Friday, December 24, 2010

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Almost Done?

Jon, the boys, and I have been fighting off some type of cold or flu the last few days. The girls have been a little testy, but they haven't acquired the fever. I wasn't as bad off as Jon, so I've been the one to run the errands and get the girls to where they need to go. Hopefully, we are on the mend and no one else gets sick.

I was concerned that we might be getting behind on school days, since we took off a few unexpected sick days. So, today I checked our day counts and found that we had done enough extra days this year to make up for the missed days/hours. I can rest easy!

Friday, November 12, 2010

We're going on a picnic . . .

...and we're going to bring


Bonsai fruit, *squeak*







Ichabod's pumpkin,

Jalapenos, *gasp*






Pulled pork,


Risotto, *mama mia*


Teriyaki sauce,

Uncooked pasta,

Velvet ice cream sheet cake, *yummmm*



Yam pudding, *ooooohhhh*


Zesty crackers.

The *sound effects* were added every round by one particular member of our family. Can you guess who?


*All sound effects were made by Jon (yes, Mr. Owings).

Friday, November 5, 2010

"Mom? I have a complication."

I should have dug out our camera for this picture, but my phone was handy and I didn't want to miss the shot. If you look to the left side of the picture, there is another cat there curled up against Kitty Kat's side. Tiger, the cat on Kat's lap, curled up there on his own while she was working.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Whistles and Chocolates

Yesterday, the kids and I went on a field trip with a homeschool field trip group. Our first stop was the American Whistle factory. We each got a whistle at the end of the tour, and I bought different colored lanyards for each of us. The kids were really good and I didn't have to confiscate any whistles. This is in Columbus, OH. The tour costs $4.00 per person and you get a whistle. If you can't make it to the factory, they were featured on How It's Made season 10 episode 12 and will be featured on Factory Made.

My kids are on the right end of each row.
Top row: Birdie and Froggie
Middle row: Monkey and Kitty Kat
Bottom row: Puppy Dog and Little Bear
I think one of the moms told the kids to make funny faces.

We ate lunch after the whistle factory tour and then went to the Anthony-Thomas candy factory.

This huge buckeye weighs 235 lbs. and costs $3500.00! The girls asked how old it was and found out it is seven years old. At the end of the tour, we got to sample the normal sized buckeyes. Some of my kids liked them, but most of us prefer homemade buckeyes.

Yeah, it's about time for Little Bear to clean off his temporary tattoos.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Breakfast - cold cereal with bananas and milk

I started keeping track of what we were eating this past week. This posts title was saved in a draft from the seventeenth. That's all I had. I didn't get back to it until today. Pardon me if I don't dig through my memory and recap the entire week.

Did you notice in the title that we had bananas? Though I did have banana slices in the freezer (part of the frozen fruit in this post), these were fresh bananas. Jon brought home a case of bananas that needed to be used right away. I now have more banana slices and two banana pudding pies in our freezer. We also ate some banana pudding cups the other night for a snack.

Apparently, the chili and potatoes went over well with Jon. Monday evening, while I was at Sonflower Scouts with the girls, Jon and the boys went grocery shopping. Jon bought some huge potatoes and some more chili ingredients along with a bunch of other things (he even bought dry beans, rice, and lentils). Jon thought I was going to fix chili and potatoes for our Life Group on Thursday. He forgot that I was going to make beef stew. So, I took a poll of our group members. Chili and potatoes won.

Thursday Night's Chili

2 lbs. ground beef
1 large onion (chopped large so those who don't like onions can pick them out)
1 30(?) oz. can of diced tomatoes
1 10-12 oz. can tomato paste plus one can water
2 15 oz. cans diced tomatoes with jalapenos
2 15 oz. cans hot chili beans

Brown the ground beef and onions. Drain. Mix all ingredients in a slow cooker and cook on high for a few hours or low for longer. I think I used a combination of high and low. I also left the lid propped open with a spoon for a few hours to let the chili cook down some. Less or no water could be used for thicker chili. I mostly used the water to help get the paste rinsed out of the can.

Our potatoes were BIG, so I baked them at 400* for about two hours.

The chili and potatoes went over well. One of the men had a work related meeting, so he wasn't at Life Group. We only had one potato and a bit of chili left over. The man's wife didn't want the leftovers, so Jon took those for his work lunch today.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Tonight's Chili

I make different versions of chili depending on our moods, what I have on hand, or what I can get a good deal on at the store. I try not to spend more than two dollars a pound for any kind of meat. It is getting increasingly more difficult, but I try to buy extra when there is a good deal. The ground beef was expensive this week and I was out, so I bought a two pound pack and a pound of lentils that were on sale for less than two dollars a pound. I had a fifty-five cents off coupon that got raised to one dollar off for two cans of Brooks chili beans, so I bought two large cans that were on sale.

I cooked the lentils and browned the ground beef. Then, added enough lentils to the browned ground beef to double the volume. After mixing the beef and lentils, I put half away in the refrigerator to use for tacos later this week. I still have some lentils cooling. I think I'll freeze those with the water they are in to use for soup.

So, here is the recipe I threw together for tonight's chili:

1 lb. ground beef browned and drained
cooked lentils (enough to double the volume of the beef)
1-30.5 oz. can mild chili beans
1-30.5 oz. can hot chili beans
1-14.5 oz. can peeled diced tomatoes with jalapeno peppers
1-14.5 oz. can peeled diced chili ready tomatoes

I let this simmer while I baked some potatoes. I baked extra potatoes for Jon's work lunches and for use later this week.

