Friday, November 7, 2008

Thrift Store Finds

I actually did it!! I stayed out of the grocery stores this week! I decided that after my shopping last week I had plenty on my shelves to feed the family so I took a break from the deals at the grocery stores.

I was trying not to spend any money this week! But when my oldest son and only daughter are seen wearing the same things every day or they are asking if I can get some laundry done so they have some clothes to wear it is my signal to head to the thrift stores and see what I can find that looks good and is their size!

This past Sunday while passing my favorite local thrift store, I saw the sign said "All Children's Clothes Buy 1 Get 1 Free". So I got the opportunity on Tuesday after voting to go and see what was on their racks. I found ....

  • 1 pair of girlie pink sweat pants

  • 1 pair of knit pants

  • 4 long sleeve girlie t-shirts

  • 1 solid pink turtleneck

  • 1 layered t-shirt hoodie

  • 1 long sleeve nightie

  • 1 Health-tex cordoroy jumper

  • 2 denim jumpers

  • 1 long sleeve dress

Now for my oldest son I found...
  • 3 pairs of lounge pants for pjs

  • 1 thermal shirt for pjs

  • 1 navy blue turtleneck

  • 1 Land's End long sleeve polo shirt(looks brand new!)

  • 1 long sleeve dress shirt

  • 1 black sweatshirt

  • 4 long sleeve t-shirts

  • 1 pair of gray sweatpants

I don't remember all the brands of the clothes but they were all name brands like Sonoma, Hanes, Falls Creek, Land's End, Gap, etc.

All total with tax, I spent $37.99!!! I had a punch card that was full so I cashed that in for a 20% discount, which was $7.25! Which made my out of pocket total of $30.74!!! There was 26 items total which makes them around $1.18 each!!

Now I just need to find my oldest son a pair of decent snow pants/bibs for the winter months and he will be fully set for winter hopefully(this is my child who is growing like a weed!--the one who needs student size 27x30 pants who was just in a 14 slim pants 4 months ago!).

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

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Frugal Friday--Purchasing Meat on the Cheap

My family is a meat and potatoes type family! We love to have meat at every meal, so every rarely(think once in a blue moon) do we do meatless meals. So I have done my research and have found ways to keep my average cost per meal to a minimal amount. After having several people ask me how I do it, I thought I would share some of my "secrets".

Some frugal tips for purchasing meat, I found the majority of these in a list of 55 Ways To Save On Groceries(which they now have updated to 20 Ways!). Here is the list along with things that I do to keep meat in my house....

~~Chicken and turkey are usually less expensive, but contain more protein and nutrients than many other meats. They are also lower in saturated fats and cholesterol than many meats .

~~Save money by cutting a whole chicken into parts yourself. You can do this or do what I do because I don't like cutting up whole chickens and just watch ads for when then different chicken pieces are on sale. Around here I can get drumsticks and thighs for 79 cents/lb. I can also get whole chickens for 79 cents/lb. Bone-in chicken breasts are usually on sale around here for 99 cents/lb and when they are I usually will snag several packs. I cook the bone in chicken pieces in my crockpot and it just falls off the bones. Sometimes I will turn around and freeze the meat once it is cooked and off the bone to use in soups and casseroles.

~~The less tender cuts of beef such as round, chuck, and shoulder are less expensive, but are as nutritious as the more tender cuts. Cook them right - braise or stew - and they are just as delicious. I found using a bottom round roast for roast, carrots and potatoes was just as good as an eye of round roast. The last couple of times that I have tried using a chuck roast it just was too fatty. I like using chuck roasts for cutting up and making beef stew out of it when it can be simmering in the crockpot all day.

~~Liver is nearly always a good buy. It is high in nutrition and usually cheaper than many other meats. Beef liver costs less than calves' liver. Pork liver is less expensive and is highest in iron. One disadvantage is that liver is high in cholesterol. (and personally I do not like the taste of it! LOL So I don't fix it!)

