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Monday, February 28, 2011

CVS Deals Week of 2/27

There has been a lot of questions about my grocery budget lately. I've started a new series - How I Keep My Budget Under Control. In it, I've mentioned I get all my toiletries from CVS and Rite Aid for FREE or CHEAP. I'd like to start sharing some of the weekly deals with you to help lower your grocery budgets.



How to get Started Saving at CVS

The best deals this week are :

Crest or Oral-B Toothpaste or Rinse at $3.29, Get $3.29 ECBs (Limit 2)
$1/1 coupon from the 2/27 P&G insert
OR $2/1 coupon from the 1/30 P&G insert
Free plus overage after coupon and ECBs

2 Kashi or Fiber One Cereal at $3, Get $2 ECBs (Limit 1)
$1/1 coupon from the Kashi Booklet or HERE
$1 each after coupon

1 Oral-B Cross Action Power Toothbrush or Brush Heads at $6, Get $3 ECBs (Limit 1)
$3/1 coupon from the 2/27 P&G insert
Free after coupon and ECBs

1 Revitalens at $5.99, Get $5.99 ECBs (Limit 1)
Free after ECBs

1 Softsoap Body Wash at $2.99, Get $2 ECBs (Limit 1)
$1/1 coupon from the 1/30 SmartSource insert
Free after coupon and ECBs

Dawn Dish Liquid $.94
$.25 from the 2/27 P&G insert
 $.69 after coupon

Puffs tissues 72-108 ct at 2/$2
$.50/2 from the 2/27 P&G insert
$.75 each after coupon

Pepsi 2L $.88


Score a great deal this week? I'd love to hear about it!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Meal Plan 2/27

Last week, I had a lot of trouble figuring out what to cook. I had no motivation and the boys were no help at all. We ended up having enchiladas, mini taco bowls and pork chops. Friday we had pizza at a community event and Saturday was date night for hubby and I. We had pizza then too. :)

This week, I had a lot of help from hubby in the meal planning. I made him He sat down and wrote a list of meals he would like to have over the next few weeks. I took a few and added in a few of my own and bam - there's the meal plan for the week.


Quesadillas
Steak, salad and broccoli casserole
Pizza
Roast Chicken (slow cooker - didn't get to last week)
Steak Stir fry
E's Cheeseburgers
Leftovers

What are you eating this week?


Check out Orgjunkie.com to see more menus!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

What's Cooking Thursday - Pizza Cupcakes & *Linky*

Welcome to What's Cooking Thursday! A place for you to link up whatever it is you've been cooking at your house! Not a blogger? Leave your recipe in the comment section. Look for a featured recipe next week. Feel free to link up as many recipes as you'd like, all I ask is that you link back to What's Cooking Thursday!




We have had a can of Pillsbury Biscuits in my fridge for forever. I got them for better than free. We don't normally use them, so I wasn't sure what to do with them. I got in my head an idea for pizza biscuits. Anything with the name pizza in it, my boys are down for.


You'll need :
1 can biscuits
pizza sauce
shredded cheese
pizza toppings  - peppers, pepperoni, etc

Grease muffin pan. Roll bisucits flat, like mini pizzas. Place in muffin cup. Add sauce, cheese and toppings. Bake at 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes or until biscuits are golden brown.

This week's featured recipes are:


And....blogger isn't letting me upload any more photos (anyone else have this issue???!) so you'll have to visit these blogs to see the amazing pictures. :)



What have you been cooking this week?











What's For Lunch? 2/23

Need some inspiration for your children's lunchbox? I will be sharing what I have packed in C's in the hopes that it will help you when you struggle! (C has school Monday, Wednesday and every other Friday, so I will be sharing 2 to 3 times a week)

Today he took: Bologna and cheese sandwich, apple sauce, banana, goldfish and grapes.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Friendly Wednesday 2/23

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!!



How to Participate:


Follow the hostesses located in the first and second spots - Feeding Four and Scraps of Life Blog. 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.

Create a new Friendly Wednesday blog post on your own blog and be sure to use the button provided on the side bar.

Enter your information into the linkup below.

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!






Pantry Challenge - Update on my Pantry

Wayyy back at the beginning of January, I shared pictures of my pantry and freezers. Here are some updated pictures after our pantry challenge.

