Monday, May 4, 2015

Menu Plan Monday and Grocery Shopping - Week of May 3rd, 2015

It's birthday week here - our twins turn 10 this week!  Where on earth does that time go? 
I swear I haven't aged a day since they were born. 
We also have the children's dance recital, a lot of company, and Grandparent's Day at the children's school! Plus teacher appreciation week at the school as well.  May is always busy, isn't it?
I went shopping on Saturday early evening and bought the food below for $61.05.  I saved approximately 10% ($6 and change) using store coupons.
Since the pictures a bit hard to see, here's what I bought:
1 40oz package of boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 pork roasts (approximately 3.5lbs each)
2 cartons of ice cream
3 dry pints blackberries
1 box Cheez-It crackers
1 box store brand woven wheat crackers
2 bags salad greens
2 dry pints grape tomatoes
2 loaves bread
1 bunch (approximately 3 lbs) bananas
I only bought the blackberries and bananas this week since we had a mango and a cantaloupe leftover from last week, my parents brought several pears, and John brought home a pineapple, apples, clementines and enough grapes to sink a boat from church this week!
We have my parents here this whole week, my cousin Diane is coming on Thursday and staying through Sunday and my in-laws will be here Thursday through Saturday as well.  So we are feeding four adults and two 10 year olds 4 days this week and 7 adults and two 10 year olds the other three days!  Lots of food and lots of company!
Here's what we're eating:
Sunday, May 3, 2015:
    Breakfast; Cereal and Fruit
    Lunch: Baked Eggs, Cinnamon Biscuit Twists and Apple-Blackberry-Mango salad
    Snack: Ice Cream
    Dinner: Chicken Fingers, Tossed Salad, Apple-Blackberry-Clementine Salad
Monday, May 4, 2015:
    Breakfast; Scrambled Eggs, Toast, Clementines
    Lunch: Leftovers
    Snack: Popcorn
    Dinner: Scalloped Potatoes with Ham, Beets, Apple-Pear-Blackberry Salad
Tuesday, May 5, 2015:
    Breakfast: Oatmeal with Almonds and Craisins
    Lunch; Leftovers
    Snack: Yogurt
    Dinner: Sandwiches, Cut Veggies, Clementines
Wednesday, May 6, 2015:
    Breakfast: Scrambled Eggs, Toast, Sliced Apples
    Lunch: Sandwiches, Cut Veggies, Clementines
    Snack: Yogurt
    Dinner: Chicken Soup in the Crockpot, Bread, Sliced Apples and Pears

Thursday, May 7, 2015, Our Children's 10th Birthday:
    Breakfast: Pancakes with Blackberries and Almonds
    Lunch: Leftover Soup
    Snack: Cupcakes
    Dinner; Homemade Pizza and Breadsticks
    Dessert: Out for Ice Cream after their Dance Recital

Friday, May 8, 2015:
    Breakfast: Oatmeal Muffins and Bananas
    Lunch: Sandwiches, Cut Veggies, Clementines
    Snack: Birthday Cake! (We're saving the cake for Friday since Thursday has their dance recital!)
    Dinner: Pulled Pork, Buns, Tossed Salad, Apple-Melon-Pineapple-Clementine-Blackberry Salad

Saturday, May 9, 2015:
    Breakfast: Buttermilk Breakfast Cake, Leftover Fruit Salad
    Lunch: Vegetable Barley Soup, Bread, Cut Veggies
    Snack: Fruit
    Dinner: Pizza Twists, Tossed Salad, Apple Slices

What are you eating this week?

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Frugal Friday on a Saturday

Isn't this beautiful?   This is my rhododendron that is right outside my kitchen window.   This year it is making my absurdly happy.   The last two years it bloomed and then we had a hard freeze so I didn't get to enjoy it.  It's kind of on it's last legs now, but I have definitely been enjoying it all week this week!

