Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Shopping Trip

I love coupons. I only use coupons for items I would normally buy unless it will make the product free or practically free. It does take time to organize a shopping trip to best utilize the coupons. The savings helps me to be able to remain a housewife. Here is a recently shopping trip with my totals and savings!

First store was CVS I had a $1 coupon and got back $2 in extra bucks on this purchase so my out of pocket (OOP) cost was $0.20.

Next was Walgreen's I saved $3 with coupons. I spent $20.69 but will get back $14.83 through the rebate program so my OOP cost will be $5.86. That made the two bottles of honey a very good deal.

This was a regional grocery store purchase. I spent $2.18 and saved $6.98. We use these items regularly. I try to stock up when I have coupons so I do not have to pay full price.

Last was Walmart. I had some free items on this trip. The Johnson's Buddies were free and are great to include in the Operaton Christmas Child shoeboxes. The Air Wick Lumin Air was free as were the two packages of Green Giant Steamers. Dh wanted to try the Pillsbury Savorings and $1 coupons made them more affordable. I also had coupons on the Coffeemate, cream cheese, Kashi bars, and popcorn (for dh's lunch). My total was $29.12, but I saved $18.

My total savings for the trip was $28.98, which is roughly 36%. I am hoping to be able to continue to seriously use coupons to cut my shopping bills over the coming year. I really want to focus on saving and spending smarter in the coming year. I have a goal in mind which I will share tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Another Contest Win

I would take a picture of the latest prize, but it is all rolled up just like it was when the UPS man delivered it. I won an area rug from Shaw Floors! You can see the rug here. The style is Diva - how fitting. I won the 5'5" x 7'8" rug and almost fell out of my chair when I saw the price. I have never had a rug that expensive. DH and I joked that we should not put it on the floor but hang it on the wall. It will be safely stored until we get our new house where it will find a home in the library.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Gift Swap

I took part in a holiday gift swap. I received my package last week. I got three cookbooks, Bath & Body products (Moonlight Path - hmmm), a beautiful Mikasa snowflake candy dish, and soft peppermint, most of which my dh promptly ate. It is his favorite and it is Christmas so I shared.

I adore Mikasa, and this candy dish is the perfect size. I also like that it is a snowflake pattern which makes it winter not Christmas so I can use it until spring! I like having winter decorations.

I should have taken pictures of what I sent, but I did not think of it until everything was packed up. My items were a bath set, Hershey's Bliss chocolates, Johnson's stress free lotion, a Glade candle (It's French -- from France), and coloring books with crayons and stickers for my swap partner's children. It was as much fun to pack the stuff to send as it was to receive a package in the mail. That proves it is better to give than receive.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Shopping Trip

This morning I headed out to CVS to take advantage of their two day sale. I bought five bottles of mouthwash, two eye shadows, two nail polishes, two heat wraps, two deodorants, two toothpaste (cinnamon flavored Pro-Health, which is my favorite), cough drops, Zantac, and hand sanitizer.

My total out of pocket was $1.33! I used extra bucks and coupons. The best part is that I got all of my extra bucks back plus $2.17 more. It was a bit time consuming but well worth it. I am always excited to have a shopping trip work out so well. These are all items that we use and at this price were irresistible!

Monday, December 15, 2008


I love to play online instant win games, and "Congratulations!" is my favorite thing to see on my screen. It means I am a winner of something. Honestly I get excited no matter what the prize is. While I have yet to win the big one, I have won quite a few prizes. The most common question I get is "do you actually get the prizes?". The answer is "Yes!". The prizes really do arrive.

This is one of my recent wins. The smaller ones tend to be shipped faster. Totino's was giving away movie tickets to see The Dark Knight or any Warner Brother movie. I played faithfully every day and was rewarded with the much sought after "congratulations". For your chance to win, visit Totino's.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Latest Cakes

I have not done any cake decorating since the pumpkin cake in October. It was time for my church's quarterly birthday party so I had to break out the cake pans and the decorating supplies. I decided to make two cakes this time and stuck with a holiday theme.

