Saturday, February 28, 2015

Frugal Accomplishments and Blessings - End of February, Plus Menu for First Week of March

We had a lot of snow this week, especially at the very beginning.  We have used our wood stove to help keep the house warm and reduce our propane use.  A wood fire makes the house really warm and cozy.

On Sunday I put the turkey frame into the crock pot with some garlic and the last of the celery.  I added a quart of water and let it simmer all day.  I ended up with a vegetable serving bowl level-full of meat and 2 quarts of strained turkey stock.  I fed the liver and heart to the dog, chopped up in her food.  I used some of the cooked turkey meat for the white chicken (turkey) chili that I made, and froze the remainder for future use.

Middle of winter, and our hens are laying quite well.  They get lots of vegetable scraps -
see how dark the yolks are?  Pretty good for February!

I made breaded turkey nuggets, Cesar salad dressing, fruit salad, hash browns, omelets, egg salad, oven fries, white chicken chili, pico-de-gallo, glazed carrots, macaroni salad, corn bread (from a mix, but I made the mix!), and three loaves of bread (two went to the freezer).   I cut up fruits and veggies for snacking as needed too, and re-combined leftovers to make lunches as needed.  I tried a copycat recipe for Belvita breakfast cookies - it needed a fair amount of tweaking, but they came out alright in the end.

We stayed home a lot.  It was lovely!

I was able to spend some time with a dear friend.  Between conflicting schedules and weather, it had been a while since we'd gotten together, and it was so nice to just visit!

I signed up for Schoola, resulting in a $15 credit.  With free shipping I was able to get Daughter 2 shirts and a pair of pants.  I'll share when my order arrives and let you know how it turned out.  You can get your own $15 credit (if you are new to the program) and learn more about it here.

We returned materials and then borrowed some more items from the library.  I took in some magazines to donate.  We signed up for some free magazines a couple months ago and they are starting to arrive now, so I take them to the library when we are done with them.

Frittata a-la leftovers.  Can you spot the heart-shaped green onion?
We did our other errands while we were out and about.  We picked up chicken feed, since we are expecting more snow soon, and I didn't want to run too low.

I picked up a little produce, including Jonagold apples for .50/lb, fresh broccoli for .98/lb, roma tomatoes for .59/lb., a pound of strawberries for 1.50 and some bananas for .54/lb.  There were not a lot of great deals this week that caught my eye, so I just gathered some things that were good prices and would round out our meals. There is also a sale this week offering 10lb. of potatoes for .99 - I just got one bag of them because we still have potatoes from the last time they offered them for that price.

This is not everything I purchased this week - just some highlights.  This week I spent $18.51 total, for the items above as well as some things that were not on sale (pepperoni, cottage cheese, tortilla chips, graham crackers, etc.)  I buy as much as I can when it's on sale, and look for the best price for the rest of it. :)

I have some things in the freezer that I've made ahead, and I'm including a few of them in the menu for the first week of March.  It should be a fairly easy week to put together, thanks to those homemade convenience foods.  Here's the plan for suppers:

M - stromboli w/marinara sauce, garden salad, apples
T - tamales, cabbage slaw, calabacitas
W - beef stew curry over rice, apples
R - taco salads, chips and salsa
F - homemade egg rolls, steamed broccoli and carrots, Asian lettuce wraps, home-canned plums
S - tomato soup, grilled cheese sandwiches, carrots and celery, apples
S - seasoned turkey 'steaks', baked potatoes, vegetable stir-fry

How was your week?  Did you get snow where you live?  What did you do to spend less, save more and make do?  I'd love to read all about your adventures and accomplishments in the comments!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Schoola - Get some free or very low-cost clothing for kids (adults too, actually)

I just learned about a new site called Schoola - they sell new and gently used kids clothing, but some is for high school kids, so there are adult sizes there.  Right now they are offering a $15 credit when you register.  You might (or might not - it seems to be working for some, but not others) get an additional 25% off with the code HURRY.  Shipping is free, and there are items for as little as $3.  I was able to get Daughter three items for 59 cents out of pocket.  If you want to give it a try (there is no obligation to spend - you can place an order for less than $15 in merchandise and get your items free), go HERE.  Look for the 'join' button, along the top and a little right of center.

