Monday, January 31, 2011

February Menu

February, really? Wow January flew by!! I am going to continue with my monthly menu plan here goes! (includes Jan 31st). Towards the end of the month you will see "Freezer Meal" on the menu. I am so excited because later this month I am going to attend a Freezer Meal Exchange! I will take 6 of a prepared freezer meal and get to bring home 6 others. LOVE IT!

31 Chicken cacciatori w/ pasta, ceasar salad
1 Tacos/Tamales and Mexican Rice
2 Lasagna, french bread and salad
3 Sour Cream encheladas
4 Hamburgers & french fries
5 Tomato soup & grilled cheese
6 Roast in CP, baked potatoes and veggie
7 White Chili, cornbread
8 Tacos/Tamales and Mexican Rice
9 Beef stew with Beer/Paprika, french bread
10 Spaghetti, salad
11 HM Pizza
12 Chinese food theme-game night
13 Roasted chicken, mashed potatoes and veggies
14 HM chicken soup, biscuits
15 Tacos/Tamales and Mexican Rice
16 Baked Ziti, french bread
17 Breakfast for dinner
18 Grilled ribs, grilled potatoes (hot dogs)
19 Freezer meal
20 Danielles birthday dinner
21 Sage rubbed pork chops, apple sauce, veggies
22 Tacos/Tamales and Mexican Rice
23 Country Cassoulet Recipe
24 Chili lime fajitas
25 Hamburgers & french fries
26 Freezer meal
27 Freezer meal
28 Freezer meal

Monday, January 24, 2011

Menu Changes

For the most part we have stuck to the monthly menu. There have been a few nights we substituted leftovers, soup/sandwiches or have had dinner at a friends house. I am gearing up to write my menu for February and am excited about trying some new recipes.

With my job change, we have decided to scrap the no eating out/no coffee challenge as it is no longer needed. BUT we will be still guarding how often we eat out etc. It can be a money drain! That said, we are eating out tonight. LOL however, it is a fundraiser for the high school band which my son is very active in. One of the local restaraunts is donating 20% of sales to the band and they have great prices to begin with.

I do need just a few groceries for this weeks menu items and am planning a large stock up trip next weekend!

Changes Changes Changes

I have decided the only thing constant in life is change. Change can be good and change can be bad. Change can cause us panic or cause us to take a solid look at our lives and see what needs to be done.

On January 11th, I along with 79 other people were laid off. While this wasn't overly SHOCKING news, I didn't expect it to happen this soon. I thought I would have more time to prepare, pay off debt and well I don't even know what else.

This has been a whirlwind couple of weeks. I have never been laid off or fired from a job before. There is ALOT of paperwork! I took a good look at what I wanted and where I want to be at this point in my life. The job market for what I do is non existent and jobs that would be a fit are so few and far between with a large number of people looking for those same jobs.

I have decided to fulfill one of my life long dreams, going to school to be a nurse! I really didn't think at my age I would be going back to school, not that I am old but I am preparring for my 20 year high school reunion next year and here I am going back to school! I am excited and nervous! My children are extremely supportive and excited. I have told them over the years how important it is that they go to college and how I wished it was something I had done when I had the opportunity. Now I get to set that good example by starting and finishing it!

So, my journey is changing a bit. This change is a good change :)

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Grocery Shopping Week of Jan 9

This weekend all of my grocery shopping was done at one store. This is for the menu I posted here January Menu .

I didn't get a picture of the groceries so you have to use your imagination :). One change in this weeks menu will be Wednesday night. We will be going to a family program at church that has FREE PIZZA! That helps the budget!! :)

Cost Cutter - $70.95 (spent)
Savings with coupons/sales- $30.97

Italian Sausage $4.07
Pepperoni $2.39
Basil $2.99
Canadian Bacon $2.38
Lunch Meat (4pk's) $11.96
4 Rice a roni $3.52
cream $1.99
bananas $2.05
bologna $1.58
2 loaves bread $1.54
10# potatoes $2.99
apple juice $2.79
crushed tomatoes $.69
acedophelus milk $2.39
parsley .99
kale 1.99
1 ltr dr pepper 1.50
6 cans green beans 1.98
2 pizza cheese $5.98
parm cheese 3.99
chicken broth 3.49
milk 1.67
chicken breasts 5.86

Kids will eat lunches at school and I will eat leftovers at home.

Breakfast options:
pumpkin muffins

Snack options:
homemade cookies
homemade soft pretzels
ants on a log

First Week of January Recap

This week was our first week back to the busy routine after vacation. It was nice to be back to the regular routines but I was missing all of the free time we had!

