Picture Book Reading Report (April 2019)

May 14th, 2019

Sometimes, you’ve just got to press publish on the post you’ve been building over the course of a month – even if you haven’t got time to edit it. So, please forgive any roughness – and enjoy this peek into our month of reading.


Asterisks represent books I recommend (3 stars or above).

Written by Dori Chaconas

  • Don’t Slam the Door, illustrated by Will Hillenbrand
    Don’t slam the door, because if you do…it’ll wake the cat, who’ll set off a string of far-reaching implications. (Of course, someone slams the door!)
  • Mousie Love illustrated by Josee Masse
    A mouse falls desperately in love and keeps asking his love to marry him (only to interrupt her answer with something else he thinks he should do to be worthy of her. I thought this was terribly fun, but it was really over the kids’ heads.
  • *On a Wintry Morning illustrated by Stephen T. Johnson
    A sweet little daddy/child song that goes through a winter’s days activities. I sang the book to the tune of “Polly put the kettle on” and it worked quite nicely.
  • *Virginnie’s Hat illustrated by Holly Meade
    When Virginnie’s hat flies off into the swamp she just about encounters all sorts of scary animals. This is a fun look at perceived dangers versus real ones.

Written by Authors Last Name CHAL-CHAP

  • Mr. Frog Went A-Courting, written and illustrated by Gary Chalk
    Based on an old song (that I am unfamiliar with), the story of Mr. Frog is full of all the ridiculous twists and turns often found in folktales. Careful observation of the illustrations reveals a “hidden story”.
  • Pick a Pup, written by Marsha Wilson Chall, illustrated by Jed Henry
    How will Sam know which pup to pick? (Spoiler alert: Maybe it’s the pup who’ll pick him.)
  • Mario Chalmers’ ABCs of Basketball by Mario Chalmers and Almarie Chalmers, illustrated by Emmanuel Everett
    Part informational, part motivational – I just can’t get into the “believe in yourself and you can do anything” stuff (some kids, however hard they believe and even how hard they practice, will never play in the NBA.)
  • The Library Book by Tom Chapin and Michael Mark, illustrated by Chuck Groenink
    This was the lyrics to a song, rather a fun one, but one whose tune I don’t know. I tried singing it unsuccessfully. Perhaps if I could have seen the endpapers and tried picking it out on the piano… (Or, you know, I could have looked on Spotify – why didn’t I think of that until after I was returning it?

  • This was the lyrics to a song, rather a fun one, but one whose tune I don’t know. I tried singing it unsuccessfully. Perhaps if I could have seen the endpapers and tried picking it out on the piano… (Or, you know, I could have looked on Spotify – why didn’t I think of that until after I was returning it?
  • Me Too, Grandma written and illustrated by Jane Chapman
    A “jealous of the new baby” book except that little owl is jealous of how her baby cousin is taking Grandma’s attention. Cute illustrations, not my favorite genre.

Written and illustrated by Jared Chapman

  • Pirate, Viking, And Scientist
    A scientist is friends with a pirate and a viking – but when both come to his birthday party he discovers they’re NOT friends with each other. Time to experiment to see if he can get them to be friends with each other. Not bad.
  • T.Rex Time Machine
  • Ugly juvenile illustrations. Hard to read out loud. Not a fan.

Written by Authors Last Name CHAR-CHE?

  • The Selfish Crocodile, written by Faustin Charles and illustrated by Michael Terry
    The crocodile is selfish until he finds himself in terrible pain and someone helps him. Then it’s all sunshine and roses. A little too convenient an ending, I thought.
  • *Alphaboat written and illustrated by Michael Chesworth
    A rather silly, but very fun romp off to C, packed full of word play using the names of the letters of the alphabet. A sample: “f we go here, what will v z? Atop this hill – a lonely tree where blue J’s flutter up to rest upon their X, safe in the nest.”

