Friday, September 28, 2007

Car trip planning for kids

I've been assembling bags of small toys, snacks/candies and dvds for our long car trip.

For my big girl who loves to keep busy and who is starting the "Are we there yet?" whines I put together some stuff in an old folder to keep her occupied.

I stapled together some old scrap paper for a doodling pad. I found a notepad on clearance at Target that came with tiny markers for .50. I added some of her old baby animal magazines, a small book, and a magazine insert from Nick Jr. magazine that has a shell identification chart for some more diversion. If that doesn't work I'll blow up the whoopie cushion and see how long I can take the extended gross noise.
Last year I ordered a stuffed animal/storage lap desk that I didn't end up giving her (I overbought for Christmas and her birthday). This seems like a good time to get that out. It already has a coloring book and crayons included.

The little guy is getting a ziplock bag full of small toys collected from the bottom of the toy bin. And a pacifier.

Cleaning with a toddler

My sweetie figured out a way to get our little guy to 'help' clean up toys and keep him from being underfoot.

He put him in a basket with wheels and handed him toys to put in his basket. Smart.

Yeah, I know I'm super blessed. My sweetie works full time and still occasionally helps pick up toy messes.

Gone Fishin'

You won't hear from me for awhile.

We're hitting the beach!


It's a stay in a house on the beach with my family, my in-laws, my brother and sister in law and their twins. My generous inlaws have picked up our tab for the stay and our gas money so we only have to pay for our food and incidentals. Pretty nice huh?
I've packed my xanax just in case. ; )
Better pack.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

The Parenting Files: Things we never thought we'd hear

Overheard this afternoon when my daughter was playing with her baby brother:

"Run! Run like a three-headed turkey vulture."

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Discount decor

I wanted to show you my latest Christmas purchases even though the picture is poor.
I buy discount Christmas ornaments to attach to humble gifts to perk them up a bit. It also helps to hide my poor wrapping skills and reused bows. The snowbaby was 1.00 at a closeout store. I bought it for a friends little girl named Ava. The picture frame and heart were each .05 at a high school garage sale.

In the land of plenty

It's interesting to me that Meredith of Like Merchant Ships blog today was about knowing when you have enough and not overbuying at the thrift store.
Before I picked up the computer I had just had a phone conversation with my Mom about what I needed for my birthday. I thought for two seconds and said, "Mom, I don't need anything and if I want something I can find it cheap or free." I told her that what I needed was someone who knew how to sew (I am not gifted in that area) and that her making my daughter a witch costume for Halloween was more than enough.

I have had a lot of time this morning to think about not buying stuff just because it's a good deal. I stopped by the grocery store to pick up my prescription and some fruit. This is the same grocery store that frequently has carts of reduced for quick sale goods. I go weak at the words "reduced for quick sale". So, I spent fifteen minutes pawing through the four carts of sale stuff. I put many things back. Useful things.... for someone besides myself. I -did- get some Bob's Red Mill Almond flour (.99), a tube of diaper rash cream (.99), some sunscreen w/ attached lip balm (.99), a pocket folio (.05) and a deck of kids playing cards (.50). I have a use for each of these items so I could justify the purchase. We're going to the beach so I need the sunscreen and the playing cards will be a nice treat for big girl and her cousins. I need the folder to put my Flylady Holiday Planning Guide in. Since I'm doing more scratch cooking I know I'll love the almond flour to make cakes and cookies. The diaper rash cream is going in the baby gift for my husbands co-worker.

On the way home we stopped at two garage sales in our neighborhood. I loved some of the doilies and hand embroidered table cloths. But, not for me. At the first one I picked up a ziplock bag of Bob Builder toys (2.00) for the little guy and a new in the box mini leather picture frame (.25). The second one only yielded a toy knight (.10) for big girls Christmas stocking and a cute little mouse ornament (.10).
This last garage sale had a pile of clothes that were a size or two bigger than my daughter is now. It looked so tempting and the prices were good. But, I held firm and passed it by remembering the piles and piles of clothing her closet is holding now for 'someday'. Why? Because we have 'enough.'

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Lovely days of fall

What do you do with a bored four year old when their little brother is sleeping and you can neither leave the house or make a lot of noise?

Paint rocks on the front porch of course! We used clearance crayola washable sidewalk paint (.50 Big Lots) and sponge brushes from a dollar store.

