Thursday, July 31, 2014

Pantry Challenge update

I did ok on my pantry challenge.  I did end up going to the store and spending over $100 before it was over.  We just ate everything in the house and no one wanted to eat the same foods again.  It wasn't a total flop.  I did have enough money left over to buy some school supplies.

I ended up buying 20 three ring binders.  That is a lot of notebooks.  I also bought about 20 packs of paper an a bunch of pencils.  I don't know where these go but they disappear.

Today we are keeping the baby for a while.  My sister has some loose ends to tie up at her school before she goes on her maternity leave.  A little baby is my favorite thing so that is fine with me.  After that we are going to talk to my principle about how I would so student teaching while I work.  This is going to be tricky so y'all pray for flexibility and solutions.  Then off the orthodontist.  That should wrap up the day.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Summer is almost over

We are winding summer down around here.  I have had professional learning this week.  I have to say that the classes have been interesting.  I have one more day today.  What amazes me is how fast technology is moving in the classroom.  Every day there seems to be a new a better way to use technology to learn.  It is frightening how hard it is to keep up with it all.

Now that we are about to start school and the crazy schedule that goes along with it we are getting some freezer cooking done.  I like to have several things in the freezer that I can pull out and heat up.

Recently I started doing some crockpot freezer meals.  These meals have all of the ingredients layered in a gallon ziplock and then thrown in the crockpot in the morning.  I usually cook it frozen solid.  Then in the afternoon dinner is ready.  There are lots of these on pintrest.
One other thing that these kids love is yogurt.  I was buying lots of little containers, then I saw people making their own yogurt.  I tried the crockpot method and was not impressed.  It was too watery.  Then I tried the method that you cook on the stove and put it in jars in the cooler and it worked perfectly.  First heat one gallon of milk to 180 degrees on the stove,
Then put it in a sink with a few ice cubes and let it cool to 120 degrees.  I then add a cup of starter yogurt.  I use Yoplait.  I then add a cup of sugar and a few tablespoons of vanilla to make vanilla yogurt.  Then I transfer it to four quart canning jars and put them in a cooler.  I add enough hot water to make it about an inch deep and close the cooler lid.  I then leave it for about six hours.  I then have wonderful yogurt.  So I can make a whole gallon for under $4.00.
Well now I have to get ready for class.  Then I have two more days of summer then preplanning starts. 

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Pantry Challenge update

Ok so life sometimes gets busy. My niece was born early on Wednesday night. My sister was supposed to have a c-section because she had one with her first. This baby came in a hurry with no time to wait. She had a vaginal birth and everyone is good. 
So my three year old nephew is staying with us so that they can get home and get settled in. He has fun here so he is no trouble. I took him shopping for his own baby so he wouldn't feel left out. 

What a cutie!

So the pantry Callenge is working out great. We had homemade waffles and bacon on Wednesday night.  

Thursday we took some taco meet out of the freezer and had tacos. I don't have a picture. Friday night was Emma's birthday cookout with hotdogs , cheese dip, and watermelon. I don't count that because it was a party.  
Yes I made the cake. The inside was rainbow colored. I need to get a picture from my hubby

Lunches have been sandwiches or leftovers and breakfasts usually consists of cereal, bagels, or eggs. We already had everything so no grocery money spent yet. 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Pantry Callenge

I see all over the web that people will regularly do pantry challenges to use up what is in the pantry and freezer and save some money. I am going to do this for the next two weeks for several reasons. My freezers are stuffed full and I need them cleaned out a little more. I have been putting up veggies which is a good thing but now it is really full. The second reason is to save some money. The beginning of the school year has lots of expenses so I need to get ready. 

I kind of started yesterday but I am really starting today. I am going to allow $25 a week for the next two weeks for food.  My normal is around $150 a week so this will be a challenge. This way I can buy some milk and fruits and veggies.  I will share every day what we ate and what I spent. 

This is my current hall pantry. 

This is not a great picture but is shows our hall pantry. We should have plenty to use. 

