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Showing posts from June, 2010

Home Work and Family - Easy and Fun Summer Family Fun

One of the really nice things about not graduating in December is that my schedule has calmed down a bit. Yes, I am still mentally (and sometimes physically) hanging at loose ends but I do have more 'free' time.

And I'm using it to enjoy time with my precious family.

Since we're working at becoming debt free, that means things can't be expensive.
Since we're still busy it means things have to easy too.

So what are some of the things we have been doing?

* Bubbles! I don't know why, but bubbles are a huge hit with my kids! They got a mega page of bubble wands in all different shapes and sizes and a gallon jug of bubble solution. We have spent literally hours playing with that. The kids blowing, John and I blowing with the kids chasing, all four of us ohh-ing and ahh-ing over really large, really tiny or particularly spectacular bubbles. It's a ton of fun!

* Free crafts! We live in the Twin Cities so we have Lakeshore Learning Store, which has free crafts…

Goals Update: Digging Out from Overwhelmed

Ever since I found out I won't be graduating in December, I feel like I've been dumped on my head. I have no plan, no idea of how to rearrange everything that I had so carefully scheduled and no idea of whether or not it's going to effect my job or my family relationship or anything else.

Monday this last week I hit the proverbial wall. I was stressed. I had been fighting the beginnings of a migraine for about 4 days, though it hadn't actually become the full-blown thing yet. I even skipped good friend's surprise birthday party to stay home and make sure it didn't have the external stimulation to become a full blown migraine.

I told John I needed to talk - really talk - about everything that was weighing on me. We scheduled time on Tuesday evening after the kids were in bed and everything had been 'put away for the night' so to speak. He was on call Monday night and we had an awards banquet on Wednesday night, so that was the first night we had cer…

Menu Plan Monday - Week of June 27th

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I totally spaced posting groceries this week, but I definitely did go shopping! And we are eating well again this week and here's what we're having:

Sunday, June 27: Breakfast: Cereal Lunch: Out for All Dinner: Grilled Steak and Hot Dogs, Corn on the Cob, Homemade Bread, Strawberry-Blueberry-Banana Salad

Monday, June 28: Breakfast: Peanut Butter Toast, Strawberries and Bananas Dinner: Shrimp Stir Fry, Rice, Grape-Cantaloupe-Strawberry Salad

Tuesday, June 29: Breakfast: Oatmeal Muffins, Peanut Butter-Banana Smoothies Dinner: Homemade Pizza and Bread sticks, Lettuce Salad, Cantaloupe-Peach-Grape Salad

Wednesday, June 30: Breakfast: Oatmeal with Peaches and Cinnamon Dinner: At Church

Thursday, July 1: Breakfast: Waffles with Bananas and Pecans Dinner: Grilled Kielbasa, Rice, Lettuce Salad, Pineapple-Cantaloupe-Peach Salad

Friday, July 2: Breakfast: Cold Cereal with Bananas Dinner: BBQ Chicken Legs, Pasta Salad, Grape-Cantaloupe-Pineapple…

Menu Plan Monday - Week of June 20th

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We have another busy week here! I'm so grateful that it's summer and cool, easy things are on the menu. It makes life just so much easier. Here's what we're eating this week: Sunday, June 20, Father's Day: Breakfast: Cereal Lunch: Pancakes with Blueberries, Blackberries, Strawberries and Pecans Dinner: Chicken and Veggie Fried Rice (see pic above), Strawberry-Grape-Blueberry Salad Monday, June 21: Breakfast: Oatmeal with Cinnamon Dinner: At a Friend's House (BBQ for a birthday party) Tuesday, June 22: Breakfast: Oatmeal Muffins and Peanut Butter-Banana Smoothies Dinner: Hamburger Gravy, Noodles, Salad, and Melon-Grape-Banana Salad Wednesday, June 23: Breakfast: Oatmeal with Cinnamon Dinner: Out for Lea and John, PB&J with Vanilla Pudding and Grapes for Buddy and Missy Thursday, June 24: Breakfast: Waffles with Blackberries and Pecans Dinner: Scalloped Potatoes with Ham, Salad, Strawberry-Banana-Blueberry Salad Friday, June 25: Brea…

Super Savings Saturday - $56.57 HAUL!

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Yes, this week's haul was large enough that I need 3 pictures (yes, there is some overlap between 2 of them!) to show you all the details! It was a week for details - that made me very happy! Store #1: Total: $26.36 (store listed savings $17.21) 4 boxes Kellogg's Nutrigrain Bars $1.75 ea (store coupon) 2 lbs Strawberries BOGO (store coupon) 2 pints Blueberries BOGO (store coupon) 2 pints Blackberries BOGO (store coupon) 1 bunch radishes $0.50 2 green peppers $0.66 2 Cherry Tomatoes BOGO (store coupon) 1 Goldfish Crackers $1 1 lb yellow onions $1.99 Store #2: Total: $30.41 (store listed savings $21.22) Store Brand 5lb Flour $2.29 Betty Crocker Warm Delights 2 x $1.75 - $0.75 - $0.75 -$0.75 - $0.75 = $0.50 Cascadian Farms Fruity Os Cereal $2.50 - $1 - $1 = $0.50 Pringles 4 x $1.69 - $1 = $5.76 Old El Paso Taco Shells 2 x $1.50 - $0.60 - $0.60 = $1.80 2.52 lbs bananas x $0.48/lb = $1.21 2.03 lbs grapes x $0.99/lb = $2.01 16 sweet corn x $0.25 = $4 1lb carrots $1 2lb celery $1.49 8oz store brand chedda…

Healthy Habits in 2010 - Those Pesky Snacks (AKA Stress Eating!)

