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Friday, February 27, 2009

Have I mentioned I am a lucky woman????

So, this sounds crazy---but I'm sitting downstairs in blissful quiet, with my feet in the foot spa, and an appletini at my side, while I hear my husband and my kids upstairs. My wonderful husband. The one that decided to pick up take and bake pizza so that I wouldn't have to cook. The one that decided to surprise me when I got home with a nice drink and a nice chance to relax. My husband. The love of my life.

We made an interesting decision almost exactly 6 years ago. I had helped put hubby through school to pursue a degree in programming as I was experiencing some real success in radio management. We were in Denver, and once my husband was employed, expected to start a family. September 11th hit, and that changed my world at work, while my husband was just preparing to graduate. Proving that our plans might not always line up with what is intended, we discovered that we were expecting just shortly after hubby's graduation! And our wonderful son arrived in September of 2002.

We were home in St. Louis at that point, and my husband was working while I stayed home with our son. Our goal was that I stay home for at least the first year. The reality was that our income was a fraction of what it had been. I had been putting my frugal ways to work, but we still were adjusting to a very different lifestyle than what we had experienced while I was working in Denver. Again, proving that our plans don't always match up with His, I was approached with a wonderful opportunity to return to the work force. It meant a move to a different city, but it offered twice the income we currently had, and a rise in management for me.

As we debated our options, and I expressed my concerns about sending our infant son to daycare, my husband shocked me by saying he wanted to stay home with our son. At least for the first year, as was our original plan. I never, ever, thought my husband would enjoy this, but here he was, ready to do it. So, we picked up our new family and never looked back.

Now here we are, 6 years later, in a different city, with a second son--one is in first grade, the second turning 4 in the summer, and my husband has been the one to stay home with them and care for our home. It is different---he's AWESOME at laundry...TERRIBLE at dusting or clutter removal. Our family, however, would not be the same without him, and if it weren't for him, I know I wouldn't have the time for the things that shape this blog---couponing, cooking, gardening, cannning, scrapbooking, frugal living. He is the glue that holds us all together when I'm working 60-70 hour workweeks, and I wouldn't trade him for the world.

When you follow this blog, and you wonder how a career mom can do the kinds of things I blog about, this is why. I'm so blessed. And so in love.

I'm going to finish my appletini. And enjoy my footsoak. Hope you have a wonderful weekend! :)

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Bakers Bargain Meal of the Week 2/25

This week we're taking advantage of the Bakers sales for Barbecue beef patties, roasted potatoes and frozen veggies.

Here's your shopping list:
1 lb ground chuck 1.77
10 lb. bag of potatoes 2.99
1 bag Kroger brand frozen corn $1.00

Your menu:
Barbecue Beef Patties
use 2 pounds of potatoes with olive oil, salt and pepper for oven roasted potatoes. Roast at 400 degrees for 30 minutes until golden. .60
heat corn

$3.40 (plus extras for the patties, which you should have at home)

Hy-Vee Bargain Meal of the Week

Hy-Vee has whole chickens for a great price again. We're going to do a crockpot chicken which will feed you for 2 meals! Great way to stretch your dollar even further!

Here's your shopping list:
1 whole chicken (about 3 pounds) $2.10
1 pound brussels sprouts $1.38
1 bag of Dole Classic salad .96

Your menu:
Baked crockpot chicken
Oven Roasted brussels sprouts
tossed salad

Total for your meal-$4.44
Use the leftover chicken for another meal. And use that frame for free chicken stock!

Fareway Bargain Meal of the Week 2/25

Good sales this week on produce, eggs and pork. See the ad here.

This week we're making ribs in the slow cooker. Your grocery list:

2lbs. country ribs at 1.69/lb. = $3.38
1 lb. broccoli = $1.29
1 bag of baby carrots = .99

Your menu:

Crockpot Chinese Style Country Ribs

1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup orange marmalade
1 tablespoon ketchup
1 large garlic clove, crushed
2 to 3 pounds boneless country-style pork ribs

Combine soy sauce, marmalade, ketchup and garlic. Brush on both sides of the ribs. Place in a slow cooker or crockpot and pour remaining sauce over all. Cover and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours. Serves 6 to 8.

