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?

Sunday

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.

Work:
* 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

Family:
* 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.

Jazzercise:
* 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!

Home/Yard:
* 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!

Sewing/Crafts:
* 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:

Work:
* 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

Family:
* 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

Jazzercise:
* 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!

Home/Yard:
* 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!

Sewing/Crafts:
* 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?

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Menu Plan Tuesday - Week of January 15, 2017

John's Red Velvet Cake from his birthday.  I dusted it with powdered sugar rather than frosting and it was delicious! 
I'm having a hard time believing that January is half over already.  Where on earth does the time go these days?  After putting together our budget last week, John and I are going to be extra careful to stick to the grocery and miscellaneous (clothes, household items, etc.) budgets for the next few months.  If we stick to the budget we should have a new van purchased and all the outstanding medical bills paid off in about 18 months.  We're pretty excited about that!   But that means battening down the hatches and preparing for the ride!

I inventoried the deep freeze yesterday and, after meals this week, we have very little meat left - a package and half of chicken, several turkey carcasses and a beef bone, lake fish (from a parishioner - about 2lbs), a single venison steak (from my cousin) and a package of shrimp that my parents bought us over Christmas.  We're good for vegetables - green beans, kohlrabi, corn, spinach, and tomato sauce.  I even have a few loaves of sweet bread, raspberries, cherries and a few things of leftover soup and a couple packages of mixed berries.  Canned goods are also keeping us well - lots of homemade jam and jelly (Thank you Eric at work!), canned beans, tomatoes, corn, mandarin oranges and a bit of tuna.  I have a several other things in the pantry too but it seems we're going to have to purchase bread flour and rolled oats fairly soon as we used up quite a bit of our stash in Christmas baking.

Anyway, this week we're mostly eating from the freezers and pantry this week. I did buy a pound of beef stew meat for beef-barley stew this week.  John had specifically requested this so I was happy to oblige!    Here's the rest of the menu this week:

Sunday, January 15:
    Breakfast: Yogurt with Frozen Strawberries, Buttermilk Biscuits
    Lunch: At Brother-in-Law's House - we brought chicken from our freezer for grilling
    Snack: Brownies and Vanilla Ice Cream (at brother-in-law's house)
    Dinner: Snacky Dinner in the Car on the Way Home

Monday, January 16:
    Breakfast: Bagels with Peanut Butter and Jelly
    Lunch: Tomato Soup, Toast
    Snack: Apple or Pear
    Dinner: Homemade Pizza with Chicken and Onion, Breadsticks

Tuesday, January 17:
    Breakfast: Oatmeal with Walnuts and Dates
    Lunch: Tortillas filled with Rice-Black Bean-Chicken and Tomato mixture with Cheddar Cheese (I pulled this out of the freezer for lunches this week)
    Snack: Yogurt
    Dinner: Kielbasa, Cabbage and Noodles,  Apple-Mandarin Orange-Pineapple Salad

Wednesday, January 18:
     Breakfast: Chai Spiced Oatmeal
     Lunch: Same as Tuesday
     Snack: No-Bake Energy Bites
     Dinner: Waffles with Raspberry Jam, Bananas and Walnuts, Sausages

Thursday, January 19:
     Breakfast: Eggs and Toast
     Lunch: Same as Tuesday
     Snack: Yogurt
     Dinner: Beef Barley Stew, Cornbread

Friday, January 20:
     Breakfast: Eggs, Raspberry Smoothies
     Lunch: Leftover Beef Stew
     Snack: No Bake Energy Bites
     Dinner: PB&J, Cut Veggies and a treat at the School Dance for the Children, Date Night Out with a Gift Card for Mom and Dad

Saturday, January 21:
     Breakfast: Oatmeal Muffins, Peanut Butter-Banana Smoothies
     Lunch: PB&J, Cut Veggies, Apples, Oatmeal-Butterscotch Cookies (Brown-bag at a Basketball Tournament)
     Snack: No Bake Energy Bites
     Dinner: At a Wedding

What are you eating this week? 