One reason why I don't get more done...

I spend too much time reading other peoples blogs.

One I stumbled across today makes my attempts at thrift store decorating seem woefully lame. Check it out if you have a free minute... He's funny, a little brash and slightly irreverent. Manic Thrift Store Shopper.

Monday, September 24, 2007

I really should be putting away the laundry...

But, when I went to open the dishwasher to let it air dry - its contents struck me as funny.

The rescue heroes were a gift from my brother.
They are getting a much needed bath. The swirly glass jar is an old hoisin sauce bottle that I have been using for a flower vase for our marigolds (10 cent seed pack).
I used up our old cinnamon when I was making apple pie last week. I'm going to use the bottle for a batch of seasoning for Garlic Lime Tofu. The funnel is one of my favorite tightwad tools. I used it last night to pour the syrup from the saucepan into the fridge bottle. And I can tell when I've been doing a lot of home cooking because my measuring cups and spoons are dirty. And of course, the requisite sippy cups for jr. and big girl.

Anyway, it made me smile. Yeah, I know- get a life.
Ok, onto the laundry portion of my day.

Deals and Thrifts

Well, I resorted to going to Deals today instead of the Dollar Tree that just closed down. It isn't as good but I guess that's ok since that saves me $.

I still spent 12$. I was having a hard time deciding what to put in a little boy's birthday card for a token gift. Our big girls best friend from our old town just turned six so we had to send him a little something. I settled on Spiderman tattoos and a bookmark. The whoopee cushion wouldn't fit in there. Yes, I bought a whoopee cushion. My husband made fun of me for it but, what little boy wouldn't love a whoopee cushion? Guess I'll have to save it for someone else. I also found some Fall themed cups and napkins to use when I help with the Fall party at preschool.
I splurged on some almond wafers and a pretty little Christmas door knob hanger for our front door. The wafer tin would make a good addition to a Christmas gift bag or basket.

Of course the best stuff came from my trip to the Goodwill. Four books, a new pair of loafers for the little guy and a 'new' Little People dinosaur (to be a 'dragon' for the Little People castle) for big girl's stocking... all for four dollars.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

A partridge in the hand...

Yes, more Christmas ramblings. It seems as if I'll be blogging about decorating Easter eggs at Christmas. But, I won't. At least I don't think so.

I finally got my KB toys gift card from Discover. I've been looking at the toy's site for a few days- filling up my 'cart' and then selectively unloading it as I made my final decisions. Right now the best deal that I could find coupon wise was 5$ off of a 40$ purchase. I wanted free shipping but you don't always get what you want.
I ended up spending .85 cents out of pocket after taxes and shipping. But, except for the illusive Little People Queen I am done shopping for my children and their cousins. And I may give up on that.

My plan is to wrap everything early so I know what I have and then... stop and relax.
No adding to the pile not knowing what I have on hand this year. Are you wondering what I bought?

1 Little People Dump Truck $9.99
1 Veggie Tales: Sumo of the Opera Playset $2.99
1 Strawberry Shortcake: Crepe Suzette Boutique Shop Playset $4.99
1 Strawberry Shortcake Berry and Bead Compact Playset - Jui $4.99
1 Read With Me DVD: Giraffes Can't Dance $6.99
1 Read With Me DVD: Curious George $6.99
1 Sesame Street: Wood Board Puzzle - Zoe Ballerina $3.99

The dump truck and puzzle are for my little guy. I already have a wooden toy set put away for him and a few stocking stuffers.
The Veggie Tales set and one of the dvds is for my big girl. I've already socked away a bunch of stocking stuffers, a toy castle and Little People to go with it.
The Strawberry Shortcake toys and one of the dvds are for my twin nieces. I have some nice jeans set aside for them already.

So, small sigh of relief... and then I plunge headlong into shopping for the adults.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

More Pantry Thoughts

I sent my husband to the grocery store for what I think is the last time before we leave for our vacation. He bought milk, bananas, eggs and vanilla ice cream for the French apple pie that big girl and I made this afternoon.
(the apples came from our school trip to an apple orchard yesterday)

I have been making a list of grocery items that will need replacing when I finally begin grocery shopping again in a few weeks.

This is the the list:

Corn meal
Canola oil
Brown rice
Savory (herb)
Graham Crackers

I'm pleased it's so short. Yeah, one of them is a convenience food but our little guy loves graham crackers and when they are a dollar a box I don't feel the need to figure out how to make them.

