Thursday, June 5, 2014

Let's try this again...

So I had another bit of a lapse there...but there's at least a decent reason this time!

In March we decided to get the house ready to sell again.  We attempted this last year to no avail but were ready to try again with a new realtor and new updates to the house.  Long story short, we listed at the end of March and 16 days later were under contract.  Yahoo!!  But true to form, we had to complicate it.  We found another house very quickly, but knew Matt was traveling most of May for work.  So the turn-around for inspections/packing/closing/moving were going to get very complicated very quickly if we tried to do it all before he left.  So.  We ended up closing on our old house at the beginning of May, renting said house from the new owners for a month, and closing on the new house at the end of May.  We finally moved May 31 after a few quick updates to the new place.  

So the direction this little ol' blog of mine is going to take now is a house diary of sorts.  I want to track our progress of updating the new place and share it with family/friends/whoever cares to see and read.  

So stay tuned if you're interested in a couple pseudo-DIYers and their mid-70s fixer-upper!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Ruminating on Returning

How do you feel about returns?  I've worked my fair share of retail and I'm torn on the subject.  More to the point, I'm a hypocrite.  As a retail employee I loathed returns.  I'd put on my happy face and try to turn it around, but inside I was screaming, "Why didn't you try that on before you walked out of the store???  Why didn't you think before you pulled out that credit card??"

My shopping self is the exact opposite.  Here's my basic shopping method - 1. Go wander.  2. Find an "amazing" deal that I can't pass up.  3. Purchase it without thought to whether or not my child reeeaaallly needs that 323094382th long sleeve shirt. 4. Go home and feel guilty for three weeks.  5. Return said item to store, head hanging low.

Well the madness needs to stop!!!  Luckily with my whole budget thing happening these days I'm not in a position to do much random shopping, but because I'm me I am able to get myself into toy-buying trouble at Kroger.  Yep, Kroger.  To be fair, it's a Kroger Marketplace so it's essentially like visiting a mini-mini-Target every time I stop in for groceries.  But holy moly, this past month I spent $100+ on random toys there.  I was packing them away for birthdays, but they weren't even ones I knew my kids would go bananas over.  They were just good deals.  So. Back into my trunk they go, and while the monkeys play at school tomorrow I will be dutifully returning to Kroger to return the crazy and hopefully find my sanity.

Wish me luck.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

March Budget Challenge

Oh hello there, dear blog.  Long time no see...oops.

I'll do a life catch-up post sometime soon, but right now I want to give myself a kick in the butt and some over-the-internet-motivation for my upcoming personal challenge.

I've been working on our budget since January and the areas I need to work on are blatantly obvious.  1 - Kim needs to step away from and Target.  
2 - The Cocuzzi clan needs to stop getting takeout.
3 - Kim needs to stop buying groceries.  Or at least meal plan and stick to a grocery list.

I've been working on #1 on the list for the past 2 months and am getting much better, so mission pretty-much-accomplished there.  It's obnoxious not being able to shop but it's getting easier. This month I unfortunately blew the random stuff shopping budget, but it was on couldn't-avoids like baby shower gifts, upgraded electrical everything to the house, buying a car...ugh.  I'll get it right in March.

#2 and #3 are somewhat tied together, because the less I meal plan the more we eat out.  

So. I'm breaking this down for myself to get it right this time.  Get a system in place that works so we're eating healthfully and frugally at the same time.  It's possible, I swear it is, I just have to figure it out.

Inspiration: - One of my go-to blogs for recipes and real food inspirations.  Lisa and her family are an inspiration when it comes to real food living.  We're definitely not as intense as they are in terms of what we will/won't eat, but I admire what they do and love to try out their recipes! - This is a recent discovery but I'm completely intrigued by it.  The entire premise is eating real food on a budget.  Cha Ching!!!  I signed up for the newsletter and received the budgeting worksheets, which I proceeded to fill out over the course of several hours.  It was some serious work, but let me tell you that holy moly did those worksheets really open my eyes to my grocery purchases.  So glad I took the time to do them! I'll be digging into this site more over the next couple weeks.


I have all the tools you would think I would need - a menu board in the kitchen, a grocery list spot on the fridge, an Excel spreadsheet for long-term meal planning, my Better Homes and Gardens cookbook (because I've figured out it's the ONLY cookbook I'll use consistently), Pinterest...but somehow it always falls apart.  

