Ask and you shall recieve!

posted on: Sunday, October 31, 2010

Goodevening!  I'm going to try to keep this post fairly short... my goal is to get into bed on time tonight! 
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I was surprised at how many of you asked HOW I was able to buy 2 weeks worth of groceries for $75.
Before I start keep in mind that half of our family has tiny bellies and they don't eat very much! Also, shopping at Aldi has chopped my grocery bill CONSIDERABLY.  

Here is the two week menu plan from this last grocery visit.

DINNER MEALS

Pancakes with Eggs (2 meals)
Bacon and Egg McMuffins with Hashbrowns (1 meal)
Spaghetti with Meatballs (2 meals)
Sausage Spinach Loaf (2 meals)-this is homeade french bread with cheese, sausage and spinach rolled into it
Chicken Quesadillas (1 meal)
Chicken Stir fry with Egg Rolls (1 meal)
Meatloaf with Mashed Potatoes (1 meal)
Mushroom Chicken with Mashed Potatoes (2 meals)
Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup (2 meals)
Mac n Cheese (1 meal)
Frozen Chicken Pot Pies (1 meal)
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16 Dinner Meals

Let me break down the dinner situation with you.  They're not the most exciting meals these two weeks.  But the name of the game these two weeks wasn't exciting... it was frugal :)
A few of the meals I made extras of and I served them again as leftovers.  I am totally not a huge fan of leftovers... but when it comes to cutting costs I suppose I'll learn to be a fan!! ha!
Some of you mentioned that Aldi meat weirded you out.  I'll be honest I was weirded out at first too.  However, I buy their frozen chicken breasts and ground turkey and they taste just as good as anywhere else!
I made the meatloaf and mashed potatoes out of the ground turkey.  
I purchased one bag of chicken breasts.  That bag was divided between the Mushroom Chicken (I'll share this recipe soon!), Chicken Stirfry and Quesadillas.  
And I bought a large bag of potatoes that I divided for both meals that had mashed potatoes.  
We love to have breakfast for dinner over here.  I think a box of pancake mix at Aldi is around $2 and a box of eggs was .50 this past time.  So, for our family a box of pancake mix and a box of eggs equals two very filling meals for our family.  That's $1.25 per meal.  Cheap cheap cheap.  
For fruits and veggies I give myself $10 to buy everything.  At Aldi this is very doable.  I stock up on what's the cheapest and that's what we eat over a two week span.  I also buy canned green beans and corn to open up towards the end of the two weeks when the fresh veggies are gone.

LUNCHES
I bought a couple of loaves of bread for sandwiches over the 2 weeks.  Either pb&j, tuna, egg salad or grilled cheese.  All of which are fairly cheap.  We always have some sort of fruit or applesauce with our lunch.  I also make the kids tortillas with cheese melted on them.  

BREAKFASTS
A container of oatmeal costs less than $2 at Aldi.  The container usually lasts us 3 weeks!  All four of us eat oatmeal for breakfast the majority of the week.  On mornings that we don't have oatmeal I will either make muffins or a coffee cake.  

SNACKS
We eat ALOT of apples with peanut butter around here for snack time!  I bought a sack of apples, a box of microwave popcorn and yogurts for the kids' snacks over these two weeks.  

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I hope that helps you guys a little bit!  My goal when I walk into the grocery store is to buy ONLY what is on my list.  Otherwise it's so easy to throw in extras which can quickly add up.  Before I walk into the store I go over my list one last time to make sure I haven't forgotten anything.  And yes, sometimes I'll add a candybar to the bottom of the list just so I can buy one at the register :)  then I don't feel guilty buying it because hey, it was on my list!!!! :)

If you have any more questions please ask!

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This past week I took the kids up to our local pumpkin patch for a few of the traditional pictures.
There was so much going on around us that I couldn't get their attention to look at the camera :)  
Imagine that!







Sweet girl in the hay maze... she was so excited about it!!!



               He's telling her "Nooo" in this picture because she kept trying to put her arm around him :)


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Hopefully this post isn't to scatter-brained and makes sense!  My brain and memory have been shot lately.  Travis and I laugh about how I am worse than an old woman.  And the sad part is I really am.  I can't remember a darn thing lately.  Don't people do cross word puzzles to help with their memory? hmm.

