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Showing posts from 2014

Christmas 2014

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Joy to the World by Isaac Watts Joy to the world, the Lord has come! Let earth receive it's King; Let ev'ry heart prepare Him room And heav'n and nature sing, And heav'n and nature sing, And heav'n and heav'n and nature sing. Joy to the earth, the Savoir reigns! Let all their songs employ, While fields and floods, rocks, hills and plains, Repeat the sounds joy, Repeat the sounding joy, Repeat, repeat, the sounding joy. No more let sin and sorrow grow Nor thorns infest the ground; He comes to make His blessings flow Far as the course is found, Far as the curse is found, Far as, far as the curse is found. He rules the world with truth and grace And makes the nations prove The glories of His righteousness And wonders of His love, And wonders of His love, And wonders, wonders of His love. MERRY CHRISTMAS!



Christmas Eve 2014

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It's really hard for me to believe we're already here.... But I guess we are ..... The krumkaka has been made.... So is the lefse.... We put up the decorations....
Decorated the tree....
Put up the Nativity....  Now we wait.... And the waiting is nearly over... Wishing you a Merry Christmas filled with joy and love and family.  ~ Lea 

Menu Plan Monday (or, rather, Tuesday) - Week of December 14, 2014

The picture-less version of my menu this week!   I'm writing from my work computer while pretending to eat my lunch at a leisurely pace.  I'm so ready to be done with my grading so I can just stay home for a few days!  We do get a two-week holiday but I'd love to have an extra day or two because I am completely finished with all the grading. 

My parents are here this week and will be here for a few weeks.  We did almost all of our grocery shopping ahead of time, though there are a few things my parents will buy us. We are so blessed that they are willing to do that when they come - when we asked about it, they said we give them a nice, comfortable place to stay for free so they can buy a few groceries.  We do have almost everything but there were a couple of things my parents will want to buy so they will.  Those things are for Christmas or treats that they like to have in the house and are things we wouldn't have in the house on a normal basis.

This week we finished o…

Frugal Friday on a Saturday

We're getting ready for company, trying to finish up the Christmas shopping and present making, and all of that is interspersed with pageant rehearsals, two funerals, final exams, numerous Christmas concerts and the Sunday school pageant, some really sick friends and head colds all around our house.  I'm officially ready for a break and almost able to take one!  Hurray!

These last few weeks haven't felt very frugal - we've been fighting head colds and there's been more canned soup eaten than I would have liked but there are a few things that we did for frugality over the last week or two:

* We finished making gifts and handmade ornaments for the teachers.  We will make cookies for other friends and colleagues as well (hopefully tomorrow).

* I finally got all my information back from my dead computer so I don't have to refile all my paperwork!  I can't tell you how happy I am about that!

* We were gifted quite a bit of food this week:  a congregation member …

Menu Plan Monday - Week of December 7 Menu and our Groceries from the last week ($7 left in Dec budget now!)

We've been so busy here - getting ready for company, extra Worship services for Advent, wrapping up the semester here both at work and at school for all four of us, Christmas program rehearsals at both school and church for the children and all the other things that go into this time of year makes me feel like I'm chasing myself sometimes!  We did the grocery shopping this last week in between everything else and I promptly recycled the receipt! Opps.  And, sorry, I'm not digging through our giant orange recycle bin outside to retrieve it.

We spent just under $25 of the $32 we had left - so now we have $7, enough for some bananas and milk next week. We're pretty well stocked for when my parents are visiting so we *should* be okay.

I can't remember the exact prices but here's what we got at 2 stores:
Smart Balance
White Sugar (4lbs)
Sweet Potatoes (5lbs) - these were on huge sale!
Shrimp (2 bags/ $10) - the reason we spent so much money this week
10lbs Gala Appl…

Menu Plan Monday - Week of November 30, 2014

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It's the 1st of December, and I'm already sick of winter. Is that bad?   I think it's because it went from being really nice to super cold just overnight - quite literally - and it was such a shock.  I guess it's a good thing we have so much soup in the freezer to eat up!  I'm also grateful for hot coffee and oatmeal first thing in the morning.  Aren't we blessed to have such good, warm food and a warm house as well?  I sure do think so!  I listen to my parents telling of having to get up and light the stove to warm the house in temperatures colder than this and I am so grateful that I don't have to do that!

