Monday, November 28, 2016

Menu Plan Monday - Week of November 27, 2016


How about a super dark photo of our dinner the other night?   Pulled pork and pan fried butternut squash with spinach.  It was delicious, even if the photo is really dark!

I can't believe December starts this week!  I am so totally not ready for Christmas to come but Advent is here so I guess I better get ready quickly. 

We have a busy month and guests will be arriving in 2 weeks again to stay through New Years.  I have a lot of gifts I'd like to sew or make and then all the holiday baking, which is truly a favorite part of my holiday.  In the meantime, we have something happening every single night this week except Friday!

Here's what we're eating:

Sunday, November 27, 2016
    Breakfast: Toast and Strawberry-Bananas Smoothies
    Lunch: Pizza Twists, Tossed Salad
    Dinner: At a friend's house

Monday, November 28, 2016
    Breakfast: Eggs and Toast
    Lunch: Leftover Turkey in Sandwiches, Carrot Sticks, Apples
    Snack: No Bake Energy Bites
    Dinner: Hamburger Gravy, Rice, Apple-Pineapple-Clementine Salad

Tuesday, November 29, 2016
   Breakfast: Oatmeal with Almonds and Craisins
   Lunch: Leftover Hamburger Gravy and Rice
   Snack: Yogurt
   Dinner: Sausage, Corn and Potato Stew, Cornbread, Tossed Salad

Wednesday, November 30, 2016
    Breakfast: Oatmeal Muffins, Banana-Peanut Butter Smoothies
    Lunch: Leftover Stew
    Snack: No Bake Energy Bites
    Dinner: At Church for Advent

Thursday, December 1, 2016:
    Breakfast: Chai Spiced Oatmeal
    Lunch: Leftover Stew
    Snack: Yogurt
    Dinner: Spaghetti with Tomato Sauce, Garlic Bread, Clementine's

Friday, December 2, 2016:
    Breakfast: Waffles from the Freezer with Peach Jam
    Lunch: Leftover Spaghetti
    Snack: No Bake Energy Bites
    Dinner: Homemade Pizza and Breadsticks

What are you eating this week?
Saturday, December 3, 2016:
    Brunch: Raspberry Buckle, Sausage, Clementine's
    Snack: Soft Pretzels
    Dinner: Best Ever Potato Soup, Homemade French Bread, Tossed Salad

Baking this week: French Bread, Finnish Ribbon Cookies, Lefse

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Super Savings Saturday - A $54.15 stock up shop

Sorry, no photo today - it was a rush in, rush out, hurry home, put it away and sit down for supper kind of day!

Buddy and I ran out and grabbed groceries while Missy and John were ringing bells for the Salvation Army Red Kettles.  We had dinner in the crockpot and planned to eat right when we got home because John had one more thing on the agenda today.  We succeeded, and now the children are washing up and getting their things ready for tomorrow, I have one more load of laundry in the clothes washer and Buddy and I will wash up the dishes here as soon as we're all done with showers.  We have dinner tomorrow night with friends, so I get to stay up tonight and grade all the things that were turned in before the holiday and the children plan to snuggle up with some books for a bit before heading to bed.  Lovely evening!

Here's what Buddy and I bought at the store - with commentary:

2 56oz bottles of cranberry juice @ $1.99ea = $3.98 (one for now, one for over Christmas)
Red Velvet Cake Mix $1.99 (to make for John for Christmas - this is his favorite!)
Mandarin Oranges 2 @ $0.89 = $1.78 (both for over Christmas)
Olive Oil 56oz $4.19 (I was totally out)
Sandwich Bread $2.50 (I haven't had time to bake this weekend at all)
Rope Sausage 1lb $3.49 (I thought I had one but I didn't and John specifically asked me to make something that uses this this week)
3.25lbs McIntosh Apples @ $1.39/lb = $4.53
1.98lbs Golden Yams @ $0.59/lb = $1.17
Salad Greens and Spinach B1G1 $2.99
2lbs Onions $1.59 (these should last us several weeks)
3lbs Clementine's $3.88
2.69lbs Yellow Bananas @ $0.59/lb = $1.59
1 gallon milk $3.89
Smart Balance (the huge tub) $6.79 (this should last us several weeks)
2lbs Butter @ $3/lb = $6 (this is to refill my freezer - butter hasn't dropped below this price or I would have bought more)
32oz Yogurt $3.79

Total Spent: $54.15
Total Saved (According to store receipt) $2.99 - though more than that was on sale

We have plenty of vegetables right now - carrots, celery, potatoes, winter squash.  I processed the last three pumpkins from the garden today so we have a total of about 20 cups of pureed pumpkin in the freezer for the rest of winter here.  We also have lots of blanched and frozen vegetables - zucchini, beans, peas, beets, tomatoes, kohlrabi and corn - in the freezer.  We also have tons of chicken, pork and fish in the freezer right now as well as canned chicken and tuna in the pantry.  So, long story short, we have plenty to eat!

