Monday, December 4, 2017

Menu Plan Monday - Week of December 3, 2017

Tomatoes!  I used these to make the tomato sauce we're eating this week.

We spent just over $50 on groceries this week, including many household paper products and toilet cleaner.  We include these types of items in our grocery budget because we typically purchase them at the same time.  I bought Clementine's, bananas, yogurt, milk, and some sale hamburger this week as well as six cans of canned beans in addition to the paper products and toilet cleaner.

Almost all of the food for these meals came from what we already have in the house.  We have most of a head of lettuce and other fresh vegetables as well as apples and lemons in the refrigerator.  We also have lots of frozen fruit and vegetables in the freezer.  We have chicken, turkey, beef, pork and fish for meat right now, as well as 2 1/2 dozen eggs, so we are quite set for protein too.

Here's what we're eating this week:

Sunday, December 3, 2017:
   Breakfast: Raspberry-Banana Smoothies
   Lunch: Turkey and Cheese Sandwiches, Sliced Apples
   Snack:  Popcorn
   Dinner: Beef Roast, Sweet Potatoes, Green Beans

Monday, December 4, 2017:
    Breakfast: Eggs and Toast
    Lunch: Leftover Roast and Potatoes
    Snack: Crackers and Cheese
    Dinner: Vegetable Barley Soup, Biscuits

Tuesday, December 5, 2017:
     Breakfast: Oatmeal with Walnuts and Dates
     Lunch: Leftover Soup
     Snack: Cut Veggies
     Dinner:  Spaghetti with Tomato Sauce and Meatballs, Garlic Bread

Wednesday, December 6, 2017:
     Breakfast: Cinnamon Raisin Biscuits, Sliced Apples
     Lunch: Leftover Spaghetti
     Snack: Crackers and Cheese
     Dinner: Leftover Soup

Thursday, December 7, 2017:
    Breakfast: Yogurt Parfaits with Homemade Granola and Frozen Blueberries
    Lunch: Salad with Walnuts, Apples and Cranberries
    Snack: Cut Veggies
    Dinner: Chicken and Vegetable Stir Fry, Rice

Friday, December 8, 2017:
    Breakfast: Waffles, Applesauce
    Lunch: Leftover Stir Fry and Rice
    Snack: Popcorn
    Dinner: Homemade Pizza and Bread sticks

Saturday, December 9, 2017:
    Brunch: Potato Pancakes with Cinnamon Sugar, Roasted Apples
    Dinner: At my cousin's house (I'm bringing dessert)
    Snack: Popcorn

What are you eating this week?


Sunday, December 3, 2017

Frugal End of November

Beet Pickles - made this summer.  I opened a jar of these this week.  Yum!
Is anyone else in awe that it's already December?   I know I can't believe it.  Part of that unbelief is the weather - 50F for temperatures this last week and we're still there this weekend.  We head down into the 20'sF this week but, wow, it feels like fall still in so many ways. 

I put together a menu plan for the rest of the 2017 year using mostly what we already have in our freezers and cupboards.  I am planning on taking advantage of some really good sales to stock up for January through March (hopefully longer) but otherwise, we have most of what we need.  We've been busy and will stay that way for a few weeks - Advent at church, all the December "stuff" with the children (concerts, recitals, end of term projects at school, etc.) and the end of the term at the University I teach for, which is coming up very soon.   In between all of that, my Dad had a necessary, though unplanned surgery and will be spending the next six weeks or so recovering.  Nothing like having everything happen all at once, right?

Anyway, on to the frugal things from the last week-ish:

* Ate most meals at home.  I had a meeting at work that provided lunch and John was invited to a gathering that also provided a meal.  

* We made waffles, sausage-corn-potato chowder, taco soup, bread, and pizza at home this week.

* Ordered a couple of Christmas gifts online for my husband's staff at church and the children's teachers - very inexpensive using free shipping and gift cards (less than $3 per gift).  That was the last of the buying I had to do for anyone - now I just need to kick my sewing into high gear!

* A friend who has a hothouse gifted us with a head of lettuce, a head of bok choy and a bunch of basil.  They had way too much to eat, so brought it to work so share!

* Pulled out the Advent Wreath and Calendar we have used for years as well as the Nativity sets (yes, plural) and put those up.  We follow the church year, so Christmas doesn't officially start until the 25th of December and then continues through Epiphany, January 6.  So we will be slowly decorating the house up until the 25th.  This was the first "phase" of decorating.

* Attended a fundraiser Christmas Concert for very inexpensively - it was wonderful and we were happy to support the cause.  The children especially enjoyed the sing along portion!

* I repotted a plant that had been gifted to me by my mother-in-law.  It was getting root bound and I was able to rescue it.  Hopefully it will like its new pot much better!

* Our son finished raking and mulching the leaves that we had left in the yard so my husband wouldn't have to do it (Advent is a busy time of year for him) and we wouldn't have to hire someone.

* Our daughter has taken a regular Sunday afternoon baby-sitting position with a parishioner who is attending school online.  This allows the parishioner to spend time studying uninterrupted and our daughter is earning money that she plans to put toward her class trip next year.  Since the parishioner's husband works Sundays, this doesn't intrude on their family time.

* The children made Christmas ornaments to give to teachers, friends and family using items we had on hand.

* I have been working on embroidery for gifts in all my free bits of time. 

In other news, my husband's sister was married this past week in a small private ceremony with just their parents as witnesses.  We're super excited for them (they're a wonderful couple)!  One of the embroidery projects I've been working on is for their wedding gift.

What have you been up to frugally these past few days?

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Frugal - Mid November

Pink Tobacco Flowers - non-smokable.  They made a beautiful border this year in my garden.

I'm convinced firmly that life just is busy at this stage, and that is okay.  I don't always enjoy it though, especially when John has seven-zillion things happening all at once and we don't spend as much time as a family as we'd all like.  It appears we're going to have a week or two of relative quiet (as much as we can during Advent).  Here's hoping!

I've been working hard at stretching our money and cleaning out the house, as well as keeping up with all the daily things.  Here are some of the frugal things we've done the last two weeks:

* Made homemade pizza, bread sticks, biscuits, waffles, applesauce spice cake, roasted chickpeas, chicken noodle soup, meatball soup, oatmeal muffins, banana-blueberry smoothies, and pancakes at home.

* Mended a necklace by replacing a broken jump ring.

* Borrowed a keyboard from work (I was able to sign it out for a few weeks) to aid some writing I need to do.  This eliminated the need to buy one.

* John brought home leftover chili and casserole from a funeral luncheon.  We ate those for lunch a couple of days.

* I ordered a birthday gift for my Mother online using a 60% off code.  I paid more for shipping than I did for the gift in the end!

* John hung Christmas lights on the outside of the house.  We already owned these.  They look lovely!  And I'm pretty excited about having them up.

* I spent quite a bit of "extra" time this week scrubbing the kitchen and living room from top to bottom.  I've also spent time cleaning out things we don't need.

* The children pulled out every single item of clothing that they own and tried them all on.  We cleaned out a LOT of items and bagged them for donation to our favorite thrift store.  I now have an updated list of items the children need and I can start looking for those.  We bought our daughter two pairs of leggings since she needed some immediately and was completely out - thankfully they were on clearance sale, costing us only $10 total for both.

* I also spent quite a bit of extra time working on embroidery for Christmas gifts.

* John and I sat down and spent quite a bit of time talking through our financial and family goals for next year (2018).  We have some plans in place and a tentative budget as well as plans that hopefully will make 2018 a very good year.

What have you done lately that is frugal?

