Friday, September 26, 2008

Weekly Shopping Trip--Approx. Savings $121.69

My savings this week is a little off because I am using old regular prices for some of the things I purchased at Family Fare. They don't have the savings amount on the bottom or top of their receipts like what Meijer does so I have to either get it out of their ad or write it down as I go in the store. Well I forgot to do the later so I went for my ad only to find that several of the things in their 10 for $10 sale they did do the savings amount for the item! UGH!

Also my totals would have been better if I had remembered to use all of my coupons at Family Fare. However, a coupon that I didn't use at Family Fare I was able use at Meijer; when I found some Pillsbury Garlic Breadsticks markdown 70% so they were 81 cents/can instead of $2.69/can because the best by date was the following day!! I got 5 cans for $4.05 and used a 75 cents/3 coupon to sweeten the deal more! So I got those 5 cans for 66 cents a piece!!

First stop for the week was at Family Fare...

  • 2 quarts choc. milk $2.00

  • 2 pkgs tortillas $2.00

  • 6 cans biscuits $6.00

  • 2-12 ct. poptarts $5.00 used $1/2 cpn =$4.00

  • 2-12 ct Double Roll Northern TP $12.00 used 2-$1/1 cpns =$10.00

  • 2-24ct Single Roll Northern TP $11.00 used 2-50/1 cpns =$11.00

  • 1 bottle Apple Juice $2.00

  • 4 dz. eggs $5.00

  • 2 lbs spaghetti $2.98 (read the ad wrong! I thought this was on sale!)

TOTAL: $46.42

Next stop is a local grocery store--Duthler's...

  • 6 pkgs(11.68lbs) boneless skinless chicken breasts $18.57 ($1.59/lb)

  • 2 pkgs smoky links $4.00
TOTAL: $22.57
**Side Story about the chicken breasts...Their ad stated it would be their store brand rather than name brand. Well when I went there to get it, there was only the 6 pkgs left and it was Tyson brand that was hormone & antibotic free!!! So I got some really good chicken that is usually $4.99/lb for $1.59/lb!!! Hummmm...I am thinking I might need to tell dh about it and see if he will let me go get some more!**

Final Stop...Meijer...(I went specifically to get the weekly deals!)

  • 2 boxes Go-gurt $4.98*

  • 5lbs whole wheat flour $3.39

  • 4 tubes cinnamon rolls $4.30(used my raincheck from last week)

  • 5-6pks 7-up bottles $10.56 w/deposit ($2.11/6pk)

  • 2 boxes micro fries $2.18*

  • 2-89oz bottles Tropicana OJ $6.98 ($3.49 each)*

  • 2 pkgs Yoplait Kids Yogurt $3.00

  • 2 pkgs Yoplait Kids Yogurt Drinks $1.00

  • 1 bottle Lawrys Marinade $1.17

  • 6 Warm Delights $4.90(82 cents/each)

  • 6 bags Cookie Mix $5.20(87cents/each)

  • 1 bottle Miracle Whip $2.00

  • 1 box Bagelfulls $1.12

  • 1 can Pam cooking spray $2.00

  • 4 loaves Aunt Millies Bread $5.00

  • 1 box Oreo 100 cal. granola bars $1.64

  • 5 cans Pillsbury garlic breadsticks $3.30(66 cents each)

TOTAL: $69.12
SAVINGS TOTAL: $65.77 (Meijer promotions $12.34, Non-coupon savings $37.83, Coupon Savings $15.60)

**Now for the story behind this trip!! I checked out only to realize when I got to my van that I had forgotten to give the cashier some of my coupons($6.40 worth) so I go back in to the customer service and wait 20 minutes in line for my $6.40!! The cashier didn't question me at all but oh what a wait with 80° weather and cold/freezer items waiting in the car! Now I am looking at my receipt to do this post, I found even more errors in the prices of products that I purchased! The go-gurt I purchased was on sale 2/$4 and that scanned at reg. price. The Tropicana OJ that I got scanned right but the cashier only used one of my TWO coupons! I guess it doesn't help that I went to a different store than what I normally do!