As I've been using up our convenience food I've had to be creative about replacement ingredients. I've been using melted margarine instead of oil in recipes without much noticeable difference. I've made vegetarian breakfast sausage with tvp and spices. Our powdered milk jug is always on hand for recipe cooking. I'm finally down to my last box of powdered milk so I may have to replace that in a few weeks too.
I'm doing a lot more scratch cooking and I've been enjoying it.
I think if anything other than a bit of a dip in our grocery store savings I've enjoyed the creativity it has inspired.

Does anyone have a cost breakdown on powdered milk? I normally buy the big box from Aldi but I'd be interested to see if it's really a good deal.

Pancakes du jour-- Mango Baby Food

I make pancakes almost every Saturday morning. I like mixing up the batter and I revel in the sizzle of a puddle of batter hitting the hot buttered griddle. It may be that I am strange but I love pancake mornings. And my family likes to eat them so that works too.
Pancake batter is a great place to experiment with using up stray ingredients (the last scrape of jelly, rotting bananas, yogurt that's about to expire). Today's ingredient came from the lazy susan in our pantry that has been a holding place for baby food jars and baby crackers. Our little guy is a picky eater so we never managed to finish up those last pesky jars (not that we ever bought that many in the first place) of baby food before he started self feeding. So, other than assorted crackers and cookies (which will eventually make it into my purse for emergency snacks) we have three jars of baby food left: organic lentils and rice, pureed banana, and pureed mango.
The lentils and rice I'm going to add to a baby gift bag for one of hubby's co-workers that has a baby due next month. The pureed bananas will get fed to our son because he likes that. The pureed mangoes went into our morning pancake batter.

There was just a slight hint of mango-iness but I felt satisfaction in using up paid food that would otherwise sit in our pantry and go bad.

I don't have a picture to show you because our kitchen is a complete mess after yesterdays really busy day. Although, hubby -is- bugging me to post a picture of our holey pantry. It's still not where I want it to be so you'll have to wait a few more days.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

What's for dinner: Strangely Pleasing Skillet Concoction

I never was a big fan of tuna noodle casserole as a child. To this day anything made with cream of mushroom soup makes me gag. So, it was the pantry challenge that inspired this concoction of cooked egg noodles, canned cream of celery soup, frozen spinach, six chopped up 'chic nuggets' sauteed in butter, chopped garlic and some spike seasoning. And my husband and kids really liked it. Wow! And here I thought I was going to hear groans. It's nice when that doesn't happen.

Big girl had seconds and thirds and then cleaned up my plate too. Of course, the carrots were not on the seconds and thirds menu. She had to draw the line somewhere.

Clearance Produce

This was about two months ago but since I'm not doing a lot of grocery shopping these days I thought I'd share.
This was one of my best hauls from the reduced bin at Save-A-Lot.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The Parenting Files: Things we never thought we'd say

My husband to our big girl:

"No alligators when we're dealing with poop."

Happy Mail!

Checking the mail is a highlight of my day. Perhaps I need a life but today was a particularly good mail day. No bills and free stuff. My ordered copy of the Jiffy cookbook, a needed sample of face wash and two paperbacks from PaperbackSwap were in my mailbox. I love mail days like these.

Christmas Gifts... Christmas Thrifts

I found a good option for big girls 'big' present today. We stopped at a garage sale on the way to preschool and I bought a 2.00 Fisher Price Little People Castle. It is in good condition but it's missing the little toys and I think it's missing some fencing. I searched through the nearby toy pile and found nothing that seemed to go with it.
I came home and did a quick search online and found that Fisher Price is no longer making that model. I priced the parts on Amazon and ebay. Not impressed but I knew what to look for.
I immediately thought of Big Lots... you know.. the closeout people. I hit the jackpot with a new set of the King on his throne, the jester/ring, pegasus, and wizard. I was happy to pay the 10$ for it to avoid shipping charges later. I'm hoping to stumble across a queen before Christmas. But, I think I've got big girls Christmas shopping done.
Now I can use the KB toys gift card for the cousins, one more present for little guy and maybe even squeeze a birthday toy or two out of it.
I bought most of my toys online from KB last year and was so happy to have my stuff delivered in November when the malls are just starting to get conjested with holiday shoppers. I do really dislike the mall. Have I given you that impression yet? : )

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

File this under "At Least I tried"

I had planned on using up one of our pantry staples of Generic ()burger Helper. It's a quick meal on busy or tired days. I almost always use half a bag of Morningstar Veggie Crumbles. But, tonight our freezer has failed us; or rather I am truly running down our food supplies.
I made a last minute decision to substitute quickly reconstituted tvp. I prefer tvp in things like chili and sloppy joes so this is new. It looks weird and since I used powdered milk it has that telltale 'instant' smell. Maybe it's a case of too many substitutes. We'll see how it tastes.

