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    How To Start A Grocery Budget

    Having a budget has really made an impact on our life. I know that may sound silly but it has really put into perspective where we have been spending our money and where we can cut back a little to put away for a buying a new house, car, and upcoming vacations. So I wanted to start a little budget series on what we are doing and what might not be working and what has really helped us on this budgeting journey of ours.

    This week I want to focus on the grocery budget. I personally feel like this budget is where we struggled in the beginning because we pretty much just bought whatever we wanted. Also, I’ll share in just a moment but we planned meals based off of what sounded good and not used what we already had. I’ll explain my process in how this really saves us a lot of money but I shop our house first before I make a meal plan for the week and go to the grocery store. 

     

    What should my budget be?

    This is my top question I get asked. Your budget is customized to you and your family but a base to start off at I like to use this equation. $100 per member of your family per month. For example, we are a family of 5 so that puts us at $100 x 5 = $500. If you are a family of 2 I would start your budget at $300 and see how you do.  So our families grocery budget is $500 a month. I break this down by week, so we get $125 a month on groceries. Typically, I stay under that unless there is a major meat sale somewhere and I stock up.  

    The grocery category for me entails, groceries, household, and cleaning items. If this doesn’t work for you I would recommend starting a separate household budget. This works for my family because we shop at Costco and Sams Club and get most items in bulk that last 4 to 6 weeks. 

     

    What to buy in bulk?

    I have some staple items that we ALWAYS buy in bulk. I hate buying certain items for the grocery store because it’s sometimes the same price for 1 item that you could buy for bulk for 2.  For staple items it’s more of our household items that we like to keep stocked and get for a cheaper price.

    Household Items

    Toilet Paper 
    Paper Towels
    Ziplock
    Sponges
    Clorox Wipes

    Grocery Items

    Flour
    Sugar
    Salt
    Apples
    Salad
    Weekly Vegetable Item
    Ritz Crackers
    Rotisserie Chicken
    Butter 
    Burrito Tortillas

    These are more of staples items that the prices usually never change and when buying in bulk are actually cheaper in the long run then if you would buy them from your local grocery store. For example:  Ritz Crackers at our local City Market are $2.99 a box. 1 box contains 5 sleeves of crackers.  Sams Club has Ritz Crackers for $7.49. 1 box contains 18 sleeves of crackers.  So $2.99 x 3.5 = $10.47 so you’re saving $2.98 for the box at Sams then if you would have bought them over at City Market. And don’t get me wrong. If they go on sale at City market for $1.99 a box I will always pick them up but if they are not on sale I will grab them from Sams Club. 

    How to make a grocery list?

    This is where shopping your home first comes in. First and foremost before I start my grocery list I do a list of what I already have on hand. I start in my fridge, then my freezer, and last by pantry.  For my fridge I make a list of produce that we need use up, any left over food, and things we could use to make a meal with.  In my freezer I write down thing that I can use to make meals. 

    Once I have my list of items I already have on hand, I try to see what meals I can make for what we already have at home and what items I need to pick up from making a meal. Here is my list from last week. 

    Quick disclaimer, I am NOT a couponer. I do not collect coupons. This is just not for me and I would rather spend my time doing something else. Not saying I never use them I just don’t like to stress about them. With that being said, I do use store coupons. Safeway, City Market, Sprouts always have their own coupons you can use on their apps or in-store. 

    I use the store apps to look at weekly ads they have and what the deals of the week are. Typically, I pick one grocery store that has more deals on what we need and shop their that week. We also shop at Sams club to get the staples that we might be out of.  This is what my grocery list looks like for the week and once I go through the ads of what is all on sale.  

    What are some easy go-to meals?

    I shared on my instagram stories a couple weeks ago about me meal prepping and one of the best things I did was make some easy grab and go burritos. One of my staple items I buy every week is a rotisserie chicken. I shred it up when I get home and we use that throughout the week for quick meals when we’re in a hurry or something else comes up. Every Sunday I make up some rice and bag it up for easy meals.

    Breakfast Meals:

    Make ahead breakfast burritos and sandwiches.
    I use Jimmy Dean sausage, scrambled eggs, potatoes, and cheese for the burritos.
    Bacon, fried egg, cheese, for the sandwiches. 

    Oatmeal 
    The boys like frozen blueberries tossed in or any fruit we might have on hand with one minute oats.

    Lunch Meals:

    Grab and go burritos.
    I use the shredded chicken, rice, cheese, and black beans and freeze.

    Quesadilla
    Again, I use shredded chick or beef and cheese. 

    Dinner Meals:

    Crockpot Chicken
    Having a chicken in the crockpot you can make anything with it. This is always an easy goto meal for us. We like to toss is green chilis or bbq sauce, heat up a veggie, and serve with rice/quinoa/noodles.