I did a simple icing job on the Christmas tree since I did not think my wrist would hold out for doing elaborate designs on two cakes. I did a squiggle border at the base of the tree and rope decoration and red ornaments on the tree.

The second cake was a Santa bear. I have to say that when I started outlining the details it was really ugly. I mean scary, should not be taken around young children ugly. In the end it turned out okay. I will give this another go next time and omit the hat and write "Happy Birthday" inside the gift. I also want to try using black to outline rather than the dark brown, which was not dramatic enough for my liking.

It was good that I made two cakes since only a sliver of the gift and about half of the tree were left. I attribute that more to my baking skills than the decorating. The icing I use is yummy. The best part is the cake thanks to the real butter and farm eggs.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

My New Pantry

Rhonda of A Home with a Smile has been gently reminding me to post some pictures of the finished home remodeling project. The problem with that is my DH is notorious for starting a project, almost completing it, and then getting bored and quitting. Sadly the remodeling project fits right in with that. I hate to post pictures of half-completed rooms. One room is done and that is the walk-in pantry.
My pantry has some food items but mainly stockpile items from couponing. Pre-pantry all of this stuff was completely unorganized. I did not have a problem with buying things I already had since obviously I already had most of this stuff. If it is free I have a very hard time saying "no". It is not a finished pantry. My main concern was getting as many shelves on the walls as possible.

One wall with candles/air fresheners, cleaners, toilet paper, paper towels

Health and beauty items

I love, love, love this setup. It is so convenient to put everything away and very easy to "shop". It was worth all of the trouble, chaos, and mess of the remodel. The majority of these items were free or almost free. For anyone who says there are no coupons on items they use (a common excuse I hear), this is proof that is not true. That is unless these people are not using deodorant, shampoo, soap, or toothpaste at least.

Coupons have been a true blessing and have helped us to afford for me to be a housewife. I will admit that it takes time and a bit of work to get everything organized before a shopping trip. It is a thrill to see how low I can get the total. It is worth all of the effort!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Is There a Worst Blogger Award?

If there is a worst blogger award, I would like to nominate myself. I cannot seem to get my act together to write about what is going on in my life and home. The main reason is that I have too much going on in my life. I suppose this is a start in the right direction.
So what have I been doing? Taking pictures of cotton fields for a literature project. It is not my project but my cousin's. He is going to pass that class if it kills us both.

I will leave everyone with this peaceful picture and promises to be back again very soon. I also promise that the next posting will be more interesting than a high school literature project.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

I'm Back With Yard Sale Finds

Anyone miss me? Between work and a big remodeling project at home I have not had the time or motivation to post. The remodeling project is nearing an end (more about that in a future post), and my teaching job is finished until sometime in January. Now I have time to focus on my blog again.

A few weekends ago was the big yard sale weekend in my area. A large indoor yard sale and many individual yard sales are a bargain hunter's dream. This is part one of the yard sale finds. I have a few other items that have not been photographed yet. Here are my treasures:

First some random kitchen items including a pastry cutter, rose molds, candy thermometer, doughnut cutter, and mini bundt pans. I lumped these items in with some other things to get a better deal.

A fun letter holder that keeps all of my birthday/anniversary cards to be mailed and stamps organized. The second item is a great purse. I love odd things and this purse is definitely ME. The strap was way too long, but dh shortened it for me so it is perfect.

I got all of these books for $3. I was really excited about the ghost story books. I love a good ghost story. I am also interested in reading The Black Dahlia.

I write a bunch of letters. A handwritten and snail mailed letter is so much nicer than email. Fortunately I have lots of friends who share those sentiments and write back to me. This great box of stationery was only $1 and was filled with beautiful paper.

My last purchase was a brand new coffee grinder. I want to roast and grind my own fair trade organic coffee. I looked at this coffee grinder several times, but it was priced higher than I wanted. Apparently I was the only one looking at it though. On my third trip by I offered the seller $5 and he agreed. I am looking forward to putting it to good use.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Mississippi Mud Cake

This is my go to dessert recipe for a potluck. It makes a large 15X10 cake, but I have also made cupcakes. This time I opted to cut it into squares and put it on muffin liners for easy grab and go access.

