Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Crazy life...

My life has been crazy lately...and my blog is suffering! I feel like my recent posts have lacked the oomph that I hope to have. We took a weekend trip, it was fun, but made me realize why we don't do it that often. It is a lot of work with two kids. I can't imagine what you mothers with several kids do! I am still unpacking, doing laundry, and reorganizing our lives and we got home on Sunday!

Our computer has also been acting up lately, crashing at the worst possible times, etc. so we purchased a new hard drive and reinstalled windows. It seems to be doing better (during our pre-frugal days we would have just ditched this computer and purchased a new computer on a credit card!).

Now that my life and my computer are back to normal...hopefully my blog will be too :)! Stay tuned, I have some fun new ideas, challenges, and recipes to share!


Monday, April 27, 2009

FREE Stuff!!

Here are some great FREEbies this week - be sure to get yours before they are gonzo!

Get a FREE Schick Quattro Razor here.

Get a FREE subscription to Organic Gardening here.

Get a FREE discount drug card here.

Get your FREE sample Aveeno Nourish Hair Care here.

Get your FREE sample of Huggies Pure and Natural Diapers here.

Get a $2.00 off coupon from Aveeno here.

Get a FREE sample of Prilosec OTC heartburn relief here.

Check out these sites for great savings:

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Menu Plan Monday - Week of April 27-May 3

Another week...another Menu Plan Monday. Thanks for orgjunkie for keeping me more organized with menus that I have ever been in my life. If you haven't started participating in Menu Plan Monday. Do it! It is seriously motivating. Here is the plan for the week. I am going to try to use what I have and do minimal shopping this week (after NONE last week - I did cheat for our trip, though...had to pick up a few snacks (sour gummy works) and caffeine! I am taking those from the vacation budget :)!)
Monday: (work day) Tuna Helper, green beans

Tuesday: (work day) Crock Pot Beef Stew

Wednesday: Chicken Enchiladas (I didn't end up making these last week)

Thursday: Polish sausages, boxed potatoes, broccoli

Friday: Pizza night!

Saturday: leftovers

Sunday: leftovers

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Weekly Shopping Trip...or lack thereof

Based on my past history, this is a miracle...I did not shop this week.

I'm serious.

I didn't set foot in a store.

Not once.

We are headed out of town tomorrow morning and won't be back until Sunday shopping for the rest of the week. This also means no posts until I get back. I'll miss you :)!

I have been over budget a lot lately, so this is really good for me and my $2,600 annual budget ($50.00 per week). So far this year I have spent $983.45 on groceries (food, household items, toiletries, and diapers). This is an average of $57.85 for the year. Not as bad as I thought I was.
This feels good. You should try it!

Favorite Blog/Site of the Week - Watch Nena Save

This week for my Favorite Blog/Site of the Week I am featuring the adorable blog of my cute cousin Nena.

Funny extended family is all from Michigan and I lived there from age 5 to age 11 then we moved to Idaho where I have stayed. Nena and I didn't grow up together, but recently reconnected through Facebook. I saw that she had a blog and was intrigued to find that it was a frugal blog like me! It runs in the family!

I have been thoroughly impressed with her amazing finds, her cute layout, and her fun features - I think you will like it too! Go check it out here. Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Works for me Wednesday - Consignment Shopping

I have mostly purchased clothes and other items at yard sales and have generally had good luck. Most of the time, though, I don't find items that are in "brand new" condition. I have recently discovered consignment for purchasing items for my kids. My daughter was outgrowing her church shoes and I looked at several places for some new ones. Most of them were over $10.00 and I just couldn't bring myself to pay that.

I went to Other Mothers here locally a few weeks ago and it happened to be the last Saturday of the month when they have their $.25 sale. I got a sweater, a skirt, a pair of pants, and a tank top for my daughter for $1.00! I was really happy. I also got 2 pair of sneakers, a pair of sandals, and a pair of dress shoes for a total of $12.00. They were all in brand new condition. While it was more that I would have paid yard saling, I was pretty happy.

