Showing posts from June, 2013

Menu Plan Monday - Our Summer "Vacation" Edition!

We have been taking advantage of beautiful weather outside on the non-rainy days here - it's either been absolutely fantastically beautiful outside or pouring rain (go figure) - and eating on our patio as we can.  We tend to use our patio as a second living room in the summer months, which is wonderful and it really makes sure that we all get some "sunshine time".  Somehow, it just makes the meals that much more special. Not sure why, it just does!

We're looking forward for a few days away from the wild race here this week, with no huge deadlines and few things going on, and some time just spent together as a family. We decided to take the entire week off from work and school for everyone and just be for a while.  Personally, I'm hoping that helps my stress level go down, since it's far higher than I'd like right now. Honestly, we're eating rather weird for us this week with a lot of hot dogs and sandwiches on the menu, but hey, sometimes you just ha…

Frugal, er, Sunday - Frugal Things I Did Last Week

It seems like most of the things that we do that count as "frugal" each week are things that are so routine for us, it's almost silly to write them down.  You know, things like eating at home, taking a lunch to work/school and sticking to a grocery budget.  We do them anyway, and they certainly help!  Maybe that's why we should mention them.

Either way, here's a few things we did this week that aren't in the "normal" list of things we do each and every week:

* Took the children to the local splash pad near our house for a fun Father's Day afternoon.  We only got to stay for about 20 minutes due to bad weather, but we all had fun anyway.

* Bought 24 bags of mulch for our flower beds on sale this week.  Need a lot more, but this is a start!

* Baked chocolate chip cookies using a cake mix rather than flour since I had a cake mix I had gotten for free that needed to be used up and was almost out of white flour anyway.  They turned out good. :)

* Me…

One Last Shopping Trip - June 2013 Pantry Challenge, Week 4

So this is the last week of our June 2013 pantry challenge here in the Stormhammer house.

Not sure how much of a challenge I can call it since we're staying with the $20 for a while now - practice for Internship year! - but we'll see how that goes.

We got our CSA box this last week:

It contained the following goodies: Flowering sage (I put this in a jar on my kitchen table since it was so pretty!), sweet basil, dill, spinach, lettuce, rhubarb, radishes and strawberries.

Just to make you all jealous, here's a photo of the luscious strawberries - we ate them in almost one sitting!  I had totally forgotten how sweet really fresh strawberries are.  The children were astounded by that!

We really need to go strawberry picking this year! (Hopefully next week.)

When I cleaned out the "groceries" envelope of our cash system here I was elated to find $10.31 in the envelope - I had been putting the bills and coins I'd gotten in change back into it as we went and this …

Groceries and Menus and Summer Busy-ness - Pantry Challenge June 2013 Week 3

Initially I was so frustrated that this summer was so not turning out the way I wanted it to be!  This last weekend I was laid low with a huge flair up of one of my chronic illnesses - I was in an enormous amount of pain and nothing we did for 3 days helped in the least.

Sunday we went to worship and John preached.  We had several friends there and the folks at the church we were at were so very, very welcoming that I started to perk up a bit.  I still felt terrible, but at least I perked up.

John is in classes 12 hours a day this week, I have until Friday to turn everything (and I mean everything!) in for my degree, and one thing after another, after another, after another has happened on top of all of that.

I decided that my bad attitude needed to run away permanently so I decided to focus on the stuff that I can do - not what I can't.  It's very difficult to concentrate on anything when you're in terrible pain but at least I can concentrate on thing for 10 minute inte…

Goals - Week of June 9, 2013

I'm continually amazed at how quickly time flies by these days - it seems like time just speeds by and sometimes I just want to grab it by the tail and holler "stop!".  I doesn't work that way so I guess I just get to make the best of time I do have.  
Here were my goals from last week.
Work: * Clean out my backpack and binders
School: * Cross 2 things off my to-do list
Jazzercise: * Teach 4 classes * Learn 2 new routines  I learned one. * Submit my paperwork for May
Family: * Swimming Lessons x 2 * Picnic at the park with friends  * Family Night: Put together Summer "Bucket List", Bonfire * At home date night with John: Bonfire and Apple Crisp
Home: * Finish edging back flower bed * Clean out children's rooms (supervise them doing this)  part way done with this * Finish cleaning out our bedroom part way done with this * Drop off old uniforms for the uniform swap at school * Put together idea board for our "office in a closet" that we're going to in…

Menu Plan Monday - Week #2 of the June 2013 Pantry Challenge

Okay, so the photo has absolutely nothing to do with this week's menu - except that it's edible!  I was organizing my photos and found this ice cream snowman that my cousin Diane made with the kids on their birthday a couple of years ago - super cute and tasty too! (At least for those of us that like coconut!)

We're still eating form the pantry this week. We have a relatively quiet week in terms of "doings" so I have a little more time to bake this week.  We have plenty of meat in the freezers so all the meat we're eating this week is coming from the freezer.

