Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Pantry challenges...

My daughter made hamburgers last night with lettuce, tomato, and cheese. They were really good. I appreciated her help.

November and December were difficult on the bank account. We had numerous trips to the doctors and dentist. January brings an end to the dentists with two more appointments. Our dog had to go to the vet last night, since her old incision from surgery has opened. She has antibiotics now. It was an expensive trip last night.

Some times, it gets upsetting being the only income in a family of five. We are going to get through this month with less chaos and stress. I'm thankful that my Christmas shopping for the kids is done. I have to get something for my husband and I am finished.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Pantry challenge contines

I have two polish sausage links in the fridge thawing. We are going to saute this with sliced onion and use the steamer to make brown rice with black beans (the rice and beans were bought in bulk). We are going to have fresh salad to go with our meal this evening.

The two visits at the dentist this week cost greater than 500 dollars in co payments. I made the payments in cash and have the rest of the kids work done in January. Our budget has taken a big hit due to the dentist, but the bills have been paid in will continue to be paid in full.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Continued challenge

I have a small bowl of frozen meatballs made from October in the freezer. They are in the fridge thawing along with a container of Italian sausage in spaghetti sauce. I am going to mix these two with the four left over turkey meatballs I have from the other day and add more spaghetti sauce.

We are going to cook some spaghetti, serve the meatballs/sausage combo over it with additional sauce and make a small salad. We have ranch and thousand island dressing for salad.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Continuing with pantry/freezer/fridge clean out...

Today I have a 3 lb container that is half full of BBQ pork that needs to be eaten. It's been taking out of the freezer and is thawing now. We will have left over pork and beans in the fridge, and a small pan of "Jiffy" corn bread that is in the pantry. We will have a small salad on the side. It's about using what we have.

The dentist was very expensive yesterday. My husband and I spoke to the kids regarding Christmas. This year it is going to be very small and since the kids are adult age (20, 18, and 17), they should be able to understand that finances are leaner now.

I hope everyone has a great day!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

My own pantry challenge

Well, I'm on vacation from work for three weeks. It started Sunday and doesn't end until December 18th. I am cleaning up the kitchen and found a few things lurking in the freezer that need to be used.

I figured this is a great time while I am off to cut down some expenses. My husband took my daughter to the dentist to get some cavities filled. We are talking big bucks. $$$$$$$. I'm waiting on the sticker shock and phone call.

I am making turkey meatballs, using some lurking bread crumbs, half a jar of "pizza" sauce, lurking motzerella cheese, and some needing to get rid of onion. I also have stuff in the bread machine for "Italian bread", going to make a small salad, and an "apple crisp" with the last four apples that have been sitting on the counter.

I can do all this without having to get to the grocery store. We could probably have meals all month without needing to get groceries, with the exception of milk.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

What's been cooking...

My daughters made home made mac and cheese yesterday! Using pasta, a white sauce (flour, butter, milk, and added the last bit of Gouda cheese we had in the fridge), and some garlic, it was just amazing.

I am working tonight. My daughters put a 8 pound chicken in the oven with carrots, celery, and potatoes. We are going to have some cauliflower and peas with our meal.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Dinner 11/1/15

My husband and kids make cheese burgers and hamburgers last night using a pound of ground beef. They found a recipe online at allrecipies.com. My kids are working more in the kitchen. Our cheeseburgers had lettuce and tomato on them. They were pretty good.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

It's November.

Wow. I feel like I have been out of the blogging world a long time. It's November and my schedule is lightening up some at work and grad school. Home life is good with my husband taking on more responsibility, such as grocery shopping and meal planning. He started last week and seems to enjoy it. There's only so much I can do on any given day and something has to go, so it's control over dinner plans.

Last night we went to a Halloween party. My husband made pulled pork in the crock pot. It's basically a pork roast, with sliced onions and peppers, and added BBQ sauce. When it's done cooking, we shred it and serve it on rolls. When we left the party last night, there's was still a small portion in the crock pot, so we left it there, along with the last of the rolls (we bought 16, and there was about 5 left).

My daughter adopted a 42 pound dog from the no kill shelter. She's been here a month and is so much fun. We have three dogs now and I can't believe how much food she eats! She had a procedure done to get spayed prior to Sarah adopting her and there was a benign tumor on her mammary glands. It's been removed. She still has her stitches in place. We have to get her back to the vet to get them taken out. I took her to the vet and had to get an antibiotic and steroids for her since her incision site was warm, tender to touch, and red. It was generating a lot of heat. It's so much better now. There was a big cost involved, but we had all ready taken responsibility for her not knowing about the possible infection or inflammation.

We all went to the dentist in October. My kids have seven cavities between them. It's going to be a large cost to get them filled and the portion I have to pay is going to be spread out. Mary goes in December to have three of hers filled. Sarah will go in January, and Mary will go back in February. I just don't have the money to get them all done at once.

Graduate school update. I am finishing class four out of eleven. I am still paying cash every two weeks for tuition for one class at a time. It's a bit harder since I decided not to work overtime this month and I am having a "stay vacation" for three weeks after Thanksgiving from work. I'm kind of excited to have three weeks off with pay and hang out with my family. We are staying home together and just going to enjoy the down time. Since I am working Christmas, we will be enjoying our Christmas holiday early!

