Showing posts from 2016

Frugal Friday - The End of 2016

Nothing like completely forgetting I had a blog for month, right?  I didn't forget about everyone - I promise.   December ended up being ridiculously busy and very spare moment was spent with family and friends and on grading, as the term ended not that long ago.    My parents were visiting for 3 weeks (they returned home to sunny and slightly warmer Texas yesterday) and the children had their Sunday school program, their school Christmas program, and a school fun-day to end the term and John had 3 funerals and two graveside burials.  Then there's always the rush of Christmas and all the services that comes with being a Pastor's family.  I am very, very ready for a quiet start to the new year!

I have some New Year's posts already planned and partially written, so look for those next week.  In the meantime, here are some frugal things we did in the month of December:

* We made bread, cookies (LOTS of cookies), chicken wild-rice soup, taco soup, fish chowder, Swedish m…

Menu Plan Monday - Week of November 27, 2016

How about a super dark photo of our dinner the other night?   Pulled pork and pan fried butternut squash with spinach.  It was delicious, even if the photo is really dark!

I can't believe December starts this week!  I am so totally not ready for Christmas to come but Advent is here so I guess I better get ready quickly. 

We have a busy month and guests will be arriving in 2 weeks again to stay through New Years.  I have a lot of gifts I'd like to sew or make and then all the holiday baking, which is truly a favorite part of my holiday.  In the meantime, we have something happening every single night this week except Friday!

Here's what we're eating:

Sunday, November 27, 2016
    Breakfast: Toast and Strawberry-Bananas Smoothies
    Lunch: Pizza Twists, Tossed Salad
    Dinner: At a friend's house

Monday, November 28, 2016
    Breakfast: Eggs and Toast
    Lunch: Leftover Turkey in Sandwiches, Carrot Sticks, Apples
    Snack: No Bake Energy Bites
    Dinner: Hambu…

Super Savings Saturday - A $54.15 stock up shop

Sorry, no photo today - it was a rush in, rush out, hurry home, put it away and sit down for supper kind of day!

Buddy and I ran out and grabbed groceries while Missy and John were ringing bells for the Salvation Army Red Kettles.  We had dinner in the crockpot and planned to eat right when we got home because John had one more thing on the agenda today.  We succeeded, and now the children are washing up and getting their things ready for tomorrow, I have one more load of laundry in the clothes washer and Buddy and I will wash up the dishes here as soon as we're all done with showers.  We have dinner tomorrow night with friends, so I get to stay up tonight and grade all the things that were turned in before the holiday and the children plan to snuggle up with some books for a bit before heading to bed.  Lovely evening!

Here's what Buddy and I bought at the store - with commentary:

2 56oz bottles of cranberry juice @ $1.99ea = $3.98 (one for now, one for over Christmas)
Red Ve…

Frugal Sunday - So Much to be Thankful For!

I was going through our photos from this summer to order some prints and was reminded all over again how much I love the early, quiet mornings at the cabin we rent!   Here is the field across from the cabin all foggy in the morning sun.  Just beautiful!  The photo doesn't even begin to do it justice but I'll take the reminder.

We've had such crazy week and it really didn't feel very frugal.  In some ways it was - we didn't spend a ton of money and all that we did spend was planned.  Still, I felt like all I did this week was run places and spend money.  Here's what we did this week:

* I made calzones, spaghetti sauce, coffee cake, cornbread and vegetable soup at home this week.

* I attended a meeting that had a dinner with it and I received a free meal another day at work.

* John attended a 3 day workshop with our church and was treated to three meals a day while he was there.  Our congregation also paid for his hotel room and reimbursed us for mileage for t…

Super Saving Saturday - A $25.64 Thanksgiving Week Shop

This week is the week of the Thanksgiving holiday here in the U.S. and we have so much to be thankful for!   We are not hosting the meal or family this week and we have SO MUCH food in our freezer and cupboards, that we didn't do much shopping today.

