Friday, April 29, 2011

Sweet Safeway Shopping! $30!

I was at my folk's for Easter and had a great shopping trip at Safeway in their town. They live in a much smaller community in Oregon and their Safeway doubles 4 coupons up to $.50 each.

I hung out at the markdown/clearance shelf for about 20 minutes as I checked to see if I had coupons for various items. The funny thing is that I have more chance of bumping into someone I know there than I do at my own Safeway. I spent just over $30.

The Rundown:

Dannon Light & Fit 4-pack: $1.99 sale (50% off clearance)($1.00/2 MC) = $.49 each
Danimals 6-pack yogurt drinks: $1.29 each clearance price
Lean Pockets: $2.50 (50% off clearance)($1.00/3)($.50 double MC) = $.75 each
Yoplait: $.60 sale (50% off clearance)($1.00/10) = $.20 each
Whole Fruit Bars: $3.49 (50% off clearance) = $1.74
Luvs: $12.99 (50% off clearance)($2.00 MC) ($.50 double MC) = $4.49
Chapstick: $1.79 ($50% off clearance)($1.00/3 MC) ($.50 double MC) = $.40 each
Axe hair stuff: $4.49 (50% off clearance) = $2.24
Infusium Shampoo: $6.99 (50% off clearance)($2.00 MC)($.50 double MC) = $.99
Children's Sudafed: $6.11 (50% off clearance) = $3.05 each
Vitamin D for scars: $9.99 (50% off clearance) = $4.99



Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Diaper Study - FREE Diapers

We were out of town for Easter and I had some more ham recipes to post while I was gone, but it didn't happen. Those are coming in the next few days. One was going to be today, but then I saw an email from Fieldwork Seattle I wanted to pass along.

Fieldwork Seattle is a consumer marketing group that I sometimes participate in focus groups and studies for. It's always easy, usually fun, and pays well. They are looking for people to participate in a diaper study.

I did this study last month and it was very easy. You go to a short orientation sometime on April 28 or 29th at their office at Carillon Point in Kirkland. It takes about 20 minutes and they have options all day long. Then you are given 15 days worth of diapers that you'll have to use for kiddo, save in a provided Ziploc, and drop off periodically through the study. At the end of 15 days you get a $150 Visa gift card.

If you are interested in participating, please fill out the form here. They will contact you to let you know if you have qualified for the study.

Good luck!


Friday, April 22, 2011

Ham Week - Stock & Meat

This is what my ham bone looks like after I let it simmer overnight in water and juices. After it cools enough to handle, I pull out the bone and set aside the meat for soup.
Then I put the pot of stock in the refrigerator overnight and as it cools, the fat rises to the top of the pot.
In the morning I remove all the fat from the top of the stock and have a nice, lower-fat stock to make soup with.
Now I can make soup!


Thursday, April 21, 2011

Ham Week - Boil the Bone

After I trim most of the meat off the bone, I cook what's left to get a nice stock for soup. This is what it looks like with the bone, all the drippings, and water added to cover most of the bone. I generally allow this to simmer overnight and in the morning this is what the pot looks like:
Many people like to make a ham-bone soup with their ham bone where you basically just add water and all your veggies & other ingredients to the pot and let the meat cook & fall off the bone. Here are some ham-bone soup recipes from Ham bone & 15 bean mix Ham bone & pasta & rice Ham bone & potatoes & garbanzo beans Ham bone & navy beans Ham-bone soup can be really tasty, but I prefer to make the soup separately, the next day, so I can get most of the fat out of the stock. You can read in tomorrow's post about that.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Ham Week - Plans for the Leftovers

When I cook a ham I want to be sure to utilize every bit of the meat. As I cut the leftovers off the bone I try to keep in mind what I will be using the meat for. This time I planned on slices for sandwiches, thicker slices to be cubed for mac'n'cheese pie, and bits & hunks to be used in omelets and scrambled eggs. I made sure to leave meat on the bone, too, for soup.
You can see I put the meat in different containers for it's different uses: Sandwish slices, thicker slices, and hunks & bits. As you put away Easter leftovers think about what else you might use the ham for so it doesn't go to waste. Katie

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

More Shopping - $27.81

I went to Top & Albertson's today because I wanted the cheap fruit at Top because I signed up to bring a fruit tray to Bible study tonight and I wanted to use the Albertson's double coupons.

