October 27, 2010

Happy Note

Last month I mention that wanted to reduce our food bill to $95 a week; this month on aveage I spent $88 a week!! I might be the only one excited about it but it turns in to an extra $50, which I already spent at the Russian Festival at my church last week lol.  The great thing is we have more snacks in our house becuase I am baking bread, cakes, and cookies all the time.  Please note that we eat our vegatables, fruits, and drink our V8 everyday lol.

In order to celebrate my little victory, here is my list of my most common items I buy at the MAX price I will pay for them.

5lbs of White Potatoes: $2.50 but will try to wait when it’s under $2
1lb Carrots: $1
Red Pepper: $1.75 a pound (dave doesn’t like green pepper)
Fresh Fruit: $1 a pound, we are lucky to have a farmers market close to our supermarket so I tend to get a good deal on all fresh produce

Coffee: $2 we drink Chuck’s Full of Nuts, 4 small cans has more coffee than 1 large can and when it is on sale it’s cheaper.
Orange Juice: $2
V8: $2.50 for a large can (then pour into smaller bottles)
Soda: twice a year I buy when it’s 5 case for $11 (we don’t drink soda normally)
Crystal Light: $4 for the big packets but will stock up when it’s less
Bottle Water: 32 bottles for less than $5

Chicken Brest: $2 a pound
Any other cut of Chicken: 75 cents a pound
Ground Beef: $2 a pound
Bottom Round Roast: $1.75 a pound (which I butcher up into two meals)
Pork Tenderloin: $2.25 a pound (I buy at Sam’s Club then butcher up into 7 meals)
Sausage: $2 a pound but this is usually cheaper
Butter: $2.50 but will try to wait for when it’s under $2
Can Tomatoes: $1 or less a can
Pasta: Never more than a $1
Chicken Stock: $0.00 Homemade :)

Cheddar Cheese $1.25 will stock up when it’s less
Yogurt 50 cents or less
Eggs: 2 dozen for around $2.50

Cake/Brownie Box mix when it’s less than 90 cents a box
Frosting: $0.00 homemade :)

Meal Plan for Week of 10/20-11/05

When I saw beef for $1.69 and broccoli $.99 a pound my only thoughts is making Beef and Broccoli.  Let's not over look the apples for 50 cents a pound either, homemade applesauce here I come.

Saturday Chicken Pot Pie $6 serves 4
Sunday Cheese Burgers with sweet potato fries $4 serves 2 1/2
Monday Cereal-Left Over Night
Tuesday All in 1 Pork $6.50 serves 2 1/2
Wednesday Stuff Shells with a garden salad $8 serves 4
Thursday Beef and Broccoli over white rice $5.25 serves 2
Friday Take Out

Saturday Morning Egg Sausage Bake
WeekDay: English Muffins/Oatmeal/Cereal

Thumbprint Cookies $2

All in 1 Pork Chop Meal

1 large onion, sliced
4 to 6 medium potatoes, peeled and sliced
1 can (10 3/4 ounces) condensed cream of mushroom soup
½ Pack of mushrooms
4 to 6 pork chops, boneless or bone-in
salt and pepper to taste
Lightly spray slow cooker with butter or garlic flavored non-stick cooking spray. Put onions and potatoes in bottom of slow cooker. Top with pork chops, salt and pepper, pour soup over chops. Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours, until tender.

Amanda's Broccoli Cheese

2 pounds fresh broccoli
1 pound Extra sharp chedder cheese
1/2 cup Onion
1 stick melted butter
1/2 cup Warm Milk
1/3 cup flour
1 Can of cream of mushroom
1 teaspoon freshly chopped thyme leaves
1 teaspoon freshly chopped oregano leaves
2 tablespoons smoked paprika
1 teaspoon cayenne
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 Cup of Frenches onions

Shred Cheese, chop broccoli, dice onion-Preheat oven for 350 degrees and grease casserole

Large pot, bring salt water to a boil; add broccoli for 3 mins; remove broccoli and add to ice water for 3 mins; then drain

In a sauce pan melt stick of butter and cook onion for 3 mins; add flour to coat onion; add soup, spices, and milk and cook for 5 mins

In a large bowl combine broccoli, soup mixture, and 1/2 cup of frenches onion
Place in a greased casserole and top with 1/2 cup of frenches onion; bake for 45 mins

October 25, 2010

Today I pray

That monkey will always stay honest and true. If I ask for a kiss and he doesn't want to give a kiss he won't; but when he comes to me out of the blue he gives me a big kiss and it means so much more. I pray that he will always so true to himself and he will never be forced to do something he doesn't want to do.

