Saturday, October 29, 2011

Today I have ............

1. Helped my hubby make a big batch of pizza sauce for tonight's homemade pizza and also to use for a different dinner later in the week.

2. Shredded a 2 lb block of mozzarella cheese for the same reason as above

3. Sliced black olives to use for the above mentioned dinners ( I have a post about this planned for my Tuesday tip )

4. Whipped up homemade pancake/waffle/french toast syrup because we were out.

5. Did several loads of laundry using my homemade laundry powder and dryer sheet.

5.  I still plan to make some granola to use for breakfast's before the day is over :)

Doing all of this saves me some money and also helps my week run more smoothly!  What have you all done today?

Friday, October 28, 2011

5 Things I Did That Were Frugal This Week

1.  I did not go shopping :)

2.  I had a meal plan

3. We have not turned on the heat yet!  Woohoo for replacing the windows and a warmer house!

4. I earned enough points from Swag bucks for another gift card to use toward Christmas gifts.

5. Ad matched at walmart and used several coupons that I had for bogo free shampoo and conditioner

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Old Buffet Project

Just so you all don't think all I do is cook and worry about food lol, here is a project my husband and I did over the summer.  We bought this old solid wood buffet off of Craigslist for $110.  Here is what it looked like originally.

I had decided I wanted to give the stained look on the top and painted look on the bottom of the buffet a try.  So I sanded the top down to bare wood and then just gave a rough sand to the rest of it.  I hate sanding!  But I soon discovered I hate staining even more then sanding!  My husband was then nice enough to buy me a paint sprayer to use with his air compressor to paint the rest of the buffet.  Actually after the staining the buffet sat in the garage for a long time and while I was gone to visit my sister in Arizona,  my husband very nicely painted the rest for me :)  When I got back he taught me to use the sprayer and I painted the back of the buffet doors and the drawers which are located behind the middle two doors. I also spray painted all of the old hardware oil rubbed bronze.  The top is stained Red Mahogany and the bottom is painted Queen Anne's Lace White from Lowe's,  Anyway, here is what the buffet looks like now!

As you can see it now houses our TV and all the accessories that go with it.  I love it and how it turned out!  It hides all our junk and makes the living room looks so much bigger without the giant entertainment center taking up that whole wall!

I am linking up to:


Monday, October 24, 2011

Cheese Soup

A couple of people have asked for the recipe for the Cheese Soup I make.  So here it is :)

1 1/2 quarts water
4- chicken bouillon cubes
2 1/2 cups potatoes, uncooked and diced
1/2 a package (16 oz) frozen California Style Vegetables ( broccoli, cauliflower and carrots)
1 cup onion chopped
1 cup celery chopped
1 can cream of chicken soup ( I use my own "cream of" soup mix)
1 lb Velveeta Cheese, Chopped ( I use Kroger brand or Aldi brand)

Bring water to a boil.  Add the next 3 ingredients to water and boil for 8-10 minutes.  Saute onion and celery in a small amount of butter until tender ( honestly I am a lazy cook and never do this part) and add to boil vegetables.  Add soup and cheese.  Reduce heat, stirring occasionally until cheese is melted.  I usually then take out some of the potatoes and give them a little mash with the potato masher.  I think this helps to thicken the soup a bit.  But this is my own personal preference :)

That is all there is to it.  It is very easy and very good!