Happy Shopping!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Frugal Accomplishments & Blessings, Third Week of February - Menu for Next Week

I baked bread, likely enough to last two weeks.  I decided to play around with it a little, so at the beginning of second rise (right after shaping the loaves) I brushed the loaves with egg, sprinkled them with 'stuff' (dried minced garlic, oats, poppy seeds, sesame seeds), then slashed the loaves and let them rise.  What do you think?

We decided to replace our printer.  We have had an inkjet printer, and it works alright, but the ink is expensive.  We switched to a laser printer - black and white only - that costs a lot less to operate.  We paid for nearly all of it with a free credit we'd gotten from Amazon back around the holidays, and it ended up costing us less out of pocket (far less!) than the ink cartridges for the old printer were going to cost.  We are not sure if we will sell the old printer or not - we have to learn whether or not it 'saves' all the info that has ever been scanned/printed/copied.

We moved Daughter's old dresser out of her bedroom and replaced it with a 'new' old chest of drawers.  She has a lot more storage space, it's easier to keep organized, but it doesn't take up any more space in her room.  It's not the prettiest - I told her we will search ideas on Pinterest and find a fun way to embellish it and pretty it up.  (I'm thinking decoupage or fabric covered drawers and a solid color base, maybe?)

We sold Daughter's old dresser, since it was little and cute and would likely sell quickly (and we didn't need it anywhere).  It sold, literally, in less than two minutes.  Yay!

I made salad dressing for Asian chicken salad, Indian rice, tomato soup, sesame-parmesan turkey steaks, popcorn and lots of little odds and ends through the week.  Husband made a really tasty bean dip.  I had opened a can of pears and a can of mandarin oranges, and used the juice from those to help sweeten fruit punch.  It means I can use half the sugar and it's still plenty sweet.

I had a second prescription I could transfer, so I earned another $25 in store credit at King Soopers.  I had checked in advance, and it is OK to transfer more than one.

We got snow Sunday and Monday, and used the wood stove to keep the house warm throughout the week. Mid-week we had some warmer weather (50's and sunny) and made sure to spend part of the day outdoors in the sunshine and pretty weather.  This weekend, we are getting more snow.

We ate leftovers as they became available and fed vegetable peels, apple cores, etc. to the hens.

I washed our clothing with homemade laundry soap.  The fabric softener was all gotten free, because we got it at Kmart with a gift card we got for transferring a prescription (back in...November?) and I hung the clothes to dry.

We checked out books and media from the library.

My friend gave me a pair of jeans that was too short for her - they fit me perfectly!

I have been looking for some cabinets for craft-room storage for quite a while, and this week, I found what I wanted, second-hand for a really good price.  I am very happy with them.  These cabinets will free up several hodge-podge items I had been using - those will be repurposed elsewhere or sold.  I'm in the midst of sorting and organizing, and hope to have the craft room re-set within a week.

I continued in my efforts to de-clutter the house.  I think of this as frugal because when we rid our home of things we no longer want or need, the house feels more spacious.  Since I sell off things when I can, it does help us a little bit financially, but it also brings peace of mind, just keeping our home more inviting and pleasing to the eye. :)  I also learn what we do not need.  For example, Easter grass (for baskets) and the plastic eggs?  We do not need those...but embarassingly, last year, I could only find a very few of the eggs, and no grass.  I used the eggs I found (and paper from the shredder) and it was fine, but still...being better organized means I don't waste resources on stuff I already have, and getting rid of excess means I can put things away nicely, instead of cramming stuff pell-mell.  (Does anyone say pell-mell anymore?)

There were some good shopping opportunities this week.  I picked up more pasta and spaghetti sauce for .69 and .19 (respectively) after sale and coupons....Libby's canned vegetables (mostly corn, a few green beans and one can of peas) for .25 each, some oyster crackers for .49 a package (the standard 12 oz. size), milk for 1.99/gal. and tuna for .50 a can.  Some of that was at King Sooper, so the balance was paid with the free gift card funds.  Cucumbers were .50 each this week, Jonagold apples were .50/lb, celery was .77 per bunch, summer squashes and red grapes were .99/lb, and romaine lettuce was .99/head.

