Friday, October 31, 2008

The money saved is adding up

okay, I realize that you few loyal readers may be sick and tired of all my posts about saving money. But really, right now, this is what is going on in our lives. We eat, breath, live saving money. And we will be this way until that emergency fund is in place and our debt snowball is rolling. So...just bear with me as I continue to post about money.

Okay, if you aren't a member of the grocery game, really you maybe should be. Today at Kroger, before the cashier scanned my kroger card and coupons, my total was 96.00. She then scanned the card and coupons, and my total went down to 46.00!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 96.00 worth of groceries for 46.00. IT IS CRAZY. Here is what I got...

3 packs of Cottonelle
2 bottles of Purex Laundry Detergent
Kroger Brand multi grain waffles
3 bottles of Herbal Essence Shampoo
3 bottles of Herbal Essence Conditioner
2 Smithfield Pork Tenderloins
2 tubes of Revlon Lip Gloss
4 cans of Kroger Brand Cream of Chicken Soup
2 boxes of Lean Pockets
1 box of Kroger Brand cereal
1 box of Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies
1 case of Diet Pepsi
1/2 lb of Boars Head White American Cheese
Sister Schubert yeast rolls
4 pack Yo-Plus yogurt

Total coupon savings=47.94
Total money spent=46.88

moral of the story...I am LOVING the Grocery Game

Needless to say I walked out of Kroger with cash still in my wallet. And I was feeling good. So, Ada and I headed across the street, where I spent some of that cash on a long overdue Big Train iced vanilla chai. It's a good day, ya'll. Almost 50.00 saved and my stomach full of Big Train chai.

p.s. I already had much of what I needed for meals this week, so I used the grocery trip to stock up on things. I will be sharing the week's menu on Monday, as usual.

For more frugal tips, visit Frugal Friday.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Question--Needing Feedback

Does Pork Tenderloin freeze well?

It is on sell B1G1 at Kroger this week, and I would like to buy two, if they freeze well.

And while I'm getting feedback...I have never cooked Pork Tenderloin before. Any advice? Recipes?

What goes well with Pork Tenderloin?

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

It's a good night...

Tonight I am feeling very content.

I am tucked safely into my warm home. Comfy in my favorite Auburn hoodie and pajama pants. Ada is sleeping soundly upstairs, my hubby is on the couch doing his bible study, and life is good.

Other little things making me happy tonight.

A diet coke bought with a 5.00 dollar bill that Scott just handed to me. Said do what you want with it. We both knew what that money would be going toward:)

After examining the budget, this way and that, and figuring out a few places we can reduce costs this week, I am going to Target to buy these boots this weekend. They are slightly on sale, my freezer is stocked with chicken and vegetables so the grocery bill should be low, and we think we can swing it without adding any extra money to the budget. So exciting.

Plus...Ada has been sleeping until 7:30 lately. This gives me a few extra hours to play with at night, and tonight I plan to stay up, even after Scott goes to bed, to tackle some cleaning projects. I am looking forward to a quiet, lamp lit house, Gilmore Girls on in the background, and finally getting this house clean. I plan to feel very accomplished when I finally lay my head on that pillow.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Home Again

Scott and I pulled into McDonough this afternoon around 3:30 pm after a long weekend with Scott's parents in Crossville, AL. Despite getting lots of extra rest this weekend because of Scott's mother's generous offer to watch Ada in the mornings while Scott and I slept in, I am very tired this evening, so this will most likely be a very quick post.

Ada had a fabulous time at the grandparents' house, especially since there are cows right out the back door. If we had allowed it, Ada would have crawled right through the gate to join the cow. Obviously, we didn't allow it, which at times resulted in some rather loud screams from Ada. She was serious about wanting to be with that cow. She referred to the cow as "gog," her word for dog. This made us laugh because the cow made for such a large dog. She did learn to moo in response to the cow though. The cow would moo, then Ada would moo, then the cow would moo, and so on. They were speaking each other's language.

Ada also got to spend some time with her second cousin, Kendall. Kendall was born just a few days after Ada, and we thought that they would love playing together. However, they may still be too young. They mainly wanted to take toys from each other. Ada at times seemed to be the dominant toy taker, so I had to do some major refereeing. Which resulted in more screams. Lovely.

It was a very restful weekend, and we were thankful to get to sleep in and take afternoon naps while away. Plus we enjoyed seeing all of Scott's family. It was a long overdue visit, and we took lots of pictures with Scott's sister's camera. However, I came home with only these three. Enjoy.

Ada and her bff, the cow.Ada and Pop...being her funny selfThis is a classic Ada face. If we say, "Ada do you want some juice?" or, "Ada, dad will be home soon," or "Ada, do you want to watch Praise Baby?" we are greeted with this face. It can show up in the middle of tantrum if I ask the right question. I'm very happy to have it captured on film. (Kendall is in the background of this photo)

Friday, October 24, 2008

It's a good day, and it's only 9:20 am

I just filled up my car for 34.00!!!!!!!!!

And I found yet another coffee shop in McDonough that sales my beloved Big Train Chai.

It is a good day.

* One more thing to add to this completey random post.

