Thursday, February 7, 2013

Weekly Grocery Spending February 1-7

We finally came in under budget on groceries again this week.  I didn't go to the commissary at all this past week.  I'm pretty sure I never went on base at all.

I did spend $7.69 on candy at Target and granola bars at Walmart, but that's the only groceries I bought this week.

My sister spent $12.77 at one grocery store on chips, cheese, drinks, and bread.  She also spent another $4.48 on donuts and a package of hot dog buns at another store.  I think that is all she spent for the week.

Our weekly total this week was $24.94.

That is less than our weekly budget of $100 per week for our family of three adults, one child, two dogs, and a cat.  I'm hoping to make some decent progress on our vacation goal in February!

Our total spent on groceries for 2013 so far is $485.85.  

We are 5.5 weeks into the year, and our budget is $100 per week, so we are currently  $64.15 under budget.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Parent Teacher Conferences

Sorry if this post sounds like I'm bragging.  I probably am. ;)  Some members of my family and close friends look at my blog to keep caught up on what is going on at my house, though, so I thought a blog post would be the easiest way to tell them about Elliott's parent/ teacher conferences.

This week is parent/teacher conference week at my son's school.  Our conference was yesterday.  I'm not sure how conferences are done at other schools, but at our school, we go in and talk to the teachers about any issues our children may be having.  Our teachers also give us recent tests and projects our kids have done, and explain how our child's progress compares to others in the school, and others on a state wide level.  For first graders, the only standardized state wide tests are in math and reading.  But Elliott's teacher gave us handwriting samples, a phonics test, and told us how he's doing in Science and Social Studies as well.

Elliott is doing really well academically.  His math scores have improved tremendously over the last few months.  At the end of kindergarten he was right on level with the other kids at our school (who score several points higher as a whole than the "norm group").  At the beginning of first grade, his math skills were a little higher than the others in his school and about 75th-80th percentile compared to others that use the RIT scale for testing..  His middle of the year testing they did in January, he scored 95th to 98th percentile!  His score was approximately that of a 50th percentile student in the middle of 3rd grade.

He didn't have as much growth on reading, but his teacher said that's to be expected considering how well he was already doing.  He still scored in the 99th percentile on everything, but his line just didn't go up quite as much this time, which is of course totally fine.  His RIT score on reading is about that of an average 5th grader.  His DIBELS score showed that he could possibly be having trouble with reading comprehension, when compared to reading level, but his main reading teacher gave him a couple of unofficial tests and thinks that his comprehension is great.  She thinks that he probably just didn't realize that the test monitor wanted MORE details on the retell part of the DIBELS test.  His RIT test scores showed high reading comprehension as well.

His teachers said he's doing really well in everything, and neither of them see any problems at all academically.  He still does best if he reads the directions himself, but is getting better about getting everything right when he has to listen to directions for the entire project.

The only behavior issue either of Elliott's teachers had with him this time was his recent hang up on the word "hate."  He's been doing that at home, too, and we have no idea why.  Sometimes when things don't go his way he tells us that he hates it, or he hates his life.  His teachers aren't too concerned about it, because they say he calms down really fast, and doesn't pout or anything.  But we are working on expressing frustration with different words.  His teacher said he always apologizes after an outburst.  She said she's also been giving him a little more time to transition, and it seems to be helping.  He always finishes his work before the other kids, so he moves onto something else (lately he's been writing songs and stories, in addition to drawing pictures), and he just has a hard time stopping his fun projects to get back onto the same subject as the other kids.  Any other parents deal with this?  What worked for you?

Socially he is doing well.  There are minor fights with his friends of course, but he gets along with everyone and has lots of friends.  He occasionally has what one teacher describes as "baby of the family syndrome" and gets mad when things don't go his way, but those episodes are very infrequent.  One of his teachers said that he does so well with things normally, that if she didn't know any better she would think he was one of several children, instead of an only child.

I am very proud of my son.  He is doing so well in school.  When he was born, he had his umbilical cord wrapped around his neck and in knots.  We were warned that he would probably have some delays, but they wouldn't do testing unless stuff showed up.  He's been on the slow end of a few things physically, but never truly delayed.   Academically, I think it takes him a little longer to get stuff sometimes, but after he thinks about it a little while, he's usually able to master things quickly.

I'm actually really proud of all of his friends, too.  His class is an outstanding group of kids!  They are all sweet, well behaved, AND smart! His district's first grade average RIT scores for middle of year are a little bit better than the norm group averages for middle of second grade for both reading and math!  The kids in his class work hard and it shows.  Of course it also helps that both of his teachers work with the kids individually to help each child improve.

Wordless Wednesday: Meet Minnie Meowse

I've posted pictures of my 2 dogs recently, so now it's my cat's turn!  This is Minnie Meowse.  She's the only one of our pets that we've had since only a few weeks old (6 to be exact) and also the only one we named ourselves.  We got her in 2011, shortly after returning home from Disney World, so Elliott chose to name her after the famous mouse.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Another Successful Birthday Party

We had Elliott's birthday party on Saturday.  As I've mentioned several times, we were in no way ready to have it at home, so we had it a local pizza place.  We invited 23 kids, and thought probably 50-75% would show up.  We had it right after a basketball game, or we would have estimated lower, but we thought since the kids were already in town, the parents would be more likely to take them. We ended up with 10 kids (11 counting Elliott, and 12 counting one of the boys' preschool sister who decided to participate in some of the party activities with us). 

