Saturday, May 1, 2010

What a week!

I have had one crazy busy week! And can I just say that it totally sucks to have to drive half an hour each way to take and then pick up your husband from work? Our car is *still* in and out of the shop, and we have no public transportation, so I am stuck having to do that when I need a car for the day. Which happened 3 times this week. I do have my April totals, and my budget for May, which I will be putting up this weekend! I think I may actually have a spare minute!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Meal Plan 4/26 - 5/02

Monday: Maple/soy glazed pork roast, steamed broccoli, mashed potatoes

Tuesday: Roast chicken, wild rice, roasted asparagus

Wednesday: Chicken enchiladas, beans, rice

Thursday: Chili dogs, oven fries, cole slaw

Friday: Chili Mac, salad

Saturday: Buffalo chicken breast, baked potatoes, green beans

Sunday: Soup/sandwich night, or baked potato bar (depending on what leftovers we have!)

Check out more menu ideas at!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Friday's Food 4/23

Breakfast: Ate at the boy's school...they had their annual art gallery breakfast!

Lunch: Turkey sandwiches and apple slices

Dinner: Spaghetti, garlic bread, green salad

Snacks: Carrot sticks, chips and salsa, kids took granola bars to school

Friday, April 23, 2010

Some coupons to print...

There are some great, high value coupons out to print right now on!

$2.00 off Heinz 57 10 oz or larger

$2.00 off Lea and Perrins Worstershire sauce 10 oz or larger

$1.50 off TGIF snacks

$2.00 off any Pure and Natural product

$ .75 off any Heinz worcestershire sauce

You will have to scroll through to find all the coupons, but you should be able to print each coupon twice. Print them now before they're gone!

Thursday's food 4/22

Breakfast: Cereal, bananas

Lunch: Vegetable soup, turkey sandwiches, grapes

Dinner: Tacos, beans, rice

Snacks: Carrot sticks, grapes, granola bars (kids also took granola bars to school)

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Where I've been...

We were in Chicago, picking Boy One up at O'Hare! My globetrotting son is home from 9 days in Italy, with my brother. He had a fabulous to see Rome, the Coliseum, Vatican City, the Capuchin Catacombs, Pompeii, Sorrento, the Isle of Capri...I am so thankful for my brother! He is taking each of my 4 kids ANYWHERE in the world they want to go. Sammy was up first, and chose Italy and the ruins. Not only was it a trip of a lifetime, but my brother lives across the country and I love that they got to spend all this one on one time to get to know each other and bond! I'm so glad he had such a fabulous time, but I'm so happy to have to him home!

April Week Three Shopping...Orchard Market

I'm done with my shopping at Orchard Market for the week. I will be heading to Meijer tomorrow to finish the week, and will update again after that!

Orchard Market:

1 box Act II popcorn $.99
- $ .40 off coupon from the 2/28 Smartsource insert

1 bottle Kikkoman teriyaki sauce $ .1.59
- $1.00 off coupon

7 Lunchables $1.00 each
- (7) $1.00 off coupons from the 3/21 Smartsource insert

2 Fast Fixin's chicken nuggets $1.00 each
- (2) $1.00 off coupons from All You magazine

1 Sara Lee deli ham marked down to $1.99
- $1.00 off coupon from the 3/21 Redplum insert

1.89 lbs grapes $1.87 ($ .99 a lb)

3 Aunt Millie's hamburger/hotdog buns $ .88 each
- (3) $ .55 off coupons from the 4/18 Redplum insert

Total Spent: $5.53 (saved $37.46...87%!)

Total Spent for April: $96.21
April budget left: $52.29

See more shopping trips at Frugal Follies!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Monday's Food 4/19

Breakfast: Oatmeal and apple slices

Lunch: Buffalo chicken wraps, grapes

Dinner: White chicken chili

Snacks: carrot sticks, broccoli, raisins, chex took homemade granola bars and fruit snacks to school

Monday, April 19, 2010

Meal Plan 4/19 - 4/25

Monday: White Chicken Chili

Tuesday: Salisbury Steak, mashed potatoes, green beans

Wednesday: We will be in Chicago, picking up our son from the airport (YAY!!!)

Thursday: Tacos, beans, rice

Friday: Spaghetti, garlic bread, salad

Saturday: Leftovers

Sunday: Breakfast for dinner! Pancakes, eggs, bacon, fruit

Get more inspiration and meal plans at!

Sunday's Food 4/18

Breakfast: Eggs, bacon, toast, orange juice

Lunch: tuna sandwiches, mandarin oranges (a favourite here!), carrot sticks

Dinner: buffalo chicken wraps (made with shredded chicken frying!), oven fries, broccoli

Snacks: fruit snacks, chex mix, olives (2 of my kids would eat a can each, if I let them!), cheese

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Orchard Market deals 4/19 - 4/25

I don't normally write up store deals, but there are some awesome deals at Orchard Market this week! I know this will really only help out a few people since it's such a local store...there's only two stores, and they're both in my town.

Coupon deals:

Oscar Mayer Lunchables (basic 4.5 oz) 10/$10 (they'll each ring up at $1, you don't have to buy 10!)

use the $1.00 off any Lunchables coupon from the 3/21 Smartsource coupon insert

FREE after coupon

Fast Fixin's Chicken 8-10 oz patties, nuggets, strips, or popcorn 10/$10

use the $1.00 off coupon from All You magazine, both the January or March 2010 issues
sign up here and get 5 $1 off coupons! (you can only sign up once per household)

FREE after coupon

Marcal Small Steps 4 pk toilet tissue or single roll paper towel $ .99

use the $1.00 off coupon from the March issue of Ladie's Home Journal, or the April issues of Redbook or Family Circle

FREE after coupon

Act II Microwave Popcorn 3 pack $ .99

use the $ .40 off coupon from the 2/28 Smartsource insert

$ .59 cents after coupon

Wednesday and Thursday ONLY

Aunt Millie's Hamburger or Hotdog buns $ .88 cents

use the $ .55 cent off coupon from the 4/18 Redplum insert

$ .33 after coupon

Saturday's Food 4/18

Brunch: Pancakes, sausage, blueberries

Dinner: Hamburgers, potato salad, cole slaw, peas

Snacks: goldfish crackers, garlic flavoured triscuts with cheese melted on top (yum!), canned peaches

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Kitchen timesavers and how I package my meat

Yes, I know. That sounds vaguely naughty. *insert beavis and butthead giggle*

I have a couple of tricks I use in the kitchen, and until recently, thought a lot of people did the same thing! I realize now, not many do, so I thought I'd share a couple of my shortcuts! It's a little bit of dabbling in Once a Month cooking, but on a much, much smaller scale. I buy my meat in family size packages, since it's usually cheaper per lb, and I have a lot of mouths to feed. When I get home from the store, I split it up. (I love my foodsaver!) Steaks and chops get bagged up with a marinade and frozen. I take some of the ground beef and package it up as is, so I can use it for burgers or meatloaf. (If I really get inspired, I'll actually mix up the meatloaf, and freeze it raw so it just needs to go in the oven on cooking day!) The rest of the ground beef I brown all at once. I take some out and seperate into dinner sized portions and freeze plain. The rest I taco season, and again, freeze in dinner sized portions. This saves in two ways...not only do I only have a greasy pan to wash once (and I really, really hate doing dishes!), but I also have the meat already cooked so it saves time when I go to make dinner!

I do the same with chicken breasts. I freeze some as is, for when I'm serving chicken breast as is. I also cook a bunch up to cube or shred. It's so nice to have already-cooked cubed/shredded chicken for casseroles, quesadillas, salads, etc!

Introducing my family!

I know that I always like to see the faces behind the blogs, so I figure it's about time I got some pictures of my babies on here! Plus, I actually have updated pictures from our trip to Chicago.

Girl One and Boy One:

I love this picture because number one, it's a nice picture of both of them, number two, I got them both to sit still, and number three, and probably the most important, they're not fighting and actually look like they love each other!

Girl One is 12 and in the 7th grade. She's my social butterfly, and the one who is into non-stop activities. So far this year, she's done a Girls On The Run thing, dance, basketball cheerleading, band, and is now in track. We don't see much of her, lol. She's very sweet and kind, and (so far) is really good about telling us everything! I'm the mom that hears all the naughty 7th grade stuff she and her friends do, while she makes me *promise* I won't tell the other moms. It's nice being "in the loop" and hope she continues feeling comfortable enough to tell me things!

Boy One is 10 and in the 4th grade. He's my scientific, curious one. He is full of non-stop questions about how and why things work. He's incredibly smart, and according to his teacher, he has her googling answers to questions all day long because he thinks of questions she's never gotten before! He also loves to explore, spending hours out in the woods, and bringing me home things I don't necessarily want in my house. Once when he was four, he actually brought me home a dead squirrel that had been run over and lying in the street for days. I don't know why. I do know he spent about 3 hours washing his hands. He's also the one that is in Italy right now with my brother, exploring all the ruins!

