Friday, June 26, 2009

Weekly Shopping Trip--Savings $29.87

This week's shopping was a light week! I decided that I wasn't going to much in the way of deal shopping and just focus on the getting the "need items". The only deal that I couldn't pass up was at Meijer buying 20 Kool-aid envelopes and getting a 5pk Kraft Mac & Cheese free and 5lbs of sugar for 79¢!!

Actually I did the Kool-aid deal like this....

I bought 25 Kool-aid envelopes. I used my TWO Kraft coupons for 50¢/10 so that made the total cost of my 25 envelopes $1.50(or 6 cents each). Then I also got FIVE boxes of Kraft Mac & Cheese(valued at $3.49) for FREE. I also used the $2 off sugar coupon when you buy 10 Kool-aid envelopes so I got 5lbs of sugar for 79¢. So all total for this deal it cost me $2.29 out of pocket!!!! And if I really wanted to get technical, the lady in front of me gave me her $2 off your next shopping order Catalina coupon so I could say this deal only costs me 29¢!

Along with the Kool-aid deal, here is breakdown of the rest of my Meijer trip:

  • .63 lbs deli Turkey Breast $2.51

  • .53 lbs deli smoked Turkey breast $2.11

  • .63 lbs low sodium deli ham $2.20

  • 5 lbs sugar 79¢

  • 25 envelopes Kool-aid $1.50

  • 5 pk. Kraft Mac & Cheese FREE

  • 6.96 lbs bananas $2.71

  • 1.75 lbs red grapes $1.73

  • 2 bags Tostitos chips $3.99

  • 1 cantaloupe $2.00

  • 12 cups Yoplait yogurt $5.00
Total OOP: $22.54
Total Savings: $25.68
Total without sales and coupons: $48.22

I also made a stop at Family Fare this week for a few items that included some markdown/manager's special meat, here is what I purchased there:

  • 2 gallons milk $5.98

  • .62 lbs breakfast steak $2.25

  • .53 lbs beef stir fry meat $1.85

  • 2.02 lbs cube steak $5.23
Total OOP after using $4.10 bottle refund: $11.21
Total Savings: $4.19
Total without sales and coupons: $19.50

Grand Total OOP: $33.75
Grand Total Savings: $29.87
Grand Total without sales and coupons: $67.72

This post is linked at:
  • MoneySavingMom's Super Saturday Savings
  • BeCentsAble's Centsable Savings Stories
  • The Grocery Cart Challenge Weekly Shopping
  • Peach Cobbler Muffins

    I love looking through cookbooks, especially church cookbooks. Church cookbooks are the type of cookbooks that you know have tried and true recipes in them and can be trusted not to fail! A few months ago, my mom let me borrow one of her church cookbooks, which is actually from my aunt's church and I have found several no fail, tried and true recipes along with helpful hints in this cookbook.

    One of those recipes is for Peach Cobbler Muffins!!

    Here is the recipe for your enjoyment!

    Peach Cobbler Muffins

    1 1/2 cups flour
    1/2 cup sugar
    2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
    1/2 tsp. salt
    6 TBSP. butter or margarine, diced
    1 cup milk
    1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen peaches, chopped

    1 1/2 TBSP. butter or margarine, melted

    1/2 tsp. cinnamon
    4 tsp. sugar

    Preheat oven to 400°. Grease or line muffin tins(10 muffins). Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Blend or cut with knives.(I just use my Pampered Chef pastry blender) Cut in diced butter until crumbly. Stir in milk. Add peaches, stir. Divide dough into muffin cups. Drizzle with melted butter. Combine sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle on top. Bake 25 minutes until golden brown.

    These are fun to eat plain or with a scoop of ice cream!

    This post is linked at:

    Not the Same Old Lunches!

    I have found that being frugal with my meals doesn't mean that I have to eat the same old thing every day for breakfast, lunch and/or dinner! Life would be rather boring if that was the case! For me being frugal with meals means using up leftovers or making from scratch instead of buying convenience or challenging myself to use what I have on hand. Each of these ways is helping me to be frugal and at the same time not be bored with what I am eating.

    In an effort to know what I need to have on hand and to streamline menu planning. I have taken the time to make up lists of meals that I use on a consistent basis.

    Other than the typical leftovers from dinner or that kid-friendly peanut butter and jelly sandwich, here is a list of lunch ideas that I have done for my family....

    Fried egg sandwiches

    Mini homemade pizzas

    Egg salad sandwiches

    Chicken/Tuna salad sandwiches

    Homemade pita bread stuffed with any number of things (esp. homemade chicken salad! Yum!)

