Aldi grocery trip: $66 for 5 meals

Wednesday, April 27, 2016
I've had several of my friends who are new to Aldi that have wanted to see what I buy/make from Aldi's & I know that I love seeing different grocery hauls on budgets soo here ya go! I love Aldi's because A. their prices are awesome. B. They have cheap organic food! C. Their store is small so I can get in and out with the kids quick!
This week is super boring/plain because we have a lot going on and this weekend won't be our typical weekend so I only shopped for 5 meals: M-F.
Here are my meals:
Mon: Lasagna & spinach salad
Tues: Ham & Swiss sliders with veggies
Wed: Fried rice (Church night so something quick)
Thurs: Bacon, egg & cheese sandwiches with fruit
Fri: Frozen cheese pizza

Lasagna: Ingredients: 1 lb. ground beef, 1 (27 oz) can Hunts spaghetti sauce, 6 lasagna noodles, mild cheddar cheese, mont. jack cheddar cheese.
Directions: Preheat oven to 350. Brown meat & boil noodles. Drain fat & add sauce to meat. Layer noodles, meat sauce, cheese (repeat). Bake 15-20 minutes.
Ham & Swiss Sliders: Ingredients: 1 pack of Hawaiian sweet rolls, 12 slices of ham, 12 slices Swiss cheese, 1 T. Worcestshire, 1/2 T. minced onion flakes, 4 T. melted butter, 1 T. Yellow mustard
Directions: Preheat oven to 350. Slice rolls in half and put bottom part of roll into a baking dish. Top with ham & cheese. Place the top of the rolls on. Mix butter, onion flakes, worcestshire, and mustard. Pour over sandwhiches. Cover with foil and let sit for 10 minutes. Bake for 10-25 minutes covered & then 5 or so minutes uncovered.
Fried Rice: Ingredients: 3 cups cooked rice, 1 small white onion, 1 cup frozen peas and carrots, 2-3 T. soy sauce, 2 eggs, lightly beaten, 2 T. green onion (optional), 2 cups cooked chicken (sometimes I go without if we don't have any)
Directions: Cook and shred chicken. Heat large skillet to medium heat. Pour oil in and add onion and peas/carrots. Cook until tender. Slide to the side and pour eggs in. Scramble, then mix all together. Add rice and chicken and pour in soy sauce. Stir and fry the rice mixture then add green onion.
Both of my kids will eat all of this and it's all very easy & quick.
For breakfasts this week we did: Crockpot oatmeal, eggs, waffles we already had in freezer, PB toast.

Lunches: Bean & cheese burritos, leftovers, & PB sandwiches & fruit/veggies

Snacks: Fruit, applesauce pouches, goldfish, crackers, & cheese

Eggs for &0.89!!! and Avocados for $0.39!! You can't beat that!
I spent $66.89 for 5 days worth of meals and snacks that feed a family of 4!!

27th Birthday week

Monday, April 25, 2016
I turned 27 last week! woohoo! For my actual birthday we didn't really do much. We had our first playgroup so the boys had fun going to that! Jonathan surprised me with an (all night) date night for that Saturday so I was SO excited! Thursday we took the boys to Dollywood! We got passes this year because both boys are free and I still cringe when I think about the $ we dropped...BUT we will go a lot and they LOVED it!

Friday we had some friends over for Dessert and then Saturday was our Date night!! We went thrifting for a couple hours and then had a GOOD dinner :) Love having long date nights!
Sunday was church and then boys played outside so much since it was beautiful :)
Sundays are hard when Naps get messed up/skipped ;)

 Love my mr. rolly

Our South Carolina trip

Friday, April 22, 2016
Last week the boys and I headed to South Carolina to visit my family & for my aunts wedding. We left Wednesday at lunch time and the boys did great on the drive down!

