Saturday, October 31, 2009

Weekly Shopping Trip

Would you believe I am under budget this week? Well, I am! I am way excited. This is the first time in a LOOONNNNGGG time that I have been under budget. On Monday night I braved the cold and the wind and the storms to go to Albertson's to used my doublers. I only got a few things, and I don't know if it was worth it, but...

Albertson's Transaction #1 2 crunch-n-munch - $2.00 (-$1.00 off 2 coupon doubled) = FREE

1 Marie Calendars Homestyle creation - $2.50 (-1.00 off coupon doubled) = $.50

1 Nestle chocolate chips - $2.50 (-.50 off coupon doubled) = $1.50

2 Banquet sausages - $2.00

I also found a $1.00 catalina on the floor on my way in! It was under the carts and looked like it had been run over a ton. I wonder if it was a $1.00 bill if it would have been gone long before??

Net OOP: $3.39

Transaction #2
1 Coke zero - $1.50 (-FREE coupon from My Coke Rewards) = FREE

2 Snuggle creme dryer sheets - $7.98 (-2 $3.00 off coupons) = $1.98

1 Little Debbie cupcakes - $2.50 (-1.00 off coupon doubled) = $.50

1 Alexia potato waffle fries - $2.00 (-1.00 off coupon doubled) = FREE

4 cans Rotel tomatoes - $4.00 (-1.00 off 4 coupon doubled) = $2.00

Net OOP: $5.38

I stopped by Walgreen's on my way home and got a few items.

Transaction#1
1 Vaseline Sheer Infusions lotion - $6.99 (-1.00 off coupon) = $5.99

Net OOP: $6.41 + I received a $7.00 Register Reward

Transaction #2

1 Hall's Refresh - $1.00
2 Ziploc bags - $5.00 w/in ad coupon (-1.00 off 2 coupon) = $4.00
2 Crystal light - $3.98 (-$2.00 off coupon) = $1.98
1 Hershey's w/ almonds - $.89
Used $7.00 RR from Transaction#1
Net OOP: $1.52 + I received a $1.00 RR for the Hall's


Then I hit up Fred Meyer for some great deals:
2 All detergent - $5.98 w/in ad coupon (-2 $1.00 off coupons) = $3.98
1 FF Cottage cheese - $.69 (clearanced)
2 Bar S Hot Dogs - $2.00 w/in ad coupon (-1.00 off 2 coupon) = $1.00
7 1/2 gallons milk - $7.00 w/in ad coupon
2 1/2 gallons OJ - $2.00 w/in ad coupon
1 1/2 gallon chocolate milk - $1.00 w/in ad coupon
Net OOP: $16.79

Finally I went to Boise Bargain Basket - I got some smokin' deals there. They are a closeout grocery store in Boise and they have some really great deals sometimes.
2 pkgs Grandma's cookies (not pictured) - $.66
10 pkgs Mentos sugar free candies - $1.00
4 cans tomato sauce - $1.00
2 5# bags whole wheat flour - $2.00
8 cans Veg-all corn - $2.00
1 pkg Keebler cookies - $1.50
2 pkgs Tennessee Pride sausage - $2.00
1 HUMONGOUS can of chow mein noodles - $.88
Net OOP: $11.66!
How did you do this week?

Friday, October 30, 2009

Giveaway winner!

Thanks to all of you who entered my giveaway - I wish everyone could win! The winner for the Vaseline Sheer Infusion 3-pack is...





Ashley, I'll be e-mailing you shortly!


For those of you who didn't win...don't forget you can get your own Vaseline Sheer Infusions from Walgreens for $6.99, use THIS coupon for $1.50 off and you will receive a Register Reward for $7.00!

Last chance to enter my giveaway!

I will be choosing a winner at 5:00 m.s.t. today, so hurry and enter HERE if you haven't had a chance yet!

Good luck!

Ham and Bean Soup

This is a really yummy and inexpensive soup that is super quick to make. My husband who isn't a soup fan loves this. I got this recipe from The 2002 Taste of Home's Quick Cooking Cookbook. I have been making and freezing my own beans from dried and I decrease the amount of ham by about 1/2, so it is a cheap and filling meal.

2 cans great northern beans, rinsed and drained (I used 4 cups cooked beans from the freezer)

2 medium carrots, diced

1 small onion, chopped

2 T. butter or margarine

2 1/4 c. water

1 1/2 c. cubed fully cooked ham (I used about 3/4 c.)

