Recipes

Cheesy Broccoli and Beef Casserole (Low Carb/Gluten-free)

I was very happy to stumble upon this new-to-me recipe because it is very hard to find low carb casserole recipes that I have not tried yet.  **Also, I love casseroles because they are so easy to put together and if they are topped with cheese….even better:)

beefbroccoli
Cheesy goodness!

Ingredients

1lb ground beef

1lb ground pork sausage

2 teaspoons of minced garlic

1/2 onion, chopped

Broccoli, cooked (I used a 12-oz microwaveable bag of broccoli for convenience)

block of cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup milk or cream

1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese

8 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese

Instructions

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees

2. Cook the garlic, chopped onion, beef, and sausage together until done and then drain and set aside.

3. In a bowl, combine the softened cream cheese, milk, and Parmesan cheese, mixing it well and set aside.

4. In a large casserole dish, first add the meat mixture and the cooked broccoli together, then pour the cheese mixture on top and stir until everything is coated well.

5. Finally, top the casserole with mozzarella cheese.

6. Bake for 35 minutes or until nice and bubbly, then let it sit for 5 minutes to cool before serving.

Enjoy!

 

 

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Frugal Accomplishments

Frugal Happenings

1. Kroger deals

Kroger had a great deal on Kool-Aid Jammers (69 cents each….I got 10!) and I found that our favorite brand of yogurt was marked down to half off due to the cardboard packaging being damaged, so I happily scooped up all three packs.

2. Dollar Tree

To make our week go a little smoother, I sometimes resort to bribery:)  Every Friday, if my son has behaved well and not complained too much during homeschool, he is allowed to pick out a prize from our goodie box.  I have found the Dollar Tree (or the Target dollar aisle) is the best place to find fun little bribes rewards for cheap.  This time around, I let my son pick out a few things to add to the box and he has been eagerly waiting all week to pick out his prize.  **His favorite prizes so far have been fake mustaches, candy, gum, silly putty, and magic towels.

3. Plane Tickets

We are taking a trip later this year to Denver and I know from experience that flights get more expensive the closer you get to your departure, so I jumped online and found the cheapest ones available (cheap is a relative term)

4. “New” Dresser

As you may know, I have been trying to not buy any new items this year, so I was pleased when my mother offered to let my son have an old dresser that she decided to replace.  We had been hanging up the majority my son’s clothes and keeping folded items in little baskets in his room, but now that he is getting bigger, the basket system was not working as well.  So this was a nice frugal surprise:)

 

What have you done to save money this week??

Goals

Weekly Goal Update for Week 34

1. Walk 500 miles this year (327 down and 173 to go)

This week I walked all 10 miles outdoors…and yes it is still hot and muggy….

2. Eat low carb everyday

I did this for 6 out of 7 days.

3. Read two non-fiction books each month

So far I have only read one, but I am going to try and squeeze in another before the end of the week, so that I can mark this goal as accomplished for August.

4. Have two date nights each month Accomplished

We had one at home date night earlier this month and then went out for one delicious sushi dinner last week.

5. Have two family game nights each month Accomplished

6. Add six new products to my Teachers pay Teachers store this year (4 completed)

Still taking a break while I finish up my children’s lesson plans for their next 8 weeks of homeschool.

7. Have one no spend week each month Accomplished

8. Try to buy nothing new this year

Nothing new was bought this week

9. $5 weekly challenge

charityaugust

Here are all the items that I bought this month for the food bank.

 

 

Goals

Weekly Goal Update for Week 33

1. Walk 500 miles this year (317 down and 183 to go)

We had an extremely humid week this week, but I managed to overcome my whininess and got in all 10 miles.  I am so ready for fall!

2. Keep my net carbs low

Yes, I changed this once again:)  **I am tweaking my diet a bit to see if adding high fiber grains back in might fix some issues I have been having lately.  I will still be eating low carb, just not ultra low carb like I have been for years.

