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Sunday, February 28, 2010

Meal Plan Monday 2/28 - 3/6


So I just now realized that it's the end of February! I usually have my monthly meal plan done by now but I'm just starting it... Oh well. Hopefully I'll remember to share it next week.


Last week went good as far as the meal plan went. I fixed a "leftover" ham casserole - great way to use up leftover potatoes and ham! And I DID get to the food bank! Finally! We are all still adjusting to daddy being on second shift. I have been fixing extra dinner so that he has plenty to eat the next day for lunch and dinner. Hopefully there's only three weeks left until he's home for dinner again!


Since I forgot about the end of the month, I'm relying on some meals that were already in the freezer. Thankfully, I did get done some freezer cooking last week so I'll have some meals for when I need them. I am planning on doing lots more freezer cooking!


Here's what were eating this week:
out with family
chili (freezer)
spaghetti
BBQ chicken sandwiches
beef stroganoff
pizza
pork chops

How did your week go? What are you eating this week? Leave a comment and I'll come check out your menu! Check out lots more menus at OrgJunkie.com.


Don't forget to enter my giveaway!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Leftover Ham Casserole


I finally figured out a way to use up the ham steak that was in the freezer. This meal came from all pantry ingredients. I wanted to make this recipe but I didn't have a lot of the ingredients. So I used what I had on hand and it turned out wonderful. My boys ate it up and asked for more. This will make a great lunch tomorrow!

Ingredients:
1 box Betty Crocker Au Gratin potatoes
1 cup milk
1 cup water
1 can cream of chicken soup
Ham Steak

Preheat oven to 450. Mix all ingredients in oven safe dish. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes.

Easy Peasy! I linked this to URS  and TMTT

Don't forget to enter my giveaway!

Finally! Penny Expeiment Food is Delivered!

After being sick for three weeks, we have finally delivered the food to the food bank. We felt really good as we walked out the doors. It wasn't much, but it was something. I think C is too little to really understand that some people don't have enough food (probably because of the excess we have). I was so proud of him for helping. He wanted to carry it the whole way back and the guy let him. He's already asked when we can donate more. Hopefully Giant will have some good sales and I can get more free food to donate. :)


You can read more about the Penny Experiment HERE and HERE.

Wordless Wednesday

he had dumped his milk onto his dinner...
                                                       

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Works for Me Wednesday - Ways to Sneak in Learning

I love watching my kids learning something and not even realizing it. Here's 6 fun ways to help your kids learn.

  1. The Destination Game - choose a geographic location and add words that start with the same sound. (I went on vacation in California. I ate cookies and cupcakes. I flew a kite and got a new cat.)  phonics

  2. What's the Total? - have your child guess the total of your grocery bill (before coupons for young children, as they get older, add coupons in to make it harder!) math and estimation skills

  3. Tounge Twisters - (Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers...) articulation and speech

  4. Dominoes - number recognition and problem solving

  5. Narrator - give your child a recorder (or notebook and pen for older children) to record events throughout the day. language and vocabulary

  6. Hangman - alphabet and refines spelling

Gratituesday


I wasn't sure I wanted to write this post. I wasn't sure I had a right to. So I prayed about it. And it's all that I could think about for that past day and a half. So here goes...

A "friend" of mine died. The reason I say "friend" is becasuse I haven't spoken to him in three years. But it hit me hard when he died. I'm not sure exactly why. I mean, I haven't spoken to him in three years!

Wayyy back in fifth grade, I "dated" him. Meaning he came to my house and hung out, we held hands, and went roller skating together. My sister and I were talking yesterday about a time when he was at our house. The three of us went for a walk in the cornfield behind the house and he asked her to turn her head. Her reply (she was 6) was "Why? So you can kiss her??" That day when he left he did kiss me - in front of everyone! I was so embarrassed!

We grew apart, as most elementary friends do, and we lost track of each other. I talked to him once or twice over the past couple of years. Enough to know that he was planning his wedding and he has a gorgeous one year old son who looks just like him.

