Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Menu Plan

Here it is Tuesday afternoon . . .

Monday - Nachos
Tuesday - Burgers Out
Wednesday - Grilled Cheese
Thursday - Macaroni & Cheese
Friday - Tortellini
Saturday - Lunch out with Dad
Sunday - Lunch out with Dad

Monday - BBQ Chicken
Tuesday - Ham
Wednesday - Bagels
Thursday - Turkey Pot Pie
Friday - Pork Chops & Rice
Saturday - Chicken Taco Soup
Sunday - Pulled Pork


Friday, December 7, 2012

Monthly Update

This month we were able to save ALMOST the 3% I set as our goal.  We put away another 2.9% so we're at 25.9% of the goal.  Again, it seems like progress is SO slow but it does feel good to cross the 25% mark. 

I did OK on the laundry.  I fell behind last week and had to do a major fold-eight-loads afternoon but otherwise it's working well to wash at least one load a day and fold first thing in the morning before the kids wake up.  Then the kids put their clothes away before breakfast, right after they make beds.  It doesn't seem like a huge chore to them when they're only putting away a short stack.

I've totally dropped ProjectTwentySix the last couple of weeks.  I expected this to happen over the holidays but was hoping to still do a few posts at least.  Oh well.

I'm not completely finished with the office project.  Darn!  But I have only 2 boxes left and I aim to get through them soon!

I did keep a thankful list, but it's not as long as usual so I may have missed a lot!  A huge thanks to Sarah for passing along a free 50# bag of oatmeal that she couldn't use.  I'm sharing with my aunt who like to bulk-buy like me.  Thanks to the wonderful folks at church who work in the gleaning ministry.  We have enjoyed bagels, carrots, tomatoes, potatoes, baguette rounds, lettuce, bread, coffeecake, and yummy berry pastries this month which saved a pile on groceries.  Thanks to Micha for sharing produce when she was headed out of town including carrots, potatoes, fennel, lettuce, and tomatoes.  Thanks to Summer for sharing scrapbooking materials with our small group.  To Kracinda for her awesome deal searching and finding both of us a free $25 for milk delivery through Smith Bros. Refer-a-Friend program.  To Sarah and Amelia for sharing Hallmark coupons with me so I could get a much better deal on Christmas ornaments.  To Rachel for the leftover turkey.  And finally, to Sarah for a fun little Christmas gift I already get to enjoy.

Goals for December:
1. Spend only $50/week on groceries
2. Save 1% toward savings goal
3. Pay for 2 airline tickets
4. Finish office organization
5. Keep thankful list in December


Thursday, December 6, 2012

Turkey Leftovers

My sweet friend, Rachel, sent me home with the leftover turkey on Thanksgiving.  She honestly explained that they wouldn't eat it or use the leftovers and she'd rather give it to me and know it would get used.  

We had turkey pot pie and quesadilla with turkey  that weekend.  Early the next week we had turkey, mashed potatoes, and gravy.  Then I put the rest in the freezer with all the turkey stock from boiling the bones.  The turkey made a lot of stock!  I was really pleased to put so much in the freezer, especially as I love soup this time of year.  

Almost 2 gallons of stock and 4 cups of turkey.

I ran out of masking tape and then the painter's tape I had been using in it's place.  So I dug this out of my desk.  I found it during the big office clean-up and knew I probably wouldn't be using it to "cover 5 lines of type" so I put it to use labeling the freezer containers.  Yay for a new use of this obsolete product!


Monday Menu Plan

I'm actually writing this on Thursday (3 days late) because my leftovers/thawed food have run out and now I need a plan. 

Grilled Cheese, Tomato Soup
Hot Dogs & Leftover Mashed Potatoes
French Toast
Nuggets or Waffles (depends on time)

Stuffed Shells - defrosted freezer meal
Sour Cream Chicken & Rice Pilaf
Asian Chicken & White Rice
Mac'n'Cheese (sitter)
Sausage/Veggie Soup
Crockpot Chicken - freezer meal

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Weekend Shopping $56.82

I had a panic moment this week when an indicator turned on inside my car "Check Engine Oil NOW."  Ahhh!  I was out running errands so I just went to the closest store that would have motor oil.  It was Wal-Mart.  I picked up a few needed produce items for $3.37 while I was there.

Next I spent $20.28 at Albertsons.  I had that $20/$20 coupon from my gift card purchase to use. 
Cereal - $1.88 each with ($1.50/3 MC) and ($1.00/2 MC) made each $1.38. 
Green Olives with Pimento - $1.19 on clearance
Apples - $.78/lb ($1.00 SC) = $4.53
Ham - $2.39 on clearance
Creamer - $2.99 ($1.00 MC) = $1.99
Gum - $1.00 on sale.  I had to throw it in to be over $20.

Next was a big trip to Fred Meyer spending $41.17.   

Cereal - $1.67 on sale ($2.00/4 MC) = $1.17 each.  I didn't realize the sale price was limited to 3 boxes so I went to the customer service desk for a price adjustment.  I was so surprised and appreciative when it turned out my 4th box was supposed to be $3.79 but the gal gave me the sale price.  Hooray!
Creamer - $2.69 on sale ($1.00/2 MC qty. 3) = $2.19 each
Organic Milk - $5.28 (EEP!  Price has gone up)
Sour Cream - $2.00 each with ($.80/2 MC) = $1.60 each
Organic Bread - $1.69 on clearance
Sausage - $6.99 (to use at 3 different Christmas parties)
2# carrots - $.99
Lettuce - $.98 each
Oranges - $.68/lb
Bag lettuce - $.99

Finally I took my daughter out for a date at Starbucks.  The nearest one is attached to a QFC so we browsed while she sipped her cocoa and I drove one of those huge car carts around.  I ended up spending $12.00 total.