To prepare the potatoes I slice them in half, make some slits in the meat of the potatoes, butter them with Country Crock calcium plus vitamin D, and salt and pepper them. The chili goes on top of the potato and then we add a sprinkle of cheddar cheese and a dollop of sour cream.

On The Menu

I’ve been so busy lately that I’ve neglected to fully plan our menu. So, today I decided to just do it. Pardon me as I think in this post.

Grains: rice, various flours, corn meal, a small amount of star shaped pasta, oatmeal, bread scraps in the freezer, flour tortillas, tortilla chips, cold cereal

Fruits and Vegetables: potatoes (~ 15 lbs.), celery, cabbage, frozen three pepper and onion blend, one onion, frozen spinach, canned tomatoes (various styles),
tomato paste, pineapple tidbits, mandarin oranges, a small jar of peaches,
~ 1 b. of various apples, frozen fruits, canned pumpkin, pickles, applesauce

Proteins: peanut butter (smooth and crunchy), a fryer chicken, a beef chuck blade pot
Roast, a 20 lb. turkey (thawing in a cooler), chili beans, lentils, 2 lbs. ground
beef, pork shanks, dry navy beans, 4 doz. Eggs, Polish sausage

Dairy: 2 gal. milk, 11 slices of American cheese, 6 c. shredded mild cheddar, 6 c. shredded mozzarella, 2 lbs. Velveeta, 16 oz. sour cream, mint chocolate chip
ice cream

Beverages: water, tea bags (various flavors), coffee and creamer

Other: a Wanchai Ferry sweet & sour chicken meal for two, instant pudding and gelatin mixes, cake mixes, etc.

Meal Ideas

Lunch or Supper

Polish sausage with three pepper and onion blend over rice with cheddar cheese
PB&J, apple slices or applesauce, celery
Chili with baked potatoes cheese and sour cream
Ham, beans, and corn bread
Tacos, chips and salsa
Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, pumpkin pie or cake (buy some g. beans?**)
Turkey salad sandwiches, celery
Roast chicken, potato wedges, veggie (I need to buy some more**)
Chicken and stars soup, PB&J
*Beef stew (I need to buy carrots**), rolls, dessert of some sort
Turkey burritos or tacos
Turkey and cheese sandwiches, pickles, carrot sticks (need to buy carrots**)
Leftovers for Jon’s lunches

Oatmeal (various flavors)
Cold cereal
Pancakes and fruit syrup
Eggs and toast

*The beef stew meal will be for our Life Group (small group through church). I’ll probably plan something else for the kids to eat unless the roast I have is big enough to make two stews.

**The store was out of the carrots I normally get last night. I didn’t buy many vegetables, because money was tight and I wanted to make sure I had enough for incidentals later. I managed to save $22 of my grocery money that I can use tomorrow to buy the Sunday paper (for the coupons), carrots, and some other veggies.

Today’s meals:

Breakfast - cinnamon raison oatmeal

Lunch - pizza made with leftover spaghetti sauce that needed used up I went light on the cheese

Supper - I plan on making chili with baked potatoes, cheddar cheese, and sour cream.

Snacks - I haven’t decided yet. Though, I did eat some turnip greens for my mid-morning snack. The children got up late today, so they didn’t have a mid-morning snack.

Saturday, October 2, 2010


I overheard the following during a rather calm argument my boys were having.
Puppy Dog: "So, just stop arguing."
Little Bear: "Yeah, that's a good idea." (I posted this on Facebook earlier this week.)

Monkey and Puppy Dog had been in a fight. I had just finished hashing it out with them and told them, "now, hug each other and make up." Monkey and Puppy Dog hugged. As they were hugging, Monkey said, "alright, now we've hugged. Let's go find some make-up so we can hug it." Then, they did.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010


Well, I was going to illustrate this post with a bunch of pictures. Apparently, I won't be doing that, because my pictures won't load to the blog. Anyway . . .

Jon has Mondays off work, so for now, Mondays are our field trip and special classes days. This past Monday, we packed our lunches and walked downtown. We ate at a picnic table in the shade of the Town Hall building. After lunch, we had the kids spread out over the courtyard to draw/sketch. The directions I gave the kids were:

  1. You can go anywhere in the courtyard.
  2. You can lay on your belly, lay on your back, sit, stand, or whatever you want to do.
  3. Choose something you like and draw it.
Some chose to draw a fountain or fountains, one included a sibling in her drawing, some chose to draw plants, one drew a horse she saw in the clouds, and one drew three pictures. Most sat up to draw, but one drew while laying on her back. They were all intense. We are getting ready to start an art class together. Our plans are to return to the same place in the Spring and see how much their drawing improves.

We stopped by the library on our way home and checked out and reserved some books we needed for school.

Next Monday we will head to my sister's home for her annual Labor Day cookout.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

God, thank you for spiders!

Yesterday, I went to put some meat in one of my Crock-Pots. I stopped short when I saw something in the pot. "That's strange," I thought. "I know this got washed. Maybe something got missed?" So, I stuck my finger down in the pot and poked at the "flaked, leftover-from-being-missed-during-washing-who-washed-this-Crock-Pot-last-time-anyway, peeling food" only to discover that it was a live spider. Yuck!

I postponed putting the meat into the crock. There was no way I was going to cook in it without rewashing it! As I was drying the crock, I discovered a crack that went from one side of the crock's bottom to the other both inside and out.

