$120 Dining Room Table!

A few months ago, right after my husband switched jobs, we were browsing a new store in town one Saturday. We needed a dining room table badly but everything we loved was sadly very far out of our price range. On a whim, we decided to go to Home Depot and “just look” at the materials that it would take to build one ourselves. That, ladies and gentlemen, is how this table came to be. We didn’t “just look”, we wound up buying the materials right then and there, going home, and spending the rest of that day and part of the next building this table. It took us a little longer because we mainly worked during naptime and bedtime, but we got it done. Heck, it probably took us a little longer because neither of us had really ever built anything before! From the lumber, to the screws, to the stain, start to finish, this table cost us $120 – Hundreds and hundreds of dollars less than what was being charged for the same kind of table in stores!

We used these plans which were incredibly easy to follow. We had been watching the Shanty 2 Chic girls on youtube for a while and knew that we wanted to build a lot of their projects but I couldn’t be happier with how this one came out! A few weekends later, we also built a bench to match this set and there will be another post about that coming up!

$120 Dining Room Table (1)

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Weekend Update

This weekend was another laid back weekend for us! The farther into this pregnancy that I get, the slower that I move and the harder it is for me to convince myself to finish home reno projects. Keeping up with cooking, cleaning, and Declan is a full time job especially when he hasn’t been sleeping well lately. This mama is tiredddd, y’all!

Since switching jobs, Colin has taken over Saturday morning breakfast duty and y’all, it’s heavenly. First of all, it’s nice to eat a meal that you didn’t have to cook but even more importantly, before this job change, we didn’t even know what a easy Saturday morning breakfast was! We were always rushing around to get to work and then once Declan came and I stayed home, Colin was always rushing out the door before we were even thinking about breakfast! This is a new concept entirely for us and we love it. Weekends off… What a beautiful thing. If you’ve ever worked retail, you know what I mean lol.

Clearly, Declan likes his Dad cooking breakfast too!

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Saturday afternoon was the Lulacrawl that I participated in with four other local consultants so Colin and Declan left the house for a few hours so I could work.

So. Much. Lula. Y’all! Saturday night we ate at my parent’s house and Sunday, we had a rainy sleepy day at home with many naps had by all 🙂 It was a perfect weekend in my book! Here is a picture of Declan lounging with his snacks after doing some grocery shopping with Colin Saturday morning. Love this little guy.

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Grocery Shopping on a Budget

Happy Thursday! Ever since we made the decision that I wouldn’t be returning to my job after having Declan, we have gotten pretty serious about budgeting. Luckily, we were gifted Dave Ramsey’s book and DVD set and have used his method to pay off debt, save, and we try to budget our money wisely… Most of the time 🙂  Some weeks are better than others but we really try to stick to our budgets as much as possible. For this reason, I have a  grocery budget and plan our meals according to that budget. This may seem limiting to some but I find it to be just the opposite. It’s comforting to me to know what I am spending, buying, and cooking at the beginning of the week.  Here are some tips that I use to stick to a grocery budget:

