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.