Showing posts from January, 2014

You Know You Live In Minnesota When...

...the snowdrifts are taller than your car. race the plow home so you don't get "plowed out" of your driveway (or in if you're planning on leaving soon). bake cookies and take them to the nearest DOT office as a thank you to the snowplow driver who saw you coming and let you get into your driveway before he plowed passed it!

... you have to watch for snowmobiles on the intersections on the way home after dark (and sometimes in the afternoon too!).

...classes are canceled due to wind chill...not snowfall. have to scale a 3-foot-tall snow pile to get from the parking lot to the sidewalk in front of the store or business you need to go to.  And it doesn't phase you in the least. know to lift small children over the pile of snow next to the sidewalk before climbing over yourself. rains in the bathroom because it's cold enough outside for the water vapor to condense out of the air in the exhaust vent.

...warm, ear-covering hats ar…

Goals - Week of January 26, 2014

School has started and we are back in a cold snap with all our schools closed again today.  The children are both excited and bummed about school be canceled  - they had a field trip planned for today and wanted to see their friends after the weekend, but they are excited about having a long weekend and some time with just Mom.  We had another busy weekend and with the storm front that came through twice this weekend, I have been down and out with a colossal headache for most of the weekend. And in a bit of extra running around this weekend and I'm glad we have an extra day (or two) at home this week. We have a couple of fun things planned for today - baking bread and cookies and watching a show online as well as making a craft for Valentine's Day.  I'm looking forward to it all!

I've been reading Crystal Paine's book, Say Goodbye to Survival Mode, and I'm trying to implement some of what is in there.  It's hard to do, since we have so much on our plates ri…

Menu Plan Monday - Week of January 26, 2014

We're back in the single digits below zero this week - brr!!!!  As much as I love winter, this one has been a bit much with the cold temperatures. Usually we can be outside with no trouble, this year, well, not so much!   It's great soup and stew and baking weather though!

Here's what we're eating this week:

Sunday, January 26:
   Breakfast: Cereal and Milk
   Lunch:  Leftover Chicken, Fruit, and Cracker
   Snack: Peanut Butter Cookies
   Dinner: Church Pot-Luck: Bring Fruit Salad

Monday, January 27:
   Breakfast: Oatmeal with Dates and Almonds
   Lunch: Hot Lunch for Children, Leftovers for Adults
   Snack: Yogurt
   Dinner: Scalloped Potatoes with Ham, Tossed Salad, Strawberry-Banana-Orange Salad

Tuesday, January 28:
   Breakfast: Bagels with Peanut Butter and Cinnamon, Bananas
   Lunch: Chicken Noodle Soup, Homemade Bread, Oranges
   Snack: Yogurt
   Dinner: Beef Barley Stew, Homemade Bread, Tossed Salad, Grapefruit Wedges

Wednesday, January 29:
   Breakfast: Oatm…

Super Savings Saturday - Last Week's $30 and This Week's $20 Shopping

Boy, every time I think I've got a handle on this whole blogging thing, life happens and I don't get to my blog for a few days.  *SIGH*   We had a wonderful weekend last weekend, but it was a very busy weekend and that continued all week this week.  All that said, I did get photos of last week's groceries and this week's groceries to share with you all!

Here's what we bought last Saturday (January 18).  We spent approximately $27 on this (it was $26 and change but I don't remember the exact amount).

Since it's a little hard to see everything in the photo here's the list: 8lb red grapefruit, 10lbs oranges, 1 dozen eggs, 2 gallons of milk, 2 packages shredded and 1 block Kraft cheese, 1 package brown sugar, 1lb carrots, 1 container Smart Balance, and 1 packet each Bob's Red Mill Flax Seed Meal and Wheat Germ.    I use the flax seed meal and wheat germ occasionally in cooking and use it regularly in making granola and I was completely out.  We still ha…

Frugal Friday - Frugal Things We Did January 10-16, 2014

So, it's a Frugal Friday again!  I can't believe how fast the weeks travel sometimes - we're already halfway through January! Can you believe that?

Here's the "extra" things that we did since last Friday that count as frugal and are outside our "normal" happenings around here:

* Ate all meals at home or brown-bagged this week.

