Money Saving Tips

(I wonder if she knows, that is NOT going to fit in her mouth?)

Since we have been married we have either been living on one salary or paying for school. This has allowed us to become very "thrifty" with the way we live. Here are a few ways we have learned and maybe they will help you...

1. We only have one car. We save money on taxes, gas, insurance and we get to spend more time together. I know some people can not do this with work situations and what not, but where we are now it works for us. Thankfully my husband only works 4 1/2 miles away, which means sometimes he rides his bike or even runs to work. Now don't get me wrong... I would love to have two cars.

2. I only go to the grocery store once a week. When we first got married I found myself swinging by the store almost every other day. This adds up so quickly, because just one item turns into more VERY quickly! I plan out all our meals for the week and we eat off of what we have, even if we get down to all the stuff we don't want.

3. We rarely eat out. We decided that for health and money reasons to only eat out once a week. Now to some people that might sound like a lot, but this also includes just going through the drive thru. Now when we do go out to a nice place my husband and I usually split a meal. We find that we never really need to eat a whole plate, the leftovers are never as good the next day, and if it comes with bread or salad you can fill up pretty quickly! Also when we go out we always get water. We usually ask for lemons and squirt them in the water and add a little sugar and you have lemonade! 

4. No gym membership. This is a hard one for me, because I LOVE going to the gym. I always have. Just writing this I want to go, and I am one of those people that definitely gets my moneys worth. Thankfully, I love to run and would rather run outside anyways. If it is raining I resort to doing a workout video in my bedroom. 

5. Coupon. I began using coupons a few years ago. I can not save near as much with coupons as I once was able, but any amount is better than nothing. We also use coupons for drive thrus, all baby products, household items and even the dentist.

6. Borrow. We borrow things whenever possible. A lot of Grace's bigger items have been borrowed. This saves so much money, and you can help someone and they can help you!

7. Budget. This might be the most important one? We have a very strict budget on our computer that we update almost daily. This makes us communicate about our finances. Even though I HATE doing this, it is a necessary evil to save money. Both of you must know where the money is being spent!

8. Shop second-hand. You can find so many items almost brand new at thrift stores, yard sales, habit stores etc. I personally love yard sales because there is so much room for negotiations. Especially for children's items, they rarely wear them out. 

9. Make Homemade. There are so many things that can be made homemade for so much cheaper. 

10. Pack lunches. We have packed our lunch our whole marriage. My wonderful husband is so good at eating our leftovers. This saves not only on grocery money, but also in gas too. 

I hope this will help and inspire you to save money! Please let me know ways you save money! I always am looking for more ideas!

Month 6 Must Haves

I have put together a few items that I really use a lot. There are a lot more items to go along with them, but I do not want to repeat myself. 

1. White Onesies- Grace wears these just about everyday. I put them under her cute little short sleeve outfits, and under her pjs. I feel like they keep her warm and for her right now anything without snaps just doesn't work. If you put her in a little tee-shirt and pick her up her little belly hangs out. I want her to be warm and these onesies are the key!





2. Books- We sit around a read quite often. She gets very excited and reaches for the pages. This is one of her absolute favorite books! The pieces pop out and she can chew on them and feel them. I can not say enough good things about these books!



3. Spoons- I waited until the absolute last minute to buy spoons and I went out and bought these because they were buy one get one free. So that is how I made my decision about spoons. These work fine for us, I do not have anything to compare them to, but these do have bright colors which Grace loves!



4. Knitted Blanket- A friend of ours made this blanket for her and I love it! First off I think it is super cute, it is one of a kind, and it has holes in it so she can breath it is got over her face. Now that she is rolling all over her crib it makes me feel good that she is safe with this!



5. Fleece PJs- Grace sleeps every night in fleece pjs. I do not want her to get cold and I do not want to keep the heat up so high that I can not sleep, so I like knowing she has warm pjs. 




I hope this helps you with your little one. Please let me know what items you can not make it without!

We Love Weekends!

We love weekends at the McKenzie house! Mostly because Michael aka: Daddy & Husband, gets to spend more time with Grace and I! Usually we do not have plans, but always end up doing something. This weekend was different... We had been planning for quite some time to go down to Columbia for someone very specials birthday! Grace's friend Olen Ray Bozard was turning ONE! We have known the Bozard family for almost 4 years. We have grown close over time, I even lived with them while Michael was working in Anderson. They are very dear to our hearts. We would never have missed Olen Ray's first birthday! He was super cute smashing his cake! I don't think Grace could get enough of him either, she was very curious whenever he was doing anything.



Sunday we still managed to get in some more yard work. (I know it seems like that is all I talk about.) I was too tired to do any, but that did not stop my wonderful husband. (One of these days I will show you a completed picture of our beautiful new yard.)


Grace and I worked really hard too, no not really. We just played on the porch and watched and tried to catch some vit. D!


We hope you had a wonderful weekend too!

Look What We Started!!!

Its official... my little baby is a big girl. I have to admit that it kind of makes me sad, but also very thankful for how happy and healthy she has become. Yesterday she ate real food for the first time! She ate sweet potatoes, but did not really know what to think?


Can you tell by her face? I did not give her very much for the first time, but she everything that I gave her!


I can not wait to try different types of food and see how she reacts! 

Another Exciting/Eventful Weekend!

Life is never boring around the McKenzie house! Our weekend began a day early, because we had scheduled to have dentist appointments (I know, yuck!) on Friday morning. To spare you a long, aggravating story, we were unable to have our teeth cleaned. Good news though we are going to get free whitenings!!! (I love a bargain!) That left our day completely open to whatever we wanted to do! It was such a beautiful day, we decided to head to Greenville to explore the Greenway system. 