If it weren't for that spider, I could have had a mess or disaster on my hands!

We still had our dinner, I just cooked it in my other large Crock-Pot.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Look What Came Monday!

I was down to about 1/4 teaspoon of loose yeast. I did have a couple packet strips of yeast, but their "best by" date was sometime in 2008. I keep them for measuring reference and because I can't stand to waste anything. I'll probably try to use them sometime when I'm not in a hurry. Maybe I'll use them when I can let my dough rise overnight.

A while back, a friend asked me to post about how I buy my yeast. That was a couple months ago, sorry!

Yeast at the grocery store is expensive! A three packet strip is a "good" price at about a dollar a strip. Each strip has 0.75 ounces. That is about $21.34 for a pound of yeast on sale! A four ounce jar of yeast costs between $5.00 and $7.00+. That works out to $20.00 to $28.00 dollars or more for one pound of yeast. I'm not going to pay that much!

There was a time when I did buy the jars for just under $5.00 a jar, but then I discovered King Arthur Flour, www dot kingarthurflour dot com/shop/yeast-baking/yeast . A one pound package of yeast is as low as $12.45 shipped! A two pound package is even better at $16.45 shipped! This time, I bought two 2lb. packages (one is for a sister-in-law) and paid $27.90 to have it shipped to my house. That is four pounds of yeast for about the same price at one pound at the store.

I will fill my old yeast jars, store them in my refrigerator and put the rest of the yeast in my freezer until my jars are empty. Two pounds of yeast will last me quite a while, but when this order runs out, I may just order four or more pounds for myself. That would save me on shipping costs in the long run.


Update: I was at the GFS (Gordon Food Supply) store the other day and found yeast hidden behind a hanging display in the baking aisle. It cost about the same or less than the yeast at the KAF site, before shipping costs were added on! Needless to say, I'll be checking GFS the next time I'm in need of yeast!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Where have I been?

A lot has happened in the last month. Puppy Dog, Birdie, and Monkey were in the children's Spring musical at church followed by an awards party the next week. The girls and I had the Sonflower Scouts badge ceremony to go to. Jon got back on first shift. We now get up at 5AM! I got a pretty bad case of poison ivy. We got burnt at the Memorial Day parade (I got sun poisoning) and then went to a park to cook out/play.

I know there is more. I just can't remember right now. We have some pictures, too. I might post those later.

Tomorrow, the kids and I are going to the Columbus zoo with my parents. Hopefully, I'll get some cute pictures of the kids.

Good night everyone!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day!

We may not always see eye to eye, but I really appreciate my mother. Thanks Mom for putting up with me! I love you!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

One of those days

Today was one of those days that nothing seemed to go as planned.

I like a plan.

I NEED a plan.

My family needs a plan.

My family just doesn't realize they need a plan.

This last month has been all mixed up for us. Daddy was away for work (two weeks). We drove to PA to meet up with Daddy and visit friends in MD. We came home and nothing was normal anymore. While Jon was away, we started to more or less follow a first shift schedule. The kids also became accustomed to no one being asleep when they were up. Now that Jon is back we are trying to get back into a semblance of a schedule. First shift doesn't work, because Jon is trying to sleep and then spend a little time with us before heading off to work. Second shift doesn't work, because all our outside activities are based on a first shift schedule.

Jon's days off are spent as family days and then Jon and I end up staying up late to have one on one time. I am so glad he is home!

I've gotten myself back into burning the candle at both ends. Ugh!

I know God will not give me more than I can handle, but sometimes I just wish He would place a schedule in my hands and tell me to follow it.

I'm out of words for now.

Just a note: Normally, this is the type of post that I would write in my head, be done with, and never put into print. I try not to be negative. It's a constant battle. I told myself tonight that I should just post it. So here it is.

Now I really am going to go. I have to go encourage some children to go to sleep so that I can go to sleep.

Saturday, April 10, 2010


This week has gone by quickly. I'm not even sure what all has happened. We were just trying to recuperate from the last few weeks.

March 19th through April 1st, Jon was working in Pennsylvania. On April the 1st the children and I left after their P.E. class to meet up with Jon in PA. Normally, my children do not do the whole "are we there, yet" thing. This time, however, they had really missed their daddy and were looking forward to getting to PA (and later Maryland). We had only been out of Springfield, Ohio for thirty minutes when the first child asked, "are we almost there?". So, we continued our countdown (that started before Jon left) to when we would see Daddy. Our drive to Pennsylvania took approximately ten hours since we stopped a couple times for food, stretching our legs, and other necessities. Kitty Kat helped read off the directions to me for part of the way. Froggie and Kitty Kat both helped look to see if I could change lanes. I could see, but was concerned there might be some blind spots since our van was packed so full. I figured it couldn't hurt for the girls to practice being more observant anyway.

Jon had reserved the hotel room adjoining his for us and we got settled in a bit before he got off work. Some of us slept. Little Bear, however, had slept a good portion of the trip and would not go to sleep at the hotel. Jon and Little Bear ended up doing some laundry instead of sleeping.

After repacking the van and checking out of the hotel, we spent some time as a family before heading to Maryland. Friday evening, we went to a Good Friday service at the church some friends of ours minister at (we were also there Sunday). We met up with our friend after the service and followed them back to their house. We spent the next few days with our friends.

