If you do stuff, stuff gets done.......

If you do stuff, stuff gets done.......

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

this week's shopping

Hello everyone
On Saturday, we shopped for groceries at a big military commissary and then got produce at Aldi.  We are pretty stocked up on groceries for the month of February but I still had a few things on my list.
I had a free afternoon this week so I decided to do some errands.  My parents and daughters said they needed a few things at the stores I was going to and I was happy to help them

So here is all the stuff I bought in my 3 hour shopping spree-

first stop was Sprouts - it is a grocery store kind of like Whole Foods but much more reasonable priced. 
The bulk trail mixes were 25% off and I got the peanut chocolate one for our home and the M&M kind for my daughter.  I also bought bulk English walnuts,  for snacking and adding to salad and oatmeal. 

The next store was Joann, a big fabric and craft store. 
I needed a new daily medicine box and this one was just sitting on an endcap all by itself.  So I guess it was just meant to be for me.  I never expected to buy a pill box at Joann.
My mom asked for hand soap and these were on clearance for 75 cents. 
2 spools of gray thread that I was out of,  I often hem suit pants for my son and seems to mostly wear gray which is why I was out. 
This big set of ornaments for the children to paint was 85% off.  I know our older grands will enjoy doing these
I also wanted to get some fleece remnants.  I bought 2 others a month ago and couldn't believe how much they discount them at checkout. 
can you read the price tags?  they range from $11-$15 the labels say
but at checkout,  they all ended up about $3. 
With the 2 pieces of fleece I bought earlier,  I have enough to make 3 double sided fleece blankets.  I hope to do them soon!
Next was TJMaxx.  I am a fan of Rae Dunn pottery.  It is low priced at TJMaxx, Homegoods and Marshalls but my town only has a TJMaxx. Rae Dunn has become so popular,  it is hard to find at any store.  I went in there just to treasure hunt.  I usually come out empty handed but this week,  I found and bought these 2 sweet heart plates.  They were $4.99 each

Next was Walmart-
we needed a new laundry basket for our closet.  This shape fits in there just right and I splurged 3 dollars extra to get one with wheels and a pull handle.  I think I will like it better than the old kind that is carried,   we will see!
My mom asked for these and she even had a coupon for them.  She uses one when she does Sudoku puzzles. 

Next and last was Dollar Tree.  Everything at Dollar Tree costs $1 and a few things cost less.  They have a good bit of junk but they also have a lot of quality products. 
I bought 2 jugs of laundry bleach that I use on our towels and whites. 
every month, I stock up on quarts of this shelf stable milk.  It tastes just like fresh milk and is a good choice for us as we don't always use a whole gallon of milk before it sours.(  Jane, of Thrift and Hope,  if we were neighbors, I could share that less than perfect milk with you to feed all your adopted kitties,  but since we are far apart,  I'll keep buying these quarts. )
I also bought some 4 packs of GoGoSqueez yogurt.  it is also shelf stable and so much cheaper than the pouches at regular stores.  Some of my grands love it  but some don't. 
These ball guns are lots of fun.  The gun shoots a foam ball on a short elastic string.  My grands always disconnect the string so the ball will shoot farther.  I got these 2 to take to my parents.  They have a long hall that the grands can shoot the balls down. 
I saw the grapefruit handsoap and got it for my mom too. 
4 bags of little candy bars - because we have grands and because we like candy. 
these containers are another repeat buy- they are sturdy and a really good size,  one box will hold about 9 regular size muffins or several dozen cookies.  3 of these went to my daughter. 
this is a snack I like - Crunchy Rice Rolls- they are lightly sweetened,  38 calories a roll and I like to munch on them when I just want a snack but don't really need a snack.  They are a pretty good size, close to the size of toilet paper tube- but that's a weird thing to compare food to
They are made in Korea. 

And that wraps up my 3 hour shopping adventure.  The weather was so nice so all the walking was pleasant. 
I don't remember the last time I spent 3 hours shopping like this and it was fun and I certainly found everything on my list.  But I probably won't do it again for at least another month or more. 