    Tacos
    Nuff said.

    Chili
    I shared my chili recipe last year and this is one of our easy dump and go meals. I usually have like 95% of the items I need to make it!  You an find the recipe here and the pumpkin can just be taken out if you don’t like pumpkin. 

    *Nachos
    If you’re in a pinch and wanting to add something that’s quick and easy nachos are ALWAYS a goto for us. We use any leftover meat we have made from the week and usually do nachos on the weekend. BBQ Chicken nachos, Green chili Chicken nachos, Ground Beef nachos.

    Make your budget work for you

     Meal planning is one way to make your grocery budget work for you. Anything you do not eat can be frozen and saved for a later date. Any veggies I don’t use before they go bad, I chop up and freeze to save for meals at a later time. For example: we bought carrots in bulk and used for a couple dinner and snack but still had a bunch left. I chopped some up and froze them and I shaved some up for carrot cake and froze so I could make later. 

    Double batching food is a great way to make your budget work for you. If you’re planning a meal that is on sale, buy double to make a second one and freeze for a later date. 

    Making homemade things saves on your budget and gives you more to spend on other items you may want.   

     

    Stayed tuned for the second part of this budget series!

     

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    Packing A Diaper Bag For 3 Kids

    Thank you Lily Jade for sponsoring this post.
    All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

    I am still packing a diaper bag for all of the kids. We are almost 100% done with diapers! WOOHOO!! If you could see me right now I have the biggest smile on my face! I never thought I would get to this point in my life but they day has finally come! We haven’t been in diapers since the beginning of June but during nighttime Kai is still wearing one just as a precaution.  Read more

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    DIY Blanket Ladder Under $5

    I’ve been wanting a blanket ladder for the last year. I just haven’t been able to pull the trigger on spending $50-$250 on one. Yikes! So, I figured if I could make a headboard I should be able to build a ladder, right!? I looked all over the internet at what type and what would be easiest one to make. I initially wanted to do one with dowels but I didn’t know how easily the nails would go into the dowels without splitting the wood. 

     

    What you’ll need

    2 | 6ft 2×4
    5 | 18″ 2×2
    10 | 3″ nails

    OPTIONAL

    Wood Stain
    Paint
    Spray Paint
    Sand Paper

     

     

    First let me tell you that, Home Depot has scrap wood that might be warped or damaged in some way. This is where I found all of the 2×2 wood that they carried. The wood was 70% off! I only needed one piece cut up into 5 pieces so it worked out great!  I got my 5 2×2 piece for like 37cents and the 2×4’s were $1.98 a piece so my total came to to like $4.87

    Just like my DIY Headboard (if you haven’t checked it out you can here) Home Depot makes cuts so I just picked out the wood that I wanted and asked them to cut the exact measurements I needed. This is a total time and money saver for me. Since I do not own some sort of saw this is a wonderful perk. 

     

    I gave the gentleman my measurements and within minutes we were out of the store. 

    I wanted my rungs 10″ apart. I got my tape measure and measured out every 10″ and marked it. 
    My biggest tip is to nail the nails in first on the 2×4, just when they start splitting wood on the other side. This will help big time so you don’t have to hold the 2×2 wood in place while trying to get the nails in place.  Definitely learned my lesson on the second board. 

    Finally just get to hammering. 

    I did one whole 2×4 and then flipped it over and lined up the second 2×4 and did a nail on the top rung and then the bottom one to hold everything in place. And finished it off with the middle three rungs. Now would be the time to sand spots you need sanded. I did not do this. I’m content with it not being sanded but if you have nice blankets and/or want to guarantee no snags definitely sand where the blankets will hang. 

    I was very unsure about what color I wanted to do. Ideally every blanket ladder is some sort of wood color. I thought about white but the whole room is white and so I went with the color 

    BLACK

     

    I absolutely love it!

    Honestly haven’t seen any black blanket ladders and I think it adds a great pop to the room and then adding a fun color of blankets will just look great against the black color. 

     

    If you do end up making one, 
    I’d love for you to tag me on instagram @ebrooks so I can see what you created! 

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    Valentines Day Gift He’ll NEVER Forget

    We purchased a dinosaur costume from Amazon for Knox’s dinosaur birthday. Since Ethan is living in Colorado right now I thought it would be funny to take boudoir photos in the costume and get it printed for him. You can only imagine what the people at  Walgreens thought when they printed the photo and had it placed on the wood canvas haha. So I wanted to do something different and funny, something that wasn’t your typical V-Day gift and I got the BEST reaction! 

