Heres to another great year!

New Years is upon us. What not a better time to create some ridiculous goals that can probably never be achieved to full completion. Here I go.

Things I want to achieve for 2010-

Stick to a Budget

Keep my receipts and do something with them (see 1st goal)

Pay my bills on time (read: NO late fees!)

Do not eat out more than once a month

Start cooking and following nourishing traditions more closely

Cut refined sugar out of the diet

Successfully make mozzarella cheese

Finish recovering greenhouse

Start a new compost pile

Recycle more

Make a conscious effort to use less plastic packaging

I could go on for days and days, but these are the big things. I would really like to start here and see where it goes. I know some will be broken right away and some will last longer. These are mainly for me to just check back in with and get grounded to what I am really trying to achieve in 2010: Self-Sustainability.

2009 was a wonderful year for me. Fairly uneventful and full of wonderful surprises all at the same time. I am happy that another year has come to an end and I am even happier to start yet another decade. I wish everyone peace and happiness for the new year and hope that everyone’s dreams come true.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

Houshold Notebook Update



I added a To Do list to my notebook.
A weekly schedule of sorts.

I made a list of things I need to do every day i.e. cook dinner, clean out sink/do dishes, and things I need to do a few times a week i.e. work for the business, vacuum/sweep, clean bathroom, and things I need to do once a week i.e. meal plan, grocery shop, go to library/bank/post office.

There were 26 different items on my list. I labeled them A, B, C, D, ... all the way down. Then I decided which day I would do them on. Now I have different letters of things that need to be done all week long. It was put into effect almost a month ago and I am happy to report that it is working splendidly. It has really helped me focus on what needs to get done. Also then I know when I am going to do what ever is on my list. I know now that on Sundays I am going grocery shopping and I am cleaning out my cars on Saturday. It is nice to finally have it laid out.

I have been using a little $5 white board from office depot that I got on sale with a gift card. I am using it to create shopping lists, meal plans and to write down my to do's for the day. Then once they are done they are super easy to erase and start over for the next day.

Also I have given myself incentives. If I do everything on my list everyday for the whole month then I get to go buy something I have been wanting. ($10 or less) I am super motivated to make this work because there is actually something in it for me. Not just a present for myself but peace of mind that I have gotten everything done that needed to be done and nothing was forgotten.

I am happy that the work put into the notebook is paying off. My life is smoother already!

5 minute Deodorant


Lately I have been trying new things when it comes to health and food. Today I decided I would try to make deodorant. The nice thing about homemade is that is does not come with any type of aluminum in it. I have noticed that when I go for a period of time without wearing deodorant (gross, I know) that I smell like aluminum. I have always wondered if I am sweating it out or what.

This recipe uses simple items that you have at home.
You will need
Coconut oil or Shea Butter
Corn Starch
Baking Soda
Essential Oil (I used Lavender)
An old empty Deodorant tube

In a large bowl combine these things:
1/4 cup Corn Starch
1/4 cup Baking Soda
2-3 Tbsp of Coconut Oil
10 drops Essential Oil

Mix this all together. I used my hands. When it is combined it will be crumbly but when compressed it will stay in a ball.

Take your old deodorant container and turn the dial so that it is all the way down. Start pressing the deodorant into the tube making sure to pack it well. Once it is all in there you are done.

One note is that this is not an antiperspirant. It will not make you stop sweating, it will just help with the pit stains and the smell. Thankfully I do not sweat all that much so it works for me.

I know it seems silly when we can be getting deodorant for pennies at Walgreens or other places but like I said I am trying to do things that are better for my body. Also, I was a little bored and had all the ingredients on hand.

This was shared to me through instructables by scoochmaroo. You can access it here.

Homemade Yogurt

I have been making yogurt for quite a while now. I have made it from powdered milk, 2% milk, and whole milk. I almost always use a lowfat/nonfat plain yogurt from the store. My yogurt always comes out a bit tangy.

My favorite yogurt of all times is Greek yogurt. I love how thick and creamy it is. I love to add honey and mix them together. It is better than ice cream or cake in my eyes. It is delicious. Well, I was at the co-op and found a full fat plain greek yogurt that I had never tried. I decided to use it as my starter for my new yogurt since my old one was bad.

I took whole milk and slowly brought it up to 110 degrees. I tempered my yogurt and then added it to the batch. I mixed for a minute and then poured it into my yogurt maker. I let it sit for about 10 hours and then checked on it. To my surprise there it was, the most beautiful delicious yogurt of all. Not only did it set nicely, it was thick. It is super smooth and tastes divine.

After gallons of yogurt making here I have finally hit on my perfect recipe. Hooray!

Super Steal at Safeway


Last night I went to Safeway to grab some stuff. I have been out of town, so needless to say there is no food in the house. My plan was to load up on produce and add a couple things that we also needed. As I was wondering the store I noticed a kraft $5 deal when you buy 5 items. I looked closer at the deal and then shrugged it off because I could not justify anything listed.

I continued on shopping. I grabbed some yogurt and turned to the cheese section. I noticed kraft cream cheese was .99 each when you buy 5. Too good to be true I decided to look at the promo one more time. Cream cheese was OK!!!! Sweet. I got 5 cream cheeses and made .05 on the deal. Amazing!

