really missed it this week since my daughter has had 3 cheerleading games this week.
This is what we have done so far.

Monday: Sub Sandwiches at Game. - We had an errand to run afterward so i bought sandwiches there.
Tuesday: Breakfast for Dinner. Eggs/Cheese, Biscuits. - Another game night and this is quick and simple.
Wednesday: Pulled Pork Sandwiches - Finally remembered to put the Pork in the Crockpot
Thursday: Left over Pulled Pork
Friday: Pizza.
Saturday: Boy Scout Chilli Supper
Sunday: ??

Next week I only have to come up with 2 days as we are traveling for Thanksgiving. We are leaving Wednesday afternoon and will be back Sunday.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Menu Plan

Here is this week's Menu.  Over the weekend I cooked the Chicken and Ham so all I have to do is heat it up for Dinner. This week is a busy week and I needed everything to be quick.

Monday: Chicken, Green Beans, Mashed Potatoes
Tuesday: Ham , Pineapple, Vegetable(Not sure yet)
Wednesday: Spaghetti
Thursday: Leftover
Friday: Buffalo Chicken Soup  - This is a new recipe for us.
Saturday: On your own
Sunday: Ham and Bean Soup, Cornbread

Linking up with I'm a Organizing Junkie Menu Plan Monday

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Saturday Financials

This week I gave us $250 for our weekly expenses. This includes Gas, Household Items and Groceries. I ended up with $5 left for the week!
Here is how it broke down.

Eating Out: $23.21 - part of this was me for lunch.  A group went out to eat on Friday.
Groceries/Household: $82.23. - I really need to separate these out  so I have a better idea of what I am spending on Groceries
Entertainment: Bowling $20. Hubby's weekly bowling night.
Gas Truck: $40 - Hubby
Gas Van: $61.72  - Me.
Misc: $17.84. - I am missing a receipt somewhere so I am not sure where this money went.

I pay cash for everything except for Gas. I get gas at a Sam's club by where I work and they only accept credit/debit cards, no cash. The gas station is always a couple cents cheaper than other gas stations in the area.
 I am rolling the left $5 into this week's budget.

This week's Budget.

Gas - I know I will be spending more in gas this week as I have to take my son to the Dr. and his specialist is about 40 minutes in the opposite direction of where I go for work.

Groceries: I am not sure yet.   I am cooking a chicken in the crockpot today to shred put in the freezer. I am also thinking about cooking a ham tomorrow and storing leftovers in the freezer. We have a busy week ahead of us so this will give us a head start on a couple meals.

Dining Out: I am going to try and not eat out this week as this takes up a lot of our budget money. I never realized how much until I started tracking.  I will have to stop for a shake for my son after his Dr appt as this is a tradition we have been doing for 7 years. He doesn't care for the Dr but always enjoys the shake afterwards. :)

Saturday Goals:
  1. Laundry - Never ending.
  2. Chicken cooking for Next week
  3. Go through Boys closet and remove clothes that are too small. 
  4. Find my kitchen table. It is buried under all the stuff from the week that got dumped there. :)

That should do it for me. Hope everyone has a good weekend!

Friday, November 2, 2012

November Goals

Several blogs I follow put out monthly goals. I have not done this before but as I am trying to get more organized at Home and with my money I figured I would give it a try. :)
November will be a very busy month for us and I am hoping that if I am better organized it will go smooth. I can dream right ?
Here are some of our activities for the Month, my goals are based on how busy we will be. 
Daughter's Cheerleading Games start.
Son #1 Basketball games start
Traveling for Thanksgiving - going to see inlaws in Arkansas.
Kids Christmas Musical practice at Church.

November Goals:
  1. Plan our little Family Thanksgiving Dinner (Traveling to Mother In Laws for the Big T-Day but we will be having our own little dinner just our family. I love to cook and due to drama in Hubby's family I never get to host the family(6 siblings) dinner. This year we are skipping it all together and going to his Mom's in Arkansas.)  I could do a whole post on hubby's family. :)
  2. Fix Freezer Meals for Busy weeks. - I have not done this before but will be trying some this weekend. 
  3. Stick to Weekly Budget - Our Monthly Budget is pretty set but our weekly budget changes. I have a new budget of $250 for us for every week. 
  4. Stay caught up on Laundry 
  5. Start Christmas Shopping - I know most people are finishing up but I have not started.
  6. Make a Family Communications Center at Home - I need to create something to post Schedules, Menus, Reminders. I have an Idea of what I want but I am not very crafty. I may make Melissa come help me.  She is a lot better at this than me. lol 
  7. Stick to my Weekly Menu Plan - I have been doing this for 3 full months now and I can't  imagine not doing it anymore. It helps out so much.
  8. Plan a Date Night with the Hubby  - It has been a while since we have had a night out.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Menu Plan Monday

Keeping meals simple this week. I carried one meal over from last week that we didn't end up using.

