Saturday, March 6, 2010

Weekly Shopping Trip--Savings $142.23

I give up after saying last week that I should have enough groceries to last me two weeks,  I went to the stores this week and got more than just milk!  It is hard to turn down a promotion for $1.99/gallon of gasoline(up to 20 gallons) when you buy $100 worth of groceries when you haven't seen gasoline that cheap in a long time!!   And the same grocery store had a deal of buying 6 boxes of General Mills cereal in one transaction, get $10 off instantly plus $6 off your next milk purchase! So I caved and went to my local grocery store, Family Fare and actually spent $200(but only got one gas discount coupon, if I had been paying close attention I might have divided the order!) to get some groceries to take advantage of the promotions.

I also went to Meijer this week for a few items, although I forgot to get the 10 lb bags of potatoes that were on sale for $1.69, I did pretty good getting only the items that were on my list.

Here is a breakdown of my purchases this week:


  • 3 boxes Quaker instant oatmeal $2.64
  • 1 bag Tyson breaded chicken nuggets $3.99
  • 2 bags potato chips $3.99
  • 1 bottle cranberry juice $2.00
  • 3 tubes cinnamon rolls $2.30
  • 3 tubes crescent rolls $3.10
  • 9 boxes Kleenex $9.75
  • 2 boxes Popsters $5.00
  • 1 lb bag 36/40 shrimp $5.99
Total OOP: $39.44
Total Savings: $32.26
Total without sales & coupons: $71.70

Family Fare: 
  • 2 bags Ore Ida potatoes $3.98
  • 3 bags Banquet breaded chicken strips $11.97
  • 2 Tombstone pizzas $5.67
  • 2 pks small flour tortillas $2.00
  • 2 pks burrito size flour tortillas $4.78
  • 4 Totinos pizzas $5.00
  • 2 pks Go-gurt $3.20
  • 4 lbs stick margarine $2.36
  • 2 lb Velveeta $3.99
  • 1 box Scooby Doo graham crackers $4.99
  • 6 boxes General Mills cereal $13.24
  • 2 canisters bread crumbs $3.78
  • 1 box saltines $1.99
  • 2 boxes fruit snacks $4.45
  • 1 box right bite snacks $2.24
  • 2 bottles(64oz) Juicy Juice $5.00
  • 1lb deli smoked turkey $4.00
  • 1 lb Hillshire Farms honey smoked deli turkey $6.00
  • 4 bottles Gatorade $4.00
  • 4 boxes instant pudding $3.00
  • 7 Warm Delights $7.87
  • 3 pks Handi-snacks $5.00
  • 5lbs whole wheat flour $2.64
  • 4 pks smoky links $10.00
  • 1 box Jimmy Dean sausage patties $1.50
  • 2 rolls sausage $4.00
  • 10.95lbs boneless/skinless chicken breasts $20.70
  • 1.72 lbs eye of round roast $5.77 (managers' markdown)
  • 2.16 lbs beef stew meat $6.03
  • 2.37 lbs cube steak $8.27
  • 4.23 lbs bottom round roast $8.42
  • 9lbs potatoes $3.00
  • 2.55lbs bananas $1.50
  • 2 bottles apple juice $4.00
  • 2 lbs strawberries $3.76
  • 2 gallons milk $4.98
  • 1/2 gallon chocolate milk FREE
  • 3-12pks Sierra Mist $13.60(with bottle deposit)
Total OOP: $207.68
Total Savings: $109.97
Total without sales & coupons: $317.66

Grand Total OOP: $247.12
Grand Total Savings: $142.23
Grand Total without sales & coupons: $389.35

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Thursday, March 4, 2010

Is Spring Here?!?!

Could spring finally be here in West Michigan?? It is hard to tell at my house!!  If you look out my back windows you will see....

There is still a couple of inches of snow and mounds of snow that are a couple feet high!!  You can see that the snow is melting but not as fast as what it has in my front yard!  My front yard thinks that spring has sprung because in my front flower beds peeking through the winter leaf blanket are crocuses and tulips and even some of my perennials are starting to green up!

These pictures are just a taste of the green that I am seeing in my front flower beds!

I like the fact that there is green showing but with the early flowers I am afraid we are going to hit with late season snow and all my tulips will be ruined! I also don't like the kids playing in this in between time because it is hard to know how to dress them for the outdoors because no matter what they come home soaked to the bone and muddy!

Has spring sprung where you live??

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Homeschooling: Writing Prompts A Jar of Possibilities

I am getting ready to do a writing unit with my three older boys.  They have completed their grammar books so its time to put the grammar skills to work and concentrate on writing using my "writing jar".

My oldest boy is a very creative writer and writing comes easy to him.  I am not met with a blank stare when I ask him to write a story.  However, he is old enough where I need to work at channeling his writing abilities into different genres of writing rather than just creative or free writing.

As for the other two boys well they are different story from my oldest!  I think they would rather get a tooth pulled than write even a paragraph!  They do not have any problem telling me stories verbally but to ask them to write what they just said is almost impossible.  I usually end up in the following conversation with either of them:

MOM: You need to write a story today.
CHILD: (with a blank stare) A story!?!
MOM: Yes, a story!
CHILD: But I don’t know what to write about!
MOM: Well use your imagination! I am sure that you can figure out something!
[Mom leaves the child to their thoughts. An hour later Mom goes to check the child’s paper, only to find there is nothing on the paper!]
MOM: Why don’t you have your story written like I said for you to do.
CHILD: I told you that I didn’t know what to write about!
MOM: Well you need to write a story!
[Mom leaves the child alone and a bit frustrated!]

