Thursday, July 31, 2008

Safeway NW deals for July 30th-August 5th, 2008

Visit BeCentsable for more grocery deals!

Good Deals (no coupon needed)Sweet Bi-Color, yellow or white corn 6/$2

Meat Sale 50% off Rancher's Reserve Beef Ribeye Steak

Skinless boneless chicken $1.99/lb (fresh)

Fresh Express Salad 2/$4

Red or Green Grapes 4lbs for $4.99

Milk 2gallons for $5.50

Super Coupons (must spend $10 to use)
Hormel Marinated Pork Tenders $4.69 (1.15-1.7 lb)

Large Raw Shrimp $3.99/lb

Red Seedless Watermelon $2.79 each (wonder how big these are?)

Crisp Iceberg Lettuce $0.69 each

Nabisco Oreo Cookies $1.99 ($0.75/2 7/27 S)

Quaker Chewy Granola Bars or Kellogg Pop Tarts $0.99 each ($1/2 coupon SS 7/20)

Coupon Deals
Sprite is B3 Get3 free
Use 3 olympic book Sprite BOGO free manufacturer coupons
Final Price 6 bottles free!

Kikkoman Sauces 10-11.5oz $1.50
Use coupon from 05-11 RP (Coupon expires 7/31) for $0.55/1
Final Price $0.95

Bertolli Dinner 24oz $6.99
Use coupon for $1.50/1 from 07-13 RP
Final Price $5.49

Mission Corn Tortillas 36ct $1.25
Use coupon for $1.00/2 from 05-18 S2
Final Price $0.75

What other deals do you see?

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Walgreen's $5/$20 coupon this Thursday only!

Walgreen's is having their $5 off any $20 (or more) purchase this Thursday! You can print the coupon here.

There are some great Free After Rebate deals this month (we got a water filter/pitcher and lightbulbs already) that would work great with this deal.

Cute hair, me?

For a long time I have wanted to try this hairstyle, but I shower in the morning so I didn't want to take the trouble to change my routine. Recently baby girl's routine needed some changing (2 months of no sleeping through the night will do that to a person!) so we both started bathing at night. Although this tutorial has you use a different kind of roller, I thought I would try it with what I had rather than wait for the perfect set of circumstances.

Here I am first thing in the morning after sleeping with damp hair rolled up in foam rollers. Isn't my husband a lucky man;)? Heeeeeeeheee.

Anyway, what happens is after you take your hair out of the rollers, you shake your hair out a bit and spray with hairspray. Then (here's another part I wasn't totally prepared for) pin up with large bobby pins. Start with a large anchor piece in the back and then pin everything else toward the back piece by piece.
I used small bobby pins, hence the clip you see in the back (below).

Please excuse the papers on the floor in the background. My daughter's (9 1/2 months) current favorite activity is finding books/papers on shelves and pulling them all off as fast as she possibly can.

Isn't that cute? I don't usually have cute hair (maybe it has something to do with the fact that I can only stand to spend 30 seconds on my hair every morning??)

All told this took about 10 minutes while reading at night to roll, then 10 more minutes to pin in the morning. Not too bad, but probably not an everyday do for me;)

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Popcorn! The BEST way to Make and Eat it

We are a bit biased about our popcorn, but those who we've introduced to this method tend to agree with us! We've gotten our popcorn popper (pictured above) from two sources: from a thrift shop ($5) and from my parents (free;). The taste is far superior to microwave popcorn (and to air-popped IMO). I have seen these new at Bed, Bath and Beyond, for about $20, but I have seen several at thrift shops for much less than that. Although it takes up a lot of space, we use it once a week or more so it is worth it to us.

This is how we make it for 2 people:

Get out the popper and turn the stove burner to high. Put in 1 TBS of oil (we prefer healthier canola) and 5 TBS of popcorn kernals. Turn the crank until popcorn starts (and finishes) popping. Transfer to large bowl. That's when the other gadget you see comes in: the misto. Pump up the Misto until you can spray the popcorn with a light mist. Spray lightly once, sprinkle with kosher salt. Stir. Repeat until all popcorn is lightly coated with salt. Some other tasty add-ins are nutritional yeast (tastes cheesey), cinnamon sugar, chili powder, and/or garlic powder.