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Ahh, yes. Cookies. Peanut Butter ones here in the picture. And for some reason, soooo much better than usual. Not sure what I did, but they are darn yummy! And this was the second batch I had made. And we made a batch of oatmeal (my all time favorite!) too.

Uff da!

Yep, I've been stress eating. For the last month and half - starting right before the onslaught of food for the kids' birthday (and the 4 dozen cupcakes that made their way through our house!). And the leftover party food (pulled pork, potato salad, lots of fruit and veggies). And the rhubarb came in so my mom made jam. And I made crisp. And then for date night this week I made a blackberry cream pie!

Oh my, oh my.

Couple all of that with everything that has been going on and the stress eating has gotten seriously out of control. It almost makes me wish that I was one of those people who can't eat when they're nervous. Almost.

I love my food. And I love treats - cookies, cake, chips, candy, crac…

Goals Update - Graduation Derailed

Wednesday this past week I found out that no matter what I WILL NOT be able to graduate in 2010.


You see, I have been working on this dang written exam for A YEAR now. I have on committee member who will not sign off on the thing (no one else on my committee and a couple of other random faculty can figure out why) and he did not understand that in order for me to take Dissertation credits this summer (which I need in order to graduate in December!) I needed to have the exam approved and my preliminary oral exam completely completed by June 25th. So, he's out of the country until the 30th and basically told me 'isn't going to happen.'


He knows I have this job and the requirements that go along with it.
He knows I need 24 Dissertation credits to graduate.
He knows that no one else can figure out why he's 'concerned.'


Basically it appears that he really doesn't give a hoot.


I'm furious.


Why? Because I've been sitting on everything else for about 10 months…

Menu Plan Monday - Week Of June 13th

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Oh, my, oh my! I thought our schedule was crazy before, but with John at his Intensive classes this past week it's been downright nuts! Not to mention finding out some things that just plain made me furious and kept me from getting work done (more on that later today).

This week is a repeat, so I'm trying to think of things we can eat that would be relatively easy and tasty at the same time. Since we cut down our meat consumption, I'm starting to feel like I need to take a better look at how to utilize our options. So I will do that this week, but right now we're still trying to 'eat normal' (or something like that!)

Here's what on the menu this week:


Sunday, June 13: Breakfast: Cereal and Bananas Lunch: Leftovers
Dinner: Pizza Party at John's Intensive

Monday, June 14: Breakfast: Oatmeal with Pecans and Blueberries Dinner: Pork Chops, Roasted Potatoes, Spinach & Lettuce Salad, Strawberry-Melon-Banana Salad

Tuesday, June 15: Breakfast: Oatmeal Muffins and Str…

These are a Few of My Favorite Things - Friends!

John and I have been so blessed to have a wonderful family. Everyone gets along. Nobody has grudges or fights or makes rude comments. The kids have their normal kid squabbles and there is sometimes miscommunication, but we all get along. What a blessing!

However, we live 3 1/2 hours away from John's family and 2 1/2 days away from my parents. That means we don't see our families very often, usually only 2-3 times a year. Yes, my parents come for a month or more at a time, but that still means that the majority of the time, they aren't around.

That means friends are a huge part of our life.

We have many, many friends, most of which are part of our faith community as well. John is part of Lion's International, so we have friends there. I am a volunteer class coordinator for Jazzercise, so we have friends there too. Then there's work friends and school friends for both of us. Our kids are in preschool and daycare, so we have additional friends from those places as…

Super Savings Saturday - I Splurged a Little! $83 and change

Alas, I don't have pictures this week since my camera battery is charging!

I did get A LOT of stuff - and spent about $85 in three different shopping trips. I had $25 from last pay period, and $80 from this pay period, so I have about $16 for next week. I'm okay with that! I also can't find my receipts (I have NO idea where I put them!) so I don't have exact totals today either. **Sigh**

Trip #1: Farmer's Market:
2 lbs organic 85% lean ground beef
1 lb organic pork chops
Total: $14 and change

Trip #2: Grocery Store #1
2 1lb strawberries (BOGO)
1 36oz Old Orchard Grapefruit Juice
1 10-pk Oscar Meyer All-Meat Wieners
4 packages Sargento Low-Salt Shredded Cheese
4 boxes Kellogg's Mini-Wheats
2 2-lb bags Arctic Shores Pre-cooked Shrimp (70ct was on sale, we got 90ct because they ran out!) (BOGO)
Total: $38 and change (after coupons and sales)

Trip #3: Grocery Store #2
2.3 lbs bananas
1 large pineapple
1 large cantaloupe
2 boxes Cheerios
2 boxes Lucky Charms
1 package Marcel Napkins
1 3…

Frugal Friday - Inexpensive Gardening Tips

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I love my garden! As I wrote about on Sunday, I'm a bit of a "ball twine and duct tape" gardener, meaning the easier the better! I truly don't have a lot of time and bit of weeding and dead heading each week is usually all I can manage. So, I need low-maintenance plants that pretty much fend for themselves.

Also, with both John and I both being in school, money is definitely something that we need to watch! Still, I've found that it's easy to have a lovely garden with a bit of elbow grease and a bit of ingenuity. I'm sure I could have done this cheaper than I have, but these are ways I've saved money on our garden:

Clean out your yard! You would be surprised what you already have! When we bought our home, the previous homeowners had buried the orange day lilies under literally piles of junk (broken appliances, pieces of concrete, bags of old leaves and trash). We cleaned those out when we moved in in September and in the spring, Surprise!, we h…