Eatin’ Cheap – Chicken

We eat a lot of chicken at our house.  Because my son and I have chemical sensitivities, I have to purchase organically raised and processed chicken.  It costs more, but the alternative is an Epi-pen (not at all pleasant).  I shop for sales, when they’re available.  It’s also cheaper per pound to purchase a whole chicken.  We can make a few meals from one chicken, even though they tend to be small.  I usually bake the whole chicken with just a few spices (salt, pepper, garlic powder).  Sometimes, if I plan ahead, it goes into the crock-pot all day to cook slowly. 

ready to cook

We usually eat the first meal as baked chicken slices with vegetables.  Next, we might eat some delicious chicken sandwiches for lunch the next day.  With what is left I can make a chicken casserole or chicken soup. 

The last few weeks, we’ve been eating everything out of the pantry and freezer (trying to cut the food budget).  Soup is so easy in the crock pot.  Our favorite is:
1 case of MSG-free chicken broth
2 bags of frozen Kroger soup vegetable mix
1 can of Kroger Italian diced tomatoes
1 bay leaf
1/2 t. garlic powder
1/4 t. red pepper flakes
chopped chicken (whatever is left – about 1 cup)

This is delicious with corn bread or crackers!

Do you like giveaways?

Do you like to get free stuff?  I recently found out about blogger giveaways.  I know, I’m a little slow to find out things like that.  I only discovered them because I spent so much time in bed feeling bad.  I found that I could enter giveaways online while I was in bed suffering with pain from fibromyalgia and my auto-immune pain problems.  I immediately started winning, and have won over 30 giveaways.

My other blog Chronically Content has a huge list of giveaways to enter.  I have giveaways that are great for families: babies, kids, moms, dads, and even pets!  If you’re interested in winning some great prizes for your family, you can check it out!  HERE

I won TurboFire exercise DVDs:  My daughter loves this set worth $85.

Moving: frugal and green

Because we knew months in advance that we would be moving, we tried to plan ahead.  Packing materials are very expensive.  Purchasing boxes and paper or bubble wrap adds up quickly.  To spare the shock to our wallet, we did everything we could to get free packing materials.

Even though it wasn’t convenient, we saved all our junk mail, newspapers, magazines, and used paper for months.  We stashed it in large trash bags and threw them in the attic.  Every time we got a package we saved the boxes and bubble wrap.  Because of my illness, I knew I was going to stop teaching music lessons.  All the unused music which was in like-new condition, I sold.  All the other music was torn  or crumpled up to use for packing.  You would be surprised how much paper and boxes you can accumulate over just a few months time. 

All this really cut down on the amount of packing materials I had to purchase at moving time.  After we arrived and unpacked everything, I sorted everything into separate bags for recycling: mixed paper, newspaper and cardboard.  We flattened the cardboard and loaded our cars three times.  All of this was recycled.  It was great to recycle instead of just setting it out for the trash. 

Be Content With What You Have

In this day with Pinterest and so much on tv, magazines, and the internet that is beautiful, it’s sometimes hard to be content with what you have.  Being middle-aged, I have seen home decor go through many fads and fashions.  Everywhere I look, I’m faced with: “What you have is out-dated or not good enough- you need to change everything”.  Not that I want to have an unattractive home or anything, but I have to face the facts.  I can’t change everything, and my house will never look like a magazine cover.  That’s ok.  There are times when I’ve had more money to spend on home decor.  Having a little to spend or a lot to spend won’t change my level of contentment about my home.  I’m either content or I’m not.

We’ve downsized.  We have less room in our new home, but that’s a good thing.  We’ve had to say farewell to some items that we don’t need.  We’ve been able to donate many items to stores (such as Goodwill).  The only tough thing about downsizing is storage.  I’ve had to get pretty creative.  I’ve seen so many beautiful storage solutions on blogs and Pinterest, but right now I just can’t go out and purchase matching baskets, etc.  I’ve used what I had and bought a few inexpensive plastic containers from the Dollar Tree.  It works!

Our utility room now can store huge amounts of stuff and it’s organized, even though not all that pretty.  When I get a little more money, I would like to cover some of the boxes to make them more attractive.  But, right now everything is great (because it’s not on the floor).

This small pantry holds a lot more just by adding shelf dividers.  Only a few dollars and I doubled the storage space on those shelves.  Yay!

