Thursday, March 13, 2014

Reducing me to a blubbery mess.....

This hymn reduced me to a blubbery mess at Ash Wednesday worship last week - it hit such a cord with me as we head into Internship (Vicarage) this summer.  Some of you know that I struggle with fear  - lately a lot.  And, quite honestly, I'm pretty much terrified of what will happen once we start Internship - in so many different areas of my (and our family's) life, not just financial or physical.  After we got home, my purse half-filled with damp tissues, I had to look it up and copy it down so I could hang it on the wall in a frame.  

Don't we all need the reminder that God wants us to move past where we are - the fear, the worry, the anxiety, stares, the lack of familiarity, the concern of turning off others with our faith, the hiding in the shadows - and show HIS love, and care, and hope to the world?

Will You Come and Follow Me

(The Summons)

Text by John L. Bell
Tune: Scottish Traditional
"Will you come and follow me if I but call your name?
Will you go where you don't know and never be the same?
Will you let my love be shown, will you let my name be known,
Will you let my life be grown in you and you in me?"
"Will you leave yourself behind if I but call your name?
Will you care for cruel and kind and never be the same?
Will you risk the hostile stare, should your life attract or scare?
Will you let me answer pray'r in you and you in me?"
"Will you let the blinded see if I but call your name?
Will you set the pris'ners free and never be the same?
Will you kiss the leper clean, and do such as this unseen,
And admit to what I mean in you and you in me?"
"Will you love the you you hide if I but call your name?
Will you quell the fear inside and never be the same?
Will you use the faith you've found to reshape the world around
Through my sight and touch and sound in you and you in me?"
Lord, your summons echoes true when you but call my name.
Let me turn and follow you and never be the same.
In your company I'll go where your love and footsteps show.
Thus I'll move and live and grow in you and you in me.
What hymns have touched your heart lately? And why?  I'd love to hear!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Menu Plan Monday and Shopping from this Week - Week of March 9, 2014

Spinach and Green Pepper Quiche from the other week - it turned out yummy!
So a couple of weeks ago, I decided to try my hand at making quiche. I've never made quiche before, so it was an experience. It turned out yummy and wasn't as difficult to make as I had anticipated it to be.  I used frozen green peppers to make it a spinach and green pepper quiche instead of just spinach and since John can't eat cheese, I loosely followed a recipe for Quiche Lorraine (which traditionally doesn't have cheese).  It was honestly better the second and third day rather than the first.  I think there was a little too much water in it from the frozen green pepper so I won't use frozen the next time or if I do, I will thaw thoroughly and squeeze out the extra water before I put it in the quiche. 

So, this last week was insane and this one isn't much better - I can't particularly say why because we haven't had much extra other than a couple of birthday parties for the children to attend and a one-day conference for me - but it's just been really seemingly crazy around here.  Maybe it's the weather?  Did I mention we hit 53F today for our high!  People were wearing shorts!  We're supposed to be warmer this whole week and I'm SO excited about that.  It might be that our schedule is completely all over the place too. Who knows?

Anyway, I'll quit rambling....   

John stopped at the grocery store on Saturday while I was at my conference and bought a handful of things: a package of flour tortillas, 4 cans of whole kernel corn and 3 boxes of pasta.  The pasta and the corn were marked down to 88-cents each and the tortillas were $2.89 for 20.  So he spent $9.05 on groceries this week.  I also spent $10 on 20 tulips that were just way to pretty - never mind that I considered them a "sanity" purchase.  I could have gotten by with one bunch, but the two look especially lovely in the blue vase on my kitchen table (I'm hoping to post a photo later this week or next week).  We had some "extra" fruit this week from a friend who wasn't going to eat it before it went bad - strawberries and bananas, yum!  And we had plenty of other fruit left from the previous weeks - oranges and three kinds of apples as well as blueberries - so we were good to go with fruit for the week!  I have a 24oz can of pureed pumpkin that I need to use up so I decided to "go pumpkin" this week too.

