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This week’s project to tackle is cutting food costs for our family of eight. We currently have the following: one five month old, one eight year old, one eleven year old, two fourteen year olds, one seventeen year old and two adults. When it comes to appetites we are basically feeding seven adults.
We have been in survival mode adjusting to the increase by three people after a new foster placement over two months ago. It is now time to evaluate ways to keep our costs down.
I am a reader, an absolute book fan so when it comes to any question I tend to gather my resources and get to researching. My current “cutting food costs” stack contains Family Feasts for $75 a Week by Mary Ostyn, Cutting Your Grocery Bill in Half with America’s Cheapest Family by Steve & Annette Economides, and Dig Out of Debt by Jill Cooper & Tawra Kellam.
While I start formulating a plan I will concentrate on using what I have. This morning I put on a rich, hearty stew to simmer so I can fill all those hungry bellies before Football and Karate this evening. I will serve it with fresh bread from the much neglected bread machine.

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Please feel free to comment with your family’s food stretching and money saving tips.

Outside in Kansas City~ It is already hot and muggy at 7:20am this Saturday morning. According to Weather.com:  The common weather themes this holiday weekend are what you would expect them to be during the first week of July: heat and thunderstorms.

I am thinking~a lot about Biblical Counseling, biblical change; especially how it needs to affect my life, and about anger specifically.

I am thankful for~God’s grace and mercy and the insight and dedication of his people. On another note I am grateful that I got a full night’s sleep last night for the first time in months, both babies had a super good night, no dog barking, no husband snoring, and no older son coming in late. Bliss!

In my kitchen~there is a happy, well-rested three-month-old playing happily in her bouncy seat and a 13-year-old boy munching his way through a big bowl of cereal.

I am wearing~Gray capri sweat pants and my Faith Christian Academy Walkathon t-shirt.

Last creative endeavor~was to start writing my first biblical counseling certification paper.  It may be a very challenging and painful endeavor because I have not written a paper in years. My book choices are Why Christian’s Can’t Trust Psychology which I read months ago and really loved and Competent to Counsel which I am currently reading.

I am going~to attend the IABC National Bible Conference in Colorado the first week of August (Lord willing). Julie Ganschow will be one of the conference speakers.

Can’t wait for~school to start…I know weird.  I will miss the some things but I really prefer for the kids to have the structure of school.  In our neighborhood there are not a lot of good options and it is hard to provide recreational opportunities that work for 3 months to 16 years.

Family News~My son, Nicholas and, his wife, Staci, graduated from Dordt College this spring and moved to Holland, Michigan where he is working for Gentex and she is working in a shop that sells wine from a nearby vineyard.

Current Read~Getting a Grip: The Heart of Anger Handbook for Teens by Lou Priolo. This book was recommended to me recently and I am so glad to have it. It is written in a really practical way.  Lou Priolo is a newly discovered and appreciated author for me.  The church I attend, Faith Community Church, recently had men’s book studies utilizing his book The Complete Husband and his writing and heart for Biblical counseling is refreshing.

I am hearing~our little foster son babble from his stander.

I am hoping~to get lots accomplished over this holiday weekend.  I may use the 15 minute approach because I have such a variety of things that need to be done.  We will see how that works-15 minutes of decluttering my bedroom where every stray piece of  paper and clothing seems to congregate, painting on the ongoing woodwork project as we move from brown trim to white, etc…

Around the house~still working on the trim throughout the interior of the house and I love the change to warm white so much.  It’s amazing how there are constant repairs to do to any house you own.  We have a list right now that includes replacing the garage doors (unfortunately a necessity), mudjacking the driveway, rebuilding a crumbling brick area in the front of the house (caused by the need for mudjacking the driveway) among other less pressing things like finishing the exterior painting started last summer and repainting/staining the deck which was just done last year but because I chose the wrong stain has to be done again already.

Simple pleasure~Iced Coffee

Outside in Kansas City~28 degrees with freezing drizzle…gloomy and gray outside.  Forecasts for this week include record snows and low temperatures so everyone seems to be preparing for the worst.

I am thinking~that I will be glad to have all my family home safe and sound tonight before the bad weather hits.  Brent home from work in Topeka and the kids home from school.  I kept our newest edition home from his daycare today.

I am thankful for~The safe arrival of the dental team and Emily Duffey back from their mission trips this past weekend.

In my kitchen~I’m ready to start whipping up some comfort food to keep us warm through this frigid weather.  I think I’ll start with a batch of Hamburger Buns in 30 minutes, these make such great bread for a variety of uses. Some simmering soup seems to be a logical second step.

I am wearing~Paint clothes-jeans and one of my husband’s comfy long sleeved paint shirts along with warm wool socks to keep my feet cozy.

Last creative endeavor~ Worked on some embroidery  a few nights ago and just ended up pulling it all out, just not feeling the needlework thing. Dining room wall will have to be my “creative” outlet for now.

I am going~to introduce J our newest household addition.  He is a sweet one year old boy who is operating at the same level as a pretty newly born infant in a lot of ways.  He has brain damage from a lack of oxygen and it affects his vision as well as his control of/use of his whole body.  Sweet J is fed through a G-tube and takes nothing orally.  He is on a strict schedule but otherwise has moved pretty seamlessly into our household.

