Friday Favorites 6/26

It’s Friday!  Hooray!  Here are some favorites from this week:

My family.  I’m off visiting them right now, and it’s so nice to see them again. Definitely not a favorite, but  my grandfather actually passed away yesterday, so I’m glad that I’m around my family right now. He was an incredible man and we will all miss him terribly; it’s been comforting to be around family hearing stories about him. We live two hours away, which isn’t bad at all, but I never get over to see them enough. Being around family is a favorite for sure, especially after losing such an important man in our lives.

Playing my french horn again.  It’s been a long time, and I’m out of shape, but I’ve been playing in a local community band and I love the laid back atmosphere.  It feels good to play again.

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The Simple Dollar– This is my favorite personal finance blog.  There are several writers, and there’s always something new to read and learn about.

Researching graduate programs.  I’m thinking either a bachelor in music therapy or a masters in some type of education.  The bachelor would offer more job opportunities, but I don’t know that I could teach while I earn the degree.  The masters degree would provide more money in the career I’m already in, but it would be harder to find a job somewhere else if for some reason I left my current position.  It will be a while before I make any decisions, though.  I would like for us to be farther out of debt before I add any new debt.  Also, it’s very possible this is just a quarter life crisis.

Barley Mushroom Risotto– I had some Barley sitting in the pantry, and wasn’t really sure what to do with it in the summer, so I made this on Tuesday.  I felt like it needed salt and pepper (shame on me for not taste testing first- that’s my favorite part of cooking!), but Husband and I both agreed that it was a keeper.

PostModern Jukebox– This Youtube channel has so many covers of popular songs in styles from different decades and genres.

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It’s Not All or Nothing

I like to think of myself as a healthy mix of Type A and B.  For the most part, I am pretty easy going and flexible.  My cousin decorated and arranged the flowers for my wedding, and when I met with her to talk about what I liked, I said, “I trust you.  Whatever you think.”  When I get my hair cut, I say, “Just make it look good.  You know what you’re doing, and I trust you.”  If you ask me what I want to do or where I want to eat, I usually couldn’t care less.

Now, with our (hopefully) soon-to-be house?  Not so much.  I want to know exactly where in the process we are, when everything will go through, and, most importantly, when we will be able to move into the house.  With teaching?  I’m good at rolling with the punches, but if I can know my schedule in advance, I absolutely want to.

With healthy eating and exercising, I’m Type A.  If something doesn’t go the way I have it planned out in my head, I throw out the whole day.  In the past it has been an all or nothing approach.  But it doesn’t have to be.

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That makes so much sense to me.  There have been a countless number of times where I have “ruined” my healthy eating with a “bad” meal or dessert.  This seems to happen every time there’s a dessert in the teachers’ lounge.  After that, the rest of the day is shot.  Then I’m too unmotivated and lethargic to exercise, and because I don’t exercise I don’t eat nutritious foods.  It’s a vicious cycle.

If I go over my budget, I usually know it right away.  I have a pretty good idea at all times what we have set for each account, so if I’m going to spend money, I typically know whether it will go over the budget or not.  Many times, that helps me stay accountable.  However, sometimes, it makes me spend more.  Last weekend, I was picking up my favorite foundation, and my mom looked at some blush.  I saw a blush that I absolutely adored, and thought, “It’s going to put me over my budget, but so will this foundation, and I do need that.  Oh well, might as well go for it!”  Just a head’s up, it absolutely does not have to be like that.  It’s that all or nothing mentality sneaking in again.

I do want to pause for a second though and tell you how much I love that blush.  I usually buy drug store products and am okay with most of them, but this is gorgeous and totally worth the money, in my opinion.  Worth going over my budget?  No, it could have waited.  Worth splurging on though?  Yes, I think so.

Life doesn’t have to be an all or nothing approach.  Whether you’re trying to budget, eat healthfully, exercise, or get more work done, it doesn’t have to be all or nothing.  Everything in moderation, right?  Leave yourself room for dessert once in a while, give yourself some fun money, and remember that work will still be there tomorrow.  Take a deep breath and realize that it’s just life- it’s short, so live it to the fullest and happiest that you can.

