Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Neat Home Improvement Ideas

I  am not much of a Pinterest girl, but I sure like home improvement ideas.  I clicked through something on Facebook last week and found a cool page with lots of neat ideas, some of which I'd never seen before.

Click Here to see the page.

This was my favorite:

In particular I liked where some of the electrical outlets were tucked away and some ideas on using space between studs for storage.

Some were impractical and NOT resourceful, but for the most part were interesting.

Katie

Monday, November 17, 2014

2014 Groceries Week 46 - $123.86

I went to Albertson's Monday when I had a half hour to kill.  I spent $12.46 on food including sprinkles for $0.25 each in black and orange, 2 bell peppers, 6 8-packs of Juicy Juice for $1.00 each, a dozen day-old donuts, and some day-old baguette rounds.

Tuesday night I ran down to QFC for lice shampoo (more on that another day) because DH was flying out early Wednesday morning.   While there I found lots of clearance Halloween candy - 5 bags for $6.45, a couple of pomegranates, and 4 packs of pepperoni.  I spent $16.45.

Friday I finally made it to Champion Foods in Issaquah.  Hooray!  I bought a 25# bag of GF Oatmeal.  It was $39.50, but I have been desperate for certified GF oatmeal so I splurged.  I also picked up 6 small bags of chips for a total of $2.00, some box mixed quinoa for $2.00 each, a new GF cracker for $1.50, and something else for $2.55 that I can't remember because I didn't take a picture.  I spent $51.55. 

And finally, I had an emergency run to the store on Sunday after church.  I had baked a pan of brownies for a potluck dinner, but found out at 10:30 the dinner was actually a lunch!  So I hauled 4 kids into the store and bought ice cream, whipped cream, and 2 toppings for our dessert contribution.  I picked up a loaf of GF bread (for DD#2 to use instead of a bun at the potluck) and I also got GF corndogs there because they're the only store I've found that carries them!  I spent $30.53. 

Milk delivery was $12.87

Total spending for week 46: $123.86
Year-to-date total: $4,229.57
Weekly Average: $91.95

Katie

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

2014 Week 45 Groceries - $128.49

I've been having trouble getting my camera to connect to my computer so no photos.  Rats!

And I'm behind in posting because we've been having internet trouble again, but I think it's finally fixed.  Yay! 

So weekly groceries:

I didn't shop until the weekend because I was waiting for my weekly household allowance that I usually give myself on Fridays.  So I went to QFC on Friday while I had a sitter for the younger 3 and found lots on clearance.  We got 4 packages of breakfast sausage links for $1.99 each, hummus for $1.99, a big organic greek yogurt for $3.49, an Adam's peanut butter for $2.19 and 8 bags of apples for $0.99 each.  I also got a pomegranate because my oldest daughter just loves them and a package of lunch meat for $3.49.  I spent $21.05 total.  I also noticed GF spice cake mix on clearance and it was a kind I already had at home, but hadn't tried so I didn't buy it.

Friday afternoon we made up the cake mix at home and it was delicious!  So I went back late that night and bought the remaining 4 packages for $1.99 each - really a bargain considering the cost of GF flour and how fast it is to whip up some cupcakes from a mix!  I also happened upon deli pizzas for just $2.99 each.  Whoohoo!  I bought 6 so DH would have easy dinners with the kids.  I also bought 4 containers of GF pizza dough (makes 4 servings each for DD#2) at $2.49 each, some naturally colored jelly beans for $1.99, and bananas at $0.69/lb.  I spent $39.13.

On Sunday I stopped at Fred Meyer for a couple things.  We were expecting company for dinner and I needed a couple things.  I ended up spending $51.48!  EEP!  I always find so many great things at Fred Meyer.  I bought ground sausage, brown sugar, a loaf of bread, parsley, 3 boxes of cereal, coffee, garlic, 2 creamers, a gallon of organic milk, 4 cans of olives, sour cream, clearance star pasta, and 2# shredded cheese.

I stopped at another QFC to see if there were more GF spice cake mixes on clearance.  No luck, but I did get clearance tomatoes.  4 bags at $0.99 each and about 9# total.  It was $3.96.
 
No eggs
Milk was $12.87
 
Week 45 total groceries: $128.49
Total year-to-date 2014: $4,105.71
Weekly Average: $91.24
 
Katie

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Resourceful Project - Washing the Lego Bin

A couple months ago one of the kids knocked my mug of coffee into our Lego bin.  After a few weeks I thought I should try to figure out how to clean up that mess, so I starting systematically cleaning the Legos in a lingerie bag in the dishwasher. 

Here's my bin when it was nearly empty.  I realized as I got down to the bottom that an occasional wash might be a good idea just because of all the gunk I saw had collected.  And NOT just due to the spilled coffee.  Ewww.

 
I used a laundry bag for the Legos in the top rack of the dishwasher.  Initially I had the kids fill the bag every day, but after a mishap with crayons melting onto clean dishes I decided to fill the bag myself.  Incidentally, it takes way more time to clean crayon wax off dishes than to fill a bag with Legos. 
 
I dumped each batch of clean Legos into another bin while I slowly emptied the regular bin.
 


It was really satisfying to see this sparkling bin though.  And nice to finally put the Legos back in their home!
 
Love, Katie 



Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Gluten Free Menu Plan

Oi - I'm a day late in my menu planning.  And wouldn't you know it we had dollar hamburgers for dinner last night (chili for my GF kiddo).  Time to get back on the horse!

