Thursday, December 24, 2009

New Category: Wedding!

Two weeks ago Miss Greta accepted Daniel's proposal of marriage. We are so excited! And we immediately jumped right into the planning and preparation for their May 22 wedding.

I realized I should start a new category for my blog, called "Wedding," so I can chronicle our preparations.

So, what have we accomplished in two weeks? Several major decisions are made: First off, she reserved her reception site of choice, a historic place she had visited in the fall. It's cute and old and white. It has nooks and big multi-paned windows and wood floors. It comes with plenty of tables and chairs and a full kitchen. It has a stage for the band. But I won't post a photo of it to keep it a surprise.

Surprisingly, next door to the reception site we discovered a cute little country church, the exact sort of church Greta dreamed of being married in. Our home church won't do for Greta; it is much too contemporary for her taste. The church was happy to host the ceremony, and the groom's Dad is a pastor, also happy to perform the ceremony.

She found her dress in just two sessions of looking and trying on. I can't post a photo because the shop doesn't allow customers to take photos. Instead, here is a snippet from the manufacturer's catalog:She has pulled many inspiration pages out of magazines. She chose her wedding colors (sage green and creams) and her main flowers (hydrangeas). She has looked at bridesmaid's dresses and MOB dresses. MOB (that's me) has tried on dozens of fancy gowns!

The happy couple completed their bridal registries. We surveyed and brainstormed food. She hired her photographer. They planned the dance music and musicians. We looked at invitations and wrote the preliminary wording. And there is lots more to come. Whew!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

20 Little Things I Treasure at Christmas

I'm sitting in the dark at 6:00 am, unable to sleep. My mind wanders from subject to subject; I wonder why I can't fall asleep. I tell myself, "Perhaps I could think about the wonderful-ness of the season." What makes it special to me? I borrow this title from another blogger:
20 Little Things I Treasure at Christmas
1. Our tree ornaments, collected over many years, marking the seasons of our life. Some were gifts, some I purchased for our children.
2. Hanging that favorite ornament on the tree: the TP tube and paper angel Greta made so many years ago. And now she tells us she's going to take it with her when she gets married this spring. Our tree will be naked forever after.
3. Beginning our Christmas season by filling shoe boxes for Operation Christmas Child.
4. Twinkling white lights on our tree.
5. Watching Luke run in and out of the trees on the Christmas tree lot.
6. Celebrating our Swedish heritage with our Santa Lucia dinner: meatballs in cream sauce, lingonberries, flatbread, and all the other dishes we look forward to every year.
7. Frost on the grass and the cars.
8. Wearing warm jammies late into the morning.
9. Sipping hot chocolate from my yellow "Chocolat" mug from France.
10. The candlelight service at church on Christmas Eve.
11. Singing "Silent Night/Peace, Peace" at the candlelight service.
12. "O Come All Ye Faithful"
13. Listening to the radio broadcast of "Lessons and Carols" from King's College at Cambridge on Christmas Eve morning.
14. Taking corny family pictures on the hearth after we hang our stockings on Christmas Eve.
15. Green wreaths with red bows hung on windows.
16. Reading family letters that come with Christmas cards. Yes, I really do love them. I like having the updates from distant family and friends.
17. Homemade cookies. My own recipes.
18. Seeing the line of bulging stockings, each with a candy cane poking out of the top, hanging from the mantel on Christmas morning.
19. Wrapping up in a neck scarf and mittens first thing in the morning.
20. A real fire with real logs when it's frosty out.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Christmas at our House

A sudden trip home for a week in early December and Dad's passing away has put my usual Christmas season plans far behind. We did get our tree up, and a few decorations out, but this year my decorating will remain sparse. I'm focusing on purchasing gifts right now. And baking? So far, the count stands at zero.Our Swedish Santa Lucia display sits in its traditional spot on a high cabinet in the dining room.

After my gift shopping is done, we will schedule our Santa Lucia dinner. That, of course, will require a bit of buttery baking, and by then it will be Christmas.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Free in November

I like to keep a list of what I get free, or costing me just a few cents, every month. This is a great reminder to me of how God blesses our family in my efforts in being a true Home Economist.

My deals in November are lighter than usual because I decided to take a break from working the CVS and Walgreen's deals. It is a lot of work to keep up with each week, and we were getting over-saturated with stuff. Besides, since coming back from vacation, my time has been taken up with other pressing projects, so I decided to spend all my Extra Care Bucks and Register Rewards before we left on vacation. In mid-November I began working in the deals again. Taking a break was quite refreshing!

My great deals for November:

Publix Mystery Coupon Items:
bag of Hershey's Kisses
2 pkg hot dogs
American cheese singles
pepperoni pizza

Great Sale Prices Combined with Coupons Makes Free:
4 pkgs whole wheat pasta (20 cents)
2 dozen eggs
8 bags frozen vegetables

Free Deals:
1 lb block of cheddar cheese (Kroger price promise)
1 gallon (actually a little less) Edy's ice cream

Given to Me:
2 lb bratwurst
2 bacon-wrapped steak medallions
breaded fish fillets
5 lb potatoes
3 lb oranges
3 lb apples
spray primer
spray starch
furniture oil
tarnish remover
2 carpet cleaners
tung oil
spray adhesive remover

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


We're busy with preparations for Thanksgiving dinner, and this year I am blessed to have a little helper.

Here is the result about halfway through our baking:

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Only Four Left

I made a batch of decadent brownies the other day and now they are almost gone. My purpose in making them was to use up a bit of leftover buttercream icing from, oh, maybe August. That was our last birthday celebration, so that's what the icing was probably left over from.

First I used a brownie mix for the bottom layer (purchased on sale with a coupon, of course), but I baked it in a 9"x13" pan. Then I stirred a little cream cheese into the leftover icing and spread it over the cooled brownies. Finally, I melted about half a package of chocolate chips with a little shortening and poured and spread it over the icing. A little chilling in the refrigerator and they were ready to eat.

But~we found them tastier after sitting in the refrigerator for a day.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Samantha Has New Clothes

Samantha models a few of the new doll outfits I made this week. I will be trying to sell them at an upcoming craft show at a ladies event at church. Heather hopes to make a few things for the craft show too.Here is a cranberry wool sweater and black suede skirt. I felted a wool sweater and cut it down to itty-bitty to make the sweater. This is a knit jumpsuit, but it still needs some trim. I'm thinking a little fabric rosette on the bodice, then Samantha is off to play.

My current project is creating a pattern for a riding outfit for one of the historic dolls. It is taking me awhile to make the pattern and a prototype jacket, then I will make the whole outfit in dark green suede cloth. A little girl I know will be getting it for her birthday.

Later ~ Here is the riding outfit, complete except for the tiny gold buttons accenting the gold braid. I haven't found those elusive buttons yet.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Decorating for Fall

Fall is not my favorite season, so I usually procrastinate on adding some fall color to our house. But it's rather cold now (that means I need a sweater sometimes), so I finally got in the mood to let the fall colors show inside as well as outside.