A friend e-mailed me about an upcoming consignment sale in the Boise area on April 25th (that's this weekend!). Apparently they do these once in the Spring and once in the Fall. You can check out the details about this AWESOME sale here.

So, I must say I love consignment shopping. It works for me. Find out what works for other bloggers by checking out We are THAT Family!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Menu Plan Monday - Week of April 20-28

I am VERY proud of myself. I stuck with the menu plan the whole week last week. It is the first time in forever and it feels so good! I love orgjunkie for keeping me motivated! Here is the scoop for this week (Monday and Tuesday are work days):

Monday: Tuna Helper, broccoli

Tuesday: Grilled cheese sandwiches, fruit salad

Wednesday: Home made macaroni and cheese, green beans

Thursday: Meatloaf, twice baked potatoes, corn

Friday: Pizza night!

Saturday: Leftovers

Sunday: Chicken enchiladas

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Weekly Shopping Trip

I did alright this week. I didn't go way overboard, but I also didn't need the powdered "donettes." Or the ice cream. But I only spent $34.62. At this rate it will take me a while to catch up...but I will do it! Here is the damage:

Hostess bread store:

6 loaves bread - $10.14

1 24pk tortillas - $2.59

1 pkg powdered doughnuts - $1.59

Net OOP: $15.19

Fred Meyer was next:

4 gallons milk (choc & skim) - $4.00 (w/in ad coupon)

2 ice cream - $4.00

4 8oz cheese - $5.00 (w/in ad coupon)

2 frozen potatoes - $3.34

4 root beer - $2.00

Net OOP: $19.44

Friday, April 17, 2009

Spring Cleaning Update

Remember my spring cleaning schedule from last week? Do you also remember my son's disastrous room? I finally spent some time getting is cleaned and rearranged today. I love the way it turned out!

P. S. 99% of the stuff in this room is from yard sales (I only bought the bedspread new - on clearance for $15!). All of the clothes in the closet are hand me downs!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Frugal Friday - Wrap it!

I went to a fun baby shower this week and one of the games we played entailed everyone getting a present and unwrapping it. The presents were wrapped so cute that I had to keep my wrapping paper. I was not ashamed when the hostess went around collecting the paper to throw it away.

Me: I want to keep this.

Hostess: You want to keep it?

Me: Yes.

Hostess: Oh..kay

Seriously the paper was so cute and had very little damage. If I was really brave I would have asked to keep every one's paper. But I wasn't.

Anyway...I wanted to share a few ways to save on gift of them being recycling used paper.

You could also use newspaper - but it has to be to the right person who knows you are a cheapskate and still loves you.

For everyone else, I take pride in the appearance of outside wrapping of the gifts I give. So, here are some tried and true ideas that are SUPER cheap or FREE:

  1. Recycle gift bags - I have a TON of gift bags that I received from my wedding, baby showers, Christmas, etc. I re-use them all the time. Every year my work has a Christmas ornament exchange. I was delighted one year when I received my ornament in a gift bag that I gave several years before! Side note...if you become overrun with these, I have sold them at yard sales with great success.
  2. Brown grocery bags - This could fall under the cheapskate category if you don't do it right. I remove the flat bottom of the bag and cut a slit up one side. I wrap the gift so that the printing from the bag is on the inside. Then put on a raffia bow. If you have stamps or a sister-in-law with a stamping obsession, you could put rubber stamp images on the outside of the bag. You could also decorate with stickers or have your children color on it for grandparent gifts. I hear you can also make a stamp out of a potato...but I haven't taken it that far :)!
  3. Christmas wrap - Hear me out on this one...I like to purchase Christmas wrap at ROCK BOTTOM prices at the end of the season. I dig for wrapping that is one solid color or that could double as birthday or other. One year I found a roll that had a green background with red and blue dots. I have used it for all occasions.
  4. The Funny Papers - I did this a lot as a kid. Wrap gifts to kids in the comics from the newspaper. They are colorful and fun and a great way to recycle.
  5. Aluminum Foil - I have done this too, it is especially great for those FREE with overage rolls of Reynolds Foil many of us got from Walgreen's a few months ago. I would only do this for smaller packages.
  6. Other common items - use old maps for your traveling friend, old sheet music for your musical friend, etc.