Come back Monday to see what we're eating - I actually have the post already written this week!

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Frugal Sunday - So Much to be Thankful For!

I

I was going through our photos from this summer to order some prints and was reminded all over again how much I love the early, quiet mornings at the cabin we rent!   Here is the field across from the cabin all foggy in the morning sun.  Just beautiful!  The photo doesn't even begin to do it justice but I'll take the reminder.

We've had such crazy week and it really didn't feel very frugal.  In some ways it was - we didn't spend a ton of money and all that we did spend was planned.  Still, I felt like all I did this week was run places and spend money.  Here's what we did this week:

* I made calzones, spaghetti sauce, coffee cake, cornbread and vegetable soup at home this week.

* I attended a meeting that had a dinner with it and I received a free meal another day at work.

* John attended a 3 day workshop with our church and was treated to three meals a day while he was there.  Our congregation also paid for his hotel room and reimbursed us for mileage for travel there and back.  John did buy gas for the van and took some snacks with him but they were things we already had so the only expense was gas.

* We finished cleaning up the yard for winter ourselves.  It looks great ad we saved a ton of money.  I'm leaving my cone flowers standing to feed the birds this winter.  Seeing the birds from my kitchen window makes me happy and I'm sure the birds will appreciate the extra food.

* We hung our Christmas lights on the front of the house this week while we didn't have to deal with the snow.  The look nice and I'm happy to have that chore done!

* The children had several evening events while John was gone and we made dinner at home each evening even though I was very tired after long days.

* I taught an extra Jazzercise class this week and will be paid for that.

* We watched a video from the library and ate homemade pizza for Family Night this week.

* Saturday morning we drove to the Mall of America to see The Big Ring.  This was the kickoff event for the Salvation Army Red Kettle Campaign this year and was intended to beak the Guinness Book of World Records Record for a Bell Choir.  They succeeded and it was really fun to hear the music and see the record broken!   There were several members of our congregation's bell choir participating so it was doubly fun to see them participate.  The different choirs then performed throughout the day.  The children each bought the other a planned Christmas present using their own money after we heard the music.

* I went to bed super early twice this week - I was so tired and I the sleep helped me from becoming ill.

* I cleaned out several decorations and other items that we don't need anymore from our storage/furnace room.  I'm so happy to have done at least a little bit of that!  Hoping to get much more done over Christmas break next month!

* I used a discount code to order our Christmas cards online.  They came in the mail yesterday and are wonderful!  We used a photo from John's Ordination and we'll get those addressed for mailing in the next week so we can send them out right after Thanksgiving.

* I roasted several pumpkins and then froze the meat to use later this winter.  I made roasted pumpkin seeds to snack on.

I think that's it!   We have a couple of days off this week for the Thanksgiving holiday, which makes me very happy.  I'm grateful that we will have a wonderful meal with friends and then have a full 24 hours with rest before the weekend is over.  So grateful!

What did you do that was frugal that was frugal this past week?

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Super Saving Saturday - A $25.64 Thanksgiving Week Shop


This week is the week of the Thanksgiving holiday here in the U.S. and we have so much to be thankful for!   We are not hosting the meal or family this week and we have SO MUCH food in our freezer and cupboards, that we didn't do much shopping today.

My daughter and I went to two stores and bought what you see above:

Store #1:
52oz Vegetable Oil $2.19
1 dozen Eggs $0.79

Total from Store #1: $2.98

Store #2:
2 Carnation Evaporated Milk $1ea = $2
2 Campbell's Chicken Noodle Soup $0.99ea = $1.98
15oz kidney beans  $0.89
15oz chili beans $0.89
2 15oz tomato sauce $0.89ea = $1.78
2lbs Low Sodium Bacon 2lbs/$6 = $6
3lbs Pink Lady Apples $4.99
1.94lbs Yellow Bananas $0.59/lb = $1.14
3.02lbs Red Delicious Apples $0.99/lb = $2.99

Total Store #2: $22.66

Total Spent Today: $25.64

We're spending Thanksgiving with friends this year since John has to lead Worship on both Wednesday and Sunday.  We will be bringing krumkaka (cookies) to add to the meal - my friend LOVES to cook so this is her gift to everyone attending. 

