Saturday, October 31, 2009

JAARS video "A Common Vision"

We'll be speaking at our church tomorrow night (Sunday) to share what God is doing in our lives regarding our mission plans with Wycliffe Bible Translators. If you can't make it, here is a video about JAARS and the work we will be doing.

Check out our sidebar if you are interested in partnering with us-click on "Partner with the Crosby Family..."


Thursday, October 29, 2009

Peanut noodles and a bunch of HAMS

Not literal hams, but my family is a whole bunch of HAMS! Here, I'll prove it:

Me...I'm the innocent bystander amongst a bunch of crazies. I swear it:)

And tonight's dinner was a success! I cooked whole wheat noodles and made a peanuty thai sauce consisting of soy sauce, vinegar, peanut butter, brown sugar, red pepper flakes and some leftover bits of chicken. I grated carrots to give it some crunch and it was really yummy. And quick. Thumbs up from everybody, even the toddler girl (except when she tasted the concentrated sauce when I wasn't looking-too spicy!) She drooled all over the floor;)

I know the picture isn't super appetizing, you'll just have to trust me. The sides are spinach and mandarin oranges.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Blued eyed and beautiful, brown eyed and beautiful

I have one blue-eyed beauty and one brown eyed as well! these girls.

I love me some baby girls! So much:)

Monday, October 26, 2009

Almost 5 years for us!

Daniel and I will be celebrating our 5 year anniversary next month! It seems like just yesterday we were furiously planning our wedding (well-to be honest my mom did most of the work!!) in just under 2 months. It all came together and was beautiful. I hope to scan some of the pics by the big day to share with you all:)

Anyway just because its our anniversary doesn't mean we suddenly have gobs of extra $$ to celebrate with, but we are going to have fun without going into debt!

Here's what we're doing:

~Eating from the pantry this month to have extra cash to pay for a hotel

~Asked parents if they knew of local discounts for hotels etc. (and got one!)

~Free babysitting from the parents (thanks Mom & Dad)

~Using for both our meals out

Visit Frugal Fridays at Life as a Mom!

Any other ideas for celebrating on the cheap?

Menu Plan for the week of Oct. 26th, 2009

We're back in our house and our kitchen has A SINK!! and COUNTERS!!! Forgive me but I am beyond excited. Things are a little disasterous because while we stayed at our friends' house for the past two weeks our little under 600 sq feet house was a construction zone. So today I am putting it back together, little by little. Not a problem compared to having A SINK and COUNTERS!! Whoo! Hold on for pictures--I found that pesky camera of mine:P)


cold cereal, oatmeal, muffins, yogurt & granola

Leftovers, fruit, carrot sticks, cold cereal (me-trying to use this up)

Monday: Lentil Rice meal (keeps getting bumped-so I am making this TONIGHT!)

Tuesday: Hot Dogs on Whole Wheat Buns, Mac & Cheese, squash

Wed: Peanut Butter Thai Noodles, Buttered Peas

Thurs: Chicken in the crockpot with veggies, mashed potatoes & homemade rolls

Fri: Homemade Easy Pizza (BBQ chicken toppings) carrot sticks

Sat: Soup or Chili in the Crockpot

Sun: Veggie Chicken Fingers, leftover soup, other leftovers (quick meal because we are sharing about our plans w/ Wycliffe Bible Translators this night!)

Visit Orgjunkie for more plans!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Supa Cheap Pineapple @ Freddies!

Today only, my local friends, there is a deal on pineapple @ Fred Meyer! They are on sale for $1.98 which is a great price for fresh pineapple, but has a coupon for $0.75/1! I was heading to get some for our fellowship group meeting tomorrow anyway, but this is even better!

That makes the pineapple (Del Monte) $1.23 each! I won't be shopping until later today when I get our car-so save me some peeps;)!! Thanks for the coupon heads up ItsHip2Save!!

Loves me some bargains (the no pictures edition)

My camera is still at our house, so no pictures. Well at least I hope its there! This is sad because I got some amazing deals-at Safeway and Walgreens this week. I didn't buy much in the way of groceries since we are eating from the pantry, but Safeway scored us some notable deals. Thanks to Maygan for the heads up on the cheap chicken!