Boy Two and Girl Two:

I used this picture, even though they're both being goofy, because that is them in their natural state, lol. (That's my brother with them.)

Boy Two is 7 and in the 1st grade. He is my odd, er...I mean unique, child. He has an imagination like no other. He does and says the funniest things, and keeps us laughing. Once when he was two, I was taking a nap on the couch...I was hugely pregnant with Girl Two, and was sleeping on my side, facing the back of the couch. I woke up to find out that while I was sleeping, he'd decided to take a paper flower Girl One had made at school and GLUED it to my butt. I guess he thought it needed decoration? He's also incredibly kind, and is completely gullible, much to the delight of the older two. (They once had him completely freaked out that we monkey ghost living in our house) He is always happy and lets everything roll off his back, and is always moving. He's the poor one that got hit with allergies and ADHD, and is the only one that's had to have his tonsils and adenoids out, plus ear tubes. It never seems to bother him though.

Girl Two is 4 and will be starting kindergarten in the fall. She is most definately the baby of the family, and has each and every one of us wrapped around her little finger. She's the entertainer, and is always singing for us, or putting on "shows". She's also a bright little one and knows how to read and write all our names, can count to twenty, AND count to 10 in Spanish. She thinks it's Chinese though, go figure. She's my lovey one, always wanting to cuddle and give kisses. I'm encouraging that as long as she'll put up with it!

Here's one last picture of all of us at Shedd Aquarium. I realize I don't have a picture of my husband on here...he was always behind the camera! I'll have to remedy that, soon.

Friday's Food 4/16

Breakfast: Eggs, toast, juice

Lunch: PB&J, apple slices

Dinner: Burritos, rice, beans

Snacks: mandarin oranges, carrot sticks, chex took chex mix to school

Friday, April 16, 2010

It's Friday, which means

it's Mega Swagbucks Day! If you're new to Swagbucks, you can join here! It's free, it's easy, and the points accumulate fast! If you aren't familiar with it, you can read about it here.


April Week Two shopping Part Two

Orchard Market is having a one day only meat sale, so I went this morning and stocked up!

(3) 2.5 lb bags of boneless, skinless chicken breast $3.67 each
2 packages hotdogs $ .77 each
1 4.67 lb pork sirloin roast $4.47 ($ .97 a lb)
1 3.99 lb pork tenderloin $5.07 ($1.27 a lb)
7.44 lbs ground beef $13.17 ($1.77 a lb)
1 2 litre bottle diet coke $1.00 (+ .10 deposit)

Total spent: $36.36

Total spent for April: $90.68
April budget left: $57.82

For more great shopping trips, check out Southern Savers, I Heart Publix, Money Saving Mom,The Thrifty Mama, and The Grocery Cart Challenge!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Thursday's food 4/15

Breakfast: Cereal, orange juice

Lunch: Leftover meatloaf and green beans

Dinner: Lemon butter chicken with mushrooms over angel hair pasta and broccoli

Snacks: Carrot sticks, peanut butter took goldfish crackers and chex mix to school

Wednesday's food 4/14

Breakfast: Eggs, toast, orange juice

Lunch: Grilled cheese sandwiches, tomato soup, apple slices

Dinner: Meatloaf, mashed potatoes, green beans

Snacks: Cheese and crackers, mandarin oranges, carrot sticks

April Week Two shopping Part One

I am skipping Meijer this week, even though they're having one of their buy ten get the eleventh free sales. My local store is having a meat stock up sale tomorrow, for one day only. I went this morning for a few things, and will update again tomorrow after I hit the meat sale. No pictures this week, because my son has my camera in Italy!

Orchard Market:
1 jar Italian seasoning $ .99
2 lbs coffee $4.99
6 bags Kraft shredded cheese $1.25 each
8 packages Azteca tortillas $ .50 each! (these are dated tomorrow so they were on super markdown...I normally make my own tortillas, but this was a great deal...I just threw them in the freezer!)
1 package american cheese slices $1.29
1 lb fresh mushrooms $1.50
1 lb potato salad $ .98
1 lb mustard potato salad $ .98

Total spent: $22.23 (Total saved: $29.47)

Total spent for April: $54.32
April budget left: $94.18

To see more great shopping trips, check out Money Saving Mom, Southern Savers, Saving A Bundle, I Heart Publix, The Frugal Freeloader,The Thrifty Mama, and The Grocery Cart Challenge!

Last week's shopping...April Week One

I only went to Meijer last week, and was only supposed to go in for the few things I needed. Then I saw the Easter candy half off.


Ground beef $2.76
Scrub brush $2.87
Coffee $3.19
2.11 lbs grapes $2.09
2 loaves bread $ .99 each
1 applesauce cups $1.49 (I don't normally buy individual cups of stuff, but I needed this to take to Chicago so my son could take his meds!)
2 gallons milk $1.77 each
Cadbury eggs $1.24
2 6-pks Reeses eggs $1.69 each
4 jars olive oil $5.69 each
- $11.38 (buy one get one free olive oil)
- (2) $1.00 off manufacturer coupon

Total spent: $32.09 (total saved: $23.48)

Total spent for April: $32.09
April budget left: $116.41

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Home from Chicago!

We're back from our long weekend in Chicago! Had a wonderful time! Got our 10 year old son off to Italy with my brother...and I only cried a *little* at the airport! Now it's back to real life. *sigh*

I have only gone grocery shopping once so far, which I will be posting later today, but I've only spent $32 on groceries so far this month! I will have to go this afternoon, because our car is BACK IN THE SHOP! Back to one vehicle, and back to working around my husband's work schedule. Ugh. I'll be updating all my totals later!

Friday, April 9, 2010

It's Friday! That means it's Mega Swagbucks Day!

Search & Win

If you aren't signed up, you can sign up here! If you aren't familiar with Swagbucks, you can read about it here!


Thursday's food 4/08

Breakfast: Oatmeal, orange juice

Lunch: tuna sandwiches, apple slices

Dinner: Pizza pasta bake

Snacks: Broccoli with ranch, grapes, cereal

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Wednesday's food 4/07

Breakfast: Cereal, bananas

Lunch: Egg salad sandwiches, grapes

Dinner: Baked potatoes w/turkey, gravy, broccoli

Snacks: Crackers w/peanut butter, carrot sticks, grapes, popcorn

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Tuesday's Food 4/06

Breakfast: Cereal, hard boiled eggs, orange juice

Lunch: Fluffernutters (I was informed that spring break would not be complete without fluffernutters! Who knew?), grapes, carrot sticks

Dinner: Sloppy joes, oven fries, steamed broccoli

Snacks: Popcorn, grapes, apples, nuts

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Monday's Food 4/05

Breakfast: hard boiled eggs, toast, orange juice

Lunch: Chicken nuggets, carrot sticks, apple slices (kids are home for spring break, so this is everyone)

Dinner: Roast turkey breast, mashed potatoes w/gravy, asparagus, corn

Snacks: apples, cereal, and probably way more Easter candy than I think

Monday, April 5, 2010

Meal Plan 4/05 - 4/11

Monday: Roasted turkey breast, stuffing, asparagus, homemade rolls

Tuesday: Sloppy joes, oven fries, steamed broccoli

Wednesday: Leftover turkey, roasted carrots and potatoes, corn

Thursday: Pizza pasta bake

Friday: Soup and sandwiches

Saturday and Sunday: We will be in Chicago!

Find more inspiration and meal plans over at!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

My new budget...April and beyond

I'm going to do things a little different this month, and work off of a monthly grocery budget, instead of weekly. And before I tell you my monthly budget, I just want to warn you that there is a method to my grocery budget for the month of April is $148.50. Yes, I know. The fact that it's not an even number kinda makes me cringe, too.

This is my math, which may be fuzzy at best. I figure that this past month, I spent an average of $3.23 a day. That makes it about $ .54 cents a person. I am upping my spending to $1.00 a day per person, except for my four year old, who I am counting for $ .50 cents a day. This works out to $5.50 a day. (still with me?) I have already counted these first three days in my March budget, so $5.50 x 27 days left in April = $148.50. *phew* Long winded, but there you have it. $148.50 for six people. This includes all food, toiletries, paper products, etc. There are two adults, a 12 year old girl, a 10 year old boy, a 7 year old boy (who weighs 74 lbs...don't let his age fool you!), and a 4 year old girl.

I am also setting a goal of putting $1500 back into savings. We depleted our emergency fund for the car repair, and it's making me nervous!

For my local readers...

These are a few VERY local sources of deals I have found.