After topping off our stockpile this weekend, we are still eating well.  I have $32 for the rest of the month and I am pretty sure we can do it.  We're already low on fruit for the week but we have fruit in the freezer if need be as well as canned pears and mandarin oranges, even if they're not favorites.

We have a pretty quiet week this week a…

These Are A Few of My Favorite Things - November Roundup

It's the last day of November. It's hard to believe that it's already here.  Today is the first day of Advent and I am ready for a slower pace and am hoping that pushing myself like I have been the last few months will make that happen.  The children have been such a big help in getting the house cleaned and ready.  I still feel we have a long way to go for it to be where I want it to be by the time company comes but I'm enjoying the progress in the meantime.

Here are some of my favorite things from the month of November this year - light on photos this month, I realized I really hadn't taken any this past month:


Reformation Sunday The birth of the Protestant Church and our beloved Lutheran Church. All Saint's Day A day to remember all those who have gone before us.  So blessed are we! My sister-in-law Gabrielle - she turned 20 this month! She was a baby when my husband and I got engaged and she was the flower girl at our wedding - 16 1/2 years ago.  Yes, she w…

Super Savings Saturday - A $27.13 shop and an $80 top off

No photos again this week - John bought groceries while I was at Jazzercise this morning and he didn't take a photo.   We're into a new month for grocery budget - $140 for the month - so I'm trying to fit in all the good things we need for us to spoil my parents when they come for Christmas. 

We went to Sam's Club and bought the following for just under $80 (of course, I can't find the receipt now - if I find it I'll update prices):

Toilet Paper
Yeast 2lb
Canned diced tomatoes
Canned chicken noodle soup (the children like this for lunch at school)
Frozen Tilapia Fillets
Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese
Red Grapes 3lbs
Gallon Milk (this was over $1 cheaper than our local store)

Total: Just under $80

At our local store John bought the following:

1 15oz can Store brand black olives $1
2 15oz cans Geisha Mandarin Oranges 2 @ $1 = $2
Carnation Evaporated Milk 4 @ 4/$5 = $5 (we use this in place of cream in cooking)
Store Brand Sliced Bacon 1…

Thanksgiving Day

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Happy Thanksgiving!
It's Thanksgiving Day here in the US and we are taking the time to celebrate and remind ourselves all we have to be thankful for.  And we have so very much!

Today I am thankful for... ....my husband... ...my children... ...my career.... ...my health... ...our home... ...our parents... ...our extended families... ....our church families... ...internship/Vicarage... ...John's mentor Pastor... ...the power of prayer... ...good medical care... ...plenty to eat... ...plenty to wear... ...reliable transportation... ...a warm place to live in cold weather... ...my beautiful garden... ...my children's smiles... ...my husbands kisses... ...time spent with friends... ...laughter... ...joy... ...peace... ...Grace.... ...Jesus Christ... ...the gift of eternal Salvation. What are you thankful for today?

Goals for this week - Week of November 23, 2014

I'm hoping for a quieter week this week and I decided I am going to take Thursday and Friday completely off from anything work or school related.  We have Thanksgiving Day here on Thursday and in theory at least we're all off on Friday.  I say in theory because John is the on-call person for the church over the weekend.  While real emergencies are few and far between they are very real and severe - usually involving life and death and things surrounding potential life and death.  That means he needs to be available to go right away.

I started keeping track of my weekly to do list in a little different way and I found I'm much more productive!  I write out the goals for the week and then each day I write out the days goals with a priority marking next to each item.  I focus on only the high priority items - one of today's was being ready for class tomorrow! - and ignore the items I can postpone until after all the more important stuff is done.  It's been so helpful …

Menu Plan Monday - Week of November 23, 2014

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This week is Thanksgiving here in the US and I'm so grateful for a couple of days off from our busy routine!  We get to enjoy Thanksgiving Day with friends and a quiet Friday and Saturday too.  I'm hoping to get a few Christmas gifts sewn and catch up some grading for work.  We'll see how it goes!