I thawed and parted out a turkey this week, and then wrapped and froze it in smaller, more manageable pieces.  Today I have the frame and wing tips in the crock pot - I will pull off the pieces of meat and use the stock as well.  I have a few turkey-based meals in this week's dinner menu:

M - breaded turkey nuggets w/sauces, homemade french fries, carrots and celery sticks, fruit salad
T - kalua pork, rice, kimchee, nori and furikake, carrot-raisin salad
W - white chicken (turkey) chili, corn bread, grapes
R - hamburger helper lasagna, summer squash saute', cantaloupe
F - ham/cheese/vegetable omelets, hash browns, green beans, toast, orange juice
S - chicken (turkey) Cesar salad, garlic toast, apples
S - leftovers/out/think of something?

How was your week?  How did you spend less, save more and make do?  Leave a comment so we can learn from you! :)

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Frugal Accomplishments & Blessings for the 2nd Week of February, Next Week's Menu

We had a mix of weather again this week.  We spent more time outdoors on the warm days, hanging laundry, cleaning up the yard and enjoying the sunshine.  On colder days we worked on indoor projects and managed to stay busy.

I gathered some things from around the house to decorate a little bit for Valentine's day.

We heated with wood at night and on the cold days to save on propane usage.

I used homemade laundry soap and hung the laundry to dry when I was able.  I hurt my back mid-week, and the stairs were such a challenge that I used the dryer.  I very rarely use the felt kind of strange!

We borrowed books and media from the library.  I also picked up some old issues of Mother Earth News from the free magazine bin.  I will check them against my collection and return them if they are duplicates.

I trimmed Daughter's bangs, as well as my own, and gave Husband a hair cut.

I made simple Valentine treats for Husband and Daughter by using stamps and some materials I had on hand to embellish a bag of gummy bears for Daughter and some chocolate for Husband.

I mixed up a batch of homemade granola and some homemade biscuit mix.  I subbed in healthier fats and whole grains/whole grain flours.  (I only used some whole grain flour for the biscuit mix, because full whole grain makes for very heavy biscuits)

I did a couple of surveys for Pinecone Research.

We cleaned and de-cluttered Daughter's room.  We will sell and/or donate some items that that she has outgrown.  Her room looks much more spacious.  We added the butterfly wall-stickers this weekend - we got them for $1 at Dollar Tree.

I took some bulk packages of shredded cheese (mozzarella and cheddar) and packaged them into smaller containers, then froze them.  That way we don't run the risk of spoilage from having cheese in the fridge too long.  Shredded cheese seems to freeze and thaw just fine.

I had saved the syrup from a couple of cans of pears and used it to sweeten some fruit punch.  I used the drippings from the night that I baked chicken (skimmed of fat) to add flavor to some rice.  We utilized leftovers for lunches.  I made popcorn for snacking.

There were a few good sale prices this week - fresh broccoli crowns for .99/lb, yellow onions for, several apple varieties for .99/lb and Blue Bell ice cream for 2.99/half gallon after sale and coupon.  Oats were .69/lb. from the bulk bin, so I stocked up on those for the coming months too.  At King Soopers I got some pasta for .19 per box and spaghetti sauce for .69 per jar....and since the balance was paid with the gift card from last month, they were essentially free.

When I made blueberry muffins, I used almond extract instead of vanilla and topped them with slivered almonds.

They are very good!
This past week, we fell off the menu-plan wagon a little bit....none of us were feeling like tuna croquettes, so we had burgers, tater tots, salad and the last of the fresh veggies I'd cut for another meal.  Husband picked up the burgers when he was out on an errand and I made the other items in the mean time.  We'll try again for the tuna croquettes this week.  Here is the dinner menu we have in mind:

M - franks and beans over rice, oranges
T - spaghetti w/meat sauce, broccoli, garlic-cheese toast, pears
W - Asian chicken salad, plums
R - tuna croquettes, rice, kimchee, carrot-raisin-apple salad
F - breaded baked chicken, green beans, butternut squash, peach cobbler
S - grilled cheese, homemade tomato-basil soup, green salad, apples
S - sesame-Parmesan turkey cutlets, Indian rice, steamed carrots

I will make a half-batch of the tomato-basil soup, since it's a new recipe for us.