Orchard Market has a few printable coupons they change every quarter. Click on "download OM web coupons" at the top of the "specials" page. I'm a little bummed, because for the past year they've ALWAYS had a milk coupon, and usually an egg coupon. Those seem to be gone now, but I'll probably keep checking every week.

Our Family Foods which is Orchard Market's "store" brand has quite a few printable coupons, and they seem to change fairly frequently.

Leppinks also has some printable coupons, however, you have to register at their site, and their coupons are only good with an additional $20 purchase. I usually only shop at Leppinks if they're having a great Wacky Wednesday deal.

Other than Rite Aid and Walgreen's, Meijer and Orchard Market are my main two stores. I would love to check out D&W and Plumb's, but I just never seem to find the time to figure out the deals at either of them. I'm comfortable with my main two stores, and they're the closest to me. I'd love to hear if any of you find anything great elsewhere though!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Grocery shopping Week 5

This was the final official week of my $20 weekly budget! Again, I went over. I have pictures this week though! Please ignore my kitchen floor, however. It desperately needs to be mopped, and I'm sitting here blogging, instead of doing it. How embarrassing! My final monthly recap can be found here.

Orchard Market:

5 lbs flour $1.49
- $.75 manufacturer coupon
toilet paper $1.49 (not pictured, it was needed!)
2 Tropicana orange juice $2.49 each
- $2.49 buy one get one free manufacturer coupon
1 gallon milk $2.50
- $1.00 store coupon
3 lbs apples $1.29
1 lb strawberries $1.50

Total spent: $9.10


6 Reeses dark chocolate $.74 each
- (3) free (buy 3 get 3 sale)
- (3) $.55 manufacturer coupons
2 dozen eggs $.88 each
1 can Manwich $1.00
- free item coupon
1 can ravioli $1.05
- free item coupon
1 jar Peter Pan peanut butter $1.99
- free item coupon
1 Healthy Choice frozen meal $2.98
- free item coupon
2 Sandwich Thin sandwich buns $3.19 each
- (2) $4.00 off manufacturer coupons (it just took off the $3.19, no overage)
1 Banquet frozen meal $1.00
- free item coupon
1 Marie Callendars frozen meal $3.00
- free item coupon
1 8.70 lb spiral sliced ham $12.01 (on sale for $1.38 a lb)
1 2 liter orange pop $.88 + $.10 deposit
Asparagus $1.34
10 lbs potatoes $1.49
1 box Orville Redenbacher popcorn $1.79
- free item coupon
2 boxes Chocolate Cheerios $1.99 each
- (2) $1.25 manufacturer coupons
1 4-pack cream cheese minis $1.50
- free item coupon

- $3.00 off $30.00 purchase store coupon
- $2.50 store coupon (husband got this for a bad experience)

Total spent: $14.13

My Meijer receipt differs a little from my total...I subtracted the Easter egg dye I bought, and the gum my son was buying with his own money. Neither of these come out of my grocery budget, but it's two days before Easter and I wasn't about to hold up the line with two transactions!!

Total spent for the week: $23.23
Total spent for the month: $113.14
Grocery budget left: - $5.15

Drumroll please....

I have done this week's shopping, and am officially at the end of my $20 weekly grocery budget challenge! I ended up going over by $5.15. I spent a total of $113.14 on all groceries and household (toiletries/paper products, etc) for my family of six since March 1. (I realize that does not add up to $100 for 5 weeks...I added in my Rite Aid rebate check for $7.99, since that originally came from my grocery budget).

Things I Have Learned:

It was not as difficult as I thought it would be. The absolute hardest part was walking away from some of the deals I found, and would normally stock up on. I did even manage to stock up on a few small things, even with this budget.

I have/had way more food in the house than I thought! I still have a half full freezer, and could go weeks longer. In my chest freezer alone, I still have 2 turkeys, a turkey breast, some ribs, 2 packages of bacon, one whole chicken, 2 packages of chicken breast, a pork roast, and a beef roast. Plus about 10 boxes and bags of various vegetables, some fruit, some hamburger buns, rolls, and bread, and even some treats!

Meal planning, and knowing what you have, makes a huge difference in your grocery bill! Make sure to use up the fresh produce first, before you forget about it and find it going bad. Have a plan for all the food you bring in the house. It's not a good deal if you end up throwing it away!

Make a plan for all leftovers, even if it's just a couple of tablespoons of something! Omelets, quesadillas, and soup are just a few ways to use up those little bits of leftovers! We've discovered some great new combinations this way!

Shop and Eat deliberately! What I mean by this is, if for instance one week you buy tomatoes for a salad, make sure you plan other uses for those tomatoes! Plan tacos or BLT's for another night.

All in all, I am satisfied with how the month went. I was hoping to stay under the $20 a week, but some deals just sucked me in. I haven't even touched some of the stuff I bought this month yet. I still have my bottle returns to take back, and am planning on those being my grocery money for next week. (I have $17-18 worth sitting in my garage!)

I will be sharing my Week 5 shopping, along with my new goals, later tonight!

And in other good news, we finally got our car back TODAY! 33 days in the shop, and we're now $2248.17 poorer. It came in under the original quote of $2500 though, so I'm happy! At one point, the quote was up to $2800! But we now have a completely new engine, and I am no longer stuck at home when my husband's at work! YAY!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Wednesday's food 3/31

Breakfast: cereal, bananas

Lunch: Chicken/broccoli/cheese quesadillas, apple slices

Dinner: BBQ chicken over brown rice, broccoli, salad (my husband brought home a HUGE thing of salad from a corporate meeting he had to go to today...they let them take home the leftovers from the catered lunch!)

Snacks: cinnamon toast, almonds, took graham crackers and apples to school

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Tuesday's Food 3/30

Breakfast: eggs, toast, juice

Lunch: matzo ball soup we were sent home with from last night

Dinner: french toast with blueberries, sausage

Snacks: carrot sticks and broccoli, raisins, almonds, graham took animal crackers and raisins to school

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Monday's Food 3/29

Breakfast: Oatmeal, juice

Lunch: vegetable soup and canned peaches, husband took soup and sandwich to work

Dinner: Passover Seder at a friend's house

Snacks: bananas, carrot sticks, took animal crackers to school

Monday, March 29, 2010

Meal Plan 3/29 - 4/04

Monday: Passover Seder at a friend's house!

Tuesday: Roast chicken, roasted potatoes and carrots, green beans

Wednesday: Breakfast! French toast, sausage, fresh fruit

Thursday: BBQ chicken sandwiches, oven fries, corn

Friday: Quesadillas

Saturday: Spaghetti

Sunday: We'll be at the inlaws!

Get more inspiration and menu plans at!

Sunday's Food 3/28

Breakfast: Pancakes, bacon, blueberries (I still have a ton of blueberries frozen from last summer!)

Lunch: Leftovers

Dinner: Ended up at the in-laws, so free dinner! Birthday cake at home!

Snacks: Bananas, animal crackers, popcorn

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Saturday's Food 3/27

Breakfast: Eggs, bacon, toast, orange juice

Lunch: Cream of broccoli soup, tuna sandwiches

Dinner: Pork chops, glazed carrots, steamed broccoli, mashed potatoes

Snacks: Popcorn, graham crackers, applesauce, animal crackers

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Friday's Food 3/26

Breakfast: Eggs, toast, bananas

Lunch: Macaroni and cheese and applesauce for Abby, I had a frozen Healthy Choice meal, husband took sandwiches

Dinner: Chicken stirfry w/broccoli, carrots, snow peas, and onion

Snacks: Bananas, cinnamon toast, canned took animal crackers to school

Friday, March 26, 2010

Trying something new...Friday's Blog Hop!

I saw this on a few blogs I follow, and have discovered some great new blogs!

MckLinky Blog Hop

Grocery Shopping Week 4

I have nothing spectacular this week...there were no fabulous sales, so we ate a lot of frozen veggies this week. I also have no pictures because my husband took my battery charger to work to replace it and has not brought it back!! (He works in a electronics store) I'm feeling pretty good about my $20 weekly grocery budget experiment! I have one official week left to go, and I still have a pretty full freezer and pantry! I also have not touched all my bottle returns (Michigan .10 cent deposit) and there's probably another $17-18 sitting in my garage. I pretty much suck at remembering to take them back to the store. Ok, on to my totals:

Orchard Market:

2 gallons milk $2.50 each
- (2) $1.00 off store coupons
- (2) $.55 off Country Fresh milk manufacturer coupons from last Sunday's Smartsource

Coffee $3.15

2.47 lbs bananas $1.46

3 lbs carrots $2.79

Total spent $9.30


2 Oscar Mayer bacon $1.97 each
- (2) $1.50 off manufacturer coupon

Broccoli $1.32 (was .99 cents a lb)

Lumberjack bread $ .87

Total spent: $3.13

Dollar General:

2 bags animal crackers $1.25 each

1 box graham crackers $1.35

Total Spent: $3.85

Total Spent for Week 4: $16.28

Grocery budget left: $18.08
Total spent for the month: $89.91

Check out more great shopping trips at Money Saving Mom, I Heart Publix, The Frugal Freeloader, Southern Savers, Saving A Bundle, the Coupon Saving Game, and The Thrifty Mama!

