Monday, December 27, 2010

Sending the Holiday Season of 2010 into the history books

I'm hoping everyone had a fantastic Christmas!  I know I did!  I had such a lovely holiday, and I'm thankful every day.

I got the job I applied for!  I am the new chef for an assisted living facility.  I will only be working weekends, which is great so I don't have to worry about a babysitter.  It only pays $10 an hour, but its $10 an hour more than I had before!  I have big plans for the budget of 2011 and I'm looking forward to saving money and getting life back to 'normal' around here.  It will be nice not to stress about money.

My kids had a great Christmas!  We had to cut way back this year due to money restraints.  I thought the kids would notice and say something, and they surprised me.  They were thrilled with the things they did get.  We opted for quality over quantity this year.  My mother in law helped me get them a Wii and they were so excited, they havn't stopped playing with it.  I had earned about $80 with Amazon this year through Swagbucks,   and was able to get a lot of shopping done that way too.  I had saved a little bit of money from my husband's paycheck, and so I was able to get what I needed.

Our first snow storm of the season ended up being a blizzard, so we are snowed in currently.  We need to do some shoveling, but otherwise, its been a great weekend.  I've been stuffed for 2 days, and eating a ton of leftovers from my Christmas breakfast feast.   I made a delicious broccolli Bacon Quiche that I'll be sharing the recipe for, as well as a French Toast casserole that everyone loved as well.   I made TOO much food and have been eating it for days! LOL  I was so full on Christmas, I didn't eat for the rest of the day.

And so, I'm sending 2010 into the history books, and looking back fondly this year as the year I cut back.  I was happy to see that my kids didn't need all that extra junk and they were happy.  I'm thankful I have them to hold, and cuddle and they haven't stopped sneaking me hugs and kisses since Christmas day.  I have great kids and I'm thankful to God.

Have a great day!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas Eve EVE!

Is everyone ready? Christmas is only 2 days away!  I'm SO NOT ready!  I have so much to do, plus I'm still waiting for some boxes from Amazon and Oriental Trading company to arrive.  I wish I didn't cut it so close, but I didn't have much of a choice.

I think above all, things are going to go better than I thought this Christmas.  I did have some money to spend on my own, I had swagbucks to help me out, but I also got help from my MIL and my Mom.  My kids are getting what they want, and we did it almost totally credit free.  I got the kids a Wii, they have wanted it forever, and my MIL bought it for me at Target and put it on her Target charge. SO I do have to pay that back.  But everything else I got was either from Amazon with AGCs or  with cash I had saved up.

Now I just have to get my house cleaned,  get organized, finish wrapping, bake my ham, make my dishes for Saturday morning, and get ready for tomorrow night.  ACK!  So much to do, so little time left to do it! LOL  Guess I getter get going!

Have a great day!

Merry Christmas from the Stuyniskis!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

I got a job interview

And so an era ends. The one where I thought I was done with working and I would be staying home and raising my children and taking care of my house.   Its a tad dissapointing, but its reality.

The economy stinks.  Oil and gas prices are up.  So are Grocery prices.  So when you get to a point when no amount of coupon clipping, re purposing,  and reducing isn't helping, its time to do something.

I'm going to interview today for a chef's position at an assisted living facility.     The position is only part time, and its only weekends.  But its something. And I don't have to do it forever, I only have to do it for the next 6 months or so, or unless I find something better.  The guy on the phone assure me there is always room for advancement, so its possible I might move forward and get a full time position, IF I want to.

Have a great day everyone! 

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Christmas Menu

We used to have a huge family dinner back in the day, but as things evolved,  it turned into a very informal breakfast/brunch type deal. And much cheaper than serving a formal dinner with all the fixin's.

This started when I was still working.  I was supposed to cover the 11-7:30 shift, but I worked it out with my coworker so we could split the day. She would work 11-3, and I came in to cover the rest of it.  This way she would leave to have dinner with her family, and I was able to enjoy most of the day with mine.  This way, I didn't have to worry about a big meal, and all the clean up that I know no one else will do. 