~~Ground beef (hamburger) is usually a good buy if it is fairly lean. Extra lean ground beef will yield more meat when cooked and is lower in calories, saturated fat, and cholesterol than regular ground beef.

~~When comparing the cost of meat, compare cost per serving and NOT cost per pound. Sometimes a piece of boneless, lean meat may be a better buy than a cheaper cut of meat with a lot of fat and bone that costs less per pound.

~~To figure the cost of meat per serving, divide the price per pound by the number of servings one pound will yield. A 3-ounce portion of cooked lean meat is a serving. The following definitions describe how many 3-ounce servings you can get from various cuts of meat, fish, and poultry.

  • Lean, boneless meat: Extra-lean ground beef; liver; fish fillet; lean, boneless roast; and ham and canned meats = 4 to 5 servings per pound.
  • Small bone-in meat: Such as chuck, round and rump roast, turkey and chicken breast, and stew beef = 3 to 3 l/2 servings per pound.
  • Large bone-in meat: Boston Butt (pork) roast, pork chops, whole chicken and turkey, drumsticks, thighs, whole or half hams = 2 to 2 1/2 servings per pound.
  • Bony meat: Spareribs, pigs feet, hamhocks, and chicken wings = 1 to 1 1/2 servings per pound.

~~It is often more economical to buy a large cut of meat and divide it into several meals or servings than to buy the component cuts separately. Example: Buy a pork loin roast and cut it into pork chops. I usually get 1/2 a pork loin when they are sale. Like when they are $1.99/lb rather than $4.99/lb, I will get 2 or 3 of them. I will cut one into pork chops and then leave the others whole and freeze. Then when I want to use them, thaw them, cut them in half and cook in my crockpot either doing pork, potatoes, and carrots or bq pork for sandwiches or roasted pork and gravy. I usually can get 2 1/2 meals out of one 1/2 pork loin for my family of seven.

~~Compare the cost of frozen and canned meats, fish, and poultry with fresh meat, fish, and poultry. The canned may cost less per serving than the fresh since there is usually no waste in the canned product. One disadvantage of canned meats is that salt has been added and thus, they are higher in sodium than fresh, unsalted meat.

~~Meats that have already been breaded will cost more. Do your own breading.

Here is a couple of other things that I do to stretch meat for my family....

~~I do casseroles BUT my family isn't big on casserole dish type meals all the time so I found a way to stretch the meat that I use for our meals other than putting the meat into casseroles!

~~The majority of my family only likes to eat white meat chicken, so I buy what will get eaten so there is no waste and purchase boneless, skinless chicken breasts in bulk at Sam's Club or if they are sale at the local grocery store for under $2 per pound.

~~When I get it home, I take the time to divide the packages into meal size portions for my family. I find that the chicken breasts are usually pretty thick and slice them longwise("butterfly cut"), so it looks like I have two pieces of meat rather than just one thick piece. When I do this I can take 3 chicken breasts and make into 6 breasts, hence stretching the meat for a meal for my family.

~~I also take the time to stroll past the meat counter anytime that I am in the store looking for marked down/"Manager's special" meat. Just like getting marked down produce there is nothing wrong with the marked down meat! Most of the time the meat needs to be sold that day, so buy it, take it home, cook it or stick it directly in your freezer. I prefer to divide it up and stick it in my freezer.

~~Also the most obvious tip for purchasing meat is making sure that you are getting meat that is on sale, unless you are purchasing it in large quantities. The reason why I made the large quantities clarification is I know that many places will give you a discount if you are buying large quantities of the same kind of meat.

For other frugal resources, head over to Frugal Fridays at Biblical Womanhood

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Playing in the leaves!

We have a HUGE silver maple tree in our front yard that every fall makes for a LOT of work in getting the leaves picked up from the yard. However, we let the kids play in them and have some fun before we get rid of them! Here is my 2yo playing in them!

