Monday, May 31, 2010

Monday Menu Post 5/31

I am hoping to post several times today but I wanted to start with the Menu post so I can stay on track. This week will be busy with me working Wednesday, Thursday and Friday so those day will be something that can cook ahead or in a very short time to make our lives easier!

Monday- Grilled Steaks, pasta salad
Tuesday- tator tot cassrole
Wednesday- Spaghetti with meatballs
Thursday- Chicken nuggets with corn and fruit (Matt will have to cook as I have a workshop to present from 4pm-6pm)
Friday- Grilled chicken- I will start to marinate on Wednesday!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Detailed CVS post

I am going to do a detailed post on my trip to CVS today. It is a beginner transaction that anyone who uses diapers or wipes can repeat this week as well. I had not planned on buying diaper but the body wash ECB printed out together as one 8 instead of two 4ECBs.

I did start out with 3ECB from the Pantene deal that is also running this week. But I did 2 transactions today.
First Transaction: 2 Gillette body washes on sale for $4.00 each.
Used BOGO coupon from 5/2 PG and 2 ECB. Total OOP 2.62 and earned 9ECB (8 for Body wash and 1 for 4th time using Green bag tag)

Second Transaction: Huggies Wipes (216 count) $5.99 (Sale)
Huggies Jean Diapers (sale) $9.99
CVS lip balm 30 SPF $1.99
Used CVS printed Wipes coupon 2.00, Man. coupon 1.00, Diaper coupon 3.00, CVS printed $1 off any sunscreen product and 9ECB from previous transaction. Total OOP $1.09 which was tax!

This made by total OOP $3.79 and my saving $31 or 91% . Now just to be fair I am adding my trip from Sunday because I would have done a similar transaction if they would have not been out of the body washes already. My total OOP at CVS for the week is $23 with a savings of $47 or 67%. Prior to couponing, I would have spent $23 on the two packs of diapers on sale and a large pack of wipes. So I am still REALLY pleased with my trip. In fact Amanda and I may go tomorrow and use her card for body wash just as a money maker!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Randon Thoughts Tuesday

I actually remember to do this on Tuesday!

I realized on my trip to Harris Teeter last Wednesday that I have not been reporting/giving credit to myself for the actual amount saved. I have not been including my "VIC" saving in my total.

On Sunday, Matt, myself and the 3 little kids made a second trip to HT this week. I spent $55 saved $124 or 69%. This was a great trip considering we ended up with 5 cases of drinks for Matt's lunch. I am debating a third trip today but it probably will not happen.

We also went to CVS on Sunday. There were already out of the Body wash that would have made this an awesome trip and I forgot my free coupon for "Little swimmers." So I will most likely make a trip to another CVS this week to take advantage of the money maker. I did get a raincheck for the body wash but I will be able to do this deal twice if I can find the items in stock.

I have totally shot the grocery budget for this month, my excuse is that I bought all the food for Amanda's shower. So to try and at least use some of this food for us I have spent the better part of the last 2 days steaming, and freezing things such as broccoli and carrots. I will also be freezing the celery to use in soups this winter. Today, I am trying a new recipe that involved using alot of veggies that I had already decided I need to use up! I hope it turns out well because I ended up using 6 chicken breast in it as well. I have made 2 dozen muffins and need to freeze half of these and then make a batch of banana bread to use the rest of the 9lbs of bananas I bought at half price last week. I hope to finish all this up today and make some baby food for Zach to eat. Yesterday he ate no "bought" baby food which was awesome. If I do nothing but save on the purchase of baby food that should get me back on track for June with the budget. I did come in 150 less than the average in April so if I can do the same in June, I will break even.

My garden is growing awesomely. I notice this morning that the jalapeno pepper is blooming. I have now transplanted everything and each square has something growing in it! I will try and get a picture to post soon.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Monday Menu Post 5/24

I did okay sticking to the Menu plan last week. We ended up with Pork Chops on Wednesday and eating out on Friday. That makes a total of 3 times eating out last week. The kids and I had lunch out on Thursday, Matt, myself and the babies ate out on Friday and again on Sunday after church. Friday night was a necessity as it was 6:30pm and everyone was starved so. This week I hope to do better and stay on track. I will be posting about all my shopping this weekend later but I wanted to make myself start to plan first.

