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Saturday, July 31, 2010

Misson Tortillas Challenge

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of Mission Foods. All opinions are 100% mine.

Mission Menus Challenge



We go through a lot of tortillas in our house. We use them for tacos, fajitas, enchiladas, wraps, and quesadillas. I recently started making my own, but sometimes I'm too rushed and don't have time for that. I make sure that I have Mission Tortillas on hand for a quick, healthy and easy back up.

I feel good feeding my family Mission Tortillas because they contain 0 grams Trans fat per serving and are cholesterol free. We are trying to watch the cholesterol we eat because DH has been told his cholesterol is borderline high.

 I love the fact that the tortillas are available in small (6"), medium (8") and large (10”) sizes because I can easily pick which size I want to use that night. The large works best for enchiladas, medium for quesadillas and the small is wonderful for the boys! So easy for their little hands to pick up and eat.

Mission Foods is proud to support Share Our Strength, the leading national organization committed to ending childhood hunger in America. You can help by visiting Mission Menus Challenge and learning more about Mission Foods commitment to Share Our Strength in supporting this life-changing cause.

There is an awesome Mission Menu Challenge currently running! Beginning June 28, 2010, Chef Sara Moulton encourages consumers to submit their budget-friendly recipes to Mission at Mission Menus Challenge for a chance to compete in a cook-off in Los Angeles and win a $10,000 dream kitchen makeover as well as a host of weekly prizes. The grand prize winner will win round-trip airfare and hotel accommodations for two to the Mission Menus Challenge Cook-off on September 10, 2010 at the Hard Rock Café in Los Angeles. Hurry and submit your recipe!! You only have until August 9th, you have the chance to submit your recipe online.

All recipes must:
  • Include Mission Flour Tortillas
  • Be original
  • Feed a family of five for $10 or less
Check out http://www.missionmenus.com/ for examples of quick & easy, budget-friendly meals for $10 using Mission Flour Tortillas and to gain inspiration for your creative recipe submissions.



Visit my sponsor: Mission Menus Challenge

Garden Update # 7

I haven't done a garden update in a while because there really hasn't been that much to share. We've had some harvesting - mostly peppers and tomatoes. We had a whole bunch of tomatoes that I needed to use or lose. So we made salsa (I promise the recipe is coming). My wonderful boxer (I say that with gritted teeth :) ) decided she needed to jump the five foot wall in our backyard and use my garden as leverage. We lost a lot of peppers, six tomato plants, lettuce, spinach and I'm pretty sure my zucchinni plant is dead.


We have lots of little eggplant flowers but no eggplants. (Same with squash)


Look how big our watermelon is getting! We have three little watermelon growing, but hubby commented tonight night that he thinks the one maybe be rotting. :(


These tomatoes (still no clue as to what they are!) are finally turing red. *Hoping* to have enough tomatoes here soon to make some spagheti sauce.


This is one of our two volunteer tomato plants. This one is under the grill and is doing quite well. Hubby noticed some tomatoes on it tonight.



While you can't really tell how badly it's smashed, you can see the dying leaves. My poor, poor zucchinni plant.


If you can see, the vines are all laying on the ground. They still have tomatoes and are still ripening so I just need to make sure I get to them before they rot. Stupid dog.

How is your garden doing?

Friday, July 30, 2010

Giant Trip 7/27

The boys and I headed to Giant this week for one thing - yogurt and Softsoap. I was only able to get one softsoap as Giant only doubles one like coupon per transaction (something that I do not like!!).


We ended up getting strawberries, softsoap, ranch, popsicles, and 6 packages of yogurt for about $8.
$17 under budget this week. Go us! :)

Living on a Budget - Guest Post

When I first found Judi and Amy's blog Livin' Large - Tales of a Blended Family, I was intrigued. They are a family of 10 and are very good at budgeting. They share their success and failures on their blog.

When Keli first approved me about writing a guest post for her, I immediately came over here to peruse her blog (I am now an avid reader!). I was amazed that she can feed a family of four on $25 a week! I was perplexed as to what I could offer you, hr readers. However, I am a firm believer that everyone has something to offer. Even if someone garners a small tidbit from what I have to say, and it makes their life easier, then it is all worth it.

About 12 months ago, we signed papers to purchase our new home. As a condition of our mortgage, we had to pay off 3 credit cards completely and close them. We had to take a good look at our finances if we wanted to achieve this. So we went about creating a budget which included saving, debt repayment and cutting down on fixed and variable expenses. Since we had no idea how or where to start, we used Gail Vaz-Oxlade's website to help us. There you'll find a Budget Worksheet which we used to create our budget.So far, it's one of the best tools I have seen to create on, so go do it!! Don't delay.