For other Wordless Wednesday, go over to 5 minutes for Mom!

Weblink Wednesday--Ancient Egypt

A few weeks ago, I posted links on Ancient Rome.

So this week, I am going to give some Ancient Egypt links.

Write like an Egyptian

Ancient Egypt Resources

Clickable Mummy learn interesting facts about mummification

Egyptian tombs, including floor plans of the tombs.

Ancient Egypt Teacher Resources

Ancient Egypt Coloring Pages

Explore Ancient Egypt

Egyptian Crafts

Egyptian Crafts

Ancient Egypt Unit Study geared for 3rd-8th graders

Ancient Egypt for kids

Ancient Egypt Links, Activities & Books

For other weblinks, head over to Homeschooling with Encouragement!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

More about Me---Tagged Again!

I find this hilarious! I do a post in honor of my birthday because I was tagged and then the day after I was tagged again by Donna over at The Frugal Mom Blog! LOL!

These are the rules for tagging…

1) Link back to the person who tagged you and share the rules on your blog
2) Share 7 facts about yourself
3) Tag seven people and list their links in your post
4) Tell those 7 people by commenting on their blog!

So I am game to give 7 more things about me!

  1. I have a scar on the bridge of my nose up into my right eyebrow. In October, 1988 during my senior year of high school, I was driving my four siblings at the time and myself to school. I was less than a mile away from home when a car backed out of a driveway in front of me, I lost control of our new 12 passenger van and hit a 3 foot in diameter willow tree! NO ONE was killed in that wreck because we all were wearing our seatbelts!...three of us had head injuries(mine was on the right side of my face, one sister was on the left side of her face, and one brother with a concussion) and the other two walked away with bumps and bruises.

  2. All five of my children were delivered naturally and with no pain medications! After delivery and once I was settled in my room, I would ask for Motrin and cranberry juice!

  3. I was a resident assistant in college for a year.

  4. All five of my kids' first names are Bible names. The boys' middle name is all the same and matches hubby. While my daughter's middle name matches mine.

  5. The only pet I have ever had was a goldfish. I am highly allergic to cats. As for dogs, I have a hard time not being afraid of them.

  6. I didn't have my first car until I was a sophomore in college. Then my brother,who went to the same college as me, shared the car.

  7. I have a key chain collection that I started back in high school, so when I go on vacation or mission trips I look for a gift shop to purchase a key chain to add to it.

Well there you have it! Seven more wonderful facts about me! Read more about me here!

Since there has been lots of tagging going on recently, I am unsure who to tag! So if you haven't been tagged in the last couple of weeks and you are reading this post...consider yourself "IT"--you have been tagged!

Works For Me Wednesday--Toys

It's the beginning of the month and that means that it is time for a themed edition of Works for Me Wednesday over at Rocks in My Dryer. This month with Christmas right around the corner, Shannon is asking that we share about the toys that are actually worth buying! So what are the toys that my kids(4 boys & 1 girl) play with the most? What are those toys that I am always requesting that they put away so that they can get school work done or so that we can have a play room that looks uncluttered?!

For my boys, it is Legos! My house is being taken over by Legos!! At last count between my 4 boys and hubby's collection we have over 50 sets of Legos in this house! For my boys this seems to be a common bond between them, they could sit for hours working on different creations. My 10yo loves to take Legos and make his own creations, it is so fun watching his mind work in the creating of his masterpiece.
For my daughter it is her 10 gallon Rubbermaid rough tote of play kitchen supplies. She loves to sit and have "picnics" with her dolls or with her brothers(if she can get them away from their Legos long enough!).

For the whole family, various board games are something that we love to do together. It is so fun to get a new board at a birthday or at Christmas because we can't wait to sit down together to play it!

Legos, play kitchen supplies, and board games is what works for me and my family!

