Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Horsey Ridin'

She loves her "horsey" rides! This was from a few weeks ago, we'll get some pics of our trailer and the campus here in McNeil, AZ soon. And the weather here...its fine! And a side note to see if my parents are reading: there is NO Mariott here;)

In Sunny Arizona!

When they said McNeil was a small town, they didn't mean it was a "one horse" town. Its not even a "one dog" town! There is not even a convenience store here. The "big" nearby town is a blink-and-you'll-miss-it" kind of a town! But thankfully these are not important facts...what is important is that the people here at New Tribes are so kind and we've been enjoying our time here immensely! So far Daniel has completed a project doing a Magneto (an airplane component overhaul), which if anyone wants to know what that is, I'll ask him more details later;) and today he's working on a project involving electrical systems. We had our first interview with several of the New Tribes leadership team yesterday afternoon and were able to get some of our major questions answered as well as share our testimony.

We had an adventurous time getting down here on Saturday. We walked from our apt. to the ferry, took the ferry to a shuttle, then shuttled to the airport for our 5 hour flight. That wasn't super eventful except our flight was delayed and the gate was changed at the last minute. A few things came as a suprise to us like needing i.d. for baby (which we had...her new passport!) and not getting to load first since we had a baby. No special priviledges...aw shucks! The adventures occured after the flight (baby M did a fantastic job on the flight!), when we realized that the only luggage we needed was our black duffle. The only bag on the conveyer was...a black duffle, very similar to ours, but...you guessed it...not ours. Of course that bag had all the baby stuff in it, including our stash of baby food, cloth diapers (we used disposables while traveling) and her clothes. And our deoderant. So we were understandably hoping that it was not gone forever! The family that picked us up was gracious enough to take us to Wal-Mart on the way home where we got the essentials to last most of the week and then the "Mission Barrel" here at New Tribes supplied baby with some clean outfits (to keep even!). Our bag did come back to us though(late Sunday night), which was a huge praise. The guy that ended up with our bag was quite suprised and apologetic! Southwest is even going to reimburse us for our Wal-Mart purchases, which was $21, so that is a praise. The trip from Tucson was a lot longer than we anticipated and the van we were in had transmission problems. We prayed a lot on the ride home! Every time we needed to slow down, the van would stay in 2nd so we had to pull over and restart the van. It was an adventure. I figure stuff like this is more common in missionary life overseas so we should start getting used to it!

We are hoping to get some pictures posted tomorrow of the base here and the hangar. For all of you who visit for my frugal tips...here it is: move here, where there is no where to shop! Just kidding, I can already see how having less options for grocery stores and 2nd had shops and garage sales is just as challenging as living where things are more expensive and there are more temptations. More soon!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Walgreen's loot and the cranky manager

All this pictured above was less than $10 out of pocket (I used coupons on the Suave, several on the gum, for the Folgers, the jane and a free coupon for the deoderant)!

The Suave deal last week was SO sweet. I did it several times, but the last time I tried to "roll" the register rewards at my parent's Walgreen's in Eastern WA, it didn't work. Not only that but I didn't notice that my total was below $6 and I paid with a $6 RR, so the cash register "corrected itself" as the cashier told me. I should have been paying better attention, but grandma and girlie were waiting in the car so I didn't realize what happened until later:( So yesterday I went to take back those 4 Suaves and to correct a Jane makeup error where the 2nd didn't ring at 50% off, but the manager was so cranky! He told me very slowly (like I obviously would have difficulties understanding;) that coupons were NOT cash and that I had used coupons to make the makeup come out less than the price it would not work. We went back and forth for awhile and finally I decided I would just bring the makeup with me next time and if they couldn't fix it, I'd return. He also would not give me a new EasySaver catalog, like it was some top secret commodity. Trying to ruin all my fun, I tell ya! But you win some, you lose some in the coupon game I guess, and as long as I am doing what is right and legal, I will persist in politely getting some great deals! I can't wait to see what others did, I know there were some other super deals at Walgreen's with the overlapping EasySaver period today.

Did I break my blog?

Do you all see what I see...nothing on the right sidebar? Does anyone know why it is doing that?

On another note, we're heading to Arizona in just a few hours! Only 12 million things to do before we hop on a ferry, then a shuttle, then a plane, but just enough time to give you some last goodbye love. See you in a week (maybe less if we have internet connection there!)

Friday, April 25, 2008

Dressed up for a White Wedding

The girlie and I matched, but you can't see that since I left my coat on! Dork.

She is not overly impressed with her first wedding as you can see.

Hidin' girlie

We went upstairs for literally 1 minute and came down to find the our girlie had gone missing! Can you find the baby in this picture?:)

Battle of the Bulge: Frugal Weight Loss & Fitness Part 1

In the fall of 2006 I started Weight Watchers. It was something I thought I'd never do (pay money to lose weight) but I signed up when my school district started a group. Now I wasn't wildly successful or anything, but I did lose about 15 pounds, my clothes all felt comfortable (and looked decent) and I was within the top of the range of a normal, healthy weight. I think I was within a few pounds of what is a realistic weight for my body since even in highschool with 3 sports, cutting way back on calories/fat I was only about 13 lbs less than that (and people started telling me I looked too thin).

