Blissful and Domestic - Creating a Beautiful Life on Less

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

September Grocery Haul: Part 1...

It's a new month friends, which means a new grocery haul. It's been three weeks since we moved to Arizona and we were in desperate need of a big grocery haul. I had done a few small trips, after we got here, but I needed to go to Costco and I was itching to get back to once a month shopping. With all the choas of hubby working out of state, paying bills for two residences, weekly trips for hubby to come back and forth, baby delivery, and then a big move out of state.... I was ready for some structure. 

I crave structure and organization. I thrive on it in fact. We have a lot of financial goals this year and some debt we want to pay off asap from unplanned medical expenses with Tallia's delivery, so we wanted to start getting ourselves back on track with budgeting and saving. 

The first place to start was with groceries. I made a 30 day meal plan. Basing it first off of stuff from food storage and what I had on hand. I then made my grocery list. It was a long list. We needed a lot this month. We set our budget at $700. I made plans to go to Costco and Fry's. Today I'll share the Costco haul. I'm leaving my Fry's haul for tomorrow. 

I'm going to continue to document my prices here on the blog. Kind of my way of creating a new price book. 

I got a lot of snack items in this haul. We won't eat all of these snacks this month. I stock my pantry weekly with granola bars, protein bars, dried fruit, etc. The rest is put away. In the new apartment I have everything stored on top of the cabinets. It's that whole "out of sight, out of mind" method I use. It helps me stretch items further. 

I also bought some stuff to stock our freezer chest with....chicken nuggets, chicken patties, etc. The chicken nuggets I buried in the freezer to use later in the month. I didn't want them gobbled up the first week. Chicken nuggets are my family's weakness. They love them! I let the family eat them for lunch after shopping and then into the bottom of the freezer they went. The chicken patties will last us about two months. We'll have them for dinner one night this month and then the rest will be saved for next month or as a backup when life gets crazy. It feels good to have my freezer up and running again. I also love having a few saving graces in my freezer. :) 

This month I also bought a huge bag of chicken from Costco. I needed some for a few meals I have planned. I made a Zaycon Foods order this week. I ordered 40 lbs of ground turkey, which I'll pick up this month. I also ordered 80 lbs of chicken, but I can't pick it up till next month. My total for that order was about $203. We used money we had saved on groceries in previous month's to cover the meat order. I love ordering my meat in bulk. It allows me to get it at rock bottom prices. I was able to snag the chicken for $1.68/lb and the ground turkey for $1.72/lb. You just can't beat that price! I took advantage of a sale Zaycon had going on. I also received $12 in credit, which I put towards my order. If you share a referral code and someone orders, you earn credit. Those extra savings were a blessing. This meat should last us quite a while. I'm hoping we'll be able to go about 4-6 months before needing to order again. I'll let you know how it goes.

At Costco I spent $329.40. That total reflects the $15.99 I subtracted for toilet paper. Toiletries and cleaning supplies do not come out of our food budget. They're part of another category. Below is the cost breakdown of everything I purchased. I also made a video of my haul. You can check that out on my channel or below. 

Applesauce $8.79
Protein bars $15.49
Peanutbutter powder $11.99
English muffins $6.79
Peanuts $5.39
Animal crackers $9.69
Nutrigrain bars $12.49
Granola bars $8.59
Fig bars $11.49
Carnation instant breakfast $12.59
Raisins $6.99
Red Vines $8.79
Prego pasta sauce $6.99
Canned corn $7.49
25lb white flour $5.49
Yoplait yogurt light $8.99
Hamburger buns $2.29
Hotdog buns $2.29
Grape tomatoes $4.99
Granola $7.99
5 lb bag yellow onions $5.49
Frozen berries $9.99
Frozen strawberries $9.99
5 dozen eggs $5.19
Chicken patties $13.79
10 lbs. Chicken breasts $19.99
Shredded mozzarella cheese $10.99
Chicken nuggets $11.39
Crumble bacon $10.99
Strawberry jelly $5.99
Go-gurt $7.99
Rice Rollers $6.99
Kirkland Mayo $4.79
Sharp cheddar cheese block (2 lbs) $4.79
Shredded Mexican cheese $7.99
Tortilla chips $3.49
KC BBQ sauce $5.99
Cream cheese $7.99
Sour cream $4.39
Minced garlic $4.39

Check back tomorrow to see the rest of our haul and how much we spent at Fry's.

XO Danielle

Reorganizing the fridge..

