Sunday, June 26, 2016

Super Saving Saturday - $34.33 Shop and our CSA

One of the many things that I love about summer is that it's quite easy to lower the grocery budget thanks to our CSA and what we have growing in our garden.  I love the taste of the fresh produce and I love that we can cut back at the store and put that money elsewhere. 

Right now we're setting some money aside to do a big stock up right before John is done with Residency at the end of August.   If John isn't already in place in a Call by then, our income will drop dramatically and having a very full pantry and freezers will be a huge blessing.  We're working on a list to figure out what would be the best things to stock up on and I'll be keeping you posted as to how all of that is going as we approach that point. He's had several interviews so we're hopeful that we won't need to stock up, but we'd rather be prepared than caught short.

Anyway, back to this week's shopping and our CSA.

Here's our CSA box this week:
 
Clockwise from upper left: Spinach, Lettuce, Garlic Scapes, Kale, Thyme, Sage, Swiss Chard (Silverbeet), Raspberries (not all of them made it into the photo!), and Sour Cherries.
 
The weather has been very wet and quite cool so the gardens are moving along slowly.  We had a burst of heat this last week so they should be more productive this week.  In our own garden, we've had a few single strawberries - enough for everyone to get a taste - and lettuce and basil.  The tomatoes and a few peppers are starting to set so July should bring us those.  The beans have flowered and I'm hoping my pea plants will recover from a ravenous rabbit that decided to have lunch a week or so ago.  I'm thinking that I will have to rely on the CSA for peas this year.  Once we start having more than a handful of something in the garden, I'll take photos so you can see that too.
 
John went to the store on the way home from dropping  a friend at the hospital to stay overnight with an ill relative (their car was out of commission currently) and picked up a few things for this week too:
 
 
 
S&W Garbanzo Beans 15oz can x2 = 2 @ $0.60 = $1.20
S&W Chili Beans  15oz can x2 = 2 @ $0.60 = $1.20
Baking Powder 8oz  $1.99
5.86lb Whole Chicken @ $0.99/lb = $5.80
4.5lb Pork Ribs @ $1.59/lb = $7.16
Cantaloupe 2 @ 2/$3 = $3
Whole Pineapple $2.99
4lbs Fuji Apples $4.99
2lbs Strawberries @ $1.50/lb = $3
2 dry pints Blueberries @ $1.50/dry pint = $3
 
Total spent $34.33

 
 
We have two potlucks this week that we will bring fruit and/or a tossed green salad for and we'll use half the pork for a meal this week and put the rest in the freezer for later.  The chicken is in the freezer for later as well.  I'm hoping to try a couple of different roasted chickpea sacks this week - I'm pretty excited and I'll let you know how they turn out.  I love chickpeas but I'm the only one in the house who does so we don't have them very often.
 
 
How did your shopping go this week?

Friday, June 17, 2016

Frugal Friday - Mid June Already!


One last photo from my Dad - I promise I'll load some new ones this weekend!

Man, I'm having a hard time understanding that it's really mid-June and that Father's Day is this weekend. 

The children made John presents at camp this week so we'll be giving him those and my Dad mailed four pairs of trousers that didn't fit anymore but are in really nice condition so I shamelessly wrapped those up and will give them to John for the holiday.  Since he asked for new trousers for his gift, that was perfect.  My Dad lost a lot of weight a few years ago when he was undergoing chemotherapy for cancer and bought these trousers then.  They don't fit him anymore (my Dad is a large man - tall, broad and strong even at 84 years old) but they will fit my husband now (John is the same height as my Dad but not quite as broad).  I did buy John a nice, card to go with all that.

We're very busy with summer session for me, summer camp for the children, and John's residency still in full swing while doing pulpit supply (filling in for Pastors who are on vacation) and interviewing for First Call.  We did do a few things in and around all of that though that may possibly be counted as frugal!

Here's some of those things from the last week:

* Our daughter used the popsicle molds we already owned to make popsicles using water and lemonade mix that we already owned.  Delicious!  And perfect for the hot weather we've been having.