I hope you had a frugal, blessed week!  You're welcome to share your adventures and accomplishments in the comments.  Thank you for stopping by!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Frugal Accomplishments, Blessings and Menu Plan - First Week of February

First, I want to thank y'all for the encouragement and prayers, regarding the hearing I had been preparing for.  It really means a lot that you would reach out to me the way you have, and I count y'all among my blessings.  The hearing was last Thursday.  If you are interested, there is a little more information here.

We had many different types of weather this week, from snowy and cold to warm and sunny, with a little ice fog mixed in just for fun.  Some days we used the wood stove to make the house nice and warm, other days we opened windows and let the fresh air in.

We received a rebate from Staples this week for some printer paper we bought a while back.

The day that I attended the hearing, I packed a lunch from home to save a little money and save myself figuring out where to grab lunch.  I am not familiar with the 'good places' downtown, and this way I didn't have to put any thought into it.

I crocheted some this week.  I made four dish cloths from cotton yarn I had on hand.

I used homemade laundry soap in the washing machine and hung our clothes to dry.  I also cleaned out my knit shirt drawer, making it easier to find what I am looking for.  Some of the excess went to Goodwill, some to the rag bag.

I made some stuffed peppers a while back.  I'm the only one who likes them so I wrapped them individually and then froze them in a bigger bag to keep them together.  I've been pulling one from the freezer on days that there aren't leftovers from the night before.  Having one at lunch (Daughter is happy to have a pbj, some carrots and fresh fruit) means I get to enjoy something I really like without the rest of the family having something they don't care for.

We decided on carryout pizza for Friday's supper.  Husband had gotten a $5 e-gift card for Domino's from Swagbucks, so we used that.  Carryout saved us the delivery fee as well....we did an errand, went for a walk at the marsh, then picked up dinner and took it home.

I combined sales and coupons to stock up on Spam for $1.50 per can.  Spam is one of those foods that causes people to choose sides.  We are on team yum.

I milled flour and made three loaves of oat-wheat bread.  Two are in the freezer and we will use them as-needed.  Um...kinda wanted to add that in right after the pizza and Spam, hee hee. We also eat vegetables...and fruit, I promise!

On the day we had taco salad, I cooked the entire pound of ground beef with some finely chopped  onions and added some leftover rice as a stretcher.  It was only about half a cup of rice, but that much doesn't affect the flavor or texture, but it does increase the volume of the meat.  I froze half the meat for another Mexican meal.  This means we are only having 2 oz. of meat per person (the three of us, plus a meal for Husband's lunch), but any time we're eating Mexican food, there are other protein sources, like beans and cheese.

Our fresh fruits were starting to run low so we picked up bananas for .59/lb., navel oranges for .20/ea, apples for .88/lb.  Milk was 1.99/gal, cream cheese was $1/8oz, and romaine was .99/head....and all of that was essentially free, since I paid for it with the gift card we got last week from King Sooper ($25 for transferring a prescription - we got two of those).  We also got tortilla chips.  We used to keep them on hand all the time, but we are buying them much less frequently now, and it is helping with both budget and snacking habits.

I made a paper chain as a Valentine's decoration.  I used some scrapbook paper that I had on hand (different colors and prints) and a punch that I bought for half off a while back.  I use the punch for other items as well....I think this is really fun and cute!  It makes me want to do one in bright colors for spring/Easter.

We borrowed media and books from the library and signed daughter up for the homeschool science fair.  Her project is about how crystals grow.

On a warm day, we spent part of the afternoon at the park, and packed snacks from home.

We went on a family field trip over the weekend.  We were able to get a discount on admission and did our town errands on the way home, since we were driving through town.

I groomed Taffy - expressed her glands, gave her a bath/dry/combout.  Her nails don't need to be trimmed right now because they were trimmed when she was spayed.

