Eating From the Pantry & Freezer ~ week 2

Another week and we have to eat.  Trying to meet the challenge from Keeper of the Home to eat from my Freezer & Pantry for a month.  The idea is to reduce waste by using up what we already have on hand and save a little money in the process.  You can read about my goals & week 1, here.

MEAL PLAN ~ May 22-28

Breakfast Choices:  Cold cereal, Oatmeal, Eggs, Banana Muffins, yogurt w/ Homemade Peanut Butter Granola  or HM Chocolate Granola, English muffins

Lunch Choices:  leftovers, sandwiches, quesadilla, soup, salad



Fruity-Nutty Salad recipe---I've not made it quite like this before.  My kids LOVED IT!

for salad~
3-4 medium apples (something sweet/tart, like a Pink Lady), peeled & diced
1 small can pineapple tidbits in pineapple juice (drain the fruit & KEEP the juice for dressing)
2-3 small carrots, peeled and grated
1/2 cup pecans or walnuts, chopped
1/2 cup dried fruit (raisins, craisins, cherries, or combo)

for dressing~
reserved pineapple juice
2 TBS vinegar
2 TBS sugar
1/3 cup light mayo (or you can use plain Greek yogurt)

Combine all salad ingredients in medium bowl.  In small bowl, combine juice, vinegar, & sugar until sugar is dissolved.  Whisk in mayo/yogurt until creamy.  Adjust taste to meet your preference.  You want the dressing to be a little tart because all of that fruit is really sweet!  It's a wonderful combination.  Add dressing to salad, stirring gently until thoroughly coated.  Serve right away, or let it chill and meld a bit in the fridge.  (I had some the day after and it was still crunchy and delicious!)

*A bit of sharp cheddar cheese sprinkled on top would add a great layer of flavor.

Thrifty Garden Shelf

NEED:  Functional, but pretty, storage for misc. potting stuff

BUDGET:  limited

GOAL:  make from mostly thrifted or found items



TIME:  While doing the job in starts and spurts it took me 3 weeks to get from a pile in the garage to above pictures, the work could have been done in one afternoon.

COST:  $36 total
  • $15 for both headboard and footboard pieces
  • $15 new pine boards (reclaimed would have been better, but I wanted this project FINISHED and my local home center did the cuts for free...just keeping it simple)
  • $6 for 1 quart indoor/outdoor white paint

I'm pretty proud of my little shelf!  I wanted to put something on the top, like a peg-board or other flat surface from which to hang things.  Something like this....


or this...


Really, these people are so creative!

I'm still hoping to add a topper of sorts, for hanging storage, but in the meantime, I'll use it as is.  
What do you think ~ topper or not?


p.s. Linking up with Share Your Thrift Haul at Simple Design

Weekend R&R (Review & Resources) ~ 34

34 weeks down, 2 to go!

Week 34 Review ~

My Tooth
My tooth fell out and left a space
So big my tongue can touch my face,
And every time I smile I show
The place where something used to grow.
I miss my tooth as you can guess
But now I have to brush one less! source

  • A Week at the Dentist: When you've got 5 mouths to clean, it does take the better part of a week to get everyone seen!  Out of all 5 mouths (4 kids+mom), only 1 cavity!!  YAY!!  Also, Mom is grinding teeth at night, so now has a lovely new mouth guard to wear to bed---how sexy is that?!
  • School Days:  We are wrapping it up and giving a brief look ahead to next year's plans.        Check it out.
  • TV Weekday Fast, week four ~ caved twice this week and watched a little tube one night, and also allowed little boys to watch cartoons one morning when I had an appointment (the teens were doing final papers and could not give them much attention).  No guilt...we press on.
Week 34 Resources~

Eating from the Pantry & Freezer ~ Week 1

Stephanie over at Keeper of the Home has challenged readers to do some meal planning with what we already have on hand (as much as possible).  I love this idea and am all for it.

Eat from the freezer/pantry for 1 month (May 15-June 15)
Purchase only fresh foods (dairy, produce, some meat) & coffee ~ MUST. HAVE. COFFEE.

10% savings off current monthly grocery spending (I'm not going to tell you how much...what we spend on food per month is's better than what it was 12 months ago, but still appalling.)

We have had a piano fund going since Christmas.  We are short about $400 for the used one we have our eye on at the local music shop.  Any grocery savings will go towards that.

After reading Stephanie's first post, I took an inventory of fridge, freezer, & pantry.  Here's what I had to work with, in a nutshell...

