I feel so awkward writing a post after MONTHS of silence! But life has been insanely busy. From mid-July until THIS Sunday almost non stop at least one member of our family or all of us have been out of town. It's been nuts. A good kind of nuts.
Late Summer also brought with is some defining moments for me as a mama. All Spring and Summer I'd been writing prayer cards with questions. Questions I was asking about my life of the Lord. Questions I prayed over. Every. Single. Morning. And one by one. In tiny little ways the Lord began to answer each and every one. Sometimes the answers weren't want I wanted. Sometimes they were glorious. Many of the big answers to my prayers came at the end of Summer. They slammed into me. One by one. Wave upon wave of emotions overwhelmed as the Lord opened me eyes. Allowed me courage. Allowed me to say in some situations "No. You may come here but no further. THIS. This stops today" Things that had been allowed to go on in my life for years and years were finally brought to a head. It was scary. It was beautiful.
Some answers were truly sweet. A positive pregnancy test Easter morning. Little boys growing from babies to little men before my eyes. Growth in my marriage. Growth in my heart.
Something else that happened over the past few months is Chris and I started to really simplify our life. With Oliver coming in December, it was time to truly decide what was important to us as a family. A few things surfaced for us: Home schooling the boys. Living a slow, and simple life with our children. Growing Merri Babies and hopefully taking it to the next level-We would love for it to become a family business one day and not just my business where I work from home part time. Continuing to build a community of precious friends around us as our family grows.
We also wanted to pay off a little debt before Oliver came, and part of paying off that debt began by simplifying and cutting our budgets down. WAY down. Especially the grocery budget. We realized that we were wasting SO much food. And that needed to stop. Chris put me in charge of the grocery issue and I got right to work. With a lot of research, prayer, and pinteresting I've been able to keep our budget at around $50 a week. It has not been easy but I feel really good about where we are right now. I've been adhering to this budget for a few months now so I feel pretty comfortable sharing more about it with you on here.
To keep to the budget I shop at a few places: Aldi mostly. Costco, the local farmers market, and Trader Joe's. This week I only went to the Farmer's market and Aldi. I also made another big change to our shopping budget by finding another farm source for our raw milk. I'm able to pay only $6 a gallon with a .50 delivery fee per gallon instead of $11 a gallon. Whew! That was killing me.
I was a little nervous about this shopping trip because we had been out of town on and off for weeks-so we were out of A LOT of the basics. We eat very simply anyway so this isn't usually a problem BUT we were totally out of meat. I don't get my 40lbs of Zaycon Foods all natural chicken until Oct and we had eaten the last of a bulk purchase of grassfed beef before we left for North Carolina the week before. So things were a bit dicey.
I try and NOT buy any beef or chicken unless it's in bulk and up to our high quality standards. So every now and then we have a few weeks where we eat vegetarian while I finish saving for a new shipment of beef, or until a chicken sale happens at Zaycon.
Anyway- here is the breakdown money/food wise for us for the next two weeks (started on Saturday)
I was able to buy 2 gallons of raw milk on Friday for $13. This SHOULD last us two weeks if I'm careful.
Ben and I went to the Winter Park Farmer's market on Saturday morning and bought three $1 grab bags filled with cucumbers, red peppers and onions. We bought $4 worth of tomatoes and a basket of peaches for $5. That's $12 total for that trip. The cucumbers are for snacks and the onions, tomatoes and peppers I'll use for crockpot marinara with my basil from the back yard and probably chop up for fried rice one night. (Side note- It was SUPPOSED to be marinara. I used half the veggies we bought but I added too much water and it ended up being really, really good tomato soup!)
2 bags of gmo free corn chips
2 bags of pepperoni
4 packages of bacon (two a week for breakfast. It becomes our family meal four days out of the week since Chris isnt home for dinner on nights when he works)
1 large package of dried black beans (I NEVER buy cans anymore. So much cheaper to soak and cook myself)
4 lbs of butter (We only cook with butter, bacon grease (yummmm!) or coconut oil)
2 containers sour cream
1 jar natural peanut butter (this is Christopher Robin's favorite thing in the whole world. Give him the jar and a spoon and he is in hog heaven)
2 packages cream cheese (Melt half a package with black beans and 2 tablespoons home made taco seasoning. Add to rolled up tortillias and bake for some aaamazing black bean burritos)
2 packages tortillas
6 pack of raisins
1 package blueberries-These are from a Florida farm so I was okay with buying them. They're for pancakes :)
4 dozen eggs-We eat A LOT of eggs. And usually I go and get the two dozen organic free range eggs from Costco but at $8 a pack I went the $1.49 route this time.
Grand total for the two week ($50 a week or $100 total) grocery budget: 87.03. I will need to buy coffee soon so that will come out of this budget as well. But so far so good :) I'll also buy fresh fruit with whatever money is left over at the local farmers market next weekend.
Also- I planned my meals on a monthly timeline and make an entire pinterest board of all the recipes to keep myself more organized. Here is the link to my September board http://www.pinterest.com/marymerri/sept-50-a-week/
Enjoy friends!! I hope this inspires you :)