Whats For Dinner.......10/24 - 10/30

Monday - Leftover Cheese Soup ( I made this on Friday and then hardly anyone was home to eat it)

Tuesday- Foil Packets with Polish Sausage, Potatoes, Mushrooms, Green Pepper, Onion

Wednesday- Out to Dinner for me and Kid # 3 and 5 ( We are going to see Wicked!!) Leftovers for everyone else

Thursday - Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches

Friday- Leftovers

Saturday - Pizza

Sunday -Crock pot Breakfast Casserole for "Sunday Family Brunch"

Saturday, October 22, 2011

5 Things I Did That Were Frugal This Week

1.  My husband changed the oil in both our cars and in Kid # 3's truck.

2.  I took Kid # 3 to the credit union and taught her how to deposit her money.  We also discussed how much she should be putting in her savings and how to go about saving for her bills etc...( may not seem like a frugal thing to put here but I truely believe that we will be how she learns to manage her money)

3. Menu planned and cooked dinner at home

4.  Do to a mistake on my part with Kid # 5 lunch money, she doesn't have enough to last her until the end of the month.  Instead of giving her more money I just have made her a cold lunch to take more often.  This was a short week at school so she just took her lunch all 4 days.

5.  Made Kid # 5 homemade lunchables which she has been asking for to take in her lunch. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Ravioli Chicken Casserole

Judy from We may be poor, but we are happy ( which is one of my favorite blogs by the way and if you haven't ever read it go there right now and check it out ) asked for this recipe.   So here it is Judy! 

I believe it came from the Taste of Home website but I am not 100% on that. 

1-package 24 oz frozen cheese ravioli, cooked and drained ( I do not cook mine.  I add mine to the pan frozen and cook it in the oven longer.  This saves me on prep time )

3 cups cubed cooked chicken ( I do not always add this.  Tonight I did not because I didn't have any and it is good without it)

6 medium fresh mushrooms, sliced ( I use canned)

1/3 cup chopped onion ( I usually leave this out)

1/2 cup chopped green pepper ( if I have this I add it but sometimes I don't)

1-jar  28 oz meatless spaghetti sauce ( we make our own and I like extra sauce so I used 5 - 8 oz can tomato sauce when my husband made the sauce)

2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

In a greased 13 in x 9 in baking dish, layer the ravioli and chicken.  Top with mushrooms, green pepper, onion and spaghetti sauce.   Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.  ( I bake mine for 1 hour since I to not precook my ravioli).  Uncover, sprinkle with cheese. ( I am a lazy cook so I put the cheese on before I cover it and bake it all together for 1 hour) Bake 10-15 minutes longer or until cheese is melted.

6 of us ate it tonight for dinner with a salad and we have at least enough for 2 or 3 lunches left :)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Tuesday Tip

I haven't done a Tuesday Tip in a while but thought I would share this one with you.  I got this tip from Pinterest!  Have you started pinning yet?  I am so addicted to that site lol.

Anyway, I took an old cloth napkin and soaked it in the last little bit of liquid fabric softner I had.  Hung it on the drying rack to dry.  I have been using it as a dryer sheet and throwing it with my clothes in the dryer.  So far so good!  I have used it over 20 times now and it is still going strong.  It says in the instructions I got from Pinterest that it should last at least 40 times.  I have been keeping track of course cause I want to see if it does lol :) 

Here is the pin,  Dryer Sheets, I got the idea from in case you want to pin it for yourself :)

                                                               I am linking this post up to

                                                                  Learning the Frugal Life




Monday, October 17, 2011

What's For Dinner This Week.....10/17 - 10/23

Monday -Sub-Sandwiches and leftover Spicy Chicken Stew

Tuesday - Hot Dogs leftover from our wiener roast

Wednesday - Ravioli Casserole, Salad

Thursday - Sticky Chicken

Friday- Leftovers

Saturday - Cheese Soup

Sunday - Breakfast Casserole for "Sunday Family Brunch" and feed yourself for dinner.

