Sunday, November 30, 2014

Our $81 grocery trip + what's for eats this week!

We only shopped at Walmart this week, and I was honestly surprised at how little we spent for how much we bought!

Here's what we purchased:
  • 5 lbs. Russet potatoes
  • Organic eggs
  • Garlic bread
  • 2 green peppers
  • Sour cream
  • Gallon of organic milk
  • Bananas
  • 2 packages of mushrooms
  • Cream cheese
  • Carrots
  • 2 lbs. of butter (check your local Walmart - I got 2 lbs. for $5!)
  • Ground cumin
  • 2 bags of tortilla chips
  • Fritos
  • Clementines
  • Cheddar cheese
  • Wheat Thin crackers
  • 2 cans of chili
  • Powdered sugar
  • Rotini noodles
  • Butternut squash
  • Package of chicken breasts
  • Package of beef
Not only was I buying groceries for ourselves for the week, but I also bought groceries to make a casserole and a dessert for a family, groceries to make 4 dozen cookies for a cookie exchange, and groceries for my mama group meeting (the cream cheese, chili and chips are just for this purpose).

Here's what is on our menu for this week:

Dinner out (one of Jason's mystery shopping assignments, so dinner is free!)
Mama group night (I'll be eating at mama group and Jason and Bug will eat something from the pantry, like mac and cheese or noodles with red sauce)
Veggie beef stroganoff
Homemade chicken nuggets, baked potatoes and roasted butternut squash
Hot dogs, French fries and canned corn
Creamy veggie soup and bread
Penne and garlic bread

Monday, November 24, 2014

This Book Room: 2014 Christmas edition, part 1

After years abroad, Garrison Brown returns home to Vancouver to build a new life. When his beloved grandmother passes away a few weeks before Christmas, Garrison goes to her house to sort out her belongings, including six cats who need new homes. While Garrison hopes to dispense with the task quickly, his grandmother's instructions don't allow for speed. She has left Garrison with some challenging requirements for the future homes of her furry friends--plus a sizeable monetary gift for the new owners. Garrison's job is to match the cats with the right owners without disclosing the surprise gift. Along the way, he may just meet someone who can make him stay. Humorous and heartwarming, this latest Christmas story from bestselling author Melody Carlson is the perfect gift for pet lovers and anyone in whose heart Christmas holds a special place.

My thoughts: This was a fun and quick read, which is just in line with what I've come to expect from Melody Carlson. The story was unique and silly. If you love animals and Christmas, this book is definitely for you.

In the small town of Grandon, five very different people discover the true meaning of Christmas.
Jennifer and Ryan are both single parents, struggling with their own losses and heartache as they attempt to move forward in the present while still holding onto the memories, joy, and heartache of the past. Sixteen-year-old Kaylee is faced with a life-changing situation that has affected her whole family. Stephen and Lily are happily married and ready to start a family. All of them are facing their own struggles, and all are finding their way through the dark. When they are brought together for a rather unconventional church Nativity, they will learn that with strength, courage, and love, there is always hope. The New York Times bestselling author of the beloved The Christmas Hope series returns with this new heartwarming, inspirational story about the power of love and faith to reveal the possibilities that lay right in front of you.  

My thoughts: Oddly, I wasn't a huge fan of this book, even though I'm a huge fan of this author and her other Christmas books. The characters in the book just didn't tug at my heartstrings enough, I guess, and the story was not that fascinating. I was honestly disappointed. If you love this author, though, you'll probably want to give this book a go.

In Sandra Dallas' novel A Quilt for Christmas, it is 1864 and Eliza Spooner's husband Will has joined the Kansas volunteers to fight the Confederates, leaving her with their two children and in charge of their home and land.  Eliza is confident that he will return home, and she helps pass the months making a special quilt to keep Will warm during his winter in the army.  When the unthinkable happens, she takes in a woman and child who have been left alone and made vulnerable by the war, and she finds solace and camaraderie amongst the women of her quilting group.  And when she is asked to help hide an escaped slave, she must decide for herself what is right, and who can she can count on to help her.