My daughter and I went to two stores and bought what you see above:

Store #1:
52oz Vegetable Oil $2.19
1 dozen Eggs $0.79

Total from Store #1: $2.98

Store #2:
2 Carnation Evaporated Milk $1ea = $2
2 Campbell's Chicken Noodle Soup $0.99ea = $1.98
15oz kidney beans  $0.89
15oz chili beans $0.89
2 15oz tomato sauce $0.89ea = $1.78
2lbs Low Sodium Bacon 2lbs/$6 = $6
3lbs Pink Lady Apples $4.99
1.94lbs Yellow Bananas $0.59/lb = $1.14
3.02lbs Red Delicious Apples $0.99/lb = $2.99

Total Store #2: $22.66

Total Spent Today: $25.64

We're spending Thanksgiving with friends this year since John has to lead Worship on both Wednesday and Sunday.  We will be bringing krumkaka (cookies) to add to the meal - my friend LOVES to cook so this is…

Frugal Friday - Is it already mid-November?

I don't have a photo for you today.  I guess that's okay once in a while, right?   And I guess it's not quite mid-November - that comes early next week.  I still can't believe it's November.  We're really, really enjoying the weather that we usually have in early October and we broke the record for latest frost here by 116 years!  Last time we had a frost this late?  1900.  Go figure. I'm still harvesting strawberries.  No complaints there!
Here's the frugal happenings for the last two weeks:

* Made soup, bread, cornbread, and several other foods at home.

* I had my best friend over for breakfast rather than going out to breakfast.  We had a great time and no one cared if we talked for hours! 

* My Mom made the children their Halloween costumes this year (she's done that every year but one since they were born) and I went as Rosie the Riveter.  I used jeans and a bandana I already owned and borrowed a blue button down shirt from my husband.  I wore…

Menu Plan Monday - Week of November 6, 2016

I may have posted that photo before (I can't remember and I'm way to lazy too look!) but these flowers are *still* blooming - on November 7th!   We usually have snow by now - at least a dusting - so I'm feeling terribly spoiled.  I picked snapdragons, roses, and a few of these for our kitchen table yesterday.    I'm pretty sure winter will come in with a roar sometime very soon, but for now I'm enjoying weather is shirtsleeves and fresh flowers from the garden. 

We bought no groceries this week.  We decided we had plenty in the fridge, freezer and cupboards and decided to see what we could do with what we have.   Sometimes it's a challenge but it gets us out of a rut and uses things up.

We were blessed this week with a 1/4 sheet cake and an almond cake from members of the congregation and we have lots of fresh fish also from a member of the congregation.    We definitely don't lack for sweets with the congregation we're in!  I think I'm going to e…

Menu Plan Monday - Week of October 30, 2016

I spent the weekend grading - mid-term grades were due and all that - and processing some very mentally draining things that happened this last week.  My brain is pretty much mush at this point.  In the middle of all that, my coffee pot decided to spring a leak and hot water went everywhere!  Couple that with no coffee and a trip to the store suddenly moved up to high priority on the list!   I came home with the black beauty in the photo above.  Ah, bliss.  Hot coffee - on a timer no less! - and no water all over the place.  Win-win in my book!

After two weeks of my parents buying groceries for us (Yep - totally spoiled!) and another of eating mostly leftovers and it was definitely time for a run to the store this weekend.  We spent just over $50 on lots of fruit (apples, bananas, grapes, a pomegranate), carrots, celery, a cucumber, yogurt, a gallon of milk, a roll of sausage, and three cans of our children's favorite soup for a  quick dinner a couple of nights coming up.  We wer…

Goals - The Last Week of October

Now that we're through Ordination, we can settle once again into  routine.  I've definitely decided that there is never a week without something happening (John is at a church function 4 nights this week!) but that we can get into a routine and a rhythm.  This will change with the church seasons and the school year but I'm hoping to establish an ebb and flow that we can maintain for a while.

This week is mid-terms here where I'm at and basketball season is slowly ramping up.  We're eating up the leftovers in the fridge and planning for Advent - both at church and at home.  We have one more big day coming up - Installation at John's church - but that celebration is taken care of by the parish and we simply have to show up and enjoy ourselves.

We should receive our photos from the ordination later this week and I'm totally excited about that!  We had approximately 200 friends and family at the service and then another 150 or so that stayed for dinner after. …

Menu Plan Monday - The Last Full Week in October

I'm really having a hard time believing that we're heading into the last full week in October! Things have been crazy busy around here and we're finally through Ordination (it was wonderful!) and settling into a new routine around here.  My parents have been here for almost 3 weeks and will be heading back to their home on Wednesday.  They will return mid-December to celebrate Christmas with us.

