Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Meal Prep - Week #1


We finished up our trial run and it went better than expected.  The girls and I were pretty impress, not only by the fact that we enjoyed a lot of great meals, but that it didn't take a huge amount of time to get it all prepped.  I'd say it was a success and we all agreed to keep it going. This is what we did.


Friday evening I took meat out of the freezer to thaw.  A four pound pork roast, two large chicken breast halves and a pound of turkey breakfast sausage.

Saturday morning we shopped.  Our list was based on two main things.  Items we needed to round out what we already had at home to complete the menu and select items on sale to stock up on.  We meal prepped on both Saturday and Sunday to break it up.  For us this seems to work best as there are other things we need and want to do over the weekend.

Into the slow cooker for six hours

Removing the fat and getting ready to shred the roast

First thing in the morning, before we left to shop, I put the pork roast in my largest slow cooker on high to stew up in its own juices.  I added nothing to the pot at this point.  After six hours my oldest took the roast out, removed the fat and shredded the entire thing.  Half of the roast went back into the slow cooker.

Half of the pork with green chile sauce and onion

The other half of the shredded roast

Adding BBQ sauce for pulled pork sandwiches

Finished pork verde ready for the freezer

I added half a large can of green chile enchilada sauce to the slow cooker and an onion cut into chunks.  We let that cook to make pork verde.  Three hours later we put the pork into a freezer container and labeled it.  It is waiting in the freezer for a future meal.  In the meantime my daughter mixed the rest of the shredded pork with barbeque sauce.  Then it went into a bowl, was labeled and placed in the refrigerator for pulled pork sandwiches.

Mixing up the eggs for quiche

Sausage, mushrooms & cheese in the bottom of the crust

Ready for the freezer

While the pork verde was cooking my oldest made two whole wheat pie crusts.  I cooked up a pound of turkey breakfast sausage with some sliced mushrooms, whipped up a dozen eggs with some flour, milk and salt & pepper to taste.  The cooled sausage was placed in the bottom of each pie crust.  I divided a 6oz. package of grated swiss cheese between the two and then topped each one equally with the egg mixture.  Into the freezer they went.  Once frozen I put each one into a freezer bag and labeled them.  One quiche for the week and one for the future.

Sliced chicken, garlic and soy sauce

Ready to marinate in the freezer

I sliced up the chicken, put it in a bowl with a spoonful of minced garlic and some soy sauce.  Then I put it in a cool whip container, labeled it and put it in the freezer.

Meatloaf - ground beef, ground pork, oatmeal, egg, grated zucchini,
chopped onion, ketchup, horseradish, garlic powder, onion powder, salt & pepper

Sunday afternoon the youngest and I finished up the prep.  We put together a meat loaf, scrubbed up potatoes and carrots, and because I had some portabello mushrooms I'd bought on markdown, we made some filling and stuffed those too.

Meat loaf, smashed potatoes & carrots

Green beans, stuffed portabello mushrooms

Sunday dinner

Sunday - Baked meatloaf and mushrooms in oven, cooked potatoes & carrots on stove, smashed them and added milk, butter and salt & pepper to taste.  I also had a bit of leftover sour cream so I threw that into the potatoes as well.  Canned green beans were heated in the microwave.

Dinner was ready to serve by the time the fries came out of the oven

Pulled pork sandwich, fries & salad

Monday - Baked frozen french fries in the oven.  Heated pulled pork up on stove, added a little bit of water and some more BBQ sauce.  Made a quick salad.

Tuesday - Dinner with friends at their home.

Wednesday - reheated Sunday dinner in microwave.  Delicious and easy!

Chicken marinated in garlic & soy sauce with rice

My youngest made this beautiful salad while I cooked the chicken

Thursday - Made up a big batch of rice in the morning, put in refrigerator.  Took out container of chicken to thaw.  That evening I quickly cooked up the chicken while the rice heated up in the microwave.  Served it with leftover salad.  Everything was ready in 15 minutes!

The youngest & I made pizzas 

One for the freezer

One for supper

Friday - Made a batch of pizza dough in the bread machine.  The youngest and I pulled out a bunch of odds and ends in the refrigerator and managed to put a couple of pizzas together in about 30 minutes.  We baked one and put a shower hat over the other one and froze it.  One for now and one for later.

Chicken fried rice from leftovers
Saturday - Leftover rice and garlic soy chicken became chicken fried rice for dinner.  Added three eggs, some red onion and a partial bag of frozen peas & carrots.