I also save boxes of all sizes to be used for wrapped gifts and I recycle ribbon or use cheap ribbon I buy at after holiday sales. I've also heard of people fashioning saran wrap into fancy bows with great success - I have not done this. With a little creativity, though, there really is no reason to pay for gift wrap - just use your imagination.

Want to find out other ways to be more frugal? Check out Life as Mom!

Favorite Blog/Site of the Week - Delicious

No, this isn't another FOOD blog although it is just as awesome! A guy at work told me about Delicious which is a social bookmarking site. Social bookmarking? Let me explain. You sign up for a FREE account then you can save any links that you want. You can categorize them by tags that you designate. What makes it social? You can make your bookmarks public - so anyone can view them. If you find someone with similar bookmarks...chances are you might like their other bookmarks.

What I think is also cool is that when you add a link, it tells you how many other people have the same link. (FYI - 4 people have SSC saved as a link on Delicious!) You can also access your own bookmarks anywhere you have Internet access. Very handy!

I'm just getting started so I don't have very many links, but I am working on it :)! You can check out my links HERE. What do you say? Go sign up HERE for your FREE Delicious account - I think you are going to love it!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Works for me Wednesday - Deviled Eggs

I have always been MADLY in love with my Pampered Chef scoops. I have them in three sizes and I use them all the time. I was super excited to discover this weekend when I was making deviled eggs (Incidentally I am also MADLY in love with deviled eggs) that the small scoop was the PERFECT size to fill my deviled eggs. I love how it made them all look uniform.

It works for me! Find out other Works for me Wednesday links at We are THAT Family!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Weekly Shopping Trip

So remember how I was way over budget and I was only going to spend $10.00 this week? Guess what? It didn't happen. We DESPERATELY needed milk and bread - so that is EASILY more than $10.00, plus Albertson's was having double coupons, plus...bla, bla, bla. Plus, I didn't post last week, so this is what I bought last week. I do plan on stopping by Fred Meyer for their 5 for $10.00 icecream. It is their brand and it is good - love the "Butter Zinger." I also want to get some of their ground beef that is on sale for $1.59.

Here is what I ended up doing this (last) week:

Albertson's was first (Last Monday):

4 loaves bread - $5.88 (w/in ad coupon)

2 Quaker corn crisps - $3.98 (- 2 $1.00 off Quaker coupons doubled) = $.02 overage

1 can Muir Glen tomatoes - $1.00 (- $1.00 off Muir Glen) = FREE

1 Sargento Salad finishers - $3.49 (- $1.00 off coupon doubled) = $1.49 + this is a FREE after rebate item from a recent insert so I'll be submitting this for a rebate. Woo hoo!

3.47# grapes - $3.44

Net OOP: $12.21

Next stop was Walgreen's. All I wanted was some toothpaste and diapers. I ended up with all this:

Transaction #1:
1 Colgate toothpaste - $3.49 (-.75 coupon) = $2.74

1 coffee filters - $.50 (w/in ad coupon) - for friends and family - I am not drinking coffee. I thought these would be good for craft projects or making yogurt cheese. It could happen.

4 Mento's gum - $4.00 (- 4 $1.00 off coupons) = FREE

1 grab bag of Scunci hair products - $.50 on clearance!!!

2 Diego color wonder gift sets - $4.74

3 Crayola tie projects (Father's Day is coming so I thought this would be fun gift for my hubby, Father, and FIL) - $11.22

My total OOP was $21.17, but $17.45 of that was gifts and hair stuff, so my net OOP for my grocery budget was $3.72. + I got a $3.50 Register Reward.

