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Showing posts from January, 2011

Menu Plan Monday - the Pantry Challenge Continues

Here it is the last day of the first month of the New Year!! It did fly by!  I am going to continue with the pantry challenge only because I really have a lot of stuff to use up still (freezers AND pantry!) and hopefully continue to save some money in the meantime. I do have a few thoughts though on the "rising" cost of foods but will get around to that on another post ...

If you are looking for some menu ideas, hop on over to Organizing Junkie's Menu Plan Monday ... tons (like 100's) of others are linking up!

Monday (hubby leaves for Houston and this IS day 31 of Pantry Challenge) - grilled cheese and tomato soup (canned) ... easy night as I will be getting home later than anticipated

Tuesday - macaroni and cheese (I will only make half this recipe as it's just the 3 of us eating)

Wednesday - Chicken Cesar Pasta Salad (will use the precooked chicken I got from Costco a few weeks back ... need to try a different method than baking as suggested to reheat)

Thursda…

Pantry Challenge, days 28, 29 and 30

Yeah, we are moving forward. I've got to take a picture of the guest freezer, it's got a few empty spots ... woohoo!! Gotta be from the box of Taquitos.

Anyways, I really fell off the wagon this week on the menu plan...

Friday, the 28th, breakfast was Special K "with berries" for Hubby, I had banana and clementine, kids had whatever they scrounged up when they awoke. Hubby was out for lunch, I had a MC steamer that I picked up for 80 cents (ummm, I could so make one and probably have it be healthier AND more filling) ... kids on their own yet again. Dinner was sliders (hubby picked up), a couple cans of chicken chili that was doctored up and some crab cakes from the freezer. See, it goes back to the Frugal Friday post ... we COULD have made the sliders ourselves but the hamburger was frozen so Hubby opted to spend the $10 on pre-made ones and buns (and we had leftovers) ... We had an exellent time with our friends, as always, and were locking up by midnight. Sweet.

S…

Making It Happen Monday

Ammie over at Domestically Obsessed is hosting the weekly Make It Happen Monday ... I do find that posting my list of things to do online helps a "bit" but need to get more focused on the list being ready beforehand!! You should go check her out and LINK UP!

Here's what I've got to take care of this week:

1. Get the 3 big closings out of the way at work!
2. Workout, exercise
3. Post Menu Plan (easy as Hubby is traveling)
4. I'm skipping all the making appt make stuff this week ... will focus on that next week for sure :)
5. February is my declutter month so I need to attack the guest room linen closet. Clear it out!
6. Pantry, freezers, cupboards organizing. Still on the list
7. Call Ms. McF at school to follow up on meeting
8. Balance checkbook. Move remainder of money to savings. Deposit, move 20% automatically to savings.
9. Set bill pay up for 3 bills in purse.
10. Start creative ideas for Hubby Love month
11. Clean laundry room. Dust bunnies are reproducing,…

Hubby Love - February

I did this post the other day. Don't ask me why but it makes me emotional. As in E. M. O. Ack.

I love my Husband. Dearly.

He just annoys the crap out of me at times. Probably 50% of the time.

I'm sure I annoy him the other 50% :)

We've grown together and sometimes, I think we've grown apart a bit. Yeah, it's true. It DOES happen. So I admit that I need to reconnect with the man I picked as a high school freshman to be THE one for me for the remainder of my life. The man who is the father of my children. The man who has put me where I am today.

So February will be my dedicated Hubby Love month.

I am going to try and do something each and every day to let him know that I love him. Besides the "usual" stuff.

Time for me to get creative. I need to start RIGHT now :) ...

Freezer Update

Whew...it's been a more productive week! There are signs of hope!! I'm actually quite pleased with this past week's results ...

Out:

sausage
bacon
pkg of turkey lunchmeat
2 pkgs of bagel bites (I think this is it!)
1 box of Taquitos (yahoo) (close to tossing the remainder of box 2, I think they are freezer burned at this point)
1 small box of mac and cheese
*HC Fudge bars, one box is getting 'lower' but don't want to toss the box as then I will lose the remaining bars so the box stays in the door*
2 lb of butter (moved to the fridge and one box is already gone!)
1 pkg ready cooked bacon
filet mignon steaks
2 boxes crabcakes
2 frozen pizzas
1 smoothie mix
half bag of raspberries
In:
4 pizzas (and see the 2 removed, so only 2 left)
1 lb frozen blueberries
small pkg of tortellini for Sonny Boy

Dating

Funny, I was reading a post over here about dating your spouse and it rang so true, it could have easily brought tears to my eyes (had I not been in the office, WORKING!)

I had a comment all typed up to respond, and then thought better of it ...

"the children will all leave and there we’ll be….just the two of us."

Years ago, we were having issues, like SERIOUS marital issues and were seeing a counselor. One of the first things the counselor told us is that line above. Of course, as a mom of 2 toddlers, I thought, phff, what does SHE know? Well, all these years later, where my heart breaks at the thought that my babies no longer need me at their age of 20 and 18, I realize, she was right.

See, when the kids move out, that will be the true test for us. Do we really like each other for who we are, not just as the mother and the father of the kids?

Is it just because the kids were there, we had a common ground/goal?

Do we still share the same interest, that has NOTHING to do wit…

It's all about ME and my friends!

This post is about ME. All me. Me Me Me. Well, and my friends. And my family. Ok, let's start with the ME:

1. I am a creature of habit, very much so.

2. I am a tightwad, yet I can certainly be a spendthrift too. This definitely needs to be looked into further, just not at this very moment.

