Sunday, February 28, 2010

I Just Couldn't Resist!

Every time I look at these pictures I just can't help but crack up! I was getting ready to feed Tade some baby cereal one afternoon and got side-tracked with laundry or e-mail or dishes or whatever it might have been, and Tade was screaming his little head off. All of the sudden, I noticed that the crying had stopped and it was quiet. I turned around to find this:


Levi, obviously sporting a peanut butter and jelly mustache, had taken it upon himself to feed his little brother. Do you see that smile??? That is one proud, happy, mess-making little boy! This photo is for sure in my "favorites of all time" folder. You wanna' see another one that made it to that folder?

He might be a little messy, but I guarantee a little cereal in his hair (nose, ear, neck, etc.) wasn't bothering him. This kid likes his food and he doesn't care who is dishing it out or how close to his mouth they are/aren't getting! Do I have some precious boys or what?

March OAMC - Day One is a Success!!

I really had no idea how I was going to get everything on my March OAMC list done in one day. In fact, I wasn't sure that I would get it done in one week! Thankfully, due to some pretty amazing planning on my part (pat, pat) and my wonderful husband's offer to take the non-nap-taking baby on a little road trip, Macy and I were able to get a TON of my list knocked off on Saturday afternoon.

We started off by making a nice big batch of Cornmeal Muffins.

Then we stuck some hot dogs in them and voila!: Corn Dog Muffins

While the muffins were cooking we browned some hamburger (my hubs did this when he got home with the finally-happy-after-taking-a-nap baby), cooked two batches of brown rice, mixed up three pounds of sloppy joe meat, cooked, cooled and chopped up 2 pounds of chicken breast and got everything ready for the freezer. 
All told we spent about 3.5 hours in the kitchen but I really feel like we got a lot accomplished. I know that it is going to make for a much easier cooking day on Monday!

Our results:
24 Corn meal muffins (to go with chili)
24 Corn dog muffins (for kids' lunches)
18 cups cooked brown rice (to use as sides and for casseroles to be made on Monday)
2 pounds cooked, chopped chicken (to use in casseroles on Monday)
3 pounds sloppy joe meat (two meals worth)
4 pounds browned ground beef (for chili and baked spaghetti to be made on Monday)

Check in tomorrow to see how the rest of our March OAMC Master Plan goes!

Fareway - CHEAP lettuce, veggies and bread!

What was I thinking?!? I totally almost forgot to post this picture! I was SO excited to see that Fareway has Sara Lee whole wheat bread on sale for just $.99 this week! I try to buy whole wheat bread as often as I can and stocked up BIG TIME when I found it for under a buck a loaf. I also had some coupons for the Green Giant veggies and fruit snacks that I was excited to use this week. My kids weren't over-the-top about the frozen peas, but you should have seen their eyes light up when they saw the fruit snacks! (These things are SO EXPENSIVE and we have not had them in the house since last summer!) Remember: Fareway deals are Wednesday to Tuesday, so you still have some time to get in on these sales!


12 - Sara Lee whole wheat bread - $.99
-used (2) $.55/1 MFC (from paper)
3- Dole lettuce, $.59
6- Green Giant steamers, $.99
-used (6) $.50/1 printables
5- Kelloggs fruit snacks, $1.67
-used $1/1 printable
1- 5lbs. potatoes, $.99

I got all of this for less than $20!!!!

Friday, February 26, 2010

My OAMC Master Plan for March

I am SO excited for this month's once a month cooking event! I did this last month kind of on a whim, and I only made a few things, but we have REALLY been enjoying all of the ready-to-go meals from the freezer! In fact, tonight we had enchilada pie, brown rice and homemade refried beans, all from the freezer, and it was D-E-L-I-C-I-O-U-S! I have a much more extensive list of goodies to freeze this month and I can't wait to get started! When I am finished, I will end up with so many pre-made meals in the freezer that I'll only have to cook one or two nights a week for the entire month of March (and I have really easy dinners planned on those nights)! I have also noticed that while it takes a few extra groceries to do the OAMC, I haven't had to buy nearly as many things on my weekly shopping trips; basically just milk, eggs and fresh produce. I truly think that the OAMC will not only make for some easy meals, but it will help me lower my monthly grocery spending every month as well.

I strongly encourage you all to give this OAMC thing a shot. You don't have to try and tackle a ton the first time - maybe just make a couple of lasagnas and stick them in the freezer. You will be amazed at how rewarding it is to take that yummy meal out of the freezer on a busy day and have dinner already made and ready to go! I know that my kids appreciated all of the tasty waffles they got to have this month for "special suppers." (AKA mommy needed something quick and easy so I could get the kids to bed quickly and easily!)