Right as I was getting close to my "goal weight" while doing Weight Watchers, my husband and I found out we were going to be parents! WW was no longer an option and my appetite went all weird on me. Although I was lucky not to be one of those who was down for the count with debilitating morning sickness, I found that I had to eat small meals all day long in order to keep from feeling queasy. I gained 10 pounds within the first 2 months! Those 10 pounds that I put on before you're supposed to have gained any weight at all are still with me, 6 months post-partum. This is fairly disappointing since I lost 25 pound the first couple weeks after giving birth (crazy I know!). I thought nursing was the miracle diet, but apparently even the miracle diet has its limits;)

So here I am now with a lack of time and money to join WW again, but needing to lose those last 10 or so pounds. In the past couple of months some of my favorite blogs have posted about free weight loss tools and I am finally going to try to take advantage! imommies brought up Wellness 360, a website that helps you to track all aspects of your health. Apparently you get some financial benefits directly correlated to how much you use the program. I'm sure its not much, but anything is worth it, hey? Money Saving Mom is where I first read about SparkPeople.com, a site that is similar to WW etools, but free! I am thinking of checking this out as well. A few weeks ago I noticed an article on Blissfully Domestic about some simple steps to take to lose weight. I am all over that idea. A blogger friend of mine, Sarah, uses a free program called Fitday and has good things to say about it. I am excited to check it out as well once I get the chance. Another link you might want to check out is an article I read yesterday from Cheap Healthy Good. She talks about the recent research that discusses the correlation between people buying certain diet foods and obesity/being chronically overweight. Fascinating stuff.

I'll tell you a little about what I've done already (more in coming posts). The past few days I have started writing down everything I eat. Just like my friend and a great source of inspiration does, I am using the old fashioned pen and paper. This week I've also tried out the green smoothie experiment. If you are interested, check out my previous posts (edited to add a link to the specific amounts to put in your smoothie!) regarding this week's green smoothie experiment here, here and here.

Lest this get incredibly boring, I am going to cut this off now and continue this as an installment series of sorts. Next week (or possibly in 2 weeks as we'll be traveling to Arizona for a week and may not have internet there). I will share a Christ-centered book on weight loss that I've been reading as well as my view/history with exercise.

How do you stay fit and healthy on a budget? I am especially curious about those of you who do/have struggled with your weight. What is your biggest area of struggle?

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Green Smoothie: Day 4

Just thought I would report on my latest greatest green smoothie: spinach, frozen strawberry, frozen banana and 1/2 a stalk of celery (and some water of course). It was good! Seriously, for something that combines foods that I never before would have eaten (much less drank!) together, it was good. I wanted to drink the whole thing. I still wanted some coffee later in the day though, so it hasn't halted the craving train entirely yet;) I do feel like I have more energy though... I am excited to take punker-nootie on a long walk this afternoon (especially if those dark clouds get lost! If I can figure out how to take a decent picture of one, I will show you the tasty goodness that looks like it should NOT be eaten;)

Earlier posts on green smoothies are here and here.

Here is the link to the specific combos (I haven't ever used a recipe...its more like 1/3 greens of some sort (I have only tried celery and spinach so far) and 2/3 fruit (bananas are great because they are so soft and sweet!) for the green smoothies if anyone is interested (via Happy Foody)

Safeway (NW) aka "no doublesville" deals for the week of 4/23-4/29/08

Safeway (NW) deals for the week of 4/23-4/29/08

Visit a bunch more stores at BeCentsAble and the Grocery Gathering!

Good Deals (No Coupon Required)
Rancher's Reserve Beef London Broil $1.99/lb
Coca Cola Fridge Packs Buy 2/Get 3 Free-this brings the price of each to a little over $2
Large Braeburn or Gala Apples $0.99/lb
Tomatoes on the Vine $0.99/lb

Super Coupons!
Jimmy Dean Sliced Bacon 2/$5
Aquafina Water $3.49 (24 pack 16.9oz)
Bumble Bee Albacore Tuna $0.79/each

Freebies (this doesn't happen often...yeah!)
Crab Classic (in the seafood section-not frozen) is finally on sale for 10/$10. Find a coupon for $1/off 1 here! Final Price FREE!!

Coupon Deals

Arm & Hammer Laundry Detergent 50 oz. $2.49
Use $1.00/1 coupon from (?)
Final Price $1.49 each!