The recipe comes from Southern Living and can be found here. It is really easy to make even though it is from scratch. The cake is really rich so a small piece is enough to satisfy most chocolate lovers.

While I was searching for the recipe to link here, I found this recipe. Oh my, those apples look delicious!! I will be picking up some caramels tomorrow so I can make them this weekend.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


I mentioned on ThriftyHomemakers today that I would share my bartering experience. My neighbors' computer tore up last week, and I told them it was a bad power supply. I mentioned that I had just replaced one for my parents and could fix theirs if they wanted. I ordered the part, which arrived yesterday. It took just a few minutes to remove the old one and put in the new one.

They reimbursed me for the part and mentioned paying me something for my time. I said it only took a few minutes, but they insisted I get something for my time. The husband asked if I liked vegetables, and I said absolutely. His wife took me into their roadside store and gave me the vegetables you see above. They were happy to have a working computer, and I was happy with my fresh produce. I expect that this was cheaper for them than taking it to the professionals too.

Does anyone else have a bartering experience to share? I am thinking this would be very useful given the current economic situation.

Monday, October 20, 2008

An Award - What Fun!

Thank you to Rhonda of A Home with a Smile for this Kreativ Blogger Award. She has lots of great frugal living ideas. I always get inspired by her thrift store finds and wonderful decorations.
The rules for this award are as follows:
1. List 6 things about yourself
2. Pass this award on to other bloggers
Here goes:
1. I have bunches of quirks, which would most likely qualify me for an OCD diagnosis. I like things to be symmetrical or have some sort of pattern. I count dishes while I am washing them or clothes as they get put into the washer. I like things lined up in a particular way. I make lists of the lists I need to make. I am obsessive about planning and organizing things. I hate for my routines to be disrupted in any way.
2. I play the piano. I took lessons for six years and have been the pianist at my church for about 18 years. I cannot sing though. Everyone who finds out I play will ask me to sing, but I could not carry a tune in a bucket with a tight fitting lid.
3. I look much younger than I am, which is a blessing and a curse. This summer when I played at a funeral someone thought I was 14. (I am 33.) I get carded at Walmart when I buy spray paint and rubber cement. Hmm...come to think of it, it is just a blessing. I cannot think of a downside.
4. I suffered a pregnancy loss due to molar pregnancy. This information from Better Health is a good explanation: "Gestational trophoblastic disease is the term for a number of pregnancy conditions that involve the placental (afterbirth) tissue turning cancerous or cancer-like. This cancer occurs in one in every 1,200-1,500 pregnancies. The main symptoms are violent morning sickness or abnormal bleeding in pregnancy or after a curette for a miscarriage.The tumour is called a mole, and the pregnancy is known as a molar pregnancy." The link gives the full information. It is an British site so the spelling is a bit unusual. I also had the persistent molar pregnancy or regrowth, which means the tumor cells regrew after my initial surgery. That was also my one and only pregnancy.
5. I have over 30 pen pals living all over the world. I got my first pen pal when I was 15, and we still keep in touch. I love, love, love writing letters and getting mail. I am known at the post office as "that girl who gets all the mail". We have the biggest mailbox we could buy at Lowe's and some days it will not hold all of our mail.
6. I have traced on branch of my ancestors back to England in the 1100's. Genealogy is like a fun mystery to me. I love finding a new relative or learning something new about my family history.
Anybody still with me???? I hope so because I am passing the award on to a few of my favorite bloggers now!
Anne Marie at Did Someone Say Stamp
Raesha at My Love
Shocking that I have posted two days in a row. I also have ideas for posts for the rest of this week. No promises, but I am hoping to be a more active blogger!
**Argh! I cannot figure out why everything runs together. Even if I press enter 100 times, no extra spaces show up in the final post. Anyone have an idea why?**

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Take My Picture

I went to take the trash out Thursday and saw a squirrel in a tree in the yard. I think squirrels are cute so I ran back in to get my camera. This little squirrel moved to a tree closer to where I was standing. It then turned right toward me while I snapped its picture.
I think some animals like cameras, but this one might have been giving me the evil eye since I have neglected to fill the squirrel feeder. The pecan tree has plenty of tasty snacks, but they seem to enjoy the corn.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