We had plenty of leftovers each day for lunches.  The pulled pork was used in two lunches in fact.  Everything flowed smoothly Saturday's dinner was a bonus meal we hadn't counted on so it was a wonderful surprise.  We had so much food that week we never made it to the quiche, but we have it for a later date or Sunday breakfast.  The only hiccup we had was when we went to make the coleslaw we found the cabbage had soured, but we punted and just made a quick salad instead.

Friday evening my oldest decided to up the ante - chocolate chip cookie dough

She made dough balls to freeze

And some to try!  Delicious!

Getting dinner on the table each night was super quick and easy, with minimal dishes and clean up.  Not to mention, stress free and I didn't feel like I was spending a ton of time in the kitchen over the weekend getting everything ready.  I'd say it was a success!



Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Orthodontist Paid! I'm On Fire This Month!


My oldest got her braces off a couple weeks ago.  And this week I sent in the final payment on those puppies!  Whoooo hoooooo!

To be perfectly honest I really didn't think it was going to happen this month, but somehow it sure did.  Thank you God!  I'm ecstatic!  Two big financial goals finished up this month.  Yipeeeeee!

You may recall too, that we were blessed at the beginning of the year to learn that our insurance is covering my youngest's orthodonture at 100% as it has been deemed medically necessary.  So no more orthodontist payments.  I am all done.  Phew!


If you live in the Boise area and need a really great dentist for your kids here you go
Dr. Rogers and his staff are phenomanal

Next month it will start to sink in, I'm sure, but right now it just hasn't yet.  It will probably feel like I got a big raise or something next time I sit down to pay bills.  That would be nice!

But you have to know I'm already planning my next financial goal.  I'm not about to squander my pennies just because I happen to have some extra ones now.  So hang in there to see what I am planning to do next.

Right now I'm just going to enjoy marking this one off of my list!



Monday, August 21, 2017

Last Week's Thrifty Moves


Happy Eclipse Day!

Our week, was busy, but surprisingly it didn't really feel like that.  Band camp finished up and my oldest daughter had her final exams for the classes she took online over the summer.  We had an unexpected trip to the orthodontist for a repair to her brand new permanent retainer, no charge, and then before we knew it the weekend was upon us.

Sunday the girls and I finished up our meal prepping for our trial run, did a load of laundry, a little bit of housework.  No big deal.

Monday and Tuesday are a blur.  We were invited over to our friends for dinner Tuesday night and it was lovely.


Wednesday I found a really good promo code online for cell phone service so I renewed both girls phones for $49, including extra text messaging for the oldest!  The youngest is set until November and the oldest until December.  I have each of us staggered to renew on separate months.  Mine is due in October.

The weather has been about 10° cooler lately.  We've only used the A/C upstairs about an hour a day to cool it off before bedtime.  The rest of the time the house is cool enough until sundown and then we set the box fan at the back door each morning and evening.  It has been very comfortable.  Sunday we got a really good rain so I didn't need to water the lawn again until the end of the week.

I got the car fueled up and saved 10¢ a gallon with my rewards points at the Fred Meyer gas station.


I fired off an Amazon order for things we were low on, including two of my supplements I take.  I started a new supplement plan in June to lower my blood pressure and I can't believe how well it is working.  My blood pressure is now normal for the first time in just over a year.  I found out my magnesium levels were low and adding a supplement twice a day did the trick.  I'm taking a few others too for overall health.  I'm so glad the nurse told me about this option before I filled a prescription (the side effects sounded terrible and I wasn't happy about that).



Thursday I had a coupon for a $19.95 oil change for my car waiting in my inbox from Nissan.  I have found that if I wait until the last minute to schedule my semi annual service they will usually send me an offer, to encourage me, so I wait.  In this case a little procrastination really pays off, ha, ha.  I made my appointment for this week and printed off my coupon.  I also added on an offer to have the car washed, waxed and detailed for $10!  I'm really excited about that.  Oil changes don't necessarily thrill me, but shiny sparkly cars?  Yes, yes, yes!

Friday we enjoyed a family movie night and watched a DVD out of our own collection.  My oldest daughter baked chocolate chip cookies for us to enjoy while we watched.

Our big back-to-school and start stocking up for winter haul

Saturday morning the oldest and I hit the road bright and early to get the grocery shopping done.  We went to two stores Albertson's and Fred Meyer to pick up items that were on sale.  I downloaded a gob of digital coupons to use as well as used several coupons I'd been sent in the mail.  We got quite a bit and a lot of good inexpensive stock up items.


