Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Menu Plan

I'm trying to get a head start on making out the grocery list and looking for coupons so I'm making the menu plan now...

Monday - homemade tomato soup / grilled cheese sandwiches

Tuesday - lemon pepper chicken / rice / carrots

Wednesday - breakfast burritos

Thursday - strip steak / mashed potatoes / green beans

Friday - spaghetti / salad / garlic bread

Saturday - black-eyed pea gumbo / cornbread

Sunday - leftovers

Monday - french bread (or hoagie) pizza

Tuesday - canned soup / sandwiches

Wednesday - pancakes

Thursday - tacos

Friday - steak / macaroni / peas

Saturday - stew / french bread

Sunday - Leftovers

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Becoming a Frugal Meal Planner

    If you haven't heard, we're in a recession... which probably has nothing to do with the fact that we're living on one income, have a fourth baby on the way, and own a home. It certainly doesn't help that we're no longer a military family, which means paying state taxes (Welcome to Virginia!) and medical bills. The shape of things has forced us to rethink the way we spend and even the lifestyle we've had (eating out is a definite treat now). When it started to look like we wouldn't be able to make a car payment, I started clipping coupons (and a few other things). So far, it's working for us...

1) Meal Plan. The first thing I did was listen to the advice of a much more knowledgable friend and start making meal plans. I already had a grocery list made up or I would recommend that first (this is a list of every thing you normally have in your pantry and fridge... helping to only buy things you need instead of making impulse buys). I was already halfway there, but made a HUGE mistake. I was keeping our pantry stocked, but it was OVERstocked. So I listened to a friend and started the meal plans. They're only on a two week basis (every paycheck) and if I stick to the grocery list, we only buy the things that we need.
  • Add in one night a week for leftovers and one night for breakfast-for-dinner
  • For breakfast, eat healthy - fruits, eggs, toast, and non-sugary cereals (the bulk generic variety)
  • Our kids love classic staples like grilled cheese, pb&j, half-sandwiches with chips, ravioli/spaghettios, and sometimes leftovers. It's easy to keep up with all the sandwiches if you look out for bread savings at your grocery store - our Wal-Mart often has $75 bread put out.
  • Check out sites like or to find recipes by ingredient.
  • Pick up some old cookbooks from yard sales or check them out from your library to get more ideas.
  • During the winter, soups are just what you need to stay warm - on our rotation we have: crockpot chili, potato soup, chicken stew, beef stew, black-eyed pea gumbo, tomato soup, and even Campbell's Chunky canned soup (with a $1 off/for 3 coupon).
  • Shop your meats from a wholesale source or butcher (more willing to give you certain cuts) or find a farmer's market like I do - a huge pack of ribs is only $9 as compared to a smaller pack for $20 at the commercial grocery store. I'm trying something new this go round by purchasing bulk from a wholesale vendor and letting the meat last through a couple paychecks.

2) Frugal Cooking. The next step happened when I looked at everything I was buying - high priced meats and tons of ingredients that were bringing the prices up. I was raised in the South and thought that I wasn't doing my job if we didn't have meat-and-potatoes type meals every night. But my husband was practically begging for healthier meals (though he loved the heavy stuff) and the kids love the light stuff. So I started having soups, stews, chili and gumbo several times a month (change it out and it won't get boring). I'm also getting out of my comfort zone by making homemade tomato soup, a new chicken stew, and crockpot chili. All of these are either vegetarian or use inexpensive meats like chicken pieces, stew meat, or ground beef. Taco or Fajita nights are also on the inexpensive list. One or two nights a week I throw in those heavy meals and it doesn't break our budget because of how few there are.

3) Clip the Coupons. This is pretty self-explanatory... weed out every name-brand thing you buy (If you're not buying generic already, you may have a hard time with this) and find coupons for as many as you can. Look in your newspaper or online at sites like (all you need is a printer). The product sites also have newsletters you can sign up for to get occasional savings e-mailed to you. I remember my grandmother keeping a little file folder full of coupons and thought that it was a complete waste of time but now I'm absolutely certain that she's the kind of homemaker that I want to be.