Here is my OAMC Master Plan for March:

Corn Dog Muffins x 2
Quinoa & Red Bean Burritos x 2 (I still haven't actually found quinoa. Can anyone help me on this one?)
Rice, chicken and spinach casserole x 2
Baked spaghetti x 3
Sloppy Joe meat - 4 lbs.
Brown Rice x 4
Crock-pot Refried Beans  x 2
Whole Wheat Waffles x 4
Cookies x 2
Rhubarb Shortcake Muffins x 2
Zucchini Bread x 2
Whole Wheat Pizza dough x 2

You can go here to see what Money Saving Mom is making this month. You can also go here to see how Money Saving Mom plans her once a month cooking and get free worksheets to help you get started!
Anyone going to join me on Monday? Please let us know in the comments section - I'd love to find out what you are all making!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Tuna: It's What's For Dinner

I sure hope everybody in my family likes tuna becuase we're gonna be eating it for quite a while! I ran into CVS last night to check for any good deals or clearance items and didn't find much but I had a $4 ECB that had to be used up. Here is how I spent it:
10- Bumblebee tuna cans, $.49 each
-used (2) $1/5 MFC = $.29 each
2- Honey Nut Cheerios, $1.99
-used (2) $1/1 MFC = $.99 each
Total = $4.88
Paid with $4 ECB and $.88 cash. (I love free (or almost free) food. It is my favorite kind!)

Target Bulk Items on HUGE Clearance!

So my love affair with Target is more of a love/hate kind of a thing. You see, I LOVE Target because they keep on having these AMAZING sales and deals and clearance items but I HATE Target because I am a deal-seeking, bargain-shopping, stock-piling kind of crazy woman and when I find premium toilet paper at just $.19 per double roll, I simply CANNOT pass it up! I had been doing really well the last couple of weeks sticking to my $100 grocery and toiletries budget. We even had friends over last weekend and I was able to buy some tasty adult beverages and lots of extra groceries for a big yummy dinner and I still stayed under budget. I was doing so good this week too.....spent maybe $16 total before I walked into Target. When I stumbled upon the warehouse/bulk clearance aisle it was all over for me and my budget. I actually had to take Tade out of his carseat (which was in the shopping cart) and carry him on my hip, and then fill his car seat, the rest of the cart, under the cart and then under Macy's feet (she was in one of those cool new 2-seater style of carts). I had almost 200 rolls of toilet paper jammed into my cart along with a HUGE box of baby wipes, and LOTS of other super-cheap stuff. I'd love to encourage you all to run out right now and get yourself to Target for some cheap goods too, but if you are in my town, you are OUT OF LUCK! The Cedar Falls and Waterloo Targets are out of everything other than some cereal and the Quaker oatmeal. (You wanna know how I know that right? Okay, okay, so I tried to go back today to get even MORE toilet paper! I swear I'm not crazy! I just love me some dirt-cheap tee pee!) Here is what I got and how much I saved buying it on clearance and with coupons:

1- box of 770 Pampers wipes  WAS: $15.99  PAID: $8.48
5- kids gloves                          WAS: $1.00    PAID: $.50
2- Quaker Oatmeal, 30pks      WAS: $6.99    PAID: $2.48 (used $1/1 MFC)
1-Softsoap refill, 2pk.              WAS: $6.99    PAID: $3.48
4- 3pk of gallon bags               WAS: $5.99    PAID: $2.48
5- 36 double rolls t.p.              WAS: $15.99  PAID: $6.98 (used $1/1 MFC)
1- Sharpie markers, 10ct.        WAS: $12.99  PAID: $2.94
1- packing tape, 4 rolls            WAS: $8.99    PAID: $4.18

Total amount before sales and coupons: $174.85
Total amount paid: $78.36
Total amount saved $96.49

Even though my stores are out of these items doesn't mean that every Target store is! If you find that your store still has some of these sale items left, please leave a comment and let us know where they can be found!

Happy Hump Day - 2/24/10

It seems like a pretty good shopping week to me! I am looking forward to super cheap lettuce and the kids are going to think it is CHRISTMAS when they see fruit snacks again (it has been a LONG time)! If you see any other good deals while you are out and about shopping, please share with us!