Don't forget that today is mega Swagbucks day!

I've already won 60 Swagbucks this morning, just for searching for Facebook and my bank! If you don't know what Swagbucks is, you can read about it here!

Thursday's food 3/25

Breakfast: Oatmeal, bananas

Lunch: Frozen pizza, carrot sticks and broccoli w/ranch for dipping (the husband also was home for lunch)

Dinner: Tacos

Snacks: goldfish crackers, bananas, chips and salsa

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Wednesday's food 3/24

Breakfast: cereal, oranges

Lunch: Leftover pot roast and veggies

Dinner: McDonald's *hangs head in shame* Due to a little black squirrel committing squirrelicide on a power company's substation, we lost power at 5:15. We could have had sandwiches, but we didn't.

Snacks: Cheese, toast, carrot sticks, oranges

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Tuesday's Food 3/23

Breakfast: eggs, toast, blueberries

Lunch: spaghetti-o's and canned peaches for abby, tuna melt for me, the husband took leftovers to work

Dinner: crockpot pot roast with carrots, potatoes, and onions, broccoli

Snacks: applesauce, crackers, raisins, took wheat thins to school

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Monday's Food 3/22

Breakfast: Oatmeal, blueberries

Lunch: Tuna sandwiches, mandarin oranges

Dinner: spinach/garlic/cream cheese stuffed chicken breast, wild rice, steamed broccoli

Snacks: peanut butter crackers, applesauce, took goldfish crackers to school

Monday, March 22, 2010

Meal Plan 3/22 - 3/28

So I've found that I don't really like planning for specifics days. I do like to know what I'll make for the week, but I've found more than a few times that when the day rolls around, I don't want to eat/make what I've planned. This week I have a few days where it has to be specific because of time constraints, but the other days, I'll have some options. I also don't plan lunches, because a lot of the time it's leftovers, but four kids in the house, I never know how much I'll have. Some nights they all eat like linebackers, and I have nothing left! I'm still working with my $20 weekly budget and am amazed by how much food is still left in the house!

Monday: Spinach/garlic/cream cheese stuffed chicken breast, wild rice, broccoli

Tuesday: Crockpot pot roast with potatoes, carrots, onions

Thursday: Hamburgers, oven fries, broccoli

Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday:

Pork chops, mashed potatoes, peas
Chicken stirfry

Sunday is up in the air, because it's my husband's birthday. The only thing I can count on right now is birthday cake.

For more menu plans and inspiration, check out!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Sunday's Food 3/21

Brunch: Pancakes, eggs, sausage, juice

Dinner: Greek salads

Snacks: Popcorn, bananas, apple slices with cinnamon, goldfish crackers, cheese

Saturday's Food 3/20

My plans changed for husband surprised me with a date night! AND he still had a gift card his boss gave him for Christmas, so we had a nice dinner out and only spent like $10!

Breakfast: Crepes with sweetened cream cheese and blueberries

Lunch: Leftover buffet

Dinner: OUT! The kids had chicken nuggets, tater tots, and applesauce

Snacks: Goldfish crackers, bananas, carrot sticks, plus I heard that they got into the chocolate chips while we were out and made an entire buffet of chocolate dipped stuff (pretzels, graham crackers, etc)

Wow. What a horribly unhealthy day for the kids, lol. I guess one day won't kill them.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Grocery Shopping Week 3

So again, I was over my $20 weekly budget this week. I'm not going to beat myself up over it though, because I had a couple pretty rare coupons for meat and produce that were going to expire. I had a $4 off a $15 meat purchase coupon and a $1 off a $4 produce coupon that my husband found at Meijers. Bless his little heart, he's GREAT at finding coupons that people drop or leave at the register. I've trained him well. (Just don't tell him I used the word "trained"!) I also got back my Rite Aid February rebate check, so I'm adding another $7.99 into my grocery wallet. Here's my recap of this week's shopping:

Orchard Market:

Eggs $1.89
- $ .75 off store coupon

2 gallons milk $2.50 each
- (2) $1.00 off store coupon

4 1/2 lbs bananas $1.77

Total spent: $5.91
(I can't find my receipt since I wrote this down, so no picture of this one)


1.40 lb onion $2.19
3.69 lb pork roast $5.87
3.72 lb beef chuck roast $9.26
1 bag fresh spinach $1.00
4 Valley Fresh Steamers broccoli $1.00 each
- (4) $ .50 off one manufacturer coupon
2 boxes Brown N Serve sausage $1.00 each
- (2) free item (Meijer was having their 10 for $10 get the 11th free sale, these ended up being my 2 free items)
2 boxes Bagel Bites $1.00 each
- (2) $1.00 off manufacturer coupon
2 bags Dole salad mix $1.00 each
- $1.00 off two manufacturer coupon
3 Kellogg fruit snacks $1.89 each
- $1.50 off manufacturer coupon from Vocalpoint
- (2) $1.00 off manufacturer coupon
4 boxes Honey Nut Cheerios $1.99 each
- (2) $1.00 off two manufacturer coupons
1 Lay's potato chips $1.99
- $1.00 manufacturer coupon
14 Yoplait Yogurts $ .50 each
- $1.00 off 8 manufacturer coupon
- $ .50 off 6 manufacturer coupon
- $1.00 automatic off for buying 10
3 Goldfish crackers $1.00 each
- (3) $ .75 off manufacturer coupon
4 Chex Mix $1.00 each
- (4) $ .50 off manufacturer coupon
4 Betty Crocker potatoes
- $1.00 off two manufacturer coupon
- (2) $ .40 off one manufacturer coupon

- $2.00 off your next order coupon from a previous purchase
- $3.50 off a $45.00 order coupon
- $5.00 off a frozen food purchase coupon
- $1.00 off $3.00 cereal purchase
- $1.00 off $4.00 produce purchase
- $4.00 off $15.00 meat purchase

Total spent: $24.04

Total spent for Week 3: $29.95

Grocery budget left: $34.36
Total spent for the month: $73.63

For more great shopping trips, check out The Grocery Cart Challenge, Money Saving Mom, and Frugal Follies!

Friday's Food 3/19

Breakfast: Cereal, bananas

Lunch: Peanut butter & Jelly sandwiches, apples

Dinner: BBQ Ribs, potato salad, green salad, steamed broccoli

Snacks: Chex Mix, bananas, oatmeal/choc chip took chex mix to school

Friday, March 19, 2010

Thursday's food 3/18

Breakfast: yogurt, bananas

Lunch: tuna sandwiches and apples, husband took leftover chili (I made a LOT!)

Dinner: chicken potpie, peas

Snacks: Chex mix, carrots and broccoli dipped in ranch, applesauce, took chex mix to school

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Wednesday's food 3/17

Breakfast: Yogurt and toast

Lunch: Cheese quesadillas, carrot sticks, applesauce...husband took leftovers to work

Dinner: Coney dogs, oven fries, salad

Snacks: Cereal, yogurt, took cheese and crackers to school

Tuesday's food 3/16

Breakfast: Eggs, toast, juice

Lunch: Leftover chili

Dinner: Roast chicken, mashed potatoes, sauteed spinach, green beans, homemade rolls

Snacks: Apples, cheese and crackers, peanut butter took fruit roll ups and pretzels to school

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

How my no-spend month is shaping up...

It's been hard, I have to admit. It's really been hard to not take advantage of all the deals I've come across. I've had to stop looking at all the sale flyers, because they're just too tempting. There have been two things that have helped me though. The first is that going into the month, we had some planned, deliberate spending. We knew we had the kid's school carnival, and we knew that we were going to take them to the roller rink. Having those things to look forward to made it easier to not spend before then. The other is swagbucks! If you aren't familiar with swagbucks, you can read about it here! Thanks to that, I've had $50 sitting at Amazon, waiting for me to use. I went to use my steamer basket the other day and found it missing. I really don't know how a steamer basket up and walks away, but I'm pretty sure one of the children in this house does. Thanks to swagbucks I was able to get a new one, along with a can organizer for my pantry, plus curb my shopping itch, for FREE! Can't beat that!

Monday's Food 3/15

Breakfast: Oatmeal, orange juice

Lunch: Frozen pizza, husband took soup and sandwich

Dinner: Chili, cornbread, green salad

Snacks: carrot sticks, apple slices, cereal

Monday, March 15, 2010

Meal Plan for the week 3/15-3/21

I'm still working on my $20 a week budget, so I'm working a lot out of my pantry and freezers. Two weeks in, and I've barely touched the freezer in the garage! I'm going to pull some stuff out of there this week...