We finished up the food from week one of our Meal Prep plan and the youngest and I got busy working on what we needed to do for week two.  I'm super duper excited to share all the details with you guys next week!  So watch for that post on Wednesday.

I washed out several Ziploc bags to re-use.  And I re-used a few of those bags for our meal prepping.

My friday freebies from the past two weeks

We composted coffee grounds, tea bags, onion skins and banana peels.  We fed stale bread and our kitchen scraps to the hens.

How was your thrifty week?



Thursday, August 17, 2017

Purging The House - Care To Join Me?


I've decided to purge the house again, which always make my girls groan.  Especially when I hand them a bag and tell them to fill it up.  Sunday morning I decided to purge and organize the upstairs bathroom cabinet.  It has been driving me nuts.  Too much stuff!  Once I was done consolidating items, tossing out expired medicines, and re-evaluating the items that were in there I had filled up the bathroom trash can quite nicely.

I gave the girls each a plastic grocery bag and sent them to their rooms.  They managed to find all kinds of crap they had squirreled away.  So by the end of an hour we had three filled bags of junk leaving our home.


I figure if I can do that much in an hour what could I do in an afternoon?

I probably won't need the whole afternoon, but who knows.  So Saturday afternoon I'm going to grab some shopping bags and make a pass through the entire house.  I have two problem areas.  The hall closet under the stairs and our garage.  I might need separate times for those two spots, but the rest of the house I'll sweep through and see what I can come up with.

How about you?  Is it time to go through the house and get rid of some stuff?  Care to join me?  I hope you do and I hope you'll share with me how it goes.


Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Meal Prepping


As the girls were handing me their upcoming schedules I was beginning to feel just a wee bit overwhelmed.  And to be totally honest, I'm not ready to jump back into the rat race that becomes our lives during the school year.

I have two girls in two different schools and both are involved in activities that require a significant amount of dedication and time.  My oldest is a junior in high school this year and plays in the band as well as is part of a robotics team.  My youngest is in the chamber orchestra and is also a cheerleader.  She also needs to go to the orthodontist every 6 to 8 weeks.  There is also homework that will need to be done and because both of my girls are kind of smart they take advanced courses and that means a lot of homework.  It gets a bit crazy.

Saw this on Pinterest.  How stinking cute is this?

By the time we all manage to get home the time we have in the evenings will be limited.  And there will be a lot of times when we'll need to leave again to attend one function or another.  So we had a family meeting and we discussed how we were going to pull of this off.  Because, quite frankly, last year nearly drove me insane. 

One of the things we all agreed on was my suggestion that we try meal prepping.  I had been researching the idea on Youtube (there are tons of videos posted about this) and there is a common theme of eating the same meal multiple times during the week.  I knew this wouldn't fly, especially with me.  I have my limits on how many times I'm willing to eat chicken, broccoli and rice in one week.

Found this on Pinterest too.  Cute!

But one idea I could get my head around was meal prepping some freezer meals.  I tried Once A Month cooking several years ago and I learned, there are just certain things that do not freeze well.  Not to mention it required an enormous investment of time and required me to be extremely organized to the point that it seriously stressed me out.  However, the girls and I brainstormed and we think we've figured out what will work for us.  And we also agreed that it needs to be a team effort.

We started over the past weekend to give it a trial run before school officially starts.  Next week I'll post what we made and how it all went.  So far, I can tell you, it is going pretty darn well.  Surprisingly so.  I'm not sure why I didn't think it would.  Maybe past experience.  ???

Let it go, let it go....



Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Blessed & Grateful

I was leaving the grocery store last week and as I pushed the cart toward my car I had this overwhelming thought hit me.  I told my girls.

"We don't need anything."

The girls agreed.  At that moment we needed nothing, not even the items in our shopping cart.

On the way home we tried to come up with something, but quickly realized how truly blessed we really are.  And I am so incredibly grateful for that.

We have a lovely little home in pretty decent shape.  We take care of it and keep it tidy and it serves our needs quite well.  We each have our own bedroom and inside we each have a comfortable bed with warm blankets, plenty of clothing and shoes.


The heat works, the A/C units work and we have box fans too.  The water runs, hot and cold.

We are fortunate in that we have two bathrooms.  Everything functions as it should and the cupboards are adequately stocked with items to keep us clean, first aid supplies should we hurt ourselves, medicines in case we are ill and plenty of toilet paper.