Monday- Matt has a dinner meeting and I have ALOT of food to prepare so that it does not go bad so it will be sandwiches or pick a meal for everyone at home.
Tuesday- Steaks on the grill... pasta salad and fruit
Wednesday- Crockpot Lasagna with a batch to freeze for the summer
Thursday- Chicken ??? not sure how or why, may try a new recipe or just make a chicken pie or fried chicken

Friday, May 21, 2010

Potty Training- Kendall Style

Kendall is approaching 2 so the dreaded potty training is looming over us! We actually got down the small potty several weeks ago and I bought and put up (out of sight) the rewards. Kendall has been sitting on the potty at least once a day with no results. But I had decided to not stress and just be laid back with this effort. Yesterday, Amanda, Lily, Kendall, Zach and I went to Winston to Target and Costco for groceries and items for Amanda's baby shower. We decided that Olive Garden would be good for lunch. So after we ate I took Lily and Kendall to the bathroom. Kendall was still dry and asked to "Pee on Potty" because that is what Lily was doing. I decided to let her sit and she DID IT! Within a minute of sitting down,she had peed! I was so excited and let her use my cellphone to call Matt! I am hoping this will be the start of an easy journey but I doubt it.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Harris Teeter Super Doubles Trip

I am super excited after getting back from my first trip to Harris Teeter for Super Doubles. I had made the comment to Matt that I thought Super Doubles would be better right now then Triples and I was right :). I actually made the trip today with a friend, this was her first trip to Harris Teeter so it was awesome to help her "find" the deals. So I spent a total of $27 and saved $124 or 82% this is the highest this year besides one trip to CVS. I was able to grab 9 free items, 6 boxes of cereal, 4 cans of Tomato soup, 5 containers of juice and 3 frozen pizzas. Those are just the highlights. I did use a Raincheck to grab 2 packs of diapers at 0.09 cent each, but these are included in my totals so this was AWESOME! No picture today because my kitchen table is a mess and since it was lunch time when I came in. I decided to clean and take a picture was not worth the effort!

I am super busy this week and now understand how hard it is to keep up with blogging and my crazy life. I will try to get better but the rest of the week includes a second trip to HT, Amanda's baby shower and a quiz meeting. So I wonder if I actually will!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Monday Menu Post 5/17

So last week we threw out the menu plan on Thursday and actually ordered Pizza on Friday because that is what we wanted. But at least we were able to spend $20 and feed us all with enough left for breakfast for Matt, Haley and I on Saturday. This week is going to be difficulty as we have something scheduled every afternoon except on Monday. The idea this week is convenience. I am hoping to do the Crockpot Lasagna on Wednesday and put one back in the freezer but it will depend on how long I spend at Super Doubles. But you will notice I have a back up plan just in case or I can always switch my Friday and Wednesday. Flexibility is good this week.

Monday- Country Fried Steak, vegetable and pumpkin pie (Angel Food)
Tuesday- Left-overs from our Mexican dinner party :)
Wednesday - Crockpot Lasagna or Frozen Pizza
Thursday- Seafood night- steamed crab legs /fried shrimp
Friday- Shake n bake Porkchops

This should work, next week I hope to use some of the food I purchase at Harris Teeter!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

A "Normal" Weekend

For the past several years (since prior to Lily's birth) it seems that every weekend during the school year is filled with activities and places/events we need to attend. In addition to that for the past 3 years we have been working on the addition with any and all of our spare time especially on the weekend. But this weekend feels different and I am working if this is what a "normal" weekend is suppose to be.

On Saturday we had Angel Food distribution which meant that Matt was at the church at 6am and I arrived about 7:45am. We have had to move the distribution times forward and it seems like we almost had an extra day as a result. Matt ended up on call this weekend and had to make a trip out after the distribution but that was ok. I was able to come home and make a quick trip to CVS while the little kids napped. Saturday evening after Matt got a short nap we decided to work in the addition. He was able to put up modeling and baseboards to finish out the bathroom closet. So I started moving items and organizing some things as well as cleaning out more junk that needed new home. We ended up at supper time and I spent a couple of hours watching TV.

