Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Shopping Goals: March 2018

UGH!  I have officially decided to dub March as "March:  The Breakening" *cue dramatic sting with lightning and thunder going off in background, lighting up the foreground in a dramatic light*.  Darn March anyway!  I'm actually trying to laugh this all off, because what else can you do, really?

It started with the car getting bashed up.  Then, this week started.

I was taking a picture of the son who was doing something cute with his I-Pad and hiding under a blanket, so I went to take his picture, which he seemed not too concerned with.  Suddenly out of nowhere he lets out a happy shriek (which anyone who has heard one of his happy shrieks will quickly tell you it'll make your ears ring and MIGHT shatter fine least it's a happy sound) and I jumped about ten feet in the air, dropping the camera as I did so.  The camera managed to land on it's lens and the shutter jammed half way closed.  I managed to manipulate the shutter to close and open correctly, but the lens was definitely effected and while the photos looked okay on the screen preview, the actual photos on the SD card weren't.  And the battery door was broken partially so the batteries are barely staying in the camera.  I wasn't even mad, honestly, as it was a honest to goodness accident.  Sure, I felt stupid for doing it, but it wasn't like Alvah scared me on purpose or something.

On the advice of my sister-in-law I contacted Canon to see if they could fix the camera, as I have really loved my old A-series camera.  I get an e-mail back and am basically told my camera is too old, the series of cameras that my camera is from isn't even made anymore or serviced anymore, and they offered me a 20.00 rebate if I recycled my old camera toward a refurbished newer camera.  So, I am depressed.  That camera is as old as my son, has seen me through nine years of blogging on my various blogs, has taken tens of thousands of pictures over the years (many of them of my kids), was never far from my side and now it must be laid to rest :(.  Rest in peace, old friend.

Then my very old wireless phone that we bought at Costco long before my kids were born has decided it is going nuclear on me and I have to unplug it from the wall and everything about two times a day and let it sit for a few minutes to go through a hard reset before the darn thing will give me anything other than dead air or a dial tone that won't clear.  I mean, yes, I knew the phone was on borrowed time.  It's OLD, the caller ID log buttons stopped working (well all of the non number buttons, really) years ago and it's been glitchy and cranky for a while now, but this was not a good time for me to have to mess around with this *sigh*.

Next up was the hand mixer (oh yes, there's more) that I was mixing up 1/2 cup of whipped cream with and it started stuttering on and off and going into slow down mode bad.  Mind you this is another appliance that is old.  The hand mixer was the first Christmas gift my mom bought for me after I was married (I remember because I specifically asked for it) and has been used hard over the years.  It's been doing a stuttering stop while working for the last little bit, but I was hoping I was imagining it.  There was no imagining it this time.  Thank goodness I had the stand mixer (and a whisk to get the cream started as it was such a small amount my stand mixer was laughing at me, I swear) to get the job done.  My husband thinks the hand mixer is stripping gears because it's just worn out and parts would be so expensive  to get to repair it, buying a new one is going to be cheaper.

Top that off with a drawer in my antique desk bottom (the desk is an old portable desk that sits on top of a small dresser) cracking all the way down the side which resulted in the bottom falling out of it and having to make a tremendous mess out of my daughter's room to get it cleaned up (as that is where the dresser is now) and I am officially done with things breaking on me at the moment.  At least my husband is pretty confident that the drawer can be fixed with wood glue and clamps so he won't have to completely rebuild the side of the drawer and re-dovetail it all, so hopefully that works out okay.

Between that and the short pay period this time around (since we got paid for the second half of February today) and the check barely covering the mortgage, let alone anything else (thank goodness for not having to pay those closing costs) this month can be summed up with, "Needing to buy things and not much money to buy them with."  I am going to have to triage things we need and kick cans down the road on things I can do without (like using the stand mixer to take up the slack from the hand mixer being broken) until we can start to get caught up monetarily.  Depressing state of affairs, but we'll get through it.  HOPEFULLY things are done breaking now *knock on wood*.

So, here is the list (other than the things listed above, like that's not enough, right?) of things we need.  Basically I'm going to cover the groceries I'm hoping to get this month.  Potatoes, cabbage and onions are on sale this week due to St. Patrick's Day so I'm hoping to at least get some of those.  I'm thinking of just making a lamb roast for St. Patrick's Day, since lamb is traditional Irish fair, and just add some roasted potatoes around it and things.  Since I have lamb in the freezer at least that saves me from having to buy much new.

So, here's the shopping list for this month!

  • Boiling Potatoes
  • Cabbage
  • Bag of storage onions (big onions are on sale, but I like the storage onions as they last a lot longer before sprouting and work out to be a better value for me)
  • Garlic (I'm finally running out of the garlic cloves I bought at the produce stand, like what a year and a half ago?  I'm impressed how well those kept for so long!).
  • Garbage Bags (got a good personalized price on them through the end of the month and I need them)

Three Bears:
  • Cooking Oil
  • Tuna Salad 
  • Frontier Taco Seasoning, 1 lb (salt free taco seasoning and I needed taco seasoning, so double bonus)
  • Frontier Rubbed Sage, 1 lb (this was as cheap as buying a small jar at the store and I use a lot of sage around here)
  • Rotisserie Chicken Seasoning (this is to be used sparingly due to the salt, but it was a really good price, like 7.00 for 6 bottles of McCormicks brand seasoning after a coupon was applied, so I felt it was definitely worth getting)
  • Curel Intensive Healing Therapy Lotion (the son is really liking the Curel lotions, so I want to try this one and see if it can finally get the nasty eczema on the bottom of one foot cleared up).
  • Zegerid, 48 ct (for husband)
And there you go folks.  My list of things we need (and hopefully somehow getting) this month.  How about you?  What's on your list?

Monday, March 12, 2018

What's for Dinner: This Month's Menu Plan

I nearly titled this, "Make a New Plan, Stan:  This Month's Menu Plan", but I figured Facebook algorithms would go nuts and wouldn't show it to anyone, so enjoy the more generic post title ;).

I can safely say that so far this month I've followed the menu plan with about 1% accuracy.  Woohoo!  I'm going to try and remember what we actually ate and put it by the menu where I'd written out the previous thing we were going to eat.  A lot of this switching around, at least this week, has been me going, "No, too much salt.  Too much fat.  Need to change that" when it came to making the husband's diet better. 

I've got a bunch of updates about life in general, but I'm going to save that for other posts I'm working on, so let's get to this month's menu!

March Menu Plan (I'll give updates with recipes as the weeks go by and such, hopefully):

3/1:  Beef Roast, Baked potatoes (went with mashed instead to appeal more to the daughter that night), corn muffins

3/2:  Not sure what we actually had (can't remember), but there was fish on the menu.

3/3:  Ended up eating out (accident day)

3/4:  Leftover meat pie (made on 2/28)

3/5:   On the menu were sloppy joes, but due to things being hectic and husband not feeling well it was kind of a punt day.  Ravioli with tomato sauce (daughter and I), ravioli with olive oil (husband) and angel hair pasta with olive oil (son)

3/6:  Bacon and Pea Tortellini Alfredo (me, because no one else wanted to eat it *grumble*) with salad (husband and daughter ate a salad as well), pasta with olive oil and Kraft Parmesan cheese (son), spaghetti (daughter), husband just ate a straight salad.