A delicious, frugal treat!

Visit Tammy's Recipes for Kitchen Tip Tuesday!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Hair Everywhere

So I took the plunge and finally cut Daniel's hair myself. I got a lesson from a lovely friend from church who also happens to be an awesome hairdresser (and she gave us some of her cool haircutting tools!) a couple months ago. I didn't take picturs of me actually cutting the hair, because I am not smart like that.

What you can't see in these pictures are the hair clippings all over Baby M's face. She was watching us in the pack n' play for awhile, but started to get cranky so Daniel held her near the end. She started picking clippings off Daniel's shirt and eating them. Protein much? Out of all the things she eats off the floor in a day I guess its not a bad option after all;)

Menu Plan for the Week of July 28th, 2008

I need to post a quickie update on my progress in the way of health/weight loss since I have talked about what I am doing but not how I am doing! In the past 3 months of making an effort to eat more healthfully (more vegetarian meals etc.), use portion control, walk/exercise faithfully and so on, I have lost a little over 7 lbs. Weight loss is not the only measure of health obviously, but combined with my clothes fitting better I feel I am on the right track. In general, health is just all around important to our family these days with our daughter eating more table food and our thinking about expanding our family in the near future.

Breakfasts: Blueberry Muffins, scrambled eggs, multi-grain hot cereal, or vegan pancakes.

Lunches: Leftovers

Snacks: No-bake PB/honey/cereal balls, smoothies, homemade granola

Monday: Chicken, Tomato and Zucchini Stew with Whole Wheat biscuits

Tuesday: Vegetarian Pasta Bolognese (I will be basing it loosely on this recipe since I don't have all the ingredients)

Wednesday: Israeli Moroccan Cousous

Thursday: Beans and Cornbread with green beans

Friday: Whole Wheat Cheese Pizza Night! (our pretty much every Friday night tradition) with carrot sticks/dip

Saturday: Veggie Pot Pie with Whole Wheat Crust

Sunday: Bean Tacos with Homemade Tortillas (using recipe from Sarah)

Visit Laura at Orgjunkie for more menu plan inspiration!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

A Cheap Date?

I guess you could say I am a cheap date, but only if you mean that I like to save money when going out with my husband! On Friday we took advantage of Starbuck's generous offer to give us free Vivanno smoothies (when you pay with your registered Starbuck's card), went to a free concert nearby and watched a movie from the library. The Vivanno chocolate/banana combo was very tasty, but I have been creating something similar at home lately. They probably won't reel us in for future purchases, sad for them.

Just because I am random and don't have any pictures that have to do with what I just described, here are some recent pics of M from our trips to my parent's.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Rockin' that Summer Reading List

Here's my reading list right now:

Fast Food interesting! I am about halfway through this one, and am enjoying a historical overview of the way our nation became what it is today in the way of a "fast food culture". (edit: finished. It was good, but I thought there would be more where he ended it. And it is a bit harsh on the republican party for the role in meat packing safety standards, but its probably true;) Anyway, it made me glad that we are cutting back on meat in a major way.

Eat More, Weigh Less by Dr. Dean Ornish. This has some similarities to the McDougall Diet Program, both promote a low-fat vegetarian diet as the key to weight loss and healthy living. More specifically they promote basing the diet around whole grains, legumes, fruits and veggies for the most part and limiting just about everything else. The recipes were NOT user friendly for a cook like me. Too complex and time consuming, but sounded tasty if someone wanted to make them for me;)

Systematic Theology by Wayne Grudem (dauntingly huge, but a comprehensive guide to the Bible). I am tackling a couple pages a day at my husband's suggestion). I realize how much I appreciate our current church's approach to preaching the Word, which is the expository style. I love Topical, but I am learning the "whole counsel of God" better this way.

Now I am starting on "Uncle Tom's Cabin". I would love suggestions on good books to read (just about anything is game). I always get on the library request page and then draw blanks. I love stuff that is a combo of educational/entertaining. Tough to find, but that's my fave.

