Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Monthly Goals Update and This Week's Goals

It has been a busy near week around here, so I apologize for this post being late again.  But, I did get a pretty good amount done on my list for this week, so yay for that!

I got the video shelves moved upstairs into the living room (seen above) with some much needed help from my husband and am slowly moving the videos from the stacks that are stacked all over the den to their new homes upstairs.  I also got a couple of Christmas gifts done this week (more on that later) and am hoping to work on some more in the next couple of days.  I got to work on the couch, although not as much as I would have liked (my goal is to finish that up tomorrow one way or the other). 

The Christmas gifts still aren't wrapped (which there is now an impressive pile going), but I did get the Christmas decorations out of storage and hauled into the den yesterday, which was an accomplishment because it is COLD here (like we reached a high of six today.  Woohoo).  I'm working on getting everything cleaned and organized before setting up the decorations this weekend, so I'm kind of burning the candle at both ends right now trying to get it all done. 

So, yeah, things are going to be busy around here!  So, onto the goals for this week!

Sewing Goals:
  • Work on Christmas gifts
  • Finish sewing arm onto couch and sew slip covers for cushions.

Cleaning Goals:
  • Clean.  Everything.  Yeah...that'll cover it *laugh*.
  • Change bedding on all the beds.
  • Finish moving videos to new home up in living room.

General Goals:
  • Wrap Christmas gifts that are done.
  • Set up Christmas decorations.  Put gifts under tree.
  • Start work on master bedroom closet (emptying it is the first step)
  • Pick up packages at post office (got that done today, thank goodness.  Lines this time of year are LONG up here, so I was able to get there right when they opened so I was second in line).
  • Put rest of turkey into freezer (did that tonight)

And there you are folks.  My goals for this week (I think...my kids were grumpy and screechy and gave me a migraine tonight, so thinking is at a bit of a premium right now).  How about you?  Up to anything interesting?

Friday, November 25, 2016

Frugal Friday: Money Saving Weekly Recap

Well, I hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving.  Ours was a comedy of errors, really, but it all turned out alright. 

First, my husband and I didn't sleep well the night before Thanksgiving.  The son unit started acting like his stomach was bugging him or something close to bedtime and we were worried he had a stomach bug or something, so we took turns watching him throughout the night just to be sure he was okay.  Luckily he was alright (I think when I gave him his daily medicine at around bedtime some just didn't sit on his stomach well at first and that's what was going on with him) and at about four, I decided it was definitely time to trust he would be okay, threw some more ice into the turkey brine and I went to bed for a few hours.

I woke up at eight, even though I had wanted to get up at about seven, barely able to move.  Turns out, moving a bookcase up the stairs and repeatedly flipping the couch over to get tacks in at certain angles overworked my legs...probably because I had to use my legs even more than normal because of the reduced flexibility in my left arm.  So, getting moving in the morning was a BIT difficult, but after a cup of coffee and some Ibuprofen I was feeling a lot better in that area.

And then my daughter got up for the day and it turned out that she finally caught the cold that had gone through the entire household.  So, she was teary eyed and in a bad mood all day yesterday and today and we have been trying to get her to take it easy and just get over the cold.  I was worried when she ended up with the cold yesterday full force that we were, once again, going to end up in the ER on Black Friday, but luckily it seems to be taking the course of a normal cold this time around.  At least she was able to actually taste Thanksgiving dinner yesterday as she'd been looking forward to Thanksgiving for weeks.

I cooked the turkey too long at a too high of a temperature because my son distracted me when I should have put the temperature down, but luckily with the turkey being brined and a triangle of tin foil on it, the turkey survived alright.  The husband got distracted by the son when he was pouring the turkey brine down the drain for me and ended up flooding it onto the counter, so I ended up with an hour long "clean up the cross contamination nightmare" event.  But, it helped me to detail clean the counter, so there was a bright side to that event as well.

So, yeah, we made it through Thanksgiving alright.  Grateful for the food on our table, the roof over our heads and the knowledge that we didn't have to go anywhere this weekend :).

Today I went online and looked at Jo-Ann.com since I wasn't going to be doing any shopping today with a sick daughter and such and checked out what I could get on sale for utility fabrics.  The only thing I could find was a 25 yard bolt of muslin which after the 50% discount and shipping would have cost about 45.00.  Not a bad deal by any stretch, but it was just more than I could spend right now...we have bills to make here in the next couple of weeks, so I just let it go.  I know there will be more deals coming down the pike at a later date, so I'm not stressing over it.  But, yeah, saying "no" to deals you can't afford is sometimes the hardest part about living frugally, but it is a part of it.

So, onto other money saving endeavors this week!

1.  My super cheap Kindle came in the mail today as well as Christmas gifts from my mom and sister (they sent gift cards and I ordered the gifts).  I was thrilled to watch my first video on You Tube (I queued up "Victorian Farm Christmas" to watch with my daughter cuddling on my lap since she wasn't feeling good) as the picture quality and buffering were SO much better than my old laptop it was like watching a little TV.  Very, very cool.

2.  I finished up the majority of one arm of the couch project today (seen up top).  My husband isn't overly impressed with the back I put on the couch, but could understand why I did it the way I did, but I have to say that I think once the arms are actually done it'll look a lot more cohesive and put together.  I'm hoping once I get the slip covers for the cushions made that we'll essentially have a new couch if the material holds up for a while.

Since I'm doing this project, quite literally, with materials I have on hand, this project is costing me nothing but time.

3.  I looked up on You Tube some tutorials for making wreaths from scratch.  I'm thinking of giving it a shot with materials I have at hand and seeing how they turn out.  I figure with having pine and things around my yard, if it doesn't turn out I'm not really out that much, so we'll see how it goes.

4.  When I was at the used store earlier in the week dropping off donations, I checked out what they had and found they had a bunch of queen sized comforters from 8.00 to 11.00 a piece.  We've gotten to a point where we are really in need of some comforters as with my son constantly making a mess of blankets, we just plain have worn some of them out.  I mean we have a few comforters that I have rebuilt about four times and they are just finally done.  I went online to see what I could find for comforters to replace what we had, planning to use part of our Christmas giftcards I get from my family to pay for them, but not only were the ones I could find not cheap, but they weren't even good quality to justify the price you would have to pay for them.  So, I decided to bite the financial bullet, as it were, and went to the used store with my husband one day and bought three comforters sets to replace ones that are going to be subsequently retired.  Nice part is that each set came with pillow cases too, so that will be nice to have as well.  Three comforter sets cost me less than one comforter would have cost me online, so while paying out so 30.00 at once was harsh, it was worth it (I wanted to get some of the sets before they sold out because it's rare that the used stores get comforters in, especially in sets, that are brand new quality like these were). 

