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Happy Birthday Jared!

For Jared's birthday this year I had a cute little gift planned for him. I was going to get him a meat branding iron, he LOVES to grill! And a basket full of all the ingredients for his rub and his BBQ sauce along with a personalized shaker and a bottle for the sauce. I was also going to make him an apron (he's been asking for one for over a year), make little Jared a matching apron, and a whole bunch of other grilling goodies. I got an email from a sweet friend that has just started doing photography. She was offering her services for a STEAL! So I ditched the grilling idea and took her up on her generous deal. I couldn't be HAPPIER! We have never had photos done as a family, ever. Jared wasn't in these pictures BUT, all 3 of our beautiful babies are...I even make an appearance or two :) Jared was a little model right from the start. As soon as he saw the camera he would pose, say cheeeeeese, and then as soon as she snapped one he would change his pose, smile big, and then repeat the process. There was no shortage of baby Jared photos. Wylee on the other hand would bury her head in my lap anytime Erika so much as said her name. She warmed up though....right after the camera was put away. We agreed to call her Jill during the shoot so she wouldn't shut down at the very mention of her own name. Russell did great too! He only got fussy towards the very end of it. I can't believe how many great shots she got out of such a crazy morning, I would have bet money that there was one...maybe two, good pictures out of them. I was so wrong....Enjoy!

Thank you Erika for sharing your amazing talent with our family, it means more to me than you will ever know to have this special time in our lives captured so beautifully.


I'm sooo completely a MOM...

I'm sooo completely a MOM...I say this with a smile on my face and tear in my eye, because while I am so thankful for these little souls that our Heavenly Father has entrusted me with, I have also forgotten what it's like to still be a GIRL. Two days ago I loaded the kids up and went to Wal-Mart because I decided that I'm finally going to buy myself some new shirts. Yes Wal-Mart. I can't believe that I am shopping for new clothes at Wal-Mart. Not cause it's a crappy place to shop, but because I never in my wildest dreams would have thought that I would let these words come out of my mouth. Wal-mart is cheap, I have to buy sizes that are bigger than I want to admit that I have to buy which means I'm hoping to not wear them for long, and OP and Miley Cyrus/Max Azria have some cute affordable clothes. With that being said I treated myself to 3 tops and a scarf. Today I went BACK to Wal-Mart and returned the 3 shirts (I kept the scarf because it was on sale for a whopping $3.00) and bought formula and diapers instead. Get it? I'm so TOTALLY a mom. I have been feeling so guilty for the past 2 days about those 3 stinkin shirts. How stupid is that? It's not like in order to buy the formula and diapers I needed to return the shirts, that wasn't the case at all. I just couldn't do it. My brain keeps calculating the cost of formula and the fact that we have 2 in diapers and it won't allow me to treat myself to WAL-MART CLOTHES. Maybe it'll allow me a lovely trip to the local Helping Hands, or Goodwill...there is a BIG Goodwill here in Paris. Oh my gosh...I wish I could take those sentences and cram them back into mouth, but its the truth. I'm a mom of 3 and it shows. Not only a mom of 3, but a mom of 3 who has already decided that our 4th and final baby should be born around October of 2011. So I'm calling myself a mom of 3.5 because I think my plans for #4 are pretty set in stone, he/she may as well already be here. As I write this I am watching Russell gag a few times, spit up formula, gag a little more, spit up some more and I can't help but picture him spitting up a new $7.00 clearance top :) Just kidding. Sort of. Happy Friday :)


My Personal Challenge update

I know it isn't QUITE halfway through the month yet, but the kids are "napping" and Russell is enjoying his bouncy seat right now so it's a pretty good time to blog. Alrighty, time to unveil the grocery cost to-date...as of Monday, September 13th we have $55.58 left in our budget. I'm actually REALLY happy about this and here's why:
  • The kids and I spent an unexpected week at the Fate House, which meant all my menu plans for last week didn't get made because we weren't at the Paris House but all of the groceries were.
  • I sent Jared to the store for formula, milk, and bread.....he came home with that plus about $15 worth of extra items that I did NOT send him out for (he wanted to make banana splits)
  • We were in charge of snacks at church last week.
  • Jared also made a trip to Wal-Mart and came home with 2 half gallons of Blue Bell
  • Ruth and James and our nieces and nephew (8 total) came for a visit last weekend and we got to cook for them on Sunday! I had originally planned on not counting the groceries for that meal against our budget but then thought, what the heck...I can do it! Then Jared decided to cook ribs, lol! Not a cheap meal but still I can do it!
So all of these little "extras" that I wasn't planning on for the month DID in fact get counted toward the grocery budget, and now you can see why I'm happy to announce that we still somehow have $55.58 to spend. I currently have the items needed for at least 10 meals, which will take us into the 26th of September. All I have on my list for this week is a gallon of milk, fruit snacks, and a bag of brown sugar which should be less than $10.00 :)
Dare I say that we may end September not only meeting our $200 budget, but actually having a bit left over? The possibilities are looking good :)


