Monday, March 31, 2014

Homemade spaghetti sauce...

The spaghetti sauce is pretty good. It made enough for the five of us, with thin spaghetti and meatballs for all. I have some spaghetti left for my daughter, since she is working until 10, and lots of garden style sauce for another night. My husband thought that dinner was amazing. We have some leftover steamed asparagus for tomorrow's dinner.

I'm thinking that we are going to have a repeat tomorrow for dinner. I have some ziti that needs to be finished up. A good portion of sauce will be placed in the freezer for meals in April.

Results of interview...

Dress clothes are not my thing. I gotta get out of them in a few minutes.

So, I went to the interview. It was amazing. I was asked a few questions. I was asked about my preference for ICU. I mentioned that in my heart, I belong in ICU. The director made a lot of references to med/surg unit and the staff being RN's with one or two years experience. I have been an LPN for 4 years, and RN for almost 4 years. I have a few years of nursing behind me.

She asked me if I had any objections to night shift. The opening is on night shift (my preferred shift). I explained that night shift works better for my family, and it's what we are used to.

I have a second interview on Thursday at 330 with the Director of HR. I have a third interview at 4 with the Director I interviewed with today, and a few of her staff RN's. I was invited to attend their staff meeting at 5 until 6:30 on Thursday.

She mentioned when all the interviews were over, if I wanted the opportunity to "shadow" one of her nurses. I accepted. I am not sure when that will be.

I left my portfolio with her. She said she would take good care of it until Thursday.

OMG. I am so excited.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Planning ahead continues....using it up.

I had three small bowls of bean soup left after dinner. They are in containers with tops, dated, labeled, and put in freezer.

Using things up....the thinking continues to support a fragile budget right now. Tomorrow is the end of March, and I still have funds in my checking account, the bills are paid, and I am working on Mid April's expenses. I have not touched my savings account at all.

Looking around the kitchen, I have some colored peppers (red, yellow, orange) that are going soft. I took six small ones (thinking baby size) and diced them up. I have two cloves of garlic that are also chopped up. I had a can of mushrooms (4 ounces) that need to be used. I drained them and chopped them up. I took one large onion, peeled, sliced and chopped small. I will add some dry basil to this in the AM. This is all in a bowl in the fridge for the AM.

I have half a jog of Prego in the fridge. More on that in a little bit.

I have a 28 ounce can of crushed tomatoes in the pantry. I have one pound of thin spaghetti that needs to go. I am thawing out a pound of ground turkey. I will be making meatballs in the AM, using the ground turkey, reconstituted dry milk, two eggs, some seasoned breadcrumbs, onion and garlic powder, along with some basil. I will bake the meat balls in the oven, then transfer to the crock pot. I will add the crushed tomatoes, the peppers, garlic, onion, mushrooms, and a small amount of Prego to the crock pot.

It's going to simmer all day. I will boil some of the thin spaghetti, serve it with the "garden style" spaghetti sauce and meat balls. The kids are kind of "iffy" about the homemade spaghetti sauce, so I have the Prego just in case.

We are going to have steamed peas and asparagus on the side. I have no fresh produce for a salad right now.

Exciting stuff.... one pair of dress pants and top are hung and drying nicely for my interview tomorrow. My portfolio is FINISHED, and looks great. I copied and printed out my resume yesterday at Staples and have that in place. I need to find something to wipe off the front of the folder. It looks like something sticky was on the front of it.

But I am excited and pray that I get this transfer position. It's not from lack of trying, as I have many transfer applications put in at my company.

My husband seems to think I have the position, since I was granted the interview. He seems to think that once I walk in there and present myself, it's a WIN WIN. He said that all I have to do is be myself and show them my smile.

I wish I had that feeling. I'm nervous, but so excited.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Planning ahead...using things up.

Since my husband paid a HUGE amount of money for that ham we had last night, we are using it up, and making it last.

The kids still have 1/4 plate of sliced ham for tomorrow's sandwiches. They used a good portion of ham today for their lunch today.

We used a small amount of ham "fat" for our eggs and hash browns tonight.

I took out the last two cups of pinto beans that were in the pantry. The bag is empty, placed in the recycling, and the beans are soaking on the stove top until tomorrow AM. I have half an onion that needs to be used (it will be peeled and chopped). We have four lurking carrots that are thin looking (We have a 5 lb bag but it's not open yet, this is the last of a 2 lb bag we had) and need to be used.
In the morning, I will finish rinsing the pinto beans, slice up the onion, dice up the four carrots, and take that awesome ham bone I have in the freezer in the crock pot. I will add some water to cover everything, and set it on low to simmer for at least 8 hours. We will have ham and bean soup for dinner tomorrow.

It should not need too much in the way of spices.

Frugal Five I did...

1. washed laundry in cold water, using less detergent than recommended, hanging up to dry.
2. balanced my checkbook, didn't spend any money with the exception of gas for the car this week.
3. Went to a family celebration for my anniversary, budget 50 dollars, spent 47 of it for the five of us.
4. Eat all the leftovers, no food waste this week.
5. Stayed out of the stores.

dinner 3/29

So, using some of the ham that my husband bought in the most frugal way possible...
I am going to use some of the ham fat to fry eggs and shredded hash browns for dinner. It's two eggs a person, with a handful of hash browns. I have some frozen strawberries (put in the freezer a while ago, since I wasn't going to eat all of them) that I am going to take out for the children's plates. We also have one banana left that needs to be eaten. It will be sliced and put on the kids plates with their meal.

My husband and I will have eggs and hashbrowns only(we are leaving the fruit for the kids).


I am patiently waiting on Monday, March 31 for an interview at a hospital located about 30 minutes away, for a RN position in ICU/Float Pool/Med Surg unit. I meet with the director at 11:30 Monday, and I have a few things to do to get ready for this.

1. Find my one pair of dress pants and matching top.
2. Finish cleaning up my portfolio.

I heard from my previous supervisor. I will be paid for 36 hours on April 3rd. This is part of the agreement we had for the two week suspension. I will be paid for one week due to the peer review committee not getting back to my director on time with their findings.

I will also be paid for two weeks of paid leave to help with the transfer process. I am not sure if this is in the April 3rd check, or April 17th check.

The bills have to be paid. I have not touched my savings, and still have 800-900 in my checking. All of MArch's expenses have been counted for a week and a half ago. I am working on mid April's expenses, and May's bills.

The needs around here show that we will be going to the grocery store at some point this coming week.

Friday, March 28, 2014

That expensive ham....

was awesome to have with some left over mashed potatoes, left over steamed corn, beans, and some peas. Like I thought, the potatoes, corn, and beans are gone. We have a small container of peas left in the fridge.

The ham:
served five "adult" meals.
one plate of sliced ham for weekend sandwiches for the children.
put the bone in the freezer.
one cup of ham "stock" for the freezer.
two containers of "sliced ham" for meals in April (freezer)
One container of diced ham for April meals (freezer)
one cup of ham "scraps" for the freezer.
a small container of ham "fat".