Here's our menu for this week:

Sunday, March 9:
    Brunch: Waffles with Powdered Sugar and Bananas
    Snack: Popcorn
    Dinner: Homemade Pizza and Breadsticks

Monday, March 10:
   Breakfast:  Oatmeal with Almonds and Blueberries
   Lunch: Corn Dogs, Tater Tots and Strawberries  (Spring Break Treat for the Children)
   Snack: Yogurt
   Dinner: Scalloped Potatoes with Ham, Tossed Salad, Sliced Apples

Tuesday, March 11:
   Breakfast: Pancakes with Bananas and Blueberries
   Lunch: Chicken Noodle Soup, Matzo Bread, Strawberries
   Dinner: At a School Event

Wednesday, March 12:
   Breakfast: Oatmeal Muffins, Bananas
   Lunch: Tortillas with a Rice and Bean Mix (includes corn and tomatoes)
   Snack: Yogurt
   Dinner: At Church (Lenten Dinner before Worship)

Thursday, March 13:
    Breakfast: Pumpkin Baked Oatmeal
    Lunch: Tossed Salad with Almonds, Blueberries and Strawberries
    Snack: Yogurt
    Dinner: Turkey and Cheese Quesadillas with Mixed Fruit Salad

Friday, March 14:
    Breakfast: Banana-Strawberry Smoothies
    Lunch: Leftover Pumpkin Baked Oatmeal and Sliced Apples
    Snack: Yogurt
    Dinner: Vegetable Barley Soup in the Crockpot, Biscuits, Mixed Fruit Salad

Saturday, March 15:
   Breakfast: Pumpkin Scones
   Lunch: Tuna Wrap Sandwiches, Sliced Fruit and Veggies
   Snack: Sugar Cookies
   Dinner: Homemade Pizza and Breadsticks
   Date Night Dessert:  Sugar Cookies

What are you eating this week?

Monday, March 3, 2014

Goals for the Week of March 2, 2014

This week started off with my Dad's 82nd Birthday on Sunday - Happy Birthday Daddy!   I can't believe he's already 82.  John is completely done with Internship (Vicarage) interviews and now we turn in the paperwork and wait until assignments come out in April.   He was assigned the first part of his Internship - the chaplaincy part - and it is a place that he is very excited to be!  We only have 13 weeks until Internship starts now.  I'm nervous, excited and scared all at once!

Here's what's up this week for me;

* Be ready for class each day
* Keep my grading caught up to current (so far so good this year - I'm pretty proud of myself!)
* Research project with my independent study student
* Review book choices for fall (I get to pick a new book for my class!)

* Meet with my Advisor again
* Cross off at least 10 things on my graduation to-do list

* Teach two classes
* Learn two new routines
* Paperwork
* Do my Yoga CD at least once
* Attend one class this week

* My Dad's 82nd Birthday
* Swimming Lessons
* Piano Lessons
* Dance Lessons
* Both Children have a Friend's Birthday Party to attend (We'll have a date during that time).
* Family Night

* Ironing (yep - it's never-ending)
* Finish cleaning out the filing cabinet
* Finish my cousin's memorial quilt (not sure if this will happen but going to try!)
* List of items to do over spring break (John wants a few things he and the kids can do)

* Drop off items for fundraiser
* Fat Tuesday - Dinner and Talent Show at Church
* Ash Wednesday - Worship and observance at home
* Turn in the last of Internship Paperwork

* Get my hair trimmed (I ran into my old stylist recently and I'm going back to her!)
* Soak my feet and paint my toenails
* The leather dress boots I've been looking at are on sale so I'm going to buy them this week!

Yep - I have a VERY full week.  I'm hoping to get some sleep and eat well and leave off all the "fluff" stuff (reading for fun, etc.) that I would like to get done and just focus on the list above.  If I can get that all done we should be able to get a few big things changed around the following week.  I'm hoping!  What are you up to this week?

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Super Savings Saturday - $33.73 Shopping Trip

This last week as a bit crazy - I didn't get much done other than work and a little bit of school for a LOT of reasons.  This week is equally crazy with Fat Tuesday, Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent.  Didn't we just have Christmas?  Some days I feel like I live in a time warp!

John went to the store for me last Saturday (between a zillion pieces of running around in super icky roads and weather) and then today too, while I made pizza for dinner.   Next up - at home date night. That means this is going to be a quick post! :)

I don't have a photo since most of what we bought went right into the pantry or the freezer for later and because dinner was on the table and the stove had the pizza sitting on it (thus, no place to put the groceries for a convenient photo).