1/2 tsp. salt

1/8 tsp. white pepper (I use regular pepper)

1 bay leaf

Mash one can (or 2 cups if you made your own) beans, set aside. In a large saucepan, saute the carrots and onion in butter. Stir in the water, ham, seasonings, while and mashed beans; cook over medium heat until heated through. Discard bay leaf before serving.

This soup is great served with some home made bread and a salad.

Enjoy!

To find more great recipes check out the Grocery Cart Challenge's Recipe Swap!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Leave some...take some

Remember those leave a penny, take a penny dishes/jars at your favorite convenience store? The concept is if you need a penny to pay for your $2.01 purchase, you can take one, but if you buy something for $1.99, you can leave your penny in the dish for the next person. I have taken and left many a penny using this concept.

Fred Meyer has started using this concept, but with coupons. At the front entrance of their store they have a basket that is usually full of coupons. They have catalina machines for coupons that print at the point of sale. Usually they are for products (i.e. $.50 off Ball Park hot dogs, a % off at Fred Meyer jewelers). Sometimes they are for an amount off of your next order (i.e. buy certain products, get $$ off toward your next purchase). If people don't use their catalina coupons, they can leave the coupons in the basket on their way out of the store so that people that will use them can take them.


I started checking that basket every time I go to Fred Meyer. Yes, I am THAT person digging through the coupon basket. I am fine with that. It is so worth it to check, because the last time I was there I found a $2.00 off your next purchase catalina!


What about you? Have you found some great coupons at Fred Meyer's coupon exchange?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

FREE Stuff (and Rockin' Deals)!!

Get a coupon for 15% off your purchase at The Children's Place HERE. You can also shop online and get 15% off of your order. They have some great clearance online ($5.00 shipping on every order). I saw several cute little girl's shirts for $2.99 each, skirts and capris for $3.99, and tights for $2.49. Check it out!

Click HERE for a FREE sample of Enfamil.

Get a FREE $5.00 coupon for Neutrogena Acne Therapy Kit HERE.

Sign up HERE for a chance to win a 1 YEAR supply of diapers from Pampers.com. (Someone has to win, right?)

Get a FREE sample of Prilosec OTC HERE.

Get some cool FREE e-books:

Gardening
Kitchen Crafts
Angel Crafts
Cheap and Easy Crafts
Halloween Crafts
Knitting Patterns
Quick and Thrifty Crochet

Sign up HERE to receive a FREE Lowfat Recipes Cookbook from Crestor.

Get a FREE sample of Kashi Chewy Granola Bars HERE.

Get a FREE sample of Pamper's Extra Protection diapers HERE.

Get a FREE sample of Carefree Ultra Protection HERE.

Get a FREE sample of Goodnites Underpants HERE.

Enjoy!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Review and Giveaway - Vaseline Sheer Infusion

I first noticed Vaseline Sheer Infusion when it was (and still is) a FREE after RR item at Walgreen's. They are $6.99 and when you purchase one you get a $6.99 Register Reward, essentially making the item FREE. Use the $1.00 off coupon from last Sunday's paper (10/18) and make $1.00. This deal is going on through 10/31. While still contemplating making this purchase myself, I was approached by Rocket XL to test all three types. They also have generously given me 3 full size bottles to giveaway to one lucky reader. Details below following the review...

Scent is an important factor for me in choosing a lotion. I like something that smells nice and works well. Vaseline Sheer Infusion comes in three scents:


Vitamin Burst - is a citrusy fresh scent


Botanical Blend - it a more flowery scent


Mineral Renewal- is a lighter flowery scent (I liked this one the best!)


What is different about Vaseline Sheer Infusion is that it claims to reach all three layers of skin - top, core, and deep down. I tested the lotion in the following situations:


Right before bed: When I woke up in the morning my skin still felt hydrated as if the lotion had just been applied.


My husbands dry knees and elbows: Holy cow! My husband has always had problems with dry knees and elbows. I give him regular "treatments" with different skin lotions and potions. The Vaseline Sheer Infusion seemed to soak in and cover better than other lotions I have used. My husband commented that his knees and elbows felt smoother the following day without having to reapply. Not bad!



My daugther's dry upper arms: My daughter has always had dry upper arms. I applied a small amount on her skin and even now a few days later they feel much more smooth and hydrated.