Monday, January 30, 2017

Cooking like my Grandma

Caution - if typos bother you, then just pass on this post.  I'm doing it on an iPad and the app has a mind of its own but I can't go to our desktop right now and I'd rather just post, flaws and all, instead of wait until I have the opportunity to do it differently.

below is my version of a meal that I enjoyed so many times in the past, cooked by both my Grandma and my mom.  It's round steak, lightly floured and pan fried with mashed potatoes and gravy and homemade buns.  My grandma served fried steak for breakfast with biscuits and gravy most every morning.  I am well aware nutritionist would be aghast at this but Grandma lived to 99 and Grandpa lived to 89.  They also ate homemade pie everyday 😄

No pie for us,  And that plate of steak fed my husband and I as well as my parents 3 meals.  
It was so good too! 

We've also had bkackeyed peas cooked in the crockpot and banana muffinins baked in a stoneware muffin pan.

I baked double batches of sandwich buns twice 
And a double recipe of raisin bread once.  
I used my grandparents recipe and let my Zojirushi bread machine do all the mixing- it's not much work this way, and just requires some tending to and shaping, then I bake the buns in a regular oven. 
They all get sliced and stored in bags in the freezer until we need them.  
I share some with my parents and whoever is eating with us.  

CVS shopping for this week and last week- I'm sorry I don't have breakdowns and the receipt photos but I can tell you I spent very little and got back plenty in CVS extracarebucks for the next shopping trip. 

We had the pleasure of spending lots of time with our grandchildren over the last week. 
Below is a professional photo of almost 5 year old Andie and her 6 month old brother, RJ.  They have a 1 year old sister, Charlie, but she didn't want to be in this picture.  

And here are all 8 of our precious grands- and it is obviously not a professional photo,  but we love it too.  

I am doing this post on my iPad and the text keeps jumping around so I apologize if it is formatted in a weird way.
But it's just a blog post -

This afternoon. I had some time to myself and spent 3 hours shopping.  I hardly ever shop this long but the weather was beautiful and I really enjoyed it.
I hope to post tomorrow and show you all my purchases.  It's quite an assortment.  

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Free magazines, for real!

I do a short survey 1 or 2 times a week for RewardSurvey
The surveys take maybe 5 minutes, I've never been disqualified for one, and they are worth $20 in magazine money. 
Different magazines are available at different times.  
Sometimes I cash in right after a survey if there is a magazine I want and sometimes I just leave the rewards in my account, 
I think I've been doing them about 3 months and I now have free year long subscriptions to all these magazines shown above as well as Forbes, New Yorker, Garden & Gun and Real Simple.  

Reward Survey sends me an email about once a week and that's when I do a survey. 

And. No, I don't read all of these but I share them with my family.  

If you like magazines,  try Reward Survey.  
The magazines really do come and they have no charge.  

Friday, January 20, 2017

Real life meals this week and CVS shopping

Some of you asked about how the meal plan is going.  
So far, it's been so easy.  I just look at the list of possible meals and pick one each morning.  

Monday night was a casserole made with chicken and stovetop stuffing and green beans. 

Tuesday night we had grilled chicken,  a big salad and crescent rolls.  

Wednesday , my husband again grilled and below are the steaks.  They were bought at Aldi when all the steaks were half price.  They were a long way from their sell by date so we gave them a try and they were very good.  My husband seasoned them with Mrs Dash.  
I cooked a pan of baked carrots and salted cabbage with onions.  

Wednesday's  meal in the raw

Thursday  we had leftover grilled chicken and steak, with crockpot baked potatoes, canned pinto beans and leftover carrots
Baked potatoes are so easy in the crockpot.  I put a small piece of aluminum foil in the bottom, add washed potatoes and then cook on low for 4-5 hours or high for 3-ish.  you can wrap each potato if you like, but I don't as I think it is not necessary. 

I also did a little baking on Thursday - a pan of sandwich buns baked with my grandparents recipe
and a  coffeecake for breakfast. 

My dad and grandson really enjoyed coffeecake for a mid morning snack.  
isn't that a sweet photo?  My dad is 85 and Jackson is 21 months. 

Our breakfasts are usually a lot lighter than coffee cake.
One of our favorites is hashbrowned potatoes with Cajun seasoning and fried eggs.

