Wednesday, July 31, 2013

August Offerings

Ok, since we are going into August, I took an inventory of what we had in the fridge, pantry, and freezer. I'm hoping to get through a good portion of the month with the items we have, I've got a birthday for Kevin to celebrate at Chuck E Cheese, Mary and Kevin are going to need some school supplies (we have a bunch left form last year though, may need to just get each a new pair of sneakers), Sarah has her third tuition payment for LFCC, and three more books to rent, and the kids are going to be going to the dentist for September. I am going to have to increase our gas usage and costs to get my kid to her LFCC classes.

1 box raisin bran
1 box mini wheats *
1 container of old fashioned oats
1 box bran cereal
1 container of olive oil
2 small containers of veggie oil *
1 container of pancake syrup*
5 boxes flavored oatmeal
2 small containers of honey*
2 boxes mac and cheese
2 boxes of onion soup
2 corn muffin mixes
1 lb rigatoni
1 lb rotini*
1 lb black beans and rice
1/2 lb long grain rice*
2 sleeves Ritz type crackers*
baking powder*
1 gravy mix
tea bags
flour *
brown sugar*
powdered sugar*
10 various cans of tomatoes
1 peanut butter *
1 lb spaghetti
4 pumpkin bread mixes
hot chocolate
popcorn kernels
ice tea mix*
1 large can kidney beans
1 can of pork and beans

Left overs:
2 cups of pasta*
1 cup of pork and beans*
1 cup of "Italian veggies"*

Fruit Bowl:
2 apples
3 bananas

Open Condiments:
blue cheese dressing*
grape jelly*
apple butter*
fudge topping*
BBQ sauce*
Catalina dressing*
cream cheese*
take out soy sauce*
take out chili sauce*
take out arby sauce*

Fridge Items:
10 lb potatoes
3 lb onion
1 gallon punch*
2 yogurts
reconstituted dry milk
chip dip*
2 dozen eggs*
3 lb whole carrots*
grape tomatoes*
2 heads garlic
1/2 bag shredded carrot*
1 lb sliced cheese
2 English muffins*
7 sticks margarine

Freezer offerings:
4 packages of chicken thighs (5 lb each)
2 lb ground beef
2 hot dog rolls*
various bread crusts*
2 beef ribs
1/2 lb spaghetti sauce*
7 containers of hidden surprises*
cream cheese
8 oz mozzarella cheese

Frozen Veggies:
1 package of a farmer's blend
2.5 lb of Italian veggies
1/2 lb of Italian veggies*
1/2 lb Brussels sprouts*
2 lb broccoli
5 lb corn
2 lb peas
1 lb blueberries
1 lb spinach

The starred items are things that are opened, or close to being used up. I will work hard to get these items used in a proper manner. It will help decrease my grocery costs for the month. I will buy milk, bread, and fruit for the kids.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

7/30 dinner

I took out our last 3 lbs of ground beef. It's on one big lump and needs to be defrosted. I'm going to use some spaghetti sauce that is in the fridge, and some pasta to make spaghetti and meatballs.

The meat balls are going to use some of the ground beef, oatmeal (I need to get some nutrition into the kids), eggs, spices, and I think shredded carrot (again, it's the nutrition that is key). I will scoop them out with a small ice cream scooper (think petite), and use what left over mixture to bake a meat loaf for tomorrow's meal.

I have left over English muffins, and some lurking bread that can be used to make garlic parmesean bread (thinking those take out packets of "creamy butter spread), a small salad, and some frozen green beans will round this meal out. The kids will be pleased.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Dinner 7/28

My husband made a small package of beef ribs we bought on markdown about a month ago. He baked them in the oven and covered them in bbq sauce. We had a package of steamed peas/carrot/cauliflower mix to go with it.

Take out packets

Remember the take out packets that my daughter kept collecting???

Well, I took the forty ketchup packets, opened them, and placed all the ketchup in the bottle that was hanging out in the fridge. It gave us half a container of the stuff, and I won't have to buy any until maybe mid August.

Still haven't done anything with the Arby's sauce. I did look it up online, and it consist of ketchup, water, onion and garlic powder, and some other common ingredients. We could always use the stuff as a dip for french fries, or a topping for some oven baked chicken (we don't eat a lot of beef), or heck, maybe meat balls or meat loaf.