I would say that Vaseline Sheer Infusion is definitely superior to other lotions I have used in the past. It is more expensive, however, if you can use a coupon and stock up when it is on sale, it can be an affordable addition to your skin regimen.


Hurry by 10/31/2009 and go to Walgreen's and get some FREE after Register Rewards - and go HERE for a $1.50 off coupon, making this a MONEY MAKER!


Or you can just win some here :)! Here are the details of this GIVEAWAY:


I am giving a three pack of Vaseline Sheer Infusion lotions to one lucky reader. This will include all three scents in the 6.8 oz size.


To enter, please leave a comment on this post. (PLEASE!!!) Include your e-mail address so I can get a hold of you!


For additional entries:

  1. Tweet about this giveaway, then leave a comment saying that you did so.

  2. Blog about this giveaway on your own blog, then leave a comment saying that you did so.

  3. Subscribe to my feed, then leave a comment saying that you did so. (leave a comment if you are already a subscriber.

This giveaway is open to US residents only and will end on Friday, October 30th. I will select a winner using random.org and will notify them via e-mail.

Good luck!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Menu Plan Monday - Week of October 26th-November 1st



No way! November is right around the corner. I cannot believe it. Nor can I believe that Halloween is on Saturday. This year has flown by. Sigh...

Here are our plans for this week:

Monday: Polish sausage in BBQ sauce, rice, broccoli

Tuesday: Swedish meatballs, rice, cooked carrots

Wednesday: Lasagne, green beans, garlic toast

Thursday: Leftovers

Friday: Homemade pizza

Saturday: Church party/Chili feed

Sunday: Apricot Chicken, rice, peas

What's cooking at your house this week? Check out other menu plan ideas HERE.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Computer Issues are the Worst!

Our computer has been out of commission for over a week now and I have been going crazy! Okay, not really for a while I enjoyed it - until it was time to go grocery shopping. A computer is a must to find coupon matchups, etc.

Well, we purchased a new computer this week and my hubby just set everything up...so I'm back to blogging. I have a great giveaway coming up and some fun things to share. Please stay tuned...

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Works for me Wednesday - Photo Organization

I have always had this dilemma about how to store our digital photos. We purchased our first camera when my nephew was born and we sorted our pictures by family and events (i.e. a folder for my brother's family, a folder for our family, Christmas etc.). When we had our first child we had a folder for his 0-6 months, 6-12 months, etc. When our second child came along we had a dilemma because we started a folder for our daughter. Most of the pictures had both kids in them so we were feverishly trying to put copies in each folder and basically we failed miserably.

We were still using that system when I recently attended an Enrichment Activity at church where we talked about taking photos and photo preservation/storage. I was really impressed by my friend Maggie's explanation about how she stores photos. First of all she has six children and is (or at least seems to be) super organized. Her method just made sense. So much that I went home and reorganized all my photos - and I love it! Now all of our photos are organized by year. That's it. Now that it is 2009 everything gets dumped directly from our digital camera into that folder. Then at the end of the year, I will copy all of the photos onto a disc and store it in our safety deposit box. That if our computer crashes, our house burns down, etc., etc., etc,. I will have all of our photos tucked safely in a secure location. It works for me!

To find more Works for me Wednesday ideas check out We are THAT Family!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Menu Plan Monday - October 12-18

Last week I was sick. When Mommy is sick everything just stops. I did make some of the items I had planned last week, but not everything. My hubby was very helpful and made dinner a couple of nights, too. I really am thankful for the plan because when I don't feel well, I still know that we have all the makings of dinner for the whole week. This feels good!

Monday - Whole chicken in the crock pot, rice, broccoli

Tuesday - Tuna Helper, fruit

Wednesday - Taco soup, corn muffins

Thursday - Bisquick pie, green beans

Friday - Ham and bean soup, bread (I'll share this recipe on Friday)

Saturday - Leftovers

Sunday - Leftovers

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Weekly Shopping Trip

Computer problems + camera problems = ugly shopping trip post. Sorry, I don't know what is wrong with our camera, and I did take one pic with my cell phone, but ick - these are terrible. Anyway, I did have a pretty good week this week, however, I am frustrated with things not ringing up correctly and at myself for not catching these things as they happen. I was over budget by about $5.00 and had about $5.00 in errors at Albertson's and Walmart. I didn't notice this until I started looking at my receipts. Ugh. Ugh. Ugh. I should go back and fix it, but ugh. It is always so annoying. Anyway, here's the scoop:

Boise Bargain Basket (not pictured):

1 big bag of yellow onions - $1.98

1 bag apples - $1.72

10 snack size doritos - $2.00

2 cans peaches - $1.76

4 cans tomato sauce - $1.00

Net OOP: $10.96

Then I hit up Albie's for the quaker deal and the other deal. I ran into some problems:2 cup o noodles - $1.00 (my kids totally wanted these...I know they are way cheaper elsewhere)

1 A&W rootbeer - $1.29 (again, kids)

5 Ronzoni pasta - $5.00 + 2 Sargento finishers - $5.00 (-3.00 for the spend $10 get $3.00 sale, plus used 2 $.75 off 2 coupons) = $5.50

Then I tried to do this deal again with Steamfresh meals, but the was an error:
2 Steamfresh meals - $10.69 (they were supposed to be $5.00 each, then generate a $3.00 discount) (-2 $1.50 off coupons) = $7.69

2 OM bacon - $5.49 (these were marked down to $1.99 each, one rang up correctly, one rang up at $3.50. Ugh!)

2 Quaker life + 2 Quaker oats + 2 Quaker true delights + 4 Quaker granola bars - $17.00 (-$5.00 for the buy 10 get $5.00 off, -$1.25 off 2 Quaker oats, -2 $1.00 off 2 True delights, -2 $.75 off 2 granola bars) = $7.25

Net OOP: $30.47

Then I got home and realized that I didn't buy any milk and we were totally out, and I didn't have as many diapers as I thought. So I made the (HUGE) mistake of going to Walmart. I hate that place for many reasons - which I will not go into right now. What made me so angry this time is that everything I purchased rang up wrong. In their favor. I got (not pictured)

3 gallons milk - $6.51 (these were $2.17 each, but rang up at $2.25, so I told the cashier and he fixed it.)

1 pkg diapers - $5.88 (what made me mad is that these were supposed to be $5.74 and I didn't catch that!)

Net OOP: $13.14

Anyway, that's it. I hope next week is better...how did you do this week?

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Works for me Wednesday - Cleaning Tip Edition

This week the "theme" for Works for me Wednesday is cleaning tips.

Let's just say I am not a fan of cleaning.

I try to find as many shortcuts as possible.

Here are a few shortcuts that work for me (from the archives):






Enjoy!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Menu Plan Monday - October 5-11

October is upon us and I have been in a baking frenzy. There is just something about the cold weather and the innate need to bake. I made THIS delicious bread and I was in heaven. It was so good - and no need to knead it (hee hee)!

Anyway, I'm sure I'll be doing some more baking this week. But for now, here is the menu plan:

Monday - Grilled cheese sandwiches, tomato soup

Tuesday - Hamburger helper, peas

Wednesday - Pork tenderloin, crash hot potatoes, broccoli

Thursday - Spaghetti, garlic toast, green salad

Friday - Spicy roasted chicken legs, baked potatoes, green beans

Saturday - Leftovers

Sunday - Leftovers

For more menu plans go here.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Giveaway Winner!

Yay! I love giveaways! This morning I used Random.org to choose the winner of this giveaway: Number 5 was Beth who said:
Congratulation's Beth - I hope you and your family enjoy the prize pack! Thanks again to My Blog Spark for providing this fun giveaway!




Friday, October 2, 2009

Last chance to Enter my Giveaway

Only 12 more hours to enter my AWESOME giveaway - check out the details HERE!

**UPDATE: This giveaway has now ended.

Frugal Friday - Frugal Decorating

Last week or so I asked for some ideas and/or advice on cheap decorating. Sometimes I just get sick of the way things look and am itching for a change. On of the comments came from my flesh and blood (as opposed to Internet :)) friend Elisa. She said:

Some designer on Oprah said to go "shopping" in your house. Go from room to room and browse the pieces in your house and pick up the ones you like. Then take the pieces and put them in other rooms or move them from the shelf that they've been on for 10 years

That is exactly what I did...well sort of. I needed somewhere to put these pieces. I purchased an unfinished shelf from Michael's for $7.49, painted it, then added the pieces from around my house.


The funny thing is, these things were all in different places and/or in storage, but they totally match on this shelf! I love it!

I guess the point is that if you purchased something at one point, you probably still like it. Switching, changing, and rearranging could be just the thing you need for a "new" look!