Cook carrots in pan with just enough water to cover for 10 minutes until tender. Drain. Toss with 2T butter or margarine and pepper to taste.

Steam broccoli. Toss with 1T olive oil, 1T lemon juice, 1/2tsp dill, salt and pepper to taste.

Total- $5.66

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Boy do I ever need this site!!!!

A huge thanks to the BzzAgent Frogpond for the link to this site! Here's the deal: I try to be domestic. I like to cook, I like to garden. Over the last year I've taken up scrapbooking. I blog here about shopping and couponing and ways to be frugal. The reality remains, though, that I am the full time career person in my family, and my husband has pretty much become the predominant expert on cleaning things---getting stains out in the laundry, carpet cleaning, best cleaners for the bath room, etc. You go beyond the basics, though, and we're both stumped. This site, I suspect, is going to be a new favorite for me!

howtocleanstuff.net Pretty much anything you need to clean. They tell you how to do it. Every room of the house, from clothing to flooring to even how to clean your Wii Fit Balance Board. Oooh---and my mom's favorite phrase when I was younger even has real advice in the strategies section---how to polish a turd. LMAO. (Although, YUCK)

Why can't I ever be the one that comes up with these things? ;)

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Menu Plan Week of 2/23

Here's the menu plan for this week...taking an easy week. The total for the week's dinners comes out to right around $25. This seems to be the number I can hit comfortably on a regular basis.

2/23 Monday

chicken cacciatore (leftover in freezer)

mashed potatoes .50

green beans .40


2/24 Tuesday

ground beef stroganoff $3.00

corn $1.00


2/25 Wednesday

cheesy ham and potato casserole $2.00

carrots $.50

salad $1.00


2/26 Thursday

spaghetti and meatballs $3.00

salad $1.00


2/27 Friday

smoked sausages with brat buns $2.25

French fries .75

Grapes .80


2/28 Saturday

pork chops $2.50

buttered noodles .75

cheesy broccoli .50 (sale and coupon on Steamers)


3/1 Sunday

crockpot sticky chicken $3.50

roasted potatoes .75

honey glazed carrots .50


Check out more menu plans at http://orgjunkie.com for Menu Plan Monday!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Weekend Projects

Today has been about cleaning, purging paper and other clutter, and organization. I also spent some time going through my coupons, getting those all cleaned back up, and putting my meal plan together for the next week. Hubby has been doing some work on the kitchen sink so not a good day to be in the kitchen (or anywhere near a frustrated hubby!)

Tomorrow I will be doing my freezer stock ups for breakfast items. 2 things for sure:

-Pancakes: I will make regular pancakes, and I will also make some peanut butter pancake rollups
-this recipe from Kate @ Cooking During Stolen Moments. I order something similar to this from Schwann's....excited to try them!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Nice score this week at Walgreens!

Not really profitable in terms of RR or rebates...just $2 in rebates...but I was really able to stretch a dollar!

Suave Shampoo with 40% more bonus- free with the coupon they did for one day
1 jar Blue Diamond Almonds $3.59- $1 coupon
2 Starbucks chocolates- 2/$10- $6 ES coupon and $1 MC= $1.50 each
3 jars of Skippy- 3/$5
2 Speed Stick deodorants- BOGO @ $3.99- $.75 coupon = $3.24 for 2
2 Crest TP w/free trial size tp and mouthwash attached to each 2/$5 plus $1 coupon= $2 each
2 Oust surface and air disenfectant sprays $3.99 each- BOGO coupon- $2 in rebates
used $13 in RR

Total was $9.86...saved $37.61 and I got $2 in rebates.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Hy-Vee Bargain Meal of the Week 2/18

This week we're making slow cooker pineapple pork on rice, with broccoli. Nice slow cooker meal with quick sides for an easy, YUMMY weeknight meal.

Hy-Vee Shopping list for this meal:

1 Hormel Always Tender Boston Butt Pork Roast (try to find one that is about 3lbs, and divide into 3 parts. Freeze 2, keep one) $1.59/lb= $1.59
1 fresh Del Monte Pineapple at $2.48--use half- $1.24
1 bag of mini carrots- .99--use half- .45
1 bag Steamfresh broccoli- 1.18
1 bag Steamfresh brown rice- 1.18

Cut roast into 1-inch cubes. Place in slowcooker. Add pineapple, chopped into small pieces, 1/2 bag of mini carrots, 1 chopped onion, 2T soy sauce, 3T brown sugar, 1/4 cup cider vinegar, 1/4 cup of Sprite or 7Up, and 1T minced garlic. Set crockpot on low. Cook 6-8 hours.