Here is the buffet in our dining room, about the only place where I can safely add seasonal decor because clutter usually doesn't get plopped here. In the background is a Pilgrim couple that Heather made out of cardboard and paper many, many years ago. I love it! I see that Mrs. Pilgrim lost her bonnet somewhere along the line. Maybe Heather can make her a new one this year.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

October Freebies

I like to keep a list of what I get free, or costing me just a few cents, every month. This is a great reminder to me of how God blesses our family in my efforts in being a true Home Economist. We were on vacation for 2 weeks, so my purchases were lighter, but here are my deals for the weeks I was home in October:

Publix Mystery Coupon Items:
loaf of white bread (turned into croutons)

Rolling CVS Extracare Bucks:

2 12-packs TP

Rolling Walgreen's Register Rewards:
4 lb honey
tub of wet wipes

Great Sale Prices Combined with Coupons Makes Free:
Canola oil
fresh pineapple
2 6-packs grape juice
3 lb cheddar cheese
2 boxes Swiss Miss
2 4-packs Activia yogurt

Free Deals:
4 lb bag oranges (Kroger's price guarantee)

Given to Me:

End-of-Summer Sewing

I did a couple of quick sewing projects at the beginning of the month, just before we went on vacation. We were headed to the tropics, so I made two cool cotton skirts. The white one is made from a piece of fabric I have had for years; it has a woven-in floral design. I have used the pattern several times before; it is one of my current favorites because I like the way the inset triangular godets give fullness to the hem while keeping the waist and hips more fitted.

The blue tropical print is a remnant I bought on summer clearance. The pattern for this one (Butterick 3134) I had never used, and, after tweaking it, I really love the style and fit. It has 8 gores, which flare out at the hem, but not as full as a trumpet hem. (Please pardon the hair; we had just been snorkeling.)

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

My Free Items for September

I like to keep a list of what I get free, or costing me just a few cents, every month. This is a great reminder to me of how God blesses our family in my efforts in being a true Home Economist. Here is my list for September:

Publix Mystery Coupon Items:
Nilla wafers
6 pk bottled water

Rolling CVS Extracare Bucks:

Cascade dw detergent
4 bottles Tide laundry detergent
Dawn dish detergent
Cottonelle bath tissue
Softsoap Nutri-serums body wash
Johnson's Forever Fresh body wash with free lotion sample attached
Aquafresh Iso-Active toothpaste
Neti Pot sinus wash kit
2 pkgs chocolate covered peanuts
2 tubs Mom's Best oatmeal

Rolling Walgreen's Register Rewards:
Breathe Right strips
Rembrandt toothpaste
Colgate 360 Actflex toothbrush
Carefree 16 count
Sinus Wash refill packets
2 bottles Pepto Bismol

ThermaCare heat wrap
2 Oral B toothbrushes
3 tubes Airborne
Herbal Essences shampoo
Softsoap Spa body wash
Emergen-C immunity booster
drain opener
facial tissues on clearance
4 lb honey
2 bags nut crisp things

Great Sale Prices Combined with Coupons Makes Free:
4 bottles A-1 Steak Sauce (10 cents each)
Philly cream cheese
4 small boxes Whitman's Samplers
candy bar
3 Reach floss
4 Glade soy candles
10 lb potatoes
1 qt plain yogurt
1 lb corn meal
2 cans Parmesan cheese
6 cups Yoplait yogurt
2 pkg Ballpark franks
4-pk Activia yogurt
4-pk Danactive yogurt
2.65 lb fresh tomatoes
1.35 lb fresh broccoli
4 lb noodles

Free Deals:
beef jerkey

Given to Me:
homegrown chili peppers, and more, and more
Nilla wafers

Monday, September 28, 2009

Sunday Dinner

Sunday at noon, we suddenly had more people for dinner than I was expecting. On top of that, our pork roast had shrunk during baking more than I expected. My quick fix:

I used all the side dish ingredients I was already planning to serve but I layered them in a casserole dish. First a layer of mashed potatoes, then the pork roast diced and combined with gravy, cooked carrots, and peas. It all seemed to stretch farther this way, and it was yummy.

The only side dish I didn't stir in was the pear-and-melon salad.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Pickled Peppers

I noticed an abundance of fresh jalapeno peppers in the refrigerator the other day. Wondering about pickling them, I googled and found a recipe. I had enough for 5 pints, plus a few leftover to stay in their fresh state. They have to soak for a week before they will be pickled, and then I'm sure the Professor will enjoy them. I will not.

And then today our neighbor brought over MORE fresh peppers!

Thursday, September 10, 2009


I finally put together a shadowbox of our year in France, a project I've had in mind for several years. The stumbling block was finding a shadowbox of the size and style I like: about 12"x17", and one with a hinged door. Hob Lob came through for me a couple of weeks ago when they had all their shadowboxes 50% off. This one was regularly $30.

I added the little shelves or dividers inside. It was very simple: first I bought a strip of lath at Home Depot, then marked where to make the cuts, and then I asked (and asked!) the guys to cut it for me. That finally happened on Labor Day. I nailed it together, then spray painted it all black to match the frame. Underneath the dividers I added a piece of 12" square scrapbook paper with a script design. The divider piece went in next, then I added all the mementos. Some of them are held in place with blobs of yellow sticky tack.

Here is a list of what I included in my shadowbox, all items I bought in France (beginning in upper left corner): reproduction tin sign, tiny china doll, souvenir pin from Versailles, glass dip pen, miniature metal Eiffel towers, china dish by Limoges, round wood cheese box (we ate the cheese), a souvenir print of Notre Dame, and a third Eiffel tower.

This was very fun to plan and put together; now I'm inspired to make another one using mementos from my childhood.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Plum Cobbler

An abundance of fresh plums, ripening on the kitchen counter, made me think of sweet-tart cobbler. Just the right ending for a supper that might have been a tad too light. I adapted the peach cobbler recipe from my good friend Kathy.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Free for August

I like to keep a list of what I get free, or costing me just a few cents, every month. This is a great reminder to me of how God blesses our family in my efforts in being a true Home Economist. Here is my list for August:

Publix Mystery Coupon Items:
6-pack bottled water
frozen pizza
bottled iced tea
big roll paper towels

Rolling CVS Extracare Bucks:

Softsoap Nutri Serums
Blink eye drops
4 pkg sticky notes
2 10-pk pencils
2 book covers
2 pr scissors
2 spiral notebooks
2 pencil cases
2 pkg filler paper
memo book
1" binder
Irish Spring body wash
2 travel 1st aid kits
Glade soy candle
lip moisturizer
3 bottles Nivea body wash
Reach floss
Sensodyne iso-active foaming tooth gel
Aquafresh iso-active foaming tooth gel
Similasan Sleeplessness Relief

Rolling Walgreen's Register Rewards:
Purell sanitizer wipes
Anti diarrhea medication

Great Sale Prices Combined with Coupons Makes Free:
Publix canned chicken
2 lb bacon
Kotex lightdays
Honey Bunches of Oats
2 3-packs Scotch Magic Tape
2 boxes Barilla pasta
2 pkg Jenny-O ground turkey
fresh pineapple
8 lb fresh peaches
4 bananas
3 bags frozen fries
3 bags frozen broccoli
4-pack Danactive yogurt
2 small cans chicken
soy sauce
sour cream
3 Weber Grill Creations
9 lb charcoal

Full Rebates:
Scotch Pop-Up tape

Free Deals:
2 candy bars
3 Einstein's bagels
grilled hot dog
2 Glade soy candles
one pint Starbucks ice cream
dozen eggs
16 oz Oscar Mayer lunch meat

Given to Me:
fresh pineapple, apples, oranges, bananas, and carrots
lots of homegrown peppers
4 homegrown cantaloupes
4 lb grapes and diced melon
2 1/2 lb sliced ham
6 1/2 lb coleslaw
frozen pizza

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


I decided it's high time to commit the time to making Heather and Jared's wedding album ~ three and a half years after the fact. It's been my week's work and I have about one third of it finished. I was worried that 20-month-old fingers would find their way into all the fun goodies but so far that hasn't been a problem. Here's hoping I get it all finished before September is over.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

All You Grocery Challenge Week 4

See previous posts here, here, here, here, here, and here.