Weekly Grand Total: $259.80
Weekly Grand Total OOP: $138.11
Weekly Grand Savings: $121.69

For more savings stories head over to MoneySavingMom's Super Saturday Savings and Becentsable's Centsable Saving Stories

Parenting Series---ABCs Christian Parenting--Part 1

In an effort to give you a glimpse into the parenting side of my life, I thought I would start a series based on the ABCs of Christian Parenting by Robert & Debra Bruce. It has been a long time since I have read the book but I have my notes. So for the next several weeks I am going to share each of the letters with their statement along with some thoughts.

AFFIRM your child everyday as a gift from God, no matter what yesterday's problems were.

We have all been there...remembering all those problems the day before that are just too hard to forget...
  • that hard to love child who seemingly always creates trouble
  • that child who told you one thing and did another
  • that doctor's appointment that got missed
  • the dinner that never got started or did and got burned
  • so many things went wrong that you don't remember them all

However, during those overwhelming times have we taken the time to remember our blessings or gifts that God has given us? Have we taken the time to be positive to ourselves or to our children?

Children Are A Gift From God
by Sandra Tolson

God sent me three packages
That needed special care
"Take care of these tiny gifts
For they are very rare."

"Watch over them with all your love
And let them feel your touch
Take care of their every need
For you are needed very much."

"These gifts will grow up very fast
As you soon will see
Love them with all your heart
And let them be what they will be."

"When these gifts have fully grown
Look at Heaven up above
Know they exist because of God
And all his precious love."

Take the time today to let your children know that you are blessed to have them and that you love them!

Frugal Friday--Sharing Meals

Last week, I had the privilege of taking a meal to a family in my church. The Mother of this family has been battling breast cancer over the last year.

Taking a meal to another family on top of feeding the seven of us could be very expensive. However, I elect to do meals that I know will stretch to feed more than just my crew. So I do up stews or soups that are going to be packed with veggies along with other homemade goodness to complete a filling meal not only for my crew but the other family.

What I made for this family was my Veggie Beef Stew. I used the leftover roast, carrots and potatoes from Wednesday night dinner along with a bag each of frozen corn, green beans, and peas.

Then I did up some of my honey oatmeal bread into rolls.

Then for dessert, I made up a simple, fill the sweet tooth Oreo Pudding pie. I got a graham cracker crust from Aldi's. Then I mixed up a small box of vanilla pudding and put it in the bottom of the crust. Then I mixed up a box of Oreo pudding and layered that on top of the vanilla pudding. Then once that I set I put about 1/2 of a 6oz. container of Cool Whip. Then I crushed 2 Oreo cookies and sprinkled them on top! Voila!

Now to take the meal to the family...

Instead of using my dishes or pots, I have gotten foil pans from either Dollar Tree or Sam's Club to use for the food. Then I take foil and use that as my "lid" on the pans. Using foil allows me to write what is in each pan along with the directions. This way if someone other than who I talk to when I drop the meal off is the one to get the meal heated for the family, they know exactly what to do!

For other frugal tips, recipes, and resources, head over to Biblical Womanhood.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Blog Changes

Well it didn't take as long as I thought it would to make the changes that I have been wanting to do. So here is the new look and the new direction...

After a year plus of the same colors and format, I thought it would be time for a change! I have decided to go to a three column template along with some new colors. I have decided to keep things simple so that it is easy for others to load in other words mostly words & colors than tons of pictures and animation. I was thinking about adding ads(I still might in the future) but for now I will be keeping my blog ad-free.

You will notice that I have separated the homeschooling resources from the other resources. There are other slight changes done as well, like I weeded out sites.

As for the content changes, I am not going to stop posting about my shopping deals or other frugal tips or even the recipes. However, I am going to add in more encouragement in regards to homeschooling and parenting. Stay tuned to see more homeschooling posts with links or activites that we have or are using and even some reviews on books & software. Stay tuned to see more in the way of encouragement in parenting thru links to articles and other little tidbits.

I want to be an encouragement to others and be writing to glorify God rather than seemingly bragging all the time about what I purchased at the store. My purpose for my blog is to give you a glimpse into my life and its many facets. So I am pulling away from concentrating on just one facet of life.

Now I need your thoughts and comments!!

All about "A"

Finally, I think I have my schedule down where I can get started with schooling my kindergartener. We worked at learning about "A" this week. We talked about apples, and ants.

I got books about ants from the library from the list on the ants lapbook. I read a book to her each day about the ants.