Dirty Dozen vs. Clean Fifteen

There are many articles out there about the benefits of eating organically. I have been reading them wanting to go more organic for my family. I try to go less processed anyways so organic is just another baby step, I hope.
Well there is lots and lots of advice about organics, one thing I saw many times is the most important things to get organic vs the least important things.
These lists have been titled the dirty dozen (the items you want organic) and the clean fifteen (items that do not soak up the pesticides when grown non organically)

The Dirty Dozen (after more research the list expanded, but is still referred to as dozen)
Meat
Milk
Coffee
Peaches
Apples
Sweet Bell Peppers
Celery
Nectarines
Strawberries
Cherries
Kale
Leafy Greens
Grapes
Carrots
Pears

The Clean Fifteen (many of these items made the list because you do not actually eat the outside layer where most of the pesticides are found)
Onion
Avocado
Sweet Corn
Pineapple
Mango
Asparagus
Sweet Peas
Kiwi
Cabbage
Eggplant
Paypaya
Watermelon
Broccoli
Tomato
Sweet Potato

Freezer Burritos

Since I am going out of town next week I am trying to make up some easy to heat food. We love burritos here so I had been reading you can make these and freeze them individually.

I decided I would give it a go. We had some leftover rice from the other night. I had grated a blend of three cheeses and we had many cooked pinto beans from a pressure cooker experiment I did the other day. I whipped up a bunch of taco meat and started assembling.

Heres what I used:
12 tortillas
4 cups beans
2 cups rice
2 cups ground beef
2 cups cheese

I quickly heated the tortillas and then put down the beans. I sprinkled on some rice and cheese and added the meat. I rolled so both ends were closed. I put them on a baking sheet and froze them individually. Then I filled a freezer ziploc with them. When you are hungry just pull out one or two and microwave or throw in the oven for a bit. You have lunch or dinner without messing up a bunch of dishes. Yay!!!

My First Real Meal Plan

I am trying to meal plan. I have read well over 100 different ways of doing this sucessfully. Did I follow any of them? No. I am trying what works for me.

I looked through my fridge and based my meals on what we like as well as what we have around home. I did not put them on certain days as I change my mind depending on my mood. I made it for 5 days because I am going out of town on Friday. I am doing some prep today to make it easier throughout the week. I will see how it goes. Hopefully well because in the long run I think it will make my life easier.

Here is the plan

Spaghetti
Broccoli Cheddar Soup
Chicken and Green Curry
Mini Hamburgers
Tacos

I also want to make a batch of mozzarella and some more sourdough starter. I want to make a batch of freezer burritos and pack up the turkey stock I have last week and label it and freeze it.

Todays plan- brown ground beef and season some for tacos and some for spaghetti. Make Chicken Broccoli Soup for dinner, bake cornbread muffins, and roll up burritos.

Household Notebook......... Well, Kinda




I needed to collect all my thoughts and small scraps of paper in one spot.
I have read everywhere that you should have a household notebook for all the important things including kids info and emergency numbers. That sounds wonderful but as I was getting things together I realized it was more important for me to start out with a notebook for me. An advanced journal to hold all the things I have been working on. A place to write down my feelings, a place to keep notes, a place for my lists. I have used a spiral notebook for all this but finding things in it seem impossible so, I made a 3-ring notebook. I put dividers inside and I filed all of my spiral notebook. I have had it for almost 10 days now and I am lovin' in!

My sections for now are
Food/Meal Plan
Business (I am self employed)
Bible Reading
Personal Finanace
Books
Gardening
Journaling
Master List
Our Farm (our quest to become self sustainable)
3 month plan (more self-sufficiency)
Other Stuff
Reference

I love it so far. It is not to advanced but yet advanced enough. I am hoping to have it grow and someday do something great with it. For now it is creating sanity in my life.

Super Easy Meatballs



I bought a ton of ground beef the other day at a great price. It was just about .99 a pound. Now I just need to figure out what to do with all of it.

First off I am making meatballs.
I took around 3 pounds of ground beef and added oatmeal and all the seasonings. I mixed it all together in my kitchen-aid. Marvelous!
I rolled out 74 meat balls and stuck them in a 375 degree oven for 30 minutes.

It worked brilliantly. Now that they are cooked and cooled I will bag them and freeze them for meals to come. Swedish meatballs, Spaghetti and Meatballs, and Meatball Subs.

Finally Rollin'


I have never been able to comprehend Walgreens and the way that Register Rewards work. I was browsing around online and lots of people said that this week was a slow one for Wags. Perfect for me to start learning.

Heres how it went.
I did 17 transactions at 5 Walgreens.
I started with 0 RR and ended with $19 RR
I spent $23 OOP (I bought $17.50 worth of soda for someone else so really my OOP was $6)
I saved $161

I am actually very happy with how it went. By starting on a week that professional Wag shoppers though was slow was good for me because it meant that the shelves were not cleaned out. I had fun. I did not make too many major mistakes.

I have $19 in RR to spend in the next two weeks. I guess I better start planning now.

Look What I Got!!!!


This past week I have been scanning all the stores I go in. I am looking for coupons. Blinkies, Tearpads, you name it I looked for it.

By the end of the week I had accumulated over 200 coupons. I did not ever take all the coupons, I did not take coupons I would not use, and I did not tear off coupons from products I was buying.

I sorted them when I got home. Most of my blinkies do not expire till the end of December. I stacked them all together and they are thick like a book of cards.

Keep your eyes open at stores not just for super sales but for coupons that you can take now and use later with a great sale. It is a wonderful way to supplement your newspaper and internet coupons.

Walgreens


This is my first Walgreens trip in a long, long time. I have not gone because it is so far from home and I could not seem to get it right before.

Well this time it went great. I went to 2 stores. I did 7 transactions total and had $26 in Register Rewards left. I spent about $26 so I am pleased.

One reason I spent that is I grabbed the wrong razor on my trip and no RR spit out. I realized what I had done and it was too late to use it on this shopping day. I am holding it for next time. If that is my only snag on my first Wags trip I am pleased.




