Friday, February 21, 2014

Frugal Friday - Frugal Things We've Done in the Last Two Weeks

Frugal things from the last couple of weeks...hrmmm....

This semester is kicking my behind - and it probably should.  I'm teaching a class I haven't taught in 3 years and I'm approaching my Dissertation Defense very soon as well.  John is in the thick of interviews of Internship and we have more snow again and icky roads.  I guess I have every right to feel like I'm buried under the things that "have" to get done!

Honestly, I haven't felt very frugal the last couple of weeks.  We haven't spent any money we didn't plan on spending to begin with but we haven't done a whole lot of "extra" anyway.

Here's what I kept track of for the last two weeks:

* Spent Valentine's Day evening at home with the family. We had decided to order a small order of takeout Chinese for the family for dinner that night.  We stayed within budget and even had enough for leftovers for lunch on Saturday.

* The children went to a play date at a friend's house on Saturday.   We used the time to have our taxes done!  And we got a refund that went right into savings. (We did take a small amount to buy a new air vent cover for our kitchen though - it's in the middle of the floor and every once in a while someone puts a chair leg through it. Sigh.)  The kids had a blast and we got that much-needed chore done.

* I made up the menu for the week using primarily food we had in the house.  We brown-bagged lunches all week both weeks.

* I made homemade Valentine's for everyone rather than buying them. 

* I made homemade biscuits for dinner one night.  And I made marshmallow treats (like Rice Crispy Treats) with marshmallows I'd bought at Christmas time (I didn't want them to harden before I used them) and some leftover cinnamon Cheerios that were stale.  I didn't want to throw them out and they made good treats!

* John has worn clothes we already had for his interviews this week.

* Buddy wore through the knee of one pair of his school pants.  I cut them off and hemmed them so he can wear them this summer (and to school one it gets warm enough - we have about 3 1/2 feet of snow right now - ha!).

* Went to the library and checked out a whole stack of children's books and three DVDs (one for each of the children and one for me).

* Downloaded several free ebooks for my Kindle for PC

* Decided to do some "Freezer Cooking" again.  I'm putting that in quotes because some of it is just prepping food for the crock pot or for stir fry and then freezing rather than actual "freezer cooking", per se.   It makes making dinner much easier and we don't waste as much food either.

* Taught an extra Jazzercise class for an instructor who had a sick child, so I got paid for an "extra" class too.

* The children attended a Lutheran School's Week event and received a free t-shirt each.  They are slightly big so they should be perfect for summer!

Wow - I guess that's more frugal stuff than I thought.   It's so hard sometimes to just keep pushing ahead since we're so busy with everything else.  I guess the good thing about being busy - we don't have time to waste money shopping, running extra places, or going on additional outings.  We just don't have  the time!

Frugal Flops: 

Paying more for parking than I normally do - I've had a lot of meeting with my advisor on days when I don't normally go to campus so I've had to pay for parking. Fortunately the commuter lot isn't that expensive but it's still an added expense!  Thankfully that won't last much longer.  And hopefully the days that I work from home make up for that somehow.

Also made a pot of soup that ended up in the compost bin - it was just not very good and we decided we wouldn't eat it again so it went in the compost bin since it didn't have any animal products in it (vegetable broth, veggies, beans and noodles).

What did you do this week?

Monday, February 17, 2014

Menu Plan Monday - Week of February 16, 2014

 
 
Sorry for the blurry, upside down photo - I'm going to try to turn it upright again later (promise!).  These are the super yummy chocolate covered strawberries John bought me for Valentine's Day.  It wasn't even remotely on my "list" so they were such a pleasant surprise and we enjoyed them as dessert Friday, Saturday and Sunday!   I even got two Sunday night since my chocolate disliking little guy decided he didn't want his.  Perfectly fine with me!
 
