Sunday, August 30, 2009

Helping Daddy install kitchen cabinets

Installing kitchen cabinets is hard work. One can always use another pair of hands:)

My little dare-devil crawled to the top of that ladder several times, and back down all by herself-much to mommy's chagrin. Daddy thinks its a good idea to let her try new things since she will be an MK someday.

She's also climbed the entire dark crawlspace with her dad. I won't even get close to the entrance-its scary in there!

You can get a little idea of our kitchen from these pics hopefully-at least the top half:)

Sick Lazy Mama's frugal chicken noodle soup

Too bad there are no "mom sick days". Thankfully, God gives us the grace we need to get through each day, even when feeling icky and juggling too many things on our plate! We don't really have a mom's-sick-let's-get-take-out budget right now so I threw together some soup instead, which has some of those wonderful healing properties but was almost like convenience food. Short-cuts can be a good thing!

Sick Mama's frugal chicken soup in the crockpot

Here is the short-cut I used: 2 cans of progresso chicken noodle soup from my spring stockpile! It was about $0.33/can so its a cheap way to start the soup. I chopped some veggies on their way out of freshness (tomatoes, carrots, zucchini) and added some chopped frozen chicken breast from the freezer (about 1 1/2 cups). More water, and a few whole wheat noodles about an hour before dinner and we'll be good to go! The great thing about this is that it doesn't taste canned. Nothing against canned soup, but well-it tastes canned.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Loves me some grocery bargains (August 28th, 2009)

The above picture is my Albertson's doubles trip. I spent just under $9 for the above, doing 2 transactions. Just the hefty bags were free, but everything else was something we use/need and were good deals for us. Doubles start again tomorrow! by the way, the Dreyer's slow churned yogurt blends are good-I had a $2 off coupon and they were on sale for $2.99. Cappucino Chip-good stuff and much lighter than the starbuck's ice cream we also have in the freezer:)

Sprite: $0.87 each wyb 3, used $2 off coupon
Cheeze-Its (whole grain) $1 each after $0.75 off coupon
Hefty bags free after doulbes
slow churned yogurt $0.99
Bare Solo Plates $0.99 after doubles
Dannon Yogurt reduced to $1 for 32 oz.
All Bran $0.99 after $2.00 coupon
Mott's applesauce $0.29 after $1 IP doubled
Rhodes frozen rolls $0.69 after $1 doubled
2 containers Knudsen Cottage cheese marked down to $1 each, $0.50 after $1/2 coupon

Safeway finally has some deals worth looking at this week. See a good round up at Abundant Food Savings. Yes, I used to round them up for you-but two under two has just about messed up the last remaining brain cells I have;) We have plenty of free/cheap cereal around here, but there is one cereal I can never keep in the house because we love it so much-Kashi! Any flavor, we love it. So getting several boxes for under $0.50 a box was great for us. Unfortunately my computer just ate the picture I took (edited: it came back-here it is below!), but I bought 4 boxes of Kashi Honey Sunshine and 1 box of Kashi U cereal for $1.50 total. We also got 10 coffee flavored Dannon Yogurts for $0.10/ea, free Smithfield bacon, and reduced bacon for $1.99. Yes, we are stocked on bacon, and no we don't eat that much bacon all the time! ;)

Visit Money Saving Mom and Grocery Cart Challenge to see other shopping trip bargains.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Renovate your house on the cheap: Tip #1

We are in the process of a major home renovation. If you've been reading here for awhile this is no suprise to you-but Daniel has put in 500+ hours plus other friends have put in hundreds of hours as well. And since our house is less than 600 square feet you can imagine that its very different from when we first bought it. Even though most of the labor was volunteer as well as my husband's, materials aren't cheap(we joke that we've single-handedly kept Lowes in business during the recession;).

One of the biggest ways we've cut costs in this department is to look for alternate places to buy things, such as Habitat for Humanity ReStores. We didn't realize this until halfway through our house project, but many towns have a "store" that sells used building materials/supplies that have been donated and its run by Habitat for Humanity. Sometimes they go by other names such as "builders bargains", but either way, it can be a lifesaver to your pocketbook!

