Monday, February 27, 2012

Monday's Menu: Eating From The Pantry

Hey, Good Lookin' Recipe Box

We'll be eating from the pantry/freezer this week at my house.  This is something I try to do once every few months to make sure that nothing  is forgotten about, thrown out and wasted.  It's also a very easy way to save money.

There are many ways to be a good steward of our finances.  Eating from the pantry is just one of the many ways that we can do that.  I'm always amazed at how many meals I can make just by using what I have on hand.  Sometimes I have to get pretty creative, especially if I decide to eat from the pantry for an extended period of time, like a month or more, but it can also be very fun and rewarding in the end.

We have a weekly budget for groceries, so when we eat from the pantry that is just money we don't spend.  It can go toward something we're saving for, something we need, or we can choose to be givers of what we saved.  It's always fun to decide what to do with it.

Now, when I say we eat from the pantry that doesn't mean that we starve to death!  I  normally have plenty of staples such as rice, pasta and meat in my freezer.  Also, I will still shop during that week.  I generally make my menu up and see what I still need.  For example, I made up my menu for this week and saw that I still needed to buy milk, eggs, bananas and I need some bleach (no, not for eating, but cleaning my sink).  So, I'll go out today and get those things and then I WILL NOT enter a grocery store again until next week.

When we eat from the pantry the menu isn't always the greatest, but I don't think mine looks too shabby for this week.  However, if I were to continue this next week the meals would probably start looking a little more creative!  ;)

Here's what's on the menu:

Texas Brownies (for company on Monday)
Banana Bread
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

Toast with Strawberry jam
Leftover pancakes

PBJ sandwiches
Lunchmeat sandwiches


Slow Cooked Pepper Steak (I'm using ground round instead of steak)

Salisbury Steak (this isn't exactly what I do, but very similar)
Mashed Potatoes
Baked Asparagus
Homemade bread

Chili Mac
Deviled Eggs

Chicken 'n Dumplings (I don't have a recipe as I just make mine from scratch. This link is very similar to mine except I leave the veggies in!)
Fresh Fruit


Hamburger Soup

A good friend of mine has Cereal Night at their house on Sunday's.  I've tried, but that isn't working at my house.  However, last night my family had "fend for yourself" night and it worked pretty well.  Basically, it was a compilation of whatever they could find in the fridge that was leftover from the week.  No one complained and everyone ate just fine.  They also had the choice of eating breakfast food.  We had leftover soup, pancakes, Tater Tot casserole and salad so as you can see nobody starved to death!  ;)  I'm going to try this again next Sunday! ;)  We usually have our bigger meal at lunch time and I haven't planned that out yet!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

It's Back: True Moment Tuesdays

True Moment Tuesday's has been MIA over the last several weeks while I've sat back and took a break from blogging.  Today it's back!  
What is TMT?  
Well, basically it's anything random that I want to share that's happened within the previous week of the post.  I want to capture those every day things that happen in life and not take them for granted.  I'll try hard to keep things on the positive side, but don't be surprised if I share a struggle or two, or three, etc, etc.  If there's an appropriate photo I'll post that too!  That's what it's about...the True Moments...the real me.

Why is it that kids say the funniest things in the car?  We've had our fair share of funny car moments so I thought I'd share a couple of them.  

Several years ago, my then 4 year old son, Jacob, was being babysat by a friend of mine.  My friend picked him up from preschool while I was at an appointment.  His preschool is just down the street from a graveyard.  During previous rides to preschool Jacob and I had talked about the graveyard.  He was very interested in the graves, people dying and often asked what happened to the bodies.  I wanted Jacob to understand that when we die our bodies stay in the ground, but our souls are eternal and if we're a Christian, go to be with God.  
Well, as my friend was rounding the corner by the graveyard with Jacob in tow, she heard from the backseat of the car, "Hey, do you know what that place is?  It's where they bury your skin!"  :)

Here's another funny thing that my 5 year old, Emalee, said just last week:
We were driving to church last Wednesday night.  As my husband drove I was talking to Emalee telling her that she would be going to AWANA.  Somewhere in the last several weeks Emalee has learned the phrase, "No way, Jose`" and we've been trying to teach her not to say that.  So when I told her she would be going to AWANA she said, "No way, Jose`!" (insert her giggles as she knows she's not supposed to say that)  I said, "Emalee, my name is not Jose`...I've told you that several times."  There was a brief pause as she thought about what to say next.  Then I heard (giggles included), "No way Ho!"  We all busted up laughing and she laughed too although she didn't know why it was so funny!  I told her she can call me "Jose`" if she wanted too!  :)

All kids say funny things.  Do you have anything funny you'd like to share?  Leave a comment here on the blog or over on the Facebook page and share it with the rest of us! 

Have a great Valentine's Day everyone!


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

From the Archives: Celebrating Valentine's Day Without Breaking The Bank

I've been working on compiling a list of ideas to celebrate Valentine's Day without breaking the bank.  Times are tough in our economy today and the retail market does a great job to make us feel like we're missing out on Valentine's Day if we don't celebrate it the way that they market it.  I'm not saying that it's bad or wrong to buy a dozen roses, box of chocolates or even go out to a fancy restaurant for dinner.  However, if that's not in your budget I would suggest that you talk with your spouse (or significant other) and discuss what expectations you have for Valentine's Day.  Then agree on something and stick to it.

