Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Christmas Time

My little family is celebrating Christmas this weekend.  We will be leaving for Missouri next weekend, and since my husband is still at work when Elliott goes to bed next week, this weekend was really the only logical time it would work.  We buy way too many gifts to make just celebrating in Missouri an option.  It would cost us a fortune to mail everything there and back, and it wouldn't all fit in the van with my husband, my sister, my son, me, our two dogs, two cats, and luggage.   So we have sent a few things to my mom's house already that I ordered online, and some of Elliott's books that he picked from Scholastic (one of my sisters that lives close to my mom is a teacher so we ordered them through her) are already there.  We'll also take a few gifts from here to open on Christmas, but most of them will be opened here.  We even made arrangements with Santa for a drop off Friday night at our house. :)

My sister will be coming over, of course, and in addition to opening presents and eating together, we'll play some games, and maybe even watch some movies.  My sister might not be able to be here for everything.  I don't know if she is going to have to work any or not.  She isn't on the schedule, but she said she might need to go in anyway, depending on how late she works on Friday night.  Either way, it will be lots of fun.  I'm really looking forward to a family day. :)

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The Little Things

Today was a pretty brutal day.  My husband came home from work late last night complaining that his back was really hurting.  He had physical therapy yesterday, and he isn't sure exactly what the problem was, but the pain was more severe than any he has had so far.  He didn't want to go to the emergency room last night, but ended up staying awake (and keeping me awake) most of the night anyway because of the pain.  So today, the first thing he did when he woke up was call the clinic on base to see if he could get in.  They ended up telling him to go downtown to have it looked at so we left right after I dropped Elliott off at the bus stop.

The weather was awful.  It was snowing, and windy, and visibility was terrible, even during daylight hours.  I ended up driving back and forth from one place to another all day long today, and had my headlights on the entire time.  The doctor downtown wanted my husband to stay home tonight, and gave him a strong narcotic.  But the doctor on base, who didn't even see him, said he still had to work, but could at least take the narcotic.  By the time I dropped him off at work (he's on second shift today), and got home, I had such a headache from the eye strain of trying to see well while I was driving.  I sat down in my recliner, with my little dog by my side.  When I woke up she was asleep on my lap, and our little kitten was curled up on my chest.   It's funny how snuggles from them can make it all better. :)

Oh, and in case you were wondering, Elliott's at my sister's house tonight.  I knew I wouldn't be home in time to pick him up off the bus, so since my sister was off work today anyway, she agreed to switch their weekly sleep over from tomorrow night to tonight so I didn't have to call a friend, and then drag Elliott back out in the cold in the (relatively, considering he goes to bed at 7:30) middle of the night to get my husband.

Monday, December 2, 2013

I Hope You Had a Great Weekend!

We have been pretty busy lately.  Christmas time is always busy around my house, but this year is even busier than usual.  I told my husband we were going to have to cut some of our usual activities to make the time that I needed to work on the scrapbook for my mom, but it seems like instead, I've added to our list.  Giving makes me incredibly happy, though, and since that's what most of our extra projects are about at this time of the year, I'll probably end up keeping them all.

I hope everyone had a nice weekend.  My family celebrated Thanksgiving 9 days early this year.  My sister works retail, so we knew she would be working on Thanksgiving, so we did the turkey dinner and stuff the week before when she came over on Tuesday like she does every week.  It was fun.  I actually think she was glad to be working on Thanksgiving this year anyway, so she wouldn't be as sad about missing my dad.  We did a smaller Thanksgiving meal on Thanksgiving, with just my husband, son and I, before heading out to do some shopping.  I am fairly certain that I finished my Christmas shopping, aside from a gift for my sister in law and the $10 gifts that I will be buying for my family's gift exchange. 

Tonight is Elliott's Christmas concert at school.  He is an angel.  He's not exactly happy about that, but he likes it better now that he helped me make his halo.  He is still not happy about wearing a "dress," though. :)

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Great Deal on Pictures at Walgreens

Today I finally got around to ordering the rest of the pictures that I plan on using in the scrapbook that I am making for my mom.  It's pictures that we used in the slideshow at my dad's funeral.  We ended up using close to 200 pictures total, so I knew I needed to do some research before ordering pictures to make sure I was getting a good deal.  I knew I would at least be ordering a second set of all the pictures for myself, so a difference of just a few pennies per print adds up fairly quickly on an order that large.

After checking for coupon codes at most of the big picture printing sites I could find, I ended up going with Walgreens.  Prices are $.12 each for 4x6 prints, if you have them delivered to you, which in my experience usually takes 7-10 days.  $.12 isn't the best price out there, but I found a coupon code for $30 off a $60 photo order.  Considering I already planned on ordering nearly 400 pictures, I decided it would be worth it to see if there were 110 more pictures I wanted to print off.  I ended up not getting the pictures ordered before I picked Elliott up from school, but when I got home and was working on it some more, he asked what I was doing. He asked if he could have some of the pictures, too, especially of him and his Grumpy, and his Mommy and Grumpy.  He ended up deciding he wanted most of them, and we ended up ordering 522 pictures total.  The total was $62.64, so after using the coupon code RMNWALG30, it brought the total down to $32.64.  After paying shipping and taxes, I ended up spending $40.45.  That is a total of less than $.08 per print, including tax and shipping!

So if you are in the market for a lot of prints, or enlargements or anything for Christmas, now is the time to order them.   

Friday, November 15, 2013


So it's been several weeks since I've made a post, but things are really starting to return to normal around here.  I had a really rough day on Monday, but we made it through.  Veteran's Day was the first day I had to make it through that would have absolutely guaranteed a phone call to my dad if he was still alive.  It was a little rough going out with my husband and son to celebrate the day, but I managed.  We went out to eat, saw a movie, and even did a little bit of Christmas shopping.

I lined up my house sitter this week, and am working on finalizing our plans to go home for Christmas.  Elliott has never spent a Christmas with anyone other than my husband, my sister, and me.  It will be a new experience to spend it with most of my mom's brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, etc, along with my mom, my siblings, and our little family.  He will of course spend time with my husband's family, too, although that will probably be a different day.

I'm just glad that Elliott has a Christmas break that is long enough to go home this year.  Since he missed the first 12 days of school, we wouldn't pull him out of school for even a day or two for Christmas.

Speaking of school, Elliott is doing really well.  His teacher was impressed by how quickly he finished his work from the first three weeks of school.  His grades are good, and he genuinely enjoys most subjects.  His teacher says she really enjoys talking with him, and listening to his ideas.  She says he is very creative, but instead of just coming up with new ideas, he actually tries to find a way for them to work.

He is obviously still going to public school, but we are supplementing at home with different things that he wants to learn.  His favorite things are history, science, and handwriting, but there's really not a subject he doesn't like.  Most weeks when we sit down together and discuss what we want to learn that week, he includes all different subjects. He is obsessed with books.  Most of his Christmas list this year was books.  And other than one $5 movie, he has spent his allowances and extra chore money from August on, on books.  We are running out of room, even though we just boxed up another 100-150 books that he had outgrown.  We plan on putting a bookshelf in the craft room in the near future. :)

So that's the update on my family.  I'm going to try to get on here and write more frequently, but that's it for now.

Friday, September 27, 2013

The Importance of an Emergency Fund

I know I haven't been around much lately, and I honestly don't see that changing a whole lot in the very near future.  I don't ever get on my computer anymore lately unless there's something specific I need to do.  I do still use my phone to get online for a few things, but typing anything very long out on that is a major pain.

Today I'm paying bills, and I am thanking God again that we took the time to make an emergency fund before putting all of our extra money toward debt.  When I said something about that to someone else, they looked at me like I was crazy and said "But you didn't rely on your dad's income or anything right?  Why does it really matter to your finances?" 