I just peel and grate leftover baked potatoes and sauté them in a nonstick skillet with a little butter and Cajun spice.  Served with an egg and orange juice, it is a really delicious and satisfying breakfast.

this was my plate for Thursday night supper

Friday night, 2 grandsons are here.  Also,  the Inauguration parade was on TV and we really enjoyed watching all the military marching and full dress uniforms.  The college and high school bands were so good too. 
Anyway,  this was a real life meal,  tater tots with melted cheese and pigs in blankets (hot dogs wrapped in dough and baked)   We used Hebrew 97% fat free hot dog wieners and they tasted very good. 
That's a week of meals at our home.  We don't eat fancy and I am obviously not a professional food stylist or photographer. 
We've had reasonably balanced meals and I have not stressed for 1 minute about what to serve. 
I highly recommend using some sort of meal plan, whatever works for your home. 

CVS shopping. 
I started with $18 Extracarebucks from 2016 and a $25 CVS giftcard earned on Swagbucks. 
the total was $69 before deductions. I used newspaper coupons, CVS coupons,  and the extracarebucks and giftcard.  The 2 candies were on 75% clearance. 
I paid .91 cash and got back $16 in Extracarebucks, 

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Homemade puppy toys

We've had our new puppy almost 2 weeks.  She is sweet and doing fine, but getting a puppy and all the gear we needed has not been very frugal.  She needed a crate, a collar and leash, dog food and chew toys and her adoption fee.

She is very playful and also  needed some toys to help entertain her.
I looked on Pinterest and saw many homemade dog toys.  I used long strips of fleece to make these because it's what I had on hand.  There are many similar tutorials using discarded t shirts.
Mabel has had lots of fun playing with these.  
If you want to make some,  just search for DIY dog toys on Pinterest.  

The grandchildren like playing tug of war with Mabel using the new toys.  

I don't recommend these fabric toys for every dog.  Our son once had a Staffordshire Terrier named Angel who would eat anything.  Angel once ate a whole sock and needed an expensive surgery to remove it from her belly.  These toys would never of been safe for her.  
Mabel just plays with these, so far.  And we will be keeping an eye on her.  

Sunday, January 15, 2017

The past week ......

Hello.  I didn't mean to take a week off blogging.  But I was sick with a cold for 4 days, my husband was away at his parents for 6 days, and I was just off schedule.  But here are the highlights.

Our weather forecasters told us well in advance that an ice storm was coming.
Ice can be  the most destruction weather next to tornados.  If the ice is heavy,  it can can cause the entire power grid to fail and it can halt all traffic as roadways are just too slippery to use.
This is what we were concerned could happen-

Thankfully, in our area, we only had about a quarter inch of ice which was not enough to really harm anything.  

The trees and ground and all outside surfaces are encased with ice and it's quite pretty.  
It was just warm enough that the roads mostly were all clear and safe near us.  

Next week's forecast is for dry conditions and much warmer temperatures.  😄

My biggest household task was to work on our craft-computer room that just kind of became a dumping ground over the last few months.  😱
It took several hours but now it looks like this.  
A bit better, right? 
Now I can go in there and actually work on something. 

The closet - lots of assorted fabrics but  I didn't bother to refold them all,
Sewing table is cleaned and cleaned off.  

And I sewed up the mending pile- -a shopping bag that lost its straps, husband's holey shirt, sleeping pants that needed shortened and a ripped bath towel.

Lots left that messy room- a storage tub full of assorted smaller containers,  large bag of trash and a box full of recyclables.

Cooking- I didn't do much cooking while I was sick and while my husband was gone.  I had some leftovers and some frozen foods. 

Friday,  I cooked a small tritip beef roast in the crockpot with carrots and potatoes.  It turned out really good! 
We had  big salad with this meal.
I got the ingredients from the fridge.  All were purchased 2 days after Christmas.  I store most all produce in either plastic bags with most of the air squeezed out or in plastic containers with tight lids.
Produce most always keeps for 2-3 weeks when I do this.

The finished meal 

Dessert was chocolate pie- one grandson had whipped cream on top of his slice 
But the other grandson wanted his plain.