My Kids

I might have the world's perfect children. Here they are in the yard posing for a Halloween picture. They stood perfectly still without a single complaint while I took the picture yesterday. In fact they are still standing in the front yard.
Okay so everyone knows that I do not have any real children. I also do not have a fake baby as seen on this past week's Today show. (*I can think of better things to buy with $1,000.) I saw this outdoor decoration in a recent All You magazine and knew I had to have it in my front yard.
I was completely happy with how they turned out. They were fairly simple to make. I love putting out decorations for Halloween. These trick-or-treaters go perfectly with the fall hay display I put up last month. Now let's just hope they no one likes them too much and decides to take them home.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Falling Short

Well, obviously I will not be reaching my goal of 20 posts for this month. It appears I will only get halfway there. I have a good list of excuses ranging from too busy cleaning to sick with a yucky cold (current excuse). I will be setting the same goal for October and hopefully will do better.

One of my excuses was that I have been busy cooking. The above picture is a slice of pecan caramel cheesecake. It was from a Sandra Lee Semi-Homemade Cooking cookbook. It was okay but not something I would make again. Currently I have cinnamon roll dough in the bread machine. I will be saving a few to freeze. I want to see how they thaw and bake after being frozen for a few weeks.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Busy Day

I cannot get any pictures uploaded today, and I am too tired to try to troubleshoot the problem. I have washed three loads of clothes, made four spaghetti pies for the freezer, cleaned off the porch (again), fixed a neighbor's computer, cleaned up the general messiness of the house, and a few other random things. I got the tomato cages out of the garden and loaned them to my parents. They planted blackberry bushes, and the cages will keep the dogs and chickens out of them. Cleaning up the garden is another thing that remains on my to-do list. I have been putting it off and continue to do so. I expect that will be true for another week or longer. I love planting the garden but hate cleaning it up. Hmmm...the same thing goes with cooking.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Reading Chair

One of the chores I had been putting off for weeks was touching up the stain and water sealing the Adirondack chairs on the deck. I should have water sealed them last year but never got around to it. These chairs were an anniversary gift from dh. He does still owe me another chair and two footrests.

This is the chair I usually sit in each evening to read. It is peaceful and quiet there. The cats like sitting on the deck with me. It is a great way to end the day. I also love the bright stains. I am not a boring color person as noted by the red front door in an earlier post. The other two chairs are green. I am grateful my dh is good at builder. He was able to build the chairs for much less than much less than we could have bought them. The only requirement was patience.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Kitty, Kitty

Here are my two furry children out in the yard. Paris is hanging out on the new porch that dh built last week. She was under the weather earlier and spent a day and a half just lying around. That is extremely unusual for her. She has gotten her energy back today though. Paris loves visiting Grandma and Grandpa. She is a people cat and thinks everyone who comes to the house is there to see her. She lives up to her name.

Lucy is sharpening her claws on the large pecan tree in our yard. She loves the tree simply for that purpose. She is not a big outside person and never ventures beyond the invisible boundaries that make up her territory. This tree and deck are her favorite spots aside from the herb garden. She loves the catnip. She prefers to stay to herself. She does adore one of my cousins. I think that is because my cousin and I look alike.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

My Prize

Raesha at My Love blog had a giveaway recently, and I was thrilled to be one of the winners. She gave away patches, and I won the great London patch shown below.

I love all things England. I just have to decide on the best way to use the patch. I am thinking it would look great on one of my reusable shopping bags. I have a couple that are plain and dull. I think this patch along with a few extras would make one of the bags more fun. Be on the lookout for this patch in a completed project in the future. In the meantime check out My Love. Raesha has lots of great ideas and fun posts.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Cake Decorating

I am continuing to practice with the cake decorating. I talked my church into being guinea pigs and letting me do the birthday party cake. I decided to try out a few of the decorating stencils I had gotten. I did a start border of green and yellow around the bottom although you cannot see it in the picture. The cake tasted very good. I think it was due to the fact I used real butter and fresh farm eggs. I am going to keep working on this new hobby. I know it would be easier if I could take some classes but none are offered around here. I will make do with teaching myself!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

It's Almost Fall Y'all

I am falling behind on my goal of 20 posts for this month. I am determined to meet it. That means posting everyday for the remainder of the month with a couple days of multiple posts. Get ready for a bunch of random stuff from my life.

