Saturday, January 20, 2018

Super Savings Saturday - $37.88 with 2 Beef Roasts!

No photo today! 

John and I dropped the children and the  groceries off at home and went on an honest to goodness date for a short while!   It was just an afternoon coffee/tea at a local coffee shop with a gift card but it was wonderful.  He had a crazy busy week this last week and this one looks busy too with two funerals and several meetings in the ramp up for the annual congregational meeting next weekend.  I'm grateful to have had some time to spend together before the craziness sets in.

We stopped at one store after a trip to the local library and bought the following:

1lb Heart Candies $2.99
1lb Yellow Cornmeal $2.19
Large Fresh Pineapple $2.99
2.2lb Yellow Bananas @ $0.59/lb = $1.30
1.63lb Braeburn Apples @ $2.49/lb = $4.06 (This was NOT what the sign read and we didn't check the receipt until well after we had come home; we would normally never have bought them at this price!)
1 Gallon 1% Milk $3
10 6oz Yogurt Cups @ 5/$3 = $6
1.88lb and 1.86lb Beef Tip Roasts B1G1 = $11.26  ($3/lb which is a great price for this here)
1lb sausages x2 = $1.89 ($0.93/lb - another good price!)

Total Spent: $37.88
Total Savings: $14.16 or 27% according to store receipt

We had not planned on buying meat this week but the sales were excellent so we bought the two beef roasts and the two packages of sausage.  These are breakfast sausages and will be a nice treat - we haven't bought any in quite a while.  The beef roasts will provide more than one meal each with leftovers so we're pretty excited about those too.

Right now, I'd like to buy some fish for Holy Week but other than that we have meat and veggies to cover us all the way through Easter!  I'm pretty excited about that!  That means we can easily lower the grocery budget these next couple of months.  We haven't been doing a good job of that these last couple of weeks so the break will be welcome.

I have our menu totally planned out through Easter and I'm quite happy with it.  We have a full freezer, pantry and cupboard and I'm looking forward to using up the things in there and making the most of what we have. We have enough that the variety will be pretty good too. Please join me for a Pantry Challenge in February and March!

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

How did you do with your shopping this week?  Any amazing deals?

Friday, January 19, 2018

Frugal Friday - Week 3 of 52 - January 12 - 18, 2018

Some of the flowers from my garden last summer - I'm so looking forward to more this summer!

It was a very odd week - we started with Martin Luther King Jr Day on Monday and our daughter and I fighting a bad head cold, Missy was better Tuesday but I was not, and then I felt like we were trying to catch up all the rest of the week.  I was a bit relieved that it was Friday today!

We had several just unpleasant things going on this week but we did a very nice job of being fairly frugal - it's easy to not spend money when you're home sick, I guess.  Either way, it ended up being a reasonable week all the way around and we're looking forward to a quiet week at home and some extra rest before all the activities start to ramp up next week.

Here are some frugal things we did this week:

* We made two types of soup, biscuits, and waffles at home this week.

* John brought home leftover chicken noodle soup (homemade) and cookies from a church event.  We used those for lunch and treats.

* I cleaned out my tea stash, composed a bit that were way past usable and sorted everything else so it is more accessible and usable.  I also discovered that I have 5 tea strainers, so I put one in my bag to take up to work for my tea stash there.  I had been just letting the leaves settle before drinking.  This will be much better.

* I worked on quite a bit of embroidery this week.  All for gifts.

* We renewed library books online last weekend.  We'll return them this weekend and get a few new.

* We ate all meals and snacks at home but one, which was lunch at church for Bible Study on Sunday.

* We updated the budget book and paid the bills.  The budget will be really quite tight the rest of the month - tighter than we'd like.  But, we paid off a small medical debt and the car this month!  I'm super excited about both!  We still have several more medical bills to go, but we're making progress.

I think that's it for us this week.  What did you do this week that was frugal?

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Menu Plan - Week of January 14, 2018

Sometimes breakfast - eggs with spinach, a smoothie (raspberry and banana here), and coffee.  YUM!

I didn't get a chance to post our shopping trip this weekend so here's what I bought; stopping at the store on the way home on Friday so I didn't have to go out in the icky weekend weather (well below freezing, then snow and blowing, yippie!) unless I wanted to. 

Here's what I purchased:
2 1lb packages sliced lunch meat 2 @ $2.69/ea = $5.39
1 1lb sausage $3.69
1 packaged prepared hummus $2.99
2 1lb packages coffee 2 @ $5.99/ea = $11.98
1lb fresh blueberries $2.50
3lb Gala apples $3.69
3lb Anjou Pears $3.99
2lb bananas $1.39
10 cups yogurt $5

Total Spent: $40.62

This is more than I wanted to spend, but we are pretty well set except for milk and maybe some more fruit for the rest of the month now.

