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Showing posts from April, 2013

Menu Plan Monday - Week of April 28, 2013

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We finally have spring - whoot!  I am so excited! The weather was still winter-jacket weather at the beginning of last week, complete with boots and snow pants, but by the end of the week it was 70F+ outside!  We ate dinner outside on Friday and even grilled. The kids asked for hot dogs so we used about $7 of our "entertainment/recreation" money to buy hot dogs and buns and grilled out on Friday.  I think everyone else had the same idea - our whole neighborhood smelled like burgers!  We've spent a lot of time outside the last few days cleaning up the yard and just enjoying the weather after being stuck inside for soooo long.

We have a lot of food in our freezer, pantry and fridge still.  Since we're saving for a bulk meat purchase and our CSA starts again in about a month, we're still trying to eat from the freezer in particular.  We have a lot of meat - chicken, shrimp, pork, a bit of ground beef, a whole turkey, a large ham and some white fish. (No wonder we …

These are a Few of My Favorite Things - Watching God at Work in Our Lives

These last few years have seemed so very long.

We've had so many emotional upheavals, health problems, household projects, and school, school, and more school.

Friends have betrayed us, our financial situation changed, John's work situation changed drastically recently, and I am still trying to finish this darn dissertation.

In the last few weeks, it seems like so much of this work is coming to fruition.

Our budget is getting to a point where we can say we're comfortable for internship without having to panic. (Okay, I'm the only one who was starting to panic!)

We've stabilized our church situation and friends who are true friends have apologized and are friends again or stayed friends in the first place.

John's work is still rough but we only have to survive one more year there!

The ducks are starting to line up in a row for me to finish this dissertation and my degree soon. (Happy dance!)

Some of the many things we desperately need to get done around the hous…

Super Savings Saturday - $27.72 shopping trip

So, we're all dragging with head colds thanks to two children at my children's school and one of my co-workers who kindly shared.  We've been trying to get things done and yet lay low at the same time.  Today I had meetings for a large chunk of the day - 7:30 am - 2 pm - while John took the children first to Bible Study and then to dance class. We all took a nap after that!

As far as grocery shopping, he did half the grocery shopping while the children were at dance class and I did the rest on my way home.  Again - no photo this week - I actually took out the camera to take a photo and realized the battery was dead!  Now I can't find the charger. Such has been this week. :P

Anyway, we went to two stores and spent $27.72 on groceries this week.

Store #1 (John's stop):
Jumbo Cantaloupe $2.50
8oz block of Kraft Cheese 2 @ 2/$4

Total Store #1: $6.50

Store #2 (My stop):
2.25oz Chopped Walnuts $1.57
5lbs Gold Medal Best for Bread Flour $3.29
20ct Mission Tortillas $2.99

In the Refiner's Fire - Just when you think....

So my husband is going through this little journey called Seminary.  As in, "I want to be a Pastor when I grow up" Seminary.

In our church denomination this is usually a 2 year full-time student plus 1 year full-time internship plus another 1/2 year full-time student journey - so 3 1/2 years total.  In our family it has been a 5 year journey so far because he's only going part-time and working full-time while doing so (and yes, he does sleep occasionally!).  We have one more year of classes until he does his internship.  We have everything set up so that we don't have to come back as a student after that unless he's really lacking something (which we hope he isn't!).  He'll be quitting his job to do the internship, which is both scary and exciting and we're (okay, I'M) very nervous about how all of that is going to work out.

Recently John met with a Pastor of a church to talk about summer Pulpit Supply for their congregation over the summer.  We w…

Goals - Week of April 21, 2013

Wow, it's been a while since I've been posting consistently.   I started the year with such great blogging plans and, well, then, life happens.  **SIGH**

Same thing with goals - I mean to post every week, and even though I've been doing quite well with making my lists and getting through them, nothing much happens here on line.  Now that I'm finally feeling better again, I'm hoping to get back to more of a regular blogging schedule.   I guess the down side of having two chronic illnesses and battling shingles too is that some things just don't get done!

Anyway, here's the goals lists for the week:

Work:
* Notes for the rest of the semester - I can't believe we only have a few weeks left already.
* Catch up my grading again.
* Submit updated current grades for my students

School:
* Meet with my adviser
* Put finished on a paper I'm writing

Jazzercise:
* Teach 4 classes this week
* Learn 3 new routines
* Attend one additional class this week
* Email m…

Menu Plan Monday - Week of April 21, 2013

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We have had ICKY weather here this last week - we got about 5 more inches of heavy wet snow mixed with sleet and rain on Thursday and then Sunday is was raining again, with a few more snowflakes early in the morning.  That was after having 50F earlier last week and then the temperature dropping like a roller coaster and staying there.  This past weekend it was theoretically warm - but the wind was brutal.