One of the reasons for my lack of posting is that I have started fall cleaning. The first week I worked on the front yard and porch. Both were a huge mess with tons of weeds in the flower beds and general disarray. I cleaned out the majority of the hanging baskets on the porch. Many of the flowers were still good and simple root-bound in the pots. I planted most of the plants around the porch. Without the hanging baskets though, the porch looked a bit blah. I went ahead and put up some fall decorations.
The first was this straw broom decoration for the front door. I liked the way it turned out - simple but cute. I have to say my favorite part of my house is the red front door. I got a few weird looks from the neighbors when I painted it red, but it looks wonderful. I am not exactly a cream and grey/neutral colors type of person.

Next dh helped me with the fall display. We put three bales of hay together (thanks Dad!). Next we added the potted mums. The pots were on clearance and the mums on sale. The pumpkins came from the compost pile. The pumpkins we dumped there last year left behind seeds, and we ended up with a bunch of pumpkins from the plants that sprouted. I used some fake flowers and leaves and ribbon off of last year's fall wreath. The final additions were a scarecrow and crow. I thought the bird was very Alfred Hitchcock.

One part-time addition is a cute kitty cat. I am just glad she has not tried to eat the crow.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

It's Not THAT kind of Church

I am going to preface this by saying I am not downing anyone's beliefs. I simply do not share them. This is meant to be an entertaining blog entry.

A couple of weeks ago I get a call from my uncle who cleans our church. He said, "One of the throws (blankets) from church is on your porch. Wash it 'cause I used it to catch a snake." My first thought was SNAKE!!! I have a major phobia of snakes. I was okay-ish when there was a mouse in the piano. A snake is an entirely different matter. Then I thought 'okay the snake is out of the church'. Whew! Next I wondered if the snake had friends that he invited over. I spent a good portion of the following Sunday staring at the pedals of the piano and picturing the snake from "Anaconda" curled up in there.
Fast forward a week and I get a call from the pastor. He had a snake skin and wanted me to bring my camera. The pastor knows I love taking pictures of everything -- even the odd stuff.

Ewww! Luckily it was found in the choir section and not near the piano. Sorry to any church choir members. Dh announced that from looking at the picture it was only (ha! ha!) a rat snake. Thank goodness we got rid of that rat in the piano. Living in the country can be quite an adventure with all of God's creatures. I sincerely hope they stay outside from this point forward.

Monday, September 1, 2008

August Daring Bakers Challenge

I typed this up when I finished the challenge and forgot to post it. Things have been busy here. At least I am only about a day behind. I need to add "post challenge" to my to-do list. Honest if I do not write things down they never get done. Sorry!

First of all anyone following my blog knows that I have been doing a pantry challenge for the month of August. I had a maximum of $10/week for any grocery purchases. I was waiting anxiously to see what the August challenge would be and how it would fit into my plan. It turns out that the challenge was Chocolate Eclairs with a Chocolate Glaze. I had some chocolate left from last month's challenge so I did not even need to purchase anything for the August challenge. It is amazing that my pantry challenge remained intact.

I used the choux pastry recipe and the chocolate pastry cream recipe as written. I did just melt some chocolate to put on the two that I photographed. I did not want chocolate on all of them so I only needed glazing for a couple.

I had done a cream puff long ago and could not even tell you if the recipes were similar. I ended up with 20 mini-eclairs, which were actually a nice size for eating in the end. I thought the choux pastry came together well. I even mixed the eggs in by hand since I was not sure if my mixer would have held up to it.

