Saturday, June 28, 2008

Restauraut Coupons


There is a relatively new website called Wendy's Saves Michigan Money where you can enter the county you live in and get several coupons to use at their local Wendy's Restauraut. Right now thru 6/30/08 you can get 2/$5 Chicken Sandwiches or 2/$5 Double Cheese Burger or Buy One Single Burger get one Free or $1 off a Garden Sensations Salad or Combo Meal. The coupons will probably change to something different on 7/1/08.

ATTN. Chicagoland/Rockford IL and Grand Rapids, Flint and Traverse City, MI Readers

Taco Bell that serves Chicagoland and Rockford, IL and Grand Rapids, Flint, and Traverse City, MI has a website "My Local Taco Bell". You register with email addy and password and there is access to download coupons to use at the local Taco Bell. The 5 coupons currently on the site are good thru 7/13/08.

Weekly Shopping Trip--Markdown Meat & Eggs

Last week, I said that I was going to be stretching my groceries thru this week!! I did it!! We didn't go hungry! The menu was a simple one and I had everything in my pantry or freezer to cover each meal or snack. We ended up getting take out pizza last night so I now have another meal to stretch into this next week.

I had to go to the store, actually the pharmacy to pick up medicines. While I was there I always take the time to scan the meat counter for "Manager Specials" discount meats! I scored some pork and some ground beef from round!

I got 3.22 lbs of Country Style Boneless Pork Ribs for $7.38 instead of $14.76!! They were marked down 50%!

I got 8.83lbs of Ground Beef from Round(86% lean) for $20.33 instead of $26.43! They were marked down 30%!

They also had 1 dozen eggs on sale for 99 cents!!! I haven't seen eggs that cheap in a long while! I got 4 dozen for $3.96!

My total for the week, which will get used in the weeks to come was $31.67! I used a pop bottle deposit refund of $5.20 which means my total OOP was $26.47!!
My savings was $15.48!!

To read about other's savings this week, head over to MoneySavingMom's Super Saturday Savings and BeCentsAble's Centsible Shopper Show N' Tell!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Frugal Friday--No Bake Desserts

Everyone has a sweet tooth that needs to be "filled" on a consistent basis. During the cooler outside temps it is easy to just turn on the oven and heat the house up and bake our favorite chocolate concoctions. :) However, during the summer months turning on the oven makes the house turn into a here are some no bake summer treats!

Lemonade Ice Cream Sandwiches

1-1/2 cups reduced-fat vanilla ice cream, softened

1-3/4 teaspoons sugar-free lemonade soft drink mix

2 tablespoons water

1/2 cup reduced-fat whipped topping

8 whole graham crackers, halved

Place the ice cream in a bowl. Dissolve lemonade mix in water; stir into ice cream. Fold in whipped topping. Freeze for 20 minutes or until mixture reaches desired consistency. Spread about 3 tablespoonfuls onto eight graham cracker halves; top with remaining crackers. Wrap individually in foil or plastic wrap. Freeze for at least 1 hour. Yield: 8 servings.

Nutritional Analysis: 1 ice cream sandwich equals 106 calories, 3 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 3 mg cholesterol, 106 mg sodium, 17 g carbohydrate, trace fiber, 2 g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 1 starch, 1/2 fat.

Banana Pops (I found this one at Living On A Dime a while ago, and I don't remember exactly but I think it was in one of their e-books or newsletters that I received.)

Slice bananas into disks

Roll banana discs into PLAIN yogurt (you can use vanilla yogurt, but I used plain because that's what the recipe said, and that was back in my super healthy days)

Add any kind of topping you wish. We rolled our disks in chopped pecans. I know that's expensive, but we love pecans so much. After freezing these we ate them AND YOU WOULDN'T BELIEVE THE TASTE! It was like eating a frozen candy bar. Okay, maybe not that good, but they were sweet and refreshing, and I didn't have to put a limit on how many the kids could eat.

Other toppings that work well: chopped raisins, granola, any kind of nut (cashew, peanuts, almonds), peanut butter (this would be without the yogurt), and of course, melted chocolate or chocolate chips.