I'm thinking that the ham scraps will be used for omelets at some point.
The ham bone will be used for bean soup.
The plate of sliced ham is for kids lunches this weekend.
The ham stock will be put towards a soup.
The sliced ham and diced ham will be put towards some kind of breakfast.

The ham fat  will be used for tomorrow's dinner. I'm going to use it to fry eggs and hashbrowns. I am almost out of margarine in the fridge. So, this will be used instead.

Dinner 3/28

My husband sells things on the internet/amazon/ebay/yard sales. Some times he does well, and other times it's a complete flop. Well, he sold some of his things (I used to call it crap, but I guess it's not since people bought the stuff) and bought a very small ham. It's 7 pounds and cost a FORTUNE!! He said that he didn't look at the price, but just picked it up and thought it would be great for dinner. (I love him for thinking about the five of us). So, he paid 2.19 a lb for a 7 lb ham. He was so excited that he called me (I was at an appointment and on my way home) that he had a surprise for the two of us. I love him!!!!!

I told him that we would treat this baby like GOLD.

Tonight's dinner is baked ham, leftover mashed potatoes (from Tuesday), leftover steamed corn and green beans (from Tuesday), and a small serving of steamed peas.

I expect that we will finish of the corn, beans, and potatoes tonight. The ham will be sliced, packaged away for the freezer. Some will be put towards weekend lunches for the children, bone will be wrapped well and put into the freezer, and the stock will be put into a container and placed in the freezer.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Exciting news...

...the past 24 hours have been a whirlwind of excitement...I'm very tired and thankful at the same time.

Review of last night's dinner:
The from scratch pizza crust was just OK in taste. It was pretty bland but the thin crust held up well against the massive amounts of various veggies I put on top of it. I did use the last two slices of deli ham for the children's pizza. There was nothing left!!

Work Stress:
Well, I went to my meeting. It was not what I was expecting. I was expecting to be terminated. I was offered a transfer to another RN position. I accepted the transfer, and HR is going to assist me with what RN options are available. I put in applications for transfer, and the director of another hospital (in the same company, about 30 minutes way) emailed me and said that she was excited to see someone with my background (Bachelor's degree in nursing, critical care and anesthesia experience) looking for a possible transfer into her unit. It's a medical surgical unit, with possible ICU (which in my heart, I love) exposure. I emailed her back, and we are discussing which day, Monday or Tuesday would be better for the interview.

My boss and HR decided that they were going to pay me for another two weeks, while I'm looking at transfer options (since during the suspension, it came to light I was not at fault).

I am so thankful.

Home Life:
Today's my 21st anniversary, 25 years if you want to include living together with my husband. I took 50 dollars out of my checking account, and the five of us went to Chipolte. It's a mexican grill with all fresh foods. It was awesome.

Three of us went to the dentist. I have no cavities. My daughter has one, my son has two. I am blessed to be able to keep my health insurance while I am transferring out of a previous position.

Home Life:
made a from scratch cake, improvised on the frosting. Used what was left of some tub of chocolate, and added a little milk and powdered sugar. I also made some gingerbread cookies.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Dinner 3/26

Well, I have a meeting at work this morning. I have been out of work for two weeks, with one of those weeks paid with my APL. Today's meeting is the result of all the leadership thoughts, results of the peer review, and the conclusions of everything. Needless to say, I'm anxious, with a headache, and feel like I want to puke (TMI I'm sure).

No breakfast for me. The kids have a two hour delay due to ice and wind (45 MPH).

Tonight's dinner is going to be a crowd pleasing one. I'm going to make two pizza's for the five of us. One will be a cheese pizza for the children, and the second one will be a red/orange/yellow peppers, onions, mushrooms (leftover canned mushrooms that I didn't finish that were put into the freezer), and garlic.

I am going to use a recipe I found off the computer for the crust and put it in my bread machine. I have some lurking block cheese (muenster I think, and some sliced provolone) that can be used, and I have some opened Prego Spaghetti sauce in the fridge (I won'use it all, it's a large container).

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Dinner 3/25

Dinner last night was a big success. We finished off the lurking left over pasta for mac and cheese. There was no steamed corn left over, and we had half a chicken thigh left, which I put with a mixing spoon full of carrots in the freezer (for soup). I had a moderate amount of stock at the bottom of the crock pot which I put in a container, let it cool, and then put it in the freezer.
The kids finished off the pumpkin bars I made from the prepackaged mix I bought at Sharp Shopper.

So, tonight is:
thin breaded pork chops (five pork chops, two eggs, reconstituted powdered milk, seasoned breadcrumbs from the dollar store)
mashed potatoes (margarine, reconstituted powdered milk, onion and garlic powder, 5 medium potatoes)
steamed green beans (the last of the package I had in the freezer)
steamed corn (the last small amount I had in an opened package, one unopened package still in freezer)

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Dinner 3/24

I am ahead of myself this evening...I have a package of four chicken thighs in the fridge. I washed the chicken and put it aside. More on that in a minute...

Sticky Chicken
homemade mac and cheese (using left over pasta)
steamed corn

I peeled 4 large carrots and put it into the crock pot. I have two small onions that are looking very sad (I peeled them, and cut off the bad YUCK parts). I have a recipe that I found on
I put the spices together in a container and shook it well. I put some of the spice mixture on a plate and placed the rest of it in the fridge. I coated the chicken thighs with some of the spice mixture and placed the thighs on top of the carrots and onions. It is going to sit overnight in the fridge and will be plugged in the AM.

Steamed corn will be served with the chicken, carrots, and onions. The kids like buttered corn.

The mac and cheese...I am using the leftover pasta from the other night. I am going to make a white sauce (butter, flour, milk, cheese). After making the white sauce, I will add the leftover pasta to it, and serve it as "mac and cheese".

I am not anticipating any chicken leftover. I'm going to take the bones/skin off prior to giving it to the children. The stock that will be left over will go into the freezer (used when times are tough), and I will make a second round of stock form the bones/skin.

Dinner 3/23

My daughter was at the grocery store last night after she got out of work. She bought some beef strips (OMG I can't believe the price 4.99 lb), and two packages of red beans and rice from Lipton.

My husband is going to cook the beef strips and red beans and rice. Apparently he's going to combine the two of them after it finishes cooking. I asked him to steam some broccoli to go with it. We need some veggies to go with this. We are also going to slice up two bananas and a handful of raisins on the side. The kids need fruits and veggies with their meals.

I also made some pumpkin bars for later as a dessert.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

The chili....

that my husband made was great. We had two serving containers that we labeled and dated for the freezer. Frozen chili makes for a great meal when finances are difficult in the coming weeks. We have one container of leftover chili for lunches for those who want it tomorrow.

We have a few things hanging out in the fridge. I think it's going to be a clean out the fridge for dinner tomorrow. We have two servings of pasta, the chili, some salad fixings, and a few other things.

Everyone was home today. So, we all had organic whole oats with brown sugar and flax, finished off the lurking tomato soap in the pantry for lunch, and the kids had sandwiches with their soup (my dh and I had just soup), and we had the chili for dinner.

I put 20 dollars worth of gas in my car. It's priced 3.29 a gallon right now, and I took my special ed kid to the park for 90 minutes. He loved it, I walked around the parameter of the play ground at the park while he was playing. We both had some exercise and sunshine.