My thoughts: Sandra Dallas is always hit or miss for me. I've enjoyed several books of hers I've read to the finish, while I've picked up other books by her and have not made it past page 20. This book was positively glorious. I consider this a must-read this holiday season.

Twenty-year-old Ruth Stutzman is a wonderful caregiver . . . but she has no experience with children.
Laid off because of budget cuts from her job at a retirement home, she's relieved to find work—even if it means temporarily watching widower Martin Rhodes's brood of six!

Martin has been doing his best since his wife's passing, but he and the children need help. Their house, once full of laughter and light, has been darkened by sadness. Soon after Ruth arrives, the children are drawn to her warmth and gentleness, and so is Martin, even though he feels it's wrong. But the harder he tries to ignore her, the deeper he begins to care for this attractive young woman who has brought joy back into his children's lives . . . and his own.

Each passing day brings the Rhodes closer to Ruth . . . and closer to Christmas, when she will have to say goodbye. Ruth cannot deny the bond she feels with the children—and with Martin. When her old job becomes available again, Ruth finds herself torn: How can she stay with the Rhodes? And yet how can she go?

Additional notes: This is the fourth book in the Days of Redemption series. You can read my review of the first book here, the second book here and the third book here.

My thoughts: This book was honestly fun to read. The children made the story that much more fun and relatable. If you're a fan of Amish fiction, even if you haven't read this particular series or author, you'll want to check this book out.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Our $93 grocery trip + what's for eats this week!

So far, we have spent $83. We spent $53 at Walmart and $30 at VG's. I have set aside $10 to buy a turkey and fresh green beans to go with our Thanksgiving meal we will be preparing and enjoying at home. We have not yet purchased these items (but will by end of the day Monday).

Here's what we bought from Walmart:
  • Big box of diapers
  • Grapes
  • Summer sausage
  • White rice
  • Hot dog buns
  • Granny Smith apples
  • Mushrooms
  • Yogurt
  • French fries
  • Cheese hot dogs
  • Green pepper
  • Bananas
  • Gallon of organic whole milk

Here's what we bought from VG's:
  • Three bags of cinnamon-sugar pita chips
  • Big American sub
  • Half peck of honey crisp apples
  • Wavy Lay's potato chips
Here's our menu for the week:

Hot dogs and French fries
Creamy chicken pot pie soup and biscuits
Pasta bake and garlic bread
Thanksgiving feast
Leftovers x3

Throughout the month of November, we have slowly been stocking up on items we want for our Thanksgiving feast. Here is our menu for that:

-Sausage with cheese ball and crackers

The Feast
-Mashed potatoes
-Roasted green beans

-Cheesecake with cherries
-Pumpkin fluff dip with cinnamon-sugar pita chips

We're keeping our feast relatively simple this year (as compared to previous years). My goal is to spend less time in the kitchen and more time playing. We'll see how that goes!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

In the Kitchen With Jason (and David): Chicken and Dumplings

This recipe turned out fantastic. There was a little concern on my part with the 'dumplings' as I felt that there were too many, but it turned out that there is no such thing as too many dumplings. Make when you want a nice hearty meal; you will enjoy it.

  • 3 Tbsp EVOO
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 carrots, diced
  • 4 celery stalks, diced
  • 2 skinless boneless chicken breasts, uncooked
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • Unknown quantity of water
  • 1 16.3 oz tube Pillsbury Grands! Flaky Layers (or comparable product)
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • Heat EVOO in a stockpot over medium heat.
  • Add the onion, carrots, and celery and cook for 8 minutes.
  • Add chicken, parsley, thyme, bay leaves, and chicken broth.
  • Add enough water to cover ingredients (I used very little) and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat to low and cook for 90 minutes.
  • Remove the chicken with tongs and allow to cool in a bowl.
  • When chicken is cool enough to handle, chop or tear it into strips.
  • Return the chicken to the stockpot. 
  • Flour both sides of each uncooked biscuit.
  • On a floured work surface, roll out each biscuit into rounds about 1/4 of an inch thick.
  • Cut the biscuits into 1 to 1 1/2 inch thick strips.
  • Gently lower the strips into the broth.
    • They will pop back up to the top and if you used a pot like mine, you will feel like you have too many of the strips. Trust me that you do not.
  • Gently separate the dumplings with a spoon.
  • Let them cook for 12 minutes.
And that is all it takes for some very delicious chicken n' dumplings.