What are you reading?

10 Not Too Frugal (for us) Things We Do

Last week I wondered aloud "how frugal is TOO frugal"?

This week I wanted to share (or re-share;) some things we do consistently these days in order to live in such a way that we live within our means:

1) Plan where our money goes. Even though I still have a paycheck or two coming from the school district, we are living off Daniel's paycheck now. I have not taken the time to figure out how to budget on an official budgeting program, but we do have pencil/paper and I am keeping track of all our categories and making sure we stay within those pre-set amounts. 2) Menu Plan. I can stretch my grocery money so much further this way!

2) Eating mostly vegetarian (beans, lentils, TVP, and whole grains with eggs/dairy mixed in there) even before our two week experiment.

3) Not eating out. We will go out for a very special occasion or when we are with my family once a month. This saves us a lot of money. I used to LOVE eating out when we were first married. I felt deprived when my husband felt like we should limit the amount we went out. This has been a gradual process for me, but I have honestly adjusted and rarely miss it!

4) Cloth diapering. We "gasp" use the old fashioned cheap pre-folds. I asked for them for baby showers and have spent less than $150 on additional supplies over the past 9 months, and what we have should last new additions to the family. We do a disposable at night/while traveing though.

5) Being a one car family. Saves insurance costs, gas (no spontaneous trips for us).

6) Making our own baby food. I do the blender/ice cube tray thing. Works awesome for us: cheap, quick, easy. Not as simple as opening a jar, but less waste, and more control over what's in the food.

7) Entertainment on the cheap. Since we have very little in the entertainment budget at this point in our marriage, we get creative. We get free codes for Redbox movies and do a movie night with homemade popcorn (the kind with oil on the stovetop with kosher salt is best!), homemade pizza and other foods that seem more "weekend-like". Last week I was able to get 7 boxes of granola bars/cereal for about $7, which also counted toward a pair of free movie tickets from our local grocery store. By buying things we need anyway, we were able to take get a free date out of the deal! (Anyone want to babysit for us;)?

8) Home Haircuts/Color. I have yet to do one for my husband...the last time he was due we had forgotten to get the right blade for the clippers. Next time though... We do my hair by the ponytail method.

9) Plan grocery trips using sale flyers (loss leaders) and websites such as hot coupon world or Money Saving Mom to find printables/coupon matchups. I have been able to lower our grocery budget plus we eat much better than we used to.

10) Menu Planning. I originally just liked the idea and loved reading through Menu Plan Monday. But now I am hooked, and actually stick to our menu 90% of the time!

We are always open to new ideas, what are yours?

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Safeway NW Deals for the Week of July 23rd-29th, 2008

Good Deals (no coupon needed)

Whole Pork Shoulder Blade (Great in the crockpot;) $0.88/lb

Foster Farms Fresh Whole Chicken $0.79/lb

Whole Gold Pineapple $2.99/each

Fresh 2 lb Purewall Blueberries $4.99each

2 liter pepsi $0.88 each

Dreyer's Grand BOGO (also part of the summer's saving marathon)

Red or Black Plums $1.29/lb

Rice or Pasta Roni 3.8 to 7.2-oz $1.00 Printable Coupon for found here
Final Price $0.50!

Jolly Time Popcorn
Use coupon (you must create account first) here for $1.25 off 1
Final Price $0.75 each (this may also be part of the summer savings marathon!)

Two promos are running...finally, at Safeway! The first is the gas promo, here are details
1) Every time that you accumulate $100 in Eligible purchases you get a $.10/gallon reward.
2) Every time that you fill two perscriptions you get a $.10/gallon reward
3) Every time you buy $100 in eligible gift cards you get a $.10/gallon reward

Summer Savings Marathon
The next promo has the potential to be good if there are items to be had with or w/o coupon for a dollar or under. It is buy 25 participating items, get $20 off your next order (with smaller catalinas for lesser purchases).

Kleenex are on sale for $1.50, and there are coupons in the olympic booklet (found at Safeway) for $0.50 off, which makes these very cheap (if you need a bunch!)


What other good deals did you see this week?