At Top I got:
18 lbs of apples - $.59/lb (for applesauce)
3.5 lbs of oranges - $.59/lb
turkey franks - $.50 each
5# potatoes - $.69
green onions - $.50
vegetable oil - $2.99
2# stawberries - $2.98

At Albertsons I got:
6 yogurts - 3/$1.00
Baby Food - $.89 each ($1/4 MC doubled) = $.39 each package of 2
Baby Food - $.89 each ($1/4 MC doubled) = $.39 each package of 2
Orange Juice - $2.50 ($1 MC doubled) = $.50

I know I could save major money by making my own baby food, but I just don't have time. It's going to be enough to make applesauce this week!


Ham Week - Baking a Ham

With Easter coming up next week I thought I'd do a little salute to ham and all the yummy ways you can use up leftovers. First is to bake the ham itself. This photo shows a ham that I overcooked but it was still yummy and I was able to use it for several more meals.

I basically put this half ham in a deep pan, covered it in foil, and baked it about three hours. Nothing special. I have had some marvelous ham over the years prepared by my excellent mom, aunt, and grandma but of course, don't know how they made it. So I looked up some other ways to dress a ham: With cloves & brown sugar With pineapple, cloves, brown sugar, honey, & maple syrup With brown sugar, mustard, & peach preserves (you could also use apricot preserves) With a Coke I love and these are all from that site.


Monday, April 18, 2011

Weekend Shopping & Monday Menu Plan

This week's shopping was $35.00. It was a little bit from Albertson's & Amazon Fresh, then yesterday at QFC & Fred Meyer. I got celery $1.89 & an onion $.79 from Amazon fresh. More than I like to pay, but I wanted to get some soup made and didn't want to wait 4 days until my planned weekend shopping. I also went to Albertson's mid-week for a quick pickup of: milk $5.89 ($3.99 coupon from cereal purchase 2 weeks ago) = $1.89 sirloin steak $8.01 ($2.00 clearance sticker) = $6.01 for 2.68 lbs formula $5.79 ($5.00 coupon) = $.79 candy bars = $.33 clearance I also had $8 off from coupons generated last week with specific purchases. These are the QFC & Fred Meyer groceries: Sugar - $2.49 ($.55 MC) = $1.94 Butter - FREE coupon Rosemary spice - $2.34 50% off sale ($.75 MC) = $1.59 Cheese - FREE coupon Whole Beans frozen - FREE coupon OJ - $.99 Peanut Butter - $1 each Eggs - $1.67 each 18-pack Frozen veggies - $.50 each Creamer - $2.50 sale ($.50 MC) = $2.00 Formula - $5.49 ($5.00 coupon) = $.49 Romaine - $1.25 Onions - $.48/lb Couscous - FREE coupon Hershey candy - FREE coupon (found in the coupon trade bin!) bananas - $.64/lb Cottage Cheese - $1.34 Baby Puffs - $1.67 (B1G1 coupon) = $1.67 each I actually was overcharged for the romaine. It was supposed to be $1, but the avocado code got entered by mistake. I looked at the line at the customer service counter and decided I'd rather lose the quarter than the 15 minutes and left. The menu this week is brief: Sunday - chicken enchilada casserole (we were supposed to have this last week, but made sausage gravy one night instead since a friend share biscuits with us) Monday - Stew & salad Tuesday - Baked Pasta & salad Wednesday - Mac'n'cheese pie Thursday - freezer meal (tbd) Friday & Sat - out of town Lunches will be leftovers and french toast one day - we have tons of leftovers from all the big meals I've been making and they are taking up room in the freezer! I was hoping to unplug the freezer before we leave town Friday morning, but I don't think I'll manage. Oh well. Maybe by the 1st of May! Katie

Thursday, April 14, 2011

A Resourceful Tip - Lamp Shade Upgrade

I actually wrote and posted this yesterday, but then it completely disappeared. Gah! Here we go again. When I posted about the recycling event and getting rid of Grandma's old halogen lamp I was reminded of this other lamp in my house. I've had it since college and it was a $15 Target purchase. It's just a cheap, assemble yourself lamp and the cone is even plastic. I haven't liked this lamp for a long time because a tall, wobbly lamp isn't ideal in a home with little kids (and it's just ugly), but it still works so I still use it.

