Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Menu Plan Monday (day late)

We were gone for the weekend so I didn't get my menu planned until last night, but it's done. Here's what we'll have for the next 2 weeks.

Tuesday: babysitting
Wednesday: grilled cheese, tomato soup, & salad
Thursday: grilled soy & ginger chicken with brown rice & veggie
Friday: Homeade BBQ Chicken Pizza & salad
Sunday: Chicken Parmesan, veggie, & homeade foccasia bread (yum!)

Monday: Chicken Lo Mein (this is one of my husbands favorites, he requests it almost every week =)
Tuesday: Chicken Tacoes with homeade salsa* & fixings
Wednesday: Breakfast =)
Thursday: Homeade Pepperoni Pizza & Salad
Friday: work dinner

This is more homeadeISH. But it's definitely my favorite salsa and I always get raves when I make it.

2 cans rotel
1 can diced tomatoes
garlic to taste
cilantro to taste
1/2 lime's juice
1/2 yellow onion chopped

Put everything in blender & blend! It's that easy. In a pinch, I've used red onion & white onion, both good. Sometimes instead of buying a fresh lime, I'll just had some lime juice. I love garlic & cilantro so I put in a generous amount--remember you can always add more.

Check out tons of other menus here.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Menu Plan (next 2 weeks)

I've found that I shop most efficientyly and stay on budget so much better when I shop for 2 weeks at a time. So here's my menu (and a few recipes) for the next 2 weeks.


(we're not real big breakfast people, but it's nice to have something for those mornings that we wake up hungry. I'm going to try and have breakfast ready for me and my husband. Our mornings are crazy, but I'll do my best.) These are just samples of what we'll have, we WON'T eat all of this in one morning =)

Banana Bread (I'm making 3 loafs this afternoon so that should last us at least a month)
Fresh Fruit
Granola & Yogurt
Breakfast Sandwiches (eggs, cheese, english muffin & breakfast meat if we have it)


Leftovers (I cringed as a threw away a lot of old leftovers this weekend. We have to get better at eating this food & I have to get better at cooking less...)
Hot Sandwiches


Week 1
Monday: Chicken Lo Mein
Tuesday: babysitting, dinner provided for me & hubby =)
Wednesday: dinner at church
Thursday: Steak Sandwiches & Salad
Friday: Potato Soup

Week 2
Monday: Spaghetti & Meat Sauce, Homeade Foccasia Bread, & Salad
Tuesday: Chicken, Spinach, & Black Bean Enchilads
Wednesday: White Chili & brown rice
Thursday: Homeade Pizza
Friday: Dinner provided at work

Check out other great menus here.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Frugal Friday--2 Minute Phone Call

A couple weeks ago there was a really good sale on hormel pepperoni. I also had a coupon so I went ahead and bought to packages for our pizza nights. I few days later I was rumaging through the fridge and glanced at the pepperoni. I was surprised/semi-disgusted when I noticed that one of the packages was completely brown & slimy!! I took both packages from the fridge & began to compare them. Bought on the same day. Had the same expiration date. Had been stored the same way. But only one was actually edible.

I would call myself a "convenient complainer" if we're out to dinner and I something's really wrong with my food (hair on my plate--it's happened), I will complain because it's convenient. Everyone's right there & I will get instant compensation. But I've never been one to call, write, or e-mail with a complaint--that was until the slimy, brown pepperoni incident.

Before I called, I purposed to be "gracious & seasoned with salt" (I really have to purpose to do that or else I can get snippy on the phone). When the nice lady answered I simply explained the situation. I had to keep myself from giggling as she gasped and sighed with her "oh no's" "I can't believe it's" & "I'm so sorry's." She informed me to throw them away and she would send a coupon.

About 4 days later I was thrilled to see an envelope from Hormel in my mailbox. I rushed to my desk sat down and opened it & squealed with the compensation I had received--nearly $8 worth of coupons!! One, $4 coupon, 2 $1 coupons, 1 $.50 coupon (which I can double), & 1 $.25 coupon (again doubled).

Definitely a well worth and frugally spent 2 minutes!

Check out more frugal ideas here.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Financial Shape Up Check Up

I love new starts, new years, new weeks, new days. I love that we started a fresh budget at the beginning of the year & while everything hasn't gone perfectly each day is a new day--a chance to apply what I learned (sometimes the hard way) the previous day. I've listed out some of my goals for this year and our current status on those goals. Some of these goals are new. I think it's important to be in a constant state of evaluation.

Some may say that I'm starting too big, but I don't plan on everything being done tomorrow. I need challenges & variety. Some of these things are one time things, others will take all year (and then maybe some), but we're up for the challenge!