 
We are eating well this week!  I'm trying to use up the veggies in the freezer and make room for a meat purchase or two closer to summer.  John and I had a long talk about our grocery budget and decided that we're going to work our way back to eating one chicken, one beef/venison/bear, one pork, one seafood and three vegetarian meals per week.  We did this a few years ago and had gotten away from it.  We also talked about freezer prepping more crockpot meals and maybe even doing some freezer cooking.  I don't like freezer cooking as a general rule because most of the meals I have seen involve either bread products (which we then don't like the texture of) or cheese (which John can't eat).  I'm hoping that some of the recipes we have found work well for that - we're willing to give it a try at least! Anyway, that's a long way of saying, look for some subtle changes in our menus over the next few weeks!
 
Here's this week's menu:
 
Sunday, February 16:
   Breakfast: Cereal and Milk
   Lunch: Leftovers
   Snack: Toast with Jam
   Dinner: Roasted Chicken, Broccoli, Apple-Pear Salad
   Dessert: Chocolate  Covered Strawberries
 
Monday, February 17:
   Breakfast: Pancakes with Bananas
   Lunch: Macaroni and Cheese, Apples
   Snack: Popcorn
   Dinner: Swedish Meatballs, Roasted Potatoes, Green Beans, Apple-Pear-Mandarin Orange Salad
 
Tuesday, February 18:
   Breakfast: Oatmeal with Almonds and Dates
   Lunch: Jam Sandwiches, Carrot Sticks or Tomatoes, Oranges, Cookie
   Snack: Yogurt
   Dinner: Taco Salad with Refried Beans and Corn Salsa
 
Wednesday, February 19:
   Breakfast: Waffles  with Raspberry-Plum Jam
   Lunch: Hot Lunch for the Children, Leftovers for Adults
   Snack: Yogurt
   Dinner: Minestrone Soup, Homemade Bread, Apple Slices
 
 
Thursday, February 20:
   Breakfast: Oatmeal with Craisins and Pecans
   Lunch: Hot Lunch for the Children, Leftovers for Adults
   Snack: Yogurt
   Dinner: Salad with Steak, Craisins and Orange Slices
 
Friday, February 21:
   Breakfast: Oatmeal Muffins, Banana-Peanut Butter Smoothies
   Lunch: Hot Lunch for the Children, Leftovers for the Adults
   Snack: Yogurt
   Dinner: Pork Chops, Applesauce, Beets, Apple-Pear-Peach Salad
 
Saturday, February 22:
   Breakfast: Cinnamon French Toast with Blueberries
   Lunch: Tuna Sandwiches, Cut Veggies, Apple Slices
   Snack: Popcorn
   Dinner: Homemade Pizza and Breadsticks
 
What are you eating this week?

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Super Savings - Spent $25.45 This Weekend


So we had $22 and change from our grocery envelope  to spend this week.  I was a little nervous since there were a couple of good deals I wanted to take advantage of and we were out of both butter and shortening, which makes it a little hard to bake certain things!  After some pre-planned activities this weekend, we had $10 left that we decided to throw into the grocery envelope, which is how we ended up having the $25.45 to spend that we did!  I think we did quite well this weekend and we're looking at doing some more stocking up this next weekend.  I have to stay I love shopping only once per week - less temptation and I know that I can make the menu with what is in the house!

I put together the list and John did the actual shopping.  We had a very busy weekend this weekend and he ran to the stores while I made dinner on Saturday night.  Here's what we got:

Store #1
Jennie-O Ground Turkey 85% Lean 48oz $5.99 (store coupon) - $1 (coupon) = $4.99 ($1.60/lb)
Kemp's Skim Milk 1 Gallon x2 at 2/$6 (store coupon)

Total Store #1: $10.99
Saved (according to store receipt): $5.98 (35%)

Store #2:
20oz Crisco Baking Sticks $3.49 - $0.75 - $0.75 (doubled coupon) = $1.99
3lb Red Delicious and 3lb Granny Smith Apples B1G1 $4.49 (store coupon) = $4.49 ($0.74/lb)
15oz Smart Balance Spread $3.19 x 2 = $6.39 - $1 - $1 (doubled coupon) = $4.39 ($2.19 ea)
6oz Yoplait Yogurt 10 @ 10/$5 = $5 - $0.50 - $0.50 (doubled coupon) - $0.40 = $3.60 ($0.36 ea)

Total Store #2: $14.46
Saved (according to store receipt): $11.89 (45%)

Total Spent Both Stores: $25.45
Total Saved (According to Store Receipt): $17.87 (58.7%)

How did you do with your shopping this week?