Here is what I got
9 theraflu
4 Fusion Razors
4 Baby Powders
2 Oral-B toothbrushes
3 bags of skittles
2 packs of seeds
3 dawn dish soaps
3 dentek dental floss

They were out of Trident layers so I missed out on this deal. Oh well.

Blackberry Freezer Jam



This summer I spent some time picking blackberries. I froze them because I was too busy to do anything with them.

Last night I was bored and the kitchen was clean and the dishwasher was just a few dishes away from needing to be ran. I looked in my freezer and decided it was time to make some jam.

It took less than 30 minutes from beginning to end. All you do is use one packet of freezer jam pectin, some sugar and some smashed blackberries. I was not patient enough to smash the blackberries, so I put them in my blender. Worked like a charm. Our jam is very smooth with the occasional seed.

I used about 8 cups of blackberries and came up with 9 8oz jars. I am not unhappy with that. I figured with the pectin and sugar the whole project cost only $2.

After I cleaned up I had just enough dishes to finish off the dishwasher. I started it & put my jam in the fridge. I was glad it was such an easy success.

Jumpstart January




I just read a wonderful article here.

I read the article and made it apply to my life. I am using the article as inspiration.

It is about starting off the new year on the right foot. Becoming clutter free and organized before the new year. If you do this you can start January off on the right foot.

I think I read this at the right time. I am trying to organize my life, my home, and my office. It is a big task to take on but it needs to be done. I want to have it all done in a short amount of time but know that is not logical. Maybe I should aim for January 1st as my end date. I t is a good amount of time to get things done. If I do not feel like doing it one day it will not be the end of the world, and it seems like it would fit nicely around the holidays.

So here is a new challenge for me. De clutter my house and office before January 1st. Have all my papers filed away, all my bills caught up, and my life functioning on a normal level.

Albertsons 10/17/09


So I went to Albertsons the other day and did my transactions I listed earlier on this week. It was very successful and the cashier was super nice. I had two transactions and the cat's did not print so she just credited them for me.

I decided to try my luck and go again Saturday because I had such good luck earlier. I made up my list. Got my coupons together and had stuff for two transactions again.
Well, I did not read the ad well enough and thought that the fiber one cereal was on sale. I was wrong. I had to do some quick adjustments in my head and amazingly it worked. My oop on one transaction was just a few cents higher than I had planned but not to shabby for me.


I am trying to stay under $40 a week for our grocery and hba stuff and I think that is totally attainable. The reason I say $40 is because it is well within budget. I will be able to get whatever we need with it and I will still have a little money to start my stockpile again.

Holy Moly Thats Too Much Yogurt!!!

What to do.....
I have 24 cups of Strawberry Yo-Plus Yogurt with expiration dates all around 11/11.
I need to think of some way to eat this yogurt because truthfully no one here likes yogurt, and I am not a super huge fan myself.
Well, as I was looking through my shelves it came to me. Granola and Yogurt. Delish!
So I looked through my pantry and found no granola. I did find some other crunchy cereal that would work.
I mixed 1/2 yogurt and 1/2 dry cereal and it tasted wonderful. I am glad I thought of something because really I would hate to look at all this yogurt going to waste.

Albertsons 10/16/09


I am so excited. Albertsons is doing a deal where when you buy $25 of select products you get a $10 cat. I planned it all out:
Transaction #1
2 pillsbury cookies $5
2 pillsbury crecent rolls $3.34
1 Cheerios $2
6 Yo Plus 4pk Yogurt $15
Total $25.34

Use Coupons
1 pillsbury cookies $1/2
1 pillsbury crecent rolls .50/2
1 Cheerios $1/1
6 Yo Plus 4pk Yogurt $1/1
Total $8.50 coupons

25.34-8.50=16.84
Receive $10 cat (gen mills) & $2.50 cat (pillsbury)

Transaction #2
2 pillsbury cookies $5
2 pillsbury crecent rolls $3.34
6 Green giant vegetables $12
2 nature valley bars $5
Total 25.34

Coupons
1 pillsbury cookies $1/2
1 pillsbury crecent rolls .50/2
6 green giant .50/1 & .40/1
2 nature valley .80/2
Total $5.10

Use $2.50 cat and $10 cat from before

25.34-5.10-2.50-10=$7.74
Receive $10 cat (gen mills) & $2.50 cat (pillsbury)


Day 15- Making up for lost time

So here I am behind...I need to make up for lost time. I sat down tonight and e-mailed all these companies. This should help me feel caught up on my little challenge. Now I will really be excited to go and check the mail. I hope I get some good ones. I always feel so lucky when I check the mail and there are coupons there.


Companies I e-mailed today:

Rotel

Darigold

Best Foods

Tony's Pizza

Fiber One

Jimmy Dean

Barilla

Sweet Baby Rays

Fruitabu

Vlasic Pickles

Scrubbing Bubbles

Birdseye Voila Chicken

Life

Pillsbury

Banquet

Tims

Campbells

Mission

Motts

Hidden Valley Ranch

Tillamook

Chiquita

Dole

Tropicana

Santa Cruz

Sunny D

Treeptop

Buddig Meats

Newmans Own

Ocean Spray

Snapple

Update on my e-mails

So far I have gotten good responses when I have e-mailed companies complimenting them.
It is exciting to check the mail knowing that you might have something exciting inside.
I have e-mailed about 20 companies and these are the coupons I have received.

2- .50 off Lea and Perrins
2- FREE Life water Q's
3- $1 off Hansens 6-pk Soda
1- $1/2 Hellmans Mayo

I am still e-mailing, not everyday like I wanted but at least a few times a week.
I am going to continue to do this through the end of the month if not longer.

