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