My son is not a fan of bananas, but he really liked this treat. You can even eat them plain. Oh, yeah, another topping we did was a cinnamon/sugar mixture. Believe it or not, it was good too! I will warn you that it's messy because of the yogurt. And super messy if the kids help! But you don't have the guilt of giving them something unhealthy, and it's a cheap "popsicle."

Peanut Butter "Toffee"
This is a recipe that I concocted using up some things I had in my pantry for a quick treat for my kids!

I melted some Hershey's chocolate bars. While the bars were melting in the microwave, I take saltines and lined a plate with them and then spread them with peanut butter and then took my melted chocolate and poured it over them and then set them in the freezer til the chocolate was firm. Then I broke them apart and ate! Yummy!

What are your favorite, easy, summer time desserts??

If you are feeling like being a little more adventurous, you can try my No-Bake Cheesecake or my Lunch Box Dessert--Layered Pudding Cups!

For other frugal ideas, tips, or resources head over to Biblical Womanhood. This week for Frugal Friday, Crystal is talking about making smoothies.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Homeschooling Little Ones--Pre-K/Kindergarten Curriculum

In my series, Homeschooling with Little Ones, I have covered my game plan with a new baby, keeping toddlers occupied, training of toddlers and my daily routine. I am going to close the series with giving you an overview of what I am going to be doing with my daughter(will be 5 in December) this school year. Last year we worked on getting this preschool list accomplished, along with fun and playful activities.

To start out our year, we are going to focus on a different letter of the alphabet. I haven’t decided if we are going to do a letter per week or every two weeks. I also haven't decided if we are going to go in ABC order because some letters are easier to write/trace than others. I am going to be doing some of the activities that I found at Letter of the Week along with other activites that I have linked below.

Here is a list of the different things we are going to study with the alphabet…

A= Apples, Angels, and Ants Lapbook
B= Birds, Blue, Bees and Butterfly Lapbook
C= Circle Shape Book with C Words, carrots, caterpillars , and cars
D= Dogs, Ducks, and Dolls
E= Earth, Eggs, and Elephants
F= Fruit, Fish, Flowers, Feathers, Flag, fire safety, and Frogs
Visit a Fire Station, Collect Pictures of Flowers
G= Girl, Green, Grapes
H= Heart, and House
I= Ice Cream, and Indians
J= Jewelry, Jello, Jumprope, and Jungle
K= Kites, King, Kangaroo, Kindness, Kitchen
L= Ladybugs, Lions, Library and Lambs
Visit the Library
M= Music, Monkey, Money, and Manners
N= Nursery rhymes, Nurse, and Neighborhood
O= Oceans, Orange, Owls, and Opposites
P= Popcorn, Pizza, Princess, and Penguins
Q= Queen, Quilt, and Quiet
R= Rainbow, and Rocks
S= Senses, Stranger Safety, Strawberries and Stars
T= Trains, Tiger, Tomatoes, and Teeth
U= Umbrella, and Uncle
V= Violets, Vacation, and Vegetables
W= Winter, Whales, and Wagon
X= Xray, Fox, and Box
Y= Yellow, YoYo, Yarn, Yogurt
Z= Zoo, Zebra
Visit the Zoo

Along with the alphabet, we are going to do unit study/theme units at Learning Page which will cover Math(shapes, numbers), Language Arts, Handwriting, and Science. (There is a required free membership in order to see all their pages.)

Any kind of Reading Readiness will be from reading lots of library books together and Starfall. Towards the middle of the year, I will be working more with Phonics, sight words and Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons.

Bible will be activities from Bible ABC's, Awana, and ABC Memory Verses. We will also be working on Character Education thru books and activities. We will also be working with learning the fruit of the spirit.

Aside from the Learning Page for Handwriting, I will be using tracing exercises in jello, finger paints, sand, and whipping cream and also using tracing sheets from handwriting worksheet generator and worksheets to help with word and letter spacing and handwriting for kids.

Here is a list of other early childhood resources.

**Stay tuned for our journey thru the curriculum...our accomplishments, our skips, and our additions to our fun filled year.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Kitchen Tip Tuesday---Freezer Tips and Meatloaf Recipe

Last Friday, I was talking about my way of Once a month Cooking(OMAC) and had a couple of reader ask me questions about freezing baked goods and looking for a meatloaf recipe.