Day 2

Yesterdays e-mails went well. I received a lot of automatic responses back and then a couple that said they would put some coupons in the mail for me. I am excited. It makes me keep e-mailing for more.

Today I e-mailed 6 more companies. We will see what their responses are. I am not going to be e-mailing this weekend because I have to work long hours Saturday and Sunday. I am hoping that when I get to the mail on Monday there might be a coupon or too.

It is kinda like Christmas. Waiting, anticipating, not really sure what you are going to get. Anyways it is exciting this far. I will continue to update more as I receive replies.

Day 1

I started my month long adventure with coupon gathering.
I have e-mailed nine companies today.
I was going to make it a goal to e-mail 5 companies a day. I do not know how that will work. I know at first I will really be into it, but I might slow down at the end. I hope to make this fun and exciting. Also I hope it makes me want to go check on my post office box more often as well. It is always fun to have exciting things in the mail and not just the usual bills.

I will continue to update here as well as to brag about my best replies on this blog.
This should be a good project to keep me distracted from the changing seasons, where has this year gone?

Pantry Meal - Tacos


Here is my uninspired ...what to have for dinner.....meal from last night.

It all started when I was too tired to cook.
I am a self proclaimed NO MEAL PLANNER.
I do not write out my meal plans on Monday or whenever for the week. It just does not seem to work for me. It works for almost everyone I know, but I just can't do it.

So back to dinner. I was tired and hungry and did not want to go shopping for the week yet.
I went to the pantry and spotted a can of refried beans, a box of Spanish rice mix, and a can of diced tomatoes with jalapeƱos.

Next stop, the fridge....
We had shredded cheese and tortillas plus a little iceberg lettuce from the night before.

Heres what I did.
Start the Spanish rice
Spread the refried beans tortillas
Cover the beans with shredded cheese
Stick the tortillas in the broiler for a couple of minutes
Once all of the cheese was melted and the rice was done I assembled the rest
Put a generous scoop of rice in the middle of the tortilla and add some lettuce
Roll it like a taco and enjoy.



This meal took less then 20 minutes and only dirtied up one pot.
It was quite tasty and we just might be having it again some night.





Because I was gone from this whole couponing thing for so long I feel completely out of place. I have all EXPIRED coupons and am out of the sale loop. I did get 4 papers on Sunday so that is a start. I decided that since I am basically starting over I am going to challenge myself.

I have a lot of friends who e-mail companies letting them know how much they like their product. Sometimes they ask for coupons, sometimes they ask where they can find coupons, and sometimes it is just a simple hello and thank you letter. However they do it, the companies seem to love it and send them coupons all the time.

I decided maybe this would be a good way for me to try to accumulate some non insert coupons again. It will get me started. I am starting October 1st and going for the whole month. I am going to see how many companies I can contact, and keep a running list of them. I will update the list occasionally when I receive feedback from them and will keep it posted here.

I am actually quite excited about this. It is something I can do on my own, I do not need to stress myself out trying to figure out scenarios yet and I can pace myself however I want.

(Did I mention my summer work is not quite over and it will be wrapping up next week. Then comes all the logistical paperwork and taxes but not nearly as exhausting of work as the summer months.)

I'm Back

After a long summer away I have returned. It seems I am too busy to do anything besides work during the summer.

I have to say it was nice to have started a stockpile before the summer so that we had food around the house. I hate fast food meals. This time of year about the only thing that sounds palatable is teriyaki, and even that is getting old.

I am back to looking around for great deals. I am also "Fall Cleaning" my house. Yesterday I packed up a box of books and other extra miscellaneous stuff. It feels good to start to purge the things that I do not want.

I think that I am going to start putting all my boxes of "throw out" stuff into my storage building outside. I have to talk to my cousin because she is going to have a yard sale and maybe she can take it. I do not want anything for it, but if it can make her a few extra bucks then- right on!

My goals for this season are to deep clean my house, get all my work papers organized, finish my taxes on time, eat all my food from my stockpile that is close to date (no more waste!), and continue to be smart with my money. I will stay updated here. I am hoping to continue to check in here regularly until next april/may, and then take another extended vacation from the computer.

Super Easy Pasta Salad



Heres what ya do:

Take 1 lb of small pasta (I used picollini I got from Safeway for .25)
Cook it al dente
Rinse it in cold water and drain really well

While the pasta is cooking take whatever veggies you like and cut into small pieces. I cut mine smaller than the pasta (Like 1/4 of the size)

Once pasta is cool put in a mixing bowl and add ranch dressing. Coat the pasta and add the veggies.

I like to add cayenne pepper to it and a little black pepper and salt.

Sometimes I make mine the night before and let it set in the fridge.
It is super easy and can be made with whatever veggies you have. Also you could use Italian dressing if you like.

All this pasta salad cost maybe $1.50-$2 and we have 3 meals worth.

My Super Duper Sunday Shopping Trip - Albertsons





Things that are NOT pictured:
2 Gallons of Darigold milk (Free)
6 VitaminWater10 (Free)
5 Kelloggs Cereal ($2 for all 5 because of doubles)
2 Keebler Deluxe Rainbow Cookies ($2.49 for both)


I started out in front of my computer this morning trying to figure out how to use/roll the $3 Taco Bell Cat and the $5 Post Cereal Cat as well as use some of the manu. doubles.

