Sunday, April 30, 2017

The Final Numbers Are In! April's Grocery Budget...

I had set my April grocery budget back at $550.  As of last week's post, I had a mere $9.95 left in the budget and I was pretty sure I would go over that.  And, well, my prediction was correct.

Here's what I spent:

Farmer's Market:  $29.00*
*offset by the fact I had four milk bottle deposits and only got two more bottles
1 quart whole milk
1 pint heavy cream
1 pint blueberry yogurt
1 pint cherry yogurt
1 full loaf of fig & walnut bread
1 bunch of ramps
1 bag of Asian salad mix
1 bunch of radishes

Total Spent for the week:  $29
Total Spent for April:  569.05
Overage:  $19.05

Not nearly as terrible as I was worried about.  I can *live* with a less than $20 overage.

Moving on to May, I plan on keeping the budget at $550.  While I do hope to be able to come in much lower (the house is pretty well stocked at the moment),  I don't  have the time/patience/ability to do any sort of self imposed challenge for May. 

How did you do with your April grocery budget?

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Gas, Garbage, and G1 to the Neurologist...

Whew!  Another busy day around here today!  I'm wondering if this is how the rest of the school year is going to shape up!

Remember that $75.43 that was left in my budget last week?  That I was so proud of still having?  Yeah, well, this week's driving made up for it!  I put $60 (TWO fill ups) into the tank since last week!  It's been a crazy kind of week!  I have $15.43 left in the budget along with a half tank of gas.  Sadly, I am almost positive that I will have to do some sort of "top off" because of Friday's driving - bringing G1 to Ramsey's house.  I doubt there will be any surplus to add to my summer driving fund.

I had two kitchen sized (13 gallon) bags again.  Plus another full recycling bin.  Same old, same old....

This morning it was G1's turn to see our favorite neurologist....

We all get migraines but G1's have amped up lately in intensity and frequency.  So, it was time to get "officially" checked out by the doctor.

I thought for sure an MRI was going to be ordered but, luckily for our bank account, that wasn't the case.  The doctor has decided to try a preventative medication to see if it keeps the migraines at bay.  I dropped the script off to CVS earlier and will be picking it up later this afternoon.  Hopefully the cost will be nominal and the medication will be effective in helping manage G1's migraines.

And, with that, I'm off running again!

Time to pick G2 up from school!

Have a great Thursday!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Weigh In Wednesday

I am not going to lie....

I really wanted a big loss this week!

I worked really hard exercise wise - thank you Fitbit!

However, when I got on the scale this morning...

I weighed in at..

182.1 lbs

So, I lost 1.3 lbs from last week.

While I am happy about the scale not going up, it is a bit of an eye opener....because even though I did curb some of my bad habits food wise, I am going to have to try harder on the food and diet soda front.

Okay, enough griping....

Here are the positives from this week's weight loss adventure...

1.  I did lose something! 

2.  My Fitbit is keeping me super motivated!  This thing is really working for me so far!  I love watching the number of steps go up and trying to hit all my goals for the day.  I was even invited to a "weekend warrior" challenge and won with the most logged steps of the group (42,532 steps for the weekend).

3.  Speaking of steps, over the course of the last week, I walked 58.9 miles which averages out to a little more than 8 miles per day! Not too shabby when you think about it!

4.  I do have more energy and have been able to avoid napping during the day!  When I get tired now, I try to go for a short walk to see if it helps.  So far so good!

I'm going to try to pay more attention to what I am eating and try to stay patient...

Have a good Wednesday everyone!

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Groceries Lately and An Update.....

Thank you everyone for keeping my brother in law in your thoughts.  I think I have felt every emotion possible over the course of the last two years about his condition....Now I am just so sad for him and hoping for a miracle. He has a LOT of baby steps to go through before we stop worrying about him.  And, things can go either way at any time right now so it's hard to relax when it comes to him.

As of writing this on Monday night, it appears the heavy duty clotting medications have helped.  The doctors are cautiously optimistic that the bleed is slowing, if not stopped.  But, since there was no true rhyme or reason as to why it started in the first place, no one can predict if this will continue to be the case. 

The doctors decided to stop the clotting meds to see if W (Papa's brother) could hold his own.  So far, so good.  But, he is constantly being monitored and is in the "step down" ICU.    If his levels tank, they will start giving him blood again and (I'm guessing) the clotting agent.

If the doctors can get this bleeding under control, we think he would be extremely high on the liver list - he was relisted I think at least a month ago.  While we were originally told his kidneys were toast, the doctors aren't as certain now.  It's a catch 22 - if we hope his kidneys are functioning well enough on their own, his placement on the liver list goes down.

I refuse to let myself go on the rant I currently feel about his "wife".  The only thing I will say is that there is zero support coming from her and scarcely any visits from her or their children.  So, W's support mainly comes from Papa....My mother in law tries her hardest but ends up fighting a LOT with W due to her frustration/anger/sadness.  Oh, and Papa is in charge of W's living will because Papa is the only person W trusts to do the right thing...whatever the circumstances, if needed.

I think I am going to try to head up to the hospital on Wednesday morning to visit him for a bit and have lunch with Papa.  Tuesday is too crazy with appointments for both Guppies.

And, that's where it stands currently.

For April's grocery budget, I am going raising my amount back to $550.  I am hoping to stockpile some much needed pantry items this month.  We will see how it goes!
What is included biin my monthly budget?  Food, paper and cleaning products, and health/beauty items.  We are a family of four....Papa, Me, Guppy1 (18), and Guppy2 (14).  Plus we often will have an impromptu dinner guest or two thanks to the Guppies!  =)

After last week's grocery trips, I have $178.19 .   Let's see how I did this week....

Okay, so let's be honest...right now there are way bigger things in life than my grocery budget.  While I don't want to completely blow it and go crazy, I am also giving myself a little grace under the current situation.  That being said, I do plan on staying accountable to see where I end up for the month....I'm just not going to beat myself up over the end number.

Big Y:  $75.75
Big Y has been my store of choice lately....Especially when I had to drive my car around on the "donut".  Big Y is literally around the corner from my house which translates into the least amount of driving.  I'll be getting new tires towards the end of the week. (I did get the tires taken care of last week.)

1 large bottle of Tropicana OJ
1 1/2 gallon of Friendly's Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough ice cream
1 package of hashbrown patties
1 bottle of Tamari soy sauce
1 bottle of rice wine vinegar
1 bottle of store brand pancake syrup
1 bottle Hershey chocolate syrup
1 container of chocolate sprinkles
1 (38 oz) bottle of Heinz ketchup
1 bottle of Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ sauce
1 bag of jasmine rice
1 large box of Lucky Charms
1 large box of Frosted Mini Wheats
2 (6 packs) of Gatorade
3 packages of split chicken breasts
2 lbs of strawberries
1 platter of veggie sushi with 2 spicy sauces

The above trip has more "junky" food than I would have liked but I bought the ice cream and toppings for G2 (who has been begging me to buy more).