If had this wonderful contraption, I would love to make my own baby food. Maybe we can work it into the budget before any other babies join our family....something to think about.

And while we're at it, I might as well get this too, right?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

I'm Loving the Grocery Game

It's a good week for the Grocery Game and me. Last week I wasn't feeling it so much, and then I saw this week's list. And we are on again.

Here is a list of what I am getting for FREE!!! from Kroger....

2 bottles of Pert Plus shampoo (normally 3.39 each)
5 (yes, five!!!) packs of Cottonelle Toilet Paper
4 boxes of Celestial Seasonings Tea (normally 2.99 each)
3 boxes of Green Valley Fresh Steamers Vegetables (normally 1.79 each)

so that's what, 23.00 worth of free merchandise, rounding down!!

That's my free list, and here is my drastically reduced prices list

2 Reach Toothbrushes=1.00 (normally 2.16 each)
6 Scotch Brite Sponges=3.00
Purdue Chicken Breasts= 1.99/lb (I am stocking up on this, so I plan to reserve about 10.00 worth of grocery budget for this) (normally 5.49/lb)
3 Boxes of Green Giant Healthy Weight Vegetables=1.50 (normally 1.79 each)
6 boxes of Green Giant Regular Vegetables(not sure what the difference is between these and the previous, but whatever)=3.00 (normally 1.79 each)
2 boxes of Ronzoni Smart Taste Pasta=.66 (normally 1.89 each)

I am going in the morning because my coupon pile is a mile high, and I hate to be that girl holding up the grocery line. And I find that Kroger is quite empty at 8 am on a weekday morning. Plus, I am just so excited to see these savings in person.

And to top it all off, CVS has been good to me too. I had a rain check for a free box of Always Infinity Pads. I went to claim that free box today, and when the cashier rang it up (for free) out printed a dollar extra buck. Yes, they paid me a dollar to take the always pads. That is my kind of shopping. Tomorrow I am heading over there after Kroger to stock up on Huggies diapers. I plan to purchase 3 packs of Huggies diapers for less than 30.00, and I will receive 10.00 extra bucks!!! is a good week for saving money.

An Easy Comfort Food Recipe

Back before I was couponing and meal planning and all of that, I was struggling to get into a routine of cooking meals each week. When Scott and I first got married we lived in a tiny apartment that contained a miniature kitchen. Really, it was miniature. So if I cooked a big meal (in my mini size oven) I often had to wash big dishes in the bath tub, which was disgusting to me, so we ate out a lot. Plus we had no central heat and air, so in the summer if we cooked anything, our entire apartment quickly felt like the inside of an oven. Again, we ate out a lot. This was during our two income life.

After we found out that Ada was on the way, we moved to a bigger apartment in Vinings, with a real sized kitchen that had a normal sized sink, and even, a dishwasher!!! Not to mention that we were trying to save every penny of my income that we could to prepare for Ada's arrival. So...I went on a quest to learn how to menu plan and to stop eating out. To get started, I joined a service called e-mealz. When using e-mealz, I was given a menu each week with a grocery list and a price break down. It didn't save me as much money as I hoped for, but it did establish a habit of menu planning and grocery shopping for the entire week, and I am so thankful for that habit now!! And it built my spice cabinet substantially. Plus, in the process, I found several recipes that are sure to be favorites for the rest of our lives.

One such recipe is Tender Beef Pot Pie. To me, this recipe is the ultimate comfort food. And with the weather turning cooler--the high in the 50s tomorrow!!--I am contemplating adding it to the menu next week. Here it is, super easy, super good.

1 lb stew meat--slow cooked
18 oz jar prepared beef gravy
1 t minced garlic
1/4 t dried basil
29 oz can mixed vegetables (or I am sure you could use frozen)
2 refrigerated pie crusts (or make your own, of course)

Mix meat, gravy, garlic, and basil in a baking dish. Cover and cook @ 200 for 6-8 hours.
Fold in veggies.
Line one pie plate with one pie crust
Pour mixture into pie crust
Top with other crust
Pinch crusts together
Cut vents and cover edges of crust with foil
Bake at 350 for 50-60 minutes

So easy. So good. So warm and comforting.

For more meat and potato type recipes, check out Life As Mom (one of my favorite blogs).

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Target Toy Aisle and other tidbits from our Wednesday Night

I decided not to tutor tonight. I just needed a break. So, so badly. Instead, when Scott got home, our little family of three (after eating very tasty pot roast) headed to our local Target, which we like to do just for fun. After making my usual rounds through the women's clothing section and toddler clothing section, Scott suggested we look at the toy section for other possible Christmas gifts.

Oh man. Scott and I were going crazy.

We got to the fisher price aisle, and we just couldn't contain ourselves. There Ada sat happily eating her goldfish (because she would only eat carrots for dinner, nothing else), and Scott and I, the adults in the situation, were flipping out over all of the toys that Ada just had to have. So that's why kids end up having over the top Christmases. The parents just go crazy in the toy aisle. Luckily, we didn't actually have money to purchase anything, but I sure do hope those toys we are picking up Monday live up to the ones we saw tonight. I say all of this with tongue in cheek, but really, have you been to the Target toy aisle lately? This is our first Christmas as parents when we really want to do the "Santa" thing, and we are going to have to tone. it. down.