Meals & Fitness 6/15

It’s Monday, which means it’s another Meals & Fitness!  We had a pretty good week this week!

Meals

Monday- Carnitas (this is a Kroger brand meal and is so good and easy!) with rice and sauteed zucchini

Tuesday- Egg sandwiches

Wednesday- Steak n Shake

Thursday- Slow Cooker BBQ chicken with broccoli and rice and beans

Friday- Jimmy Johns

Saturday- Ihop

Sunday- Stir fry

I feel pretty good about what we ate this week!  We still stayed within our food budget even with eating out a couple of times.  Starting this week I’m going to try doing more with what’s in our pantry.  We will (hopefully) be moving in a couple of weeks, and the less we have to move, the better!  This week’s meal plan will be interesting!

Fitness

Fitness

Monday- Off

Tuesday- C25K (week 3, day 1)

Wednesday- SSU Workout #2

Thursday- C25K (week 3, day 2)

Friday- Light stretching

Saturday- Off

Sunday- C25K (Week 3, day 3)

Friday Favorites 6/19

Here are some things I’m loving lately!  There’s a variety of music, blog posts, recipes, and more!

Coffee.  And this coffee mug I got at Disney last year.

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8 Steps to Finding Your Personal Style– I am working on doing a closet purge before we move and this is something I really need to work on!

Kate Middleton Style Icon Pinterest board.  It makes me feel like a bit of a creeper, but she’s stunning and I adore her outfits.  I can’t be the only one.

This blush.  You guys, it’s gorgeous.

My ukulele.  A couple of years ago, my dad got quite a few of the family members playing.  I play at school, but many times I forget play for the enjoyment of it.  With summer break here, I’ve been playing almost every day.
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I listen to this song at least once a day.  Usually more.

Honey I’m Good– such an adorable song and video

Crock Pot Granola– I forgot how much I love this recipe.  I love when it’s not super crunchy.

Watching the Blackhawks win the Stanley Cup! I’m not sure when Husband and I became sports fans…and I’m not hating it.
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Pocket.  You can save articles to read later.  I have the app on my phone and the button on my browser and I love it.  It’s so easy to use, and it’s great to go through and read some interesting articles that I’ve saved!

I’ve been looking for a cute one-piece swimsuit.  Right now I’m looking at this and this.

What are some things you’re loving lately?

How We Save Money: Groceries

Oh, groceries.  It seems like you get so little for so much money.  I work hard to cut our grocery bill as much as possible, and am pretty happy that we seem to spend about $80 every two weeks.  That fluctuates depending on our pantry, but overall we do pretty well at keeping around this budget.  Here’s some tips on how we do it:

  • We grocery shop for two weeks at a time.  This has been a huge one for us and has probably saved us the most money out of anything on this list.  Somehow, when we shop for two weeks of food, we end up spending almost the same as when we went to the store for one week’s worth of food.  We practically cut our grocery bill in half just by planning for two weeks instead of one!
  • We eat cheap proteins.  I can’t remember the last time I’ve bought ground beef.  At almost $4/lb., it’s just too expensive!  We eat a lot of chicken, eggs, beans, and lentils to help bring costs down while still providing a hearty meal.
  • We eat at least one dirt cheap meal each week.  Typically this is egg sandwiches.  We fry up some eggs, slap them on bread with some mayo, and call it good.  If I think about it ahead of time, I’ll buy frozen french fries and cook them up, too.  This is one of Husband’s favorite meals, which he actually introduced me to.  We also like to make egg burritos.  We just mix scrambled eggs with cooked ground sausage and put the mixture in tortillas.  Both of these meals cost under $5.  Unfortunately, rumor has it that egg prices will be going up!
  • I cook and freeze dry beans.  For the price of two cans of beans, you can make 5-6 bags and freeze them!  Dried beans are so much cheaper, and they aren’t sitting in bean juice, which kind of grosses me out.  All I do is dump them in a big pot, fill the pot up with water, and let them soak for most of the day.  Then, after 8-10 hours, I cook them over medium heat until they are soft.  Drain and let them cool, then put the desired amount into freezer bags and lie them flat in the freezer.  I typically do just under two cups in each bag.  This has been a huge money saver for us!
  • Meal plan.  Seriously, just do it.  Look through the sales ads and come up with a meal plan (be realistic- if you only cook once each week right now, don’t meal plan seven meals!  Meal plan for 3-4 and work your way up.  Otherwise, you’re just wasting food and money.)
  • Make a list.  This is a MUST for me.  Our bill skyrockets when we (Husband and I go together) grocery shop when we’re hungry or don’t have a list.  This list should include your breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and snacks.
  • We each choose 1-2 snacks.  We grocery shop every two weeks, so we usually each pick up one to two snacks to last us until we go to the store again.  Once the snacks are gone, they’re gone.
  • We shop at multiple stores. We go to Aldi for a lot of things.  I typically don’t buy too much produce or meat there, but I love their dried foods.  We buy paper goods, canned goods, coffee, and sometimes produce at Costco, and most of our meats, any other produce, and any extras at Kroger.  Costco has to be a once in a while type of trip for us, because we can easily spend over $100 on random purchases.

