Thursday, January 10, 2019

January Goals

With our new addition comes changes to our home, so I've been thinking that some attainable  monthly goals may be more beneficial this year than a long list of lofty ones.

With that in mind, here is what I hope to accomplish in January:

1. Create some simple homemaking routines.  Baby schedules are forever changing but some simple routines will help to keep our home in order. Routines will also help with my daily productivity.
 These leftover food items from the fridge became a yummy stir-fry one night this week.

 2. Do a Pantry Challenge this month. This is helpful to save money and use up lots of odds and ends we have in the pantry, fridge and freezer. I do this annually and it's always a good time! My goal is to spend $100 or less on groceries this month.

3. Sew for my baby! I am itching to dust off the sewing machine and make some things. While I feel she does need more dresses in her life, my main goal this month is to try making her a winter hat. I have some leftover fleece to use for this.
Making zucchini noodles with my new spiralizer- a Christmas gift.

4. Get back to eating a mostly low-carb diet. I've experienced some health issues in the past year or so and have found I feel so much better eating lower amounts of grains, sugars and dairy. This (understandably) went by the wayside when we brought Ilona home but I am getting back on track. And the Christmas cookies? They are finally almost gone!

Without realizing it, these four goals are all different categories: Home, finances, fun/creative, personal/health. A good balance and should keep me busy all month long. ;-)

Do you have any goals for January? 

 My main goal is lots of snuggle time with this little beauty!

Thursday, January 03, 2019

Happy New Year from Mary Ann's House!

We are several days in to the new year and I wanted to pop on and wish you all a happy 2019. I pray it is a wonderful and blessed year for you and your family.

2018 ended on a high note with the birth of our daughter, Ilona Joy**on November 22 (Thanksgiving Day)! We were able to meet her the following day and brought her home with us several days later.

The holidays have been a happy blur as we are adjusting to parenthood and being a family of 3. Ilona is doing wonderfully--6 weeks old today. We eagerly await finalization of her adoption which should take place sometime in the spring, Lord willing.

**Ilona is a Hungarian/Eastern European name meaning "light and joy". It is pronounced ee-loh-nah with a long 'o' sound. It is a variation of the names Helen and Eleanor. Eleanor is my mom's name so Ilona is named after both sides of the family--her grandma on one side and a nod to the Hungarian roots on the other. It is a fairly uncommon name but one we fell in love with a few years back. When we first met her, I knew without a doubt that the name was perfect for her.

Needless to say, we are in love with our little girl!

I hope to revive this space a bit in the days to come with new updates.

What was your favorite part of 2018?

Wednesday, August 01, 2018

Family Updates

Beautiful blue butterfly in my pot of geraniums!

It's been a while since my last family update.
Andy is still doing terrific. Regular blood work and CT scans show nothing suspicious. He continues to feel well. As I mentioned last time, his oncologist recommended surgery to remove a nodule on his right lung. This spot has been there since the beginning and really hasn't shown any growth or shrinkage. The nodule is quite small and is located in a very hard-to-reach place. To remove it, the surgeon feels he would have to remove the lower lobe of Andy's right lung. This is a big surgery and has a lengthy recovery time. We are opting to watch it carefully and not do surgery at this time. If it starts to grow at any time, we will ask for surgery immediately but at this time, since it has sat there for over a year and doesn't appear to be live cancer cells, we are going to let it be. 

As far as an adoption update, we had our update home study on June 8th. We met our new adoption worker as our previous worker left the agency to do mission work internationally soon after we went on hold last year. Our new worker is super nice as everyone we've worked with at Bethany Christian Services  has been. We received an email on July 5th stating that everything was approved and we are back to active status. We are so excited and hope for a placement soon! 

What's going on in your family? How can I be praying for you?

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Monday Was A Good Day For Free

Monday was a good day for free things!

A friend offered me some okra from their garden. Of course, I accepted! When we stopped by and picked up the bag of okra, we were surprised to see not just a bunch of okra but also grape tomatoes and zucchini. The extent of my gardening this summer is basil and mint so produce is happily accepted and eaten! Our current favorite way to prepare okra is to roast it with a little olive oil and seasonings--so delicious and easy!

When I got to work, a coworker offered me a dozen of her farm fresh eggs. I give her egg cartons every so often and she brings eggs to work occasionally looking for someone to take them home. I don't turn down fresh eggs. ;-)

Meanwhile, Andy switched one of my prescriptions over to Publix where it would cost me nothing for a month's supply. My prescription yesterday was FREE as well!

I was also offered a bag of potato chips leftover from a party at work but I declined. We are trying to eat well and chips would be too big of a temptation! If it is here, we will eat it. 

We are so grateful for these little blessings! 

Monday, July 23, 2018

The Freezer Challenge: Part One

I've enjoyed following along with The Frugal Girl as she cleans out her freezer and challenges herself to use up a certain amount of things each week. This post is definitely inspired by her!

We have three freezers--two fridge freezers and one large upright freezer. It's nice but sometimes food gets thrown wherever is easiest at the moment and it's hard to know exactly what we have and where it is.

Such is the case with our fridge freezer in our kitchen. I had thrown and piled stuff in there to the point that food would fall out whenever we tried to get anything out.