So, we left Target, purchasing nothing more than a .99 cent box of Goldfish that bought us enough time to leisurely stroll through the store, and we went home ready to give Ada a bath, and that leads me to my next story.

Ada has a new bath time habit, unfortunately, that involves her hugging me in all of her soaking wet soapiness. I guess she doesn't like having her hair rinsed because the water sometimes gets in her face. So tonight, when she saw my hand going for the cup, she threw herself at me with everything that was in her, holding tightly to my waist with her wet head buried into my chest. We were both dripping with soap and water. And there she stayed, locked around me, until I moved my hand away from the cup. Then when she was sure the cup was not in my hand, she returned to playing with her bath tub alphabet toys, and I grabbed the cup to pour from behind. Once I poured, she repeated the routine, soaking me even more. It was a mess. I was a mess. And we had to repeat this at least 5 times before all the shampoo was rinsed from her hair. Water was every where. And my clothes were headed straight for the laundry room. But she was clean. And she is now asleep, so I count it a success.

Again, I tell you, Go to Old Navy!!

This is a quick post to remind you to go to Old Navy. Tank tops are still on sale for .99 cents, though they mainly have very large sizes left. Perhaps if you search you can still find a variety of sizes. There is still a rack of summer shirts for a dollar. Stock up for next year if you can find your size!!

As for the baby section, halloween costumes are 50% off, which means you will pay about 12.00 for a costume. I don't think the selection is a good as last year, but they are still cute. All baby clearance is 50% off the clearance price!! Yesterday I purchased two sets of footie pajamas for Ada, and the total was 4.26--with tax!!! I did buy 6-12 months because her 18 months clothes are still too big. I hate buying 6-12 months for her since she is working on 15 months, but at 2.00 a piece, I was willing to buy 6-12 months for a few weeks worth of wear. Plus, with the cold nights we have been having lately, I want to make sure she is nice and warm when we put her to bed. If you have baby showers coming up, now would be a good time to buy gifts. The pajamas are part of Old Navy's little bundles line, which I love, so even though the price says otherwise, these make really good baby gifts. Really.

The Old Navy clearance rack always Works For Me!!!

p.s. It is 9 am, and Ada is down for a nap. Surely to goodness this will be a two nap day. Please, Lord, let it be a two nap day. She has been so fussy lately, and today I decided to try a new tactic. As soon as the fussiness began, I put her down, and she's asleep. We'll see what happens this afternoon.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Christmas Shopping for Ada in October

I have been thinking about Christmas recently because Ada is in desperate need of some new toys. She has outgrown all of hers, poor thing, hence the trip to Wal-Mart for a stroller and doll. Obviously, any major toy purchases we were putting off until Christmas. As I was talking with another mom in the nursery this past Sunday, it dawned on me that I should check out e-bay and craigslist for presents. Ada certainly won't know the difference between a new and slightly used toy!! And ya'll, I hit the jackpot. I found a woman on Craigslist, who is right here in McDonough, selling tons of stuff. We can't buy all of it, obviously, but hopefully we will be picking up the majority of Ada's Christmas on Monday. We decided on these three items for now. I did tell her to let me know if she was getting rid of any more stuff closer to Christmas. We would still like some sort of tunnel or slide. There is one in the church nursery, and Ada can't get enough.

I am getting all of the above for a FRACTION of the cost that it would be if I purchased it new, and the majority of Ada's Christmas will be done. Scott and I are so excited about the toys. Two have actual lights with switches, which is Ada's favorite thing in the whole world. If it were up to her I would spend my days holding her next to the light switch so she could flip it on and off and say "dight" every time the light switched on. And she will have her own little reading chair and lamp--a girl after her mom's heart;) The other toy is a "stage" that plays music. It also includes a microphone. I can just picture Ada dancing her little heart out in front of the mirror. The only toy left that I am hoping to find for a great price is some kind of ride on toy--like the sit and spin zebra or something with wheels that she can push and ride. I have seen tons in the store, but I am crossing my fingers that I will stumble upon a great deal between now and Christmas.

Merry Early Christmas, Everyone!!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Another Friday afternoon, Another menu

It's Sunday night at the Moore house, the clothes are folded (see post below), and I am blogging for the second time tonight because it's time to post the week's menu. To find more menus and recipes or to join in on the fun of menu plan Monday (on Sunday night), check out Organizing Junkie.

Actual Blog Post starts now...

It's 10:36 am on Friday morning, and Ada is already down for a nap. The fussiness started early today, so who knows what the afternoon will be like. I'll just deal with it then. For now, little Ada is fast asleep in her bed and all is right with the world. It's hard being 14 months--it can wear a girl out. budget plan. I am going to take two separate grocery trips. The first one will be only food and necessities. Then, if there is any budget money left, I will take a second trip for stock up items. I think I am spending WAY too much on stock up items. Even at rock bottom prices, if it causes me to go over budget, it's not saving us money. I'll let you know how that goes. The goal for the week--keep it under 75.00. We'll see what happens.