Returned from the beach

We have returned from the beach. It was lovely not to have to do the regular routine. We were lazy and went to the beach, read, and I did plenty of knitting. I still cooked because we were trying to go low budget. See our lovely seafood:

Instead do going out we cooked our own seafood. I don't mind cooking on vacation if someone else will do the clean up. That by the way is a great way to save money on vacation if you have a big family. We usually rent a condo or a house that has a full kitchen. It is usually cheaper than two hotel rooms. We sometimes bring food from home and sometime shop there or do a combination. I have made lots of freezer meals before we go so that when we get to out vacation everything is ready and I don't have to prepare anything. Either way cooking on vacation is a great money saver. 

There was now day that we had steady rain all day. We had told the kids that we would go play putt putt golf that night, but the weather was questionable. We opted to go bowling instead. This was great because we had not been bowling in years so this was a treat. 
Our scores were terrible but we had a good time and that is what matters!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014


I have to confess. I have a love/hate relationship with electronics. Yes they make our lives easier, but it also makes it easier for us to disconnect from others. 

All of my kids have their own tablets or Kindles. In the summer I let them use them more, but I do have times that I make them turn them off. Of course if they are sharing and getting along nicely and we are on vacation I might give them some more time. 

I just think that there has to be a balance. There are times that I want to throw them all out, but we live in a digital age and they need to be a part of this world. At the same time I don't want them always staring at a screen and not having human contact. That is why we put the screens down every day and interact with each other and enjoy time together. We try to get outside every day and swim or play. We invite friends and family over and enjoy their company. My teens go to church camps with no electronics and we all participate in vacation bible school. My older ones work and participate in marching band and sports. We try to live life and not be behind a screen. Then when everyone wants to see a screen then it is ok because we live a balanced life. 

Monday, July 7, 2014

Beach Trip

Right now we are at the beach. At least the kids and I are.

I know that this is in black and white but The kids changed the settings on my phone and I couldn't tell in the bright sun. 

These girls are enjoying walking and being together. 

This boy has run and skim boarded all day. We went on a mile and a half walk tonight and he skimmed the whole way. 

They have also played numerous games of clue. 

So far everyone is having fun and relaxing. Steven doesn't come until Friday. We can't wait for him to join us!

Friday, July 4, 2014

Fun on the 3rd of July

We had our fireworks last night on the 3rd of July.  We go out to our recreation department with our church and watch the city's firework's display.  Our church rents a pavilion and everyone comes and brings food and drinks and shares.  Surprisingly the weather cooled off and we had a great time of fellowship.  I didn't take any pictures mostly because all of the kids were hanging out with friends.  I didn't really care.  I am just so happy that my kids have great friends from church!

So what about the forth?  Well Steven has to work and that stinks.  He does get to come home at 3:00 so that is ok.  We are going to a friends house tonight to celebrate the 4th.  The rest of the day I plan to do some laundry and cleaning and just relax.  The kids wanted to go see The Fault in Our Stars today and I said I would take them, but the show times don't match up for when we can go today so we will go tomorrow.  All of the kids have read the book and are really wanting to go!

Now I am not making a recommendation of this book.  It is what the teens are reading right no so I read it.  I like to watch and read what they are doing so that I know and can relate.  It is not my favorite because it does have some language that I don't care for but I let them read it.  Hopefully the movie won't be too bad.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Making Salsa

When we get an abundant of tomatoes I try to make salsa. We eat a small jar ( about half a quart) every time we eat tacos or mexican food so it makes sence to can it. I chopped all of the tomatoes, onions and peppers in the food processor and put it in two different pot to cook because there was so much.

The girls got in on it and helped.  Ashley and Natalie took turns chopping and pealing tomatoes.

Natalie sometimes supported by reading.
She wasn't reading about salsa making.  She was just reading in general.
In the end we made 20 pints of salsa.  I like this size because this is how much we eat in a meal.  That way I don't have some going bad in the fridge.