Sunday, June 28, 2015

2015 Groceries Week 26 - $160.45

Yikes - it was a big week.

Monday night I went to Fred Meyer because we needed cream for DH's coffee.  They had lots of stuff on sale this week so I had a pretty big trip, spending $50.24 on food items.  Cereal was 3/$5, coffee $5.99, clearance red pears, apples, & zucchini.  DD#4 had been asking for oranges so I bought a few, not thinking about their weight and that they were about $1.00 each!  I also got lunchmeat, potatoes, tomatoes, 1# sausage for soup on the menu, and GF granola for the kids to put in yogurt.

I was at the store again Tuesday to use my $10/$50 purchase coupon at County Market.  I somehow missed taking phot, though I distinctly remember laying out the groceries.  I spent $40.33 including 13 cans of olives for $0.80/ea after discount, about 14 pounds of chicken breast for $1.59/lb after discount, over 5# grapes that were $1.04/lb after discount, and a package of polish sausage.

I went to Fred Meyer again on Wednesday for more lunchmeat.  It was only $2.50/lb last week and on Monday they were nearly out.  I also picked up organic cucumbers which had also been out of stock Monday.  I also got mayo, clearance apples & nectarines, hamburger buns & more cream.  When I checked my receipt I realized I'd only been charged for conventional cucumbers so I went to the customer service desk to pay the additional $0.30/ea.  After the extra $1.20, I spent $24.88 on food.

Finally, I had a quick run to Safeway while we worked on the rental property over the weekend.  I bought some markdown deli turkey, a box of GF cordogs, tater tots, and a lean cuisine microwave meal on clearance for myself.  I also found some great markdown beef.  I don't actually have it with me as I tossed it in the freezer at the rental, but it was round steak and it was on sale for $3.99/lb BEFORE 30% off clearance, so I paid just $2.79/lb.  The receipt says "BF TP Round London" so nicer (I think) than standard stew beef.  I spent $31.53.

I also had milk delivery for $13.47 (my last one - *sniff*)

Week 26 Groceries: $160.45
Year-to-date 2015: $2,480.38
Weekly Average: $95.40


Friday, June 26, 2015

Daily Project Post - Recipe Book & Rental Progress

Thursday was a good day.  I started out by chopping a bunch of old veggies in the fridge and tossed them in freezer to use later.

I also spent some morning hours emailing and making calls related to the rental.  There are 6 big items we wanted to hire people for.  2 of these are confirmed, 1 is nearly confirmed, 1 I'm still waiting for bids on, 1 is ready to go but starting late, and the last we may end up having to skip due to budget problems.  We'll see.  Today's tasks re. rental include going to the house & starting something - also make some decisions re. landscaping as DH wants to attack it this weekend.

DD#1 had started this recipe organizing project Wednesday and I picked it up during afternoon quiet time.  

It took forever.  The hole punching is easy, but the reviewing of each recipe was really time consuming!  Now it's all organized with different tabs for different types of recipes.

Since I was already deep into recipes I also attacked the little notebook I have pasted things into over the years.  It was stuffed with all sorts of loose bits.

Now that's all tidy, too.

Yay for a big project done, but I shouldn't have spent so much time on it yesterday when I had other work to do.


Thursday, June 25, 2015

Daily Project Post - Lingering Boxes & Rental Stuff

Hooray!  I got a ton of stuff done on Wednesday.

After a tearful conversation with DH, he recommended I try and cancel the babysitting yesterday.  My friend graciously agreed so I got busy!

I got the laundry mostly caught up and my kitchen all squared away after it had been neglected a couple of days (other than dishes).  It's amazing how quickly random stuff accumulated on the counters!

I also did this small project that's been waiting for me in the family room.  These boxes have been sitting in the way and looking messy for about a month!  It started when I was gathering garage sale stuff and just didn't get put all the way away.

The puppet box got tucked back into its corner and the boxes of junk got stowed in the garage until I can make a thrift store dropoff.  So it wasn't really fixing a problem - more of moving a mess - but my house sure feels cleaner!

I also got this project started.  I'm regularly stashing recipes in a binder I keep in my kitchen cupboard.  The papers have gotten out of control and there's no order to it.  DD#1 helped by sorting out the recipes by category: dinners, salads, desserts, beverages, side dishes, breads, breakfasts.  I'm hoping to get them hole-punched and reassembled today for my Thursday project.