Awhile back I was thrift shopping or garage saling with my mom and aunt. One of them picked up a lamp shade for a few bucks. When we got home, the lamp shade was promptly put atop my lamp and it was completely transformed. I had no idea the intended purpose of the lampshade when it was purchased, but these ladies are always quietly making improvements to my decorating - I think they are quiet about it because they don't want to tell me how lacking my skills are and they don't want me to protest too loudly that I don't need this, that, or the other thing as I tend to do. Anyway, the lamp turned out great! A huge improvement for a couple of bucks.


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Recycle Event

A couple of weeks ago I shared that DH and I had cleaned our garage and had a big pile of things to take to the city's Recycle Event. That event was this past weekend and DH took one of the kids and a car full of stuff to recycle.

These photos simply don't look nearly as exciting as they Should given how excited I was about sending all of this away, but Oh! how wonderful it was! We've taken things to an event in the city where we used to live, too, and there were similar set ups. Basically you drive into the big parking lot that's being used for the event and stop at various stations to unload your cargo in the appropriate place. It's sort of like a big obstacle coarse that you traverse very slowly. This time we were able to recycle/get rid of: expired prescription drugs, three bags full of styrofoam packing peanuts, another bag full of styrofoam 'blocks' that come with electronics, batteries, computer speakers, cable boxes (a friend's), a hand mixer with a burned out motor, a microwave, broken Christmas lights, a broken halogen lamp from college!, a 4' metal pipe, a 12' plastic pipe (in pieces), a plastic drainage box (dug up in the yard), and a wooden pallet (also a friend's).

It feels so great to have all this out of the garage! And even better knowing that it's all going to be recycled and/or properly disposed of!

Most cities (especially here in the metropolian seattle area) have recycle events. They are often advertised in a local paper, a mailing to residents, or as an insert with one of your utility bills. My city has this event three times a year. Check out your city's website to find out what your city does. Katie

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Meal Swap - Turkey Pot Pie

My wonderful friend, Jessie, has made me turkey pot pie twice when my family has needed freezer meals. This is such a delicious dish that I wanted to make it for my freezer meal swap and after finally cooking enough turkey I was able to manage it affordably for last month's swap. I learned that this meal is quite labor intensive and I spent a good deal of my day putting together 8 pans of the stuff. I'm not sure I'll make it again just because of the sheer time involved. We'll see. The recipe is actually quite large so I'd recommend doubling it and filling three pie plates, one for dinner and two for the freezer. Here are the assembled ingredients:

1 pound boneless, skinless turkey or chicken - cubed or shredded
1 cup sliced carrots
1 cup frozen peas
4 medium potatoes, diced
1/2 cup celery, sliced
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup chopped onion
1/3 cup flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. celery seed
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup milk

2 pie crusts

You can see in the photo I have containers of turkey that I had just been saving for this occasion. I also found six large frozen baked potatoes when I was surveying the contents of my freezer, so that helped. I also used corn instead of frozen peas because I had a huge Costco can of corn in my pantry and I like corn more than peas anyway. Those plastic containers covered in ice on the right are chicken broth.

Here is a photo of Eve helping me with food prep. She sliced all the celery.

Here we are mid chopping & prepping:

Cooking Directions:
1)In a saucepan combine chicken, carrots, peas, celery, and potatoes. Add water to cover and boil for 15 minutes. Remove from heat, drain, and set aside.
2)While veggies and chicken are boiling use another saucepan to cook the onions in butter until the onions are soft & translucent (4-5 minutes). Stir flour, salt, pepper, garlic powder and celery seed into onions. Slowly add the chicken broth and milk, simmering over low heat until the sauce thickens. Remove from heat.
3)Preheat oven to 425.
*At this point the chicken & veggies are probably done and ready to be drained.
4)Pour the hot liquid mixture over the chicken & veggies and mix well. Your pie filling is ready!
5)Put one pie crust in your pie plate and fill it up. Cover with the second pie crust and seal the edges, cutting way excess dough. Cut several slits in the top of the crust for steam venting.
6)Bake 30 to 35 minutes until the crust is golden brown and the filling is warm. Let cool 10 minutes before serving.