Once you have a budget sticking to it is the hardest part. It does take effort and patience and discipline, but it's worth it! Here are a few ideas we use for helping us to stay on budget. Our ideas are definitely not new and we ourselves gleaned a lot of this information from fellow bloggers.

Groceries
We all have to eat and we all have to make that weekly trip to the grocery store. I personally hate to grocery shop. However, we go in with a plan and it becomes relatively painless.I cannot say enough that planning your meals for the week will help you save money. We write out a list of exactly what we need for our meals for our meals and for lunches and breakfasts and stick to the list! There are times that we will see a deal and we will pick that up and use it in the following weeks meal plan (for instance, last week we picked up a huge ham on sale for $7... that will provide protein for at least 2 meals). It's best to try and shop once per week and avoid extra trips to the grocery store. Extra trips to the grocery store mean more chances for impulse buying and going over budget.

We try and shop around the outer perimeter of the store and avoid the aisles. If you look at a store, you will find produce, meat, bakery and dairy around the outside of the store. It's generally cheaper to buy fresh and make recipes from scratch. If we do go in the aisles, we stick to store brand products rather than name brand. There's generally very little difference in taste between brand and generic products (except for a few things...we splurge on Heinz ketchup because we feel like it just tastes so much better!). You'll also notice that the highest priced products are at eye level...look down and up and you might find the same thing for much cheaper!

Clothing and Gifts
We do a lot of shopping at thrift stores for clothing. Patience here is key, but worth the little extra time to look. You can find great deals on high end labeled merchandise. We never buy clothing at full price, we look for sales and buy a lot of second hand stuff.

Do you have a bunch of friends who have kids? Sure you do... why not arrange a clothing exchange? You all bring clothing that your kids have outgrown, or you don't wear anymore and swap it with your friends stuff! Our kids wear a ton of hand-me-downs and they get excited when we get a bag in from our friends.

For gifts, we are always on the lookout for deals throughout the year. We start our Christmas shopping during the summer. Create a gift fund if you can and put a little money away every week and when you're ready to start Christmas shopping, it will be there.

Family Fun

Having fun with your family does not need to cost a fortune. See what your community has to offer. Do a web search for free things to do in your town/city. Do you have a fun place that you like to go, but can be kind of expensive? Check and see if they have season passes or memberships that will allow you to visit unlimited times during the operating season. This year, we purchased a membership to the Toronto Zoo. For $200 our family is enjoying all the zoo has to offer for an entire year! We pack a lunch and snacks and spend the day. Often, members and season pass holders will get discounts throughout the attraction, and/or discounts elsewhere.

Go for a walk, a family bike ride, institute a family game night, have a movie night where you make a big batch of buttery popcorn and snuggle in together on the couch with a nice blanket. All these things are free or
fairly free and it has you spending quality time with your family.

For couples, have a 'stay at home date night'. Put the kids to bed and make a nice romantic candlelight dinner .We have "appetizer night" where we make a bunch of nibbles and have that for dinner (our favorites are escargot and spinach/artichoke dip). Invite another couple over and ask them to bring something and play cards, board games or chit chat.

There are lots of little ways to save money and stick to the budget...it's not nuclear physics, just a lot o common sense. I would like to thank Keli for asking me to come and share a bit here. What I would love to hear from you all is how you stick to your budgets? What do you do to save money on groceries, family fun, etc.? Remember, everyone has something to offer, however small, so please share!

Judi is co-author of the blog Livin' Large: Tales of a Blended Family. She lives, along with her co-author, Amy and Amy's husband, somewhere in the Great While North. Together the 3 of them raise 7 children on a tight budget and lots of love.

CSN Stores Giveaway!

Remember when I gave you a heads up that a CSN Stores Giveaway was coming? Well, its here!!!

Jason with CSN Stores has offered my readers a $40 gift code to use towards anything at CSN's 200+ stores!


I love, love, love this sleigh bed!!
To Enter:
  • Visit CSN Stores and let me know what you'd like to use your gift code on!
  • Follow Feeding Four by email
  • Follow Feeding Four via RSS, Google Friend Connect, or E-mail. (If you are already a subscriber, just let me know!) (3 entries - leave 3 separate comments!)
  • Like Feeding Four on Facebook
  • Follow Feeding Four on Twitter and tweet about this giveaway (leave a link in your comment)
  • Grab my button and add it to your sidebar or blogroll (3 entries)
  • Blog about this giveaway. There must be a link to this site in your post. (Comment back here with the blog address so that your entry can be verified) (3 entries)
  • Enter one of my other giveaways and let me know which one.
  • Change your Facebook status to mention this giveaway - leave a link to this site - come back and leave a comment with a link to your status.
  • Leave a comment telling me where you heard about this giveaway
Every entry will be verified. If your entry can not be verified it will be deleted.