Big Y:  $92.41
store brand cream cheese
1 lb deli American cheese
1 package grinder rolls (6)
1 bag Ore-Ida zesty fries
1 bag Ore-Ida tater tots
1 (12 pk) diet Snapple
1 bag farro
1 Rinaldi pasta sauce
1 (25 foot) foil
1 bag jasmine rice
1 package store brand "Shake n Bake"
1 (12 pack) store brand English muffins
5 (32 oz) bottles of Gatorade
2 bags of Perdue popcorn chicken
2 packages of London broil
2 packages boneless pork chops
1 jar of Maries blue cheese dressing
1 large clamshell of Olivia's organic spring mix
2 lemons
1 container of heirloom tomatoes
1 head of garlic
2 containers of "spicy sauce"
1 large container of seafood salad

Total Spent:  $168.24
Left in April Budget:  $9.95

So, that's where I stand right now.  I'm almost positive that measley $9.95 isn't going to cut it for the rest of the week.  But, I will try to keep it in mind while balancing the rest of life right now.

Hope you all have a great day!

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Still Here....

It's an absolutely beautiful day here and I'm planning on stealing a little bit of time for myself with a walk in the sunshine on the rec path here in town.

But, first I thought I should write a quick post....

It's been a crazy couple of days - which is why I haven't been able to write.  Papa, the Guppies, and I are all okay...

Papa's brother is not.

He has been internally bleeding for close to a week and the doctors cannot find the source.  They have been pumping him full of blood products and still his numbers are going down.  His kidneys are also completely shot now with no hope of returning.

Papa and I were in the room when a doctor came in and told him he needs to get his affairs in order because there is a good possibility he isn't making it out of this hospitalization.  While he has been close to death's door before, I think this time is even closer.  And I know this time is the first time anyone has told him.  Mostly because this is the first time he has been lucid enough to understand.

The most difficult thing for everyone, including my brother in law, is that he feels so good at the moment and is his "old" self.  Old self as in twenty plus years ago.  The Guppies don't even really know their uncle because he hasn't been "him" for so long!  We think he is acting this way because essentially his body has all new blood - between dialysis and all the IV bags full of blood products.

Last evening, they started a last ditch effort in stopping the bleeding by giving him a blood clotting agent.  It's a very dangerous thing to do because this medication could send him in the opposite direction and have his blood clot too much....which could lead to rogue blood clots that could lodge in his heart or brain.

Papa talked to him this morning and I guess some of his numbers are going up...which could mean potentially that the area that is bleeding could be slowing/clotting now.  But, it's way too early to get too optimistic.

Papa is heading over to the hospital soon but told me to stay home today since things are as stable as they can be at the moment.

I have been trying my hardest to support Papa as needed.  Yesterday was a tough day when Papa had to start calling friends (per his brother's request) to let them know what was going on.  Papa is trying to be strong for everyone and can only do so much until he crumbles too.  My priority is to be his soft place to land whenever he needs it.

And, I really hope that my brother in law can make it through this....

No matter what happens, it is a long road ahead....

I'll try to go back to a more normal blogging schedule tomorrow or Tuesday.

For today, I'll recharge as best I can and be there for Papa when needed.

Have a great Sunday everyone.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Gas, Garbage, & A New Pair of Sneakers!

Thursday already?!?! 

I can't believe how quickly April is passing by!

But, I am super excited about tonight!  A few months ago, we bought four tickets to see Frank Iero and his band at The Space in Hamden.  It's a very small venue with very limited tickets.  If the concert is anything like his last one, I'm sure we won't be disappointed.  (By the way, if you have no idea who he is -which I didn't before the Guppies, maybe you will recognize the band he used to be in...My Chemical Romance.)  Anyway, it's going to be a late night but fun!

Onto this week's totals...

Silver lining to driving on a "donut" rather than a "real" tire is that I have severely limited by driving distances!  The $75.43 I had last week is still alive and well in the budget....Although, either today or tomorrow, I will probably have to fill up to ensure I have enough gas to get to the discount tire place the next town over.  (I am currently sitting at a little under 1/4 tank.)

This week we put out 2 kitchen sized (13 gallon) bags.  This seems to be the "norm" at which we are stuck.  Truthfully, I can't say I have spent a whole lot of time thinking outside of the box - or garbage can in this case.  I've been sailing on auto-pilot with recycling and garbage. It's going to need closer examination.  I just don't know when I will have the time to dedicate to it yet.

I am not sure if there are "Bob's Stores" across the country or not.  In case you don't have one near you, Bob's is basically an athletic apparel/shoe store.  And, also the place where most people grab their UCONN Husky attire.  (LOL) 
Awhile back, I received a $10 coupon in the mail and held onto it "just in case".
My "just in case" came in the form of holey sneakers.  Remember those sneakers I bought a few months back with my Marshall's gift card?  Yeah, those.  They are already toast!  Besides have holes in the canvas, the tread is completely shot too!  When I bought them, I saw they were "ultra light".  My guess is that they aren't supposed to be worn/beaten up almost every single day.
Considering these are my main shoes of choice, I desperately needed new ones!
So, off to Bob's I went with my coupon!
I found a very nice pair of white and blue New Balance cross country trainers.  The original price was $59.99.  I got an additional 25% off thanks to my Bob's card - which brought the total down to $44.99.  Then, after the $10 coupon was applied, my price dropped to $37.85 including the tax!  I was pretty pleased with that price since I know New Balance sneakers tend to last awhile for me.
The branch I went to today is slated to be closed due to Bob's mother company (Eastern Mountain Sports) declaring bankruptcy.  I don't know when it's supposed to happen yet but I will definitely miss deals like this one!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Weigh In Wednesday!

This week I almost just skipped my morning weigh in....

It was not a stellar weekend in this house for me eating wise since it was Easter and I overindulged..




Plus, into Monday!

But, since this is a journey that I really need to take and stay accountable on, I forced myself on the scale.

It said


So, a gain of .4 lbs.

I'm not happy about it but know it could have been worse.

Last night, Papa brought me home my Fitbit though!  I can't believe it is here already since the order had to be placed by April 11th!  Talk about great timing though - I'm still learning how to use it and obviously didn't charge it enough last night in my excitement since the battery is showing half full this morning....(The battery is supposed to last five days fully charged.)  I love how slim the band is and it's really comfortable!  (I have the Fitbit Flex 2)

I'm hoping to keep my momentum going now that I have this baby....It reminds me a little bit of how much I love lists....except instead of crossing off items and feeling accomplished, I feel the need to add steps to get the same "high" as crossing stuff off.  Does that make sense?  LOL

Anyway, I'm off to try to get something accomplished today since I am not *quite* as tired as yesterday.