It's 61 degrees in the house. I have not turned on the heat yet. I want to. I should. The electric company wishes I would so they can get some money. My budget payment got lowered in October. We were paying 157 a month for the budget plan and now we pay 133 every month for a year. It's nice to see a lower cost. No heat yet Debbie!!!! Keep that bill down.

Finance update: My student loan from undergrad is receiving 200 dollars every two weeks. The minimum payment is 167 a month. My equity line is receiving their minimum payment plus 300 dollars every two weeks. I'm making big dents in these two bills. I'm hoping to have them paid off at the same time in full. I would like to only have my mortgage and tuition in less then two years.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Using what we have...

I took the last whole chicken out of the freezer to defrost. I am going to put it in the crock pot with one whole onion thinly sliced, four stalks of celery, five large carrots (I had to open my new 5 lb bag of carrots), poultry seasoning, thyme, and four potatoes (for the carb eating people in my family). I will add about two cups of water to this and let it cook all day in my crock pot. We will have the last bit of opened stir fry veggies that are lurking in the freezer.

The chicken was bought a while back at Aldi 0.95 cents a pound! Who can beat that kind of price for protein! It's cheap, easy to make, and can feed my family for a couple of days.

The first meal will be a crock pot meal. I will take all the stock out after and put it in the freezer for soup at some point. I will end up taking all the meat off the bones to make chicken salad or BBQ chicken sandwiches for the kids. The skin and bones will be put back into the crock pot later to make a second round of chicken stock for the freezer. I am hoping to have enough chicken left over to make chicken and gravy to serve over egg noodles for the kids and my DH. They love it!

I'm hoping to stretch this bird!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Using things up...

We had one chicken quarter in the fridge from a few days ago. I baked it with several spices, added the last three carrots, half an onion, and some celery from the fridge. My husband and I had that for dinner last night.

I had some frozen cheese tortellini to give the kids last night with some pasta sauce for their dinner.

Tonight's dinner is continuing on the same use it up theme. I have frozen bread ends in the freezer. I'm going to thaw them out and made french toast for the kids dinner. I have some frozen left over bean soup from Easter that is thawing for my husband and myself. We are working to keep our budget intact and using up what has been lurking around in the freezer.

I don't eat pasta, bread, potatoes, or rice any more. My husband and kids do.

Monday, June 1, 2015

It's June

Can you believe that I haven't posted in a while. I found that with school, the gym, work, and my family that something had to go for a little bit. I just want to say that I really miss blogging and reading how other folks are incorporating frugal living into their own lifestyles.

It's June. Who would have thought. Here's a few updates:

Sarah (20) is still working full time for a temp agency. She's decided that she wants to return to community college. She spend 6 months there a couple of years ago and dropped out. I am willing to work with her to help fund some tuition as long as she is serious about attending and maintaining her grades.

Mary (18) graduated high school last week! She has a part time job being a babysitter a couple days a week and wants to attend community college. We will begin applying after we get her a state ID.

I told both girls that they need to work on getting their permit and driver's license.

Kevin (16) is in his last week of 10th grade. Friday is the last day of school and my baby will be a junior!! My kids went to the dentist and only Kevin has some cavities. He goes back on June 15th to get them filled. I will be paying in cash for these.

My work is going well. I am up for my annual evaluation and hope to get a pay increase. I didn't qualify for the cost of living adjustment since my base rate of pay is all ready at the higher end of my clinical ladder and skill level. My director mentioned that to me this morning. Oh well. I do have to complete two case studies for my evaluation and this shouldn't be too difficult.

My car needs an oil change soon.

My husband is well and in good spirits. He has been doing a great job making dinners while I am working. I have picked up extra time at work to help pay for the classes I am taking for the master's degree in nursing education.

I REALLY need to make a menu plan for June meals. The bills are paid every month on time. I had to buy a lap top for school and it was very expensive. My savings took a hit and I am left with 70 dollars in it. I would like to get that boosted up to one thousand, or to where it was a year ago, 3,850 dollars. It's going to take time. It's difficult sometimes to be one income and attempting to support a family of five and pay for a master's degree program (I refuse to take out a loan for it, and I am still paying off my bachelor's degree loan. My goal is to become debt free).

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Hey there

I want to apologize for the lack of posts in the past few weeks. I have been really busy with work, family, and my master's degree class. I appreciate the email to checking up on me.

We are all doing well. The kids are getting ready to finish for the school year. I'm hoping my daughter graduates. My oldest is working full time at night. My youngest is in 10th grade and seems to like it sill.

The last time I was blogging, I stated that I decided to join a gym. I did and pay for a personal trainer. I started at the gym on March 4th weighing 220.8 pounds. I am 5 feet 5 inches. I weigh 210 as of today. I am at the gym 6 mornings a week and stay for 30-45 minutes some times longer. I am eating loads of fresh veggies and fruit, and lean meats. I cut out bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, and stuff along those lines.