The other thing that's making my happy  - daffodils!  So pretty!  Too bad they're out of my line of sight from the house.  That just means I have to go outside to see them.
I also have dwarf irises in both light blue and dark purple that are budding out and the lilacs should be blooming in another week or two.  The rhubarb should be ready for harvest next week.  I guess spring is officially here!
So, I it's been a while since I posted about Frugal Friday - partly because we have been super busy around here and partly because I just haven't felt like I had much to post.  Looking back at my journal, I think I'm wrong!
Here are some of the things from the last few weeks:
Hosted house guests from overseas and made dinner for them using what we had on hand.  I made homemade hamburger buns and will definitely be making them again - though I will not have them rise overnight in the fridge this time.  They turned out just fine but they didn't rise quite right because of being in the fridge even though the recipe said they would.
Bought a frame on discount to hang a cross-stitch I had done several years ago in our bathroom.  I washed and ironed the stitching and then hung the picture.
I sewed buttons back on several items and hemmed a pair of pants for my husband.
I used a coupon to order sandals for the children this summer and bought myself a pair of sandals on clearance sale.  None of us had any sandals at all and while they aren't strictly necessary they will make summer much more enjoyable for us!
We had a leak in the two back tires on our van so we took it in.  Since they had a manufacturer's defect they were replaced for free!  Whoot!
Used a free shuttle bus to attend a meeting - saved the cost of bus fare or parking!
My husband was given a gerbera daisy by a parishioner - it's done a lovely job of being a centerpiece on our kitchen table.
We were gifted a pair of crystal candle holders from a friend who was moving - they are also a lovely addition to our centerpiece on our kitchen table!
My husband brought home leftovers after a church event - lots of fresh fruit, cold cuts, cheese, and a large bouquet of flowers.
A friend gave me cuttings from two houseplants - I just had to bring pots, which I already had.
The friend who gave us the candle holders also gave us a box of envelopes, two books of Forever stamps, and several books of piano music.
Three of my winter sweaters that I wear for work in the winter are basically worn out now, at least to the point where I can't wear them for work..  I purchased one new sweater for myself on clearance sale for $5.
My daughter made a card using typing paper and her craft supplies to mail to a friend who is in the hospital with pneumonia.  (The friend is doing much better and has since come home.)  She did a lovely job and her friend was very touched by the card that she made.
The children had a church event that required costumes.  They made costumes using what we had in the costume box and in their closets.  They turned out great!
We brought home a 2-liter bottle of pop and six oatmeal cookies from the children's piano recital.
I taught a couple of extra Jazzercise classes and earned some extra money.
We took advantage of the free large and hazardous item recycling through the county and recycled our CFL light bulbs, some partial cans of hazardous materials (mineral spirits, etc.), a few other things that have been sitting in our garage for years and used their mass cross-cut shredder to shred our documents that needed shredding.  Usually these things cost money but twice a year we can do this for free. They also take old appliances, large furniture (sofas, mattresses, etc.) and things like tires and building supplies.  Anything that can be used again goes to the county re-use-it store where it's available for purchase.
Checked out many books, videos and books on CD from the library.
Baked bread, pancakes and waffles both to eat and to freeze for later, biscuits, cornbread, pizza and breadsticks, 12 cupcakes and cake as well as a couple types of soup from scratch. My daughter decorated the cake.
We also took lunches to work and school daily and stocked a few things in our pantry.
What have you done lately that's frugal?

Thursday, April 23, 2015


John was approved yesterday for ordination into the Ministry of Word and Sacrament in the ELCA!
Soli Deo Gloria!
A deep sigh of relief here and now planning for the future.
I'm leaving you with a photo of some beautiful orchids we saw earlier this spring while out and about.  I'm hoping to post photos from my flower garden soon - things are starting to peek out!
God is good - all the time.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Menu Plan Monday - Week of April 19, 2015

Stuffed peppers and fruit - I realize this doesn't look like much of a dinner but when we cut the pepper up, the pepper and the filling covered the rest of the plate!  Our dinner plates are pretty big in diameter too.

We cooled off this week for right now.  Such a bummer since it was just beautiful last week and on Saturday!   At least everything is green finally and all the flowers and other greenery are poking their way out.  My rhododendron is just starting to open up and I so excited - it's my favorite!
Here's what we're eating this week:

Sunday, April 19, 2015:
    Breakfast: Smoothies
    Lunch: Sandwiches and Cut Fruit in the car (we had 45 minutes to drive 30 minutes between worship and the piano recital!)
    Snack: At the Piano Recital, bring cupcakes
    Dinner: Roasted Black Bean, Corn and Mango Salad, Tortilla Chips, Pineapple-Apple-Banana Salad

Monday, April 20, 2015:
    Breakfast:  Breakfast Biscuits  (Biscuits with egg and ham)
    Lunch: Leftover Salad, Pears
    Snack: Yogurt
    Dinner:  Best Ever Potato Soup, Bread, Pear-Apple-Banana Salad

Tuesday, April 21, 2015:
     Breakfast: Oatmeal with Almonds and Craisins
     Lunch: Leftover Soup, Bread, Oranges
     Snack: Yogurt
     Dinner: Noodles with Tomato Sauce, Garlic Bread, Sliced Apples and Pears

Wednesday, April 22, 2015:
     Breakfast: Scrambled Eggs with Toast
     Lunch: Leftover Noodles and Sauce, Oranges
     Snack: Yogurt
     Dinner: Apples with Peanut Butter, Cut Veggies

Thursday, April 23, 2015:
     Breakfast: Oatmeal Muffins, Oranges
     Lunch: Leftover Soup from Tuesday, Oranges
     Snack: Yogurt
     Dinner: Baked Chicken Legs, Rice, Steamed Carrots, Apple-Pear-Mandarin Orange Salad