Last week's goal--more veggies. We ate more veggies, we really did. Mainly we ate veggies when we ate cheesy vegetable chowder, which we all loved and had plenty left over. It was a little more work than expected, but it tasted great. Less fast food than the week before. Progress was made.

Here's this week's menu

Friday night--Ada, whatever. Yogurt, PB & J, whatever she will eat. Scott and I will eat Chili's chips and salsa and queso after Ada goes to bed and maybe watch a movie. Or better yet, The Office on dvd, A very cheap, "at home" date, if you will. I don't believe in cooking on Friday nights:)

Saturday--begins with an 8 am tutoring session (yikes!!), then we are working a booth at a Halloween Carnival (it's a church thing), and then we plan to go eat dinner with couple friends from Atlanta. They are coming here. We are eating at Shane's. I have set aside 25.00 to cover Friday and Saturday night. This is not included in the 75.00

Sunday--lunch will be pot roast with potatoes and carrots. Dinner will be whatever.

Monday--Spaghetti, salad, bread

Tuesday--Brown Rice and veggie stir fry

Wednesday--sausage and potato soup (this is from last week's menu), biscuits or cornbread

Thursday--leftovers or pasta with tomatoes

Breakfast--south beach bars, grits, eggs, nutri grain waffles

Lunch--leftovers from dinner, PB & J, lean cuisine pizzas (sale + coupons, according to Grocery Game)

so the grocery list

pot roast



ground beef


dinner bread

south beach bars

7 lean cuisine pizzas (rock bottom prices according to Grocery Game)

sandwich bread


diet coke


nutri grain waffles


in our pantry/fridge we already have plenty of pasta, spaghetti sauce, makings for stir fry, juice, canned tomatoes, peanut butter, jelly, makings for sausage and potato soup, eggs, grits

surely to goodness, this will be less than 75.00. I will let you know. I know you are all on the edge of your seats just waiting to hear:)

Okay, the results are in--our total at Kroger came to 65 ish. I don't have the receipt in front of me. I thought it was going to be less than 60, so I decided to examine the receipt when I got home. And there I found a 6.00 bag of cheese instead of the 1.25 bag of cheese I expected. My sweet hubby decided to go grocery shopping with Ada and me on Friday night. He picked up the bag of cheese. He picked up the 25 oz bag of cheese rather than the 8 oz bag of cheese. Needless to say, the cheese was returned to Kroger. And the total came in at 60ish. Yea!! Good thing because we spent more than expected on food this weekend outside of the grocery trip. However, with everything added up I did not go over budget of 100 a week including grocery store, dinners out, diet coke runs etc. The goal is not spend any more money before Friday.

7 more facts--as if you didn't know enough...

Ann has tagged me, and I am happy to play along. And to tag seven more people.

Here we go, seven random facts. Much easier than 100.

1. I have never been to Disney World. I plan to go one day, but we'll see...

2. I like the idea of organic, but in reality I am so not organic. I drink diet coke like it's going out of style, eat way too much fast food, and the meals I cook are not organic. Price tag is the biggest factor at the grocery store these days. I am excited if we cover all of the food groups on any given day.

3. My favorite movie in the whole world is The Mirror Has Two Faces starring Barbara Streisand. Love it!! I have watched it over and over and over. If you haven't seen it. Rent it. Watch it. Love it.

4. I usually like any movie starring Dianne Keaton. I love her!!

5. I am a terrible housekeeper. Terrible. The laundry is out of control all of the time, and my upstairs is such a disaster that I would be embarrassed for anyone to see it other than Scott. I don't enjoy mess; in reality it stresses me out. But I get so overwhelmed by the enormity of it that I can't figure out how to tackle the mess.

6. Speaking of, Scott and I are about to fold a pack n play full of clean clothes. No joke. Full. I have almost washed every article of clothing, towel, etc. that we own in the past two days.

7. I rarely do things halfway. I am an all or nothing kind of girl. Hence the clean downstairs and disastrous upstairs. And if upstairs does get clean. It gets very clean. I scrub it top to bottom.

And there you have it, the seven facts you were all dying to know.

And I am tagging seven people--my younger sisters (Sarah and Kate) and my mom, Sarah Lundeen--my college freshman bff who just started a blog AND recently became Sarah Garner, my childhood bff, Joy Baldwin (Finch), Shannon--another college bff (rumors are circulating that you started a blog), and Krisan, sister of Milla--fellow white house girl. Have fun!!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Baptism Photos

As I mentioned last week, my family was in town this past Sunday's for Ada's baptism and our joining of the church. Well, we actually joined this past summer, but we were publicly recognized this past Sunday.