Week 4 Menus
Monday: chicken tortilla casserole; broccoli; chocolate-cherry pie. A friend of Greta’s stayed for dinner.
Tuesday: marinated chicken; green beans; biscuits leftover from Sunday; watermelon slices
Wednesday: spaghetti; whole grain French bread; romaine salad
Thursday: lemon chicken with snow peas over rice; Caesar salad. Heather and Jared were at his parents’ house; we went over after dinner for birthday cake and snacks. I took crackers and cream cheese spread.
Friday: Chuck, David, and I had taco salad with tortilla chips. Heather and Jared ate at his parents’ house again; Greta made a picnic supper for her boyfriend. She made stroganoff over noodles; fresh cherries; and key lime pie.
Saturday: tarragon chicken salad; watermelon slices. Greta went out to eat with her boyfriend.
Sunday: noon meal-taco salad with homemade tortilla chips. Greta’s boyfriend joined us. Evening meal-baked potato bar with toppings: broccoli, Hollandaise sauce, stroganoff, chili, cheese, sour cream, or gravy

Week 4 Notes
The Publix Mystery Coupon item (penny item) was a six-pack of bottled water.

I bought 2 whole chickens this week so I could pressure cook them and debone them to stock the freezer. I think this is the most cost-effective way to have chunks of chicken meat for recipes.

I made a double batch of our family’s favorite granola. Instead of the wheat germ I didn’t have, I crushed some mini shredded wheat in the blender and added it to the oats. The shredded wheat just was not moving well in this house and I wanted its pantry space for other things. This turned out to be a great way to use it and I plan to use more of it up this way in the future.

Monday’s pie was made from a chocolate crumb crust that has been rattling around in the pantry and generally getting in the way. It was high time I used it. I tried a new recipe using 2 boxes of chocolate pudding mix (also needed to be used), plain yogurt (in the refrigerator), Cool Whip (sitting in the freezer), and a little milk, with a topping of cherries (a single can of tart pie cherries in juice, also rattling around the pantry). I thickened the cherry juice with a little corn starch and sugar, added the cherries, then topped the pie with it. It got rave reviews.

David got another free sandwich and drink at Chick-Fila on Tuesday, using another coupon he got somewhere.

Greta had two friends spend the night Tuesday night. They got home late, so they fixed their own supper of waffles, scrambled eggs, and yogurt. At noon the next day they made grilled cheese sandwiches, yogurt, and fruit.

I found two partial bags of rather hard marshmallows in the pantry. I also spied a box of Rice Krispies I had gotten free at CVS in the spring. Combined, we have Rice Krispies Treats, of course. I made a half batch because I didn’t have enough Rice Krispies for a full batch. I did use up all of the hard marshmallows though. Jared especially loves them.

On Thursday, Greta and David got the most amazing free lunch. Their university had a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new, state-of-the-art campus dining hall. As executive members of Student Government, they were both invited. Following the ceremony the dining hall was opened for tours and free food. This wasn’t free samples, but full-size portions, all you can eat, whatever you want, in all 10 dining venues. They came home raving about the new dining facilities and good food.

I made pumpkin muffins this week because I had a can of pumpkin puree that was nearing expiration. We ate some for breakfast and I froze some.

Our neighbor brought over a bag of fresh fruit that someone had given them, but that they couldn’t eat. We got a whole pineapple, apples, oranges, bananas, and carrots.

On Friday I got another free bagel at Einstein’s. This time I froze it, and from now until the coupon expires on Aug 21 I will freeze the free bagels. Then we can enjoy them together at a later time.

For Sunday’s taco salad, we debated over going to the store for some tortilla chips and fresh tomatoes, or doing without those two items in our salad. In the spirit of “using what you have”, I pulled some tortillas from the freezer, cut them in wedges, and fried them in a little oil. Instead of fresh tomatoes, we added a can of drained corn to the salad. Both were very good.

On Sunday afternoon I made a homemade banana spice cake using up some over-ripe bananas and a dab of leftover applesauce.

I made a baked potato bar for Sunday supper to use up little bits of tomato-based sauces, Greta's leftover stroganoff, and an aging Hollandaise sauce mix packet. It all worked out very well.

Week 4 Purchases
I spent $26.60 at Publix. I got the Mystery Coupon item, and then I purchased a beef roast (sale $2.19 lb), 4 cartons sour cream (BOGO made them 50 cents ea), 6 boxes pasta (BOGO and coupons made them 31 cents ea), vegetable oil (BOGO), 2 cans chicken (as part of the “Buy Theirs, Get Ours Free” deal; I got the Publix brand free), 2 brownie mixes (BOGO and coupon made them 85 cents ea), spaghetti sauce (BOGO), a whole watermelon (sale), grapes (sale), and frozen pea pods for a recipe this week (full price). They were out of the peaches on sale. I also used a $5 off $30 coupon I got in the mail.

I was sorry that I never got back to Publix for the 88 cent fresh peaches before the sale ended on Wednesday.

I spent $5.62 at Aldi, buying a frozen whole chicken ($3.93) and 2 pkgs hot dog buns (79 cents ea).

I shopped at Kroger twice. I spent $4.10 the first time, buying only a fresh whole chicken. The second time I spent nothing out of pocket because I had a $25 gift card from transferring a prescription. I spent only a portion of that, buying 5 4-packs of yogurt (sale $1.88 and $1 coupon made them 88 cents ea), French bread ($1.99), 2 pkg whole wheat tortillas ($1.19 ea), and fresh in-season produce. After the senior discount, it used $15.63 on my gift card.

Heather spent 89 cents on a loaf of marked down bread, but she forgot to save the receipt. So here is a photo instead.
Chuck spent $3.87 on a six-pack of romaine lettuce at Costco.

My week’s total spending was $41.08.

This was the last week for the challenge. I'm glad I participated in it because it was very fun for me to do. I learned that I need to really pay attention to what gets shoved to the back of the refrigerator and make sure it gets used up before it goes bad. I learned that it's not the highly desirable leftovers that get shoved to the back of the refrigerator ~ those get eaten quickly! Instead, it's the "little bits": little bits of ingredients such as tomato sauce, or gravy, or shriveled fruits or veggies. If I pay attention to those, think of a way to turn them into something, and then prepare it promptly, I waste far less food. That's what I want to do consistently from now on.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

All You Grocery Challenge Week 3

Week 3 Menus
Monday: tamale pie; Greek salad with tomatoes, cuke, and feta cheese
Tuesday: pork chops on the grill; potatoes; corn on the cob; romaine salad with parsley, cucumber and grated yellow squash
Wednesday: company casserole (like a lasagna casserole with a sour cream layer in it); biscuits; romaine salad with craisins, swiss cheese, almonds, and vinaigrette
Thursday: cheesy chicken and potatoes; fruit salad; fresh green beans. After dinner we divided up a leftover birthday cake that Jared brought home from work, which the birthday person didn’t want to take home. Greta’s boyfriend joined us for dinner.
Friday: homemade pizza; romaine salad with tomatoes and cucumbers
Saturday: hamburgers on the grill; condiments; hash browns; sliced tomatoes on lettuce; fruit salad. Greta was at a wedding; Heather and Jared went to Jared’s parents’ house for dinner.
Sunday: noon meal-roast beef with herb rub; mashed potatoes; cooked carrots; romaine salad with feta, parmesan, tomatoes, and cuke slices. Dessert-leftover doughnut halves with mango chunks. Evening meal-grazing the week’s leftovers.

