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
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)