Here's the thing, a trip to Missouri from North Dakota isn't cheap.  Neither is eating out at least once a day every day for over a week, because you are at the hospital from 9 am to 9 pm.  Especially when you are providing food for extended family as well (we didn't pay for it every single time, but we did the majority of the time, because it just made the most sense for my husband to be the one to go get it).  Gas to get to and from the hospital (over 25 miles each way) isn't cheap, especially in a minivan.  Sending my husband and son away from the hospital for a few hours a day wasn't exactly cheap either.  We ended up buying two new shirts for me (one for visitation, one for the funeral) as well as new shoes, two new shirts for my husband, and a new shirt for Elliott.  We also bought the flag display case for my dad's service flag, and another case for my mom to display some of my dad's things in.  Due to my mom now living alone we also did several things around her house to increase security, and those things weren't cheap either, but we certainly didn't want her to have to pay for any of them. 

And then there's the loss of income.  Yes, my husband took vacation time from his full time job in the Air Force, so he was still paid for his time off.  But he didn't have vacation hours from his second job to take.  So over the course of nearly 3 weeks, he lost around $400 in income.

A lot of those expenses were things I wouldn't have even given much thought to, when planning what an emergency might look like for my household.  Luckily I had enough in my emergency fund to cover most of it anyway (and the rest? It came out of the paycheck we got paid while in Missouri, that would normally go to paying off extra debt, and from our Christmas fund, so none of it had to be extra credit card debt).

And while, of course, the timing is NEVER good for something like this to happen, it did seem like an incredibly bad time with all the expenses that come at this time of the year for us.  Things like school pictures, first fund raisers, my cosmetology license renewal, new shoes, and a major growth spurt that shot Elliott right out of shoes we just bought and into the next size jeans.

So now our debt repayment plans are on hold, probably for the rest of the year, since we need to build our emergency fund back up and save to go see my mom again at Christmas time.  But there are things more important than money, and family is definitely one of them!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Staying Busy...or Doing Nothing

It is funny how everything seems to be working this week.  Elliott started school on Monday (12 days later than the rest of his school), after we arrived home on Saturday.  It seems like he and I both want to either be incredibly busy, or doing absolutely nothing this week.  It doesn't seem like there has been much time spent in the in between.  Usually we spend a lot of time outside playing basketball, or just running around in the yard.  I think Elliott has spent a total of 30 minutes outside with Snoopie (normally he's required to spend 30 minutes a day outside making sure she gets enough exercise, but we haven't enforced that lately, because he's been busy doing homework, and my husband has been able to play with her instead), since we've been home.  We haven't even picked up the basketball once, and I don't think I've been outside of the house, when I wasn't on my way to or from somewhere.

Elliott has nearly finished all the work his teacher had for him, and will most likely finish it up tonight.  There was A LOT, but his teacher left it in my sister's classroom, so she was able to pick it up Saturday afternoon, so he was able to get a great start on it over the weekend.  When he's not at school or working on school work, he just wants to read, or sit and do nothing.  I'm a little bit worried about him, but I know I am acting pretty much the same way, so I'll give it some more time.  He and my dad were close.  Elliott always said I was the only person he loved more than Grumpy.

For me, it seems like I'm happiest when I stay busy lately.  But if I sit down and take a break, there's no telling when I will be able to convince myself to start again.  My husband has been pretty busy as well.  I think that is the only way he knows how to deal with his emotions.  He wants to be so strong for me and Elliott, but I know it's incredibly hard for him as well.  He has always said that he married into a great family, and there is no doubt that he and my dad had a better, stronger relationship than many people have with their own fathers.  In fact, I would say that my husband's relationship was better with my dad, than the one he has with his own dad.

Because my husband has been so busy, I've had more projects to do as well.  He added more shelves to my pantry, so I've been working on rearranging everything just the way I want it.   I've also been working hard on getting caught up on laundry, and getting everything actually put away.  I'd say I have less laundry out right now (including clean and dirty) than I've had out for several years. 

But then there are times when I just want to sit and stare at the TV, for hours at a time. Sometimes I'm ok for hours at a time, and then everything comes crashing down again.  I've talked to my mom every day.  And she just sounds so sad, no matter what we are talking about.  It's really tearing me up.  I know in time, we will all be better, but in the meantime, I just needed to vent.  Sorry about that.

Monday, September 9, 2013

He Didn't Make It

My dad passed away on August 29th.  There was just too much wrong with him, and he didn't want to be hooked up to machines. On Wednesday he pulled everything out himself, after my family talked to his doctors about it.  My dad knew what was going on then, and knew he wouldn't live without the machines, and made that choice for himself.  He lived approximately 28 more hours. 

Everyone thinks he was trying to hold on so long so he wouldn't die on my birthday.  He almost made it.  There was less than one hour left of my birthday when he died.  It was peaceful, though, and he wasn't in pain.  My mom, my sisters and I were all in the room with him.

They moved him out of the ICU after he pulled everything out, so Elliott was able to come in and tell him good bye, while my dad still understood what was going on.  Elliott was able to tell him how much he loved him, and how he was the best grandpa anyone could ever have.

Everyone was able to make peace with it, and Dad knew we all loved him.  We are still having an incredibly hard time with it, of course, but we are glad he isn't in pain anymore. 

Leaving my mom to head back to North Dakota was by far the hardest thing I've ever done.  I think it was the first time she had cried when I left since the first time I did it after Carl and I got married in 2005.

My dad hasn't been a part of my everyday life for several years now, and the pain and sadness is still so sharp and awful.  I can only imagine how much harder it is for my mom, and my brother and sister who talked to him pretty much everyday.

Monday, August 26, 2013

In Missouri Again

I know it has been way too long since I last wrote a blog post.    I had just planned on taking some time off week before last so Elliott and I could spend some time together doing whatever he wanted before he headed back to school last week.  We were able to do that, and really had a lot of fun.

But now we are in Missouri, and Elliott still hasn't started second grade.  My dad is really sick and is in the ICU.  My mom took him to the hospital last Monday and the life flighted him to a bigger one.  Tuesday the nurses said we needed to come home.  He has a lot of different health issues, and right now they are just kind of building on each other.  But we still have hope.  He is off his sedation, and understands what is going on around him.  He is able to nod and shake his head.

Everyone at Elliott's school is super understanding.  Darla talked to his teacher before we left on Tuesday, and I talked to his superintendent on Thursday, and both were sympathetic and understanding about the school he is missing.  It's been pretty hard on Elliott, though, since he can't go back and see his Grumpy.  The waiting room is pretty boring, but he's been a real champ.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Great Deals at The Children's Place

My kid always has a lot of clothes.  He doesn't have to wear uniforms to school, so he loves to wear different clothes that express him, in a variety of styles.  And it seems like laundry is one of the first things that we get behind on when things get busy, so I always make sure he has plenty of jeans (in North Dakota, jeans are necessary every single month of the year, even in the summer), and lots of shirts in all different styles.

Today we were going through his clothes, and decided he needed more jeans in the next size up.  His size eights are currently the perfect length, so I'm sure that within the next 2-3 months they will be too short.  We buy almost all of his clothes at Old Navy or the Children's Place, so we decided to look for sales online at both of those places, since I knew there were lots of back to school sales going on right now.  We ended up deciding on the childrensplace.com.

Right now there is a coupon for 25% off a purchase of $50 or more, or 15% off a smaller purchase.  Plus when you spend $40, you get a coupon for $20 off a $40 purchase good from September 10-September 22.  Jeans are on sale for $10 each,  graphic tees start at $5, and licensed tees are $10 each.

