Saturday, January 30, 2010

Weekly Shopping Trip--Savings $18.46

Payday was yesterday, however, the area sales this week were not that great. So I decided to stick to the minimums and get what was needed.  Amazingly, I ended up not using any coupons this week and still saved money! I am still dealing with decent stockpile so I used up what I had on hand.  Hopefully next week there will be some decent sales because I getting low on meats and with a family who likes their meat and starches I can't use up all the meat without getting some more in the inventory.

I had a gift card to use at Meijer due to taking back an extra pack of work gloves that was not needed for at the service project that my hubby did over the Christmas holiday.  So I used that $5.08 card to help pay for the groceries I purchased this week.

Here is what I purchased this week to get me through the week:(the picture below is the Meijer run missing the milk!)


  • 4 dozen eggs $5.66
  • 3.03 lbs ground beef $6.03
  • 2 bags breaded chicken tenders $7.98
  • 3 gallons milk $6.00
  • 4 Meijer brand pizzas $10.00
  • 2 lbs shredded hashbrowns $2.00
Total OOP after using a $5.08 gift card: $32.59
Total Savings (including the gift card): $14.88
Total without sales, and gift card: $47.47

Family Fare: 
  • 2 lbs bacon $5.00
  • 24 double rolls Northern TP: $12.70 (with sales tax)
Total OOP with sales tax: $17.70
Total Savings: $3.58
Total without sales:  $21.28

Grand Total OOP: $50.29
Grand Total Savings: $18.46
Grand Total without sales & gift card: $60.75

This post is linked to:

Baking Plan for February

If you haven't heard, MoneySavingMom and Fishmama are hosting another Freezer Cooking Day over the weekend!  I am excited because I actually am feeling inspired to do some baking! I have several items in my pantry that are close to their expiration date so taking the time to use them up in baking up some things for the freezer is the best solution!

My family is not much for "freezer meals" so I do up the majority of our meals fresh. However, I do bake ahead quick breads, muffins, cakes, cookies, and breakfast foods(like waffles, pancakes, Mom's McSandwiches). It is great to have these items on hand rather than spending the money for the convenience of buying them at the grocery stores.

When I do up my baking plan I factor in a few things:
  1. I make up the plan to cover the whole month.

  2. I take more than just one day so I divide it up into how many days I want to work at baking items.

  3. I have to be very aware as to the number of eggs I have compared to the number of eggs in each recipe.  I don't have enough room in my fridge for all the eggs at once so this helps me to know when I need to have an "egg bounty" on hand. 

Here is what I am planning on baking during the month of February.  The number next to each item is amount of eggs in each recipe. The list is also in no particular order.

  1. Cinnamon Rolls (2)
  2. Banana Muffins--without nuts (4) & with nuts (4)
  3. Pancakes (3)
  4. Whole Wheat Belgian Waffles (2)
  5. Zucchini Muffins (3)
  6. Pumpkin Choc. Chip Muffins (4)
  7. Double Choc. Muffins (2)
  8. Orange Juice Muffins (2)
  9. Honey Oatmeal Bread (0)
  10. Choc. Chip Coffeecake (3)
  11. Peanut Butter Cupcakes (3)
  12. Brown Sugar Biscuit Twists (0)
I also am planning on making some cookies for the freezer. I have several Betty Crocker cookie mixes(double chocolate, sugar, peanut butter, and oatmeal) that I got on the cheap that I need to use up this month. I usually do a couple of mixes at a time so it takes 2 eggs each batch.  I am going to also try to get some Snickerdoodles made this month as well. 

This post is linked to:

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Tackling Those Stacks of School Papers!

Do you have stacks of schoolwork papers like this around your home?? It is getting to that time of year where we need to start thinking about what we need to keep of that stack of papers from our school year. If you are like me you have saved every paper so far that your child has done over the course of the year, hence having the huge stacks of papers! Well I am here to tell you that you do not need to save every paper!
Here are some steps to decrease those paper stacks:
  1. Start with saving the items that you will need to meet your state’s requirements. Each state has different requirements/laws that need to be followed in regards to what you need to keep of your child’s work. If you don’t know what your requirements are, take the time to check out theHomeschool Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) website. They have a great, easy-to-navigate page of all the states’ requirements. In my state there are no requirements, or accountability to a school district, along with no record keeping that I need to do to homeschool my children. However, I have taken the approach of putting together a notebook/portfolio for each child for each year that I “officially” homeschooled them. So if the laws change in my state or I move to another state, I have some kind of proof that my kids were doing school.
  2. Go through and divide your stacks into the different school subjects.This will give you some idea as to what exactly you have in your stacks. You might find that you only have one or two papers on a certain subject so those papers will go into the “keep pile”.
  3. Go through the stacks individually and find the best, the okay, and the not so good work of your child. This way you can have a sampling of your child’s progress to date. Remember you don’t have to keep every paper!Also, I found that doing this type of paper sorting in the middle of the year helps me to know what things I might need to go back and review with my child. As you weed through the stacks, look for the following:
    • Writing samples, like a copy of the thank you notes they wrote after the holidays
    • Basic math problem worksheets
    • Tests that you might have given your child
    • Awards or certificates that your child has earned
    • Brochures or program fliers from field trips that your child has done

