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?

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Menu Plan Monday - On a Tuesday!

Our taco salad from last week - do you see the refried beans and tortilla chips hiding in there?
So my week started with me standing in front of my office door at work pressing my car key unlock the trunk button on my car key and wondering why my door wouldn't open.  My next thought:  "I sure hope Eric made coffee today because I guess I really do need it today!"

So, yeah.

I managed to feel wide awake about 3pm and by 9pm I was completely wiped out.  So that's why we're posting today!   Today has been much better, by the way.  We had a busy weekend and I guess I was much more tired than I thought by the time yesterday morning rolled around.  Add to that that there was three inches of that fluffy white stuff all over everything outside, and I was ready to go back to bed on Monday morning.

Today has been really good though, so here we are with the Menu Plan post!
John ran to store quick on Saturday and bought $42 worth of groceries including 20 cups of yogurt, a gallon of milk, fruit, salad greens, Craisins, eggs (these were on sale for 99-cents per dozen limit 2)and two frozen pizzas for the babysitter on Saturday to make for dinner (I totally wasn't on the ball Saturday so that was the easiest thing for us to do! They were on sale...).   By the time we got home Saturday night between the two children and the teenage male babysitter they ate two pizzas, 6 apples, 5 cups of yogurt, two oranges and half the gallon of milk!  And my son had 5 pieces of pizza, 4 apples, an orange and two glasses of milk!  I think we're seeing a preview of teenage eating here.

So what are we eating this week?  Here goes:

Sunday, March 22:
    Breakfast: Toast with Peanut Butter, Strawberries
    Lunch: Waffles with Strawberries, Almonds and Powdered Sugar
    Snack: Yogurt
    Dinner: Pizza from my husband's favorite pizza place in Iowa (his cousin brought it back for him - such a treat! We did have to reheat it but it was delicious.)

Monday, March 23:
    Breakfast: Eggs and Toast
    Lunch: Salad with Tuna, Oranges
    Snack: Yogurt
    Dinner: Ultimate Potato Soup,  Biscuits, Strawberry-Apple-Grape Salad

Tuesday, March 24:
    Breakfast: Oatmeal with Almonds and Cinnamon
    Lunch: Leftover Potato Soup
    Snack: Yogurt
    Dinner: Pork Roast, Roasted Potatoes, Mixed Veggies, Apple-Strawberry-Grape Salad

Wednesday, March 25:
     Breakfast: Oatmeal Muffins, Oranges
     Lunch: Leftover Pork Roast and Sides
     Snack: Yogurt
     Dinner: At Church before Lenten Worship

Thursday, March 26:
     Breakfast: Waffles from the Freezer
     Lunch: Leftover Potato Soup (the recipe makes a huge batch!)
     Snack: Cookies
     Dinner: Soup from the Freezer, Cornbread, Orange Wedges

Friday, March 27:
     Breakfast: Blueberry Pancakes
     Lunch: Leftover Soup
     Snack: Cookies
     Dinner: Crab cakes, Rice, Tossed Salad

Saturday, March 28:
      Breakfast:  Blueberry Boy Bait (haven't tried this yet - we ended up eating cereal last week because none of us felt like a hot breakfast)
       Lunch: Salad and Soup from the freezer
       Snack: Popcorn
       Dinner:  Homemade Pizza and Breadsticks

What are you eating this week?

Friday, March 20, 2015

Frugal Friday - Where on earth did this week go?


I have three posts halfway written from the last week. 

Unfortunately, this week just seemed to fly by and I am completely wiped out. We had three nights where we didn't get home until 8pm or later (one night it was 945pm!) and posting was the very last thing on my mind. Hopefully I can get those finished and up this week!  It looks like this week is a little quieter so I'm hoping!
That said, we did do some frugal things this week so here goes:

* Returned books to the library and renewed a couple of others.  Then, of course, we brought home more!

* Ate most meals at home, ate one at church (Lenten dinner) and John and I get a date out at the school fundraiser on Saturday - it's a silent auction, dinner, and dance to raise money for the school's scholarship fun and usually a few other specific things (text books, gym equipment, etc.).  The last one was not really frugal but our children benefit as do many, many others.

* John brought home two loaves or artisan bread that was going to be thrown away after Lenten dinner on Wednesday. We enjoyed it with salad for lunch today.

* The day I left my lunch sitting on the kitchen table at home, a co-worked attended a workshop and returned with a turkey-lettuce-and-tomato on sourdough sandwich that he didn't want (he had already eaten before he went).  I gratefully accepted the sandwich!  Additionally, it was delicious!
* I taught an extra Jazzercise class this week so I earned some extra money doing that.

* I ordered myself two new pairs of workout shoes.  I usually go through 4-5 pairs per year (that's pretty normal for the number of classes I teach and attend) and hadn't replaced mine in a long time. I had been saving up so I had $100 to spend - good aerobic shoes are pricey and I hoped to get one pair and then start saving the balance for a second pair.  Instead I was able to get two pairs for just under $100 on sale with an additional discount.  That price included shipping since I bought them online.  My current workout shoes will now become my "new" "tennis shoes" for wearing around with jeans and such and my old ones that I'd been wearing around I'll recycle into planters for pansies on my front step (my cousin did this and it's adorable, plus they're porous so I don't need drain holes).

* We went for the free ice cream at Dairy Queen on Monday.  Yum!  We went quite late in the evening and they were completely out of cones in any size so they were giving away free cups of ice cream instead.  That was fine with us!
* As a family, we took several walks at the nearby park.  The children enjoyed floating sticks in the melting creek and I enjoyed watching the birds and squirrels.

* I put together a list of clothes my children need for the summer and then purchased two pairs of shorts on sale for $5 each for my daughter.  She seems to wear through rear before summer is over with the type of shorts she likes (knit) so I decided to buy new rather than looking for secondhand.  There are a few other things my children need and I will look for those at the huge "garage sale" the community education puts on in April.  Other than summer sandals for each child, I think everything else on the list is a would-be-nice item rather than a true need so I'm not going to work too hard to get them.  If I find them, great. If not, we'll be fine. 

* John attended a workshop at the seminary on salary and benefits negotiating for first-time pastors.  I am sure he will use the information he learned! We are grateful that this information is free and available to him and that we live close enough to the seminary for him to attend all of these opportunities that are available.

* I downloaded two free ebooks for my free Kindle for PC. 

* We watched several TV shows online for free.

* Paid our deposit for our CSA for this summer.  And ate the last of the frozen veggies from last summer.  Looking forward to this year.

* Listened to several podcasts online for free.  I love listening to these or music while I do household chores!

I didn't get any sewing done this week and only did the bare basics on maintenance for cleaning up and out so hopefully next week I can do some more of that.   I did get my seed orders in the mail so I am planning on starting those in an old egg carton tomorrow or Sunday so we can get them in the ground the beginning of May. They're mostly flowers so that should be fine.

What have you done this last week that count as "frugal"?