Monday, October 28, 2013

Goals Week of October 27, 2013

It's been a few weeks since I posted my weekly goals here.  I feel like I've gotten more efficient in my work during the day or maybe it's that I'm finally starting to get in some sort of rhythm and know how much I really can accomplish each day.  I do want to make sure that I'm available for my family in the evenings so that is definitely motivation too!  My list is rather long this week but many of the things are small things that take very little time - in fact, I already have 5 of these things completed and it's only Monday!  We'll see how the week goes but I'm cautiously optimistic!

Here's the goals for the week:

Submit mid-term grades.
Write, solve and edit a test.
Lessons for the week.
Post solutions from the last unit online.

Turn in paperwork.
Reading (in prep for meeting with my committee).
Finish going through my data one last time.

Teach 2 classes.
Learn 3 new routines.
Update my iTunes.

Visit the Apple Orchard (Family Night)
Piano Lessons x2
Swimming Lessons
Friends over on Friday
Trick or Treating

Ironing - I have four tablecloths that need to be pressed right now and it's weighing on me!
Update Our Budget Book.
Shred Papers in Living Room.
Mending pile on Living Room Chair (don't ask!).
Finish Two Christmas Gifts.

Pray for and about the situation that came up with John's church work.
Pray about some other things that are happening in our life right now.
Update my prayer book and make sure I get in daily devotional time.

Paint my toenails.
Read novel loaned to me by a friend and return.
1 hour on my embroidery
Get to bed on time 5 nights this week.

What are your goals for the week?

Menu Plan Monday - Week of October 27, 2013

Did I show you these yet? They're my attempt at Cranberry-Orange scones and, my, were they good! I went a little overboard with the glaze so I think a dusting of powdered sugar would be better next time.  Anyway, yum, yum, yum!!!  I used to think scones were a fancy, hard to make thing. Not so! Easy and yummy and even better as leftovers!
 I'm feeling like were FINALLY getting back to a more restful pace around here - John isn't doing quite as much time on-call for work now and his preaching schedule is lightening up going into the Christmas holiday as well. We don't have any in-house company until right before Christmas either. I'm looking forward to a few weeks of our own crazy "normal" rather than trying to fit a lot of "extra" stuff on top of it all.
We're on revamp number umpteen of the grocery budget and it seems to be working okay.  I'm getting a little concerned about meat but we aren't anywhere near a danger zone yet and we have some really good deals on chicken coming up this week.  My parents usually buy groceries while they are here - such a treat! - but they usually buy a lot of things we don't normally buy like ice cream, lunch meat, and packaged cookies.  They did buy milk, celery and cheese for us this time, but otherwise most of the purchases were not our normal items.
We're still trying to do more crockpot eating during the week so we have two meals in the crockpot this week using meat from the freezer and pantry.  It was Reformation Sunday this weekend and we were treated to a lovely lunch after the service at church put on by the families of the Confirmands.  Delicious and well appreciated - I didn't have to cook when we got home and we had no idea what to make anyway!  Love it when that works out like that!
Here's what we're eating this week:
Sunday, October 27:
   Breakfast: Cereal
   Lunch: At Church
   Snack:  Apple Doughnuts at the Apple Orchard
   Dinner:  Pork Loin, Roasted Potatoes, Tossed Salad, Banana-Raspberry-Strawberry Salad
Monday, October 28:
   Breakfast: Yogurt with Raspberries and Granola, Peanut Butter Toast
   Lunch: Hot Lunch for the Children, Leftovers for the Adults
   Snack: Yogurt and Granola
   Dinner: Vegetable Calzones, Sliced Apples and Pears
Tuesday, October 29:
   Breakfast: Oatmeal with Walnuts and Craisins
   Lunch: Hot Lunch for the Children,  Leftovers for the Adults
   Snack: Carrot Sticks
   Dinner:  Crock pot Shrimp Fried Rice, Pineapple
Wednesday, October 30:
   Breakfast: Pancakes with Strawberries and Walnuts
   Lunch: Hot Lunch for the Children, Leftover for the Adults
   Snack: Carrot and Celery Sticks with Yogurt Dip
   Dinner: Easy Black Bean Soup,  Cornbread,  Sliced Apples and Pears
Thursday, October 31: All Hallows Eve (Halloween)
   Breakfast: Chai Spiced Oatmeal
   Lunch: Hot Lunch for the Children, Leftovers for the Adults
   Snack:  Soul Cakes
   Dinner: Crock pot Beef Tips and Gravy (made with venison), Rice, Pineapple-Strawberry-Apple Salad
Friday, November 1: All Saint's Day
   Breakfast: Maple Oat Scones
   Lunch: Homemade Cheese Pizza and Bread sticks, Sliced Apples (the children are having friends over since they don't have school that day due to it being the end of the term)
   Snack: Soul Cakes
   Dinner: Cabbage Rolls, Baking Powder Biscuits, Sliced Pineapple
Saturday, November 2:
  Breakfast: Leftover Scones, Yogurt with Granola
  Lunch: Vegetable Soup, Tossed Salad
  Snack: Popcorn
  Dinner: Homemade Pizza and Bread sticks, Tossed Salad
  At-Home Date Night Dessert: Apple Crisp with Caramel Sauce
What are you eating this week?

