Thursday, December 30, 2010

January Menu

I am going to go back to MONTHLY menu planning and see how that works for me. I have made out my grocery list for non perishable items and the perishables I need for this week. Tomorrow I will do a major shopping trip. I will then go weekly for perishables and any stock up items that fit in the budget!

Here we go. I have included links to the recipes if there is on!

Date Menu Item(s)
1 Beef Pho
2 Filet au Poivre, Salad, Twice Baked Potatoes
3 Chili w/ cornbread
4 Tacos, mexican rice
5 Fried chicken, mashed potatoes and veggies
6 Spaghetti, hm french bread, salad
7 Hamburgers & french fries
8 Tomato soup, grilled cheese sandwiches
9 Chicken & Dumplings
10 Olive garden Zuppa Toscana Soup, garlic bread
11 Tacos, mexican rice
12 Hamburger Helper, peas
13 Three Cheese stuffed shells, hm french bread, salad
14 HM Pizza
15 HM Chicken & rice soup, HM biscuits
16 Roast, mashed potatoes, green beans
17 Stiry fry veggies w/ shanghy stir fry sauce, top ramen noodles
18 Tacos, mexican rice
19 Breakfast for dinner
20 Fancy macaroni, hm french bread, salad
21 Encheladas, rice
22 Top Ramen, Peanut butter crackers
23 Roasted chicken, mashed potatoes, veg
24 HM chicken/veg soup, HM biscuits
25 Tacos
26 Meatballs with peppers/pineapple, rice
27 Spaghetti, HM French bread, salad
28 Hamburgers, french fries
29 Dads Birthday Dinner
30 Fried pork chops, mashed potatoes, veg
31 Bake potato soup, garlic bread

2011 Project Kickoff

I have been working hard the past couple of weeks to gear up for what I am calling "2011 Project". Here is what I have accomplished so far:

* Switched us back to cable from satellite. Saving us $50 a month
* Got rid of my Blackberry (gasp) and went back to an older phone we had laying around. Reduced our cell phone minutes package. Overall, saving us $90 per month.
* Budget- I have written out a budget and entered it all into excel to track every penny I spend.
* balanced checkbook- this is always a struggle for me but I have got it set and ready and am determined to stay ontop of it!

Crazy Schedule:
* Reduced my volunteering at church to 2 weekends per month instead of all 4
* Turned down several requests to watch others children or fill in volunteering already

* I am going to switch back to planning a full months menu at once. I will do one major shopping trip at the beginning of the month and fill in weekly with fresh produce/milk. If the budget allows for it and if there are any great stock up sales, I will stock up on items.

So we are off! I will post my monthly menu along with links to recipes and then my major shopping trip is tomorrow!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Menu Plan Week of Dec. 19th

This week is the first week of Christmas Vacation. This means not only planning dinner, but all 3 meals plus snack. I am also planning a craft a day for the kids.

S: Family Christmas dinner (roasted chicken, mashed potatoes/gravy, green bean casserole, rolls, green salad, brussels sprouts, raw veggies w/dip, deviled eggs, pickle rolls. For dessert: Pumpkin Pie and Chocolate Pie.

B: Eggs/toast (or cereal)
L: Sandwiches & chips
D: My youngest and I will be eating out for her dance performance. The other kids will be fixing something from the pantry-their choice.
Snack: Popcorn
Craft: Snowman Craft

B: Waffle/eggs (or cereal)
L: Top ramen, peanut butter crackers & carrot sticks
D: Tacos, rice
Snack: Make Your Own Pretzels
Craft: the pretzels and we will make cards

B: Pancakes
L: English Muffin Pizzas
D: Spaghetti, meatballs, french bread and salad
Snack: Popcorn
Craft: Reindeer food

B: French Toast
L: Sandwiches & chips
D: Burgers & fries
Snack: Cookies that we will be decorating
Craft: Cookie decorating

Friday is going to be a grab as you go day. Part of our meals we will be eating at church.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Getting Crafty

I love making crafts and am working in more time to do these things that I love. I am not great at coming up with ideas on my own, however, there are some amazing people who do and blog about them!

Here are a couple of crafts I made last night and links to where you can find the instructions to make them too!

These little "snowman soup" templates are so darn cute! I made these for the teachers at our primary and elementary school from the PTA.

Source: Design With Heart


Ribbon angels! I picked up the wireless ribbon and some foam christmas tree ornaments at the Dollar Tree. The glass charms on the front I had on hand in my craft stash.

Source: Happy Birds Crafting Haven

Grocery Shopping Week of Dec 12th

This week my grocery shopping was done at just one store.

See how others Did this week at the Grocery Cart Challenge
Cost Cutter- total $67.42
They were out of the whole chickens that were on sale so I had to improvise. I also found 4 packages of ground turkey marked down to $1.99 that we grabbed for the freezer.

2 cereal $3.98
chicken legs $6.07
4 ground turkey $7.96
4 vitamin water $5.00 (for dd's basketball games)
acedopholus milk $2.39
6 yogurt $2.94
2# block tillamook med cheddar $3.99
roll of sausage $2.50
2 butter $3.54
2 pkg meatball $5.00
granny smith apples $2.46
braeburn apples $2.19
5# satsumas $5.98
bananas $1.88
2 boxes capri sun $2.94
3 corn muffin mix $1.47
dry beans $2.29
gallon milk $1.67
15# potatoes $2.50

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Menu Week of December 12-17

This is a very lean money week so our menu is simple. It is based on what we have on hand and what was on great sale at the store this week.

S- roasted chicken, mashed potatoes, green beans
M- Homemade chicken noodle soup, homemade biscuits
T- Homemade chili in the crock pot, cornbread muffins
W- Spaghetti/meatballs, homemade french bread, raw veggies
Th- Waffles with blueberry sauce and eggs
F- It is my youngest sons birthday so I will let him decide

Breakfast Options:
Hash browns/eggs

Kids eat at school. I will have leftovers or soup.

Gearing Up for the New Year

Every year I set "New Years Resolutions". I do great until about oh, February and then they seem to slowly drop off my radar. I am a list person and I usually have a LONG list of resolutions which is probably the majority of my problem with keeping them.

This year my goals will be simple:
* Live more simply
* Focus more on family
* Reduce debt

I am naming it the "2011 Project"

I have become one of those people who is checking my phone every 10 minutes for email, Facebook, text messages etc. We are always in a rush to get to the next thing. Our lives are hectic and stressful. I find us more often than I should in separate rooms doing our own thing when we could be doing something together as a family. We do alot together as a family, however, its just simply not enough.

We have decided as a family on a 6 month challenge starting January 1st. This will include:
* no eating out
* no Starbucks
* reducing or getting rid of our TV service
* reducing our cell phone service (I will get rid of my Blackberry and go back to a regular cell phone)
* more theme nights such as family game night, family movie night or "cooking/baking" lessons. I would also like to teach at least the girls how to sew.

One other area I will be cutting back, is my volunteering. I love to help others it is always a blessing to me, however, I am going to learn to say NO once in a while. This will help reduce some of the hectic running around.

This will help in two ways. First, help strengthen our family bond and second, help financially.

I hope to blog about my journey, not that really anyone will read it LOL but it will help keep me accountable and maybe, someone will read it and it will help inspire them.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Grocery Shopping Week of December 5th

Once again, was in a hurry and didn't get a picture of the groceries. I shopped at one store, Haggens. I am not counting the items I purchased for the friends lunch in my Shopping Totals as that $ was designated in my "holiday" budget for this year.

