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Day 58 YOUF/No Spend Year December 28, 2018

December 28th, 2018 at 10:01 pm

Good evening.

Today I had to take my dog to get a booster shot. Then off I went "to town".

I stopped at Target and bought $100 for next year's Christmas gifts. Then onto Joann Fabric to buy a tapestry needle and hand threader so that I can finish the Unicorn scarf and hat I made the 3 year-old. Onward to Winco, Costco and Smart Foods.

I spent about $200 and told DH the plan was to keep it until 7-10 days. I think we can, I think we can.....

Food Challenge September 2012

September 9th, 2012 at 12:05 pm

Another quick post to add:

We ate out on DH's birthday at the local Mexican restaurant. It was terrible, mine was anyway, that was Thursday September 6th.

On Friday our friends were coming over to begin our Friday Night dinners again and to celebrate the birthday/anniversary. DH barbecued steaks, scallops and shrimp, made garlic mashed potatoes and grilled asparagus and yellow squash from the garden. Friends brought a German chocolate cake and ice cream.

The four of us agreed this was our last blowout as we all need to lose a few pounds!

I also notified DH that we are participating in a food challenge. No eating out all all the rest of the month. So last night were leftovers (our actual anniversary). I am not sure what DH has planned for tonight.

He has been cleaning since I am suffering from a migraine and backache after eating the choco cake and working in the yard all day yesterday.

DH cleaned out the freezers this morning and something tells me the lobster mac and cheese from Costco is going to be on the menu soon. DH shopped yesterday at Costco getting our usual veges, bread and milk. Our pantry and freezer are very full so we are ready!

Food Challenge September 2012

September 2nd, 2012 at 02:45 pm

In this heat of Southern California (inland), a crockpot is essential. Thank goodness the kids packed it and brought it with them. Found it above the frig. The other day I put in a family pack of boneless, skinless chicken breasts, a package of taco seasoning mix and the rest of the Kirland brand organic salsa I found in the frig. I cooked them all day, then shredded them and made chicken quesadillas. SIL and granddaughter both liked them. We had fresh baby carrots and strawberries. I froze the rest in little packages.

Then yesterday I soaked boneless, skinless thighs in plain old teryaki sauce and dumped that into the crockpot on high for the afternoon. DSIL again liked it, but alas, granddaughter thought "too spicy". Haha. Served with fresh steamed broccoli and more strawberries.

It is weird to be in charge of food in a kitchen with a pantry and freezer that are not your own! Like tonight, I have hotdogs and buns left, but stupidly only bought one can of chili for chili dogs on Friday, so I will do plain hot dogs with sweet potato fries for tonight, then leftover teryaki chicken with brown rice and asparagus.......then I will head home!

There I will have my very full freezer and pantry for my meal planning. We have not eaten out one time since my daughter left for South Carolina on August 22nd!

I stopped at the Goodwill on Friday and found 2 summery tops and several books. I finished a Mary Higgins Clark one first and now am reading The Middle Place by Kelly Corrigan. Need to reserve this month's book club book.....Garrison Keillor Lake Wobegon Days. The last Garrison Keillor book I read was Pontoon and I absolutely howled with laughter over that one.

Speaking of howling with laughter...the kids have Netflix and I was watching Lost. I decided I need something fun, so I watched a few episodes of The Office that I had not seen before. Omgosh, I had to be quiet because Ally was napping, but it was the one where Dwight faked a fire.....when the blond throws her cat up at Oscar and it falls through the ceiling....Baaahaaaa......

When I should have been watching the pennies, I ignored finances...

August 28th, 2012 at 11:45 am

I became disabled basically August 1, 2010. Basically for 2 years I hated looking at our finances. I rarely posted here, I rarely read anything financial.

Now a month after starting my new job and 2 weeks after arriving here in Temecula, I am finding myself interested again. It doesn't take a psychologist to figure out the two are connected.