So, I'm on my fourth night at work in a few hours. I got up, had a cup of tea, and working on balancing my check book. I have things that have not cleared my account yet, but after they do, I will have 40 dollars until my next pay day. My vehicle has an appointment on Tuesday for a tune up, oil change, and maintenance check with the dealership. I was told this would run about 50 dollars, as I bought the car there in 2008.

When I'm working, I am usually running on less than 8 hours of sleep a day. When I'm at home, I usually get around 10 maybe 12 hours. I am one that needs to keep a regular schedule for sleeping, and if I get less than my body/mind needs, then I get terrible mood swings. Well, needless to say, I'm moody and glad that after tonight, I'm off until Wednesday.

My son is going to have his 15th birthday. He is a special needs kid, with autism, and has a developmental age of about 8=9 years old. We are going to Chuck E Cheese on Saturday for his party. I reserved a time and it has a cost of about 90 dollars. I made the down payment online, and will take some cash out of my savings account to pay for this.

My daughter (15 year old) will not be attending the party. She is going to the beach with her friend for a week. She will need some spending money.

My oldest daughter (18 yr old) has issues with impulsive behavior. She gave her notice at McDonald's and told me that she wants to "focus on college" when she begins in August. Seriously.....I can understand that she wants to study hard, and get decent grades, but come on...

Thank goodness that I am off after tonight for a few days. My mood gets terrible when I am sleep deprived. Dinners take a step back, and we tend to eat "just what ever" is hanging around.

Dinner 7/27

Working 12 hour night shifts, I woke up at 430 to get ready for the job. My daughter made a cup of tea, a toasted english muffin, and a bowl of raisin bran...the kids had cereal.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Dinner 7/26

My girls are making dinner. They have cut up some potatoes and onions and placed them in the oven. My daughter spices the potatoes with various things and cooks them until they are done. The girls decided that we were going to have keilbasa and steamed corn.....that's dinner folks when I have to work!!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

7/25 dinner

This is my first night back to work, and have four nights in a row. I don't know how much blogging I will get done in the mean time. I got paid today, and made a donation to CCAP (the local food pantry), and paid the bills.

I gave my husband 50 dollars to  run around with. I gave my daughter 20 to go to a party with. My husband bought some frozen pizzas for two of the kids and himself for dinner. I am having a cup of tea, and a bowl of cereal prior to going to work in a little bit.

It's official....

I just paid off the last of my husband's Target Card.,...using Dave Ramsey's site....We were in some massive debt, and have been working on it for a long time....beginning with the month of August, I will only have my mortgage and student loan for on going debt. I gotta start sinking money into my loving expense account....goal for 6 months 5,000.

I can't believe it!!!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Take out packets

My 18 year old is famous for getting take out when she gets paid. As a result, I have tons, and I mean tons, of take out condiment packets. I went through the fridge and found 4 jelly, one sweet BBQ, 9 packets of "arby sauce", 10 packets of soy sauce, 4 packets of "butter spread", and holy cow, 40 packets of ketchup....

The ketchup will be put into our lurking ketchup bottle, hoping to fill it up at least half way or more. It's almost empty and we have no spare bottle. The jelly packets can be used for toast and sandwiches. the BBQ will end up as a dipping sauce for one of the kids tonight. I am not sure what to do with the soy sauce. I could put it into a "fried rice" type of dinner, or use it in a beef or pork recipe. The butter spread will be used for cooking eggs. We have 1/2 lb of real butter left, and a pound of margarine sticks in the freezer, so this will come in handy. 

What do I do with the "arby sauce"??

7/24 dinner

I took chicken drumsticks out of the freezer. I have two bottles of opened lurking bbq sauce, and will become creative. We will be having bbq drumsticks in the crock pot. I'm going to place the meat and BBQ sauce in the crock pot, and cook on low until finished. I will add a thin sliced onion to go with it. We have numerous bags of frozen veggies I can choose from. I will make homemade french fries to go with the meal.

Homemade french fries:
peel and slice thin potatoes
heat up some veggie oil
place potatoes in oil and cook, turn and drain when "fried"
drain fries (we use the brown bags that are from the grocery store for this. place in bag, season, shake and drain at one time).
season with garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper

We usually have ketchup on the side. There's never any fries left. It's cheaper and healthier to make my own. We don't use any salt on our fries.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Change in plans

Our dinner plans turned into late lunch plans at 3. I had a late meeting at work for two hours. Home at 7 found hungry kids. We made some pasta and opened a jar of spaghetti sauce. Dinner is served!!