Come back and see what we're eating on Monday!

Friday, November 11, 2016

Frugal Friday - Is it already mid-November?

I don't have a photo for you today.  I guess that's okay once in a while, right?   And I guess it's not quite mid-November - that comes early next week.  I still can't believe it's November.  We're really, really enjoying the weather that we usually have in early October and we broke the record for latest frost here by 116 years!  Last time we had a frost this late?  1900.  Go figure. I'm still harvesting strawberries.  No complaints there!
Here's the frugal happenings for the last two weeks:

* Made soup, bread, cornbread, and several other foods at home.

* I had my best friend over for breakfast rather than going out to breakfast.  We had a great time and no one cared if we talked for hours! 

* My Mom made the children their Halloween costumes this year (she's done that every year but one since they were born) and I went as Rosie the Riveter.  I used jeans and a bandana I already owned and borrowed a blue button down shirt from my husband.  I wore a pair of brown boots I already owned and everyone said I totally nailed the costume! It was a fun costume and most people knew who I was!  My husband went as a "mild mannered pastor". LOL. 

* We balanced the budget book and figured out how to pay off the rest of the bills that we need to pay and purchase a new-to-us vehicle in the next 12 months.  My husband's vehicle is a 2000 year model with 300,000 miles on it.  It's been a terrific vehicle but it's starting to really show it's age and we definitely need a new vehicle.  We're pleased that we should be able to make that work out soon!

* We brought home a 1/4 sheet cake, an almond loaf, a partial loaf of bread and a partial package of lunch meat from church functions this week.  I took the sheet cake to work to share and we froze most of the almond loaf for later.

*   The children and I made Christmas ornaments for their teachers and Grandparents using things we already owned.  They turned out cute!  We'll work on a few more things this week.

* I have had a head cold this week so I went to bed early several nights to get the rest so I would heal.  So far it's been working!

* Now that we know roughly what my husband's schedule is like and how much he is getting paid as well as what it taken out of his paycheck (social security is, taxes are not, etc.) we were able to put together a budget and a schedule.  We're enjoying both!
* We used a gift card and some gift money to purchase a few things for my husband's office from Ikea.  We ate dinner there one night - less than $5 per person! 

* I washed all the furniture slipcovers this week.  It's a big job since they all have to hang to dry but with the warm weather that was easy!   Now they are fresh for the winter. 

That's all I can remember off the top of my head.  What did you do that was frugal this week?

Monday, November 7, 2016

Menu Plan Monday - Week of November 6, 2016


I may have posted that photo before (I can't remember and I'm way to lazy too look!) but these flowers are *still* blooming - on November 7th!   We usually have snow by now - at least a dusting - so I'm feeling terribly spoiled.  I picked snapdragons, roses, and a few of these for our kitchen table yesterday.    I'm pretty sure winter will come in with a roar sometime very soon, but for now I'm enjoying weather is shirtsleeves and fresh flowers from the garden. 

We bought no groceries this week.  We decided we had plenty in the fridge, freezer and cupboards and decided to see what we could do with what we have.   Sometimes it's a challenge but it gets us out of a rut and uses things up.

We were blessed this week with a 1/4 sheet cake and an almond cake from members of the congregation and we have lots of fresh fish also from a member of the congregation.    We definitely don't lack for sweets with the congregation we're in!  I think I'm going to end up bringing the sheet cake in to my work because I really don't think we're going to be able to eat it all before it goes bad.  The almond cake will freeze well so I'm not worried about that one!

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

Sunday, November 6, All Saint's Sunday:
    Breakfast: Toast with Peanut Butter
    Lunch: At the church
    Dinner: Out at Ikea (we had a gift card and decided to purchase some furniture for my husband's office with it so we bought dinner too.  Meals cost less than $5 for an adult entrĂ©e at our Ikea so it's a relatively inexpensive meal out.  Since we didn't buy groceries we decided it was worth it!)

