Monthly Archives: March 2010

Menu plan Monday!

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We are working hard on saving money on groceries this week (by the way, flour is on sale, yay for stocking up!) so we’re having a little less meat than usual this week. Which is always a good thing.

Sunday: (leftover) steak and eggs, fruit
Monday: Skillet macaroni and cheese (Weight Watchers recipe!), broccoli
Tuesday: Progresso soup and turkey and cheese sandwiches
Wednesday: Hamburger helper, stir-fry vegetables
Thursday: Grilled pork, cucumber, rolls or pasta, possibly fruit (if there’s any left!)
Friday: Shrimp…??? (The only reason I don’t have a recipe picked out is because I haven’t looked, but I do know we’re having shrimp something! Probably Weight Watchers too.)
Happily, none of the meat we’re eating was bought today, when we did our grocery shopping, so we’re cooking solely out of the freezer! Also happily there was a lot of great produce sales, so we stocked up on fruits and veggies and are planning on eating healthy for most meals this week!
As always, Menu Plan Monday is brought to you by Orgjunkie.com!

I’m an organizing maniac

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If you know me, then you know that I love to be organized. If you know my mom, you know where I got that trait from! I’ve been following Orgjunkie.com for a while now, and love all her tips, tricks and ideas, but unfortunately for me, I don’t have a lot of use for them just yet. Since I just moved into the townhouse here, and Geoff hadn’t been in it long enough to disorganize it completely, there isn’t a lot of organizing necessary…not yet anyway. I’m sure that will come.
I remember the first time I realized I was actually a neat person (by neat, I mean clean, not cool, though I do like to think I’m that too! But I digress). It was when we moved into the house my parents live in now, and I finally got my own room. After sharing a room of comprable size for most of my life, having the whole room to myself was amazing! I immediately set to organizing, cleaning and keeping it clean. That is when I discovered how much I love to organize!

One of my favorite stores (which I have yet to actually visit, just checked it out online!) is The Container Store. For a self-proclaimed organizing maniac, this place is heaven! Like I said, I have yet to actually visit a store, but I’m hoping that will change soon! (Bear with me, I am going somewhere with this!)
Yesterday I started volunteering for the youth group, Big House, at the church Geoff and I are members of. This is not a new volunteer experience for me; I did it when I was back in Massachusetts and loved it. It was the perfect fix of teens that I think I always needed. Now, between searching for jobs as a teen librarian, I needed that fix again! So I volunteered for the youth group. Little did I know that it could go beyond just helping at La Mesa on Wednesday nights (by the way, last night was my first night and it was so much fun!)
Robert, the youth leader, has a problem. He has too much to do, not enough time, and (willingly) gave up his intern budget for the spring, so he also has no help. His office is a mess, and he worries that people will perceive his ministry as a mess too…something it is far from, I can assure you!
I have a problem too. I have nothing to organize and I’m home all day! Perfect! Today I’m going to Robert’s office to find an organizing system that works for him, and organizing that office to make it a place he actually wants to bring parents and teens into! Best of all, he still has a little room in his budget for necessities like filing cabinets. It’s heaven for me…there’s money to organize and plenty to do! I can’t wait to get started!

Menu plan Monday and a first month of budgets

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I’ve been slacking in the blogging department, but in my defense, we had a friend visiting and Geoff’s birthday to celebrate, so I’ve been spending less time on the computer in general. Which isn’t always a bad thing!

Here is this week’s menu plan, as always brought to you by Orgjunkie.com!

Monday: Shrimp scampi, breadcrumb and spinach salad
Tuesday: Grilled steak, pasta, grilled zucchini
Wednesday: Grilled chicken, mashed potatoes and fruit
Thursday: Hamburger helper, broccoli
Friday: Soup and sandwiches
Saturday: Night out!

This week I’m attempting to use up what we have in the freezer and also buy meat when it’s on sale. It’s something I know I should have been doing all along, but it’s difficult to make so many changes at once. This week’s grocery bill was the lowest we’ve had all month, and look what we’re having! Steak, shrimp, hamburger…I’m thrilled!

This was also the first month we attempted to get a regular budget going. Based on a number of factors, we have determined that $250 a month is what we’re going to start out at. Every Sunday we go grocery shopping and I’ve been keeping track of our spending for food. This month we came out about $30 under budget, but since there are 5 weeks in March I just added it to April’s budget. All in all, I’m happy with how it worked out, and though it’s only been a month I’m glad to be sticking to the budget so far!