When I found out that he had been killed, I had just made a phone call to a company to speak to a customer service rep. The rep answered the phone and said "Hi, my name is Tony" (This my friends name) I was speechless for a few seconds. I knew that Tony was ok.

So today I am thankful for memories. I am thankful I knew Tony. 
 I am thankful that I take time each and every day to let my boys know that I love them.

What are you thankful for? Share at Heavenly Homemakers.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Our First Giveaway! Lysol No Touch Hand Soap System

I am in the kitchen constantly. Cooking, baking and cleaning. Therefore I am constantly washing my hands. When I saw Lysol had come out with a No-Touch Hand Soap System, I knew I wanted one. Since we were in the middle of the Pantry Challenge, I had no grocery money to spend on one. So I contacted Lysol and they generously offered to send me one to review. And they offered to send one to one of my readers!


I have been using the LYSOL® No-Touch Hand Soap System for about a week now. And I love it! I don't have to touch anything to get the soap. When my hands are covered in raw meat germs or pasta sauce, I just place my hand in front of the sensor and the LYSOL® No-Touch Hand Soap System automatically senses them and dispenses just the right amount of antibacterial soap.

All three of my boys love the LYSOL No-Touch Hand Soap System too. C washed his hands 5 times in 10 minutes (no lie!) the first night I showed him how to use it. (On the back of the unit is a switch you can use to turn the unit off, incase your little ones get too carried away.) Hubby comes downstairs from the bathroom to wash his hands at the kitchen sink so he can use it. I was a little skeptical of the scent when I first opened it, I'm not big on cucumber scents. But it smells wonderful!

The Starter Kits are available in Cucumber Splash and Green Tea & Ginger. The hand soaps are enriched with moisturizing ingredients and the refills are available in three scents. The LYSOL® No-Touch Hand Soap System starter kit is available at Walmart for a suggested retail price of $9.97. The starter kit includes 1-dispenser, 1-8.5 oz. hand soap refill and 4 AA batteries. Hand soap refills (8.5 oz.) are available for a suggested retail price of $3.47.

In order to help keep your homes and families healthy this cold & flu season, Lysol would like to offer one of you the chance to win a No-Touch Hand Soap System. To enter:

  1. Subscribe to Feeding Four via RSS, Google Friend Connect, or E-mail. (If you are already a subscriber, just let me know!)
  2. Become a fan of Feeding Four on Facebook
  3. Visit Lysol and choose your favorite scent for a refill, come back and share!
  4. Promote this giveaway in some way - tweet, facebook, email or blog. Come back and leave a link telling me what you've done.
The giveaway ends on March 3rd at midnight EST. I will pick a winner using Random.org. The winner will be notified via email and has 48 hours to respond. If the winner does not respond within 48 hours, I will pick a new winner.

Disclaimer: I contacted Lysol about doing a review & giveaway. Lysol sent me one starter kit to review in exchange for my honest opinion. I received no other compensation

Monday, February 22, 2010

28 Days of Organizing - UPDATE

I can't believe it's taken me so long to organize my living room. Actually, I can. I am not an organized person. At all. Hubby commented this morning "I love how organized you are". (He was being sarcastic). But the frustrating thing for me is that it's not the getting organized part that I have issues with. I just can't seem to stay organized. I'm hoping I can keep my living room this way at least until the end of the month! (That's just 6 days away...)


 

See the back of the couch? Yea, me too!


I can actually see my floor!

This is where I keep all my "stuff." Coupons, magazine articles I want to reference, etc.

The only thing I need to do with this is to go through the toys and put the right toys in the right containers. But I'm debating doing this again because it seems like a lost cause.

The one thing left I need to get done.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Meal Plan Monday 2/21 - 2/27


So much for not getting the flu. Hubs and I both had it Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Because of this, we didn't get to almost anything on the menu plan. So there's a lot of repeats from last week. We mostly grabbed whatever we wanted out of the fridge or had soup. We went out Saturday night with my family.

