Saturday, December 20, 2008

Monthly Sam's Run

I finally made it to Sam's for my December monthly run!!  

Here is what I purchased this month...
  • 1- 5qt pail vanilla ice cream $5.02
  • 5 lbs Country Crock Margarine $4.42
  • 1 1/4 gallons canola oil $9.88
  • 5lbs frozen cut corn $4.76
  • 6 lbs shredded hashbrowns $4.88
  • 60 count box waffles $8.26
  • 12 count individual pizzas $10.76
  • 72 count box bagel bites $9.72
  • 200 count bag Halls cough drops $6.22(with sales tax)
  • 3 lbs beef hot dogs $$7.86
  • 72 ct box american cheese slices $8.27
  • 5 lbs mild cheddar cheese $12.63
  • 72 ct box fruit snacks $8.42
  • 24 oz can parmesan cheese $7.79
  • 3-45 oz jars Ragu spaghetti sauce $6.37
  • 52 oz can Planters Honey Roasted Peanuts $5.87
  • 2 pack Rold Gold Pretzels $5.88
  • 2 pack bagels $4.36
  • 56 oz bag M&Ms $7.70
  • 2lb bag El Matador Tortilla Chips $2.58
  • 2 pk-60 oz bottles Mrs. Butterworth's syrup $6.34
  • 2-40oz bottles Jif peanut butter $7.13
  • 12 pk. Swanson's chicken broth $7.77
  • 12 pk. Campbell's tomato soup $8.08
Total: $170.97

Weekly Shopping Trip--Saved $129.72

I don't know about you but grocery shopping for me at this time of year is just stressful!!  I don't stress too much about the sales and deals as much as I do the crowds!!  It is like everyone comes out of the woodwork and it does not matter what time I hit the stores they are crowded!!  

Anyway, I did get some major grocery shopping done this week(including my monthly Sam's run) with it being a "payday week" and IF I figured things out correctly I should make it til the first of the year without doing anything more than getting my WIC and fresh veggies & fruit.   

So without further ado my savings for the week....

First stop...Duthlers(corner grocery store)
  • 4 pkgs Eckrich smoky links $8.00
Total: $8.00
Savings Total: $3.96

Second stop....Family Fare
  • 11.21lbs ground chuck $21.19 ($1.79/lb)
  • 5.26lbs pork loin chops $9.42 ($1.79/lb)
  • 3.97lbs half ham $7.11 ($1.79/lb)
  • 20lbs potatoes $3.98
  • 2-18ct eggs $3.18
  • 3 bags Hershey choc. chips $3.41 ($1.14 each)
  • 2 gallons Milk $3.98
Total: $52.27
Savings Total: $40.92

Third Stop...Meijer
  • 1 bottle Chloraseptic spray $4.68
  • 1 pkg Oral-B toothbrush refills $15.39
  • 1 Reynolds foil $2.49
  • 1 bottle Downy fabric softener $2.49
  • 1 bottle Dove body wash $1.99
  • 2 bags potato chips $3.98
  • 6.13lb whole chicken roaster $6.01
  • 15.30lbs boneless/skinless chicken breasts $27.39
  • 4 bags Green Giant Steamers 67¢ (this is NOT a typo!  they were on sale for 79¢ each and I had 2-60¢/1, 1-50¢/1, and 1-$1/1 coupons!  The $1 off coupon was only able to be redeemed for 79¢ basically making one bag free!)
  • 2.88lbs apples $2.79
  • 2 bags marshmallows $1.92
  • 2 boxes waffles $2.28
  • 1 Sara Lee cheesecake bites $2.29 (my splurge but they were 1/2 off!)
  • 1 bottle mint extract  $2.44
  • 5lbs wheat flour $1.99
  • 2 containers frosting $2.00
  • 1-2liter Rootbeer $1.10(with deposit)
  • 2 boxes muffin mix $2.49($1.25 each)
  • 3 bags cookie mix $3.10 ($1.03 each)
  • 3 boxes brownie mix $4.10 ($1.37 each)
  • 5 tubes crescent rolls $4.50(90¢ each)
  • 4 tubes cinnamon rolls $3.70(93¢ each)
  • 2 boxes cream cheese $1.95(98¢ each)
  • 2 tubs Parkay margarines $1.75 (88¢ each)
  • 2 containers sour cream $2.00
  • 2 pkgs little smokies $4.00
  • 10 containers yogurt $4.60
  • 5 cans tomato sauce $5.00
  • 2-12pks Faygo pop $7.74
  • 1 bag Tyson chicken nuggets $4.50
  • 5 bottles Juicy Juice $9.25 ($1.85 each)
  • 4 boxes cereal $5.00 ($1.25 each)
Total: $148.59
Savings Total: $84.84 (non-coupon savings $57.70; coupon savings $27.14)

