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Monday, November 26, 2012

Menu Plan Monday

We are eating from the pantry this week until we get paid and go grocery shopping again (I've used up all my grocery money, plus most of a $25 prepaid debit card, but we did manage to have our normal meals, host a small dinner party for Jesse's birthday, cook the dollar dinner at the Beacon for about 30 people, and host Thanksgiving for 12 people, so I'd say that was pretty successful). 

I was able to find some super cheap cereal at Cub Foods yesterday (2 boxes for $1 each and 2 boxes for $0.49 each), so we'll have that and probably this peanut butter bread for breakfasts.

Lunches will be our standard sandwiches, soups, and tortillas with cheese.  I may actually get around to making chili and tomato soup this week.  Or I may not.  It will depend on my mood.

Monday: Sausage Pizza Pockets from the freezer
Tuesday: Mini Turkey Loaves, Green Beans, Sweet Potato Fries
Wednesday: Advent Dinner at Church (how is it time for this already?)
Thursday: Dollar Dinner at the Beacon (these are almost done for the semester)
Friday: Black Beans, Rice, and Cheese (the beans and rice are already cooked and in the freezer)
Saturday/Sunday: TBD, but maybe Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup will become a dinner, or a Veggie Minestrone Soup.  Or we'll have Pancakes.  Something quick and easy.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

What I'm Reading...

Taking A Pass On Play: How Outsourcing Playtime Helps Me Enjoy My Toddler More.  A lot of the time, toddler playtime isn't that exciting for me either.  But sometimes it's fun. (The Happiest Mom)

Make The Most Of Your Thanksgiving Meal Preparation.  Doing things ahead of time makes
everything easier. (Don't Waste The Crumbs)

Here's hoping everyone had a blessed Thanksgiving and a fun-filled Black Friday!  We enjoyed time with family and bought each other's Christmas gifts.  Now on to the Christmas season!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Free Card From Treat

Although I do like to make some of my own cards, I also get really excited when I see offers for free cards from some of my favorite photo sites.  Treat is a an offshoot of Shutterfly, one of my favorite photo sites. Treat focuses on greeting cards, and today they have an exciting offer for you: a free card!

I love getting the opportunity to sample a card from a site before I buy any, and today you get that chance too!  Use the code TREATBLOGR for one free card from Treat.  This code is valid today and tomorrow only, so go check it out!

If you haven't ordered from Treat yet, do it now!  Treat offers one-of-a-kind cards for every occasion.  I like to keep a stash of birthday cards on hand for those birthdays that pop up suddenly.  Order a birthday card like me, a Thanksgiving card for this weekend, or look further ahead to Christmas or thank-yous get the idea.  What card are you going to pick?

This is a sponsored post.  I received compensation for writing it, but as always, all opinions are my own.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

CVS Coupon Shopping

CVS has some awesome freebies this week!  I knew I wanted to get there right away today before everything sold out (and 2 items I wanted were already gone!).  I started with $10ECBs, and did 2 transactions to minimize my money out-of-pocket.  I spent $2.76 total out-of-pocket, and ended up with over $18 in ECBs for next time!  Money making trip!

