Friday, April 10, 2009

Pantry & Freezer Spring Cleaning Event Update

After one and half weeks of doing my spring cleaning event, I am sure that many of you are wondering how I am doing in cleaning out those seemingly forgotten or in need of rotating out items that are in my freezer and pantry. 

So far in the month of April(11 days), I have spent $77.42 for food only for my family of seven!  Usually by this time of the month I will have spend closer to $150 for food only.  It looks like that might be all I spend for the month instead!

We have been eating more leftovers for lunches rather than the standby peanut butter and jelly sandwiches so I haven't thrown out any food because it has gone bad before we decided to eat it.

I made a chicken pot pie using the single cans of veggies that would not have been enough for a side for a meal.  Also for the pot pie, I used a container of frozen chicken gravy that needed to be used before it would have needed to be dumped from being in the freezer too long. 

We have not skipped out on the planned menu to order take out instead for meals so this has helped using up the food we have on hand. There was one exception when my parents treated the kids and I for lunch at Bob Evans. My mom had coupons for free kids meals and my meal ended up being free as well so she only had to pay for my dad's and her meal.  

My hubby had a lunch "pitch-in" potluck at work and he was able to take some of the banana bread that I had in the freezer to share with the lunch.  

I am getting low on chicken but still have LOTS of ground burger to use so in the next week there will be more beef on the menu rather than chicken.  I am hoping for a good sale on chicken next week or the following week so that I can get more in the house. 

I am going to put together a bag of groceries for my church's food pantry as we have about 12 families in our church that are unemployed. There are some items that I have in pantry that I bought thinking that I would use but have decided I will not be using them so before they get too close to the expiration date I will pass them on for someone else to be able to use.

That pretty much covers everything for the last 11 days.  

Looking forward to seeing the menus for this next week? They will be posted on Monday!

Weekly Shopping Trip---Savings $51.58

What do you get when you go to checkout at the grocery store in a lane where the cashier has been there for about seven hours and is scheduled to leave in another hour and is frustrated that she hasn't had a break the entire time she has been there????  A tired cashier who does NOT pay one bit attention to what she is doing!!!  She did not scan my bag of chocolate chips BUT she forced subtracted the coupon off at the end of total and she actually did it twice and didn't scan my manufactor's coupon for my cream soup.

Then on top of that....I forgot to give her my 2-$1/1 coupons for Johnsonville sausage and my one coupon for $1/2 Juicy Juice!  UGH!

And of course this all happens on a day when I am running late in getting out of the store so I didn't take the time to check my receipt while I was at the store like what I normally take the time to do.  Spring soccer practice has started so it is imperative that I am at home and getting dinner started around 4pm so that my boys can eat before they do a ton of running. UGH!

So needless to say, I am not sure who should be more at fault here for my lousy checkout...the cashier or me!  

At any rate, here is the breakdown of what I purchased at Meijer:
  • Wrigley's Big Red gum FREE with coupon
  • 3.23lbs ground chuck $5.33
  • 4 boxes Jiffy Muffin Mix $2.36
  • 4 bags Freshlike frozen corn $1.56
  • 4 dozen eggs $3.52
  • 3 gallons milk $5.97
  • 10lbs potatoes $2.29
  • 4 pkgs Eckrich smoky links $5.45
  • 4 cans cream of chicken soup $2.00
  • 2 bags potato chips $3.99
  • 6 boxes ziploc bags $8.50
  • 2 pks Johnsonville sausage links $4.00
  • 1 box Oreo Fun Stixs $1.50
  • 1 box foil $2.00
  • 3 bottles Juicy Juice $7.00
  • 1 bag mini chocolate chips $1.25

Total OOP: $56.06
Total Savings: $51.58
Total(without sales or coupons): $107.64

Frugal Friday---Clothespins

So what is sooo special about these little things called clothespins??? They serve multiple uses in my house! Not only do I use them for their intended use--hanging clothes or diaper covers to dry, I also use them for....
  • holding rubberbands! I clip a clothespin to the side of my bill slot on my desk and then hook rubberbands over the pin.
  • holding receipts! I superglued a magnet onto one side of the clothespin and then stuck the clothespin on the side of my fridge. This way I have a place when I or hubby come in from shopping, we can clip the receipt there and the receipt doesn't get lost and forgotten before it is registered on the computer checkbook(better known as Quicken!).
  • holding chip or cracker bags closed so that they don't go stale!