    Salad with grilled chicken

    Hot Dogs/Coneys

    Grilled cheese sandwiches

    Chili beans, toss some cheese, salsa and tortilla chips and you got nachos

    Make up a bunch of meatballs and freeze. Get some hoagie rolls and spaghetti sauce and make meatball subs.

    Make up a bunch of spaghetti and let them have at it.

    Egg burritos

    Salad with a bit of chicken chunks and boiled eggs

    Homemade tortillas throw in some chili

    Leftover pasta with whatever. I've thrown leftover pasta and chicken together. Add chopped veggies or have them on the side, drizzle with a vinagriette.

    Veggie Chicken noodle soup(leftover chicken and veggies with pasta and broth)

    French toast and fruit

    Pancakes and fruit

    Bean and cheese burritos

    Chicken quesadillas(cut up leftover chicken, add salsa or taco sauce to it, put on one side of a tortilla shell top with cheese, fold over tortilla shell, melt some butter or use olive oil in a hot skillet then put quesadilla in the skillet and lightly brown both sides)

    Cheese quesadillas

    Baked potatoes with leftover chili or taco meat

    I hope that this inspires you to think outside that same old lunchbox and try something different for a change!

    This post is linked at:

    **originally posted May, 2008

    Grilled Pizza Rolls and Wavy Carrots

    Despite last week's events, I did try to make the best of things in the kitchen and find ways to still cook things without having an oven.

    One of the things that I did was use our gas grill more. Our grill normally gets used to cook just the usual hamburgers, chicken, hotdogs and the occasional pork chops. However, this past week I cooked Totino's pizza rolls on it!! I have read about others grilling whole pizzas so I thought doing the pizza rolls would be no different.

    I preheated the grill for a couple of minutes. I put the pizza rolls on a cookie sheet and placed it on the grill to cook. I should have turned the heat down to low when I put the pizza rolls on the grill however, I waited to turned the heat down to low after turning them once. As you can see from some of the pizza rolls, I left the grill on high for a bit too long, but the pizza rolls were not burnt just a bit extra crispy.

    They took a little bit longer to cook than what they do in the oven but the results were met with two thumbs up from each of the family members.

    The other thing I did this week was use a kitchen tool that has been sitting in the back of the utensil drawer collecting dust!

    I use my Pampered Chef crinkle cutter and made some carrot sticks for a snack. My daughter came into the kitchen while I was cutting them up and asked what I was making. I told her "carrot sticks". She looked at me and said those are not carrot sticks they are "wavy carrots"!

    I love finding fresh ways to do things to save on heating up my kitchen and re-energizing a veggie into a fun snack.

    This post is linked at:

    Wednesday, June 24, 2009

    My Working Grocery Budget with Sam's Club

    My friend, Judy over at My Adventures in Homeschooling left me a comment/questions on my weekly shopping post that I decided I would take the time to write another post to explain my weekly budget and hopefully answer her questions. Thanks Judy for commenting and asking the questions!

    She wrote:
    Do you do $100 weekly grocery budget plus your monthly Sam's run? So the total food budget of $525 doesn't include Sam's right?

    I am trying to re-do my food budget. It seems to be so out of control right now. With a new baby coming in September I want to get this fixed now. I am looking for ideas.

    We have a BJ's (which is like Sam's) in my area. What do you think is the biggest help with your budget? Would you say it is the Sam's run?

    I saw that my grocery budget was getting out of control too! My hubby actually has commented before on what looked like me being excessive in my stockpiling. So I have been working at keeping aware and having better control over my spending. So I set myself the goal of having a $100 weekly grocery budget that includes everything that I need to run the household(food, cleaners, toiletries, etc). I don't do "drugstore game"(CVS-ing or Walgreens) but do shop the local grocery stores(Meijer, Save A Lot or Aldis) and do a once a month run to Sam's.

    I have been trying to work it where the weekly budget includes the monthly Sam's run. But, I am finding that it is easier to keep my monthly Sam's run out of the weekly total because many of the items end up lasting more than a month and its easier to keep track of it.

    I decided to go to my Quicken program and do some figuring out as to find out what my weekly totals are with the Sam's run included in the totals. Here is what I found:

    • We are on day 175 of this year.
    • We are also in the 26th week of the year.
    • I have spent $3621.10 this year for everything that I need to run the household. That figures out to $20.69 per day or $139.27 per week that I am spending to feed and clean seven people plus keeping the house, clothes and linens clean.
    • Out of that $3621.10, the amount of food purchased was $3274.97. That figures out to $18.71 per day or $125.96 per week for just food!
    So taking those totals I am finding that my written down monthly "everything I need" budget of $525 is not working for me because it actually is averaging out to around $557 for the month!! The $525 will work for me IF it was just to be the measure for food only!