As for the sad pan of bread- it was a box of bread machine mix that I found in the pantry. I followed the conventional method and it just didn't rise.

And in case you were wondering I rounded out with leftover green beans and a leftover bit of no bake jello dessert.

The Mc-Wal-Monster got me...

Today we had both of our gymnastics classes. In order to get to gymnastics we have to drive right by the Wal-Mart. I timed my leaving for gymnastics so that I only had a maximum extra 15 minutes to get through the store. With two kids. So, that meant no dilly dallying. I had to get my stuff (those retainer cleaner tabs) and go.
I rationalized that I was already there and it would cost more money in gas and waste time to make a special trip later in the week. I was right.
I went through the garden shop thinking it would save time and reduce impulse buys.
First off big girls sees mums and asks if she can have one. I'm a sucker for garden plants and have been meaning to get some fall flowers. So, I let her pick out one of the two dollar plants.
We made it out of the store in fifteen minutes and just under $5.00. I feel ok about that.

But, then on the drive home (silly me didn't eat lunch) I was hit with, "Mommy, can you make me some french fries when we get home?" I do have a handful of frozen fries in the freezer. I thought about this... and how long it would take to heat up the oven for a handful of fries. And drove to McDonalds for our standard cheeseburger happy meal sans the burger patty. There are always enough fries in a happy meal to share between the three of us. Anyone else notice that the small fry has grown in size? I ate the burger (after I added a nuked boca burger) and shared with the little guy. He loves burgers too. The kids got the drink.

I haven't reminded her and it seems big girl seems to have forgotten that Happy Meals come with a junky toy. I've been hoarding them. I think I'll take them with us on our long car trip to the beach to keep the kids entertained.

Enjoying what you have

My children spent half an hour in the our old baby playpen piling up pillows and pretending they were in a birds nest.

Hubby and I bought this popper for .50 at a garage sale when I was pregnant with big girl. We were envisioning hours of entertainment from this fun toy. And we were right.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Bonus Find: I bought myself four more days away from Wal-Mart.

Last week my sweetie asked me to buy him more Equate denture cleaner from Wal-Mart to clean his retainers. I've been dreading the trip since I've been trying to reduce our shopping expenditures. Today I found four cleaning tabs in the kitchen where I placed them for ring cleaning (it works pretty well). HA! Four more days without the joyless trip to Wal-Mart. By then I'm sure I'll need some milk or something anyway.

We're still managing to eat pretty well out of our pantry with just a ten- twenty dollar supplement of groceries once a week. Can't you tell?

Sunday, September 16, 2007

The Parenting Files: Over breakfast this morning.

Last night (as sometimes happens) our big girl got in bed with us after having a bad dream.
And this morning (as frequently happens) we were woken up earlier than we wanted to be by our shiny faced, big blued girl child who had a giant happy smile plastered on her befreckled face. "Mommy", she said shoving her face right into mine, "Let's go downstairs because I am sooo hungry."
And I still feeling half asleep said, "In a minute sweetie. Why don't you go make your bed?"
I heard her little feet tricky trotting down the steps and then I heard the refrigerator being ripped open (no subtlety in a four year old) and the fruit bin being manipulated. "Oh good", I thought "She'll get herself a snack and I can snag another twenty minutes of blissful rest next to my beloved."
More little feet running across the carpet of my bedroom. As she wedged the ice cold apple against her squirming Daddy's side she asked me if I could cut it into fancy shapes like moons or stars. "Um, I can cut it into slices with my apples slicer." "No Mom, I want moons and stars."
"Maybe Daddy can do it."