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Super Savings "Saturday" - $39.28 Shopping Trip

It's been a very busy two weeks - company, school events, MEA weekend (with the children off school for two days), fall and Halloween events, our first really hard frost (which means we need to get the yard cleaned up big time), a fundraiser, mid-term or end-of-quarter for everyone at school, and all the usual craziness around here! 

We went grocery shopping in two pieces yesterday between all sorts of other things that we had to do (whoever said weekends were for relaxing never lived at our house!) so I didn't get a photo of either time.  Sigh.  Hopefully back to regularly scheduled programming this week so I can actually get a photo!

My parents were here last week and bought us groceries last weekend and I bought only light bulbs with our "grocery" money last week so we had an "extra" $12 to add to the grocery budget this week.  So we had a total of $42 to spend at the stores.  I spent $39.28 and here's what I got.

Store #1:
Fresh Express Salad 2 @ 2/$3 = $3
Pint Grape Tomatoes $2.50
Driscoll Raspberries 2 @ 2/$4 = $4
Cool Whip $1.99
Tombstone Pizza 4 @ $2.88 ea = $11.52
Total Store #1: $23.01
Total Saved According to Receipt: $10.42 (31%)

Store #2:
Store Brand Baking Powder $1.29
16oz Turkey Franks 2 @ 2/$2 = $2
1lb Strawberries $2
Large Whole Pineapple $2.99
8oz Block Cheddar Cheese $1.5
8oz Bagged Shredded Cheese (2 Mozzarella and 1 Cheddar) 3 @ $1.50ea = $4.50
1 dozen large eggs $1.99
Total Store #2: $16.27
Total Saved According to Receipt: $15.63 (48%)

Total Spent: $39.28
Total Save According to Receipts: $26.05 (40%)

I have rarely seen franks (hot dogs) this cheep so my folks bought us 2 packages this last weekend and we bought two more.  These should last us until well after Christmas.  I'm hoping we can have one night where it's warm enough to roast them over a fire in the fire pit in our backyard.  The raspberries and Cool Whip were for treats I made for the fundraiser.  We had leftovers so we had extra treats in the house - the kids were thrilled.  Just what we need along with Halloween candy, right?  I'm a little sad with the price of eggs right now - they seem so expensive since we've been blessed to have them right around $1/dozen for so long.  We had milk, apples, carrots, pears and celery leftover from the last few weeks as well as meat in the deep freeze and canned venison in our pantry.  We are truly blessed!  Come back on Monday to see what we're eating this week.

How did you do this week with your shopping? 

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Super Savings "Saturday" - I saved more than I spent

Okay, so maybe I should say "John saved more than he spent" since I sent him out to the store since my cousin Diane was visiting and I wanted to stay home and visit with her. :)  Love that man for doing things like that for me!   And I didn't get a picture either - since we had company we just put the groceries away rather than setting them out to take a picture.

We spent $32 and change.  I "saved" $34 and change.  Of course, I put the receipt somewhere where I would remember where I put it and now I can't find it! :)

Here's the deals I remember:

5lb All Purpose Flour $1.77 (sale)
Westpac Mixed Veggies $0.77 - $0.35 - $0.35 = $0.07 (sale minus doubled coupon)
Cheerios 3 boxes at 3/$6 - $1 - $1 - $0.50 - $0.50 = $3 (sale minus two doubled coupons)
Quaker Oatmeal 2 @ $1.77 = $3.54  (sale)
Skippy Peanut Butter 2/$3 = $3 (sale)
5lb Potatoes $0.99 (sale)
3lb Yellow Onions $0.99 (sale)
2lb Carrots $0.99 (sale)
Yoplait Greek Yogurt 6oz 10/$10 - $1 - $1 - $0.60 - $0.60 = $6.80 ($0.68 each) (sale minus two doubled coupons)

We also bought pears, mushrooms, tea and something else that I'm forgetting.