3/7:  Instant Pot Chicken Gyros (seen up top).  These were life altering awesome!  I made them exactly as written and I will DEFINITELY be making them again!  I ate the leftovers for lunch for the next three days and would have eaten them for another week if I could have *laugh*.  We had them with salad on the side, which I added some leftover cucumber to (I had to buy pre-sliced cucumbers as that was all the store had that in Alaska can be fun sometimes).  Yum!!!

3/8:  Beef Bourgignon (to use up tougher than tough beef roast), salad

3/9:  Leftover Chicken Gyros and salad

3/10:  Tacos (daughter's request as we hadn't had them in a while).  On the menu was ham and cheese stuffed crepes, but wanted to avoid the ham if I could for the sake of the husband's sodium levels with coconut creme pudding for dessert.

3/11:  Leftover tacos with strawberry shortcake for dessert (strawberries from freezer, whipped up enough whipped cream JUST for dessert so we didn't feel the need to tank ourselves on whipped cream, made shortcake).  The new dessert was so that the dinner was just different enough to make everyone happy.  Husband and daughter loved it.

3/12:  Baked chicken, biscuits, salad, baked beans.  Leftover strawberry shortcake for dessert (use coconut creme pudding with the shortcake instead of whipped cream).

3/13:  Chicken noodle soup (home made noodles)

3/14:  Steamed fish parchment packets with garlic butter and lemon, pear slices, rice (pilaf if I have time).

3/15:  Pork Chops, rice, green beans

3/16:  Leftovers/punt

3/17:  St. Patrick's Day!  Eat something Irish in grandma's memory (I'm still looking at recipes trying to figure out what I want to make *laugh*).

3/18:  Brined roasted chicken, braised greens, roasted potatoes, corn muffins

3/19:  Pancakes, fruit (of some type), eggs.  Serve with slices of left over chicken.  Or chicken hash (depending how much leftover chicken I have to deal with)

3/20:  Chicken casserole with frozen vegetable medley

3/21:  Chicken lo mein, rice

3/22:  Cuban pork (cooked in freezer), spiced beans and rice, salad

3/23:  Tacos with refried beans and guacamole

3/24:  Leftovers

3/25:  Home made pizza and breadsticks

3/26:  Lamb roast (from freezer) with potatoes and corn

3/27:  Meatloaf, mashed potatoes and gravy (or leftover corn muffins), green beans.  Raspberry Jello for dessert

3/28:  Lamb Stew, rolls.  Alternate:  Sheppard's pie (depending how much lamb is left over)

3/29:  Pork chops, rice, salad

3/30:  French dips (use low sodium "Better Than Bullion" for base of Aus Jus)  with sliced roasted potatoes, fruit

3/31:  Chicken piccata with wine sauce, rice, salad

Breakfasts will include:  Cereal, oatmeal, granola with or without yogurt, toast, eggs, cinnamon rolls (on husband's days off so he can enjoy some too) and other stuff as it comes to me :).

And there you are folks.  Our tentative, "already been kicked to the curb about fifteen times already" menu plan for this month.  Here's hoping I can get back on track and make it work better from now on!

How about you?  Got anything good planned to eat this month?  This week?  Tonight?  Please share :).

Friday, March 9, 2018

Frugal Friday: Money Saving Weekly Recap

Rhetorical question:  Why is it that every time you think things are starting to turn around and get easier, something happens?

The week started in the afternoon on Saturday.  We were out running errands in the car when we were rear ended.

Thank goodness my husband was driving as he was quick enough on his feet to fight the car back under control so we didn't plow into the snowbank on the side of the road, which helped to keep damage to our vehicle to a minimum.  The other car rear ended us in such a way that he drove up under our car, folded his hood back, took out his radiator and headlight...his car was a mess.  Thank God no one was seriously hurt, including the other driver (who was a 19 year old kid, who learned a valuable lesson about braking distance and driving carefully in bad conditions, but at least he didn't have to learn it from the hospital or worse).

Armina ended up with a bump on the back of her head from hitting the back head rest (which also made me realize she'd grown again and I had to adjust that up for her, poor thing) and I managed to strain my neck as I was looking at a car that was passing us when we got rear ended, which gave me a terrible headache Saturday night, but luckily it all cleared up by the morning.  Blessings were no one was seriously hurt, I had an updated insurance card in the car so when the cops showed up all of our ducks were in a row and the guy who hit us definitely admitted it was all his fault, which will help cut through red tape getting the damage repaired.  Some of the surface damage is seen above...we also have some under body damage to the car, but it looks like the frame is okay (hopefully that remains accurate when they tear the bumper off the car and everything), all the doors work and thank goodness the air bags didn't deploy so we didn't have to worry about them totaling the car.  Honestly we got hit hard enough, and seeing what shape the other car was in, I was amazed how good the car looked after it was all said and done.

Bad point is that we're going to lose the car for a week while it's in the shop being repaired so we definitely need to get another car and quick so we have something to drive.

Then Sunday came along and my husband, who had slept terribly the night before (due to Armina and I not doing great after the accident and worrying he'd have to take us the doctor...Armina's stomach cycled hard after all of the stress, which didn't help) was feeling really not great.  He finally took his blood pressure to see if there was something up there and his blood pressure was REALLY high.  He ended up going to Urgent Care and after they took his blood pressure (141/110) they gave him an EKG.  Thank goodness that came back normal!  They gave him blood pressure medicine to take, which is working kinda.  One of his co-workers came up with the theory of a panic attack causing his blood pressure to sky rocket and my husband was nearly convinced of that, until he took his blood pressure  Wednesday to find that his blood pressure was once again way too high (he had taken it Tuesday and it came back nearly normal so he was hoping the panic attack theory had been correct and so he hadn't taken his blood pressure medicine), so he's taking the medication and the advice of the doctor from Urgent Care more seriously now.

The doctor recommended that the hubby go on a low sodium to no sodium diet to get his blood pressure back under control through diet as much as possible, so I've spent a good portion of the week completely redoing my menu plan for the coming months and redoing shopping goals to accommodate things I need but to adhere to his new diet on top of that (in between everything else going brain is shot pretty much at this point).  I did that while worrying about how much the Urgent Care visit is going to cost us when that bill comes in, but I keep telling my husband it was definitely worth going (and I mean it!).

This was definitely a nerve wracking week when it came to worrying about the husband.  It has made me appreciate him all the more (and probably given me many more grey hairs from worry, but that's neither here nor there).

Then the son had his psychology appointment on Tuesday.  Luckily the doctor was completely on board with me increasing his Risperidone and basically said that we're going to max out the Risperidone and Clonodine as needed and THEN try something else when we had to as we know that those two drugs work and don't make him flip out.  I'm okay with this as we still have quite a ways we can go with Risperidone and Clonodine before we max those out.

Then the daughter started complaining last week that her retainer was bugging her when she'd put it in at night and I could tell it was paining her.  So, I managed to get her into the orthodontist this week and we ended up getting a new retainer as she outgrew her old one.

