Wednesday Randoms

What is the purpose of Wednesday Randoms? Well honestly there isn’t one besides to share something random. Maybe your child did something new, maybe you baked something yesterday, maybe you are behind at work, maybe you got in your work out today or maybe you didn’t. Anything is game. Well anything that is appropriate. If it isn’t appropriate, I will delete it. Here are mine …
  • Last summer class complaining update … I have one homework assignment left. It is due tomorrow but I will be darned as I am finishing it today. I just need to get it done so I can be done. I did get an A in my 1 credit class already!:)
  • I have a huge list of things I want to do once my class is done. Actually, there is no list. It is all in my head. I really need to make a list otherwise I will be annoyed that none of it gets done.
  • Do you like the new little button on my sidebar? The site updates are slowly coming and are on that huge to-do list. Hopefully you like them as they come along. I am getting super excited!
  • My Little Dude’s 2nd birthday is coming up. I better start planning something since his party is on the 16th!

 

I really hope some of you leave a comment with maybe your own randoms this week. I would love some comment love!

Mamavation Monday: Walk … Run … Week 3

It is Mamavation Monday time again!

Last week was week 3 of the Couch to 5k walk/runs. I survived doing all three walk/runs and avoided an asthma attack the one day by really focusing on my breathing. I take that as a success. I am still doing my walk/runs on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.

This week is getting rough so my husband tells me 4 minute runs with 1 minute in between. There is a very strong chance I will repeat this week but we will see how it goes.

As for weight, I decided to not weigh in today. Monday’s weigh ins seem to suck so I am going to do my weigh ins on Tuesday. So I may update this tomorrow or I just might post an update about a week behind. We will see how this plays out.

 

Friday Favorite: Parchment Paper Muffin Liners

Friday Favorites is another almost weekly feature here at Simply Budgeted. The whole point of this feature is to share some of my favorite finds. Anything is game. Food. Cleaning supplies. Kid stuff. Garden favorites. Recipes. Anything that I really like and want to randomly post about. Reminder/Disclaimer/Whatever: Everything in Friday Favorites is something that I use and bought on my own.

Up this week …
Parchment Paper Muffin Liners

No not the muffins this time but the cute little muffin liners. I saw these over on Tidy Mom’s Berry Muffin post recently.  I have NOT been able to get them out of my head. So when I realized last night I only had enough sugar for one recipe of banana bread, I knew it had it become muffins. Since these muffins were gifts for the Vacation Bible School teachers (6 teachers between 2 kids!) and that was all I was making, they needed to look cute so I decided this was my excuse to try these parchment paper muffin liners. And then I started praying I didn’t mess them up since I didn’t have more sugar to make more! aye.

They turned out amazingly cute. Adorable if I must say. I will definitely make these again. This might just my excuse to get a mat and rotary cutter though! I used the preschool paper cutter to cut these out. I tried scissors to start with and that was totally not happening! So you will either a really steady hand or a good way to cut straight lines.

For the regular muffins, I made 4 inch by 4 inch squares. I want to try them on the jumbo muffins next. I think I would double the size of the squares for the jumbos.

I then just cut the kitchen twine into pieces. (I was too lazy to go get the twine like Tidy Mom has in her pictures from the basement … hey it was late, give me credit!) The tricky part was tying them on there. I had to hold the muffins against me and pull the string tight enough to be a little tight on the muffins.

Oh and the best tip actually came from Tidy Mom … spray the muffin pan with cooking spray before you put the liners in. This helps them stay in the pan.


Now they weren’t all beautiful. Some of the liners didn’t hug the edges as well as others. I think this takes practice and pushing it against the edge firmly.

I can’t wait to keep making these as it was a really fun but easy idea. Plus it makes something simple look over the top chic! ;)


Did you miss my last Friday Favorite? Find it here!

If you have a suggestion for a Friday Favorite, leave me a comment and let me know.
If you have a blog post that includes a recipe, tip, or article you wrote that you want me know about, leave me a comment and you might see it in a future Friday Favorite!!

Wednesday Randoms

What is the purpose of Wednesday Randoms? Well honestly there isn’t one besides to share something random. Maybe your child did something new, maybe you baked something yesterday, maybe you are behind at work, maybe you got in your work out today or maybe you didn’t. Anything is game. Well anything that is appropriate. If it isn’t appropriate, I will delete it. Here are mine …

  • Are you tired of summer class updates? I am and I am the one giving them! 1.5 weeks left … I CAN do this. I will finish these darn classes. I am behind in my homework again … for my reason this time see random #2.
  • My kids seem to have forgotten how to sleep which means I have gotten no sleep recently. Well 2 of the 3 kids. Little Dude is sick … or is getting molars … or both. Monday night he didn’t sleep AT ALL. =( Last night he slept but I didn’t because he was with me all night. =/ My Sophie is out of sorts it seems is having a hard time falling asleep suddenly. Not sure what is up there but she did sleep last night even it was in the chair in her room.
  • I want to bake like something crazy. I could spend a whole week baking and be happy. I refuse to let myself bake because I behind in my homework though.
  • The preschool is hosting an Open House on Saturday and we are not ready. ACK! I hope my husband is able to get the cleaning done and at some point I can help in the garden that goes to the new preschool entrance! (People don’t have to go through my house any more! YAY!!)