Baguette rounds - $.69 each on clearance
Pears - $.99/lb
Bananas - $.69/lb
Bread crumbs - $1.39 on clearance
Parmesan rinds - $1.49 on clearance (We've been enjoying these already with freshly grated on our pasta last night and in our lunch soup today!)
Babybel cheese - $.99 on clearance
Gouda - $2.59 on clearance


Friday, November 30, 2012

Ever Seen a Coupon for 7 Cents Off?

A few weeks ago I mentioned using a really old Apple Cinnamon Cheerios coupon in my weekly grocery shopping.  My friend, Kracinda, asked where in the world I'd gotten a coupon with no expiration date and I explained that my Mother-in-Love had given me a huge stack of no expiration date coupons over 5 years ago.  Some of them are unusable today because they lack a barcode, but I've used many over the years.  

These are two of my favorites.  They are not usable, but they amuse me greatly so I keep them around. 

Save 7 cents on Pillsbury Crescent Rolls or Save 5 cents on Hungry Jack Biscuits

Manufacturer's Coupons with no expiration date aren't a thing of the past.  I occasionally come across one like I did this week.  We received some Newman's Own Popcorn as part of a door prize and the box had this 'No Expiration Date' coupon printed on it.  There is a barcode on the other side.

 Happy Couponing!


Thursday, November 29, 2012

Thanksgiving Tree

It wasn't much, but it was something.  The girls and I did a Thankful Tree leading up to Thanksgiving.  I found a leaf printable from Google images and printed onto fall-colored cardstock.  I made a "tree" from some big blueprint paper we have and cut it out.  So again, not much, but the girls enjoyed it and it reminded us every day to express our thankfulness.


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Tomato Puree

Last weekend I was offered a large amount of tomatoes via our church's gleaning ministry.  This is organic produce that is at it's must-be-used-immediately stage and I gladly accepted the very soft tomatoes others were declining.  I took them home and they sat in my fridge a couple of days before I cored them and tossed them into my food processor.

A few seconds later I had 12 cups of pureed tomatoes.  

They're happily residing in my freezer now waiting for use in spaghetti sauce, soup, or another recipe that calls for tomato sauce.  Whoo!


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Albertson's Gift Card Deal

Albertson's is running a special on gift cards this week.  When you spend $100 on select gift cards you'll get a coupon for $20 off a $20 purchase good for the next 7 days.  That's $20 bucks for free folks!  The deal runs through Thursday, November 29.

The selection of gift cards for this deal is pretty good:
AMC Theaters
Bass Pro Shops
Macaroni Grill
Regal Cinemas

I picked up Macy's for a wedding gift and Regal Cinemas because we love movies around here.  And you'll definitely be seeing an Albertson's shopping trip this week when I use the $20!


Monday, November 26, 2012

Monday Menu Plan

We had more leftovers than expected last week so I have some overlap this week.  I'm still wanting to spend very little on groceries so I can put more toward Christmas. 

Monday -Nachos
Tuesday - Macaroni & Cheese (sitter)
Wednesday - Grilled Cheese
Thursday - Chicken Nuggets
Friday - Quesadilla
Saturday - leftovers
Sunday - pbj

Monday - Beef Stew
Tuesday - turkey gravy/rice
Wednesday - Frozen Meal (mom gone)
Thursday - Frozen Meal (mom gone)
Friday - Frozen Meal (mom gone)
Saturday - quick & easy like hot dogs, finger food, or pizza
Sunday -  Pork Chops


Sunday, November 25, 2012

Weekly Grocery Shopping - $46.40

This week's shopping wasn't very intentional, but I did need a few things for my Thanksgiving contributions.

I made a trip to Fred Meyer this week specifically to use a 25% off toy coupon for a pre-Black Friday sale.  Too bad bikes aren't toys after all, but sporting equipment. Doh!  Oh well, I picked up a few groceries anyway totaling $19.85.  I used my quarterly rewards voucher to save $6.31 so I only paid $13.54 out of pocket.

Frozen Veggies - $.79 each
Neufchatel Cheese - $1.00 each
Butter - $2.00 each
Cucumber - $.89
Creamer - $2.89
Celery - $.58/lb
Parsley - $.79
Sour Cream - $.99
Bananas - $.64/lb

Next up Top Foods for $33.48.  I had a wallet balance I didn't know about totaling $11.12 so I paid $22.36 out of pocket.

Sparkling Cider - $2.00 each (total splurge)
Pomegranate - $2.50 ($.50 MC) = $2.00  I LOVE coupons for fresh food!
Olives - $1.00 each
2# cheddar - $4.99
Butter - $1.88 each
Red Bell Peppers - $1.00 each
Parmesan Cheese - $2.50 each
Oranges - $1.29/lb
Apples - $1.29/lb

Finally, a quick stop at Albertsons to use double coupons.  I only bought a couple of grocery items totaling $10.50.
Ice cream - $3.00 each
Coffeemate - $3.00 ($.75/2 MC doubled) = $2.25 each

All three stores' groceries cost $63.83 but with the rebate & wallet balance I only paid $46.40.


Saturday, November 24, 2012

Pizza Add-ons

We ordered pizza delivery the other night.  I was happy to accept the offer of crushed red peppers and parmesan cheese though we don't often use it on our pizza.  Instead I immediately add the crushed red peppers to my spice jar of the same and tuck the parmesan cheese into the fridge for future use on pasta or homemade pizza.  

I try not to accept things that will go to waste, but these routinely get used quickly so I receive them with gratitude.


Friday, November 23, 2012

Christmas Gift Wrap

Last year I vowed I wouldn't buy any gift wrap ever again.  The retail cost (even on sale) drove me crazy after so many years of living on a shoestring and having found so many alternatives over the years.  I don't know if "ever again" is really reasonable, but certainly I can wrap 95% of our gifts with 90% recycled materials. 

I wrapped my first batch of gifts this week for out-of-town family.  I'm trying to space out the shipping costs and this week I shipped one family's gifts.

I thought they looked OK for recycled packaging paper. 

The green raffia was $.17 and the two adornments were $.25 each at a Target clearance sale a couple of years ago.  I also am always on the lookout for small baubles to attach to gifts as well as any appropriate paper/ribbons I can recycle for giftwrapping purposes.