 

We used a lot from this shelf. Well, donated a good bit too. I can see where I need to stock up now.


I cleaned this out pretty good I think. We still have a lot of tomatoes, but we're getting there.


This is A LOT more cleaned out. Hubby has requested that I stock up on Ragu, so I'll be looking for a good sale on that. We donated some brownie/cookie mixes and I'm sure the remaining mixes won't last long. In fact, I have a recipe to share here soon that uses the cookie mix. :)

I didn't take picutres of my freezers because well, I forgot. And it's too dang cold out right now. (My freezers are located on the back porch which is freezing at the moment) I will get those posted soon, for those of you that are interested. They are more full than they were HERE. Picutre 30 bags of cheese on top that turkey. :)

How did your pantry challenge go?

Pregnancy Fitness : Exercise Regimens for Moms-to-Be - Guest Post

John Farnish is a guest writer who also writes on online court reporting schools for Yoga for Each Trimester

Yoga Techniques for Pregnancy

Kegel Exercises

These are some of the simplest exercises you can do while pregnant, yet also some of the most beneficial. They consist of contracting your pelvic and uterine muscles—the muscles you use to stop peeing. Doing kegels regularly these will strengthen that area, which will help you push your baby out during labor, and ward off incontinence later in life. The routine: contract for 3 seconds, then release for 3. Repeat 10-15 times; do 3 sets a day.

Jogging

If you were a runner before you got pregnant, there’s no reason to stop now. The aerobic exercise can get your heart rate up and help maintain overall fitness. The only catch: as you get larger, your balance will get worse. Run on a treadmill to minimize the potential for falls, and take a jogging hiatus once the third trimester comes.

Swimming
Swimming is a popular choice for pregnant women. It’s low-impact, so you won’t have any extra weight or strain on your joints. And, it has a very minimal chance for injury. Many women also enjoy it because it makes them feel graceful and more comfortable in their bodies—something that’s hard to come by when you’re very pregnant.
Bicycling

Cycling is another low-impact aerobic option. Like jogging though, you'll want to be careful of losing your balance and risking a fall. Stationary bikes are a good option for minimizing the risk of injury.

After workout: It used to be commonly thought that by exercising, expectant moms would siphon off nutrition from their babies-to-be. While this is definitely not the case, you'll want to be careful about what you eat before and after exercise. Don’t exercise on an empty stomach—this can lead to weakness and feeling faint. Try a small snack, like crackers with peanut butter, fruit, or granola. After you’re done exercising, you'll need to restore your body. Try foods with a good combo of carbs and protein—carbs will bring the glucose and energy, and the protein will aid in muscle restoration. A smoothie with fruit and yogurt is a good choice.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Menu Plan 2/20

How did your week go? This past weekend, hubby took the boys and let my mom and I scrapbook for the whole weekend! It was great to have a break, but I'm glad they're home. I missed them! I didn't really cook a whole lot last week. We had enchiladas on Valentines Day, and the next day. We had a fettuccine Alfredo that was okay. I think I added too much cheese to it. We also had pizza, and leftovers.



This week, I'm babysitting all week, so we'll have easy meals. I had some trouble meal planning this week, and the boys were no help.

leftovers/help yourself
Enchiladas (again)
Mini Taco Bowls
Roast Chicken (slow cooker)
Pork Chops (slow cooker)
Pizza
Leftovers

What are you cooking this week?

Check out 100s of other menus at OrgJunkie.com

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Date Night Idea # 4

This week, your date idea is to : Take a road trip! Load up the car and take off. You don't have to have a destination, just drive! This is about spending time with your loved one and bonding. What better way to do that than be stuck in the car with them?! ;)



This past weekend, my mom kept the boys and hubby and I went on a mini road trip. There is an Amish grocery store about 45 minutes from our house that we had never been to. We googled directions and set off. We made it to the store fine, but got lost on the way back. We had so much fun, talking and laughing.

So, go load yourselves in the car and take off!

Weekly Grocery Shopping 2/19

Lots of produce this week. :) We made a trip into Aldi to get pepperonis and I grabbed a cantaloupe and some grapes. I wanted bananas, and A has been begging for apples.
I went to Weis to stock up on gummies for this summer. While the boys are not allowed to eat them that much, they make a quick and easy treat for the beach.


