Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Pancakes and ...

Breakfast today was Whole Wheat Banana Pancakes and milk. I made some substitutions to the above recipe according to what I had on hand. I used whole wheat flour in place of whole wheat pastry flour. For the milk, I put a couple tablespoons of lemon juice in the measuring cup and then added milk to make two cups. Finally, I used canola oil in place of the olive oil. As I was pouring the oil into the batter, I realized that I could have used apple sauce. As the first set was coming off the griddle, I realized that I hadn’t used any sugar. I double checked the recipe and guess what? It doesn’t call for sugar! We taste tested one of the pancakes and it was good without sugar! The kids and I each had three pancakes (~4 in.) and I had four left to freeze for later. The recipe will feed all eight of us without doubling it. Next time, we want to try it with apple sauce in place of the oil.

For lunch today, I transferred some navy beans I cooked in my Crock-Pot overnight to a pan on the stove. I added some mixed veggies, sliced (coin shaped) smoked sausage, salt, pepper, and garlic salt. I brought this mixture to a boil then added some wide whole wheat noodles. I cooked this for another eight to ten minutes and lunch was ready. Everyone had seconds.

Supper will be at my parent’s house tonight.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Twodays' Meals

Yesterday, after church, we stopped by Kroger to get our papers. The kids and I decided we wanted pizza for lunch , so we decided to buy frozen ones that I knew were on sale so we could eat sooner. I had wanted to spend some more at Kroger this month anyway. We have been stocking up this month and I want to get my fuel discount as high as possible. I didn’t have my coupons with me, so I chose to buy items that were a good price that I didn’t have coupons for anyway. My fuel discount is now $0.70 off per gallon.

Here is what we got for just over $40.

2 papers

~ 17 lbs of meat for our freezer ( I don’t like to spend more than $2/lb. I spent $1.28-$1.49/lb.)

2 pizzas (part of a buy 8 items/get $4 off deal)

6 2lb. bags of frozen veggies (part of the above sale + I used 2 coupons from a dispenser for $1 off 3)

I forgot to buy the garlic bread we are supposed to take to my parents’ house Tuesday, so I may have to go back. I could make it myself, but we’re going on a long trip soon and I really want a bigger fuel discount. Purchases I make on sale items now will be purchases I won’t have to make at regular prices later when money may be tight.

Sunday’s meals

Breakfast - instant oatmeal (Thanks, Sis!)

Lunch - salad, pizza

Snacks - at church

Supper - fish sticks, corn

Today’s meals

Breakfast - cold cereal, milk

Snack - Colby cheese and Club crackers (Thanks, Sis!)

Lunch - Lasagna Hamburger Helper, French cut green beans

Snacks - Cuties (M. oranges) or orange juice, peanut butter on a spoon (while watching how peanut butter is made on TV)

Supper - Meat loaf, baked potatoes, carrots, apple sauce

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Menu Plan

I don's always make a menu plan. When I do make a plan, I don't always make it meal-by-meal and day-by-day specific. If I specify too much, I end up changing things around anyway. Some days just don't go as planned. Other days, I'm just not in the mood to make a particular food or I want to make another. So basically, this is a list of my options for the next week or two.


cold cereal and milk
orange juice



pork chops, hamburger, chicken (various kinds), smoked sausage, fish, tuna salad, egg salad, boiled eggs, peanut butter, walnuts, dry beans, lentils


milk, yogurt, cheese (various kinds), ice cream [I also get other foods that have Calcium. There is some lactose intolerance in our home.]


frozen - broccoli; corn; French style green beans; peas; peas and carrots; broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots in cheese sauce; carrots; stir-fry veggies; and three pepper and onion blend

carrots, potatoes, green cabbage, purple cabbage, lettuce, salad mix, canned tomatoes, chili ready canned tomatoes, Rotel, onions, tomato paste, spaghetti sauce


raisins, Cuties (Mandarin oranges), canned Mandarin orange sections, pineapple, chopped dates, applesauce, apples, tomato juice, frozen peaches and blackberries (I might save these last two until Jon gets home and make a pie and cobbler.)


various pastas, Hamburger Helper, brown rice, white rice, popcorn, white and whole wheat flour, flour tortillas, bread, corn muffin mix, barley

Snacks and Desserts:

I have plenty of items for this category, but I won't list them now.

Today's Meals

breakfast: cold cereal with milk

snack: kids - yogurt tubes, me - yogurt cup with All-Bran Bran Buds (sample from the mail)

lunch: peanut butter and jelly, carrot sticks, applesauce, tea

supper: tacos and/or taco salad, chips and salsa, tea

K-mart and CVS

Birdie and Monkey had an overnighter at church last night. Little Bear and I went to pick them up this morning and then we stopped by a couple stores we didn't' get to last night, since we could go to them without going out of our way too much.