Heat broccoli and rice. Serve pork over rice.

Total for meal: $5.64

Erin over at 5DollarDinners has gathered a lovely group of women from all over the country to cover the best prices from their stores and make a meal. Check it out here.

Bakers Bargain Meal of the Week 2/18

This week at Bakers, chicken leg quarters, italian bread, milk and eggs are all on sale, so we're making strata! If you have never had strata you are in for a comfort food treat!

Here's your shopping list at Bakers:

1 loaf of Rotella's Italian Bread @ .88
1 dozen large eggs @ .88
2 packages of Tyson boneless skinless chicken breasts BOGO (will be $2.50/lb)-use 3/4lb.= $1.80
1 1/2 gallon of milk @ $1.00

Here's the recipe:

Chicken Strata
8 slices day old white bread .40
2 cups diced, cooked chicken or turkey 1.80
1/2 cup chopped onions .10
1/2 cup finely chopped celery .15
1/2 cup mayonnaise .10
3/4 tsp. salt
dash of pepper
2 slightly beaten eggs .15
1 1/2 cups milk .25
1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup ( or use white sauce recipe here) .50

Butter two slices of bread, cut into 1/2 inch cubes and set aside. Cut remaining bread in 1 inch cubes, place half of unbuttered cubes in bottom of 8 x 8 x2 inch baking dish. Combine chicken, vegetables, mayonnaise and seasonings, spoon over bread cubes. Sprinkle remaining unbuttered cubes over chicken mixture. Combine eggs and milk, pour over all. Cover and chill one hour. Spoon soup over top, sprinkle with buttered cubes. Bake at 325 degrees for 50 minutes or until set.

Serve with:

1 bag of Kroger frozen vegetables @ .88

1 lb. of red grapes @ .88

Total for Meal = $5.21

Fareway Bargain Meal of the Week 2/18

Check out this week's Fareway ad here

This week I'm going to base the meal around Erin's Rosemary Orange Chicken. (drool, drool, drool!)

Shopping List:

You'll need 2 whole chicken breasts to feed four, about 2 pounds- $1.96
10lb. bag navel oranges-$3.99- use 3 at about .75
1 bag of Fastco Bow tie pasta- .99 using half at .50
1 Fastco cottage cheese .99- using 1/2 cup at .25
2 cans of Butter Kernel green beans = $1.00


Rosemary Orange Chicken
Dilled Noodles
green beans

Total of Meal- $4.46

See the entire listing of stores for this week, and corresponding $5 meals here

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Menu Plan Week of 2/16

Well, this past week was interesting. I totally blew up the last half of the week--I think since I was hormonal I was craving completely different things that what I had planned! The nice thing about stockpiling and meal planning, though, is that it seems to be a lot easier to turn on a dime, and I have more options that are easy to fix. The freezer meals I've been keeping help with that as well. I seem to be back on track now, and will be incorporating some of the unused meals into the next two weeks. Here's what it looks like this week:

2/16 Monday
pork lettuce wraps $2.00
fresh pineapple 1.00

2/17 Tuesday
chili mac $1.50
corn .90

2/18 Wednesday
bacon chicken skillet $3.25
lemon-dill broccoli .50
roasted potatoes .50

2/19 Thursday
fry bread tacos $3.00
mixed fruit .75

2/20 Friday
chicken alfredo pasta bows w/ mixed veggies $3.50
salad $1.00

2/21 Saturday
steak and potato skillet $2.45
(sirloin strips $1.50, sliced potatoes .40, onions .15, garlic pepper, worcestershire, cheese .40)
green beans .40

2/22 Sunday
crockpot sticky chicken $2.00
cheesy broccoli 1.00
glazed carrots .60


Grand total for the week is $24.35

Head over to OrgJunkie for Menu Plan Monday, where you'll see hundreds of meal plans all of varieties, influences, budgets, and dietary restrictions. It is really a great place to go for ideas!