Total OOP : $27.15

Just a tad over budget.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Rite Aid Trip

I ran into Rite Aid the other day to redeem some rain checks. I was only able to get one rain check for the Stayfree, which meant I only used half my coupons. Kind of made me mad, I got 8 FREE packs, so I can't complain too much.
 :)

I got :
8 packs of Stayfree
2 Bounty Basic
2 Cadberry eggs (they were eaten by hubby before we made it to the truck)

Total OOP: $0.31

What's For Lunch? 2/18

Need some inspiration for your children's lunchbox? I will be sharing what I have packed in C's in the hopes that it will help you when you struggle! (C has school Monday, Wednesday and every other Friday, so I will be sharing 2 to 3 times a week)


Today he took: bolonga and cheese sandwhich, catalope, grapes, blueberries, goldfish and smores. He actually didn't take the yogurt even though it's pictured.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

What's Cooking Thursday

Welcome to What's Cooking Thursday! A place for you to link up whatever it is you've been cooking at your house! Not a blogger? Leave your recipe in the comment section. Look for a featured recipe next week. Feel free to link up as many recipes as you'd like, all I ask is that you link back to What's Cooking Thursday!



 
No recipe from me this week guys, I apologize. It's been an insane week around here - C has 2 ear infections, I have 2 ear infections and another painful infection. Parker had to go to the vet, he has a nasty cut on his chest. My meds are making me shaky and exhausted, so I haven't been cooking too much. I'm so glad for all the leftovers in the fridge! So link up your recipes so I have something to cook when I feel better!!
 
This week, the featured recipes are
 

(I can't upload this picture... visit her blog to see it!)
Twinkies (!!) from Thrifty Pals


 
(I'm working on getting the thumbnails back... bear with me)
 



Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Friendly Wednesday 2/15

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!!

I also want to welcome my new cohost - Susie from Scraps of Life Blog!




How to Participate:


Follow the hostesses located in the first and second spots - Feeding Four and Scraps of Life Blog. 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.

Create a new Friendly Wednesday blog post on your own blog and be sure to use the button provided on the side bar.
Enter your information into the linkup below.

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!








5 Fun Educational Websites for Kids

This post was written by Jamie Jones who also writes for christian counseling degree and psychologydegreeonline.com

Each new generation of children are heading online earlier and earlier.� The Internet has become another mode where children can learn and play.� There are a number of fun educational Websites for children that incorporate cartoon characters children may admire, interactive games and much more.

We outline below 5 fun educational Websites you can check out with your child.

Fun Educational Website for Kids

FunSchool.com

This site offers fun, educational games and coloring for children. Learn about the alphabets, animals, art, colors and more. Many activities may be played online or printed out for kids.� Fun craft videos are also available with creative ideas for both parents and children to do together.� Find games and activities specific to your child's age.� The site has categorized games by grade level -- from preschool to 6th grade.

HighlightsKids.com

This site is part of Highlights Magazine. The magazine has a long history of offering fun and education to children ages 2 to 6. On its Website children can find highlights to the current issue, fun games such as searching for hidden objects in puzzle pictures, read about jokes, riddles and tongue twisters and there are also science experiments to learn about and try out at no cost. Highlights Magazine is offered through a paid subscription with 12 issues per year.

Preschool Disney

Find characters from Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Handy Manny, Cars, Toy Story and more all part of Disney Preschool's online games, activities, music and crafts. Children learn about numbers, counting, colors, searching and can even learn creative craft ideas such as creating character cupcakes with adult supervision.

PBS Kids

PBS Kids is part of the Public Broadcasting Service where you can find traditional children's shows such as Barney & Friends, Curious George, Sesame Street, Sid the Science Kid and many more. Their Website offers educational games, activities and videos that help children prepare for school while incorporating characters from children's shows.� There is also PBS Kids Play!, a premium subscription service where you can personalize learning activities and games. There are more than 50 educational games where children can learn more about math, science, foreign languages and other subjects.

Scholastic's THE STACK
Scholastic's kids' site THE STACK is offered in a beta version at the moment, but it's fully up and running with a variety of games, activities and materials to read. Find information specific to popular book series, games, blogs, videos and message boards.

Boudreaux's Butt Paste

This post brought to you by Boudreaux's Butt Paste. All opinions are 100% mine.

