Monday, November 20, 2017

Frugal Accomplishments

This week we did really well, frugally speaking.

I am thankful that I am feeling better, so that definitely helps things.  It is amazing how much energy, or lack of, affects the budget.  It is so easy to rely on convenience items.  That is motivation to me to put a few more easy freezer meals together, like crock pot ones or frozen homemade soup, that we can pull out when we're sick.

We are also beginning the dreaming and exploring stage of purchasing land and building a new home.  When we built this home, we thought it would be our forever home, but we're realizing there are things about the neighborhood and road that will never change.  So, we're looking to move closer to my mom and into her neighborhood, which has lots of kids and very, well, neighborly neighbors.  This would allow the boys to walk to her house as they get older, and would give them playmates in the neighborhood.

Here's how we stuck to our budget this past week:

  • Cooked all meals at home including crock pot Asian chicken with veggies, cauliflower and cheese sauce, banana nut whole wheat muffins, crock pot oatmeal, smoothies, "big boy breakfast" of eggs and bacon, whole wheat pizza, and salad.
  • Took advantage of four community meals with our parenting class, our school faculty, our church, and my mom.  This kept our kitchen clean and meant that we only had to take one dish or item to share.  We took a salad to church, salad to school, and potatoes to Mom's to roast.
  • Thankful for items from the food pantry this week:  gluten free crackers, cereal, plain instant oatmeal, fresh fruit (melon, pineapple, and grapes), and some pouches of baby food (I use them in smoothies, though sometimes the boys will eat them).  These are items that clients typically don't take, so we're glad to use them.
  • Composted all possible items including food scraps, brown paper tubes, paper towels, tea bags, and coffee grounds.  Compost will be added to the gardens to prepare them for winter.
  • Kept grocery spending to $10 for pie crust, refrigerator biscuits, eggs, snack pack (free item of the week), celery, and peanuts (small cans for stockings).  We used coupons for the pie crust, biscuits, and peanuts.  Trying really hard to keep our grocery spending to $70-80 this month, not $150.
  • Continued with cloth diapers, except at night.  We're using free diapers from the diaper bank at the Children's Council for our night time ones, saving expense there.  Grateful for this newfound resource.
  • We made our OCC shoebox this weekend and shopped at home first.  We found:  plastic cups, plastic spoons, foam balls, blanket, new towel, stickers and small toys, new toothbrush and soap.  We went to the Dollar Tree to purchase seven items.  Little man had a great time shopping and picking out items for the box.  We wrote a note to them as a family, and paid the processing fee online.  (This allowed us to use our credit card = points which we'll use for a future vacation.)  Little man is really excited about the possibility of seeing where our box goes, which is enabled by the QR code on the label.  It was nice to be able to do this with things we had around the house.
  • Took advantage of our Children's Playhouse membership (thank you Mom!) and went on Saturday.  The boys had a ball.
  • Combined all errands when possible.  Sundays we usually do our grocery shopping before church, since the boys are up early anyway.  This is nice because it combines the errands, but the store is also very empty before church, so it's easier with the boys.  
  • Had a doctor's appointment out of town on Thursday, but went with Benny and baby.  We were able to make a date of it, use a gift card for lunch, and get some work done for Benny's boss while we were near Best Buy.  This meant that we could count some of the time in the trip as work time for him, which is really nice.
  • Began taking pictures to post more items on eBay.  These funds will help pay for my medical expenses, and it helps to clear out the house some.  We're beginning to feel overwhelmed with the amount of "stuff" we have, so this is helping, even if we can only do a few items at a time.
  • Started another bag of stuff to take to Goodwill.  Will get a tax receipt for this.
  • Had a short craft date with little man last night and really enjoyed painting together.  Going to try to do this more; it really feeds both of our souls.
  • Began cleaning up the boys' room and craft room some more.  Hoping to weed out more things by the end of the year.  Might set a tally amount, just to keep us going and motivated to continue weeding.
I'd love to hear what you did to live and save green this past week?  How do you do it with the holidays just ahead?  Please share!

Friday, November 17, 2017

November Grocery Spending Plan

This month we're trying really hard to keep our grocery spending down.  We're doing this for a variety of reasons:  we have a lot in the pantry and freezer to use, we generally want to keep expenses down as travel expenses are up this season, and we have some medical expenses to pay that are beyond our normal expenses.