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

You know it is going to be a good day when... pull a pair of jeans out of the drawer that you haven't worn in several weeks and they are looser than you remember. And you reach in the pocket and find a fiver there. Gotta love that.

Keeping My Kitchen Helper Occupied

Now that baby M is pulling herself up onto anything and everything I have to make sure she is very close by when I work in the kitchen. The easist way is to involve her in playing with something that is not a regular toy, such as these bowls. It works for me! Yesterday she crawled all the way into a cupboard where we keep all the small appliances. I wish I had taken a picture of her--sitting in the cupboard, all pleased with herself;)

I have also learned to utilize the good ole pack n' play. I so want to be a whole-hearted attachment-parenting type mama (wearing my baby around all day etc) but it just hasn't worked for this kiddo! She craves independence (should I be worried?;) but I have found that the pack n' play solves this dilemma. It will give her enough of a boundary while allowing her plenty of fun things to do that she will be content for 20-30 minutes at a stretch sometimes! If she has the full run of the downstairs all the time I think she gets overwhelmed with what to do. Or worse she will get into things she is not allowed to.

Nothing Good, but in God

“...if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayer that is made in this place." 2nd Chronicles 7

For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.

Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!
Romans 7

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Cleaning Up After Travels

I love traveling and visiting family and friends, but the aftermath of traveling (especially now with all the baby stuff to unpack and clean!) is bad news. To compound the craziness we are hosting (although we didn't have anyone come yesterday) a 5 day club for kids in the neighborhood mid-day each day this week. So I had a big job on my hands! Here is what our downstairs looked like first thing in the morning.
Living Room:


Here is what our house looked like after MUCH cleaning (although the upstairs still needs some work!)
Living Room:


Now if I could only figure out how to keep it from getting that way and keep it that way after its clean!

Since we are hosting the 5 day club again today (although if no kiddos come, this will be the last attempt) I need to tidy up the downstairs again this morning. Luckily the mess is minimal! On the to-do list for today is baking oatmeal yeast bread, find flights for our trip to North Carolina to do the technical evaluation with Wycliffe/ JAARS for one week (we have decided to go sometime in Sept/Oct.), put away baby's stuff from our trip, and do paperwork (my least favorite thing to do:)

What's on your to-do list today?

Quinoa and Black Beans Stuffed Peppers

This was my first try at cooking Quinoa (pronounced keen-wa, I believe) and we all liked it! Even the baby ate the dish (minus the green pepper), spices and all! The recipe I loosely followed is here.

Here is some more info on Quinoa, and its nutritional goodness! Quinoa as we ate it is more of a seed and "is high in protein, calcium and iron, a relatively good source of vitamin E and several of the B vitamins."

Monday, July 21, 2008

Menu Plan for the Week of July 21st, 2008

Breakfast: Multi-Grain Hot Cereal, Blueberry Muffins

Lunches: Leftovers, Bean & Cheese Quesadillas


Monday: Quinoa with Black Beans (first time to try!) in fresh green peppers (from my parent's neighbor..yeah!)

Tuesday: Whole Wheat Spagetti with alfredo sauce and green beans

Wednesday: Corn Bread, Chili and "fried" zuccinni squash

Thursday: Baked Potatoes with leftover Chili, cheese, etc. on top and Brocolli (and Leftover Cornbread

Friday: Cheese Pizza

Saturday: Stir-Fried Cabbage and Kielbasa (part veg, part real)

Sunday: Eating with our Fellowship we will have a lighter meal of tomato soup and egg salad sandwiches

For the past two weeks we ate a mostly vegan diet. We talked about how those weeks went overall, and are thinking we will stick to a 5 day a week (roughly...not being too strict here) vegetarian diet for the health/cost benefits and through some dishes with meat/chicken that we really enjoy in once in a awhile.

Not sure what it is, but it is difficult to keep my energy (blood sugar?) up without eating some dairy/egg at least with most meals. So for now, a 100% vegan diet is not going to work (I am nursing a 9 1/2 month old, so I eat all the time anyway!) out well without eating constantly. There are some great high protein foods that helped to bridge that gap though...we added TVP or beans to almost every meal!