Thursday, February 13, 2014

In the Refiner's Fire - The "Problem" with Being a Christian Woman

The more I travel down my faith walk, the more I've realized something:  as Christian women we have a little "problem".

The problem of living as a Christian in the world is that we see things that the world never sees.  We see sin, we see pain, we see places where we can grow and change and mature into better people, better Christians, than we are too.

The problem isn't necessarily seeing these.

The problem comes when we start to measure ourselves by what we see as inadequacies in ourselves based on the sins and the problems we see in our own lives.  We start comparing our inner selves to the outsides of others and our inner selves to the ideal inner self we'd like to have. 

And this is where we begin to beat ourselves up and hold ourselves to a higher standard than we can possibly obtain in our lifetime.

We uphold the woman in Proverbs 31 or Titus 2 or we uphold our Pastor's wife or other "godly" women as something we need to do or be in gory detail rather than trying to be ourselves - the best that God created us to be and uniquely be.

We start to see the sins of greed, lust, anger, chaos, broken relationships, hurt feelings, gluttony, destroyed or misused resources, immortal choices, and I could continue the list.   We start to want to fix these things RIGHT NOW, immediately and punish ourselves or beat ourselves up mentally when we can't or don't.  Or we want to fix them for others when it isn't our job to do that.

Then we go a step further, like the Pharisees of old, and add things to the list - perceived sins that should be given as offerings of God asks rather than made as a "requirement" for all.  Things like vocation, dress, hairstyle, cleanliness or tidiness of the home, offerings of money and time, and on and on we go.  

God doesn't require these things for salvation - His death on the cross gave us that - but we give these things as offerings.  We look at the outsides of others and see women who are better or modestly dressed, cover or style their hair differently than we do, keep their house differently or "better" than we do, give more money or time than we do, who homeschool their children, volunteer more hours, have more children or whatever and we start to think we need improvement.  We start making these things requirements rather than offerings.

What we need to remember is to give everything - absolutely everything - to God.

 His way in His time. 

And the important thing to remember is that His way for me is very different from His way for someone else.  And that is the hardest thing to remember.  We as women can be very catty and judgmental.  We look at the outside and judge the inside.   We need to remember the inside is what God cares about not the outside.

We need to remember to work on what God wants us to work on and to offer what God wants us to offer.  The world has it's own opinions and included in the world is our brothers and sisters in Christ, who will give us their opinions and even a herd mentality to what God wants us to do.

This year and in the last few weeks in particular, I've been reminded that I need to only do what God is calling me to do, not what others think I need to do.  I need to offer what He has asked me to offer, not what the world or my Christian community expects me to offer.  And I only need to work on changing what He asks me to change, not what I think needs changing or what the world or my Christian community tells me I need to change.

Very difficult to do, certainly, but that is when that sense of peace will come and there will be no more "problem" with being a Christian woman.