Transaction #1

6 Post Cereals @ $1.59 each

Total before sales/coupons $30.54
Total after ClubCard $12.42
Use $3 Taco Bell Cat & Coupons
Total OOP .42
Total Savings $30.12
Receive $5 Post Cat


Transaction #2

5 Kelloggs Cereal $1.99 ea
5 Taco Bell Refried Beans $1 ea

Total before sales/coupons $30.40
Total after ClubCard $14.95
Use $5 Post Cat & Coupons
Total OOP $1.95
Total Savings $28.45
Receive $3 Taco Bell Cat
Receive 2 Cats for Free milk Gallon

Transaction #3

5 Boxes Post Cereal 1.59 ea
1 Quaker Quakes – 1.99
1 Smartwater – 1.00
1 Mentos Gum – 1.00
6 VitaminWater10 – 1.00 ea
1 Hersheys Bar - .69 (Last Minute Filler)
2 Gallons Milk $2.69 ea

Total before sales/coupons $43.04
Total after ClubCard $26.41
Use 2 Free Milk Cats & $3 Taco Bell Cat & Coupons
Total OOP .24
Total Savings $42.80
Receive $5 Post Cat

Transaction #4

2 Keebler Rainbow Chip Cookies - $1.24 ea
5 Taco Bell Beans - $1.00 ea
6 Mentos Gum - $1.00 ea

Total before sales/coupons $23.63
Total after ClubCard $19.24
Use $5 Post Cat & Coupons
Total OOP $1.49
Total Savings $22.14
Receive $3 Taco Bell Cat

And Finally……..

Transaction #5

10 Lipton/Knorr Sides $1.00 ea
2 Hormel Chili $1.00 ea
2 Loaves of Bread $1.99 ea
1 3 pound cheddar cheese $7.99
2 Oscar Mayer Lunch Meats $3.50 ea
1 Buddig meats $1.09

Total before sales/coupons $54.40
Total after ClubCard $30.06
Use 2 x $5 Post Cat & $3 Taco Bell Cat & Coupons
Total OOP $4.67
Total Savings $49.73

Total OOP for the day $7.77
Total Saved $178.39

Safeway Trip

I had two transactions at Safeway today because I did not grab enough Progresso soups. I misread the coupon. No biggie I went back through and used the express lane for my second trip.
This was also good because I got a bunch of Cats totaling $9.75 so I used them.
While I was waiting in line I realized that stride gum was on sale buy 2 get one free. It ended up being $2.78 for 3 packs. I had coupons for $2 off three packs of gum. That brought the total down to .78 for three packs of gum.
I would not have seen this if I did not wait in line again. Things happen for a reason, and I scored a great deal on gum.

For $51.78 I got all this


I had 3 COAH $10 coupons that really helped my stock back up on the freezer stuff.

My two transactions included

12 packs Stride Gum
20 Progresso Soups
4 cans Pineapple
1 5lb Sugar
5 Birdseye Steamfresh veggies
6 PictSweet Steamables
5 Red Baron 2pack pizzas
4 Pledge Multi Surface Sprays
7 packs Halls cough drops
6 Seattle Times Sunday Preview Papers
1 10lb bag Cat Food
1 Soft Soap Hand Soap

Original Price $204.09
Total Savings/Coupons $152.31
Total OOP $51.78

Check out other Super Savings HERE

Kmart Doubles


I went to Kmart today for doubles. Luckily I made my list and stuck to it. It made it easier.
Also when checking out the cashier was really nice and the transaction went well.

What I got (with final price):
1 Secret Flawless - .49
3 Johnsons Buddies - Free
3 Kotex - Free
3 Soft Scrub Scrubby Pads - Free
2 Mean Green Bonus Size Cleaners - Free
3 3-packs Trident Gum - .33 ea
3 packs Trident Gum - Free
2 Coffee-Mate Creamers .39 ea
3 2-packs Oral B Indicator toothbrushes - Free

My total for all 23 items is $4.04 of that $1.80 was tax
I saved $50.43

Another Safeway Trip


I had 4 transactions at Safeway this time around.
I did this so I could do the Chill out at home promo-Every $25 frozen food items you get $10 off your next order of frozen food items.

What did I get?
8 Stouffers Flatbread sandwiches
3 Birdseye meals for two
2 Bertolli Bakes
1 Voila Meal
8 Tai Pei Meals
2 Banquet Mac and Cheese (filler to make a transaction)
1 Jimmy Dean Skillet

Grand Total $155.17
Total OOP $18.93
Savings $136.94

I am super pleased.
Some coupons I used were
3-$2 off Birdseye meals for two
6-$1/2 Stouffers Flatbread
3-$1/2 Tai Pei Meals
3-.50 Tai Pei Meals
1-$1 Jimmy Dean Skillet
1-$1 Voila Meal (IP)
2-$2 Bertolli Bakes (IP)

Thats all I can think of right now
I also got 4 COAH $10 Cats that I rolled into the next tranactions

Safeway Trip

I went to Safeway today to do the mix and match deals.
Mix and Match = certain items at Safeway that are on sale, WYB 10 they are even more on sale.
Example- Rice o Roni ---
Reg price 1.69 ea
Sale Price 1.25 ea
When you buy 10 (mix and match) .75 ea

So I bought
9 rice o roni 1.25 ea
3 pasta roni 1.25 ea
1 Best foods Mayo 3.00 ea
7 ronzoni pasta 1.25 ea

I used
3- $1/4 rice/pasta coupons
7- .50 off ronzoni pasta

My subtotal was 21.50
I got 2 mix and match coupons automatically deducted - $10

I ended up paying $11.50 Out of Pocket

It would have been less but I had to buy the Mayo which we were totally out of. ($3 for mayo is high for me but when you are desperate...)