Working on the filling:

I ended up filling our freezer swap tins without a bottom crust and putting store-bought crust on top. I had planned to make my own crust, but I ran out of shortening and I had frozen store-bought crust in the freezer. I used it because I was basically out of time with my swap buddies arriving about an hour after I realized I didn't have shortening.

I made 8 batches of the pie filling and easily filled 8 pans for the swap. I threw the rest in a big tupperware container and put it in the fridge for later. The next day I used the cooled filling to make all these additional pies. The cooled filling worked well to fill the bottom crust because it didn't cause sogginess the way the hot mixture might have.

So I ended up with many, many meals in my freezer, but I was so happy to have them as over the next three weeks I delivered four meals to families with new babies and I had a main dish all ready to go.


Monday, April 11, 2011

Monday Menu Plan - Freezer Contents!

I think I can, I think I can, I think I can . . . I will defrost the freezer! Eve was distressed last week when I made the meal plan myself. She was my kitchen helper and did not want to be left out! So this week I consulted with both Eve and Naomi to come up with this week's menu plan. This consisted of us all standing in front of the open freezer in the garage and pointing at things to make. Naomi rejected almost everything and I vetoed her rejections in favor of the meal plan I need to empty the freezer. But they feel included so mommy points there. Here's a photo of the freezer: Clearly I need to defrost! Those boxes have my freezer meals for next week's swap in them, there are two hams and several packages of bagels & english muffins on the bottom shelf. There is a turkey, several packages of sausage & bacon, some microwave meals for DH lunches when we don't have leftovers, major chopped tomatoes from last year's garden, lots of butter, and 5 peach pie fillings. And lots of other stuff. My goal is to give the larger items priority because I have a better chance of packing the small stuff into the inside freezer.

Sunday - Creamy chicken bake (freezer meal)
Monday - dinner out
Tuesday - Baked ham (half ham in freezer)
Wednesday - Mac'n'cheese pie with leftover ham
Thursday - Sour cream chicken (freezer chicken, frozen chicken broth)
Friday - Easy turkey pot pie (turkey pieces from freezer)
Saturday - Chicken enchilada casserole (corn tortillas and chicken from freezer)

Sunday - lunch out
Monday - french toast with sausage (freezer sausage)
Tuesday - bagels
Wednesday - grilled cheese
Thursday - quesadillas (freezer chicken)
Friday - pbj
Saturday - chicken nuggets (mom out)

one breakfast - Waffles with strawberry syrup & bacon (freezer bacon & strawberries) Katie

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Weekend Shopping - $24.11

Today I spent $24.11 on the groceries pictured below. I also have vouchers for $3 to spend in the next two weeks at Albertsons so it's like these only cost $21.11.

Here's what I bought:

Teriyaki sauce - $1
Shortening - $4.79 (OUCH!)
Pasta - $1 each with $1 Voucher printed = $.66 each
Dressing - $2.99 ($1 MC) with $1 Voucher printed = $.99
Organic Milk - $5.79 ($3.99 coupon for milk from last week) = $1.80
Squeezable yogurt - $2.00 each with $1 Voucher printed = $1.50 each box of 8
Formula - $5.89 ($5 coupon) = $.89
Dole lettuce - $1.50 ($.75 MC) = $.75
Bananas - $1.93 ($.69 free 1 lb coupon) = $1.24
Cucumber - $.79
Romaine - $.89!!!
Tomatoes - $1/lb
Onion - $.69/lb
Crackers - $1.29

Overall I was pleased with what I got today, but I didn't find any great deals in the clearance sections and I wasn't able to buy much in the way of produce. We're running low on my canned fruit so I need to start buying more fresh fruit for breakfasts. Maybe next week!