We had a wonderful time of fellowship with our friends and then came back home Monday afternoon. I can't even tell you how long it took us to get home, about eight to nine hours probably. We stopped a couple times and it was probably a good thing. The children slept nearly the entire way home and Jon and I fought sleep nearly the whole way.

The whole thing is a blur in my memory. We did so much as a whole group and split off with friends! I might see if the children want to do some posts of their own to tell what they remember about our trip.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Pancakes and ...

Breakfast today was Whole Wheat Banana Pancakes and milk. I made some substitutions to the above recipe according to what I had on hand. I used whole wheat flour in place of whole wheat pastry flour. For the milk, I put a couple tablespoons of lemon juice in the measuring cup and then added milk to make two cups. Finally, I used canola oil in place of the olive oil. As I was pouring the oil into the batter, I realized that I could have used apple sauce. As the first set was coming off the griddle, I realized that I hadn’t used any sugar. I double checked the recipe and guess what? It doesn’t call for sugar! We taste tested one of the pancakes and it was good without sugar! The kids and I each had three pancakes (~4 in.) and I had four left to freeze for later. The recipe will feed all eight of us without doubling it. Next time, we want to try it with apple sauce in place of the oil.

For lunch today, I transferred some navy beans I cooked in my Crock-Pot overnight to a pan on the stove. I added some mixed veggies, sliced (coin shaped) smoked sausage, salt, pepper, and garlic salt. I brought this mixture to a boil then added some wide whole wheat noodles. I cooked this for another eight to ten minutes and lunch was ready. Everyone had seconds.

Supper will be at my parent’s house tonight.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Twodays' Meals

Yesterday, after church, we stopped by Kroger to get our papers. The kids and I decided we wanted pizza for lunch , so we decided to buy frozen ones that I knew were on sale so we could eat sooner. I had wanted to spend some more at Kroger this month anyway. We have been stocking up this month and I want to get my fuel discount as high as possible. I didn’t have my coupons with me, so I chose to buy items that were a good price that I didn’t have coupons for anyway. My fuel discount is now $0.70 off per gallon.

Here is what we got for just over $40.

2 papers

~ 17 lbs of meat for our freezer ( I don’t like to spend more than $2/lb. I spent $1.28-$1.49/lb.)

2 pizzas (part of a buy 8 items/get $4 off deal)

6 2lb. bags of frozen veggies (part of the above sale + I used 2 coupons from a dispenser for $1 off 3)

I forgot to buy the garlic bread we are supposed to take to my parents’ house Tuesday, so I may have to go back. I could make it myself, but we’re going on a long trip soon and I really want a bigger fuel discount. Purchases I make on sale items now will be purchases I won’t have to make at regular prices later when money may be tight.

Sunday’s meals

Breakfast - instant oatmeal (Thanks, Sis!)

Lunch - salad, pizza

Snacks - at church

Supper - fish sticks, corn

Today’s meals

Breakfast - cold cereal, milk

Snack - Colby cheese and Club crackers (Thanks, Sis!)

Lunch - Lasagna Hamburger Helper, French cut green beans

Snacks - Cuties (M. oranges) or orange juice, peanut butter on a spoon (while watching how peanut butter is made on TV)

Supper - Meat loaf, baked potatoes, carrots, apple sauce

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Menu Plan

I don's always make a menu plan. When I do make a plan, I don't always make it meal-by-meal and day-by-day specific. If I specify too much, I end up changing things around anyway. Some days just don't go as planned. Other days, I'm just not in the mood to make a particular food or I want to make another. So basically, this is a list of my options for the next week or two.


cold cereal and milk
orange juice



pork chops, hamburger, chicken (various kinds), smoked sausage, fish, tuna salad, egg salad, boiled eggs, peanut butter, walnuts, dry beans, lentils


milk, yogurt, cheese (various kinds), ice cream [I also get other foods that have Calcium. There is some lactose intolerance in our home.]


frozen - broccoli; corn; French style green beans; peas; peas and carrots; broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots in cheese sauce; carrots; stir-fry veggies; and three pepper and onion blend

carrots, potatoes, green cabbage, purple cabbage, lettuce, salad mix, canned tomatoes, chili ready canned tomatoes, Rotel, onions, tomato paste, spaghetti sauce


raisins, Cuties (Mandarin oranges), canned Mandarin orange sections, pineapple, chopped dates, applesauce, apples, tomato juice, frozen peaches and blackberries (I might save these last two until Jon gets home and make a pie and cobbler.)


various pastas, Hamburger Helper, brown rice, white rice, popcorn, white and whole wheat flour, flour tortillas, bread, corn muffin mix, barley

Snacks and Desserts:

I have plenty of items for this category, but I won't list them now.

Today's Meals

breakfast: cold cereal with milk

snack: kids - yogurt tubes, me - yogurt cup with All-Bran Bran Buds (sample from the mail)

lunch: peanut butter and jelly, carrot sticks, applesauce, tea

supper: tacos and/or taco salad, chips and salsa, tea

K-mart and CVS

Birdie and Monkey had an overnighter at church last night. Little Bear and I went to pick them up this morning and then we stopped by a couple stores we didn't' get to last night, since we could go to them without going out of our way too much.

K-mart had the dog food we buy on sale for $18 for 40lbs. We usually get it at Wal-mart for $19 or $20. I also had a coupon for $2 off, so we got our dogs' food for $16. I won't need to buy dog food for a month and a half now, since we still have around 20lbs. left from the last time I bought it.


