Friday, March 25, 2016

Frugal Friday - Holy Week 2016 Edition!

No photos this week - we've been so busy and I'm going to write this quickly before heading off to bed.  I do realize I owe you gift photos - never fear, they're coming! 

Being in Ministry, Holy Week (Palm Sunday though Easter) is always super busy - more than Christmas even!  Top that off with me pushing a bit too hard and having a major shingles attack on Thursday morning, us receiving about 8 inches of really wet snow on Wednesday afternoon/evening, and all of us just being tired this week, and I am again way behind on things.  Fortunately, I had planned on getting nothing for work done this week so I'll be okay come next week no matter what I did or didn't get done this week.   The children and I have been on Spring Break this week - YAY! - so we were able to take it easy and do some fun things too.

Here's some things we did this week that I think count as "frugal":

* Enjoyed brunch at church on Palm Sunday.

* Ate at home all other meals except one.  Made biscuits, bread, soft pretzels, soup and pancakes at home this week. My daughter made dinner all by herself one night this week too!

* Did a LOT of cleaning out and took a load of items to the thrift store.  Received thrift store credit in return.  I swear my son's t-shirts multiply in the drawer. Just sayin'. 

* Mended two shirts, a vest, a pair of pants and a winter coat.

* Sewed a new table cloth for my kitchen/dining table (we have an eat-in kitchen and no dining room) using fabric I already owned.

* Finished a cross-stitching project I had that was partially finished for quite some time.  It was really nice to cross that off my to-do list!  Two more almost finished projects to get done and I can start on a very special gift I need to work on.

* Used our Minnesota Historical Society Membership to visit the Museum for free one day this week.  The kids had a blast!  We ate lunch at the cafĂ© there as a treat - locally sourced food that wasn't any more expensive than eating at a fast food place.

* Decorated the house for Holy Week using things we already owned.  Sewed a small set of new decorations using things I already owned (hoping to post photos next week!).

* Treated my shingles with an acupuncture appointment ($30 co-pay), a tennis ball and Advil, both of which I already owned.  Lots of rest and hot showers also help.

* Read several books that we already owned or that the children had brought home from school.

* Watched movies we already owned or were free online.

* We played two games we already owned, one we love and play often, and another we received for Christmas but have only played once before.  My son also made a board game from cardboard packaging, modeling clay and the dice we already own.  That was fun too!

* Did some pretty deep spring cleaning this week using vinegar water and Murphy's Oil Soap, water, rags and an old toothbrush.  My house is sparkling but I think this was part of what pushed me over the edge with the shingles.

* Polished three pairs of leather shoes - two for me and one for my daughter - and sprayed them with water repellant to prolong their life. 

I think that's it for this week.  Hoping that I'm rested up enough that I can get back to a more regular blogging schedule. 

What frugal things did you do this week?

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

March Goals - The rest of this month!

So way back the end of February, I realized I hadn't written about any goals for February and I decided I was really going to nail in March.  Then I got sick and everything flew out the window. 

So, since March is almost over and this is Holy Week and I really need something else to do (do you hear the sarcasm?), I decided I would post my goals for the rest of March - since I'm finally feeling like I'm well again. (And, yes, that was a heck of a run-on sentence! Thank you very much.)

So, here we go for the rest of March (from 3/22 to 3/31):

* Read 2 books for my research.
* Write 1000 words on my writings that I need to do for work and school.
* Calculate and Submit Mid-term grades.
* Finished the shredding at the office that I need to do. 
* Remove two stacks of old papers from my bookcase at work and file, scan or shred as needed.
* Prep one unit for my summer class.
* Sew a new Easter tablecloth.
* Finish at least 5 gifts.
* Finish 2 mostly-finished embroidery projects.
* Play at least two board games the children.
* Have a date night with my husband.
* Find a sitter for a date with have coming up in April.
* Pull all the nettle in the yard before we get more snow.
* Take a car-load of donations over to church for the "spring" rummage sale.

* Catch up the mending.
* Sew a new spring tablecloth.

I'll give you an update next week on how things are going.  Most of this list is at least partly done so I should be able to make some good headway on this.

What are you hoping to do the rest of this month?

Monday, March 21, 2016

Menu Plan Monday - Holy Week 2016 (March 20 - 26)

I don't have new food photos this week so I'm sharing another beautiful sunrise with you.  The light at the top is reflection of my overhead lighting in my kitchen.  This picture was taken earlier this year.