Whole Chicken $0.69/lb (about $2.88 total)
Sliced Mushrooms $1
activia yogurt (marked down plus coupon) 0.50

Used $3.00 catalina from Kleenex deal
Total 1.78

Send hubby back to store (he's awesome:) to use up other catalina i didn't realize was expiring. I wanted another chicken but in the few hours since I was there the dozen or so chickens were gone! Sad day. So he bought 3 lbs of onions (something we use all the time) and spent 0.69oop after catalina.

I typically do one or two transactions. I was feeling energetic and had a helpful cashier so I did FOUR!

I made about $12 total after coupons and register rewards so I "used" it buying some things we needed (mostly as fillers). Here's what I bought:

Quilted Northern TP $3.99- $1 coupon
2 rolls paper towels, 1 roll foil $0.59/each
2 dark chocolate w/almond hershey's bars (fillers) $0.50/ea
1 vaseline lotion (free plus $1 overage after RR & $1 IP)
1 starbucks frap $0.29 after in ad and $1 manu coupon
2 Zantac used 2 $5 IP's(I went through a boatload of these when I was pregnant but they work great for heartburn anytime)
1 Fusion Razor $1 overage after coupons/RR
4 cans Lindsay olives (used one on Pizza last night!)
1 pack emergen-C energy shots (love these!)
6 pack individual raisin boxes $1 (M loves these-good filler for us:)

I spent $8 out of pocket so with tax figured it to my $12 overage I would consider all of the above to be free! It sure helps to have a good cashier too;)

Since I have over $30 in RR to start out next week I am hoping for some sweet diaper or food deals to roll them into!

Check out Money Saving Mom and Grocery Cart Challenge for more!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Tag & Save $50 giveaway from Seattle Mom's Dealfinder!

For details on how you might be able to win $1000 next week from a local radio station and how you can also win $50 from Seattle Mom's Dealfinder, visit them now!!

Note: I have no idea what this radio station plays-so listen at your own discretion:)

Bulk Cooking-is it worth it?

I love the idea of Once A Month Cooking/Freezer Cooking/Bulk Cooking-whatever you want to call it. Right now I am browsing my friend's book "Frozen Assets" by Deborah Taylor-Hough and thinking about what it will be like (oh the horror)! to move somewhere that doesn't have coupons in the picture. I figure it will happen, just when I don't know.

Cooking in bulk can be a great money/time saving alternative when you can get foodstuffs dirt cheap via couponing etc. The recipes in Frozen Assets for example use ingredients that can typically be found fairly inexpensively year round-nothing too exotic. Things like canned tomatoes, corn, ground beef, whole chickens, pasta are relied on heavily in those types of menus.

Life as a Mom has a great aricle about mini-bulk cooking (cook once, eat thrice) which is something I do regularly without putting much thought into. As a matter of fact a few nights ago I made spinach rice casserole for the first time (which we really liked!) and I made extra brown rice. Last night we had beans and rice with zucchini pancakes and I used the extra rice in that. Even after lunches we haven't finished all leftover beans & rice. I am making a basic homemade beef/veggie soup and am adding the leftover beans & rice to that. It reduces waste and meal prep is shortened dramatically. I think it took me ten minutes to prep the soup this morning in the slow cooker!

I bullied er...convinced my mom into doing some bulk cooking a year or two ago and it went okay, but I forgot an important element-cook what your family likes! Half the meals when to my parents and my dad isn't a huge chicken/cheese fan (likes him some MEAT!) and all the meals I choose were based around that. So it may be awhile before my mom tries that again with me! Anyway, I am thinking about trying bulk cooking again to get some practice in before we head off to begin training with Wycliffe.

Anyone else tried this? If so what did you think?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Cheap and Yummy Orange Chicken

Mostly I am saving this link for me, but here is a recipe for slow cooker orange chicken that looks so good!

Served over brown rice I think this would be a healthy Chinese-inspired meal. We are going to have this with our fellowship group this Sunday:)

Fred Meyer has skinless chicken breast on sale for $0.97/lb (and some other great deals this week too by the way!)

