Friday, February 12, 2010

Weekly Shopping Trip--Savings $23.52

Another week of not that great of deals, so I kept it simple and didn't buy much. I am finishing off the meat in my freezer this week so I will definitely need to do some shopping next week.

I didn't use much in the way of coupons this week, hence the overall savings is not that high.

Here is the breakdown of my purchases this week:

Family Fare: (1st trip)

  • 2 gallons milk $4.00
Used $4.00 bottle refund!

Total OOP: $0.00
Total Savings: $4.98
Total without sales and bottle refund: $4.98

Family Fare: (2nd trip)

  • 2 gallons milk $4.00
  • 2 jars(50 oz) applesauce $4.00
  • 2 boxes Go-gurt $3.00
  • 2 lbs bacon $3.98
  • 4 lbs shredded hashbrowns $5.58
Total OOP: $20.56
Total Savings: $8.54
Total without sales & coupons: $29.10

  • 2.71 lbs bananas $1.33
  • 2 dozen eggs $2.43
  • 1 head lettuce 77¢
  • 6 boxes Poptarts $9.14
  • 4 Tombstone pizzas $10.46
  • 2 bottles apple juice $3.34
Total OOP: $27.47
Total Savings: $10.00
Total without sales & coupons: $37.47

Grand Total OOP: $48.03
Grand Total Savings: $23.52
Grand Total without sales & coupons: $71.55

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Easy Brownie Torte

Brownies are one of my hubby's favorite desserts so I had decided to make up some for the Valentine's Day weekend for our enjoyment.  When I pulled out a box from my pantry and to my delight found this recipe on the back of the box!! What a great idea to make for a special occasion like Valentine's day!  It is so simple to make but it looks so elegant.  The best part is that I have all the ingredients in my pantry!  However, I am going to change the Reese's peanut butter cups with either chopped Snicker bars(hubby's favorite candy) or Heath bits.  If I use Heath bits I am going to put some of the bits between the layers of brownie too.

Easy Brownie Torte

1 box brownie mix
3 Tbsp. water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 container chocolate frosting
1/2 cup Reese's peanut butter cups, coarsely chopped 

Heat oven to 350°F. Line 13x9-inch pan with foil so foil extends about 2 inches over sides of pan. Spray foil with cooking spray. Make brownies as directed on box for 13x9-inch pan, using foil-lined pan. Cool completely, about 1 hour 30 minutes.

Remove brownie from pan by lifting foil; peel foil away. Cut brownie in half lengthwise; place 1 half on serving plate.(or a 10x5 piece of double thickness cardboard covered in foil, cellophane, or coated giftwrapping paper)

Spoon frosting into microwavable bowl. Microwave on High 15 to 20 seconds. Stir frosting until smooth. Pour half of frosting over brownie half on plate. Place other half of brownie on top; pour remaining frosting over top. Sprinkle with candies. Refrigerate 30 minutes to set. Store loosely covered.

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Thursday, February 11, 2010

Love of Homeschooling!

Can you feel it? Can you feel the love that is in the air? This is the week of the year where everyone is thinking about love! The love they have for their sweetheart, the love they have for God, the love they have for their family, the love they have for their children (if they have any) and the love they have for homeschooling! Well okay, maybe not everyone loves homeschooling, but you can love it!
I have taken the words “Love Homeschooling” to create an acrostic of the positives of homeschooling and why you can love homeschooling.
Less peer pressure — more strengthening of self-worth and character without the negative impact of peer groups. Even though your child might feel that their social life is limited, they will value and appreciate the time with their friends more.
Organization — nothing more frustrating than the inability to put your fingers on what you need when you need it! Organize your schoolroom or school space so that you are not wasting time searching for items. Okay maybe this isn’t a strong quality of yours so you don’t see it as a positive, but I have found that homeschooling has helped me to become more organized in how I keep my home.
Values — building your child’s character and helping them to see what matter most in this world.
Education Freedom — you control what your child learns! You can design a curriculum for your child’s unique needs, strengths and weaknesses.

Helping each other — Your child can help you around the house with chores. Or the older children can listen to the younger ones read.
Opportunities unlimited — take enrichment classes, piano lessons, gymnastics, participate in community sports, work to make a difference in your community. Just remember that just because the opportunities are unlimited doesn’t mean you have to participate in every one that is available!
Many relationships — your child is able to interact with wide range of ages and personalities.
Expectations — don’t fall into the trap of unrealistic expectations. Don’t set your standard too high! Have goals and direction, but be realistic based on your child’s strengths and weaknesses.
Support — having a support system of your family and friends is important.
Comforts of home — there is no better place to learn than in the security of your own home. You also don’t have to worry about walking in the rain to the bus stop and you can stay in your pajamas and still go to school!
Hugs abound! — there are never too many hugs! Building a relationship with your child is so vital to their development.
One-on-one tutoring — personal attention to your child, hence you will be able to know when they are struggling and need the extra effort to master a concept.
Own pace — no child is left behind! They can work at their own pace to master a concept before moving on.
Lifestyle simplified — realizing and remembering what in life really matters! Appreciate and enjoy life’s simple pleasures, like taking a walk together or watching ants work tirelessly.
Interests explored — Learn what your child is interested in and study it! It is okay to tailor-fit your curriculum to your child’s interests. For example, when my oldest son was six, he loved animals so we studied animals for a whole year!
No “SuperMom” — you have to realize that you will not be able to get everything done in one day! You are not going to have a perfect house or perfect children.
God allowed! — He can be talked about —and to— freely! He will be your friend in this homeschooling journey.