I just finished his school clothes shopping.  I spent $84.46, including tax.  That means I get 2 $20 off a $40 purchase coupons.  For that $84.46 I ended up buying 4 pairs of jeans, 3 long sleeve shirts, 7 short sleeve shirts, and a lunch box.  Elliott is excited about the new clothes.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Fun At Legoland Discovery Center

One of the first places we went on vacation was the Legoland Discover Center in Kansas City, MO.  Kansas City is close to three hours away from my parents' house, so originally we had planned on doing a few things there, and spending one night.  My guys didn't really have anything else that they wanted to do, though, so we changed our plans a bit and drove up just to spend a few hours at Legoland Discovery Center.

Elliott is really into Lego right now. For the last two years, the majority of what he asks for for his birthday and Christmas have been different Lego sets.  He also spends a lot of his allowance on them as well.  So he was really excited to get to go.  We told him ahead of time that it wouldn't be as big or as cool as the actual Legoland in California that two of his friends went to last summer, but it would still be fun. And he did have a lot of fun.

We paid an extra $4 for the Activity Pack when we first walked in.  It had some fun facts, and a few different activities for the kids to do.   The best part for Elliott was collecting stamps at each of the different activity centers, though.  It helped us ensure that we actually made it to all the different centers as well.  And at the end of our trip he was able to show it to the girl at the register and get a button, which he thought was pretty cool.

In the first room we went into there was a place to see how much you weighed in Lego blocks, but it was broken, and said everyone weighed the same amount, so that was kind of disappointing.  Elliott was still able to see how tall he was in Lego bricks, though.

There were several different places where you could play with the Legos to create different things.  Elliott's favorite was the one where you could build race cars and then race them against other people.  Elliott built several race cars, and won a bunch of races.

One of my favorite places was the Mini Land.  They had a bunch of different scenes built from Lego blocks.  Since we were at the one in Kansas City they had a great Wizard of Oz area.  Elliott really liked the movie Oz, so he wanted to spend a lot of time looking at that one.

 The house actually spun around, which Elliott thought was the coolest thing ever.

Elliott's favorite part of the whole day was seeing the movie, though.  We saw a Legends of Chima movie in 4D and Elliott loved it, especially when the bubbles came out.  He even went so far as to say it was his favorite movie he had seen for at least a month (and we go to the movies nearly every weekend when there is something playing that is appropriate for him).

There were some rides to ride as well, but I didn't get any good pictures.  I just had my cell phone, and the pictures just aren't good when someone is moving.  Elliott did have a lot of fun on the rides, though, especially Kingdom Quest.

Getting Ready to Go Back to School

We have been having more internet problems at home for the last week or so.  Yesterday the problems seemed to finally go away, so hopefully we are done.  I had planned on getting some blog posts up yesterday, but then I got too busy with other stuff and forgot. Oh well.  I do have some vacation posts that I have finished writing, and just need to put up, so I will put at least one of them up today.  Elliott and I are planning on going to the park today, though, so I am not sure when that will be.  He starts back to school in two weeks!  I am certainly not ready for school to start back up, but I think he is.  Two of his friends have been at our house a lot this summer, but he hasn't seen any of the rest of them, aside from one of them stopping by to sell us cookie dough and then dropping it off. 

I have spent the morning filling out forms from his school, and making sure we have everything on his school list.  It is crazy how many forms we have to fill out, since he is still in the same school.  And we don't even have to fill out any of the free lunch or reduced cost forms.  We have nine forms as it is.

As you can see, we decided to send Elliott to public school this year, at least to start with.  I am still not positive it is the best choice, but for now we are going to see how it works.  His teacher apparently already doesn't like him, and he doesn't like her either (he says she is mean to him and two of his friends at recess).  So I am not really comfortable with the idea of sending him to someone ALL day who already has a problem with him.  We'll just have to see how it goes, though.  Maybe she will like him better this year.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Moving Day For My Sister

Well, I had definitely planned on having at least one vacation post up by now, but obviously things haven't worked that way for me.  Tuesday and Wednesday our internet connection was awful.  It was in and out all day long.  I tried doing some stuff online, but was quickly too frustrated to finish.  The good thing?  I got some stuff done around my house that I've been needing to do, but kept putting off. :)

Yesterday I spent the day helping my sister move.  She has been looking for a place of her own for a while, but rentals are really expensive around here right now.  She found an affordable one bedroom house in the town that Elliott goes to school in (which is also the town where her primary job is), so we got her most of the way moved yesterday.  The location seems decent, and she really has a lot of room, considering it's a one bedroom.  The bedroom is kind of small, but she has a large kitchen, a large laundry room, and an area when you walk in the front door that is big enough for a decent size office.

Elliott was sad that she was moving at first, but then he decided he liked her new house.  He even spent the night there with her last night "just in case she got scared."  Haha.  He has already informed us that he will be spending the night with her once a week, so he can sleep a little later in the morning, since she's right down the road from his school. :)

Monday, July 29, 2013

Home Again

We got back to North Dakota on Saturday night. We had a great vacation, and got to see many family members we hadn't seen for several years.  We didn't get to do everything we would have liked to do, but that's the way it usually works. :)  We were able to do a lot of the things that we wanted to do, including several days at Silver Dollar City, a trip to the Precious Moments chapel, a visit to the original Bass Pro Shop, and a day in Kansas City at the Lego Land Discovery Center.  There are just way too many things to do in the Springfield/Branson area to get to everything we wanted.

I didn't spend much time at all online while I was away, so I plan on spending some time today catching up on what I missed from my friends, before I start writing posts about different parts of my vacation.  I probably won't comment on that much that my friends posted, but I will definitely be reading the stuff over the next few days. 

I hope everyone is having a great summer!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013


Well, my family and I are in Missouri now.  Last week we were so busy with getting ready for vacation, doctor appointments, and some more decluttering and cleaning projects, that I didn't even realize I never wrote even one blog post.

Carl, Elliott, Snoopie and I left our house on Monday morning and arrived at my parents house last night.  We left Trixie and Minnie home with my sister.  Everyone seems to think it's funny that my dogs took separate vacations this year. :)  Trixie went on vacation with Darla last month, and stayed at our sister, Bonnie's house.  This month Trixie stayed home, and Snoopie got to visit Missouri, and is staying at my parents' house with us, only she has to stay outside.  Elliott is actually outside playing with her right now.

We have a lot of stuff planned for while we are here.  There is so much more stuff to do in the area here than what we have in North Dakota.  Tomorrow we are going to Kansas City for the day.  Next week we will be spending several days in Branson.  And at some point we will be visiting the Laura Ingalls Wilder home/museum in Mansfield, along with another day spent in Carthage at the Precious Moments Chapel, and Diamond at the George Washington Carver museum.   In between all that, there will be picnics with extended family, visits to see my MIL (she lives about 2 hours from my parents), and lots of fun times spent with my parents, and my siblings that live nearby!  My husband's sister will even be here for a few days the last week we are here.  So as you can see, I probably won't be around much until I get back to my house, at the end of the month! :)

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Weekly Grocery Spending June 14-20

Meals are starting to get interesting at my house now.  Our upright freezer will most likely be completely emptied this weekend, so we can defrost it.  The chest freezer is still over half full, though, so we are nowhere near done with our emptying them out challenge.

Last week we went to the commissary once and spent $10.99, and to Walmart and spent $14.84 on groceries.  This included yogurt, milk, fresh produce, and peanut butter.

We spent $25.83 on groceries this week.

Our weekly budget is $100 per week for our family of three adults, one child, two dogs, and a cat.

Our total spent on groceries for 2013 so far is $1899.90.  

 We are 24.5 weeks into the year, and our budget is $100 per week, so we are currently  $550.10 under our budget for the year.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Parents Are So Annoying!