Finally, yesterday I also got lots done related to the rental property.  I made some calls about a gas stove insert, exchanged a couple emails with the painter we'd like to use, talked to the realtor and the property manager, and found out the tenants are taking us up on our offer to vacate a little early for a pro-rated rent refund.  Yahoo!

So today will be really busy at home, too, as I try and prepare for my own house to be neglected for a couple of weeks as I shift my attention to getting this other property.  I'm hoping to wash all the sheets and mop the floors.  I also am making a bunch of calls/sending emails related to starting work sooner, if possible.  We'll see what I manage before I run out of energy.  =)


Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Daily Project Post - More Rental Property Stuff

Tuesday started well.  I got up, had some time with God, and got busy on more rental property business.  I texted a contractor friend, looked at two contractor estimates, sent 3 emails to the realtor, another email to the property manager, talked to my contractor friend, emailed some measurements to a contractor friend, then had to stop because a friend dropped her kids off to be babysat.

I've been helping a friend with childcare while her regular sitter is unavailable.  It was supposed to be one morning a week, but it's ended up significantly more and it turns out the regular sitter IS available.

Anyway, the rest of the day was shot with babysitting and the kids' therapy.  I wasn't free to make calls until after 5:00 so no more rental business happened and while I could have done a small project, I still had to make dinner for my own family and I was exhausted from only 5 hours of sleep and having 3 extra kids for the bulk of the day.   I checked my voicemail after it was back to just my kids and had a call from a family member I've been expecting since Monday. He had to delay his trip again, and that was discouraging as I'm really counting on his help for our own basement project and getting the rental property on the market for sale.  I also didn't have "Mommy's Quiet Time" in the afternoon with the extra kids so I was in bed by 8:30 last night.

I'm hoping to accomplish a project today, Wednesday.  We'll see - my friend is dropping her sweet kiddos off again this morning.


Daily Project Post - Rental Property Stuff

I wish I had something more substantial to report for Monday.  Mostly I rushed around early in the morning getting ready for a babysitter.  I spent the rest of the morning traveling to & from our rental property, meeting with our realtor & two contractors and getting a good look at a house I hadn't seen the interior of for nearly 6 years.

I came home to relieve the sitter, fed the kids, made a call & email related to rental stuff and didn't do much else out of the ordinary.  So nothing that improved my own home or efficiency, but still was a busy and tiring day.  I was a bit discouraged with myself.


Monday, June 22, 2015

Gluten-Free Menu Plan

Monday - Pizza Pasta
Tuesday - Italian Sausage & Veggie Soup
Wednesday - Ribs w/ Hoisin Sauce, Rice
Thursday - Crockpot Sausage & Potato Soup
Friday - Burgers
Saturday - Chicken Cordon Bleu
Sunday - It's my birthday - I'm not cooking.

Monday - Nachos
Tuesday - Pancakes
Wednesday - Taco Salad
Thursday - Corndogs
Friday - Finger Food lunch
Saturday - Chicken Caesar Salad
Sunday - It's my birthday - I'm not cooking


2015 Shopping Week 25 - $43.88

Yay!  A small week!

I went to QFC for milk, ice cream, and onions on Wednesday.  I found some clearance yogurt and the onions were on clearance, too.  Score!  I spent $16.24.

I went to QFC again Sunday because we were out of milk (lots of cold cereal these days) and our fruit selection was really slim.  I spent $27.64 on organic milk, organic lettuce, organic tomatoes, clearance neufchatel cheese for $0.49 each, clearance turkey sausage for $2,00 each, clearance pepperoni for $0.79, clearance hummus for $1.99, chips and bananas.

No eggs of milk delivery this week.

Week 25 Total: $43.88
Year-to-date 2015 Total: $2,319.93
Weekly Average: $92.80


Next week will be bigger.  I'm bulk buying rapberries (I think) and will be stocking up on creamer.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Daily Project Post - Scrapbook Paper & Plastic Bin

Saturday I spent a little time organizing my scrapbooking paper.  My motivation was to empty a 12"x12"x 3" plastic box that I was sure one of my girls' facepainting supplies would fit in.  This seems like a small task, but all my scrapbooking supplies are tightly packed into easily transportable bags that are tightly packed into my closet.

These two bags hold something like 2,000 sheets of paper.  I had to empty out a small box of paper and file its contents with like paper.  It was about 200 sheets of 30 different shades.

I was very happy that the face painting kit (and accessories) DID fit into the box.

