In response to ukzoe's question - tracking my money spent didn't take too long - it was a few minutes after each grocery store run while I basically typed my receipt into Excel.
Here's the file I used to do it - you could easily modify this to fit your needs. And yes, now you get to see everything we bought in April.
Edited: new link to file - original hosting site wasn't easy to work with...
Monday, April 30
In response to ukzoe's question - tracking my money spent didn't take too long - it was a few minutes after each grocery store run while I basically typed my receipt into Excel.
After reading for months about how everyone in the blog-universe does a menu plan, I thought I'd do an experiment.
During the month of April, I tracked every penny we spent at the grocery store. I divided it into categories, and really figured out where we spent our money. However, during that month, I didn't let that affect how I spent our money. I bought as usual, which involved stocking up on staples and spontaneously buying things for meals. I do coupons, but there were a few times during April that I didn't have them with me.
During April, this is what I spent on food for only two people. Not good. Note that we eat out about once a week - that wasn't taken into account.
Staples: $217.38 / Extras: $82.74
The second half of the experiment begins today! I will plan out our meals every Sunday night, and on Mondays, I'll shop for only what is needed. Hopefully, this will be cheaper and reduce waste. I'll let you know at the end of May how much money was spent, and how it compares. To be fair, I'm not letting this experiment affect what I buy - for example, if we want steak, we'll have steak...
Menu Plan for Week of April 30:
breakfast - leftover quiche and canned pears
lunch - sandwiches
dinner - corned beef, potatoes, veggies
breakfast - banana pancakes and bacon
lunch - sandwiches
dinner - taco salad
breakfast - "salsa eggs"
lunch - sandwiches
dinner - roast beef, asparagus, roasted potatoes
breakfast - oatmeal
lunch - leftover roast beef
dinner - homemade pizza or calzones
breakfast - poached eggs on toast
lunch - leftover pizza
dinner - fried rice, egg rolls
breakfast - pina colada pancakes and fried eggs
lunch - with my parents
dinner - with my parents
breakfast - quiche lorraine
lunch - grilled brats, corn, pasta salad
dinner - cheese & crackers, fruit, popcorn
Friday, April 27
1 c water
3/4 t salt
1/4 c shortening
1/4 c sugar
2 c AP flour
1 c WW flour
3 t yeast
Put in machine on dough setting. When it beeps, take it out and cut into 10 pieces for burger buns, 12 pieces for hot dog buns. Shape and place on greased baking sheet. (Make sure your hot dog buns are at least 6 inches long - mine have a tendency to be short and fat if I'm not careful). Cover. Let rise in warm place until doubled - 30 to 45 minutes. Bake in preheated 400 oven for 12 to 15 minutes. Cool on rack. Split. Enjoy.
Thursday, April 26
so i've recently become addicted to the site diaperswappers.com, and they have a great "for sale or trade" forum. i'm participating in my first trade, and wanted to show you what i made!
in exchange for a beautiful silky cart cover that looks like this:
i made a ring sling that looks like this:
and because it took a little too long, i made this rather primitive looking teddy (but Peanut loved it, so i'm hoping that her baby likes it, too!):
Mister doesn't really see how sewing / crafts can be so much fun... although whenever he goes out with the chainsaw, i don't get it either. i had a ball today doing these... and as soon as Peanut wakes up from her nap, i get to go send them off in the mail! i think it's kinda cool that someone halfway across the country, whom i've never met, will be using / wearing something i made for her. this is a first for me, can you tell?
Wednesday, April 25
We love breakfasts in our house. Bacon, coffee (decaf for me!), juice, eggs, pancakes, muffins, french toast, etc...
But in the mornings, if we have pancakes or french toast, that's a lot of sugar to be starting our day with. We like syrup, and sometimes there might even be chocolate chips in our pancakes... and for whatever reason, if there's chocolate, Mister likes a little whipped cream on there for good measure. But talk about getting your blood sugar all goofy!
I don't have time, though, to make pancakes AND eggs to balance out the breakfast. So I make big batches of pancakes or french toast, and freeze them. That way, I can scramble up a couple of eggs and microwave some frozen french toast, and voila, a fabulous balanced breakfast.