Afternoon lovelies! We just got back from a homeschool activity and I feel like we are all dragging a little bit. I guess all the fun wore us out. The baby is sleeping and the older kids are enjoying some downtime reading. With all this quite, I thought I'd hop on here and get a post ready for you. I also may be procrastinating the math lesson I have planned for today. Another few minutes of rest won't hurt right ::wink wink::? 

I have my grocery hauls for this month written out and filmed, I just need to edit the videos. I am hoping to get to that soon. Hopefully ya know before September is over. Fingers crossed on that one. Since I still have videos to edit, I decided to share a quick post about how I reorganize my fridge throughout the month to keep food waste at a minimum and things nice and clean. 

Every week I take a good 20 minutes and I reorganize the fridge. I look at what leftovers we have, what produce needs to be used up, and I check out what condiments are nearing their expiration date. As I go through the leftovers, I make plans for the items. If I have leftover meat, I try to plan it for a meal in the upcoming days. Leftover meat can be thrown into salads or casseroles. If I am not able to use the meat right away, then I freeze it for later use. Today I froze a cup of leftover taco meat.  I will use it in a Mexican pizza next month. I also froze leftover pasta sauce, ground sausage, and enchilada sauce to be used later as well. I'm thinking a supreme pizza and some type of enchilada casserole will be on the menu plan next month.

If I have veggies that are leftover, I do the same. I actually have a bag in my freezer, where I put leftover veggies. Once the bag is full, I use it to make veggie soup.

I clean up any spills in the fridge and restock pudding cups, applesauce, cheese, deli meat, etc as needed. I basically shop my pantry or freezer to restock. Shopping my pantry and freezer allows me to go longer between shopping trips.

Taking just twenty minutes (or less for normal people. I'm an OCD cleaner when it comes to the fridge) a week, allows me to get organized. I find that keeping things in order allows me to prevent food waste, which ultimately saves us money.

How do you guys rotate things in the fridge?

Also last night our dinner was so yummy and simple! I bought a Caesar bagged salad and added some leftover chicken. I then served it with banana bread (minus the add ins) and watermelon. It was a hit! Also we are trying out this taco braid from 365 Days of Baking and More tonight. I can't wait! I'm using my basic dinner roll dough in place of the store bought crescents. :)

XO Danielle

Monday, September 19, 2016

Snap Away...

I follow a lot of pages on Facebook. I follow some of my favorite blogs, like Simple Homeschool and Raising Arrows. I also follow some pages like This is how we homeschool and Breastfeeding Mama Talk. I love to follow pages that encourage me and inspire me when I look through my Facebook feed. I'm bound to look at Facebook a time or two throughout the day, so I might as well follow pages who share good content. 

This past week, one of the pages I follow shared an article that really encouraged me. For the life of me I can't remember where I found the article or a direct link to the article. It was one I read during a 3 am feeding and I didn't keep it open in my browser. Sorry friends :( I may not remember the link, but I remember what I took away from that early morning read.

The article was directed towards the men in our lives....our significant others. It was telling them to get us mamas out from behind the camera. So often us ladies are behind the camera, capturing the memories. Because of this, we're often rarely in pictures. Sometimes we choose not to be in pictures because we're dissatisfied with our weight, our hair, etc and the end result is that were in very few pictures. 

The article continued to share how it is such a shame. One day we won't be here. We don't know how long our journey on this Earth is, but we should be able to leave behind those videos.... those pictures....that captured us....that captured our laughs....our cries.... our snuggles with our babies.

I've been thinking on this a lot lately. I don't want my kids to look back and not be able to find mom in the memories. I want them to be able to see me....whether I'm fat, skinny, hair done, or I'm a hot mess. I want them to see me because guess what? They don't care what I look like. They don't care I have messy morning hair or I'm rocking a bit of baby spit up, which I totally am in the pictures above. They love me for being me. 

I encourage you today friends to take your picture. Get yourself in front of that camera and snap away. You're amazing friend. No matter what that package is. Never forget that! :) 

XO Danielle

Friday, September 16, 2016

There's a snake in my boot...

Well not really, but as I sit here nursing Tallia, that famous Disney quote keeps coming to mind. Today we ventured out to the park for some homeschooling PE fun. Our homeschooling group does a weekly PE class, so the kids have been loving getting together with new friends and playing lots of different games.

This week though, there was a surprise waiting under one of the playgrounds. A baby rattlesnake. Oh my heck my mama heart panicked.

First of all, I'm terrified of anything that creeps, crawls, or slithers. They give me the heepie jeebies. Yes we had snakes in Nevada, but they stayed in the desert. You never saw them at parks, or at least I didn't. I expressed my panic fear to some of the other moms, who were way to chill about it for my liking. I guess this sort of thing happens. They even have signs telling you to look out. I saw them earlier, but didn't realize how legit they were. One of the Moms flagged down a park and rec worker (who was doing some near by landscaping...thank goodness), who quickly came to assist. He had his snake catching gear on hand. Again, I guess this happens often enough to warrant having snake catching gear on hand.

