Saturday, May 17, 2008

Turkey Tetrazzini

On Monday's menu plan, I said that I would post the Turkey Tetrazzini recipe that I did if it was a good one. I got this recipe from my friend, Leni.

Turkey Tetrazzini
1/2 c. butter or margarine
1/2 c. flour
2 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper

Melt butter, combine into a paste in pan with flour, salt and pepper.

2 C broth

Wisk in broth, bring to a boil.

2 C. milk
2-6 C cubed or ground meat, cooked (Cubed chicken, turkey or ground beef.)
16 oz noodles, cooked and drained
8 oz. cooked, sliced mushrooms (omitted at Sonshine's house!)

Add in milk and meat, noodles and mushrooms, put in 13x9 pan.

1/2 c. parmesan cheese
Sprinkle with cheese, bake at 350° til golden.

Freezes well...freeze just before final step.

Sonshine's Notes: As with any recipe, I didn't follow it exactly!! I did up the sauce and added about 3-4tsp. garlic powder, 1-2 tsp. italian seasoning, 4-5 tbsp. minced onion, 1/4 cup parmesan cheese. I added leftover turkey to the sauce and stirred the sauce into some cooked spaghetti noodles that I put into my 13x9 pan. I topped the mixture with 8oz. of shredded mozzerella cheese. I baked it for 30 minutes in a 350° oven.

Sonshine's Review: I should have added something more in spice or flavor to the mixture it was a little bland. I also thought it was going to have more sauce than it did. I think next time I will double the sauce mixture to see if that will help with making not taste so dry. Otherwise, it was very good. Most of my family ate it....4 out of 7 gave it a thumbs up. My hubby commented that it was good but to only fix for something different..."once in a blue moon". Although it was good it will not be going on my monthly meal rotation list.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Spent only $89.92!!

I know what you are thinking!!! Only $89.92!!?? That is a lot to spend in one week for someone who is trying to decrease their pantry stockpile. Well let me explain as to what happen this week for my total to seem high! First off, with not spending much the last two weeks I actually had some "extra" money to spend, hence the ice cream and non caffeine pop. Secondly, there was some items on sale(chicken) this week that I knew I was going to need because I was out of them in my pantry.

So without pictures this week(hubby being home working has made it difficult to get pictures of anything!), I will explain what I purchased this week....

First stop, Meijer...

  • 2 gallons of Milk $5.54 (sale $2.77/gall)
  • 2 family packs boneless/skinless chicken breast $20.22 (sale $1.99/lb)
  • 3 Faygo 12pks $12.60 with deposit
  • 1 -5qt pail fudge swirl ice cream $5.00 (I use this for homemade shakes for family nights)

TOTAL: $42.36
TOTAL savings: $3.40, despite everything being on sale that I purchased!

Second stop, Save A Lot...

  • 4 cans cream of chicken soup $1.96
  • 1 box cornstarch 69 cents (this is the cheapest I have seen this!!)
  • 2 bags egg noodles $1.98
  • 1 bottle Worchestershire sauce 89 cents
  • 2.94lbs ground chuck $2.91 ***this was my BEST deal of my shopping trip!! It was reduced to 99 cents/lb!!! There was several pkgs. that I almost went ahead and took but I couldn't remember how well their meat tasted so I decided to just get one. I used it for grilled burgers the night I purchased the meat and it was good tasting meat! So I will be going back to check their reduced meat again!***
TOTAL: $8.43
TOTAL savings: priceless! LOL! If I would have purchased those items at my regular store I know it would have been almost triple in price!

Third stop....Family Fare(local grocery chain)

They are having a buy one, get one free sale this week!!

  • 2 boxes Banquet chicken nuggets $2.99
  • 2 boxes Banquet chicken tenders $2.99
  • 2lbs Kraft Mild Cheddar cheese $6.79
  • 2 Tombstone Pizzas $6.19 (cheaper than ordering out!)
  • 2 Tropicana Twister Juice $2.99
  • 2 lbs baby carrots $1.50
  • 4-12 pks Wild Cherry Pepsi $14.18 with deposit
  • 2 lbs stick margarine $1.50
TOTAL: $39.13
TOTAL savings: $32.83

TOTAL: $89.92
TOTAL SAVINGS: $36.23 (not including the savings from shopping at Save A Lot because they advertise shopping there is a savings, like Aldis)

To others who probably did better than me! head over to MoneySavingMom's Super Savings Saturday!

