No Spend Month

>> Monday, March 4, 2019

So, I lost my debit card this weekend. The last I remember, I went to a local drug store to buy toilet paper. I was carrying out the package without a bag, and I think I slipped my card into my pocket instead of my wallet. Everyone was screaming at home, so I was admittedly a bit preoccupied. Regardless, somewhere in the quarter mile drive home, it was lost. But I didn't realize it until the next day.

I ran 8 miles on a local path Sunday. (GO ME!) The path happens to have parking near Home Goods. I stopped in to look at some throw pillows, found a few I wanted, and got to the checkout . . . only to realize my card was gone.

Blessing in disguise? Maybe.



When I got home, I frantically searched all over and didn't find the card. I called the store where I last used the card. No card. I called the gym near the store. No card. The donut shop. No card. We canceled it immediately. No weird activity was noted in our bank account, which is a good thing. (But I still feel creeped out.) My new card should be here in about a week. This is a boring story, no? BUT there's tremendous good that has come out of it.

I pull out my card without abandon -- all the freaking time. I spend money on the dumbest things (stupid Instagram SWIPE UPPPPP, GUYZ!). We spend way too much money on food after bringing Eden home this fall. Money here, money there, money everywhere. Losing my card made me stop and think about my spending habits. How they need some MAJOR change.

Yesterday afternoon as I lay on the floor sore from my run, I decided that March would be a no spend month (as much as possible). Meaning, no extra food outside the budget. No random toys for the kids. No random thrift store adventures for me. No books (library!). No candy (rots your teeth!). No whatever else we spend on (#allthethings). The only exception might be going to the movies because we have a $1 cinema close to our house, and I'd say that's a damned good deal for some family entertainment.

OK. But on top of this, I'm trying to whip the budget back into shape. The area we can focus on for the most improvement is groceries. To start things out right, I'm going to try to spend as little on groceries this week as possible. I want to USE UP all this random food we have hiding in the pantry and in the freezer.

Meal plan:

Breakfasts of either eggs, oatmeal, or smoothies.

Lunches using that random tub of applesauce in the cupboard, homemade granola bars, awesome bread we have in the freezer (pumpkin spice!), cheese sticks + yogurt we seem to have in bulk, or dinner leftovers.

Dinners:

  • M: Frozen veggie burgers with fries (adults) // Mac and cheese + peas (kids)
  • T: Tofu stir-fry using frozen veggies, Aldi sauce, and some frozen beet noodles
  • W: Lentil soup with sourdough bread
  • R: That random frozen lasagne I bought when I was immensely pregnant and hormonal
  • F: Pizza night
  • S: In-laws are visiting. Not sure yet.
  • S: Frozen chili from the bag meals I made in September

Anyone else trying to readjust spending habits or their budget right now? Tell me your tricks! It's actually quite fun and exciting. We are also having our taxes done, so I always get nervous about if we'll owe money or if we'll get a return (usually we owe). I made only half of what I've made in previous years due to being sick and then taking off several months after having Eden.

PS: For those of you following along for quite some time, Stephen and I have less than $7K left on our student loan debt (together). That's tremendous! We started out at over $70K!

Image source

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Word Vomit

>> Wednesday, February 20, 2019

I'm sharing this post quickly as I wait for a swaddle sack to dry (yes, we only have one!) . . . and it's not drying fast enough for this nap to happen when it needs to. Eden also has a very RSV-like cough, runny nose, and general blah. Eloise woke today at 5AM having soaked through her pajamas, sleep sack, and -- worst of all -- llama love. So, that's all in the wash, too. But now that I'm a seasoned pro mom (ha!), I know to keep an extra llama on hand to make a bait-and-switch.

My life, you guys.

This is my life right now.

I love it. But, C'mon. LOL.

I started back working in January. All I can handle right now is about one article each week. It feels good to be writing professionally (read: making money) again. But until things iron out with sleep and winter sickness, I can't see doing any more than that. I fit it in on weekends and on snow days, mostly. I've learned to use the 5AM-7AM window as my sacred time. And I am also too fried to read scholarly journals early in the AM. The brain power will come back, I'm sure.

I also feel very much 35, if not older, lately. I somehow tweaked my neck while nursing Eden in bed and have been basically immobilized the last three days. This means I haven't been running or walking or even looking over my right shoulder. Thankfully it's getting a bit better. But, wow. The things we take for granted.