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Frugal Things First Part of November

A fairy house that our daughter and a friend built.
It has been a crazy couple of weeks.  John has a synod meeting for a couple of days, we celebrated Reformation Day with the Confirmation of 8 young people at our church, there were two events at our children's school and we've been trying to get Christmas gifts started and the fall cleaning done around the house.  Whew! I have been trying to take a minimum amount of work home in the evenings and on the weekend for the last two weeks and it's been going okay. That still needs some tweaking but I'm pleased with it so far.  We are doing some big time planning for 2018. Hopefully, I can share that with you when we're through - I'm pretty excited by it!

Here are some things we've done that may count as frugal in the last week:

*Made coffee cake, calzones, bread sticks, and French bread.

* Returned books from the library and picked up some new books and a movie, stopped by later and picked up an item on hold.

* Froze bananas that were going bad to later.

* Made up a plan for making Christmas gifts for my family and our church employees.

* I spent quite a bit of time working on embroidery. This will be used later for gifts.

* Ate most meals at home or brown bagged meals.

* Ate one meal at a Confirmation Party, one meal out on a date with a gift card, and brunch at a friend's house.

* Decorated for Halloween and fall using decorations we already had.

* Finished winterizing the yard ourselves.

* Hemmed a pair of pants for my son.

* Tightened a button on my husband’s shirt.

* John brought home a huge apple pie from a parishioner. Yum!

* Cleaned the bathroom from top to bottom, including washing rugs and linens and cleaning light fixtures and vents.

* Used Amazon’s deal of the day and some gift cards to order an electronic item required for my job. Doing this saved me over $150!

* Attended a free concert.

* Attended a high school play today with super cheap tickets.

* Went to two craft fairs and bought a few Christmas presents. I'm more than halfway done with Christmas shopping. I just need to get sewing!

* Bought our son new tap shoes and jazz shoes using some store credit we had. His old pairs were too small.

* Stopped at Barnes and Noble to window shop and get updated Christmas lists. That's quite enjoyable and since we didn't buy anything, that was free.

* Updated the budget book and paid bills. Put together a spending plan for the rest of the year.

What did you do this past bit for frugal activities?

Monday, October 30, 2017

Menu Plan Monday - Week of October 29, 2017

Pan fried Yellow Zucchini breaded in cornmeal.

We had SO much zucchini this year. I can only shred and freeze so much, so we asked around for new recipes to try - we already had quite a list of our own. This was a recommendation from a friend.  It was perfectly good, though it's not a new favorite. It will make a nice addition to our menus when we need a break from our 'usual' recipes.

We have a kind of crazy week this week - with events two days this week and another event on Saturday .  That means we set up the menu to deliberately have leftovers for several meals.  We're eating mostly form the pantry and freezers as well. Normally, we'd still have a week or two before the garden stragglers are done but we had snow this last weekend, so we're officially done.  Sigh. 

Here's what we're eating this week:

Sunday, October 29th, Confirmation Day (at church):
     Breakfast: Toast, Banana-Raspberry Smoothies
     Lunch: At various Confirmation Parties
     Snack: More Confirmation Parties
     Dinner: Meatball Soup, Cornbread

Monday, October 30,:
     Breakfast: Biscuits, Eggs, Applesauce
     Lunch: Leftover Soup
     Snack: Cut Veggies
     Dinner: Apple BBQ Chicken, Rice, Apple-Grape Salad

Tuesday, October 31, Reformation Day, All Hallows Eve, Halloween:
     Breakfast: Oatmeal with Dates and Walnuts
     Lunch: Leftover Chicken and Rice
     Snack: Cut Veggies
     Dinner: Leftover Meatball Soup

Wednesday, November 1:
     Breakfast: Lemon Scones, Banana-Peanut Butter Smoothie
     Lunch: Salad with Leftover Chicken and Cranberries
     Snack: Cut Veggies
     Dinner: Grilled Cheese Sandwich, Leftover Meatball Soup

Thursday, November 2:
     Breakfast: Oatmeal with Yogurt, Dates and Chia Seeds
     Lunch: Leftover Chicken and Rice
     Snack: No Bake Energy Bites
     Dinner: Roasted Potatoes, Yams, Cabbage, and Carrots, Homemade French Bread

Friday, November 3:
     Brunch: At a Friend's House
     Snack: No Bake Energy Bites
     Dinner: Homemade Pizza and Breadsticks

Saturday, November 4:
     Brunch: Potato and Ham Frittata, Applesauce    
     Snack: No Bake Energy Bites
     Dinner: At an Event
     Dessert: Root Beer Floats (a parishoner kindly give us a gift card to get ice cream in honor of my husband's ordination anniversary)

What are you eating this week?

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Super Savings Saturday - $30.17 Shopping Trip

Holy cow - a post two days in a row! Are you as surprised as I am? *Grin*

No photo, though.  I just didn't get to that today when we went to the store.

We went to one store today.  We've been trying to really watch our pennies lately (long story that I may tell sometime) so we shopped today with what I had in my wallet. 

Here's what we purchased:

One 15oz can Garbanzo Beans (Chickpeas)  $0.99
One 18oz jar of  Applesauce $1.99
1lb carrots $0.99
1.95lbs Harrelson Apples 1.95lbs @ $1.69/lb = $3.30
2.18lbs Yams 2.18lbs@ $0.99/lb = $2.16
One Red Mango $1.49
One gallon 1% Milk $3
Two 8oz Cheese 2 @ $0.99ea = $1.98
5 8oz Yogurt Cups 5 @ $3/5 = $3
Carving Pumpkins 2 @ $3.99 = $7.98

Total Spent: $30.17
Total Saved (According to the receipt)): $3.10 (9%)

We did not make it to the pumpkin patch this year so, we bought pumpkins so the children can carve pumpkins and roast seeds.  We had almost everything we needed for meals this week, so we just bought some basic produce - fruit and carrots - and dairy. We still have quite a bit of produce - green beans , tomatoes, cabbage, cucumbers, and spinach. And enough meat for at least a short while.

Come back Monday to see what we're eating!

Friday, October 27, 2017

Frugal Friday - End of October

Tap.  Tap. Tap.  This thing still working?  *SMILE*

Yep, pretty sure this still works!

I hope everyone is well and having a good fall.

We have been busy.  All the typical things plus 3 funerals, 2 weddings, two family events, and a short trip to visit friends have taken up the weekends.  It's all been good. I'm really ready for a weekend at home! Thankfully, this is that weekend. Even better the children are off today and we got a cozy day at home.  Good thing too - it's snowing here in Minnesota today.  Not a ton of snow (what we usually call a 'dusting').

Anyhow, frugal things from the last week or so, now that I have time to pause:

* Made bread, soft pretzels, zucchini bread, and waffles here a home.

* Made soft pretzels with the Sunday School children at church as part of our month-long celebration of the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation.

* Used craft supplies and Lego's we had on hand to complete a school project the children needed to complete.

* Our daughter used ribbon we already owned and a charm she bought with babysitting money to make herself a necklace.

* I used fabric scraps from previous sewing to make a baby quilt for our niece, who is expecting her first baby next month.

* I cleaned out and reorganized the freezers. Then I made a menu through the end of the year, which means we can buy fewer groceries through the end of the year.

* Our son helped me pick green tomatoes this week, before the snow and freeze. I have them ripening in a paper bag on the windowsill in the kitchen.  We’ll enjoy BLT’s this next week.

* My husband brought home a loaf of banana-walnut bread and a jar of current jam from a local organization’s Pastor Appreciation dinner.  Yum!

