Friday, October 31, 2008

What's for dinner: Greatest Hits All Day Mac and Cheese.

This is a busy day for us! We have visitors and jack o' lanterns to carve, teachers to meet with, cookies to decorate, and trick or treaters to take begging for candy.

So, we're re-visiting Frugal Upstate's All Day Mac n Cheese. I found garlic bread sticks on a clearance rack for $1.00. A side of frozen peas (.50 cent sale/coupon) with Aldi's mushrooms.

What are you doing for dinner this Halloween night?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Ideas for Christmas: 72 Hour Kits as Gifts

I have two brothers and every year I find it harder and harder to buy gifts for them.

These 72 Hour Kits would be great gifts. Thanks Joys of Home!

What's for dinner: Hashbrown Casserole + a special rant just for you.

Unbaked Hashbrown Casserole.
This Hashbrown Casserole looks possible for our dinner tonight.

I'll have to make a few substitutions like homemade cream soup and queso cheese and cheddar cheese. And I'll add some mushrooms and boca burger.

Now I have to figure out how to shred potatoes with my seldom used food chopper.

Last night we had pasta with red sauce. I sauteed chopped onion and mushrooms in olive oil before adding the jarred chunky Ragu to the pan. It made all the difference in the world.

So, this casserole was more labor intensive that I usually like to mess with. My food processor got a work out what with the potatoes, onions, boca, mushrooms, and cheese. But, I used up half my potatoes, half my mushrooms, two of my five yogurts, and all of my cheese.

wearing last years costume and my shoes.
But, my dinner bread I put in my bread machine way too late to be ready for dinner. And two hours later I see the bread machine paddle sitting on the counter- not in the machine beating my bread. So, now it won't be done until around bedtime. Just one example of how my day is going. My in-laws will be here tomorrow, the house is a wreck and I need to go to the grocery store. The two year old is snotty and acting so his age! I'm getting nothing done and the piles are growing. I've warned the in-laws to expect chaos and anarchy. I hope they know I wasn't joking. ; ) Maybe they'll think the pet hair is a new decorating fad and not an example of my poor housekeeping skillz.

Pocket Book Friendly Entertainment.

I've already blogged about how we've cut off our directtv account to save money every month.

We haven't missed much because our favorite shows can be seen through the internet. We watch streaming movies from Netflix,,,, and now the Discovery channel.

Do you know how thrilled I am to unload the dishwasher or fold laundry while I watch Jon & Kate Plus 8? I don't miss my shows and now it's portable because of our laptop.

Our Netflix account is ten dollars a month. We don't do Blockbuster and RedBox is limiting.
But, with the streaming videos we've been able to view all of the 1970's Good Neighbors (Good Friends) episodes at our leisure. We can also get family movies for the kids to watch too.

So, for ten dollars a month plus a few library fines for overdue dvds here and there, our limited entertainment budget feels less constricting than our old indulgent one.

Monday, October 27, 2008

What's for dinner: Things I need to use up this week

2 containers of fresh mushrooms
half a block of white queso cheese
1/2 cup of cheddar shreds
yukon gold potatoes
plain yogurt
green tomatoes
harvested basil from the garden- about three cups.
a boxful of hickory nuts to dry, crack, store.

I'm thinking I'll make pesto sauce for the freezer. I have Trader Joe's pine nuts in the freezer.
A Pizza Hut knock off will help use up some mushrooms and basil.

Any other ideas on what to do with the rest of this list?

My in-laws are bringing three dozen eggs from their hens. I'll need ideas on egg usage too.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

K-Mart Double Coupons

No major thrills today. Prices have gone up so much it's hard to get a great bargain.
Here's the highlights:
4 oz. tubes of Colgate for .29 cents after coupon.
Another free J&J Buddies Soap.
Dog treats for .50 a bag
Snickers mini bars for .50 a bag.
Boxes of Celestial Seasonings tea for .50 a box.
Cascade Complete 20 pack for $1.79
Free Tic Tacs
Free Tic Tac Chillz
Hunts Pudding Packs for .25 a box.
Pack of 10 Bic shavers for .99
Theraflu medicine for 3.99 after coupon but will get $5.99 after rebate.