We have had a pretty busy summer so far. It has included lots of time with friends as well.  Yesterday Elliott had one of his best friends over to play.  They were playing in the backyard, and I don't think either of them heard me come back outside.  The very first thing I heard was "That's too bad.  Parents can be so annoying!"  I thought it was pretty funny.  They were taking about Elliott getting grounded from watching PG 13 movies and any cartoons with violence in them, after implying he was going to try one of the moves.

The conversation continued, and included comments about parents not understanding about cool things.  And then my kid said "Sometimes my mom is cool, but sometimes she forgets what life was like when she was young and stuff was fun." haha

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

My Husband's Most Exciting Father's Day Present

When my husband and I were talking about what he wanted for Father's Day, he decided to look around on Amazon.  A lot of times he gets new tools for Father's Day, but he finally couldn't think of any that he needed (his tool collection is probably worth more than any of our cars!).  He didn't end up finding anything he wanted that day, but then later that week, he was on Amazon again, and came across this:

This is his favorite Disney movie of all time, and Elliott hasn't seen it.  Carl can't wait to share it with him.  It's just too bad that he won't get it until it's released in August.  Haha.  The price is pretty good right now, though, and it has a preorder price guarantee, so I guess we bought it at a good time.

We did end up giving him a few other things as well, though.  He got an Itunes giftcard, and movies that Elliott picked out for him at Walmart (Tooth Fairy 1 and 2 for them to watch together, and Looper and Water World for Daddy to watch without him).

Friday, June 14, 2013

Lots of Summer Reading

Elliott has been out of school for three weeks now.  We have been working on school stuff for a little while everyday, and playing outside every day as well.  We've also taken several small local trips.  But Elliott has still had plenty of time for reading.  He's still reading a lot of the same series that he's told you guys about before (Nate the Great, Black Lagoon, Stink and Judy Moody, etc), but he does have one series to share with you guys today that he hasn't yet.

Elliott started reading Jigsaw Jones (by James Preller) at school this past year, but until last week, I had never read one.  He checked one out from the library on base, though, and we read it together.  Elliott likes detective stories, so he loves it that Jigsaw Jones is a kid detective.  He thinks he is funny, and he likes his friends as well.  He thinks it's crazy that Jigsaw has a large family (3 or 4 brothers and a sister).

Elliott thinks Jigsaw Jones is probably most appealing to grades 1-4.  The lexile measure is 450, which is approximately an end of second grade/early third grade reading level.

We are also currently rereading the Little House on the Prairie books by Laura Ingalls Wilder together.  Elliott is really enjoying the books this time around, and almost always asks for another chapter when I'm done for the night.  We are rereading them right now, and plan on visiting at least one of the places that Laura Ingalls Wilder lived this summer.  This is probably one of our favorite sets of older books to read together.

He thinks that they are going to be most appealing to kindergarten through 4th or 5th grader for listening, but for reading on their own, he thinks about third gradeand up, because they are so long.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Weekly Grocery Spending June 7-13

This week we are still working on clearing our our freezers.  We actually didn't go to the grocery store at all this week.  Instead of the normal fresh veggies, we have been eating frozen vegetables, and trying to clear them out.  That means we will be in for a few expensive shopping trips later in the year, but we wanted to make sure and use what we have before it goes bad.  So this week all we bought was water (we have a water cooler that we use for all of our drinking water) and a loaf of bread.

We spent $8.43 on groceries this week.

Our weekly budget is $100 per week for our family of three adults, one child, two dogs, and a cat.

Our total spent on groceries for 2013 so far is $1874.07.  

 We are 23.5 weeks into the year, and our budget is $100 per week, so we are currently  $475.93 under our budget for the year.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Wordless Wednesday:The Danish Windmill

We went to the Scandinavian Heritage Park in Minot over the weekend.  Elliott loved the Danish Windmill and had to have his picture taken with it.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Weekly Grocery Spending May 31-June 6

We're trying to clear out our freezers right now, so we can defrost them. So we had another great week this week, as far as saving money.  My husband went to the commissary twice this week. Both times it was mainly for produce, although he did end up picking up a few more things as well.  The first time he spent $11.84 and the second time he spend $20.29.

Our weekly total this week was $32.13

Our weekly budget is $100 per week for our family of three adults, one child, two dogs, and a cat.

Our total spent on groceries for 2013 so far is $1865.64.  

 We are 22.5 weeks into the year, and our budget is $100 per week, so we are currently  $384.36 under our budget for the year.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Summer Reading Programs

Have you signed your kids up for any summer reading programs yet this year?  Elliott is so excited about the one on base this year.  There was a kickoff party on Saturday, but we missed it because we were busy with other stuff.  We were able to make it to the library on base a few hours later, though, and get signed up.  They still had t shirts, pencils and bracelets available, so Elliott was excited to still get those things.  This year the t shirt has the llama from the Llama Llama (Mad at Mama, Red Pajama, Misses Mama, etc) books by Anna Dewdney.  Those were some of Elliott's early favorite books, and ones he still hasn't given up yet, even though he is way beyond them in most ways now.

One nice thing about the program on base, is that they encourage parents to participate as well.  I think that part of the reason that Elliott likes reading so much is because he watches me read, too.  He's excited that we got matching shirts (although he won't want to wear them at the same time out in public, I'm sure).  And he wants to have a competition to see who can finish the 36 hours the fastest.  He also wants to  see who reads more books during that time, and said he would only count chapter books.

He gets an incentive prize if he reads for at least six hours I think, and also gets his name entered into a drawing for a big prize for every six hours he reads.  Then if he reads a total of 36 hours, he gets a bigger prize.  He read for about 40 minutes later in the day on Saturday, and then for over an hour yesterday.  He's already read for more than 90 minutes today, so he is well on his way to his first prize. 

We did the summer reading program on base last year as well, but we were on vacation when it ended, so he didn't end up getting the end prize.  Last year we were went on two different vacations, though, so it was a really busy summer, and we didn't do a great job of keeping track of his reading the whole time, so he was a little bit short, when we went on the second vacation.  This year we are only going on vacation to see my parents, and he will end up reading a bunch there I'm sure.  He thinks he might even be able to finish the 36 hours before we leave for Missouri next month, so we shall see.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Weekly Grocery Spending May 24-30

It was another fairly cheap week at our house as far as groceries go.  There were a few things we needed, but the list was small enough that I just spent my husband to get the stuff, instead of going myself.  That was apparently a mistake, since he ended up with several things that weren't on the list, but we still stayed well under budget.  He ended up spending  $64.42, but he did get everything that was on the list, so I can't complain too much. :)

Our weekly total this week was $64.42.

Our weekly budget is $100 per week for our family of three adults, one child, two dogs, and a cat.

Our total spent on groceries for 2013 so far is $1833.51.  

We are 21.5 weeks into the year, and our budget is $100 per week, so we are currently  $316.49 under our budget for the year.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Weekly Grocery Spending May 17-23

Since I wasn't online much for a while, I didn't get any of my grocery spending posts up.  Since I use these to keep track of things for myself, as well, as to hold me accountable, I thought I better go ahead and put them up, even though I'm late.  I did keep good track of stuff, I just hadn't posted it yet, so I'm fairly certain my numbers are right.

After the shopping trip we made the week before, it's no surprise that we didn't need much the following week.  My husband ended up going to the commissary for fresh produce and spending $6.83 one day.  That was all we spend that week.

Our weekly total this week was $6.83

Our weekly budget is $100 per week for our family of three adults, one child, two dogs, and a cat.

Our total spent on groceries for 2013 so far is $1769.09.  

