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?