GRAND TOTAL: $338.58

For more savings stories head over to Becentsable's Centsable Savings Stories! 

Friday, December 19, 2008

Holiday Goodie Plates

Welcome to the Happy to be At Home readers!! Please come in and have a seat and look around!
I have plenty of recipes, deals and homeschooling resources. 

For the rest of my readers....

It is 6 days until Christmas!!!  Are you trying to figure out a gift to give to your neighbors or those people on your list who are hard to buy for Christmas?!

Head over to Happy to be At Home and read my guest post about sample goodie plates as gifts!!

Homemade goodies are definitely a gift someone can not refuse!!  

Merry Christmas!

**removed the links in this post as they are no longer valid**

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Holiday Main Course

After drinking wassail and feasting on various appetizers and salad,  it is really hard to think about even eating a main coarse. 

For the main coarse, it is a whole ham that has been brushed with a honey glaze.  Bake at 200° for 6-7 hours or put in your crockpot on low in the morning and it will be ready to serve at dinnertime. 

The honey glaze consists of 1/2 cup orange juice, 1/2 cup honey and 1 cup light brown sugar. 

Along with the ham is served mashed potatoes that has plain yogurt or sour cream and melted butter stirred into them. 

For veggies, there is a pot of corn, green bean casserole and it would not be the holidays without my dad's cole slaw!

So there you have it, just a simple main coarse to compliment all the appetizers, and salads!!

For other main coarse meals, head over to my bloggy friend, Amy's--Finer Things in life.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Virtual Cookie Exchange

Doing my reading around the blogosphere this morning and found that my friend, Amy over at Mom's Toolbox is hosting a virtual cookie exchange!! I couldn't pass by without sharing some of my favorite cookie recipes!

The first is one that I loved making with my mom growing up!!  


1 can chow mein noodles
1 bag(12oz) butterscotch chips (or chocolate chips)
2/3 cup creamy or crunchy peanut butter
2 cups salted peanuts(optional)

In a bowl, mix peanuts and noodles together, set aside. In a double boiler pan, melt chips and peanut butter together until smooth. Remove from the heat, and pour over peanuts and noodles, stir til combined. Drop by the teaspoonful on wax paper. Cool til hardened. To speed up the cooling process you can put them on wax paper on a cookie sheet and put in the freezer for 15 minutes.

Then there is "Santa Surprise Cookies" or Peanut Butter Surprise Cookies

2 sticks butter (softened)
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup light brown sugar
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
3½ cups all purpose flour (sifted)
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 bag SNICKERS miniatures

Combine the butter, peanut butter, and sugars using a mixer on a medium to low speed until light and fluffy. Slowly and eggs and vanilla until thoroughly combined. Then mix in flour, salt and baking soda. Cover and chill dough for 2-3 hours. Unwrap all SNICKERS Miniatures. Remove dough from refrigerator. Divide into 1 tablespoon pieces and flatten. Place a SNICKERS Miniatures in the center of each piece of dough. Form the dough into a ball around each SNICKERS Miniature. Place on a greased cookie sheet and bake at 300° F for 10-12 minutes. Let cookies cool on baking rack or wax paper. 
Makes 2 dozen cookies.

Notes: Instead of using mini Snickers, I have used mini Milky Ways or Rolos!
Also if you desire you can spruce up Santa’s surprise by drizzling melted DOVE Milk or Dark Chocolate Gifts or melted chocolate chips over the top of each cookie!)

If you would like to find other cookie recipes, head over to Mom's Toolbox Virtual Cookie Exchange!!