This giveaway ends on August 13th 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

Thursday, July 29, 2010

SmartyRents Giveaway And One Free Month Promo Code!

Have you heard of SmartyRents? It's like Netflix - but for video games! How cool is that?

SmartyRents.com an educational video game rental company featuring LeapFrog and VTech games. We rent games for eight game systems including Little Leaps, Clickstart, Leapster, Didj, V.Smile Baby, V.Smile, V.Motion, and V.Flash. All games are available to rent including those no longer available on the market for purchase. Families can choose one of several SmartyRents rental packages to meet the individual needs of all children in the family. Our company works similar to Netflix in that customers choose from a variety of game titles with no late fees that are shipped free, directly to their door. This is an inexpensive way for families to provide their children with a variety of educational games without the high cost of buying a game only to have their interests change before you’ve gotten your monies worth.

Since my boys are young they aren't that into video games yet. C has just started to be interested, especially since his cousins have all the latest gadgets. I am so glad to have found SmartyRents. This way, he can have a wide variety of games to play and I don't have to buy them!
 
SmartyRents offers four different packages to fit the needs of your family. They start $9.99 a month for one game out at a time. Christy, the co-owner of SmartyRents.com, has offered my readers a SmartyRents promo code worth 1 FREE month of the 1 Game at a Time package or $9.99 towards the package of their choice!
 
Promo Code: d1cbdd

Expires: 8/31/10

She has also offered 5 of my readers a 3 month membership for free!

To Enter:
  • Visit SmartyRents.com and tell me which video game you would rent first!
  • Subscribe to Feeding Four by email
This giveaway ends on August 12th at midnight EST. I will pick the winners using Random.org. The winners will be notified via email and has 48 hours to respond. If the winners do not respond within 48 hours, I will pick new winners.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

WAT-AAH Review & Giveaway

My husband used to bring soda to work with him every day. And since my boys want to be just like daddy, they too wanted soda. I am not opposed to my kids drinking soda. But I do not want them drinking a lot of it. Since my boys were throwing a fit about drinking "regular" water I did a little research and come across WAT-AAH!

Rose Cameron is the founder of WAT-AAH! Rose created WAT-AAH because her son told her drinking water is boring. With it's eye catching neon colors, WAT-AAH is anything but boring.

"Our kids may be the first generation in history to have shorter life expectancy than their parents. Sugar is ruining their childhood and destroying their future. I created WAT-AAH! with the belief that the right marketing could lead to a positive change by building a desire for a product that kids already know is good for them, but until now has been perceived as boring. WAT-AAH! combines simple functional benefits of water with edge, contemporary and relevant marketing and personality to provide kids the first true sugar free alternative to soda that is cool."

It comes in four varieties:


Orange: Bones (with electrolytes)
Blue: Brain (with magnesium)
Pink: Body ( pure spring water)
Green: Energy (ultra pure water with infused with oxygen

My boys loved it as as soon as we opened the package. A grabbed the blue bottle and told every one "MINE. My drink". C of course, grabbed green and I wanted pink. :) We all loved the WAT-AAH. C asks me all the time now, "Can we have WAT-AAH instead of water?" Even hubby liked it and he's not a fan of water. He said it tastes like water, but better.

WAT-AAH! Contest: Show Me WAT-YOU-GOT CHALLENGE!

The WAT-AAH! Boy wants kids to stay active, be motivated and be healthy this summer and join his challenge. On June 1st, WAT-AAH! launched the Show Me WAT-YOU-GOT! Web-based Kid Talent and Skills Challenge. Show Me WAT-YOU-GOT is a new website, wat-you-got.com, where kids between the ages of 5-17 can show off their talents and skills in music, soccer, dance, art and many other categories. Any kid with a talent is encouraged to participate. The contest will run from June 1, 2010 to September 30, 2010. The winner of the soccer challenge will win a trip for two to Italy to watch the 2010 European Champions, InterMilan, play! The winner of the music challenge will have the chance to professionally record and mix their song in NYC and present to Al Branch - a chief talent scout for Def Jam Records and manager of Kayne West and Drake!

WAT-AAH! Brain 12 pack
Buy it!
Visit WAT-AAH to see if there is a store near you that sells WAT-AAH. Or buy from Amazon.

