My Wonderful Husband

So my husband rocks…as you know I’m leaving for a trip to Roatan in two weeks. Over the last few weeks I’ve had several friends ask who was taking care of the kids. To me it seemed like a no brainer…of course it would be my husband. He is taking a week off work to be Mr. Mom while I’m gone. As I thought about it I realized it may be less common than I think for women to get away.

This trip is for me to go and serve with my church. We will be building two houses for two different families in Roatan. But in addition to serving it will be an opportunity for me to relax, to connect with other adults & build new friendships, for me to have a purpose outside the home, for me to give back, and an opportunity for my husband to spend quality time with the kids.

Portraits1-187I have always felt a calling to missions and my husband knows that. If it was up to me I would live somewhere far away and I would be snuggling orphans all day. That isn’t our life, so I appreciate his willingness to let me go on these trips every couple of years. Let me serve where I feel God is calling me and to fully support the things that are important to me.

Husbands figure out what your wife needs. How can you support what is important to her? Those nights away with girlfriends may be a little chaotic for you but they are so important for her. Does she like to workout or run? Be home so she can go to the gym. Whatever it is figure out a way to help her focus on something that is important to her.

Thank you Tom for letting me leave for a week! Thank you for seeing the big picture and never making me feel bad about being gone! I’m so excited for my trip and excited to see all that God is going to do!

 

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Freezing Biscuit Dough

So today I’m talking biscuits! Random I know, but I’m headed to Honduras in 2 weeks so today I made a few meals and other items to put in the freezer for my husband to make when I’m gone. I saw this somewhere on Pinterest and decided to try freezing my own biscuit dough a couple of months ago. It worked great so I’m doing it again! My mother in law gave me a yummy recipe so I’m going to share it with you. I’m sure this would work with other recipes so if you have one you love, make it then follow the freezing instructions.

IMG_9465_edited-1   Ingredients:

  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cups unsalted butter – softened (1 1/2 sticks of butter)
  • 1 cup buttermilk or you can substitute “sour” milk (1 tbsp vinegar or lemon juice add milk to equal one cup of liquid. Let sit on counter for 5 minutes before using)Mix all dry ingredients together. Work in the butter with a pastry cutter. Once the butter is incorporated well, pour in your milk and mix together. Knead dough on the counter then cut biscuits. If you are going to eat them right away heat your oven to 425 degrees and bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.

    IMG_9454_edited-1Freezing instructions:
    IMG_9461_edited-1Line baking sheet with freezer or wax paper. Cut biscuits and place on the paper. Make sure they aren’t touching. Flash freeze them on the baking sheet for one hour. This will help them not stick together when you place them in the bag. After the hour is up place them in a freezer bag.
    IMG_9465_edited-1To bake after they are frozen, let then thaw at least partially or place them on a plate and microwave them for 10-15 seconds or until they are slightly soft. Then bake at 425 for 10-12 minutes.

    I love doing this because it’s a better option than grabbing a container of Pillsbury biscuits. We don’t eat very much processed food so it’s nice to have a few things ready to go for those nights that you don’t want to do all of the prep!

Our $300 Per Month Grocery Budget

So I have had it on my mind to blog about our food budget for a while but it took me a while to actually get around to doing it. Every now and then it comes up that we only budget $300 per month for groceries. I always get people saying, “man it would be nice if we could do that” or “how in the world do you do that??”. So I thought I would share how we do it.

IMG_9450_edited-2A few things to mention:

  • we drink organic milk & eat organic yogurt
  • we buy off the dirty dozen list for organic produce
  • we don’t eat most processed foods (meaning we don’t live on mac and cheese!)
  • we do our best to eat clean/healthy meals
  • our budget includes cleaning supplies, diapers, wipes and all toiletries. But I do cloth diaper my son about 80% of the time.
  1. Meal Planning – I feel like this is the only way to stick to a budget. When you wing it you end up spending more money! I generally meal plan 1-2 weeks at a time and buy the food we need accordingly. If I can make meals that will also create left overs it eliminates the need to buy as many lunch supplies. I generally plan 5 meals a week which leaves one night for left overs and we have dinner at my in-laws on most Sundays.
  2. Plan your meals around what you have, what is in season and what is on sale. When I’m planning I always check my cupboards and see what I have on hand. For example if I have a couple of cans of beans and diced tomatoes then I will generally plan to do taco soup or chili because I already have most of the ingredients. We also try to buy what is in season for fruits and veggies. I love fruit but if it’s too expensive we just don’t eat it. Most of the winter we have been eating apples, bananas, and pears. I would LOVE to buy the $5 package of strawberries but it just doesn’t fit our budget. I try to shop the sales. I always try to price compare as I’m shopping and try to find the best price for what I need. Ask around you may find out some useful information. My sister-in-law found out that Fred Meyer marks down their organic dairy section on Fridays. If i can work it into my schedule I stop by Friday mornings to see if I can score organic milk for 50% off!
  3. Don’t buy junk food!! Ok so this is hard for a lot of people but seriously we don’t buy junk food. My husband will attest to that. We don’t buy chips, ice cream, granola bars, soda or other processed foods. At times it sucks but I’m sure it keeps up healthier!!
  4. Make things from scratch – I make my own bread 2-3 times a week. I got a used bread machine for $20 and from what I’ve read online it costs about $0.50 to make a loaf of bread machine bread. I buy my yeast at Costco it’s SUPER CHEAP!! You can get a 32oz package of yeast at Costco for less than the small jar costs at the store. I recently started making my own Honey Nut Granola! It’s so delicious and super easy! I make waffles for dinner about once every 10 days. I make a double batch and freeze the left overs for my kids breakfasts. Here is my favorite waffle recipe 🙂
    IMG_9443_edited-1
  5. Don’t buy everything at Costco – I think sometimes people think it’s just easier to shop at Costco but it’s not always cost-effective. We buy very specific things there – peanut butter, TP, dishwasher soap, coffee, cheese, eggs, frozen chicken tenders, half and half applesauce and some baking supplies. I make my list and I STICK TO IT!!
  6. Be committed to your budget – This is our reality…we can’t afford more than $300 per month so I have figured out how to make it work. And let me tell you we never starve. We eat well…yes my husband misses having ice cream around or having Doritos with is lunch but he has never gone hungry! We buy the necessities and I try really hard not to buy things because they just look yummy!

