Sunday, January 31, 2010

Freezer Cooking

Well, I was all prepared for a good Freezer Cooking this weekend then....I had the daycare kiddies late on Friday... The Hubbeast had to make an emergency stop at the grocery store due to an upcoming storm....and we got 5 inches of snow!

I forgot to tell the Hubbeast to pic up freezer bags and/ or vacuum sealer bags. So, the cooking for my Freezer will not be as hoped. But I will still do what I can.

Here is what I have planned to make:
*baking mixes: pancake, cornbread and possibly cake mixes and brownie mixes.
* ground beef  for chili, tacos
* meatballs

*possibly some bread

I will continue to look for other ideas. I only have a very small amount of freezer space (just the one above my fridge)so I have to be careful.

What are YOU adding to the Freezer this month? For ideas, run over to Money Saving Mom and Life As Mom & check out what others are coming up with!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Dreaming of Spring

Yesterday was so much fun! I had the girls home (which is a rare occurrence these days when school is out). Kirstey did slip out for a while to hang out with some friends. I have a very productive day cleaning. Summer bleached the kitchen counters and mopped the floors for me while I got outside and pruned the hedges. It was SO nice to be outside actually doing something.

It actually got me dreamiong of Spring. Of what I am going to plant in the flower beds. I'm trying to decide on which bed will become my annual bed and which ones will be planted with perennials and which will be veggies and herbs. I am thinking of the front bed for the annuals. I am also thinking of planting some hostas or ferns underneath the Birch trees in front. Some hanging baskets for the porch and maybe some window planters this year.

I know that I am planting some new rose bushes in the back bed but I am not sure of which variety. I have to have at least one yellow rose bush. Just have to! Some white also. They would go so well with my blue hydrangeas! I have also had my eyes on some canna lilies, some lavender and some giant black elephant ears this year. Summer wants to do a purple and yellow bed. She had never planted anything but I may give her the small bed this year. And, of course, Kirstey HAS to have a bed in burgundy and black! We will make her a new bed this year. It is going to be hard finding anything that blooms black!

We are also putting in an arbor in place of two cedar trees that lost the battle with bag worms. I think that the Hubbeast has decided to try to build one himself. I told him that it HAS to have a bench built in along with some planters. I am thinking of either climbing roses, ivy, morning glories or honeysuckle to cover the arbor. I am leaning towards the honeysuckle for the fragrance (but, also thinking of the bees that it will attract).

I'm usually not very good at growing veggies. So, I am starting small. Just some tomatoes & peppers I think. And if they don't do well, I will be heading to the farmer's market anyhoo. For the herbs I am planting basil, parsley, sage & oregano. I already have a gorgeous rosemary bush that needs pruning when it warms enough.

Is it just me or is anyone else dreaming of Spring?

Monday, January 25, 2010

Eat From The Pantry Challenge

This is my last week for the Eating From The Pantry Challenge. I must say I haven't bee perfect but, I DID cut our spending quite a bit! Yesterday we made our last shopping trip for the month and here is what I purchased:

*3 lbs ground beef
* container of kitty littler
* Kitty Food
* milk
* eggs
* sugar
* lettuce
* 1 cucumber
* bananas

I spent a total; of $48 (our kitties are spoiled and will only use 1 type of litter and only eat 1 type of food).
The girls are starting to fuss about the lack of snack choices LOL.

What I have learned this past month is that we actually do not NEED as much as I was buying! I have cut our spending WAY down and I think we have been eating a LOT better. I will definitely be looking at my shopping & spending a lot differently from now on. Thanks to MoneySavingMom & LifeAsMom for hosting this!

Menu Planning Monday

Last week's menu plan went a little awry. I tried a new recipe that wasn't on the menu and no one would eat it.
It was called "Sticken Chicken" and to was WAY too salty! So, I salvaged what chicken I could and made chicken tacos out of it.

This week's Menu is a little more normal for us. No surprise recipes!

   Mashed Potatoes

   Herb Roasted Chicken
   Green Beans

   Pork Chops

   Left-Over Buffet

   Fried Chicken
   Macaroni Salad


  Rotisserie Chicken
  Baked Potatoes
  Green Beans

That is a typical week for us. The days may be switched around (except for Sunday's Dinner) but we will have all of the meals. I am trying to add more raw veggies to our meals (I feel they are healthier than cooked).
What are you having this week? More more ideas, run over to The Organizing Junkie  and to Chive Talkin for more ideas!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Thrifty Thursday

Last Thursday I talked about knitting/crocheting some cloths & scrubbies to replace paper towels in my home. I wanted to share some pics of some that I have already completed this week. These are so useful, easy to make and to clean. Just throw them in the washer & dryer! They also make terrific gifts along with handmade soaps, lotions, etc....

