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Showing posts from 2011

Menu Plan Monday

Well I have not done an official menu plan  for awhile and now with the kids out of school for the summer I need to get my act together and start planning again so here goes:

Breakfasts will be cereal, waffles, toast, fruit, yogurt or ???

Lunches will be grilled cheese, mac and cheese, left overs, sandwiches, carrot sticks, and fruit


Monday--- Homemade pizza and carrot sticks

Tuesday---Chicken Enchiladas in the slow cooker, rice, corn

Wednesday-Left over Chicken Enchiladas

Thursday---Pancakes, eggs, and sausage with fruit

Friday------Sausage with onions, red noodles with cheese and salad

Saturday---Spaghetti and meatballs, homemade garlic bread and green salad

Sunday----Fathers Day! Sausage and hot dogs on the grill, corn on the cob or coleslaw (I will post this super easy recipe later this week) potato chips

Check out more menu plans at

Trying to feed my boys this summer without breaking the budget

Summer vacation is almost here. I am excited to have all my kids home but. ... I am not looking forward to our food bill. I have to come up with a plan to feed these very hungry children especially my older two this summer. They are bottomless pits eating everything in sight. So far my ideas for snacks consist of:

popcornpretzelsfresh vegetables when our garden gets growing themcereal without milk for snackshomemade bread with cinnamon and sugaryogurtcheese stickswatermelonAnyone with ideas please share I would love suggestions on how you feed your hungry growing kids in the summer

Menu Plan Monday

I am trying to stretch what we have in the house and clean out the pantry so far this week looks good but next week I will have to challenge myself to stay on budget.

Breakfast         Cereal, waffles, yogurt, toast, milk, orange juice

Lunches            Grilled cheese sandwiches, mac and cheese, left overs, salad, carrots, fruit

Homemade Pizza , cole slaw and carrot sticks
Loaded Chicken , rice, dinner rolls and green beans (the Loaded Chicken is my new favorite recipe!)
Left overs from Tuesday
Pancakes, eggs, sausage, and orange slices
Sausage with onions, tomato soup and noodles
French Toast and bacon with orange slices
Brown Bag Burritos with lettuce, cheese and salsa

Works For Me Wednesday Starting My Day

I am not a morning person, not at all but with four kids I had to adapt. Well, to help my mornings go smoother I try to implement a few things.

I usually try to do a quick five minute pick up at night to at least wake up to a somewhat clean homeAt night I set out my younger kids clothing for the day We have a rule on school days that you need to be dressed for the day to come eat breakfastMost importantly I try to get myself up and ready first ( this is huge because it sets my mood for the day) I try to shower, dress and eat breakfast ,have my coffee  and make my bed so that I can be able to focus on my children getting ready.

Menu Plan Monday

Breakfasts: cereal, waffles, french toast sticks, fruit , yogurt
Lunches: sandwiches, mac and cheese, grilled cheese, fruit, vegs

~ Monday ~

 Leftover Turkey, Stuffing, Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans

~ Tuesday ~
Pancakes, Bacon, Eggs, Oranges

~ Wednesday ~
Hot Dogs, Mac Cheese, Carrot Sticks
~ Thursday ~
Loaded Chicken Breast, Rice, Broccoli

~ Friday ~
Left Overs from Thursday

~ Saturday ~
Homemade Pizza and carrot sticks

~ Sunday ~
Turkey Casserole with Corn

Frugal Friday Easy Bake Oven Mix

My daughter got an Easy Bake Oven for Christmas and she loves it. But the cake mixes that Easy Bake Oven sells for the oven are ridiculously priced and really don't taste very good. So I searched and found out that you can just use regular cake mix. I usually can buy a cake mix for $1.00 or under so it is much cheaper. This is how easy it is: Use 3 Tablespoons cake mix and mix it with either 1 Tablespoon milk or water mix until smooth then pour into a greased Easy Bake Oven pan and  bake for 15 minutes in a preheated Easy Bake oven. These are so much yummier than those mixes , so much cheaper and just as easy!

Works for Me Wednesdays Limiting Activities

What works in our family is limiting activities. With four children we cannot have them all doing multiple activities and still have quality family time together and for me to stay sane. So to save my sanity and give us family time together we limit their activities.

Our oldest just does Boy Scouts, our 12 year old boy is also in Boy Scouts and does basketball as an after school sport once a week in the winter. Our youngest boy loves sports so we have to really limit him but he is in Cub Scouts (though we don't get crazy about attending all the meetings) he also seasonally does one sport at a time. Our daughter who is only six does ballet once a week and is a Daisy Scout (they only meet twice a month).