**this post was originally published as one of my contributing articles at Happy to be at Home!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Bread Machine Cinnamon Rolls

My two oldest boys are in the Junior High youth group at our church and this past Sunday was my turn to take in a snack for the whole group of teens. So I asked my guys what they wanted me to make for taking in to share.  Their response: "homemade cinnamon rolls!"  I thought to myself that it was doable because I had all the ingredients to make them however, I didn't want to take too much time doing LOTS and LOTS by hand!  So I pulled out my recipe book that came with my bread machine and found a cinnamon roll recipe!  I was able to make four batches of cinnamon rolls over the course of two days and those batches made enough to feed about 25 teens and youth leaders along with my family of 7!!

I remembered not to work the dough to much and not spread it out too thin before putting on the filling and rolling up the dough!  They were able to rise and looked wonderful!!

Bread Machine Cinnamon Rolls

3/4 cup + 2 tbsp. warm milk (80°)
1 large egg
3 cups bread flour
3 tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
4 tbsp. butter or margarine
2 tsp. bread machine or active dry yeast

Place ingredients in the bread machine according to the machine's manual.  Program for DOUGH.  When it is done, roll dough out to about a 15x10 inch rectangle.

Spread 1/3 cup softened butter over dough. Sprinkle 1/3 cup sugar(I used brown sugar), 2-3 tsp. cinnamon and 1/2 cup chopped nuts(optional) over the softened butter.

Roll up the dough with the long side of the dough. Cut with a knife or with dental floss(preferred way!).  Place rolls in a 9x13 greased pan.  Let rolls rise in the pan for 45 minutes - 1 hour or until double in size.

Bake in oven at 375° for 20 - 25 minutes or until golden brown.

While waiting the rolls to cool and if desired, mix up the frosting: 1 cup powdered sugar, 1-2 tbsp. milk and 1/2 tsp. vanilla. Drizzle over the rolls. Enjoy!  Makes 12 rolls.

Notes: To warm the milk, I put it on my microwave for 45 seconds on high power. The measurements for the filling is approximate because I just spread and sprinkled the filling ingredients to cover the dough decently.  Flossing the rolls makes for much nicer rolls!!  I poured the ingredients for the frosting into a ziploc sandwich bag and then "kneaded" the bag until the ingredients were mixed thoroughly. Then I clipped a bottom corner to drizzle the frosting onto the rolls.

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Menu Plan Monday 2/7-2/13

It was another week of success with menu planning!  I did have to do some switching around of days on the menu this past week; however, it was for a good cause!  The “good cause” was: Mommy forgot to take meat out of the freezer for dinner the night before so Mommy had to go to plan B which was fast fixing breaded chicken patties, breaded fish tenders and good ol’ French fries from my stash of convenience foods in my freezer.   I know the mantra of frugal living is that in order to save money you make everything from scratch and you ditch convenience items.  However, when it comes to a choice of buying convenience items to have on hand in my freezer or going to the take out window, I am going to choose the convenience items because I have done my research and found them cheaper for my family of 7 than the take out window.  Also if you have been following my menus you will find that we still do the take out window once a week (Sunday after evening church) because doing the take out window then is much simpler and faster.

I did do some decent grocery shopping this week, however, I did more in the way of stocking up my pantry than I did making sure that I have enough meats to last until next payday(which is next Monday). Hopefully, I have enough to last me without a trip to the grocery store, other than for milk!

This week’s meals are simple meals and using what I have on hand.  No new meals this week, just sticking to some meals that I know the family will enjoy.  I have my church’s Ladies Bible Study on Tuesday and then hubby and I are taking a marriage building class at our church on Wednesday.  I need to make the meals for those days as simple and quick as possible with the rush of needing to get out the door on time.

This week’s lunches that are listed below 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 really plan his lunches. I just take the next container of leftovers in the stack in the fridge that I have prepared ahead of time.

A special thanks to Laura-Organizing Junkie for hosting Menu Plan Monday! Need help with your menus; go check the over 300 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 (2-7)
Breakfast: eggs, sausage & steak, hash browns, and cinnamon rolls
Dinner:  Little Caesar’s and McDonalds (after church)—our Superbowl food!
Snack: snack basket

Monday (2-8)
Breakfast: cereal and cinnamon rolls
Lunch: homemade lunchables
Dinner:  bacon burgers served with French fries and creamed corn

Tuesday (2-9)
Breakfast:  waffles and sausage
Lunch: sandwiches & chips

Wednesday (2-10)
Breakfast:  bagels and cereal
Lunch: leftover tacos
Dinner:  still to be determined!

Thursday (2-11)
Breakfast:  French Toast and sausage
Lunch: leftover pizza
Dinner:  spaghetti and garlic toast

Friday (2-12)
Breakfast:  cereal and powdered donuts
Lunch: sandwiches & chips
Dinner:  “Homemade Long John Silver’s”: oven fried chicken & fish served with French fries, and corn (never got made last week!)
Snack: ice cream night

Saturday (2-13)
Breakfast:  Your Choice
Lunch: ????
Dinner:  saucy chicken served with mashed potatoes, and green beans
Snack: popcorn