Frugal Friday--Pantry Challenge Update

Heading into my last week of my challenge to empty my pantry/stockpile and I must say what a success so far! This last week will probably be the toughest because I am getting down to the last bit of meat that I have in my freezer. So I am trying to work things where we are not having the same kind of meat every night.

Here is an update as to where I am with the goals that I set for myself.

Only shop for the "needs" for the next 3 weeks! That means I am not going to do any sale shopping for deals to increase my stockpile.

I have done this quite well. I have only spent $170.86 in 3 weeks($27.37-week 1, $53.57-week 2, $89.92-week 3) which has been a few things to complete meals, fruits, veggies, milk, eggs, a few paper products(like TP and Kleenex), and my hubby's morning pop supply replenished. You have to take into consideration that usually in one month’s time I am spending around $600 total for a month’s worth of food and household products.

Make meals from pantry stockpile.

I did this with success! We didn’t go hungry. Now if I can just get into a schedule of having a “baking day” or make sure that I bake just one thing each week, I think we will be set and my budget will thank me. If you are curious as to what we ate you can read about week 3, week 2, and week 1.

Make up a full grocery bag for Stamp Out Hunger Campaign.

I made a bag up and set it out on Saturday, May 10th. Above is a picture what I put in the bag!

Communicate better with my hubby as to what I feel we need to do regarding the stockpile.

This is going to be a work in progress as there is going to have to be some working together to compromising for a common goal.

I have found in challenging myself that I have actually been thinking more about what I am spending rather than just aimlessly spending because it is on sale or because there is an empty hole on the shelf. I have been also been working at getting back into my groove of baking more things from scratch in order for us to fill that “need” for sweets! There have been lots of changes going on in my house over the last few weeks....changes that I want staying to help my family to not be hoarding food but having enough to keep us fed.

I want to thank the ladies in bloggyland that have inspired me with their frugal habits because it has helped me to stretch myself and want to make changes rather than staying status quo.

For more frugal tips, head over to Biblical Womanhood!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Weekly Glimpse

I see that it has been TWO weeks since my since my last weekly glimpse!! Where has the time gone??!!

Here is a glimpse at last week(May4-10)...

  • We have a new fridge and when we purchased it thru Sears we got the extra warranty service plan with it. So Monday, the 4th was our yearly maintenance check on it!! The maintenance man was in and out in 5 minutes after me having to sit at home for 4 hour window of time. IF we would have had to pay for his 5 minutes, it would have cost a little over $100!!! That is ridiculous! I could have done what he did and not even worried about having him come out!
  • My 18mo had his 18mo well child check up on Wednesday, the 7th. He is 33 inches long and only 22 lbs!! Just a little peanut! He is healthy and on schedule developmently!! Yeah!
  • Wednesday was also the day that we spent the morning at my parent's house! I like spending time over there to help my kids build a relationship with the "older generation". It is fun watching them interact with each other.
  • Wednesday was "Library Day" as well. We go to the library at least every 2 weeks sometimes more depending on what we are studying at the time. Nothing like spending a couple of hours in the afternoon at the library and coming home with 40 books to keep up with til the next time! It might seem like a lot of books to keep up with for one person, but I have developed a system where the kids are responsible for the books that they check out. They have their own library cards. We end up with a "check-out receipt" which I hang onto til the next "Library Day". They keep their books in their rooms! No library books go to Grandma's or friends! No library books get left around the house, they are to be put away!
  • Friday, the 9th, was a family night out! We went to a fundraiser for a friend who suffers from ALS(Lou Gehrig's disease). It was nice to get out and enjoy an evening out with friends.

That is all the "extra" events that we did besides the everyday things and school! School that week was filled with learning about bees, Europe, cells, division, and rounding, and pre-algebra. Let me break it down a bit...