To find out what works for others, head over to Shannon's blog--Rocks in My Dryer!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Tempt My Tummy Tuesday--Chicken Veggie Stew

This is my second week participating in this meme over at Blessed with Grace and I must say there is some great looking recipes over there!! This week, Lisa shares her "quick meal" so I thought I would share one of mine! This meal is really quick when you have leftovers in the fridge that need to be used up but you don't want to eat them all separate! I love making this "leftover makeover"!

Chicken Veggie Soup/Stew

1 can cream of chicken soup, undiluted
1/2 cup milk
1 can of chicken broth
1/4 tsp. dried thyme
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. poultry seasoning
2-3 cups diced cooked chicken
1 can whole kernel corn, drained
2 cups frozen cut green beans, thawed
2 cups sliced or diced cooked potatoes
1 can green peas
1-2 cups carrots, diced and cooked

In a large bowl, combine soup, milk, broth, thyme, poultry seasoning, salt and pepper. Stir in chicken, corn, peas, beans and potatoes. Pour into a greased 1 1/2 qt. baking dish. Bake, uncovered, at 400° for 15 minutes or until heated through. Yield: 6 servings

Sonshine's notes: This recipe can be doubled and even tripled! This recipe works well in the crockpot on low for 4-6 hours! When I put it in the crockpot I don't grease it. I even have decreased the liquid(didn't use the chicken broth) and used as the filling to potpie!

For other tempting tummy recipes and more; head over to Blessed with Grace!

Kitchen Tip Tuesdays

I love buying in bulk because it saves me money and time. But I don't like dealing with those big packages on a daily basis. So when I do my Sam's run or my grocery shopping and come home with those huge containers of items, I take the time to do what I call "divide and freeze" or "divide and store".

Here is a 5lb bag of pepperoni. It is the only topping other than cheese and sauce that goes on our homemade pizzas!
I took the time to divide it into five-1# bags for the freezer. By doing the dividing, I can just pull out the one bag and not worry about defrosting more than I will need for one meal(which is 3 or 4 pizzas). The 5# bag costs $12.57 so that is $2.51 per lb. In the grocery stores, I usually can't find pepperoni for under $4 per lb.

I have talked before about my version of once a month cooking but I wanted to show you one of the ways I handle dividing up my packages of ground beef! This is 4.32lbs ground beef from round that I got on markdown last week! I was able to make 13 decent size hamburgers from that meat!

I took the 13 burgers and put them into one gallon size freezer bag. I put them into two different "stacks" one at the bottom of the bag and one at the top. Then I labeled the bag with the number that was in each "stack". This way, I can pull the bag out of the freezer and get out just one "stack" for a meal and cross off the number that I used. I used the gallon size bag rather than a quart size bag so I wasn't using LOTS of bags. Doing up the burgers this way saves me lots of time especially on those nights when I need to do something quick and have no meat thawed! I can pull out a "stack" of burgers and pull them apart and put them on my "indoor grill"(similar to a George Foreman grill) and have dinner done in a 1/2 hour!

These are just a couple of ways that I save time with my meal preparations. Looking for other "shortcuts" to meal prep, check out Fishmama's post here! She gives some great tips!

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

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Singing Sunday

Your Grace is Enough
by Chris Tomlin

Great is Your faithfulness oh God
You wrestle with the sinner's heart
You lead us by still waters and to mercy
And nothing can keep us apart

So remember Your people
Remember Your children
Remember Your promise
Oh God

Your grace is enough
Your grace is enough
Your grace is enough for me

Great is Your love and justice God
You use the weak to lead the strong
You lead us in the song of Your salvation
And all Your people sing along

So remember Your people
Remember Your children
Remember Your promise
Oh God

Your grace is enough
Your grace is enough
Your grace is enough for me [x2]

So remember Your people
Remember Your children
Remember Your promise
Oh God

Your grace is enough
Your grace is enough
Your grace is enough for me

Your grace is enough
Heaven reaching down to us
Your grace is enough for me
God I see your grace is enough
I'm covered in your love
Your grace is enough for me
For me