Friday, July 29, 2011

Food Waste Friday

I can officially deem this food waste Friday a success! We have had no food waste (so far!) I think this is either the first time, or only one of a handful of times that I haven't had any waste. I think it's the Food Stamp Challenge that's getting me moving on using every last bit of food in the house!

How did you do this week?

Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Hunger Games

 As part of my new series and attempt to read regularly again (I am, after all, a librarian), today we will be discussing The Hunger Games, by Susanne Collins. This book is classified as young adult, but
As a side note, this is an excellent article on why it's OK to read young adult books. (Thank you Elizabeth for that link!) Plus, it has an excellent title: "Are you reading YA lit? You should be" which is pretty much how I feel in a nutshell.
But I digress.

The Hunger Games is a dystopian novel (how I love those! Probably my favorite genre) which is set in a world presumably in the future, after the world as we know it has disintegrated (or fought each other to death) into a small world called Panem. Panem is divided into 12 districts,and the further out the get from the Capitol, the poorer the districts become. In the Capitol, people throw up at parties, so they can eat more food. In District 12, children frequently die of starvation. There used to be 13 districts, until the districts decided to unite and fight the Capitol, a fruitless effort that resulted in the demolition of District 13, and The Hunger Games.

The Games are the Capitol's way of reminding the districts who is in charge, and that should another rebellion occur, the Capitol would win. It keeps the districts in line, and though they are despicable, no one has attempted to challenge the Games in their 74 years. You see, in the Games 24 children, ages 12-18 (one boy and one girl from each district) are placed in an arena and forced to battle each other for the pure enjoyment of the Capitol until one Victor is left. Worse, every single district is forced to watch as their children turn to killers and, ultimately, die gruesome deaths.

It is on the Reaping day, when the names are chosen, that our story begins. Katniss Everdeen, the main character, is forced to watch as her little sister, only 12 and, therefore, her first year into the reaping bowl, is chosen. It's important to note, at this point, that the Capitol has added one more stipulation, something else to remind the districts who is in charge. Children get one entry every year they are placed in the bowl, but they are also allowed to take a monthly, meager allowance of coal and wheat, to help them through the month. For every tesserae that the children take (and they are allowed one per family member) their name is entered into the bowl again. So it is pure luck (or un-luck) that Prim's name is chosen.

Immediately Katniss volunteers to take her place, and she is off on a rollercoaster of emotions, as she is forced to fight for her life in the arena, all the while knowing her fellow tributes, especially one: Peeta Mellark, her fellow District 12 tribute. In order for Katniss to live, she must kill (and live with the consequences) not only fellow tributes from other districts, but also Peeta, whom she has begun to know, and become friends with.

The book is amazingly well-written, and sucks you in, not only with the gruesome fascination that the Games provide, but also the characters and the relationships that they build. Because at the end of the day, there can be only one victor.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

True Confessions

I have a confession to make. I've been avoiding my local public library like the plague.
It's completely ridiculous, of course. The reason I've been avoiding them is because the county library system has turned me down for a job twice, now. Of course this isn't their fault, and I know it, but for some reason I have felt so bitter towards the library that I didn't even want to take books out.

I'm working on this. Last night I put holds on 5 different books. I'm coming back to the library.
This brings me to a new series I am going to start. A semi-regular (meaning, don't count on an every single week update) where I review books that I'm reading. Fair warning, most will be books found in the young adult section, but I can assure you that they are not for teens only.

So come back tomorrow when I discuss the Hunger Games trilogy. You may have heard of these books or even read them yourself, but they're still new because the final book of the trilogy was published just last summer.

Help me work through my bitterness...and get back to reading like the librarian I am!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

This weeks starts the last week of July which means the last week in the July Food Stamp Challenge. I'm both relieved and a little sad to see the month end. I feel like I did pretty well with the challenge, though it was, obviously, a challenge. I'm pre-writing and scheduling this post while I think about it, so I don't have the total of my Monday grocery shopping. As I write this, I have $49.53 left which, I believe, will definitely get me through the week, especially since this week is full of recipes with ingredients that are already in the house. Most of the grocery shopping this time will consist of fruits and vegetables, since I have leftover money. Those things are expensive!

