Monday, October 5, 2015

Groceries, Our Menu and Shingles (not the kind on the roof!)

It's been a really long couple of weeks.  Our freezer is almost cleaned out for defrosting so we've been eating a LOT of soup - so much that we're getting tired of it, in fact (which I never thought would happen).  A good problem to have, I guess.

I also have postherpetic neuralgia, a complication of shingles, and I've had it for about 3 years now.  This last week I broke out in full blown shingles again (second time in three years) and this time in new places on my torso.  Needless to say, I've been miserable and had to miss several events because I just couldn't stand to be out and about.  I'm only 40 so this is discouraging to say the least.   Fortunately, I have some new strategies for managing going forward but it means we're going to have to make some big and hard changes around here.  Can you pray for us please?  It's going to be another emotional year here, I'm afraid.

On to better things....

The weather has been perfect after weeks of rain and we've finally settled into a good routine for fall.  I have my teaching assignments for spring semester and they'll fit perfectly with our current schedule and give me some time to physically recover from everything this fall.  I'm so grateful!
John ran to the store on Saturday and spent $42.01 on the following:

Soda Crackers 4 boxes @ $1 ea = $4
1 loaf wheat bread $1.99
Frozen cooked Shrimp 2lbs $5.99  (store coupon)
Pork Loin Short Ribs 3.64lbs @ $1.99/lb = $7.24 (store sale)
2lbs Mixed Salad Greens $3.99 (store sale)
4.73lbs + 5.46lbs Local Apples @ $0.99/lb = $10.09
2.02lbs yellow bananas @ $0.67/lb = $1.35
2.19lbs Red Seedless Grapes @ $1.49/lb = $3.26
2.22lbs Green Seedless Grapes @ $1.49/lb = $3.31
1 loaf French Bread $0.79

Total Spent $42.01
Total Saved (according to store receipt) $7.99 (16%)
(Note: In Minnesota we don't have tax on most food.)

We also received 6 green peppers, a butternut squash and 2 dozen yellow pears from our CSA this week.    I picked several tomatoes, 3 butternut squash and 3 acorn squash from our yard this week too.

So, here's what we're eating this week:

Sunday, October 4, 2015:
    Breakfast: Toast with Peanut Butter
    Lunch: Fried Potatoes, Tossed Salad with Apples and Walnuts
    Snack: Popcorn
    Dinner: Baked White Fish, Roasted Butternut Squash, Apple-Grape-Pear Salad

Monday, October 5, 2015:
     Breakfast: Scrambled Eggs, Toast, and Sliced Apples
     Lunch: Leftover Fish and Squash
     Snack: Apple or Pear
     Dinner: Chili in Homemade Bread Bowl, Applesauce

Tuesday, October 6, 2015:
     Breakfast: Oatmeal with Walnuts and Craisins
    Lunch: Leftover Chili and Soda Crackers
     Snack: Yogurt
     Dinner: Baked Potatoes topped with Leftover Chili and Cheddar Cheese, Grapes

Wednesday, October 7, 2015:
    Breakfast: Scrambled Eggs, Toast, and Bananas
    Lunch: PB&J, Grapes, Yogurt
    Snack: Apple or Pear
    Dinner: Short Ribs, Zucchini-Potato Skillet, Apple-Grape-Pear Salad

Thursday, October 8, 2015:
     Breakfast: Chai Spiced Oatmeal with Walnuts
     Lunch: Leftover Ribs and Zucchini-Potato Skillet
     Snack: Yogurt
     Dinner: Applesauce Chicken, Rice, Grapes

Friday, October 9, 2015:
     Breakfast; Waffles from the Freezer, Bananas
     Lunch: Leftover Chicken and Rice
     Snack: Apple or Pear
     Dinner: Taco Soup, Tortilla Chips, Sliced Apples and Grapes

Saturday, October 10, 2015:
    Breakfast: Oatmeal Muffins, Grapes
    Lunch: Salad with Tuna
    Snack: Popcorn
    Dinner: Homemade Pizza and Breadsticks
    At home Date-Night Dessert: Apple Crisp

What are you eating this week?

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Frugal, er, Sunday

I'm not sure what we'd do without Lego at our house - these provide hours of entertainment to all four of us and I'm so grateful that we have so much fun with something so simple!

It's been a couple of weeks since I posted a Frugal Friday post - I'm writing more on that tomorrow - but for now for the frugal things in the last couple of weeks.

*  Picked three butternut squash and three acorn squash plus a bunch of tomatoes from our yard this week.   I set the green tomatoes out to ripen indoors.  We have had frost a couple of nights and I don't want to loose that many tomatoes!

* Received a bonus box from our CSA containing green peppers, a butternut squash and pears.  YAY!