Today, Sunday, we had church this am. My mom fixed lunch this week so we ate lunch with my whole family today which is a nice treat about once a month! Matt and I decided to invite some friends over for dinner before the variety show at church tonight. We had a Mexican feat that will provide leftovers on Tuesday evening for dinner. I stopped at Aldi and CVS to do my weekend shopping. Matt stayed home and did the last minute cleaning :). Dinner and the variety show were fun! Now tonight I am blogging and working on coupons which I enjoy. The best thing is that I am tired but not exhausted as I usually feel on Sunday night and I "think" I had a weekend! So is this a normal weekend?

Friday, May 14, 2010

Count your Blessing

Growing up this was one of my favorite songs. I woke up this morning with the tune and words in my head. So after waiting all day to decide what to blog about, I figured this might be a good day to be thankful for what I have and not focus on what I don't..Will you join me and leave a comment with your "blessing" today?

1. A wonderful husband who is willing to help with laundry, dishes and house cleaning as long as I ask.
2. 5 wonderful children who every day I can see making stride and enjoying life. (OK only the three little happen every day but I still love my teens!)
3. A borrowed van that allows me to work and do simple errors but more importantly give me the ability to not be stuck at home!
4. A job that allows me to work a couple of hours a week.
5. Money to cover the bills for the month and "promised" money to be able to cover the unexpected expense of a new transmission.
6. A garden with growing plants and flowers that is exciting to watch grow!

Count your blessing with me today!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

DITL- Thursday May 13th

So it I was wondering what to blog about today and decide it would be neat to do a Day In The Life post and try to keep updating it all day long. Unfortunately it is already 10:30 before I start so I will go on memory for the first part of the morning!
I heard Zach start waking at 5ish this morning but it was 6:15 am before I realized that Haley had gotten a shower and had brought him to our room. Kendall was also awake so I started with the morning diaper changes. Breakfast was cereal for the kids and I finished the gravy from my breakfast Sunday(Mother's day) morning. I did spend some time off and on on the computer printing coupons and reading my coupon blogs. I drove Haley to school and Amanda was in a hurry because she had a court date today for a speeding ticket. Amanda left right after I got home around 7:50am. This morning the kids have been playing in different rooms. I folded 2 loads of clothes, washed sheets, towels and a load of Zach's clothes. Lily and Kendall decided to go outside and play for almost an hour while I was hanging out the sheet and making some phone calls to pay bills.

After coming inside the girls watched about 10 minutes of TV while I finished ordering ink on ebay. For preschool today we did our calender and then worked on puzzles. Kendall was able to complete a 8 piece insert puzzle by herself several times. She tried to work a harder "duck" puzzle but after 30 minutes of puzzle and snack she was too tired. Lily is working on "small"/tiny fairy puzzle from the Dollar Tree. I knew this was too hard but it was the one she picked so she is going to work on it for an hour. The puzzle is 50 pieces and for ages 5+, with moderate assistance it took her an hour and 5 minutes to complete. I am helping her along between writing and telling Kendall to leave Zach alone! For snack while the girls were working on their puzzles, I made Celery boats with peanut butter. They were a hit and I had to clean both Kendall and the puzzles afterward. It is now 11am and I am finishing the puzzle with Lily. The girls are watching Clifford and Dragon Tales while eating lunch which is hot dogs by Lily's choice.

Naptime-my favorite time of the day! Today was a success, EVERYONE including me got an hour of at least an hour. The little ones slept almost 2. I had 4 phones calls and Lily joined me after the first 45 minutes but still i slept. So we got up had snack and head out to get Haley! Opps forgot I have folded another load of laundry this afternoon!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Haley just recently added pictures from her camera. These are from the Angel Food Distribution last month.