And then the husband got switched back to his old late night schedule, which threw the routine we'd gotten used to over the last months through a loop.  Between all of that and getting estimates for fixing the car...I'm exhausted and could use about a month off right about now.

I determinedly, though, fought to recover the week somewhat, so let's get to money saving things that happened this week.

1.  I ended up with the last loaf of Cuban bread sitting in the fridge this week and it was going stale (like bad), so I made a traditional bread pudding out of it and then made a quick sauce consisting of unsalted butter, some brown sugar and some brandy.  It came out great and the husband and I enjoyed eating small pieces of it throughout the week.  I even managed to use up some petrified raisins I had in the pudding, which gave it an extra dose of fiber and stopped me from having to throw out the raisins (as they were pretty hard when I used them).

2.  I found some grapes that I had had bought and had stuck into the back of the fridge absentmindedly.  Luckily, the grapes were still good, just drying out and turning into raisins slowly but surely, so we had them for dessert last night.

3.  I wanted to pick up some more unsalted butter for baking, especially when having to watch the salt content around here and managed to dig up a coupon for some butter.  Between it and a sale I managed to get a pound of unsalted butter for 3.00 and some change.  Considering that butter isn't on any super sales right now, I was happy with that.  I've got a LONG way to go on buying butter, but one pound ahead!  Baby steps.

4.   Shopping went well this week.  I managed to get some supplies to do some Spring cleaning next week (kids are off on Spring Break, so I figure that's a good time to do it ;) and while at the store I also got some freebies.

I had two Just4U freebies for yogurt, so I picked those up at the store when I went earlier in the week (seen above, which it's kind of neat getting all of this free yogurt as it's saved me from having to make some :) and then today I went back to the store to get a couple gallons of milk, a dozen eggs (on sale for 1.48 with a coupon) and some Monopoly freebies I won.

I got a free thing of spaghetti sauce and a free thing of gravy mix.  The man who was checking out in front of me asked me if I'd like his Monopoly coupons and I said sure.  Out of the like six tickets I got I managed to win two more things of gravy mix (which I'll probably roll over with the buy 2 get one free sale to get three of them for free).  I'm going to just start saving these and donate them to the food bank later in the year as I doubt I'll be able use to use these with the husband's low sodium diet.  The little cans of tomato sauce I'm actually falling in love with as the daughter LOVES spaghetti, but the husband can't have much tomato sauce with his acid reflux, so the little cans are the perfect size to make her a couple of containers of spaghetti during the week for school.  Since these are normally .45 each regular price, I'm seriously considering investing in plenty of them, depending how many we might win during the course of the Monopoly game.

5.  I went and checked the bank account (which I do obsessively) and found that Amazon had upped their monthly rate for Prime to 12.99 a month.  I talked to my husband and crunched the numbers and I figured if that if we paid for a year of Prime at once that we'd be saving nearly 60.00 from doing the month to month plan.  We both agreed it was worth it, so I switched the plan.  It smarted having to pay 99.00 out at one time, but would save us so much money in the long run, we decided to take the hit and deal with it.

6.  I ran out of dried dill this week and didn't really want to order it from Amazon as it wasn't overly cheap to get it through them.  I found a good sale on dill at Carrs so I got one there.

7.  I found I was low on lemon pepper and was worried about buying more (as all the lemon pepper I could find was NOT cheap) and while organizing my spice cabinet I found another container of lemon pepper I'd opened at some point, so yay for not having to invest in more right now!

8.  I found that the coffee I had bought from Amazon was REALLY weak when I brewed it and tasted kind of yucky as a result.  I looked at the grind and found that it was really coarsely ground, so I zoomed it through my coffee grinder until it was the consistency of espresso powder.  It tastes a lot better now and now I can use the coffee without dreading drinking it.

9.  I made a beef roast early in the week only to find that it had the consistency of shoe leather and was darned near inedible.  I tried slow cooking it for hours, but that didn't work (even when red wine was added!) , so I stuck it in the pressure cooker and cooked the crud out of it (as I was not going to be defeated!).  It worked, I made beof bourgignon for dinner and it made the beef last more than one painful meal.

10.  I went and priced out brooms at the stores as my broom is dying a slow death after a long, and hard, life (I sweep my carpet before vacuuming it with the son, or I'd constantly clog and kill vacuum cleaners).  I haven't found anything that works within my budget, so I'm just making my old broom work in the meantime.  I know a sale will come along eventually and I'll be able to replace the broom and in the meantime it works...kind of.

And there you go folks.  My week in a nutshell.  How did your week go?  Please tell me it went better than ours.

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Frugal Friday: Money Saving Weekly Recap

Enjoy the above shot of snow from earlier.  We've gotten more snow since and we're supposed to get more snow this weekend.  Fun, fun, fun.

MAN, what a week!  I'm honestly glad February is now over as it was just a Heck of  month when it came to things being hectic and the kids being sick and stuff.  We had another week of a snow day on Monday (due to icy road conditions) and then the kids fighting their stomach (the daughter unit) and their allergies/sinuses (the son).  I'm also upset, worried and depressed that Alvah is starting to act out aggressively again.  We've seen a decline in his behaviors the last couple of weeks and he's starting up the episodes of hitting himself in the face and lashing out at others when he's upset.  I know part of it is that his sinuses are bugging him and he's gotten some bloody noses from the dry air (which he HATES and I mean HATES bloody noses) and that hasn't helped.  But, dang, I was hoping we were past this, I really was.  We have a psychology appointment on Tuesday, so we'll see what his doctor has to say, but I'm worried we're going to have to start experimenting with other medications again.

This week also has seen me experimenting with different gummy vitamins to TRY and once again get some nutrients into Alvah (not really cheap, but absolutely necessary).  He's showing interest in fruit snacks again and has blown through his Annie's fruit snacks and his sister's treat fruit snacks, so I'm kind of hopeful as this is the chance to start pushing those gummy vitamins at him.  I hope I can find some that taste good and close enough to fruit snacks that he'll eat them.  So far he'll suck on some and then spit them out after a bit, so progress is slow, but there!  I know a lot of his behavior issues stem from his diet (or lack thereof), so I keep hoping that something will work and I can start getting nutrients into him as it can only help him.

And then the husband came down with the crud on Thursday, so he's been out of it the last few days as well.  I am so, so tired right now after everything.  Glad the week is over tomorrow and we can start again next week, hopefully for the better.

Believe it or not, though, there were good things that happened this week, so let's get to those!

1.  We signed on the home equity loan yesterday.  This will give us a much needed cushion to get home maintenance done and get a four wheel drive truck (which, we've found, is necessary after this winter with how bad my husband's two wheel drive truck has done in the winter weather).  The plan is to get stuff done, pay off the loan and then do another project and repeat (since it's a line of credit we can do that).  I'm really happy we got the loan as it'll take a weight off of my shoulders trying to figure out how get cash flow up to pay for higher ticket items and gives us a cushion in case of something big breaking.  Thank the Good Lord.