3. I like to cook, but sometimes, just don't have the energy, ambition, drive, motivation, etc.

4. I love my family (most of the time).

5. I enjoy staying home and having everyone over to MY house :)

So, what does this all have to do with a Frugal Friday post?

Well, I've learned a  few things from those 5 points ... I am a tightwad WHEN I continue to stick with my method of thinking myself as such ... doing things consistently becomes a "habit", and cooking for myself, family and friends in the comfort of my home is definitely a Frugal Friday tip (not to mention, skipping that huge bar tab is a bonus!)

I've started back up with the hosting Happy Hour Fridays in our home. We…

Close to Panic

Uhhh...so we've sort of, kind of fell off the menu plan this week (see the past 3 days of pantry challenge!) and last night, after Hubby had a huge green salad with the works and I had my nachos, Sonny Boy strolled by and asked what was for dinner? (!!!!????) ... somehow this kid gets his timing JUST RIGHT.

Told him to fend for himself. Soup? Grilled Cheese? Mac and Cheese (freezer) etc. No, no and NO. He wanted Spaghetti.

Not the short noodles.

Not the curly ones.

Don't even think of them funky bowties ones mom.

The long stringy ones. You know, that you have to twirl around your fork? Oh. Ok.

Hmmm ... I have NO SPAGHETTI left. How about some lasagna? That was on the menu plan :)

So, now I have to "watch" for a decent sale on spaghetti to buy a few boxes. Ho hum. If that's the worse of this pantry challenge, I'm in!

Pantry Challenge - Days 25, 26 and 27

Technically this should be it...but as I've said, I'm dragging it into February. Suck it up family, we NEED to do this!

Tuesday, the 25th day - ahhh... breakfast, bagel with cream cheese and yogurt for Sonny Boy, Hubby had the cheerios and a small container of cottage cheese, I had ::gasp:: BK drive through for $4.45 ... princess had?, lunch was green salad and tuna fish salad for Hubby and I, Sonny Boy had the PB and Nutella sandwich with fruit snacks and juice, Princess had Taquitos (and totally looked right past the rice), dinner was to have been enchiladas and rice but by the time I got home from the store (yes, $8 later on my gift card) and cleaned up the kitchen from the Princess (??!!) I was too lazy, so the kids had the rest of the box of Taquitos, Hubby and I had salad and leftover burgers (no buns) from the other night.

Wednesday - breakfast for Sonny Boy, bagel with cream cheese and yogurt, Princess, breakfast sandwich, same for me to avoid the damn BK drive through…

Conversation with a Princess

Some days, I question myself as a decent mother. Granted, I've got 20 years invested so I must be doing something right ....

Princess: (as she stands in front of the open fridge) Mom, did you make this orange juice?

Me: (sitting at the table reading the mail) What do you mean, "did" I make it?

Princess: Well, do you MAKE it? It has pulp in it. You never buy the stuff with pulp and mine had TONS of it this morning (smiling big because she LOVES pulp and I HATE it)

Me: Well, its the frozen stuff you add water to if that's what you mean (me thinking doh, I'm not squeezing oranges baby just for you to have pulp)

Princess: Oh ... it's frozen?

Me: (thinking where did the gene pool go wrong??) Yes, those little cans in the garage freezer. The ones that say OJ Concentrate? Thats it. 3 cans of water mixed up well.

Princess: Ohhhh, now I understand. But why so much pulp? The other glasses didnt' have that much.

Me: You need to make sure you shake it up. Ummmm (t…

Green Onions

I was making the Enchiladas last night and had to make a quick stop at the grocery store on the way home (yes, I AM aware that I'm on a Pantry Challenge, and I only spent $8.48 on a GIFT card ... was challenging to say the least) ...
So, one of the things I needed was green onions. 2 bunches for $1.19. ???? Wow, those got expensive. Didn't they use to be like 3 for $1 or something like that??

So I grabbed the 2 healthiest looking bunches (not so great really) and brought them home.

Which prompted me to get a flashlight and walk out to the garden to confirm something: Yes, there they are. In the ground, waving their little green thingys at me in the dark.

Here's a tip to avoid that cost again!  Cut off the white bulby part with a little bit of the fading in to green area. Stick the root part into dirt, cover a little (not totally) and wait. Just a little while (a few days) and you will see the green shoots coming up. As that's the only part that I use (I think that'…

Tabasco and it's pulp

Jen over at Beauty and Bedlam was reviewing products again and last Wednesday morning was Tabasco red sauce.

We don't use Tabasco sauce, we much prefer Frank's (not sure why though) BUT we DO use Tabasco Pulp. Uh huh. This stuff is W.I.C.K.E.D.

Hubby uses it in everything. And sometimes I'm very very sorry that he does. Chili? Delicious the day made. The following day? Almost inedible it gets so spicy. I keep trying to remind him that a little goes a loooong way. Which is hard for him to remember when he's got a 3 lb bag in the freezer (taking up valuable freezer space) and half of a 3lb'er in the garage fridge.

So, here's my FAVORITE way to use the stuff. And it only takes TWO ingredients!

Spicy Shrimp Boil

1 lb of raw shrimp, shell ON (easy peel variety is fine)
1/4 cup (more or less as desired) of Tabasco Pulp

Bring large pot of water to boil OUTSIDE or with all windows open and fan wide open in kitchen. Add Tabasco pulp and shrimp and cook shrimp til pink. …

Mexican style rice in the rice cooker

I'm not sure if this is working or not. My rice cooker keeps turning to warm and I KNOW it can't be done yet ... but I suppose I will get up and check on it.