Win it!
Allison, with WAT-AAH has offered my readers a chance to win a free mixed case of WAT-AAH! + cool WAT-AAH! goodies (stickers, tattoos, pencils ect)

To Enter:
  • Follow Feeding Four via RSS, Google Friend Connect, or E-mail. (If you are already a subscriber, just let me know!) (3 entries - leave 3 separate comments!)
  • Visit WAT-AAH!'s new website WAT-YOU-GOT.com and leave a commet telling me what talent category you'd enter
  • Like Feeding Four on Facebook
  • Follow Feeding Four on Twitter and tweet about this giveaway (leave a link in your comment)
  • Grab my button and add it to your sidebar or blogroll (3 entries)
  • Blog about this giveaway. (Comment back here with the blog address so that your entry can be verified) (3 entries)
  • Enter one of my other giveaways and let me know which one.
  • Change your Facebook status to mention this giveaway - leave a link to this site - come back and leave a comment with a link to your status.
  • Leave a comment telling me where you heard about this giveaway
  • Follow WAT-AAH on Twitter - let them know Feeding Four sent you!
  • Like WAT-AAH on Facebook - let them know Feeding Four sent you
  • Enter WAT-AAH!'s SHOW-ME-WAT-YOU-GOT Contest by submitting a video of your kids talent! (5 Additional Entries)
Every entry will be verified. If your entry can not be verified it will be deleted.


This giveaway ends on August 9th 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.

Thank you to WAT-AAH for providing some for my review. I was not paid for this review, only the WAT-AAH in exchange for my honest opinions. My opinions are my own and not influenced in any way. I disclose.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Friendly Wednesday 7/28

Welcome to Feeding Four's Friendly Wednesday Blog Hop! I'm glad you're here! Thank you to all the bloggers who linked up last week!
Please feel free to grab the button (located in the right side bar) and add it to your blog to get more bloggers to participate in the blog hop!!
 


 
  1. Follow the hostess - Feeding Four. If you want me to follow you back, please leave a comment letting me know that you are a new follower and leave a link to your blog.
  2. Create a new Friendly Wednesday blog post on your own blog and be sure to use the button provided on the side bar.
  3. Enter your information into the linkup below.
  4. Follow the Blog Hopper of the Week, listed in the second slot.
  5. Please follow the blogs in the five spots before your own entry (e.g., if you're number 8, follow numbers 7, 6, 5, 4, and 3).
  6. Follow all the other blogs you want. This is a great way to get more followers!
Friendly Wednesday will be posted once a week. Your link must be added every week so be sure to come back to linkup!

Each week, one blog will be chosen randomly from all the links, and that blog will be placed in the second slot for the following week's linkup! (In order to be eligible to be the Blog Hopper of the Week you must have a link to this blog hop or the button somewhere on your blog.)

This week's featured blog is : The Semi Normal Life!


10 Fun Things to do With Your Children - Crafts

Last week, I shared 10 pretend play ideas that my children love. Today, I'd like to share ten art projects that we like to do.  In the summer, it's not often that we sit down and do an art project. The boys would rather be running around outside. But here are some of our favorites.

  1. Make jewelry - Paint cheerios or pasta and string onto some yarn. Make bracelets, necklaces, anklets or even dog collars!
  2. Fingerprint Animals - Use your fingers to make the bodies of the animals. Add beads for eyes and use a marker to draw in legs.
  3. Use Dot Markers - We got a few of these at a Bingo game several years ago. They are just the right size for toddlers hands and are so much fun to draw with!
  4. Make Slime  - Food coloring, water and cornstarch.
  5. Make a Collage  - My boys love cutting apart magazines. To do something with all of the shapes and pictures they cut out, I give them some glue and construction paper and they glue it all down! Other things we've used to make collages include : torn paper, cotton balls, twigs, leaves, rocks, beans, feathers.
  6. Paint - Throw down a sheet, an old shower curtain or a big piece of paper. Hand your child a paint brush and have them "splat" the paint onto the canvas.
  7. Make a T-Shirt  - Use fabric paint to decorate a t-shirt. Add your child's hand print or footprint, their name and the date. Give it as a gift! (We do this for my dad every fathers day)
  8. Finger paint with pudding - my boys love this. Once the weather warms up, we get in bathing suits and head outside with our pudding. They paint and snack - then we turn the hose on and wash off.
  9. Make hats - This goes along with the band play in the first post. Decorate hats any way your child wants. 
  10. Paper Mache - We use cereal boxes. They just love the goopy feeling in their hands. Let it dry for a few days and paint!
Hopefully these ideas will keep you and your little ones busy! Don't forget to check back next week for more fun things to do with your kids!