Total before coupons was $98.91.
After coupons it was $50.13

After trying to put away all of our new personal care products away, I realized it was time to donate again. Our bathroom cabinets are bursting. Next week, there's a pick up for donated goods and I've started filling a bag. I found 8 bars of buddies soap in the kids bathroom.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Grocery Trip Today

This list is in no way representative of our weekly grocery needs. It's just what I found at the store on sale or needed today. I also took a trip to Aldi this morning to get our regular items.


Pumpkin Loaf- 3.50 (never go shopping hungry)
Duncan Hines Cream Cheese Frosting- 1.67
Duncan Hines Carrot Cake Mix- 2.50
Fresh Step litter (14 lbs)- 5.19
Krusteaz peanut butter cookie mix- 1.50
Krusteaz chocolate chip cookie mix- 1.50
Purina Fit & Trim dog food (4 lbs)- 4.99
Morningstar veggie bacon- 3.99
Mt. Olive Organic dill pickles- .99
Roddenberry's Northwoods Lite Pancake Syrup- 4 bottles. 3.96

Total before coupons: $32.26

After coupons and cake mix rebate: $19.16

For the cake mix/frosting I used a .75 off coupon. I have a rebate for the cake mix for the purchase price.
I had a coupon for a free bag of litter using Pet Paws points.
I had two $1 off Krusteaz coupons so I got them for .50 a box.
The Northwoods syrup was on clearance for .99 a bottle. The pickles were on clearance also.
I paid full price for the bacon strips and the pumpkin loaf. If I would have skipped those then I would have spent $11.38.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

A New American Dream- The Tiny Home

What do I wish I would have told myself five years ago before we moved from our 800 square foot house, to a 1,800 sq. foot house, and now to a 2,400 square foot house?
Small is good! Small means less stuff to mess with, less house to care for, less money to spend on mortgage and utilities, and less yard work.

My dream isn't to move to a 100 square foot house
. But, it's a nice trend in the right direction.

Buy small, live big. Sale- Christmas Present Stock Up is not affiliated with mypoints or ebates so there's no extra bonuses there.

If you need to get a calendar for yourself or as a gift it's a good time to order.

You can get free shipping on any order and free gift wrap on any order over $20.

Type EMFREE9 into the coupon code box when it appears.

The More Time Moms Calendar is a personal favorite of mine.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Wordless Wednesday: Fall Ornaments for Boo Bags

The kids and I whipped up some cinnamon ornaments for Boo Bags.

My dough was too wet and I forgot to put them on waxed paper. Oops.
I am now officially out of nutmeg and low on cinnamon. When I priced them in the regular grocery store the prices made my jaw drop. Three dollars and up for a tiny container of McCormick spice. No thank you! I'll do without until I see another Walgreens 2/99 cents coupon.

Homemade Goodies from your Own Stockpile

Just one more thing you can make at home and skip the trip to the store for-

A Home with A Smile shows you how to make Fabric Softener.

Heather from Want What You Have shows you how to make Baby Wipes.

Amy from Mom Advice Tells you how to make Dishwasher Powder.

Jen from Frugal Upstate tells you how to make Laundry Detergent.

Lynnae shows you how to make Shower Cleaner on Youtube.

And here are my own tips for stretching your house care dollars-

Cheap baby shampoo is a great soap scum remover. It won't leave nasty fumes when you clean your tub either. Baby shampoo is also great for removing soap buildup from your hair too. Those shampoo/conditioner combos we busy moms love are notorious for leaving buildup.
So, borrow your baby's shampoo and clean things up.

Do you have some old body wash that you don't really like? Mix it half and half with water and use it as hand soap in your bathroom. You'll save money and a trip to the store.

I Have Made Yogurt!

Remember when Tom Hanks shouts, "I have made fire!" in that Cast Away movie?

That's how I feel about my yogurt!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Our sick day.

Two of us are still in jammies and in lieu of lunch we've snacked on chips, granola bars, apples, and cheese sticks. The kids have had one scuffle, Little Guy is on his fourth cloth diaper, I finally finished reading my latest novel, and attempted to make my first batch of homemade yogurt.

Of course, as soon as I was ready to put my milk/starter mixture into my cups the electricity went off. Apparently it was a planned outage that I didn't find out about until five minutes after I called to tell the electric company that our power was out again. Anyway, the power is back on and I figure yogurt is just rotten milk anyway so it should be fine if I have to cook it a bit longer.

