Wednesday, April 7, 2010
Ham, Broccoli, and Pasta
Cook pasta and drain. Add a few tablespoons of butter to pot and let melt. Put pasta back in pot and add 2 beaten eggs. Stir until the eggs have cooked themselves in with the pasta. Add diced ham and cooked broccoli.
Ham and Potato Soup
So good. I wonder if this freezes well?
Ham and Potato Frittata
good but not as good as the soup!
Grilled Ham and Cheese Sandwiches
We will have gotten our fill of ham by the time we get through all of leftovers!
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Monday, March 22, 2010
Sunday, March 21, 2010
As for shopping, I did get a great deal on cereal at Price Chopper this week - 4boxes of cereal for $6 plus I had 2 $1 off 2 boxes coupons. That brought the price to a dollar a box for the four boxes I bought. Nice but... there is only less than half a box left! Kmart has cereal on sale this week for $1.88 a box so I am going to go stock up again. I am seriously thinking about not buying any more cereal since it is expensive and we go through so much.
I am also planning a Toys R Us run this week. They have DS game on sale - 2/$40. I will buy 2 and put them away for Christmas. It is never too early to start Christmas shopping if you get some good deals!
Have a Happy Week!
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Monday, March 15, 2010
Maybe of us have many many unwanted, unnecessary items hanging around. I know we have our share and then some of items that are taking up space. I wanted to unload some of these items but don't want to have a garage sale. Garage sales take a lot of time and effort to have and I don't have any extra time or energy to have one. Enter Craigslist. Without leaving the comfort of my home, I sold three items this weekend - a floor length mirror, a wooden train table, and a booster chair. I love Craigslist!
Monday, March 8, 2010
The concept is simple, spend one to two days a month cooking meals ahead of time and then freezing them to use throughout the month. Voila, the two 8 hour days spent in the kitchen buys you time throughout the month.
Friday, March 5, 2010
I been slowing trying to wean my family off paper towels. We have a stash of old cloth diapers that we use but there are days when we whip through them in no time. I really didn't want to go out and buy new towels just to use as rags. A few weeks back my husband cleaned out his t-shirt drawer and he had a very large pile of t-shirts that either were stained or just didn't fit right. I am donating the ones that aren't stained and I cut up the stained ones to use as rags. I cut off the neck opening and sleeves and then cut each shirt in half. I donated the scraps to an agency that I know recycles rags. I now have a new stash of rags to use and I didn't have to spend a dime.
For more frugal ideas, check out Life As Mom.
Monday, March 1, 2010
Working and having three boys can can me busy. Add the fact that my husband teaches a college course one night a week, one of my sons' plays soccer in the fall and spring, one son plays t-ball, and both of my older sons are in Cub Scouts. Plus I am the den leader for my younger son's den. Put all of that together makes for a very busy house. Thankfully, my husband and I are both on the same page about a lot of things. We did have a house cleaner come in once a month to do the big cleaning jobs but we stopped that a few months ago in an effort to tighten our finances and start paying down debt. It was a sad day for me! Given that all of the housework, errands, and everyday clutter was still there, I felt a bit overwhelmed. Well, I quickly cheered myself up by telling myself I hadn't had a house cleaner for all that long and I had been able to get it all done before.
Except, now there are three boys instead of one or two AND we have a much bigger house.
It was time for everyone to step up to the plate. My husband and I take on certain jobs, he is in charge of doing the laundry(thank god for that!), I fold the laundry and everyone puts their own laundry away. One of us makes dinner, the other cleans up the kitchen. My husband is great about starting the dishwasher each night before he goes up to bed.
The children have their own responsibilities that are appropriate for their age. They definitely give us trouble when it comes time to do their chores but they are getting better. Each kid is in charge of their rooms, putting laundry away, picking up toys and toys, making beds, etc. They do these on the weekends. Some weekends they fly through this other weekends there are lots of excuses and even tears. But, as I said before, they are getting better.
There is still room to improve for all of us but the biggest lesson I have learned is everyone could use some help. I am lucky that my husband shares half of the housework and child rearing. I really don't think I would be as organized and on top of things if my husband wasn't as good as he is about doing his share. Love that man!