October 21, 2010

My conversation with God

Yesterday, today, and tomorrow are a bit easier, I do most of the talking and asking questions but one day God will be doing most of the talking and asking question… ask me some tough questions.  I always wonder what that day will be like. Sometimes I picture it will take place on Oprah’s stage with all my love ones in the audience other times I think that God will just join me for a walk. No matter where the setting takes place God will ask me and everyone the toughest questions. I know I am fully responsible for Monkey, God will ask me if I did my best on raising Monkey to be the best Christian he can be, did I give him the all the tools he needs to be a good person. I hope I can tell God that I did the best that I can, that Monkey is a great person full of love and happiness.  Monkey is now but he is only 19 months old, what will he be when he is 49 years old?    

October 20, 2010

Meal Plan for the week of 10/23-10/29

This is going to be a cheap week for me at the supermarket, I will be taking advantage of the cheap ravioli's and the cheap ribs (I love my slow cooker; it makes cheap meat taste great).  I am still not in the Halloween spirit so I hope the pumpkin spice cake helps kick off Halloween in my house.

Saturday- California Cheeseburgers with Sweet Potato fries serves 2 ½ cost $4
Sunday- Slow Cook Chili and corn bread Serves 4 Cost $7.50
Monday- Crunchy Pork Chops with Gravy-n-Noodles, green beans, and homemade applesauce serves 4 cost $6
Tuesday- Left Over Night
Wednesday- Ravioli Casserole with Cesar Salad serves 3 cost $5
Thursday Slow- Cooker Red Wine-Braised Short Ribs with roasted potatoes and glazed carrots Cost $8 serves 4
Friday- Fish Tacos with Chipotle Tartar Sauce and Coleslaw serves 2 Cost $5.50

Pumpkin Spice Cake (no drooling on the blog please lol) Cost $5
Blueberry Muffins Cost $3.50 makes 12 muffins
Banana Bread Cost $2.50

October 19, 2010

30 Frugal Things I Do

I did a money survey a few months back, and the results were that I was almost frugal.  I really didn’t know the meaning of frugal at that time but I know that I work hard for my money and don’t want to pay more than I have to for life.  Now I know frugal doesn’t mean you are poor and looking was to pay your bills, it means you have control where your money goes. I still believe God provides all that we need but I also believe God wants us to make wise chooses.

Savings on Food
Weekly meal plan based on current supermarket sales
Use coupons but don't go crazy, only buy what I need
Make double batches of dinner to freeze and reheat
Have LeftOver/Cereal once a week
We pack our own lunch
I drink big brother's free coffee
Homemade snacks and meals taste better
Saving money
I have a separate checking account just for shopping.
I have an emergency fund, it's small but there
I use swag bucks to earn points which I redeem for a free $5 Amazon gift card
I do a monthly budget
Balance my checkbook weekly to keep us on budget
Always ask your bill provider what can be done to lower your bills
Free or almost Free
Free haircuts, thanks to a good friend
Homemade gifts, I can show more people that I care and think about them
Hand-me downs, Thrift store, garage sales
Homemade laundry soap cost me $10 a year!
Library saves me over $500 a year on books!!!
Monkey's favorite place to go is the park
Saving on HealthCare
Eat Healthy! Saves on the number of trips to the doctor but you also living longer
Exercise! Save's on doctor visits and gives you more energy
Sleep keeps you sane
Water is free and we need it to live
Vitamins, the CVS brand is just as good as the designer brand
V8, 3 serves a day just by drinking V8 (buy the large can, it's cheaper than bottles)
Save the Planet
Reuse, I think about everything twice before I throw anything out
Turn the water off while doing dishes, take 2 minute showers
Line dry clothes saves on Gas and extends the life of your clothes & dryer!
Our family is always in the same room, only one TV, one room of lights on

What frugal things do you do in your household?