Monday: Chili, cornbread, salad

Tuesday: Roast chicken, mashed potatoes, green beans, sauteed spinach, rolls

Wednesday: Coney dogs, oven fries, salad

Thursday: Chicken pot pie, peas

Friday: BBQ ribs, cole slaw, potato salad

Saturday: Leftover buffet

Sunday: Greek salads

For more menu ideas, visit!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Sunday's Food 3/14

Breakfast: Oatmeal pancakes, sausage, blueberries

Lunch: Leftover pot roast and veggies

Dinner: Hotdogs, chips, carrot sticks, apple slices

Snacks: Bananas, goldfish crackers, raisins and nuts, big pretzels at the roller rink!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Saturday's Food 3/13

Breakfast: stuffed french toast (blueberries and cream cheese)

Lunch: tuna sandwiches, fritos, carrot sticks, applesauce

Dinner: BBQ chicken drumsticks, chicken noodles, peas

Snacks: peanut butter crackers, cereal, bananas, apples

Grocery shopping Week 2

I went over my $20 budget this week. I'm not too worried about it though, because I was way under last week. There were a couple of things I had to get...toilet paper (for the first time since a fabulous sale in January!) and my husband needed deoderant, which he told me about at the last minute. My husband also went shopping with me, hence the fritos. I was happy to get out of there with just the fritos, I think he's worse than the kids! I have no pictures of the actual shopping, life was too hectic when I got home and stuff had to be put away!


2 boxes bandaids $3.64 + .10 tax
- (2) $1.00 off Target coupons
- (2) $1.00 off manufacturer coupons

Total: -.26 (yep! they paid ME .26 cents!)

Orchard Market:

2 gallons milk $2.50 each
- (2) $1.00 off store coupon

1 gallon chocolate milk $1.99
- $1.00 off store coupon

1 dozen eggs $1.69
- .75 off store coupon

Charmin Basic 12 big roll pack $4.99
ketchup $1.29
3 lbs apples $1.99
10 lbs russett potatoes $1.99
1 bag salad mix $.88
broccoli $2.21
2.58 lbs bananas $1.52

Total paid: $20.10


Excedrin $4.99
- free coupon!
3 bottles Frank's Redhot $.99 each
- (3) free manufacturer coupons from last week's paper
2 jars Taco Bell salsa $1.85 each
- $1.00 off 2 Meijer mealbox coupon
- $1.00 off manufacturer coupon from All You magazine
1 bottle Kikkoman soy sauce $1.56
- $1.00 manufacturer coupon from Kikkoman game
3 loaves Aunt Millie's bread $9.57
- $6.38 (buy one, get two free sale!)
3 Aunt Millie's hotdog buns $9.57
- $6.38 (buy one, get two free sale)
4 boxes Barilla whole wheat pasta $.89 each
-(2) $1.00 off two manufacturer coupons
2 bags Fritos $1.49 each
1 jar applesauce $1.79
2 sticks Right Guard deoderant $2.29 each
- $.50 off one Meijer coupon
- $2.00 off two manufacturer coupon
1 bag Dino bites frozen chicken nuggets $2.99
2 bottles Dial hand soap $1.00 each
- (2) $1.00 manufacturer coupons
2 packages Oscar Mayer hotdogs $3.00
2 bags Ore Ida tater tots $5.00
- $2.00 instant savings
- $1.00 off two manufacturer coupon

I also used:
$3.00 off a $30 purchase coupon
$1.00 off your next order coupon from a previous purchase
$2.00 off your next order coupon from a previous purchase
$5.00 off a frozen food purchase from a previous purchase

Total spent: $13.52

Total for the week: $33.36

Grocery budget left: $56.32
Total spent for the month: $43.68

You can find more great shopping trips over at The Grocery Cart Challenge, Frugal Follies, and $5 Dollar Dinners!

Daily Menus Tuesday through Friday 3/09-3/12

It's been a crazy week here in our house. The kids all had no school on Tuesday, there were more dentist appointments, we're still down to one car, we finished up wrestling for the boys, we had a school carnival...that's just part of it. I think I need a nap!

Tuesday's Food:

breakfast: bagels/cream cheese, orange juice

lunch: cheese quesadillas and mandarin oranges, husband took leftover stirfry

dinner: salisbury steak, mashed potatoes, green beans

snacks: granola bars, carrot sticks, raisins

Wednesday's Food:

breakfast: bagels/cream cheese, bananas

lunch: leftovers from last night's dinner, husband took this as well

dinner: spaghetti with italian sausage, garlic bread, green salad

snacks: kids took pretzels and fruit roll ups for school, apple slices, cheese and crackers

Thursday's Food:

breakfast: cereal, bananas, orange juice

lunch: leftover spaghetti, husband also took to work

dinner: pulled pork sandwiches, oven fries, broccoli

snacks: carrot sticks, mandarin oranges, cinnamon toast, kids took granola bars to school

Friday's Food:

breakfast: eggs and toast

lunch: hash made with leftover pork, potatoes, and carrots, husband took sandwiches

dinner: pot roast with carrots, potatoes, onions, and a salad

snacks: apple slices, bananas, granola bars

Monday, March 8, 2010

Monday's Food 3/08

The kids had another half day today, so they were home for lunch and dinner. Except Girl One, who is 12, and would rather spend all day and night with her friends. They have no school tomorrow, so bonus weekday sleepover! Annnnyways, here's what we ate:

Breakfast: bagels with cream cheese, orange juice

Lunch: Chicken nuggets, oven fries, carrot sticks, apple slices (the last of the apples!) Husband took sandwiches to work.

Dinner: Garlic chicken/asparagus stirfry (I threw in a can of water chestnuts and some carrots, too)

Snacks: peanut butter crackers, raisins, Chex Mix...the boys also each took a fruit rollup to school this morning

This week's menu...3/8-3/14

I'm going into week 2 of my $20 weekly grocery budget experiment. My menu this week will be a little different...I know what we're having tonight through Wednesday. The rest of the week will depend some on what produce deals I can score tomorrow when I go shopping, and what will need to be used up first, so I'm not sure of the order we'll be eating the rest of the meals.

Monday: chicken/asparagus stir fry

Tuesday: Salisbury steak, mashed potatoes, green beans (cooked with bacon in the bacon grease I saved from this weekend) Save your bacon grease! I keep a jar of it in the fridge, and use to cook green beans, fry eggs in, etc.

Wednesday: Spaghetti with Italian sausage, garlic bread

Rest of the week:

Pot Roast with potatoes, onions, carrots
BBQ chicken drumsticks
Pulled pork sandwiches
Mexican night...either tacos or enchiladas

For more menu plans and inspiration, check out Menu Plan Monday at!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Sunday's Food 3/07

Breakfast: Oatmeal (we usually add a little butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, milk, almonds, and raisins...yum!)

Lunch: Leftover pork and mashed potatoes from Friday plus steamed carrots. My husband also took this for lunch at work.

Dinner: Baked chicken breast with bacon, cheddar cheese, and ranch dressing, cauliflower/broccoli/carrot blend (frozen), stuffing

Snacks: popcorn, chocolate covered pretzels that Girl One made, apple slices

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Saturday's Food 3/06

My husband was off again today, so this fed all six of us today.

Breakfast: Oatmeal pancakes, orange juice

Lunch: Grilled cheese sandwiches, tomato soup

Dinner: Bacon and asparagus omelets for most of us, scrambled eggs and bacon for the picky one, toast

Snacks: almonds, frozen blueberries, carrot sticks, pretzels

Betterthanchocolate Roasted Broccoli

Yum, yum, yum. That's all I can say about this. And it's soooo easy to make! If given the choice between this broccoli and cake, I would choose this. Ok, maybe it depends on exactly what kind of cake you're giving me, but seriously. This is good. All you need is:

Olive Oil
Lemon juice
Parmesan cheese

That's it! Preheat the oven to 425. Line a baking sheet with foil (makes clean up EASY!).

Cut up broccoli into florets and put in a bowl. (I also cut up some of the stems)

Pour some olive oil over the top, throw in some salt and pepper, and toss to coat. I don't measure anything. You want enough olive oil to coat all the broccoli, but you don't want it drowning. I go fairly light on the salt because the parmesan you add later is also pretty salty, and I also go fairly light on the pepper just because I'm not a huge fan of it. But this is your broccoli, so you can use as much or as little as you want.

Spread the broccoli out on the foil lined pan. You want as much broccoli as possible touching the pan.

Put in oven and roast until the broccoli is browned and fork tender. You want the brown parts, trust me. That's the part that has carmelized and is a little crunchy, and oh so good.