Transaction #1:
  • South Beach Diet Bars: $4.99, get $4.99 ECBs
  • Children's Advil: $2.37, get $2.37 ECBs.  Used $3/1 CVS coupon machine and $1.50/1 printable.  Both of these coupons came off my total with no problem, even though they were more than the item total.
  • 2 Right Guard Deoderants: $2.99 each, get $2.99 ECBs (limit 2).  Used two $1/1 printables = paid $3.98/2, got $4 ECBs
  • Glade Scented Oil Warmer Kit: $1.25, get $1.25 ECBs.  Used $1/1 printable = paid $0.25, got $1 ECBs.
  • 2 Crest with Scope (2.7oz.): $2.67, get $2 ECBs each (limit 2).  Used $2/2 CVS coupon machine = paid $3.34, got $4 ECBs.
  • Used $10 ECBs from last time = paid $1.36, got $11.62 ECBs.
Transaction #2:
  • Nips Candy: $0.88, get $0.88 ECBs
  • Kraft Macaroni & Cheese: $0.99, get $0.99 ECBs.
  • Powerade: $1.00, get $1.00 ECBs.
  • Sprite 1.25L: $0.99, get $0.99 ECBs.
  • Scooby-Doo Fruit Snacks: $2.00, get $2.00 ECBs.
  • AirWick Warmer Unit: $0.99, get $0.99 ECBs.
  • Hot Wheels Car: $1.00, get $1.00 ECBs.
  • 2 Kleenex Slim Packs: $1.00, get $1.00 ECBs (limit 2)
  • Charmin Single Roll: $0.99, get $0.99 ECBs.
  • 3M Command Hook Sample Pack: $0.99, get $0.99 ECBs. Used $1/1 printable = free, got $0.99 ECBs.
  • Used $10.24 ECBs from first transaction = paid $1.40, got $11.83 ECBs.

What I'm Reading...

3 Tips To Help You Relate Better With Your Husband.  Men and women are different. (Simple Mom)

How To Save By Price Matching (a.k.a. Saving Without Using Coupons) - Part 1, The Story.  (And here's part 2) While we didn't have a huge enough stockpile to have tables full at a garage sale, I do recall once sending a box of donations to Seminary that included enough toothpaste for each student to have a tube. (Don't Waste The Crumbs)

24 Clutter-Free Advent Calendar Gift Ideas.  This is a good list of fun things to do in December. (The Minimalist Mom)

Monday Mission: How Many Baby Steps Have You Taken?  We have taken some of these baby steps toward healthier eating.  There are some we will most likely not do.  And there are some that I will continue to research. (Kitchen Stewardship)

I've Started Telling My Daughters I'm Beautiful.  So important. (Offbeat Mama)

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Walmart Coupon Shopping

Walgreens has Lindsay olives on sale this week for $0.99.  There is a printable coupon out on Lindsay's Facebook page (enter to win free olives first) for $1/1 Lindsay product.  There was also a coupon on last week, which I had printed as well, but that one is gone. 

Our Walgreens was (of course) out of the black olives, but I took the ad to Walmart and was able to price match and get 6 cans for free!  My boys, who love their black olives, were very excited.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Menu Plan Monday

Still a lot of cereal, but I will also be making banana bread tomorrow.

  • PB&J/Soups x2
  • Ham Sandwiches x2
  • Grilled Cheese
  • PB&Banana Tortillas
  • TBD

Monday: Eggs, Toast, and Bacon
Tuesday: Potato Soup with Bacon
Wednesday: Black Bean Burgers, Homemade Fries
Thursday: Dollar Dinner at the Beacon
Friday: Homemade Mac & Cheese
Saturday: Stir Fry
Sunday: Sausage Breakfast Sandwiches on English Muffin Bread

Soups this week will be Tomato and Chili.  Or I may put off making the tomato soup since we've ended up with quite a few cans of condensed tomato soup from the Seminary food donations, and we'll just eat those.

The big menu planning push this week will be to figure out our side dishes for Thanksgiving.  I always love finding a yummy stuffing recipe (although my husband loves his Stove Top), and I want to do something different than the typical green bean casserole this year.  Off to searching!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

CVS Coupon Shopping

  • 2 Huggies Jumbo Packs: $10.00.  Used two $3/1 printables (no longer available) = paid $7.00 each.
  • 1 Huggies Pull-Ups: $10.00.  Used $2/1 printable = paid $8.00.  Got $10ECBs for spending $30 on baby stuff.
  • Gold Emblem Chips: $1.00.  Used another $1/1 from the coupon machine from last week.
  • Used $10.00 ECBs = paid $12.00, got $10ECBs!
Also, having big kids in diapers is no fun.  I feel like diapers are such a rip-off when I get 19 in a package.  NINETEEN.  Arg.  At least soon I will get to buy the tiny diapers again, and get like 50.

What I'm Reading...