    It is hard to take Sam's Club out of the equation of my grocery budget so after evaluating things, I need readjust the "bottom line" of my monthly grocery budget to include the trips to Sam's Club, or readjust my spending habits to fit back into the $525 monthly "everything I need" budget.

    As for how Sam's Club helps the monthly budget and works for me...

    Even though it is not the biggest help with keeping my monthly budget low, shopping at Sam's Club does work for me and my family.

    1. I can check their website to find the current prices of items that I normally buy so I know how much approximately(they don't list fresh meat prices) I am going to spend each month.
    2. I can buy certain items in bulk that we use on a consistent basis that are cheaper than sale prices in the local chain grocery stores.
    3. I find it easier to store the bigger containers rather than a bunch of smaller ones.
    4. It helps me with doing a controlled stockpiling better known as the buying ahead principle which is the biggest help to my budget.
    Along with buying ahead and shopping at Sam's Club, there have been other "lessons" that I have learned over the last couple of years that has help to keep my grocery budget in check.

    One needs to remember what works for me and my family might not work for your family based on number of different variables(location, prices, allergies, tastes, etc). Do what works for your family and challenge yourself to do the best you can with the time, energy and resources that you have.

    This post is linked at:

    Tuesday, June 23, 2009

    Oatmeal Cookie Mix

    One thing that I have found to help me with my baking is doing up different goodie mixes to have on hand for those times that I need to fill a sweet tooth or I need something to take to a "pitch in" meal.

    One of the mixes I like to do and have on hand because it is so versatile is Oatmeal Cookie Mix from the More With Less Cookbook. If you haven't had a chance to look through this cookbook, I would definitely recommend you do so! There are several good recipes in it!

    Oatmeal Cookie Mix


    1 1/2 cups white sugar
    1 1/2 cups brown sugar
    3 cups flour
    2 tsp. salt
    2 tsp. baking soda
    1 tsp. baking powder

    Cut in:

    2 cups shortening


    6 cups rolled oats

    Mix well. Store in cool place.

    To make cookies:

    Combine in bowl:

    2 eggs, beaten
    2 tsp. vanilla
    1 tsp. cinnamon, optional
    4 cups oatmeal cookie mix(see recipe above)

    Mix well. Drop teaspoonfuls onto greased baking sheet, flatten with fork, if desired, and bake at 350° for about 12 minutes.

    Baking Notes: I will change the cinnamon to pumpkin pie spice for a different flavor. I also have added 1-2 cups of craisins, or raisins or chocolate chips to the cookie dough for added variety.

    This post is linked at:

    Monday, June 22, 2009

    Glimpse of the "It could have been worse!" Week

    I can not say that I have been bored this week!! Life has definitely been keeping my hopping so much so that I am finding that things like blogging have had to be put on the back burner.

    The Sonshine household this week has seen:

    1. a broken dryer! The dryer is around 5 years old and does not want to heat so the clothes can dry! There is too many cottonwood seeds flying in the air and seasonal allergies for us to line dry clothes outside. So we made a 15 minute trip to my parents' house to use their dryer and to dry the 4 loads of laundry. The dryer was fixed to the tune of $138 on Saturday!!

    2. a U-joint in our Suburban replaced! ahhhh no more vibrating or squeaking noises while driving.

    3. a water heater that doesn't want to heat water! Lukewarm showers are becoming the norm around here! It is amazing what happens when someone inadvertently dials down the temp of the heater! Hubby turned it back up and it seems for now we have dodged having to replace it. However, I know that its days are numbered due to its age.

    4. An egress window and window well installed so that we can move towards separating our five kids into THREE rooms rather than just TWO. To save us money with this installation, my hubby dug the FIVE foot by FIVE foot hole by hand one shovel of sand at a time about four different times due to "cave-ins". Yes under the grass and topsoil is nothing but sand so just when hubby thought he had it ready more sand would cave into the hole!! Once the window was installed by a contractor friend of ours, my hubby installed the window well.

    5. I had my yearly physical and unless my bloodwork comes back showing problems, the doctor gave me a clean bill of health.

    6. The oven would not heat so this morning the same company that fixed the dryer on Saturday returned yesterday morning to fix it to the tune of $160!! Not sure if we were going to have to get a new one, I made my weekly menu not using the oven! Thankfully I have two full propane tanks for the grill, a stove top, a crockpot/roaster, and a microwave to keep food rolling out of the kitchen!
    Despite all the things that have gone wrong this past week, I haven't forgotten to take the time to be thankful!!