I also got a good deal on diapers at Albertsons. Their large boxes of Huggies diapers are on sale for $19.99 with a $5 voucher printing at checkout. There are also $3 off Manufacturer's Coupons available at I used one today and got a box of 80 diapers for only $11.99.


Friday, April 8, 2011

Resourceful Gifting - Wedding Gift Baskets

DH went to a wedding last weekend on short notice. We didn't know where the couple was registered and even if we did, funds are so super limited this month I would have had to by a kitchen utensil or something! Instead I made up a gift basket of cleaning supplies. This is a young couple just starting out together. They didn't have their own households for long so I'm hoping these items will be useful. I sure would have appreciated this gift when DH and I were first married so that helps me feel OK about not being able to buy off the registry. We also have given something similar before and that couple has expressed their thanks several times for such a practical gift. I went through my stockpile of cleaning supplies and found the items on the left. I stopped by the dollar store for the items on the right: bucket, gloves, comet, and dishsoap.
Next, I arranged all of the items in the bucket. I had intended to include a roll of paper towels, too, but it wouldn't fit. Rats!

Finally, I wrapped the bucket with cellopane and tied it with a piece of pink gauzy fabric that matched the bucket. I also used some silver star wire to make it a bit fancier. You can see DD#3 there in the picture. She liked the noise the cellophane made.

Other ideas (if you have a bigger bucket) include windex, paper towels, sponges, plug-in air freshener, scrubbing bubbles . . .

If I put together a gift basket for a wedding I also like to theme the items. Here are some more ideas:

Baking - Registry baking pans & utensils, baking powder, soda, vanilla, cinnamon, a couple of recipes
BBQ - Registry BBQ tools, bottles of marinade, spice rubs, apron, a couple of recipes
Bathroom - Registry bathroom accesories arranged in registry wastebasket, handsoap refill
New Home - welcome mat, air fresheners, extension cord, light bulbs, plunger (for good friends!), small box of nails, thumbtacks, magnets, drawer organizer/small baskets

If I have the funds to shop from a registry I like to see what is listed that would serve as a basket. For example, the bathroom wastebasket, a deep pot or bowl, or if I'm really lucky, an actual decor basket! Then I find two or three other registry items (if there's enough budget left) that can go into the 'basket' and supplement with a few other things of my own choosing.

Any other good ideas for wedding gift baskets?


Thursday, April 7, 2011

Pie-Crust Bag

Have you ever heard of a pie-crust bag? I hadn't until recently and it sounds like a wonderful invention! Basically you make your pie crust, then put the dough ball into this flat, round bag and roll out your crust. You end up with a perfectly even circle of dough. The bag unzips almost completely, too, so you can flip your crust from the bag right into the pie plate. A comparison between parchment paper, plastic wrap, and this type of bag can be found here. The pie-crust bag comes out the winner. This version is 14" so it would work well for pizza dough, too. I love baking and I love kitchen gadgets. I think this is going to be on my "to buy eventually" list. At only $7 this item's eventual purchase might be sooner rather than later, too. Katie

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

February & March Wrap-up

I have to admit that as I begin to write this I am feeling a little down. Our financial journey is filled with evidence of God's faithfulness and I know, in my heart of hearts, that He is leading us through a difficult time. Sometimes it's a little hard to keep perspective!

February & March were full of blessings. I actually kept a list this time, but as ever, I'm sure I forgot some. A friend gave us a really nice crib mattress, 10 days spent away from home with family helped the grocery budget, my cousin treated me and the girls to lunch, I got to have pizza twice in February (a huge treat), the girls received a fun toy from an aunt for no occasion, a friend gave us diapers, we set up Eve's new bed which was a gift from a friend, I got formula samples from four friends and coupons from ladies in my MOPS group, my grandma gave us a whole bunch of Easter decorations, a friend gave me a $3 cash coupon for a grocery store she doesn't often visit, a friend volunteered to babysit so DH & I could have a date, I got 16 days of free diapers and a $150 VISA gift card for participating in a diaper study, I got a $25 grocery credit for a transferred prescription, a friend bought me couple of cute tops she found for a bargain price, and finally, we were able to eat out twice as a family through mystery shopping. Isn't all that stuff amazing?! We have wonderful people in our lives and God is good!