2 milk- $4.98
half & half $1.99
3 vitamin waters - $2.64
2# cheese $2.99
3 bags chips $3.87
ground beef $2.93
turkey tenderloin $5.99
steak $7.14
celery $1.29
2 bags carrots $3.00
2 butter $5.98
2 lunch meat $5.98
3 cereal $8.97

Total: $57.75

I will need to pick up acedopholus milk and salad later in the week.

Menu Week of December 5th

This week I menu planned as I shopped. Not the best way to do it but it works in a pinch. Sunday I hosted our 2nd annual "friends" lunch. It was alot of fun! Always nice to get together with friends/co workers outside of work and just laugh, have some good food and wine and relax!

This weeks menu:
S- leftovers from lunch
M- HM chicken noodle soup and hm biscuits
T- Steak, baked potatoes, creamed Brussels sprouts
W- Turkey tenderloin, mashed potatoes, green beans
Th- Tacos, Mexican rice and beans
F- Spaghetti, hm french bread and salad

Monday, November 15, 2010

Grocery Shopping Week of Nov 14th

I was in a hurry to get the groceries put away and my soup started so I didn't get a picture this week. I did all of my shopping at Safeway. They had a special this weekend if you spend $25 you could get a turkey for .29 a pound. I am hosting Thanksgiving dinner this year AND I hope to get a couple of extra turkeys for later in the year.

Total Spent $64.65

cous cous $2.29
Tortilla chip $1.99
4 cans corn $1.96
2 diced tomato $1.98
tomato sauce 1.00
oatmeal 1.88
2 boxes cereal $3.98
Panko $2.69
5 cans chicken broth $3.00
2 cans beans 2.00
2 ltr dr pepper 1.99
shredded cheese $1.99
sour cream $1.50
milk $2.39
pork loin $8.61
bs chicken thighs $5.87
cod fillet $4.79
red onion 1.33
cabbage 2.18
kale 1.99
parsley .99
2 lemons 1.98
grapefruit 1.29
20.82# turkey $6.04

Sunday November 14th

Today was a productive day, love those! We tackled the rest of our fall cleaning. We still have some winter prep to do. They are predicting a long/cold winter with alot of snow so we will be prepared just in case.

I am very excited to be starting a small group thru our church. This small group is for single parents, a way for us to be able to get together, connect, worship, and study Gods word. Our first meeting was tonight, an informal potluck meet and greet. We had a great time. These parents are able to bring their children and they will have an activity of their own during our study time.

I tried a new to us soup tonight Taco Soup. I have linked to the recipe. It was delicious! Definitely something we will be making again! I was short on time so I made it on the stove which worked just as well.

I also found time today to finish up my Christmas shopping list. I have one person I am not sure what to get, that is my dad. He is a hard one to shop for. My goal this year is to have all of my Christmas shopping and wrapping done BEFORE December 1st. I already have my Christmas cards and Christmas photos done and printed to mail the day after Thanksgiving.

This week I need to finalize menus for Thanksgiving, Christmas and a holiday party I am having with friends. I also want to finalize my baking list and make a master grocery list for the items I will need so that I can stock up as they go on sale.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Menu Week of Nov. 14th

Back to menu planning. Well I have been menu planning but not blogging about it.

This weeks dinner menu:

S- Taco Soup
M- Parmesan crusted chicken, rice, veggies
T- Seared cod with grapefruit slaw (grilled cheese/tomoato soup for those that won't eat what I am fixing)
W- Cider braised pork w/ harvest veggies, mashed potatoes and homemade rolls
Th- Creamy chicken and cous cous soup with garlic toast
F- homemade/make your own pizza
S- Subway after church

Blog? Oh yes I do have one of those!

Ok I MUST get back to blogging. I enjoy it and well, while no one really reads it, it does hold me accountable to my menu planning etc.

It has been a busy couple of months for us. School is going very well for all of the kids. Tyler played soccer this fall and really enjoyed his team! Erika is playing basketball and they will have their first game next week. Danielle is taking dance again, Ballet II and is going to dance twice per week as they prep for the Christmas Performance. DJ started drivers ed this week and made Honor Band this year!

Things around home have been busy as well. We hosted a harvest party last month and were able to share the many pumpkins we grew in our garden with family and friends. We have been doing some fall cleaning and decluttering as well as stocking up our pantry in preparation for a long winter.

I have been keeping myself overly busy with work, kids, household stuff, and PTA. My newest venture is becoming an independent consultant for Tastefully Simple! I love their products and was always telling people about them so thought, why not make some extra $ to help replace some things we need replaced in our home. You can check out my webiste at Rachels Tastefully Simple Website

Below are a few pictures from our adventures the past couple of months!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Summer Winds Down

As summer winds down, we quickly find our selves with a busy schedule and fall weather! It doesn't take much for the weather switch here in Western WA. The nights are cooler, the leaves are changing colors and I absolutely LOVE it. Fall is one of my favorite times of year!

We took advantage of the only nice day we were set to have for the long 3 day weekend. We ventured out to a local apple farm and the library. My 2 youngest have been participating in a summer reading challenge thru our local library. Both of them met their reading goals for summer I am so proud of them! They received certificates from the library yesterday and were a part of 25,336 books read by children thru our library branch!! At the apple farm, we sampled apples and picked our favorite. Thankfully we all agreed on the same apple and we picked up a 25# box.

Here are a few pictures enjoy!

Grocery Shopping Week of Sept 5th

This week I did the multi store shopping which I hope to get back to. I had written out what I needed and what were the best deals at each store. It did not take me much time in each store which is great. We also went to the local apple farm and picked up a 25# box of seconds for $20. These will be for lunches, snacks and some yummy pies!

See how others have done this week: Grocery Cart Challenge


Dill spears $2.19
Tomato sauce .69
Angel hair pasta .89
2-re fried beans 2.00
Mayo 1.99
beef broth 1.25
cream of chkn soup 1.49
3 Capri Sun 5.00
3-shredded cheese $5.07
cream cheese 1.49
sour cream 1.50
margarine .99
ham 2.99
2.77# bananas 1.63
MDA donation (roundup) .41

Total Spent $30
Total savings $15.55

2 bread 1.98
22 pk snack bag chips 4.99
3 turkey bologna 2.97
6 french cut green beans 2.00

Total Spent: $11.92
Total saved: $7.96

3 Hamburger Helper $3.00
Romaine hearts 2.50
2 bacon 5.00
2 pkg ground beef 4.40
stir fry meat 4.34
butter 1.88
mexicali dip 4.99
dry onion soup mix 1.79
green pepper .69
zucchini .21
half & half 2.19
5# yellow onion 2.00
2 tortilla 3.98
3.16# cantaloupe 1.17
2 ltr root beer 1.00

Total Spent: $39.44
Total Savings: $17.45

My overall totals for the week
Spent: $81.36
Saved: $40.96

In addition to this was the $20 I spent on the case of apples. Most of these will be canned or frozen for later use.

Menu Week of September 5th

We are back to school this week. I am making the kids all pack lunches this year for the most part.

