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!