Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Everlasting Love

The Lord appeared to him from far away. I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued to extend faithful love to you.
Jeremiah 31:3

Lord, I praise you for loving me always and for drawing me toward you with your faithful love.

I praise you for giving us a heart that craves love for your to fill.

Your love is bigger than I can understand and much more than I am capable of giving to others without your help.

Please allow me to feel your love today and show me how to pour that love on others.

Thank you for all your blessings...


Monday, January 25, 2010

Need to Re-Think the Menu Plan

We made our first visit to the orthodontist last week and it seems as though life as we have known it is about to change. Both youngsters will be in braces next month. Luckily the orthodontist uses payment plans, but I have a feeling that this is going to take all the "fun money" out of our budget. Exactly HOW much is yet to be seen.

Regardless, the little man is overly excited about this new adventure and very proud to be one of the firsts in his class to wear braces. The sweet tween is not happy to say the least.

I am in search of ways to save on the grocery bill. For the past year or so, I have not been restrain ted by a confining grocery budget. But I need to now! On average, I spend $150 on groceries and the goal is to knock it to $100 or less. Coupons do NOT work for me as I have tried to use them on and off during the years, so I am trying to just cut back the old fashion way. Budget friendly meals, homemade snacks, shop from what you already have on-hand.

I am proud to say that I have made this goal for 2 weeks now even on a restricted diet!

Sunday - Nana's homemade vegetable soup and grill cheese sandwiches ( all ingredients at home already)
Monday - Spaghetti with rice noodles (noodles on hand, buy sauce and meat) I already have Parmesan cheese too!
Tuesday - Chicken Stirfry and rice - bought a frozen pack of stirfry vegetables ( I like to make my own seasonings and rice to add so I buy vegetables only). I added fresh broccoli and canned water chestnuts and bamboo shoots. Chicken tenders were also purchased for this meal.
Wednesday - Black Beans and rice. I already had 2 cans black beans. I bought some celery, carrots, onions and smoked sausage.
Thursday - Chicken sandwiches and roasted fresh veggies. I marinate the chicken overnight ( all ingredients for marinade were already on hand) I bought chicken breasts, tomato and lettuce. I all ready had buns. Andy I bought a pack of fresh cut up veggies to roast.

For school lunches I added lunch meat, bread, yogurts, chips, granola bars, grapes and strawberries. Carrots and celery will be used here too. I eat left-overs for my lunches.

Breakfasts will include cereal, oatmeal and homemade muffins.

Add in couple of cleaning supplies and my total was $93.00!

Don't forget to visit Organization Junkie for more ideas!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Envelope System Wallet

After a very busy holiday, I am slowly cranking out more of the Envelope System Wallets! I will be listing 3 wallets today with a varying price range to accommodate different budgets! After a year, I am still using AND loving my wallet. I would like to take a moment and answer the most frequent questions I receive.

1. How many envelopes will fit in the wallet? My listings show 3 envelopes. You can request additional envelopes for $3.00 a piece. The wallet will realistically fit 5-6 envelopes. I actually have 6 envelopes that I use, but they are rarely all in my wallet at the same time. WHY YOU ASK? Because I would "dip" and spend out of them!! This is one of my favorite features about this wallet....THE ENVELOPES ARE REMOVABLE! The 3 that spend most of the time in my wallet are groceries, gas, and other. The other envelope usually has about $40 in it for incidentals like field trip $$ the kids need or haircuts. My other envelopes are only inserted when I am planning to use the money, like school clothing shop or Christmas shop.

2. Can I order additional envelopes? Yes, please see answer above.

3. Can I order special order my wallet in a certain fabric? Currently, my time does not allow me to do special orders. I have tried this before only to get really backed up in orders and I regretted the delayed shipping time. All wallets are pre-made.

4. How long before I receive my wallet? Within the week! Since all wallets are pre-made, I will add your customized labels and additional envelopes and ship using Priority Mail.

5. Will the labels come off? Not even if you wash them, which is what I managed to do accidentally (luckily not $$ was in it!).

6. How large is the outer wallet? This is an important question because we all want it big enough to suit our needs but still fit into our purses! The wallet is approximately 8.5 inches by 4.5 inches. If only 3 envelopes are in the wallet, you still have plenty of room for your checkbook, receipts, and whatever else you throw in!

7. My budget can not handle this purchase And I know how to sew. Will you be making a pattern for this wallet? YES! Well, eventually. I have been doing some preliminary work, but will probably not have a completed pattern ready for purchase until summer.

Thanks again! And be sure to visit my etsy shop!

Gluten Free Casseroles

Yes - you read it right! Going gluten free does not mean that you have to give up your creamy comfort foods! Below is one of our favorites!

Vegetable Casserole - this works well with carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, and/or potatoes! I sometimes buy the bag of vegetables mix of these three that are already cut up and ready to use!

1 head of cauliflower/broccoli cut into small florets (or a bag of those baby carrots)
Cooking spray
3T. butter, divided
1/3 cup rice crispies cereal, placed in a baggie and crunched up using the back of a spoon by an overactive child!
1/2 cup grated swiss cheese (or Gruyere if your feeling adventurous)
1 small onion finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, minced
2 cups of milk (use low fat if you are watching your waistline, use whole milk if it has been a long day!)
1/4 cup rice flour
salt and pepper to taste!

Preheat oven to 400. Line a baking sheet with foil and lightly spray with cooking spray. Place vegetables on foil and lightly spray again. Season with salt and pepper. Roast in oven for about 15 to 20 minutes or until fork tender. Meanwhile, melt 1T butter in a small bowl. Stir in cereal and cheese (this will be the topping). In a skillet, melt 2 T. butter and saute onion and garlic for a few minutes. Stir in rice flour and cook for about a minute. Slowly add milk and bring to a boil. Stirring often, milk mixture will slowly get thick and creamy. This may take 10 minutes or so.

Taken vegetable out of oven and place in a casserole dish. Pour milk mixture over top then sprinkle cereal mixture on top. Broil in oven under high until top is golden brown. YUM!