Trip #2
3 Birdseve steamfresh meals for two reg price 8.99 on sale for 4.99 ea
3 Birdseye steamfresh veggies reg price 3.29 on sale for 3.00 ea

It came up to 36.84 before sales or coupons
Safeways has a deal when you buy $25 frozen food you get $10 off your next order
After sales it was $23.97
I used 3 coupons that were- Buy 1 steamfresh meal for 2 get one steamfresh veggie for free

My Final total ended up being $14.47 and I recieved a $10 off coupon
So really it all cost $4.47 for 3 meals for 2 and 3 veggies

Trip #3

Necessities
Organic Jasmine Rice-reg price 4.29 on sale for $3.84
Rice Noodles 1.25

Total $5.09



Then on my way home I dropped by target for one more quaker deal
Total OOP $0
I used a giftcard from my last purchase
If I had to pay it would have been $5 after coupons and I got 10 boxes of Quaker cereal and Granola Bars.


Total for all purchases today $25.34

Check Out Other Deals HERE at Money Saving Mom's Super Saving Saturday

Target Shopping


This is the first time I have truly added to my stockpile....Let me rephrase that...started my stockpile.

Target was having a Quaker deal this week.
You had to purchase 5 quaker items (all on sale for $2.50 or $2)
For every 5 you purchased they handed you a $5 Gift Card.

My first trip I bought
3 Instant Oatmeal 2.50ea - $1 Q = $1.50
2 Fiber Granola Bars 2.50 ea - $1 Q = $1.50

Total was five items for $1.50 ea = $7.50
They gave me a $5 GC so my total was $2.50 for 5 items or .50 an item


Now here is the best part, my oatmeal boxes I had purchased had $4 worth of mystery coupons inside.
I bought this oatmeal because of the $4 coupons, I had no idea what they were I just new that they would help me with more of this sale.
Inside they were:
$1 off Life cereal
$1 off instant oatmeal
$1 off 2 quaker granola bars
$1 true delights granola bars

I double checked at target and these items were all part of the deal.
My next trip used these 4 coupons that ended up being 5 items.
2.50 + 2.50 + 2.50 + 2.00 + 2.00 = $11.50 (the quaker granola bars were only $2)
My Coupons were totaled at $4
So $11.50 - $4 = $7.50 minus $5 Gift Card = $2.50 or .50 per item again.

How cool!

I ended up doing this deal 5 times so I ended up with 25 Quaker items for $12.50
We now have enough granola bars, instant oatmeal, and cereal for 3 months. All for only $12.50!

Girl Scout Cookies

This is my favorite time of year. I just love girl scout cookies. 

I plan in my budget for a few boxes and I try to hide them so that they last longer. Too bad my hiding spots aren't so good. Oh well. 


These are our new favorite flavor. Samoas. When I was little I used to not like coconut at all. It is still not a huge favorite of mine, but...I live it on these cookies. They are caramelly, chocolatey, and coconutty. They are so good.

I also love to support the girl scouts. This money they raise helps them for their trips and projects throughout the year. This year not too far from my house there were people ripping off the girl scouts. They were spending counterfeit twenty dollar bills with them. How sad... These young girls did not know any better. I feel terrible for them. So, I went and bought more cookies, and donated money to the cause. 

A week or so later they had caught up with some of the crooks and they are now in jail, this still does not excuse the crime. I hope that all this gets taken care of and that the troops affected get there money back. Money is not everything, but it helps the girls to be able to afford to do fun outings.

Oatmeal Bread


I have a new favorite sandwich bread recipe.

I like thicker bread for sandwiches because I think it makes them tastier. 

It is called Oatmeal Bread. (This time I did use a recipe...here it is)

Combine in Large Bowl (I use my kitchenaid)

1 c. quick oats

1/2 c. whole wheat flour

1/2 c. brown sugar

1 T. Salt

2 T. Margarine

Heat 2 c. Water to boiling

Pour over dry mixture and stir in to combine. (I use the dough hook attachment)

In separate bowl dissolve 2 packages of yeast in 1/2 C. warm water

Once the batter has cooled to luke warm (took me about 20 minutes)

Stir in:

5 c. white flour

When dough is stiff enough to handle turn onto floured board and knead for 10 minutes (again, I used my kitchenaid) Place in greased bowl, cover, and let rise till doubled.

Punch down and let rise again. (this is where I started changing things, once the dough had risen once I punched it down and split it into two loaves and placed the dough into two greased loaf pans. Then I let it rise 40 minutes)

Shape into two loaves and place in greased 9 x 5 x 3 pans.

Bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes

Cool on rack and coat crust  with margarine for a softer crust.

This bread tastes great fresh out of the oven. For sandwiches I let it set overnight

Alberstons Shopping

I went to Albertsons this week and got a bit of food.

I did not buy Milk or 1/2 & 1/2, but maybe today I will.

What I did buy though is 

10 Streamfresh Veggies .99 - .35Q  = $6.40 for 10

4 Triscuits @ 2.50 ea - $2/2 Q (x2) = $6

4 South Beach Granola Bars @ 2.50 ea - $1 (x4) = $6

2 Wheat Thins @ 2.50 ea - $2/2 = $3

The catch on the bars and crackers is it is $10 WYB $25 before Q's so really it was $5 for all of those items.

10 Campbells Tomato Soup .59 ea - $3Q = $2.90 (A $1 Cat printed for this!)

Total Spent at the Store was $14.30

Like I mentioned earlier I still need Dairy products so figure in $4 more. My total for the week is $18.30.

Creamy Green Chili Enchiladas


Here is another pantry recipe that I made tonight. We had all the ingredients and it sounded good. I used some leftover chicken from when I roasted a couple the other week. I had picked the chickens clean from the bone and froze the pickin's and turned the bones into stock. 

