Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Thrifty Thoughts- Two Week Grocery Plan

Life can be crazy and busy.
In an effort to cut down on my time at the grocery store as well as cut down on our grocery budget I've come up with a Two Week Grocery Plan system.

I am by no means an expert.
Far from it.
This is just the system that works for me.
I've tried all sorts of systems and different ways.
I've tried grocery shopping once a week.
I've tried grocery shopping every few days.
I've tried not meal planning but just winging it.
I've tried talking my husband into going out to eat the majority of the week.

You name it and I've tried it :)
And I might add that all of those ways ended up costing us quite a bit of money.
And honestly...I'd rather spend my money on a vacation than on food. :)
Long story short...I have found that for our family two weeks worth of groceries works best.
Here's why.

It saves us money and it saves me time.
I am not running back and forth into the store several times a week.
I know that every time I go into the store for a loaf of bread I will more than likely
come back out with something else that I thought we might need.
Chocolate, juice, icecream...obviously not needed items.
And in all honesty I really despise grocery shopping.
I'd rather be doing a bajillion other things.

So that's the plan. 
Shopping for two weeks worth of food.

Next I set my food budget.
I've tried whittling it down...I've tried raising it up.
I think I've finally found a good dollar amount that makes it doable for our family.
I try and spend no more than $110 a week on just food.
This is a comfortable amount for our family.

Now here's the deal.
This may seem like a large budget to you.
Or it may seem like a small budget.
I don't know.

What I do know is when setting your food budget don't base it off of what others are spending.
Base it off of your own families needs.
Do you have a small family? 
Then maybe you can spend less.
Do you have big eaters?
Then you might need to budget a bit more.
Make it doable for your family.
You want to be able to stick to your budget.
Not become discouraged every time you go grocery shopping and go way over.
Trust me.
I would always leave feeling discouraged that I couldn't get my groceries to be $80 a week.
It just wasn't realistic for my family.
I could spend $80 but then at the end of the week be in need of a few more meals.
Set your budget.

The next thing you're going to do is...

I take pretty much everything out of it and set it all on my kitchen table.

I write down everything that was in my pantry.

Then on the same piece of paper to the right I write down the days that I will be needing meals.
This is where it turns into a game :)
I try and use almost all of the ingredients that I have in my pantry in the upcoming two weeks meals.
So see...I crossed off Bean with Bacon soup and added it to my Tuesday menu.
Shop your pantry!

Here is what I came up with for my next two weeks worth of dinners.
I don't have it written down but each dinner will be served with either a garden salad or veggie of some sort.

Now that my meal plan is made it's time to start making the grocery list.
I have learned that in order to fly through my groceries it helps to have my shopping list categorized.
I spend less time buzzing all over the store after forgotten items.
And I never have to repeat going back to an aisle anymore.
Do it the way that works best for you.
Here's what I typically write....
Cereal Aisle

I start at the top of my meal plan.
Bean with Bacon Soup with Grilled Cheese.
I already have the soup and cheese.
So I add bread under breads.
And butter under dairy.
Then I move to the next meal on our list and do the same thing.

The last step that I take is to price each item on my list.
I typically tend to price just a tad bit over which is fine!
Better overestimate than to underestimate.
Once everything is priced I total it all up.
There are several reasons I do this.
The main reason is so that it gives me a good idea of what I will be spending.
If it looks like I might be cutting it close to my budget I might swap a few of the more
expensive meals out for something a bit cheaper.
Like spaghetti :)
I also do it as an incentive to stick to buying exactly what is on my list and nothing more.
If I think there's a chance I can save $20 of my grocery money I'm more apt to stick to my grocery list.

The amount I totalled up this time was $183.
I ended up spending $191.
So I was close!

That leaves me with $29.
Which is perfect.
I try to save at least $20 for the end of the two weeks.
We sometimes need another gallon of milk, bread or some more fresh fruits and veggies.

So that's it.
I'm sure I'm missing something.
If you have any questions or even advice I'd love to hear it!
How do you go about your grocery shopping?!
What works best for your family?!


