Monday, November 24, 2014

Happy Mama = Happy Babies

Its been a crazy afternoon. Only one of the girls napped and they were both insanely crabby. Aunt Flo came to visit today and I'm about ready to pull my hair out. Its one of those days I talked about in my last 'Sunday Confessional'.  One of the ways I handle these days is to use my Earth Mama Angel Baby Happy Mama Spray. Its like heaven in a bottle. The number one thing it does is calm nausea. But I use it to calm my stress. Its totally natural so as to avoid nasty chemicals or drugs. I was tied to Zofran during my last pregnancy, I'm hoping that Happy Mama Spray, in combination with other natural remedies, will keep my morning sickness at bay next time.
I highly recommend this stuff! Especially now that they have a new and improved formula! #VirtualBliss #EarthMama
*I do not make any money off this or anything. It is 100% my true opinion.*

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Party on a Budget

My Baby Crunch turned 1 a couple weeks ago.
We wanted to have a small party, but that isn't really an option for us because of the size of our families (I'm the oldest of 8 and Hubby Crunch is the third of 9, That doesn't include our parents, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephew, cousins, grandparents, etc.)
My next best option was to figure out how to throw a party on a budget. Where else would I go but Pinterest?
We decided on serving a Taco Bar. Small amounts of each ingredient (specifically the expensive ones), but plenty of variety for everyone! 


Flour Tortillas*
Tostadas (Corn tortillas, fried flat)
Tortilla Chips

Taco Seasoned Ground Beef
Shredded Salsa Chicken

Other Fillers
Refried Black Beans
Refried Pinto Beans
Spanish Rice

Diced Onions
Diced Tomatoes
Sliced Black Olives*
Shredded Lettuce
Chopped Jalepenos
"Mexican Blend" of Shredded Cheeses (Monterey Jack, Colby Jack, and Mild Cheddar)

Mexican Corn Salsa (we also added black beans)
Liz's Homemade Salsa (adapted from this recipe)

More Sauces
Mild Taco Bell Sauce*
Hot Taco Bell Sauce*
Sour Cream

*We bought these items rather than making/slicing/prepping/dicing/etc ourselves. We also bought the corn tortillas in order to make the Tostadas and Chips.
I don't know why I angled the picture like this...
I probably thought it would be artsy....
Next were decorations. The theme was Little Bunny Foo Foo (Baby's favorite song). I wanted to get that theme across without breaking the bank. So we made lots of things ourselves.
I hand-wrote all the food signs, I wrapped green utensils in orange napkins to look like carrots,
my sister glued cotton balls to plastic cups and drew faces to make bunnies, several of my siblings drew faces and tails on balloons to make field mice, we put gerber daisies in limes (you can see them hiding in several pictures) and Baby Crunch wore her bunny tutu!

I think my very favorite themed item was the cupcakes. We made bunnies on top of carrot cake and field mice on top of vanilla funfetti cake. Confession though, I used boxed cake mix and premade frosting. I wish I had gotten better pictures, but my phone went MIA, so we made do with what we could. They were so adorable!! Thanks to Pinterest and Google images for the inspiration.
For the bunny ears, I cut a marshmallow in half diagonally and dipped the cut side in sprinkles. The mouse body is a maraschino cherry (stem on) dipped in chocolate and stuck to a Hershey Kiss head, with almond sliver ears.

There ended up being just over 30 teens and adults and around a dozen kids and toddlers at the party. We had plenty of food for everyone, plus leftovers of some things. It was a lot of fun and hardly stressful at all!

I will be posting a full cost breakdown as soon as I can for those who are interested.

Chime in! What is your favorite way to party on a budget?

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

October Grocery Shopping Lists

Partway through this month we were able to up our grocery budget to $100 a week and I started shopping Market Basket as well as Walmart because I can get better prices on most products at MB.