I really hope some of you leave a comment with maybe your own randoms this week. I would love some comment love!

Mamavation Monday: Walk … Run … Week 2

It is Mamavation Monday time again!

I was late posting last week but I did get in my post! You can find it here if you want catch up!

So last week was week 2 of the Couch to 5k walk/runs. I survived doing all three walk/runs. oh my goodness. I am still doing my walk/runs on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.

I am not looking forward to week 3. I am running? I don’t run … how am I doing this?

As for weight, I didn’t get the update I wanted on the scale. I was up 1.2 lbs. I can not eat enough it seems so I am trying to watch what I eat this week to make sure I am making good choices.

UPDATE: I felt the need to add a little update today. Maybe I should change my weigh in to Tuesday mornings … anyway. I was back down to my starting point this morning so down 1.2 lbs from yesterdays weigh in … let’s trash that weigh in and go with today’s!;)

Simply Budgeting: Budgeting Your Time


In April asked … do you live a savings lifestyle? Last month, I didn’t post a series post. My time was not organized last month and I admit it.

This month I hope to spark conversation around organizing and budgeting your time. Your time is one of the most valuable assets you have. It is why you are paid for any job you do. It is also why you pay others to do jobs for it.
I know I need to get better at organizing my time because I have so much pulling at it these days. One of my biggest struggles in budgeting my time is my graduate classes. It is very helpful to my schedule that they are online but also requires more focus for me. I am striving to work on them now so I can finish while my little ones are still little. The balance is trying now and I can’t imagine it getting easier … maybe it would but I don’t have faith in that theory. So here I struggle trying to balance my family, my job, my homework, and any other activity I throw in the mix which does include my blogging time. So that is why sometimes my posts are as often as they should be (in my opinion.) This is one of the first things go when I get stuck. At the same time, I really try to make sure I have time for the family with a key there being sure I get home in time for dinner. We eat dinner early (about 5pm) so this can be a challenge some days.

I know I work best off lists. I have a list in front of me right now. If I don’t have a list, I find myself lost doing other stuff that while it probably needs to be done, I then wonder what I wasted my time on that day. I also have my planner. My planner helps me plan ahead and even work ahead if I can. It also gives me more places to have check marks. You see, I have this obsession with check marks. I love to see that stuff is getting done and that motivates me to keep going.

So my questions this month are ….

So how do you organize your time? What works and doesn’t work for you? Maybe you have a tip to share that will help another reader so take a second and share how you organize and budget your time!

Do you have a budget question/idea/topic/blog post? Let me know in a comment or email to simplybudgeted at gmail.com!

DIY Wedding Cake Series: Final Results

Welcome to the Final Results! (I am posting about trial 1 and trial 3 then the final cake success thanks to the products provided by Wilton and Duncan Hines!)

Background: My sister got married in this May. She found the cake she wanted. It is simple and beachy which is perfect since she was getting married on the beach. The cost for a wedding cake that feeds 125 people though was priced “starting at $600″. gasp!!! So my mom and I decided we could take on making the cake for her. What the heck were we thinking?!

I was so pleased to partner up with Wilton and Duncan Hines for this effort. They have provided some products to helped us “practice” and get to the final cake!

So here was the … Final Results.

We once again used the Wilton Tired Wedding Cake Pans! So logistics came into play here in that we all live in Virginia and the wedding was in South Carolina. The place we were staying had an oven but we were getting there late Thursday and the wedding was on Saturday. So the decision was made to bake and freeze the cakes. They would travel down to South Carolina in a cooler … frozen. We had no idea if this would work, just prayed it would! Thankfully it did work. I made one a cake a night in the nights leading up to our departure date (minus the night before we left which was a good idea because I needed that huge cake to freeze!) The three smaller tiers all were placed back in their baking pans (they were wrapped up) to travel. The largest pan didn’t fit in the cooler so that cake was on its’ own. My biggest fear was that they would fall apart on the way down there. Thankfully this didn’t happen and they all made it to South Carolina in one piece.

As for the icing, we made a decision to use the Wilton pre-made icing you can buy in tubs. You can buy this in a million different places …. Walmart, Joann Fabrics, Amazon.

For starters

Wilton Performance Pans Round Pan Set, 3 Inches Deep are the Cake Pans we used for all of the trials and final cake. The Confetti Cake Mix was used in Trial 3 and the Final Cake!

The Final Product … Ta-da!

Here is a close-up of the final cake

The cake table all decorated at the reception

The bride and groom cutting the cake

Overall this experience was a success because the bride had the cake flavor she wanted and we save a significant amount of money in their wedding budget. Would I do this for just anyone? No way. It was a ton of work but I am happy my mom and I were able to pull this off for my sister!

This is the last post in the DIY Wedding Cake Series. I hope you enjoyed seeing this experience unfold!