General Mills Cereal 8.9 to 14.25-oz. Selected varieties $2.50
Uses $1.00/3 04-20 S (or find more online)
Final Price $2.17

Kens Salad Dressing 16oz $2.50
Use $2.00/1 from 03-09 S
Final Price $0.50

Foster Farms Corn Dogs 29.3 to 42.7-oz BOGO $3.40
Use $1.00/2 from 01-27 S
Final Price $2.40

Living Well, Feeling Great Promo: Get a $10 reward coupon for your next visit every time you spend $30 on participating products. This deal runs from April 2nd-April 29th. You must spend all $30 in one transaction. Visit Hot Coupon World for help with creating scenarios to make the most out of this deal (there are LOTS of participating products!) I am going to use some of the Earth Day Coupon book coupons to do this deal (if I can find enough products we use!) such as the SunChips and Coke. We'll see. Other good deals can be had using online coupons for LiveActive Cheese and Honey Bunches of Oats with Chocolate Clusters.
Any other good deals out there that you see?

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Green Smoothies: Day 3

Like I mentioned yesterday, I have decided to try out the world of green smoothies for various reasons. I originally read about them here and to be honest was turned off by the idea. For some reason, I came around to the idea, quite possibly because it seemed that everywhere I looked, everything I read was talking about healthier living with a heavy dose of healthier eating. Although my husband and I are fairly healthy "eaters" by our own estimation anyway:) I needed to take it a little further for various reasons.

What I needed a was place to start. A frugal and quick place to start. So this week I am having one green smoothie a day, and so far it has gone well! Yesterday's smoothie was frozen banana, spinach, water and a touch of cocoa powder. I was hoping the cocoa powder would make it more like a "dessert" green smoothie and might make the color a little less disturbing, but only the former was true. The taste wasn't exactly "yummy" but it wasn't something I needed to hold my nose to drink;) I have noticed that it does help with appetite and cravings overall. I also was able to again get in all the recommended servings of fruits/veggies and then some with no trouble. Still too soon to get the complete verdict. Like I mentioned yesterday, I will talk more about health/diet/weight loss (with a decided frugality bent!) as it applies to my family and I on Friday. But so far, green smoothies work for my health and my budget!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

A Green Smoothie Experiment

On Friday, I hope to finally get a post up that I've been thinking about for several weeks. Don't expect greatness since its been so long in coming though! Rather its just longer than my normal post and we've had some serious busyness lately;)! What I want to talk about is related to health/fitness and weight loss. I love food, I love cooking, and I LOVE to eat. But I do not like the fact that I still need to lose pregnancy weight, (that I really shouldn't have gained in the first place). I also feel like some of my minor health concerns may be alleviated by eating and living in a different manner. I will talk more about all this on Friday, but something I knew I could do with limited time started immediately was to add a "green smoothie" to what I eat everyday.

At Happy Foody, she challenged readers to do this for a month, but I missed out on the challenge (and wasn't up for it at that point anyway). All this to say, I started yesterday with a smoothie that sounds gross, but really isn't so bad: banana/spinach. Still too soon to see much in the way of benefits, but I know I got all my servings of veggies fruit in for the day and I felt full and ate less overall yesterday! I am going to do a similar smoothie today (1 1/2 bananas-frozen, 2 handfulls of spinach, water and some cocoa powder) for a more dessert type drink. I have a whole list of different fruit veggie combos to try. I will report back on how they taste/make me feel as I have time. Anyone else done something similar? Thoughts?

Super Easy Whole Wheat Rolls

Although I don't know exactly why whole wheat pastry flour is different from regular whole wheat flour, I do know that it is great for baking! I love to subsitute it in breads, rolls and muffins to make the recipe less dense. Its a way to keep the health benefits of whole wheat, but keep some of the lightness of the white flour. If you know more about pastry flour, I would love to hear about it! I buy it at a nearby grocery store that has some bulk bins, but I am sure there are cheaper ways to obtain it. Here is a recipe that turns out great when some whole wheat pastry flour is used.

The Easiest Whole Wheat Rolls EVER
(adapted from this recipe)

4 TBS butter, margarine or shortening
6 TBS sugar
2 cups hot water
2 packages dry yeast or 4 ½ tsps yeast
2 eggs, beaten
2 tsp. salt
5 cups flour (I use a combo of whole wheat and whole wheat pastry flour)

Grease 9X13 casserole pan or something similar.
In large bowl, mix butter, sugar and hot water. Let cool until lukewarm, and mix the yeast in until dissolved. Mix in the egg, salt, and flours. Allow to rise in same bowl (covered with towel) until doubled in size.
Divide the dough into small (tennis ball sized) balls. Allow to rise again until doubled in size (in a warm spot helps).
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Bake for 10 minutes or until baked through.

For more kitchen tips visit here.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Menu Plan for the week of 4/21-4/28/08

Menu Plan for the Week of 4/21-4/28/08
Lots of menu plans can be found here every week!