S- cereal or leftover muffins
M- Cereal and toast
T- Breakfast wraps or cereal
W- Bacon/egg/toast or cereal
Th- Pancakes/eggs or cereal
F- Blueberry and/or banana muffins
S- Biscuits and Gravy

Sandwiches & chips
Cesar salad
Tortilla wraps
(For me it will be leftovers or homemade soup)

S- hamburger helper, green beans
M- Spaghetti casserole, french bread and salad
T- Salmon, rice and veggies
W- Savory chicken dinner, homemade rolls
Th- marinated beef stir fry, rice
F- Tacos
S- Subway after church

homemade cookies
homemade muffins
apples with homemade caramel dip
apples with peanut butter
celery with peanut butter

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

How I Grocery Shop

None of the ways I shop are anything I have created, however, its all information I have learned over the years from various websites and blogs. One of my FAVORITE frugal sources is Frugal Families . There is an annual membership but it is WELL worth it!

I try to menu plan each week and do my shopping on the weekend. Over the summer I was doing my shopping on Sundays but that will move back to Saturdays for the school year.

I start by collecting the grocery ads that come in the mail. I receive grocery ads from 4 different stores. I start with the Loss Leaders which are the big sale items advertised on the front page. These are the deals they use to draw you to their store. You can save alot of money by going store to store for the loss leaders if they are something that your family will use. I do NOT buy something just because its a good deal. I do buy things if its something I know our family will use.

Next I make a list of the best deals at each store. I may end up crossing something off a stores list if I find a better deal in another ad. For example, juice pouches. Store A has them for $1.97 with a limit of 2. However, when I got to the ad for store 3, they have them on sale for 3/$5 ($1.67 each) with no limit. Once I have gone thru and identified what the great deals are, I start planning my weeks menu around those items and fill my grocery list in with other ingredients I need for that week.

Coupons are also a GREAT option. Our grocery stores will list Store Coupons in their ads. Some will let you use both a Store Coupon AND a Manufacturer Coupon on the same item for even greater savings! Ask your store manager what their coupon policy is each is different. Coupons come in the mail but you an also order larger quantities online. There are quite a few coupon sites. The only one I have ever used (and NEVER had a problem with) is The Coupon Clippers . Using coupons can really add up. If you have a Kmart in your area, watch for their Double Coupon Weeks. We do not have double coupons in Washington on a regular basis. However, KMart does offer this occasionally. It can be a great way to stock up on health and beauty aids!

Check for clearance bins or markdowns. Often stores will discount things the week of their expiration date but those items are still perfectly good.

Make sure to check the per unit price. For example cheese. You can buy it in either the block or preshredded. It can vary as to which is the better deal depending on the per unit price not the total price! (NOTE I have taught my children to read the shelf tags and they are quick to find which is the best deal and its a great way for them to practice their math skills!)

Stock Up. I like to stock up for the winter months. I do not like to drive if the weather is bad and having a stocked pantry removes the worry of running out of things we regularly use. I sat down last week and wrote out a list of what we use on a regular basis and what I would LIKE to have in the pantry. For example, we use ALOT of french cut green beans, I would like to have 20 cans in my pantry for the winter. I put this list in excel. Over the next few months I will watch for sales on these items and stock up! Many grocery stores have case lot sales or 10/$10 sales which are a great way to fill up that pantry when things are on sale. Don't have a lot of room? Buy and extra 1 or 2 of those items that you use alot while its on sale at a great price.

Don't forget pets and health and beauty items, TP, cleaning supplies etc. You can stock up on any and all of these items when you find a great deal!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Menu Week of August 29th

Last week of summer vacation!! It was definitely closer to fall this morning, cool, foggy and the sun rise was later. I LOVE IT! Fall is one of my favorite times of year!

This weeks menu has more convenience foods than normally for lunches. I thought I would treat the kids to some of their favorites. I did things backwards this week as well. I shopped without a menu or list. I happened to be going past Super Walmart on Friday and decided to take advantage of the low prices. Here is what I came up with while I shopped (Note, I will NOT do this again it was too hard to shop this way LOL)

Breakfast Options:
cinnamon rolls
french toast

chicken nuggets/fries

S-roasted chicken, baked potatoes, green beans and garlic/sourdough bread
M- enchiladas, Mexican rice
T- Pork tenderloin, cheesy rice and veggies
W- White chicken chili, cornbread muffins
T- Spaghetti, french bread and Cesar salad
F- Leftovers
S- Subway after church ($5 footlongs)

Monday, August 23, 2010

Grocery Cart Challenge Week of August 22nd

No picture again this week. Most meals are from whats on hand or from our garden! :)

Food Pavillion- $33.35
2 loaves wheat bread $1.98
paper towels .85
spaghetti .99
2 pkg bacon $4.00
veg oil $3.49
spaghetti sauce .99
alfredo sauce .99
shredded cheese 2.49
tortilla chips 1.99
10# potatoes 3.79
tea .99
lactose free milk 1.50
2 gallons milk 4.78
3.77# bananas 2.22
garlic .79
2 ltr dr pepper $1.25

To see how others have done check out the Grocery Cart Challenge

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Menu Week of August 22nd

This weeks menu is mostly from whats on hand.

S- roasted chicken with veggies, homemade bread and salad
M- chicken corn chowder and homeade biscuits
T- spaghetti, homemade french bread and salad
W- Hamburgers, roasted potato wedges, broccoli/carrots with ranch
Th- Fried chicken tenders, mashed potatoes and veggies
F- Pizza night

Breakfast options:

Lunch options:
hot dogs/mac & cheese

I am baking this week so there will be lots of options:

Sunday August 22nd

The days seem to be flying by! We had a great and busy week. For the most part stuck to the menu. Our only "fail" was Wednesday night. We ended up at the county fair MUCH longer than I anticipated. I ended up caving and getting pizza on the way home. The kids were thrilled!

Our exciting news of the week is adding chickens to our little "farm". Some friends are moving and we inherited their chicken coop and 13 chickens! We got them all moved last night and they are happily eating cucumbers and bean ends from our garden this morning.

Today we are finishing up a large to do list around home and the afternoon is going to be "each to their own" fun time. I plan on spending that time sewing and stamping. FINALLY!!!

We also did some canning this week and put up:
6 quarts of green beans
8 quarts and 2 pints of dill pickles

Here are a few pictures from the week!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Monday August 16th

As with many other Washington State residents, I am ready for some cooler temperatures! We have had several days of high temperatures. That's a rare occurrence here so not many have A/C in their homes. We finally figured out the system of the windows/blinds/fans to keep the house cool YEAH!

This week is the county fair. My oldest daughter went with friends today and came back tired and sunburned but had a great time. We are heading to the fair on Wednesday as a family and I cannot wait! Growing up my grandparents camped at the Skagit County fairgrounds with the Grange. We spent so much time there and formed great memories. While we have switched "counties" it still brings back some great times!

My oldest son got a 2nd farm job this week (just temporary) working for a farmer up the street. He is doing property clean up (weed eating etc) for them that they just don't have time to do. He loves having the ability to earn his own money and is saving up for when he starts to drive next year EEEK!

I thought I would do a recap of the recipe I tried today the Crock pot Fajitas. The link to the original website/recipe posting is in my MENU post below. It was a HUGE hit! Our grocery store was out of flank steak so I purchased Carne Asada meat. It was melt in your mouth tender by dinner time! I will definitely make this again but only when the meat is on sale. It was a little pricier than I like to pay but well worth it!

