Thursday, November 20, 2014

Operation Christmas Child 2014

One of my favorite things to do each year is to pack an Operation Christmas Child shoe box.  This is one of those times I wish I was financially able to pack hundreds of shoe boxes for these precious children overseas. 

  There's no comparison from Bradley's room so full of toys that you can't step in the room without stepping on a toy and then these simple shoe boxes filled with a few toys and personal hygiene products.  These children may never know what it's like to be so "rich" in America but you can have a small part in making their world better from just a shoe box.

Bradley and I went to Walmart today and we had so much fun picking out toys and hygiene products to put in the boxes.  Bradley had a hard time realizing that only small toys could fit in the shoe boxes.  He was so sweet picking out toys and stuffed animals, saying "yes, I think the girl will like this" or "yes, the boy will like this car".  I hope he will always have a tender heart for showing the love of Jesus to others.

If you are interested in packing your own shoe box for Operation Christmas Child, click here to see the instructions on how to pack and click here for drop off locations.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Groceries Week of November 16-22

Smiling Hill Farm - I spent a total of $27.24 for 2 half gallons of whole milk, one quart of buttermilk, one quart of chocolate milk, one pint of half & half, and one dozen eggs.

I gave Whole Foods another try on Sunday afternoon.  It was still VERY hectic but I went in with a better attitude and the experience was a lot better than the previous ones.  And I bought nuts from the bulk machines...I'm not sure why those are always so intimidating to me.  I had several spices and oils to buy which quickly added up my total bill.  I used several store coupons and a couple manufacturers coupons.  My total was $112.24 and I saved $7.15 in coupons.  

This was a quick trip into Walmart to buy a couple last minute items - my total spent was $20.34.  And this is why quick grocery stops for last minute items are always expensive.

My grand total for groceries this week was $159.82.  A little under $10 over my $150 budget but I was less overwhelmed in the grocery stores this week so that's a score in my book!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Menu Week of November 17-21

So for my birthday last week, one of my presents was 100 Days of Real Food cookbook.  I was so excited about it that I read the entire cookbook in one day, cover to cover.  I've already made a couple of Lisa's recipes and I'm making two more this week.  I love her wholesome, simple recipes!

I took one of the whole chickens I bought last week and cooked it in the crockpot on Sunday.  I'm using that meat for 4 of my meals this week and it fed Bradley and me on Sunday night for really I got 5 meals out of one chicken!

Bradley doesn't like lettuce so I just made him a plate of all the toppings.  And yes, we LOVE cottage cheese on our salads!

Scrambled Eggs with Whole Wheat Toast
Homemade Buttermilk Blueberry Pancakes & Applegate Sausage Links
Whole Wheat Biscuits & Jelly

Chicken Salad Sandwiches
Leftovers x 4

Mixed Green Salad with Chopped Eggs & Shredded Chicken
Baked Spaghetti & Homemade Breadsticks
Veggie Corn Chowder
Chicken Cheesy Broccoli Rice Casserole (pg 230 in Lisa's cookbook)

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Groceries Week of November 9-15

Ok, it's been difficult to get back into grocery shopping.  I have yet to find a grocery store I'm in love with.  I desperately miss my Ingles and Earth Fare!  I chose to shop at Walmart this week. The last two grocery store shopping experiences were so discouraging that I thought it would be better to go someplace that was familiar.  I didn't go to the Walmart very often in SC but at least the stores are all pretty much set up the same way and I can find my way around.  They don't have a huge selection of organic products but I was surprised with the amount they did have.  A little is better than none.  And they had a huge sale on organic chicken which put me in a happy mood.  I'm going to have to tweak my budget back and forth until I can find a good balance.  There are several items up here that are more expensive than back in SC.  Butter, milk, and eggs are the top 3 items that are $2-3 more expensive.  And we use those items the most!

I spent a total of $155.31 and there are two bags of groceries missing from this picture.  I didn't realize until after I had taken the picture and these groceries were put away.

So the one thing that makes me so very happy is that we live about 10 minutes from Smiling Hill Farm.  It's not Happy Cow milk...but it's really, really good!  I  absolutely love having milk come in glass bottles!  It somehow makes the milk colder and taste least I think so.  They make heavy cream and half & half and the little pint bottles are way too cute.  And their Egg Nog is 100 times better than any other Egg Nog out there.  And I'm not an Egg Nog type of girl.  My total was $12.12 but I returned two extra glass bottles.  The one downside is that there is a bottle deposit so it can cost you more to start up with.