This is the week of leftovers from the Ordination - we had a ton of food leftover.  We still have a ton of veggies leftover from the garden and we're still picking tomatoes and strawberries - the two plants that shouldn't be doing well after the frost!   I'm not complaining, mind you.  Just a wee bit puzzled.

Anyway, here's what we're eating this week:

Sunday, October 23:
   Breakfast: Leftover Coffee Cake and Fruit
   Lunch: Buns, Pulled leftover Chicken, Leftover Coleslaw and Sliced Veggies
   Snack: Leftover cheesecake
   Dinner: Whatever we scavenged from t…

Twenty Things I Learned at My Husband's Ordination

i We're through Ordination and into daily ministry.  Whew!   What a wonderful, wonderful day and such a blessed time!

Here are 20 things I learned at my husband's ordination, some totally tongue-in-cheek and some quite serious.

1.  No one wants to sit next to the Bishop at dinner. 2. People have no idea what to give as gifts for an Ordination. 3. You can't find Ordination cards at Target.  Go figure.  4. The greeting card holder on our kitchen wall holds 26 cards before they start falling out of the holder.  5. If you're wearing and alb (clerical robe), no one really cares what you're wearing underneath. 6. Photographers know how to pin on corsages and boutonnieres. 7.  All sorts of people have been praying for us - some we had NO idea! 8. Ordering food for an unknown number of people is difficult. 9.  Finding out what to do with leftover tossed lettuce salad is even more difficult. 10.  Most children have at least a vague idea of how to behave at a worship servic…

Frugal Friday - Middle of October

We're heading toward Ordination and Installation this week - whee!  What a busy time this is!   My parents are here and I'm so grateful.  There are all sorts of things that they can help with and leave us free to do more pressing things.  It's also just lovely to have them here!  These visits are so precious.

Some frugal things from the last week:

* Made meatloaf, cornbread, vegetable-barley soup, and cookies at home this week.

* Mom did a bunch of yardwork for us - thanks Mom!

* Scrubbed the kitchen within an inch of it's life this week.  It looks great!  Now we just need to finish painting.

* Lowered the hem on two pairs of pants for my son this week.  Sewed a button back on my spring/fall jacket.  Sewed the last of my son's Cub Scout patches on his vest.  We'll hang that in his room with his Arrow of Light as a decoration. 

* Ordered my son a new winter jacket on clearance sale.  Saved over $40!

* Spent more time cleaning out and my husband took another lo…

Menu Plan Monday - Week of October 9, 2016

I'm missing my zinnias already!  The frost got them all as well as our pumpkins, the tomatoes and the peppers.  I guess that means it's officially fall!  I still have a few zinnias on our table and the piano and I will enjoy them while I can.  We'll get all those dead plants pulled out sometime this week.

We are in full swing with everything and my parents are coming for a visit for John's Ordination and will be with us for about 3 weeks.  They arrive tomorrow.  Other family will be coming in as well to stay for varying amounts of time.  We're certainly busy with preparations and all the other regular happenings!

Sunday, October 9, 2016:
     Breakfast:  Peanut Butter Toast or Fruit and Yogurt Smoothies
     Lunch: Cinnamon Biscuit Twists, Banana-Strawberry-Apple Salad
     Snacks: Fruit
     Dinner: Macaroni and Cheese with Broccoli  (the children and I, John was at a funeral)

Monday, October 10, 2016
    Breakfast: Waffles from the Freezer, Bananas
    Lunch: Le…

Frugal Friday - The first full week in October

This was John's first full week in his new Call.  I'm feeling a bit like I've been tossed in the air an haven't landed yet - we're figuring out schedules and new responsibilities and all that jazz.  It's been good and crazy and I'm so happy we're here!   I figure by the time the new church year starts in late November, we'll be settled into a routine again.  That I'm looking forward to. This week we picked a lot of produce.  We had our frost this week - it was supposed to be  a hard freeze but turned out to just be a frost.  We had picked all the produce possible just in case, so now we have green tomatoes all over the kitchen!    We still have green pumpkins on this monster - yep that's a single pumpkin plant and that's not even all of it - it extends in both directions both right and left as well!   We have harvested 9 and there are 4 more that the voles have taken care of.  So a total of 13 pumpkins so far and another 4 that are ripe…

Super Savings - October's Beginning!