Announcing Secret Boards For The Holidays! Am I the only one who started planning Christmas presents already?  I'm disappointed that it doesn't apply to existing boards, but still, I am excited about this new feature. (Pinterest)

A Month Of Financial Fasting.  I think this would be an interesting experiment, but I also wonder if we would spend more money the month before preparing for it, and more money the month after to replenish things, thus defeating the purpose. (Money Saving Mom)

Don't Try To "Get Something Done".  I am so guilty of this all the time. (Kitchen Stewardship)

Saying "Yes" To Messes.  I have been making an effort to do more "messy" things with the boys (like letting them play with dried beans, or finger painting, or ripping up paper into tiny pieces that end up all over the floor).  It's tough for my OCD "neat" nature to watch the messes, but it's worth it. (Money Saving Mom)

How To Clean Produce Naturally And Save Money.  Confession: I don't always wash our produce much or at all.  But I probably should, and I like being able to just use vinegar and water. (Kitchen Stewardship)

4 Essential Rules For Raising Amazing Children.  "Mothers are leaders. We can’t just tell our kids where to go, we have to lead them there. …but we do NOT need to be perfect. Read that 10 times in a row. It’s important." (Family Your Way)

Friday, November 9, 2012

Superman Birthday Cake

Tomorrow is Jesse's birthday.  He has asked me to make him a Superman cake for several years, but I hadn't done it yet.  Until now.  I decided to do a Superman logo cake topper, on a yellow cake, with red frosting between layers, and blue frosting on the outside.  

Side note: I use Wilton gel colors to dye my frosting, but even when I use what I feel like is a lot, I still end up with pastel colors and pinks instead of reds.  So I didn't get the Superman blue I was looking for.  But it still turned out pretty well.

First, I printed out a simple logo from a Google images search.  I taped a piece of wax paper over that and onto a cookie sheet.

Next I melted some chocolate chips to make the topper.  Here's a trick I picked up on the Internet somewhere: To fill a ziploc bag with chocolate, open it in a glass and fold it down over the edges.  Then you can spoon the chocolate in without a mess.

I cut a small corner off of the bag and piped the chocolate onto the wax paper.  It worked best to outline first, then fill in and spread out with a spoon.  I think next time I do this method, I will flip the picture so it is backwards, so then the right-side-up side will be smoother (hopefully that makes sense).

After a few hours in the freezer, the logo was ready to go on the cake!  I love it! This was a really easy method, and I think it looks pretty impressive, if I do say so myself. 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Target Coupon Shopping

I posted a little while back that I wasn't going to do coupon shopping as much, and now I feel like I've been posting a lot of coupon shopping lately.  Still, it has been for things that we've needed, AND I've stayed under budget, so I guess it's allowed!  The reason for all the pasta and sauces is that we are cooking the Dollar Dinner at the Beacon this week, and we are doing a spaghetti/alfredo night.

  • 2 Market Pantry Tomato Sauces: $1.00 each.  Used $1/2 Target printable = paid $0.50 each.
  • 4 Market Pantry Alfredo Sauces: $1.32 each.  Used $1/2 Target printable = paid $1.07 each. (I would have printed off another coupon, but I didn't realize the alfredo jars were smaller, so I wasn't planning on buying 4 of them)
  • 3 Market Pantry Noodles: $1.00 each.  Used $1/3 Target printable = paid $0.67 each.
  • 5 Glade Scented Oil Candles: $2.50 each.  Used four $1/1 printables and four $1/1 Target printables = paid $4.50/5, got $5 gift card!
  • 5 Various Fall Brittles (striped bags): 3 were $0.49 each and 2 were $0.39 each on clearance!
  • Ghirardelli Bag Chocolates: $4.99. Used free coupon from Facebook promotion (no longer available) = free!
  • Lindor Truffles: $3.33. Used free coupon from Facebook promotion (no longer available) = free!
  • 2 Reese's Pieces Pumpkins: on clearance for $0.10 each!  We should have grabbed more...
  • Used $13.32 remaining on my $100 gift card that I won (about half of it went to buy ink for our printer a few weeks ago) = paid $1.86 out of pocket and got a $5 gift card!