So that is how our kids actives schedule works for us we try to be realistic that we cannot do it all and sometimes it is okay to miss a night. I feel that the most important thing is for them to spend time as a family together and not be stressed about fitting in their homework, …

Saving on Health and Beauty Items

I never really got how people played the drugstore game. I just couldn't see how buying that toothpaste or deodorant now (especially if money was tight that week) would save me money later. But after reading many blogs and websites that where people were actually getting great deals and had more money  than living paycheck to paycheck. I tried it. And I will say it works great.

I have about 6 tubes of toothpaste that I have actually made money on by using coupons at Walgreen's when the toothpaste was a register reward deal.  I know toothpaste doesn't sound like a huge deal but if I get all my toothpaste for my family of six free this year. I will save $36 dollars though that doesn't sound huge if I can do that to just ten items that we use regularly I will have $360 dollars more in a year than before.It is a start anyways.

An example of a deal at Walgreen's list week. Colgate  toothpaste priced $2.99 has a register reward of $3.00 and I used a coupon I received in …

Menu Planning Monday

Well here goes my menu for the week..

Breakfast ---- cereal, waffles, yogurt, fruit etc

Lunches------mac and cheese, turkey sandwiches, grilled cheese sandwiches,peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, (with fruit, vegs)


Monday ........Pancakes/ eggs/ sausages with fruit cocktail

Tuesday.........Our Homemade Chili

Wednesday....Leftover Chili

Thursday........Chicken Enchiladas with rice, corn

( I will post my Chicken Enchilada recipes later

in the week it is super easy and cheap!)

Friday.............Leftover Chicken Enchiladas with rice, green beans

Saturday..........Homemade Pizza

Sunday...........Turkey, stuffing, potatoes, broccoli, cranberries sauce

Frugal Friday Menu Planning to Save Money

Before I got serious about saving money on our food budget I went to the store way too often in the week (3-4 times), I did not make a list and did not have any coupon system in place. We ate basically whatever I thought up that day or the day before. Well with the price of food going up as well as everything else I needed to change. I found that with menu planning I can save a lot of money. Ways menu planning helps…

• We can use up what we have in the house to maximize our leftovers

• I can use what is on sale for the week to plan my meals

• I can make a list based off my menu and gather the most coupons to increase my savings

• I go to the store once (well twice since my family drinks a lot of milk) It saves time and I save a ton of money not running to the store every couple of days (those impulse purchases do add up)

Some Great Money Saving Blogs to Check Out

In my quest to save our family money I have come accross many great websites and blogs.
Here are a few that you might want to look at they usually offer not only great money saving tips but freebies, coupons and sales notifications.

My favorite is Money Saving Mom she offers such a down to Earth approach to saving money.

Another great site is Hip to Save and I also like Deal Seeking Mom all of these have great money saving ideas.

Do you have a favorite or new site that can help to save money please share in the comments.

Boston Store or Younkers Coupon Code

I have a great Get $10 off your next purchase of $25 or more online at Boston Store or Younkers.

Just use Discount Code RNDYSFBCP11 code is good Sunday February 13- Saturday February 26, 2011.

*It excludes incredible values, bonus buys, door busters and some other speciality purchases

Works For Me Wednesday Stocking Up Sick Supplies

Well the influenza has hit our home this week. First my oldest son and now my youngest. So far no one else but chances are the other two will be coming down with it soon. So am I glad that I had done some stocking up on supplies that we need when they get sick.I have the Advil and Tylenol that we need (we need different types since some use the children's and some adult dosages). We also have honey on hand. I love using that for their coughs it really helps and hey, they are excited about taking it since its honey. I also had stocked up at Walgreen's before when Kleenex was on sale so we have plenty on hand. Also I have Gatorade, juices, and water bottles to hydrate them up.

Thank goodness I have everything because I definitely don't want to take them out to get anything and by the time my husband comes home from work I am in no mood to go shopping. Also is saves us money since I bought ahead with sales and coupons instead of running out and emergency buying at full cost.

Swagbucks Upcoming Birthday Rewards For New and Existing Members

Swagbucks is gearing up to their birthday celebration on February 28th. If you are not familiar with Swagbucks is a website that gives you chances to earn Swagbucks with codes, offers and with using there search engine. These Swagbucks came easily add up fast and earn you many different things but I love the Amazon gift cards. Now is a great time to join with a special 30 swagbucks to new sign ups and an additional 50 swagbucks by using code 3rdBirthday5.

Also don't forget to go back to their website on February 28th to join them with on birthday celebration to earn more Swagbucks.

Menu Monday

Well the influenza has shown up at our home. First my oldest son and now my youngest son. So with half the kids sick and the high possibility of the rest of us getting sick this week I am posting my menu but planning on having a lot of flexibility on how this week works out. Especially if I get sick well ... they might just all be eating peanut butter jelly sandwiches for dinner for a few nights.

