Monday, April 30, 2007

It's still cheaper than eating out.

Yeah, I admit it. I use convenience foods.

I bought a package of bread machine bread mix from the grocery store. I don't have a bread maker but I used the conventional method on the side. It was the same price as a loaf of pre-sliced. But, I was craving the taste of homemade. So, I've got a rising pan of bread dough sitting on the stove.
To accompany our bread, I'm making vegetable pot pie with a bag of morningstar vegetarian'chicken' strips. I'll be the first to tell you that these meat alternative foods are studpidly expensive. So, I always use coupons. I do the meat as a addition rather than the main dish trick too most of the time (the exception is the pot pie and when I make 'meat'loaf).
But, the pot pie is worth it. I use the bisquick (using Aldi brand baking mix) recipe for impossibly easy chicken pot pie.
And I found a jar of spiced apple rings in our pantry that have been forlornly sitting there for months. Time to get them out and try them.

And for dinner... a few Chips Ahoys from the on sale for dollar bag that my mom gave us yesterday.

So, not completely from scratch... but, homemade enough for me. And I don't have to tip anyone afterwards.

Monday Pick me up.

Weekend Recap:

We didn't get as much done as I'd hoped.
I got out of bed at six on Saturday while everyone was still snoozing and snuck off to a garage sale. Garage sale pet peeve of mine... non-priced merchandise. I don't always feel like haggling. I just want to know what something is priced so that I can move on or at least know where I can start to haggle.
It was a fund raising garage sale for a boy scout troop so there was lots of good stuff. I came away with a rug that I'd been wanting for the kid's play room. It was the kind with roads and houses that you can roll mini cars on. I've priced them before and I wasn't about to spend 50 dollars for a new one. I found one that was in pretty good shape and offered 3 dollars for it.
And I picked out one shirt for my daughter that was in good shape. It was a quarter. So, I think it was worth my time even if it was frustrating.

After a late breakfast of homemade doughnuts (cheap Aldi biscuits fried and rolled in sugar/cinnamon), orange slices and scrambled eggs, I was finally able to get my sleepy headed family out of the door. We ate lunch out at Casa Gallardo. It was good but there was no coupon and it's always annoying to think about how much cheaper you could have eaten at home. Then we ran through a Goodwill and I picked out a pair of overalls for the baby for winter. They were on sale for .50.
And for a special treat hubby took us all to see 'Night at the Museum' at the cheap theater. It was nine dollars for tickets for all of us. But, of course my daughter is a little spoiled and we don't go to the theater often so I bought her a small popcorn (no soda, I couldn't justify the expense) when she asked for it. If I had known we would be going to a movie later I would have prepacked my bag with snacks and drinks.
I enjoyed the movie a lot. And the baby and four year old were pretty well behaved.
Then, as we were leaving the theater baby decides to puke up the entire contents of his stomach (he'd just had a full bottle) over his daddy's shoulder. We're talking projectile all over the lobby theater carpet, my shoes and Daddy's shirt. Poor guys.
So, my little sweetie was sick for the next few hours and threw up again after his next bottle. And he had a little fever.
And my sweet husband had to drive home shirtless (he was so embarrassed). I'm glad he was the one puked on instead of me though. I don't think I could drive home in my bra.

I though our plans for driving to my mom's house (an hour and half away) were foiled with the baby being sick, but, my mother didn't care. She just wanted to see her grandkids -and- have my husband fix her computer.
We were there all day long. Turns out that she needed a new router and I was once again reminded that I don't want to get a windows machine.

But, we didn't come away from Grandma's empty handed. She's gotten into the habit of buying extra peanut butter and spaghetti sauce when it's on a cherry picking sale (.99). There are no cherry picking deals in St. Louis is seems. So, I came home with three jars of Kroger peanut butter, a shirt for my 4 year old and two shirts for my baby. She can't resist buying my children clothes and I guess since they are her only grandchildren that makes sense.

I have a ton of chores to do and nowhere to go today so I guess I'd better get started.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Recipe: Something to try BEM cake

This came from the dollar stretcher when I was looking for depression era recipes.

BEM CAKE (aka Butterless, Eggless, Milkless Cake)

* 1c seeded raisins, boiled in 2c water until 1c water remains
* 1c sugar
* 2T shortening
* 2t cinnamon
* 1t nutmeg
* 1t baking soda
* 2c flour

Mix ingredients thoroughly, bake in a 325-350 degree oven until toothpick comes out clean.