I was frugal and I thought about money, but I dreaded paying the bills, planning etc. I did start using coupons and after one particularly bad mexican restaurant meal with friends, I started Friday Night Dinners....

I was home and my friend, after staying home with her kids for 18 years, was working full-time. Our husbands are total bff's and have man-dates at least once a week. One Friday they asked us to go out to dinner with them (my friend has always hated cooking even when she was a stay-at-home wife). So out we went to the local Mexican place. The food was awful, barely warm and for the 4 of us it was $50.00.

I told them from now on I would make dinners on Friday nights....so I started. I would take the opportunity to try something new and sometimes other people would come. When their youngest daughter started basketball season we didn't get to do it as often. However, they never plan meals so occasionally DH and I will call if we have a lot of food and ask them up. They always come.....one time bringing the husband's sister and her DH. We had cooked a turkey that day. In return they have brought stuff to us from Costco and not let us pay and have helped do household stuff too.

We are lucky to have such good friends who live only 2 blocks away.

A Lot on my Mind...

December 20th, 2010 at 08:41 am

I forgot to sign the cashier's check that mom gave me and the bank called (US Bank) and had to send it back. Thank goodness for living in a small town. Our renters also forgot to make a deposit or something, so their check also was returned (did not receive phone call, just the check back from Chase), but renters called to let us know).

You may already know this, but they don't send the actual checks back anymore, but a "legal copy".

At 81, mom's recovery is slower than I expected (what was I thinking?). My two older sisters came to help out and did a major decluttering of mom's home.

Inspired, I went through a pile of paperwork on my desk and I found two car registrations that are due on 12/31/2010. The State of California does not like it when you are late paying, and tack on nice little late payments. Thank goodness I found these. I will pay on line today.

My new hobby is paying off with some shopping this weekend. Two new babies in the neighborhood, along with a gift for granddaughter's BFF (next door), a couple of outfits for granddaughter and new socks (I have a sock thing) and new walking shoes for me at Kohl's. DH found a $10.00 off any $20.00 purchase at his business along with the one we tore off our newspaper, gave us 2!! I also had a 30% off coupon received in the mail. For all this I paid less than $40.00. The Nike's alone were normally $59.99!

After that I went to Walgreen's to use that $5.00 in jingle bucks received at the last visit, along with $3.30 in manufacturer's coupons. I checked the ads carefully and then was ready!

After that.... CVS.I had $18.97 in Care bucks along with $2.00 in manufacturer's coupons to use there.

I obviously have got to quit buying cereal!

Unopened boxes.

Opened boxes. Yes that is writing you see on my cabinet. We measured the kids growing up and kids visiting when they were younger (actually we still do this) with the name and date. I have to save that door when we replace our cabinets.

Normally shopping at Safeway makes me cringe, but with their new program and a little planning, I was pleasantly surprised by my last visit there. Again I had $3.30 in manufacturer's coupons to use along with some on-line ones from the Safeway web site. Some highlights of that visit were 2 lb Tillamook cheddar (our favorite) for only $3.99, 1 doz eggs for $1.08 and Barilla pasta for 92 cents a pound. I also picked up some Starbucks decaf Cafe Verona that was on sale for $7.99 and I had a $1.00 off coupon and I can take the empty package in for a free cup! I may use that today while running errands.

Today is the last day to shop for Toys for Tots sponsored by the Marine Corp. I already bought some things, but am going to pick up more. Also the Wags checker and I got to talking (what can I say, I am a talker), and she said something about being "brain dead". When I asked why, she said she worked two jobs to support her 5 kids with deadbeat dads (yes dads). I asked if she had presents for all of them yet, she said no, but was working on it. I tried to slip her an extra $20.00, but she said thank you, but she could not take it. I insisted, but she again said no. I feel such a burden for that mother. I really want to go get a $100.00 gift certificate for the local mall and drop it off anonymously to the Wags store. But I don't want to get her in trouble and I don't know her name. I am thinking I might call the store and ask who was working on Saturday at the front checkout......

