Saturday, April 30, 2016

Super Savings Saturday - $75 at Sam's Club

No photo today - we're getting ready for month-long company (my parents) starting Monday and we needed to stock up a few things before they arrived.   We're using our May grocery budget this week (since May starts tomorrow) so we had $80 for the two weeks starting today.  We have another $5 for next week (milk and bananas).  Then we have another $80 the two weeks after that.

We spent $75 and change today at Sam's Club.  Here's what we bought:

25 pounds of flour
2 pounds of strawberries
5 pounds pears
3 pounds bananas
2 large boxes of Cheerios
 large container of rolled oats
6 pounds of ground beef
5 pounds of chicken breasts
18 cups of yogurt
2 gallons of milk

We still have apples and a pineapple from last week as well a spinach, lettuce and carrots.  We also have pork loin, sausage, bacon and shrimp in the freezer.  There are quite bit of frozen vegetables and fruit in the freezer too this week.  I think we'll be eating fine! 

Our children have their birthday this week so we'll figure out what we're doing for dessert because our daughter has a dance competition that day too.  So, we'll see how this week works out birthday-wise.  I'm really excited to have my parents here to celebrate with us and spend some time together.

Come back Monday to see what we're eating - I'm pretty excited about this week's menu!
How did you do with shopping this week?

Friday, April 29, 2016

Frugal Friday - Two weeks worth!

Wow!   I can't believe I haven't posted here for two weeks!  I totally didn't mean to leave you hanging.

We had company for several days and we're heading into the last few days of my semester at school and the end-of-the-year events for the children.  John has had several interviews for his first Call and we're in the middle of planning, cleaning out for packing if we have to move and trying not to get too nervous or excited.

It's been quite the pair of weeks in any case!

We've had some pretty frugal things happen as well as a few frugal flops.  I'm hoping to do a separate post next week on frugal flops, but here is the good stuff!

* Made chili, two kinds of soup, cornbread, biscuits, muffins, pancakes, pizza, breadsticks, calzones,
 and waffles from scratch.

* Took lunch to work every day except one, which was a lunch meeting.  My husband ate breakfast at work one morning during a breakfast meeting.

* My mother-in-law treated us to a meal out and cupcakes for an early celebration of our children's birthday.

* My daughter made Mother's Day gifts for both her Grandmothers (look for a post this week on those!).

* My mother-in-law brought up a houseplant that she didn't want anymore and a three drawer storage unit that she isn't using any more.  I have a use for the shelves and love the plant!  She also brought us dried cranberries and an avocado.  We ate the avocado in salad while she was here and I've been using the cranberries in my oatmeal. 

* I finished one stitching project and am working on finishing the last one before I can start on my big project!  I may need the big project sooner than I thought, so I'm glad I'm getting close to starting it.

* My children had their spring piano rectal and we ended up bringing home two dozen cookies that someone else forgot to take home afterward.

* We did a lot of cleaning out this week.  I'll be happy when we're done. 

* Our biggest surprise and blessing this week: A Pastor friend of ours gave John an ENTIRE set of Vestments - alb, stoles, and chasubles!  They're beautiful and we're feeling very, very blessed!  This Pastor was just gifted a newer set from his congregation in honor of his 25th ordination anniversary so he gave his previous set to John.  They don't even look like they've been used at all!

What happened this week that was frugal for you?

Monday, April 18, 2016

April Goals - Mid-April Update

I'm having a hard time believing that we're already halfway through April!  Sheesh.  Time flies.

We've gotten a few things done but I haven't gotten as many as I would like to get done by this point. I feel like I have a lot to do and my health hasn't been cooperating very well.  I'm praying this week will better!

My weekly/daily to-do lists are more specific than this but this hits the high points for what I need to do this month.  Here's where we're at this week:

* Finish reading that other book for my research I finished a few pages to finish a chapter. I have about 4 more chapters to go.

* Write at least 3500 words this month - I'd like to write 5000. I have written about 300 so far.

* Finish three house projects this month (on the docket: replace a door knob, paint the stairwell, paint the one repaired kitchen wall).  The door knob is replaced!