Written and illustrated by Remy Charlip

  • Fortunately
    Very strange things keep happening to Ned, but fortunately… something stranger happens to save him from whatever disaster seemed so certain. This sounds like the sort of story an imaginative three year old might tell (rambling plot, no sense whatsoever, random strangeness everywhere…) I can’t like it.
  • Little Old Big Beard and Big Young Little Beard
    The eponymous characters are cowboys and best friends and lovers of beans. But then they lose their cow. This is an almost plotless book.
  • *A Perfect Day
    A simple book about what a perfect day might be – spending time together.
  • *Sleepytime Rhyme
    A mama sings how she loves everything about her baby. The rhyme can be a bit awkward in places, but it’s nice overall.

Books out of order

  • *Maisy Learns to Swim by Lucy Cousins
  • Simple description of beginner swimming lessons (which don’t involve any actual swimming). These “Maisy First Experiences Books” are a very nice way to introduce kids to common childhood experiences that might seem a little scary if they don’t know what to expect.

Books about Construction

  • *Little Excavator by Anna Dewdney
    Does this sound familiar? Yes, yes. I’ve only read it to Louis fifteen thousand times by now. Although really, if you have to read a book fifteen thousand times, this is a good choice.
  • *Mighty, Mighty Construction Site by Sherri Duskey Rinker, illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld
    Of course we read this again (and again and again). And then I returned it (because I have SO many other books to read.)

My baby beat me to it

May 13th, 2019

I remember being 9, maybe 10 years old, reading how Jacob wrestled with God, how he saw the face of God and lived (Genesis 32:30). I remember reading of how Moses spoke with God face to face, as a man speaks to his friend. I remember hearing the Aaronic blessing every week at the end of worship: “May the Lord bless you and keep you, may the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you, may the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.” I remember getting to that part in the “Love Chapter” when Paul writes: “Now you see as in a mirror dimly, then you shall see face to face.” And I remember longing, longing for the face of God.

I remember swinging on the swings at the park while my mother and her fellow intercessors were interceding at the picnic tables a ways away. I remember pouring out my own soul in the unashamed earnestness of a rather emotional and completely socially-unaware preteen. “I want to see you, God! I want to see your face.”

My longing to see God’s face has only intensified as I’ve felt the weight of my sin, as I’ve felt how far I fall short of his image. Now, I read 1 John 3:2 and I long for the return of Christ, clinging to the promise that “when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.”

Oh, for that day. Oh, for the day when I can leave off this body of corruption and see the face of God. Oh for the day when I will be conformed into his image.

Friends, my baby beat me to it.

The kids and I had been planning to go on a homeschool field trip the week I miscarried. I had to email the organizer and let her know that we wouldn’t be coming. She, a woman I’d never met, responded with what has been to me one of the most precious thoughts as I process our miscarriage:

“I read a quote somewhere to the effect that when a baby dies in the womb, the first face he or she ever sees is the face of Jesus. That has always been such a special thought for me, and I hope it is comforting to you as well!”

Friends, my baby beat me to it.

As much as I long for my baby to still be in my womb, as much as I long to know him on this earth, how can I begrudge my baby the one thing I desire most in all the world?

My baby sees the face of God.

All I Want for Mother’s Day

May 9th, 2019

Mother’s Day approaches, which means everyone and their mother is opining about what you should give your mother.

I was scrolling past headlines when I saw “What your mother really wants for Mother’s Day” – and I suddenly knew exactly what I want.

“I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.”
~3 John 4 (ESV)

This is what I want, but it’s not something my husband can get for me. It’s not something my children can make happen on their own.

This requires an act of God.

So instead of writing an article for the nearest mom’s blog (or sending a link to one of those articles to my husband), I’ll be lifting up my request to God, as I do each day.

Lord, let my children – my Tirzah Mae and my Louis, my Beth-Ellen and my sweet P, our precious C and darling J – let them walk in the truth. Grant that their affections would be stirred toward you, that they would desire relationship with you. Grant that they would see the desperate wickedness of their hearts and their utter helplessness to change themselves. Grant that they might fall upon the mercy of Christ and walk in the way of the One who is Truth.