Kleenex $0.97 each and I had a coupon for $0.50 off three

VO5 shampoo and conditioner $0.77 each

CVS body wash $1.77 I had a coupon CVS sent me via e-mail to get this free. I got $1.99 off.

Colgate $3.99 I had a coupon for $1.00 off, and I got $3.99 bucks back.

I used a $2.99 Bucks Back coupon.

subtotal = $3.73

sales tax (7%) = $0.58

I paid $4.31 and got a $3.99 Bucks Back coupon.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Financial Friday: Making Sacrifices to Get Out of Debt

For a while, I avoided those center aisles in the grocery store. Recently, I have gone back to them. While I still pick and choose to try to provide the healthiest options I can for my family, I am taking advantage of cheap options to free up more funds for getting out of debt. Some things like Hamburger Helper, Betty Crocker potatoes and some other items have made it back into our menu, when I can get them for the right price.

I use a couple online sites to load coupons to my Kroger Plus card: Cellfire and Shortcuts. Say I load a coupon for Yoplait yogurt. When I purchase the yogurt at Kroger using my Plus card, the amount of the coupon is automatically deducted from my order. I can also use a traditional paper coupon for the same item, increasing my savings. Not only that, but I will wait until that yogurt is on sale to use the coupons.

Where do I get my paper coupons? I get some from the Sunday paper. We don't subscribe to the paper but we will buy a couple copies on Sundays for the coupons. We more than make up for the cost of the papers by using the coupons. Some other sources for coupons are online sources
(,,, etc.), in freebie packages, in/on the items themselves, and from the coupon dispensers at stores. I haven't tried buying any from e-Bay yet. I have participated in a coupon train before.

One area of caution is that not all stores in all areas will accept coupons printed from a computer. Some people can use these coupons at their local Wal-mart, but my local Wal-mart will not accept them.

today's breakfast: cold cereal and milk

today's lunch: chicken, rice, and stir fry vegetables with teriyaki sauce

today's afternoon snack: Tricuits with Colby cheese

I have to go scan the loss leader adds and then I'll be back later to report on my meal plan and shopping trip.


I'm tired so I'll make this short. The only store we ended up making any purchases from tonight was Kroger. There were so many good deals, that I passed by some.

total number of items purchased = 77

balance = $96.50

manufacturer coupon savings = $24.55

bonus coupon savings = $6.03

store coupon & Kroger Plus Card savings = $55.57

total coupons = $86.15

total savings = 47%

My cupboards, which were nearly bare in January and February, are now bursting. I'm stocked up on several items.

I haven't made up my menu yet. I'll do that tomorrow.

Today's supper was carry-out pizza that we ate in between stops. I had promised that we would have pizza since Birdie and Monkey would have it at their over-nighter. I got carry out to save my sanity and so we wouldn't have to go home between dropping the girls off and grocery shopping.


I finally went to the store, yesterday. I did. The children stayed in the van listening to music and reading a HARDY BOYS book while I ran in and grabbed a gallon of milk for them to take to their grandma's for supper. Yes, that's all I got, one gallon of milk for $2.28.

Earlier in the day, some of the children and I did go into a Family Dollar just to price check, while we were in the area. We didn't buy anything.


We started our day out with muffins that I made using some leftover oatmeal, applesauce in place of oil, and orange juice in place of the milk. I portioned out the batter, came up with twenty muffins and added a little more to each cup to use up the batter. Silly me, I should have squeezed another muffin cup onto the tray. So, the children and I each had two muffins for breakfast.

Before we left for Homeschool P. E., I gave the children another muffin as a snack. Nothing we had on hand that was quick sounded good to me, so I didn't snack. Big mistake! By the time we left Homeschool P. E., I could barely stay on my feet, and boy was I irritable! I was nervous about driving home in my condition, so we went through a McDonald's drive through and I bought seven McDoubles for $7.oo. We parked near the Family Dollar and after we ate our burgers, four of us went in to price check.

Once we got home, I fixed egg salad and made sandwiches with toast.

I ate supper at my Life Group.

The children fix their supper on Thursday nights. They took Hamburger Helper Cheeseburger Macaroni (double box), two pounds of ground beef, frozen French style green beans (Little Bear will eat these but fights eating snapped green beans), a can of pineapple chunks, some Grands biscuits, the milk, and place and bake chocolate chip cookies to fix at their grandma's place. When I picked the children up, I found out they only fixed one of the sets of H.H. They have one left to use another week. There were also leftovers for Jon's mom to eat this week. Huh? They should have made both sets. I guess they were alright though. They didn't even ask for a bedtime snack.

Jon has been in Pennsylvania this week, we've had dishwasher issues, and I have been so busy that I still don't have my menu and shopping plan reading for this week. I hope to finish my plans before I have to take Birdie and Monkey to their I.A.H. overnighter tonight, so the rest of us can go grocery shopping.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

A night like this... a night I wouldn't normally post. It's just a blah night. This should be short.

I did get the stock strained and the chicken picked out. I did make the chicken pot pie. However, I took a nap this afternoon and ended up starting dinner too late. The pot pie was done six minutes before we needed to leave for church and it was HOT. So, I put it back in the oven at a low temp hoping it wouldn't be overdone when we got home.

I noticed a little while ago that I forgot about my potato water. I'll have to see if it is still good tomorrow. Maybe, I'll use it tomorrow? Thursdays are crazy busy for us. I'll have to wait and see.

Breakfast: cold cereal with a little milk (We were running out.)

