Friday, January 29, 2010

40 Dollars a Day My Butt!



Rachel Ray, I love you but most of us can not afford to spend 40 dollars a day. I saw a article on Yahoo about a lady that planed all of her meals for the whole year and it cut her grocery bill in half. Because naturally I take challenges even if they weren't given to me I thought it sounded great. Last year we cut our grocery bill down because we got a nice pay cut. We mostly stopped eating out whenever we wanted. Rachel Ray has her show that is 40 dollars a day for going out and just getting whatever. That is too much if you think of that amount of money and what it adds up to if you do that every day. Rachel and I have lots in common. Both Italian, both brunette... uh, I guess that is about it.

So this is how I view and eating budget at each of the places:
Sit Down Restaurant: $20 per person per meal
Diner: $10 per person per meal
Fast Food: $5 per person per meal
Dollar menu: $8 dollars for a family of four per meal
Meal unplanned at home: $5 for a family of four per meal
Planed meal without hitting sales: $3 for a family of four per meal
Planed meals with hitting the sales: $1.50 for a family of four per DAY!!!

So right now I am on week two! My mom thinks that I can't do this and I am not eating any meat. Not true. I have gotten through two weeks like this and I am hoping to do this for at lest three more months. I am trying to have all of our meals balanced with alittle of everything so no one will get scurvy lol.

So far every week I search through all of the mailers that they send out for the grocery stores. Then after looking though all of them I find which ones have super good deals on meat, produce and dairy. I search for coupons for the items that I am going to buy. Out of the items on sale I make up a menu with the items that they have on sale. Get the amounts for the meals. If the items can be frozen I get more than what is needed and freeze it for another meal later on. Most meats, just like produce are seasonal. Right now chicken is cheap. Next month it will be corned beef and ham. Most food on sale cost less than 50 cents a pound, that is insane! When you think of it this way, when you go to a sit down place for a 1 lb burger you just paid 10 bucks. Jokes on you!

Ok getting that out of the way. The hard part is the menu. Thinking of different meals for every day. I searched through a dozen cookbooks finding things to make that were different for each day with what I have. It is kind of nice when you have the meals planed out because then you know what to make for dinner and you are not staring at the pantry thinking that there is nothing to eat.
I know that the menu will change during the seasons I during our summer I am planing on cooking 6 lbs of noodles at a time and grilling 20 lbs of chicken breast at a time. It just gets way too hot to cook a half a pound of pasta or a pound of chicken every day. So after it is all cooked I am going to put it all into separate baggies that would work well for meals and freeze them up. Tada, a little work makes less work in the long run (I did this crazy cooking when I was expecting Marilyn because it was too dang hot and some douche stole our AC unit! Oh, and I would cook in the middle of the night because I could open the windows and the doors to let a breeze in so our house wouldn't hit 130 degrees). Yep, I am crazy!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Growth Spurt

So I think Marilyn is finally getting a growth spurt. She is 14 months today and her size 3-6 month pants are finally flooding. She eats normal amounts most days and still stays small. For example: she will eat a slice of toast, one egg and one yogurt for breakfast on a normal day (Texas has the same but with two eggs). Today she had that and a couple slices of spiced coffee cake... and a few bits of enchilada's. That was just for breakfast today.
I think she is going on a growth spurt because her food intake has doubled the past two weeks. I had a friend watch the kids on my Birthday and she said that both of them ate about two cups of the lentil soup that I made. It's normal for them to eat that much during dinner and it's normal to have Texas want more food after an hour or so but it's just a snack, like a PB&J. Marilyn after she got home she wanted two chicken wings and two slices of bread with Nutella. Maybe she didn't really eat over there. I have been trying to supplement a bit too because she is always wanting to eat so I started her on Carnation Breakfast. So I will give her about the same amount of food that I am going to eat and I give her a bottle of Carnation for her to drink. I think she is eating about 2000 calories a day!
I am having a hard time keeping up with her because ever two hours or so when she is awake she is starving. Oh and on top of this she is teething so everything is going in the mouth. I gave her some binkies because I feel like that is safer than pennies but then again I don't want here to become binkie dependant.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Yard House

Last night I used up one of my gift certificates that were given to me for Christmas on my birthday for a date. We went to the Yard House for the first time. We had one of my friends watch the kids and Texas loved it because he was able to play with his good friends Seth and Sarah.