I can't believe October is here already!   Where did September go?  We dug out some of the fall decorations this week and dug out some of the dead veggies in the garden.  The nights are getting cooler and the leaves are starting to turn.  I guess that means it's officially fall.  We've had rain, rain and more rain lately.  I went to pick the Rose Hips and most were moldy or rotten so I scrapped that plan.  May be next year.  I'm starting to feel like we need a boat or something with all the rain we've been having.  The perk?  Beautiful skies like this one: The down side?  Hail!  We've had hail twice now.  This is a photo from the first round, about a week and a half ago.  Sigh. 
All that said, the weather we had this weekend was beautiful!   Couldn't ask for better weather.  Middle temperatures, nice light breeze, plenty of sunshine - just perfect! 
Here's our frugal and not-so frugal week:

* Returned some items that didn't fit and exchanged th…

My Friday Belly Laugh

So, John asked me to help him with picking out hymns for his Ordination Service.  As we were working our way through what is fondly known as the "New Red Hymnal", we came across this:

"All Depends on Our Possessing"
Listed under the heading of "Grace".
(Evangelical Lutheran Worship #589, if you're interested and have a copy).
The combination of the title and the heading gave me the biggest belly laugh I've had in a while.  I guess that's what happens when you have a hymn without a title and you take the first four or so words of the hymn and make that the title. The entire first line of the hymn reads as follows:  "All depends on our possessing God's free grace and constant blessing."  Whew.  I was worried there for a moment. What gave you a good laugh today?

Super Savings - More Produce and a bit of shopping

We had our CSA's fall Harvest Party this weekend.  At the party, the CSA owner puts out any "leftover" vegetables and fruit that they can't use themselves.  We brought home lots of Brussels sprouts, kohlrabi, and HUGE parsnips.  I'm so excited!  

We also picked three more pumpkins, several more tomatoes, chocolate peppers and green beans from the yard.  There were even some more strawberries - enough for us to each get a couple.  They are heirloom variety so they're tiny but flavorful.  I'm really hoping they come back well next year!

At the grocery store this week we bought $36.02 worth of groceries ($0.16 in sales tax).  Here's what we purchased (no pictures because we were on the way back out the door after dropping these at home):

S&W Black Beans 2 15oz cans @ $0.69 = $1.38
Toilet Cleaner $2.19
Baby Spinach 2 @ B1G1 = $2.99
Apples 4.63lbs @ $1.39/lb = $6.44
Black Plums 2.06lbs @ $1.99/lb = $4.10
Russet Potatoes 2 5lb bags @ B1G1 = $2.49

Frugal Friday - There's a cross in my tomato....

How's that for a surprise when I cut open a tomato from our garden this week?   I had to take a photo, since it was so unusual.   Even our children commented on how unusual it was. 

It's been another busy week around here.  John starts his new position next week and I'm really excited to start a new routine.  There have been several viruses going around at work and I've been trying to make sure I get enough sleep and exercise and eat well.  So far so good!  I'm hoping it continues!

I feel like this week was a week of a lot of doing rather than much of anything else. Our grocery shop last week was quite a bit higher than I would have liked so this week we're hoping to keep it low again.  I feel like we didn't do much this week but I'm not so sure.

Here are some of the things we did this week that we "frugal":

* Ate one meal at church for the Capital Campaign kickoff and brought home several small bags of leftover crackers.  The meal was delic…

Menu Plan Monday - Week of September 18, 2016

Sheep!  I promise that's the last photo I'll share from the Oliver Kelley Farm.  I'm planning on taking some actual photos of things in and around our house this week so, hopefully, I'll have some other photos this next week.  I'm rather astonished that I have only a handful of photos from September - all but two of them from the first day of school.  I'm a bit behind with that, I'm afraid.  The sheep in the above photo are chomping happily on the weeds the children and I picked in the garden there.  If only we had a sheep to feed the weeds at home to!  Or not.  I have zero desire to raise animals (other than a nice puppy at some point) around my home.