We ate apples and applesauce.

We traced "A" and "a". We colored pictures of ants, apples and "A". We did a dot-to-dot apple to work on counting and recognizing our numbers to 10.

When we were putting the picture to match the word in our letter "A" book, I had her tell me each of the letters in the word to see what letters she recognized in each word. This way she is realizing that words represent things not just pictures.

Instead of doing a lapbook on just ants, we made it represent our "A" week.

Aside from doing "A" this week, we also worked on 1 John 4:14 and Psalm 147:5 for Awana.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Please Excuse the Dust!

Please excuse the dust while I am working at changing some things on my blog.

Hopefully come next week it will have a new look! Also next week, I am planning on sharing what direction I am going with my blog!

Stay tuned to see and read about all the changes!

Works for Me Wednesday--Puzzle Art

I love doing puzzles! I could sit for hours just working on a puzzle. I like to do the outside of the puzzle first and work my way around the inside. I like to keep my pieces in the box and work to find the pieces that way rather than sorting them out by colors or laying them out on the table. However, I am one of those people who once I do a puzzle I don't want to take apart and do it over again at a different time. All that time, energy and work isn't going to be wasted to do it again. So once we got our house, I have purchased puzzles to put together specifically for hanging as art on the wall.

Here is a puzzle of all the different United States flags. I put it together in about 3 hours. I used puzzle glue on it to preserve it. Then I framed it in a poster frame to protect it and make it easier to dust. I now have it hanging in my red, white, and blue kitchen/eating area.

Here is one of the two Thomas Kinkade painting puzzles I have done recently. I got the puzzles as a gift from my parents and decided to hang them in my bedroom. These were a bit trickier to frame as they were circular puzzles. My hubby decided to take it to Michael's and have their custom framing department frame it. He used their 60% off sale as well. He got one of the them just matted so that we could interchange them in the frame. So to get 2 puzzles matted and one framed. It cost $230. This is alot cheaper than just purchasing a framed Thomas Kinkade painting.

So doing puzzles to relieve stress and to hang on what would be bare walls otherwise works for me!

To find out what works for others, head over to Rocks in My Dryer for Works for Me Wednesday!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Kitchen Tip Tuesday--Freezing Mashed Bananas

You can tell that fall is here because the weather in my neck of the woods can not make up its mind as to whether we are going to have 80 degree days or if we are going to have 60 degree days!!

With the "yo-yo weather" and us in our 4th week of school it has been hard to plan my baking days. So this past weekend instead of letting 9 bananas go bad on my counter, I took the time to mash them and stick them in the freezer for making banana bread when the weather is a bit cooler.
Here is how I prepared them...

I mashed 6 bananas and stirred in about 2 TBSP. lemon juice to the bananas to help them not to brown in the freezer. Then I put them in a freezer bag and labeled the bag with "bananas 6" that way I know it is a bag ready for a double batch of my banana bread. I did the same with the last 3 bananas...mashed and bagged them but a "3" as part of the label...this will make a single batch!
Oh and notice how I stuck the bag in a container and folded the top down. I did it that way so that I didn't have to try to hold the bag, dish and get the bananas in the bag without making a huge mess. Folding the top down on the bag helps to not get banana mush in zipper part of the bag!

Here is the bag after the bananas have been frozen for two days! See how yellow they still look!
I like doing up the bananas this way rather than some of the other ways I have read that bananas can be frozen, because they are a flat rather than odd shape like throwing them in the freezer as a bunch. saving!!

As for thawing the bananas, I set them in a dish on the counter for a couple of hours and they are thawed enough to use in the banana bread batter.

Oh and just in case your wondering if they end up being too watery for using in banana bread...not for my recipe which calls for whole wheat flour. The batter ends up being just the right consistency.

This is how I freeze mashed bananas! For more great kitchen tips and recipes from others; head over to Tammy's Recipes!!

Monday, September 22, 2008

My Shopping Methods

Two weeks ago, Kristin over at BeCentable contacted me asking if I would share my shopping "story" because according to her "your monthly process would be a good counter to the typical weekly shoppers most of us are!" I chuckled when I read that and felt honored to share my story. This past Saturday, I had the privilege to share my "story" in how I do the shopping for my family over at BeCentable's Centsable Savings Stories & Struggles. Here is my story...