Back into cloth - and skipping the humidifier purchase

My supply of disposable diapers is running low.

Remember when I said I wasn't buying any more diapers? Sigh. I guess it's time I worked on potty training. I am dragging my feet. My mom suggested that I wasn't ready to give up my baby and I think she's right.

I also still have piles of cloth diapering stuff that I bought for Big Girl years ago. And it mocks me silently when I pass by it because I spent a lot of money on those diaperaps and snappis and such.
So, here we go again.


A few days ago hubby said that we should buy a humidifier for our upstairs because it gets so dry in the winter. I suggested that instead of that we buy a few dryer racks and hang our wet laundry in our rooms to dry at night. He agreed and now I just have to go get some decent drying racks.
The cheap wooden one that I bought at Target is already broken after a few uses. This time I'm going to buy the best the store has in stock.

There's a whole web page devoted to air drying your laundry. It's green, it's free, what's not to like?

Sick Day- Walgreens special.

Buy a 20 count box of original Alka Seltzer cold medicine at Wal-greens and get $4.99 back in register rewards. Make sure to get the original flavor as it doesn't work on the fruit flavors.

This comes just in time for us as we've all come down with a cold. The kids and I are hanging out in our jammies today unless we go to the library to stock up on books and videos. It's days like these when I'm glad I've got a stockpile of tissues, canned soup and crackers.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

What's for breakfast: Applesauce Bread.

I've got a pan of applesauce bread in the oven right now. The kids are growing tired of my homemade applesauce. Maybe we'll all like this bread?

I used the tablespoon of soy/water combo instead of the egg. Next time I think I'll do half white/wheat flour to make it healthier. I used margarine instead of butter so I made it vegan and more pantry friendly.

***this bread was really good. like spice cake. let it sit for a few hours and the taste gets even better.***

*This week Dierbergs had a 15 hour sale going on and I stopped by to cherry pick. Land 'o Lakes margarine was on sale for .65 cents a box. I bought two. When I got home I noticed that they had coupons for .40 cents off two boxes. I clipped those coupons and went back to Dierbergs. Dierbergs doubles coupons up to .40 cents. I bought four more boxes for .25 cents apiece and now I have six packs of margarine in my refrigerator.*

Friday, October 17, 2008

ShoeBuy.Com sale is having a ten dollars off men's shoes sale.

My hubby has very long and narrow feet so we have to order them and shoebuy is great because they give you free shipping. You can also get 10% back through ebates.

Music to Clean To

I love the Fiddler on the Roof Soundtrack for getting me in the mood to clean my house.

I don't like cleaning at all but somehow this makes me want to put on an apron, a smile and do yucky chores.

Time to make a proper home.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Febreeze Noticeables Rebate

Go here to download a money back guarantee on Febreeze Noticeables.

If you don't have a coupon for one you can sign up for a coupon booklet here.

My Wal-Mart has them for $5.97. I used a $5 MFR coupon and got it for .97 cents.

**btw, these are very "noticeable". I've got my on low and am thinking about unplugging it.
If you like a lot of smell these are for you.**

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

What I'm doing today

Making Freezer Apple Pie Filling and Freezer Applesauce.

I'd take a picture but I'm missing my memory card.
Anyway, the house smells great, the stove is bubbling away and I am finally done tackling all those dirty apples.
Next up- walnuts and hickory nuts.

Kreativ Blogger Award

This award comes from A Home With a Smile. She's one of my must reads. Her sense of style and her continual frugal finds and re-dos continue to inspire me.

These are the rules for getting this award

1. List 6 things about yourself
2. Pass this award on to other bloggers

6 Things:

1. I hate mopping. But, I must make my bed everyday. And my kid's beds.

2. Getting the mail is exciting to me. I look forward to it every day. The first thing I do is go through it and make a recycling pile. Then a coupon pile/freebie pile. And then a bill pile for hubby. I love to put a stack of junk mail in the recycling bin.

3. If I get a free sample of laundry detergent it makes my day. I always make sure to get at least two loads out of each packet and I'll even cut the container open and throw it off in the washer.