Please enjoy!

-Chef Jason

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Crafty Christmas: Lavender Sachets

Christmas Countdown: Christmas is just 5 weeks away!

No matter where you are in your sewing journey, you can whip up a bunch of these sweeties for gifts this year. This is very much a beginner project because let's face it, I'm definitely still in the beginner phase of sewing. The sachets are absolutely customize-able: choose fabric to match your recipient's personality and choose a scent your recipient will adore.

Here's what you need to make lavender sachets:
  • A quarter yard of fabric (this will make 4 sachets)
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Sewing machine and thread
  • Pinking scissors (optional)
  • Rice (tip: don't throw away expired rice; save it for projects!)
  • Essential oils or dried flowers/herbs
Here's how you make lavender sachets:
  1. Wash and dry your fabric; iron as needed.
  2. Use the ruler to be sure all sides are even; most fabrics cut at the store are not.
  3. Measuring in 4.5 x 4.5 squares, cut out 8 pieces of fabric. This will make 4 sachets.
  4. Putting the wrong sides of fabric against each other so the right sides are facing out, sew a straight stitch along the edges for three sides. Leave at least a half inch hem.
  5. Stuff the sachet with rice and dried flowers/herbs. If you opt to use essential oils, you'll want to mix up the rice and oils in a bowl before dumping the rice mixture in the sachet.
  6. Sew up the last side.
  7. For extra fanciness, use pinking scissors to cut along the sides of the sachet to give the sachet a nice finished look.
Happy crafting!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Our $85 grocery trip + what's for eats this week!

Typically, we only shop at our local Walmart. But in some instances, we also shop at VG's. This week was one in which an item we needed was only at VG's, and we also picked up a specialty item that cannot be found in a typical grocery store.

Here's what we bought from Walmart:
  • Bananas
  • Celery
  • Lettuce
  • Tomato
  • Yellow onions
  • Potatoes
  • Gallon of organic milk
  • Frozen peas
  • Ground beef (5 lbs)
  • Garlic bread
  • Penne noodles (2)
  • Sour cream
  • Monterey Jack cheese
  • Yogurt
  • Mushrooms
  • Ketchup
  • Flour
  • 12 cans of Coke
  • Canned refried beans
  • Mild enchilada sauce
  • Organic food pouches for Bug (4)
  • Dish soap
We spent $69 there. At VG's, we bought a bag of stuffing bread for Thanksgiving. The cost was $3. 

And our last stop was at the Hickory Farms kiosk inside a mall. There, we bought two original cheese balls to use on Thanksgiving and Christmas. The cost was $13.

Here is our menu plan for the week:

Mushroom rigatoni bake
Pasta with garlic bread
Mum's chili with bread
Chicken enchilada rice casserole
Creamy chicken pot pie soup with bread

Friday, November 14, 2014

In the Kitchen with Jason (and David): Beef Stew with Dumplings

Interestingly enough this recipe made more of a beef soup with dumplings than a beef stew with dumplings. This was not a problem for me, as I enjoyed every bite of it.

See the slight resemblance to soup? Doesn't matter though as it was still delicious.