  • My 7yo and 9yo did a unit on bees for Science. Europe was our next stop in our continent tour for Geography. My 9yo is still working on learning division. I made things a bit harder for him in that instead of just a divisior from 0-10, there was divisiors up to 20 with the problems that I gave him to do. We are still working thru division with no remainders. My 7yo is learning about rounding numbers.
  • My 11yo worked thru a chapter in his Math book on pre-algebra. He also studied cells, mostly plant cells. He is still working thru the symbols of America as well.

Now onto this week(May 11-17)...

  • Only "extra" event was Mother's Day. I had a nice day. Everyone said "Happy Mother's Day" to me. I was also treated to eating out for dinner. We went to Big Boy's.
  • We also have had to "endure" having hubby home from work for 3 days!!! From Wednesday-Friday, he has been working from home, which brings different challenges around here then when he just goes to the office! It has been amazing that I have been able to still get things done and keep a relatively good schedule during those days! I like it when he is home but it really does throw the schedule off that the kids and I try to maintain during the day when he is at the office.

This week's school has been a little difficult as it is the week before the last week of school! It has been difficult to keep their focus on their studies. However, we have accomplished school this week. Here is what we have done...

  • My 7yo and 9yo are on their next stop of their continent tour which is South America. This week's Science unit is on Birds. I decided to do Birds this week because I figured it would hold their attention as we love to feed the birds and birdwatch in our spare time. My 9yo is working still on mastering long division with no remainders.
  • My 11yo studied the Lincoln Memorial this week. It was fun listening to him recite facts about it. He also did more Pre-algebra for Math. He is studying more about the different plant parts this week.

My younger two have been doing quite well at keeping themselves busy! Aside from watching their PBS programs in the morning they are enjoying playing with toys that have been put away for a while.

Come back next week when I talk about our last week of school and the AWANA Awards Night!

Homeschooling with Little Ones--Part Two

Last week, I gave you my game plan for getting back into the “groove” of homeschooling when a new baby is added to the family.

The question to answer this week, “What can I do with that toddler who is pulling at my leg or begging for things while trying to school the older children?”

The best thing that I have found to help with this issue is to make sure that I take some time with them before I start working with the older ones. I get in some snuggle time, or play time with them while the older ones are working on their chores or independent learning time. It makes my toddlers feel like they are not left out of my “radar”.

While I am working with my older ones, I make sure that my toddlers have something to keep them occupied. I usually keep toys in a bin that I only bring out during those times when I need to occupy them while I work with older ones. I let them play in the same room as where I am working with the older ones. This helps in two ways: 1. keeping an eye on them so I make sure that they are not getting into trouble. And 2. it allows them to feel a part of things despite not doing the same thing as the older ones.

If the toys don’t keep them occupied, then I let them sit at the table with me and scribble on paper or if we are doing a project/experiment that it will not hurt them being a part of it then I let them be involved with us.

Another thing that I have done to keep them occupied while schooling the older ones is move everyone outside (when it is not raining)! The toddlers can play in my fenced in backyard and the older ones get to sit in a different place to work on school work. IF it is raining, then I pull out the “rainy day idea box” or look to have fun indoors. In the box, I have other toys that I can bring out(these are toys that they don’t play with that much so it makes for something new and interesting), craft supplies, and books.

If all else fails, I schedule my school time with the older ones during the toddler’s naptime!! The older ones and I can get lots done for school in two hours!!

Part three of the series---training of the toddlers

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Works for Me Wednesday

Out of all the things to do in life doing chores (or at my house we call them "responsibilities") is not one of the top things on my “to do list”! Personally, I would rather read a book or bake some cookies than clean! But after growing up in a home where my parents are "pack rats" and deciding that when I had my own house and family that I was not going to follow in their ways, I strive to have a decent, clean, and relatively(hard to have it totally with having kids!) clutter free home. Also I am married to a man, who I love dearly, and is a perfectionist, so everything has to have a place.

Before we had kids, dh and I had decided that we were not going to allow the kids to "play" or have toys in their bedrooms. We were going to have a place in the corner of the living room or basement that could be their playroom. The rule is that the bedrooms are for book reading and sleeping, basically they are kept as a "little quiet getaway" for everyone. I can't tell you how much I am glad that we have done that! It makes the cleaning of bedrooms so much easier.

So with those things in mind, let me tell you what I have come up with for a system for those daily responsibilities.