* I made buttermilk biscuits, rhubarb crisp and rhubarb cake this week.  We also made smoothies using yogurt bought in large containers and berries from the freezer.

* We brought home leftover rhubarb cake after coffee hour at church on Sunday and chopped tomatoes and two unopened bags of tortilla chips from Wednesday night supper at church too. I used some of the tortilla chips to make veggie nachos one afternoon for the children and me for a snack.

* The local Lion's Club sponsored a free movie in the park on a giant screen on Saturday night last week.  We attended, bringing lawn chairs and water bottles.  They were selling popcorn for 25-cents a bag so we let the children buy some.  It was a fun and delicious night out and we got to see a movie we wanted to see for only 50-cents total!   There will be a few others this summer - about every two weeks and we intend to take advantage of that!   They hold the movie in the hockey arena if the weather is poor.

* I picked flowers from my yard to decorate our kitchen table and to share with our secretary at work.

* We donated several things we are not going to use and returned some flower pots to church for use in their plant sale next year.

* Our daughter wore a costume that we already owned to a costume contest at camp this week. 

* I had a $10 credit at my acupuncturist's office and I used it to buy some lavender essential oils this week with the little bit leftover going toward my co-pay.

* I had some time to kill between events and stopped to run an errand.  I decided to browse the super-clearance clothing racks and found myself a nice pair of slacks for $4.  They were super long and need to be hemmed but that's an easy fix.  I was thrilled - I have only one pair of slacks I can wear to work and they're looking pretty worse for wear!  Now I can retire them without having to worry about having a pair of slacks for work. 

* Our daughter and I started making some items for her birthday party, which we will hold in July this year.  I hope to do a post on it in early August.

* Our son made invitations for his birthday party, also to be held in July, and sent them out in the mail this week.  

One frugal fail this week:

We were 3/4 of the way to a local state park when I realized that my year-long pass was sitting on the kitchen table at home.  So I had to pay for a day pass.  Money well spent - we had a great time!  And I know that the parks can use the money so I don't consider wasted.  Just kicked myself a bit for forgetting to put the pass on the car!   Not sure that's really a fail, is it?

How did you do this last week?

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Goals Update - Mid-June 2016

 
 
I'm a bit slow in uploading my photos from my iPod - I really don't want to mess with cables and all that jazz right now, so you get another version of the flowers you've already seen!   This month is just speeding by.  It's hard to believe that we're this far in already.
 
 
Here's an update on my June 2016 Goals so far this month:
 

1.  Keep up with all the work needed for teaching my summer class.  This is a LOT of work and I need to be really intentional about it or I'll fall really behind.  This has taken up most of my time but I haven't fallen behind at all yet! YAY!

2. Attend at least 15 Jazzercise classes this month.  I need to push myself a bit.  This one has been a colossal failure so far.  I have only attended 4 classes so far this month - my shingles pain has been really making things difficult so far this month.

3. Learn 18 new Jazzercise routines.  I got behind in May so now I need to catch up! I have learned 5 - so this one is going well!

4. Weed at least one area of the gardens each week.  My Mom and I did a super job of cleaning these out initially in the spring so it *should* just be maintenance.  With the rain we've been having, it might be harder than that. We'll see.  So far we've done the front beds, the bed around the patio and the vegetable plots again.

5. Pick any produce that is ready to be picked.  This month I'm expecting basil, lavender, lettuce, kale, strawberries, and maybe peppers, peas and beans.  I planted 12 bean seeds thinking they wouldn't all come up, but they all did.  I might be swimming in beans this year!  Only lettuce to harvest so far but I've been diligent with a lot of weeding and a little weeding.

6. Defrost the freezer - we've been having problems with this freezer and we need to figure out what's happening before we fill it with all the delicious stuff from the garden.  Working on cleaning out the over-the-fridge freezer so we can move what we have in the deep freezer so we can defrost it and get it checked out.

7. Sew a skirt for me.  I have materials for several so I need to decide on one and do it!  Something new to wear would be a welcome change.  Decided which one to do but haven't started on it yet.