Frugal Friday is hosted each week on Life as Mom - go check it out for some more frugal ideas!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Weekly Shopping Trip - and underbudget!

I've been pretty good at sticking to the budget - or at least very close for the past several weeks. This week I was underbudget by $.90 - woo hoo! It feels pretty dang good. I was happy to get in on some great deals at Fred Meyer: I lost my receipt and I looked everywhere so I am going to attempt to do this from memory...I know for a fact the total was $38.50 because it was an evenish amount. Here we go:


2 FM Butter - $2.50 (w/in ad coupon)

2 FM cheese - $7.98

2 FM chocolate milk - $2.00 (w/in ad coupon)

2 FM OJ - $2.00 (w/in ad coupon)

4 Kraft Singles - $5.00 (w/in ad coupon)

6 Yoplait yogurt - $3.00 (-1 $.40 off 6 coupon) = $2.60

2 All detergent - $5.98 (-2 $1.00 off coupons) = $3.98

3 bunches of broccoli - ??? I just know it was $.68/lb

1 pork tenderloin - $2.99 (clearanced)

1 bunch of chicken legs - $2.87 (clearanced)

1 pkg round steak - $2.94 (clearanced)

Net OOP: $38.50

Next I went to Winco. I just looked at the FM ad to get the prices of the stuff I bought and saw that I could have purchased the 18 ct. eggs for less at FM. I hate it when I do that. Anyway...

18 ct. eggs - $1.74

bulk bay leaves - $.04

bulk nutmeg - $.18

bulk cloves - $.12

3 gallons milk - $5.94

5# red potatoes - $1.98

Net OOP: $10.60

I'm pretty happy with how this turned out (other than the egg thing). How did you do this week? Check out some other trips HERE and HERE.

Favorite Blog/Site of the Week - Mint.com


Have you checked out Mint.com yet? Holy cow - it is the coolest thing ever. I literally just heard about it and I can't believe I had never heard of this before. First of all it is FREE.
It is a FREE software/website that keeps track of all of your finances - spending, net worth, etc. It automatically downloads your transactions and categorizes them for you. It helps you set up a budget and allows you to track it. In fact, you can set up all sorts of charts and graphs for your money and it will recommend ways and/or accounts that could help you save money.
Mint.com is way cool! What are you waiting for? Check it out!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Works for me Wednesday - Pantry Organization

Do you ever wonder what to do with all of your "packets" of stuff for the pantry? Jello boxes? Koolaid envelopes? I saw this idea on another blog (I can't remember which one, it was forever ago - sorry!) and I love it!
This is an over the door shoe organizer. The clear pockets are perfect because you can see everything. The size is perfect because it comfortably fits 2 boxes of jello or several taco seasoning packets.
I got this for about $7.50 at a 50% off sale it is so worth it! This storage solution works for me!

Check out more great Works for me Wednesday ideas at We are THAT Family!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Restaurant.com Discount Offer

Have you checked out Restaurant.com yet? It is a fun site where you can get a $25.00 gift certificate to local restaurants for $10.00. Periodically they run great promos where you can get a % off. Right now you can get 80% off - that means you can get a $25.00 gift certificate for $2.00!

Usually you must spend a certain amount and an 18% gratuity is added to your ticket, but that's it. This is a great way to try new places or enjoy your current favorites.

Some of my local favorites are:

Carino's
Baja Fresh
Fiesta Guadalajara
Pizza Pipeline

It seems like more new restaurants are added all the time! To save on your next dining out experience click on the picture below and enter promo code CHEF at checkout!

Enjoy!

Restaurant.com Weekly Promo Offer 300 x 250

My New Game Closet

I have always wanted a game closet in our house. Our house has a large storage room off of the kitchen so the games have always been there. When we wanted to play a game it was always so inconvenient to go dig one out of the storage room. Then I though of a solution. We have this tiny closet in our living room that is supposed to be a coat closet. There were a few coats in it, but we never used the closet. We have a hanging rack by the front door for coats - so I decided that we would convert it into our game closet. My kids had never seen the closet empty before, so they enjoyed playing in it after we cleaned it out. (Do you like how my daughter is wearing dinosaur pajamas? I have never bought her girly pajamas - any that she has are gifts or hand me downs!)We had some old wood laying around in the garage, so my hubby cut it to size for brackets and shelves.