I have broken down the responsibilities into 3 groups--morning, afternoon, after dinner. This way we are not taking all day and we have time for other things (like school work!)

The morning responsibilities are:
make beds
vacuum bedrooms and living room
clean up kitchen--this is a quick clean after breakfast making sure that the dirty dishes are in the dishwasher and the floor is swept.
clean the bathrooms(sweep floor, clean sink, mirror, and toilet)

The afternoon responsibilities are:
pick up play room
take care of clean clothes in laundry baskets--this only happens on laundry day.
set table for dinner
clean up kitchen--another quick clean and lunch dishes

The after dinner responsibilities are:
clean up kitchen-- I love waking up in the morning to a clean kitchen!
sweep eating area/kitchen floor
quick pick up of the playroom(if needed)
take care of trash and recycle

The above list is what is done on a daily basis. Then on Saturday mornings, the whole family works together and does a deep cleaning of the playroom, the kitchen, and the bathrooms. Saturdays is also when the ceiling fans, furniture, and knick-knacks get dusted.

Now you are probably wondering..."she does all that by herself in a day's time plus home-schools plus has time for her dh and even takes time for herself?"

To answer your wondering....NO! I delegate!! The kids are old enough now that I am more of a trainer/overseer of the responsibilities rather than doing everything myself. I take care of my bedroom, the laundry, and the mopping of the kitchen floor. All the above responsibilities listed are done by my kids! As a part of this family, they have a responsibility to help us work together to have a clean, healthy, and orderly environment. I don't want my kids once they have their own place not knowing how to keep a place clean and orderly. They are learning now that helping to do the mundane every day responsibilities is a way of life. On the home-school front, I classify it as "Home Ec class"!

I have found this system to work well for us. If we are going to have company, it only takes us about a 1/2 hour to go thru the house and do a quick pick-up and clean of our "hot spots".

To find what works for others, head over to Rocks in My Dryer!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Math Resources

Superkids Math Worksheet Generator make your own printable worksheets

The Math Worksheet Site –printable Math worksheet generator

Soft Schools –worksheet generator and more!

Teacher's Corner Printable Worksheets –make your own worksheets

Cool Math 4 Kids math lessons and games

AAA Math --lessons sorted by grade(K-8th)

APlus Math Worksheets –use the worksheets provided or make up your own using their pdf. Worksheet generator

BlackDog's Math Worksheets --basic Math and number concepts

KidZone Math –printable worksheets up to grade five

Math Fact Cafe –printable math worksheets, flashcards, includes time and money.

TLS Books Math Worksheets basic math drill worksheets

Super Teacher Worksheets –printable worksheets for Math and beyond!

LizardPoint Math –online math or printable worksheets

Math Is Fun Worksheets --printable worksheets K and up or create your own worksheets, basic math and fractions, decimals, and time

Apples 4 Teachers --preschool and elementary math games and activites

Money Instructor –learn all about money, sign up required, you can get free limited access, if you want full access there is a subscription fee.

US Mint for Kids –coin history and more –games and practice for learning multiplication tables –practice work, tutoring and more for basic math to advanced math(trig.)

Math Tracks –upper elementary and high school math help

Math Forum--Middle School --basic, algebra, stats, probability

This is just a sampling of what you will find on the internet!! What are your favorite Math websites? Tell Me and I'll add them to the list!

Kitchen Tip Tuesdays

So I am in the middle of using my pantry stockpile challenge and while in my pantry yesterday, I noticed that I am actually decreasing my stockpile quite well! I also noticed an unopened box of Bisquick on my shelf. I look at the "best if used by date" to find that it had a Sept. 5, 2007 date on it!! Now what to do with it??!! Do I use it or do I dump it??

This morning, I posted over on the Prairie Homemaker forum asking the ladies there about what I should do about my mix. My friend, Karyn, pointed me to this website...Food Expiration Dates. It actually is pretty neat! It has a list of different foods and when to use them by.

Did you know that Bisquick or Pancake Mix can end up with a mold on it that can be toxic? It can!

Did you know that canned seafood can last in your pantry unopened for FIVE years? It can!

Did you know that unopened cans of baking cocoa can last in your pantry for 2 years? It can!

Do you have an opened bottle of mayo or bbq sauce in your fridge?? If it has been there for over 2 months opened you need to dump it and get a new one!