5.  On Thanksgiving since my daughter wasn't really up to watching TV out in the living room with the rest of us and just wanted to watch things in her room lying down, my husband and I brought my laptop out and watched the Turkey Day special for MST3K on Shout Factory's website.  Every Thanksgiving they stream a bunch of movies for free from the Mystery Science Theater 3000 archives, so that was fun to watch while I was cooking and things.  It was fun and it was free :).

6.  I started cleaning up the house some more today in preparation of getting the Christmas decorations out of storage and put up for the year, which is frugal in that it helps make cleaning the house later easier and also because it helps me to realize things that could just plain get weeded out and things.  Here's hoping I can get it all done tomorrow as I really do want to get the decorations up and out of the way so I can focus on making gifts and things.

7.  I went online today and checked out the ads via e-mail to find that Fred Meyer is doing 25 Days of Deals or something like that and they had a freebie coupon today for a free candy storybook.  So, I loaded that onto my card as well as the free Twix or Snickers freebie.  The Twix or Snickers freebie will go into my husband's stocking and the storybook will go into one of the kid's stockings, so yay for free stocking stuffers!

8.  My husband and I were finally able to enjoy a glass of eggnog on Thanksgiving.  I use a recipe that Alton Brown developed that calls for a lot of eggs and a lot of alcohol, but I was able to use the last of the eggs I had from babysitting the chickens (you only use egg yolks in the recipe and I really love the big yolks with the farm fresh eggs vs the store eggs) and used up alcohol we still had left over from making eggnog last year (yup we're that heavy of drinkers around here *laugh*).  I did have to buy a container of cream to make the eggnog, but overall it was really cheap to make this year.  Since this is one of the few Christmas treats my husband really enjoys, I was happy that I was able to make it for him :). 

9.  Shopping this week cost me 37.00.  I got the son his junk food with that and also got fresh herbs for Thanksgiving and milk.  And yeah, that was about it for grocery shopping this week :).

And that is about it on our end for the week.  How about you?  Any frugal adventures to report?

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Monthly Goals Update and This Week's Goals (the Mid-Week Edition)

Sorry this took so long to post up this week.  Sunday I was just too sick still to really care much about anything and then Monday and Tuesday I was just plain busy and was exhausted by the end of the day, so the last thing I had energy for was blogging.  Trying to get tons of stuff done while still recovering from being sick will make you really want to rest by the end of the day.

So, what was I up to that I have been too busy to post up much of anything the last couple of days?

Well, for one I have been working on getting the mittens I am making for my niece done and I'm getting there, which is nice.  I've been doing that in the early mornings and late evenings.  During the day I've been cleaning and organizing like a mad woman.  See, every year I'm determined that the house is going to be "that" clean before I put up Christmas decorations.  Every year it seems I fail pretty much, but this year there was a list of things I wanted to get done before Christmas decorations got in the way, so I've been really working hard on at least getting that done.

One was moving the video shelves upstairs as I'm tired of the pile of movies in the middle of my den every day that my son has been nice enough to leave for me.  By moving the video shelves upstairs we'll be able to better protect the videos from abuse, which is definitely needed with how my son has gotten into tearing videos off of shelves to find "that" video to watch for two minutes.  It's been driving me nuts.

So, Monday and yesterday, in between laundry and cleaning, I started to clean video shelves clear of videos and got one of the bookcases moved upstairs today.  So, reorganizing is going sporadic, but it's getting there.

The next thing I needed to tackle was the couch (seen up top in it's "before" state).  The loveseat is next after I'm done with the couch as it's in about as bad of shape as the couch, but has a few more patches to see it through until I can work on it.

The couch had gotten so bad on the shedding/peeling front that you'd sit down and it was like sitting down on sand paper.  Then you'd get up and there would be brown flecks all over you, the floor and anything that was nearby.  It was gross, uncomfortable and I just had enough of the entire situation.  I didn't have the money to go out and buy upholstery fabric or new leather to upholster the couch in (or new furniture obviously) , so I grabbed a really thick suit fabric I'd gotten for like five dollars at a used store a while ago and have used for different projects when I wanted a long length of fabric, measured it up by throwing it over the entire couch to see if it would work (yup, I'm that detail oriented on this stuff) and went to work.
Here's step one completed.  After ripping the back off the couch and having to hammer in a lot of tacks with a tack hammer that worked about as well as trying to hammer a nail in with a feather, I am seriously considering renaming the blog, "Puncture Wounds and Blood Blisters" but at least it's done.

I like to call the final product "Glorified semi-permanent slip cover aesthetic" because that's really what it looks like, but it was the best I could do with the materials I had at hand. After I secured the fabric on the back and to a certain extent on the sides, I took Elmer's Craft Bond and went over the cushions hard with it and literally adhered the fabric to the cushions.  I'm hoping that will help to prevent slipping of the fabric and hopefully help the fabric wear a bit better.  I might end up having to buy a better adhesive for the job later, but I had the Craft Bond so that's what I used.
The next step is going to be to sew on the arm covers (I just laid the fabric over to give an idea of what it will kind of look like here).  Then it will be a matter of making individual slip covers for the cushions.  I found that the big "pillow case sleeve" type of way of doing a slip cover for the couch wasn't going to work as the middle cushion just threw it off too much, but I did find that the muslin slip cover works GREAT on the loveseat with it's two cushions, so that's where the old slip cover for the cushions went.

So, yeah, when it came to my weekly goals I didn't get a lot of them done.  The cabbage sits in the fridge coleslaw-less, I still have to make brine for the turkey and pie tonight and I for sure didn't take it easy on my arm getting things done, but at least they are getting done.

So, onto the goals for the rest of the week.  I'm just going to lump them all together for the sake of simplicity at this point.