When do I do this? That's the tip for the week... One of our local grocery stores does a (about) monthly special where their loaves of french bread are two for a dollar. I buy a ton of loaves, and have the bakery slice it for me. Thin slices (normal sandwich slices or just thicker are great) are key, since those microwave more evenly and a heck of a lot faster than the thick chunky slices I cut if I'm making it to be eaten fresh. Make sure you buy a lot of eggs, since the thinner slices really do use up eggs at a remarkable rate. Add a splash of vanilla, a good healthy dose of cinnamon and a dash of nutmeg, and you have a winner. I assembly line them, stacking them on cooling racks, then when they're fully cooled, I put them in ziplocs, and into the freezer they go. If you do have nice thin slices, they really only take 20-30 seconds for a plateful to go from frozen to steaming.
That works for me!
Tuesday, April 24
Chris - “Change The World” - Not bad. Did anyone else notice that he was deliberately trying NOT to be nasally? We thought that was hysterical, and thought it was very nice of Simon not to comment on it. It was good. Not great, but good.
Melinda - “There Will Come A Day” - Great. What a song, and she saaaaaang it.
Blake - “Imagine” - I do NOT like this song. It's a little too anti-religion for my taste, but it does have such a cool sound. The last few weeks, though, Blake has sung so straight. What happened to the FUNK? We like the funk. Bring back the funk.
LaKisha - “I Believe” - I thought she was good. She made me look up from what I was doing, but she just seems a little one dimensional. Everything's a variation of a former LaKisha hit. Don't think she compares to the other powerhouses...
Phil - “Change” - Getting better and better!! We spent a lot of time voting for him tonight. It's not just that he's a dead ringer for one of our groomsmen, but really - he was darn good tonight.
Jordin Sparks - “You’ll Never Walk Alone” - When Ryan announced what song she'd be singing, my heart melted. I love this song. Girl kicked some serious booty tonight. I was crying. (Take a moment here and appreciate my dorkiness. Crying along with the TV... yikes.) She's been my favorite for weeks now, and I just can't wait to buy me a Jordin cd. That song had better be on it, because it was amazing. Simon was right - she took a 60 year old song and made it sound like it had been written for her. What a way to end the evening. Did I tell you we had this on tape 'cause I couldn't be home for it and we're too cheap to have TiVo? That's right. I'm going to have this tape worn out from hearing this song a lot tomorrow... :o)
Who will go? - LaKisha.
Best of the night? - Jordin. NDAI. (no doubt about it)
I am officially a WAHM, even though i don't do that much work. I write children's catechetical lessons for a website called 4marks.com. I have a MA in Theology (Catholic) with a concentration in Catechetics, or the teaching of the faith. This means that I should pump out catechetical lessons at the speed of light, right? Or at least the speed of sound?
Yeah, right! My sister-in-law writes lessons for them, too, and she can write a whole week's worth in just over an hour. I spend 30-40 hours on a lesson. You think I'm joking. I am so
anal OCD that I agonize over every little bit, but most of my time is spent making them look pretty and honing my template that I use to write them.
Now 4marks just gave all of us writers a template to use, so you'd think it would have speeded me up. Nope. Now I have a serious deadline to meet today (I'm late, and today's the last day that I can keep any self respect while turning in my lessons), and I'm supposed to be starting on another one.
SOOOO - today's Tackle It Tuesday is to write the lessons. Putting aside all my procrastination, and just delivering a quality product.
Edited at 2:00 pm: Oh my gooooodness. I have been working on and off (mostly on!) since 8 this morning, and am only 40% done. Yowsers. Keep going, self!
Edited at 11:30 pm: That stupid template. Pain in the neck. They just sent an email saying that we can scrap it, since it ended up making it take longer than usual. I didn't get much done after the last update because of dinner, Peanut, groceries and other obligations, but I'm sitting here with the house all silent working on them. Or blogging. One of the two. Hmm. Maybe I should go back to working on them...
Friday, April 20
go check out boomama's post about being southern... the comments are hys-TER-ical. no joke.
i'm SO not southern. although i did work at a piggly wiggly for a few years - but it was in wisconsin, so i don't think that really counts, does it?
