Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Dollar-S-t-r-e-t-c-h-i-n-g, Cabinet-Clearing, Clean-Up-The-Food Project For January 2018 - Week #4 and Final Update


Good afternoon, Dear Ladies!

Can you believe it? It seems like the month (and year!) just started and now, here we are, the last day of January and we're 1/12 of the way through another year! Where on earth does the time go? It just seems to fly anymore!

Okay...so we've made it through the final week and a half of our Dollar S-t-r-e-t-c-h-i-n-g, Cabinet-Clearing, Clean-Up-The-Food Project for January 2018 and we feel that, overall, we've done pretty well. For the most part, we've managed to stay on track with menu plans and a lot of the food that had been on the shelf and in the freezer for quite some time is gone now. There is, however, a lot left still, but it's manageable. 

After discussing our options (we were going to do our grocery shopping tomorrow - on February 1st), but, in the end, decided to save an extra trip to town (40 miles round trip minimum) and I just went ahead and did our monthly February stock-up shopping when I took a friend shopping yesterday afternoon (on Tuesday). The menus were already in place, so it really didn't matter one way or the other...other than the fact that it would save time and money by eliminating a double trip...so...that being said...the house is full and we're ready to go into a new month with a new plan. 

The new plan for February, basically, consists of continuing to focus on clearing out the older stuff on a daily basis by scheduling weekly (or bi-weekly) food inventories, always concentrating on including items that typically tend to get overlooked if we don't stay on top of them...for instance...frozen tomatoes

We have several packages of beautiful, frozen tomatoes in the deep freeze, but do I think about them when I'm preparing to make spaghetti sauce or soup? Nope! I just grab a can of tomatoes off the shelf, open it, and go on. Almost every time...after it's too late, of course...I think, "Oh, shoot! I should have grabbed a bag of those tomatoes out of the freezer!" Continuing to purposefully do a weekly, or bi-weekly, food inventory will force us to look at and consider things like this on a regular basis and help us to get into the habit of keeping things moving ahead and being used up.

Another thing we have a lot of is potatoes. Again, we still have several quarts of frozen potatoes in the freezer (these are the potatoes that we were blessed with back in October). The answer to this one is easy. Other than an occasional, individually-wrapped, baking potato for certain meals, I'm not buying anymore potatoes until the frozen and canned ones that we have are gone!

Through the use of regular food inventories I am finally getting in to the habit of using up the last bits of fresh fruits and vegetables with little to no waste. For example, the last of last month's bag of apples were still good, but they weren't as nice and firm as they are when freshly purchased, so they were chopped up and thrown into muffins this week. The last of the fresh vegetables (and a few odds and ends that are frozen) will be chopped up, drizzled with olive oil, and baked in a hot oven until tender and roasted. Vegetable ends and peelings have been boiled and strained to make vegetable stock for soups and stews. This I either place in jars in the fridge to be used right away, or it, too, can be frozen and used at a later date. The thing is, though, to remember that it's in there. Thus, the need to do a food inventory on a regular basis.

You know...I really feel that we take food for granted in this country and that way too much of it goes to waste. On the other hand, a lot of what we eat isn't even fit to be put in our mouths, let alone sufficiently fuel our bodies. I have so much that I want to share with you all! I  will say this...I am working my way towards being a better steward of finances and making healthier food and lifestyle choices, and all that I learn along the way I want to share with you, but, it's too soon. 

Pray for me. I don't even know why I'm mentioning any of this at this time, but the Lord is dropping something down in my spirit and I know that it's big and that it's going to take time. It all has to do with finances, food, and physical (and spiritual) fitness. I've got a long way to go, Ladies. Just pray for me. 

Okay...I'm sorry...I've gotten off track in this post, but I'm leaving it as is. 

This was our second major food clean-up project within a year and, while I don't feel that we made as much progress with the second one as we did with the first one, we still did well. (Of course, we didn't have as much older stuff in the house the second time around as we did with the first, so I guess that counts for something!) Anyway, I will close here. 

Did anyone else do any kind of no-spend, low-spend, or general clean-up-the-food January? If so, please, feel free to share your experiences in the comment section below.

