Monday, January 16, 2017

#1 of 51 - 2017

Did you guys read my post about my goals for 2017?  Well I am doing great at them, the one week it has been, and today I am sharing with you my first new recipe of 2017.

We eat a ton of the same things, over and over again.  Partly because we are busy and partly because I am picky and do the cooking.  We were both excited to start new recipes and this one was no disappointment.

The first new recipe of 2017 that we tried was homemade Chicken Chow Mein! :)  Now, I don't ever eat chow mein but Ryan loves it and it looked simple, easy and most of all, yummy!

An easy, one pot version of Chicken Chow Mein -- you'll never have to settle for takeout again!

The recipe was simple and we could make any modifications we wanted.  We used Angel Hair pasta and pan seared chicken breasts.  We couldn't find a vegetable mix that we both liked so we just opted out of the veggies for the first time.

This was by far a delicious and easy recipe that made a ton of food for a really great price!  We saved half of it for another meal and will be adding it to our rotation for sure!  Next time we will add some veggies that we both agree on to add some more nutrients to it.

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Thursday, January 5, 2017

Goals for 2017

2016 was great to our family, we added Eric and spent some great time together.  But it wasn't the best year.  We had a lot of trials and tribulations that made us struggle and made us stronger of course.

For 2017, I want to do everything possible to help our family THRIVE...not just survive!

Our goals for 2017 might be extreme, but if we can achieve them, I think it will get us one step closer to our ultimate goal as husband/wife, parents, a family...THRIVING!

I plan on doing monthly updates to keep myself accountable and fill you all in on how we are doing.  I also am hoping that this means I will keep up with blogging more err, better too.

Are you ready to hear our goals?

1. Pay off $25,000 in debt by 12/31/2017
     Now I know that this number is probably really scary and you are already thinking that we are crazy, and we might be just a little, well I might be at least.  But I really think we can do this, if we put our hearts and minds to it.  Like I mentioned above, 2016 was hard on us with some things and we didn't do well on paying off debt due to these things, but with all of this debt we won't be able to thrive.  In order to achieve this goal we will have to pay $490 per week for the rest of the year or $2,083.33 every month of 2017.  When it is written out, it is scary.  I won't lie.  Typing those huge numbers is overwhelming and would make any one quit for good reason, but you see, I want to thrive more than anything with my family!  We chose to have these little boys forever and I want to be able to provide them with the best lives possible and all this debt we have just will not help us do that.  Right now we have approximately $342,500 in total debt with $37,500 of that being revolving debt ::debt that we don't have a set amount to pay like cars and mortgages::  If we can pay off that $25,000 in the next 51 weeks we will only have about $12,000 total to achieve for 2018 and then we can focus on cars and house and college funds more!  I know it seems scary and really unattainable, but I am ready!

2.  Keep a constant $1000 in savings for emergencies
     I have always tried to make this a thing for us, but an emergency comes up and we need the money and then one thing after another happens and we never end up being able to put the money back.  I want to get $1000 for emergencies in our savings account in the next 3 months.  I realize that this will put us back on paying off the debt as mentioned above, but without a small buffer of $1000, if we have an emergency we will end up putting it on a credit card which will only increase our debt listed above.  I'd rather buckle down harder for 9 months after getting the emergency money then not have it at all.  For the next 3 months we will need to put $333.33 in a savings account each month.  Completely doable!

3.  Eat dinner at home minimum 5 nights per week
     We love to eat out but with 2 adults and 1 toddler, currently, ordering meals our average meal out costs us at least $40 every time!  We have been known to eat out up to 3 nights a week which is about $120!  That's insane!  If we didn't eat out at all for one month where we were averaging 3 meals out per week that would equal $480 saved!  That's over the amount we need for one month to put into savings to get us to our $1000 emergency fund goal and almost half of what we need to be paying towards debt to reach our $25,000 debt pay off goal!  It amazes me how fast it can all add up and I know that if we just start by eliminating at least 1 night out per week we will be that much closer.  I am not going to say that we aren't going to ever eat out, but we need to make better decisions on which restaurants we choose and what we order.  We need to not order sodas/teas or alcohol at all as those are huge money wasters while eating out!  Also, Caleb rarely eats while we are out so we need to think more about just ordering a bigger portion for one of us and splitting it with him rather than ordering him his own meal for an average of $7.  We have set a rule for eating dinner at home, or someone else's home ::we are talking to you parents :) :: 5 nights per week for the next year.