I may use some pinecones and plaid ribbon as well sometime this year.  We'll see.


Thursday, November 22, 2012

Roasted Beet and Potato Soup

Happy Thanksgiving Friends! 

Earlier this week we tried a new recipe for beets.  We received organic beets and potatoes from our church's gleaning ministry and put them to good used in Roasted Beet and Potato Soup.

The photo we saw attached to recipe showed hot pink soup and my girls were very excited to create it in our own kitchen, but alas!  The beets weren't red, but yellow so our soup turned out yellow, too.

Our beets are yellow on the inside!

Peeled & Chopped beets only made a little over 1 cup when we were supposed to have 2 cups.

Luckily, the potatoes when scrubbed and chopped made nearly 3 cups instead of the 2 needed.

Roasted Beets & Potatoes with olive oil drizzle.

Onions, celery, and garlic were sauteed.  Then we added a huge cube of turkey stock that had been our freezer for 7 months.  I was happy to finally use this!

DD#3 burned herself helping cook.  An onion landed on her arm and she let it stay there while she cried and asked me for help!  Life Lesson: When something burning hot lands on you, GET IT OFF!
Blending the soup.  Christmas list item: Immersion Blender!
Adding the milk - I actually used heavy cream.

Delicious!  We ate it with a day old baguette we also were given from church. 
DH wasn't a huge fan.  He said, "At least it's creamy" and ate his whole bowl and seconds.  I am so thankful for a non-picky husband!  The girls all ate theirs, too, but DD#4 in particular loved it.  She kept saying "More!" when the bowl emptied.


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Turkey Day Pie

I just put a peach pie in the oven for Thanksgiving tomorrow. 

On a whim, I decorated it with a fork and I thought it looked pretty cute!

Can you tell what it is?


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Family Christian Stores

Hi Friends,

I just want to give a shout out to Family Christian Stores for their truly excellent sales this time of year.  I don't often get to the Christian book store, preferring to purchase my Bible studies online for cost purposes, but I DO go to the physical store every November.

They have $5 'doorbusters' every year that run the week BEFORE Thanksgiving and through the big weekend.  They have additional one-day and weekend sales for that weekend, too.

Anyway - I was really pleased to shop there this week and fill many spots on my Christmas list for $5.  Here are some highlights:
  •  $5 for a pocket size NIV Bible
  • $5 for What's in the Bible - "Why do we call it Christmas?" DVD
  • $5 for a kids' nativity set
  • $5 CDs: some Christmas, some kids, some brand new albums & artists
  • $5 DVDs including Fireproof, Facing the Giants, Narnia and some VeggieTales titles among others. 
There are also a couple of advent calendars I thought were really reasonably priced:  a Little People version and a non-branded version.
Click here to see all the awesome deals on their website and get free shipping with purchases of just $40.

You may have noticed neighborhood Christian bookstores have been disappearing.  Shopping at physical stores may help keep them around a bit longer.  = )  


Monday, November 19, 2012

Monday Menu Plan

This week is a little interesting for several reasons.  I have received an abundance of free produce this week and my freezer meal swap was Thursday so I have plenty of food.  The challenge is that I don't have a few staples like sour cream, store-bought bread, or feta (yes this is a staple for us). 

Monday - Leftovers (sausage gravy, chili (no sour cream), pizza bread)
Tuesday - Chicken Nuggets
Wednesday -Finger Food Lunch including carrot sticks & cheese buns
Thursday - Thanksgiving at friend's house
Friday - Quesadilla (assuming I have sour cream by this time)
Saturday -Leftovers
Sunday - PBJ

Monday - Roasted Beet and Potato Soup (free beets & potatoes from church gleaning)
Tuesday - Chicken Pot Pie (freezer meal)
Wednesday - Slow Cooker Lemon Garlic Chicken (very old lemon I need to use)
Thursday - Thanksgiving at friend's house (Taking pie & relish tray)
Friday - Leek &  Fennel soup (free leeks & fennel from a friend)
Saturday - Beef Stew (free potatoes & carrots from a friend)
Sunday -Taco Soup


Sunday, November 18, 2012

Weekend Shopping

I used Albertson's double coupons on Tuesday and went back to Albertson's on Wednesday for the new sales.

This trip I spent $13.59.  Here's the breakdown:
PastaRoni - $1.29 ($.50 Buy 10) = $.79
Au Gratin Potatoes - $1.49 ($.50 Buy 10) ($.75/2 MCs) = $.62 each
Reddiwhip - $1.99 ($.50 Buy 10) ($.55 MC) = $.94
Pam - $2.49 ($.50 Buy 10) ($.30 MCs) = $1.69 each
Cream Cheese - $1.15 each
Garlic Bread - $.99
Cool Whip -  $1.49 ($.50 Buy 10) ($1/2 MC) = $.49 each

I also went to Champion Foods this week even though I KNEW I shouldn't have.  I find too much irresistable there!

Organic Garbanzo Beans - $3.00
Annies Mac & Cheese - $9.00 for 12 box case
Near East Rice Pilaf = $1.00 each
DaVinci Olive Oil - $3.00
Tea - $1.30
Rosemary - $.35
 Total of $18.65 this time.

Total Shopping: 13.59 at Albertsons + $18.65 at Champion and the $9.00 double coupons trip = $41.24 this week.


Saturday, November 17, 2012

Menu Changeup

I made some changed to the menu this week due to an excess of weird buns.  Let me elaborate.

I had my freezer meal swap last night.  I made pulled pork and decided to make buns from scratch instead of buying them.  My friend, Lora, makes these buns and they are awesome!  So a few days ago I made a half batch to eat with our own pulled pork dinner.  They were OK, but a little chewy.  Definitely not golden like I remember Lora's being.  Hm.