Bacon Chicken Skillet

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts $2.50
1/2 cup of barbecue sauce .20
1 cup of cheddar cheese, shredded .50 (onsale and w/ blinky)
6 slices of bacon, cooked and broken in half .75
2T olive oil .10
2t garlic powder
1/2t pepper
1/4t salt

Heat skillet on medium. Sprinkle salt, pepper and garlic on each breast. Add oil to skillet, then chicken. Brown for 5-6 minutes on each side. Top each breast with bbq sauce, 3 bacon halves, and the shredded cheese. Cover pan until cheese melts and chicken is cooked through.

This is a good basic recipe that I play with all the time. You can marinade the chicken first. I have also put slices of pineapple on the chicken with these, or sauteed mushrooms and onions. You can use different kinds of cheese as well. A quick, easy, versatile weeknight recipe that will have no leftovers!

$3.55---add frozen veggies for $1 and roasted potatoes for .50. Total is $5.05!

See Erin at 5DollarDinners for more economical meals!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Best Hubby in the Whole World!!!

So, I got back from my shopping run today, entered my blog about it, and just after I hit the send button, someone started knocking on the sliding glass door off the deck. ??? I went over, and it was the neighbor girl who babysits for us---she had slid in through the back gate. Thinking her mom had sent her over for an egg or something, I opened the door, and she walked in, took off her shoes, and walked right over to the boys. R exclaimed "I didn't know you were coming!", and I was like "I didn't either!". That's when hubby walked in with his cute boyish troublemaker smile and informed me we were off to get a couple's massage! How cool is that?!?! We got 60 minute massages, and then took our relaxed selves to Nebraska Brewing Company for a light lunch and a beer. What a neat way to spend our Valentine's Day...and a total surprise!

Hope your day is wonderful as well!

My Baker's Trip

I have to admit that up until just the past couple of months I was not a Baker's shopper. I had shopped there in the past, but wasn't fond of the fact that I needed a card to get the sale prices. That just bugged me for some reason. But since I've started couponing, and loading additional coupons on my Baker's Card, I've really enjoyed my experiences there. And I've really discovered the joy of the Manager's Special...I have certainly grabbed some great deals on meat, dairy and produce that way. Today's trip was pretty good!

My highlights:

3 Hallmark cards
2 1lb. ribeye steaks (BOGO)
2 1lb. packages of ground pork (manager's special @ .99 each)
Colgate TP, Speed Stick, lettuce, eggs, 2 sour creams, 2 boxes of fiber pls bars, a box of Cheerios, 2 4-packs of yoplus yogurt (.50 each after coupon), a value pack box of fruit rollups and some rolls of grands biscuits.

My total for all of it was $35.05, with 36.09 (51%) in mf and store coupons...that doesn't even figure in several sale prices. Not too shabby.

My bathroom cabinet is going to fill up with toothpaste fast if I keep finding these free-.25 bargains. Will probably end up making a run to the Open Door Mission to donate some of this soon.

Friday, February 13, 2009

What to Do with Whole Chickens

As I posted earlier this week, Hy-Vee has a special this week on chicken for .59/lb. This is an amazingly good deal. I used to be afraid of whole chickens, unless it meant roasting them with carrots and potatoes. Over the past few years, however, I've learned to LOVE the whole chicken. First, they're cheaper. Second, they're more versatile. You just need to know how to do a few things with them. You can bake them, boil them, grill them with a can of beer in them, smoke them, put them in a crockpot. You can use one chicken for multiple meals. You can make stock or soup out of the bones. And if you don't want to start with a full chicken, you can cut it up into individual pieces. Perhaps at .59/lb for whole chickens you could buy 10 chickens (assuming you have the freezer space-I do) and you could freeze them whole...OR....you could cut them up, and freeze them by parts...20 breasts, 20 drumsticks, 20 wings, 20 thighs....even after deboning, you'll never find boneless skinless breasts for that price unless you "DIY".

Here's a place to learn:

With a little practice, I promise this is not hard. You just need a good knife and you must be willing to botch a few until you get good at it. :) This is a HUGE money saver, and worth the time...the good news is that your botched attempts still taste great!

Good luck!