He also helped me rake up the front yard. My neighbor's tree decided to leave a bunch of acorn/chestnuts (who really knows that they are, I don't) all over my front yard. My special ed kid and I raked everything up, bagged it, and my husband and girls took it to the landfill (they have a yard waste area that gets turned into mulch).

Overall, a good day.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Planning for the weekend...using things up.

The pasta from tonight was put in two different containers for the fridge. I divided the meatballs into two different containers, placed some sauce over it, labeled and dated, then put into the freezer. The sauce that wasn't used was dated and put into the fridge.

I was talking to my husband and asked him if he would make a crock pot of chili tomorrow. I have pinto beans (dry that are currently soaking) and asked him if he minded if we used those instead of going to the store for kidney beans. He didn't object (he's such a wise man). So, the pinto beans are soaking. I took two small onions, two garlic cloves, a 28 ounce of canned crushed tomatoes, a 8 ounce can of tomato sauce, basil, paprika, chili powder, and have one large green pepper, with several small red, yellow, orange peppers that I will cut and dice in the AM. I have some sharp cheddar that I will grate to serve with it.

There's no sour cream. It's meatless, and the grated cheese offering will be small portions. I might make a loaf of homemade bread in my ABM. I am not spending any money picking up things at the store. It's making due and using what we have available.

Meat balls...

The one lb of ground beef, with two eggs, some reconstituted powdered milk, seasoned breadcrumbs, one small onion, a garlic clove, and pepper made.....

35 meatballs!!!!

I use a measuring tablespoon to make the meat balls. We used 15 of them (they are very small) for the five of us, and the rest will go into the freezer. Love when it works out.

The left over spaghetti sauce (3/4 of 67 ounce jug), and pasta will go into the fridge. We finished off the left over green beans, and made a very small salad. There's still some salad left for lunch tomorrow, or sometimes, my husband will eat it later in the evening.

Work Stress...continued.

My manager called just a few minutes ago. He asked me if I went to my meeting this morning. I said that I was there, signed in, attended, and left when it was over. He said that he didn't need any details, but just wanted to know if I was there. He said that they haven't gotten any results yet, and the folks in the meeting haven't contacted my manager about it.

So, they are going to pay me for this weekend, at my base rate of pay. He asked me if I was OK with that. I am going to get 36 hours of pay on my next pay day, minus my insurance, taxes, etc.

I said, "Yes, that would be great. I appreciate it". SCORE!!!

Frugal Things....

1. We turned the heat down to 67 degrees.
2. We called the cable company and received a lower rate for one year. Saved 36 dollars a month.
3. It was nice outside yesterday, hung laundry out back instead of in the laundry room.
4. Paid the last of March's bills (no late fees).
5. Balanced the checkbook (no overdrafts, no extra costs)
6. Found that my husband had coke rewards to cash in, and will receive free soda coupons in a few weeks (score, he drinks soda, I don't).
7. Found shampoo for 77 cents this week, with a 2.00 off 10.00 purchase.
8. Shoveled snow on the my exercise!
9. Finished all the left overs we had.
10. Made my own french toast topping (kids loved it)
11. Measuring out cat food/dog food
12. Baking cookies (2 dozen cookie mix at Sharp Shopper 3 for 1.00)
13. I was 224 pounds, since all the stress and chaos in my life, I am down to 215. It's frugal, I am eating two small meals a day. At first, one meal a day was a challenge.
14. My daughter had a hole in her pants, along the zipper line. Well, I sewed it closed with a repair kit I found on my desk (My dd bought it a long time ago). It looks great, and only noticeable if you look really hard. I don't think anyone is going to get that close to my DD to check it out.

Work stress....

and lack of pay due to a suspension, pending various meetings with leadership/staff/peer reviews.
I got paid yesterday for the previous two weeks. I paid my car insurance, student loan, a payment to my home equity loan, and the electric bill. The suspension is without pay, and I am not able to use my accrued time earned. I have been out of work 36 hours now, and this weekend will make 72 hours (since I work Fri, Sat, Sun).

I have more than half my pay still in the checking account, and haven't touched my savings account. I had two meetings this week to attend. I am hoping to hear back by early next week. I am pretty sure there will be nothing done over the weekend. I have 3800 in my savings, and 1200 in my checking right now. That's after I paid the bills yesterday.

I figured I might as well start looking for another full time position. I filled out three online applications/sent my resume/cover letters out yesterday.

I had to speak to my husband about his spending. He is supportive with my emotional status, but really doesn't understand what's going on with my work stress. He knows what cash is in my account (we have separate checking/savings), and is trying to help me cope.

It's great to have someone who cares so much.

Dinner 3/21

Pasta sauce
green beans

The ziti I bought earlier this month at Dollar Tree. It's 20 ounces for 1.00. I'm going to cook have the bag. The spaghetti sauce is Prego in a 67 ounce jug. I'm not using all of it. The green beans are from the freezer. They will be steamed, and served with a small salad (lettuce, tomato, the last of the cucumber, some onion). The meatballs are going to be made with 85 percent low fat ground beef, one or two eggs, parsley, onion powder, garlic powder, some breadcrumbs (found at Dollar Tree, 24 ounces for 1.00), and reconstituted powdered milk. The meatballs will be baked in the oven at 325. I can usually get about 20 meatballs from one lb of ground beef. Some of the meatballs will be put aside for another meal.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Cable costs......a major expense.

I am currently paying 183 dollars for an extended basic cable package (includes home phone, internet, television). When we signed up for the cable, we had a home phone (we no longer have this, got rid of a home phone a few years ago), and we needed internet access. The extended basic cable package did not have premium movie channels, but it did have lots of kid friendly cartoon channels, lots of sports (we don't watch sports channels), and a few extra news stations (We like CNN).

So, I asked the kids to write down on a piece of scrap paper the other day their favorite TV channels. It's time to get back to the basics at home. My husband is on the phone with the cable company to get rid of any channels from 100 plus. My kids, husband, and I  like to watch the following:

15 Local News Channel
18 Public School Channel (provides real time updates)
39 CNN
44 USA
49 TBS
56 Animal Planet
61 AMC
67 Cartoon Network
69 True TV (my kids are into reality shows)
72 Food Network

The one kid who will have a hard time with this, will be my special ed kid. He's a major TV watcher, loves to listen to any and all of the kid channels that are channel 100 plus. I'm going to have to talk to him this afternoon when he gets home from school.

My husband called to see if the cable company could give us a reduced rate. He was quoted 147 dollars. It's a 30 something dollar savings. It's a start.

Dinner 3/20

Scrambled eggs
fried potatoes
turkey bacon

I am using up the last of the lurking eggs, since I just bought a new pack from the store yesterday. I am going to fry some potatoes with a little onion, hand out a few strawberries, and finish up the 1/2 lb of turkey bacon strips I had in the freezer. The bacon was first used back in February, and we only used half of it then. So, tonight it's breakfast for dinner. 