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    Best Dry Skin Must Haves

    Dry anything is horrible to have. But sometimes it feels like you can’t ever get rid of it. Winter is the worst time for me because my skin gets dry, when I wash my face it feels tight, and my scalp is dry and flakey. I’ve been testing some of these products for years and some for a few weeks. So I wanted to share some of the best products I’ve used to help with all of the dry.  Read more

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    The BEST Banana Bread

    First let me say….the things you do as a mother. YUCK.

    I HATE bananas.

    I know what you’re thinking,
    “If you hate bananas how can you make the best banana bread in all of the land?”

    Answer: Everyone tells me that it’s the best banana bread. 

     

    This is super easy and one of my kids favorite breads that I make. 
    All of the ingredients you need you probably already have in your kitchen. Did you forget to eat a few bananas and feel guilty about throwing them away. WELL DON’T TOSS THEM! 3-5 past what you would have eaten the bananas are the best banana bread bananas. You want them to be brown and squishy!

    Plus I got to use my new cast iron bread pan that I got for christmas! Thank you secret santa! 
    Heres the one I use

     

    What You Need:

    • 2 Cups of Flour
    • 1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
    • 1/4 Teaspoon Salt
    • 1 Egg
    • 1 1/8 Cup of Sugar
    • 1/2 Cup of Vegetable Oil
    • 2 Tablespoons of Milk
    • 1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla
    • 2-3 Ripe Bananas Mashed
    • 1/2 cup Chocolate Chips or Chopped Walnuts (OPTIONAL)

     

    DIRECTIONS

    1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees fahrenheit.
    2. Mix flour, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl and set aside
    3. In a separate bowl mix egg, sugar, and oil until completely combined. 
    4. Now add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix well. It will be very dry and thick
    5. In the small bowl mash bananas until it looks like a creamy mixture.
    6. Add milk, vanilla, and mashed bananas. Mix until it’s all combined. 
    7. (For our optional ingredients you can now mix chocolate chips or walnuts. I personally don’t add the walnuts into the bread I add it as a topper but you can add it into the bread if you’d like.)
    8. Pour into your bread loaf pan (Now would be the time to add the walnuts to the top of the bread)
    9. Bake for 60-70 minutes, knife should come out clean and Tada! 

     

     

    I hope you guys enjoyed this recipe. I’ve been making it for years!  You can also bake these into little muffins. The kids like these in the morning for breakfast. Just cut the time down to 30 minutes and check on them. 

     

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    5 Things I Do To Keep My Sanity As A SAHM

    I have been a Stay-At-Home Mom for 5 years now! I can’t believe that 5 years has flown by. It’s been a busy, challenging, eye opening, humbling, and amazing experience. Growing up I never envisioned myself as a SAHM but I’m grateful that I have had this opportunity and will always cherish these moments when my boys. 

    With that being said, they are a bunch of shits that drive me bananas! 

    I can’t tell you how many times they’ve brought me to tears and I had to lock myself somewhere to get a breather from them. They’ve tested my patience and have really put me to the test questioning whether I can really handle being a mom. I have to say this has been extra hard the last 2 months since Ethan has been gone and I’ve been solo with the kids day and night. So these are five things I do to help me stay sane.

     

    1. This one might sound like a no brainer but it’s something I’ve been continuously working on. I usually get up before the boys and having my alone time in the morning before they get up has been a great way to start my day. I enjoy my coffee and a piece of toast and catch up on all of my social channels. It’s just so calming and peaceful to have my 30 minutes and start my day before all of the chaos of the days starts. 
    2. Before I hop in the shower or soak in the tub, I like to take 10-15 of some self care. I put on a face mask and/or hair mask, teeth whitening and let it set. Once I’m ready I like to take a extra long shower or put on some calming music and soak in the tub. Totally brings me a sense of calm. 
    3. Personal time away from the home. This is huge! I don’t care if I need to take a walk, go to the grocery store, or stop to get an ice cream cone alone. Having my own time to take a breather completely changes my mood. Especially when it’s been one of those days. (Can’t wait to be in Colorado to get some alone time.)
    4. Planning a girls trip! Since we live so close to Vegas this has been one of our easy and goto trips that we like to take. A weekend get away to a concert or staying at a hotel to lay by the pool is such a nice refresher. We’ve taken cross country trips to visit friends and I’m so excited to be going on a cruise with one of my girlfriends! 
    5. Last but on least, lock yourself in your room with a glass of wine! (or a diet coke!) I am not kidding. Put on your kids favorite show go hide in the nearest closet and BOTTOMS UP! 

    I hope you enjoyed this list of things that help me keep my sanity as a SAHM! I’d love to hear what things you do and how you keep your sanity! 

     

     

     

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