Monday, April 27, 2009

Letting Go and Living More

I haven't had much to impart to this blog lately because I've either already blogged about some frugal triumph or I am not doing much that is frugal.

My frugality used to manifest itself in the drive to get as much free or cheap as possible by using coupons and combining sales. And I was successful at that. So successful that my pantries and cabinets are aching from the tubes of toothpaste and cans of cake frosting. Obtaining, finding space for, and taking care of those extras has left me weary and I've been longing for a return to a more normal shopping habit. You know, buying what we're out of or what we need.

So, now I'm left contemplating letting my Sunday paper go. Two weeks ago my Mom and I scavenged coupons quite nicely at a nearby paper recycling bin. If I want them, I know where to get them free.

And instead of finding great kids clothes are garage sales I'm contemplating consigning tubs of their outgrown clothes to make room for the stuff that I already have set aside for them. Garage Sale Saturdays don't have much lure for me when I think about having to put more treasures in my already full house. The siren call of the thrift store has been a weak hum. The truth is that I would rather be home hanging laundry outside or working on my veggie patch.

It's still a frugal lifestyle. It's just a different lifestyle then I've been living. And it will help me do things that I haven't done before like making dish detergent from pantry items when I run out.

So, If you're wondering where I've been and what I've been up to then that's where.
I'll be clearing out kids clothes to take to the kid's store and shining my sink Flylady style because I am ready for a bit of a change.

This week I'm planting a zucchini and cantaloupe from seeds I started in my bathroom.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Happy Earth Day!

Today I'm:

Weeding and turning over the hard soil in my vegetable garden which has accumulated layers of composted leaves, yard clippings and garden scraps.

Planting my tomato, melon and pepper starts in the newly turned soil.

Planting a few flower bulbs in my neglected flower patch.

Hanging a load of laundry to dry for the first time in months.

What are you doing today?

Free Reynolds Wrap in honor of Earth Day. Go here to print out a rebate.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Couponed Out K-Mart style

K-Mart in my area is doubling coupons up to $4 and tripling up to .75 cents.

I went yesterday and again today. Whew. We are quite stocked upon cleaning supplies, nighttime diapers, wipes, and pet snacks.

Yesterday my original total was approximately $122 and I whittled it down to $57 with coupons.

I didn't do quite as good today but I got:

Milkbones for .99 a box
Huggies wipes for .99 a box
Purex detergent for $1.55
Purex (big bottle) softener for $1.17
2 Free Friskies cat treats
2 Free Daisy Sour Creams

I've redeemed over 40 coupons there and could do more but I'm just worn out and even about out of space to put extra items. But, all in all, this is the best part of couponing.

If I were crafty I'd make a tea towel skirt

My sewing skills are quite limited. I haven't used a sewing machine in over 20 years.

But, I'd love to make an cute and inexpensive tea towel skirt for my Big Girl to wear this summer.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Mommy Sanity Savers.

It's a balmy 75 here in St. Louis.

The sibling fighting began as soon as the Big Girl got in the car after school. Not today!

I contemplated driving an hour to Grandma's house. I looked up directions to the closest indoor bouncing place. And then I just decided to have them put on old clothes and threw them into our jungle of a back yard. The mower gets it's first use this year tomorrow.

For the price of one load of laundry and one bubble bath I get an hour free of bickering.

With toilet training our washer has seen double loads lately. And pretty soon our carpet cleaner is going to have to make an appearance.

But for now- I'll open a window and do some chores while I listen to the birds chirp and the kids ooh and ahh over the dirt clumps, rocks, and bugs they've discovered hiding in our backyard jungle.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Gratuitous Shots of my Kids and What's for dinner

Here we have my young ones at the St. Louis zoo and the St. Pats parade we attended.

We just got back from a weekend trip to the in-laws hobby farm. The kids rode Grandma's pony and fed her chickens. We had two Easter egg hunts and a small Easter retreat at their church. I also spent time with my Father in law walking his big garden and small orchard and discussing his plantings. He helped me re-pot my tomato babies. I now have (after I shared some of my seedlings with him) four healthy Beefsteak tomato plants, one canary melon plant and hopefully one tiny pepper seedling. That isn't all I'm planning for my garden but it's a start. I plan on adding some lettuce, maybe a zucchini, and some basil and cilantro to my small garden patch.

This is my small garden last spring.

I'm planning some major re-arranging and management of the food pantry and frozen items so a big menu plan is up in the air.
Big Girl suggested mashed potatoes (a favorite of hers) for dinner and so we're having that with veggie "meatloaf" with a bag of Morningstar crumbles, veg. broth re hydrated tvp, ketchup and egg for binder. I also need to make some type of muffin or sweet bread with leftover homemade applesauce that needs to be consumed. Applesauce Muffins would be good in lunch bags this week and I have everything I need for them in my kitchen.

update: The applesauce muffins are tasty and easy to make. I skipped the topping and just sprinkled on some cinnamon sugar mix.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Coupons- Somedays I wonder if it's worth it.

It's not often that I venture into a store without my box of coupons. I am that person clogging the aisle going through her coupons to match to an unexpected sale. I am that person who always has a few to a fistful of coupons to scan. I am also that person will stop you and ask if you need a coupon for something you are looking at and will gladly give you one of mine. And sometimes (like today) I am that person who argues the mis-scanned price on an advertised sale. It might have taken fifteen more minutes to check out but I did indeed get my cereal for .98 after coupon. As I left I wondered how much easier my life would be if I was one of those people who didn't even look at price and just filled their cart happily. However, I have never been one of those people and that I think helps with the whole "no consumer debt" thing. I especially cannot afford to stop using coupons now with the grocery prices rising so high. I often wonder why other people aren't taking the time to clip them.