Prepare one "meatless" dinner every week: This is going to be a challenge for me. My hubby loves him some meat! My goal is to make a hearty meal without meat (any recipes would be greatly appreciated)

Fix up hubby's car and sell by April 15: We have no need for 2 cars. My husband's car needs some work though. He received a promotion and we've decided to use any extra money that comes with the promotion to do what we need to do to get the car ready to sell. I'm very blessed that my husband is "mechanically minded" and can do most of the work himself.

Set up ROTH IRA: Our company has set up a new retirement plan that requires us to have a ROTH IRA. I should have our set up by tomorrow and partially funded by the end of the month.

Read at least one book a month on finances and/or frugality: In January I read Tiwghtwad Gazette and Shop, Save, & Share. Last night I bought and began reading Total Money Makeover.

Set up and emergency fund: Our goal is to put $200 a month into savings. In January we were able to do $50. But starting tomorrow, we'll be able to put $100 into savings every other Friday!!

Cut down on grocery bill: I failed in this for January. I'm not sure what my problem was. I've been trying to incorporate organic foods into our diets. I've decided that I need to evaluate and really decide what is really worth buying organic. I've found some excellent resources and definitely have better direction for February. I think that adding one meatless meal a week will help as well. I'm not going to try and shave any amount off of our grocery budget, for this month, I'm just going to make it my goal to come in on budget.

Track Receipts: I'm great at saving receipts, but I think that it will be a real eye opener to track my receipts and see where every penny is going. Since we use cash I have a pretty good idea, but I still think it will be eye opening to see the numbers.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Creamy White Chili

I found this recipe in a chicken magazine (I can't remember which one) & adapted it for the crock pot. My husband loves this meal (and so do I). It's really flavorful & hearty--great on a cold, rainy day =) Also, if you're cooking for 2, just cut in 1/2. I usually do the same amount of seasoning though because I love cumin & cayenne pepper =)


Creamy White Chili
1 lb chicken
1 med onion, chopped
1 ½ teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon veg oil
2 cans great northern beans
1 can chicken broth
2 cans chopped green chilies (4 oz each)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon pepper
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup sour cream
½ cup heavy whipping cream

Heat oil in skillet. Sautee chicken, onion, and garlic (I don’t cook it all the way, just brown it a little bit). Put in crock pot (If I'm puttin it in early I'll put it on low, but you can do it on high too--just tweak it for how much time you have). Add everything except sour cream and whipping cream. About an hour before you serve it add sour cream and whipping cream.

We always eat this over rice.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Menu Plan Monday-February 4

Monday: Creamy White Chili (oh sooooooo good!!) served over brown rice with homeade bread (just typing that made me hungry =). I'll have to post the recipe for this because it's just not fair to keep it to myself =)
Tuesday: Chicken Lo Mein
Wednesday: Grilled Cheese & Tomato Soup (we didn't end up having this last week)
Thursday: Homeade Pizza
Friday: Won't be home
We have a lot of leftovers that will take care of lunch for a couple days. After that hot sandwiches on homeade bread =)


I always enjoy Crystal's reminder of Making Our Home a Haven on Mondays. There's something about starting the week like this that helps me stay focused for the rest of the week.

My morning routine went as planned this morning (I love it when that happens!) I got everything done except for making the bed and that was because hubby got to sleep in this morning so he was still in bed when I left for work.

Morning Routine
1. Wake-Up--walk/jog 2.5 miles
2. Shower & get ready
3. Make Cofee
4. Wake up hubby/Make Bed
5. Breakfast/Quiet Time

When I go home over lunch I'm going to try and get dinner in the crockpot. That way when I get home from work I can get right to today's challenge & hopefully be done by the time hubby gets home from work. Crystal challenged everyone to work on the bathroom today and that works out great for me. I tried to get to this over the weekend, but it didn't work out. Specifically, I need to give the floors a good scrubbing. Does anyone have suggestions for cleaning grout? I googled it and found a couple ways, but would love to hear what's worked for you.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

This is my first time participating in MPM. I've been in the habit of doing this for sometime now, but just recently I've really started trying to plan my menu around what I actually have on hand and what's on sale at the store.

This week the freezer is pretty well stocked with chicken, so I'd like to use it up before I buy more meat.


Monday: Blackened Chicken Pasta (super easy!) & steamed brocolli

Tuesday: I'm babysitting & hubby's having some guys over so I'd thought I'd just make some substantial, snack stuff for them: buffalo chicken dip with tortillas, homade salsa, tea

Wednesday: Grilled cheese & tomato soup (since we have to go to church pretty much right after we get home from work I try to keep it easy)

Thursday: Chicken Stuffed Green Peppers

Friday: Homeade Pizza

Saturday: Dinner taken care of

Sunday: White chili (I try to make something in the crock pot so lunch will be ready when we got home from church. Our dinner on Sunday is usually lunch.)