SO for our breakfast, we'll have a french toast casserole, a broccoli bacon quiche, roasted potatoes,  fruit, muffins, cinnamon rolls, coffee and orange juice.   Later on in the day I put out some cheese and crackers to munch on, and my husband like shrimp cocktail.    Last year I put out a meat platter I picked up cheap, and some rolls for sandwiches, but no one even touched it.  Not gonna do that this year.  If I do, I'll just make my own. 

I'd love to hear  what others do for this day.  How do you celebrate with your family while keeping it on the cheap?

Friday, December 17, 2010

Counting my blessings this Christmas.

On  Tuesday, Dec 7, around 4:30 pm our small town of about 12,000 people was shattered  by the most tragic accident.  4 young lives were lost, and a 5th was fighting for his at Yale Hospital.   Lost were the driver John Clapper 16, his girl friend Sativa Cornell 16, Dillon Clifford also 16, and Steven Szklarz who was only 15.  All these kids were students at my alma mater high school.   The manner in which they died was especially horrific, they died when they car they were riding in  hit a tree head on at a high rate of speed.  The 5th passenger Joel Gallup is in critical condition and looks forward to mulitple repairing surgeries, and is still in a medical induced coma.  He does not yet know the fate of his 4 friends.

As a member of the community, I just felt sorry, remorse, compassion.   No, I didn't know the kids. I knew of them, I knew that Dillon was on the football team.  I knew John was the son of guy my husband knew well.  As a mother, my heart is broken.  Broken for the parents that have lost their beloved children so close to the holiday.   Dillon was buried on his 17th birthday.  He was the only child to his parents. 

It was an accident.  It was an accident caused by poor choices, but it was still an accident.  John was driving, he didn't not have a license, he only had his permit. He was not legal to drive in the state of CT without a legal licensed adult in the car.  There was not one present.  Sativa was the only licensed  driver in the car, however she only got her license in Oct.  According to CT state law, she was not supposed to have anyone else in the car with her, except for her parents, or siblings.   No other peer member should have been in the vehicle.  At some point, she handed the keys over to John and gave him permission to drive the car. The car belonged to her mother.

Things like this really make you stop and think.   Kids are kids, we know this, and we know that will push the envelope, even when we restrict them. Its part of being a teenager, its part of growing up.  Remember the ridiculous stuff we used to do as teenagers?  We may have looked back, now,  25 years later and say to ourselves, how did we survive?  We cheated death constantly and won.  Its hard to look at these kids and say to yourself, 'well, what did you think was gonna happen?'  They don't get that second chance.  They don't get to go to their parents and say "That was stupid. I won't do THAT again, I'm sorry".

As parents, we always want better for our kids than what we had. We know how teenagers operate, we should have seen this coming at some point.   I took the opportunity to sit down with my own children, my 2 oldest girls are 9 and 10, and we had a discussion about it.  They had seen the news, they have friends that knew these kids through their older siblings.  They have teachers that taught these kids just a few short years ago, and were openly grieving.  I sat my girls down and asked them if they had any questions, and if there was anything they wanted to discuss.   Neither was really sure what to say, so I did the talking. I told them there is always a choice.   There are good responsible choices, and there are bad ones.  And the consequence of a bad choice can always be death.   When I say things to them like "Don't ride your bike in the middle of the road", its not because I'm trying to be mean, or take away their fun, its because I love them and I want to keep them safe. I want to protect them so I can keep them forever. A mother should never have to bury her child.   I reminded my girls that  they would asking me to get their driver's license in a few short years, and I hope this is something that stays with them.

And so, this holiday season, please hold your children close and thank God for every blessing you have.  Please have that talk with them, and feel free to share this story with them.  There are 4 families tonight wishing they were scolding their child,  or getting annoyed with their tantrums, probably because they took the keys away.  They also wish they were holding them tight and thanking God for their blessings.  And please remind your children they are not  invincible.  These things can and will happen to new and inexperienced  drivers.  Remember, a car is not a toy.  Driving is a privilege, not a right. Do what you have to do to keep your kids safe. 