8.  Mend 8 items in the mending pile.  That thing is just growing on it's own!  Mended 2 items - a torn coat sleeve and a pair of my son's pants with holes in the knees.  I cut off the pants and turned them into shorts and added a patch to the coat sleeve.

9.  Do a huge paper purge with my husband's help.  We haven't gone through the filing cabinet in a few years and it definitely needs it!  Nothing on this one yet.

10.  Make 5 gifts and start THE BIG PROJECT embroidery gift that I want to make as well.  No way will I get that done but I'd like to get it started at least.  I "made" three teacher gifts and am halfway done with a much bigger gift for our niece that just graduated from high school. 

How are your June goals coming along?

Monday, June 13, 2016

Menu Plan Monday - Week of June 12th, 2016


Did I show you these already?  They're edible "Golden Snitches", inspired by Harry Potter. Our children wanted them on their cupcakes for their school class, so I bought a bag of gold-colored gum balls at the craft store and then made colored candy/chocolate hearts to use as wings for the "Snitches".  I thought I had white or cream-colored chocolate but I the closest I had was yellow-colored white-chocolate candy melts.  Missy made the hearts using a mold we already owned and both children were absolutely thrilled with the result!  Their classmates thought it was cool that they could eat everything and the teachers appreciated that only the cake wrappers ended up in the trash, rather than a pile of plastic rings or other junk.   

We went to Sam's Club this last weekend and did some stocking up.  Our CSA started last week and we have a few things popping up in the garden so we felt a big stock up and very little other shopping this month should be good.   I didn't get photos of either the CSA or the Sam's Club run this week.

We spent $111 of our $160/month budget this week at Sam's Club.  Here's what we purchased:
* 5lbs Cheddar Cheese
* 5lbs Mozzarella Cheese
* 3lb Tilapia Fillets
* POM Toilet Paper
* 3lbs Apples
* 3lbs Pears
* Trash can liners
* Zipper top freezer bags
* 36 count yogurt
* 36 count mixed snack chips
* 3lbs bananas
* 32 count juice boxes

The yogurt and the snack chips are to send to day camp with the children for the next three weeks since they need a cold lunch and a snack each day. I freeze the yogurts and use them as ice packs in their lunch to keep their lunches cold until lunch time.  I won't be sending leftovers with them much this summer since they have no way to heat them up and their lunch bags are sitting out all day in any weather.  So their lunches and snacks will be non-perishable as much as possible.  I usually don't buy juice boxes but the children enjoy these and since they already carry a water bottle at camp all day, they appreciate the change in drink for lunch.  I can use them as an ice pack if the weather is hot enough too. 

Our CSA gave us the following this week:
* Rhubarb (different type from what we grow)
* Radishes
* Asparagus
* Butter Crunch Lettuce
* Garlic Chives
* Lovage
* Parsley
* Lavender

Here's our menu for this week:

Sunday, June 12th:
     Breakfast: Peanut Butter Banana Smoothies
     Lunch: Breakfast Tacos  (Eggs, Potatoes, Onions, Spinach, Cheese, Flour Tortillas)
      Snack: Leftover Rhubarb Cake (we brought this home from church - it was delicious!)
     Dinner: Hamburger Gravy, Rice, Apple-Pear-Grape Salad

Monday, June 13th:
     Breakfast: Cereal from the Pantry with Milk
     Lunch: Leftover Hamburger Gravy and Rice for Adults; Blackberry Jam Sandwiches, Carrots and Tomatoes, Apple or Pear for the Children
     Snack: Yogurt, Snack Chips
     Dinner: Baked Chicken, Roasted Asparagus and Onions, Apple-Pear-Grape Salad

Tuesday, June 14th:
     Breakfast: Toast with Fried Egg
     Lunch: Leftover Chicken on Salad for Adults; Ham and Crackers, Apple or Pear, Yogurt for the children
      Snack: Cut Veggies, Snack Chips
     Dinner: Soup from the Freezer, Sour Milk Biscuits, Sliced Apples and Pears