  • Frozen chicken breasts (about 3 meals worth)
  • 2 lbs trout (a treasure caught by my mom & her husband)
  • a ham bone and several fatty chunks of ham from Easter
  • 1 rotisserie chicken carcass for making yummy rich broth
  • several bags of frozen veggies, all varieties
  • gallon bag of shrimp stock
  • 1 box (10 ct.) salmon burgers
  • a few packages of frozen english muffins, bagel thins, and wraps/tortillas
  • canned goods:  corn, baked beans, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce
  • dried beans, various
  • rice, white and instant brown
  • pasta:  spaghetti, rotini, elbows, couscous, egg noodles
  • lots of old-fashioned oats
  • random can coconut milk
  • condiments & lots of spices
  • chicken broth
  • beef broth
  • plenty of sugar and honey (I collect honey from all over.  If someone wants to bring me home a souvenir, I ask for honey!)
  • Lots of grains:  cornmeal, flours, wheat bran, etc.
  • eggs
  • greek yogurt
  • condiments
  • buttermilk

MEAL PLAN ~ May 15-21

Baked Bean Casserole RECIPE


Every Friday for the next month, I'll post my plan, savings %, and maybe a recipe or two.  Then on Mondays, I'll link up Friday posts over at Keeper of the Home.  Stay tuned!


Looking Ahead ~ Curriculum Plans 2012-2013

As we wind up our 8th year of home education, I feel the flood of relief, joy, and satisfaction that always comes with May.  Yet, this year, I have a new emotion mixed in...sadness.

My older two will be going to our local charter high school next year (11th & 9th grade).  I have prayed and cried and prayed and rejoiced and cried some more over this decision.  My husband and I both feel that this is God's direction for us this coming year ~  it is still hard, yet at the same time exciting!
They are ready.

The other two (6th & 4th grade) will remain at home.  We will be revisiting a course of study I did with the older ones about 5 years ago when the younger two were still pretty little.  They don't remember much from that study.  Perfect for me....that means I can pull out all of my resources and plans from that year and simply use the same stuff!

I'm super excited about this study as it is a tour around the world, so to speak.  Originally, we did this year with the aid of My Father's World, "Countries & Cultures" course guide.  While it was a great course guide, I found that I was tweeking it so much to fit our particular needs and style, that I didn't really lean too much on the guide for day-to-day plans.  Still, it was a great launching point for me.  If you do not want to do lots of research and planning yourself, MFW -blend of Classical and Charlotte Mason- is a great option.  I tend to lean more towards Charlotte Mason for our family.

FROM EVERY NATION ~ Our curriculum plans 2012 ~2013 school year

Adventure on the High Seas, Part 3 ~ Pirate Notebook Pages

Yo, Ho!
Yo, Ho!
A Pirate's life for me.......No, Thanks!

We are starting the second half of Adventure on the High Seas , studying the haunts and habits of pirates.


If you haven't seen my earlier posts in this series, you can find them HERE & HERE.

The first post above explains our general outline of study.  We are studying Pirates by the following regions:

  • Spanish Main
  • Mediterranean
  • Indian Ocean
  • Eastern Seas

Messy Monday ~ Laundry

So here's my laundry pile....

This is 2 days worth...already overflowing.   We were active this weekend.

Here's my kid's laundry pile....

Again, about 2 days worth, and this is with 2 large loads already going.  Probably about 3-4 more loads here.

Here's the ironing pile.......

My hubby looks good in blue.  Can you tell? (There's like 10 shirts here--sigh.)

Just keeping it real.

Happy Messy Monday!


Adding To The Beauty Blog

Thrifty Treasures 2

Tried out two more local thrift shops this week.  All of these finds are from the Salvation Army shop.

Glass Lamp Base (needs new harp, a shade, and maybe new wiring) $5
White Pedestal milk-glass-like container (was an FTD flower container in former life) $2
Silver Tray ($3)
Children's Wildflower Book $1
Florida Gardener's Guide $1


If you have never tried this silver polish, I highly recommend it!  Works beautifully.

I bought two great Nature references, one for me and one for the kids (actually, I'm learning from theirs, too).  The kid book, What Wildflower is It? | Anna Pistorius (©1950), is a trivia-type book.  Each page has an illustration of the flower (s), along with its assigned number, and a trivia question related to that flower.  At the back of the book is a chart listing all 30 flowers by number, each with its common name and its scientific name.  Throughout the book, the author sprinkled an additional 20 wildflower illustrations, and included a quick fact about each.  This book is a real treasure and great addition to our Nature table for homeschool.

I'm linking up over at Simple Design for "Share Your Thrift Haul" Monday.  Can't wait to see what everyone found this week.

Happy thrifting! 

Weekend R&R (Review & Resources) ~ 33

Just 3 little weeks of school left!  Is it really mid-May already?

What we've been up to...