Monday:  BBQ Cups - kids love these and they are simple. I have also seen them with Taco Meat
Tuesday:  Pork Chops/ Applesauce / Corn
Wednesday: Halloween - sandwiches
Thursday: Rotisserie Chicken in the Crockpot
Friday: Homemade Pizza
Saturday: ??

This weekend I made a batch of Stuffed Green Pepper Soup , a recipe that Melissa posted. I plan on using this for lunches this week for me and Hubby. 

Linking up with Organizing Junkie Menu Plan Monday

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Saturday Check In

I went back to tracking last week and it definitely works better for me.  I have been trying to determine what is best amount for our weekly finances.  Last week I did $200 and came up $25 over. Here is the breakdown for the week:
Groceries/Household Items: $74.53
Dining Out: $62.07
Recreation: $20
Gas: $69.05

Gas was only for my Van and didn't include the Husband's truck. He only drives a mile to work and didn't need to fill up this week.  We also went out to eat more this week than we have in a while.   This week I am going with a $250 budget as we have a few more things coming up this week. Husband's truck will need gas. I am hoping this works better for us.  I will also be watching what we spend at the store and not going out to eat this week.

We  sat down with our daughter on Tuesday and gave her a daily spending limit for her lunch. We showed her how much she was spending. She has snacks and drinks I already bought her to take with her for practice.  Wednesday she did good but on Thursday she went over again. Only by 30 cents but it is still over.  She is gone for the weekend and I didn't see it before she left. I will be collecting it from her when she gets home.   I don't want her falling into the same money problems that her Dad and I did when we were younger.  She needs to learn to budget her money.  The lunch account for all 3 kids is combined so it is hard when she goes over it doesn't really affect her at lunch.

Here is my To Do List from last week.
  1. Organize Dining Room ( has become the collecting place for everything)
  2. Parent Teacher Conferences for the Kids
  3. Grocery Shopping
  4. Send payment for Son's Baseball team. 
  5. Go over list for Halloween supplies. (Costumes are bought but need to check for accessories)
I did pretty good but didn't end up organizing the Dining Room.   We seemed to have something to do every night this week and I didn't get to it. Today has been spent running everywhere also.  Kid's had practice plus a baby shower and birthday party.  Tomorrow is Church and getting pumpkins for the kids. I am hoping we can still find some as we waited too long this year.  

I am off to take the youngest to a birthday party. 

Hope everyone has a good weekend and everyone out East survives the storm.  I will post on Monday our Menu plan for next week. 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Menu Plan

I am a day late with this post but here is what is on the menu for this week. The hubby and kids did pretty well sticking to the menu I laid out for them while I was gone.

Monday: Cheese Ravioli, Garlic Bread,Applesauce
Tuesday: Goulash
Wednesday: Leftovers or Sandwich night
Thursday: PorkChops, corn, Salad
Friday: Crockpot Chicken Teriyaki
Saturday: Tater tot Casserole

I am linking up with I'm an Organizing Junkie

Back on Track

The last two weeks have been crazy.  I got away from tracking for two weeks.  The week my Aunt died and then last week while I was in Seattle.  I tracked my expenses for the week in Seattle but that was just to turn into work for reimbursement. My hubby handled everything at home while I was gone so I didn't ask him to keep track of everything. 

This week I am getting back on track and track where everything is going. I like to  know where my money is going.  Before I left for Seattle I paid the bills that went out for the second half of the month.  So that is taken care of. I gave myself $200 for the week for groceries/gas/misc.  We will see how it goes.

One problem area is the kids lunch account. My youngest two boys take their lunch some days but my daughter doesn't like to do that in Middle School.  The problem is that the lunch prices were raised this year and the portions went down so the school lunch is not enough for her. I think it would be if she were to eat all her veggies and fruit that they are required to take now. She is also in cheerleading after school and wants snacks before practice.  I have bought snacks for her to take with her but of course she forgets them at home. So she picks something up at the snack bar which is ridiculously high. She is spending anywhere from $4 - $5 a day when she has cheerleading practice. I know that this is not that much but it adds up quickly.  I can pack quite a lunch and snacks for that price. We are going to have to make a change because she is killing me with these prices.  ( A  little update, all 3 kids share the same lunch account so setting a daily limit doesn't seem to be working because there is always money in the account. Our school doesn't accept cash for lunches the money  has to be in their account.).  Any suggestions ?

Today I need to go grocery shopping to get the supplies for the week. I will post my menu for the week in a separate post. There is not too much to shop for this week.

This week's To Do List:
  1. Organize Dining Room ( has become the collecting place for everything)
  2. Parent Teacher Conferences for the Kids
  3. Grocery Shopping
  4. Send payment for Son's Baseball team. 
  5. Go over list for Halloween supplies. (Costumes are bought but need to check for accessories)

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Menu Plan

Thank you for the kind words on my Aunt passing last week.
I am in Seattle this week at a work conference. I made up a meal plan for the hubby while I am gone. He has a busy week with running kids so I made sure it was quick and simple.