* The children made Halloween costumes using what we had at home.  We did give them $5 each for any needed supplies.  Our son is going to be Poseidon from the Percy Jackson series – swim trunks he owns, a Hawaiian style shirt borrowed from my husband and a trident bought at a thrift store and painted with paint we had on hand.  Our daughter is a show girl, using a dance costume and tights from a previous year at dance, a pair of my shoes, a top hat bought at the thrift store and a wooden dowel painted black and white for a dance cane.  They turned out great!

I think that’s it for now.  What did you do this week that is frugal?

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Menu Plan, er, Tuesday - Week of August 27, 2017

Last week of Summer Vacation!

Lots of veggies in the fridge this week, both from our yard and the CSA.  I seriously had three shelves full in the fridge of vegetables.  So, lots of vegetables this week!

John brought home part of a meat and cheese tray and about a dozen sandwich buns leftover from a church lunch and a parishioner gifted us with a dozen delicious cookies.  We're so spoiled! We did buy milk, strawberries, apples and spinach as well as some toiletries this week. We didn't need to buy much.

Sunday, August 27, 2017, Sunday
     Breakfast: Toast and Jam
     Lunch: Pasta with Sautéed Vegetables
     Snack: Popcorn, Cookies
     Dinner: I honestly don't remember 😊 Obviously something exciting! Ha, ha.

Monday, August 28, 2017, Monday:
     Breakfast: Oatmeal with dates and walnuts
     Lunch: Sandwiches, Spinach Salad with strawberries and cucumbers
     Snack: Cookies
     Dinner: Baked Perch, Fried Zucchini, Strawberry-Apple Salad

August 29, 2017, Tuesday
     Breakfast: Pancakes with Strawberries
     Lunch: Yogurt and Fruit
     Snack: Zucchini bars
     Dinner: Baked Turkey Sandwiches, Homemade Cole Slaw, Cucumber Watermelon Mint Salad

August 30, 2017, Wednesday:
     Breakfast: Oatmeal with Walnuts
     Lunch:  Leftover Coleslaw and a Hard Boiled Egg
     Snack: Zucchini Bars
     Dinner: Taco Soup, Corn Bread

August 31, 2017, Thursday:
     Breakfast: Breakfast Sandwiches
     Lunch: Leftover Soup
     Snack: Popcorn
     Dinner: Roasted Vegetables, Chicken Rice
September 1, 2017, Friday:
     Breakfast: Maple Oat Scones
     Lunch: At a family event
     Snack: Popcorn
     Dinner: Homemade Pizza and Breadsticks

September 2, 2017,Saturday
     Brunch: Vegetable Frittata
     Snack: Soft Pretzels
     Dinner: Hamburg Gravy, Roasted Vegetables, Rice

What are you eating this week?

Friday, August 25, 2017

Frugal Friday - This Past Week

We played board games a few times this week. My children received Harry Potter Clue for Christmas last year and it has been a hit!

After spending the first part of summer teaching, the middle part working to get my health and energy back, I've been spending the last few weeks catching up on all the things that needed to be done.  I feel like we have been terribly busy.  I know that's not necessarily true but it feels that way.  Since I haven't posted a Frugal Friday for quite a while, I am going to just start with this past week on frugal things we've done.

Here we go!

* Ate all meals but one at home.
* Attended a taco buffet pot luck for one meal.  We brought shredded cheese from the freezer.

* Harvested tomatoes, cucumbers, beans and peppers from the garden this week.

* Hemmed five new pairs of pants for my son for school this fall. I found that if I order them on clearance sale in June unhemmed, I save a large amount of money and I can hem a double hem that can be let down later.

* I blanched and froze beans, corn, and cabbage.

* I used items we had on hand too fix a curtain rod. 

* I used items on hand to make tie backs for three sets of curtains.

* I used zucchini to make cookies, bars, and bread.

* I worked as an "expert" at an event for the Solar Eclipse.  We did not have a full eclipse here, but at over 80%, it was quite good.  My family was able to attend for free and I was paid a small gratuity for working.

* The children and I scrubbed the bathroom and kitchen and the master bedroom. I had a bit of painting to do in our bedroom, so the walls had to be washed before painting.  Finished up the painting using things we had on hand, including paint.

* Hemmed a set of curtains that were way too long for the location they are in. I will use the leftover fabric to cover a cushion on a bench.

I think that's it for this week.  What did you do this week?

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Menu Plan Monday - Week of August 13, 2017

Apple Pie! John's Favorite!

I'm so surprised that August is already halfway gone! This summer is sizzling by in a blink.  The zucchini and cucumber plants are trying to take over the garden and we're heading toward school starting yet again (we start 'late' here - September 5). 

We spent $40 on groceries this past week and collected our CSA box, which included Swiss chard, cucumbers, fennel, broccoli, cauliflower, cherry tomatoes, peas, carrots and onions this week.  We still have kohlrabi, beets, and cabbage from previous weeks.  I have to admit that I'm really feeling quite blessed that we get to have home-grown veggies most of the year thanks to our CSA! All the work branching and freezing for later is definitely worth it!

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

Sunday, August 13:
     Breakfast: Eggs and Toast
     Lunch: Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches, Apples, Strawberries, Cherry Tomatoes and Sliced Cucumbers
     Snack: Popcorn
     Dinner: Pizza (we didn't get to that last week)

Money, August 14:
     Breakfast: Oatmeal with Dates and Walnuts
     Lunch: Leftovers
     Snack: Root beer Floats (the children won root beer at a carnival and we had ice cream in the freezer)
     Dinner: Chicken, Rice, Broccoli-Cauliflower Salad, Strawberries

Tuesday, August 15:
      Breakfast: Smoothies, Muffins
     Lunch: Leftovers (we had a bunch from last week that need to get used up!)
     Snack: Zucchini Chocolate Chip Cookies
     Dinner: Pan fried Potatoes and Veggies (zucchini, cabbage, onion)

Wednesday, August 16:
     Breakfast: Maple Oat Scones
     Lunch: Leftover Rice with Pan-fried Veggies
     Snack: Zucchini Chocolate Chip Cookies
     Dinner: Grilled Fish and Potatoes, Kohlrabi Coleslaw

Thursday, August 17:
     Breakfast: Oatmeal with Blueberries and Walnuts
     Lunch: Grilled Cheese Sandwiches and Leftover Slaw
     Snack: Zucchini Chocolate Chip Cookies
     Dinner: Pulled Pork Sandwiches, Zucchini 'Fries', Watermelon

Friday, August 18:
     Breakfast: Eggs, Smoothies
     Lunch: Lunch: Leftovers
     Snack: Zucchini Chocolate Chip Cookies
     Dinner: Rice Bowl with Pork and Cabbage, Watermelon

Saturday, August 19:
     Brunch: Spinach, Potato, Zucchini Frittata, Hashed Brown Potatoes, Apple Crisp
     Snack: Popcorn
     Dinner: Homemade Pizza and Breadsticks

What are you eating this week?

Monday, July 31, 2017

Menu Plan Monday

Camping dinner from a few weeks ago - hot water for tea (and washing up later), hot dogs and bratwurst, served with buns and fruit. 

Happy end of July!

After a rough start to summer, things are starting to settle back into rhythm here.  I'm so very grateful.

We are harvesting a few things from the garden, collecting our weekly CSA box, and have kept the shopping to a minimum these last two weeks - first with a camping trip which we had already stocked up for, and, second, we had so much food in the house, particularly produce, that we needed to eat.  This last Saturday we did a $61 and change shop and stocked up on a few things that we were either low or out on - ground beef and canned corn are the two that come to mind right now. We did buy some fruit and dairy products too. 