Week 33 Review~

  • A Day on the BAY:  When you live in a place surrounded by water, it's hard NOT to justify having a boat.  We recently purchased a used boat...Hubby gave up the Harley for a recreational vehicle the whole fam could enjoy.  Last weekend was our first opportunity to spend a whole day on the water.  What a wonderful day!  The boat gives us access to places we just could not go otherwise.

  • Dancing Days:  My daughter's dance recital is tonight.  Lots of extra practice this week.  

  • School Days:  The kids are getting more and more anxious for summer break (almost as much as me).   

            Finished Explorers, now on to Pirates           

                Still learning Constellations

                     Math books are still open


                                 Spelling......2 more lists

  • TV Weekday Fast, week three~ lots of card games


  • Did you know that May is National Egg Month?  When the cupboards are bare or someone is sick, make this.  egg+ butter+leftover rice=deliciousness)


Messy Monday ~ Purse Purge

I would love for my purse to look like this...

Sadly, it looks like this...

So, for today's Messy Monday post I am going to lay it all out for you, my friends.  You really want to get to know a woman?  Peek into her purse! Scary, I know.  Yet, that's how real I am willing to get with you folks.  Who remembers that scene in The Breakfast Club where they go through the girls' purses?  Kind of like that, except without the cussing...maybe.

Thrifty Treasures

I am slowly learning where to find the best thrifted treasures in town.  I've scoured 2 local Goodwill stores, two church charity shops, the Humane Society shop, and my local antique mall.

Goodwill is usually hit-or-miss.  The antique mall is more pricey, but I can often get some good deals in the "junkier" booths.  My favorites, by far, are the church charity shops.  These shops are usually well organized and have great prices.  They are typically run by volunteers, therefore don't have to pay workers and can keep their prices low.

I found all of this week's treasures at Goodwill for a grand total of $9.50!

  • Home-Made Tool Caddy ~ $4.99  This thing is heavy!  Solid wood, it likely lived in someone's garage for many years.  It looks well-used.  I love it!
  • Green Ceramic Planter ~ regular $2.99, on sale 50%  I am working on a collection of this type of green pottery.  I'm not particular about it being McCoy, I just like the color.  Similar items in the antique mall sell for $15 and up.
  • Vintage Owl Family ~ 2 large @ 99¢ each, 2 small @ 49¢ each = $3 total  These cute little guys are lighweight plastic wall hangings.  I plan to use them in my back porch makeover, along with those green planters mentioned above.

That's my haul for this week!  I'm linking this post up over at Simple Design's Share Your Thrift Haul.  Happy Thrifting, y'all.


Weekend R&R (Review & Resources) ~ 32


Hard to believe that we have completed 32 weeks of our 8th year of home education.

This is the first year I have ever given myself a break on scheduling every single second of the required 35 weeks of school attendance set by our state.  We are "attending" school for every one of those 35 weeks, but I figure if public schools can show Magic School Bus shows for the last 2 weeks, I can relax a little on the work load.

We have completed several of our books/courses and I am completely at liberty to NOT fill in that part of the schedule with busy work for the rest of the year.  We got through the book.  We are done.  That space on the schedule is now blank for the rest of the term!

My kids are ecstatic.  Their weekly schedule printout is getting more and more sparse each week.  We have so little work remaining to complete, I made the decision a couple of weeks ago to go to a 4-Day school week.  We now have Mondays off.  Whoo-Hoo!


  • Photo shoot with my lovely  daughter.  She is starting a photography business, and doing splendidly, I must say, but she can't take pictures of herself!  So, I stepped in to provide shots for her dance pictures for this year.  They came out really good...mostly due to her fabulous editing skills.

Check out her blog HERE

  • Swimming down by the bay with the boys.

  • Another Cub Scout crosses over into Boy Scouts (2 down, 1 to go)

  • TV Weekday Fast~ week two, done.  Things we did instead?  Read, draw, play basketball, ride bikes, cook, sew, play music, talk


Nature Quotes Wall Art

Working on spiffing up my nature nook for all of the summer treasures we are sure to find.

I found this fantastic little shelf at my favorite thrift store for $5!

It will be perfect for displaying our shells, pine cones, rocks, and such.  Don't you think?

There are so many wonderful nature quotes I have come across over the years.  I've always wanted to post them near the nature nook as inspiration.  So, last night I created a lovely little print out with several quotes.  I created the same print with several different color schemes for you, my friends, to choose one that fits your space best!  Enjoy.

Free PDF Green

Free PDF Brown

Free PDF Blue

Free PDF Orange

You are welcome to access these files and print them for your own personal use.  Please do not call it your own or try to sell.  Thanks!