Valentine's Day Fun Stuff for Kids

We're expected to get 6-8 inches of snow today, starting at 9. R's school has already cancelled today. I can only imagine he's heartbroken, because they were supposed to make their Valentine boxes today for their party, and I had prepared a whole bag of stickers, buttons, foam and other assorted goodies for him to take to school.

When I get home today, and tomorrow in honor of the holiday, I thought I'd pull out the craft supplies and keep the boys busy. Here are some resources for you....

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Fareway Bargain Meal of the Week 2/11

Fareway this week has good prices on produce-- 5lb. bag of potatoes for $1.99, broccoli for .99/bunch, asparagus for $1.88, cauliflower for 1.29/head.

Also good sales on pork products, namely their pork chops, at 1.99. Here's your shopping list for this week:

3-4 Iowa Chops- these are huge...if you have smaller kids- 3 is fine-4 if you have teens, but we have two kids and 3 sometimes even leaves leftovers. Talk to the butcher to get the sizes you need. Approx. $3.00

1 bunch of broccoli .99

1 bag of Fastco shredded cheese. $1.65

1 32. oz bag of VIP frozen corn $1.99

The Meal-

Italian Baked Pork Chops $3.00
broccoli with cheese sauce $1.50
corn with butter 1.00 use 1/2 bag of the frozen corn

Total for the meal: $5.50

A huge thanks again to Erin at 5 Dollar Dinners for letting me contribute to this feature. You can head over and see meals based on sale ads from all over the country here.

Bakers Bargain Meal of the Week 2/11

Looking at this week's Bakers ad, I got a craving for breakfast! Breakfast for dinner goes over BIG at our house! The boys love it! Here's what you're going to need:

1 dozen large eggs= .99
1 roll Farmland sausage= $1.50
1 can Pillsbury Grands biscuits= $1.49 ($1.19 if you buy 10 of the mix or match items. Plus you can save .50 off 2 cans here , which would bring your cost to .94)
1 16oz. Kroger shredded cheddar cheese = $3.77
1lb. red grapes .88 (Thursday ONLY) .88


Crumble sausage into skillet, brown, remove from skillet. Scramble 8 eggs, cook in skillet at medium heat-add sausage. Top with 4oz. shredded cheese = $3.08
Bake biscuits. Serve with butter and jelly if desired= 1.49 (or .94)
Serve with grapes .88

Total for meal is $5.45 (or $4.90)

Hy-Vee Bargain of the Week 2/11

Hy-Vee ad is out this week with a FANTASTIC sale on whole chickens. More from me this week on the versatility of buying whole chickens versus pieces, especially this week! .59/lb. is an excellent price. In celebration of this, I'm going "rubber chicken" on you, and I'm going to give you TWO meal plans from one chicken and all sale items from Hy-Vee.

Here's your shopping list:

1 4lb. chicken at .59/lb = $2.36

1.5lbs. red potatoes at .88/lb= $1.32

1 lb. asparagus= $1.48

1 bag Hy-Vee salad= .69 (use coupon in ad)

1 package Hy-Vee sliced bacon= $1.99

2 vine ripe tomatoes at .68/lb= .68

1 box Barilla mini ziti pasta= $1.29

1 loaf Amana 100% stone ground bread = $1.99

1.5lbs Disney Jumbo navel oranges at .69/lb= $1.04

Meal #1

(double the recipe for a family of 4--groceries based on that) $2.80

Tossed Salad with sliced tomatoes (use one tomato) $1.03

Total for dinner $6.19 (little over, but you're using part of it tomorrow)
Save leftover chicken and chicken frame for meal #2

Meal #2

Chicken and pasta soup $1.00 for pasta and extras

chicken club sandwiches (use 8 slices bread, 1 tomato, 1/2 package bacon) $2.10

sliced oranges $1.04

Remove chicken for sandwiches and for soup from frame. Put frame and 7 cups of water in pot on stove...let simmer for 2 hours to make stock for soup recipe. Use mini ziti.

On bread, assemble sandwiches with chicken, bacon, tomato slices and condiments of your choice.

slice oranges and serve.

Total for dinner $4.04

Monday, February 9, 2009

Bargain Meal of the Week is Coming!


