Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015 Groceries Week 52 - $435.54! Annual wrap-up

I ended the year with a big bang and a huge grocery bill.  The first few days were normal, but then I had 3 (count 'em 1-2-3) big, unplanned trips.  Read on to see what happened.

First up was a quick stop Monday for ingredients I needed for an allergen free salad: Spinach, red onion, pears, pomegranate.  I picked up GF corndogs for DD#2, pickles because my kids have a renewed love affair with them, a clearance roast and 2 bottles of sparkling cider for an alcohol alternative at the party we were attending that night.  I spent $21.76.

Also on Monday I went to Costco for a gift I had to take to the party that night and to pick up photos.  I ended up doing a bit of grocery shopping, too.  I spent $80.51 on the stuff in the photo: lettuce, organic spinach, feta, coconut curry and vindaloo, organic chicken, organic chips, organic canned tomatoes, butter, and tortillas.

Tuesday I stopped at County Market because I had a $4.00 off $4.00 purchase coupon that expired that day.  I'm also near County Market on Tuesdays so it worked out.  I bought juice, baby puffs and chicken for $6.16 after the coupon.

And I was back at Costco Tuesday for the photos that weren't ready on Monday.  I also bought organic salsa, organic maple syrup, gluten free frozen pizza and bell peppers.  No photo, $37.66.

I was already done shopping for our normal week's worth of groceries, but knew I needed fruit for a party the weekend after Christmas.  One more trip for the fruit tray & oranges, but of course I found a bunch of other stuff on clearance.  Organic apples on clearance 3/$1.00, nitrate free chicken sausage for $2.49, organic celery, ranch, olives, broccoli, and bell peppers for a veggie tray, Star Wars coffeemate for $1.99 each, sour cream, and a bunch of clearance canned goods.  I spent a big $48.97.

Now I REALLY should have been done shopping.  In fact I was patting myself on the back for not 'stocking up' prior to the pantry challenge I do every January.  But then my aunt asked me to run to Costco with her.  No problem.  I didn't go crazy, but bought GF pizza so DD#2 could have pizza with the rest of us for dinner, more organic canned tomatoes and some crackers & fruit snacks for a January trip to Disneyland.  No photo, those were $37.16.

Now this is a little embarrassing, but I went to happy hour with a girlfriend and I'm a little weird in that I don't like to order the same thing as someone else.  She ordered nachos, which are what I really wanted, and I opted for the quesadilla.  And I spent the whole meal coveting her nachos!  So on the way home I stopped at the grocery store for chips since I felt unsatisfied.  And I hit the GF JACKPOT!  Seriously I couldn't say no to all these ridiculous clearance deals.  GF Special K for $1.39 (qty.3), Bob's Red Mill GF pie crust mix for $1.00 each (qty. 3), organic lollipops-40 & fruit snacks-10 for $2.99 per package (qty 2 suckers & 4 fruit snacks), Annie's GF bunny cookie snacks for $1.00 (qty.12), allergen free chocolate chips for $0.99 with $1.49 off peelies so I got these for FREE plus $0.50 given back to me per bag (qty. 10), organic brown sugar for $1.99 (qty. 2), and Glutino Brownie mix for $1.49 (qty. 6)!  Crazy deals! I picked up a bunch of other groceries on clearance, too including a quick bread mix for $0.99, granola packets for $1.99, 'Simple Truth' turkey lunch meat for $2.50 each (qty. 6) for a detox I'm doing in January, hummus & pico de gallo, and pomegranates for $.50 each!  Oh, and those Doritos I went in to the store for in the first place!  I spent a whopping $92.83 on all this.  And now I'm SO set for a roadtrip to Disneyland.

Now I should have just not entered a store again, but one kiddo needed pull-ups and you can't really delay buying those.  I am SO GLAD I went to the store because I scored 25 pounds of organic ground beef for $3.99/lb!  Seriously, this is such a good price for organic ground beef and it's already conveniently packages into 1# portions. =)  I also bought more of that Star Wars creamer, nitrate free sausages for $1.99/14 oz package, 6# organic potatoes and some organic green onions for the potato soup one of the kids had been begging for.  It was my first time buying organic russet potatoes.  I spent $110.49.
So, as it turns out I'm REALLY stocked up now for the pantry challenge, but that's OK. I already see things we'll run out of fast and I (and the kids) will miss.

This last week of 2015 I spent $435.54
That means my annual total is $6,045.65 - Wow, $6,000 on food for the year.  It really adds up.
My weeky average was $116.26 which is actually pretty great for as much organic and gluten-free foods we eat.

However, it's so much higher than my 2014 and 2015 averages which were just under and just over $100/week.  I wonder how much a difference it made having no garden in 2015?  How much did the cost of basic groceries go up and impact the rest?

My goal for January is to spend as little as possible on groceries to have a big impact on the weekly average all year.  Look for a menu plan on Monday.