3. Read two nonfiction books each month

All Creatures Great and Small: The Warm and Joyful Memoirs of the Worlds Most Beloved Animal Doctor

This week I chose All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot to read.  I have not read this book since college and forgot how wonderful it was!  This autobiography is about a Scottish veterinarian that has to deal with very interesting clients and situations, but still manages to find the joys in the job that he has chosen as his life’s work.  **I like how he intertwines the courtship of his future wife throughout the book.  It kind of reminds me of Christy by Catherine Marshall in that the romance is not at the forefront of the storyline, but rather is treated like the icing on the cake.

4. Have two date nights each month Accomplished

This week, we went out for sushi at a local restaurant….which was of course delicious!

5. Have two family game nights each month Accomplished

This week we played a rousing game of Disney Scene-it….which I won:)

6. Add six new products to my Teachers pay Teachers store (4 down and 2 to go)

Taking a break on this while I am working on creating home school assignments for our next 8 week session. **My kids are in their 5th week of school already so I have to hustle!

7. Have one no spend week each month Accomplished

8. Try to buy nothing new this year

Century Lil' Dragon Wavemaster Training Bag

Well….I had my first Amazon purchase of the year this week.  My son has been wanting to learn karate skills, but I just do not think he is mature enough for karate classes yet.  I have these fears for two reasons:  #1. He thinks that they are ninja classes and will be shooting fireballs out of their hands  #2. He said that they will help him become a Ninja Turtle when he grows up.  So instead of giving my son massive disillusionment at an early age…..I chose to buy a stand up punching bag that he can practice on for now.  So far he really likes it and it has channeled his aggression in a positive way…away from his sister!

9. $5 Weekly Challenge

cerealaugust

Kroger had a great deal on their store brand bagged cereal again, so I grabbed two more this week to add to my food bank stash for the month.

 

 

 

Frugal Accomplishments

Five Frugal Things

1. Received a $2 Kroger catalina

Every once in awhile Kroger will offer catalinas which are basically coupon “money” good for future purchases.  This month they are offering $2 off a future purchase for every $10 you spend on Kroger brand breakfast items.  Since I buy a lot of oats and cereals for the food bank, I should get quite a few of these over the next month:)

2. Thrift store finds

This week we found a shirt for my daughter for $2 and a study guide for the entire Chronicles of Narnia book series for just $3.  **The thrift store is one of the many resources that we utilize to find quality homeschool materials each year.

3. Huge box=free entertainment

We had a large item shipped to us this week and of course my son claimed the box for his personal use. By personal use, I mean a pretend store, bear cave, superhero hangout, etc.  Hours of free entertainment:)

4. Perks of a Private Library

My son is getting into the fun age of where reading is more than something he has to do for school, so he has been enjoying books that my daughter had bought when she was his age 7 years ago.  This is frugal because we do not have to buy the same book twice (which has happened to me before) and its a blessing because if my son has run out of library books to read, he has a nicely stocked private library to choose from.

5. Rocket Languages

My daughter is taking Spanish as one of her high school classes and while we have a good textbook, the pronunciations are sometimes hard to teach.  Luckily, our local library offers Rocket Languages to all of its patrons to use for free.  This has really helped her to learn the correct way to pronounce all of the new words she has learned so far.  **It is a little more structured than Duolingo, which is another free language site, so it is another nice option to have.

 

What have you done to save money??

Homeschooling

Learning with Pinterest-Ancient Greece

This week, we continued our exploration of ancient civilizations by learning all about Ancient Greece.  As usual, Pinterest was full of great ideas to try out, so we picked a few and had a really fun, educational time.  Our library also had a nice selection of books on many topics related to Ancient Greece, so we scooped those up on our weekly visit.

Books on Ancient Greece (or related topics)

Greek Myths for Young Children (Stories for Young Children)

1. Greek Myths for Young Children by Heather Amery

This was an easy to read book full of the most popular Greek Mythology stories.  Ben did not really care for this book because he thought it was too violent (we read the Prometheus story first and you know how that ends…) But if you have a more adventurous child, then this book would be a great way to introduce Greek myths to your student.

