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Tag: progress

2023 Goals

2023 Goals

My goals for 2023 revolve quite a bit around self-care and doing things that make me happy such as cross-stitching, gardening, puzzles, hanging out with my family and reading. I am also trying to make them pretty open ended so I don’t feel to rigid […]

2022 Goals End of Year Reflection

2022 Goals End of Year Reflection

2022 was a year with mixed results for me. As I reflect on my 2022 goals post from March of this year I am struck by how different my year turned out from where it started. I started the year gung ho about my career […]

2023 Goals: Puzzles

2023 Goals: Puzzles

It’s that time of year again for goal setting and reflection. I am hopeful for 2023 and one of my focuses will be self-care. I love puzzles so I am setting a goal of working on my puzzles for 2023. I was very inspired by Karen Puzzles on YouTube (link here) with her journey towards the puzzle championships. I had no idea there were competitions!!! I have not found any in my area yet but I am definitely keeping an eye out. All puzzles mentioned in this post are listed at the bottom so if you are here for my 2023 list feel free to scroll on down.


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Practice puzzle #1 – 300 pieces large size.

I started my 2023 puzzle journey in 2022 with some practice puzzles. We have a bunch stashed from over the years so I dug through our pile and started puzzling. I timed my first one which was Grandpa’s Garage at 300 pieces and it took me 1 hour, 18 min and 56 seconds to complete. If that seems fast to you, this was a super easy puzzle with large pieces. For comparison, in 2022 at the World Jigsaw Championship the fastest times for this 500 piece London Postcard puzzle was 34 min and 25 seconds which is amazing!

The Craft Cupboard by Colin Thompson

Next I tackled the 1000 piece The Craft Cupboard by Colin Thompson. This one took me about eight hours but, huge caveat, I had help from my husband with sorting for the first four hours which is when everything is the most difficult. No doubt if I had done this on my own it would have taken way longer. I loved this artist and I’m already thinking about which ones to add to my list for the future. I would really like to do the massive 18,000 piece Magical Bookshelf but one, it is super expensive and two, I have no idea where I would put it to keep it safe from dogs and kids. I am sure it is the size of my living room (or bigger) and logistically I don’t know how it would work.

500 piece Home for Christmas

I pulled this 500 piece Home for Christmas Puzzle out of our stash and it was unopened. We got this one out of one of those random Woot boxes many years ago. Did you ever do those? My husband was really into them for a few years and we did get a few good things out of them but it was mostly stuff we gave away. I will put a photo of the box below but I could not find this one on Amazon although it looks like you can find it on Ebay if you are interested.

Home for Christmas

I found a similar one on Amazon here. I didn’t time this puzzle because my daughter really wanted to help with it and honestly if she had not helped me it would still be sitting there undone. The quality on this one was not great and it was hard to tell if the pieces fit together correctly and with the glare I was having a really hard time seeing the colors. If I did another one of these I would try to change the lighting up a bit and see if that helps.

Golden Gate Bridge 500 pieces

Lastly I started this 500 piece Golden Gate Bridge puzzle of unknown origin from my family room. This is the brand Costco carries so we probably got it from there. I had a great time sorting this one and had it sorted in a record 15 min into edges, the bridge, some sky and then the rest of the pieces.

Golden Gate Bridge First Sort\

Unfortunately I quickly remembered why we don’t buy this brand of puzzle any more. The pieces do not fit well together and I really struggled to get the edge put together. I gave up after about an hour and started working on the clouds. I am really glad I didn’t time this one because it will probably take several hours. My kids have been helping me a little bit but they are also discouraged by how difficult it is to see if the pieces actually fit together. I will post a photo here on my Instagram when I finish this one, hopefully before the end of the year!

Snow Day!

To keep track of my puzzles I will be filming as much as I can and posting it here on my YouTube channel. I have created some boards on Pinterest linked here and below. The completed list is currently blank but as I work on my puzzles I will add them to the completed one. For now, I am finishing up what I have started and trying to pry out of my kids which puzzles they bought me for Christmas. Ha ha!


Happy holidays and puzzling everyone!