I did manage to get a lot done the rest of the week, simply because I was sick of the house being a mess for the past three weeks. I scrubbed down the bathroom and the kitchen. I organized the living room and got rid of some toys. I never did get the food to the food bank but it WILL be there this week. Hubs has been switched to a new shift at work so he'll be home during he day to make sure I get it there. I did get to CVS but ended up returning almost the whole order because I messed up and spent wayyy over my budget (like $50 over). Target had no razors in stock so I didn't get anything there. Our Valentines party is rescheduled again for this week so I need to get the boys to get their Valentines done...

Hubby is now on "second" shift for a month (hopefully). He works 3:30 to 2 am. So he won't be home for dinner, but I'll still be cooking enough for him to take some in his lunch. I am also going to try and get some bulk cooking done this week. Since he won't be home in the evenings, I'm thinking it might be easier for me. I'll let you know...

Enchiladas
Pizza
Chicken Curry
Cheeseburgers
Ham Steak in some kind of casserole
Beef Stroganoff
leftovers/out

How did your week go? What are you eating this week? Leave a comment and I'll come check out your menu! Check out lots more menus at OrgJunkie.com.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Meal Plan Monday 2/14 - 2/20


Wow. Where has this week gone? I had so much to do and I did none of it! Partly because of the huge snow storm we got. The library was canceled so there went the Valentines Party (good thing too because I didn't have the Valentines ready!) I didn't even think about ordering Angel Food. I didn't get out to run errands until Saturday. And I still have not dropped the food at the food bank! C was sick with the flu Wednesday and Thursday. Hubby got stuck on the other side of the mountain coming home from work [in the snow] on Wednesday night. (luckily a wonderful man brought him home!) A ended up with the flu on Friday night. He was with my mom and when she called me in the AM he was all better! I'm hoping hubby and I can steer clear of this one.


This week is going to be crazy busier than last. I am planning on taking the food to the food bank tomorrow. Then a run to CVS and because I'm CRAZY we have another "errand" to run (more on that later I hope.) Tuesday I have a meeting at C's school and a meeting at home with A's "teacher" (It's this awesome program Parents as Teachers. They come into the home and "teach" you about your childs development. He loves playing with her!) Wednesday brings our late Valentine party (still need to get those Valentines done...) a doctors appointment for C and hopefully a small run into Target. Thursday C has school and I believe Friday he does also. Hopefully (again because I'm CRAZY), there will be yet another trip to H-town this week.


We're still cleaning out the pantry and freezers. Here's what we'll be eating this week.

V-Day - Steak, biscuits, mac & cheese, broccoli casserole
Out (because of my "errand" we'll be out past dinnertime...)
Enchiladas
E's burgers
Ham Steak
BBQ Pork Roast
Curried Chicken Tidbits
For more great menu plans check out Orgjunkie.com

Saturday, February 13, 2010

FREE Dog Leash from Snapfish

If you sign up for a new account with Snapfish you can get a FREE dog leash plus 20 free prints. Through 2/19 you can also get free shipping from Snapfish when you use the code PRESDAY at checkout. The value of the dog leash is $19.99 and the free shipping is $5.99!
  • Sign up for a new Snapfish account
  • Once you are signed up go to your account and click to redeem the credit towards the free leash
  • Design and order your leash
  • Checkout.
  • enter the coupon code PRESDAY to get free shipping.
I just ordered one for our dogs. I think it'll make a great birthday present for them. (Yes, I do give my dogs birthday presents, we even have parties!)

*Use your CC when you checkout. If you choose PP you won't be able to check out with a zero balance*

Thanks Common Sense with Money!

Grocery Trips

This is the first week I've used Dave Ramsey's envelope system. I was glad to be paying in cash. I think it made me more aware of what I was buying. I put some things that were originally in my cart back on the shelf because I didn't want to part with my cash!
Here is what we got so far this month.

