Monthly Archives: January 2010

Frugal Friday…Stretching your food further

All righty, so we’re starting the Frugal Fridays! Since it’s not a new month yet, I have nothing (really) to report. I’ll tell you though, I did buy a bunch of diapers and some milk this week!

Okay, so since February is starting in just a couple of days, I’ll be able to really track my monthly progress. This week I’ve decided to compile a list of ways that I plan on making my groceries last and last and last…ew, not really. But some ways to stretch that food a little further. We all know most the basics, like making a list and not shopping when you’re hungry, so I’ll skip those. If you have any tips, please, PLEASE share them here! I’m scared of going over budget and looking like a fool online. (because it’s never, EVER happened before, online or otherwise – yeah right)

Here’s what I’ve come up with so far:

– Powder your milk. EVERY gallon of milk we buy gets a quart of reconstituted powdered milk added to it when it’s about halfway empty. So far, no one has noticed a difference in taste.

– Make your own breadcrumbs. I’ll never waste my money buying premade.

-ALWAYS use a filler with ground beef – I don’t care what you’re making, burgers, meatloaf, meatballs, whatever, use a filler! When I make burgers I add an egg and breadcrumbs, so that I’m stretching the meat further without changing the taste too much. For meatballs and meatloaf, I’ve been known to add 1/2 of mashed pinto beans to a pound of ground beef (any more than that you’ll start to taste a difference). There are SO many things you can add that won’t diminish quality! In addition to breadcrumbs and beans, you can add those dry potato flakes. Get creative, and watch your meat last a lot longer!

-Speaking of meat, go without – Maybe just one day a week you can have a meatless dinner. Have a carnivore at home? No problem, do the meat, but cook a little less. Instead of a full pound in your Hamburger Helper, do 1/2 lb. When making soup, you can easily do a little less as well.

-Cook from the pantry – we all know this one, but it’s easier said than done. Have you ever tried Super Cook? This website is AWESOME! Head over there and enter the ingredients that you have RIGHT NOW in your pantry, and see how many amazing dishes you can make! I’ll be using this a lot from now on!

Okay, everyone…let’s make February Frugal!!

Thoughtful Thursday 2 comments

“Do it Anyway”

People are often unreasonable, irrational and self-centered;
Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives;
Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies;
 Succeed anyway.
If you are honest and sincere, people may deceive you;
Be honest and sincere anyway.
What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight;
Create anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous;
Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, will often be forgotten;
Do good anyway.
Give the best you have, and it may never be enough;
Give your best anyway.
In the final analysis, it is between you and God;
It was never between you and them anyway.

-Mother Theresa

Menu Plan for the Week.

photo credit
Okay, so I’m a little (2 days) behind on this one, but I REALLY did make a menu plan for the week! This is all just based on what I already have in the house:

Sunday: chicken, rice, and carrots (oh, and rolls)
Monday: mashed potatoes with turkey chunk gravy, salad
Tuesday: taco night!
Wednesday: dill roasted potatoes, oven fried tilapia fish, salad
Thursday: baked potato soup, rolls
Friday: beans and rice
Saturday: breakfast! (waffles, eggs, bacon or ham)
*I serve all dinner meals with fruit of the kids’ choice (used to do fruit salad, but it never was completely eaten and it’s gross and mushy the next day…so we do ONE fruit choice!)

Thoughtful Thursday 1 comment

“Every day you may make progress. Every step may be fruitful. Yet there will stretch out before you an ever-lengthening, ever-ascending, ever-improving path. You know you will never get to the end of the journey. But this, so far from discouraging, only adds to the joy and glory of the climb.”

-Sir Winston Churchill

Emergency Kits – How’re they Coming?

(Photo credit

So, how are your emergency kits coming? As I mentioned, this month we’re focusing on getting containers for our kits (something easy to grab quickly if needed), and starting to fill them with food! We’re working on getting one kit per person in the home.

I got a fantastic reader tip that I wanted to share for this week: When you are looking for food and personal care items to put in your kits, SHOP AT HOME FIRST!

It’s the time of year that a lot of people are gearing up for spring cleaning, and why not go through your stuff, clear some things out, and fill up your kit(s) at the same time? The other week, for example, I was going through my food storage, updating my inventory list, etc. Well, wouldn’t you know, I realized I have a few things that would be PERFECT for a 72-hour kit! Thanks to doing that, I’m only going to have to buy something for a snack. I’ve been able to fill ALL of our kits with enough food for 3 days, simply by cleaning up a bit.

What about your bathroom vanity or closet? Got any extra bars of soap, or travel sized shampoos lying around? Throw ’em in your kit!

Emergency Kit Updates… 5 comments

So, how are your emergency kits coming along? Have you selected any containers? Have you purchased any food and/or water for them?