We spent about 2 hours or so walking/running. We love being outside and it was nice not to be working on anything! 


I am so jealous of Greenville! This greenway system is awesome! It goes for 40 miles! I could do all my training runs and never have to worry about cars running me over, I could drink from water fountains along the way, and use public restrooms. I definitely want to go and run some different sections, I am just not excited about the 30 minute car ride. There is something about walking right out my front door to go run. Anyways... We had a wonderful family afternoon! 

Saturday morning began very early, because we were going to a nursery with our friends/next door neighbors. Grace was so excited that she woke up at 4 am. I tried to explain to her that we were not leaving until 7:30, but she did not care!


When we were leaving it began snowing, but that did not slow us down! We ended up getting a couple gardenia bushes, blueberry bushes, and a blackberry bush. Of course you know what more bushes mean... more yard work. The rest of the day was filled with digging, tilling, planning, pizza and good memories with friends!

One might think that all this is enough for one weekend, but not us.. oh no. 


We had to pressure wash the ENTIRE house, rocking chairs, and side walk. It is amazing how much dirt can come off with the pressure washer! Our house looks like it is beaming now, it is so clean. 


Thats what we did on our weekend, What did you do on yours?

Menu 4


 This was a pretty easy and relaxing week. I hope you enjoy!

Day 1:
Spaghetti & Garlic Bread
Now you might be wondering why every week we have Spaghetti? Well it is my husband's favorite food. So being the nice wife I am every Wednesday night is spaghetti night at our house. It gives him a little pick me up in the middle of a week. 

Day 2:
Chicken Chili & Corn Bread
              2-3 chicken breasts in crockpot with water and salt and pepper and allow to cook for 6 hrs or so.
                 Then add:
                 Corn
                 diced can tomatoes
                 kidney beans
                chili seasonings.

                Shred chicken in crock pot. Add all ingredients to pot and cook till done.

Chicken Chili is one of those go to dishes of mine. It is so easy to make, it goes all in one pot, and I always have these ingredients in my pantry. It is also nice because when I make it my husband is happy! It is so good on a cold rainy day. Enjoy.



Day 3:

Bacon Quiche

1  recipe
Pastry for Single-Crust Pie



1/2  chopped onion 
6  slices
bacon, chopped
 (I used leftover from breakfast)
4  
beaten eggs

1/2  cup
dairy sour cream

1/2  cup
half-and-half
1/4  teaspoon
 salt



1/8  teaspoon
 pepper



2  cups 
lightly packed chopped fresh spinach



2 handfuls of shredded cheese (I used swiss and cheddar)


            Prepare and roll out Pastry for Single-Crust Pie. Line a 9-inch pie plate with the pastry. Trim; crimp edges as desired. Line the unpricked pastry shell with a double thickness of foil. Bake in a 450 degree F oven for 8 minutes. Remove foil. Bake for 4 to 5 minutes more or until pastry is set and dry. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees F. Meanwhile, in a large skillet cook onion and bacon until onion is tender and bacon is crisp. Drain on paper towels. In a bowl stir together eggs, sour cream, half-and-half, salt, and pepper. Stir in onion mixture, spinach, and cheeses. Pour egg mixture into the hot, baked pastry shell. Bake in the 325 degree F oven for 45 to 50 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. If necessary, cover edge of crust with foil to prevent overbrowning. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving. Makes 6 to 8 servings


I am new to making quiches. My mom always used to make quiche for us growing up and my husband loves them. This one has worked well for me, but I am also looking for more quiche recipes. 

Day 4:
Broccoli cheese Soup & Crackers
           

             1 tablespoon melted butter
             1/2 medium chopped onions
             1/4 cup melted butter
             1/4 cup flour
             2 cups half-and-half crea
             2 cups chicken stock
             1/2 lb fresh broccoli
             1 cup carrots, chopped
             8 ounces grated sharp cheddar cheese
             salt and pepper
      
             Sauté onion in butter. Set aside. Cook melted butter and flour using a whisk over medium heat for 3-5 minutes. Stir constantly and add the half & half. Add the chicken stock. Simmer for 20 minutes. Add the broccoli, carrots and onions. Cook over low heat 20-25 minutes. Add salt and pepper. Can be puréed in a blender but I don't. Return to heat and add cheese. The longer it sits the softer the veggies get and the better it tastes!

Day 5:
Tacos

Day 6:
Chicken Sandwiches
I try to make this as easy as possible, so I put a couple chicken breasts in the crockpot and let them cook until easy to shred. Then I butter some bread, insert shredded cheese the shredded chicken, lettuce, tomato and mayo. Heat up on a frying pan. Makes for a quick and easy dinner!

I love sandwiches! I could eat sandwiches for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I don't know if my husband would like it very much, but I have to add something I like. 

List:
Produce-
Onion
Spinach
Broccoli
Carrots
Tomatoes
Lettuce
Meat-
2 lb Ground beef
2 lbs chicken
Bacon
Staples-
Flour
Pantry-
bread
Spaghetti noodles
Spaghetti sauce
Chicken Stock
Can corn
Can kidney beans
Can diced tomatoes
Corn jiffy mix
Taco shells
Refried Beans
Taco Seasoning
Can Green Beans
Crackers (for soup)
Fridge/Freezer-
Garlic bread
Eggs
Milk
Pie Crust
Sour cream
mozzarella cheese
Swiss cheese 
Half and half
Cheddar Cheese



Hi! I'm Katie. Wife to Michael. Mom to Grace, David Michael & Emma. Christ Follower. Runner. Stay at home mommy.
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