* Breakfasts will be waffles, fruit, cereal
* Lunches  will be mac and cheese, ravioli, turkey sandwiches with carrots, salad or fruit

Monday         Leftovers from Birthday party and salad

Tuesday          Slow cooker BBQ Chicken with
                       homemade coleslaw and chips

Wednesday     Leftover BBQ Chicken/ hot dogs
                       coleslaw and chips

Thursday        Spaghetti and meatballs, garlic bread, sliced carrots

Friday             Spaghetti and meatballs, garlic bread, salad

Saturday         Homemade pizzas and carrots

Sunday           Turkey, potatoes, stuffi…

Frugal Friday

I am trying to go more green reducing the chemicals in my home and save money at the same time. I found that a great way to do this is by using vinegar to clean. It works great on my floors and also I use it to clean out my coffee maker. For the floors I use ¼ cup in a gallon of water and for the coffee maker I use ½ cup to 6 cups water. The vinegar is cheap and I feel so much better not using harsh chemicals in my home.

Our Homemade Chili Recipe

Here is a nice low cost meal that really will fill up the family this makes enough to serve my family two nights
I would say is is about eight adult servings.

1lb ground beef

One medium onion chopped

One green pepper chopped ( we use our frozen ones from our garden last year)

1 small can green chilis(chopped)

32oz diced tomatoes (do not drain) (2 small cans or 1 large can) (we use ours from our garden last year)

One can tomato soup

8oz or 1 cup kidney or red beans ( I like to cook up a bag of dry beans and freeze them for meals like this)

One small can tomato paste

4TBS Chili powder

3 cloves garlic

2tsp black pepper

1tsp salt

Optional Franks Hot Sauce 1tsp

Brown ground beef and drain. Sauté onion with beef then add green pepper, diced tomatoes, tomato soup, One tomato soup can of water, green chilies, beans, can of tomato paste and stir until blended. Then add chili powder, garlic, black pepper and salt. Bring to boil then turn down heat and simmer on low for one hour. We like to serv…

Free Tide Stain Release Spray at 3 p.m. ET (First 5000!)

Today (2/17) at 3 p.m. ET, Tide will be giving away 5,000 FREE bottles of Stain Release Spray to their Facebook fans These will go fast, so be sure to "like" Tide on Facebook now so you're ready!

One Thing to Make Mornings Less Stressful

I am not a morning person. The more I can do the night before to get ready the better. I function better on autopilot in the mornings.With four kids to get ready for school that can be hard . What works for me is on Sunday night I get their snacks for school ready. Since I find it too expensive to buy individual size packs of snacks I like to use the small snack size Ziploc bags. I get out whatever we have (pretzels, crackers, raisins, goldfish crackers, or???) and I divide it up in Ziploc bags to last the week. Then each night when I am going through the backpacks checking homework, signing assignment notebooks and such I just put a bag in and we are ready to go.

10,001 Ways To Live Large On A Small Budget

I just got done reading a book by the writers of Wise Bread (a finance blog).10,001 Ways to Live Large on a Small Budget it was very informative. Since it is written by many people it has a great wealth of knowledge from many different aspects. The main parts are frugal living and personal finance. I found a lot of new ideas in the book for frugal living..I really liked the food section since that is where so much of our budget goes. I also like the back of the book that has resources area with many blogs and websites that can help you save money and help with your personal finances. I would definitely recommend this book.10,001 Ways to Live Large on a Small Budget

Sunbelt Buy One Get One Free Coupon

Here is a great Buy One Get One Free Coupon from Sunbelt. Just go to theirFacebook page and like them. Then you can click on the buy one get one free image and get your coupon.

I found some books my second grade son likes to read!

My second grade son is a reluctant reader. He just does not see reading as fun. The only time he does read is when I tell him that he needs too (like the 15 mins he needs to read nightly for school). Well, was I surprised to come into his room and find him reading a book for fun of all things. It was Diary of  a Spider by Doreen Cronin. It is a really cute book with engaging pictures and a not too much text on a page that can frustrate my son.

Well since he likes that book so much. I just came back from the library with the others in the series. Diary of a Worm, Diary of a Fly and I saw that Doreen Cronin also authored a Caldecott award winner Click, Clack, Moo Cows That Type. They all look cute and fun to read so hopefully I will turn my son into a reader yet!

If you have any other good books for second grade boys please let me know. I am always trying to find ideas for him.

Menu Plan Monday

Well here is our menu plan for the week. Not very exciting with leftovers on two of the nights but we are very tight with money this week and need to eat what we have in the house so....