Lunch: fish portions; applesauce; and lots of broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots with cheese sauce

Snack before church: Triscuits and orange juice (calcium fortified)

Supper: chicken pot pie

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

We took it pretty easy today.

Breakfast was cold cereal with milk and orange juice. Snack was Triscuits with Colby cheese and pepperoni. Lunch was peanut butter and jelly with applesauce. Supper was at Frisch's with my parents. Other than some of us eating slaw at supper, our day was pretty much veggie free. We'll have to load up on vegetables tomorrow.

I didn't get the stock strained today. I ran out of time. It's in the fridge, and I'll have to take the time tomorrow. We're supposed to be having chicken pot pie for supper, so I have to do it.

Monday, March 22, 2010

A Day of Homemade Yum

Breakfast: homemade raisin, date, and walnut oatmeal

Lunch: roasted (in my Crock Pot) chicken, broccoli and cheese sauce (not homemade), biscuits (not homemade)

After I got most of the meat from the chicken, I put the bones, skin, the onion I had stuffed in the chicken's cavity, a bit of white vinegar, and some water back in the pot with the broth. As the day went on, I added veggie scraps (carrot peels, potato peels, green cabbage, purple cabbage, and onion) to the "stock" pot.*

At lunch, I asked the kids what they wanted for supper. The answer? Bread bowls with cheesy potato soup like my mom makes. I don't have any Velveeta in the house. It was $5 last time I was at the store! I will not pay that! Anyway, I started brainstorming and came up with an idea for a new recipe. Wha-ha-ha, my children were my guinea pigs!

Supper: brewed iced tea
homemade bread bowls

Tuna Chowder (This recipe fed me and the kiddos.)
  • 7 all-purpose potatoes
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 1 large carrot diced
  • 1 can evaporated milk
  • 2 cans tuna in water
  • ~2-4 T butter
  • salt, pepper, and garlic powder (or a clove of garlic) to taste
Peel and chop the potatoes and put in a pot with some water. Cook until tender.

Peel and dice the onion and carrot while the potatoes are cooking.

Drain the potatoes in a colander over a bowl to reserve the water. Leave the potatoes in the colander until you are ready for them. Melt the butter in your potato pan, then add the onions and carrots.

Add the salt, pepper, and garlic and cook (and stir) the vegetables until the onions are starting to caramelize and the carrots are tender crisp. Drain the tuna part way (I gave the water to our cats later) and add it to the veggies. Add the milk and a little water to rinse the can out. Add the potatoes back to the pot. Cook to desired consistency adding potato water* as needed. I served this in bread bowls with a sprinkle of mild cheddar cheese on top.

So what did my guinea pigs think? They all gave as many thumbs and spoons up as they could while not missing a bite. Froggie asked if I would make it for supper tomorrow night!

*I'll strain the stock and pick the meat out of it tomorrow.

**I saved the rest of the potato water and I plan to use it to make bread tomorrow.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

I'm exhausted!

Last night, after a very long day, I got about six hours of sleep. I put my C-PAP on, turned off the light, laid down, and didn't move until my alarm went off. Literally! I rolled over to stretch and my new mattress with it's individually wrapped coils had an indention from where I never moved. That may sound great, but my back and neck suffered. I woke up stiff from not moving in my sleep.

Normally, I take a nap on Sunday afternoons. There was just too much I had to do to fit one in today. I still have more I need to do tonight before I retire. Then, I have to get up early tomorrow in case a repair person shows up early.

Another thing that has me ragged is that my blood sugar or something was off today. The kids and I didn't get in as many small meals as we should have. We never seem to on Sundays.


Me: coffee with a little sugar and flavored coffee creamer, strawberry yogurt with bran flakes,
orange juice (with calcium), and a banana

Kids: "breakfast split" (1/2 banana sliced in half and then lengthwise, strawberry yogurt, bran
flakes), orange juice

Lunch (While I was fixing lunch, we each ate two granola and nut clusters, since I was crashing.)

spaghetti with tomato and basil sauce and a sprinkle of grated Parmesan
tossed salad with cheddar cheese and choice of dressing
choice of pop

[various snacks at evening church]


smoked sausage, three pepper (red, green, and yellow bell) and onion blend, and rice with a bit of quesadilla cheese
water for the kids
tea for me

I fixed a freezer meal from both lunch and dinner for Jon to take to work at a later date.

I had way too many simple carbs at breakfast and not enough complex carbs. Breakfast did not stay with me through Sunday school and church.

I can't even think straight so, I'd better get a chicken in the crock pot, get my work done for the day, and go to bed. Maybe I can relax some tomorrow.

Sorry, the spacing is off on this, but I'm just too tired to fix it.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Get Ready to Save

Heidi at The Frugal Girls has her "Sunday Coupon Preview: Sneak Peek at Inserts!" post up.

One coupon I'm looking forward to is "Fleischmann’s Yeast, strip or jar Save $.40/1 (6/6)" from the Smartsource coupon insert. The will double at Kroger making the yeast much more affordable. If you are planning on making homemade bread this next week and don't have yeast on hand, this can help get you by. I'll post how I get my yeast in a later post.

Heidi also has links for sites that you can print coupons from. Kroger and Meijer will accept these coupons in our area, but Wal-mart will not.

Thank you, Heidi!

Also check out Cellfire and Shortcuts . After registering, you can load coupons to your Kroger Plus (or affiliate) shopper's card. When you use your shopping card at the register, the coupon discounts automatically come off your order. You can use paper coupons on the same products and they still work.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Exploring A Store

We stopped by Aldi's while we were in the area today.