Saturday, February 27, 2010
Thursday, February 25, 2010
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Everyone has one - the list of things you have to do but keep putting off. My list seems to grow with every day. Amy at Mom Advice has a post about the amount of energy a nagging-to-do list can take. I think about my nagging-to-do list ALL THE TIME but I usually don't actually do anything on the list. Not any more! I have been putting in a concerted effort to get some items checked off my list. Here is what is on it and what I have accomplished so far:
- Finish sunflower craft
- Finish burlap wreath craft - Finished!
- Call for hair appointment - made the appointment!
- Return shirt to Target - returned!
- Paint bedroom(first need to finish getting wallpaper down) All wallpaper down and walls washed - ready to be primed!
- Register son for little league - Registered!
- Email cousin about summer visit - Email sent!
- Get car inspected and oil changed - Done!
- Renew Driver License
- Finish envelop craft - Done
- Finish painting and recovering chair(got for $1 at a garage sale this past summer)
Monday, February 22, 2010
I was never a big menu planner until recently. I would halfheartedly try to think about what we were doing to eat for the upcoming week but I never stuck to any real menu plan. This led to a lot of eating out and wasted food. When my husband and I decided to get a handle on our finances, one area I wanted to focus on was cutting our grocery bill. Enter the menu plan. There are many blogs/sites out there dedicated to menu planning. I love the tips and links on I'm an Organizing Junkie. I try to post our weekly menu here to give myself some sort of accountability but I don't always get to do that. Even when I don't post it, I still am planning! Each Sunday I plan out what we will be eating for each meal for the upcoming week. This is a bit different than what I used to do. When I did try to plan our meals, I only focused on dinners. Now that two of my boys need lunches pack, I include lunch and breakfast in the plan. I take into account all of our evening obligations, whether I or my husband are going to be absent from dinner time or if we need a quick meal. I also account for any school lunches my children want to buy that week. *
Sunday, February 21, 2010
4 shirts (me)
1 pair of shoes(husband)
7 pairs of shoes (me)
3 stuffed animal toys
Letter magnetic toy
misc. small toys
Large stuffed superman
plastic floor train playset
All of these things are making their new home at the salvation army! I was able to clean and reorganize my tupperware cupboard(not that it is going to stay organized for long). It is amazing how many tops I have but no matching containers. Do they run off in the night? There are still many rooms, closets, and nooks and crannys that still cry out to be decluttered. I am trying to go slowly with this so I won't get stressed out when I don't have the time to do everything I want to do immediately.
Thursday, February 18, 2010
Monday, February 15, 2010
I have to admit, I hate cleaning. Well not actually cleaning, I hate picking up. If all I had to do was just clean the house, I would have such a sparkling clean house. It is the clutter and picking up that gets me. Anyways, enough of that rant. I found an awesome book that has helped me make my own environmentally friendly cleaners. Clean house, Clean Planet by Karen Logan has changed my thinking about cleaners. We now only use environmentally friendly, nontoxic house cleaners. At first I was a little concerned that I didn't have my handy Clorox wipes to kill all of the cold and flu germs that float around. But in the last 2 years that I have been making my own cleaners, we haven't had an increase in illnesses. In fact, we really haven't had many contagious illnesses. The recipes for cleaners are easy and quick to make. One of the best tips was using a pumice stone to clean hard water stains in the toilet bowl. You can purchase pumice stone at the hardware store. They don't scratch porcelain and work fabulous, you just have to get past the yuck factor of having to actually put you hand in the toilet bowl! One other thing that I like about the book, is that Karen Logan breaks down the cost of each recipe and compares the cost to ready made cleaners. That is one of the reasons I was able to get my numbers man on board without a lot of convincing! Go purchase a copy yourself and get cleaning!