Monday: Beef Barley Soup and Whole Wheat Rolls

Tuesday: Crockpot Salsa Sour Cream Chicken over rice with carrot sticks & dip

Wednesday: Chili and Garlic Cheese Biscuits (didn't make this last week....pulled something out of the freezer instead)

Thursday: Chicken Noodle Casserole, leftover Garlic Cheese Biscuits

Friday: Homemade BBQ Beef and Cheese Pizza

Saturday: Flying to Arizona! Leftover Pizza from Friday and we'll probably pack quite a few snacks/sandwiches so we can avoid buying food at the airport.

Sunday: We will be in Arizona doing an "evaluation camp" of sorts with New Tribes Mission Aviation. They will be feeding us:)

Lunches: Leftovers from the night before (each recipe usually makes 4-6 servings, so this makes plenty for lunch with only 2 of us eating real food at this time!)

Breakfasts: Muffins, Toast made with homemade bread (if I have time!)

Snacks: Cold Cereal (from our good deal stash---we don't like it for breakfast!), grapes, carrot sticks, popcorn, homemade granola

Saturday, April 19, 2008

In Eastern WA having a cold garage sale!

We are braving the record breaking cold here in E. WA having a garage sale! Man do we ever know how to pick a date to have a sale. We had a good turn out and have gotten rid of a lot of our stuff and my parents excess as well. Not sure how much $$ we made yet, but even if it wasn't much, it would be worth it to have the extra space. Among the random things that did sell...old countertop, a broken chainsaw (and the buyer knew it was broken), a toilet seat, a dusty old lampshade, lots of odd knick-knacks 2 office chairs and hair conditioner. All in all a good day! Pictures to come later. Now I am off to help haul the remains to Goodwill and to list the leftover books on PaperbackSwap.com!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Safeway NW Deals for the week of 4/16-4/22/08

Visit BeCentsAble and the Grocery Gathering for stores near you!

Safeway (NW) Deals for 4/16-4/22/08

Good deals (no coupons needed)

Rancher's Reserve Beef 7-bone chuck roast ($1.29/lb)

Safeway Skinless Boneless Chicken Breast ($1.99/lb)

Red, Orange or Yellow Bell Peppers $0.99/each

Copper River Sockeye Salmon Fillets ($7.99/lb)

Navel Oranges, 8lb back $2.99each

Strawberries 4lbs for $4.99

Pepsi Fridge Packs (12 pack) Buy 2 Get 2 Free plus get 3 free Gatorade G2 32 oz.

Super Coupons! (With minimum $10 purchase)

Cottonelle Bath or Viva Towels, select varieties, 2 for $11, (must buy 2)

Mott's Apple Juice, 64 oz. $1.49

Arrowhead Water, 24 pack $3.77

Coupon Deals

Campbells Reduced Sodium Soup 10.75-oz. (Chicken Noodle or Tomato) $1.00 each
Use coupon from 03-02 S for $0.40/4
Final Price $0.90

Softsoap 18-oz. Body Wash or 32 to 40-oz. Hand Soap Refill $3.50
Use $1.00/1 coupon from 03-30 S
Final Price $2.50

Stouffers Homestyle Classics or Panini 6 to 20-oz $2.75
Use $1.00/1 from 04-13 RP
Final Price $1.75

Keebler Chips Deluxe Cookies 12.5 to 18-oz $2.00
Use $1.00/2 from 04-06 RP
Final Price $1.50

Del Monte Canned Fruit 15 to 15.25-oz $1.29
Use $1.00/12 from 03-09 RP
Final Price $1.21

Dixie Plates (coupon is for Ultra Plates) $2.50
Use coupon for $0.35/1 from 02-24 RP
Final Price $2.15

Charmin Bath Tissue $6.49
Use coupon for $0.25/1 from 04-06 PG
Final price $6.24

Nature Valley Granola Bars 5.3 to 9-oz $2.00
Use $0.75/2 coupon from 03-09 S
Final Price $1.63

Chef Boyardee Canned Pasta 14.5 to 15-oz $1.00
Use coupon for $0.35/3 from 03-09 S
Final Price $0.88
Purchase any O organics item and recieve a coupon book with $40 in savings including some freebies! I am going to get this one...hoping to find some discounted O organics products this week;)

Living Well, Feeling Great Promo: Get a $10 reward coupon for your next visit every time you spend $30 on participating products. This deal runs from April 2nd-April 29th. You must spend all $30 in one transaction. Visit Hot Coupon World for help with creating scenarios to make the most out of this deal (there are LOTS of participating products!)

Any other good deals out there that you see?

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Daddy's staying home with our girlie soon

In a little over two weeks we are doing something we never thought we would do. I am going back to work full time and my husband is going to stay home with our baby girl.

His helicopter company (well its not his, but you know--like the place he works) will be closing soon so we'll be trading places. He'll be staying home to take care of our munchkin for almost 2 months while I finish out the school year in my job as a School Psychologist. Its not what we planned, but it will work for us for this time in our lives. After that we will be training to do overseas mission work, so neither of us will be working at a "real job" for awhile. We're all about flexibility around here!