* Shopped for our stock up for Internship. What we purchased you can read about here.

* Made arrangements to share a fruit share in a local CSA with a friend. Last time she did this she had enough fruit for her family for 2 years so we're hoping that by spitting it we'll have enough for both our families for 1 year.

* Baked 4 loaves of French Bread - giving two away as gifts (we can't eat 4 at a time before they start to mold).

* Made homemade granola.

* Tried a recipe for a new wheat berry salad to take for my lunch at work this week - Yummy!

* Worked from home two days this week since I didn't have class or m…

Work Home and Family - Our 12 Days of Christmas Party (Menu and Review)

So, one of the things we're trying harder to do this year is to celebrate the church year in our home.  The church year starts either late October or early November with Advent, then travels through Christmas, Epiphany, and on through the rest of the church year.  We started with Advent, giving us some time to get into the school year and all it entails before jumping into "additional" things.

Christmas officially starts on December 25th and continues through 12 days until Epiphany. Since the tree and all of our other decorations stay up until Epiphany (January 6) we thought a good way to "end" Christmas would be to have a 12 Days of Christmas Party.

I read here about 12 Days of Christmas Dinner/Party and thought it sounded  like a really fun idea to try.  My parents were here and our good friends wanted to make sure they got to see them while they were here, so the four of them plus our family got to be our guinea pigs, so to speak.

After it was all said and d…

Healthy Habits in 2014 - Giving Yourself Grace

One of the biggest things we need to work on with ourselves as women, wives, mothers and human beings is giving ourselves grace!  It is so important in every aspect of our lives, but often, we are our own worst enemies - treating ourselves worse than we would people we don't like.

This Week's Habit:  Give Yourself Grace

Giving ourselves grace is often one of the hardest things.  If we mess up or don't meet our own expectations, we can beat ourselves up for weeks, months or even years.

What kind of Mom am I to take the time out of my day to exercise when I should be doing something with my children instead?

What kind of wife am I if I make my husband cook dinner (clean the house, watch the kids) so I can exercise (take a nap, take a shower, get my hair cut)?

What kind of person am I if my house isn't spotless (don't cook from scratch, eat all organic, have a high-power career, am overweight, don't know how to dress "sharp")?

We do this again and again …

Goals - Week of January 12, 2014

So my word for 2014 is COMPLETED.

What have I completed so far in 2014 that was on my list to complete?

* A Christmas/Winter tablecloth (mittens and snowflakes prints) was sown.
* I cleaned out the top drawer of the filing cabinet in our Family Room (Why on earth was I keeping bill stubs from 2010? Never mind - don't answer that!).
* I cleaned out 2 1/2 drawers of my 5 drawer filing cabinet at work.
* I cleaned off the table/shelf thing in the laundry room so we can use it as storage for things like toilet paper, etc. in the coming year.
* Six garbage bags of shredded paper were confidentially recycled.
* Reorganized the toiletry and medicine shelf in the linen closet - this was a huge mess and the organizational methods we had just were not working for us anymore.  So far, this is working so much better!
* I've learned 3 new or new-to-me Jazzercise routines.

The goal with both filing cabinets is to get rid of them and downsize to something smaller.  We decided the paper expan…

Menu Plan Monday - Week of January 12, 2014

It's another week here and we're cold but not as cold as we have been.  I'm excited that the children might actually get outside for recess this week - if the actual air temperature is below 10F, they don't go out.   We can always tell if they've been inside for recess - they definitely need that fresh outdoor air!
We're eating well here and hoping to use up some things that have been in our pantry and freezer for a while over the next couple of weeks.   We have good friends getting married this weekend so we're really looking forward to their wedding and reception.  We also have some fruit left from our 12-Days-of-Christmas party, which needs to be eaten - the cantaloupe and pineapple we bought were not ripe enough to use that night and now they finally are!

We also have a relatively restful week in terms of activities.  Due to flooding at their dance studio (a consequence of the sub-zero temps and a neighbor business who wasn't paying a whole lot of …

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things - Things from the Christmas Season

I have to say I love January.