This post is linked to Works for Me Wednesdays
I was driving to work with my youngest strapped in his car seat. It was dark and rainy. I was on a three lane highway that had the far left lane closed for construction. I was in the middle lane when out of no where there was a car in my lane coming straight at me with no headlights. Since there was a barrier to my left and cars to my right, I really didn't have a lot of options. Thankfully, the car turned into an opening between the barriers and a head on collision was avoided. Wow. That shook me up. Had me rethinking this whole unlucky thing. Really, does it matter if I win lotto scratch offs? Does it matter if I win the 50/50? Yes, the extra money would be nice but I don't need it. So I started to think of all the areas in my life where I am lucky. I have a wonderful husband and three awesome, healthy, and loving boys. My husband and I both have good paying careers. We have a house, we have food, we can pay our bills on time every month. I am so lucky!!
One of the handiest tool a busy mom needs to have in her box of tricks is the ability to plan ahead. I am a big planner and I love to make lists. Some days there is so much information rattling around in my mind that I find I can't relax until I get it all out. I find putting it down on paper helps me clear my mind and I usually find I don't have as much to do or remember as I thought I did.
Enter my weekly planning.
Each Sunday evening, I sit down and figure out what has to get done that week. I look at what activities the children might have, any evening meetings or obligations that my husband and I may have that week. I then make a list of additional things that I have to do that week, whether it is an errand that has to be run or a phone call that needs to be made. After I do that, then my husband and I decide who is going to do what. I usually am the errand runner. The area where I work has many of the stores that I would need to go to and I get out of work earlier than he does. My husband usually takes the phone calls, I don't have a direct phone line, only voicemail. I do make the appointments for me and the children since I usually take them to the appointments. An example of our weekly planning would look something like this:
- Monday: Oldest son's scout meeting(Steve take him)
- Tuesday: Middle son's scout meeting(our house, I am den leader), Steve to take youngest to run a few errands
- Wednesday: Scout committee meeting(me), Grocery shopping, Snack milk money for older two boys
- Thursday: Steve teaches a college course on this night.
- Friday: Movie night
- Return some items to Walmart
- Grocery Shopping
- Pick up Prescriptions
- Crickets for lizard
- middle son's homeroom parent (I'll take this call)
In addition to this list, I also make a menu plan for the week. I certainly keep our evening obligations in mind when I am planning our menu for the week but more on menu planning next week!
Sunday, February 14, 2010
Me: leftovers and salads with tuna or leftover chicken
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
Monday, February 8, 2010
I took a few minutes this afternoon to compare which stores have the best prices on the same items.
- Target and PC have Progresso Soups on sale this week.
That's no brainer on which is better.
- They both have Bounty Paper Towels Giant 8 Roll on sale.
PC - $10
A penny difference but you get credit towards gas if you purchase the paper towels at PC. Don't forget the the $1.00 off coupon from this Sunday's paper!
- Again, both have Yoplait yogurt on sale.
PC - 10/$5
Once again, PC gives credit towards gas.
I try to spend some time going through the PC, Hannaford, Target, and CVS Sunday ads. I could include Rite Aid too but I feel four stores are more than enough for me. I have found that the Hannaford I typically shop at does not accept Internet coupons so I usually only shop there for a few items, maybe not even every week. PC and Target tend to be my favorites along with Walmart. I have found Walmart usually has lower every day prices on a lot of items. I will make a Target run for the soups as well as Fiber One Bars which are on sale for $2.33. Go here and get a .40 off Fiber One Bars and $1.10 off 3 Progresso soups.
Thursday, February 4, 2010
- 5:30 - Wake up to the annoying alarm clock to realize my husband and I are not alone in the bed. We have been joined by 2 of our 3 boys at some point during the night. My youngest is actually completely naked! (He had wet his bed during the night. Being the very thoughtful child that he is, he stripped off all of his clothes and climbed into bed with us. He didn't even wake us up!)
- 6:30 - out the door with my youngest carrying at least 4 bags and whatever toys my son feels he can't live without.