Monday, December 21, 2015

2015 Groceries Week 51 - $116.35

This week DH asked me to buy some 'easy' food so he could feed the kids.  I had used up our stockpile trying to get back into the swing of 5 kids!  So off to Fred Meyer for corndogs, bread for sandwiches and pudding cups.  I also bought a ham, a bunch of crackers on sale, cream, hot dog & hamburger buns, cucumbers, zucchini, bacon, creamcheese, frozen veggies, coconut, angel food cake on clearance, and sour cream.  I spent a whopping $83.48 on food and that was AFTER my $7+ rebate from the last Rewards cycle.

I was at QFC later in the week for whipping cream and horseradish I needed for a couple recipes and picked up chips that were on sale. I found a lot of clearance, too, including fruit roll-ups, organic ground turkey, oranges, a pomegranate, organic diced tomatoes, limeade, power bars, and coconut almond butter.  I spent $32.87 on food this trip.

Week 51 Total: $116.35
Year-to-date Total: $5,610.11
Weekly Average: $110.00


2015 Groceries Week 50 - $92.82

Somehow I missed the weekly grocery post last week so tonight I'll make two posts if I don't fall asleep first.

Ha! I fell asleep before I typed anything else.

This was a trip to Safeway to use my last $15 off $25 purchase.  I found the yogurt all on clearance, needed some onion & potatoes, and the meat sticks are for holiday party cheese plates.  This purchase ended up $13.90.

I popped into County Market for hot dog buns and scored on $0.25/jar organic baby food!  I made sure the dates were well in advance before I bought to so many.  I also found nitrate free sausages on clearance for $1.99 each package and bought every pack on the shelf.  All of this worked out to $31.95 and a $4.00 catalina printed for the baby food.  Yay!

This was a QFC trip for butter and eggs.  I paid $3.99 for a pound of butter and was irritated at myself for not buying ahead far enough.  Good thing I found some other good deals!  Organic milk was $2.99 on clearance, chips were $2.00 each, 1# bags of shredded cheese were $2.49 each, the sugar was $0.99 and I found a few other things that have been hanging out on my list for while like chocolate chips, rice vinegar, and  was.  I also found a ton of canning lids for just $0.89/box and I bought them all but I don't count that in grocery expense.  I spent $46.97 on groceries.
Week 50 Total: $92.82
Year to Date 2015: $5,493.76
Weekly Average: $109.88


Monday, December 7, 2015

2015 Groceries Week 49 - $114.20

Tuesday I dropped into Fred Meyer and pick up 2 boxes of Ritz crackers, a creamer, and some clearance donuts for $9.01.  No photo.

Yesterday I had a big list for QFC.  I bought 5 boxes of cereal, 2 gallons of organic milk, 2 creamers, 4 pounds of shredded cheese, 3 pounds of brick cheese, 8 pounds of sugar, 2 bags of Doritos, and 7 chocolate peppermint protein bars.  I spent $45.45 on groceries.

Then I went to Safeway to use a $15 off a $25 coupon and hit the clearance jackpot.  I bought imitation vanilla for $1.29, Pasta that worked out to $0.39 each after coupon, and a big pork roast for $1.69/lb.  I found frozen dinners on clearance for $0.49 each, bacon for $2.74 each, round steak for just about $3.00/lb, nitrate-free beef franks for $3.49 in the 1 pound package, and a 24 oz package of marinated chicken thighs for $2.99.  I spent $36.64 on groceries.

Finally I went to QFC again tonight.  I spent $23.20 on 4 boxes of cereal, 2 creamers, 2 bags of chips, 5 oranges, 3 apples, 4 Greek yogurt cups, a $0.69 double pack of baby food and a clearance package of naan (a mama treat).

Week 49 Total: $114.20
Year-to-Date Groceries: $5,400.94
Weekly Average: $110.22

$114 is pretty good for a 'stocking-up' week.  I got lots of cheese, meat for the freezer, 9 boxes of cereal, and all those frozen dinners for DH.  A good week overall!


Sunday, November 29, 2015

2015 Groceries Week 48 - $127.30

I flew back home Tuesday and immediately went to the store for milk, fruit and the tortilla chips DH requested.  I found some clearance breakfast sausage and organic rolls, too.  I spent $19.03

48.57 qfc friday
79.39 qfc wednesday

I went back to the store Wednesday morning for Thanksgiving food.  DH and I had discussed skipping the big meal prep this year and just going out, but my kids were eager for the traditional meal.  I was OK with that, but DH said only if I could do it "lite" with less work than usual.  So I bought a small bird (not pictured), bought pies, bought whipped cream, used the rolls I bought the night before, and made instant mashed potatoes.  I couldn't bring myself to use fake gravy so I made the real stuff.  I also made small dishes of stuffing (from a box) and green bean casserole.  This shopping trip also included eggs, crackers, cream cheese, celery, sour cream, ice cream, a ham, and clearance cereal, cottage cheese, canned tomatoes, gf cookies, yogurt, and angel food cake.  Also on clearance was a different produce bag than usual.  For $1.00, one bag had a pomegranate and 2 apples.  For another $1.00, a bag had a bell pepper, 2 lemons, a lime and a tomato.  I loved the mixed bag instead of the all-one-variety like usual.  I spent  $79.39 on this big trip and kicked myself for forgetting a gift card we were given.  Oh well, it will help in December.