The following is a list of things I thought of to celebrate Valentine's Day simply.  Feel free to leave a comment below if you have any other ideas.

  • Take a walk downtown and browse the shops together.
  • Stroll around some thrift stores or flea markets together.
  • Have a date night at home after the kids go to bed.  Watch a movie, pop some popcorn and cuddle up on the couch!  
  • Write love letters to each other.
  • Make Valentine's Day coupons (couldn't leave that one out could I?) for each other.  You can get creative with this back rub, one night out w/the girls, I'll mow the lawn, car wash, etc.  I found some pre-made HERE, HERE and HERE.
  • Play games at home, monopoly, etc.  Invite the kids too if you want!
  • After the kids go to bed put on some of your favorite music and dance together.
  • Make a Valentine breakfast for your spouse.  Don't forget to make heart shaped pancakes!
  • Put a note or gift in your husband's (or wife's) lunch box on Valentine's Day morning.
  • Make a book reflecting on special memories that you've made through the years.
  • Draw a heart on the bathroom mirror for your spouse to see when the get home from work.
  • Make a sweet dessert to share w/each other.
  • Know your spouses love husband's is Acts of Service.  Do something for him that focuses on that the rest of the day.
  • Give each other a massage at the end of the day.
  • Make a special dinner to share together after the kids go to bed. (Feed the kids beforehand!) 

CVS: Updated Coupon Policy

The CVS Corporate Coupon Policy has been updated.
The biggest change is the verbiage regarding Buy One, Get One FREE sales and coupons.
Two coupons may be used on a Buy One, Get One Free promotion as long as it does not exceed the item total.
Ex. Suave Shampoo is on sale for $2.00 Buy One, Get One Free and the customer is purchasing two shampoos; customer may use two coupons for $1.00 each and pay the applicable tax.
Buy One, Get One Free promotions may be combined with Buy One, Get One Free Coupons. Customers are responsible for paying applicable tax.
Ex. Suave Shampoo is on sale for $2.00 BOGO and customer has a MFG coupon for Suave BOGO. Customer will receive both items for free but will need to pay any applicable tax.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Prone To Wander

prone to wander
Photo credit

Most mornings I wake up and within minutes, sometimes seconds, I usually have a song in my heart that I start humming.  This morning I woke up humming the tune to an old hymn that I love.  It kind of summed up how I spent a good portion of my weekend.

"Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, prone to leave the God I love; Here's my heart, Lord, take and seal it, Seal it for Thy courts above."

Saturday morning I was challenged, yet again, to take time to read and fill out a Spiritual Evaluation Form.  It had challenging questions where I had to rate myself from 1-10 (1=never and 10= all the time).  Here's an example of some of those questions:

  • I pray daily for an increase of love in my heart, soul and mind for God.
  • I am aware of and guard against my self-centeredness and the trust I place in myself.
  • I live the life of a servant.

After taking the time to truly look deep within at myself by rating each one of the several questions honestly,  I came to the conclusion that I can not do all these things and will never be able to measure up to this standard!  It was right then in the midst of that thought that the Holy Spirit gently reminded me that I was right.  It's not possible for me to do all of this.  There's no way that I, in and of myself, can live a righteous life on my own.  My sinful nature is one that is "prone to wander, prone to leave the God I love."  He reminded me that it is in Christ and Christ alone that I have become righteous.  This brought me to a place of brokenness and repentance before the Lord.  How thankful I am that my God is a God of forgiveness, compassion and restoration.  How great is our God!  "Rejoice in His Salvation!" Psalm 35:9

Note:  One of the best spiritual evaluation forms I've ever read and done myself is located right HERE.  If you are a Christian (and even if you're not) I challenge you to print out this form and go through it with an honest, open heart.  You'll be amazed at what the Lord reveals to you as you work through it!
Also, there are many other evaluation forms (Potential Pitfalls, Heart Attitudes, Marriage, etc.) located right HERE.  

Come, Thou Fount of every blessing, Tune my heart to sing Thy grace; Streams of mercy, never ceasing, Call for songs of loudest praise. Teach me some melodious sonnet, Sung by flaming tongues above. Praise the mount! I’m fixed upon it, Mount of Thy redeeming love.
Sorrowing I shall be in spirit, Till released from flesh and sin, Yet from what I do inherit, Here Thy praises I’ll begin; Here I raise my Ebenezer; Here by Thy great help I’ve come; And I hope, by Thy good pleasure, Safely to arrive at home.
Jesus sought me when a stranger, Wandering from the fold of God; He, to rescue me from danger, Interposed His precious blood; How His kindness yet pursues me Mortal tongue can never tell, Clothed in flesh, till death shall loose me I cannot proclaim it well.
O to grace how great a debtor Daily I’m constrained to be! Let Thy goodness, like a fetter, Bind my wandering heart to Thee. Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, Prone to leave the God I love; Here’s my heart, O take and seal it, Seal it for Thy courts above.
O that day when freed from sinning, I shall see Thy lovely face; Clothed then in blood washed linen How I’ll sing Thy sovereign grace; Come, my Lord, no longer tarry, Take my ransomed soul away; Send thine angels now to carry Me to realms of endless day.