Until next time...
~Rebecca

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Monday, January 29, 2018

Happy Homemaking Monday - January 29, 2018

Today I'm joining Sandra at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom
and all the sweet ladies of 
Happy Homemaking Monday!

Good Morning, Sweet Ladies! Happy MONDAY! πŸ’— 

I pray that each and every one of you had a great weekend and that this post finds you, and yours, healthy, happy, serving the Lord with gladness, and ready to tackle the challenges of a new week ahead with renewed energy and vitality!

We had a nice weekend here. I had to work Friday and Saturday, which both days fairly flew by, and Saturday night I participated in a deer survey at the park. Sunday morning we had a good church service, then our youngest son and his wife and their little boy stayed afterwards for lunch. After lunch was over, we rested for awhile, then took a long walk around town. It felt good to get out and about in the fresh air and sunshine! One of the older boys and his family came to visit in the late afternoon into early evening, so it was a full weekend, indeed! We enjoyed it!

Let's get right on to it, shall we? 😊

Right now I am...

Finishing up my breakfast and enjoying a cup of hot tea as I type this post. 

On the breakfast plate...

An egg, a wedge of Laughing Cow cheese wrapped, and melted, in sliced, deli turkey on toast with a cup of hot tea πŸ₯šπŸ§€πŸ¦ƒπŸž

The weather...

The weather was gorgeous over the weekend...sunny and warm with temps in the 50's and 60's; today it is back to winter...23 degrees (feels like 12). Right now the sun is playing peek-a-boo with the clouds, but it looks like it's supposed to clear off and be sunny this afternoon. The high today is supposed to be barely above freezing, but, overall, the ten-day doesn't look too bad going into February...highs in the 30's and 40's most days with lows in the 20's. Beats teens and sub-zero readings any day! 🌞

On my reading pile...


Gifts of the Holy Spirit by Kenneth E. HaginLive Long, Finish Strong by Gloria Copeland
Life in the Spirit Study Bible - King James Version
In addition to daily Scripture reading, I finished Gifts of the Holy Spirit by Kenneth E. Hagin yesterday and am about a quarter of the way through Live Long, Finish Strong by Gloria Copeland. 

On the menu this week...

Only three more days and we'll be through with our Dollar S-t-r-e-t-c-h-i-n-g, Cabinet-Clearing, Clean-Up-The-Food Project For January 2018 and I'm glad! We've done well, but it's been a long month and I'm ready to move on! I will post a final update on our progress in an upcoming post a little later on in the week. Here is the plan for this week's menus...

Monday - Breakfast - egg, LC cheese, deli turkey, and toast
               Lunch - leftover spaghetti and green beans
               Supper - bison burgers and oven fryes

Tuesday - Breakfast - cinnamon swirl muffins
               Lunch - out
               Supper - leftover spaghetti and green beans

Wednesday - Breakfast - cinnamon swirl muffins
                    Lunch - salmon, steamed cauliflower, and sauteed green peppers
                    Supper - potato soup and crackers

Thursday - Breakfast - egg and toast
                 Lunch - grilled cheese sandwich and tomato soup
                 Supper - baked chicken breast, brown rice, and asperagus

Friday - Breakfast - THM pancakes with blueberries and yogurt
            Lunch - turkey burger, brown rice, and black beans
            Supper - broiled salmon, baked sweet potato, and salad

Saturday - Breakfast - THM pancakes with blueberries and yogurt
                Lunch - turkey burger, brown rice, and black beans
                Supper - homemade pizza

Sunday - Breakfast - cottage cheese on sprouted toast
              Lunch - butter and garlic pasta, peas, and bread
              Supper - leftovers

Snacks throughout the week may include fresh fruit, cereal, popcorn, sugar-free pudding, or light wasa crackers spread with Laughing Cow cheese

On my 'to do' list...

- Monday - Plan the week ahead, weekly "home blessing", laundry, clean fridge, clean refrigerator freezer, do an updated food inventory
- Tuesday - Take a friend grocery shopping
- Wednesday - 
- Thursday - Run errands with my husband
- Friday - Work
- Saturday - Work
- Sunday - Church

In the craft basket...