My grand total for groceries this week was $167.43.  So I've got some work to do to cut the budget back.  If y'all see any great Amazon sales, please let me know!  I'm thinking Amazon grocery shopping might be more often in my future.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Menu Week of November 10 - 14

I'm so excited to have a full kitchen with all my appliances and gadgets back!  It's going to be a great week of cooking and baking.  

Scrambled Eggs and Fried Potatoes
Blueberry Muffins
Egg & Sausage Biscuits 

$5 Little Caesar's Pizza 
(bad choice but we were out and had to have something quick and cheap)
Egg Salad Sandwiches
Chicken Salad Sandwiches
Leftovers x 2

Crustless Broccoli Quiche
Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup
Crock Pot Roast Beef, Mashed Potatoes, and Carrots
Chicken Teriyaki and Fried Rice

Painting, Moving In, Unpacking, and more Unpacking

We officially moved into our new house one week ago today!  Seeing the moving truck parked outside the house was a beautiful sight!  Unpacking boxes and seeing all of our stuff was like Christmas Day.  We are very happy to have hotel life behind us and to get settled into our new home.  

We closed on the house on the 24th so I had a full week to get most of the rooms cleaned and painted.  Bradley went to stay with PopPop and Mimi for the week which was a huge help!  After painting for 4 days in a row and wearing the same outfit 4 days in a row, I was ready to burn my clothes, throw away the paint brushes and never think about painting again.

Despite my aching muscles and exhaustion, I thought the paint really made the rooms look great and the house felt more like home.  We went with all new colors except for Bradley's room.  We figured he had been through so much change lately, his room could be the one room we could keep the same as much as possible.  His room was the last room I painted and of course it would be the most difficult.  It was super cold and rainy that day which made the paint take much longer to dry.  It was worth the extra hassle when Bradley walked into his room and his face lit up with excitement!

I went bold with my kitchen and painted it Midnight Magic.  My friend, Melissa has the same color in her kitchen and I've always loved it.  And seeing the color reminds me of her which makes me happy.  Have I mentioned how much I miss my SC friends?!?!  Ignore the disaster on the kitchen counters...I have a good excuse for the mess. 

I chose Elegance for the room that we don't know what we are going to do with yet.  For now, until the fireplace is finished, it's become our family room.  It may end up being our dining room or office/reading room.  I also painted the hallway in the same color and eventually our family room will be the same color.  We will have to hire a professional to paint the stairway and the walls leading up to it.  I'm not even going to attempt a ladder or stilts to get those parts painted.

I was super happy with the Bell Tower Stone that I used in both bathrooms and our bedroom.  Once we add white crown molding, those rooms are going to look fantastic.  I'll use the same color in the downstairs guest bedroom. 

So now it's back to unpacking.  Somehow all motivation has left me when it comes to unpacking.  The boxes are very slowly going away.  Anyone want to come and help? I'll provide the coffee and cookies! 

Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Latest and Greatest in Bradley's World

Good Golly! My baby boy is out of control with his growing.   I swear all this "sea air" is making him grow up faster.  I love seeing his imagination in action.  

Because choosing the most difficult way to get to the top of the slide is 
just what 3 year old boys have to do.

He loves having his name written in the sand.

He was able to sit on the backhoe for construction day at our local library. 

He thought the dried thistle bush flowers were so cool  
and loved how they stuck like velcro to his clothes.

Three year old boys don't get any cuter than this!

Yep.  He had to slide down the fire pole by himself.  
That was a traumatic moment for Mama!

Sleeping beauty = priceless moment!

We found a new park that is within walking distance of our new house!

He has started making silly faces when you ask him to smile for the camera.
I'm pretty sure he learned that from his friend Chase back in SC.  :)

Walking sticks have become a necessity when taking walks.

He wanted "spikey hair".

He organized all his books and made a "library" on the hotel couch.  He wanted me to check out books and then read the books to him in his "reading circle".  I remember doing this when I was a kid!!  I love how he's using his imagination!

The definition of Bradley.... Never. Stops. Running.

Love this kid!

We have so many pine trees here!  He will actually organize the pine cones on the ground into rows and then count them.  The nerdiness did not come from Mama.  :)

He was very excited to see that our mall has a carousel!

We packed our lunches one day and ate at the park.
This boy is hungry all the time!

He made his own pumpkin patch during story time at the library.

Bubble baths are the best!

This is his "Bradley, will you please smile for the hundredth time?" smile.

Riding the train at the mall.

Making his own peanut butter and jelly sandwich is a big deal to him.

I love that sweet, happy smile!

Feeding the ducks and sea gulls at the park was a little overwhelming.  We pretty much got attacked by about 30 birds!  Next time Daddy will be taking him to feed the birds.  :)