* Enjoyed a free lunch at work one day - delicious food!  We're so spoiled - the chef at work is fantastic.    A co-worker brought in a loaf of homemade zucchini bread for snacks a couple of days this week as well.

* The children have an hour a week at church for their classes this year at a time when John and I don't have anything else going on.  That gives John and I an hour each week where we have child-free time to have a short date at home.  We've enjoyed having the time to build an even stronger relationship!  We've gone for walks and spent some time just sitting at home with hot chocolate talking and dreaming and problem solving.
* Picked zinnias, snap dragons and Shasta daisies from our yard for our kitchen table and to give to our secretary at work.

* Other than groceries and gas, we have bought only a bottle of Advil and 3 bottles of stain stick, which gave us a $5 Target gift card back.  Having a 10-year-old boy, I consider stain stick a necessity!  And three bottles will last us a while. 

* Made turkey soup using a turkey carcass from the freezer. 

* Made vegetable stock which I then froze using leftover vegetables and then the celery leaves I had in the freezer. 

* Decorated for fall using decorations we already had and that my daughter made from our craft supplies.  She's so creative!  I love it. 

* Started working on the sewn Christmas gifts that I'm making this year.  I'm hoping to do a separate post on these later this fall. 

* Started deadheading the plants in the yard to get them ready for fall. 

* John and the children attended a friend's wedding and brought home chocolates and snack mix - both of which were the favors for the wedding.  They had a terrific time! 

* We have been doing a LOT of cleaning out in preparation for a garage sale later this month.  We're hoping to make enough money to pay off a couple of medical bills.  With the sheer volume of "stuff" we have, I'm hoping that will be the case.  And it means a cleaner and easier to care for house for us. Win-win all the way around!

What frugal things have you done the last few weeks?

Monday, September 21, 2015

Frugal Friday - On a Monday!

Produce from our back yard a few weeks ago.
It's been a couple of week since I posted a Frugal Friday post - I had the flu, including having to miss a day at work, and then, after catching up everything that didn't get done that day I missed, I have had a raging head cold. 

Thankfully, it appears we're all on the mend (Missy caught the head cold too - way worse than I had it, poor thing).

It's been a pretty quiet couple of weeks with me being sick and everyone getting into the swing of all things school around here.

We've done some frugal things:

* Ate most of our meals at home and brown-bagged almost all the lunches.  Enjoyed lunch at our church on Rally Sunday (last Sunday) with the rest of our congregation.  I had a free lunch at work one day too - I guess that's a perk of having to go to meetings...

* I paid cash for 3/4 tank of gas rather than getting a full tank with my credit card.

* Used a gift card to get ice cream after the first day of school and a punch card to get a free loaf of bread from a bakery.

* Tried on all of our clothes - man, do we have a lot of clothes!   Put some back into our closets, put some in the mend pile, put others aside for a garage sale and a few others to take to the consignment store (I'll take store credit rather than cash so I can get more bang for my buck there!).

* Made a mock apple crisp using zucchini.  It tasted good (John was really surprised!).

* Updated the budget book and budget.

* Slept a lot - went to bed early, came home early and took naps and have tried to stay home while I've been sick.  Hate being sick but I'm glad that I can do that! 

* Enjoyed cookies that a co-worker brought to share one day.  They were delicious!
* A friend gave us ornamental pumpkins - they had grown more than they wanted so they shared!
* Submitted the paperwork for a rebate.  Will use that rebate to buy a couple of Christmas gifts.

* Took advantage of a good sale and store credit to order Christmas gifts for my husband and my father. (My husband's family draws names - there are 26 of us so far - and we don't know who we have or I would have ordered for my father-in-law too.)

* Put together a list and schedule for making Christmas gifts this year - we only had $100 for Christmas this year (so far - that rebate will get a couple of additional things too) and I will end up making most of our Christmas gifts this year as a result.  If I'm really on the ball, I'll post about it as I make things this year!   I should be able to make most things using what we have on hand and a gift card or two that we already have.

* Picked a ton more squash, cucumbers and tomatoes from the garden. 

* The children enjoyed the return of fall programming at church.  They love the pre-confirmation program and I'm excited that they are enjoying it so much.  They get a treat while they are there and get to do several things during the year that we wouldn't do on our own. 

* Our pre-paid cell phones didn't ring up with the triple minute code my husband entered so he called and they credited our account with the triple minutes. 

*  FREE LAUGH:  One evening while I was making dinner, I looked out the window and saw a squirrel trying to steal the one cucumber that grew outside the chicken-wire garden fence.  It was hysterical, since the squirrel didn't realize the cucumber was still attached to the plant and he'd run and the cucumber would pull out of his hands and he'd go back and try again!  He eventually gave up and took several yellow pear tomatoes that had fallen to the ground and ran off. 

What have you been up to this week?

Menu Plan Monday - September 20, 2015

Heart-shaped potato!