And he did it. (After asking me under his breath if I had some way unknown to him of making fancy shapes with apples... I gave him a grin and said no. He was on his own).
He sat there and made some cool shapes: A circle, a rectangle and a half moon. His little girl sat assessing his handiwork and declared, "THANKS DAD. YOU'RE A GENIUS!"
Then she grabbed her moon shaped slice and scampered towards her toy room... mission accomplished.

Friday, September 14, 2007

What I won't be buying for Christmas

This is a hand slap for not paying close enough attention to what my child was watching. Erg. I am beginning loathe most of the commercials that are geared towards children.

Barbie Shopping Boutique

"Buy anything you want at the Barbie Shopping Boutique.
You never run out of money."

The commercial is basically a clothing store with a credit card machine and a card that never runs out of money so that you can buy a variety of the 'perfect outfit.'

Never runs out of money? This must have been written by someone that works for a credit card company. Just exactly what value is this supposed to teach our children?
Material goods are great. You need lots of pretty clothes. Credit cards are magic.

I understand not making a Dumper Diving Barbie or a Salvation Army Skipper (although that would be great) but this???

Give Away and Help: Candle Wax Cleaning and Free Bag of Spice

I love spices. And I'm not good at organizing. I bought this bag of cumin recently and then discovered that I already had two bottles of it.
I use it in my Mexican and Chinese food. It has a smoky slightly spicy flavor without being very hot.

I will send this bag of cumin to the person who can tell me how to clean my votive candle holders so they are clean and shiny again (and ready for a new votive). I'm going to try out your ideas and the first idea that gets my candle holders pretty again wins. So, leave me a comment with your ideas.

Goodwill Hunting/Goodwill Capturing

Today I had two hours and fifteen minutes to myself. What bliss! My house only needs a quick pick up today so I thought I'd stop by the Goodwill.

Goodwill on the weekday mornings is very relaxing. There was lots of giggling going on between the clerks and customers (all ladies). I took my time.

This is what I found:

Summer clothes were half off. Since we're going to the beach soon (Yippee!) this was great. I found a new pair of shorts for myself, a new pair of capris, and a pretty turquoise top. Hubby is getting some Dockers shorts and a Ralph Lauren work shirt.
I also found a new with tag Ralph Lauren denim shirt. It's going to be a Christmas present for someone. I figure I'll put a gift card (using my Discover card cash back $) and a small bag of chocolates with it and it will be a nice gift.

Big girl is getting a some dress shoes for this fall. And a Berenstain Bears book all about cleaning up your messes (which if you've seen their toy room you'd understand why I bought this).
I found some books for myself too. If I don't like them I'll list them on Paperback Swap.

Total Price: 20.09.

And now I have a few chores to do before Preschool pick up.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

No free Christmas here.

Baby boy's first Santa lap.

Christmas Extravaganza at Grandma's (my Mom's) house.

My Mom making Christmas cookies with my munchkins. They were yummy!

Yes, it's not Halloween yet and here I am talking about Christmas. I think about Christmas all year long.
Since I've been an adult who was buying their own presents to give I try to plan and shop ahead to save money. Sometimes this ends up in me over buying because I've forgotten what I purchased already. Sometimes it works out great because I avoid the last minute crowded store rush which I despise.

I just ordered a 50 dollar (I spent 40$) KB Toys gift certificate from my Discover card cash back earnings. Earlier today I saw my Entertainment Guide had a KB Toys coupon in it. So, I though combining my coupon and my gift card I could purchase toys without spending a penny. Wrong.
The coupons start at spending 75$. I should have done my homework.

Last year we noticed that was a definite lack of enthusiasm after opening the third gift. I don't want to overdo it again this year. (Reminder: tell Grandma maximum of two presents per child).

So, if I want to get presents for my two children and their two cousins I will have to really stretch a buck at KB Toys. I think I can do it.
I have a few presents socked away already.

Any of you readers out there know of any great and fairly inexpensive presents for a 4 year old girl or a 2 year old boy? I'd prefer something at least slightly educational.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

What's for Dinner: Black Beans with Rice and Corn Bread

This is my stupidly expensive Zojirushi rice cooker. When my old 20 dollar one died I was ready to get another cheapie one. But, hubby insisted that we read reviews to find one that made good brown rice. On our old one I had to tweak the water level to get the brown rice cooked and then it was still either chewy or soggy. So, the reviews lead us to this model which was originally 250.00 dollars. With money from a rebate on diapers, free shipping and some coupon codes we were able to get it for 180 dollars. Yes, 180.00.
You may ask if it was worth it. Well, I don't know but I -do- know that it makes really good rice which is good because we like brown rice. (and I never have been good at making rice on a stovetop if you are wondering... yes, I know that is a more frugal option.)