Thursday, April 19
do you see me doing the happy dance?
did you hear my whoop all the way to your house last night?
i was so scared for lakisha.... did you see melinda wiping away lakisha's tears?
p.s. melinda cracked me UP! what a good sport - she was so funny, just plopping herself down in the middle of the stage like that. that was the first time i really saw some personality come out in her. i have to say, Mister and i were flipping channels a couple of months ago, and saw the Soup's clip on the Melinda Doolittle School of Humility, and it cracked us up, but it means we think about it... oh, twice a week. (tuesday nights and wednesday nights...)
the lovely ladies over at 5 minutes for mom are having a digital photo frame contest!! thanks to philips for donating one...
that would solve the whole "what the heck do we get our moms for mother's day" dilemma. well, just for one of them, i suppose. don't think i could ask my mom and my mom-in-law to have joint custody, could i?
Wednesday, April 18
For GiBee, who asked for the recipe...
Make a single crust if you're doing a bottom-only pie, a double crust for a lattice topped, and a triple crust for a top crust pie. Scraps? Top with cinnamon sugar and bake. Enjoy!
1 1/2 cups AP flour
2 tbsp white sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup shortening
4 to 5 tbsp cold water
2 cups AP flour
3 tbsp white sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup shortening
5 to 7 tbsp cold water
3 cups AP flour
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup shortening
6 to 8 tbsp cold water
In food processor, blend flour, sugar, salt and nutmeg. Cut in butter and shortening until coarse. Add half of the water, pulse. Add water as needed just until dough forms a ball. Turn out onto floured surface. Roll into flat ball, chill at least 1/2 hour. Roll dough from center out to edge until 1/8" thick. Fit into pie plate and flute edges. Bake according to filling recipe. If edges brown too quickly, cover with strips of foil.
So my Mister was a big fan of Chris Sligh on Idol, until he got booted off (shame on America, Sligh got rejected for SANJAYA? - sorry for the rant, just need to accept the fact that he's still in the game...)
But. Back to Chris Sligh. We just recently purchased his cd, and is it good!! It's Christian, but not too overtly. They were going for "Christian worldview" rather than "direct evangelization," which gives them a much broader market. Great cd, though... Definitely on my playlist for the last week.
You can click on the cd cover above to take you to Amazon, where you can read reviews, etc.
(Just for the record, this is a unsolicited post - I just wanted to share a great cd with y'all!)
When making a pie, I usually make my crusts from scratch using my momma's 1/2 butter, 1/2 shortening recipe that makes a deliciously sweet, sugar cookie-ish crust...
But sometimes you're in a hurry. That's when I turn to the pre-made, refrigerated pie crusts. They're not too bad, considering the tons of time that they save. They're not sweet at all, though, so be warned... (which makes them good for pot pies, too.)
One way to get around that - brush the top of your crust with a little egg or milk, and then liberally sprinkle sugar all over it. The more sugar, the better! To give your pie a little homemade flair, play with your steam vents. Instead of just cutting a slit or two, take an extra 30 seconds and try this tip:
Roll the crust out onto your counter before placing on the pie. Using a cookie cutter, cut out a shape from the center of the crust. Place the main part of the crust on the pie, and then crimp the edges. Add some details to the cut-out, if desired, then place in the hole on the crust. This one will shrink away from the edges a little bit, leaving you with a elaborate (and simple) steam vent... Here's a "Easter bunny" I put on a recent apple pie:
Phil - “Where The Blacktop Ends” - I really liked Phil from the beginning... and then over the last few weeks, I've forgotten why. But he was amazing tonight! In fact, he was the very first person to get my Blake-lovin-husband to cast a vote. Mister never watched Idol until this season, and has gotten totally into it. While he loves Blake, he thought that this performance by Phil needed a little support, to make sure he doesn't go home this week.
Jordin - “Broken Wing” - LOVE THIS GIRL. Simon's comment about how he could finally see her winning the season? I've been saying that from day one. She's fabulous. And this was an amazing performance.
Sanjaya - “Something To Talk About” - He strikes me every week as becoming more and more arrogant - he can do the exact oppposite of what the show is about, and still be protected by all the goofballs out there who like to mess with the system. The bandanna was a joke, the song was a joke, and his attitude when talking to the judges? Send the little boy back to highschool and fuggettabout him... his fifteen minutes are WAY UP.