Monday: Pulled Pork sandwiches: this was in freezer so just had to thaw put.
Tuesday: Spaghetti , garlic bread.
Wednesday : leftovers or sandwiches
Thursday: hotdogs , Macaroni and cheese
Friday: eat out. I get home on Friday
Saturday: My 20 year class reunion
Sunday: eat at church

I will be interested to get home and see if the family followed what I laid out.
Have a good week!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Big C

The Big "C" Cancer has reared its ugly head this week. A friends Dad last his 7 month battle with Cancer this week.  On the same day my Aunt also lost her fight. It is so hard to watch friends and family grieve for their loved ones. 
In my Dad's family my Aunt is the 4th sibling to die from this horrible disease.  My Dad came from a large family there are 13 kids total in the family. Four of them lost to cancer and 1 (My Dad) to heart attack. 2 died when they were real young to pneumonia and kidney problems.  Unfortunately my Uncle has also been diagnosed with Cancer and is not responding to treatments either.  Sometimes we wonder why our family has been hit so hard.  We know God is in control and he has a plan that we don't understand. We know that our loved ones are in a better place and are no longer in any pain.  That doesn't always ease the grief though at least not now. 
I am not one to sit around and do nothing. After hearing the news I felt like I had to do something. So I left work went to Walmart and bought basic supplies to take to the families. Plates, cups, paper towels and a veggie tray.  My  Husband and I have both lost our Dads and when we were going through it the last thing you want to do is worry about dishes or what to feed everyone.  I will be fixing more food tonight to take down to my Aunt's for tomorrow.  I know there will be plenty of family there tomorrow.  This may seem small but I feel the need to keep busy.  I hate Cancer.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Menu Plan Monday

Here is this week's Menu. I followed last week's menu except for Saturday because we were invited to a cookout.

Monday: Whole Wheat Pecan Waffles and Bacon, : I can't wait to try these waffles.
Tuesday:  Chicken and Noodles: Using Leftover chicken.
Wednesday: Leftover Night or Sandwiches
Thursday: Enchiladas
Friday: Homemade Pizza
Saturday: Cookout
Sunday: Youth Group Night at Church.

I am linking up with I'm an Organizing Junkie

I had most of the ingredients on hand for this week so I only need to pick up a few things for this week. I will be planning and shopping for next week also since I will be gone. I head to Seattle for a work conference next Monday and Hubby will be staying home with the kids.  I have no worries as my husband can cook but I want to make it easier for him since he will be left with all the kid running.  Some weeks it really does take both of us to get the kids everywhere. :)

Have a good week!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Friday Recap

I made it through the week!! While I was doing the September Savings Challenge I started tracking where I was spending all weekly money. Since DH gets paid weekly we end up putting part of his check in the bank and keeping part out for weekly expenses. ( Food, Gas, Clothing, etc).  My paycheck is twice a month and on those pay days I pay our bills.  I know where my paycheck goes but I have not been very good at keeping track of the weekly money.

Tracking definitely helped me budget our money better. I decided I would start publishing our weekly totals here so I am more accountable. 
This week was a stock up week for Groceries. During September I had used up a lot of meat that was in our freezer. I was done to a few packages of Ground Beef, a 10 lb Ham , 12 lb Turkey and some frozen fish. I know there are many dishes I can make with Ground Beef but I wanted to give my family a little variety. The Ham and Turkey don't fit in my Crockpot so I need to cook those on the weekend. 
Groceries: $124.76
This included 2 Whole Chickens $.99/lb,-  I already cooked one this week with the Bones reserved for Broth.
Pork Loin $1.99 lb. - Cut this up at home into 3 meals- 2 pkgs of Pork chops and 1 pork loin to roast.
Jif Peanut Butter $10.98 - this is a twin pack and DH only like Jif. I don't buy name brand on very many items but this is one.
Boneless/ Skinless Chicken Thighs 1.67 / lb
This gives a little variety in the menu.

Entertainment - 31.00
Dining Out $ 23.96
Gas $182.30 - this is high for us but it included husbands truck, motorcycle , my van and the mower.

A new week starts for us tomorrow.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Menu Plan Monday

Here is our Menu Plan for the week.

Monday: Tacos
Tuesday: Crock Pot Chicken , Carrots, Potatoes
Wednesday:  Cheese Ravioli/ Garlic Bread / Salad
Thursday: Ham n Beans / Corn Bread
Friday : Leftovers/Sandwiches.  Football Game so dinner is quick.
Saturday: Chicken Casserole
Sunday:  Crock Pot Ranch Pork Chops / Salad/ Applesauce

Linking up with  I'm an Organizing Junkie

Saturday, September 29, 2012

September Saving Challenge

This was the last week of doing the September savings Challenge.  My husband gets paid weekly on Fridays so I am not counting the last two days of the month.
Week 4 ending balance was $33.73 out of $200.00

Gas $100.02
Groceries $ 37.76
Dining out $11.39
Gift $ 12.10 - fleece material for son's blanket
School Dance $5.00 - entry fee for daughter.