  • 2 Tbsp EVOO
  • 1 cup flour
  • 3 lbs beef roast, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 lb potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1 15oz can of tomato sauce
  • 5 cups beef stock
  • 1/3 cup dry red wine
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 2 cups frozen peas
  • 2 1/2 cups Bisquick
  • 2/3 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • Heat the EVOO in a Dutch oven over medium heat.
  • Put the flour in a shallow bowl.
  • Dredge the chopped roast through the flour.
  • Add the meat to the dutch oven and cook for 12 to 15 minutes.
    • If all the meat will not fit in one layer at the bottom of the dutch oven, cook it in multiple batches.
  • With all the meat in the dutch oven, add the onions, potatoes, carrots, tomato sauce, 1 1/2 cups water, beef stock, red wine, salt, and pepper.
  • Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook for 2 hours.
  • Stir in the peas.
  • Stir the Bisquick and milk together in a bowl until well combined.
  • Drop heaping tablespoons of the Bisquick mix into the pot.
  • Cook uncovered for 10 minutes, then cover and cook for another 10 minutes.
  • Garnish with the parsley when serving.
The biscuits may take longer to cook... just a warning.

Please enjoy!

-Chef Jason

Thursday, November 13, 2014

The Gaming Corner: Ticket to Ride

This game may not be as well known to you as many of the other board games that I have covered in The Gaming Corner, and that is because the game is relatively new. It was released only 20 years ago, which probably makes it younger than the majority of people reading this. It is a 2 to 5 player game designed by Alan R. Moon and it has won over a dozen awards since it was released. The goal of the game in a nutshell is to score more points than the other players. And how do you get points you may ask? Well, that is what I am going to tell you.

Set Up: First, you put out the beautiful board. Around the outside is a score tracker to record your current score during the game. The rest of the board is a map of the United States (with a little bit of Southern Canada and Northern Mexico) showing a selection of cities and the train routes connecting them.

Each player then takes 45 train tokens and their scoring piece of the color of their choice. Be careful to only take 45 trains as your box probably came with 2 or 3 extra trains of each color to cover for the eventual loss that is bound to happen if the game is played a lot.

Next we move onto the train cards. The gold cards are wild cards and can be used as any color. Gather the train cards, shuffle them, and deal 4 to each player. Then, 5 train cards are placed face up along side the board with the remaining train cards placed face down next to them. This makes the drawing area.

We then move onto the destination cards. Each destination card has two cities depicted on it as well as a point total in the bottom right corner. The scores range from 4 to 22. Shuffle the destination cards and deal 3 to each player. Each player may choose to discard one of these cards if they so choose. Discarded destination cards are placed on the bottom of the destination card deck which is also placed near the board. But how do you know which cards to keep? During the game, you will be claiming the train routes on the board and if, at the end of the game, you have connected the two cities on the destination cards with a continuous path of trains of your color, then you win the points on the destination card. If you kept the cards but didn't claim the routes, you lose the points.

Game play: After all of that, you are ready to play. On your turn, you can do one of three things: draw destination cards,draw train cards, or claim a route.

Draw Destination Cards: Take the top three cards from the destination deck. You may then return one or two of drawn cards, but do not have to return any if you don't want to.

Draw Train Cards: Take one of the face up train cards or make a blind draw from the deck. If you take a face up card, immediately replace it with another face up card from the deck. Then if you didn't take a face up gold train card (the wild one) from one of the face up cards, you may take one more non-gold train card, either from the face up or the top card of the deck. If you draw a gold train card from the deck, it doesn't prevent you from drawing a second card.

Claim a Route: To claim a route, you need to discard a number of train cards equal to the number of spaces depicted on that route on the board. If the spaces are of a color, the turned in train cards must all be of that color (or wild cards), but if the route is made up of grey spaces the color of the train cards doesn't matter as long as they all match. When you claim your route, place a train token of your color on all the spaces on that route. Some routes are double-routes, with two routes connecting two cities. When claiming these, make sure to put your trains on the correct side of the double-route as another player can use the other one. You are never allowed to use both sides of a double-route and in two and three player games, no one is allowed to use second half of the double routes.

Example time: In the picture above, four pink trains would need to be discarded to claim the route from Denver to Omaha. Being a double route, four black or four orange trains would be needed to claim the route from Denver to Kansas City. Omaha to Kansas City takes only one train card and it can be of any color.