I also wanted to share one of my FAVORITE websites!! it has an annual membership but well worth the $$. I have been a member on the site for many years and have learned so much about how to be frugal, save in so many areas of our budget etc. Its a group of amazing women who will love to hear your thrills of garage sale finds or FREE toilet paper :)

Grocery Shopping Week of Aug 15th

No picture this week. I was in a rush to get things put away due to the heat on Sunday and preparing for the girls baptism and BBQ afterwards. I only shopped one store this week Cost Cutter/Food Pavillion and the rest is from whats on hand. My mom was up this weekend and supplied us with Costco muffins the kids are thrilled! Those will be used for breakfast this week.

tomato sauce .99
pork roast 4.86
carne asada meat 8.92
2 shredded cheese 1.98
meatballs 6.48
5 limes 1.00
dry white beans 1.85
lettuce 1.28
2 tortilla chips $3.98
2 wheat bread 1.98
dr pepper 4.50
beef patties 8.68 (for BBQ)
onions 3.84
2 diced green chilis 1.35
2 refried beans 2.38
2 whole peeled tomatoes 1.30
2 ketchup 1.54
rice 1.89
parmesan cheese 3.99 (for BBQ)
gallon milk 2.39
freezer pops 1.50
Frozen OJ 1.49
sour cream 2.49
2 green bell peppers 1.36
tomatoes 1.51

TOTAL: $75.26

To see how others did this week check out the Grocery Cart Challenge

Monday, August 16, 2010

Menu Week of August 15

I am going to use my crockpot every day this week (except Sunday) for dinner. My poor crockpot has been somewhat neglected this summer and I need to fix that!

For other great menu ideas check out: Menu Plan Monday

This weeks dinner menu:
Sunday- BBQ celebrating the girls baptism
Monday- Slow Cooker Fajitas, rice and beans
Tuesday- Cranberry Roast, Mashed potatoes and green beans
Wednesday- White Chicken Chili, Homemade biscuits
Thursday- Spaghetti, homemade french bread and salad
Friday- Orange chicken, rice and stiry fry veggies
Saturday- BBQ at my parents house I am going to take Buffalo Chicken Dip with veggies and tortilla chips

July/August Catch Up

I cannot believe I didn't get on here to post at all in July! It was a crazy busy but oh so fun month for us!

I took a weeks vacation the first part of July. We went camping with my parents in Eastern WA over the 4th of July weekend.

We came home to find our mama kitty had her babies! 4 kittens (1-Gray, 1-white, 1-black and 1 black/white). Sadly, 2 weeks later our mama kitty was hit by a hay truck and killed. We had to take on the role of mama bottle feeding the kittens. A friend adopted 2 of them and the other 2 have become a big part of our family! Their names are Houdini and Blackjack!

We also came back and spent 2 days at home (Just enough time to get caught up on laundry) and packed up to go camping at the beach! The beach is one of our favorite places to be and to be able to camp there for 4 days with amazing friends was just awesome.

That camping trip was full of laughs and great memories! My mom came up and joined us along with Jodi and her family, Lisa and Zack! We spent time in the ocean, on the beach, playing games, working on puzzles and making some memories none of us will ever forget.

We worked on our garden which is doing amazingly well! We spent time at parks, swimming, on the slip & slide. Making the most of the summer!

Towards the end of the month we had some amazing family pictures taken. If you live in the area (Skagit/Whatcom County) check her out! Sweetpea Memories Photography

The first week of August brought Family Camp at Warm Beach Christian Camp. A week of family time, worship and relaxation! I was able to teach the college group again this year which is always a blessing! The kids had a blast with their friends old and new. We made some more great memories with the Davis family :). If you are looking for something to do during the summer with your family, check out Warm Beach Christian Camp !!

This weekend brought back to school shopping (woohoo we are done and got it all done in one trip!).

The best part is that our church Cornwall Church held a lake baptism. 170 dedicated their lives yesterday with hundreds along the shore praying for them and cheering them on. Among those 170 were both of my daughters. When they announced earlier in the summer that this lake baptism was going to take place, they both approached me and said they were ready, they wanted to take this step in their lives. I was so proud and felt so blessed! Not only that they wanted to take this step in their lives but that they wanted to do it TOGETHER!

I am setting a goal for myself to get back to regular postings. School is just around the corner and menu planning and budgeting are going to be key this year with our schedule.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Monday June 28th

Well, today was one of those days that just didn't go as planned. Our fun activity for the day was the Sculpture Exhibit at Peace Arch Park. The information came in a weekly local activity email. The weather was somewhat iffy but we thought we would give it a shot. Looked up the Park website to find the exhibit was in April and they were doing light replacement maintenance starting yesterday for 3 days. So, we scrapped that idea. Then, thought we would go to Fun Zone to allow the kids to burn off some energy (have a gift certificate). They are closed on Mondays. So it ended up being a stay at home and watch cartoons type day.

We did stick with the menu with one exception. The kids were so excited to have cereal in the house they begged to have cereal and bananas and I caved. I stopped buying the sugar cereal so it isn't too bad.

I currently have 3 crafty projects on my plate for the summer. I am helping with wedding invitations and helping put together a bridal shower for a friend. I also need to create invitations for the girls baptism/BBQ. I have been spending alot of time stamping and making cards over the past few weeks and really enjoying it, along with the great company of friends! As crazy as it sounds, I need to start putting thought into Christmas gift crafts and cards when these are completed. If I do not start early I will never finish with our crazy school year schedule.

Another new "idea" in our house is, having the TV shut off for the summer. I have several friends who have this done and I am thinking it to be a wise choice for our family. We would still be able to watch/rent movies, however, we do not watch much TV in the summer and the financial savings would be a great bonus.

That's about it in a nutshell. I am counting down the days until vacation. Hoping for some nice weather and relaxation for our staycation!!!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Grocery Shopping Week of June 28th

With trying to use up items in the freezer, the grocery bill was quite a bit lower this week (no meat). I do hope to go to the Farmers Market on Wednesday and pick up a couple of things (lettuce, arugula and strawberries) but this should be less than $10.00.

To see how others did this week check out the Grocery Cart Challenge

4 Goldfish Crackers $3.52
2 salad dressing $2.98
re fried beans .99
pasta sauce $1.79
Tortilla chips $2.00
3 boxes cereal $5.97
Tortillas $3.79
TP .88
mozzarella cheese $2.49
2 cream cheese $1.98
mex blend cheese $2.49
1 gallon milk $2.99
sour cream $2.59
hamburger buns .99
2.86# bananas $1.69
2.01# green grapes $1.99
1.70# red grapes $1.68
2 lemons $1.58
green pepper .50
.36# carrots $.36
garlic/herb feta $2.50
1 bud light $1.99 (for beer bread)

The 2 kids in the picture, well they are priceless :)

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Menu Week of June 27-July 2nd

I am trying to finish cleaning out our freezer so that we can start fresh. This weeks menu is based mostly on whats on hand making my grocery list for the week very small (which I love).