Finally I went to the store on Friday at the request of my sweet M-I-L who is visiting.  She asked for sliced bread and we were low on milk.  I found a clearance pizza and croissants and remembered I needed diapers as I was headed for the checkstand.  So I went to grab them and realized they pushed me over the $30 needed for a $0.69/lb turkey.  So I grabbed a big turkey and ended up spending $28.88 on food including that big turkey!

Week 48 Total: $127.30
2015 Year-to-Date: $$5,286.74
Weekly Average: $110.14


2015 Groceries Week 47 - $56.22

Week 47 was a really light week.  I was busy at home trying to get back into a school routine, and getting ready for me and baby to make a quick plane trip to Colorado.  It helped tremendously that a girlfriend came for a visit and brought food for us.  Seriously, 2 Costco pizzas, frozen GF pizza, Costco Caesar salad, mini cinnamon rolls and I think something else I can't remember right this second.  Anyway, we were reasonably well-stocked.  I had planned to go the grocery store Friday night before I left town Saturday, but DH took 3 of the girls out and got home after 10:30pm!  Too late for me to hit the grocery store, so I didn't leave DH as prepared as usual.

My one shopping trip was on Monday to QFC.  I realized that I could get a turkey for $0.69/lb if I spent $30 otherwise, so I picked up enough to meet that amount.  Altogether I spent $46.54 including the 22 lb turkey.

I flew to Colorado on Saturday and picked up some food for myself at Target there.  I spent $9.68.

Week 47 Total:$56.22
2015 Year-to-Date: $5,159.44
Weekly Average: $109.78

2015 Groceries Week 46 - $94.35

This week was light shopping. DH was out of town for 5 days so I didn't venture out much.  I would have had to shop with the kiddos which is challenging at best.

I went to Target for a pacifier clip Monday and picked up a pizza, some clearance snacks & olive oil, and some junk food.  I spent $10.46.

I did take the kids to Costco Friday.  We bought organic carrots, veggie straws, cheese, a pizza, butter, tortillas, organic meatballs, and a package of coconut curry.

I am picking up this post now, 2 weeks later . . . I'm so behind in posting that I managed to the lose the receipt for this shopping trip.  I can see the total receipt amount on my online banking, but it doesn't tell me food v. non-food.  My best calculation is $75.21 on food.

I had one more dash into QFC where I picked up a gallon of milk and something else (again, receipt lost) for $8.68.

Week 46 Total: $94.35
2015 Year-to-date: $5,103.22
Weekly Average: $110.94

Sunday, November 8, 2015

2015 Groceries Week 45 - $99.17

It was a light shopping week.  I'm so thankful for the many meals provided by our friends these last weeks.  Between the meals and the leftovers I've had to cook very little.

I went to Costco Wednesday and spent $71.73.  I went ahead and bought some bulk items I'd been putting off like pine nuts that were over $20 (!), organic quinoa, and pecans.  I also got suckered into buying some allergen free cookies.  They are yummy but way too expensive.  Let's hope my GF kiddo finds them amazing.

We had planned to attend an American Heritage Girls overnight event on Friday so I picked up my potluck contributions of sour cream, guacamole, and salsa Friday afternoon.  The salsa and guac weren't on sale so I spent much more than I normally would.  I also found some organic refried beans on clearance as well as some Clif bars.  I spent $21.85.

I also had a run into the store during the week for a gallon of milk.  $5.59 at QFC.

Week 45 Total: $99.17
Year-to-Date Total: $5,008.87
Weekly Average: $111.31


Thursday, November 5, 2015

2015 Groceries Week 44 - $92.92

Week 44 was all about Fred Meyer.  We are still being blessed with meals from friends so grocery shopping isn't as urgent and it's been fun to hunt bargains.  Fred Meyer fit the bill this week.

Monday I shopped late at night and found cereal on sale.  When I matched it with coupons each box fell below my price point of $1.67.  Normally we'd be eating oatmeal by now, but with the new baby cereal is easier for the time being.  Crackers were on sale, I had a coupon for cookies, and I bought white bread & cucumbers to make cucumber sandwiches for a tea party.  The GF hot dog buns were on clearance for $2.49 so I picked them up.  I really hate paying $0.62 for a single GF bun, but the full price is twice that.  And we don't have hot dogs very often at all.  Anyway, I spent $24.17 on food.