Here's what we're eating this week:

Sunday, January 14, 2018:
     Breakfast; Toast with Peanut Butter
     Lunch: At Church (Bible Study)
     Snack: Popcorn
     Dinner: Homemade Pizza and Breadsticks

Monday, January 15, 2018, Martin Luther King Jr. Day:
     Brunch: Breakfast Biscuits (Biscuits, Eggs, Ham)
     Snack: Popcorn
     Dinner: Soup from the Freezer, Crackers from the Pantry

Tuesday, January 16, 2018:
     Breakfast: Toast with Peanut Butter
     Lunch: Leftover Soup
     Snack: Cut Veggies
     Dinner: Gingerbread Pancakes, Blueberries, Bacon

Wednesday, January 17, 2018:
     Breakfast: Scrambled Eggs, Oatmeal Muffins
     Lunch: Wheatberry Salad with Spinach, Cranberries, and Almonds
     Snack: Cheese and Crackers
     Dinner: Sausage, Potato, and Corn Stew, Cornbread, Sliced Apples and Pears

Thursday, January 18, 2018:
     Breakfast: Pancakes, Blueberries and Strawberries
     Lunch: Leftover Stew
     Snack: Cut Veggies
     Dinner: Ham or Turkey Sandwiches, Cut Veggies

Friday, January 19, 2018:
     Breakfast: Scrambled Eggs, Toast
     Lunch: Wheatberry Salad with Spinach, Cranberries and Almonds
     Snack: Gingerbread Cookies
     Dinner: Homemade Pizza and Breadsticks

Saturday, January 20, 2018:
      Brunch: Potato Spinach Frittata
      Snack: Soft Pretzels
      Dinner: Roasted Root Vegetables with Chicken-Flavored Rice, Sliced Apples and Pears

What are you eating this week?

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Frugal - Week 2 of 25, Week of January 6, 2018

My children at the beach this past summer. John and I have been planning a real Summer Holiday for this year.  My parents are celebrating our 60th wedding anniversary and we're celebrating our 20th, so we all decided we need to take a Holiday together.  We're pretty excited!

It is COLD here again - the temperature this morning was listed at -12F (-24.44C).  Early this week it was almost +40F (4.4C).  It almost felt like spring was on it's way. Of course, it's way too early for that but we enjoyed the short warm-up and are now bundled back up for the weekend again. I deliberately went and ran errands yesterday Friday evening so I don't have to venture out on Saturday if I don't want to.

Here are some things that we have done this past week (Saturday 1/6 to Friday 1/12):

* At home we made soup, bread, pancakes, and muffins.

* I enjoyed treats - muffins, fruit, cookies - and a very delicious lunch at a workshop this week.  There was way too much food for lunch and the workshop coordinator brought out zip-top bags at the end of the lunch for people to take the extra home. I brought home enough salad with chicken for our evening meal on Friday evening.  It was a delicious treat - something I wouldn't have made at home due to so many expensive ingredients.

* Did ,my own ironing rather than paying for someone else to do it.

* Reattached a hook and eye to a skirt, a button to a blouse, and tacked up a fallen hem on a pair of pants.

* We put together an updated list of items we need to complete on the house.  I have already completed two small projects and hope to tackle a couple more this weekend.  These are interior projects we can do while the weather is unpleasant outside.  We will make a separate list of outside projects once the weather warms up, sometime April or May.

* Used a deal at Target to stock up on Vitamins and now we have a $5 Target gift card for use later.

How did you do this week?

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Work, Home and Family - Our Schedule (sort of)

I'm dreaming of summer and warm evening fires, like the one above.  We're supposed to get rain and then snow and then cold again through tonight (Wednesday) into Friday.  Sigh. I'm ready for winter to be done and it's only the beginning-ish of January. 

One of the things that people are doing this time of year is posting their "schedule" for their days.  And since I often get asked how I "do it all" (trust me, I definitely don't do it all!), I thought I'd jump on that bandwagon, at least in a way.  We have more of a routine than a set schedule, though we do have times to be places and the like.  This is our weekday schedule.