  • Make Thanksgiving dinner and thoroughly enjoy it!
  • Dig out Christmas Decorations to put up over the weekend (hopefully)
  • Get rest of video shelves moved upstairs
  • Get rest of house cleaned
  • Wrap Christmas gifts done so far and get them put aside in a better location (they are stacked with everything else in the den right now).
  • Finish mittens for niece.
  • Work on couch some more.  Hopefully finish it.
  • Make new Christmas table runner for den.
  • Catch up on blog reading (especially since I found out Jeannie has a blog and have been reading through it.  The blog can be found HERE to those interested.  I'm really enjoying it!).  I need to read through Brandy's posts on "The Prudent Homemaker" too.  I've been so busy I know I missed some gifts in her "Gift a Day" series and I love looking at her sewing projects!
And there you are folks.  My goals for the rest of the week.  How about you?  Up to anything this week.

Oh and by the way, in case I don't get an opportunity to say it later, "Happy Thanksgiving" to all of my American readers!

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Frugal Friday: Money Saving Weekly Recap

It was such a hectic week, I seriously forgot it was Saturday and panicked when I looked at the clock, realized it was 7:30 and my alarm hadn't gone off yet.  I was half way out of bed, ready to bolt to get dressed, when it sunk in that it was Saturday. 

This week we ended up fielding my son getting sick with a cold (his entire class came down with it this week), who then subsequently sneezed and coughed all over my husband and I and now we're both sick and miserable. 

In the middle of having to pick the son up because he was having a hard time at school (which I feel guilty about making him go to school now as he seemed like he had a cough and a stuffy nose, but was otherwise okay, but now that my husband and I are sick we wonder if he was sicker than we thought) and things we had to field a continuing issue my daughter has had at school with a boy this year that was crossing the line from "bugging" her into bullying her.  So, there were some calls to her teacher to talk about threats of hitting on the boy's part and things.  Her teacher talked to the boy and his parents and things seem to be a lot better now.  Here's hoping they stay that way.  Now it's just continuing to hammer on my daughter to ignore and avoid said boy to help make the situation go away.

The early part of the week saw me running around a lot, dropping off donations to the used store, looking for small gifts to go under the tree for the kids and things like that and the rest of the time I was cleaning like a demon (as much as my arm would let me) to try and get the house nice and clean before the Christmas decorations end up coming out in a couple of weeks.  I did make progress there, anyway, and the house is SLOWLY getting up to speed. 

There was some things that happened on the money saving front this week, though, so let's get to those while my energy is holding out (between my arm and my cold I'm not getting a lot of sleep and then my son went to bed 1/2 an hour early last night, took a two hour nap and was up all night.  Never letting him do THAT again, no matter how miserable I feel I'll tell you what).

1.  Amazon had deals this week leading up to Black Friday and while on there I found a really good deal.  I have had continuing issues with my laptop not liking me watching things online and/or playing music without freezing up every two seconds (probably something to do with it being nearly 10 years old now) and I've also had problems with my ancient stereo (I mean I bought it USED for 2.00 fifteen years ago and it's worked like clockwork this entire time, so I'm not complaining by any stretch) finally losing it's stability in the CD player so my music stutters if a cat walks through the kitchen even.  I really like to watch videos on You Tube and things and I listen to music when I work ALL THE TIME so I kept trying to come up with a decently cheap option to fix the problems with.  I'd bought an Android tablet last year that might as well have come with a stack of papers as it has been a glorified paperweight from pretty much day one (total waste of Christmas gift cards from family), so I was being really careful on what to do.  I thought maybe about buying an MP3 player and then just borrowing my son's I-PAD to watch videos or something, but instead I stumbled on a find on Amazon!

They were having a sale on refurbished Kindle Fires.  I found a really good deal on last year's Kindle Fire 8, applied gift cards I had saved up over time and managed to get the thing super duper cheap.  Here's hoping it works better than my Android tablet (we have an older Kindle Fire that we got for my daughter that still works great, so here's hoping our luck holds in that area).  I'm thrilled as I found a free app I can download to make the Kindle Fire into a better MP3 player, and I know I can watch my videos on it, so overall life is good in that area.

2.  I got a catalogue in the mail from LL Bean for their holiday stuff.  In this particular catalogue they gave me a 10.00 off any order promo code, no minimum order, so I went online and found a water bottle for 10.00 and got it for free (shipping through LL Bean is free, although when they started that I found that the price on EVERYTHING they sell went up to make up for it).  My daughter insists on getting ice water every evening to go to bed, so that her water stays cold throughout the night if she gets thirsty, so the water bottle will definitely come in handy.  Especially since some of the water bottles she's had since Kindergarten are starting to show some major wear and could probably see getting rotated out of the dish cabinet.

3.   I spent about 60.00 on groceries this week, but a good portion of that was buying my daughter strawberries (4.99 per container this time of year and I got two so that my husband could have some because he really likes them too) and some other fruit to cheer her up after the week she had.  I was kind of sad to go over budget on the groceries, but at least it's healthy food, it did cheer her up to find the strawberries in the fridge and she'll definitely eat them, so it'll work itself out.  And I was able to get the rest of my Thanksgiving stuff, minus fresh herbs (if I can't find them, I'll just use dried and hope it works out okay) in there as well.

4.  I made a beef roast on Monday, which worked out well as with everything going on we were able to eat the left overs from the beef roast for the next three days for dinner.  I pulled out some hard rolls from the freezer that I'd gotten in huge bag a while back from Carrs and made french dips for dinner a few nights and then one night we just had roast beef sandwiches.  Last night my husband pulled out the Erbswurst from the fridge (he actually LIKES that soup, go figure) and was making that as he likes to eat it when he has a cold and I just made what was easily made from leftovers for the kids and I had some tomato soup I had frozen.  It was definitely nice having that available as an option (thanks to those who recommended making soup ahead to use later.  It's definitely paying off now).

5.  I was able to finish, despite my week, a gift for my new nephew who is due in January (seen up top).  I'd LOVE to take credit for the cute crochet, but unfortunately, one I'm not that talented on the crochet front and two, I've found that knitting and/or crocheting right now with my arm is out and out tortuous to do.  BUT, I did find a project that someone had started for the little turtle up top and all it needed was some stuffing and to be sewn together/finished up.  It was .50, so I grabbed it and finished it.  And voila!  A little crocheted critter for the nephew :).  I'm still hoping to make a receiving blanket or something to go with it, but we'll see how busy I am in the next couple of months.  I also worked on the embroidered mittens I'm making some more as well.