I went to Fred Meyer again on Friday to get more cereal.  I didn't take a photo, but I spent $29.77 on 3 more boxes of cereal, a gallon of organic milk, a dozen organic eggs, guacamole, 2 packages of clearance nitrate-free hot dogs, a gallon of almond milk, and frozen corndogs.

One more run on Saturday for still more cereal - 7 boxes, 3 boxes of crackers, 3 boxes of granola bars, and 4 packages of Hebrew National hot dogs.  I spent $38.98.

Week 44 Total: $92.92
Year-to-date Total: $4,909.70
Weekly Average: $111.58

This is much higher than the prior years' averages at this point. 2014 was $90.39 at 44 weeks and 2013 was $101.63.


Tuesday, October 27, 2015

2015 Groceries Week 43 - $156.47

I've barely shopped since the baby was born, but this weekend I sure went all out!  We've also been having dinners delivered (Praise the Lord!) so most of what I purchased is for the freezer, pantry, or breakfasts.

I went to Fred Meyer on Friday intending to buy milk, fruit, and whatever else I found on clearance.  Major scores with organic formula at just $5.29, sirloin steak for $3.29/lb, lots of apples and bananas on clearance, and a big can of coffee.  I also picked up bell peppers, sour cream, & cottage cheese which were also on sale and some chocolate rice cake things (not pictured) since my kids were starving.  I also bought a clearance box of chicken that was a couple bucks and said it was from a rotisserie chicken.  But it tasted funny just one day later.  I won't be buying that again.  I spent $63.16.

On Saturday I took a kiddo on a bunch of errands and we stopped at QFC because I've found amazing deals on Saturdays before.  I found major clearance deals: organic milk for $1.99 that I put in the freezer for cooking, more of the organic baby formula ($7.39 each, still a bargain), ground turkey for $2.50 (20 oz.), nitrate free sausage for $2.00/lb, hummus for $2.99, organic baby food jars for $0.49 each, Torani syrup for $2.79, and 5 bags of clearance produce for $1.00 each.  I also bought grapes, pomegranates, and creamer all on sale.  I spent a whopping $74.87!

We went to another QFC just a few blocks away since the deals had been so great at our regular store.  I found a bunch of stuff and everything I purchase was on clearance: Large cans of coffee for $2.49 each, K-cups for $2.99, breakfast sausage links for $0.99/pkg and I had a coupon for one of them making it FREE, chorizo for $0.99/lb, hummus $2.09, 4 apple for $1.00, 5 tomatoes for $1.00, Greek yogurt for $0.49/each and instant biscuits for $0.49.  I spent $18.44 total.

Week 43 Total - $156.47
Total Year to Date 2015 - $4,816.78
Weekly Average: $112.02


Sunday, October 18, 2015

2015 Groceries Week 42 - $54.24

I had shopping trip on Monday for a couple of necessities.  I got organic milk, regular almond milk (for detox starting tomorrow), grapes, oranges, and Tillamook cheese for $2.50/lb.  I also found fresh mozzarella for $2.49.  Yum!  I spent $36.26 on groceries.

I dropped into The Dollar Tree for posterboard and stocked up on pepperoni while I was there for $8.00.

I went once more to Fred Meyer to get the cheese.  I spent $9.98 on white cheddar and yellow cheddar.

Week 42 Total: $54.24
Year-to-date Total: $4,660.31
Weekly Average:  $110.96

Saturday, October 17, 2015

2015 Groceries Week 41 - $100.00

I went into the hospital on the first day of week 41 and came home on the last day.  I didn't go to the store even once.  My mom and aunt, however, made some shopping trips so I gave my mom $100 to cover what I would "normally" spend.

Week 41 Total: $100.00
Year-to-Date Total: $4,606.07
Weekly Average: $112.34


Thankful Thursday - on Saturday

I missed my Thankful Thursday post this week.  As I sit here in the dark of a hospital room, I hear machines beep and whir.  I hear my husband breathing and I look over at the small shape of my son in a hospital baby bed.  I have so much to be thankful for and I want to be sure to record it.  God is faithful.  We sit in the shelter of His hands, a fact which I am acutely aware of it after the events of this week.