Which leads me to Transaction #2:

2 Pkgs Walgreen's diapers (and I am in denial because my "baby" will not fit in 3's anymore, so I had to buy 4's, boo hoo!)

I used the $3.50 RR from Transaction#1

Net OOP: $6.04

Finally I went to Fred Meyer.

Here is my loot: 3 gallons milk - $5.94

2 jars Best Foods - $5.00 (w/ in ad coupon)

3 pkgs butter - $4.00 (w/ in ad coupon)

2 18 ct eggs - $3.00 (w/ in ad coupon)

2 tubs sour cream - $1.98

1 bunch green onions - $.50

Net OOP: $21.68

Then I had to go back to Albertson's on Thursday to cash in on their spend $25.00 get $10.00 in FREE meat deal (which I stacked with the Unilever FREE holiday meat rebate from the paper).

6 I can't believe it's not butter - $12.00 (- 2 $.50 off coupons, 4 $.40 off coupons)

4 Lipton onion soup mix - $4.00 (-2 $.60 off 2 coupons) = $2.80

2 Wishbone Russian Salad Dressing - $4.00 (-2 $.75 off coupons) = $2.50

1 Turkey Breast - $15.89 (will get a full rebate for this from Unilever + I got $10.00 off from Albie's!)

2 Wheat Thins Artisans - $5.00 (- B1G1F coupon)= $2.50

Net OOP: $24.95

Then on Friday I went to Walmart to get a baby shower gift and ended up with:

2 Kraft dressings - $3.16 (-2 $1.50 off coupons) = $.16

1 Bertolli Marinara sauce - $2.08 (-$.75 off coupon) = $1.33

1 jar Nalley pickles - $1.76 (- $1.00 off coupon)

1 can Del Monte peaches - $.82 (used FREE coupon I got in the mail) = FREE

3 cream cheese - $2.64

1 bunch bananas - $1.25

1 bunch asparagus - $1.44

1 bag carrots - $.88

6 packets yeast - $6.24 (-4 $.40 off coupons, 2 $.45 off coupons) = $3.74

1 cotton swabs (not pictured) - $1.94

1 pkg Luvs - $6.97 (- $1.00 off coupon) = $5.97

Net OOP: $20.80

Finally on Saturday, I hit up Albertson's one more time. I had to spend $40.00 on Unilever to get the FREE turkey + I got a $5.00 off if you spend $30.00 coupon in the mail - I had to use it. I had to. Here is what I got:

4 boxes Stove Top - $4.00

2 Wishbone bountifuls - $4.00 (-2 $1.00 off coupons) = $2.00

3 Taco Bell Salsa (Love this stuff!) - $3.00

2 Skippy peanut butter - $4.00 (-2 $.40 off coupons) = $3.20

3 Jet Puff marshmallows - $3.00

1 Cool Whip - $1.00

1 Bertolli dinner - $6.00 (-$1.25 off coupon) = $4.75

1 roast - $6.20

2 pkgs chicken breast - $11.40

Received $5.00 off for spending $30.00

Received $10.00 off for buying $25.00 in ad items and meat

Net OOP: $25.21

So my total for the week was...not $50.00. It was $114.61 YIPERS! Especially since I was already over budget last week. Here is the scoop. I want to spend $2600 or less on groceries this year. My plan was (is) to spend $50.00 per week. I just need to do some catching up - so I will take it easy for the next SEVERAL weeks while I catch up! Oh my gosh, I need to exercise some serious self control. I am happy with all the stuff I got and the great deals on meat. My freezer if full to the brim. I think I need another freezer...or I could just have some will power!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Menu Plan Monday - Week of April 13-19

I hope everyone had a very Happy Easter. Ours was wonderful! I love seeing the excitement in my children's eyes when they get to experience a fun holiday traditions (...contented sigh). I must say that last week was a great week as far as menu planning goes. I pretty much followed it all week. I must also add that the Hawaiian Chicken was VERY good! It is always fun to try new things. Don't forget to check out the other menu plannin' mommas at orgjunkie!

