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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Spring Cleaning

Have I mentioned I hate cleaning? Detest. With a passion. But I loooove a clean house. So, I'm stuck. Anyway...making my way through the house slowly but surely and getting everything in order. This week I hit the closet, and while I'm not finished, I had to weed out a bunch of clothes that I don't wear anymore to make room for the spring/summer clothes.

What was great was that what got cleared out are all the clothes that are too big for me now...and that was eliminating all size 12's, and most of the size 10's. I'm now mainly a size 8, with a couple of size 10's, and more and more 6's as I move down.

Pretty exciting, given the fact that I was a size 16 2 years ago, and hadn't been this weight or size for about 9 years.

I found a chore I like. Hehehehe :)

More fun with my new camera apps

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Menu Plan Late

You'd think that taking a week of vacation would make me more organized with all the free time, right?? Wrong!!! I was talking to a friend this afternoon and realized I was having a hard time identifying the day of the week! Vacations throw off my schedule. Not that I'm complaining. No surprise, then, that I'd be late with meal planning. Here's what I have for the rest of the week.

cheese ravioli bake $4.00
bread with olive oil dip .50
carrots with butter .50

ribs $6.00
cheesey mashed potatoes .50
seasoned corn w/ bacon 1.00

chicken and rice soup $3.50
french bread .50
salad .75

leftover night

steak queasadillas $4.50
pineapple .75

spaghetti and meatballs $3.75
salad .75
bread .50

Sunday, March 28, 2010


We're celebrating today---the week got pretty crazy, so we decided we'd celebrate my birthday today. My hubby is hilarious--this cake is sooo me!

Ribs are in the smoker, and we're just all enjoying the day.

I will post menu tomorrow. Have a great Sunday!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Menu Plan Week of 3/22

Happy Birthday to me, Happy Birthday to me, it's my last year in my 30's, Happy...SOB! Yes, 39 forever this Thursday. I asked hubby to smoke ribs for my birthday dinner. Wednesday my friend Dawn and I are going to see Cirque du Soleil's Alegria, so hubby and the boys will be warming up the dinner I prepared for them today and will have in the freezer.

This weekend I have been playing catchup on all of the cooking/shopping/cleaning that I haven't done this week. The new schedule has been a little tough on me this week. My body is still getting tired at 8pm, and then I wake up at 3, and lay awake. I'm hoping this will eventually stop!

We were running very low on breakfast options for the boys, so today I made a big batch of pancakes to freeze, along with a batch of breakfast wraps, and a dozen really cute whole wheat mini bagel sandwiches with egg and cheese. I also hard boiled a dozen eggs and cooked up a batch of turkey breakfast sausage patties for quick breakfast choice for me. I cubed up some canteloupe for tomorrow's breakfasts, and later tonight after dinner I will pack up lunch for myself and for R.

This week's dinners comes to almost $35.

grilled porkchops $2.50
baked sweet potatoes .75
salad .75

beef hash (w/ leftover roast beef, potatoes and onions) $1.25
spiced carrots .50
apple slices .50

Turkey Chili Cheese Pasta Bake for boys $3.00
green beans .50

smoked ribs $6.00
spinach salad 1.00
Italian bread w/ bread dip .50

steak tostadas $3.50
black refried beans .75
corn .25

ribs $6.00
corn .25
baked potatoes .75

Pizza Night

Always check your receipts

Checkers can make mistakes. Computers can have incorrect information. Just because you watched everything ring up doesn't mean it was right. I was at Bakers today to pick up spareribs and several other of their sale items. When I got to the car I realized there was a $10 charge on my receipt. I didn't buy anything that expensive. Turns out one of the slabs of ribs didn't ring up at the sale price.

So I trudged back into the store with my receipt and the slab of ribs in question. I forgot that Bakers has a wonderful policy--if it rings up wrong, you get the item free! So I walked out with a free slab of ribs.

Since we're planning ribs as my birthday dinner this week, I feel like it was my birthday gift from Bakers! :)

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Menu Plan Week of 3/15

Last week went relatively well. I did decide to alter tonight's dinner because the boys got to go have free pan pizzas at Pizza Hut on Friday for lunch (school was closed). I also had to alter Friday's dinner quickly on the fly---I had made about 8 extra baked potatoes earlier in the week and threw them in the fridge. Friday, came home, set out all the stuff for soup, and when I went to grab the potatoes, I couldn't find them. Yes, my wonderful husband had ignored my declaration that the potatoes were for a second meal, and ate them. All of them. Fortunately he had taken my certificate for a honey baked ham in earlier in the week, so we had that for dinner along with a couple of quick sides. Gotta love free ham!!!

This week I'm trying two recipes from the new Everyday Food. A coleslaw recipe, and an interesting one for roasted cabbage wedges. (can you tell I took advantage of the cabbage sales this week??) I will let you know how they turn out.

