Blissful and Domestic - Creating a Beautiful Life on Less

Thursday, September 29, 2016

LDS Cannery Home Food Storage Haul + Food Storage Tips...

Morning friends!! Yesterday we ventured out to our local LDS Home Food Storage Center. This is a church run facility, but it is open to both members and non members of the Mormon faith. I went with a list of items to stock up on. I was able snag about 10  #10 cans for $55. These items have a 30 year shelf life. I love having long term food storage items in our pantry. We rotate them, by only purchasing items we know we like.

Today we stocked up on instant potato flakes, dried minced onions, and macaroni. We're trying out a fruit drink mix and refried beans. I'm hoping we like them, so we can add them to our pantry staple list. Below is the cost break down. 

instant potato flakes $5.00 x4
dried minced onions $9.00 x2
macaroni  $2.75 x3
refried beans $5.75
fruit punch mix $3.25

Total- $55.25

I try to go every few months. We stock up when we go, so we can spread our trips out. All of our money spent on food storage comes from a separate category of our budget. We invest in food storage each month. We allocate money each month for food storage. We don't always need it though. When it's not used, it rolls over to the next month. Putting money aside for food storage allows us to have money for stocking up when case lot sales happen or we go to the Home Storage Center.

I made a quick video of my simple haul for you guys. Enjoy!

XO Danielle

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

September Monthly Menu Plan...

Hi friends! I know that we are literally days away from pumpkin month, but I still have a few things from September I need to get up here on my blog. I have two more shopping hauls to go live, from when I did a fill in for produce, so be sure to look out for those this week. I can't post my stuff for October till I get those out to you. :)

 I also wanted to share our menu plan from this past month. I planned for 30 days. At the end of the month I had six meals we did not eat.I put a star next to those meals. On those days we ended up having leftovers. I like over planning a smidge. It gives me a little bit of grace and keeps my options open. Months when I don't over plan, I am usually left short in the meal department. The meals that did not get eaten will roll over to the next month or sometimes I use those meals for a lunch or breakfast...depending on what the meal idea was.

1. Cheddar Brats with baked beans 
2. spaghetti and garlic breadsticks
3. cheesy pasta bake
4. beef stroganoff 
5. bbq chicken sandwiches with potato salad and fruit

6. blueberry pancakes
7. egg and sausage burritos
8. turkey taco night
9. enchiladas and corn
10. bean and cheese burritos
11. nacho night
12. Alfredo pasta
13. black bean burgers *
14. bbq meatballs and mashed potatoes *
15. 13 bean chili with cornbread
16. black beans with rice and cornbread
17. breaded chicken sandwiches with coleslaw
18. tuna cakes with rice and veggies*
19. baked potato bar
20. hawaiian haystacks*
21. meatloaf with mashed potatoes and green beans
22. tikka masala
23. crockpot deli ham sandwiches 

24. chicken pot pie*
25. french toast*
26.  sweet potatoes and salad
27. egg and sausage biscuit sandwiches
28. hot dogs
29. fritata and hashbrowns
30. chicken taco night

XO Danielle

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

September Grocery Haul: Part 2...

Morning friends!! Today I have part 2 of my September grocery haul for you. Last week I shared our Costco haul. You can check that out here.

I did all my shopping in one day. I went to Costco in the morning and Fry's in the afternoon. I brought baby girl with me. My nursing babies pretty much go everywhere with me. I put her in the Moby wrap and she slept during each shopping trip. In between trips I came home to unload, eat lunch, and feed Tallia. It was definitely a long day, but such a blessing to know my shopping is done till October. I'll only go back mid month for a produce restock. I made sure to leave some money for that. I'll have $59.18 to spend on produce come mid September. I'll be sure to share about that later.

At Fry's I was able to grab fresh produce. We still had some stuff in our fridge, so I didn't get too much. I also stocked up on gravy packets, frozen veggies, bread, and some canned goods. Gravy packets I use when I need a quick meal. We have potato flakes we buy in #10 cans from the LDS Home Storage Center. They can be made in under five minutes. I top them with gravy and veggies on the side. It makes for a quick filling meal. If we have leftover meat, I throw that into the gravy as well. The frozen veggies are great in stir frys and when it gets to the end of the month and our fresh produce is running low. Bread this month was 4/$5. I'm slowly getting back into making my own, but only when time allows. I'm giving myself a little grace in that area. The other canned goods I got were for meals throughout the month.

At Fry's I spent $211.42. Below is my cost breakdown.

