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! 

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

An Update On Our Family

Some of you have been asking how Andy is doing now. Thank you for asking!

If you saw the picture in this post, you can see that Andy is looking and feeling quite well! We are grateful to be past the 1 year mark of his diagnosis. And last week marked 1 year since he began chemo.
Easter Sunday 2018--The sun was a little bright! ;-)

All scans and blood work continue to come back clear and show no sign of cancer. There is still a very small nodule on his lungs that Andy's oncologist wants to have removed. It is highly unlikely that this nodule is cancerous since all other spots on his lungs disappeared with chemo and this nodule has not changed in size in over a year. The disadvantage of this spot is that it is quite small and located in a hard to reach area, thus making any biopsy nearly impossible unless it is removed. The thoracic surgeon was unsure if he could even find it when we consulted with him last fall. We want to meet with him again to see if his opinion has changed. It is up to us if we decide to go ahead with the surgery or continue with careful observation for the next 12 months.

We appreciate your prayers for wisdom as we make this decision.

In other news, long time readers will remember that we announced 3 years ago (exactly 3 years ago!) that we were in the adoption process to adopt a baby. We went through the homestudy process in 2015 and were approved as a waiting family in October 2015. Since then we have waited for The Call that we have been matched with an expectant mother who has chosen us to parent her child.

After Andy's cancer diagnosis in spring of 2017, we went on hold with the agency as Andy underwent chemo and various surgeries.

Our agency requires certain paperwork to be updated every 365 days so when we began to talk with our adoption worker about going back to active status, she sent us a new packet of paperwork to update. This included 3 doctor's reports, new income tax forms and proof that our dog is current on vaccinations, among other things. Everything had to be redone because of the time that we were doing the paperwork so this packet took WAY longer than any adoption paperwork we have done in the past!

But I'm happy to say that I finished with the paperwork on Monday and it is now en route to our agency. Woo Hoo!

Our adoption worker should be scheduling another home study visit with us soon and hopefully after that, we will once again be a waiting family. We hope to be matched soon!

Thank you for your continued prayers for our family!

Monday, April 23, 2018

On This Day After Earth Day

Earth Day was yesterday. I stopped at the local health food store after church for some bulk spices. I took a reusable bag along for extra points on my rewards account.

At checkout, I was offered a free packet of heirloom tomato seeds in honor of Earth Day. Yes, please.

Some folks are big into Earth Day and loving the earth the other 364. Some folks scoff. Some folks like me, are somewhere in the middle.

I compost. I use reusable water bottles instead of buying bottled water. I use cloth napkins and real dinnerware. I cook from scratch, am careful about food waste, line dry some of my laundry, use reusable lunch containers and shop second hand quite often. I'm careful about the use of chemicals in our home.

Part of my cloth napkin stash. These have been going strong for around 3 years now. They're starting to show some wear from repeated washings. I usually get 3-4 years out of a stack of napkins. When they're worn out, I make new ones.

I grew up on the West Coast where things are just different. Overall, people tend to live a little greener. I hate styrofoam.

I also use some paper towels and paper plates some days. I use some ziploc baggies. We buy packaged food sometimes. I shop at Aldi where the produce is highly packaged but the price is right. Sometimes (like most of last year), I'm just too tired to recycle.

In spite of growing up in Oregon, I'm not a tree hugger. But I can't swing so far over to the extreme where I have no interest in caring for the environment.

This is where we live.  The Earth is one of God's gifts to us. As with all of God's gifts, I wish to be a good steward of what He has given.

On this day after Earth Day, can we all agree to be good stewards of our resources?

  • To be intentional with our choices?
  • To create more than consume?
  • To conserve more than we waste? 
  • To save more than we spend?
  • To think before we act?

 A "green" smoothie.

Maybe you are full out "green". Or maybe you're like me and make small choices each day to minimize waste and maximize health, both for ourselves, our finances and the environment.

I cannot do everything but I sure can do something.

Maybe I can turn the lights off when I leave the room. Turn off the water instead of letting it run.  Save those veggie scraps to make stock. Walk somewhere instead of drive. Hang those clothes up to dry instead of running the dryer. Plant those tomato seeds already. Just this once.

And tomorrow, make some of the same choices again. 

Little choices add up to create a big impact. 

What will you do on this day after Earth Day?

**You may be interested in another Earth Day post I wrote "back in the day": Kermit, It is Easy Being Green.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Food Lion House Brand Promotion

If you have a Food Lion near you, they are having a House Brand promotion that is going on through April 24th.

For every house brand product you buy, you get 25 cents back. You must buy a minimum of 4 products in one trip to get the rewards and a maximum of 40  per trip. The quarter back rewards are printed as a voucher to use towards your next purchase.

Since Food Lion runs this sale twice a year, I like to use it as a time to stock up on low-priced pantry staples such as canned tomato products, canned beans and canned vegetables. Pasta sauce, pasta, rice and low-priced condiments are also good things to buy.

Purchasing products that are naturally inexpensive gives me more bang for my buck! For example, the cans of tomato sauce I purchased today are 29 cents. With 25 cents back, each can is now 4 cents. The tomato paste was sale priced at 28 cents. After the promotion, these are 3 cents each. The diced tomatoes are 54 cents each. Take 25 cents off and each can is now 29 cents. The green beans were 38 cents each and 13 cents after the rewards.

These are definitely great stock up prices for me! No coupons required!

Not pictured is the brown rice, blocks of cheese and french bread that I also purchased. These were all house brands as well and were, in order listed, 57 cents, $1.25 and $1.25 each after rewards.

I bought my max of 40 items on this trip and received a $10.00 voucher to use on my next shopping trip!

If you have a Food Lion nearby, it may be worth your time to check out this sale!

Friday, April 20, 2018

Catch-Up Week: Day 5

Hooray! It's Friday! Do you have any great plans for the weekend?

We're hoping to get the grass mowed for the first time this spring. A few things around the house and hopefully a movie!

What I accomplished today:
  • Prepped dinner--Oven Fajitas. This dish is one of my faves for being budget-friendly and easy to prep ahead and just slide into the oven.
  • Washed a load of towels. 
  • Cooked some chicken breasts for a new soup recipe I'm planning to try tomorrow. 
  • Wiped down refrigerator shelves. 
  • Cleaned the bathroom. 
I've been able to get the house into better shape this week. Of course, there's still more to be done but at least some improvements have been made. I will keep working on a few things each day.

Talk to you next week! Have a wonderful and relaxing weekend!

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Catch-Up Week: Day 4

 A picture of cute Willie to add interest to this post!:-)

Today wasn't quite as productive as yesterday.

I took the liberty of sleeping in a bit and finishing another library book! So my routine was a bit off. But that's ok sometimes too. ;-)

Here's what I accomplished this morning:
  • Hauled trash and recycling to dump.
  • Folded and put away all laundry from yesterday's washing. 
  • Collected a pile of papers/junk mail and threw them away. 
  • Made fruit dip. Today I mixed some leftover cream cheese frosting with some freshly whipped cream and it turned out very tasty. Andy was excited about it!
I meet with a friend on Thursday nights to share our insights from the week's Bible reading so did that tonight. No other housework tonight besides cleaning up kitchen and running the dishwasher.

I just got back from walking Willie and am ready to shower and go to bed.

Have a good night, everyone!