6.  I used a coupon that had printed off at the register at the store to get myself a .57 cup of hot chocolate at Starbucks after the discount was taken...which I was actually kind of astounded that I couldn't get a hot chocolate for free with the discount as it was a pretty high value coupon, but at least it was under 1.00 after it was all said and done.  I normally wouldn't have indulged like that, but with my cold I was having a hard time stopping coughing yesterday, so it seemed like a good idea.  It worked.  Can't say how it tasted since most everything tastes like cardboard right now, but it was hot, and hot is good right now *laugh*.

7.  I got the Jo Ann Fabrics ad in the mail for their Black Friday sales yesterday and was finally able to look at it today.  I'm actually kind of disappointed in it as it doesn't seem like the deals are as good as in previous years (like 70% vs. 75% off in previous years and such), but I am hopeful that online sales combined with coupons on Wednesday or later might net me some decently cheap utility fabric for the coming year (I'm hoping to get some more unbleached muslin as I use muslin a LOT in projects), but if I don't I still have fabric, so it's not like I'm going to melt away from not having it or something :).

8.  I needed to pick up ink for my printer, finally, this week as my son's new care coordinator likes to do everything via electronic means, so I had to print off about 50 pages of paperwork, fill it all out and scan and return to her the parts that needed attention.  I did have a coupon for 10% ink cartridges so I got the cartridges for 50.00 (ouch ouch ouch), but at least they are extra large and should last a while.  So says the box anyway.  We shall see.  The box even came with some post card sized photo papers, so I might be able to use those for something interesting in the future.

9.  I mended two pairs of pants for the kids this week.  The pants fit perfect in the waist, but the legs were just too long, so instead of making the kids try to hike up their elastic waist banded pants (sweatpants in my son's case), I just hemmed them.  I was actually rather happy with how the hems turned out as I don't have a lot of practice hemming things for other people (I'm short, so I'm used to doing it for me).

10.  My husband has watched free movies on YouTube and other online resources (like Amazon through Prime) while being sick, which definitely saved us from having to purchase movies that we might or not might watch again.

And yeah, there were other things but I lost my list in the chaos of the week, so I'll stop there for now.  How did you all do this week?

Monday, November 14, 2016

Monthly Goals Update and This Week's Goals

I almost didn't write this post considering I got like one whopping goal from last week actually worked on and that was Christmas gifts.  Past that, I was laid up a good portion of the week with my arm and then my son being sick with his infection didn't help me get anything done either. 

But, hey I got Christmas gifts worked on and that's important to get done, anyway :).

This week's goals are going to be focusing on much the same items so let's get it to it, shall we?

Sewing Goals:
  • Work on Christmas gifts.  Finish two if possible.

Food preservation goals:
  • Make canned coleslaw (the way this is going I might end up freezing it instead, but I'm hoping to can it.  Depending on how good my arm is to me).

General Goals:
  • Save money/spend as little money as possible (as anyone knows, this time of year it gets even harder and we've got a short month this month when it comes to payday).
  • Clean house (baby steps on this one as I'm trying not to overdo it and at the same time end up with a clean house at the end) and shampoo carpets
  • Get laundry caught up
  • Clean out snack cabinet and reorganize to work better (otherwise known as the "son food cabinet").
  • Get some pre-Thanksgiving prep done over the weekend this week.

And there you are folks.  My goals for this week.  How about you?  Got anything you're working on?

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Frugal Friday: Money Saving Weekly Recap

Well, this week has been busy, both good and bad.  I picked up my son from school on Wednesday and noticed he was limping.  So, I got him home, worried that he'd twisted his ankle and no one had noticed (under sensitivity to pain and all) but when I took off his socks I knew why he was limping.  The eczema on his feet had become infected during the day and looked AWFUL.  So, it was cleaning his feet thoroughly and then a visit to the doctor and the allergist for my little guy.  A new course of antibiotics and some instructions to get back to them both if the infection didn't start clearing up and we were on our way.

So, my son is finally not limping around the house anymore, although he kind of resembles a band aid mummy on his feet (I've gotten very good about sticking band aids to other band aids to get them to stick and things), so we're doing better and just trying to get him through his antibiotics without too many stomach issues (note to self:  buy probiotic powder) is on the agenda.

Between him and my arm making me miserable this week and it's been kind of a long week.  I overdid it helping to move the chickens into my friend's trucks as we were carrying a big Rubbermaid full of feed and a big bag of oyster shell and then just generally cleaning and things finished me off.  But the chickens are off to their new home and are happy and content there.  And there was some good that happened this week on the money saving front, so let's focus on that!

1.  When it came to grocery shopping this week I spent 43.00.  More than I wanted to spend, but we were so tight on money that I had to wait until today to shop for groceries so we were running low on son food by the time I went to the store.  I also picked up potatoes and a few other things for Thanksgiving (sorry for lack of pictures, but I have been exhausted all week as between my son and my arm I haven't been getting much sleep at all).  The biggest find was an awesome one.  Carrs had packages of ground turkey on an overstock sale for .99 a package!  Normal price is 6.00 a piece!  I got four packages (I would have gotten more but I am kind of maxed on freezer space right now) to mix with hamburger for tacos and things or to make turkey burgers with and things.  I was really thrilled to find those.

2.  I added water to dish soap and shampoo bottles this week that were empty to get the last little bit of soap out of the bottles.  Once I had for sure cleaned out the dish soap container I refilled it.  I am always surprised how many people don't do that trick.

3.  I started work on another Christmas gift (up top there).  I'd gotten a weird cut and slightly stained wool coat for .50 a while back and kept thinking I'd try to make it so it'd fit me well at some point, but I came to realize that the cut was all wrong to make it fit me without a LOT of work, so I instead decided to use the fabric  So, I cut the coat up a bit and made mittens for my niece and am embroidering some Swedish embroidery looking designs on them.  I think they are coming out pretty cute so far.

4.  I went to the thrift store today and found a snow suit that would fit my son, Columbia brand even, for decently cheap so I bought it for him as the school somehow managed to lose his snow pants and he's having to bring in his back up pair of snow pants for recess (I would get really upset by this but it has happened many times before but it seems things always come back to us in the end, so I am just going to have faith on that one).

I also found a nice big crock pot for 5.00.  I'm hoping it works well as it's big enough to cook a roast or a big corned beef in as my other crock pot, that I love, is pretty small in comparison.  So here's hoping it works well.

5.  I found a dollar on the ground earlier this week and I donated it to charity.  I could think of nothing better to do with it than to hopefully help someone else.