Zoo in the Sky: A Book of Animal Constellations

2. Zoo in the Sky by Jacqueline Mitton

When you think of Ancient Greece you automatically begin to think about the constellations, which are always a big hit with small children.  This book is full of beautiful illustrations and short commentaries about each animal constellation.  There were some constellations that I had never heard of, so I really liked that as well.

Seeing Stars

3. Seeing Stars by Dandi Mackall

This was our favorite book this week.  I am a sucker for rhyming children’s books, so I loved that they had a short poem about each constellation.  Another cool feature that Ben really liked was that the stars had a glittery finish so each constellation seemed to twinkle.

 

Ideas we found on Pinterest related to Ancient Greece

catapult
It actually worked too!

Apparently Ancient Greeks used catapults in some of their battles, so when I saw this cute pin on how to build a catapult, I knew that Ben would get a huge kick out of it…and he did.

parthenon
Hey at least we got the columns right:)

I found a fun post on how to recreate the Parthenon as a gingerbread house.  While ours was not as pretty as this pin, it was still delicious.

 

After we read and did a few crafts, I had Ben create his own constellation and give it a name.  So here we are introducing the constellations, Adventure Pal and Adventure Dude.

constellation

 

**In addition to all of this fun stuff, we also located Greece on the map and visited a few websites about Ancient Greece that were geared towards children.  We also plan to watch Disney’s Hercules and one of the Percy Jackson movies this week for family movie night.  If you have not read the Percy Jackson books, they are chockful of mythology and really fun to read…even if you are a 37 year old woman…

Goals

Weekly Goal Update for Week 32

1. Walk at least 500 miles this year (307 down and 193 to go)

Wow, it feels great to break the 300 mile mark!! We had another sunny week, so I got to walk almost all of my miles outside, which is always nice.

2. Eat less than 40 net carbs each day

I did this for 6 out of 7 days.

3. Read two non-fiction books each month

Not yet, but I plan to pick up a couple of books at the library tomorrow.  I have no clue what I will find, but hopefully it will be an interesting read.  Any suggestions??

4. Have two family game nights each month

Not yet.

5. Have two date nights each month

This week, we had an at home date afternoon while the kids visited their aunt.  We basically just relaxed at our house and watched the movie Stripes together (which was awful!)  **Bill Murray’s humor is really hit or miss with me and this was a total miss!

6. Have one no spend week each month Accomplished

7. Add twelve six new products to my Teachers pay Teachers store (4 done)

I am taking a break from working on my current study guide project while I tweak Emma’s high school coursework a bit.  Homeschool high school is no joke! Case in point:  My mom calls to check in on me each morning and always asks what we were up to…the answer is always school work.  Then she calls back at the end of the day and still the answer is school work:)

8. Buy nothing new this year

Nothing new was bought this week.  Surprisingly, this is turning out to be the easiest goal for me this year.  The only issue is trying to find clothes that are appropriate for church at the thrift store…which is not as easy as I thought it would be….

9. $5 Weekly Challenge

cereal july

Kroger had huge bags of their store brand cereal on sale this week for $2.79 so I picked up two to add to my food bank stash.

 

How are your New Year’s goals going??

Blessings

Blessings this Week

1. A Family of Faith

For the past two years, I have taught Sunday school classes at my church, which have not always been all rainbows and lollipops for me (apparently I am not stern enough??) Well this summer, I have been wavering back and forth on my decision about whether or not to teach this upcoming fall.  Thankfully, the decision was taken away from me in such a wonderful way….which was a great blessing!

Apparently our parish has decided to do the Family of Faith program this year instead of our traditional Sunday school classes.  I did a little research into this program and it looks really fun.  Basically, the parents are the teachers and receive homework once a month that their families must do together.  Then later in the month, all the families get together for fun activities to reinforce the monthly lessons we have learned.  This is a new trend in the Catholic Church, which will hopefully strengthen the family unit and help the children to get a more well rounded Catholic education in the comforts of their own home.

