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.
- 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?