I dedicate this blog to the memory of John Clapper, Sativa Cornell, Dillon Clifford, and Steven Szklarz. I'm praying that Joel Gallup continues to recover and eventually goes on to live a fulfilling life.

Once a Wolverine, Always a Wolverine.  Rest in Peace Guys, your memory will live forever.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Swaggin' with Swagbucks!

I'm tooting about the benifits of Swagbucks ,yet again!!

Why are you not doing Swagbucks???

To date I have earned over $150  since I started in MAY!  Yes folks, $150, and I have done almost nothing to earn it.  This is not a scam, this is totally legit.  Instead of doing your searches with google, you do your searches with swagbucks and thats all you do!   Yes thats it!! 

Is there more you can do? Sure, I've outlined it here before in my blog, you can find some other posts about swagbucks, but clicking the lable swagbucks, or do a quick search.

Click the link at the side of the screen to join.  I promise this is NOT something you will regret, it does not take a lot of time to do.  Check it out for yourself! 

Frugal Fatigue

My family is going through a rough time right now.  I am at a point where I don't want to be frugal anymore, I just want to be able to have what my family needs, when we need it.   I do enjoy being frugal, I like getting a good deal, and for a long time, my family lived pretty well on the less money we were living on when I quit my job.  Over the last year, as my husband's paycheck got lesser and lesser, it was harder and harder to keep it together. We did well for a while, living off our stockpiled groceries, and the money in our savings acct for the 'extras'.  My kids are active in sports, and that's not cheap, but I was able to do it. 

My husband came home this weekend and announced to me that its not working anymore, which I knew  and have known.   He is looking for a second job.  I have no idea when he is going to work a second job since his full time job takes up a great amount of his time.  He also put the pressure on me to find a part time job myself.  I don't know where I can work, since most of  the jobs require me to work nights and weekends, which as a mother is not really a practical option.  Its not that I can't, its that I can't afford to pay someone for child care, so I will be relying on my mother and my mother-in-law for help on this front.  I know they don't really mind, or actually I should say, mind too much,  but it still bothers me to have to do that.

We need more income that's just the way it is.   We can't live on one paycheck anymore.  We used to do it, but the economy has gotten worse and worse, and its harder and harder to support a family of 5 on less than $1100 every 2 weeks.  There is only so much coupon clipping, deal finding, reusing, re purposing I can do before it just becomes  a hassle,  and it feels like there is no point to it. 

I went to Walmart last weekend and applied for a job.  They have a computer that you are supposed to use and I had the most difficult time working it,  and I'm not computer illiterate.  I'm actually pretty good on the computer.  It took me over 45 minutes on this dumb computer thing, then taking some sort of assessment quiz, all while my 2 girls waited patiently and impatiently  for me to finish so we could go home from our grocery shopping.  On the way home, I told my girls, to PLEASE go to college and get a good job, a career, so they wouldn't be their mother who could barely figure out the computer  while trying to apply for a job at Walmart.  They laughed,but I quickly set them straight that I wasn't kidding.  Whatever we have to do, I do not want them to struggle like myself, then worry about making sure they can sometime get a job at Walmart.

Its getting more and more difficult for me to be in my circle of friends and not feel twinges of jealousy, as they are all out Christmas shopping, finding deals, getting exciting at finding things their children will want, and I haven't even started yet.  I'm afraid to spend even 1 penny, for fear of wasting, or finding a better deal,  then worrying about not having enough to pay a bill.   I'm having trouble functioning right now, as a mother and a wife, I've fallen into a depression that sometimes I don't want to get out of bed.    I get up, take my shower, clean up a bit so my house has the appearance of someone who cares, but I really don't.  I just want the world to go away.  I'm all too happy to let my children go to my in law's house for the entire weekend, just so I don't have to put any energy into putting a smile on and pretending everything is okay.