Kim asked...
"I've tried doing baking days as well, but the results haven't been too nice coming out of the freezer--they taste freezer-burned. I usually put them in freezer bags and suck the air out with a straw. Any other tips?"

I usually have no problems with freezer burn when I put my baked goods in freezer bags and stick them in the freezer. As long as I make sure that the baked goods are totally cold so that the moisture from the baked goods doesn't create ice in the bag when they are put in the freezer.

Also, if my freezer hasn't been defrosted in a while and there is ice accumulating on the shelves, my baked goods don't like that and will taste freezer burned. So having a freezer without alot of ice build up is a good thing, not only will it be more energy efficient but less of your foods will taste or have freezer burn. Having dollar store baskets available to stick your baked goods in and place in the freezer would be another alternative to keep those baked goods off the ice.

The other thing I would recommend is to date your freezer bags so that you know how long the baked goods have been in the freezer. Around here baked goods usually do not last 3 weeks in the freezer, however, they can keep up to 4 months in the freezer and still have a "fresh taste. Freezer storage is great when you know how long items will last and still "taste" fresh!

One of the recipes that I have found to work well in my freezer is my meatloaf!

Donna asked...
"Care to share your meatloaf recipe as well as the leanness of the ground beef that you use in it?"

I would love to share my meatloaf recipe with a disclaimer! The disclaimer is that all ingredient amounts are approximate! My meatloaf recipe has been handed down to me from my Mother. She would just put ground beef(and sometimes sausage or ground turkey along with the beef) in a bowl and add the rest of the ingredients! Mix it together and then decide if more of an ingredient was needed based on the dryness or wetness of the meat. Here is the recipe, which so happens to be very close to my meatball recipe.

Sonshine's Meatloaf

1lb. ground beef (I usually use ground chuck or ground round which is like 86%-91% lean meat)
1 egg
1/4- 1/2 cup bread crumbs or crushed saltines or regular/quick oatmeal
1 tsp. garlic powder
2 TBSP. minced onion
3-4 TBSP. ketchup
1 TBSP bbq sauce
1-2 tsp. yellow mustard
1/2 green pepper, chopped(optional)
1-2 medium size carrots, shredded(optional)

Mix altogether. Form into mini meat loaves and stick on a cookie sheet lined with wax or parchment paper to "flash freeze". Once frozen, stick in a freezer bag and label!

If you do not want to freeze them uncooked, place in a 9x13 pan and place in the oven at 350° for 30-40 minutes or until done. Let cool completely before freezing!

Other notes: if the meat looks too wet add more bread crumbs/crushed saltines/oatmeal. This recipe makes tasty burger patties too! If you want to make an actual loaf, you can do that as well, I would let the loaf cool completely first then slice it into individual servings, wrap them and then stick in a freezer bag for later consumption.

These are my tips for today! For other tips, recipes, and resources, head over to Tammy's Recipes, where today she is talking about glass jar storage!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Frugal Food Series--Beans

Jenn over at Frugal Upstate is in week three of her Frugal Food Series. She has done a week all about eggs and all about tuna! This week, it is all about beans!

For the last two weeks, I was able to share with certainty things that my family enjoys and I fix on occasion. However, this week is a little different, I think most of my family would rather go hungry than to eat beans! Personally, I love beans, esp. homemade baked beans or beans and cornbread but I don’t fix these any more because my family refuses to eat them.

I still put kidney or pinto beans in chili and every time I fix it there are several that request to remove the beans after their required amount of bites with beans! Little do they know that I have pureed some of the beans into the sauce of the chili while it was simmering all day. Just in case you are wondering how much beans I puree for my chili....I use one 15 oz can of kidney beans in my pot of chili....I puree 1/2 the can with water(not the syrupy stuff that is in the can of beans) and the rest of the can I just dump in the pot. The pureed beans are in place of tomato paste in the pot of chili, because the pureed beans will thicken the sauce!

I have made homemade refried beans for using with and in taco meat and those have even been met with the family resistance.

Has anyone been success with getting their "meat and potatoes" family eating beans?? Have any tips to send my way, other than pureeing them?

