Posts Tagged With: Money

7 Quick Takes Friday, Vol 16

1: Meatless Fridays

We’ve decided to go meatless on Fridays year round. How’s that going for us?

Actual exchange late last night (or about 3am) in the Fletcher house:

Me: We’re almost out of fish filets? *runs frantically to deep freeze* Well, actually, there 2960134096_135f9b0703are six here. Two fishes are a serving, so there’s at least 3 servings.

Scott: Two? I usually have 5 at a time…

Me: What?!?!?! Two fishes is more than plenty!

Scott: Not for me, it isn’t!

Me: Two fishes is more than enough. I mean, Jesus could feed, gosh, probably 5,000 people with two fishes.

Scott: IT’S NOT LENT YET!!!!!

It’s going well. Really well.

2: New Years Fitness Resolutions

Not doing so well. I’ve been working out like a champ, I mean really. My shin splints have flared up horribly, but I’m working around it. I dialed back the intensity of my circuit training (I went a little EXTREME!!! way too soon) and started mixing in some biking and Zumba. However, I’m washing away all of my hard work by over-snacking all night. Ever since I quit smoking, I’ve had snacking issues, which is weird because I never used to be a snacker. The real low point for me was when I ate a half a bag of Sun Chips in one sitting. I’m bored, and I’m at home by myself all evening, but I’ve got to stop this nonsense! I’ve just got to throw myself into prayer like I did when I was quitting smoking. NO MORE SNACKING!!!

3: If my fear was irrational, I wouldn’t be afraid of it. Duh.

Sometimes I wonder, whilst flailing about the living room, “dancing” to my Zumba XBox game, if perhaps my Kinect sensor is recording my performance and sending it off to Microsoft headquarters so they can laugh at it.  

Do you doubt it? I mean really? This is why we don’t have flying cars. The geniuses are all watching fat ladies show of their spasmodic dance skills in their living rooms. Brave new world.

4: We All Need Humbling

Last week, I mentioned I would be painting the Devon tower at a Wine and Palette painting class. So, here’s the tower:

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And this is my painting (keep in mind, the picture above is at an angle, mine is head on):

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Well, we can cross pride off the list.

5: Marriage Challenge–Just in Time for Valentine’s!

Hallie Lord, my personal marriage guru, is hosting a 41 day marriage challenge! Yesterday’s task was to slip a love note into his wallet. Done! He didn’t find it, though. So, I put it in the little envelope he keeps his debit card it, and hopefully when he takes his card out to pay for something he’ll find it?4343621338_1bddfe2369

Today’s task is to send him a sweet text message. I did! I told him I loved him..and gave him an update on the garage door situation. Does that count?

I suck at this.

6: I  Still Want My Monies!

Last week, I ranted about not having my W-2 and wanting our refund money. Well, I got my W-2, and had exactly 5 second of happiness about our refund before I realized our refund would be going entirely toward our medical debts and it wouldn’t even be enough to cover all of them. Unfair! Last year, we bought a new refrigerator and I was able to squirrel enough away to buy a Hawaiian vacation package for Scottie. This year, all of it is going to bills!?!?!?

All but a small portion that will be set aside for my Real Estate school. In another 6-12 months (or however long it takes for me to finish the darn thing) I’ll be starting a brand new career!

7: Pope John Paul II 

In Evangelium Vitae, Bl. Pope John Paul II included a special message for women who have had an abortion. In commemoration of the grim anniversary this week, I think it’s important to share what he had to say:

Pope John Paul II in ArmchairI would now like to say a special word to women who have had an abortion. The Church is aware of the many factors which may have influenced your decision, and she does not doubt that in many cases it was a painful and even shattering decision. The wound in your heart may not yet have healed. Certainly what happened was and remains terribly wrong. But do not give in to discouragement and do not lose hope. Try rather to understand what happened and face it honestly. If you have not already done so, give yourselves over with humility and trust to repentance. The Father of mercies is ready to give you his forgiveness and his peace in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. To the same Father and his mercy you can with sure hope entrust your child. With the friendly and expert help and advice of other people, and as a result of your own painful experience, you can be among the most eloquent defenders of everyone’s right to life. Through your commitment to life, whether by accepting the birth of other children or by welcoming and caring for those most in need of someone to be close to them, you will become promoters of a new way of looking at human life.  

– Pope Blessed John Paul II’s Evangelium Vitae, 99 (1995)

Be sure to keep Jen in your prayers as she continues her recovery and be sure to stop by Conversion Diary for more quick takes!

Yes,  yes, if you click on the little Amazon link on this page and buy something, I’ll make a teeny, tiny profit! 

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7 Quick Takes Friday, Vol 15: “Don’t try to assign a theme to it” Edition

1: Words Fail Me

I’ve gotten a bit backed up on blogging and actually have several half-finished posts, most of which I’m sure will be deleted. With everything that I’m hearing as far as guns and gun violence goes, I felt the need to pitch in my two cents. After many attempts at beating around the bush, I decided to just be blunt and say what I feel. Sometimes, blunt is best.