So I tried again yesterday afternoon.  I realized that when I had halved the first batch I hadn't halved the eggs.  Whoops!  That would explain the chewiness.  My first batch yesterday was better, but still too flat.  So I tried letting it rise a little longer and Bingo!  I ended up baking about 40 "good" buns so I gave everyone in my swap those plus a couple of the 'flat' ones so they'd hopefully get used.

But I still had about ten of those double egg ones leftover from a couple days ago and another dozen or so from yesterday of both the flat batch and the ends & pieces that I baked up.  I really hate to waste food so I changed the menu.

Today we had pizza bread for lunch.  I used about 8 of those buns cut in half with pizza sauce, pepperoni, and mozzarella.  When I ran out of mozzarella I finished off with a big of shredded jack I had in the freezer. 

But still there are at least a dozen buns on my counter!  So tomorrow morning I'm making sausage gravy for breakfast and we'll eat it over the buns.  DH loves sausage gravy and it'll make a good send-off breakfast before we take him to the airport for his weekend in LA. 

I'm pretty sick of buns! 


Thursday, November 15, 2012

What's a Finger Food Lunch?

I had a friend ask me about Finger Food Lunch recently.  Basically it's when I don't have lunch planned and I just look through the cabinets and fridge to assemble something.

This week it looked like this:

Bagels are in abundance this week so each girl got to choose her favorite kind (cheesy, plain, or poppyseed) and choose toasted or untoasted.  I had two hard boiled eggs in the fridge so they each got a half.  The younger girls got blueberries and the older girls asked for apple slices.  I cut up one carrot and split it between them all.

Not too exciting, but we've had some fun ones with pickles, olives, almonds, various cheeses, canned mandarin oranges, raisins, etc.  Basically it's whatever I can find!


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Monthly Update

Hi friends,

I'm finally posting our monthly update and progress report for October.

1. We DID save for our emergency fund in October.  Hurrah!  It wasn't too much but we're over 23% of the way toward our goal.  It does sound terribly small, but we are so thankful that it is creeping up at all!  We have had significant expenses this fall related to an 'investment' property and are still trying to cover the cost of the airline tickets purchases in September plus an additional ticket just purchased so DH can attend an out-of-town wedding.  Our goal is to save again - and I'm aiming for 3% even though it's Christmas and there are all these expenses to cover.

2. I've been trying the one load of laundry per day and it's been working about 70% of the time.  The challenge is getting the laundry folded and put away.  One success has been folding a load first thing in the morning while DH and have Bible study together.  He reads and we discuss while I fold.  If he'll continue to tolerate my multi-tasking I think I may have found a winner!

3. I have been posting pretty consistently on ProjectTwentySix.  I think the office reorganization and sorting has been a great motivator.  You can check it out here.

4. I kept my thankful list in October and I'm so glad!  It's such a blessing to remember how loved and cared for we are.  Praise the Lord for his provision!

Thank you to Naomi, Grandma Janet, Ted & Jenny, and Dan & Amy for remembering Eve's birthday and sending her gifts to open on the big day.  Thanks also to John & Vanessa and Mary & Tony whose gifts arrived soon after her birthday.  Thanks to Jennifer who has a kiddo in therapy at the same time I do and was able to give my car a jump when I accidentally left the headlights on.  Thanks to Sarah for coming over for lunch and bringing an amazing butternut squash soup.  Thanks to Kracinda for always offering such encouraging words on this site and over at ProjectTwentySix.  Thanks for a great visit from Mary & Tony and for Mary remembering I was interested in hanging cabinets from Grandma's estate.  Thank you to Tammy and Lauren for their daughters' hand-me-downs.  These are a true gift.  Thank you to Liza for letting me come pick up apples out of your yard and off your tree.  Thanks to Jennifer for bringing me apples and Carly for bringing me pears.  And belated thanks to Renee who brought me canning lids in September, but I found them weeks later and they are numerous!  Hooray!

Goals for November:
1. Save 3% of emergency fund goal
2. Keep laundry caught up
3. Keep posting on ProjectTwentySix
4. FINISH office organization - you can watch progress on www.projecttwentysix.com
5. Keep a thankful list in November


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Albertson's Double Coupons - $6.00 Shopping Trip

I stopped by Albertsons to use the double coupons today.  I have to confess that I really dislike taking all my kids into the grocery store.  They all fit today in the police car cart but tall 6 & 7 year olds don't fit well into the molded plastic seats and the 3 year old, strapped into the cart front next to her 2 year old sister, wants nothing more than to "drive" with her older sisters.  It was also lunchtime so the kids were hungry and I got the usual comments about their number and gender.  Gah! 

These huge boxes of Kix were on sale $3.00 each with a "$1 off next shopping trip" coupon printed with the purchase of 2.  I also used a $1/2 MC that doubled to make these 18 oz. boxes only $1.50 each.

The Uncle Ben's rice was on sale for $1.00 each and I had a $1/2 MC that doubled so I got these for FREE.

The 16 oz. creamer was on sale for $1.50 each with a "$1 off next shopping trip" coupon printed with the purchase of 2.  I also used a $1/2 MC that doubled to make these FREE.

The olives were on sale for $1.50 each with a "$1 off next shopping trip" coupon printed with the purchase of 2.  So it's like $1.00 each.

I also bought a generic jar of cinnamon for $1 because we're low.  I usually buy it at Costco but we're out now and it's worth the dollar to keep the culinary peace at home.

I paid $9.00 out of pocket and have $3.00 off in store coupons for my next visit.  Total cost = $6.


Monday, November 12, 2012

Monday Menu Plan

These must be the most boring posts for you to read.  Sorry about that!