Lastly, we are hoping to travel to Reno where our older daughters live. Yongest daughter and granddaughter drove over last week before the big storm hit California. I get a little weepy thinking of not spending Christmas with our girls for the first time ever. We are hoping to try to go over on Christmas Eve, there appears to be a break in the weather. Instead I may be spending the time looking at pictures like this:


This was taken sometime within the last 10 days when Ally had managed to not take a nap all day, but fell asleep while watching her beloved Yo Gabba Gabba or was it Wow Wow Wubsy??

Target again.

November 24th, 2010 at 03:36 pm

I accidentally bought the movie Matrix in blue ray when I was at Target the other day. We don't have a blue ray player and the purchase is not eminent, so I took it back today.

I had to run to town to my new hand therapist's office to pick up my elbow and wrist braces that were approved by my comp carrier.

Since my new hobby is coupons (or I am trying it anyway), I was ready with coupons for Target. My purchases were so low, I actually thought the checker had made a mistake. She told me right away she was new, when I mentioned I had coupons, and I told her no problem, I was very patient.

So I bought 3 Hasbro games, two 8 oz pkg of shredded Kraft cheese and a chunk of cream cheese.

Coupons were $5.00 off 3 Hasbro toys, $1.00 off 2 pkg of shredded cheese, and off one of the packages of cheese, another $1.00 a cheese and cream cheese. I also had a $3.00 off coupon for general merchandise given to me by Target several months ago. My checker, at the time she was doing my transaction, was having a conversation with the people next in line behind me. Of course she totally messed up my transaction and then told me I had to go over and stand in line at the returns. I was really unhappy and expressed my irritation (nicely since it was not their fault) to the employee in the return area. She gave me three $3.00 off coupons and this was my last one.

So my total came to $12.56, which was less than the 3 games alone would have cost me. So I am thinking if I take a little time befor shopping to glance at any coupons that I may use and print them, it is worth my time (especially since I do not have a job right now).

I turned my application in at the therapist office today too.

My husband is trying a new apple pie recipe:
http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/tyler-florence/the-ultimate-caramel-apple-pie-recipe/index.html

He ruined the first caramel sauce, but his second attempt was yummy, very unusual.

I am making the pumpkin using our usual recipe from Bon Appetit several years ago in a Thanksgiving issue. We usually substitute yams, but this year we have fresh pumpkin from going to the local pumpkin patch with my granddaughter's play group.

I am hoping to get the leaf in the table tonight and get the china out and ready to set the table when breakfast is over in the morning.

Oh and I finally have a price book going. I actually paid $9.00 for a really cool version. (I am not that great at Excel). I really think this will pay for itself quickly.

http://www.uncommonwaytowealth.com/excel-finance-spreadsheets/grocery-savings-spreadsheet-price-book/

It may seem counterintuitive to spend money on a price book when you are trying to save money, but I knew I would never do it without some guidance. Then I stumbled on that link and I am using it already.

I have been pushing myself a bit too hard lately and am paying for it. Need to cut back after tomorrow.

I went to Target. I spent money.

November 17th, 2010 at 04:25 pm

I cannot believe I did not post a picture of my granddaughter in her Halloween costume. This is me with her. She pressed her little face against me spontaneously. It was so sweet. She is used to getting her picture taken since her mom is a photographer.

I have been sick for about 10 days now. This is the third day I have been out of bed for more than 1 hour. Now it appears that K&A, who are on their way home from Washington, are sick.

I had two checks that needed to be dealt with an DH and I drank the last of the OJ this morning. Tissues are getting low too.

So I made lists, checked them, printed out coupons and off I went.

Stopped at our bank. Deposited my disability check and cashed another check from a friend who owed me money for a little work.

