Friday, February 26, 2010

Weekly Shopping Trip--Savings $97.49

There was some good deals this week, so I found myself in the stores picking them up!  I need to exercise some self-control and not do any shopping for a couple of weeks.  Maybe sending hubby to the store for milk would help me out? or maybe actually following through with my baking plan for March might help because I wouldn't be tempted to get those convenience items that might be on sale!  Not sure what is happening but my grocery budget needs to have some tweaking done to it because since the beginning of the year, I have been averaging a little bit over $22/day for 3 meals, 2 snacks for a family of 7(that includes 2 teenage boys).  I would prefer to have that average closer to $20/day.

Anyway, the shopping I did this week combined with last week's shopping trip should last me for the next two weeks. I went to three stores this week rather than just one like last week.

Here is breakdown of my purchases this week:

Butternut Bakery Outlet: 

  • 2 boxes asst. donuts $2.00 (reg. price $3.99 each)
  • 2 boxes chocolate donettes $3.49 (reg. price $3.19 each)
  • 1-12 ct. pkg. plain donuts $2.09 (reg. price $3.99 each)
Total OOP: $7.58
Total Savings: $10.77
Total without outlet prices: $18.35

  • 7.21 lbs boneless/skinless chicken breasts $14.34
  • 2.50 lbs red seedless grapes $2.95
  • 4.63 lbs ground beef $7.38 (manager's markdown--$1.59/lb!!)
  • 2 jars Smuckers grape jam $4.23
  • 1 box Planters bars $1.75
  • 3 bags frozen corn $3.00
  • 1 box Nabisco saltines $1.59
  • 4 boxes Capri Sun $5.56
  • 1-45 oz Country Crock margarine $1.29
  • 4-9oz pkgs deli smoked turkey breast $6.87
  • 2 lbs bacon $4.78
  • 4 cans Swanson's beef broth $2.40
  • 1 bag Meijer breaded chicken nuggets $3.99
  • 1 cantaloupe $2.00
  • 2 gallons milk $4.00
  • 1 jar Jif peanut butter $1.50
  • 5 boxes Brown N Serve sausage links $5.00
  • 3 bottles(64oz) apple juice $5.00
  • 2 lbs frozen shredded hashbrowns $2.00
Total OOP: $82.25
Total Savings: $38.27
Total without sales & coupons: $120.52

Family Fare: 
  • 8lbs margarine sticks $4.72
  • 2-64 oz Tropicana orange juice $4.58
  • 2 containers sour cream $3.00
  • 2 tubes Pillsbury crescent rolls $2.94
  • 4 tubes Pillsbury cinnamon rolls $5.71
  • 4 quarts chocolate milk $4.00
  • 2 boxes Jiffy muffin mix $1.38
  • 2 boxes Jello Oreo pudding mix $2.00
  • 2 pkgs Reeses peanut butter eggs $6.00
  • 2 boxes Quaker instant oatmeal $3.00
  • 2 bottles(64oz) Old Orchard juice $2.34
  • 1 box Kelloggs mini wheats-little bites $1.99
  • 2 bottles(64oz) Hawaiian Punch $2.50
  • 6 dozen eggs $6.00
  • 3.19 lbs bananas $1.88
  • 8.6 lbs split chicken breasts $8.52
  • 1.97 lbs beef cube steak $6.19
  • 3.56 lbs ground beef $7.08
  • 2 bottles Purex laundry detergent $5.34
  • 2 boxes Post cereal $3.34
Total OOP: $82.51
Total Savings: $48.45
Total without sales & coupons: $130.96

Grand Total OOP: $172.34
Grand Total Savings: $97.49
Grand Total without sales & coupons: $269.83

This post is linked to: 

OAMC: March Baking Plan

It is that time again!  Crystal aka MoneySavingMom and Jessica over at Life as Mom are teaming up again for freezer cooking days!  So that means it is time for me to put together a monthly plan of the items that I want to bake for March. I much prefer to bake over cook!  February's baking plan really did not get done like I had initially planned due to me needing to cook some meals for my parents.  I did get some items done for my family but the majority of my baking/cooking in bulk was for my parents. 