B: Biscuits/gravy and sausage patties
L: not sure yet we will be on the go so I may treat the kids to a Happy Meal
D: Clean out the refrigerator dinner (CORD) or as some call it, refrigerator buffet

B: French toast and eggs
L: english muffin pizzas
D: Chicken pattie burgers, baked potato wedges and veggies

B: Cereal or eggs in green pepper and toast
L: Hoagies, chips
D: Pasta/sausage bake, veggies, salad and hm french bread

B: Waffles with strawberries and whip cream
L: Tacos
D: Grilled steak/hotdogs, salad and rice roni

B: Bagel bake french toast
L: Sandwiches & chips
D: Marinated chicken kabobs, corn salad

B: Cereal
L: Grabbing lunch on the way out of town for camp
D: camping!

First week of Summer Vacation Recap

This week went really well and we had alot of fun. The new White Board idea worked GREAT. Each day the chores were done by the time my work hours were finished. There was no "I didn't know what needed to be done", or "I didn't hear you say that". They loved having the daily fun activity listed so they knew what we were doing that afternoon.

Our fun activities for the week:
Monday- library where the kids joined the summer reading program. They pledged how many books they would read over the summer. Each week they come in and mark how many books they read and get a drawing entry for some great prizes. They even have a drawing entry for the parents for coffee cards, just for bringing the kids in!

Tuesday- the 2 older kids had youth group activities. While they were doing that the 2 younger kids and I took a picnic dinner to a new to us park. Some great outdoor fun and photo ops!

Wednesday- this was a back yard sprinkler day! It was great weather to enjoy our back yard.

Thursday- dropped the 2 older kids off, my son off to his dads for the weekend and my daughter off to my parents for a week. She is going to do some work for them and earn some spending $$. The 2 younger kids and I headed off to the beach. It is one of our favorite spots.

Friday- BBQ with friends. We headed off to a friends house to BBQ and have some great laughs and conversation.

The best part of this weeks fun activities, they were all FREE!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Monday June 21st-Happy Summer!

Happy first day of summer! We didn't get much "summer" weather but hey we will take what we get and be happy with it!

Today was the start of the first full week of summer vacation for the kids as well. I am trying to have a somewhat structured but free schedule for them, if that makes sense. We have a white board on our kitchen wall and that contains all of their information for the day. It lists chores, our fun activity for the day and the menu. This way they know what needs to be done, what they have to look forward to and whats to eat without having to ask me 50 times in a day. Yesterday was the test and it worked wonderfully! Chores were done without me having to make a peep. They were ready to go for our fun activity when my work hours were finished and no one asked me what was for dinner :).

One of my goals for this summer is to have a fun activity each day. My goal is to have this activity be FREE or very close to it. Today was the library. We love the library and this summer they are offering a great kids reading program. If the children sign up, they get entered to win prizes for every book they read. As an incentive to parents to BRING them to the library, parents get to enter a drawing ticket for a free Woods coffee card. Whats better than FREE coffee!! Danielle and Tyler filled out their forms and pledged the number of books they would read over the summer and got started. We came home with a nice pile of books and the cost = $0!

We are also trying new recipes this summer. We have slowly switched our eating over to healthier and things are going very well. Lunch today was a new to us recipe and was a hit.

Chicken Apple Burgers
1# ground chicken
1 granny smith apple, 1/2 small dice and 1/2 slices
season salt
olive oil
1-2 slices bacon for each
2 T. mayo
1 T. Dijon mustard

Mix the ground chicken, diced apple and season salt and form into burgers. Cook in a little olive oil until done. Mix 2T. mayo, 1T. Dijon mustard and a little honey. Toast the buns and add a little of the mayo mixture, a patty, 2 slices of bacon and apple slices and enjoy! We ate these on Whole Wheat Thinwitches.

And finally a little garden update. We were able to get our garden in the ground last weekend. It was a long wait for the ground to get dry enough and I was worried we were getting it in too late. We were very excited when we went out to water last night and found plants starting to poke up out of the ground! I will get pictures and post this week of the progress so far. We are hoping for a good amount of produce to be able to can/freeze for winter.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Menu Week of June 20th

Now that summer vacation is here, I will be planning 3 meals per day plus snacks. This way I can be prepared.

B: Pancakes with fresh strawberries and scrambled eggs
L: sandwiches
D: Hamburger helper for 3 of the kids, YDD and I went out for her dance celebration

B: Cereal for dk's, egg/toast for me
L: Chicken/apple burgers on thinwiches, chips
D: Encheladas

B: Belgian waffles
L: Buffalo chicken and cucumber salad for the 2 ODK's and I, chicken nuggests and fries for the 2 YDK's
D: Tilapia, rice and veggies

B: Berry blast smoothies
L: Spaghetti
D: sausage & chicken kabobs, salad

B: French toast
L: Turkey loaf, mashed potatoes and green beans
D: Homemade pizza

(This will just be the 2 YDK's and I)
B: cereal for dk's, egg/toast for me
L: sandwiches & chips or CORD
D: Hot dogs/mac & cheese for kids, steak and baked potato for me

Snack options:
fresh fruit
hm soft pretzels
hm cookies

June Catchup

Whew the month is going by way to fast! We have been busy busy busy. With finishing up all activities, school etc and now finally we are on summer vacation! Well, the kids are, I still get to work :) Here are a few pictures of our activities from the past couple of weeks. As we head into summer, we will be looking for fun FRUGAL activities.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


So today was our first day of our new eating style. It went really well. There were no complaints and we even tried a few new to us recipes.

For breakfast during the week/school year, everyone usually does their own thing. Today my oldest had a piece of his quiche he had made the day before. The girls had smoothies made from OJ, vanilla yogurt and mixed frozen fruit. For my youngest and I it was cheerios and banana. The kids all ate lunch at school. I had chicken and broccoli sauteed in a little olive oil. After school snacks consisted of raisins, apples and smoothies each with their own choice.

Dinner was spaghetti with whole grain pasta. This was our first meal with the whole grain pasta so I was a bit nervous. However, it was a hit. The kids didn't notice a difference and I liked it much better than regular pasta. I also made Ceasar salad with homemade dressing. Here is a link Ceasar Vinaigrette it was a huge hit with the kids and a definite keeper.

I did end up going to the grocery store for a few items I had forgotten, mostly the dressing ingredients. I spent $12.43 bringing my monthly total so far to $104.99. My goal is to stay at or under $400 for the month. Today I picked up:
raisins $2
olive oil $4.99
anchovy paste $1.79
french bread $1.69
straws .99
lemon .89

As for the rest of the day it FLEW by. Not much on my chore to do list was completed. My youngest daughter had her last Fastpitch game of the season. We have one more activity to finish, ballet, and then we are done for a couple of months over summer vacation. My oldest daughter finished up her small group for church last night with a little celebration. That will also resume once school starts again.

I am looking forward to the calm weeks of summer. I love our crazy life but I am looking forward to spending our evenings doing fun family activities! I am also looking forward to the sun making its return! We need to get our garden planted and I would love to be able to hang my clothes to dry on the outside clothesline again soon.

But, all in all, a good day!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Grocery Shopping and Menu Week of June 1st

I am starting the week at June 1st because we were camping the first 2 days of the week. Starting fresh with a new month and a new way of eating. We are moving away from processed foods to more fresh fruits/veggies, leaner meats, whole grain pastas etc. This is starting June 1st and this weeks shopping trip reflects that change.

I shopped 2 places this week:
Youngstocks (Produce stand)
Total for the week: $92.56

I did something I normally do not do and that is buy cat litter and dishwasher soap at the grocery store. I was too tired to make another stop and was happy to find they had both things ON SALE!! I added them in the picture but do not count them in my grocery totals so I have removed them from the $ spent.