And if you want to give me a Mother’s Day gift, join me in praying for these six God has given me (for short or for long), that they would walk in the truth.

Welcome to Grandma’s table

May 8th, 2019

Do you remember the clear vinyl your grandmother rolled out over the nice tablecloth during family gatherings?

I never thought much of it as a kid, of course; but when I was looking back to it from my teen years I was filled with all the disdain teens are known for.

“I’ll never cover my tablecloths,” I thought. “Let people spill on them. It’s only a tablecloth. It’ll wash. And if it doesn’t? It’s only a tablecloth.”

I’ve followed through, setting my table with my grandma’s tablecloths and some I’ve acquired along the way. My tablecloths have seen spaghetti spills, chili spills, grape juice spills (oh. so. many. grape juice spills during seders). I’ve happily reassured the spillers (and their parents) that it’s no problem at all – it’s only a tablecloth.

This spring, I saw a tablecloth at ALDI that was quite pretty and I impulse-bought it. I spread it across the table and I was in love.

You see, I love our table. I like how easy it is to get around the oval. It’s just the right size for six when it’s leafless – and the leaf allows me to seat ten (albeit a little tight). But our table desperately needs refinished.

Problem is, ain’t nobody got time for that.

The tablecloth kept all the magic of our table – without the reminder of yet another thing I don’t have time to do.

And then we ate lunch on it.

Folks, I have a four-year-old, a two-year-old, a one-year-old, and a ten-month-old. You know where this is going, right?

The tablecloth had to go in the washer right after lunch.

But I was in love with the tablecloth concept, so I pulled out another. I put placemats on top of the tablecloth for supper.

The tablecloth still had to go in the washer right after supper.

I swallowed hard, got on Amazon, and ordered myself a Grandma table protector.

My table with its grandma cover

A Dark Day

April 19th, 2019

Yesterday afternoon, my doctor gave me the news I’d been dreading.

I am miscarrying.

Our baby is dead.

I expected that. I started spotting on Tuesday and the bleeding and cramping has intensified over the last couple of days. The ultrasound and first blood test were inconclusive. We needed a second blood test for a trend. But my doctor and I both suspected what we would find.

Our baby is dead.

I grieve the loss of our fourth child. I grieve my children’s loss of a sibling. I grieve for baby hands I will never hold, for baby smiles I will never see.

But I do not grieve as those who have no hope.

I need not question whether or not God is for me.

His Son died.

That is answer enough. He is for me.

His Son rose.

That is answer enough. I have hope.

Please pray for us as we grieve.

Recipe: Mother Wilder’s Baked Beans

April 15th, 2019

Daniel had fond memories of his grandmother’s baked beans – but every time he had tried baked beans from a can or a restaurant, he was disappointed.

A wife has two options when faced with such a problem. She can see it as a challenge and set out to make some baked beans her husband will love – or she can assume she can never win and just opt to not make baked beans.

I chose the latter.

Until February of 2015 when I decided to cook my way through Farmer Boy for Barbara’s Laura Ingalls Wilder Reading Challenge.

Baked beans, cornbread, stir fry veggies, and peaches

I made baked beans using Mother Wilder’s technique – and Daniel liked them quite a lot.

Since then, with only a few modifications, I’ve been making them almost every month.


“In the pantry Mother was filling the six-quart pan with boiled beans, putting in onions and peppers and the piece of fat pork, and pouring scrolls of molasses over all. Then Almanzo saw her open the flour barrels. She flung rye flour and cornmeal into the big yellow crock, and stirred in milk and eggs and things, and poured the big baking-pan full of the yellow-gray rye’n’injun dough.