October 18, 2010

Unplanned Weekends

A few words that would describe me is predicable, planner, control freak, list maker but something I like to do that might shock people is to have at least one unplanned weekend.  God has full control on what happens and I am never disappointed.  This past weekend was unplanned; I was needed for support this weekend for the good times and bad.  I am glad that I was there for the good and bad without looking at my watch thinking about the next schedule event.  Unplanned weekends are also busier messier weekends but not more expensive!  Just because your day is unplanned doesn’t mean you need to spend more money, just take a little time preparing to save big bucks; pack a cooler of snacks, fruit, and water bottles (just need to add ice packs before you leave the house) and a clean house (this way you can invite people back to your house for dinner, drinks, or dessert instead of going out to a restaurant.  Some of my favorite “to-go” snacks are muffins, whole apples, and cookies (it’s a good balance).   I have gone to my nephew’s football game and peel an apple for Monkey in the stadium, people look at me like I am crazy bring an peeler to a game but what am I going to do Monkey doesn’t like apple skin and I refuse to pay money for junk food.  Thursday night I prepare for my unplanned weekend, happily though on Monday morning the diaper bag is empty, the house is a MESS, and no more snacks.  So we all know what I am doing tonight cleaning and resting.   

October 13, 2010

Meal Plan 10/16-10/22

The deals this week at shoprite were way better than last week. This week I will taken advantage of the cabbage, mushrooms, and the great lake cheese for dinner but I will also be picking up English muffins for mummy pizza for a last minute Halloween party that I might have.

Saturday Chicken Marsala with Angel Hair and Garlic and steamed broccoli $8.5 serves 4
Family Sunday Cabbage Rolls with Mash potatoes and Italian bread $11 serves 6
Monday Pork Chops with Bourbon-Apple Pan Sauce with Rice and frozen veggie $6 serves 3
Tuesday LeftOver/Cereal Night $0
Wednesday Ziti (made double batch two weeks ago) and salad $1
Thursday Order In $15
Friday Home Date-DH’s Black Bean Nachos $7 serves 2

Week Day: For Monkey: Grilled Cheese and apple slices $2.5 serves 4
Week Day: For Monkey: Mac-n-Cheese (made with sweet potatoes) $1 serves 2
Week Day: For DH & Me: Deli sandwich on whole grain/wheat bread with spinach &V8 $20 serves 10
Saturday: Campbell’s soup $1.75
Saturday – Egg muffin sandwich
Sunday- Coffee Hour at church
Week Day: Oatmeal/Cereal (bought at Sam’s Club) with fruit
Week Day: Pancakes (made with blueberries)

Snacks & Sweets
Apple Pie (trying to use up the rest of the apples)
Apple Butter


1 head cabbage 
1 pound ground beef 
2 eggs 
1/2 cup rice - uncooked
1 teaspoon salt 
1/2 teaspoon pepper pepper
1 onion - small, chopped
1 onion - large, chopped
2 cans tomato sauce (8 oz. cans)
2 cans tomatoes (1lb. 13 oz. cans)
2 tablespoons lemon juice 
1/2 teaspoon pepper 
1 teaspoon salt 
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce 
-1/2 cup brown sugar - more if desired
 Gently separate 8 outer leaves off of the cabbage.
Simmer cabbage leaves in a layer in a saucepan, covered, to soften - approximately 5 minutes.
Take them out of the skillet and lay them out on paper towels to cool.
Steam the rest of the chopped cabbage after steaming the big leaves - approximately 5 minutes.
Combine the remaining ingredients and mix well.
Take cabbage leaves, one at a time, and place approximately 1/4-1/2 cup mixture on the cabbage leaf and roll it up.
Do this until all of the meat mixture is rolled up.
Place extra steamed cabbage in the bottom of the baking dish.
Lay rolls, seam side down, on top.
Bring all sauce ingredients to a boil and pour over cabbage rolls.
Place in a 375° oven, covered, for one hour then bake uncovered at 250 for two hours.
Sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese before serving if desired.