Here's what we're eating this week:

Sunday, November 23:
    Breakfast: Smoothies (fruit from the freezer)
    Lunch: Baked Eggs, Cinnamon Biscuit Twists, Raspberry-Apple-Orange Salad
    Snack: Popcorn
    Dinner: Turkey Pot Pie, Tossed Salad, Apple-Raspberry-Banana Salad

Monday, November 24:
    Breakfast: Waffles from the freezer with Raspberries and Pecans
    Lunch: Leftover Pot Pie
    Snack: Cookie
    Dinner: Venison Stir Fry, Rice, Orange Wedges

Tuesday, November 25:
    Breakfast: Oatmeal with Pecans and Craisins
    Lunch: Yogurt, Apples with Peanut Butter, Carrot Sticks, Cookie
    Snack: Cookie
    Dinner: Potato Pancakes with Raspberries and Applesauce

Wed…

Super Savings Saturday - The rest of my November Grocery Money

We're at the end of November - December starts next week - and this week is Thanksgiving here in the US, so holiday it is!   I took advantage of a turkey special and bought a 14.77lb turkey for $13.15 or 89-cents per pound.  Sometimes they drop lower the week of Thanksgiving but in the preview for the sales this week, this was lowest price and I'm glad I bought the bird!  We are with friends this year and I'm bringing fruit and dessert so we'll save the turkey for Christmas or sometime next year.

No photo this week - the battery was charging - but here's what I bought:

14.77lb turkey @ $0.89/lb = $13.15
Jimmy Dean Natural Sausage 2lbs @ 1lb/$3.99 = $7.98
Mixed Fruit 3lb Bag (Red Delicious Apples, Granny Smith Apples & Naval Oranges) 2bags x $3.29 = $6.58
Large Pomegranate $1.99 (this is super cheap for here and we love these so I splurged!)
Bananas 2.26lbs @ $0.59/lb = $1.33
10lbs Russet Potatoes $3
5lbs Whole Carrots $2.49 (I will probably have to blanch and f…

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

It's been quiet around this blog lately - I've been fighting a lot of pain (sometimes bad enough that I am actively and obviously limping) and we've been super busy at work lately.  I was chatting with a couple of co-workers and we all agreed that this semester seems very taxing for no definite reason.  Not sure what that means in terms of work things, but it means I've been going to bed early and not doing a whole lot other than work and family. My Mom has also been struggling with some health issues that are not resolving themselves well.  If you have a minute, could you say a prayer or two for her?  Thank you so much!

We've been pretty quiet here since I haven't been able to do much and John has had church events - confirmation, committee meetings, and a junior high youth lock-in.  So the children and I have been enjoying evenings with playing, making Christmas presents (Missy is way on the ball with that one!) and watching movies.  I've been doing some …

Menu Plan Monday - Week of Novembet 16, 2014

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It's Monday, and that means I get to share what we're eating again!   I hope you are eating well.  John mentioned one day that even though the fruit drawer and some of the shelves in the fridge are empty by the end of the week, we so fortunate to have so much good food to eat!   I totally agree! 

Here's what we're eating this week:

Sunday, November 16:
    Breakfast: Smoothies (using frozen fruit)
    Lunch: Scrambled Eggs, Fried Diced Potatoes, Grapefruit
    Snack: Cut Veggies
    Dinner: Turkey Pot Pie, Tossed Salad, Apple-Banana-Mandarin Orange Salad

Monday, November 17:
    Breakfast: Pancakes with Applesauce and Diced Apples
    Lunch: Leftover Pot Pie
    Snack: Cut Veggies
    Dinner: Potato Soup, Biscuits, Apple Wedges

Tuesday, November 18:
    Breakfast: Oatmeal with Apples and Cinnamon
    Lunch: Leftover Soup
    Snack: Yogurt
    Dinner: Vegetarian Chili, Cornbread, Grapefruit

Wednesday, November 19:
    Breakfast: Chai Spiced Oatmeal
    Lunch; Apples wi…

Super Savings Saturday - $32.69 Shopping Trip

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It's been quite the couple of weeks at our house - shingles, ice and snow, and some overwhelming stuff at work for me, lots of evenings and weekends for John and Buddy added the boy's basketball team at school to the mix just because he didn't have enough going on!   Much of it has been good but I am missing my quiet weekends.  We've also had some financial surprises - Missy's winter coat bit the dust and the oven needs a new heating coil.  We have the money for it but, honestly, it's so hard to see the savings we've worked for the last few years slowly creep down as expenses come up.  I know that that is why we have been saving, but it hurts in a way none-the-less.