Wednesday, June 15th:
     Breakfast: Oatmeal Muffins, Blackberry-Banana Smoothies
     Lunch: Blackberry Jam on Leftover Biscuits, Tossed Salad, Yogurt
     Snack: Crackers with Almond Butter, Snack Chips
     Dinner: Potluck at Church; Bring Diced Tomatoes and Tortilla Chips

Thursday, June 16th:
       Breakfast: Toast with Peanut Butter, Banana
      Lunch: Ham Sandwich Kabobs, Yogurt, Apple or Pear
        Snack: Cut Veggies, Snack Chips
       Dinner: Applesauce Chicken in the Crockpot, Rice, Tossed Salad

Friday, June 17th:
      Breakfast: Maple Scones, Blackberry-Banana Smoothies
      Lunch: Leftover Chicken Applesauce and Rice for Adults; Crackers with Almond Butter, Cut Veggies, Applesauce for the children
      Snack: Yogurt, Snack Chips
      Dinner: Homemade Pizza and Breadsticks
 
Saturday, June 18th:
      Brunch:  At a going away party for a friend, bringing napkins and plastic silverware
      Snack: Soft Pretzels
      Dinner: Chicken Tacos with Corn Salsa, Apple-Banana-Mandarin Orange Salad
      Dessert: Rhubarb Cake

What are you eating this week?

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Frugal Friday - End of May, Beginning of June


Well, I *think* we're officially into summer here.  We're consistently warm - upper 70'sF - mid 80'sF - and the rain is mingled with brilliant sunshine.   My garden is flourishing with the rain - we've had SO much rain that everything is going gangbusters.  We have several peppers coming and the strawberries have lots of flowers.  We've had fresh flowers on the kitchen table for a couple of weeks now and it's just making me so very happy.

These last weeks have been so very busy - house guests, end of school activities, start of summer session at the University, garden planting and weeding, graduation parties, church activities, Memorial Day, and all the other things that come in May.  Things will slow down a bit here in June now and I'm looking forward to dinners on the patio and time spent in the garden. 

Here's what we've done this last week that were at least marginally frugal:

* Used hotel points to stay at a hotel when attending a family reunion over Memorial Day weekend.  We ate breakfast at the hotel each day (included in the price of the room) and swam in the pool. 

* Ate other meals over Memorial Day weekend with family - either "pot luck" style (everyone brings a dish - we brought cut veggies) or with the hosts providing the meal (a pizza party one night, tacos, sandwiches).  We packed meals/snacks for the car to and from the reunion.

* We drove the car rather than the minivan to the reunion because it has far better gas mileage. 

* Checked out several books from the library.  Returned a few we were done reading.

* Cut flowers from the yard for an anniversary gift and to brighten the office at work.

*  Cut off two pairs of pants to make shorts for our son.  The knees were wearing through and the legs were getting too short, so this was a good solution.

* Brought home some craft supplies that my mother-in-law was getting rid of and we can use.

* Made a large salad to take to work for lunch on the days we didn't have leftovers.

* Enjoyed a pizza party one night to celebrate an undefeated regular season for our daughter's softball team.  A team member's grandfather owns a local pizza parlor and hosted the party for the team. 

* I decided to sew myself a new skirt this month rather than buying a pair or two of Capri pants like I wanted. We really don't have the extra money right now and I have everything to make myself a skirt or two so I decided that was a better option. 

* Purchased 4 plants from the church plant sale to fill in the empty spots under the front tree.  We paid $8 and the money goes to the landscaping fund at the church.  Next year I will donate plants for the sale rather than buying some.  I think our landscaping is officially at the maintain point rather than adding things.  I'm really happy with it and I'm so grateful that I'm physically able to work in my garden and enjoy it!

* Worked on a graduation gift for our oldest niece.  I should have it done for her party in two weeks. 

* Made cornbread, chicken noodle soup, and smoothies at home this week.

I think that's it for this week.  Anything exciting and frugal happening for you this week?