October 2, 2014

Red Grapes 1.67lbs @ $1.98 per lb - $3.31
Bananas 2.05lbs @ $0.49 per lb - $1.00

1 Pint Organic Grape Tomatoes - $2.98
1/2 lb Organic Carrots - $0.98
3 bunches Organic Romaine Lettuce - $3.38
Sweet Potatoes 1.01lbs @ $0.98 per lb - $0.99
1 Cucumber - $0.72
Broccoli 0.60lbs @ $1.48 per lb - $0.89
2 Bell Peppers @ $0.78 each - $1.56
1 head Cauliflower - $2.48
Onions 0.75lbs @ $1.28 per lb - $0.96
Garlic Clove 0.22lbs @ $3.88 per lb - $0.85

Deli Turkey Breast 1.14lbs @ $3.78 per lb - $4.31
Whole Chicken 5.81lbs @ $1.09 per lb - $6.33

Deli White American Cheese 1.25lbs @ $5.98 per lb - $7.48
8oz Monterey Jack Cheese block - $1.98
16oz Mozzarella Cheese block - $3.64
8oz Parmesan Cheese wedge - $4.48

two 28oz cans Whole Peeled Tomatoes - $2.96
two 28oz cans Crushed Tomatoes - $2.88
two 28oz cans Tomato Sauce - $2.88
one 14oz can Tomato Sauce - $0.78
Honey - $2.12
two 1lb bags Dry Black Beans - $1.36
1/2 gallon name brand Orange Juice - $3.00
1 gallon store brand Orange Juice - $3.98
1lb Pasta - $1.00
4oz Yeast - $4.68
Worchestershire Sauce - $3.98

Total: $83.82 for 30 items

October 9, 2014

1.34lbs Bananas @ $0.49/lb - $0.66
1.03lbs Fuji Apples @ 0.97/lb - $1.00
Pie Pumpkin - $2.28

1 Green Bell Pepper - $0.78
1 head Iceberg Lettuce - $1.08
0.87lbs Broccoli @ $1.48/lb - $1.29
0.6lbs Tomatoes @ $1.98/lb - $1.19
0.66oz Fresh Basil - $1.98
1.21lb Sweet Onions @ $1.28/lb - $1.55
0.27lb Poblano Pepper @ $2.48/lb - $0.67

'Day Old'/Reduced Steak - $6.20
2.21lb Sliced Ham @ $4.27/lb - $9.44

Dairy and such
1 dozen vegetarian fed chicken Eggs - $2.98
8oz Sharp Cheddar Cheese block - $1.98
8oz Monterey Jack Cheese block - $1.98
16oz Mozzarella Cheese block - $3.64
1/2 gallon Organic Whole Milk - $3.98

1/2 gallon name brand OJ - $3.00
1 gallon store brand OJ - $3.98
12oz Tomato Paste - $0.92
1lb Pasta - $1.00
1lb uncooked White Rice - $0.84
two 28oz cans diced Tomatoes @ $1.08ea - $2.16
BBQ Black Bean Chips - $2.88 (P.S. I thought these were gross, Hubby Crunch thought they were great)
1lb dry Black Beans - $1.72
11oz Coconut Water - $1.68
Coconut Flakes - $0.94
24 White Corn Tortillas - $2.00

45' Parchment Paper - $3.48
50' Tin Foil - $2.98

Total: $70.26 for 30 items

October 16, 2014

1 box Raisins - $1.98
2.49lb Green Grapes @ $0.98/lb - $2.44

Cucumber - $0.72
3.33lb Spaghetti Squash @ $0.98/lb - $3.26
5lb White Potato - $1.97
0.97lb Tomato @ $0.98/lb - $0.95
1lb Carrots - $0.78

2.39lb sliced Ham @ 4.27/lb - $10.08

Dairy and such
1 dozen vegetarian fed chicken eggs - $2.98
8oz Monterey Jack Cheese block - $1.98
8oz Sour Cream - $0.98
two 8oz Mild Cheddar Cheese block @ $1.98ea - $3.96
1.02lb deli White American Cheese @ $5.98/lb - $6.10
1lb Organic Unsalted Butter - $5.58
8oz Swiss Cheese block - $2.48