Who cares that it says 'Scrapbook,' right?

Now this can get stowed in her bedroom with all her other bins of crafty activities instead of hanging out on this bookshelf that I'm hoping to turn into the folded-laundry shelf.

So, getting this silly box emptied was really the first step in the new plan for laundry organization.  Hopefully I'll keep moving on that project soon!


Saturday, June 20, 2015

Daily Project Post - Reconcile Current Year Medical

Friday was really busy, but early in the morning I was able to get the new binder for medical expenses all organized.  I reconciled the various doctors' bills with the statements from our insurance company and the statements from the bank that holds our HSA.  It gives me peace of mind to know all the bills are accurate after insurance adjustments, that the bills have been paid, and that the HSA transactions match up.


Friday, June 19, 2015

Daily Project Post - Paperwork/Binders

Thursday I didn't do that laundry project I was hoping to do.  Instead I sorted out bank & brokerage statements that had been piling up since last fall.  I hole-punched and put them into their binders because I prefer paper statements.   I also added labels where needed and started a new binder for this year's medical expenses.  It took about 2 hours. Now my binders are all up date.  Not a big house project, but one that had been looming for quite a long time.


Thursday, June 18, 2015

Daily Project Post - Organic Strawberry Jam

Yesterday I finally got busy and made jam.

I had purchased 5# of organic berries last weekend and most of a pound was eaten earlier this week when someone didn't know I was saving them for jam.  So I ended up with about 4.3 pounds.

I washed and hulled the berries.

I put a single layer of the berries in the bottom of the flat-bottomed pan to mash them with a potato masher, dumped the mush into another bowl and mashed two more single layers of berries.

Here's all the berries, mashed.

I started warming them and stirred in two boxes of pectin.  When I had a rolling boil, I added 5 cups of organic sugar.

After I had a hard boil for two minutes (can't stir the boil away), I ladled the jam into freshly sanitized jars and added freshly sanitized new lids and old rings.

I loaded up my big canning pot.  For most fruit a pressure canner is not necessary.  A big pot the covers the jars entirely will suffice.  For veggies, definitely use a pressure canner.

I boiled the jars for about 20 minutes.  Since I wasn't making another batch I let the jars cool quite a bit right in the water.  There's nothing worse than pulling jars out of hot water and having them crack because of the temperature change.

They cooled to room temperature on the counter and I labeled & dated the lids.

I look at this and think it's so few jars!  I'll have to make lots of other jams so I can have other varieties to give as Christmas gifts.


p.s. Goal today is to rearrange playroom to have a spot for folded laundry.  I get so tired of the laundry mess!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Daily Project Post - Food Prep

Yesterday was all sorts of insanity with 5 doctor appointments, 2 babysitters, and a mommy-daughter date.  Thank goodness our piano lesson postponed!

I was pretty exhausted by the time I was home for the day just before 5PM, but I got a second wind after the kids were in bed and I did a bunch of food prep.

Tomatoes & Carrots shared with me from my friend who gleans.  Cut up the tomatoes to freeze for soup later this week and cut carrots for stew tonight.

Divided up a 3# chub of ground turkey.  It was just too awkward packing it into a very full freezer.

Package of beef that needed to be cut up for stew tonight.

A pound of cubed beef for stew & 4 oz for a morning treat of steak & eggs.

Chicken was still in the fridge from Saturday purchase.  We used it for one dinner, but the rest needed to be put into the freezer.  Now it's nicely portioned.

Technically this isn't a big project, but I was so tired it was all I was going to manage.


Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Daily Project Post - Canning Jars

If you know me personally, you'll know I'm not much of a housekeeper.  I do stay on top of day-to-day things like dishes and laundry pretty well, but the projects that are even slightly out of my normal routine (aka survival) consistently escape me.  So I thought I might try accomplishing one "extra" thing each day and post about it here for accountability and so I'd actually post something besides my grocery shopping.

Yesterday I spent about half hour in the garage organizing my canning jars.  My kiddos routinely put the clean jars on the garage shelves when they empty the dishwasher, but they are put on shelves willy-nilly.  I put all the loose rings into the top shelf bin (note to self: put bin lower so kids can reach easily) and sorted the jars by capacity and mouth-size.  I had to find some appropriately sized boxes to wedge onto the shelves, too.  Bonus:  I found a lingering jar of applesauce!  DD#2 was verra happy.  Otherwise we just have lots of apricot jam/sauce left.  