Monday: leftovers from weekends

Tuesday: hot sandwiches

Wednesday: hot sandwiches

Thursday: Work Lunch

Friday: leftovers

Saturday: Lunch taken care of

Monday, January 14, 2008

Making My Home a Haven

I've really enjoyed reading Crystal's posts as well as posts from her readers. In some way, it's nice to know that there are other striving towards the same goals I am even in our homes.

My "routine" is a bit different because I work full-time"ish." But I'd still like to participate =) So here's a look at my day.

Morning Routine
1. Wake-Up--walk/jog 2.5 miles
2. Shower & get ready
3. Make Cofee
4. Wake up hubby
5. Breakfast/Quiet Time

Today's "To-Do's"
1. Laundry
2. Dust & Pick Up Bedroom
3. Work on Bible Study Homework
4. Make Bread
5. Fill out Insurance Papers

This morning I put a pork loin in the crock pot. The "sides" shouldn't take long, so I'll probably start them 1/2 hour before hubby comes home.
Pork Loin
Mashed Potatoes & Gravy
Fresh Bread

My "Do Something" is definitely going to be putting our bedroom back together. I've got way too many piles in there right now!

Since I'm off work now, I'll go get started right now!


Thursday, January 3, 2008


One of my favorite finds has been MoneySavingMom. I'm not a mom, but who isn't interested in saving my money & who couldn't learn something from this website!?

I'm specifically excited about the financial challenge. My husband and I started the Envelope System last summer & it has revolutionized our finances!! I was initially very very very overwhelemed by the idea of doing a cash budget. I sat down with one of our friends who also uses the envelope system and she showed me exactly how she does it. Having her help me get started helped so much.

I actually spent an hour or so yesterday tweaking our budget for '08. Things will change a little over the next month as I'm up for my annual review and my husband is getting a promotion.

I should also disclose that my husband and I have excellent "benefits" with our job. Included in our compensation package is housing, utilities, and trash pick up. Our home is also on the property of our ministry so we walk a brisk 2 minute walk to work (thus our gas budget is very low). Also, we're paid biweekly so our budget is based on that.

Do to our low income a budget based on percentages hasn't worked very well for us. We're just doing the best we can with what we have and doing our best to prioritize. After our pay raises this month we plan on saving $200/month. As of right now, we just put into savings what we can.

Tithe: 10% of our gross income goes to our Church
Sacrificial giving: $25/month, $12.50/biweek.
Cell Phones: $70/month, $35/biweek
Car Insurance: $62.54/month, $31.27/biweek
Groceries: $180/month, $90/biweek
*Eating out: $100/month, $50/biweek
Gas: $80/month, $40/biweek
*Car Repair: $10/month, $5/biweek
*Clothing: $10/month, $5/biweek
*Entertainment: $20/month, $10/biweek
Vacation/Christmas Saving: $40/month, $20/biweek
*Medical: $10/month, $5/biwekk
*Wal-Mart/Target: $30/month, $15/biweek
*Hair/Nails: $10/month, $5/biweek

*All of these categories we pay cash for-when we run out of cash we're done. It was a learning curve at first. But we've made it work. Instead of going to Outback and spending all of our eat out money in one meal, we go to the Mexican restaurant and split fajitas for $10!! We're definitely learning as we go. I love this system because there is flexibility! Some months we know that our needs will be different and we can account for that.

Out of convenience I don't use cash at the grocery store & gas station, but I still use a "cash mindset." For example, no matter what the price of gas is, we only fill up $40 worth every two weeks. If we're running low on gas, we have to make do until our next pay day.

I hope that makes sense. I look forward to reading about other people's budgeting methods =)



I've been lurking on other blogs for awhile and have enjoyed the advice and input on various ones-specifically having to do with homemaking, budgeting, etc.

I've wanted an outlet, if you will, to share some of my ideas for potential feedback and possibly help someone out as I have been helped and have somewhat of an accountability. I don't know about you, but seeing my ideas, goals, etc written down helps me to remember them and keep up with them.

The idea of posting personal stuff on the www does scare me though, so I have decided to keep information such as names, location, pictures, etc off of here. I think that by doing that I'll feel more free to post other specifics (eg budget info).

I do want to share a few vague details about my self. I have been married to my wonderful husband for a little over a year now! We are both working in full time ministry with the same organization. We absolutely love our jobs and working together. God has been truly good to us!
I'm looking forward to this new little endeavour.

That's all for now,