11oz Coconut Water - $1.68
8.9oz Cheerios - $2.58
King size M&Ms - $1.38 (bought as a gift)
1/2 gallon name brand OJ - $3.00
two 1lb Whole Grain Pasta @ $1.28ea - $2.56
small jar Molasses - $2.68
Brown Gravy Mix packet - $0.44
1 gallon store brand OJ - $3.98
small jar Honey - $2.12
Taco Kit (hard and soft tacos, seasoning, taco sauce, enough for 2 meals) - $3.00
Fruit Squeeze Pouch - $1.25 (because sometimes you forget a snack for the baby)
8.5oz Olive Oil - $1.98
two 28oz cans Whole Peeled Tomatoes @ $1.48ea - $2.96
two 28oz cans Crushed Tomatoes @ $1.44ea - $2.88
32oz White Vinegar - 0.98
18oz Quick Oats - $1.68
42oz Old Fashioned Oats - $3.24
two 29oz cans Tomato Sauce @ $1.44ea - $2.88

9oz Dawn dish soap - $0.97
two 70 count facial tissue @ $1.00ea - $2.00
120 count facial tissue - $1.00
2 flavored chapsticks - $2.00 (gifts)
Playdough - $0.88 (gift)
5pack Matchbox Cars - $4.97 (gift)
16 count Baby Wipes - $0.97
5lb Dog Food - $9.97

Groceries: $101.04 for 38 items
Gifts: $9.23 for 4 items

Total: $110.27 for 42 items

October 23, 2014

Market Basket

1 quart Strawberries - $3.99
2.58lb Red Grapes @ $1.99/lb - $5.13
1.94lb Bananas @ $0.39/lb - $0.76

8oz frozen chopped Spinach - $0.79
Fresh Basil - $1.99
0.34lb Green Beans @ $1.69/lb - $0.57
bag o' Coleslaw greens - $1.59
2 Cucumbers @ 2/$1.19 - $1.19
1.18lb Broccoli @ $0.99/lb - $1.17
1 head Iceberg Lettuce - $0.99
1.7lb Sweet Potatoes @ $0.89/lb - $1.51
0.3lb Sweet Onions @ 0.89/lb - $0.27

Boneless Pork Butt - $9.36 (I don't remember size, but half went in the freezer)

sliced White American Cheese - $3.55
1lb Organic Unsalted Butter - $4.89
8oz Monterey Jack Cheese block - $2.00
two 8oz Mild Cheddar Cheese block @ $2.00ea - $4.00
8oz Sharp Cheddar Cheese block - $2.00
1 dozen Vegetarian Fed Chicken Eggs - $2.00
1/2 gallon Organic Whole Milk - $3.49
16oz Mozzarella Cheese block - $3.49
16oz Ricotta Cheese - $1.89
2 Vanilla Yogurt cups - $0.89
8oz Sour Cream - $0.89

1 gallon store brand OJ - $3.69
Organic Unrefined Coconut Oil - $5.99
Celery Seed - $3.99
Candy Corn - $1.00
1lb jumbo shells Pasta - $1.50
Dijon Mustard - $1.99
small jar Mayonnaise - $1.39

Other40 load size Tide Powder - $9.49
Infant Ibuprofen - $5.99
40 count quart size Storage Bags - $1.50
two 18 count gallon size Storage Bags @ $1.50ea - $3.00

Subract 4% from entire bill until December 27th

Total: $85.03 for 35 items

October 30, 2014 (Baby Crunch's Birthday!)