We are 20.5 weeks into the year, and our budget is $100 per week, so we are currently  $280.91 under our budget for the year.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

I'm Back

I knew it had been a long time since I had posted on here, but I guess I didn't realize it had been almost three weeks!  I wish I could say it was because we had been doing something fabulous, like a vacation or something, but it wasn't. 

We've been having a lot of internet issues lately, but it seems to be fixed now.  At least I'm really hoping so!  In addition to having several posts I want to get done this week, I also miss "seeing" some of my blogging friends, so I want to see what they have been up to over the last few weeks.

Elliott has been out of school for over a week now.  We've had fun.  It's been raining A LOT, but we've taken advantage of all the sunny days we've had.  We've been to the zoo, and the park twice.  We've also been to a few good yard sales (well, some of them were the weekend before school ended, but still since I last blogged), and found LOTS of good books for Elliott's summer reading for $.25-.50 each.  We've even found some good stuff to use for his school work.

We have been working on school work this week and last week as well.  He's really enjoying it.  He has done 2 science experiments already, and is also still excited to be learning how to write in cursive, and how to speak Japanese. :)  He actually asks to read his Life of Fred book (math) when we aren't working on math.  Since we are still only about halfway through the first book, it's all been review so far, but he's loving the story format.  We have been working on math otherwise, too, and learned to carry and borrow last week, but that's not nearly as fun as Fred. :)

Elliott told me this week that he doesn't think he wants to go to public school for second grade, because it's more fun to do school at home, and decide for himself if he wants to do extra work.  We've decided to not make a decision until we've been doing school at home for at least a month, though.  I want to make sure I can actually teach him new stuff in a way that will be easy for him to go with.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Weekly Grocery Spending May 10-16

This week was a pretty expensive week for groceries at our house.  My husband was with us this time, and it seems that we ALWAYS spend more when he is with us.  Over the weekend we spent $238.96 at the commissary!  Our cart was overflowing, though, and we had to pick up several more expensive items, including  a bunch of meat, laundry detergent, and fabric softener.

In addition to that trip, my husband made two other trips to the commissary last Friday, and then yesterday.  He just bought produce and tea the first time, so he spent $7.60.  Then yesterday he bought produce, bread, and an ingredient that I forgot we needed for something on our menu plan, and spent $18.92.

Our weekly total this week was $265.48.

Our weekly budget is $100 per week for our family of three adults, one child, two dogs, and a cat.

Our total spent on groceries for 2013 so far is $1762.26.  

We are 19.5 weeks into the year, and our budget is $100 per week, so we are currently  $187.74 under our budget for the year.

I don't anticipate doing all that much grocery shopping for the next 2-3 weeks.  Our freezers are pretty full, so it will mainly be for dairy and produce for a while I think.  But then again, Elliott gets out of school next week, so I guess it depends on how many extra kids we have around at snack and meal times! :)

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Going to the Zoo

Many of you guys know that Minot had a devastating flood in 2011, and recovery has been an ongoing thing since then.  Our zoo is located right on the river that flooded, so it's repair work has been rather extensive.  They knew the flood was coming and got the animals out, but some of the structures were total losses, or very nearly so.  The zoo was closed last summer and almost the entire summer before as well.  But I'm happy to announce that it opened back up last Saturday, albeit without all the animals.  :)  We should be getting the rest back over the next few weeks, though.

Saturday, May4th was opening day, and it was pretty crazy.  We went for an hour or two, to support the zoo, and see what animals were back.   We went ahead and bought our season tickets and are really looking forward to going to the zoo quite a few times this summer.

The bears have always been favorites of ours.  We think they are funny and cute.  There used to be a food dispenser so you could throw them some food, but it's not up now.  Maybe it will be back next time.

The petting zoo area is another one of our favorite areas.  I didn't get very many good pictures over there on this trip, but I thought that this one, and the one below, with the donkey were both okay.  I'm not sure if I've ever posted pictures of my husband before, but that's him. :)  And of course that's Elliott, although you can't see his head in either of these shots.

Some of the other animals that were already back included the wolves, bobcat, warthogs, kangaroos, and various birds. Most of the big animals aren't back yet, and neither are the penguins (one of my husband's favorites).

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Eight Fantastic Years: The Story of Us

My husband and I met in late October or early November 2003.  We were both dating other people at the time, and he was getting ready to leave for basic training.  I honestly didn't give him another thought for several months.  At this point we weren't even really friends after all.

Then in August he came home from tech school and asked me to hang out with him, literally the day after my boyfriend and I broke up.  I agreed to go out with Carl, just to get out of my house.  We ended up going out three times that week.  I still didn't think it would develop into anything.  I had just gotten out of a relationship that was long distance most of the time.  But my husband was persistent, and called me frequently after getting to North Dakota.  Within a month of our first date, we were on the phone every day, often for several hours at a time.  I lived with my parents, and they had unlimited nationwide long distance on the house phone, and I used that most of the time.  I still managed to burn through all my roll over minutes on my cell phone within a few months, and then all the ones on my sister's cell before we got married as well.

Carl came home for Christmas in 2004, and we met each other's families.  We spent Christmas morning with my parents and siblings, and then had lunch with my extended family, before heading to his Grandma's house for a surprise appearance at their Christmas gathering (his sister was the only one in his family that he had told he was coming home).  By the time he went back to North Dakota, we were engaged.

In February I visited North Dakota for the first time, on a long weekend (President's Day), and got to know the base that would be my future home.  The next time we saw each other was when he came home in May for our wedding.

When we got married I was 22 and he was 20.  People thought we were crazy and rushing.  But we both knew that we belonged together, so why wait?

We've been married for 8 years today, and while it hasn't always been easy, we're still happy together and in love.  We've both grown up a lot over the last 8 years, but we've done it together, instead of apart.

We've made it through a lot of things over these eight years, too.  I immediately moved 1100 miles to my husband's first (and still current) duty station.  We've been through a deployment, extensive training elsewhere, many weeks where he works so many hours that he literally goes straight to bed when he gets home, and only gets up with enough time to get ready to do it all again.  We got pregnant right away with our wonderful little boy, and have dealt with secondary infertility in the years since. My husband has lot his last two living grandparents, and we've dealt with several crises in his family.  We've dealt with health issues, both in ourselves and our families.  We've said goodbye to pets that were family members.

But the good definitely outweighs the bad.  Our only child is the best that we could have asked for.  We've added pets to make our family complete, and they are wonderful as well (my Trixie was actually the first present that my husband gave me after we got married).  We bought a house in 2007.  I've watched my husband become a confident leader, and push himself to go above and beyond, instead of just doing what is expected.  I've cheered him on as he  received his CCAF (associate's degree), and started toward his bachelor's in Mechanical Engineering.  He volunteers in our community, both as an EMT and a firefighter.  He's a wonderful husband and a good dad.  He would actually rather go to the zoo with Elliott and me, than out with his friends.  He enjoys lazy weekends at home with us, or at the park, or where ever we happen to be.  I couldn't ask for a better person to have in my life. I'm his biggest fan, and I thank God every day for bringing us together, even though our dating relationship was far from conventional.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Elliott's reading list May 13, 2013

I just realized that it's been quite a long while since I last posted about the books that we've been enjoying at our house.  Elliott still reads a lot, and has even done several book reports about the books he likes, but his mom is a slacker. :)

One series that we have recently found and love is Stink (Judy Moody's younger brother) by Megan McDonald.  We actually started with a Judy Moody book (which we also loved) and while at the library looking for another one, Elliott found the Stink books and decided to try one of those instead.  He started reading it in the car that day while we finished up errands, and by bedtime that night, he had almost finished the book.  There are just over 100 pages in the books, so that's pretty impressive.  He's now working on reading his third one, and we just ordered two from Scholastic, and he found one for $.50 at a thrift store that he hasn't had a chance to read yet.

