Adventures of an Island Mom


Freezer Cooking Day January 31, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — srowe5 @ 3:07 pm

Since we’ve been Eating from the Pantry for the past month, it’s time, again, to stock it back up!!  Money Saving Mom and Fish Mama are hosting another Freezer Cooking Day(s) and I’m joining in!  This time, though, with a bit more restraint.

Here’s my plan for the next few days:

  • Taco Meat x6
  • Spaghetti Sauce x2
  • Chili
  • Barbeque Meatballs

(Hmmmmm……do you see a Ground Beef theme here?!  Wonder why??!!!  Read below.)  🙂

  • Boil and Shred 12 pounds of bone-in Chicken
  • Make Stock
  • Chicken Rice Casserole x2
  • Chop 8 lbs Bananas to freeze (the kids love helping with this!)

I think I’ll start with this plan and see how far we get!  I’m hoping to spread this out over the next few days, so we shall see how this goes!!  I’ll be back tomorrow for progress report and update!!


Pantry Challenge–Finished!! (and our Menu Plan for the week)

Filed under: Uncategorized — srowe5 @ 12:09 am

We made it!!

This challenge was so eye-opening, encouraging, challenging and down-right fun to do!!  It really has made me look at food differently, our budget differently and myself differently.  What a joy is was to start something and finish it with pretty darn good results!!

Our goal for the month was to shrink our usual $400/month grocery budget to just $100.

And I got OH. SO. CLOSE.

Here’s what it looked like:

Week 1:  $29.05

Week 2:  $39.94

Week 3:  $21.84

Week 4:  $32.17

Total:  $123.00

$23 over—Boooooooo


As much as I DID NOT want to go look at that Clearance meat that was beckoning me, I gave in.  That is what set me over the top.  It was absolutely the deal of the century, though, so I really COULD NOT pass it up.  You wanna know the deal???  You know you do!  I got:

20 pounds of ground beef for:  $6.45!!!

32 cents/pound!!

Yes, folks, you read that right—TWENTY!!!  Now, I know you’re probably thinking, ahem, that does not equal the entire $23 you were over!  True.  So true.  I also got sucked in to some amazing produce deals, as well, that I just couldn’t pass up either.  ( I seem a theme, here!!)

But, take a look at this.  This is my actual program that I use to track all of our finances.  (It’s quite an amazing, handy tool——-it’s totally free, totally easy to use, and totally awesome!!  This page show my goals for the month that I set for myself:  $100 for groceries and $100 for eating out. If you’ll notice, it shows I went $23 over on our grocery budget, but take a look at that Eating Out goal, we were $62 UNDER budget!!  It just goes to show that MENU PLANNING really does make a difference all around!

All in all, the challenge was so great, and has made me really take a closer look at what we spend on groceries!!  Goodbye $400/month, hello……a LOT less!!!  🙂

I can’t believe we’re already into February, but here we go!!!!  It’s time for our Once-a-month-Freezer-Cooking-Day!  I’ll have a post on that soon.  But, for now, here’s our Menu Plan for the week:

Monday-  Homemade BBQ Meatballs, Mashed Potatoes (freezer), Corn

Tuesday-  Hamburger Patties (freezer), homemade Sweet Potato Fries, Smoothies

Wednesday-  Spaghetti w/homemade Spaghetti Sauce, Green Salad, Cheesy Garlic Bread

Thursday-  Shredded Pork Tostadas w/all the fixins

Friday-  Homemade Pizza

Have a blessed week, everyone!!!  And, stay tuned for my plan for our Once-a-month-Cooking Day!!


Turn off the lights!! January 30, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — srowe5 @ 10:52 am

My husband and I joke a lot about this all the time:

He’s a “light-turner-onner”

I’m a “light-turner-offer.”

It never fails.  Any room of the house that he’s in, has been in, was in a few hours ago, was kind-of in a few minutes a go–you name it—the light is bound to be on!!

Now, don’t get me wrong, I love my husband dearly.   I’m definitely not trying to call my husband out, because, you know, me harping on him to turn the lights off, is probably more annoying than him leaving them on in the first place!!!!!  I’m just a big stickler for turning lights off in a room after you leave it!  It was ingrained in me from my childhood!

So, that led me to research it a bit, and I found this next bit of information from The Simple Dollar that I thought would be great to share:

If you spend one minute turning off lights before a two hour trip, that’s the equivalent of earning $50/hour. That’s some impressive savings, particularly if you do it before longer trips. The key is to use less energy, particularly when you’re not using the device.

Let’s look into this a little closer:

First of all, it takes two minutes to walk through the house and ensure all the lights are shut off.

Second, electricity costs $0.10 per kilowatt hour. This is roughly what the nationwide average is, and roughly what we use.

Third, the average bulb eats about 30 watts. This is a rough estimate.

Fourth, doing that walk-through causes me to turn off four light bulbs. This is just on average, sometimes more, sometimes less.

Taking those assumptions, let’s say we’re going to leave on a two hour trip. I turn off four 20 watt bulbs that would have run for two hours, so that’s a total of 160 watt hours of energy, or 0.32 kilowatt hours. The effort in that walkthrough, which takes two minutes, is 1.6 cents.

