Wednesday, January 20, 2010

A taste of the Flylady

As I have mentioned I love Flylady. So I thought that I would move on from the bedtime routine and show you how I start my morning. Since my clothes are already laid out, and my gym bag is packed if I am going, I head straight to the kitchen. I like lists and time lines, they give me a goal even if I don't exactly follow them. Also, this is today's routine, it does vary from day to day, but stays fairly close to this.

5:20 Roll out of bed head for the kitchen. Fill and start teapot, plug in and start up computer, open recipe book to page needed for whatever I have started. Sit at computer, catch up on blogs I follow and wait for teapot to whistle.

5:30 Make tea, finish mixing up breakfast and get into oven or started cooking on stove, run a sink full of hot water to clean up as I go, or make sure there is room in the dishwasher so clean-up is quick, load washing machine.

5:50 If they are not up already, go wake up #1 and #2 ( warning, this process may need repeated for #2 several times) get them to the table, dish up breakfast. Then while I have them as a captive audience, review any after school activities that they may have.

6:15 Send them on their way to finish getting ready (timer set for #2 as motivation) Since they practice a bit of the Bedtime Routine themselves, getting dressed is not an issue, neither is finding backpacks or gloves.... usually...

6:40 Send them out the door for the bus and move on to #3 (#4 is an early riser too, so he is usually getting ready while the others are. Finish getting him ready, dress myself after cleaning up kitchen

7:15-8:00 Roll laundry, make bed, load car, grab water bottle and kids, head out the door.

On Tuesday and Thursday, this is shortened by an hour. Kids have to be at school by 7:30-7:45 so I am at the gym by 8:00 with #3 in tow. The only things that are different on these days are making sure all the kids are up by 5:50, and making a breakfast that involves very little clean up, Tuesday is oatmeal, and Thursday is cold cereal. Sometimes it is like pulling teeth to keep the kids going, but I have to remind myself that I have tired days too. While this works for us, I am always open to new ideas. What do your mornings look like, are you military strict, or do you roll out of bed and take your time with your coffee and your computer?

Monday, January 18, 2010

Shopping trip for January 18th

We hit four stores this time in order to maximize my budget dollar. Here is what we got and how much I spent of my budget so that I didn't have to cry over coupons.

Hmong Grocery
Mirin 2.99
Puddings 1.99
Roasted green peas 2.99
3 Udon noodles 2.67
Basil 1.25
Cilantro 1.25
Coconut rolls 1.29
Total 14.43

Kwik Trip
#3 Onions 1.16
#5 Bananas 1.94
Total 3.10

Downtown Grocery
2 Kifer 2.38
3 doz eggs 8.97
Cucumber 1.40
Celery 2.59
Leeks 4.93
Oatmeal to go 2.94
Red onion 1.58
Total 24.79

Quality Foods
Whole milk .89
Cottage Cheese 2.83
Plain Yogurt 2.89
Natural creamy pb 2.29
Natural crunchy pb 2.29
Ground turkey 4.30
Orange juice 3.34
Coupon -1.00
Total 17.79

5 Gallons raw milk 20.00

Grand total 80.11
Saved budget 44.89
Saved budget for year 100.03

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Menu Monday January 18-24

Since I seem to have the grocery budget somewhat in hand, time to add on dining out to that number. Short of packing a picnic every time we are in town for an activity, there is no way we can avoid it completely. I hope that by posting it, I will be more accountable for money spent dining out. My Money program is doing a good job of making me aware already.

Monday (make bars for mission at church)
Breakfast-Green smoothies and cinnamon muffins
Lunch-Bento #3 Peekaboo sandwiches, dates, cheese worms
Supper-Turkey Keema with spinach, rice

Breakfast-Oatmeal, brown sugar, milk
Lunch-Bento #4 Somen noodle bento, meatballs, fruit cup
Supper-In town (wish me luck)

Wednesday (soak peas)
Breakfast-Crepes with peach filling
Lunch-At school (cheeseburgers-mom bento)
Supper-Bacon, leek and tomato soup, no kneed bread

Breakfast-Cereal and bananas
Lunch-At school (Italian dippers-mom soup)
Supper-Split pea and ham soup, homemade rolls

Friday-No school
Breakfast-Blueberry pancakes, bananas
Lunch-Garlic alfredo pasta, salad
Supper-Tortellini soup, turkey and asiago sandwiches, apples

Breakfast-Kid's choice
Lunch-Roast chicken, green beans, rice
Supper-Pizza (stock in crock pot)

Brunch-Eggs and toast, cinnamon rolls, fruit
Supper-Chicken noodle soup, homemade bread, cheese

Friday, January 15, 2010

$5 eggs on a budget

I'll admit, paying $5 a dozen for something that comes out of a chicken's butt seems a bit crazy. Roll with me on this one. Please bear in mind that this is what we do, in no way am I saying that if you don't do things like I do are you a bad person. This works for us, and blogging is just a way for me to share that, not make people feel bad because they can't or don't eat like we do. Believe me, we went through years where we ate a lot of .60 eggs because that was what we could afford, and we were just fine.