Dinner 7/23

We have a bunch of left overs to get rid of....dinner tonight will consist of the items from the past two nights. We have baked beans, some potato salad, a few pieces of chicken thighs, and a small amount of carrots/celery that was cooked with the chicken. We will have the stuff placed on the breakfast bar, and every one can pick and choose what they would like to have. There is a bunch of fresh fruit too, apples, pears, bananas, cherries that they can ponder over.


Sometimes, it's hard to keep up the "happy smiling face". I worked in the front and back yard yesterday, trimming lots of fruit bushes, pruning what was left after picking off the last of the fruit. I trimmed the rose bushes, cut the grass, and decided that next year, I may only grow what's in the yard now (blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries), instead of trying to manage more things that I have time for. I have tomatoes, cucumbers, potato (I harvested two "piles"), onion and garlic that didn't  make it. I also have a kiwi that loves to produce VINES!

We are blessed though in knowing that my staff nurse position at the hospital is secure for the time being. I had my annual review and received a 30 cent raise...which will amount to a little over 43 dollars a month. This will end up being worked into the budget. I have a savings account with 1000.00 for emergencies, and have 697.00 living expenses. My emergency account is at goal, and would like to have 5,000 for living expense goal. It's a work in progress. My family is healthy, strong, in good spirits, and doing overall pretty well. My kids are enjoying their summer, my husband enjoys staying home with the kids while I work without distress of knowing whether the home is being taken care of.

I am very tired. I love being able to provide for my family. I love being able to make sure my daughter has her college education. My kids mean the world to me, as does my husband. My second daughter will be a junior this year. I would like to get her a permit so she can learn how to drive. I would like to see her get a part time job, so she has some freedom. My son is going to be a freshman in high school. All these things require $$$$$.

Again, I am very tired. Prior to 2006, we were without internet, cable television, and was in danger of getting our home taken away. We lived off of food stamps and were struggling PRETTY BAD. When Is ay we are struggling now, it's usually due to the gallon of milk being gone, it's not like I am in danger of losing my home now. We have financial security (as much as possible), live in a nice town house, in a small community, and have peace within our home. I work night shift as it pays a nice differential 6.50 an hour, verses day shift.

Maybe I just need to go back to bed for a little bit. I work again on Thursday night, straight through until Monday morning.

Monday, July 22, 2013

College expenses...

My daughter will be starting at the local community college in August. I am paying for her tuition (she is going to have 8 credits, 950 dollars total), and will be renting her textbooks. I'm not usually this worried about finances, but I am stretching my own limits with paying for her to attend classes. She has a part time job at McDonald's, and will be responsible for paying for gas, wear and tear on a vehicle, and any of her supplies. She does NOT have her driver's license yet. We will be taking her back and forth, unless she can pick a ride with a fellow class mate. She will be attending two afternoons a week, Monday's from 1-4, and WEdnesday's from 11-4:00.

I am worried about the financial aspects of college. I filled out her FASFA and were turned down due to the amount of money I make. I could just pull the cash from my savings account to pay for this semester, but I wouldn't sleep well knowing that my cushion of 1650.00 was gone.

Any thoughts??  She is not responsible enough to accept a student loan. I still am paying on my student loan for nursing school (being 7 years out now). I don't want to have another loan hanging around.

120 dollar grocery shop

I went to the store with my husband and bought 120 dollars worth of groceries. I haven't been to the store in three weeks and we were out of a few things.