After you've taken it out, sprinkle with lemon juice and parmesan cheese, and toss. Again, to taste. You of course can be all fancy and use fresh lemon and freshly grated parmesan, but all I had on hand was one of those squeezy plastic lemons and canned parmesan. It's all good.

That's it! This broccoli is so good that even my two broccoli hating children will eat it.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Shopping 3/05

I ended up needing milk today, and had to have my husband stop for it since we're down to one vehicle. I normally don't spend more than $1.50 a gallon, thanks to my very local grocery store. They have printable coupons all the time for $1.00 off milk, and they always have milk on sale for $2.50. B didn't have a coupon with him though, so we had to pay the full $2.50. I have no picture today, but I'm pretty sure you all know what a gallon of milk looks like.

Grocery budget left: $89.68
Total spent for the month: $10.32

Friday food 3/05

I finally got my better-than-chocolate roasted broccoli!! I honestly could eat this every day, all day. I took some pictures tonight, and will post my recipe tomorrow. Soooo easy and sooooo good! The kids had a half day again today, and my husband had the day off, so all the meals cover all of us today.

Breakfast: Scrambled eggs, bagels with cream cheese, orange juice

Lunch: Bean burritos (which I made earlier and had frozen), chips and salsa, apple slices

Dinner: Pork roast with a maple/soy glaze, mashed potatoes, betterthanchocolate roasted broccoli, corn

Snacks: celery with peanut butter, cinnamon toast

I was so excited from my broccoli, I forgot I also made brownies today, so we had those for dessert!

I've also been asked what we drink, and unless I specify, the kids usually drink milk with meals. During the day the kids drink either milk or water. I make a big pitcher of iced tea every few days, so after my morning coffee, I drink that and water. I used to have a HUGE diet coke/pepsi (I wasn't picky!) addiction, but I gave that up a couple of months ago and now only drink it occasionally.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

I won! I won!

I won a silicon basting brush a few weeks ago from Kikkoman and it came today. It's so much nicer than I thought it would be! And I played again today and won the spoon rest! I've also gotten buy one get one free soy sauce coupons a couple of times. All you have to do is click on the "I don't have a code" button and they'll email you one immediately. So I know it's kind of lame to be so excited about this, but I NEVER win anything! The game goes through April 30 and you can play every day!

Whoo hoo!! I just played again and won the stainless steel kitchen tongs! They seem to be pretty generous with their prizes! I'm going to end up with a whole Kikkoman kitchen!

Thursday food 3/04

So I really, really wanted the broccoli I bought yesterday...I have a way of making it that I swear I could eat every day. But I had some tomato and lettuce that I had to use up today, so I had to make the tacos tonight. *sigh* Can't waste food, right? The older kids had a half day today, so lunch was for them, too.

Breakfast: cereal, apple slices, milk

Lunch: Macaroni and cheese with ham and peas, cucumber slices, carrots...husband took sandwiches

Dinner: Tacos made with ground beef, beans, lettuce, tomato, onion, and salsa

Snacks: Almonds, raisins, cereal, apples

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Wednesday's food 3/03

I had Girl One home sick from school today, which threw my dinner plans off somewhat. Maybe it was doing all the extra laundry that comes with a sick kid, or maybe it was just being surrounded by sick kid cooties all day, but I just didn't feel like cooking much tonight.

Breakfast: Bagels with cream cheese, oranges

Lunch: PB&J sandwiches, cucumber slices, carrot sticks, grapes for two of us, chicken broth and Vernor's for the sickie, husband took leftovers

Dinner: Pizza Rolls, carrot/celery sticks, apple slices (told you I didn't feel like cooking)

Snacks: raisins, pretzels, cheese

School snacks: banana muffins

The $20 a week grocery budget experiment

Out of necessity I have adopted a $20 a week grocery budget for our family of six. My budget is actually running through the first week of April, so today I withdrew $100 in cash, and put it in my grocery-only wallet.

Included in this budget is all food, plus all "household"...toiletries, paper products, cleaning supplies, etc. I am starting out with both my chest freezer and the one in the fridge FULL. I am well stocked on meat/protein, and have a fairly nice sized stockpile of canned/frozen veggies, fruit, pasta, cereal, etc. I have $16-17 worth of bottles to return (thanks to the Michigan 10 cent deposit!). I will add that to my grocery budget, since paying the deposit in the first place came out of my original grocery budget. Even though this month it's neccessary to keep our grocery spending as low as possible, I am actually oddly excited. I love me a good challenge.

I went shopping this morning for the first time this month (which is why there isn't $100 in the picture above!). I bought:

5 lbs apples $1.99
3 lbs carrots $2.79
1.04 lbs asparagus $1.55
broccoli $1.49

Total = $7.82

I *may* need another gallon of milk on Friday or Saturday, but otherwise, I'm done for the week!

Grocery budget left: $92.18

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Swagbucks...if you aren't signed up, why not?

Swagbucks. I cannot say enough good things about this program! Swagbucks is a program where you collect what are called "swagbucks", just by doing the everyday searches you normally do. You just search through their search engine, and you randomally earn swagbucks. If you get people to sign up under your name, you also earn the first 1000 swagbucks *they* earn. The points add up fast. Since I joined, I've earned enough to get $110 in Amazon gift cards and also got my son Microsoft Xbox Live points as a Christmas gift. They have all kinds of prizes you can redeem your swagbucks for...from gift cards to musical instruments to cash! I always cash my points in for the $5 Amazon gift takes 450 points for one gift card, and the gift cards can just sit in your Amazon account until you want to use them. With no one signed up under me, and only doing a few searches a day, I usually get enough swagbucks to get 1-2 Amazon gift cards a month. I'm planning on holding on to them all for bonus Christmas spending! If you'd like to sign up, please consider signing up under me!

Tuesday's food and our grocery budget

I'm going to write a daily post of what exactly we're eating, and how we're doing on the $20 a week grocery budget. The grocery budget includes all food plus any household needs...toilet paper, soap, shampoo, etc. I'm starting with $100 because I'm also including the first week of April in this month's budget. I also have about $16-17 of bottle returns that will add on to that.(I'm in Michigan, with the 10 cent deposit) This is feeding 6 of us. Me and my husband, a 12 year old girl, a 10 year old boy, a 7 year old boy, and a 4 year old girl. The oldest 3 eat lunch at school, but I *think* they all have enough $ in their accounts for the month. I really should check that. Today I'll also add in what we had yesterday, since yesterday was the first day of the month. I'm also going to keep a running total of our grocery budget.


breakfast - cereal and orange juice, plus applesauce for my son to take his meds.
lunch - tuna sandwiches, apples, carrot sticks, milk
dinner - Italian turkey sausage with green peppers and onions over whole wheat pasta and a tossed salad (the sausage will be free after I get my Jennie O rebate back!)
snacks - cheese and crackers, grapes, and popcorn
school snacks for the oldest 3 - granola bars and fruit roll ups


breakfast - oatmeal and orange juice
lunch - leftover sausage, peppers, and onions, husband also took leftovers to work
dinner - grilled chicken breast, roasted broccoli and carrots, rice pilaf
snacks - apples, granola bars
school snacks - banana muffins I made over the weekend

Grocery budget: $100

My March Budget...putting it all out there

We have been hit with a $2500 car repair bill this month, so this will be a complete no-spend month. The car will be sitting at the shop until we have the money, which will probably still be a couple of weeks. We have expenses coming up in April that I'd still like to have the money set aside for beforehand, without having to dip into the bonus my husband will be getting on April 9. My goal is to pay all we need to pay this month, plus have the extra we'll need for the first half of April...our 10 year old son is going to Italy with my brother, and I'd like to have all his spending money set aside on top of everything else. He leaves April 13, so we'll have the bonus in time, but I'd really like to have it way before that. We also will be spending the weekend before that in Chicago, which is where he's leaving from, so I'd like to also have the money for that, too. So here is the nitty gritty:

$2800 - my husband is paid twice more this month
$1004 - state tax refund
$877 - money back from our health savings account for dental work and glasses we got last month
$343 - balance in checking
$644 - balance in savings

$5668 - total in for the month

$2500 - estimate for car repair
$155 - motorcycle payment
$35 - credit card payment
$65 - Direct TV
$25 - flute payment
$700 - April mortgage
$207 - prescriptions
$99 - trash bill (6 month payment)
$488 - car insurance (6 month payment)
$211 - car registration and license renewal
$300 - gas (the dead car left us with the gas guzzling Durango for my husband's commute)
$130 - gas (house, our heat is gas)
$85 - electric
$75 - phone/internet

$5075 - total out

That leaves us $593 for everything else. I have given myself a $20 weekly grocery/household budget. I have both freezers full and a fairly nice stockpile, so this should be do-able. I'm counting it as $100, because I'm also including the first week of April in this budget. That takes us down to $493 for 5 weeks of incidentals...on paper it looks ok, as long as we stick to our no spend vow. However, this has to include Easter baskets, a school carnival, and a promise we made to the husband is taking the boys to a movie on Friday afternoon, and I'm taking my oldest daughter to the salon for her haircut. My son will also need some new shorts and a pair of shoes before his trip. It will be tight, but I think we'll make it. I also will obviously not have all I need for Chicago/Italy, but I'm going through all the clothes and stuff in the house and doing some long overdue listing on ebay and craigslist. I'll chronicle our daily journey on our month of being broke, including our daily menus. Cross your fingers nothing else comes up!