Erin over at http://www.5dollardinners.com has rolled out a new weekly feature, and I'm thrilled to be one of the contributors! Erin's mission is to show you how you can fix a meal for your family every night for $5. With the new Bargain Meal of the Week feature, Erin and a brigade of women around the country will be scouring the weekly grocery specials for all of the big grocery chains and showing you how to take the week's specials to build your own $5 dinner. No coupons or stockpiling required!

I will be covering Hy-Vee, Fareway and Bakers (a Kroger store) for the Omaha/Council Bluffs area. Our ads are out here every Wednesday, so you'll be able to see the Wednesday deals no later than noon on Thursdays. I'll cover each store with the foods and a recipe that will bring you in right around $5.

I'll have the posts here on this blog, and Erin will have all of the contributors linked up from her page. I love, love, love seeing the prices in other cities, so I'm sure I'll be checking them out.

If you'd like to see the deals already up for those ads/cities that run Monday-Sunday, click here. And check back Wednesday evening for the first week's Bargain Meals!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Walgreens stop today...

Picked up 2 more Colgate toothpastes- 2/$3- 2 .75/1 coupons and 1 RR= .25/each

2 Windex sprays and 2 Shout sprays both 2/$5, and I had $1/1 coupons for each. Each one also gets a $1 rebate= .50 each

Got the Fusion razor for $8.99- $4/1 coupon, and $6 RR= made $1.01

Menu Plan Week of 2/9

Here's the plan for the week. Yes, I had the smoked sausages on last week's menu---I also somehow had 8 days of meals planned. Two Thursdays. Wouldn't that be torture? Anyway...the price breakdowns are below based on what I've paid for things. Your costs might vary depending on your area, whether you coupon, etc. The entire week of dinners comes in just under $28.00.

2/9 Monday
smoked sausages in brat buns $1.75 (sausages on sale 1.25, buns, .50)
coleslaw 1.00
tater tots .75

2/10 Tuesday
chicken Florentine casserole (chicken $2.50, spinach, .35, mozzarella .75, parmesan .25, milk, .25, flour, onion .10, butter .20)
noodles .50
glazed carrots .60

2/11 Wednesday
mini meatloaf $2.25
green beans .40
cheesy mashed potatoes 1.00

2/12 Thursday

Fry Bread Tacos $3.00
corn .40$3.40

2/13 Friday
Sesame Noodles w/ Chicken $3.25
Mandarin oranges .65

2/14 Saturday Valentine’s Day
Heart Shape Pizzas
Chocolate chip cookies

2/15 Sunday
slowcooker beer bbq chicken $2.00
garlic smashed potatoes
green beans .40

Head over to http://orgjunkie.com. There you will find about 500 other meal plans on Mondays, and you can add your own! It's a great way to keep yourself organized, and on budget, for the week!

The Circle of Life....

We had to have "the talk" with the 6yo this morning. You know, the one you have to have when your first pet fish goes to the big fish tank in Heaven. I was actually a little surprised at his reaction. This kid handled Charlotte's Web like a champ ( I was bawling while reading it to him, he thought that was funny), takes all the hunting stories in the Little House books without batting an eyelash, but the news that one of the fish died in our upstairs tank rattled him.

We've just recently set up our 40 gallon tank downstairs, and our 10 gallon tank upstairs. He loves them as much as I do. So, the news that one was gone was a little hard to take.

We did at least get a laugh out of him when he inquired as to the deceased fish's whereabouts and we told him we flushed him. (We spared him the flushing "ceremony". Maybe next time.)

Considering we have a 13 year old cat and a 9 year old cat in addition to our 2 year old dog, maybe it's good that he's learning this with the fish now.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Coming this weekend...

Here's a little tidbit most of you don't know. Since this time last year, I've lost 35 pounds. It's been a "slow and steady wins the race" process. Somehow, between stressful jobs and 2 kids, I figured out how to put on a LOT of weight. In fact, 60lbs from my slimmest 12 years ago (At 5'10, I somehow got to a size 4). I don't know if I'll get back to that, but I'm 10lbs away from my 1st goal weight, where I'll evaluate the situation and decide where I want to be. I now weigh 8lbs less than I did when I got preggo w/ my 6yo, so at least I've taken care of the pregnancy damage. The rest will be easy from here.

