Hello readers of The Green Swan! It’s Lucy here to give an update on how The Swan Life treated us in January. As a reminder, I’m not the financial brain in this household. I am, however, here to support JW and provide a different perspective on this ol’ blog of his. Thanks for letting me come back again and share my thoughts!
I’m proud to say for the month of January I accomplished my 2017 goal of trying 2 new recipes each month. We actually exceed that goal and went way over two, but I’ll share the two I liked the best. The first was Creamy Chicken and Biscuits. It’s cold weather season (maybe not as bad in the south, but still chilly compared to our warm summers) so I love cooking up a good hearty meal. This one was found on Pinterest (go figure) and I was totally in love! Most often when we buy poultry we’ll try to save and buy the bulk pack. Then I like to bake the extra chicken, shred it and put into individual Ziplocs to store for later meals. This recipe is perfect for using one of these individual bags. Another reason we loved this recipe is to get some more vegetables in our diet… aka more vegetables for our toddler.
The other recipe we mastered in January was a Panera knock off cinnamon crunch scone recipe. We’ve really enjoyed our weekend mornings at Panera using up some gift cards, but those certainly don’t last forever. JW actually found a couple recipes online and we tried them all before settling on a combination of two of them. The recipe itself is great because it has shredded apple and turned out to be a bit healthier than some others. We then added in some cinnamon chips and voila, a Panera-like cinnamon crunch scone!
Award and Work Perks
My company threw our holiday part at the beginning of January. JW and I decided I’d attend alone which meant no money paid out for a babysitter. No, that wasn’t the only reason why we decided I’d go stag, but it certainly helps. I can’t say this party is something I look forward to each year, but it always turns out to be a fun night. This year turned out extra special because I actually won a leadership award. No, I’m not saying this to brag, I’m saying this because the award came with cash money! Well not technically cash in my hand, but extra in my paycheck! It wasn’t as much as, say, my quarterly bonus payout, but it’s something. As I’m sure we can all agree in the FIRE community, every little bit counts.
On top of the cash award I also won a raffle at the holiday party! Seriously, I didn’t realize how good the night would be heading into it. The raffle was free, everyone was given one ticket upon arrival just for showing up. My prize was a Keurig Rivo Cappuccino and Latte System! That’s a $200 prize my friends, score! This is totally an item JW and I would never splurge on. Although I do enjoy a good latte from time to time so it is a nice addition to our kitchen. I will say the special pods you have to purchase to make the espresso is more than we are used to (we’ve been enjoying our home brew cold brew), but still way cheaper than a latte from Starbucks. Between the new scone recipe and our at-home lattes, we can basically take out our Panera trips from the budget altogether!
Funny how I’m more excited about the Keurig Rivo than I am the cash award, even though the cash award was for worth more! But it feels nice winning something that I know I would like but wouldn’t otherwise buy…and no, I wasn’t about to let JW sell it online…
Movie On The Cheap
We took our son to the movie theater for the first time on a rainy Saturday afternoon in January. Weird for someone who grew up in the Midwest to say it was raining in January and not snowing, but that’s not the point. It wasn’t his first ever trip to the theater (my parents treated him to a movie the last time they visited), but it was our first time as a family of three. My parents did help us uncover the “dollar theater” near our house which I’m now in love with. The movies aren’t the most recent (some are already on DVD), but that is no problem to me! The tickets literally cost $3. It’s the concessions where they really make their money. No worries, we came prepared with a few snacks of our own… shhh! It was a fun afternoon activity that we won’t do all the time, but necessary when we need to get out of the house on a rainy day.
What Else in January??
We made a trip to the consignment store to pick up some warmer weather threads for our son. Again, crazy for this Midwesterner to think shorts and t-shirts in January! We made out with some great deals, but the main thing that caught my eye about this trip was actually a missed opportunity. They were holding a promotion for 50% discount on fall and winter clothes for newborn to 12 months. This would totally be something we’d take advantage of for baby #2… if we knew the gender! Dang, negative strike for our plan to be surprised on the day of delivery.
JW helped us out big time around the house last month. He’ll explain more about it in a future post all about the downfalls of being a homeowner, but I also wanted to commend him on a few jobs well done. He took advantage of Amazon to find replacement parts for our kitchen sink that has been leaking for a bit. No, it wasn’t constantly leaking, but you had to be very careful with the way you turned it off to prevent it from leaking. Sometimes that was forgotten and we’d find a trickle… and wasted water. He also did a great job fixing our ice machine in the fridge. This sounds like a daunting task to me… troubleshooting, figuring out the issue, finding the parts, purchasing and crossing your fingers it works. Great news, he fixed it!
Last, but not least was a slightly expensive, special occasion purchase I had to make. I’m going to be in my cousin’s wedding this upcoming July, something I didn’t think I’d do again now that I’m in my 30’s. Don’t get me wrong, I’m totally excited and so happy for her (my only girl cousin who I’ve been very close with growing up)! The challenge with this purchase was guessing my size. By the time she sent out the info on the dress and asked us to get measured I was already in maternity clothes and not able to get true measurements. Plus, let’s be honest, those would be pre-baby #2 measurements anyways. So I called the dress shop and we took a stab at it. Luckily my cousin’s parents are covering half of the dress (thank you to my aunt and uncle!), but my portion still came to about $110. I’m crossing my fingers my size estimation was spot on and I won’t need any alterations, aka more money spent on the dress. What do you think my odds are? Wait, don’t answer that.
I hope you all started 2017 with a bang! Any recipe suggestions we should try out in February? What other zero or low cost activities do you recommend with the little kids? We usually get out and ride bikes, but I’d love to hear other types of activities!