Scoring: The only way to score points during the game is claiming routes. Depending on the length of the route, you gain a number of points. There is a handy dandy chart on the board, in the instructions and on a player guide card so you won't have to memorize this. The points gained are as follows.

A route 1 space long gains 1 point
A route 2 spaces long gains 2 points
A route 3 spaces long gains 4 points
A route 4 spaces long gains 7 points
A route 5 spaces long gains 10 points
A route 6 spaces long gains 15 points

Right after claiming your route, move your score piece along the edge of the board equal to the number of points you gain. If at the end of the game you think your score is off, you can always count up each of your routes again to make sure the points are accurate.

Ending the game: When any player ends his or her turn with 2 or less train pieces not on the board, every player (including the one who started the end game) takes one more turn. The game is then over.

End of the game scoring: At the end of the game, you take each of your destination cards and see if you have trains connecting the two cities. If you do, no matter how direct or out of the way the trail of the trains take you, score the number of points listed on the card. If not, you lose that many points. Also the player with the longest continuous route of trains gains 10 additional points. The player with the most points win.
If you would like to see some celebrities (Amy Dallen, Colin Ferguson, Anne Wheaton, and Wil Wheaton) play Ticket to Ride, you can watch it on the YouTubes here. After watching about 5 minutes of the actual game play, you should be able to play it yourself; the game is just that easy.

There are about a dozen 'other' Ticket to Ride such as Ticket to Ride: Europe or Ticket to Ride: Nordic Countries, and each are basically the same game. The boards are just different.

-Gamer Jason

Monday, November 10, 2014

Our $79 grocery trip + what's for eats this week

Because we used very little gas this week, we had $115 in our grocery envelope when we went to Walmart. I anticipated our trip would be around $92, given we purchased everything on our list. We also returned a few soda bottles that we had collected here and there. We skipped getting two items on the list - we didn't need one of the items after all and Walmart didn't have the exact item I was looking for for the other item.

Not only did we spend just $78.88 after the soda return, but we also spent quite a few dollars on items not on our list that we put in our cart anyway! We also had some items on our list that aren't for meals this week; I am slowly working on gathering everything we will need for a Thanksgiving feast at our home.

Here's what we purchased:
  • Unbleached flour
  • Honey crisp apples (4)
  • Mushrooms
  • Broccoli
  • Bananas
  • Fresh parsley
  • Bag of oranges
  • Strawberries
  • Cool Whip
  • Mozzarella cheese (2 lbs)
  • Jello pudding packages (2)
  • Butter (2)
  • Organic food pouches for Bug (4)
  • Egg noodles (2)
  • Lasagna noodles
  • Canned mandarin oranges
  • Ricotta cheese
  • Boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • Cream cheese (4)
  • Canned chili beans
  • Tomato paste
  • Vanilla yogurt
  • Gallon of organic whole milk
  • Package of donuts (we ate these on the way to church for breakfast)
You can read what we eat for breakfast, lunch and snacks here.

Dinners for the week will be:
Swedish meatballs with buttered noodles and veggies
Mum's chili with bread
Chicken, mushroom, broccoli and rice casserole
Lasagna with bread
Dinner out as a family (will be using leftover grocery money for this)
Dinner out for date night (will be using extra money from working OT at work for this)
Dinner at our friends' house

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Saving the Moola: October in review

Before I began my personal challenge of eating no fast food, a co-worker gave me two coupons for free smoothies from McDonald's. For whatever reason, the employees are terrible about asking or taking these coupons for us and we got several free smoothies. One co-worker gave us a jar of apple butter and another co-worker gave us a jar of dry roasted peanuts. I have quite the reputation at work for being frugal, so they ask me if I want something before they just toss it.

Jason tutored a few times. Some of the money went toward items we needed and the rest went into our baby fund. He also completed a few mystery shopping assignments. We used money from our grocery budget to eat out together as a family for these assignments. When he is paid, the money will go right into our baby fund.