2: The Tooth Fairy Cometh4749403760_e6fce91d73_n

My darling Scott has finally come to terms with the importance of proper dental maintenance. Last week, the poor dear had an abscessed tooth and we got him in to see a dentist on Monday. Unfortunately, (long story) it was a very expensive dental office. Marble counter tops. A Keurig machine in the waiting room. Giant bowls of complimentary chapstick, key chains and gum. The place looks like a flipping palace. So, when he received a quote for a root canal and crown, I scoffed. Being the evil wife that I am, I refused to schedule an appointment to have the work done and told Scott we’d be shopping around. He was so unhappy with me! I forgot to grab a few handfuls of the free chapstick and gum on the way out the door, but I did my share of the Keurig coffee. We got him an appointment at Dental Depot yesterday, and he was able to get the root canal, crown, and deep clean for only slightly more than just the root canal and crown would have been at the spendy place. Poor thing. He had the root canal and half the deep clean done yesterday (same day as his initial exam at Dental Depot!) and he’ll get the rest of the deep clean and the temporary crown on Wednesday. Between now and then, he’s on a soft food diet and in a decent amount of pain. I made him some homemade potato soup, and that seemed to help.

Next time, he’ll go to the dentist when I tell him to. I’m sure of it.

3: It’s Official!

The holidays are over. In addition to Sunday being the liturgical end of the Christmas season, we celebrated 2 family birthdays on Saturday and my in-laws flew back to Saudi Arabia on Monday morning. No more big family meals. No more get-togethers over cake. It’s time to get back on a regular schedule!

4: Rebecca Monet!

I’m going to be working on a new masterpiece tonight at Wine and Palette. My sister, Betsy, and I went last month and did our renderings of the “Peace Angel.”

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Tonight, we shall be doing a rendering of the Oklahoma City skyline with the Devon tower. I am particularly fond of the Devon tower since my husband, the iron worker, built it.

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It was the first job he was sent on as an iron worker two years ago, and he’s still out there working on the finishing touches. Isn’t it just beautiful?

5: Smoking Hot!

166215927_48b7336d26Today, a coworker was on her way out for a smoke break and had to go back out to the front to help a customer. On her way, she put her cigarette down on the counter in the break room. I picked it up and sniffed at it. It was strange. 5 months ago, I couldn’t imagine not being a smoker. It was part of who I was. I set the pace of my days by my smoke breaks. Now, holding the cigarette in my hand, it seemed strange and unnatural.

Another coworker came in the break room and started to flip out. “Don’t do it!” he cried out. “You already quit!”

“You know what’s silly?” I said, thinking of the absolute torture of quitting and the divine intervention required to quit. “After all that, the main reason I don’t want to start up again is that I don’t want to stink.”

“That’s not silly at all,” he said.

I don’t know if I’ve addressed this already, but I honestly did not realize how bad I smelled when I smoked. Now, when I smell a smoker, I feel mortified that I walked around smelling like that. I really don’t want to stink again!

6: I Want My Monies!

It’s that time of year! For Rebecca to complain and moan because I SHOULD have my W-2 by now. This is a modern, advanced civilization, is it not? Everything is electronic, any information can be obtained with a mere touch of a button–except my W-2!

I’m particularly anxious to get mine because….I cheated! I borrowed against my return! When we had our glorious trip to Hawaii, we hadn’t saved up very much money, so I changed my tax filing status to single with 9 dependents, so no federal taxes were taken out for 4 or 4 checks. When I changed it back, I had an extra 100$/check taken out to make up for it, but I’m still a little worried. And yes, I did use the estimator at HR Block to see how much it should be based on our recent pay stubs, but until I get the final result, I’m going to worry!

7: At Last!

When I was 13 or 14, I read Les Miserables, then when I was done with it, I realized it was a8269937687_f7163b369a condensed version. Dangit. I’ve read the first half of the full version 2 or 3 times since then. After reading the condensed version, I bought the soundtrack to the musical and listened to it over and over again, wishing I could see it.

Last Friday, I got to. I’m not going to do a big commentary. It was Les Mis. It was done right. It was beautiful and glorious. I bawled at the end. It was worth every second of the wait.

I can hear the people sing!

Be sure to keep Jen in your prayers as she continues her recovery and be sure to stop by Conversion Diary for more quick takes!

Categories: 7 Quick Takes Friday | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Eat Better: Lessons Learned So Far

The primary purpose of this project is to be better stewards of what we have, to stop throwing food away. It would also be nice, I must say, to save some money and be able to give more to the Regional Food Bank. The message I keep getting is to SLOW DOWN. I throw things away without thinking twice, or even thinking about it at all, leading me to believe that perhaps we throw away a lot more food than I thought we did.