Anyway, John went to the store today and bought $32.69 in groceries.  Here's what he got:

Crisco Oil 48oz 2 @ $1.99 (store coupon) = $3.98
Store Brand Canned Beans (1 Navy, 2 chili, 1 black) 4 @ $0.59 = $2.36
Pillsbury Bleached All-Purpose Flour 5lb 2 @ $1.99 (store coupon) = $3.98
Store Br…

Menu Plan Monday - Week of November 2, 2014

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Okay, so that's totally *not* edible food - but it was food for the soul!   That was the rainbow over our backyard back in September.  BEAUTIFUL!   The kids and I just stood on the back step in awe for a while. 

We have a rather lazy week this week - John only has one evening meeting and I have NOTHING.  Hurrah!  We are heading out of mid-terms at school and I feel like I just got done running a marathon.  The house looks like an explosion occurred and between all of that and the 5, yes five, Halloween/Harvest parties we had this last week, I'm ready for some peace and quiet!  

We found out our benefits are changing in January and we somehow have to squeeze $300 a month more out of our budget.  If we start saving now for that, it won't be as bad, so we shuffled some things around in the budget so we can do that.  Tight is the name of the game around here this fall (and all spring!) but we at least decided not to change the grocery budget.  After our huge disaster of a b…

These are a Few of My Favorite Things - October 2014

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Wow, has the fall just flown by.... whiz!  I can't believe we're in November already.   I guess that is how the seasons change around here.  Here are a few of my favorite things from October this year:

The last of my flowers blooming before we started to get "cold".


Aren't they beautiful?  My roses are having one last hurrah right now - I love it! We had amazing fall color here this year.  I took the long way to work most days just because it let me soak up that beautiful color longer.  Sadly, I don't have any photos. My children playing their instruments have really made progress this month - it's super fun to hear them playing and I think they're enjoying it too.
My daughter was adamant that she saw something really cool in the clouds one day and had to take a photo of it. Now we have no memory of what that something really cool was but I love the photo anyway. Having my children making pictures in the clouds.  My children playing well together -…

Super Savings Saturday - $30.55 spent

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Hurray!  I finally got my photos to sort of behave themselves So here you are....


I had a really good chuckle because the first thing it offered to upload for you was my gradebook for my T/Th class at school!   Too funny! I really don't think you need to see that!

Anyway, here was our shop for this week.

John and Buddy went to one store and bought the following:

1 Lysol toilet cleaner $1.99 (with coupon)
1 Tide Laundry detergent $5.99 (sale price) - $2/1 coupon = $3.99
2 Creamette Mini Shells Pasts $0.88 x 2 = $1.76 (sale price)
Campbell's Chicken Noodle Soup $1.20 x 2 = $2.40 (totally not a good price, I know)
1 can Garbanzo Beans (Chick Peas)  $0.89
2.78lbs Pears @ $0.99/lb = $2.75
2lbs Whole Carrots $0.99
2.62 lbs Large Black Plums @ $0.49/lb = $.1.28 (I should have had John get three times as many of these and forget the pears!)
Whole white Mushrooms $0.99 (with coupon)
2.90lbs Yellow Bananas @ $0.59/lb = $1.71
Kraft Shredded Cheese $1.99 x 2 = $3.98 (with coupon)
Kemp…

Menu Plan Monday and This Week's Groceries

Well, Hello there!

Thanks for sticking around and waiting for me to get my computer "issues" unraveled.  I now I have a very nice new laptop - one that is a higher quality and sturdier than I have bought in a few years.  Since we don't have a desktop computer anymore, this is the one that I will be using for work too.  I have been having difficulty getting the photos transferred from my iPod/camera so I don't have any photos for you.  Hopefully by next week, I will have that problem fixed!

The last few weeks we've been staying at $25/week give or take $1.50 from our $30/week budget for groceries.  That meant we had a few "extra" dollars in the envelope for this week's shop and we spent $42 this week for groceries and a couple of boxes of plastic zipper top bags, mostly used for lunches and snacks for the children.  I have some materials to make fabric, reusable versions but I haven't had the time yet!  Unfortunately, I misplaced the receipt so I…

Menu Plan Monday - Week of September 28, 2014

Wow - this week ends September.  I don't think I'm ready for that yet.  Didn't we just start school?