I'm loving the garden produce - Buddy picked another two cherry tomatoes today and they went right into his mouth - and we've been averaging a handful of strawberries each day (ever-bearing plants) and green beans too.  I've picked several yellow zucchini with more coming each day. My cabbage and cauliflower should be ready this week (they looked good this morning but not quite ripe) and the 'dragon beans' I'm trying this year (they're super cool!) should be ripening this week too.  Our CSA has been a plethora of good things and I've been really excited to try some new dishes (grilled turnips - yum!).

Here's what we're eating this week:

Sunday, July 30, 2017:
    Breakfast: Fruit salad and toast
    Lunch: Leftovers (we each ate something different)
    Snack: Tortilla Chips
    Dinner: BBQ Pulled Pork, Buns, Sliced Apples

Monday, July 31, 2017:
    Breakfast: Cinnamon Biscuit Twists, Scrambled Eggs
    Lunch: Leftover Pulled Pork, Buns and Apples
    Snack: Nuts
    Dinner: Pasta with Tomato Sauce for John and the children, I'm bringing cut fruit to a pot luck party for work

Tuesday, August 1, 2017:
     Breakfast: Chai Spiced Oatmeal, Banana-Blueberry Smoothies
     Lunch: Leftover Pasta with Sauce and Cheese
     Snack: No Bake Energy Bites
     Dinner: The children are at a friends' Birthday Party, so John is taking me out to dinner for my Birthday

Wednesday, August 2, 2017, My Birthday:
     Breakfast: Maple Oat Scones, Strawberry-Mango Smoothies
     Lunch: At the Zoo (we're going to the Zoo for my Birthday!)
     Snack: No Bake Energy Bites
     Dinner: At Church: Bring Cherry Tomato-Mozzarella skewers

Thursday, August 3, 2017:
     Breakfast: Oatmeal with Almonds and Blueberries
     Lunch: Grilled Cheese Sandwiches on Homemade Bread, Cherries or Cantaloupe
     Snack: No Bake Energy Bites
     Dinner: Pork Loin, Roasted Zucchini, Cantaloupe

Friday, August 4, 2017:
     Breakfast: Scrambled Eggs, Toast
     Lunch: Leftover Pork and Zucchini
     Snack: No Bake Energy Bites
     Dinner: Homemade Pizza and Breadsticks

Saturday, August 5, 2017:
     Brunch: Buttermilk Coffee Cake, Cantaloupe-Mandarin Orange-Apple Salad
     Snack: Homemade Soft Pretzels
     Dinner: Roasted Veggie Couscous, Tortilla Chips, Cantaloupe

What are you eating this week?

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Of summer and other things.....

Our purple dwarf iris - unfortunately I don't know the name, it was  hand me down from a family member.

It’s been a long time since I posted.  So, if you’re still here, thanks for hanging on with me.

We’ve had an… eventful? Full?... summer so far.  I’m not quite sure of the right word. Very shortly after I last posted, my laptop met an entire cup of coffee.  It did end up being salvageable but the keyboard and track pad needed to be replaced (way cheaper than buying a new one) but, of course, that took a while.

I taught summer session.  John had 12% of our congregation in the hospital, 4 funerals, and a wedding.  The children had sleep away church camp and then we’ve had to juggle childcare.  There was a major, very stressful, not good, and quite unexpected happening at my work and John had to handle a major thing with the property at church too. 

All in all, by the time I got done with summer session, I was so tired.  I would fall asleep sitting up in a chair, something I would only do when I had taken my PHN medication at the wrong time.  I needed to take a nap every afternoon, no matter what.  I did go to the doctor.  Nothing is wrong, I’m just fine and apparently tired.

After a full month now, I am finally on the upswing, my computer is working and I’m hoping to be back to posting more often again.

I have quite a few things that I’m hoping to share with you over the next few months. 

Thanks for sticking around and come back tomorrow to see what we’re eating this week!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Menu Plan Monday - Week of May 21, 2017

My flowers are blooming again!  I'm super excited!   Spring is one of my favorite times of year with all the green and fresh and the beautiful flowers!   I don't have a lot of pictures uploaded, but, boy I have a lot taken!  More on that later.

My Mom and Dad are still here and bought us groceries this week.  They didn't buy much - spinach, tomatoes, milk, English Muffins, cantaloupe and grapes.  That was about it!
We're starting to wind down on happenings here.  We have something every weekend but the weeknight evenings are calming down.  Hurray!  This week we just have a band concert on Wednesday night and then a graduation for the local high school on Saturday.  That's it!  It feels like a "lazy week" after everything else that's been going on. 

I'm in summer session now, the children have a few more weeks of school left (three) and Mom and Dad are here for another week.  This past week we had two evenings of school plays, our final dance competition of the season, and my youngest sister-in-law's wedding.  It was a wonderful, busy week and I am so grateful for all the time with family!

Here's the menu this week:

Sunday, May 21, 2017:
     Brunch: Post-wedding at my brother-in-law's house
     Snack: Leftover Wedding Cake
     Dinner: Beef Stew in the crockpot, Bread

Monday, May 22, 2017:
     Breakfast: Scrambled Eggs, Toast
     Lunch: Leftover Beef Stew
     Snack: Peanuts
     Dinner: Noodles with Tomato-Meat Sauce, Cantaloupe, Strawberries

Tuesday, May 23, 2017:
      Breakfast: English Muffins with Peanut Butter and Jelly
      Lunch: Leftover Beef Stew
      Snack: Peanuts
      Dinner: Chicken Gravy over Biscuits, Spinach Salad

Wednesday, May 24, 2017:
     Breakfast: Breakfast Sandwiches
     Lunch: Spinach Salad with Tuna
     Snack: Yogurt
     Dinner: Sandwiches, Cut Veggies
     Dessert: Ice Cream with Rhubarb Sauce

Thursday, May 25, 2017:
      Breakfast: Oatmeal with Pecans and Raspberries
     Lunch: Spinach Salad with Salmon
      Snack: Peanuts
      Dinner: Chicken Noodle Soup in the Crockpot, Bread

Friday, May 26, 2017:
     Breakfast: Breakfast Sandwiches
      Lunch: Leftover Soup
     Snack: Peanuts
     Dinner: Homemade Pizza and Breadsticks

Saturday, May 27, 2017, My In-Law's 44th Wedding Anniversary:
      Brunch: Buttermilk Coffee Cake, Bacon, Fruit Salad
      Snack: Soft Pretzels
      Dinner: Wild Rice Casserole, Spinach Salad, Cantaloupe

What are you eating this week?


Saturday, May 13, 2017

Frugalities of May - Friday "Friday" or Saturday, whichever You Prefer!

No special significance for the photo - just a pretty one of the few that I've managed to upload!  And it reminds me of the beauty of the flowers all around us right now - the tulips are almost done, my rhododendron is finished, and the lilacs are in full swing!  I hav buds on the peonies and several other things popping up.  My patio table is full of seedlings and the seeds are ready to plant.  I guess that means it's officially spring!

I have several posts partially done but haven't finished any.  We have had company for almost two weeks and we have one, yes, one free weekend day between the last weekend in April and the 4th of July.  That was last Saturday.  Our weekdays have been just as busy and I've chosen to spend my time with my family and on urgent matters (grades for my students, laundry that is immediately needed, anything else that must be done now).  My twins turned 12, we have had two dance recitals, two dance competitions, and a piano recital since I last posted.  I think tomorrow (Mother's Day) will be one of rest for me!

Anyway, we've been trying to be frugal here too.  Eating meals in, taking lunches, doing our own mending and all those things.  Here's some "extra" stuff that we've done since May 1.

* I spent a lot of time working on an embroidery for a Wedding gift.  I won't finish it for the wedding, unfortunately, but I will be able to send it about the time they move into their newly purchased home later this summer. 