I hope everybody has had a restful weekend!  Have a great Monday tomorrow :)

A special day :)

posted on: Thursday, October 28, 2010


This morning was our sonogram and dr. appointment.  Sweet little baby was getting ready to take a little nap when we were taking our peek.  There was lots of yawning and rubbing of eyes :)  Baby looks healthy and is right on track to be born around the end of March!!! Obviously the baby being healthy is the BEST news of the morning! But... the other exciting news that we were told is..... that we're having another little boy!!! :)  We've decided his name will be Cade Lee (Lee is after his Grandpa...my dad).  

The kids went with us to the appointment.  Emma has been talking about finding out for weeks so we thought it would be fun for her to tag along.  She has been telling people that I will be having a baby girl and two puppies.  The sonographer first told her there was JUST a baby in my belly... no puppies.  Then she announced that it was a boy. :)  Emma just looked at her and said, "Oh.  Can I have a sucker now?"

Travis and I are both so excited to add another stinky little guy to the mix!!!  

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Today is not only a special day because  of Cade... but it is an EXTRA special day because it is our 4th wedding anniversary!!!  Happy Anniversary to the love of my life :)  Hard to believe that after only four years of marriage we already have three kids! :) I love it!

We had planned on celebrating later this evening.  But up until the beginning of the week both of us had forgotten that I teach piano lessons until late and he has to coach a JV football game.  Just as well! :) We usually end up celebrating our anniversary after football season is over.  It's always makes for something fun to look forward to later :)

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The babes are napping now... so thankful for this time of day!
Oh, and for everyone that has been asking how I was able to spend seventy some dollars on two weeks of groceries... I will write all about it in the next post!  :)  Trust me. It is VERY doable!  
Have a great Thursday everyone!

An attempt at organization

posted on: Tuesday, October 26, 2010


I'm taking a little break from fabric cutting (new Blue Cottage Holiday clothes!) to get on the internet for just a few.  Who am I kidding... a few minutes on the computer always amounts to an hour or so for me :) Anyone else with me? It's a total time burner for me!  I've actually been without a computer for the past couple of weeks during the day (mine has crashed) so I just use Trav's during the day.  It's amazing how MUCH I get done when I don't have the internet to browse every now and then.  I'm a sucker for a good blog :)  

Anyways... this all sort of leads me to the topic of organization.  The past month I have been working on organizing EVERY tiny aspect of our home.  Having all the energy sucked out of me during the first trimester of pregnancy made me realize just how unorganized my home was unless I was staying on top of it 24/7 (which at the time just wasn't happening).  While I was spending so much time resting on the couch I came up with several solutions to help keep our home organized and "flowing" peacefully :)  

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Our home is so small that it's easy for it to get overtaken with stuff and laundry.  My solution for the stuff was to throw it away or give it away.  Obviously I couldn't do that with our laundry.  
So here's the solution that I came up with.




I bought five inexpensive trashcans from Walmart.  Each trashcan I labeled with a category of the laundry.  Colds, Lights, Darks, Athletics (for Trav's coaching clothes) and Towels. I set the trashcans up in my laundry room right in front of the washer. Each family member is responsible for sorting their own clothes into the trashcans once they're done wearing it.  Obviously I sort the babes' clothes.  But Travis and Bekka (my sister) are responsible for their own.  When the clothes become level with the top of the trashcan I know that is ONE full load of laundry.  I dump it into my machine and voila!  I've eliminated dirty clothes around the house and having to sort them.  And the best part about it is I don't feel like I need to be doing laundry ALL the time like I used to.  I don't even bother with the wash until it reaches the top!  It is the best thing I have ever done!!!  So run to Walmart immediately and do so yourself!  

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Another problem I felt like I was continually facing was finding space to store things.
This summer I found this dresser at a garage sale for $10.  After a fresh coat of paint it looks good as new!  I've been using it to store movies, holiday decorations, games, etc.  

Please excuse the bareness of the walls and the top of the dresser:)
Ever since redoing our floors this summer I've been taking my merry time putting everything back together the way I want it!  I just finished sewing the curtains out of inexpensive painters dropclothes from Lowes ($10 per window!).  I'm hoping to have something on that wall by the time Christmas comes around;)  we shall see!

