This Weeks Goals { January 31 }

Here is last’s weeks to do list:
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* My husband put together new shelving for the basement storage area.  This is to hold my extra pantry items which now need to be organized.  Identify holes and make a list of items to purchase.  Done! You can check out my pantry plan here.

* Start working on the kid’s Valentines for schoolI cut out the bookmarks and punched holes. Now we need to decorate.

*Work out final budget for FebruaryDone, ugh.

*Go through a box of paper/documents that have accumulated. Didn’t get to this.

*Shop for supplies for two craft projects.  Not done. Just didn’t feel up to it.

*Make some meals for the freezerDone! I made mac and cheese as well as taco meat, sloppy joes, and meatloaf.  I also made 3 dozen muffins.

*Price out some of the items I was purchasing at Sam’s when I go to other stores.  I need to figure out where I can get the most bang for my buck.  In progress. I checked out the price of ground beef, cheese, and juice at one store.

This weeks to do list:

  • Get caught up on laundry.  Seriously, it looks like a clothing factory exploded here.  While I’ve been sick I did the laundry but it never got put away.
  • Go through that box of documents/papers.
  • Shop for supplies for two craft projects.
  • Earn some Swagbucks.  I’ve been slacking off on this and I my wish list on Amazon is getting bigger. Time to earn some gift cards.
  • Make sure to use Ibotta, Checkout 51, and Savingstar after shopping. I think these apps are great but it is a bit of a pain. I really wish I could just link all my loyalty cards to these apps. I strongly dislike taking pictures of receipts.
  • Make some banana bread for a snack and to send with my husband to work. I also will make some banana strawberry ice cream. I have a bunch of bananas and strawberries in the freezer.  They will be making lots of appearances over the next few weeks.
  • Start to set up my inventory system for my pantry and write a post about it.
What is everyone else up to? Have a wonderful week!

Week in Review ( Week 4 )

I made 3 dozen muffins for the freezer. I used blueberries from the freezer and a strawberries that were on the way out from the fridge.  I used a basic muffin mix that allows for lots of variation.  Recipe coming soon.

I made a double batch of taco meat, and mac and cheese.  We ate one for dinner and put the other in the freezer. I also made sloppy joes and meatloaf for the freezer.

I gave my mom a shelf we had stuck in our garage and weren’t using.  It fits perfectly in her laundry room. In exchange she gave me a book she had finished along with some pie crust she had leftover from the holidays.

I was also gifted a tea kettle by my mom.  My old one didn’t have a flat bottom and couldn’t be used on my glass top stove.  I mentioned it to my mom and she had an extra.

We were able to get gas for .99 per gallon using grocery store points.  Whoop!

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A cup of coffee and a good book is a great way to get some rest.

I finished reading 3 books.  All the books had been given to me.  Lot’s of time spent resting and trying to feel better.

I got 2 94 oz bottles of organic apple cider for $1.48.  The kids love it.

I went to the grocery store this morning and found English muffins for .50 a dozen!  They had a sell by date of today so I popped 4 dozen into my freezer.  We like to make egg sandwiches on the weekends.

I picked up 10 pounds of chicken breast at $1.69 a pound which is a fantastic price for my area.  In addition I purchased 4 8 ounce bags of shredded cheese that were on sale for $1.77 each.  It was a limit of 4 so I will go back another day and get more.  They all went into the freezer.   I saved using $6.40 in coupons.  I will also earn $1 back from Checkout 51 and a little from Saving Star too.

Tonight we are having a pizza picnic using dough and cheese from the freezer.  I will add some sautéed peppers and onions that need to be used up.  We will watch a movie we already own.  My little one and I are also making some Rice Krispy treats using up a box that’s been hanging around since Christmas.  Yum! I think that is good way to spend a Friday night!

How did you save this week? Have a great weekend!

My Pantry Building Plan

1252px-Shopping_cart_with_food_clip_art.svgOne of my goals for 2016 is to build up my pantry.  I would like to begin by building a well rounded 3 month supply for each person.  Once this is complete I will move on to long term food storage.

I have read a ton of blog post and sites on the subject.   There are many different approaches although generally the types of supplies are the same.  Most work through purchasing ingredients versus prepared convenience foods.  It makes sense.  Stretching basic ingredients would provide many meals should the need arise.