I did pick up some of the tuna in water for $0.49 each and some garlic powder (5.5 oz.) for $1.07. We paid $3.05 and walked out of the store with four cans of tuna and a jar of garlic powder. While there were a few good deals, most of the prices were comparable to or more than Kroger brand and Kroger Value brand prices. I can sometimes get the name brand item for less than the store brand by using coupons at Kroger and Kroger sends me coupons to use on their brand items.

Aldi's only takes a debit card as a debit card, so we have to use cash if we shop there. We refuse to use our check card as a debit card because we do not want to pay a fee each time we use it. When we use our check card as a credit card, there is no fee.

I wasn't impressed enough to shop at Aldi's regularly. Shopping there would add another stop to my circuit and more time to my trip for very minimal to no savings. It just wouldn't be worth it for me, especially on days I have to take all the children with me.

***Thank you Monkey for coming up with the title for this post!***

More Posts In The Future

I have not taken the time to post for quite some time. Yeah, it has been over a month. That may change soon. A friend of mine has asked me to do some posts on meal planning and saving money on groceries. So, after a day or two I should be starting that series. Just how it will play out is yet to be decided.

On another topic, we have been able to replace some things that have been breaking down and wearing out around here. We now have a new upright freezer, a new mattress and box spring, a new microwave, and Jon and the boys are out right now picking up our new dishwasher.

Our old freezer's seal would not seal. Within a couple days of the last time I defrosted it, the frost on the top shelf was pushing the door open. We used duct tape and the lock to keep it closed. I can finally stock my freezer back up! I didn't dare before.

The girls got our old mattress and box spring to share (the older girls switch between an A-frame bunk and the bed underneath. Our old queen size replaces their old full size (which also used to be ours) that was falling apart. We are sleeping a lot better these days.

Our old microwave, which was not very old, just quit working one day a while back. It was strange because we really don't use a microwave very much. We've had it since Monday and I just used it for the first time to warm up some leftovers for a snack today.

The dishwasher that came with our house just redistributes the soil on the dishes. We have had to rewash many dishes after they have gone through the dishwasher. Most of the time we just wash the dishes by hand just to avoid the frustration. However, our other six dishwashers do not work very well either. Time I spend on dishes or supervising the dishes is not available to spend on other things. Our hope is that having a new dishwasher will lighten the work load a little.

We are really enjoying our new additions to our home. I can hardly wait to try out the new dishwasher. I hope the children will be excited about it for a while as well. Enough excitement to get them into a habit of helping more with the dishes would be wonderful!

I am thinking about taking a tour of Aldi's soon. I keep hearing that people save a lot by shopping there, but I'm skeptical. The last time we shopped there we did not find much that was a better price. The prices I was able to find online were not better prices with the exception of tuna for $0.49 . If I make it to Aldi's, I'll post about my experience.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Financial Friday

This has to be one of the worst times to be in debt. Interest rates keep climbing, making it more difficult to pay off old debts. Minimum payments keep climbing, making it more difficult to pay off old debts. The price of groceries, household goods, gasoline, and more keep climbing, making it more difficult to pay off old debts.

We have been trying to get out of debt for years now, but it seems we take a step backward for every two steps forward. We have made progress. We outright own our vehicles, and we have paid off some credit cards and other debts. Last year, we tried not to use our credit cards. We did all right until a few emergencies came up.

One exception we make to our no credit card usage rule is using our Old Navy card. We always pay off the balance after we use it so we don't have to pay interest. If we will not be able to pay it off, then we don't use it. We don't use it often. Following is an explanation of why we go ahead and use the Old Navy card.

My cousin's baby shower is tomorrow and I went to get her a gift today. We did not have the money in our budget for a gift, but we did have a ten dollar Old Navy Bucks Back coupon earned by our previous purchases.

This is what I found. I got the notepad so that I would not lose two dollars, but it is a nice pad that my cousin could keep handy in her diaper bag.

This is a copy of my receipt.

I am always looking for new money saving ideas, so now let me ask you. What do you do to stretch a dollar?

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


Things have been rather crazy, lately.

The challenge of eating out of our pantry was not well timed for us. Then again, we really didn't have much grocery money this month, so maybe it was well timed. We were blessed by both of our moms. My mom sent some carrots (from my sister's garden) and some other food items home with us last month. Kitty Kat helped out Jon's mom and she sent Kitty Kat home with some items she wouldn't use: corn flakes, rice, dry pinto beans, tomato juice, and condensed milk. Between the items we were given and shopping just for what we absolutely needed, we made it through the month.

We had two birthday girls in January. Monkey turned ten on the twenty-sixth and Froggie turned fifteen on the twenty-seventh. My parents had a birthday dinner for the girls on Monkey's birthday. The boys had started coughing the Thursday before. That evening at my parents, six out of the eight of us had fevers. Tomorrow will be two weeks since the boys began getting sick. Most of us are still congested and worn out. The birthdays weren't as much fun as they could have been.

Little Bear, who turned five last month, was just miserable Friday, so I took him to the doctor. He was diagnosed with an acute cold, an acute ear infection, conjunctivitis, and a bead was in the other ear. Yes, a bead. The doctor said there was no telling how long it had been in there. Little Bear could not remember putting it in his ear. It was a type of bead that we have not had out in quite some time.

