Sunday, February 28, 2010

Menu Planning Madness

Here is this week's menu (in which I already had everything in my kitchen):

Monday - Gymnastics so something quick
Tuesday - At a resturant to celebrate Texas Independance Day with co-workers and friends.  If nothing else, the girls should have a great time!
Wednesday - Soup and Sandwiches since we have soccer
Thursday - Homemade Veggie Pizza (if I have time to make the dough on Wed night) and a salad
Friday - Baked Talipia, rice, and green veggies
Saturday - Maybe Ribs since I opted for going out on last Sat night instead of having the ribs

Hope everyone has a great week and Happy Menu Planning!!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Go Texan Day

Tomorrow is Go Texan Day.  For those who do not live in Houston, this is the kick-off of the Houston Rodeo.  Almost every company and school in town (and the neighboring cities) celebrate this "holiday".  Any guesses on how we celebrate?  We deck out in our best Texan gear of course!

Normally I try to be a very frugal person and plan ahead for days like this.  However, this year I was very much behind the curve.  I did not realize my new department has a team competition based on how "Texan" our outfits are.  Now there was a time in college when I had a wardrobe of this attire.  However, this was many years and many pounds ago.  Normally I just use this day as an excuse not to wear a suit and to wear jeans.  However, not this year.

If I had planned properly, I would have been looking for correct attire (hat, boots, and a great shirt) at garage sales last fall.  Instead I spent the weekend going from Goodwill to Goodwill.  I did find a shirt and jacket that I think will work well.  I will be wearing my husband's boots and I have a few friends bringing hats for me to borrow tomorrow.  Needless to say I am hoping to not hinder my team too much!

Also, I should have been shopping for my girls.  I know that each school has a western day on Go Texan Day.  If I had properly planned I could have two girls completely decked out for little money.  Maybe next year I will plan a little better!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Kroger Feb 14th - March 2nd

It’s time to get all your Kellogg’s coupons together, or atleast the ones for the following items:

Frosted Flakes, Apple Jacks, Fruit Loops, Rice Krispies, Corn Pops, NutriGrain Bars, Special K Bars (there are some cookies and crackers as well but I am pretty well stocked on those)

Buy 4 of the above listed items for $10 and get two free gallons of milk (must be purchased at same time)

YEAH!!!! And to make it even better (yes I said this gets better) there is a coupon for $1.00 off of 3 in the 2/7 RP and check out the Catalina deal:

Buy Select Kellogg's cereals between 2/10 & 3/10/2010
Buy 3 & Get $1.00 ... or
Buy 4 & Get $3.00 ... or
Buy 5 or more & get $4.00 ...
Coupon off your next shopping order.

And to think I was just saying to my husband we were getting low on cereal….. If I schedule this right I can get our milk for a minimum of two weeks for free. Also, you can freeze milk if you have the room in your freezer.

Other good deals with the 10 items for $10:

$1 Blistex 0.21oz = Free w/Coupon
  • $0.35/1 1/17/10 SS
$ 1 Carefree = Free with coupon
  • $1 mailer
  • $1 coupon in Shape and Parents March (I have not looked in mine yet)
$1 Green Giant vegetables frozen, select varieties 7-10 oz (pictured are the boxed) = MM with coupons and loadables
  • .50/2 Green Giant Boxed Vegetables cellfire
  • .50/2 Green Giant frozen boxed shortcuts
  • .50/1 IP
$1 StarKist Tuna Pouch 2.6oz = Free with IP
  • $1 IP
  • $1/2 insert 2-14 RP
$1 Tennessee Pride Sausage Gravy = Free with insert
  • $1 insert 1-24 RP
  • .50/2 IP
$ 1 1lb bags of mini carrots (we love these in our house!)