13 bottles of shampoo (had 4.00 off coupon if spent 10 dollars). Each one was 82 cents.
2 bottles conditioner 0.82 each
gallon milk 3.99
3 lb onion 1.99
2 lb cherries 1.99 lb
5 lb bananas 0.49 lb
2 lb pears 1.49 lb
green leaf lettuce 1.99 lb
pint of grape tomato 1.19 lb
two loaves of bread 0.99 each
16 count english muffins 3.00
2 lb keilbasa 0.99 each
10 lb potatoes 3.99
1 lb sliced cheese 2.00
1 lb sharp cheese 4.00 lb
three boxes of cereal 1.99 each (raisin bran, generic frosted mini wheats, almond crunch)
various canned tomatoes 0.79 each 10 total
two gallons of juice 0.99 each
1 muffin mix -0.99
some ice cream (treat for the kids) (box of 36 treats) 5.99
tiolet paper (12 rolls) 7.77
70 water bottles 9.00
3 12 packs of coke 11.00
2 lb pasta 0.79 each
2 grape jelly 0.79 each
1 48 oz jar of spag sauce 2.79
1 18 oz oatmeal 1.00
1 jar salsa 0.99
2 16 oz cream cheese 1.49 bundle

I have a nice stock of meats, and frozen veggies, so I didn't buy much in that department.


Tonight we are having hot dogs (frozen from the freezer), baked beans (can from the pantry), and I will make potato salad (potato, egg, mayo, various spices). We will also have hot dog buns (frozen in the freezer), ketchup, mustard, and chopped pickles (we have no relish) for toppings. Very easy to do at home, with little prep needed in advance.

Sunday, July 21, 2013


Sticky chicken is in the crock pot with three stalks of celery, and five large carrots. I had the last of the celery that I've been trying to use up, and still have a ton of carrots that need to be used. I buy the carrots in a five pound bag, and usually have no problems with using them. I have a few left. I dice the celery and carrot and place in the crock pot. I usually will add an onion, but I am out of those. I bought a lot of chicken thighs that were marked down to 63 cents a pound, and used 4.3 lbs for the sticky chicken recipe. I washed the thighs and seasoned with salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, thyme, parsley, and paprika. I sort of "rubbed the spice mixture in", under and on top of the skin. I placed all the chicken in the crock pot over the celery and carrots. It's on low and will be done this evening at some point. I use a meat thermometer to register 165 degrees....then we eat.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

7/20 dinner

I have some lurking items in the pantry that need to go. One of them is two packages of taco seasoning. I will only use one of them, and add some cooked ground turkey (our last lb), and maybe add a lb of ground chicken (the kids really don't care for it, but it will be hidden in taco seasoning). We have colby cheese that didn't get used in the shepard's pie last night. I can grate this up in the blender. I have found a recipe for a cucumber and tomato topping that can be useful in getting the last half tomato and two cucumbers out of the fridge. We also have the last bit of lettuce in the fridge that can be shredded to top the tacos. I forgot to mention that since we don't have hard shells, they are going to be soft shelled tacos. I also have some carrot and celery that can be mixed into the cucumber and tomato topping. Load these babies up with veggies!!!

We have a package of "mexican rice" in the pantry. I have left over long grain rice in the fridge. I'm going to cook the mexican rice, and add the long grain rice to it to stretch it further to feed the five of us.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Dinner 7/19

It's hot, but we are still going to cook. The air conditioning is running at a blissful 70 degrees....

We are having shepard's pie. I'm using the last bit of ground beef cooked. The last half of an old onion, the last of the soy sauce and cooked this together. I layed the meat in a baking dish, with the last bag of open frozen corn, added some onion powder, garlic powder, parsley and butter. I put eight potatoes in a pot and boiled them, mashed them with a small amount of butter, reconstituted powdered milk, and the last bits of colby cheese , and some sour cream that was lurking in the fridge.

It will be warmed up in the oven for about 30 minutes later. A small salad will be served too.

What's been cooking????

On July 16 my husband thawed out 3 lb of ground beef, and made chili using some of the items we have in our pantry. We still have 2 lb left of ground beef in the fridge.

On July 17th I was working and my husband bought frozen pizzas.

On July 18 we went out for dinner.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Dinner 7/15

I have to work tonight, tomorrow, and Wednesday. I took an early nap and now I'm awake, getting the rest of my day started. I have our only package of bone in pork chops in the oven, with parsley, mustard seed, corriander, and garlic. My daughter is putting long grain rice in the steamer. I don't know which veggie we will have yet. I have tons in the freezer. We will be having the ever present salad fixings that were given to me.

fruit cobbler, cookies

Since the kids are beginning to wake up, I made two cobblers this morning, and peanut butter cookies. The kids will have apple cobbler, and a blackberry/blueberry cobbler (fruit was from my garden), and warm peanut butter cookies.