I have three large odd shaped potatoes in the fridge crisper that I'm going to peel and dice small. They will be pan fried with some onion, and a few teaspoons on butter. The eggs will be just that, scrambled, and the bacon will be cooked on my hot plate. 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Dinner 3/19

Since I went to the store, I'm making a very unhealthy dinner for the family. We are going to have steamed/boiled hot dogs, french fries baked in the oven, canned baked beans, steamed veggies (green beans or peas), and a small salad. (I still have some produce).

The kids will have to go without hot dog buns, since I didn't buy any at the store. We have ketchup/mustard for condiments, and if they want it, I have some onion that I can chop up for their hot dogs.

I gotta say, we are not used to having the heat at 67 degrees. Call me spoiled, but it's chilly in the house. We have blankets on the sofa for this reason, but it's noticeably chilly. I have to find a sweatshirt to put on.


...since I paid the mortgage yesterday for April, I stopped at the vet to pick up my dog's heart pill, CVS to get some shampoo, and Sharp Shopper to get some groceries. I also had a therapy appointment to get some support for the stress that I am going through.

3 pks coke (this is going to have to be thought about, I can't afford it on a regular basis for my DH) 9.00
14 bottles of VO5 77 cents each
I scanned my loyalty card and received a 2 dollar off 10 dollar purchase of shampoo.
Spent 19.38


Sharp Shopper:
20 rolls of 1,000 ct toilet paper 9.99 (BIG DEAL, my husband is so funny. He said, "well, we can now wipe our butts with confidence". He is able to make me laugh when I am so stressed and overwhelmed emotionally).
2 gallons of skim milk
various colored peppers
bananas 0.44 lb
4 lb sugar 1.79
60 ct swiss miss hot chocolate 3.99
3 boxes of cereal 0.99 each
strawberries 0.99 quart only bought one
3 boxes of organic maple and brown sugar oatmeal with flax 0.33 each
4 boxes of mac and cheese (betty crocker) 0.33 each
3 pumpkin bar mixes (bags 3 for 1.00)
3 gingerbread cookie mixes 3 for 1.00
one hard taco mix 0.99
ketchup 20 oz 50 cents
bbq sauce
5 lb generic ziti 2.99 (SCORE, my low price was the 20 oz for 1.00 at Dollar Tree, prior to that it was 79 cents a lb at Sharp Shopper).
2 plastic tubs of Prego Mushroom Spaghetti sauce (67 ounces each) 3.99
2 28 oz cans of crushed tomato
1/2 lb sliced provolone cheese 1.58
8 oz sliced ham 0.99 (bought two)
8 oz block of colby, sharp cheese 1.90 each
2.5 dozen eggs 3.59
5 lb carrots 2.49
2 gallons of juice 0.99 each
20 ct oscar mayer hot dogs 1.49
1.83 lb of chicken thighs 0.99 lb paid 1.81
1.86 kb chicken thighs 0.99 lb paid 1.84
0.61 lb thin pork chops 2.49 lb paid 1.52  (bought two)
0.59 lb thin pork chops 2.49 lb paid 1.47
1.06 lb thin pork chops 2.49 lb paid 2.64
5 lb bag of shredded hash browns 1.99

Total 87.11 at Sharp Shopper.

I am done for March Shopping.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

A couple of thoughts....

The from scratch french toast cinnamon vanilla topping was very sweet, but my kids thought it was "the bomb". We have 3/4 of it left in a mug for the fridge. We will be using this in the future. I was surprised when I was making it. I didn't think it was going to reduce well, but it worked out pretty well. I didn't have heavy cream, and used reconstituted fat free milk.

Dollar Tree detergent is great. It is a little thin, but I only use half a cap full. It works well, does the job cleaning our laundry, and there's not a strong scent. It's a very faint smell and doesn't linger when the clothes are hung to dry.

Dollar Tree fabric softener is a pretty good deal, as long as you use it sparingly. The bottle states it will last for nine loads. It's a 11 ounce bottle, and the directions say to use 2 cap fulls. I use 1/2 a cap full for each load. It doesn't leave a lingering strong scent and does the job when I hang laundry to dry.

I got a call from the vet regarding Jackson. He was supposed to go to SPAY VA on Monday for his snipping. It got cancelled because of the snow day. The vet told me that he needs another vaccination, and it's going to have to be put on hold.

We are using those grocery store bags to line two small trash cans in the bathrooms. I am also using them to clean up the cat litter. I emptied the big bag of cat food that was 1/4 full into a smaller container. I'm using the cat food bag as a kitchen trash bag. I will use the larger grocery store bags as kitchen trash bags too. It keeps the "real trash bags" under the sink.

My other hound dog has a refill on her heart medicine. I pick it up tomorrow. 44 dollars.

We turned the heat down to 67 degrees. It has been set to 70 for a LONG time. This is a big change for us. I'm hoping to be able to keep it off beginning of April.

The bank account....I have every cleared that I wrote checks out for. I just paid April's mortgage this afternoon, and still have some cash in the account. I have not touched my savings account and still have 3800 in it. It's my safety net and I am scared to access it. I will if I have no other choice.

Still waiting on the news about work....I am not good at waiting. It's stressful and chaotic for me.

Ya gotta do what you gotta do.

Using it up.....

Using the link that was sent to me in a previous comment (Thanks Carol), I looked up the recipe and found that I have enough ingredients to make a french toast syrup for the kids dinner. I am going to substitute the heavy cream, since we don't have it, and don't need the calories, for reconstituted fat free powdered milk. 

1 cup water
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon double strength vanilla extract
Combine the water and the sugar in a heavy saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat.

Keep stirring until the sugar dissolves. Keep boiling until syrup is reduced to about 1 cup.

Remove from heat and whisk in the cinnamon, cream, and vanilla.

Keep warm until served, can be refrigerated for up to about 2 weeks. Rewarm before serving.

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Dinner 3/18

So, we still have some chicken pot pie left, but we need a break from the husband told me last night, "I want you to pluck out my feather". I gotta hand it to him, he can make me laugh when I am completely stressed out. The kids are back to school today, and my oldest daughter didn't have to work today. She's sleeping, since she worked last night. The half of chicken pot pie that is left will be for lunches for three of us that are home.

I save all the bread end crust. My kids don't like to eat them with a sandwich, and I've gotten creative over the years. So, I save the end pieces of bread in a container, put them in the freezer, and when there's enough, we make french toast.

So, it's French Toast tonight with a dusting of cinnamon/sugar (ground cinnamon mixed with some sugar), or a dusting of powdered sugar. I don't have any pancake syrup right now, and am not going to spend the money for it.

What I am using:
bread crust ends
a few eggs
reconstituted powdered milk
a teaspoon of vanilla extract
powdered sugar/cinnamon sugar

Monday, March 17, 2014

Frugal lunch...using it up.

We had chicken/onion/pepper/garlic fajita meat filling to use up. We still had some shredded lettuce and diced tomato to use up, along with taco sauce. It made two fajitas on soft tortilla shells.

I had some left over chicken from last night to use. I diced it up, added the four take out packets of BBQ (my dd gets a lot of take out at work GRRRRRR and brings home the packets she doesn't use). I called this BBQ chicken and offered it to the children on the soft tortilla shells.