Some of the things we've gotten there include:
~cabinets (for the bathroom and others)
~bathroom vanity
~installable microwave
~fencing material

and lots more. The prices have been comparable to Craigslist without the hassle of driving all over the place and potentially getting a dud. If the dryer would not have worked for example then we could have taken it back for store credit.

Visit Life as a Mom for more Frugal Friday tips! (and come back for more ideas for renovate your house of the cheap in the future:)

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Friends visit our new house

Its official, I'm photo-taking challenged. And I am so bad at paying attention to details I probably will never get better at it:)

Oh well.

Here are some pics of our recent visit with friends from Illinois at our new house. Their youngest boy and O are pretty much going to get married someday. He was enamored and we love the family so its all official:)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Taking a break from the to-do list

I am overwhelmed with my own personal to-do list at the moment, so what better to do than post pictures on the blog?! Yes I am procrastinating, but just for a moment;)

Here is dinner cooking in the crockpot. A friend gave us baggies of leftover onions & mushrooms plus we still have tons of zucchini from my parents. So I added that,some leftover cooked moose-burger plus a jar of Ragu from the stockpile and pasta also from the stockpile (goes in last minute).

My "new" washer and dryer! The dryer is Kenmore and came from Habitat for Humanity for $50 and the washer is from a local garage sale (Whirlpool) for $50. Two loads and they've done a great job-yay!

Our stove-craigslist for $75! Not hooked up yet, but its in super nice condition (tip-buy used stuff from rich people who are remodeling:)

My "kitchen"-Daniel is modifying cabinets etc. this week, so I have the crockpot sitting on our sink (craigslist for $10!) which isn't hooked up yet. I just love the crockpot-its helped so much in not having to eat out even with no real kitchen yet. Its amazing how little inconvenience I feel relatively because of one little appliance (no I don't get kickbacks from the crockpot company-I wish!)

My BATHROOM cabinets-aren't they cute? Daniel got them at Habitat for Humanity also. Right now they are installed in the bathroom, but filled with food! My stockpile has been saving us lots of money and we still eat reasonably healthy most of the time:)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


The girls are just waking up from a joint almost 3 hour nap, I am drinking a homemade iced coffee and listening to the hum of our "new" (habitat for humanity and garage saled) washer and dryer. Lovely.

Monday, August 24, 2009

After one last holla' from the living room...

...this is what I found.

my little thumb-sucker:)

I love the sweet sound of...sleep:)

Menu Plan Monday (getting closer to a kitchen!:)

We have a working stove, (but not the outlet to plug it in), a built in microwave (not hooked up/installed yet) and our cupboards are in the process of being modified by my awesome super-handy hubby. Its very exciting, but food prep is still a bit of a challenge. We do our dishes in the bathroom sink and have boxes o' food on the floor. But!! Hubby installed bathroom cabinets last night so food is temporarily going in there (or part of it). So today is organize the stockpile day-which is kinda fun (yes I am a huge dork!)


Monday: Chili (from the freezer) with fritos, cheese and salad

Tuesday: Bacon and Moose Meat burgers (didn't make this last week),
grilled zucchini and fresh tomatoes

Wed.: Soup(using leftovers to make) and homemade bread (am hoping my bread machine works!)

Thurs: BLT's, crackers, tomatoes possibly on the road

Friday: plans for the weekend are still up in the air!

Saturday: " "
Sunday: " "

Breakfasts: cold cereal & milk, PB toast, zucchini bread

Lunches/snacks: leftovers, fruit, cereal, crackers w/cheese or PB, granola bars, cherry tomatoes and ranch

Visit Orgjunkie for hundreds more menu plan ideas.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

15 favorite meals

Toni from the Happy Housewife has challenged readers to come up with a list of 15 family favorite meals to have on hand. The timing is a little funny for my world because it may be a few months yet before I have a normal kitchen to cook these 15 meals in-but I love dreaming, so I will get ready for that day when it comes!