LaKisha - “Jesus, Take The Wheel” - The beginning was a little dull. But then she started SINGING... and I got goosebumps. I do love her voice!
Chris - “Mayberry” - Never been a fan. Did think it was funny that he told Simon that the nasally voice was on purpose. :o) Did you catch Simon's eye roll after Chris said that bit about Virginia Tech? Mister and I figured that the producers saw it as well, and then made Simon say at the end of the show that he was also keeping them in his thoughts... BUSTED on national television!
Melinda - “Trouble Is A Woman” - Goooooodness. She's got it made - she'll get a contract for sure even if she doesn't win. She's awesome.
Blake - “When The Stars Go Blue” - This was a rough week for him. He had to sing country, and make it sound like country, and couldn't do his funky magic on it. We like Blake a LOT in our house... hoping that his straight-up Tim McGraw thing doesn't get him in trouble this week.
Best of the night? - Jordin. As usual. (Although Phil gets props for his best performance yet...)
Tuesday, April 17
anyone else excited about country night on american idol tonight? can't wait!
I'm sure all of you already know about Heather, the blogger who's just recently been diagnosed with a brain tumor. She's also a blog designer, who's done some amazing work out there... you've probably seen it, if you didn't have her design yours!
The ever gracious BooMama is having a benefit for Heather tomorrow, April 18. Please head over to her blog, read the post about Heather's situation, and then donate $1, $5, $25, etc... to help offset the insane medical bills that she'll be racking up.
Thank you, bloggity friends.
After spending many years alone, in the summer of 2004, I fell in love. I gave my heart away many times in the next few months, and soon had a shelf full of old loves. Each inspires memories, fits well next to me, and makes me feel like a lady. However, after all those purse loves, I'm now dating my gender-neutral diaper bag.
The army-green messenger bag allows my Mister to feel manly while toting such things as burp rags and extra onesies around, but it doesn't inspire me to femininity.
I might just have to allow him to feel manly while I re-discover my springy, feminine, flirtatious side.
(swooning now, while I send you over to check out this post...)
So I just heard about a fun giveaway by a lady who just LOVES tea parties... go check out the ParTea Planner's blog, and maybe even enter yourself!
One of the stipulations for entering is that if you win the prize, you have to post pictures of the tea party you host with the goodies. I know just when I'd do it. A friend of mine is moving to town in a couple of months to be a resident at a local hospital. I can't wait to introduce her to my local ladies, so a tea party would be just the thing...
Yup. It's that time again. Today's tackle is my craft desk. I'm already halfway through it, though, so here's a pic of the way it is after a GOOD bit of cleaning.
The Hancock Fabric store in town is going out of business, so I've had a habit lately of stopping by to pick up more cloth, notions, so there's been a huge pile of bags in front of my desk. That's mostly sorted through and stored in the storage drawers / boxes under the desk. But I'm sure I can squeeze this a little tighter into that space. This is a great house, but there's just no storage, so all that I'm really working with is this computer desk and the space underneath it. (I know, I know, not enough for a craft-junkie like myself.) Now I just have to do something with all these supplies I'm storing up!
Edited: Okay. It's enough for now. You see, I had asked my husband if we could come up with a new way for him to make sure that he's read the whole newspaper. Right now, he just leaves it out on the dining room table - but if he didn't finish yesterday's, today's goes on top of it... soon there's a pile. He said he'd work on that if I kept the craft area picked up. Think it's enough?
Oh, I'm a doofus. I forgot to add it to the Mr. Linky!