Anyway, we have a fairly calm week this week for us.  John only has one evening meeting and I don't  have anything in the evening yet this week!  I am teaching an extra Jazzercise class but that's early enough I can still get the kids from school if I need to.   I'm hoping to use some of the time in the evenings to finish getting the furniture tidied up, the artwork hung and all that stuff.  We decided to completely re-arrange our family and living rooms this year using furniture we already had.  We did end up buying one new chair because one of ours was in pretty rough shape and fixing it was not worth is (it would cost way more to fix it than it's worth in any way, shape or form).  We had some IKEA credit from a returned purchase and used that to purchase a chair for the living room.   I'm excited to see how both rooms function now that we've basi…

Super Savings - $25.47 shopping trip

Hello everyone!

We had a very good week shopping-wise and a week the rest of the way that John called "a very bad country-western song."  You know the kind - the car broke down, the dog died, and the guy's favorite girl won't give him the time of day.  Ours wasn't that stereotypical - it included car repairs with a four digit price tag, my computer completely dying (we don't know the price tag on that one yet), and John getting a scan to find out if he had kidney stones or not (thankfully he does not).   We ended the week with Buddy losing his glasses in the partly mowed wheat field we had a hay ride in last night - after dark of course.  By the time we went to bed last night, we were all about ready to call it quits - on what I don't know, but we were all ready for the week to be over!

Today started out much better with the children and I getting to sleep in and attend the second Worship service today and then actually finding Buddy's glasses when we…

Menu Plan Monday - Week of September 21, 2014

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It's Monday again and that means it's time to share what we're eating this week!

We have a week where John has evening meetings Monday through Wednesday and I have something Thursday evening and then we have a pot luck on Saturday evening.   John will be home for dinner every night but Wednesday and I'll be home for dinner every night so we need things that are easy or already cooked (hello crockpot!) so we can eat quick and go to our evening things.  Here's what we're eating:

Sunday, September 21:
      Breakfast: Smoothies
      Lunch: Baked Eggs, Cinnamon Biscuit Twists, Sliced Peaches
      Snack: Rice Krispie Treats
      Dinner: Grilled Venison Steaks and Veggies, Sliced Apples
      Dessert: Grilled Pineapple with Brown Sugar

Monday, September 22:
      Breakfast: Pancakes and Scrambled Eggs
      Lunch: Leftovers, Hot Lunch for the Children
      Snack: Pretzels
      Dinner: Easy Black Bean Soup, Cornbread, Pineapple-Grape-Mandarin Orange Salad

Tuesda…

Super Savings Saturday - Restocking and Today's $35 Shopping Trip

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Well, hello there!

Sorry for the time off!  We've had strep and various other illnesses running around our house and I've decided sleep, rather than things like blogging and grading papers, was the more important thing!   Thanks for your patience!
In spite of all the sickness, we're firmly settled into the "new" routine, at least for the most part.  John takes the children to school in the morning and I pick them up most days.  This is a complete switch from our previous years and it still feels just plain weird.   We're making it work and the children are enjoying the change!   Missy is now playing the trumpet and Buddy is playing the clarinet through their school.  Yes, our house gets loud but they are enjoying it and I firmly believe you can never have too many books or too much music in a house!  Between the trumpet, clarinet and piano it seems like there's always someone practicing something.  I have to say I absolutely love it!

Shopping is an adventu…

Menu Plan Monday - Week of August 31, 2014

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This is a busy week - first week of the semester! I'm not sure who it's busier for, the teachers or the students!  Anyway, the children and I start this week and the church switches from summer programming to fall with Rally Sunday (our big kick-off for school-year programming) on the 7th.  Some of the children's activities start this week, some start next week.  I'm not sure if that's easing into things or not.  Either way, I *think* we've come up with a reasonable plan to get through the semester without overspending our grocery budget! 

A couple of quick notes about this week:   We have a tradition of serving doughnuts on the first day of school - this started when the children were 3 years old so I don't think we're going to quit any time soon!  We also meet some friends for ice cream after dinner that evening and we will be using a gift card to pay for that.  Both John and I are taking our lunches now and we both have refrigerators and microwaves…