Space Needle and the Zoo!

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Remember when I got the Entertainment book?¬†Well, I am pleased to say that it has not only paid for itself in just a few short weeks, but it provided entertainment for our friend’s Spring Break visit this week!
Kim introduced Geoff and I, and we are eternally grateful! She’s still in school and decided to come visit us for her break this past week. Thanks to the Entertainment book we were able to visit a small local zoo and the Experience Music Project/Science Fiction Museum in Seattle this week…for half off!

Since the museums are right next to the Space Needle, we decided also to go up there and take a look. It was my first time up and, as you can see from this picture, it was a typical Seattle day…cloudy and drizzly! But it was still a lot of fun, and a nice view all the same.

Yesterday the sun came out and we were able to really enjoy the zoo! It was a small zoo in the town we live in, but it was a lot of fun and there were plenty of animals there to amuse us! It was also nice to get out and spend a bit of time in the sun and fresh air.

I’m a sucker for feeding animals when it’s an option. This mule deer was thrilled to eat the pellets the zoo provided!
As were the emus in the next picture. They were really funny as they’d peck at my hand (without hurting, they don’t have teeth of course!)

It was a very fun day!

The usefulness of Freecycle

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I definitely underestimate what a great resource I have in Freecycle. When I was in Alabama I got a few things from Freecycle and got rid of more, though most of my large furniture I was trying to tell on Craigslist. But I don’t think I use Freecycle as often as I could!

Geoff and I are trying to save up for a new couch and loveseat set, but we just haven’t made it yet. I don’t like the couch he had when I moved in; it’s from Target and flattens down to a twin bed. Unfortunately it also has a bar right down the middle that hurts when you both lie and sit on it! It’s perfect for the office/guest room, but I wanted it OUT of the living room!

So when a love seat appeared on Freecycle, I jumped right on it! Since they were right around the corner from us, the owners even offered to deliver it, because neither of our cars were big enough to get it. I was thrilled, to say the least. This new one, which even the cat loves, will serve to hold us off from getting a new couch for just a little longer.

I even tested it’s nap-ability out. I had an excellent nap on it yesterday!

Nothing says unemployed like a thrift store puzzle!

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This past week, in an effort to get out of the house and explore, I visited a small thrift store in my town. I’ve been looking for a small bench for our entry way, and also a standing coat rack for the coats we use most often and thought this store might have something I could use. Alas, it didn’t have what I was looking for, but it did have an excellent puzzle for $1! There were several options, so I figured if I like this one, I’ll take it back (this store takes donations too) and get another one. They also have several old board games like Life and Mall Madness for under $5 that I thought I might check out next time. Nothing like some cheap entertainment!
By the way, I’ve done all that on the puzzle since Thursday! With no help from Geoff, because he’s not that interested, but plenty of help from the cat. She’s a little too interested!

Food Waste Friday

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It was not a good week for food waste for us, I’m ashamed to admit. However, I did learn some valuable lessons this week, and hope to prevent further waste next week!

I’m very distressed to report that I had to throw out cheese this week. I LOVE cheese, and the fact that this one got moldy is an indication of just how long it’s been around, because cheese takes forever to mold. Unfortunately, this cheese is pepperjack, and I don’t like that type of cheese. I tried to use it on Geoff, but apparently forgot about it, so it went bad. Have no fear, there will most likely be no more cheese here anymore because typically I use it all up very quickly!

I’m even more distressed, no, embarrassed, to show you this next photo.

I’m embarrassed because that is a lot of salad that we didn’t eat. The problem is, lettuce goes bad too quickly and for some reason I bought the family size of lettuce. I had good intentions when I did buy it, but apparently they didn’t make it very far. The bottom container has leftover salad that never made it with Geoff to work, or to be eaten by me.
The top container has vegetables and broth in it, and it’s from before we were married 2 months ago. In cleaning out the freezer I found it, defrosted it and sent it with Geoff for lunch one day, but he came back saying that it just wasn’t that great. Apparently the freezing, defrosting and reheating of the vegetables really left something to be desired. Since I learned recently from The Frugal Girl that if you don’t enjoy something there’s no sense in forcing yourself to keep eating it, it went into the compost. Along with that lettuce, but not the cheese, of course.

I’m really hoping that next week is better for us!
Go to The Frugal Girl’s site to see more food waste that is hopefully less than ours!