  4. Recycle or throw away all the rest of the papers that you are not keeping! REMEMBER you do not need to keep ALL those papers! It will feel so much better not to have all that paper clutter hanging around your house.
  5. Put your “keep paper pile” into a three ring binder or a box. Putting it all in one binder or box will help you see that you are accomplishing something with your child. It also can turn into a “show book” for your child to show others (like relatives) their work.
Once you are done going through the stacks of papers, take the time to evaluate things, and if you find that you do not have papers for certain subjects, make a note of it in a journal now so that you can either work it in to your child’s schooling or find those “stray” papers or photos of your child’s work or activities that you might have put somewhere else.
Getting this jump start on your school paper stacks will help you as the time draws near for you either to turn in a portfolio to an evaluator or just to move on to the next school year’s work. It also will help you to eliminate those piles of paper clutter and give you a feeling of accomplishment.
Happy Sorting!
**this post was originally published as one of my contributing articles at Happy to be at Home!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Carrots as Sweetener

What is one of the most healthiest foods? Carrots!! They are rich in Vitamin A. Carrots are one of my kids' favorite foods. They love to take them out of the fridge and snack on them hence my love for going to Aldi's and getting a 1# bag of the baby carrots for 69 cents!

Did you know that you can use carrots as sweetener instead of adding sugar to your foods? Since my kids love them it is easy for me to add them to different dishes. Although I have a few that would rather eat them raw than cooked!

I love to add shredded carrots to my tomato based dishes. I could just chop the carrots up but I have several who don't like seeing chunks of veggies, especially in their spaghetti sauce. To add the extra vitamins along with sweetening the dish, I shred the veggies that I am going to put in my tomato based dishes. When I am doing spaghetti sauce in my big 6 quart crockpot that I fill about 3/4 full,  I added about 6-10 baby carrots to my sauce. I find when I shred the carrots as the dish simmers the carrots pretty much disappears leaving me the nutrients in the sauce and no chunks for my picky eaters.

Also adding the carrots to the tomato based sauces helps to neutralize the acid from the tomatoes. I have found that when I add carrots to the sauce I do not have near the problem of heartburn or feeling ill than when I forget to add the carrots.

Adding carrots to tomato based dishes for my sweetener and added vitamins works for me!

If Someone Had Said...

  • ...That I would be the Mom of five kids in ten years after getting married. I would have said,  "No Way! I only want to have at least three."

    However, God planned for me to have five and now with five, I would not change anything because I can not imagine life without them.

  • ...That I would be homeschooling all of my kids through all of their school years. I would have said, "You have got to be kidding, I am just planning on getting them through their elementary years! I know that I have a bachelor's degree in teaching but I am terrible with English, esp. grammar, never took trigonometry, and definitely have not a clue about chemistry or physics!"

    However, God is working on my heart and I just may be teaching trigonometry in a year or two! My oldest is only 13 years old and is already doing Biology, Algebra 1 and reading college level books for enjoyment reading!

  • ...That I would be dealing with a parent that has been diagnosed with dementia. I would have said, "No Way! My parents are in relatively good health, aside from being diabetic, they will grow old with all of their mental capabilities!"

    However, God has a different plan!  In the last six months, my mom has been diagnosed with progressive dementia.  Before the diagnosis, an outsider looking in would have thought that my mom "wore the pants" in the family.  She did all the bill paying, cooking, managing the household while my dad worked his blue collar job in the auto parts factory.  Now looking in one would find my dad, now retired, struggling and stressing to take care of my mom and everything that she once did with ease.  Also now one will find that I have become their power of attorney and come into their house once a week to help my dad by doing some grocery shopping so there is food in the house, taking care of their finances by paying bills and making calls to companies who are looking for their money to let them know the circumstances and figure out a way for my parents to pay their bills without too much in penalties.