- 7:10 - Drop off youngest at babysitter's - race to get to work
- 7:30 - 3:00 work - out out at lunch to run some errands, must eat lunch in hurried bites between classes
- 3:00 - leave work right on time
- 3:15 pick up youngest at babysitter's and go get older two at their school which is 25 minutes away
- 3:45- drag youngest into the older kids' school and pick up older two and race to get to doctor's which is 15 minutes away, give kids animal crackers in the car so they won't be cranky
- 415 - Miracle - we get to the doctor's office on time AND get in to see him on time!
- 4:45 - finish with doctor's appointment - head for home
- 5:30 - get dinner on the table (children hate dinner and begin to complain) Daddy home!
- At some point the complaining has stopped, some kids choose to eat, others will have to wait until breakfast! - time to get older 2 boys working on homework, maybe start some Valentine's cards?
- Dad is in charge of finishing homework, play time, clean up kitchen and bedtime - I leave to run errands; return library books, pick up prescription at one store, grocery shopping at another(turns out to be quite relaxing and QUIET!)
- 8:00 - errands done -go home and unpack groceries (youngest 2 make their way downstairs and chat with me while I put the last few groceries away)
- Back to bed - find Husband and oldest son passed out in our bed.
- 8:30 - everyone in bed, including Daddy - downstairs straighten up kitchen (not really needed since Daddy did this), pack lunches and bags for next day, spend some time on computer
- 8:45 - Youngest comes downstairs to tell me he needs to use the bathroom - send him to the bathroom but he did not get there in time - send him upstairs to wake up Daddy and have Daddy help him get new pjs
- Get clothes ready for next day(this could comprises of checking to see what is least dirty and wrinkled, depending on energy level!) Tonight, I iron a pair of pants.
- 9:00 - youngest downstairs AGAIN to tell me he needs me - take him back upstairs, threaten to close his door if he gets out of bed again.
- 9:15 - Check on oldest two - one asleep - oldest playing his DS. Give lecture to oldest the he is not allowed to play the DS in bed on a school night. Lecture, apparently not appreciated, oldest gets ticked.
- 9:20 Finish up downstairs, take dog out one last time
- 9:45 - Night time bathroom routine
- 10:00 - Fall into bed, asleep in with minutes (and I use to have insomnia!)
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
Monday, February 1, 2010
Decluttering accomplishments to-date:
- Linen cupboard
- Under bathroom sink
- My sock drawer
- Husband's t-shirt drawers
- Kids' rooms
- Toy/craft closet
- Family room toy box(sort of cleaned out but there were too many kids around to really get rid of stuff!)
Sunday, January 31, 2010
Bone Broth Soup
2 Roasted Chickens
1 batch of sugar cookies
Vanilla Wafer Cookies 2xs
20 mini hamburger rolls
I never got to the pizza pockets! Oh well. My freezer is packed! Many other people participating in these cooking days seem to have planned on making whole meals or at least part of a meal. At this point, our meals are very simple, so there usually isn't a lot of prep for them besides remembering to take the meat out of the freezer. Plus my boys don't seem to be eating a wide variety of foods lately. I will have to work on that. I do enjoy having homemade baked goodies in the freezer for lunches and having a ton of bone broth on hand is such a time saver. As a full time working outside the home(school year only!), freezer cooking has been helping me stay a bit more sane!
Fresh Blueberries - B1G1F
Fresh Bagels - buy 6 get 6 free
Orville Redenbacher's microwave popcorn - B1G1F
Maxwell House Coffee $4.99 with isave coupon
Hillshire Farms Smoked links - B1G1f
Oscar Meyer Hot Dogs - B1G1F
Skippy Peanut Butter - $2.00
Quaker Life Cereal, Oat Squares, or Mini Delights rice cakes - 2/$5
Capri Sun Fruit Drinks 10 pack - $2
1/2 price Thomas' bagels or mini bagels
Farm Rich Appetizers all varieties - B1G1F
Also in the flyer this week - "Double any colgate coupon"Coupon and 2 "Double any manufacturer's coupon" Coupon
Vanilla Wafer cookies 2xs
Finish up the Bone Broth
My bone broth has been simmering for about 15 hours and as soon as it cools a bit, I am going to strain it. I'll keep some aside for this week and the rest I will freeze. Pancakes are up for our dinner tonight so I can just make a lot of extras and freeze for breakfasts. Vanilla wafer cookies will hopefully get done later this afternoon. I also still have my usual Sunday night chores of getting things ready for the week. I do want to boil up a few eggs for lunches for me and I was hoping to make some fresh juice for Steve. What a busy day! Plus, the downstairs still needs a cleaning and laundry has to be folded and put away. Thank god for Steve who actually does the laundry for all of us!
