Showing posts from January, 2010

Back to Basics Grocery Challenge Week 4, Budget Update

I did it!  I did it! 
I came in under budget this month! 
My food budget for the month was $450 and I spent $447.58 this month
My toiletries budget for the month was $125 and I spent $77.82.
Unfortunately for me I found out that we will be losing a little bit of money come March and I may be having to cut my food budget back to $350 per month.  That will be a challenge!  Feeding six people on $350 per month, I'm honestly not sure if I can do it but I will give it a shot.  I get to keep my $450 budget for February but look out come March.  In an effort to help offset the food budget, or in case I can't make the $350 I am going to cut back my toiletry budget to $80.  This will give me about $45 to play with in case I need to add it to my food budget. 
This week's challenge was to:
Your challenge this week:

Tally up the #s!!
How did you do?!
How can you save more in February?
What is your BIGGEST piece of advice from January?
One of the ways I am going to cut back on my expenses in Ja…

Friday Night Sew-In

So I found a new blog today, it's called Handmade by Heidi.  I absolutely love it!  Heidi is hosting a Friday Night Sew-In on Friday February 19th, and I have decided to participate.  I like to sew but sewing is often something that gets pushed to the side for me.  Like right now, I am working on a dress for myself.  I purchased the fabric for it over the summer, and finally cut the pattern out about two weeks ago but I still have yet to make the first stitch in it.  So I am hoping that maybe participating in this will give me the kick in the behind that I need to get some sewing done.All participants in the Friday Night Sew-In will be posting about what they worked on the next day, and on Sunday all participants will be entered in a giveaway.  Doesn't it sound like fun?

Cooking Thursday - Crab Cakes Using Imitation Crab Meat

If you've read my blog at all you know that I love to cook.  I've been reading Sandra's blog at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom for quite a while now and have always enjoyed her Slow Cooking Thursday posts but haven't participated in the past because I don't have that many unique slow cooking recipes.  So I was excited today when I read that she is changing Slow Cooking Thursday to Cooking Thursday where you can post any old type of recipe.  So guess what that means?  I get to participate and this will be very first Cooking Thursday post.
So for my very first Cooking Thursday post I am going to share my crab cakes recipe.  Whenever we have crab cakes I always link to The Best Crab Cakes recipe on Terri's Kitchen and while that is the general recipe that I do use I do make some changes.  The main difference is that I use imitation crab meat instead of the real deal.   
The first thing you need to do is to find a really adorable assistant like this one.  The only bad …

Works For Me Wednesday - Using Coupons and Clearing Up Coupon Confusion

I grew up with a mom who used coupons, but she never explained it to me nor do I think she ever used coupons in the same manner as I do.  We really didn't talk about money or saving money when I was growing up, something I have come to deeply regret and wish my parents would have done with me.  It is also the reason that I do talk seriously with my kids about money, being good stewards, and using money wisely but that's not really the point I was trying to make.  The point I was trying to make is that I grew up around coupons, so for me they did not hold the stigma of something that was lower class or that was only for junk items so it was suprising to me as an adult when I ran across these stigmas.  So before I explain how I use coupons I want to address a few questions/concerns that I have found many people who do not use coupons have.

1.  The coupons I see are never for items I use or are usually for processed foods that I don't buy.

While there are coupons for convenienc…

Tempt My Tummy Tuesday - Frozen Peppermint Cheesecake

Join us for Tempt My Tummy Tuesdays at Blessed With Grace.

I have been making an effort to get my kids more involved with cooking.  Instead of having them all in the kitchen with me at once, I have them take turns helping me cook.  Last night it was Sunshine's turn to help me.  I know this may sound bad but I really enjoy the nights when she helps me.  She is very into the details and loves to make everything look "nice".  The others really could care less when it comes to presentation. 

Yes, that is Taco Bell Sauce, and no we did not steal it.  We always save our leftover sauces for when we cook tacos at home, which honestly isn't very often. 

But that's not why you are here.  Your here for the Frozen Peppermint Cheesecake.

