As a result of the recent couch purchase, an upcoming Spring Break vacation, and much needed carpet replacement, Maren has tightened her own purse strings. The Cupits are a single income family now and adjusting to that lifestyle again takes a little bit of work. Thankfully the task is assigned to a natural-born budgeter. For proof that money-sense is in fact genetic, consider that many of Maren's memories of her dad portray him sitting at his desk hovering over his calculator, smiling as he finds dollars here and there. The trait has passed on to another generation, too. Little Laurel carries her calculator everywhere, choosing it over a myriad of other toys she could pack away in her purse. Today she presented her mom with her badly broken calculator. It broke in a friendly game of catch with the neighbor... Never fear, Mom will find another one as soon as possible.
So the recent budgeting has been fun. It's been mostly focused around meals. Thanks to a new pressure cooker, a cook book and a few hours of quiet during the day to prepare a meal, it's been relatively easy. Maren has even saved her grocery store receipts to estimate each night's total dinner cost. She proudly presents the total to the family during the meal. On top of this, she gets even more delight in saving leftovers for Brad's lunch. If he takes leftovers instead of his typical frozen meal, she estimates they save enough to pay for a weekly lunch date. These are the joys of a homemaker! One day Maren will put this on her resume when she returns to work in corporate America.
Below are some recent meals we have enjoyed as a family.
Beef and Broccoli (from scratch and delicious enough for Laurel to willingly eat THREE pieces of broccoli)
Chicken Noodle Soup
Bean Soup (gross)
Pulled Pork PoBoys
Shrimp Gumbo (again Laurel ate splendidly)
Chicken Stir Fry with peanut sauce (a.k.a. peanut butter chicken)
ABCs and 123s and turkey sandwiches (no leftovers here!)
Steak and potatoes
Jamabalaya and corn muffins
It's been a fun challenge keeping costs down. It will probably take a few months before the "expense report" reflects the effort. But until then, the Cupits are benefiting from healthy homemade meals and a noticeable absence of chicken nuggets!
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Furniture shopping is an experience. Brad and Maren have probably seen every leather couch in the city plus a few more in New Orleans. What was originally a Christmas morning surprise from Santa Brad has finally arrived for good almost two months later. Brad gets all the credit, though, for managing to sneak the original couch in at midnight on Christmas Eve with the help of his brothers. He even had to put up with his pesky wife whining at him for coming to bed so late the night before Christmas. The surprise was worth it. Maren was open-mouth shocked! But...because she's the pickiest wife around when it comes to big purchases, the couch went back to the store and the next several weekend agendas were occupied with couch-shopping. Alas, it has arrived! Maren plans on staring at it for the next few days. This is the family's first big furniture purchase as the rest of the house has been furnished by loved ones. Word of warning- don't ask Brant and Laurel how they like the new couch because they probably won't be allowed to sit on it for at least a week!
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Every girl should celebrate her birthday with a parade. It puts cake and ice cream to shame. Brad drove Maren down to her first night parade after work on Monday (Lundi Gras). Despite the cold, the parade was fun and entertaining. Brant and Laurel went to a total of three parades this year with G.G. and Papa K. What a treat!
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Brant turned 4 this week. The celebrations spanned two days and included a classroom mini-party and a Chuck E. Cheese bash. He was so excited about everything that as he climbed out of the van in the carpool line, he told the teacher helper, "I'm four years old today!" In his classroom, Brant was handed an earth statue and made four laps around the sun (the kids sitting in a circle on the floor). After the fourth revolution he received his birthday spankings with a floppy ruler from his teacher. He also wore a star hat all day long with a ribbon stuck to his shirt letting the entire school know about his special day.
The next day at Chuck E. Cheese he had a Storm Trooper cake, a special celebration from the big mouse, friends and family, and too many tokens. What a great party with an added bonus...no mess for Mom to clean up!
Saturday, February 6, 2010
Laurel likes to test her boundaries occasionally. This week she tried a few new tactics. Laurel had some snacks after school. Arriving home, she wanted a granola bar right before dinner. Mom said, "not before dinner." Laurel takes after her mother...the wicked witch of the west appears when she's hungry or tired. This time the witch told the mother that she was going to break all of the mother's things. To the witch's frustration, this did not provoke the response Laurel wanted. Mom ignored her. So Laurel disappeared off to her room for a few minutes and resurfaced with the following portrait of her mother.
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
Laurel climbed into the van after school today and her mother couldn't help but think how grown up she is. She doesn't like to wear barrettes any more, she's graduated to headbands. She also wants to wear her heeled boots to school as often as possible (well, at least until she took a spill in them at recess.) She's growing more image-conscious each day, and puts together some downright fashion-forward ensembles. As she buckled herself in, she kept singing, "Who Da! Who Da! Who wants to stay in the United States?" Can you tell this state is crazy about the Super Bowl?