Bringing your grocery bill down doesn’t have to be painful!  It boils down to looking at the sale ads and planning ahead.  There are several weeks that I look at the calendar and know that we won’t be able to sit down for dinner, so I budget more money toward eating out than groceries.  It’s no biggie, because I planned ahead.  Plan, plan, plan!

What are your grocery saving tips?

Meals and Fitness 6/8

Here’s our meals for this past week.  You’ll notice we ate out a ton this week- my family was in town for the last half of the week, so we ate out pretty much every night they were here.  Also, I had this crazy stomach thing happening, and it hurt worst after I ate, so I pretty much didn’t eat anything for 2 days and there was no way I was cooking.

Meals

Monday- Egg sandwiches

Tuesday- Jimmy Johns

Wednesday- Yen Ching

Thursday- Yen Ching (

Friday- Outback Steakhouse (

Saturday- Chicken burger and toast

Sunday- Melt-In-Your-Mouth Chicken with broccoli and rice

This week I’m hoping to cook a lot more at home!  Husband’s work schedule was nuts this week and it was hard to tell when he would be home for dinner.  This week should be a bit more predictable.

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Fitness

Monday- Off

Tuesday- Run (Treadmill, C25K week 2 day 1)

Wednesday- Off

Thursday- Run (outdoor, C25K week 2 day 2)

Friday- Off

Saturday- Off

Sunday- Run (indoor, C25K week 2 day 3)

So my goal was working out 4 times and I only made 3 of them, but I’m okay with that!  Again, I really think that my stomach pains had to do with running outdoors in the heat and humidity; my body just isn’t used to working that hard in that environment!  So this week I’m going to be working on being a bit smarter with scheduling workouts and making sure that I’m hydrating a ton and fueling myself properly.  Also, this week Gina starts her Summer Shape Up plan.  I’m so excited to join in!

Meals & Fitness 6/1

I know that fitness and healthy eating is important.  They’re both things that I’ve been working on this summer.  So I’ll be documenting my fitness and dinners for the previous week, Monday through Sunday.

Meals

Monday- Lentil Tacos

Tuesday- Leftovers

Wednesday- Roast

Thursday- Leftovers

Friday- Egg sandwiches (bread with a fried egg and mayo)

Saturday- Balsamic chicken, seasoned zucchini, and rosemary and olive oil quinoa

Sunday- Cheesy Chicken Divan

We didn’t go out for dinner once this week!  I was really proud of us for that!

Fitness

Monday- Off

Tuesday- Run (C25K Week 2 Day 1)

Wednesday- Fitnessista’s barbell workout

Thursday- Off

Friday- Off

Saturday- Off

Sunday- Off

I did something kind of weird to my back last week- I think I was trying to do too much at once, so I ended up not doing a lot.  This coming week I’m going to scale it back a bit and build my routine slowly.