Monday, October 19, 2009

Menu Plan for the week of Oct. 19, 2009

I successfully did the shopping I set out to do at Albertson's yesterday. Two things made my total a few dollars higher than I wanted, but overall we spent about $24 for groceries for the week. That's my highest trip this eating from the pantry month, so its going pretty well overall.

Here's what's on the menu using mostly the food bought yesterday at Albertson's.

Cheerio breakfast cookies, cold cereal, yogurt with granola/cereal toppings, scrambled eggs, squash spice bread.

Leftovers, lunch meat (need to use this up) sandwiches on homemade biscuits, apples, chex mix, cookies


Monday: Progresso beef veggie soup and homemade biscuits

Tuesday: Spinach Rice Casserole (on the menu for several weeks-but have improvised or had leftovers so this got bumped.

Wed: Peanut Butter Thai Noodles, zucchini

Thurs: Lentil Rice meal (also from last week)-we ate one lentil meal but haven't made the one from my MIL:)

Fri: Chicken in the crockpot with rice and carrots

Sat: Dinner-ing at a friends' house

Sun: Roast in the crockpot, Mashed potatoes, carrots and biscuits (I'm cooking for our fellowship group this time).

Visit Orgjunkie for more plans!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

My Albertson's Scenarios 10/18/09

Because of the doubles, this qualifies for exemption from our eat from the pantry shopping ban! My eating from the pantry month has been successful thus far because we're actually making a huge dent in our stockpile! Plus our fresh food is almost nil-not much dairy, meat, veggies, fruit are left. So I am making my list with the next week or two's meal plan in mind and the coupons I have (so that I will be able to get things I can use now for the most part for very little out of pocket.
Here's my plan:
2 yo-plus yogurts
4 Pillsbury grands
2 cookie mixes
2 GG steamers
1 Pills Simply Cookies
2 GG Canned veg
- $8.00 coupons
-$3 doubles
get $12.50 cats back
2 Cheerios
6 progresso soup
2 GG frozen veg
1 cookie mix
1 yoplus
1 flour
1 chex mix
-$7.10 coupons
-$3 doubles
-$12.50 cats
$2.50 oop

Get $10 cat
whole chicken $3.75 ish
apples $2.00
onions $0.59
4/2 Liter coke $3.08
butter $1.49
more flour $1.49

oop hopefully less than $2 for the last transaction:)

Friday, October 16, 2009

First Solid foods for Liv...

First, Daniel gave her a spoon full of mashed pumpkin a week or two ago. The next night some pumpkin soup. I was a little unsure of all this because she isn't even 5 months yet after all!

Well being the good mommy I am I gave Liv her 3rd solid food today while organizing paperwork. She was chewing on my purse which was also on my lap (or so I thought) and I looked down and noticed she had pulled a giftcard holder out and had chewed large pieces of red inky cardstock up. Nice job, supermommy.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009 chickpeas

Whatever they're called, I love them. Chickpeas are super versatile and a dieters best friend (in my humble opinion). Special thanks goes to Karen, my lovely MIL for inspiring me to get out the bean/lentil recipes once again. My two pregnancies have made me swear off things of that sort for awhile (just didn't sound good for a long time), so again, I am back to the Beans half of the "beans & rice" love:).

Here's what I am cooking today:

Roasted Chickpeas

Thanks to my friend Lenora for mentioning roasted chickpeas as a snack! I can hardly wait to try these!

Peanut Butter Cinnamon Fudge

Chickpea Peanut Butter Cinnamon Fudge sound really weird, but good in a weird way. And its in my oven right now. Back later with the results. The batter tasted good at least. That's gotta be a good sign. Edited to add: these turned out more like a cookie than fudge for me. And I cooked it too long. But they tasted good. I used apple juice in place of the sugar and water and they were mildly sweet. More like a healthy cookie than a dessert.

Broccoli Noodle Casserole
And finally I am making a noodle casserole. But here's the fun part: I am using a little cream soup, but mostly pureed chickpeas and squash for the base! It's all done up now and looks really good. No cheese! I rarely make a casserole without cheese-but it can't be a bad thing for my waistline to skip it this once! I will report back on this one.

