Picture Challenge 1/5 & 1/6

My picture from 1/5 is something delicious. I picked my mug of peppermint tea. It is warm and delicious, but it also reminds me of the countless tea parties I had with my mom while I was growing up. I am also reminded of the tea parties I had with my 2 eldest nieces. I still have tea parties with my children. Sometimes I will even pull out the fancy teapot and china cups with saucers.  It is a tradition of sorts.

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1/6 is a self portrait. I wasn’t looking forward to this one because I had no idea what to do. Then life unfolded very quickly on my computer. I was horrified as I streamed the news live. There is an active shooting at Fort Lauderdale airport…or there was when this picture was taken. People were killed. People are injured.
This was about the same time I learned a friend from long ago is very sick and in critical health. She is too young to be called away from this earth. Life isn’t always pretty. Sometimes it ages us. The worry, heartache, fear…..
However, I am putting my trust and hope in God and offering prayers of peace and comfort to those being impacted by the shooting and for those who also know the beautiful lady who is fighting for her life.
So this is me in real life.

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~Andrea

Picture Challenge 1/3 & 1/4

I promise I took my picture yesterday! I just didn’t get it posted because I blew a tire on the highway. It was epic. It was also dark and I was by myself. A beautiful friend was on the same highway and knew what happened so she pulled up behind me and stayed until my husband could get to me. She is awesome. My knight in shining armor arrived and changed my tire and showed me my very literally destroyed tire. I opted to go home after that and crash on the couch.

My 1/3 picture is of an animal. I could have gotten creative here, but instead I opted to take a picture of Sunny Day. Sunny is a chocolate lab who thinks we starve her. She is a 4 year old ball of energy and so loved. Her favorite thing to do is try to trick us into more food. She will try to convince the people who hadn’t fed her that she never ate. She will walk around with her bowl in her mouth and give us sad, sad eyes. She has managed a second breakfast once or twice. Sneaky pooch.
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My 1/4 picture is a favorite thing. That would be my coffee pot. I feel this needs no explanation, ha!

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How are y’all doing on your resolutions, goals, positive life changes? Let me know!
~Andrea

Circle

Today my task was to take a picture of a circle. The obvious choice being my wedding ring. Of course I picked that, but I also picked my grandmother’s ring. Her ring has the letter A on it. I am her only grandchild to share the same first initial so I got the ring and I cherish it. My grandmother and I were close. I called her ever Sunday. When she would go to Florida in the winter I would drive to see her (Florida is closer to me than where my family is from). This woman was amazing. She told me stories, gave me advice, would share some of her heartache. Through it all she was a tough as nails woman with grace and charm who took the tough times and learned from them. She was devoted and loving. I pray I am half as amazing as she was. I miss her terribly every single day of my life.

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My wedding ring….18 years. It seems like yesterday and forever ago all at the same time. We have had amazing highs and devastating lows and through it all we have held to each other and our wedding rings symbolize that commitment. Marco is my best friend. He knows my worst secrets and my best attributes and he still loves me. He is a pretty amazing person. He is my comfort and my life.

~Andrea

Purple

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Purple. My favorite color is purple. Today Zen has been playing with his Play-Doh he got for Christmas. He has been creating and mixing all afternoon. It is so beautiful to watch him and participate in his imaginative play. I have “eaten” more ice cream today than I can count. He always gives me purple because “It your favorite, Mama!”
Thank goodness it isn’t real! His passion for play is beautiful and the fact he can be occupied for long periods is a blessing.

Deliberate

planner

My new planner, stickers, and an inspiration journal, which actually goes with a different planner, but I loved the layout.

I am challenging myself in 2017. I have a word that will define my year; deliberate. I have 3 verses from the Bible to focus on (they go together and also go with my word); Proverbs 16:9 “In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.” and Proverbs 16:3 “Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.” and Psalm 20:4 “May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed.”

I have a new top-secret life plan (it is currently between Marco, God, & me), I have a new planner, a new journal, a new determination.

Back to deliberate…
I have always been a picture-taking Momma. I am also a person who throws useless junk away, but I tend to do it in moments of anger because there are messes and stuff just laying around. I want to be more organized about it; more deliberate.

I am also going to be deliberate in my memory-catching. Each day I want to take a picture with a theme. There is a catch though. Each picture has to also have a story. Whether personal to me directly or one of my kids, my husband, my brothers, parents, etc. It simply can’t just be a random picture. It will be interesting how I make some things more than just a random picture. I got the picture list from a Google search (get it HERE). It is not my list. I do not credit myself with it. Do not give me credit in the creation of the list. I do not own it.

