Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Free Chick-Fil-A!!

So, do you love Chick-Fil-A as much as I do? Well, there are a couple of opportunities for FREE food at your fave place then!!

1. Click here to sign up for the Chicken Wave . If you are one of the first 250,000 to sign up you could get a coupon for a FREE Chick-Fil-A Chicken Sandwich in the mail! You are also then entered into a daily drawing of $50 Chick-Fil-A gift cards they are giving away. Some other prizes are also available. Check it out!

2. On Labor Day, which is this Monday, September 7, you can show up to any Chick-Fil-A from 10:30 a.m. to close and receive a FREE 3-piece chicken strip for wearing your team's football shirt, complete with logo. You can go to their website here for more details. I would suggest you call your local restaurant to validate their participation.

I enjoyed this day very much last year! The kids can get in on it too! We all got some chicken strips and then ordered some fries to share. I love FREE food, especially when it's Chick-Fil-A FREE food!

3. Finally, if you are a seminary student or part of a seminary student's family at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, then you can get a FREE Chick-Fil-A Chicken Sandwich this Thursday at the Annual Church Fair/Picnic.

Just for fun and continuing along with the whole Chick-Fil-A theme (and because, well, I'm a BIG fan!) I thought I'd share this video with you. Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Kroger Doubling Coupon Event

This Saturday, August 15 Kroger is running a Super Doubling Coupon event. I've heard that it's only for stores in Louisiana and Texas. Kroger will double manufacter's coupons valued between $.40 and $1! Here's a link to my weekly ad (Fort Worth):


Check it out! This could result in multiple FREE deals!

You can also visit here for some possible deal ideas. Happy Shopping!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Menu Plan

I've decided to change things up a bit. Even though I don't go grocery shopping until tomorrow (Tuesday) morning, I already have my menu plan and list made out. So why don't I share our planned meals with you now?
Menu Plan for Tuesday, April 28 - Monday, May 4
Tuesday- Leftover Breakfast Pizza (from Monday night's dinner)
Wednesday- Oatmeal with Brown Sugar, Cinnamon, and Raisins
Thursday- Morning Sunshine Smoothie (pg. 14 Help! My Family's Hungry by Judie Byrd) and Cinnamon Toast
Friday- Fruit and Yogurt Parfaits
Saturday- Deer Sausage (provided by my wonderful dad) and Biscuits
Sunday- Breakfast Burritos (scrambled eggs and salsa on tortillas)
Monday- PB Banana Smoothies
Tuesday- PB&J Sandwiches, Carrots, and Quakes
Wednesday- Leftover Soup and Salad
Thursday- PB&J Sandwiches and Strawberries
Friday- Lunch at Friend's House
Saturday- Hamburgers and Cajun Chips (Clay's speciality!)
Sunday- Church Picnic (bring side)
Monday- Leftover Sausage and Rice
Tuesday- Pasta Fagioli (pg. 190 Help! My Family's Hungry by Judie Byrd), Caesar Salad, and Homemade Wheat Rolls (from freezer)
Wednesday- Leftovers
Thursday- Venison Stroganoff (pg. 132 Help! My Family's Hungry by Judie Byrd) and Green Beans
Friday- Personal Pepperoni Pita Pizzas and Cupcakes
Saturday- Date Night!
Boys will eat Cheese Quesadillas and Steamed Southwestern Rice
Sunday- Sausage and Rice and Steamed Squash and Zucchini
Monday- Creamy Ranch Pork Chops and Carrots

Grocery Deals

Here are some of the price-matching deals that are good until tomorrow. You better hurry fast if you want to snag these deals!
Kroger Deals
*If you plan to get several of these deals, I suggest you make a shopping trip to your local Kroger, instead of doing price-matching at Walmart. If you do the shopping directly at Kroger, you can take advantage of their double and triple coupon program! They automatically double all coupons up to and including $.50 and they triple all coupons up to and including $.39!
1. Suave Invisible Solid Deodorant = $.99
(use $.50/1 coupon from recent coupon insert)
(This item will be FREE if you shop at Kroger and use the coupon that will double to be $1 off!)
2. Softsoap 7.5 oz. = $.99
(use $.35/1 coupon from 4/26 coupon insert)
(This item will be $.29 if you shop at Kroger and use the coupon that will double to be $.70 off!)
3. Grillmates Seasoning (2.5 - 3.4 oz.) = $.99
(use $.50/1 coupon from recent coupon insert)
(This item will be FREE if you shop at Kroger and use the coupon that will double to be $1 off!)
4. Bananas = $.39/lb.
(They are $.52/lb. at Walmart)
5. Zucchini/Yellow Squash = $.97/lb.
6. Strawberries (16 oz.) or Blackberries (1/2 pint) = $1.50 each
7. Broccoli Crowns = $.97/lb.
8. Fresh Express Tender Leaf Spinach = 2/$3
9. Fresh Green Beans = $.99/lb.
10. Pillsbury Brownie Mix (19.5 oz) = $.99
(use $.35/1 coupon from recent coupon insert)
(This item will be $.29 in you shop at Kroger and use the coupon that will double to be $.70 off!
11. Angel Soft Bath Tissue (4 regular rolls) = $.99
(use $.50/1 coupon from 4/19 coupon insert)
(This item will be FREE if you shop at Kroger and use the coupon that will double to be $1 off!)
12. Quaker Quakes (2.75 - 5 oz.) = $.99
(use $1/1 coupon from recent coupon insert)
(This item will be FREE if you shop at Kroger OR if you price-match at Walmart.)
13. Sun Burst Laundry Detergent (Liquid 41-50 Load or Powder 35 Load) = $1.88
Albertsons Deals
*Albertsons is also offering double and triple coupons on a temporary basis. Here are some the deals they have listed. This sale also ends tomorrow!
1. Country Style Pork Shoulder Ribs (sold in family pack) = 10 lbs./$10
2. Totinos Pizza Rolls (7.5 oz.) = $1
(use $.35/1 coupon from recent coupon insert)
(This item will be $.30 if you shop at Albertsons and use the coupon that will double to be $.70 off!)
3. Pillsbury Golden Layer Biscuits, Grands! Biscuits, or Cinnamon Rolls = $1
(use a number of Pillsbury coupons to get some pretty great deals!)
I will be snagging up some of these deals, plus a few others from local chains such as Fiesta and Terry's that my Walmart takes ads from.
I'll post tomorrow details from my shopping trip!
What kind of deals have you gotten this week or plan to get this week?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