Since I'm making these sour cream enchiladas for dinner, thought I'd get some rice done and out of the way this morning.

Rinsed 2 cups of rice til clear.

Dumped rice into the rice cooker bowl.

Took lid off a can of fire roasted tomatoes.

Grabbed my NEW immersion blender, stuck it in the can and let that baby rip. Woohoo! That was a cheap thrill for the morning!

Dumped 2 1/2 cups of tomato-y stuff in with rice (by the way, 1 can measured 2 1/2 cups worth).

Mixed it up a little. Added a dash of water (less than 1/4 cup) ... and fired it up.

Flipped back to cook 2 times. Probably done now.

*note: the cup measurements are the rice maker cup ... MY rice cup is really 2/3 of a REAL measurement so follow the directions of the rice package OR your rice maker, don't mix and match - which is what I did*

Because I've…

Pantry Challenge, days 22, 23 and 24

Yes, I definately think I need to continue this into February ... as much as I hate to say it I'm not making anywhere near as much progress as I had thought I would. Oh, what was that? Costco? Aldi's? Well, yeah. I know.

Here's what we've been eating:

Saturday, Day 22 - breakfast was pretty much fend for yourself as was lunch. I believe there were a few nutty buddy bars mixed in there somewhere. Dinner was an awesome spinach and blue cheese mix stuffed into porkchops and baked. Excellent meal, thank you Hubby!  Alongside was to have been stuffed double bake taters, but ended up turning them into mashed taters as the skins were not holding up so well. Regardless, it was a pretty damn tasty meal!

Sunday, Day 23 - breakfast was the rest of the sausage and bacon from freezer (oh, I'm sure there's more bacon, I just have to find it) ... along with squishy white bread toast and scrambled eggs. Also cut up a cantelope to be devoured. It's wasn't.  Lunch was a …

Make It Happen Mondy

As usual, the lovely Ammie over at Domestically Obsessed is holding us accountable with the Make It Happen Monday list :) Thanks Ammie!!

So, my list have been somewhat lame for the past few weeks. Yeah, I have a lot of stuff going on that is NOT on the list ... you know, stuff that you remember to do and does NOT need to put on the list. Such as laundry, iron and put away. Ummm, that should be on the list so it can wave it's arms at me occasionally and say "hey, your family must be running around naked or at least not wearing underwear by now!!" Uh huh. It's bad. But I fixed that problem on Sunday, in addition to the floors now being fairly clean and dust/dirt/grime/sticky free. At least temporarily. So here you have it, my plan to Make It Happen!

1. Iron and put away clean clothes (as of Sunday, they were ALL CLEAN)
2. Menu plan and post (done!!)
3. Re-evaluate budget - update and plug numbers in to date
4. Set up February budget based on above results
5. Make depos…

Menu Plan Monday

Well, it's pretty much the official final week of the Pantry Challenge, but like I've said, it's going a little longer for our household as we haven't gotten as much cleared out as anticipated.

So here's what we are having this week ... if you are in a rut and need some fresh ideas, hop on over to Menu Plan Monday at Organizing Junkie ... hundreds of others are linking up and sharing! It's not a very exciting week and I don't see anything really happening at work or school so I'm keeping it simple for my sanity!

Monday - Paninis and soup. Ummm, probably canned soup at that, sorry. The sandwiches will be made with lunchmeat from the freezer, cheese from the fridge, and plain old ordinary sandwich bread.

Tuesday - Sour cream enchiladas ... going to check out PW's recipe on this one. (NEED SOUR CREAM!)

Wednesday - lasagna (getting rid of that big box from the freezer, at last!) with some crusty garlic bread and green salad on the side.

Thursday - Lefto…

Freezer Update

Yup, continuing on...

Here's what's been removed:

Pkg of ham lunch meat
bag of variety beans and carrots
small bag of diced onions
Bagel bites ... see below, they were purchased and gone like that
tossed a pkg of pita bread
2 lbs ground beef
1/2 bag of cooked chicken
bag of chicken wings (last one, officially)
oj concentrate


AND....here's what's been added!

2 3.5 lb bags of cooked chicken
2 large boxes of Healthy Choice Fudge Bars (and IF I had more room, I'd have bought more they are so good!)
pkg of bagel bites (um, like 8 trays)
2.5 lbs boneless thick pork chops

Sooooo....how is everyone else doing on the freezers and pantry??

Pantry Challenge, days 19, 20 and 21

Yeah, I should be proud of myself for making it this far, but I'm not because the last grocery trip just really burst my bubble (didn't you hear the big boom??) ... but I suppose I'm going to have to carry this over into February ... which I WAS going to try and dedicate as my anticlutter month ... gads, I just can't seem to get a break ... not blaming anyone but myself :)

Day 19 - breakfast for Sonny Boy was eggs, bacon and bagel with a side of yogurt and a banana, carnation and coffee to go. He's got finals this morning, better do well ... Hubby had (GUESS!) Cheerios, I had yogurt and a banana. Lunch for Sonny Boy was whatever he chosed to make when he gets home at noon (I believe it was bagel bites - going through them things like crazy, easy boy!), Hubby had small salad and a ham and cheese sandwich (again) with yogurt and baby carrots. I had a salad with my favorite HM dressing topped with hardboiled egg (hmmm, think I'm losing weight yet?). Dinner was to …

How the goals are coming along...