Navel oranges 5 lbs. $2.99
Bananas @59 cents/lb $3.22
Roma tomatoes @99cents/lb $1.58
Breakfast sausage $3.49
Cucumbers @79 cents each x2 $1.58
String cheese $5.99
Deli chicken $8.99
Grapes @$1.99/lb $4.76
Kroger ice cream bucket x2 @$4.49 each
Cantaloupe $2.50
Blueberries $2.99
Strawberries $2.50
Bread x4 @1.25 each $5
Chocolate syrup $2.39
Blue bunny ice cream x2 @$2.99 each
Pepperoni $2.99
Sausage links x2 @$3.49
Frozen broccoli and cauliflower x2 @$1.39 each
Frozen veggie stir-fry x2 @ $1.29 each
Spanish rice x2 @$1 each
Frozen veggie x3 @$1 each
5lbs gala apples $3.99
Whipping cream $2.99
Instant oatmeal $1.25 x2
Gravy packets 69 cents x6
Alfredo Sauce packet x2 69 cents each
Meatloaf seasoning packet 69 cents
American cheese $1.88
Apple juice x4 @99 cents each
Frozen tatertots $1.99
Turkey bacon $1.99 x3
Deli ham $3.99
Deli turkey $3.99
Breadcrumbs $1.39
Ricotta cheese $2.99
Rigatoni pasta $1.49
OJ concentrate x4 @$1 each
Baked beans 3/$5
Cereal x6 @$1.88 each
Tikka masala sauce $2.49
Orange sauce $3.49
Peanutbutter $4.69
Ritz crackers $2.69 x2
Plastic wrap $2.29
Foil $1.99
Freezer gallon bags $1 x2
Salad mix $3
Milk x4 @1.88 each

So that's everything we bought for the month of September. I won't be going back for a produce fill in for about two weeks. My freezer, fridge, and pantry are stocked, which makes me so happy. Tomorrow I'll be sharing my menu plan for the month.

XO Danielle

Monday, September 26, 2016

Strawberry freezer jam for the win....

Morning friends! I'm so excited guys. The kids and I made jam this weekend. Strawberry jam with wonderful, delicious chunks of berry.
Mmmmm.......I love homemade jam. Put it on top of fresh baked bread and I'm in heaven. The kids and I had it on some biscuits, straight from the oven. It was the perfect treat over the weekend.

On Friday, We went to a local produce store here called City Wide Produce. You can find them on Facebook. One of you sweet readers told me about them. I immediately looked them up and saw they had strawberries for 99 cents. I loaded the kids in the car and we ventured to get some sweet berries for homemade freezer jam.

I ended up spending $8 on strawberries. So far I've only used 3 containers and I was able to get 10 half pint jars of jam. I plan to either freeze the rest of the berries or can some more jam later this week. It depends on how I'm feeling and how Miss Tallia naps. Most of my projects are on a time limit now :)

To make the jam, I followed the directions on the liquid pectin box for freezer jam. I washed and hauled my strawberries. I then mashed them in a huge bowl. I added four cups of sugar and mixed well. I let it sit for ten minutes, while I mixed the lemon juice and pectin in a bowl together. After the ten minutes were up, I combined my pectin mixture with my berries.

The jars I used are freezer safe glass jars. They were gifted to me by a friend. She was no longer into canning, so she gave me a few boxes of jars. Once my jars were clean, it was time to fill them. This is when the kids got interested and wanted to help. They took turns filling jars.

Once they were all filled, I cleaned the rims and screwed on the lids. We let them sit out for 24 hours, then into the freezer they went. We kept one out for the fridge.

Making freezer jam was a perfect project for nap time. Right as we were screwing on the last lid, baby girl woke up.

What's your favorite type of freezer jam?

XO Danielle

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

September Grocery Haul: Part 1...

It's a new month friends, which means a new grocery haul. It's been three weeks since we moved to Arizona and we were in desperate need of a big grocery haul. I had done a few small trips, after we got here, but I needed to go to Costco and I was itching to get back to once a month shopping. With all the choas of hubby working out of state, paying bills for two residences, weekly trips for hubby to come back and forth, baby delivery, and then a big move out of state.... I was ready for some structure. 

I crave structure and organization. I thrive on it in fact. We have a lot of financial goals this year and some debt we want to pay off asap from unplanned medical expenses with Tallia's delivery, so we wanted to start getting ourselves back on track with budgeting and saving. 

The first place to start was with groceries. I made a 30 day meal plan. Basing it first off of stuff from food storage and what I had on hand. I then made my grocery list. It was a long list. We needed a lot this month. We set our budget at $700. I made plans to go to Costco and Fry's. Today I'll share the Costco haul. I'm leaving my Fry's haul for tomorrow. 