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So there are a few things that I've been doing around the house.
I'll share a few more in the upcoming weeks!
If you have any great organization tips you're willing to share I am ALL ears!!!


Off to finish cutting out patterns!
Happy Wednesday tomorrow! :)

Monday thoughts

posted on: Monday, October 25, 2010

Happy Monday!  Just a little warning this post will be all over the place.
My camera is now back in my possession and I have quite a bit to catch up on!
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Have I ever mentioned how much I LOVE Aldi?  You seriously need to check and see if there is one near you.  The babes and I went this morning for groceries.  I spent $78.51 on two weeks worth of groceries.  Dinners, lunches, breakfasts, snacks, fruits and veggies are included in this sum. Plus toilet paper and a pumpkin for Emma to carve this weekend.  

Most of the $78 went towards dinners.  We eat oatmeal 3-4 mornings a week.  My kids LOVE oatmeal.  Colt prefers his with just brown sugar.  Emma likes hers with brown sugar and blueberries.  So for breakfast over a two week span I'd say we spend less than $5.  The days that we don't have oatmeal I'll make pancakes, a coffee cake or muffins.  All of which are extremely cheap!

For lunches we typically just eat sandwiches.  Either pb&j, tuna or egg salad (for Trav and the kids... not my fav), yogurt and some sort of fruit or veggie cut up. 

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Yesterday after church we went out for Mexican at our favorite restaurant.  We all shared chicken and steak fajitas.... they were SO delish!!!

Emma's favorite part is the butter that they give you to put on your tortillas :)  


Colt's favorite part of the meal is the queso...just like his dad!


And mine was the steak... which is obviously almost gone in this pic :)



We went home for short afternoon naps and then loaded the kids in the stroller for a walk.
A friend (thanks Shelley!!) had given us a gift certificate to a new icecream shop on the square so we headed that way.




We went on quite a lengthy walk and by the time we got home my hands and feet were swollen and huge.  I am definitely feeling this pregnancy alot more than the first two!  Trav suggested we get in the car and go for a drive to give me a little rest :)
We drove over to his parent's house and spent the rest of our evening there visiting and eating pizza.
Trav's dad has a wonderful garden that has gotten it's second wind. He has a ton of tomatoes and peppers that should be ripe in the next week or two.  Emma loves to go through the garden with him to pick the veggies.  The only problem is he says she's worse than a rabbit and picks everything in sight :)  
Here she is with two of the peppers she managed to snatch when he wasn't looking :)

Yesterday was a wonderful day of resting and not having to cook!  Love days like that!

WHICH.....leads me to my next little thought....

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Like I said in my last post I was unsure whether or not to open Blue Cottage Kids up any time soon.  But after more thinking I do believe it will be up in the next few weeks!  I've had quite a few people ask me if I would be making any holiday outfits...and yes I will!  I'm super excited to show you in the next few weeks!  My plan is to have everything designed and sewn within 2 weeks.  So stay tuned!

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I need to head outside and hang up some more laundry on the clothesline.  It's extremely windy here today which is great because my clothes dry in about an hour!  

Have a great Monday!

Lame

posted on: Wednesday, October 20, 2010

I'm going to start this post off with a warning.
It will be slightly lame because there will not be a single picture involved.
I've tried downloading some from my sister's computer to my husband's mac.
Didn't work.
I tried figuring out how to copy and paste something from the Internet to the pictures on a mac....
but again...have no idea how (so if you know please tell me how!).
Then I went to just use a picture that was already downloaded onto his mac and the whole picture thing has disappeared somewhere into the mac world.  Seriously?!

So. That explains the no picture kind of post :)

Have I said how much mac's confuse and frustrate me?!
I need to go to mac school I guess.

Just a few random thoughts that have gone through my head today...

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*Insert a picture of a clock here*

One week from tomorrow we will find out whether we're having a girl or a boy!  In my mind it's already a boy.  Can't wait to see if I'm right!!! :)  This pregnancy has flown by faster than the other two.  I suppose it has something to do with me chasing around after the other two little munchkins.