Today I'm making a big pot of black bean soup using the ham bone. We will eat some of it tomorrow, freeze part, and use some for my lunches this week. Since I changed out tonight's meal, this is 8 dinners for 4, at around $35.

Sunday- chicken patty cordon bleu, sweet potatoes, salad, fresh pineapple ($4.25)
Monday- black bean soup, fresh baked tortilla chips, tomato corn avocado salad ($4.50)
Tuesday- brisket sammies, coleslaw, homemade steak fries ($4.50)
Wednesday- tacos, corn ($4.00)
Thursday- pierogies w/ italian sausage, italian seasoned green beans ($4.00)
Friday- grilled pork chops, broccoli, parmesan spinach and rice bake ($4.75)
Saturday- roast beef w/ onions & carrots, roasted cabbage, potato bake ($4.55)
Sunday- Pizza night ($5.00)

Saturday, March 13, 2010

I owe you guys pictures

Yes. I'm a loser. With the new schedule and all, we didn't get pictures taken of my face the night I started using my new birthday present. I need to get this done so you can see. Crazy. Started Tuesday and my nose is virtually clear already. Who knew? This thing actually works! :)

Weekly meal plan and an update of things happening here to follow...

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Day 2 of the new schedule and she lives!!!

Sunday night we got the kids prepped for the fact that Mom's hours would be different and that they would be seeing me in the morning again, and later than normal in the afternoon.

After packing a school lunch and laying out clothes for the boys, I set the crockpot up with steel cut oats, applejuice, raisins, chopped up apple, sprinkle of salt and a cinnamon stick for overnight oatmeal. Set it on low and crossed my fingers. (My last attempt at this wasn't so good. I overcooked it.)

Yesterday, I got up, got the boys dressed, myself dressed, ran downstairs to start coffee and discovered to my delight that the oatmeal turned out perfectly! Even better, I was able to apply eyeliner at home without fear of being half asleep and blinding myself. Good day!

Got home at 5:30, had everything pre-prepped, and we ate by 6:30. After we put the boys down we pulled 24 up on Tivo. I stayed up til 9:30!! That's like midnight for me LOL. Nice first night.

Tonight I won't get home until after 7, so I set up the potatoes in crockpot, and put everything else in the fridge with notes for hubby so he can feed the boys. The morning ran pretty smoothly again, and hubby had breakfast patrol, so I could focus on eyeliner again. I feel like such a big girl.

BTW....I got my Clarisonic yesterday afternoon...it was waiting for me on the porch. I didn't get to use it yet though because it needs to charge for 24 hours. I will be trying it out tonight.

Maybe I'll make it til 10 tonight. LOL.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Menu Plan Week of 3/8

Well, here we go, kids! A new week with a new schedule for me. I have been working this weekend to prep food where I can so nothing takes too long. We'll see how it goes :) We feed 2 adults, two boys, and 7 meals is under $35.

Monday 3/8
pulled pork nachos $2.50
guacamole $2.00
cantaloupe $1.00

Tuesday 3/9
baked parmesan crusted chicken breasts $3.25
baked potatoes in the crockpot .75
spiced carrots .50

Wednesday 3/10
grilled pork steaks with orange glaze $2.75
Sweet Potatoes with chili, cumin and lime $.75
broccoli .50

Thursday 3/11
chicken black bean and rice burritos with avocado slices $3.75 (made filling today and put in freezer)
pineapple $1.00

Friday 3/12
sweet italian sausage sandwiches w/ onions ands peppers in marinara $2.50
pasta salad $1.25
apple slices .50

Saturday 3/13
baked potato soup $3.00
salad .75
garlic bread .75

Sunday 3/14
pizza night $5.00
salad 1.00

Spiced Carrots

These are on the menu plan for this week, so I went ahead and made extras for the freezer as well.

2lbs. carrots, washed, peeled and cut into thick coins
1.5 cups apple juice
1 cinnamon stick
1t cumin
3/4t ginger
1/4t coriander
1t lemon zest
2t honey

In medium saucepan, combine carrots, along with everything but the zest and honey, and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat and simmer for around 8 minutes, until carrots are tender but firm. Remove from heat. Toss cinnamon stick, add zest and honey, toss to coat, and serve.
This worked out to 3 portions for our family, at a cost of under .50 per serving.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

I am so excited!

I just checked the UPS tracking and it looks like my early birthday present is going to be here Monday!!

I am generally a pretty frugal person, as you know. I do however, have a couple of areas I am content to spend more on--- my hair, and my skin. With long hair that never seems to get enough moisture, I've found that I just can't use less expensive shampoos and conditioners. No matter how many times I try. It ends up causing my hair to get dry, break, and look frizzy, and I end up spending more money in the long run to fix it. Not to mention the time and frustration as healthy hair grows back in.