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Randall's P&G Deal

Randall’s Stop Today
Today I stopped into Randall’s to see what I could do with the P&G buy $25 Participating Items get $10 OYNO Catalina and here is what I did:
Charmin 24 Rolls
4 Mr. Clean with Febreze
1 ½ pounds of grapes
Pampers Diapers (not part of the P&G Deal)
Charmin - $1/1 from P&G Mailer and $1/1 e-coupon
Mr. Clean - (4) $1/1 Febreze Item from P&G Insert (yes it works on these)
 (These are priced at $3.50 each but when you buy atleast 3 they drop to $1.99)
Pampers - $2/1 Cruisers from P&G Insert and $2/1 e-coupon
$10.00 Catalina (bought Iams dog food over the weekend)

Spent about $13.00 and got another $10.00 Catalina to use this week.  I will also use this receipt towards my Thank You Mom $100 Coupon Book.
If you are just hearing about the P&G deal at Randall's – don’t worry as it continues through the next week!

Why you need to know what is in your stockpile

Until today I felt like I had rebuilt my pantry stockpile to a respectable level.  However, my oldest daughter would disagree. 

Here is a little history.  In September, I came down with multiple viruses.  It had something about doing too much and not taking care of myself.  By October I was wiped, and grocery shopping did not occur except for necessities.  It was great to be able to do this, but it was the first time I could see shelves in my pantry in months which was very weird.

Since December (when I start shopping again), I have been trying to rebuild my stockpile. 

Fast forward back to today.  My daughter stayed home from daycare today due to a stomach virus (God Bless my MIL!!!!).  My daughter only ate a few bites of toast all day.  I left a message for my MIL saying I would be late coming home from work, since I wanted to stop by HEB for the cheap shrimp deal, and to make chicken noodle soup for dinner so my daughter could try and eat.  So far so good right.  That is what I was thinking, as I have a full two rows of soups.  All different kinds of soups, even chicken and stars.  However, there was no chicken noodle. 

I did not learn this until after I had left the HEB parking lot.  The only store between my car and home was Walgreen's.  So, $4.00 and three cans of soup later, my daughter got her chicken noodle soup.

The lesson I learned - there is no such thing as too much chicken noodle soup in the house!!!  What is the one item you need to make sure you have plenty of in your house?

Sunday, February 21, 2010


Remember the excitement of getting the mail from the mailbox each day growing up? I remember it, but until recently I only felt dread or boredom getting my mail. Between the bills and the junk mail, why get excited. Since I started doing rebates and actively looking for freebies worth my effort, I now have found that excitement. Here is a list of some of the items I have gotten this year so far:

Free 1 yr subscription to Shape
Free 1 yr subscription to Weight Watchers
Free 1 yr subscription to Working Mother (or atleast I have requested it and have all my fingers crossed I will start getting it!!)

SC Johnson $10
Kellogg’s $10
Caregiver’s Market Place $24.75
Staples over $100 in rebates and Cash Back
I have just started the rebates and I am hooked. I am hoping to keep up the effort as some of them are really worth the effort!

FYI - Everything I purchase is within my monthly budget.  The rebate money will either go back into the budget to help on a month where I need some help or it will go to our vacation fund as we are saving for Disney in 2011!!!

Menu Planning Madness

Menu Planning Madness
Saturday – Tacos (I realize this was suppose to be Friday’s meal of last week then I remembered it was the first Friday of lent – I can’t believe it is lent already!) I know I was suppose to try a new recipe but it was a crazy day. Instead, I baked a new white bread recipe for sandwiches this week.

Sunday – Beef Fajitas – We cooked up the Kroger Mega Deal. Not a great deal, but with a $3.00 off chicken or beef coupon from the Old El Paso Catalina deal, dinner was under a $1.00 per person.

Monday – Gymnastics so something on the way

Tuesday – Pork thrown into the crockpot with potatoes, carrots, and other seasonings

Wednesday – Leftovers before soccer

Thursday – Baked Chicken, mac and cheese, and green beans

Friday – Shrimp Scampi as long as I can get to HEB for the $3.99/lb shrimp!!!

Saturday – Hoping for ribs on the grill!!!