6.  I cleaned out and reused my vacuum bag.  I've found I can get about four uses out of a bag this way.

7.  I made sure to turn off lights and heaters when I could to save electricity.  Sadly, our electric bill still jumped 100.00 this month, so I am going to have to double down on turning things off as soon as the kids are heading downstairs to go to school.

8.  I made meals at home, which definitely saved money over eating out.

9.  I baked bread this week (yay!).

10.  I went to a product party for a friend of mine and she was nice enough to give me her little hostess gift.  It was for an all natural product company, so I got a little bar of soap and a special microfiber cloth.  The products were WAY too rich for my blood and I also, after all the years I've had having to work around allergies with my son, could make the products much cheaper I found, so I offered to help my friend get the books and materials she needed to make her own products.  So, so much cheaper than buying them.

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

Monday, November 7, 2016

Christmas 2016: A Book, Some Sachets and a Lap Quilt (Oh My)!

Right now one of these gifts is going to be kind of a recap since I finished it earlier, but I kind of wanted to put it into one of these posts just to keep all the gifts together (as it were).

I'm feeling good about the couple of gifts I got done this week though, so let's recap the book first!

Gift One:  A Panel Project Book

This book I'm still undecided who I'm going to give to yet, either a young member of the family or my son will receive it for Christmas.
This was a panel project I bought for .50 at a yard sale ages ago and finally took out and finished.  I used some spare fleece scraps I had around the house and some actual batting for the batting in the book and used thread I already had on hand to complete it.

Total time to complete project:  About an hour and a half (I'm paranoid about getting my centers somewhat lined up or I would have been done quicker).

Total Cost to Make Gift:  I'll go with .50 for the panel since that's what I spent originally.

Gift Two:  Lavender Sachets

Next up is a gift for my sister-in-law.  About three years ago I thought I would try my hand at growing lavender in the herb garden.  I bought a fully grown plant to plant around the house and it was a good thing I did too because it never grew much at all that summer and I ended up harvesting what lavender there was and drying it.  I put said lavender in an air tight storage container and put it aside to use later.  I finally ran into said lavender and decided that it would be nice to make some sachets out of it for my sister-in-law.  Since she uses essential oils at her house I figure that the sachets might be appreciated to stick in between folded blankets or sheets to give them a nice fragrance.

Having been in air tight storage all this time the lavender remained nice and strong smelling, so I was happy with the final results.

The fabric I used was gifted to me and I just thought it was so pretty.  I don't really have enough of it to make like clothing out of, but I'm hoping to use it to make some pretty things with anyway.  Like the sachets :).

Total Cost to Make Gift:  Nothing.

Total Time to Make Gift:  About two hours between funneling in the lavender into the sachets and sewing them closed and things.
Gift Three:  Horse Lap Quilt

And finally up in this post is a gift I finished today for my daughter.  A lap quilt.

First, I confess I suck at quilting.  I normally do not have the patience to do it, really don't see putting in tons of hard work into a quilt because I believe they should be used and things and my pragmatic side just doesn't see the point in making something that you are going to use every day into a work of art (weird considering the amount of work I'll put into say embroidery, but I never said I made sense ;).  I do appreciate work others do though for sure on the quilting front, though, don't get me wrong.  So, this, by far is the most complex quilt I've ever made in my life.

I found a kit someone had cut out all the pieces to at a yard sale years, and I mean YEARS ago (like six at least) and I picked it up as it was .25 for all the pieces.  All the kit came with was cut out blocks and a paper pattern showing you the basics of how it should look when finished shoved unceremoniously into a plastic bag.  Projects like this scare me as geometry and me?  We don't get along (at all). But, I don't shirk from a challenge easily, so I was determined to see the project through.  Thus a long journey of me doing a little section here and there throughout the years followed with a lot of seam ripping involved as I'd line things up wrong and things.  This week I FINALLY attached the last three rows to the quilt and finished the sucker!

With the horses on the quilt I KNOW it will be a hit with the daughter unit as she is into all things animal related anymore.  She's constantly dragging her blanket out into the living room when she's cold, too, so I'm hoping the lap quilt will take the place of a giant sized twin comforter or quilt for keeping her legs warm while watching TV.

And hey, the diamond pattern is only slightly off kilter, so at least I didn't screw it up too badly.  I feel pretty good about that *laugh*.

The pink quilt binding was kind of a punt as that was the only quilt binding I had around here in any type of volume (read:  More than one container of it) and since it was for my daughter I figured pink would work.  I would have preferred blue, green, brown or black, but sometimes you just do what you can afford to do.

Total Cost to Make Gift:  Nothing in the current time.  The material for the backing was given to me  and the batting was left over from previous projects.  I did use up the rest of my quilt basting spray doing this project, though and had to switch to basting pins, which I suck at, so there are some faults in there that will drive me a bit batty over time.

Total Time to Make Gift:  I have no idea on how much time I've spent over the last however many years working on this on and off, but for the final "leg" I spent an hour yesterday getting the last of the top lined up where I wanted it and about two hours getting everything finished up today, so I'm going to call it three hours.

And there you go folks.  Some of the things I got done this week on the gift giving front so far.  How about you?  Working on anything?

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Monthly Goals Update and This Week's Goals

I am feeling good about what I've gotten done this week.  When it comes to my monthly goals I already have a few things marked off.

For one, I mulled and canned the apple cider (seen up top).  FINALLY!!! 

As mulled cider goes it came out okay.  Not great as the fresh stuff does, as the fresh cider definitely has more depth of flavor, but it's not bad by any stretch.  So, yay for getting that done!

I finished one Christmas gift today (more on that later) and got a couple more in the works.  I also figured out what I want to make for my new nephew and made sure I had the materials to do that.  And I even managed to get a few pieces of mending done today. 

I ground my wheat to use in baked goods.

The chickens were supposed to go home today, but my friend ended up calling it off for today as she was super sore from moving and taking a fall on the ice today (which I totally understand).  So our feathered friends are with me for a few more days from the look of it.

I'm happy with how much I got done in a few days worth of time, I have to say.

Now onto this week's goals:

Canning/Food Preservation Goals:
  • Make canned coleslaw (I am pretty sure I found enough jars to get this done and I have the head of cabbage in the fridge, so yay!).
  • Make small gift basket of canned goods as a house warming gift for my friend (she's really good to us, including giving us a really expensive CPAP machine that she has an extra of, so I want to do something nice for her to congratulate her on her new home).
Sewing Goals:
  • Work on Christmas gifts
  • Work on Mending
  • Work on couches 
General Goals:
  • Sort laundry and put away
  • Clean ceiling fans
  • Scrub children's walls

And there you are folks.  My goals for this week.  How about you?  Got anything planned?

