Thursday, May 24, 2012

Date at Goodwill

Is it a little funny that DH and I visited Goodwill on a recent date night?  Maybe.  But I scored some good stuff, so that's OK.  

$2.99 Light blue towel of good quality - one of the colors I've been searching for to put in the little ladies' bathroom.

$.89 Awesome book of Bible stories for the kids with great illustrations, big print, and a 3 or 4 pages for each story.

$.20 each for 5 Mason jars of varying sizes.  Can you say bargain?

$.99 Calm My Anxious Heart by Linda Dillow.  This has been on my list for buy for ages.

$.99 Your Girl - Biblical perspective on raising girls

$.99 Every Man's Battle - DH is familiar with the book but hasn't read it himself.

$2.99 Praying God's Word by Beth Moore.  Filled with prayers & references to specific verses on a variety of topics.  This one is hardback so it cost more. 

$.99 Corelle bowl - pattern doesn't match my plain white, but we are always running out of this size bowl. 


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Garden - Ready, Set, Grow!

Oh, the excitment of a garden!  I love, love watching the fruits of my labor come to life! 

I spent about $30 total on plants and seeds this year.  I got everything planted in the last couple of weeks.  It took several days because the girls wanted to help and I could only plant as long as my patience lasted! 

Here's a photo of the garden, all planted.  On the right are the plants that will be tallest fastest.  They're strategically placed to not shade other plants during premium sun hours.

 These little guys are cucumbers already sprouting.  Hooray!  They popped their little green heads up on day 7 and I was so excited to see them.  Slugs love my garden and I have major cucumber casualties every year so I planted a whole row this year in hopes some survive.

These are tiny snap peas that peeked out on day 8. The girls love these and we'll get at least two harvests this summer, possibly even three. I try to put these at an edge of the garden so the girls can pick and nibble whenever they're outside without actually stepping into the garden.

And finally, the green beans - off to a marvelous start.  Last year I blanched and froze most of our abundant bean harvest.  It was so easy to just pull out a bag of them from the freezer when I needed a veggie for dinner all through the winter and well into spring.  I hope we get a lot again this year.

I'll try to post photos of the garden again in a couple of weeks to show progress.  


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Fred Meyer shopping - Clearance Bonanza!

I have been getting some pretty sweet deals on clearance items at Fred Meyer lately.  Here's a recent shopping trip that totaled $45.72.  Notice all the orange & yellow stickers.  You can see some of the local stores' stickers in this previous post from my How I Grocery Shop series.

Diapers - $4.89 clearance ($2.00 MC) = $2.89
Organic Milk - $2.79 clearance
Coffeemate - $2.69 sale price ($.55 MC) = $2.14 each
Nature's Path Organic Corn Flakes - $1.29 clearance (I went back the next day and bought the rest of the boxes still in the clearance bin)
Quakes - $.99 sale price
Cottage Cheese & Sour Cream - 3/$5 sale price
Organic Flax Bread - $1.69 clearance price
English Muffins - $.99 clearance price
Regular whole wheat bread - $.99 clearance price
Goldfish - $.99 sale price
Romaine - $1.00 sale price
Organic Cucumbers - $1.00 each sale price
Peanut Butter - $1.99 each sale price
Duncan Hines Borwnie Mix - $.49 clearance price
Salad dressing - $1.69 clearance price ($1/1 MC) = $.69
Coffee - $3.79 clearance price for dented can
Coffee - $3.79 clearance price for dented can of a different variety
Detergent - $1.29

I also used a store coupon for $2/$2 purchase of produce.


Monday, May 21, 2012

Monday Menu Plan

Oh the Menu Plan!  I'm so busy I don't want to take the time this morning, but I know the whole week will be better because of it.  I still want to use things from the freezer so I can be sure I'm using up old stuff. 

M - Pancakes & Bacon
T - Easy Turkey Pot Pie (using turkey from the freezer)
W - Creamy Chicken Freezer Meal
D - Macaronada
F - Freezer Meal
S - Company for Dinner - Sour Cream Chicken over Rice
S - Beef Stroganoff  (using round steak from fridge)

M - Baked Pasta
T - Chicken Nuggets
W - Nachos
D - Grilled Cheese
F - Waffles
S - Service Project Potluck - Bringing Fruit
S - Picnic Sandwiches

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Storing the Winter Bedding

One of my tasks this week was to put away our winter bedding.  I don't keep many extra linens but I do have flannel sheets for winter that need to be stored during the summer.  To save shelf space I store bedding between the mattress & boxspring of our bed.

Here is our afghan and wool blanket,

Our flannel sheets,

And three afghan from the girls' beds.  I put all this on just the one bed so come fall, I only have to dissemble one bed to get everyone's heavy blanket out. 

At that time (fall) and now (spring) I also wash our dust ruffle.  Here it is spread over all the winter bedding.

And finally, the bed put together a couple of inches taller and no more flannel sheets hanging out in the corner of my bedroom.  Hooray!  That's DD #4.


Saturday, May 19, 2012

Free Wine at Fred Meyer!

Fred Meyer is having their annual, amazing Founder's Day Sale and it ends today.  I shopped last night and got wine for almost free so had to share.

Their Beringer wines all on sale.  750 ML bottles, standard size are $5.99 each and the big bottles are $8.99.  I needed some white wine for a recipe and couldn't believe the deal when I saw the Mail-In Rebate attached to some of the bottles. 

Buy 6 bottles and get $35 back, buy 12 bottles and get $50 back.  The purchase of 6 had to total $35.05 or more to qualify and Fred Meyer gives a 10% discount on purchase of 6 bottles so I had to do some math.