You can usually find a bag of 50 or more at your local dollar store!

I am sure that there are more ways that I could use these little inventions! What are some other ways that you use these little inventions?

For more Frugal Friday resources, head over to Life as Mom!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Thursday Thirteen--Hinky Pinkies

In honor of National Poetry Month, I thought it would be fun to give you 13 Hinky-Pinkies to figure out.   Highlight the area past the equal sign(=) to find the answer to each one. 

  1. a hilarious rabbit = funny bunny

  2. a small violin = little fiddle

  3. a hard molasses mocha = toffee coffee

  4. a happy Tinkerbell = merry fairy

  5. a lawful bird = legal eagle

  6. a stomach full of jam = jelly belly

  7. a weird ape = funky monkey

  8. a young cat in love = smitten kitten 

  9. a tired flower = lazy daisy

  10. a more intelligent boxer = brighter fighter

  11. a fruit that needs a shave = hairy berry

  12. an airplane at a greater elevation than the others = higher flier

  13. a lot of farm land = plural rural

Take some time to figure these out!  Leave me a comment as to how many you knew!  The answers are in yellow, so highlight over the area just past the equal sign (=) to see the two words that make up the hinky pinkie!

For more lists, head over to Happy to be at Home!!

National Poetry Month

One of the tools that I found for helping me put together my children’s curriculum each year is the Educator’s Calendar! I love looking at the different months to see what happened on a day in history or what might be month long events or holidays that I might be able to work into my children’s curriculum. Instead of always doing whatever is in the textbooks, it makes for a fun time of research. 

According to the calendar, I found that April is National Poetry Month!(click on the link or the image below to find out about the history of National Poetry Month)

To find some resources to use with your children during this month of poetry, head over to the rest of my article over at Happy to Be at Home!!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Works For Me Wednesday--Library Benefits

Next week is National Library Week!  

I love the library! I find the library a valuable resource for me and my children!

Here is the reasons why the library works for me:

  1. I have found that it is very easy to get the books I need for different science and history topics without having to buy actual curriculum for those subjects. I probably look sooo funny coming into the library with a laundry basket in the back of my stroller so that I can fill it up with the different books that I will need for the week.

  2. I have signed up all of my older four kids with their own library card. They are responsible for the checking out and keep up with their books. This has proven to be very effective in making sure that the books get back on the due date without having fines. The kids know that if they forget a book and it ends up with a fine, it comes out of their allowance. It is easy to know whose book it is because they each have their own "checkout list" from the library.

  3. I have found that I can search the online card catalog to find the books that I need and place them on hold to be able to pick up at my local library rather than going to several different libraries and using up precious gas in my van. This has become so valuable to me with the price of gas these days!

  4. They have free programs geared for kids that they enjoy doing. My kids love doing the summer reading program!  We have also done storytime and craft time at the library as well.

  5. They also have tons of free interactive reading resources for my kids that we can use instead of just reading a book! I especially love this feature for my "pre-readers". My readers love the resources as well.

  6. Possibly the most important reason why I love the library is that it saves me money!! My kids(2 of which are bookworms!) can read books without me having to purchase all of them first! This way the only purchased books on our home bookshelves are ones that I know my kids enjoy reading again and again!

Why do you like your public/community library? Does the library work for you?

For more Works for me Wednesday, head over to We are THAT Family!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Oven Fried Chicken Tenders

In my efforts to get rid of boxed/convenience mixes in my house along with reducing some of the fat in our diet, I decided to take a recipe that my friend, Lisa, had given me a while ago and give it a try with using fresh chicken tenders and making some homemade breaded chicken tenders.

Ingredients are: "spiced flour", egg wash, and fresh chicken tenders. Basically items that you would have in the pantry.

In the flour, I put in some onion powder, garlic powder, a few dashes of black pepper and paprika, and a tad of poultry seasoning. Now how is that for measuring?!?! You can put together any spices that you would prefer for flavoring and what you have in your pantry. I put approximate measurements with the full instructions down below.

Once I dipped all the chicken tenders into the egg wash and the spiced flour, I put a couple of pads of margarine(you can use butter too) on all the tenders.