4. I love soup. Once I find a restaurant that has good soup it will become my favorite. I love to make soup too. If you're ever in Kansas City you must eat at Hien Vuong in the city market. Their tofu egg noodle soup is my favorite food in the whole world. Ask for it with a side of herbs.
**On a side note- we moved from Kansas City two years ago. I -loved- living there. And I would go back in a heart beat if we weren't so much closer to in-laws. The City Market is my favorite place in the whole city. I have to mention the Nelson Atkins art museum too as it houses Persephone by Thomas Hart Benton. It's my favorite painting by my favorite artist. Ok, enough about that.**

5. I'm starting a stock pile of sale foods in my basement. I'm also considering a 72 hour kit.
Although I'm not LDS, I have always admired their financial and otherwise practical take on preparing for life.

6. Halloween is my favorite holiday. We watch Nightmare Before Christmas almost daily in October. I love the crunch of leaves on the ground and the chilly breeze in the air. It makes me so happy.

And so now I must pass this award on-

Mercedes at Common Sense With Money- She really knows how to find the deals and she's saved me quite a bit of money.

Heather at Want What You Have- If I'm jealous of anyone it's her. She's so put together and she makes me look like a spendthrift.

Tread Softly at 20 Year Challenge- She has such fortitude and an admirable set of goals. I love reading how she overcomes her challenges without compromising her ideals.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Christmas crafts- Start now to Save.

Even though I'm planning on scrimping and saving on Christmas presents, I still want to give tokens to the neighbors. I've already thought about what I need to do to make our baskets nice but still thrifty.

I remembered this body scrub post from Meredith. I might add peppermint extract and food coloring for a Christmassy gift. I've already bought mini soaps and baskets. If I add a little homemade cocoa and layer it all with a discount purchased hand towel it would make a nice little gift. And I could get by with less baking if I needed to save time.

How I spent $2.00 on a Christmas present is having a major sale on their restaurant certificates. Use the promo code EIGHTY until 10/15 11 am EST.

You can get 15% back if you go through ebates or upromise. So, you can't go wrong.

Thanks Mercedes.

If you use my referral URL to sign up for Ebates then we both get $10. Who can say no to that?

Eat This: Economical Eats

Heather has a great website called Economical Eats filled with great recipes.

Last night I made her corn casserole with our homemade baked beans and weenies. It was a hit!
I substituted cottage cheese for the sour cream and it was still great.

Who doesn't need more great economical recipes to keep us eating cheaply at home?

Pinching the bottom line.

We use our credit card (1% cash back) for most purchases. The billing cycle ends in two days so I've been challenging myself not to shop until Friday so I can keep our total lower than a normal month. It seems like cheating since I will have to go shopping soon but for now it's a simple goal that I am trying to achieve. Because every little bit helps.
It also helps to curb that need to shop for entertainment problem that I have. My credit card bill is littered with Goodwill, Dollar Tree, and Dollar General because these are seen as small extravagances without much guilt. But, those little purchases add up. How many dollars could I save by simply waiting until I actually need something before making a trip to a discount store just for fun? So, this is my challenge for the next few days.
I only have about five dollars in my wallet right now. I can't do much damage.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Tasty and Easy Apple Pie Recipe.

The original recipe came from I've tweaked it a bit to reduce
the sugar and butter. It still tastes wonderful.


Apples for a pie
1 stick melted butter
3/4 c. sugar
1 c. flour
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 c. chopped walnuts
Pinch salt
Vanilla ice cream (opt.)
Fill pie pan 2/3 full of peeled, sliced apples. Sprinkle apples with cinnamon. In small bowl, combine butter, sugar, flour, vanilla, egg, nuts and salt. Pour over the apples. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes, or until golden brown.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Duncan Hines Coupons and Rebate

Like free carrot cake?

Click on the coupon folder to print cake mix and frosting coupons.

Click on the guarantee to print the rebate form.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

When did this happen?

My husband is a born and bred economizer. And yet he almost pleaded with me to turn the a/c back on today since it's going to be 85 degrees. I reluctantly agreed. When did we switch places?

Back to work- I've got clothes to drag in from our verboten laundry line.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Frugality Happens

Today I:

1. Bought vintage building block toys, a Spot video, a new school shirt for Big Girl, a skirt for her next summer, a cute pair of socks, an unused (still has the instruction manual) Salton GM5 yogurt maker, a set of Clairol hot rollers, two Marjolein Bastin knickknacks for my display shelf, a set of Thomas Train Legos, a great fitting pair of Vanderbilt jeans for myself, and a barbie for Big Girl at the Feed My People Thrift store. All for less than $14. (I also dropped off a bag of free and sale purchased soup and shampoo.) I also got two compliments on my new ugly purse.