Pizza Stone

Ever since the first time I tried making my favorite homemade pizza recipe on the hand-me-down pizza stone from our friends, I've been hooked! It always produced an evenly cooked tasty pizza (at least when I've followed the recipe correctly!:) My MIL has said they are great for baking cookies on too, but I have yet to remember to try this out. I am sure new pizza stones aren't cheap (ours is a pampered chef version), but its something to put on that garage sale list this time of year!

Kitchen Tip Tuesday is full of more great tips...get on over there!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Menu Plan for the Week of 4/14-4/20/08

Lots of menu plans can be found here every week!

Monday: Whole Wheat (organic-from Trader Joes!) Pasta with homemade alfredo sauce and spinach cranberry/almond salad & homemade rolls

Tuesday: Crockpot BBQ Pork Roast (I didn't end up making this last week...I bought a bunch of ground beef on a very good sale and make 100+ meatballs instead!--we had sweet and sour meatballs over rice) with brown rice and mixed veggies

Wednesday: Chili and Garlic Cheese Biscuits

Thursday: Homemade BBQ Beef and Cheese Pizza

Friday: At my parents. Probably going to do a lot of take out since we'll be prepping for their massive garage sale madness.

Saturday: At my parents having the mother of all garage sales!

Sunday: Fellowship Group-Mexican! We'll be bringing Salsa, Brownies and ???

Lunches: Leftovers from the night before (each recipe usually makes 4-6 servings, so this makes plenty for lunch with only 2 of us eating real food at this time!)

Breakfasts: Banana Bread, oatmeal

Snacks: Cold Cereal (we get name brand cereal for $0.75/box or under--but we don't like it for breakfast!), grapes, carrot sticks,

String and a wisk...what more could a girl want?

What's this? String?

A new toy!

"Helping" mom cook with my other favorite toy, the WISK

Almost crawling

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Can't believe I'm posting pictures of our TP

When visiting with family last weekend someone pointed out the obvious. "Isn't it a little weird to be taking pictures of your groceries etc. and putting that up on the internet?" Well, yeah. But not to us! I know you think its cool, and so do I! So we'll continue to be super savers on Saturday and today you even get to see our TP! Lucky you;

This week wasn't extra-ordinary, but the Friday only $5/$20 coupon from Walgreen's was too much like the highly desired CVS coupons (that we here in the NW only dream about!) to pass up! The TP and dressing were had by combining great sales and coupons from Albies (for a total of a little over $3.00) but the rest of the loot is from Walgreen's. My husband and I each did a transaction so we could enjoy this deal twice. After subtracting the register reward (RR) from the Aveeno deal, all this was under $20. That's not including the rebates I will receive, which will total around $7.

Walgreen's: The first order was mostly baby stuff: Huggies (we use disposables at night and for our babysitter) on sale for $9.00 minus $1.50 coupon, Aveeno products (all baby items-will use these for gifts) were on sale for $4.26 each minus various coupons, and this produced the $10 RR. The Wrigley's gum was $1.19/each, but after 3 coupons (1 BOGO, 7day, and IVC) it was less than $1 for all 4. The baby cereal ended up being sort of a filler, but with coupon the boxes were $1.50 each. They will give our kiddo some variety in her diet in a month or so.

Albertson's: The second order was the Albertson's TP ($1.00/each sale) and I had one printable coupon for $1.00 off/1 and some other coupons ($1.00/3 and $0.55/1) so that was a great deal. The Ken's dressing is on sale for $2.50/each and I had a $2.00/1 coupon.

Walgreen's again, with hubby: My husband said we needed DVD-R's for our new laptop so I suggested we go back to Walgreen's to use the $5/$20 deal again. The DVD-R's happened to be on sale-praise the Lord! So we got those, some Garnier haircolor that ended up being $2 after coupons (Walgreen's and manu), the Diet coke (a treat for our movie night (with free Redbox movie!), the candy bar was a filler because the manager said my total had to be $20 before tax, and the Tums Quickpack is free after rebate. The cranberries are another treat, to put in muffins($3.00). The Aquafresh was on sale for $2.00 and I had a coupon for $1.00 off. This will also be free after rebate.

Visit Money Saving Mom to see other TP pics (you know you want to;)

Friday, April 11, 2008

Gleaning Ideas from Unexpected Sources

When I look at my parents' (and other relatives around me) relative affluence today, its easy to forget where they may have been 15, even 20 years ago. The other day I was talking to my mom about my frugal (mis)adventures and she was telling me about when she and my dad were first married. Their budget was so tight in those days they literally counted pennies. An extravagant date for them was to do to a local diner and order coffee (plan ole coffee...no lattes then!!) and split a piece of pie. But even that was a rarity. I was telling her about our previous mold problem and how it was exaserbated by our keeping our apt. temp to 60* or below and she said they kept the heat so low that when they had guests, their guests would keep jackets on and don extra blankets for warmth sometimes.