Elliott really like Stink and Judy both.  He likes that they are regular kids and funny.  He's really liked both the Stink books he has read, along with the only Judy Moody book we've read so far.  I haven't actually read an entire Stink book myself yet.  Like I said, he started reading them independently, and hasn't chosen them as read alouds at all.  With Judy Moody, it was one of the books that we read out loud together, taking turns.  So I don't really have a strong opinion on Stink, but I did enjoy Judy Moody, and found it a good fit our family.  There are several books that are aimed at small children that I think really have to be talked over after he's finished reading them, to discuss why we don't model certain behavior, treat our friends certain ways, etc.  I didn't feel like we really needed to do that with the Judy Moody book we read.

Scholastic says that Stink and Judy Moody are both 3-3.7 reading level.  Stink appeals to grades 2-3 and Judy Moody appeals to grades 2-4.

Elliott discovered the Victory School Superstars series at school.  The one above is the only one he's read so far, but he would really like to read the rest of the series as well.  He liked that even though Josh wasn't good at soccer, his friends helped him to become better.  He learned that it's important to concentrate on what you are doing at the time, instead of what you wish you were doing as well.

This series also has reading levels ranging from 3.0-3.6.  It appeals to readers in grades 1-3.

Friday, May 10, 2013

So Proud of My Husband

So as I've mentioned several times lately, my husband has been in pain for a few weeks now.  He's had a few tests done, but we still aren't sure what it is.  His doctor told him to come back and see him if the pain didn't go away completely within 2 weeks, but because my husband is stubborn and didn't want to be on a profile for his PT test, he has put it off.   And because of his PT test, he's been working out like crazy, even through the pain for the last few weeks.

Well, today was his PT test, and he scored a 92 (out of 100)!  That's the best he's ever done, even better than when he was in tech school. :)  He's had some problems with PT in the past (but not the recent past), so this score definitely took hard work.  I'm really proud of him.  He said he doesn't think he's ever run the mile and a half that fast, although he might have in tech school or basic training.  Running has always been his problem in the past.

I guess that means that next week he will finally go back to the doctor, and maybe they will have another idea of what it could be.

Circus Fun

The circus came to town last week.  I wasn't actually planning on taking Elliott this year, but he somehow talked Daddy into it.  Originally we thought Carl was going to be working second shift, but it changed, and he ended up on night shifts, so he was home in the evening.  Anyway, he told Elliott that it had been a really long time since he went to the circus so he wanted to go.  And because he had to be at work at night, that meant I had to go to the circus, too, so I could drive Elliott home after the circus.

In case I wasn't clear, I'm not a big fan of the circus.  I don't think most of the trainers treat their animals appropriately, and the tiger show actually makes me cry.  For real.  I DO like the clowns and the dog show, though.  I think that the majority of the dog trainers actually care about the dogs, and train them a little more humanely.  Which makes sense considering how much most dogs want to please the people they care about.  As an adult, I've only had one dog that had to be bribed with food repeatedly to get her to do what I want.  The others just wanted to do whatever I wanted them to do.

Elliott did have fun at the circus, though, and so did Carl.  We had to leave early, so my husband could get to work on time. The circus was supposed to start at 7, but of course didn't end up starting until more like 730.  Normally Elliott is in bed by 730 on school nights (and this was a school night), so he was ready to go by the time we had to leave to get Carl back to base on time anyway.

Elliott's favorite part was the dog dressed up as a wind up toy elephant.  It was a cute show that also happened to star his favorite clown.  He's also always impressed with acrobats, and told me at the circus that he might be an acrobat when he grows up, as long as he doesn't have to wear the tights.  Haha.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Summer Plans

Things have been a little crazy around here lately.  My husband still isn't feeling great.  And we've been busy with extra end of the school year things with Elliott.  It's hard to believe that he only has 2 more weeks of first grade!

We've also been busy with making summer plans, and deciding what all we are going to do.  Elliott and I are doing some homeschool stuff this summer (and we're even considering doing it for second grade, but that's another post). And we are planning several small trips around the Dakotas to learn about different things in our area.  We're also planning some similar trips while we are in Missouri at my parents' house this summer as well.  Elliott is excited, and I am, too. :)  Elliott also wants to start learning Japanese, and is really excited about learning multiplication and division now that he likes math.  I love how excited he is about learning right now!  He even picked out a lot of stuff himself for his homeschool curriculum.

Weekly Grocery spending May 3-9

This week my husband only went to the commissary once for fresh stuff and bread.  He spent $13.68.  We didn't go anywhere else for groceries at all during the week either.

 Our weekly total this week was $13.68.

Our weekly budget is $100 per week for our family of three adults, one child, two dogs, and a cat.

Our total spent on groceries for 2013 so far is $1496.78.  

We are 18.5 weeks into the year, and our budget is $100 per week, so we are currently  $353.22 under our budget for the year.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Weekly Grocery Spending April 26-May 2

We didn't buy a whole lot of groceries this week.  We went to the commissary last weekend, but it was on our way to see Jurassic Park in 3D, so we didn't buy anything that needed refrigeration or freezing.  It was almost exclusively lunchbox stuff that we ended up buying.  Things like individual applesauce and mandarin orange cups, along with juice boxes, bread, and tortillas.  We also bought a few things in the produce department that we knew would be ok in the car for a while (cucumbers, oranges, and apples).  We spent $44.21.  Yeah, we bought a lot of individual containers of fruit, because it was on sale, and for some reason I can't convince my husband to take regular oranges or apples in his lunchbox, so he takes at least 2 of the little containers of fruit everyday.

We also went to Walmart over the weekend for yogurt and more fresh food.  We went there after we watched the movie, so we could get things that we wouldn't want to leave in the car for a long time, like berries.  We also got bananas, mushrooms, and kiwi. We also ended up with some frozen food.  We spent a total of $38.92.

My husband went to the commissary for milk one day this week.  I'm not sure what else he ended up buying, but it was cheap, as our total was only $4.32.

 Our weekly total this week was $87.45.

Our weekly budget is $100 per week for our family of three adults, one child, two dogs, and a cat.

Our total spent on groceries for 2013 so far is $1483.10.  

We are 17.5 weeks into the year, and our budget is $100 per week, so we are currently  $266.90 under our budget for the year.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Weekly Grocery Spending April 19-25

Last Friday I finally made it to the commissary for a grocery shopping trip, where the primary concern wasn't keeping it light enough to easily carry with weight lifting restrictions in place. :)  We hadn't done much grocery shopping for a few weeks, so it would have been easy to go overboard, but now that spring is finally showing up in North Dakota, we don't feel like we need to keep our pantry as well stocked.

Elliott went with me, since he got out of school super early that day (he was dismissed after his performance in the music fest before 10 am).  We got most of the stuff on the list, although we did miss a few things.  We had a mishap with accidentally deleting a whole section of the grocery list, instead of just one specific item.

However, we ended up spending $146.78 at the commissary.  Which is really great in my opinion, since it had been so long.

Then over the weekend we spent $52.07 at Walmart on pet food, produce and yogurt.

 Our weekly total this week was $198.95.

Our weekly budget is $100 per week for our family of three adults, one child, two dogs, and a cat.

Our total spent on groceries for 2013 so far is $1395.65.  