The brightest point to my week had to be when we signed on the loan because it turned out that the bank was running a special on new home equity loans in a VERY small window of time and if you fell into that time frame there were no annual fees or closing costs on the loan.  And, it turned out, we just happened to fall into that time frame!  So, the money I put aside for closing costs on the loan can now be used for something else that we need to have done.  My husband and I talked about it and he's still got four teeth left to get done (which darn I was hoping we were completely done with them) and he's only got one molar left that the dentist wants to get done as it's worrying him as it's starting to disintegrate pretty bad.  And the closing costs that I had put aside will actually cover the cost to get the tooth done with a little bit left over, so I told my husband to make that appointment (not having to put more onto Care Credit delights me to no end, let me tell you).  The other three teeth aren't an emergency to get done, so we can just cash those out one at a time (hopefully since my husband's teeth are kind of unpredictable in that way, but HOPEFULLY we can do it that way).  But, yay for being able to cash out something instead of having to put it onto credit :).

2.  I did my grocery budget numbers for February and well...that was depressing.  I spent more than I wanted to, mainly because January was so tight so I had to replenish stores, so I'm hoping to get back on track this month.  I went shopping this week and picked up as much as I could that I would need for my menu plan for this month (I'm going to post up that plan here later and then I'm going to give weekly updates on how I'm doing sticking to it...that'll be fun seeing how quickly we go off the rails, so stay tuned for that *laugh*). I figured out my grocery budget for the month and figured it at 300.00.  Normally I aim for 200.00 to 250.00 (50.00 I use as a cushion in case I need to go over for non essential items), but I upped it to prepare for sales that are coming up for the month and things (which I'll get into more in my shopping goals post).

Anyway back to shopping this week.  I put some of my one shopping trip in the photo above there (I apologize for the blurry half of the photo, I'm not sure what was going on with my camera that's very old and cranky by this point in time, so I'm just dealing with glitches as they come).  I would have put the entire shopping trip in the photo, but I was not hauling soda and other junk food items for the son up onto the table to take a picture (I was being lazy, what can I say). 

The biggest "woohoo" types of items I got this week was that strawberries were on sale for 4.88 for a  2 lb package at Carrs this week, so I got one for my daughter for snacks and to make strawberry shortcake with.  The strawberries ended up being so good I went back yesterday and got two more packages to clean and freeze to use in desserts later in the year (I'm not planning on making strawberry jam this year as I still have plenty from the last few years of canning).  It is hard to find strawberries up here without tons of bad spots and you end up throwing away 1/4 at least of your strawberries due to having to cut out bad spots and things and these strawberries were in such good shape I basically just had to cut off the stems and hull them with one or two small bad spots to cut out.  I was THRILLED as that was definitely a good value for my money!

I bought Country Crock margarine at the store as well as spreadable butter (had a personalized price on the spreadable butter to make it decently cheap) to try out around the house.  We just plain didn't see the holiday sales on butter over Christmas at all really, which was depressing, so I wasn't able to stock up on butter and the regular price on butter is about 4.00 at least, so padding out the butter with margarine or cheaper alternatives (like the spreadable butter for toast and things) has become kind of necessary until a sale on butter pops up.

 I had a personalized price on pasta for .79 per box.  Not as cheap as I would have liked to pay, but we are running kind of low on angel hair pasta (all we have is thin spaghetti instead) and I panic a bit as I'm not sure if Alvah will eat the thin spaghetti or rebel and get mad that we don't have angel hair, which would lead him to not eat, so I bought angel hair pasta to make sure we had it for him just in case.

I decided that making more elaborate salads (by elaborate I mean buying like feta cheese and making sure we have a couple different flavors of croutons and things around here) was a good idea to help pad out dinners around here (and help fill people up with veggies more instead of carb heavy items like potatoes and bread), so I wanted to see what I could get for different flavors of salad dressing at the store the next little bit.  This week I had a personalized price on Litehouse salad dressings for a decent amount so I got one of those to help "mix things up" when it came to salad dressing flavors.  I also took advantage of a sale on Wishbone dressings this week (1.49 each with a coupon limit of 4) and got some different flavors of dressings as well.  I think the family will be happy with the variety and I like it because it's not the same salad over and over again.  The increase in salads as a main course for dinner as well as side dishes is why you see all the lettuce I bought above as well (I found that the bags of three that Carrs sells actually lasts quite a long time in the fridge, so I got enough for several weeks :).

Yesterday I went back to the store to get the strawberries and also to get some paper towels and toilet paper (which were on sale for 5.00 Fridays and I had coupons on both the Bounty paper towels and the Charmin bath tissues making them 4.00 per value pack), so all totaled between the two shopping trips I'm standing at about 176.00 for the month so far.  I'm HOPING to hit around 250.00 for the month, but we'll see how Alvah goes with his appetite and things (as he's the most expensive one to shop for).  And by the way spending 176.00 in a week on groceries after you've been working really hard to only spend at max 50.00 per week?  It gives you heart palpitations to do it, seriously *laugh*.

Oh and the organic celery?  Was on sale for actually less than the regular celery by like nearly a dollar.  I was surprised, but got it because hey, it's cheaper.

3.  I got Alvah signed up for Special Olympics swimming again this year, so he started that with dad today (I'm hoping dad didn't overdue it too much with his cold, though).  This has been a great program so far and Alvah has actually picked up quite a bit, so I'm hoping he continues to improve this year.

4.  I used up left overs, even bits and pieces, which avoided food waste.

5.  When my printer said that my black ink cartridge was empty, I took it out and shook it and then put it back in, which got me about 20 more pages of print outs out of the ink cartridge before it finally did die.  Which that was enough to get the paperwork printed out for Special Olympics, so I was happy.

6.  I found that the cats were wasting quite a bit of wet food every day and our cat Prince was out and out getting fat (he eats his portion and then will eat our other cat's portion who doesn't eat much).  I cut down their wet food to about one heaping teaspoon each per day and using it as more of a treat instead of the main meal.  I've found this has been great in a lot of ways.  For one, the cats are actually eating their food portions this way and I'm not throwing as much wet food away.  Also, this has doubled the lifespan of the wet food for the cats around here (luckily I have lids for their cat food containers since we bought some for Ginger when she was sick, so I can store the extra in the fridge) so I'm only having to pick up wet food about once every two months (I just buy a variety flat of cat food for the sake of simplicity).  I also switched to light weight cat litter (I found that Carrs store generic brand of light weight cat litter is actually really good and clumps great compared to other brands), which has reduced, once again, our waste pounds at the dump, so yay for spending less money at the dump :).

7.  I worked on monthly shopping goals and monthly goals this week.  I know that sounds redundant as I post them on the blog, but I really do find that doing this helps to not only to help keep the budget tight, but also helps me to keep on task and get stuff done around the house.  I recommend everyone try doing this and keep the list of goals on your fridge (or shopping goals in a list in your purse or whatever you carry to the store each time) as it does help to have things written down and be able to check things off as you go.

8.  I took advantage of lifetime oil changes on our car this week, which has been a great investment over the years, especially since we got the car paid off years ago, as it makes one less expense to worry about.  While there I took advantage of the time to draft out the menu plan for the month (and half of next month while I was at it) while drinking the complimentary coffee the dealership offered. 