Snacks - Homemade Brownies, Popcorn, Graham Crackers, Apples and Peanut Butter

Friday, October 14, 2011

5 Things I Did That Were Frugal This Week

1. I found a Christmas present at Goodwill for $3.49

2. I bought Kid # 5 a pair of brown flats which she was in need of at Goodwill for $ 3.99

3.  I had $27.80 left from my two week grocery budget which I will be applying towards my credit card payment!

4. I had a couple stay at home days

5. I cooked at and we ate at home every day!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Spicy Crockpot Chicken Stew

This is what we are having for dinner tonight.  I have made this several times and everyone likes it, which is always good :)

3 or 4 large chicken breast cut into 1 inch pieces ( I used 3)
1 can condensed fat free chicken broth ( I used 2 bullion cubes dissolved in water cause that is what I had)
1 can tomato soup
3 carrots cut into 2 inch chunks
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup water
3 TBSP minced garlic, or 3 whole cloves minced ( I buy the big jar of Our Value minced garlic at Walmart)
1/2 TSP black pepper
2 TBSP chili powder ( I left this out because I make my own taco seasoning and it is kinda spicy by itself)
1 package taco seasoning or 1/4 cup if you buy in bulk
1 -15 oz can diced tomatoes
1 - can kidney beans
1- can navy beans ( I am using black beans that I made myself, out of my freezer)

Put all ingredients except beans in crock pot.  Cook on High for 4 1/2 hours ( I cook mine on low all day) Check to make sure the chicken in done.

Add beans and cook another 10-15 minutes on high ( I add my beans in at the same time as everything else)

Top with sour cream and/or shredded cheese, jalapenos, green onion or any other topping you might like. ( we do the sour cream, crushed up tortilla chips and shredded cheese)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Christmas Plan Update

Here is what I have accomplished so far on my Christmas Plan. I hope to be finished with all my Christmas shopping by the end of November.  We will see if that happens :)  I had planned to have my Mom, Mother in law and Grandmothers gift completed by the end of September but that just didn't pan out.  I do however have most of the items bought that are needed to make the gifts.  Hopefully I will have that done in by the end of this week :)

Photo for Christmas Cards

Christmas Cards ordered

Christmas Tree

Kid # 5 picture with Santa

Husband - I don't really do a set number of gifts for my husband but we do have a set amount we get to spend on each other :)

1 gift so far - $30

Kid # 1

gift # 1 -$15.64
gift # 2 - $25.00
gift # 3
gift # 4

Kid # 2

gift # 1 - $3
gift # 2
gift # 3
gift # 4

Kid # 3

gift # 1 - $5
gift # 2 - FREE with Swagbucks
gift # 3
gift # 4

Kid # 4

gift # 1 - $ 28.94
gift # 2 - $ 3.00
gift # 3
gift # 4

Kid # 5

gift # 1- $60
gift # 2
gift # 3
gift # 4

Future Daughter In law

gift # 1 - Free
gift # 2
gift # 3
gift # 4

Mom - $12.98 +1.18 = $ 14.16
Step dad - Free using my points from Mypoints
Family gift for nieces and nephew - Free
bro in law
Grandma - $12.98 + 1.18 = $ 14.16
Mother in law - $12.98
Father in law - Free using my points from Mypoints


Jenna - $4

Teacher gift for Kid # 5

Monday, October 10, 2011

Menu 10/10 - 10/16

Here is what we are eating this week!

Monday- Quesadillas w/ homemade refried beans

Tuesday- Meatloaf

Wednesday- Spicy Chicken Stew - carried over from last week

Thursday- BBQ Sandwiches - using pulled pork from the freezer

Friday - Leftovers

Saturday - Wiener Roast

Sunday - French Toast and Bacon for "Sunday Family Brunch" and Sandwiches later

Saturday, October 8, 2011

5 Things I Did That Were Frugal This Week

1. Found Kid # 5 LL Bean snowboots at a yard sale for $2

2. Planned our menu and ate at home for all dinners

3.  I needed a black mat for a picture I wanted to hang up in our family room.  I repurposed one I already had with a little spray paint

4. Used up the leftovers for my husbands lunches

5.  Made some homemade dryer sheets that so far are working awesome!  I will post about this soon!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Searl House Happenings..........

I finally got all of my fall planting done that I had been putting off for the last few weeks.  I also transplanted some things to a couple different locations.  We are planning to get a new storage shed hopefully by the end of the month.  Some of the flowers and things I transplanted were in the way of the spot we would like to put the shed.