4.14 Grocery Shopping and Menu Plan

Town Talk Total: $12.51
Walmart Total: $28.07
Grocery Total: $ 40.58
Best Deals from Town Talk:
1. 2 lbs. Fresh Green Beans = $1.99
2. Red Seedless Grapes = $.88/lb.
3. Sun Maid Yogurt-covered Cranberries = $.99
Best Deals from Walmart:
1. 16 oz. strawberries = $1.45 (Walmart's sale price)
2. 6 oz. blackberries = $1.47 (price-matched from Kroger sale)
3. Green Onions = $.69 (Walmart's sale price)
4. Fischer Sugared Pecans = $.50 (price-matched from Albertsons- 2/$3 and used $1/1 coupon)
5. Bird's Eye Steam Fresh Veggies = $.79 (price-matched from Albertsons)
6. Great Value Vegetable Oil = $1.50 (price-matched from Super Plaza)
I want to encourage you to make a Menu Plan if you don't already. This simple step alone will save you TONS at the grocery store!
Tuesday- Oatmeal with Brown Sugar, Cinnamon, and Raisins
Wednesday- Fruit (strawberries and blackberries) and Yogurt Parfait
Thursday- Whole-Grain Silver Dollar Pancakes (from freezer) I've included the link to this recipe. If you're looking for a healthy, but tasty pancake try this one!
Friday- Raisin Bran Muffins (recipe from Help! My Family's Hungry by Judie Byrd)
Saturday- Eggs and Whole-wheat Toast
Sunday- Sausage Biscuits
Monday- PB Banana Smoothies
Tuesday- Leftover 3-Cheese Baked Spaghetti
Wednesday- Ham Sandwiches, Crackers, and Carrots
Thursday- PB&J Sandwiches and Strawberries
Friday- Freezer Lunch/Sandwiches
Saturday- Baked Potatoes w/ Ham, Cheese, Sour Cream, and Broccoli
Sunday- Red beans and Rice and Cornbread
Monday- Leftover Red beans and Rice
Tuesday- Ham, Egg, and Cheese Scramble and Biscuits
Wednesday- Leftover 3-Cheese Baked Spaghetti and Breadsticks
*Bring Snack to Care Group- Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Cookies*
Thursday- ELC Art Show at UBC (dinner provided)
Friday- Cheeseburger Pizza and White Chocolate Pudding Parfaits
Saturday- Crawfish Boil at friends' house
Sunday- Chicken Alfredo, Slow-cooked Green Beans and Breadsticks
Monday- Venison Steaks (my dad loaded me up with meat!), Steamed New Potatoes, and Corn-on-the-cob

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Some Tips on Saving Money

Saving money doesn't stop with groceries. I attempt to save money while buying clothes, household items, eating out, etc. Here are some tips I have for saving money that work for our family. They may not necessarily work for your situation. Take and leave what you may.

1. When shopping for clothes try to avoid retail. One of my favorite places to shop is Ross for discounted clothes, shoes, lingerie, picture frames, bedding, etc. Marshalls and T.J. Maxx are also good choices. Hopefully you have one these discount stores in your area. Just last week I used some early birthday money to get 4 spring shirts and a dress for a little over $50. I try to pay under $10 for all shirts and pants. My dress was $16.99, so that was a little more than I like to pay, but still much less than at department stores. My favorite part is seeing the brands that I'm getting for a fraction of the suggested retail price!

Good Will and Garage Sales are also good places for finding great deals. Do not be opposed to second hand clothing and household items! You can get steals this way. Some of my favorite items in my house were treasures I found at Good Will and another fave place- Craigslist.com.

2. When eating out use coupons whenever possible. Last Sunday we used our Taco Bueno coupons after church and spent $6.43 to feed 3 people! We were able to get 3 steak fajita tacos (my favorite!) for $.99 each using an unlimited coupon, 1 bowl of chicken tortilla soup for $.99 using an unlimited coupon, 1 mini-cheese quesadilla and 1 pack of cinnamon chips off the value menu for $.99 each, 1 pack of chips and queso and 1 cheesecake chimichanga for FREE using coupons. These coupons came free to our house in a mailing insert.

This is just one example of how it doesn't have to expensive to eat out. Of course, Taco Bueno isn't up there on "fine fare" per say, but we're not really frequenting those type places anyway on a strict budget and with 2 kiddos in tow! If you don't have a Taco Bueno nearby, don't fret. There is bound to be deals available at dining out places in your area.

If we dine at a restaurant we try to use Buy One Get One entree' coupons. These can be found in Entertainment Books if there is one available for your area. These are also found in the coupon inserts in the Sunday paper. Also, sign up for the mailing lists at local restaurant chains and you may receive periodic coupons and special deals on you and your spouse's birthdays!

3. Shop at CVS (or WalGreens, Rite Aid, etc.)! You may think these prices are more expensive than Walmart or Dollar Stores and generally they are. However, if you learn the system you can get toiletry items and some groceries for mostly or totally FREE!

For example, this week I was able to get 2 packages of Huggies Diapers, a 184 count Huggies refill wipes package, and Skintimate Shave Cream all for nothing. I actually made money on this transaction! This week CVS has a deal where if you buy $25 worth of Baby Care items you can get $10 back in Extra Care Bucks (ECBs). I happened to have several Huggies coupons and needed diapers, so this deal worked well for me. CVS also sent me a $5 off a $25 purchase in my email inbox along with $2 in ECBs for my Winter spending. The diapers were on sale for $10 a package and the wipes were on sale for $5. I had 2 $3 Huggies coupons and one $5 coupons. The Skintimate Shave Cream was FREE after ECBs. After all my coupons and ECBs spent and earned, I made about $3 by buying these items.

This may all sound so confusing, but with just a little effort you can save tons of money and get quality products in return! You can see deal matchups for CVS and other drug stores at www.moneysavingmom.com. You can click here for a tutorial on CVSing.