Hope everyone has a great week!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Combining Family Fun and Exercise

When I started looking at my priorities at the end of last year, I realized "I" was not getting enough attention.  One of those areas was exercise and my health.  As moms, there are so many items we can use as excuses (and I use most of them).  However, today my family took advantage of the beautiful weather while having a great time and getting some exercise.

We all decided to climb on our bikes (with the youngest in a bike stoller) and rode to the neighborhood park.  I am sure those who know me are in shock right now as I have not been on a bike in over 15 years.  I had some bad accidents and gave up bike riding.  However, I always felt a pain of regret when I watched families riding their bikes together.  So, when I heard Target had bikes on clearance a few weeks ago I took the plunge and bought a bike and helmet for under $50.  True - it is a men's bike and is kind of funny looking, but I figured this was my chance.  And I am so happy I did.  Today I got to be part of that family taking advantage of the beautiful day as we all rode to the park together.  Then we spend over an hour at the park, where my husband got the best exercise chasing the girls and playing games like Red Light Green Light and freeze tag.  Yes, this does count as excercise. 

I really hope the Spring brings more wonderful weekend days like today!!!

Menu Planning Madness

I am doing a better job of planning my meals, but still not a great job staying on schedule.  I have also slacked in trying a new recipe each week as you will be able to tell by this week's menu. 

Sunday - Pork Chops, Rice, Asparagus, Brocoli (for the girls incase they did not like asparagus)
Monday - We have gymnastics so something quick
Tuesday - Red Beans and Rice w/sausage (requested by my MIL)
Wednesday - Leftovers
Thursday - Crockpot Chicken (from last week as I never did make it)
Friday - Tacos (Need to start using the Taco Shells and Seasonings from the Kroger Catalina Deals)
Saturday - A new recipe (even though I have no idea what is yet!!)

I hope you are doing better at your Menu Planning goals than I am this year!  I do believe all my portions this week will be large enough for my husband and I to bring lunch each day!!!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Free Family Fun - Watching the Olympics

As a recovering tv junkie, I nomally try to keep tv viewing to a minimum.  Especially when the girls are awake.  However, that will be different over the next 17 days.  It is time for the Olympics and I love the Olympics.  If nothing else, watching the Winter Olympics gives me a chance to see snow and sports I would never see living in Texas!

Seriously though, even for non sports fanatics, the Olympics is a great thing to watch with your family.
 - You are supporting your Country and those who are representing it.  When was the last time you chanted USA, USA, USA?  You should try it.  It is fun and brings a huge smile to the face.
 - You can use the athletes as examples of hard work and dedication
 - During the Opening March you can talk about all the countries and the flags.  My oldest was very interested in why some countries had only one person and others had many more.
 - There is such a wide range of sports that most of us may not see in our normal lives.

Plus I know my daughters will love the ice skating!!!

I also want to express my sadness to the Georgian Team and the family and friends of Nodar Kumaritashvili for their loss today. 

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Valentine's Day

Do you have any big plans for Valentine's Day Weekend?  I do.  Atleast they are big for me.  My husband and I are going out to dinner on Saturday night with some friends.  While to some this may not sound like a big deal, however I forgot to mention - we are going childless!  We have only been out a few times without children since our last was born 15 months ago.  And I can not remember the last time we went out with friends without the children.   

So what are we doing with the children?  Our oldest is going to Parent's Night Out where she takes gymnastics.  It is a great deal in our mind.  For $15 she will be participating in gymnastics and activities for a few hours and then relazing watching a movie for the last hour or two before we pick her up.  Yes, the $15 covers 4 hours of entertainment for her.  Plus, she will be going with atleast three if not five of her friends from the street.  My MIL is being wonderful as usual and watching our youngest.  My goal is to have her asleep before I leave the house on Sat night.

We are not sure where we are going, but none of us really care.  Instead we are all looking forward to a few hours of spending time together and relaxing and not having to chase our kids!