1. Chili and Cornbread (or some other bean based meal with cornbread)
2. Turkey Tetrazinni
3. Hamburgers, garden burgers, or bean burgers with spicy fries
4. Stuffed green peppers- fresh and crispy style (but I usually make these with spicy ground sausage, not quinoa and beans:)
5. Meatballs and Rice
6. Whole Wheat Easy Pizza and veggie sticks/dip
7. Kielbasa and Cabbage Skillet
8. Frittata
9. Taco Soup and Garlic Cheese Bread
10. Eggplant, Zucchini, or Chicken Parmesean with Garlic Bread
11. Really Good Beans & Rice
12. Crockpot BBQ Pork Roast
13. Taco or Southwest Salad
14. Crockpot Perfection Baked Potatoes with all the goodies on top
15. Crockpot Enchiladas (or in the oven works too!)

What family favorites would be on your list that I forgot?

Auntie B and Matchie Matchie girlies

And the many faces of my toddler M. Aren't these girls cute? Auntie Bev is adorable and has such a servant's heart. And she's single! I am sure that won't be the case for long;)
Notice how O and Auntie Bev look cute and normal in all three pics-but M only looks normal in this one because she doesn't know I'm taking the picture:)

What a goon my toddler is!

Yes, that's a cow sticker on her mouth.

But I love them:)

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Loves me some grocery bargains 8/22/09

And shopping is fun again:)

I was getting a little discouraged recently because it seems like whenever I plan to do some deal, the store is out of something I was going for. My coupon-diva (and smart!) friends have been pre-ordering and going to the sales on the first day to make sure they snag bargains, but I haven't been in a place where I can do that so I've often missed some of the really good deals. Luckily I have nice friends that often share their free stuff with us;)

But this week I got the goods! I happened to be in other towns that had walgreens so I got 10 packs of diaper wipes for less than $0.79 each and some other great deals:)

I went to Walgreens, where I spent a little over $30 (not great, I know!) but have $11 in RR to work with for next time

Also pictured is Fred Meyer, where I spent $20.xx for food and diapers

Lastly was a garage sale where I got 8 pieces of toddler clothes/shoes for $1 total!

Because I had no Register Rewards to start with and needed diapers anyway, I started out with the Pampers deal/spend $25 get $5 back. I spent $27.xx on my first transaction for two packs of diapers, 1 pampers wipe (free), a hair brush and body wash. I got $13 back in RR. I used $6 RR to buy 8 wipes, 3 starbucks, 5 packs of highlighters, a gallon of milk (which my dad paid me back for and is not pictured) and got my free 20 prints. I spent around $4 for that and have $11 to spend in RR's. Not sure of my exact expenditure because my dad was handing me cash and some of the coupons weren't working and the line was getting super long!

Baby O is crying so that's about it for now:) Visit Money Saving Mom and Grocery Cart Challenge for more shopping trips!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Reading to Sissy

O was just waking up from a mini nursing-induced nap on a chair when M jumped up to "read" to her sis! She grabbed a "Traditional Home" magazine-I guess sister likes this one?! ;)

Monday, August 17, 2009

I don't normally like t-shirts but...

...I would totally wear this one. It says Krazy Coupon Lady on the front and on the back it says "pick another checkout line, honey".

How fun is that?

Menu Plan Monday 8/17/09

Still eating from the pantry for the most part. I did go to the store to do the Kraft deal a second time because I knew I could get some things for free-some that we needed right away (the roast and crackers) and some that we'd use eventually. For some reason my total was much lower than I thought-which is always a good thing! I guess there was one more double coupon in the ad than I thought, but other than that I guess my math is just not that hot!'s our menu for this week, plus a picture of last nights Albertson's run!


Monday: Crockpot Cauliflower and Cheese-am hoping this will be a little like mac n cheese in taste? Still looking for a recipe:)

Tuesday: Bacon and Moose Meat (from a friend's hunting trip) Hamburgers on the grill and whatever sides we can scrounge in their trailer--at my parent's campsite

Wed.: Steaks, Baked Potatoes and grilled corn at campsite again (our kitchen is pretty torn up this week for renovation)

Thurs: probably PB&J on the road to E.WA-we'll be traveling to get my tooth fixed and to talk to the missions committee at my parents' church

Friday: packed meal on the road from my parents' house

Saturday: Tuna Sandwiches and leftovers from the freezer (still a few individual freezer meals from when Daniel was here w/o the kiddos and I)

Sunday: Mac N Cheese in the crockpot(yes-the second cheesy recipe this week;), but we have a ton from the Kraft Deal:) with green beans on the side

Breakfasts: cold cereal & milk, PB toast, instant oatmeal ( no baking for me--yet)

Lunches/snacks: leftovers, fruit, cereal, crackers, granola bars

Here is my $0.20 trip to Albertson's last night (I spent $9 in catalinas and got $6 back)

Visit Menu Plan Monday here

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Mt. Pilchuck Part 2 and Happy Birthday Daniel!