Friday, April 13
so most blogs that i've been reading have had a common theme on them for the last couple of days:
how the HECK did it get this cold?
brrr.... we had SNOW yesterday morning and frost today. i'm sneezing, KERSPLAT, sitting in a cold house. (i really did just sneeze there. couldja tell?) i'm supposed to meet another mom in a couple hours, but i don't feel like getting us all bundled up to venture out into the cold cold outside. it wasn't a big deal a couple months ago, but this is mid-april, for goodness sakes! plus, Peanut's outgrown her bundling up clothes.
in other news, Mister has a poker night with some men from church tonight, and since he wasn't too familiar with texas holdem, we played a lot last night. then we played scrabble so i could win SOMETHING, then back to poker. i'm not too good at strategy / betting games, but i can sure play the word games!
it did get to a point in scrabble where we allowed ourselves to put up words that didn't exist, in exchange for no points. i believe scioa was the first of that category. although i believe that i'm going to name the crust that forms on the bottom of the oatmeal pan scioa. what do you think? does it bring to mind anything else?
Tuesday, April 10
i just found out that one of my friends from grad school, ryan, died on holy saturday afternoon.
he was 31, and had just recently been diagnosed with a very aggressive stomach cancer. he was supposed to be graduating with his law degree from Notre Dame this may, and his degree will be awarded posthumously.
may his soul and all the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.
are we there yet mom is celebrating her blog anniversary, and has been tossing out questions and answers for fun...
i had some thoughts on one of her topics for today, and thought i'd put them out there and see what any of you thought on it.
Since my daughter is entering teenage-dom, what age would I find it appropriate for her to date? A couple of her girlfriends have allready started dating, and she’s observed dating through their experiences, and as far as I can tell, she’s not too into the dating scene yet. I was her age when I went minature golfing on my first date. In planning for this I was thinking about what if I planned a dinner for all of us, to get to know HIS family. I’m pretty close with my In-Laws, and their door was always open to their home, meals included. My mom always told me you can tell alot from a boy how they treat their mother, so I’d ask her to invite them to dinner. What does everyone think?? Does this sound too out there??my first boyfriend, during my senior year, was mike, a good guy... but my parents didn't want me dating him since i was leaving the country in a few months and then we'd both be off to separate colleges. while we weren't allowed to "date," we still managed to see each other all the time at friend's houses, parties, work, etc. most of our time was spent in groups, but we did enjoy a little time alone. i would say that some of my most fun memories from highschool were talking over crushes with my girlfriends.
how would i recommend dealing with teenagers who are going through the crush / want to be dating phase? they are completely surrounded by a sexually-saturated culture, which is more prevalent in junior high and highschool than you can imagine. having worked with teens for the last few years, i am still amazed at the level of exposure these kids have to vulgarities and sordid perversions, much less straight up sexuality. nothing shocks them. being sexually active is normal - or at least claiming that you're sexually active is. i'm only 11 years out of highschool, but it's changed so much in that time...
they're perceived as social outcasts if they don't date. however, if their parents forbid them to date, they have a reason as opposed to those who simply aren't asked out. being able to shrug off questions with "oh, i'm not allowed..." can be a very nice thing!
more thoughts to come later... peanut is calling for me. and no, she's not going to be dating for a very long time. :o)
Monday, April 9
here's a little reminder to go vote in the blogger's choice awards...
and a quick rundown of the votes i've cast so far:
best blog about blogging - blogging basics 101
best blog design - everyday mommy
best blog of all time - antique mommy
best humor blog - boo mama
best parenting blog - rocks in my dryer, enter the circus
best shopping blog - want not
hottest mommy blog - the domestic diva
(edited to add boo mama!)
so i don't know who's tired-er, peanut or i! she did so well this weekend - hours and hours in a carseat, being held by all sorts of people she didn't know, wearing ridiculously cute and fluffy dresses, the church on sunday morning being about 85 degrees, and sleeping in a place that smells and sounds so different from home!
when we came home, we moved her to a crib in her own room. ::sniff:: she'd been sleeping in a cosleeper next to my bed for months. she'd been in bed with me for the first six weeks, and while i love the idea of her in bed with me, the reality was that i wasn't sleeping. i was relying on two good naps a day to get me through, and that's just not practical. so we moved her to the cosleeper, but since she's been sleeping through the night for about a month now, it was time to move her into her own room. it was a little weird last night, with just Mister and I in our room. the cosleeper was between my bed and the wall, which allowed me about a foot and a half at the end of the bed to crawl out before the footboard. now i can get out wherever i want, and don't have to think about it! i got pregnant just a couple of weeks after we were married, so since we didn't live together before the wedding (unusual, i know, but it was wonderful), there had been three of us in the bedroom almost the entire time we'd been married. while she might not have taken up a lot of room at the beginning, all my pregnancy pillows and midnight bathroom runs definitely kept us aware that she was there!