4. When grocery shopping only buy what's on sale or what you have coupons for. I've said this many times before, but I've seen it play out recently by following my own advice! I used way less money this week on grocery shopping by actually sticking to this plan. You'd be surprised at what you can do without when you're forced to stick to buying on sale items.

The main starting place in grocery budgeting is to make a Menu Plan. It's important to have a written summary of the meals and snacks you have planned for the week, rather than just buying lots of different items and trying to come up with meals ideas each day when you're tired and hungry. At the beginning of our marriage, I would go to the grocery store every couple of weeks, buy a ton of groceries, and then try to come up with stuff to cook each day based on a conglimeration of produce, meat, and pantry foods. Then I would have to run to the grocery store because I never seemed to have the right ingredients for the meals I wanted to cook. For the past 2 years I have been using a Menu Plan and this changed our grocery shopping in a huge way. Since then I've also added in sale shopping and coupon clipping. These steps can be slowly added in since they can be pretty overwhelming at first.

I hope this information can be helpful to you as you seek to save money for your family. If you have any questions, leave me a comment or you can email me at: clayandrobin@sbcglobal.net I definitely do not have it all figured out, but I'd love to share with you what I've learned thus far in this frugal journey.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

recovered chair

When our family moved to Fort Worth we purchased a beautiful new-to-us refinished table with a shiny stain and wrought iron work at a local flea market. Four chairs came with it that had the same wrought iron look with cream colored padding on the chairs. At the time Noah was still eating in a high chair and I didn't think about him sitting on those beautiful light colored padded chairs eating all sorts of messy, colorful foods. So over the last one and half years his chair was deemed "the nasty one" and I always volunteered to sit in it when we had company over. (Noah sat with his friends at the kid table.)
Thankfully, chairs can be recoved pretty inexpensively. Our local fabric store, Joann's, was having a sale and I bought some outdoor fabric to recover the chairs. I also found some beautiful cotton fabric in a coordinating pattern in the remnant bin. I intend to make a table runner or some napkins to go with my newly covered chairs!

My talented sister-in-law, Amanda, did the recovering for me. She cut the fabric where it would fit on the cusion and then used a heavy duty stapler to secure the edges under the chair cusion. No sewing involved! That's my kind of project!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

menu plan

Our grocery shopping and menu plan are a bit off this week. We returned home on Thursday evening to an empty refrigerator and empty cabinets. We pieced things together and ate out a couple of times on Thursday and Friday. On Friday night, we finally got our grocery shopping done. I spent $65 on groceries, which I guess wasn't too bad since we did no grocery shopping the week before. Our menu plan this week ran from Saturday until Friday. I'll have to make a new menu plan starting this weekend. Or maybe I could be creative and use what I have already in stock! Stay tuned to see... (I'll only include Tuesday through Friday, since I'm sure you don't care what we had the days previous to this :)
Wednesday- Waffles (already made in freezer) and Mangoes
Friday- Oatmeal with Brown Sugar, Cinnamon, and Raisins
Tuesday- Leftover Quiche and Grapes
Wednesday- Peanut butter and Honey Sandwiches and Quakes
Thursday- Leftover 3-Cheese Baked Spaghetti
Friday- Leftovers
Tuesday- 3-Cheese Baked Spaghetti, Homemade Bread, and Green Beans
Wednesday- Leftovers and Fresh Pineapple
Thursday- Black Beans, Grilled Veggies, and Brown Rice (in a tortilla, maybe?)
Friday- BBQ Chicken Pizza, Corn, and Cheesecake Pudding Parfaits

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

menu plan

I didn't do any major grocery shopping today. We have some things I can put together for dinners and breakfasts this week without having to buy much. I did find good price-matching deals on grapes and bananas. I also got some milk and snacks for the road. Clay is leaving for Illinois on Saturday to preach a revival for a small rural church as a part of his Revival Practicum class. The boys and I are heading to Louisiana for the week while he's away. So our Menu Plan is limited this week and there won't be a need for one next week. I'm looking forward to a break from coupon-clipping, menu planning, and grocery shopping. Our Menu Plan for this week can be found below. Happy Cooking!

Tuesday- Ziploc Bag Omelets
Wednesday- Fruit and Yogurt Parfaits
Thursday- Peanut Butter Banana Smoothies
Friday- Biscuits and Eggs
Saturday- Breakfast on the Road
Sunday and Monday- Visiting Family in Louisiana

Tuesday- Leftovers
Wednesday- Lunch with Friend
Thursday- Leftovers
Friday- Lunch at Friend's House after Bible Study
Saturday- Lunch on the Road
Sunday and Monday- Visiting Family in Louisiana

Tuesday- Brisket Sandwiches (leftover brisket and buns from freezer), Squash, and
Ranch-style Beans
Wednesday- Dinner Date with Clay!
Thursday- Leftover Stew (from Monday)
Friday- DiGiorno Pizza, Corn, and Grapes
Saturday-Monday- Visiting Family in Louisiana

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Brownie Trifle

Recipe of the Week: Brownie Trifle
I enjoy making Brownie Trifle for church gatherings or for company. It is very inexpensive and feeds a lot of people. My mom introduced me to this recipe when my future in-laws were eating over at our house one Sunday for lunch. It was a big hit then and continues to be wherever it is served. Enjoy!
1 box of brownie mix (And the ingredients needed to make the brownies listed on the box)
1 small pkg. instant chocolate pudding (I use sugar free/fat free to make it healthier :)
1 small pkg. instant vanilla pudding (Again, I use sugar free/fat free)
4 cups of milk (I use fat free, but it doesn't make a difference)
1 16 oz. container Cool Whip
Almond Toffee pieces or Butter Finger pieces (You can either purchase these candy pieces in the baking aisle, or you can buy a Heath or Butter Finger candy bar and chop it into pieces using a meat tenderizing mallet. The latter is the cheapest choice :)
Make brownies according to package directions. Set aside and allow to cool. Allow Cool Whip to soften while brownies are cooking, so that it is easier to spread. Mix puddings and milk together in a mixing bowl. Follow directions on pudding package. (Sometimes I add Cool Whip to this mixture to make it more mouse-like and sometimes I don't. It's just your preference.) Cover mixing bowl with plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator for 5 minutes. Crumble 1/3 of the brownies in a large bowl. (Glass containers work best because the layers can be seen.) Spoon and spread 1/3 of the pudding on top. Spread Cool Whip over the pudding. Repeat 2 more layers of brownies, pudding and Cool Whip. Sprinkle almond toffee pieces or Butter Finger pieces on top. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
I also sometimes put 1 cup of chocolate chips into the brownie batter, pudding batter, or sprinkled on top along with the candy pieces. This recipe can be changed up a lot to whatever you have on hand. Have fun and be creative!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