So, we're working with what we have.  This means that we made crock pot Asian chicken with pantry and freezer staples, chili with pantry and freezer staples, oatmeal, eggs, and smoothies with things we have on hand.  We have plans to make a lentil sweet potato soup with staples on hand, will make Asian slaw with cabbage in the fridge, pasta with sauce made this summer, and probably tacos or nachos.  We make use of regular pantry staples like brown rice, quinoa, dry beans and lentils, and pasta.  We can also make pizza with ingredients we have on hand.

We did spend about $40 in groceries at cousin's Christmas celebration last weekend, for meals together and for goodies to make.  We also purchased some things at Trader Joe's and Aldi that will be treats to give for holidays.  We did pick up some fresh produce at Aldi, including fruit for the boys.

The only foreseen grocery expenses this month otherwise are almond or coconut milk, half and half, and maybe fresh fruit.  We have some frozen fruit, but that doesn't go so well in lunches.  We can also fill in with dried fruit.  I had thought I might buy a turkey to put in the freezer, but I can't rationalize spending the $40 to get the discounted turkey price, when we don't really need to spend the $40.  I might stock up on sweet potatoes that are discounted.

We're also grateful for community meals this month.  We have a few pot lucks planned with church, coworkers, and friends.  We have our regular Sunday dinners with Mom, and we have our dinners with parenting class on Mondays.  We might end up coming back from Thanksgiving with leftovers, which is always nice.  I can usually turn these into another meal like turkey tacos, turkey soup, or enchiladas.  If we come back with bread, then I can turn that into French toast or breakfast casserole. All of this means a lighter burden on our grocery budget.

The trips out of town also mean that we're doing less cooking at home and eating more with family.  This eases the grocery budget too, even though it increases travel spending.  We're hopeful that we'll be able to keep travel expenses down because of the gift cards we've earned through our parenting class and a gas card from the Children's Council.  We'll also take our most fuel efficient vehicle.

So, all in all, we're hoping to keep grocery spending to around $80-$100 this month.  Since our usual budget is $150, I think it's doable. 

How are you living and saving green this month in preparation for the holidays?  Are you stocking up with holiday deals, or are you eating what you've got in storage?  I'd love to hear from you!

Monday, November 13, 2017

Frugal Accomplishments

We did a pretty good job this week with our frugal accomplishments, with one minor frugal fail.  We did some traveling, but we tried to use our gift cards to limit the financial impact.  It was a great long weekend with family and cousins.  We did an early Thanksgiving dinner and early Christmas with the kids, which was super fun.  There are some great family pictures of the kids decorating cookies and all crowded in on the couch in their pajamas watching How the Grinch Stole Christmas.  So fun!

Here's the details of this past week:

  • Cooked all meals at home including black bean chili, whole wheat pizza, salad, butternut squash casserole, smoothies, and muffins
  • Frugal fail:  forgot to turn the heat down on the overnight crock pot oatmeal, and now it's a burned on mess.  Will use baking soda and water with it on high for a while to remove burned mess.  Totally bummed... was really looking forward to it!
  • Had free dinner with our parenting class on Monday, which was so appreciated.  Saved us some money, time and frustration with clean up.
  • Used gift cards earned from our parenting class to pay for gas for our trip.  We ended up taking the least fuel efficient car because the better one was making a weird noise.  We didn't want to get stranded on the highway on a holiday weekend with two little ones.  We'll get the other car looked at this week so it's good for travel over Thanksgiving.
  • Used another gift card to pay for gifts for the kiddos.  I try really hard to do gifts that don't contribute to the amount of "stuff" we all accumulate, so I purchased some craft kits and gingerbread house kits for each family.  
  • We also made our standard holiday chocolate caramel popcorn.  It is always a hit and really easy and relatively inexpensive.  We substitute pecans for the peanuts, because we like them better and generally have them on hand.  It's really nice to make gifts that are consumable, so that it's not something else for folks to store, when we're all really trying to simplify things in our lives.
  • My cousin made sugar cookie dough earlier in the week, so we made those with the kids on Saturday morning.  It was so fun, and even the little ones (18-19 months) got involved.  It's relatively cheap to make, and was such a great time for the cousins.  Having the dough ahead of time really helped out.
  • I brought frozen tomatoes and bell peppers (from the food pantry) from our freezer to make chili on Friday with the cousins for dinner.  We also took our crock pot, in case we needed a second for the large crowd.  Having these ingredients really helped save on prep time and cost, which meant we had more time together as a family.
  • Graciously accepted steel cut oats, date almond balls, popping corn, and Kind bars from the food pantry this week.  These things will really help round out our pantry and help us keep our grocery bill in check.
  • Grateful for snacks that family offered throughout the weekend.  Those helped us through the road trip, and it was nice for the boys to try some new things.
  • Stopped at Aldi on the way back home, which was a nice break for us all (especially after getting stuck in traffic for over an hour), and restocked the fridge at a cheaper price than usual.  We were able to get a lot of organic produce for cheaper than we could have at Harris Teeter.
  • Thankful that our tenant kept Lavender for us, which made our trip a lot less stressful.  
  • Mom picked up take-out for us for dinner last night, because we got home late from the trip.  So grateful for this, and it was a new food experience for the boys.  They loved it, so we'll repeat it sometime.  It also gave us leftovers for lunch for today.
  • Received a paper grocery sack full of hand-me-down clothes for the boys, which is so generous.  Glad for these.  (Now we just need to go through the baby things and begin consigning them.)
What did you do to live and save green this past week?  I'd love to hear from you!