So for March, everything that wasn't made in February plus a few more items are going on my list.  Hopefully I can get many of these things done over the next few days so that when I start back up with my homeschooling routine on Monday (after two weeks off due to vacation & sickness) there will be easy breakfasts and snacks for the week.   

When I make up my baking list, I put the number of eggs that it is going to take to complete one batch of the recipe, this way I know how many different things I can make with the number of eggs I have on hand!  Eggs were on sale this week so I have 9 dozen eggs on hand!  Not all will be used in baking as I need to keep at least 2 dozen available for a couple of breakfast meals in the next couple of weeks. 

 Here are the items I am planning on baking:

  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)
  13. Bacon, Egg, Cheese Biscuit Cups (7)
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. 

As for the cooking portion of my list, I work at cooking meal components rather than making whole meals to freeze. The main reason for not doing whole freezer meals is that my family of picky eaters really does not like the texture differences.  So I find that cooking meal components keeps me from feeling like I live in my kitchen. 

Here are the meal components that I will be doing for the month:
  • 8lbs of ground beef will be made into: 3-1lb bags of browned meat for use in chili, spaghetti sauce, and tacos. Two meals of 6 ct. burger patties, and 1 meal of meatloaf patties.
  • 2 lbs pinto beans cooked up for refried beans and baked beans. 
  • cook 2 lbs of bacon
  • divide up stew meat into 2 meals  already did this, we ate one and the other was put in the freezer!
I am sure that there is other things that I will be putting together either for my family or for my parents in March but this list will get me focusing on a goal!

If you do freezer cooking or batch cooking, what are your plans for March?

This post is linked to: 

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Homeschooling: Flexible Scheduling

I love having a flexible schedule in my home school endeavors. There hasn't been too much in the way of school going on at my house for the last couple of weeks due to us taking a mid-winter break and then sickness set in with all of my kids. I have decided to just take an easy this week and allow the kids to heal and just relax, hopefully we will be able to get back into the full swing of things next week with a renewed excitement for school! Having this time off has reminded me of a post that I wrote as a contributing article at Happy to be Home, enjoy the following post of how I work my homeschool with flexible scheduling.

As parents, we should be raising and training our children every day, and for my family that also includes making sure that they are learning the 3 R’s. So when I am asked about my yearly school schedule, my reply is that homeschooling occurs every day of the year, whether we are using curriculum books or not.
When I first started homeschooling, I tried to follow the local public schools’ schedule because my hubby wanted me to emulate at home what the area schools were doing every day. However, following that schedule didn’t leave any room for days to run errands or to just have a break from the daily grind. I even found that it was a bit awkward to follow with our way of life. So after the first year, I decided that I would do my own schedule and include some of the same days off as the public schools so that my kids were able to play with their friends in the neighborhood as well as provide plenty of days of actual school-based learning.
My schedule became very different from the public schools! We went to a four-day week of actual school work. We did our school work Monday through Thursday and that left Friday as “life skills day” or “home ec day” or take daddy to work so that we could have the car; in other words housecleaning, errands, and appointments got done in one day with the kids’ help whether they wanted to or not. We started at the beginning of August and went until Memorial Day with several breaks along the way.Our start was a slow one! I started with a couple of subjects and worked up to the full load by the end of August. This way they could still play outside with friends in the nice weather.
After that second year, I learned that flexibility was the key in schedule making. Now before we start a new year I take the time to tweak our schedule. Each year’s schedule gets tweaked just a bit differently based on what that year might hold for us! For instance, the years that a baby was born into the family look very different from when there was a toddler running around! During those “baby school years” there is an earlier start date to make up for the six weeks (at least) around delivery dates where there is no school work done. Six weeks is about what it takes for me to get back into the “groove” with a new baby in the house!
This year’s schedule is different from last year’s in that there is no baby being born. On the other hand, I do have a toddler in the house and I have my oldest doing junior high level work which he can, for the most part, do independently. I have made our schedule such where we have 6 weeks of school and then a week break from the school books. This schedule has allowed us to do other fun activities like crafts that we would normally not get a chance to do otherwise. At Thanksgiving time through January 5th, we had a 6 week break which was considered half of our summer break. We will take the other half of our summer break starting in the middle of June.
I also adopted a five day school week with 4 hours per day of actual school work for this school year. I have found that this method has helped me to get household chores done with the kids’ help. Having this schedule has also helped in being able to choose which day to have appointments and do my grocery shopping—I don’t have to feel pressured to have it all done in one day! I can choose to spread out the appointments over the week or have them all on one day. I really have enjoyed this schedule so much that I might try it again for next year.
I found that my approach to developing my schedule is that schooling my children is much more than getting through curriculum books. It is also growing our relationships, training them God’s way, learning life skills, and even having some fun. So if we get behind in the school work there is always another day to pick up the book and do the work.
And I always remember that flexibility is the key to success!