9.  I took a long survey through a PR company that contacted me and in return for doing the survey I got a 5.00 Amazon electronic giftcard.  I used this to help pay for my husband's Zegerid that I ordered on subscribe and save to get it cheaper.

10.  I tried to mend my pair of jeans again this week.  I failed, again.  But, I'm going to continue to try.  The fabric is just worn out along the zipper of the pants, so iron on patches didn't work as they just came undone very quickly and sewing a patch on didn't work as the fabric tore right after the patch on the pants.  I'm determined to figure this challenge out, though, as I'm stubborn and I'm not going to let that pair of jeans beat me *laugh*.

And there you go folks.  Some of my adventures this week.  How did you do?

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Frugal Friday: Money Saving Weekly Recap

Week two with a lack of a menu plan posted, and another week of sickness and chaos around here.

I had the daughter home the first part of the week with the "every symptom of the flu except the fever" plague, which she subsequently gave to me, so I ended up feeling yucky all week long.  And of course this was the week of the daughter's birthday, so I still had to make a treat for school for her birthday (I tried to convince her to bring the free Oreo thins we won, but she wouldn't go for it), had to make a birthday cake and TRIED to keep the house somewhat clean so that when we had my mother and father-in-law over for her birthday the house wouldn't look like a wreck (they even were nice enough to bring over dinner, so I didn't have to cook, which was like a non-birthday gift to me *laugh*).  Unfortunately, I was feeling just sick enough that I had a heck of a time keeping up with the son unit, so the house definitely wasn't up to what I would have liked when they came over for her birthday.  Bright side, the daughter still had a great time on her birthday and was well enough to enjoy it and she declared it the "most awesome birthday ever" so I was happy she was happy :).

Then in the middle of the week the son came home not doing well.  He had run into something at school that flared his allergies BAD, like scary bad, so he got to stay home the next day from school after a night of lots of Benadryl and a paranoid mom not getting any sleep making sure he was breathing okay, while making sure his epi pen was nearby in case I needed it. The daughter got to stay home too that day since she woke up sounding horrible and not having a voice and it seemed her cold came back with a vengeance.

Then the son's behavior started going South again and he started hitting himself and other students, which was a bad surprise to his teachers and us.  I'd noticed an uptick in violent behaviors at home, as well, the past couple of weeks, so I called the doctor and asked if we could up his dose on his meds. So we had to up his Risperidone (1/2 more of a tablet in the morning) to compensate.  Bright side is that by doing that I've been able to cut out his afternoon dose of the drug two days in a row because the higher morning dose seems to even him out longer in the day, so hopefully it'll all work out in the end and not mess with his body too much.

Top that off with poor Armina having her first taste of rejection when it came to a friend and the week just kind of flopped by the end.  Her friend who has a birthday a couple of days after hers was supposed to invite Armina to her birthday and both her friend and her friend's grandma assured Armina (and us) that she was going to be invited to the birthday party (the grandma lives with her friend so we assumed that she knew what was going on with the party and all).  Armina even got all excited because she found out that they were going bowling for the party and was looking forward to wrapping the gift we bought her friend.  And then she went to school and asked her friend where her invitation was and her friend broke it to her that she was only allowed to invite seven friends to go to her bowling party and Armina didn't make the cut.  Dealing with a little girl with a broken heart was hard.  Growing up, and dealing with the disappointments that come with it, sucks.  I ended up giving her the gift we had bought for her friend, which helped to band-aid the wound a little bit, but it was definitely a "I wish I could protect you from things like this" moment for me as a mom.

So, yeah, it was a roller coaster of a week, for sure.

In between crisis, though, I did manage to accomplish a few things, so let's get to that!

1.  Let's start with the menu plan, since I didn't get to that in my regular mid-week post.  I won't go through everything I made this week, but I'll definitely hit the highlights here.  Early in the week, before I caught the crud, I made a cuban pork roast (I used regular orange juice in place of the seville orange juice, not really caring if the roast came out a little sweeter tasting, I used two cups versus four and put it all into the pressure cooker as a cooking liquid versus a marinade.  It came out AWESOME!) and then the next night I made cuban sandwiches with some of the leftover pork.  The cuban sandwiches were great!  I even made cuban bread so the recipe would be truly right (seen up top).  I put a baking pan in the bottom of the oven and filled it about 1/2 of the way up with boiling water before putting the bread in to bake, which gave it a wonderful chewy texture and I also added 1/2 bread flour and 1/2 all purpose flour to give the bread a less dense texture when done.  And it came out great as well :).  It's always nice when things come together. 

Instead of a panini press or something like that to press the sandwiches, I just took my 12 inch cast iron skillet and my 10 inch cast iron skillet, got them mega hot on different burners.  Then I took the foil wrapped sandwiches and put them into the 12 inch cast iron skillet, turning off the heat underneath the skillets right before I did this.  Then I put the 10 inch cast iron skillet right on top of the sandwiches.  To add weight to press the sandwiches down better, I added my two cast iron bread pans, a cast iron muffin tin and a cast iron corn dab pan on top of the 10 inch skillet while the sandwiches were cooking and I just left the sandwiches to press and cook for 10 minutes or so.  It worked very well to press the sandwiches into a nice pressed sandwich and we enjoyed them with some chips (I wish I could have tasted the sandwiches better, but that was the day I came down with the cold).

I also made quick chicken pho.  I took a special trip to the store even to get cilantro and basil to make the soup (I had a lime in the fridge that I'd gotten when on sale a few weeks back to finish up the sides :).  I used chicken bouillon and water to replace the chicken stock in the recipe and ended up using powdered/ground spices instead of the whole spices and things the recipe called for.  I doubled the recipe so it would serve more than two, used 2 tsp. ground ginger, the large top from a sprouting onion instead of the green onions called for (really, it's close to the same thing), 2 tsp. ground coriander, 1/4 tsp. ground cloves, omitted the sugar and used thin rice noodles versus the thicker variety.  I also added some mung bean sprouts that I had blanched and frozen in the freezer from a while back instead of fresh. I also had to re-spice and add some salt after I added the additional water because after I added the rice noodles to the broth (which I did instead of putting the broth on top of the noodles because I knew I was going to do one pot left overs) I found that the rice noodles absorbed a lot of the flavor and the broth became kind of bland.  I know I'm acting like one of "those" recipe reviewer types that say they changed everything on a recipe and still leave a review *laugh*.  But, I have to say for a quick recipe and such it actually came out as good, or better, than chicken pho I've had in restaurants in the past (I always end up NOT ordering the chicken pho as it's always so bland, so I was happy mine came out tasty in the end). 

We've eaten the leftovers for lunches the last few days and I have to say I've been enjoying it.

So, yeah, now we're up to date on what we ate this last week.  I have to say I'm proud of myself for using up stuff I had around the house and such and I still managed to keep the menu interesting while dealing with all kinds of stuff the last week, including sickness, bad weather and other stuff.

So, let's get onto the other money saving things that happened this week!