I ended up being able to put $400 in our Christmas fund.  I learned a lot this month. I had gotten in a bad habit of using my debit card for purchases instead of paying cash. This helped me break that habit. Tracking everything also let me see where my money is going.

Monthly total
Groceries : $ 305.25
Dining out $ 47.71
Gift : $12.10
Entertainment $10.00

I don't think we did too bad for the month.  I need to make my menu plan or next week.

Have a good weekend.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

About Me

I realized I never really shared much about me so I figured I would I share a little. :) 

I have been married for almost 18 years and have 3 children, 1 girl (14) and two boys(10 & 6). We live in a small rural town in the Midwest of only about 1300 people.  My husband and I both work full time jobs outside the home. Hubby works for our town as one of the Village Employees, so his commute to work is about 2 minutes.  Since he is a Village Employee he has to live within a certain distance.  I work in a larger city about 30 minutes away as a Computer Programmer.

The name of my blog SKAMM life is the initials of everyone in our family.  My Husband (S), Me (Kim), Daughter (A), Son #1 (M), Son #2. (M).  Each of my kids are involved in Sports/School that keep us busy. Our daughter is a Cheerleader and plays volleyball.  Son #1 is into all sports possible. We do restrict it to one sport at a time. :) He plays Football, Basketball and Baseball.  Baseball is a big one for us since he is in a Travel league and has quite a few games from April to July. He is also involved with Cub Scouts.  Son #2 also did T ball this year  for the first time and is also in Cub Scouts.  Hubby also bowls and is a Volunteer Firefighter for our town.  Hubby and I are also involved with our Youth program at church. 

I started this blog mainly for Personal Finance accountability but will probably be sharing other happenings in my life also. My main goal is to get rid of our Credit Card debt and pay off our Van and Hubby's motorcycle. We would like to sell our house and move to a bigger one but need to get rid of our debt first. 

Hope you enjoy my little update.


Monday, September 24, 2012

Meal Plan Monday

Here is this week's meal plan.  I always go Monday - Sunday so I can buy groceries for the week while I am in town at work. The less running up to the local store I do the better.

Monday:  Spaghetti / Garlic Bread
Tuesday: Broccoli Sausage Simmer - Even my picky kids will eat this.
Wednesday: Sandwich /Left over night. Younger kids night at Church.
Thursday: Sloppy Joes/ Chips
Friday : Chicken/Steak Fajitas
Saturday: Eating at my Mom's
Sunday: Jr/Sr Youth Group at Church

Last week we did pretty good on the Meal plan.  I only had to change one day because we ended up going to a fish fry instead.  I had bought 10 pounds of Ground Beef back in August when it was on sale so that has helped this month.  I have used up most of my meat in the freezer. I still have some Ground Beef, Lots of Fish, a Turkey and a Ham to use.  The Turkey and Ham will have to be cooked on a weekend since those take longer.  I will be going to Seattle for a week in October so will have to plan easy meals for the Hubby to fix.
Linked up to I'm an Organizing Junkie

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Week 3 Savings Update

This was week 3 of September Challenge . I was able to add another $100 to the Christmas Fund. I ended up with $20.23 left of my $200. Here is my breakdown

Gas $ 99.02
Groceries $ 49.43
Dining Out $ 26.32
Football Game $5.00

Our Dining out was really drinks and snacks for Baseball game and practices. We are not allowed to bring coolers ino the complex and being there for 4 hours for two games you end up spending money.  We eat before we go but usually end up buying drinks and snacks.  Only spending $49.43 on groceries is unusual for us but I will take it.

I have this weeks menu done and actually have most of it on hand.

Have a good week!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Mid Week Update

I never got around to posting my Meal Plan for the week. Here is what the plan is for the week.

Monday: Homemade Pizza.  My daughter is old enough that she started this before I got home.
Tuesday: Chili -
Wednesday: Leftovers - Plenty of leftovers from the last week. Pulled Pork/ Meatloaf.
Thursday: Chicken , Broccoli Fettuccine Alfredo
Friday:  Surprise Party  - have to take a side dish
Saturday : Tacos
Sunday: Lunch Sandwiches. Dinner: Youth Group at Church.

I have been faithfully planning out my meals for 8 weeks. I think the family is getting used to it by now. I need to come up with a whiteboard or calendar at home to write the  meal plan on for the family.  They know I am doing it and are starting to ask what is on the menu for dinner tonight. :)  I try to make sure I plan meals they like and throw in some new ones. The Chicken Alfredo is a new one so we will see how they like it.  I also have to plan around activities and keep things simple in the evening. We try to keep the activities to a minimum but with 3 kids they still keep us busy. 