* Prep one unit for my summer class. Those of us that teach this class are all meeting next week to make sure everything is all laid out for the next three terms.

* Finish the office shredding.  Done!

* Make all gifts for holidays, and birthdays through the month of June.  I think I'm going to have to pare down this list - I didn't make any additional progress this week but I had quite a bit from before.  We'll see!  Hoping to post some photos this week - Lord willing and the creek don't rise, as they say!

* Sew a spring tablecloth. Not yet.

* Mend at least 5 items. Mended one.

* Finish two mostly-finished embroidery projects and start The Big Project. I realized after I posted last time I forgot the word "embroidery" in this sentence.  Some people knit or crochet, I do embroidery.  I have just a tiny bit on one of those two projects and then I will get cracking on the other one.  I may have to buy more floss before I can finish that one - we'll see. I'm hoping I have just enough.  I'm hoping to get started on The Big Project before the end of the month - it will take me quite a while to complete and I want to make sure that I have plenty of time before it's needed.

* Ready the guest room for company at the end of the month.  This is getting speeded up because our first set of company is coming early!  We're partway done so we'll finish it this week.

* Complete the spring yardwork (as weather permits). John did quite a bit of this this week.

* Take at least two loads of items to the church rummage sale. Done!

I also cleaned out and scrubbed down the coat closet and washed all of our winter gear - it's been over 65F for the last 6 days so I thought I better wash it all before we need it again. 

What have you been up to lately?

Menu Plan Monday - Week of April 17, 2016

We're so spoiled by these beautiful bulletin boards at church!  They make me smile every time I see them!
It's been a week and I'm happy that last week is done.  I was having a very bad shingles week and there were several other things that make us reschedule a sleepover for one of our children and just kept me home and quiet most of this weekend.

John and Buddy ran to the store this weekend and we kind of bought "whatever" and blew the grocery budget out of the water - not badly, but blown nonetheless.  I was totally okay with that since I was in enough pain that making anything was totally out of question and John has evening meetings many days this week so I'm happy to plan for "just in case" of having another week like the last one.  They bought mostly fruit but also bought lunch meat, bread, and cereal that the kids can easily get themselves if I'm not up to much this week.

Here's what we're eating this week:

Sunday, April 17:
   Breakfast: Cereal
   Lunch: Pulled Pork Sandwiches, Cut Veggies
   Snack At the Children's Piano Recital
   Dinner: Applesauce Chicken, Fried Potatoes, Sliced Pears

Monday, April 18:
   Breakfast: Eggs and Toast
   Lunch; Leftover Applesauce Chicken
   Snack: Cut Veggies
   Dinner: Sausage and Cabbage in the Crockpot, Apple-Banana-Cantaloupe Salad

Tuesday, April 19:
   Breakfast: Chai Spiced Oatmeal
   Lunch: Leftover Sausage and Cabbage
   Snack: Yogurt
   Dinner: Noodle with Tomato Sauce, Tossed Salad

Wednesday, April 20:
    Breakfast: Oatmeal Muffins, Smoothies
    Lunch: Leftover Noodles and Sauce
    Snack: Cut Veggies
    Dinner: Waffles with Applesauce, Scrambled Eggs

Thursday, April 21:
    Breakfast: Maple Oat Scones
    Lunch: Ham Sandwiches, Cut Veggies
    Snack: Yogurt
    Dinner: Vegetable Soup in the Crockpot, Homemade Bread, Sliced Apples and Pears

Friday, April 22:
   Breakfast: Waffles from the Freezer, Smoothies
   Lunch: Leftover Soup, Bread
   Snack: Soft Pretzels
   Dinner: Homemade Pizza and Breadsticks

Saturday, April 23:
    Breakfast: Pancakes with Blueberries, Scrambled Eggs
    Lunch: Salad with Tuna
    Snack: Soft Pretzels
    Dinner: Pulled Chicken, Buns, Tossed Salad, Fruit Salad

What are you eating this week?

