Free Food + Frugal Shopping Finds = Happy Budget

We’ve had a lucky couple of weeks for our budget!

If you are following me on Instagram, you saw that we recently had a table full of free pizza. A new branch of Uncle Maddio’s Pizza opened up in my town. And as a promo, they gave away free pizzas one Saturday from 11am to 2pm. I knew that they were planning to do the promo, but I thought for sure the line would be around the building. And with three little darlings in tow, a free pizza would not be worth the effort that would be required with waiting and all.

However, as we were finishing up our weekly Costco trip, employees from Uncle Maddio’s were in the parking lot drumming up business. They said there wasn’t much of a wait. So we hopped in the van and drove over. And sure enough, the wait was not long at all!

Hey there, Free Pizzas.  Where have you been all my life?

Continue reading “Free Food + Frugal Shopping Finds = Happy Budget”

Menu Monday – Late!

I wanted to get this post written yesterday so I could post it first thing this morning.  But life has been happening.  Better late than never, I guess?  😊

Last week I did not stick to my menu at all.  I’m not sure what happened.  Actually, that’s not true.  I know exactly what happened.  I completely overbooked myself.  And I was exhausted all week.  In addition to my over-packed schedule, we had a surprise dinner with my parents one evening.  Then the weather was so beautiful over the weekend that we added in another event by inviting friends over for an impromptu dinner of grilled chicken and vegetables.

Me, if I had made it to Costco this weekend.

We had a SUPER lazy Sunday, where I couldn’t even be bothered to put the pork into the crock pot early enough to be ready for dinner.  TALK ABOUT LAZY, huh?!?!  Anyway, we ended up having deli meat, cheese, & avocado sandwiches for dinner that night.  And I didn’t even make it over to Costco this weekend!  We are out of milk, bread, and butter.  Quite literally.  Don’t worry, we won’t starve.  I’ll get over there tomorrow.  😊

Continue reading “Menu Monday – Late!”

Saving Money with Limited Time

As a mom of three with a full schedule, I have to prioritize my time.  The sooner we realize that we cannot do it all, the sooner we can decide what it is that we want to do with our time.  I WANT so badly to do it all.  But I KNOW so truly that I cannot do it all at once.  This is part of the reason that I’m focusing on different ideas each month in the blog.

My best case scenario is that at least one positive habit from each month sticks.  By the end of the year, I’ll have several new beneficial habits.  From January’s focus of healthy eating, I’m still planning all my meals, focusing on getting in plenty of vegetables, protein, and gut-healthy foods while keeping my added sugar intake at a minimum.  And because of my focus on my marriage in February, I am consistently thinking about what I say to my husband before saying it.  I’m also making a point to give my husband more little love touches during the day since he scored highly in the love language of physical touch.

And now, here we are.  Half-way through March, where I’m focusing on finances.  I’ve at least set up my budget and have been tracking my spending.  I was hoping to research and add in a few money-saving apps. And maybe even start using coupons!  However, there is one problem that I keep running into this month, and that is not having enough time.

I ain't got time for that.
Really, who has time anymore?

Continue reading “Saving Money with Limited Time”

Menu Monday

This upcoming week is BUSY!  I’m overwhelmed just looking at my calendar.  In an attempt to keep myself sane, I put together a pretty simple meal plan.


Breakfast strata, coffee

Eggs, spinach, peppers, & onions, coffee

Oatmeal with peanut butter & banana



Cottage cheese & fruit



Salad with deli meat & cheese

Crock pot white chicken chili, cornbread, & salad

Grilled chicken, asparagus, & salad

BLT with eggs, salad

Homemade hamburger helper & salad


Pulled Pork BBQ, corn, & salad

Extra meals: Mexican casserole

A few notes about the meal plan:

This breakfast strata is one of my very favorite meals.  I typically only make it for special occasions, but it’s been on my mind for several weeks now.  I have a playgroup on Monday mornings, so I decided to make it for the group this week!  The recipe calls for part eggs and part liquid egg whites.  I just use 6 eggs.  I’ve also used goat cheese in place of the brie.

My crock pot white chicken chili recipe changes every time I make it.  Basically throw together white beans, chicken broth, chicken, peppers, celery, onion, garlic, cumin, oregano, salt, and pepper.  Cook until chicken is done.  Then shred the chicken.  Mix it all up.  Top with cheese, sour cream, chives, cilantro… whatever floats your boat.

My homemade hamburger helper is also one of those toss together recipes without a lot of structure.  Brown your ground beef with an onion and garlic.  Add in a little butter, milk, water, oregano, paprika, chili powder, and uncooked pasta.  Bring it to a boil.  Cover, turn down the heat, and simmer until pasta is done.  Then stir in some cheese and chopped parsley.  Sometimes I add in chopped spinach for an extra veggie.

For my pulled pork, I literally throw a big hunk of pork into my largest crockpot.  Then cook until the meat shreds easily.  Add in bottled BBQ sauce for convenience or make your own if you have time.  My kids LOVE BBQ.  Always a big hit in our home!


Also, I want to give myself a pat on the back because my grocery budget is on track to be MUCH lower than usual.  This week’s groceries was the most I’ve spent in one shopping trip because I was out of all meat.  I buy our meat from Costco, so we will have extra to freeze after making these meals this week.  Yay for meal planning and sticking to lists!!


I just finished rocking my two-year-old before putting her down for her afternoon nap.  While rocking her, that sweet little face looked up into mine.  She had a binkie in her mouth, but you could see the joy in her eyes and the crinkle in her nose.  She is my baby, and she knows it.  I love her (and all my girls) more than I could ever say.  Rocking my darling baby girl gives me a happiness and a peace that I cannot describe.