Sadly no pictures. The thing about always moving around is that something always gets left in the wrong place-such as my camera.

Are you doing any "creative" cooking this week?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Baby O's birth story-part 3 (and the end!)

This is super long, and somewhat um, graphic. Read at your own discretion:)

Part 1 is here
Part 2 is here
At our last cliff-hanger, I had just taken a nap after a much avoided epidural. The epidural didn't work at first, then the midwife was giving me 1 hour to make progress (I was at an 8.5 and had been for the better part of a day). After the epidural was re-inserted I had less than 40 minutes. I begged the midwife for an additional 20 minutes to try to rest and make progress. She hesitantly obliged. Daniel woke me up and I was so frustraed that I couldn't get to sleep! But he smiled and told me that I had in fact fell asleep for almost 20 minutes! I looked up and the midwife and nurses were back and were ready to check me. After being checked she looked shocked and told me I was ready to push! This was something I had lost hope on for awhile, but here it was...really happening!

**I think I had better mention something here-if you are a woman who has gone through childbirth but has never had a c-section (especially if you were whole-heartedly plannng, wishing, dreaming for a natural childbirth as I was) my joy and excitement at this point might seem silly and unfathomable. It really is difficult to understand why anyone would be so excited to feel the pain of normal labor and pushing-unless its something you thought you might never experience.**

Anyway, as soon as they found out I was dilated to 10, the room began to swarm with people readying the room for birth! When they wheeled the "baby cart" near my bedside I think I began to tear up a bit. Was this really happening? They had to tell me step by step how to push, since I had that epidural. They had me in all these crazy positions on the bed-holding sheets "skiing", hold one leg back...lots of craziness. I wish I could've stood to push and think it would have helped, but we worked with what we could.

My pushing got praise all around and everyone was so encouraging about the progress the baby was making. Unfortunately after about an hour my contractions stopped. Just like that. Baby was fine, everything seemed fine, but no contractions. We waited. And waited. And waited. No baby, no contractions. Coming close to 2 hours we started talking again about options. As the epidural wore off more and more I realized that if I move around on the bed a lot I could sort of drum up contractions once again enough to start pushing again. It wasn't working though-and they came back to talk options. Thankfully instead of c-section the discussion centered around vaccuum delivery. Although it scared me a bit to think of yet another intervention, I knew it was relatively safe for my situation. Although I was working toward a natural childbirth I knew and they knew that my goal wasn't just about having a natural childbirth-it was to have a vaginal delivery. If the interventions used helped me toward that end instead of away, I was up for it.

So...we started with that, and as I pushed, the dr. (at this point a dr. had to do the delivery since it was a medically intervened birth) pulled on my precious girl and after a number of pushes her head was out! They asked if I wanted to touch her, but I had so much adrenaline and pain that I declined. I was just focused on getting her out. But quickly I noticed that after her head was out there was much commotion in the room. They were saying something that I later found out was a term for 10+ lb babies! They couldn't believe what they were seeing- no wonder she was taking her sweet time to come through-she was huge!

Another painful push and O was out! They wiped her down quickly and laid her on me. She inched toward me to nurse and they let her lay with me to try to nurse for 30+ minutes. I could hardly believe the mixture of elated feelings within me. I was utterly spent in exhaustion yet I was on cloud 9. It was the closest feeling I have ever had to a natural "high". Not only did i finally get to meet my sweet baby but i had done what medical professionals had been telling me was impossible and crazy-given birth without another c-section. Not only that but it was after a total of 44 hours of labor and she was big: 9lbs, 13 oz. Man, it was a good feeling.

I couldn't have done it without my husband's support, our doulas, the awesome nurse and midwife staff at Group Health, and the prayer of our church and family.

Now O is a happy, healthy 4 1/2 month old girl. We are blessed.

Monday, October 12, 2009

We don't have tv but...

Sometimes I check out a little hulu. Was I the only one who cried watching the Office wedding (and all I saw was a clip!?!)? No, I don't get out much;).