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

November Menu Plan

This month we're experimenting with our new dietary restrictions.  Mine are for medical reasons (primarily trying to clear a chronic Candida infection, but also trying to be kind to my kidneys which aren't functioning at optimal rates), while Benny is trying to lose some weight.  So, we're focusing on lots of seasonal veggies, lowering carbs and sugar, and generally eating fewer grains, but making them whole grains when we do.  We're also trying to incorporate Candida fighting foods, such as coconut, radishes, and rutabagas.  And, as usual, we're trying to make the most of our existing pantry and freezer items.

But, we're also trying to not sacrifice taste and to make some legitimate compromises.  So, we're splurging in places for a dinner pie where the crust uses regular flour and using sweet potatoes that are in season and satisfy the sweet tooth without added sugars.  We're going to do well with this diet, for our own health, but we also know it's not sustainable if we cut out everything we love.  We'll also experiment with some sweets that fit my diet, and we've already found a coconut milk custard that we like.

So, here's the plan:


  • Smoothies with anti-inflammatory spices (cinnamon, ginger, turmeric) made with coconut milk, berries, and avocados or winter squash
  • Coconut flour and almond pumpkin muffins
  • Mini egg fritatas with greens, bell peppers, and onions with side of bacon or homemade chicken apple sausage
  • Whole grain muffins with apples, raisins, sesame seeds and sunflower seeds
  • Yogurt parfaits with berries, toasted coconut, and pumpkin seeds
  • Overnight steel cut oatmeal with nuts, cinnamon, ginger, and shredded coconut
  • leftovers
  • green salad with tuna or hard boiled eggs
  • yogurt parfaits


  • Lentil and grass-fed ground beef sloppy joes over quinoa or brown rice with salad and rutabaga fries
  • Breakfast for dinner with coconut flour pancakes with homemade berry syrup (made with stevia), phosphate and nitrate-free bacon, eggs with greens, and mixed berry fruit salad or grapefruit (if it's here from our fruit order)
  • Veggie stir fry over brown rice and Asian cabbage slaw
  • Grandma's split pea soup with coconut flour or almond flour corn bread
  • Beef and cheddar pie with salad with radishes and red pepper
  • Black bean and winter squash tacos on corn tortillas or over quinoa
  • Pecan crusted chicken  (tweak and use corn chip crumbs and plain dijon mustard for sugar free, gluten-free option) with roasted rutabaga, broccoli, and onions
  • Tomato basil soup with green salad (topped with olives, radishes, almonds, and red pepper)
  • Crock pot chicken fajitas with onions and rainbow bell peppers served on corn tortillas or quinoa
  • Lentil and sweet potato stew with coconut or almond flour corn bread
  • Coconut milk curry
  • Coconut milk and corn chowder with rutabagas instead of potatoes, salad on the side
  • Black bean chili with grass-fed beef served with corn bread or over quinoa or buckwheat served with plain yogurt
  • Steamed Asian ginger salmon with roasted broccoli and rutabags and Asian slaw
  • Crock pot Asian ginger chicken  (we always add more carrot and onion than called for) served over quinoa, buckwheat, or brown rice and Asian slaw
  • Roasted sweet potatoes served with black beans, plain yogurt, and chopped cilantro (serve with green salad if potatoes are small)
  • Crock pot lasagna soup with gluten free pasta
  • Homemade pizza with whole wheat crust or gluten-free crust
  • Air popped popcorn
  • Veggies and hummus
  • Gluten free crackers and goat cheese
  • Whole fruit
So, how do you live and save green in the kitchen?  Do you manage to do it even with dietary restrictions?  I'd love to hear from you!