I was searching our pantry for my normal boxes of Always Save corn bread mix and came up empty handed due to our pantry clean out. I was ready to forgo our cornbread and then (smacks head) realized that I could make my own. I used egg white powder and powdered milk to stretch our eggs and milk supply in the recipe. I hope it still tastes ok.

The beans and tomatoes I cooked up and put in the freezer.
So, all in all I think it's a fairly frugal meal.

Works for me Wednesday-- Dishcloths

I am a big fan of the standard cheapo dishcloth. I use them for washing dishes and wiping dirty child faces. When they get old and ratty I dampen them to use on my swiffer mop with a squirt of cleaner. I also use them to clean my bathroom-- start with the door handles, then sink, then toilet and then sometimes the floor. After I am finished with one I've used to wash dishes or clean a face then I scan the floor to see if there are any sticky or dirty spots that could use a quick clean. Then I just toss it in the laundry.
It save me a lot of paper towels and I prefer the feel of cotton to paper when I'm cleaning anyway.

This is my boys freshly scrubbed sweet face.

**** I noticed after posting that Works for me Wednesday was about car care. I guess you could keep ratty dishcloths in your car to clean up spills.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Disappointment and Joy.

The disappointment is that our Dollar Tree has closed permanently. That should please my husband greatly but I am disappointed. I love that store.

And here is the joy...

Here's my boy with his Daddy's absconded screw driver pretending to fix my pantry door.

Here's my awesome husband with our children during our last day at the zoo. Our girl had earned enough toy room clean up points for a trip.

And here's my kids (and their messy toy room) playing with big girls new dress up shoes. This cracked me up and the boy had a great time stomping around in the clacky shoes.


The shock is gone and a bitter acceptance (for lack of a better word) has taken it's place.

I did not know anyone who was killed or injured in 9/11. I am lucky I guess but my heart still aches for those were personally touched by it. It is not ok and it will never be ok. I still feel tinges of that heart breaking sadness and the bright surge of anger that accompanies this hate driven tragedy.

Just yesterday when I was watching the part in Elizabeth town where the main character visits the Survivors tree in Oklahoma City I was surprised how easily overtaken I was by sobs.... just remembering the picture of the man carrying the dead little girl.
Everyone who remembers these tragedies carries it with them and the sting is not forgotten.

We still remember. It still matters.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Now it's time to clean up, clean up, clean up...

We have three rooms in our downstairs besides our kitchen and bathroom (all bedrooms are upstairs). One is a dining room (which is our toy room. One is a large room with a fireplace. And one smaller room was the only with enough empty wall space for our large entertainment center. So, this small room gets a lot of action.

A lot of action and a lot of mess (living) go on in this tiny room. This is how it looks right now. I'm getting ready to pick it up.

I just spent twenty minutes scrubbing goo off of our fireplace from the previous owners babyproofing foam. We probably need to add our own but my method of babyproofing is to keep my son away from the fireplace all together. Which was so hard to do when he wanted to help me use the old toothbrush to scrub the goo with De-Solv-it. I love that stuff. Now my family room smells all citrusy.
And I've got half an hour to pick up the entryway, the tv room and sweep the kitchen before our Parents as Teachers instructor comes. I'd better get going.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Goings on

We're all getting ready for the day. Baby boy is napping after breakfast, big girl is cleaning up her toy room mess, Hubby is showering and I'm taking a minute to regale you with the minutiae of our goings on.

Breakfast was the last of my Aunt Jemima Complete pancake mix that I bought from Big Lots for 1.30, a Betty Crocker hash brown mix (bought on sale for one dollar during a moment of consumer weakness), and three eggs. Including the drinks of cocoa and milk, I don't think it cost more than 2 dollars.

As soon as everyone is ready and awake we're stopping at one garage sale where I hope to pick up a few cheap paperbacks to use for the Paperback Swap.
I joined yesterday and I've already sent off my first two books and ordered four more.
Then we have to stop by the Goodwill to return a cd player that doesn't work.
And later today we have a parade to go to in town with lots of kids activities.