2023 Puzzle List


Completed 2023 Puzzles



Puzzle links:


World Jigsaw Champions Website


World Puzzle Championship Individual Puzzle:

London Postcard


The Grandpa’s Garage puzzle is a Goodwill find and I could not find a copy but here is an interesting 300 piece substitute:

The Silver Trout



The Craft Cupboard



Magical Bookshelf



Christmas Cottage

Golden Gate Bridge Puzzle


September 2022 Grocery Spending Wrap Up

September 2022 Grocery Spending Wrap Up

September was an expensive month for us as far as groceries go. All of our stock up trips seemed to happen this September and that caused our grocery total to be higher than usual. We also have been trying to eat healthier which of course […]

August 2022 Grocery Spending Wrap Up

August 2022 Grocery Spending Wrap Up

We continued to work on our grocery budget for August 2022 with a goal of $600. I wasn’t sure if we could make it this month but we came closer than last month at $709.79. We definitely ate better this month and a large chunk […]

June 2022 Final Grocery Spending

June 2022 Final Grocery Spending

Our June grocery goal was to eat through our fridge and freezer as much as possible and for the most part we reached this goal. I am super proud of our progress! Up until the last week of June we kept our spending under $300 but we did end up taking a couple of trips to the store the last week to bring our total up to $$470.26. We could have held off another week to make the numbers look amazing but our budget for July would have just been super high so I went the last week because I had the time. My kids were super grateful for the fresh produce and new choices for snack and it helped our son try some new things so I am pretty happy with my decision.

This site participates in affiliate links and receives a small fee for affiliate recommendations at no cost to you. As always we only recommend products we have tried ourselves. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

Our first and only grocery trip to Costco was pretty small for us and included a refresh for staples in our house. We mostly bought fresh vegetables, eggs and some meat. Our freezer is still pretty well stocked with meat from earlier this year so we aren’t buying too much right now. Our kids eat salami and lunch meat when they are at school and camp so we buy them pretty much every month. We kept this Costco haul to $219.70 for groceries which is really good for our only Costco haul in June. We did end up going back later in the month for dog food but that comes out of a separate budget so it isn’t included in our grocery total.

Freezer Cleanout
Freezer Cleanout

We focused on our freezer for June. I was shocked when I did the first freezer check in video (Here) and found that we had tons of free lunch items in there. We spent the month eating through what we could and I donated a couple of gallon Ziploc bags worth to the seniors this month. The top freezer drawer is still pretty full but only because we continued to get free lunch meal packs every week until they were done. We are struggling to participate in free lunches this summer since kids have to eat in person but starting next week they have opened up new sites so we will try to go to a couple of those. Access to free lunches in the summer is difficult for working families and kids in camp. I am hoping the funding for this will be reupped this fall and we will continue to be able to pick up 5 day meal kits again. This really helped our budget the past few months.

Free Lunch Boxes
Free Lunch Boxes

We got a bunch of extra food in the free lunch packs this month, including three whole cheese pizzas. We still have one and a third left from this pickup in the middle of June. It is crazy to me how much the school district we go to is doing for the community on their own. Tons of people rely on these free meal kits that do not qualify for the traditional free and reduced lunch options. We are grateful that they stepped up to help the community out.

Fridge clean out.
Fridge Clean Out

In June I also tried to keep us on track by filming where we were at every Monday with the fridge and freezer. Our latest one can be found here.  It was really helpful to take stock every week and see what we needed to eat up. I highly recommend doing at least a thorough look through weekly to check on the state of your produce and leftovers. This week I will do another on 7/4 and I am going to do a deep clean as well. I wipe down our fridge all the time but we are in and out of it a lot and the cleaning is just never ending. I swear my kids wait until their hands are the stickiest and then try to open it because I have to wipe the handles down multiple times a day.

Target and Grocery Outlet Haul
Target and Grocery Outlet Haul

I ended up going to both Target and Grocery Outlet the last week of the month. Link is here. I had to go to Target for some shorts for my son and I ended up picking up items I had been waiting on buying and stocking up on snacks. One thing I have noticed with not getting the free lunches is that we don’t have as many snacks hanging around the house as we used to. They used to include a few snacks in there and we never had to buy them. My kids definitely need them for summer camp and we were getting low so I stocked up a bunch this week. I probably won’t do another snack run until school starts in the fall, but I can’t always predict how quickly my kids will eat through things. Grocery Outlet is my favorite and I bought some staples such as apples, tortillas and onions there but we also picked up a baking kit for $1.00 that the kids really enjoyed baking. This was my cheap entertainment for a colder day last week and they loved it.

Winco Grocery Haul
Winco Grocery Haul

I also went to Winco last week for some canned goods, fresh produce and basics we were running out of. Link is here. I love Winco and they have excellent prices. I don’t get to go very often because it is just far enough and out of the way that stopping in for a quick trip costs more in gas than I would save on a few grocery items. My daughter had camp about five minutes away though this week and it was on my way home so I made a trip while we were in the area. All of these items could have waited until July but the timing worked out this week so I went. I am trying to consolidate my trips as much as possible since my car does not get very good gas mileage.