Soli Deo Gloria.
Always.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Goals for the Week of February 9, 2014

It seems like no matter how hard I try, my schedule just seems to fill up!  I ended up at work on Saturday which I just did *not* want to do - my weekends are time at home without my 2+ hour each day commute, thank you very much!  I often think of how much time I'd have if I didn't have the commute I do, but there aren't any other jobs in my field closer to my house (or here in the Twin Cities at all for that matter!), so that's where I am.  I love what I do and I love where I work and who I work with, so I keep reminding myself that when I'm stuck in traffic! :)

Anyway, I'm going to skip my goals from last week because other than work and family the list was pretty depressing to me.  I got a bunch of stuff started and not much completed.   SIGH.  Add to that that my week got started off with Missy deliberately cutting a huge piece of material out of her only pair of pants that actually fit her (she is a size 8 slim extra-tall - did you even know they made that size for little girls? I didn't.) and those pants were not cheap, let's just say this Mama wanted to start the week over. And it was only Sunday night. DOUBLE SIGH.  We're going to try to salvage the pants (when I'm in a better mood to deal with that) and she "gets" to buy herself a new pair with the allowance she has been painstakingly saving for a special something for 8 weeks now.   Right now, my goal for this week is to get through this list in a reasonable mood and no tantrums - on my part or anyone else!

So, without much fanfare, here's the list for this week:

Work:
* Be prepared for class each day.
* Keep my grading caught up.
* Finish scanning the pile of "stuff" on my desk that needs to be scanned

School:
* Meet with my advisor
* Finish 2 things on my list

Jazzercise:
* Teach 2 classes
* Attend at least 1 class
* Learn 2 new routines

Family:
* Swimming Lessons
* Piano Lessons
* Dance Lessons
* Play date for Missy
* Family Night
* Date with John
* Finish making Valentine's
* Finish paperwork for the Children's School and turn that in

Home:
* Daily Chore - I do well with the ones I like, not so much the rest!
* Get the taxes finished
* Zero out our budget and see where we need to be in 16 weeks (gulp!)
* Finish cleaning out the filing cabinet
* Work on my cousin's memorial quilt (I'd love to get this finished but I don't think I will be able to)

Faith/Ministry/Church:
* Review internship sites
* Send two notes
* Finish the letter to our Compassion International child

Personal:
* Get to bed on time 5 nights this week
* Spend a total of 1 hour doing embroidery this week or reading a fun book

What are you up to this week?  Visit Money Saving Mom to share!

Menu Plan and Shopping This Week - February 9, 2014

Since I ended up going in to work on Saturday, I did a quick stop at the store on Sunday on the way home from church (*cringe*) rather than our "regular" shopping trip on Saturday.  I missed double coupons - darn it - but I did get us groceries for the week.  We have $22 and change for groceries this next week - I am getting to the point where I have a list as long as my arm for things like shortening and rice, so I'll be on the look out for good deals this week.  I did get some good deals this weekend, buying mostly produce and milk at one store.  I don't have a photo of the shopping trip, but here's what we got:

24oz cornmeal $2.15
35oz Conversation Hearts candy (for valentine's) $4 (sale)
2.20lb bananas @ $0.59/lb = $1.30
2.13lb pears @ $1.29/lb = $4.04
4lb oranges $3.99
2 9oz bags fresh spinach @ 2/$3 = $3 (store coupon)
2 Grape Tomatoes 1 pint  B1G1 $2.99 (sale)
Dozen Large Eggs $1.99 (ouch - but this was the lowest price locally that actually had eggs in stock!)
2 Gallon Skim Milk @ 2/$5.50 = $5.50 (store coupon)

Total: $28.96 + $0.35 tax on the candy

We also bought two frozen pizzas for an event later this week at 2/$10 - this came out of our recreation money for this week so nothing out of the grocery budget.

Now, on to what we're eating this week! 

We're eating a lot from the freezer this week - we have a lot of veggies in the freezer that we need to use up so we're doing that this week as well using up some things from the pantry.