I think Daniel is getting paranoid about getting old since I tease him about his hair thinning out on top quite a bit. Really I have no room to talk since I have 50%+ grey hair in some places, but hey you gotta tease the spouse a little, right!? ;)

Anyway, today is the big TWO-EIGHT and we are both now closer to 30 than ever before. Fun times. Happy Birthday Honey!!

We're going to Red Robin for his free bday burger and then heading to Bainbridge Island to look at a used stove for our in-process kitchen. We've been given 2 free stoves from wonderful church friends but both of them have had unexpected issues (to them as well-they didn't know about the issues either) so they haven't worked out. Anyway, rambling on-here are the rest of the Mt. Pilchuck pics from last weekend.

If only I did this hike every weekend-I would be so in shape! ;)

Late Saturday Night Shopping trip madness!

Being down to just one diaper is a dangerous situation! That's the beauty of cloth diapers-I really can't wait to start them again but its not an option right now:)

Anyway, that was me last night so I did something I never do-shopped at night. I am NOT a night person. I turn into a moldy pumpkin around 9pm, so it was a stretch for me to even think about using my brain for deal-hunting at that hour. diapers and an expiring deal on diapers at Freddies gave me the motivation I needed. I put both girls to bed while daniel worked on our kitchen cabinet situation and he agreed to keep an eye on them while I shopped.

I went to Fred Meyer and Albies and spent $9.07 oop after coupons, sales, and catalinas. Even my night-hater self was energized by such great deals!

Fred Meyer:
Rice Krispies (free after Vocal point coupon)
bananas(use $1 off fruit when you buy rice krispies coupon)
activia w/fiber ($0.88 after coupon)
cinnabon bars ($0.99 after coupon)
Kroger diapers $3.99 after sales and coupon!
$8.57 total

12 kraft naturals cheeses for 3/$5 (used $1/2 coupons for each)
1 Crackerful for $2.50 used $1/1
4 Velveeta cups use 2 BOGO
4 Post Select cereals (sale for $1.50 when you buy 4) used 2 $1/2

Total $21.50- I paid w/ $21 in previous catalinas $o.50 oop. I got $9 back which I will use to buy more Kraft stuff today! Plus there are doubles today so I can use those as well-I am planning to buy more crackers, some cheese and coffee, all things we use all the time:)

Good thing I had all that deal-seeking energy because daniel wanted my help with the kitchen cabinet placement until 11pm last night! ;)

Thursday, August 13, 2009

What we're eating these days

The best of intentions are sometimes just intentions and that's how my life has been lately.

My sticking-to the WW core plan has not happened. But I have been watching what I eat most of the time. Our home remodel/renovation has gone over budget (although I still think we've done a really good job with the money we had!) and one easy place to cut it grocery money. Because of my stockpile, free food from friends and fresh produce from my parents and friends we are eating pretty well in our non-kitchen.

Here are some things we've eaten this past week (all in our crockpot):
Zucchini, Chicken, marinara and pasta with parm.
Spaghetti and meatballs, salad, garlic bread
Mexi meat and beans made into tacos (turned out well-I put ground beef, chili beans, tomato sauce and a cup of salsa in the crockpot on low all day and we ate them with lettuce and cheese on corn tortillas)
Sausage, fresh potatoes and zucchini
zucchini lasagna
zucchini parmesean
homemade macaroni and cheese and salad (really really good)

Tonight I am giving the crockpot a rest and we will grill or microwave hotdogs (we got a microwave but it isn't installed quite yet) with salad and sweet potatoes.

We have cereal for breakfast most mornings, but have also had zucchini muffins, bagelfuls or toast w/PB from the freezer.