Anyway, here's what we're eating this week:

Monday: Weigh-in and bible study, which means take-out

Tuesday: Tuna steaks (from the freezer) and corn on the cob

Wednesday: Chocolate chip pancakes (frozen from a couple weeks ago) and fruit

Thursday: Shrimp and pasta, zucchini and/or yellow squash

Friday: I'm at Petco, so Geoff's on his own. I usually get a smoothie

Saturday: Chicken thighs and some sort of veggie tbd

Sunday: Homemade pizza (which may or may not be sourdough, depending on my mood/if I activate the sourdough this week)

That's what we're eating this about you?

Thursday, July 21, 2011

52 Letter Challenge, week...who knows!

I've been slacking again. (On a related note, notice that I'm too lazy to use the calendar sitting right in front of me to count the weeks in the year so far.) When we last left off, over a month ago, I think I said that I was behind again. Oops. However, I keep telling myself not to give up but to keep going, because even if I don't send out 52 letters this year, at least I will send out more than I would have without doing this project.

Anyway, this week I wrote 3 letters, (or 1 last week and 2 this week, if Saturday counts as last week, which I suppose it does). Last week I also finally mailed out a postcard that I picked up in Chicago in May. It was an old fashioned picture of Wrigley Field, so I sent it to my grandmother, who is a baseball fan. She emailed in response and said she really liked it!
On Saturday I mailed out a letter to my penpal, Lydia, and earlier this week I wrote 2 letters to 2 different people who have yet to receive a letter from me! One was a good friend who I have actually never met. We "met" online, and became friends. She's seen me through a lot, and has served as a wonderful sounding block on more than one occasion (via email) but I don't think I've ever written her a letter.
The other was to my best friend from high school. We used to write to each other all the time, both via mail (later, when we were apart) and through notes in class, passed quickly in the hallway. This was simply a chatty note, with a quick update on life for me, since we've hardly talked since she came to our wedding a year and a half ago.
I picked up a Heartsy deal last week for $10 (a $32 credit that completely covered my purchase! Score!) for an Etsy shop that makes stationary. (If you haven't heard of Heartsy, check it out, it's awesome) I used my new stationary for my 2 letters this week. I didn't exactly need more stationary, but I have been going through a lot of what I had, and for $10 I figured it was worth it. I got about 20 cards (I think) so I'm really happy with that!

Are you doing the 52 week letter challenge? Are you behind like I am? How are you doing??

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Food Stamp Challenge update, week 3

Due to last week's Harry Potter series, I haven't posted anything in the way of menu planning or food stamp updates. I wanted everyone, like myself, to focus on the new Harry Potter movie. Ahem. I'm back to business now, however.

Earlier this month I insisted to Geoff that it wasn't a good month to do the Food Stamp Challenge because it was a longer month than usual. He pointed out to me that this was, in fact, untrue, to which I replied that we should have done it in February.

The truth is, this has proven to be a very difficult challenge for me. When we last left off, I had $141.47 left, which was before I did a little shopping for our camping trip. That was $15.22, and when we got home I did have to buy a loaf of bread for $1.69 so I now have $124.56 left.

When I was looking at The Non Consumer Advocate's blog the other day, I noticed that there are a total of 7 people, including the Non Consumer who are doing this challenge. I confess I was disappointed when I saw this. Why aren't more people attempting to save money for a month, or live like the many, many poverty level people in the United States? I think the answer is because it is very difficult to live like this. I find myself pouring over every single thing I put into my shopping cart, and I even look over it all before checking out. I passed on cereal this week because I didn't think we could afford it, we were already spending more than I thought we would. I stretched the last bit of oatmeal out so I didn't have to buy any more until the next week, even though oatmeal is about the cheapest thing I buy.

I do look forward to seeing how the rest of the month plays out, and I do challenge you to try this challenge some time. It's actually inspiring me to attempt to lower my own grocery budget to challenge myself every month (it will still be more than I'm spending this month, though).
Are you trying the food stamp challenge? How are you doing? Do you think I'm crazy??