Savings Update: $200 weekly Budget for Food/Gas
So far this week I have spent
$20 Eating out - Snacks/Drinks at Ball Games on Saturday and Sunday.
$67.02 Gas for my Van
$28.66 Groceries

So I have $84.32 left until Friday.  Groceries for this week meal plan are all  bought. The only think I need to pick up are ingredients for the Taffy Apple Salad I am taking to the Surprise Party Friday night. I may also have to pick up more Milk as our family has been drinking a lot more milk lately. I believe I should make it this week.
The Taffy Apple Salad is very quick and simple to make and there is only 3 ingredients.

Snicker Bar
Cool whip

I have not made this before but we had it at Youth group the other night and the kids loved it! I don't have an amount for each of these but was just given some guidelines.  1 snicker bar for every two apples and enough cool whip to cover all of it.  How many apples depends on how much you want to make. I am going to give this a try and see how it goes.
Basically you cut up the apples and snickers into bite size pieces and mix with the cool whip. This is simple and I think I may be able to handle this. :)

I will update on Saturday with how my week ended up.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Week 2 - Savings Update

I am a few days late posting this as we had a busy weekend.  Week 2 of September Savings Challenge  I did pretty good again. I ended up with $3.44 left. :) Hubby was going to be gone on a fishing trip from Friday - Sunday so there was extra money spent on food this week. Hubby being gone also caused some transportation issues.  I have two boys 10(M1) & 6(M2) and both had baseball practice on Friday. Luckily one of the other moms helped me out and took the old boy (M1) with them. They went out to eat afterwards so I gave her $10 for his dinner and for helping me out.  Here is the break down.
Food $132.56
Gas: $54.00
Eating Out: $10.00

I definitely spent more on food this week than I did the previous week but Hubby likes to take plenty in case he needs it. He did come home with quite a bit of it and the kids are enjoying his leftovers. (Poptarts which I never buy)\

So far this week I have spent $20 on food/drinks at the baseball and football games we went to over the weekend.  I don't usually spend this but it was a off weekend for everyone.  My Daughter (A) also made the Cheer leading squad this week and we will have that expense coming up. Usually tryouts are in the spring and I wouldn't have to worry about this expense at this time of the year but they moved them to the fall and I wasn't planning ahead. I also prefer the spring tryouts since it gives me more time to come up with the money.  There is a new Coach this year so not sure what the expenses are going to be like. Planning ahead is definitely an area I need to work on.   Have a good week!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Midweek Update

Last Friday I planned out the menu for this week and on Saturday I went and bought groceries for the entire week. My hubby is going to be gone this weekend on a fishing trip so I also had to buy groceries for his trip. He is taking food with him for breakfast and lunch.  I planned meals I knew would give me leftovers to stretch the food. Hopefully I can make it through the week under budget. So far I have spent $112.54
This has all been spent on food or supplies for the hubby. I have to get gas tomorrow and paper plates for the hubby.
September Savings Challenge
Week # 2 -
Food - $ 112.54
Gas - 0

Monday, September 10, 2012

Meal Plan Monday

Last week I was able to stick to my Meal plan everyday. Here is this week's meal plan

Sunday: Youth Group Night: We help at our church and meal is provided.
Monday: Tater Tot Casserole - kids love this. Corn, Salad
Tuesday: Baked Teriyaki Chicken, Green Beans, White and Wild Rice Pilaf
Wednesday: Pulled Pork Sandwiches , Chips
Thursday: Busy night - Either Sandwiches or Leftover Pulled Pork
Friday: Leftovers
Saturday: Ranch Meatloaf (recipe from Thrifty Crafty Girl), Potatoes, Green Beans.

That is it for this week. Wednesday and Thursday are our busiest nights so dinner has to be quick. Pulled Pork will be made in the Crockpot and everyone can help themselves when they  have time to eat. 

Hope everyone has a good week. I will update with my spending challenge tomorrow.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

September Savings Challenge Update Week 1

I joined Carla this month on doing a September Savings Challenge. My Goal was to save $100 a week. I set my limit at $200 a week for Food and Gas. Here is my earlier post on it. September Challenge- My Goals

I am happy to report that I did it!! I was able to stay within my spending budget!
One of the rules is to track everything you spend.  This was very helpful so I knew exactly where my money was going.  Here are my totals for the week.
Food  -   $85.50
Gas -    $104.00
 Total  - $189.50

I made it with $10.50 to spare.  I was doing really well until Friday. My biggest expense is always gas. I drive 30 miles one way to work. So 60 miles a day adds up pretty quick on gas. I did go ahead and fill up on Friday even though I was just under half a tank. I live in a small town and gas is always 10 - 15 cents higher than in the town where I work. I also had to stop at Sam's Club yesterday to get a few things. I was good though I only ended up getting one item that wasn't on my list. I usually go overboard when I stop there. I stopped mainly for Milk , Lemonade mix and Fruit snacks. Milk is $1.09 cheaper a gallon at Sam's instead of my local grocery store so I bought two gallons. 