Friday, April 24, 2015:
     Breakfast: Pancakes with Blueberries (from the freezer)
     Lunch: Leftover Chicken and Rice, Cut Veggies
     Snack: Yogurt
     Dinner: Pork Loin, Couscous, Steamed Beets, Applesauce

Saturday, April 25, 2015:
     Breakfast: Orange Cranberry Scones
     Lunch: Salad with Craisins, Almonds and Leftover Pork and Couscous
     Snack: Leftover Scones
     Dinner: Homemade Pizza and Breadsticks

We're trying to make more "substantial" breakfasts since the children are eating more.  They do get a snack at school that usually consists of fruit and milk mid-morning after PE class but they still eat at least two other snacks per day along with their meals.  So we're trying to cut down on the snacks and make the meals more substantial.  Wednesday night this week we have a church event where the children will be fed again so the apples and veggies are more of a snack rather than real dinner for them.

If you have tweens/teens that are active and hungry all the time, how do you keep them fed?  I'd love some hints!

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Super Savings Saturday - $69.26 shop

Hello everyone!
We've had a few very, very busy weeks here so I won't apologize too much for being missing in action but I will say that I've missed you all and I'm glad you stuck with me!

We had a big shop this week.  In the last few weeks the children have been eating more and more - they are definitely growing (I've been letting down the hems on Buddy's pants weekly if not more often) and between that and dance and swimming, the food has been flying out of the fridge and the cupboards around here.  One week we ate 20lbs of apples.  And that was just the apples.

So, we bought a few more "snacky" type things this week and we had completely run out of other things.  I really didn't feel like or have the time to do coupon matching this week so I wrote a list and stuck with it, though I did skip a couple of things that were definitely not emergency level so the total wouldn't completely blow the bank.

I went to one store and here's what we purchased:

Yep, two photos worth and yes, I totally could have done a better job in spreading out the items so you could see them better! 
Since you can't see everything there, here's the breakdown:
4 bags of Everyday Essential Chips (two corn chips, two potato chips - one isn't in the photo) @ $1.50 each = $6
Pearled Barley 2lb $4.19
Quaker Life Cereal $2.49
Everyday Essential Facial Tissue 2 @ $0.79 = $1.58
Arm and Hammer Liquid Laundry Detergent $4.29

Betty Crocker Vanilla Frosting $1.99 (I needed to bring this for an event this week.)
Everyday Essential Bacon 2 @ 2/$7 = $7
Chicken Drumsticks 4.23lbs @ $1.49/lb = $6.30 (this is the lowest price I've seen in quite a while)
3.2lbs Red Delicious Apples $4.99
3.3lbs Fuji Apples $4.99
Red Mangoes 2 @ $0.88ea = $1.76
Bartlett Pears 2.2lbs @ $1.39/lb = $3.06
Bulk Couscous 1.89lbs @ $3.49/lb = $6.60
Farmstand Grape Tomatoes dry pint 2 @ 2/$3 = $3
Dozen Large Eggs $1.99
Yoplait Yogurt 8 @ $0.59ea = $4.72

We were totally out of yogurt, chicken, apples, bacon, facial tissue, couscous, pearl barley and laundry soap.  The facial tissues and laundry detergent were necessary and the rest I purchased since I knew it would make meals and snacks easier and with a little more variety.

I almost purchased two of the chicken packets but decided against it.  After supper tonight, I found that whole chickens are on sale for $0.99/lb starting tomorrow so I'm glad I didn't!  Roasted chicken sounds like quite a treat right about now.   Come back Monday to see what we're eating!  Though roasted chicken won't be on the menu quite yet.

How did you do this week with your shopping?

Monday, March 30, 2015

Menu Plan Monday - Week of March 29, 2015

Potato Soup (with bacon and cheddar), biscuits and fruit salad. Yum!
We're hopefully warmer this week.  The snow is basically gone and it's starting to feel like spring. Hurray!  My rhododendron is budding out and the irises next to the house are starting to stick their little green tops out of the ground.  We took the insulation off the roses and hopefully the tulips and paper whites will poke through this week too.  I'd love to have them blooming by Sunday for Easter, but that may be way too ambitious! Either way, it's Holy Week and I'm pretty optimistic that my children will not be hunting Easter Eggs in the snow this year.  I'll take it!

We went to Sam's Club on Friday night to buy toilet paper and ended up spending our grocery money there instead of the regular store.  We bought milk ($1.98/gallon!), apples, oranges, bananas, and canned corn at prices cheaper than our regular grocery.  We also bought the toilet paper and onions at the same price per pound as we would at the grocery.  Our other deal was strawberries at slightly over $1 per pound so we bought 4 pounds and we sliced and froze some since they were starting to look very ripe.  Anyway that was the shopping this weekend: basically fruit, corn, onions, milk and TP.  Aren't we exciting? 