Monday, May 10, 2010

First Walmart Coupon Trip

A little back ground is necessary before I actually tell you about my trip. First of all, I live in a small town. The only "grocery stores" in town are Food Lion, Aldi, Save A Lot and Super Walmart. I regularly drive out of town to go to Harris Teeter for any of there special events or for a really good sales week. Food Lion does not double any coupons EVER or accept competitor coupons or even stack coupons. So basically both Food Lion and Walmart make it difficult to save on my grocery bill. I have been consistently couponing for around 3 months now. I decided yesterday after my EXCELLENT trip to CVS that I would attempt a trip to Walmart. Matt was out of coffee creamer, which he is brand loyal and Zach was running low on baby food. I couldn't find a sale worth driving to for the baby food so I thought lets just see how I do. I have heard from several people in the past 3 weeks that Walmart is no longer accepting printed internet coupons so I decided not to even take one in. I did look at the list on Couponing to Disney to find out some dollar deals. I was actually pleased when I checked out and spend $40 and saved 17 or 29%. The saving were only from coupons as it does not show you or give you as way to figure in "roll backs" or sale prices. I was able to pick up Diet Cokes for 0.98 each and other sodas for the kids for 0.66 so overall this would be considered a successful trip in my book. I will never be able to save over 40% realistically at my local grocery stores so for a first trip with the whole family it was not bad!

Monday Menu Post 5/10

We stuck to our plan last week for every night except for Friday. I actually ended up working 4 hours so Matt was at a lost of what I had planned for dinner. So he made Kielbasi with rice. It is one of the recipes he remembers his mother making so it is like a comfort food for him. We are both disappointed with the Kielbasi from Angelfood as it was rubbery but it got eaten. Because of our van troubles it is going to be even more important that we stick to the menu plan this week. I will be working on both Wednesday and Friday night so those have to be quick or prepared ahead items. I am seriously thinking that we may re-arrange the meals but stay with the basic 5.

Monday - Grilled chicken and steak. (My parents are coming over for dinner, my mother works full time so this is a real treat for someone else to cook.
Tuesday- Chicken ciccatore
Wednesday- Meatloaf
Thursday- Sausage and egg pie or pork chops???? ( yeap I am going to decide at the last minute)
Friday-Tator tot casserole with half frozen for another "summer" meal

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Sunday Shopping and my soapbox

As soon as the kids were all down for a nap today, I started getting ready to head to CVS. I had read on one blog that Cokes were on sale. I called my mother to check the ad because as I stopped to buy a paper yesterday, I realized I was one quarter short. I decided not to worry with the extra paper and will just use her coupons this week. Pepsi products are on sale this week not Cokes, (dang it). I was also hoping to get a 3 off $15 coupons that I had read were printing. Well I did get a 3 off $15 but it was for "facial care products." Grrr but even tho it sounds like this would be a bust trip I was actually very pleased with the results:

I spent $2.66 and saved $34 or 93%. I actually left the store with 2ECB so that means total out of pocket was 0.66. I am really pleased with this trip I ended up doing 4 separate transactions and did start with 5ECB from completing a survey. The ThermaCare wraps were a raincheck from several weeks ago but but the other 3 transactions were all planned from SouthernSavers.

My first transaction was for the U Kotex pads and one tube of toothpaste. Total OOP was $1.01.
Second Transaction was the raincheck for the ThermaCare wraps. That I paid for the ECB and 0.39 tax.
Third transaction that I really didn't think about or would have purchased another soda was a second tube of toothpaste and the pack of gum. I needed a 0.75 cent item and the cashier suggested gum. This transaction ended up costing me $0.66 OOP.
Finally I purchased the diapers and 2 soda costing me $0.59 OOP. The diapers were on sale for $8.49 and I had a $1.50 off coupon and exactly $8.49 in ECB to spend so without purchasing the soda I was losing money! I was really bummed at myself for forgetting my green bag because I would have earned another ECB and the trip would have been a money maker.

Now for my soap box, I am really pleased with the CVS trip especially paying 0.66 total OOP but do these items actually look like a value of $37?? The items I bought today with the exception of the wraps are necessities that would have to be purchased with or without coupons. I honestly don't know how we could afford to live in the lifestyle we do without either my use of coupons or me returning to work at least part time to be able to buy toothpaste and diapers! I am going to post about my first real trip with coupons to Walmart either later or tomorrow so stay tuned!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Friday Facts

I have been able to post to my blog every day this week! YAY me! Matt says that I have too much free time but I am thinking I am finally claiming me time to do the things I enjoy!

After crying SOLID for an hour, Zach is now crying in spurts of one to two minutes at 1 hour and 30 minutes into bedtime. :(

This week has been rough on me both physically, emotionally and financially. But I did survive and we still have food and shelter so I need to focus on praising God for what I have not whining about what I don't.

