Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Chicken Tortilla Soup

We love meals that we can stretch and this meal is definitely one that goes far even with our big family.

Chicken Tortilla Soup:

3 chicken breast (or left over chicken or can be meatless)
2 can kidney beans (cooked dry beans can be substituted)
2 cans black beans ( we use 3 but we love black beans)
2 cans corn
1 bottle V8 juice or tomato juice
1 pack taco seasoning
1 large can diced tomatoes (or of course you can use fresh)
1 bag tortilla chips
Broth/Stock really any kind words. We like poultry bone broth.
Season to taste: we use lots of pepper, garlic and salt and a bit of herb de providence.
1 jalapeno seeded and diced.

We start the juice and stock and seasonings. Boil chicken in the juice. Take chicken out and dice it while veggies cook and add it back and cook 5-10 mins. My kids really aren't soup eaters so we strain the juice off their and serve over tortilla chips with shredded cheese. We call it "taco bowl." We love the soup. My kids usually eat 2-3 bowls each and so do we. Last batch I had enough to feed the 7 of us plus my friend and her three kids.

Super cheap and easy! We stored leftovers in mason jars and Brad took them to work for lunch. This meal last for days!

Friday, April 21, 2017

Laundry Savings

I am always searching for ways to cut cost and save a few pennies. Those pennies add up! One of my more recent endeavors was trying to find ways to skip laundry costs. Below is a list of money saving tips I found while trying to save money:

1. When you are able was in cold water. Not only does it save money on electricity, it saves the integrity of your clothing, causing items to last longer.

2. If you have the space, use a clothing line. There is nothing in the world like the smell of clothing that has been dried in the sun. It saves money on the electric bill. It also is recommended for smelly cloth diapers and undergarments that have been up against thrush and yeasty skin.

3. If you like to use fabric softners or dryer sheets, cut those dryer sheets in half or use sponges cut in half and soaked in a mixture of hair conditioner and water.

4. Water down and lessen the amount of laundry detergent used. Really it's not necessary to use that strong of and that much soap. I love gain and it's one of the few we are not allergic to. I save the last bottle that I am using as it gets low. I then open a new bottle and add a few caps to the existing bottle and add water shake and let sit. Replace the amount taken out of new bottle with water, shake and let sit. Two full bottles. I typically use only a fourth of the recommended amount.

5. We wear our jeans many times before washing. We will hang them up and use them again another day. It saves the integrity of the jeans and they don't shrink as fast. In fact, I haven't ever machine washed my favorite pair. I will hand wash and hang in the sun to dry.

6. Get a sewing kit. Why spend money on a new item of clothing for a missing button or minor tear? Fix them yourself to save money.

7. I love hand-me-downs. Invest in a good stain remover. Again fix those clothes and pass them down.

8. Always run a full load. It saves on water, electric, and soap... not to mention time.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Inbox Dollars

Inbox Dollars has been one of the coolest discoveries of my life! Get paid to read emails, take surveys and watch videos. You get paid out at $30 and it's the greatest thing to help out with our debt free journey. It only takes a few seconds of my time each day and in a weeks time I am a third of the way to cashing out.

*Disclosure: clicking link above will lead to sign up page under my referral code. I am not a paid endorser for Inbox Dollars and the opinion stated is my own.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

A Glimpse Into Our Life

We had so much fun this past week. We were able to have DS1 and DS2 for five days because they were on spring break. We kept those babies so busy, but we had a blast.

Friday night: We had family game night. We played chess and rummy and BS and video games. We snacked and watched movies. The DS1 and DS3 have expressed interest in learning to cook so they got to help me make chicken enchilada soup... and it was really yummy. They did a great job.

Saturday: It was plasma day for Brad. So he got up early and did plasma and while he was out the kids had breakfast. We got everyone ready and we went to Marble City Comicon. It was so much fun. The kids got to meet the ghostbusters and halo characters. We got to stop by the local libertarian party booth and volunteer to help with campaigning. I think this will be a great learning experience for DS3 because he is an activist at heart and has very strong political opinions for an 8 year old. DS4 made a new "best buddy," Josh "TKO" Turner of wrestling and The Walking Dead fame. He is a warrior for fighting autism. He and DS4 made a great connection and he gave him a necklace that has still yet to come off. After comicon, we went to my parents' house for a little bit because DS2 wanted to see "my" nana. Then we had an early bed time.

Sunday: We had Palm Sunday service at church followed by lunch and an Easter Egg Hunt/Carnival. We got there early to help set up. After the carnival was over, we headed downtown to the Alzheimer's walk. I have been an Alzheimer's nurse for 10 years and lost my papawl to this awful killer in 2013. So we walked 3.3 miles to honor him. While we were there, DS3 met Phil Fulmer, former and national championship coach for the Vols. He was stoked. DS5 saw a person dressed as a frog and freaked out. We laughed a lot. After we got home we had another game night.

Tuesday: We had family lake day. It was such a blast. Watching the two youngest learn to swim and watching DS2 and DS3 overcome their fear of water.

Needless to say we are worn out but had a blast.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

April Financial Checkup

We are in Gazelle Intensity Mode for getting out of debt. We have started using our money envelope system. We are picking up every bit of overtime that we can get. I am babysitting three wonderful little girls three days a week for a friend. I am also doing some online surveys and side gigs to earn a few dollars here and there. Brad has been donating plasma twice a week and will be receiving a bonus at the end of the month. We are also doing the surveys for the plasma center and we can save for gas cards and extra bonuses.

This month we have finished paying off the dog deposit on our rental. We have also paid off our credit card debt!!! We have came up with a game plan and budget for the next year. We should be able to pay off $20000 in debt over the next 12 months if we are able to follow the plan.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Refurbished Patio Furniture

So I got a sewing machine for Christmas. Between kids, moving and life in general I haven't had a chance to use it until recently. My mom is trying to salvage her patio furniture and make it last one more year... that is when the brilliant idea was born. She bought sturdy table clothes at the dollar store and we used the tattered cushions that were already on her patio furniture and we refurbished them back to life and now they are water proof.

So we measured the cushions to make a pattern. Since each of the cushions were slightly different in shape and size we could not use a standard pattern.

After we cut the fabric to match our needs. We folded them inside out and sewed them with a straight stitch leaving one open wide side. *Double stitching was used for durability.

We then turned the covers right side out and stuffed the cushion in. Once we had placed the cushion in and made the material smooth. We made it too tight to be reasonably stitched on the remaining open side. We used gorilla glue to seal it shut.

This was a fun and simple project that was relatively inexpensive. Cushions for her patio furniture was pricing out around $20-$30 per cushion. The total project cost $20. That's a huge win!