Getting What You Pay For

This is my sweet mom and my son (18).
Her eyes are not closed because she blinked,
they are closed because she treasures the closeness.
Take time today to treasure the closeness.

(Note: I wrote this to a friend 8 years ago, when my kids were 10 and 12.  I now want to SCREAM it to those with kids still at home:  Treasure. The. Time.)

I am one frugal mama!  (Can I get an amen?)

I used to call myself “cheap,” but my Man didn’t like that very much.  Suffice it to say that I see bargain shopping as a competitive sport, worthy of Olympic status.  Seriously.

What I want to talk about has nothing to do with where to find the cheapest price on cheese this week (Grocery Outlet, by the way), rather it has to do with how you invest your time.  Specifically, how you invest your time with your children. Time is money.  Time is not cheap.  Time is fleeting.

We have 18 years, give or take a few here and there, depending on the circumstances, to invest in our children’s lives.  It seems so long at the beginning! Now that we are more than halfway through this bumping, winding, ever-exciting path of parenting, 18 years ain’t nothing!  No time at all.  I remember the hospital, lots of sleeping, nursing, and BOOM! here we are staring down the teen years like a double barrel shotgun aimed straight for our eyes. YIKES!  It makes me want to shore up how I spend my time.

There are things that rob time and kill relationship.  These are a huge waste.

Things that waste my time:  the internet, facebook, netflix, arguing with people in my brain, bad memories, being mad, gossiping, carrying a grudge

Things that redeem my time:  Teaching my kids, actively ministering together, snuggling, reading, cooking, learning, being a team, building a fire, setting up the camper, taking the more scenic route, cleaning my house, writing.

As you are looking for ways to save money, I encourage you to spend equal time looking for ways to wisely spend your time. Invest that time in those things that last forever.

3 Hots: Week 5, Day 4

Today we worked on a couple of house projects.  This means that all of the meals today were prepared by our Daughter, 13, and son, 11.  Actually most (like 90%) of the cooking in our home is done by the kids.  Let’s hear it for training up kids!  WOO-HOO!


Lunch – We built a bonfire outside to burn off some odds and ends from splitting wood, so the kids decided to roast hotdogs over the fire.  We don’t eat buns with our dogs.  just not needed.
Mac and Cheese (left overs)
Greens (left overs)

Spaghetti with homemade meat sauce with hidden veggies.  When the kids were little I started hiding veggies in different foods. Meat sauce is the easiest place to do this. Tonight’s sauce had carrots, onions, and zucchini.  We saute the veggies, then use an immersion blender on them before adding them to the sauce.

Tomorrow we have pork on the menu. That went into the brine tonight so it can soak for 24 hours. This makes a huge difference in the flavor and juiciness.


3 Hots: Week 5, Day 3… naughty girl!

OK.  I know.  I make all these promises and I break them.  Naughty, naughty me.  Things are just so busy and blah, blah, blah…

So here we are on Wednesday, let me catch you up.

Monday we went for our store run.  We found the following for $1.49:
3 packs of Mushrooms
5 lb bags of Fuji apples
5 lb bags of Red Delicious apples
3 lb bag of lemons
bag of org celery
bag of baby Romaine lettuce
3 lb bag of onions

In addition, we gathered 6 lbs of Kale and Curly Mustard greens from Mom’s garden.  Their garden has been crazy productive all winter, and we are very thankful.


Apple Breakfast Cobbler
Baked potatoes
Butter, sour cream and cheese
DinnerLettuce wraps – chicken, cabbage, carrots, onions, water chestnuts
Romaine Lettuce
Hashbrowns (made from the left over potatoes from lunch yesterday)
Homemade chicken noodle soup – Yesterday I bought a pack of chicken breasts, brought them home and filleted them.  We used the meat for the Lettuce Wraps, and then boiled the bones with celery and onions and spices to make stock.  We used that to make the soup today.  To the stock we added carrots, celery, onions and noodles.
DinnerSteaks (we found them marked down to half price at the store Monday.  We bought 2 and just split them.)
Mac and cheese (such a comfort food!  We used De’Boles corn pasta for this.)
Kale and Mustard Greens from Granny’s garden
Greek Salad

So that is this week so far.