We received a Subscribe and Save order from and one other order. The orders included: a baby electric toothbrush, facial cleanser, a big package of paper diapers, organic lollipops and a 10-pack of vacuum bags. The total retail value of the items was $72.55. I used gift cards we earned through Swagbucks and our out-of-pocket expense was $0.

Each month, we put money into envelopes. You can read more about how that works here. Each month, Preston gets $10 in an envelope. We used money from his envelope to buy a 50-pound of cat litter and a 15-pound bag of cat food. lowered the price of his food and we saved $10 there.

Jason likes to take Bug out for lunch about once per week (he uses his blow money for this). One week, he took her to McDonald's. An employee there that she was so cute and well behaved that she gave her a cookie for free.

We were given a gift of money for our anniversary; we used this to go out to dinner one night as a family. I was given several gifts of money for my birthday; we put the gifts in our grocery envelope, gas envelope and clothing envelope. My boss was very generous for my birthday; she gave me Cheez-Its and Skittles (two things I've been craving this pregnancy), a lottery ticket and a gift card for cupcakes.

I attended my first-ever Mom 2 Mom sale and found the exact brand of co-sleeper I had on my list for my future babies. Normally, they run for at least $100 and the used ones I've seen start at $70. I bought mine for $20! It was quite a steal and I was (and still am) pretty excited. I also purchased some sleepers for the new little and a dress for Bug.

For our anniversary, Jason and I went out to dinner solo. We drank water, shared a large basket of breadsticks and shared a huge salad. Our dinner bill was $20 including tip. We went out for dessert after and spent $10 (and brought leftovers from dinner home and a dessert home). Our budget for the night was $35. We put the remaining $5 in our grocery envelope.

Nana gave us 11 eggs and a big jar of pickled beets.

Jason cat sat for our friends. The money he earned went into our baby fund and went toward a lunch out as a family.

I gave my mom a massage, and she was very generous in payment. This money went into our grocery envelope.

For some insane reason, we had never joined the Disney Movie Club, despite the fact we buy one new Disney movie per month. It's free to join, so we finally did. After entering all the codes we had, we had enough points to get Toy Story 3 for free, shipped to our home. If you haven't joined yet, you should definitely check it out. We're saving up our points now to get a Muppet movie next time.

My mom and dad had some children's movies they didn't want. We chose two Sesame Street and two Winnie the Pooh DVDs.

I always check out zulily's new events and one day, there was a Plum Organics event. I figured out the math, then quickly ordered 108 pouches. Normally, I pay at least $1.22 per pouch, but including shipping, each pouch was 56 cents. I love to have these for on-the-go snacks and meals for Bug.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

In the Kitchen with Jason (and David): Super Chunky Chocolate Chip Cookies

Let me start by saying that these cookies are delicious. So good that in fact that I had an extra one with dinner the night I made them.

I wish there were this many left, but I may have ate a few.
  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 cup butter, at room temp.
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 8 oz dark chocolate chips
  • 8 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  • Whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder.
  • In a separate bowl, mix together the butter and sugars until "light and fluffy", about 5 minutes.
  • Mix in the eggs one at a time, making sure they are fully mixed in before adding the next.
  • Mix in the vanilla.
  • Mix in the flour mixture.
  • Fold in the chocolate chips.
  • Line two cookie sheets with pieces of parchment paper.
  • Using two table spoons, scoop out 24 cookies, 12 onto a sheet.
  • Using a floured fork, flatten the cookies about half way.
  • Bake the cookies for about 15 minutes, turning once halfway through, guaranteeing the delicious golden color.
Please enjoy!

-Chef Jason

Monday, November 3, 2014

State of Our House Address: October in review

October is always a special time of year for our family because we have much to celebrate!

Bug finished up her swimming lessons this month. We're all sad to see them end, but very excited about everything we learned. We're looking forward to summer when we can continue teaching Bug the things we learned in a bigger pool of water. For now, we're doing what we can in the bath tub at home.

