August 2017 goals

1 August 2017

Friends! I’m alive! I’ve missed you over these last few crazy weeks! And crazy they have been, between frequent vet appointments, a dishwasher that needed to be replaced, our vacation in Michigan, buying a new car in one week after our car broke down in Michigan (are-you-kidding-me), navigating a new health issue for a family member, preparing for a work trip for me followed by another family vacation, and more… whew.

But I’m still in it! I’m still here making goals! :) And I’m very much hoping for a peaceful, unhurried August with absolutely zero surprise expenses – ha!

What I read in June:
A Man Called Ove (Very sweet! A quick read.)
Parenting With Love and Logic (I really liked this book! In moderation, it very much lined up with my parenting philosophy — letting your kids learn from natural consequences and only keeping as much control as you need. Definitely recommended!)
My Name is Lucy Barton (I picked this up because Joanna has said it’s her favorite book. I liked it, but because it was written as the memoir of an author, the real author used some strange writing conventions that I didn’t love.)
— Books I’m reading throughout the year: The Power of a Praying Wife and The Lifegiving Home

Revisiting my goals for July:
Edit June in June (Did not get to this – adding it to August’s goals!)
Take an evening neighborhood walk any night we’re home and the weather is good (We did a great job with this!)
Book accommodations for John’s secret trip
Follow the daily She Reads Truth reading plan (I did well at the beginning of the month and then tapered off… giving this a half check.)
Plan well (including prepping food) for my Dad’s visit
Enjoy our Michigan vacation with our family! (I’ll be sharing a few photos later this week!)
Cow Appreciation Day!! (Moooooo)

August goals:
— Edit June in June
— Enjoy our Maine vacation with family!
— Go on a date night sans June
— Read To Kill a Mockingbird (my back to school tradition – I try to do it every August! I still haven’t read Go Set a Watchman – should I?)
— Make an itinerary and reservations for our family weekend in Asheville, coming up in September
— Hold our grocery budget to $100 per week (this will be tough – yikes!)

If you have a favorite cheap (and healthy-ish) meal I can try, please let me know in the comments!! And if you’ve posted your goals somewhere, I’d love to see a link for those, too :)

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August 1, 2017 7:53 am

I’m impressed and inspired by your $100/week grocery budget! I would love to hear more about that! Budget Bytes may be a helpful food blog: I love how she breaks down the cost of each meal.

August 2, 2017 2:49 pm
Reply to  Em

I second Budget Bytes! We love the cabbage pancakes and sesame chicken.

August 1, 2017 8:00 am

So glad to see you back in this corner of the world – I know it’s been a hard + busy month for y’all! I read To Kill a Mockingbird at least once every year (it’s in my top five books ever!!), and I would definitely recommend you read Go Set a Watchman. I don’t think reading it would detract from TKAM whatsoever; it really only enhanced how much I adore TKAM. And it was such an eye-opening, interesting read. I have a copy, if you want to borrow it!

My August goals are up on my blog today, too!

August 1, 2017 8:11 am

Hi Em,
That sounds like a lot came at you! Sending peaceful vibes your way. Is there a Trader Joe’s near you? Their butternut squash ravioli is great and cheap. As is everything there! Or from WF, you could buy a rotisserie chicken and put it in salads and sandwiches. I’d love to hear what other people suggest. Xo

August 18, 2017 9:41 am
Reply to  Em

You are so right Em! I found myself at TJs yesterday thinking of your comment and having the same issue – I definitely was putting stuff in my cart just because it sounded good, not because I needed it. Like organic low sugar blueberry jam! I think I have to be stricter with my shopping list there.

August 1, 2017 8:47 am

Egg Roll in a Bowl is my go-to for filling and budget-friendly! My version is just coleslaw mix from the bag, sausage (or you could forgo the meat), soy sauce, and any veggies you want to throw in (broccoli, onion, green pepper, etc). Throw it all in a pan and cook until meat is cooked and veggies are soft. Bonus–it’s delicious leftover too!

August 1, 2017 9:00 am

Whew! I’m sorry for all that has come your way last month- “when it rains, it pours” is the truest cliché of all, I’ve definitely been there! Vet visits were a top spending category for us in July too! I hope that your furry one is doing well.

We do veggie omelettes once a week with whatever we have in the fridge- eggs are cheap and filling!

Abigail Gray
August 1, 2017 9:02 am

Hi Em! This Pioneer Woman Chicken Mozzarella Pasta ( is my go-to budget friendly and filling/yummy meal (and it’s quick – a bonus)! I usually serve it with a side of greens tossed with vinaigrette, but any vegetable would work! Your cat is in my prayers; our pets certainly become our family!

Monica Carmean
August 1, 2017 10:20 am

Read GSAW! It’s not AMAZING but it’s definitely worth the read.

August 1, 2017 10:49 am

Asheville in September sounds absolutely delightful! Michigan looked gorgeous as well :) My goals for the month can be found here:

August 1, 2017 11:13 am

Have you read any of the RIE parenting books? Authors like Magda Gerber, and Janet Lansbury. Janet’s podcast unruffled is helpful if you don’t have time to read. I read her book, No Bad Kids. I don’t 100% agree with RIE, mostly in newborn months, but have found it very helpful and great food for thought now that we’re in toddler territory. Based on what youu’ve shared, I think you may also find it good food for thought!

