Triple Clicks

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

New Meals for March and Budget for Shopping

So here's our new recipes for March, scroll on down for the budget on the shopping trip. Usually we just do a few meals a month that are new, but out of desperation of needing to cut out the extra things that more complicated recipes required, we are doing more new... But we've had the basic flavor of the recipe before, so it should be good. 

To keep the recipes, I bind the printed ones we like with my comb binder.  I'll be getting bigger spines soon, but Dennis just bought a small one for now. I do need to find my cardstock to create better covers... 

Another thing you might notice, you'll be redirected on the links through a website called My Fridge Food. Dennis found it somehow (probably through Tech Gumbo on YouTube). You go through, tell it what you have in your fridge, and it gives you recipes. If you are someone who doesn't make a meal plan, but having a hard time coming up with meals, check out this site.  

Sunflower Crunch Salad
Dorito Taco Salad
Pesto Parmesan Chicken with homemade pesto
Honey Garlic Crock Pot Chicken
Ritz Chicken
Sweet Italian Chicken
Skinny Sweet Chicken
Simply Mexican Chicken

These are all on our meal plan for March.  So head over there and read that if you haven't already.  

Let me know if a link doesn't work, and I'll put the recipe on here instead.  Honestly, the only one I'm skeptical about is the pesto parmesan, but hey, we like pesto so it's worth a shot.  

So I was going to end the blog here.. But since we did awesome and actually came in way under what I thought we would with grocery shopping... I thought I'd share that this month too.  Usually we don't get many sales, so what we spend on food is... a lot..  But God got us through and we were able to find sales... even if it seemed like we went to ALMOST every store in town.  

We did get the bad news that the bakery outlet was closing... That is sad, sad news.  She told me Walmart usually has bread for 60-80 cents a loaf...  So we'll check that, but I'm pretty sure we're headed for a bread maker and homemade bread. 

We went to HyVee this month.. One of the stores I had stopped because they raised their prices to serve the organic crowd... We ran into a tip on Youtube to use refrigerated pizza crust as cinnamon roll dough, so we figured we'd give it a shot.  While the taste wasn't too bad, the price was the same as buying the Pillsbury rolls at Sams.. So it wasn't a win in the cost.  We added cabbage to our salad mixes, although it didn't dawn on me until we got home that I have to store it in the fridge, so I'm currently rearranging things to get the other two heads in the fridge and it's supposed to warm up this week so my outside storage is going away.  We also decided to get the Chinese dinner for 4 at Hyvee (29.99) for supper Saturday night, it gave us a 20 cent discount off per gallon of gas and was something different other than pizza.  So that brought our total at HyVee to 111.21 (though taking off the 30.00 for supper, we're at $71.21-so that's the number we're going with for groceries). We also received .65 off per gallon of gas.

At the last trip to the bakery outlet, they had bread for $1 a loaf vs the normal $ .75.. considering the tight budget I would have gotten the bread somewhere else, but it was nice to give the outlet 
one last trip. $13.62 (I got jelly)

Sam's was one of our biggest places.  Though we did some price checking as we were going along and found some things cheaper than buying them in more convenient packing. We shopped on the instant savings ad and saved $19.50 Sam's total was $273.42

We stopped at a local pharmacy, Lewis Drug, for some things we would typically get at Walmart.. It ended up not being the best idea as it didn't save us any money over buying things at Walmart. But we did get a coupon off for 10 cents per gallon of gas at a local gas station-so that's a win. $40.26

Aldis saved us a stop with their prices, we usually get what we can there.  Their diapers were also $5 cheaper, so I was able to get enough of their diapers to equal the Walmart brand price to last us the month.. without going to Walmart.   I was super excited to find Chipolte Ranch dressing, which the taste should be extremely close the spicy ranch we got from Popeyes I loved on chicken strips.  Total was $142.02 

Our last store was Sunshine Foods, another local market.  We mostly only grabbed the sale items, but we did need some specialty vinegars for a recipe so we grabbed them there instead of HyVee... then learned they were cheaper by a few dollars each at HyVee.  You win some, you lose some.  $33.07

That brings our grand total to $573.60. For 6 of us for five weeks.  So $114.72 for every week for 3 meals plus snacks.  My figures had put us closer to $700... Which is a ton, but that was with cutting any non essential I could.  We did grab some extras at Aldi's we saw (such as the Chipolte Ranch dressing, and some snacks that were on sale for a treat).  