It was a really good week grocery-wise and I was happy to stock up on some flour, oatmeal, cheerios and peanut butter.  We were completely out of potatoes and carrots so those were much appreciated and the yogurt makes for something easy to take for lunch for me. 

I'm feeling a bit like a heel that I can't find the receipt but I'll chalk that up to a busy weekend.  We got some really difficult news this weekend and it's leaving us very disappointed and hurt - Lord willing, I'll write more about that on Thursday this week.  Company always makes things crazy and I'm heading into mid-term projects at school which makes things even busier. 

In the meantime, my folks are visiting (super fun!), we had a great weekend with my cousin, and it's MEA weekend this weekend  - the kids get a four day weekend!  We're excited about doing some fall things this weekend and we're enjoying some definitely fall weather.   Come back on Monday and see what we're eating.

How did you do with your shopping this weekend?

Friday, October 11, 2013

Frugal Friday - Frugal Things We've Done the Last Few Weeks

We've had a very weird fall - lots of people in and out visiting and staying with us, lots of schedule "stuff" all over the place, and getting ready for a huge life change in the spring with John leaving his current job and heading into Internship.  I feel like we've been caught in the whirlwind and there hasn't been much of a pause.   I've finally realized that no matter what there's always going to be something "weird' or "unusual" going on - and that's just the way life is right now.
We've been trying to work on being frugal in spite of the circumstances and trying to host more people for meals and fellowship time in our home.  That's been a challenge but it's been a good challenge!
In that vein, here are some things that we've done over the last few weeks to be frugal:
* Picked more veggies from our garden - green peppers and tomatoes.
* We received an "extra" box of veggies from our CSA.
* We enjoyed a bonfire and potluck dinner at our CSA's farm - which was a wonderful time enjoying food, games, hay rides, a bonfire and live music.
* Attended a fundraiser at school and had the kids faces painted and they got to play for a while with their friends.  We got to visit with the other parents.  It was also a really good time.
* Checked out several books and movies from the library.
* Chopped up the lilac branches we had trimmed off the bushes this year so it can season over winter for next year's fall bonfires.
* Cut up and froze many, many green peppers.
* Received a quart jar of each of the following: applesauce, sweet dill pickles, bear meat, and spaghetti sauce from a houseguest.
* Fed all of our guests from our regular grocery budget and/or what we had in the house/pantry rather than doing something really out of the ordinary.
* Made up a list of homemade Christmas gifts to make for our family and a few friends this year  and started making a few things.
* Cleaned my coffee pot so it works better and the coffee tastes better.
* Cleaned my clothes washer as well.
* My daughter came home from a birthday party with a new teddy bear - the party had been at Build-a-Bear.
* Purchased a fun notebook for part of my son's Christmas present for $0.90  on clearance.
* Made homemade whole-wheat sandwich bread.
* Baked muffins, scones, and biscuits.
* Tried 4 new recipes.
* Updated the budget books.
* My mom sent us three items she had made for us using the fabric she bought while here in September - a jumper for my daughter, a fleece pull-over for my son, and my Christmas dress (made from fabric I've had since high school).  We need to take in my dress and my daughter's jumper a little around the torso, but otherwise they fit lovely!
I personally think cleaning out and donating the crazy amount of things that we don't need anymore falls into the frugal category too and we've been doing a lot of that these last few weeks.  Our furnace room is almost presentable now - it's the only "real" storage area we have in our house and we are hoping to have a humidifier put on the furnace this fall before winter sets in.  We're at a point where I wouldn't be embarrassed to have a workman come in!
What have you done to live frugally the last few weeks?
For more inspiration visit Frugal Friday and The Prudent Homemaker's Blog and Website.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Menu Plan Monday - Week of October 6, 2013

With our unusual shopping and our free CSA "box" this week, we're still eating super well. I feel so very blessed to have such a wonderful bounty to eat from each week!    It's fall weather here and was rainy all weekend to boot - ick.  Feels like soup weather here right now.