As I sit here and write this, the tears streaming down my face, I don't want people to feel sorry for me, but to be educated.   We made bad money decisions the whole time we've been married, we've had money, we've been broke beyond any stretch of the imagination. At each point I thought 'this is the worst its ever been', but each point in its own is the worst its ever been.   My kids don't deserve this. They don't deserve the fact that I can't answer the phone, they don't deserve  having to be told 'NO' over and over again because its something I can't afford.   I am grateful that we did make it to this point. We still have our house, we still have our health, we aren't starving, and we still have heat, lights, and water running into our house.  Those are my priorities and I'm thankful to have them.

Today I sit here and I have folks telling me to visit the food pantry, or call Toys for Tots, ect. I don't know if its a matter of pride,  that I don't feel we belong there, but.... we don't belong there!  I still feel like there are people way worse off that we are, we are just going through a rough patch, it will get better, and I hate to take away from folks that really and truly need food from the food pantry, or toys for their children at Toys for Tots. 

If anyone has read this far, thanks for the support, I'll continue to clip my coupons, I'll continue to make stuff out of nothing, and I'll snap out of this depression.  I will find a job, we will be okay.  

Be thankful for all you have.  

Thank you, and have a great day. 

Friday, November 12, 2010

Groupon deals to check out

So today is MAJOR with Groupon!  Are you  a member? You should be! Use THIS LINK to sign up.  Once you are signed in, check out the PHOENIX deal of the day! (At the top there is a link to check other cities) Today is a national Groupon for ColdWater Creek.  You can get a $50 gc for only $25, think about Christmas, this would make a GREAT gift!! (Or keep it for yourself! LOL)

And for those of us lucky enough to live in the Providence Area, here is a deal that can't be missed. I haven't eaten at this place yet, but I've heard fantastic things about it!  So now select the Providence city, and see the Groupon for a $50 gc for $25 at Meditarrano! 

Enjoy!!! and Have a GREAT Day!!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Manic Monday

Good Morning!  Welcome back folks!!  What a great way to start off the week, how about some FREE coffee???

Here ya go then!  LIKE Green Mountain Coffee on Facebook and when thier 'sign up' tab appears you'll get FREE coffee!!!  And not just coffee, almost a full lb of coffee PLUS a travel mug!  This is not to be missed! They only give out 2500, so hurry!  If you miss it this week, book mark the page for next monday and try again.

 (Picture courtesy Fan Photos from Green Mountain's facebook page)

Also today,  this is a great nationwide groupon, if you like to groupon.  You can pay $20 for a $40 GC to the Body Shop!  Woohoo!!

Have a great day!
(edited at 9:53am, the free coffee samples have run out, sorry!)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

September Grocery Totals!

Okay so I'm going to finally tally up my receipts from the rest of Sept for a final total.   Current at mid month I had spent $162.42.

Following that I had spent 48.23 at Shoprite.   I had a date night with my husband and I made sure I hit the Shoprite BEFORE the sale ended! LOL    I got a few good deals, I know he was bored, but is proud of me and how I can  bargain shop with the best of them.  This wasn't a huge savings trip, but I only spent a minimal amount for a good amount of groceries.

I did hit the gas station and buy 2 gallons of milk. That came to 5.36.

I had 2 trips to Walmart.  On one trip I spent 52.87 and on another I spent 24.45.

That brings my total for these 4 receipts$130.91

My total spent on ONLY Groceries  is  $293.33.

Not bad!!  I fed a family of 5 for less than $300 for the month of Sept!  I'm quite positive that I won't do that again for Oct, but I will try.  I may be closer to $400, but I vow to NOT spend more than that.  

Have you added up your receipts lately to see how your doing??  HOW are you doing??

Have a great day!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Swagbucks update!

You have heard talk about Swagbucks before and I'm here to brag about it again!