We are looking at ways to cut costs.. mostly looking into meatless meals of some sort at this point as we have many ideas for cheaper meals using meat.  Hopefully we'll be able to bring the price to a more sustainable number.  

Have a great week! 


Thursday, March 8, 2018

March Meal Plan

Hello again!  

Sorry I haven't been posting much,  I'm running out of ideas for posts... and morning sickness is making my ambition go out the window.  We have been getting a lot of snow this month, winter has finally found us!! YAY! It's been a long time since I've seen a winter like this and though I'm ready to get out and walk, it's nice having the snow. 

I have tried vlogs... but. Well. Kids. It's also a little intimidating knowing that other vloggers are getting reported to CPS for having messy houses (just like... normal messy houses that comes from not cleaning constantly), and my house is lived in, it's not a show piece.  I want to do more vlogs, I want to learn how to edit them... But people are just plain mean over the internet. 

I have been sewing, I do have pictures on the camera... but the camera is in the car because I was trying to get pictures of the bald eagles on the drive to church last week. 

So onto the meal plan.  I made the meal plan.. then did the grocery list.. and the checkbook laughed... So hubby helped me redo the meal plan and grocery list... and the checkbook still laughed. SO Round 3.  The checkbook is still laughing, but quite honestly, we gotta eat...  So,  Lord willing, we'll make it.  God's got us. 

I will do a whole post of the new meals we have.. Dennis and I spent a few hours watching different videos on Amazon and YouTube yesterday to find "meals on the cheap".  Obviously their prices for the total meal are going to be different because those shows only make meals for one or two people... But the less ingredients, the cheaper it is.   And if it tastes awesome with the less ingredients, then why not?   

We also (reluctantly) added spaghetti back into the meal plan.  We haven't had pasta for dinner of any sort since Dennis started his diet in July.  So we compromised... We will be pairing it with salad, no garlic bread (whimper, we LOVE garlic bread-but the calories!!!), and less spaghetti as we will be doing salad with it.  Now, since Dennis eats salad everyday, I had to get a little creative with the salad... You know those Dole (or whatever brand..) premix salads they have now in the fresh foods sections?  We LOVE the sunflower crunch, so I went online and found that recipe and we'll be doing that with spaghetti.

Pizza on Sundays every other week for supper 
Honey Garlic Crock Pot Chicken for the other Sunday suppers
Mondays are spaghetti day with salad
Dorito Taco Salad 
Pesto Parmesan chicken
Ritz chicken
pork tenderloin
Sweet Italian Chicken
Skinny Sweet Chicken
Simple Mexican Chicken 
Parmesan Chicken

So that's our meal plan. About half it is repeated more than once, but a lot of the new ones that we aren't so sure about liking, we're trying once and probably continue but we want to try first before we commit.  

Since I'm feeling blech today, I'm going to sit here and start typing on the recipe blog..  

Have a good week! 


Wednesday, February 7, 2018

February Meal Plan

Has it been another month already?  

I'm in the middle of making pajama pants for the older girls and I.  Shirts for me... Of course we have school and the usual housekeeping duties that never end.  

One of things I did this month was clean off part of my kitchen counter.  We bought a new water filtration system after receiving reports on what exactly was in our water... So we are filtering it through the RO system from Culligan and also an Alexapure. The water tastes so much better with this, although now we are noticing how much chlorine is in our straight faucet water. Smells like a swimming pool when we run water for baths and dishes. :(   In the process of cleaning off my counter I went through my massive stack of cookbooks.  I got rid of most of them, but I found one (well... three actually) book from my mom's old crockpot (...bought in the '70s or '80s old crockpot judging the olive green outside).  So I looked through it and found some yummy looking recipes, so we'll be slowly trying some of those.  