Week 3 Notes
The Publix Mystery Coupon item (penny item) at Publix this week was hot dogs. The young men in the house sometimes like to take hot dogs for lunch.

At dinner on Monday the family all agreed that it would have been nice to have cornbread with the tamale pie. I’ll add that to the written menu plan. Instead, some of the family had ice cream or Italian ice later in the evening.

I baked a batch of chocolate peppermint cookies for lunch treats, and to use up some of our leftover candy canes from Christmas. It’s a favorite cookie in this house.

Heather bought some groceries at Publix this week, but they didn’t cost her anything because she spent some of a gift card. She had lost the card some time ago, and found it again last week. It was a wedding gift from three years ago! She bought the penny hot dogs, Silk milk (coupons made them $1.37 each), Yakisoba (coupons made them 19 cents each), ravioli (coupons made them free), Mac and cheese cups (coupons made them free), frozen Starkist dinners (BOGO and coupons made them free), yogurt cups (coupons made them free), juice boxes (coupons made them 50 cents each), graham crackers (BOGO and coupon made it $1), tomato sauce (free after coupon), cake mix (BOGO and coupon made it 15 cents). The little bit this cost was spent from her gift card; no out of pocket.

I got another CVS coupon for $2 off 2 Gold Emblem nuts. Again, I bought two packages of chocolate covered peanuts for 99 cents each. With the $2 coupon they were free. This time I popped them in the freezer.

David got another free sandwich on Tuesday. He had just finished his final exam for summer school, walked by some activities going on for new student orientation, and was invited to spin a wheel to win a prize. He won a “Five Guys” sandwich.

Greta’s art class had pizza for lunch, donated by the art club, to celebrate the last day of summer school on Tuesday.

When I made the cheesy mashed potatoes on Thursday I added a partial carton of flavored cream cheese that was lurking in the refrigerator. It made the potatoes very tasty.

Friday morning I got another free bagel at Einstein’s, using the same coupon from the newspaper that I used last week.

There was a potluck brunch during fellowship hour at church on Sunday. Several people didn’t want to take their leftover food home, so Heather brought it home. We had a bag of doughnut halves (we ate for Sunday’s noon meal dessert), a large bag of bagels, some cream cheese, grapes, grits, and two different egg casseroles. Good eating for the beginning of the week!

Week 3 Purchases
I spent $20.34 at Publix. I bought the penny hot dogs, Hebrew National franks (BOGO and coupon made it $1.75), Lawry’s marinade (BOGO and coupon made it 43 cents), Lawry’s salt (BOGO and coupon made it 85 cents), five in-season fresh fruits, three fresh veggies, four cake mixes (BOGO and coupons made them 15 cents each; we have three birthdays in August), and six boxes of Italian Ices (raincheck on BOGO plus coupons made them 50 cents each. I expect these six boxes to last the rest of the summer). I also used a Publix $3 off $30 coupon.

Chuck spent $3.87 at Costco on a 6-pack of romaine lettuce.

I spent $38.24 at Kroger this week. I stocked up on 13 bags of frozen veggies since they were on sale for 99 cents. I also got 2 quarts of Dannon plain yogurt (sale $1.88 ea), a 6-pk of Danactive (sale and Q made it 88 cents), 6 cups Yoplait yogurt (Q made them 38 cents ea), sour cream (sale $1), chicken breasts (sale 99 cents lb), 5-lb chub ground beef (sale $1.68 lb), 4 dz eggs (sale 99 cents), and the only item I paid full price for was a bottle of peppermint extract ($2.69). I also got the senior discount ($2.08).

Heather had the same coupon for $2 off 2 Gold Emblem nuts that I had. She bought three packages of nuts for 99 cents each, minus 90 cents for Jared’s employee discount, minus the $2 coupon made the total 6 cents before tax.

Heather also got 2 bags of peppermint candies at CVS. After coupon and employee discount, she spent 40 cents. She likes to make our favorite chocolate peppermint cookies with these.

David did the Wednesday deal at Arby’s. He spent approx $2.50 for a sandwich and got a free “fruit-thingy” (his words) and no receipt. He said it wasn’t a good deal this week.

I spent $17.97 at Aldi and bought 2 gallons milk ($1.49 ea), 4 8-oz pkgs cheese ($1.29 ea), 6 big cans tomatoes (89 cents ea), can corn (49 cents), 2 cans cream soup (59 cents ea), oregano ($1.09), and 2 dz eggs (69 cents ea).

Our total spending for week #3 was $83.38. That comes out to less than $12 per person, and just under half my weekly allotment. And we ate very well!

Friday, July 31, 2009

Free in July

I like to keep a list of what I get free, or costing me just a few cents, every month. This is a great reminder to me of how God blesses our family in my efforts in being a true Home Economist. Here is my list for July:

Publix Mystery Coupon Items:
2 bottles salad dressing
Frosted Flakes
hot dogs

Rolling CVS Extracare Bucks:

4 American flags
4 rolls paper towels
2 beauty items on clearance
4 pkgs chocolate covered peanuts
2 bottles school glue
4 pkg Paper Mate pens
2 pair scissors
2 portfolios
2 spiral notebooks
2 pkg pencils
2 pkg lined paper
2 small spiral memo books
2 pkg Pilot pens
2 composition books
Gillette Fusion razor

Rolling Walgreen's Register Rewards:
Bullfrog sunblock
3 Reach floss
3 reusable shopping bags
3 rolls paper towels
2 cans white tuna
Colgate toothpaste
2-pk Pilot G-2 pens

Great Sale Prices Combined with Coupons:
4 lb sugar
10 packets Koolade
4 Snickers candy bars

Free Deals:

Snickers bar
Bagel at Einstein's

Given to Me:
lots of zucchini
lots of yellow squash
several cucumbers
several green peppers
lots of chili peppers
5 lb fresh blueberries
whole watermelon
6 ears corn

Sunday, July 26, 2009

All You Grocery Challenge Week 2

Week 2 Menus
Monday: lasagna; whole grain French bread; romaine salad with blueberries, feta, almonds, craisins, and vinaigrette dressing. Greta went to her boyfriend’s house for dinner and was asked to bring salad and bread.
Tuesday: Thai Beef and Rice; romaine salad with tomatoes; sautéed mixed garden veggies
Wednesday: lunch-Persian Pilaf; dinner-marinated grilled chicken breasts; rice; spinach salad with hb egg and diced ham. Greta ate dinner at a friend’s house.
Thursday: French meat and potatoes; broccoli; peach cobbler
Friday: Curried chicken salad with remaining fresh spinach, mini croissants, blueberry cheesecake for dessert when Jared’s friends came over in the evening
Saturday: lunch-leftover curried chicken salad, leftover whole grain French bread; dinner-grilled hot dogs on buns with fresh salsa or chili and cheese, fresh fruit bowl of 7 fruits.
Sunday: noon meal-marinated London Broil; carrots; mashed potatoes; Caprese salad (sliced tomatoes and fresh mozzarella with herbs and vinaigrette). Greta was at boyfriend’s house. Evening meal-hoagies on homemade wheat rolls; raw veggie sticks

Week 2 Notes
The Mystery Q item (one penny item) at Publix this week was frosted flakes. I almost didn’t put it in my cart, but then I decided I could donate it to charity if nobody in the house wanted to eat it. As it turns out, our son-in-law was thrilled to have that kind of junk food for breakfast.