Here is the scoop for this week:

Monday: Bertolli Frozen Dinner, broccoli, garlic toast (I work this day, gotta make is easy!)

Tuesday: Chicken salad sandwiches, fruit salad (another work day :))

Wednesday: Barbecued pork ribs, oven roasted potatoes, asparagus

Thursday: Creamy Italian Chicken, penne noodles, green salad

Friday: Pizza night!

Saturday: Leftovers

Sunday: Leftovers

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Spring Cleaning Update

This week was my spring cleaning week. My plan was to basically do a room each day and finish my whole house by Friday. Monday-Thursday were great! Friday I started and had some WONDERFUL (but unexpected) visitors. I didn't get the kitchen or my son's room done as planned. Guess what? I'm happy. I got the bulk of my house done. I'm flexible and I will get it done next week.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Spring Cleaning - Day Four

So, day four of my Spring cleaning was last night. It is so nice to have these goals and be achieving them. It feels great to have a "deep cleaned" home! So for the update...

I cleaned my bathroom yesterday. It actually wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be. My son was also really geared up to help. He even (sort of) scrubbed the toilet! The pictures I took really didn't capture the grossness of the tub and shower (the soap scum really didn't show up!) - and I wasn't about to take a picture of the inside of my toilet :). So here is my sparkling clean bathroom. Friday's challenge is the kitchen. I don't think it is going to be too bad...but I do still have my son's room. Ugh and double Ugh!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Favorite Blog/Site of the Week - Our Best Bites

Seriously, why is it that all my favorite websites have to do with cooking? Maybe it is because I love to cook. Really it is because I love to eat! My new favorite food/recipe/cooking site is Our Best Bites. I honestly can't remember how I stumbled onto this blog, but I am so glad I did. It is so cute, fun, and the food looks delish! So why do I love this site?

++Pictures galore

++Excellent tips and tutorials section

I think you'll love it too! Go check it out HERE!
++By the way...would you like your blog or site featured in an upcoming week? Send me an e-mail and a link to your site and I'll check it out!++

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Spring Cleaning - Day Three

Today is my third day of Spring Cleaning and today was my first day off work this week so I thought I'd get a lot done today - including my son's room. Change of plans, I hung out with my mother in law and a niece and nephew for a good portion of the day and didn't get to all I wanted to do today. I did complete the cleaning of my living room. I'll get my son's room done tomorrow or Friday and I'll have some great pics to share.

Look what was under my couch, hilarious! I have been looking for that blue lid for weeks!

Those white spots are smarties :).
I must say that I usually keep my living room picked up, so I didn't think it would be too bad. I moved all the furniture and rugs, swept an mopped, and dusted the top of the furniture. Talk about a caking of dust! It feels so good to hang out in my "Spring Cleaned" living room!

Come back tomorrow to make sure I cleaned my bathroom. I'm not looking forward to it. Ugh!

Works for me Wednesday - Baby Wipe Containers

Maybe this is a no-brainer, but it works for me and I'm sharing it. I LOVE baby wipe containers. They are the perfect size for many different types of storage. Some of them came from when I was buying wipes in bulk at Costco. Some of them I got for FREE with coupons. I love having them around.

You can store anything in these things. Well...not anything but here are some ideas:

  • Sewing notions

  • Small toys (think legos, beads, etc.)

  • Hair accessories

  • Your stash of mini free sample items (shampoo, soap, etc.)

  • Home-made baby wipes

  • Spices (small like bottles)

  • Cake decorating accessories

  • Crayons/markers/pens/pencils

  • Craft items

The possibilities are endless. Here are some things I have done recently:

I love reusing my baby wipe works for me! For more ideas from bloggers much more resourceful than myself check out We are THAT Family!
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