Giant:
1 dozen eggs
1 2L coke
Total OOP - $ 1.45
Coupon Used:
$1/1 coke product

Save - A - Lot
4 - 1lb ground turkey
5 lbs ground chuck
1 lb scrapple
2 velvetta shells (for hubby's V-day dinner)
Total OOP- $12.93
Coupons used: $1/2 velveeta shells

Sam's Club
6 lbs apples
3 lbs bananas
2 hunt's tomato sauce
5 lbs sliced cheese
25lb bread flour
Total OOP- around $27 (lost my reciept)

Wal-Mart
5 lbs whole wheat flour
corn flour
2 v-day candies
maple extract (to make homemade syrup)
2 GV vegetable oil
GV chocolate syrup (to try to make my own!)
wheat gluten (to try to make hamburger buns)
4 cans enchilada sauce
Total OOP - $19.52

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Three a Day

Gerber

Pepsi

Ragu

Ways to Cut Cost in the Grocery Store

Groceries Pictures, Images and Photos
When buying Fruits and Veggies:
  • buy fruits and veggies in season when they cost less
  • frozen and canned fruits and veggies cost less all year long. And they usually have the same nutritional value as fresh
  • avoid pre-bagged salad mixes. they are more expensive and spoil faster.

 When buying Meat and Beans:

  •  chuck or bottom round roast has less fat and is cheaper than sirloin
  • dried beans an peas are a great source of protein and fiber. they also last longer without spoiling.
  • look for specials at the meat counter. buy meat on sale!
  • buy meat in bulk to save money. freeze what will not be used right away.
When buying Breads and Grains:
  • look for day old bread. use it right away or freeze.
  • buy regular rice, oatmeal and grits instead of instant.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Once A Month Cooking

Have you ever done Once A Month Cooking? I haven't. Not all at once. I've doubled the recipe to have some for the freezer, or froze leftovers but I've never actually planned to cook for the freezer. I've always wanted to, but never have.


Tricia at Once a Month Mom and Amy from Amy's Finer Things have teamed up to offer an awesome giveaway to the participants in the OAMC day this month. So this was all the encouragement I needed. I'm planning out my menu and shopping list right now.

I'm planning on cooking :

Curried Chicken Tidbits

Stuffed Pancake Cupcakes (I'm not sure if I'm going to stuff these or not... I'm not sure the boys would eat them)

Sloppy Joes

Easy Taco Bake

Black Bean Salsa Chicken

Pizza Crust

I'm also going to make Toddler French Toast Sticks

I need to buy: EGGS. Yep, that's it. I have ground turkey in the freezer I just found that I can use to make the sloppy joes and a little ground beef for the taco bake. I think I'm going to make my own bisquick for the pancakes or just use my own recipe.

28 Days of Organizing...

I am not very organized. One of my goals in life is to be organized enough that I can find something important when I need it. I joke that I need a box to put all my important things in, just so I know where they are. (Of course, I'd probably lose the box!) I always put something where I know where it will be when I need it. And when it comes time that I need it, I have no clue where it is.



Why do I want to get organized? One reason : being this disorganized has cost me money. Two weeks before Christmas, my camera broke. I sent it in to be repaired and lucky for me, got it back two days before Christmas Eve. But of course I had no idea where the memory card was. So I ordered a new one. Overnight shipping. (And I found the old one last week in my purse...)


I'm an Organizing Junkie is hosting a 28 Day Organizing Challenge. And I am participating! "Participating is simple. Just spend the month organizing a small space or a whole room (or even both!) and then come on back here at the end of the month and link up to a blog post (including before and after pictures!) on your organizing success." Let's hope my organizing is a success...


I'm tackling my living room this month. Here are the before pictures.


see everything on the back of the couch? That needs to be GONE. Into a new home. (the right home, not on top of my desk)
I need to purge some toys....