Last Friday, I planned an easy dinner of bratwurst and roasted okra and zucchini and yellow squash. At the last minute, I remembered a partial bag of hot dog buns in the freezer so pulled those out to eat with the brats (we typically eat them bunless but we had some buns left from having company back in May.) That inspired me to tackle this little freezer compartment the next day!

I pulled everything out after taking before pictures, of course. :-)

Everything was set out on our island and I sorted as to what was deemed "challenge worthy" and what needed to be moved to our big freezer. All the packages of meat went to the big freezer as that's where they belong and I kept the frozen vegetables in the kitchen. Some of the other odds and ends were kept out to use quickly.

Here's what I had to work with:
  • Small container cooked spaghetti squash--put right in fridge for side for Monday's dinner.
  • Small serving of soup--put in fridge for Monday's lunch.
  • Lone popsicle--I ate it right away!
  • Partial bag of mini bagels--these were thawed and served with Saturday night's Breakfast for Dinner and finished up for Sunday breakfast. Bonus points for this since I also had an opened package of cream cheese to use!
  • Container of cooked turkey--I'll be honest here. I had used some of this previously in a soup and it was still dry and stringy so I threw it out. :-( 
  • One hamburger bun. Seriously?!? (Again, left from company!) I thawed it and made it into cheese toast to go with random leftovers on Sunday night. That wasn't hard!
  • Gallon bag of chicken bones and vegetable ends and peelings for broth. Immediately poured all this in the crockpot and made crockpot chicken broth overnight. I then used the broth to make a big pot of gravy to use for one meal this week and freeze the rest.
What went back in the freezer to use later:
  • Ice cream--we don't need a plan for this. It doesn't stick around long here.;-)
  • Various bread and individual sweet rolls left from the market. (I've been selling my homemade baked goods at a local Farmer's Market this summer and always have a few things left at the end.) Some of the bread will be used for lunches this week and the sweet rolls are pulled out for breakfast occasionally. 
  • Package of "Sandwich Skinny's" (left from company)--maybe use these for quick broiled pizzas or tuna melts in the next week or two. 
  • Fresh ginger--This stays fresh in the freezer and I peel and grate it as needed. 
  • Ice packs--these needed to be in there for easy access and there hasn't been room. 
  • A bag of homemade doggy ice cream portions aka Frosty Paws. These are for Willie as an occasional treat so they'll stay in there. 
I didn't tackle the door yet but that is mostly spices and homemade spice blends that get used naturally over time. 

After photo:

It's much easier to get things from the freezer now!

I'll do another update on my freezers in a week or so. 

Tuesday, May 01, 2018

Random (Frugal) Things

So far this week has been nice and calm.

I had a doctor's appointment on Monday so I took the day off of work. It was a nice treat to come back home after the appointment and not have to rush off to work. I took a nap, did two loads laundry, emptied trash cans and vacuumed the floors. We also spent a little time looking over our budget. We have some financial goals to save for so looking over the details occasionally is good!

I made a BBQ beef brisket in the crockpot the other day and this morning I decided we should probably use the last little bit up. I did a little asking on facebook and a little searching on Pinterest and decided to make a "Crockpot Brisket Stew". My bi-weekly grocery shopping trip is coming up this week so I'm running low on a few items. The stew definitely turned into "what I had on hand" stew. I used brisket, carrots, leftover green beans, leftover rice, onion, canned diced tomatoes and some spices and seasonings. Hopefully it will be delicious!

I made a batch of corn muffins to go along with the stew. I always find it fun to be creative and make meals with what I have on hand.
                 Between sets, I was able to get this shot of "Jehu vam Bassett" who played the role of the main family's hound dog. He was fun to watch as he reminds us so much of our own Bassett-mix!
A friend messaged me last week saying that she had some extra tickets to a local Christian theater that does Broadway-style shows. Her son is a cast member for "The Gospel According To Tennessee" so she had tickets to give for that show. We arranged to go last Saturday. It is a dinner theater and our tickets included a meal! Meals are always themed to go with the show so the meal was fried chicken, macaroni & cheese, pinto beans, Tennessee Weddin' Cake (corn bread) and blackberry cobbler. It was delicious! The show was really fun too. It was a really nice date for the two of us. We had never been to see a show there and now we'd like to go back. I've heard their Christmas show is amazing.

I picked these pretty flowers while walking Willie this morning. A simple pretty little touch in a vase.

Hope you all have a good week!

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

A Soup Kind Of Day

Andy has been feeling a bit under the weather today. I believe he's fighting a spring cold. He didn't feel like eating too much but agreed that chicken soup would taste good.

I dug though what we had and found frozen homemade chicken broth and seasoned cooked and chopped chicken in the freezer and onion, carrots, celery and mushrooms in the fridge. A few seasonings from the spice cupboard rounded it all out.

I chopped up all the veggies and sauteed them in the soup pot in a little olive oil. The veggies always smell and look so tasty during this step!

Lastly, I added broth, chicken and seasonings, brought the soup to a boil and then turned it down and let it simmer.

It was delicious!

Whenever I chop and peel veggies, I save the well-washed peelings/ends and add to a big freezer bag. When I have a bunch of chicken bones, I use this bag of veggie scraps to make delicious homemade broth!

Waste not, want not!