We had a relaxing flight from Boise to Seattle to Portland on New Years Day, landing around 11:45 pm. My brother The Champ picked us up and delivered us and our tired selves to our new little home southeast of downtown Portland.
We put Christmas back in its respective bins and saw for the first time our home without boxes stacked or bins piled high or Christmas decorations cluttering every surface and corner. We couldn't get over how much we liked it!
If you read my last Adoption Update: A Financial Conversation, you would know that we are slimming down our budget to less than bare skin. Originally we had planned for a few dollars in a few extra categories, but December 31 we decided: no extra spending whatsoever. SO. With our first paycheck of the New Year, which was relatively humble seeing how Loren worked a week and a half, we paid our bills due the 1st, set aside a percentage to tithe/give, and grocery shopped. Other than that, we are doing a #NoSpendingJanuary. We have about $13 left on a Starbucks gift card that we will use as needed for wifi - it is a handy thing having it uploaded to your phone because we buy one drip coffee and once that is finished, get the refill for free. Two coffees for the price of one!
There are a few reasons we are doing #NoSpendingJanuary. The main reason is: we don't know what our bills or income is really going to look like. I landed an awesome freelance writing job working 10-15 hours a week and am waiting to hear back from a barista/bartender position I applied to at a retirement village; but other than that, we have Loren's full time position at Trillium Parry Center. The second reason is: we spent too much in December and need to be sure we aren't burying ourselves in unnecessary debt (we didn't buy any cars or cameras or anything, just some Christmas gifts for our nieces and whatnot; you know). The third and most important reason is: all excess money, if any, will go straight into our adoption account. I am praying that somehow the Lord provides extra, because as of right now: I don't see where extra would come from. But already, we have had $150 sent to us in checks for our adoption fund this year and to us, that is God's simple nudge saying: I've got this.
We were also gifted with gift cards for a movie theater, so we are saving that for a date night.
We may or may not continue #NoSpendingJanuary into #NoSpendingFebruary.
We became super controlling and made a menu plan that is more detailed than necessary. But we both agreed that it would help us be extra diligent when it came to grocery shopping. $300 a month on food is slim for us but we are dedicated to at least attempting it. That being said, I am going to share with you our menu plan because so far, we have stuck to it and it has been delightful.
I would like to make a note that we did not smoke pot for breakfast on Saturday, but instead I chopped up some russet potatoes and sizzled them nice and crispy soft (yep) on the skillet, added eggs, and half of our avocado. We apparently didn't eat lunch..which is true because breakfast was consumed around 11:30. Yeah, folks, we wasted half the day sleeping! We were tired.
For dinner I made the best pizza I have ever made. You can find the recipe here: Gluten Free Pizza Crust, ready in 20 minutes.
Tonight I made these chicken fajitas. I plan to make 4 or 5 of these servings-for-two and freeze them right around my "due date." They were so freaking good and took barely any time.
Wednesday's croc pot chicken curry can be found HERE.
Thursday's sweet potato biscuits can be found HERE.
Last night we made the best cookies ever - you can find the recipe on the back of Namaste's gluten free flour blend. You're welcome.
I decided that on the days Loren works swing shift, 12-10 pm, I will make a delicious breakfast other than eggs or oatmeal with fruit or bacon. I pack him simple sandwiches for his lunch/dinner at work because he needs accessible food that he can carry around the facility.
My point in sharing this? One: these meals are pretty simple and super delicious. New meals are always fun to come by and I love recommendations! Two: we agree that being open and honest about how we plan to save money and sacrifice so that our adoption fund can grow is important. It is important so that you know, as our supporters, that you can trust us when you send us money or sponsor a puzzle piece or buy a t shirt: your money is going directly towards our adoption and nothing else. It is important so that you know that we are doing everything we can to be good stewards of what we have, trusting that as we do our part, God will provide.
If you're interested in supporting adoption, specifically our adoption, we have a few ways you can do that! Here are our current fundraisers:
Puzzle Fundraiser <-- click on it to read more.
Adoption Shirt campaign <-- click on it to buy one! We currently have 3 styles of shirts on sale, each in 2 colors of gray and varying sizes: a long sleeved shirt, a t shirt, and a tank top. These are only on sale for 17 more days and our goal is to sell 75 shirts, making a profit of a little over $1,000. We have sold 23 as of 30 seconds ago. When you get your shirt, if you would post a photo online of you wearing it, hashtag #bringhomebabyBrenner, and we will get to see who ordered shirts! We also will be printing out these photos making the coolest album ever. Here are some quick images of a couple of them:
Online Auction <-- this is coming soon! In February we will host a big online auction, on Facebook and Instagram! So if you don't follow me, get on it! My IG account is: nataliekbrenner. Some sneak knowledge of some items being auctioned off: $100 to Columbia Cliff Villas (Loren and I were gifted a stay here last year and WE LOVED IT. It is on the Columbia River Gorge!), $200 worth of either gift cards or items to multiple etsy shops, and $50 off of a birth class (or $25 off of the online class). If you have anything to donate to our auction, please let me know! Some ideas are: Disneyland tickets, a one or two night stay somewhere as a getaway, tickets for a winery, a basket of Pioneer Woman goodies, a gift card to your shop.
Thank you for following along and supporting our adoption in the many ways you do!
Cheers to #NoSpendingJanuary.