* We checked out several books from the library and returned others.  We also watched a few videos online.

* The children asked to go see a movie at the movie theater for their birthday present.  We went to the $5 theater and were able to buy popcorn and drinks for 5 along with the tickets for less than $40!

* My mother altered a dress for me.

* We took another load of donations to the thrift store.

* My husband lead a worship service for a church with an ill Pastor.  He was paid, even though he offered to lead worship for free.

* We have done all of our spring yard clean up, garden prep, etc., with the exception of having the lawn mower serviced, ourselves.  We are so thankful to have both our own compost bin and curbside pickup of yard waste (goes to the city compost site)!

* We sent cupcakes to school with the children for their birthday.  We did by cupcakes ($14.99 for 30 frosted cupcakes) but we added cocktail umbrellas we had left from something years ago with homemade candy shells (molds and melting candy we already owned) and candy pearls, also leftover from something else.  They turned out really cute and their classmates really liked the "beach theme"!

* The children had their spring "formal" dance at school.  They wore clothes they already had and really enjoyed their time.  "Formal" for their school's definition is no jeans, shirt + tie for the boys (my son wore his blazer too) and dresses or skirt with a nice blouse for the girls. 

* My CSA lady called and asked if I wanted her extra broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and cabbage seedlings.  I said yes!  I have 15 plants total (3 sprouts, and 4 of each of the others) and passed on two broccoli to a friend. 

* I purchased plants at my work as a fundraiser for summer scholarships - tomatoes, peppers, squash and bush beans plus several annuals and perennial for a total of $30 for two flats of plants!  I need to plant my pea seeds and transplant the lettuce and tomato seedlings that are coming up but I only need to buy a couple of things before my garden will be complete now!  It will be completed for under $100 total including the grass seed we need for our yard!  I'm super excited about that!

* My Dad patched and painted a portion of my kitchen wall where we had taken down a chair rail and it left a huge dent in the wall.  He also touched up the paint in our main bathroom for me.  We had all the supplies leftover from other projects but hadn't had time to get that done.

* I hemmed a pair of pajamas for our son.  He received them for a birthday gift and were too long but otherwise fit fine.

* I reattached a lot of sequins that had come loose on our daughter's dance costume.  Easy but time consuming! 

* I cut off the legs on a pair of pants that had a hole in the knee and turned them into shorts for our son.

I think that's it! 

What have you done lately that is frugal?

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Menu Plan - Week of April 23, 2017

I have to admit I was a bit shocked to see that it's been over a month since I posted something here.  I truly didn't think it had been that long.  Then I looked at my calendar. 

That's our Easter morning table up there. Easter baskets we've had for quite a while now (John's and mine - the two in the front - for almost 20 years now!) and are filled with an array of "needed" items (socks, belts, gloves) to finish off the Easter outfits and, of course, some goodies.  The bag of jelly beans in the middle was for everyone.  John had to be out the door at 445am for Sonrise worship so I went back to bed for an hour or so after he left and then got myself and the kiddos up for worship at our normal time. Just over 300 souls joined us for Easter worship between the two services; almost double our usual attendance.  It was a lovely day!

My Mom made Missy one last little girl Easter dress with the big net and taffeta skirt and taffeta bodice.  She is definitely growing up so the cut was more mature but she loved the dress.  Buddy looked quite dapper in his jacket and tie and I had a new outfit too.  We enjoyed a huge Easter dinner at a friend's house and took a nap.  Perfect Easter day!

I have just a couple of weeks of the semester left and then jump right into summer session.  The children's birthday is next week and my parents will be here visiting for a month again.  I'm looking forward to it.  Along with the end of the year, we have something big every single week between now and Independence Day in July.  Two dance competitions, the recitals, spring band concert, the spring school play, the children's birthday, a family wedding, two weeks of church camp and two of archery camp.  I'm grateful for all the opportunities we have and for the ability to do all these things.  I just wish they weren't all crammed into the same 8 weeks!

Anyway, we're heading into spring here too.  My daffodils and tulips are blooming and my two rhododendrons are making me ridiculously happy.  We're hoping it is warm enough and dry enough to start eating outside again soon.   I'm also looking at what needs to be done in my garden.  So exciting!

We've been doing really good at keeping under our grocery budget.  Planning meals from the freezer and pantry first and replacing things as we run out rather than just shopping sales as I usually do.  I'm getting ready for spring and summer produce and we should be harvesting rhubarb soon.  Yum!

After all that, here's our menu for the week:

Sunday, April 23:
     Breakfast: Yogurt and Toast
     Lunch: Sandwiches, Cut Veggies
     Snack: At the Piano Recital
     Dinner: Beef Stew and French Bread (leftover from a church event - the person who did the cooking sent home a container with us)

Monday, April 24:
      Breakfast: Scrambled Eggs and Toast
      Lunch: Leftover Beef Stew
      Snack: Baby Carrots
      Dinner: Kielbasa, Cabbage, Flatbread, and Cantaloupe

Tuesday, April 25:
     Breakfast: Oatmeal with Walnuts and Dates
     Lunch: Leftover Cabbage with leftover noodles
     Snack: Yogurt
     Dinner: Roasted Yam and Butternut Squash, Chicken Flavored Rice, Cantaloupe-Pineapple-Mandarin Orange Salad

Wednesday, April 26:
      Breakfast: Scrambled Eggs and Toast
      Lunch: Leftover Roasted Yam and Squash and Rice
      Snack: Raspberry Banana Smoothie
      Dinner: Rice Bowl with Egg, Spinach and Tomatoes

Thursday, April 27:
      Breakfast: Oatmeal Muffins, Raspberry Banana Smoothies
      Lunch: Sandwiches, Apples and Yogurt
      Snack: Bananas
      Dinner: Baked Ham and Cheese Sandwiches, Pineapple and Cantaloupe

Friday, April 28:
      Breakfast: Chai Spiced Oatmeal
      Lunch: Apples with Peanut Butter, Yogurt with Granola
      Snack: Walnuts
      Dinner: Chicken Noodle Soup for the Children, Out on a Date with a Gift Card for Mom and Dad

Saturday, April 29:
      Brunch: Maple Oat Scones, Sausages, Pineapple-Banana-Apple Salad
      Snack: Soft Pretzels
      Dinner: Homemade Pizza and Breadsticks

What are you eating this week?

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Frugal Saturday - Mid-March

Our "King Cake" - Uncut Cinnamon Rolls - for Fat Tuesday!

I've been trying to keep up with everything around here, so I've been spending less time online - thus the quiet here. My apologies. We hit mid-terms at school and I've had the worst head cold and we've been working on projects around the house... well, Internet time just has just been the things that dropped.  You all know how it goes.

In between all that, here's some of the frugal things we've been doing this last week:

* We made stew, soup, cornbread (twice), and waffles (I made extra for the freezer) this week.

* The children were on spring break and we either stayed home (John's day off work, the days I didn't teach class) or the children went to work with John and played in the youth room or on the lawn behind the church.  No childcare needed!
* The children attended a babysitting class through our local school district.  They received CPR and first aid training as well as basic child rearing and other skills.  They received a certificate and are now eligible to babysit in our county or the neighboring counties.  We did pay a fee for this, but it was nominal for an entire day of useful instruction.

* I spent quite a bit of time sleeping and doing quiet activities to recover from my head cold. 

* John attended three events for our church Synod and received lunch or dinner at all of them.

* I attended an evening event for work and was fed dinner while I there and got to visit with some colleagues I hadn't seen in quite a while.

* We froze leftover stew, soup and overripe bananas for later use.