I don't forsee any big events this week, other than the science fair.  That is scheduled mid-day, so I should have time to put together suppers without any rushed days.  If you notice that we seem to be having biscuits and gravy two weeks in a row, we actually didn't have that meal last week, so I moved it to this week.  Here is the supper plan:

M - grilled ham steaks, macaroni and cheese, cucumber spears, sliced oranges
T - barbecue chicken (possibly on the grill), baked potatoes, Waldorf salad
W - BLT sandwiches, bean w/ bacon soup, sliced oranges
R - beef fajitas, Mexican rice, green salad, apples
F - biscuits and sausage gravy, scrambled eggs, green beans, sliced oranges
S - tuna croquettes, steamed rice, kimchee, carrot-raisin-apple salad
S - barbecue chicken pizzas, sliced cucumber, carrot and celery, apples

In addition to the cooking I'll do for these meals, I will make popcorn, prep raw vegetable sticks, and I'll make some scones or muffins.  I didn't make granola last week, but I probably will this week.

How are you doing with your efforts to save more, spend less and make do?  I'd love to read about your experiences in the comments!

Friday, February 6, 2015

A Quiet Country Life

Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content.                                         -Philippians 4:11 (NKJV) 

Sometimes, that is a lot easier said than done, but I think I am learning.

I mentioned last week that I would be attending a hearing this week where some issues would be discussed, regarding property rights in the area where we live.  For seven months, we have been doing research, gathering data, talking to our neighbors and other members of our community, talking to the media and preparing for this hearing.

I have been optimistic, and I've been encouraged to share our perspective so that we could find compromise that would make things better for everyone.  This is all related to some resource development in our county, and it has an effect on hundreds of rural and semi-rural residents in our community.  I met with the project manager on three separate occasions, so I could better understand their goals and objectives and hopefully articulate our concerns in a way that would help us come to resolution.

My friends have been supportive and encouraging, and my dearest friend has had Daughter at her home when I've been off at two different hearings.  Daughter has been very co-operative and kept herself entertained in the offices of the Planning Commission and the County Assessor.  Husband has looked through huge document binders at Planning Commission, listened to previous hearings and analyzed the content, done all sorts of research, helped me with my speech and proper wording - he even took time from work to come support me on 'the big day'.  It's been a real family project...and I think that was true for people on both sides of the issue.

At 9am, we went into the hearing very hopeful.  Nearly 15 hours later at 11:45pm, the decision came down in favor of development, with zero compromise.


I learned a lot from this process.  This list will not be complete.

     *     *     *

     There is more information on the web - on virtually any topic - than I ever would have imagined.  I discovered Google Scholar during this process, and used a lot of really neat databases through my local library district and various state and federal sources.

     Some publicly elected officials really care about their constituents, and others will tell you whatever you want to hear.  I vote...and I will not forget who is on which list.

     Any time that I felt discouraged and remembered to stop and count my blessings, I was able to get perspective and move forward.

     If you ask a question and hush, the person answering will often keep talking to fill the void, and you will learn many things.

     There are a lot of really nice people in the world who work really hard and have hearts as big as the sky.  There are a few I wouldn't trust any further than I could throw them.

     If a newspaper reporter doesn't understand what you're talking about, no one who reads the article will understand either.  On the other hand, a well-informed reporter who 'gets it' can make a tremendous difference!

     Being on the evening news is weird.

     The morning after the hearing, the sun came up.  The birds sang their songs.  Life goes on.

     I am a million ways blessed. I live in a home that I love, with people that I love, who love me.  I have amazing neighbors and friends.  I'm not quite sure why they put up with me, but I'm glad they do.  I have the ability to think and learn and share ideas.....and I am blessed in other countless ways.  (I already knew this, but God reminded me quite a few times, lest I forget!)

     *     *     *

I appreciate all the encouragement and prayers that came from people I know personally, as well as online friends and acquaintances.  Thank you.  I am ready to return to our version of 'quiet country life' and soak up some peace.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

January's Grocery Budget in Review, February's Loose Plan

Our monthly grocery budget is $180.00.  I do my best to buy a few stock-up items each month, all the while making sure I have enough for milk, produce, sale items I buy in smaller quantities, etc.