Yesterday on the way home from taking Kid #3 to the Orthodontist we stopped at GFS Marketplace and purchased a few items.  I picked up a two -2lb blocks of cheese that we will shredded as needed for different meals. I also got a 1 lb bottle of chili powder and a 2lb 6oz container of dry roasted peanuts.  Total spent $24.50

Today I did my big grocery shop at Aldi.  I am to tired this evening to list everything I bought there but my total was $84.17.  $9.99 of that was on a utility/shopping cart, you know, like the ones you see old ladies walking and pulling around.  I have wanted one of those for a long time and they had them marked down from about $15.  I live close enough that I could walk to purchase some of my groceries but I would need a cart or wagon or something to be able to get them home.  Now I have one :)  I will add the 9.99 back to my grocery cash.  So I have about $59.70 left in my two week budget.  I have to make one more trip to get sugar which I forgot and the kids are out of salsa.  I need to look over my two week menu and see if we actually have to have the salsa for any of the meals or if they will need to just deal without it until the next pay period.

Last week was Homecoming here for Kid # 3 and 4.  I have posted before that we had a surprisingly cheap and frugal homecoming.  Kid # 3 found her dress and shoes at Goodwill for a total of $20.98.  She wore long black gloves from Kid # 5's dress up box.  She already had earrings and she borrowed some bracelets from Kid # 2.  I made her corsage and her boyfriends boutonniere.  I did pay a friend $20 to do her hair.  That may or may not have been pricey but since the friend is 9 months pregnant and did a practice session on Kid # 3's hair before homecoming I think it was OK.   Here are a couple of pics of the corsage and boutonniere :)

For Kid # 4 I found his homecoming clothes at a yard sale.  I paid a total of $1 for his dress shirt and dress pants.  Woohoo for me!!  He needed a royal blue tie to wear with his shirt and it turns out that Kid # 3 and her boyfriend wore that color last year so he borrowed the boyfriends tie.  Kid # 4 and his date opted not to do flowers since neither of them are old enough to have jobs.  I was OK with that if they were.  I did give Kid # 4 $15 to buy the tickets required to be able to attend homecoming.  So total spent for two kids to go to the dance was less then $60.  I do not think that was bad at all and the best thing is they both had a wonderful time.  Both Kid # 3 and Kid # 4 attended the dance together with both their dates which I also think is wonderful!

So that is what has been happening around here.  I will post my Christmas plan update soon!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Cleaning The Pantry

This evening as I was cleaning up the kitchen I decided to get out my label maker.  My idea was to label some of my storage containers that I keep things like rice and stuff in.  I have these bigger size storage boxes in my pantry which is just off my garage.  I had half of a large batch of homemade hot chocolate in one, pinto beans, and popcorn kernels in the others.  There are also two sitting empty which previously held homemade pancake mix and a bulk rice purchase that we had finished up. I had some unopened bags of white rice and brown rice that I thought I would go ahead and fill up some glass jars with and the storage boxes.  As I was looking at the bag of brown rice I discovered it had bugs in it.  So did my storage box of hot chocolate mix and my popcorn kernels.  Ugh I so should have know better then to keep these things in the pantry during summer.  The pantry is not really climate controlled like the rest of the house.  It is off the garage so it does get hot in the summer and cold in the winter just like the garage does.  I should have put the bags of rice and popcorn kernels in my freezer and the hot chocolate mix in my extra garage refrigerator.  I had to throw out the brown rice and hot chocolate mix.  I put the popcorn kernels in a different container and threw them in the freezer hoping to salvage them.  I also put my extra bags of white rice in the freezer also.  I hate having to throw out food!!  I also hate that I could have prevented this if I had paid more attention.  Ugh!  I do not think my storage container I have been using seal good enough so I think I will be using different ones from now on.  Hopefully I can prevent this from happening in the future!  I think I will be doing alittle more research on how to store these types of items better.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Grocery Shopping Today