I had some cream cheese that I had gotten on sale that I really needed to use it up.  I had found this recipe on All Recipes before Christmas and the reviews of it were great.  I had meant to make it for Christmas but just never got around to i…

Menu Plan Monday, January 25th - 31st

Join us for Menu Plan Monday at I'm an Organizing Junkie.

I can tell you already, it's going to be one of those weeks, between meetings at school, doctors appointments, and church activities we are going to be busy, busy, busy.  What that means is we are going to be eating out WAY more than I want to this week but it's one of those things that I just can't avoid. 

Here's what I have planned for this week:

Normally I do have more links to recipes than I have this week but since I will be experimenting a little bit with the meals I am cooking I don't really have any recipes to link them too.  However, if my experiments are successful you will find my recipes posted here on my blog later this week.

Monday - Tacos

Tuesday - The Best Crab Cakes

Wednesday - We are starting a new class at church, with time constraints from picking the kids up from school and getting to our class on time we will not be able to eat at home.  So this is going to be one of those nights this we…

Back to Basics Grocery Challenge, Week 3 Budget Updates

Because I had done quite a bit of grocery shopping to stock up at the beginning of the month I didn't really need to buy a lot this week.  I guess it was a good thing though, as there didn't seem to be any major sales going on at the grocery stores this week.  So my shopping was relatively light this week.

Cascade Liquid sale $2.49 (bought 2)
used 2 $0.50 coupons doubled, making them $1.49 each

4 pack Valentines Day Conversation Hearts $1.09

Used a $3 off next purchase coupon I earned in a promotion last week. 

Total Spent $1.49

CVS Pharmacy (Trip One)
Mentos Gum $1
used $0.45 coupon, making it $0.55

Dawn Dish Liquid $0.96
used $0.25 coupon, making it $0.71

Used $0.50 in Extra Care Bucks

Total Spent $0.76

CVS Pharmacy (Trip Two)
Had to make a second stop for my daughter.

Cucumber Facial Mask $3.99

Used $3 in Extra Care Bucks

Total Spent $1.06

Jay C (Trip One)
No major deals
Spent $16.67

Jay C (Trip Two)
No major deals
Spent $18.87

Updated Totals

Food Budget for the Month:  $450
Total Spent so F…

Super Easy Peanut Butter Cookies

When my kids get home from school they are starving.  In fact the first thing my six year old says to me when he I pick him up is "What's for snack?".  No hello, no I missed you, forget mom.  It's all about the snack.  I work from home during the day while they are in school, plus I try to get all of the housework done while they are gone to.  I am always looking for super easy snacks like jello, peanut butter and crackers, or granola bars for their after school snack because I don't have a lot of time to fix them something special.  That's one of the reasons that I love these Peanut Butter Cookies they can be made in a jiffy and only take four ingredients which are always in my cabinets.

1 cup Creamy Peanut Butter
1 Cup Sugar
1 Egg
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract


1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2.  Grease a large cookie sheet.

3.  Using a hand mixer beat all ingredients together until they are creamy.

4.  Roll the dough into one-inch balls.  (My l…

Note to Self

Check the kids school menu before planning meals for the week.  If you don't the kids will end up eating Spaghetti and Meatballs for both lunch and supper which equals VERY UNHAPPY KIDS.

Help For Haiti

I have been praying for the words to write here for quite some time concerning Haiti.  Long before the earthquake hit Haiti last week Haiti was on the mind of our family, as it has been a passion of our church for quite some time now.  Just this past December we held a "One Less Gift" drive where the church asked everyone to donate money instead of giving a meaningless gift to someone, or to ask that instead of receiving a gift that money that would be spent on it would be donated.  All money donated to the "One Less Gift" drive was to go to buy a portable drill that could be used in Haiti to drill for clean drinking water, a need that our church had seen during the many trips that have been made over the past few years to the country.

God knew then how very much more important clean drinking water would be to Haiti.  On Sunday it was announced that the drill would be taken first to Port au Prince for use there before being moved on to the orphanage that we support…

Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner

Cheryl -

It doesn't have to be chicken you can pick whatever you want out of your new Todd Wilbur Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 2 cookbook which you can read while soaking in a bath tub full of chocolate scented bubble bath!