Monday, November 6, 2017

Frugal Accomplishments

We're finding a new way to live around here.  I'm dealing with some health issues, which are affecting my diet tremendously.  We're in the midst of diagnosis of these, so I'm really just trying to eat healthfully.  Some of the potential diagnoses we're dealing with have conflicting dietary recommendations, so navigating this road has been a little difficult.  I'm hoping to be able to meet with a specialist or two soon to figure out a firm plan forward.  We will just be thankful for answers and a plan at this point.

All of that is to say that we've spent more money than usual on health care the past few months, but area grateful for the emergency fund that is here for just such a reason.  But we've been able to save in other areas, so that's been great.  Here's our list for the past week:

  • Cooked most meals at home including lentil curry soup, kidney bean chili and corn bread, pumpkin coconut flour muffins (not a huge fan, but my new diet is low on grains, so experimenting with alternative flours), vagabond muffins with apples, raisins, sunflower seeds and sesame seeds, winter squash and chickpea salad with pecan crusted chicken, homemade whole wheat pizza for the boys and lentil pasta with sauce for me.
  • Graciously accepted pasta and sauce from Mom's neighborhood Halloween gathering.  This was a huge help to us and provided the boys with two meals.  I could use the sauce on lentil pasta for myself.
  • Continued normal use of composting, recycling, and using rags for cleaning.  This cuts down on waste and makes our lives easier by having to do fewer trips to the local dump, recycling, etc.
  • Made a big batch of kidney bean chili and corn bread to share with a family who has a preemie baby.  Prayers for this family, please.  Mama is having a tough time with mastitis since LO isn't nursing well.  Organizing more meals for this family to help ease their stress.
  • Was sick last weekend with flu-like symptoms.  Ended up at urgent care Sunday morning and spent almost $100 there to get help with nausea.  That was a chunk of change, but grateful that it wasn't the ER bill that would have been $500.  Thankful that Mom could take me so that Benny could keep things as normal as possible for the boys.
  • Gratefully accepted some items from the food pantry that fit my new dietary restrictions.  These have been nice to have because they allow me to experiment with alternative ingredients to see what we like, without the expense.  These ingredients aren't cheap, so it's nice to be able to try them out.
  • Brought home about 15 winter squash from our lab at school.  Since I wasn't feeling well, Mom has processed a lot of these for me for the freezer.  This has been a huge help.  They will make a great addition to smoothies, muffins, and soups.  Little man also really liked it roasted, so it will make good snacks and meals for him.
  • Mom gave us a much needed date night on Saturday.  She kept both boys for us to go out to dinner (we tried to keep it inexpensive by drinking water and ordering cheaper entrees).  We were able to find a nice local restaurant that offers gluten free and vegan options, which helps a lot for me.  Mom then kept our preschooler overnight, which gave us some evening time after bed to do a little bit of dreaming together, which was super nice.  We haven't had that kind of fun conversation in a while.
  • I have been in need of a new raincoat for quite a while (i.e. years). We did the research and purchased one locally with a 25% off coupon yesterday.  It was still a pricey jacket at $200, but it is one that should last for life if we treat it well and retreat seams regularly.
  • We're doing a free parenting class through the Children's Council locally.  Part of this class meant that halfway through, we earned a $50 Visa gift card.  We each earned our card for attendance, so this was helpful with the jacket purchase. 
  • We found out about a diaper bank through the Children's Council.  This helped us out, is open to all families in our area, and means that we have more money in our grocery budget.
  • Took advantage of a free hand spa event at school.  This was lovely and gave me free samples.  I will save the chocolate that came in the bag for stocking stuffers.
  • We sorted the Halloween candy out and have saved some for making gingerbread house at Christmas.  We saved the hard candy for OCC shoe boxes that we'll put together with the boys.
  • Used coupons for regular grocery shopping and got three packs of nitrate and phosphate free bacon for $2.99 each.  This is a great deal and something we'll really enjoy having.
  • I used our membership to the local children's playhouse on Saturday to take the boys for a morning of fun while it rained.  We really enjoyed it, and the boys made spider webs for me to hang up in my classroom.
What did you do to live and save green this week?  I'd love to hear from you!

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Frugal Accomplishments: Vacation Edition

This past week was fabulous!  We went on vacation, to the beach no less, and managed to do it for close to $150.  So, without further ado, here's how we did it....