Pocket letters!


My Very First Ever Pocket Letter
Front View

Back View
I just learned about pocket letters last week from Jodi over at My Life As Mama Jodi. Jodi is a fellow HHM participant and I'm so thankful that she posted about having pocket letters in her craft basket last week

I always try to do a little something special for the grandlittles for Valentine's Day and, this year, I was having a tough time trying to come up with a new idea. This did it! The minute I saw Jodi's post, I knew this was what I was looking for. I looked up a couple of tutorial videos on YouTube, purchased my supplies, and set to work. I have all the granddaughters' pocket letters finished and am working on the grandsons' now. I am well pleased with the results! 

Thanks for the idea, Jodi!!!! 

Looking forward to this week...

Having a little slower week than I have had here lately (not as much on my 'to-do' list as normal), getting my test taken and mailed off to RHEMA, and getting the pocket letters finished.

From the camera...


In going through old photos I came across this one of granddaughters, Audrey and Lizzie, at one of the nature journaling programs that I presented at Prairie State Park. I love the intentness with which the girls are focusing in their individual directions, as well as the greening up of prairie in spring. I'm so looking forward to it happening again soon! πŸ’“

Scripture passage...





Well, Ladies, that's it for this week! I pray that each and every one of you have a blessed week ahead and that all goes well for you and yours in every area of life!

Until Next Time...
~Rebecca

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Dollar-S-t-r-e-t-c-h-i-n-g, Cabinet-Clearing, Clean-Up-The-Food Project For January 2018 - Week #3 Update



Thursday, January 25, 2018

Dollar-S-t-r-e-t-c-h-i-n-g, Cabinet-Clearing, Clean-Up-The-Food Project For January 2018 - Week #3 Update


Good morning, Sweet Ladies!

We've completed the third week of our Dollar S-t-r-e-t-c-h-i-n-g, Cabinet-Clearing, Clean-Up-The-Food Project for January 2018 and, for the most part, we're still on track. 

Week #3 of the challenge was pretty uneventful. As reported last week, John and I went to the store on Tuesday and I really thought that would be our last trip for the month, but I forgot about one more celebration that we had coming up (Burns Night/cousin's birthday), so had to make one more trip out this week (again on Tuesday) to finish up. On this trip we spent $34.44 on food. 

We've definitely spent more money on food than I had planned to in January, but the foods purchased have either been fresh stuff, that we would have had to buy all along anyway, or else (and this is where most of it has come into play) specific items needed for specific events and celebrations. It seems that with just John and I this would be easy, but, the truth is, we have a big family and we love to celebrate. We'd much rather put our money into food, and such, as an investment in creating sweet memories with those we love, than to sit on it and miss out on the blessings that come with spending time with family and being hospitable. Despite money spent and special food items purchased, in our daily menu planning (my weekly menus may be viewed in my weekly Happy Homemaking Monday posts), we have pretty much stayed on plan and have cleaned up a lot of the older stuff that's been hidden away in the cabinets and freezer for weeks. Overall this challenge has kept me focused and has encouraged me to keep on keepin' on and, for that, I am truly thankful! πŸ’“

Another bit of good news is, we've eaten all our meals at home this month, except one, and that was off the dollar menu at McDonald's (not that that was good, but it didn't cost much) and I'm realizing that we eat much more fresh food than we used to, which IS good! πŸ’πŸŒπŸŽπŸ

Some of the things cleared out over the past week include canned beans (chili), canned fish (tuna patties), frozen meat (main dishes and soups), and a lot of those frozen vegetables that we started off at the first of the month with. 

Well, Ladies, such as it is, that's it for Week #3!

Until next time...
~Rebecca

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My Thrifty Week - Post #8




Wednesday, January 24, 2018

My Thrifty Week - Post #8


Greetings! And welcome to "My Thrifty Week" - Post #8! πŸ™‹ 

It's been a very long time since I've written one (August 24, 2017!!!) 😳 so, some of this stuff happened a long time ago, but I will try to recap and catch myself up to the present. Of course, these are just the few things that I remembered to write down. I hope to keep better track this year and post in a more timely manner from here on out.