Other than that we have nothing planned for this weekend. It's kinda nice.

I spent 27.00 at Save-A-Lot yesterday. I bought two or three impulse purchases. My son got a new bathtub book, my daughter got a new Garfield hand soap with a cute little Garfield in the bottle (that I intend to refill with watered down discount liquid), and I got two more ten cent spices (Allspice and whole cloves). I used a 20.00 gift certificate that I bought for myself a few months ago so the total out of pocket was less than 8 dollars.
Earlier in the week though I spent 10 dollars on Preschool snacks (caprisuns bought with coupon, small raisin boxes, and individually wrapped cheese).

Now it's time to get ready for the day.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Big Box Dread

It's that time again. We're starting to run out of things we buy at the warehouse of giant boxes- Costco.

It's a weird thing to go shopping with my normally shop-hatin' hubby and have him go all weak in the wallet at the sight of pallets full of giant boxes. Yes, Costco has some really good stuff. Yes, most of the stuff is reasonably priced and even some of it is a bargain (baking supplies, cheese) but it is all so big.

I'm just starting to see some improvement in my overstuffed pantry. A light at the end of the pantry.

Can we go and just get the fish oil and butter sticks?
Can we forgo the giant boxes of fruit/nut granola bars? The extra cute Carters kids clothes? The giant package of muenster cheese (ok, this -is- my weakness).

I'll work on a list after I get the kids washed and dressed for storytime at the library.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

WFMW-- Brand Loyalty

Thought I might be a bit verbose to post a blog comment at Like Merchant Ships.

I am loyal to very little. I like cheap stuff.

My darling hubby on the other hand knows what he likes and barely tolerates my brand testing.

Here's a standard list of his favorite things:

1. Pantene Pro-V Shampoo with Conditioner.

2. Pepsodent Toothpaste-- original flavor- none of that fancy whitening or baking soda stuff.

3. Pringles- The light or right kind not the fat free kind.

4. Ichiban Ramen noodles in Original-- 60 cents a pack here but they are still cheap and the noodles don't get smooshy like Top Ramen.

5. Charmin Plus toilet paper-- It's very expensive so I get the cheapo bulk rolls from Costco and Sweetie gets the Charmin for his delicate tushie.

6. Kiss my face soap. He grumbles when I buy something else or use hotel soaps.

7. Sugar free Grape Kool-Aid.

8. Quik Trip. He can wax rhapsodic about the wonder that is QT for ten minutes. Really. It can be annoying.

9. Gillette Antiperspirant Gel in Cool Wave

10. Gillette foaming shave gel. His Grandpa was a head chemist at Gillette for years so the brand loyalty is understandable. That plus it's good stuff. I think Good ol' Grandpa invented the moisturizing strip on the razor.

I'm sure when he reads this he will want to edit it for me.

Ah, love.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Aha! Project for my girl

I know what to do with the alum.

We're going to grow a crystal.

And the Challenge Continues... Except for the spices

These are my new 10 cent spices. They were in a manager's special cart at Save-A-Lot. I love Save-A-Lot because you never know what deal you will stumble across. My only question is what to do with the alum. I don't can anything.

I'm continuing the pantry and freezer clean out. I found some frozen solid stew veggies in our freezer door and a packet of beef stew seasoning in our spice cabinet (my big weakness is spices and flavorings).
We have less than half a bag of our expensive veggie crumbles so I decided to add some tvp chunks. I'm re-hydrating them in heated veggie broth.

I splurged on dessert. I used a buy one/get one free custard sundae coupon from Culvers today. The kids and I shared one after gymnastics and we froze one for dessert. Yummo!

Monday, September 3, 2007

Milk money.

Hubby and I spent many weeks before children never having to buy milk. Neither of us likes to drink it and we'd use rice milk on our cereal and sometimes in our cooking. I always had powdered milk on hand in a cooking pinch.

Now with two little ones who love milk and it helps their little growing bodies, we are stuck buying the stuff. My daughter will not drink soy or even powdered milk. I've tried hiding it with chocolate syrup and powder- but no deal.
And now my son needs whole and she drinks fat free. We try to buy organic but at five dollars a gallon it just gets so expensive. I spent 3.39 at a discount grocer last night for regular old skim. What's the deal?

I've taken to making up a few cups of powdered for cooking (no one notices thankfully) just to stretch the milk further.