Saturday, July 12, 2008

Weekly Grocery Trip--Savings $50.43!

I am pretty proud of myself that I did all my errands in one day! Usually I do it two days but I am trying to save gas as well since the stores are not in walking distance. Anyway, I actually planned how I was going to do my errand day with carting around 5 kids at the same time. I had SEVEN different places that I needed to go and I needed to get them all in before 3pm so I could get things put away and get dinner done and on the table by 6pm!

Well anyway, onto the shopping and deals....

Last week I did a major big shopping trip and saved over $150, so this week I didn't need much in the way of groceries! OOOOPPPPSSSS, I forgot to get pics this week! Oh well, guess that is what happens when most of the items are freezer or fridge products that you don't want to get thawed or warm when it is 85° outside!

For this week's shopping, I made two stops...First to Meijer to pick up some of this week's deals then on to Family Fare where I got 37 cent/gallon of milk(more on that below)!

First stop...Meijer...

  • 6.43lbs bananas $3.22 (I found these as an unadvertise special--2lbs/$1!!)
  • 10lbs Potatoes $4.58
  • 2 bags froz. whole strawberries $2.58 (these were NOT part of the 3/$8 sale!!)
  • 1lb deli hickory smoked turkey $4.54
  • 1 lb deli oven roasted turkey $5.29
  • 2 pkgs English Muffins $2.00
  • 3 loaves bread $3.00
  • 2 lbs bacon $4.00
  • 1 gallon Milk $2.77
  • 2 pints fresh blueberries $3.34
  • 1 container sour cream $.75
  • 1 bag frozen blackberries $1.67
  • 4-1/2 gallon ice cream $6.00
  • 4 pkgs frozen hashbrowns $4.00

Total after coupons $47.45
Total SAVINGS $30.61

Next stop....Family Fare...

Before I give a breakdown on my trip, I thought I would stop the suspense as to how I got 37 cent/gallon of milk! First off, Family Fare is a 3 day sale(Thurs/Fri/Sat) on top of the weekly ad sales. For their weekly sale, they are advertising 12 count Poptarts 2/$5 PLUS Get $2 off instantly at the checkout when you buy any TWO Kelloggs 12 ct. Poptarts. For their 3 day sale, they were advertising gallons of milk for $2.37. So I purchased four boxes of Poptarts and got $4.00 off my 2 gallons of milk. My family loves Poptarts, I just wished that I would have had coupons for the poptarts to sweeten the deal even more!

Now for the breakdown...

  • grape tomatoes $2.99
  • 2 gallons milk 74 cents
  • 2-64oz bottles Juicy Juice $5.34
  • 18oz. fresh raspberries $4.00
  • 2.28lbs red grapes $2.01
  • 4 boxes 12 ct Poptarts $10.00
Total $25.08
Total SAVINGS $19.82
(would have had more savings if I had not forgotten my Juicy Juice coupons!! UGH!)

Weekly TOTAL $72.53
Weekly SAVINGS $50.43

Well, my $50 goal for this week didn't happen!!! Going to try better next week!

To check out other's weekly deals, head over to Super Savings Saturday at MoneySavingMom and Grocery Gathering at BeCentsable!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Berry Smoothies

2 cups cold milk
1 container (6 oz.) strawberry low-fat yogurt
1 pkg. (4-serving size) JELL-O Brand Strawberry Flavor Gelatin
1 cup frozen mixed berries
2 biscuits POST Shredded Wheat Cereal, crumbled

PLACE all ingredients in blender; cover.
BLEND on high speed 15 sec. or until smooth.
SERVE immediately.

My kids love Frosted Mini Wheats and usually at the bottom of the box there is at least a whole bowl of mini wheats that are nothing but crumbs! When the cereal is done, the crumbs get dumped because no one will eat them! However, after reading this recipe, I know what to do with the crumbs from the bottom of the box!!! PUT THEM IN A SMOOTHIE!!!! My goodness, why didn't I think of this sooner!

Hummm....wonder what other cereal crumbs I can save and use in smoothies??!!! Cheerios?! Bran Flakes?! Honey Bunches of Oats?! Oh the possibilities!!

Frugal Friday--Entertaining

Last Sunday was oldest son's birthday and to celebrate we are having a "party" for him tomorrow.

When one thinks of a kid's party it is the hostess that does all the work by making all the food and the guests come bearing gifts(that really are not needed) and eat all the food and usually the hostess is the only adult at the event. However, that can make a party quite expensive line item on one's budget. It also can be very nerve racking trying to keep them all entertained so they do not destroy the house.