I was very unsure of how Ada would do, and just as I suspected, it was a bit difficult to get through. She did not want to be held for the entire "ceremony," and she quickly tired of my handing her my bracelet and earrings. She even began to throw my bracelet and earrings down in the middle of our pastor explaining what her baptism meant. Oh dear. It was a chunky wooden bracelet, too, so it made quite the clunk when it was dropped on the ground. When she was actually handed over to the pastor, she did okay. That is until the water was poured on her head, at which point she let out a very loud wail. She did not like it!!! I wish I had a picture of that moment. Our camera still does not work, so I am at the mercy of other peoples' cameras. The photos below were taken with Ann's camera. Enjoy.
church seems to fall right at naptime.

oh you know, lifting her dress for all the world to seethe rest of the crew before church started--Ann, Ellie, Luke, Dad, and Momthe actual baptism. Notice Ada trying to get out of Scott's arms.these two photos are vintage Ada!!
I will most likely be back before the weekend is over to share some thoughts on why we chose to baptize Ada. It was a decision we went back and forth on, so it would be good for me to jot my thoughts down.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

You must go to Old Navy and buy some tank tops

I am slightly obsessed with tank tops. I have been since college. They are so versatile--great for layering, exercising, covering up a bathing suit, sleeping, and the list goes on and on. I have two separate drawers just for my tank tops--one for white and one for colored. The problem is that ever since little Ada came into my life and just rearranged everything--including my body--my old tank tops have been too short. I can't put my finger on the too short thing, perhaps my ribs are wider and my stomach a little bigger after giving birth. Who knows. Anyway...Ada and I needed an outing today because she was getting fussy, but I wasn't ready for her to take a nap at 11 am. Things work out better for everyone if she takes a later nap. So, we headed to the outlet malls a few exits down from our house. With the beautiful weather, we like to do this because we can walk around outside, and I might stumble on some amazing deals. And today, stumble I did, onto .99 cent racer back tanks at Old Navy. I bought six of them. SIX!!! I had to search for my size, but I searched, and I bought. And I am so excited to be the proud owner of six new tanks that are long enough for this post-pregnancy body. Only two were good colors for layering--I bought two black ones--the rest were things like green or yellow striped. But, they will be perfect for running or sleeping, and I can wear them instead of dirtying a brown, black, or white tank that I need for an actual outfit. Really, you need to go to Old Navy!!!

They had an entire rack of summer shirts on sale for a dollar, but that would have a required an amount of digging through that I was not capable of doing with a 14 month old in tow.

I did walk away with a dress and skirt that Ada can wear next summer--both for under 5.00. Amazing deals, people. Now is the time to stock up on summer clothes at Old Navy. It's CRAZY. 1.00!!!!

p.s. Scott, if you are reading this and wondering where I got the money to spend at Old Navy, it came from the Banana Republic shirt I returned. No worries--we are still on budget:)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Recipe and dinner update

It was a good weekend as far as food goes (and company--great company). My dad took all of us to lunch at the Olive Garden after church on Sunday, which was such a treat, and then Ann fixed the lasagna Sunday night, which we ate left over last night. Plus Saturday night Ann and I ate Chili's chips and salsa and queso (to go) for dinner after the kids were in bed, so there was food in abundance all weekend. All this to say, it lead to food in abundance this week, so my menu is being tweaked a bit. Last night was leftover lasagna, and today, Scott and I are full from lunch, so we may be having a grab whatever you can find kind of dinner. The cheesy vegetable chowder is being pushed to Wednesday night, with leftovers Thursday night. What does this mean--less groceries to buy next week. Hallelujah.

Now, I wanted to post my pasta recipe that is oh so easy and oh so good. Plus, I just refrigerate the leftovers, and it tastes great cold the next day. Scott was working from home today, so we ate it hot for lunch.

I use Barilla pasta plus. The plus being added protein and fiber. And it's whole grain pasta. It's good stuff, and it is really not any more expensive than the normal pasta.

Okay, so I boil the whole box of pasta.

In the mean time, I mix together two cans of diced tomatoes with basil and garlic, 1/4 c. of balsamic vinaigrette, Parmesan and mozzarella cheese (however much you want. We include a lot), Italian spices, and whatever other spices you might want to add. Once the pasta is done, I just add it to the tomato mixture, and toss it all together. I serve immediately.

I serve it with some kind of bread, and, of course, for dinner a nice salad would be a great addition.

It is very good and very filling. Hence the reason Scott and I aren't hungry for dinner tonight.

For more recipes, check out Blessed with Grace.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Menu Planning Monday on a Friday afternoon

As always, I am actually typing this on Friday with plans to post on Sunday. It has become my Friday routine. It's how I figure out the details of my Friday afternoon Kroger trip. Ada is asleep, my coupons have been clipped and examined, the store circulars perused, and I am ready to make the week's menu. Remember the focus this week is simple--no McDonald's and at least one or two veggies. I am trying to be realistic about what I can actually accomplish. If this time next Friday we have all had at least one something healthy, well then it's a better week than last.
Okay, it is now 9:43 on Friday night. Ada is once again asleep, Scott is playing x-box, and I am finally getting back to the task at hand--cutting the grocery bill one week at a time. This week I am trying something new--The Grocery Game. For now, I have joined with only Kroger's list, but I am contemplating adding the CVS list as well because these are the two main stores I frequent. I planned to make a switch to Publix, but when I went for the first time last week I found out that the Publix nearest me is closing. Sad, sad day. Anyway...I will report back about the Grocery Game after tomorrow's Kroger trip. I have high hopes of all the money I will save.(see previous post for savings)

And here it is, this week's menu.