Saturday, January 30, 2010
Friday, January 29, 2010
Vanilla Wafer cookies
2 roasted chickens
Bone broth(made from the roasted chickens)
I am sure I will think of more to add to this list as the weekend progresses. Wish me luck!
Sunday, January 24, 2010
Boneless Bottom Sirloin Steak $1.99/lb
Boneless Chicken Breast $1.99/lb
Boneless Pork Loin $1.99/lb
Cook's Spiral Sliced Ham $1.69/lb
80% lean ground beef $2.49/lb.
Hatfield Traditional ham Steak 2/$5
I am most definitely using my extra grocery money to stock up on some of these deals! Remember join Price Chopper's facebook page and you could also see some exclusive coupons!
Choice of cereal, toast or bagels
Boys: Cheese and crackers, PBJ sandwiches, leftovers
Steve Soup and salads
Hamburgers(using my new slider grill!)
I am glad that this month is just about over and I am still left with money leftover. Price Chopper has some fab deals on meat and I am going to use some of the leftover money to stock up on that.
Saturday, January 23, 2010
Thursday, January 21, 2010
Helavua Good cheese 2 @ 2.19
Keebler Club crackers with cheese 2.00
Nabisco yogurt covered pretzels 2.00
Nabisco 100 calorie mini chocolate cookies 2.00 plus the package had an instant !.50 off coupon!
Roasting Chicken 3.37
4 pack Star Kist tuna fish 2.79
8 lb bag oranges 4.99
Total spent including coupon 20.03
4 packages of Price Chopper brand frozen veggies 1.00 a bag
Gallon of skim milk 2.57
2 boxes Pop secret popcorn 3.19(B1G1F)
Price Chopper brand individual applesauce 1.50
3 london broils - 1.99/lb
2 Dole Salad 3.49 (B1G1F)
2 Wheat breads 3.39 (B1G1F)
2 cans of pears 1.oo each
can pineapple 1.29
4 pack Danactivn yogurt 2.89 (1 off coupon)
5lb bag grapefruit 2.99
bag of pears 2.99
plum tomatoes .99/lb
fiber one yogurt 2.79 (1 off coupon)
18 eggs 1.78
Price Chopper brand french fries 1.99
Total Spent 48.22
Altogether I spent 68.25. Obviously this is lower than my 100 a week goal but if I added all of what I spent the rest of the month the total is: 454.57 a little over my 400/month goal. I really am going to try and make it until the end of the month before I go back to the grocery store. I still have 200 left to restock. Now if I could spend only 450/month all of the other months of the year!
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Sunday, January 17, 2010
cereal, pancakes, toast or bagel
Same as always!
Roasted Chicken 2xs
Grilled cheese or egg sandwich
My b-day - ordering out!
Saturday, January 16, 2010
First up Walmart -
3 bags Birds Eye Steamed frozen vegetables - 1.25 each - used $1.00 off 3 bags coupon
2 pack Colgate toothpaste - $3.00 - used .75 off coupon
Total spent - $5.00
Next was Price Chopper. I wouldn't list EVERYTHING I bought but I did get some good deals. Ground beef was on sale for $1.99 a pound so I bought about 5 pounds. I haven't seen ground beef on sale for awhile and we haven't had red meat in quite sometime. I spent a total of $127.85 but with coupons and sale prices subtract, I spent out of pocket $98.59. Not bad but still with the Walmart run added in, I am 3.59 over budget this week. Steve also ran to the store once for a few supplies I had forgotten and we now have about $75 left for the last week. I think we can make it but the last week will be challenging!