All of that leaves me in the mood for soup, stew and casseroles - we rarely eat casseroles but it was definitely on my mind this last week!   Comfort food time.  The twin's birthday is coming up the beginning of May and Missy keeps asking if we'll have snow on their birthday. I keep saying "I hope not!" :)

In light of all of that, here's what we're eating this week:

Sunday, April 21:
  Breakfast:  Cereal with Milk
  Lunch:  At a Birthday Party
  Snack:  Potato chips (we were given some after a luncheon at church on Saturday)
  Dinner: Salad with Craisins an…

These are a Few of My Favorite Things - Little Things Abound

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Well, spring seems to have decided to wait a while  - even though it's the end of April.  What's up with that? I'm blaming it on a coworker who showed up to work in sandals a couple of weeks ago! :)
In spite of the icky weather, (which a cousin of mine decided to label "springter" - spring + winter) there are so many little things to be thankful for!
A few years ago I started writing down one thing per day that I was thankful for with each of my family members.  Then about a year and a half ago, I decided to write down 20 things I was thankful for each day. WOW! It was such a good reminder of how very, very blessed I am - even when things seem downright lousy.
These last few weeks I've had shingles, on top of my two chronic illnesses.  Then last week I pulled a muscle that pushed on my tailbone - ouch!  There was no position that was comfortable and at times the pain was so bad all I could do was try to sleep - I just couldn't even think.  It was a very …

Super Savings Saturday - $36.95 Shopping Trip

Alas, no picture again this week but I did send John out to the stores today.  He did a great job and we got plenty of things to round out what we have in our cupboards and freezers as well as what we have in the fridge.

He went to two stores and here's what he got:

Store #1:
Braeburn Apples 2.51lbs @ $1/lb = $2.51
Whole White Mushrooms $0.98
English Cucumber 1 @ $1 = $1
Blackberries 8oz $1.88
Strawberries 1lb $1.88

Total Spent Store #1; $8.25

Store #2:
Quaker Yellow Cornmeal 24oz $2.15
Store Brand Oyster Crackers 2 @ $1.19 = $2.38
Crisco Vegetable Oil 48oz $3.49
Crisco Butter-flavored Sticks $3.49
Bananas 2.98lbs @ $0.59/lb = $1.76
Whole Pineapple $2.98
3lbs Sweet White Onions $3.49
Fresh Express Salad $1.98
Smart Balance Spread 2 @ $3.49 = $6.98

Total Spent Store #2: $28.70
Total Saved Store #2 According to Store Receipt: $3.32

Total Spent Both Stores: $36.95
Total Saved According to Store Receipts: $3.32 (8%)

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

Menu Plan Monday - Week of April 14, 2013

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As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I started feeling in a bit of a rut when it comes to cooking around here.  I've been trying some new baking recipes and pulling out some old favorites we haven't had for quite a while.   We still have very busy weeks - though they are slightly less busy since we don't have Lenten worship anymore during the week - and we're trying to keep things simple.  It doesn't always work but that's the plan!

We're still also trying to eat what we have in the freezers so we can empty them for our bulk meat purchase and the summer CSA veggies.  Making progress but I still feel like we have a LONG way to go!  Slow and steady wins the race, right, and it's such a blessing to have so much food in the house!

Here's what we're eating this week:

Sunday, April 14:
   Breakfast:  At church
   Lunch:  Turkey Sandwiches with Oranges
   Snack:  Popcorn
   Dinner: Chili, Cornbread, Tossed Salad, Strawberry-Pineapple-Pear Salad

Monday, Ap…

Super Savings, er, Sunday - $37.59 shopping trip

No picture again this week - sorry!  My shingles have been acting up and digging out the camera just seemed like too much work!  Yes, it's a lame excuse, but that's the way life is right now around here.  :)   Our trip to the grocery stores also happened later on Saturday, which for us is odd, so I felt like I was scrambling to get things put away and dinner made after we got the shopping trip done.

We went to two stores this week and bought several fresh veggies and fruits and a few fun things as well.  We're pretty well stocked for meat right now and we're trying to eat down our freezer so we can buy our bulk meat.  The only meat we bought this week was two packages of hot dogs for our camping trip this summer.  The kids like to drink apple juice with dinner so we bought some of that too.

Here's what we bought:

Store #1:
10 ct Mission Tortillas 10" $0.99 store coupon
Store Brand 56oz Apple Juice $1.99 store coupon
2 Nature Sweet Cherub Tomatoes B1G1 $3.99 s…

Menu Plan Monday - Week of April 7, 2013

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Well, we spent $37.39 on groceries this week, so here's what we're doing with that and what we have in the house!   We have a busy week this week - especially Thursday (because, everything is scheduled on Thursday, you know!), so we have a couple of crock pot meals this week that will yield lots of leftovers for lunch!