 When A was about 9 months old, he got a horrible diaper rash. I mean horrible. Nothing we tried worked at all. We did all kinds of diaper creams, cornstarch, warm baths, and letting it air out. His poor butt was so raw. His doctor had prescribed something for him, but when we used that it made it worse. He was constantly screaming because it hurt so much, the poor kid couldn't sit down. I called my mom, not knowing what else to do (and moms know best!) and she told me to try this diaper cream she had heard about, Boudreaux's Butt Paste.

At this point, we were willing to try anything. I high-tailed it to Giant and grabbed some butt paste. It was the only thing that quieted him. In a few hours, the redness was going down. After regular application over a period of a few days, his sores were gone.

I was so impressed with this product. I recommend this to every new mom, and anyone asking about diaper rashes. Not only do I recommend it, but Boudreaux's Butt Paste is pediatrician recommended as well. Butt Paste goes on easily and even when a thick layer is applied, it wipes off easily. It comes in many different convenient sizes of 1 oz, 2 oz, 3 oz and 4 oz tubes and a 16 oz jar.

If you, or someone you know is dealing with diaper rash, I totally recommend Boudreaux's Butt Paste! Visit the Boudreaux's Butt Paste website to request a FREE sample!

Visit Sponsor's Site

Monday, February 14, 2011

What's For Lunch? 2/14

Need some inspiration for your children's lunchbox? I will be sharing what I have packed in C's in the hopes that it will help you when you struggle! (C has school Monday, Wednesday and every other Friday, so I will be sharing 2 to 3 times a week)

Today he took : meatballs with bread and cheese (to be made into a meatball sandwich), strawberries, grapes, blueberries and marshmellows. He also had a banana and strawberry yogurt.

I was going for a red theme for Valentines Day. He had other plans :)

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Cheddar Cheese Ham and Pasta

I saw this recipe on Suzie's Blog and I had to try it. We are big fans of pasta, cheese and ham. Add them all together and yum. You've got a family favorite.

You will need:


8 oz pasta (I used bowtie)
2 cups cheddar cheese
1 cup ham, cooked and diced
1 can cream of mushroom soup
Cook pasta, drain. Add remaning ingredients and combine. Serve.

How easy is that? The pasta I used was quick cook, the ham was already cooked from the freezer. It took about 10 minutes to throw this whole recipe together and it is delish!

Be sure to visit Suzie's recipe to see how she made hers - I did mine a little differently. :)

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Menu Plan Monday 2/13

It's Monday again. How was your week? Ours was good - we ate lots of good food. We had Easy Peasy Ham & Cheddar Shells - hubby loved it. He added a few ingredients and his response was "you should blog about this". Gotta love it! :) Friday night, the boys went with my mom (thanks mom!) and we enjoyed a cheap dinner out. We actually went to Ryans at 3:50pm for an early dinner. Since we were there before 4 o'clock, we payed for lunch and enjoyed all their dinner food! We saved about $15 just by going 10 minutes early. Saturday night, the boys were still with my mom, and hubby fixed BLTs for dinner. Yum!

This week is Valentines Day week! Are you fixing a special dinner for someone? My loves have requested enchiladas with rice. This week will be a short one for me cooking as my mom and I are "going" on a scrapbook weekend! I am SO excited. We haven't scrap booked together for about a year. We are actually going to stay at my house and my boys and hubby are going to their Nanny's house. So I'll only have to cook for 5 nights. Friday and Saturday, mom and I will probably heat up leftovers or head out for a quick meal.



Steak, Mac & Cheese, Corn, and Rolls (the family came up for dinner & to bring the boys home)
Enchiladas
Pizza
Steak Fajitas (we have a lot of steak leftover)
Pasta ai Quattro Formaggi

Leftovers/Out
Leftovers/Out

What are you eating this week?

Check out Orgjunkie.com to see more menus!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Date Night Idea # 4

Game of LifeWhen hubby and I first started dating, a cheap date that we loved doing was playing board games! I always loved to play board games so I had quite a stash of them. We would play for hours. CSI: Crime Scene Investigation The Board Game, Clue , and my favorite, Life.

It's a great way for you to reconnect as a couple. No technology, just you, your loved one, and a board game. Just don't get too competitive!

When was the last time you and your loved one sat down and played a board game together?