The struggle at this point, is what shall I wear? I currently have 4 different sizes in my closet, and all of them are too big. I've even bought a few pieces for the downsize, and I've grown out of them.

So my big project this weekend is to dig into all of my tubs in the basement and find my smaller sizes. I will be 1) putting those in the closet while I 2) remove the large sizes, and 3) find a frugal way to update these outfits that are quite old, without breaking the budget. I will share my journey with you this weekend! If you're like me, and trying to lose some weight, hopefully I'll be able to give you some tips on how to look current without spending a ton. And if you've done this yourself, I'd sure LOVE to hear from you! Please leave your tips and advice for all us of in the comments below!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Bakers Trip Feb 5th

I didn't go after any of the Daytona 500 $3 savings---nothing really tickled my fancy with coupons or savings to get to the full 10 items. I still had a pretty nice little trip:

2 Yoplait Kids- 2/$4- 1/2 SCuts, & 1/2 printable= $2 for 2 ($1 each)

2 gallons skim milk- $1.99 each

2 Progresso Vegetable Beef Soups- 2/$3- 2 .50/1 Scuts & 1/2 printable= $1 for 2 (.50 each)

2 Kroger Fat Free Refried Beans- .59 each

3 Cottenelle TPs- .99 each- 3 .50/1 printables and 1 .25/1 cfire= $1.22 for 3 (.40 each)

1 Colgate Total - $2.50 - $1.50 cfire and $1/1 printable= FREE

Plus a $1.50 Catalina that printed up for me last week.

Total Coupon/Bakers Card Savings = $13.14

Total Paid= $8.26

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Washing and Storing Grapes

We LOVE grapes at our house. But I find that I'm more likely to eat them if they're all previously removed from the stems, and already washed and ready to go. I also don't think just rinsing is sufficient. You see the cloudy film on the outside of the grapes, and even a soak doesn't remove it.

So now, when I buy my grapes, I take the few extra minutes before I put them away to get them all ready! I remove the grapes from the stems and place in a big colander in the sink.

After a good rinsing, I place 1 small drop of liquid dishsoap in one hand. I then rub my hands together to coat them, and then run my hands through the grapes to lightly wash them. If you've placed just a drop of soap on your hands, you won't even see any foam at this point. Just enough to break through that film on the grapes. Once I've done this, I rinse VERY WELL. Then I let drain for 5 minutes in the colander, and then place in a container for the fridge.

Now, when we want grapes, we can just grab what we want--they're clean, and they taste GREAT! Works for me! Check out other great suggestions and tips at http://rocksinmydryer.net

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Made hubby take a Walgreens trip today

I wanted to take a trip but I can't get this fever down, so I sent him. I had to write everything out for him LOL. Here's today's transaction:

1 Dri Idea Clinical- $5.99 and prints a $5 RR, making it .99
2 boxes of TheraFlu Packets- on sale 2/$10, used 2 $2 off coupons available here, and there's a $6.00 rebate in the easy saver catalog, which makes them free

Next trip I will get:

1 Revlon Age Defying Foundation-free with $9.99 rebate
1 Garnier Fructis Wonder Waves hair care product- free with $3.99 rebate
1 96 load bottle of All Free and Clear 2x,-$9.99, using $1.50/1 coupon, and my $5 RR.

A new challenge at our house....

Not even sure where to start. Our 6 year, R, is in first grade. He started a little on the young side, but the alternative was holding him back, and we thought that would be worse for his academics. He's a bright boy, very easily bored, and needs to be challenged. Our pre-school teachers were telling us he was already bored. So he entered Kindergarten in mid-August, about 3 weeks before his 5th birthday (cut-off here is mid-October).

He has struggled throughout school, not with academic accomplishments, but with focus, concentration, and self control. We have brought up the ADHD issue several times with school and with our ped, but have been told to wait and observe, as boys tend to be more immature, and have more trouble controlling himself. With discipline at home and conversations with his teacher, we thought there was improvement.

Today was, I think, a big sign that this is not typical 1st grade behavior. He acted out so badly in school today that the teacher, when he called, actually sounded angry. I can understand. It's not just counter-productive to our son's learning, but to the entire classroom. What's frustrating is that he's apparently been showing a decline in his improvements, and the teacher didn't call us before today.