Market Basket

3lb Cortland Apples - $2.69
2.78lb Red Grapes @ $1.99/lb - $5.53
1 Lemon - $0.69
1.37lb Bananas @ $0.49/lb - $0.67

0.53lb Green Bell Pepper @ $1.49/lb - $0.79
1.22lb Broccoli @ $1.49/lb - $1.82
2 Cucumbers - $1.00
1 sleeved Celery - $0.99
1 head Iceberg Lettuce - $0.99
3.05lb Spaghetti Squash @ $0.79/lb - $2.41
2lb Carrots @ $0.79/lb - $1.58

6oz Swiss Cheese block - $1.50
8oz Monterey Jack Cheese block - $1.50
8oz Mild Cheddar Cheese block - $1.50

Cheese Dip - $3.00
Tortilla Chips - $2.50
1lb angel hair Pasta - $1.00

Subtract 4% from entire bill until December 27th
Subtotal: $28.95 for 17 items


Fun Pumpkin - $4.88 (for carving)

Deli Sliced Ham - $7.92

1 dozen Vegetarian Fed Chicken Eggs - $2.98

Ritz Crackers - $2.50
Cheerios - $2.98
1 gallon store brand OJ - $3.98
1/2 gallon name brand OJ - $3.98
1 loaf Whole Wheat Bread - $2.88
28 count Bottled Water - $3.98

Subtotal: 36.08 for 9 items

Total: 65.03 for 29 items

That last week we also had our daughter's birthday party with a large number of people. But that is going to be a separate post, so I didn't include those groceries, which contributed to several meals because of leftovers.

Starting soonish, I will do 1 post for each week. I will include our dinner menus along with that week's grocery lists.

Chime in! Have you been able to stick to your budget so far this month?

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Throw Together Night

It's pretty easy to make dinner after a shopping trip that looks like this:

Not so easy when the fridge looks like this:

One of the ways I make my budget work is to challenge myself at the end of every week to throw together a meal with whatever is left before I go shopping the next morning. That takes some serious work sometimes when I don't buy any extraneous foods. It has worked well so far though.

The first week I made enchiladas with leftover corn tortillas, leftover shredded chicken, an extra can of red beans with chili sauce, and 3 different kinds of leftover cheeses.

The second week I made these twice baked potatoes with leftover broccoli, kale, chili, and sliced american cheese.

I challenge you to make an entire meal out of leftovers the night before you go grocery shopping. Get creative, use Pinterest, and have fun with it!
Chime in! Are you able to get creative with leftovers? Share your creations here.

Sunday Confessional: I Can't Do It All

A couple weeks ago I sent this picture to my husband while he was at work. The caption was "F*** this s**t, I'm going to bed" (There were no asterisks when I sent it to him)

Scary, right? My kitchen didn't look a whole lot better.
Sometimes I like to reread my own blog posts because I sound kind of amazing, gives me a good morale boost. But as you can see, I'm not amazing all the time. The amazingness is actually pretty rare.
This blog is one of the last things on my priority list. So please forgive me for being a horrible blogger. It has been a whole month since my last post and I have 4 half finished posts that I haven't gotten around to completing yet.
Hope is currenting watching Curious George and tearing up the living room so I can have 10 minutes to type this up. Hopefully Daddy will be home soon from hunting so I can get the October grocery lists typed up. I could go on, but there is no need for that! I just wanted to check in and say, I'm here, I'm trying, and I can't do it all!
Chime in! How do you cope with the hard days? I could certainly use some advice.

Green Cleaning

The next step on the road to crunchiness was to rid our home of harmful chemical cleaners. At first I thought it was as easy as buying an organic cleaner. So I did it. I joined  the Healthy Home Company and bought Clean, a 10 in 1 cleaner. I love it, I even made this meme
Yes, it can be used to wash your dog too.
It really does replace all of those products. It's absolutely wonderful. My only problem was the high price tag. $29.95 for non-members, $19.95 for members.
It does last awhile, and I could justify it every which way to Sunday, especially because I love it. But I knew there had to be a more budget friendly option. So I went back to my ebooks from the Healthy Living Bundle. There is a whole category on green cleaning. I started reading and soon face-palmed. Vinegar, baking soda, and blue Dawn. Duh! Of course you can add essential oils and there are other household products that can add oomph to certain jobs (toothpaste to clean headlights anyone?). But basically, you can do anything with those 3 cheap tools.
New meme!!