All this to say that previously I would never have thought to ask certain people for frugal advice based on their current situation. But that doesn't always mean they haven't been there and don't have great advice to impart! For example, my mom knew how to make some mean casseroles and how to get super cheap kid's clothes at garage sales back when I was a wee one. We've been able to swap tips even though she doesn't need to use most of them these days.

Sometimes conversations on thrift even come back to benefit us in ways we never thought they would. After discussing our preferences and needs for baby clothes, I've emphasized my desire that not a lot of $$ be spent on something that will be worn for such a short period of time. This has opened the doors for relatives and friends to give us hand me downs and to shop garage sales and thrift shops without worrying what we might think. Its been a win-win. We often end up with better quality clothes for our girlie (and more to choose from) and those around us don't spend needless cash.

Visit Biblical Womanhood to see other Frugal Friday offerings!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Terrific Toffee Bars

This recipe comes from yea ole faithful cookbook, Better Homes & Gardens.

Terrific Toffee Bars

1/2 c. butter
3/4 c. packed brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 c. flour
1/8 tsp salt
3/4 c. choc. chips
1/3 c. chopped nuts (I've used both walnuts and almonds with good results)
1/2 c. chocolate covered toffee pieces (I've never had these, thus never tried them!)

In large bowl beat butter, brown sugar, egg and vanilla until smooth (easiest with electric mixer). Beat flour and salt until combined. Spread evenly in an ungreased 13X9X2 inch baking pan. Bake in a 350* oven for about 15 minutes or until edges are slightly brown and surface is dry. Remove from oven and immediately sprinkle with chocolate. Let stand about 2 minutes until softened, then spread evenly. Sprinkle with nuts (and toffee pieces if you want). Cut immediately into serving sized bars. Cool on a rack.

I tried this recipe last year and make it for almost all our company because its easy and looks/tastes like I spent more time on it than I did!

Visit the Natural Mommy for more delicious desserts to try!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Safeway Deals for the Week of 4/9-4/15/08

Safeway (NW) Deals for 4/2-4/8/08

Visit BeCentsAble and the Grocery Gathering for stores near you!

Safeway (NW) Deals for 4/9-4/15/08

Good deals (no coupons needed)

Sliced Rib Half Pork Loin ($o.99/lb)

Safeway Chicken Thighs, Drumsticks, or Leg Quarters($0.99/lb)

Red Seedless Grapes (0.99/lb)

Asparagus ($1.99/lb)
12 pack Coca Cola Fridge Packs Buy 2/Get 2 Free

Super Coupons!

Lloyd's Baby Back Ribs 37.4 oz, fully cooked $5.00 off (anyone know how much these are?)

SeaPack Shrimp Selections 8.2-20 oz, $3.99/each

Kraft Natural Slices 16oz ($2.49/each) I am going to get this one!

Coupon Deals

Newmans Own Salad Dressing 16oz $3.00
Use $0.50/1 from 03-30 RP
Final Price $2.50

Folgers Coffee 23 to 39-oz $7.99
Use coupon $0.25/1 from 04-06 PG
Final Price $7.74

Mission tortillas Multi-Grain Soft Taco $2.89
Use $1.00/2 coupon from 01-06 S1
Final price $2.39/each

Yoplait Yogurt 4 to 6-oz $0.70/each
Use $0.40/6 coupon from 03-30 S
Final Price $0.63/each

SeaPak Shrimp Selections 8.2 to 20-oz (Frozen) $4.99
Use $1.00/2 coupon from 02-24 RP
Final price $4.49

Hormel Sliced Pepperoni 6 to 8-oz $3.50
Use $0.75/1 coupon from 01-20 S
Final price $2.75

Tyson Anytizers Frozen Boxed item $3.00
Use $0.55/1 coupon from 01-20 S
Final Price $2.45

Living Well, Feeling Great Promo: Get a $10 reward coupon for your next visit every time you spend $30 on participating products. This deal runs from April 2nd-April 29th. You must spend all $30 in one transaction. Looks like some great deals can be had for this promo if you use a bunch of the Sunsilk coupons which can be found on the Sunsilk Website, or the Tava Coupons from couponbug.com, I believe. The total must reach $30 before coupons, so in both these cases the coupons are for $1.50 off I believe, which would make the before coupon total hit $30 quickly!
Any other good deals out there that you see?

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Ground beef: tips and experiments

Since working towards slashing our grocery budget further, I am experimenting with ways to get the most bang for our buck without forgoing our favorite recipes. Last night we had a favorite of ours, Taco Salad and were able to put ground beef liberally on top. This is only because 1) the ground beef industry is no longer plotting against me and has been on SALE!!! many times in the last few weeks and 2) I've learned some tricks that work for stretching it further without compromising the nutritional content (rather adding to it!)