So Hubby and I take a different route when it comes to having parties. We invite families! This way, the kids can play together and the adults can interact together. This helps hubby and I to get to know our children's friends' parents as well not just the kids.

Okay I am sure that you are thinking how can inviting families actually help not make the party sooo expensive? It would seem to me that the party would be more expensive because there is more people, hence more mouths to feed!

Welllll the answer to your question...instead of requiring the families to bring gifts, we ask them to bring a dish to share. If it is during the summer months, we also tell them to bring meat for their family to grill.

Tomorrow afternoon when we have our "party"....I will providing burgers and hot dogs for my family. I will have a birthday cake and ice cream for my dish to share. For the hostess part of things, I will be providing drinks, and paper products for our guests. The two families will be bringing a dish to share and their meat to grill.

We will have plenty of food, and fellowship! Hubby and I feel that having the fellowship with friends is more important than the material gifts one receives at a "party".

Hubby and I follow the "potluck ways" even if we are just inviting friends over for dinner and there is no reason to party! It definitely helps to not break the bank when entertaining in our home.

For other frugal tips, ideas and resources head over to Biblical Womanhood!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Works For Me Wednesday--Simple Meals

Yesterday, I was talking about not having that all day in the kitchen feeling. Two of the things that I mentioned to not having that all day in the kitchen feeling is keeping meals simple and using "modern day servants". How do I keep meals simple? By using basic items that I keep on hand in my pantry and freezer. Nothing exotic here!

Most of meals consist of a meat, two starches(potatoes, rice, or noodles and some kind of bread) and then veggies and/or fruit.

Like this meal from last week...BBQ boneless pork ribs,cheesy potatoes (no meat), and green beans. Simple but yet filling!

For today's meal, I am using a couple of my favorite "modern day servants" along with keeping the meal simple.....Crockpot roasted chicken, mashed potatoes, corn and bread.

I season my chicken breasts with poultry seasoning, garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper and seasoned salt. I would use minced onion or fresh onion BUT my picky eaters do not like the "chunks" of veggies. I didn't put any water or canned broth in the crockpot because the chicken will do quite well making its own!

As you can see from the picture, I seasoned the chicken quite liberally! It will make some flavorful chicken and broth! I cook this in the crockpot for 8 hours on low or 4-5 hours on high. I didn't get it started right after breakfast like I had planned so I have the crockpot on high for now.
These are just two examples of simple meals that work for me! I am always looking for new simple meals to try with my family! What are some simple meals that you do for your family?

Want to read what works for others, check out WFMW over at Rocks in My Dryer.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Kitchen Tip Tuesdays

Last week, I gave tips for "defeating" rising prices and one of those tips of making things from scratch really sparked comments(and emails) about how I do that along with homeschooling without seemingly being in the kitchen foreeeeeevvvverrrrrr. How can one provide nourishment for their family and not spend tons of time in the kitchen? Here are some of my tips that seem to work for me(in no particular order)...

  1. Involve my kids! I have found that having my kids help me wash and cut up veggies or fruit to have in the fridge for meals or snacks helps those meal prep times go faster. My kids love to help mix up the cookie dough or bread batter too. My kids also like to do the cleanup--loading the dishwasher or washing dishes. They love to be helpers. Even with young children, I can give them a task to do in the kitchen while I work on something else in the kitchen. I actually count their help in the kitchen as part of their homeschooling credit for "home econonics". I want my kids(esp. my boys) to be efficient in the kitchen so involving them in the work is the best way.

  2. Plan ahead times to work in the kitchen. When I do my menu planning, I make notes as to what needs to be done before the given day. This way, I make time/plan time to work in the kitchen sometime the day before I want something for meals. For instance, last week I wanted to have homemade cinnamon rolls for breakfast BEFORE we were to walk in an 11am July 4th Parade. So I planned ahead to make the dough up during quiet time the day before. It took me along with my 7yo son less than 20 minutes to get the dough made and into rolls ready to bake the next morning.

  3. Keep it simple! If one were to take a look at my menu plans you would find that I don't do gourmet or 3 course meals every day! I can feed my family a well-balanced nutritional meal without having to have 3 courses. I usually keep my meals simple---meat, a couple of starches(potato, or rice, or noodles, and bread), and veggies and/or fruit. It is on rare occasion that I will make a dessert to go with the a dinner meal. I save the desserts for dinner meals when we are entertaining guests. Other than that desserts or treats as my kids calls them are served after lunch. This way the extra sugar/sweetness has been burned off before bedtime.