My husband and I had one fajita each and finished the filling, There's still some lettuce/tomato/taco sauce left. My three kids each had a BBQ chicken on a tortilla shell. There's enough left for them to have another if still hungry.

I just want to say, we don't have to serve meals that resemble Thanksgiving all the time. I figure it's easier to serve smaller meals and use up the left overs for a quick help your self lunch.

Today's plan...

1. Snow day for the kids. We have about 6 inches of the white stuff. We have to get the two vehicles cleared off, shovel out the drive way, the side walk in front of the house, and the porch out back.

2. I was looking over the CVS sale ad, and Dollar Tree ad. CVS has Scott Tissue for 6.99 (12 pack). My kiw down dirt price for a roll of Scott tissue is 69 cents. The math for this per roll is 58 or 59 cents a roll. CVS is offering 5 dollar certificate for 20 dollars in purchases. CVS also has VO5 on sale for 77 cents. Dollar Tree can't beat that price I'm pretty sure. The VO5 is a 15 ounce bottle. I am thinking that I will run over to CVS, pick up three packages of Scott TP, get the five dollar care bucks, and stock up on VO5 shampoo (we only use a bottle of conditioner rarely, one last about 3 months). We have two bottles of Dollar Tree White Rain that are 1/4 full, and one full bottle in the cabinet, so this would help immensely. We have one bottle of conditioner in the shower, and two in the cabinet, so we don't need more of that.

3. More CVS. They are currently having a sale on Purex Laundry Soap. It's buy one get two free. I bought a bottle of Laundry Soap at Dollar Tree. I finished the Extra I had been using. The Dollar Tree laundry soap is 64 ounces, and is considered 32 loads. the bottle says to use an 2 ounces a load for proper washing and I only use half a cap. So, I could stretch this out for 64 loads. Depending on the cost/size of the Purex, it has to be a great deal.

4. Dinner is going to be a pot pie. I have three containers of various meats (beef, pork, chicken) with veggies and gravy in them that I pulled out of the freezer. I'm thawing them in the fridge, and will use my recipe book to find a dumpling/biscuit recipe to put on top of the left overs, and put them in the oven.

5. House work and the budget....waiting to get some news.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Those chicken quarters...

The four chicken quarters were just a great thing. It made dinner for the five of us. I did break up the quarters into drumsticks and thighs after cooking. Like I said, it made five plates for dinner.

Meal 1-dinner for five
Meal 2- I took all the left over meat shredded it, and placed it in a container for the fridge. (about one cup                  worth). I am thinking sandwiches for the kids (BBQ chicken).
Meal 3-I took all the stock from the bottom of the crock pot and put it in the freezer (about one cup's worth)
Meal 4- All the left over potatoes, carrots, onion, garlic into a container in the fridge.
Meal 5- I took all the bones, and skin back into the crock pot, added some spices, and water. I let this
             simmer for a few hours. We have another two cups of nice chicken stock for the freezer.

I'm thankful for the basic cooking skills. I see a hard struggle in the near future. I find out more this week.

dinner 3/16

I have a package of four chicken quarters in the fridge. I took them out, washed them and seasoned them with parsley, poultry seasoning, celery salt, and a spice grinder mix from Aldi (pepper, garlic, mustard seed, onion, salt, bell peppers). I peeled and cut up four carrots, five potatoes, a clove of garlic, and a small onion. I put everything into the crock pot with a cup of water.

We are having chicken and veggies for dinner. Any stock left at the bottom of the crock pot will be put into the freezer for soup. I will end up breaking up the chicken quarters after being cooked, into a leg and thigh portion. Any left over will be used for another meal tomorrow.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Dinner 3/15

So what a meal we have planned for's a combo of things.

I had a fajita kit in the pantry. We are using this tonight, with the left over red beans and rice from last night. We have some lurking tomatoes that are going soft. I diced them up, sliced up some lettuce in strips. I used the last of the cheese we have 1/8 block. I cut the cheese up in small pieces. I opened the lurking salsa packet I had in the fridge.

I made the meatloaf the other night with 2 lb of ground beef/turkey. Part of the meat was still frozen and I put it back into the fridge to thaw. I cooked it tonight, about 3/4 lb total of a mix of ground beef/ground turkey. I added two small onions, half a lurking piece of green pepper, and a garlic clove. I added the fajita spices to it.

I put the meat/onion/pepper garlic mixture on the breakfast bar, along with the two diced tomatoes, shredded lettuce, cheese, red beans and rice, and the soft tortilla shells. The kids made their own "mexican" tonight with what selections were available.

Pet Expenses and Care

We have two young cats. Pepper is 2 and Cecelia is 4. Both have been to the vet this year, received their vaccinations, and are up to date on all care. The vet cost are 50 dollars for an office visit, and 35 for each vaccination they may need. They are not due until December 2014 or beginning of January.

They are messy things with their cat litter. I clean the cat box and always find tons of litter on the floor. After scooping out their ummmm, MUCK, I end up sweeping up the cat litter on the floor, and putting it all back into the cat box. I figure since it's not used, and all over the floor, it's OK to be put back in, instead of throwing it out.

I was looking at the cat litter I have upstairs. We have one 22 lb "box" that is half full, and one jug 18lb that hasn't been opened yet. I'm hoping to hold on to these and get through the month of April with what we have on hand. The kids have been told to use about 2 inches of liter for the cat box, and no more.

Our cats are eating generic cat food. I found a huge 18 lb bag at Sharp Shopper in February, and March was an experiment in brand name food, with coupons. I have 1/4 bag of cat food left form the 18 lb bag, and another 8 lb bag that is not opened yet. They get one cup of food a day (going by the directions on the bag). I'm hoping that this will get us through the rest of the month.

Dogs: The vet visits are 50 dollars each. We have two dogs (Sadie, she's 12 and Jackson,  he's 1 1/2), and they are up to date on their vaccinations. The dogs are eating an expensive prescription diet from the vet. It's a 22 lb bag that cost 58 dollars. OUCH!! My one hound dog has a prescription for her heart pill that cost 44 dollars a month to fill. The vet will give the prescription to me when I call. No reason to get to an actual pharmacy. I did get them tested for heartworm, and decided to try and get some preventive heartworm meds into them. What I didn't think about was the cost of the meds for heartworm. We will be finishing this 6 month doses, and since they are not outside much (only to do their business and walks), I will be rethinking this cost.

Jackson will be getting neutered Monday. I prepaid SPAY VA last week for this procedure, and budgeted this for the month of March. He will get an overnight stay at one of the local clinics from through the SCPA. It was only 50 dollars to get him snipped, verses the 350 the vet was going to charge.

What are your pet expenses and how do you budget for them??

5 things I did that were frugal...

Well, I've seen this on many blogs I read/follow so I figured I would take a quick minute to promote my 5 things.