Monday, November 7:
   Breakfast: Cinnamon Rolls, Sliced Apples
   Lunch: Leftover Tacos
   Snack; Yogurt
   Dinner: Fried Fish, Couscous, Grape-Apple-Orange Salad

Tuesday, November 8:
    Breakfast: Oatmeal with Almonds and Craisins
    Lunch: Leftover Fish as Fish Tacos
    Snack: Yogurt
    Dinner: Grilled Cheese Sandwiches, Hashbrowned Potatoes, Sliced Apples

Wednesday, November 9:
    Breakfast: Oatmeal Muffins, Bananas
    Lunch: Salad with Chicken, Mandarin Oranges, and Craisins
    Snack: Yogurt
    Dinner: Leftover soup and garlic toast from the Freezer

Thursday, November 10:
    Breakfast: Chai Spiced Oatmeal
    Lunch: Peanut Butter Crackers, Cut Veggies, Apple
    Snack: Yogurt
    Dinner: Vegetable Barley Soup, Homemade Bread

Friday, November 11:
    Breakfast: Eggs, Toast
    Lunch: Leftover Soup and Bread
    Snack: Yogurt
    Dinner: Homemade Pizza for the kids, Date out for Mom and Dad

Saturday, November 12:
    Brunch: Cinnamon Roll Waffles, Scrambled Eggs, Raspberry Sauce (for the waffles)
    Snack: Soft Pretzels
    Dinner: Hamburger Gravy, Rice, Roasted Squash
    Dessert: Apple Crisp

What are you eating this week?
  
 

Monday, October 31, 2016

Menu Plan Monday - Week of October 30, 2016

My brand new coffee pot!
I spent the weekend grading - mid-term grades were due and all that - and processing some very mentally draining things that happened this last week.  My brain is pretty much mush at this point.  In the middle of all that, my coffee pot decided to spring a leak and hot water went everywhere!  Couple that with no coffee and a trip to the store suddenly moved up to high priority on the list!   I came home with the black beauty in the photo above.  Ah, bliss.  Hot coffee - on a timer no less! - and no water all over the place.  Win-win in my book!

After two weeks of my parents buying groceries for us (Yep - totally spoiled!) and another of eating mostly leftovers and it was definitely time for a run to the store this weekend.  We spent just over $50 on lots of fruit (apples, bananas, grapes, a pomegranate), carrots, celery, a cucumber, yogurt, a gallon of milk, a roll of sausage, and three cans of our children's favorite soup for a  quick dinner a couple of nights coming up.  We were totally out of fruit, so I think the expense as well worth it!

This is a busy week with something happening every single night so the menu is easy and involves a couple of crockpot meals.

Here's what we're eating:

Sunday, October 30, Reformation Sunday and Confirmation:
    Breakfast: Orange Poppy Seed Bread (gift from a parishioner), bananas
    Lunch:  At church for Confirmation
    Snacks: Confirmation open houses.....
    Dinner: Chili and Cornbread

Monday, October 31, Halloween, Reformation Day:
    Breakfast: Cinnamon Rolls, Fruit Smoothies
    Lunch: Leftover Chili
    Snacks: Carrots and Celery
    Dinner: Turkey Sandwiches, Apples

Tuesday, November 1, All Saint's Day:
    Breakfast: Oatmeal with Craisins and Almonds
    Lunch: Turkey on Spinach Salad
    Snacks: Yogurt
    Dinner: Fried White Fish, Couscous, Cantaloupe-Grape-Apple Salad

Wednesday, November 2:
     Breakfast: Oatmeal Muffins, Apples or Bananas
     Lunch: Fish Tacos
     Snacks: Yogurt
     Dinner: Grilled Cheese Sandwiches, Cut Veggies and Sliced Apples

Thursday, November 3:
    Breakfast: Chai Spiced Oatmeal
    Lunch: Apples with Peanut Butter, Cut Veggies, Yogurt
    Snack: Yogurt
    Dinner: Vegetable Soup, Homemade Bread

Friday, November 4:
    Breakfast: Eggs, Toast
    Lunch: Leftover Vegetable Soup
    Snack: Cut Veggies
    Dinner: Homemade Pizza and Breadsticks

Saturday, November 5:
    Brunch: French Toast with Blueberry Jam, Blueberry-Banana Smoothies
    Snack: Homemade Soft Pretzels
    Dinner: Pork Roast, Potatoes, Pomegranate-Apple-Grape Salad


What are you eating this week?