Monday, April 11, 2016

Menu Plan Monday - Another large grocery haul and what we're eating this week

So we had such a busy weekend, that John and I ran to the store on Friday evening - late enough that it was dark when we got home!  We spent far more than we had originally planned because there were some spectacular deals and we didn't want to miss them.  We definitely don't need much over the next few weeks now!  I bought enough that I had to take two photos!

Photo #1:
10 cans 15oz canned vegetables @ $0.39ea = $3.90 (39-cents each!)
10 lbs Russet Potatoes @ 2/$3 = $3 (30-cents/pound!)
Baby Spinach (1lb) $4.99
3.38lb Gala Apples @ $1.49/lb = $5.04
2lbs Strawberries @ $1.77 each = $3.54
3.75lbs Yellow Bananas @ $0.59/lb = $2.21
4 packages frozen fruit @ $2.50each = $10
Kemp's Skim Milk Gallon $3.79
3 Dozen Eggs @ $0.79/dozen = $2.37 (79-cents/dozen!)
Photo #2:
2 Loaves Bread @ B1G1 = $3.59
2 1lb Lunch Meat @ $3.00ea = $6
Cantaloupe $2.50
Total Spent: $50.93
Total Saved: $23.59 (according to store receipt)
The potatoes, canned vegetables, eggs, and frozen fruit will last us a while.  Everything else we'll eat this week.
Here's what we're eating:
Sunday, April 10:
    Brunch: At Church (Volunteer Recognition)
    Snack: Popcorn
    Dinner: Pork Loin, Roasted Potatoes, Strawberry-Pineapple-Banana Salad
Monday, April 11:
   Breakfast: Eggs and Toast
   Lunch: Turkey Sandwiches, Apples, Carrot Sticks, Cookie
   Snack: Crackers
   Dinner: Hamburger Gravy, Rice, Tossed Salad, Pineapple-Strawberry-Banana Salad
Tuesday, April 12:
    Breakfast: Oatmeal with Cashews and Craisins
    Lunch: Leftover Hamburger Gravy and Rice
    Snack: Yogurt
    Dinner: Pasta with Tomato Sauce, Tossed Salad
Wednesday, April 13:
   Breakfast: Smoothies, Peanut Butter Toast
   Lunch: Leftover Pasta and Sauce, or Ham Sandwich, Banana, and Cookie
   Snack: At an awards event
   Dinner: Beef Stir Fry, Rice, Sliced Cantaloupe
Thursday, April 14:
    Breakfast: Cranberry Orange Scones, Scrambled Eggs
    Lunch: Leftover Stir Fry
    Snack: Yogurt
    Dinner: Cashew Chicken, Noodles, Sliced Cantaloupe
Friday, April 15:
   Breakfast: Waffles from the Freezer, Bananas
   Lunch: Turkey or Ham Sandwiches, Apples, Carrot Sticks, Cookie
   Snack: Cookies
   Dinner: Homemade Pizza and Breadsticks
Saturday, April 16:
   Breakfast: Buttermilk Coffee Cake with Rhubarb Sauce
   Lunch: Snacky Lunch
   Snack: Leftover Coffee Cake
   Dinner: Applesauce Chicken, Baked Potatoes, Fruit Salad
   At Home Date Night Dessert: Something with Rhubarb Sauce 
What are you eating this week?

Friday, April 8, 2016

Frugal Friday - It's a rather blustery day!

Thanks to Winnie the Pooh and A.A. Milne for the title of today's post!  I'm proctoring a test right now and outside the window it looks more like early December - light snow and lots of WIND.  The snow is currently "falling" in every direction you can possibly imagine and I'm very grateful that I'm inside where there's heat and no wind!  I had hoped to do some yard work this weekend but I guess not.  I'm just hoping that all my plants don't freeze!

We've had a very busy week with something every night - dance lessons, parent-teacher conferences, church meetings, and the last of the music competitions and preparation for a dance competition. I also ended up teaching some extra Jazzercise classes since we had a couple of instructors on vacation this week.  I'm hoping we don't have too many of these weeks going forward - they're exhausting!