The same goes for my skin. My mother harped and harped on the importance of a good skin care routine, and now that she's 62 with gorgeous skin, I'm a believer. I know many women who can use drugstore products with great success. Just like my hair, though, they just don't work out for me. (Except for the Burt's Bees Acne Wash- loove that stuff). I am okay with spending more if I end up with skin like my mom. I have the genetic part down, just need to make sure I equal the skin care part. :)

I have been drooling over this Clarisonic system for more than a year. People who have it RAVE about it. It cleans your skin far better, and helps clean out pores, which is major for me, as I still battle very mild acne from time to time. Allegedly it helps your moisturizers and serums work better, and I've seen many reviews that say their products stretch farther because they need less. I'm all about that!

So Monday I'm going to do something horrifying...let hubby take an up close picture of my face and pores without makeup! ACK! That way I can use it for a week, and then have him take new pictures so I can compare. I'll share the results with you. I am looking forward to the mad experiment! :)

New Schedule

Yes, in the immortal words of the Brady Bunch..it's time to change, you got to rearrange...

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that my schedule at work will be changing. For the past 5 years, I've been going to work at 4am, home mid afternoon. Now I will be shifting to a more normal 8 to 5-ish schedule (in theory, anyway). In my management position, I find it very easy for fires to erupt that could keep me at work later than intended.

This is something I really don't want. Pre kids, in my industry it was quite common for me to work 8 to 7 or 8, and that is just not acceptable. I know it will be unavoidable from time to time, and I'm okay with that, but it is really going to require a LOT of planning and discipline, both at work and at home to make all of this work for my family.

All of a sudden as of yesterday, this has been causing a little anxiety for me as I embark on the new schedule. I am praying for strength to overcome any new challenges, and for peace as I encounter things that I cannot control (bit of a control freak, that's me).

Let the adventure begin!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Cool freebie from $5 Dinners

Erin, the $5 Dinner Mom over at $5 Dinners, has a cool freebie for you to make your meal planning a little easier! I find that if have a plan, I stick to it, and it makes it easier to take things out of the freezer, etc. This saves time, money and frustration! Head over here to get your free meal planning template...thanks, Erin! This is awesome!!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Shopping this week

Well, I'm finally embarking to the stores today for the first time in a week! I am always impressed with women who can shop for 2 weeks at a time. Tough for me to do the way I shop for my stockpile. I end up needing to make several stops, even with price matching. And since I work during the week, I end up making a stop here, a stop there all across the week. Fortunately I'm very stocked and haven't been impressed with sales recently. So I should be able to get all of my weekly shopping done today and tomorrow, and I will post how I did. Hoping to be way under budget so I can put some extra money in the Christmas fund!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Menu Plan Monday 3/1 (and we've become a smoked bbq joint!)

The neighbors have to be jealous at the smells coming from our garage. Hubby has the smoker working at full power these days! This weekend, he did 2 yummy pork shoulders.
We enjoyed this for dinner last night and then divided it all up for the freezer. We will be using this meat in carnitas, nachos, and some other meals coming up in the next few weeks. At .99/lb., an amazing deal! Apparently, though, that wasn't enough. So we move on to the brisket that went into the smoker last night. First we had to trim it up.

Then I mixed together a nice rub.

Yellow mustard. Who knew it could be so useful in adding a little flavor and helping the rub to form a "crust".

We have the finished product on the menu for tomorrow. Looking forward to getting a taste when I get home!
While hubby was master smoker yesterday, I was at work in the kitchen. Using a $1.88 package of lean ground turkey, a .75 cent bag of kidney beans, my homegrown/homecanned tomatoes, and a mix of spices, I made a DELICIOUS pot of chili! This actually broke down into 5 different freezer portions to use as we need to. All for about $4.50.

I like to let the chili sit in the fridge overnight because I think it tastes better that way. We'll be enjoying chili tonight, and later this week as well.
On to the rest of the plan for the week. We feed two adults, a 7yr. old and a 4yr. old for 7 dinners. This week's plan comes in under $30, and is rich in whole grains, beans and fresh vegetables. (and copious amounts of cheese hehehe).
turkey chili w/ cheese and multi grain chips $2.50
corn .50
spinach and orange salad .75
beef brisket $5.00
whole wheat angel hair (.30) tossed in olive oil (.05) and parmesan (.15) .50
roasted asparagus (1/2lb. @ $1.49/lb.) .75
skillet cheesy penne pasta w/ meat sauce (using up leftovers from freezer and home canned tomatoes) $1.50
green beans .40
mixed greens salad .75
Pork carnitas tostads $2.50
refried beans .60
corn .50
chili dogs $2.00
steak fries .50
apples .50
pork fried rice $2.00
pot stickers $2.00
homemade pizza night $5.25