Now, I won't be replacing everything. Finish tabs will continue to be my dishwasher soap of choice. Tide is still the only thing I trust to get my clothes and cloth diapers clean without leaving a soap residue (which can cause repelling and ammonia build up in diapers). I also keep bleach around for when I buy used diapers. You have to pick and choose what works best for your family and your comfort level.

My current go-to, all purpose cleaner recipe is:
1/2 cup White Vinegar
1/2 tsp Blue Dawn
2 cups Water
3-5 drops Essential Oil (optional)

I also use 'Blue Soap' for more heavy duty scrubbing jobs:
2 parts Blue Dawn
1 part White Vinegar
1 part Hydrogen Peroxide
shake before each use. sprinkle some baking soda on first if its a set in or burned on stain, gives you a little extra scrubbing power.

Chime in. What are the worst chemical offenders in your home?

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The Grocery Process

People have already asked me how I stick to my budget (which after a whole house budget hash out, has been increased slightly. Whoohoo!). Here is my process.
I get paid for watching E (the 2 year old) on Wednesday, so I shop on Thursday. That means Wednesday night is spent on the weekly grocery planning.
I came up with this process by combining what I already knew from helping my mom plan meals while growing up, with reading various blogs and '101 ways to save money'.

Step 1:
Make our weekly menu plan. The hardest part has been making sure I plan for breakfast, lunch, and snacks as well as dinners (why must everyone need to eat so often?)
I always try to find one new meal to try. Most of them have been approved by the hubby and I add them to my recipe book.
At least one meal is a frugal meal (Around $5 for the entire thing).
Remember that we only eat meat twice a week (bonus points if the frugal meal contains meat)
Make sure that at least a couple of those meals won't involve hours in the kitchen. You never know when you might end up with a busy day (or clingy, teething babies). Maybe you do know which nights will be hectic, plan simple meals, or meals you can make ahead, for those nights.
Keep in mind foods that are in the freezer and pantry.

Step 2:
Turn my menu into a shopping list.
It usually helps to be in the kitchen/pantry while I do this. I notice things I have and substitute some ingredients so that I don't have to buy as much. I've been known to change an entire meal this way.
Being in the kitchen also helps to remind me of staples that we have run out of.

Step 3:
Check my phone apps for rebates and deals.
The 2 apps I use most are Ibotta and Snap By Groupon. I also use Walmart Savings Catcher, but that doesn't factor into preplanning.
When checking these apps, I start with foods I need to buy anyways. Then I look for foods I could use as substitutes for anything on my list. Last, I check for items that I use frequently, even if I know I won't use them this week.
So far I've been getting somewhere in the range of $5 back per week between the different apps, and I have yet to buy anything that didn't/won't get used. I'm saving my rebate money for Christmas gifts.

That's about it I think. It can be a little time consuming, but I don't mind right now.
I'm currently learning a new way to shop that is supposed to be a 'set and forget' type system. I will definitely update you if I am successful!

Chime in! Do you have a grocery planning process? If so, what does it look like? If not, do you want to implement one? No one's process is exactly the same an I'm always looking to learn, so share your thoughts!

Menu Plan week of Oct. 9-15

Got it? Good.
Oh, you don't got it? That's ok, reading my handwriting is hard enough without the toddler helping on top of it.

Sunday: Pasta Primavera with Cauliflower Sauce (
I used whatever veggies I could find hanging around. I knew I would be using the broccoli florets later in the week, so I cut up the stalks to put in the pasta (bonus, the florets are now precut for Thursday's meal)

Monday: Barbeque Chicken Sandwiches on Homemade Bread. French Fries.
Pound out a single chicken breast to make 2 sandwiches, marinate in homemade BBQ sauce before cooking. Pile the sandwich high with cheese and veggies (we used tomato, bell pepper, and lettuce). Grill the sandwich on the stove, use a cookie sheet/pizza pan to press it down while it cooks.
It was a busy day, so I didn't end up making fries.