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Swagbucks, revisited

Today, we are revisiting the topic of Swagbucks for a couple reasons. First, because it's awesome, and the last time I talked about it was back in February. Since I started Swagbucks back in November, I've earned $75 in gift cards. That is $75 worth of free money. I like free!
Of course you can get many many more prizes through Swagbucks, but my personal favorite happens to be (only 450 SB) because you can get so many things there!
I'm currently saving my money for a wedding gift for a wedding this fall, but since I started I have bought:
The 4th season of Supernatural (used, of course)
A book which I can't remember for my sister for Christmas (again, used)
Big Bad-Ass Book of Cocktails for my sister-in-law's birthday (do I have to say this was used too?)
A gift for Geoff for Christmas, which I'm not going to mention here because he does occasionally read my blog
Lysine Treats for Clarabelle, because she has what is called cat herpes, something many shelter cats get. It gives her runny eyes and the lysine keeps it in check. I need more of these.

I think there are a couple other things I've bought, but that happens to be all I can remember. Note that that is 3 gifts (free!), something I would buy anyway (Supernatural) and treats that I usually wouldn't get for the cat, but is still a good idea. All free.

Swagbucks can be confusing, however, so I encourage you to revisit my original post which explains exactly how to get Swagbucks on a daily basis. Sure, it takes a while to earn enough for a gift card (about a month to a month and a half for me, depending on how diligent I am) but in my opinion, it's totally worth it! Plus, it takes so little time to do! So check it out!

Do you use Swagbucks? What have you bought with your bucks?

Friday, July 15, 2011

All was well.

Harry Potter has done a lot for me. It brought my sister and I closer together. It brought my husband and I together. And it taught me that, no matter what life throws at you, you always have your friends and things will work out in the end.

As you are reading this, I'm probably sleeping, as I was at the midnight showing of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 2. The last Harry Potter movie I will ever see in the theaters. In light of that, I thought it would be fun to look back at my own, personal Harry Potter timeline.

December 2000: I'd spent the last 3 years avoiding the Harry Potter books. You see, I have an issue with reading or watching things that everyone else likes. Until Christmas break my senior year in high school, when I was home and bored for 2 straight weeks. I picked up the first book and was hooked immediately.

July 2001: We came home from a trip to Washington DC the day Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire came out; the 4th book. It was waiting for us on the doorstep. Unfortunately at that time I didn't own any of the books so I had to wait the 5 days for my sister to finish her copy.

November 2001: The first Harry Potter movie came out. I dragged my roommate and a guy friend to the midnight movie.

June 2003: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix was published. This time I ordered my own copy. I snuck the book into work at Dunkin Donuts and kept the unopened package under the register until I got home and could read it. I read it during every nap that the kids I nannied for took that summer.

July 2005: Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince released. This was the first book I went to a midnight book release for and it was awesome. I finished the book by the end of the weekend, and when I went to work on Monday, I was obviously depressed by the ending. My coworkers both laughed and comforted me.
{My sister at the book release. Excuse the was a phase, thank goodness}

May 2006: My sister and I get matching Harry Potter tattoos. We got the snitch, and at the time we didn't know how important it would be to the last book, which was pretty awesome.
 {My sister's is on her chest...
...mine is on my foot}

October 2006: My best friend and I went to Salem, Mass to meet Chris Rankin, who played Percy Weasley in the movies.

July 2007: The final Harry Potter book was released. I went to the book release party and was paid for it, since I wrote an article for the paper I was working for at the time. Probably the best release ever. Of course my sister went willingly, but I dragged my best friend too.

{It was late, please excuse our manic looks}

I sobbed through the majority of that book. I read it in about 2 days. I was shocked, angry, happy...every emotion you could even imagine, I felt it.

It should be noted that between July 2007 and July 2011 there were other movies released, but they were attended without much incident, since I had moved away from my best Harry Potter friend (my sister)

July 2011: I dragged Geoff to the last movie at midnight.

That's it. There are no more surprises, no more midnight book or movie releases. In a way I'm relieved, but mostly I'm very, very sad. The last 10 years of my life have been very erratic and brought on a lot of changes, but one thing has stayed the same: Harry Potter. Thank you, JK Rowling, for everything you have given me.

{Don't forget to enter my giveaway that ends Sunday, July 17!}

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Welcome home

This is a guest post from my friend Kathleen, a fellow writer with whom I worked at a newspaper back in Massachusetts.

Friends and family had told me about the Potter series since the books came out and I laughed at them because I thought they were “children’s books.”  My best friend, Ellie, was a particularly big fan of the series. I forgave her this grievous misstep only because she was my best friend. Until she pointed out that Alan Rickman was in the movies. I tried to get the DVDs from her but she said that I would only get a movie when I had finished the corresponding book.  