1.  We got a call from the bank to come in and sign some more paperwork, but I THINK we got good news in that if nothing gets kicked back in a bad way it looks like we'll be good to go on the home equity loan and we might actually qualify for more than we had hoped for on the line of credit.  Which it would be nice to have a cushion there to get home maintenance and improvements done if we run into some spendy things that need to be done.  Right now the plan is to get the most pressing needs done, pay off the loan and then continue to do that as we need to get things done.  Here's hoping the loan goes through decently quick as we really do have a pressing need for a truck or other vehicle that can handle the winter weather as the husband is starting his 4 day a week schedule here very soon.

2.  I tried to mend a pair of jeans this week.  I failed.  But, in the failure I THINK I might have figured out a way to make the repair work better, so I'm hoping to try that this coming week and seeing if I can make the patch hold this time.

3.  I got my coffee in from Amazon this week and had to go and stand in line at the postal annex to get it.  We tried to go in the afternoon only to find that the parking lot was completely packed and it was at least a 2 hour wait inside I was sure, so we turned around and went home.  The next day I headed to the postal annex as soon as I dropped the kids at school and when I saw I was one of the first two people there I immediately went and stood in line for the next 1/2 hour until the building opened.  It was cold, but it was completely worth it to not have to wait in line for hours and hours.

4.  I did end up going shopping this week, unfortunately (twas not in the plans after spending so much last week), but at least we had the money in the bank to do it.  I needed to get dish washing detergent, milk, pop tarts (son food) and deodorant for the husband.  I also needed to get cilantro and basil for the pho earlier in the week so I grabbed those at the store the day I made it and ended up grabbing a couple of boxes of Green Giant vegetables while I was at the store.  I had some .50/1 coupons from the Monopoly game and found that the boxes were on sale for 2.00 a piece, so I got a couple of boxes of broccoli and cheese sauce for 1.50 each.  And I grabbed a value pack of hamburger as it was on sale 2.99 lb with a coupon up to 10 pounds (I didn't go nearly that high on the pounds though).  That day I spent  15.89 on groceries (I had personalized prices on cilantro/parsley and organic herbs, so I was able to get the cilantro and basil cheap).  Friday I went back to the store to get the other things I needed (okay the ginger ale we didn't need, but the daughter requested it as her stomach has been cycling a lot lately and I wasn't going to say "no" to that request) and to get some ice cream as it was on sale 2.50 each as part of 5.00 Friday (and that particular brand, so long as I stick to the chocolate chip types and the vanilla...basically don't go nuts on the flavors....the ice cream is safe for Alvah's peanut allergy).

I also, while I was there, cashed in my Monopoly freebies from last week's grocery shopping trip (trip seen above).  The highlights of the trip were...

1/2 gallons of milk on reduced, so I was able to get 2 gallons of milk for 2.34 per gallon.

Pop tarts on sale 2.33 each when you buy 3.  This will hopefully last the son through breakfast for a few weeks (if he doesn't go on a s'more eating spree that is).

Sour cream on reduced 50% off and also on sale, so final cost was .75 for the sour cream.

Freebies included...

  • 3 envelopes aus jus gravy mix.  On sale buy 2 get 1 free, used two free coupons for the two I bought, resulting in all three being free.
  • 2 plain bagels (in the paper bag). 
  • 1 thing of potato salad (this was a personalized freebie from Just 4 U)
  • 1 Greek yogurt
  • 1 Hunts diced tomatoes
  • 1 small can of tomato sauce
  • 1 bottle of cold brewed coffee (never had it before, so I'm curious to try that one)

The deodorant I had a coupon for, so I was able to get it for 1.00 off.  All totaled I spent around 45.88 between the two grocery trips.  Not what I was hoping to spend, but at least I was able to get things that we needed (we did need the hamburger and things, so I can't really complain, much).  I'm hoping to not spend much at the store this next week, though, to make up for having spent so much more than planned on groceries this month.

5.  I've been enjoying watching things over YouTube and other free services at night before going to bed.  I just started Downton Abbey this week and have been really enjoying it.  What can I say, I'm behind the times when it comes to TV programs *laugh*.

6.  I went looking at the store for frozen yogurt and the only thing I could really find were frozen yogurt bars and while I still have a few free ones left, the regular price on them gave me pause (and caused me to gasp a little bit *laugh*).  So, instead, I went online and looked up some recipes to try to make my own frozen yogurt.  If anyone has made it before on here, could you point me toward a recipe to make some (preferably without heavy cream or other expensive add ins that also add in extra saturated fat as I'm trying to avoid that for the sake of health..thus why I'm trying to make frozen yogurt versus ice cream :).

7.  When I had a sore throat earlier in the week I hopped over to Three Bears to see if I could get some cheap popsicles to help my throat, but found that they wanted 7.00 for a small package of popsicles!  I definitely turned that deal down and instead went home, made some Tang and then filled up some popsicle molds to make my own popsicles.  Sure I had to wait until that night to have a popsicle, but I also didn't have to part with 7.00 for glorified frozen sugar water.

8.  I continued to declutter and weed through things in the house this week to get rid of what we don't need and to reclaim space, thus making the living environment more calm.

9.  The daughter insisted on taking rainbow cookies (butter cookies with rainbow M&M-like pieces in them) for her birthday treat for school.  I really wanted to make it happen for her once she turned down the Oreo Thins idea because she goes to junior high next year and I knew that this was the last year for birthday treats at school.  She had so many kids in her class that I had to make two cookie mixes (they are Betty Crocker mixes we have in the pantry) to make sure she'd have enough, so I ended up making 5 dozen cookies.  This also left some for school treats to put into her lunches over the next couple of weeks.

10.  One of the things I weeded through and ended up tossing a bunch of was old plastic lunch containers that were chipped, kind of melted inside and/or missing lids and things.  I talked to my husband and he agreed it was time to replace them (the ones we have are really old and the lids are ill fitting on a lot of them anymore).  I had some on order from Amazon, but cancelled the order and decided to see what I could find locally (after having the wonderful experience at the postal annex with how long the lines still are, I wanted to see if I could avoid going back there as much as possible) and I am glad I did that because I found a 50 piece set at Three Bears for about the same price as the 40 piece set I had found on Amazon.  I'm happy as the lids and containers stack so much nicer now and getting rid of the containers without lids freed up a lot of space and made me wonder why I had kept them so long considering I never used them without the lids.  Things that make you go, "Really?  Why did you hold onto that for so long?"

And there you are folks.  Some of my adventures this week.  How did your week go?  Well I hope?

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Frugal Friday: Money Saving Weekly Recap

Whew!  What a week!

The kids had Thursday and Friday off due to parent teacher conferences (neither of the kids needed one of those, which was nice), so I was juggling kiddos.  Then the daughter started not feeling good Friday and has just been feeling icky and needing attention all weekend.  Thank goodness for popsicles as those have been a huge help with her sore throat.

Then the toilet in the children's bathroom started having problems and the float stop will freeze up or something and the toilet will start overfilling, so I have to mess with the shut off valve for the toilet on and off.  Luckily we have a rebuild kit for the toilet that my husband bought in case we needed it, but then we forgot to rebuild the toilet innards this weekend, so hopefully the husband is up to rebuilding that tomorrow.