Thursday, June 2, 2016

June Goals 2016

Our beautiful clematis - taken by my Dad on his Smartphone!  We have three in our yard in varying shades of purple.
Totally random day for this post but I decided since I didn't keep you posted very well on my goals for May and it's now June, I'd just start with June since today is still at the beginning of June!

Here's the goals I have for June:

1.  Keep up with all the work needed for teaching my summer class.  This is a LOT of work and I need to be really intentional about it or I'll fall really behind.

2. Attend at least 15 Jazzercise classes this month.  I need to push myself a bit.

3. Learn 18 new Jazzercise routines.  I got behind in May so now I need to catch up!

4. Weed at least one area of the gardens each week.  My Mom and I did a super job of cleaning these out initially in the spring so it *should* just be maintenance.  With the rain we've been having, it might be harder than that. We'll see. 

5. Pick any produce that is ready to be picked.  This month I'm expecting basil, lavender, lettuce, kale, strawberries, and maybe peppers, peas and beans.  I planted 12 bean seeds thinking they wouldn't all come up, but they all did.  I might be swimming in beans this year!

6. Defrost the freezer - we've been having problems with this freezer and we need to figure out what's happening before we fill it with all the delicious stuff from the garden.

7. Sew a skirt for me.  I have materials for several so I need to decide on one and do it!  Something new to wear would be a welcome change.

8.  Mend 8 items in the mending pile.  That thing is just growing on it's own!

9.  Do a huge paper purge with my husband's help.  We haven't gone through the filing cabinet in a few years and it definitely needs it!

10.  Make 5 gifts and start THE BIG PROJECT embroidery gift that I want to make as well.  No way will I get that done but I'd like to get it started at least. 

That's more than plenty!  What are you up to this month?

Friday, May 20, 2016

Frugal Friday - Middle of May!

This week has gone by in a flash!  I can't believe that we're already into summer session and only have a couple of weeks of school remaining for the children.  We finally have real "spring" weather - warm evenings and breezy days with sunshine or light rain.  I'm loving it!  I'm hoping we'll be able to get the fire pit out soon and have a bonfire. Saturday looks promising for that.  Out daughter asked if we could get marshmallows and we may just have to!

This week has been a tough week with my shingles and I headed in to the doctor and I get to start trying a new medication at bedtime.  I'm hoping it works - I'm really tired of being in severe pain all the time and not being able to do the things I need to do.  That's also why I don't have any photos this week.  No energy to take any!

Here's some of the things that we did this week that are in the "frugal" realm:

* We planted our flowers/plants that we bought from the fundraiser at school.  They're beautiful and growing well!
* We ate at home for most meals or brown-bagged lunches.  I had two meals at work meetings and then John and I were treated to a meal at an interview for Call.  While we were at that interview, my parents took our children out to dinner to celebrate the end of our daughter's softball season.  They won their last game and are now headed off to playoffs sometime in the next week or so.

* I crumbled more dried mint leaves to make herbal tea (tisanes or herbal infusions).  I will steep some of it with ginger root to make ginger-mint tea as well. 

* My Mom purchased fabric on sale to make my daughter and me dresses for my husband's Ordination.   I bought fleece on clearance for $4/yard to make my children fleece jackets.

* I cut irises from my yard to decorate my kitchen table. 

* I read several books that we already owned but I hadn't read yet.  Some belonged to the children (they had received them for Christmas or birthday gifts from my parents) and some belonged to my husband.  Some are mine that I just hadn't had time to read yet.

* My parents bought us apples, grapes and yogurt this week. They had bought us a small ham over the weekend that we've been eating all week.

* I went for a walk with my husband twice for a mini date twice.

* We removed a lot of dead wood from some old bushes in our yard, worked on thoroughly weeding the last of the flower beds, and dug out yet more Creeping Charlie from the yard.  We reseeded the part of yard where the Charlie was dug with seed we had leftover from last year.

* We made muffins, potato soup, chicken noodle soup, pizza, breadsticks and breakfast sandwiches at home from scratch this week. 

What did you do that was frugal this week?