The freedom of frugal living

 Posted by on August 17, 2010  31 Responses »
Aug 172010

Every now and then I need to make fun of myself.

See, I’m afraid I’ve become that stereotype. That bread-baking, homeschooling, make-your-own mixes type of mama. Really, it was a slow, years-in-the-making process. Now, simple, money-saving steps are just part of my life.

Bam. I was there. Bread-baking, homeschooling mama.

I know. I know.

But part of the poking fun at myself is the figuring out. Finding the freedom in frugality. Continue reading »

Back to basics: The Lunch Lady

 Posted by on April 13, 2010  14 Responses »
Apr 132010

“It is more fun to talk with someone who doesn’t use long, difficult words but rather short, easy words like “What about lunch?” ~ Winnie the Pooh

It’s a weekday and my brain stretches through grammar. Next, I cheer on handwriting. All the while, the ongoing, precious pounding of the piano. The youngest plays the Bee Bop Band accompaniment. Later, we clear the hurdle of fractions while the little ones have room time. Late morning, I try not to trip over discarded flip flops as I tote an armload of laundry to dump in the family room chair. I spy the puzzle pieces on the floor, again.

I admit it. Of all the meals of the day – lunch tends to be a scramble. And here’s why. It’s not until someone tugs on my sleeve, asking, “Can I have a cheese stick?” that I realize. My! Is it noon already? What’s a mom to do? How can I avoid becoming the lunch lady, again?

A short, easy solution. Simple for a mother’s brain stretched from a school morning. Continue reading »

Fast Food for Slow Sundays

 Posted by on March 16, 2010  15 Responses »
Mar 162010

We all want peaceful Sundays, right? So, you’ve gotten into the habit of being ready a little at a time throughout the week. You’ve planned for the unexpected. Let’s say now that you’ve gotten your family to and from church. Everybody is all loaded back in the car, on the way home. “I’m huuun–greee! What’s for lunch?” You have choices. Let me offer a solution. One that has become habit.

We used to go out for lunch on Sunday. Fast food after church. Or even a nice restaurant. Before Dave Ramsey. Before we toted two epipens. Now, we still have fast food. We just cook it slow.

A little pre-planning it all it takes. Continue reading »

Back to basics: big-shop cooking

 Posted by on January 26, 2010  13 Responses »
Jan 262010

I must be honest. I’m not a true once-a-month cook. I tried. I strived (or strove). But it wasn’t easy. So instead of once-a-month cooking, I break cooking down into easy pieces and parts. We’ve talked about fixing simple suppers and doubling recipes. The other sock-it-away strategy I use is when-you-do-the-big-shop-cooking.

Big-shop cooking came about because I avoid the grocery store. I try my best not to go there unless absolutely necessary. We do our grocery shopping around pay days, so twice a month. Sure we need to run to get milk every now and then. However, since I’ve been following Kerri’s two-week menu planning example and posting my meal plans, those trips are fewer. It’s intentional. Money-saving too.

Hey! I can talk myself into two steps.

When the score comes in from the grocery store, this mama cooks. Right then. Just like Kim, I put the slow cooker to work browning ground beef, ground turkey and/or chicken. The big-shop cooking amounts to two steps: (1) stirring then (2) bagging. Continue reading »

Back to basics: vacation planning

 Posted by on January 19, 2010  5 Responses »
Jan 192010

The habit of doubling a recipe

I often have pep talks with myself while I’m in the kitchen. Something like this:

“Well, now look, silly. You already have all the ingredients out. You’ve already dirtied the mixing bowls making this casserole.”

Or this:  “Why would you put those unused portions away for another time? Use them up now – while they are already out! Sock away some food in the freezer for a busy night.

Realization: Frozen dinner – homemade by me – equals a weeknight vacation!

Here are a few examples of winning pep talk recipes. When these come around in the meal plan rotation, I make double or triple: Continue reading »