The pastry cream was the part that worried me the most. I could see myself ending up with a nice pot of milky scrambled eggs. I actually had no trouble tempering the yolks. It also came together nicely. I have to be honest that it seems more like pudding than pastry cream though. Still it was good. My mom declared it nothing like chocolate pudding because she liked this and hates chocolate pudding. Here is my finished product:

This was one of the simpler Daring Baker's Challenges I have completed. I did get smart this time and spread it out over two days, which I am sure made a difference. In the future I would make something similar again. I would probably test a different choux pastry recipe and make puffs instead of eclairs. I am looking forward to seeing what September holds for the Daring Bakers!

I'm Still Here

I have been very lax in posting to my blog recently, which is obvious since my last post was a week ago. I am setting a goal of 20 posts for this month. I think that will be an easy goal to reach. I thought I would start off the month with the picture below. It was taken the day before Tropical Storm Fay came through here. I want to pass it on to everyone in the path of Gustav with good wishes for safety.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Best Laid Plans

I had all these wonderful plans for posts, and then..... I had been sick with allergies for the past couple of weeks. This last week I had reached the decision that I was allergic to myself. No matter what I did I could not stop sneezing. I took over the counter medicine when my prescription meds were not helping. I finally ended up with generic benedryl, which slowed the sneezing down while making me sleepy.
Dh and I still made it through the week without going over the $29 grocery budget. Below is a picture of 80% of what I bought. The other 20% was left behind at the store. I was sick and silly me did not double check behind the bag person to see that all the groceries went in my cart. Dh went back later to pick them up, and he put them away before I could take a separate photo.

Not all of these were necessities. Some were items that I had coupons for and did not want to miss out on purchasing. The pizza was an impulse purchase but came in handy one night when I could not bear to cook. The good thing is that we made it through week 3. Here I am in the last week. I can actually see some empty space in the freezer and the cupboards are close to bare. I am planning a big shop for next week. I still have $10 left to spend this week. It is hard to believe that I will have stuck to my $40 budget. My dream and nightmare is that the sales ads will be fantastic this week, and my plan will fall apart inches from the finish line.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Pantry Challenge Week 3

Last night we ate hamburgers and chips leftover from Saturday night. I did not take any pictures since that was not really an exciting meal. I did find out that I need food for two potlucks this weekend. One requires a dessert and the other will be two finger food items. I need to rummage around in the freezer and see what I can come up with. I am thinking mini-cupcakes for the dessert item since I will only need to buy a cake mix. One of my two finger foods will probably be meatballs in sauce as that will utilize some of the ground meat I have in the freezer. I will also do something sweet but am not sure what yet. I still need to stick within my $29 budget ($10 this week, $10 last week, and $9 first week). I will shop carefully as I need a few small items to round out this week's meals and powdered milk.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Garden Update - Finally

The spring garden is pretty much done. I have one Roma tomato plant with two tomatoes and a couple of pepper plants that are still hanging on. The pumpkin and watermelons did nothing. The cucumber plants have been gone for over a month. I do still have bunches of herbs. They are all out of control. I have mint everywhere. It and the oregano seem to be in a battle for dominance of the garden. I will be cutting and drying some herbs in the coming weeks. Since I have a bunch of basil, I think I will try some pesto.

My gardening thoughts have turned to fall. I know that the herbs will hang around. Most of those will actually survive the winter. I have a section of lettuce that is about two weeks old.

Next to it I planted some spinach. I mixed in some organic fertilizer (AKA: horse manure). I planted it the day I took these photos so nothing to show yet.

I also started some cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli, and kohlrabi seeds. Now I have never grown any of these things before so this will be a learning experience. I am encouraged by the fact that I have some sprouts. One book I read said do not attempt to grow these items from seeds as they are difficult to sprout. So far so good though. Time will tell if these are things I want to grow every year. I have never eaten kohlrabi and have yet to find anyone around here that knows what it is. The description in the garden catalog sounded good plus I like to be a little adventurous in the garden.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Wrapping Up Week Two

Tomorrow ends week 2 of my pantry challenge. Since I know I will not be doing any shopping, it is safe to do my wrap-up today. I had no purchases this week so obviously my total spending was $0. Woo Hoo! Part of that was due to an unexpected blessing.