3.3 grocery shopping and menu plan

Total: $51.60
I have not been doing well at coupon clipping lately. I admit it takes up a lot of time. Something I do not have a lot of. Well, I have the same amount of time as everybody else, yet I choose to spend it in different ways- in ways other than clipping coupons :) So I used the sale papers today and price-matched on a ton of produce. Among my best deals were:
  • head of lettuce- $.59
  • avocados- 2/$.79
  • bunch of broccoli- $.88
  • strawberries- $1.50
  • bell peppers- 3/$1 (These were almost $1 for 1 at Walmart's regular price!)

My best deal was on Huggies Diapers. I detest paying full price for diapers, so I was pleasantly surprised with this bargain. Albertson's had jumbo packs on sale for $7.98. I price-matched two packs at this price and then used a $5/1 coupon and a $3/1 coupon which I found linked at this post on Moneysavingmom.com. My end price for the 1st pack of diapers was $2.98 and my 2nd pack was $4.98! Unbelievable!! I was able to get 2 packs for under the price Walmart was selling 1 pack at regular price!

What was my worst deal? I decided to splurge and buy tahini sauce for some hummus I'd like to make this week. The tahini cost over $6, but I do hear that it lasts a long time. And hummus is filling and good for you- tons of fiber, plus really yummy, so I took the plunge.

How did you do this week on grocery shopping? Any great deals you'd like to share?

Tuesday- Oatmeal with Brown Sugar, Cinnamon, and Raisins
Wednesday- Pancakes (from freezer) and Fruit Syrup
Thursday- Fruit and Yogurt Parfaits (with fresh strawberries :)
Friday- Sausage Biscuits (biscuits leftover from Tuesday night)
Saturday- Peanut Butter Banana Smoothies
Monday- Oatmeal with Brown Sugar, Cinnamon, and Raisins
Tuesday- Leftover Gumbo
Wednesday- Garden Veggie Soup
Thursday- Chicken Sandwiches and Carrots
Friday- Garden Veggie Soup
Saturday- Cheese Quesadillas and Refried Beans
Sunday- Lunch Out
Monday- Leftover Cornmeal Chicken
Tuesday- Whole Wheat Biscuits (Cooking Light: Low Fat/Low Cal)
Wednesday- Small Group Meal (Bringing Sweet Tea and Brownie Trifle)
Thursday- Taco Soup and Homemade Bread
Friday- Chicken Sandwiches and Hummus
Saturday- Hamburgers/Hotdogs at a friend's Birthday Party
Sunday- Cornmeal Chicken (Cooking Light: Low Fat/Low Cal), 4-Cheese Mashed Potatoes, and
Monday- Pork Stew over Rice and Homemade Bread

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

free pancakes!

Yesterday was National Pancake Day Celebration at IHOP. So what does that mean? Free short stack of pancakes for our family! They were so yummy and filling. We ordered ours without butter and used sugar-free syrup to be on the healthier side :)
There's nothing like receiving a ticket that says $0 on it! We did make a small donation to St. Jude's while we were there. Free pancakes and making a difference? Priceless.

recipe and a story

In the post directly before this one, I mentioned in our Menu Plan that we would be having steak for dinner because of a defrosting mix-up. Well, the story continues. Clay marinated and grilled the "steaks" for dinner on Thursday night as planned. We cut into them and soon knew that they were not beef steaks, but were pork steaks. It was a pleasant surprise as they were juicy and seasoned very well. But where were those beef steaks leftover from Valentine's Day? They were still in the freezer! So many mix-ups, but problem finally solved. While Clay's mom was visiting this weekend Clay grilled the infamous beef steaks and veggies. It was so yummy. We had leftovers last night for dinner. The mushrooms were my favorite!

Recipe- Ziploc Bag Omelet
I admit, I am unable to make a pretty omelet. However, this recipe was easy and tasty and looks better than if I made it in a skillet. We put all the ingredients together on Saturday night and just had to cook it on Sunday morning. Makes a very filling breakfast or supper! I got the recipe from my wonderful sister, KK.

Ziploc Bag Omelet
2 eggs
1/4 cup diced green pepper
1/4 cup diced onions
1/2 cup chopped ham (or other meat of your choosing)
Cheddar cheese (however much you like)
Combine all ingredients in a quart size freezer bag. (It needs to be freezer or it may burst while heating.) Swish ingredients around to make sure they are well combined. (If you skip this step you may wind up with hard-boiled eggs within your omelet!) Refrigerate overnight or cook right away. Fill a stock pot up half way with water. Bring the water to a boil. Place bags inside pot and allow to boil for 13 minutes. Instant omelets!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

2.17 shopping trip and menu plan

Town Talk - $20.08

Walmart $38.58

Total spent = $58.66

The deals weren't super this week. I only price-matched on baby carrots ($.99/lb. at Kroger) and grapes ($.99/lb. at Kroger) at Walmart. Since the price-matching deals were so sparse, I headed over to Town Talk. I hadn't been there in a while and LOVE their prices. I loaded my cart with 2 bags of Dole Spring Mix Salad for $.50 each, Stauffer's Animal Crackers for $.50, Onions for $.19/lb., Weight Watchers Cookies for $1, Tortilla Chips for $.50 and whole-wheat Tortillas for $.50 each. I also got some other items that were at good prices that we needed to round out our meals for the week.

