Saturday, September 6, 2008

The Year I Belong!

I found a link to this little quiz over at Michelle--Frugal Granola so I thought I would try it out and see what the results would be for me! If you decide to take the fun little quiz leave me a comment with your results.

I guess here on my blog I show my "successful during the day" side rather than the wild at night! LOL!

You Belong in 1984

Wild, over the top, and just a little bit cheesy. You're colorful at night - and successful during the day.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Monthly Sam's Run

As part of my grocery budget, I have figured in a monthly Sam's run. I thought I would take the time to break down what I got there this month just to show and possibly help someone see how shopping at Sam's can save one some money.

I have two pages of my pricebook devoted to Sam's Club items, however, I do not get all of the items each month. The reason for not getting all the items is because many of the items last me more than just a month!

Here is a breakdown of what I purchased this month...
  • 30lbs french fries $15.87
  • 60ct. box frozen waffles $8.02
  • 140ct. box pizza rolls $8.88
  • 2lbs Canadian bacon $7.62
  • 48 ct. AA batteries $17.84
  • 6lbs shredded hashbrowns $4.88
  • 10pk Honey Maid Graham Crackers $7.22
  • 3-44oz bottles Heinz ketchup $6.34
  • 12 ct. plain bagels $4.36
  • 56oz bag plain M&Ms $7.70 (hubby takes the bag to work to fill his M&M guy)
  • 3lb bag Hormel Real Bacon Bits $6.88
  • 3lb bag Ball Park Beef Hotdogs $6.27
  • 5lbs tub Country Crock Margarine $3.76
  • 72ct. box Kraft American Cheese slices $8.46
  • 48 ct. bag Individually wrapped string cheese $9.88
  • 5lbs mild cheddar cheese $13.73($2.75/lb)
  • 3.91lbs Beef Round Roast $14.31(this will give me at least TWO meals!)
  • 9 thick sliced pork loin chops $16.66 (I take these home and slice them so they are thin pork loin chops and so I ended up with 2 meals out of 9 thick sliced chops!)

Just to give you some idea out of this list, I will not need to get fries, bacon bits, hotdogs, batteries, and graham crackers next month! Everything else will be on the list next month along with a few other things.

Weekly Shopping Trip--Saved $98.69 PLUS!!!

After spending most of last month working at emptying the pantry and freezer so that the shelves were bare for while we were on our 4 day vacation, it was time this week to restock the pantry and freezer with food for meals. So between Monday and today, I have successfully stocked and planned for 24 days worth of meals(3/day) along with 2 snacks/day and only spent $370.60(includes AA batteries, and wild bird seed)! I see that as an accomplishment with needing to feed 7 people who are meat and potatoes type people for meals. I will need to get milk and eggs via WIC and fresh fruits and veggies before those 24 days are up but I feel good about things especially with prices seemingly still rising.

Now to break down that $370.60...I made my monthly Sam's run and spent $169.75. You can read about what a typical monthly Sam's run looks like for me here.

After Sam's that leaves me $200.85 left....

I ended up making TWO trips to Save A Lot this week because they were out of an item! Here is what I got in my two trips...
  • 2 heads of lettuce $1.00
  • 7.40 lbs bananas $2.89 (39 cents/lb)
  • 8 cans cream of chicken soup $3.92
  • 1 family pack of 11 thin pork chops $4.84
  • 25 lbs Michigan white potatoes $6.45 ($1.29/5 lbs)
  • 1 pkg Ice cream bars $1.99
  • 1 family bag breaded chicken tenders $4.49
  • 1 gallon chocolate milk 99 cents with coupon(this is what they were out of my 1st trip)
  • 9.19lbs all beef hamburger $9.10 (99cents/lb with coupon for 8lbs or more)
TOTAL: $35.67
TOTAL SAVINGS: LOTS!!! doing a guessimate in my head, I would say my savings here was at least around $20 which would push my total savings for the week over $100!!

Next stop....Meijer
  • 20lbs bird seed $5.59
  • 1 pkg chicken drumsticks $2.07
  • 2 pkgs split chicken breasts $6.89
  • 3 lbs ground chuck $5.97 ($1.99/lb)
  • 2 boxes Jiffy Muffins $1.34
  • 1.44lbs peaches $1.40
  • 1 tomato 61 cents
  • 3 bags Meijer frozen corn $2.97
  • 1 butternut squash 93 cents
  • 1 Easy Cheese can $1.89
  • 3 loaves Aunt Millie's bread $3.19
  • 1 loaf Sara Lee Soft & Smooth bread FREE after cpn
  • 6 cans Freshlike corn $4.00
  • 1 family pack bag breaded chicken tenders $4.99
  • 1 cantaloupe $1.67
  • 2 bottles Juicy Juice $3.00
  • 2 boxes Cocoa Pebbles $2.00
  • 1 bottle(96oz) Tropicana OJ $3.24
  • 4-4# bags boneless/skinless chicken breasts $29.96 ($1.87/lb)
TOTAL after $1 checkout cpn: $82.48
TOTAL SAVINGS: $66.12 (non-cpn savings $56.88; cpn savings $9.24)