What is Swagbucks?   It is a referral program,  but so far the only legit one on the web that I have found and it actually works.   All you have to do is your regular searches a few times a day using their search engine and you win!  Swagbucks is powered by Google so its the same searches you would get anywhere else.  Once you accumulate enough Swagbucks from your searches, you can cash them in to redeem prizes.  The most popular prize is an Amazon Gift Card, worth $5 at a time.

There are several other ways to win with  Swagbucks besides doing your daily searches.  You can download the toolbar and you will get 1 swagbuck every day.  You can do the NOSO (non obligation special offers), if you follow the track without taking advantage of any of them, you'll get 1 swagbuck. You can do the Daily Poll for 1 swagbuck daily.  And finally, if you check into the surveys, you also get 1 swagbuck once a day.  That comes up to 4 guaranteed swagbucks daily!

Another way to win is to find the Swagcodes.  These are codes that show up in places on the swagbucks site and they are worth swagbucks.  They may not come out every day, and they may vary in their worth, but sometimes its fun to hunt for them!  Usually if you follow the Swag Blog, or the Facebook page, they will tell you when a code is released and where to look for it.  Codes can NOT be shared, don't do it! If they find out, they will delete your acct.

The last way to win is to get referrals!  For every referral you get, you earn with them and their searches up to 1000 swagbucks.

I have been doing swagbucks since May.  Is this worth it??  Well. currently I have $75 in Amazon Cash. I have $35 in Paypal cash.  You tell me, is it worth it?   And what did I do to earn all this cash?? Almost nothing!  I do my searches, I get the daily 4, I find swagcodes, and I get referrals.  All while playing around on my computer, reading my blogs, message boards and facebook!   Its THAT easy.

Make sure to check out the SwagStore to see what cool prizes you can earn. Again, feel free to check out the Swagbucks Facebook page  and see how much people are enjoying swagbucks!  If you aren't doing this right now, you aren't earning!  Hurry up and get searching!

Click this banner to go right to swagbucks and sign up!

Search & Win

Friday, September 24, 2010

I did it!

So here is my announcement, I've lost the first 10 lbs!!  Isn't that exciting??  LOL It is to me!   I have 1 month left to lose another 10 lbs.  

I really thought this would be much easier, or that it wouldn't take as long as it did, but I did it.  I lost 10 lbs off this frame of mine.    Of course it would probably come off easier if I was exercising more, or if I actually made a bigger effort.   Hey one thing at a time! LOL

One King's Lane, its worth a look!

Sign up for One King's Lane and get an automatic credit for $15 to spend on what ever you like.  

there are some great deals to check out for less than $15, you will end up getting them for free!
Check it out!

So far I've found a Bamboo cutting board set and a Sigg water bottle, that would be FREE after you use your $15 credit.  You must check this out!  Either would make a great gift for Christmas or to keep for youself. 

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Grocery Budget update #1

Okay!  Remember this month I'm keeping full track of my grocery budget so I know exactly how much I spent this month.   At my last tally, I was at   $120.65 and that was last week.

Things were tight this week, I only got to go out 1 time.  I went to Shoprite and bought sale items and combines my coupons with the sale like I always do.  I managed to get Fruitables for 1.89 which is cheaper than Capri Suns.   In some of the Fruitables, they have coupons for .55 off.  This week Fruitables were marked down to 2.99, I used the .55 coupon  and they doubled it, taking $1.10 off them, for a final price of 1.89.   Thats WAY cheaper than I would have paid at Walmart!

I also got some more chicken, they had leg quarters for .69lb,  That made a great dinner this week.  I steamed/parboiled them before baking them in my oven.  I created a stock when I did that, which I saved and used to make a fantastic Chicken noodle soup.   Can you beat THAT for .69lb????

I also got a tip from the guy stocking the produce, always pick from the right.  The older stuff gets moved to the back and the left, (why would you move it BACK???)  so if you want fresh, make sure you pick from the right.   I got some baby carrots 1.50 for the 1lb bag, a cuke, a pepper and some tomatoes.  They had a sale on Shoprite Deli ham, AND Carolina honey Turkey, I got a lb of each for 2.99 per pound, took it home and froze it. 