‘You fetch the rye’n’injun, Almanzo; don’t spill it,’ she said. She snatched up the pan of beans and Almanzo followed more slowly with the heavy pan of rye’n’injun. Father opened the big doors of the oven in the heater, and Mother slid the beans and the bread inside. They would slowly bake there, till Sunday dinner-time”


Ingredients:

  • Ham bone with some meat still on bone
  • 8 oz dry Great Northern beans or navy beans
  • Water
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 0.75 cups molasses
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 0.25 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp liquid smoke

Instructions:

  1. Stick ham bone and beans in crockpot. Cover with water and cook (on low or high, doesn’t matter which) until beans are soft (I usually start mine in the morning and let them cook on low until mid-afternoon – but you can do it on high in as little as four hours.)
  2. Beans, beans

  3. Remove beans from crockpot with slotted spoon. Place in a casserole (I use a 9″x9″ or 9″x13″ baking pan) along with onion, green pepper, and any ham you can pull from the bone and chop up (If I have extra, I sometimes add diced ham that didn’t get cooked with the beans.)
  4. Molasses plus garlic powder, cayenne pepper, and liquid smoke

  5. Mix together molasses, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, and liquid smoke in a 1 cup liquid measure. Pour mixture over beans. Give one more good mix.
  6. Beans with onions and peppers and "scrolls of molasses"

  7. Bake at 350 (or 400 if that’s what your cornbread needs!) for 30-45 minutes or until just a bit crispy on top. Serve and enjoy!
  8. Baked beans, cornbread, and coleslaw

What I Spent/What We Ate (2019.04.12)

April 12th, 2019

After a rather excessive week last week, buying meat for several months, I toned things back this week. Just the necessities (mostly).

What I Spent:

Friday, April 5

Walmart – $4.19

The aforementioned coffee (that I didn’t have a receipt for last week).

Tuesday, April 9

Sam’s Club Pickup – $5.18

Sam's Club 2019.04.09

Walmart Pickup – $36.81

Walmart 2019.04.09

Fruit can be an expensive item, but eating a combo of fresh, canned, frozen, and dried fruit can help you get your minimum 2-3 servings daily for a little less. We generally eat one fresh fruit, one canned fruit, and either a frozen or a dried fruit every day. I get seasonal fruit when they’re in season – which is why our recent selections have been rather boring.

Friday, April 12

ALDI – $39.85

ALDI 209.04.12

Do you see the six pounds of butter back there? ALDI had butter for $1.99 per pound, which is about $0.40 less per pound than the cheapest I usually see it (with no sales, it often runs close to $3 per pound). So I got the limit as per last week’s meat post. I keep a couple pounds in the fridge (butter has a relatively long refrigerated shelf life) and put the rest in the freezer for later use.


That’s $86.03, which is $21.97 under my newly jiggered budget of $108 per week.

So…
Week 1 – $156.79 ($48.79 over)
Week 2 – $86.03 ($21.97 under)


What We Ate:

Saturday, April 6
Breakfast – Pancakes and scrambled eggs with canned peaches

Supper – Buffalo Chicken Macaroni and Cheese, Peas, Spinach Salad

Buffalo Chicken Macaroni and Cheese, Spinach Salad, Peas

Sunday, April 7
Lunch – BBQ Pork sandwiches, Potato Salad, 3 Bean Salad

BBQ Pork with Three Bean Salad and Potato Salad

Supper – Leftovers

Monday, April 8
Ham, Pineapple, Maple-Mustard Glazed Carrots, Broccoli

Ham, Pineapple, Maple Mustard Carrots, and Broccoli

Tuesday, April 2
Eggs Benedict with Grapes and Tater Tots (I intended to make hashbrowns with this but only remembered after it was much too late to get hashbrowns started.)

Eggs Benedict, Grapes, and Tater Tots

Wednesday, April 10
Black Beans and Rice (I modified this recipe to use a crockpot instead of a pressure cooker.)

Black Beans and Rice

Thursday, April 11
Great Grams’ Spaghetti, Lettuce Salad, and Green Olives

Great Grams Spaghetti with Lettuce and Olives

Friday, April 12
We’ll be having chef salad tonight with leftover ham, shredded cheddar, boiled eggs, green onions, and peas.