I also want to be more deliberate with my purging. Currently I toss stuff that simply angers me because it is in my way in that moment. I want a method to my purging madness. It will not be everyday; just a few per month. The point is I want to be deliberate.

I am going to test run this challenge in January and take it month by month and tweak it as needed. I am not sure if I will post daily or weekly. That is why January is my test run. Here is my January schedule.

January 1 — photograph favorite color & purge clothing, shoes, hats, scarves, etc
January 2 — photograph a circle
January 3 — photograph an animal
January 4 — photograph a favorite item
January 5 — photograph something delicious
January 6 — photograph myself
January 7 — photograph inside fridge
January 8 — photograph a wall
January 9 — photograph a bag
January 10 — photograph 2 things
January 11 — photograph time
January 12 — photograph a leaf
January 13 — photograph people
January 14 — photograph a path
January 15 — photograph where I sleep & purge in side toys
January 16 — photograph music
January 17 — photograph mail
January 18 — photograph today
January 19 — photograph a shape
January 20 — photograph something white
January 21 — photograph growth
January 22 — photograph in my town & purge DVDs
January 23 — photograph this is mine
January 24 — photograph what I do
January 25 — photograph in the backyard
January 26 — photograph yum
January 27 — photograph I can’t live without
January 28 — photograph a sign
January 29 — photograph shadow & purge old bikes, scooters, skates, etc
January 30 — photograph hello
January 31 — photograph something colorful

I will leave you with my favorite saying that I made into a picture.

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~Andrea

Dinner Time Antics

*I have been going through my drafts. I found this little gem. I assume I never posted because I didn’t have a picture. I happened to remember the picture below is on my computer still. Zen isn’t 1 in the picture, like he is in my  post, but he is still crazy and the picture is fitting. 

When you give a one year old his dinner he is going to want what everyone else is having instead. When you give him what everyone else is having he is going to want his very own bowl and spoon, just like everyone else.

Once you give him his spoon and bowl with “big person” food you are going to have to let him feed himself or he will scream.

When you let a one year old feed himself with his very own bowl and his very own spoon you are most assuredly,at some point, going to catch that spoon as it zooms through the air.

When you give a one year old his very own bowl full of food that bowl will end up upside down on the floor and food will splatter everywhere.

When you give a one year old dinner in his very own bowl with his very own spoon and the spoon flies through the air and the bowl lands spectacularly on the floor upside down you will have a guffawing group of children who all yell “We told you it was a bad idea Mom!!!!

Needless to  say, when you give a one year old dinner there is never a dull moment.

~Andrea

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Wednesday Shopping & Weekly Menu Plan 11/9-11/16 2016

Hey everyone! I know this is a few days late! I had a rough week. I was a bit ill at the beginning of the week and so that made me slow motion. Can anyone relate? I am a bit perked up and ready to roll!

Last week we had a lot of leftovers so Wednesday was Leftover Night again! Aldi had chicken thighs on sale this week so I rearranged money and took a big chunk from somewhere else that had extra. I also re-evaluated my budget and although my weekly goal will remain $100, I can safely spend $120 and still manage the rest of our responsibilities comfortably. Budgeting is very important and if anyone needs a great budgeting (and coupon) book then go to my friend Kristin Cooper at Couponing to Disney. Her budget book is a life saver for us! You can find the book HERE. Krisitn is a friend. I am not compensated for referring her. I just really believe in her and her book.

A few reminders:

Lunches are almost always vegetables and fruit. I usually buy frozen vegetables unless I can snag better deals on fresh. I cook the frozen veggies in ways that bring out the best quality and taste possible. Fruit is always decided at the store. I look at prices and then decide between fresh, canned, or frozen. When I buy canned, I buy ones in their own juices.

I plan for 3 meals a day and 2 snacks. We do not do a morning snack, but instead eat an earlier lunch. My plans are for 7 people, except lunch and snacks. Lunch is for 6 people (Mark eats at work for free) and snacks for 5 (the kids). Every Friday Mark brings home rotisserie chicken from his work. He gets a great deal and it is so much better than the stuff they sell at the store. This is NOT part of our food budget.

On Tuesdays we have homeschool co-op. We have to have lunch to-go. This has upped our Tuesday food cost a little bit.