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  1. Have a plan! Make a meal plan for the week and then clean out your refrigerator. I try to do this on Sundays so I know exactly what I need for the week. I can’t tell you how many times I have over or under bought an ingredient because I didn’t clean out my fridge so I wasn’t sure what I had. Nothing worse than finding a whole bag of carrots as you put your new bag of carrots in the fridge… That might have happened to me a few weeks ago lol.
  2. Buy meat in bulk at Sam’s Club or Costco. This membership is so worth it to me. Anytime I have a little extra in the grocery budget that I won’t be using, I head to Sam’s and buy an extra pack of meat for the freezer. I personally really like the ground beef that they sell in six 1lb packages, it makes thawing so easy to just be able to pull one package out at a time. When they don’t have that item, I just buy a large tray and portion it out into 1lb bags before I put it in the freezer. If Colin works overtime and we have extra cash in the budget, I will buy a whole case of chicken breasts, prep them into meals, and freeze them until we need them. Buying extra meat on weeks where there is extra is so helpful on the weeks that are tight. I also buy all of our toilet paper and garbage bags at Sam’s. Even with couponing, which I will talk about shortly, you really aren’t going to get a better deal on garbage bags and I like that I can stock up on toilet paper when it is on their Instant Savings program and forget about it for months. Sam’s has great produce but the majority of it comes in bags that are too much for our small family and we wind up wasting which makes me die inside a little lol. Because of this, most of our produce comes from Wal-Mart but if you have a larger family, Sam’s produce quality and price is better!
  3. Wal-Mart Grocery Pick Up. I feel like Wal-Mart Grocery pick up was made just for me 🙂 On weeks that I don’t utilize it, I ALWAYS overspend. If I step foot in the grocery store, I spend more than budgeted every single time and it’s normally on junk food. Grocery pick up lets me order from my laptop after I put Declan to bed, when I’m not hungry,  and pick it up the next morning. It also shows your total as you add things to the cart so it’s really easy to stay on budget. Kroger also has this service called Click List, but they charge a $3.99 convenience fee so I typically go to Wal-Mart. If you have never used Wal-Mart’s grocery pick up, you can click here to get $10 off of your first order! Yay for savings!
  4. Couponing! Now, it would take a whole blog post or even series of posts to go over exactly how to coupon so I can’t go into much detail here but I use coupons mainly for personal hygiene items. I don’t coupon every week anymore. At this point, I have a small stockpile of personal hygiene products and when that starts to get low, I will coupon again to build it back up. Couponing takes a lot of time and I totally give props to people who do it religiously every week but I just can’t do it. Having that stock pile saves money because I can normally get deodorant, body wash, lotion, baby wipes, etc for very close to free and that doesn’t take money away from my groceries every week!  The only food that I typically use a coupon for is cereal. The boys go through a lot of cereal and I can normally find great deals with online coupons at Kroger and stock up. I recently bought Colin twelve boxes of cereal because it was on a great sale at Kroger with a coupon and that saves me money from my weekly grocery budget because I won’t have to buy cereal for awhile.

Tell me in the comments what tips help you stick to a grocery budget!

Weekend Update and Pumpkin Recipes!

Happy Monday! I hope you all had a great weekend, I know we sure did! We took time for naps, a date night, and church! We made our obligatory trips to Home Depot because that is just what we do now lol but we really took a break from home renovation projects and rested. Colin had a little bit of a cold on Friday and Saturday and Declan and I got about three hours of sleep on Friday night so we all needed the rest! Colin and Declan looked so handsome at church yesterday and Declan did great in the nursery. He even took a two hour nap when we got home… Can we go to church every morning? 🙂

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I wanted to share two pumpkin recipes that I tried recently and really liked them!

These Flourless Pumpkin Muffins are incredible! They are so moist and the chocolate chips make them rich and decadent. I used Enjoy Life dairy free chocolate chips and it just pushed these babies over the edge. I have to put them in the freezer or I would eat them all in one day. Even Colin, my notoriously picky husband, can eat three of these in one sitting. He said he can’t tell that they are supposed to be healthy and if you know him, you know most gluten free recipes don’t fly for him because of the difference in texture. If you want something that is healthy, super easy to make, and tastes like dessert, these are for you!

The second recipe is for Gluten Free Pumpkin Bread. My amazing mother in law made this bread and brought it to me in St Louis last weekend! This bread isn’t extremely rich and sweet like the muffins so it can be eaten for breakfast if you are a morning pastry lover! There is just enough pumpkin and spices in this one to make it delicious but it doesn’t taste sweet enough to be dessert.

Come back on Wednesday where I will share some tricks that I have been using to stick to a strict grocery budget and Friday I should have my very first podcast episode for y’all to listen to! Pray for me, I’ve never done this before LOL!

What I’m About

Hey Y’all! My name is Katie and I’m a totally normal person. I have been married to Colin, another normal person, for over seven years and we have a 14 month old son, Declan, who I think could be part dragon. We are expecting our second son early next year. I am also a Lularoe consultant, student, and future nurse (here’s hoping!).

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You may be asking yourself, “if you’re just a normal person, why do I want to read your blog or listen to your podcast?” Good question. I won’t be everyone’s cup or tea but I know some pretty incredible women that I plan to introduce you to in the coming weeks via podcasts. I’ve wanted to make a podcast for a long time and hope you’ll find the guests that I will be interviewing just as interesting as I do! I basically just want to talk to cool people about cool shit so I hope you’ll join me as I try not to use profanity in case you’re listening around your kids. 🙂

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I’ll be using this blog to document my family’s journey through home renovation projects on a budget and living a life on purpose. We have made HUGE changes in the last year. From taking almost $60k in paycuts to buying a house to giving up eating out at every meal, we have learned to live a more fulfilled life with less money and things. I’m more fulfilled than I ever have been and this will be a place to share the hows and whys of that process.

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We have a lot to talk about but we don’t have to talk about it all today. Let’s pick back up Monday when we talk about the weekend and I share two awesome pumpkin recipes!