I decided to make lasagna again this week because I wanted to use up the rest of the big carton of ricotta cheese. As I was making it, I saw a container of leftover spinach so I added a spinach layer to the lasagna. It went over very well with the family. There were leftovers for lunches the next day.

When I made the tossed salad on Monday, I threw in fresh blueberries instead of the fresh strawberries called for. I laughed when I realized that I usually substitute most of the ingredients in this particular salad: almonds for the walnuts we never have, feta for the fresh Parmesan cheese we rarely have, and romaine for the called-for baby spinach. I do always use the dried cranberries and the vinaigrette dressing called for.

My neighbor brought over a few extra veggies from his garden last week. I used up the last of them in a mixed veggie sauté side dish. I also tossed in a small container of leftover veggies from the refrigerator. (Sometimes I take our neighbors some homemade bread or cookies in exchange for their produce.)

I had several onions and green peppers that needed to be used up. I diced them, spread them on parchment-lined cookie sheets, and quick-froze them. Then I poured the little cubes into zipper bags. They are very handy when making casseroles.

On Thursday I was late getting home. Heather and I threw together a casserole of sliced potatoes, seasoned meat, and diced bacon. I used two lb of the ground turkey I bought on sale yesterday, and the rest of a large bag of aging potatoes that needed to be used up. I thawed a partial package of bacon in the freezer from some time ago. Then we noticed that the peaches I bought on Monday were ripening unevenly; they weren’t fully ripe, but some already had spoiled spots. When Luke jabbed thumb holes in three of them, that settled it. We would have peach cobbler for dessert even though we rarely have dessert on week nights. I used a recipe for a cakey topping and it was delicious.

For our chicken salad on Friday, I deboned the leftover chicken pieces from Sunday. There was a mix of white and dark meat. Even though the recipe calls for diced cooked chicken breast, it doesn’t really matter if you use a less expensive mix of white and dark meat in most recipes.

I garnished the chicken salad with the remaining handfuls of fresh bagged spinach I got on manager’s special on Wednesday.

I had a CVS coupon for $2 off 2 Gold Emblem nuts. I bought two packages of chocolate covered peanuts for 99 cents each. With the $2 coupon they were free. I shared them with the family after dinner.

Heather got two boxes of baby cereal free at Publix as part of a new mom packet.

I got a free bagel at Einstein’s on Friday because I clipped a coupon they had in the paper several weeks ago. The coupon is good until 11 am over and over on Fridays during July and August. Sadly, I forgot to go Friday of week #1. But the coupon is stuck to the front door now so I will see it as I walk out the door.

On Saturday Jared came home from working at CVS with a bag of FREE food that the boss let him take because it wasn’t selling from the clearance cart. He had: 2 cans evaporated milk, mandarin oranges, 2 bottles seasoning salt, a Kraft easy mac, Town House Flipsides crackers, and 2 lb pistachios. I guess you could say this is like clean dumpster diving(!) because the stuff was headed to the dumpster.

David had free lunch at work on Saturday because the boss ordered in pizza for everyone.

A friend gave us a small watermelon and six ears of corn on Sunday, extras that had been given to them.

Week 2 Purchases
I spent $40.77 at Publix on milk (on sale ($1.99), cheese (sale), yogurt, tuna (BOGO), tomato paste (9 cents after coupons), powdered sugar, 2 lb boneless skinless frozen chicken breasts (on sale $4.99), and in-season fresh produce.

I returned the watermelon I bought at Kroger last week because it had a rotten area. I got store credit of $4.47.

I spent $33.83 at Kroger for a whole pork loin (on sale $1.99 lb), 12 chubs ground white turkey (on sale 99 cents lb), 1-quart yogurt (on sale $1.88), fresh in-season produce, powdered sugar (coupons), brown sugar (sale and coupon), and manager’s special markdowns: rye bread 49 cents, sourdough loaf $1.79, bag spinach $1.39. Besides the senior discount, I also got $4.47 off because I had store credit from the rotten watermelon.

I went back to Kroger on Saturday to buy 12 more chubs of ground turkey before the sale ends; also got more grapes on sale, spending $14.45. I am having a hard time keeping fresh fruit stocked!
Greta was invited to her boyfriend’s house for dinner and was asked to bring bread and salad. She bought the groceries, as well as grapefruit juice, spending $7.22. She didn’t know I was doing the Grocery Challenge, so I’m sure she could have done better on her purchases if she had really tried.

Our total spending for week #2 was $96.27, a little over half my weekly allotment.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Blueberry Cheesecake

Heather and Jared had friends over last night ~ last minute. I offered to make dessert. Other than cake, I didn't have much I could make on short notice, until I remembered the packages of cream cheese I had stashed away. So I made blueberry cheesecake. The blueberries were some we picked last Sunday.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Recovery from a Mistake

I made a mistake when making a Thai recipe this week. I was supposed to add dry rice to a beef mixture, then add liquids to that. Instead, I added rice and water to the rice cooker to cook rice as usual. By the time I realized my mistake, I had a lot of wet rice. I set the wet stuff aside and proceeded with the recipe the right way.

Later, I considered what to do with the wet rice. I remembered a recipe for Persian Pilaf that I seldom use. It was perfect for using up that mistake. I soaked the rice overnight, then I continued with the cooking process on Wednesday morning. Heather and I ate the pilaf for lunch. It was yummy!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

All You Grocery Challenge Week 1

Week 1 Menus
Monday: lasagna; spinach
Tuesday: chicken tortilla casserole; frozen corn; frozen peas; lemon-blueberry pudding cake. Greta’s boyfriend stayed for dinner; David was sick and ate only jello.
Wednesday: relatives in town for 5 days; they took the whole family out for dinner at Bahama Breeze
Thursday: lunch-tacos; dinner-grilled chicken; rice; salad; squash; brownies (11 people)
Friday: lunch-sandwiches; fruit; brownies; dinner-relatives took family to Sonny’s BBQ
Saturday: Brunch-Swedish pancakes, juice. Dinner-seafood on the grill; hash browns; green beans; carrots; corn muffins; cupcakes and ice cream for Grandpa’s birthday (11 people)
Sunday: Noon meal-pork roast; baked chicken; side dishes contributed by others; cupcakes (18 people for Patrick’s baptism celebration). Evening supper-leftovers; H and J went to friends’ house for homemade pizza

Week 1 Notes
This week we had three house guests (The Professor’s family) for 5 days, Wednesday through Sunday. They took all of us out to dinner twice. I cooked for everyone the rest of the time. And Greta’s boyfriend was a frequent dinner guest. So most meals, Wednesday through Sunday, were for 11 people.