John went to two stores and here's what he bought:

Store #1:
Post Raisin Bran Cereal 2 @ $1.99 = $3.98
5lb Russet Potatoes $1.88 (store coupon)
Glory Tomatoes Dry Pint B1G1 (store coupon) $3.99
Kemps Shredded Cheese 3/$5 (store coupon) = $5
Kemps Gallon Skim Milk FREE (after Post Cereal coupon)

Total Store #1: $14.85
Total Saved (according to store receipt) $14.96 (50%)

Store #2:
Thomas English Muffins $1.88 (sale) - $0.55 - $0.55 (doubled coupon) = $0.78
Store Brand Canned Kidney Beans 4 @ $0.88 = $3.52
Jennie-O Turkey Sausage 1lb Roll $2.50 (sale) - $0.55 - $0.55 (doubled coupon) = $1.40
State Fair Mini Corndogs $3 (sale) - $0.75 - $0.75 (doubled coupon) = $1.50
4lb Navel Oranges $2.88
8oz Mini Sweet Peppers 2/$4 = $4
Yoplait Greek Yogurt 10 @ $0.88 - $1 - $1 - $1 - $1 (two doubled coupons) = $4.88 ($0.48 ea)

Total Store #2: $18.88
Total Saved (according to store receipt) $21.02 (53%)

Total Spent Both Stores: $33.73
Total Saved Both Stores: $35.98 (51%)

The corn dogs are a treat for the kids for their spring break coming up in another week.  The kidney beans, turkey sausage, cereal and cheese will be saved for later.

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

Friday, February 21, 2014

Frugal Friday - Frugal Things We've Done in the Last Two Weeks

Frugal things from the last couple of weeks...hrmmm....

This semester is kicking my behind - and it probably should.  I'm teaching a class I haven't taught in 3 years and I'm approaching my Dissertation Defense very soon as well.  John is in the thick of interviews of Internship and we have more snow again and icky roads.  I guess I have every right to feel like I'm buried under the things that "have" to get done!

Honestly, I haven't felt very frugal the last couple of weeks.  We haven't spent any money we didn't plan on spending to begin with but we haven't done a whole lot of "extra" anyway.

Here's what I kept track of for the last two weeks:

* Spent Valentine's Day evening at home with the family. We had decided to order a small order of takeout Chinese for the family for dinner that night.  We stayed within budget and even had enough for leftovers for lunch on Saturday.

* The children went to a play date at a friend's house on Saturday.   We used the time to have our taxes done!  And we got a refund that went right into savings. (We did take a small amount to buy a new air vent cover for our kitchen though - it's in the middle of the floor and every once in a while someone puts a chair leg through it. Sigh.)  The kids had a blast and we got that much-needed chore done.

* I made up the menu for the week using primarily food we had in the house.  We brown-bagged lunches all week both weeks.

* I made homemade Valentine's for everyone rather than buying them. 

* I made homemade biscuits for dinner one night.  And I made marshmallow treats (like Rice Crispy Treats) with marshmallows I'd bought at Christmas time (I didn't want them to harden before I used them) and some leftover cinnamon Cheerios that were stale.  I didn't want to throw them out and they made good treats!

* John has worn clothes we already had for his interviews this week.

* Buddy wore through the knee of one pair of his school pants.  I cut them off and hemmed them so he can wear them this summer (and to school one it gets warm enough - we have about 3 1/2 feet of snow right now - ha!).

* Went to the library and checked out a whole stack of children's books and three DVDs (one for each of the children and one for me).

* Downloaded several free ebooks for my Kindle for PC

* Decided to do some "Freezer Cooking" again.  I'm putting that in quotes because some of it is just prepping food for the crock pot or for stir fry and then freezing rather than actual "freezer cooking", per se.   It makes making dinner much easier and we don't waste as much food either.

* Taught an extra Jazzercise class for an instructor who had a sick child, so I got paid for an "extra" class too.

* The children attended a Lutheran School's Week event and received a free t-shirt each.  They are slightly big so they should be perfect for summer!

Wow - I guess that's more frugal stuff than I thought.   It's so hard sometimes to just keep pushing ahead since we're so busy with everything else.  I guess the good thing about being busy - we don't have time to waste money shopping, running extra places, or going on additional outings.  We just don't have  the time!

Frugal Flops: 

Paying more for parking than I normally do - I've had a lot of meeting with my advisor on days when I don't normally go to campus so I've had to pay for parking. Fortunately the commuter lot isn't that expensive but it's still an added expense!  Thankfully that won't last much longer.  And hopefully the days that I work from home make up for that somehow.

Also made a pot of soup that ended up in the compost bin - it was just not very good and we decided we wouldn't eat it again so it went in the compost bin since it didn't have any animal products in it (vegetable broth, veggies, beans and noodles).

What did you do this week?