Monday - Finger Food Lunch
Tuesday - Nachos
Wednesday - Grilled Cheese
Thursday - Bagels & Orange Slices - Packed Lunch
Friday - Hot Dogs
Saturday - Blueberry Pancakes
Sunday - Nuggets

Monday - Hot Dogs
Tuesday - Pulled Pork
Wednesday -Pasta/Red Sauce
Thursday - Chicken Taco Soup
Friday - French Toast
Saturday - Soup & PBJ
Sunday - Sausage/Veggie Soup


Sunday, November 11, 2012

Weekend Grocery Shopping - $45.06

I amazed myself this weekend at QFC.  I was aiming for a $50 grocery bill so I could use my $5/$50 coupon and lower all my grocery prices by 10%.   Would you believe my grocery total was $50.06?!  Yep, so $5 off makes a grand total of $45.06.  Not bad for all this:

Quart Coffeemate Creamer - Markdown to $2.50 ($.55 MC)(10%) = $1.75
Gallon Organic Milk - Markdown to $4.00 (10%) = $3.60
Dole Fruit Juice - Markdown to $.99 ($1.00 MC) = FREE
4 StoveTop Stuffing - Sale price $.79 ($1.00/2 MC)($1.00/2 MC)(10%) = $.26 each
1 StoveTop Stuffing - FREE with  B4G1 MC an employee handed me while I was in line.  I'm almost positive the same employee gave me an identical coupon last year.  He also ran and grabbed me a 5th box while my groceries were being checked.
Oranges - Sale price $.69/lb (10%) = $.62/lb
2 Dozen eggs - Markdown to $2.00 ($.50/1 MC)($.50/1 MC)(10%) = $1.35 each
5 - 2# Tillamook Cheese - Sale price $4.99 (10%) = $4.49 each
8 Yogurt - Markdown to $.25 each, some regular, some Greek (10%) = $.22 or $.23 each
4 YoPlus Parfaits - Markdown to $.50 ($1.00/4 MC)(10%) = $.22 or $.23 each
Bananas - $.69/lb (10%) = $.62/lb
Apples = $.69/lb (10%) = $.62/lb

Overall I thought these deals were Awesome!  Especially the cheese for only $4.49 for each brick.  And I may go back for more apples before the sale ends Tuesday.  $.62/lb is really excellent and I need to make more applesauce to see us through until next summer. 

Albertsons also had double coupons in today's paper so I may use them Tuesday as well when I have an errand near Albertsons.


Thursday, November 8, 2012

Weekly Grocery Shopping - $44.11

I am super late with my grocery shopping post this week.  Busy with politics, I guess.  

Saturday I did my normal shopping at Fred Meyer.  I scored on milk and markdowns.  I spent $18.79 and cancelled our milk delivery for the week which usually runs about $12.
Organic Milk - 2 gallons at $1.40 each on clearance!  One went into the freezer for cooking later.
Regular Milk -  $1.59 on clearance
Chocolate Milk - $1.79 on clearance
Sour Cream - $1.25 on sale and $.40 off FM coupon I got in the mail = $.85
Whole Wheat Hot Dog Buns - $.79 on clearance
Whole Wheat English Muffins - $.49 each 6-pack on clearance
Vita-Bee bread - $.99 on clearance  and $.25 off FM coupon I got in the mail = $.74
Tillamook yogurt - $.33 each with coupon in the Sunday paper
Rice Pilaf - $.89 each REGULAR PRICE (This almost never happens on dry goods)
Bacon - $2.99 on sale with $1.00 MC = $1.99
Pillsbury Cookies - $1.29 on clearance.  One of my kids had wanted this for weeks and I told her if I found it on sale after Halloween we could get it.  Just keeping my word.
Bananas - $.64/lb

I also bought a hair product I love for $6.49.  It is a huge splurge for me but I haven't seen it on sale and I have been our for weeks.  I finally decided to buy it with a $2.00 off coupon, but when I went through the checkout my coupon wasn't scanned.  I don't know if it stuck to another coupon or what but I was really disappointed and went to customer service to return it.  =( 

 Next was a trip to Safeway for cereal with kid in tow.  My kids have been desperate for cold cereal and I have been carefully watching prices.  I spent $21.42 and had the distinct pleasure of my 7 year old telling me I was embarrassing her while we were checking out.  It was my first time!  And I told the checker about it which embarrassed my kiddo even more.  Whoo! 

 Cereal was $1.69 if you bought at least 4 boxes. 
These six boxes were $10.14 and my coupons were ($1/3)($.75/1)($.40/1)($.50/1) = $7.49 or $1.25 each
The $.40/1 coupon was for Apple Cinnamon Cheerios and was from the 80's with no expiration date but did have a barcode.  It scanned!  And I said Whoo-hoo!  And that's what embarrassed Eve.  =) 
Wesson oil - $2.99 on sale
Flavored Creamer - $2.79 on sale
Brown Sugar - $1.99 each on sale (qty 2, $.50/1 coupons) = $1.49 each
Tortillas - $1.69 each on sale
Eggs - $1.99 on sale

I went to Albertsons to use the double coupons onTuesday.  I got more cereal.

Cereal was $1.88 each and you had to buy 5.  I had $1/2, $1/2 and $.50/1 manufacturer's coupons.  When I was checking out the checker mistakenly doubled each at $1.00.  I pointed out that one was supposed to be $.50 and he shrugged and said it was OK.  He was a manager who had been called in to help with checking so I decided to take the extra $.50 and be thankful! 

These 5 boxes of cereal were $3.90 or $.78 each


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Menu Plan

I am glued to my computer for election results and feeling guilty.  I decided to post a menu plan so I can feel better about myself and think I was productive. 

Monday - Bagels/Fruit
Tuesday - Nachos
Wednesday - Hot Dogs/Fruit
Thursday - Macaroni & Cheese Pie (Naomi's Birthday Choice)
Friday - PB & J
Saturday - Mini Pizza
Sunday - PB & J

Monday - Bagels
Tuesday - Orange Chicken
Wednesday -French Toast & Bacon
Thursday - Chicken Nuggets & Tater Tots (Naomi's Birthday Choice)
Friday - Bible Study Potluck - I'm providing Chili
Saturday -Chicken La Viva
Sunday - Baked Potato Soup (Company for dinner)

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Big Office Project

Hi friends,

I've just undertaken the huge task of getting my office organized.  I expect to be busy with it for a couple of weeks as I can only dedicate a limited amount of time and energy to it each day.  I'll be posting about it more regularly over at ProjectTwentySix since I'm sure I'll find many, many things to discard.  Feel free to have a look.