Links I Love

I have found quite a few links this past week that I would love to share with you...

Feburary Arts and Crafts Ideas - Classified Mom

Quick & Easy Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars - Scraps of Life

Cinnamon Roll Toast - Joy In My Kitchen

Easy Peasy Sausage & Pasta Saute - semi-homemade suzie

Fudge Brownies - The Bz House That Love Built

Enjoy!

Weekly Grocery Shopping 2/12

A small trip into Save-A-Lot this week, just for some bananas and a tomato. They had chicken breast on sale for $1.38 a pound - I've never seen it that low!




Total OOP : $8.45

Under budget this week by $2.38. yay!

Friday, February 11, 2011

The Stylish Blogger Award

I have been awarded the Stylish Blogger award by two wonderful ladies. The first is and the second is Cathy Kennedy from Cathy Kennedy's Blog. The first rule of this is that I have to share some things about myself. Then, I need to pass the award on to some other fine bloggers.

1 - I hold a grudge. I don't like that I do, but I do. If you cross me, I won't forget it and I'll be upset with you for a little while. I am really working on this though, so hopefully soon I'll be able to get this "fixed".

2 - I love Criminal Minds. I watch it faithfully. It scares me to death, but I love it! (I also love CSI and Law and Order : SVU)

3 - I'm such a procrastinator. But I work better under pressure, so it works out okay. :)

4 -  I hate to spend money. I think we should save everything we can. But hubbys love language is Receiving Gifts so I'm working on this as well. :)

The bloggers I am sharing this with are:

Welcome To My Kitchen

Living on 1 Income

Six in the Nest

Mommy? I'm Hungry!

Sofia's Ideas

The Boys Made Me Do It

Keeping My Budget Under Control - Shop at More Than One Store/Price Books

One of the ways I keep my grocery budget under control is shopping at more than one store. I know, I hear you thinking "I don't have time to run around to 15 different stores, I have kids and a million things to do." I hear you, I really do. I'm not telling you to go to 15 different stores, but maybe one or two. Think about your grocery shopping now. Are there stores that are within 10 to 20 minutes of the store you shop at right now? If you check out the sale ads for each store and compare prices, you might be able to get a sweet deal by traveling the extra 10 minutes.

I'm lucky to have two stores within five minutes of each other - a Save-A-Lot and a Giant. That's it. Any other store is at least a 45 minute drive from me.But even with just these two stores, I can save a lot.  Right now, Giant has chicken breasts on sale Buy 1 Get 1 Free, which equals out to about $2.50 a pound. Save-A-Lot has chicken breast on sale for $1.38 a pound. That's a savings of $1.12 a pound. Since the chicken is sold in packs of about 5 pounds, the extra traveling to a different store would save me $5.60. And that is only if I bought 1 pack. While Giant is great for when I want to stock up using coupons, Save-A-Lot has great prices on produce. Bananas are [right now] $0.29 a pound. At Giant, they're $0.59 a pound.

There is a lot of reasons for me to shop at different stores. And even though there might be a small drive between your stores, I bet there will be a savings for you if you're willing to look for it. So this next week, I challenge you to find another store you can shop at. Take a notebook into the "new" store with you and jot down some prices on things you would normally buy. You are making a price book.
What is a price book you ask? A price book is a list of products you buy with the price of the item from several stores listed. Sales are not always the best deals. This is what your price book is for! What you need to do is write down the item, and the price, plus the price per oz. The price per unit is the most important information. You need to know if the 16 or the 24 ounce is the better deal. If you have coupons, usually it is cheaper to buy the smaller item. If you don't have any coupons, it is usually cheaper to buy the bigger product.

As time goes on, you'll be able to realize what a good price is without your price book. So that when you see a great deal on something your family uses a lot, you'll be able to stock up!

Next week, we'll be talking about stocking up using coupons to help you stock up!

Do you keep a price book? Do you shop at more than one store?

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It's Mega Swagbucks Day!


Need some extra cash? How about making money to surf the web! Seriously, it's that simple. Sign up for Swagbucks and get points when you search the web. Turn those in for prizes! My favorite prize is an Amazon.com Gift card!


Every Friday when you use Swagbucks to search the Internet you could win anywhere from 50-5000 Swagbucks! An $5 Amazon gift card is worth 450 Swagbucks. So get searching and earn some Swagbucks! (You can earn Swagbucks any day of the week, on Fridays you have the chance to win extra!)