The usual morning routine going down over here...
the kids are watching their 30 minutes of tv while I drink my coffee and blog :)
We've got a full day ahead of us.
Laundry to be put away...
house to finish tidying up...
Emma's pre-school to work on...
orders to package and mail out
(they'll be on their way in the morning those of you who ordered!)...
piano lessons to be taught...
and Jello Jigglers to be made :)

Last night Travis was once again a jewel of a husband and helped me get my two week groceries.
We made an evening of it with the kids and went out for pizza before we shopped.
While I pushed around the food cart he loaded all three kids into another cart
and pushed them down the toy aisle while I shopped.
I'm tellin ya... he's better than any husband I could have dreamed up! :)

Back to the two week groceries...
I will be doing a Thrifty Thoughts post tomorrow explaining my system of how I go about it!

Have a great Tuesday friends!

*these pics were from Sunday night after dinner*

Monday, February 27, 2012


This weekend was not a normal weekend for me.
I spent the majority of the weekend in Dallas away from the babies.
And while I was gone sweet Travis was on baby and house duty all weekend.
I can't even put into words how much he blesses me.
I left on Friday afternoon and came home on Saturday afternoon
to find the house spotless and three happy kids.
Sunday morning we still had kids with coughs and runny noses so we thought
it was best for them to stay home from church.
I still had to go since I am the pianist.
So Trav stayed home all morning with all three of them again.
And low and behold...I arrive home after church to a spotless house again
and three happy kids.
I love my husband and am so thankful for him.
This weekend was such a time of refreshment and encouragement for me.
Thankyou Travis for being my best friend and for being so good to me!

On Friday night I headed to my sister's house.
We did a little shopping, ate dinner and then she did my hair for me.
We finished off the night curled up in her bed watching tv.
I love her and I love that she isn't far away!

And yes...those are matching bird shirts :)
Old Navy special ;)

Saturday morning I headed to The Shine Project at A Little Artsy.
It was SUCH a great time!!!
Several of us sat outside the entire time working on blankets.
It was such a treat being able to visit with friends in the sunshine :)
I think the majority of us had a sunburn by the time we left.
I told Travis when I got home that I felt like I had been on a mini beach vacation!
A good dose of Vitamin D and girlfriend time...two of the best things ever!

I'm not sure of the total number but I do know we made over 200 blankets
to donate to Dallas LIFE for the homeless!
Thankyou to everyone who donated fleece for the event!

*side note- if you are in the Dallas area and in need of art lessons Casey and her husband Chris have the CUTEST art studio called A Little Artsy. They do all sorts of classes...Mommy & Me, children and adults. They also do birthday parties and adult nights!
Their info is on their A Little Artsy website!*

It was such a blessing getting to visit with Sarah and Casey...these two girls are gems :)

After the event I headed to Target and Starbucks before going home.
That alone would have made for a great Saturday... but instead it was like the cherry on top :)


And now it's Monday!
Laundry is going, big two are playing, babies napping, coffee in my cup.
It's going to be a good day :)
How was your weekend?
I'd love to hear about it!

I'm linking up again with Laura and Bits of Splendor Monday.
<bits of splendor monday

The goal of the link up is to pick "out the beautiful distinct moments of your every day life."
And although this weekend was far from every day life for me it was a weekend full
of moments and people who blessed me more than they know.
Travis, Bekka, Casey and Sarah... just to name a few :)

Have a great Monday friends!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Sponsor Feature- 5oh Wifey

Happy weekend friends!
I'm home from a great weekend away (with no kids or husband...what!??)...
more about that on Monday!
I just wanted to announce the winner of the $25 Amazon giveaway from Two Things in Common!
It is...

I also want to introduce you to one of my fabulous sponsors...
Ashley of 5oh Wifey!
Here she is!

Hey y'all! My name is Ashley and I blog over at 5ohWifey: life as a mommy and cop's wife. I am amazed every day by what God is doing in my life. I am a southern girl now living in California against my will. I am the wife of 5ohHubby who is a police officer and wonderful man and no that's not mutually exclusive. I am a stay at home mom to an amazing little girl I call 5ohBaby and she is my whole world. We have probably the cutest, ugly dog out there (5ohPup).
I have a BA from Florida State (Go Noles!) that started out as an English Degree, ended up a social science degree, and is now being used as a MRS degree (because I don't work now... see how I did that?) Basically I paid FSU lots and lots o' cash to meet the man of my dreams and be the back up plan in case 5ohHubby decides his days of runnin' and gunnin' are over and he'd rather be a stay at home dad (and all the police wives laughed).