Remember, I never really listed any of my goals ... but there are a few obvious things, such as save 20% of my income, pantry/freezer challenge and of course, be a little healthier.

Yeah, I'm doing somewhat ok...for the most part.

Pantry Challenge ... staying focused by posting an update every three days. That does keep me accountable and I definitely keep checking over at Good Cheap Eats to see how they are doing (better than me, that's for sure!) ... I did have a moment (or two) shopping and well, believe I may just extend this right into February. How bad can it possibly be?? The freezers were looking better until that Monday.

20% of income saved. I should note, this is 20% of MY income. Hubby already contributes his max to the 401 and that is fine by me. I am the one that can spend all my dollars without even batting an eyelash (there, I SAID it. I'm a spendthrift at heart) so for me to commit to 20% to savings and STICK with it is stellar.  Of course, during the Monday …

Pantry Challenge, Days 16, 17 and 18

Oddly enough, I sort of forgot for a few days there that I was doing a pantry challenge? What's that? Oh. I went shopping. Yeah. Aldi's and Costco. Good news on the Costco front (even though I spent way more that I had planned) is I stuck with my list, diligently and even put a few things back after pricing them. I'm currently well stocked with toothpaste, toothbrushes, deodorant, tp, papertowel, tampons, mouthwash and bathsoap. I would say the same for shampoo and conditioner, but Sonny Boy has long (luscious) thick hair that he seems to think needs a TON of shampoo (as does the Princess, but his is longer and thicker) ... I KNOW they NEED tons of conditioner.

So lets take a peek at what we've been eating, shall we?

Sunday, breakfast was sausage patties, bagels and bananas with some oj. Lunch was leftovers from Friday night (and thankfully the are ALL gone). Dinner was pepperoni paninis and a green salad.

Monday (I was off and shopped most of the day!), Sonny boy had …

To Coupon or Not?

I love coupons. Really, they do save a lot of money on the things that you need and use.

But of course, like anything else, there is a time and a place for them.  Right now, is NOT the time or place for ME.

See, during the past 2 months, with Pantry Challenges and cleaning out the freezers (and pantry!), I've come to realize something.

Stockpiling is G.O.O.D. so long as it's stuff that you use consistently. But it's not so good when you have, say, 20 bottles of Mr. Clean that you've purchased at a steal but still have said 20 bottles a year later ... I forgot that I'm NOT a fan of Mr. Clean. Ooops, sorry Big Guy!

So, let me think, I paid approximately 90 cents per bottle. 90 x 20 is $18.00. That's almost $20 (I'm all about rounding up). Hmmm. Do you see where I'm going? I've got almost $20 worth of stuff that I'm playing with tossing in the garbage, dumping down a toilet or sink OR donating (can I donate something like that? I'm thinking the…

Garlicky Chicken

This is so good, and it's funny because it's from a Mr. Food cookbook ... my mother picked up a bunch for me off QVC when I first started to really cook. I'd say these are probably good books for beginner cooks as it's all fairly simple.

So make these, serve with some buttered egg noodles and a side of steamed broccoli and you have a meal that will satisfy your gang!

2 lbs chicken breast (I use boneless/skinless but can't remember if it calls for that?)
1 cup mayo
1 cup italian dressing
1/2 tsp italian seasoning (or just use some oregano, basil, parsley)
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp browning sauce (like kitchen bouquet, gravy master, etc.)

Mix all except the breast together in large ziploc (or dish) and add chicken. Allow to marinate 30 minutes or MORE. (generally I do all day while at work!)

Grill, broil or bake ... yummy.  I've baked the whole thing, marinade and all with excellent results.

Linking up with Tasty Tuesday over at (balancing) Beauty and Bedlam  …

How NOT to shop on a Pantry Challenge

Yeah. The title pretty much sums up this post.

Aldis:
13 tomato soup at hand x $1.29 each
15 cookie icing packs @ 50 cents each
24 pk spring water $2.99
dozen eggs 69 cents
2 bags broccoli florets 99 cents each
2 chicken broth cartons $1.19 each
6 oj concentrate $1.19 each
4 pkgs different deli sliced cheese $1.99 each
2 grape concentrate 92cents each
4 beef broth cans 45 cents each
2 cans black beans 55 cents each
2 cans corn 45 cents each
2 cottage cheese $1.9 each
2 bags baby carrots 69 cents each
2 cans pear halves $1.39 each
Panini Maker (!!!???) $19.99
2 string cheese $2.69 each
bottle cran juice $1.79
4cans mandarin oranges 49 cents each
2 cantaloupes 99 cents each
2  blocks cheddar cheese $1.79
2 coffees $3.99 each
2 burger buns 79 cents each
tissues $1.29
honey buns 99 cents
flour tortillas 99 cents
almonds $1.79
3 bags of chips $1.29 each
4 pkgs bagels $1.39 each
hoagie rolls $1.99
6 (yeah, 6) peanut butter wafers 99 cents each
table salt 33 cents
2 loaves of squishy bread 8…

Make It Happen Tuesday, I mean MONDAY!

Yeah, I'm a day late, and more than a few dollars short ... Linking up with the lovely (although prego) Ammie over at Domestically Obsessed to share my to do list....Are you Getting Your Home On??