Here's what we're eating:

Sunday, October 6:
   Breakfast: Cereal and Milk
   Lunch: Leftover Chili, Baked Potatoes, Fruit Salad
   Snack: Apple Crisp with Ice Cream
   Dinner: Eggplant Parmesan, Irish Soda Bread, Fruit Salad

Monday, October 7:
   Breakfast: Oatmeal Muffins, Bananas
   Lunch: Leftovers or Hot Lunch at School
   Snack: Yogurt
   Dinner: Baked Salmon, Roasted Potatoes, Broccoli, Fruit Salad

Tuesday, October 8:
   Breakfast: Oatmeal with Craisins and Walnuts
   Lunch: Leftovers or Hot Lunch at School
   Snack: Yogurt
   Dinner: Easy Black Bean Soup, Cut Veggies, Sliced Fruit

Wednesday, October 9:
   Breakfast: Pancakes with Applesauce
   Lunch: Leftovers or Hot Lunch at School
   Snack: Yogurt
   Dinner: Pasta with Vegetable Marinara Sauce, Fruit Salad

Thursday, October 10:
   Breakfast: Oatmeal with Craisins and Walnuts
   Lunch: Leftovers or Hot Lunch at School
   Snack: Yogurt
   Dinner: Beef Barley Soup in the Crockpot, Whole Wheat Rolls, Fruit Salad

Friday, October 11:
   Breakfast: Cinnamon Rolls, Fruit
   Lunch: Chicken Noodle Soup, Sliced Fruit
   Snack: Popcorn
   Dinner: Chicken Pot Pie, Fruit Salad

Saturday, October 12:
   Breakfast: Maple Scones, Fruit
   Lunch: Leftover Chicken Pot Pie, Sliced Fruit
   Snack: Popcorn
   Dinner: Homemade Pizza and Breadsticks
   Date Night Dessert: Apple Crisp with Ice Cream

What are you eating this week?

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Super Savings Saturday - $33.07 Shopping Trip and an Extra CSA Box

So this week was a very productive week in so many ways but the biggest surprise was getting an extra CSA box.  I had to return our last box - they had a harvest party at the farm last weekend complete with Hay rides and a bonfire and I totally forgot to bring them back - so I stopped by one day this week to do that.  The owner had been cleaning out the last bit of the garden produce before tilling the plants under for the winter and we were given two huge bags full of produce - including pears, which were not available during the year! SO EXCITING!  An no additional charge - just being in the right place at the right time!  Love that!
Here's that produce:

Clockwise from upper left: 2 watermelon, 9 eggplant, 2 types of cucumbers (English and burpless), 7 green peppers, tomatillos, grape tomatoes, 3 green chili, a cantaloupe, and 12 pears.  YUM!!!   And a totally unexpected blessing too! 

So with all this and bananas, apples, peppers, cucumbers, broccoli, and cabbage leftover from last week plus tomatoes and peppers still from the garden, we decided to do a weird for us shop this week and purchase mostly meat.   I went to one store and here's what we bought this week:

Here's the price breakdown:
2 Gallons Store Brand Milk 2/$5 = $5 (sale w/store coupon)
2 48oz Kemp's Premium Ice Cream 2/$5 = $5 (sale w/store coupon)
2 Jimmy Dean Ground Sausage 2/$7 = $7 (sale price)
Ground Chuck $4.31 (sale price)
Ground Chuck $3.87 (sale price)
32 oz Yoplait Vanilla Yogurt $2.99 (regular price)
Carpi Sun Drink Boxes 10ct $1.98 (sale w/store coupon)
Skippy Peanut Butter 16oz $2.89 (sale price)

Total plus tax on the drink boxes: $33.07
Total Saved According to the Receipt: $10.03

I rarely buy ground beef at this price but it was on sale for $3.99/lb, which is a  pretty good price around here, and we decided that since we had the money this week, we'd do that.  We have a lot of squash in the garden still and we like to stuff the squash with sausage.  We use 1/2 lb sausage plus bread crumbs, celery, peppers, and onion to stuff 2 acorn squash so the Jimmy Dean sausage will last us for 4 meals that way. We have two more pounds of sausage in the freezer from a few weeks ago so that will be 8 meals of stuffed squash for us - yum!   I bought the drink boxes for dinner between dance classes.  This year we have two dance classes on one evening with an hour between - it's not enough time to go home and eat so we bring a box lunch and have a picnic in a public area near where the class meets. It works well in that we still get dinner together and I thought that these would be a nice treat for the children rather than a water bottle. 

How did you do with your shopping this week?