Like mama, like daughter: she loves to be tucked in and reading a good book....
and she loves reading her books when they are upside down!
We did quite a bit of traveling - we visited my parents once and Jason's mom and stepdad once. A dinosaur (aka chicken) pecked at Bug and scared the living daylights out of her. Honestly, one pecked me over my clothes and it was still frightening. They are such weird creatures! I do love eating the eggs, though. So does Bug!

Bug has graduated to eating at the table with us. Here, she's sitting on a
makeshift booster seat, made of books and a towel. It's so much fun eating all together
at the table, as opposed to her being in a high chair. Bug loves it!
For our four-year wedding anniversary, we went to dinner solo in town. It was really nice, but oh my, how we miss our Bug when she's not with us! We came home very quickly. For my 30th birthday, we had a family date and went to a big mall in another town. Bug loved getting pushed in the stroller and had quite a time playing in the play area. We plan to visit that mall again very soon - I hear a Frozen castle will be built there for the holiday season!

Bug loves to fry food up in her skillet. That night's offering was fried green beans.
She also likes frying strawberries and bananas :)
We traveled to a little town north of us to visit their downtown area. We had so much fun walking around downtown. Bug even walked some of the way, while holding our hands. We visited a huge Christmas store and picked out a few new ornaments.

Bug loved walking around downtown. I promise - Jason is not
in a bad mood here; the sun was just SO bright. I don't think
he even knew I was taking a pic. Notice how much Bug
does not care it is bright outside. She is one happy girl!
In all honestly, we weren't home so much this month. I know I say it all the time, but November really is going to be a month we stay home more (I'm making sure of it myself!). Either way, we all had a blast in October and I'm loving the cooler temperatures, cozy sweaters, hot tea, warm blankets and good books.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Our $92 grocery trip + what's for eats this week

Our grocery budget is typically around $90 per week. When we have extra gas money, we will use that to cover anything over $90 that we spend. We had $103 that we could spend at the store; I anticipated our trip would be $98, but it came in significantly less at $91.18 (including 6% sales tax on applicable household items). I'm always quick to use Ibotta and Checkout 51 to get some money back from our grocery trips and I also need to check out Walmart's Savings Catcher app.

We did all of our shopping at Walmart and purchased the following items:
  • Loaf of frozen garlic bread
  • Whole carrots
  • Bag of oranges
  • Bananas
  • Applesauce
  • Organic cereal for Bug
  • Elbow macaroni noodles
  • Acorn squash
  • Fresh green beans
  • Iceberg lettuce
  • 2 packages of butter
  • Sour cream
  • Mushrooms
  • Asiago cheese
  • Mozzarella cheese
  • Tomato
  • 5 lbs. of ground beef
  • Butter-flavored popcorn oil
  • Gallon of organic milk
  • Fresh strawberries
  • Vanilla yogurt
  • Flour
  • Graham crackers
  • Canned peas
  • 4 pouches of organic food for Bug
  • Dish soap
  • Dishwasher detergent
  • Q-tips
For breakfast, I always have a banana, yogurt and granola bowl. Jason eats a piece of fruit and homemade bread, typically. Bug has a piece of fruit, a pouch of food, an egg or homemade bread. On an odd occasion, Jason will give green beans to her or something odd to us Americans.

Lunches are typically leftovers. If there are not enough leftovers, Jason and Bug eat organic macaroni and cheese. We have several boxes of this in the pantry.

Dinners for the week will be:

Homemade chicken nuggets, roasted acorn squash, roasted green beans, biscuits
Cheeseburger macaroni, green beans
Mushroom rigatoni bake
Penne noodles with pasta sauce, garlic bread
Pantry/freezer dinner (basically whatever you can find!)

Snacks for adults and tots alike include:
  • Popcorn
  • Fresh fruit
  • Frozen products such as French fries, tater tots, etc. (Monster really loves eating these!!!)
Bug always has pouches of food, teddy graham crackers, cheddar bunnies, baby cookies and other assorted organic goodies in the pantry for her snacks as well.