Holiday Salad

I love making this salad at Christmas time because it works for me!!  Like my appetizers,  it is simple to make when you are making things for a party.  It can be made the night before and there are no worries(other than you eating before the party!) that it won't still look yummy for the party!  It is one of those salads where you begin to wonder if it should be a dessert or a salad! Well there is fruit in it right!!?? AND there is milk! So it must be just a salad!

I love the taste of this salad!  To me it tastes like creamy carmel apples that are A LOT easier to eat!  This is a salad that is liked by all!!  Even my hubby who doesn't like eating "combination foods" will eat this salad!  Also using green and red apples makes it look soooo festive. 

**photo courtesy of Taste of Home

Apple Snicker Salad

4 Granny Smith Apples, cored & chopped
4 Red Delicious Apples, cored & chopped
6 Snicker bars(2.7oz), chopped
1 (12 ounces) Cool Whip
1 (6 oz pkg) Vanilla Pudding
2 1/2 cups milk

In a large bowl, whisk milk and pudding mix for 2 minutes. Let stand for 2 minutes or until soft-set. Fold in whipped topping. Fold in apples and candy bars. Refrigerate until serving. 

Notes: Using slightly frozen Snicker bars helps in the chopping of the bars! You can add more Snicker bars or more apples depending on how creamy you want it to be!  You can also make this without the pudding, by just chopping the apples, snicker bars and cool whip together!  In my opinion though it tastes better with the pudding!

For more works for me head over to Rocks in my Dryer!

Also if you are looking for more holiday salad recipes, head over to Parenting the Tiniest of Miracles for the next stop on the holiday bloggy progressive dinner!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Holiday Appetizers

I don't do much in the way of appetizers for holidays, however, there are few appetizers that make an appearance during the holidays.

First one is the good ol' fresh veggie tray!  I don't purchase the ones that are already made up waiting for you in the produce section of the grocery store. I go to Aldi or Save A Lot and get a variety of fresh veggies and cut them up onto a tray. Then for dip, since I get TWO huge bottles of Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing from Sam's on a regular basis, I pour some of the dressing into a bowl to go along with the veggies.

Second one is a fruit tray.  Whenever I do up a fruit tray it seems that my picky eater kids will find it quite amusing to see how much fruit they can eat off the tray!  Now don't think I am complaining but why do kids do that??  Why will they not eat the fruit at any other time other than if I make a pretty tray of various fruits!?!

Third one is bbq smokies. I love stocking up on these little smokies when they are on sale around the holidays!  They make for a quick(or oh crap I totally forgot about the party!) appetizer!

I put two packages of the lil' smokies in my crockpot along with a bottle of Baby Ray's Honey BBQ sauce(there isn't a better tasting sauce!) and let them simmer for 4-5 hours on low or 2-3 hours on high.   I have also done this with the rope type sausage....cut up into "coins" and dump them in with the BBQ sauce in the crockpot!

All three of these are easy and quick to do and you don't have to stress over whether they will get eaten or not!

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

For other tempting tummy recipes and more; head over to Blessed with Grace! Today they are also doing a giveaway because it is their birthday!!

Also for other holiday appetizers, head over to A Simple Walk where she is hosting today's bloggy progressive dinner.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Menu Plan Monday 12/14-12-20

**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 menu plan ended up being thrown out the window about mid-week due to tummy sickness that set in with a few of the occupants here. My hubby is still having some issues but for the most part we are all on the mend.  Hence that means the menu at the beginning of the week will not include any spicy foods.   

This week's shopping trip was just to get the essentials needed to finish some meals for the week!  However, I see having to go to the stores this week again more for getting more meats in the freezer.  I am planning on getting to Sam’s in the next couple of days to do finally do my December bulk purchases shopping trip. 

If you are looking for some inspiration on meals you can find links to my menu suggestion lists over in my right side bar down by Organizing Junkie's button.