Friday, November 4, 2016

Frugal Friday: Money Saving Weekly Recap

I'm not sure whether to say that it was a good or bad week on the money saving front.  I mean, having to pay my doctor visit and labs this week just sucked money out of the checking account so quick I had heart palpitations and a mini-panic attack, but another part of me is just glad that I had the money IN the checking account to be able to pay the bill to begin with.  So, I guess it's kind of a ying yang type of week.

There are definitely some good things that happened this week, though, so let's focus on those!

1.  I went shopping today armed with my Fred Meyer Rewards Rebate, which was nice and big due to the big rewards program they had going during the weekends and things over the last quarter.  I was also armed with some favorite customer coupons they'd sent over the last couple of months, so I went to Fred Meyer to see what I could get cheap and then I swung over to Carrs armed with personalized prices, E-coupons, regular coupons and everything that I wanted to get in their sales ad marked really carefully on a piece of paper. 

I have to say that I did pretty darned good overall!

I got the son his soda and chips at Fred Meyer as well as a thing of dried cat food (reduced because the bag was torn in the back) that I used a coupon on top of (final price was .69!).  And I got some red banded bananas (reduced) while I was there too.  All totaled at Fred Meyer after rewards rebate and coupons I spent 6.45. 

I then ran to Carrs.  Highlights of the trip were Frigo string cheese and meat combo pack for 1.49 on sale and I had a .50/1 coupon my mom had sent so I got it for .99.  I got a dozen eggs for .99 (I'm going to be using a dozen eggs to make eggnog for my husband for Christmas here as it takes about two months to "mature" so I was going to need more eggs then the dozen I have in the fridge right now).  I had a personalized price on tuna salad (which I needed for the kids), hot dog buns (for the son) and stock (I needed one more quart of vegetable stock to make my requirement for my turkey brine.  I would have made some, but I was worried I would haven't have time).   The tater tots were on sale with an E-Coupon and the Ore Ida frozen fries were cheap with a personalized price (the only type of french fries I can get my son to eat that aren't McDonalds or Red Robin originated).  I also got ice cream (had a coupon that made it cheap) and cat litter (on 5.00 Friday and also had a manufacturer coupon on it).  All totaled after coupons and discounts were taken I spent a total of 29.57 at Carrs.

So all totaled I spent 36.02 on groceries this week.  And I was even able to get things crossed off the list for Thanksgiving (cranberries, oranges and vegetable stock).  So woohoo!
2.  I got some freebies this week!  I was able to get my last two stickers (thanks to my favorite cashier for giving me so many stickers that others didn't want when he realized that I didn't just want the pan I had my eye on, but that I needed it, or I never would have made the January deadline for the giveaway I think) to get my new pancake pan for free =D.  I nearly skipped out of the store I was so thrilled.  I also got a coupon a couple of days ago for a free box of popcorn courtesy of Jolly Time popcorn to celebrate National Popcorn Month.  So yay for free food and free pans!!!

I am so going to write a nice letter about a couple of cashiers at Carrs and how nice they've been to me.   I won't go into details in case they might get in trouble (I'm not sure what the rules are for holding onto stickers people don't want and things), but I just want corporate to give them kudos for being such great people :).

3.  My friend was putting in a big seed order for her hoop house because when is a better time to order seeds than right when winter starts, right?  *Laugh*.  She asked if I'd like to order some seeds too and she'd pick up the tab on shipping and she also had a code to get a certain percentage off on seeds.  So, I put in an order for some seeds with her and got them this week.

I ordered some cool stuff.  I found a Swiss Chard that matures in a month and you can harvest it in the "baby" stage to use as a spinach like dish or you can let it grow to full maturity, so if I rotate my crops right I should be able to save myself having to plant spinach and chard and instead just plant this instead.  I also found a Rutabaga that is 90 days to harvest and a pole bean that you can eat as a green bean or let grow and use as a dried bean that is purple when mature (yes, I thought that was neat *laugh*).  And the best part?  70 DAYS to maturity!!!  So hopefully warm weather will set in quickly next summer to help the beans to grow as I'm really enthusiastic to give them a shot. 

My real "experimental" plant for this coming summer is one my mom insisted I get as her grandmother always grew it.  It's called Salsify.  It's a root vegetable, kind of like a carrot, but the kicker is that the root tastes like oysters, so it's great for a mock oyster stew and other "seafood" applications, but you're actually eating a veggie.  Since I love the taste of mollusks, but am not a big fan of the grit involved and really with high cholesterol I'm not really thrilled at the idea of consuming too many of them (that and the quality of mollusks up here ain't great at the stores in my experience, believe it or not), this plant really intrigued me, so I am going to give it a shot.  My mom said it's super yummy, so if she's wrong I can blame her ;).  It's got a lonnnnnngggg growing cycle (16 to 25 weeks), so here's hoping I can work the soil early or maybe start them inside?  If they aren't ready by the time the snow flies, the roots are supposedly really hardy and you can leave them in the ground until the following April, so this will be an interesting experiment for sure.  Might I just say that I love heirloom varieties of seeds?  Not only can you collect the seeds to use for another year, but also there are so many different varieties of plants that you can find now that it's just cool.

I shared some of my seeds with my friend and she "bought" the seeds from me to try so all totaled I spent 5.00 on the seeds, which the seeds would have cost me probably about 15.00 if I'd ordered them by myself.  So, I was happy with the money saved there.

Oh in case anyone is interested in where I got the seeds from, I got them from Victory Seed Company.  The seeds I ordered were...
  • Salsify
  • Rutabaga (Swedes) "Nadmorska"
  • Swiss Chard "Barese"
  • Pole Bean "Bergin" (purple at maturity)
  • Bush Bean "Gross Brother's Vermont Cranberry"  (65 to 85 days to maturity)...I wasn't sure which I wanted to grow...bush or pole, so I got seeds for both.
4.    One of our blog readers (thanks, Jeannie!) gave me some advice on my Shopping Goals post when I talked about not wanting to mill wheat with my manual wheat grinder as it was killing my arm and she suggested using a coffee grinder.  So, today I pulled out "old faithful" (my little Braun coffee grinder) and slowly but surely ground about a #10 can's worth of wheat.  The wheat came out pretty coarsely ground, but the coffee grinder did the job.  So, yay for having whole wheat flour to mix in with baked goods!  I found that all of the flours I'd gotten with my "variety pack" from Amazon are bread flour blends too, so yeah, we're set on whole grain breads for a while.  Looking forward to giving the flours a try.  Hopefully they'll make lots of yummy bread for us to eat this winter :).