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*Insert a picture of a steak here*

I would cut my right arm off to have a delicious steak in front of me right now!  Super excited to have one next week.  Trav and I are going out to celebrate our 4th wedding anniversary :)  I told him I didn't care where we went as long as they had delicious steaks.  And just a sidenote: I have never in my entire life ordered a steak off of a menu.  I'm not sure what to even order?  Tell me what kind of a steak you like! How do you like it done?  I prefer my steak to be on the crispy side.  I know that most steak lovers say this is ruining the steak... but I love it :) Reminds me of beef jerky!

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*Insert a picture of a sewing machine*

I have finally gotten my sewing machine and serger back in working order.  Last night I sewed Emma a little tunic.  I made the pattern up.  I have learned never to do that again.  When she put the tunic on she slightly resembled Humpty Dumpty.  It had elastic around the neck and the way the fabric gathered made the shirt poof out in the front and back.  

I've also started on a few Christmas presents.  My goal is to make quite a few of my presents handmade this year.  Not only to save a little moolaa but also because they're some of my favorite presents to receive!

I've been going back and forth on whether or not to open Blue Cottage Kids any time soon.  At the moment I'm kind of just enjoying sewing for Emma.  We shall see!

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*Insert a logo of Pandora Radio*

I LOVE Pandora!  My current favorite stations are Frank Sinatra Christmas and Watermark.  Yes...Christmas music in October.  We start celebrating early over here people!

And the Watermark station always has some great praise and worship music.  Nothing loud and crazy.  Good background music for our day!

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*Insert a picture of me closing my eyes*

:)

Off to bed!  Goodnight and Happy Thursday tomorrow!

Victory!!!

posted on: Monday, October 18, 2010

This past weekend was one of the BEST weekends I have probably ever had!
My family came into town for the weekend to pick up my youngest sister Kaitlin and just to visit.  It's become a tradition that they come for a weekend every fall.  They come to a football game and we usually end up doing some sort of shopping on Saturday (my Dad's favorite part.  ha).

Friday night's game was a big one for us against our town's other highschool.  We have lost the past two years to them.  The first half of the game started out with them considerably ahead of us.  The third quarter we slowly caught up.  And the fourth quarter was the most INTENSE quarter of football with our boys battling to the end.  The crowd was on it's feet the entire last quarter screaming and yelling!  It ended with our boys winning 52-51!!!!

My mom, sister Kaitlin, me and sister Bekka

 Sweet Colty loving on his Uncle Tim




Colty loves his Pawpa :)


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On Saturday we went to IKEA for lunch and a bit of shopping.  I love that place! If you have never been I highly suggest you find one near you!  I told myself I would only spend $20 while I was there (I ended up spending $18).  I bought  3 1/2 yards of fabric to make a winter blanket for Emma's bed, two ornament holders and a roll of wrapping paper.  The fabric for the blanket looks exactly like the fabric on this comforter.  I plan on using another red fabric to accent the back and top of the blanket.

The fam went back to Missouri this morning.  It's always a bummer when they leave...it's always such a good time when they visit!

I had every intention of posting some of my new organized spots around my house tonight.  I had taken pictures a few days ago.  But, the reason you're seeing no organized anything is because I accidently left my camera in my sister Kaitlin's purse.  Which is now in Missouri.  So hang with me :)

Off of bloggy land to list a few things on Ebay before bed. 
Have a great Tuesday!

Crockpot Potato Soup and a Fall Wedding

posted on: Monday, October 11, 2010

Good Monday evening! 

Our weekend was full of various events but wonderful!  Friday night we had our usual football game.  Sadly we lost by a touchdown during the last few minutes.  Those kind of losses always seem to be the most disappointing.  I'm excited for this week's game... it's against our town rival! 

We spent most of our weekend participating in wedding festivities for one of Trav's childhood friends.  Trav was a groomsman in the wedding so we had the rehearsal dinner on Saturday and the wedding on Sunday.  The date of their wedding was 10-10-10.  So fun! 