Here's what we're eating this week:

Sunday, June 9th:
   Breakfast: Cereal and Milk
   Lunch; Breakfast Tacos
   Snack: Popcorn
   Dinner: Turkey Potato Casserole, Purple Beets, Melon-Grape-Apple Salad
   Baking: Marshmallow Treats, Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread

Monday, June 10th:
   Breakfast: Toast, Banana-Strawberry Smoothies
   Lunch; Leftovers
   Snack: Yogurt, Marshmallow Treats
   Dinner: Sh…

These are a Few of My Favorite Things - My Garden

I think every single spring since I started this Blog I have written about my garden. I love my garden!  My little piece of green where I can potter about, dig in the dirt and enjoy God's creation.  Occasionally I foolishly think that I get to help Him along - well, at least in terms of what goes where - but we all know Who is really in charge!

I potter about, weed, dig, grumble, smile, water, dig some more and marvel at what happens without my help!

When we bought our house we had a tiny patio between the house and the garage and a whole lot of white rock in the two recognizable flower beds.  We moved into our home in the fall and wondered how much work we'd have to do in the spring to make the  yard "presentable".

Spring came and, low and behold!  The scraggly bushes in the back yard were lilacs - two whites and a purple, and there were scrubby lilies behind the garage - buried under piles of trash and old trash bags filled with leaves.  I gleaned some more lilie…

Super Savings Saturday - Shopping Trip Week 2 of the June Pantry Challenge 2013

I felt like I didn't buy much at the store today - most of the money in our $20 for the week went to cheese! - but we got almost everything we needed.  Unbeknownst to me, John and the children had used up all the Smart Balance at lunch so we were out.  I didn't know that so I didn't buy any.  I do have $1.77 left from this week's #20 so I will see what I can do on Wednesday, the next day that I can double a coupon at our grocery store.

We only went to one store this week.  Here's what we bought:

25oz Palmolive Dish Detergent with Aloe $2.00 (sale) - $0.12 (store coupon) - $0.50 - $0.50 (doubled coupon) = $0.88
60 ct Always Liners $3.49 (sale) - $0.51 (store coupon) - $0.50 - $0.50 (doubled coupon) = $1.98
2.62 lbs Bananas @ $0.59/lb = $1.55
2.03 lbs Red Grapes @ $1.29/lb = $2.62
1.81 lbs D'Anjou Pears @ $1.49/lb = $2.70
8oz Store Brand Sharp Cheddar Cheese $2.50 (sale) - $0.50 (store coupon) = $2
8oz Store Brand Mozzarella Cheese $2.50 (sale) - $0.50 (store co…

Frugal Friday - Frugal Things I did This Week

We had a crazy-busy week here at our house with the children's last week of school, the two of them starting at a new-to-us daycare for the summer (with someone we know very well), rain, rain and more rain, a whole saga with the additional 2 Jazzercise classes I teach each week at another location, and a whole variety of other things. I am soooo glad that it's Friday!!!   And I'm looking forward to Bible Study tomorrow morning and then a trip to IKEA with my best friend to gather some ideas for a couple of projects we have coming up later this year.

I'm finally getting my ducks in a row (time at home in the evenings is a wonderful thing!) to put together a post on the homemade gifts I've been giving out this year.  I hope to have that post up next week.

In the meantime here are the frugal things we did this week:

* Picnic at the park with friends to celebrate the end of school.  After 5 1/2 hours the playing the children were good and TIRED Tuesday night!

* I put t…

Goals - Week of June 2, 2013

It's officially summer here at our house this week - the children are off as of Tuesday (they came home with full backpacks today) and we're heading to park after school with friends to celebrate the end of the year with a picnic and playing. Fortunately, we have some nice indoor parks nearby if the weather is wet, which is what it looks like it will be.

I'm hoping to have more time in the evenings now that I'm not scrambling to meet daily deadlines at school and work to get things done around the house and I'm taking Friday's off to spend some time with the children and get bigger projects done as well as hopefully having some time for rest and relaxation too.

Here's my goal list for this week
Work: * Clean out my backpack and binders
School: * Cross 2 things off my to-do list
Jazzercise: * Teach 4 classes * Learn 2 new routines * Submit my paperwork for May
Family: * Swimming Lessons x 2 * Picnic at the park with friends  * Family Night: Put together Summe…

Menu Plan Monday - June Pantry Challenge 2013 Week 1

John and I decided that we needed to do another pantry challenge - especially if we're going to eat up everything in the freezers before we start having to re-stock!  I inventoried the freezers - the small chest freezer we have (it's about the size of a standard electric clothes dryer) and the one on top of our fridge - and heartily agreed!  We have a ton of meat - very little fruit and veg, but a few things - that needs to be eaten.

So, for the month of June we're dropping our grocery/toiletry/paper product/etc. budget to $20/wk or $80 for the whole month.  We're  putting the other $40 from these first two weeks toward our CSA for next year.  Starting in May 2014 our budget will have only $20/week for this part of our budget so we need to get into practice now.  Right now, the plan is to go to $15/wk in July with the other $5 of the $20 going to our CSA.  We'll see how we're doing and adjust then!

So I went to the store on Sunday instead of my usual Saturday w…