The last two weeks in September I almost made it to my goal I posted about here of only spending $100 for two weeks.  We spent ( I had some help from the husband) $ 106.38.  I really don't think that was to bad.  This two weeks ( Sept 29 - Oct13) I withdrew my normal $200 in cash but I am really hoping to spend way under that.  I have planned out my two week menu and included some snacks which really seems to be helping.  I have made my grocery lists for all the different store I will need to shop at.  Here is what I have spent so far:


4-bars Fels Naptha Laundry Soap - 0.97 cents each =$ 3.88
1- Box Borax - $ 2.98
1- Box Washing Soda - $ 3.24 ( I do not think this is the cheapest place I have seen this priced in my area and will be shopping around to see)
( can anyone guess what I am making?)
1- Walmart Brand Coffee Creamer - $ 2.12 ( this has went up in price I noticed)
1 - Walmart Brand Jar Salsa - $1.98

Total = $ 15.45

Kroger -( Kid # 1 works at Kroger so we get employee discount on Kroger brand items)

1 - Kroger Brand Gallon Milk - $ 2.99 - 0.30 discount = $ 2.69
4- Frozen Kroger Brand Veggies - $4.00 - 0.40 discount = $ 3.60
1 - Box Kroger Brand Kosher Salt - $ 1.25 - 0.13 discount = $ 1.12
3- Bags Kroger Brand Tortilla Chips - $ 3.00 - 0.30 discount = $ 2.70
1- Kroger Brand Applesauce Cups - $ 1.61 - 0.16 discount = $ 1.48
3 - Italian Sweet Bread Loafs off the bakery discount rack - $1.29 = $ 3.87

Total = $ 15.58

Kroger - ( Sunday morning trip by husband and Kid # 5)

1- Dozen Bakery Doughnuts = $5.99

Total = $ 6.05

Dollar General Store

1- Poster Board ( normally I do not count this in with my groceries but it was 50 cent) -$ 0.50
1 - Duracell Batteries ( I do count this as part of my groceries along with all cleaning supplies) - $ 3.75

Total = $ 4.54

So as of right now I have spent $41.62.  I still have a couple of grocery shops to make one of them is a bigger one at Aldi.  I will update later on how I have done.  So far so good though!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Update on September To-Do List

So I accomplished about half of my to-do list.  As you can see I got the stove cleaned, the garage refrigerator cleaned and the kitchen counters wiped down.  I did not however get the floor ripped up and probably won't until the spring :(  I also have yet to clean the kitchen refrigerator but hope to get that done this week. 

I have purchased most of the things to make my Mom, Mother in law and Grandma's Christmas gifts.  They are all getting the same gift made just a little different.  Now I just need to get them all made.  At least I got all the things bought :)

I did manage to get all the kids at least on gift bought.  A couple of the kids actually have 2 things purchased for them!

I'll be writing a post soon about our frugal homecoming for Kid # 3 and Kid # 4

I don't think I did to bad really and I hope to accomplish the rest of these things in October!

Clean stove, inside and out
Rip out kitchen floor

Clean behind everything on the kitchen counters

Clean kitchen refrigerator

Clean garage refrigerator

Looks like September will be the month to really deep clean the kitchen!

Make my Mom and Mother in laws Christmas gifts. Get one gift bought for each of the kids.

Make Kid # 3 corsage and boutonniere for Homecoming. A post and pics to follow :)

Menu 10/2 - 10/9

Monday - Sub-Sandwiches and Leftover Soup

Tuesday- Stir-Fry and Rice

Wednesday - Beef Taco Rice Skillet ( new recipe I am trying)

Thursday - Spicy Crock pot Chicken Stew

Friday - Leftovers

Saturday - ???? undecided as of yet

Sunday - Crescent Roll Hot Dogs