* We inventoried the pantry and updated the freezer inventory and put together a menu all the way through May.

* John brought home a leftover loaf of French bread from the church dinner on Wednesday night and some leftover donuts from Sunday morning.

* Since the children were home this week, did a lot of cleaning out, scrubbing, and rearranging in their rooms this week. 

* I also spent quite a bit of time cleaning out files and the like - we, like many, have way, way, wayyyyy too much paper around and I was really pleased that we made some really good headway on getting through the excess in spite of feeling awful most of the week!  I filled up our shredding box and our recycle bin and have more to add for next week's pickup too. 

I think that's about it for this week. How about you?  What have you done that's been frugal lately?

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Frugal.... What day of the week is it?

More of my beautiful Valentine's tulips.  They lasted a whole two weeks!
These last few weeks I have felt that the days just run together - most of the time I have to double check what day of the week it is.  Oh, wait, it's still Tuesday?  Oh, yikes, it's already Friday?  That's pretty much how the year has gone.  I've been teaching a lot of Jazzercise classes and the semester is rolling along.  Buddy's basketball season is over but dance competitions are ramping up.  Then there is band and piano, confirmation and Lent.  It really never ends, doesn't it?

A couple of really non-frugal things that have happened lately (and I can't remember if I posted about them or not):

* More furnace repairs.  The repairman told us there wasn't anything else that could break at this point.  I'm hoping he's right!   Still cheaper than a new system!  We're still cold enough that a working furnace is a must so we can't wait on repairs until late summer. 

* Our van completely died.  After $5000 in repairs and then finding out it would need another $1600 at minimum to make it drivable, we decided to bite the bullet and buy a new to us van.  Our "old" van was a 2001 and had almost 300,000 miles on it.  We had planned on buying a new to us van sometime this year, just not this soon.  We're happy with our decision and hope to drive this van for at least the 11 years we drove the other one.  On the up side, they gave us $1500 in trade in value and didn't charge us for the repairs!  We had put the new car payment into the budget already, so we're good to go for now.

* We have had a mildew problem in one room of our house every time the temperature drops significantly below zero and discovered that the previous owners had just smashed spackle (yes, really) over the problem when they lived in the house.  So, now we have mold.  Mold that has had 16 years to grow, apparently.  Fortunately, it's not the dangerous kind.  We have had to replace all the drywall in two rooms of the house plus baseboards and trim.  Fortunately, I know how to do all that so we could do a lot of it ourselves.  Unfortunately, it's not covered by our homeowners insurance.  We added insulation (there was NO insulation behind the wall at all) so it shouldn't happen again.

Okay, now the frugal stuff:

* In the middle of all the things listed above, John's new cell phone completely died.  Fortunately, it was under warranty so they just sent us a new one for free! 

* We've made bread, biscuits, cornbread, tortillas, crackers, soup, chili, pizza, cookies, cinnamon rolls and probably other things I'm forgetting at home.

* I went through my sewing stash and sent my Mom material to make 3 dresses for our daughter, two skirts for me, and a pair of pajamas for my husband.  She had asked if I had any sewing projects she could work on for me, so I took advantage of it!   She has yarn to knit our son a sweater.  My Mom LOVES to sew - it's her main hobby - and she's very careful, so I always appreciate it when she can sew the more particular clothes patterns for me!

* I have used other material I already had to sew birthday gifts and a baby gift. 

* I taught extra Jazzercise classes, so I will be paid "extra" for those.

* We enjoyed several audio books from the library, as well as checking out regular books and a movie.  We also watched several shows on Netflix and YouTube.

* Our children have had two teacher in-service days in the last few weeks.  One day was my husband's day off and the other he worked from home so we did not have to pay for childcare.

* I went to a special class on how to do our daughter's hair and makeup for her dance competitions.  Now I don't have to pay the professional to do it!

* My husband brought home the following after meetings and meals at church the last few weeks: grapes, sandwich buns, lunch meat, a two-liter jug of root beer, popcorn, potato chips and tortilla chips.  All but the two-liter of root beer were partially eaten.  We didn't mind at all!
* I did buy girl scout cookies - in the budget and most were put in the freezer to enjoy later this year.

* Our daughter made decorations for a Confirmation event using art and craft supplies we already owned.

* My  husband gave our son two pair of shoes that he did not find comfortable.  Now our son has two "new" pairs of shoes and we don't have to order him shoes for a while. (Yes, they are currently the same shoe size, though I'm pretty sure our son will grow some more.)  Our son finds them very comfortable.

* I mended two nightgowns, two pairs of workout pants, two pillowcases, a pajama top and a tablecloth. 

That's all I can think of right now.  What have you done lately that's frugal?

Monday, February 27, 2017

Menu Plan Monday - Week of February 26, 2017

My Valentine's Day flowers from my dear husband.  There was enough for two vases!

Anyone else amazed that March is arriving this week?   I know I am.  So far 2017 has been a year of long, long days and super short weeks.  I'm hoping things slide into a rhythm soon and we can hop out of what feels very much like survival mode.  Not my favorite way to spend my days certainly, but I guess that happens sometimes.

We did a stock up on chicken this last week - our regular grocery store had whole chickens for 88-cents/pound.  We bought a few.  Roasted chicken is such an easy dinner and we always use the carcass and leftover meat so it's a great deal for us!  John also found ham on sale for $1.49/pound at the grocery store near his church so he bought one.  Over all, we spent $62 and change on groceries this last week but we had been a bit below our weekly budget for a couple of weeks and we're planning on doing a pantry challenge during Lent now so that should work out just fine. 

Speaking of Lent, we're Lutheran so we don't abstain from meat on Fridays but we do observe Lent and we decided a pantry challenge would be just the thing this year.  Not only is it a good idea to use up what we have, but we also have a parishioner who is spending this summer doing medical missionary work in Malawi.  We'd like to give generously to her mission, so that will be where the money we "save" will go.

We will also be eating more vegetarian meals this coming month.  We have a lot of veggies in our freezer to use up and several other things (barley, quinoa, etc.) that would be good to use.  I like to have the deep freezer basically empty when summer comes around.  That means we've eaten the vegetables from last year and we have room for the new harvest.  I know that many like to keep canned and frozen vegetables for a long time but I think the taste is better within that first year.  I also find that it means that overall we waste less food too.

This week we're eating a fairly large amount of eggs (we got a good deal on them this week), zucchini, tomato sauce, green beans, and potatoes.  The green beans, zucchini, and tomato sauce are in the freezer and the potatoes are in the pantry (another good deal from last week).

Here's what we're eating this week:

Sunday, February 26:
   Breakfast: Toast and Strawberry-Banana Smoothies
   Lunch: Leftovers
   Snack: Popcorn
   Dinner: Scrambled Eggs, Bacon, Breakfast Potatoes, Strawberries

Monday, February 27:
    Breakfast: Cold Cereal
    Lunch: Spinach Salad with Leftover Chicken, Walnuts and Strawberries
    Snack: String Cheese
    Dinner: Hamburger Gravy with onions and mushrooms, Rice, Apple-Strawberry-Cantaloupe Salad

Tuesday, February 28, Shrove Tuesday:
     Breakfast: King Cake
     Lunch: Leftover Hamburger Gravy
     Snack: No Bake Energy Bites
     Dinner: Zucchini-Potato Pancakes, Baked Eggs, Sliced Apples

Wednesday, March 1, Ash Wednesday:
    Breakfast: King Cake
    Lunch: Leftover Pancakes with Raspberry Jam
    Snack: String Cheese
    Dinner: At Church (Lent = Soup Suppers at Church on Wednesdays)

Thursday, March 2, My Dad's 85th Birthday!
    Breakfast: Oatmeal with Dates and Walnuts
    Lunch: Rice Bowl with Egg and Spinach
    Snack: No Bake Energy Bites
    Dinner: Vegetable Barley Soup, Biscuits, Sliced Apples

Friday, March 3:
    Breakfast: Eggs, Breakfast Potatoes
    Lunch: Leftover Vegetable Barley Soup
    Snack: String Cheese
    Dinner: Tomato Sauce with Veggies and Pasta, Garlic Bread, Spinach Salad

Saturday, March 4:
     Brunch: Baked Eggs with Potatoes and Spinach
     Snack: Homemade Pretzels
     Dinner: Homemade Pizza and Breadsticks
     Dessert: Sugar Cookies

What are you eating this week? 