On top of the kitchen shelves I had imagined all new decor full of color.  But, I don’t have the money for that right now.  As I unpacked our belongings, I simply grouped things that I had and strung Dollar Tree vines through the mix.  It looks pretty cute.  I also liked that I could use breakable items that had belonged to my grandmothers and hubby’s mother, too.

Using what you have…..let it be a fun challenge for you!

Weight Loss Fundraiser….progress?

Well, my weight loss fundraiser isn’t fund raising.  So far I’ve lost .4 pounds.  I’m embarrassed to admit that this isn’t going well at all.  I know the reasons for this: no exercise and extreme nausea.  The only way I could exercise (because of my pain) would be in the pool.  I can’t really join an indoor pool, because indoor pools (with the chlorine) give me migraines.  Our HOA pool will open next month, so I look forward to a little exercise during the summer.  Nausea is a daily problem for me, and lately it has been severe.  When I get so sick that I have to have some sprite and crackers, then it’s very hard to stay on a diet.  Sprite and crackers is just too much sugar and calories. 

Well, those are my excuses….  I’m going to keep trying and have a book to read today, maybe it will help.  Do you have any ideas?  I’ll take advice 🙂 

I’ve had a good week with my financial contentment goals.  I’ve saved a lot of money shopping.  I earned two Walgreen’s gift cards for transferring prescriptions.  This helped me purchase some much needed items for the family.  I also had plenty of good coupons to use at the grocery store, including e-coupons.  Kroger is discontinuing double coupons, so that will make it a little more difficult.  I’ve also won 11 giveaways in the last three weeks.  This helps so much with gift-giving and just having great things for the family (food and toiletries).  Now that my degree is completed, I’ll have more time for housework, couponing, and giveaway entering! 

I’m thankful for all the new friends I’m making online, especially those who are also living with chronic illness.  It’s very encouraging to write to others and pray for them, as well as receive prayers and encouragement! 

I won this from http://www.booskerdoo.com/

The Little Things

I woke up this morning with a crisis.  With my terrible memory ( blame it on Fibro Fog) I had forgotten to get my son’s ID ready for his SAT test tomorrow!  I knew he had to have this when I registered him, but the brain didn’t remember until 8 am this morning.  Well, I’m thankful God gave me the thought at the last minute.  I searched online and found that home educated students (with no drivers license) can print out a form to be notarized as an ID.  We got it ready and headed to our local bank.  The first notary I met wouldn’t do it, because he didn’t have an ID….(duh).  The next bank notarized the form 🙂

Then, I went shopping.  He needed number 2 pencils and I needed May birthday gifts for the many family birthdays coming up.  Because I had CVS extra bucks and a free Walgreen’s gift card (received because I transferred a prescription), I got all this stuff for free!  Yay!

I also wanted to read a book, “The Belly Fat Cure”, but didn’t want to pay $9.99 for the Kindle version.  I found it on prime borrowing list for FREE!  I’m so happy about that, too.

I save a LOT of money every year on shipping from amazon.com with my prime membership.  And the free Kindle books are great, too.  Many books I need to home school can be downloaded for free or borrowed for free.  This is great, because the library doesn’t have everything.

Well, the little things in life that are a blessing from God…..those are the things I’m so very thankful for. 

What Headache?

Merriam Webster says that the word content means: “to limit (oneself) in requirements, desires, or action“.  Contentment….do I possess it?  Sometimes, but the grace of God, I do.  I’m not a person who has all the answers, nor have I arrived in a perfect state of contentment.  I’m not the person who can teach others how to be content.  I’m just challenging myself to be content each day of my life.  It’s not someplace you arrive, but more of a minute-by-minute, day-by-day struggle.  

On those days when I don’t have a headache, it’s so much easier 🙂   When I’m hurting all over, I’m certainly limited.  It helps me to think to myself of all the blessings that I do have.  I really don’t have to feel great in order to be thankful and happy.  So many people are hurting and hurting more than me.  When I can do things, I do them.  When I must rest, I rest.  There’s no need to feel guilty or ashamed.  Feeling guilty and lazy has been hard for me, because I like to get things done.  I’m learning to not worry so much.  

I’m content (satisfied) with my morning.  I was able to shop for a wedding gift and was thankful to have a coupon and free gift wrap.  The sky is blue, my car is full of gas, and my home has air-conditioning.  I may have a headache, but at least today it’s not a migraine!