Enter my shopping post for this week. Just doing a quick calculation, I figure I make bread at $1.47 a loaf. I bought bread similar to what I make in my own kitchen last week, and it cost me $3.19! That $1.72 difference is how I budget for our eggs. As to why, we eat a lot of eggs. Our whole family will eat a dozen on Sunday mornings and a loaf of bread. That is breakfast for six people for $6.45. Yes it could be much less if I bought conventional eggs, but my husband is rather fond of shakes made of raw eggs and raw milk. Not my favorite, but I don't worry about these eggs carrying some nasty bug like I do conventional ones, and pasteurizing them just seems like they are taking out some of the health benefits...

So there you go. I love that you are commenting on things, it makes me think more about the choices I am making when feeding my family. Sorry the post was so long in explaining, but I have never been accused of saying things the quick way, lol.
How bout you? Are there areas of your household where you have cut back on something in order to afford something else? Do you budget your grocery bill, or just buy whatever looks good?

Thursday, January 14, 2010


Those of you who have kids already know what MOMDAR is. Before our oldest was born, I was so excited some nights I couldn't sleep. After he was born, I was so worried I would miss a cry I couldn't sleep. Later, he cried so much I couldn't sleep. This pattern repeated itself for each of my four kids until they no longer cried in the middle of the night.
Ahhhhh, sleep...
Apparently the lack of sleep was just training for MOMDAR mode. You know, that feeling that lets you know your kids are doing, saying, trying something they should not be. That nagging signal in the back of your mind that tells you where they are, and what they are doing even if you can't see them. Kids call them eyes in the back of your head. Sometimes that signal even picks up someone else's kids...
This morning I woke up at 4:15 and couldn't, for the life of me, fall back asleep. Fifteen minutes later I knew why. MOMDAR. Apparently it works on ESP mode as well. It must have known that my husband's bath soap was going to fall in the shower, wake up #2 and #3, and just wanted to give me a heads up.
On an up note, we shouldn't be late for the bus this morning...

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


Ok, this post was supposed to be something that was working for me. Unfortunately, things are just not working right now. I wish I could take the batteries out of my schedule, hit the reset button and start over, but that is not the case. My calender looks like Crayola threw up on it because I have so much going on, and my grocery bill looks great because we keep eating out! Here is a sample of yesterday...
5:06 alarm going off, hit hubby to hit snooze
5:15 alarm off again, groan, hit hubby, roll out of bed
5:19 realize we are out of milk, start car, find coat (still in pj's) run to neighbors, bother cows, get milk
5:35 get home, start water for oatmeal, agree to let oldest eat last 2 pancakes and last of cereal, hates oatmeal
5:55 have scolded youngest for crying about cereal being gone, pacified him with promise of sugary oatmeal if it would ever cook!
6:16 sigh and tell#2 that if she misses bus she will be very sorry
6:40 shoo #1 and #2 out door, clean up kitchen, roll over laundry, dress self and #4, pack gym bag, kiss hubby goodbye and take #4 for first day of pre-school
7:45 drop off #4, go to Y, laugh at thought of trying to find parking spot
8:00 breath and attempt to clear mind for first yoga class (mind never cleared, yoga hard!)
9:00 pacify irate person who found out my class may change times, take step since yoga didn't raise heart rate (at least not to where it needed to be)
10:30 showered, changed, dropping off #3 at school, meet hubby for coffee and then lunch
12:45 back on the run, groceries to get, have to run home, put away groceries, feed dog, pack bags for tonight, roll laundry, pick up house
4:00 meet hubby, switch cars and kids, drop off #2 gymnastics, go to meet sister to pick up nephew to watch during appointment (read in car)
5:15 appointment done, nephew returned, picking #2 up from gymnastics, meeting hubby after dropping off #1 at swimming for second meal in town
6:15 kiss hubby goodbye (off to meeting) drive to swim, #2 does homework in lobby, keep #3-4 from killing each other, breakdown and turn on sponge bob, scold #2 for not doing homework, scold #3-4 for beating up each other and playing tag in lobby
7:35 can't stand it anymore, take kids #2-4 to car so that at least the other parents can have some peace, text hubby with questions of possible illegal drug use by kids...
8:00 driving home to 3000 viewing of Backyardagins despite swearing no more tv to and from town
8:30 collapse on couch, laundry waiting, kids in bed still yipping, exhausted knowing that hubby will soon be home, hoping that I can stay awake and interested in some personal time with him, rather than him finding me asleep and drooling on a gardening catalog only open to page 3

This is not working for me....