I didn't have anything but food and gas expenses this week which is really unusual for our house. I took my lunch everyday. Taking my lunch also helped with me not going anywhere on my lunch hour so I wasn't spending gas leaving my office.

This week I have already done my menu planning and figured out what I don't have on hand. I made sure to plan out the side dishes this week. That is something  I don't always do and this week I had to run up to our local iga store to get a few things. Our local store is very nice and I like their sale prices but if it is not on sale then some things get very high.  We do buy most of our meat from there since it is usually good quality but only buy when it is on sale.

Today will be spent taking my daughter for a sports physical for cheerleading.   While I am in town I will be doing the grocery shopping for the week.

Have a good weekend!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Best 2.99 I ever spent

When I am not busy being a Mom and Wife I work full time out of the house as a Computer Programmer. I am a computer geek and I love it. :)  I also love electronic gadgets. I have a Kindle Fire which I love! I have a smartphone and an Ipad.  The kindle fire was my Christmas gift last year and the Ipad was given to me through a deal at work. I LOVE my Ipad. My husband says I love it more than him. ;)  
One of the apps I downloaded earlier in the year was a Menu Planner When I first bought it I didn't use it very much because I thought it was too much work to setup. At the end of July I gave it another shot.

This app is wonderful! If you do Menu Planning this app is worth a try. There are several sections, Meals, Recipes, Pantry, and Shopping Cart.  The best part is the Pantry section. This setup part can be time consuming. You have to enter items you have in your cupboards/Frig/Freezer. I did mine as I went along adding recipes and meals. The Meals section lets you add items for Breakfast,Lunch, Dinner, Snack etc. You can also import recipes from many recipes sites. The app will compare with what you have in your pantry and if it isn't in there it will create the item and add it to the Shopping Cart. You do have to be careful when adding items because it is case sensitive so "Ice Cream" is different than "ice cream".

The Shopping Cart can be organized by Shopping Groups(Isles). I can categorize each pantry item by shopping group. I can also organize the Shopping Groups in any order I want. I set mine up based on the layout of the store.
I am not doing this app justice. If you have an ipad go check this app out. I did my meal planning in August using this and it really helped having everything in one area. There is also a website for it Menu Planner

Just thought I would pass along a tool I discovered and has helped me out. I will post tomorrow on my Savings Challenge.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Mid Week Update-Savings Challenge

I am halfway through the Savings Challenge week 1. Yesterday was my biggest spend day but I knew it was going to be. I had to put gas into the van, $58.00 and then buy the rest of the groceries for the week. So far I have spent $99.65 out of the $200 I had planned.  Of course last night the kids inform me that we don't have enough cereal for the rest of the week.  Why is it that whenever you get home from the store there is always something that was missed?  Usually it is from the kids finishing something off and not telling me. :) The only items I believe I will have to get before end of week is cereal, Milk and OJ.  I also may  have to top the van off with gas. I drive 30 miles to work so 60 miles round trip every day adds up on the gas.

I have also so far been able to stick to the menu plan for the week. I did a menu plan every week in August so by now everyone in the house is used to it.

Spending total:
Food: $41.65
Gas: $58.00

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

September Savings

September Savings Challenge

I am joining up with Carla on doing a September Savings Challenge. This is the first time I have done one of these so we will see how it goes. I am posting this a few days late but I did start this on Saturday 9/1.
Here are the rules.
  1. No buying "stuff" of any kind. No clothes, books, fabric, toys, etc...
  2. Meds & fixed bills as always, are excluded.
  3. No "pre-stocking" up allowed. If I go out and spend $500 on food before I start, it's not much of a challenge is it? ;)
  4. Track every penny spent. 

My Challenge is to save $100 a week. I am putting this into savings for Christmas since I really haven't planned much for Christmas yet. At the end of the month I should have $400. My husband gets paid weekly and his check is used for weekly expenses. My check is twice a month and we use that for monthly bills. Starting on Saturday I set aside $200 for gas and food for the week. I am keeping it out as cash so I can keep track of what I spend.  So far for food I have spent $22.00.  I planned my menu on items I had on hand so I wouldn't have to buy much.  Saturday was my Daughter's birthday and we did go out to eat but I had already budgeted that dinner from my bonus check I received on Friday so I didn't count that. Her gift was already bought also.