1. Post menu plan for week 3 of Pantry Challenge (done!)
2. Post something over at the Frugal Fitness site (Done!!)
3. Move money around from shopping excursion.
4. Make deposit.
5. Move money around again.
6. Remind self that Pantry Challenge is in EFFECT as is healthier LIVING!
7. Call and make mammo and ultrasound appt.
8. Make dr appt for checkup and blood work (eek)
9. Check if Dr. Green is still on plan for Dermo for Sonny Boy
10. Call Belltone to inquire on health insurance acceptance (I've been hard of hearing all my life and it's getting progressively worse, time to get a new hearing aide as the one I have is from elementary school)
11. Pay bills
12. Update budget sheet
13. Put together post of the Pantry Challenge Shopping Excursion. Uh, this will be real interesting.

T…

Menu Plan for Week 3 of Pantry Challenge

Last week, I linked up for 2 weeks worth. Of course, life never goes according to plan so here's what I'm shooting for this week!

Monday - Soup (of some sort) and salad  (rainy dreary day here today)

Tuesday -  Spicy McChicken like sandwiches and chips

Wednesday - Cesar Chicken Pasta Salad and maybe some dinner rolls for Sonny Boy (teens! need more stuff than just "rabbit food")

Thursday - Burgers on the grill

Friday - Chicken on the grill (marinate in italian dressing?) with some Taters

Saturday - Steaks? Hot dogs? Chix sausages and peppers? Hubbys choice!
Sunday - Pizza with (the last of) chicken wings and garden salad.

Last week we ate out TWO times. Really. So unusual for us, really!  But I must get back on track and remember that I CAN NOT go to the store any more this month and into next month!!! Spent way too much time, therefore, money at both Aldi's and Costco. I do have to say, I stayed on my list for Costco but the stuff cost a little more since the la…

Freezer Update

Sometimes I feel like I'm making progress and other times I feel like it's a bottomless pit!

Here's whats been removed lately:

1 oj concentrate (last one!?)
smoked turkey lunchmeat (WTH, only 9 ounces??)
bag of fried turkey
a few more sausage patties
2 bag of shrimp
bag of meatballs (I have no more now, panic!)
2 pkgs of snausages (again, I have no more, panic!)
1 pkg bacon
1 grape juice concentrate


And here's what I've added:

4 yoplait frozen smoothie mixes (I got them cheap!) ... these are stashed so no one sees them, figured it might be a nice treat towards the end of the month!
2 12 oz deli sliced ham, was in the freezer at work (forgot I had picked them up end of December)
5 cans of oj concentrate
2 cans of grape concentrate
2 bags of brocolli

Pantry Challenge - Days 13, 14 and 15

Continuing on ...

Day 13 - breakfast for the kids, eggs (only 4 left, will need to get more), bacon (all gone now) and toast. Hubby had oatmeal (can't get in the cabinet with cereal in guest kitchen as the drum set is all there for tonights easy loading), me, yogurt and banana. Lunch for the kids is as usual and I had a salad with hardboiled eggs, turkey lunchmeat and cheese over the top with my favorite vinaigrette dressing, hubby had salad, and his tuna sandwich (again? WTH Hubby, eat it already!) Dinner was supposed to have been fried turkey cubano type theme sandwich. Didn't quite do that. We took Princess to eat instead at the little Japanese restaurant down the street since Sonny Boy was out doing his Battle of the Bands contest (they won! Of course they did!)

Day 14 - Friday, at last!  Breakfast, Princess had an egg, sausage and cheese burrito (2 eggs left!), Sonny Boy on his own, Hubby, Cheereos and me, oatmeal (gag), lunch for kids, on their own, salad and tuna for m…

It's like Found Money!

Today is payday (woohoo!) ... and also, the first paycheck of the year to reflect the 2% reduction of social security payment.  I chuckle and snort that 2% ain't nothin, but certainly, better than no percent!

Well. Imagine my surprise.

$50 more. Every 2 weeks.  That's $100 a month. $1200 a YEAR!!! Holy cow, that's like, A.W.E.S.O.M.E.!!!

So, of course, the first fleeting thought that comes to my mind is: What can I spend it on???

Uh, NO. That is not what I thought of ... well, maybe for a split second, but that was it. Honestly.

Why? Because I know that is why it's so hard to get ahead. You find extra money, be it a raise at work, child out of diapers, etc., but you continue to spend it instead of SAVING it. Uh huh. The cost of YOUR living goes up directly relating to the amount of money brought it. Seriously. Pathetic, huh?

So...the $50 will go in to the savings account every 2 weeks.  I AM seriously tempted to make a new saving category for this NEW money to go to b…

Pantry Challenge - Days 10, 11 and 12

This is not as hard as I thought it would be ... I did have to run to the store and get cat litter (damn cat, not even MINE!) and more milk and coffee, some fruit, lettuce and spinach and a few frozen smoothie mixes for 60 cents a piece to toss in freeze, $23 on a gift card so not so bad ... (should be noted that the gallon of milk is good for 2 days if I'm lucky so another trip by the end of the week I'm sure!)

Day 10, breakfast was waffles and scrambled eggs for 3 of the 4, Hubby had, Cheerios, of course. Lunch for hubby was leftover chops and scalloped taters, I had tuna salad on deli thin and kids had their usual nutella and pb sandwich with sides of fruity things and nutrigrain bars (down to 2 bars, horrors!). Dinner is tacos made with ground turkey and the fixins (shredded lettuce, cheese, onions, tomatoes, sour cream and refried beans with guac and chips), I had mine as a taco salad :)

Day 11 - breakfast was fit for a king for 3 of the 4 of us (Princess had to be up for…

Veggies and linking up to URS

Most of you probably already know that I'm not a huge veggie fan but I still push forward and keep trying, hoping that one day, I will see the flavorful-ness of broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, cooked spinach, and so on ... but it still hasn't happened as of yesterday.