Here are some tips I've picked up from various blogs for making ground beef go further!

1) Add onions while cooking. Lots of them. This won't work if your family is onionophobic of course

2) Buy a higher fat content (if its lots cheaper!) so you can do as I do and cook large quantities in a large pot and strain the fat by rinsing afterward. Don't use this tip if you've already added lots of spices and other tasty goodies, or you'll end up losing that flavor

3) Add oats. When I first came across this tip I thought it would be really weird. The first time I tried it I asked my husband if he noticed anything different and he said "are there more onions?" and also mentioned that it tasted quite good. I made him guess what was in his ground beef...which is probably a bad idea if you have a squeamish husband! Don't do this on dinner guests either...they might not come back:) Seriously though, you can barely tell there is anything added to the meat, the oats take on the color of the meat and blend in with it well. That said, I don't add a ton...just a cup or two for 3-4 lbs of ground beef.

3) Add beans. This is great if you eat a lot of mexi-american dishes like we do.

What do we then do with all of this ground beef? I tend to freeze most of it in 3/4 lb portions for soups, pasta sauces, or casseroles. Last night it was a yummy addition to our taco salad.

Surely there are more ideas for stretching ground beef our there. What are yours?

Visit Tammy's Recipes for other Kitchen Tips!

Monday, April 7, 2008

Free Starbucks...its really really real this time;)

Go here for details...and quickly!

Menu Plan for the week of 4-7-08

Monday: Taco Salad

Tuesday: Hot Sausage Links and Beans Casserole and Salad

Wednesday: Broccoli Frittata

Thursday: Cheesy Potato Soup and Homemade Whole Wheat Rolls

Friday: Homemade Pizza

Saturday: Sausage Breakfast Casserole

Sunday: Egg Salad Sandwiches/ Leftover Soup OR BBQ Pork Roast

Visit OrgJunkie for more menu plans!

Saturday, April 5, 2008

We Work With You for Your Joy: John Piper

Evangelical "Rock Star" John Piper

Friday, April 4, 2008

Albertson's Kraft Deal

For Albertson's Kraft "buy $20 worth of products, get $8 off" promo this week, I got everything pictured above for a little over $7. There were tearpad coupons for the BBQ sauce, the tartar sauce, and the marshmallows. The only thing pictured that we won't use up super quickly is the tartar sauce, so I will be giving that away to friends and family.

I went back yesterday to see if there were any tearpad coupons left for BBQ sauce (and the BBQ coupons also had a buy2/get $1.00 free meat coupon included) and there were! I got 10 bottles of BBQ sauce (and used 10 $0.55/1 coupons), 5 packages of meat from the reduced section for a little over $1.00 each and used 5 $1.00 off when you buy 2 BBQ sauce coupons for those. Then I got 4 packages of marshmallows (we'll use these with the Rice Krispies we got for $.60/box last week)! which had $.50/2 coupons (all these products except the meat were $0.60/each after the sale), 2 packages Taco Seasoning, 4 more bottles of tartar sauce (used 2 $1.00/2 coupons) and I think that's it. My total for this transaction was even better...$3.79!! That's 25 items for $3.79, not too shabby! The cashier came over (I did self-checkout) and shook my hand afterward;)

Visit Money Saving Mom to see what other shoppers are saving money on!

Frugal Fridays: Our source for reduced organic products

Our family is a LONG way from the healthy ideal in eating. We have done some things in the past year or so that are moving us along on a path of more nutritious, health conscious living while also watching our grocery budget actually go down. One of those things is related to the topic over at Biblical Womanhood's Frugal Friday today: saving money on organics. My two favorite sources for cheap organic products are a little odd, but they work for us!

First, I have started checking the dairy section of our local Safeway on dairy markdown day. I had no idea until recently that they mark down almost all of their dairy (close to its sell by date) one particulary day of the week. I never shopped on that day before, but have now made it my official "Safeway" day! I have gotten whole gallons of organic milk for under $1.00 (although I would say that isn't happening every week!), specialty type or free range eggs for less than $1.00, and other goodies we would never have been able to afford otherwise.

The second source is our local "scratch and dent" or banana box store, Grocery Outlet. I have found pasta sauce, pasta, juices, crackers, all organic, all for what I would've paid in sale prices for regular versions of the same things (non organic) in other stores.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

So this is how cool we REALLY are

Here's latest update on how cool we are in my household. We keep forgetting our almost-6-month old daughter's birthdate. So far we've written the wrong date on two pretty important documents, one being a passport application, another being a info sheet about our family that was distributed to the ENTIRE CHURCH. How cool are we?

So this leads into today's badness. MY birthdate is wrong on her birth certificate. And somehow, I think I deserve that.

I felt kind of defensive when the gal at the health dept said this "if its the hospital's mistake, they should fix it. If you wrote your birthdate wrong, you'll have to fix it". I almost said "you have got to be kidding me--you really think I would write my own birthdate wrong?" But from someone who repeatedly writes her one and only child's birthdate wrong, I'm glad I didn't;)

I can't even blame this on pregnant brain or post-partum brain anymore, can I?