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Spoons and Day Book April 18th, 2017

I have discussed the "spoon theory" in the past on this blog but I found this great interpretation on Pinterest.

I knew last night I had hit the brick wall with how exhausted I was.  I had hoped that going to bed early would be enough.  Sadly it wasn't. 
There are times when I am so full of energy that it's easy to "forget" that I am "sick".
Then there are those days like today when I have to remember to use my spoons wisely.
I can't even begin to describe how frustrating and depressing this can be. 
Thankfully, Papa understands since he sees me cycle through this more than either of us cares to have happen.
I'll rest today and conserve my spoons the best I can.....
And keep my fingers crossed this episode is extremely short lived.

Day Book for April 18th

What I am feeling...
I think we covered that in the beginning of this post!  LOL

Outside my window...
The sun is shining!  The weather is supposed to become unsettled so this may be the last time we see this kind of sunshine until next Tuesday!  While I don't think walking very far is in today's plans, I do hope to be able to sit on the deck for a bit to soak up some sun!

What I am hearing....
Birds chirping, cars going by on the street, the dog happily playing with the Kong I filled with treats this morning.

What I am wearing....
Black T shirt, pink cardigan, and jeans....although I am debating putting back on my jammie bottoms.  ;)

What I am reading...
Still working on finishing the Neil Gaiman short story book...I'm almost done though and that will be four books so far for April - which was my goal!  So yay me!

What I am grateful for...
Many, many things! But here are some of the "top" ones on my mind today...
Papa and the Guppies
My "fur babies"
My parents
Clean laundry!  LOL
That my MS is truly not "that bad" in the grand scheme of things - there are people whose bodies have reacted much worse to the disease!
Being alive!  (More on that below)

From the kitchen...
Not much going on in there currently.  But, it's clean thanks to Papa last night!
My mother in law gave us a TON of homemade bread.  I froze some of it but am thinking about making French toast for dinner tonight with the remainder.
Also I need to bake/make something "grab and go" for the Guppies breakfasts for the rest of the week.

What I believe...
On Easter night, the Guppies and I drove Ramsey home in Papa's car.  After dropping him off around 9:30 we turned around to start our ride back home (remember Ramsey lives about 40 minutes away).   I was going the speed limit (65mph) because it was a holiday weekend and I was still getting used to driving Papa's car.  Less than halfway home we were in a stretch of highway that branches out into three lanes with me in the middle lane.  A car to my right moved into my lane without looking or signaling (G1 saw into the car and the driver was in her early twenties and texting on her phone) which made me swerve into the left lane to avoid it.  There was a car in the left lane next to me and somehow I was able to avoid BOTH cars!  G1 said it was like the wizarding bus in Harry Potter where the bus contorts the fit in the alleyways of London!  It was like I had created a FOURTH lane!  Oh and everyone was on their horns because the distracted driver that almost hit me went on to almost hit the driver that was on my left side too!  She was all over the road!  By the time I regained my composure enough to think of getting the license plate, the car was back on the right side and heading off an exit.  Hopefully someone else was able to get it and report it.
Anyway, what do I believe?
Honestly, that there was some type of divine intervention.  I know it sounds hokey but we were all amazed that we came out of it without a scratch on the car or any of us!  We should have been crushed, seriously.  G1 is an atheist and SHE even said someone/something helped keep us out of harms way!
It was so close that, after I was able to breath normally again, I began joking to the Guppies that when we got home and tried to open the door, our hands would go right through because we were ghosts and didn't realize.  Haha!
I guess it's no wonder that I have been having nightmares about car crashes now right?

To Do List:
Iron Papa's work shirts
Put folded laundry away
Take dog for short walk
Make dinner tonight
Vacuum the family room (if able)
Take G2 to therapy appointment tonight
Pay some bills online

Have a great day everyone!

Monday, April 17, 2017

Attack of the Laundry on Positively Monday!

What a late post today!

But, considering I dropped the Guppies off at the high school and drove straight to my parents' house to do laundry for five hours,  I guess a late afternoon post is to be expected right?  LOL
I feel like instead of "Positively Monday", this week should be called Good/Bad or Silver Lining.  It's been a rough few days...

Let's see what I can come up with to keep me in a good mood!

Straight out good stuff...

1.  The last book that G1 ordered for both of us  came in today!  (Delivery wasn't expected for another 14 plus days so that was a welcome surprise!)

2.  We "celebrated" our dog's 10th birthday on Saturday with a rowdy rendition of  the Happy Birthday song and a nice bowl of tuna fish - for the dog, not the humans.  We used to make her steak for her birthday but discovered about five years ago that she loves fish more.  Way difference in cost!  =)

3.  Most of Easter was relaxing.  Papa &  I went to his mother's house by ourselves so the guppies and Ramsey were very happy about not having to go.....which kept my Guppies from being grumpy for the day!  =)  Bonus points for me in that I was able to keep my mouth shut when my sister in law's "baby daddy" started spewing some truly asinine statements/ideas.

4.  Our Easter dinner here was delicious!  And, my cream puff recipe came out spectacular.....a little too spectacular if you know what I'm getting at.  Don't want to hop on that scale on Wednesday!  ;)

5. Papa & his boss had a more in depth discussion regarding the new position the boss wants to create for Papa.  So far everything sounds promising!

Okay, now the bad stuff with silver linings...

1.  Papa has to order the part of the washer.  He originally thought he could get it locally but can't.
SILVER LINING:  Besides the guppies not haphazardly throwing clean clothes in hampers, I was able to get to my parents' house and use their washer and dryer for free.  All I had to do was bring my dirty clothes and detergent - although they were expecting me to use their detergent.  While I hope this is a very short term problem, it was nice to not have to spend like $35 to get clean clothes again!

2.  I got a really bad flat tire on Friday afternoon, right before I had to take G1 to a doctor's appointment in New Haven!  The tire is completely shot/unfixable!
SILVER LINING:  The flat happened about 30 minutes after I drove G1 home from Ramsey's house. If it happened any earlier than it did, I could have had a major blowout on the highway.  I called Papa and he was able to leave work early for the day so I could take his car to drive G1 to her appointment.  Last part of the silver lining is that I am finally getting used to driving his car and it's actually fun since it's a convertible.  OH!  I forgot the really good silver lining....I had overestimated the payoff of a larger bill by $500!  So, there's my new tire money...since you have to buy two new tires at a time...Why is that anyway?

