Triple Clicks

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! 


Thursday, December 14, 2017

Meal Plan for December

So I know, it's halfway through December, but we shop the 10th to the 10th.. (ish..) So I'm calling this the December month meal plan. 

I decided to do the meal plan for my post instead of what we ended up spending... because I don't know where my husband put the receipts. LOL   I do know we came in under budget by $60, which isn't the greatest we've done, but we did pick up a few extras we saw on sale while we were out. 

We have been keeping track of our calories (and vitamins..and.. well.. everything!) on a site Dennis found.  Through that, we found we are both in need of fiber.. So we added granola to our foods this month.  We also-ok, mostly Dennis, but then he gives me all the info-take the time to search the net and find what a food has in it to make sure we get everything entered correctly.  (Like bell peppers... each color is a little different in it's calories..) It also helps us verify we are getting the correct info for not only the labeled items (because it seems Fitbit uses a database put in by it's users, so it's often wrong in it's calories according to the labels), but also for the non labeled items that we are trying to eat more of. 

We also added buckwheat (mostly just for the waffles), and exchanged our white flour for wheat flour.   I didn't get too bad of a price on those, I was worried about the price, but thanks to the local co-op in Sioux Falls, I was able to get 10 pounds of Bob's Red Mill whole wheat flour for $10 and a 22 ounce bag of Arrowhead Mills buckwheat for $5.  I thought it was going to cost more than that.  

So onward to the meal plan. 

Breakfasts pretty much stay the same, though I am going to make the kids muffins to go with cereal... With all four eating cereal most days we are going through it way too fast.  Dennis' and I's stayed the same for his workdays, except for a granola for me and a granola bar for him.  Sunday mornings we'll do biscuits and gravy with eggs .... Seems to be  a big hit around here.   Wednesdays we do cowboy hash of some version.  

Lunches for the weekdays I don't get very creative with.. The kids and I eat mac & cheese or peanut butter and jelly (ok.. I usually eat leftovers or eggs and they eat those lol). Dennis does salads with fruit and pickles for snacks at work.  
Weekends (and Wednesdays when Dennis is home) we do chicken strips and fries (Sam's has good chicken strips).   Sundays we buy chips then we stop for hot sandwiches/chicken nuggets on the way home from church.  

So onto the interesting meals lol.  

Christmas day we'll do the homemade honey ham,  Hawaiian Rolls, Pecan Pie, candied sweet potatoes, regular potatoes, corn and bacon and green beans. (Now I'm hungry....)

For our regular suppers, we'll have leftovers from Christmas for 3-4 meals afterwards..
But.. we have on the list..
Shake N Bake
Hawaiian Fajitas
Ham Bone Soup
Ham and Potato casserole
Caramelized Onion Pizza/ Cheese pizza
Pizza (Sunday evenings we eat frozen pizza)
Garlic knot Pizza
Pork Tenderloins (the flavored Smithfield ones)

I rotate the meals throughout the month.  It does seem like a lot of pizza-but the caramelized onion pizza is different than conventional pizza... The kids don't like it, so they'll get homemade personal pans. 

I'll try to get the recipes out and maybe even with pictures as we do this...  

Have a great week!!


Monday, December 11, 2017

It's December Already?

About every three months or so I tell myself I need to make a plan about blog posts.  

About every four months I still haven't done it.  

Then guess where we end up? A month without a blog post.  


So. Here we go.  

My plans.  But we all know how plans go (I think I hear laughing somewhere....or maybe it's just in my head.) 

On the home school front,  we have two more weeks then we'll taking a break... My calendar says two weeks.. We'll see how long we last.. The break we took for Thanksgiving, Andrew was begging for chores by day 2. Guess who can do laundry now!! Grace got done with her preschool papers, but I didn't think she was quite ready for the kindergarten level, so I found a book on Amazon.  She's enjoying it.   We are definitely using what we have around the house for math, science and geography next year.  I think we'll keep doing Abeka Phonics for Andrew, but we'll see after I look through choices.  (So that's a future blog post... next spring.. after I figure things out lol.)  

But for now.  Focus. 

I was able to get fabric on the Black Friday sales.  So that's a blog post, at least one, after I vacuum. 

We also got rid the troublesome air beds we've been sleeping on since May and we have a memory foam.  I'll get a blog post going on that, too.   

And a blog post on what I use all this fabric for I have stocked up.  That could get interesting.. I admit to being a fabric hoarder and all this fabric has to find a purpose or go away.  

This week I'll also get a shopping post out as it's grocery week.  

So. That's my grand plans.  We'll see how it comes along. 

Have a great week!!