I’d do anything for those little ladies.  But sometimes I get so caught up with doing other things that I forget my reason for doing the other things to begin with.  I lose sight of what I’m working towards, forgetting the end goal.

One of my main streams of happiness is enjoying my children while they are young and relatively untouched by the negatives of the world.  Staying at home with them in order to tap into that happiness is a priority I set for myself years ago.

But instead of happily snuggling them all day, reading books, looking into their loving eyes, and giggling over silly nothings, I often busy myself during the day with many other things that aren’t as high on my priority list.  Today’s moment of rocking my daughter gave me a sense of clarity of what is really important in my life.  It reminded me what makes me happy and what I need more of in my life.

For the blog and for my own personal development goals, I’m focusing on finances this month.  Gushing on about my love for my children and what makes me happy may not seem to be in line with that topic.  However, there is a connection between the two.  It’s about knowing what’s important to us and using these priorities to guide our behavior. Continue reading “Priorities”

Lessons Learned at Dude’s Diner

Nearing my 16th birthday, I started dreaming of getting a job. I wanted to have my own money. Once my birthday rolled around and I received my driver’s license, I started putting in applications. I had NO idea what I was doing, but I put in an application at a small local restaurant. When I got a call back, I was thrilled. I went in, talked to the owner, and started my first job as a waitress. And I absolutely loved it. On good nights, I averaged about $10 per hour with tips, which was AMAZING to me at the time. Minimum wage was only $5.15 at the time, so I was really BALLIN’.

I learned a few lessons about money (and a lot about life) during my years as a waitress.

It’s easier to spend money than it is to make money, so spend wisely.

Straight ballin’ with $10/hour.

Even though I felt like I was making bank at about $10/hour, I still figured out that spending money took a lot less effort than making it. With this insight, I determined to be a good steward of my money in high school. I knew I could buy a single shirt for $40 at the mall or I could buy a pair of pants, a skirt, and two shirts at Goody’s (a local discount clothing store) for the same amount. Being that I only had a limited amount of money, I always chose the better deal. Continue reading “Lessons Learned at Dude’s Diner”

Where Have I Been? And My Weekly Menu!

Hi friends!  I have missed you!  I did not intend to neglect my blogging all last week.  My husband was out of town for work, and it turns out that I depend on him A LOT in order to write for the blog.  Maybe you’ll find this hard to believe, but taking care of three little ladies all by myself takes up a lot of energy and time.  It takes a lot of self-sacrifice to parent in a two-parent situation.  So when you are down to solo-parenting, you end up using every single ounce of yourself to parent.  By the end of the day, I was zonked.  I gave myself a little grace this week and held off on blogging so that I could keep up with my girls and regular activities while my husband was out of town.

One of the many perks about my husband’s current job is that he does not have to travel frequently.  However, he does have to travel on occasion, and this past week’s trip was to Florida.  At the beach.  GAHHH.  Yes, I was jealous.  Especially when he returned with tan-lines.  Actually they are more like burn-lines.  But either way, they indicate that he was outside at the beach long enough to enjoy some sunshine and fresh ocean air.

Continue reading “Where Have I Been? And My Weekly Menu!”

The B word

We can’t chat about finances without knowing our current financial situations.  My first step in getting involved in my finances was to sit down with my husband and look over our monthly income as well as all our bills.  I encouraged my husband to set up a Mint account several years ago.  Mint is a free online budgeting software that keeps track of all our bills and spending. It is a great tool (click here for more information), but it has a few kinks. And I have a hard time fully understanding the data in Mint. So I created an excel spreadsheet to enter the data in the way that makes most sense to me.  Using that data, I updated our family expenses and budget.

Yes, I said the b word.  It’s not a glamorous idea, is it?  Maybe you think budgeting is about pinching pennies.  Or maybe you think it is too time-intensive or too restrictive.  But a budget is really just about telling YOUR money where YOU want it to go.  It puts you in control of what you’ve worked hard to obtain.

Continue reading “The B word”

Menu Monday!

Helloooo friends!  We had a pretty chill weekend in terms of our activities and the weather.  Our unseasonable weather of the past few weekends left us this weekend, forcing us to remember that it is, in fact, still winter.  Brr!

dinner photos
A few dinners from last week’s meal plan 🙂


During the week, I stayed with my meal plan beautifully, except for one night.  I skipped my vegetable curry because I couldn’t get myself to the grocery store to pick up the red curry paste that I needed.  For that night, we ended up having peanut butter sandwiches.  I tell you, peanut butter sandwiches are my #1 backup plan.  It’s a little embarrassing.  But hey, everyone in the family enjoys it, so it works for us.  🙂

I decided to make my meal plan be as easy as possible this upcoming week.  So I spent Sunday prepping everything I needed for the week.  I made muffins and granola bars and shredded lots of veggies for the week.  I made a minestrone-like soup for our Sunday supper, and MMMMM was it good!!  I’m thankful that there is a lot of that left over for lunches this week.  Yay!  Now let’s check out my meal plan for the week! Continue reading “Menu Monday!”

Let’s Talk Money!

Hi!  Who here feels like they could use a little extra cash?  Everyone, right?  I’d venture to say that most people would like a little more green in their lives, and not just for St. Patty’s Day.

During the month of March, I’m going to focus on my finances.  Before having children, I tracked every single cent of our family’s income.  I paid all the bills.  I knew down to the penny how much we had, how much we spent, and how much we were saving.  Then I had a child.  And I stopped having the energy to keep up with our finances.  I let my husband take over, and I never picked it back up.  My oldest daughter is turning seven this year.  Clearly, it’s high time I got involved in our finances again. Continue reading “Let’s Talk Money!”