I made tamales from scratch for the first time ever.  It is a lot of work, but they taste
really good, and they cost a lot less than buying them from a 'tamale lady'. 
This month went well, I think.  I was able to purchase quite a lot of stock-up food, but I didn't go over the budget.  With the rest of the grocery budget, we  purchased lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, milk, cheeses, some snack foods (pretzels and crackers - we have reduced the amounts on those and stopped buying chips), flour tortillas (bought before the super sale listed below), smaller (not stock-up amounts) of beef and chicken, and other items as needed.

I have been baking our bread because I have a lot of wheat (and a mill) on hand, and the store bread just hasn't tasted good to us lately.  We have 7 hens (three young, three 'mature', one granny) and we get enough eggs from them now.  Also, because we stock different items each month, we have good supplies on hand.  For example, I bought several turkeys in November when the price was best, so even though I didn't purchase any turkeys this month, we ate turkey for many meals, and still have plenty on hand.

These are the stock-up items I purchased in January:

$  8.95 - 25 lb. long grain white rice (Costco)
$29.00 - 25 lb. instant refried beans (LDS Home Storage Center)
$  9.98 - 2 lb. roasted low-salt almonds (Walgreens - sale and coupon)
$14.95 - 5 lb. 93% lean ground beef (King Soopers - grand opening sale)
$11.94 - 6 lb. organic coconut palm sugar (King Soopers - markdown aisle)
- 12 cents - 12 packages of Mission whole-wheat soft tortillas (on sale for .99, $1 off coupon attached to each package, so I was paid 12 cents to take them)

$74.70 - Total spent on Stock-Up items.

Home-made Lo Mein uses a couple of pantry items - spaghetti noodles and some sauces.
It's also a great way to clear out the vegetable drawer.
February's Plan

I looked in the pantry, and it is in pretty good shape.  We decided to stop purchasing ready-to-eat cereals, but we are still using up some we had on hand.  This change means I will be making more granola, so if oats go on sale anywhere, I will get some to bring up the level in my oats bucket.

We have a few hens, so eggs for supper is a low-cost, healthy choice for us.
These omelets are full of vegetables, along with some ham I saved in the freezer from Christmas.
We will continue to watch for good beef prices - if we find some, I will get more beef.  We just ran out of nori (seaweed) sheets, so we will be purchasing those at Costco in February.  The Costco package lasts 3-4 months for us.  I am also going to check the price of bulk yeast, but I still have enough on hand for a while.

The bread I make uses some all purpose flour.  If I find a sale on unbleached flour, I will stock more of that, but we will not run out before the Easter baking sales, so I can stock up then as well.  If butter were go to on sale, I'd stock more in the freezer, but we are not out.

On Super Bowl Sunday, Daughter asked for 'cheese eggs in a nest'.
We used pretzels and chow mein noodles for the nest material and cut the eggs from
a slice of muenster cheese.  She loved it!  (She also ate the cheese scraps.)
We have some raisins, but stock is running a bit low, so I will stock up on raisins if I find a good sale.  Same for nuts - I will watch for sales on peanuts, walnuts and almonds.

Do you keep a pantry?  Do you buy any items in bulk?  What sorts of great deals are you finding these days?

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Frugal Accomplishments and Blessings to Finish January and Beginning February Menu

Hello, All,

This past week has been a busy - the current one will be even busier, as we prepare to speak at a hearing regarding property rights concerns.  I apologize for the current lack of photos here.  I actually have some, and if/when I find a moment, I will add them.  (So close, and yet so far!)  I also need to figure out our dinner menu for the week.  Much like the photos, there is food's a matter of figuring out what we will eat, and when.  I'll share that when I know it, too. (Done!)  Meanwhile, your prayers and support are appreciated.  I hope to share more about 'what happened' once it's all over.

*    *    *

I milled corn into a fine corn meal and made a half batch of cornbread mix.  It takes us about 3 months to use a half batch, so that's as much as I make at one time.  I love this book of mixes, (Make A Mix, by Eliason and Harward) because most, if not all of them (all I have used) do not have the fats added until you make a batch of the final product.  This means I can safely store the mixes in the cabinet instead of the fridge.