Once the hubbub of Christmas and John's birthday dies down and the decorations are all put away, the peace and quiet that comes is something that I always enjoy.  No wonder it's a time for resolutions and new goals and reevaluating things. 

All that said, I also love the Christmas season.  I love cookies and decorations and snow and "making merry" and spending some "extra" time with my family.  Christmas was extra special this year  because my parents were able to be with us and my Dad is in remission from his cancer.  Best Christmas gift in my lifetime I'd say!

Here are some of my favorite things from the Christmas season:

Cookies decorated by my children. The lovely doll furniture made by my Dad for my Missy.  Here she was getting them ready for a tea party with her dolls and their puppies. My children making the snowballs for a snow man.  This was my favorite photo because it's so FUNNY!  Even funnier - my tiny Mom…

Super Savings - $30 Shop and $60 stock up

Sorry - no photos!  I did the shopping this week around everything else (a birthday party, an event, and my husband running to the airport to pick up friends/classmates for intensive classes this next week) and just didn't get photos taken.

We had our "normal" $30 grocery bill this week plus a $60 stock up amount.  We are starting slowly to stock up on non-perishable things (the perishable we'll do closer to June).  We'll be transferring over our $30 to $20 in March for our regular grocery shopping as a "practice run" for internship.  Yep, you read that right $20 per week for groceries, toiletries and paper products!  That's all we're going to have during internship to that's what we're going to be using!  We'll use that $10 difference through March, April and May to do some of our stocking up for the next 18-24 months. 

Here's what our $60 stock up fund bought this week:

2 48oz bottles of Palmolive dish soap $4.99 - $0.50 coupo…

Frugal Friday - Frugal Things I Did This Last Week

It's Friday again - that means "Frugal Friday!"  Whoot!  
I always love reading about other people's frugal ideas - I always learn something.  And I do mean always!

We're in a new year and a new budget. 

We are still trying hard to save up at least a year's worth of mortgage payments (we still have a long way to go with this to be where we'd like to be) and for some other expenses like car tabs, licensing fees, etc. that we will not have the cash on hand for once John starts internship in June.  So we cut our budget back to bare bones and are using the "extra" money for the things we absolutely have to buy or have done with the house before June and to fill up that savings.  This will also kick-start our stockpile for that next year.  

We're working hard on things like turning off the lights, not buying any food out, and line-drying clothes. We're also cleaning out the last of the "clutter" which is predominately paper clutt…

Meny Plan "Monday" - Week of January 5, 2014

Is anyone else a bit freaked out by writing "2014"?  I'm not sure I'm ready for this!

We are in a period of eating leftovers - lots of leftovers!  My husband celebrated his 40th birthday on Friday last week and since we didn't know who of my in-laws was coming we bought way too much food!  Then we hosted a 12 Days of Christmas party on Sunday night and had leftovers of some things (mostly salads) from that.   So leftovers have been the name of the game around here and probably will be all week.

We were totally spoiled by my parents buying us groceries twice while they were here as well as some of the food for the 12 Days of Christmas party.  We're back to our "normal" grocery budget - in fact we're cutting it even further - but I'll write about that with shopping on Saturday this week (Lord willing, of course!).   The children were home from school Monday and Tuesday due to well below zero highs for temperatures (our high on Monday as -14F…

Happy New Year!!!


I really didn't mean to take an unplanned blogging break. 

Thanks for letting me do so! 

We enjoyed our holidays - Christmas, New Year's and John's birthday - very, very much. 

We had my parents here for three whole weeks and my in-laws did come up for my husband's 40th birthday!  We even celebrated the "end" of Christmas by hosting a 12 Days of Christmas party on Sunday with some very dear friends.

It's been good and restful and everything a real break should be.

What about that New Year thing?

Oh yeah.  That.

Well, let's just say I'm trying to forget a good chunk of 2013 - it was quite memorable and not so much in a good way.  We started off the year with my Dad's cancer diagnosis followed by chemo.  We battled influenza B, double ear infections, bad colds and flu and I managed to come down with shingles.  John and I realized our communication wasn't up to snuff and neither was the Seminary's (**Sigh**) but we're back on …