K-mart had the dog food we buy on sale for $18 for 40lbs. We usually get it at Wal-mart for $19 or $20. I also had a coupon for $2 off, so we got our dogs' food for $16. I won't need to buy dog food for a month and a half now, since we still have around 20lbs. left from the last time I bought it.


Kleenex $0.97 each and I had a coupon for $0.50 off three

VO5 shampoo and conditioner $0.77 each

CVS body wash $1.77 I had a coupon CVS sent me via e-mail to get this free. I got $1.99 off.

Colgate $3.99 I had a coupon for $1.00 off, and I got $3.99 bucks back.

I used a $2.99 Bucks Back coupon.

subtotal = $3.73

sales tax (7%) = $0.58

I paid $4.31 and got a $3.99 Bucks Back coupon.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Financial Friday: Making Sacrifices to Get Out of Debt

For a while, I avoided those center aisles in the grocery store. Recently, I have gone back to them. While I still pick and choose to try to provide the healthiest options I can for my family, I am taking advantage of cheap options to free up more funds for getting out of debt. Some things like Hamburger Helper, Betty Crocker potatoes and some other items have made it back into our menu, when I can get them for the right price.

I use a couple online sites to load coupons to my Kroger Plus card: Cellfire and Shortcuts. Say I load a coupon for Yoplait yogurt. When I purchase the yogurt at Kroger using my Plus card, the amount of the coupon is automatically deducted from my order. I can also use a traditional paper coupon for the same item, increasing my savings. Not only that, but I will wait until that yogurt is on sale to use the coupons.

Where do I get my paper coupons? I get some from the Sunday paper. We don't subscribe to the paper but we will buy a couple copies on Sundays for the coupons. We more than make up for the cost of the papers by using the coupons. Some other sources for coupons are online sources
( www.redplum.com, www.smartsource.com, www.pillsbury.com, etc.), in freebie packages, in/on the items themselves, and from the coupon dispensers at stores. I haven't tried buying any from e-Bay yet. I have participated in a coupon train before.

One area of caution is that not all stores in all areas will accept coupons printed from a computer. Some people can use these coupons at their local Wal-mart, but my local Wal-mart will not accept them.

today's breakfast: cold cereal and milk

today's lunch: chicken, rice, and stir fry vegetables with teriyaki sauce

today's afternoon snack: Tricuits with Colby cheese

I have to go scan the loss leader adds and then I'll be back later to report on my meal plan and shopping trip.


I'm tired so I'll make this short. The only store we ended up making any purchases from tonight was Kroger. There were so many good deals, that I passed by some.

total number of items purchased = 77

balance = $96.50

manufacturer coupon savings = $24.55

bonus coupon savings = $6.03

store coupon & Kroger Plus Card savings = $55.57

total coupons = $86.15

total savings = 47%

My cupboards, which were nearly bare in January and February, are now bursting. I'm stocked up on several items.

I haven't made up my menu yet. I'll do that tomorrow.

Today's supper was carry-out pizza that we ate in between stops. I had promised that we would have pizza since Birdie and Monkey would have it at their over-nighter. I got carry out to save my sanity and so we wouldn't have to go home between dropping the girls off and grocery shopping.


I finally went to the store, yesterday. I did. The children stayed in the van listening to music and reading a HARDY BOYS book while I ran in and grabbed a gallon of milk for them to take to their grandma's for supper. Yes, that's all I got, one gallon of milk for $2.28.

Earlier in the day, some of the children and I did go into a Family Dollar just to price check, while we were in the area. We didn't buy anything.


We started our day out with muffins that I made using some leftover oatmeal, applesauce in place of oil, and orange juice in place of the milk. I portioned out the batter, came up with twenty muffins and added a little more to each cup to use up the batter. Silly me, I should have squeezed another muffin cup onto the tray. So, the children and I each had two muffins for breakfast.

Before we left for Homeschool P. E., I gave the children another muffin as a snack. Nothing we had on hand that was quick sounded good to me, so I didn't snack. Big mistake! By the time we left Homeschool P. E., I could barely stay on my feet, and boy was I irritable! I was nervous about driving home in my condition, so we went through a McDonald's drive through and I bought seven McDoubles for $7.oo. We parked near the Family Dollar and after we ate our burgers, four of us went in to price check.

Once we got home, I fixed egg salad and made sandwiches with toast.

I ate supper at my Life Group.

The children fix their supper on Thursday nights. They took Hamburger Helper Cheeseburger Macaroni (double box), two pounds of ground beef, frozen French style green beans (Little Bear will eat these but fights eating snapped green beans), a can of pineapple chunks, some Grands biscuits, the milk, and place and bake chocolate chip cookies to fix at their grandma's place. When I picked the children up, I found out they only fixed one of the sets of H.H. They have one left to use another week. There were also leftovers for Jon's mom to eat this week. Huh? They should have made both sets. I guess they were alright though. They didn't even ask for a bedtime snack.

