Frugal Eating – Day Three

Just a few more ideas that have helped us out in recent months!  We decided that we didn’t need to eat a meat-entree seven days a week, so I’ve been coming up with dinners that still help serve us nutritionally, but cost a little less to make.  We try to incorporate at least two of these meals into our weekly dinner menus:

Tomato Bisque and Grilled Cheese

Black Beans and Rice (This makes enough to serve twice, so the second time around, we usually eat it on wraps with sour cream!)

Breakfast for supper (scrambled eggs with spinach and garlic, turkey bacon and biscuits)

Black-eyed peas and cornbread (I buy dry peas, soak them and then cook them with bacon)

Annie’s Organic Alfredo Shells and Cheddar (This is our Sunday evening meal after church when we’re not that hungry!)

Spinach Lasagna

If you have other cost-effective dinner meals, please post the idea in a comment and I’ll add them in the next day or so!

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Adoption Journey to Date

Since I’m somewhat starting over, I thought I’d give a quick re-cap of our adoption journey thus far.  When we were researching adoption, I always found it so helpful to read other families’ stories and get a better picture of all the ups and downs of adoption.  Here’s a brief outline of our adoption:

  • October 1, 2008 – Sent application to Adoption Assistance (our HS provider)
  • October 6, 2008 – Sent application to Hope Adoption Agency
  • October 2-20, 2008 – Gathered documents for HS and dossier
  • October 17, 2008 – Filed I-600a petition with Immigration
  • October 20, 2008 – First home study meeting
  • October 27, 2008 – Second home study meeting
  • October 30, 2008 – Took all our documents to be certified at county level
  • November 6, 2008 – Fingerprinted for immigration
  • November 13, 2008 – Took documents to Frankfort to be state authenticated
  • November 13, 2008 – Sent dossier to a courier service (Assistant Stork)
  • November 24, 2008 – Dossier picked up by Hope staff in Ethiopia
  • December 3, 2008 – Hope e-mails us about a one-month old baby boy, Abush who is HIV+
  • December 9, 2008 – Officially accepted the referral for Abush
  • December 15, 2008 – Filed for court date
  • January 2, 2009 – Received court date for February 25
  • January 2, 2009 – Found out that Max/Abush had suffered a seizure and was in the hospital
  • January 4, 2009 – Learned that our sweet Max was now in heaven with our Lord
  • January 12, 2009 – Saw first picture of a 4-year old boy named M on the waiting children list
  • January 14, 2009 – Received and accepted a referral for a 4-month old baby boy named T
  • January 18, 2009 – Joyfully told our agency that we also wanted to adopt M
  • January 22, 2009 – Learned that T was not our referral and that seven-month old W is our son!

While it feels like this process has been going on for a while, when I look at the list, it really has moved quite quickly.  Now, we are praying that the Lord would grant us a court date sometime this spring and that both boys might be home by this summer.  We would love for you to be praying the same, even while we trust God’s sovereign plan and timing.

Sweet (but cold) Times!

As we watched the snow and ice come down all day today, Molly Kate finally decided she had enough of the indoors.  After her nap, she kept signing “please” to go outside, so I promptly talked Kevin into bundling up and heading into the backyard for a few minutes of play.  Mind you, the yard wasn’t so much full of snow, but ice!  Kevin decided it would be fun to pull Molly Kate around the yard and I produced a plastic swing that never got hung up this summer.  Not only did she get pulled around the yard, but Kevin turned into the spinning machine of one of those swing rides at the local amusement park and gave Molly Kate the time of her life! I only wish I knew how to post videos on this blog…but I guess a few pictures will have to do!

 

Here we go!
Here we go!
Daddy's Little Girl!
Daddy's Little Girl!

Frugal Eating – Day Two

Here’s another rule for keeping the grocery bill small: SIMPLE breakfasts and lunches!  We ususally rotate the following for breakfast:

  • cold cereal (cheerios) and fruit
  • scrambled eggs and toast/biscuits
  • muffins
  • oatmeal or cream of wheat
  • pancakes/waffles (just on Saturdays!)

And lunch is even easier: sandwiches!  To mix it up, we’ll do turkey, ham, BLTs, PB&J (we subsitute almond butter often for peanut butter) and grilled cheese.  We often eat salads for lunch too and I have tons of variations, but not making lunch this “big-to-do” huge meal definitely keeps the buget trimmed.

Frugal Eating

dollar-signThis is one of those posts from the old blog that I thought might be beneficial to others and some might not have seen it before the blog was removed.  In the last couple of weeks, I’ve had several women ask me how to cut down their grocery bill.  I am not a couponer…I know it works amazingly well for some people, but I hate being forced to make my weekly menu based on what’s on sale.  So, I’ve managed to keep our monthly bill between $300-$325 by shopping at two stores: Costco and Wal-Mart.

 

The following are items that I buy every 2-3 months at Costco (I did the price comparisons and the savings is substantial enough to purchase these items in bulk):

  • Sliced Colby-Jack cheese for sandwiches
  • Shredded cheese
  • Frozen chicken breasts (huge bag, lasts about 2 mos)
  • Frozen chicken nuggets
  • Frozen asparagus (Molly Kate’s favorite green veggie)
  • Frozen broccoli
  • Frozen berries
  • Unsalted butter
  • Goldfish (yep, for MK)
  • Frozen pizzas (3 large for $10)

If I can make it out to Costco more than once a month (the nearest store is about 25 minutes from our house), then I’ll also purchase milk, hummus and fresh produce.  They have a great selection of grapes and berries for much less than a regular grocery store.  Buying the produce in bulk was also helpful when I was making all of my own baby food.

All other groceries come from the good ole’ American store, Wal-Mart.  I think Meijer’s (a regional chain here in Louisville) is probably a close second, but farther from my house and not near as easy to get in and out of as my local Neighboorhood Market Wal-Mart!

Naming my new blog

In tradition, I figured why not have my first post on my new blog center around the same first post on my old blog, which is why I landed on the name “Refined Faith”.  For those of you who followed my old blog, you know that the last six months for the Cuthbertsons have been some of the most trying times in our entire lives.  The first event was a miscarriage at week 11 of our second pregnancy in July 08.  This was followed by persecution as we decided to not try again to conceive but instead adopt a child from Ethiopia.  In the middle of beginning our adoption process, we went through another early-pregnancy miscarriage.  In December, Kevin lost his job.  Then, just at the start of this month, three weeks after receiving our referral for a one-month old HIV+ baby boy from Ethiopia, our sweet Max suffered a seizure and then passed away.  Yes, we cannot deny the severity of the trials that the Lord has allowed to come into our lives.

The Bible gives us two ways to think about trials, either as a form of discipline from our loving heavenly Father (Hebrews 12:5-11) or as an instrument that God uses to test our hearts and refine our faith (Deuteronomy 8:16).  As Kevin and I continued in obedience to Lord these last few months, we began to see that the Lord was bringing these trials into our lives to refine our faith.  And slowly (yes, keyword is SLOWLY), I am beginning to not be terrified or dismayed by the trials that come our way and instead embrace them, knowing that my faith is being refined like gold in a fire, in order that it will one day result in praise, glory and honor when Christ is revealed!  And after just six short months, I can surely affirm that refined faith is definitely worth the cost!!