Can't believe we're into Holy Week already!  I know it's early this year but, man, the time has just flown!

Other than Worship services and our normal activities, we're not doing anything special.  I'm grateful.  I feel like we do too much running as it is!  Here's what we're eating this week:

Sunday, March 20, Palm Sunday:
    Brunch: At church, served by the Youth Group
    Snack: Popcorn
    Dinner: Chicken Tenders, Sliced-Upright Baked Potatoes, Apple-Melon-Banana Salad

Monday, March 21:
   Breakfast: Eggs, Toast
   Lunch; Leftover Chicken, Sliced Apples
   Snack: Yogurt
   Dinner: Soup in the Crockpot, Homemade Bread, Tossed Salad

Tuesday, March 22:
   Breakfast: Chai Spiced Oatmeal
   Lunch: Leftover Soup
   Snack: Yogurt
   Dinner: Steak Stir Fry, Rice, Sliced Cantaloupe

Wednesday, March 23:
   Breakfast: Oatmeal Muffins, Bananas
   Lunch: Sandwiches, Cut Veggies, Cookie
   Snack: Cut Veggies
   Dinner: Waffles, Bacon, Apple-Melon Salad

Thursday, March 24, Maundy Thursday:
    Breakfast: Cold Cereal with Milk
    Lunch: Chicken Noodle Soup, Bread
    Snack: Yogurt
    Dinner: Scalloped Potatoes with Ham, Biscuits, Tossed Salad

Friday, March 25, 2016, Good Friday:
   Breakfast: Hot Cross Buns, Bananas
   Lunch: Pizza Twists
   Snack: Hot Cross Buns
   Dinner: Applesauce Chicken with Rice, Sliced Melon and Bananas

Saturday, March 26, 2016, Holy Saturday:
    Breakfast: Maple Scones, Smoothies
    Lunch: At a Maple Syrup Festival
    Snack: Easter Cookies
    Dinner: Homemade Pizza and Breadsticks

It's not exactly a traditional Holy Week Menu but it works for this year!  What are you eating this week?

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Super Savings Saturday - $28.23 Spent Today

Happy Saturday Everyone!

We woke up this morning to another blanket of snow and icy roads.  Our snow had been gone for weeks and we had temperatures in the 50'sF and even a day where we reached 64F!  So it was quite the surprise this morning when everything was white again.  Thankfully, it was melted by noon so I don't think it did any damage to the little plants that were starting to poke their heads up.

John and I made grocery shopping a mini-date with a stop at Target and the Dollar Tree to fill the children's Easter baskets before hand.  We always get the children the things they need to "finish off" their Easter outfits (tights/socks, hair bands, necktie, etc.) for their Easter baskets so we end up spending a bit more than we would if we just bought candy. They then end up wearing the items for the entire summer. Either way, we're all sent and spent about $12 on all of that.  That came out of the "Miscellaneous" part of our budget.

Groceries ran us $28.23 this week - more than I wanted but not bad considering we were completely out of basically all fresh vegetables (we had half a green pepper) and fruit (two bananas).  Above is what we purchased.  Here's the breakdown: 

Kellogg's Mini-Wheats $1.25 (Store coupon)
Kraft Macaroni and Cheese Dinner 2 @ $0.88 = $1.76 (Store Coupon)
Skippy Creamy Peanut Butter (14oz) 2 @ $1.99 = $3.98
Kraft Salad Dressing $1.99 (Store coupon)
2.29lbs Yellow Bananas (which were currently green!) @ $0.59/lb = $1.35
Fresh Express Baby Spinach $2 (store coupon)
3.96lbs Braeburn Apples @ $0.99/lb = $3.92
2lbs Carrots $1.49
Dry Pint Grape Tomatoes $2.50
10 Containers Yoplait Yogurt @ 20/$10 = $5

Total $28.23
Receipt shows a savings of $2.77 (9%)

We have a couple of days where the children will be with a sitter over dinner so the mac and cheese is for those nights. They'll have that and fruit and then I'll make something snacky for them those nights too.  The yogurt makes for good snacks and in lunch boxes and is cheaper at this price when compared to the larger containers (comparing per ounce).  The peanut butter was the same price per ounce as the cheapest sale elsewhere so we bought two smaller jars rather than one large one.   We find we use less per serving if we have small jars rather than large ones. 

How did you do this week with your shopping?

Come back Monday to see what we're eating this week! 