So... The meal plan for this month.  

Breakfasts are eggs, bacon and yogurt for Dennis and I.  Days he's home we alternate between cowboy hash, waffles and cinnamon rolls or biscuits and gravy. We're doing cinnamon rolls this month.  The kids get cereal or muffins and eggs if they want.  

Lunches on the weekends are chicken strips and fries or fish and fries.   For Sundays, since we don't get out of church until after noon, we take drinks and chips then stop and get hot sandwiches.  

We have one special meal this month.. We actually have two birthdays, but Grace decided to be daddy's birthday present 4 years ago and came the day before his birthday.. So we combine... Dennis picks the meal and we do whatever cake Grace wants, in the past we've done cake and ice cream, but in the interest of keeping the calories lower, we are sticking with cake with Grace's favorite characters. (Which reminds me... I need to check how much food dye I have for the icing..)  So.. Dennis of course picked surf and turf.  Steaks for the adults, brats for the kids (crazy kids don't like steak) and coconut shrimp for everybody-the kids went crazy over the coconut shrimp last month and last month Sam's had a good sized box for $12.   We'll do roasted vegetables and biscuits for an added treat.  

Other meals.. 
Shake n Bake
Pork Tenderloin
Pizza on Sunday evenings
Seafood chowder (one of the recipes I found in the crockery cookbook)
Garlic Knot Pizza Casserole
Pork Chops
Angry Chicken
Parmesan Chicken (I had printed off a recipe from a friend that was pizza chicken..that sounds right... my recipe disappeared.. but showing it to Dennis he says "sounds like Parmesan chicken with pepperoni"... so, we'll just call it Parmesan chicken) 

We have a few meals of leftovers because soups and the pizza casserole always give us leftovers.  The pork tenderloin usually does, too.  

The sales aren't so friendly this month so I'm dreading the bill. Each of those meals are repeated every other week, except for the Shake n Bake and the pizza which is once a week.  Also the seafood chowder is just once, I know we'll get leftovers.. but we don't want it done more than once when we are just trying it.

Have a great week! 


Thursday, January 25, 2018

Getting the Most Out Of Your Fabric

I can remember both of my grandmas and my great aunt having piles and piles of fabric. PILES AND PILES of it.  

They all were little girls when the depression hit and they were taught to not waste a thing. The generation that used flour sacks for dresses.  And patched fabric until there wasn't anything left to patch.  

So what can we take from them? What can we learn?  Use that fabric until it's nothing, then use the shreds for stuffing.  

If we can't sell clothes we have outgrown or just don't wear anymore, I try and figure out a way to repurpose for somebody else in the family.  Sometimes the clothes go to thrift shop or another family that can use.  But usually the clothes aren't fit for re-wear by somebody the same size. 

I've repurposed some of my husband's old pants into skirts for me. I still love them, though I've added buttons because the ties just don't stay tight.  Honestly that's the only project I can think of that I've made clothes out clothes lol.. Or that have actually turned out well.  I've made a few jumpers, but they haven't lasted long.  

When I sew, any scraps that are too little to do anything with go in a plastic bag hanging off my sewing table. Once that bag gets full I stuff a bean bag or I make a doll pillow.  If I get a strip of fabric that's at least an inch wide, it goes in a different bag for crocheting-fabric works great for rugs or baskets. 

Most of my torn up sheets are getting cut up for quilting.  If I have a whole sheet that's still nice that we won't use, I save it for the backing of a quilt.  Another way to use that up is to make a fitted sheet out of it.   I haven't tried that yet, but I know there's tutorials on Pinterest and YouTube if you are feeling adventurous.  

I've used flannel and fleece scraps to make nursing pads and feminine pads.   Yes, using new cotton is best (I've had to put new tops on mine as the old cotton has fallen off), but if what you have is scraps, use it up.  Find a purpose.  