I've been experimenting with how to keep better track of my expenses.  I've tried fancy apps for this purpose, but I never use them.  What I use day in and day out is Notes.  So in my sad little Aha moment I decided to start tracking purposes by just making little categories in Notes and marking down every receipt.  Shocker of shockers, it's actually working for me!  So Notes it is.  Notes will be my saving grace when it comes to budgeting.  Who knew a built-in little app would be doing all this heavy lifting for me?  


Get my spending to around $125/week on groceries, $20/week for dining out during the month of March.  Family of four, mostly real food, not including alcohol or coffee (because Mama needs coffee and wine, Daddy needs whiskey, and no one needs to know what we spend on that business :)  ), and household/personal items.  I want to focus on the food and only the food. I intend to report in here with my purchases and hopefully some recipes to inspire me to continue on!

And now I better get moving on some major meal planning...ugh, the hardest part of the whole darn thing!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

A Month of Dinners

I am a Real Simple addict. Have been for yeeears. It's one magazine subscription I've never been able to give up. So this month, one of the features was this fabulousness: a month of dinners, complete with recipes and WEEKLY SHOPPING LISTS.

(I'm typing this up on the sad-excuse-for-a-functional-app Blogger app, which has zero functionality, so bear with the full links as opposed to a hyperlink. My apologies :( )

Color me thrilled!!!!

I've been attempting to meal plan every week but only manage it about 60% of the time. So this was an answer to my prayers! I glanced through the recipes but didn't give it too much thought. There were a couple that I knew would be a gamble but I figured we'd try them anyways.

So Monday we all loaded up and went to Kroger with my ready-made grocery list in hand. Now, I am a two-to-three times per week grocery shopper normally. So the sticker shock of a one-trip shopping bill was not. pretty. But we survived once I figured it was probably less than what I spend hitting up the store several times a week. Happy by-product of this experiment.

Meal one: beef and mushroom ragu with fettuccine.

Score: eight thumbs (hey, there are four of us eating here!) way up!! Deeeeelicious! And Boyo was all about it, so that makes it a win! He talked about it all evening and the next day. Score one for Real Simple and me!!

Meal two: eggplant and tofu stir fry.

Score: eight thumbs down. Umm, not our cup of tea. We ordered a pizza. :/

Meal three: roasted chicken with collards

Score: five thumbs up. A draw. Chicken was yummy, same with the tomatoes and even the onions. The collards, well, as far as sautéed greens go, these were the best I've ever made. That being said, we still didn't really like them.

That's as far as we've gotten in this experiment but I'm excited to continue. It's nice not having the stress of "what the heck are we having for dinner tonight????" hanging over my head every evening, that's for sure! We'll see where we land by the end of the month, but hopefully we'll find several more recipes we're all about. If not, I'm afraid there will be a lot more pizza and Chipotle in my future....

Stay tuned...

(Photos courtesy of

Friday, September 21, 2012


-Hopefully- I will remember to take pics later for a more interesting and informative post, but for now I just had to share this extra special glimpse into my life.

I made tonight's dinner this afternoon so I wouldn't have to worry about it later. Fully loaded baked potato soup.

I die.

I *nearly*, and I'm dead serious, licked the pot I cooked it in. I stopped myself just in time and got out a spoon. It's that good.

Keeping' it classy here in Dayton.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Iced coffee

I have a new favorite drink and I have a feeling it's about to save me loads and loads of money. That's yummy on all counts!

I found this breakfast coffee protein shake at and thought I'd give it a try. Minus a few things because I'm lazy. Ya know.

Behold, iced coffee at home!

1 cup coffee
1 cup milk
Sweetener of your choice, to taste. I've used a pack of Splenda which is good, but this morning I tried a teaspoon of maple syrup. Yummmmm.
Ice cubes

Pour ingredients in a glass, stir. Drink.

I mean really, can it get any easier?!?

You are welcome. :D

Sunday, September 9, 2012


5.5 miles in under 55 minutes. MWAHAHAHA!!!!

Too bad I'm running a 5K next month and not a 10K :P

The Hubbs and I signed up for the 2013 Warrior Dash this morning. We'll be running it with some good friends and I am pretty excited. Hubbs will have done Tough Mudder in April so he'll be well prepared for it but I better start lifting and whatnot to prep for the parts other than running!!

I have no idea what I've gotten myself into.

Woohoo!!! :D

(Obnoxious runner's high, much??)