We would have had more, but the weather was awful!  We were even under a blizzard warning, with no travel advised part of the time.  So the kids who weren't already in Minot weren't able to come for the most part.  Elliott's best friend's mom called me during the basketball game to tell me that she and the kids (he has a 5 year old and a 4 year old sister who were also invited to the party) wouldn't be able to attend because of the weather.  And another mom told me at the party that her niece wouldn't be able to make it either, because of the weather.

The kids that were able to come had a great time, though.  They colored masks while we were waiting for everyone to arrive, and then we ordered the pizza and turned them loose in the arcade while we waited for the pizza.  After we ate pizza, we opened presents and then played for a few more minutes before coming back to the party room for cake and ice cream.  After that it was time to hand out goody bags and parents were starting to arrive.  So I think we timed it pretty well.  We put on the invitation that the party started at 130, but since the game got out at about 1245, most of the kids were there by 1 or a few minutes after.  I told parents we would be done around 3 or 315.  So parents started showing up at about 5 til 3, and all the kids were picked up by 320.

My husband complained a little bit about the cost of the party, but after we discussed it more, he decided the price wasn't too bad.  It was pretty much all inclusive.  The party package included pizza, a drink, ice cream, and 10 tokens per child.  It also included clean up (when my husband asked about a trash can, they told him to just pile the trash together and they would take care of it when Elliott was done unwrapping), and we didn't have to do much of anything for the set up either.

I have a feeling we will have more parties there in the future.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Menu Plan February 3-9

When I make a menu plan, it only includes dinner each week night, and then lunch and dinner on the weekends.  We try to eat most of those meals together as a family, but of course it doesn't always work out that way.

I do assign each thing to a certain day when I write things down, but I frequently end up moving things around to another day, depending on what we have going on, or what I'm actually in the mood to cook.

Yesterday we had super bowl snack foods, and left over pizza.  I didn't really cook any meals all day.

Tonight we are having barbeque pork sandwiches with green beans,  fresh fruit, and leftover birthday cake.

Tomorrow we are probably going to end up going out for dinner, since Elliott has basketball practice and we have parent teacher conferences as well.

Wednesday I'm making the cheesy chicken strips that were on the menu plan for Saturday (we ended up eating leftovers instead), with salad and macaroni and cheese.

Thursday we'll have red beans and rice that I cook in the crockpot all day.

Friday we will probably have hamburger helper, corn, and salad.

Saturday for lunch, we're going to do a picnic in the car (carrots, olives, cucumber slices, sandwiches, and fruit cups) after Elliott's basketball game.

Saturday night my sister will cook, but I don't think she has decided what yet.

Target Clearance Shopping

I posted yesterday that we went to Target on Friday.  Elliott had birthday money to spend, so he was looking for good deals.  We decided not to buy any Lego sets on Friday, since we hadn't had Elliott's birthday party yet, and we thought he would probably get some at his party (I was right, he ended up with 5 or 6 sets at his birthday party, in addition to the one that my husband and I gave him at his party). 

Elliott ended up buying a TobyMac CD for $11.99 (not pictured, it's still in the van, where we listened to it all weekend), and the BonkaZonks Spiderman storage container on 70% off clearance for $5.98.  He also bought a Lego Minifigure for $2.99.  Also pictured is the candy I bought him ($4.39), and the pencils and notepads ($3 each) I bought for his goody bags at his party, since I thought I had misplaced some of the treats I had already bought.

We then headed over to the boys clothing to check out the clearance stuff.  My husband really liked this coat when he looked at a few weeks ago, but we didn't buy it at 30% off.  Yesterday it was marked down to 70% off, and they had one large left (Elliott is just in a medium right now, but the sleeves will probably be too short by next September) so we bought it for $17.98.  We bought another pair of snow pants for Elliott at 70% off as well ($5.98), since he is so rough on them.  He's also always losing hats and gloves, so we bought several at 70% off.  He picked out 2 hats at $2.98 each, 1 for $1.78, and one for $.60, along with the 2 pack of gloves for $.60.

Elliott also started looking around at other things and ended up finding the above items for 70% off.  We had decided before that he didn't need more clothing, but he convinced Daddy that he NEEDED these clothes. lol  The sweatshirt was $2.08, the pants and the pajamas were each $4.48.

We spent $80.56 including tax.  We saved at least $116.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Elliott Had a Great Birthday!

Elliott turned 7 on Friday, so we were busy pretty much all day.  I didn't get around to the posts I had planned, and I didn't even weigh in, so I'm skipping that this week.  Next week I'll just write about what I lost for the past two weeks.

For Elliott's cake at school he wanted a basketball cake, and basketball cupcakes.  My sister took care of the baking, like she always do for birthdays.  We took them to the school for afternoon snack, and the kids were excited of course.   I talked to all the kids then to see if we could get a better idea on how many kids would show up at Elliott's party on Saturday. 

Then after driving around with my husband and sister for a little while, while Elliott finished his day at school, we took him shopping and out to eat.

I know that I just posted comments on 2 or 3 different blogs about how Elliott didn't need any more clothes, but we ended up buying a few at Target anyway.  We went into the boys' clothes section to look at coats and snowpants that were on clearance, but then my husband and son started looking elsewhere as well.  I'll post pictures later or tomorrow.  But we did find some great deals.

We also did some clearance shopping at Walmart, and found some great deals there as well.  We ended up spending more money than we had planned, but we marked off several things on our list of things that we were looking for great deals on.

Elliott had a lot of fun, and is really excited to be 7 now, since all his best friends were already 7!

Vacation Countdown Ticker