Then onto pick up DH. He had just let an employee go off on a break, so I ran across the street to Walgreens, picking up a few items:


Then onto Costco for OJ and Honeycrisp apples (the best in my humble opinion, well worth the extra cost:


Oh and Nutella! My first time buying it. Winco was giving out samples the last time I was there and it was so yummy. I am not sure how I will use it, maybe just eat it by the spoonful?

We went ahead and picked up DH's request for Christmas, the cast iron dutch oven. Impulse purchased "cookware" for granddaughter. It was a huge mistake not teaching our daughters to cook. We will not make the same mistake with granddaughter!

Then onto Target for a bunch of good buys. My impulse purchase was the movie Matrix. DH's Christmas gift he will get to open. He loves that movie. My gift to myself was Susan Boyle's Christmas album.

My last stop was at Rite-Aid to pick up more pumpkin and some Fiber1 cereal. They were out of both. A truck is supposed to come in tonight, so I will check back tomorrow. Rite-Aid is very close to my home in my little rural Northern California town.... maybe I will call first.

Anyway since I am 99% sure that I am not going back to work, my goal is to squeeze every penny until it screams. I know I bought a lot of "prepared" food at Target, but with my fibromyalgia, I need some shortcuts. There will be days that I will be lucky to get any food on the table or leave it for DH and it will be okay once in a while.

I did come home from shopping and put a stew in the oven. We watched Chopped last night on Foodnetwork and one of the mystery ingredients was baby turnips. EEK we have turnips in our raised bed garden we planted on 09/06/10. They are probably perfect little baby turnips. We never did thin them because things got crazy and then my diagnosis..... anyway I went out and sure enough, cute little turnips:


So here is our dinner, in our new dutch oven:


My favorite stew. It has a bit of bacon, apple juice, tomato paste and some fresh herbs from our garden (with the cute little turnips), carrots, mushrooms and red potatoes. Oh and a few bouillion cubes since I have no canned beef broth.

On the fibro front, my core exercises, the mega doses of vitamins (have not been on the treadmill since I have been sick) and not picking up my granddaughter and laying around have resulted in a fairly pain-free week. My back is bothering me now though from the shopping and cooking.

I will get up and put the groceries away and clean up the kitchen. The kids will be home tonight.

Meal Planning

September 13th, 2010 at 08:12 am

My girls are home, my SIL is in Afthanistan and it is time to really start with the menu planning/shopping.

I know some here are doing the same and I have a link for you:

http://orgjunkie.com/

Each Monday they have so many blog links with menus for the week. This one is really good as it also has a shopping list:

http://www.savingadvice.com/blogs/cp/entry_add.php

Now I just have to do it (plan the menu)!

Tonight is my second cake decorating class. Last week was really fun, but hard on the wrists. This was not the smartest class to take in the middle of being evaluated for carpal tunnel syndrome. I will wear my elastic wrist braces tonight and hope that helps.

Calling Mrs. Frugalista!!

August 9th, 2010 at 08:35 am

Well you have probably given up on me, but here is my pizza dough recipe in case you still need it. It is from my Oster bread machine cookbook:


Jim's Pizza Crust

Water 7 to 8 oz.
Salt 1/2 tsp
Olive oil or vegetable oil 2 Tbsp
All purpose flour 3 cups
Active dry yeast 1.5 tsp

Combine all ingredients into bread pan, select dough setting. Start. When signal displays done, blah, blah blah. Pull dough out of maching.

Pat dough into a 12 x 15 inch jelly roll pan or greased 12 inch round pizza pan. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spread pizza sauce over dough. Sprinkle toppings over sauce. Bake 15-20 minutes or until crust is golden brown.

Back in the days before we had bread machines we used a pizza recipe from the Betty Crocker Breads recipe "book" that we bought after first married almost 32 years ago (first printing 1977), which is where the sauce comes from too:

Pizza
1 package active dry yeast
1 cup warm water (105 to 115 degrees)
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
3 tablespoons salad oil
3 to 3.5 cups all purpose flour
2 tablespoons salad oil

Prepare sauce (recipe to follow). Dissolve yeast in warm water in large mixing bowl. Stir in sugar, salt, 3 tablespoons of oil and 2 cups of the flour. Beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to make dough easy to handle.