Some things to keep in mind:

Our children are tweens, so plenty old enough to sleep through the night, do all their own grooming, and help with the household chores.  Most days we don't have to keep reminding them to do their homework and practice instruments (they both play two).  I'm so grateful!  Having twins was so difficulty and energy draining when they were tiny, but now they keep each other company and work very well together.  The children do take dance lessons and play sports, so we have competitions, games, and practices.  They also attend Confirmation (Affirmation of Baptism) classes at our church and participate in a few church activities as well.
John and I both work outside the home, though our schedules are more flexible than many.  John, as a Pastor, pretty much sets his own schedule and has one day off during the week (in exchange for working on Sundays).  My schedule, as University Faculty and as a Graduate Student is kind of all over the place, though I get to choose what I do with my time when I'm not teaching class.  I typically do my work for my class I'm teaching at work as much as I can (fewer distractions, more resources) and I learn my Jazzercise routines at home. My schoolwork is more nebulous - between and around other things and I try to take some time to spend at the school I attend at least once a week (sometimes that works, sometimes it's doesn't). 

So, here we are: Our weekday schedule

530/6am: Lea wakes up
             Make and drink coffee and personal quiet time, which includes reading, devotions and anything else that I feel like doing.
              One day a week, I wake the children and John up at 6am because they need to leave at 630am for piano lessons.  The children eat breakfast at school that day.
              One morning a week I teach an early Jazzercise class so I'm out the door by this time - I'm dressed and ready to go, I usually pack a breakfast to eat after class but I eat a banana before so I have something in my stomach.  I take clothes and toiletries with and get ready for work after class.

7/730am: The children wake up, Lea makes breakfast
               Buddy wakes up on his own sometimes in here (often earlier), usually Missy has to be woken up.  I start making breakfast about 7am. If I'm making baked good (muffins, etc.) I'll start those at about 630am.
                If Buddy wakes up early, he reads or watches the tablet while I'm doing my thing.  If he wants something to eat or drink, he will get it himself.

730am:  John wakes up (except when there is piano lessons)
             By this time, everyone is either eating breakfast or getting ready for work/school or both.

8am: Everyone out the door!

830am: Children dropped off at school

9am: Lea's workday starts
         This is almost always at my office at work or in the library at school.  Once in a while if I really need to get away from everyone, I'll work at our really nice local public library.  This is when I spend time working on the things I need for both my teaching and my schooling and my classes are scheduled somewhere in this time. Depending on the semester, I may need to leave earlier in the morning with John finishing the morning routine due to schedule of my courses.  I'm very fortunate most of my sections don't start until 915am or later!

330/4pm: Lea heads home. 
          Three days a week, I try to leave work by this time, or I get stuck in the traffic coming out of the state and city offices in downtown St. Paul on my way home. 
         Two days a week I leave at a only slightly different time because I teach Jazzercise classes and it's out of my way to go home first.

315pm: The children finish school
         Two days a week we meet them at the door to pick them up at this time.
         Two days a week they have sports practice after school at school.
         One day a week they stay for a bit at after school care until John can get there to pick them up.
         After school care includes a snack and a drink, time to do homework, and a fun activity (playground time, games, occasional video, etc.). The two days with sports practice they receive the snack offered at after school care.
          I pick them up 2-3 days per week and John picks them up the other 2-3 days, depending on our schedules..

4pm - 9pm:  Afternoon and Evening
         What we do here varies depending on the day:  Three nights a week have sports/dance and one night has Confirmation.  We do manage to have dinner together at home at the table these nights but are all not home together before and/or after that.  Sometimes John or I will run errands or exercise while someone is at practice.  The other adult and child remain at home, working on homework, instruments, chores and anything else they want or need to work on.  Our one free night of the week is family time and we all stay home together and do something together (puzzle, game, movie, etc.).
9pm: Children's Bedtime Routine/Family Devotions
          Most nights this is when the children are getting ready for bed.  One night a week we have a child at an activity until 9pm and this is usually when everyone arrives home from confirmation due to John being the Pastor and having to clean up, etc. 
          For devotions, we typically read the Bible verses for the day from the Revised Common Lectionary and the church devotional entry for the day as well and pray together.  If we have time, one of us will read a chapter of a book first (we are finishing up the Chronicles of Narnia right now - a reread for us and super fun!).

930pm: Children to bed.

10/1030pm: Lea heads to bed. 
          My bedtime routine starts most nights as soon as the children are in bed.  Some nights I'm tired enough I go to bed before the children do. 

11pm: John heads to bed
          John usually uses the time between when I go to bed and he goes to bed as his quiet time for the day.  He's a night owl so it works perfect for him!  He's a very restless sleeper so this also gives me time to fall asleep before he joins me; it can be difficult for me to get to sleep if he falls asleep first!

That's a run down of my day.  How about yours?