Menu for September

Jennifer requested that I share my menu for September....I'm a bit embarrassed to do it because it's so plain and boring BUT, I'll do it anyways! A lot these are repeated so I'm only going to list them once. I'll include about how much each meal costs me to make, not including condiments because that would be about impossible for me to figure out. These numbers are pretty dang close though! If the Great Value brand is available then that's what I buy. Here goes, starting on Wednesday September 1st:

  • Chicken breasts cooked in olive oil (I only have to cook two chicken breasts for a meal because I split mine with the kids), family size can of green beans (I put a chicken and herb bouillon cube in the pot for extra flavor) and white rice-- $3.16
  • Chicken thighs baked in the oven, cream corn mixed with whole corn and white rice-- $4.10
  • Tacos (inc. lettuce & cheese) and re fried beans-- $4.74
  • Chicken Breasts, fresh sauteed carrot slices, family size can of green beans-- $3.28
  • Chicken thighs, half a bag of  frozen mixed veggies, can of sliced potatoes-- $4.04
  • Casserole: layers of ground turkey, french style green beans x2, mashed potatoes topped with the shredded Velveeta cheese--$5.22
  • Chicken breasts, can of corn, mashed potatoes-- $2.59
  • Hot dogs & fries-- $3.25
  • Chicken thighs, white rice, family size can of green beans-- $3.94
  • Taco salad (left over taco shells, lettuce, cheese)-- $3.18
  • Grilled cheeses and soup-- $1.90
  • Meat loaf, family size can of green beans, mashed potatoes-- $4.09
So there ya have it. I imagine as the weeks go by I will get more creative with my meals, but this is a good start! Only one meal is over $5.00 :) Happy Monday!

First 16 days...

So I made my menu out for the first 16 days in September and then made my grocery list. Russell was a little fussy (extra early) this morning, the bigger babies were still sleeping, and Jared was working at home for a bit so I loaded Russell up and went to the store at about 6:30. I refuse to go on Saturday morning just to avoid taking the kids, so this worked out. I really stuck to my list which is hard for me to do, I only added 3 things to my basket, and honestly they should have been on my list to begin with. So now for the grand total: $69.23! This is for lunch and dinner through September 16th. I'll probably have to go back for more milk, but hopefully that will be it. I have pretty much all the breakfast stuff that I need here already. The menu is pretty boring, lots of chicken, lots of vegetables...but don't forget that we are trying to lose a little weight as well! Time to nap the babies so I'll have a more interesting post later today :)


My personal challenge

I am challenging myself to feed our family on $200 worth of groceries for the month of September. FOOD ONLY, and formula isn't included in this $200 limit. I know it sounds ridiculous but I have done my homework. I know how much milk, bread, chicken, cans of veggies, etc. that we go through in a week. I've done lots of calculating. $200 isn't as crazy as it sounds, and I'm going to prove it. I'm doing this for a lot of reasons:
  • We want to have one last baby at some point next year, so if I can start cutting back now then we will be THAT much more prepared to bring our last bundle of joy into this world.
  • Jared and I both want to shed a few unwanted pounds. I'm giving up a few guilty pleasures not only to save on groceries but to help lose some weight as well. See ya later Dr. Pepper...thanks for helping me stay awake through the day. So long Blue Bell, I love you more than I love my husband sometimes.
  • I want to see just how little our family can survive on. I don't mean little amounts of food, just how little can we make our grocery bill. If I feel like I have cut back everywhere that I can and there just isn't enough to go around then I'm tossing that $200 limit out the window and we will just see how much is realistic for our family. But $200 is a start.
  • I don't work, I am so fortunate to be a stay at home mom. I'm not lucky, luck has nothing to do with me getting to stay home. We sacrifice a lot for me to raise our kids here at home and not send them to day care, and I wouldn't have it any other way! Since I don't bring home a pay check every two weeks I can do my part by saving our family as much money as I can, however I can.
  • Formula is NOT cheap, even the cheap kind isn't cheap. Russell is gonna cost us about $120 a month in formula. And that's just the start of it...once he starts eating more, that number obviously will go up.
If you have any tips for me, I'm all ears. Don't tell me to go to Aldi...there isn't one anywhere near Paris. My plan is buy the basics and keep the menu simple, which will help our wallets and our waistlines!...Right?

And just because a blog is stupidly boring without a picture....here are a few photos that are in no way relevant to my post but who cares because kids are fun to look at!
I don't where she would have learned to multitask like that...

Yeah, she's ready to be a stay at home mom for sure :)

Looks like someone has a future at NASA...and it also looks like someone else has a bit of a "phone problem"...I see a trend in these pictures.