2. Bought clearance ($1) packages of panties and undershirts for the kids at Dollar General.

3. Didn't buy any take out or drive through meals for lunch.

4. Didn't go to Goodwill even though it was on my way home.

5. Hung two loads of laundry out to dry.

6. Opened the windows when it got hot outside.

7. Harvested tomatoes, basil, and a big green pepper from our tiny neglected veggie patch.

8. Started a compost bowl. I will compost something. It makes no sense for me to buy fertilizer for my vegetable garden and throw out peels and egg shells.

9. Made dinner from a frozen cheese pizza that I sale/couponed for less than $2 and added our garden veggies to it.

10. Emailed my extended family to warn them of our budget cutting Christmas shopping.

Sigh. It's a good day.

Scaling Back Christmas.

I just informed our extended family that our Christmas giving will be a lot smaller this year. Gulp.

Hubby and I decided to put our Discover card bonuses towards paying off our mortgage. So, no more gift cards to give or shop with. Sigh. Why do I feel stingy?

Thursday, October 9, 2008

What's for dinner: Pot Pie

During my trip to the grocery store this morning, I spotted Banquet pot pies. I used to love those pot pies and was sad that all they had were turkey and chicken. So, I splurged on Pillsbury pie crusts and bought a bag of Birds Eye Veggies (.50 cents after coupon) and resolved to make my own.

I'm adding two chopped up Boca chic patties, a can of cream of celery soup and some re-hydrated tvp chunks. Side dishes will be garden tomato slices and some onion rolls I found on the bakery clearance shelf.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Baked Chilaquilles

This was definitely a hit with my hubby. This is what I did.

In a glass pyrex casserole dish (8x8 size) layer:

1 small can of tomato sauce (I used salsa style)
1/4 or so of chopped onion
2 handfuls of tortilla chips (multigrain are really good in this)

Then beat 6 eggs and mix in some powdered cumin- 1/2 tbsp.
Pour the egg gently over the tomatoes and chips in the pan.

Cook at 350 degree for 23 minutes. Meanwhile, chop some white cheese- 1/4- 1/2 cup (monterey jack, queso fresco, etc). Top the cooked eggs with the chopped or shredded cheese
and put back in the oven until it melts.

This was just enough for my family with no leftovers. If you have a larger family or bigger appetites you should double the recipe.

I didn't add any salt or pepper because the chips and cheese are so salty on their own.

What's for dinner: What's for Dessert.

Well, I'm not sure of dinner yet. But, I just bought some cottage cheese and now I need to find a way to cook it so that everyone else will eat it too.

I found this Cheese Cake recipe on all recipes:

Cottage Cheesecake

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 2 cups cottage cheese
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Melt butter in an 8 inch square pan. Stir in graham cracker crumbs, 2 tablespoons sugar and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon. Pat over bottom and onto sides of dish. Set aside.
  2. In a blender, combine cottage cheese, milk, eggs, flour, lemon juice, vanilla, 2/3 cup sugar and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Blend until smooth. Pour into prepared crust.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven for 60 minutes, or until filling is firm. Allow to cool completely.

I already have a sale/coupon purchased Keebler crust in the pantry. And instead of lemon juice I think I'll use some leftover pinapple. Even if it comes out wrong, it will still be so right.
It came out great. I drained the pineapple and used two tablespoons of the juice and threw in a couple tablespoons of the fruit.

Now I just need to figure out what to bake along with it for dinner. We've already had rice pizza and boca burger stew this week. My crisper is almost empty except for two carrots and a handful of chopped onion. Hmmm. Maybe I can figure out how to oven bake some chilaquilles. Maybe I could do a mexican version of egg pizza?