Need help with your menu plan? Visit Org Junkie for SO many great ideas!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Healthy Cheap Lunching

More Wal-Mart Freebies and Cheapies

Last weekend's Wal-Mart trip was long and exhausting. I tried to finish shopping before my munckin woke up (she was sleeping in the carseat on the cart, but not dice. So I did the best deal hunting I could while entertaining a very grabby 9 month old! Luckily she was interested in the trial sized gold bond powder I had gotten, so that helped some.

Here are the freebies/coupon items I got this trip:

· 2 V8 Fusion-(I had wanted to try this and had one $1 off coupon and 1 $2 off coupon so I got 2 for a total of $3)
· Gold Bond Powder, trial sized ($0.97, $1.00 off coupon made it free!)
· Glucerna Snack Shakes ($5.97, $10 off coupon made these free w/overage)
· Johnson's Buddies Soaps (free-used buy any 2 J&J products get $2 off)

· Plantar's Peanuts/Kool-Aid (used $3 off plantar’s coupon when you buy any 3 Kraft products. I did not get overage (the plantar’s were $2.68) so $0.60 for the Kool-Aid

· Kashi Pumkin Granola Bars (I heart these) $2 off coupon, make them $0.57

· Powerade (used $1.00 off coupon, $0.40 overage)

· Personal item (used $2.00 off coupon, total $0.57)

· Sure Deodorant $1.00, used $0.75 coupon, total $0.25

· The rest of it is canned goods, cocoa powder etc. that I needed anyway.

=Total approx $20

Also pictured (behind the Wal-Mart loot) are huge LEGOs I got at a garage sale for my daughter for $1!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

How Frugal is TOO Frugal?

So how frugal really is too frugal? Thinking back to my college (or actually post B.A., but pre-M.S. days) days when I would save drink cups from fast food places (which I now realize was tacky and none-too-smart...hello the drinks are their biggest mark-up...why buy it in the first place if I am trying to be frugal!;) and eat top ramen and mac n' cheese for two of my three meals! I realize that for me, that was too frugal. I think there were some valuable lessons I learned from that time, I could have learned them in smarter, healthier way.

Some of my frugal misadventures have included the above mentioned ramen/mac n'cheese diet, with some frozen mixed veggies and a can of tuna mixed in for good measure. During that time I lived on a $40/month grocery budget. Crazy I know! I think that included food I shared with a roommate as well...which makes it even crazier. But it makes sense when you think about ramen being about $0.10/package, store brand mac n' cheese was 5/$1 where I bought it, and I had cereal, milk, a little juice and one can of soda pop a day. Add some green beans or mixed veg, occasional tuna and very little else and that works out to be about a buck a day. Crazy!

Looking back at that time I realize that I was a bit on the depressed side and overweight, and I think diet carries a good share of the blame. The benefit of this short-term lifestyle was that I finished paying of my $5000 or so in college debt as well as saved enough $$ for my first year of grad school during that time. A period of time with extreme frugality can be worth it however, but in light of what I know about nutrition, I would have spent a few more dollars a month on food, and cut out the processed garbage for the most part. Beans and Rice, Rice and Beans, good stuff!

Another negative to this time was my tight-fisted mentality. Although I have always loved to give to the church and to missions/ministries that have a need, during that time I shortchanged some of my relationships by missing the opportunity to be generous. It is a hard balance to strike, but instead of seeking that balance, I allowed myself to count every penny even when I probably could have been a blessing to someone with less money or financial sense(especially those closest to me!).

I think the point I am trying to make is that there is a time for extreme frugality, but it must be weighed against the costs. Not taking extreme measures cannot be an excuse relied on in order to retain comfort or to support old habits, but most everything can be up for grabs for a time when goals regarding financial freedom (which enables one to be in a position to give generously and think about more important things than debt).

Next week I will be sharing some of the things we do consistently that I would consider to be valuable frugal ventures for our family, and maybe for yours as well.