New to Swagbucks? Sign up HERE and get 30 Swagbucks just for signing up!

Don't forget to become a fan of Feeding Four on Facebook - I share Swagbucks codes there that are worth extra Swagbucks!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

What's Cooking Thursday - Chicken Nuggets

Welcome to What's Cooking Thursday! A place for you to link up whatever it is you've been cooking at your house! Not a blogger? Leave your recipe in the comment section. Look for a featured recipe next week. Feel free to link up as many recipes as you'd like, all I ask is that you link back to What's Cooking Thursday!





My boys love chicken nuggets. I love the ease of preparing them. Pop open a bad, pop them in the oven, straight from the freezer and you're good to go for a quick lunch. Except most of the store bought ones are filled with all kinds of nasty ingredients. The good nuggets are really expensive.

So I've compromised. We make chicken nuggets at home. White, breast meat chicken nuggets. Coated in homemade bread crumbs. Yummy and healthy.


You'll need:
1 pound chicken breast
 1 cup bread crumbs (day old bread in a food processor for a minute)
optional - egg to dip the chicken in (I didn't use this)

Cut chicken into nugget sized pieces. Roll around in bread crumbs so that the chicken gets covered. Place in a baking dish. Bake at 425 for 15 to 20 minutes or until chicken is cooked thoroughly. Serve.

These also freeze well. To reheat, bake at 425 for 10 to 15 minutes or until warmed. Or nuke in the microwave for a few minutes.

{Unfortunately, the linky service I used has deleted my previous linkys. So there is no featured recipe this week. Check back next week for featured recipes.}

Now it's your turn! What have you been cooking up this week?







What's For Lunch? 2/9

Need some inspiration for your children's lunchbox? I will be sharing what I have packed in C's in the hopes that it will help you when you struggle! (C has school Monday, Wednesday and every other Friday, so I will be sharing 2 to 3 times a week)

Today he took : Bologna and cheese sandwich, 2 chocolate chip cookies, raisins, animal crackers, a banana, applesauce and a fruit roll up thing.
 

Can you tell I'm running low on lunch supplies?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Friendly Wednesday 2/8

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!!





How to Participate:

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.

Create a new Friendly Wednesday blog post on your own blog and be sure to use the button provided on the side bar.

Enter your information into the linkup below.

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!

TABASCO Original Red

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of TABASCO® Original Red. All opinions are 100% mine.

What is something you always make sure you have on hand? For me, that answer is TABASCO® Original Red. My favorite food to use it on is pizza. But we also use it on macaroni and cheese, pork roast, and of course, buffalo wings!

TABASCO® Original Red enhances the flavor of your food. The simple combination of salt, red pepper, and vinegar are perfected during a three year aging process which produces a hot sauce with the ability to bring out the most in your food. TABASCO Original Red is not about heat for heat's sake! It's about flavor! 

On our quest for cheap restaurants, we have come across CiCi's. They are an all you can eat pizza place, buffet style. They have thousands of different types of pizza. Seriously, you dream it, they probably make it. One of my favorites is the Buffalo Chicken Pizza. It is SPICY. I make mine with Tabasco Original Red. Tabasco Original Red is "so much more than hot". It enhances the flavor of whatever food you use it on so that you can get the best flavor possible!

To make my TABASCO Chicken Pizza you'll need :

1/2 recipe pizza dough (I use the other half to make a different pizza so we have more options)

1 cup shredded chicken

1 cup mozzarella cheese

1/2 cup TABASCO Original Red

 Make pizza dough. Spread with Tabasco Original Red as you would pizza sauce. Top with shredded chicken and cheese. Bake at 425 for 25 minutes. If you would like, drizzle with Ranch dressing and serve!

I promise this will not disappoint. Have a party coming up? Check out the Game-Day Party Menu page for some great recipes, and you can find some other great pizza recipes on the Pizza Perfected page.

Visit Sponsor's Site

EASE INTO NATURAL LIVING

Today we have a guest post from Jennifer at The Homemaker Makeover!
Hi, Feeding Four Readers! My name is Jennifer and I will be your guest poster for the day. To start things off on the right foot, I would like to thank Keli for letting me visit today and write a tid bit about natural living. Thank you Keli.

