Friday, April 18, 2014

This and That

I have a round-up pictures of random things happening around here. So, here it goes!

A couple of weeks I had a really cool opportunity to meet Jeff Gordon at work, thanks to a generous former student who is the CEO of the paint company that coats his car. He had the car painted Aggie Maroon and brought Jeff Gordon to campus!

Otherwise it's just business as usual around here.
Trips to the grocery store
    "Helping" E. J. unload feed.
"Look at how much fun paper is, mom!" Oy.
Picture day at school!
We're getting into Easter-mode around here.
Serious reading on her way into school

The simple fascination of a car wash

Happy Friday!!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Music for the soul

Kathryn's pretty in tune to the latest music because of our drive to and from town each weekday. I often look in the rear view window and see her dancing and singing, so I recorded her singing and dancing to her latest favorite this weekend. She's pretty passionate about this one.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

April Challenge: Food Purge Week 2

The rundown of the week: 
Breakfast:  Blueberry coffee cake that I made a couple of months ago and had some leftovers in the freezer.
              
Sunday: This meal was inspired by a pack of slider buns in the freezer. Slap on some avocado and it was a pretty tasty little slider. I also made some homemade onion rings (good thing I don't make these often because they're addicting).
Monday: Gymnastics night, which means dinner in the car.
Tuesday: Taco Tuesday!
Wednesday: My favorite breakfast sandwich (because I was too tired to make a full dinner) - egg whites, a little bit of cheese, smashed avocado on a light English muffin. E. J. and Kathryn ate leftovers.
                 
Thursday: Pork tenderloin with red pepper and onion relish, broccoli and mashed potatoes
                 
Friday: A much needed girls night out with Amanda - pasta primavera


Saturday: Salad

Items used that we did not have to purchase: 10
My grocery shopping assistant

However, I officially stink when it comes to the budget part. When I subtracted non-food items, the total came to $105.78. I took advantage of sales and bought more than I needed of items that we use frequently, but that also increased my bill.It's very clear that feeding a family healthy foods can be expensive.
Here goes week 3!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

April Challenge: Food Purge Week 1

Week one wasn't entirely eventful only because of the amount of leftovers. I began the challenge on April 1, which happened to be Taco Tuesday (we pretty much religiously follow Taco Tuesday). I went with the Mexican theme, but made enchiladas instead because I had some green chile stew to finish before it went bad in the fridge (hence, the point of the challenge).

Tuesday: Chicken enchiladas with homemade Spanish rice (not exactly the most appetizing of pictures, but I promise you that they are pretty tasty!)
Wednesday: leftover chicken enchiladas
Thursday: leftover chicken enchiladas (can you tell it makes a big batch?)
Friday: Salmon, wild rice and peas (I finished a bag of peas, K finished leftover broccoli and E. J. finished leftover corn)
                   
Saturday: Homemade pizza (including the dough). Saturday nights are usually homemade pizza night along with homemade pizza rolls (peppers and onions for me, pepperoni for E. J. and Kathryn)
                
I found a loaf of blueberry orange bread (I don't even remember when I made that) so we ate that for breakfast this week.
And don't forget about dessert! I made brownies...well, because the box "had" to be used. I go back and fourth between homemade and packaged brownies, but since the package was there, I went for it.
                   
The Damage
Hmmm. This number doesn't exactly fit in my desired budget. I went through the receipt and it turns out that $78.34 was spent on non-food items (dog food, kitty litter, vitamins, etc....those essential items that had to be purchased this week). That means that we spent $92.02 on actual food...still over budget. Again, this week seemed to be the week of buying things that have run out which compliment our normal food. Things like salsa, hot sauce and other random things. It's been a learning experience.

Total count of items that we completely used up this week: 8

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

April Challenge: Food Purge

E. J. and I have declared 2014 as The Year of Less. Well, probably me more than him actually calling it that. In first three months of the year, we've done a really good job at sorting through our stuff and being honest that we don't really need a lot of our things anymore.

For example, last weekend we went through our coat closet and E. J. finally admitted to himself that he probably doesn't need his letterman jacket (oh, really?) from high school (he lettered in academics, which I didn't even know you could do).

I wish I had documented our progress thus far. One area that has been bugging me lately is the amount of food we have sitting in the freezers and our pantry. Rather than hoping it just goes away (which it hasn't seemed to for a couple of years) I decided to make a challenge out of it in hopes of keeping me accountable.

The rules are pretty simple. During the month of April my goal is to utilize as much food that we already have "in stock" without unnecessarily purchasing food that we don't need.

I'm only allowing myself a $50-75 budget per week at the grocery store since there are always items we buy each week that we go through in no time (fruit, milk, fresh veggies, etc.). I still haven't stamped out the details on the dollar amount since since there are often non-food items on any grocery list and how that will work. The less $$ spent, the better.

At the end of each week I will post our meals (dinners...since we usually have leftovers for lunch) from each day and my grocery receipt. I know you're excited about seeing our meals ;).

As as you can see, it's not like we're exactly starving around here...
Pantry
Deep freeze
 Freezer
Things I'm looking forward to with this challenge:
  • Although I consider myself a pretty good weekly meal-planner, I'm excited/nervous to test my creativity when it comes to planning around what we have rather than planning around what I need to buy.
  • Clearing out the clutter (again, see pictures above).
  • Savings. I always spend more than $75 a week at the grocery store so this will definitely be a challenge.
Here goes the 30-day challenge!