All that being said I don’t feel that the “ingredients only” model fits the needs of my family.  As you read on you may not agree with my choices but I believe it is the right fit for my family. Here’s why:

  • I have small children who have favorite foods.  I believe keeping a supply of these foods on hand could prove to be an invaluable comfort in an emergency.
  • One of my children has sensory issues with regards to food and his diet is highly limited at this time.  Having the items on hand that he will eat buys me time to plan for the long term if necessary.
  • We have peanut and tree nut allergies (severe.)  This eliminates many items that others would keep in their pantries.
  • If by chance I am the one who is ill my husband would be responsible for meals.  He can cook a bit (limited skills- he couldn’t make bread from scratch) but works long hours.  Putting a meal on the table in a timely manner would be challenging.  Keeping a few things on hand at the ready would likely stop us from needing takeout.
Why start with just a 3 month supply in mind?
  • It gives me the ability to add variety easily.
  • Gives me an opportunity to test my storage system for rotating, monitoring expiration dates, and keeping inventory before I have a large amount of supplies that would be overwhelming.
  • Space – currently we have a lack of it.  As we continue to declutter I will gain more pantry space.
  • Budget – At present I do not have a separate budget for these items.  They must all be purchased within our grocery budget, meaning smaller amounts.
What will I buy?  Each month I plan to purchase a specific set of items based on needs/sales.  I may or may not purchase all items on my list depending on budget but will maintain a running list.  In January I purchased lots of pasta, water, and canned tomato sauce.  February is national snack, breakfast, and canned goods month.  Here is my list for February:
  1. Frozen pizza.  I always have homemade sauce and dough in the freezer.  These pizza’s are my backup for my husband.  Because of the Super Bowl we should see some great deals.  I only plan to buy a few as I want to learn to make my own “premade” frozen pizza.
  2. Canned soup – I have a boatload of frozen soups.  I would like to have a few cans also.
  3. Spaghetti sauce- this is another item I make from scratch and keep in the freezer.  These other jars would again be backups.
  4. Drink mix.  Plain water can get boring.  (In the summer we usually add fresh fruit)
  5. Belvita breakfast biscuits and Nutrigrain bars (these are for my son)
  6. Sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla extract – I am running low
  7. Chocolate – hoping for a sale on chocolate chips near Valentines Day
  8. Water
  9. Tuna- I know there is a good sale coming at my local grocery store.  My husband is the only one who eats this so I will pick up a few cans.
  10. Canned fruit – I currently am shopping sales and purchasing in season fruits from my grocery store.  The cost can still be pretty high and the quality just isn’t there.  I hope to find a deal on canned fruit and buy a dozen cans.
Do you have a pantry purchase plan?  What will you be buying in February?

This Weeks Goals {January 24}

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I couldn’t resist getting this donut this morning. They are my weakness!

Over the weekend we had 9 inches of snow fall.  This isn’t really all that much to us New Englanders, but seeing the effect the storm had on other parts of the country certainly was food for thought.  I need to think about some holes in my pantry and how we could possibly add a little more to our car emergency kits.  Of course we need to do it all within budget.

Last week I found out all three Sam’s Club stores in our area are closing.   This is a big deal. I have been shopping there for some time and the closing will directly affect my grocery and gas budgets.  I am really bummed out about this. Probably more than I should be, but to be truthful I got used to shopping there. I am sort of dreading having to find new sources for those items I would purchase there as a rule. I have no choice though so I just need to stop whining, lol!

This week I have lots I want to accomplish.  Unfortunately the doctor told me that I would not likely feel better for another week or so. This certainly puts a damper on things now doesn’t it! I am going to make my list anyway and just take it on day at a time.

* My husband put together new shelving for the basement storage area.  This is to hold my extra pantry items which now need to be organized.  Identify holes and make a list of items to purchase.

* Start working on the kid’s Valentines for school.

*Work out final budget for February.

*Go through a box of paper/documents that have accumulated.

*Shop for supplies for two craft projects.

*Make some meals for the freezer.

*Price out some of the items I was purchasing at Sam’s when I go to other stores.  I need to figure out where I can get the most bang for my buck.