Let me tell you a little bit about the origin of my natural living obsession. I stumbled upon natural living way back when Jon and Kate Plus 8 were happy and married on TLC. For those who used to watch the show, Kate Gosselin was a big advocate on organic foods, cleaning with vinegar, etc. Well as I laid in bed for 13 weeks, awaiting the birth of our son, I became addicted to the show and started doing a lot of research on organics and natural ways of living.

Over the years I have come to realize that natural living does not just happen in the kitchen. Sure that is the heart of it, but it is only the tip of the iceberg. I think that in a society that is covered with diseases, obesity, and behavioral problems, they can all be closely related to the chemicals that we are in contact with day after day. On my natural living adventure, I realized that in this season of life, I just can’t do it all. I have a 2 yr old and a 9 month old that are in my opinion, high demand. So right now, I won’t be soaking my own grains (or grinding them for that matter. But I do hear it is very easy), fermenting my own vegetables, or making my own bread (by hand that is! I use my bread machine, hehe) . I have finally accepted that there are those amazingly gifted moms out there that can juggle 9 kids and still do all that stuff. But it’s not me, and I am okay with that. As you learn more and more about ways to live naturally, it is important to know your limitations and not compare yourself to other moms. If you don’t, it will only cause you to spill a blender full of mashed beans all over your hand causing a horrible burn because you had more than you can handle (ummm….yeah I did that and its HORRIBLE). And it all could have been prevented if I didn’t put to much on my plate. Start small and then grow, grow, grow.

So, now that I have lectured you enough and you are now scared of a blender full of hot beans, let me give you a few baby steps to ease into natural living. Trust me, a little extra work goes a long way. You will feel better and so will your family! Lets start getting natural with whole foods.

IN THE KITCHEN:

Go from white to brown: Okay I am not talking about getting a tan in your kitchen by laying in front of the bay windows. I am talking about switching to Brown rice and whole wheat. Brown rice is a easy switch because there isn’t really a taste difference. It does take longer to cook though. The trick is to cook way more than you need. And freeze it. Also, try and switch to whole wheat flour. Now this is difficult because your family may need time to get used to it. Whole wheat is soooo much better for you, so transition slowly and it wont sting so bad.

Get rid of refined sugar: There is absolutely zero nutrition in your basic granulated sugar, so make a switch soon. This is actually one thing we are working on right now. I suggest trying Date sugar on top of your yogurt, oatmeal, or anything that brown sugar is used in. It does not melt well, so don’t go putting it in your coffee. Also, try Sucanat or turbinado which are basically the same thing.

Make your own bread: If you don’t have the time, make the bread machine do all the work. Freeze your fresh bread and pull out what you need.

Say goodbye to frozen meals and boxed convenience: This one is no secret. There is way to many chemicals, salt, and weird ingredients to that stuff . Okay, I am not hypocrite so I will confess. We still eat Eggos. There I said it, moving on. Start cooking from scratch. I start right after breakfast. I steal moments through the day to make the rice, shred the cheese, measure ingredients. That way when dinner rolls around, you have some things already done and it will all happen much faster.

CLEANING, PERSONAL CARE AND RECYCLE:

Vinegar, vinegar, Vinegar: All our grandmothers ever cleaned with was good old fashioned vinegar. Vinegar is very acidic and kills germs and dirt like no other. See my post for further explanation.

Make your own deodorant: I stumbled across this recipe and was so psyched! It is really neat and aluminum free. As we all know, aluminum is linked to cancer so why do we continue to use it. Convenience or we just don’t know any different. Well now you do, so go make your deodorant and have a taste if you want (yes it’s edible, but you won’t find me eating my deodorant. That is just a little weird).

Turn your old jeans into a skirt: so I recently lost a ton of weight from nursing so I have a ton of pants I was just going to throw away. I had big time saggy butt going on. Not a pretty site. So it suddenly came to me to turn them into skirts. Let me tell you, it is SO easy! After you make the first one, it only takes about an hour.

Well ladies, I think I have given you a taste of what it means to live naturally and as close to the earth as possible. Remember to start slow, eat whole foods, clean with no chemicals, and Go Green to save our planet!