I will make more of an effort to get back into blogging about frugal living. I guess some would say that getting a gym membership with a personal trainer is not frugal, but my mental health has improved and my stress level is much better.

School is a work in progress. At 2225 a class, it's very expensive to be a graduate student. I am blessed to be able to pay cash for one class at a time, even though it's a bit difficult on the budget. I didn't want to take out a loan for this. I'm working on getting out of debt, even though I incur some debt being in class.

I hope everyone is well and in good spirits!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Saturday, March 14, 2015


My husband put the last of the pork roast we had in the crock pot with some onion and BBQ sauce. He made BBQ pork sandwiches and steamed some corn. That's all. I'm leaving for work in an hour and need to get ready.

Friday, March 13, 2015

dinner tonight...

Home made meat balls, veggie garden sauce, green peas...DH and the kids can have some penne pasta. I'm opting out of the pasta, since I'm trying to improve my eating habits.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

What's been cooking...life.

I put a beef chuck roast in the crock pot this morning. I bought it at Aldi last week for 4.99 lb. It was 2 and a 1/2 pounds of red meat. Well, we have about three slices left of chuck roast. I simmered it in the crock pot with cut up carrots, five small potatoes, a half of an older onion, and two teaspoons of jarred garlic and Worcestershire sauce. My husband made a small salad, steamed Brussels sprouts and green peas. I passed on the potatoes.

It was heaven. We have a small amount of veggies left, three slices of roast, and a cup of beef stock for the freezer.

Last night, we had some left overs. The choices were taco meat with cheese, lettuce, tomato, taco sauce, chopped onions, brown rice with black beans, On Tuesday evening, my daughter made pork chops, green peas, corn, and a small salad.

Work is going well for the most part. I've cut down on the overtime. YEAH!! I started a new medication for anxiety, and I'm only one day three. My husband said he thinks I am smiling more. That's kind of nice to hear. I have been going to the gym and working with a trainer. It's expensive, 150 dollars a month for 30 minute sessions once a week for the trainer. The gym costs 14.99 a month for the machines, and full access to the gym. I've met the trainer twice so far, and been using the machines and elliptical 7 out of 9 days so far. I like the gym and I do consider it "hard work". I've also been working on my eating habits. I'm working to incorporate more protein into my diet, less carbs, and more veggies.

Friday, March 6, 2015


Steak strips, fresh veggies, turned into steak fajitas, with brown rice and black beans.


One slice of Aldi cheese pizza, two tangerines, and a salad with romaine lettuce, roma tomatoes, and cucumbers with French dressing!!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

march 5th dinner

I finally figured out how to take pictures from my phone to my blog. I passed on the potatoes tonight.

March Menu

March 1st- ordered pizza from Little Ceasers

March 2nd- penne pasta, using frozen from scratch garden veggie spaghetti sauce I had in the freezer, topped with Parmesan cheese, and salad.

March 3rd- I put a pound of kidney beans on top of the stove to soak overnight (last night), and my husband said he was going to make chili in the crock pot. We do have some colby and cheddar cheese in the fridge, and I will make another salad to go with our meal.

March 4th-  chicken thighs, carrots, brown rice, broccoli, salad. The recipe is here: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/honey-garlic-slow-cooker-chicken-thighs/detail.aspx?src=VD_Summary

March 5th- pork roast, potatoes, steamed vegetables

As of March 5th, we have zero left overs in the fridge.

March 5th

Our dinner is a simple one. We have a thawed pork roast in the fridge. I put it into the crock pot with a couple of potatoes that I peeled and cut small. I added a couple of teaspoons of chopped garlic I had in a jar, a couple of mushrooms (the end of a fresh package I had in the fridge), some sage, onion powder (I am out of fresh onions), and a can of mushroom soup. The crock pot is on low, and will cook all day. I will steam some frozen veggies I have in the freezer to go with our dinner.

I have a running list of pantry items and household goods that need to be replenished. I got paid this morning, wrote out all the bills (my student loan, electric, water, pest control, equity line (snowball payment), June's mortgage, doctor bills, cable, cell phones, and a payment to my tuition at Walden.

My savings is intact, but I haven't made any deposits in the past two months. The last deposit was made January 21, 2015.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

March 4 dinner

My daughter made chicken thighs the other day and we still had four in the fridge that needed to be used. I found this recipe on face book being passed around. I figured we should try it.

I put all the carrots we had in the fridge in the crock pot (they were tiny and small), I have no onions, and only had one take out packet of soy sauce...we will have some brown rice, a small salad, and maybe some other veggie to go with it.


Tuesday, March 3, 2015


I can't believe it's all ready March. I've incurred some expenses for this month. I went back to my doctor to get some treatment for anxiety (at my husband's request)because it is making me physically sick. I saw my doctor last week and  I am to return on Thursday for a follow up and pick up a possible prescription, and will return again in two weeks.

March 1st- ordered pizza from Little Ceasers

March 2nd- penne pasta, using frozen from scratch garden veggie spaghetti sauce I had in the freezer, topped with Parmesan cheese, and salad.