Finally, Jim and Pam got married. And that's a good thing. :)

Loves me some bargains (better late than never 10/11/09)

I went to Safeway for several tiny trips this past week (and because some of the deals were actually hot this week!). It works out great because its within walking distance-so I can load the girlies into the stroller/ergo and go! Getting groceries back home is a bit tricky though:)

Safeway had a deal where you buy 3 kleenex for $2.97 and get a $3 catalina back! I also bought some $0.57/lb broccoli and $0.88/lb oranges along with almost-free nature valley nut clusters (thanks cloud 9 couponing for the tip!). Later I went back and bought (not pictured) 3 more kleenex, 2 packs lunchmeat(on sale BOGO plus I used a BOGO coupon which made it almost free after manu coupon price limit), and yo-plus yogurt for $0.50 after coupon and printable. And more oranges and apples. I spent under $10 for both trips and ended up with $6 in catalinas for next time I shop there.
And this...represents a small hiatus from my eating from the pantry month. Because as you can see...I did do some stocking up. Albertson's had a quaker deal that ended up making the huge canisters of oats $0.75 each after coupons/sales...but you had to buy 10 products. That's a rock bottom price I hadn't seen before so I broke my rule and bought some. The rest of the stuff are things we needed and were on a great sale/coupon price. I spent a little over $18 for all pictured below.
Visit Money Savng Mom and Grocery Cart Challenge to see more savings:)

Menu Plan for week of 10/12/09

Like the nomads we are, we're staying in another friends house this week (and the next) for housesitting purposes. But the great thing is that Daniel has been able to tear it up at our house so he can make some progress on our kitchen! As a matter of fact he's working towards getting some counters in soon! Whoo!! There may be a kitchen in my future after all:) In the meantime though I have a fully functional kitchen at our friends' (ex-the house, not the friends;) house so I am going to do some baking!

Here's what we're eating this week:

Breakfasts: hot cereal (oatmeal and cream of wheat I think), scrambled eggs and zucchini bread, squash spice bread (similar to pumpkin bread), squash pancakes

Lunches: leftovers, green smoothies, fruit


Mon: Creamy veggie squash & bean soup (making this up as I go today) with homemade biscuits

Tues: Macaroni and Cheese (but using squash in place of 1/2 the noodles)

Wed: Spinach Rice Casserole (haven't got around to making this yet)

Thurs: Beans & Rice w/salsa, cheese, veggies

Fri: Homemade Easy Pizza

Sat: Lentil and Rice Meal (thanks Karen!)

Sun: Something easy-hot dogs & instant noodle meal or something with raw veggies/dip
Menu Plan Monday:)

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Happy 2nd Birthday M girl!!

M brings laughs, smiles, and joy to us everyday! Although her entry into the world was not how we expected, we were overjoyed when she arrived. She is a wonderful big sister and a sweet helper to mommy and daddy. She is a dare-devil (takes after gramie Karen!) and will do anything daddy does.

These are the faces I got when I said "smile pretty"! I think she honestly thought she was "smiling pretty":)

For her birthday we are going shopping for a big girl potty and underpants. She is VERY excited about this:)

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Eating from the pantry update #1

We are eating away at our pantry stockpile, and saving money while doing it! Its been a test ALREADY to stay out of the stores when the deals are good. I very much want to go to alberston's today, but won't since there isn't anything cheap/free that I need and doesn't fall into the category of snacks/cereals:)

Our menu plan hasn't been followed as much as usual due to a dinner date with friends, a messed up zucchini dish (still getting used to using a stove again!), less time to make dinner while helping with childcare @ church, and some improvisation tonight. I am making zucchini cheese frittata instead of our scheduled meal to repurposed the zucchini dish that didn't work out (and to use up some eggs that were heading towards stale:).

Other than that I plan to stick with the menu for the rest of the week and keep my eyes out for steals on things I actually might come to need soon. Oh and eat lots of chocolate and coffee;)

Monday, October 5, 2009

Scenes from Equip # 3

Yes..there are still more:)

O with her bestie, Miss Leah. They fell asleep together quite often in childcare.