I grumbled about it until a few chapters into Sorcerer’s Stone I realized it was time for me to sleep. “I’ll go to bed after the next chapter,” I said. I finished The Sorcerer’s Stone in one sleep deprived night. It took me 10 days to read all the books up to Half Blood Prince. During which I caught only a few hours of sleep, called out of work, and skipped class. I honestly forgot the movies even existed. Also, by then, I was a bigger fan of Snape than Alan Rickman.

As a writer I was in awe of JK Rowling’s ability to create an entire universe that had me hoping my owl got lost on its way to New Hampshire.  The characters weren’t just three dimensional; they were my friends, my family.  Sirius’ death in Order of the Phoenix upset me so much I drove across town to see Ellie at her work, my face swollen with tears, clutching the book to my chest. (Don’t even get me started on Deathly Hallows. My poor boyfriend is going to the midnight showing with me, he is on Kleenex duty.) The reactions we had to each part of the story are all due to Joe’s gift for storytelling. The stories inspire me every day to write and keep writing because she was my age when she started scribbling notes on diaper pads, notes that turned into one of the greatest novels of all time.

What Harry Potter represents to me most of all is the permission to be a kid, no matter how old you are. This is what makes reading the books and being a fan such an amazing experience. Fans waiting in line for books argue about who was the best character; discuss what their patronus would be, and which house they would be a part of. We craft beautiful original works of art and write fanfiction that is good enough to grace the shelves of Barns and Noble. 

I cannot talk about the Potter fandom without mentioning the amazing friendships I have made as a result of this series. My love of Harry Potter has helped me build bonds with people all over the world, some I consider my best friends.

I have been very sad for the past month because the movies are coming to an end and with it the end of fresh Potter material. A few weeks ago I met someone who liked Harry Potter in the grocery store and we stood for about an hour talking as if we had known each other our entire lives. That’s when I realized, the story never really ends; all of us keep it alive.  Like Joe said during the London Deathly Hallows premier, “whether you come back by page or by the big screen, Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home.” 

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Everything I need to know in life I learned from Harry Potter

This is a guest post by my sister, Laura, which she wrote for a site called Dear Mr. Potter.

I learned that it’s okay to be a smart girl.
I learned it’s okay to have bushy brown hair.
I learned that sometimes friends argue.
I learned that sometimes friends leave.
I learned that true friends always return when you need them the most.
I learned that death happens and it’s sad.
I learned that it’s okay to cry.
I learned that sometimes, if you have too many possessions, it’s okay to break a few.
I learned that you should always speak clearly when traveling by Floo.
I learned that first loves hurt.
I learned that second loves hurt.
I learned that love doesn’t always have to hurt.
I learned that magic is real (even if you don’t have a wand).
I learned that I’m a Ravenclaw.
I learned that my sister is a Gryffindor.
I learned that sometimes siblings aren’t sorted into the same House.
I learned that everyone, even Draco Malfoy, deserves redemption.
I learned that good will always triumph over evil, even when it seems hopeless.
So thank you, J. K. Rowling, for all the lessons. I will never forget.

{Don't forget to enter my giveaway that ends Sunday, July 17!}

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Remembering the Magic of Harry Potter

This is a guest post from my friend Elizabeth, one of the few people who can give me a run for my money in Harry Potter trivia!

I discovered Harry Potter in Walmart.  It was the summer between freshman and sophomore years of high school and I was bored, so while my mother was roaming the aisles in search of everything on her three-page-long list, I slipped away to the book aisle.  I didn't quite pick up the book at random.  I had heard about the series, but I didn't really know anything about it. I knew that it seemed to be causing a whole lot of ruckus in both the book world and the conservation Christian world, which, being from Alabama, I had generous exposure to, but that was about it.

I knew very little about the story, only that it was about magic, was apparently awesome, and a movie was in the works.  I knew that people had camped out at bookstores to get copies of the fourth book the summer before and that adults were fanatical enough to dress up in costumes.  But I didn't know of anyone who had read the books, nor had it really gained any popularity in my hometown.  But something about the cover struck me as interesting, so much to my mother's dismay, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone landed in our buggy. 