3.  The house is an absolute mess!
SILVER LINING:  I am surrounded by people whom I love more than anything.  I would rather have chaos than loneliness any day!

I think that's it!  Truthfully my brain is a bit fried today from lack of sleep this weekend....I had overestimated/incorrectly remembered the size of ham we normally purchase and got one TWO TIMES as big as normal!  We went to start our recipe at ten on Saturday night and it didn't finish getting to the first "proper" temperature until 5 am on Sunday morning!  So, instead of sleeping fully, I was "catnapping" and having to keep checking the thermometer.

Hope everyone had a great weekend/Easter/Monday!

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter to all those who celebrate!

I am hoping to have a very relaxing day for the most part....with dinner here with my little family and Ramsey.  =)

A great way to end spring break for the Guppies!

And back to business tomorrow....

Saturday, April 15, 2017

This Week's Groceries

For April's grocery budget, I am going raising my amount back to $550.  I am hoping to stockpile some much needed pantry items this month.  We will see how it goes!
What is included biin my monthly budget?  Food, paper and cleaning products, and health/beauty items.  We are a family of four....Papa, Me, Guppy1 (18), and Guppy2 (14).  Plus we often will have an impromptu dinner guest or two thanks to the Guppies!  =)

After last week's grocery trips, I have $381.77.   Let's see how I did this week....

Stop & Shop:  $34.54
Flour, sugar, and ham were on sale.  The ham, though not spiral sliced, was 77 cents/pound!
1 store brand bag (5lb) AP flour
1 bag (4lb) Dominos sugar
1 jar Grey Poupon Dijon mustard
1 store brand box of ginger snaps (for ham coating)
1 box Kraft mac n cheese
1 bottle of Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ sauce
1 family sized pack of chicken drumsticks
1 (12.5 lb) ham
1.25 lbs of asparagus
1 (5 lb) bag of yellow onions

Big Y:  $61.60
1 (18 count) eggs
1/3 lb olive bar items
1 Rondele Garlic & Herb cheese spread
1 lb deli American cheese
1 bag Ore Ida French fries
1 bottle Ken's dressing (for pasta salad)
1 bag of Arnold Sandwich thins
3 cases of Coke products
2 lbs of bananas
.75 lb yellow squash
.73 lbs zucchini
1 (10oz) package white mushrooms
1 lb tomatoes on the vine
1 large English cucumber
1.5 lb of eggplant
1 large container of seafood salad

Stop & Shop:  $35.35
G2 was supposed to have friends over again and asked for hot dogs, chips, & pasta salad for dinner.  About thirty minutes after getting back from the store, G2 ended up throwing up and having people over was cancelled.  She has been super tired over the past few days so fingers crossed it's not some sort of bug!
1/3 lb of olives from olive bar
1 package store brand hot dog rolls
1 (16oz) container of Cabot sour cream
1 block of Cabot Alpine cheddar cheese
3 single Dannon yogurts (for me)
1 (10 pack) store brand tortillas
1 small bag of Kraft shredded Mexican cheese
1 family sized bag of Lays chips
1 package of Hummel all beef hot dogs
1 family sized store brand container of cheese tortellini

Farmer's Market:  $37
1 quart whole milk
2 pints heavy cream
1 pint cherry yogurt
2 pints of soup (gift for Papa's brother)
1/2 loaf pain au laudain (I think) bread
1/2 loaf walnut pepper bread

Food Works:  $4.98
2 vanilla bean pods for Easter's crème brulee

Wine Merchants:  $14.57
bottle of honey bourbon for Easter ham

Big Y:  $15.54
1 (18) carton eggs
3 packages of store brand napkins (buy 1/get 2)
1 roll of store brand parchment paper
1 pouch peanut butter cookie mix
1 box Krusteaz raspberry bars
1 box Jello vanilla pudding
1 bag store brand powdered sugar

Total spent this week:  $203.58
Left in April budget:  $178.19

Well then!  That's a whole lotta shopping this week!  Truthfully, it could have  been has been worse in other years during Spring Break.  Plus things like the vanilla bean pods and bourbon are items bought for Easter dinner.

Half a month left!  With some careful budgeting and creative planning /meals, I *should* be able to do this!  =)

Friday, April 14, 2017

Yesterday's Adventures, the Washing Machine, and Today's Plans

What a great day Papa and I had yesterday!  The weather was perfect (in the low 60's) and we really enjoyed the day!

After taking the dog for a walk of her own, we decided to head of to Sleeping Giant State Park and tackle The Blue Trail - hardest trail on the mountain.  While it was fun, it truly kicked my butt too!  And reminded me that there was a reason why I wanted to get in better shape!  It was still worth attempting it because it gives me a "baseline" as to where I started this year's season.  When the blue trail met up with the much easier Tower Trail, we had a choice of either going up the Tower trail to the stone castle like building on top or going down to the parking lot.  We decided to head up and, after doing the Blue, this incline seemed like nothing.  LOL  All in all, I think we were on the mountain for about two hours - including the break we took up near the castle.

We went back home to have lunch and asked G2 if she wanted to take a ride with us to Milford to the REI store and have dinner across the street at Plan B burger bar.  She declined and stayed home reading her library books. 

By the way, we were in the convertible with the top down for the entire day which was fun too!

The REI store has been in Milford since late October but yesterday was the first real chance we had to go.  We both LOVED this place!  It has everything we will need for our hiking adventures and doesn't sell guns like other big outdoor stores do.  NO guns is a big plus in my book...just my opinion though.  We got to talking to a guy in the hiking boots department and learned quite a bit about the store and boots.  He took his time with us, even knowing up front we weren't buying anything yet.  He also explained how REI is extremely community focused - if you become a member ($20) that money goes directly into community activities and every March you get 10% back from what you spent the previous calendar year.  (For all the gear Papa and I need to eventually get, this could add up nicely!)  The employees don't work on commission which is partly why I think there wasn't any huge sales pitch/pressure to buy at that very moment.  I'm so happy we made the time to go look - It definitely helped my motivation to keep going on the weight loss/better shape journey!  And, I love that Papa actually wants to do the Long Trail hike with me in a few years.  We had a great discussion about the benefits of long distance hikes and how much he is looking forward to it....Originally it was MY dream that he was helping me realize.

Since G2 didn't want to eat out, we came back home and cooked an easy dinner here.  No sense for Papa and I to spend the money at Plan B since it was offered to G2 as something special for her.

And then....