I am thankful for:
  • a 10th birthday slumber party that was planned for the weekend before DD#1's birthday instead of after
  • for fun memories created at the slumber party
  • the health of cousin Breanna's baby.  We have been praying as a family and it's lovely to watch the girls experience answered prayer.
  • the gift a friend lending a chocolate fountain to the VIP slumber party and how fancy all the girls felt eating special hors d'oevres.
  • Dollar Tree's party selecion incuding plastic champagne glasses
  • a supportive church family filled with people who love my kids and are prepared for the bumps ahead with a new addition
  • DH taking the girls out for 8 hours after church!  I got a lot done at  home.
  • a hospital just a few miles from our house
  • being home, in bed when Little Brother made it obvious he was coming
  • DH being home (not travelling) when we had an emergency
And now another week has passed.  As the details of Asher's birth have been sinking in I realize how blessed we truly are.  I am thankful for life - my own and Asher's,  
  • a mom and aunt who came without hesitation even though it meant an all-night drive
  • a friend who came immediately even though she was sick
  • being surrounded by believers in triage and in the operating room
  • amazing nurses, many of whom were also Christians
  • that Asher was moved to a private room the day I was discharged allowing DH and I to move into his room and sleep over ie. not having to go home and leave Asher in NICU.
  • excellent medical insurance
  • friends who have brought meals
  • friends who came and canned pears that were overripe before Asher was born
  • that my mom has stayed and done so many projects
  • that my dad came and worked on some home repairs and that he'll be back next week
  • DH's ability to take sick leave to stay at the hospital with us
  • DH's willingness to take the kids to their homeschool commitments
  • Asher is putting on weight like a boss
  • And on another note, our rental property closed this week relieving us of a great burden
Love, Katie

Sunday, October 4, 2015

2015 Groceries Week 40 - $59.44

It was a busy week with not a lot of grocery shopping.

I stopped at QFC for a fast run-through on Wednesday night with DD#1.  We found a clearance angel food cake and GF mini cupcakes.  I spent $5.48.

Thursday I finally made it to Fred Meyer for a bigger shopping trip.  I got milk, cereal, tomatoes, bbq sauce, and sliced cheese - all on sale.  I got clearance zucchini 3/$1 and clearance GF pasta for $1.49 each box.  I also decided to try Z-bars for the kids.  I just went to a focus group and learned about them.  They were $0.69 each, but for GF, non-GMO I want to give them a shot. I also got a $6.00 pizza, not pictured.  I spent $48.21

 I dropped in at QFC again today and found clearance organic cottage cheese for $1.00 each and some greek yogurt for just $0.25 each.  I spent $5.75.

Total Week 40 spending: $59.44
Total Year-to-Date: $4,506.07
Weekly Average: $112.65


Thursday, October 1, 2015

Thankful Thursday

I had some good time reflecting on our vacation and felt convicted to write more thankfulness posts.  Sometimes I get too caught up in the bustle and my lack of progress discourages me.  I thought an intentional effort here on the blog would be effective and  thought Thursdays would be a good, alliterative day.  I am finally managing on my third Thursday back in town.

Here we go.  I'm thankful for:

  • my husband's job and the flexibility he is allowed
  • my husband's job, his salary, and bonus each year
  • my husband's willingness to pick up the kids every Monday noon at one of our homeschool programs and work from home that day.
  • faithful friends who speak truth
  • my kiddo's occupational therapist and her sharing a cursive writing curriculum with us
  • resources for private speech therapy to supplement the public speech therapy we get for a kiddo's severe speech delay
  • hand-me-downs for my daughters
  • hand-me-downs for my son
  • friends who wanted to give me a baby shower
  • friends who still wanted to come to a baby shower for a 5th kid!
  • 2 planned Grandparent visits coming up
  • a fancy dress-up date night this weekend
  • a great piano teacher who is willing to work with my Sensory kiddo
  • friends who share plums, apples, and grapes with me - for free (!) 
  • progress on the nursery
  • school days/routine getting better
  • an American Heritage Girls troop nearby - Hooray! - with a group of girls and women who seem really down to earth and nice.
  • Big News today that DH gets 12 paid weeks off with the new baby instead of the anticipated 4 weeks!  
I know there are more, but this is all I can recall today.  So thankful for God's provision and how He blesses our family!

Love, Katie

Monday, September 28, 2015

GF Menu Plan

It's going to be a crazy busy week!  I have DD#1s birthday on Friday night, still need to can 50# pears and make plum sauce, too.  All 4 kids have dentist appointments, I have my 36 week appointment, a haircut, and a focus group.  This all on to of our normal school and therapy commitments.  Eek!

My 5 year old daughter is my kitchen cooking helper this week so she wasn't much help with the menu. Mostly she just wants pizza and mac'n'cheese.  Lol.

Monday - pbj, fruit (hot dog for DD#2)
Tuesday - mac'n'cheese
Wednesday - nachos
Thursday - sandwiches
Friday - Waffles
Saturday - skillet
Sunday - leftovers

Monday - Pancakes & sausage
Tuesday - Butternut Squash soup
Wednesday - Pulled Pork
Thursday - Beef Stew
Friday - Pizza
Saturday - mac'n'cheese
Sunday - smoothies & popcorn


2015 Groceries Week 39 - $151.55

Not too bad this week.

I went to QFC for a couple things and ended up spending $16.11.  No photo this time, but it was creamer, candy, bananas, cucumbers, Doritos, 10# bag of potatoes, & a dozen clearance donuts.