I bought 5 bottles of the standard size for $5.99 each and one bottle of the 1.5 liter for $8.99.  The total price was $38.95.  Fred Meyer then discounted $3.90 for the 10% off leaving my total purchase price at $35.05, the minimum needed to get $35 back.

So I'm getting the wine for FREE, plus the price of a postage stamp when I mail the rebate.  I will do that immediately so I don't forget and I don't lose the receipt!


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Freezer Defrosted!

I did it!  Last night I managed to empty the garage freezer and unplug it.  Hooray!  Here's a photo of the kitchen freezer.  It's full, but not packed.  I can hardly believe it.

 Here's a photo fo the empty outside freezer.  Those ice packs also got defrosted and are now in the ice hopper of the inside freezer.
I did leave a few things in the refridgerator for use this week. 

Here's the menu for the rest of the week:
Wednesday - Baked potato soup - used milk & bacon from freezer
Thursday - Ribs from freezer
Friday - Dinner wtih Bible study - contributing salsa, sour cream, & cheese
Saturday - Tamale Pie - will be from freezer
Sunday - Chicken la Viva! - casserole with tortillas, chicken, cheese all from freezer.


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Freezer Day!

Oh, It's been a busy, busy week!  I was out of town 2 days and spent 4 days getting the garden in.  Then it was a busy weekend and here I am on May 15th, the day I'm supposed to have the outside freezer unplugged.  Hm.  Here's what the outside freezer looks like:  

A loaf of bread
2 pounds of butter
8 pounds of ground meat
2 boxes of ice cream
1 box of ice cream bars
2 cups shreded zucchini, the last of last summer's produce
2 pounds of sausage
1 package of organic chicken pieces
10 containers of poultry broth
A whole chicken
4 pounds of shredded cheese
18 cups of blueberries
1 bag frozen french fries
1 can frozen juice

I condensed and emptied one whole shelf of the inside freezer.  This is what it looks like:

Frankly, I don't think I can make it happen.  I'll give it a try tonight and I'll pull out whatever I can for meals for the rest of the week.  I don't think it'll be enough. 

Check back tomorrow - I'll plan to post either early in the morning or in the evening.


Monday, May 7, 2012

Monday Menu Plan - Freezer Focus

I gave myself one more week to get the freezer emptied and I just might make it!  There still is an awful lot of chicken/turkey stock but if I use enough other stuff I think there will be room.

Last week we had a few menu change-ups so I'm rolling some meals into this week.

Monday - Stir Fry with freezer chicken, broccoli, snap peas
Tuesday - Crock Pot Pork Loin with freezer pork loan, cranberries
Wednesday - Leftovers for DH
Thursday - Leftovers for DH
Friday -  Ravioli (freezer) & red sauce
Saturday - Lasagna (freezer meal)
Sunday - At a wedding, hot dogs & tater tots for kids at home

Monday - Pizza
Tuesday - Chicken Nuggets (freezer)
Wednesday - At Aunt Renee's House
Thursday - At Aunt Renee's House
Friday - Finger food lunch with tater tots (freezer)
Saturday - Grilled Cheese
Sunday - pb & honey

I also have another freezer meal swap coming up.  I hope to use two containers of picked chicken and cook up a third chicken to make several pans of Chicken La Viva!  It calls for creamy, canned soup that the swap prefers NOT to use (we try to be healthier), so I think I'll make a white sauce instead using some of the chicken stock from the freezer.  I'll also use up a package of small tortillas and jack cheese I've saved for the occasion.  Yay!


Saturday, May 5, 2012

May Update

I know it hasn't been long since my April update, but I wanted to report on a couple things.

First, I've been using my clothesline for about four weeks and we've had such overcast, rainy weather for the last week or so all our laundry baskets are overflowing!  It totally irked me to have to use the dryer for two loads this week when I hadn't used it at all the previous three weeks!  I'm really looking forward to the sun that's supposed to be coming this week.  I bet I have a dozen loads of laundry piled up.  Crazy! 

Next, we were able to save the first chunk of our emergency fund in April.  It wasn't a lot, but we set aside 1.2% of our goal.  At this rate our emergency fund will only take us 7 years!  Ugh!  Hopefully we'll do better in future months! 

Goals for May:
Save for Emergency Fund!
Price mountains of garage sale stuff - at least 5 boxes per week.
Unplug freezer. 
Use Dryer only 5 times total (I've already used 2!)
Get the vegetable garden in (immediately!)


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

First Pass at Freezer

I did make a first pass at the freezer last week.  First we emptied everything out.  Here's what our table looked like.

First thing, I stacked all the pie crusts on the top shelf in the back.  I rarely use these and they filled that space behind the icemaker nicely.  This is usually my "bread shelf" anyway so they're in an appropriate spot.  Also on this shelf are tortillas, sliced baguette, bread crumbs, and live flour.

On the next shelf I stacked up freezer meals of conforming size on the right and surrounding them are plastic containers of shredded/picked meat, broth, beans, tomatoes, etc.  The plastic boxes stack well and fit perfectly next to the dinners so they have a home.

I buy yogurt tubes when I find them on clearance and just pop them in to the freezer.  To save space we opened 5 boxes of tubes and fit them all in this one shelf in the freezer door.  That excess packaging took up a lot of extra space!

The bottom drawer I packed with meat and the remaining shelves I just tossed the rest of the bits and pieces in.  When I REALLY pack the freezer (hopefully by May 15) I'll pack these shelves better.

This is a photo of the freezer before and to all of this I added 4 freezer meals from the swap this week AND 16 pounds of chicken (mostly in the bottom shelves of the door).