Long time readers will remember me posting about my washing machine awhile back...It "agitates" fine but doesn't completely spin the clothes out, leaving them pretty water logged and making the dryer work harder.  I have been trying little "tricks" to get the machine to work better/clothes spun out but it's really gotten difficult lately.  It takes my dryer at least three cycles to even come close to completely drying a regular sized load....translating into not only frustration but crazy high electric bills!  And as for line drying or hanging the clothes up?  I can hang them up but they drip everywhere on the floor because they are simply THAT WET (even after trying to wring them!)  So the dryer was the best option.

Papa took the washer apart last night.  It's not a broken or slipped belt.  It ended up being the clutch.  The clutch is at most a $25 part but now Papa has to figure out what model we have because I lost the manual long ago.  ((hangs head in shame)) LOL

So good news is we can fix it!  Bad news is I'm not sure how long it's going to take!

I have my back up plan ready though...

My parents said I was more than welcome to use their machines while mine is down.  So, probably on Monday (if we can hold off that long), I'll take my laundry and my book and "play laundromat" at their house.  Thankfully I won't need any change for these machines.  Haha!

Hopefully Papa will be able to locate the ID number tonight for our washer and get the process the time he was done taking it apart last night and figuring out what was wrong, it was getting late.

Today is shaping up to be a busy one for me....

Besides the usual walking the dog and straightening up the house,

I have to run to the store to buy dog food
Pick G1 up from Ramsey's, drive her back here to drop off her stuff, and then drive her to New Haven for a doctor's appointment
Finish compiling our small Easter menu and make a corresponding grocery list
Run to the mall (possibly will be put off until tomorrow) for a few last minute basket items - including something for Ramsey since he is spending Easter with us
Bring the Guppies to my parents house to visit and pick up their baskets since we won't be seeing them on Easter....I'll probably bring some of my laundry today to leave for Monday.

And, I *think* that's it...


Happy Friday!

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Gas & Garbage....And a Day Off for Papa!

I'm scheduling this post ahead of time because...

Papa is finally taking a day off from work!  This is the first day he's taken off (that wasn't a office wide holiday) since starting at the hospital!  He has accrued over FOUR WEEKS of vacation/sick time!  So, a day off is well overdue!
Our plans for the day are to go on a nice hike (possibly with G2 if she decides to join us).  And, then Papa wants to take a look at our washing machine to see if he can replace the belt that is slipping.  Other than that, I'm not sure.  But, I do know we all plan on sleeping in past six am!  LOL

I am aiming to spend $130 or under for April's gas budget (my car only).  Any money I am able to save will be saved to go towards the extra driving I do over the summer time.  As of last week, I had $102.50 left in April.  I filled my car up on this past Sunday for $27.07, which leaves me with $75.43 for the rest of April.  As of last night I had a little under 3/4 of a tank left so I should be able to eek out until at least Saturday - even with this week being spring break for the guppies.

The garbage situation wasn't too pretty this week again.  We ended up with three kitchen sized (13 gallon) bags of trash.  I'm thinking some of this is due to the birthday sleepover last Saturday and the extra kiddos that have been spending time at our house.  I am happy to report that the very large garbage can for recyclables was filled to the brim!  At least I can say we did something right!  =)

Hope you all have a wonderful Thursday!  I'll be reading everyone's blog later this afternoon.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Weigh In Wednesday

Sorry for such a late in the afternoon post!  I wanted to write this earlier but this is the first time I have been able to sit at my computer for two minutes!

After discovering that my weight was causing most of my leg pain and my neurologist told me I needed to lose weight, I decided to make my health a priority again.
Last week, my weight didn't budge....I was still at 184.7.

Last night I had already begun planning this post in my head.  I was simply THAT sure that the only way that scale was moving was upwards!  Last week was a disastrous (but delicious!) week, food wise...from eggplant parmesan and garlic bread to Popeye's fried chicken and biscuits.  It was simply not the way one who wants to lose weight eats!  (At least not that many days in a row! LOL)

As a matter of fact, last night I bought my one and only crème egg for the season and enjoyed every last bit of it.  I figured it was better to have it "count" towards today's weigh in, right?


I got on the scale...


Because I couldn't believe what it said...

I'm down 1.7 lbs!  So, currently I am an even 183....

an awful number for sure!

But, I will take the loss!

How the heck did it happen?

I'm not entirely sure.  I know I weighed myself in the same clothes and the same time of day.  I'm guessing that my saving grace was all the movement (walking and hiking) that I have been doing lately.  And, possibly the changeover from a little less diet soda to a little more diet Snapple and water maybe?

Whatever it is, I am happy it happened!

Here's to a great upcoming week and an even better number next Wednesday morning!

If you are trying to lose weight, how did you do this week?

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Tuesday Miscellany...

It's only Tuesday and I feel so unorganized already with spring break here!  But, G1 is having a good time off at Ramsey's house - they come back here on Friday for the weekend and our little Easter dinner.  And, G2 is having a really good time too!  After I dropped her boyfriend off at home last night, she gave me a huge hug and thanked me for everything I have been doing!  So, hey for that kind of appreciation, I can handle a little chaos!  LOL

Here are the random things floating through my head today....

PayPal verification codes?
So, I'm throwing this out there to see if this has happened to anyone else...
This morning at 8:37am, I got a text with a my "Pay Pal verification code" which would only be good for the "next five minutes".  After checking with G1 and Papa to make sure they weren't using Pay Pal (they weren't), I went on PayPal to make sure there wasn't any recent activity (there wasn't) and changed my password. But, I got extra paranoid because my debit account and checking accounts are linked to Pay I went and deleted all my banking information and cards from Pay Pal.  It was probably overkill but I'd rather be safe than sorry.  Has this happened to anyone else?  I'm guessing it's another phishing scheme of some sort.

Papa's family
I could write a very long post about everything that has been happening with them!  But, I won't because I just don't want to work myself up.  It seems like when I think they have reached the highest point of insanity, they ramp it up even further!  I keep trying to tell myself that it's not my circus and not my monkeys.  But it kinda will be when my mother in law and Papa's great aunt pass away since Papa inherits a third of each house - and all the debt that surrounds it.  I told Papa he really needs to have a discussion to get off the wills so we don't end up losing anything in the process.  (And, since Papa's sister and her entire family are living in both houses for free, they won't be willing to sell the houses when the time comes.)  It's a mess I don't want my family to be a part of.
Papa's brother is not doing well either.  I know I haven't written about him lately either.  It seems about every two to three months he is back in ICU with his kidneys shutting down.  He is in the hospital currently, recovering from it yet again but has been moved to Papa's hospital to await some procedure to help take strain off his liver and kidneys.  While I feel badly for him, its hard because I worry about Papa.  He called Papa last night at 11pm to find out what time he gets to work and will be coming to see him today.  He doesn't seem to understand that Papa has to actually work and cannot sit and entertain him for hours on end.
Okay, stopping myself...rant over.  LOL

Let's get cooking!
I'm still trying to figure out what is going to work best for me in regards to my path to successful weight loss.  The first week I ate super healthy but didn't lose a single once.  The second week, when I started to use SparkPeople, I tried counting calories and felt limited in what I could eat/make since logging information in is unbelievably time consuming - may be due to my wifi connection but still super frustrating! 
So, I think I am going back to a combination of the two for now.  I will continue to use Spark to keep track of my exercise (until the Fitbit comes in) because I like seeing that in black and white.  But, I will go back to cooking/making healthier food/recipes and cutting back my portions.
I miss cooking to be honest.  And, I don't want to use a lot of cooking sprays/fake cheese/etc.  (Says the girl with the diet coke addiction! haha!)
As a matter of fact, I think I'm going to crack open my kindle and start to read two books that I have on there...
Real Food: What to Eat and Why by Nina Planck
100 Days of Real Food by Lisa Leake
to help gain some inspiration/motivation.