So I continue to make tried and true things that I do like, such as veggiesalads of all types and a few other things. Here are two potato based sides:

Italian Taters (EASY!)

Red potatoes (or any type really), cut in to LARGE pieces (don't cut smaller than a large bite size!)
Bottle of italian dressing (any brand works!)

Parboil the potatoes until a slightly soft. They need to be cooked but not too much so.
Drain and allow to cool for about 30 minutes. Dump the potatoes in a large bowl and pour the dressing all over the them. Cover and refrigerate for 2 to 4 hours (longer is fine).
Fire up the grill and place the babies on the grill and cook til a little charred, turn over periodically to keep from burnin…

And again

I'm just a lean machine lately, aren't I?

Again, I've updated my workout page ... and I know that I'm going to pay for this bad boy by Friday (usually day 2 after an intense workout is the worse!)

So how about it, want to join in on all the fun and excitement? Want to curse me (or maybe even praise me)? Then hop over here and do the Leg routine ... and then let me know, good, bad or just give it up!?

Pssst....

I updated my workout site. Uh huh, two times already this week.

All I can say is wow, that workout tonight didn't seem so difficult putting it together or even reading it, but OWWW. Definitely works the upper abs more so than the lower. Which is ok, because it will help eliminate that extra roll over the waistband!

So go on, check it out...and do it! Promise, no special equipment needed!

To make or not to make

The Bed, that is.

Do you make your bed every morning?

The minute you get up or later in the morning, day or even before you go to bed?

I'm lucky. My Hubby makes the bed every single morning. EVEN if I am the last one out of bed (rarely, but occasionally).

He smooths the sheet out. Pulls the top sheet tight. Tucks them in snug at the bottom. Fluffs the comforter and both my pillows.

And makes sure the palm trees face the right way when he puts the pillows back on the bed.

Yes. He does. It's the little things in life that really make it all worth while!

Making those goals

Oh lets see, we are 11 days into the New Year and it's time for me to stop, bash smell the roses and evaluate my goals to date.

I never did really list any of my goals, besides the simple ones: pantry challenge for January (clean out pantry and freezers) and 20% to 25% of all deposits move to savings. And be a nicer mom and wife. And pet owner. And a better housecleaner. And exercise. And....

Oh. Sorry. I do have a tendency to ramble but it IS my blog so I can if I want.

Back on track.

1. The one deposit I've made so far this year HAS had 20% moved. Almost $300 added to the savings account. Sweet. Now if it can just stay there, I'd be happy! I have another deposit to make and that will add another $85. I need to investigate how to do a transfer from the one "convenient" savings account to the other less convenient (accessible) savings account. AND also see if there is a fee to do so.

2.  Pantry challenge. Hopefully you've followed along on my 3 day updates? S…

Make It Happen Monday

I'm a little late to Get My Home On but I know that someone out there is anxiously waiting to see what's on the list! Honestly? I'd just as soon skip it this week but I know better.  So here we go:

1. Start working out again. Starting this evening! Now that I feel better, NO EXCUSE!
2. Post and link menu plan (done!)
3. Set up bill pay
4. Make deposit. Transfer 20% of said deposit and balance checkbook
5. Organize and try to make some sense of the pantry (part of the pantry challenge, discovered 5 boxes of pancake mix!)
6. Update 2011 calendar (move all the stuff from 2010, birthdays, anniversaries, etc.)
7. Re-write Princess school schedule. Can't make heads or tails of what day and where :)
8. Remind Sonny boy to get SAT waiver from GC and also to get his parking decal before Brutis get's towed while in class
9. Laundry. Iron. Put away (never really got done last week)
10. Get routine back for taking vitamins in the morning
11. Tell Hubby I love him

That's i…

Menu Plan Monday - Week 2 and 3 of Pantry Challenge

Seriously, it's hard to say NO to a quick trip to the store ... I ended up sending Hubby and Sonny Boy to pick up the bread and milk :)

So, whats the plan for the next two weeks?

Monday - Tacos (made with ground turkey from freezer) rest of ingredients are in pantry and fridge with chips and salsa and guacamole (I've got some avocados to use or may just take a container from freezer)

Tuesday - soup and sandwiches (leftover chicken chili from fridge, lunchmeat from freezer)

Wednesday - Pasta with some italian sausage (from freezer)

Thursday - Cubanos (using fried turkey instead of pork, turkey in freezer from Thanksgiving!) and black beans and rice

Friday - Happy Hour evening, appetizers as in spicy meatballs, snausages, cheese spread and crackers and veggies with dip and maybe some shrimp with cocktail sauce (all is in freezer/pantry and fridge)

Saturday - Hubbys choice, will probably push steaks from freezer with baked taters

Sunday - Pepperoni Bread or hot pepperoni sandwich…

Pantry Challenge - Days 7, 8 and 9

Thankfully I am finally feeling better...whew. A whole week under the weather is really bad for me!

Here's what we've been eating (and mind you, the menu plan was pretty much tossed out the window!)