It's going to be a heck of a challenge! Come back at the end of the month for the results!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Meal Plan 2/7-2/13


I had planned on making a whole bunch of yummy snacks for us to munch on while we watched the Saints win the Super Bowl (YAY!!!!) But my mom called and invited me to the movies with her and my sister to see Dear Johnso I jumped on that. The boys went with daddy for a late lunch and I didn't feel like cooking anything. So I just threw some chicken wings in the oven for hubby. I ate leftover potato soup and the boys had chicken and mac & cheese.
On another note, it's going to be a looonnng week as I get the house back in order from being sick all last week. I've been doing bits and pieces all weekend but there is a lot left! Plus, I have GOT to get to the food bank, I have a few errands to run around town, Angel Food is ordering this week and I really hope to get the boys to story time at the library, the Valentine's party is this week (I also need to help them get the Valentines done!)
Thanks for letting me write out all the things I need to get done this week, now to the meal plan! For lots more meal plan, visit OrgJunkie.com


Buffalo chicken wings, leftovers
Roast Chicken, baked potatoes
Hotdogs and mac & cheese
Porkchops
Spaghetti (thinking of doing a chicken spaghetti)
Pizza
Chimichangas


What are you eaing this week? Share a link in the comments and I'll come check it out!

Rite Aid Trip 2/7


2 Nivea body wash for women (plus 2 free travel sized bottles)
4 Nivea lip care
2 Nivea body wash for men (clearance)
1 Stay Free Pads
2 Sunday papers (not pictured)

Total OOP - $7.23
(tax. $0.30)

Plus, I'll submit for a $5 GC bc I bought $15 in Nivea product making it $2.23.
I should've been able to use a GC to pay for this purchase making my OOP $0, but the cashier was really rude and wouldn't let me. I didn't argue with her because I was late meeting my mom to see a movie.

Coupons used:
$5/$20
$1/1stayfree pads (rite aid video value)
$1/1 stayfree pads
 $1/1 Nivea body wash for men
$2/1 Nivea body wash for men
$1/1 Nivea body wash for women
$2/1 Nivea body wash for women
(2) B1G1 Free Nivea lip care

Changing our Budget

I have decided to change our grocery budget. At least for now. We've basically been eating out of our pantry since January 1st. We don't really need the extra groceries right now. Since I'm trying to make everything from scratch, the only thing we would need right now is beef. We have plenty of chicken and pork in the freezers. And I'm planning on buying (half?) a cow with some of our tax money. So the $25 a week is most likely going to go towards a "stock up" trip to Sam's Club to get flour and things like that. The other $25 that I'm taking away is going towards Baby Step #1 of Dave Ramsey's Plan. Wish me luck!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

$0.95/1 Pillsbury Sweet Rolls!

Pillsbury has been releasing some nice coupons the past few months. Here is another one. They have a printable for Pillsbury Sweet Rolls, get 95 cents off one! I just printed mine and they don't expire until 4/5/2010! Paired with a sale these will make for some FREE Sweet Rolls! Don't forget you can print two per computer.

Printable (IE) or Printable (FF)

Thanks Southern Savers!

3 A Day

Here's who I emailed today:

Giant Trip for Penny Experiment

When I was in Giant today I saw these Jennie O So Easy Turkey Parmesan meals on markdown for $2. Then I saw the $0.55 peelies on them. $3.80 for three of them. That's if only one coupon doubled. I threw them in the cart; grabbed the crackers and headed to checkout. All three coupons doubled! Woo-hoo! $2.70 for all three! So I bought:
3 boxes of Ritz crackers
3 Jennie O So Easy Turkey Parmesan
Total OOP: $5.70

Retail Value: $17.37
Savings of: $11.67

I threw the Jennie O So Easy Turkey Parmesan meals into the freezer until Monday which is when I'm hoping to get the food dropped off at the pantry. I was getting ready to load up today and thought I should call first to double check the hours. Good thing I did as they had closed already. They aren't open on Fridays so Monday's our drop off day!

You can read more about the Penny Experiment HERE and HERE.

Giant Trip 2/4

First Transaction:
1 box Giant Kleenex (we're out!)
2 sour cream
2 El Paso Heat and Serve sides
1 El Paso taco seasoning
1 El Paso chiles
4.91 lbs hamburger meat
1 whole Edward's Pie (not pictured)
Second Transaction:
3 lbs Nature's Promise apples (A only wanted apples to eat tonight...)
bananas
1/2 watermelon (not pictured bc C ate it!)
Total OOP - $8.94 (which was less than the meat!)

