Showing posts from 2017

Menu Plan Monday - Week of December 3, 2017

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 P…

Frugal End of November

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.  No…

Frugal - Mid November

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 hom…

Frugal Things First Part of November

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 p…

Menu Plan Monday - Week of October 29, 2017

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

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 …

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 daugh…

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

Frugal Friday - This Past Week


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 …

Menu Plan Monday - Week of August 13, 2017

 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 …

Menu Plan Monday


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…

Of summer and other things.....


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 com…

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 la…

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 …

Frugal Saturday - Mid-March

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…

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

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 i…

Menu Plan Monday - Week of February 26, 2017

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 Frid…

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 weat…

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 …

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 lo…

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 …

Menu Plan Monday - Third Week of January

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

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 B1…

Goals Update - Mid-January 2017

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'v…