Where I'm a powerhouse lately is with making food for our family. Our slow cooker is getting more workouts than I am. Usually soups. Split pea, lentil, butternut squash, pumpkin chili, etc. I make absolutely divine loaves of homemade sourdough to accompany. GUESS WHAT! I've cracked the sourdough code. I can now make bread that tastes better and has better texture than what I get at Wegmans. The secret (at least for me) was all in using Bob's Red Mill artisan flour (Yes. I bought this 4-pack because I can't find it anywhere near me and I go through one bag every two weeks). It transformed my starter overnight.

Eden turns four months old next week. We're definitely in some sort of shift. I wouldn't say we've totally hit the big sleep regression yet, but we've had some rocky naps and nights. She's certainly a full-on baby by now. No more newborn stuff. And that means I'm slowly getting rid of everything I've been holding onto for the last eight years. It's all the feels. But I am also very much feeling like I'm ready to move along fully to the next stage of life.

Example: We have friends who go on weekend getaways with their school-aged kids. And we're like: "I'm jealous!" Same kind of trip would be hell for us right now. In a few years, it won't be so bad.

I forget if I mentioned it on here, but we have a brief and torrid love affair with a house a month or so ago. We wanted it SO BADLY we could cry. But other people beat us to it. It's officially pending and not going to be ours. But you know when you sit for days and imagine your kids getting married in the backyard? Has that ever happened to you? It did for us. Sigh. As a consolation, we decided to purchase a brand new gas range. It'll be delivered Saturday. It will look pretty in our kitchen and allow me to bake better bread so I can continue to eat my feelings.

I'm kidding. Sort of. Not really.

I've been struggling with emotional eating and winter eating and boredom eating. I'm not good with the concept of diets. And intuitive eating puzzles me. As someone who is recovering from an eating disorder (I will always be recovering. It's like anything else.), I have trouble with ALL or NOTHING when it comes to eating. This is an area I'll continue to address. Please don't private message me to get therapy.  I'm a big girl and know my options and it's not actually THAT bad. I've been bad. Binge eating till I could explode. Purging. It's not at all like that. It's just wanting to eating more veggies. The general stuff any normal adult deals with who isn't a healthy living blogger.

(BTW: That last bit sounds terribly defensive. It's not meant to be. I just share everything. As a result, I've had so many people throughout the years armchair diagnose me or try to force some kind of "you are THIS" on me. I want to go all Jerry Springer and be like "Y'all don't KNOW me" because it's true. If you knew me in real life, you'd know how in-tune I am with myself and my good/bad points. I share mostly to relate, not for critique or whatever else. Right now? I'm watching and drooling over way too much Bon Appetit on YouTube.)

Last, it's "dress like you're 100" for the 100th day of school. I think we nailed it!


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All Aldi // Almond Butter Oat Bars

>> Friday, February 8, 2019

So, you guys all know my issues with Aldi lately. It's not them, really, it's me. I figured rather than whine about it, I'd start trying to cook more from scratch again -- using all Aldi ingredients. This particular snack is highly adaptable. You can use most any nut butter you like and add in whatever sounds good. It's also kid and toddler approved, hence the llama in my photo.



ALMOND BUTTER OAT BARS


What you'll need . . .

  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1-1/2 cups crispy rice cereal
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup almond butter
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Salt, for sprinkling

Method . . .

  1. Spritz a 9x13 inch pan lightly with oil. Set aside.
  2. Melt the almond butter, honey, and coconut oil together on medium heat. Whisk it until smooth and take off heat once incorporated, being careful not to burn the almond butter.
  3. Using a spoon or spatula, stir in the oats, cereal, and cranberries. You can also add chocolate chips (they'll melt), pepitas, or anything else that sounds good to you!
  4. Spread into your prepared pan, sprinkle with a little salt, and refrigerate until firm. Cut into 16 bars.
  5. Alternatively, you can roll loose "dough" into balls for energy chunks.



More Aldi:


Aldi Foods for Picky Toddlers and Kids
$93 Aldi Weekly Grocery Haul
$400 Monthly Food Budget
18 Vegetarian Grocery Staples at Aldi
All Aldi content this way . . . 

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