Voila! My game closet. I love it so much! I did have to get rid of 3 games to get them all to fit, but that's fine with me. They were games we hardly ever played.

Now all of our games are at our fingertips...I think family game nights will start happening way more often around here.
Side note...what are some of your favorite board games?
We have some unusual games as favorites:
  1. Pig Mania (pigs as dice, it is so wierd, but so fun!)
  2. Milles Bournes (a french card game all about driving - so fun!)

I don't know if they make either of these anymore - we found them at thrift stores for super cheap.

Monday, September 28, 2009

G-G-G-Giveaway!

I have always enjoyed Nature Valley granola bars. I love the crunchiness of them - they always seemed more filling and healthy than the chewy granola bars. When My Blog Spark offered me the chance to try Nature Valley's new granola nut clusters I was very excited.

I was very impressed with the all the flavors of the nut clusters - but my favorite were the almond clusters! Yum. The Nature Valley nut clusters make great trail food, great lunchbox food, and great snack food!

Now for the fun part...I get to give away a Nature Valley Prize Pack just like the one pictured above to one lucky reader! It could be you!

Here's how to enter:
  1. Leave a comment - be sure to leave your e-mail address so I can get a hold of you.
  2. Tweet about this giveaway - and leave a comment saying you did so.
  3. Blog about this giveaway on your blog - and leave a comment here saying you did so.
  4. Subscribe to Saving Some Green - and leave a comment here saying you did so (if you are already a subscriber, leave a comment too!).
This giveaway starts now and ends on Saturday, October 3rd at 9:00 a.m. MST. I will e-mail the winner and request a physical address. They will have 48 hours to respond - no response and I will choose a new winner.

What are you waiting for? Enter this giveaway. Right. Now!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Menu Plan Monday - September 28-October 3

Another week has gone by - I can't believe it! We are almost into October...what happened to 2009? Seriously - it is almost over!

For some reason, I was in a cooking frenzy all weekend, so our fridge is full of leftovers. This is a good thing because Monday and Tuesday I work. When I don't plan ahead the result is fast food, so I'm grateful for the leftovers. I made a (huge) turkey breast for Sunday dinner and we will be enjoying it for most of the week!

Monday - Leftover turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, green beans

Tuesday - More leftovers

Wednesday - Poppy Seed Chicken casserole (with turkey instead!), green beans

Thursday - Pulled pork sandwiches, homemade rolls, jello salad (didn't get to this last week!)

Friday - Chicken and rice soup (with turkey)

Saturday - Hamburger helper, corn

Sunday - Pasta Carbonara, green salad

What's on your menu this week? For other menus check out orgjunkie!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Motivation

I was feeling a little unmotivated this morning, but I had so much to do. You know those days? I hate them.

Anyway.

I posted a status update on Facebook that said:

Michelle is in need of some motivation...

About an hour later I got back on my computer and checked Facebook and received one response to my request for motivation. My uncle who I honestly don't know very well and have only met a few times in my life left the most uplifting response that truly changed my outlook:

Obviously you have forgotten who you are: The daughter of heroes, the wife of a saint, the mother of miracles, and the friend of multiple admirers. If that doesn't motivate you then think of the magical body you have that has articulating fingers, binocular vision, the heart of a lover, the vision of a friend, and a child of God. I could go on but by now you should be tuned in. Go rock your world!
It made me realize how often I get bogged down with life that I take for granted what a miracle life really is. I am blessed beyond measure. I am all of those things and I have all of those things. I have so much to be grateful for. Reading that truly did change my day. It made me want to be a better person, wife, mother, and friend. My mundane life didn't feel so mundane anymore. I have a purpose. I hope I can pray I can live up to more than a portion of what God have been me with.

From now on when I am feeling down, sad, lonely, unmotivated I will remember these simple and powerful words then I will go rock my world!

FREE Restaurant Copycat Recipes E-Book

I love to copy restaurant recipes. A few years ago I got this great book called Top Secret Restaurant Recipes and I have enjoyed making some of the things listed like Olive Garden's Fettuccine Alfredo (YUM!). Last year I shared a yummy potato cheese soup copied from Ruby Tuesday from this cookbook.

Right now there is a great E-book now available from Recipe Lion called 27 Secret Restaurant Copycat Recipes. Find out how to make Chili's Boneless Buffalo Wings, Wendy's Frosty, Pizza Hut Pizza Dough and more!