March 3rd- I put a pound of kidney beans on top of the stove to soak overnight (last night), and my husband said he was going to make chili in the crock pot. We do have some colby and cheddar cheese in the fridge, and I will make another salad to go with our meal.

 We have in the pantry, fridge, and freezer:

bulk kidney beans
yellow, red, orange peppers
jarred garlic
fresh onion couple
cans of diced tomato
ground turkey
all kinds of spices

I told him that if he wanted other stuff to put into the chili, he was going to have to buy it. I am holding on to the money in my account to pay for my tuition for class.

Saturday, February 28, 2015


My Mary baked chicken thighs, steamed some long grain rice, and war up some corn. It was pretty awesome. I didn't have to wake up, cook a meal, and then go to work.

Friday, February 27, 2015


I warmed up some lurking BBQ pork for the teenagers. We have left over pasta from last night and I turned it into mac and cheese using a basic white sauce and added some Colby cheese.

My husband and I are having left over soup I had in the fridge. We are also having a huge salad for dinner. Nothing fancy tonight.

I go back to work soon. Three in a row.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Haven't been posting...

I got paid last Thursday. I sent out the IRS bill of 1686 in a certified mail. They received it, posted it, and it cleared my account yesterday!! I have an intact savings account, and still have some cash in my checking that I was hoping to use for my class that starts today. I need to make a few more payments. I started at 2245, and am down to owing 1450 and it needs to be paid off by end of April. I am taking one class at a time, paying cash for each one, so I don't incur any extra student loan debt.

Should I be enrolled in a master's degree program and continue to pay down debt? I guess it's debatable, some folks would say to use that money to get my mortgage paid off, and my other student loan. I am working on both bills, financially supporting a family of five, and working a full time job. I am being offered a preceptor position at my work (teaching new nurses) and I'm loving it. There's no financial bonus, but it looks great on a resume.

I paid the electric bill, put gas in my car, and went shopping last week. I spent 200 dollars to fill up a lot of empty areas in our pantry.

Dinner this past week:
scrambled eggs, fried potatoes
pulled pork sandwiches with onion rings
homemade chicken noodle soup (still have some left)
jar sauce and pasta
hot dogs and french fries

It's been lacking in balanced meals the past week or so. I've used up most of the lurking stuff in the freezer (all the containers I had). I had a gift certificate to Applebee's I got for my birthday, we went there one night.

So, for dinner tonight:
I put cut up onion, red, yellow, and orange peppers, two heaping teaspoons of jar garlic, a handful of chopped fresh mushrooms, one large tomato, three cans of diced tomato, and some basil in the crock pot. First, I cooked down the veggies in some olive oil. I added everything together in the crock pot and topped it with a small amount of Parmesan cheese. It will cook all day.

I will boil some penne pasta (0.69 cents a lb) later and make a large salad (lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles, cucumber) to go with our meal. I also have a few slices of Italian bread that need to be used, so I will make garlic bread for the kids.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Using what we have...

I have four more chicken quarters that need to be used up since they are defrosted. If you have read in the past few days, we are making a conscious effort to make do, use what we have, and use alternatives in place of things we are out of.

I have the last four chicken quarters marinating in the last of the garlic and herb marinade that was lurking in the fridge. I'm going to bake these in the oven with some celery, a few small carrots, and an onion. I will let it cook at 325 until the chicken quarters are done.

I'm going to warm up a package of frozen veggies that are partially used. We have spinach, green beans, and Brussel sprouts open in the freezer. They have to go soon. The kids will have to decide which one they prefer for tonight's dinner.

I have a recipe for dumplings. I'm going to use some of the turkey stock and chicken stock from yesterday. It will use up some of the containers I have in the freezer.

The bones and skin from yesterday's chicken made 2 cups of beautiful chicken stock for the freezer.


Tuesday, February 10, 2015

chicken quarters...

I have a ten pound bag of chicken quarters defrosting. I took out four (I know there's five of us, but I'm working on stretching the budget and hoping to eliminate some waste) and found a recipe that I've used in the past. I used this recipe last Easter and it was a huge hit for all of us. One exception, I put the meal in the oven last time, this time, I'm using my trusty crock pot.


I have some celery that is looking long in the tooth, so I put two stalks of it in the crock pot. I also added a pound bag of "baby carrots" I bought for 0.49 cents at Aldi a while ago. I put in a whole thin sliced onion and the four seasoned chicken quarters for the crock pot.

It's on low now. It will cook all day. I'm thinking I may steam some long grain rice to go with this. I have tons of rice in the pantry (long grain white, brown, jasmine).

The best part of this is that the seasonings were adjustable to the amount of chicken you used. I cut the recipe in half and it seems to be more than enough. I'm hoping will make this beautiful stock for the freezer!!

We are finally out of left overs and lurking "soups" in the freezer. I was looking through it this morning and all I have is some frozen veggies, a few sorts of meat, and a lot of turkey stock. I may have to make a batch of turkey soup soon (no turkey meat, just stock...lots of it).

We are blessed well to eat on a limited budget. My total grocery purchases for February at this time are ZERO. I have a grocery list that has some needs on it, but we are working on using alternatives.