Friday, March 18, 2016

Frugal Friday - Finally getting back after illness!

I *think* I'm finally getting caught up after being super ill for over two weeks.  Yesterday, Thursday, I finally felt well again for the first time since the end of February.  I'm grateful for being back into the swing of things!

I'm just going to recap this week since I really don't have much of a memory from the rest of the month! **GRIN**  I think I slept more than anything else those weeks.  Does that count as frugal?

* Made oatmeal and oatmeal-butterscotch cookies from scratch.

* Ate one meal at church and two others catered at meetings at work.  Ate the rest at home or brown-bagged. 

* Cooked soup in the crockpot and put the leftovers in the freezer for later.

* John brought home a pretty carnation for me, leftover from St. Patrick's day at work.

* I taught an extra Jazzercise class this week and made a little extra money.

* John preached for a friend this week and made a little extra money.

* Worked on embroidery for a couple of gifts that I'm making.  I have another (important!) embroidery gift that I want to start on, but I want to finish these up first since they're almost done.

* Sewed 4 gifts for my in-laws and finished one for our nephew (look for a post on those this next week!).  The four gifts for my in-laws were really quick and easy. The one for our nephew was a bit harder!

* Went to bed early almost every night to make sure I don't relapse with my illness.  I also too extra Vitamin C and D (which I already had) this week. 

* Reorganized a few things in my sewing stash and made plans for a few pieces of material.

* We watched a video we already had for family night.

* I used a coupon I received in the mail for a free bottle of shampoo.  I am now set for shampoo for quite a while!  I was also able to purchase a new workout top, which I needed, on sale this week.

* John was able to purchase a new pair of shoes this week. He uses a sale offer on the shoes to get them for almost half price.

In other news:

We received the names two potential congregations for John's first Call in the last week or so.  Please keep us in your prayers as we go through this Call Process.  It's pretty nerve wracking and we're hanging in limbo until we know where we'll be heading.  Thank you so much!

Monday, March 14, 2016

Menu Plan Monday - Week of March 13th, 2016

Pickled Yellow Beets - Pickled beets are a my Dad's favorite.  I have to say, I think they're pretty tasty too! We just finished our last jar so I now I have to make more this summer.

It's really starting to feel like spring around here!  Warm and sunny - light coats, no boots, and the ability to spend time outside without hats, mittens and scarves!  I'm loving it!

The children were playing touch football in the backyard this weekend and had a blast.  The buds are starting to peek out on my rhododendron - the first of my plants to bloom each year.  I'm hoping we have lots of more of this ahead!
Here's what we're eating this week:

Sunday, March 13th:
   Breakfast: Smoothies (with fruit from the freezer)
   Lunch: Buttermilk Coffee Cake, Bacon, Banana-Strawberry Salad
   Snack: Popcorn
   Dinner: Pork Roast, Potatoes, Tossed Salad, Apple-Pear-Banana Salad

Monday, March 14th:
   Breakfast: Scrambled Eggs and Toast
   Lunch: Leftover Roast and Potatoes
   Snack: Yogurt
   Dinner: Tuna Cakes, Rice, Pear-Mandarin Orange-Banana Salad

Tuesday, March 15th:
   Breakfast: Chai Spiced Oatmeal
   Lunch: Leftover Rice and Tuna
   Snack: Yogurt
   Dinner: Pancakes, Sausage, Bananas

Wednesday, March 16th:
   Breakfast: Oatmeal Muffins, Fried Eggs
   Lunch: Soup from the Freezer
   Snack: Yogurt
   Dinner: At Church for Lent

Thursday, March 17th:
    Breakfast: Oatmeal with Blueberries and Pecans
    Lunch: Sandwiches, Carrots, Cookie
    Snack: Yogurt
    Dinner: Wild Rice Soup (in the crockpot), Bread, Apple-Banana-Pear Salad

Friday, March 18th:
    Breakfast: Waffles from the Freezer, Bananas
    Lunch: Leftover Soup
    Snack: Yogurt
    Dinner: Homemade Pizza and Breadsticks

Saturday, March 19th:
   Breakfast: Maple Scones, Scrambled Eggs
   Lunch: Leftover Soup, Bread
   Snack: Cookies
   Dinner: Oven Fried Chicken Tenders, Potatoes, Tossed Salad

What are you eating this week?