Jennifer is a mother of two and blogs about improving cooking skills, home management and natural living. Please visit her blog at http://www.thehomemakermakeover.com/.

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Monday, February 7, 2011

Grocery Budgets

I read a post last week that has been on my mind a lot lately. It was (is) entitled "WMFW: What’s your Grocery Budget?" I was intrigued to see what other peoples budgets are. I know mine is low but it works for our family.

Here is an excerpt from her post :

What I’m challenged by lately is all this hype about people who spend so little week-by-week at the grocery store. Ex: “I spend $25.00 a week on my family of four!” So you listen, to find out more of course, and come to find out that in addition to the $25.00 that is spend weekly, they get items out of their stockpile they’ve accumulated in their pantry, garage, and/or freezer. Shouldn’t that count in your weekly spending then?



I don’t mean to sound mean, but where does one’s stockpile money come from then?

First of all, I left a rather long comment on her post, explaining the way my budget works, (like she asked for at the bottom of said post - "What is your grocery budget, if you don’t mind sharing, keeping everything you use in mind?" and she rejected the comment. Hmmm....if you were really interested, why reject a comment that explains how someone does it on less?

This particular part of the post has been bugging me. I DO spend $25ish a week on my family of four. (Check out my grocery trips if you don't believe me!) In that $25 a week, I include fruits and veggies, meats, grains, dairy, and toiletries. I also include my stocking up. Just this past week, I bought 30 bags of cheese, in addition to the produce. This was essentially my grocery shopping for the week. We aren't going to use all the 30 bags in one week, so they went into the freezers. Why would it be far to count them as part of the grocery budget when we use them, since I counted them as part of my grocery budget this week?

When I buy a jumbo pack of chicken and it cost $9, it comes out of that weeks budget. I don't use the whole pack of chicken that week, so it gets divided and thrown into the freezer. It's already bought and paid for from another weeks grocery budget. If I counted this again when I used it, it would be like paying for it twice. But I only paid for it once. Does that make sense?

When I need to go to Sam's to do a stock up trip (and I've only been buying flour from them actually and not in.... a year? LOL), I take the "leftover" money from the past few weeks groceries, and buy my items at Sam's. I've been cooking a lot from scratch, using ingredients that aren't costly - flour, pasta, homemade (and canned) sauce from the garden, etc.

That is another thing. I spent money on seeds two years ago for my garden. Since then, we've either used harvested seeds from the year before, or hubby has gotten plants for free at work. I can or freeze everything my garden produces that we won't use right away. It's another way I keep our budget low.

All of my toiletries I get from Rite Aid and CVS for FREE.

The way I am interpreting her post is that she is really saying, it's pointless to have a stockpile. She'll buy her groceries for the week, and add to her stockpile. But when she gets an item from her stockpile, she charges herself for that item.(Taking it out of her grocery budget for that week.) If you're going to take it out of your budget twice, why would you have bought the item in the first place? Why not wait until you need it?

Maybe I've misunderstood this post. But that's what I'm getting from it. What about you? What do you think? And, What is your grocery budget?
If you want more info on my grocery budget click HERE and HERE.

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Sunday, February 6, 2011

Menu Plan Monday 2/6

It has been a busy busy week! I have been babysitting for a friend and having her boys here makes the time go by even faster. By the time they left in the evening, the boys and I were starving. I'm glad that I had some easy meals planned. We had enchiladas, I was hoping there would be enough leftover for a second meal, but with C taking them in his lunch everyday, there was not. We also had quesadillas, potato soup, and fish fillets. When we had pork chops, I made these scalloped potatoes which were pretty good. On Saturday, I went to my friends house to scrap book so I threw a roast in the slow cooker. It was so easy and so tasty to come home to on a cold winter evening!

Since hubby didn't really care for any of the meals last week (except enchiladas), I've planned a menu this week to make him happy. There are 2 meals on the menu that I'm sure he won't be thrilled with but if I space them enough apart, he'll deal. :)


Steak (on the grill!), sweet potato casserole, corn on the cob and rolls - he has been asking for steak for weeks and he offered to cook!
Lasagna
Meatball Subs
BLTs
Pizza Bites
Easy Peasy Ham & Cheddar Shells
Leftovers (if there are any!)

What are you eating this week? I'd love to come check out your menu!

Check out 100s of other menus at orgjunkie.com

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