Sunday, February 27, 2011

Saturday $ense

I'm going to try to do this quickly! We had a super busy weekend and the computer was really the last thing on my mind! So here is how I spent my money this week. I'm not going to list individual prices, just total cost. If you don't really care what I bought but want to know what I spent just scroll down!

Walmart (Trip number 1)

Household Goods:

Paper Towels


Diced Tomatoes (yes, I bought cans for soup! Ugh.O
Diced Tomatoes and Okra
Lima Beans
Raw Honey
Olive Oil
Juice (WIC)


Organic Carrots
Green Cabbage

Milk (WIC)

Total: $38.10

Walmart (trip number 2)

Household Goods:

Shaving Cream

Pantry Items:

Pasta Sauce
Trail Mix
Teddy Grahams
Wheat Thins
Sunflower Seeds
Juice Boxes
Black Beans (WIC)
Cereal (WIC)
Bread (WIC)


String Cheese
Milk (WIC)


Organic Carrots
Organic Salad
Peaches (which were gross)

- Diet Coke

Total: $53.08

Winn Dixie-


Organic Corn


Chicken Broth
Organic Green Beans

Total: $6.89

Grand Total: $98.07

Those are the groceries I bought for us! I did spend a little more than that for home-group:

Coffee To-Go Cups

Total $11.10

So, technically I spent $109.17, which is not bad. My mom did buy us a pound of hamburger meat. She was conveniently coming this way and I had her stop by the dairy! ;) Seriously though, that is a blessing! Alrighty, now to get going on this weeks menu!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Menu Plan Monday 2/21/11

Here is our menu for the week! I'm trying several new recipes!

Veggie Soup & corn bread (leftovers from home group!)

Chicken Nachos, Black Beans

Baked Penne w/ Spinach and Sausage (from the freezer), Salad

Apple Walnut Pancakes (found a recipe and I'm going to see how it works with my favorite pancake recipe), scrambled eggs, fruit

Hamburger Steak & Gravy, Brown Rice, Cabbage and Tomato Saute

I didn't get a chance to make the homemade Olive Garden dressing recipe! This week I will and I'll let you know how it turns out! I had ranch dressing to use up last week! We're having dinner with my family this week, but I went ahead and planned 5 meals because most of these meals don't make leftovers like a big pot of soup or casserole.

The Cabbage and Tomato side is a new recipe I'm trying from one of my favorite food magazines, Everyday Food. I'm looking for ways to get more cruciferous vegetables in our diet! And cabbage is an inexpensive way! I'll try and review each of the new recipes as I can!

I've totally been slacking on my Saturday $ense posts, but I will get back to them this Saturday. I've stayed pretty much on budget, with the exception of last week. I'll get back to it this Saturday though!

Check out for more recipe and menu planning ideas!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

It's coming...

Homeschooling, that is. Yes, Luke's first year is coming. I've been praying a lot over it here lately as I look over curriculum, ect. I'm anxious and nervous for different reasons. I want to lay out why the Hubs and I have chosen to homeschool... soon. But not now. I need some time to put my thoughts down. I want family and friends to hear our reasons as I know questions will come up. Until then I'd encourage you to check out a few links. They have encouraged me and share many of the same values that we have concerning our choice to homeschool right now.

Courtney, at Women Living Well just finished up a series of vlogs on homeschooling. I enjoyed them so much and they were so encouraging to me! Here is a link to her most recent posts on homeschooling, all of the videos are great!

I love this post by Laura at Heavenly Homemakers! She answers the question, "Am I Qualified to Teach?" I read this almost a year ago and it was so good to go back and find it again!

This post by Ann Voskamp is probably one that shares most what the desire of my heart is for our homeschooling. This one too, the Four Cornerstones of Simple Homeschooling at the bottom I love!

Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Deuteronomy 6: 5-7

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Menu Plan Monday 2/14/11

I bought a heart shaped pancake pan over the weekend and made some really cute Chocolate Chip Heart Pancakes for the boys and the Hubs today! Here is my all time favorite pancake recipe! They are so yummy!