Crockpot Miracles-BBQ Pork Roast

Edit: Just went over to The Natural Mommy's site and my contribution is super similar to hers...oh well. Here it is anyway!

This Crockpot Miracle was what was on the menu tonight. I am having a variation of this meal only because I was able to get enough meat and BBQ sauce for an entire meal for under $1.00. Total. At Albertson's.

Anyhow, this is not a recipe. Sound familiar?

You can do this with a recipe if you are not so lucky as to have a practically free source of BBQ sauce like I do right now.

Homemade BBQ sauce

1/4 c. (apple) cider vinegar
1/2 c. ketchup or catsup(?)
1/2 c. H2O
3 TBS white sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp chili powder

In bowl, combine the vinegar, ketchup, water, sugar, salt and chili powder. Mix well.

That's the way to do it if you don't have pre-made BBQ sauce all handy like;)

Here's what I do. Thaw Pork Roast. You can frequently get these for $0.99/lb. Cook in crockpot for 6 hours on high or all day on low. My crockpot is weird so I try to check it frequently so it doesn't get overdone. When cooked all the way through, drain fat. Put back in crockpot or in bowl. Add BBQ sauce (whole bottle may not be necessary...taste as needed...yum! Put on buns for sammies, over noodles or eat by itself next to a pile of potatoes you cooked in the crockpot!

Safeway (NW) Deals for 4/2-4/8/08

Visit BeCentsAble and the Grocery Gathering for stores near you!

Safeway (NW) Deals for 4/2-4/8/08

Good deals (no coupons needed)

Rancher's Reserve Beef Loin T-Bone Steak (save up to $5.40/lb)

Fresh Lean Ground Beef (Save up to $1.65/lb)

Fresh Express or Eating Right Salads (BOGO free)

Strawberries (4lbs) $4.99 each

Coupon Deals

Betty Crocker Pop Secret Microwave popcorn 3ct BOGO ($1.65/each)
Use $0.50/2 from 03-09 S
Final Price $1.40 each

Hormel Chili 15-oz. with Beans ($1.25)
Use $0.55/2 from 03-02 S
Final Price $0.98

Red Baron Classic Pizza Or Thin Crust. ($4.00)
Use $1.00/2 coupon from 04-06 S
Final Price $3.50

General Mills Chex Mix BOGO ($1.65)
Use $0.50/2 from 03-09 S
Final Price $1.15

Totinos Pizza Rolls 38.2 to 44.5 oz ($6.99)
Use $0.40/1 from 03-09 S
Final Price $6.59

Birds Eye Steamfresh Vegetables 10 to 16-oz ($2.25)
Use $1.00/2 coupon from 03-09 S
Final Price $1.75/each
(this may also be a participating product in the Living Well promo...see below)

Bayer Aspirin 100 to 120-ct $4.99
Use $0.75/1 from 03-16 S2
Final Price $4.24 each

General Mills Cheerios 18oz ($3.00)
Use $1.00/1 coupon from 03-16 S2
Final Price $2.50

Glade Air Freshener 9oz $1.00
Use BOGO coupon from 03-16 S1
Final Price $0.50 each

Welchs Juice Cocktail 64oz ($2.50)
Use $1.00/2 coupon from 01-20 S
Final Price $2.00 each

Living Well, Feeling Great Promo: Get a $10 reward coupon for your next visit every time you spend $30 on participating products. This deal runs from April 2nd-April 29th. You must spend all $30 in one transaction. From HotCouponWorld I see that if you have Met RX Bar coupons ($1.50/1), this deal could be a moneymaker for you. I personally don't have that many coupons, so I am going with another scenario, which would be 2 big packs of Pampers($14.99 each/2) plus a Met Rx bar to get my total over $30 then I will use my 2 $1.50/1 coupons for the pampers. After the catalina for $10, it will be around $17.50 for everything (since I have more groceries to buy I factor the $10 into my total!)

Any other good deals out there that you see?

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Free Ink @ Walgreen's & Almost Free Food at Albies today!

Free Ink at Walgreen's today only! I have seen this on almost all of my favorite blogs, so I definitely do not deserve credit for finding this deal. Even so, I will be taking advantage! There are coupons online for this deal here. There are coupons in this week's ad as well, but I would print the coupon online to be safe.

Albertson's is apparently wanting to give some almost free groceries to us (at least at my store!) this week, because they are doing a Kraft special where you buy $20 worth of products and you automatically get $8 off. This would be an okay deal on its own, but I found LOTS of tearpad coupons near the display yesterday making things like tartar sauce, Bull's Eye BBQ sauce and some other goodies less than $0.10/cents each after coupon and sale! Hopefully my Albies isn't the only one with these coupons out. Happy Shopping!