Those eggs in your fridge can last 2 weeks past the date stamped on the carton! Which means I have six eggs in my fridge that I need to bake with this week!!

So my tip for the day....check those dates on your goods in your pantry and fridge! You need to make sure that you are using safe food for your family. Also using the items before they become unsafe to use is using your money spent on them wisely. Which we all know we need to do these days with the rising costs of food!

For other kitchen tips and/or recipes, head over to Tammy's Recipes!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Menu Plan Monday 5/11-5/17

**Another week is upon us so that means it is time for another menu plan! This is just a plan and it could change on the cook’s whim!

I am starting week 3 of challenging myself with pantry shopping and this is the second menu after starting my challenge! Here is last week's menu! At the end of last week, there was a menu change on Friday. I forgot that we were going to a fundraiser for friends from church where the hubby is suffering from ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease). So I had to do a quick dinner rather than grilling burgers so I just did up frozen pizzas and fries from my freezer stockpile! That ended up being the only change to the menu last week.

This week, I have planned a couple of theme nights! There will be “Thanksgiving in May” where I am roasting a 13lb turkey that I got during the sales around Thanksgiving and I will be fixing all the trimmings. Also, we will be having a “picnic night/grilling out” using the burgers that we didn’t have last weekend.

Lunches listed are for the kids and me. Hubby usually takes dinner leftovers each day.
A special thanks to Laura-Organizing Junkie for hosting Menu Plan Monday! Need help with your menus, go check other delicious meal plans that have been linked at her site! **

Sunday (5-11) Happy Mother’s Day
Breakfast: eggs, bacon, hash browns, and cinnamon rolls
Lunch: leftover tacos
Dinner: out for dinner @ Big Boy’s
Snack: oatmeal scotchies

Monday (5-12)
Breakfast: cereal and toast
Lunch: leftovers
Dinner: “Thanksgiving in May”—roasted turkey, mashed taters, corn, broccoli, stuffing, cranberry sauce, honey oatmeal rolls
Snack: snack basket

Tuesday (5-13)
Breakfast: bagels and eggs
Lunch: leftovers
Dinner: “Picnic Night” grilled burgers, fries, carrot sticks/salad, bbq lil’ wieners
Snack: cupcakes & milk

Wednesday (5-14)
Breakfast: pancakes, sausage links
Lunch: pizza rolls
Dinner: chicken rice casserole and leftover honey oatmeal rolls
Snack: snack basket

Thursday (5-15)
Breakfast: cereal and muffins
Lunch: sandwich, chips, apple slices and carrot sticks
Dinner: chili, rice, and corn muffins
Snack: snack basket

Friday (5-16)
Breakfast: cereal and toast
Lunch: sandwich, chips, apple slices and carrot sticks
Dinner: roast, carrots, and potatoes served with brown n’ serve rolls
Snack: homemade chocolate shakes

Saturday (5-17)
Breakfast: “Cook’s Choice”
Lunch: ?????(it’s the weekend anything goes!)
Dinner: turkey tetrazzini(new recipe, I'll post it next week if it is any good!) and homemade garlic bread
Snack: popcorn

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Singing Sunday

When I Survey The Wondrous Cross
by Michael W. Smith

When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of Glory died
My Richest gain I count but loss
And pour contempt on all my pride

See from His head His hands His feet
Sorrow and love flow mingled down
Did e'er such love and sorrow meet
Or thorns compose so rich a crown

Oh the wonderful cross (2x)
Bids me come and die and find
that I may truly live

Oh the wonderful cross (2x)
All who gather here by grace
draw near and bless your name

Were the whole realm of nature mine
That were an off'ring far too small
Love so amazing so divine
Demands my soul, my life, my all

Oh the wonderful cross (2x)
Bids me come and die and find
that I may truly live

Oh the wonderful cross (2x)
All who gather here by grace
draw near and bless your name

Love so amazing, so divine
Demands my soul, my life, my all

and the beauty and the shame
in the glory of His name
Oh the wonderful cross

Oh the wonderful cross (2x)
Bids me come and die and find
that I may truly live

Oh the wonderful cross (2x)
All who gather here by grace
draw near and bless your name