If you are interested in any recipes or have ideas to share, please feel free to.



Week 4, Day 1: Back on the wagon…

Well, that was a crazy week that just got away from me.  Back on the straight and narrow this week.  I intend to follow through… we shall see.

Monday is our mark-down day at our grocery.  Here are my 1.49 deals on Produce:
2 – 3 lb bags of organic pears
1 – 3 lb bag of organic apples
1.5 lbs of org cukes
2 lb of Lemons
12 oz org mushrooms
8 oz org mushrooms
2 – 1 lb org Spinach
4 – 24 oz bags of grated cabbage
2 crowns of org celery
Meats today brought us a huge surprise!  There was a new boy working in the butcher area, and he marked down the pork chops, ham hocks and loin chops to .09 cents per pound.  He would not accept that he made a mistake, so we got packs of all of those for .14 – .39 a pack.  You really can’t beat that one!  Mayberry’s pork is more expensive than that!

Raisin Bread Toasted
Scrambled eggs with onions and ham

Stir fried a bag of the grated cabbage with some ground pork that we seasoned with ginger and Thai spices.  Added in leftover broccoli, rice and carrots from last night.  YUM!

Chicken wings with hot sauce and Blue cheese
Salad – had to balance out the rest of it somehow

We put a whole chicken to brine tonight.  It is butterflied and we will bake it tomorrow evening.  Brining meat ahead of time adds so much flavor to it.  Really worth the effort.

Let me know if you have any questions or suggestions.


3 Hots: Week 3, Days 1 – 3

Sorry. I have been a ba-a-a-a-d girl.  I will do better. I promise.

Monday we did our produce and meat run.  We found organic, whole chickens for .99/lb. Got all they had!  We love roasting whole chickens. So much you can do: enjoy eating it hot from the oven, make chicken salad, boil the carcass for stock, etc.  Chicken: It’s the gift that keeps on giving.

Oatmeal with apples and almonds

Salad  – do-it-yourself let’s the kids decide what they want on their own salad. This means they eat it all up!

Stir fry with chicken and rice.  Buying bags of shredded veggies makes stir fry super easy!


Blueberry Pancakes – this used up the last of the blueberries we bought a couple of weeks ago.


We found 5# bags of baking potatoes for 1.49 yesterday.  We also found 24 oz steamer bags of broc, carrots and cauliflower for 1.49.  We combined this today for lunch:
Baked Potatoes
Steamed veggies
Toppings: 1 TBSP Butter, 1 TBSP Sour cream, 2 oz cheese, green onions

Chicken wings  – some hot, some not


We took the left over baked potatoes from yesterday and diced them to make hashbrowns.  Baking the potatoes takes the moisture out and they make very crispy hash! We diced onions into the pan with the potatoes at the beginning. When these were translucent, I broke in a couple of eggs, and added some fresh parm. YUM!

The girls baked a loaf of bread (GF, of course!) and we used that to make PB&J’s.  Nothing can beat a PB&J sandwich on still-warm fresh bread!
carrots and apple slices are the perfect sides

The Girl made her world-famous meatloaf for dinner.
Rice and Green beans rounded out the meal

I will see you back here soon.


3 Hots: Week 2, Day 4

It’s Thursday already?!  Where has this week gone?

We had our homeschool co-op group here today, and that means each family brought a dish to share. Co-op lunches are generally junk-foodier (I made that word up. HA!)  than we usually make, and today was no exception.
Nacho Dip – Velveeta (which is Gluten Free. Who knew?!), hamburger and Ro-tel, served with tortilla chips
Egg salad sandwiches on Chebe rolls
No-Bake Cookies – made with GF oatmeal, peanut butter and chocolate
Baked potatoes – Our Girl cut them in half lengthwise and put them cut side down on a baking sheet prepared with olive oil.  This cuts the baking time in half, and gives the potatoes a crisp, yummy side that reminds one of a french fry.  Nothing wrong with that!
Green Beans
Junk food every now and then isn’t so bad if you balance it with healthier foods over a period of days.
See you Friday.