1. Balanced my checking account/savings account.

  • Why?? It's important to know what has cleared my checking account on a daily basis. I like to keep track, so I know how much is in my accounts, knowing that in an emergency I can still pay the monthly bills, keep food on the table, and provide for my family. 
2. Washing laundry in cold, using 1/2 less liquid detergent and liquid softener, and hanging it up to dry. 
  • I've always washed laundry in cold. I found some detergent at Dollar Tree and using 1/2 less than what the top says to use. It keeps the detergent lasting longer, saving me some money, and promoting a "use less" lifestyle. I use dollar store fabric softener (1/2 less than the top), and when it's running low, I will add some water to the bottle to get the last bits out. I always hang the laundry up to dry. My kids have grown up like this, and my husband doesn't complain. 
3. I have stayed out of the grocery stores!
  •  Enough said. My kids are beginning to look for snacks. So, today, I'm thinking that we have some sugar cookies in the freezer that they can make, along with a cheap cake in the pantry bought at Aldi a while back. 
4. We eat all the left overs, or create a "buffet style" dinner. 
  • We have been eating left overs for part of the week. Our lunch will include some left over pasta, broccoli, and a white sauce.  Tonight's meal includes some left overs, lurking produce, and some pantry items. Lately, all meals have been made at home. 
5. I cleaned out my car's inside. We are selling aluminum cans at the local metal shop. 
  • What a job that was. I've found a few things that were lost. One washable grocery bag, a few pens, and some napkins were in the glove department (my working part time kid gets take out after work). The aluminum cans are saved in a huge 33 gallon trash can in our back yard. When it's full, my husband takes it to zuckerman's shop on the other side of town. They will buy all kinds of metal/aluminum at various prices. The cans go for 69 cents a lb. The rate changes daily, and they are only open Monday-Friday. We go about every two months.  

Friday, March 14, 2014

Dinner 3/13 and 3/14

Last night's dinner was a combo of leftovers. We had sliced meat loaf, mashed potatoes, and corn. It was all left overs and it's finally gone. The kids and husband seemed to enjoy it.

3/14 will be some red beans and rice. It was bought from Sharp Shopper a long time ago. It's been lurking in my pantry, and it's time for it to be used up. It will be steamed, and served with a small salad (lettuce, tomato, onion, cucumber), and the last green apple will be sliced and served with it.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Dinner 3/12

I posted under 3/12 for yesterday's dinner. So, for today's dinner for five, it's meat loaf, mashed potatoes, and steamed veggies. Not to sure on the veggies yet, as we have tons in the freezer.

The meat loaf will be made with a lb of ground beef, and a lb of ground turkey. I have some serious meat eats in the house. I have some lurking ends of cereal bags (crumbs from mini wheats and raisin bran), and lurking whole oat with flax cereal that I am going to use instead of breadcrumbs. A little milk, some eggs, spices and call it a meal.

I am going to make mashed potatoes (potatoes, some margarine, powdered milk, onion and garlic powder), and find some sort of veggie to have with it.

Dinner 3/12

We simmered a package of frozen chicken cheese ravioli from Aldi for dinner. We topped it with the last of the garlic marinara from the other night. It was pretty good. The kids and husband seemed to enjoy it.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Dinner 3/10

It's night four at work, and it's critical needs pay/OT for me. I got a phone call a little past five to stay home and be "on call". Overtime is time and a half, and critical need pay is an additional ten dollars.

Being on call gives me on call pay at 4 dollars an hour. If I get called in, I will receive my OT and critical need pay for the amount of hours I work.

Dinner tonight was very basic. We had scrambled eggs. That's it. I am exhausted and don't feel like cooking.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Dinner 3/9 and my work lunch.

So it's night three of four at work. It's not pretty today. Work was very difficult, stressful, and I clocked out late this morning. I slept only four hours due to nightmares. I went completely off the frugal path and ordered pizza for the family. My husband went to pick it up.

I did sign up for overtime Monday. The pizza cost 30 dollars, and I paid with cash out of my checking account. All my bills are paid for, my savings account intact, nothing is overdue or late, so I guess it may just even out.

My work lunch tonight:
fresh pine apple
my apple that I didn't eat last night
left over bean soup

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Work Lunches...

Since I am the one who needs a lunch for work, I usually take left overs from dinner, or what ever needs to be used in the fridge. It helps keep the budget intact, and gets rid of things that need to go, instead of begin tossed out.

My lunch last night:
a serving of bean soup
a few chunks of fresh pineapple (left over from fajita night)
a small salad with ranch dressing
a banana
an orange

Tonights lunch:
left over pasta with garlic marinara sauce
an apple
some left over salad
fresh pineapple
some raisins (pantry lurker)
left over broccoli

We have been working hard to increase our fruits and veggie intake. The kids are not as excited as I am. I have lost two pounds. My husband will eat a lot of fruit and veggies, but he prefers not to have them. He tells me he eats them because I remind him (funny huh).

Dinner 3/8

Pasta with spaghetti sauce, broccoli, and a small salad.

The pasta was bought at the dollar store. It's a pound and a half for one dollar. We bought a new garlic marinara sauce for 1.00 there also. The broccoli is going to be steamed, and we will have a small salad (lettuce, tomato, onion, cucumber, cheese) with the choice of ranch and/or French.

Friday, March 7, 2014

3/7 dinner

I usually use canned pinto beans for my bean soup. Well, when I was Aldi, I decided to try regular pinto beans. I am making bean soup today for dinner. I go back to work tonight, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday night shift. This soup will keep the kids, husband, and I fed for two meals, plus some left over for my work lunches.

I'm using the last 28 ounce can of pinto beans in the pantry. I soaked one cup of beans in 6 cups of water for 8 hours. I put them in to soak at 9 last night, and it's a little past five this morning. They are all going into the crock pot, with five thin looking carrots. I have a 3 quart container of ham stock (from Christmas) that I will be using. I'm going to take a cup of ham stock and mix it with a few cups of water and put it into the crock pot. I also have my last container of homemade chicken stock from the freezer, along with pan drippings from the other night to go into the crock pot. We have some left over fajita fillings that can be turned into a salad to go with the soup. My daughters finished all the fajita meat last night.

It will simmer and we will eat around 4:00-4:30. I work 12 hour night shifts all weekend, 7-7.

What we used:
1 cup of pinto beans
my last can of pinto beans
5 carrots
1 cup of ham stock
one small container of homemade chicken stock
1/4 cup of pan drippings (chicken)
a few cups of water

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Dinner 3/6

My husband bought a fajita kit last night. It comes with a pack of soft flour shells, seasoning for the meat, and some salsa. I did buy a small package of chicken breast at Aldi. It came with a two dollar off coupon on it.

So, he's going to make chicken fajitas for all five of us. I have a lurking orange, and some new fruit (which is going very fast. I'm surprised, but the kids and hubby are loving it) that I can going to peel and cut up to go with it.

Chicken fajitas, lurking lettuce, the last of the lurking tomatoes (I bought new lettuce and tomato yesterday) sliced green peppers and onion. We are going to have 2 sliced oranges, 1 sliced banana, and some fresh pineapple on the side. I can't wait for dinner.

60 T mile check up....

My husband called the KIA place to find out how much it would cost for a tune up and the 60 T mile check up. The service department answered and spoke to my husband. My husband told her what exactly needed to be done according to our scheduled maintenance book states. The response was, "Are all the items needing replaced?"