Matt and I were joking in the yard about "The lawn mower is silent." I actually didn't want to let him finish mowing because I didn't want to come in and hear Zach cry.

If you have read much from my older post or follow me at all on Facebook you know that sleep is a precious commodity around here. I was up last night 6 total time. This week I have not been able to get more than 4 hours of sleep at a time. So I am not thinking or writing logically at some points!

We are now officially the owner of 3 vehicles that are not driveable. My van's transmission will cost up $1300 and take 7 to 10 business days to get fixed. Thank you to our friends who have loaned us their second van most of the week! I really really really appreciate it!

Zach is finally asleep at 2 hours into bedtime. The question is how long will it last?

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Cheap is Good.... Free is Better

DUH you say of course everyone knows this but let me clarify. I am talking about new or even slightly used items I have been able to gain over the past couple of weeks. When I say FREE, I mean with no out of pocket cost to me (this includes tax and shipping/handling). So I am really excited to report that I was able to get a Free Razor (New Fusion) for Matt just yesterday. On Sunday I picked up 4 FREE Magnets from CVS. I was not sure I would like these so I stopped ordering at 4 instead of the 6 I could have gotten. Now I am really disappointed that I didn't get the other two because they are AWESOME! I order a photo collage today from Walgreens, my plan is to hang it in the new bathroom but if it is ugly then at least I don't feel bad about throwing it away:). With Mother's Day on Sunday there are several offers floating out there that I am hoping to take advantage off because FREE IS THE BEST! I have been able to "earn" 15 ECB during the past week just by taking surveys for CVS. I had signed up for the advisory panel over a month ago and these are the first 2 surveys that I have been sent. I really hope they continue to send them! They are easy and quick and I like being able to print my ECB right as I finish.

But don't get me wrong cheap is good. For example my CVS trip this past Sunday I spent $30 and saved 77% or $102. I did start out with $2 ECB from the previous week and 10 ECB from a survey but I was excited about this trip. Highlights include Body wash for $0.60 a piece (3 total). Diapers for 0.07 a piece. With the diapers I really debated on purchasing and ended up buying a large size for Zach but the fact I had 2 coupons expiring I decided to use them. I also purchase both face cleaner and feminine products that should last between 3-6 months during this trip. Another cheap item that I have received is 2 "snowball" bushes. I have always wanted one or more of these in the yard. A nursery online was offering a $25 discount on a 25 purchase. So basically I paid 12.95 (shipping ) for 2. They arrived yesterday and we planted them at the corners of the trampoline, I hope they grow. They are suppose to have a life time guarantee with a minimum of 3 months prior to obvious growth so we will see?

Wednesday, May 5, 2010


So I didn't even remember it was Wednesday until I saw someone else "wordless Wednesday"post.
I have no picture and really don't feel like trying to find one. Instead, I am going to explain my blah mood and headache. This week is one of the weeks that I hate. For some unknown reason a lot of appointments have landed on this week as well as Angel Food which totally eats my Thursday. Monday I was scheduled to work no big deal I thought I only had 2 patients on my schedule. That changed when 2 new inpatients arrived that had to be seen. I ended up working 5 hours on Monday and Carol called with Zach having a 102 fever around 2 pm. I called and arranged a doctor's visit for him. So basically I left the house at 8:15am on Monday and returned at 6pm. Tuesday was not too bad except for driving Amanda too and from DCCC. Haley had a doctor's appointment, so the little kids stayed with Papaw and Granny. Today, Haley,Lily and I had a dentist appointment. I also planned several errors like a quick trip to Food Lion and to pick up the girls new glasses. Matt came home at lunch and we decided to order Chinese that I could pick up after again picking up Amanda at school. I already had a headache from all the dental stuff this morning. Here is where Life happened:

My van's transmission stopped working in the parking lot. I called Matt and we moved 3.4 of the stuff from my van to his and then found a place to work on the van. This sucks.. I was so excited that we were going to finish the addition and have it inspected this month. Along with sticking to budget and some extra work I picked up we should have been able to enjoy the month. NOPE not now.... everything is upside down as we wait for the total cost of the repair as well as figuring out how to pay for it.