Where do you draw the line? Visit Biblical Womanhood for more frugal discussions.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Safeway NW Deals for July 16th-22nd, 2008

Good deals (no coupon needed)

80% Lean Ground Beef $1.69/lb

Walla Walla Sweet Onions, 10 lb bag $4.99

Peaches 10/$10

Broccoli 10/$10

Nabisco Chips ahoy or Toasted Chips BOGO

Coupon Deals

Pillsbury Cinnamon Rolls 8 to 13.9-oz--Summer Savings Marathon Item $3.00
Use $0.30/1 coupon from 07-13 S
Final Price $2.70 33%

Pillsbury Crescent Rolls 8 to 13.9-oz--Summer Savings Marathon Item $3.00
Use $0.35/1 coupon from 07-13 S
Final Price $2.65

Land O Frost Premium Lunchmeat 16oz $3.50
Use $1.00/1 coupon from 05-11 RP
Final Price $2.50

Kleenex Tissues $1.50 each
Use Olympic Coupon booklet coupon found in Safeway
Final Price $1.00 each (this is a great deal when combined with the Summer Saving's Promo!)

Plantar's Peanuts 2/$6
Use IP for buy 3 Kraft Products, get $3 off Plantar's Product (Kool-Aid is a cheap Kraft product...I did that at the Wal-Mart and it worked perfectly! PS, this is only good if you already looks as if this one is no longer available)
Final Price will vary

Two promos are running...finally, at Safeway! The first is the gas promo, here are details
1) Every time that you accumulate $100 in Eligible purchases you get a $.10/gallon reward.
2) Every time that you fill two perscriptions you get a $.10/gallon reward
3) Every time you buy $100 in eligible gift cards you get a $.10/gallon reward

Summer Savings Marathon
The next promo has the potential to be good if there are items to be had with or w/o coupon for a dollar or under. It is buy 25 participating items, get $20 off your next order (with smaller catalinas for lesser purchases). I am waiting to get a good list to see what might work well in this regard, but luckily the promo is running for 3 weeks, so even if nothing is that cheap this week, there might be good deals to be had the next couple of weeks.

From Hot Coupon World, here are some possible good deals on products (when you buy 25).

Mission Tortilla Chips =$1.88/bag plus there are some coupons out there for these! I think this is a good price for these chips after the catalina is factored in.

Safeway Select Cookies are reportedly marked for the promo and are $1.50, plus there are coupons in the Olympic book at Safeway for $0.50/2

What other good deals did you see this week?

Makeup Mix-Up and Microwave Brownies

What works for me this week doesn't always work the next, but here's what is working this week:

Mixing foundation (make-up) together to get the right shade. I got a bunch of free make-up from Jane earlier this year, but the colors aren't quite right all the time. Right now I put a little of the regular lighter colored foundation and mix with a little of the slightly darker "almost foundation" that has a higher SPF and the color is almost perfect!

The Microwave Brownies we made two days ago were still great last night! They definitely work for a chocolate craving in a pinch, when you don't want to blow your whole diet:)

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Messin' w/ the Blog Design

Its about time for me to make my blog look less like an eyesore. Excuse me while I play around with things!

PS. I am a technological moron sometimes, so if you have any sweet tips, I will gladly try them out:)

Microwave Vegan Brownie Goodness

Who knew something so odd could be so good? A brownie that has a banana in it, is cooked in the microwave and is vegan all at the same time? Its a crazy world;)

Microwave Vegan Brownies

1 banana, mashed/pureed well
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup canola (or other) oil
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup soy/rice milk or water...or just enough to make batter mixable
1 cup whole wheat flour (you can use white too, but we used wheat)
4 TBS. cocoa powder
1/2 tsp salt
nuts and chocolate chips to sprinkle on top to your liking;)

Mix wet and dry ingredients in seperate bowls. Mix all together and pour into a oiled glass dish or bowl that will fit in microwave. Sprinkle top with chocolate chips/nuts. Microwave for 4-5 minutes, depending on how gooey or done you like it!

Just ignore the fact that over half the dish is gone:) Don't worry, we didn't microwave these with that plastic wrap(its just to keep them fresh overnight) microwave them uncovered.