"Ummmm, no. It's for  a check up that scheduled according to your company's maintenance standards" my husband told her. He also said that he would be "willing to drop off the vehicle and pick it up later in the day or the next morning, which ever was convenient for them" (we have two vehicles).

We got the appointment for Tuesday morning. I swear I wanted to scream when the service department said to my husband, "Tell me again, does all these items need to be replaced, and when are you going to pick up the vehicle?"

Yeah. Well, someone needs some more coffee in the service department. It's not me, I don't drink coffee.

They quoted me 250.95. Fine. I can take the cash out of my checking account, and not touch my savings.

March Challenges Updated

March Challenges...

The kids will be going to the dentist this month. It's the three of them, and myself. My husband refuses to see the dentist. It's his teeth and health that is at risk. Oh well. We go on 3/27/14.

  • My dental insurance is 14 dollars a month through my employer. We have 100 percent covered for cleanings every 6 months. We have x rays every three years covered. If the kids or I need cavities done, it's 60/40 covered. My girls usually have a cavity that needs to be filled. I made it last year for the first time in a while without a cavity. If my daughter or I need work done (even cavities filled), then I have to pay for conscious sedation.My insurance will not cover it. We get nitrous oxide (laughing gas) to be able to get our anxiety under control to get the extra work done. Two of us are able to get through the cleanings with out any sedation.
All three kids need hair cuts and new sneakers. 
  • There's a place down the road that charges 9 dollars a hair cut. I could do them myself, but it's a nice change to have someone else do the hair cuts. plus my autistic son sits much better and is better behaved when someone else is doing it. He takes pride in sitting like a "young man" at the barber shop. No price on the sneakers yet. 

My savings account needs to be reimbursed 200 dollars for the vet expenses in February.

Our new dog that we just adopted a few weeks ago has to get his booster distemper vaccination, and get neutered. 
  • The vet was going to charge us 350 dollars to get the poor guy snipped. HOLY CRAP!!! I can't afford it with what I paid the vet in February for the two dogs. So, Spay Virginia has a program that will neuter him and only charge me 50 dollars. We made an appointment for 3/17/14 for the snipping. He goes on 3/6 for the distemper. The neuter will be 50 dollars, and the distemper will be 35 dollars. 
My car is a 2008 fully paid off KIA. She needs a 60 thousand mile check up, tune up, oil change. 
  • I'm sure it's not going to be cheap. She goes right to the dealership to get her work done. 
Our 25th anniversary is coming on 3/27/14.
  •  My husband asked if the two of us could go to Red Lobster. I'm going to have to figure this one out. I'm sure that it wont be an issue, but dental costs will decide whether we go out or stay home.
I picked up an extra shift at work for 3/10, and 3/24 to help cover the extra expenses. We are waiting for a reimbursement from the college my DD was attending. She decided it wasn't for her, and dropped out. The college is supposed to give me 300 dollars back close to April. I am determined to get the challenges taken care of, and hopefully not have to get into my savings account again. 

UPDATES: I got paid this morning. 

The mortgage for March, cable, cell phones, pest control, vet costs, student loan, my daughter's therapy, my snowball payment to home loan, my new escrow amount that was increased, and a small payment for a family trip is planned in September.

The kids and I had our hair cuts last night. The cost went from 9 to 10 dollars for basic hair cuts. Not to bad, but it was kind of nice to be pampered for a few minutes. The women that run the "barber" shop are so family friendly, and know my kids. They understand about Kevin, and know just how to approach him. PRICELESS. 40 dollars. 

This children decided that they didn't want new sneakers. Fine. I am not going to argue this one. Let me know when they fall off your feet by themselves. GRRRRRRRRRR.

Our dog, JAckson, went to get his distemper vaccination this morning. It's a total of 60 dollars. I paid Spay Virginia this morning also for his neutering. 50 dollars.

I was looking at my car this morning. I have 54,500 thousand miles on her. She doesn't need an oil change until 57,000. I took a peek at the mileage on my husband's vehicle. He's at 62 thousand. His car will go first to get the 60 T mile tune up, including an oil change. He needs to make the appointment and get a estimate on cost this morning. 

Wednesday, March 5, 2014


I would say that the day was great. My kids went to school after a two hour delay. They were off Monday and Tuesday. We had the left over chicken, carrots, potatoes for dinner. I did make a cheese pizza for the kids (it's done now). I took the lurking apple and two more from the package of mixed fruit I bought today, some cinnamon, a few pats of butter, some sugar (maybe a teaspoon), and 1/2 cup of whole oats in a pan. I mixed it together, baked it at 350 for 20 minutes, and called it desert.

Apple crisp. There's nothing left.

Grocery Shopping...

It's always an adventure. I stopped at CVS to pick up my daughter's medication.

Dawn Soap .99
Acne medication for my son 5.49
two packages of always pads 11.29
My daughter's medication 8.19
Total Spent: 21.31
Saved 5.20 in coupons

Food Lion:
30 gallon trash bags 5.49
2 bags of cat food 9.58
Cat liter 8.89
Total Spent: 19.23
Saved 6.00 in coupons.

Dollar Tree (first time to shop)
2 crest toothpaste
ranch dressing
2 secret deodorant for girls
men deodorant for son
3 bottle white rain shampoo
one jug of fabric softener
1 jug of laundry soap 43 ounces
20 oz of ziti
one jar of garlic mushroom spag sauce (try first)
Spent 16.73
Saved total 1.00 in coupons for toothpaste

5 lbs of red potatoes
5 lb of red potatoes
1 ln of pinto beans
2 lb carrots
4 lb of apples, oranges
3 lb onions
one package of chicken breast (with 2 dollar off coupon)
2 kb carrots
roma tomatoes
fresh pineapple
one whole chicken
lb of pinto beans
lb ground turkey
2 gallons skim milk
2 lb frozen corn
two packages of spinach and cheese ravioli
lb ground turkey
4 rolls of 1000 sheet tiolet paper
2 lb 82 % ground beef
raisin bran
peanut butter
strawberry preserves
two loaves of white bread
one cucumber
two green peppers
2 lb broccoli cuts
3 lb bananas
original whole wheat crackers
2 packages of bottled water  
Total Spent 79.33

Total for month: 300.00
Spent: 128.46 (my daughter's medicine is not counted in this total).
Left: 171.54

Snow Days, the bank account, and groceries....

I feel that sometimes they go hand in hand. I love when my kids are out of school for snow days, and summer vacation. This winter has been hard on the missed time at school. The kids have 6 snow days to make up. They had five built into the calendar, meaning that there was 11 total snow days.

My Mary is in 11th grade, and Kevin (my autisitc kid) is in 9th grade. HE LOVES LOVES snow days and summer vacation. He is a good kid and prides himself on being the "good kid" at school. The kids get to ride to school Tues-Fri from me, it's our little guilty pleasure. Monday, they ride the bus, and they always ride the bus home.

Snow days over winter are hard. Kevin doesn't want to play outside (Sensory issues), but he loves to look at the snow in the windows. He is a sting bean, weighs maybe 100 pounds. He will eat what ever is in the house. He's such a good kid, but he has a hollow leg. BTW, he ate half of the cheese pizza last night, and left his sisters maybe two slices each. He will always look for something to eat.