They had a small outdoor wedding at a country club. It was the PERFECT weather for an outdoor wedding.  Warm with a bit of a chilly breeze.  The kids came with us to the wedding and did such a great job staying quiet throughout the ceremony.  The only noise that was made was a giant burp from Colt half way through the ceremony when there was a silent pause.  And also when they released doves at the end... Colt let out several VERY loud oooo's and ahhhhh's as he watched them :)


This is Emma's second wedding to attend and she always thinks the bride is a princess because of her dress.
She wandered around after the wedding asking all the women one by one if they were princess's too!


Colt's favorite part of the wedding was the little fake tree topper from the groom's cake.


The groom and groomsmen. 



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Tonight for supper I made the BEST potato soup I have ever tasted!
It's a recipe that my mom gave me... I adapted it a little bit (because I couldn't remember the exact portions) and it turned out super delish!  I served it with a loaf of warm french bread.  Very easy and good!


Crockpot Potato Soup

1 bag of Ore Ida Hashbron Potatoes (I used the little square ones...not the shredded)
1 Family Sized can of Cream of Chicken Soup
2 boxes of Swanson Chicken Broth (the smaller sized boxes)
1 package of cream cheese
1/2 a chopped onion (or dried onion) use as much or little as you like
Salt and Pepper to taste

Throw everything except the cream cheese into your crockpot.  I cooked mine on high for 4 hours.  The last 30 minutes add your cream cheese. Serve when the cream cheese has melted. 
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Off to bed to read for a bit.  I just started the newest Francine Rivers book, "Her Mother's Hope."  I haven't read a book in forever... I had forgotten how much I love to read! Has anyone read this book yet? I've heard mixed reviews about it.

Have a good night!  And don't forget to make this soup for your family this week!  :) Nighty night!

2 week catch up!

posted on: Saturday, October 9, 2010

We are back home and are finally getting back into the swing of a somewhat normal schedule!
We had the BEST time visiting my side of the family and meeting our sweet new nephew/cousin Jake!
He is seriously the best baby I have ever seen.  The whole time we were around him he never let out a single cry unless it was time to eat.  I can't wait to head back up there for some more cuddle time with him!

Another perk of going up to Missouri last week is that we were able to take my youngest sister Kaitlin home with us for 2 weeks!  I'm trying to convince her to just stay and live with us too ;)  (just kidding Mom! I wouldn't do that to you! :) ) 
She has been SUCH a help to me around the house this past week.  We've been in Operation Organize the Blue Cottage around here.  Ever since re-doing the floors this summer everything has felt so helter-skelter and unorganized.  Slow but sure we're organizing every little space!  My to-do this week is to attempt to finish decorating the living room.  I had taken it all apart this summer and it has yet to be put back together!

Here are a few pics from our Missouri trip...
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The three cousins

Colt's Uncle Tim had a hat from Mongolia that we tried on him.... sweetest little
Mongolian boy I've ever seen! :)


Colt and Uncle Justin

Meeting sweet Jake for the first time!!!
Emma absolutely LOVED him!  I loved watching her interact with him...
makes me excited for baby #3 to be here!
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The week before we headed off on our Missouri adventure we took the kids to the zoo.  It was Emma's second time and Colt's first!  The weather was unusually chilly which made for such an enjoyable visit.  We're used to going and dying of heat strokes!

There were quite a few new exhibits this time.  One of which was a station where you could feed the giraffes.
Emma is like me in the fact that she's not to fond of touching animals.  She did humor Travis however and touched him with one finger :)






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This past week we took the kids and aunties to the Texas State Fair! 
We feasted on fried cookie dough, fried pizza,corn dogs, corn on the cob, popcorn and cotton candy!
The food is definitely my favorite part of the fair!  We visited our favorite exhibits, watched a dog show and Emma rode a ride before heading home.







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It feels good to finally be caught back up with blogging!
Hope everyone has been well!

Have a great weekend!!!

Failed Attempt

posted on: Wednesday, October 6, 2010

We're back after a wonderful week in Missouri meeting our new nephew/cousin!!!
For some reason blogger is giving me fits tonight.  I can't seem to download any pictures.
Just as well... I'm pooped and ready to hit the sack!  We spent the afternoon at the Texas State Fair.
Super fun but exhausting!
Check back tomorrow for new updates!
Nighty night!