To see how others did this week check out the Grocery Cart Challenge

Youngstocks : $25.09
The receipt doesn't tell me which amount is for what so here is what I purchased there:

Brussels sprouts
walla walla sweet onion
head of lettuce
romaine lettuce
2 mini avocados
1 lemon
granny smith apples
red delicious apples
honeydew melon
baby carrots
small white potatoes
1 gallon 1% milk

Safeway: $67.47

Peanut butter $1.49
2 whole grain spaghetti $2.78
1 2% milk $2.99
cottage cheese $2.19
2 large plain yogurt $3.98
frozen peaches $2.99
frozen mixed fruit $4.99
2 OJ $6.00
2 Welches mixed juice $5.00
1 sunny delight $2.99 (for youngest daughter who has a nasty cold)
2 frozen pie shells $2.99
turkey burgers $5.99
lunchable $2.79 (for youngest daughters lunch today-can you tell who went shopping with me this week hehe)
boneless skinless chicken breast $5.27
salmon fillet $6.15
green pepper 1.99
garlic 1.99
strawberries $3.99


Breakfast choices:
Non sugar cereal (Cheerios, rice crispies, special K)
Fruit smoothie
Cottage cheese/fruit
HM pancakes/fruit

At school-hot lunch
At home- chicken/Brussels sprouts, salad, leftovers

T- Spaghetti with whole grain pasta, Cesar salad, french bread
W- Grilled salmon, rice, salad
Th-Turkey burgers, baked potato wedges, salad
F- Funky chicken with sesame noodles, stir fry veggies
S- Subway after church

Snack choices:
celery with peanut butter

June 1, 2010

June is upon us. The kids are excitedly announcing there are only 13 school days left. Our first full weekend of camping is under our belt with only one mishap, the car breaking down. But all is good, it was fixed quickly and we are very thankful to have such a helpful and loving family!!

We have decided as a family to make some major changes in our household effective today where it comes to meals/groceries etc. We are going to focus on a much healthier eating lifestyle and for once EVERYONE is on board. We live in the perfect area for such a change this time of year. With our own garden, local farmers markets, blueberry/raspberry and strawberry fields around every corner and local grain fed beef and free range chickens and eggs in great supply. We also have a fresh fish market just around the corner!

We have worked the past few weeks on using up the items in our pantry. While there is still quite a bit of "processed" foods left, we will still incorporate those into our diet but in smaller quantities until they are gone. After yesterdays shopping trip, our refrigerator is filled with fresh fruits/veggies, juices/yogurt for smoothies and fish/chicken for the week.

Our garden still isn't ready to plant but our plants are doing well! It needs to be tilled one more time, however, it has not been dry enough for the farmer to get that done. Hopefully over the next 2 days we will have some dry weather so that we can get these plants in the ground! Our lettuce, herbs and flowers we planted from seed in the front flowerbed are coming up though and starting to look great!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Menu and Grocery Shopping week of 5/16

This is another one of those "lean" weeks money wise. No worries! Shopping the bargains of the week and using whats on hand we have a good menu planned.

I don't have a picture of this weeks groceries so I thought I would share a picture of a foggy morning on the farm from last week!

Sunday- grilled steak, french fries and corn
Monday- tuna casserole, garlic cheese bread and peas
Tuesday- tilapia, rice and salad
Wednesday- tacos
Thursday- Pineapple pork stir fry, rice
Friday- grilled burgers, baked potato wedges

This weeks shopping:
Total spent $27.16
To see how others did this week check out the Grocery Cart Challenge

french bread $1.69
hot dog buns .49
hamburger buns .49
marinade mix $1.24
salad $1.79
2 bags potato chips $2.00
2 gallons milk $4.78
3 tuna helper $2.97
cream cheese $1.49
5# baking potatoes $1.39
tortilla chips $1.50
green onions .99
fish food $1.34 (we ended up with 3 free gold fish as prizes at the soccer BBQ)
lemon .89
4 boxes of cereal $4 (this was a GREAT deal this week)

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Recipe Recap

So a quick recap of last weeks recipes. The potato salad and penne recipes were a HIT! The potato salad is served at room temperature and is not very good the next day so definitely make it if you are going to use it up that day. The penne recipe makes ALOT and is great reheated for lunches! I didn't get a chance to make the Pork Stir fry so we will try that this week!

The chicken sandwiches I ended up modifying but they were delicious and the slaw is definitely a keeper!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Recipes Week of 5/9

As I mentioned earlier, I am trying several new recipes this week. Time to change up our same old menu ideas. Here are the recipes I am going to try. I will post a review of each after we have tried them!

Shrimp Penne with Garlic Sauce
from: Taste of Home Simple and Delicious Magazine May 2010

2 c uncooked pasta
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 c butter cubed
1/4 c all purpose flour
1 can (14.5oz) chicken broth
1 can (5oz) evaporated milk
1 # cooked medium shrimp peeled/deveined
2/3 c shredded Parmesan cheese
2 T. minced fresh parsley
1-1/2tsp. seafood seasoning

Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, saute garlic in butter. Stir in flour until blended; gradually add broth and milk. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Stir in shrimp, cheese, parsley, and seafood seasoning. Heat through. Drain pasta; place in a large bowl. Add shrimp mixture and toss to coat. Serve immediately.

Pineapple Pork Stir Fry
from: Taste of Home Simple and Delicious Magazine May 2010

1 can (8oz) unsweetened pineapple chunks, undrained
3 T. cornstarch
1 T. plus 1/2 cup cold water divided
3/4 tsp garlic powder
1 pork tenderloin cut into thin strips 1# (I bought pork stir fry meat to save time and $$)
1/2 c soy sauce
3 T. brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
2 T. canola oil divided
4 c fresh broccoli florets
1 c fresh baby carrots cut in half lengthwise
1 small onion cut in wedges
Hot cooked rice

Drain pineapple, reserving 1/4 c juice; set aside. In a small bowl, combine 2 T. cornstarch, 1T. water, garlic powder and 1 T. reserved pineapple juice. Pour into a large resealable bag; add pork, seal bag and turn to coat.

In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce, brown sugar, ginger, cayenne and remaining water, cornstarch and reserved pineapple juice until smooth. Set aside.

In a large skillet, stir fry pork in 1 T. oil until no longer pink, remove and keep warm.

Stir fry broccoli, carrots and onion in remaining oil until tender. Stir cornstarch mix and add to the pan. Bring to a boil and cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thick. Add the pork and pineapple, heat thru. Serve with rice.

Bacon-Chicken Sandwiches
from: Taste of Home Simple and Delicious Magazine May 2010

4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 tsp canola oil
4 tomato slices
4 slices Swiss cheese
1/4 c mango chutney
3 T. mayo
4 kaiser rolls split and toasted
1 c fresh baby spinach
8 slices bacon

Flatten chicken to 1/2" thick and sprinkle with salt and pepper. In a large skillet over medium heat, cook chicken in oil for 4-5 minutes on each side or until juices run clear. Top each chicken breast half with a tomato and cheese slice. Cover and cook 2-3 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Combine chutney and mayo; spread over roll bottoms. Layer with spinach, chicken and bacon, add tops.