I went to Fred Meyer mid-week looking at area rugs.  I ended up picking up a sweet potato and 2 cans I found in the clearance bin - kidney beans and green chilies.  I spent $2.70.

Fred Meyer again for lots of creamer, replenishing the milk and picking up some other stuff I found reasonable prices on.  I spent $70.80.

One MORE run to Costco for stuff I wanted to our Bible study.  I bought chips, cheese, string cheese, organic sugar, organic GF flour, and organic olive oil.  I spent $61.94.

Total Spending Week 39: $151.55
Total 2015 year-to-date: $4,446.63
Weekly Average: $114.02


Saturday, September 26, 2015

Cleaning the Refrigerator

Years ago I had a cleaning schedule with tasks assigned by frequency.  There were daily, weekly, every-other-weekly, monthly, et c. tasks.  It was so nice and organized!  But as the kids increased the ability to keep up with that schedule diminished and my poor house has suffered!

Our fridge has been one of the casualties.  I used to clean it every couple of months but now I just manage to clean it when we have been out of town and come home to a nearly empty fridge.  It takes so much less time to clean when it's already mostly emptied of food.

This round I even cleaned over a course of several days.  I did one shelf the first night home, the next shelf and a drawer the next day, then another drawer, then the last shelf etc.  It was slow, but it was effective.  Hooray!

This nasty pool of something had been sitting in the bottom of the fridge for months and I was so happy to finally not have to look at it every time I got something out of the bottom drawer.  Eww.

Now the shelves and drawers are all clean in the fridge, but I didn't make it to the freezer.  I still call this one a victory since it had been waiting so long.


Friday, September 25, 2015

Canning Applesauce

Oh Goodness, I don't even have time write this blog post and here I am.

I was supposed to get my bigs up about 20 minutes ago, but just wanted to throw a little something onto my poor, neglected blog.

We got home from our Disneyland trip 11 days ago and I have been ridiculously busy.  I have canned something like 160 or 170 pounds of apples, frozen 20ish pounds of concord grapes, scrubbed my fridge (hooray!), rearranged my living room, went to our first American Heritage Girls meeting, and had two full weeks of homeschool curriculum including 14 weekly classes at co-op and our Classical Conversations program.  I am beat!  Like, seriously exhausted.  And I have a 10-year-old slumber party to plan for next weekend, 50 pounds of pears still sitting in my kitchen, a brown grocery bag of plums to process, and a nursery that is still a huge mess.  REALLY trying to focus on progress instead of what isn't done yet.

Here's our first batch of apples: The 44ish pounds I bought before our 2 week jaunt out of town and a few Honeycrisp I found on clearance as soon as we got home.
The Saturday morning we were making applesauce with these, a good friend dropped off another 30ish pounds so we just kept going.

 Finished, all the apples made 36 quarts.

And these 88 pounds were still waiting . . .

I had thought to do them on Sunday, but I was so swollen on Sunday from the marathon Saturday I just couldn't make myself do it again.

Instead we did about 30 pounds on Monday.  My older girls finished up a couple of pots before bed while I dashed off to accountability.  This is what I found when I got home: "Dear Mom, It over flode. We clend it up."  How's that for sweetness?  They did a good job cleaning up, too.  I only found a big blob under the mixer, but they got the rest.

We did a little bit more on Tuesday and Wednesday. Then we started boiling jars.  These 88 pounds of organic galas made another 35 quarts.  I didn't imagine we'd split the apples so evenly, but the volume came out almost exactly in half.  Weird.

I had a few interesting things happen with the second round.  I broke a jar (bottom cracked and fell out) which usually happens at least once a year.  I had two seals buckle upward - see photo - and that was new for me.  Any thoughts?  And I had some jars that leaked out sauce while they boiled, but eventually sealed.  Did I just not tighten down enough?  I don't know.

I wish I could write more, but I have to get kiddos up or I'll pay for it the rest of the day.  Maybe I'll be able to post about the grapes & fridge another day.  We'll see.  

Love, Katie

Sunday, September 20, 2015

2015 Groceries Week 38 - $330.05

Yikes!  I spent a huge amount this week!

Monday afternoon my friend brought over the no spray Packham Triumph pears she'd pick up for me while I was out of town.  It was $60 for 50#.

Monday night I went to Fred Meyer for some essentials.  I ended up finding some clearance honeycrisp apples and fresh mozzarella - yay!  Otherwise, just normal stuff at my normal prices.  I spent $34.16.

Tuesday afternoon I stopped by a girlfriend's house to pick some of her Concord grapes.  They were abundant and smelled amazing!  I brought home over 20 pounds.

Thursday I picked up 20 boxes of organically grown apples for myself and 7 friends.  My own portion was 88 pounds of gala for $66.00.