Friday - yogurt and toast for me, sonny boy was on his own, Hubby had cereal (tried to give him oatmeal, no go), lunch for me was salad with the remainder of the ham and Hubby had pressed turkey and mont. jack cheese sandwich with a a salad. Sonny boy & princess fended for themselves. Dinner was the awesome chicken chili that Hubby had started in the crockpot on Thursday with crusty toasted bread.

Saturday - breakfast, toast for those who wanted with sliced apples, lunch was leftover chili and tortilla chips. Dinner was pork chops and scalloped taters (boxed, from pantry, didn't feel like doing the whole song and dance).

Sunday - breakfast was waffles (I realized I had 5 boxes of pancake mix in the pantry and 3 large bottles of syrup!) and sausage patties with some cantalou…

Freezer Update

STILL trying to clear out the freezers ... the pantry/freezer challenge is helping a little but NOT as much as I had anticipated. Since I'm FINALLY starting to feel better, hopefully I'll be a little more motivated!
Here's whats been removed this past week:

2 pkgs of chicken breast (hubby made some chicken soup in the crockpot on Thursday night ... I think he's pushing me to get better too ... he also came home with some Emergen-C)
1 bag of broccoli
2 bratwurst (cooked) - not sure but I think Hubby ate them Thursday night after I went bed (not going so well with this post!)
1/2 loaf of italian/french bread (not sure which it really is) to go with the soup
2 pkgs mix veggies (one left, thankfully, I'm not crazy about the quinoa ones!)
bag of pork chops
a few sausage patties
1 pkg ground turkey
Mozzarella cheese (2 pkgs)
bag of wings
1 OJ concentrate
Added:
2 boxes of spinach (hubby picked up not realizing I had some already)

Spicy McChicken like sandwiches

You know those dollar menu sandwiches at the golden arches? A whole dollar. And pretty wimpy but hey, they serve a purpose!

I got a few bags of Tyson's spicy chicken patties not too long ago at a REAL cheap price (like $1 per bag?)  We heated them up in the oven, toasted some squishy burger buns, slapped some mayo on one side, sliced some lettuce thin, added a slice of cheese and topped with a chicken patty and guess what? You've got yourself a Spicy McChicken-like sandwich! Satisfying? You bet. Easy and quick? Super so!

Serve some raw veggies on the side to make it a more rounded meal (unless you are going full fast food mode, then do some shoestring fries) ...

Yeah, I know, not a recipe so to speak. BUT it is related to my pantry challenge and menu plan!!  This is being linked up to Beauty and Bedlam's Tasty Tuesday roundup ... hop on over and check out everyone elses creations!

Dieting and working out - the Frugal Way!

One of my goals for the New Year was to lose weight and just be healthier. Granted, I only need to lose maybe 10 lbs to be happy.  Hubby, on the other hand, needs to lose a bit more and he's finally admitting it.

To NOT be the nagging wife and drill in to him to not eat that and to do this, I've just made the choice to try and be a little healthier (for those who look at the pantry challenge, you MAY not see how that is but there are quite a few veggies mixed in here and there with a lot of lower fat/sugar items).

Hubby has researched all the paid for diets out there, weight watchers, nutrisystem, quick weight loss centers, and so on. The problem with them, even though they are shown to be proven, they are EXPENSIVE. Heck, some of those programs cost twice as much as my grocery budget for a month. So he's stepped back from any of the programs (not to mention, I hate that you have to buy their food?!) And of course, we even looked in to some smart lipo but ummm, that doesn&…

Pantry Challenge - Day 4 to 6

Ahh...I think I'm making progress ...

Day 4 - breakfast for sonny boy was the same as every day it seems, bagel and banana and carnation breakfast ... Hubby had his usual Cheerios and orange. I had a banana along with an egg and ham (honey baked) sandwich.  Lunch for sonny boy same as always, hubby had his salad and a turkey (honey baked) sandwich whereas I had salad with turkey (honey baked) and my homemade vinaigrette dressing with a snack of applesauce. I also have an instant oatmeal pack stashed just in case.  Dinner WAS to have been the shrimp packs but since there is SO much leftover food in fridge, I've opted to do a fend for yourself leftover night ... and I ate nothing since I'm feeling M.I.S.E.R.A.B.L.E.

Day 5 - Breakfast was actually almost waffles, but then I realized that I'm still sick and heck, someone should make ME waffles (ok, I do not really mean that, but maybe I do!) ... so it's just a bagel for Sonny Boy, I had a banana and a tangerine, and H…

That quick Publix Run?

Cost me $20.05 but hey, I saved $26.25 :)

Publix Sweet Ham, 2 pkgs for $5.99 less $1 off coupon
8 pks Starkist albacore tuna for $3.19 x 4 (b1g1f) and then $4 off total
5 Puffs Plus with Vicks, $1 each
2 yogurts for $1 total

17 items for $20? Not so bad I suppose? But not very helpful to the Pantry/Freezer challenge as the ham goes in the freezer and the tuna in the pantry!

How IS everyone else doing out there?

A tip

I had to run to the store during lunch today ... I ran out of my cheapo Aldi tissues (hey, the chest cold has moved to my head now) ... and well, napkins just weren't cutting it as my poor nose was soooo red it was alarming!

So off I went to Publix.

Puff tissues (pop up box) on sale for $1 each. WITH VICKS.

Oh yes, with Vicks ... I may become a tissue snob after all ... Princess met me at the office to get a check for her college books and was all excited to see tissues in the bag so I gave her a box too ... we both sniffed the boxes at the same time as someone walked by ... started laughing :) That's a good start to the ending of our colds!!