Lunches have been leftovers or PB&J/tuna sandwiches

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Mt. Pilchuck with friends & family

Hiking 2000 feet up Mt. Pilchuck with a 10 month old is one experience. Doing the same thing with an almost 2 year old and a 2 1/2 month old is a whole different ballgame. Oh and I was carrying an extra 25 lbs of my own this time too! But we were so lucky to have Daniel's sis, Beverly, and friends from church helping us share the load!

It really was fun-and I have to mention that great grandma Byrne made the cute hats on the girls! We hiked about 6 miles total, which is about 4 1/2 miles more than I've walked on any given day since having O-so I've been sore but I was excited to make the trek! I'll try to post more pics later, but blogger is given me pains so I will quit with one now:)

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Routine? Where's my routine gone now...

In the perfect world I imagined, I would be settling into a nice new routine our our new house about now (1 week after moving in). I'm not complaining, but the lack of any sort of cabinet or closet (as of now) has made the whole getting organized process a wee bit tricky. So I am trying to strike a balance between a routine and organization in my here and now and saving my sanity. It has been a huge blessing to have my sis-in-law's help this past week. Starting tomorrow afternoon I go it alone all day, so it should be interesting! The suprising blessing has been that O has slept several nights all through the night. The girls are sleeping in side by side pack n plays in the living room so I was expecting some wild nights. Aside from lots of toddler nightmares, sleeping has been going better than expected (I expected the worst:).

One cool thing has been that between a stocked freezer, a bunch of food my friend has given us, zucchini from my parents and a bunch of non-perishables I packed before our move we've hardly had to buy anything. I have been doing a pantry-challenge of sorts this month and it looks like I can go through most of the month without buying more than a few dollars worth of dairy, produce and maybe a little meat towards the end of the month. That's a huge praise because in addition to the crown I will be getting, I also may need a root canal on the same tooth $$$! You'd think I never brush my teeth and eat candy all day for all the dental work I am getting:)

Friday, August 7, 2009

In our new house!

My absence has been due to a happy thing...we finally moved into our new house! Its so cute! Daniel has done a great job. The bathroom is operational, the floors and walls are beautiful and a ton of other things are looking great. We bought a clothes dryer, a built-in microwave and some bathroom accessories at Habitat for Humanity yesterday so things are moving quickly towards a "finished" product. The kitchen is probably the least done part of the house-the only thing in there is a fridge (along with the floors and walls and lights) but with a crockpot and now a grill and some burners from friends we have all we need to cook for awhile until we decide on countertops and re-install the old cabinets.

Its been a little challenging figuring out sleeping arrangements (no doors on any rooms except the bathroom right now) but we're making it work. We bought a fan at a thrift shop and are trying to teach the girls to sleep in the same room (the living room last night). Its gone suprisingly well-I've only had to get up with the girl(s) once each night. So that's why I've been gone. We have internet at the house now so I will be here regularly again soon:)

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Toothache and bad attitude

Hi..I'm still here but with a lack of awesome content to blog about. My temporary crown is giving me pain and headaches and stuff if I don't take massive doses of various painkillers during the day and on top of that I am struggling with a bad attitude. Unfortunately it's my own.

I can't understand (except for the fact that I am sinful!) why I am so mean, ungrateful, cranky, impatient with those I love the most sometimes. Do you ever get close to the point of being broken because of your own ugliness of heart/sin-but just not quite there yet? Something seems to hold me back from change and yet I feel like I want it so badly.

Blaming it on my circumstances or personality would be easier-but I know that's not it. Not sure why I am sharing this on the blog, but there it is. I guess it makes sense that this is coming up with us starting our Wycliffe training now and all. I wonder what's next?!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

This one takes after her mommy:)

For most of her 21 month old life, M has been long and lean. She had a few months where she was a little rolly-polly, but it was short lived. O on the other hand, takes after her mommy and has had rolls upon rolls from the beginning. She is a champion gold medal nurser. This isn't her most flattering picture, but it accentuates her mommy-likeness (yes I was a chubby baby:). We had just finished our mother-daughter exercise in the this picture-running through the sprinklers.

See my cute shirt in the picture? I got that polo ($3) and several other things for MYSELF!! at the old navy 50% off already reduced clearance sale this week. Nice to have a few things that fit until my other clothes fit again:)