A few days ago, I reached up to put a clip in my hair and pulled a muscle in my neck and shoulder. I can barely move without taking ibuprofen and using Biofreeze. I've been stretching constantly, but the muscle(s) is/are still very tight.

We aren't buying pop anymore. Jon is even in on it. Actually, it was his idea! We have been drinking a lot more water.

I saved thirty-three percent off my grocery bill Monday using coupons on sale items. We have more food in the house. The trip to the store took a while, but it was worth it.

I hope and pray you all have a good night/day.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


I will definitely have to go back to the store soon. The only meat I have left is a package of five brats. They are fairly large, so I hope to make them feed the whole family. I really hope they thaw before tomorrow's lunch prep.

I might be able to wait until Thursday morning. The kids and I are eating at my parents' house tonight. We're having banana bread with cream cheese for breakfast tomorrow. I think I'll fix brats with homemade buns, salad, and a cooked veggie for tomorrow's lunch. The kids and I can eat peanut butter and jelly and vegetable soup for supper tomorrow. I was wondering what I would send for Jon's work lunch tomorrow, but just called and he may take a personal day today (his workplace doesn't need everyone tonight). That would leave tonight's lunch for tomorrow.

Alright, I think I have it all worked out. I will stop rambling now.

Update: I still need to figure out what to send for Jon's work lunch tomorrow. The guy just ahead of Jon in seniority took the cut, so Jon is working tonight. I may need to go to the store tomorrow morning.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

"Eat from the pantry challenge"

At the end of December, Money Saving Mom issued an "eat from the pantry challenge". I had decided to play along. I was looking at my cupboards and realized that I had already been doing this for the last couple months. I do have some areas that have surplus, but I'm definitely going to have to go to the store for quite a few things. Maybe my goal should be to restock my pantry!

Tuesday night, I started to take inventory of what I have. I sort of finished the inventory yesterday. By the time I got done going through my cabinets, I was tired of taking inventory. I opened the refrigerator door, saw how many little items were in there, and decided not to itemize the items in the fridge. I know what I have in there. There is very little left in our freezer. Following is a breakdown of what we have in our cabinets and on our counter top.

Baking Supplies

11 lbs. all purpose flour
5 lbs. whole wheat flour
~1 c. corn meal
4 lbs. granulated sugar
~1 c. powdered sugar
2 lbs. brown sugar
canola oil
flax seeds
1/3 lb. cinnamon


hot chocolate mix
tea bags (various)
instant decaf. tea
drink-ade pouches
bottled water
various soft drinks

Cereals and Grains

partial box of Rice Krispies
~2 lbs. oats
3 lbs. white rice
1 lb. pearled barley
1 1/2 lbs. saltine crackers


8 bottles BBQ sauce
3 bottles ketchup
64 oz. apple cider vinegar
1 gal. + white vinegar (I use this mostly for cleaning)
2+ bottles of syrup (regular and boysenberry)
4 small jars jelly
5 envelopes ranch dressing mix
2 boxes of Sure Jell
1 envelope onion soup mix
Worcestershire sauce


1 lb. lentils
1 lb. green split peas
2 lbs. navy beans
6 1/2 lbs. peanut butter
2 cans tuna
2 lbs. ground beef (fridge, still frozen)
3 + dozen eggs

Fruits and Veggies

~5 lbs. russet potatoes
10 bananas
4 clementine oranges
1 can Rotel
2 cans mandarin oranges
1 can tropical mixed fruit
2 cans pineapple tidbits
2 cans pineapple chunks
1 can pineapple slices
1 can mushroom pieces and stems
1 can French style green beans
1 1/2 lbs. raisins

Jon's lunches

gelatin and fruit cups
pudding cups
(2) 1.5 oz. boxes of raisins

Snacks and Desserts

1 lb. graham crackers
~4 c. popcorn kernels
5+ lbs. star bright mints
1 bag spiced jelly beans
1 jar hot fudge
1 bag peanut M&Ms
2 1/2 bags mini marshmallows
1 bag regular marshmallows
1 bag fruit flavored mini marshmallows (These are actually for school projects not consumption.)
12.4 oz rainbow twist Twizzlers
3 Hershey's bars
1 bag candy corn
1 bag Autumn mix candy corn
Tootsie Roll Pops
Blow Pops
2 cake mixes
5 tubs frosting
2 brownie mixes (boxed)
1 brownie mix in a jar
sugar cookie mix
1 can apple pie filling
2 pound cake mixes
1 can evaporated milk

1 lb. block white chocolate
1 lb. block milk chocolate

1/2 c. blanched and slivered almonds
Baker's chocolate
14 oz. sweetened flaked coconut
8 oz. chopped dates
homemade oatmeal raisin cookie mix
1 lb. walnuts
1+ bags milk chocolate chips
1 bag white chocolate chips
1 part bag Hershey's Kisses
1 box graham cracker crumbs
1 chocolate chip cookie mix

12 boxes of gelatin
1 box of pudding mix


Oops! I didn't inventory the spice cabinet. I'm getting low or am out of a lot of spices.

Can you tell that we don't eat much candy or desserts? Some of that candy is from Valentine's Day and Easter from last year. Some may be older than that. We also bought a lot of treat type items for holiday baking and then didn't have time to make everything we were going to. January the month of desserts?

Sunday, January 3, 2010

It's been a while.

It's been so long since I've posted that I don't know where to start. I think I'll just leave it at that. Perhaps, I'll be able to collect my thoughts later.