I have not purchased a thing. That’s right. I’ll admit it. (shame, shame!!)

I DID, however, decide on my containers. After looking at other options, I decided that the backpacks I have will work just fine; I’ll just need to organize them a little better. Oh, and buy another one so there’s one for each of us. :-)

As for food and water, I did already have some things, so it’s really kind of okay that I didn’t buy more. I need to keep an eye out for some good deals. And that’s what you should do too! Don’t ever spend more than you can afford for emergency preparedness, because well then, you’re kinda creating your own emergency situation which isn’t the point exactly…right?

Anywho, I gathered a few things I already had:

and I divided them equally between the four kits.

One note about MRE’s: Obviously they are not exactly gourmet cuisine. And that is why my kits aren’t full of them. I decided to have at least one day worth of MREs for the space that they save, though. They are lightweight, easy to prepare, and take up such little space.

SO….I’ve now got 1 1/2 days of food/water in each kit. I’m not sure what else I should put in them yet, but I’ll keep working on it. What are some things you like to have in your kits?

Keep on building!!

Thoughtful Thursday 1 comment

“God the Eternal Father did not give [the] first great commandment because He needs us to love Him. His power and glory are not diminished should we disregard, deny, or even defile His name. His influence and dominion extend through time and space independent of our acceptance, approval, or admiration.”No, God does not need us to love Him. But oh, how we need to love God!”For what we love determines what we seek.”What we seek determines what we think and do.”What we think and do determines who we are—and who we will become.”

Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Making An Emergency Kit 5 comments

One of my goals this year is to improve my emergency kits. I have ’em, but I’ll be honest, they’ve got food and not much else in them. So each month I’ll be working on specific items to add, and I’ll try to post my progress weekly. If you don’t have an emergency kit for each member of your family, you should join me!!

(From the Utah Department of Public Safety):
There are six (6) basic items to include in any size emergency kits:
1. Food (that does not require cooking)
2. First Aid Supplies
3. Water
4. Tools/Emergency Supplies
5. Clothing and bedding
6. Special needs items
7. Money – CASH (this is one I felt I should add)

You should have emergency kits for:
1. Home
2. Child & Adult bedside backpack
3. House Pets
4. Vehicle
5. Baby Diaper Bag (if applicable)
6. Place of business
7. Picnics and camping

Wow…now, how I’m gonna fit all that stuff in my backpack kit, I don’t know, but I suppose since this is the year I’m going to WORK HARD at ALL I do, I’m gonna work at it until I figure something out!

The way I store my family’s emergency kits is in a few backpacks with wheels attached. (I emptied out some of the stuff so you could see inside.)

Then we also have a family bin that we have filled with some blankets, a hand-crank lantern, and a couple of these nifty burners you can make so easily.

And that’s IT! I mean, my gosh! No clothes, no medications, only a couple of bandaids, and that’s it! So, it’s time to get started!

This month’s focus will be on getting a container to hold your emergency kit in, and beginning to add food and water. Keep in mind the things you’ll need to include (see above list), and try to find something that will hold it. It will also need to be something that is easily accessible.

What kinds of containers do you keep your emergency kits in? I want more ideas!:-)

Thursday’s Thought

“Self Reliance is a product of our WORK and undergirds all other welfare practices. It is an essential element in our spiritual as well as our temporal well-being.”
-Thomas S. Monson

“There is no substitute under the heavens for productive labor. It is the process by which dreams become realities. It is the process by which idle visions become dynamic achievements.”
-Gordon B. Hinckley

Hard Work – My 2010 “Theme” 1 comment

So, who has set some resolutions for the new year? I’m a big “goal/resolution” nerd. I LOVE sitting down, weeks in advance, and planning out my goals for the next year, making plans for how to achieve those goals, etc. I struggled this year for some reason though. I just couldn’t get into the groove of planning. That changed, however, when I read an article in the Ensign (a church magazine). The title was “The Blessing of Work”.

Basically, it talks about how blessed we are to have the ability to work, and to work hard. Let’s be honest here, how much more do you treasure something when you’ve put a lot of work into it? Working hard for the things we have gives us a greater appreciation for them, and gives us a sense of pride in those things as well. So…my “Theme” for 2010 is HARD WORK.

I’ve set a few goals, just like always. However, there are fewer goals. I won’t be spreading myself as thinly this year. Maybe I won’t impress as many people with doing fewer things, and maybe it will seem like I’m not doing enough, but what I will do, I will do it with ALL I HAVE. I will work HARD at everything I commit to, and give it my 100%.

2009 was a good year for me, but I had a lot on my plate and I did a lot of my “jobs” at 50% or less sometimes, simply to survive. I don’t want to do half-wit jobs with my responsibilities anymore. If that means I have to have fewer responsibilities, that’s okay.