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Super Savings Saturday - $20 shopping trip

I *think* I'm finally caught up with most things and am feeling mostly back to normal (I still get super tired pretty quickly and have some sinus drainage) but I think this next week is going to be quite normal.  Hurray!   No one likes being ill and I am definitely ready to be done with it!

John and I spent most of our March grocery budget last weekend at Sam's Club stocking up on flour, toilet paper, cheese and some meat so we stuck with $20 for today's shopping trip.  We did just fine!

One store and here's what we purchased:

Vegetable Oil $2.69
Crisco Butter Flavored Shortening $3.89
Hunts Diced Tomatoes 15oz cans 5 @ $0.50each = $2.50
Banquet Sausage 2 @ $0.50 each = $1
Fresh Express Salad $1.50
Green Bell Pepper $0.99
2.79lbs D'Anjou Pears @ $1.29/lb = $3.60
3.25 Yellow Bananas @ $0.59/lb = $1.92
2# Yellow Onions $1.39

Total for all of this: $19.48

Also included in the photo are three boxes of Act Microwave Popcorn at $0.50 each.  Those were purchased for a fundraiser at our children's school.  (I'll post more about that later.)  This came out of a separate budget, so I did not include it in our grocery purchase budget.

According to the receipt we saved $5 today.

Last week we bought enough milk for 3 weeks since it was $1.98/gallon.  We also still have apples, limes, strawberries, carrots, spinach and mushrooms in our fridge from past weeks as well.   It feels good to have a well-stocked pantry and a full freezer again.  We're eating well!
Come back Monday to see what we're eating.

How did you do with your shopping this week?

Monday, March 7, 2016

Menu Plan Monday - Week of March 6, 2016

So after being sick, sick, sick, for a week and a half I *think* I'm finally on the mend.  I actually tried working out this weekend and didn't feel like I was going to pass out so that's a huge improvement! 

I haven't been that ill in ages - and I'm still not sure what was going on. I do know it is similar to some things going around at work that are all virus-related so I'm counting myself fortunate that I wasn't down and out longer. 

Anyway, we're two trips to the store in this month so far - one to the "regular" store (apples, pears, bananas, yogurt and spinach) and one to Sam's Club warehouse to stock up on TP, flour, cheese and some meat.  We have about $40 left for the month - or two trips of about $20 each so I'm grateful for all that we've gotten.  After a lot of talking, John and I decided to up our budget back to our regular amount since we were basically out of meat and desperately needed toilet paper (one of the few things I won't do is go reusable on that!).  With two growing children who can eat a lot we decided we need to make sure we feed them well!

So, our paper goods cabinet is now restocked, we have flour and cheese and we purchased some pork loin ($1.89/lb) and chicken breasts ($1.79/lb).  I had hoped for fish or shrimp and ground beef but those were far pricier so we'll see what we can get in the next few weeks in that department.

Here's what we're eating this week:

Sunday, March 6, 2016
   Breakfast: Smoothies (fruit from the freezer)
   Lunch/Dinner: At my cousin Diane's house

Monday, March 7, 2016:
   Breakfast: Eggs, Toast
   Lunch: Leftovers from Saturday night
   Snack: Yogurt
   Dinner: Homemade Pizza and Breadsticks

Tuesday, March 8, 2016:
   Breakfast: Oatmeal with Pecans and Blueberries
   Lunch: Leftover Soup (from the freezer)
   Snack: Yogurt
   Dinner: Perfect Potato Soup, Biscuits, Sliced Apples or Pears

Wednesday, March 9, 2016:
   Breakfast: Oatmeal Muffins, Bananas
   Lunch: Leftover Soup and Biscuits
   Snack: Yogurt
   Dinner: At Church for Lenten Dinner

Thursday, March 10, 2016:
   Breakfast: Yogurt and Granola
   Lunch: Apples with Peanut Butter, Carrot or Celery Sticks, Cookie
   Snack: Yogurt
   Dinner: Steak Stir Fry, Rice, Sliced Apples or Pears

Friday, March 11, 2016:
   Breakfast: Eggs, Toast
   Lunch: Leftover Stir Fry
   Snack: Yogurt
   Dinner: Tuna Cakes, Noodles, Sliced Apples or Pears

Saturday, March 12, 2016:
   Breakfast: Cinnamon Rolls, Bananas
   Lunch: Salad with Pork, Mandarin Oranges and Craisins
   Snack: Popcorn
   Dinner: Homemade Pizza and Breadsticks
   Date Night Dessert: Apple Crisp

What are you eating this week?