I started the book that night, and sometime around midnight, I had to force myself to stop reading and go to sleep.  I bought Chamber of Secrets a few weeks later and enjoyed it just as much.  But it wasn't until Christmas and being gifted books 3 and 4 that I really got bitten by the HP bug.  I devoured both of those in record time and was impatient for more.  I started being much more vocal about how much I liked the books and encouraged a few friends to read them as well.  I clearly remember spending a good chunk of my sophomore lunch times discussing Harry Potter and what might be coming in book 5.

And then I discovered fan sites.  That summer, not quite a year after I picked up the first book, while I was supposed to doing health homework for summer school, I went in search of a trailer for Chamber of Secrets(set to release that fall).  I stumbled upon the WB's official site and realized there was some sort of fan section that included message boards.  Well there went any sort of productivity I could ever hope to have.  I spent hours that summer reading and posting on the message boards, swapping theories and ideas, rereading the books for clues that others were pointing out, and even reading (and writing!) fan fiction.  

It was official.  I was obsessed with Harry Potter.  My obsession carried me through most of high school, through the discovery of MuggleNet (where I spent hours and hours and hours) and HP-themed RPG games, through creating my own HP character and crafting several stories around her, to the release of two movies and the long awaited (and heart breaking) release of Order of the Phoenix.  I became those people I had seen in the newspaper, standing in line for hours to see midnight premieres and getting the book at exactly 12:01 while dressed in costume.

I found a community in my fellow HP fans.  I've made it no secret that high school was a difficult time for me.  But I always had a comfortable space in the online fan community.  No one ever made me feel uncomfortable or unwanted and I truly valued all the time I spent on the message boards.  

I lost a bit of my fervor when I went to college.  Not because I loved the books any less (I was still anxiously awaiting the arrival of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince the summer after my freshman year in college), but because college proved to be much more entertaining and welcoming than high school did.  But Harry was still there for me when I needed him to be.  My sophomore year in college was especially difficult.  I suffered from fairly severe depression and often closed myself in my dorm room for days at a time.  I turned to Harry Potter and the online community during this time.  It was one of the few things that kept me going and kept me focused on something other than how awful I felt all the time.  It's a bit of a stretch to say that Harry Potter saved my life, but I owe him a big credit.  It gave me great pleasure during the darkest period of my life when I had very little to be happy about.  

It's been a long time since I've visited the fan sites.  I know what a time suck (although an enjoyable one!) they can be, and frankly, there are better things I would rather do with my time.  But you better believe that I'll be standing outside my local movie theater by 10:00 on July 14 with a group of my friends.  We'll be dress in costume (I like to go as Madam Pince) and I guarantee we will either start or join in on a rendition of"Harry Potter and the Mysterious Ticking Noise".  I may be 25, but Harry has been in my life for 10 years and I expect he'll be around even longer than that.  Because when you discover something as special as Harry Potter and the incredible community and experience it has become for me, you stand in line to see the midnight premier even though you have to work the next day.  You reread all the books.  You wear a costume.  You shed a tear (or many) to see it finally come to an end.  You see it through "until the very end" (James Potter, DH).  And you reveal in the magic.

{Don't forget to enter my giveaway that ends Sunday, July 17!}

Monday, July 11, 2011

"That Friend" and "That Love"

This is a guest post that my sister's best friend, Elspeth, wrote about how she loves and appreciates Harry Potter.

You know That Thing that you love?
Not with fanaticism and not with desperation, but just with a constant love? Something that's always been there, something you grew up with.

Now, you know That Friend who loves That Thing maybe not MORE than you do, but expresses it more? Maybe they're just more in touch with the love they have for That Thing, maybe they actually do love it more.

This is about my relationship and my best friend's relationship with Harry Potter.
She doesn't just love Harry Potter, she LOVES Harry Potter. And because of that love, which I wouldn't say is inappropriate or excessive, I don't often think about how much I love Harry Potter.

This is not a complaint.
I'm just explaining why, whenever I go back to reread the series, I am able to relive it with such freshness. I've realized now that I LIKE forgetting how much I love Harry Potter, because it's like meeting up with an old friend and having so much to talk about because you haven't seen them in so long.

Ask my best friend and she'd probably tell you she has the same experiences every time she picks up her worn and well-loved copies of the books, so maybe it has less to do with the forgetting.

