Friday, December 31, 2010

Top Foods - $20 Shopping Trip

I went to TOP early this morning to use the $5/25 coupon from Sunday's paper. Amazingly my total was exactly $25! Isn't that weird? After the $5 coupon I paid $20 and was on my way!
Sometimes I get crazy good deals, but most of the time my shopping trips look like this with mostly sale items and maybe a clearance deal. I spend around $20 each at two or three stores usually totalling between $50 and $60 per week.
Price breakdown (20% means the $5/25 coupon):
4.5# Pears - $1/lb sale price (20% $.20/lb) = $.80/lb
3# Bananas - $.59/lb regular price (20% $.12/lb) = $.47/lb
Lemon - $.34 sale price (20% $.07) = $.27
4 bags shredded parmesan - $1.25 sale price (20% $.25) = $1.00 each bag
3# bag gala apples - $2.49 sale price (20% $.50) = $1.99
3 cans olives - $.99 regular price (20% $.20) = $.79 each
Stash tea - $2.46 clearance price (MC $.50 & 20% $.39) = $1.57
100 black tea - $1.99 regular price (20% $.40) = $1.59
6 cans tuna - $.67 sale price (20% $.13) = $.54 each
When I have a coupon like this I'll consider buying things at regular price because the coupon makes an automatic 20% discount and it's like I bought it on sale. Today I bought tea and olives because I needed $5 more to reach $25 - I needed both, but would normally have waited for a sale. I was delighted to find the generic TOP items were really cheap and even cheaper with the 20% coupon.
I also have a $7 off $50 coupon at Albertsons that I'm trying to decide if I should use. I could spend $50 including diapers because they are having a good meat sale this week (chicken breast and pork loin for $1.99), but don't know if I want to start off the month using that much of my grocery budget. I'll keep you posted!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Resourceful Tip - Paper Clips

Paper clips came to the rescue twice in the past couple of weeks so I thought I'd share those stories with you.

First, we were decorating the tree with our kids and we ran out of ornament hooks. These aren't expensive, but it definitely would have been a downer to only be able to decorate half the tree. DH had the marvelous idea of using a paper clip instead. It worked like a charm and the kids enjoyed bending the paper clips 'open' all by themselves.

Second, we had two events we had to dress up a little for and my wardrobe is severely limited. I was able to find a top on clearance at Kohl's but it required a racer-back undergarment which I don't own. So we applied a paper clip to the problem, sliding it up and down until we found just the right spot to keep all the undercover bits of clothing under cover. I only had to readjust once over the course of a six hour evening and not at all on the shorter night, so I'd say it did the trick.


Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Where have I been?

Dear Friends,

I mentioned Monday that I'd explain my absence in today's post so here we go!

In essence I am trying to keep my priorities straight. Phoebe's birth (9/8) slowed me down more than I thought and I was really excited when I was able to fit blogging in again (late October). Unfortunately I hadn't yet made my daily Bible study fit, too. Mid-November as I was getting ready for our Thanksgiving company I let the blogging go because I was just super-busy. Then DH came down with pneumonia and we all were sleeping later which further cut into my blogging and Bible study time.

Then I decided I'd limit myself to blogging only when I had done my quiet time that day. An incentive to wake up earlier so I could have fun blogging later worked great! It worked so well, in fact, that I thought I'd make blogging come after lots of other things telling myself I could blog only if I got my Bible study, a shower, the homeschool, and the kitchen chores done. Hm. It was a little harder to do all of those things every day and then manage to blog in the afternoons, too. Time to rethink.

I generally have my Bible study in the mornings, before anyone else is up. The house is silent at 5:30 and I can most easily focus on the Lord and pray without distractions. I am in the habit of daily quiet times again, but definitely am not getting up at 5:00 like I used to! I'm lucky to be up by 6:00, but I can still have quiet time alone in my room after DH is up and doing his own Bible study elsewhere.

So now I am trying to blog each morning after I do my Bible study and before the kids wake up. We'll see how it goes. For example, today I wrote most of this post before the kids got up, but now am finishing it after homeschool and playing in the snow. The big girls are in the tub and DD3 is on my lap. The baby is sleeping.

Hope to keep seeing you!

Next week's update will be all the Novemer & December news and goals for January.


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Baked Potato Soup - Yum!

We made Baked Potato Soup last night. This is a family favorite, but more labor intensive than most dinners I make. I first tasted this at a work potluck lunch about six years ago and had to have the recipe. It is supposedly a taste-alike for the Black Angus Baked Potato Soup.

4 large baking potatoes
2/3 cup butter
2/3 cup flour
6 cups milk
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. white pepper
4 green onions - chopped
12 slices bacon - cooked & crumbled (I recommend chopping the bacon up and then cooking it)
1 & 1/4 cup shredded cheddar
8 oz. sour cream

First you bake the potatoes for about an hour at 375. I don't generally have 'large' baking potatoes, just medium and small ones that come in the 10# bag, so I usually cook 6 or 8.

When the potatoes have cooled, slice them in half lengthwise and scoop out the pulp. Cut the pulp into bite sized pieces. You might save the skins to use in something else.

In a big pot melt butter over low heat, then add flour, stirring until smooth. When it starts to bubble, let it cook for a minute or two, stirring constantly.

Gradually add milk, cooking at medium heat and stirring constantly until the soup thickens up.

Add the potato pulp, salt, black & white peppers, and most of the green onion, cheese & bacon. Everything you've added is already cooked so you're just warming those ingredients up. When it's heated through, add the sour cream.

Serve with reserved green onion, cheddar, and bacon.

This is a really yummy treat we love to make for company - let me know how you like it!


Monday, December 27, 2010

$5 off $25 purchase at TOP and $1 off coupons

I can't believe I'm posting twice in one day. It's a Christmas Miracle!

I just read yesterday's Sunday paper and there was a full page TOP ad including $1 off departmental coupons (seafood, deli, produce, frozen, & dairy) good through Thursday with a $20 purchase.

The better deal was the coupon for 12/31 or 1/1 $5 off a $25 purchase. That's a 20% discount on your $25 of groceries. It also allows me to wait for the new ad to come in the mail tomorrow so I can see what's on sale Friday and Saturday and plan how to most efficiently spend that $25.


Monday Meal Plan

Long time, no write! I have been busy with other things which I'll explain on Wednesday in an update, but I have missed you Dear Blog and Dear Readers! A big thanks to Lee, Lisa, Candace, Kracinda, and any other friend who reminded me that you do read the blog and noticed I haven't posted in awhile.

We ran out of milk yesterday and I wasn't able to get to the store because we had last-minute company for dinner. So I busted out my last frozen gallon this morning so the girls could have their cereal and I know I have to use that gallon in the next couple of days. We also have a well-stocked pantry & freezer because of all the holiday food sales so I'm just planning this week (and probably next week) based on what I've got on hand.

Monday - Baked Potato Soup (uses six cups of milk), green salad
Tuesday - Freezer Meal - Italian Chicken over whole wheat linguine, greek salad
Wednesday - Ham, Bean soup, green salad
Thursday - Turkey Pot Pie
Friday - New Year's Eve party
Saturday - New Year's Day party
Sunday - Christmas with extended family

Monday - Grilled Cheese
Tuesday - Quesadilla
Wednesday - Mac & Cheese
Thursday - PB & J
Friday - Taco Salad
Saturday - New Year's Day party
Sunday - Christmas with extended family

Hopefully I'll write again tomorrow!