Then I put them in the oven at 400° for an hour and then came out golden brown and a little bit crispy.

My family loved them!! The leftovers were easy to reheat in the oven at 400° for about 10 minutes.

24 chicken tenders (I usually use boneless, skinless chicken breasts, but bone-in will work too!)
2 c. flour
1 1/4 tsp. salt*
1 tsp. pepper*
1/2 tsp. paprika*
1 tsp. poultry seasoning*
2 tsp. garlic powder*
3 tsp. onion powder*
margarine slices

Egg Wash
3 eggs
2 tsp. water

Combine flour and spices together in one bowl. Combine the egg and water in another bowl. Dip chicken pieces in the egg wash first and then in the spiced flour mixture. Place pads of margarine on top of each piece of chicken. (This is the secret to it tasting so delicious.) Bake 400 for 1 hour. I don't worry about spraying or oiling the pan as the pads of margarine work in keeping the chicken from sticking to the pan.

*the spice amounts are approximate!

This post is linked at:

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Menu Plan Monday 4/5-4/11

Last week's menu plan went pretty smoothly despite the busyness of the week!Now that spring soccer and church drama practice is in full swing for three out of five kids, I think I have a pretty good handle on getting meals ready before that 4pm hour hits each day.

This week’s shopping trip was purchasing items that I need for meals as I am working at doing a pantry & freezer spring cleaning event for the month of April. I have been in need of using different items that I have stockpiled before they expire so April is going to be my month to get rid of those items. Anyone else looking to do spring cleaning in their pantry & freezer, I would love for you to leave me a comment!

This week’s menus is the first full week of my spring cleaning event. I chose seven dinner meals out of the eleven meals that I have listed from the items that I have on hand to use. I have everything on hand that I need for this week, the only items from the store I will need is milk. I am also keeping things relatively simple this week as it is another busy week of practices.

Lunches listed are for the kids & me. Unless we are having leftovers, our lunches are served with apple slices or baby carrots along with fruit juice or water. Hubby usually takes a dinner leftover along with various snacks for his work lunch.

A special thanks to
Laura-Organizing Junkie for hosting Menu Plan Monday! Need help with your menus; go check the over 400 other delicious meal plans that have been linked at Laura-Organizing Junkie’s site or look down in my right sidebar for my menu suggestion lists!

Sunday (4-5)

Breakfast: eggs, sausage or bacon, hash browns, and jiffy muffins

Lunch: pizza rolls

Dinner: breaded chicken tenders served with fries and corn

Snack: snack basket

Monday (4-6)

Breakfast: cereal, toaster strudel, yogurt

Lunch: leftovers

Dinner: spaghetti and garlic toast (I made enough for two meals last week—instead of putting it in the freezer I am just going to do another meal.)

Snack: snack basket

Tuesday (4-7)

Breakfast: waffles and sausage

Lunch: leftovers

Dinner: homemade chicken pot pie served with homemade bread

Snack: cookies & milk

Wednesday (4-8)

Breakfast: mini cinnamon bites, eggs and yogurt

Lunch: leftovers

Dinner: Taco Bar

Snack: snack basket

Thursday (4-2)

Breakfast: Pancakes

Lunch: pizza rolls

Dinner: skillet pork chops served with rice and peas or salad

Snack: snack basket

Friday (4-3)

Breakfast: cereal and banana bread

Lunch: sandwich & chips

Dinner: cube steak served with baked potatoes and corn

Snack: ice cream night

Saturday (4-4)

Breakfast: “Cook’s Choice”

Lunch: frozen mini pizzas

Dinner: pork loin roast served with mashed potatoes & gravy and green beans

Snack: snack basket or popcorn

Singing Sunday

Lead Me To The Cross

by Brooke Fraser--Hillsong United

Savior I come
Quiet my soul remember
Redemptions hill
Where Your blood was spilled
For my ransom
Everything I once held dear
I count it all as lost

Lead me to the cross
Where Your love poured out
Bring me to my knees
Lord I lay me down
Rid me of myself
I belong to You
Lead me, lead me to the cross

You were as I
Tempted and trialed
You are
The word became flesh
Bore my sin and death
Now you're risen

To your heart
To your heart
Lead me to your heart
Lead me to your heart