But you know what I remembered this time around?

Remember back when we didn't know what they Dursleys' secret was? Remember not knowing the whole story? Remember not even knowing who Dumbledore and Prof. McGonagall and Hagrid were? I'm rereading the first book for what I think might even be the first time since finishing the series and the perspective I have now makes the nostalgia even stronger and smoother. Like drinking a well-made cappuccino.

Friday, July 8, 2011


Laura, at The Luckiest in Love and also Lucky in Love, (her wedding blog) was kind enough to host a giveaway for me! I'm giving away a $20 credit towards anything in my Etsy shop so check it out and enter!

PS I made another sale this week! It may not seem like much to you, but it makes me very happy! Thanks, Elizabeth for supporting me!

PPS You can get 3 entries if you purchase something from my shop! I added 3 more things last night, so it's growing slowly but surely!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

July Food Stamp far

When I made this week's menu plan, I forgot something really important. We are going camping this weekend! This sort of messes with my menu plan, but only slightly. We are going Saturday night through Monday, so I am going to edit the plan ever so slightly, as follows:

Saturday: Originally homemade pizza, now grilled pork chops and corn on the cob.

Sunday: Originally breakfast for dinner, now grilled chicken thighs and corn on the cob (yes, again).

Breakfast will be pancakes one morning, provided I find a griddle for us to cook on, and bacon. The other morning it will probably be eggs (again, provided we find a griddle! This only just occurred to me...)

Lunches will be turkey sandwiches. We have bread at home, but I will have to buy some deli turkey and cheese. This will come out of our grocery budget for this month, which has $141.47 left. However, I do have $6 extra from my Costco run on Sunday.
We bought some plums from Costco but when I brought them home, I discovered that they were very ripe. So ripe, in fact, that they were almost overripe. I put them aside and debated bringing them back (but Geoff made fun of me for it!) and they sat on a chair until I picked them up on Tuesday night and they had leaked all over the chair! I wasn't pleased. So I made an extra trip to Costco (possibly negating the $6 refund they gave me in the gas I used, but that is gas budget, not food!) and returned the plums. I'm hoping to use that $6 to get turkey and cheese for this weekend.

All was not lost, however. While I was in town to go to Costco (it's about 30 minutes from our house, so we usually batch our "errands" and go after church, which is in the same city) I also stopped to visit with the kittens we just got at Petco from Purrfect Pals. I volunteer on Friday nights, and I was a little afraid the last 2 we had wouldn't be there and I wanted to meet them! Hey, it's all about batching errands, right?

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

It really IS a wall 'o' water!

Our garden looks a little funny these days.

{Notice the absence of the broccoli, which has been harvested for the year and now resides in the compost, waiting for next year's broccoli?}

We recently bought a set of wall o waters! Don't they look funny? I thought so too.

It's been a really rough spring and early summer for tomatoes. I doubted that we could actually grow tomatoes in our garden, but Geoff insisted on trying, so we are. Unfortunately, we already lost one. We've been talking about getting the wall o waters for a bit, but finally bit the bullet and did it.

Basically you set them up around your plants and fill the tubes 3/4 of the way full with water. Then they make a tee-pee (is that a PC term anymore??) and act as a greenhouse for the plants. I am here to attest that they actually work! Our plants are doing much better (we actually have 6, but they arrived in 2 different packages and I was too lazy to take more pictures.
After the plants have grown sufficiently and are starting to poke through the top, you fill the tubes all the way and they stand up, still acting like a greenhouse although not nearly as enclosed. It's been less than a week and our plants are not only flourishing, but we needed to open up one of the wall o waters already! I'm happy, and hopefully we will have tomatoes this summer!

But I think next summer we should put them up right away. Maybe we wouldn't have a casualty this time!
What do you think?

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Menu plan Monday (er, Tuesday!) and Food Stamp Challenge update

I promised I'd post pictures of my groceries and how much I spent on them, and I'm hoping this will keep me accountable!
This week I spent $21.58 on groceries at Safeway...