    Back in the beginning of December, I had already started meal plans but hadn't added in the coupons or the pared-down, frugal meals. I was already saving then by spending $359.16 (whereis I was spending close to $400 before) but now I'm only spending $193.30, including the meat purchase. I'm sure that as I get used to clipping coupons it will be an even greater saving, but I'm already happy with the $400 I'm saving a month and I finally feel like I'm learning how to be the frugal helpmeet that I should be.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Why I read the KJV

My dh and I have sometimes received odd looks when we tell people that we only read the KJV bible - one bible is like all, right? Thankfully, we were mentored and ministered to by Faith Baptist Church and Pastor Robert Monteith in Misawa, Japan. He has since moved to another church, but his ministry will always remain in our hearts and we are forever thankful to have received sound doctrine and bible-based preaching from our first church. We can clearly see the difference between his ministry and the worldly Christians that are rampant in the US... I can only imagine what we would be teaching our children if we had never met Pastor Monteith (we wouldn't be homeschooling, that's for sure).

Through a class called Faith Baptist Institute, we learned that the different bible versions are based on different codecs and that is why they are so different.... well, recently I got curious over specifically which passages were missing from the most popular bible on the market, the NIV. There are quite a few. There are also over 64,000 single words that are deleted from the NIV (I'm guessing the writers weren't actually inspired by God so they didn't understand that the words didn't belong...). I have done some research and some people try to claim that the copyists themselves have added these verses to the KJV - I have also researched the writing of the KJV (I have a book if you want to borrow it) and I find it very hard to believe that a single copyist's note would have made it through the rigorous process these scholars and translators put the bible through from 1604-1611. These men did not joke around and did not add verses on whim... The NIV bible was released in 1978 and was translated to "modern language" (can that be considered a translation?) by Biblica. I'm willing to bet a shiny penny that those people in 1978 WERE the type to joke around and add verses on whim... And it bothers me just a bit that this bible that so many people are transfixed on has only been around 31 years - not very long in the run of things.

Here is a list of the verses that are COMPLETELY GONE from the NIV Bible...

Matthew 12:47
Matthew 17:21
Matthew 18:11
Matthew 21:44
Matthew 23:14
Mark 7:16
Mark 9:44
Mark 9:46
Mark 11:26
Mark 15:28
Mark 16:9-20 (all 12 verses)
Luke 17:36
Luke 22:44
Luke 22:43
Luke 23:17
John 5:4
John 7:53-8:11
Acts 8:37
Acts 15:34
Acts 24:7
Acts 28:29
Romans 16:24
I John 5:7

Now, I don't know about you, but I certainly don't have enough confidence to tell God that these verses don't belong in the bible (some about salvation through Christ, one about the Holy Trinity...) so I'll be reading the KJV. If you read an NIV, maybe you should take a look at these verses to see if they're important to you.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Christmas was something of an event this year... to say the least. Here is what happened, in order...

1) My Dad and stepmom, as well as my husband's parents, brother, and son (my stepson) came to visit for Christmas week. This was our first time hosting a holiday in our home. THANKFULLY, I didn't burn anything and everyone enjoyed the cooking. Though I did make them order Chinese on Christmas Eve, since I was already getting things ready... not so much the perfect hostess, but I stayed stress-free.

2) We ALL got the flu. One whole week of bleh. No dishes were washed, no clothes were cleaned, and we pretty much wore pajamas the whole time. Hence the bleh.

3) My husband's grandmother passed away and went Home to the Lord. His mom got to be there when she passed, and for this we're grateful. She was a Christian woman, which almost makes you want to smile, in spite of her passing - I'm always so sad when someone passes away that isn't saved.

4) Found out that the kids can't go to the hospital after the baby is born - VA hospitals have a policy that children aren't allowed due to the risk of spreading swine flu... puts a damper on the whole thing, and some serious pressure for me to try and get out of the hospital as quickly as I can.

5) Our 5yr old and 3yr old got ear infections. Seriously - how many bottles of tylenol and motrin can three kids go through?!?

6) I had complications from the flu and had to have a chest x-ray and EKG... now I am seeing a cardiologist and have follow-ups with my OB - Why? I don't know! Apparently, all will be explained when I meet with him. In light of all the other illnesses we have been through, I'm trying not to feel like a burden - the civilian world of paying insurance copays and whatnot is new to us and is NOT that easy to keep up with. I am a BIG fan of home remedies and I'm glad that God planted that seed a long time ago. Still get short of breath easily and have to sit down a lot - dh even had to accompany me to the grocery store...

Right now, I'm praying a lot and I'm hoping that God has simply planned all of the bad news for the beginning of the year and all of the good news is yet to come... rip off the band aid and get it over with, so to speak. So far, the Lord has provided for us financially and I know that He will continue to do so... as much as I want to weep when I see another medical bill in the mail, I know there is a plan and as long as we trust in Him and stay the course, we're going to be fine.
Related Posts with Thumbnails