We did manage to be mostly frugal and I was really pleased with myself that after a REALLY long day I managed to pull something out of the freezer rather than running to the store to buy a frozen pizza.  We really don't to take out but we do tend to get that frozen or take-and-bake pizza when we get in a pinch.

So, here's the scoop from this week:

* Ate all but one meal at home or brown-bagged.  We ate one meal at a fundraiser for our children's school.  It was delicious!

* Made waffles for the freezer, scones and muffins for breakfast and soft pretzels twice for a snack. 

* Cleaned out a carload of items for the church rummage sale (we could finally drop things off!).

* Glued way too many rhinestones on my daughter's dance costume myself.  I'm glad I talked to other parents who do this and found out the tricks before I started.  Time consuming that is!  But her costume looks great and we didn't spend any extra money to make it sparkle.

* Finished two gifts - a birthday gift for my children (shared) and a mother's day gift for my mom.  I'm hoping to post on these next week.

* We took a walk one day when the weather was actually nice.  It was good to be outside for more than a few minutes at a time.
* We played a lot of board games and read a lot of books this week.

* My husband borrowed a movie from a friend and watched it. It was one he'd wanted to see but hadn't yet.

* I slept a lot this week - naps and going to bed early.  I think I'm finally getting back to normal energy-wise and it's a nice change.  I'm feeling much better than I have in a while.  It was nice!

* I taught extra Jazzercise classes this week and was paid for those.

* Tried two new crockpot recipes - one was good and one was just okay. 

* Went through my fabric stash again and pulled out the fabric I feel we need to use soon so we can actually do that.

* Made a list of projects around the house that we would like to complete this month. 

I think that's it, other than the normal things we do daily (cloth napkins, wash and reuse baggies, etc.).

What did you do this last week?

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Work, Home and Family - Homemade Gifts Parts 8 and 9

Finally!   I managed to get a couple of photos taken and up here on the blog!  Go me!  Yep - it's been a pair of weeks so far where I'm going to cheer every victory I have, no matter how small.  I'm going to post two projects a week until I get caught up to whatever week we're on so I don't overwhelm myself or you all - a couple of ones that I'm really happy with next week, though I really like these too.

I made these for our very difficult to shop for 11-year-old nephew for his birthday.  I did spell out his whole name but you only get the "T" and "E" here to give you an idea.
I used denim that had been gifted to me by my Aunt when she moved and cut patterns out of typing paper.  After cutting out the fabric, I pinned and sewed the front and back together inside out, leaving an opening to stuff the pillows with batting I already owned. I turned the letters and stuffed them. Then, I hand stitched the opening closed after the stuffing was complete.  I realized afterward that I didn't clip the seams the way I should have (which is why the "E" is a bit crooked) but our nephew loved them anyway!  So all is good!  His older brothers and sisters asked for some too - which is good since I'd planned on making them some as well. 
Cost for me:  $0 since I already had all the supplies on hand.
Cost for you:  Varies.  This is going to depend on the fabric you use and if you make your own pattern or buy one (yep, they have patterns for these).  You could use fabric you own including bedding or clothing that is worn out in certain areas and not in others (use the good parts only!).  You can stuff with old stockings, the insides of a worn out pillow or packing peanuts, if you have them. 


Last time I posted homemade gifts, I mentioned that I had enough of these kits to last until I'm at least, well, very old.  This one I've been working on for a while. 
My husband's sister eloped last year and I finished this for her one-year anniversary this spring.  I only photographed the top of the stitching because it has their names and the date on their bottom half, and this is, after all, a blog, so you don't get to see it in all it's glory.  It was a LOT of stitching and I'm really pleased with how it turned out.  Since I finished it last night (finally!) it made today's post. Don't worry, I'll iron it before we frame it so the fold lines won't be there (and it will be washed so the blue marking pen wont' be there either).
My cost:  I paid a few dollars on clearance several years ago for the kit (I'm thinking about $5, though it was definitely less than $10), which included cloth, pattern, needle, and fabric.  I had my own hoop, which was actually my mother's when she was growing up.  And we will be using a coupon to get this professionally framed in the near future - I'm expecting that to cost about $45 on sale with a single mat. Since it's a wedding/anniversary gift for a family member, we're willing to spend that.
Your cost:  Cost for a kit like this runs roughly $30 depending on the store you purchase it at. Framing will be extra. You can find them on clearance or use a coupon (both JoAnn and Michael's regularly have 20% to 50% off a single item coupons) for both the kit and the framing.  If you have the talent and tools you can frame this yourself for considerably less.  Or you could print an online free pattern or draw one on graph paper if you have stitching supplies already.
What did you make this week?