Kaskey Kids Review & Giveaway

Have you heard of Baseball Guys? How about Football Guys? These sports action figures are perfect for your children. They were created by a mother of four sports-loving children who wanted to keep her children's attention and encourage more creative and imaginary play. The sports figures are available in many different sports and teams.

Also on the website is an area called Kids Corner. There are lots of Fan Photos, Online Games, and even some ideas of different games to play with your Sports Guys. My boys liked the online games, particularly the football one. There is even an awesome area to get ideas for party cakes! This will come in handy in a few months when A chooses his birthday theme - he's been very into baseball lately.

Buy it!
I am excited to be able to offer you a coupon code to use in your own purchase of a sports action figure pack! Just enter code : FANS at checkout and receive 20% off your order!!

Win it!
Kaskey Kids has generously offered my readers a giveaway! One lucky reader will win a Football Mini Pack!

To Enter:
  • Visit Kids Corner and let me know what your kids enjoyed (or what you think they would enjoy)
  • Follow Feeding Four via RSS, Google Friend Connect, or E-mail. (If you are already a subscriber, just let me know!) (3 entries - leave 3 separate comments!)
  • Like Feeding Four on Facebook
  • Follow Feeding Four on Twitter
  • Tweet about this giveaway (leave a link in your comment)
  • Grab my button and add it to your sidebar or blog roll (3 entries)
  • Enter one of my other giveaways and let me know which one.
  • Blog about this giveaway. (Comment back here with the blog address so that your entry can be verified) (3 entries)
  • Change your Facebook status to mention this giveaway - leave a link to this site - come back and leave a comment with a link to your status.
  • Leave a comment telling me where you heard about this giveaway.
Every entry will be verified. If your entry can not be verified it will be deleted.
This giveaway ends on August 11th 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.

I personally did not receive anything for this review. I was not paid for this review, only the giveaway for my readers in exchange for my honest opinions. My opinions are my own and not influenced in any way.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Giant Coupon Matchups 7/25 - 7/31


These are the best deals and coupon matchups that I see at Giant this week.


Budweiser BBQ Sauce, $1

$1/2 Budweiser Genuine Sauce SS 6/13
$0.50 each when you buy 2 after coupon

Sun Crystal Sweetener, $2.50
$2/1 Sun Crystals Sweetener RP 7/25
$0.50 each after coupon
Solo Ultra Plates, $2

$0.75/1 Solo Cups, Plates, or Bowls
$0.50 each after coupon
Reddi Wip, $2

$1/1 Reddi-Wip Aug 2010 All You Magazine
$1 each after coupon

Kraft Salad Dressing, $1.25

$0.55/1 Kraft Salad Dressing
$0.15 after doubled coupon
 
Jack Daniel’s Barbecue Sauce, $1.99

$0.75/1 Jack Daniels Barbecue Sauce SS 5/16
$0.49 after doubled coupon

Pompeian Red Wine Vinegar, $1
$0.50/1 Pompeian Vinegar
FREE after doubled coupon

Filippo Berio Olive Oil, $2.99
$1/1 Filippo Berio Olive Oil
$1.99 after coupon

Edy’s Slow Churned Cups (5.8 o), $1

$1/3 Edy, Skinny Cow, or Haagen-Dazs July 2010 All You Magazine
$0.67 each when you buy 3 after coupon

Bagel Bites, $1.99

$1/1 Bagel Bites SS 6/13
 $0.99 after coupon
Dannon Crush Cups, Danimals or Coolision, $2

$1/1 Danimals Product SS 7/18
$1 after coupon
Dan-o-nino Children’s Yogurt, $1.67
$1/1 Dannon Dan-o-nino  OR
$1/1 Dannon Dan-o-Nino Yogurt SS 7/18
 $0.67 after coupon

Softsoap $1.00

$0.50/1 Softsoap Liquid Hand Soap Refill SS 7/25
FREE after coupon
See any deals I missed? Feel free to share them in the comments.

Giveaway Scout - new way to list/find giveaways!

Looking for a great place to find and/or list your giveaways? Try out Giveaway Scout!

For Bloggers : "Giveaway Scout is a giveaway search engine. Our users subscribe to receive updates on the latest giveaways on the web. Add your blog and your giveaways will be exposed to our large network or users" Giveaway Scout automatically scans your blog for new giveaways everyday, and will post them for you. You just have to make sure the word "giveaway" is in your post title.

For Readers : Giveaway Scout automatically scan thousands of blogs to bring you the latest blog giveaways, sweepstakes and contests. Their lists update every hour! You can sign up for their newsletter, follow them on twitter and/or facebook.