I'm working on a quiet book for Hannah for church.  What a great use for scraps!  And this felt I have.  Plus it's helping me learn some basic sewing things-like zipper installing. lol  

If you don't want to quilt, save up your scraps and ask around.  I'm sure there's somebody close to you who quilts and would love fabric.  I've taken some bags of fabric to the ladies who make quilts for families who need blankets. While I'm sure it didn't make one whole quilt, there was no way I was going to get to that fabric anytime so it might as well have been used.  Hopefully it's keeping somebody warm.  

Have old blankets that are falling apart?  "Repair" them by encasing them in a sheet.  Or fold it in half and top it with denim-instant rug, play mat or picnic mat.  You name it.   

Have an old flannel sheet that has gotten holes and you don't want to patch it?  Kid pajamas!!! Seriously. I made two sets of pajamas for our girls from half a king size sheet that had seen it's last days as a sheet.  Or pajama pants for you.  Just trace a pair you already have, make sure you leave room for seam allowances and elastic at the waist.. otherwise they look funny (...not that I would know from personal experience.....)

I completely understand just wanting to get rid of stuff. I'm there. Believe me, I'm PAST there (just ask my hubby).. But I also know I need to be smart about this..  I know I want to make the kids quilts.  So instead of just getting rid of all this miscellaneous fabric, I'm cutting it into squares to cut smaller later (maybe).  I kind of have an idea of the patterns I want for the quilts for at least two kids, so that gives me an idea of which ones to sort by.  Cut squares store a lot easier than miscellaneous pieces.  

So before you purge your fabric, think about it.  Are you going to be quilting? Clean out your linen closet to make room for new?  You can make a toddler dress out of a pillow case or two depending on the size of your toddler.  Barbies or baby dolls need clothes-that's an awesome use of fabric!  

Yes, there are some things I think it is better to just get new fabric for (like the backing of a quilt).. But more often than not, using your scraps can work just as well, and save you a lot of money.  
My fabric-3 1/2 boxes of flannel.  Not counting the quilting material.  The bag in the front of the pile is my crochet fabric bag.  I need to get sewing.

Have a great week! 

Thursday, January 11, 2018

January Meal Plan

So here's the meal plan for this month.  Although one meal has changed, so I'm going to have to do some switching around... but it's the plans lol.  I have everything I need as we went shopping yesterday, so I just need to rearrange so we aren't having the same meal too often.  

We do have two birthdays this month.  Last year we decided we would rotate which child got a store bought ( cream cake lol) for their birthday.  Since Hannah's birthday was right after we got home from vacation last year, we bought a cake.  We decided after that it was worth the cost to splurge a bit on the cake on one birthday a year.  Dairy Queen up here charges $25 plus tax for a 10 inch round cake.. Depending on how big I cut pieces, we have dessert for at least two days.  Also, the ice cream cakes will hold up to almost any small toy we can put on top for decoration since they are frozen.  

So for the birthdays, Eva requested pizza (nobody is surprised by that).  So we have extra pizza for Saturday and we stopped and bought her a cake.  My birthday is the next.  We bought some coconut shrimp to go along with tortilla encrusted tilapia (the kids won't eat shrimp-MORE FOR US! LOL), and (inspired by my aunt) I'm making biscotti for my "cake".   Hopefully it turns out.  

The rest of the meals are pretty routine, we're kind boring when it comes to meals lol.  

Breakfast: weekdays are eggs, bacon, yogurt, and cereal.  Weekends, Saturdays we do waffles and Sundays we're doing biscuits and gravy.  

Lunches:  Dennis' work lunches are salads-he always picks different dressing to change up the flavor, we've added cucumber to the romaine and spinach mix along with croutons, bacon bits and sunflower seeds.  He also gets boiled eggs, a pickle, a fruit cup and a package of nutty bars to snack on throughout the day.  
The kids and I will do a variety of mac & cheese, PB & J, pancakes-and I usually work on leftovers throughout the week.  
The weekends and Wednesdays when Dennis is home we'll alternate between fish and fries, chicken strips and fries and corn dogs and fries. 

