Recipe For A Simple Life

Simplify your life, one day at a time

Transformation Tuesday – Week 9

It’s Week 9 of the Transformation and Biggest Loser contest.

We are almost to the end of the contest, and I thought it would be a good time to reflect back on the changes I’ve made so far.  To be honest, I didn’t really think I would stick with it this long.  Now that I’ve made it this far, I really think I have a chance at meeting my goal in May 2012.  Here are some of the “transformations” I have seen in myself – 
   – I eat vegetables, and lots of them (and I LIKE them!!)
   – I don’t drink much soda – a HUGE accomplishment for a former Dr. Pepper addict
   – I don’t eat as much meat, and I don’t miss it
   – I feel more comfortable in clothes without elastic waists :o)
   – I feel a sense of accomplishment, not depression when I step on the scale

Those are just the first 5 that came to mind, but overall, I am a lot happier with myself right now than I was 9 weeks ago.  So far, I’ve lost just shy of 21 pounds and I’m determined to lose 68-78 more by next spring.  I know I can do it. 

If you have a healthy tip or weight loss story to share, I’d love to hear it.  If you are thinking about taking the first step to a healthier you, I’d love you have you join me on my journey.  Studies show that people who lose weight “together” are more successful and have longer lasting results…………

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Money Makeover Monday

Are you in the middle of a money makeover?  Have you ever started one, told the world about it and then just sort of abandoned it?  That’s where my money makeover is today.  Scott and I started out with the “gazelle like intensity” Dave Ramsey refers to in his book, “The Total Money Makeover,” and now we are more like lumbering elephants.  We are still moving in the right direction, but we seem to have lost some of our zeal and drive to push through as quickly as possible.

Don’t get me wrong, I still think it’s a fantastic program and we are still following the basic principles, just more slowly than we started.   Right now, the plan is to keep plodding along and to work on lighting a fire back under each other so we can pick up some momentum.  We are looking for a Financial Peace University class in our area to attend this fall so we can surround ourselves with others who are working on the same goals and, perhaps, facing the same setbacks.  We want to really build on each step and be able to reinforce the lessons / steps for ourselves.

Our goal is still to have all non-mortgage loans paid in full by the end of March.  I’ll be checking in periodically, though not weekly to let you know how it’s going.  In the meantime, if any of you have any money makeover stories to share, I could use some motivation and I’m sure others could too.  I look forward to cheering on your successes.

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Menu Plans = More Balance

Image of black beans and rice

In the past, Sister C has shared how she does menu plans, with certain “themes” for each day of the week.  I (Sister K) do things a little differently.  I work outside my home at least 45 hours each week, so if I don’t plan my week out on the weekend, we tend not to get meals worth bragging about for the next week.  (Translation – if I don’t get it planned on Sunday, we eat a lot of cereal for the next 5 days.)

I also like to try new things and I’m currently experimenting with a lot of meatless meals.  Here’s what is on our menu for this week:

Monday = Chip Hotdish (aka Taco Casserole) with tortilla chips and corn
Tuesday = Wild Rice soup with bread sticks and salad
Wednesday = Cuban Black Beans & Rice (new recipe) with salad
Thursday = Hummus Bruschetta  with Mediterranean salad (new recipe)
Friday = Italian Zucchini (new recipe) with french bread and cucumbers
Sunday = Probably leftovers…….

It works best for me if I do most of my meal planning on Sundays.  I try to pick meals, especially main dishes, that I can make with what I have on hand or what I saw in the sale ads.  That way I can make sure I get the best price on all the ingredients. I usually have to add a few non- sale items to my grocery list, but this way I can limit my spending.  I also try to look at our family activities for the week so I can plan easier meals for busier days.

Do you make meal plans at your house?  I’d love to hear how all of you handle cooking at your house.

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Financially Fit Friday

Have you started a money makeover? What are you planning on paying CASH for? What bill are you paying off? Share a bit of your story! No story is too small to share! Real life stories keep Sister C motivated 😀

Emergency Fund – Stocked

Credit Card Beginning Balance 4/29/11 – $6031.08

  • Deposited $1.10 from a return
  • Deposited $5.85  in spare change
  • Deposited $7 from leftover tips, didn’t have enough for each category in our budget, but I “need” to feel like I’m contributing something  :o( 
  • Current Balance $3976.05
    • Goal is to have this loan paid off before Halloween – October 31, 2011!
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Have you ever gone shopping and afterwards come to the conclusion that you messed up?  lol  Sister C did tonight.  Oh well. 