One of our guests, my father-in-law, celebrated his 85th birthday while they were visiting. Instead of taking eleven people out to a seafood restaurant to celebrate, we stayed home and prepared all the seafood he loves. The worst part of it was sending “the guys” to an Asian market to buy the assorted seafood to grill. They spent $59! Ouch! But it was very yummy. We had salmon, scallops, red snapper, calamari, and mussels. We added hash browns (freebies in pantry stock), corn muffins (more freebies in pantry stock), fresh carrots (39 cents lb at Kroger two weeks ago), and frozen green beans as sides, with cupcakes (mix close to free some time ago) and ice cream (on sale last week) for dessert.

On Sunday we had another celebration: our infant grandson was baptized and we invited extended family over for dinner afterward. I supplied the pork roast (on sale at Kroger several weeks ago), baked chicken (from freezer), and dessert of two flavors of homemade cupcakes (made from mixes as above). The others brought the side dishes. There were 18 here for dinner, not counting the baby.
I saved some money by taking up a friend’s offer to pick blueberries at her house. We picked 6 lbs. Most of them I froze in 3 cup portions. Some we ate fresh all week.

David got a free sandwich and drink for lunch on Tuesday when he cashed in a coupon at Chick-Fila. He was given the coupon on a previous visit to Chick-Fila.

The Mystery Q item at Publix this week was salad dressing. It was one penny. I had two coupons because I bought the double Sunday paper. So I split my purchases between two Publix markets and got two bottles of dressing.

Week 1 Purchases
I spent $19.04 at one Publix and $23.11 at another for pork chops (sale), pasta (BOGO and coupons), peanuts (sale and coupons), almonds (sale and coupons), ice cream (sale), milk (free with Q), margarine (BOGO and coupon), sandwich meat, and in-season fresh produce.

Chuck spent $3.87 at Costco, for a six-pack of romaine lettuce.

I spent $4.90 at Entenmanns Bakery Outlet for three loaves of whole grain bread.

I spent $29.55 at Kroger for cheese (part of the Buy 10, get $5 off deal), cream cheese (ditto), raw almonds (sale), eggs (sale), and lots of in-season produce. I didn’t have any coupons, but I did get the senior discount.

We spent $58.77 at Super H Mart for five varieties of seafood to feed 11 people.

Even with all the extra mouths to feed and the overkill on seafood my grand total for the week was only $139.24. I’m glad to see I’m under our allotted $175 for seven.

Monday, July 13, 2009

All You Magazine Grocery Challenge

All You magazine is having a grocery challenge for the next four weeks. I decided to enter the challenge to see if I could feed our family of eight on $25 per person per week. Our very youngest is too young to count for the challenge, so we count as seven, which comes to $175 per week.

Introducing our family:
We are a family of eight, with six adults and two tiny children:
Dad: Chuck
Mom: Adie
20-year-old daughter: Greta
19-year-old son: David
married daughter: Heather
son-in-law: Jared
19-month-old grandson: Luke
one-month-old grandson: Patrick

(Mom's taking the picture!)

Heather and Jared have been living with us for the past eight months because Jared lost his job over a year ago after a motorcycle accident and long recovery. Once they moved in with us, he was able to find two part-time jobs, but together he doesn’t work 40 hours a week. He is actively seeking a better paying, permanent, full-time job. Heather is presently on maternity leave from her part-time job. She was working from home as an enrollment coordinator before Patrick was born.

We live in suburban Atlanta in a three-bedroom, two-bath home. Greta and David are in college at the state university eight miles from our house. They have been attending summer school this summer, and they commute to campus four days a week. They both also have part-time jobs. Chuck commutes to work; he is a software developer. Adie is a homemaker, but considers her frugality a part-time job.

Before the challenge began, I made several decisions:
I want this to be sustainable for the long term, rather than a short term project where I use up all of my stash and not replenish for the future, just to get my total as low as possible. Therefore I will continue to shop the sales with coupons, and look for good deals. I will also stockpile when pantry items and freezer items are on a good sale, especially BOGO with doubled coupons.

I have a large pantry, fully stocked with the raw ingredients that we use regularly. I will continue to use from it, and replenish with sale items. I also have a small chest freezer (garage sale purchase in June) that I already filled with meats, veggies, and baked goods. I will pull from that stock also, replenishing with sale items.

I will shop at Publix on Mondays to get the Mystery Q item, and shop at Kroger on Wednesdays to get the 5% senior discount (Kroger has a very low age for the senior discount; I barely qualify). I will fill in with shopping at Aldi and Costco on an as-needed basis.

I will continue to use my menu rotation plans that I created several months ago. I have 8 weeks of plans that I rotate through.

The adults will drink water as their main beverage. I don’t buy soda or bottled water or alcohol. We have a stainless steel water bottle for every person in the family and we fill those when going out. Our tap water is filtered because of chlorine allergies, and it tastes just as good as bottled water. We have cups on the kitchen counter for drinks at home, each with initials painted on it. This cuts down on washing dirty glasses.

I had already given the family responsibility for preparing their own breakfasts and lunches. The rule is “make your own and clean up afterwards”. This will continue during the challenge. Breakfast choices are usually: real oatmeal, homemade granola, eggs how you like them or hardboiled eggs which are almost always in the refrigerator, fresh fruit, yogurt (plain and flavored), create your own smoothie, pancake or waffle makings, and sometimes some dry cereal. Leftovers too, if they want. Lunch possibilities include sandwiches, salads, cook up some pasta, hot dogs sometimes, and leftovers. The best leftovers go quickly!

Greta’s boyfriend joins us for dinner very frequently. This will still continue. I won’t deny the invite just to keep my costs low!

I will cook and bake from scratch as much as I can.

I used to make a lot of our bread, using wheat berries I ground into flour in my mill. But my mill broke last year and we haven’t been able to afford to replace it yet. Now I purchase most of our whole grain bread at the Entenmann’s Bakery Outlet a few times a month. I freeze what we won’t use immediately.

I planted a veggie garden again this spring, expecting to have fresh tomatoes and squash all summer. This year, a mammalian-something attacked it and killed all my plants just as they were beginning to produce big fruit. I’m so disappointed we won’t have yummy fresh veggies this year and quite disgusted at those critters for stealing all the green tomatoes. My total summer harvest was one gnawed-on yellow squash and zero tomatoes.
I will buy the double-bundled Sunday paper when available. This gives me double the number of coupon inserts. A double bundled paper is only 50 cents more than a single paper.

I look forward to seeing what I can do with this challenge. I hope we will continue to eat well during the next four weeks, but that we will also be more conscious of our costs.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Special Treats

Two weeks ago Publix had one pint Starbuck's ice cream on sale BOGO. Heather and I dug through our coupon binders and came up with six Starbuck's ice cream coupons: 3 were for $2 off, and 3 were for $1.50 off. That meant the ice cream averaged out to 10 cents a carton! Six coupons meant just enough to go around in our family, one per adult. I handed out a list of Starbuck's ice cream flavors and asked everyone to note their favorite (or guess their favorite in case they had never actually eaten Starbuck's ice cream before.)
Once at the store, I discovered Publix was completely out. No prob. I got a raincheck. Several days ago I was able to redeem the raincheck and get each person their very own carton in their favorite flavor. To keep things clear and fair, I wrote each name on their carton with a Sharpie marker.