Tuesday: Homemade Pizza with Homemade Sauce. (Breadmaker crust - Pinterest. Sauce -
I used the leftover veggies from the sandwiches to add bulk to our pizza. I can't stand shredding soft cheeses (like mozzarella), it frustrates me too much. So I tried out thin slices of mozzarella instead. worked great! Bonus, I had leftover sauce and cheese that I put in the freezer for quick pizza nights in the future.

Wednesday: Easy Mac and Cheese with Cauliflower Sauce. Sweet Potato Fries.
Original recipe for the Mac and Cheese is 2 cups pasta, 2 cups milk, and 2 cups cheese. I will be replacing half of the cheese with a cup of cauliflower puree that I have in the freezer. Cook the pasta in the milk, then mix the cheese and cauliflower in until melted.

Thursday: Beef and Broccoli (Pinterest) with Coconut Rice (
Remember those precut broccoli florets from Sunday? Made prep for this easy meal even easier!

Friday: Tuna Fish Sandwiches. Salad.
Pretty simple. This has actually been on my menu for 3 weeks in a row, we haven't eaten it yet. I'm not a huge fan of tuna (or any fish for that matter), plus its easy to save canned tuna, it won't go bad. So this is the meal that continually gets skipped over if I end up at someone else's house for dinner one night (which happens pretty often).

Saturday: Throw Together Night
More on this in a future post.

As you can see, we only have meat 2 nights a week, meat is expensive. I'm usually better about planning in more beans though.
We don't necessarily eat these meals on the days they are planned for, I just use the pad of paper with days on it because someone gave it to me. We eat whatever I feel like making or is easiest for that day's schedule.

Chime in. Did you find this helpful? In the future, would you prefer to see the menu when I make it, or after I've used it and can add comments on how it worked?

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Groceries and Budgets

About a month ago I decided that I wanted to start feeding my family more whole/real foods. I didn't know exactly what that meant when I started though. I knew we needed to eat more vegetables, but that was about it.
Scanning blogs tends to be a good place to start. I was already following The Humbled Homemaker, so I started there. She just so happened to be advertising a healthy living bundle. It included information on essential oils (more on that later) and various books and informational sessions about eating healthy on a budget. I splurged and got the bundle. SO WORTH IT!!! **DISCLAIMER - the Healthy Living Bundle offer has ended. There are more bundles in the process for the end of this year and beginning of next.**
I knew I needed to start simple, the book 22 Days To A Fresh Start from was exactly what I was looking for. (That is my new favorite blog, I always go to her first for recipe and meal ideas). I removed all the trans fat and high fructose corn syrup from our home, I started making menu plans for all three meals and snacks, and I now make most of our foods from scratch. I don't buy all organic, we definitely can't afford that. I pick and choose the worst offenders and the things we eat the most of.
Ready for the kicker? I feed my family on $70 a week.  My husband, our 11 month old, myself, and the 2 year old that I watch 4-6 days a week. I try to make that include paper products and health & beauty products, but I can't always stick to that. I have successfully been making this work for an entire month now. I will be outlining how I do it over the next couple posts. For now I will do my first budget check in. I will do this at the end of every month for a couple reasons. First, so that you can see how I manage such a small budget. Second, so that I have a check-in. If I know that the world wide web will be seeing my purchases, I'm less likely to impulse buy.
I currently only shop at one store, I don't have the time or energy to jump between stores with a young toddler. I hope to branch out eventually, but I'm taking it slow for now.

Week 1:
I didn't start this whole ordeal until halfway through September, so my first shopping trip was September 18, 2014. You will see as the weeks go on, I get better about buying whole foods, rather than premade, boxed foods, and I get better about managing the budget These 2 weeks were really easy because I had a fully stocked pantry when I started, and my menu plan included tons of food that I already had.