Here we go:

Sunday, April 7:
  Breakfast: Cold Cereal with Milk
  Lunch: At Church for a Sunday School Forum
  Snack:  Leftover French Bread
  Dinner: Ground Turkey Hard-Shell Tacos, Pineapple-Mandarin Orange- Strawberry Salad

Monday, April 8:
  Breakfast: Oatmeal with Apples and Cinnamon
  Lunch: Apples with Peanut Butter, Yogurt, Carrots and/or Tomatoes, Cookie
  Snack: Popcorn
  Dinner: Lentil and Black Bean Soup in the crock pot, Honey Whole Wheat Biscuits, Orange Wedges

Tuesday, April 9:
   Breakfast: Oatmeal Muffins with Orange Wedges
   Lunch: Hot Lunch for the Children, Leftovers for Adults
   Snack: Yogurt
   Dinner: Soup from the Freezer, Pineapple-S…

These are a Few of My Favorite Things - Little Things Continued.....

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As we s...l...o...w...l...y...   make our way into spring here in Minnesota, I am continually reminded that it's the little things that make me so very grateful and fill my days with wonder!
....The new buds on the lilacs after a winter of dormant hiding...
...Buds on the rhododendron too...
...Green grass starting to peek out...
...Getting itchy to be out the yard and garden again...
...The lovely new watering can and garden gloves John bought me for Easter....


....The final leftovers of this wonderful, salvaged dessert...
...An abundance of cookbooks at the local library to check out and browse....
....Online recipes to browse too....
...Learning how to make my Dad's signature "Fish Chowder" with him last week....

...Eating the chowder with my folks and their lovely blue dishes that I remember so well...
...Adapting the recipe for the crock pot when I cam home...

...Morning water coloring by my resident artist - before breakfast too!....
....That my children's…

Super Savings Saturday - Our $37.39 Shopping Trip

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I finally remembered to take a photo this week - it's from my iPod in really bad light but at least it *is* a photo!

We went to two stores and spent $37.39 between the two stores.   Here's how we did it and what we got:

Store #1:
McCormick Grill Mates Seasoning $1 - $0.75 coupon = $0.25
Store Brand Organic Spring Mix Greens 2@ $3.99 B1G1 store coupon = $3.99
Large Melon $2.50
Ginger Root 0.12lbs @ $2.99/lb = $0.36
Bulk Cous Cous 1.54lbs @ $3.19/lb = $4.91

Total Store #1: $12.01
Total Saved According to Receipt: $4.74 (28%)

Store #2:
Mott's Apple Juice 64oz $2.50 Sale Price - $0.52 store coupon = $1.98
100 Ct Vanity Fair Napkins 2@ $1.66/ea - $1 - $1 doubled coupon = $1.32 ($0.006/napkin)
S&W Low Salt Black Beans 2 @ $0.75 - $1 - $0.50 "doubled" coupon = FREE
Edy's Fruit Bars $3.50 - $1.52 store coupon = $1.98
Colgate Sparkling White Toothpaste $1.39 - $0.51 store coupon = $0.88
Crest for Kids Toothpaste $2.49
52 ct Goody Clear Hair Elastics $2.49
Anjou Pe…

Work, Home and Family - Saving Dessert - Step by Step Instructions

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So, we spent Easter Dinner and most of Sunday afternoon with some very dear friends of ours.  My friend LOVES to cook and it is truly a ministry of hers - having people over for meals, teas, breakfast, snacks, taking meals to those who need it.  (She brought us the most amazing homemade sweet and sour chicken with sticky rice when our children were born!)  She has severe physical limitations for many things but, man, can she cook! I have long since given up on asking if I can bring anything to meals since I know how much she loves to cook and how good she is at it!

The thing is, I love to bake.

And she loves to cook.  And dislikes baking.

So I usually bring dessert.

For Easter it's a carrot cake.

I usually bake the cake on Saturday and then frost and decorate it on Sunday right before we go over to their house.  I even have a cross-shaped cake pan that I use for things like Easter - decorated with piped icing flowers or, even better, edible fresh flowers and fruit, or some com…

Menu Plan Monday - Easter Week 2013

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This week, starting Sunday, begins the Easter Season in our church year!   I love Easter and I love spring!  We still have snow on the ground and I am so ready to be done with that but since I can't control the weather I just have to live with it!  We started some flower and vegetable seeds inside in both an old egg carton and halves of egg shells.  The children were really excited and I'm excited to be doing something that feels like spring!   Did a little more stocking up on the grocery shopping this weekend but we're still trying to clean out the freezers around here, which means I have to be creative with the cooking!

Here's what we're eating this week:

Easter Sunday, March 31:
   Breakfast:  At church (our church has a huge, hot breakfast each Easter Sunday)
   Lunch/Dinner (mid-afternoon): At a Friend's house
   Desert:  Carrot Cake (we brought this to our friend's house)
   Snack: Popcorn, Orange Wedges

Monday, April 1:
   Breakfast:  Resurrection R…