  • Stayed with family.  We're blessed to have family who has waterfront property, and they invited us to stay for the week.  It is their full time home, so they were there to host.  That meant there was no hotel bill for the week.
  • Drive, taking advantage of low gas prices.  We had always planned to drive, but the historically low gas prices certainly helped out.  We also tried to get an early start to miss the holiday traffic.  We loaded the boys in pjs and ate breakfast of homemade muffins and fresh picked blueberries in the car.  The car was packed the night before, making that much easier.
  • Planned stops.  Though we couldn't plan all our stops (sometimes the kids just need a break from car seats), we do generally try to stop at places that don't encourage spending.  We stopped at a Lowe's hardware on the way down, which has nice restrooms and free entertainment for little man in the form of the riding lawnmower display.  It's a place to stretch our legs and we can browse and not feel guilty.  We also like to stop in grocery stores this way, and we can pick up a bag of pretzels or something for the same as a tiny bag would cost at the gas station.   There are a couple of really nice rest areas along the way too, and these serve the same purpose, especially if we have a Frisbee in the car to play with a bit in the lawn. 
  • Cheap car entertainment.  I picked up several books at the library, a tablet we can check out there, and printed some alphabet bingo sheets to take.  We had things to do in the car, some books to read, songs to listen to, and games to play.  Overall, it was as good as could be expected with little ones on the road.  We packed car snacks from home (air popped popcorn, dried fruit, crackers, pretzels, nuts, muffins, etc.)  We all took reusable water bottles or cups that could be refilled at stops.
  • Eat out only once.  We have a special nostalgic restaurant we like to visit each year (the same place I grew up going as a kid), so we enjoy taking the boys for breakfast when we go to the coast.  We budgeted for this, and every other meal was eaten with family.
  • Keep entertainment cheap.  Most days, we played on the water, either taking the motor boat over to the beach or kayaking on the water, or just swimming off the dock out front.  We did splurge and spend $40 on going to the aquarium, but it was a morning well spent, and little man loved every minute of it.  We took snacks that morning, so we staved off hunger and didn't have to buy snacks at the aquarium.  We also took bikes, and the cousins had some there, so the kids had a big time riding bikes in the carport.
  • Meals at home.  I already mentioned this, but we took our CSA veggies to contribute, and I made a batch of cookies and homemade granola, homemade pesto, frozen homemade pizza sauce, and a pound of coffee to share as well.  I also picked up some cold stuff at the grocery store there to share (yogurt, half and half, etc.).  My other cousins brought some casseroles, homemade chicken salad, and homemade meatballs to share.  Fishing off the dock, and the crab pot, yielded a yummy seafood dinner one night.  We all shared kitchen duty, and cleanup, so meals were pretty easy, even with having eight kids under the age of 5 in the house!  
  • Planned laundry.  We kept clothes to a minimum, knowing that there would be laundry facilities.  We were able to take our cloth diapers, meaning that we had to rely on disposables only on the road.  We took our cloth wipes too, so we used these too.
  • Break up the trip.  We were fortunate to have family along the road about halfway, so we stopped overnight both directions.  This really made the trip more manageable with the boys, and it gave us a little visit time too.  My in-laws kept our dog, which was really nice, so that was a stop.  We also stopped to stay with my cousin and her family, which gave the boys some extra time with those cousins.
  • Budget entertainment.  There were plenty of toys and lots of kids around, so entertainment for the kids was easy.  The town put on a nice Fourth of July fireworks display, and we enjoyed a free Sunday evening concert in the park.  I did purchase sparklers for the kids ($2), and my cousin bought glow sticks for them.  
  • Little splurge.  We budgeted a little cushion, and we went to one of the thrift stores there.  We knew our oldest would need a new life jacket soon, so we found one there for $2 for when he outgrows the current one.  (They are rated by weight, and are understandably very specific, so we want to be prepared when he's ready for the new size.)  We knew that finding a used one there would be much easier than where we live, because they're much more used in a coastal community.  We also found a $0.25 Halloween pumpkin bucket for baby boy, and a few dresses for me.  They had a great holiday mug selection, so I picked up several at $0.10 each, knowing that we always make homemade hot cocoa for teacher gifts at the holidays.  All told, we probably spent $20 there, and it went toward a great local ministry.
So, I'd love to hear from you!  How do you live and save green on vacation?