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Shopping trip for January 12th

This was a fast shopping trip. I only needed to get a few essential things and while I came in on budget, I still may need to get milk this week. We will see how far I can squeak that one. Plus we have been spending a ginormous amount eating out, so that would explain my coming in under budget. Gonna have to put the kibosh on that one...

Downtown Grocery
2 doz eggs 9.98
#1 butter 2.89
3 boxes cereal 16.57
Tea 5.59
Tomato soup 3.19
Monkey bars 8.98
Arthur o's 3.19
Total 50.39

Quality Foods
Baby carrots 1.59
2 tomatoes 1.73
Buttermilk 1.22
Whole grain bread 3.19
Ham and turkey 4.38
Unbleached flour 2.39
White chocolate chips 5.53
Pineapple 2.49
Total 24.36

Grand total 74.75
Saved budget 50.25
Saved budget for year 55.14

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Menu Monday January 11-17

Freezer cooking, week 3 and the resolution to stay on target for our grocery budget is stronger than ever!

Breakfast-Soaked pancakes, applesauce
Lunch-Leftover buffet
Supper- Dublin coddle, cabbage, soda bread

Breakfast-Blueberry muffins, smoothies
Lunch-Lunch date with hubby
Supper-Noodles and Company

Lunch-Pb and J or BLT sandwiches, apples
Supper-Ham, sweet potatoes, salad

Breakfast-Cereal and toast
Lunch-Lunch date with hubby again
Supper-In town activities (Fazoli's)

Breakfast-Spice pumpkin scones, boiled eggs
Lunch-Grilled cheese, tomato soup, fruit
Supper-Pizza and a movie

Breakfast-Chilaquiles with chicken, beans
Lunch-Split pea and ham soup, no kneed bread
Supper-Roasted chicken, green beans, rice

Brunch-Biscuits and gravy
Supper-Gumbo and cornbread

Friday, January 8, 2010


We love breakfast in our house. Some of us are ready to eat the minute we get up, some others take an hour to warm up to the idea. No matter what time, breakfast style is always a welcome meal. This morning we had crepes.

Unless your first thought on reading this is yuck, you should be making these babies. Especially if you are like me, and have a hard time paying 8-12 dollars for a plate of them. I made my own, used a jar of home canned organic peaches (and one banana) and had a troupe of smiling kids (and mom) headed out the door in regular time. Ok, I am never on time, but I swear these are so easy and good, there is no reason not to add them to your breakfast favorites. This is the recipe I use from Nourishing Traditions, I am sure your favorite cookbook has one as well.

2 c flour (I use soft white wheat that I grind and store in my freezer)
2 c buttermilk
3 eggs lightly beaten
1/2 t salt
1/4 c melted butter

You can soak your flour overnight in the buttermilk, but I forgot, so...
Stir everything together, and then add water until it is the consistancy of cream (or creamer if that is what you are used to looking at). Put your pan on to medium heat and then brush with butter. Set out your plates, open your fruit, dig for your powdered sugar, mix up any extra filling, go wake your daughter up for the third time... By now the pan should be hot.

Pour 1/3 c into pan and grab the handle (using potholders if necessary) and roll the batter around coating the bottom of your pan. Let this cook for 2 minutes and flip. You can use a large pancake turner or if you have asbestos fingers like I do, grab the edge which should be peeling away from the pan, and pick the whole thing up and flip it over. Cook for 1 more minute and put on the plate. Butter your pan, add 1/3 c batter again, and now turn to the crepe on the plate. We like ours filled with fruit and a mixture of Neufchatel cheese and honey. Roll and top with powdered sugar. Throw plate to first kid and flip crepe in pan. Get second plate and kid into chair, repeat. My kids know by now that when Mom is in the kitchen and in her zone, stay outa the way!