Gas

You know, fuel, like for your car?

They (whomever THEY are) predict that by the summer time, in a mere 5 to 6 months, the price will be around $4.00 a gallon.

You think the $3.xx you pay now is bad? Wait til it hits $4.00.

So, what can you do?

Ride a bike.

Walk.

Take public transportation.

Carpool.

Stay home.

And of course, consolidate your outings.

Of course, those who do not live in a bigger city area won't have some of these options. But for me, IF I wasn't so lazy, I COULD ride a bike (if I had one, got rid of mine last year), I COULD walk, I COULD take the city bus (ick, but they do have free wifi on most now!) and I COULD hop a ride with Hubby (but that would make me dependent on him to get home at a decent hour, not so much fun!) ... staying home, I do enough of that already.

Whew. Just the thought of filling up the Tahoe with it's 30 gallon tank makes me cringe ... $120?? And then Brutis with it's even bigger tank. Gads. I may need to rework the budget for this…

Pantry Challenge - Day 1 to 3

So far so good ... but 3 days dont' really do a whole lot of damage to the pantry/freezer!
Day 1 - New Years Day, sick as a dog, and NO, not hung over. Spent most of the day on the couch with an occasional trip to the throne and the kitchen.  Served up leftover honey baked ham, cheese platter, mustard selections and mini breads ... oh wait, did that look like leftovers from Friday night? Surely it wasn't? This was breakfast, lunch and dinner for those who chose to eat or even inquire as to what was for dinner (the nerve!)
Day 2 - Sunday ... feeling a little better. Made the fatal trip to Aldi's to get milk since SOMEONE forgot to pick it up on their way home from girlfriend last night (doh Sonny Boy!) $96 and a bunch of PANTRY stuff later ... with only a 3 hour nap on the couch, felt much more productive and fed the family honey baked turkey breast (yeah, they do have that and its' to die for!) along with a bag of steamer mashed taters from the freezer. Served up the ham…

Marinated Mushrooms

For those of you who follow along, you probably figured out (or even read) that I am NOT a huge veggie person. Matter of fact, I used to hate anything that called itself a veggie and then some. 
But as I've gotten older, and since I quit smoking, I make every attempt to at least try to eat some veggies...and wouldn't you know it, sometimes I surprise myself! Mushrooms are one of those times ...
Here's what you need for a super easy side dish (goes excellent with steaks but even chicken or pork will work well too!)
Shrooms ... sliced or whole (I leave them whole unless they are super large) Cesear dressing (I use Kens Steakhouse Lite ... been the tastiest so far)
Toss shrooms in a ziptop. Add dressing, don't make them swim, but enough to coat. Let them marinate for 30 minutes to a few hours. Obviously, the longer they marinate, the more concentrated the flavor becomes so use a little caution.
When ready to cook, tear a big sheet of foil, fold up edges to make a "pan&qu…

Pantry Challenges all over the web

January must bring out the pantry challenger in all of us :)

Here's a few links to some other pantry challenges going on ... always good for motivational purposes!

Life As Mom (I believe Jessica is going to post an update daily?)

Mrs. Happy Homemaker (Crystal will have a linky every week)

MomsPlan (she's doing a 6 week challenge)

I KNOW there are many more out there doing a pantry challenge in January ... if you know of any good ones, let me know so I can add them in ...

Make It Happen Monday

I certainly hope it's a HAPPY Monday!  Thanks to Ammie over at Domestically Obsessed for hosting the little linkup for the Monday to do list!

We traveled for a week, then got waysided by cancelled flights and spent more time than I would wish upon anyone at the airport. It was sad as Hubby and I both watched another young couple with 2 toddlers and a baby go from gate to gate with us ... told Hubby that I would gladly give my standby seat up for them :( Me and the kids finally caught the last flight out at 7:30pm. Hubby jumped on the flight to Fort Myers, grabbed a car and drove across the alley and got home at 3am. Funny enough, he gave 2 other people a lift too ... they were following us around and actually Sonny Boy was rude and told the one guy not to cut in line anymore. Apparently didn't know that there was an etiquette to letting the counter people know you wish to fly standby (ok, you see 20 people go from gate to gate and stand in line at each counter, and  you just t…

Aldi's trip

So I put together my menu plan for the week. Type it all up and add all my links.  AND even state that $20 or so should be sufficient for what I need to get.

Yeah right. A trip to the store for a mere $20? Who am I kidding?

5qt cast iron dutch oven (been really wanting one for a while!) $29.99
4 pkgs peanut butter chocolate wafers (aka Nutty Buddy) 99 cents each
ketchup $1.19
baby dills $1.19
2 gallons milk $1.99 each
2 vanilla yogurts $1.99 each
half and half $1.99
2 grapefruits 59 cents each
2 mac and cheese (freezer, individual) 99 cents each
toothbrushes $1.69
2 frozen oj $1.19 each
fresh pineapple $2.69 (ok, thought it said 69 cents so really, would not have taken it!)
cantaloupe $1.99
2pks frozen broccoli 99 cents each
bananas 80 cents and $1.02
2 pkg red and yellow peppers $2.29
flour tortillas 99 cents
head of lettuce $1.29
sliced cheese $1.99
3 pkgs andes mint chocolate baking chips 50 cents each (clearance)
cocktail sauce $1.09
2 tomato soup 49 cents each
2 chicken noodle so…