October 12, 2010

BookClub: Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith

I am not going to be able to start reading this book till maybe this weekend (I would like to fill out my Christmas Cards and I can only do one thing at a time...don't laugh it's true). This book is killing two birds with one stone; I wanted to read something a little crepy to get me into the Halloween spirt but I normally don't love scary books but I am a history lover AND DH wants to read the same book and he LOVES vampires. I'll cash in my two brownie points later when I screw something up ;) 

Indiana, 1818. Moonlight falls through the dense woods that surround a one-room cabin where a nine-year-old Abraham Lincoln kneels at his dying mother's bedside. Only later will the grieving Abe learn that his mother's fatal affliction was actually the work of a vampire. Gifted with his legendary height, strength, and skill with an ax, Abe sets out on a path of vengeance that will lead him all the way to the White House.

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is only 336 pages so I should be finish reading this by Halloween

October 11, 2010

All by Myself

I love going to church as a family, I enjoy watching Monkey kiss the icon’s and take communion but last Sunday Monkey and DH were under the weather so I went solo…and I loved it! I forgot how great our choir is, how I fancy the smell of incense, I actually enjoyed standing for the entire service in 2’’ heels. But once it was time to take communion I missed my little Monkey. I am going to count the three hours though as “me” time ;)

The picture is from my first communion!

October 8, 2010

Friday Confession

I am confessing about money because I try not to think about money more than I think about the Lord.

History: Monkey had a bad case of croup during the summer, we went to our in-network predication but Monkey’s breathing on a scale went from a 5 to a 2 in a matter of 10 minutes, so the Dr called 911, an ambulance came to the Dr’s office and took us 7 miles to the in-network hospital. Now the bills are coming in, which I knew would because I chose the plan with a highish deducible for a lower premium (but I was smart and took the savings in premium and banked it) but these bills were higher than I thought because the ambulance and the ER doctor was out-of-network. So I have been working with my health insurance company to see what can be done.  (I am never afraid to ask why this or that or in this example write a letter for help lower this crazy bill).  The outcome is Cigna is going to try to put an assessment on these claims, since all my decision was in-network.

My Confession is that my stomach is in knots worrying about this and I have to wait 15 business days to find out what I have to pay.  I just keep telling myself not to worry about tomorrow because God is already there and I try to not think about money so much because I believe that God will provide what we need, but the unknown bills kill me. I have faith that everything will be ok, even if we have to work crazy OT because Monkey is happy and healthy. I feel a little better thanks

October 7, 2010

Red Apple Lesson

Monkey loves music so having a few apple songs gets him in a good mood.
SONGS: LITTLE APPLES (Sing to the tune of "Ten Little Indians")
One little, two little, three little apples,
Four little, five little, six little apples,
Seven little, eight little, nine little apples,
All fell to the ground.

SONGS: (Sung to the tune of "Have You Ever Seen a Lassie")
Have you ever seen an apple, an apple, an apple
Have you ever seen an apple, that grows on a tree?
A red one, a yellow one, a red one, a yellow one
Have you ever seen an apple, that frowns on a tree?

Materials: Red Green Yellow construction paper- Glue Sticks- Red Green Yellow glitter- 3 colored paper plates (need to paint in advance)
Set out several different kinds and colors of apples. Sort the apples by color and count them.
DAY 1 ART:            Me: Need to cut out different color apples
Monkey: Use the glue stick to add glitter to apples cut outs (talk about the colors)
DAY 2 SORT:         Me: Set up the plates and apples
                                Monkey: teach him to place the colored apple to the correct colored plate
DAY 3 COUNT:      Count the how many apples we have, how many red, green, yellow apples, how many in total

PROJECT 2: Lacing Projects
Materials: ribbon/shoelaces - single hole punch - scissors - pencil -old cereal box, Yellow construction paper- Red and Green Paint
DAY 1 ART:            Monkey: Paint the yellow construction paper (talk about colors)
                Me: Once dried, cut out an apple shape out of the construction paper and                                 copy on  Cereal  box
DAY 2 MOTOR:      Monkey: help glue the two pieces of paper together and glue leaf
DAY 3 MOTOR:      Me: use hole punch for lancing and cut out a green leaf
                                Monkey: help lace the apple then hang it up for display
We also read apple books and practice recognizing our A. I forgot to take pictures of our A lessons, next time ;)