Every Little Bit

It's back to our weekly grind after a long relaxing weekend where we didn't really get much done. Got the truck fixed after a radiator hose broke. It needs to be sold before insurance is due and inspections are due. It's wasting money when we don't need it. Three cars is excessive.
I took my four year old for a developmental screening. She's ahead in most everything except writing her name which is a frustration because she isn't ready to really learn how to write. She's resistant.
My Mom and Dad came up for a visit so we were able to put up some much needed curtains in the downstairs toy room/office (dining room). They look really good. I bought them on clearance at Wal-Mart for 4.50 a panel. The rod was 8 bucks at Big Lots. So, I got a nice window treatment for 17.00. Not too bad for someone who can't sew.
The next room I want to tackle (decorate)is my son's. I have an old wooden rod with attached screw nobs that we've moved from house to house. It's bright blue. So, I need to have hubby cut it down and I bought a can of apple green spray paint to cover the ugly blue. Baby's room is a nice creamy yellow. I think it will look nice. I have a bunch of baby room valances so I don't know what I will go with... 70's Winnie the Pooh, A pastel yellow and green with mice, Noah's Ark.. and I can make one too with fabric glue and a scrap of baby fabric that I grabbed out of the clearance bin at Wal-Mart.
And I bought some Dinosaur wall stickers to put on his wall too. They are going to be really cute.
Today at Wal-mart I also picked up a set of ten free digital prints. The coupon was from a box of pop tarts a year ago and I nagged Hubby to get them done on the expiration date. So, now I have some pictures of the kids birthday parties to put in my cheapie scrapbook.. whenever I get the time.
I also picked out a lampshape to replace the broken one on a nice lamp my Mom gave me in our tv room. It wasn't on sale but, it looks nice so I'm keeping it. And in the clearance aisle.. I snatched up an area rug that is really nice for our foyer. It's 3x5 and was on sale for 25 dollars. I've been looking on Freecycle for a nice rug but I never like any of them, they go too fast or they have stains. So, I splurged and I'm pleased with the results.
Oh, and I found a really nice soft long sleeved tee for Baby that has a snowboarding wolf on it. He'll wear it next winter. It was 2 bucks. It was worth it to me since garage sales here are expensive and our local Good Will has almost no good kids clothes.
Then onto the library with the kiddos to pick out videos, books and a book on tape for Hubby. I love the library! Daughter is saving her Muppets Show video to watch with her Daddy.
And since tomorrow is snack day/helper day at preschool we stopped by Aldi to pick up some supplies. We decided on graham crackers, fruit and milk.
I have a ton of laundry to do so I'd better be off. I love doing laundry.
It's one chore I don't dread.
I've been using some All that I bought on super clearance at Target (3.50 for 200 oz's) with a .50 coupon. And Ensueno fabric softener. It's a Mexican brand that I get at Shop N Save. It's 2.09 for a decent sized bottle and has a nice scent. But, I can't find coupons for it.

Oh yeah, I better go do laundry and assemble our bean burritos and tomato slices for dinner. After dinner tonight we're going to K-Mart. Hubby found some stuff in their add this week that he wants to check out. Who am I to stop him from shopping? Besides, I might find something too. K-Mart has really good clearance prices.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Garage Sale ennui

Yesterday was the big garage sale day in my neighborhood. And I felt little need to participate. I started gathering piles of my own stuff thinking that I would perhaps have my own sale, but it didn't work out. Hubby's truck broke down (the one we need to sell). Daughter couldn't miss her development assessment at her preschool. And I still haven't figured out quite how to make a table out of the door that I had Hubby pick up from the curb. It was marked 'free' and I knew it would come in handy for something. But, we have no saw horses as he threw out the ones that we'd curb shopped (that were in bad shape but, still a little useful) when we moved. So, I have piles and pricing stickers and I'm thinking of being very prepared in August when we have our Fall garage sale. And I was kinda sad that I had no takers for the free box I put on the lawn. Perhaps I will have to try Freecycle.
Oh well.
And I don't have a list in my head of things to buy anyway. I normally try to buy clothes that the kids will grow into but, I've done that so much already there is no room for more. I almost have no clue how much I've gotten stockpiled for my son. Which is not a good way to help us save money.
So, really the only thing would perhaps be leotards and dance wear for my daughter. And those really aren't necessary when she can wear a t-shirt and shorts. Although the other mothers put their children in glittery swimsuit looking leotards, which I think is kinda silly for three and four year old children. This isn't the olympics.
But, our daughter was slightly upset when we didn't stop by any garage sales yesterday. She loves to explore all the different toys. It's like going to a toy store except that sometimes she actually gets us to buy her something.
So, no great tales of garage sale gleanings. But, perhaps I should pat myself on the back for abstaining from one more way to spend our money.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Concessions of a Bargain shopaholic