As a quick example of what makes me happy, I am having a wonderfully delicious lunch as I write this...An English cucumber sandwich on farm market olive bread with a garlic & herb cheese spread.  Simple & delicious and, most importantly, left me very satisfied! 
I'm a foodie at heart I guess!  But that doesn't mean I can't find a way to get in better shape!

A gift from G1
G1 came home last week very excited about a TED talk she saw during her psychology class by a man named Phillip Zimbardo.  He was talking about the Stanford Prison Experiment and what makes people good/evil.  She wanted to buy the book he wrote about it.  So, after I reminded her that she had a Barnes & Noble card left from Christmas, she ordered it.  But, she also ordered two Clive Barker books - one that we both wanted to read (Books of Blood Volumes 4-6) and a book that I have wanted for a very long time....Weaveworld (it's one of my top ten favorite books).  It was so sweet of her to buy it for me!  And, I'm really excited because it came in the mail today. =)

That's probably enough miscellany today!  I really should tidy up the kitchen and see what G1 is planning with friends today. 
It is absolutely beautiful out so I may try to sneak away for a hike if I can.

Have a great Tuesday!

Monday, April 10, 2017

Positively Monday!

Phew!  What a weekend!  Let's see what I can come up with for positives to start the week off right....

1.  G2's BFF's birthday party sleepover here was an absolute success!  Everyone had a great time!  And, I stayed under my self imposed budget of $100 for everything - including a gift of some great items from Lush!

2.  It's simply gorgeous out today!  The sun is shining and it's supposed to reach around 70 degrees!

3.  Papa, puppy, & I went for our first hike of the season yesterday afternoon.  Sleeping Giant State Park was packed (and we did the most popular trail -The Tower Trail) but it great to be out doing it again!  And, my pup got to meet a lot of other dogs so she was pretty tuckered out by the time we were done due to all the stimulus and walk!

4.  I got a lovely text last night from Cee, a young woman I met through a friend of a friend.  Cee has been struggling a lot and I have been doing my best to be a good friend/mom figure to her.  Today is her birthday and she wanted to tell me that I was one of the biggest reasons she was still around to celebrate it....not gonna lie.  I teared up when I read it!  It's so good to know that I am able to make a difference!

5.  After four days of craziness (eating wise), last night I finally reigned myself back in.  I'll tell the full story on Wednesday but I don't expect to see any movement on the scale..except maybe some climbing.  It's all okay though because I stopped myself last night and that's what matters.  I'm back to making better decisions again!  =)

6.  I can't remember if I used this one yet but a promotion may be in Papa's near future!  It will mean a slight jump in money but, more importantly, put him on the track for bigger things in the future.

7.  I was proactive with G2 regarding this week's Spring Break plans.  Rather than letting things fly and saying yes or no to each idea or plan she and her friends came up with, I pulled $50 out for her and told her it was hers to budget for this week's plans.  And once the money was gone, it was gone for the week.  End of story.   Oh and as extra incentive, I also told her that IF there was any money left at the end of break, she could keep it.  While $50 may sound extravagant, trust me, it's a bargain compared to what I might have shelled out if I didn't do it this way! 

And, I think that's it....

I'm going to go outside and enjoy the sunshine and read a magazine for a bit....Hey, I guess that would be #8!


Have a great Monday!

Saturday, April 8, 2017

April Grocery Budget and First Week's Shopping

Time for a new month! 

For April's grocery budget, I am going raising my amount back to $550.  I am hoping to stockpile some much needed pantry items this month.  We will see how it goes!
What is included in my monthly budget?  Food, paper and cleaning products, and health/beauty items.  We are a family of four....Papa, Me, Guppy1 (18), and Guppy2 (14).  Plus we often will have an impromptu dinner guest or two thanks to the Guppies!  =)

Big Y:  $19.40
1 pint of store brand butternut squash soup
1 bottle of Brianna's Poppy Seed dressing - I have been dying for poppy seed and haven't been able to find it before now!
1 loaf of Dave's Killer Bread - been hearing a lot about this bread and had to try it myself
1 loaf store brand white bread
6 store brand "Ice" style drinks
1.5 lbs of Fuji apples
1 large cantaloupe

CVS:  $20.33
G2 came down with a bad sore and itchy throat (including red spots!) which needed a late night run to the pharmacy....
CVS brand Benadryl (needed to make sure the itchiness wasn't due to allergies)
2 bags of throat lozenges
1 bag of Chips Ahoy! cookies
1 bag of Double Stuffed Oreos
(cookies were a request from the patient! LOL)

Whitneyville Food Center:  $11.48*
*included a bottle deposit which we will get refunded at next Farmer's Market
1 quart whole milk
1 pint raspberry yogurt
Farmer's market got cancelled on April 1st and we were completely out of milk and yogurt.  Papa really wanted the "good" dairy so we went to the only store we know of that sells our vendor's brand.