Now re-read that paragraph using your best The Price is Right voice.

No seriously I placed everyones name on a list in the order that they entered the contest, and random number generator picked number 6 which was Cheryl.  I have sent you an email but if you don't get it be sure to send me one!

Works For Me Wednesday - Coupon Binder

Join in all of the Works-For-Me-Wednesday fun at We Are That Family.
As promised I am finally sharing how I organize my coupons in my coupon binder.  Now my coupon binder isn't anything fancy shmancy, and there are lots of others out there with coupon binders organized completely different than mine but mine works for me, and that's really the point isn't it?  That it works for me?  This is just meant to give you a starting point to fixing your own coupon binder. 
My current binder is a simple, three ring binder.  I've already started to outgrow it, and am planning on purchasing a larger, Trapper Keeper style binder but I've had this one for a while now and I kind of like it. 
Inside my binder I have Baseball card sheets.  The coupons fit in their nicely (although some do need to be folded) and look so organized.  Don't you think so? 

I have my coupons in my binder in alphabetical order.  I seperate them by name brand Bounty, Colgate, Dawn, Secret.  Bounty goe…

Weight Loss Wednesday, January 20th, Week 3

Join us for Weight Loss Wednesday at Rosey Little Things.

It's week three of my diet. Time has flown by, and so far I haven't had any weight loss.  To keep myself from getting upset about my progress, or lack thereof, I have decided to only weigh myself on Wednesdays.  I have to be honest, I wasn't really looking forward to weighing myself today but when I saw what I weighed I was so glad I did.  I have been going around the house singing to myself ever since because

I've lost seven pounds!  I've lost seven pounds!

I am so excited! 

However, I had a really bad yesterday.  I have been craving a big juicy hamburger for a while now but I have been fighting the crave.  Yesterday I had a horrible headache, had to run some errands, and just couldn't help myself.  Then on top of that, thinking my headache was a lack of caffeine I drank a Mountain Dew!  AAARRRGGGHHH!

But that was yesterday, today is a new day, and I am not going to let one day get me down.  I'm back on…

Menu Plan Monday, January 18th - 24th

Last week was a bad week all the way around.  I don't know exactly what it was, whether I just simply didn't feel good or if my sudden diet change caused my lack of energy.  Either way, my menu plan last week just simply didn't happen.  So if you see some repeats from last week on this week's menu it is because we didn't get to enjoy them last week.

Monday - Breaded Pork Cutlets, Macaroni and Cheese, Corn

Tuesday - Spaghetti with Meatballs using my Spaghetti Sauce reipe, Bread Machine French Bread 

Wednesday - Olive Garden Zuppa Tuscana, The Ultimate Breadsticks (halve recipe and fix in bread machine)

Thursday - Breakfast for Dinner Night - Pancakes, Sausage, Eggs, Biscuits

Friday - Super Easy Chicken and Dumplings (Recipe will post on my blog later)

Saturday - Jennie O Turkey Breast Loaf with Gravy, Stuffing, My Grandmother's Green Beans

Sunday - Eat out after church.  Leftovers for supper.

Back to Basics Grocery Challenge, Budget Update

I just wanted to update my grocery budget totals for the week. Here's what my budget looked like before I went shopping Food Budget for the Month: $450 Total Spent: $229.47 Toiletry Budget for the Month: $125 Total Spent: $45.52 This week I went shopping at Wal-Mart, Meijer, and Kroger. Here are my "best deals" from each store. I consider "best deals" to be the items I purchase for under $1 each. Wal-Mart Beechnut Let's Grow Meals $1.08 Used a $1 off coupon making it $0.08 Band-Aids Box of 40 $1.77 Used a $1 off coupon making it $0.77 Total Spent at Wal-Mart $0.97 I did not make a special trip to Wal-Mart for just these two items. I had went to pick up other items that were suppose to be on sale as well but were sold out. Kroger My best hot deal of the week in my opinion was the Glade Candle Tins, I love these and burn them frequently. Before Christmas I stocked up on $1.50 coupons that were found in the Holiday tins, and had a total of 20 of them. I found the holiday ti…

No Works for Me Wednesday Today

Well, I had planned on doing a Works For Me Wednesday post on my coupon binder today but you know what they say about the best laid plans of mice and men....