This week included school, work, ballet, youth group, worship practice, basketball for band, drivers ed and church. My oldest daughter took the Red Cross Babysitting course this weekend and my oldest son got to go to the Seahawks game! The younger 2 and I had a "date" afternoon at the movies where we saw Yogi in 3D it was AWESOME! The movie was no cost to us as we used gift cards the kids received last year.

We did really well this week sticking to the menu and the budget. I have balanced the checkbook and updated the budget tracker daily. So far, we are on track with the goals for 2011!

Monday, January 3, 2011

January 3

Today was a rare day in our household. I had the day off of work and the kids were in school. I used the day to get caught up on a very long list of things. Appointments, phone calls, errands and housework. It felt so good to get all of those things done and off my desk or list.

I also took time today to finish a book I was reading from the library. It is called The Quickening by Michelle Hoover. This was a really good book one I had a hard time putting down!

Dinner tonight was chili that had cooked in the crockpot all day and cornbread. A great end to a busy day!

January Grocery Shopping

This month I am attemping to do one major shopping trip and then fill in weekly with fresh produce, milk and stock up on any good bargain sales if there are any and it fits into my budget.

I shopped several stores so far. I did not take pictures and am not going to post the individual items for this big trip but will next month.

Grocery Outlet: $21.64
Costco: $27.86
Food Pavillion: $27.93
Bread Outlet: $7.64
Asian Market: $6.87
Just Deals: $16.20
Haggen: $39.27
Safeway: $38.04
Spice Hut: $5.99
Liquor Store: $1.50
Coupon Clippers: $3.94 (coupon order placed)

Total to date: $196.88
Budget: $400
Remaining: $203.12

January 2

We are at the tail end of Christmas Vacation. The sun is shining and its beautiful outside but oh its cold, about 29 degrees. We HAD to get out of the house. I took the 2 youngest kids to the park to run off some energy. There were a hand full of other families there so we were not alone! What a great fun and frugal way to spend some time on a Sunday afternoon :).

I tried another new to us recipe tonight Filet au Poivre . Fancy but super easy and oh so delicious! We purchased beef from the farmer however, you could find a great cut of steak on sale or in the clearance section at your local market to make this treat! I picked up the peppercorns at my favorite spice shop Spice Hut

The day wound down getting ready for the week. Updating the family calendar, getting papers, backpacks and whatnot together. Back to the insanity of life!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Jan 1, 2011

Friday I attempted to do all of my grocery shopping but there were just way too many people. Finally stopped and will finish on Monday when its a little less crazy in the stores. I did get about 90% of it finished though!

We had an awesome Jan 1st. What a great way to start off the New Year! My mom came up for the weekend and we are having a crafting weekend. I spent all day scrapbooking and mom spent the day working on a quilt. The kids were hanging out enjoying the last bits of their vacation.

We are beginning our 6 month no eating out/no Starbucks (etc) challenge. One of the things I was going to miss during this time is Pho. I did some online research and found recipes which were really time consuming. Then I hit the jackpot when I found a Crockpot Pho recipe! Do not be overwhelmed by the steps in this recipe it was actually VERY easy. I went to our local Asian Market and found the spice packet, fish sauce, hoisen sauce and rice noodles and spent under $7. I used OxTail bones that I got from the farmer and flank steak that I found on sale. It was delicious! The only thing the broth recipe did not call for that it needs is salt. However, each added it to their own bowl at the dinner table and that worked just fine as well.

I have started doing a few new things and re implementing a few things I had done in the past to help save $. Here are a few:

* using Swagbucks and MyPoints. By using these 2 programs I can earn points just for doing my regular online searching or shopping and use those points to earn GiftCards (to places like Amazon, Starbucks etc). If you would like more information on either of these let me know!)

* Ordering coupons. I do not get the local paper because I can see what I need online for free. I also don't buy something just because I have a coupon for it. However, I do like to get coupons for the things I buy regularly. I have used The Coupon Clippers for quite a few years to order coupons and have had great success.

* Shopping around for loss leaders. We have a variety of grocery stores in our area. Each will post Loss Leaders, or those big sale items on the front page of their ads to draw you in. Our stores are close enough I can go from store to store to pick up just those items which can be a huge savings to the grocery budget.

* Just ASK! We receive a weekly section of paper in the mail that holds ads (this is a free service). In that this week we received a coupon from a local place that does oil changes. It was a great deal and I need an oil change. However, I noticed the coupon expired in November. I called and it was a print issue and they couldn't honor it, however, I asked and he said they had coupons on their website. I went to the website and they had a coupon expiring THAT day. I called back, they had decided to close early for New Years. I asked if he would still honor the coupon on Monday and he said sure no problem and scheduled my appointment. The worst he could have said was NO but by asking I am saving $15.00.

A few photos for you. The bowls waiting for the Pho Broth and the final result!