I want my blog to be a place where we can laugh together, cry together, and just be real with one another. I think I'm funny, and sometimes other people do, too. I try to blog about what I know. I love to blog about faith, life as a police wife, parenting, mommy style and fashion, DIY projects and recipes. I try to keep it as real as possible. I blog about everything from holding on tight to my little one to the time I accidentally fed her jalapenos. I write about both the joys and the stresses of being in a police marriage. I love to cook and even make my own baby food. Sometimes I get a little crafty and dabble in fashion posts.


Friday, February 24, 2012


This week was a good week.
We spent the majority of our time outside enjoying the crazy warm weather.
My plan was to fill the kids up with some good vitamin D from the sun.
Nothing like helping to boost their immunity.
Or so I thought.
Colds and fevers have hit full force as of two days ago.
How does that work!? :)

I love this window in our home.
My kids love this window.
It's our usual morning perch to watch for deer after breakfast.

Rubber boots are the go-to outside shoe around here.
We had some good rain earlier in the week which made for some dandy puddles!

In case you missed it...
I re-opened my shop!
And just because you're reading this...
I'm offering you readers a special weekend discount.
15 % off your purchase.
Just enter READERSPECIAL at the discount!

There's nothing better than a quilt full of sweet babies :)

Their fluffy little white heads always make me smile :)

Sun dress weather in February is glorious!!!

Poor Cade has been the victim of walk-by marker drawings this week...
specifically on his head three days in a row.

Speaking of Cade...
he's also taken it upon himself to take on the job of pulling the books off the shelf.
All of them.
All the time.
I've given up putting them away.

I'm sure I've posted about this salsa before.
But if not... it is THE BEST!!!
I love to have it with chips, on salads and even by itself.
It's that good!

How was your week?
Big plans for your weekend?
Hope you have a great one!!!

life rearranged

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Current State of Affairs

current guilty pleasure: honestly...I can't even think of one? I've given up Dr. Pepper for awhile... that's my usual guilty pleasure:)

current nail color: O.P.I French Quarter for your Thoughts (gray)
current read: The Shunning by Beverly Lewis.  It's an Amish series :) I can't get enough of them!

current drink: water. Lots and lots of water.

current food: Veggie sandwich... can you tell I'm trying to eat healthier? I'd much rather have some french fries and a Dr. Pepper.

current favorite show: Blue Clues...gives me time to sip my coffee in the morning :)

current wish list: I wish Trav were off work this afternoon to enjoy the weather with us!

current needs: I am currently needing my children to take naps...
but for some reason not a one is cooperating :)

current weather: 76 degrees and sunny!

current triumphs: Colt is almost successfully potty trained!

current bane of my existence: putting away my laundry. I love washing and drying and folding.
It's the putting away that gets me every time. :)

current blessing: The warm weather has been a blessing to me this week! We've spent the past three days playing outside until lunch time.  And then back out again after naps.
There's nothing better!

current excitement: The Shine Project this weekend!

current mood: content

current website: I'm looking at etsy right now for summer fabrics to make Emma a few dresses.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Thrifty Thoughts...here we come!

Alright ladies!
(and I guess the few gentlemen who read the blog :) )

It's time to get the Thrifty Thoughts ball rollin'!

Let me first say that I am in no way an expert.
Far from it.

I am simply a stay-at-home mom of three littles living on one income.
We have always lived on one income.
I have had odd jobs on the side to supplement...
but we solely depend on my husband's
teaching/coaching job.

There have been alot of trial and errors.
We're still figuring out what works best for our family.
That's the thing.
What may work for my family may not be the best for yours.
So with that in mind here's where I'm going with all of this....