I would like to get that tax bill paid off next week when I get paid. As long as I can get the tax bill paid, I will go grocery shopping after I get that bill paid insured, and sent overnight to the IRS.

Monday, February 9, 2015


I thawed out two containers I had in the freezer. One was ham and bean soup. The other was chicken soup. The kids had their choice of which one they wanted for dinner.

It's keeping out budget intact and our expenses low.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

What's been cooking???

Remember when I said I wasn't going to cook the whole pound of salad macaroni??? I did. We have been eating spaghetti for two days, and I'm hoping we finish it up today. YEAH!!

Saturday: left over spaghetti
Sunday: left over spaghetti

I took out 10 pounds of chicken quarters I bought a while ago for 79 cents a pound. They are defrosting in the fridge. I also found a 3 quart bowl of homemade chicken soup, and bean soup in the freezer from October and November. They are defrosting in the fridge as we speak...

We are in the process of using things up to keep the budget intact. I am working tonight, so I will hopefully plan on warming up both soups tomorrow and offering it up for dinner, with some sliced apples (we have four left on the counter), and maybe some saltines.

I changed my deductions at my employer from five to four. I also have them taking out an extra 20 dollars a pay period for federal and state. I'm hoping to not have a big tax bill next year.

I have about 700 dollars in my checking account. I get paid again on the 20th. All my bills have been sent out and the 700 is clearly unclaimed by a bill. I have about 2 T in my savings. I plan on paying the tax bill with my next pay check. I had 20 dollars cash, and I have to get gas in my car this evening before work. The 20 will hopefully fill most of my gas tank. Gas here is 2.09 right now.

We are working on eating down our freezer, pantry, and fridge. I have some fresh produce left (apples, raisins, carrots, celery, potatoes, onions) ans we have some frozen bags of veggies in the freezer. It's a blessing.

The hound dogs were supposed to get to the vet this month for vaccinations. It's been pushed back until after the tax bill has been paid in full. I figure that the two hound dogs are fairly healthy and their immunity will last for another month.

My car passed inspection and received an oil change. YEAH!!!
The kids and I received new sneakers from my Kohl's gift card I received for my 43 birthday!! YEAH!!! It's a great blessing since I have arthritis in my beloved feet.

I hope everyone has a great day.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Freezer clean out...using what we have...

I have a cup of tomato paste in the freezer, along with a small container of home made spagheeti sauce I made about a week or two ago. It has peppers, onions, garlic, small amount of Italian sausage, diced tomato, and diced tomatoes in it. I have about 4 slices of left over meatloaf from yesterday that needs to be used.

I'm going to put the tomato paste and a small amount of water on the stove, open the container I have of spaghetti sauce and cut up the sliced meat loaf. I will simmer this together. I'm going to cut a whole onion very thin and brown it in some olive oil, along with some jarred garlic (I am out of fresh garlic). I will add this to the "spaghetti sauce". I have a 3 ounce container in the freezer of chopped up tomato that I will add to this. We are out of Parmesan cheese, so we will go without.

We don't have any spaghetti noodles, but I do have some "salad macaroni" that we will serve instead. It is in a 16 ounce bag. I don't plan on cooking the whole bag. We have some left over spinach from last night that needs to be used up.

If the kids are still hungry, they can have some left over banana bread.

Using what we have available will help keep my budget reasonable, and free up some income to pay my tax bill. I got paid yesterday and did my taxes. I am waiting on my next pay check (every two weeks) and I will send out the tax money then. I don't want to touch the income I have in my savings account. I have 20 dollars cash in my wallet. I'm hoping to hold on to it until I really need something, like milk for the children.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Dinner tonight...using what we have

Meat loaf using a pound of 93 percent lean ground beef, and a pound of ground turkey, two slices of bread that I turned into crumbs, two eggs, a packet of soy sauce (take out from my oldest), some Worcestershire sauce, onion, and garlic.

I had a container of homemade spaghetti sauce (peppers, onion, mushrooms, etc etc) in the fridge. It's a small container, so I used it to top the meatloaf and I put it in the oven.

We had sliced cucumbers, chopped spinach, and green beans with our meal.

I made two pans of banana bread, and a pan of banana muffins. My special ed kid said, Oh I love banana cupcakes". He ate two servings after he finished his dinner. My oldest is taking some of left over dinner to work with her. My middle DD (who fell and broke her eye glasses) said "Mom, I love when you cook".

Did I mention I feel like a heel after my kid broke her glasses?? She's been so sweet. She asked me if I would like a cup of tea. I told her that would be great. I hugged her and said, "I'm glad that you didn't get hurt".

My kid...

fell at school, tripped over her shoe laces, and BROKE HER GLASSES.

I have insurance and they helped pay for 60 percent of her new glasses last year, since she had a new prescription.

I just want to cry.


I worked a lot of overtime last year (2014). A lot of overtime. I filed our taxes this morning using Turbo Tax. I paid 71 dollars for our federal and state returns. I'm getting a state return of 138 dollars direct deposit to my checking account.