The Yard House was easy to find. It was right in front of the movie theater by the Tyler Mall. We went during Happy Hour. During Happy Hour appetizers, pizza and drinks are half off. Before I went I looked at some of the reviews too see what was good. Someone said the fries and another said that the firecracker wings were good. I figure that because they were half off I would try one of them. I wasn't in the mood for fries so I tried the wings. They were ok: sweet, spicy, with a hint of soy and onion. We were told that the calamari was good so we tried that for a appetizer. The calamari was cooked right but there was too much batter and the sauce wasn't great. Texas would of loved it. Bohemian in Salt Lake is so much better.
For my meal I got an Asian Pizza. I forgot what the name of it is. It had chicken, carrots, green onions and macadamia nuts on it. If it had less sauce it would of been perfect. Spencer got the special of the day which was a macadamia nut crusted fish (I think it was mahi mahi). His fish was good. It came with white rice and three different dipping sauces. There was a mango chutney that I thought was salsa, a Passion fruit white sauce, and a thi basil pesto. His food was good. The best thing that we ordered was the Hawaiian haystack. It wasn't like what I thought it was when I herd the name. When I think Hawaiian haystack I think rice with junk on top. This haystack was a layered dish with ahi tuna, fried won tons, carrots and bean sprouts, drizzled with a soy wasabi sauce. It was so good. The next time that we go there I am getting that. For desert we got the creme brulet. I have had better but it wasn't bad. The food is better than Apple Bee's and TGIFriday's. The things that we ordered seem to be a hit or miss. Just like over at Claim Jumpers. The one in Corona is always good if we sit by the kitchen. If we go to any other Claim Jumper it's just average. The rating on the Yard House was 4.5 stars. I think I would give it 4 stars.
The normal pricing is a little bit high. Spencer ordered the Special and looking at the size of serving and the atmosphere of the restaurant I would of thought that it would of cost about 19 dollars for his meal. It was 25. I just ordered things off of the happy hour menu so for the price that I payed for them I got more than what I paid for. Everything that I ordered was five or six bucks. The servings were smaller because they are just appetizers but most of the time on normal entrees I don't eat the fillers so appetizers are perfect for me. I only ate one of the wings when I was there and one third of the pizza. Spencer helped eat the calamari (he said that he ate almost all of it, and I am ok that I only got three pieces) but Spencer ordered the Haystack and I helped him eat that.
The next time that I go there I am for sure going to go during happy hour and only ordering off of the happy hour menu. We had fun on our date.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Happy Birthday To Me :D

I told Spencer that tomorrow is my birthday. Then he asked me what I wanted. My mind went blank but that was a sure sign that he hadn't gotten me anything. So I guess that means that I get to buy my own gift. Later on I called him and told him that you can by big storage tubs online for cheaper than at the store. I can buy that anytime and Spencer pointed out that storage tubs are really not a present for me.

I called again and told him that we got an email from Honeyville saying that they were having a 10% off sale. The only thing that I really wanted from there is the peaches and cream drink mix because over at all of the donut shops those things are four bucks for 16 ounces and so Delicious. I think the last time that I got one I was pregnant with Marilyn over a year ago so I don't get them often. I do drive past the donut shops and think of them and just settle for peach ring candies. Once the big box comes in I guess I will need to buy a bag of ice too.

Spencer also has pointed out that we were out of freeze dried strawberries and freeze dried peaches in the past. Both of them go fast because we snack on them and they are super good. The peaches the first time around were gone in a week. One of the new things that I ordered was freeze dried diced green onions. I am thinking that they will taste allot like McCormick's chives. Super excited for my birthday present! Oh and on top of everything else Spencer is taking me on a date tomorrow. For Christmas he gave me a bunch of gift cards so all of our date will be paid for; for a while. So EXCITED... and still a Dork.

Dork

So a few days ago I took one of those dumb facebook quizzes because I was bored, Spencer was out of town and there was nothing else better to do. One of the quizzes was titled "What's wrong with you?". I had friends that got outcomes like "Bipolar", "Obsessive", "Obsessive Compulsive" and "Sleep Deprived". So I thought that I was going to get some kind of psychological term. The outcome of the quiz was "You are a Dork". What is so funny about this is that it is so stinking true. I told Spencer about it and he said that it was right. I laughed. I got to admit though out of all of things that are wrong with me that is my biggest problem. To prove that I am a dork here is a list of dorky things I do all of the time: I laugh at dumb jokes, I love doing the wii because I secretly think that I look cool doing it. I play pretend when I am doing my chores. I play with my kids like I am one of their piers in public. there are times when I am too lazy to find matching socks or shoes so I go out with miss match socks or shoes. I enjoy testing my mind too. The more I think about it the bigger a dork a become.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

13 Months

Marilyn is 13 almost 14 months. She is not walking or talking. Every once in a while I will hear her say one word and then I get all excited and then there is nothing for another week or so. She also wants to crawl everywhere she goes. If you try to walk her around by holding her hands, once you let go she will go back on all fours and start crawling.

Today I caught her standing up and dancing in the kitchen to some music. It was cute while it lasted. Once I said something she got back down on all fours and pretended like she wasn't doing anything.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Dreadful

So I hop onto the computer and see a really cute home decor thing and automatically think, "What's the point of getting that my house will just make that cute little thing look ugly and there is no changing that unless we tare down our house and start from scratch."
Most home decor things are suppose to make your house look cute. Not in this hole of a house.
I hate this house and it is way past time to move out of here. Our house is ugly on the inside and out (if you saw our house you would understand. I am embarrassed to let people inside because we have a bad paint job on the walls and ugly black carpet. On the outside we have gotten to the point where we aren't getting paperwork about our home being vacant, so it's better than when we first got here... I guess). It feels like every time we move our home value is going down too. In our home each project to fix the dang house would be too much work and cost too much money; the money that we could put into a better house. The house is over twenty years old so there are a lot of things that could be done. When we moved in we did the basics so the house would be normal. I thought I got out of college so I wouldn't need to live like this.
I'm going to call Spencer and see if I can talk him into putting our house up for sale. It probably wont work but it's worth a shot.
Save me!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

New York


Texas going down the hill


Us at Tom Wahl's

The Amish Buggies.