Friday night--Scott requested that we go to Fuddrucker's for a burger, and I heartily agreed. It is a rare day that Scott suggests we eat out, so I jumped on board the second he mentioned it. The price was a little steep considering we didn't split, but hopefully the numbers will all work out anyway.

Saturday--the fam. is coming into town. Ann and the cousins will be joining us in the morning and my parents will be joining us late tomorrow after the Auburn game. It's a big weekend for us because Ada will be baptized on Sunday. More on that later, though. As for dinner, well I don't know for sure yet. I'll get back to you.

Sunday--Ann and mom will be cooking Sunday lunch for everyone. I think lasagna is on the menu. I anticipate Sunday's dinner being a grab whatever you can find kind of thing. I imagine we will be quite full from lunch.

Monday--everyone returns home, and it's back to the normal day to day. Here is where the real menu begins. New recipe tonight from Southern Living, Cheesy Vegetable Chowder. I am counting on leftovers out of this one. I will most likely make some biscuits to go with the chowder.

Tuesday--leftovers or a Macaroni Grill boxed meal kit. I have a coupon, and it's at its lowest price at Kroger. I hope it's good. We will eat broccoli as a side.

Wednesday--Another Southern Living soup recipe, Easy Potato Sausage Soup. Again, I will most likely make some cornbread to eat with this.

Thursday--leftovers or possibly Wendy's value menu chili. It's tutoring/discipleship night, and I have to cook something SUPER easy. Thursdays look like this. Scott barely makes it home in time for me to get out the door and to tutoring by 5:00. I then make it back to my house at the same time as the women coming for discipleship, so dinner needs to be something we can all do on our own. We are still figuring this out.

And that concludes the dinners for the week.

Lunches--pasta salad (added protein pasta), lean pockets (sale + coupons), canned progresso and campbell's soup (lots and lots and lots of coupons for this)

breakfast--peanut butter toast, yogurt, grits, eggs

snacks--multi-grain cheerios (Ada), stove popped popcorn (me!!),

Here is where you will find other yummy menus for the week.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

The Grocery Game--I'm thinking it works

As you know if you read this blog often, I having been couponing for months now. And I have to be honest, at times it seems to get the best of me. I spend hours on the living room floor, coupons all around, store circulars all around, back hurting from sitting and clipping and searching for the best deal. And most often, I go to the store, and my final total is more than I hoped for. It can be a discouraging process. Though it has saved us tons and tons of money, so there are no plans to stop couponing. Instead, there are plans to get better at couponing.

My first attempt at "getting better at this," is to use my grocery game membership. I signed up for a free trial weeks ago, but I haven't really been using it, and with plans to cancel my membership, I decided to give it one more try. So last night, I sat in front of the computer with "Terri's List" for Kroger, and I matched my coupons to what she said to buy in hopes of saving tons and tons of money. I woke up this morning, fed Ada some breakfast ,woke Scott up to watch Ada, and I headed out the door with list and coupons in hand. I went to three different stores--CVS, Target, and Kroger--in that order because CVS is farthest from my house and Kroger is closest, and here is how I did.

My total for all three stores was 113.00, rounding up a bit. I was hoping to keep it under 75.00, but I am still trying to get the hang of when to buy to stock up and when to not buy, so maybe next week I can keep it below 75.00. But ya'll, listen to what 113 got me. It's CRAZY.

3 boxes of playtex tampons
2 things of Speedstick Deodorant for Men
4 bags of candy (2 kit kat, 2 reeses)
1 schick quatro razor for Scott
1 bic soleil razor for me

total saved with coupons and extra bucks=41.38
extra bucks to use on next shopping trip=9.00
coupons printed off with receipt=10.00 total in savings

If you are not playing the CVS game, please do. It is so much fun, and the amount of money you can save is CRAZY.

12 pack of Quilted Northern Toilet Paper
1 card

no coupons, toilet paper on sale

I am not going to list all of this out, but I will just give you a summary

enough for meals for the week--breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks
Two 24 packs of Deer Park water
12 containers of Yoplait Yogurt
2 things of Maalox chewable tablets
Febreeze Starter Kit (free with coupons, normally like 9.00)
6 cans of Hunts tomatoes
3 bottles of adult suave shampoo
3 bottles of child suave shampoo
Loreal Mascara
basics like milk, juice, chicken broth (4 cans), frozen veggies, etc.

Total saved with coupons and kroger plus card= 50.92

so all together, using coupons and store loyalty cards, I saved 90.00 today!! I say it was a successful trip. And my stockpiles of shampoo, Ada's soap, feminine products, and toothpaste are complete for a while. Hopefully, the grocery bill will continue to drop.

I will back tomorrow with the week's menu to show what all I am able to make with the groceries that I bought.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

I won't be winning any motherhood awards this week

and here are the reasons why

Not once, but TWICE Ada and I split McDonalds and called it a sufficient lunch.

And on top of all of that organic, healthy goodness, I will be serving a Target brand frozen pizza for dinner tonight. Oh dear.

Yesterday when Ada and I were at a stand off--she having both hit and growled at me over who knows what, and me not knowing the best way to handle it because everything I have tried so far seems to be NOT working, we headed to Wal-Mart where I bought her a toy stroller and baby doll. That did the trick.