Money Matters

I thought I had slowed down and shown careful consideration. I suppose I was wrong. I made a meal plan, I went to the grocery store, and I quite painfully submitted to not getting anything that wasn’t on the list. Despite not buying any meat, aside from a package of bacon, I was shocked that my total was still $110. No bags of chicken breasts, no giant pot roasts, and still $110! And that’s on top of $30 I spent the night before at Walmart. Upon consulting my meal plan, I was even more shocked. I only planned 12 simple dinners and some soups for my lunches. Maybe it will just take a while for the savings to catch up with me.

The Tortilla Situation

I found a recipe online for Chicken Tortilla Soup from Souper Salad, a restaurant that used to be in this area and hopefully will be again! The recipe called for corn tortillas, which I considered replacing with chips, but decided to get the tortillas instead. The smallest pack of corn tortillas I could find was a 30 pack. I knew I wouldn’t need 30 tortillas but without a second thought (of course) I threw the 30 pack in my cart.

After fixing my soup and portioning it out into 7 freezable bowls, I started thinking about those leftover tortillas. I only used 8. That meant 22 were going in the trash. I kept telling myself I could freeze them, but would I? What else was I going to make with them? I have a few recipes, but that would involve getting a lot more ingredients. Within the first few days of my Eat Better Project, I’m already wasting food. I felt horrible.

I wandered around the kitchen, hoping inspiration would hit me and….taquitos! I could cook up some chicken breast, roll some taquitos and freeze them myself! Scott would love to have them in the freeze for quick lunches when he’s home alone.

My first round of attempts was very poor. It turns out, you do have to wrap corn tortillas in a damp paper towel and put them in the microwave for a few minutes before rolling them. The instructions on the package speak the truth. So, 7 tortillas went in the trash anyway. But we ended up with 15 taquitos! And since I didn’t have any taco seasoning on hand, I made my own. Without all the sodium.

Brisket Stew

I’ve had half a brisket in the freezer for some time now, and I decided to go ahead and fix it up in the crockpot and chop it up. I left some meat out for our meals for the next few days, but froze a few pounds for later. I figured it would be handy for days when I just don’t know what to cook. Once I was done chopping, I was left with a crockpot full of….flavor! I had filled the crockpot with water and boullion, which was now mixed with the stock from the brisket. I was a little antsy about all the chili powder I’d thrown in, but I grabbed a spoon, had a sip and after some debate decided it would be suitable for stew!

Potatoes, carrots, corn, peas, parsley, tomatoes, and about a cup of the brisket meat, and it made for one spicy stew! I was very heavy handed with my brisket seasoning when I put it in. I ended up having 2 bowls for supper, though! It was fantastic! And I had 7 more bowls of soup in the freezer for my lunches.

Stretching it Out

So, I’m on day 11 and I’ve still got 9 meals left from my original meal plan. We’ve been very good with leftovers and have found that we can get an extra meal or two out of a dish just by eating all of it. If there’s not much left, chop up some extra salad or put a slice of bread on the plate. We’ve also had a few suppers out of the soup that was supposed to be for my lunches. However, after making a batch of Potato Soup and Pumpkin Bisque (Yum!) in addition a few leftover bowls of Chicken Tortilla Soup and Brisket Stew, we still have about a dozen bowls of soup in the freezer. I did have to make a grocery trip for $30 because we we low on milk and bread and a few other things. While I was disappointed, if we continue to be diligent about not throwing food out and eating what we have, we should be able to make it until the first week of October before we have to do a full shopping trip again.

So far…

I’m slowly getting into the proper mindset. Rather than throwing something out (like the broth or the tortillas) I’m starting to see what I can do with it. But that’s not enough! As I learned with the tortillas, I need to have a plan for every ounce of food before I buy it to make sure nothing goes to waste. It was good fortune that I had everything I needed to make the Brisket Stew and the taquitos. Otherwise, I would have wasted it!

I actually started this post about a week ago. What I said about saving money at the beginning of the post? Here’s where the savings come in: we haven’t eaten out in 11 days. I wanted to get our eating out down to twice a month. We are well on our way! In July, we spent over $220 eating out and in August we spent over $130! August really hacks me off because we were trying so hard to save money for our trip and we still let $130 slip through our hands when we could have spent much less to eat at home. And while we were out spending that money, groceries we had bought were going bad at home and had to be thrown out.

Finally, I’d like to say how happy I am with making my own soups and freezing them rather than buying canned soups. I may get a pressure canner, or ask for one for Christmas so I can can my soups. I love being able to control what goes in. My recipes may need tweeking, but they don’t have to be perfect the first try, they still taste wonderful and I’m not picking out the things I don’t like. I’m also getting a lot less sodium and other preservatives. Well worth it.

Categories: Eat Better, Everything Else | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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