I have NOT disappeared off the face of the earth!

February turned into one of *those* months. Boy One came down with the flu, then Girl One, then Boy Two, then Girl One again. I managed to break a molar and had to get that taken out, and while he was in there, the Dentist decided to get rid of my last two wisdom teeth. The boys also started wrestling two nights a week, my birthday and Valentine's Day were both thrown in there, and I've continued to help my mother in law out with my father in law, who is very ill. I just haven't had the time to sit down! This month is not shaping up to be much better...we just found out yesterday that it will be costing us just under $2500 to get our car repaired. My husband works half an hour away, so 5 days a week I'm without a car. It will probably be another two weeks before we can afford to get the car back. I will be writing a whole other post on that situation later today, along with our budget plan for the month. It will definately be a challenge...this will most definately be a no-spend month, and I'm only going to have a $20 a week food/hba/paper product budget for the entire month. I'll be tracking what I spend, and how we're eating daily on here, to help me stay on track!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


I've made it my goal to get rid of 10 things each and every day. I chose this number because it gives me no excuse to not do it. In this house, I should be able to find 10 things right in front of me. As I'm doing this though, it looks like I haven't even made a dent. I got rid of 5 trash bags FULL of clothes and we still have too many. We just have too much. Too many clothes, too many toys, too many electronics *coughHusbandcough*...just too much everything. I look around and just get overwhelmed. I know what I need to do, but as I get overwhelmed, I just don't know where to start. I don't know what to do with it all. I need to fight the whole "but what if I need it someday" mentality, which does not come easy to my frugal, cheap self. I need to remember less is more. We will have more space, more time, and more peace in a less cluttered, simpler house. I'm not very good at holding myself accountable. I'm very good at making excuses and saying "I'll do it tomorrow". I'm also pretty good at believing my own excuses. I'm hoping by "putting it all out there" on this blog, it will make me accountable. I'm going to start posting pictures tomorrow. See how easy that "tomorrow" just rolled off my tongue? My camera is dead though, and the battery charger is in my husband's briefcase. I think that's a pretty excuse. I am, however, going to now get up off my butt and get rid of 10 things.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

I have been inspired

A couple of weeks ago I finally decided on a New Year's Resolution. I have actually done quite well with it, getting rid of more than my plan of 10 things a day. I would love to be able to say I'm making huge progress, but I started with the easiest, most obvious things and am not quite as proud of myself as I could be. I've been purging closets and dressers, and have taken 5 trash bags filled with clothes to Goodwill. I *am* proud that they actually have made it to Goodwill, and I'm also proud that I only set aside a few things to sell on eBay. I still have to list them, of course, so we'll see how long this pile of clothes sits next to my desk. My guess is that they will become next year's New Year's Resolution. *sigh* It's a start though, right?

I have a every day must read blog that has truly inspired me, A Slob Comes Clean. I am hoping she'll continue to inspire me every day. Maybe I'll even become as brave as she is and post pictures! If you haven't checked out her blog, do so. She's fantastically honest. Through her blog, I've discovered a decluttering challenge over at The Finer Things In Life which I think I'm finally determined enough to join. I'll keep you updated on my progress!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Meal Plan for the week 2/01 - 2/07

I still have quite a bit of food left in my freezers, so I'm working again this week on clearing some of it out. This should make my shopping light again this week, only needing fresh produce and milk!

Monday - Maple/soy glazed pork roast, mashed potatoes, corn

Tuesday - Chicken quesadillas with carrot and celery sticks

Wednesday - Hamburgers, oven fries, green salad

Thursday - Spaghetti, garlic bread, green salad

Friday - Thanksgiving dinner! Turkey, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, cranberry sauce

Saturday - leftovers

Sunday - We'll be gone to the family cousin's January birthday party. There are 9 kids on husband's side of the family, and 4 of them were born in January! One of them is mine, so I will be bringing one of the birthday cakes, and *something* else...haven't decided what yet!

Lunches again will be sandwiches, soup, and leftovers.

Breakfasts will be oatmeal, eggs, cereal, fruit, muffins.

I'm linking this up to Menu Plan Monday over at Go there to find more great menu ideas!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Stocking up again and saved 91%! Plus FREE CHEESE at Meijer!

So I *thought* I was completely stocked up on cheese, but Meijers has a deal today only that makes it free! They have Kraft cheese 3 for $5.00, get an instant $1 off at the register when you buy 3. It's working on multiples of 3 in each transaction, and today only (1/31), they still have the catalina printing for $5.00 off your next order when you buy 5, and the catalinas will roll (meaning you can use the coupon on your next cheese purchase and it will print a new one)! 6 bags or blocks of cheese. It will come to $10.00. The register will deduct $2.00 automatically ($1 for each of the purchase of 3), then use 3 $1 off 2 Kraft cheese coupons, which can be found here or in the 1/24 Smartsource insert. That will deduct another $3. You'll pay $5.00 the first time, but you can use the $5.00 coupon you get off each of your next orders, making all the others FREE, plus when you're done you'll still have a $5.00 coupon!! Hope that made sense!

So this morning I went to Target and Meijer.


2 bags of Hersheys Pieces - .24 cents each (they are $2.24...use the $1.00 off coupon from the 1/24 Smartsource insert plus the $1.00 off Target coupon here)

4 Digiornio pizzas $4.50-$4.00 coupon, making each one .50 cents! (I had these high dollar coupons left over from my Digiornio Houseparty...after everyone left I realized there were still a few coupons left!)

1 box Up trash bags...$2.62...I had a .75 cent off coupon I got in a mailer


30 bags/blocks of Kraft cheese

2 loaves bread .93 cents each

6 boxes Wheat Thins and Triscuits $1.88 on sale...I used 6 $1.00 one coupons from the 1/24 Smartsource and 2 $1.00 off 3 Meijer Mealbox coupons found here, making each box .55 cents

2 cans Kraft Parmesan cheese $2.99 and I used $1.00 off one found here so $1.99 each

1 Tropicana orange juice FREE! with a catalina coupon I had from a couple of weeks ago

5 Philadelphia cream cheese...just like the Kraft cheese deal above, but this one is a money maker! On sale for $1.25 each. Buy 5...use the $1 off 3 Meijer Mealbox coupon here and the $1 off 4 printable here

Sooo...altogether I spent $13.49 out of pocket and saved $136.78!!!

Monday, January 25, 2010

My meal plan 1/25 - 1/31

I went through my pantry and both freezers this weekend, and discovered I still have a ton of food left, even though I've been doing the pantry challenge! I'm going to work on using some more of it up this week, and will probably continue on for a couple more! Last week was crazy...on top of everything that we already had to do, I ended up with two sick kids, so last weeks meal plan got kind of messed up. I've moved a couple things from last week to this week.

Monday - Spinach stuffed chicken breasts, rice pilaf, steamed broccoli and cauliflower

Tuesday - BBQ Ribs, oven fries, green salad

Wednesday - Gyros, spinach pie, greek salad

Thursday - Whole roast chicken, mashed potatoes, green beans

Friday - Leftovers

Saturday - Roast pork loin, broccoli, glazed carrots

Sunday - Omelets (using up tidbits of leftovers) and fresh fruit

I don't plan lunches or breakfast by the day, but this is what we'll be eating throughout the week:

Lunches will be the usual...leftovers, sandwiches, salads, soup

Breakfasts will be cereal, oatmeal, eggs, fruit

I'm also doing a baking day tomorrow...banana bread, apple crisp, granola bars for school snacks, pumpkin muffins, and a coffee cake.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

I only spent $27.70 on groceries this week!

I got away with only spending $27.70 this week, and that included a birthday with school treats! I'm still doing the pantry challenge, and wouldn't have even spent this much this week, but my son decided that he wanted tacos at home for his birthday instead of going out. I ended up actually spending waaay less than we had planned for the week, because we'd told him we could go anywhere he wanted for his birthday! I love saving the money, and I suppose it's flattering, but I was really looking forward to a night off! Here's my rundown for the week:

Orchard Market (local chain)

6 lbs apples (for school treat and snacks) $3.00
2 Gallons milk $1.47 each
1 1/2 lbs ground beef $2.83
2 large tomatoes $1.55
1 dozen eggs $ .24 (YES! Less than a quarter!)