So, onto this week... I feel like I'm in a rut!! I need some new ideas! Here is what we're having:

Angel Hair Pasta w/ Marinara, Salad (attempting an Olive Garden copy cat dressing recipe)

Biscuits with All Fruit Jelly, Eggs, Fruit

Southwestern Chicken & White Bean Soup, Corn Bread

Sloppy Joes, Green Beans, Honey Roasted Carrots

BBQ Chicken Pizza, Corn on the Cobb

The last two meals are roll overs. We had an impromptu pancake night last week and we had dinner out with the Hub's mom one night! Sat night the boys hung out with my parents and I had a tuna sandwich! I'm not even sure what the Hubs had! That's sad, huh? Anyways!

What are you having? Have you tried anything new that was really good? Let me know!

I'm heading to to get some inspiration!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Easy Garlic Broccoli

We love broccoli around this house! It's soo good for you and did you know that it's actually better for you cooked rather than raw? Yes! So steaming it for no longer than 5 minutes is best! And garlic is great for you too so this side dish will make you SUPER STRONG and HEALTHY... well, that's what I tell my kids! :)

It's so easy and simple! I hope you try it!

Easy Garlic Broccoli

2-3 Bunches of broccoli (I had 3 med size broccoli heads)
2 TBS Butter
3 cloves garlic, chopped

Trim broccoli florets and rinse. Bring about 1/2 c of water to boil and set steamer on top. Steam broccoli for no longer than 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. While broccoli is steaming, melt 2 TBS butter in small pan on med low. Add garlic to butter and saute for about a minute, stirring often remove from heat. Put broccoli in serving dish and pour butter/garlic over top. Stir and season with salt/pepper.

I'm linking up with Comfy In The Kitchen!


The Nourishing Gourmet's Pennywise Platter Thursday!

Preschool Letter P

I'm having a hard time finding my Letter P pictures!! I must catch up with these so that it won't be so hard putting together the posts!! We are finished with the alphabet now, so I'll be coming up with some different activities for us to do and also incorporating the lower case letters although he is doing great at recognizing most of them!

Here is Luke doing his Homeschool Creations Letter P collage!

I think Luke was tired of pictures here! We made our P is for Penguin letter craft from Totally Tots!

He also colored and put together a Letter P Itsy Bitsy Book and a Hidden Image worksheet! He really loves these!

We made Pumpkin Chocolate Chip muffins! And I remember that I forgot to take pictures of the process but I did remember to snap their faces after they ate!

We also did some fall Planting together! The boys helped me plant Pansys! And you wouldn't believe the success I've had with them! I STILL have yellow blooms on them! They were planted in October and I have the blackest thumb around!!

We also made a Pumpkin to help decorate the house for fall!

And we visited a local Pumpkin Patch!! The boys had fun running through the pumpkins, petting the anmials, riding the hayride and especially playing in the corn crib!

Our memory verse for the week was:

"Be patient with everyone." 1 Thessalonians 5:14

That concludes our letter P week!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Cabbage Tomato Soup

This soup is really good, especially if you like tomato soup, and so healthy! Cabbage is super good for you! It was actually better on day 2 & 3 than the first! It was yummy with Divine Breadsticks the first night and a grilled cheese the next! It makes a lot of soup!

Cabbage Tomato Soup

2 TBS butter
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
4 cups chicken broth
4 cups V8 juice
1 cup chunky tomato sauce (or a can of diced Italian tomatoes)
1 tsp dried parsley
1 tsp Italian seasoning
pinch of thyme
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 bag of cabbage slaw (or about 1/2 large head cored and sliced, they did not have whole cabbage the day I went for my ingredients)

In stock pot melt butter and cook onions until soft, about 5 minutes. Add garlic at the last minute or two of cooking the onions. Add broth, V8 juice, tomatoes, and seasonings. Bring to a boil, simmer about 10 minutes uncovered. Add cabbage and cook another 15-20 minutes, uncovered, stirring here and there. (Remember to taste and season again after you add the cabbage. I had to add a little more salt.)

