Frugal Shopping: Beef

Food Lion’s new ad came out yesterday.  I was happy to find was whole boneless sirloin tip roast for $1.98/lb.  I am thankful I ventured out this morning, for there was only one roast left.  These roasts are big; mine was about 14.5 pounds.  I don’t need a roast that big! I cook roasts sometimes, but ground meat is much more useful to me. I asked the meat manager to grind it for me.

Ground Beef – 73% Lean, 27% Fat

Ground Chuck – 80% Lean, 20% Fat

Ground Sirloin – 85% Lean, 15% Fat

Ground Round – 90% Lean, 10 % Fat

I have tried to stop buying regular ground beef (73/27) because I felt I was losing too much weight to fat as I cooked.  Ground Sirloin and Ground Round are great, but they are often only sold in tiny packages, not to mention they are pricey.  The best deal I found this week on my coupon/grocery deal sites on ground beef was Ground Chuck for $2.99/lb, and that was at a store I don’t have here.  Having the meat manager grind the roast netted me Ground Sirloin, a better grade of ground, for $1 less/lb.  That’s my tip of the day – don’t be afraid to ask the meat manager to grind or cut up the on-sale roast into something else. I was able to get seven freezer bags of ground sirloin, each a smidgen over 2 lbs, into the big freezer.

They also advertised a meal deal that involved buying 2 packages of Gordon’s Fish Fillets and getting free frozen veggies, free frozen potatoes, a free frozen cobbler and free Cool-Whip. That will be a fun dinner later on. Everything is frozen/freezable.

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A Call to Love and Obedience

A Call to Love and Obedience

12 “And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you? He requires only that you fear the Lord your God, and live in a way that pleases him, and love him and serve him with all your heart and soul. 13 And you must always obey the Lord’s commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good.

Respect, Follow, Love, Serve, and Obey

I love that our Father makes things simple to understand!

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Tornado of Pastels

Hodgepodgemom has so many pastel tutorials from Nana on her site.  Here is our interpretation of the tornado tutorial:

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Being Frugal with … Bananas

I love when I find over-ripe bananas at the grocery store for $0.19 a pound or some such reduced price.  These economic black-spotted fruit are gold! Over-ripe bananas make the best banana bread and banana muffins! I think it has to do with the starchiness being turned to sugar. ((Yep, starch to sugar and many more banana facts here.))

Today, while the boys were putting into practice substitution axioms and reading The Village Blacksmith by Longfellow, I made a quadruple batch of banana muffins….which only yielded 30 muffins for me. I made them too big, I guess.


I don’t think anyone will mind that they were a little large.  To keep muffin-making as frugal as possible, I use reconstituted dry milk in place of regular milk.  Milk is becoming more costly, so to preserve the “good” milk for drinking and for cereal, I like to make up some “cooking” milk with the dry stuff.  I usually just make a quart at a time.  If there is any left over, I just pour it into the “good” milk jug.  Nobody can taste the difference! (I’ve added “cooking” milk to stretch the good milk on purpose before too.)

It’s all about being frugal today: We are having beans and cornbread for dinner, too!


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Having More Time

Many moons have past since I last took up the keys here.  Life gets busy and things that I don’t have time for must be cut out sometimes.  Suddenly, time has been freed up.  I was laid off from my work-at-home job a week and a half ago.

It is a dark cloud with a silver lining.  We did depend on the money I brought in.  It was just the amount to cover the grocery bill for three hungry, growing boys.  However, I had been praying about the schooling of the boys. I just was not spending as much time with each as I wanted.

Now, my time has increased.  More time with the boys, more time for schooling, more time for making this house a home, more time to listen to the Lord.  I might even have more time to do things I enjoy: knitting, learning the fiddle; more time to do things I should: exercise; more time for making up the money the loss of my job has taken from the budget.

More TimeThe budget has taken a hit. Not only did I lose my job, but my husband just took a new job paying less money.  The up-side to this move is less stress and about 40 fewer one-way commute miles.  In order to counteract this shriveling of financing, I have been commissioned to squeeze every bit of groceries out of each dollar. So, I’ve started couponing in earnest.  It is something I’ve done periodically in the past, like taking my vitamins.  But now I have my binder, and am watching the sales ads like a hawk. Lord, let me be a good manager of your wealth.

Even though we are pinching pennies and more on a beans and rice, rice and beans array than we have in many years, I am so excited about this new turn!

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Menu Planning

Coming up with the grocery list is always an exercise in frugality, creativity and patience.  I want to treat my family to delicious and nutritious foods week after week that doesn’t break the budget. The best way I have found is to take a block of time while the kids are occupied with an assignment and come up with a menu.  My husband gets paid twice monthly and depending on how the month goes, I could be planning for 14 to 18 days of meals. I never assign meals to days, but keep a list of dinner meals to choose from.  I find it hard to stay with a rigid plan, and the flexibility of choosing the night before or morning of works so much better for me.