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Grocery Shopping - $42.94

I spent a grand total of $5.77 at Fred Meyer this weekend on a gallon of clearance organic milk, 2 loaves of clearance Vita-Bee bread, and a pink of sour cream.  I thought I was doing great on my goal of spending very little on groceries.

Today I planned to go to Albertson's to use the double coupons and to my local QFC to get their "grand reopening deals" which would only total about $12.00.

Sadly, my coupons were in DH's car - at his office - when I took the girls to appointments near Albertson's.  Happily, DH called and needed some paperwork so after naps the girls and I delivered it and picked up my coupon binder.  We headed to QFC and I debated if it was worth it to take all four girls shopping right before dinner.  I decided yes because we were desperate for cheese and they had Tillamook for $4.99.

I ended up buying all this:

The first thing we saw when we came in were pizzas for $2.99 each!  I had just been looking at the pizza deals at Pizza Hut and Domino's planning for tomorrow night when we hide in our dark house and watch a movie.  At $2.99 we would be paying less than half of the lowest coupon price I found.  This was followed by numerous clearance deals I couldn't pass up so I spent way more than I intended but still stayed within my budget of $60/week.

2 pizzas - clearance $2.99 each
2 dozen eggs - $.99 each
2 one-pound packages of lunchemat - $1.99 each
red and green grapes - $.99/lb
3 four-packs of Dannon vanilla yogurt - clearance $.99 each (my kids LOVE this)
baguette slices - clearance $.39
2 Yoplait Simply - clearance $.49 ($.30/1 MCs) = $.19 each
4 Yoplait Greek - clearance $.99 ($.50/2 MCs) = $.24 each
4 large tubs cottage cheese - clearance $1.50 each
Mountain High yogurt - clearance $1.89 ($.50/1 MC) = $1.39
Bananas - clearance $.39/lb
2# brick cheese - $4.99
Boston Cream Pie - clearance $2.79 also for tomorrow night treat

I was keeping a running total in my mind and realized we were up to $35 or so and I had a $5/$50 coupon for the grand re-opening.  I never imagined I'd use it but I decided to pick up a case of baby wipes (we are out and have been using wet baby washcloths for a few days!).  Then I checked for green salsa because it's a primary ingredient in the Chicken la Viva that my family loves.  It was on sale for 3/$5 so I got 3 of those too.

All told, with my $5 off coupon I spent $37.17 on groceries at QFC. 

I decided I didn't need to go to Albertson's after all.  Nothing in their ad rang my bell and by the time DH got home and we got through dinner it would have taken some guaranteed screamin' deals to get me out of the house a third time today.


Monday, October 29, 2012

Monday Menu Plan

I spent very little on groceries this weekend, but still plan to use the Albertson's double coupons tomorrow so I'll post about that tomorrow night.

There were a few shifts last week so two dinners are duplicating because I never made them

Lunches this week:
Monday - finger food lunch
Tuesday - chicken nuggets
Wednesday - grilled cheese
Thursday - nachos
Friday -soup
Saturday - Macaroni & Cheese
Sunday - PBJ

Monday - Chicken la Viva
Tuesday - Baked Potato Soup
Wednesday - Pizza
Thursday -French Toast
Friday - Macaronada
Saturday - Hot Dogs & Tater Tots for kids (DH & I on a date)
Sunday - Sour Cream Chicken (company again for dinner)


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Weekly Shopping - $64.74

 I needed some spices for a marinade swap this weekend so I headed to Champion Foods in Issaquah to see if they had what I needed.  Sadly they only had one of the spices I needed, coriander, but they had lots of other great stuff!  Garden of Eatin' Chips for $.50 each, large cans of organic crushed tomatoes $.50 each/case for $5, and Annie's Mac'n'Cheese for $.85/case for $9.  I stopped by Fred Meyer for those other spices I needed and for the $3.99 brick of Tillamook Cheese.  Paying full price for spices kills me so I was happy to find Tumeric and Ginger on sale.  But I paid over $7.00 for Garam Masala!  Ouch!  I also found markdown Campbell's soup for $.59 each and I had two coupons for $.50/2 so I got those for $.34 each.

I couldn't find my Cayenne Pepper when I went to put together my marinades so I dashed down to QFC to pick it up along with freezer bags to use with the 40# of chicken I was anticipating.  I also picked up garlic and onion for the marinades.

One more trip to Fred Meyer because I was on a mommy daughter date to pick up apples from a friend and I could tell DD#1 didn't think picking up apples in the rain was too much fun.  So we dropped in to Fred Meyer to have a look at toys with DD#2's birthday in mind (coming up in 2 weeks) because giving gifts is just the delight of DD#1's heart.  We picked up a few good deals while we were there.  Hunt's Sauce was $.79 each, Progresso Soup was $.99 and we had a $1.00/4 coupon so those were $.74 each, Tater Tots were $2.00 and I had a $1.00/2 coupon so those were $1.50 each, and shampoo was $2.50 each with store coupon and I had a B1G1 manufacturer's coupon so I paid $1.25 each for Herbal Essences which I didn't mind because we're on our last bottle of shampoo.  Eek.

In total I spent $64.74 this week, including the shampoo and freezer bags.


Monday, October 22, 2012

Monday Menu Plan

I did OK not buying a ton of groceries this week (see tomorrow's post), but the pantry and freezer still grew.  I also was busier than I anticipated last week so I have some dinner repeats

Monday - bagels, orange slices, cottage cheese
Tuesday - Lunch out with Daddy
Wednesday - Nachos
Thursday -Grilled Cheese
Friday - Nuggets
Saturday - Macaroni & Cheese -
Sunday -  PB & J

Monday - Chili
Tuesday - Chicken la Viva!
Wednesday - Mac'n'Cheese Pie
Thursday - Orange chicken/rice
Friday - Small Group Potluck - taking dessert
Saturday - Turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy
Sunday - Sour Cream chicken over rice pilaf (company for dinner)


Monday, October 15, 2012

Monday Menu Plan

My cash flow is really limited due to some bulk food purchases the last couple of months and because of Eve's big birthday party a couple of weeks ago.  I used the credit card (gasp!) and am covering those purchases now so I don't have as much for groceries.  I'm hoping to rely on my pantry this week and keep grocery spending to a minimum.  Wish me luck!