My goals for February were mostly accomplished. I was able to spend close to $20 each week on groceries and I used up lots of my freezer and pantry stockpile. I wanted to blog 3 times per week and I think I managed that for the most part. I also wanted to keep having consistent Bible study and I think I've managed that for the most part as well. I did file the business taxes, I did file the personal taxes, and I did use cloth diapers much more including times away from home.

In April I want to:
1. Use the clothesline 25% of the time - about 15 loads of laundry
2. Take DD#3 and DD#4 for portraits, take all four girls for portraits
3. Keep blogging consistently
4. Empty the garage freezer completely (super-challenging but I'm going to try!)
5. Keep up Bible study even though the one I've been involved in at church has ended.
6. Sell at least 3 things to help with the goal of paying off student loan debt.
7. Finish a tax return for a friend.
8. Finally send Christmas cards - Ha!

We have two big expenses this month including an airline ticket to my aunt's wedding that costs $400 and a plumbing repair at our rental property that we anticipate will be $500. These big costs translate into negative cash flow for us. To help mitigate that I agreed to use only $40/week for my household allowance this month. That's gas, groceries, coffee, outings with kids, stamps, thrift stores, etc. Pretty much I'll be buying very few groceries, some gas, and that's it. I already had to dip into the money I had set aside for bulk-buying groceries so I hope I'm more successful in weeks to come than I was this first week!

Wish me luck and/or say a prayer for me.


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Bulk Buying Meat

Often grocery stores will advertise a great price on meat like $1.99 for pork loin or $1.49 for round steak. In the fine print (or after you get to the store if you're like me) you'll find that the price is only good for the "Family Pack" or "Valu-Pack." That means you have to buy a huge package that costs significantly more than you might have planned to spend. I usually go ahead and buy the large package because in the long run I'll be saving money. For example, buying an extra (or four extra - ahem) turkey at Thanksgiving because it's only $0.29/lb, or buying a whole case (40#) of boneless, skinless chicken breast at $1.61/lb, or buying a 6# package of round steak when it's $1.29/lb means cheaper meat for several months. Recently I bought one of those valu-packs of round steak and when I got it home I portioned it all out so it'll be quick & easy to use for meals later. I generally use a scale for this job and trim off excess fat as you can see in the photo below. When I had portioned out the meat I had 4 packages of cubed round steak to make stew and 2 packages of meat strips for beef stroganoff. I also made myself three little packages of cubed meat so I could make myself a treat of steak & eggs for breakfast a few times.

The packages are all labeled and put in the freezer until I need them for a meal at a later date. It's a much faster dinner preparation when the meat is already cut up and ready to toss in the pot, too.

Note that for the larger packages of meat I used recycled cereal bags. They're nice and thick and do a great job of preventing freezer burn with the added bonus of not paying for new Ziploc bags.


Monday, April 4, 2011

Mom's Menu Plan

Oh - I need to use things up and make room in the inside freezer! I really, really want to unplug the garage freezer for the summer and I must use stuff up!

Dinners: Sunday - Turkey (didn't make it last week, as planned)
Monday - Sunday - Pork Loin (freezer meal that is oddly shaped)
Tuesday - Teriyaki Chicken (marinating in freezer)
Wednesday - Taco Soup & cornbread (frozen cornbread, chicken, tomatoes, & black beans)
Thursday - Dinner at a friend's house
Friday - Dad dinner Chips & Dip (dip in freezer)
Saturday - Sausage Soup (frozen chicken stock, sausage, tomatoes)

Sunday - pizza (freezer)
Monday - quesadilla (frozen chicken)
Tuesday - Nachos
Wednesday - pb&j
Thursday - mac'n'cheese pie (from freezer)
Friday - leftovers
Saturday - lunch out of town (take a freezer meal to share)


Sunday, April 3, 2011

Weekend Shopping - $38.81

This week's shopping was $38.81 and more than I hoped to spend. It's going to be a very tight April and I need to be extra mindful of spending. Fred Meyer has some good coupons this week with $2 butter and $3.99 Small Steps toilet paper. My best deals today were at Albertsons with only $.67 cereal with double coupons and buying 3 boxes produced a coupon for free milk up to $4. Also Romaine is only $1.29 at Albertson's - Finally!