Meal Plan:
Sunday:  Ham, Corn, Potatoes
Monday: Spinach Cheese Manicotti- This had been on the meal plan for the week before but we didn't end up making it so I already had everything bought.
Tuesday: Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup
Wednesday: Chicken Cordon Blue Casserole, using leftover ham.
Thursday: Brats/Hotdogs/ Mac & Cheese. Kid Friendly meal. :)
Friday: Leftovers
Saturday:Meatball Sandwiches, Chips, Salad.

Debt Update

This post is a few days late.  On Friday 8/31 I received part of my yearly bonus. We get it paid out twice a year.  It was enough to pay off the kid's school registration and  one of my credit cards completely and have a little left over. That was the plan until Friday.  I changed my mind and decided to pay off several small bills instead. 
Before Friday Debt:
Store Credit Card #1 $196.95
Store Credit Card #2 $122.91
Appliance Store Card $210.00
School Registration  All 3 Kids $483.00 - 8th,5th & 1st. 8th Grade was $290 by itself.
Taxes: $215.96

Dinner Out for Daughter's Birthday. $80.00
This ate up all of my bonus but I figured two credit cards are paid off and appliance store card is down quite a bit. The Appliance Store card still has a balance of $166 and that will be paid off by the end of the month.  I will now start applying all these payments to the Credit Card. After the Credit Card is paid off I have two hospital bills to pay off from my son's surgery earlier in the year. 
School Registration definitely takes a chunk and I wish it wasn't so expensive. Our middle school/High school registration fees are ridiculous.

Debt Still to Pay:
Credit Card: Orchard Bank: $1085.00

Dr Bill $1300.00
Therapy Bill $1400.00
Capitol One Card:$ 1100.00 

We still have a long way to go but I am making a dent in it.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Half way

Kids have made it halfway through the first week of school. Everyone seems to like their classes and their teachers. That always helps!
I was going through our expenses this morning and realized I had put more on one of our cc this summer than I thought. It is not a large balance but I now have a $1100 balance when  a few months ago I had it down to $200. I was paying enough attention to what was going on there. We have a very busy schedule during the summer with baseball. We spent two weekends at a hotel so that all added up. I have the money in savings and I should just transfer and pay this off but I like to have the EF money.

I am going to take a look at the budget and see what I can add to the monthly payment to get this paid down quickly.  I have been doing good on the food budget this month and have spend very little. The extra from that went towards the school supplies. If I have any left at the end of the month I will also add this to the CC.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Back to School

Today was the first day back to school for my kiddos. This year I have one in 8th, 5th and 1st. I enjoy Summer but I am ready to get the kids back to a routine. We have spent the summer at ballgames and running from event to event.
I am also working on being more organized. I used to do a good job with this but this has really fallen by the wayside. I started with the meal plan and for the last couple of weeks that has gone really well. The next thing I am organizing is bills. I pay all the bills online but my filing system is a pile and that is very frustrating.  So this is the next thing I am working on.
This week's meal plan.
Monday - Chicken in the Crockpot Pinterest recipe
Tuesday - Breakfast for Dinner
Wednesday - Chicken & Noodles ( using leftover chicken from Monday)
Thursday - Pizza
Friday - Italian beef sandwiches

I am still pretty new at this blogging thing but I am trying it out to keep myself accountable.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Meal Plan

Monday- Pork Chops
Tuesday - sloppy Joes
Wednesday - State Fair Day/ frozen pizza
Thursday - Chicken Wraps
Friday - spaghetti
Saturday - Tacos

I did pretty good last week with sticking to the menu. I ended up moving some around because of scheduling changes. My oldest son and I did end up eating out on Friday night. It was just the two of us so wasn't bad.  I am still working through my freezer to use things up. This week I only had to spend $7.64 to complete my meal plan. I think that is pretty good.
We are taking the kids to the State Fair on Wednesday and I know this will be expensive but I don't feel so bad after seeing my food expenses for the week.
I am really trying to make sure that no food goes to waste. Last week we had chicken two different nights. We had leftovers for one meal and I took leftovers in my lunch. Tonight I took what was left and picked the chicken off the bone and stuck it in the freezer. I also put the bones in the freezer. I will use the bones for making chicken stock.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Meal Plan Monday (a Day Late)

Meal Plan:
Monday: Teriyaki Chicken, White & Wild Rice pilaf and Green Beans.
Tuesday: Pork Tenderloin, Corn and ??
Wednesday: Hot Dog/Brats
Thursday: Spaghetti
Friday: Meatball Subs
Saturday:Chicken on the Grill
Sunday: Leftovers

Over the weekend I took an inventory of my freezer and cupboards and was able to make this week's meal plan with items on hand. I only had to buy a few items and the staples like Milk and Bread.
I am also making an effort to make more meals from scratch instead of buying mixes.  I am always trying something new like the White & Wild Rice pilaf. I had never cooked Wild Rice before, kids thought it was ok but the husband liked it.