6 boxes cereal $ .99 each
12 cans Hunt's tomato sauce $3.00
6 tubs Quaker Oats $5.94
2 6-pk double rolls Quilted Northern $2.13 each

Total for the week...$27.70! I saved $33.28. My local store has a few internet printable coupons...they always have $1 off milk and $ .75 off eggs, which is how I'm always able to get milk and eggs so cheap! I also had Meijer Mealbox coupons for the Hunt's and the Quakers, plus a $2 coupon off my order from last week's shopping! I still have soooo much food in the house that I think I'm going to continue with the pantry challenge for the next few weeks!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Mini apple pies, I love you so...

I have a small, obsessive love of all things small. Especially if that something small is mini apple pies. My oldest son's birthday was yesterday. My baby boy hit the double digits and turned 10. He asked me to make my mini apple pies for his class treat. They are easy to make, but a little time consuming...I just use a basic pie crust recipe, and a basic apple pie filling recipe. The only change is to cut the apples into little tiny pieces. I use a mini muffin pan to bake them in, and a small glass to cut out the pie crust. (You could also use a round cookie cutter) Bake at 350 until golden took these about 25 minutes. For size reference, these are sitting in a 9x13 cake pan.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Out with the old

NOT in with the new. In an effort to simplify my house and life, I have been decluttering, which has seemed like a never ending task. So finally, on January 18th, I have come up with a New Year's Resolution! (Have I mentioned that I'm really good at procrastinating?) Starting today, I am vowing to throw away or donate 10 things from my house every single day. And blowing my nose and throwing away the tissue won't count. I'm talking things. Clothes that haven't fit anyone in 3 years, pieces of toys we got rid of years ago, sippy cups that haven't been used in two years, nursing supplies (my "baby" is 4!)....yes, we have all of that in the house, and more. I drive past Goodwill at least once a week, so every week I will take my donation pile and actually drop it off instead of letting it live in the back of the van.

This week's menu...1/18-1/24

This week is going to be relatively simple...I have a busy week ahead of me! My daughter's last game is today...she's a 7th grade cheerleader. My oldest son turns 10 on Thursday and he has chosen to bring my mini apple pies in to school for his birthday treat. They're easy, but time consuming so most of Wednesday will be spent making those. Add in two birthday parties, a couple of Doctor appointments, and the usual homework/running around, I won't have much time! I'm doing the pantry challenge this month, so I won't need to go grocery shopping, at least! I will have to make a run for milk, apples for the pies, and plain yogurt for gyro night, but that will be all my shopping!

Monday - taco salad with the leftover taco meat from a couple of days ago ( I switched up a couple of the days last week, and we had tacos on Saturday...I'm not actually feeding my family meat leftover from last Wednesday!)

Tuesday - gyros, spinach pie, and greek salad (the gyros are made with ground beef, but taste *exactly* like real gyro meat...I'll post the recipe on Tuesday!)

Wednesday - chicken/broccoli/peapod stirfry

Thursday - OUT! Birthday boy's choice. And birthday cake.

Friday - Baked chicken breast, glazed carrots, green beans

Saturday - Pizza pasta bake, green salad

Sunday - Chicken quesadillas

Sunday, January 17, 2010

This week's groceries...I saved 83%!

I don't shop like a normal person, so this by no means is what we are eating this week. I coupon and shop sales and stockpile when I find a great price. I also like having a lot of everything we could possibly need in this house, so if something happens we don't have to go out for it. This has come in really handy when we've been snowed in! I have plenty of meat, veggies and fruit, some freezer meals I've made, and bread in the freezer. I've been doing a "eat from the pantry" challenge this month, but only half assed. I do that as it is on my own in December, so we were running low on some stuff. I've given myself a budget of $50 a week to round out what I have. So now here is a rundown of what I got this week (all of it was from Meijers).

1 2 liter of Mt Dew
5 Betty Crocker cake mixes
1 big jar applesauce
1 box of decongestants (I include all toiletries, OTC meds, etc in my food budget)
12 bottles of Wishbone salad dressing
12 cans Spaghetti O's
6 Digiornio pizzas (FREE! thanks to Houseparty, which I'll discuss in a seperate post)
9 boxes of Lance cheese sandwich crackers
1 bag pretzels
7 tubs Betty Crocker frosting
4 cans of coffee
4 Betty Crocker Supreme brownie mix
16 bags of Chex Mix
8 jars of Skippy peanut butter
5 bags of Dole romaine lettuce
8 boxes Green Giant frozen veggies
51 Fruit Roll Ups (yes, that says 51)
20 blocks of Kraft cheese

I spent a total of $ before sales and coupons was $376.63!!! And before I get grief for the crap I bought, those fruit roll ups and the crackers will last until the end of the school year for lunch box treats and school snacks for all 3 of my school age kids! They also take fresh fruit, string cheese, granola bars (which I make), muffins, etc. This is not all I feed my family, lol! I'm also aware I went over my $50 budget, but I shouldn't be spending more than $10 next week, so it will even out!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Groceries and Insurance

Had a great shopping day at Meijers, which I will go into detail with tomorrow. Then I went to pick up the Adderall my 7 year old son was prescribed today. $154.00. *thud* And that's *with* our insurance. Good thing I shop cheap for food, or we'd be starving.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Planning, Organization, and Procrastination

So I'm sure it doesn't take most people 42 years to figure this one out, but I'm not most people. I have a problem with lack of planning and organization, and am the Queen of Procrastination. I have spent years living in the moment, not worrying/thinking about tomorrow, and back when I was in college and in my single days, it seemed to serve me well. I prided myself on being spontaneous. I abhorred planning for *anything*. I liked to be open to anything. Case in point...when I was 24 I was lucky enough to be able to travel to Australia with a friend of mine. We didn't plan farther ahead than having our plane land in Sydney. Where would we stay? Who knows! We'll figure it out when we get there! And it worked, and worked well. We were standing in line to exchange enough money at the airport to get a taxi into town and were approached by a man who happened to own a youth hostel. We were able to stay in our own huge room with kitchenette for $8 a night, plus they gave us a ride back to the airport when we left.

So what does this have to do with my life today? Well it seems that this attitude, and this lack of planning does not serve me well now. That load of clean laundry that would be so easy to put away when it's just one load? Not so easy when I put it off and it becomes 5 baskets of clean clothes that I have to scramble to search through to find matching socks for my son when he informs me that his sock drawer is empty, 5 minutes before the bus comes. You would think I would have figured this out before now, and I have. And then I forget how much easier it made my life and let the laundry sit again. I need to remember it every day.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Meal Plan for the week

I'm partly following a pantry challenge for the month, but am slightly low on some things because every year I do a mostly eat from the pantry month in December. Mainly because the last place I want to be in December is the store. I worked retail for many, many, many years and got my fill of Christmas shopper crazy on me. Or maybe it was just a couple of years but felt like a lifetime. So while I'm still mainly doing pantry eating, I do have a budget of no more than $50 a week to add to what I have already.

Monday...ate at McDonald's (this was planned...the kids all had gift cards they got for Christmas...dinner was on them!)

Tuesday...Roast chicken with roasted potatoes and carrots, tossed salad, and yeast rolls

Wednesday....Taco night

Thursday....Leftover chicken, steamed broccoli, rice

Friday...Spaghetti, salad, garlic bread

Saturday....Grilled cheese and tomato soup

Sunday....Pancakes, sausage, fresh fruit

Lunches will be leftovers or sandwiches (it's usually just me and my 4 year old during the week), breakfast is cereal, eggs, or oatmeal. Snacks are fruit, popcorn, cheese and crackers, toast, yogurt.

Me, Myself, and I

Instead of a few concrete New Year's Resolutions that I would probably break before the groundhog sees his shadow, I decided this year would be different. For a while now, I have been getting antsy. Like something's just not right in my life, or not all it could be. I'm not unhappy, but I just feel like for years now I've been searching. For what, I don't know. Or I should say, didn't know. I've recently realized that, buried beneath four kids and a husband and a house and a mortgage, I somewhere along the way lost me. I stay at home with my kids, and while I love it and am so very thankful that we're in a position for me to do so, my life has become so routine, I have forgotten all the little things that make life an adventure. I've come to the conclusion that one of the things that will help me bring creativity and me back into my life is organization, which I'm sorely lacking on. It sounds so condradictory (is that even a word?), but by reorganizing it all, things will be streamlined enough to find space for me. My goal this year is to do an entire makeover...of my house, my routines, and my life. I have the best kids I could hope for, and the best husband I could have dreamed of...I owe it to them to give the best me I have.