Easy Sweet Slaw
from: Taste of Home Simple and Delicious Magazine May 2010

4 c coleslaw mix
1/2 c finely chopped onion
1/4 c finely chopped celery
1/4 c finely chopped green pepper

1/2 c mayo
1/4 c canned unsweetened crushed pineapple, drained
2 T. pineapple juice
2 T. cider vinegar
2-4 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

In a serving bowl combine the veggies. Combine the dressing ingredients pour over cabbage mix and toss to coat. Chill until serving.

Primavera Potato Salad
From: Cooking Club April/May 2010

1 1/2 lb. small new potatoes unpeeled
5 oz green beans cut into 1" slices (about 1 c)
1/2 c diagonally thin sliced carrots
2 c baby spinach
1/2 c thin sliced radishes
1/2 c thin sliced green onions

1/3 c olive oil
3 T. red wine vinegar
1 garlic clove minced
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
1 tsp coarse salt
1/8 tsp pepper

Cook potatoes in a large pot of boiling/salted water for 10 minutes. Add green beans and carrots and cook 5 min or until potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork. Drain, cool under running water.

Whisk all vinaigrette ingredients in a small bowl until blended.

When potatoes are cool enough to handle, quarter larger ones and halve small ones. Place in a large bowl along with beans, carrots, spinach, radishes and green onions. Toss with vinaigrette to coat. Serve at room temperature.

Grocery Shopping Week of 5/9

I didn't get a picture of the "goods" before I put them away this week. I have been wanting to try some new recipes so I have several thrown into this weeks menu.

I shopped one store this week, Cost Cutter and my total was $85.74
To see how others did this week check out the Grocery Cart Challenge

Flour tortillas $1.78
Mango Chutney $3.04
Shredded cheese $1.99
split bone in chicken breasts $5.91
prawns $3.64
stiry fry pork $4.13
bacon $3.00
cube steak $11.10
half & half $4.99
baby spinach $1.79
sliced swiss cheese $1.26
shredded cheese $2.99
cabbage $1.79
green onion $.99
Salad $2.50
green beans $1.10
baby carrots $1.99
2 cans pineapple $2.58
bottle of wine for mothers day $8.99
apple cider vinegar $2.39
broccoli $3.00
chicken broth $1.25
pasta .99
bananas 1.38
evaporated milk $1.39
apples $2.87
red potatoes $1.18
yukon gold potatoes $1.92
butter $2.50
string cheese .55

I cannot wait for our garden to get going so that we can save some $$ on veggies!

Monday, May 10, 2010

May 9-15th

Wow time flies. Hard to believe its already the 2nd week of May! Yesterday was Mothers Day, Happy Mothers day to all of you moms and single dads filling both rolls!
My mothers day was spent at the beach, one of our favorite places. The day was perfect. I honestly couldn't have asked for anything better. Great friends, great weather, my amazing children and some of Gods most breathtaking scenery!

This week like all others is going to be a busy one. Thankfully the weather is supposed to be very nice! I am excited that we are going to get to plant our garden this week! I am also able to start using the clothesline again. This makes a HUGE difference in the electric bill, especially when you have 4 kids!

I did menu plan last week and grocery shop, however, I didn't have time to blog. This week I did menu plan and grocery shop as well, however, didn't get a picture of the groceries before we put them away. I waited until the end of the day to shop, and was surprised when I found the meat department almost bare! I had to do a couple of last minute changes to the menu based on what they had left but that is ok!

The Menu for the week of May 9-15th

Sunday- we roasted hodogs/marshmallows at the beach with friends
Monday- chicken fried steak, mashed potatoes, green beans
Tuesday- Shrimp Penne with Garlic sauce, salad and homemade french rolls
Wednesday- Roasted chicken, Primavera potato salad, mac & cheese (for the kids), carrots with ranch
Thursday- Pork/Pineapple stir fry, rice
Friday- Bacon/chicken sandwiches, easy sweet slaw, baked fries
Saturday- at an end of season Soccer BBQ

Monday, April 19, 2010

Menu week of April 18th

This week is a challenge week. We all run into the more "month than money" scenerio, that is us this week. This is when I rely on my stocked pantry and freezer!

Breakfast Options
french toast and scrambled eggs

kids eat at school
I will eat leftovers or soup at home

Sunday- BBQ ribs and potatoes, green salad
Monday- spaghetti, homemade french bread and salad
Tuesday- Tacos
Wednesday- Roasted chicken, mashed potatoes and green beans
Thursday- Tilapia, rice veggies

All meals are from whats currently on hand in the fridge, freezer and pantry no shopping list this week. I did pick up 2 gallons of milk over the weekend for $4.38.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Constant Changes

Ok so sometimes the best of plans do not work. Last night I had roasted chicken with wilted greens and croutons on the menu. My daughter had baseball practice right at dinner time. I put the chicken in the oven at a low temperature mid afternoon to cook and it should have been perfectly cooked by the time we got home from baseball. I have done this a dozen times. This time, it didn't work. The chicken was not done nad needed a good 35-40 minutes more. So we improvise. This is where having a stocked pantry comes in handy. Last nights dinner became Chili and tortilla chips. I now have a perfectly cooked chicken that will be come chicken salad for sandwiches!

Today we head to Childrens Hospital in Seattle. My youngest daughter (9) has been having migraines for several years. They are hereditary and she has unfortunately been the one out of 4 who seems to have inherited them. We saw the pediatrician last year who told us that if they increased they would do more testing. They have sadly, been increasing. So off we go to the neurologist. We are praying they can find something to help her and help her have a normal childhood without this constant interruption. As a mom I can't help but worry that something else is going on. The pediatrician assures me that she shows no symptoms of anything other that textbook migraines but that hey have to rule out anything else before they can treat her with any medication. UGH. I will be glad when this is done. The hardest part for me as a parent is not being able to help one of my kids when they need it.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Grocery Shopping Week of 4/11

My goal this month is to stay under $400. Not an easy task with 4 kids trying to eat us out of house and home! I did stop at Winco for an unplanned stock up trip over the weekend. No picture of those items but I did spend $73. That added to the $100 I spent for last week put me at $173. This week I spent (between 2 stores) $69.49. My total spent so far this month $242.49.

I did not take a picture of my Winco purchases but below are the purchases for this weeks menu.

baby carrots .99
beef & broccoli 1.99
sesame chicken 1.99
hashbrowns 2.99
local crusty bread 1.50
marinated chicken 5.32
red pepper 1.50
lemon .50
honey 1.29
half & half 1.89
It also came with a $3 off coupon for my next trip!

sour cream 1.69
2 yogurt $4.58
baby spinach 2.00
2 small white beans 1.98
2 corn muffin mix .98
hotdog buns 1.29
4.60# bananas 2.71
.92# yellow onions .91
romaine hearts 1.79
2 Life cereal $3.98
Thyme 2.99
ginger root .19
2 BC potatoes 1.98
blue cheese 3.89
turkey dogs .98
rib eye steak 12.81 (we ate 1/2 the pkg and froze the other 1/2 for another week)
2 gallons milk $4.78

To see how others did this week check out the GROCERY CART CHALLENGE

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Week of 4/11

We are off with sports in full swing. Currently on our calendar is fastpitch, soccer x 3, jazz band and marching band, dance and church activities. That ontop of work, school and regular household things. This makes menu planning VERY important to staying ontop of things.