M - French Toast
T -  Chicken Nuggets
W - Grilled Cheese
D - Nachos
F -Mac'n'Cheese Pie
S - Soup & Rolls
S - PB & J

M - Pasta, Beets & Garlic Bread
T - Pork Chops & Rice
W - Chicken la Viva
D - Mini Pizza
F - Fast Food
S - Sour Cream Chicken
S - Smoothies & Popcorn


Sunday, October 14, 2012

Lots of Small Shopping Trips

This week was lots of small shopping trips for various things.

 I spent $20.44 at Haggen.  I was early for a commitment so I decided to pop in and use their baking coupons.  I stock up at this time of year because there are such great baking deals.  Anyway, I found a bunch of canned goods in their markdown bin, too.

Haggen Rundown:
Flour - $1.49 with ad coupon
Chocolate chips - $1.69 each with ad coupon
Brown sugar - $.79 each with ad coupon (I buy a ton of this for oatmeal all winter)
Dozen eggs - $.99 with ad coupon (not pictured)
Gourd - $1.53.  I totally got lured into browsing these for decoration purposes because some were gorgeous!  Then one of my kids dropped this one and it cracked.  Of course I had to buy it and of course it was one that looks just like a pumpkin instead of the pretty more unique ones.  Oh Well!
Cucumbers - $.69 each
Bananas - $.61/3
Whole wheat flour - markdown to $1.79
Cans of corn - markdown to $.35 and $.30
Chicken noodle soup (family size) - markdown to $.99
Refried beans - markdown to $.59
Progresso Soup - markdown to $.99 (not that good a sale but it happens to be my favorite variety)
Can of green beans - markdown to $.45 each
Enchilada sauce - markdown to $.89

I also had a  Safeway raincheck to use for peaches for $.77/lb.  The raincheck was for a whole case, but the store didn't have a case.  They said they'd order a case, but of course they didn't receive it from the warehouse because peaches are out of season.  Instead they sold me everything they had which was only about 6 pounds but I suppose some are better than none.  I spent $12.81 on this.
Can of Corn (Not Pictured) - $.79 (Needed for recipe and purchased before Haggen trip with markdown corn. Rats!)
6-packs yogurt - clearance priced $1.34 each
Fage yogurt - clearance priced $.49 each
vanilla - $1.29 (I'm out)
peaches - $5.11

 I also had an Amazon Fresh order this week.  I almost never use this service because groceries are so much more reasonably priced at the store, but sometimes I can find good enough deals and sometimes it's hard to get to the store with 4 kids.  I had to spend $50, but only bought these groceries for $15.39.  I spent the rest on Christmas gifts because there's a reasonable selection of regular amazon items you can order with Fresh.  In particular I was excited to buy Shrinky-Dinks because one of my kids has been asking for them for over a year. 
Tortilla Chips - $2.09 each
15organic bananas - $5.84 (deals section)
Frosting - $1.15 each (deals section)
Fruit Roll-ups - $1.88 (deals section) Package of 10
Cilantro - $1.19

Next I stopped in at QFC near my house for a few ingredients I needed for a black bean salad.  They are remodeling and as it turns out they had about 100 packages of pasta marked down to $.39 each.  I picked up 20 packages because their expirations aren't until 2014 and it's a year's supply.  Now I have find space in the shelf!  I spent $27.21 here.

Fusili - 5 packages $.39 each
Egg free noodles - 4 packages $.39 each
Rainbow Rotini - 3 packages $.39 each
Ditalini - 3 packages $.39 each
Stars - $.39
Spaghetti - 4 packages $.39 each
Romaine - $1.00 each head
Sour cream - clearance priced $1.19 each
Frozen corn - $1.68 each
Green onions - $.85
Zoi greek yogurt - clearance price $.25 each
Lime - $.34
Garlic - $.84
Yellow onions - $1.15
Corn Tortillas - $2.49
Avocado - 5 for $1.00 each

And finally a stop at Fred Meyer last night because of a toy sale that was ending.  Then they were out of the toy!  I picked up ground turkey ($6.99/3 lbs) I needed for dinner tonight and some candy ($2.98 for the 2 packages) while I was there.

Grand Total:
$20.44 Haggen
$12.81 Safeway
$15.39 Amazon Fresh
$27.21 QFC
$9.97 Fred Meyer

This isn't as bad as it could have been considering all the visits to the store, but cash is really tight right now so I think I need to spend way less all around.  It's just hard to trim on groceries this time of year because it's stock-up season.


Friday, October 12, 2012

Trying Out Spaghetti Squash

So we tried spaghetti squash the other night.  I decided I wasn't going to fight with the kids about it so I just made them macaroni & cheese and put them to bed.  When DH got home I whipped up our dinner.  I was really excited to try this as it has so many of my favorite ingredients and is much like another family favorite we make with spaghetti.

I baked the spaghetti squash in the oven.  I sauteed onions, garlic, and bell pepper in olive oil.  I added tomatoes and the spaghetti squash (amazingly stringy!) just to warm it a bit.  I served it up with feta and a basil sprinkle.  DH ate his right up; cleaned the plate.  I ate the feta and the tomatoes.  The squash tasted great but I couldn't get over the texture.  Maybe I was expecting to taste too much like that other family favorite.

Recipe fail.  But I'll give spaghetti squash another try in a completely different recipe.


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Monthly Update & New Goals

It's time for another monthly update.  These are just coming so quickly!  I don't get to blog as much as I'd like so instead of these being every 30 or so posts, they are every 10 or so . . . or 5 . . .