My prayer is that we might build a sort of community.
A community where we can encourage one another to be wise with our finances.
A community where we can encourage each other to save money rather than spend it!
A community where we can share ideas on how to stretch our dollars!
A community where saving money and living frugally can be fun and creative!
A community where you can feel comfortable talking about ways you've saved
 instead of having to try to keep up with the Jones'.

I would love if you would join me on the Thrifty Thoughts journey!
What are some topics you might like addressed?
What are areas you wish to save money in?

I'm still penciling everything out.
But I know that next week I am going to be addressing grocery shopping.
I for one am not a couponer.
I prefer to buy generic brand and to save in other ways such as meal planning.
So I'm going to show you how I go about it.

Going back to creating a community...

I would love for us to be able to chat back and forth with each other in the comments section.
If you have an idea or a thought about any of this please leave a comment! 
And read the above comments as well...
the more we can encourage each other in these areas the better :)

Hope your day was great!

Teaming up with Minor Impressions

About a month ago I teamed up with Jennifer of Minor Impressions Photography.
I was in need of a few pictures for the blog and shop...
her work is incredible!!!
And not only is she an incredible photographer but she is truly one of the sweetest people you will ever meet.
Not even kidding.

If you are around the Dallas area schedule a photo session with her!

She is offering my readers a $50 print credit
for all sessions booked through 6-30-12!
All you have to do is mention you read this blog post!

Here is a little bit about Jennifer and some of her work...


Hey there! I'm Jennifer Minor, and I'm the face behind Minor Impressions!
I'm a born and raised Texas girl who is honored to be the mommy of two precious and mischevous little girls, ages 7 and 4.  They both inspire and challenge me on a daily basis and while there are days I'd love to run and lock myself in a closet, I would never give up being a mommy for anything.
I have the luxury of being the wife to a man who still looks at me every day in the same way he did the day we were married (except when I tick him off, of course!) and I'm grateful he has given me so much support to pursue my dream of photography.

(Picture courtesy of my good friend Rebecca of Rebecca Keeling Studios.  I don't usually photograph my clients in heels and a dress, but we were swapping pictures!)

For as long as I can remember, I've loved having pictures to reminisce about a day or an event. I always thought it was a great way to savor the moment even after it was gone.  When I had my first daughter, I went camera-crazy! Not only was I constantly taking pictures of her at home, but I think I took her to a studio every 2 or 3 months to have her pictures taken. Every time I did it, I would bring my own props and tried to have the studio do something different than what they advertised.  I didn't realize how much I loved doing it until I had my second little girl and I decided to get all the cousins together for a picture. While technically they weren't the best pictures, I knew that it was something I loved doing and it made me really want to learn more about photography.  That's when I found a group here in Dallas who did photo walks and was open to teaching a newbie a little more about the camera besides turning it on and pressing a button.  Although I've been doing this for a few years now, I continue to look for any way to learn and grow in my art.  While still holding down a full-time job as an auditor, I've been soaking in as much information as possible and having so much fun with some amazing families who let me capture their awesome relationships.  My sessions are often described as very relaxed, fun and spontaneous.  I always have a plan, but love it when my clients join in on the fun and give me some ideas of their own.

Since I started Minor Impressions, I've attempted all types of photography from team sports to newborn, children to seniors, and family to maternity.  I've even helped shoot a couple of weddings.  In the past year, I've decided that my true passion is children and family portraits and seniors.  I love the connection I have with my families.  I try to give a little direction to the parents, then let the kids fill in where they are most comfortable.  Most of the time they like to try a few different things after a couple quick seconds!

My favorite sessions are one-on-one with kids.  ANY age kid!! It can be the biggest challenge, but having two kiddos of my own, I'm used to chasing them around.  I've learned that it's best to keep the lens out of their face and just talk to them while they're in their own element having fun.

This past year I had some sessions that really made me fall in love with working with seniors.  They take great direction and I love that I get to focus solely on them and show them how beautiful or handsome they truly are.

For the past two years, I've had the pleasure of working with a group of six amazingly talented women and photographers from all over the US.  We put together weekly suggestions to help our clients look their best for their portrait sessions called Wardrobe Wednesday {where fashion meets photography}.  Not only have they helped me grow my business, but they encourage and challenge me to be the best photographer I can be.