CVS is having a BOGO 50% off their store brand beauty and health items, plus when you spend $30 you get a $10 EBC.  I also was sent a 20% off coupon, which I learned I couldn’t use on sale items.  So I was hoping this was 20% less than what I spent, and it may not seem a lot, but to me it is.  Oh well, again, I learned something new 😀

4 CVS Q-Tips 625 count – $3.29, 2nd $1.64
2 – 8ct CVS bar soaps $4.89, 2nd $2.44
2 CVS body wash $3.89, 2nd $1.94
2 CVS Flossers 90 ct,  $2.49, 2nd $1.49
2 Starbursts $3 each
4 CVS 3 count razors – 99c, 2nd .49

  • Used BOGO CVS MCS Coupon deducted $4.29
  • Used 2-$1 Starburst Coupon

Total $29.42
Saved $17.22
Received $10 EBC

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Bread Day

Don’t forget, Taystee Bakery Outlet down on 169 has 10% off all their purchases today.  Sister C ran down and got a REALLY great deal – our favorite Sara Lee Soft and Smooth bread was only 75c each 😀  There was still 3 shelves full, so go now 😀  
Here’s what I bought…
5 Sara Lee Soft and Smooth 75c each
2 – 10 ct. flour tortillas $1.49 each
Baking soda 69c
Hamburger buns 99c
FREE WYB $7 worth of items – Brown Sugar Cinnamon Bread
Total after discount – $7.57

*I cannot wait for a house with a basement big enough to hold a full size freezer, I would have cleared one of the three shelves of our favorite bread 😀  I’m going to make french toast with 3 of the loaves, and freeze them for future babysitter meals. 

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Ooo, I had a fun little trip to CVS.  I didn’t know how this would play out – I had a 25% off my purchase coupon.  Now that I know it takes it off the remaining balance after all other CVS coupons were applied, I would have bought something “big” I needed – maybe like the gas card promotion items – to really have saved.  Lesson learned. 

Here’s what I got…oh, MCS is the Magic Coupon Scanner…

2 Starburst bags 2/$6
3 VO5 Shampoos 77c each
Huggies Wipes on clearance $1.59
ConAir brush set on clearance $2.19
4 CVS Snack bags 2/$1.99
CVS Body Wash $2.27

  • Used $3 off any purchase from CVS Beauty Club Birthday Email
  • Used $2 off any ConAir brush from MCS
  • Used $2.27 Free CVS Body Wash from Facebook – expired but they still accepted 😀
  • Used $1 off ANY baby wipes from MCS
  • Used $1 ECB
  • Used BOGO Starburst from MCS – took off $4.29 instead of $3 😀
  • Used 68c from 25% off coupon lol 

Subtotal $4.10 + tax
Saved $23.66 – and I couldn’t find my 2 $1 off coupons for the Starburst I printed, this could have been an even better run 😀

What did you get at CVS this week?

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Target Run

Sister C also ran up to Target tonight.  I wanted to use their $5 off a backpack WYB 4 Kellogg’s or Keebler products.  However, their backpacks were pretty slim pickin’ for a 2nd grader.  So I skipped the backpack.

I did pick up…

4 Keebler Cookies for kids’ school lunches $2.25 each
Tostitos $3 – treat for Hubby R
6 Kraft Mac n Cheese 69c each
2 Danimals $2 each

  • Used FREE Keebler Cookies WYB 3 Target Coupon
  • Used 2 – 75c off Danimals
  • Used $1 off Danimals Target Coupon
  • Used 2 – $1/2 Keebler Cookies

Total $12.39 – I could have used one more $1 off Danimals Target Coupon but I forgot it at home. 

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Menards Run

So, Sister C is trying to take advantage of Menards’ FREE After Mail-In Rebates 😀  We need to do a bit of remodeling to get our side of the duplex back up to speed to get a good renter when we want to move out next year.  Menard’s sends their rebates in the form of merchandise credit – aka – Menard’s Gift Card.  So when the rebates come to me, I’ll be using those to buy the products we need to do the fixing up. 
This is what I received this week…
2 Universal Remotes $3.99 each
Sandpaper $4.00
2 LED Flashlights $5.99 each
Peanuts 99c
2 Lightbulbs $3.00
Total $30.95 + tax
Will Receive $26.00 in Rebates 😀 
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Time to Get out the Apron

Chewy Granola BarsI was browsing through the menu plan on Money Saving Mom tonight and found this recipe for homemade granola bars.  My whole family loves granola bars, but they can be expensive and don’t usually last long around here.  Since Payton loves to cook, I’m putting the ingredients for these treats on the shopping list and I’m going to spend some quality time with her to give this a try.  Have any of you ever tried something like this?  Did it turn out well?

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