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Super Savings Saturday - A $38.76 Shop

We did a quick shop Friday morning between running around for other things.  I hadn't planned on buying the pizzas, since we were driving to my brother-in-law's house to visit for the afternoon and evening.  Instead, John got called to a deathbed and we had to wait to leave.  The pizza then took the place of the lunch we had planned to eat at my brother-in-law's house.    That added an unplanned $10 onto the shop for this week.  We managed to stay within the planned $40/wk budget anyway.

Here's what we bought:

1.02lb Beef Stew Meat @ $5.99/lb = $6.11
2.45lb Chicken Thighs @ $0.99/lb = $2.43
3.12lb D'Anjou Pears @ $0.99/lb = $3.09
3lbs Pink Lady Apples $4.99
Pineapple $2.99
Pizzas 2 @ $4.88ea = $9.76
Sour Cream $1.39
Butter Quarters 2 @ 2/$5 = $5
Yoplait Yogurt 6 @ 20/$10 = $3

Total Spent: $38.76
Total Saved (According to Receipt): $5.22 (12%)

We still have a lot of vegetables in the pantry and the freezer and some meat as well.

Come back Monday to see what we're eating!

Friday, January 13, 2017

Frugal Friday - The Second Week of 2017

John's Birthday gifts last week.  The album I made is under the striped package, which was a gift from my parents.  The two in polk-a-dot wrapping are from the children.  The rectangle with the pink bow is the nuts we purchased on clearance after Christmas.  The other package is homemade by our daughter.

It's been a week of getting back into the swing of things.  We're all back at work or school, though I'm not back in class yet.  John didn't have anything extra this week (weddings, funerals, etc.) and even had one fewer nights of meetings this week.  We loved the extra time at home this week! 

Here are some things we did this week that count as frugal:

* Made vegetable barley soup, biscuits, soft pretzels, waffles, crustless quiche, and tacos at home this week.

* I worked on making two birthday gifts.  Unfortunately, I didn't finish either.

* John attended an all-day meeting that included lunch.  A parishioner invited him over for dinner one night when he had meetings.  

* We finally came up with a perfect for us budget for 2017.  I'm super excited about what we should be able to with this budget.

* I planned meals for the next several weeks using an inventory of our freezers and pantry.  We should be able to eat very well and not have to waste food.  I like that!
* I taught an extra Jazzercise class this week and I will get paid for that.  It will make up one of the days I missed last week with my PHN flare. 

* We used vitamin C and extra sleep and fluids to head off head colds before they took real hold.  I'm hoping we'd succeeded.

I think that's it that I can think of for this week.  How about you?  What have you done this week?

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

January Goals Update - Starting Week Two

This week was back-to-work week for me and, honestly, it was good to get back into a routine.  We're dealing with "winter weather" here - something normal for us in Minnesota this time of year.  Messy roads, slow commutes and shoveling/snow plowing are all the order of the day.  Keeps us on our toes!  

Last week was a slow week since I had a bad PHN flare and need to rest and recover. I didn't get much done.  I was totally okay with that since I was technically on vacation last week and didn't need to get anything done!  So, my completed tasks aren't very many from last week. This week will be better!

Work:
* Clean up my desk at work  Did this Monday this week.
* Do the shredding at work
* Clean out and organize my notebooks for both of my classes Got one class almost finished.
* 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

Family:
* 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
* Volunteer at the children's school
* Date out with my husband
* Attend an appointment with my husband
* Meet my cousin and her husband for lunch

Jazzercise:
* Learn 12 new routines Learned 3 routines.
* Attend/teach at least 16 classes Only 1 due to my PHN last week
* Paperwork  Got this done! YAY!

Home/Yard:
* 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
* 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!

Sewing/Crafts:
* 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!)
* 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 Made another gift this week - hope to post on this later this week.

What have you been up to so far this month?

Menu Plan Tuesday - Week of January 8, 2017

Cookies and milk for Santa as well as carrots and water for the reindeer.
Sorry this is a day late!  We had a super busy weekend and the weather here was first super cold and then yesterday my commute time took forever, so I ran out of time to get this up!  Thanks for your patience.