Anyway, I began to think that with my inexperience and my family’s resistance with beans that I would sit out this week and enjoy reading everyone else’s recipes.

However, I feel compelled to share something about beans!

So I am going to link you to one of my favorite recipe/cooking sites, Hillbilly Housewife and her page of bean recipes. I have tried other of her recipes but none of the bean ones, I would love to hear from anyone that has tried her bean recipes! Maybe I can find some kind of bean recipe that my family will not resist!

Menu Plan Monday 6/22-6/28

**Another week is upon us so that means it is time for another menu plan! This is just a plan and it could change on the cook’s whim!

Last week’s menus went well. Once again I have plenty of leftovers to use for lunches for the next few days!

One of the leftovers I have is homemade pizza and breadsticks! I made a double batch of Crystal's homemade pizza crust for making 2 thin and 1 thick crust pizzas and then made a single batch of the crust for making cheesy garlic breadsticks. Everything was yummy! I still haven’t found a recipe though for homemade pizza that my hubby doesn’t complain that it is too salty!

I am stretching my groceries from last week so this week’s meals are using what I already have on hand in my pantry and freezer. It should be interesting how meals play out for next weekend, payday isn’t till next Monday (6/30) so next Sunday (6/29) and Monday (6/30) will be using whatever is left in the pantry and freezer!

Lunches listed are for the kids and me. Hubby usually takes dinner leftovers each day.

A special thanks to Laura-Organizing Junkie for hosting Menu Plan Monday! Need help with your menus, go check other delicious meal plans that have been linked at her site! **

Sunday (6-22)
Breakfast: eggs, hash browns, sausage links and donuts
Lunch: “Country Fair” @ church—bringing a salad and dessert to pass
Dinner: shredded BBQ beef/sloppy joes, fries, and carrot sticks
Snack: banana muffins

Monday (6-23)
Breakfast: cereal and toast
Lunch: leftovers
Dinner: oven fried chicken (#5), boiled potatoes, corn
Snack: cookies & milk

Tuesday (6-24)
Breakfast: waffles and Canadian bacon
Lunch: leftovers—homemade pizza
Dinner: Taco Bar
Snack: snack basket

Wednesday (6-25)
Breakfast: bagels and cereal
Lunch: leftovers or sandwich and chips
Dinner: turkey breast, mashed potatoes & gravy, corn and honey oatmeal rolls
Snack: snack basket

Thursday (6-26)
Breakfast: French toast and Canadian bacon
Lunch: pizza rolls
Dinner: chicken clubs (#6), seasoned pan fries, and green beans
Snack: “mystery snack” – (probably will be ice cream sundaes or popsicles)

Friday (6-27)
Breakfast: cereal and toast
Lunch: sandwich, chips, applesauce and carrot sticks
Dinner: Take out Pizza and movie(we rented one!)
Snack: popcorn and chocolates

Saturday (6-28)
Breakfast: “Cook’s Choice”
Lunch: fish/chicken nugget sandwiches, mac & cheese and veggies
Dinner: steak/burgers, fries, and corn
Snack: popcorn or snack basket

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Singing Sunday

Sorry I am posting this later than usual!! It has been a busy day here! We went to church this morning for morning service and did not get home til 5pm!! We had a church wide picnic today and my oldest son had youth group following the picnic. So instead of driving home 20 minutes and then going back to church after being home for 20 minutes we decided to look at some "open houses" in the area around our church while we waited for oldest son to finish with youth group! Once home it was time for dinner and some family time!

I going back to the hymnal for this week's Singing Sunday!

Are You Washed in the Blood??
by Eli­sha A. Hoff­man

Have you been to Jesus for the cleansing power?
Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?
Are you fully trusting in His grace this hour?
Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?


Are you washed in the blood,
In the soul cleansing blood of the Lamb?
Are your garments spotless? Are they white as snow?
Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?

Are you walking daily by the Savior’s side?
Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?
Do you rest each moment in the Crucified?
Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?


When the Bridegroom cometh will your robes be white?
Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?
Will your soul be ready for the mansions bright,
And be washed in the blood of the Lamb?


Lay aside the garments that are stained with sin,
And be washed in the blood of the Lamb;
There’s a fountain flowing for the soul unclean,
O be washed in the blood of the Lamb!