...and $38.95 at Costco totaling $60.53. I'm hoping that with all this produce I can slide by without having to go grocery shopping next week. I feel good about the food purchases I made this week, even though I spent more than I thought I would and am hoping that we don't keep this up or else we won't make it!
The cherries (which Geoff really likes) were on sale for $2.99 a pound, where they're normally $6.99/lb here. The strawberries were also just over $1.00 a pound though I can't remember the exact amount. They're at least double that even when they're on sale at the supermarket. I cut them all up, and am going to try to make them last over a week (this can be difficult in our house!) I also needed rolls for one of our meals, but since I didn't think we could go through a whole bag, I bought them individually, for .79 cents each.

So, here's what we're eating this week! (Starting with July 2nd)

Saturday: Breakfast for dinner: bacon (which we had in the house) and pancakes, the cheapest thing to make! They even had chocolate chips (something else we had in the house!)

Sunday: Baked potatoes with all the fixins. (We'll buy potatoes and chives, but we have cheese and sour cream in the house already.

Monday: BBQ at a friend's. We're bringing a salad.

Tuesday: Meatloaf (which will hopefully last the week for lunches) and corn on the cob.

Wednesday: Shrimp Po'Boys and most likely a veggie of some sort.

Thursday: Skillet macaroni and cheese, again, some veggie or salad.

Friday: I'm out, and I usually get a smoothie from Emerald City Smoothie. Geoff will have leftovers, probably.

Saturday: Homemade pizza (this might be pushed to Sunday, since I work on Saturdays and might not have the time or patience to make the dough. I might even try grilled pizza!

Sunday: Breakfast for dinner. We had extra pancakes so I froze them. Not as good as fresh, but still good (I hope). Probably also either fruit or bacon.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 4th of July!

 ...for all you Americans out there! Be safe and enjoy the fireworks (my favorite part!)

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Free music!

Who doesn't love something free? We've been trying to cut down on our spending, so I buy a lot less frivolous things than I have in the past (although I've been recently contemplating a pedicure...) so when this popped up I thought it was pretty great and wanted to share! (FYI this isn't an affiliate link, I get nothing for it, but I thought it worth sharing)

Anyway, it's a free $2 MP3 credit from! I used it to buy Rolling in the Deep by Adele (my new favorite song) which was $1.29. I wanted to get a second song but the cheapest they have is .99 cents so I decided on just the one song.

There you go; you can thank me later. :)

Saturday, July 2, 2011

July Food Stamp Challenge

Today starts the July Food Stamp Challenge that The Non-Consumer Advocate is participating in. I had heard about this before, but hadn't given it much thought until last night, when I was speculating on how much we would get on food stamps and if it was possible that we, too could participate. According to the chart, we would get $367 a month, which is a lot more than I thought, and actually above what we normally spend. This past month we spent $336 on groceries, although now that I think about it I believe last month might have been closer to $350 or $360. The non-Consumer is spending $101 per person this month, however, which leaves her with $404 for her family of 4. I'm embarrassed to know that I can spend close to that for just the 2 of us.
So this month, I'm going to try to spend only $202 on groceries. This, I believe, will be a big challenge since we buy a lot of produce because we're doing Weight Watchers and trying to eat healthier. Also, I spent this last month cooking out of our freezer (which may explain why our budget came in just over $300) so it will be a challenge since we don't have a lot of meat and eat more of that than we probably should.
To keep me accountable, I'm going to try to create and stick with my menu planning, and also post a picture of my groceries and how much I spent on them. This is something new for me, but I'm excited to see how it all works out. Between the challenge and the cable cancellation last month, (we didn't see the effects of that this month since they back-charged us for the previous month, if that makes sense) I think we're going to have a pretty good month, spending-wise!
So how about you? Are YOU up to the challenge?

Friday, July 1, 2011

July goals

Last month's goals were very successful, however I wonder if I made them too easy. Please tell me I'm not the only one who has trouble setting goals! It's not that I don't know what I want, it's more than I'm having a very difficult time wording it, I suppose. Anyway, here are my goals for July!

1. Stick within our budgets on (why is this so difficult??)

2. Go to the gym at least 3 times a week (this was successful last month, lets keep it up!)

3. Participate in the July Food Stamp Challenge successfully.

4. Apply to at least 4 jobs. (Keep it up until I find a new one!)

5. Socialize with friends outside of work (and bible study) at least 4 times. (This may be cheating since we have a company picnic scheduled and a cookout on the 4th!)

Are you setting goals this month? Tell me about it, because I can always use new challenges!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...