Do you have this happen with your child?  Do you want to put an end to this scene happening in your home school adventure?  If so, I have a solution to this problem that has worked for me…a “journal jar” or “story bucket” or “story basket”.  

To make one of these you need a canning jar or dollar store basket and paper that you can use to write different story starters or writing prompts.  When your child needs to write about something or a story they can choose something out of the jar or basket to help get them started.

As for what to write on those pieces of paper for your jar or basket, check out the following sites:
  •  Story Starters –printable worksheets with pictures that you can print in color or black and white (so the child can color the pictures). You can type a list of words in the word bank for the child to use in their story.   This is great to use with spelling or vocabulary words!  Also works well for the younger children.  To use these in the jar, I just write the name of the picture on a slip and put in the jar and if the child pulls it out I have this site bookmarked to go and print the page.
  •  Harcourt School's Picture Writing Prompts—printable pictures of titles, settings, characters, problems and actions to help get a story started.
  • CanTeach Writing Prompts/Journal Topics –there is what seems to be an endless list of prompts at this site!  I feel that a lot of the prompts are geared towards the upper elementary children (3rd or 4th grade and up). 
  • The Write Source – another site of endless writing prompts that they have taken the time to divide into grade levels.
  • Organized Christmas Child Journal Jar –printable sheets that have the writing prompts on them.  You just need to print and cut and put in the jar or basket.
  •  Tooter4Kids' Daily Writing Ideas –a calendar from September to June with daily writing ideas or monthly themes. 
  •  Teacher's Corner Calendar –this is interactive educator’s calendar.  It has themes listed for each month.  You click on the month and find that there are “this day in history” or “special holidays” listed on the different days of the month. They also have a page of daily writing prompts to choose from as well.

With these resources, you will have plenty of prompts to fill a jar or basket to help spur your child’s imagination in writing a story.

A writing jar works for me!

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

OAMC: The Wrap Up to a LONG day!

Monday after accomplishing several items in the morning:

  • making a loaf of french bread for dinner

  • getting the first batch of honey oatmeal bread in the bread machine and rising

  • getting a batch of spaghetti sauce in the roaster for dinner

  • I finished my afternoon break and got to work at getting another round of bread in the bread machine.  I also worked at getting the rest of my dinner ready by making some chicken parmesan and started cooking the noodles so they were just an easy reheat for dinner. While the noodles were cooking, I received a phone call from my father.  He called to tell me that he had just "whited out"/fainted and my mom had called 911.  I hung up the phone and called my sister who was just pulling into our parents' driveway along with the first responders.   My sister stayed there while the first responders were checking dad's blood pressure and just monitoring him for a bit. He stabilized to the point of refusing to go via ambulance so my sister drove him and my mom to the emergency room.   Meanwhile, I worked at getting things finished up enough in my kitchen where I could make a run to the emergency room so I was there if I needed to sign papers or anything with being my dad's power of attorney and not knowing the extent of his condition.

    As I was finishing up the noodles, my sister called me again to let me know that she could not stay with our parents any longer at the hospital because she had prior commitment that she could not break.  She asked if I was on my way there and I told her I would be heading that way in about 20 minutes.

    So I gathered my kids and sent them down to the neighbors that I had called earlier to let know what was going on.  Once I knew they were with the neighbors, I left for the hospital---forgetting that I had dough in the bread machine that needed to be out to rise, and forgetting that I had bread rising that was ready for baking

    I came back home 3 hours later to dough lifting the lid of my bread machine, and the dough that I had left rising deflated!  I went ahead and  baked the loaves of bread that deflated.  They taste fine just do not look very pretty.

    The dough that was lifting the bread machine lid, I made into homemade buns and since they had already done LOTS of rising after I made the dough balls I only let it set for about 5 minutes before sticking them in the oven to bake. They came out wonderful and they will be a nice compliment for using with chicken club sandwiches later in the week.

    So when life happens it takes one 12 hours to get their baking day finished!  One of the things I learned on Monday was that no matter how much I planned ahead for a smooth & successful day, the Lord had other plans for me that He wanted me to do and still be able to declare the day smooth and successful.

    I am planning on working more on my March Baking Plan next week!

    This post is linked to: 

    Monday, March 1, 2010

    OAMC: Morning Successes and Afternoon Plans

    I don't know what I was thinking trying to do any kind of baking or cooking on a MONDAY!?!? But I am doing it and actually having some success in accomplishing some things!

    So far this morning I have:

    1. baked a double batch of banana bread muffins
    2. browned 3 1/2 lbs ground beef--put 1 1/2 lbs in the freezer and using the other 1 1/2 lbs for spaghetti sauce for dinner.
    3. made 14 burger patties for the freezer. 
    4. made a loaf of french bread to make garlic bread for dinner tonight.
    5. have honey oatmeal dough going in the bread machine.

    Aside from the kitchen items this morning I have also done:
    • breakfast for the kids
    • homeschooling with my kids
    • started potty training my 3 year old
    • made lunch for the kids
    • finished planning my weekly menu 
    • got myself showered and dressed(this is a feat in itself to have done before noon on any given day!)

    I am planning on doing a few more baking items this afternoon, first I need to run an errand to the post office for my hubby.  Then I will be back in the kitchen working on more muffins and breads for the freezer!