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!


  1. We mainly use cloth diapers, but our toddler has had a bad case of the stomach flu this week so I've had her in disposables. We bought a couple of boxes of disposable diapers at Target and got a $5 giftcard with the purchase. DH went through the line with the diapers, got the card, passed it to me, and I used it on the spot for the rest of our purchases. We don't have a Target nearby, so it made since to use it right away.

    1. We have target in 'the city', but I always try to do the same thing with their gift cards. I hope the entire family is healthy soon!

  2. Your dishcloths look so pretty there all together! I like the idea of the paper chain decor in differing colors for the various holidays.

    I had a very sore ankle last week for a variety of reasons and so I stayed home most of the week which always saves money. My menus went out the window since I needed easy so on Tuesday I threw a whole chicken and veggies in the crockpot. I prep my whole chickens and freeze them in gallon Ziplocs so that they can go from freezer to crockpot without thawing. Wed I took the scrappy bits of chicken and chopped them and heated with a can of Rotel. We rolled that and some Mexican rice and refried beans from the freezer into burritos and it was delicious. I am going to be using the Rotel trick again on other scraps of meat that I always kind of wonder what to do with. The rest of the chicken and the broth from the crockpot went into chicken and rice that fed us Thursday and Friday.

    Hubby ran to the grocery store for me to grab some deals that I would have missed out on. One thing he got was delicious Kaiser rolls for 55 cents for a 6 pack. We have had great deli sandwiches with lunchmeat bought on the cheap in Jan all this week for our lunches. It has been like eating out! He had to get rainchecks for some items but that is okay since they are stockpile items.

    We needed new sheets for our bed and had gift cards for Target so we went there. Only the bottom sheet is really needing replacement so we bought a fitted white sheet so that we can 'use up' the rest of the set. There was a $60 set on clearance for $38 in our color so we also bought that to put away for the next set. It all cost only $10 out of pocket.

    I did run out one day and pick up a ham. I got a spiral ham for about $8 and thanks to your advice I have parted it out and frozen it and will get about 14 meals from it.

    Our youngest daughter took me out for Mexican for lunch on Friday. This place is like the soup nazi. The food is fantastic and they are all crazy rude. We think it is hilarious! She would not let me pay.

    We have had two days of beautiful warm sunshine and so we enjoyed sitting on the porch swing. A free, relaxing thing to do. We also had a morning so cold that the heat pumps shut down. Emergency heat is not cheap but I glad we have it and the heatpumps were back up and running by early afternoon.

    This week we will be heading to the lake house from Wed on so my menus are different than usual.

    SN-we were greeters today so since we have to be at church so early we used our Hardee's check in app points for free burgers after church, paid for a L fry and two senior drinks for $3.32 total. I cannot make that at home for that price. We still have enough points for another free burgers meal and cheap breakfast biscuits that we will use for lunch and breakfast out during the lake visit.

    M-pasta and meat sauce from the freezer, salad, garlic bread

    T-Turkey, gravy, stuffing and mashed potatoes from the freezer, green beans, salad

    W-BOGO coupon for Long John Silver's

    TR-Paesano's Italian Restaurant-the BEST-our Valentine's dinner out

    FR-pizzas on pre-made crusts bought BOGO w/ a coupon, carrots and dip (blues concert that night and there is always a local restaurant that does a free spread after the concert, so really two dinners)

    ST-Steak on the grill, oven potato wedges, salad and garlic bread, dessert from the little bakery downtown

    We plan to hit some thrift stores over there since they are way better than ours but we need to be mindful not to buy what we do not need. There are also some great outlets that we will check out for gifts to put away for Christmas and birthdays.

    Have a good week all!

    1. It makes me smile that you go to thrift stores when you're on vacation...mostly, because we do the same thing! In fact, when my parents or in-laws come here to visit, we take them too! I hope you have a wonderfully relaxing time!

  3. I inventoried my freezer this week (and scrapped off all the ice that had formed on the sides... that was a workout!) and realized that I had a lot more meat than I thought. So my weekly shopping was less than $50 and I will try to keep it at $50 or less through March. I had gotten a bunch of free women magazines from the library's donation pile so I clipped a bunch of recipes while I was riding my stationary recumbent bike. Today I went through the pile of recipes and wrote dinner menus through March, mostly using what I already have on hand. It was exhausting but I'm so glad I won't have to think about what to cook for so many weeks... and use up items that have been in the freezer for a while!
    We got Chinese take-out for dinner last night and called it our Valentine's Day dinner. We got some free eggrolls with our order, which was $26 for three of us. That's because I was on auto-pilot and ordered the combination platter for myself that I ordered before I went on a diet... and I ate it all. I want to say that I enjoyed it but it was only so-so and then I spent a horrible night because of all the extra sodium I had eaten. Yuck. Next time (if there is a next time), I'll just order the wonton soup and maybe an eggroll. Lesson learned!
    My daughter and I went to the Art Festival yesterday. We had to pay for parking and we treated ourselves to some roasted almonds but otherwise didn't spend a cent (it helped that all the artwork that we really liked was horrendously expensive). On our way home we went to the mall to pick up a free travel-size body spray from Bath & Body Works (they had sent me a coupon), a box of green tea from the Dollar Tree ($1 for 100 bags) and we used a $5 gift card that I had gotten as a promotion at Steak'n Shake to get a milkshake for my daughter and a Diet Coke for me (I only had to pay $0.65 out of pocket). I hadn't had a Diet Coke in many weeks so it was a treat (and might have contributed to my restless night!). I sold a few books on although most of them only for $1 to $1.50. I reused bubble envelopes that I had received in the past to mail them out. I was able to work the trips to the Post Office in with my other errands so I didn't have to do extra trips. We also borrowed media and books from the library for our weekly entertainment and watched several TV shows over the air thanks to our digital antenna and also on Netflix.

    1. I have to confess, I was looking for juice in the chest freezer (which I found) when I found two packages of hot dogs I didn't know I had. Acutally, I *did* know I had them, but when I was looking for one a few weeks back, couldn't find them anywhere in that I bought a pack at the store. I'm glad they've turned back up!

      We have a favorite Chinese restaurant here that is really reasonable, particularly for lunch. Every meal comes with soup, egg roll and hot tea, then the meal itself has the entree', choice of rice and the fortune cookie! It is always entirely too much food, and until recently, the three of us would share two plates, but Daughter has gotten to where she can eat her own meal now. (I don't know where she puts it!)

      Sounds like you had a great week - hope this one is just as good!

  4. Personally I love Spam.

  5. No shame in loving spam - I do too. Grew up eating pan-fried spam sandwiches - yum yum.

    1. Regarding Spam - I don't know that I ever had it before I lived in Hawaii...maybe that's a good thing, because it's a somewhat common food there, and prepared all sorts of ways. I learned how to cook it for different meals that Husband grew up eating, and our family really enjoys it too. :)

  6. Specially Processed American Meat was manufactured and sent to Europe and especially England to help feed the hungry folks who struggled to manage with their severe rationing. I love the episode of MASH where the chef comes in by mistake and has thousands of tasty uses for Spam then a colonel visits and steals him away. I love Spam and when we stopped eating pork I thought I'd have to give it up but they make a turkey spam that is good. I fried a few slices this morning to go with our omelets. As a kid we ate what we called Garden Salad sandwiches. It was two thin slices of Spam (very thin! lol) on bread with anything we had from the garden (tomato, cucumber, onion, peppers, lettuce). Granny was fond of feeding us 7 grandchildren that for dinner when we visited in summer months.


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