Tuesday- Waffles (already made-in freezer) and strawberries
Wednesday- Cereal, milk, and apples
Thursday- Bran Muffins and apples
Friday- Oatmeal with brown sugar, cinnamon, and raisins
Saturday- Breakfast Burritos
Monday- Pancakes and Bacon
Tuesday- Leftover Pork Chops and Beans/Sandwiches
Wednesday- Leftover Potato Soup and Salad
Thursday- Chicken Sandwich (Deli Meat)
Friday- Green Salad and Garden Veggie Soup
Saturday- Lunch Out (Clay's mom will be visiting)
Sunday- Lunch Out (Clay's mom will be visiting)
Monday- Peanut Butter Siesta Sandwiches (Pg. 215 of Cooking Light: Low-Fat/Low-Calorie)
Tuesday- Loaded Baked Potato Soup, Mixed Greens Salad, and Homemade Bread
Wednesday- 2 Egg, Ham, and Cheese Omelets (Put all ingredients in Ziploc bag (2 eggs, diced
ham, cheese, onions, and bell pepper. Boil water in a sauce pan. Place bag(s) in the
boiling water and allow to boil for 13 minutes- instant omelets!) and Whole Wheat
Biscuits (Pg. 49 of Cooking Light: Low-Fat/Low-Calorie)
Thursday- Steak, Green Beans, and Homemade Bread
*Funny story (kind of)- We splurged and bought steaks for Valentine's Day. It was
cheaper to buy them in a large package, so Clay grilled 2 of the steaks and we froze
the other 2. I mistakenly took out the steaks to defrost on Monday thinking they
were pork chops. Oh well, it just means we get to have steak for dinner this week!
Friday- Date Night!! - Noah - pizza at Kid's Night Out
Clay and I - dinner at T.G.I. Fridays (using a BOGO coupon found here).
Saturday- Grilled Pork Chops, Grilled Veggies, and Homemade Bread
Sunday- Cornmeal Chicken (Pg. 151 of Cooking Light: Low-Fat/Low-Calorie), Mashed
Potatoes, and Carrots
Monday- Gumbo (from freezer), Rice, and Crackers

Saturday, February 14, 2009

kool-aid playdough

Noah (2.5) goes to a 2 day-a-week program at a local church. I taught at the school previous to having Jude (8 months), but only sub this year. Noah is still able to go to the school at the discounted rate as long as I sub twice a month. This is a great deal since I get paid to sub and then pay a small amount in tuition. This is also a great deal because on most Tuesdays and Thursdays I can run errands without having two little ones in tow :)
This week Noah's class celebrated Valentine's Day by eating cupcakes and giving each other Valentine cards. We made Kool-aid Playdough in little sacks to give to all his friends. I was trying to think of a sugar-alternative and this sounded like a doable solution for 2 year olds.
Kool-Aid Playdough
• 1 1/4 cup flour
• 1/4 cup salt
• 1 pkg unsweetened Kool-aid
• 1 cup boiling water
• 1 1/2 Tbsp vegetable oil

1. In a bowl, mix flour, salt and kool-aid.
2. Stir in water and oil
3. Knead with hands for about 5 minutes.
4. Store in ziploc bag for up to 2 months.
5. Use like playdough.
6. Smells wonderful and takes on the color of the koolaid.
We decided to use red Kool-aid for the occasion. After I finished kneading the dough, I formed it into several balls. I let the balls cool slightly before wrapping them in wax paper and then placing them in the treat bags.

I got these cute treat bags for $1 at Walmart! They came with silver twisty ties.

These are the completed bags.

I made these tags to put on the bags. The first one had the verse, "But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8). The Kool-aid Playdough recipe was on the second tag.

first attempt at bread-making

I've always wanted to make home-made bread, but to say I was nervous would be understating my feelings. Part of my insecurities were founded on not owning a bread machine. I realize that many people have made bread for many years without having a machine. I am such a perfectionist and it gets me in trouble more times than I care to admit.
Last week I found a recipe that looked and sounded delicious. It also was part wheat, so that seemed healthy for my family. It did turn out to be more work, but the end result was totally worth the effort. I made a loaf last week and again this week. We ate the bread with our dinner while it was still warm and then used the rest of the loaf for sandwiches during the week. We didn't have to worry about the bread going bad because it didn't last long enough for that!
I found the recipe while browsing moneysavingmom.com, my go-t0 site for frugal ideas and recipes. She gave a link to Tammy's Recipes where the homemade wheat bread was located. You can get the recipe for the bread here with full directions for making it whole wheat or part wheat or you can look below for the version I made. Happy Baking!

A slightly sweet, healthy half-whole-wheat bread

Yield: 1 loaf

1 cup warm water (110-115 degrees F)
1 tablespoon milk
2 tablespoons oil
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons instant active dry yeast

1. Combine first 6 ingredients in a large mixing bowl; stir.
2. Add flours and yeast, and knead until dough is smooth and elastic, about 10-15 minutes. Place dough in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover with a clean towel and let rise until doubled, about 40 minutes.
3. Punch dough down; knead for a few minutes until smooth and then form into a loaf. Place in greased loaf pan and cover. Let rise in a warm place until almost doubled in size, about 30 minutes.
4. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes. If loaf starts browning too soon, lightly lay a piece of foil on top of the loaf to prevent too much darkening.
5. Remove bread from oven and allow to rest in pan for a few minutes. Remove to a wire rack and cover with a cloth. Slice and enjoy while still warm! Leftover bread can be stored in an airtight bag or frozen until needed.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

2.10 shopping trip and menu plan

Walmart Grocery Trip = $21.13!