This post is linked to:

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Triple Chocolate Brownie Cookies

As I was looking through my new Taste of Home 2010 Annual Recipe cookbook, I came across this chocolate lover's delight!  They are easy to make despite having to chill the dough and definitely fill that chocolate sweet tooth! They taste like brownies!

  • Triple Chocolate Brownie Cookies

  • 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 3/4 cup butter, cubed
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup baking cocoa
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips, divided
  • 2 teaspoons shortening

  • In a microwave melt chocolate and butter; stir until smooth. Cool slightly. In a large bowl, beat eggs and sugar. Stir in chocolate mixture. Combine the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt; gradually add to chocolate mixture and mix well. Stir in 1-1/2 cups chocolate chips. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours or until easy to handle.

  • Drop by tablespoonfuls 2 in. apart onto greased baking sheets. Bake at 350° for 7-9 minutes or until edges are set and tops are slightly cracked. Cool for 2 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.

  • In a microwave, melt remaining chips and shortening; stir until smooth. Drizzle over cookies. Let stand for 30 minutes or until chocolate is set. Store in an airtight container. Yield: 6 dozen.

This post is linked to:

Monday, February 22, 2010

Menu Plan Monday 2/21-2/27

The last two weeks have been VERY busy at my house!  I did make a menu last week but didn’t get a chance to post it due to busyness.  Now this week, I am stuck as to what to plan in the menu department because all of my kids are sick with some viral bug at varying degrees.  I have a couple that have the stuffy nose, cough and elevated temp while another has those symptoms along with crud coming out of the eyes, and then another has all those symptoms along with tummy issues.  So I think I am going to work towards fixing bland meals this week and skip any new or spicy dishes, even though a big bowl of chili sounds good right now.

Last week I did my monthly Sam’s Club run along with making a pretty decent trip to Meijer!  So my freezer and pantry are stocked with items to use for this week.  Along with grocery shopping for my family last week, I did shopping for my parents and then did a cooking/baking day to prepare some freezer meals for them for the next couple of weeks.

This week’s meals are simple, not spicy meals and using what I have on hand.  I am sure that with sickness in the house, there will definitely be some menu changes during the week!  Hopefully towards the end of the week my kids will be on the mend so that I can start to work in a bit of spice.

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 (2-21)
Breakfast: eggs, sausage and cinnamon rolls
Dinner:  chicken or fish tenders, fries and carrots
Snack: snack basket

Monday (2-22)
Breakfast: cereal and toast
Lunch: sandwiches & chips
Dinner:  creamy chicken served with noodles or rice and green peas

Tuesday (2-23)
Breakfast:  waffles and sausage
Lunch: sandwiches & chips
Dinner:  skillet pork chops, boiled potatoes, and corn

Wednesday (2-24)
Breakfast:  bagels and cereal
Lunch: leftovers 
Dinner:  roast, carrots and potatoes and homemade rolls

Thursday (2-25)
Breakfast:  French Toast and sausage
Lunch: leftovers 

Friday (2-26)
Breakfast:  cereal and toaster strudel
Lunch: sandwiches & chips
Dinner:  baked chicken & fish, pan fries, and corn
Snack: ice cream night

Saturday (2-27)
Breakfast:  Your Choice
Lunch: grilled cheese sandwiches and bbq little smokies
Dinner:  chicken parmesan and spaghetti served with garlic toast
Snack: popcorn