I get the distinct idea that the school will never suggest ADHD. Hubby thinks it's because it qualifies our son for special education services. Regardless, after having to pick our son up early from school today we have a call into our ped for referral to have him evaluated.

I'm also concerned, as I read, that perhaps we have some dietary issues. Our children, if you read this blog, can probably assume eat very well. In comparison to our neighbor's children, they eat very little processed food. We do, however, allow small amount of candy, and some processed treats, like granola bars and the occasional box of sugary cereal.

What's disturbing is that R's outburst today chimes in with the exact day that dad opened a box of Cocoa Puffs for a special breakfast (they NEVER get that), along with yogurt drinks and scrambled eggs.

I keep reading about reactions to foods that can cause red ears and flushed cheeks. Both of our sons get this ALL the time. They are also both VERY fair redheads. I got the same thing as a kid. Our doctors tell us it's a normal reaction that most people get, you just get to see it more easily through the porcelain skin.

So, we have some work to do. Definitely going to be doing a lot of reading and research and talking to the doctors. I have always taken a very middle of the road approach on the medication subject--- not quick to medicate, but in some cases it is necessary and useful. Need to really see how we can impact this in other ways first.

Would sure love to hear from you if have similar experiences, and how your family dealt with them. Please leave a comment!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Keep your fingers crossed..

Today at Bakers I was looking in the produce dept and they had this huge 1lb. tub of fresh organic spinach-expiration date of Wednesday 2/4---so to get it out of the store they had this thing marked down to $1.40! There was no way we were going to be able to eat the whole thing before it went bad. So after doing some reading of whether to cook it first or just freeze it fresh, I decided to try my luck and froze it fresh. Several message boards claimed that the spinach came out just fine when thawed. Sure hope they were right! I got a nice salad out of it for tonight, and 3 big bags for future dishes...mmm, chicken florentine and spinach and cheese stuff manicotti, here we come! (I hope!)


Sunday, February 1, 2009

Meal Plan Week of 2/2

We stuck to last week's meal plan very well! This week, I didn't get a lot of prep work done, but I did get my sirloin sliced for quesadillas, into the marinade, and in the freezer. I also saved all the veggies that were on their last legs in the fridge and made a big pot of veggie broth that I froze into ice cubes....great for flavoring veggies and using like you might use chicken broth. This week's dinners clocks in just under $30.

2/2 Monday
spaghetti and meatballs (w/ homemade sauce .00, meatballs 1.80, pasta .50, and parmesan .50 $2.80
salad .75
bread and butter .30

2/3 Tuesday
steak and black bean quesadillas (diced sirloin marinated in chipotle lime sauce 1.50, black beans .25, cheddar cheese .75, tortillas .75) $3.25
guacamole $1.00 (2 avocados, 1T lime juice, 1/2t garlic salt, shake of cumin, 1T sour cream, several dashes hot sauce)
oranges .50

2/4 Wednesday
sloppy joes $2.35 (beef 1.25, onion .10, buns .50, sauce .50)
oven baked ranch potato wedges .50
coleslaw 1.00

2/5 Thursday
macaroni and cheese bake $2.00
salad .75
green beans .40

2/6 Thursday
smoked sausages in brat buns $1.75 (sausages on sale and coupons- 1.25, buns, .50)
leftover coleslaw .00
fries 1.00

2/7 Friday
chicken skillet nachos (shredded chicken .40, refried beans, .60, cheese .75, chips .50) $2.25
pineapple .90

2/8 Saturday
chicken cacciatore 1.50
mashed potatoes .50
salad .50

2/9 Sunday
vegetable beef soup $2.50
sweet potato bread with pineapple butter $1.50

Stop by and say hello to all the lovely ladies who share their weekly meal plans for Menu Plan Monday at http://orgjunkie.com

Sloppy Joes

1 pound lean ground beef
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon prepared yellow mustard
3/4 cup ketchup
3 teaspoons brown sugar
salt to taste
ground black pepper to taste

In a skillet over medium heat, brown ground beef and onions. Stir in garlic powder, mustard, ketchup, and brown sugar. Stir well. Add salt and pepper to taste. Simmer 30 minutes. Serve on hamburger buns.