Children’s Nonfiction Reading Report (March 2019)

April 10th, 2019

Fiction isn’t the only thing we consume here at Prairie Elms – in fact, if anything, my kids are more avid consumers of nonfiction than anything else. I force them to read my fiction picture books while they clamor to read more about whatever their current topics of choice are. When we go to the library, the kids overwhelm me for requests for “another baby book”, “another truck book”, whatever.


Baby Books:

Tirzah Mae’s obsession with pregnancy and birth continues unabated.

  • Before You Were Born by Ann Douglas, illustrations by Eugenie Fernandes, photographs by Gilbert Duclos
    "Before You Were Born"
    Written in second person (as in the title), this describes what a baby does inside the womb – and includes little “experiments” for children to do to get a feel for what life was like in the womb. The photographs are pretty 90s (this was published in 2000), but the information is solid. Good for someone who wants to discuss what’s happening during pregnancy without getting into the mechanics of reproduction or anything to sciencey (like many of the other books that discuss fetal development do). Warning: the cover of this is terrible.
  • Twin Tales: The Magic and the Mystery of Multiple Birth by Donna M. Jackson
    "Twin Tales"
    An interesting book about multiples, featuring lots of profiles of multiples. This is not an early reader’s book. You’ll want to read it in sections if you’re reading to younger children.
  • Welcome with Love by Jenni Overend, illustrated by Julie Vivas
    "Welcome with Love"
    A little boy narrates what’s happening as his mother gives birth to his baby brother at their home in Australia. This features homebirth, children present at birth, and cosleeping. The illustrations are well-done – but they do depict a woman giving birth (baby emerging from between legs, bare breasts, baby’s penis, etc.) Really a lovely book – but some may find it a bit much.
  • Drugs and Birth Defects by Nancy Shniderman and Sue Hurwitz
    "Drugs and Birth Defects"
    Ugh, ugh, ugh. Scare tactics galore. Dated photos and language. Very “just say no”. But Tirzah Mae is all about fetal alcohol syndrome after Daniel and I did a series of webinars on it for continuing education for our foster home. And this is what the library has on the topic. So I read it and reread it and reread it again.
  • Baby on the Way by William Sears, Martha Sears, and Christie Watts Kelly, illustrated by Renee Andriani
    "Baby on the Way"
    A “what to expect when mama’s pregnant” book that (thankfully) doesn’t focus on jealousy. This is a little more comprehensive than most of this genre since it explains what to expect both before, during, and after the baby comes (mama may be extra tired during pregnancy, her belly will get bigger and her lap smaller, she’ll probably go to the hospital to have the baby, she’ll breastfeed and you might be able to hold the baby, etc.)

Giraffe Books:

Louis’s current favorite animal is (without a doubt) the giraffe – so we picked up some books about them (of course!)

    Giraffe Books

  • Giraffe by Anders Hanson
    Very simple and straightforward – just a couple of sentences per page.
  • Giraffes and Their Babies by Marianne Johnston
    "Giraffes and Their Babies"
    Straightforward picture book nonfiction – double-page spreads that could stand on their own (but at 24 pages, the book is short enough to be read aloud easily in one sitting), full-page photographs, and a glossary and index in the back. Unlike many nonfiction books of this type, this is graphically uniform and not unpleasant to look at.
  • Giraffes by Patricia Kendell
    "Giraffes"
    Similar to Giraffes and Their Babies except even fewer words per page. The graphics are a bit busier but not at all nightmarish.
  • Giraffes by Emily U. Lephthien
    Slightly longer chapters than the rest of the books in this category. The graphics are also slightly more busy than all the rest.

Health Books:

  • Let’s Talk about Down Syndrome by Melanie Apel Gordon
    "Let's Talk about Down Syndrome"
    There are ten photos in this book. Of those, only three depict a child with Down Syndrome. Instead they show a stock photo of ordinary kids with captions like “The doctor listens to this girl’s heart just the way he listens to the heart of a child with Down syndrome”. Seriously?