Here's the low down:

Sunday, February 9:
   Breakfast: Oatmeal with Bananas
   Lunch: Homemade Pizza and Breadsticks (I wasn't up to making this on Saturday night, so we had it here instead.)
   Snack: Leftover chips (from our friends Super Bowl party last week)
   Dinner: Vegetarian Chili, Cornbread, Orange Wedges

Monday, February 10:
   Breakfast: Peanut Butter Toast, Bananas
   Lunch: Apples with Cheddar Cheese, Carrot Sticks, Homemade Bread with Butter
   Snack: Yogurt
   Dinner: Veggie Pot Pie, Homemade Bread, Orange Wedges or Pear Slices

Tuesday, February 11:
   Breakfast: Oatmeal with Dates and Almonds
   Lunch: Leftover Soup from the Freezer, Banana
   Snack: Yogurt
   Dinner: Baked Potatoes with Leftover Chili and Cheddar Cheese, Tossed Salad, Applesauce

Wednesday, February 12:
   Breakfast: Oatmeal with Apples and Cinnamon
   Lunch: Leftover Chili and Cornbread
   Snack: Yogurt
   Dinner: "Beef" Tips in the crockpot (we're using venison), Noodles, Tossed Salad

Thursday, February 13:
   Breakfast: Chai Spiced Oatmeal
   Lunch: Leftovers from Dinner on the 12th
   Snack: Yogurt
   Dinner: Tuna Sandwiches, Carrots, Tomatoes and Pickles, Oranges

Friday, February 14, Valentine's Day:
   Breakfast: Banana-Blueberry Smoothies, Homemade Pastries
   Lunch: Homemade Muffins, Carrot Sticks or Tomatoes, Leftover Soup from the Freezer
   Snack: Yogurt
   Dinner: Homemade Pizza and Breadsticks, Tossed Salad
   Dessert: Cupcakes

Saturday, February 15:
   Breakfast: Buttermilk Coffee Cake, Banana-Peanut Butter Smoothies
   Lunch: Leftover Soup from the Freezer, Coffee Cake, Oranges
   Snack: Popcorn
   Dinner: Out for Adults (Valentine's Date!), Macaroni and Cheese, Strawberries, Carrot Sticks and Tomatoes for the children

What are you eating this week? 

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Frugal Things from the Last Two Weeks

I'm a bit behind on posting - I have several posts that are half done and then, wham, they get shoved to the back burner while more urgent and important things take precedence.   That's the way it goes sometimes.  We all had a good laugh when half the department at work - literally half - showed up to work on things on Saturday.  We're pretty good about not being in at work on the weekends (unless someone has a piece of equipment that must be checked by a faculty member), so we all collectively groaned and agreed that we need to get more done during the week so we can spend the weekends with our families. Now to put that into practice!

Anyway, after the school semester has been kicking my butt for a few weeks, we're still trying to get the budget revamped (continually, it seems like) and get things in place for Internship. We have only 16 weeks until John is done with his current job and moves into Internship!  Wow!!!   We've been doing really well with not spending "extra" money and used the fact that we didn't spend a single penny from either our "recreation" or our "other" (clothes, household, etc) categories these last two pay periods and took the children to a matinee at the movie theater.  We have a local theater that charges $5 per ticket for early matinees and we shared a large bucket of popcorn and a single large root beer with free refills for both - so a movie for 4 for $30!  It was such a treat and the rest of the money from those two categories went into our stock up fund! We put $42 and change into the stock up fund.  YAY for that!

Here are other things we've done the last two weeks on the frugal front:

* I was able to stay home two days with the children when they were off school due to bad weather - we were off one of those days too and I don't teach class on the other.  So I worked from home and we didn't have to pay a babysitter and I didn't have to drive my car either.  Win-win on both fronts!

* Watched several NOVA episodes for free on PBS.  My son was so engrossed with one of their episodes we had to nudge him to get him to blink!
* Made homemade Valentine's for the children's class at school using items we already had.  They turned out super cute and were even easier to make!  Love that.  I'll package them with some conversation hearts I got for a super good deal and we're good to go. I have leftover store-bought cards from last year for their dance class (which they need to bring cards for).