Note: I was provided with Wilton cake pans and coupons for Duncan Hines cake mixes in exchange for the review of their products during the DIY Wedding Cake Series.

Friday Favorite: Garden Treasures Dispenser Value Pack

Friday Favorites is another almost weekly feature here at Simply Budgeted. The whole point of this feature is to share some of my favorite finds. Anything is game. Food. Cleaning supplies. Kid stuff. Garden favorites. Recipes. Anything that I really like and want to randomly post about. Reminder/Disclaimer/Whatever: Everything in Friday Favorites is something that I use and bought on my own.

Up this week …


Details …

Price: $9.88

Bird Seed Dispenser Value Pack

  • Easily pour bird seed
  • No scoops, no mess
  • Large dispenser holds up to 10 lbs
  • Small dispenser holds up to 7 lbs

My thoughts …
We bought these several years ago. The larger dispenser we actually use for our cat food. It is easy to pour into their bowl and doesn’t take up much space. It is really perfect.
The smaller one I do use for bird food but I use it as a scoop to get the bird food out of the container it is kept in. We don’t actually use the lid for that one but there was a two pack and we are making use of both of these.

If you look for these at the pet store, you will probably pay double the price because they say cat or dog on them. In reality they could be used for any storage so the next time you are in Lowe’s look in the bird food area for these containers!;)

Did you miss my last Friday Favorite? Find it here!

If you have a suggestion for a Friday Favorite, leave me a comment and let me know.
If you have a blog post that includes a recipe, tip, or article you wrote that you want me know about, leave me a comment and you might see it in a future Friday Favorite!!

Monthly Meal Plan – June 2011

If you noticed that there was an April Meal Plan and no May Meal Plan, you were right. Big mistake on our part. See the first week of May was crazy as my sister got married so we figured we would meal plan after we got back. It didn’t happen. I don’t know what we ate but I guess we ate something or another seeing as we are still here. It was a disorganized mess though.

Here is the background to the monthly meal plan …
Last year, we did weekly meal plans. Well we did weekly meal plans most of the time. I say most of the time because some weeks we forgot to plan. Life got busy, school work was out of control, the preschool business started, the family all got sick. You name it, life happens. When I suggested a Monthly Meal Plan late last month, I was sure my husband would declare me nuts for good. BUT … he was on board. He was on board so much he tried to find a monthly meal planner online. There were none to be found that worked for what we wanted though. So being the Excel junkie that he is, he made a calendar he could fill in a meal for each day.

Part of my accountable in doing this is posting our Monthly Meal Plan each month.
So I know June is half way over so why bother posting this. I want to show you we did plan … well some. See the bottom for more details on that.

I am going to see if this graphic works this month. The clunky format I have been using is taking me forever to type up and well I just need to get faster at getting this up!

Our Family’s June 2011 Meal Plan



Update: I am not loving this graphic but don’t have time to fiddle more right now. So click the graphic to get a “big” version of it you can read. Improvements to come … hopefully sooner rather than later!

A few notes …

  • Yes, breakfast is empty. We decided we aren’t all eating the same breakfast. If I make muffins, the kids eat those and maybe I will too. Breakfast is a free for all it seems with the focus on making healthy choices. As for lunch, we have been focusing on leftovers and on-the-go meals. My husband has had the kids busy doing activities this summer so they are eating picnic style lunches on a regular basis it seems. Once again, the focus is on healthy choices.
  • The dinner plans have lots of holes in them. Why? We were tired of planning out every dinner and we need to clean out freezer. So the empty nights become “get creative” nights. We have also been trying to cook a basic meal like the ham dinner last Sunday. We then use what is left to create multiple other meals.
  • This week’s shopping list is tomatoes,cucumbers, sour cream, milk, and eggs. We needs some basics and then a few fresh items that we are getting from the garden or CSA yet.

If you are looking for answers on monthly meal planning, ask the questions you have! I don’t know that I have the answer for you but I will look for them!
If you want the empty Excel spreadsheet formatted like a calendar, let me know and I will send it you via email. Just send me an email at simplybudgeted at gmail dot com.

Have you tried monthly meal planning? How did it go? Any tips or suggestions?


Wednesday Randoms

What is the purpose of Wednesday Randoms? Well honestly there isn’t one besides to share something random. Maybe your child did something new, maybe you baked something yesterday, maybe you are behind at work, maybe you got in your work out today or maybe you didn’t. Anything is game. Well anything that is appropriate. If it isn’t appropriate, I will delete it. Here are mine …

  • My summer classes are kicking my butt. I do not like summer classes. It is nice they are done and over with but the homework due every couple of days kills me.
  • The weather here is amazing this week. I wish I could drag my laptop outside to work on days like this. 70s … if there was a place was 70s year round, I would be there! lol
  • I have a new addiction to Hulu in that I put on shows I forget to record and let them play while I do work. It isn’t like I actually ever just sit and watch a show anyway so the background noise is a nice treat!
  • I need start planning my Little Dude’s birthday party. He will be two next month. Two! I can’t believe it.

I really hope some of you leave a comment with maybe your own randoms this week. I would love some comment love!