Our kitchen is nice and clean.  We have a fully functioning sink, stove, refrigerator and dishwasher.  The pantry, freezers and refrigerator are full of good, healthy food and there are adequate dishes and pots & pans to prepare and eat our meals.

The girls have everything they need to go to school and get an education.  Instruments to play and activities to participate in that help them grow and broaden their minds and experiences.  We have pets to enjoy and enhance our lives along with the means and ability to care for them.


I'm grateful all of us our healthy.  I'm grateful to have a job.  I'm grateful that I have friends and family that love me.  I'm grateful for all of the things I've learned and the knowledge I've acquired.  I'm grateful for the opportunities that await me.  I'm grateful that my needs are met and my wants are few.

I know I'm blessed.


I am also very grateful for all the wonderful people who read my blog and for all the lovely comments they choose to leave.  Thank you.



Monday, August 14, 2017

Last Week's Thrifty Moves


Sunday morning I did a lot of little things that help us so we don't need to spend money.

First I mixed up some soapy solution for my foaming handsoap dispenser I keep at the kitchen sink using cheap dish soap from the dollar store and some warm water.

I gave my youngest a haircut and then I trimmed my bangs.

I went through the crisper drawer in the refrigerator and rounded up all the veggies that had been there awhile.  I chopped them up and made a yummy and healthy pasta sauce for our lunch.


I used black shoe dye to fix a couple of scuffs on my work shoes and then polished them with black shoe polish.  They look good as new.

Fred Meyer sent me another packet of coupons in the mail.  They arrived in my mailbox on Monday.

Tuesday the oldest and I stopped at Albertsons on the way home from band camp and did some coupon, markdown, stock up shopping.  I like to pick up meat and pantry items for as little as possible and I think we did really well.  Four jars of peanut butter for 99¢ each, two packages of ground turkey for $2.69 each, lunch meat and cheese for $1 to $1.50 per package, 4 boxes of pasta for 69¢ each, all kinds of good buys!  Walked out with a cartload for only $36 and the clerk was impressed.

Mostly loss leaders and markdown items!

I watched several YouTube videos in my endeavor to learn new things.  I'm looking at meal prepping as well as trying to get ideas for future projects to do on Laverne.  I'm learning all kinds of stuff!

Thursday was a busy day for me.  I worked all day and then picked up my youngest from cheerleader camp and dashed off for her orthodontist appointment.  Then back home to pick up the oldest and head down the hill to our favorite neighborhood Mexican restaurant to meet friends for dinner.  We had a nice visit, a great meal and they insisted on picking up the tab, which was a very nice treat for me.  Thank you again!

So good and the service is top notch!!!

Friday after work I picked up the oldest from band camp and then swung by to pick up the youngest at cheer camp.  We all agreed we were exhausted so we decided on the way home to stop at the grocery store and pick up what we needed for the week ahead so we could park the car all weekend and not have to leave the house.

The oldest and I did a quick freezer inventory of the chest freezer in the garage.

After dinner we pulled up for a family meeting to discuss the chaos of our lives that is about to begin (and already has) with the start of the school year and to come up with some strategies to make it all work.  I'll share more about that on Wednesday, but suffice it to say I'm actually rather excited about it now.

Friday's haul, we didn't need much

We all went to bed before 10:00 that night and I think we were all asleep the minute our heads hit the pillows.

Saturday morning I cleaned the kitchen.  I took meat out of the freezer to thaw and the girls and I got busy in the kitchen doing some serious cooking.  More about that on Wednesday as well.

We gave our kitchen scraps to the chickens, such lucky ladies they are.  We continued to make them giant ice cubes to put in their water each day to help them keep cool.  They continued to give us a hearty supply of delicious fresh eggs.

I composted the veggie scraps that weren't chicken worthy like lettuce cores, onion skins and hot pepper seeds.  I also composted banana peels, coffee grounds, tea bags and egg shells.

$1.00!  I got the sensitive formula
because it was 25% larger than the others

I washed out two quart size and two gallon size Ziploc bags as well as a plastic shower hat to reuse.

The girls used a rubber spatula to scrape out every last bit of peanut butter and raspberry jam from the jars while making their lunches one morning.  My oldest decided the jam jar is too pretty to toss in the recycling bin so she removed the label and washed it up.  She plans to reuse it to make a gift for someone.

I did a store survey to add an extra 50 fuel points to my Fred Meyer rewards card.  I also printed off an online coupon which allowed me to up a bottle of laundry detergent at Walgreens for $1!

How was your thrifty week?


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