    I am thankful for:
    1. My family and our health! We are healthy and able to enjoy doing things together.
    2. My house with air conditioning! The weather has been hot and humid and it has been refreshing to come inside to a nice cool house.
    3. My God! He has been with us through everything this past week. If it wasn't for being able to lean on Him and His promises, I think I would have had a mental breakdown! Just when things were at the worst, His calm quiet voice reassured me that things would get better!
    4. My friends! Friends that will give a helping hand and not expect something in return.
    This post is linked at:

    Menu Plan Monday 6/21-6/27--No Oven Edition

    Last week's menu plan went pretty smoothly! Initially, I did not have anything planned for Saturday dinner but my neighbor invited us over to help eat leftovers from her son’s high school graduation open house. So we had shredded bbq chicken sandwiches, chips, and fresh veggies for dinner on Saturday. I also have a whole pan of the bbq chicken as a leftover that she gave me! I think I am going to put in the freezer for some quick meals as the summer progresses.

    For this week’s shopping trip, I went over my $100 weekly budget by $24.24! However, the items I purchased should last me for two whole weeks. Stay tuned for a post on how my $100 weekly budget is figured out and how my monthly Sam’s run figures into the big picture.

    This week’s menus are tried and true family meals—the no oven edition! I went to do use my oven on Saturday for lunch only to find that it was not igniting and hence producing heat! My hubby got our two propane tanks filled for the grill so I will grilling or using the crockpot/roaster and stovetop for my meals. **updated—my oven has been fixed!! However, we are going to be dealing with our first 90° heat of the season this week so I am going to refrain from using the oven this week.

    For this week’s lunches that are for the kids and me! Unless we are having leftovers, our lunches are served with apple slices or carrot sticks along with fruit juice or water. Hubby usually takes a dinner leftover along with various snacks for his work lunch so I don’t take the time to plan his lunches.

    A special thanks to Laura-Organizing Junkie for hosting Menu Plan Monday! Need help with your menus; go check the over 400 other delicious meal plans that have been linked at Laura-Organizing Junkie’s site or look down in my right sidebar for my menu suggestion lists!

    Sunday (6-21)

    Breakfast: eggs, sausage, hash browns, and chocolate donuts (freezer)

    Lunch: grilled pizza rolls

    Dinner: chicken club sandwiches, fries (done in my deep fryer), and fresh veggie tray.

    Snack: snack basket

    Monday (6-22)

    Breakfast: cereal and toaster strudel

    Lunch: leftovers

    Dinner: tacos

    Snack: snack basket

    Tuesday (6-23)

    Breakfast: waffles and sausage

    Lunch: deli turkey sandwiches & chips

    Dinner: roasted chicken served with mashed potatoes & gravy, and corn.

    Snack: snack basket

    Wednesday (6-24)

    Breakfast: bagels, eggs and sausage

    Lunch: leftovers

    Dinner: grilled burgers, served with fries and fresh veggies.

    Snack: snack basket

    Thursday (6-25)

    Breakfast: Pancakes

    Lunch: sandwich & chips

    Dinner: ???---probably leftovers

    Snack: snack basket

    Friday (6-26)

    Breakfast: cereal and toast

    Lunch: sandwich & chips

    Dinner: grilled chicken, fish & shrimp served with potato pockets and corn

    Snack: ice cream night

    Saturday (6-27)

    Breakfast: “Cook’s Choice”

    Lunch: ???

    Dinner: roasted pork loin served with rice and green beans

    Snack: snack basket or popcorn

    Sunday, June 21, 2009

    Singing Sunday--Till I See You

    This is a song I sang in church this morning and it really ministered to my heart today!! I have been singing it in my mind and even out loud for the whole day! I hope that it ministers and encourages you like it is me today.

    Till I See You
    by Hillsong United

    The greatest love that anyone could ever know
    That overcame the cross and grave to find my soul
    And till I see you face to face
    And grace amazing takes me home
    I'll trust in you

    With all I am I'll live to see your Kingdom come
    And in my heart I pray you'd let your will be done
    And till I see you face to face
    And grace amazing takes me home
    I'll trust in you

    I will live to love you
    I will live to bring you praise
    I will live a child in awe of you

    You are the voice that called the universe to be
    You are the whisper my heart that speaks to me
    And till I see you face to face
    And grace amazing takes me home
    I'll trust in you

    You alone are God of all
    You alone are worthy Lord
    And with all I am my soul will bless your name.

    **originally posted April, 2009