The snake was relocated to another part of the park. The park sits next to a huge area of brush and a stream. I guess the snake had just ventured a bit too far from home.

So now we can say we've seen a rattlesnake and now I'm a bit more cautious at the park.

Also these pictures make me laugh because Mr. Eleven Year Old Boy aka Keagan was ready to go home and the ladies in his family were walking too slow for his liking....which he expressed quite vocally by telling us to "Hurry up!" Libby and I had to give him a hard time, so we stopped for some pictures. Get use to it son. You are surrounded by girls during the day. We laugh, we paint nails, squeal when bugs present themselves, take a bit longer to do things....because we like to talk, and we love to take pictures :)

XO Danielle

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

My little cooking space...

Tonight as I tidied up my kitchen,  a few thoughts came to mind. First was how thankful I am for my little cooking space. My kitchen isn't that large and doesn't have all the new gadgets kitchens come with. It has drying racks for all those dishes I hand wash and it has a fridge and freezer chest for me to store the food I get to cook my family each day. It has what we need.

Today this little cooking space fed my little family. Every meal is prepared here and at that folding table, we say grace before eating.

Sometimes it can become easy to focus on the negative of the spaces we live in. We focus on the things we wished we had or what's wrong with our spaces. I know I'm guilty of this.

One thing I have learned though, is that when we focus on the negative, we miss out on all the joy. We miss out on the laughter between siblings, as dishes are put away (oh and don't forget the arguing. That's a gimme where siblings are concerned). We miss out on the "thank yous" and "I love yous" from a sweet hubby. We miss out on the dances, while holding baby... because it's the only thing to get her to sleep. These are things I don't want to forget.

Right now this little cooking space brings me so much joy. It's more than floors to be swept and dishes to be cleaned. It's our life and I so love living it with these sweet people God has brought into my life.

XO Danielle

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

One Month Postpartum...

Morning friends! When I'm writing this, I'm officially 6 weeks post delivery, so I thought I'd share a bit about how my first month postpartum went.

Right after Tallia was born, I was super sore. Like oh my heck guys! I couldn't believe it. I remember walking to the bathroom after she was born and just feeling like I was aware of all my muscles. There were some muscles I didn't even know I had. This lasted for a few days, but then my body started to heal and I started to bounce back. By the end of the first week home, my hips were finally back to normal. It felt good to get up out of bed and not cringe from the hip pain. I had some serious hip pain at the end of my pregnancy. 

I gave myself a lot of time for resting. I took it super slow and just loved on my baby. Keagan and Libby were a huge help afterwards. They brought me water and snacks when I nursed. They also helped around the house. I'm so very thankful for them. Our ward also brought dinner and family brought us lunch the first week we were home. We were so spoiled.

After the delivery I had a lot of fluid built up. I was put on blood pressure medication and given milk thistle from my midwife to help get rid of all the fluid I had retained during the end of my pregnancy and during the delivery. I was told to take the milk thistle over the next 6 weeks and to continue taking the blood pressure medication and slowly reduce the dosage till the medication was gone. I ended up taking it for three weeks. I'm now off the medicine and my blood pressure is back in a normal range. It took about four weeks for me to loose all the fluid. I tried to drink as much as I could, along with taking the milk thistle. That first week home I had some serious sweats and chills.

The day after we came home from the hospital, we had to go to Walmart to fill my blood pressure prescription. It was not what I wanted to do just two days post delivery, but I needed the medication. While we waited for it to be filled I had a huge sweating episode. I was drenched... embarrassingly so. Keagan asked "Mom did Tallia spit up all over you? Your shirt is wet." I simply replied "No son I'm just dealing with hormonal post pregnancy sweats". I looked a hot mess that day friends.  Over the course of that week I lost about 25 lbs. I couldn't believe how much fluid I was getting rid of. It sure felt good to finally see my ankles again.

  Taken August 8, 2016

After the delivery, I got hemorrhoids. These were  not fun. I'd never had them before. My midwife gave me Varicalm. I also used witch hazel pads. Both were a huge help.

By week four I had lost all my pregnancy weight plus some. I've never lost weight, after having a baby, this quickly. I think my healthy eating and activity level throughout my pregnancy really helped the pounds melt off.