Monday, January 11, 2010
pancakes, cereal, toast or bagels
same as last week
Waffles with fruit
Individual Pizzas and salads
Scrambled eggs or eggs and sausage muffin
goldfish, vanilla wafers,cookies, smoothies, fruit
For more menu planning ideas visit I'm an Organizing Junkie here.
Saturday, January 9, 2010
Bought 2 Juicey Juice 8 pack juice boxes for 2.25 each
Bought 2 bottles of Juicey Juice for 2.25 each
Yo-baby yogurt - 2.29
Coupons used -
2 Target coupons - $1 off 2 Juicey Juice
Stacked with 2 MFR coupon - $1 of 2 Juicey Juice
1 $.40 off yo-baby yogurt
Total Spent: 6.89
5 Grapefruits - .39 each
Broccoli - 1.59
2 packages of peppers - 2.59 each
bag of onions .99
Bag of apples $2.39
Box of Saltines .89
bag of mini marshmallows .69
Bag of baby carrots 1.19
2 bags of salad 1.99 each
Gallon of milk $2.09
2 containers of grape tomatoes 1.99 each
Box of vanilla wafers $1.99
2 dozen eggs $1.17 each
Package of cheese 1.99
can of black olives $1.19
I also spent 40.40 at Walmart bringing the week's total to $80.01. Not bad! Best part of my shopping trip - I went with a good friend and had a coffee and adult interaction:) Now off to make cookies with my youngest.
Friday, January 8, 2010
Seriously though, we have so much stuff it is amazing! Half the stuff we are no using but it is certainly taking up space. I do have to admit I am a bit of a pack rat and have a tendency to not let things go. If I look around our basement, there are boxes and boxes of textbooks left over from my college years. Why do I still need them? Since I haven't done anything with them except move them a zillion times in the last, ahem 16 years, I think it is time to let them go. I plan on helping the kids declutter their rooms and our toybox this weekend. My youngest son's daycare is having a toy drive to help replenish their toys. It would be a perfect place to donate toys no one wants anymore and help declutter our house. Next week I want to try and tackle the basement. We have a few shelves up that are filled and I would like to clean them out and use them to store all of the food I have stocked up on. That is, if we have any extra left after our month of eating from the pantry!
Sunday, January 3, 2010
Saturday, January 2, 2010
toast, cereal, pancakes, or eggs
Soup for Dad
Soup and salads for Mom
Kids- some days the bigger boys are buying, other days I still am trying to come up with ideas. Maybe cheese and crackers, leftover pasta, leftover pizza, grilled cheese, or BP&J.
Ham with scallop potatoes
Individual Pizzas - Mom and Dad - roasted peppers, oldest boy - white pizza, littler boys - regular, salad, carrots, and fruit
Chicken with mash potatoes, veggie and fruit
Pasta with egg and parm. cheese and salad
Leftovers (pasta and chicken)
Kielbasa with rice and veggies
Popsicles (my kids are addicted even in the cold weather!)
Bread and butter
For ideas and menus, check out I'm an Organizing Junkie's website here.
Friday, January 1, 2010
Here is what I found in our freezers:
3 Kielbasas and 9 meals worth of chicken
Wow, not a lot. I really thought I had more meat in the freezers. Maybe there will be a super sale on meat this month! I am planing on adding the following meals to my list:
Homemade Pancakes 2X
Homemade Waffles 2X
Homemade Pizza 2X
Now I just have to come up with 6 more meals. I am thinking grilled cheese and soup, maybe ground meat will be on sale one week this month, and eggs for another night. I am trying to come up with lunches for the boys and I am having trouble thinking of things to pack for them. I am trying to stay away from lunch meat because of the additives and preservatives that are in them. I have been packing cheese and crackers and left over pizza for them. I think I could get away with leftover cold pasta for my oldest and a cold grilled cheese for the youngest. Breakfasts are easy - cereal, toast, bagel or pancakes. We have a lot of bread and bagels in the freezer and I have a good stash of cereal. I think that I just need to commit to planning out each week, cook some of the food ahead of time (pancakes, waffles, pizza dough), and making sure we follow through!