Thursday afternoon I took the girls to Costco for more e basics.  Tortilla chips, organic mac'n'cheese, eggs, organic brown rice, GF pizza, a regular pizza (for dinner), tortillas, string cheese, feta cheese, mozzarella cheese were all on the list.  There was a discipline issue so we had to leave before I picked up carrots, cucumbers, and fruit.  I spent $93.96.

Saturday afternoon I made it to County Market in time to use my $10/$50 coupon.  My total was $50.12 before my coupon making everything just about exactly 20% off.  Organic milk was $4.80/gallon, Yogurt worked out to $0.32/cup. 1# lunchmeat was $1.60, pork loin was $1.59/lb, pudding was $0.80, 5# onions were $2.39.  Everything totalled $40.12.

Finally I spent $35.81 last night at Fred Meyer.  I had wanted to get back all week for some sale stuff and then I couldn't lay hands on my grocery ad!  I got creamer, cheese, the carrots I missed at Costco, some GF ice cream cones, and a clearance deli chicken (for butternut squash soup).  DH was with me and because cereal was on sale he picked out a couple treats for himself for just $1.00 each.

Total Week 38: $330.05
Year-to-Date Total: $4,295.08
Weekly Average: $113.03

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

No Time to Nest!

It's only 5 weeks until this little guy arrives and I am starting to freak out a little. I feel like my house is really unprepared and I don't have time to do any of the projects I planned.

So I prayed this morning and I'm just going to keep praying.  I'm wanting to hold my plans with an open hand and just be thankful for what I can accomplish.

I currently have 50 pounds of apples in my fridge, 40 pounds of organic pears at my dining room table, and several plastic grocery sacks of concord grapes in the car (unweighed).  I also buying 66 pounds of organic apples Thursday and my amazing friend who always shares apples & plums with me is also bringing me some this week.  Can you see why I'm kind of freaking out?

Oh, I also have a 9-year-old asking daily for me to send her birthday party evite, our first week of school rolling hard, and a basement that's still under construction.  Gah!  

Anyway - I poked and prodded at the living room today so I could feel like I was doing Something.  A little rearranged furniture goes a long way.  And I have one room in my house that is completely clean including under the furniture vacuuming and dusting.  Yay!

Next up: Fill holes and touch up paint that moving the furniture made really obvious.

Also tomorrow I'll try to send DD#4's evite for a big check off the list.


Monday, September 14, 2015

Monday Menu Plan - Gluten Free

It's a busy week.  We're starting school full speed and I'm trying to keep the meals simple until we settle into the new routine.  DD#1 is the kitchen cooking helper this week so she helped plan the menu, too.

Monday - Enchilada Casserole (have all ingredients)
Tuesday - Chicken Teriyaki/Rice
Wednesday - Mexican Dip (have all ingredients & can add tomatoes)
Thursday - Pork Chops & Zucchini Crisps (uses some zucchini)
Friday - Butternut Squash Soup (uses some squash)
Saturday - Leftovers (canning applesauce all day - need an easy dinner)
Sunday - Popcorn & Smoothies

Monday - Chicken, Cucumbers, Cookies (packed lunch)
Tuesday - Pancakes
Wednesday - Pizza (need to buy mozzarella, bread flour but have GF dough in freezer )
Thursday - Leftover Mexican Dip (packed lunch)
Friday - Finger Food Lunch
Saturday - Gluten Free Mac'n'Cheese Pie (in freezer)
Sunday - Taco Salad (crockpot)

I didn't want to have too much shopping this week - again, with school - and I have a lot of canning to do over the weekend.

Thankful I have an older, helpful kiddo on cooking duty this week.  =)


Sunday, September 13, 2015

2015 Groceries Week 37 - $5.43

Phew!  We're finally home from a 15 day vacation!  We did great our second week on NOT buying a lot of groceries because I was prepared from the week before and even had brought a lot from home for packing travel lunches.

I picked up eggs and bananas at Target one day.  We had gone to Target for a couple birthday items since DD#4 was having a birthday this week.  I had some bacon so thought the eggs would make a more 'special' breakfast than the cereal they'd been having for the whole road trip.  And we needed just a little fruit to tide us over for the rest of the trip (we had cantaloupe and watermelon from last week, too).   This was $5.43!  The eggs were a ridiculous $3.69 and bananas were $0.29 each.

On the long drive home we stopped at my aunt & uncle's house to sleep over.  They were out of town, but graciously offered their home.  I was going to water her plants and noticed her garden was overflowing with veggies so I picked lots for her and filled her fridge.  She said to help myself so I brought home all this: one huge zucchini, two huge butternut squash, an acorn squash, three cucumbers that are overripe, and any of the tomatoes that had splits or wouldn't last in her fridge for the two more weeks my aunt is gone.

Surprisingly, I didn't do any other shopping this week.  Next week will be a huge one - I have 44 pounds of pears and 75 pounds of apples to pick up, not to mention the usual milk, bananas, & veggies that need to be replenished after our long trip using everything up!