I've continued making good food choices, as much as I can. I eat when I'm hungry and try to get lots of protein in. Protein is great for nursing and helps fill you up. I also can't eat sugary sweets. They hurt little Miss's tummy. I'm sure that helps with the weight loss as well.

I've started back to working out. I tried working out at four weeks postpartum, but I started spotting, so I knew it was too soon. I ended up giving myself more time to heal. It was hard to sit back, when physically I felt great, but I knew giving my body that time would be better in the long run. Today I did a turbo jam workout for the first time, since having Tallia and it felt great. I didn't realize how much I missed working out till I got back to it. It felt amazing to sweat and jump.

Honestly I feel very blessed to bounce back the way I do. I'm feeling like my old self.

Miss Tallia is now 1 1/2 months. She nurses all the time (it's her favorite thing) and is such a good sleeper at night. I'm thankful for this season and for the ability to bounce back quickly. I know that's not the case for everyone. I think you just need to be kind with yourself and treasure the moments with your new little one. They grow way too fast.

XO Danielle

Monday, September 12, 2016

Math is hard and an epic mom fail...

I need to take a minute and shout it from the roof tops that math is hard. It was never a subject I enjoyed in school. In fact I may have hated it ::I say in a whisper::

But here I am homeschooling and math is an important part of our curriculum. It has to be taught. I try really hard to keep it simple and non stressful. I want my kids to understand it and to enjoy it. I never want my "experience" with math or my "feelings" towards math to shape their opinion of I try to keep it light.

Today though was hard. We're using Interactive Notebooks for math from Carson-dellusa. This year we're starting with grade 5 and will end with grade 6. Today's lesson was on exponents. I started the lesson, but 5 minutes in I realized I was explaining it all wrong. Gaw! It was a total mom fail. 

I had to explain to the kids I had steered us in the wrong direction. We decided to take a break, while I fed Tallia. We watched an episode of Once Upon a Time and then got back at it.

I found an exponent calculator online to check our work. We started the lesson over, with Mom now remembering the correct way to solve exponents.

And guess what? We figured it out. We worked hard and started getting the answers right. It felt good to see it click.

On a side note: 
How cute is that baby above?
 Throughout our math lesson time, she laid on my lap. 
That cute little smile just melted my heart. 

Why do I share this today?

We'll I want you to know that I have days of epic fails. Being a homeschooler is not about perfection. It's about trying your hardest and when you get knocked down, it's about how you get back up. Today was a perfect opportunity to try out our word for this school year....


Don't stop just cause it's hard. Keeping working at it.

I make a lot of mistakes and that's ok. I don't have to be exceptional at all academics to teach my kids. I only need a desire to give them the best I can. Sometimes that means admitting I was wrong, recuperating, and starting over. I'm learning and relearning right a long with them.

XO Danielle

Friday, September 9, 2016

Multi-tasking is my jam...

Doing anything with a new little one can be quite a challenge. I'm learning that all too well lately. Miss Tallia loves to be all the time. Most days I just want to sit and hold her and snuggle....most of the time I honestly do just that, but other times I have to adult and get things done around the house. There's meals to be prepared, chores to be done, lessons to be taught, and three other people in the house who want my attention as well. It's all about balance.

Lately I have had to learn to become a super accomplished multi-tasker. When Miss Tallia is down for a nap is when I can get things done around the house. The kids and I tackle the chores together. We put on some music and get things done. This is also when I get any meal prep done that I can.
Sometimes her naps run today. Her typical 1 1/2 hour nap turned into a 30 minute nap. That meant baby girl and I finished my turbo jam cool down together. Ahh it felt good to get some cardio in :)

When Miss Tallia is awake, I take advantage of putting her in the Moby wrap or laying her next to me on a blanket as I lesson plan for school or fold laundry. This is a perfect time for her to get in some tummy time. She also has two siblings who can't get enough time holding her. They beg to hold her and snuggle. They love talking to her and reading to her. Now that she's starting to coo and smile a bit, they want time with their little sister even more.

Last night Keagan held her for 40 minutes, while I cleaned up dinner stuff and got stuff ready our following school day. It makes my heart happy seeing his relationship with his little sister. What a sweet bond they already have.

When she's nursing, I do our read aloud with the kids or we talk. Sometimes we watch Once Upon a Time or Doctor Who. Have you guy seen either of those? We're obsessed with them right now. 

At night, when the kids are in bed, I read in my Kindle app or blog on my phone. It helps me stay awake during those 3 am feedings. :)

Life is definitely busy right now. There's laundry to be done, dinner to be made, errands to run, and time with family to be enjoyed. I have found that organization and multi-tasking is key. It keeps my mama sanity in check.

XO Danielle
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