Here's our menu for the week;

Sunday, March 29, Palm Sunday:
    Breakfast: Leftover Coffee Cake
    Lunch:  Salad with Chicken and Leftover Soup
    Snack: Crackers
    Dinner: Leftovers (yes, we lead an exciting life some days!)

Monday, March 30:
     Breakfast: Breakfast Tacos (eggs, bacon, diced potatoes in a tortilla)
     Lunch: Snackey-lunch (crackers, cheese, carrot sticks, fruit)
     Snack: Yogurt
     Dinner: Green Peppers Stuffed with Rice, Tomatoes and Spices, Strawberry-Banana-Orange Salad

Tuesday, March 31:
     Breakfast: Cinnamon-Craisin Oatmeal
     Lunch: Extra Stuffed Peppers
     Snack: Homemade Bread
     Dinner: Veggie and Chicken Stir Fry, Rice, Orange Wedges

Wednesday, April 1:
     Breakfast: Pancakes with Strawberries and Almonds
     Lunch: PB&J, Carrots Sticks, Oranges
     Snack: Veggies
     Dinner: Turkey Divan, Cornbread, Orange-Banana Salad

Thursday, April 2, Maundy Thursday:
      Breakfast: Oatmeal Muffins, Bananas
      Lunch: Apples with Peanut Butter, Matzoh
      Snack: Matzoh
      Dinner: Sandwiches, Oranges

Friday, April 3, Good Friday:
      Breakfast: Hot Cross Buns
      Lunch: Vegetable Soup, Matzoh
      Snack: Matzoh
      Dinner: Fish Tacos, Rice

Saturday, April 4, Holy Saturday:
      Breakfast: Cinnamon Breakfast Biscuits
      Lunch: Vegetable Soup, Matzoh
      Snack: Popcorn
      Dinner: Homemade Pizza, Tossed Salad

What are you eating this Holy Week?

Friday, March 27, 2015

Frugal Friday

Wow - what a week.

I think my brain shut down on Monday and never woke back up.  I've been pushing for so long that I think I just hit the wall. Having both a nasty virus and then bronchitis earlier this spring I'm sure didn't help.

Either way - the week is done and we have a blessedly quiet weekend before the busy-ness of Holy Week takes over.  John and I both did a happy dance when we realized that we have nowhere to be tonight (Friday) or the whole day Saturday either.  We're hoping to run out and get groceries tonight so we don't have to go anywhere at all tomorrow (perhaps even indulging in a full-fledged pajama day! Whoot!).

My frugal list of things this week is short because I didn't have time for much else, but here's the highlights anyway:

* Made homemade biscuits, potato soup, cornbread and waffles (both to eat and for the freezer). 

* Accepted a bag of hand-me-down clothes for my son including three pairs of jeans, two pairs of cargo pants, a pair of gray dress pants, a white button down shirt, another button down shirt and a pair of pajama pants.  A friend was cleaning out and offered them - yay!

* I accepted free muffins, doughnuts, and lunch at work this week.  John had lunch provided by the church one day and a parishioner invited him to join lunch at the nursing home he was visiting one day as well. 

* John's cousin brought back pizza from Iowa for him.  We heated it up and date it - and it was delicious!

* My deal of the week: I stopped by Goodwill just to look.  I never do this, but the square, brightly colored plates we had really wanted to transition too as our white plates were diminishing just were not working for us.  I had seen some of our white plates a long time ago (3 years now!) at a different Goodwill and I'd been kicking myself for not getting them ever since.  So I look at the plates, and this store had 7 of our plates for $1.49 each!  They're name brand stoneware (I think $15 per plate when we originally got them) so this was a steal!  Even better, since it was the weekend, green tags were half off so I got 7 plates for a whopping $5.22!   We were thrilled! I also resisted the urge to buy anything else while I was there, since I really didn't need anything else. 

*  Last Saturday we attended a fundraiser for our children's school that included a silent auction.  We only bid on two things and won both and both were a huge deal compared to what we got!  Maybe we're strange in our tastes?  Who knows!  We also got a basket of "tween" girl things - books, a pink sparkley swim towel, nail polish, etc. - that no-one bid on.  The coordinator asked if we would be interested in paying $5 for it so we said yes, since it included a book series our daughter loves (she's checked most of it out from the library) and she has a birthday coming up.  The books themselves are worth about $45 so that was a good buy and now we have birthday taken care of! 

I think that it's for "unusual" things this week.  We ate at home except the times mentioned above and bagged lunches to take to work as well. 

What have you been up to this week?