Dh came home on Tuesday with the two loaves of bread seen below. I am not really clear on the story, and I am not sure he is either. Basically he went to some store and they had an overabundance of bread somehow. Anyway dh got two free loaves of bread. I kept one out for sandwiches and the other went into the freezer for later. What a wonderful treat! That was an item on my list that will not have to be purchased this month.

I will also say that while I posted some menu ideas I ended up only using one of them. I think for the remainder of this challenge I am simply going to post pictures and ramblings of our meals the following day. That should also motivate me to post more often. What good is a blog with no new entries. I will start with Sunday's meal entry on Monday. There, I said it so I have to do it.

I went through the cabinets earlier this week to see what I had left to work with for the next two weeks. I did find one can of pear halves seriously out of date. I also found two more cans as well as a can of corn nearing their best buy dates. The cabinets are getting more bare, but I still have plenty left to complete my challenge.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Remainder of the Week Menus

I worked on the menus for the rest of this week. I was able to find plenty of items to keep my pantry challenge going. This is in no particular order but more a list of meal ideas.

~Ham, potato salad, green beans, corn muffins
~Sloppy joes, baked potato chips
~Tuna stuffed shells, salad, foccacia
~Taco rice
~Swiss steak over rice, peas, squash, rolls
~Italian beef sandwiches

One night we are hosting a little get together for the teens at our church as we are the youth directors. This meal will be a free one for us since the costs are covered by the church. We will have grilled hamburgers, chips, and s'mores. I will be using a big bag of marshmallows in my pantry as well as some of the free cheese slices. Even if I am not paying for the meal, I like to try to be frugal about it.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Moving Through Week 2

The pantry challenge continues. I have several ideas for meals, but my dh has not been home to eat any of them or else he comes in too late for me to consider cooking. Obviously he and his friends do not share my love of schedules and organization. I have been eating some of my homemade frozen "tv dinners" while he has eaten either cereal or a sandwich. He has agreed to come home to eat for the rest of the week so I am working on a menu and will post that tomorrow.

I did manage to decorate a giant chocolate chip cookie. I know that I need some more practice decorating, and I do love these cookies. I love the "Merry Unbirthday" line from Alice in Wonderland although I seem to be the only person who remembers that. Nevertheless, I made myself a Merry Unbirthday cookie.

I think these look a bit like candles.

In the process I did manage to drop a knife on my foot. Of course, it went tip down into my toe. Have I mentioned yet that I am a klutz? I am a major klutz. Fortunately it was not one of our better knives so my wound was not bad.

Two days before this I got my foot stuck in a hole in the yard and twisted my ankle. Oh, and I knocked the rear view mirror off my car windshield when I lifted the sun visor. Fortunately I am only a danger to myself.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Week One Purchases

When I started this challenge, I said that I was giving myself $10 per week in flexible spending. Below are my only purchases for this week:

I am proud to say that my total spent for week one is $1!! This was an after coupons total. I sent dh to the store since he was running another errand. It was probably less than $1, but he kept the few coins he got back as a tip.

I will be carrying the $9 over to the next week so I will actually have $19 to possibly spend. I know loaf of white bread will be a purchase as dh does not homemade bread for everyday sandwiches. I am on the lookout for a good, non-bread machine white bread to change his mind though. I also need to check the level of powdered milk I have on hand. For now I am very happy with my $1 grocery bill.

Wednesday & Thursday

Between camera problems and Blogger problems posting has not been easy. Dh and I also both ended up being super busy on both of these days. Wednesday and Thursday lunches were peanut butter sandwiches. Wednesday night we had big salads with chopped grilled chicken. The whole big salad thing makes me think of Elaine from Seinfeld. She liked a big salad and so do we. The rolls from Wednesday morning turned out well. No picture of the pie thanks to the camera problem though.
Thursday night I was planning to make spaghetti with garlic bread. That plan were awry quickly. I went to fix a neighbor's tv since I am the neighborhood electronics expert. Then it was a couple of hours of composition and chemistry homework. That is funny since I have no children and am not a student myself. I do have a cousin who is taking these classes though. I can tell texting constantly is not helping his composition work at all. To bring this long story to an end, dh made grilled cheese sandwiches for us at about 9pm.