Okay - Goals for September:

1. Save something in the emergency fund.  We managed to put away 24 bucks.  So I guess we met the goal, but it really isn't an exciting advancement.  Our car is still holding up, we just have to jump the battery every week or two.  A goal for October is again to just save something.  We haven't even started paying for the airline tickets, we have to hire someone for a home improvement project, and I just reconciled 4 months of bank statements and found $235 of errors that I have to cover.  Gah!  Note to self: Reconcile Checking Account More Often!

2. I didn't make a laundry goal for September as I was focused on killing any bugs with the heat of the dryer.  And while it was beautiful all month our clothesline didn't see any use.  A goal this month is to do a load of laundry each day so it doesn't pile up and overwhelm me.  In the past I've done almost all the laundry on Monday including our sheets.  The beds get remade by bedtime but there are usually 5-7 loads of laundry on the couch waiting to be folded.  Small tasks are so much easier for me so I'm trying a new method.  This week it has actually gone well.  I've been doing one load a day and keeping up with the folding.  So I'm going to try and keep it up all month. 

3. We did pull off an awesome party for DD#1.  Our only bump was that the party favors we ordered 2 weeks in advance (teacup for each girl to take home) did not arrive.  We borrowed some and I had some and we were OK, but we weren't able to give each girl a teacup so it was a little bit of a bummer.  BUT we had fun making Princess pins decorated with ribbons, making lip gloss, and having an excellent tea party.  Eve was really happy with how it turned out (even though she cried a few times) and felt loved by the 11 friends and all the family who attended.

4. I wanted to post 30 days on Project TwentySix but that totally didn't happen.  I managed 10 in total.  I do want to finish the Project quickly, but I can't obsess about it right now.  Today my goal is to just post when I can - hopefully at least once a day - but I'm not making an official goal. 

5. I did keep a thankful list!  Hooray!  In September we were thankful for our friend Jamie who gave us Math-U-See instruction books and manipulative blocks, DH's employer for a bonus, my brother visiting and making significant progress on our basement remodel, my friend Sarah for selling us excellent eggs at an excellent price, my mom and aunt for coming in advance of the party and cleaning the house like I never would have, the chance to work in the church kitchen which just blesses me so much and again my mom and aunt who watched kiddos on a weekday when I was working at church, for DH saying "OK" to the purchase of airline tickets for a trip to Hawaii in February when I am usually dragging emotionally, for a great visit with my heart-sister (and my actual sister-in-law) to help her prepare for a new baby, for my sister-in-law giving me all sorts of great books and supplies that will come in handy for homeschooling, for Dana and Lorraine lending me teacups, for Judy lending me teapots and providing miniature teapots to give as party favors, and also to Judy for listening when I really needed a friend.  I also have some August blessings I remembered.  Thank you to Carly for giving us about ten pounds of apples from her parents' tree, to Lauren for offering to pay for de-licing service for one of my girls who had the hardest time shaking it, and for Christine & Nick who invited our girls to be part of their wedding and providing each of them special memories.  I'll keep a list for October, too!  Hanging up a paper now!


Monday, October 8, 2012

Monday Menu Plan

I don't really have time to be blogging right now, but my week is really so much smoother when I have meals planned.

M - Baked Potato Soup (Eve's requested birthday dinner)
T - Something with spaghetti squash - probably a sautee with bell peppers, tomato, olives & feta
W - Dinner at Church
D - Chicken Teriyaki and Bok Choy salad (free Bok Choy at church Sunday)
F - Potluck Dinner at Bible Study - Providing big salad
S - Chicken la Viva
S - Company with 4 additional adults & 4 additional kids - Taco Bar

M - Mini pizza
T - Lunch out with kids - appointments/errands from 10 to 2
W - Grilled Cheese
D - Waffles
F - Quesadilla
S - French Toast
S -  PB & J


Sunday, October 7, 2012

Safeway Deals - $12.86

I picked up some sweet deals at Safeway today. 

String Cheese was B1G1 at $4.99 each ($3.00/2 & $1.00/1 MC) = $5.98 for 4 packages or $1.50 each
Big Cup of Noodles on sale for 2/$1.00 ($1.00/4 MC) = $.25 each
Olives on sale for $2.50 ($1.01 SC - limit 3)($1.00/1 MC) = $.49 each
Organic yogurt on clearance for $1.79
Grapes on sale for $1.29/lb = 2.62
Also bought a 16 pound roast (not pictured) for $1.49/lb.  I'll cut it up into 5 pieces for crockpot meals.

I don't normally buy Cup of Noodles, but for a quarter it's a cheap treat for me.  I know, gross, but I love the salt!  I only had two coupons for the pickles, but when I was pulling them off the shelf there was another coupon!  Thanks coupon-sharer, whoever you are!

Total spent $23.01 for the meat and $12.86 for what you see in the photo.


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Zucchini Sauce

I saw a great idea for zucchini a while back.  The gal was suggesting a zucchini sauce similar to applesauce for use in baking as a vegetable oil substitute.  That sounded good to me because while I know applesauce is a great substitute I hate to use it in baking because one of my girls LOVES it and running out is traumatic. 

So I tried it in a crockpot.

It cooked down just fine, but I forgot about seeds!  Who wants seeds in their bread?  Or in their cupcakes?

Rather than trying to pick them all out I figured I'd run it through my grinder/strainer.  It works so well with my applesauce, after all.

 But no luck.  Very little actually made it through the strainer . . .

. . . And I was left with only 1 cup (two half-cup portions).
Overall I was super-disappointed.  Mostly because I had to wash up my KitchenAid and all it's attachments for a measly 1 cup of this sauce!

So it took me over a week to try it again.  This time I cored the zuchini to avoid the seeds and cooked it down on the stovetop.  I mashed it up with a potato masher.

This time 4 medium-sized zucchini made 4 cups of the sauce which I was much happier with.

And they bake up well!  We had some yummy cupcakes and bread that were just as moist as ever.