Background: I have been married for 12 ½ years and for 11 ½ years I have been a stay at home mom. I also home school my 5 children—ages 12yo-22 months. So far in our marriage, my hubby has had 7 different jobs along with four different times of unemployment (two times of unemployment were over 6 months). Usually the unemployment would come as a surprise to us, he would go into work one day and the manager calls him to tell him he can pack his belongings and go home. When those "surprises" have come we might not have much in our bank savings account BUT we have food on our shelves to last us at least a week (basically long enough to get our last paycheck and get filed for unemployment). Knowing that a "surprise" could come upon us again, I work at having a consistent stockpile.

Struggles: Hubby grew up eating lots of pre-packaged foods and I grew up eating from scratch and garden fresh cooking. Once we were married, I fell more into the pre-packaged food route along with very little from scratch foods to please hubby's way of eating. However, about 3 years ago, my hubby was diagnosed with high cholesterol with extremely high triglycerides along with high blood pressure. He has gotten his numbers down tremendously through medicines and me changing cooking and shopping habits. I am slowly (read ever so slowly!!) changing how I cook to more from scratch cooking rather than pre-packaged foods. However, I have to be careful as to how much I change and how many new things I cook or bake at once because I live with a bunch of picky eaters! Yes, I have picky eaters who only like certain veggies and not much in the way of fruit. I also have a bunch that doesn't like to eat beans or meatless meals! They like their protein in the form of meat!Aside from hubby's health problems and picky eaters, the other thing I have struggled with is not getting every deal I see "advertised". This struggle started when I started reading other blogs, I started thinking that maybe changing my method of grocery shopping and following other's ways would start saving me even more money. Well after 3 months of trying a "new way", I found that I didn't have any more room to put anything and I had spent way more than I had in the past! I had more items (shampoo, vitamins, toothpaste to name a few) than what we would be able to use in 6 months! My pantry was full! My linen closet was full! My freezers were full! One would think that would be a good thing—having a huge stockpile but when that stockpile is using money that you might have been able to use elsewhere or your marriage is suffering from it. Once my hubby talked to me about our stockpile, I realized that I needed to stop getting every deal that I saw on the blogs or in the ads. I needed to get back to a method that worked well for my family not someone else's!

Monthly Method: Each week, I clip coupons for only the things I know we will use and keep them in a coupon organizer. I shop the weekly sales at 2 different stores and stock up on good deals using coupons. I also go to Aldi's or Save-A-Lot to pick up any other things that I might need that were not in the sales. Then the following day after updating my "food inventory", I make weekly menus for 3 meals and 2 snacks from what I have on hand in the pantry and freezer along with doing my version of once a month cooking. I have tried making a menu before I shop and it just doesn't work!! I usually will find some markdown meat or something else on sale rather than what I had planned. So I shop this week for what I am going to use next week or the following week for meals. Shopping this way has helped me during those weeks where the good deals are slim or just not there. I also do a monthly shopping trip to Sam's club. My hubby only gets paid twice a month so recently I started trying to a major shopping trip twice a month and then the other two weeks getting stockpile items and essentials to finish up meals for the week.

Budget: If someone were to ask me what is my monthly grocery budget, I would have to say that I do not have one at least one that is set in stone. Some months I only spend around $300 for food, paper products, toiletries, and cleaners while other months it can be close to $900. However, when I do year end averages, I find that my grocery/non-grocery category averages around $500/month for the year.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Singing Sunday

Jesus Messiah
by Chris Tomlin

He became sin
Who knew no sin
That we might become His Righteousness
He humbled himself and carried the cross

Love so amazing
Love so amazing

Jesus Messiah
Name above all names
Blessed Redeemer
The rescue for sinners
The ransom from Heaven
Jesus Messiah
Lord of all

His body the bread
His blood the wine
Broken and poured out all for love
The whole earth trembled
And the veil was torn

Jesus Messiah
Name above all names
Blessed Redeemer
The rescue for sinners
The ransom from Heaven
Jesus Messiah
Lord of all

All I hope is in You
All I hope is in You
All the glory to You, God
The light of the world

Jesus Messiah
Name above all names
Blessed Redeemer
The rescue for sinners
The ransom from Heaven
Jesus Messiah
Lord of all