John and I did a shopping trip late in the day on Saturday and came home with the following:


We spent to $48 and change on 3 1/2 lbs of apples, a loaf of bread, bananas, two gallons of milk, laundry detergent, two bags of pretzels, a marked-down box of pasta, decaf coffee and filters, and two loops of sausage.  Yes, we bought a lot more "junk" than we usually do.  Either way, we have loads of good food in the pantry, fridge and freezer so we're fine.

We are also eating with extended family a couple of times this week, so we aren't going to need a ton of fresh veggies and fruit over what we already have.  We're pretty excited about spending some time with extended family since we don't do that often enough!

Here's what we're eating this week:

Sunday, January 8:
    Breakfast: Cereal and Milk
    Lunch: Egg Bake with Potatoes, Spinach, and Onions; Cinnamon Biscuit Twists; Sliced Apples
    Dinner: Leftovers

Monday, January 9:
    Breakfast: Roll with Eggs, Cheese and Sausage
    Lunch: Leftover Vegetable Barley Soup, Bread with Butter
    Snack: Apples
    Dinner: Kielbasa with Cabbage over Noodles, Banana-Apple-Blueberry Salad

Tuesday, January 10:
    Breakfast; Oatmeal with Walnuts and Dates
    Lunch: Leftover Cabbage with Meatballs from the Freezer
    Snack: Yogurt
    Dinner: Grilled Cheese Sandwiches, Spinach Salad, Clementine's

Wednesday, January 11:
    Breakfast: Eggs and Toast
    Lunch: Leftover soup from the Freezer
    Snack: Cut Veggies
    Dinner: Turkey Soft-Shell Tacos, Clementine's

Thursday, January 12:
    Breakfast: Waffles from the Freezer with Jam
    Lunch: Leftover Tacos
    Snack: Yogurt
    Dinner: Hot Turkey Sandwiches, Sliced Apples

Friday, January 13:
    Breakfast: Banana-Blueberry Smoothies
    Lunch: Snack-y
    Snack: Popcorn
    Dinner:  Pizza with Extended Family

Saturday, January 14:
    Brunch:  Biscuits, Eggs, Sausage
    Snack: Pretzels and Dip
    Dinner: With Extended Family (my husband's brother is hosting)

What are you eating this week?

Friday, January 6, 2017

Frugal Friday - First Week of 2017

A 1000 piece puzzle we put together over Christmas break.
I am seriously having a hard time believing we're in 2017.  Anyone else still want to write "2016" on dates and things?  Sheesh.  Hopefully I'll come to my senses and get over that soon. 

Honestly, 2016 was a pretty decent year for most things - John getting his first Call, finding a medication that actually helps my PHN, and the children having a seriously good year in school this fall.  I'm really happy that we can actually do some planning and budgeting and settle into a rhythm again after being pulled hither and yon for the last 2 and a bit years.

This year, 2017, has gotten off to a rough start.  After literally months of very low PHN flares I had a terrible flare this week - Monday and Tuesday were absolutely awful and Wednesday and Thursday were slowly better.  I'm still struggling today with pain but it's way better than it was earlier this week.  I seriously dislike weeks like this because I typically end up behind the following week on doing all the things that need to be completed.  This week, however, I was officially on vacation so my to-do list was short and I had already given myself permission to "do nothing" if I wanted or needed to. So, at least I'm not starting out next week behind!  I'm hoping that jumping back into exercising tomorrow will help work out any remaining issues and I'll be mostly back to normal next week.

We did do some stuff that was frugal this week - although weeks like this one almost never feel frugal.  Here's where some of what happened this last week (starting Saturday, December 31, 2017).

* We made vegetable soup, biscuits, sandwich bread, pizza, breadsticks, and waffles from scratch at home.

* We celebrated John's birthday with crab legs cooked at home (purchased as his birthday gift) and a red velvet cake that I made from a cake mix I got for 75-cents back in November.  I have never had good luck making red velvet cake from scratch (it ends up dry or weird or something else) and this was perfect!  