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Goals - The Rest of March and into April

My daughter took a picture of this fabric that she liked to show my mother - the picture doesn't even do it justice! 
So, here's where I left you with my goals for March and how I managed to do with them:

* Read 2 books for my research. Read one and part of another one.
* Write 1000 words on my writings that I need to do for work and school. I wrote about 300 words.
* Calculate and Submit Mid-term grades.  Done!
* Finished the shredding at the office that I need to do. Did part of this.
* Remove two stacks of old papers from my bookcase at work and file, scan or shred as needed. Done!
* Prep one unit for my summer class. Didn't get to this.
* Sew a new Easter tablecloth. Didn't even get to look at this.
* Finish at least 5 gifts. Worked on several but didn't actually finish any.
* Finish 2 mostly-finished embroidery projects. Made progress but got neither done.
* Play at least two board games the children. Done!
* Have a date night with my husband. Done!
* Find a sitter for a date with have coming up in April. Done!
* Pull all the nettle in the yard before we get more snow. Didn't get to this due to the weather.
* Take a car-load of donations over to church for the "spring" rummage sale.  Took a load to the Thrift store instead because we can't drop off items for the rummage sale yet.

For having only a week and half of March, a sick child and a lot of other things going on, I think I did pretty well! 

Now, on to April:

* Finish reading that other book for my research
* Write at least 3500 words this month - I'd like to write 5000.
* Finish three house projects this month (on the docket: replace a door knob, paint the stairwell, paint the one repaired kitchen wall)
* Prep one unit for my summer class.
* Finish the office shredding.
* Make all gifts for holidays, and birthdays through the month of June.
* Sew a spring tablecloth.
* Mend at least 5 items.
* Finish two mostly-finished projects and start The Big Project
* Ready the guest room for company at the end of the month.
* Complete the spring yardwork (as weather permits).
* Take at least two loads of items to the church rummage sale.

I may add a few things to this as the month goes on, depending on what we get finished this month.  We have company coming at the end of the month and then more/different company coming in May and we need to be ready for that too.

What are you up to this month or this week?

Monday, April 4, 2016

Menu Plan Monday - $61 shopping trip this weekend and this week's menu

No photos today - my cable for downloading them is being a pain. Hopefully I'll get a photo of this week's groceries up later this week.  No promised though, you understand!  Update: Got it to work! Hurray!

John and I took a "date" to the grocery store one afternoon while the children were otherwise engaged and we spent $61 of our $160 for the month, so we have about $20-$25 for each week coming up. I'm hoping we have something left over at the end of the month to put toward either our CSA purchase or our medical bills.  We'll see if we get there!

Here's what we bought:

Fruit Loops $1.79
Ocean Spray Craisins 2 @ 2/$3 (coupon) = $3
Baking Powder $1.89
Tide Laundry Detergent $5.99 - $0.49 coupon = $5.50
Hormel Bacon 1 lb $3.99 (coupon)
3lbs Ground Beef $9.99 ($3.33/lb)
Whole Mushrooms $1.50
5lbs Yellow Onions $3.49
Frozen Fruit 1lb x 4(1 each mango, strawberry, raspberry & blackberry) @ 2/$5.00 = $10
Smart Balance 2lb $7.39
Greek God's Yogurt 32oz $3.79
1 Dozen Eggs $1.99
Crest Toothpaste $0.77 + Tax
Listerine Mouth Wash $5.99 - $1 coupon = $4.99 + Tax

Total $61 and change
Total saved: $12.39 (according to my store receipt - includes coupons and sales)

We had lots of fruit leftover from last week - apples, pineapple, bananas and a few clementine's that John brought home from an event at work. 