Mary is a good kid. She's kind, gentle, and loves animals. She does well in school and seems to enjoy working and being around other kids her age. She is a good eater, and we are working on including more veggies into her diet. (She's kind of picky). She loves to cook in the kitchen. Last year for Christmas we bought her a toaster oven, her own measuring cups, spoons, and even baking pans. She was so happy.

The snow days are killing my pantry. Enough said....

The bank account is not empty. It's a surprise. I get paid tomorrow. I'm thinking that since the kids are in school today, I will head out to Aldi. I may take my oldest kid with me. She likes to feel like "one of the adults". She is kind of funny when she says, "Oh Mom, what time do the children get home from school". It cracks me up, she's only been out of high school a year.

Groceries are a priority today. I need some fresh produce. I am down to one tomato, one apple, one orange, and a tiny bit of lettuce. We need replenishing on those things. I like to pick up some more carrots (we eat them a lot), celery (we use it alot also). We are out of bread. I was making my own, but the kids were not fond of it. It was used to make breadcrumbs, after my husband and I would make toast and sandwiches for us. We are in need of milk also. We need to be replenished with HBA. I am almost out of shampoo (less than 1/4 in the bottle), the kids need deodorant (they told me last night), and the girls are in need of their feminine products (I am THANKFUL I am passed this part of my life, due to surgical menopause).

Since I am waiting for my husband to get up, and the kids are on a two hour delay, I have enough time to finish getting a grocery list together. 300 dollars a month is all I have budgeted. I'm hoping to come in to maybe 100-150 and not more.

Dinner 3/5

I have enough pizza dough, crushed tomato, and cheese to make a second day of cheese pizzas for the children. They loved the one I made yesterday, and there's two slices of the veggie one I made for the adults. My husband and I can have the two slices of veggie for lunch.

I have two containers of chicken, carrots, potatoes left over from last night. I am going to serve that for the adults.

The half a container of pan drippings went into the freezer for soup broth.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Frugal lunch...

I have two garlic parmesan bread stick mixes in the pantry. I have an open can of crushed tomato in the fridge. I have some EDAM cheese that hasn't been eaten yet. I have an assortment of spices, onion, and garlic that should be used.

I put the bread stick mixes in the ABM (I don't want to have to mix by hand YUCK). When it's finished rising, I'm going to roll it out and divide it up into two pizza crusts. I'm going to use up the crushed tomatoes in the fridge, add some EDAM cheese, basil, onion and garlic powder, and bake it in the oven. I tell the kids it's cheese pizza. It is, with some spices.

I am going to made a cheese, onion, garlic pizza for my husband and I. I took out two cloves of garlic, and a small onion to slice. I will make a regular cheese pizza and just add the sliced onion and garlic on top, bake as usual.

It really isn't hard, and the kids will be happy to have some "junk food".

Dinner 3/4

Another great crock pot meal....

chicken thighs
green beans

The chicken, carrots, onion, and potato, will go into the crock pot with some poultry seasoning, parsley, garlic and onion powder. It will cook all day and we will eat around 4, since my daughter has to work this evening. I am going to steam some green beans and make a small salad to go with it. We have french dressing for the salad.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Dinner 3/3

Homemade waffles
turkey bacon
hot chocolate

I made from scratch waffles from flour, oil, sugar, salt, baking powder, and a little reconstituted dry milk. We finished off the little bit pancake syrup we had. I had a package of turkey bacon in the fridge. I only cooked 1/2 lb and divided it between the five of us. There's a few tiny strips left over. The rest of the unused bacon is in the freezer.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

March pantry

We are a family of five, with my staff nurse position in ICU as the means of income. I support a family of five, one kid who works part time, two teens in high school, a husband, two cats and two dogs. I work Fri, Sat, and Sun night shift for weekend and night shift differential. 



1 box hot chocolate

cream of wheat
2 bread stick mix
1 container of olive oil
baking powder
brown sugar
powdered sugar
bread crumbs
pancake syrup
tea bags
some sugar
1 lone can of  tomato soup
2 cans of cream of chicken
raspberry jam
peanut butter

a lb of pasta
some sugar
3 lb rice

tea bags

 crushed tomato
1 1/2 lb pinto beans
several cans of mushrooms
grape jelly
spag sauce

Left overs:
pork chop and mushroom gravy

Fruit Bowl:

Open Condiments:

Fridge Items:
1 lbs of cheese

20 eggs

1 salad dressing

sugar cookies

Freezer offerings:
bread end slices
1 lb of 85% ground beef
1 lb ground turkey
two packages of chicken thighs

Frozen Veggies:

 lb peas
 green beans
 mixed veggies


Hidden Surprises:
3 quart mason jar of ham stock
four containers of chicken stock
7 cups of turkey broth


March Challenges...

The kids will be going to the dentist this month. It's the three of them, and myself. My husband refuses to see the dentist. It's his teeth and health that is at risk. Oh well. We go on 3/27/14.

  • My dental insurance is 14 dollars a month through my employer. We have 100 percent covered for cleanings every 6 months. We have x rays every three years covered. If the kids or I need cavities done, it's 60/40 covered. My girls usually have a cavity that needs to be filled. I made it last year for the first time in a while without a cavity. If my daughter or I need work done (even cavities filled), then I have to pay for conscious sedation.My insurance will not cover it. We get nitrous oxide (laughing gas) to be able to get our anxiety under control to get the extra work done. Two of us are able to get through the cleanings with out any sedation.
All three kids need hair cuts and new sneakers. 
  • There's a place down the road that charges 9 dollars a hair cut. I could do them myself, but it's a nice change to have someone else do the hair cuts. plus my autistic son sits much better and is better behaved when someone else is doing it. He takes pride in sitting like a "young man" at the barber shop. No price on the sneakers yet. 
My savings account needs to be reimbursed 200 dollars for the vet expenses in February.

Our new dog that we just adopted a few weeks ago has to get his booster distemper vaccination, and get neutered. 
  • The vet was going to charge us 350 dollars to get the poor guy snipped. HOLY CRAP!!! I can't afford it with what I paid the vet in February for the two dogs. So, Spay Virginia has a program that will neuter him and only charge me 50 dollars. We made an appointment for 3/17/14 for the snipping. He goes on 3/6 for the distemper. The neuter will be 50 dollars, and the distemper will be 35 dollars. 
My car is a 2008 fully paid off KIA. She needs a 60 thousand mile check up, tune up, oil change. 
  • I'm sure it's not going to be cheap. She goes right to the dealership to get her work done. 
Our 25th anniversary is coming on 3/27/14.
  •  My husband asked if the two of us could go to Red Lobster. I'm going to have to figure this one out. I'm sure that it wont be an issue, but dental costs will decide whether we go out or stay home.
I picked up an extra shift at work for 3/10, and 3/24 to help cover the extra expenses. We are waiting for a reimbursement from the college my DD was attending. She decided it wasn't for her, and dropped out. The college is supposed to give me 300 dollars back close to April. I am determined to get the challenges taken care of, and hopefully not have to get into my savings account again.