Surely Dave Ramsey would agree that a rainy day and an angry toddler is reason enough to dip into the emergency fund, right? He does say save for a rainy day, and yesterday was definitely rainy:)

In my defense the stroller cost 7.00 and the doll 3.50. They were the cheapest things in the toy department.

Twice this week when Ada woke up at 2 am and didn't automatically fall back asleep, I gave her a bottle. A BOTTLE. I don't think I am even supposed to be giving her bottles in the day time anymore. But we all got some sleep!

And now, when I should be cleaning the house for tonight's discipleship group, I am sitting here blogging.

Here is what I propose. Let's just erase this week from the books and start fresh on Monday. Vegetables for lunch and all.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Today is a good day because

Scott worked from home, which means that when Ada and I had tired of each other, we could go visit Scott who was just down the hall.

I tutored outside of my house. Face to face. Real conversation. Real live, can see it in her face, understanding. I am just crossing my fingers that the tutoring leads to a good test grade on Thursday--yikes!

The Biggest Loser is on television (before the debate, of course). I love the Biggest Loser. It inspires me to work out, and work out A LOT.

Little tiny arms wrapped tightly around my neck more than once today. And then those arms squeezed tight. The best feeling in the whole world.

And I am tucked into my safe, warm house.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Menu Planning Monday

It's Friday afternoon, Ada is napping, and I am organizing my menu so that we can go to Kroger when she wakes up. However, I will most likely not post this until Sunday night or Monday morning. But here it is.

Friday--Split dinner out with Ada and Scott, most likely Shane's Barbecue (our favorite!)

Saturday--football food, Anne's Hot Sausage Dip and chips and salsa from Chili's (again, our favorite). This is a recipe from Coastal Living and it is SO GOOD. I have not made it since last fall, but with the weather turning cooler and football on tv, I decided it was time to add it to the menu.

Sunday--we will most likely eat leftover dip for lunch. It makes a lot. We will eat whatever we can find for dinner before we go to Community Group.

Monday--Santa Fe Soup. I am so excited because this will be the first time I've made it this year!! I LOVE it.


Wednesday--breakfast for dinner, waffles and bacon. My mom gave me her waffle iron, so I am excited to use it.

Thursday--frozen pizza. Thursday nights I dash out the door to tutor as soon as Scott gets home, and then right after that I host discipleship group at my house. This means we need an easy dinner with easy clean up. Frozen pizza eaten on a paper towel is as easy as it gets. We will throw away everything, and the kitchen will be clean again.

Breakfast will be the usual kashi waffles and slim fast bars. Maybe one day I will get more creative. For now we are going with the familiar. We know it tastes good and fills us up, and I feel okay about the ingredients.

Lunch will be PB & J and pringles (BIG sale at CVS + Coupons). Not exciting AT ALL, but it is cheap and healthy enough. We use whole grain bread, and sometimes natural peanut butter. It's protein, Ada loves it, it works. I may decide to make a big batch of pasta salad using the pasta with added protein. We'll see. It would add some variety to our diet:)

Snacks will be yogurt (always), peanuts, string cheese, stove popped popcorn, which I also sometimes eat for lunch after Ada goes down for a nap. It's my afternoon treat. Gilmore Girls on dvd, stove popped popcorn, and a diet coke. Nothing like it.

And as usual, check out Organizing Junkie for more menu ideas.

p.s. as I am looking over this week's menu, I realize that it really lacking veggies. And fruits. Yikes. I'll work on that with next week's menu. But for now the groceries are bought, so there's no changing it. Well, seeing it on paper makes me face the facts, I guess.

Should I add a grocery list with price break down? might help me figure out ways that I could cut corners even more. We'll see. I may add that feature next week.

Happy eating, everyone!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Things I'm Wishing for Today

1. These boots from Target that will turn all my summer dresses (plus a cardigan or jacket) into perfect fall wear:) I have to get creative when I can't afford to buy a whole new wardrobe every season. Buy a few cardigans in a few different colors, add some fun tights, and a pair of casual boots, and we have the perfect frugal fall outfit. Works for me. Now, if I can just save a few pennies from the grocery bill and purchase these in the next few weeks before the weather really does turn cooler. Plus for me, Scott likes them WAY better than my fake Uggs. Which he HATES.

2. An anniversary trip to this cute little carriage house in Rosemary Beach. I am tutoring my little heart out in hopes of getting caught up with bills, an emergency fund in the bank, and this place paid for all by Christmas. It will be our Christmas gift to each other. What would be better than a long weekend with the hubby in the very place where we got engaged and honeymooned. I need to print out a photo of this that I can stare at as I spend ALL of my evenings tutoring. (which, I am super thankful for, by the way--the hours, I mean)

3. I am wishing for a clean house. It hasn't been clean, I mean really clean, since my parents came and stayed with Ada while Scott and I celebrated our anniversary back in APRIL!!! While we were away, my mom cleaned my house top to bottom. We're talking every piece of laundry was washed, dried, and folded. A good cleaning is long overdue. Though I can never get it as clean as my mom can get it. No matter what I do.

What are you wishing for?