I reached a whole new low this week. I don't post this to brag, but to show you how price-matching and coupon-clipping pays off- literally.
This week I matched almost every sale to coupons, which means I got even more savings.
Here are some details on my groceries for the week:
1. Mushrooms = reg. $1.88, on sale for $1.50 (savings of $.38)
2. Bell Peppers = reg. 2/$1, price-matched for 3/$1 (savings of $.50 on 3)
3. Bananas = $.55/lb., price-matched for 3 lbs./$1 (savings of $.60 on 2.7 lbs.)
4. Strawberries = $3 (I splurged! I've really been holding out for strawberries, and couldn't wait for them to go down any longer :)
5. 2 jars Ragu Spaghetti Sauce = on sale for $1.50, price-matched for $1 + $.50/2 coupon = $.75 each (savings of $1.50 on 2)
6. 2 packs Yoplus Yogurt = reg. $2.44, price-matched for $1 each + 2 $1/1 coupons = $1 each (savings of $2.88 on 2)
7. 2 cans Progresso Soup = on sale for $1.50 each, price-matched for $1 each + $.50/2 coupon = $.75 each (savings of $1.75 on 2)
8. 2 packs Ballpark Beef Hot dogs = reg. $2.73, price-matched for $2.50 each + $1/2 coupon = $1.50 each (savings of $2.46 on 2)
9.Craisins = reg. $1.73, price-matched for $.99 (savings of $.74)
10. Bird's Eye Steamers = reg. $1.75, price-matched for $1 +$.35/1 coupon = $.65 (savings of $1.11)
11. 2 pkgs. Betty Crocker Fudge Brownies mix = reg. $1.34, price-matched for $.69 each + $.75/1 coupon = $.63 for 2! (savings of $2.05 on 2)
12. Buddig Deli Cuts = reg. $2.50 + $1/1 coupon = $1.50 (savings of $1)
13. Coffeemate Creamer = reg. $1.68 + $.50/1 coupon = $1.18 (savings of $.50)
14. Great Value Sour Cream = $1.33
15. Great Value Tomato Sauce = $.44
Total before price-matching and coupons= $36.33
Total after price-matching and coupons = $21.13
Savings = $15.20

Tuesday- Oatmeal with brown sugar, cinnamon, and raisins
Wednesday- Bran muffins and strawberries
Thursday- PB Banana Smoothies
Friday- Strawberry and Yogurt Parfait
Saturday- Heart-shaped Pancakes
Sunday- French toast
Monday- Waffles and Apples
Tuesday- Leftover Beans and Rice
Wednesday- Leftover Spinach Lasagna
Thursday- Leftover Pork Chops and Beans
Friday- Chicken Sandwiches
Saturday- Cheese/Mushroom Quesadillas and Ranch-style Beans
Sunday- Brisket Sandwiches (meat and buns from freezer)
Monday- Chicken Sandwiches
Tuesday- Spinach Lasagna, Salad, and Carrots
Wednesday- Cowboy Pork Chops, Beans, and Cheese Mashed Potatoes
Thursday- Leftover Spinach Lasagna
Friday- Beef Hot dogs and Steamed Broccoli
Saturday- Heart-shaped Pizza (frozen pizza cut into hearts using a cookie cutter)
Sunday- Scrambled Eggs, Biscuits, and Chili-fried Potatoes
Monday- Cornmeal Chicken, Baked Potatoes, and Green Beans

Saturday, February 7, 2009

a lesson in being flexible

In college, our BCM (Baptist Collegiate Ministry) Director encouraged us to wear a rubber band around our wrist to remind us to be flexible. We often did this during mission trips or big events on campus. This simple piece of rubber reminded us to be flexible, that things don't always go as planned.
I needed to have a rubber band on my wrist this week. So many things went opposite of how I would have liked for them to, including an ear infection. I tend to be a little OCD when it comes to matters of details and schedules. But the Lord is teaching me (slowly- it takes me a while to learn a lesson :) to depend on Him for everything. He is ultimately in control. It doesn't matter how much I try to micro-manage everthing and compartmentalize each area of each of our lives, God knows the details. He expects me to walk with Him, many times not knowing the next step. This is not only a huge lesson in being more flexible, but a bigger picture of what faith looks like. If I truly belive that God has ordered my steps, then I need to remain faithful to follow those steps, one day at a time.
"A man's heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps" (Pro 16:9).

A Blog Link

It seems that I've been quite absent on this blog the last couple of months. It has been a rather busy summer for us. You can see some of our travels and such at my other blog- www.newsaboutnoah.blogspot.com as I've done a little better of a job keeping up with that one :)

Hopefully this Fall will bring more opportunities to post good deals, meal plans, book reviews, etc. Until then I wanted to share a blog link with you. My husband, Clay, had the priviledge of visiting West Africa on a two week mission trip this summer. He partnered with a family from our church who is serving there. Clay created a blog as a way of telling others about his trip through pictures and short stories. You can visit www.suemanakomina.blogspot.com to learn more about his trip and how to pray for the Bozo people and the team that seeks to share the Gospel with those who've never heard.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Bringing Up Boys

For Christmas, Clay received Bringing Up Boys by James Dobson from his parents. Knowing what a huge reading load he had for the semester, I volunteered to read it first and give him a good synopsis of the book. My in-laws wisely chose this book to give to their son, a father of two sons. They have come to know a lot about what it means to raise boys, having spent the past 27 years raising 3 grown sons, and this book was a help to them many years ago. With this in mind I began the new year with this book as my January reading material.
I was encouraged by many chapters thinking, "Yeah, we do that...and that...and that." I felt as though we had it figured out for the most part. Well, at least until you get to age of 2 years and 6 months. After that, we don't really have a clue! Dr. Dobson encouraged dads to wrestle with their boys, to play ball with them, and race cars together. I'm so blessed to have a husband that does these things with his boys. I'm also so blessed to have a husband that leads our family towards Christ. He plans our bible readings and facilitates them each morning. He leads our family is prayer. You may be thinking, "Why is that so important when you have a 2.5 year old and a 7-month-old.". I'll tell you why. Our 2.5 year old has now memorized an entire Psalm- 8 whole verses, knows several other sentence verses, knows many bible stories, prays for our family and for others, and knows that church is where we "sing songs to Jesus". God is using our obedience to draw Noah to Himself. I do not give ourselves any credit for these things. It is God's amazing work in Noah's life!
Now back to the point of the post, the book. I was reminded of how thankful I am for Clay's spiritual leadership when I read one such chapter about praying for your children's salvation and teaching them biblical truths. Dr. Dobson emphasized that it is our responsibility as parents to share the gospel so that our children can experience eternity with our Creator! What an amazing responsibility that is! But how encouraging to know that God is at work and we are only to be obedient towards that cause.
Another gleaning moment for me was when I read the following from Chapter 16 concerning lessons on money when teaching our children:
"There is always a trade-off between time and effort and money and reward...These are very important things to understand. Money should always be thought of as linked to work and the sweat of our brow. Think for a moment of the most worthless, unnecessary purchase you have made in recent years. Perhaps it was an electric shaver than now sits in the garage , or an article of clothing that will never be worn. It is important to realize that this item was not purchased with your money; it was purchased with your time, which you traded for money. In effect, you swapped a certain portion of your alloted days on earth for that piece of junk that now clutters your home. When you understand that everthing you buy is purchased with a portion of your life, it should make you more careful with the use of money."
I write this not to discourage you, but to encourage you. These statements remind me to be carerful with our family's money and to use it wisely. I know that I'm also setting an example to my boys with how they will handle money in the future. May God use each one of us to be wise stewards of our time and money.