I'm still planning on posting about why I'm avoiding canned tomatoes! Forgive me for not getting around to it! That's why I used the pasta sauce. As I was looking through recipes, I thought I'd just used jarred chunky pasta sauce instead of diced tomatoes. It worked great and gave the soup good flavor. If you want to use jarred sauces for things like this you can buy a jar and freeze what you don't use in freezer bags. That way you aren't wasting!

Also, I've been attempting to eat a clove of raw garlic a day (although I've missed a few days here lately) but a clove of raw garlic cut up and put into this soup was yummy! The spicy-ness of the raw garlic was a great addition!

I'm linking up with the Homemaking Link-up at Raising Homemakers!

Raising Homemakers


Sunday, February 6, 2011

Menu Plan Monday 2/7/11

This is going to be quick! I've got at least one recipe for this week to post which will be coming later! So, here is our dinner menu:

Biscuit Topped Chicken Pot Pie

Sloppy Joes, Green Beans, Corn

Italian Roast Wraps, Steamed Garlic Broccoli

Veggie Soup (w/ leftover beef from roast), Corn Bread

BBQ Chicken Pizza, Carrots & Ranch Dip

And these meals will probably give us a leftover night or two! If not we'll have sandwiches or pancakes!

We did have a great new meal, Baked Penne with Sausage and Spinach. I came up with my own recipe after getting some inspiration from another (which I can't find) and it was soo yummy! Great for leftovers and I was able to freeze enough for us to have in the next week or two!

I didn't get to the baked oatmeal but I do plan on making it this week for breakfast! (I've got buttermilk that has to be used up!) I'm sure there will be some other baking going on for snacks! Last week we made oatmeal cookies with cranberries and pecans!

Oh and I did find organic frozen corn at Winn Dixie!! No GMO's! It was 2.19 for about a 10 oz bag and that's more than I like to pay (since I was getting the 12 oz bag for $0.98). I had a $5 off coupon, so I reasoned that the $2.19 was part of what I got free. :) And I'll feel good feeding my boys one of their favorite veggies.. or grains... whatever you want to call it!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Saturday $ense

So, this week.. I didn't do so great. Here is my menu so you can see what meals I had planned. I did have to buy meat this week and I didn't find great deals on meat. I'm not sure if we're going to be having one of the meals on the menu. It all depends on our plans tomorrow. So, one meal could be a roll over meal. Here are the things I had on hand to complete my meals/snacks:

Ranch Dip
Annie's White Cheddar Bunnies

(Again, we have more stocked. This is just what I remember off the top of my head that I didn't have to buy to complete meals and for snacks)

I shopped at WalMart and Winn Dixie this week.


Household Items:

Chalk 1.00
Ivory Soap (3) 0.75
Quart Storage Bags 1.64
Imodium AD 4.00
Wipes 1.78


String Cheese 2.98
Parmesan Cheese 2.18
Sour cream 8oz 0.88
Provolone slices 2.36
Danimal Yogurt 2.00
Cage Free Eggs: 2.27
2% Milk 2 gallons WIC


Wing Sauce 1.47
Rolled Oats 2.24
JFG Mayonnaise 2.68
Penne Whole Wheat 1.08
Classico Pasta Sauce 2.28
Organic Chicken Broth 2.63
WW Tortillas 2.00
Kettle Chips 2.98
V8 Juice 2.58
Cranberry & Nut Mix 2.88
Nutra Grain Fruit Bars 2.50
Bread WIC
Peanut Butter WIC
Honey Bunches of Oats WIC
Cheerios WIC
Juicy Juice WIC


Organic Spinach 4.88
Coleslaw 1.50
Clementines 3 lb 3.75
Onions 1.64
Bananas 0.97
Organic Carrots 0.97
Organic Garlic 1.68
Pears 1.78


Italian Turkey Sausage 2.98


Diet Sunkist 1.48

Total 74.71

Winn Dixie (mid wk)