Friday, October 3, 2008

Recent Readings and Encouragement

I am currently reading The Shaping of a Christian Family by Elisabeth Elliot, which is, of course, so good and so convicting, as most of my actions look nothing like the actions of her mother:) (The book is the story of her life growing up). One chapter in particular brought tears to my eyes as it reminded me once again of the importance of the role of a mother in a child's life. Here is what she writes (or actually she is quoting an anonymous writer)

There is no nobler career than that of motherhood at its best. There are no possibilities greater, and in no other sphere does failure bring more serious penalties. With what diligence then should she prepare herself for such a task. If the mechanic who is to work with "things" must study at technical school, if the doctor into whose skilled hands will be entrusted human lives, must go through medical much more should the mother who is fashioning the souls of the men and women of tomorrow, learn at the highest of all schools and from the Master-Sculptor Himself, God. To attempt this task, unprepared and untrained is tragic, and its results affect generations to come. On the other hand there is no higher height to which humanity can attain than that occupied by a converted, heaven-inspired, praying mother.

Well, if that doesn't get me opening the word of God and praying daily, then I don't know what will. Thanks Elisabeth Elliot, for making me feel so good about myself today--ha, ha--just joking;) But seriously, it is a sobering thought, and immediately causes me to pray over and over and over, please, Lord, help me. I mean, is there anything else to say. Just help me. Do the mothering for me. Knock me out of the way. Just do this thing for me.

Okay, well second encouraging thing, which was a bit needed after that dose of reality above!!

Just last night, I participated in my fall women's discipleship group for the first time. I am very excited because starting next Thursday, we will be meeting at my house on Thursday nights. It will be a bit crazy because I also tutor outside of my home on Thursday nights, but I am looking forward to hosting something at my house for the first time!! Anyway...we are doing a Tim Keller study, and as most of you know, I LOVE Tim Keller and what he has to say. He has a way of making me see the gospel in a whole new light. Well, today I did my first lesson where Paul is chastising (right word?) Peter for "not living in the truth of the gospel." You know in Galatians when Peter stops eating with the Gentiles for fear of what the "circumcised party" will think. I think we're all guilty of this in some form or another. I certainly am. Not realizing that we are adding our own rules to the gospel. Well, Keller includes a quote from Martin Luther that explains how our righteousness is a result of NOTHING that we did. He calls it passive righteousness. And this is what he says, and let me tell you, it makes me want to shout hallelujah because I find such freedom and rest in these words,

So now we may certainly think, "Although I still sin, I don't despair, because Christ lives, who is both my righteousness and my eternal life." In that righteousness I have no sin, no fear, no guilty conscience, no fear of death. I am indeed a sinner in this life of mine (Amen to that!!) and in my own righteousness, but I have another life, another righteousness above this life, which is in Christ, the Son of God.

There you go. Permission to do a little dance over that one!! It is no secret that try as I may, I am going to FAIL and SIN in my own righteousness, but GUESS WHAT!!! I have another righteousness, another life, in the life and death and resurrection of Christ. Praise God a million times!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Latest Ada Stories

just a few funny happenings from our day to day.

Yesterday Ada and I were headed to CVS to buy my weekly bargains, and I gave her a sippy cup of water to drink on the way. It was one of those "take and toss" from Wal-Mart. Hint: I don't toss them, I wash them and reuse them:). Well, it was about halfway full of water when we left the house. Of course I "stopped" by Sonic (which was a good 5 minutes out of our way) for a half-price diet coke, and after I had ordered and I was waiting on my drink, I turned around to talk to Ada. And there she sat with the lid of the sippy cup in one hand and an empty cup in the other. hmmmm....I made an educated guess that she hadn't finished drinking that water before the lid came off. Sure enough, when we got to CVS, and I picked her up, her pants were soaking wet, which meant that my shirt was quickly soaked from holding her. I was not deterred from my deals, however. In to CVS we marched, soaking baby and all. She didn't seem bothered in the least. As soon as we got back to the car, I stripped her down to her diaper, and that was how she rode the rest of the way home. And I repeat my mom motto--you do what you have to do.

p.s. maybe that's why those sippy cups are so cheap. Sometimes it might be worth it to pay the higher price;)

Second Ada tale

I am trying to enforce two naps a day while she is suffering from the cold and ear infection. This morning Ada was fighting that morning nap like a champ. I dug my heels in, though, and she is now asleep! I won!!! Yea. Well, in the falling asleep (screaming at the top of her lungs) process, I went into her bedroom to check on her. There I found her pantsless, with only one arm left in her shirt. The other arm was freely flailing about in anger over nap time. Again, I was not deterred. I calmly took her freed arm and placed it back in her shirt. I left her pants on the floor where she had tossed them, and I lay her back down. And, folks, she is now asleep. And I believe she will be a happier baby for it. And I, a happier mom!

I will most likely do a second post today with a very funny story of my first in-home tutoring experience. I was quickly reminded of why teenagers make me laugh so hard. Most of the time, their thinking is just a little off. Preview--tacky day during Homecoming Week is certainly important enough to lie to your mom about the due date of a History paper. Clearly tacky day has much more lasting consequences than your FAILING grade in the class. Oh how I love those teenagers and their yet to fully develop brains.