  • ...That after fourteen years of marriage, I would be dealing with a "bombshell" of emotions surrounding my hubby's humble confession of an addiction to lust/p*rn.   I would have said, "How can that be? I married a Christian man with strong values.  You must be wrong!"

    However, God showed me that my husband is human and has struggles just like me!  Granted, I have been a naive in my thinking that my husband would have these kind of struggles because I never heard or saw my Dad have this struggle so I just figured that my husband would be just like my Dad. Boy! am I wrong!  God is working on my heart and showing me that forgiveness needs to be part of my story everyday!  God is showing me that my marriage is something that takes work and is worth fighting for against an Enemy that would rather destroy it.

It is so amazing to know that God has planned out our life!  He did that even before we were even known to the world (Psalm 139).  God knows exactly what you and I are going through right now and He knows what troubles or triumphs we will face tomorrow or next week!

Praying today for those of us that are facing troubles that we just don't know if we will make it through them.
Praying today for those of us that really need to feel the presence of God in our lives as we go through the troubles of the day.

Praising God with you for the troubles in our lives we have conquered today with His help!
Praising God today for the all the triumphs in our lives!  Isn't it great that we have another day of life to celebrate!?

...and there you have just a glimpse into my thoughts today!!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Menu Plan Monday 1/24-1/30

It was another week of success with menu planning!  I made it through the week without too much difficulty.   It is amazing me that doing something so simple like menu planning can actually reduce the stress that I feel on daily basis in keeping the household going smoothly.

Not much in the way of grocery shopping this week, however, I did do more shopping than just getting milk and a few perishables like I was originally hoping for this time around.  As for shopping during this week, well I am nineteen cents over my monthly grocery budget so I am going to just get my WIC this week and call it a week.  I have everything on hand for meals and snacks this week so I should be set in the food “department”.

This week’s meals are family favorite meals using what I have on hand in my pantry and freezer.  Thankfully, there isn’t too much going on this week!  The weather has been nice with above normal temperatures for January (meaning above 32°) however, this week we are going downhill in temperatures where we will only be in the teens for highs so back to reality in the Midwest USA!

This week’s lunches that are listed below are for the kids and me! Unless we are having leftovers, our lunches are served with apple slices or carrot sticks along with fruit juice or water.  Hubby usually takes a dinner leftover along with various snacks for his work lunch so I don’t take the time to really plan his lunches. I just take the next container of leftovers in the stack in the fridge that I have prepared ahead of time.

A special thanks to Laura-Organizing Junkie for hosting Menu Plan Monday! Need help with your menus; go check the over 300 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 (1-24)
Breakfast: eggs, sausage & bacon, hash browns, and cinnamon rolls
Lunch: pizza & pizza rolls
Dinner:  Wendy's (after church)
Snack: snack basket

Monday (1-25)
Breakfast: cereal and donuts
Dinner:  smothered chicken served with boiled potatoes and corn and crescent rolls
Snack: snack basket

Tuesday (1-26)
Breakfast:  waffles and sausage
Lunch: sandwiches & chips
Dinner: roast, carrots and potatoes served with biscuits
Snack: snack basket

Wednesday (1-27)
Breakfast:  bagels and cereal
Lunch: sandwich & soup
Dinner:  Chili served over rice and corn muffins as a side
Snack: snack basket

Thursday (1-28)
Breakfast:  French Toast and sausage
Lunch: sandwiches & chips
Dinner:  chicken gravy served with rice, green beans
Snack: snack basket

Friday (1-29)
Breakfast:  cereal and toaster strudel
Lunch: pizza rolls
Dinner:  burgers served with French Fries and fresh carrot sticks
Snack: ice cream night

Saturday (1-30)
Breakfast:  Your Choice
Lunch: ????
Dinner: saucy pork chops served with rice and green peas
Snack: popcorn

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Singing Sunday

The Love of God
by MercyMe

The love of God is greater far
Than tongue or pen can ever tell
It goes beyond the highest star
And reaches to the lowest hell
The guilty pair, bowed down with care
God gave His Son to win
His erring child He reconciled
And pardoned from his sin

Could we with ink the ocean fill
And were the skies of parchment made
Were every stalk on earth a quill
And every man a scribe by trade

To write the love of God above
Would drain the ocean dry
Nor could the scroll contain the whole
Though stretched from sky to sky



O love of God, how rich and pure!
How measureless and strong!
It shall forevermore endure
The saints' and angels' song