I heated in a saucepan

about 2 cups of chopped chicken (fully cooked)

the leftover rice from last night (about 1 1/2 cups)

1 can rotel tomatoes

1 can green chili salsa

1 can cream of chicken and mushroom soup

1 cup shredded cheddar

Once that was heated through I took tortillas and smeared them with refried beans straight from the can. Then I took a spoonful of the mixture fromthe pan and put it in the middle, rolled the tortilla, and put it seam side down in a baking dish. (note: my tortillas were too long so I chopped one side so that they fit perfect in the pan.)

Once my pan was full I covered with cheddar cheese and baked at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.

Serve with sour cream. We also had corn on the side. Dessert was navel oranges.

This made 2 pans of enchiladas (one is in the freezer and also 2 cups of filling I froze for other meals)

Safeway Trip Sunday March 8, 2009

I went to Safeway tonight and picked up a few things.

Oranges 10lbs @ .36/lb  $3.60

Crystal Geyser Water 2 Gallons $1.00 ea

Vitamin Water reg $1.59 sale .88 ea

Russet Potatoes 5lbs $.99

2 Bell Peppers $3.00

Total $11.49

Saved $10.17

Not too bad. Earlier in the week I dropped by Walmart and picked up 3 loaves of bread, 3 pounds of cheddar cheese, and 4 pounds of turket lunchmeat all for around $20. This will last for two weeks of Sandwiches for us.

My total for groceries this week is 31.72. Hopefully all I need till next weekend is half and half, and 1 gallon of milk, (it should only cost $4). That brings me to $35 for the week.

Homemade Goodness

One of my favorite weekend breakfast is biscuits and gravy. It is so easy to make and is a yummy filling breakfast/brunch item here. 


Some weekends I go all out and roll out the biscuits and cut them, sometimes I used the canned ones (bought on sale for less that 35 cents a pack) and sometimes I just make drop biscuits. That’s what I did this weekend. They were yummy.

One thing we do not cut corners on is meat. We purchase it from a butcher who is about 5 miles away from our home. In the country that translates to "Really Really Close." Their beef is grass fed, their chickens are free range, everything about it screams fresh. We spend about 40 dollars a month on meat. That includes 2 pounds of ground pork sausage, 6 pounds of ground beef, 1 whole chicken, bacon or chorizo, ham bones, and a couple other things. I think it is well worth the money to have this meat for us. The quality is wonderful and the taste is to die for.

Anyways I use 1/2 a pound of ground pork in my gravy. I brown it and add red pepper flakes and fresh ground black pepper, and then take it out of the pan. I leave the drippings in there for my gravy. I add flour and milk and as soon as it thickens I add the sausage back in. By the time the gravy is all thickened my biscuits are done. Depending who all is home I might make eggs too, you never know round here. This breakfast is easy, I always have the ingredients on hand, it only takes 3 pots/pans, and it is ready in 30 minutes. What's not to love.

Being Self-Employed in a Bad Economy

It is a hard pill for me to swallow. The fact that the Economy is very weak right now. I am always so optimistic and I am also a problem solver. If business is down normally with a little more hard work I can scrounge up some more business and there you have it, business is back to normal again. This past few months I can not fix the problem. Sales are down and I do not know how to fix it. Unfortunately my half full glass has sprung a leak in it and is slowly becoming half empty.

How can I fix this?
I might not be able to get people to spend more money, but I am thinking I can cut corners in my business so that my end number is the same as before. I am not talking about serving a inferior product, I am thinking by always buying my pieces and parts and supplies on sale it will save money. I have never really had to do this before because business was profitable. Now it looks like a good time to start. 

I do not want to fail in this recession (if that’s what y'all want to call it). I will not let the recession win. I will beat it. It is just going to take a little more work. 

My plan I to start looking through store sales ads. Also clipping more coupons. Luckily I can buy my products just about anywhere and be fine. Now I need to remember I HAVE to use a coupon. I hope that K-mart does the doubles thing again. If I had known about it earlier this time I would have saved more money. I will keep my eye out for that. I hope it happens again.

The other week I bought a bunch of Softsoap with coupons. This is for the business, we wash our hands a lot. The store I normally would buy these from charge $1.49 each. The ones that I just purchased were on sale for .89 and I had a .35 off coupon. They were only .54, that is almost 1/3 of the price I was paying before. This is just one example of how I can do it.

When I set my mind to something I am pretty successful. I will stay updated on how this works out for me.

Pantry Meatballs and Rice


I always challenge myself to cooking new versions of meals we love by using items from our pantry. If I can do this once a week it helps me know what all is in my pantry. It also makes sure the food inside the pantry stays fresh.

Tonights meal was a play on Swedish Meatballs. 

For the gravy, I used a can of beef gravy mixed with a can of cream of mushroom soup. I thinned it with a touch of milk and I sauteed some thinly sliced onions and added those in.

For the meatballs, I minced fresh onion (b/c I had no dried onion) mixed it with oatmeal (b/c I had no breadcrumbs) added a splash of worcestershire sauce, an egg, and a splash of milk. Once it was all mixed I scooped them out onto a cookie sheet and baked them for 10 minutes at 400 degrees. 

Once the meatballs were done in the oven I sank them into the gravy and left them there until the rice was done. 

If you can tell, I NEVER measure a thing. Mostly my meals  taste great but they do not make good meals to share recipes of because it is "a splash of this, handful of that..."

I cooked some long grain rice and some green peas.

Dinner was a success. It was quick and easy, and it used a few random pantry items.

NOTE: I used a pound of fresh ground beef. It ended up making 32 meatballs. We only put 12 into dinner and are saving the others for Spaghetti and Meatballs, and Meatball Sub Sandwiches.  

K-Mart Had DOUBLES!