I highly recommend the Caramel Macchiato!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Two Yard Bargains

I found TWO great deals for our yard this past week. First, I found a black iron arbor for the side gate at Pike's Garden Center ~ half off. David helped me install it and The Professor helped me choose vines to climb over it.
A red climbing rose will grow up the right side, and a yet-to-be-planted clematis will grow up the left side. Many years from now they should intertwine at the top of the arbor.

On Friday I found a black iron patio table and four chairs on clearance at Target. I have been dreaming of a set like this for years, so I'm very excited to finally have one. It really should have 6 chairs to seat our family, but I bought all the chairs that our Target had. I plan to look at other Target locations for two more. If I can't find two more, I'm not worried. Many manufacturers make patio furniture in this black mesh style. And two chairs that are a bit different will look fine with what I have.

Friday, July 3, 2009

The Great Flatware Mystery

I discovered a mystery in our home last week: Whatever happened to the rest of our silverware? I searched the whole kitchen, then the house, and this is all I found. I have two very similar patterns; the one on the left is supposed to be eight place settings, and the nicer one on the right is supposed to be 10 place settings. So, where are the missing pieces?

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Free in June

I like to keep a list of what I get free, or costing me just a few cents, every month. This is a great reminder to me of how God blesses us in my efforts in being a true Home Economist. Here is my list for June:

Publix Mystery Coupon Items:
Publix cheesy shells
sliced cheese

Rolling CVS Extracare Bucks:

Clearasil daily face wash
2 Nivea for Men face wash
Old Spice body wash
J&J body wash
Gillette Fusion razor
Crest Pro Health toothpaste
2 pkgs lens cleaning wipes
wrist insect repellent
2 Softsoap body wash
Oral B twin pack toothbrushes

Rolling Walgreen's Register Rewards:
Revlon 1875 watt hair dryer
Coconut-lime soap pump
3 bottles St. Ives body wash
Aquafresh toothpaste
2 boxes envelopes
3-pack pencil lead refills
4 lb honey
2 cans white tuna
Snickers bar

Great Sale Prices Combined with Coupons:
2 boxes Kelloggs cereal
2 Sunsilk conditioner
3 Suave deodorant
3 Oikos yogurts

Full Rebates:
Reynolds wrap

Free Deals:

bagel at Einstein's
2 huge boxes Hefty kitchen bags

Given to Me:
4 heads lettuce
2 yellow squash
2 lb pulled chicken, buns, bbq sauce and beans

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Trash Pickin'

I'm not usually bold enough to pick over other people's trash on trash day, especially during daylight hours, but today....

How could I resist?

As I was walking this morning I saw one of my neighbors had put this wicker settee out for the trash. It is dirty and the paint is worn, but nothing much is wrong with it. A little of the wicker on the back top edge is coming unwoven, but that's it. I ran home to call Greta out of bed to help me carry it home. After a scrubbing, a little paint, and some cushions it should look just fine.

What color do you think I should paint it? It is currently black and the previous dark green paint shows through in various places. My few pieces of existing patio furniture are a creamy white iron bistro set and a dark green cushioned lounge. I could go with the creamy white, or I could paint the bistro set and the settee black. Or bronze. Or I could paint only the settee dark green. But I'm not leaning toward that at the moment.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Filling the Freezer Bit by Bit

Diced onions and peppers for the freezer; six of each. These freeze beautifully if you first flash freeze them on a tray before bagging up for longer storage. I lined the tray with parchment paper for no sticking.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

My Great Garage Sale Find

I made one of my best-ever garage sale purchases on Saturday: a chest freezer! In all our 30 years of marriage, I have never had a freezer other than the one above (or below) the refrigerator. I was sooo excited to find this one. I got it from my next-door neighbor's "over the back fence" neighbor. I scrubbed it up and started filling it with sale items this week. I still have lots of room for future sale items. (Picture will come later when I round up the camera batteries.)

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Busy at the Sewing Machine

A little summer sewing for the hot days ahead: Last week I made a blue daisy dress.
This week I made a bright pink skirt.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Free in May

What I got completely FREE during the month of May:

Publix Mystery Coupon Items:
2 half-gallon cartons iced tea
Publix potato chips
1 gallon Publix bleach

Rolling CVS Extracare Bucks:
2 Colgate toothpastes
Colgate Sensitive toothpaste
Colgate Total toothpaste
Schick Quattro razor
2 Right guard deodorants
2 Dry Idea deodorants
1 Blade deodorant
Playtex Sport
2 pkg Schick disposable razors
travel size tube St. Ives Apricot Scrub
2 Oral B toothbrushes
Bayer Quick Release Crystals
9" play ball
Viva paper towels
2 bags chocolate covered peanuts

Rolling Walgreens Register Rewards:
5 stainless steel water bottles
Dry Idea Clinical deodorant
Bayer Quick Release Crystals
Skintimate shave cream
3 tubes Aveeno mosturizer
Honey Maid grahams
6-pk Hershey's choc bars
Jet Puff marshmallows
Cayenne Pepper on clearance (filler)

Great Sale Prices Combined with Coupons:
3 half-gallons Smart Balance milk
4 Old El Paso taco seasoning mixes
6 jars Pace salsa
Hunt's ketchup
5 McCormick Grill Mates seasonings
2 Weber Grill Creations seasonings
4 Kraft BBQ Sauce
2 A-1 Steak Sauce
3 Kraft salad dressing
2 rolls Glad wrap
2 boxes J&J 1st aid pads
2 J&J 1st aid tape

Spent Free Gift Cards (from transferring rx):
3 gal milk
10 bags frozen veggies
4 boxes taco shells
2 cans green chilies
2 cartons sour cream
3 lb tomatoes
2 dozen eggs
10 lb chicken leg quarters
sourdough bread
5 limes
yellow squash
fresh pineapple
1 lb strawberries
2 lb cheese
1 qt. unflavored yogurt
Dial soap pump
Colgate Sensitive toothpaste
Right Guard deodorant

Full Rebates:
Bayer Quick Release Crystals
Dry Idea Clinical deodorant
Suave deodorant

Free Deals:

Oscar Mayer hot dogs
4 pkg Sara Lee hot dog buns
2 boxes Wheat Thins
Schick Intuition razor
2 Schick Quattro Titanium razors
Aveeno travel kit
2 reusable shopping bags
Moe's burrito (birthday club)
Baskin-Robbins ice cream cone (birthday club)
Coldstone Creamery ice cream (birthday club)
Firehouse sub (birthday club)
Arby's chicken club sandwich (Mother's Day Q)
2 bagels at Einstein's

Given to Me:

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Pie Day

Spinach quiche for Sunday breakfast...

And lime pie for Sunday afternoon (you'll have to imagine the whipped cream that will cover the top).

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

In the Garden

Our roses:
Between rain storms on Memorial Day we tried to whip the yard into shape. First we planted five Recurvifolium Ligustrum, or wavy leaf Privet on the back hill. We expect these to fill in to a solid wall about 15 ft high to block our view of the neighbors' new three story addition. Starting out in one-gallon pots, they have a bit of growing to do!
Next we planted several Razzleberri Loropetalum, or Chinese Fringe, also on the back hill. These will also grow tall and fill in together. We hope to completely block the ugly fence as well as the neighbors' addition. We want to look like we live in a park! Right now it's hard to believe that this flat little plant...
will some day grow to this...
After weeding, The Professor mowed and edged the lawns, while I tied up the tomato plants. My tomato cages disintegrated two years ago, so this is a new method for me. I'll see how it works.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Back to Garage Saling

I was sick for most of April and well into May so I haven't made or done much recently.

