Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Use it Up Wednesday

Today's theme was comfort food.  As I am getting over the ick, I was in need of something creamy, soothing, and dairy free.  I opened a bag of dry peas that's been hanging around for a while, and improvised on this recipe for split pea soup here, but added some coriander for more flavor.  Also I had no stock or broth, so I just used water to slow cook the peas in.  And I had a half pound of bacon, so I fried that up to sprinkle on.  And I did another loaf of artisan bread.  All I need is for my husband to get home and feast with me.  It is a dinner for two, since the husband is a bit late, so the kiddos have been fed. (They were not so much into the soup!  They will learn!)

Tuesday, February 28, 2012


Great weekend---we went on a cubscout hike to see a small herd of bison, visited with family from out of town, and caught the first flowers of spring in the yard.  So much fun I find myself behind on blogging duties. That, and on Sunday night I realized I had the vicious tummy bug that's been going around.  Meal plans this week include Gatorade, 7-up, soup and saltines.  At least the weekend was awesome!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Fabulous Frugal Friday

Photo of the day: a young Coopers Hawk in my front yard.  Spectacular!

In no order, several fabulously frugal things this week:
  • Kept groceries well under the $100 per week budget
  • Again resisted temptation to buy scrapbooking stuff
  • Found good used cleats for the boys' sports for $10 a pair
  • Found a good used baseball glove for me to practice with for $10
  • Booked a frugal weekend camping trip with friends...just $29 a night
Frugal Fails include:
  • Again, eating out too much.  Our family crisis has us turning to comfort food, which has to stop.  The good thing is I think we've come to a decision about husband's employment.  In the meantime we have firmly decided that after tomorrow (we are meeting family from out of town at a restaurant) our eating out is over for a while.
  • I lost my saved seeds.  A large bag of seeds I'd saved has completely gone missing.  I think I may have actually thrown it all out because I was thinking a lot of them were more than a couple years old.  I won't actually call this a true fail though because I do not have enough garden space to take chances with older seeds. However it does speak to the need of greater organization.
Goals in the upcoming week include:
  • Eating at home
  • Avoiding any further purchases until after March 1st
  • Making interesting meals at home
  • Planting the spring garden (seeds arrived today!)
  • Doing a little scrapbooking using what I have
  • Doing some photography with my real camera
  • Doing some art with the kids
Something I thought about this week

We have to put our values first.  "Thrift" or "frugality" are simply means to an end.  No one's going to give me a cookie or a gold star for being a frugal person.  We save money not to be miserly but to have resources for when we need them.  The things I value are providing a comfortable home for my family, getting my kids a good education and being able to spend time together, engaged in more "authentic" activities like being outdoors or enjoying slow food or doing creative things.  I see value in paying off our mortgage early because no matter what happens to the economy, if I own my property outright, it will always benefit my family.  I see value in encouraging the boys to making something instead of tuning out with a video game.  I see value in practicing daily gratitude for all that I have rather than buying something new to add to the pile.  I see value in learning to fix things and use them well over replacing. I see value in encouraging the boys' interest in sports, scouting and music, over teaching them to be consumers. Sometimes I need to step back and clarify for myself how it all works together.  If I'm just scrimping for the sake of scrimping, I feel deprived.  If I'm being careful with money for a goal or purpose, I feel empowered.

Have a great weekend and thanks for reading!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Things I did today instead of Facebook

For Lent this year I gave up Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.  So far so good, though I find myself habitually picking up my iPhone.

These are the things that I accomplished today:

Folded about 10 days worth of clean laundry that was heaped on the couch.
Thoroughly cleaned the kitchen.
Paid the bills.
Finished reading The Other Queen by Philippa Gregory.
Had a live phone conversation with a friend.
Did homework with the boys.
Played with Nathan.
Took a nap.
Rearranged and photographed my Valentine's flowers with my real camera.

Could the day have been more productive?  Sure.   But the point is my days lately haven't been even this productive, so this is a good step.  I also realized that I'm pretty tired, for no real reason.  I'm stressed out over the potential relocation or unemployment of my husband, and I'm turning to social media instead of properly caring for myself and my family.  I'm "pinning" hundreds of pretty pictures and creating nothing.  The craziest part: today I felt a sense of relief at not "having to" post updates.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Menu Plan Monday

Early Mardi Gras treat for us today!

So how last week went: not so good.  We made it through maybe half the week, until Thursday, when I asked my husband to bring Chinese home instead of making it myself. And that was after eating out with my friend Erin for lunch that day. Then Friday Nate got sick, so he and I had to stay home for the scout weekend.  So on Friday afternoon while I was rushing around to get the husband and Zack ready to go, I ended up picking up a pizza from the grocery store (still cheaper than delivery.)  By Saturday afternoon, Nate was feeling better but still so sad about missing the fun, so I gave in to temptation and got us DQ carryout for lunch.  Ken and Zack got home Sunday, exhausted, so guess what? We went out.  And today, it was a holiday, right? So we went out again.  Sigh.

Upward and onward.  This just reinforces what I already know: I have to have easy to prepare, craveable things in the house for these times when we are busy, tired or just wanting something "special" to eat.  I also have to remind myself that in the time it takes to drive to and from a restaurant, and order a meal, I could have something just as good prepared at home.

This week we have 3 large bags of salad left over from the Blue and Gold banquet Saturday. And I daresay our arteries could use a little scrubbing.  So this is salad week!  I'll try as I go to use up various veggies in the crisper as well as maybe using things like frozen peas, croutons, almonds, sunflower seeds, fruit---whatever we have to change it up.  Breakfasts are eggs and toast, cereal, oatmeal or waffles, with juice or fruit.  Lunches are sandwiches, salads and leftovers.

Monday: Breaded chicken on salad

Tuesday: turkey sandwiches and salad

Wednesday: popcorn shrimp, rice and salad

Thursday: Salmon, rice and salad

Friday: Turkey burgers for the family; me to book club

Saturday: Probably out w/ visiting family members
*breaded chicken sandwiches and fruit if we stay home*

Sunday:  Dad's choice

Have a great week!