Truck Books:

  • I Drive a Dump Truck by Sara Bridges, illustrated by Derrick Alderman and Denise Shea
    "I Drive a Dump Truck"
    Large text gives a narrative (“Henry” describes his truck and what he does with it) while smaller text in call-out boxes give additional information related to the narrative. The illustrations are simple, pleasant, and engaging. I could see this being classified either as nonfiction (as in my library) or in the general picture books section.

My Garden Grows Despite

April 9th, 2019

Gardening takes a special sort of person. A person who is willing to work consistently. To water, to weed, to plant, to leave alone.

An apple tree

Our apple trees made it through their second winter. Time will tell if my pruning was good for them or not.

I am not that sort of person.

My forsythia

I transplanted this forsythia from elsewhere in our yard a couple years ago. Last year’s dramatic pruning is showing its fruit this year in increased flowering and shoot production. Project forsythia rehab continues!

I am a project person, a dig around in the dirt for hours and then leave it alone for months kind of person.

Daffodills

These daffodils are now past their prime – but I’ve gained plenty of enjoyment out of the buckets of bulbs my aunt brought me the past couple of years.

And so, while I’ve put in a garden every year since I first became a homeowner, I’ve never been particularly successful at it.

Daylilies

The daylilies I got from a neighbor and which I have been transferring from place to place seem to be settling well into their (hopefully) permanent home.

This year, I’m not certain whether I’ll get a garden in. What with a new foster baby and a new baby on the way and finishing our basement (did I say we’re getting our basement finished? I don’t believe I have. But we are.) What with all the excitement ’round here, I haven’t started any seeds – and plants are awfully expensive given my poor track record at getting any produce.

A peony shoot

I planted six peonies last fall, a pair of three different varieties. I’m thrilled to see that they made it through the winter – five of the six have put out shoots (and I’m hopeful that the sixth will soon since its pair only poked through soil today.)

But I’m delighting in the bits of life that are springing up here and there in my garden nonetheless.

Sage plant
I'm-not-sure-what-kind-of-mint
Peppermint
Spearmint

My herb garden delights, with three different varieties of mint and a nice bush of sage growing strong. We picked the first of the spearmint and have been enjoying spearmint-infused water in our bottles the past couple of days – and I’m planning to pick and dry my first batch of sage at the end of this week or beginning of the next. I’m also pleased to see that at least some of the milkweed seeds that I saved and planted last fall have germinated.

What I Spent/What We Ate (2019.04.05)

April 5th, 2019

What I Spent:

Sunday, March 31

Walmart – $13.36

Apples and coffee from Walmart

I needed apples for the apples’n’onions I had been promising the kids we could have with our pork (I really DO love that they want to do everything they read about!) so we dropped by Walmart after church to get some – and some extra coffee since we were on our way to out. We have since determined that we are not fans of Seattle’s Best – this particular one tastes burnt and overly acidic.

Tuesday, April 2

Sam’s Club Pickup – $7.46

Sam's Club Pickup 2019.04.02

Walmart Pickup – $79.07

Walmart Pickup 2019.04.02

Thursday, April 4

ALDI – $135.90

ALDI finds 2019.04.04

And this is where I realize I should explain something. My budget isn’t actually $115 per week. It’s $123 per week – except that I subtracted $8 per week to spread the quarter of beef I bought last fall out over the whole year. You see, one of the wonderful things about not living paycheck to paycheck is that I can stock up on things when they’re inexpensive. I can go way overbudget one week and then make it up in other weeks without decreasing food quality. In fact, we can actually eat better and afford more that way.

Which is why I bought almost 55 lbs of meat this week.

Meat from ALDI 2019.04.04

We just started a new menu cycle – one that includes ham and pork roasts once a month. ALDI sells a shank ham for $1.19/lb, nearly $0.40/lb cheaper than Walmart’s cheapest ham – but ALDI only has ham some of the time. In order to ensure that I can be eating the less expensive ham for the entirety of my spring cycle, I bought two hams today and stuck them in the deep freeze (I already have a ham for our first go-round in the fridge.) And those pork roasts? It just so happens that shoulder roasts were one of ALDIs fresh meat specials this week. I bought a couple (enough for the rest of this cycle) at $1.49/lb.