We are 16.5 weeks into the year, and our budget is $100 per week, so we are currently  $254.35 under our budget for the year.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Weekly Grocery Spending April 12-18

I didn't get this post up last week, because I thought I might go grocery shopping on Thursday, which would have changed my totals, of course.  Then on Friday Elliott had a musical festival.   His class went on at 8:55 AM and once all the kids in his class were done with solos and groups, they were dismissed for the day.  I don't like to blog when he is home, unless he's busy with my husband or sister, since blogging and reading blogs can too easily suck me in, and I don't want to ignore him. :)

Anyway, last week we didn't do any grocery shopping at all.  By the time I went on Friday, I don't think we had any fresh produce left at all, but luckily we still had some frozen stuff left! :)

Our weekly total this week was $0.

Our weekly budget is $100 per week for our family of three adults, one child, two dogs, and a cat.

Our total spent on groceries for 2013 so far is $1196.80.  

We are 15.5 weeks into the year, and our budget is $100 per week, so we are currently  $353.20 under our budget for the year.

Elliott and I did go grocery shopping on Friday after his musical festival, but we didn't spend anywhere near $450, so we are still under budget. :)

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Buying Books

I've talked about how much my son likes to read on here pretty frequently.  I've even started listing some of the books that he likes, in hopes of helping other parents find books that their children might like.

It seems like we are constantly adding to our home library.  Elliott checks out 2 books at a time from his school library, 1-2 times each week.  Otherwise most of the books we read are books that we have at home.  We don't have a library in town, and we just don't make it onto base during library hours very often.  We live far enough away from base that driving there just for a trip to the library isn't worth the time or money ($6-7 in gas to get there and back).

So to add new books to our rotation, we order books from scholastic book orders from school or look for them used.  During the summer, we can usually find a few at yard sales.  We don't make it to enough yard sales to make that one of the places that we buy lots of books, though. 

We also like to look for used books when we are shopping at a thrift store.  Once again, though, we just don't make it there often enough.   There are some we like in Minot, but it's 45 minutes away, so definitely not worth a trip just to go to thrift stores.  We've been trying to go more lately when we are already in Minot, though.  For instance on Monday after my doctor's appointment we stopped in at our favorite one and Elliott found 8 books he wanted for $.50 each, and I even found 1 I wanted for only $1!
Elliott's finds at the thrift store this week.

We've also bought books online from a few different places, but have decided that it's hard to beat the prices on Ebay.  If we can find a lot of books that I know Elliott will like, I can often get them for under $1 each, including shipping!  While I was stuck in my recliner recovering from gallbaldder surgery, I ended up doing a lot (too much) of shopping on Ebay and stocked up on some great titles for Elliott for his summer reading plans.  The most I paid per book was $1.27 including shipping.  I even scored some chapter books for him in a big lot for under $.50 each with free shipping!

Our most expensive recent Ebay finds.  Several of these look like they've never even been opened and we paid less than $11.50 for all nine!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Elliott's Reading List April 12

Elliott and I have recently been adding to his book collection again.  We got rid of over 300 books that he decided he had outgrown earlier this year, and we've been working on adding more chapter books and looking for new ones to try.

This week he didn't read any new chapter book series, but he wanted me to tell you about  other books that he likes.  He's decided to help me write these blog posts, by doing book reports for me.

One of the series that he thinks is perfect for kids who like picture books is Pete the Cat by Eric Litwin.  He thinks that the books are appropriate for preschool to second graders.  The reading levels range from kindergarten to end of first grade.

We like that the books are upbeat and fun.  He also likes that the cat wears shoes.  He has two of them, and while they aren't books that we have ever read every week or anything, they are ones that he goes back to, and has read several times.

Another series that is relatively new to Elliott is Nate the Great by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat.  These books have been around since the 70's, so some of you probably remember them from your own childhood.

Elliott loves the Nate the Great books he has read so far.  He thinks they are funny, and he likes the mystery.  His favorite characters are Nate and his dog Sludge.  Elliott really likes it that Nate is independent and can do a lot of things for himself.  He especially thinks it's cool that Nate makes his own pancakes.

Elliott says this book was a little easy to read, and probably best for readers that are 7-10.  He thinks that preschoolers through third or fourth graders would probably like the stories.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Weekly Grocery Spending April 5-11

We didn't make it to the commissary for a big trip this week, due to neither of us being able to carry much.  It makes me very happy that we normally keep a very well stocked pantry, so it's not a big deal that we haven't done much shopping in nearly a month now.

We did go to Walmart over the weekend and spent $22.27 on groceries.  It turns out that the pets didn't need food quite yet after all, so we just bought yogurt and produce.

Then on Tuesday my husband went to the commissary for bread and more veggies.  He spent $11.40.  That was it for groceries this week.

So our weekly total this week was $33.67.

Our weekly budget is $100 per week for our family of three adults, one child, two dogs, and a cat.

Our total spent on groceries for 2013 so far is $1196.80.  

We are 14.5 weeks into the year, and our budget is $100 per week, so we are currently  $253.20 under our budget for the year.

Once we are up to carrying a bunch of groceries again, we will probably be making a huge shopping trip, but I'm still not sure how soon that will be.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

When It Rains (Snows?), It Pours

As you all probably know, I had to have my gallbladder removed almost two weeks ago.  It was really inflamed and infected, and had stones, too.  The doctor said the stones probably developed while I was pregnant with Elliott, and they just hadn't bothered me before (they  saw them on a scan for the first time right around Elliott's fourth birthday, but they weren't bothering me then).  Anyway, I saw the doctor last week, and he kept me on pretty major restrictions.  Still no lifting, minimal bending, and no exercising, other than walking.  I'm about to go out of my mind! :) 

Then last Thursday, my husband started having back pain and some men's health issues.  So he's been in and out of the doctor's office.  Right now we are waiting to hear what his ultrasound and urine test said.  The doctor thinks he could have a kidney stone, along with a probable hernia or twisted vein. So now he is restricted from heavy lifting as well.

So guess what happened over the weekend?  Our basement had minor flooding. Just about all of our furniture is up off the ground to prevent it from getting damaged, but now we have no way of MOVING the stuff to get everything dry underneath.  My sister did what she could by herself, but the heavy stuff requires two people.  Add to that the fact that apparently I'm the only one in our house that can clean, so my house hasn't been cleaned in nearly three weeks (and yes I'm highly irritated by that)! I would be embarrassed to have anyone come over to help my sister move stuff!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Weekly Grocery Spending March 29- April 4

Last Friday my husband went to the commissary to get some foods that would be easy for me to prepare for myself for the first 2 or 3 days after I came home from the hospital, it was things like premade salad, precooked chicken strips, etc.  It did make it MUCH easier for me to "cook" my own food when no one else was around. :)  He spent $13.59.

Then on Tuesday he went back to buy some produce, milk, etc.  We didn't have a complete grocery list or anything, but did have just a few things that we were out of, or almost out of, etc.  He spent $40.67.

  So our weekly total this week was $54.56.

Our weekly budget is $100 per week for our family of three adults, one child, two dogs, and a cat.

Our total spent on groceries for 2013 so far is $1163.13.  

We are 13.5 weeks into the year, and our budget is $100 per week, so we are currently  $186.87 under our budget for the year.

We haven't worked on a menu plan at all since I got home from the hospital a week ago.  We've been winging it based on who is cooking, and how much time we have.  I'm ready to take back over on most of the cooking chores now, though, so a menu plan is definitely going to be made tonight during dinner. :)  So I'll probably go over budget this week when I figure out what all we need.  Plus we will probably buy dog food this week as well, and that certainly adds to the budget!  I don't think we will go over the $186 cushion, though!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Weekly Grocery Spending March 22-28

Last Friday my husband went to the commissary for eggs, produce, and 2 or 3 other small things.  He ended up spending $21.21.

Then last week no one ended up going to the commissary or grocery store or anything until the weekend.  Since I was in the hospital from Monday night until Thursday evening, my guys and my sister ended up eating out Tuesday and Wednesday night, since they had to drive into Minot to see me anyway.