  4. Develop a routine! I found that having a "baking day" was just too much work! No matter how well I planned, life would happen and baking just would not happen! So I aim to make something each day. Yes there are days that baking still doesn't happen...those are the days that I am glad for my freezer full of goodies!

  5. Use "modern day servants"! I love using my crockpot...fix it and forget it til dinner time! I love my bread machine to mix up my bread dough because it saves me time...put the ingredients in and let the machine do the work. I love my stand alone is full of goodies for that quick pull to finish off a meal.

  6. Plan ahead with purpose! From grocery shopping to meal planning to prepping food to preparing the food...planning ahead is important! I can not just aimlessly walk into the kitchen and expect to accomplish anything without having a plan and purpose. I have tried the aimless walk too many times to count and nothing gets done completely just alot of loose ends which means more time in the kitchen. I make sure that I do my grocery shopping on days where I have time to take care of the 20 lbs plus of meat that I am going to need to put it into meal size servings and into the freezer or it will go bad.

I would love to hear how you keep that "all day in the kitchen feeling" at bay! What things do you do to accomplish nourishment for your family?

For other's kitchen tips and recipes, head over to Tammy's Recipes!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Menu Plan Monday 7/6-7/12

**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. The homemade cinnamon rolls and cheesy potatoes (no meat) that I tried as new recipes this week went well with the family! They liked the cinnamon rolls better! I changed the cinnamon roll recipe some by using 1/2 whole wheat flour for the flour and I didn't use cream cheese in the icing. The family loved them lots so the cinnamon rolls will be more frequent on the menu instead of the canned ones.
Last week, I planned bbq pork, cheesy potatoes, and green beans! What a yummy meal!! The cheesy potatoes I will be putting on my rotation list as well, I just will not be fixing them on regular basis because a couple of picky eaters did not like them.

Why is that the week after doing major grocery shopping to fill my freezer and pantry (till next payday—15th), I am stuck with what to fix for meals?? I have lots of food but no inspiration!

My oldest ds turned 12 on Sunday! He went to a friend’s house who lives on a lake with the church youth group and then went out to dinner by himself with Dad. We are going to have a party at the house this Saturday. He has invited two friends and their families plus my parents to join us for a party! So this week, I have to get some cupcakes or cake made for the party!

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 Laura-Organizing Junkie's site! **

Sunday (7-6) HAPPY 12th BIRTHDAY, J
Breakfast: eggs, hash browns, sausage links and jiffy muffins
Lunch: leftovers
Dinner: pizza, fries, corn on the cob
Snack: snack basket

Monday (7-7)
Breakfast: cereal and leftover cinnamon rolls
Lunch: leftover spaghetti
Dinner: chicken rice casserole and homemade honey oatmeal rolls
Snack: cookies & milk

Tuesday (7-8)
Breakfast: waffles and sausage
Lunch: leftovers or sandwich and chips
Dinner: *looking for inspiration*
Snack: snack basket

Wednesday (7-9)
Breakfast: bagels and cereal
Lunch: leftovers or sandwich and chips
Dinner: grilled chicken & fish, potato pockets, and corn
Snack: snack basket

Thursday (7-10)
Breakfast: buttermilk pancakes from freezer
Lunch: sandwich and chips
Dinner: saucy pork chops, rice, and green beans
Snack: snack basket

Friday (7-11)
Breakfast: cereal and toast
Lunch: pizza rolls
Dinner: roasted chicken, mashed potatoes & gravy, and corn
Snack: homemade chocolate shakes

Saturday (7-12)
Breakfast: “Cook’s Choice”
Lunch: ????
Dinner: grilled burgers & dogs, chips, veggie tray, and cake and other party food!
Snack: “mystery snack” – (probably will be ice cream sundaes or popsicles)

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Singing Sunday

Faithful One
by Selah

I find no hope within to call my own
For I am frail of heart, my strength is gone
But deep within my soul is rising up a song
Here in the comfort of the faithful one

I walk a narrow road through valleys deep
In search of higher ground, on mountains steep
And though with feet unsure, I still keep pressing on.
For I am guided by the faithful one.

Faithful, faithful to the end,
My true and precious friend,
You have been faithful,
Faithful, so faithful to me

I see your wounded hands, I touch your side
With thorns upon your brow you bled and died
But there’s an empty tomb, a love for all who come
And give their hearts to you, the faithful one.

Faithful, faithful to the end,
My true and precious friend,
You have been faithful,
Faithful, so faithful to me

And when the day is dawned and when the race is run
I will bow down before God’s only Son
And I will lift my hands in praise for all you’ve done
And I will worship you, my faithful one.