I owe federal taxes. 1686 total. As soon as I find out that my return has been accepted to the IRS I have to check the balance in my savings account. I want this paid by the end of the month. I have about 800 dollars after paying all my bills this morning (I got my paycheck from work) and get paid every two weeks.

I will use what cash I have in my checking left over and use my savings. I have about 2 thousand in there. I would consider paying the IRS an emergency.


I asked my friend (financial analyst) if I could use my wagging hound dogs tails as a deduction for wind turbine. HAHAHA.

Using what we have...

I worked Tuesday night and made it home Wednesday morning and slept for a couple of hours. I have a community service activity I am committed to on Wednesday nights at the local rescue mission. I went there and I am blessed that I enjoy my time there.

I thawed out thin pork chops for Wednesday's dinner. I used the last bit of breadcrumbs I had to make a coating on them. I warmed up all the left overs in the fridge (buttered corn, pork stuffing, carrots, left over hibachi veggies and rice from my; birthday dinner) and offered a buffet style pick what you want to eat for dinner.

It worked. We got rid of the lurking left overs and finished off some breadcrumbs.

I have some things that need to be used up:

a couple of bananas
a couple of apples
butterscotch morsels (I don't know who bought them, maybe my DH????)
a very thick candy cane
Dollar store chocolate from Christmas

I have a running grocery list and working to use what we have available.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Dinner...birthday fun...working less overtime.

In a nutshell, my overtime shift last week was instead "On call" and I didn't get called in. I am kind of thankful. I get my first paycheck this week with no overtime in it. I'm a little nervous, but it was really nice to be at home. The bills are paid. I have money in savings. I'm waiting to get all my tax stuff in the mail. Some of it has arrived.

We celebrated my birthday yesterday. We went to a Japanese steakhouse and had a BLAST! The five of us had an awesome time. Was it expensive...YEP. Was it fun....YEP. Did we plan and put the money aside to pay for it.....YEP.

The kids and I need new sneakers and hair cuts. My husband shaved his head for the first time on Sunday. I work up in the afternoon (I work night shift) and walked into the bathroom. He was in there with the clippers, a razor, and shaving cream. It was all gone, including his beard and mustache. I asked him if he was in the stages of "having a manic moment". He said he wanted to see what it would look like. I was shocked. I told him that I wish the kids would have given me some kind of hint when I woke up.

He's wearing a baseball hat now. I love him regardless. He's saving me money on shampoo that's for sure.

Dinner today is five chicken legs in the crock pot. I added a bag of "baby carrots", two stalks of celery, an onion, some spices, and five small potatoes. It's dinner tonight.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Dinner this weekend...

I'm finishing up my work weekend tonight...
My DH made chicken wings last night with BBQ sauce, steamed green beans and corn.
Tonight he made a pork roast in the crock pot with "cream of mushroom soup" over it. He made buttered corn and stuffing.

I'm thankful I didn't have to cook.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Using what we have continues....

In an effort to increase the amount of fruit and veggies in our daily meals I've used a bunch of fruit and veggies for today's meal.

We are going to have homemade spaghetti sauce with Italian sausage over whole grain thin spaghetti with salad, green beans, and sliced apples.

The apples are self explanatory. I will slice them and serve on the side. We will have some green beans from the freezer and microwave them prior to eating. The whole grain thin spaghetti is a opened box that has been lurking in the pantry. There's about half a box left. It needs to go today.

Our homemade spaghetti sauce consist of 1 cup of tomato paste, 1/2 cup of water, the last of the red, yellow, orange, green peppers I cut into strips. I had one of each color left to use. I sliced up one whole onion, two cloves of garlic, a handful of fresh mushrooms (I cut them small. I don't care for huge pieces of mushrooms in my meal), two cans of diced tomato (juices included), and I put in some Italian sausage I cooked in olive oil. The Italian sausage links were taken out of their casing. I browned them on top of the stove with some olive oil. I added some basil to it and put it all in the crock pot.

We are out of fresh Parmesan cheese from Aldi. I do have some of the "shaker" Parmesan cheese if the kids would like that on their pasta. Our salad is the last of the lettuce, tomato, cucumber, onion, peppers from yesterday's meal. We have two dressings for it, a sweet southwestern kind, and thousand island from Aldi.

I go back to work tonight.

Thursday, January 29, 2015


We had more salad left over from last night (lettuce, tomato, cucumber, onion, peppers), home made pizzas (two were cheese, one pepperoni, one supreme IE mushroom, peppers, onion, garlic, pepperoni), and sliced pears.

We are using up what we have to keep some money saved. I used the last bit of Spaghetti sauce and mixed it with some tomato paste and a bit of water. I put the last bit of mozzarella cheese in the blender and grated it. I used pepperoni I had in the freezer, and cut up a bunch of lurking veggies. I used the last of the Parmesan cheese that we bought shredded from Aldi.

Four our pizza crust, I used a awesome bread recipe. The crust was amazing. We have the equivelant of one pizza left over. My DD will probably take that to work tonight for her lunch.


Wednesday, January 28, 2015

What's been cooking...