Kroger Deals 2/10

The Mega Deal Sale is over but never fear as it is time for Daytona. Now the deals are not nearly as good (in my mind) but when you purchase 10 Daytona items you get $3.00 instant savings at the register. TO make things easier – just subtract .30 from the price.
Here are some of the deals that caught my attention (all prices have been reduced by the .30):
~ Gatorade Sports drink (32 oz)
   - $.70/each - free after coupon if you have any left (.50/1 G2 - 1-10 RP)

~ Pillsbury Grands Biscuits - $.99/each
   - $.54/each after coupon (when you buy 2!) ($.30/2 Pillsbury Grands 12-6 SS, 12-13 SS, 1-3 GM)

~ Purex laundry detergent - $2.19/each
   - $1.14 after coupon (.35/1 Purex laundry detergent - 1-10 RP)

~ Banquet Entree or Brown 'N Serve Sausage - $.70/each

~ Campbell's Chunky soup - $1.29/each
   - $.79/each after coupons when you buy 2 ($1/2 Campbell's Chunky Healthy Request - 1-3 SS $.50/2 Campbell's Chunky Healthy Request - 2-7 SS)

~ Chef Boyardee pasta - $.70/each
   - $.50/each after coupons when you buy 5 ($1/5 Chef Boyardee cans or microwave bowls - 1-10 SS)

~ Diet Coke, Sprite, or Coca Cola classic 2 liters - $.95/each (We will be loading up on these in my house. One of these days I will kick my addiction – maybe)

~Hot, Lean or Croissant pockets - $1.69/each
   - $.69/each after coupon (.50/1 Hot Pockets SideShots - 1-31 RP)

And most importantly (in my husband’s mind)
SATURDAY (2/13/10) specials only (valid 8 am-10 pm):
Blue Bell half gallon ice cream - $2.99 (Limit 1 w/ additional $10 purchase) - $1.99 after coupon on Blue Bell’s site!

Friends & Family Discount | Walgreens

Friends & Family Discount Walgreens

Print the above coupon to use tomorrow (Friday) for 15% and 20% off select items. This includes the following "deal" items:
Huggies Diapers (YEAH)
Fusion Razor
Dove Men's Body Wash
Garnier Hair products (remember the total for the Register Reward has to be after the 15% off)

Happy Shopping!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Menu Planning Madness

I am sorry that I am posting this so late, but here is our week:
Sunday - Brought Frank's RedHot Buffalo Chicken Dip (crowd favorite and requested) and a Strawberry Cake with Cream Cheese frosting and sprinkles made by my oldest (and boy was she proud) to a Super Bowl Party
Monday - Gymnastics - sandwiches
Tuesday - Lazy Man's Lasagna
Wednesday - Crockpot Chicken (a very simple Weight Watcher's Recipe)
       Place frozen skinless/boneless chicken breasts in the crockpot with 1 can of fat free (or as close to as possible) Cream of Chicken and 1 can of Cream of Mushroom soup and a can of rotel (drained).  Cook on low while at work or running errands.  When you get home place it on rice with a side of vegtables.
Thursday - Going out for pizza to celebrate a friend's 1st birthday
Friday - Leftovers
Saturday - Parent's Night Out (TBD)

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Frugal week or not a frugal week

At the beginning of the year I was trying some new things to help save some money and become a little more frugal. The first was I wanted to reduce some of my not needed purchases. I was doing ok until Target had their 75% sale. Well, you have seen the pictures....
Then I set the goal of only eating at work two days a week. I have done killer on that. I had been averaging $5 to $10 a week in our cafeteria. That is until this week. For some reason this week I have not been able to get my breakfasts and lunches together. My dinners did not give me the best of leftover selection and I seemed to have a lazy week and could not pull anything else together.
So I am already planning to get back on board next week:
1) Cook larger meals to increase leftovers
2) Premake a loaf of PB&J sandwiches and place them in the freezer (yes this does work very well - they thaw out by lunch)
3) Give myself an extra 10 minutes each evening to pack the breakfasts (just milk as I leave box of cereal at work) and lunches.