Monday, May 15, 2017

Frugal Accomplishments

Wow, I cannot believe that we're halfway through May already!  We have only three weeks of school left, and then it'll be summer!

My boys were so wonderful to me this past weekend for Mother's Day.  We totally broke out of our routine on Saturday and had both breakfast and dinner out (dinner was courtesy of gift cards).  It was a fabulous day, complete with a little bit of garden work to keep me and little man happy (he did help, but mostly just enjoyed being outside).  It's a great day with your kiddos when there are little to no meltdowns or power struggles!

This week is all about using up what we have in the freezer and pantry, so we're skipping a trip to the grocery store (though I might need to pick up some yogurt).

Here's how this past week went, frugally speaking:

  • Kept up with our usual kitchen routines of making meals at home, including salmon pasta salad with peas and cucumber, grilled cheeses, salads, banana chocolate chunk muffins, egg and cheese sandwiches, and baked ham.  Snacks included fresh fruit, nuts, homemade croutons, and hard boiled eggs.
  • I was out of chocolate chips, so I chopped up part of a chocolate bar in the cabinet for the muffins.  Yum!  And a good use of what we had.
  • Gleaned spinach, arugula, mushrooms, kale, two gallons of milk, two pounds of strawberries, two containers of blackberries, and several containers of cut up fruit from the food pantry.  They have started gleaning from the farmer's markets at the food pantry, so they have loads of fresh produce.  The clients often don't take the greens, so they tend to go to waste.  We enjoy them a lot, so it's nice that we can use them.
  • Continued with composting, even bringing home our fruit and paper scraps from the church coffee bar on Sunday (I take my own coffee cup, so I just put the leftovers in that to bring home.)  Our compost is much more balanced since adding some spent hay with each kitchen scrap addition, which is great.
  • Hung much of our laundry, including some sheets and towels, on the line to dry when weather was conducive.  We continued with our regular cold water washing, except for towels, cloth diapers, and sheets.
  • Making a renewed effort to put water left in water glasses on plants, rather than down the drain.  This will really help with our container plants outside.
  • Used the dry mop for floor dusting rather than the broom vac, saving energy.  
  • Kept the windows cracked, and ran ceiling fans when necessary, to keep the house cool instead of running AC.  We will start needing to close front curtains soon during the day to keep the southern facing sun out (this is an advantage to us in the winter with our cold weather).
  • Planted asparagus crowns in the garden, hoping they will come up.  We also planted two bean plants that little man started at preschool and brought home.  It looks like at least one of them will make it, so it will be fun to watch with him.  
  • Split irises and hostas for other spots in the garden.  Purchased a few discounted bedding plants (marigolds, coleus, petunias) to fill planters, but also filled them with black eyed Susans and creeping Jenny ground cover from the garden.  Hoping they will fill in nicely in a few weeks and be a nice pop of color on our porch.
  • Hoping to find some cheap starts of basil for our garden so that we can make our annual supply of pesto for pasta, pizza, and sandwich spreads.
  • Benny talked to a local painter who has agreed to professionally spray some chairs with white paint for us for downstairs.  We purchased these from Craigslist for $10 a piece (a steal because they're so sturdy), but we know we'll get a better finish if they are professionally sprayed. The painter will do this in his spare time, so he's not going to charge us his regular fee. It will be nice to have these done and out of our garage space and into our craft room for regular use.
  • Did some free entertainment on Saturday with the boys at the library and the Children's Playhouse.  We also combined errands that day, meaning that we only had one car out, even with Benny at work and me being out with the boys.
  • Used gift cards for our Mother's Day celebration.  We ate out at Panera, which was a real treat for us.  The boys enjoyed it immensely, and we did a little window shopping at the mall (didn't even buy anything off the clearance rack!).  Benny also purchased my Mother's Day gift of a new cook book (The Food Lab) using gift card money from Barnes and Noble.  It is going to be a great book, written in much the same style as Cook's Illustrated, pairing science with cooking (two of my favorite things).  Little man made a cute card for me, and a fun hand print painting at school for Mother's Day.  
  • Finished up a year of professional mentoring, so I will be receiving a stipend for that in a few weeks.  We're planning for most of that to go toward paying off our home equity line, but a little of it will pay for a new pair of sandals for me for the summer.
  • Excited that our solar eclipse party was funded through Donor's Choose for school!  I have another project posted to fund new books for our classroom library, so check it out! Good Reads Make Great Readers!
What did you do to live and save green this past week?  I'd love to hear from you!