August 1, 2017 1:34 pm

Everyday for lunch I have quinoa with black beans, salsa, cheese, and an avocado. This meal is so cheap (especially if you buy the quinoa/beans/salsa in bulk from Costco) and healthy! Change it up with brown rice or put it all in a tortilla or add chicken…look, that’s 4 different meals! :)

August 1, 2017 2:35 pm

Hi There! Right now we are eating lots of grilled/roasted or chicken thighs, “roasted” whole chicken in the slow cooker, and ground beef or turkey meatballs/burgers. Sometimes we do fish like salmon once a week. We buy mostly in season or frozen veggies. Really easy stuff!

August 1, 2017 3:44 pm

Oh, I’m totally adding that love and logic book to my list! I appreciate so much that you’re one step ahead of me in parenting/motherhood and that I can gain wisdom from you! I used love and logic back in my teaching days but was JUST thinking literally yesterday, “I wonder if I need a refresher on love and logic from a parenting perspective.” What a God thing!

I love your $100/week food goal! Kyle and I have been trying to be super resourceful with our existing food in order to keep our grocery spending low, and it makes me feel a little wasteful/spoiled as I realize how much food we have in our home that’s been sitting there for a year while we keep buying new things. It’s been kind of a lesson in contentment and in gratitude to the Lord to force ourselves to cook meals with those things, and–bonus, we discovered we actually like liver pate and it gives us lots of energy! haha (We bought 1/4 cow a couple times and always just left the liver in the freezer untouched. Haha.) God’s blessings on that!

Oh, my goals are over here! :)

Thankful for you, Em!

August 1, 2017 4:17 pm

Wow! Glad you’re back and sending lots of good vibes for a wonderful, peaceful August! :)

We’ve actually have kept our groceries budget to $100/week for several years and it’s worked well for us! (When we’re really busy though, we absolutely love HelloFresh!) It honestly keeps us from buying junk food (other than the occasional ice cream – ha!) and sticking to the healthy essentials! We eat lots of rice + meat + veggies meals, soups, pastas, etc. We usually buy in bulk from Costco or buy items that are on sale to help save $ too! Also, a few years ago I did an experiment to make meals out of all the ingredients we already had after reading that most Americans have weeks worth of food in their pantries and fridges but then just go out and buy more food — I found it a worthwhile exercise for getting creative with cooking!

One of our favorite budget-friendly (and tasty!!) recipes: Taco Soup!!
1-2 lbs of taco meat cooked with chopped onions + 1 taco seasoning packet
1 8oz-Ortega Taco Sauce
2 cans of stewed tomatoes
2 cans of Rotel tomatoes (we get the hot)
2 cans of drained corn
1 can of black beans
1 can of light red kidney beans
1 can of dark red kidney beans
***Just throw it all in a big pot and let it boil for a few minutes, serve with cheese, tortilla chips, sour cream, avocado! (All optional toppings) Makes tons of servings/leftovers too! :)

My goals are here!:

August 2, 2017 10:21 am

A few things:
1. I recently read an article on “Every Dollar” about how a family of 5 budgets $100 a week and I thought there were a few interesting things in it.. I know what helps my grocery budget is doing grocery pickup… so I can plan exactly how much I’m spending. ($100?et_cid=6841810&et_rid=f386e1ccdeffd814c332b2bde9639eb2&

2. Ben’s pickup broke down last week and needed as much work as it was worth.. so we bought a new car too! Such a whirlwind I was not ready for, haha!

August 2, 2017 11:25 am
August 2, 2017 2:32 pm

Sorry your month of July was so hectic sweet friend, praying for a more relaxed August. And a good month to reach your goals. Posting my soon too x

Emily Hope
August 2, 2017 8:32 pm

During the summer months, I make a quiche for breakfast. Bake it on the weekends and eat a slice every morning. It is on the cheaper side and is a quick, easy recipe. Trader Joe’s pie crusts are perfect for this and are only $3.99 for a frozen pack of two! It is also simple to alternate. My go-to is always turkey bacon, spinach, and sun-dried tomatoes with a mix of mozzarella and parmesan. I’m switching it up next week with some sausage from a co-worker’s farm! They also give me eggs from their chickens for free. I am blessed with awesome co-workers!

August 18, 2017 9:40 am
Reply to  Emily Hope

Great tip! Making a quiche right now!

August 3, 2017 8:52 am

I’m sorry your July was unexpectedly crazy!

To save money, we try to stick to mostly vegetarian recipes. I never realized how much the cost of meat adds up until we cut most of it out. We also make eggs every week (we call it “Weggsday,” because we often schedule it on our busy Wednesdays) and use up whatever we have in the fridge by putting it in an omelette or placing the egg on top of leftovers. I love using to find recipes that will use up a particular ingredient in the fridge or pantry. One thing we have found really useful for our grocery budget is shopping at Aldi. The prices can’t be beat! We can’t find everything, but usually we can get most of our grocery shopping here for crazy good prices. We always leave thinking, “did we just get that much food for $X.” The experience is lacking, but the prices make up for it.

Good luck on the rest of your goals! Asheville in September sounds absolutely delightful. I’ll be chugging along with you on mine (! Here’s to a wonderful, peaceful August!

August 3, 2017 12:02 pm

We have a budget of $100/week also and it’s not easy, but definitely doable! The biggest help has been shopping at Aldi, their prices really can’t be beat and they have a lot of organic options for really inexpensive too.

[…] Michigan vacation was a very welcome respite in the midst of July’s crazy. We spent a week at John’s family’s rustic cottage on a small lake near Traverse City, […]