5.  By shopping around for where to get my ultrasound done, I'm going to be saving about 700.00.  See, comp shopping works, even on medical things!

6.  I joined a couple canning groups on Facebook to see if I could get any good inspiration on things to can later on and I found a recipe for canned coleslaw through one of the members.  A couple of the admins on the pages are people who work or have worked for the cooperative extension services in their areas and they said the recipe is safe to can, so I'm really intrigued with this one as people said it's really yummy.  Cheap to make and can too!  I'm going to try making it as soon as I have some jars emptied out.

7.  I started weeding out things from my closet in my master bedroom and getting rid of things that don't fit me anymore or I just don't see myself wearing in the next 10 years or so.  My plan is to empty said closet out, go through everything and then move my husband's and my dressers into the closet, one on either side of said closet.  That way we'll both have our dressers in the closet and a small area to hang up clothes as well.  This, I'm hoping will help curb my husband's want to hoard pretty much everything including clothing (he takes up about 85% of our closet space right now and I share the other 15% with the kid's out of season coats and things...and no I'm not kidding) and will also declutter our room a bit, which has so much furniture stuffed into it between it acting as a bedroom and office space that it kind of drives me nuts.

8.  I was going to buy some soup on sale at the store this week, but instead I made some soup yesterday and somehow found holes in the freezer to stick it in.  It's not quite as convenient as canned soup because I'll have to defrost it, but it was cheaper to make it with materials I already had than buying it.

9.  My diet is going well and I've so far lost six pounds.  The double benefit to dieting like I do, where I cut down carbs and cut sugar WAY down, is that I find myself craving water instead of sugary beverages more so it's definitely cost effective to do :).

10.  I had an image I really wanted to put on a t-shirt for Christmas for my husband, but knew we weren't going to have the money to get new ink cartridges anytime soon so I wasn't sure what to do.  I ended up getting a coupon code for a free mug in my inbox and I had a credit with the company from an earlier order (which was a long while ago so I was surprised it was still in there) that had gotten all screwed up, so between the coupon code for the free mug and my credit I was able to get a mug with the image I'd wanted to put onto a t-shirt for my husband and I got the shipping for free too.  It's not quite a t-shirt, but I think he'll like it all the same.  Here's hoping this order isn't screwed up (this is the first time I've ordered from them since the last order came in all screwy, so we shall see).

And there you are folks.  My frugal adventures this week in a nutshell.  How did you do?

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Monthly Goals: November 2016

Thanks for all the e-mails and comments checking in to see how we are doing.  So far my son is back in school and doing good, his eczema is healing up on his hands (although I wonder how long the pink "new skin" look on his hands will last...still gives me a start when I see it out of the corner of my eye worried that he's reopened them or something), the antibiotics are working awesome for my daughter and her sores are looking a LOT better )still has a snotty nose we're watching, but I think she's doing better than she feels) so she should be good to go back to school tomorrow and I'm still worn out tired feeling, but at least I'm feeling a LOT better physically, so I'll take tired right now :).

I went in for my physical yesterday and for the most part it seems I'm doing good.  I need to get a pelvic ultrasound to check for ovarian cysts since they run in the family and my doctor wants to make sure that's not a potential problem (I've had issues in the past that were not followed up on so she's actually following up on them).  The ultrasound through the doctor's office would have been ridiculously expensive, but I called around and found that the outfit that had done my ultrasounds when I was pregnant is still the cheapest option out there (and they are really super nice to deal with and accept interest free payments :).  So, as soon as I've bandaged up the financial gash I caused by having to pay for my strep throat visit to the doctor last week I'll have to make an appointment to go in and get that done (hopefully next week).  We haven't talked about my lab results yet, so I'm still not sure how much vitamin D to be taking to get my deficiencies up, but I'm still popping some extra as any bit helps at this point I'm thinking.

When it came to goals last month...well I got the appointments I needed to get done, done.  The rest of it was kind of a mixed bag.  I did get the hallway closet done, which needed to be done BAD and I got a Christmas gift made (and I got one coming that I made for my husband in the mail), but I'm at this point WAY behind on getting Christmas gifts made, so that's definitely going to be taking a priority this month as I don't want to be running around all of December trying to get things done.  I'd like to get everything done in November so I can sit back, make cookies and have some fun with the kids this year instead of stressing about money and figuring out gifts come December.  I still see me stressing about money, but at least I'd like to not have to worry about spending money on Christmas in December anyway :).

I am still messing with the idea of how to make a weighted hat for my son, but it's not a super priority anymore as his speech therapist went and bought him one for an early Christmas gift (which was awesome) and it has come in super handy to get him cranial weight and pressure, which he craves all the time.

So, anyway, here are the goals for this month!

Sewing Goals:
  • Work on Christmas Gifts
  • Work on Couches 
  • Make gift for new nephew (he's due in January)
Cleaning Goals:
  • Reset master bedroom closet and get master bedroom mucked out and organized.
  • Clean out toys and kids rooms and just generally clean and neaten both rooms
  • Clean and organize kitchen cabinets (started doing this yesterday as they needed it).
General Goals:
  • Try not to spend money and pay debts (I'm praying we can just get ahead and maybe save a few pennies at some point.  Praying hard).
  • Make final prep list for Thanksgiving and slowly pick up items needed in coming weeks
  • Mull and can cider (*snort* this might get done by Spring the way I'm going ;).
  • Dig out Christmas decorations and move them to more easily accessible location for later (right now they are buried behind a TON of stuff in our 40' van so this is going to be a challenging goal I think).
  • See chickens off to their new home (it should be sometime soon as my friend just got her keys yesterday).  Muck out and clean cage once they leave.
  • Start baking more and things at home, but being careful of not overdoing it with arm when doing so (the challenging bit).
  • Grind wheat (coffee grinder away!!!) 
And yeah, I'm sure there will be more to pop up as I think about it, but that's what I have written down right now for this month.  How about you?  Got anything planned this month?