 When we got to South Carolina, my dad babysat the boys and I went to dinner with some of the girls in the family.
Thursday we played outside all day at Mawmaw & pawpaws. My nephew Kylyn was there and the boys played so well together.
Thursday night Easton & I watched a movie and ate popcorn. He LOVED IT.
Friday, the boys and I went to Ashley's house to play with our cousins and friends! They all had so much fun and Easton & Gabe played like they have been friends forever! haha :)
They didn't stop playing the whole time! :)
Saturday was my aunts wedding and after that, the boys napped then played with their cousins some more. Then my aunt Donna & I went to Ikea! eeek
Sunday we went to church, out to eat afterwards and back home for naps. Sunday night my parents cooked out for my birthday and then we went to get Snow Cones with my Grandma!
Sawyer's First time Eating at Captain Steve's :)
We had so much fun visiting and I'm glad I got to spend time with some family but we were ALL so ready to get back to daddy :)
Passed out on the way home!

How I spend little to no money on my kids clothes

Tuesday, April 19, 2016
One of the smartest things I've done as a parent is buy used children's clothes. I'm not even kidding. For me, I can't stand knowing I paid full price or even $10 for a shirt and then watch it get stained after wearing it only one time. I can seriously count on my 2 hands how many times I have bought brand new clothes for my kids. It's not for everyone I guess but It's saved us hundreds or thousands of dollars! In my opinion, when it comes to kids clothes (especially 5 and under) it can be as expensive or as cheap as you want it! This is what I do to help me to never have to spend my own money on clothes for the kids!

1. I always shop consignment sales: In Knoxville, there are 3 consignment sales that come twice a year, every year. Picky chick, Jack N Jules, and Duck Duck Goose. They come once in spring and once in fall. I wait until these sales and shop all three. I usually figure out what my kids need before I go so that I don't over buy. If I need clothes for the boys and consignment sales aren't going on at the moment, then I always go to Once upon a Child. Its a used clothing store for kids and they don't accept stained or stuff with holes in it, etc. I find $5 polo's there all the time! If I am at a Goodwill store, I ALWAYS check the kids clothes section. Most of the time I don't find anything but every once in a while I find a piece of clothing that is amazing! I found a pair of Baby Gap seer sucker pants for Easton that he wore for Easter 2 years ago.

 Easton in Baby Gap pants from Goodwill & a consigned baby gap shirt.

2. I sell my clothes at consignment sales: I lucked up so far. My kids are exactly 2 years apart and both born in January, so all of Easton's clothes get passed down to Sawyer. (Mostly. Sawyer is getting a little bit heftier than Easton was). As soon as Sawyer is done with a certain size of clothes, I sell them at a consignment sale and all that money I make goes into new clothes for Easton (that will then get passed back down to Sawyer). I donate some clothes too, but mostly I sell so that I can buy the boys new clothes! **I also sell clothes as soon as Sawyer is done with them instead of saving for another child, because I think the clothes will sell easier right now, as opposed to several years down the road. Plus, they have been through 2 boys...enough said :)**

3. Never spend more than a certain amount: This applies to used clothing: I don't spend more than $5 on a t-shirt, $10 on pants, and $8 dress shirts. I have to REALLY like/need something for the boys to spend more than any of that. If it is a special reason and I need to buy used clothing, I still try to follow that rule as much as I can. Shoes are harder to me, because they get so much wear out of them. I usually do 1 pair of dress shoes, Nikes, and a sandal or boot depending on season. I ALWAYS do consignment first, then eBay, THEN stores. I find $25 NEW Nike tennis shoes on eBay all the time!
 3 pieces I got at Goodwill. $6 for all 3.

 $8 Nike tennis shoes.

 A haul from one of the consignment sales.

Keens for $10!

4. Keep clothes as clean as I can: I shout EVERYTHING. lol Stained clothes are the worst because they wont sell and you can't really put your kids back in them...soo I shout, oxy clean, scrub, do whatever I need to do to make sure they look nice so that I can get more wear & more money out of them ;)

I know that not everyone has 2 boys born in the same month and can only buy clothes for 1 child, but there is still consignment shopping and selling! I don't just buy clothes used either. A couple months ago, I bought a puddle jumper for sawyer (floaties) for $4! They are $20 in the store. I LOVE the feeling of finding something for more than half of the price! Eeek!

Weekend recap

Monday, April 11, 2016
This weekend we didn't do too much because Jonathan has the shingles and the pain was pretty bad, but its finally starting to get a little bit better for him! (yay!)
Thursday was his day off and we went to the zoo for a little bit, grabbed lunch and then hung around the house the rest of the day.