Jon has been in Pennsylvania this week, we've had dishwasher issues, and I have been so busy that I still don't have my menu and shopping plan reading for this week. I hope to finish my plans before I have to take Birdie and Monkey to their I.A.H. overnighter tonight, so the rest of us can go grocery shopping.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

A night like this...

...is a night I wouldn't normally post. It's just a blah night. This should be short.

I did get the stock strained and the chicken picked out. I did make the chicken pot pie. However, I took a nap this afternoon and ended up starting dinner too late. The pot pie was done six minutes before we needed to leave for church and it was HOT. So, I put it back in the oven at a low temp hoping it wouldn't be overdone when we got home.

I noticed a little while ago that I forgot about my potato water. I'll have to see if it is still good tomorrow. Maybe, I'll use it tomorrow? Thursdays are crazy busy for us. I'll have to wait and see.

Breakfast: cold cereal with a little milk (We were running out.)

Lunch: fish portions; applesauce; and lots of broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots with cheese sauce

Snack before church: Triscuits and orange juice (calcium fortified)

Supper: chicken pot pie

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

We took it pretty easy today.

Breakfast was cold cereal with milk and orange juice. Snack was Triscuits with Colby cheese and pepperoni. Lunch was peanut butter and jelly with applesauce. Supper was at Frisch's with my parents. Other than some of us eating slaw at supper, our day was pretty much veggie free. We'll have to load up on vegetables tomorrow.

I didn't get the stock strained today. I ran out of time. It's in the fridge, and I'll have to take the time tomorrow. We're supposed to be having chicken pot pie for supper, so I have to do it.

Monday, March 22, 2010

A Day of Homemade Yum

Breakfast: homemade raisin, date, and walnut oatmeal

Lunch: roasted (in my Crock Pot) chicken, broccoli and cheese sauce (not homemade), biscuits (not homemade)

After I got most of the meat from the chicken, I put the bones, skin, the onion I had stuffed in the chicken's cavity, a bit of white vinegar, and some water back in the pot with the broth. As the day went on, I added veggie scraps (carrot peels, potato peels, green cabbage, purple cabbage, and onion) to the "stock" pot.*

At lunch, I asked the kids what they wanted for supper. The answer? Bread bowls with cheesy potato soup like my mom makes. I don't have any Velveeta in the house. It was $5 last time I was at the store! I will not pay that! Anyway, I started brainstorming and came up with an idea for a new recipe. Wha-ha-ha, my children were my guinea pigs!

Supper: brewed iced tea
homemade bread bowls

Tuna Chowder (This recipe fed me and the kiddos.)
  • 7 all-purpose potatoes
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 1 large carrot diced
  • 1 can evaporated milk
  • 2 cans tuna in water
  • ~2-4 T butter
  • salt, pepper, and garlic powder (or a clove of garlic) to taste
Peel and chop the potatoes and put in a pot with some water. Cook until tender.

Peel and dice the onion and carrot while the potatoes are cooking.

Drain the potatoes in a colander over a bowl to reserve the water. Leave the potatoes in the colander until you are ready for them. Melt the butter in your potato pan, then add the onions and carrots.

Add the salt, pepper, and garlic and cook (and stir) the vegetables until the onions are starting to caramelize and the carrots are tender crisp. Drain the tuna part way (I gave the water to our cats later) and add it to the veggies. Add the milk and a little water to rinse the can out. Add the potatoes back to the pot. Cook to desired consistency adding potato water* as needed. I served this in bread bowls with a sprinkle of mild cheddar cheese on top.

So what did my guinea pigs think? They all gave as many thumbs and spoons up as they could while not missing a bite. Froggie asked if I would make it for supper tomorrow night!

*I'll strain the stock and pick the meat out of it tomorrow.

**I saved the rest of the potato water and I plan to use it to make bread tomorrow.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

I'm exhausted!

Last night, after a very long day, I got about six hours of sleep. I put my C-PAP on, turned off the light, laid down, and didn't move until my alarm went off. Literally! I rolled over to stretch and my new mattress with it's individually wrapped coils had an indention from where I never moved. That may sound great, but my back and neck suffered. I woke up stiff from not moving in my sleep.

Normally, I take a nap on Sunday afternoons. There was just too much I had to do to fit one in today. I still have more I need to do tonight before I retire. Then, I have to get up early tomorrow in case a repair person shows up early.

Another thing that has me ragged is that my blood sugar or something was off today. The kids and I didn't get in as many small meals as we should have. We never seem to on Sundays.