Happy Monday everyone!

Week in Review (Week 3)

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My weekend supplies.

Ugh. This has been a tough week.  I have been diagnosed with walking pneumonia and it has left me feeling miserable. I’ve been drinking lots of orange juice and hot tea hoping it will just go away soon.  I’ve got lots of projects and posts I want to work on already!

 

I am so grateful for all the food and premade meals I had in the freezer. It stopped us from having to eat out or go to the store.

On Saturday my 5 year old was invited to a birthday party at a local pizza parlor.  I had some Kinetic Sand in my gift stash I had purchased before the holidays.  I wanted to give some sand tools with it and stopped by Michaels to pick some up.  I was pleasantly surprised to find that they were 70% off!  We used a gift bag we had on hand and made a tag using some scrapbook paper.  It cost less than 10.00 for everything.  My son had a great time at the party and brought home a small pizza he had created.

My husband and son went to a friends house Saturday afternoon to watch football.  I sent them with a plate of cookies made from ingredients I had on hand. I had hoped that some cookies would make it to the freezer. No such luck!

On Sunday we cancelled a subscription to Weight Watchers we weren’t using any more, putting $20 a month back into our pockets.

I was gifted a bag of hand sanitizers by my mom who can not use them.  I will keep one in each car and in my purse.  My husband also likes to keep one in his office.

I took advantage of a pasta sale at our local grocery store.  I bought 20 boxes of pasta to add to my pantry at .59 each.  I also picked up a 24 pack of bottled water for 1.99.

I continued to do research on cutting the cable cord.  I’ve decided to go ahead and order an HD antenna for us to try out and see what local stations we can get with it.  I will continue to price out all the other things we will need (internet price, streaming stick, streaming programs, etc.)

I spent 107.00 at the grocery store. This leaves me with $151.76 left to spend this month. I know there are a few items I want to pick up to replenish my freezer.

How was your week?

 

Week in Review (Week 2)

This week seemed to go by quickly.   We were very busy at the beginning,  perhaps that is why.  Sometimes I find that when we are busy on Monday and Tuesday it can really throw me for a loop.  This week we managed to stay the course!   I have been working on some new habits and bringing back old ones that I hope are making a difference.

Last week I mentioned I had done some research on reducing our cable cost.  Well no sooner did I write that when our new bill arrived- with an increase of $35- OUCH!  Looks like we’ll be moving a bit faster on figuring it out.

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Flowers from my son’s birthday party

 

On Sunday we had a wonderful party for my 4 year olds birthday.  Our families were very generous.  You can read my tips for saving on birthday parties here.  I saved all the gift bags to put in my stash.

There were lots of veggies leftover from the party.  None of them went to waste including the tomatoes.  I roasted them up and they were delish! Recipe here.

I accepted a bag of clothes for my boys.   There was a winter coat in the next size up. Score!

I skipped the grocery store this week and we ate from our pantry and freezer.  The only food purchases were a few stock up items,  veggies and chicken breast from BJ’S and Sam’s Club.  I spent 53.09 bringing my grocery total for this month to 241.24.  This leaves me with 258.76 for the remainder of the month.

I exercised 5 out of 7 days!  I did not however drink enough water.   Need to work on this.

What did you do to save money last week?

 

Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

One of the appetizers brought to my son’s party was a lovely tray of veggies and dip.  There ended up being a little left and those extra carrots and celery will make it into lunch boxes this week – easy peasy. But what about those cherry tomatoes?  Not a one of them was touched,  poor things.

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Well I couldn’t just let them go to waste.  We throw out entirely too much food and it is a practice we’re aiming to stop.  So I present you Roasted Cherry Tomatoes.  

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I wish you could be in my kitchen right now.  These smell heavenly,  like a fine Italian restaurant.   They are equally delicious and would be tasty over chicken,  fish,  or pasta.  Yum!

Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

1 cup cherry tomatoes
1 tsp olive oil
1/4 teaspoon chopped garlic
1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  In a small bowl combine oil, garlic, and Italian seasoning.  Add tomatoes with salt and pepper to taste and stir to coat.  Place on a foil lined baking sheet and roast for 10 minutes.  Enjoy!