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 (12-14)

Breakfast: eggs, bacon, hash browns, and chocolate donuts

Lunch: leftover pizza

Dinner: sloppy joes, fries, and carrots (carryover from last week)

Snack: snack basket

Monday (12-15)

Breakfast: cereal and muffins

Lunch: leftovers

Dinner: “Long John Silver’s night”—fish, shrimp & chicken, fries, and corn (carryover from last week)

Snack: snack basket


Tuesday (12-16)

Breakfast: Pancakes & sausage

Lunch: sandwich and chips

Dinner: Creamy Chicken served over noodles, and peas

Snack: cookies & milk

Wednesday (12-17)

Breakfast: bagels, and cereal

Lunch: pizza

Dinner: burgers, pan fries, and corn

Snack: snack basket

Thursday (12-18)

Breakfast: cereal and poptarts

Lunch: leftovers or sandwiches & chips

Dinner: chili, rice and corn muffins

Snack: snack basket


Friday (12-19)

Breakfast: eggs, cereal and toast

Lunch: sandwiches & chips

Dinner: ??? (looking for inspiration)

Snack: ice cream night                                      


Saturday (12-20)

Breakfast: “Cook’s Choice”

Lunch: ???  probably leftovers!

Dinner: ??? (looking for inspiration)

Snack:  snack basket  or popcorn




Holiday Wassail Drink

Non-Alcoholic Wassail

2 quarts apple cider
2 cups orange juice
1 (46 fluid ounce) can pineapple juice
2 (3 inch) cinnamon sticks
1 tablespoon whole cloves
1 pinch of nutmeg
1/2 cup honey 

In a slow-cooker or a large pot over low heat, combine apple cider, orange juice and lemon juice. Season with cloves, ginger and nutmeg. Bring to a simmer. If using a slow cooker, allow to simmer all day. Serve hot. Strain out cinnamon sticks and cloves before serving if desired.

OH this make the house smell soooo good!  I make this when I am throwing a holiday party. 

For more holiday drinks stop by Five Js for day one of the Bloggy Progressive Dinner. You can share your favorite drink recipe and enter to win her giveaway!

Christmas at Sonshine's

Welcome to my home!! 

This is my front door! A fresh wreath of greens!
My living room is the only room that I have my holiday decorations. I still have a two year who loves to sneak around and mess with the decorations so I keep them in a room that I can keep an eye on or block off so that he can not be in there without supervision. 

We have two windows in the living room and over those windows hubby made shelves for holiday decorations.  He made the shelves such where the shelf supports are also used to hold our curtain rods.  Over our smaller window is our nativity.
Over the larger window is just some various Christmas decorations.  Up there this year is baskets with Christmas trees, fake holly and poinsettas and cinnamon scented pinecones. 

Here are the decorations on my desk....
The angel was just made by my daughter in Sunday school yesterday.  The little smore snowman angel was made by one of my older boys a few years ago in Sunday school! I put this on my desk as a little reminder of how I am to treat each day through the holiday season. 
My hubby decided this year to keep the branches that needed to be cut off our tree to fit in the stand and he decorated the top of the television. 
Here is our tree with a lighted star as the topper.   We get a fresh tree every year. We decorate simply with red, gold, blue, and silver ball ornaments along with special ones that we have gotten over the years.
Here is a few of our special ones....
To celebrate hubby's German heritage we have an ornament that says "Fröhliche Weihnachten" (Merry Christmas)
We also have several ornaments reminding us of the "Reason for the Season". 
We have five different Hallmark "Baby's First Christmas" ornaments for each of our kids. This one is my youngest son's.   Hubby and I also have a Hallmark one for our first Christmas together as a married couple. 

Merry Christmas!! Thank you for coming into my home to see my decorations!  If you would like to see other Christmas decorations head over to BooMama's Christmas Tour of Homes.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Singing Sunday

I Can Only Imagine 
by MercyMe

I can only imagine
What it will be like
When I walk
By your side

I can only imagine
What my eyes will see
When your face
Is before me
I can only imagine

I can only imagine

Surrounded by Your glory, what will my heart feel
Will I dance for you Jesus or in awe of you be still
Will I stand in your presence or to my knees will I fall
Will I sing hallelujah, will I be able to speak at all
I can only imagine

I can only imagine

I can only imagine
When that day comes
And I find myself
Standing in the Son

I can only imagine
When all I will do
Is forever
Forever worship You
I can only imagine

I can only imagine


I can only imagine [x2]

I can only imagine
When all I will do
Is forever, forever worship you

I can only imagine