Milk - $1.49 clearance

Turkey sausage - $1.99 clearance

Sour Cream - $1.50 ($.40/2 MC) = $1.30 each

Cottage Cheese - $1.69 clearance

Case of Ramen - $2.99 = $.13 each

Cereal - 3/$5 ($1/2 MC x3 doubled) = $.67 each and 2 coupons for FREE milk

Darigold Sour Cream - $1.29 coupon ($.40 MC) = $.89

Formula -$.79 & $.49 each after $5 coupons

Dole Salad - $1.49 ($.75 MC) = $.74

Romaine - $1.29!!!

Bread - $.99 clearance (Vita-bee sweeteened with honey, my favorite)

Mayo - $1.89 (I was completely out)

Onions - $.48/lb

Orange - $.50/lb

Small frozen pizzas - $.50 clearance

Frozen veggies - $.50 clearance

Red Baron pizza - $3.44 clearance ($1.00 MC) = $2.44

Celery - $.89

Pepperoni - $1 each

Formula - $.79


Friday Project - Girls' Room

My wonderful mom and marvelous Aunt Renee came to visit last month with plans to help me out around the house and get me all caught up. It is always such a blessing to have either or both of them here! This trip we tackled the very large project of setting up DD#1's new bed so that her old bed could be given to DD#3 and we could finally move DD#4 into the crib. In the process we also got shelves and artwork hung that I just haven't found time myself to manage. The big girls also both got new comforters. Here is Eve's new bed and shelf:
Here is Naomi's new shelf:

Here are the ballet plates that used to hang in my room as a little girl and now are finally in my own girls' room:

And the piece de resistance - This amazing curtain Mom and Renee made after they left, thinking how fun it would be for the girls. I finally got it hung up on Friday and those little ladies are delighted. You can see Eve peeking out the left window.

The curtain is made from a white sheet. The window frames are yellow ribbon and the panes are vinyl. The flower boxes, stems, and grass are painted on and the flowers themselves are layered felt and attached with Velcro so I can pull them off for easy washing. Yay for a big project tackled, finished, and bonuses thrown in! Katie

Friday, April 1, 2011

Resourceful Gifting - Baby Gift Baskets

One of my favorite ways to give an affordable, yet useful & appreciated gift is to assemble a gift basket. In particular I like to do this for baby showers because it is so easy to find great gift items at excellent prices. I made the following gift basket for a friend's shower last fall. All of the items were things I had in my "gift box" and had been purchased with gifting in mind.

The long-sleeved onesies and shoe socks were purchased on clearance at Target. The Johnson's vapor bath was purchase for under $2 on sale with a coupon and the Gymboree tights were purchased brand new at a yard sale for $1. The basket was a $.25 yard sale purchase and the paper filling was recycled from another gift.

I generally reuse gift bags when possible, but this one was a little too wrinkled to use for a gift again. Instead I cut out one of the cute elephants to use as a gift tag.

Overall I thought it turned out pretty well and it only cost about $12. I generally try to 'theme' gift baskets and this was an assortment of little girl necessities for a fall baby. Tights, vapor bath, and long-sleeved onesies are all cold weather items and I always try to give shoe socks or little shoes for a girl because I always loved receiving them.

Other theme ideas for baby baskets:
First Aid - thermometer, mylicon, infant tylenol, nail clippers, infant q-tips, . . .
Bath Time - baby wash, baby lotion, wash cloths, towel, bathrobe, q-tips, bath toy . . .
Animal - outfit or sleeper with an animal on it paired with a toy of the same animal
Girly Girl - Frilly outfit, ruffle bum tights, fancy shoes, headbands/flower bands, . . .
Diaper Time - diapers, wipes, diaper cream, baby powder, changing pads . . .

I made a diaper cake once, too. It was a fun way to give diapers and lots of goodies, too. Here is my friend, Amy, with the cake I gave her. It had hair things, a baby swimsuit, socks, baby wash, tights, and a couple of other items adorning it.