1lb  93% Ground Beef - $5.48
1/4 Turkey Breast, presliced - $12.26
1/4 Ham, presliced - $10.03
1 dozen Cage Free, Grass Fed, Organic, Brown Eggs - $3.78

1 bag Organic Apples - 3.97
2.39lbs Red Grapes @ .98 per lb - $2.34

1 package of 36 Corn Tortillas - $1.98

24 pack Bottled Water - $3.98   (I know, I know)
1 Gallon store brand Orange Juice - $3.98
1.75 liters name brand Orange Juice - $3.78
Almond Milk - $2.98

Health & Beauty:
5 Pregnancy Tests @ $0.88 each - $4.40

Other things:
Birthday Card - $3.97
Cling Shade for car - $4.78

Total: $72.69 for 19 items

That much meat really did me in, but half the ham and turkey went into the freezer for next week. Water and name brand orange juice are my splurge. I just ran out of water, so next week I plan to buy a filter for my Britta instead of more bottled water.

Week 2: September 25, 2014
I'm typing these out by reading my receipts from these shopping trips. So please bear with me, I can't decipher all of them.

Boneless Ribeye Roast - $4.32
1 dozen Grass Fed, Brown Eggs - $2.98

1 bag (3 hearts) Organic Romaine Lettuce - $3.38
1 bag (2 hearts) Celery - $2.08
1 bag (1/2 lb) Organic Carrots - $0.98
0.35lb Broccoli @ $1.48 per lb - $0.52
2.20lb Red Grapes @ $1.98 per lb - 4.36

1lb block Sharp Cheddar Cheese - $1.98
1lb block Colby Jack Cheese - $1.98
1lb Unsalted Butter - $5.28**

1lb bag Brown Rice - $0.84
Flour Tortillas - $1.82

1 gallon store brand Orange Juice - $3.38
1.75 liters name brand Orange Juice - $3.00

Canned Goods:
Vinegar - $1.50
Chili Powder - $2.18
Worcestershire Sauce - $1.00
6oz Tomato Paste - $0.57
Paprika - $0.88
Ground Red Pepper - $2.98
Soy Sauce - $1.48
3 Cans Red Beans in Chili Sauce @ $0.92 each - $2.76

Total: $50.85 for 24 items

** I only bought butter at this price because I could put it into 2 different phone apps and get back $3.31, essentially making it only $1.97 for the pound. But what I get back from those apps will be used towards Christmas presents so I don't count it in my immediate budget breakdown.

So there you have it, my first 2 weeks of meal planning, serious budgeting, and eating as much whole foods as possible. I hope this was helpful!! Next I will start posting the menus that go with my shopping trips.

Join the discussion. How is your meal planning and budgeting going? Chime in every month and share your budget check in! You don't have to type it all out of course, but staying accountable is what keeps me going!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

I'm a blogger now.

I'm not sure where to start. I have rewritten that first sentence so many times, I decided just to be honest. I guess I will start with some random thoughts.

I am the last person any of my friends and family expected to become "crunchy". I think its fun to refer to myself as a granola, but in reality, I think of myself as someone who tries to go with what feels right and has strong research behind it.
But what does it mean to be crunchy, granola, or a hippie? I think that answer is a little different for every person. My friends call me crunchy because I planned and achieved an unmedicated birth, I practice Attachment Parenting, I intend to breastfeed to full natural term, I bedshare, I used Baby Led Weaning to introduce solids (after 6 months), we opted out of a couple vaccines and use homeopathics in place of them, I cloth diaper (used organic diapers before that), I babywear most of the time, I am slowly replacing all our household products with natural and safe alternatives, and who knows what else will happen!
This blog is all about those changes I have made in order to have a better environment for my family. One post at a time, I will share what made me decide to do (or not do) something, and how I went about doing that.
I will never judge a parent for doing what they believe is best for their children and family. I hope to be a source of information when you are researching, that is all. What is best for my family is not necessarily going to be best for your family. Some days I feel like supermom, other days, not so much. I will try to share both sides of myself in the hopes that I can remind other moms that they aren't alone.
I look forward to sharing my journey with you!
God Bless