Next stop....Family Fare(shopped the sales and used no coupons!)...
  • 2.16lbs green grapes $2.14
  • 2.18lbs red grapes $2.16
  • 1 mini half ham $7.46
  • 9 boxes poptarts $11.25
  • 2 lbs bacon $5.00
  • 7.59lb turkey breast $7.51
  • 7.05lb turkey breast $6.98
  • .64lb bottom round steaks $2.23 (markdown 30%)
  • 1.29lbs top round steak $4.51(markdown 30%)
  • 1.31lbs top round steak $4.58(markdown 30%)
  • 2 pkgs. natural cheese slices $3.76
  • 1 pkg. swiss cheese slices $1.88
TOTAL: $59.46

My last stop was to the bread outlet store. I really dislike going in there because I always seem to splurge a bit but what I do gets lasts the whole month!! I also dislike it because their receipts are hard to read!
  • 2 pkgs-8ct whole wheat hamburger buns
  • 2 pkgs-8ct steak buns
  • 2 pkgs-12ct honey hamburger buns
  • 2 pkgs dunkin sticks
  • 2 boxes big chocolate donuts
  • 2 boxes chocolate donettes
  • 1 bag powdered donettes
  • 1 bag crullers

TOTAL after $1 frequent shopper coupon: $19.24

So there is the full breakdown of how I go about getting my pantry and freezer restocked. Now to make up the menus for the next 2 weeks!

Check out other's savings and deals by visiting MoneySavingMom's Super Savings Saturday and BeCentsable's Centsable Shopper Show N Tell!!!

Frugal Friday--Holiday Gift Baskets

Christmas is just around the corner(I think we are down to 111 days!!!), so it is time for me to start thinking about gifts and what I am going to do to bring holiday cheer to extended family members and neighbors.

One thing I do each year for Christmas, I do up gift baskets for my extended family members. Being the oldest of eight children, it seems that my extended family is forever growing! I found that doing these baskets is fun and economical. I also like doing them because my munchkins can help me think of items to put in them and help put them together. The other thing that I like about doing these kinds of baskets is how versatile they can be. You don't have to just give them at Christmas time but you can use them for other occasions as well! I have been known to give the "baby basket" at a baby shower. The "kitchen basket" makes a good home warming gift or bridal shower gift.

To make them economical I usually will visit my local Dollar Stores! We have a few different ones in my area. The other thing is to make the items yourself that you place in the baskets.
Here is a list of ones that I have done.

Kitchen gift basket:
--magnetic grocery list pad
--dish towel or cloth(usually line the basket with it)
--scented candle or two
--kitchen utensil or two
--dry ingredients of a spice mix or bread or cookies

Holiday gift basket:
--holiday table runner
--holiday dish towel or cloth or hotpad
--holiday scented candles
--tree ornament(handmade or store bought)
--small box of chocolates or fudge
--Christmas music CD

Baby gift basket:
--hooded towel
--wash cloth
--rubber ducky
--baby shampoo(trial size)
--baby powder(trial size)
--baby lotion(trial size)
--terri sleeper

Cookie gift basket:
--cookie mix(gift in a jar type thing)
--cookie recipes
--cookie cutters

Rainy day/sick day gift basket:
--soup mix(gift in a jar type thing)
--hot chocolate or tea
--mug/tea cup
--deck of cards

Kid coloring gift basket:
--coloring book
--a pad of paper(construction or drawing)
--box of 24 ct. crayons
--washable markers

Stationary/Letter Writing Gift basket:
--different kinds of stationary and envelopes
--postage stamps
--address book
--letter opener

"Night in" gift basket:(this basket is a little more expensive but a nice one for a couple)
--movie rental gift certificate
--bag of popcorn
--couple bottles of IBC rootbeer or sparkling grape juice

Here is some websites that have some more ideas for homemade gift baskets...

Homemade Gift Baskets

Christmas Gifts baskets

Pioneer Thinking-Gift baskets

Themed Gift baskets

Gift Ideas by Hobby

For other frugal tips, recipes, or resources, Biblical Womanhood! Today Crystal is explaining why they are raising their grocery budget for this "life season" they are going thru as a family! Congratulations to the Paine family!!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Being Real---Swing of things!

In order to keep things real...I thought I would show a side of me that I haven't really shown on my blog before....the disorganized looking for organization again side of me! This week is proving that I am NO "SuperMom"! Yesterday, I started with a to-do list that had about 20 items on it! I soon realized that getting ALL 20 done in one day was NOT going to happen!

I managed to get meals done for the day, showered and dressed, school set up for munchkins, vacation blog post done, one of two meats in the freezer, and 3 loads of laundry washed and dried just yesterday. That is just the tip of the iceberg for this week!!