Click HERE to get yours! (You will need to enter your e-mail address (use a junk address!), then click skip to get through the next two pages, then download your FREE book!)

Enjoy!

Weekly Shopping Trip

When I took a month off from blogging, I felt weird not taking pictures of my groceries. Then I got used to it. Now that I am doing it again, I feel weird again. Anyway, I did find some great deals this week! One super deal was a total accident!

For those of you who have been reading my blog for awhile, my annual goal for his year was $2,600 for groceries or $50.00 per week. This included food, household items, and diapers. If you notice, the word I used above is WAS not IS. Unfortunately, I have not been able to stick to the budget of $50.00 per week. My current total is $2,454.47. That leaves me $145.53 for the next 13 weeks of 2009. That is $11.00 per week. Yeah...not going to happen. I have learned a lot along the way though, and my stockpile is still pretty big. This makes my average for the year about $63/week. This is also way better than my average from last year, which was $118/week.

Now that I got that out of the way...here is my shopping trip:

Walgreen's:1 Glad trash bags - $7.99 (-$1.50 coupon in September savings booklet) - $6.49

2 Scott Bath Tissue - $5.00 (w/in ad coupon)

4 Domino sugar - $3.20 (yes, you read that right - this is 20 pounds of sugar for $3.20. I love clearance! This was the deal I found by accident!

2 Baskin Robbins chewy candies - $.64 (clearance)

Net OOP: $16.24

Then I hit Fred Meyer: 8 Country Oven bread - $10.00 (w/in ad coupon)

2 Cheerios - $3.00 (w/in ad coupon)(2 -$1.00 off coupons) = $1.00

2 Big K Rootbeer - $1.00

1 A&W Rootbeer - $1.69

1 Coke Zero - $1.39

2 FM tuna - $1.00

1 bunch bananas - $1.14

1 Oscar Meyer lunchmeat - $1.79 (marked down from $3.99)

2 Land o' Frost lunchmeat - $5.00 (w/in ad coupon) (-2 $1.00 off coupons) = $3.00

2 Fresh Express salad - $2.50

2 Oscar Meyer bacon - $5.00 (-1.25 off 2 coupon) = $3.75

3 gallons milk - $5.97

2 Bumble Bee Tuna bowls - $4.00 (-2 $1.00 off coupons) = $2.00

1 bunch celery - $.34

Net OOP: $38.95

So my total for the week is $55.19 - not terrible! How did you do this week?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Shopping Day

My cute son Owen turned 4 this summer is now attending preschool. I am just sitting here wondering where all the time went!

This is a long confusing story, so try to keep up...:)I work two days per week (Monday and Tuesday), and preschool is Tuesday and Thursday. My MIL watches my kids on Monday and Tuesday (it is such a blessing!). I have a great arrangement with her for preschool. Preschool is close to her house and isn't close to mine. She takes him on Tuesday when I am at work, then on Thursday my husband drops him off at her house on the way to work, then takes him to preschool. I just have to pick him up. I get to be all alone with my daughter during that time.

That has been another great blessing. We have turned our Thursdays into our grocery shopping days and it has been so much fun with just the two of us! She will actually stay in the cart, which is great. We also get to go check out stores that we don't live near like Boise Bargain Basket.

Have a great day! We are off for another shopping day!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Works for me Wednesday - Cheap Thrills

Do you remember going to Chuck E. Cheese as a kid (or Showbiz Pizza - as it was called when I was a kid)? I hardly ever got to go because it was so expensive. Granted, my kids are still very little, but we have found a way to get maximum enjoyment there for a minimum price.
Periodically there are coupons in the paper for discounts on tokens. A few months ago, I picked up 100 tokens for $15.00. This takes them for $.25 each to $.15 each. Because there is no admission price, you don't have to eat to play there (we never do), and 10 games each is plenty for my kids we can go up to 5 times for just $15.00 - or $3.00 for a fun morning.
By the way...I'm not big on crowds - especially at Chuck E. Cheese, so we go around 10:00 and are usually the only ones there! This works for me! Looking for more great Works for me Wednesday ideas? Go to We are THAT Family!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

On a mission to redecorate...

Do you ever just want to light a match and start over?


That is how I feel about my house right now.


I want a new look, but I can't spend much. I wish I were more creative with decorating!


Any ideas or great sites to help me?

Monday, September 21, 2009

FREEbies for the week

Get some FREE Fall Samples from Quality Health HERE.