Me: coffee with a little sugar and flavored coffee creamer, strawberry yogurt with bran flakes,
orange juice (with calcium), and a banana

Kids: "breakfast split" (1/2 banana sliced in half and then lengthwise, strawberry yogurt, bran
flakes), orange juice

Lunch (While I was fixing lunch, we each ate two granola and nut clusters, since I was crashing.)

spaghetti with tomato and basil sauce and a sprinkle of grated Parmesan
tossed salad with cheddar cheese and choice of dressing
choice of pop

[various snacks at evening church]


smoked sausage, three pepper (red, green, and yellow bell) and onion blend, and rice with a bit of quesadilla cheese
water for the kids
tea for me

I fixed a freezer meal from both lunch and dinner for Jon to take to work at a later date.

I had way too many simple carbs at breakfast and not enough complex carbs. Breakfast did not stay with me through Sunday school and church.

I can't even think straight so, I'd better get a chicken in the crock pot, get my work done for the day, and go to bed. Maybe I can relax some tomorrow.

Sorry, the spacing is off on this, but I'm just too tired to fix it.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Get Ready to Save

Heidi at The Frugal Girls has her "Sunday Coupon Preview: Sneak Peek at Inserts!" post up.

One coupon I'm looking forward to is "Fleischmann’s Yeast, strip or jar Save $.40/1 (6/6)" from the Smartsource coupon insert. The will double at Kroger making the yeast much more affordable. If you are planning on making homemade bread this next week and don't have yeast on hand, this can help get you by. I'll post how I get my yeast in a later post.

Heidi also has links for sites that you can print coupons from. Kroger and Meijer will accept these coupons in our area, but Wal-mart will not.

Thank you, Heidi!

Also check out Cellfire and Shortcuts . After registering, you can load coupons to your Kroger Plus (or affiliate) shopper's card. When you use your shopping card at the register, the coupon discounts automatically come off your order. You can use paper coupons on the same products and they still work.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Exploring A Store

We stopped by Aldi's while we were in the area today.

I did pick up some of the tuna in water for $0.49 each and some garlic powder (5.5 oz.) for $1.07. We paid $3.05 and walked out of the store with four cans of tuna and a jar of garlic powder. While there were a few good deals, most of the prices were comparable to or more than Kroger brand and Kroger Value brand prices. I can sometimes get the name brand item for less than the store brand by using coupons at Kroger and Kroger sends me coupons to use on their brand items.

Aldi's only takes a debit card as a debit card, so we have to use cash if we shop there. We refuse to use our check card as a debit card because we do not want to pay a fee each time we use it. When we use our check card as a credit card, there is no fee.

I wasn't impressed enough to shop at Aldi's regularly. Shopping there would add another stop to my circuit and more time to my trip for very minimal to no savings. It just wouldn't be worth it for me, especially on days I have to take all the children with me.

***Thank you Monkey for coming up with the title for this post!***

More Posts In The Future

I have not taken the time to post for quite some time. Yeah, it has been over a month. That may change soon. A friend of mine has asked me to do some posts on meal planning and saving money on groceries. So, after a day or two I should be starting that series. Just how it will play out is yet to be decided.

On another topic, we have been able to replace some things that have been breaking down and wearing out around here. We now have a new upright freezer, a new mattress and box spring, a new microwave, and Jon and the boys are out right now picking up our new dishwasher.

Our old freezer's seal would not seal. Within a couple days of the last time I defrosted it, the frost on the top shelf was pushing the door open. We used duct tape and the lock to keep it closed. I can finally stock my freezer back up! I didn't dare before.

The girls got our old mattress and box spring to share (the older girls switch between an A-frame bunk and the bed underneath. Our old queen size replaces their old full size (which also used to be ours) that was falling apart. We are sleeping a lot better these days.

Our old microwave, which was not very old, just quit working one day a while back. It was strange because we really don't use a microwave very much. We've had it since Monday and I just used it for the first time to warm up some leftovers for a snack today.

The dishwasher that came with our house just redistributes the soil on the dishes. We have had to rewash many dishes after they have gone through the dishwasher. Most of the time we just wash the dishes by hand just to avoid the frustration. However, our other six dishwashers do not work very well either. Time I spend on dishes or supervising the dishes is not available to spend on other things. Our hope is that having a new dishwasher will lighten the work load a little.

We are really enjoying our new additions to our home. I can hardly wait to try out the new dishwasher. I hope the children will be excited about it for a while as well. Enough excitement to get them into a habit of helping more with the dishes would be wonderful!

I am thinking about taking a tour of Aldi's soon. I keep hearing that people save a lot by shopping there, but I'm skeptical. The last time we shopped there we did not find much that was a better price. The prices I was able to find online were not better prices with the exception of tuna for $0.49 . If I make it to Aldi's, I'll post about my experience.