Dierbergs Shopping:
1 Imperial Margarine- on sale for .59
2 Birdseye Frozen Veggies- on sale for .99 minus doubled .35 coupon so .29 each
2 Kelloggs Frosted Flakes- on sale for 1.98 minus coupons for $1 off so .98 cent each
2 pounds of apples-I grabbed the Granny Smith instead of the sale (.68 per pound sale priced Fuji) and spent more than I intended- $ 3.65
Nightime diapers and pull ups - too much $ but I had some coupons
McCormick vanilla extract- on the clearance shelf for .99 minus .75 coupon so .24 cents
McCormick seasoning salt- on the clearance shelf for .89 cents minus .75 coupon so .14 cents
4 green peppers- .99 (they wanted .99 apiece for the fresh ones but I found a 4 pack of discounted uglier ones. Already chopped and frozen by me so, who cares how pretty they are?)

Total 30.57

Potty training is coming along slowly. We're going through only two or three diapers a day now.
I let him run around naked when we're home too and that works pretty well. I am only buying diapers about once a month now and hope to be completely diaper free by summer. We do cloth diapers occasionally but he really hates them and rips them off.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

What's for Dinner this week.

Things to use up:

1 Tomato (salad)
1 Banana (snack or in breakfast oatmeal)
Bag of Salad (dinner)
Provel cheese (salad and pizza)
Mozzie cheese (salad and pizza)
Ragu sauce (pizza)
Grapes (snacks and lunch bag)
White bread. (breakfast sandwiches for hubby- buttered for snacks)

Monday- We had leftovers.

Tuesday- We're having chopped veggie "chicken" salad and homemade applesauce.
I splurged on a bottle of great salad dressing- Zia's on the Hill Sweet Italian.

Wednesday- Pizza. I didn't make pizza last week.

Thursday- Chili and cornbread. I froze my cooked pinto beans. Need to thaw. Planning for leftovers so we can have chili dogs next week.

It's a short week but with Easter coming up I'm going to be taking a short blog break in a few days.

Monday, April 6, 2009

What's in the Mystery Can?

Should I have resisted the unlabeled .10 cent can from the discount cart today?

Let's find out:

I think it's meat tamales. Hmm. Maybe somebody at Hubby's work will like them for lunch tomorrow?

Friday, April 3, 2009

Dollar Store Winners

These Dollar General brand fudgy coconut cookies are just as tasty as Girl Scout Samoas for only $1.50 a box. A splurge for your waistline, but not your wallet.

This M30 brand of stain remover is always in my laundry room cabinet. It works great on most stains except for really greasy tomato sauce. I bought mine for $1 at Dollar General but you can get it at other dollar stores too. Use an old toothbrush and get your clothes cleaned up.
I bought this great L.A. Colors Lash Building mascara on clearance at Family Dollar for .90 cents. I think it's regularly $1.50. It's big fluffy brush gives me big lashes without flaking and it washes off easily.

This is my newest find. I used to buy Oil of Olay Sensitive Spf 15 formula. This Dollar General brand works just the same and for only $4.50.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Couponing Today

Since I had to pop into a grocery store today to pick up a prescription, I took the time to go through the circular and plan my coupon stock up shopping.
Shop 'N Save

Kellogg's Pop tarts 12 packs- 3 boxes at $11.00 plus $2 off egg deal with purchase of 3
Dole Pineapple Chunks- on sale for $1 a can minus .75 MFR coupon off of 2 so .62 cents each
Zatarains Rice mixes- on sale for $1 each minus .75 MFR coupon off of 2 so .62 cents each
Barilla Pasta (2 piccolinis/2 whole wheat)- on sale for $1 each minus .50 cent MFR coupon so .50 cents each
Pack of 18 eggs- .29 cents after Kellogg's Poptart coupon
Store Brand Antacids- BOGO- 2.97 (no coupon)
Suave Deodorants- 3 at 1.67 each minus one .50 cent MFR coupon
Suave Lotion- 2.50 minus $1 MFR coupon so $1.50
Suave Shampoos- 6 at .87 cents a bottle minus 2.25 in MFR coupons so .50 apiece
Suave Conditioner- .87 cents
Lift the flap puzzle for Little Guy's Easter basket- on sale for 2.15

Total before coupons was $37.59
After coupons 26.42

The Suave purchases got me a $3 off coupon on my next shopping trip. That will get me a gallon of milk next week. Most of the Suave is going to the Food pantry and as donations on stock the cart donation days at Big Girl's school.

To see more Shopping Expeditions check out Gayle's Grocery Cart Challenge.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

What's For Dinner: Stir Fry & a weeks worth of eats

Our fridge and pantry are stuffed from too many trips to the grocery store. A simple trip to get milk ends in a cart full of groceries.

This week we've had:

Monday- Veggie "pork" cutlets sauteed in soy sauce, ginger, veggie broth, garlic and onions, steamed brown rice, and steamed kale.

Tuesday- Lasagna made with leftover "pork" crumbles and a container of lowfat cottage cheese. No sides dishes but the lasagna was really good. All leftovers went into the fridge for Hubby's work lunches.

Wednesday- Tonight we're having stir fry with egg, and whatever half empty bags of frozen veggies I find in the freezer.

Thursday- Tomorrow night we're having mushroom cheese pizza with leftover sauce and cheese from the lasagna.

Friday- Breakfast for dinner- Pancakes and eggs.