 So our weekly total this week was $21.21.

Our weekly budget is $100 per week for our family of three adults, one child, two dogs, and a cat.

Our total spent on groceries for 2013 so far is $11.08.87.  

We are 12.5 weeks into the year, and our budget is $100 per week, so we are currently  $141.13 under our budget for the year.

Friday, March 29, 2013

I Had To Get My Gallbladder Removed

Sorry I haven't been around much this week, but at least I have a real excuse. :)  After a lot of pain at night last week, my husband took me to the ER on Monday.  My symptoms weren't typical gallbladder pains, but after a CT scan and ultrasound, they knew for sure that's what it was.  I was admitted to the hospital on Tuesday morning, and had that sucker removed Wednesday morning.   The procedure went really well, and I was able to come home yesterday, a day earlier than they had originally thought I would be able to.

I'm still in some pain, but it's pretty minor now.  I am certainly glad to be back at my own house.  I'm supposed to take it pretty easy for the next week, but so far, so good.  :)

I wish it hadn't happened THIS week, but I suppose that's the way it works sometimes.  My sister's birthday was on Tuesday, but instead of waking up to a big breakfast, including some of her favorite foods, she had to get up early and get Elliott around for school, and explain why his Mommy wasn't there to do it for him.  He called my Mom while Darla was getting ready for school, and told her that I was in the hospital getting a body part removed. :)  She thought that was funny, and that's pretty much what she told all the rest of my siblings when she called  them (after talking to Darla, of course, and getting the real story).  Elliott told his teachers the same thing, only he went on to tell one that he thought it was the part that makes someone mean, because I was really grouchy on Monday night before I went to the hospital.  Haha.

Tuesday night my husband and son were still able to take Darla out to dinner, after Darla and Elliott came to see me at the hospital (Carl still hadn't gone home yet), so at least her birthday wasn't TOTALLY ruined.  We'll do a redo soon, when I'm feeling completely better, though, including her big breakfast, and dinner out with the whole family. :)

Monday, March 25, 2013

Our Current Reading List

A reader recently asked me to give some specific books that Elliott has read recently and which series I would suggest for 1st and 2nd grade boys.  So I decided just to put up a post every week or two with some of the books that Elliott has read recently and liked.  This week I'm going to start with some series that we've been reading, but I'm hoping to post about some individual books later, too.


Right now Elliott is really into the Black Lagoon Adventures chapter books.  He reads one pretty much every day.  And yes, I mean he reads the entire book (they are only 60 something pages each, with lots of pictures) in a fairly short amount of time.  He got a set of 17 for his birthday last month, and already had 2 others.  He's read all of them since his birthday, and read a lot of them at least twice.  He's read the Halloween one so frequently that he can recite much of it word for word.  It's probably his very favorite book right now.  They are early chapter books.  According to Scholastic, they are for 2nd-3rd grades, and have reading levels from 2.4-3.8. 

This reading level system is pretty easy to understand.  The number before the period is the grade level, and the number after the period is the month.  So for instance, the reading level of 2.4 would be the level that a student that meets standards would be able to read in the fourth month of second grade.

They are fun books to read.  The narrator has a very active imagination, and always imagines that things are going to be crazier or scarier than they really are. Elliott laughs and says that things wouldn't REALLY be the way that Hubie imagines that they would be, but still really enjoys the crazy things that Hubie thinks about.  

He's also really into Geronimo Stilton right now.  He asked me if I thought the Easter Bunny would bring him Geronimo Stilton books this year if he's really good.  These books are a little pricier than a lot of chapter books for kids, but they are full color.  There are plenty of pictures, and some of the words are in different colors, fonts, and boldness.  He doesn't read these nearly as fast, but does enjoy a chapter or two at a time.  There are a lot of these books (over 50), so they could keep a child busy for quite some time.  According to Scholastic they appeal to grades 2-4, and are 4th grade reading level.  Even if your child isn't an advanced reader, these would be a fun series to read together.

Geronimo Stilton is a mouse, and the stories are told from his perspective.  Some of the vocabulary used by him is a play on words that we use, just made into mouse-y words.  Like he lives in New Mouse City, Mouse Island.  Things are fabumouse, etc.  The stories are good, and as I said before, the presentation is awesome.  The book includes lots of detailed pictures, including maps and charts.


One of Elliott's favorite picture book series is Skippyjon Jones.   Skippyjon is a cat who imagines he is a Chihuahua.  He imagines that he goes on a lot of adventures.  They have some made up words, and some Spanish vocabulary as well, so Elliott has a little trouble with a few words in most of them.  They have reading levels 3.3-4.0 and appeal to kids in kindergarten through 2nd grade.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Weekly Grocery Spending March 15-21

Last week we ended up going to the commissary twice.  My husband went after work on Friday to get the things that I had put on our grocery list app that allows either of us to make changes on our own phone.  Unfortunately, I hadn't finished putting everything on that list, since he went before Elliott and I had decided what he would be taking to school for lunches and snacks this week.  I also hadn't checked the freezer yet, to make sure we had all the meat we needed to make meals for the rest of the month.  So we went back on Saturday to grab the stuff for Elliott's lunch and snacks, the two things they were out of on Friday on our list, and some more meat.

 Friday my husband spent $66.37, and Saturday we spent $62.55.  My sister also went to the grocery store this week for some produce and spent $5.80.

 Our weekly total this week was $134.72.

Our weekly budget is $100 per week for our family of three adults, one child, two dogs, and a cat.

Our total spent on groceries for 2013 so far is $1087.66.  

We are 11.5 weeks into the year, and our budget is $100 per week, so we are currently  $62.34 under our budget for the year.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: First Day of Spring

Although today is the first day of spring it certainly doesn't feel like it.  As a reminder that spring weather IS coming, Elliott and I looked at our early spring pictures from Florida in 2011 this morning.  This is what we experienced in 2011:
Elliott and Abby Cadabby at Busch Gardens

This is our view this year:
The same cozy coupe type truck I posted 2 or 3 weeks ago, with even more snow today.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Kohl's Shopping

The Kohl's in Minot just opened this month.  I've shopped online at Kohls.com a few times a year for the last few years, but I've never done much in store shopping.  It's not usually one of the places on my "Must shop" list when I'm in Missouri, and we just don't really do much shopping for anything other than souvenirs when we are on vacation elsewhere.  There is a Kohl's in Bismarck, but we only go there 1-2 times a year usually, and we only go to Kohl's when we have gone to Bismarck specifically to shop, or when Elliott and I are just along for the ride while Carl has some EMT conference or something.

Anyway, we've been to Kohl's twice now since it opened.  Obviously there's not much of any clearance yet, but we did find some decent deals on stuff that was on sale.  I take the "You saved...." part of the receipt with a grain of salt, because I would never pay full price for stuff at a place like Kohl's.

We had a 20% off total purchase coupon that was only good this past weekend, so we decided to go look at some summer clothing after church Sunday.  We spent a while looking at boys' clothing, but decided we didn't even want to pay the sale price minus 20% on much, since we actually still have a while before we'll need to use summer clothing anyway (it's 9 degrees right now). 

We did find some pajamas that he liked and that were within our price range.  I noticed when I was going through his clothes recently that he didn't have any lightweight pajamas at all in the size I want him in (he can still wear a size smaller, they are just too short).  We found a 2 pack of pajamas with a short sleeve shirt and lightweight pants on sale for $22 (normally $44) and another set that had a short sleeve top, shorts, and lightweight pants for $18 (normally $36). 

We also decided to look for workout clothes for me and found a pair of capris for $18 (normally $30).

 After the 20% coupon and tax, we ended up spending $49.65.  The receipt says we saved $63.60.

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