I'm going to continue to document my prices here on the blog. Kind of my way of creating a new price book. 

I got a lot of snack items in this haul. We won't eat all of these snacks this month. I stock my pantry weekly with granola bars, protein bars, dried fruit, etc. The rest is put away. In the new apartment I have everything stored on top of the cabinets. It's that whole "out of sight, out of mind" method I use. It helps me stretch items further. 

I also bought some stuff to stock our freezer chest with....chicken nuggets, chicken patties, etc. The chicken nuggets I buried in the freezer to use later in the month. I didn't want them gobbled up the first week. Chicken nuggets are my family's weakness. They love them! I let the family eat them for lunch after shopping and then into the bottom of the freezer they went. The chicken patties will last us about two months. We'll have them for dinner one night this month and then the rest will be saved for next month or as a backup when life gets crazy. It feels good to have my freezer up and running again. I also love having a few saving graces in my freezer. :) 

This month I also bought a huge bag of chicken from Costco. I needed some for a few meals I have planned. I made a Zaycon Foods order this week. I ordered 40 lbs of ground turkey, which I'll pick up this month. I also ordered 80 lbs of chicken, but I can't pick it up till next month. My total for that order was about $203. We used money we had saved on groceries in previous month's to cover the meat order. I love ordering my meat in bulk. It allows me to get it at rock bottom prices. I was able to snag the chicken for $1.68/lb and the ground turkey for $1.72/lb. You just can't beat that price! I took advantage of a sale Zaycon had going on. I also received $12 in credit, which I put towards my order. If you share a referral code and someone orders, you earn credit. Those extra savings were a blessing. This meat should last us quite a while. I'm hoping we'll be able to go about 4-6 months before needing to order again. I'll let you know how it goes.

At Costco I spent $329.40. That total reflects the $15.99 I subtracted for toilet paper. Toiletries and cleaning supplies do not come out of our food budget. They're part of another category. Below is the cost breakdown of everything I purchased. I also made a video of my haul. You can check that out on my channel or below. 

Applesauce $8.79
Protein bars $15.49
Peanutbutter powder $11.99
English muffins $6.79
Peanuts $5.39
Animal crackers $9.69
Nutrigrain bars $12.49
Granola bars $8.59
Fig bars $11.49
Carnation instant breakfast $12.59
Raisins $6.99
Red Vines $8.79
Prego pasta sauce $6.99
Canned corn $7.49
25lb white flour $5.49
Yoplait yogurt light $8.99
Hamburger buns $2.29
Hotdog buns $2.29
Grape tomatoes $4.99
Granola $7.99
5 lb bag yellow onions $5.49
Frozen berries $9.99
Frozen strawberries $9.99
5 dozen eggs $5.19
Chicken patties $13.79
10 lbs. Chicken breasts $19.99
Shredded mozzarella cheese $10.99
Chicken nuggets $11.39
Crumble bacon $10.99
Strawberry jelly $5.99
Go-gurt $7.99
Rice Rollers $6.99
Kirkland Mayo $4.79
Sharp cheddar cheese block (2 lbs) $4.79
Shredded Mexican cheese $7.99
Tortilla chips $3.49
KC BBQ sauce $5.99
Cream cheese $7.99
Sour cream $4.39
Minced garlic $4.39

Check back tomorrow to see the rest of our haul and how much we spent at Fry's.

XO Danielle

Reorganizing the fridge..

Afternoon lovelies! We just got back from a homeschool activity and I feel like we are all dragging a little bit. I guess all the fun wore us out. The baby is sleeping and the older kids are enjoying some downtime reading. With all this quite, I thought I'd hop on here and get a post ready for you. I also may be procrastinating the math lesson I have planned for today. Another few minutes of rest won't hurt right ::wink wink::? 

I have my grocery hauls for this month written out and filmed, I just need to edit the videos. I am hoping to get to that soon. Hopefully ya know before September is over. Fingers crossed on that one. Since I still have videos to edit, I decided to share a quick post about how I reorganize my fridge throughout the month to keep food waste at a minimum and things nice and clean. 

Every week I take a good 20 minutes and I reorganize the fridge. I look at what leftovers we have, what produce needs to be used up, and I check out what condiments are nearing their expiration date. As I go through the leftovers, I make plans for the items. If I have leftover meat, I try to plan it for a meal in the upcoming days. Leftover meat can be thrown into salads or casseroles. If I am not able to use the meat right away, then I freeze it for later use. Today I froze a cup of leftover taco meat.  I will use it in a Mexican pizza next month. I also froze leftover pasta sauce, ground sausage, and enchilada sauce to be used later as well. I'm thinking a supreme pizza and some type of enchilada casserole will be on the menu plan next month.