Monday, February 17, 2014

Menu Plan Monday - Week of February 16, 2014

Sorry for the blurry, upside down photo - I'm going to try to turn it upright again later (promise!).  These are the super yummy chocolate covered strawberries John bought me for Valentine's Day.  It wasn't even remotely on my "list" so they were such a pleasant surprise and we enjoyed them as dessert Friday, Saturday and Sunday!   I even got two Sunday night since my chocolate disliking little guy decided he didn't want his.  Perfectly fine with me!
We are eating well this week!  I'm trying to use up the veggies in the freezer and make room for a meat purchase or two closer to summer.  John and I had a long talk about our grocery budget and decided that we're going to work our way back to eating one chicken, one beef/venison/bear, one pork, one seafood and three vegetarian meals per week.  We did this a few years ago and had gotten away from it.  We also talked about freezer prepping more crockpot meals and maybe even doing some freezer cooking.  I don't like freezer cooking as a general rule because most of the meals I have seen involve either bread products (which we then don't like the texture of) or cheese (which John can't eat).  I'm hoping that some of the recipes we have found work well for that - we're willing to give it a try at least! Anyway, that's a long way of saying, look for some subtle changes in our menus over the next few weeks!
Here's this week's menu:
Sunday, February 16:
   Breakfast: Cereal and Milk
   Lunch: Leftovers
   Snack: Toast with Jam
   Dinner: Roasted Chicken, Broccoli, Apple-Pear Salad
   Dessert: Chocolate  Covered Strawberries
Monday, February 17:
   Breakfast: Pancakes with Bananas
   Lunch: Macaroni and Cheese, Apples
   Snack: Popcorn
   Dinner: Swedish Meatballs, Roasted Potatoes, Green Beans, Apple-Pear-Mandarin Orange Salad
Tuesday, February 18:
   Breakfast: Oatmeal with Almonds and Dates
   Lunch: Jam Sandwiches, Carrot Sticks or Tomatoes, Oranges, Cookie
   Snack: Yogurt
   Dinner: Taco Salad with Refried Beans and Corn Salsa
Wednesday, February 19:
   Breakfast: Waffles  with Raspberry-Plum Jam
   Lunch: Hot Lunch for the Children, Leftovers for Adults
   Snack: Yogurt
   Dinner: Minestrone Soup, Homemade Bread, Apple Slices
Thursday, February 20:
   Breakfast: Oatmeal with Craisins and Pecans
   Lunch: Hot Lunch for the Children, Leftovers for Adults
   Snack: Yogurt
   Dinner: Salad with Steak, Craisins and Orange Slices
Friday, February 21:
   Breakfast: Oatmeal Muffins, Banana-Peanut Butter Smoothies
   Lunch: Hot Lunch for the Children, Leftovers for the Adults
   Snack: Yogurt
   Dinner: Pork Chops, Applesauce, Beets, Apple-Pear-Peach Salad
Saturday, February 22:
   Breakfast: Cinnamon French Toast with Blueberries
   Lunch: Tuna Sandwiches, Cut Veggies, Apple Slices
   Snack: Popcorn
   Dinner: Homemade Pizza and Breadsticks
What are you eating this week?

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Super Savings - Spent $25.45 This Weekend

So we had $22 and change from our grocery envelope  to spend this week.  I was a little nervous since there were a couple of good deals I wanted to take advantage of and we were out of both butter and shortening, which makes it a little hard to bake certain things!  After some pre-planned activities this weekend, we had $10 left that we decided to throw into the grocery envelope, which is how we ended up having the $25.45 to spend that we did!  I think we did quite well this weekend and we're looking at doing some more stocking up this next weekend.  I have to stay I love shopping only once per week - less temptation and I know that I can make the menu with what is in the house!

I put together the list and John did the actual shopping.  We had a very busy weekend this weekend and he ran to the stores while I made dinner on Saturday night.  Here's what we got:

Store #1
Jennie-O Ground Turkey 85% Lean 48oz $5.99 (store coupon) - $1 (coupon) = $4.99 ($1.60/lb)
Kemp's Skim Milk 1 Gallon x2 at 2/$6 (store coupon)

Total Store #1: $10.99
Saved (according to store receipt): $5.98 (35%)

Store #2:
20oz Crisco Baking Sticks $3.49 - $0.75 - $0.75 (doubled coupon) = $1.99
3lb Red Delicious and 3lb Granny Smith Apples B1G1 $4.49 (store coupon) = $4.49 ($0.74/lb)
15oz Smart Balance Spread $3.19 x 2 = $6.39 - $1 - $1 (doubled coupon) = $4.39 ($2.19 ea)
6oz Yoplait Yogurt 10 @ 10/$5 = $5 - $0.50 - $0.50 (doubled coupon) - $0.40 = $3.60 ($0.36 ea)

Total Store #2: $14.46
Saved (according to store receipt): $11.89 (45%)

Total Spent Both Stores: $25.45
Total Saved (According to Store Receipt): $17.87 (58.7%)

How did you do with your shopping this week?