Big Y:  $42.14*
*Ramsey was here and decided to cook Eggplant Parmesan for us!  I decided, since I am trying for a lifestyle change, that it would be okay to have some - since it's one of my favorite dishes.  But, this is why this total is more expensive - fresh mozzarella isn't cheap!  But it was so worth it and less expensive than the five of us eating out! Plus it made such a large amount that there were leftovers for lunch AND I froze about half of it for a future meal!
1 dozen eggs
1 bag of freshly grated parmesan cheese
1 lb fresh mozzarella log
3 large cans of whole Italian tomatoes
1 small container of panko
1 store brand bag of flour (5lb)
1 store brand bag of sugar (4lb)
1 container of poppy seed dressing
Monster energy drink (for Ramsey)
1 large container of basil
1 package of salad mix
2 lbs of eggplant

CVS:  $40.69*
* I debated whether or not to include this because about 90% of it is for the Guppies Easter baskets.  BUT, since most of it is consumables or health/beauty products, I am adding it all into my grocery budget.  The rest of what I put in the Easter baskets will be gift cards most likely.  I used $3 in ECB, a $2 coupon for the paper towels, and a coupon for $10/$40 coupon.  All in all, I think it was a decent least for me!
For the Easter baskets:
6 face masks (assorted varieties)
3 chocolate covered pomegranate seeds (Buy 1/Get 2)
2 bags of Kit Kats (Buy 1/Get 50% off 2nd)
2 Godiva chocolate bunnies (Buy 1/Get 50% off 2nd)
Regular Health/Beauty:
1 box of "family planning" protection items
2 packages of CVS brand razors (Buy1/Get 50% off 2nd)
1 roll of CVS brand paper towels

Target:  $11.19*
*This trip was solely for snacks for G2's BFF's birthday party.  I ended up not needing to buy as much because BFF's aunt is taking the BFF, her boyfriend, G2, and G2's boyfriend out for a birthday dinner.  They will return to my house after and the rest of the kids aren't coming until 7:30 pm so I won't have to make/provide dinner for everyone.  I was able to apply the remaining balance of a gift card so this total reflects that.
2 bags of family sized Doritos
1 family sized bag of potato chips
1 family sized bag of mini pretzels
1 large container (3 lbs) Pop Secret popcorn kernels
1 tub of Nestle chocolate chip cookie dough

Farmer's Market:  $23.00
1 quart of milk
1 pint of heavy cream
1 pint of blueberry yogurt
1 pint of maple yogurt
1/2 loaf of olive bread
1/2 loaf of pain au...something I can't remember but the bread is sooo yummy!  LOL

Total for this week:  $168.23
Remaining in April's budget:  $381.77

Phew!  Spendy first week of the month!  I know at some point this weekend I will be heading out to a couple of stores to cherry pick - mainly flour and sugar that caught my eye!  Plus, I need to grab a few things for Easter dinner - like the ham!  Even though we aren't having a big dinner with my parents, we will still have a nice smaller dinner with the four of us plus Ramsey. 
Still I think what's left in my April budget is completely do-able.

Hope everyone is having a great Saturday!
I'm off to do a bit more cleaning before the kids come - I think we are up to a total of nine including G2!  Wish me luck!  =)

Friday, April 7, 2017

Another On the Fly Birthday Party!

I got a text from G2 five minutes after I dropped her off at school.  She was supposed to go to her BFF's house tomorrow for a birthday party sleepover.  Well, the BFF's mom is sick.  G2's text asked if we could move her birthday party/sleepover here. Today and tomorrow were already filled with a lot to do - including going to the mall to buy the BFF's birthday present tomorrow afternoon!  Now, it's even crazier, since I did say yes the party could be moved here.  G2's bestie is like my third daughter so I wanted to help out.  Oh, and in case you were wondering, this was completely my daughter's idea to keep her BFF's birthday plans going.

However, my grocery budget is going to take a little bit of an extra hit now.  Thankfully, I do have a good variety of drinks available.  But, we are running low on chips/snacky foods.  And, since the BFF doesn't like cake, I will probably buy a small ice cream cake from either the grocery store or Dairy Queen.  And, to make my life easier, I will most likely grab pizza for the kids to eat for dinner.  Pizza is a no-brainer for teenagers and much easier than trying to find something they will all enjoy for dinner!

Some people will probably think I'm crazy doing this.  And, I know things like this add up in our bottom line financially.


This girl IS family to me.  I love her mom and I know that she would say yes if the situation was reversed.  As a matter of fact she has helped me out in the past when the girls were younger and I had some bad MS flares.

It all evens out eventually and we do things for the people we love....

Happy Friday!

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Gas, Garbage, & A Recipe

This month I am aiming for $130 or under in gas for my car.  I did really well last month (coming in at $20 under) so I am hoping to do that again!  As I mentioned last week, I was trying to eek out what I had left in my tank until April 1st.  I was able to do that which makes me really happy.  I ended up filling up my tank on Sunday to the tune of $27.50, leaving me with $102.50 for the rest of the month.  Even better, I have over 3/4 of a tank left since I haven't done much driving this week!  This is a HUGE bonus since the Guppies have April vacation next week so my driving will probably be ramped up quite a bit.

Well, I guess it's to be expected that extra garbage and Spring Cleaning go hand in hand.  While I tried to recycle and repurpose as much as I could, we still ended up with four kitchen (13 gallon) sized trash bags.  Seeing that much garbage again is a good reminder about consumerism and bringing extra crap-ola into the house.

Finally, so the post isn't too terribly boring, I'll leave you with a tried and true recipe I dusted off yesterday!  I have been making it off and on for at least six plus years and it hasn't let me down yet!

Wheat berry & Fruit Salad*
*don't let the wheat berry put you off! Wheat berries are delicious and easy to handle.  However,  I have also used different grains in the past.  As a matter of fact, I used a quick cooking farro yesterday since that's what I had lingering in my cupboard!  If you use another form of grain, cook it and skip to step #2!

1 cup wheat berries
3 T olive oil
2 T water
1 1/2 T cider vinegar
2 t Dijon mustard
salt & pepper to taste
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1 large apple, cut into bite sized pieces
1 cup red seedless grapes, halved
1/2 cup diced Cheddar cheese

1.  Bring 4 cups of water to a boil.  Add wheat berries, reduce heat, cover, and cook for approximately 50 minutes.  (Wheat berries are done when they are like al dente pasta)  Drain well.

2.  Whisk oil, water, vinegar, Dijon, and salt & pepper in a large bowl.  Add cranberries and warm wheat berries, tossing to coat well.  Let stand at least 10 minutes to absorb flavors.  Toss occasionally during this time.

3.  Add remaining ingredients and toss to mix/coat.

I have made this ahead of time and kept in the fridge for a couple of days.  I have never had an issue with the apples browning - I'm guessing that's because of the cider vinegar in the dressing.

This is a recipe I (very minimally) adapted from a magazine.  I think it was originally from Woman's Day many years ago.

Have a happy Thursday!

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Weigh In Wednesday!

After discovering that my weight was causing most of my leg pain and my neurologist told me I needed to lose weight, I decided to make my health a priority again.
Last week, my starting weight was...184.7 lbs.

This week my weight is...

184.7 lbs!

I'm trying to not be too discouraged...

There were some positive things over the course of the last week...

My diet soda consumption is going down.  I have replaced some of it with diet Snapple.  (Though I need to get going and have more water)

I didn't have ANY chocolate or ice cream in the past week - which I haven't been able to say in a very long time.

My fruit and veggie intake has gone way up.