* Used fabric I already had to make a new tablecloth and matching napkins for my kitchen/dining table (we only have an eat-in kitchen).  I could have done something more creative but I wanted this project done!  So this was it:

 
 
* Attended a pot luck at church and brought a fruit salad made with fresh and canned fruit we already had in the house.
 
* Enjoyed free music while attending a piano competition.  Just waiting to play was wonderful! The music came into the hallways and we got to listen to some wonderful players!  The children did well and they had a nice experience with the whole thing.
 
* Attended a free guest lecture by a former Professor of mine.  The talk was fascinating and it was wonderful to see him again.
 
* Cut up more of my cousin's old clothes into quilt squares for a memory quilt that will go to her mother, my Aunt.  I saved the zippers and buttons for use in other projects.
 
* Accepted a free loaf of French bread from a donation that had happened at our church (they had leftover loaves) and then brought home 4 fruit kabobs from a Women's event at the church (they contained strawberries, pineapple and blackberries).
 
* Attended a Women's event at church and really enjoyed the time there.  They fed us a lovely meal and we got to enjoy a glass of wine too.  We never buy wine for ourselves - so it was a real treat!  Someone had made wonderful little squares of chocolate fudge served with fruit kabobs for dessert - I asked around for the recipe and need to try it soon!
 
* Baked whole wheat sandwich bread, no-bake cookie bars, peanut butter cookies and we tried 4 new recipes with three of them being good and two making the "definitely use again!" list.  I'm going to try the fourth one again at another time in a smaller batch - I think this one was just way too big.
 
* Attended a Super Bowl Party at a friend's house and didn't have to bring anything except ourselves.  We had a great time and came home with two bags of chips gifted from our friends.
 

* The boot trays we have inside the front and back door were getting quite dirty with road salt and slush so I washed them in our utility sink with all purpose cleaner and a scrub brush.  I guess they had been bad enough that my daughter actually thought I bought new ones!  That made me laugh!

* Used face paint I bought three years ago on sale after Halloween to decorate the children's faces for a pep rally at school.  I drew the school mascot (a Bumble Bee) and wrote "GO!" and "BUZZ!" on their cheeks.  They loved it!

* Downloaded several free ebooks for my Kindle for PC.

* Checked out several books for the children from the public library.

* Started pricing seeds and plants and drew out a tentative version of my garden for this year.  I'm excited to add some more shade plants to our front, and more vegetables and cutting flowers to the back yard!  I'm hoping to have enough seeds that I don't have to buy seeds next year.

What did you do this week?  Visit The Prudent Homemaker's Blog and Website to share and gather ideas....

Monday, February 3, 2014

Goals - Week of February 2, 2014

It was a busy week last week in spite of having two days at home with the children and third where I worked from home due to a badly timed snowstorm that hit right at morning rush hour.  Classes are in full swing for all four of us and I'm happy to get back into something resembling a routine.  I've decided that I need more creative things in my life and also need that outlet to get a few things done that I've been "meaning to do" for quite a while.  Since the children are big enough to both help out and entertain themselves along with the combination of getting this house cleaned out and things completed, I'm hoping to add more things to my list that meet my "completed" word for the year and feed my soul creatively.

How did I do last week?  Not too shabby if I do say so myself!

Work: Be ready for class each day
Keep up with grading (I tend to do well for a while and then get really behind!)
Update grade book as needed
Check references from MS Thesis against Bib and recycle what isn't needed


School:
Contact my advisor
Cross 5 things off my list (don't worry - they're little things)  I got 4 things done instead of 5.

Jazzercise:
Teach 2 classes
Attend 1 class

Learn 1 new routine
Complete some administrative things that need to be done


Family:
Swimming Lessons
Piano Lessons (part of the school day)
Dance Lessons
Family Night

Date Night  This was a sort-of - John got called into work just as we were finishing our dessert and before we could start the puzzle we had planned on working.