* I made John a scrapbook of his Ordination photos that I got through a penny-print order online with local pickup so I didn't have to pay postage, only sales tax.  I ordered those back in November and used things I had on hand, including an album my Mother-in-law gave me (she wasn't going to use it) to put together the scrapbook.  John loved it!  The crab legs, the album and a three-pack of mixed nuts that I bought on clearance right after Christmas for $2.99 were John's birthday presents this year.  He liked every one of them!

* I sewed one birthday gift and got a baby quilt half done, using items we already owned.

* I read four books that we already owned (one I'd read before) and one my daughter had checked out of the library.  I also watched several videos online for free through PBS and youtube and used our Netflix account for a few others.   I always seem to have several books running around the house that none of us have read.  I'm hoping to read several of those this year and clear them out if they aren't worth keeping. 

* My husband attended a church district meeting one day and was fed lunch and will be compensated mileage.  He met a number of new people and really enjoyed the chance to network and swap resources.

* I froze the leftover Christmas cookies to eat later this year. 

* My husband cleaned out his dresser drawers to make room for some new clothes he received for Christmas.  We now have another bag of donations to take to the local thrift store.    My dresser is on the agenda for this week so we can take everything all at once.

* We polished several pairs of leather shoes.

* It's been frigid here - well below zero at night and hovering around 0F in the daytime (or lower with the wind chill).  We didn't adjust the thermostat, but are wearing more layers and drinking hot drinks to stay warm.  The children wore extra layers to school and made sure they had sweatpants to pull on over shorts after sports activities.  We added blankets to the beds in our two cooler bedrooms and made sure to open the curtains during the day to warm up the rooms via sunshine.

* Since moving has been so painful, I cleaned out all of my email in-boxes, wrote thank you notes, and worked on embroidery rather than trying to do things that required movement. I had hoped to finish painting our bedroom this week but that requires warmer temperatures anyway and I'll have time later in the month to get it completed.

* We ate several meals out of the freezer for lunch and even for dinner one night and I'm enjoying having more space to organize things. 

I think that's it for this week.  What did you do this week in the land of frugal?

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Work, Home and Family - Gifts 2017 - Gift #1


 
Gift #1 2017: Teacher Christmas Gifts
 
This was our teacher gifts for 2017 at Christmastime.   Our children are in Middle School now (6th grade), so they have a lot of teachers!   This year, it's as follows:
 
Homeroom/Language Arts
Science/Industrial Arts
Math/Faith Formation
Physical Education/Computers
Band
General Music/Choir
Before/After Care
3 confirmation guides 
 
If you're counting that's 10 teachers!   That's a lot of gifts!   We had a budget of $20 for all these gifts.  So here's what we gave:
 
A mug, cocoa mix, peppermint stirring sticks, and a Christmas tree ornament. 
 
We made the ornaments using Popsicle sticks, ribbon, pompoms, glue and embroidery floss that we had.  We also made the cocoa mix from items we had in the pantry and I packaged them in freezer canning jars that I've had for years but haven't used.  I used stick-on name tags to write ingredient labels that were then stuck on the jars. 
 
We purchased the mugs at a local dollar store for $1 per mug and the peppermint sticks at the grocery store for 50-cents/package.  That means each gift cost $1.50.   We did include a note asking that they pass on the cocoa mix if they can't use it.  So far, we've only received only kind comments about the gifts.  
 
For our children's homeroom teacher, we included a blank journal, thank you notes and some homemade cookies that we already owned.  Our children spend a lot of time in her classroom, so we wanted to say an extra thank you.
 
Total cost: $15 for 10 gifts.
 
What did you make this past Christmas season?  

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Goals for January 2017



Happy New Year everyone!

It's a whole new year.  I always enjoy the refocusing that a new year brings and all the reflection that come with that.  I feel pretty spoiled since I get that twice a year - once in January with the new year and once in August/September when the school year kicks off.

I've been perusing the seed and plant catalogues, hence the photo above.  I have so many plans.  To that end, I've made up a pretty detailed to-do list for each month of the year.  These will fill in more as the year goes on but for now I'm quite happy with what I have come up with. 