We had sister missionaries over Friday night, so I spent a good portion of the week working my tail off TRYING to get the house mostly clean before the kids were off Thursday and Friday, and it turns out Monday (their first snow day this year due to the roads being icy).  I did okay.  Not as well as I would have liked, but I did the best I could with having to run and get the kids early the other two days of the week, once due to both kids not feeling good and then the other day the husband needed me to pick them up early so he could go into town early to help someone he knew with an electrical issue (which turned out to be Valentine's Day, unfortunately so he missed out on the "fancy" dinner I made...seen up top).

Oh and a side note on Jello in vintage recipes (since I made a Jello mold to go with dinner that day).  You know those Jello molds with CRAZY items in them, like celery and things?  I ran into an old cooking booklet from the rationing days of WWII in America and they were talking about not wasting food, any food at all.  They recommended if you had just a little bit of this and that left over from dinner to not throw it out, but to keep it in the fridge and that Jello would help a lot in using up leftovers.  They recommended people get creative with flavors of Jello to use up things like left over vegetables and things.  I think a lot of people ended up getting creative, and sometimes NOT in a good way, with the Jello and the left overs.  Just thought that was kind of a neat bit of knowledge to pass along.

The Jello mold I made was just orange Jello with some left over fruit cocktail and the left over bits of pineapple that was left from making the pineapple upside down cake in it.  Turned out great and the daughter went back for seconds!  Which, trust me, her going back for seconds on anything that isn't pizza or french fries is a huge deal!

The husband did come home armed with a rose and some chocolate covered strawberries Valentine's Day morning, which I was surprised and very thrilled he thought of me, especially taking the time to stop off somewhere on the way home from work just to get me something :).

So, yeah, sorry about the menu plan being MIA for this week.  I'm hoping to just post up the next week and a half of menu plans tomorrow.  Hopefully the kids will be healthy, the roads will be good and I can get some stuff done around the house.  I felt like last week all I did was run and pray the house would remain in one piece all week long.

Believe it or not, some money saving things did get done this week despite everything crazy going on, so let's get to that!

1.  Let's start with shopping.  Highlights for this week are seen above.

The breakdowns are...

Let's start at Carrs.  3 Things of Turkey Gravy, on sale buy two get one free.  Used free coupon from Monopoly game on one of them.  All totaled 1.18 for all three (unfortunately these were the ONLY powdered gravies Carrs had in stock, so I grabbed them for that price.  If I do not use them for anything, I'll save them to donate to the food bank come November to help them with Thanksgiving).  I also got a free 100 count bottle of Aspirin.  I wasn't going to turn down free pain killers, even though I'll only use Aspirin if I don't have Ibuprofen around.

I also stopped off at Fred Meyer this week and got some cool stuff while I was there.  Two Chobani Smooth Yogurt were free.  Fred Meyer had a coupon you could load for free Chobani yogurt and they actually gave you choices on what yogurt you wanted to get with the coupon.  My friend offered me her coupon as well (they have a dairy allergy in the family), so I went for the smooth yogurt as you got two yogurts versus one.   Fred Meyer also gave me a coupon for a free thing of Oreos as a "Best Customer" coupon, so I grabbed those while I was there.

I also went looking for some small cutting boards as I gave up on ordering some through Amazon as they kept putting off shipping the cutting boards I had ordered to the point I got fed up with it and decided I'd try to find some locally instead.  And I hit pay dirt!

They had kitchen gadgets buy one get one 1/2 off.  The cutting board and knife kit was hanging with the rest of the kitchen gadgets and I noticed they were 5.99 each, so I figured for a paring knife and a cutting board the price would be totally worth it.  When I checked out, however, I found that the kits rang up for 4.49 each instead of 5.99 each.  They also rang up as knives instead of a kitchen gadget kits, so the cashier had to do an override to get the coupon to work (which from what he said wasn't his first time he'd had to do that during the week on different kitchen gadget kits) and to make up for the long wait I had to wait (I was using the U-Scan) he took off 2.49.  So, all totaled I spent 6.49 for two cutting boards and two paring knives.  Not too shabby!

2.  So, theoretically, what do you do when you realize you desperately need a storage cabinet to store towels, wet wipes and other bathroom items, but you don't have an available closet and you also need room for a few books and don't know where to put them?  Well, in my case, you gut your china cabinet, put the vintage kitchen things in the actual kitchen (after rearranging everything in said kitchen it seemed) and then use the two shelves you emptied to make the storage space you need.  I thought it came out looking okay overall.  It doesn't look like your typical china cabinet anymore, that's for sure.

3.  I rearranged the small little basket looking trash can under my kitchen sink and put it downstairs in my den.  I then took the bigger lidded trash can and put it in the corner of the kitchen instead.  This will give me more room for cleaning supplies under my kitchen sink and also allow me more time in between having to dump the garbage in the big outside garbage cans.

4.  When I ran out of window cleaner, I switched to white vinegar.

5.  On Valentine's Day I decided I wanted to make a pineapple upside down cake as something special to go with dinner, but I didn't want to make a big 9x13 pan worth.  So, I went online and found a cake recipe that only called for 1/2 of a cake mix and then I used the other 1/2 of the cake mix to make the kids a cake with chocolate frosting and sprinkles (the son has decided he LOVES sprinkles).  Everyone has really been enjoying their treats and I don't have to worry about the husband and I having to eat way too much pineapple upside down cake *laugh*.

6.  I used Jello to use up left over fruit in the fridge and leftover fruit from making the pineapple upside down cake (explained more up top).

7.  I went through piles of paperwork this week and started weeding out things we didn't need anymore.  It felt really good to reclaim the space and to get rid of paperwork that I would have to go through over and over again to find that "one important thing" I was looking for at the time.

8.  I mended a couple pieces of clothing this week.

9.  I spent a lot of time this week cleaning the house and I managed to get things done like dusting ceiling fans and other things I don't do on a day to day basis.  It has been great walking past places that I cleaned and are looking nice and spiffy now and I'm looking forward to getting more and more of the house looking like that.

10.  My daughter has a friend, it turns out, that has a birthday just a few days past her own and we were told by her friend's grandmother that she was looking forward to the daughter being there.  We had the daughter ask her friend what she'd like for her birthday and it turns out her friend likes crafty types of things.  So, I went into JoAnn Fabrics with the daughter armed with coupons to see what we could find.  With a 40% off one item coupon stacked with a 20% off your total purchase coupon I was able to get the kids little St. Patrick's Day decorations (my daughter has been wanting that certain type of decoration ever since she got braces and saw that her orthodontist had's kind of like a bouquet style thing with tinsel and things sticking up from it instead of flowers) and the gift my daughter picked out and spent less than 15.00 for everything (which was less than the original price of the gift alone).