Home:
Ironing  I decided to shelve this until this week due to timing issues
Finish cleaning out the filing cabinet  We are almost done with this but didn't get it finished yet.
Finish (finally) Christmas Thank You Notes (2 to go!)
Bonus goal: 2 small sewing projects (only if everything else is done!) I did one of these as part of my adding creative projects to my week. Here's a photo of what I made:
Tablecloth with matching napkins - I've had the fabric for a long while and wanted to get this done so we had something "new" for our table.  The print fabric was actually part of a tablecloth I had made for a table we no longer have. I love the print and thought the purple would be something fun since we didn't have anything purple for the kitchen. 

Faith/Church/Ministry:
Congregational Meeting
Pot Luck
One load of items for donation

Write to our Compassion Child  Didn't get to this at all. Sigh.

Personal:
Get my hair cut (should have done this last week but ran out of time!)  Couldn't get an appointment until this next week.
Find a babysitter for an event John and I have in a couple of weeks
Photograph outfits for the dresses I own

How about for this week, the week of February 2?  I'm trying to keep focused and not do too much.  I'm hoping that as I cross things off my list as completed, my weekly lists will be shorter!  Here's what I have on the docket:

Work:
Be ready for Class each day
Continue being up to date with grading
Update class roster
Scan some papers that need to be scanned and then recycle originals

School:
Meet with my advisor
Complete 2 things on my list

Jazzercise:
Teach 2 classes
Learn 2 new routines

Family:
Swimming Lessons
Piano Lessons
Children's Dentist Appointment
Dance Lessons
Family Night
Date Night
Fill out and turn in School Re-enrollment forms

Home:
Finish that Filing cabinet
And the ironing
Work on a lap quilt for my Aunt (more on this later) - I'd like to get this half done this week

Faith/Ministry/Church:
Attend a Women's Ministry Event
Send a sympathy card to a friend whose wife passed on this last week
Send an email update to the prayer chain about two friends of ours
Write to our Compassion Child

Personal:
Get that hair cut
Coffee with my best friend
Price black dress boots and purchase a pair if I can find some in my price range that meet my criteria

What are you up to this week?  Visit Money Saving Mom to be inspired and share!

Menu Plan Monday - Week of February 2, 2014

Pickled Golden Beets - I made these for my Dad this summer. They were super yummy!
We're slightly warmer this week - by slightly I mean we're actually above zero and don't have to worry about school getting canceled because of wind chill.  We do have to worry about snow though - we're supposed to get more this week!   Spring can come any time it likes, I tell you!
We're trying some new-to-us recipes this week.  I'm rather excited about that and I'm starting to dream and plan my garden already.  With three feet plus of snow outside I think it's probably good to daydream about those things and do a little planning.   Valentine's Day is around the corner and I'm thinking about what to make for dinner for my family - if you have any ideas, please share!

Even with our $20/wk grocery budget for the last two weeks, we're eating very well.  Here's what we're eating this week:

Sunday, February 2:
    Breakfast: Cereal and Milk
    Lunch: Scrambled Eggs, Cinnamon Biscuit Twists, Oranges
    Snack: Best Ever Chocolate No-Bake Bars, Candied Orange Peel
    Dinner: At a Super Bowl Party (bringing chips and salsa from our recreation budget)

Monday, February 3:
    Breakfast: Oatmeal with Almonds and Dates
    Lunch: Hot Lunch for the Children, Wheat Berry Salad and  Yogurt for Adults
    Snack: Best Ever Chocolate No-Bake Bars, Candied Orange Peel
    Dinner: Wild Rice Casserole, Homemade French Bead, Tossed Salad

Tuesday, February 4:
    Breakfast: Chai Spiced Oatmeal
    Lunch: Hot Lunch for Children, Leftover Casserole and Salad for Adults
    Snack: Yogurt
    Dinner: Tuscan Tomato Bread Soup, Tossed Salad, Orange or Grapefruit Wedges