I think we're officially starting to slide into fall here.  I'm excited - fall is my very favorite season and my daughter is getting all excited about fall decorations around here.  And, since she's 10, it's all about glitter too. (When I washed the throw rugs last week, my dryer's lint trap was FULL of glitter!  At least the decorations look good!)  I'll share some of the decorations with you as we go through the next few weeks but today it's all about what we're eating!
Saturday is BUSY for us this week - Missy and I have a girls' morning and John and Buddy have a Scouting event that will take most of the day and then we have the Harvest Party for our CSA in the evening.   Other than that, it's a "normal" week - if we can call any week normal that is!
I didn't get the freezer cleaned out and defrosted this summer, so I'm hoping to do that in the next few weeks so we're eating soup (I had four turkey carcasses in there!) and trying to eat the "stuff" out of the freezer so we can defrost it before it gets too cold outside.

I've also been picking more crookneck squash, cucumbers and tomatoes from the yard.  We're almost done and this week I can probably pick the winter squash too.  We'll see!   We have a cantaloupe and a watermelon left from last week and a few oranges as well as Patty Pan squash and zucchini coming out our ears.  That's the setting for this week's menu, I guess.

Here's what's on the menu this week:

Sunday, September 20:
    Breakfast:  Fruit Smoothies (fruit from the freezer)
    Lunch: BLT's on Homemade Biscuits, Sliced Peaches
    Snack: Popcorn
    Dinner: Turkey, Patty Pan Squash, Melon-Banana-Peach Salad

Monday, September 21:
    Breakfast: Oatmeal Muffins with Bananas
    Lunch:  Crackers with Peanut Butter, Apples, Yogurt, Cut Veggies
    Snack: Yogurt
   Dinner: Turkey Noodle Soup, Cornbread, Melon

Tuesday, September 22:
    Breakfast: Oatmeal with Walnuts and Craisins
    Lunch: Leftover Soup
    Snack: Cut Veggies
    Dinner: Sauteed Bear Meat with Onions, Zucchini-Potato Pancakes, Apple-Banana-Peach Salad

Wednesday, September 23:
    Breakfast: Scrambled Eggs, Bananas
    Lunch: Apples with Peanut Butter, Yogurt, Cut Veggies
    Snack: Yogurt
    Dinner: Waffles, Sausage, Peaches

Thursday, September 24:
    Breakfast: Chai Spiced Oatmeal
    Lunch: Leftover Bear Sautee and Zucchini-Potato Pancakes
    Snack: Cut Veggies
    Dinner: Beef Barley Soup (made with bear meat), Biscuits, Apple Slices

Friday, September 25:
    Breakfast: Waffles (from the freezer), Peaches
    Lunch: Leftover Soup
    Snack: Yogurt
    Dinner: Homemade Pizza and Breadsticks
    Dessert: Mock Apple Crisp (made with Zucchini)

Saturday, September 26:
    Breakfast/Lunch: At events out today
    Snack: Popcorn
    Dinner: Pot Luck: Bring Salsa and Chips and Ginger Cookies

What are you eating this week!

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Super Savings Saturday - $39.23 mostly fruit and yogurt shop

HI everyone.

September is just speeding by and we've had the flu and head colds already here at our house.  I'm hoping that means we're done for the school year!   I can hope, can't I? 

One grocery shop this week.  We bought the following:

2 cans Butter Kernel Corn @ $0.59ea (Store Coupon)
3 cans Butter Kernel Peas @ $0.59ea  (Store Coupon)
2 cans Starkist Tuna @ $0.69 (Store Coupon)
Hormel Little Sizzler Sausage 4 @ 4/$5  (Store Coupon)
Yellow Bananas 5.45lbs @ $0.67/lb
Granny Smith Apples 2.19lbs @ $0.99/lb
Pink Lady Apples 2.77lbs @ $1. 49/lb
Peaches 3.32lbs @ $1.49/lb
Whole White Mushrooms $1.50 (Store coupon)
20 cartons Yoplait Yogurt @ 20/$10 ($0.50/carton)
1 Dozen Eggs $3.49

Total Today: $39.23
Saved (according to store receipt) $3.16 or 7%

No photo today because we had a saga with the eggs.  John accidentally left them in the cart at the store (we don't have employees bagging groceries at our store - we bag our own and then load them into our cars on our own as well).  He didn't realize this until he got back home and then went back to get them.  In the meantime someone stole them rather than turning them back in to the store, as they should.  Anyway, we gratefully didn't not have to purchase another dozen eggs - the store believed him - but, sheesh. 

Way more excitement than a family with head colds needs right now! 

We all took a nap this afternoon after that.

I hope you are well and I'm looking to get back to a somewhat more regular blogging schedule this week, writing some posts ahead.

Come back Monday to see what we're eating this week!