My laptop crashed last night, and I was on the phone for hours last night with Sony trying to get it taken care of so I did not get the post done. We had doctors appointments today, and after school activities, so time just got away from me soooo.....

I am going to wait until next Wednesday to post about my coupon binder. I hope you all will join me then!

Weight Loss Wednesday, January 13th

This week has been a really good week, and I am proud of myself. I have done an excellent job of watching what I eat, and making good food choices. I have even gotten some workouts in on the Wii.

I haven't had any weightloss yet, but I didn't really expect it.

Here's my plan for this week:
Exercise for at least 30 minutes every other day.Up my water intake. I really need to work on drinking more water.Start walking outside when the weather permits.

Tempt My Tummy Tuesday - Chili Con Queso

Don't forget to sign up for my 100th post giveaway here. Before I get too far into this post I have a confession to make. This is pretty much a reprint of a post I made in early November for Crockpot Wednesday. When I first posted my recipe for Chili Con Queso I did not add any pictures so when I made it over the weekend I took pictures for the recipe. So I figured Tempt My Tummy Tuesdays would be the perfect time to repost the recipe with pictures. Visit Blessed With Grace to join the Tempt My Tummy Tuesday fun.


Block of Velveeta Cheese
Jar of Salsa
1 pound of ground beef, browned

1. Cut the block of Velveeta up into cubes, and place them in the
bottom of the crockpot.

2. Add in the jar of salsa and the ground beef.

3. Stir to mix the ingredients together. 4. Cook on low for two to four hours. Stirring if needed to keep the cheese from burning.

5. Serve with tortilla chips.

Super, Super Sweet Crocs Deal

I love a great deal, and this is one of those that you just can't pass up. I just placed an order at for these two sandals.

The Men's Refugio and

the women's Laguna.

So how much do you think I paid for these Crocs sandals? Huh? Are you ready? Hold on to your seat - I paid $8.99, which included the shipping. That's right two pair of Crocs sandals and shipping for just $8.99. Here's how it happened. Right now Crocs has a sale going on in their Outlet section, where you buy one marked down pair of shoes you get another pair of equal or lesser value for free. Plus they are offering Free Shipping on all orders. Then on top of that I used the coupon code CROCSHOLIDAY, which took an additional 10% off of my total.
And don't forget I will be getting an additional 7% back because I used Shop at Home to make my purchase. How awesome is that! If you haven't signed up for Shop at Home yet you really should. The money I have earned back using them has really added…

Menu Plan Monday, January 11 - 17

Don't forget to sign up for your chance to win Todd Wilbur's cookbook Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 2 and a chocolate scented bath set here.

Join us at I'm an Organizing Junkie for Menu Plan Monday.

Links to recipes are in green.

Last week was a crazy week for us. We got hit by a snowstorm on Thursday, which cancelled school both Thursday and Friday. Which means our cabinet and freezer took a major hit. My kids eat, eat, and eat. I have no idea where they put that much food. I also didn't feel very good, so Friday night I let the kids choose what they wanted to eat from our convenience foods (frozen entrees, soups, pasta). Which means we didn't eat our Shrimp Stir-Fry Friday night, so it will be popping back up on our menu plan this week.

Here's what I have planned for this week:

Monday - My husband will be out of town so I am going to fix Shrimp (remember these?) and french fries for the kids while I eat a Salad

Tuesday - The Best Crab Cakes

Wednesday - Olive Gar…

Free Peg Perego Baby Planner

Don't forget to sign up for my 100th Post Giveaway. Click here to find out how you can win Todd Wilbur's Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 2 and a chocolate scented bath set.

I was on the Peg Perego website tonight checking out some of their new products when I discovered that they are offering expectant moms a free baby planner called Planning for Baby. You can sign up to get your copy here.

Back to Basics Grocery Challenge: Taking Inventory

Don't forget to sign up for my 100th post giveaway for your chance to win Todd Wilbur's Top Secret Recipes 2 cookbook and a chocolate scented bath set. Find out how you can be the winner here.