My Mom also sent me a huge container of cashews - she had made my children and my husband fleece lounge pants and I got cashews.  Thanks Mom!

Here's what we're eating this week:

Sunday, April 3, 2016:
   Breakfast: Peanut Butter Toast
   Lunch: Waffles, Sliced Strawberries and Bananas, Bacon
   Snack: Popcorn
   Dinner: Spaghetti with Tomato Sauce, Apple-Strawberry-Banana Salad

Monday, April 4, 2016:
   Breakfast: Strawberry-Mango Smoothies, Peanut Butter Toast
   Lunch: Leftover Spaghetti
   Snack: Crackers with Cheese
   Dinner: Scalloped Potatoes with Ham, Tossed Salad, Strawberry-Apple Salad

Tuesday, April 5, 2016:
   Breakfast: Oatmeal with Almonds and Craisins
   Lunch: Leftover Scalloped Potatoes
   Snack: Homemade Soft Pretzels
   Dinner: Steak Stir Fry, Rice, Sliced Pineapple

Wednesday, April 6, 2016:
   Breakfast: Waffles from the freezer, Bananas
   Lunch: Leftover Stir Fry
   Snack: Yogurt
   Dinner: Brown Sugar Meatloaf, Roasted Potatoes, Tossed Salad, Pineapple-Apple-Mandarin Orange Salad

Thursday, April 7, 2016:
    Breakfast; Eggs, Maple Scones
    Lunch: Leftover Meatloaf and Potatoes
    Snack: Yogurt
    Dinner: Taco Soup, Tortilla Chips, Tossed Salad

Friday, April 8, 2016:
   Breakfast: Eggs, Mango-Banana Smoothies
   Lunch: Leftover Taco Soup
   Snack: Popcorn
   Dinner: Homemade Pizza and Breadsticks

Saturday, April 9, 2016:
   Breakfast: Muffins, Mango-Pineapple Smoothies
   Lunch: Ham Sandwiches, Cut Veggies, Sliced Apples
   Snack: Popcorn
   Dinner: Out with friends

What are you eating this week?

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Frugal Saturday - Crazy Busy Week and a few Frugal Things

Boy, this has been quite the week! 

A major shingles attack for me, Easter, Buddy having some kind of flu thing, a day-long meeting with our new-to-us Bishop, and having to make some big decisions and now I'm just plain super tired and ready for some major down time.  We have a huge school/church event tonight and then this next weekend we have 3 separate event plus worship and all our other usual things on Sunday.  I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed, to say the least!

Anyway, here's what we did this last week in spite of all the craziness.

* We went to a movie at the discount theater.  This was something my son had been requesting to do and we spent about $25 total for tickets and popcorn for all four of us.

* Put out Easter decorations that we already owned and used Easter baskets and Easter grass that we already own.  I also sewed a set of Easter decorations using materials that I already had.

* Made most meals at home or brown-bagged leftovers.

* Ate one meal at a meeting at the Synod office during our time with the Bishop and others.  It was delicious!

* My husband and I drove to two events together rather than meeting there and using twice the gas.

* Completed quite a bit of spring cleaning with help from my children and cleaning supplies we already owned.

* Shortened straps on a top for my daughter.

* Made a list of projects we need to do around the house and prioritized the list so we can plan to get all or at least most of them done.

* Brought home three plants from the Easter garden after church on Sunday.  I'm loving having the flowers in my house and it's redoubled my desire to expand my cutting flowers again this year!

* Took two loads of donations to the thrift store and received tax receipts for both.

* Did some preventive yard work digging out easily spreading weeds before they get a full foothold with the warming spring weather.

* Froze leftover ham and the ham bone for later use after Easter dinner.

What did you do this week that was frugal?  I'd love to hear!