The above includes 3 cloths, 3 flower face scrubbies, 1 sponge and 1 bath pouf.

The above is for the kitchen. It includes 1 hanging towel, 2 sponges, 1 flower scrubbie and 1 pouf.

For more thrifty ideas, run over to The Coupon Teacher & check out Thrifty Thursday's

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

He's Home!

Yesterday my friend Jen's (Landon's Mom)  Hubbeast arrived home from Iraq! He has been gone for 6 months and as arrived safe and sound just in time for their daughter Isabella's upcoming arrival in March! Welcome Home Charles & Thank You for your sacrifice & service! I can't wait to give you a BIG hug!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Menu Plan Monday, Eat From The Pantry Challenge

Last week's Menu plan went really well. NO eating-out at all! I am finding that planning my menu helps my day go so much better. No wondering "what am I going to make tonight?" and everyone knows what to expect!

Last week's big hit meal was the Lasagna! We usually don't care for lasagna much but, the Hubbeast suggested using sweet Italian sausage instead of the usual ground beef (he had it made like this at a local Italian restaurant last year). He ate 3 servings, and Kirstey ate two! There were no left overs to put in the freezer and that is saying something about lasagna in our house! We will see if one of this coming week's meals has the same success!

Speaking of this week's menu, here it is:

   BBQ Chicken
  Twice baked potatoes (from freezer)

   Hawaiian Pork Loin

   Grilled Cheese

   Rotisserie Chicken
   Pasta Salad

   Sausage & Peppers Subs

   Left-Over Buffet

   Sweet & Sour Chicken

Don't forget to check out the Organizing Junkie for tons more Menu ideas!

I did really well on the Eat From The Pantry Challenge, but my pantry still looks full! I did buy some meats, milk & bread this week . Spent a total of $45 which is less than half of my minimum budget! The Hubbeast is very impressed with the savings and actually said that we are eating better lately- LOL! It has given me a new way to look at what I have! Thanks to MoneySavingMom & LifeAsMom for hosting this!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

She Got It!

You may not know this but, my oldest daughter, Kirstey, is a senior in high school this year. She has been participating in drama for the past 4 years. Now, she has had several small roles in a few plays over the years. This past Christmas, she played the Grinch in the Seussical. The new play for the Spring is The Fiddler On The Roof. She tried out on Monday and came home yesterday all excited! (Now Kirstey has ALWAYS been naturally dramatic so when I say excited, I mean EXCITED times 100)! She got word that she was one of the children that got a call back!

I don't think I have seen her this happy in a LONG time! She has always participated in the plays in one fashion or another (mostly in the chorus) but, this is her first call back for a major roll! It is so great to see your children succeed!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Pics Of The Kiddos & Fur Babies

Yesterday turned out to be just as I hoped- a typical day. Baby Luke didn't come due to him being sick- poor little Man. So, I got all of my housework done and got so bored that I tried my hand at making my own laundry detergent. I am using it for the first time today.

The Italian Chicken wasn't a huge hit but it wasn't turned away either. Everyone ate it but said that it was just "OK". The Hubbeast did make it home at a normal time last night and we were able to spend a couple of hours together and actually got to go to bed at the same time!

I thought that maybe today I should put a few pics of the kiddos up since I have none up yet.

 My oldest son Michael.

 My Mom & my youngest son Robert.

 My oldest daughter Kirstey

And my baby Summer!

Now for the fur babies!

My German Shepherd Kira

The old girl Sabrina (going on 17 years old).

Sabrina's daughter Little Bit (Miss Priss).

Mysti The Krazi!.

 Rupert the Mooch!

 And Felix the Baby!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Typical Tuesday

Today is hopefully going to be a typical day. Yesterday was crazy. Summer was home with a migraine and numbness in her right arm again so I was on-edge all day thinking that she would have another seizure. Which threw me into the edge of panic attacks all day. Baby Luke is sick and I was chasing him around wiping his nose or fighting him to suction him out (boy did he HATE me yesterday). His Mom picked him up around 3 to take him to the doctor. Turns out he has a virus- poor baby. And, I overcooked the meatballs! I NEVER overcook ANYTHING! The kiddies complained but ate them anyway, so did the Hubbeast.

The Hubbeast hasn't been home hardly at all. Working 80+ hours a week and getting home hours after I go to bed most nights. Or, I fall asleep from sheer exhaustion before he comes home. I miss him terribly. I know that I should be grateful that he has a reliable job but, sometimes I miss adult conversation or him just sitting with me on the couch. It has been this way pretty much since we met 21 years ago so you think that I would be use to it by now LOL. But, being agoraphobic keeps me home bound 99% of the time so, he is my only "adult" to converse in person with. There are only so many meaningful conversations that you can have with a 17 year old, a 15 year old, a 10 year old or a 1 year old! As well, such is life! We will have to make a date night soon!