LIFE..... it HAPPENS and we will ADJUST!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Square Foot Gardening

I still have not had time to sit down and blog about my trip to CVS on Sunday. I had hoped to do that today but I found some more exciting news this morning as I was pulling out of the driveway to take Haley to school. We have growing veggies in our square foot garden. The picture above is what it looks like from the road. The back should hold vines of cantaloupe, watermelon, and cucumbers by the end of the season. We decided to try it out this year and if it worked then expand (triple) for next year. I was worried about anything growing. I was even more concerned when something dug up my orka plants and now they both have die. But this morning I noticed green things sticking up threw the dirt. My green beans and squash have both sprouted! I also checked my plants on the back deck and so far I have cucumber, sage and basil to transplant in a few weeks! Here are the picture below.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Monday Menu Post 5/3

So this week is going to be crazy with me working on Monday, Doctor appointments on Tuesday, Dentist appointments on Wednesday and Angel Food ordering on Thursday morning. My thoughts are to make quick and easy meals to keep us from eating out!

Monday- Spaghetti with salad and fried mozzarella sticks(HT freebie)
Tuesday- Breakfast casserole(Matt's version, he plans to make it Monday night) with Pancakes
Wednesday- Taco Rice on burrito shells
Thursday- Grilled chicken with either pasta salad or left over salad from Monday!
Friday- Seafood of some sort from Angel Food

I am excited that Matt is getting involved with planning. He is doing awesome with taking over the weekend cooking unless I ask and now to help with normal week stuff will be great!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Sunday Thoughts/April in Review

I am SUPER excited....why you ask..I now have 2 followers!!! I know that several people read my blog on occasion but to have followers is AWESOME!! It also means that I am going to make a better effort to blog more! I just checked and I had 16 post in April which is less than March but still more than Jan and Feb. So I am going to count this as a success for my goal of blogging in March. I am getting into the swing of Monday Menu planning and Wordless (occasional) Wednesday but I need to focus on sharing more of life and couponing!

In April we had formal "preschool" on 5 days which is not a lot but I know that for several days Lily and I have worked on the computer on beginning reading skills and she is CONSTANTLY asking about what something starts with or how to write a letter. One of the major accomplishments for the month is that I order the book "Teach your child to read in 100 easy lessons." I was able to get it free using ebay bucks (1.67) and a gift card I purchased from swag bucks. I am going to count April a success in preschool even though it was 5 official days. In other news, a "School readiness specialist" will visit us once a month beginning in May to work with all the little kids. I am excited to get some new ideas and outside opinions on the kids. We have also officially decided not to send Lily to preschool next year. I am going to focus on finishing up with writing and reading during the summer! Starting in August, my goal is to take the kids to the Library for story hour at least 3 times a month and also plan a "field trip" to some local museums, farms or something to help Lily stay ready for School. We are also considering letting her do an extra activity outside of church but that is still on the table for discussion. She may do a small cheer squad ???

Budget wise April was a tough month because of an income problem but with expenses, I was able to cut our grocery bill by 50% totally from the previous 3 months. This is so exciting and I have a small stash of items such as diapers and toilet paper that should continue to bring the cost of things down! I had an awesome trip to CVS today but I want to save that for a separate post so that I can break down some of the cost per item! I have begun to see some more "free" items come in. For example I was able to use "Huggies diaper points" to purchase a bag of swim diapers for the summer! I also received cash back from bing and swag bucks! Hopefully the month of May will bring in our State Income tax return which will allow us to finish the addition and refinance the house. One of the major area that has helped our budget this month is reducing the number of times we eat out. This month with the exception of Matt's birthday meal we have been able to limit our eating out to once per week! I am hoping to continue this all summer long and maybe even reduce to 2x a month. But that will be hard with us going to the pool this summer, hopefully frozen meals and community meals will help us stay on track!

Unfortunately, the one area that has been a complete bomb this month is my nightly devotions. I have to admit that I have only been reading maybe 2 nights the entire month. With that I know that I NEED to make this a focus this month so I hope to report a improvement in this area especially.

I am starting to appreciate blogging as a way to keep myself accountable to both my goals and budget. Honestly this is the first year that I am still working on my "goals" in May!