Friday, the boys and I ran some errands and did stuff around the house. Sawyer vacuums the house pretty much all day!
 Saturday we went to Nonnie & Papas for April birthday celebrations and had yummy dinner & dessert!! Then Sunday was church, naps and Jonathan and I got to go on a date! (it's been about 2 months)!
 We shopped some and then ate Mexican....which is my favorite thing EVER! Not that much of an exciting weekend.. but still fun!

15 Month Favorites // Sawyer

Friday, April 8, 2016
Can't believe our little Sawyer is 15 months already!! I want to keep track of as much as I can, so making blog posts about it will be the easiest way for me! :)

Touch and feel baby animals book- Sawyer has been playing and touching the animals on this book for months!
Melissa & Doug knob puzzles- Melissa and Doug are my homies. Everything they make is awesome! Sawyer loves picking these pieces up and throwing them everywhere.
B. Baa baa farm house- Sawyer will go into his room at night by himself and play with this for 20 minutes! He loves the little balls filled with corn :)
Step 2 Wagon- Both my boys love this wagon so much but Sawyer loves getting in and out with the door. My favorite has 2 cup holders, seat belts, AND storage under 1 seat.
Little Tykes play kitchen- I told myself that I would never buy my boys a play kitchen because its too "girly" what? They both loved playing with them at friends houses and I saw one at Once upon a Child for $25 so I got it and they both play for so long!!

I love seeing what other kids love and it always helps me plan Christmas/Birthday presents, so thought I would share :)

Age: 15 months

Stats: 25 lbs. (80th percentile), 30 1/4 inches (10-25th percentile)

Clothes: 12-18 & 18 months mostly. Have to roll pants up most of the time!

Favorite Foods: Strawberries, grilled cheese,  blueberries, applesauce, chicken nuggets, lasagna, bread, crackers

Words: hi, mama, dada, night night ( ni ni ), yay, no, all done (ah da), and bye. (favorite word is no right now-says it when he means yes too :)

 Favorite Activities: Playing with brother, eating, playing outside with wagon (gets in and out over and over), petting animals (goats & dogs), running around the house with blankie, jumping on the couch (naughty), getting into cabinets, playing with toy balls, and taking baths :)

Least favorite activities: Waiting for mommy and daddy at church nursery. Getting face wiped. When he has to wait longer than 3 seconds on food.  He's VERY chill baby!

Mommy & daddy's Favorites: When he wont go to anyone else when mommy is holding him (hehe), his gapped tooth smile, his bow legged run, how happy he gets when he sees us & how cuddly he is!

Other Milestones: Learning how to jump, sleeping better (if he wakes up at night, we can get him back to sleep usually quick) & he's been sleeping in past 5:30 lately!!! ( I probably just jixed it), gives high fives and kisses.

Love this sweet boy!!