Go check it out!

Peter Rabbit Organics - Review & Giveaway **CLOSED**

One of my goals for the new year was to feed my family healthier. And I have done well at that I believe. I have made a lot from scratch, and chose healthier options at the store(most of the time). One of the problem areas that still exist for me is snack time. I still struggle to come up with healthy, filling snacks that my boys will eat. Enter Peter Rabbit Organics Fruit Pouches.


Colleen, with Peter Rabbit Organics, sent us a sample box to review. I was super excited to review their products. They come in three flavors - Strawberry and Banana, Apple and Grape, and Mango, Banana and Orange. They are all organic, contain 100% fruit, and have no added sugar or artificial ingredients. They are also high in vitamin C, have between 70 and 85 calories, 0 fat and 1.5-2 grams of fiber in each pouch. I felt good offering them to A because I knew exactly what was in them - fruit!


A was so excited to try the pouches. As soon as I opened the box, he grabbed one and tried to open it. I opened it for him and he had it gone in less than five minutes. He loved it! It was the perfect size for him to be able to eat himself. He was able to squeeze the whole thing into his mouth. And I loved that I was able to twist off the top and hand him a healthy snack for him to feed himself.


The weekend after we received our Peter Rabbit Fruit Pouches, we ended up going to Hershey Park. I was planning on bringing the last pouch with us for A to eat on the way or while we were in the park. It didn't make it that far. He saw me trying to hide the pouch in my purse and wanted to eat it right there. I was able to buckle him in his seat and then give him the pouch. It was the perfect on the go snack. And it is the perfect size and packaging to fit in my purse or diaper bag.

Buy it!
You can find Peter Rabbit Organic Fruit Pouches in Starbucks nationwide, in select Whole Foods Markets and natural food stores, in all Buy Buy Baby stores, and online at Amazon.com, Diapers.com, and BabiesRUs.com

Win it!
Colleen with Peter Rabbit Organics has offered one of my readers a giveaway prize of 10 assorted Peter Rabbit Organics pouches!

To enter, visit their website and tell me something you learned.

*Extra Entries*
  • Follow Feeding Four via RSS, Google Friend Connect, or E-mail. (If you are already a subscriber, just let me know!) (3 entries - leave 3 separate comments!)
  • “Like” the Peter Rabbit Organics Facebook Page - leave a comment and let them know Feeding Four sent you!
  • Follow Peter Rabbit Organics on Twitter - leave a comment and let them know Feeding Four sent you!
  • Like Feeding Four on Facebook
  • Follow Feeding Four on Twitter and tweet about this giveaway (leave a link in your comment)
  • Grab my button and add it to your sidebar or blogroll (3 entries)
  • Blog about this giveaway. (Comment back here with the blog address so that your entry can be verified) (3 entries)
  • Enter one of my other giveaways and let me know which one.
  • Change your Facebook status to mention this giveaway - leave a link to this site - come back and leave a comment with a link to your status.
  • Leave a comment telling me where you heard about this giveaway
Every entry will be verified. If your entry can not be verified it will be deleted.


This giveaway ends on August 9th 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.

Thank you to Colleen & Peter Rabbit Organics  for providing samples for our review. I was not paid for this review. My opinions are my own and not influenced in any way. I disclose.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Meal Plan Monday 7/26


Where has this week gone? I can't believe it's Sunday already! We had C's birthday party yesterday and it was so much fun. I was so nervous because I had never done a friend party before. It was so hot - 102 degrees when the party started. But we quickly cooled down with some water balloons.

Our menu this week is coming out of our freezer mostly. We're trying to clean them out and we have a long way to go. I still need to go through and inventory what we have in there but I'm trying to get as much out as possible before I have to do that. :)


Meats will come from our freezer and produce from our garden! We have tons and tons of peppers and tomatoes. A neighbor gave us onions (that we used on burgers tonight!), cucumbers and different kinds of peppers. I made some two big batches of salsa (recipe coming this week!) and hubby has been chopping up peppers to freeze.


Our menu this week is:

Burgers on the grill
Pizza
Ham
Tacos
BBQ Pork chops
Undecided (hopefully something new)
Leftovers

What's on your menu this week? Leave a comment with a link, I'd love to come by and check it out!


Ernie's Epic Foods - Review & Giveaway **CLOSED**

What is your most favorite snack? My answer - chips and salsa. I could go through a whole jar of salsa if I didn't watch what I was doing. (Honestly, I've done it before.) My mom recently introduced me to peach salsa and peach mango salsa. All I can say is I'm glad Aldi has tortilla chips for only $0.99.