Sometimes, I hate going to the store. I'd rather put something together from my pantry.

Sunday, July 14, 2013


dinner tonight was pancakes, using a recipe from my basic cook book. a little bit of flour, reconstituted milk, eggs, oil, butter, sugar, salt, and some cinnamon.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Dinner 7/15

Tonight's dinner is home made pizza. We are using our last two whole wheat artisan crust, some lurking spag sauce (the rest will go into the freezer), and a small amount of mozzarella cheese I had in the freezer. I will be making a small salad to go with this using some lurking lettuce, tomato, onion, cucumber, shredded carrot, and cheese.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Way to use up apples

We need a snack to use up all the apples that were given to me. I still have 2 bags sitting on my counter.

(from Dorie Greenspan)

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
4 large apples (any kind you like, mix and match)
2 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
3 Tbs rum (or apple schnapps, or Calvados)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 stick butter, melted and cooled

Heat the oven to 350F.  Butter a 8-inch springform type pan with butter and set aside.

Peel and core the apples, cut them roughly in 1 inch chunks. Reserve.

In a small bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, and salt.   In a large bowl, beat the eggs with a whisker until frothy, add the sugar and whisk until smooth.
Add the rum, vanilla extract, and mix well.  Add half of the flour mixture, mix until fully incorporated, pour half of the butter and whisk to combine.   Add the rest of the flour, then the rest of the butter.

Pour the thick batter over the apples, and use a silicone or plastic spatula to mix them gently, trying to cover each piece with some of the batter.   The mixture will seem too thick, and you will be tempted to use less apples.  Do not.  Trust Dorie. Pour the mixture in the prepared pan, use a fork to level the apples as much as possible, but don’t worry too much about it.

Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until golden and a cake tester comes out clean when inserted at the center of the cake.  Remove the pan to a rack and let it cool for 5 minutes before opening the sides.

Dinner 7/12 and 7/13

Last night's dinner consisted of cheese and pepperoni pizza. I got paid and we bought it from Little Ceaser's for five dollars each.

We still have a freezer, pantry and fridge full to the seams. I am working for the nest six nights. My husband told me that he was going to make us some huge salads using some lurking produce that has been hanging out in the fridge. Lettuce, tomato, shredded carrot, celery, onion, cucumber, and crumbled cheese.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Dinner 7/10

My husband went out with my daughters last night. It was dinner for two. My son wasn't very huingry, and he requested peanut butter toast.

I had a cucumber and tomato sandwich.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Friend's going away

on vacation and unloaded a bunch of produce to me...OMG I hit the mother load!!

two various kinds of lettuce
half a head of cabbage
1 lb shredded carrot
1 large cucumber
a few eggs
half gallon of milk
several single serve yogurts


There were also various tea bags, crackers, hot chocolate, and other items. She was cleaning out her pantry, and handed this stuff over to me!!!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

7/9 dinner

We are currently unpacking from our trip. I have a few tomatoes from the garden, black berries, and blue berries from the yard.

I'm going to make some black and blue berry cobbler for dessert.

I'm making veggie spag sauce tonight, served over some thin spaghetti, with parmesean cheese, and a small salad.

In the sauce:
two stalks of celery
two large carrots
two soft tomatoes
half lurking green pepper
half lurking red pepper
and added a can of crushed tomato

It will turn into the most awesome tasting spag sauce!!

The salad will be some lettuce, tomato, onion, and cucumber with lurking dressings.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Took a break from blogging

Hi there

I took a brief break from blogging, but we have certainly been busy. My daughter graduated from high school. We enrolled her in the local community college and are paying tuition. My other daughter finished tenth grade with very nice grades. My son is doing well, he will be starting ninth grade soon.

We took the kids to a water park (big bucks), went to Rhode Island to see friends and family, had a huge picnic (big bucks), had a graduation party, and went to see several movies. My last and final big ticket item will be for my son's birthday.

We have spent big big money this summer. But I paid cash for it, never dipped into my savings account, and did not overdraft the bank. I wanted to make sure that my kids were enjoying their summer vacation. We are heading back to RI this morning, and will be home this evening at some point.

Dinner tonight will be what ever snack is hanging around in the car. I'm thankful that I am coming home to a well stocked freezer, pantry, and know how to STRETCH those meals until they protest.