I have some "extra" time this month since I don't go back to class until halfway through the month and I am taking this first week completely off from work.  My goals for this week include exercise, finishing a couple of house projects, rest, and some things like sewing and other creative things.  I have no delusions about how much I can get done during that week so many of the things on my list are small things - the gifts I'm making should all take an hour or less each to make, the house projects I'm hoping to get done will not take much time, and I'm hoping that I can get some extra sleep via naps in there too.  Once classes start, I'm hoping to be able to spend at least a bit of time each week on these things.  I am teaching less this semester than I have for a while so I'm hoping to make use of that time both to complete some things and to rest and heal my body from all the stressors we've been under for the last two years.

With that preface, here are my January goals for 2017:

Work:
* Clean up my desk at work
* Do the shredding at work
* Clean out and organize my notebooks for both of my classes
* 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

Family:
* Celebrate John's Birthday
* Make two gifts for John for his Birthday
* Visit my in-laws
* Volunteer at the children's school
* Date out with my husband
* Attend an appointment with my husband
* Meet my cousin and her husband for lunch

Jazzercise:
* Learn 12 new routines
* Attend/teach at least 16 classes
* Paperwork

Home/Yard:
* 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
* Go through all clothes - donate what we don't need, write a list of what we need to buy

Sewing/Crafts:
* 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
* Sew a baby quilt for my sister-in-law (we're getting a new nephew or niece this summer!)
* Finish an Anniversary gift for my parents
* Finish the embroidery on The Big Project
* Make at least three other gifts

That should be more than plenty!

What are your goals for this month or this week or this year?

Monday, January 2, 2017

Menu Plan Monday - Week of January 1, 2017

Our Christmas Day Dinner - Swedish Meatballs, Potatoes, Gravy, Lefse, Fruit Salad, and Corn.

I'm still trying to wrap my head around the fact that it's 2017.  How on earth did that happen?

Anyway, Happy New Year!  

We did a $52 shop on Saturday, which included $34 of crab legs, which is a large part of John's birthday present.  So we spent $18 on mostly fruit and milk plus a cucumber and a couple of other little things.  John celebrates his birthday on Tuesday this week so we have crab legs for dinner that night.    Mom and Dad spoiled us rotten by buying us groceries while they were here in December and we're hoping to do a pantry challenge either this month or February to use up some of what we have, particularly in the freezers.

Here's what we're eating this week:

Sunday, January 1, 2017, New Year's Day:
      Breakfast: Yogurt, Fruit
      Lunch: Breakfast Tacos with eggs, potatoes and bacon
      Snack: Christmas cookies
      Dinner: Beef Stew from the Freezer, Crackers, Clementine's

Monday, January 2, 2017:
     Breakfast: Cereal and Milk
     Lunch: Biscuits, Chicken Noodle Soup, Sliced Apples
     Snack: Nuts
     Dinner: Pork Loin, Green Beans, Apple-Blueberry-Honeydew Salad

Tuesday, January 3, 2017, John's Birthday:
     Breakfast: Oatmeal with Walnuts and Dates
     Lunch: Leftover pork loin, Cut Veggies
     Snack: Yogurt
     Dinner: Crab Legs, Corn on the Cob, Clementine's

Wednesday, January 4, 2017:
      Breakfast: Eggs and Toast
      Lunch: Grilled Cheese Sandwiches, Cut Veggies, Clementine's
      Snack: Nuts
      Dinner: Leftover Pork Loin in Sandwiches, Sliced Apples

Thursday, January 5, 2017:
     Breakfast: Oatmeal with Walnuts and Dates
     Lunch: Soup from the Freezer
     Snack: Yogurt
     Dinner: Hamburger Gravy in the Crockpot, Rice, Apple-Banana-Blueberry Salad

Friday, January 6, 2017:
     Breakfast: Eggs and Toast
     Lunch: Leftover Hamburger Gravy and Rice
     Snack: Apples
     Dinner: Homemade Pizza and Breadsticks

Saturday, January 7, 2017:
     Brunch: Waffles with Raspberry Jam, Zucchini-Potato Pancakes
     Snack: Soft Pretzels
     Dinner: Vegetable Barley Soup, Homemade Bread

What are you eating this week?