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Playing Catch Up - Goals for the Last Full Week of February

Well,  right about now it feels like 2017 is kicking our backsides.

First, flu, head cold, head cold, more flu, more head colds. Then the furnace needed repairs.  The van died completely.  We discovered a problem in one of our bedrooms that requires removing three walls worth of drywall, baseboards, etc. in that bedroom and the adjoining room to fix.  And of course all those things need to be taken care of NOW, as in yesterday, no waiting.  SIGH. 

In any case, I feel like I've been playing catch up since the beginning of the year.  I'm ready to be caught up already!

With all of that, here's my goals for this week:

* Catch up schoolwork to current
* Learn 4 new routines for Jazzercise
* Teach 4 Jazzercise classes
* Register the children for church camp
* Sew one baby gift (good friends had a sweet baby girl the end of January)
* Sew spring placemats
* Mend 5 items
* Read 2 books for my research
* Schedule home repairs for next week

Upside for this week so far?  Warmer weather- it's been right around 50F for several days now.  And sunny.  Whoot!   Our new-to-us van is a dream compared to the one that died.  I *think* we're all on the mend from all the sickness. 

What are you up to this week?

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Super Savings Saturday - $30.11 Shop

Well, the food poisoning ended up blending with a stomach bug and a major head bug so between the three, all four of us were down and out.  I actually ended up staying home from work 3 days this week, which is unheard of for me because finding a sub for my classes is all but impossible and we can only cancel one session per semester without it being a huge pain in the neck.. 

Anyway, it meant that this last week was a wash in terms of anything that wasn't completely essential got dropped.  Menu plan was taken over by a lot of toast, crackers and chicken noodle soup.  So, basically I bumped everything from last week to this next week menu-wise.  John did a huge shop last week - spent right around $60 - which included an 11lb ham and lots of on-sale canned goods. Our pantry is full in many ways but I'm running low on flour, oatmeal and cornmeal.  We're going to a Super Bowl party and found out yesterday that we should bring cookies so I ended up buying a bag of flour just to make sure I don't run out between baking both bread for us for the week and cookies.  Hoping to have a bit leftover for some zucchini bread next week.

I also bought corn flour this week instead of cornmeal - our grocery store had no cornmeal in stock (no location allocated for it) and when we asked we were told that they have mixes for cornbread and the like.  So, I will be buying cornmeal next time we go to Sam's club instead.  I have been wanting to try making corn tortillas and have  friend who is willing to teach me so I bought the  corn flour.

John and I did a quick trip to the store Saturday morning and here's what we purchased:

Bread Flour 1lb $2.39
Corn Flour 1lb $2.99
Flour Tortillas 2 @ $1 = $2
Campbell's Tomato Soup 2 @ $0.75 ea = $1.50
1lb Bacon $3.99 (store coupon
3lb Pink Lady Apples $4.99
Salad Blend 2 @ $1 = $2
Cucumber $0.69
Green Bell Pepper $0.69
Avocado $0.67
2.61lb Bananas @ $0.59/lb =  $1.54
Greek God's Yogurt $3.79
1 dozen large Eggs $1.89

Total Spent $30.11
Total Saved (according to store receipt): $2.28 (6%)

I'm hoping with some of the stocking up we've done we can be light on the budget this next week.  I have about $20 in the envelope which should get us milk, eggs and some produce.  We'll hit Sam's Club sometime the beginning of next month. 

Come back Monday to see what we're eating!
What did you buy this week?  Any good deals?

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Frugal Things This Past Week - The Last Full Week of January 2017

So, still no photos this week - I haven't taken a single photo.  We ended up with food poisoning this week - long story - and Missy is having trouble recovering so that's been top priority this week.  We have an appointment with the doctor tomorrow just to make sure everything is okay.  Our furnace blower also went out this week. Definitely not frugal but a necessary repair and definitely cheaper than a new furnace.  Our furnace is about 10 years old so repairs happening at this point are pretty likely.  I feel like I've been playing catch up all week and photos definitely were not on my mind.

Anyway, here's some of the frugal things we've done around here this week:

* Made homemade biscuits, bread, oatmeal cookies, chicken noodle soup, and fried white fish.

* John brought home leftovers from a funeral lunch for dinner one night .

* I taught a couple of extra Jazzercise classes which made up for the two that I missed at the beginning of the month, so I don't loose any money from that paycheck this month.

* I made up smoothie kits containing frozen bananas and raspberries and cubes of frozen yogurt and put them in the freezer for later.

* We made up a menu plan for the rest of this semester and will do some freezer cooking in the next two weeks to make dinners easier. 

* Removed the feet from the a pair of footie pajamas that fit other than the size of the foot.  I hemmed the legs and now they work just fine, but without the feet.

* Let down the hem of two pairs of pants for our son.

* Mended two pillowcases and a nightgown.

* A family friend gifted our daughter a watch that was owned by her elderly mother. The mother was also a dear friend of ours but passed away in October.  Our daughter was thrilled and loves the watch!

* I have been looking for inexpensive items of clothing to stretch my work wardrobe and I purchased a teal flyaway cardigan on clearance sale for $9 this week.  I have a lot of items to wear with this.

I think that's it for  us this week.

What have you don't this week?

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Goals Update - Last Full Week of January 2017

No photo today.  I have been very lax about taking photos lately.  I really should get better at that. 

It's been one of those up and down weeks - lots to do, an ill child, my leg deciding to cramp up for no discernible reason, and another round of snow making the commute slow on top of it all.  Do you ever have those weeks where there's nothing seriously wrong but you still want to scream in frustration?  That's this week for me. *SIGH*.

Anyway, here's the goals update.

* Clean up my desk at work
* Do the shredding at work Started this.
* Clean out and organize my notebooks for both of my classes Finished one class.
* Be completely ready for classes to start
* Redo a section of my T/Th class curriculum 
* Meet with a research colleague
* Put together a Power Point presentation

* Celebrate John's Birthday
* Make two gifts for John for his Birthday

* Visit my in-laws  
* Date out with my husband
* Attend an appointment with my husband
* Meet my cousin and her husband for lunch  Pushing this back to February due to scheduling conflicts for both of us.

* Learn 12 new routines Learned 6 routines.
* Attend/teach at least 16 classes  Nine classes attended or taught so far; I'll be at 11 by the end of the week.
* Paperwork  Got this done! YAY!

* Clean out and reorganize the furnace room
* Finish the wall painting in our bedroom (just a small finish work to do)
* Patch, prime and paint repairs in the kitchen
* Have the piano tuned
* Order seeds/plants for the yard  We ended up spending the money for these on something higher priority that came up, so unless we get some unexpected income somewhere, this will have to wait.
* Go through all clothes - donate what we don't need, write a list of what we need to buy  Done!