I had two very small pieces of pork roast I bought a whole ago at Aldi for 1.99 lb. I took both out of the freezer yesterday morning and let thaw. To my disappointment, they were both very fatty. I ended up trimming off all the fat. I sliced both pieces into thin "strips" and covered them with mustard and spices. I used about 1 cup of seasoned breadcrumbs and breaded them. They went into the oven at 325 for about 40 minutes.

I microwaved a open bag of lurking broccoli that was in the freezer that needed to be used up.
I had some salad that my DD made the night before. We finished that (lettuce, onion, tomato, cucumber, peppers).

Today's meal will be some chicken tortellini I bought from Aldi. It's the refrigerated kind. I don't know why I bought it, I guess I was looking for something different. I am going to simmer these and serve them with the last of the Prego sauce for the children, topped with some shredded Parmesan cheese.

I am going to serve the chicken tortellini for myself and DH. I'm going to coat a pan with some olive oil, simmer a couple strips of red, yellow, orange, and green peppers, half a sliced onion, a couple cloves of garlic, and a whole tomato diced up. I will let this cook down some, and serve this over the pasta, with some Parmesan cheese.

All five of us will have left over salad on the side. I have a frozen bag of green beans that we can microwave to have on the side. We are working hard to increase our veggie intake and use what is available at home.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Dinner and work

Friday night I went to work in a middle of a winter storm. I ended up getting a hotel room paid for by my employer to ensure that I was able to return to work on Saturday night. I was able to get home Sunday morning and return to work Sunday night.

My DH made chili last night for dinner. We had all kinds of chili stuff in the pantry. He didn't look and see what was available and went out to buy the ingredients. Oh well. It's his money, not mine.

I had a package of Aldi frozen ravioli in the freezer. I simmered them, topped them with some Prego spaghetti sauce and shredded Parmesan cheese. That's dinner tonight!!

Friday, January 23, 2015

Dinner tonight

We are working on using things up and incorporating the lurking items into our new groceries I bought the other day.

Aldi had chicken drumsticks on sale for 89 cents a pound. There's 12 in each package and I bought two large ones. I broke them down into five per serving and put them in the freezer.

I have five drumsticks marinating in some garlic and herb marinade I had in the fridge (lurking, didn't use all of it up yet). I also have a package of pepperidge farm stuffing mix in the pantry (lurking). I cut up half the onion that was left over form yesterday, several stalks of celery, two cloves of garlic, one large green apple, some sage, thyme, one container of turkey stock from the freezer, and the last cup of chicken stock that I had in the fridge. It will be stuffing to go with our chicken drumsticks. It will bake in the oven and be part of our meal.

I am also serving a salad. I bought all the produce this past Wednesday when I went to the store. We have some lurking salad dressing that needs to be used up.

What's been cooking...

My computer blogging time was cut since my daughter did something to our computer. She shut down my blog with some code and password that locked me out. I wasn't able to post or even log into my blog. Funny though, I could got to my blog off my android, but not post, and get links to my other blogs. I don't understand.

Anyway, she fixed it. 

We had Shepard pie last night. I used a pound of ground beef, half an onion, two gloves of garlic, a can of lurking cream corn (in the pantry from thanksgiving), a 1/2 bag of frozen corn, and a couple of potatoes (to make mashed). It was pretty awesome. There's enough for one serving left. I'm thinking I will take it to work tonight (unless my husband eats it). 

Wednesday, my kids were out for a snow day. I made use of a couple of things lurking in the pantry. I baked an angel food cake (box mix, only needed water), made a from scratch cheese pizza (ABM ingredients, lurking pasta sauce 1/4 left in a jar, and some mozzarella cheese), and finished off the last seven eggs by making a hash of sorts (scrambled eggs, the last bit of ham pieces I had in the freezer, maybe 1/2 cup...and some small cheese pieces). 

I got paid yesterday. I was able to get most of March's bills paid (I like staying a month ahead), and even paid May's mortgage. I was able to put 300 dollars in my savings. 

My first class ended towards my Master's program. My second starts February 26th. I have payment arrangements to make for this five credit class. It's 445 dollars a credit, plus a 150 technology fee. 

I cut the overtime down some. I only picked up three shifts on the next schedule instead of my usual 8 (making it one extra shift a week). My next pay check in two weeks will not have any overtime in it. I am hoping that it is not a big financial hit to my bank account. 

The kids are well. My teens are still in school. My oldest DD is working full time at a local factory. 
My husband is well. We went out yesterday to a local experimental farm and walked two miles with our two hound dogs. It was pretty awesome to get out together, even if it was a bit cold. 

Wednesday, January 21, 2015


my 17 year old apparently put some kind of block on my blog...changed something....locked me out for a few days...

She got me back to my blog tonight.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

What's been happening...

Work. Lots of it. I'm hoping to cut back on the overtime. I'm tired and working on recovering from a cold virus. It's not pretty at all. Body aches, exhaustion (I've been in bed before 8 most nights), runny nose, non productive cough, and a mild headache...nothing ibuprofen, sleep, and tea can't fix.