Wednesday, February 5:
   Breakfast: Oatmeal Muffins and Bananas
   Lunch: Hot Lunch for Children, Wheat Berry Salad and Leftover Soup for Adults
   Snack: Yogurt
   Dinner: Applesauce BBQ Chicken, Maple Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Oranges

Thursday, February 6:
   Breakfast: Oatmeal with Cranberries and Almonds
   Lunch: Hot Lunch for Children, Leftover Casserole and Salad for Adults
   Snack: Yogurt
   Dinner: Sandwiches from leftover Chicken, Tossed Salad

Friday, February 7:
   Breakfast; Pancakes with Bananas and Almonds
   Lunch: Hot Lunch for Children, Leftover Casserole and Cut Veggies for Adults
   Snack: Yogurt
   Dinner: Taco Soup, Tortilla Chips, Orange or Grapefruit Wedges

Saturday, February 8:
   Breakfast: At Bible Study for All of Us
   Lunch: Minestrone Soup and Tuna Sandwiches
   Snack: Popcorn
   Dinner: Homemade Pizza and Bread sticks

What are you eating this week?

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Super Savings "Saturday" - $19.86 Shopping Trip


We had $21 and change left in the grocery envelope this week and I was a bit bummed that things were more expensive than I thought they would be this week. I wanted to buy couscous and rice (we are out of both) and some of the ham and chicken that was on sale but we were also out of potatoes and milk and running low on veggies and fruit.  My daughter has taken a liking to eating a container of yogurt for a snack every day, which is fine with me, and right now it's cheaper to buy some rather than figure out how to make some (yes, I know there are many ways to make yogurt, but I haven't had the chunk of time to try it right now).

So here's what I bought for just under $20 this week:

Store #1:
8lbs Potatoes $2.98
Haas Avocado $0.68
2lb Yellow Onions $1.50
Kemp's Skim Milk 2 Gallons at 2/$6 (coupon) - $0.75 (coupon) = $5.25  ($2.62/gallon)
Smart Balance Butter Spread $2.29 - $0.50 (coupon) = $1.79

Total Spent Store #1: $12.20
Total Saved According to Store Receipt: $3.23 (21%)

Store #2:
2lb Bananas @ $0.59/lb = $1.18
1.23lb Granny Smith Apples @ $1.29/lb = $1.59
1.01lb Brussels Sprouts @ $0.88/lb = $0.89
Yoplait Yogurt 10/$5 (coupon) - $1 (coupon) = $4 ($0.40 each)

Total Spent Store #2: $7.66
Total Saved According to Store Receipt: $5.07 (39%)

Total Spent Both Stores: $19.86
Total Saved According to Store Receipts: $8.30 (29%)

I saw a recipe this weekend for Maple Baked Brussels Sprouts and I was so excited to see them on sale so inexpensive (for here) when I was at the store.  I bought a pound to try the recipe - I'm hoping it's as good as it sounds - I love Brussels Sprouts in any case and so does John. I'm hoping the maple syrup in the coating will encourage the children to try them too.   I'm trying a new bar/cookie recipe, two new to us soup recipes and I'm trying my hand at making candied orange peel this week too.   I'll update you later on how they all turn out.  I've been trying to add a little adventure into our cooking as I'm getting tired of the same old things.  John is still fine with what we've been eating but the children and I would like a little more variety!

Store #2 does double coupons occasionally but I needed to spend a minimum of $25 before coupons and sales and I did not so my coupon didn't double.  That's okay - I stayed in my budget anyway.   We will have $30 next week plus another $10 to stock up with so I will purchase both chicken and ham this next weekend - they are both on sale again then.  I think the couscous and rice will be purchased from the $10 for stock up - we took 3 years to go through the bag of rice I had previously purchased at Sam's Club and I can buy couscous in bulk with similar results as well, though it's more expensive per pound than the rice and we eat more of it than we do rice.  We'll see how that all works out in reality and I'll be certain to update you this next weekend!

Come back Monday to see what we're eating.  How did you do with your shopping this week?