Friday, September 4, 2015

Frugal Friday September 4, 2015

Flowers from our camping trip.
This week has flown by so fast - I guess the last week of summer always does!  I *think* we're actually ready for the first week of school next week.  Hard to believe!  I'm never this ready.  That probably means I've forgotten something important or something like that but I'll take the "Wow! I've got this" feeling I have right now.

It's been a pretty frugal week this week, though I did hire a sitter one morning so I could go to work and get things together there.  That wasn't frugal but necessary.

Here's some of the frugal things we did:

* Blanched and froze both beans and peas.

* Collected seeds from my lettuce and basil for use later.

* I participated in a local parade and John and the children came to watch.  The children brought home a free Frisbee that a group was handing out.  I was also two hours of free entertainment!

* Made and froze zucchini bread again.  We have zucchini coming out of our ears here.

* I made four loaves of French Bread, biscuits, eggplant parmesan, chicken stir fry and stuffed zucchini from scratch this week.

* Shredded and froze zucchini to use in making zucchini bread later this year.

* Picked up our last CSA share of the year - it included watermelon and cantaloupe! YUM!

* Picked lots of yellow pear tomatoes, another crookneck squash, and three large cucumbers.

* My husband and I had an at-home date night watching a movie that I had gotten for a birthday gift back at the beginning of August.  I made individual apple crisps using diced apples from the freezer and other ingredients that we had on hand for a date-night dessert.

* We played UNO and Phase 10 card games for family night this week.

* We used a snow cone maker that my husband received as a gift several years ago and syrups we already had to make snow cones as a treat on an especially hot day we had.

* I froze celery leaves to make soup stock with later.

* Found a package of paper lunch sacks that I'd been looking for.  The children need to take lunch in a disposable sack when they have field trips at school so I put them where I can find them this time!   That saved me buying more.

* Inventoried the fabric that I had bought to make placemats and/or tablecloths in the past to see what I had and decided what I could make without buying anything.  I can make two tablecloths and matching napkins without buying anything.  So I will make those first. 

What did you do this week?

Monday, August 31, 2015

Menu Plan Monday - Week of August 30, 2015

One of our meals during our camping trip - 3oz steak, two rolls, zucchini and onions (grilled), carrots, and grapes.

How on earth is it the end of August already? It just seems like summer went by ZIP this year. 

Two things this week: Back-to-School-Night is on Wednesday and we have a garage sale on Saturday.  Back to school night is when the children take all their school supplies and we get all the paperwork squared away, etc. so all we have to do is show up on the first day of school ready to go!  Not so sure about how that garage sale is going to go so I tried to keep things simple for meals.  Missy is making cookies to sell at the garage sale so she's making those on Friday (peanut butter, sugar, chocolate chip and snicker doodle - yes, she's ambitious).

Here's what we're eating this week:

Sunday, August 30:
     Breakfast: Scrambled Eggs, Zucchini Bread
     Lunch and Snack: At a local festival
     Dinner: Eggplant Parmesan, Maple Glazed Brussel Sprouts, Apple-Peach-Banana Salad

Monday, August 31:
    Breakfast: Oatmeal Muffins, Smoothies
    Lunch: Leftover Eggplant Parmesan, Toast
    Snack: Zucchini Bread
    Dinner: Stuffed Zucchini, Garlic Bread, Peach-Apple-Cantaloupe Salad

Tuesday, September 1:
    Breakfast: Oatmeal with Cinnamon and Walnuts
    Lunch: Chicken Noodle Soup, Crackers, Sliced Apples
    Snack: Yogurt, Clementine's
    Dinner: Zucchini-Sweet Potato-Regular Potato Hash, Couscous, Sliced Tomatoes and Cucumbers

Wednesday, September 2:
    Breakfast: Waffles from the Freezer, Peaches, and Walnuts
    Lunch: Leftover Hash, Sliced Apples
    Snack: Zucchini Bread, Clementine's
    Dinner: Ham Sandwiches, Sliced Veggies, Sliced Apples

Thursday, September 3:
    Breakfast: Chai Spiced Oatmeal
    Lunch: Apples with Peanut Butter, Cucumbers, Tomatoes, Yogurt
    Snack: Smoothies
    Dinner: Veggie Stir Fry, Rice, Cantaloupe

Friday, September 4:
    Breakfast: Scrambled Eggs, Toast
    Lunch: Grilled Cheese Sandwiches, Clementine's
    Snack: Cut Veggies
    Dinner: Chicken Divan, Garlic Bread, Sliced Apples

Saturday, September 5:
   Breakfast: Blueberry Coffee Cake, Smoothies
   Lunch: Tuna Sandwiches, Cut Veggies
   Snack: Peanut Butter Cookies
   Dinner: Homemade Pizza and Breadsticks
   Date Night Dessert: Apple Crisp.

What are you eating this week?