11.  I decided to use the leftover birthday money my mom sent to pick up some coffee from Amazon (since the cutting board idea from them fell through).  I found that they had New England Coffee Company coffees really cheap, but you were only allowed to buy one bag at that price at a time, so I went and ordered a bunch of different types and flavors.  I then added in some disposable, refillable yogurt tubes (so I can buy big containers of yogurt and make my own tubes for the daughter's lunch instead of buying the GoGurt and things for her...she insists on the tubes, so I'm getting around her protests ;) and some more Curel Itch Defense lotion for the son.  All totaled with coupons and things on the items I was able to get nearly 5 lbs of coffee, 150 tubes to fill with yogurt and the lotion for just over 25.00.  I did go over my birthday money by a bit, but eh...I was okay with that for everything I was able to buy :).

In other news, I love my new sneakers that I got with the rest of my birthday money my mom sent.  It's wonderful having sneakers that are in good shape again.

12.  The son's nylon hammock swing was falling apart in his room (we have one hanging from the ceiling for him so he can swing when he needs to) and it was falling apart everywhere as the fabric was just going hard core.  I called the sporting/camping goods store we bought the swing last time and found that they wanted 30.00 nearly for a new swing.  I went on Amazon and found a new swing that was actually bigger/longer (which Alvah needed the way he's grown) and WAY cheaper at about 10.00.  I put it up when it came in on Tuesday and the son has been in love with it ever since.  Definitely worth looking around for other swing options :).

13.  I loaded the McDonalds app onto my phone and found that they had a coupon for a 1.00 large french fry.  I was able to get the son a quick, and cheap, meal when he wasn't feeling good earlier in the week and I had to pick him up early.  It was definitely worth loading the app for that find alone.

And there you go folks.  Some of my frugal adventures for the week.  How did you do?

Monday, February 12, 2018

Monthly Goals: February 2018

Okay, so it's the 12th and I'm just getting to actually writing these things down.  I'm giving myself some slack this month, however as the first part of the month has turned out to be pretty hectic.  Hopefully the last of the month goes by in a relaxed and boring manner.  That'd be nice.

When it comes to last month's goals...well I didn't get about 99% of them done, unfortunately.  Between the son getting the flu and being down for a week, the daughter being down with her stomach for a week, other life stuff just getting thrown our way...really it's a miracle I got anything done at all.  A lot of what I got done wasn't on my list for last month, but I did get some stuff done.

1.  I got the chandelier over my kitchen table completely taken apart and deep cleaned.  It was disgusting with old grease combined with dust being stuck to it (I have a recirculating hood in my kitchen which...doesn't work, so grease and stuff just floats around and sticks to everything it can). 
2.  I did manage to clean the ceiling fans (at least THAT was on my list). 
3.  I got not a lot done on the love seat, but I tried (I'm hoping to get more done on that this week). 
4.  We repaired the son's recliner when it broke...and then had to fix it again this week, but at least it was all fixable and relatively easy to do :). 
5.  I reorganized the corner shelf in my kitchen cabinets and put my mixing bowls and some of my baking pans in there instead of the snack cabinet it used to be.  Snacks were just getting shoved into the back of the cabinet and going bad, the cabinet completely drove me crazy all the time and I was getting shoulder pain having to lift a stack of mixing bowls off of the top of my fridge every time I wanted to bake something.  So, it was time for a change.   
I'm not super thrilled with the system I have now (and by "system" I mean "unceremoniously stuffed the snacks into the hallway closet into every available nook and cranny"), but at least my baking pans are more protected now and the mixing bowls are within easy reach, which will make baking things SO much easier!  It's a continual work in progress for sure. 
6.  I started to reorganize the son's room a bit and am starting the slow process of going through toys throughout the house.  Luckily, the daughter is old enough that she's willing to go through her own toys from time to time and weed as she outgrows things, which does make my life a lot easier in the long run, but with the son's toys...I've still got quite a ways to go. 
7.  I started to work on a better way to menu plan and so far I'm really happy with how it is all working out.  I'm hoping that I can continue to make progress in that area. 
8.  I deep cleaned TV's and tablets, which all needed it and managed to get some dusting done.   
9.  I started brainstorming how to get myself a bit more room around here to store some of my books, get a better system going to store towels and things for the bathroom and other things and started rearranging things to make those things happen more readily (maybe).  I'm still working on it all in my head, but I'm hoping I'm at least getting there (I might not think fast sometimes, but I do think thorough ;). 
And so, yeah, I did get some things accomplished last month, even though I felt like I was spinning my wheels for most of it.

And now, onto the goals for this month.

General Goals:
1.  Get ready to celebrate daughter's birthday (I think I got everything I really need to get that done now, but I would at least like to make her a few things for her birthday before it gets here, so we'll see how that goes.  Hopefully kids stay healthy and everything works out okay) 
2.  Get the flour storage corner figured out, hopefully a little bit better (seen up top).  I currently have everything just kind of stacked where I can get to it, but it really does look cluttered and not what I'd like for it to look like, so I'm going to see what I can do to improve the situation some. 
3.  Make sure daughter has a good birthday (preparations are underway ;). 
4.  Continue search for speech therapist.  In meantime write to Gemini program and ask about a scholarship program for the son. 
5.  Keep a watch on the phone bill.  When roll over gigs are close to used up from past months think about upgrading the internet (as we're running about 3 gigs over every month and so far the roll over gigs are taking care of that, but I'm not sure how long those will last as they expire if you don't use them and they are expiring decently fast here).  This won't happen this month, but I want to get in the habit of watching that carefully, especially if I can get Gemini working out as that's a streaming video program, so I know it'll eat into our internet even more.
6.  Continue to try and get son signed up for Special Olympics swimming. 

Cleaning Goals:
1.  Deep clean laundry room (half of it got doused in water when the hot water heater started leaking and got pretty clean then, but the rest of it needs things moved and cleaned under them and things). 
2.  Shampoo carpets 
3.  Clean children's air purifiers. 
4.  Clean cabinets in kitchen. 
5.  Take down curtains and wash them.  Put them back up. 
6.  Move beds and clean under them. 
7.  Take inventory of freezer and pantry to see what needs to be used up and what might to need to be replenished in coming months. 
8.  Start work on another pot holder for kitchen.

Sewing Goals:
1.  Love seat.  Get it done (simple, sweet and to the point). 
2.  Sew a couple of skirts for daughter's birthday (this is something I've been trying to get done for months and am STILL not gotten it done yet, so I'm hoping I make it before her birthday). 
3.  Get some mending done.   
4.  Attempt to repair favorite pair of jeans (I don't really think they are able to be mended where the hole is developing, but I can hope). 
5.  Sew a couple more pillowcases (it seems like we never have enough of those things for some odd reason).

Baking/Cooking Goals:
1.  Make chocolate chip muffins.  Put some aside for breakfasts for daughter and freeze the rest for later use. 
2.  Make a couple of more freezer meals.  Freeze for later use (I actually used the one dish of manicotti I managed to freeze last month and made it for dinner instead of baked ravioli the other night due to me having a bad headache, so yeah...more freezer meals would be a good thing. 
3.  Work on menu plan for next month.  Plan baking day for bread and other baked goods and try to get them done by the last week of February so everything is ready to go by March.
And yeah, since I know I'll fail if I list everything else I'd LIKE to get done, but doubt I'll accomplish, I'll leave it there.  How about you?  Got anything you need to get done this month?