Tag Archives: Budget Groceries

Homeschooling Journal Week 32

In my life this week…

On Tuesday we drove an hour north of where we live to see Philip’s audiologist. With his new hearing, aid he was hearing some sound that we thought was distortion and the speech therapist said we needed to check it out. After thoroughly testing it and asking Philip more questions it turns out to be operating fine. The sound he is hearing are the sounds that it is designed to let him hear. We just need to wait for his brain to adjust to these new sounds.

The rest of the week has been fairly quiet. We did some clean up over the weekend. I am finally starting to feel like I’m ahead in the game,

My Weekly Clean up task…

Top of Dresser Mess

My Dresser Clean

Last week I set myself the goal of cleaning my dresser. As you can see the top of the dresser is much better. The more important part is the interior. I now have an empty drawer and half of the bag is from the contents of the drawers and was donated.

The Donate Bag

There were also clothes that were not good enough to be donated. That filled a small garbage bag.

The rest of the bag is from our linen closet. My wife felt the need to tackle that mess. I did take before and after pictures for that as well.

Linen closet before and after

Next week’s task is our very messy coat rack. There are not enough hooks for everything we hang there and four cubby holes in a family of five just don’t works. They quickly fill with junk. The top, well its a flat surface and therefore gathers anything in someone’s hands as they come in.

Our Messy Coat Rack

In our homeschool this week…

We are starting to check things off in our portfolio to do list. It feels good to start having things finished. We should be finished math today. Science and Social studies each have items checked off. This semester those two overlapped with us studying resources. We covered them both from the science perspective of renewable and non renewable and the processes in how they are made and gathered. In particular he wrote an essay on water, from its uses as water including hydroelectricity. He then wrote on the uses of hydroelectricity including aluminium smelters and then about aluminium smelters. We also looked at the location of the resource in out province. That was interesting because the map in the curriculum book we had was horribly simplified and inaccurate. We talked about what was wrong with the map and how it could be improved. I then showed him a government issued map of mining operations and we compared it to the book map. We also talked about the differences between first hand and second hand data.

Portfolio To Do List

My daughter had a field trip to city hall where she got business cards from our political leaders. The way she was treating them made me feel like they were baseball cards. That got me thinking that we should have politician baseball cards. A quick Google search found some but they look to be geared towards adults and voter education or propaganda.

I’m cooking…

I made one of my favorite dishes from the pubs of my young adulthood, Spinach salad with BBQ Teriyaki Chicken on top. I make it with boneless skinless chicken thighs they used to use breasts but thighs are cheaper and I’ve come to like them better.

SpinachSalad with Teriyaki Chicken

I posted a recipe on my blog that is one of our family favorites. It is simple to make and cheap. Beans, Meatballs and Pineapple. I linked it up on a blog hop and found a number of recipes that I want to try.

Beans Meatballs Pineapple

Next week I have to make dessert for 50 people for our year end party at Catechism. I am planning homemade brownies with chocolate sauce and ice cream.

My youngest son invented a new sandwich, sour cream. That’s it, just sour cream on a slice of bread and folded over. At least it was better for him than my daughter’s corn pop and honey sandwich. Two pieces of bread liberally coated in honey. Then carefully arrange corn pops on one piece. Put the other piece over top at eat. She only made it once when she was about four. What are some weird thing you’re kids came up with to eat?

A photo, video, link, or quote to share (silly, serious or both!)…

You know you are a SAHD if you bought your mop at the hardware store because the grocery store ones are to light weight and you keep bending them.

You know you are a SAHD if you have bent more than one mop in the last year.

I had bent at least on mop before becoming a SAHD but when I was home full time and mopping I went through three in a very short time. Thus I decided to invest in a much sturdier version. I tend to scrub a little to hard for thin walled aluminium tube handles. (The picture was taken at our old house.)

Bent Mop

Linking up at:

Hip Homeschool Hop Button


Chocolate Sauce

Chocolate Milk

My kids go through chocolate sauce at an alarming rate. At about $6 for a 700ml container I figured I could do better both on the price side and the contents. Searching the internet brought up a lot of options. I wanted simple and cheap. That meant cocoa, sugar and water. No milk, butter or dark chocolate brought the price down. I then modified from there


Ingredient Last Purchase Price Cost in Recipe
1 cup Cocoa (~125g) $5.50 /500g bag $1.38
1 1/4 cup sugar (~280g) $13 / 4.54kg bag $0.80
1 1/2 cup water Free Free


Mix everything together in a pot over medium heat. Keep stirring or it will burn to the bottom. When it comes to a boil it is done. Remove from the heat and let cool. I store mine in glass jar in the fridge.

Total Cost $2.18 for about 500ml so about $3.05 for the equivalent 700ml bottle. That makes it about half the cost. Its very easy to make. You can vary the ingredients. I cut down a bit on the sugar and upped the cocoa. It makes it more chocolatey than the store bought. We use it mostly in chocolate milk but it also works great as a topping for ice cream. There is also no artificial flavors or colors in it so that’s a victory as well.

Taco Night

Tacophoto © 2010 Evan Swigart | more info (via: Wylio)

My kids decided it was time for a taco night. This usually involves a buying a sleeve of shells and a package of spice mix. Budget wise I am trying to avoid prepackaged anything. This also allows us to avoid all the other stuff that gets put into those packages. The sleeve of shells actually had a good list consisting of corn, oil, water and calcium hydroxide. The spice mix at $2 had all sorts of stuff in it:

  • Dehydrated Vegetables (Onion, garlic, Celery, Bell Peppers)
  • Salt
  • Dextrose
  • Cornstarch
  • Spice
  • MSG
  • Flavor
  • Artificial Flavor
  • Citric Acid
  • Hydrogenated Soy and Cottonseed oil
  • Silicon Dioxide
  • Disodium Inosinate
  • Guanylate

So what do I actually need: Veggies, Spice, Cornstarch, and much less salt.

I decided to fry the onion with the meat and I didn’t have peppers or celery so I left them out. Searching online I found a number of different recipes and ended up picking the ideas out to make my own based on what I had and how hot I wanted it to be. I ended up with:

  • 1 TBSP Chili Powder
  • 1 TSP Cornstarch
  • 1 TSP Salt
  • 1 TSP Garlic
  • 1 TSP Cumin

This made enough for 1lb of ground beef.

Brown up 1lb of ground beef with 1 small onion diced small. Drain the fat. Add the spice mix and 1/2 cup of water. Turn down and simmer until most of the water is gone. It will have a nice spicy gravy coating the meat.

Serve with you usual extras.

My Daughter: meat on the side, a shell that she eats like a chip, and carrot sticks.

The rest of us: Sour cream, meat, tomato, cheddar cheese and I can’t forget to buy my wife some lettuce for hers.

End Results. Nobody but me knew that I had made the switch. So it passed the taste test. Price wise it was cheaper but everything was already in the house so I couldn’t do a true comparison. Most importantly I know every ingredient I put in.