Other popular filling choices are pb and banana, applesauce, sour cream and jelly, just jelly, eggs, eggs with stuff in them... you name it, the options are endless. I have even made a "lasagna" of sorts with layers of crepe, ham and cheese, and broccoli and cheese repeated in a pie plate. Talk about pretty when cut! The cost of this breakfast, even with the jar of organic peaches was less than one plate at a restaraunt, and I fed five out of the six of us with leftovers. Can't beat that with a stick, can you? What is your favorite frugal breakfast idea?

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Oh the piles

How do you keep up with your laundry, is probably the most frequent question I get with four kids. I know many of my friends designate Saturday as laundry day, and there they stand, with a mountain piled up on their bed, couch, counter etc. What am I doing on Saturday morning? Usually I'm drinking coffee and making breakfast. The key is not to save it. It's not wine, definitely not going to get better with age. It's not leftover cake, so no one else is going to take on the task of getting rid of it. It's not moldy cheese, can't just throw it out and start over. Pace yourself...
Every morning I get up and do three things right away before anyone gets out of bed. 1) Start my tea 2) Open my computer and read my morning inspiration 3) Start a load of laundry
I try to do two loads a day this way. Does it always get done? No. Do I beat myself up if I don't? Are you kidding me! I start one first thing in the morning and I either dry or hang that one. The second load gets started right after breakfast and I put away the dried clothes. Now all that is left before I leave the house is to throw the second load in the dryer. I don't worry about folding that load until after the kids are in bed and I am sitting on the couch watching a little tv with my hubby, and sometimes he helps fold too. No stress, no pile, no mold... well I hope not anyway, and my Saturday morning is free. Relatively speaking that is. Works for me!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Shopping trip for January 4

I know the numbers seem a bit high, I was 4.89 under my goal, need to work on that for next week. And then there is the elephant in the list. Let me just say, that when you see a deal, you gotta go for it, right? We don't drink a lot of wine, more of a beer girl myself, but we have friends that do, and we are social people. So when I saw this deal on Facebook, I called my hubby and we made a quick decision to bite the bullet and snap it up. 12 bottles of domestic and imported wine, varying types, all wonderful, for less than $6 a bottle! This will last us quite a while, especially since I am on a bit of a detox in prep for going to Mexico. No alcohol. Yes, you heard me. None. The things I will do to fit in a swimsuit...

Downtown Grocery
Cereal 5.69
Rye flour 4.09
Eggs 4.99
2 Arthur Loops 6.38
Cabbage #1.7 2.63
Pearled barley 2.03
Split peas #2 4.01
Leeks #1.7 5.45
Lime .79
Cilantro 2.89
Wine 71.95
Total 114.59

6 Lean Cuisine meals 6.00
2 Enchilada sauce 3.78
Buttermilk 2.27
Tortillas 1.79
Green peppers 1.02
Home fries 1.98
Mozzarella 4.20
Lettuce 1.69
Grape tomatoes 1.99
Grapes #2 7.90
Cucumber .44
Donut holes 4.78
Carrots #1 .89
Ground Beef 3.00
Sausage 4.13
Beef shank 3.63
Own bags -.20
Total 50.29

Pick 'n Save
Flatouts 2.49
Deli Turkey 5.04
Bananas 2.27
Avocado 1.39
Total 11.14

Raw milk 5 gallons 20.00

Food grand total 120.11
Wine 75.91

Saved budget 4.89
Saved for year 4.89

Monday, January 4, 2010

Menu Monday January 4-10

Wow, welcome to 2010. I love January because it is a time of fresh starts and resolutions. The parking lot at our local YMCA was packed, which is good, unless you are trying to find a parking spot so you don't have to run through the freezing wind with a wet head. Kinda makes me wish the new year started in, oh, May...

Breakfast-Lemon poppy seed muffins, cheese
Lunch-Tuna salad on a roll
Supper-Enchilada casserole, guacamole, plain yogurt

Breakfast-Oatmeal with brown sugar
Lunch-Tacos (at school)
Supper-Noodles and Company (in town night)

Breakfast-Eggs and toast
Lunch-Grilled cheese and tomato soup, grapes
Supper-Roasted pork loin, red beans and rice, salad

Lunch-Turkey roll-ups, Arthur o's
Supper-Crock pot lasagna, salad

Lunch-Chicken nuggets, apples and grapes
Supper-Pizza or leek and cheese soup with bread

Breakfast-Kid's choice
Lunch-Beef and barley soup, whole wheat rolls
Supper- Dublin coddle, cabbage, soda bread

Brunch-Egg casserole, bananas
Supper-Sliced ham, potatoes, green beans