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.

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