I try to keep cheese sticks and 100% fruit bars and dried fruit in the house for those days when you are just so hungry you need a bit more food. These are not everyday foods so when I buy them they do last longer than a week.

Breakfast
Suasage, Oatmeal*, & GF Pumpkin Muffins
Egg for me

*I buy a big canister of quick-cook oats and make “packets” of 1/4 C oats, chopped freeze dried fruit, and seasonings (cinnamon, etc). The kids use the kettle of hot water to make their own instant oatmeal for far less then pre-packaged!

Lunch
Fruit everyday — guava or oranges

This week everyday will be Garden Salad and Celery Sticks w/ choice of filling (hummus, cream cheese, nut butter)

Snack
baby carrots and apples

Dinner
(Thurs) Spinach and Artichoke Chicken with Rice
(Fri) Chicken, Mashed Potato, Green Beans
(Sat) Eggplant or Chicken Parmesan w/ GF Spaghetti (I am trying to find a cheap eggplant, but I have chicken already.)
(Sun) Roasted Vegetable Salad over GF Pasta
(Mon) Baked Sweet Potato Hash w/ Sausage
(Tues) Asian Rice Noodle Stir Fry
(Wed) Roasted Garlic Lemon Chicken

Snack
Halloween Candy

ALDI:

$1.99 Fresh Pamesan Cheese (Holiday Food)
$1.89 GF Pretzles (Co-op Food)
$2.99 x 2 Coconut Water (now I have enough in pantry for next swim meet)
$1.99 Fig Spread
$1.89 x3 Organic Pasta Sauce (this one has safe ingredients for us)
$1.79 x 3 Bagged Flat Leaf Spinach
99¢ x 2 Bagged Garden Salad Mix
79¢ x 4 Fresh Cranberries 12 oz
$1.29 Fresh Brussels Spouts 16 oz
99¢ Green Onions
$1.49 Red Onions 2 lbs
$1.69 x 4 Fuji Apples 3 lbs
79¢ x 2 Sweet Potato (cheaper than last week, so I bought more!)
$2.99 x 2 Medley Potatoes
$2.99 Lemons 2 lbs
79¢ x 4 Celery
$1.29 Avocado (super frustrated, Walmart had these chepaer and I didn’t realize)
$1.69 Butternut Squash
$1.24 Bananas
99¢ Gluten Free Baking Powder
$1.69 Rosemary
$1.69 Sea Salt
$1.79 Feta Cheese
$2.29 Organic Humus
$2.99 x 3 Organic Vanilla Yogurt 32 oz each
$1.99 x 2 Almond Milk (for the boys)
$1.99 x 3 Hot/Italian Pork Sausage
$5.89 x 2 Shredded Cheese 2 lbs
45¢ Large Eggs 1 dozen
$2.99 x 2 Chicken Sausage (for hash)
$1.99 x 2 Pepita/Pumpkin Seeds 6 oz
$1.59 Dried Pineapple 6 oz
$1.99 x 2 Peanuts 16 oz
$1.89 x 2 GF Spaghetti
$11.82 Chicken Thighs 4 packages @ 69¢/lb

Total: $134.98

WALMART:

78¢ x 2 Gluten Free Brown Gravy Mix (Holiday Food, and I had a coupon I didn’t want to expire so one was only 28¢)
$2.24 Artichoke Hearts 16 oz
$2.18 So Delicious Coconut Milk (for my Elf)
$3.68 x 2 Earth Balnce Soy Free Buttery Spread
$2.28 Fresh Guava 1 lb
$2.99 x 2 Oranges 4 lbs
43¢ Garlic
$8.86 Cabt White Cheddar Cheese Block 2 lbs
$6.93 Coffee
Total: $37.32

Goal: $190
Paid: $172.30
Leftover from budgeted: $17.70
Overage this month: $16.19
Things on my list I didn’t buy: I bought everything!

I am really happy with how much I have learned. I know how to better plan each week. I am done with this month, as our new food budget begins November 14. I think that being over $16.19 isn’t too shabby.

I did buy items I do not need this week (more sweet potatoes for example), but the prices were too good to pass and I planned ahead and moved money as needed. My primary goal is to keep the kids on a healthy diet. My secondary goal is to satisfy needs and not feel like we are missing out while doing so. The subgoal of that is to help others cut their food budget down and give meal ideas.

Have a great week, y’all!

~Andrea