I could not believe it. I live in the land of no doubles and as I was going trough my paper last week I noticed "doubles up to $2" I froze, there is no way…. I had to check it out.

I went once and I bought over 50 dollars worth of product for 18.87. I know I should have aimed for a lower end number but as part of the almost 19 dollars I got 3 pounds worth of coffee, and a new coupon notebook. The coffee is great because it was normally 11 dollars for all of it and I scored it for $4.50. The notebook was not on sale but was totally cute and I like it. It was $4.99.

Other things I snagged were
Halls Cough Drops 3 bags--FREE
Reach Toothbrush 3--FREE
Smartwater 4 bottles--FREE
Compleats Meals 4--- .50 each
Lysol Disinfectant Spray 1---FREE
Sobe Lifewater 3 bottles-- .47 each (they should have been free but oh well)
I was so exhausted at this point I was ok with it. That and I did not
Notice until I was in the car.
Bayer Aspirin 1 bottle-- FREE
Betty Crocker Cookie Mix 4 bags--.87 each

Not too bad. I was pretty happy with it all. Now I can make cookies the lazy way. After all this double coupon shopping I am tired but cookies do sound good.

I am not used to this double coupon deal, I have heard through the grapevine that it might be continuing once a month. I will have to keep my eyes out. I did not make it to K-mart till Friday. Next time I will start earlier in the week. For heck sake, it is only 3 minutes from my work. With a little more planning there will be A LOT more savings next time.

AH HA Moment!


I was so disappointed at my Safeway trip that I tried again.

I went only for things I needed or that were free.

I went to two stores and here is what I came up with:

6 Lipton Pasta Sides .99 ea - .35 Q = .64 ea
2 Suave Shampoo .99 ea - .75 Q = .24 ea
10 Softsoap (for business) .97 - .35 Q = .62 ea
10 Johnson's Buddies .97 ea - $1 Q (for each) = -.03 ea
4 Deodorant 4/$9 - 5 rebate - .75 Q (for each) = .25 ea
2 Band-Aids (for business) 3.29 ea - BOGO - $1 Q (for each) = .65 ea
6 Excedrin 100 count (for business) 9.99 ea - BOGO - $2 Q (for each) - $10 MIR = $1.33 ea

Total Spent 

Business 15.50
Personal 4.38

Total Saved with Q's and Rebates = 70.36

Not too bad.

While I was figuring out how much I saved I had an AH-HA Moment. I know that using Q's for personal saves money out of my pocket. It helps me stay on my budget better. Here's what I just realized. By cutting Q's for business items I save money on my business expenses. By saving money there it will trickle down and mean more money for my pocket eventually.

I can not believe I have been using Q's for personal and been so successful but never used them for business. I am self-employed so as hard as I work directly relates to what I make. I can not believe I have not used Q's earlier. DUH… Oh well, starting now is better than not starting at all.



Coffee at Home


I was wanting my favorite cup of gourmet coffee today from S**. However at the same time I was feeling so good about eating at home and saving money that I did not want that same cup I was craving.

I needed to convince myself that coffee at home was great and I would survive.
I always find it easier to stay home when I compare the price of home vs. S**. Same goes with fast food, clothes shopping, Sunday drives (gasoline) etc.

If I buy all my coffee ingredients at full retail at an expensive grocery store (the closest to my house, only 10 miles away) this is what I come up with:

Folgers Coffee 35oz size = 8.99
1/2 and 1/2 One Quart = 1.99
1 lb Sugar = .50

The coffee lasts 3 weeks, the cream 1 week, and the sugar 1 month.

Daily cost is:
8.99/21 = .42
1.99/7 = .28
.50/30 = .02

Total for one pot of coffee (generally 6-8 cups) enough to have a couple cups a piece = .72

72 cents for one days coffee for 2 people. Not to shabby!

So how much for a month of coffee at home? .72 x 30 = $21.60

When we go to S** for our favorite cups of gourmet coffee it comes out to about 12 dollars a trip!

With only two trips for coffee out we have spent more than a whole months worth of coffee at home.

All of the sudden coffee from home tastes so much better!

(NOTE: We have been S** free since 02/04/09)

Dinner Last Night and Todays Lunch

Last Night I made Taco Tot Casserole.

It was alright, not my best version of it though

I was out of evaporated milk and substituted a smaller amount of regular milk and that just made it soupy. Oh well, still it had good flavors.

1. Bake Tater Tots

2. Brown ground beef and add taco seasoning

3. Mix 1 can evaporated milk and 1 can cheddar cheese soup

4. Add 1/2 bag frozen corn to soup mix

5. Add ground beef and mix well

6. Pour into casserole dish and top with tots

7. Bake @ 350 for 30 minutes

8. Top with grated cheese and bake until cheese is melted.

So it came out slightly disappointing like I mentioned earlier, but I made extra ground beef for tacos for lunch.

Today's lunch

Tacos with tomatoes, lettuce, bell peppers, sour cream, cheddar cheese and green chili salsa.

They were really good.

No complaints and no leftovers either. Yum!

Safeway Shopping Trip

2 green bell peppers (organic were way better quality for only .20 cents more each so thats what I got)

4 roma tomatoes

2 red onions

1 bag shred lettuce

1 lg lucerne cottage cheese

1 lg buddig lunch meat

2 loaves store brand whole wheat bread

1 lg folgers coffee

1 quart 1/2 and 1/2

1/3 lb roast beef 

Total 33.xx Amount saved 2.42

I almost freaked I never only save 2.42

Oh well that is all we need for the week.

$34 for all at home meals and not eating out. I can deal for this week.

Disappointing news....because of Presidents Day tomorrow there were no newspaper coupons today.