O, being cute in the swing.

M, and her favorite time of the day: snacktime. A girl after her mama's heart;)

O and "grandpa Dick" (a surrogate grampa for the week:)

Having a very intense conversation on my banana phone. We practiced keeping up our relationships while raising support on our high techy fruity phones:)
If you're still reading...a couple of praises from this first week back. First, we have a full calendar of partnership development opportunities without really trying! Daniel is sharing our ministry at a booth at the IFCA regional this week (our church is hosting this year), we might get to speak in front of our church next month, we were able to share with my parents' sunday school class yesterday, and our newsletters go out soon (as soon as we finish updating it). Its been very encouraging. Our other biggest prayer request has been the house. Its been discouraging to have no time to finish the kitchen-and makes certain tasks eat up more time than they should. But our friends who are moving :( offered to let us stay there until their house sells-which will allow Daniel some extra time and space to make a mess and get the cabinets modified for the kitchen etc. So that is a really good thing.

Menu Planning 1st week of Oct., 2009

We are eating from the pantry this month. On Friday I bought bananas, ground beef and gum(free) for $7.96, but other than that no shopping:).

Breakfasts: Zucchini Muffins (I made some low sugar, low fat ones at my parents this weekend!), cold cereal, whole wheat toast, eggs

Lunches/Snacks: leftovers, bananas, cereal, chex mix, trail mix


Mon: Hamburgers on wheat bread, cheesy zucchini bake, green beans

Tues: Tuna Alfredo over noodles (from mix), spinach salad

Wed: Chili (from freezer) cornbread, leftover cheesy zucchini

Thurs: Layered Mexican Casserole in the crockpot, peas & cold stone icecream for M's 2nd birthday!!!

Fri: Whole Wheat Easy Pizza, salad

Sat: Tuna Melts & side of baked pumpkin

Sun: Pumpkin Soup and bread/butter

Visit Orgjunkie for more menu plans!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Eating from the Pantry this month!

We have hit gridlock in our tiny house! Daniel has asked me to try to use up some of what we've got this month to make room to walk through the construction zones:). So... to make it more fun I thought I would make it an eating from the pantry month. I won't bore you with everything in my pantry/freezer, but let's just say I can do this without a major hardship:) Friends and family have been giving us produce and a friend who is moving has been giving us her extra foodstuffs, so we are well stocked.

I will still need milk, eggs, a few pounds of meat and produce (near the end of the month). I'll be "buying" other things only if is free (or better:) and doesn't fall into the category of cereal or most snacks-we have plenty of that:)

Here are the meals I've come up with so far:

Cold Cereal X 10
Muffins (from mix with some healthier substitutons/additions) X 8
Pop-tarts and scrambled eggs w/fruit X4
Hot Cereal-cream of wheat X 5
Baked oatmeal or "other" X 2

Chex mix
Cold Cereal

To preface dinners/lunches, each of these meals will have some sort of veggie with it. The first half of the month we should be able to eat up fresh stuff from family friends, then after that I have a week or so worth of frozen veg. If I can get good sales I will buy some fresh after that before I break into the canned, but I might use some of that too.

Dinners/Lunches (we typically eat leftovers for lunches)
Tuna Pasta w/Marinara (we had this last night- yum!)X 2
Spagetti and Meatballs X 2
Pasta Alfredo X 2
Carbonara Pasta
Cheesy Pasta Bake
Ground Beef and Pasta Roni
Soup and Tuna Sandwiches X2
Soup and Grilled Cheese X 2
Chili and Bread
Crockpot Pinto Beans & Bread X 2
Tacos or other mexi type roll up X 2
Thai Peanut Butter noodles with chicken
Lentil Rice Meal (my mom in law gave us this-thanks Karen!)
Hamburgers/Veggie burgers and potatoes X 2
Hot dogs and whole wheat buns w/chips
Beans & Rice
Pizza X 2
Leftovers X 2

Not exciting, but I am hoping to use the $100 + we will save this month by doing this on a night in a hotel for our anniversary next month (5 years!!) :)

Any one else cleaning out the pantry this month?