Let’s do the same for an average work day, where the house will be empty for nine hours. Turning off four 20 watt bulbs that would have run for nine hours saves 720 watt hours of energy. That two minute walkthrough here saves 7.2 cents. This is getting better, but still not very cost effective.

Now, let’s look at a weekend trip, where, we’re typically gone for about 52 hours. Thus, if we turn off those same four 20 watt bulbs, we save 4,160 watt hours of energy. That’s 41.6 cents, which is getting to be worthwhile for two minutes of effort.

This is assuming only lights, of course. What about the potential for other electronic devices to be turned on? If you find a television on, which sucks down roughly 150 watts on average. Over two hours, that’s only 3 cents. Over that 52 hour trip, that’s 7.8 kilowatt hours, or $0.78.

Here’s what I concluded from running the numbers.

First, a walkthrough gets more and more cost effective the longer your trip is going to be. For very short trips, it’s probably not worth the time investment – with just the lightbulbs and a two minute walkthrough before a two hour trip, your hourly wage for that effort is 48 cents. However, if you do a two minute walkthrough for a two day trip and find the four lights and the television on, your hourly wage for that effort is $35.88.

Second, the more devices you turn off, the more worthwhile the walkthrough is. On longer trips, I do things like unplugging devices, powering off everything on my entertainment center, unplugging my laptop’s power supply, and so on. This cuts down on a lot of drain and can be done pretty quickly, not adding much at all to the time of the walkthrough.

It’s simple things like these that really make the difference. Taking just a few minutes to look at your behavior and realize when a frugal tactic is cost-effective or not can tell you a lot about whether that behavior is really right for you. For me, I often try to look at it as an hourly wage – if that hourly wage looks nice to me (or there’s some other appeal to it), I’ll do it!!


The Home Stretch! January 28, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — srowe5 @ 8:51 am

This week has been a little “topsy-turvy,” but I haven’t forgotten that we’re still EATING FROM THE PANTRY!  I can’t believe that January is just about over and this challenge is coming to a close.

Here is what is on our Meal Plan for the rest of the week.  It’s a little changed up from my original Monthly Plan, because I’ve scoured the freezer and found more food we need to eat!!

Thurs 1/28:  Tuna Noodle Casserole (freezer), Buttery Rolls (freezer), Jello w/mandarin oranges

Fri 1/29:  Chili (freezer), Corn Muffins (freezer), Smoothies

Sat 1/30:  Meatloaf (freezer), Baked Potatoes, raw veggies and dip

Sun 1/31:  Baked Chicken, Mashed Potatoes (freezer), Asparagus

Here’s where we stand, as far as trying to make our $100 grocery budget for the month:

Week 1: $29.05

Week 2: $39.94

Week 3: $21.84

Total:  $90.83

$9.17 left for the next 4 days!!! *bites nails*  Can I do it?!?!?!  We’re already to Thursday of week 4, so there’s hope!!!  I have not even stepped in a grocery store this week, due to all the busy-ness surrounding Anna’s surgery, but we are running low on a few staple items, so I HOPE that I can spend less than $10 in the next few days!!  But, if I can’t, I want to get as close as possible.  It will be a small victory!!!

How are YOU doing on the challenge???


What a blessing! January 27, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — srowe5 @ 2:42 pm

Our little Anna came through surgery like a champ!!!!  God is soooooo good.

There were a few little mishaps along the way, but she came out of it with flying colors!!  It was a long day, and an even longer night, but we are so pleased that God brought her (and us!) through this!!!  PTL!!!

Anna’s test results also came back NEGATIVE, so praises all around!!

Thank you—-ALL OF YOU—-for your thoughts, your prayers, your concern and your encouragement.  You don’t know how much we felt it and appreciated it!!



Surgery January 24, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — srowe5 @ 3:35 pm

Tomorrow is the day.

Our sweet, little, 5-month old, Anna, goes into surgery.

Mark and I are, undoubtedly, nervous.  Very nervous.

No one wants their precious little baby to have to go to surgery—no one.  But, when it’s needed, it’s needed.

A mass was discovered in Anna’s bladder.  She has had an ongoing fever and infection for about a month, now, that she just can’t seem to kick.  The doctors are almost positive that this mass is harboring much bacteria, and, possibly more, that is making her body sick.  If this isn’t taken care of soon, terrible things could happen to her.

So, we weighed all our options, and decided, along with the doctors, that the very best decision is to go forward with the surgery.

The surgery begins around 7:30 tomorrow morning and consists of general anesthesia (yikes) and the doctors going through the urethra and into the bladder.  They are going to puncture the mass, drain it, check for any abnormalities, reflux, etc, etc.  Along with checking everything else.  I will have to stay overnight with her and hopefully, if all goes well, we can come home on Tuesday.

Depending on how things go, I might be off the blog for a couple days, but I will update you as soon as I can!

We would so appreciate your prayers!!!


Steals!! January 22, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — srowe5 @ 4:08 pm

Got a GREAT tip from one of my readers, Anna C.  She told me about these two great sites:

They sell products from one hot brand each day at 50%-80% off until it sells out. One amazing STEAL a day at 9am MST and when it’s gone, it’s gone!! It’s not just a deal, it’s a STEAL!!

Check it out!