Last night we had home made meat loaf, oven roasted carrots, peas, onion, Brussel sprouts, and celery. It was an easy meal and I tossed all the veggies in some Italian herb marinade.

We've also had BBQ pork chops, with a mixture of veggies.
KFC one night (my DH bought it).
Spaghetti and sauce

I put the last of our sliced turkey in the crock pot with a bunch of carrots, onion, garlic, pepper, potatoes, celery, and a couple containers of turkey stock from the freezer. I added some spices, and I will let it cook all day. YUM!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

dinner tonight

Home made cheese burgers (topped with lettuce, tomato, sliced onion, pickles) and potato wedges with Parmesan, garlic, and rosemary.

All made at home from stuff we had in the fridge, pantry, and spice cabinet.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Monday and Tuesday's meals

On Monday, I took a good portion of left over turkey and stuffing and piled them on plates. I made from scratch gravy and covered the plates with it. The kids were loving it. It was so carb heavy that I couldn't finish it.

Tuesday, we made turkey salad with the rest of the turkey. I cut up celery, diced turkey, added some mayo, chopped pickles, onion and garlic powder, poultry seasoning, and thyme. We had this on left over hamburger buns that needed to be used. We served fresh pineapple on the side.

The turkey is officially GONE with only stock in the freezer.

Using things up...

The kids are home from school due to a winter snow and ice storm. We have been pretty good about using some items up.

We've had scrambled eggs with the last bit of cheese that was hiding out in the back of the fridge for breakfast. We took a huge container of bean soup dated 11/25/14 and heated this up for lunch. It fed four of us (my oldest is sleeping since she worked last night).

Tonight we are having chicken "Italian" sausage (we have three links left over from our turkey dinner the other night, will peel off skin and slice very thin) with fried thin sliced onion. We are going to use up the last bit of brown rice with Haitian beans (steamed), and make salad (lettuce, cucumber, tomatoes). My DH and I will put our chicken "italian" sausage over our salad and leave the brown rice and beans for the kids.

I also have three apples and a pear that are going soft. I'm going to cut them up in small pieces, put some butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon on them, and cover it with some older packets of whole grain oats I had in the pantry. We will bake this in the oven and call it "dessert".

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Sunday dinner

We had left over turkey and sides from yesterday for dinner.

We have a huge bowl of turkey stock in the fridge from the bones.

I am not going to eat turkey for some time now.

Our soup will be meatless...when I make it.

Saturday, January 3, 2015


Last night we had hot dogs, steamed broccoli, and some mac and cheese. The mac and cheese was made from left over sea shell pasta that was in the fridge and a basic white sauce with deli cheese ends added to it.

My daughter (Mary, 17) wants to bake our other turkey today. I have cut up some celery (including leaves), carrots, and onion for the crock pot (to make turkey stock later from the bones and skin). It's put aside, since she wants to do the prep for our actual meal alone. The turkey is 13 pounds and I'm hoping for lots of left over turkey for sandwiches.

I have left over boxed stuffing (about a cup) that needs to be used. She will make her own dressing using two cups of chicken stock I took out of the freezer, two chopped apples, half an onion, some celery, two chicken sausage (Italian flavor) links, and home bagged stuffing crumbs. We will combine the two different kinds of stuffing and bake them in the oven.

I have a lone turkey bag in the pantry she can use. I think she wants to heat up buttered corn in the freezer, a steam type bag). I asked her to make a salad to go with our meal. We even have a lone container of cranberry sauce (my kids love it, me not so much).

My husband told me that he would take all the meat off the bones, and put the frame, skin, and extra stuff in the crock pot after dinner. I prepped the veggies for the crock pot. All he needs to do is add everything (including water) and let it simmer overnight. I will strain the bones and skin out in the AM when I get home from work. The turkey stock will be added to the freezer for future meals.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Debt totals...

January 2014   109,488.31

mortgage 71,932.53
Equity line 23,446,73
student loan 14,109.05

January 2015   97,392.56

mortgage 69, 801.60
equity line 17, 626.10
student loan 9,964.86

I am following Dave Ramsey's snowball concept...my goal is to have my equity line paid off by August 2016...the terms of the loan change then. I send them the minimum payment of 75 dollars, and an additional 300 dollars every two weeks.

My student loan payment is 167 dollars a month. I send them 200 dollars every two weeks...like clock work.

It doesn't seem like much, but when I added the new totals, it was BELOW 100,000.00

Amazing. One income.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

January 2015

Happy New Year!! I can't believe it's 2015. Wow! Time flies when folks are working, providing for their families, and finding a moment for quality time.

I am working New Year's Eve, and New Year Day night shift.

Dinner last might was left over chicken, corn, peas, potatoes with gravy. I made some boxed stuffing also for the carb loving kids. My daughter made sea shell pasta with Prego spaghetti sauce for this evening's meal since I have to work.

 I don't make resolutions. I end up breaking them within the first few weeks, and after doing so, I just stopped making them. I am looking forward to working less overtime (one can hope right???) and paying down my debt some more. I will have new numbers for my debt later this week. I have 2014 numbers written down and will do the math for 2015 prior to posting.

I hope 2015 brings the best for everyone!