4.  Make 1 new recipe per week
     I tried this a while back and it really worked and I even blogged about the new recipes until I got "too busy" or "forgot" about it.  But with our goal of eating at home 5 nights per week and the fact that Ryan can only stand my tacos probably twice a month along with my other go-to meals, we are going to need to come up with new recipes.  My MIL got me an awesome Crock Pot Cook Book for my birthday and Pinterest is always a good option for finding new recipes.  With this, I am also hoping that I get back into blogging the new recipes each week and let you know which good ones we have found or what modifications we will make for the next time, or if there won't be a next time :)

5.  Meal Plan
     I am a terrible meal planner.  Well I shouldn't say I am a bad meal planner, I should say that I have a harder time sticking to the plan.  We are a busy family of 4 and we both drive a lot during our day and coming home to cook for 30+ minutes isn't always going to work for us.  I am hoping that by having new recipes and utilizing my crock pot more that I will be able to plan out our meals each week and stick to the plan!  The other hard part about this for me will be the grocery shopping.  I am going to have to either plan for 2 weeks at a time or make sure I have time to go to the store each and every Saturday/Sunday,  We always say we will buy groceries for 1 or 2 weeks at a time and then by the time that time frame comes up we stretch it another week or so and it throws everything off.  This is where sticking to the plan will really come into play, and hey!  Maybe it will mean I get some solo shopping time??  Even if it is only for groceries.  LOL

6.  12 days of no spending per month
     Have you guys ever gone on spending freezes?  The point is to not spend any money on anything but essentials ::i.e. gas and bills::  Well I have talked and talked to Ryan about it and we finally agreed that every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday we will not spend money on anything that isn't essential.  Now that doesn't mean that Ryan gets to not like what I packed him for lunch on Tuesday and instead buys lunch, that's not essential!  I don't have an option for food at my work so readily so spending money on snacks and such isn't a big thing for me, but with Ryan working out of his truck all day every day he has more temptation to pick up a drink here or a cheeseburger there.  My tricky part will come into play with Target.  We all know that I love a good Saturday morning Target run and although Saturday isn't a "frozen" day, I don't need to be going to Target just to go while we are trying to achieve these goals.  I figure that by doing the freeze 12 days per month we should save about $100-$150 per month!  That money should all go to bills and paying down the debt!

7.  1 craft with the kids per month
     All of my goals for 2017 don't have to be such downers - LOL!  I really want to start doing the crafts that I pin with the kids!  Caleb is finally getting to an age where he doesn't mind finger painting and Eric will do anything as long as there is food waiting for him!  I want to be able to have these memories to hang around my house and give out to family members as little gifts from the boys.  12 projects isn't too much to achieve right?

8.  Date my husband once a month
     If you have been around you will know that we used to do this right after we had Caleb and it was amazing!  A fun night where we didn't have to wait for a table to fit a high chair or we could go to a movie or loud bar and not worry about the kids.  I miss these days and as it will be more difficult now that we have 2 kids that will need to be watched, I am determined to make this a high priority.  I want to continue to date my husband, it is essential for us to thrive in our marriage, for our kids and our goals.  This goal will be one of the harder ones to achieve due to our crazy schedules and obligations, but I am determined to do it, even if it just means running up the street to get ice cream for 30 minutes one night.  I plan on finding us cheaper dates to go on and to utilize any and all gift cards so that we don't jeopardize our debt goal for this one.


8 Goals for 2017.  Completely doable if we set our hearts, minds and souls to them.

I heard someone say on Tuesday that in order to achieve your "resolutions" or goals you need to have discipline, not motivation.  Motivation will die, but discipline to stay motivated and complete your goals is what it is going to take.  It resonated so deeply with me and I have told myself this at least 100 times since hearing it.

I am disciplined enough to stay motivated all year long.  I see the end result and that is THRIVING!  I will do whatever it takes to provide the best life for my family and 2017 will be the making of a great rest of our future.

I hope you set some goals for 2017 whether it be personal, family or business.  Having goals is a great thing.  Some may see it as a way to realize your failures at the end, but for me, it is a great thing to keep working towards.  If you don't have an end to try and reach, you won't ever take the first step to get there.

Keep up with your goals and come back each month when I update you on how ours are going!
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