My to do list for this week looks something like this....
  1. Mount Laundry
  2. School with FOUR munchkins--just Math, History, and Reading!! We are going to add subjects a few at a time so they are not overwhelmed!
  3. Getting daily routine down--you know when you add something different(in our case school back in session) it takes a few days to get the hang of it.
  4. Menu Planning!! Yes, I have no idea what I am fixing for dinners this week!! UGH!
  5. Getting to the Library after I read the library books that I have on the shelf. I also need to make a book list of books to get from the library for school.
  6. Straighten up my storage room...I have a 25lb bag of flour that needs to be in containers! I have bags of egg noodles that need to be in containers! Plain and simple I need to get my food storage area organized so that I know what I have in order to make wise choices when grocery deal shopping!
  7. Making sure that everyone is fed at least 3 meals per day!

So in order for my house not to be in complete chaos...I am going to use this week as a transition week for me! From vacation to getting school back underway with the munchkins to getting a schedule/routine down that isn't soooooo overwhelming! Sooooo please bear with me!! I'll be back to normal blogging by next week!! I promise!!

Weblink Wednesday

As I was looking for sites to go along with my oldest son's studies on World History and Cultures and Earth Science, I stumbled upon this site I am going to share! I haven't had a chance to look through the whole site but what I have looks inviting and fun for my son! The site is part of the American Museum of Natural History! It is their Ology Page! It is a Science rich site! You can learn more about archeology, paleontology, astronomy, Earth, genetics, Einstein along with a few others. There are tons of activities to do like quizzes, experiments, interviews with scientists, field work, and more!

For other weblinks, head over to Homeschooling with Encouragement! This week, Val is also having a DVD giveaway, that you can enter just by participating in Weblink Wednesday! :)

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Awesome Vacation!!

This was the first actual vacation that we have taken as a family!! Usually when we go on "vacation" it is to visit family either in Ohio or Kentucky. So this vacation was a treat for all of us!

Now to answer the question....Where did we go??

First stop....

Over the Mackinac Bridge!!! This was my second time and only the first time for my kids and hubby!! I don't know why but each of the times we crossed this on our adventure, I was sweating bullets!! It must be the height of it or something!

Second stop(Thursday night).....

Soo Locks!!! We drove 5 hours to get there! We took the 2 hour boat tour thru the Locks going thru on the American side first and coming back thru on the Canadian side of the Locks. I am one that doesn't like water, riding in a boat, etc. BUT I did the tour and didn't even get sick! It rained on and off during the whole tour but we were still able to enjoy the sites and sounds of the Locks!

Friday morning we got up and drove on highways that looked like this to get to our next stop! It makes for a long drive when this is ALL you see!!

Third stop(Friday morning)...

Whitefish Bay Lighthouse and Shipwreck Museum!!! This was a fun adventure! The boys loved seeing all the ship replicas and artifacts recovered from the ships. I even had a couple people come up to me and say that they appreciated how well behaved my kids were and how they could tell they loved learning!

After we finished at the museum and lighthouse, it was time for heading to our fourth stop....
Lower Falls

Upper Falls

Tahquamenon Falls State Park!!! Off to see the Falls!! We went to the Lower Falls first and then on to the Upper Falls. The Lower Falls were easy to see(meaning not alot of steps from the parking lot!) However, the Upper Falls were a trek! To get to one of the observation decks for the falls we had to go down 94 steps!!! The other observation deck went down into the gorge of the river and we went down the 124 steps to the river!! Oh and just so you know the only way back up was via those same steps at each deck!!

After our afternoon at the Falls, we decided to head 20 minutes away to Oswalds' Bear Ranch! This is a family who rescue cub bears from all over the USA. They have made four different natural habitats for the bears. We also got to have our picture taken with a couple of bear cubs! The pic above is all of us looking down at one of the cubs who found my hubby's sandal strap and was trying to gnaw on it!

Friday night was one of the anxious moments hubby and the four older kids decided to go for a dip in the hotel indoor pool after a long day of walking/hiking! While there my #3 son was jumping back into the pool after being over in the whirlpool and ended up cutting up the outside of his right foot on some of the pool tiles. According to my hubby the pool tiles had sunk or something to create sharp edges and that is what my son cut his foot on. We filed an incident report along with the hotel providing us first aid supplies to bandage his foot. Thankfully it didn't need any stitches or anything like that just some ice and tender loving care.

Saturday morning before we left town, we went to this place called Castle Rock. You pay 50 cents/person to climb 174 steps up to this rock that jets out of the landscape and you can see for miles!!

Saturday we left our vacation spots and we spent the day traveling to Ohio to visit family and friends. While traveling another anxious moment we are traveling down the highway, a car decided to change lanes and had it not been for my hubby's quick reaction for braking the car would have changed lanes right into our front end on the passenger side at 70mph or greater!! Thankfully we did not end up in an accident but hubby and I were pretty shaken up from the whole ordeal.

Sunday was more visiting along with a family reunion before heading back to our own beds!!!

The winner of my Vacation Time Picture Guessing Game is Sara--Growing Wyse!!! She guessed the correct names of all four of the spots! Great job!! I have a little devotional book to send you called "Footprints for Women". It is inspired by the poem "Footprints" by Margaret Fishback Powers.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Quick Note!

I am alive and kickin'!!!

I am back from vacation! It was wonderful despite a couple of anxious moments!

Stay tuned to hear about my "mystery places" and my anxious moments!