Dinners:  We alternate, we'll have each meal about once a week, or once every two weeks. 

Hawaiian Fajitas
Pork Tenderloin (Smithfield, we find it at Walmart, about $8 a loin) 
Shake N Bake
BBQ Wings
Ranch Pork Chops
Fish (I did have caramelized Onion pizza here...  but hubby requested no more lol)
Stuffed Peppers 

That's it for the month.. Really basic, really.  Sam's had a box of the coconut shrimp with the dip.. so it saved me the task of getting regular shrimp and the ingredients for the sauce.. So that's what we did.  Really unusual for us to be able to buy shrimp, but we try to splurge a bit to make birthdays special.  

Have a great week!


Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Toddler Dress from a Pillow Case

I went through my sheets and pillowcases the other day and came out with an entire pile of extras (who needs 30 pillowcases?!?!).. So I kept the solid colors, enough for everybody to have one pillow case.  I also kept an extra sheet for each bed size (King, twin, crib and queen).   

We had some pretty crazy designs of hand-me-down pillow cases.  Our 18 month old had been trying to wear one since she found in the pile.. So I went online this morning and found this free pattern and tutorial.  Super easy, although the bodice was a little too small for my girl, it'll fit for a few months and that's just fine.. I'm honestly not sure how much longer this fabric will last anyway.

After Hannah figured out what I was doing, she went and found another pillow case. The bottom one is what I'm working with. 
Now she's supervising.. It took some convincing to get her to let go of the pillow case to let me cut. (On a side note.. you see behind Hannah? that big pile?... yeah..that's my quilting fabric. I also use an exercise ball for my sewing "chair".)

YAY!! All the pieces are cut out. 

The pattern calls for a rolled hem...  I think they are pretty simple to do by hand, but I have this foot specifically for rolled hems.. so I figured, hey-give it shot.  No. It didn't work. 

Like any dress, you have to gather the skirt to attach the yoke (that's the part that goes on your chest if you don't know).  While gathering itself is something I've learned to do by hand... I have this awesome foot.  Now... I know I'm supposed to weave it in there somewhere.. at least I think I'm supposed to...  But it wouldn't work like that... So.. I got most of it ruffled-at least enough to make it fit.

All done!!  Now, you are suppose to add a button at the back of the yoke to keep it closed... But after she tried it on, there wasn't anyway it was coming off.. And it fits tight enough we won't need the button.   It's a little shorter than I was planning, but it was a great practice run.   

Have a great week!! 


Thursday, December 28, 2017

Fabric Deals

I was finally able to get some fabric for shirt for me. 

My only pitfall was what seemed on sale was everything that didn't sell during the year, so the choices weren't that great in my opinion.  I do absolutely love one of the patterns, I wish I had gotten more of it, but I bought 2 yards of each, which will give me enough for a shirt out of each pattern. 

I LOVE that top pattern.  The white one you can kind of see peeking out... we thought it was a different color, I guess I didn't read the description clearly...  And that pink background... Yeah... that's probably going to end up as a dress for one of the girls.  But hey, for about $1.50 a yard each... really not THAT bad of choices.  

I have patterns for shirts already.  So I need to get to sewing.  I'll get at least five shirts out of all this, really not a bad price. 

I'm really looking forward to getting rid of shirts that are too small, but that couldn't be replaced until I got something different.  My ultimate wardrobe goal is to have around 5 "going out" outfits..  Some that are more hardy to wear for grocery shopping and yard work, and some that are nicer for church or family outings. These could all be mixed up by wearing with different shirts as I'm working on getting all the pants out of my wardrobe. Of course, then there's the pajama pants and t-shirts I will have to part with that I practically live in lol. 

Total cost was right around $45.  My limit was $50, so I came in under budget a  bit.  

Have a great week!