I already try to watch what I spend on groceries but am always looking for more ways to cut grocery costs. I have decided to join Erin at The Many Days of the Dicarolis Family for her Back to Basics Challenge.

The first challenge, which I missed last week was to set your budget, for Erin's challenge it was to include both your grocery and toiletry items. I already have these budgeted my grocery budget is $450 per month and my toiletry budget is $125 per month for a family of six.

So far this month I have spent $229.47 of my monthly grocery budget and $45.52 of my toiletry budget.

This weeks challenge is:
To take inventory of your food storage! Fridge, Freezer, Pantry, etc. Once you have cleaned house and know what you have try to create at least 5 "no cost" meals. These can be me…

Flirty Apron Swap Registration Ends January 11th!

Don't forget to sing up for my 100th post Giveaway! One of my readers will win a free copy of Todd Wilbur's Top Secret Recipes 2 Cookbook and a Chocolate Scented Bath Set. Go here to find out how to win!

I have a confession to make - I don't drink. I use to, a long, long time ago but I haven't had anything to drink in at least six years. However, I am still going to be participating in the newes Martini Madness themed Flirty Apron Swap. If you want to join us you need to get signed up ASAP because January 11th is the deadline to sign up. You can visit the Flirty Apron Swap blog here to sign up.

What a Deal!

The snow didn't keep me from going grocery shopping today. I had to go, it was the day I had planned to go for a while, and I needed to go. Especially if we were going to be snowed in all weekend. So I got up early and went shopping before the snow got bad. The good thing about going shopping during a snow storm? The stores were actually pretty much deserted!

When I quit my job to stay home with my kids we took a pay cut, and I had to start learning to cut back expenses. I started using coupons but never really got into it. Well, when my husband had his wreck, and we went to a fixed income I had to really cut back on expenses. That is when we created a budget and I REALLY started couponing.

Since we get paid once a month, I try to do one big shopping trip at the beginning of the month, and do a few smaller ones throughout the week. My grocery budget is $450 a month for the six of us. That does not include toiletries, cleaning supplies, or anything like that. It's strictly food, …

Weight Loss Wednesday

One of my goals for this new year has been to lose the extra weight that I have put on. My plan is to do this slowly, I didn't put the weight on overnight, and I can't expect to take it off overnight. As part of my plan I have decided to join Rosey Little Things Weight Loss Wednesday blog carnival.

Earlier this week I was watching (okay listening) to the tv show The Doctors, it's not a show I usually watch but it just happened to be on while I was in the kitchen cooking supper. One of the women on the show said that she didn't recognize herself anymore when she looked in the mirror, and that she wondered where this person came from. That is exactly how I feel. I have never been heavy. I have always been skinny, extremely skinny. I barely weighed one hundred pounds when I got pregnant with my first child. Now I don't even want to mention how much I weigh. Needless to reach the weight that I want to reach I need to lose seventy-five pounds.

I can't say I…

Apron Giveaway at Never Enough

You know me and my aprons, I love them. So of course I had to register for a chance to win the super cute Disney themed apron being given away at Never Enough. Go check it out for yourself.

Tempt My Tummy Tuesdays - Hot Wings

Join the Tempt My Tummy Tuesdays fun at Blessed with Grace. And be sure to check out my 100th Post Giveaway here! Our hot wings are not exactly what you would call hot wings, they are chicken, and they are hot but they are made from boneless, skinless chicken breast instead of wings. We made these last Saturday to eat while we watched the UofL/UofK basketball game. So I apologize if the pictures are not the best, we were running out of time before the game started. What you will need: Boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into 1" cubes Milk flour red cayenne pepper black pepper Salt your choice of hot wings sauce (we buy our sauce directly from Buffalo Wild Wings) Oil for cooking 1. Preheat oil for cooking. We use peanut oil in a deep fryer. 2. In a small bowl mix 1 cup flour with 1 teaspoon each of black pepper and salt, and 1/2 teapsoon of red cayenne pepper. 3. In another small bowl add 1 cup of milk. 4. Dip chicken breasts in milk.
5. Allow excess milk to drop off of chicken piec…