If you're not completely bored to tears after reading this, I'd love for you to stop by and "like" my Facebook page and say "hello"! I would love to hear from you!


You can find Jennifer and her business here...

Monday, February 20, 2012

Thoughts & Peanut Butter Cookies

Monday :)
The weeks seem to fly by these days.
I have been praying about being extremely intentional with my time.
Time spent with Travis...time spent with the kids...time spent with friends...time spent with the Lord.
My days just seem to fly by...

Yesterday I played piano for the funeral of an elderly man.
His wife is still alive...they would have been married 65 years next month.
Some of his grandchildren and children spoke during the service.
They spoke of their fondest memories of him.

It made me think about my own babies and husband.
I want to be so intentional with the time that I am spending with them.
Intentional about making great memories with them :)
Am I using every minute of my day to pour into their lives?
Whether it be teaching the babes a new Bible verse...
or sitting down to play toys with them.
Or with Travis...
I want to be intentional making sure our evenings aren't spent with me on the computer
and him reading on the couch.

I've also been trying to be more intentional in writing down funny stories
or events that might have happened that I will want to remember.
I know I've posted this before...
but I read somewhere that we as women are the "memory keepers" for our families.
I love this!!!

Most of all I want to be intentional about impacting my children's hearts for the Lord.
My prayer is that they would be used for His Kingdom.

I know I talk often on the blog about the Lord....
His Kingdom...

If you're confused about what in the world I'm talking about I would love to tell you more.
Even if you just want to ask a question about the Lord.
He has changed my life.
I pray that you would let Him change yours as well.

E-mail me...


And now I will just transition into a Peanut Butter Cookie Recipe ;)
Cause that's how we roll over here haha!

Emma and I made these cookies this past weekend.
It is my all time FAVORITE Peanut Butter Cookie Recipe!
They're soft and chewy...the perfect combo!

Soft & Chewy Peanut Butter Cookies

1/2 Cup Butter, softened
1 Cup Peanut Butter
3/4 Cup White Sugar
1/2 Cup firmly packed Brown Sugar
1 Egg
1 Tablespoon Milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 Cup Flour
3/4 Teaspoon baking soda
1/2 Teaspoon Baking powder
1/4 Teaspoon salt

Beat together butter and peanut butter until well combined.
Add sugars and beat until fluffy.
Add egg, milk, and vanilla extract and mix until smooth.
Add flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt and mix just until blended.
Roll dough into balls.
Dip a fork into white sugar and make a criss-cross pattern in the top of your cookie.
Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.
Do NOT overbake!
I pulled mine out while they still looked a bit raw.
Let them sit on your baking sheet for a few minutes to finish cooking.


And in other news...
just in case you missed it...
my Etsy shop is back open!


And also... Angie with Two Things in Common is giving away $25 to Amazon.com.
The winner will be announced this coming Saturday!


And last of all...
I'm linking up with my friend Laura of Bits of Splendor today.

bits of splendor monday

Here's a little bit about the link up in Laura's words:
"Each Monday, you can link up with your post about whatever Bit of Splendor you found in your week. The little moments or things in your life each week that made it fun, distinct and beautiful. Maybe it's a fun craft or new project {I love a good craft or decor project!} an encouraging word, a special memory or milestone you want to capture with your loved ones and kids, or simply something God taught you that week.
My heart for this is to continue cultivating community and encouragement among us, and to capture the distinct moments of life that make it so beautiful."

I love this :)
Check out her blog and the others that link up.
I have a feeling you'll be encouraged :)


Have a great start to your week friends!!!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

The Shop is Open!

I'm opening the shop up a little bit early!
Everything listed is one of a kind.
If you see something you like...get it!
Simply because there will most definitely not be another like it re-listed. :)


In the shop you will find Flower Corsage Pins.

Perfect to pin on your favorite sweater or to a scarf...
To adorn the top of a package as a gift...
On a pillow for decor...
Or to the side of your fabric purse!

The Corsage Pins can easily be made into hair clips if you need.. just let me know!

You will also find Vintage Hanky Pillow Covers!
Each one is one of a kind and different!
Snatch your favorite up while it's there!