This weeks menu:
Sunday- grilled steak, baked potatoes and salad
Monday- Roasted chicken w/croutons & wilted greens, buttered noodles
Tuesday- Hamburger Helper (I will be gone ODS will be cooking), carrots w/ranch
Wednesday- Lettuce Wraps and rice
Thursday- White bean/chicken chili, cornbread
Friday- fish w/mango salsa, rice and green beans
Saturday- cobb salad w/poached eggs, mac & cheese

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Monday 3/22

Today was my oldest sons 15th birthday. Hard to believe he is 15, where did the time go? He was very excited to be able to mow lawn today, something he loves to do. His hard work this past week also paid off. We live on a farm run by an older man who has had a stroke and has limited use of his left side but boy it sure doesn't slow him down. Over the past week my son has gone out to help him several times when he would see him struggling to try to do something on his own. Today he offered him a job on the farm! Just helping here and there but the opportunity for him to work and earn some of his own spending money.

I also talked to the farmer about our garden. We are going to be able to have a large garden here. In exchange for him tilling up the spot and fertilizing it, I will share the produce with him. He was very excited about that! Its a win win for all.

On a funny note, had to chase a cow again today. This time a calf. I was out hanging the sheets on the clothes line and saw something move out of the corner of my eye. She was peeking at me around the corner of the building so cute. Got her back inside the fence and the gate closed without any problems, much easier than the very large cow that got out a few weeks ago and I had to chase all over the yard!

My youngest daughter started fast pitch today as well. I wasn't sure how this was going to go, she is new to sports. She is the ballet dancer. I was quite surprised at how well she can throw! She needs to work on her catching a bit, but managed to get thru a 1 1/2 hour practice and only get bonked in the head once. She had a few tears but NO DRAMA which is huge for her! We will be spending quite a bit of time in the back yard working on grounders and catching the ball.

Dinner tonight was to be BBQ ribs. I didn't have enough time to put them on the grill so I popped them in a low temperature oven (225) and let them slow cook for a couple of hours. Then upped the temp to 400 and smothered in BBQ sauce for the last 30 minutes. They turned out perfect! Definitely going to try that again.

All in all, a great day here on the farm!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Grocery shopping week of 3/21

This weeks shopping trip was a little more fun. My oldest daughters math homework was to go to the store and find 20 items, get the item price and individul unit/oz price etc. It was fun teaching her how to read the tags in the store! (Yes I am strange)

To see how others did this week go to GROCERY CART CHALLENGE
This weeks groceries came from Safeway.
Total spent $56.98
2 cheerios $2.98
BBQ sauce $1.25
refried beans .99
veg oil $3.00
2 brown gravy mix $1.98
24 pk dr pepper $6.99
shredded cheese $1.49
half & half $1.99
milk $2.99
2 butter $3.98
bacon $2.50
whole chicken $3.58
pork shoulder roast $6.98
porkback ribs $10.41 (didn't want to pay this much but it was a birthday dinner request)
4 heads garlic $2.00
coleslaw mix $1.79

Menu 3/21 - 3/27

Sunday- Part leftovers (sandwiches/chips)
Monday- BBQ ribs, baked potatoes and veggies (Bday boys request)
Tuesday- Garlic chicken, mashed potatoes, veggies
Wednesday- pulled pork sandwiches with coleslaw, mac & cheese
Thursday- Tacos
Friday- Meatloaf, buttered noodles, veggies
Saturday- Spaghetti, garlic bread & salad


Oh what a Month. March is so full of activities, birthdays and the like. I don't think we have had a day where we haven't been on the go in almost a month.

This weekend found us split in different directions. Saturday my nephew had a birthday party which my oldest 2 attended. My youngest daughter participated in an elementary school choir festival which was amazing. It was the first day of spring so I took the youngest two to the beach to find some seashells for our collections.

Today (Sunday) we had a party for my oldest sons 15th birthday. Great time with family and friends.

This next week we add in fast pitch and soccer practices to our already crazy schedules. Menu planning and careful calendar planning are going to be a MUST. So with that I hope to be back to regular blogging as it helps me stay on track.

Here are a few fun pictures from the past couple of weeks for you.
My 80's Birthday Party

Awesome 80's Cake my friend Jodi made me THANK YOU!

Erika @ Tallent Show

Tyler & Danielle @ The Beach

DJ the Birthday Boy

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Menu 3/14 - 3/20

Ok back to the world of blogging. Yes I add it to the daily to do list but it never seems to happen!

Here is this weeks menu.

Sunday 3/14- dinner @ my parents house
Monday 3/15- Linguine Carbonara, Parmesan fococia and salad
Tuesday 3/16- Tacos, Spanish rice
Wednesday 3/17- Corned Beef, Colcannon, fried cabbage and cake (its my birthday!!)
Thursday 3/18- Chicken & rice, veggies w/ranch
Friday 3/19- Tilapia, buttered noodles and veggies
Saturday 3/20- we will be on the go not sure who will be here and who won't so menu is up the the air

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Wednesday 2/24

Ahh halfway thru the work week. Always a good thing! Not much excitement mid week around here though.

A recipe to share:

This came from Taste of Home Simple & Delicious March/April 2010 . If you have not seen this magazine I highly recomend it some awesome recipes. My mom got me a subscription for Christmas THANKS MOM!

1 can cunky New England Clam Chowder
1 can cream style corn
2/3 c milk
2 T. shredded cheddar
2 T. bacon bits
2 T. minced chives

Mix the soup, corn and milk and heat either on stovetop or microwave. Sprinkle with cheese, bacon and chives.

I doubled the soup/milk and used 1 can of regular corn drained (all I had on hand. This made more than enough for several of us to eat.

I have also started working on some crafts again YEAH! Here is a thank you card I made this week:

I am also on the search for some GREAT craft blogs! If you have a craft blog you love to follow please share!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Tuesday 2/23

Happy Tuesday! Well the rain has returned to Western Washington. **sigh** the sun was nice while it lasted so I will not complain!

I thought I would share a cute pictures with you. Our kitten Fluffy discovered balloons last night for the first time.

I tried a new to us recipe last night that I also wanted to share.

1 c uncooked elbow macaroni
1 lb ground beef
1 small green pepper chopped
1 small onion chopped
2 cans chili with beans
1 can whole kernel corn drained
1 c shredded cheddar cheese

Cook macaroni according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook the beef, green pepper and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Stir in chili and corn. Drain macaroni, add to skillet and heat thru. Sprinkle with cheese.

I have people ask me all of the time how I remember everything with 4 kids. I struggled for a long time with keep up with all of the appointments, games, practices, forms etc. I have a good system down that works very well for our family.

Each day when the kids get home from school they give me any forms, permission slips, activity calendars etc. I sit down later that evening when they are in bed and add those events to my Google calendar online. My Google calendar is Synched with my Blackberry so I have access to my calendar wherever I am. I also have a large calendar on the kitchen wall that I hand write activities so that they are always visual for the kids and myself.

I know not everyone has a Blackberry but most phones have a calendar feature. This is so helpful for me when at a medical appointment and they need to schedule another in the future, I can look to see when we are available. Also, I often find myself out and about when the kids say can I go do "insert whatever activity here" next Saturday? I am able to look at the calendar and fit that in without having to be physically at home. Saves alot of time, headache, double booking and forgotten appointments!