But finally, yesterday, Heather and I had a chance to go garage saling. We were disappointed in the number of sales; we found only four! Then we remembered that it was Memorial Day weekend. Duh.

I found one fabulous thing: an adorable cradle for Luke's upcoming baby brother (Luke calls him Bubba!). It was very grimy, but it all came sparkling clean with scrubbing the hard surfaces and soaking the fabrics. This adorable cradle was only $5!

And Greta is looking forward to having it passed down to her.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Waiting for Spring

I'm ready for comfortable sleep this spring. I made some warm weather sleep pants using a thrifted sheet I bought last year. It was a pale aqua twin size sheet with eyelet trim at the top edge. I placed the hem line of the pj's along the finished edge of the lace. No more than 30 minutes of stitching. Elastic waist. Done.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

April Free

Here is what I got completely FREE during the month of April. Click here to read a previous post explaining each category.

Publix Mystery Coupon Items:
Nestle hot cocoa mix
Publix white bread (donation)
6-pk Publix bottled water

CVS Extracare Bucks With Sales and Coupons:
Skintimate shave cream
Colgate toothpaste
2 pkgs Stayfree
2 bags jelly beans
1 small bag chocolate eggs
Softsoap body wash
Colgate Sensitive toothpaste
2 bottles acetaminophen
2 Crest Pro-Health
Edge shave gel
Fructis styling gel
6 3M Command hooks

Great Sale Prices Combined with Coupons:

3 Duncan Hines cake mixes (10 cents ea)
Kraft salad dressing
2 boxes Wheat Thins Artisan
3 small boxes unflavored gelatin
2 corn muffin mix
4 1-lb pkgs Mahatma rice
2 boxes Betty Crocker potatoes
2 McCormick grinders
3 4-roll pkgs Angel Soft bath tissue
2 Muir Glen tomato sauce
2 Muir Glen tomato paste
2 bottles Vitamin Water

Spent Free Gift Cards (from transferring rx):
3 gallons milk
Johnson's body wash

Free Deals:
Softsoap body wash
2 jars Publix salsa
Publix popcorn cakes

Given to Me:
reusable shopping bag
loaf of white bread

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Eat Your Fruits n' Veggies

We try to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables here. It seems to me that I can't keep the refrigerator stocked for an entire week, so out of curiosity I thought I would list what I bought and how much of each, then see how long it lasts us. So, one week ago today I bought:
4 lb Granny Smith apples
4 lb Gala apples
2 lb grapefruit (2 whole)
3 lb fresh pineapple (1 whole)
7 lb cantaloupes (2 whole)
3 lb strawberries
4 lb Bartlett pears
1/2 lb bananas
Total: 27.5 lb

1 lb avocados (2 whole)
1.5 lb tomatoes
1.5 lb bell peppers
4.5 lb romaine (6-head pkg)
10 lb frozen veggies
10 lb potatoes
Total: 28.5 lb

Already On Hand
4 lb carrots
2.5 lb onions
1/2 lb green cabbage
4 lb potatoes
4 lb frozen veggies
a handful of grape tomatoes
1 shriveled tangerine
Total: 15 lb

Grand total: 71 lb

Remaining after seven days
1 Granny Smith apple (less than 1/2 lb)
a few chunks of cantaloupe
5.5 lb potatoes
3 lb carrots
1/2 lb lettuce (part of a head)
9 lb frozen veggies
Total: 18.5 lb approx

Grand total consumed in a week:
52.5 lb
I had no idea we ate that much in a week!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

April Fool!

It's our family tradition to celebrate well, even some of the minor holidays that most people sort of ignore. April 1st has always been a day for us to have fun. How did we celebrate this year? With no planning ahead, yesterday afternoon I came up with a plan to serve dinner in a memorable way. And I used just what was on hand; no purchases necessary!

As the family arrived home, everything looked normal with dinner preps under way and the table set. But wait. The dining table is set and a table on the patio is set? April Fool! I announced that we would be having a Progressive Dinner of multiple courses around the house and yard. We gathered first around the patio table, decorated with a beach theme. Then I brought out the first course of cupcakes and ice cream and announced we would really be having a Regressive Dinner: dessert to appetizer.
After dessert we retired to the garage, decorated for Christmas, for our main course of pot roast and vegetables.Next we all trouped to the dining room, decorated for Easter, for salad and homemade rolls. (I forgot to take a picture.)

And lastly, we gathered around the living room coffee table for crackers and camenbert cheese.By this time we were all quite stuffed.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Free in March

Here is what I got completely FREE during the month of March. Click here to read a previous post explaining each category. I think this is my longest list ever!

Publix Mystery Coupon Items:
frozen pizza
microwave popcorn
2 cans Progresso soup
2 bags tortilla chips
paper towels

CVS Extracare Bucks With Sales and Coupons:
Irish Spring body wash
St Ives body wash
Johnson's Buddies soap
Secret Flawless deodorant
Dry Idea deodorant
2 tubes St Ives apricot scrub
3 bottles Garnier Fructis shampoo
Herbal Essences shampoo
Gillette Fusion razor
Schick Intuition razor
2 tubes Crest Pro Health toothpaste
Colgate toothpaste
Aquafresh toothpaste
Vitamin E
CVS moist wipes refill
2 Cottonelle moist wipes refills
3 pkgs cotton rounds
4 cans Campbell's soup
Hefty trash bags
Paas egg coloring kit

Great Sale Prices Combined with Coupons:

4 cans Del Monte tomatoes
4 boxes Betty Crocker potatoes
4-pk Danactive yogurt
Raisin Bran cereal
Smart Start cereal
2 boxes Unfrosted Mini Wheats cereal
2 jars Pace picante sauce
3 small boxes Knox gelatin
2 Kraft salad dressing (8 cents each)
Crisco pan spray
No Yolks noodles
3 boxes Sambucol
2 Colgate toothpaste
twin-pack Oral B toothbrushes
Vaseline Intensive Care lotion
2 Garnier Fructis shampoo
2 St. Ives Elements cleanser
2 Reach toothbrush twin packs
2 Reach floss
2 Listerine mouthwash
Schick razor
Skintimate shave cream
Aquafresh toothbrush
Aquafresh toothbrush/travel paste pack
2 pkgs Kotex
2 boxes crayons
4 bottles Glass Plus (25 cents ea)

Spent Free Gift Cards (from transferring rx):
4 gallons milk
1 gallon orange juice
2 lb frozen fries
2.69 lb grapes
3 lb onions
1.5 lb tilapia
5 lb ground chuck
peanut butter
3 cans refried beans
8 lb apples
2 grapefruit
2 avocados
fresh pineapple
6 bags froz veggies
4 cans pineapple tidbits
sour cream
Charlie cologne spray ($1.24 on clearance at Walgreens; used gift card)

Full Rebates:

Walgreens pain reliever
Wal-Zyr tablets

Free Deals:
Publix reusable shopping bag
Kroger reusable shopping bag
CVS reusable shopping bag
Rita's Italian Ice
7 lb Smart Balance butter blend
1 gallon milk
Publix BBQ sauce
Publix pasta sauce
Publix spicy brown mustard

Cascade Rinse Aid
Softsoap body wash

Given to Me:
Publix tortilla chips