* Lap quilt for Auntie Kay
* Graduation Quilt (start this so it's done for May/June)
* Finish sewing at least 8 birthday gifts for later in the year  Sewed 2.
* Sew a baby quilt for my sister-in-law (we're getting a new nephew or niece this summer!) Done!
* Finish an Anniversary gift for my parents  Worked on this.
* Finish the embroidery on The Big Project  Worked on this too!
* Make at least three other gifts One done last week.
I've definitely made some progress.  Sewing/Crafts and Home/Yard always seem to be the categories that end up being "left behind", so to speak, as other things take priority.  We'll see how the rest of this week goes. 

What have you been up to this week?

Monday, January 23, 2017

Menu Plan Monday - Third Week of January

Our daughter making Chex Mix.  She made a huge batch for my husband for his Christmas gift and has made two batches since then as well.
It's hard to believe that the month is almost over.  We've been so warm that we had heavy fog for the last two days - not a problem unless we have to drive somewhere, which seemed to be the order of the days.  We made it and I was very happy to have a quiet afternoon at home on Sunday afternoon.  That time included a board game, a nap and some time baking cookies to send with lunches this school week.

I'm so grateful for my crockpot!  We came home Sunday early afternoon to hot soup and it took just a few minutes to whip up a batch of cornbread and we were eating within 30 minutes of coming home.  We'll do that a few times this week too.  It makes our whole family's life so much better.

After scoring some good deals this week, we're getting restocked again, particularly on meat, I'm looking forward to what we have to eat this week.  So here's what it is:

Sunday, January 22:
   Breakfast: Cereal
   Lunch: Taco Soup, Cornbread
   Snack: Popcorn
   Dinner: Leftovers and Fruit

Monday, January 23:
    Breakfast: Scrambled Eggs, Sliced Apples and Pears
    Lunch: Leftover Taco Soup
    Snacks: Oatmeal Cookies
    Dinner: Pork Loin, Roasted Potatoes, Spinach Salad, Sliced Pineapple

Tuesday, January 24:
    Breakfast: Oatmeal with Dates and Walnuts
    Lunch: Leftover Pork Loin and Potatoes
    Snack: Yogurt
    Dinner: Fried White Fish, Rice, Pineapple-Apple-Banana Salad

Wednesday, January 25:
     Breakfast: Toast with Almond Butter, Sliced Apples and Pears
     Lunch: Fish Tacos
     Snack: Yogurt
     Dinner: Pulled Pork Sandwiches, Carrot Sticks and Cherry Tomatoes, Pears

Thursday, January 26:
     Breakfast: Chai Spiced Oatmeal
     Lunch: Soup from the Freezer
     Snack: Yogurt
     Dinner: Chicken Noodle Soup, Homemade Bread

Friday, January 27:
      Breakfast: Eggs, Zucchini-Potato Pancakes
      Lunch: Leftover Chicken Noodle Soup
      Snack: Oatmeal Cookies
      Dinner: Homemade Pizza and Breadsticks

Saturday, January 28:
       Breakfast: Banana-Raspberry Smoothies
       Lunch: At My Cousin's House
       Snack: At My Cousin's House
       Dinner: Toasted Ham Sandwiches, Spinach Salad
       At Home Date Night Dessert: Triple-Berry Hand Pies

What are you eating this week?

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Super Savings Saturday - A $43.21 Stock Up!

The grocery store closest to us had a HUGE buy-one-get-one sale this week!  I still only had $40 (and a bit of change left from the last few weeks) so I had to watch what I bought, but I was extremely pleased with that purchases.  I did skip two things on my list - a second dozen eggs and a jar of peanut butter - since I was already maxing out my budget.  I had a total of $45 in my groceries envelope so I was determined to stick with that.

This is a very busy weekend for us - basketball tournaments for our son, the children's first dance at the middle school they attend, a dear friend's wedding (my husband is officiating), worship, a visitation and funeral.  Whew.   I think we're all going to be ready for a nap, come Monday afternoon!

I squeaked to the grocery store between things on Friday evening (I think I made it in and out in record time!) and picked up the haul above.  Here's what we got:

Kellogg's Mini-Wheats Cereal 2 @ 3/$6 = $4
Boneless Pork Tenderloin B1G1 8lbs for $17.48 ($2.20/lb - the cheapest it's been in a LONG time here!)
5lb Russet Potatoes B1G1 2 for $2.49 ($0.25/lb)
2lb Carrots B1G1 2 for $1.49 ($0.37/lb)
2.93lbs Braeburn Apples @ $1.79/lb = $5.24
Dry Pint Grape Tomatoes B1G1 2 for $2.99
2.24lb Bananas @ $0.29/lb = $0.65
10oz Spinach $3.99
1 Gallon Milk $3.89
1 dozen Eggs $0.99

Total Spent $43.21
Total Saved (according to store receipt): $25.25 (37%)

I was very pleased!  And come back Monday to see what we're eating. 

What did you buy this week?

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Goals Update - Mid-January 2017

John's Advent Calendar that I made him for his office at the church.  He loved it!  I hadn't posted a picture before so I thought I should.  The red star on the top right package is for the top of the little tree in his office. 
Well, progress is slow here.  This month is proving much busier than I had anticipated and my father-in-law has had some unexpected health issues.  I have been wrestling with trying to do all the things and rest and relax like I want to.  A good problem to have, right?  Well, yes, and no. 

You see, after being sick constantly for almost 10 years now, trying to catch up is a bit like trying to push a wet rope up a hill.  If you work hard enough you can get it up the hill but it won't be anything like you want when you get there.  In a lot of ways I'm totally okay with that - my life is way better in so many ways than it was before I got sick.  In other ways...not so much.  All the partly finished and need-to-be-done things hang over my head and making extremely slow progress is not going to get them done in the time frame that is required.  I'll figure it out eventually, but I'm super frustrated in the meantime.

On that cheerful note (*cough*), here's what I've managed to accomplish so far on my goals list this month:

* Clean up my desk at work  Did this two weeks ago.
* Do the shredding at work Started this.
* Clean out and organize my notebooks for both of my classes Finished one class.
* Be completely ready for classes to start Done!
* Redo a section of my T/Th class curriculum Decided to push this back to a later date.
* Meet with a research colleague
* Put together a Power Point presentation

* Celebrate John's Birthday
* Make two gifts for John for his Birthday
Made an album and baked a cake and crab legs for dinner.  I had hoped to sew a gift as well but ran our of time.  That will be his Father's Day gift.
* Visit my in-laws  Visited this last weekend.
* Volunteer at the children's school
* Date out with my husband This is scheduled for this Friday!
* Attend an appointment with my husband
* Meet my cousin and her husband for lunch

* Learn 12 new routines Learned 5 routines.
* Attend/teach at least 16 classes  Up to 5 at the start of this week - pretty good for missing a week and a half!
* Paperwork  Got this done! YAY!

* Clean out and reorganize the furnace room
* Finish the wall painting in our bedroom (just a small finish work to do)
* Patch, prime and paint repairs in the kitchen
* Have the piano tuned
* Order seeds/plants for the yard  We ended up spending the money for these on something higher priority that came up, so unless we get some unexpected income somewhere, this will have to wait.
* Go through all clothes - donate what we don't need, write a list of what we need to buy  Got through my clothes and my husband did his.  Just need to do the children's!

* Lap quilt for Auntie Kay
* Graduation Quilt (start this so it's done for May/June)
* Finish sewing at least 8 birthday gifts for later in the year  Sewed 2.
* Sew a baby quilt for my sister-in-law (we're getting a new nephew or niece this summer!) Done!
* Finish an Anniversary gift for my parents  Worked on this.
* Finish the embroidery on The Big Project  Worked on this too!
* Make at least three other gifts One done last week.

What did you work on this last week and a half or so?