To Do List:
1. School supply Shop for Daughter. Boys are done!
2. Call Dr Office abt Son's bills.-Made some progressive last week but is hard to make phone calls at work.
3. Dentist/Eye appts for kids. Appointments have been made.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Meal Plan Monday

This summer has been crazy for  us. We spent a lot of time at baseball games and that usually meant grabbing a sandwich on the way out the door. School is 3 weeks away so I am trying to get back in the swing of things.

Meal Plan:
Monday: Goulash
Tuesday:Chicken Fajitas
Wednesday: Fair Night. Free Admission and meal through my work.
Thursday: Hotdog/Brats,
Friday: fish- My husband fishes a lot and we have a ton of fish in the freezer.
Saturday: Chicken on the Grill.
Sunday: Town Festival --Lunch at the park. 

I have been using up items in my freezer and planning meals around what I have on hand. I seem to have plenty of chicken so trying to get creative with ways to use it. It has been on sale lately and I stock up.
To Do List:
1. School Supply Lists for kids.- 3 kids and 3 different lists.
2. Organize Bills. Son #1 broke his elbow in the spring and we have several bills for this. Setting up payment arrangements with everyone to get these paid off. Insurance covered most but not all.
3. Dentist/Eye appts for kids.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


I have not been doing very good about posting here but i will try to do better. The last couple of weeks I didn't have a menu plan and our dinner and grocery shopping reflected that.  We were eating way too much junk and spending way too much.  I got back on track this week. :)  Starting with Sunday here are this week's dinners. I planned some meals so leftovers would happen.  The best part is this whole week is using up items in my pantry.
Sunday-  Lasagna
Monday- Country Style ribs in the Crockpot.
Tuesday - Sandwiches( we have a baseball game so dinner is quick)
Wednesday - Meatball Sub Sandwiches.
Thursday- Goulash
Friday - Leftovers - start of baseball tournament
Saturday - Hamburgers on the Grill?? We will be spending all day at the ball park so whatever it is has to be quick and simple.

The only items i have to buy for these dinners are the Hoagie/Sub bread for the Meatball sub sandwiches and Hamburger buns. Everything else is in the pantry or freezer.  Other than the usual Milk/Eggs/Bread that is all I am spending this week at the grocery store.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


On  my to list is to take an inventory of my freezer and clean it out.  I have a good idea of what is in there but I don't know exactly. This is another helpful tip on menu planning. Take an inventory of everything you have in the freezer and in the cupboards. It sounds like a lot of work but once it is done it is easy to keep up with.
I have started on the cupboards so I know exactly what I have there.
I will post later this week when I figure out what is in the Freezer.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Planning a Menu

I am not doing very well at blogging but I love to read other people's blog and learn from them.  One of the most important things I have learned is to plan a menu for the week. I didn't realize how much money we were spending at the grocery store.  I would buy whatever i would see that looked good. I am slowly learning to make a plan and stick to it.  I am also using up what is in my freezer. I have a habit of stocking up on meat when it is on sale so I always have meat in the freezer. Sometimes this is a good thing and sometimes I end up spending more than I should.  Right now I am not buying anymore meat until we use what we have in the freezer.
Another thing I am working on is using up the leftovers. I now pick a busy night during the week and make that leftover night. This week it is Wednesday night when we have church.
With my menu plan I try to make at least one item during the week that can be used for two meals.  Last week I made a ham for Easter. I put the ham bone in the freezer to use for ham and beans. I also froze some of the leftover ham to use later for a casserole.  After eating on ham for several days we were getting tired of it and I was not throwing away good food.

Menu Plan this week
Monday: Pork Steak/ Green Beans/ Salad
Tuesday: Tacos
Wednesday: LeftOver night.
Thursday: Spaghetti/ Meatballs/ Salad
Friday:  Night out
Saturday: Open- busy day so something simple. Probably using the crockpot.
Sunday: Son's birthday so it is his choice. :)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


Monday - Leftovers

Tuesday - Baked Teriyaki Chicken

Wednesday- Goulash

Thursday - Spaghetti Ham Bake

Friday- Chicken  Enchilada Soup- Crock Pot

Saturday - Homemade Pizza

Sunday -  Pork Chops

1st Post

This is my first attempt at blogging. I have no idea how this will work out but after following a couple great blogs thought I would give it a try. I am hoping with the blogging I will be better at keeping myself organized.   We are a busy family with 3 kids and my  husband and I both work full time. I am trying to cut out all our extra expenses and watch what we are spending.  I am tired of living paycheck to paycheck and want to set a better example for my kids.
A little about the family. The title of the blog comes from our initials. Husband- S, Me-K, My Daughter (13 )- A, and two boys M1- 9  and M2 - 5.  Our 13 yr old is into Cheerleading and Volleyball. Our  9 yr old is in football, basketball and baseball. We have sports year around with him. Our 5 yr old will be playing t-ball this summer.
Here goes nothing!