2. Healthy Children

Sadly, many people I know have been having a lot of medical issues lately.  Whenever, I hear about sick children in particular, I always remind myself to feel blessed for my healthy children. Good health is a wonderful blessing that we all take for granted, especially in loved ones.  Being more thankful for my healthy children also helps me to look past all of their annoying habits/behaviors and simply be thankful that they are still here with me, while acknowledging that so many families do not have that luxury.

3. A Wonderful Extended Family

I know not everyone is lucky enough to have a close or even healthy relationship with their extended families, so it makes me feel even more blessed to acknowledge that I do.  It is such a blessing to know that I can count on someone to give my daughter a ride to various activities, borrow random ingredients that I somehow forgot to add to my grocery list, or even to simply have someone willing to listen to my worries/concerns (which are always abundant) whenever I need to talk to about them.  My family is one of my greatest blessings and I hope they will always know how much I love and appreciate them, even if I forget to tell them from time to time.

How were you blessed this week??

 

Frugal Accomplishments

Five Frugal Things

1. “Freebies” paid for with my precious blood

Our local Life South blood bank was handing out a free movie ticket with every blood donation this weekend, so I received one of those along with a free Whitt’s BBQ sandwich coupon and a t-shirt. **Funny story: After bragging to the lady about not getting woozy after donating blood, I actually almost fainted!  When I got home, I laid down to rest for a little while and when I got up, it felt like I was on an elevator going down….fun stuff.  Next time I think I will drink the juice that they always so nicely offer me:)

2. I love the library!!

julybooks

After going through a dry patch in my reading life, I stumbled upon a new historical mystery series that I actually really enjoyed.  A bonus was that my library has all 13 books in the series AND they were all in stock, which never happens by the way. **They are all apart of the Sebastian St. Cyr series by C.S. Harris (just in case you enjoy a good murder mystery)

I also picked up two copies of A Tale of Two Cities, which is coming in handy while Emma and I are doing our Progeny Press study guide (that I found for $.50 at the thrift store) which will also count as a 1/4 high school credit. Cheap homeschooling is not a myth!

**Additionally, I picked up thee historical romances and one contemporary romance because clearly I do not have enough to read…

3. No spend week

I am currently in a no spend week, so I have only bought groceries and nothing else this past week.  Little frugal challenges like this, help to keep my spending in check and save a little money along the way.

4. Used Christmas gift cards

My children received McDonald’s gift cards for Christmas this past year (which I always seem to forget about), so I am taking them out for dinner this week as a fun (and free) treat.

5. DVDs

My sister and mom have a huge collection of DVDs that they let us borrow whenever the mood strikes us.  Some of our recent favorites were the Big Bang Theory, The Middle, and Modern Family….yes we love comedies:)

What did you do to save money this week??

Goals

Weekly Goal Update for Week 31

1. Walk at least 500 miles this year (297 down and 203 to go)

I am very happy to be almost at the 300 mile mark because my miles to go will be in the 100s! I walked half of my 10 miles outside this week and the other half was split between workout videos and a 1-1/2 hour long cleaning session at church:)

2. Eat less than 40 net carbs each day

I did this for all 7 days. I hope to write a blog post listing all of the meals in my low carb repertoire soon so stay tuned.

3. Read two non-fiction books each month

What Angels Fear: A Sebastian St. Cyr Mystery, Book 1

So far I have not read any non-fiction books, so I better get hopping.  I have been drawn into a new mystery series written by C.S. Harris set in the French Revolution Era about a Viscount sleuth named Sebastian St. Cyr.  I really love historical mysteries with a hint of romance so this checked all of my boxes. **Bonus: There are 13 books in this series, so I have plenty of reading options for the next few weeks at least.

4. Have two date nights each month

Not yet.

5. Have two family game nights each month

Not yet.

6. Add six new products to my Teachers pay Teachers store this year (4 out 6 added)

I decided to edit this goal to one that is more manageable, so I dropped the 12 new products down to 6 and now have one less thing to stress about:)

7. Try to buy nothing new this year

Nothing new was bought this week

8. Have one no spend week each month Accomplished

I am currently finishing up my no spend week for this month, so I am checking this one off a little early.

9. $5 weekly challenge

pancakes

I added pancake mix and syrup to my food bank stash this week