Monday, January 8, 2018

Menu Plan Monday - Week of January 7, 2018

Yum - Pancakes!  Both of my children can make delicious pancakes and I'm so grateful! One thing they have both asked to do this year is to learn how to cook better and to cook more often.  So each week, they will be helping with a meal and we have a few specific recipes that we are planning on working on as well.  This week Buddy is helping with Pasta with Veggie-filled Tomato Sauce on Monday and Missy will help with the Crock pot Beef Gravy on Thursday. 

Here's what we're eating this week:

Sunday, January 7, 2018:
    Breakfast: Peanut Butter Toast
    Lunch: Scrambled Eggs with Spinach, Cinnamon Biscuit Twists
    Snack: Popcorn
    Dinner: Vegetable Barley Soup, Biscuits

Monday, January 8, 2018:
     Breakfast: Scrambled Eggs, Toast
     Lunch: Leftover Soup
     Snack: No Bake Energy Bites
     Dinner: Noodles with Veggie-Filled Tomato Sauce, Spinach Salad with Strawberries

Tuesday, January 9, 2018:
     Breakfast: Oatmeal with Almonds and Dates
     Lunch: Leftover Soup or Pasta with Sauce
     Snack: No Bake Energy Bites
     Dinner: Pork and Veggie Stir Fry, Rice, Orange Wedges

Wednesday, January 10, 2018:
     Breakfast: Zucchini Bread, Strawberry-Mango Smoothies
     Lunch: Leftover Stir Fry
     Snack: No Bake Energy Bites
     Dinner: Kielbasa, Cabbage, Apple-Strawberry-Banana Salad

Thursday, January 11, 2018:
     Breakfast: Waffles with Jam
     Lunch: Salad with Leftover Kielbasa
     Snack: Zucchini Bread
     Dinner: Crock pot Beef Gravy, Noodles, Spinach Salad with Strawberries and Oranges

Friday, January 12, 2018:
    Breakfast: Strawberry-Mango Smoothies, Scrambled Eggs
    Lunch: Leftover Beef Gravy and Noodles
    Snack: Zucchini Bread
    Dinner: Homemade Pizza and Breadsticks

Saturday, January 13, 2018:
     Brunch: Egg Bake with Spinach and Potatoes
     Snack: Popcorn
     Dinner: Any Leftovers from the Week or Soup from the Freezer

What are you eating this week?

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Super Savings Saturday - $29.61

The photo above is the red velvet cake I made John for his Birthday last year (2017).  This year (2018) a friend made a BEAUTIFUL two-layer red velvet cake with cream-cheese frosting.  Sadly, I didn't get a photo of it since only three pieces came home (one for me and one for each of the children).  The rest was eaten at Bible Study and John had a second piece as an afternoon snack that day before coming home.

John and I spent a little more than half our typical monthly grocery budget at Sam's Club stocking up on some things earlier this week, so my goal is to cut back on the grocery budget this week and a few more weeks going forward to even things out a bit.   We did end up spending about $10 more today than I wanted to but that just means we have less later on this month.  That money was spent to fill a vacancy in our pantry and should last us a while.

Missy was on the ball when we got home and put the groceries away before I could take a photo.  I wasn't about to pull them out just to get a photo, so imagine in your mind what we purchased!

Here's what we spent at one store:

56oz Vegetable Oil  $2.49
Baking Powder $1.69
10oz Fresh Spinach $4.99
Green Bell Pepper $0.79
2.54lbs Pink Lady Apples @ $1.49/lb = $3.78
3.41lb Navel Oranges @ $0.99/lb = $3.38
1lb Strawberries x 2 @ 2/$3 = $3
2.53lbs Yellow Bananas @ $0.59/lb = $1.49
Crystal Farms Cheese 6oz x 3 @ 3/$5 = $5
Yoplait 5oz Yogurt Cups x 5 @ 5/$3 = $3

Total Spent (According to Receipt): $29.61
Total Savings According to Receipt: $2.50 (8%)

A note about the savings on the receipt:  This only includes deals, such as the cheese being 3/$5, or coupons that were used.  The savings on the strawberries, for example, were not included because the 2/$3 is considered a "normal" price by the computer, even though the typical price for a pound of strawberries here in January is somewhere around $4.  The yogurt price of 5/$3 is also a "normal" price, so that was not included also.

The cheese, baking powder, and vegetable oil will last us far longer than this week.  We will probably eat all the produce and the yogurt this week. Fruit is a favorite snack for the children and John likes a spinach salad with his lunch every day, so we eat that much produce pretty quickly.

Come back Monday to see what we're eating!  How did you do with your shopping this week?