I did some research and found this awesome guy - Ernie - who has been making salsa for twenty five years. He graciously sent me two jars of salsa, regular and peach (!!!) to review. I was so excited when I arrived home one day and found the box from Ernie sitting by my door. I raced into the kitchen and opened it up. I had to try the peach salsa first of course. Luckily the boys were with my mom because I sat there and ate half the jar. Seriously, it's that good. And Ernie's Salsas are also low sodium and fat free, so it's good for you! So I don't have to feel that bad about eating half the jar in one sitting...and the other half a few hours later.

That same night, hubby and I had fajitas for dinner. Now, let me just tell you, hubby is not that big a fan of salsa. He'll eat like 1/4 teaspoon on his fajita (while I am dumping 1/4 cup on there) He made the remark "Well, I guess you need me to try your salsa" To which I replied "Only if you want to dear." (All the while thinking "Are you crazy?! I don't want you anywhere near this salsa!") Unfortunately - for me - he liked it. And he actually put more than 1/4 teaspoon on his fajita. Which says something right there.

One thing my hubby doesn't like about salsa is the spice. He's not really big on spicy foods. I however LOVE spicy foods. I add hot peppers or hot sauce to almost everything. When asked how spicy his salsas are 'Ernie’s answer is always, “hot enough to get your attention but sweet enough to keep you coming back for more.” ' And that answer is totally true. Both the peach and the gourmet red salsa were spicy enough for me but mild enough for hubby.

Ernie has agreed to offer a two pack of his salsas as a giveaway! One lucky winner will receive 1 jar of Gourmet Red and 1 jar of Perfect Peach! Don't want to wait for a giveaway? Head over here to find out where to buy this delicious salsa!

To enter:
  • Follow Feeding Four via RSS, Google Friend Connect, or E-mail. (If you are already a subscriber, just let me know!) (3 entries - leave 3 separate comments!)
  • Tell me what your favorite snack is.
  • Follow Ernie's Epic Foods on Twitter, let him know Feeding Four sent you!
  • Like Ernie's Epic Foods on Facebook, leave a comment and let him know Feeding Four sent you!
  • Sign up for the Ernie's Epic Foods newsletter
  • Like Feeding Four on Facebook
  • Follow Feeding Four on Twitter and tweet about this giveaway (leave a link in your comment)
  • Grab my button and add it to your sidebar or blogroll (3 entries)
  • Blog about this giveaway. There must be a link to this site and Ernie's in your post. (Comment back here with the blog address so that your entry can be verified) (3 entries)
  • Enter one of my other giveaways and let me know which one.
  • Change your Facebook status to mention this giveaway - leave a link to this site - come back and leave a comment with a link to your status.
  • Leave a comment telling me where you heard about this giveaway

Every entry will be verified. If your entry can not be verified it will be deleted.

This giveaway ends on August 9th 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
 
Thank you to Ernie for providing 2 jars of salsa for my review. I was not paid for this review, I only the salsa sampler from Ernie's Epic Foods in exchange for my honest opinions. My opinions are my own and not influenced in any way. I disclose.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Birthday Bash!


As many of you know Feeding Four is turning one!

To celebrate, I have a bunch of great giveaways lined up for you. I will post a new one every day this week, starting tomorrow. Some of the giveaways include:
  • CSN Stores Gift Code
  • WAT-AAH
  • Peter Rabbit Organics
and more! Be sure to check back each day next week for a new giveaway!!

Giant Trip 7/22

I was so afraid I was going to go over my budget at Giant this week. There was a good deal on Ragu and Purina products, plus I had to get some things for the birthday party today. I had a lot of coupons I wanted to use up. And hubby wanted me to pick some things up for him for his lunches.


In the end, I only went over budget by $5! (and that is including my farmer's market trip)

 I got a ton of stuff but some of the highlights were:
  • $0.50 juice pops
  • FREE suave shampoo
  • $0.69 Pampers wipes (72 count)
  • FREE Chef Michael's canned dog food
  • FREE Crystal Light drink mix
Total OOP: $29.43

What were your best deals this week?

Friday, July 23, 2010

Guest Post: Frugalize Your Meals!

+= MONEY SAVING MEALS!

Don't think you can cook semi-homemade meals for your family most nights of the week?  Well, I'm here to prove you wrong.  As a busy mom with a full time career and a special needs son at home, I didn't think I would ever be at the point where I could cook a homecooked meal most nights of the week.  I thought there was WAY too much preparation involved!  But I have come up with a routine that has allowed me to provide healthy, easy and most importantly FRUGAL meals to the table.