Turn dough onto lightly floured surface, knead until smooth, about 5 minutes. Place in greased bowl; turn greased side up. Cover; let rise in warm place 45 minutes. (Dough is ready if an indentation remains when touched).

Heat over to 400 degrees. Grease 2 jelly roll pans with 2 tablespoons of oil. Punch dough down, divide in half. Roll each half into a rectangle 16 x 11 inches. Place rectangle in each pan.

Spread 1/2 cup sauce over each pizza. Cover with toppings. Sprinkle cheese over top. Bake 25 minutes.

Pizza Sauce
1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
1/2 cup water
1 tsp salt
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp garlic or onion powder
1/8 tsp pepper.

Mix all ingredients. Let stand 1 hour.

Now I find it interesting that I used the Oster recipe to make 1 pizza where as the Betty Crocker recipe says it makes 2. I must like thicker pizza crust.

The last pizza I made and the one I am making tomorrow is a barbecued chicken pizza. I used Sweet Baby Ray's regular barbecue sauce instead of regular tomato sauce. I used 2 chicken breasts just sauteed in some oil with salt and pepper (tonight DH is barbecuing chicken breasts along with tonight's pork for tomorrow's pizza. I used red bell pepper and onions that I sauteed before putting on the pizza and mozarella and cheddar cheese. Chopped cilantro on top of the cheese. Yum! I hope you find this useful.

Food, food, food...oh and a quilt

February 24th, 2010 at 09:11 am

The food challenge continues. This week's shopping left us with $8.00 to last until March 1st.

I think we are going to make it because most of our menus this week are based on this:



along with this weeks grocery purchases:



Saturday-Roast turkey dinner.

Sunday-Lunch turkey salad sandwiches with celery, diced bacon and walnuts. Some grapes would have been a great addition, but I was not going to buy some. Hey come to think of it some chopped carrot would have given it a little sweetness. Dinner was leftover turkey dinner for DH and I just had a salad with the leftover turkey salad on top.

Monday-Turkey enchiladas, made 2 small, one for the freezer. Used the dark meat picked from the thigh and leg.



Tuesday-New recipe adapated from Rachel Ray, http://www.rachaelray.com/recipe.php?recipe_id=510

Using these ingredients and the addition of 2 cups of cubed breast meat from turkey:





This was quite tasty with enough for leftovers tonight.



You would have thought I had teenage boys in the house I did so much baking this weekend:



I used half soy flour in all recipes to try to cut down on carbs. All other ingredients I already had in the house (including a past dated tub of light sour cream in the apple/nut muffins you can see in the frig picture).

We had a moment of panic briefly when we were down to one day's worth of coffeebeans left. Then I realized we had one more package of coffee bought in December at Costco when they ran the $4.00 Starbucks. Otherwise my challenge with my sister has been easier than I thought.

I also started this quilt that I finished Monday and drove down to the fabric artist to quilt yesterday.



This is for my BFF's first grandchild, (a boy obviously) born 2/18/2010 on my granddaughter's 18-month birthday!

Spring is on it's way as evidenced by the flowers that are starting to bloom (however a storm blew in yesterday here in Northern Coastal California). My tulips are coming up too!



I have a new computer arriving today that I got at Costco.com for $499.00. Keeping up on blogs and doing my finances has been painfully slow. I had my computer checked by my IT coworker and he said it would cost almost as much to fix and upgrade as getting a new one. I am kind of excited about Windows 7.

Finally, I received 2 checks for reimbursement from my FSA. I deposited into my daughter's account to buy my granddaughter a play kitchen. We took the one we had purchased back to Costco over the weekend (we thought they were living with us for a year, but SIL's orders were changed).