The family pack chicken breasts were another fresh meat special this week – $1.69/lb. I bought two family packs and plunked them in the crockpot as soon as I got home. As soon as they were cooked through, I cut enough up for Friday’s chicken salad, then shredded the rest with my hand mixer in the crockpot’s crock. Then I portioned the meat into containers and stuck them in the deep freeze too. I’ll pull them out and use them as needed – it’s likely they’ll get me through a couple of menu cycles.

The Italian sausage is for Great Grams’ spaghetti sauce, which I’ll be making next week. And, of course, I’ll be making a second batch to stick in the freezer for the second time through the menu cycle.

So, especially once I consider the beef that was already in the freezer from last fall’s quarter, I now have most of the meat I need for the next three months of meals – all of it (except the Italian sausage) at less than $2 per pound, some significantly less. I spent a lot this week and went way overbudget – but ultimately, this allows me to stay within my budget all around.

I realize that not everyone has this luxury; but for those who do have wiggle room, I think this strategy of intentionally overshooting your budget when you can get meat on sale is a good one. You just have to remember to adjust your weekly budget down from then on out to keep from just staying in a deficit.

In this case, I spent $79 on meat. I’m going to spread that over the next 12 weeks (which is how long I expect the meat to last before I have to buy more). So I’m going to decrease my weekly budget by $7 per week, making it $108 per week.

Now, to go further into the nitty-gritty, I’m going to take my $135.90 ALDI bill and subtract the $79 in meat. That’s $56.90. That’s how much I’m going to say I spent this week at ALDI.

Friday, April 5

We bought more coffee because we really did NOT like the Seattle’s Best stuff. We really, really need to make sure we buy enough coffee at the Spice Merchant next week!

Unfortunately, Daniel made this purchase and I don’t have the receipt for it (and it hasn’t posted to our account yet) – so I think I’ll just count it towards next week’s budget.


That’s $156.79, which is $48.79 over my newly jiggered budget of $108 per week. Ouch! I’m going to have to tighten the belt – but that should be easier to do (fingers crossed) now that I’m heading back to ALDI (cheaper prices on several things and less food waste from poorly picked produce at Walmart) and since I shouldn’t have to buy much meat.


What We Ate:

Saturday, March 30
Breakfast – Daniel bought us donuts to go with the eggs he made us. And we had fruit.

Supper – Dumplings and Kraut and Bratwursts (I think.)

Sunday, March 31
Lunch – Good question. Leftovers?

Supper – Quickpea Curry (made with this recipe from Taste of Home except that Daniel doesn’t like chickpeas, so we use cannelini beans. And I added some shredded chicken because we’re meat eaters. And I didn’t have enough curry powder the first time we made it so we use 1 Tbsp of yellow curry paste and just 2 tsp of curry powder instead of the called for 1 Tbsp of curry powder. And we serve it on quinoa instead of couscous. So, you know, basically the same thing all :-)

Quickpea Curry

Monday, April 1
Pork roast, apples’n’onions (from Farmer Boy, but which I burned horribly), and coleslaw

Pork roast, apples'n'onions', and coleslaw

Tuesday, April 2
Frittata with green beans and peaches

Frittata with green beans and peaches

Wednesday, April 3
Oven beef fajitas (made using the older version of this recipe by Budget Bytes except with beef instead of chicken), lettuce salad, and burrito beans

Beef Fajitas, lettuce salad, burrito beans

Thursday, April 4
Pizza, Three-Bean Salad, and Coleslaw

Pizza, 3 bean salad, and coleslaw

Friday, April 5
Chicken salad on lettuce with sliced oranges (I used this Dijon Chicken Salad recipe from Taste of Home. It was good but a bit bland.)

Chicken Salad on lettuce with Orange slices