My mill adjusts from 'coarse' to 'bread' to 'pastry'.  I use 'coarse' to mill corn, and it makes a fine meal, or a really coarse flour, depending on your perspective.  I forgot to adjust it back to the setting I prefer for flour, which is half between 'bread' and 'pastry' when I milled some wheat after milling the corn it was too grainy for flour.  I fixed the adjustment on the mill, and I will save this flour for dog biscuits or graham crackers.

We had warm, pretty weather this week so we played outside every chance we got.  On Monday we went to the library for books and media, then to the 'swamp'.  It is a small area with a little creek and pond, lots of tall cottonwoods and lots of cattails.  We found two wild beehives, saw a few squirrels and some geese!  It was a lovely way to spend an afternoon.

I air dried our laundry.  It was warm and pretty enough to hang most of it outdoors to dry.  When a shampoo bottle was nearly empty, I filled it half-full of water and then added it to a load of laundry as a booster of sorts.

I learned about a sale at Safeway - Mission whole wheat flour tortillas were on sale for .99, but each package had a $1 off coupon attached.  I purchased 12 packages of 10.  I went to the self-check station, and at the end of the transaction I was given 12 cents.

There were some other good prices I took advantage of, including 99 cents for a head of lettuce, fresh pineapples for $1, 16 oz. sour cream for $1, bunch green onions for .49 each and golden delicious apples for .49/lb.  The end of the month left us with 39 cents in the grocery wallet, which I will roll over into next month's funds.

On omelet night, I made extra hash browns (this is nearly impossible to do here, because we all really like them too much) and ham-onion-pepper mixture.  After supper, I sprayed 9 holes of our muffin tin with nonstick spray and added hash browns, the ham-onion-pepper mixture, some cheddar and egg.  I topped it with the remaining chopped green onion from supper and baked the 'breakfast muffins' in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes.  This helped me use up the extras in a way that will make breakfasts it used up some eggs from our hens.  We can warm these up for quick breakfasts on busy days.

I made guacamole, salsa, soup, omelets, hash browns, corn muffins, spaghetti sauce and more.  We popped popcorn several times and enjoyed some trail mix I made from ingredients we had on hand.

We took our recycling into the free drop-off site and then went to take some used batteries and other items to the hazardous household materials drop-off center.  At the second site, there are shelves of household items that have been dropped off but are still usable, free for the taking.  We got some household cleaners, 2-cycle engine oil, lamp oil, insect repellent and spray lubricants (for hinges, sticky door locks, etc.).  This saves us the cost of all those things and reduces waste as well.

I cleaned two more of my glass pans, and I think that takes care of all of them for now.  I had to use oven cleaner on the textured glass pan, but I get that free from the household cleaners shelf.

cleaned with the magic eraser type of sponge

cleaned with oven cleaner  (outside, where there is texture) and sponge (inside)  
We dropped off some items at Goodwill and received a 20% off token to use between now and mid-February.  We also donated some clothing items for children to a mission group that will be going to Guatemala.

Husband and I each transferred a prescription, so each of us received a $25 store credit ($50 total) to King Sooper.  Since our monthly grocery budget is $180, this is a big boost!  We will use it in conjunction with sales and coupons and make the most of this blessing.

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The Last-Minute, Toss-Together, Wing-and-a-Prayer Dinner Menu:

M - hamburger helper lasagna, salad w/homemade croutons, fresh pineapple
T - chicken-vegetable stir fry, rice, kimchee, sliced oranges
W - barbecue ribs (from the freezer) baked potatoes, sweet corn, apples
R - hearing day, and likely, hearing night.  Husband will take Daughter for dinner.  I will take some fruit and stuff with me.
F - celebration dinner, because no matter how it goes, it's least, for now
S - taco salad made w/ground turkey, apples
S - biscuits w/sausage gravy, eggs, green beans, oranges

That's the plan, as far as I know!  How was your week?  Share your frugal wins in the comments!