I feel like I was definitely back to my frugal roots over the past week!

Food Challenge the saga continues.....

February 12th, 2010 at 05:22 pm

So I tried some new recipes this week including this ricotta cake pictured below. The link is here:
http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Ricotta-Cake/Detail.aspx#

I used half the filling mixture and it was so tasty. I used up that ricotta that was past dated.





DH called from the game and asked it I wanted to go out with the friend and his wife he was at the game with. I said NO!! We can't spend the money. I suggested they come over and eat tacos with us since that was what we had planned. They came and I had the cake for dessert. It was a great spontaneous meal with friends. I ended up taking the frozen lasagna out of the freezer and sent home with the friends since that is where we went for the Super Bowl. It felt really good to be so organized!!

This week ended up being quite a challenge in that I had jury duty that I was hoping would not happen (you know how you have to call the number the night before to make sure the case has not settled). But no chance. I ended up being an alternate and then yesterday seated as juror #11. That meant eating out for lunch unfortunately. So we have $82.20 left for food for the rest of the month.

Last week's menus were:
Sunday night-party at friend's that we contributed the lasagna.

Monday-Baked chicken breasts with TJ's sundried tomato bruschetta rubbed all over the tops.
Tuesday-Chicken Salad (leftover chicken from Monday), DH had BLT sandwich.
Wednesday-Turkey meatballs Rachel Ray recipe with gnocchi. Turned out quite tasty.
Thursday-Tacos again!
Friday-and tacos again!

I finished organizing my cupboards and pantry cupboards in the garage. I arranged all my baking things together instead of spread around different cupboards so now oil, sugars, spices for baking, raisins, craisins, oatmeal, flour and sugars, baking powder, baking soda, salt, etc are all together. Why didn't I do that sooner?

We don't have tomorrow or the rest of the week planned yet, but Sunday is filet mignon that DH bought at Costco some time ago for $4.99 a pound, (he says there are at least 8 in the freezer).

I also made muffins for my breakfast using leftover cooked sweet potato (instead of pumpkin) that I had used for Ally's little mini muffins I made her the day before she left. Here is the link and ingredients I used:

http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Whole-Wheat-Pumpkin-Applesauce-Muffins/Detail.aspx#



I substituted dried cranberries and walnuts for the raisins and pecans. I didn't have any buttermilk so I added about a teaspoon of white vinegar to goats milk that I needed to use up that was also left from Ally's visit.

All in all a fairly successful week, now I just need to get through 2 more!

Oh and then last night after getting home from jury service, I made peanut blossoms, the classic peanut butter with a chocolate kiss in the middle cookies to take to work today. Here is the recipe I used:
http://www.landolakes.com/mealideas/ViewRecipe.cfm?RecipeID=7946

I have to admit I have been having fun trying new recipes and I think DH really appreciates the break from cooking.

So I'm taking this food challenge seriously!

February 6th, 2010 at 03:15 pm

I inventoried the freezer and cupboards including the garage which I didn't take pictures of.


DH and I went shopping yesterday since we had a break in the storms (just rain and wind, no snow). The challenge came at the same time my older sister and I challenged each other to staying under $200.00 for the month and $100.00 for her for the month of February. I warned DH and he is on board. Our total for groceries is $76.48 for the month.


We ended up getting some bulbs and a nice set of cookware for $9.97 at Costco. We bought another set for his mother. Ours we actually took the display set.


Along with the pantry and some greens still growing in the garden, I think we can keep it under the $200.00 goal.


Especially using up leftovers and pantry items like this chili I made for DH last weekend for his lunches:


or like this weekend for my lunches:


I am glad I have something to keep me occupied so I am not missing:


Although sometimes I think Landon misses her more:




All the cherrios she dropped and eating her leftovers that she threw from the highchair to him waiting below....

Time to watch Lifetime and knit while DH is at the local college game that is being broadcast on CBSC, quite exciting for our small local college.