Saturday, February 6, 2016

Doing My Best to Be Financially Fit (a.k.a. Last Weeks Frugal Accomplishments)

A new day, a new dawn....
We are in a state of transition still.  Herb has reported to his new duty station and has moved in to his new quarters.  We have him unpacked, internet set up and groceries in the house.  Now we wait for the dust to settle.  We wait to see just what the paychecks are going to look like with his adjusted salary.  We did just get paid and the check seems lower than it should be routinely.  I believe I know why but Herb will be double checking.  Regardless, there are definitely some adjustments to be made.

Sunday:  I paid bills online for expediency and economic efficacy.
I made these muffins for breakfast.  I was able to get the full dozen muffins made by scraping the bowl and not wasting a bit.
I used eggs gifted to me by my hens for the muffins.  I dried and crushed those shells to give back to the hens.
I used coconut oil for the muffins.  The recipe called for the fat to be liquid so I used the microwave to melt the coconut oil.  I then let the dog lick the remainder of the oil from the bowl.  She loves the coconut oil and it helps keep her paws from getting dried out.
I made the apple butter hand pies to take to Roxie's for our annual pie day.  The dough calls for butter but I have a limited supply of butter on hand so I again used coconut oil as the fat.
The boys opted not to go with me to celebrate pie day so I left them the muffins for breakfast and all that they would need to prepare themselves chili dogs for lunch.
Pie Day was fantastic.  A little lunch, so many pies to choose from and bananagrams do, in fact, make for a fantastic day.  A fantastic day that doesn't require much in the way of moola.  I am so grateful for Roxie's hospitality.
I returned home to find that the boys had eaten the hot dogs but had not made the chili so I used the ground beef that I had fried up earlier to make spaghetti for dinner.  I made extra noodles so that they would be ready for use when I go to make the stir fry.
I reused aluminum foil.
I got some pinto beans soaking for future meals.
Before going to pie day I filled up the gas tank.  I spent $20.18.  I want to keep track of what I am spending on gasoline.  It has been awhile since I have done an assessment.

Monday:  I am really dragging today.  I don't feel stellar and am uncertain as to how much I will actually accomplish today but I will give it a good shot.
I did get the pinto beans into the crockpot in the morning.  I included the bone from the ham.
I also used the turkey carcass to make a large pot of broth.  I had carrots that were on their last leg in the fridge and onion peels that I had saved in the freezer for just this purpose that I included in the broth.
After scouts Bishop was craving a sweet drink.  Rather than going through a drive-thru we stopped at a convenience store,  picked up a bag of ice and made a pitcher of kool-aid (I found that in my big pantry clean out).
The weather has been really quite nice, unseasonably warm, so we turned the heater down throughout the day only allowing it to kick on in the evening as the temperature declined.

Tuesday:  I had tea and muffins for breakfast.  While having breakfast I made a shopping list and began to put together a Super Bowl Sunday menu.
The groceries that I bought for the Super Bowl I am not including in the grocery budget, it will come out of the entertainment budget.  Even then I spent more than $25.  I spent $30 at Aldi and another $20 at WalMart.  I do have enough food, including basics like milk and butter, that I shouldn't need to go to the grocery store for the next two weeks.  If I succeed that would be averaging the $25 per week that I am shooting for.  But I know myself and I know that that will be difficult for me.  In order for this to happen I will have to be organized and diligent.  If I get too busy or I get to feeling poorly I will let the boys walk to the store and get frozen pizza or something similar and that would bust the budget.
Again I turned the heater down as it is still unseasonably warm outside.
For dinner I made burrito bowls.  This is Maceo's favorite way to eat pinto beans.  I marinated thin strips of steak using this fajita marinade recipe.  I offered up the steak alongside pinto beans, rice, cheese, salsa, sour cream, and guacamole.  Maceo prefers to have steak with this dish.  I, on the other hand, do not so this is a meal which really allows us to stretch the meat.  I love meals like this - meals that can be served up in an individualized manner to suit the tastes of each family member and keep the components separate so that they can easily be used in other dishes.

I made oatmeal butterscotch chip cookies.
Presently I am driving a vehicle that doesn't have any heat.  Because there is no heat there is no reason to leave the vehicle running while I am waiting for Maceo to be released from rehearsal.  In order to stay warm while waiting I make sure that I am wearing a heavy coat and a stocking cap.  I have also stocked the jeep with a heavy blanket that I wrap myself in while waiting.  Tonight I was thinking about how not leaving the vehicle idling is allowing me to save gas and, therefore, save money.  If given the choice, (meaning, if driving a vehicle that has heat) I would probably choose to keep the vehicle on and keep the heat on (I don't like to be cold).  However, it is nice to know that if I had to tighten my belt this is one way that I could.
Maceo and I brainstormed foods he could prepare for himself tomorrow as Bishop and I will be gone for science and history groups and a trip to the museum.