The garage is still a huge mess overall, but at least I can find and quickly grab jars as I'm starting the canning season. 


Monday, June 15, 2015

Gluten Free Menu Plan

I have a crazy day today, but the week doesn't look much better.  A meal plan will help so this is just a quickie plan.

Monday - crockpot taco soup, salad
Tuesday - chicken/tofu burgers (patties have been in freezer forever), corn on the cob
Wednesday - beef stew (use gleaning carrots), salad
Thursday - chicken curry, rice
Friday - turkey quinoa meatloaf
Saturday - Italian sausage soup (use gleaning carrots, tomatoes)
Sunday - popcorn & smoothies

Monday - packed lunch - sausages
Tuesday - taco salad
Wednesday - scrambled eggs
Thursday - finger food lunch
Friday - packed lunch - chicken fingers
Saturday - leftovers
Sunday - leftovers or whatever Dad wants

Shopping list: onions, milk


2015 Groceries Week 24 - $202.14

Wow - it was a big week!

I had a quick run to the store Monday morning after being out of town for a few days.  We needed a little fruit and DH was nearly out of creamer.  I spent $13.16 at Fred Meyer.

We made a trip to Safeway Wednesday for more grapes.  The girls were loving them and Safeway had the best price this week.  We also got corn on the cob to go with our burgers and I found deli turkey at 50% off.  I spent $16.57.

We went berry picking at Bolles Organic Berry Farm Thursday morning.  We picked 20# in 45 minutes!  The girls did great and only complained the second half about not eating berries.  They were $2.50/lb and we paid $49.88.

Friday a friend brought over a bunch of gleaning items - no photo.

As if that weren't enough food, I went to the store again on Saturday.  I wanted to use my $10/$50 coupon at County Market.  I had frozen all of our picked berries, but still wanted to make organic strawberry jam.  County Market had $3.50/lb and with the 20% savings the coupon provided, I was happy to pay $2.80/lb and I didn't have to pick them!  I also got some cereal, salsa, mangos, and 4 pounds of chicken breast ($1.99/lb and $1.59/lb with 20% off).  I paid $27.56 for the food.  My total was very close to $50 this week - $50.35 so the 20% off is very close, too.

I popped into Fred Meyer for milk and organic sugar and ended up having a huge trip.  I found organic ground turkey for $3.29/lb and bought 10 packages.  I have at least 30 pounds of ground meat in my freezer right now, but I just couldn't pass up organic meat for $3.29.  And I just found a recipe for meatloaf that calls for ground turkey and quinoa so I'll be using some soon.  I can't find my receipt for this trip, but my bank statement says $71.50 and that's about right when I add up the cost of all of this:
10# organic ground turkey - $32.90
Nancy's organic yogurt - $3.00 each
organic bread - $1.79 clearance
organic coconut oil - $4.99
creamer - $2.50 each
organic milk - $5.29
apples - $2.00 for 6 on clearance
organic sugar - $2.99?
clearance lettuce - $1.49
grapes $4ish
baby food - $0.39 each?

I also got milk delivery for $13.47 and eggs from my friend for $10.00.

Week 24 total: $202.14 (YIKES!)
Year to date 2015: $2276.05
Weekly Average: $94.84
***compared to $85.24 in 2013 and $71.95 in 2014


Sunday, June 7, 2015

2015 Groceries Week 23 - $88.10

It was a light week for shopping trips (just two), but big on the spending.

I dropped into QFC Monday to pick up milk and hamburger buns.  I was delighted to find organic peanut butter on clearance for $2.49, a can of Wolfgang Puck soup for $0.69, a can of tomatoes for $0.79 and a can of kidney beans for $0.49.  I also picked up GF cupcakes as an alternate treat for DD#2.  I spent $14.33.

I head out of town Tuesday night to visit my aunt, but didn't take a lot of food with me.  I didn't want to eat my aunt out of house and home so I ran to the store for a few things.  I bought onions & bell peppers for fajitas one night, GF corndogs for a couple lunches, chips & sour cream for nachos, GF cereal, milk, bananas, and some clearance oranges.  The big find was organic ground beef for $4.99/lb.  I bought all 10 pounds and my aunt was gracious enough to let me cram it in her freezer for a few days.  I spent $73.77.

No milk delivery this week because were travelling.

Total for Week 23: $88.10
Year-to-date 2015: $2,073.91
Weekly average: $90.17