Angel Soft 5.00
Sparkle Paper Towels 5.00

Natures Own Bread 2.59
Apple Juice 2.49

Bananas 1.66

Sirloin Tip Roast 8.85
Boneless Chicken Breast 6.05

Total 34.35

Grand Total 109.06

Yes, technically that is over for the week. But if you remember last week I only spent $90.24. So, for the pay period I spent a total of $199.30 out of our $200.00 budget. I sure know how to just barely make it, huh!? I'm a little frustrated with it because I was hoping to save a little. But I did my best, minus that Diet Sunkist! I did use two coupons, one for the pasta sauce (-1.00) and one for the string cheese (-0.55). I'm just going to have to be more resourceful and thrifty! So, time to start planning next week!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Baked Penne with Spinach & Sausage

This was super good and easy! Try it!

Baked Penne with Spinach and Sausage

10 oz whole wheat penne (or ziti noodles), cooked and drained
1 lb sausage (I used sweet Italian turkey sausage)
1/2 cup onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 jar of pasta sauce (I used onion/garlic flavor)
3/4-1 cup of V8 Juice
4 cups (or handfuls) of spinach
1 cup mozzarella, shredded
1 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 350. Crumble and cook sausage and onions together, until sausage is no longer pink. Add garlic and cook about a minute. (Drain, if needed. I actually had to add about a TBS of butter to the pan because of the turkey sausage) Add pasta sauce and V8 juice (I added about 1/2 cup at first). Simmer about 10 minutes, uncovered, for sauce to thicken a bit. When sauce is almost ready, combine noodles spinach, mozzarella and about 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese. Mix pasta mixture in with the sausage mixture. (This is where I added about 1/4 cup more of V8 juice to make it a little more saucy and it was perfect! Pour into greased 9x13 pan, sprinkle with remaining Parmesan cheese. Bake for about 30 minutes until bubbly and cheese is melted!

So good!

Coming soon: why I'm avoiding canned tomato products! Come on grocery stores!!! Get with it and start providing tomatoes in glass jars and boxes!!!

I'm linking up with Feasting in Fellowship Friday at Comfy in the Kitchen!


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

My Thorn: Part 3

I mentioned in my last thorn post that I had found the Girl Talk Blog fear series and it has been so good for me to read!! Last time I was reminded to not listen to the lies of my fears but to listen to the truth of God's Word!

Here is an excerpt of the most recent post I've been reading over and thinking about:

"Our fears are due to our failure to stir up--failure to think, failure to take ourselves in hand. You find yourself looking to the future and then you begin to imagine things and you say: 'I wonder what is going to happen?' And then, your imagination runs away with you. You are gripped by the thing...this thing overwhelms you and down you go. Now the first thing you have to do is to take a firm grip of yourself, to pull yourself up, to stir up yourself, to take yourself in hand and to speak to yourself." Dr Lloyd Jones

Even before reading this I have found myself putting this into practice. I talk to myself OFTEN! And it is really a helpful tip! So, what do I say to myself? Well, lot of what I say is straight from God's Word.

Philippians 4:6-7 ~ "do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

The above verses I put to memory a long time ago. I can't tell you how many times I've been up in the middle of the night repeating those words over and over and over.

Sometimes I remind myself,

"I am free. I am not a slave to sin anymore. Christ came to set me free! There is freedom in Christ"

And I repeat that with Galatians 5:1 in the back of my mind,

"For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery."


"for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control." 1 Timothy 2:7

And you know, sometimes I just say,

"Crystal, get yourself together!! You are being ridiculous! Take a deep breath and calm down!"

Then I follow with a verse to remind myself why I'm being ridiculous! Like,

"And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?" Matthew 6:27

Remembering, meditating, and praying God's Word can really do wonders with anxiety and fear! I pray for you and for myself that we can be like the Proverbs 31 woman:

"Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come." Proverbs 31:25

Need to catch up? Here are the first two posts in this series:

Part 1
Part 2

I'm linking this post up with Time Warp Wife's {TITUS 2}SDAYS.