Okay...so here goes...

Back in late summer/early fall of 2017...

- Using Dollar General digital coupons I saved $4.25 on four items which equaled 33.07% of my total bill.

- We transferred the amount on our Walmart Savings Catcher to our Bluebird card and used it to purchase groceries. That resulted in $72.51 in FREE groceries at Walmart. 

- A free fan blade - Oh, this was GREAT! I had set our bedroom fan in the window to pull fresh air through the house one evening and it fell, breaking one of the blades completely off. My first reaction was to throw the whole thing in the trash, but something said, "No, don't! There's someone out there that has a fan that the motor has quit on, but the blades are good. You'll find it." I'm like, "Okay...we'll see." I kid you not!!! The very next day my son and I were headed up town. We go around the corner and up the street, and, there, sitting next to the edge of the road was a fan EXACTLY like ours. I stopped and told my son to jump out and grab that fan...that it was mine. He looked at me like I was crazy, but did as I asked. When I explained, he got the biggest kick out of it! When we got the fan home, sure enough! The motor was burned out on it, but the blades were perfect. We took both fans apart and exchanged blades and viola! I got a brand new fan out of the deal! LOL! πŸ˜„ Isn't God awesome??? πŸ’“

- I found a winter shirt for my husband at a thrift store for $1.00

- I also found him a practically new desk in perfect condition for $5.00 at the same thrift store. You should have seen me trying to haul that thing home in the back of my car! What a circus!!! LOL! πŸ˜†

- We were blessed with several varieties of pasta (24 pounds worth!!!) 😲 What a blessing! (My husband goes through a LOT of pasta!!!) 🍝

- That same week we were also blessed with 200 pound of potatoes. We kept 20 pounds and shared the rest with friends and family. Most of what we kept I diced, blanched, and put in the freezer. They come in handy when we want a small amount of oven-roasted potatoes or something and they don't take long to cook.

After Christmas...

- I hit a few of the after-Christmas sales and stocked up on wrapping paper, bows, Christmas cards, and, even, a star for the top of one of my small Christmas trees - all at a 50 to 70% discount. We're set for Christmas 2018! πŸŽ„

Thus far in 2018...

- Yesterday, I used a $10 Walmart gift card that I earned through Swagbucks in 2017 and, essentially, got two, beautiful packages of scrapbooking paper for FREE! I haven't messed with Swagbucks for awhile. Maybe I need to go check into them again and see what's happening! πŸ˜‰

Well, Ladies, that's it for now. You all have a great day and feel free to inspire and encourage others by sharing your thrifty finds in the comment section below.

Until next time...
~Rebecca

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Happy Homemaker Monday - January 22, 2018





Monday, January 22, 2018

Happy Homemaker Monday - January 22, 2018

Today I'm joining Sandra at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom
and all the sweet ladies of 
Happy Homemaking Monday!

Good Morning, Sweet Ladies! Happy MONDAY! πŸ’— 

What an awesome and exciting time to be alive! I pray that your week is off to a great start and that this post finds you and yours healthy, happy, and serving the Lord with gladness in every area!

We had a super busy weekend here. I took Saturday off work and daughter, Amber, and I hosted a baby shower for daughter-in-law, Nicole, in the afternoon. We had a good turn-out and there is no doubt that, whenever she decides to come, Baby Kira is fully outfitted and ready to meet the world! πŸΌπŸ‘ΆπŸΌ

On Sunday evening we hosted a little get-together for the boy cousins and their families. Just before they arrived the electricity went off, and it stayed off for a couple of hours or so, but no biggie! The food was hot and ready to serve upon arrival, so we turned on the solar lights, got out a few candles, and a couple of oil lamps, and we had the best time just eating together, visiting, and fellowshipping by lamplight. To be honest, it was kind of sad when the lights came back on. πŸ˜• 

Okay...enough rambling! Let's get started, shall we?

Right now I am...

Finishing up my breakfast and enjoying a cup of hot tea as I write this post. I didn't get as much of a head-start as I had hoped to yesterday, so am pretty much starting from scratch this morning.

On the breakfast plate...