Click HERE to print a coupon for FREE Venom Energy Drink.

Click HERE to make your own FREE printable calendars! These could make great gifts!

Get a FREE Financial Education CD from the FDIC called Money Smart for Young Adults HERE.

Potty Training? I feel for you! Get a FREE potty training kit from Pull Ups HERE.

Enjoy!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Menu Plan Monday - September 21-27


Ahhh...getting back into the swing of things is so good! While I took a one month break from blogging I also took a break from doing a menu plan each week. I still had a general plan, but a plan not written down can sometimes get lost.

So, now I am getting into it and it feels great! I am also very excited for the cooler weather and soups, stews, and yummy comfort foods!

Monday - Taco soup, corn muffins

Tuesday - Spaghetti w/ Italian sausage, garlic toast, sauteed zucchini

Wednesday - BBQ pork sandwiches on homemade rolls, oven roasted potatoes, jello salad

Thursday - Roasted chicken, rolls, green bean casserole, lipton pasta sides

Friday - Pizza, green salad

Saturday - Leftovers

Sunday - Steak, baked potatoes, green salad

Check out orgjunkie for other menu plans this week!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

I'm back!

So has everyone had a chance to make the Creamy Black Bean Dip yet? After all, I did leave it up for about a month!

I decided to take an unscheduled blogging break for many reasons. Mostly I just felt like I have been so worried and focused on my blog and making sure I was posting and neglecting the things that really matter. My husband. My kids. My house. Myself. Now that I have taken this break I think I am different. I think my blog will be different. I think it will be a good thing.

I have some fun and exciting posts to come - and a great giveaway coming. So please stay tuned!

-Michelle

Friday, August 21, 2009

Recipe Swap - Creamy Black Bean Dip

My mom loaned me a recipe magazine called Taste of Home Potluck - a great magazine full of great recipes! I made this for a family gathering last weekend and it was superb! Here is the recipe:

2 pkgs cream cheese

1 can black beans, rinsed and drained, divided

3/4 c. shredded cheddar cheese

6 green onions, chopped

1 1/2 t. ground cumin

dash cayenne pepper

Topping:

1/4 c. shredded cheddar cheese

2 T. diced fresh tomato

2 T. chopped green onion

In a food processor, cover and process cream cheese until smooth. Add 1/2 of the beans, cover and pulse until blended. Transfer to a bowl; stir in the cheese, onions, cumin, cayenne and remaining beans. (I spread it in a pie plate at this point.) Cover and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight.

Just before serving garnish with cheese, tomato, and onion. Serve with tortilla chips.

This is what it looked like before I put the tomatoes, onions, and cheese on top. Doesn't it look like cookies and cream ice cream?

I would also recommend leaving it out for a little while before serving it so the cream cheese can soften.

For more recipes this week check out The Grocery Cart Challenge!

Enjoy!

-Michelle

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Frugal Friday - Substitution List


There are so many times that I run out of something when I am making a recipe. In the past I would run to the store and buy said item. Not anymore with my new frugal ways!

Today I wanted to make these Molten Chocolate Cakes, but I didn't have semi-sweet chocolate squares. I did some Swagbucks searching and found this awesome substitution list. I used 3 T. of cocoa + 1 T. of butter for each square. It worked like a charm. I have totally bookmarked this list. I know it will come in handy for many future baking adventures!

For more Frugal Friday ideas check out Life as Mom!
-Michelle

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Reverse Tornado

I got this picture here.


My husband is so cute. I work full days outside the home on Monday and Tuesday and between that and the weekend, my house usually goes to you know where in a handbasket. Kudos to you moms who work full time outside the home and keep it together! Anyway, Wednesday is my catch up day. My husband never says anything about the house being a mess. I love that about him.

Today he came home from work to a spotless (more or less) house. He said to me - it looks like our house was hit by a reverse tornado! I laughed so hard I cried.

-Michelle

Works for me Wednesday - Shopping List

In order to save money at the grocery store, mission critical is having a list. I found in the past as I was making my list I would always forget things that we really needed, so I started keeping a magnetic list on my refridgerator.

Now, throughout the week as I run out of something/notice I am low on something I simply add it to this list. Then as I am reviewing the sales flyers, organizing my coupons, and planning my attack I can make sure to include the items on the list.

It works for me!

To find more great Works for Me Wednesdsay ideas go to We are THAT Family!
-Michelle
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