In an effort to be completely honest there are a couple of exceptions to our $300 per month budget. First of all we usually buy 1/4 or 1/8 of a cow once a year. This is money we don’t factor into our budget. We usually use money from my husbands bonus or from our tax return to pay for this. If we don’t have the cash we don’t buy the beef.

Additionally if my husband gets a nice commission or some sort of extra money there is times I go stock up on a few things at Costco. By stock up I mean maybe spend an extra $100 not $500!!

Basically what it boils down to is setting a goal and deciding you are going to stick to it no matter what it takes. For me as the stay at home mom I feel like it’s part of my job to use our money wisely. I do my best to stick to our budget and by making that a priority I’m honoring my husband’s hard work. There are times that things happen and we end up spending more but it is possible to live on a tight budget…you just have to be a little creative!

Packing For Roatan, Honduras

Today marks 3 weeks until my trip to Honduras which means I’m starting to prep for my trip. A lot of people are last-minute shoppers and planners but I am defiantly not! I’ve been creating a packing list as things have popped into my head so I thought I would share it with you. These are things that are helpful to me when traveling abroad, especially in developing nations.
IMG_9364_edited-2
General
Passport – Check the laws to the country you are traveling to. In Honduras if you don’t have at least 6 months left on your passport they won’t let you in (No exceptions!)
Money (small bills)
Book/Magazine
Journal (if that is your thing)
Bible (I will use the app on my phone – It’s one less thing to pack)
Camera/Batteries/SC Cards
iPad or Laptop
Chargers for all devices
Playing Cards/Skip-Bo
Plug adapter (if necessary)
Water Bottle
ZipLock Bags (Just a couple – you never know when you will need them)

FoodOn mission trips the food choices are often made for you so it’s nice to have a few snacks. I like to pack a few things that I know I enjoy because it makes the whole food thing a lot easier for me!

Via/instant coffee/Cream
Tea
Propel/Crystal Light – these are great for flavoring your water. I generally drink bottled water but depending on where you travel the water can taste really gross. These are a great way to change it up and mask any gross flavors the water might have.
Granola Bars/Trail Mix/Dried Fruit (things with substance are good in case your food options aren’t great. A good protein bar can replace lunch if necessary).
Candy 🙂 I like to bring a couple of treats! It’s nice to have a treat at the end of the day!

First AidI like to bring an assortment of basic supplies and basic medicines. It’s much easier to pack them with you instead of hunting them down when you need them.
Bandaids (large & small)
Triple Antibiotic Ointment
Cortisone
Benadryl
Tylenol
Ibprophen
Pepto
Benadryl Stick (see Link)
Antibiotics (in case you get sick with “island tummy” or something else yucky!). You can request these from your general dr.
Any of your own prescriptions
Baby Wipes – (great for “washing hands” on the job site)

Clothes/Toiletriesdepending on where you are going you may need to research what is culturally acceptable. I tend to say modestly won’t hurt anyone!

Light Jacket/Poncho (often even in warm place they can have crazy rain so having a light jacket or poncho can really come in handy).
Shirts – Ladies if you will be working pack regular T-shirts that come up high enough so you won’t have gaping when you bend over. Remember modesty is always better. I don’t think anyone has ever been offended by someone being too modest 😉
Pants
Capri’s
Shorts
Skirts – I love maxi skirts!
Tank Tops – always best to keep them modest
Swim Suit
Swim Cover Up
Underwear/Socks
PJ’s
Dress
Bandana/Hat – to protect your head from the sun
Flip Flops
Tennis Shoes
Work Clothes – Clothes you don’t mind getting dirty!
Work Shoes – they may get muddy – something you can throw away at the end of the trip.
Work Gloves
Sunglasses
Toothpaste/Toothbrush
Sunscreen – high SPF can be hard to find so bring a enough for the entire trip
Aloe Vera
Makeup
Shampoo/Conditioner
Shaving Supplies
Hair products
Nail Polish – It can be really fun to paint the little girls nails depending on where you are traveling to!
Hair Dryer/Flat Iron
Bug Spray – high DEET percentage is good! The bugs can be crazy overseas!
Snorkel Gear – you can rent but I like to bring my own if I have room

I pack most of the items in my checked baggage but I like to pack a few things in my carry on in case my luggage gets lost. Luggage often gets lost in foreign countries so pack what you can’t live without in your carry on. I know this from experience…my bag was lost when I went to Hawaii and I never got it back. I was very grateful for the few things I had with me!

Prescription Meds
Swim Suit (finding a new one could be really hard depending on where you are headed)
One change of clothes
Makeup
Book
All technology (camera, laptop, iPad, etc.)
Sunglasses
Money
Snacks

One last thing I wanted to share is this video from my last trip to Roatan in 2011. My amazing friend Brea From CYE Photography was on the trip and put this together. Check out her website for more of her amazing work!

<iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”//www.youtube.com/embed/RukkD2pvq_A” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen>

I hope this list is helpful to others. I’m also posting it for myself so I can come back to it and use it to pack! Do you have any must have items when you travel?