 So, today I NEED a typical Tuesday! Maybe the Hubbeast will be home before 9 pm tonight. Crossing my fingers that I will get it ;o)

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Menu Plan Monday, Eat From The Panty Challenge

 I think I did pretty well this week doing our shopping, I stuck to my list (even though I had both teen-aged daughters with me) Most of my shopping was done in the fresh fruits/ veggie isle. I picked up some lettuce, cucumbers, carrots, green peppers, peaches, bananas, and oranges.I also picked up the few meats that we needed for the week, two whole chickens and some Italian sausage. Other than that, it was milk, bread, eggs, kitty litter, kitty food, etc.... Spent a total of $106.00 saved $24....could have done better.

Here is the menu for the week Items with an * beside them are pantry items/meals.

*Meatball Subs

*Italian Chicken
*Rosemary Potatoes
*Green Beans

*Grilled Cheese

*Roast Beef
*Mashed Potatoes

*Italian Sausage Lasagna
*Garlic Bread

Left-over Buffet

*Roasted Chicken
*Scalloped Potatoes
*Mini Cheesecakes with peach topping

Thats our week planned! To find many more Menu Ideas, jump over to the Organizing Junkie and check them out! Also, to see who else is Eating From The Pantry, Check out Money Saving Mom!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Thrifty Thursday

I've learned to be a little thrifty over the past year. Clipping coupons, cooking at home from scratch, shopping at thrift stores, etc... This year I am going to try to expand my idea of what thrifty is for me & my household.

One idea that I have already started working on is to break everyone from using sponges and paper towels for cleaning & napkin use. Since I both knit & crochet, I have started making cotton cloths and "scrubbies'. These can be thrown in the washer & dryer and reused for years. The nice ones will be used as wash cloths and face cloths and as they get stained they will become cleaning cloths. These will also make great gifts for friends & family throughout the year ;o)  I am also going to keep my eyes open when I go to the thrift store for cloth napkins for daily use.

Not only will I have reduced paper product use, I will have had the fun of making the cloths! I'll try to post photos as I get them finished.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Eat From the Pantry Challenge

I've been reading a lot of blogs that have joined in the Eat From The Pantry Challenge and thought to myself, hmmmmm.... I should try that! So, I am jumping in! Now, I have no stockpile in my freezer or fridge so, I'll be working with the dry goods I have on-hand. The rules that I am going to set for myself are:

1. To use as much from my pantry as possible.
2. To purchase ONLY what is needed to round out the meals such as meats and dairy.
3. To be as creative as possible!
4. To list what I used from my pantry at the end of  every week.
5. To put the $ saved towards saving for a freezer (mine quit a little over a year ago).

Now, mind you that my pantry isn't huge but I do have a good stockpile so hopefully this will teach me how to use my pantry better in the future. Wish me luck!

Monday, January 4, 2010

New Budget For The New Year!

     Well, the Hubbeast's pay is lowering again. The company changed health insurance companies AGAIN and now we will be down another $125 a week! We sat down New Year's Day and went over the budget to see where we could cut costs even more.

    One thing we decided to cut was our weekly fast food night. The girl's are rarely home on Friday nights anyway and the Hubbeast prefers my cooking so, we will cut back to once a month and make it special. The Hubbeast will also start taking his lunch 4 days a week. We will only fill the car up with gas once a week for Kirstey. If she runs the gas low, she will just have to take the bus to and from school. (The school is about 3 miles from our home so 1 tank of gas should be plenty for the week).

    Another thing that we have been bad about is just handing the girl's money whenever they ask if we have it. Now, we will write down when we give them $ and what it is for. Anything that isn't a dire necessity they will have to earn IF we have it!

     As far as the grocery budget. We decided on $100 a week for our family of 4 with 7 pets. We will only take cash and if we run out of something, it will have to wait. What money we have left out of that $100, we put in an envelope in case we need it for the next week. At the end of the month, whatever we have left in the envelope will be put towards a vacation fund!

     I hope all of this helps. It has been YEARS since I have HAD to stick to a budget so tight. But, we will do what we have to do and make it through.

Menu Plan Monday

I'm BACK! I hope everyone had a GREAT Holiday!

This week's menu will be just regular meals. My mind is still overloaded from all of the Holiday cooking so, easy favorites this week!

   Baked Potatoes topped With leftover Chili & Cheese

   BBQ Chicken
   Brussels Sprouts

   Sauteed Green Beans
   Garlic Bread

   Rotisserie Chicken
   Mashed Potatoes
   Broccoli & Cheese

   Homemade Pizza Night (Using left-overs)

   Chicken Tacos

   Roast Beef
   Mixed Veggies

That's It for the week! For TONS more menu ideas, please check out The Organizing Junkie!

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