Light Bulb Ornaments for Iron Craft #22: Unfinished Objects

A long, long time ago, I found a cute ornament project using light bulbs and baby socks.  And I ended up with a few of both of those.  But the materials just sat in my craft stash forever.  So this week, I finally made them.  First, I figured out how I wanted the sock "hats" to fit on my light bulbs:

Then I took them off and drew on my penguin and snowman with Sharpies.  After letting those dry for a few minutes, I added the socks, using hot glue to attach them. 

I still have to thread a ribbon through the top to hang them on the tree, but these ornaments are close enough to done.
They turned out pretty cute, I think.  I also realized that my babies have dirty feet, because there were a couple other socks that certainly would not have worked for this project.

Once that was done, I fixed a few other randoms with my glue gun, since I had it out, and since this is the week of unfinished objects.  My recipe box has been missing one of its flowerboxes for over a year.  

And this little guy just got broken last week, but he still needed fixing.

Much better!

Did you finish any long-awaited projects this week?

Monday, November 5, 2012

Menu Plan Monday

I have a confession - we had our Think Outside The Box Challenge month in September, and that went really well, but it was a lot of work.  Combine that with feeling pretty terrible from what has been my most difficult pregnancy so far, and we're back to eating cereal quite a bit.  For now, I'm okay with that.  I still try to bake *something* once a week, and Jesse has been good about making up some pancakes or French toast for us every so often.  All the same, as I was coming up with my newest meal plan, when I got to breakfast, I wrote down "cereal - a LOT". 

  • Ham Sandwiches x2
  • PB&J/Soups x2
  • Quesadillas
  • Birthday Lunches (Jesse's birthday is this week, so one day I'll send him for all of his freebies to share)
  • Sem Wives at Old Country Buffet

Monday/Tuesday: Bean Soup, Homemade Bread
Wednesday: Loaded Baked Potatoes
Thursday: We're cooking the Dollar Dinner - Spaghetti with Meat Sauce and Chicken Alfredo Sauce, Garlic Bread, and Pumpkin Cake
Friday: Leftovers from Dollar Dinner
Saturday: Friends over for a Build-Your-Own Taco Buffet and Birthday Cake
Sunday: Leftover Tacos

Sunday, November 4, 2012

CVS Coupon Shopping

I got really excited for this diaper deal at CVS, so I didn't notice that it's not until next week.  Oops!  I did pick up some Halls while I was there.

2 Halls Drops: 2/$3.  Used $1/2 printable and $1/1 (CVS coupon machine).  Also used $1ECB = paid $0.15 in tax.

What I'm Reading...

10 Things I've Learned In 10 Years Of Marriage.  Smart lessons. (Simple Mom)

Be The Cool Parent, But Don't Believe The Lie.  Thought-provoking view on things. (Family Your Way)

How To Cross-Stitch Custom Designs Sans Computer.  I do this. (Offbeat Home)

Get Spicy! & Organized.  After reading this, I realized that my spices are organized in a way that only makes sense in my head.  And maybe that's okay.  I haven't decided yet. (Kitchen Stewardship)

5 Delicious Immunity-Boosting Foods To Ward Off Cold And Flu Season. (Food Your Way)

On Pregnancy And Miscarriage, Grief And Joy.  (Family Your Way)

Thursday, November 1, 2012

CVS and Walgreens Coupon Shopping

I went to CVS hoping to find an Aveeno deal I had read about on the deal blogs to turn my $10 ECBs into $15ECBs without spending much out of pocket, but they were out of the size that made the deal, and it wasn't marked as being part of the deal, so I didn't bother getting a rain check.  The coupon machine did spit out a $1/1 Gold Emblem Chips, which I used to get this bag for free.

Then we went to Walgreens for wipes.

2 Huggies 216-ct. wipes: $5.99 each.  Used $2/1 (Walgreens November booklet) and $0.50/1 peelies on the wipes = paid $3.49 each!  This deal goes until 11/10, so I might stop in and get more, but I have to go regular grocery shopping first and see how much I spend on that.