she's in the crib right now, sleeping. she rolls over so much easier there - i heard her cracking up after her first afternoon nap, and i go in to find her on her back, laughing at the fact that she wasn't on her tummy anymore. (i know, i know, she's supposed to sleep on her back, but she sleeps so much better on her stomach. we're careful about what is in the crib with her, etc...)
so i went to the grocery store today. it's amazing that this can be an ENTIRE DAY's worth of activity. i took my post-vacation nap this morning, then got ready and sorted through coupons and sale ads. by the time i was ready to leave, she had fallen asleep again. clean the kitchen and place an amazon order while she sleeps, and as soon as she's awake and fed and changed, we were out the door. i had her in a sling at the store, which made it easier, but by the time i got to the checkout lane, we were both starting to get tired. only problem - this store has you bag your own! no fear, a nice checkout lady came to my aid and unloaded my cart for me and bagged all my groceries.... how sweet of her! but by the time i came home, fed Peanut, put her to nap again, unloaded the groceries, put them all away, made myself a cup of decaf and sat down at the computer, it's 5:00 and the Mister will be home in an hour. yowsers. and i didn't even touch the vacation-laundry...
guess you all know what i'll be doing tomorrow! crochet night tonight - the afghan is coming along, it's just beautiful!
Wednesday, April 4
as you can see by scrolling to the bottom of the page, i have a ways to go to lose all this babyweight that i've been carrying around. i lost thirty pounds within two weeks of having Peanut - talk about water weight - but i haven't been able to budge the scale since then. that was almost four months ago. i'm drinking only water, almost always hungry a little, exercising fairly well, and it's just not going anywhere. i think i'm scared to push myself much harder since i'm nursing her, and don't want to adversely affect my milk supply.
so here's a little incentive for me. put it out there in public, where i can't hide the real numbers. maybe having to update it will motivate me to lose some more! i know i could exercise more...
yeah, so i didn't get to see idol last night, but you can head over to boomama for a great rundown. if you're desperate to read more about it (as i confess to being), i suggest spit out the cat's review as well!
me and the Mister went on our belated first anniversary date. it was paper this year. what was i supposed to get for paper? aha! tickets! we saw the blue man group two years ago while dating, and it was pretty much the coolest thing ever, so we went back this year for our anniversary. there was no way on God's green earth that i was taking Peanut, though, since I remember the music being so loud that you felt it rather than heard it, and the strobe lights were fairly constant. so Peanut had her first babysitting experience ever. not that she was babysitting anyone, she's only four months old - sheesh!! we have a good friend in town that taught us our birth class, then served as our doula when Peanut was born. she and her family were thrilled to get to snuggle the best baby ever for a little while so the Mister and I could flirt and hold hands and generally get to act mushy without a huge belly or baby getting in the way. such fun!
the only bad thing about reading so many blogs (i really need to update my blogroll here to reflect who's in my google reader) is that there are so many amazing posts to read every morning. 56 today, and i read last night before going to bed!! but my favoritest post today was from antique mommy. go check it out. it's hysterical.
Monday, April 2
my husband was never into april fool's as a kid. while i most certainly was (we spent all of march plotting), i decided to be nice and just let him have a nice relaxing sunday without playing practical jokes on him all the time.
but george bush played a trick on us.
you see, this was supposed to be the weekend that daylight savings time switched. we have a radio-controlled clock in our bedroom - it's the one we use for our alarm. while it's nice to know that it's precise and all, it got a little confused yesterday. we'd manually adjusted the hour difference three weeks ago, but yesterday morning it adjusted it for us. that's right. i wake up with Peanut at 6 am, thinking it's really 7. oops. oh well.
then last night, Mister was setting the alarm for Monday morning when I realized that george bush might still have another one up his sleeve, so i had him set the alarm on a cell phone just in case. good thing, 'cause the clock corrected itself this morning, setting it back an hour, so when the cell phone went off at 6:30, the clock was reading 5:30....