Next on the reading list: Treasures of Encouragement by Sharon Betters.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Walmart Grocery Shopping and Menu Plan

I spent $30.41 on groceries today!!

I wasn't sure if I'd be typing this post today. We are in the middle of an ice-storm warning right now until tomorrow at noon, so I was a little nervous about going to the grocery store. However, I braved the storm and made my weekly trip. Oh, and I forgot to take a picture, so use your imagination. Imagine plastic bags full of great deals!

Some of my price-matching this week included:
1. Red Seedless Grapes- $.88/lb. (Walmart's price- $1.77/lb.) Savings=$.89/lb.

2. Bananas- $.99/3 lbs. (Walmart's price- $.52/lb.) Savings=$.19/lb.
This was a huge savings since I got over 6 lbs. of bananas! How much? $1.20!

3. DiGoirno Pizza- $3.99 (Walmart's price-$5.75) Savings=$1.76

4. Rosarito Refried Beans-$.50 each (Walmart's price-$.98 each) Savings=$.48/can

5. Grapefruit- $1/4 (Walmart's price- $.68 each) Savings on 2= $.86

6. Mrs. Baird's Whole Grain Bread- $1.67 (Walmart's price- $2.94) Savings=$1.27
I also used a $.55/1 coupon on the bread, making it $1.12!

I also saved on bread, oatmeal, breadsticks, Quaker chips, McCormick spices, tortillas and baby food using coupons. Savings using coupons=$4.50

Total Savings using Price-matching and Coupons= $12.53

Remember, Walmart's prices are already pretty great, so $12.53 may not sound like a huge savings, but it is when compared to the prices of other popular grocery chains.

Tuesday- Waffles and Syrup
Wednesday- Breakfast Burritos
Thursday- Birthday Donuts! (An Iles Family tradition for birthdays. The honors go to Clay!)
Friday- PB Banana Smoothies
Saturday- Yogurt Parfaits
Sunday- Eggs and Toast
Monday- Oatmeal with Brown sugar, Cinnamon, and Raisins

Tuesday- Leftover Cornmeal Chicken (Pg. 151 of Cooking Light:Low Fat/Low Calorie)
Wednesday-Leftover Salisbury Steak and Mashed Potatoes
Thursday- Clay's Birthday Lunch! (Taking him out to eat!)
Friday- Canned Soup and Green Salad
Saturday- Cheese Quesadillas and Refried Beans
Sunday- Ham Sandwiches and Carrots
Monday- Leftover Spaghetti

Tuesday- Salisbury Steak, Mashed Potatoes, and Broccoli (carried over from last week's meal plan)
Wednesday- Leftover Gumbo, Rice, and Crackers (carried over from last week's meal plan)
Thursday- Clay's Birthday Dinner- Sausage pizza, Breadsticks, and Strawberry Cheesecake
Friday- Date Night!! Noah has pizza at Kid's Night Out at UBC
Saturday- Dinner at Friend's House
Sunday- Spaghetti and Green beans
Monday- Chicken Fajitas and Ranch-style Beans

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Walmart Grocery Shopping and Menu Plan

Okay, I've been really behind in the blogging world. I totally skipped last week's grocery shopping/menu plan post. But have no fear...here's this week's grocery shopping trip to Walmart and my weekly Menu Plan.

Have I mentioned that I LOVE price-matching? I'm kind of addicted. I just went grocery shopping today, but when the new flyers come in the mailbox today and tomorrow, I'll be scouring through them to find my deals for next week.

Here are some of the great price-matching deals I got at Walmart today. (Price-matching is when you bring in a flyer from another local store and Walmart honors that store's price over it's own! If you're confused or have a question, leave me a comment and I'll do my best to answer it:)

1. Cucumbers- 3/$.99 (These were $.68 each at Walmart today. I saved $1.05 on one item!)
2. Tomatoes- 3 lbs./$.99 (These were $1.50/lb. at Walmart today, so I saved $3.51!)
3. Cantaloupe- $.99 each (I can't remember what Walmart's price was on this item :)
4. Romaine Lettuce- $.99 each (These were $1.68. I bought 2, so I saved $1.38!)
5. Baby Carrots- $.99/lb. (I can't remember what Walmart's price was on this item :)
6. Broccoli- $.99/bunch (These were $1.38, so I saved $.39.)
7. Red Delicious Apples- $.99/lb. (These were $1.60/lb., so I saved $.61/lb.)
8. Avocados- 4/$1 (These were 2/$1 and I got 4, so I saved $1.)

So, the price-matching deals were exceptional today! I used flyers from Sack-n-Save, Kroger, Terry's, Super Plaza, and Fiesta.

I was quite concerned when I began my trip today. Clay and I are committed to eating more healthy, so I planned our menu based on this fact rather than on what was on sale and what I had coupons for. The Lord blessed our fervency in this area and I walked out the store with all the groceries in the above picture (including an outfit for Jude and sippy cups for Noah) and only spent $56!!! I am thanking the Lord continuously for His great provision!