My husband (after my warning him that these were not normal brownies) loved these and kept going back for more! You can taste a hint of banana and they are definitely less damaging to one's diet than normal brownies (and taste that way). For a quick dessert for around 4 people, these are a great option!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Kitchen Clean Up and To Do List!

This weekend was a very nice change of pace for us--we spent a lot of time together as a family just relaxing. We have been utilizing our local park so much this summer...its cooler than our apartment and less than a 1/2 mile away...what a blessing it has been!

One downside to spending a good chunk of time relaxing together is that I am left with a slightly disasterous house today;( We were too tired to tackle yesterday's mountain of dishes last night, so this morning I woke up to a kitchen that looked like this:

After about 30 minutes of hard work before baby woke up, the kitchen looked like this!

On the rest of my to- do list for today:
1) menu plan (done)
2) walk to Albertson's to spend my $7 in catalinas that expire today, and check out the free Redbox selection (code is 83CB4K) although I think I may have exhausted their clean, decent movie selection! This will take 1 1/2 hours
3) send in Flexible Spending documents (or get them ready to mail)
4) send in renewal for my School Psych. certificate (wanting to keep this current in case it is needed when we are overseas)
5) laundry (do one load, sort load from yesterday)
6)make vegan pancakes (done)
Here they are:

And just for fun, here is my sweet girl watching me clean up;)

Visit Biblical Womanhood for more homemaking inspiration!

Menu Plan for the Week of July 14th, 2008

Breakfasts: Vegan Pancakes or Toast

Lunches: Leftovers

Snacks: Homemade Granola, bananas, and carrot sticks

Monday: Barley Vegetable Chowder w/toast (recipe from Skinny Vegetarian)

Tuesday: Fractured Tacos w/Salad

Wednesday: Easy Tomato Soup Casserole w/ steamed broccoli

Thursday: Polenta w/ marinara (didn't get to this last week)

Friday: Pizza and raw veggies

Saturday: no cooking...will be visiting w/family

Sunday: no cooking...will be visiting w/family

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Grocery Savings Update

This picture shows Albertson's loot from the Kraft promo a few weeks ago (I spent $7.-- for the above, and received $7 in cataliinas back for my next purchase). I didn't take a picture of my subsequent trips where I got similar things and spent about $3 out of pocket and received another $7 for my next purchase (which I have yet to spend).

This is a Walgreen's trip, where I spent around $15 out of pocket and received $5 catalina for my next purchase. My really great Walgreen's trip isn't pictured, where I spent around $5 for 3 packs of Walgreen's diapers and received a $5 off my next purchase! I found a wonderful cashier by the way, and she gave me some of the highly coveted pharmacy coupons that the pharmacy didn't give me! For the diaper deal, a sale and two different types of Walgreen's coupons were used, plus a register reward deal. I am planning an almost free trip to Wal-Mart later today;)

Friday, July 11, 2008

Frugal Vegetarian Fun

Our little family has eaten a 99% vegan diet so far this week, and so far, we've love it! I think my favorite new recipes are the Oatmeal Blender Waffles, Nacho UnCheese Sauce (as a part of a delicious taco salad) and a vegan version of this awesome Curry Recipe. We have eaten well...maybe that's why I haven't lost more weight;) Anyway, this way of eating can go either way as a budget friend or foe, depending on how you go about it. I am still learning, but I think the key is to may meat substitutions a treat, rather than your every day fare. My cousin Esme, a serious vegan gave me some excellent advice when we decided to do two weeks as (almost) vegans: she basically told me not to try to recreate dishes that have meat in them, but to rather try to make delicious vegan meals instead. I take that to mean that you look for new, delicious ways to prepare veggies, whole grains, beans, etc. rather than always re-creating old standbys. We are doing a little of both this week, but I've found that I can create equally delicious, economical meals with the same amount of effort as before, but they are generally healthier than what I would otherwise have prepared. This is good news!

The best news is that I spent my normal amount on food so far this month (our budget is $200 for food/toiletries for 2 hungrier-than-normal adults and one just starting to eat 9 month old) and it looks like I will end up under budget! Now whether we will continue to eat this way after two weeks is too soon to tell, but I will keep you all (on the edge of your seats I know;) posted.

More frugal tips here!