Before I start dinner planning, I consider breakfast.  We usually have the same sorts of things on rotating basis including the following: Cold Cereals, Grits, Oatmeal, Biscuits, Eggs, Bacon/Sausage, Pancakes, Cottage Cheese and Fruit, Fruit Bread. On my Grocery List, I jot down anything we might need in the pantry, as most of these things are part of or made from staples. Don’t forget the Coffee, Orange Juice, Vitamins and other morning time necessities.

Admittedly, I’m not very creative about lunch.  The boys generally make lunch for themselves, and they have spoiled me by making my lunch most days as well.  We settle for sandwiches of meat and cheese or pb&j variety, left-overs, and quick oven meals of frozen chicken nuggets or wings, fish sticks, or whatever interesting thing I’ve found on sale. Perhaps I should work on this area. At any rate, I jot these things down next.  Don’t forget the extra stuff: bread (if you don’t make your own or in addition), mayo and other condiments, extra fruits, raw veggies, and other snacks for the side.

Dinner planning begins with browsing SouthernSavers for the best deals. I print coupons, make sure the coupons from Sunday and the printed ones are organized. (I just started putting them all in a binder with baseball card holders – so much better than my previous envelope system!) Then I browse the online version of my store’s circular advertisement.

As a family we love trying out new foods, flavors from different parts of the world, and new ways to combined our favorites. We often rate the recipes while we eat together.  A meal that falls short might receive a kick-to-the-curb-please-never-make-this-again 3 points, while something amazing might garner 1,000 points! We do try to keep it on a 1 – 10 scale most nights. While trying a new recipes each night might keep our palates excited, it might not help the budget or help a frazzled mom who is running late to Wednesday night Church or Knitting Group or other mom’s meetings.  I’ve also notice I put dinner “ideas” into 6 categories: Chicken, Beef, Fish, Veggies, Pasta, “Other”.  An “other” dinner might be something like quiche or pancake dinner that doesn’t necessarily fit into one of the other main ingredient categories. The goal is to concentrate on those types of things on sale or already on hand, while getting a good mix of fast fixes (for busy or less inspired days) and new tastes, and planning meals from a variety of my categories. No body wants chicken or tomato-based dishes five nights in a row, no matter how great the recipes.

After I’ve decided on recipe, I jot any ingredients down on the grocery list.  I mostly use recipes as a guide. I hardly measure anything, substitute liberally, and sometimes stray completely away into unknown territory (esp. if the recipe calls for slow-cooking and it’s 5:00pm and I somehow missed that little bit of info until I start cooking!)  I usually have lots of veggies, both fresh and frozen, on hand.  A quick look at the list to make sure I’m not reaching for something already apportioned, I usually add easy veggies, bread or what-not to these items. They are just not listed. and are two of my favorite place to browse for recipes, but I also look in magazines, recipe books and other online foodie hangouts. Here’s my menu list for tomorrow’s shopping trip.

Zucchini Casserole with Red-Pepper Aioli Use up squash w/ this too.
Baked Rigatoni with Ricotta and Collard Greens
Sausage and Bean Casserole and cornbread
Almond-Crusted Chicken with Scallion Rice
Asian Chicken Noodle Soup
Big Platter of Roasted Vegetables and Rice
Tacos and Simple Black beans
Broccoli and Cheese Soup
Twice Baked Spinach Potatoes and Salad
Roasted Chicken and mashed potatoes or German hot red potato salad
Quiche (left over veggies)
Sloppy Joes and glazed carrots

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Stonehenge and Circle Making

Today's History Activity

The History of Mystery

People way back in time (2700 B.C) made Stonehenge without modern equipment. Stonehenge is made out of huge rocks. They are about 28 tons each.  Stonehenge is called a megalith because it is a monument made of huge rocks.  All of the rocks came from miles away.  Some rocks came from 300 miles away!

The shape of the circle and position of the rocks were built in connection with the rising and setting of the sun.  It also had something to do with the moon and seasons.

The people who built Stonehenge were very smart. How did they make it?!?

Dropping seeds

The Project: How to Make a Perfect Circle

We had a long string and some bird seed.  Two people held the string so that the string was straight and tight.  The person in the middle had to stay in the same spot. The person at the other end of the string walked slowly, but they had to keep the string tight. The third person had to drop some bird seed every few steps.  We made a perfect circle out of bird seed. Maybe the ancient people who built Stonehenge used string to make the circle.

– M (grade 4)

Circle Making

Posted in Curriculum, History, Homeschool, The Boys' Writing | 1 Comment