Wednesday:  Bishop and I were out for the day.  We went to the art museum to see the new pop art exhibit.  Our local art museum is free, always a frugal activity.  And it has some really great exhibits.  This exhibit had Warhol's from three different portfolios.  It also had Lichtenstein's and pieces by Robert Indiana, including his iconic LOVE piece.  So cool.
Then with our science group we went to the discovery center.  We did have to pay for admission but they gave me a military discount.  We paid a total of $8.
Bishop and I did eat out but we chose an inexpensive place to eat, Steak and Shake.
Maceo stayed at home and ate ramen for lunch.  For dinner I fed him salami, white cheddar and crackers.  This is a great stand-by meal for him.
After getting him to his promotional performance for his upcoming production of Aladdin Jr. and then to rehearsal I focused on feeding Bishop and myself some dinner.  I had another burrito bowl.  Bishop had a whole bean burrito smothered in green chile sauce and cheese.  This is one of the ways that I use up a pot of beans.  I also baked up another sheet of oatmeal butterscotch chip cookies.
Upon Maceo's return from rehearsal I prepared him a couple of whole bean burritos.  He doesn't like green chile sauce so his are just topped with cheese.  I put the burritos under the broiler for a bit so that the cheese will get nice and melty.
I really need to get a lot of housework done tomorrow.  I need to finish getting the Christmas items properly stored.  I also need to make the final plans for the Super Bowl menu and decorations.  I need to leave open the possibility that more groceries might need to be purchased.  I need to order the cakes.  I need to determine what prep work must be done and create a timeline for that prep work.  I also need to make further progress in planning my trip to Washington D.C. to finish getting Christian off to Korea.  I need to call the car rental company.  I need to get someone to take my work detail at the theatre during the upcoming production of Aladdin Jr.  (I will miss opening week of the show...sigh).  I need to buy Christian's airline ticket.  I need to determine the route of our drive and schedule in a bit of sightseeing.  I also need to get some bills paid tomorrow.  (Synchrony and troupe).  And I would like to build in time to watch some shows on the Revolutionary War with Bishop.  Given that I have a lot that I want to accomplish tomorrow I need to have some idea as to what I will serve for tomorrows meals, I need to have a plan.
I have ice in the freezer (unfortunately an anomaly for me) so I will make iced tea in the morning to fuel my addiction.   I think I will have a smoothie for my breakfast but will offer the boys huevos rancheros; this will allow me to finish using the can of green chile sauce that I opened for Bishop's dinner this evening.  For lunch I believe I will fry up some potatoes and serve it alongside the last of the pinto beans, some ham and cornbread.  I will fry more potatoes then I need for lunch so that I will have them already prepared for breakfast burritos that will be served in the near future.  For dinner I will probably make the TexMex Quiche and/or pizza.  I have oranges that need to be used so I will focus on using them as a side dish.  That little bit of forethought should prove to be useful tomorrow!

Thursday:  I stayed up very late last night as Bishop engaged me in very serious conversation.  He is a young man and conversations with him are deep and challenging.  I love it!  Thus, my day is moving slowly.  No..the day is moving quickly, I am moving slowly.  I must get my act together.  Here goes....
I did stay home and brew my own tea.  That worked brilliantly and emphasizes to me that I really need to make sure that there is always room in the freezer for a bag of ice.
I opted not to have a smoothie for breakfast.  I needed some really solid protein so I had fried eggs and toast.
I did serve up smoothies alongside the TexMex quiche, which was very good and frugal.

 I also served avocado slices with it.  I was able to purchase the avocados at Aldi for less than forty cents each.
I used eggs gifted to me by my hens and saved the egg shells to dry and feed to the hens.

I needed a little something sweet so I opted for a cup of hot chocolate.  I still have a significant amount of hot chocolate fixings from my holiday hot chocolate bar setup so using it to stave off a sweet tooth is economical.
Maceo didn't want to eat the quiche but he would eat more of the cheese, salami and crackers.  (I told you that was a good stand-by meal).  I did give him $4 to spend as he wished while he was hanging out with friends who were going to make sure he got to rehearsal.
For dinner, I was going to serve the pinto beans, fried potatoes and cornbread.  As I was frying the potatoes I decided to give Bishop the option to have breakfast burritos instead.  He chose the burritos.  I fried the potatoes, scrambled eggs, fried up a couple of pieces of bacon and a little bit of chorizo and served it all with warm tortillas, cheese, salsa and the rest of the avocado that I had cut into at lunch time.  It really hit the spot.  Even Maceo dug right into it after rehearsal.
I noted that the oranges were going to need to be used soon so I served fresh squeezed orange juice with dinner.  I love fresh orange juice.  I should really serve it more often.
Other then picking Maceo up from rehearsal I didn't leave the house.  I was dragging in the morning but, overall, did make progress with my household chores.
Tomorrow will start early and just keep moving so I need to give a little forethought, I need to be prepared.
I filled a gallon jug with water and put it in the fridge.
I also went ahead and brewed a pitcher of tea this evening.
Breakfast will most likely be eaten out or leftover breakfast burritos or quiche.  If I get the bread made in time then I will make ham and swiss sliders or turkey salad sandwiches for lunch.  And, finally, for dinner I think I will make turkey noodle soup or the stir fried noodles.

Friday:  Maceo and I had to get up early so that he could do a promotional performance.  We went to breakfast afterwards.  There were some issues with our service so the manager opted to comp one of our meals.  That was unexpected but I appreciated it and it was definitely good for the pocketbook.
Bishop went to pottery and is producing the most wonderful lidded pots.  Afterwards I treated him to Panera.  I didn't eat.  He drank water and used a $1 off coupon to reduce the price of his meal.
For dinner I made turkey salad sandwiches.  I used this recipe as inspiration.  I served the sandwich filling on rolls made from frozen bread dough.  Bishop enjoyed them very much, as did I.

Saturday:  I am preparing for our Super Bowl festivities.  It is not a particularly cheap event but it is very important to our family.  Football is important to our family and this event especially important as the Broncos are Bishop's favorite team and the Panthers are Maceo's favorite team.  Even then there are economical ways for me to do this party.  I have things on hand, food and decorations, that can be used.  I have decorations and serving bowls from previous birthday and Super Bowl parties and food items that will utilized   An example would be these chocolate covered pretzel rods.  The pretzels and almond bark are items that I always have on hand and the football candies are something I purchased just before football season began knowing that I would find some way to use them. to prepare for the party!!!!

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