Hy-Vee - click here for weekly ad
Dole head lettuce, $.59 (GREAT price!)
Oscar Mayer hot dogs, 2/$1 (with instant coupon)
Hy-Vee microwave popcorn - $.68 w/ in-ad coupon (limit 1)
MCF frozen veggies - $.88

Fareway - click here to view ad
Sara Lee whole wheat bread - $.99 (GREAT price!)
Era detergent - $2.99
Fastco pop, 2 liter - $.48
Green Giant Steamers, $.99
 - use $.50/1 printable = $.49 each
Dozen large eggs - $.99
Russet potatoes, 5lbs. - $.99
Fruit snacks - 3/$5
-used $1/1 printable = $.66 each!
Cheez It crackers- $1.67
-use $.75/1 printable = $.92 each!

Aldi - click here to view ad

Monday, February 22, 2010

Meal Plan Monday - 2/22/10

Monday - Shepherd's pie (5 WW pts), freezer corn
Tuesday - Stir-fry veggies and brown rice
Wednesday - Chicken noodle soup and bread
Thursday - Sloppy joes, oven fried onion rings (2 WW pts)
Friday - Enchilada pie (already in freezer), spanish rice
Saturday - Tuna melts and green beans
Sunday - chili and cornbread

Monday, February 15, 2010

My First Attempt at OAMC - I LOVE IT!!!

So I mentioned about a week ago that I was going to try my hand at OAMC (Once a Month Cooking). I have to tell you, it was quite a lot of work over a couple of days but SO WORTH IT!!!! I didn't make as much as I originally had wanted to becuase I didn't get around to doing it until the second week of February, but I ended up with lots of goodies to put in the freezer for some simple breakfasts, easy weeknight meals and yummy afternoon snacks for the kids. Here is what I made:

Shepherd's Pie - 2 meals
Whole Wheat Waffles - 5 meals
Brown Rice - 2 meals
Banana/Chocolate Chip Mini Muffins - 4 batches
Apple/Cinnamon Mini Muffins - 3 batches
Homemade Refried Beans - 5 meals (These were REALLY yummy!)

Stay tuned for my OAMC plan for March! I have TONS of meals planned and can't wait to stock my freezer up again!

Meal Plan Monday - 2/15/10

Monday - Baked steak, green beans
Tuesday - Broccoli cheese soup (2 WW pts), sandwiches
Wednesday - Pasta bake and garlic toast
Thursday - Roasted vegetables (0 WW pts!), black bean wraps
Friday - Hamburgers, oven fries
Saturday - Steak dinner with friends
Sunday - Homemade whole wheat pizza

Thursday, February 11, 2010

WAGS - 15% OFF, Tomorrow Only!

S-W-E-E-T!!! I just found out over at Hip 2 Save, that Walgreens has a special 15% off coupon out!!! The coupon is only good tomorrow, February 11th so hurry on over to your store to snag some super-dee-duper (yep, we watch lots of Barney here) deals! You can also go here to check out the deals that Hip 2 Save has put together for us! I see even more diapers in our future! Hooray!!!

In WAGS Heaven!!!

Some of you may have heard me talking about my glucose monitors last week. I acquired 20 coupons (on eBay) for glucose monitors that were on sale last week at Walgreens. I was able to get them for FREE after coupon and got a $10 RR for each one that I purchased. In total I ended up with $260 in RR to start off this week's Walgreens shopping. I knew that a diaper sale was coming up, so that is why I got in on as many of the meter deals that I could. Walgreens has their Huggies, Pull-Ups and GoodNites on sale for $8.99 this week and you get a $3 RR for each pack. Paired with a $2.00/1 MFC, that makes these packs just $3.99 each! Yippee! I had to do over 40 transactions in two different days, but check out what I was able to accomplish!!!!

Trip One:

Total purchased: $131.14
Paid out of pocket: $27.89
Coupons and RR used: $103.25
Register Rewards left to spend: $66.00
(I basically MADE $38.11 for buying all of this!)

Trip Two:

Total purchased: $471.70
Coupons and RR used: $356.00
Paid out of pocket: $115.70
Register Rewards left to spend: $111.00
(I will go back this week and buy another 12 pkg. of diapers with the $111 in RR)

After factoring in the $64 I spent on meter and diaper coupons, and accounting for the $111 in RR that I still have to spend, I will have spent about $208 out of pocket. The diapers alone would have cost me over $500 at $8.99 a piece. Check out everything that I got!!!!

56 packs Huggies
1 Pull Ups
1 Good Nites
5 Kleenex
6 Pudding
4 Valentine cups
2 Valentine day cards
3 Paper towels
2 bags of candy
15 body wash
7 dozen eggs
6 Valentine candy for kids
3 Mike & Ikes
3 Valentine pencils
1 make-up bronzer

I know that I spent a little out of pocket for all of this, but I shouldn't have to buy any diapers now for five or six months (or body wash for like the rest of my life)! That will really help me keep my weekly budget down! THANK YOU Walgreens!!!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Hump Day Hot Deals - 2/10/10

It looks like a rather slow week at the grocery stores. However, there are some great sales on bagged lettuce and some awesome produce prices at Aldi. Happy shopping everyone!