Egg, sliced turkey, and Laughing Cow cheese on sprouted bread and hot tea.

The weather...

Last week was crazy! Snow, actual zero degee temperatures, and below zero wind chill readings in the early part of the week, and 72 degrees, sunny, and spring-like over the weekend. Wow! It was GORGEOUS!!!

Right now it's 39 degrees (but feels like 28) and it's cloudy with the chance of a rain/snow mix this afternoon and evening. At this point the forecast is promising highs in the 40's and 50's and lows in the 20's and 30's over the next ten-day period, but we'll see. After all...this is Missouri! As Mark Twain said, "If you don't like the weather, stick around for five minutes. It'll change!" LOL! πŸ˜† 

On my reading pile...

Gifts of the Holy Spirit by Kenneth E. HaginLive Long, Finish Strong by Gloria Copeland
Life in the Spirit Study Bible - King James Version
I finished reading Tongues: Beyond The Upper Room by Kenneth E. Hagin and am now moving into the next study materials on my list, Gifts of the Holy Spirit by Kenneth E. Hagin, and Live Long, Finish Strong by Gloria Copeland.

On the menu this week...

Another week and we're still managing to stay on track with our Dollar S-t-r-e-t-c-h-i-n-g, Cabinet-Clearing, Clean-Up-The-Food Project For January 2018, however, I don't feel like we're making as much progress as I would like have made by this point. I will post an update on that in a separate post a little later in the week. As we head into the fourth week, here's the plan for this week's menus...

Monday - Breakfast - egg, sliced turkey, and LC cheese on toast
               Lunch - leftover chicken and kale soup and homemade bread
               Supper - leftover stuffed pepper casserole

Tuesday - Breakfast - THM pancakes with blueberries and yogurt
               Lunch - leftover chicken and kale soup and homemade bread
               Supper - leftover stuffed pepper casserole

Wednesday - Breakfast - egg, sliced turkey, and LC cheese on toast
                    Lunch - salmon on a bed of sauteed zucchini
                    Supper - leftover chili and crackers

Thursday - Breakfast - egg white omelet with cheese and sausage patty 
                 Lunch - tuna patties, canned potatoes, and hominy
                 Supper - crockpot haggis, tatties and neeps, and oatcakes (Burns Night)

Friday - Breakfast - THM pancakes with blueberries and yogurt
            Lunch - leftover meatloaf and mac and cheese (freezer)
            Supper - salmon, roasted potatoes, green beans

Saturday - Breakfast - THM pancakes with blueberries and yogurt
                Lunch - leftover meatloaf and mac and cheese (freezer)
                Supper - homemade pizza

Sunday - Breakfast - cottage cheese on sprouted toast
              Lunch - pasta, sauce, Italian Sausage, and homemade French bread (freezer)
              Supper - leftovers

Snacks throughout the week may include smoothies, apples, canned fruit and cottage cheese, cereal, or popcorn

On my 'to do' list...

- Monday - Plan the week ahead, weekly "home blessing", laundry
- Tuesday - Get together with Carla, prepare for tomorrow's library programs
- Wednesday - Present "Birds of a Feather" library program at local library x 2 (this class was originally scheduled for last week, but, due to bad weather, the library was closed, so my class was rescheduled for this week)
- Thursday - Celebrate Burns Night and my cousin's birthday
- Friday - Work
- Saturday - Work
- Sunday - Church

In the craft basket...

Peanut butter pinecone birdfeeders (preparation for library program)

Looking forward to this week...

Celebrating Burns Night. It's just something fun that we choose to do each year. We prepare and eat traditional Scottish foods and read, or listen to, Address to a Haggis by Robert Burns and listen to Auld Lang Syne. And, since my cousin's birthday falls on the same day, the celebration does double duty and makes it twice as much fun!

From the camera...

A Snow-Capped Bird's Nest At Prairie State Park
Taken Monday, January 15, 2018
Scripture passage...



Well, Ladies, that's it for this week! I pray that each and every one of you have a blessed week ahead and that all goes well for you and yours in every area of life!

Until Next Time...
~Rebecca

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Eighteen Things That I Want To Do In 2018