Breakfasts:       Cereal  waffles, pop tarts, multi grain bars ect

Lunches:           Mac and cheese, turkey sandwiches, grilled cheese , with fruit and vegetables


Monday:          Turkey Potpie (this is the chicken version but since we have leftover turkey in the freezer that is what we are having)

Tuesday:         Chili (here is the recipe)

Wednesday:    Leftover chili

Thursday:       Meatloaf with broccoli and mac and cheese

Friday:            Leftover meatloaf with green beans and tomato soup and noodles

Saturday:        Birthday party at relatives house ( we are bringing soda, milk, garlic bread and desert)

Sunday:           Pancakes, scrambled eggs, and sausages with apple slices

Free Pancakes At IHOP Mark Your Calendars For March 1, 2011

I Hop is have a free National Pancake Day on March 1, 2011.

All they ask is that consider leaving a little something behind for Children's Miracle Network Hospitals and other designated local charities.

Frugal Friday The Library

I can't say enough about using the library to save money. I keep a list of books, movies etc that I want to read or watch. I go online to our library's website and search for the books/ movies.When I find what I want I put a hold on it with my library card. The great thing is my library is part of a county wide library system so I have access to a huge amount of books/ movies. I get the hold placed then wait for an email to let me know they are ready for pick up at my local library. So easy I just go to the check in area they scan my card and they grab my stack of books and there I go off to enjoy them. Oh the books usually are ready by the next day too!

This works great for my children's books to I go through the scholastic catalogs they receive in school and pick out what they want and do the same for them.

Works For Me Wednesday

I love the new Weight Watchers program. They changed how they calculate points and the best thing is all fruits are free as are most vegetables.

I heart fruit and I am always hungry so I have been found different ways to prepare it to satisfy my sweet tooth.

My newest is a banana blueberry smoothie.I put one banana and a 1/2 cup of blueberries with about five ice cubes and 1/3 cup milk in the blender until smooth. Yummy!!! and it is only 1 point.

7 Ways To Save Money On Children's Clothes

• Let people know what you children need and their sizes. I have really found that by letting grandparents, aunts, uncles ect know what the children really need and their sizes they are grateful to give a gift that is appreciated and we save money on not having to buy some clothes.

• Accept hand me downs and keep any hand me downs from older siblings organized. Any and all hand me downs are always helpful. Use what you can and you can always donate what you don’t like or can’t use. Organizing the hand me downs is essential though if you cant find it or you don’t know you have it you cant use it. I like to put the clothes in totes and label them by size/ gender and each season I look through and see what we can use.

• Shop garage / rummage sales you can find great deals on children clothes. I especially love rummage sales put on by moms groups and twin’s clubs .You can buy ahead so that you have that winter coat or boots when you need it and you don’t have to go out and pay retail pric…

Goals For Feburary, Better Late Than Never

Well here are my late goals for February.

* Continue my daily Bible reading of the Bible in a year in chronological order.

* Lose 2 lbs using Weight Watchers.

* Work on my attitude towards my family (using patience, grace and tolerance)

* Read two books

* Plan garden for this year

* Work on my blog and learn how to get it going

* Lastly to make sure I post my goals and their results on the first of the month

Superbowl Sunday. Go Packers!!!

Superbowl Sunday is here and our family is very excited. We are Green Bay Packers fans and can't wait until kick off. It is our tradition to eat something from the opposing teams city so we are making Primanti Style Sandwiches from Pittsburgh, they sound yummy. They were very over our food budget but hey the Packers don't get to the Superbowl often so we splurged.Looking foward to a good game and enjoying time with my family.

I am tired of winter and thinking of spring

I am done with winter here in Wisconsin. I am not a winter person to begin with. I tend to hibernate in the winter because I cannot tolerate the cold (can you believe I have lived all my life in Wisconsin?) Anyways I am dreaming of spring and planning my garden. I had posted my list of things that I think we are going to grow but I still need to research some things and plan out the garden space.I need to get to the library to pick up some books on gardening. I will post later about any good books that I find.

Planning my garden

Even though we are still digging out from our blizzard we had. I am thinking of our garden for this year. I have found that we are able to save so much money when we grow our own vegtables.And with food prices only expected to go higher we need a good garden plan. So what am I planning on growing this year:

green peppers
green beans
butternut squash??
herbs ???

I am not sure if we have enough room for the squash I have to check how big of an area that takes to grow and the herbs I definitely want to grow but I am not sure on the types yet.Also I am thinking of some cold weather crops broccoli, brussel sprouts or lettuce maybe.I need to pull out my gardening book and check.


We have had a crazy blizzard yesterday and this morning. We have drifts up to four feet high! This is a picture I took looking out one of our windows.