I think I am going to be able to do this, if I can just find that extra 10 minutes..... Anyone else have any other ideas?

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Toy and Game Coupons and Deals

Have you started your Christmas shopping yet? You probably think I am kidding, but I’m not. As long as you have room to store extra gifts, it is never too early to start Christmas shopping or picking up birthday party gifts. Having two small children in daycare, I never know how many birthday party invites we are going to get a year. So it is always nice to stock up early.  This increases the savings account and reduces stress and time shopping when you run out last minute for a birthday party gift.  In my life those are never fast trips!
Here are some of the best deals for the coupons:


Card Games
Pictureka ~ $5.24
$5/1 Coupons
Final Price = $.24
Monopoly ~ $5.24
$4/1 Coupon
Final Price = $1.24

Scrabble Slam ~ $5.24
$4/1 Coupon
Final Price = $1.24
Sorry Revenge ~ $6.99
$4/1 Coupon
Final Price = $2.99

Mini Game
Monopoly Get Out of Jail ~ $7.99
$4/1 Coupon
Final Price = $3.99

My Little Pony ~ $5.00
BOGO Coupon
Final Price = 2/$5.00
(I will be stocking up on these!!!)

Let me know if you find any great deals!

Monday, February 1, 2010

New Month = New Coupons

Excitment in the house as the month rolls around and the new coupons are released.  Ok - maybe it has been a very long day.  Still, there are some amazing coupons released today at  I am excited the $1/2 Kraft Cheese has been reset.  I love $1 cheese and cheese freezes very well.  I am not kidding here!  I freeze bags of shredded cheese and then pull them out the night before I need them in a recipe!

Grab the coupons quickly as some of them may run out!!!

Also don't forget about loading up your store cards with electronic coupons from and  I always get a kick out of the "extra" amounts taken off my bill at the register!!!

Essentials of Couponing - Coupons

Essentials of Couponing - Coupons

Different types of Coupons:
1) Inserts – These are the ones that come in the paper on Sundays
     a. Each week could be different on which ones come
     b. Usually there will be none on a Sunday after a Holiday
     c. Procter and Gamble (P&G) comes the first Sunday of the month

2) Internet Printables (IP’s) – These are the ones that you print off your computer
    a. There are many sites including:
          i. My Points
         ii. Red Plum
        iii. Smart Source
       v. Manufacturer Websites
    b. They usually allow two prints of each coupon
    c. Normally you have to download a coupon printer software but I have yet to have issues with them

3) Tearpads – These are exactly what they sound like. They are pads of coupons you will see around a store where you can tear off coupons to use

4) Wine Tags – These coupons are found hanging around the wine bottle neck. There are some parts of the country (not Houston) that always seem to have a large selection of these for meats, cheeses, and breads. Most of the time they do not require a wine purchase, but read the fine print just in case.

5) Peelies – These are found on the items are easily peeled off to be used when purchasing that product.

Do Not Copy Coupons - this is illegal.  Even if the coupon is printed from the computer - it is not to be copied!!!

Most coupons have an expiration date. In most stores they have to be used by this date. I have heard of some stores that will take expired coupons, but I do not know of any. I do know that Commissaries located overseas will take coupons up to 6 months past expiration date. If you know anyone stationed overseas they can use your expired coupons.
If you look at your coupons you will see the barcode number has a 5 or 9 on the far left. If it is a 5 the coupon will double if you are at a store that doubles coupons. If it is a 9, the coupon will not double (like Wacky Mac’s)

Is it a store or manufacturer coupon? The words Manufacturer coupon will be printed near the expiration date for these coupons. If it is a store coupon you will see the literal store coupon or it will list the name of the store. Some coupons will say manufacturer coupon, but have the logo of the store. These are manufacturer coupons and can not be stacked with another manufacturer coupon.