Can’t wait for~a visit from Taylor, I’m missing him!  Got to see Nicholas unexpectedly this week and it was a blessing.

Family News~Nicholas and Staci will be graduating from Dordt College this spring.  Nicholas has a job interview in California in February.  Please be praying for wisdom for them as they make decisions regarding their future.

Current Read~What Did You Expect? by Paul David Tripp it is really very good.  Family Feasts for $75 a Week: A Penny-wise Mom Shares Her Recipe for Cutting Hundreds from Your Monthly Food Bill so far so good, I’m trying to tighten my food budget which has gotten out of control in the past few months.

I am hearing~The humidifier in J’s room, very quiet here today.

I am hoping~to finish my dining room project before the day is over…

Around the house~the refrigerator is restocked as well as the pantry, prescriptions refilled, firewood stacked, necessary paper goods double checked, sidewalk treatment restocked and broken snow shovel replaced.  Bring it on!

Simple pleasure~Big mug of hot sweet tea.

Over the years I have done Once a Month Cooking at various times and always enjoyed having the shopping, planning, and prep work for multiple meals done ahead of time. Recently I ran across the site Once a Month Mom which has FREE monthly, seasonally based menus which include grocery lists, recipe cards, instructions, and labels as well as an introductory podcast.  What a great resource. I am looking forward to trying one of her plans. 

A couple of weeks ago I whipped up a small recipe plan I found on Food.com which included:

On the Menu:

*All Purpose Ground Meat Mix
*Piquant Chicken With Basil (oamc)
*Spiced Citrus Dump Chicken
*Honey-Soy Glazed Pork Chops
*Citrus Marinated Pork Chops (oamc)
*Our Family Favourite Crockpot Chili (oamc)
*Pizza Roll-Ups (OAMC)
*Bacon Wrapped Chicken (Oamc)
*Mexican Stuffed Shells (OAMC)
*Veggie Pasta Shells (Oamc)
*Judy’s Grilled Flank Steak
*Make-Two Macaroni and Cheese
 We have already eaten seven different dishes and enjoyed each one of them.  I spent $200 for the food and it made will easily provide 30 meals for the four of us.  While perusing the internet this morning I found that there are abundant resources for anyone wanting to try this method of streamlining their family food preparation. 

Here are links to a few sites that you might find helpful:

Once a Month Mom

Learn Once a Month Cooking in 7 Easy Steps

Cook of the Month

Frugal Mom’s Guide to Once a Month Cooking

Once a Month Cooking

Once a Month Cooking Recipes from Real Food for Real People

Once-A-Month Cooking Menu Sampler 04

If you try a plan please let me know how it goes.  I’d love to see pictures and hear what worked for you and what didn’t.

This morning Brent and I, Nicholas, Taylor, Gaubri and Shakur, rose early to attend early service at 8:30 and Sunday school together.  We heard a very thought provoking sermon on what patriotism looks like for a christian.  We got home in time to make some homemade makaruni for lunch.  I used the Lidia’s recipe that Taylor and I had learned when we took a cooking class together but it is really easy. Every time I make homemade pasta I tell myself we should do it more.  The recipe is here and there is even another recipe and a pictorial demonstration at Cooking Light.  I had some red chard from the Door to Door Organics delivery earlier in the week that I needed to use up so I searched for red chard recipes yesterday.  I settled on the Chard-Tomato Peasant Pasta sauce to eat with our Makaruni.  We have also made the wild mushroom sauce that is included with the Lidia’s recipe and it is delicious, even those that did not like mushrooms were loving it.

What a nice visit with Jeremy, Ginny, Libby, and Luca tonight.  We had a yummy, simple dinner of sausage, potatoes, peppers and onions followed by some candy I had stocked up by using The Grocery Game. Here we are showing off the grandkids to the neighbors.

Grandchildren, what a blessing!

Grandchildren, what a blessing!

Yesterday was Father’s Day and we have several fathers in our Kansas City family right now Brent, Chad, and Jeremy. Brent was able to spend his morning at church then on to the ball park with his two youngest sons.  Hey, good times, Father’s Day at the baseball park what could be better?  The game was rained out but that did not stop them from going to lunch with old baseball buddies and glorying over old times.  Taylor was amazed at the detail they could all remember from games years ago. 

I was grocery shopping for the ingredients for our “Greek” meal and trying to make some hard copies of pictures from the recent trip to Greece.  I will post some soon, I made a slideshow with slide.com and could not figure out how to imbed it.   I made Gyro’s, Pita Bread, and Greek Salad.  Alicia made the best Baklava I have ever had, it was delicious, oh why did I send it all home with her? 

Who was here?  Brent, Shelly, Nicholas, Taylor, Alicia, Chad, Brendan, Lillian, Jeremy, Ginny, Libby, Barbara and Brad. 

Let’s just say that as far as household progress I am now two steps back after the family invasion but it was worth it. 

August 2017
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