Menu Plan
Tuesday- Eggs and Toast
Wednesday- Blueberry, Yogurt Parfaits
Friday- Oatmeal with brown sugar and cinnamon
Saturday- Cold cereal and Milk
Sunday- Breakfast Burritos (egg and whole-wheat tortillas) and Salsa
Monday- Oatmeal with brown sugar and cinnamon
Tuesday- Clay and Robin- Smart Ones (frozen dinner)
Noah- cheese, crackers, oranges, and apple sauce
Wednesday- tuna wrap/leftovers
Thursday- Canned Soup and Salad
Friday- Clay and Robin- Smart Ones
Noah- peanut butter sandwich, apples, and pudding
Saturday- Leftover Mexican Casserole and Baby Carrots
Sunday- Leftover Gumbo
Monday- Leftover Cornmeal Chicken and 4-cheese Mashed Potatoes
Tuesday- Chicken Tortilla Soup and Green Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing (I got
the dressing for $.39 today! I had a coupon for $1 off any Ken's Dressing. Walmart's
price was $1.39, so I only paid 39 cents!!)
Wednesday- Cheesy Manicotti and Corn
Thursday- Clay and Noah- leftover Cheesy Manicotti
Robin- bring 2 boxes Texas Toast to Gladney Center for Adoption meal
Friday- Mexican Casserole and Tortilla chips with Salsa
Saturday- Gumbo, potato salad, and crackers (We're having friends over and Clay is making a
wonderful Louisiana treat! It's quite a treat b/c it tends to be pricey and loaded with
things that aren't good for you :)
Sunday- Crispy Cornmeal Chicken (Page 151 from Cooking Light: Low Cal/Low Fat), 4-
cheese Mashed Potatoes, and Green Beans
Monday- Country Salisbury Steak, Mashed Potatoes, and Mustard Greens

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

kroger and walmart deals/ menu plan

I shopped at Walmart and Kroger this week and got some good savings. I decided this week I was only buying what was on sale and what I had a coupon for, mostly. Some things you just can't go without! I forgot to take a picture, so you'll have to imagine what my loot looked like! Here are the details about my shopping excursion:

1st store- Walmart
1. Luvs Diapers- 34 pack (no getting around this :) = $7.47
2. Jell-O Mochachino Pudding Snacks = on sale for $2 - $.55/1 coupon = $1.45
3. Prenatal Vits (because I'm nursing) = $4
4. GG Valley Steamers- broccoli = on sale for $1.23 - $.50/1 coupon = $.73
5. GG Valley Steamers- potatoes/green beans = on sale for $1.50 - $.50/1 coupon = $1
6. Sara Lee Whole Grain White Bread = $1.97
7. 3 lbs. of yellow onions = $1.50
8. Bananas (price-matched from local store for 3 lbs./$1) = $1.25
9. Special K Red Berries Waffles = on sale for $2 - $.75/$1 = $1.25
10. Vanilla Yogurt (32 oz.) = $1.67
11. Canned diced tomatoes = $.48
12. 2 cans of tomato sauce = .42 x 2 = $.84
13. GV Cheese Crackers = $1.38
14. Duracell Batteries- price-matched for $4.99 + used 2 $.75/1 coupons = $4.24 x 2 = $8.48
15. Clorox Bleach = $1.66
16. Betty Crocker icing = $1.26

Total (before price-matching and coupons) = $43.16
(after price-matching and coupons) = $37.71
Total Savings = $5.45
These savings might not look that incredible, but please remember that Walmart's prices are already pretty low. When compared to other popular grocery chains the savings are huge!

2nd store- Kroger
I really didn't need anything else, but because my coupons were about to expire and I did pretty good on my weekly budget, I decided to get a few things using my Valued Customer coupons.

1. Kroger Poptarts - on sale for 1.34 - $.45/1 coupon = $.89
2. Kroger Pretzels - on sale for $1.25
3. Claude's Brisket Marinade = $3.59 (It hurt my heart to pay this much for marinade, but it's for a brisket recipe I received from a friend. I don't want to mess up something as great and rare as brisket!)
4. Kroger fresh Chicken Tenders = $13.12 (B1/G1 Free!) - $2.50/$10 poultry purchase = almost 5 lbs. of chicken for $10. 62

Total (before Kroger savings and coupons) = $30.58
Total (after Kroger savings and coupons) = $16.35
Total savings
= $14. 23

Combined total of Walmart and Kroger = $54.06

Menu Plan
Tuesday- Oatmeal w/ brown sugar and cinammon
Wednesday- Biscuits and eggs
Thursday- Peanut butter smoothies and toast
Friday- Blueberry muffins and apples
Saturday- French toast
Sunday- Fruit and Yogurt Parfaits and bagels
Monday- Waffles and fruit
Tuesday-Friday - sandwiches/leftovers
Saturday- leftover Frito Pie
Sunday- leftover Chicken and Brown Rice
Monday- sandwiches/leftovers
Tuesday- Loaded Baked Potato Soup and Green salad with fresh ranch dressing
Wednesday- Care Group Meal (church small group)- bringing Cheese Muffins
Thursday- Meal at Friends' House- bringing Chocolate Cupcakes w/ Icing
Friday- Frito Pie and fruit
Saturday- Chicken, Brown Rice, and Broccoli, and Carrots
Sunday- Pancakes and fruit
Monday- Brisket, Potatoes, and Baked beans

Monday, January 5, 2009

my coupon binder

I enjoy clipping coupons each week from the Sunday paper. I love to see what deals I can match with the current sales at local grocery chains. It thrills me when I see a coupon, know that it matches a sale, and then know the discounted price I will be getting or the possibility of getting it for totally FREE! However, in my quest for saving money, my organizational skills have suffered. Until now. I read on another blog over here that I could make a Coupon Binder. What a novel idea! I had been using a small diving system to collect my coupons, but could never find the one I needed unless I unloaded all the coupons from that section. This new system allows me to easily find the coupon I'm hunting. The coupons are divided into sections I usually shop by, so finding them is a breeze!

I started my project with a 3 ring binder, a package of 9-pocket baseball card pages, a package of dividers, and lots of coupons!!
I put the dividers in the binder and then placed the baseball card pages between each of the dividers. The number of baseball card pages you put in each section depends on your coupon stash. My dividers were labeled like this: Boxed/Canned/Jarred Foods, Frozen Foods/Meats, Dairy Items, Baking Items, Snacks, Paper Goods/Cleaning Supplies, Hygiene, and Baby. These are the categories that best fit my life right now. Adjust these to fit the needs of your family.

These are the results after a typical Sunday afternoon of clipping coupons. I make my stacks based on the categories in my binder. Then I place the coupons in the binder!

Here are a couple of sheets filled with coupons. After taking note of the coupons I have, I scour the sales papers for good deals. Finally I plan my menu based on all this info. This does take quite a bit of time, but I'm trying to lessen this process by being more organized and doing it often, so that I can up my experience. Now tomorrow is grocery shopping day. Wish me luck!