Hy-Vee - click here for weekly ad
Dole bagged lettuce, $.99
Betty Crocker cake mix, $.79
Hy-Vee applesauce, $1.76
Hy-Vee butter, $1.77 (with in-ad coupon)
Hunts Ketchup, $.99
Corn King bacon (3-day sale Th-Sat.), $1.77

Fareway - click here to view ad
Fareway ice cream, $1.49
Dole bagged lettuce, $.79 (GREAT Price!)
broccoli, $.99
cauliflower, $1.49
yellow onions, (3lb. bag) $.99
Hunts ketchup, $.99

Aldi - click here to view ad
navel oranges, (4lb. bag), $1.39 (GREAT price!)
cantaloupe, $.99
Apples, (3lb. bag) $1.69
Pears, (4 pack), $.99
Bacon wrapped beef filet, $1.79
one dozen roses, $16.99

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Meal Plan Monday (a day late!) - 2/8/10

Okay, so I had a REALLY busy weekend and quite frankly, I just did not get much of anything accomplished yesterday and I'm okay with that. (After four long days of birthday party preparations I needed a little down time!) Seeing as how we are snowed in (AGAIN) I thought it would be a good idea to go through the pantry and come up with my meal plans for the rest of the month. Here is this week's plan of attack:

Monday- Veggie soup, grilled cheese
Tuesday - Scrambled eggs, whole wheat waffles (4 WW points each)
Wednesday - Enchilada pie (already in freezer - yay!), refried beans
Thursday - Stir-fry veggies and brown rice
Friday - Texas Chili (jar mix that we got at Christmas), cornbread
Saturday - Sloppy joes, oven-fried onion rings (our FAVE and only 2 WW points!)
Sunday - Black bean/green pepper/onion wraps, spanish rice

I'm also going to try and do some OAMC (Once a Month Cooking) today. Typically I'll try to do this the first week of every month but adding any more chaos to last week's schedule was out of the question! I'm sure all of you with little ones know that supper time is ALWAYS crazy! My kids are tired, I am tired, the baby is tired, I can't think of what to make, the kids all want something different (which I DO NOT do) and we are stuck running to the store for some last minute ingredients or putting a bowl full of sugary cereal in front of the kids and calling it good. In hopes that dinner time will run more smoothly, I plan on making and freezing lots of meals and snacks and at the beginning of each month. I can just pull them out as I need them and save myself lots of time and energy during the week. Today I plan on making:

whole wheat waffles- 4 batches
banana/choc. chip muffins - 2 batches
zucchini bread - 2 batches
brown rice - enough for 3 meals
shepherd's pie - 2 meals
cook and freeze black beans, garbanzo beans, red beans (for use in chili, wraps, etc.)

Wish me LUCK!!!!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Hump Day Again???

Could it really be Hump Day again? Already? Where is the time going? What have I been doing? Well, I'll tell you one thing that I have NOT been doing:

Cooking. Notice anything funny about this picture?

Yeppers, just in time for Macy's birthday on Thursday, Macy's friends party on Friday and Macy's family birthday party on Saturday. Yep. Who needs an oven to bake a mini cake, 3 dozen cupcakes, and one Taylor Swift cake anyways? Do you REALLY have to make macaroni and cheese corn in the oven? I know that in the good ole' college days I was able to MASTER macaroni and cheese in the microwave, but I'm pretty sure that it was barely edible and and only really tasted good at two in the morning. Let's hope that our good friend Carl at the fix-it shop can fix it - and FAST!!!!

So, after the oven broke yesterday just as I was trying to bake cakes and cupcakes, this is what I looked like for a while.

Then we went to McDonalds with grandpa and got free bologna at Hy-Vee and got the kids put to bed and the basement cleaned and now I feel like we just might make it through this crisis. And when I say crisis, I am TOTALLY exaggerating! We could have easily had our house burn down yesterday or had to fork out $$$ for a new stove or had this all happen on Saturday with a house full of people ready to eat! When I think about it that way, yesterday was really a blessing. Kind of like the "big guy" up there knew just what he was doing! So, in honor of the lesson that we taught the 3 year-olds in church Saturday night, I pray: "Thank you God for my friend Carl, the fix-it man. Amen."