Coupons used -
First Transaction:
$2/$5 meat
FREE Edward's Pie
$1/2 sour cream
(2) $1/1 El Paso sides
B2 El Paso products get seasoning free
$0.55/1 El Paso
Second Transaction:
$1 OYNO (from El Paso)
$6 WIC check

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Hamburger Helper

One of my goals for this year is to slowly go unprocessed. I found this great blog, Kitchen Stewardship. She challenged her readers to a mission. "Your mission, if you choose to accept, is to find one box or bottle in your house that you think you can make yourself, find a recipe, and try it out. If it’s a success, commit to never buying that package again."

I found a box of Hamburger Helper in our cabinet during the EFTP Challenge (not sure why... we don't eat the stuff!) But I used this to start my mission. Hopefully I will continue this mission on my own and that will help us to slowly go unprocessed!

You need:
1 lb. ground beef
chopped onion
garlic powder
Pepper
3 Tbsp margarine or butter
3 Tbsp flour
2 cups milk
1 cup Beef Broth
2 cups whole wheat noodles

To make:
In large skillet, brown ground beef with chopped onion and crushed garlic cloves. Season with pepper. Do not return beef to the skillet.

In same skillet, add margarine or butter. Once melted, whisk in flour to form a paste. Quickly whisk in milk until no clumps remain. Cook for 3-4 minutes over medium heat, until sauce starts to bubble and thicken.

Once this happens, add the beef broth and pasta shells. Stir through. Add 1 lb. of meat and mix together. Cover and cook over medium heat for 12-15 minutes, or until pasta shells have cooked through. Stir often. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat. Sauce will thicken slightly after removing from heat. Serve

The Verdict:
It turned out great! Hubs had three servings! C cleaned his plate and asked for more. (A is still sick and hasn't been eating much)

Sick Days

tissues Pictures, Images and Photos
Everyone deserves sick days...

We're still sick. And except for the whole being sick part, it's been a very good few days. I mean sure, the laundry is (was) piling up, the kitchen is really a mess and the house is a wreck but other than that, it's been great.

We've been playing a lot of board games. Today C and I played Wii while A napped. We've played Don't Break the Ice, Jumping Monkeys and firefighters 100,000 times. Lots of reading and cuddling.

I have done almost no housework at all (and it shows!) Today I had to do laundry and I only did enough to last us a few days. Hubby has been loading the dishes into the dishwasher after dinner. This morning I started it and *hopefully* he'll unload it tonight. Dinners have been easy and will continue to be.

I've been putting the boys to bed early. And because of this and the no housework thing, I've been getting to bed early. Which is helping me feel better.

Luckily, C is feeling almost all better so I'm thinking A and I will be soon.

Taking sick days Works for Me. What do you do when all of you are sick?

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Penny Experiment Trip (Target)

I had hoped to get to the Food Bank last week to drop off my other trips but it never happened. We did go to Target to get some meds for C so I got some more things to add to my donations.




2 boxes Special K Red Berries
2 boxes Special K Granola
2 cans chicken noodle soup
2 cans tomato soup
Total before q's : $15.32
Total OOP: 4.93
Coupons Used:
(2) B1G1 Free Special K Cereal
(2) $1/1 Special K Granola (Target q)
(2) 0.50/1 Special K Cereal (Target q)
(1) 0.40/4 Campbell's Soups
0.05 Target q for using my own bag
You can read more about the Penny Experiment HERE and HERE.

Giant Trip

I headed into Giant (last week) to get some bread for dinner. I walked out with a lot more than I intended... but isn't that usually the case?



Turkey Hill Ice cream (C had a sore throat)

2 loaves wheat bread

1 Ronzoni Smart Taste (free for Food Bank)

2lbs strawberries

lettuce

watermelon

3 boxes Gerber Graduates granola bars (marked down to $1.19 and I had a coupon)

Breyer's 100 calorie yogurt (free)

Total OOP - $7.20

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