Dinners:
Tuesday - Scrambled eggs
Wednesday - Sausages, veggies, nuts
Thursday - Roasted Beet & Potato Soup (didn't make it last week)
Friday - potluck dessert
Saturday - Macaroni & Cheese Pie
Sunday - Mexican

Lunches:
Tuesday - Hot Dogs
Wednesday - Macaroni & Cheese Pie (GF Noodles)
Thursday - Chicken, cucumber, walnuts/almonds (packed lunch)
Friday - Nachos/Quesadillas
Saturday - Crockpot Taco Soup
Sunday - Leftovers

Katie

Monday, November 3, 2014

2014 Groceries Week 44 - $216.69

What is it about fall and spending a ton on groceries?  My aunt and I had a conversation last week about this.  She shared that in her parents' generation it was common to have fall stock-up sales and lots of "case" prices on canned goods for people to load up in preparation for winter.  We speculated that it was a holdover from our agricultural roots when food is harvested and stored to last throughout the year.  When storms that stranded people at home were more common and we weren't so spoiled with a visit to the grocery store every couple of days.  It was fun to speculate, but of course I don't really know why I keep spending so much.  I think I just like to be prepared! 

First up Fred Meyer to pick up eggs & bread.  My mama was coming to visit and she likes her breakfast.  I found some GF crackers and cookies on clearance to try.  I spent $27.95.

Next I went to Albertsons to pick up GM cereal that was on sale and included Chex - finally!  They were out of Rice, but I was happy with Corn & Apple Cinnamon.  I found shortening and a sugar-free apple pie on clearance.  I picked up bacon and Greek yogurt on sale.  I spent $27.33 altogether.

I popped into QFC for tortilla chips one day and found some dressing and sausage links on clearance.  I spent $6.66.

A different QFC yielded more clearance apples, another bottle of clearance dressing and clearance bacon.  I also bought a bunch of pepperoni, and spent $14.93.

The cord that connects my camera to my laptop disappeared about this point.  So while I have photos on my camera, you don't get to enjoy them on the blog.

DH and I had a big discussion about bulk buying chicken that resulting in my heading to Albertson's to ask about buying a case of boneless, skinless chicken breast.  They agreed so I spent over half of my grocery money on 40# of chicken at $1.79/lb.  I also picked up creamer, yogurt, nitrate free hot dogs for $1.49 each, 3 packages of chocolate chips in preparation for holiday baking and got a sweet deal on popcorn: Buy 1 3-pack of microwave popcorn, get a second and 2 - 2 liters of 7-up for free.  I spent $96.43!

I also spent $2 at Dollar Tree on imitation vanilla (I know, I know) and green tea bags.

I was at Fred Meyer later that day because I realized I had forgotten to pick up Pull-ups and coffee filters.  Gah!  And of course, another trip to the store means another $16.35 on groceries.

Finally, one more stop at Albertsons on my way to book club because I didn't allow enough time make an hors d'oevre and I ended up spending $11.17 on more chocolate chips and several items off the clearance bakery rack.  Seriously, how could I resist 4 croissants for $0.99?  Or 4 cinnamon rolls for that matter? 

Milk delivery was $12.87 and I finally hooked up with my friend for eggs (hooray!) and spent $10.00.  I also am reducing my spending by $7.00 because I made a math error last week.

Total spending week 44: $216.69
Total year-to-date Groceries: $3,977.22
Weekly Average 2014: $90.39

Katie



Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Canning Plums - Sweet Plum Sauce

Is there something special about plums that makes them more runny than other fruit?  For the second year in a row my attempt at plum jam has made plum sauce instead.  It's super yummy and folks loved it last year so I guess it will do this year, too.

First I put 1/3 of the plums in the crockpot with about a cup of water.  I counted them as I put them in so I would be sure to fish out all of the pits.  DD#3 is an awesome little kitchen helper so as I scooped out each plum, she did all the pit picking.  We dumped the next 1/3 of plums into the juice, let it cook about 6 hours and repeated the pitting.  One more round and we were done.

This is the plum pulp.  I always think it looks gross, but whatever.

It sat in my fridge for a week before I was ready to make the jam.  I measure out 6 cups and it looked like I could double the batch.  Sure enough, it was just over 12 cups.

My pot was pretty full as I warmed it up.  I added 2 boxes of pectin.  I didn't like the look of the few skin bits floating around so I got out the immersion blender.

The immersion blender is one of my favorite kitchen gadgets.  See how much more smooth it looks after blending up the bits? 

Uh-oh.  Time to add 8 cups of sugar.  Will it fit in my pot? 

Nope.  I had to get out my next-size-up pot.


Once it was all cooked and boiled hard for a minute I poured it into hot jars, and sealed with boiled lids and rings.  Finally, I ran them through the water bath with a 15 minute boil.  After every jar had sealed with a satisfying pop (best part of canning) I labeled them with the date and "sweet plum sauce" since it was definitely too runny for jam. 
It made a little over a gallon.

Katie

Monday, October 27, 2014

Monday Menu Plan

My mom is visiting this week - Hooray! 

Dinners:
Monday - Pizza
Tuesday - Italian sausage & veggie soup
Wednesday - Packed dinner (sausages, carrots, almonds)
Thursday - Skillet
Friday - Roasted beet & potato soup
Saturday - Beef stew
Sunday - Smoothies & Popcorn

Lunches:
Monday - out
Tuesday - scrambled eggs
Wednesday - nachos
Thursday - sandwiches
Friday - French toast
Saturday -Leftovers
Sunday - Tuna Melts

Katie