20% off Big Lots Coupon

Go here to print a coupon for 20% off your purchases at Big Lots. Good until Saturday, October 11th.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

My sleeping angels

I couldn't pick just one. This was a rare day when both kids took a nap on their daddy's chest.
Lucky guy.
5 Minutes for Mom is giving away a free bedroom set if you post a picture of your sleeping angel.
Check out the website for more information.
I like the Summer Breeze set in blue for my Little Guy.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Pancake Syrup Recipe

I've been trying out syrup recipes for months and this last one was a keeper. My husband always told me to ask his mom for her recipe and for some reason I resisted. Perhaps I wanted to do it on my own and have him like mine better?
Well, anyway, I went ahead and got the recipe and I am not disappointed. It does take a lot of maple extract. Feel free to reduce it to taste.

Alice's Pancake Syrup

1 cup water
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 tbsp. maple flavoring.

Boil hard for one minute.

Making Chunky Applesauce & What's For Dinner

I made chunky applesauce to freeze today. It was so easy too. I wish I would have made more. Instead I'll be doing this again tomorrow.

Here's what I did-

In a big stock pot put about 25 peeled, cored and chopped small apples. Add an inch to an inch and a half of water on the bottom. Throw in a cup of sugar and boil for twenty minutes.
Get out the potato masher and give them a good bashing. Add a teaspoon or so of vanilla and a few dashes of cinnamon. Cook for another ten minutes on low. Take off of the heat and give it another bashing with the masher. Let it cool and serve. Tastes good warm too.

I did a fridge clean out today and came up with a handful of mushrooms, half a jar of spaghetti sauce, half a bag of mozzarella cheese, and a container of leftover brown rice.
We're having Rice Crust Pizza and garden salad topped with our fresh tomatoes. Yum!

Finding More Ways to Save and Scrimp.

We don't have a lot of extras that we can cut loose but we can:

Cancel our subscription to the local paper and try to find a cheap or free resource for my coupons
saving us about $9 a month.

Take our aluminum cans to the recycling center instead of throwing them in the recycling bin.
We'd make about $3-$5 a month. Is it even worth the gas money?

Taking shorter showers. I've started getting wet and turning the water off to soap up.

Hang dry our clothes. I'm hesitant to do this because it is extra work, it's against our home owner's association rules (grr) and I don't like how line dried clothes feel. But, we could do this and save a few dollars a month.

Put Little Guy back in cloth diapers. This will happen sooner than later as we're running out of disposables and I'm not buying anymore. Great for potty training anyway.

Keep the a/c off and postpone turning on the heat. I've been opening the windows for a cool breeze. And I put flannel sheets and thicker blankets on our beds for those chilly nights.

Refuse to buy things that I don't really need. I really like the More Time Moms Family Organizer calendar. I buy one every year. This year I'm going to fix a pocket onto a free calendar and use that. I won't like it as much but it will be free.

Returning my Library materials on time. I haven't incurred any overdue fees this month. For me that's a big thing. And every bit counts.

Shopping the sales at the grocery store. I normally just go to Save-A-Lot or Aldi without looking through the fliers for other grocery stores. If I cherry pick and use coupons I can save us a lot more and pick up some extras for the food pantry donation.

Finding a better way to organize my coupons. After my little cardboard accordion coupon wallet from the dollar store fell from my cart and spilled onto the store floor I knew it was time to find another method. The challenge will be to not spend any money on it.

Harvesting the last little garden goody before it frosts. We have a ton of tiny green tomatoes on our vines. If I forget them then we waste money. What a relief it was to walk by the starchy tasteless grocery store tomatoes and know that we had some at home.

Using less of what we already have in the pantry and cupboards- less dishwashing liquid, less shampoo, less ketchup, less body wash, less sugar etc.

Buying less or just not buying what we don't absolutely have to have. Are paper towels really necessary when you can use cloth napkins?

Does anyone else have any ideas? What are you doing to economize? What have I overlooked?

My weekend- a rambling retrospective.

I had a great weekend.

Hubby took Little Guy out for a hours to do guy things. My Mom showed up to stay the night for my birthday. When she asked what I wanted for my birthday I said a babysitter. She also stopped by the salvage store and bought a few things for me like .20 cent Power Bars. She also brought two partially cooked pizzas my brother brought home from work the night before. Nothing tastes better than free Papa John's pizza fresh from your own oven.
My Mom, Big Girl and I went to garage sales. The pickings were slim but garage saling is great just for entertainment value alone. I also hit up a few free boxes for kitchen utensils. I drove her to Wal-greens to pick up the free rebate items and then we went to K-Mart for double coupon shopping. I bought a 64 oz. bottle of Welch's Juice, Friskies cat treats, mini pads, a box of Celestial Seasonings tea, a bottle of Shout stain remover, and a bottle of Windex for $6.