My activity level is starting to go up as well.


I'm thinking my portion sizes are way off still.  And, while I hate counting calories and measuring stuff out, I am going to try to do it for a few weeks just to get back into understanding portion control.  I dusted off my SparkPeople account and will be logging everything in there.

Not losing weight this week is super disappointing but I didn't gain anything which is good I guess, right?

Hopefully persistence will pay off and I will see a nicer number on the scale next Wednesday.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Day Book April 4th, 2017

Rainy day here today!

Outside my window....
Rain!  After having a couple of gorgeous days, we were bound for a rainstorm right?  At least it's not snow and it's going to be relatively warm (51 degrees).  I have my furnace set to kick on at 57 so I doubt that will happen today!  Yay!

What I am hearing....
The fridge running, the dog snoring away (hopefully she sleeps awhile longer because I don't want to take her outside in this until she definitely has to go!), birds chirping back and forth, cars going by outside.

What I am wearing....
Since I am (mostly) staying home today and already out of my jammies (shocker right? haha!), I have on an older comfy maroon sweatshirt, jeans, my all time favorite socks (circa 1995), and sneakers.

What I am feeling....
Pretty okay actually.  I am almost completely back to my "normal" self.  =)

What I am reading....
The final book in the Last Survivors series by Susan Beth Pfeffer.

From the kitchen....
Not too much at the moment.  I have been making a point of cleaning it every night now and wow!  What a difference it makes in the morning when I'm getting everyone breakfast and Papa's lunch ready!  Tonight I think I'll roast a chicken for dinner....the extra heat from the oven should help keep the house cozy for awhile tonight.  =)

On my to do list....
Since I will be sticking close to home today, I am hoping to get started on my April spring cleaning goals!  Not sure how much I can get done before having to pick up G1 from school but I'm going to try to make a dent in it!  Also, laundry as always.  And, I may try to use the treadmill since my mileage will be low today due to the rain.

And, that is it today I think.  Pretty boring, I know!

Have a great Tuesday!

Monday, April 3, 2017

Positively Monday!

1.  Yesterday was a gorgeous sunny day!  Papa and I took the dog for an extra long walk!  We went a hilly route to help stretch out my calves a bit.  It went really well and I felt awesome!  =)

2.  Employee Appreciation Perks!  Papa got an email regarding "employee appreciation" which had an attached catalog of "gifts" to choose from.  Papa looked over the list and saw a Fitbit (which he knows I have wanted for awhile now).  So, he came home and asked me if I wanted it!  While it's not the "top of the line with all the bells and whistles" one, it does have exactly what I need so who cares?  I am so excited that he is doing this for me when he could have picked something out for himself!  I should have my free Fitbit by the end of the month.  =) 

3.  I am down to one dose of OTC pain reliever per day for my leg!  =)

4.  Today is going to be another gorgeous day with a high around 60 degrees!  I'm very excited to have another day without turning the heat!

5.  I checked my Iphone's health app and saw that I walked almost 5 miles yesterday!  (I didn't have my phone on me the entire day so I probably did walk 5 plus miles.)

6.  Thanks to my pushing through last night and straightening up the kitchen after dinner, I woke up to a nice clean kitchen which made getting everyone's breakfasts and Papa's lunch together a breeze!

7.  Still pushing through with the changes in my eating! Still no crème egg binges - haha! And, I am  adding a LOT more fruit and veg to the mix.   I'm hoping I have some movement on the scale on Wednesday.  But, I already feel "healthier" in the way I am eating.

Have a great Monday everyone!

Sunday, April 2, 2017

April 2017 Goals!

New month and new goals!

Not surprisingly after my neurology appointment last week, my focus on goals for April are more focused towards my health/weight.  It has to be high on the priority list because I have to get my full mobility back and be as healthy as I can.  Also high priority is the spring cleaning I have at the bottom of this post.  To be honest, if I can get through even half of the list, I will be happy.

1.  Aim for walking at least 3 miles per day.  (I think an average of 5 may be too aggressive this month.)  I don't have a fitbit (yet - more on that later this week) so I will continue to use my IPhone stepper tracker as a semi accurate indicator.
2.  Strength/Weight training twice per week.
3.  Yoga and/or stretching at least once per week.
4.  Cutting back on my caffeine (Diet Coke).  I have to do it slowly as to not trigger migraines.  I want to whittle it down to two or three per day.  ( Yes I drink way too much diet soda!)
5.  Up water intake to at least 16 oz per day.
6.  Up my fruit and veg intake to a minimum of five servings per  day.
7.  Weight loss -  I would like to lose 5 lbs for April.
8.  Go on at least three small Spring hikes.
9.  Find and sign up for a 5K with Papa for the near future.

Even though I am putting my budget back up to it's "normal" $550 for the month of April, I am really going to try to come in a good deal under it.

I am budgeting $130 again - this is for just my car.  If I am able to stay under this, any money left will be rolled into a "Summer fund" for the extra driving I do in the summer.

I would like to read at least four books in April.

1.  Check out some cookbooks from the library for inspiration.
2.  Try at least three recipes that are more along the "clean eating" vein.

Try to bring in an extra $100 this month via Swagbucks, consignment/ebay/facebook tag sales, loose change, and any budget savings.  I am still entertaining the idea of a part time job and started a "soft" search.

Master Planner/Journaling:
Keep my calendar and list notebook active and up to date.  Journal at least three to four times per week.

Decluttering/Spring Cleaning:
While the house is nowhere near an episode of Hoarders, it does need quite a bit of decluttering!  Here is a list of what I would like to declutter/organize/clean.  I'm hoping to possibly do even more than what's on this list...We will see how the month goes.
Declutter silverware drawer
Go through pantry & cupboards - wipe down/organize
Wipe down cabinets and appliances
Organize fridge and freezer
Declutter and straighten up spice cabinet, wipe down inside as well
Dining Room:
Dust wall sconces
Dust crown moldings
Wipe down chairs
Living Room:
Declutter/organize desk - HUGE task!  May take pictures to show how big the task really is!
Wash large front window
Family Room:
Sweep fireplace ashes
Clean mirror
Clean doors to deck
Steam clean carpet (Papa)
Downstairs bathroom:
Isn't too bad...just general mopping/cleaning needed
Declutter under sink cabinet
My closet:
Go through what's in there - decide what is staying and going
Put away some of the heavier winter sweaters/jammies
Straighten/organize upper shelving
Straighten/organize floor of closet
Upstairs bathroom:
Not too bad - just general cleaning and upkeep mostly
Clean out/declutter vanity drawers and under the sink cabinet
Linen closet:
Restock first aid/medicinal supplies as needed

Here's to hoping April is a VERY SUCCESSFUL month!