Today is that one special day a week when for two whole glorious hours I don't have any children to tend. I have a sitter (major spoils for me since I'm a stay at homer) one day a week so that I can help with preschool, go to dr's appointments, clean and just have a small break from my wee one and get quality time with my eldest. My husband is an angel because he doesn't bat an eye at this weekly expense. I think I must be a nicer wife after my 'day off'.
Ok, I needed to do chores... but, I had so many little things I wanted to buy from this store or that store. Two friends are having babies in June so I wanted to buy little things to give them. I had a lampshade that I had to return to Big Lots so I took a little tour through their store to see what I could see. Into the cart went Carters onesies, carters socks, Buster Brown booties, clearance Little Tykes dipes and pull ups (for my own children), Evenflo pacifiers, and I found a cute little basket to put baby boy stuff in.
After a quick tour of the food section I found some Nescafe Cafe Con Leche instant drink mix for 1.99. I'm a sucker for coffee flavored things as long as they are coffee with something else. The Nescafe tastes great with a small sprinkle of Trader Joe's Free Trade Cocoa. And it is totally just as good as a 4 dollar latte from Starbucks.
After picking up my preschooler I took her out for a special mommy/daughter lunch. We brought home the leftovers so we have a lunch tomorrow too. I was so proud of her. She ordered her own lunch and behaved so well at the table too.
Then we went to Dollar Tree... one of my favorite stores. I never leave there empty handed. I bought gift lotion/wash sets and Care Bear wipes for the baby gifts. I treated my girl to a Shrek swimming pool ring and a cartoon video. I bought my darling a cd I thought he'd like.
After getting home and assembling the baby gifts, I have to say they look quite nice. It's something I would have been pleased to receive when I was pregnant. And now that I'm done with the baby gifts
I have no excuses to go shopping for this or that.
Next week I think the only thing I will have to buy is milk and snacks to take to preschool.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Frugal Goodness

Baby and I had a nice jaunt to Aldi's. Grapefruit for hubby was 19 cents each there.. it's a dollar apiece at the regular grocery) to buy my weekly groceries. 27.50 for two loaves of whole wheat bread, fruit, frozen fruit bars, ketchup, canned soups, tortillas, tortilla chips, some fresh flowers, and other misc. things.
Then we stopped by another neighbors garage sale and I bought two summer shortalls for baby( .75 and 1.00) , some nautical decor for the upstairs bathroom, some training pants for baby, and a 'new' puzzle to gift my Mother in Law with.

There is some debate on whether or not it is ok to gift someone with non new presents. You know what? I base it on the person. And if it is new in the package then I don't tell them anyway. But, my mother in law is a major tightwad so I know she won't mind a used puzzle. Anyway, I've already bought her a book on homemaking and homesteading.
Must feed the baby before I pick up his sister from preschool.

Stupid Frugality and Cheap in the kitchen.

I constantly have to remind myself that just because something is on a good sale does not mean I need it.

Our neighborhood is having a garage sale today. Except for a handful of nickels and pennies, I cleaned out my wallet buying things at a neighbor's sale. I'm new here. I'm trying to make nice. And even though her stuff was priced more than I wanted to pay, I couldn't see asking for a discount. So, we paid 3 dollars for an Elmo's world toy for my 4 year old. And 9.50 for a big stroller with cupholders etc. I didn't really need the stroller because we have two umbrella strollers (one bought new from a thrift store, one from freecycle). They are serviceable but, not great and my tall husband hates having to bend down to push them. And this one is tall. And is a namebrand. So, I only have a bit of buyers remorse. It's just not as clear cut that I have gotten a good deal. Perhaps I can get 5 dollars for it when we have our garage sale in the fall if it doesn't work for us.

And my house is a complete mess so I shouldn't be shopping anyway. I need to be cleaning and decluttering. But, perhaps flylady would be a bit proud of me. My kitchen sink is clean and I know what's for dinner.
After perusing our fridge to see what needed to be used up (a handful of mixed veggies leftover from last nights dinner) and the freezer to see what we hadn't had in a while (bbq veggie riblets) I came up with this: Gardenburger riblets (bought on sale w/ a coupon), white cheddar rice mix (bought with double coupons) with mixed veggies added (store brand), and tomato slices (the cheapest the grocery store had).
Not homemade but, a quick dinner anyway. I'm not a 'from scratch' person. I want to be out of the kitchen as quickly as possible. I suppose this will change once the kids are grown and demand less attention. So, we do eat a lot of prepared foods (generic mac and cheese, spaghetti sauce from a jar, pizza dough mix) but, I manage to get a lot of these things very cheaply. And we're mostly vegetarians so there are always plenty of veggies and low fat protein in our foods. So, I don't feel guilty that we aren't eating right.

The kids are occupied for a minute so I need to take this opportunity and clean up something. The bathroom needs scrubbing. The kitchen table needs decluttering. I need to gather our recycling and put it in the car for later.
Gotta go. Life is calling.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Just a quick note

I'm a stay at home mom. I'm hoping to use this blog to connect with other moms and frugal minded people. I also want to hone my tightwad skills and perhaps learn a new trick or two.

I'll blog more later. Right now my youngest is screaming like a banshee for me to pick him up.
Ah, motherhood.