Then we made a birthday cake with sale cake mix and I mixed up a batch of frosting. I normally keep cheap frosting in the pantry but my stock was gone. When I have a can of frosting I only use half and freeze the other. My buy it price for frosting is one dollar per can which makes my frosting cost .50 cents per cake. Hubby said that I should just make my own from now on because it tasted pretty good. But, I figured the cost and it is actually more to make your own frosting using butter, confectioners sugar, milk, and vanilla. The price of butter has risen to $2.50 or more per four pack box. My buy it price is around $2 but I'll buy it for more if we need it. So, if I price the butter at a generous .50 per stick and add the cost of sugar, milk, and vanilla then we're actually spending more for frosting.

Then Hubby and I went to Lowe's without kids and priced a few things and I bought a hatchet for breaking up the big limbs in the backyard. I did like the hatchet but my best birthday present was a pink Planetary Design French Press coffee mug. I'm drinking coffee from it right now. Yum!

After the kids went to bed, Hubby and I snuck off to a movie (a rare treat) and then we went out for a late late dinner at Waffle House. Why do pecan waffles taste so much better after midnight?

Yesterday we went to a tiny farm in our neighborhood and the kids picked out their pumpkins and we bought two bales of hay for covering our grass seed in the backyard. We hung out at home and I did loads of laundry while the kids, hubby, and dog worked/played in the backyard.
Then we started working on cleaning out our garage for resealing and filling cracks in our concrete. We started a pile of toys and other things for a garage sale next year. It was a fruitful day.

Today I have piles of laundry to finish. I haven't kept up with the laundry for a few days and I am paying for it. It definitely makes sense for me to do a load and put it away everyday so it doesn't get overwhelming.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

The ugliest purse in the world- All for Me.

Happy 36th Birthday to me.

I celebrated by buying myself this .50 cent Christian Livingston purse at a garage sale.
It's a rare find when something goes so far in the direction of ugly that it almost comes back to pretty. I was inspired. How much time did someone spend working on this ugly bag? I knew it must be mine! When I went to pay for it the seller said, "I finally got rid of that purse!"
Yay for me! Mine all mine!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

An apple a day (whether you like it or not)

I've got four Swedish Apple pies in the oven.
I've got a sinkful of clean apples to sort. A table filled with apples to cook. A crisper filled with apples to store. And another bag of dirty moldy apples to scrub. I'm getting tired of apples.
And I still have to figure out what's for dinner.

Apples anyone?

Shopping Tally for Today - $26.93

I spent 14.65 $ at K-Mart on:

2 small bags of dog food
2 small bags of cat food
1 bag of cat treats
1 bag of Jumbones
1 bag of dog treats.
1 box of Milkbones

Total before double coupons was 34.95

I spent $12.28 at Foods for less on:

Discount bakery rolls - .80
1/2 gallon of generic chocolate ice cream- 1.99 (b-day)
2 bars Fels Naptha laundry soap- 2.00
3 Pillsbury cake mixes (banana, pineapple, and white)- .78 apiece
Best Choice Corn Flake cereal- .99
4 boxes of Martha White corn bread mix- 1.00 after coupon
Best Choice Saltines- .69
Big Bottle of Generic Hand soap. - 1.00
Bag of chicken breading - 1.00

I only used one coupon at this store. Most of it was just cherry picking.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Wordless Wednesday: What happens when you buy pink cowgirl boots.

K-Mart vs. Wal-Mart- Watch your pricing

A few months ago I was scooping these Johnson & Johnson soap buddies bars up for a song because they were priced at .99 cents at Wal-Mart. Yesterday at Wal-Mart, I noted that the price was now closer to $3.50. For the same thing. One little bar of soap.

My local K-Mart is having a double coupon up to $2 day. And K-Mart's J&J Buddies soap is still a reasonable .99 cents. So, I came home with another free bar of soap (and a few other free things- like Pert shampoo).

Don't assume that Wal-Mart is always going to be cheaper. Sometimes they are- but frequently they just aren't.