Total Week 37: $5.43
Total Year-to-Date 2015: $3,965,03
Weekly Average: $107.16

Friday, September 11, 2015

2015 Groceries Week 36 - $206.52

We've been out of town so I am late posting for week 36, but I sure did shop while I was gone!  These are mostly bargains from while I was at my Mother-in-Law's house.

First was a quick trip to Von's, the only store I know how to get to near her house.  I picked up tortilla chips, organic milk, a head of lettuce, and a half price deli pizza for $13.91.

The next day DH was amazing and went to the store FOR me as the sales were ending that day.  He got my whole list and some soda for himself for $29.92.  He even used all my coupons!

The new Von's ad came out and I made a big list to combine the sale with coupons and buy some dinner items.  It was a huge amount of stuff (inlcuding junk food I don't normally buy) for $77.40.  I was so excited to see new packaging on the Cheerios that said GF!  And later in the week I saw TV commercials advertising that Cheerios were now GF!  Whoo hoo.  I also picked up GF Macaroni & Cheese with a $1.00/2 peelie so each box was only $2.69.  I got 7 bottles of salad dressing for varying prices, all under $1.00.  I got another gallon of milk, some cookies and hostess cakes (ugh!), applesauce, chicken breast, drumsticks for $.50/lb, crackers, sour cream & bacon (for potato soup), lettuce, bell peppers & tortillas for fajitas, hot dogs, cantaloupe, brownie mix, GF minute rice (FREE after coupon), Capri-Sun, a 2# brick of cheese & sliced cheeses (a big treat that I accidentally left at my MIL's).

At the end of the week we left my MIL's to join my family at a timeshare near Disneyland.  I had tried to plan ahead for a big dinner I was making for the whole group, lunches for at Disneyland, and breakfasts at the timeshare, too.  Unfortunately there was a lack of communication with DH about the time I would need to prepare the dinner and the heat was terrible at my MIL's so I felt bad about heating up her kitchen with a lot of cooking.  Long story short I ended up buying pizzas at Costco to feed the big group (13 adults, 10 kids, 2 babies).  I also bought GF taquitos as a dinner alternative, a watermelon, a big package of lettuce, cucumbers, organic milk, and some chicken nuggets at Costco.  I spent $85.29 there.  Yeesh!

It was a big week.

Week 36 total: $206.52
Year-to-date 2015 total: $3,959.60
Weekly Average: $109.99

Week 37 should be smaller as I barely shopped again while we were still out of town.  But week 38 will be big with a lot of planned produce purchases for canning.

Love, Katie

Sunday, August 30, 2015

2015 Groceries Week 35 - $150.36

This week was bigger than I thought it would be, but sometimes you have to stock up when there's a stock up price.

I stayed away from the grocery stores most of the week, but on Thursday I was in Issaquah and didn't want to miss out on Champion Foods.  So I went in with all 4 girls and got all sorts of deals!  Chips are only $0.50/bag and I was happy they had some flavors that sounded good.  We got a dozen bags, plus 3 bags of popcorn.  We have a road trip coming up and portable snacks are a must.  I got some lunch snacks of the GF and not GF varieties.  I found a $3.00 GF brownie mix - score! - pectin for $1.75/box, organic ketchup for $2.20, and GF granola for $3.00.  I always look for spices at Champion first because their prices are so great.  I'm low on cumin & nutmeg so I picked those up, but they didn't have basil this time and I've needed that for about a month!  Not pictured were two packs of GF spaghetti noodles for just $1.75 each and 6 cans of pasta sauce for $0.75/each.  I also was happy to find a 25# bag or organic popcorn.  It was $31.25.  We love popcorn and it's really an affordable snack.  My kids always ask me to make it when their friends are over, too. - I guess it's kind of a novelty.  I spent a whopping $83.15 at Champion Foods this visit.

I was back at Fred Meyer on Thursday night so get more Chex at the $1.99 price I had spotted late last week.  I lamented my lack of coupons, but knew I couldn't pass up $1.99 for full-size boxes of GF cereal.  I can find GF cereal on sale a lot, but it's usually cocoa krispies or something and I prefer not to give the kids candy-ish cereal to start the day.  Plain Rice Chex and Corn Chex are my preference.  Anyway, I also picked up salami, provolone, and mozzarella for antipasto platter I was making, bananas, a half gallon of conventional milk (we just needed a little and it was $1.00), and cottage cheese for $0.60 after coupon.  Cream cheese was $0.80 each after coupon.  I found some diced green chilis for $0.50 in the clearance bin along with more GF spaghetti noodles for $1.09 per package!  I predict lots of spaghetti and macaronada in the next month's menu planning.  =)  I spent $27.21.
I also bought 40# of organic apples for $40.00.  I plan to make applesauce soon.
Week 35 Total: $150.36
2015 Year-to-Date: $3,753.08
Weekly Average: $107.23