So for Christmas we went to New York to see my dad. We left on Christmas day because that is when the tickets were cheap to fly. Santa put all of the gifts under the tree the night before and we woke up the kids around four o'clock so they would have time to play with their toys and eat breakfast before we headed off to the airport.

Spencer and I both had short to-do list. Spencer wanted to see maple trees and wanted to eat lobster because it's cheaper out in New York. I wanted to see Amish and get family pictures taken.

So the day after Christmas Spencer and I headed out with Texas in the cold. We took a walk around the town of Palmyra New York. Normally they have all of the tourist in the summer but we went to all of the touristy places. We went to the place where the book of Mormon was printer, saw the four corners of churches and went to the Candy Corner Fudge Square. Most of the other places are only open in the summer. Later on I hit a couple of the day after Christmas sales with Beth (my step mom) and Spencer went out with my dad. Spencer was able to go to the place where they taped the maple trees and he picked up some maple syrup. I went to Walmart and got some half off deals of Christmas cookies and 75% off over at Lowes on some Christmas stocking hangers. We don't have much space in out suitcases so I can't buy a bunch of stuff.

Lobster is cheaper out on the east cost. Over here in California it's about 18 dollars a pound. In New York it was about seven. So we were able to have a huge lobster dinner with fancy New York cheeses for an appetizer. There was lots leftover so I made a lobster bisque that no one ate because the day that we were suppose to eat that we had Chinese takeout (My dad owns a section of building and one one side there is a Chinese restaurant. It's suppose to be the best in the aria and people seem to like it because they will drive 40 miles or more for their food). My dad and Bethe liked the soup. Spencer, Marilyn and I were only able to taste it. Spencer said that it needed more milk. Maybe the next time that we get fresh lobster for less than 7 bucks a pound we can.
We were able to go and meet Amish. It was a challenge because they do not have websites and they do not have phones so we had no way of looking them up. Beth called one of the locals that had lived upstate her whole life and she gave her a couple sets of directions. We did get lost a couple of times but we found a Amish home. The mad of the home had a little wood shop nd did some beautiful work. We really couldn't put a china hutch on the plane so we asked the man where a Amish grocery store would be. He gave us directions and we were able to go strait there. The Store was awesome. They had allot of things that you would find in the bulk section of the grocery store and more. We picked up some fudge, some apple butter, and some marshmallow bits just like what you get in your lucky charms.

After that we went to Tom Wahl's for burgers. It's suppose to be one of those big chains out there but the only thing that I tasted that was good enough to have again was their root beer. They are suppose to be a California knock off burger, but the burgers are not great. I would rather eat at McDonalds. We also hit a Dunken Donut one day and I will say that they are better out there, but out here we have the Chinese and Korean donut shops that are better and cheaper too. Wow, I automatically got a craving for a peaches and cream smothie and a ham and cheese crasaunt.

Texas was able to go sledding because there was lots of snow. We went sledding right behind the public library. Most of the local kids go there. We weren't bundled up very well because out in Southern California you really don't need anything too warm. So we just doubled up on the jackets and let Texas wear his Pajamas under his clothes.



Adresses:
We were able to stay at the Beckwith Estate and Mansion. This was built in the 1820's so the place has lots of charm. We were in the servants quarters. We also had our own stairway. This is one of the cheapest places to stay in the summer but it's normally booked by February. The address there is :

213 West Main Street
Pamyra, NY 14522
315-597-3829

The Amish wood shop address is:

Wengerd's Wood shop
10729 Anstee Rd
14433

They have no Phone because they are Amish. They are 3 miles south of Clyde New York. They are off of Route 414.

And the store:

Sauders
2146 River Road
Senica Falls New York 13148

Open most days from 8 to 6

This is a Mennonite store and not an Amish store. Mennonite's are less Conservative. They have all of your baking and cooking needs at this store. Lots of Spices and lots of things that you may find in the bulk section of the grocery store. My dad really liked this store and is going to be a regular customer because of all of the gourmet foods that they have.

Dunken Donuts:
On every corner of every shopping center. Out in California there is one every 50 miles in the metro aria.

The best fudge that I have ever had:

Candy Corner Fudge Square
205 E Main St
Palmyra NY 14522

They have rich and creamy fudge of all kinds. During the summer the best thing is suppose to be the pineapple shakes. I recommend the Maple fudge. It's super sweet so don't get too much (or get a few pounds and mail me one -jk).
We went home without getting our flight bumped on New Years Eve. We had our date night and we went to the movies. Because we woke up at 3am East Cost time, we were tired at 10pm West Cost time. Spencer took home the baby sitter and we all crashed out for the turn of the New Year. We had lots of fun in New York and we are already putting money into our vacation fund so we can do it again. Texas has been Talking about Grandpa and Nanna ever sense we left. He'll be excited for February when they come out to see us.