Here's how I do it:
Step 1: Take Inventory.  Look in your pantry, fridge and freezer and see what you have on hand. Got a jar of tomato sauce?  Got some spagetti noodles?  With just a few more ingredients this can turn into either a quick Lasagna or Chicken Tetrazzini

Step 2: Create a Meal Plan. Since you now have an idea of what you have on hand already, browse through your favorite cookbooks to get inspiration on what you plan to make. I use a combination of online and hardcover cookbooks.  Some of my online favorites is http://www.myrecipes.com/ and http://www.foodnetwork.com/. Some of my absolute favorite cookbooks is The $5 Dinner Mom, Pioneer Woman Cooks and Rachel Ray 365: No Repeats. A helpful tip when creating your meal  plan is designate each day of the week as something different.
For example:
Monday - Salad Day or Soup Day for Winter months
Tuesday - Chicken Dish Day
Wednesday - Turkey or Ham Dish Day
Thursday - Beef Dish
Friday - Take Night Off from Cooking (give yourself a break!)
Saturday - Slow Cooker Day
Sunday - Casserole Day

Step 3: Write a Grocery List. After you create your meal plan, write out all the ingredients you need to create these fabulous meals. To make my life easier, I write out everything in groups.  I group the dairy items together, the frozen items together, the produce items together, etc. etc. That way, I'm not running around the store.  Try out this fabulous form from $5 Dinner Mom to help you out.

Step 4: "Frugalize" your List. If you are a couponer, take out that coupon organizer and browse through it and pull out the coupons you can use with your list.  Put them in an envelope so it's easy to organize when you check out. Some helpful internet coupon resources I use is http://www.redplum.com/, http://www.smartsource.com/ and http://www.coupons.com/. However, if you like the traditional coupons, get your Smart Source/Red Plum (and sometimes P&G) inserts from the newspaper on Sundays. Beef up your coupon stack even more and contact manufacturers about the products you use the most and most of the time you will receive coupons to use on your favorite products. Some of the companies I've contacted and received high dollar coupons are: Smuckers, Kraft FoodsQuilted Northern, Stonyfield OrganicHuggiesCampbell's Soup and Pepperidge Farm.   Most importantly, check your grocery store's circular for sale items.

Step 5: Go Shopping! The items I take with me every time I go to the grocery store is my grocery list, a calculator, my coupon organizer and an envelope with the coupons I intend to use. My family is on a grocery budget of $60 a week for a family of three.  That includes toiletries, food and diapers. Every time you put something in your basket, keep track of how much you are spending. Pay with cash and it will help you stick to your budget.

That's it!  There may be lots of little things to remember and it's okay if you don't hit your goal right away but you'll get there.  Not only will your wallet be happy with this process, your family will be happier and healthier!

For more recipe ideas, visit my Frugal Recipes tab!

Melissa is a working mom who loves to blog about cooking for her wonderful family of three and how she saves a buck or two while she's at it. After she learned that her son was special needs, she started learning how to cook with whole, healthy, organic ingredients on a budget. This necessity has become a new way of life for her family and her son is continuously inspiring her to become a better, healthier mommy.

Friday Follows

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Thursday, July 22, 2010

Farmer's Market - Peppers, Peaches and Celery!


We stopped at the farmer's market yesterday on the way home from C's birthday dinner. I wanted to get some peaches, peppers and onions to make salsa. They didn't have any onions but I ended up get lots of peaches and I found celery for $0.99!

Have you had any great finds at a farmer's market?

Twitter Hop Thursday - 7/22

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Happy Birthday to my Baby!

My baby isn't a baby anymore. He's FIVE years old today.

I wish I could share some pictures of the day he was born but I can't. Way back five years ago, the only camera we could afford was a disposable. And my scanner is broken at the moment.

 I know a lot of people have babies that are preemies, but this is my baby.


To tell you that C was born 2 1/2 months before his due date and spent 39 days in the hospital will not show you the teeny tiny baby I was given. He was only 3 pounds 5 ounces and 21 inches long when he was born. I could not hold him for the first few days. We were so lucky in the fact that C had minimal problems. He never once need oxygen, he had no lingering affects. He had a fight with jaundice for about 2 weeks. He had a feeding tube (which he ripped out countless times). The doctors were worried about bleeding on his brain (I don't remember the correct medical terms now) but thankfully, that went away on it's own. We had countless doctors appointments that first year. But C outgrew everything. I thank God for him being healthy every single day.

Now he is a very energetic, healthy, happy FIVE year old!







Happy Birthday Baby!!



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