If I have veggies that are leftover, I do the same. I actually have a bag in my freezer, where I put leftover veggies. Once the bag is full, I use it to make veggie soup.

I clean up any spills in the fridge and restock pudding cups, applesauce, cheese, deli meat, etc as needed. I basically shop my pantry or freezer to restock. Shopping my pantry and freezer allows me to go longer between shopping trips.

Taking just twenty minutes (or less for normal people. I'm an OCD cleaner when it comes to the fridge) a week, allows me to get organized. I find that keeping things in order allows me to prevent food waste, which ultimately saves us money.

How do you guys rotate things in the fridge?

Also last night our dinner was so yummy and simple! I bought a Caesar bagged salad and added some leftover chicken. I then served it with banana bread (minus the add ins) and watermelon. It was a hit! Also we are trying out this taco braid from 365 Days of Baking and More tonight. I can't wait! I'm using my basic dinner roll dough in place of the store bought crescents. :)

XO Danielle

Monday, September 19, 2016

Snap Away...

I follow a lot of pages on Facebook. I follow some of my favorite blogs, like Simple Homeschool and Raising Arrows. I also follow some pages like This is how we homeschool and Breastfeeding Mama Talk. I love to follow pages that encourage me and inspire me when I look through my Facebook feed. I'm bound to look at Facebook a time or two throughout the day, so I might as well follow pages who share good content. 

This past week, one of the pages I follow shared an article that really encouraged me. For the life of me I can't remember where I found the article or a direct link to the article. It was one I read during a 3 am feeding and I didn't keep it open in my browser. Sorry friends :( I may not remember the link, but I remember what I took away from that early morning read.

The article was directed towards the men in our lives....our significant others. It was telling them to get us mamas out from behind the camera. So often us ladies are behind the camera, capturing the memories. Because of this, we're often rarely in pictures. Sometimes we choose not to be in pictures because we're dissatisfied with our weight, our hair, etc and the end result is that were in very few pictures. 

The article continued to share how it is such a shame. One day we won't be here. We don't know how long our journey on this Earth is, but we should be able to leave behind those videos.... those pictures....that captured us....that captured our laughs....our cries.... our snuggles with our babies.

I've been thinking on this a lot lately. I don't want my kids to look back and not be able to find mom in the memories. I want them to be able to see me....whether I'm fat, skinny, hair done, or I'm a hot mess. I want them to see me because guess what? They don't care what I look like. They don't care I have messy morning hair or I'm rocking a bit of baby spit up, which I totally am in the pictures above. They love me for being me. 

I encourage you today friends to take your picture. Get yourself in front of that camera and snap away. You're amazing friend. No matter what that package is. Never forget that! :) 

XO Danielle

Friday, September 16, 2016

There's a snake in my boot...

Well not really, but as I sit here nursing Tallia, that famous Disney quote keeps coming to mind. Today we ventured out to the park for some homeschooling PE fun. Our homeschooling group does a weekly PE class, so the kids have been loving getting together with new friends and playing lots of different games.

This week though, there was a surprise waiting under one of the playgrounds. A baby rattlesnake. Oh my heck my mama heart panicked.

First of all, I'm terrified of anything that creeps, crawls, or slithers. They give me the heepie jeebies. Yes we had snakes in Nevada, but they stayed in the desert. You never saw them at parks, or at least I didn't. I expressed my panic fear to some of the other moms, who were way to chill about it for my liking. I guess this sort of thing happens. They even have signs telling you to look out. I saw them earlier, but didn't realize how legit they were. One of the Moms flagged down a park and rec worker (who was doing some near by landscaping...thank goodness), who quickly came to assist. He had his snake catching gear on hand. Again, I guess this happens often enough to warrant having snake catching gear on hand.

The snake was relocated to another part of the park. The park sits next to a huge area of brush and a stream. I guess the snake had just ventured a bit too far from home.

So now we can say we've seen a rattlesnake and now I'm a bit more cautious at the park.

Also these pictures make me laugh because Mr. Eleven Year Old Boy aka Keagan was ready to go home and the ladies in his family were walking too slow for his liking....which he expressed quite vocally by telling us to "Hurry up!" Libby and I had to give him a hard time, so we stopped for some pictures. Get use to it son. You are surrounded by girls during the day. We laugh, we paint nails, squeal when bugs present themselves, take a bit longer to do things....because we like to talk, and we love to take pictures :)

XO Danielle
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