We spent $47 on groceries this week - I'm a bit irritated about that since my careful planning this summer didn't help.  I totally ran out of laundry detergent this week and we also needed yogurt, something that I've tried to make many times but have failed each time and is rather expensive.   SI…

Frugal Friday - Middle-of-September

I've been super remiss about taking photos in September now, but that's one from the Oliver Kelley Farm we visited Labor Day weekend.  Can you tell the bull's horns go two different directions?  We all thought that was hilarious!   He was very gentle - and was trying to eat clover out of the children's' hands very neatly. 

This week felt very busy. I have been discovering that my current schedule doesn't allow much time for prep or grading or any the things that go into making a class run well.  So we've been trying to move things around a bit.  Not sure how we'll get there but we will eventually, I hope!  The children were away for three days on a school trip so John and I had the place to ourselves for a bit.  He was paid for a Pulpit Supply job and decided that he was going to use it to take me out on a real out-of-the-house date.  Those have been so rare the last two years, so I heartily accepted! It was so very quiet and I really missed tucking t…

Menu Plan Monday - Week of September 11, 2016

Okay, so that's not a food photo, in terms of an actual meal, but it's a food photo since it's part of the kitchen garden at the Oliver Kelley Farm in Elk River, MN.  You can read more about the Oliver Kelley Farm here.

We visited there using our Minnesota Historical Society membership and the children love that they get to try everything out. It's a living history farm and truly a great place for a family visit. There's something even for the little ones!

Our garden isn't anywhere near that impressive but I'm loving the produce we get.  I'm also very grateful that I don't just have to eat from our garden.  We'd do pretty well with some things and not so good with others.  Tomatoes? Check!  Carrots?  Not so much.

It's a mostly normal school week for us this week.  Here's what we're eating:
Sunday, September 11:
   Breakfast: Smoothies
   Lunch: Veggie and Cheese Calzones
   Snack: Popcorn
   Dinner: Fried White Fish, Couscous, Steam…

Frugal --- What day of the week is it already?

Wow - this week has gone both super slow and super fast!   The children and I started school this week, John has been "off" while waiting for his Call to start but doing TONS of stuff around the house, I've been teaching extra Jazzercise classes due to vacations/illness/maternity leave, and then Buddy came down with a massive head cold and had to stay home from school.  I was so glad today was Saturday - at least I *think* it's Saturday!  I feel like I've been trying to figure out what day it is all week!  Starting on a Tuesday threw me for a loop and with Buddy having to stay home one day, it's been a bit confusing!

We had a pretty frugal week, all things considered.  John doesn't get a paycheck until October so we're trying very hard to spend as little as possible.  We did make a couple of grocery purchases where we actually ran out of something but other than that we didn't spend much and used several things we already had.

Here's what we …

Menu Plan Monday - Labor Day and the First Week of September

Dinner while camping - hot dogs over the fire!  And the coffee pot is just heating water for washing the dinner dishes.   We also ate a LOT of tomatoes and other fresh garden goodies while camping.  It was all so good!  Grilled cabbage is now a new favorite at our house.  Yum! This week is back into routine.  I think I'm glad of that!  I like routine and getting back into things is very comforting to me.  We have a the menus planned out except for details through the end of December, which is great for planning ahead and buying groceries.  I *think* we're good for the month except for some milk, eggs and a bit of fruit.  We'll see how that goes.  I'm trying to spend as little as possible on food this month since we have a few weeks before John gets his first paycheck.  We had some meat leftover from camping so we ate those this Sunday and Monday and then into the other things we have in the freezer and pantry as the week goes on.  Lots of cabbage an zucchini in the f…

Frugal Friday - The End of August 2016

So, after getting John's Call on Sunday, we headed out for pre-planned week of vacation at one of Minnesota's beautiful State Parks.  We spent part of Monday down at the beach, the kids and John swam and I waded around, skipping rocks and taking photos.  It rained Tuesday and the water levels were quite high and trails were damp so we limited ourselves to hiking the groomed trails on Wednesday and then did a 7 mile hilly/rocky/rugged hike on Thursday.  The beauty always astounds me!  The weather was too cool to return to the beech but the hikes were plenty.  We had a wonderful week, though now I have a mountain of laundry and a whole bunch of other things that need cleaning before they can be put away until we need them again.  Every year, we take a week and go "camping" at one of the State Parks.  I put camping in quotes because we rent a cabin with a solid roof and actual beds.  It's beautiful and peaceful and free of things like distractions from work and th…