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Monthly Shopping Goals: November 2016

The shopping goals for this month have gone all over the place.  At first, I thought that maybe I could afford to stock up on a few things from Amazon and at one point had, I think, like 10 items on Subscribe and Save for later this month.  Part of that had been some big bulk packs of Cheetos and Doritos because they go stale so fast when you buy the big packages of them and my son won't eat them stale, so I end up throwing away a lot of food, but those were expensive (like 30.00 per 64 pack expensive) so that went bye bye fast.

The rest, after that, I thought I could swing alright, including some flats of soup for the pantry.  Well, that was before everything medical hit.  The latest in the drama department is my daughter had to be run to Urgent Care last night as I picked her up in tears from school because she was so miserable and she kept saying her nose hurt really bad.  I thought for sure it had to be a sinus infection.  Nope.  Turns out that a couple little tiny sores, one on her wrist (which we assumed to be an ingrown hair and was treating it as such) and such ended up being a staph infection.  Her nose was hurting because she's also got two small sores in her nostrils.  I blame the cold-like virus we had a couple of weeks ago for all of this.  Whatever it was it REALLY knocked down our immunity in the family.  Thank goodness we didn't mess around with any of it and got all of us to the doctor's pronto before the infections got bad.  But, either way, my daughter is home until Friday to make sure she's not contagious anymore.

And my list went from 10 items down to zero today as I just had to pay my nearly 400.00 bill (after the co-pay for the doctor visit and the lab work) for my doctor visit last week on top of everything.  So, we're officially "scream into pillow in moments of panic" broke again *sigh*.  Oh well, I needed to get treated for the strep, so it can't really be helped.  Just...ouch.

Luckily, with money being tight, I picked up a turkey early this year when they were on sale super cheap in like February, so the turkey for Thanksgiving is already in the freezer.  Residual items for Thanksgiving won't be a big deal to get (a bag of cranberries, a couple of oranges, some fresh herbs, etc) and I'll just work those in with my normal grocery shopping throughout the month.  The grocery budget this month is going to be as low as I can make it just to try and recoup all the financial hits we've had of late.  Hopefully it'll all work out.

On top of everything I need to get whole wheat flour.  I'd ordered a variety pack of flour from Amazon with a bunch of different whole grain flours in it, one of the main ones being (I thought) whole wheat flour and coarse whole wheat (graham) flour.  But I get the variety pack in the mail today to find oat flour and seven grain flour instead of the whole wheat flours.  Went and checked on Amazon and I missed the "variety pack contents may vary" in the fine print.  I cursed.  I'll admit it.  So, yeah, I spent more money than I wanted to get a bunch of flours, and I still have to either find the arm power to grind my wheat or the money to buy whole wheat flour yet.  Blah!!!  The last two weeks have been on a real roll around here.

So, yeah, here's my grocery list for this month.

Regular Stores (if on super sale and can work into regular shopping):
  • Flour
  • Sugar
  • Butter
  • Whole Wheat Flour (if I can find somewhere that sells it decently cheap)
  • Olive Oil
  • Fresh Herbs
  • Oranges (2)
  • Cranberries

And yeah, that's about it in the way of grocery goals for the month.  How about you?  What's on your list?

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Menu Plan Monday: Menu Plan for Week 10/31/16

Sorry for the lack of monthly goals update and all that, but in all honesty I didn't do anything last week, so I didn't see the point in posting failure :).

Luckily, I'm finally starting to feel human again.  Dealing with residual ear pain on and off, but it's getting better and since I'm only half way through the antibiotic course, I'm kind of hopeful that I'm on the mend here.

My son's hands are finally scabbed over, although there are a couple that are pretty thin in the scab department so we're keeping a close watch to make sure he doesn't reopen them.  If he does a band aid is immediately applied for a few days.  My son has actually found a liking for band aids on sores now and has discovered the relief and protection they can provide.  So much so that he got soap in his eyes during his bath a couple of nights ago and was trying to convince me to put a band aid on his eye *laugh*.

Halloween went alright overall.  Nothing really special happened this year between my arm, illnesses and just generally life being hectic.  I actually had to do a quick run into town yesterday just to get Halloween candy as I completely spaced it was Halloween until my daughter insisted on dressing up in her costume to go to school.  Not my proudest moment, but I got candy, both pumpkins lasted to be turned into jack o' lanterns for Halloween, my daughter got some trick-or-treating in (we let her go trick or treating for a few blocks and then we just go through the candy and sub out some candy we bought for anything that is dangerous to have around my son...it's enough to give her the fun, but not enough to really endanger my son with the peanuts) and the kids had a blast.  The snow even melted and it was decently warm out for the Halloween festivities, which is something I still have a hard time with when it happens as I'm so used to snow on Halloween now.  My son even got his usual Halloween french fries.  So, I would say that's a success in my book.

Anyway, now onto this week's menu.  I have a couple of recipes that I tried out that I want to share, but I'm going to hold that off for another time as we have to get out the door decently early today for my son's last long allergy shot visit (yay for this being the last one!), but don't worry I haven't forgotten about it :).

Menu Plan for Week of 10/31/16

Monday:  Lasagna (daughter's request...normally we only have lasagna at Christmas, but she insisted, so okay!), garlic toast, salad.

Tuesday:  Baked Chicken (trying out some of my new spice blends I got at Carrs a couple of weeks back.  We had the Caribbean Jerk blend on thin cut pork chops night before last and it was really good!), flavored rice,  salad (using up what is left of the lettuce before it goes bad).

Wednesday:  Stuffed Cabbage Roll Casserole  (this isn't actually the recipe I'm using as I'm using one I found in my free Taste of Home magazine this month, but it's KIND of similar).

Thursday:  Pancakes with Rose Hip Syrup, sausages, apple slices

Friday:  Leftovers

Saturday:  Hamburgers, oven fries with herbs, cole slaw (if I remember to get another cabbage at the store, if not another fruit/veggie)

Sunday:  Chicken noodle soup (the hamburgers are a bribe to make my husband not be too grumpy about having soup for dinner *laugh*).
To Bake:  Bread (if my whole grain flours even come in from Amazon...grumble),  whole grain blueberry muffins (for breakfast on the weekend)

Desserts:  Not sure really if we will have any this week.  Maybe sugar free jello, but with the candy we've already had, I'm not too worried about adding more sugar into the menu.