Traveling with toddlers & babies by yourself

Thursday, April 7, 2016
Next week I am going to South Carolina to visit family for several days and its just going to be me & the kids. I've traveled by myself with them only 5 or 6 times to SC (only 4 hours away) so I am NO pro, but after a few DISASTER trips I have learned a few tricks that have made the trip easier. First off, I will share the first disaster trip that made me want to never drive alone ANYWHERE again .. ha!
When Easton was 5 months old I decided last minute to travel to SC to visit family. The 4 hour drive down there was great! I didn't stop once and he was content. The trip BACK was not the same. I left at a different time and I didn't have a REAL plan. He was sleeping as soon as I got to the beginning of "going into the mountains" as I call it. It's just the mountains on 1-40 but its 30 minutes of no where to really pull over and very curvy roads with huge trucks next to me...basically my worst driving nightmare! Anyway, he woke up as soon as we "got into the mountains" and I just tried to push through it until we hit STAND STILL traffic. My car was literally stopped and at this point he was screaming. Non moving car and a crying baby don't really go together. I tried toys, bottle, singing, music, everything and nothing was working. He got to a point where he was crying so hard that he was throwing up (which he did a lot) so I literally called Jonathan crying and pulled him out of his rear facing car seat with one hand  as I was pulling onto the side of the teeny mountain and was crying, he was crying, vomit on him and vomit on me. We were a mess. I learned my lesson.
With all of that, I have some tips and tricks I've learned and want to share with some mommies that are traveling alone or even with their spouse!
1. ALWAYS plan on driving during 1 meal & 1 nap: I always leave around lunch time and let them eat chick fil a or whatever in their car seats and then they will "play"/talk until they fall asleep because by then it is around their naptime. This is HUGE! It always saves me by 2 or so hours. When they were "babies" I would nurse BEFORE leaving and just tried to push through as long as they would let me. (4 hour drive so its not like I was starving them ;)
2. Bring TONS of snacks: I bring snacks that I don't usually give them on a regular basis so that they are excited and interested more in what I gave them! Fun snacks like fruit snacks, cookies, crackers, etc. I like to bring a basket and put it in passengers seat and fill it with snacks, toys, treats, books etc. so that I can just reach over while driving and throw them what they need.
3. Bring random toys: Sometimes I have gone to the dollar tree and gotten random fun things or I just bring things that will keep them occupied. For my 1 year old, he likes bottle brushes and empty water bottles. lol. whatever keeps him occupied. * I also limit TV a week before traveling and take away their fun toys then too so that when we are traveling they enjoy those things more!*
4. Have a game plan: My 3 year old is potty trained so if I have to stop to change sawyers diaper and let Easton pee then I know I need to put 1 in stroller while I take the other to pee. If I think about all of the things that COULD happen it helps me be more prepared for when and if it does happen. * I put a pull up or diaper on my 3 year old and just tell him to tell me when he needs to go-that way if it is URGENT and we are in traffic, at least he pees in the diaper and not all over his car seat. *
5. DON'T panic: When they both start crying/fussing while I'm driving and can't stop I just have to tone them out and stay focused on driving because the last thing I want to do is crash! Make sure your phone is charged! It seems scary to some moms but if you think about it too much it makes it harder!
So basically I just feed my kids for 4 hours straight. haha jk. I leave my house, pick up a yummy breakfast or lunch, let them eat, they hang out for a little bit, fall asleep, then when they wake up I usually don't say much to them and just wait for one of them to fuss or ask for a snack and then its snack time. If I gave them all of their toys and treats at the beginning or all at once...I would be in trouble come hour 3 of driving. I space stuff out and if things get real cray...then stop for milkshakes, let them play with spray water bottles, bubbles, hairdryers, chocolate, they all work! ;)

P.S. My 3 year old loves his magna doodle & his water wow pad by Melissa and Doug. If you have toddlers, you should run and get one because they are amazing and don't make your whole car messy with paint or markers!

Hope this helps! :)

Huge upgrade on a tight budget

Wednesday, April 6, 2016
When we moved into our house in 2013, it was pretty much all builder grade EVERYTHING! cheap laminate flooring, cheap carpet, and CHEAP laminate hardwood in random parts of our house. We have a small home (1,200 sq ft) so we knew we wanted to eventually lay new floors down to make our house A. look and feel bigger B. get rid of the nasty carpet/random laminte flooring and C. Make it easier to clean all of the puke/pee/poop/food off the floor. Nasty but true.

We chose laminate hardwood because I honestly don't consider our house "fancy" enough for real hardwoods. PLUS I don't care one bit about laminate!

We FINALLY got around to carving out a time when we could lay it down and sent the kids to Nonnie's for the night and went to work.
Here is the UGLY before:

We had Jonathan's uncle helping us some and we ripped the carpet out, scraped the glue off, Jonathan ripped out the nails, and we started laying our new floors down! YAY! It took us (Jonathan) about 2 days to finish it all. We layed it in our dining area, living room, and pretty much in our whole house except rooms and 1 bathroom.
Here is after pictures:


We bought the underlayment, laminate flooring, and quarter round all from Home Depot.
The laminate flooring was  $.99/sq ft!!! It's called Saratoga Hickory by Traffic Master.

We love the makeover so much! It makes our house look and feel so much bigger and the kids love driving their little cars around now! Our budget was originally $600 & we went over by $87 but still not too bad. Amazing what new floors can do! Next cabinets!! ;)

Underlayment: $196
Laminate Flooring: $441
Quarter Round: $50
TOTAL: $687

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