We also stocked up on some canned goods this trip since Winco has the cheapest canned vegetable prices I have found. It is always good to have a couple of weeks worth of canned goods on hand in case of emergencies and as I have discovered recently I am not good at keeping canned veggies and fruit on hand since we really don’t eat much of it. I do a whole pantry clean out every fall before school starts and in January. I donate anything nearing an expiration date and use up expired foods. It is a great way to be prepared for a long term power outage but also help out the community. I keep all of my cans in one spot so it is easy to go through them in a few minutes. It usually takes me longer to donate them since it is slightly out of my way.

Using up leftovers
Using up leftovers.

Overall we did well at eating up some of our freezer items. I made a couple of recipes that I will link below and we all got sick of green beans. There are still about 7 pounds of green beans left in my freezer but we are taking a break from them for now…


Gluten-free Egg Bake

Tater Tot Casserole (GF)


Looking at this picture I realized I forgot to pick up a couple of oranges from the store. We have plenty of other fruit but I may pick some up later this month when we run low. Tortillas have been a great way to use up leftovers. I love having quesadillas for lunch! They are easy to make and don’t make a huge mess.


How are you doing on your grocery spending? We are already spending more in July with our first Costco haul linked here. I was hoping we can stay out of the store for a few more weeks but we do need to get more rice since we are out of the kind we like. Costco was out when we went so I am going to make a trip to Business Costco this week on my way to somewhere.



May 2022 Final Grocery Spending


June 2022 Spending Goals and Mid-Year Check In

May 2022 Final Grocery Spending

We are working on our grocery spending for 2022 and our goal for May was to do a low spend month. Unfortunately we ended up a little bit swamped during the middle of the month and we both spent too much money and I did […]

2022 Garden Supply Purchases

2022 Garden Supply Purchases

For 2022 we are really expanding our garden and possibly adding in some chickens later in the year. We are garden zone 8b in the Pacific Northwest located in the Seattle area. Our weather is wet a lot of the year and we have been […]

5 Year Blogiversary

5 Year Blogiversary

I started my blog in late March about five years ago so I thought I would write a little bit about it for my 5 year blogiversary. I started Oscoey as something to do while I was home with my kids as sort of a mommy blog but along the way I discovered the FIRE movement, went back to work and then sort of lost the ability to work on my blog. I have always wanted to do it full-time but like many other people work and life got in the way.

budget planner
Pesky puppy ate my budget planner.

We are still making most of our own food but our budgeting has drastically changed in the last five years and although we are still focused on saving as much as we can our expenses are much higher and we have moved more in the direction of Slow FIRE. Slow FIRE is basically stretching out your timeline for retirement. My husband does not have plans to retire any time soon but I am toying with the idea of not going back to work after my leave ends in a couple of weeks so I can focus on my blog and my new YouTube channel. I would love for my husband to retire when we are done paying for college in about 15 years which is still technically early since we will be right about 60 but I feel like we could probably do better than that.

Lots of garlic planted this year.

We have increased our urban homestead quite a bit in the past five years and this year we are hoping to add some chickens as well. I am installing several large garden beds this week as well as removing some grass in our yard so we can plant some trees. This year our yard was very wet and adding a tree or two will help with that and provide some much needed shade in the summer. I love gardening and will start putting more gardening content up on my channel in the next few weeks.

Luna 7 months

When I first started blogging George was a puppy but now he is 5 1/2 and has definitely slowed down. We got a puppy named Luna last year after a couple of years of debate and looking for a good fit. She has been a huge change for our family but we love her so much and George is so happy to have someone to play with. Zoey our dachshund is still around but is now very much a senior dog that really just wants to sleep all day. George sleeps with his “dog mom” Zoey every night and Luna tries very unsuccessfully to play with her every chance she can.

Tea time
Tea time.

I am continuing to post mostly on Instagram about our food and how we are working on meal planning. One of my favorite things that came out of the isolation of Covid was our Sunday afternoon tea times. The kids really get into it and we have a bunch of fun with a more formal lunch. Over the summer we turn it into a picnic on the lawn with a pitcher of juice or sparkling water and the kids love that as well.

Light in the woods
Light filled backyard.

I have really enjoyed the friends I have met through my blog and writing to my readers over the past five years. I am really excited for my channel on YouTube to grow and I hope to be able to write more here this year. Below are my links for social media and some of my favorite posts throughout the years. Happy blogging!








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April 2022 Low Spend Month Goals


Dried Banana Chips


April 2022 Low Spend Month Goals

April 2022 Low Spend Month Goals

This site participates in affiliate links and receives a small fee for affiliate recommendations at no cost to you. As always we only recommend products we have tried ourselves. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed […]

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