I specifically buy the bread when I go there, its always .99 a loaf for the enriched white bread, but this week they finally raised the prices on it.  Its back up to 1.19 so I only got 3 loaves.  That is STILL cheaper than Walmart who charges 1.24 for a loaf of bread, and if they are sold out, you are stuck buying  another brand that is more than $2 a loaf.  I hate that. LOL I always make sure I buy up to 4 loaves at Shoprite, no matter what and freeze them. 

I also got Ice cream, 3 Ragu for .58 a jar after coupon,  and many other goodies.  In the end I spent 41.77. I added that to my 120.65 for a mid month total of  162.42.     Not to bad YET. 

What do you think?

Have a great day!

Shoprite Deals 9/15-9/25

I havn't checked the other blogs yet to see what else is on sale, but Holy Moly!  I already see a bunch of great deals BEFORE coupons!!!  These are deals you can NOT miss.

Here first are some NONCoupon deals.  These deals I can't find a coupon for, but you don't need one cuz they are already at a great price!

Friendly's Ice cream 1.99
Eastern White 5lb bag Potatoes .99
Cantaloupe .99 EACH (limit 2)
Yellow Onions 3lb bag .99
Bartlett pears .49lb
Philadelphia cream cheese .99 each
Chicken of the Sea Solid White Tuna .99 each
Perdue Boneless Chix Breast 1.99lb
Perdue Oven Stuffer Roaster .79
Peter Pan 3pk PB 2.99 (that's less than $1 per jar)
Gatorade or Propel .69 each (limit 4)
Shoprite Zipper sandwich bags .99
(Most of these items have limits, I didn't list all of them, you'll see them in your own flyer or on the shelf marker)

Get your Kellogg's coupon ready, HUGE Kellogg's sale.  Many items on sale for 1.99 including cereal, pop tarts, cookies, and crackers.

This weeks flyer has some GREAT Super Coupons .  This means you need to spend $15 before you can use them. Spending $15 will be easy to do based on the great deals I already posted. Once you do that, you can use the coupon and get:
Iceberg Lettuce for .49
The Perdue chix breast you already bought will now go down in price with coupon to .99lb.
Florida's Naturals OJ .99
Pepsi 2Lts products are 5 for $3!
NOTE: You will not find Super coupons IN store.  You can only find them in the circulars sent to your house, either through your sunday paper, or in any mailings you get including the circular.

I'll update as soon as I find some great coupon matches, be ready and check back!!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Weight ain't nuthin' but a number....


I'd like to think so, but I don't know anymore. Why is it SO hard to lose 1 whole pound? 

I got the news from my Dr back in June, I needed to lose weight. He challenged me to try and lose about 20 lbs by Nov1.  NO problem!  So I thought. How hard could that be?? If I lost 5 lbs a month until my appt, I would be MORE than the 20lb I needed to lose.  Its got to be easy to lose 5 lbs in a month.  Yeah right!!

The first month of June and July, I JUST about lost the first 5 lbs. I went from 171 to 166.  I was so impressed with myself, but also realized this was going to take more effort that I thought.  I spent a lot  of time walking, I walked miles every night. I was watching my diet, cut out the junk, the pizza, the good stuff, and I only lost 5lbs. In the following days I was able to lose another 3lbs, for a total of 8lbs.  I was on my way, thought it was MUCH harder than I thought it would be. 

The month of August was horrid.  We had 100 degree days for almost the entire month. There was NO way I was walking in that heat.  My daughter started cheerleading and I volunteered to be the assistant coach  so most of my nights were now consumed with activities.  I became team mom for my son's soccer team.  My husband can't understand why I'm so unavailable right now LOL, I'm busy!  My only free day is now Friday, no practices, no games.  My kids get home from school and I have supper on the table for them with in the hour, they have to eat to get ready for the nightly activities.  I have NO time left for ME anymore. 

My diet and weight loss journey went by the wayside.  I just gave up. My clothes are tight again.  I'm thinking the worst and just don't care.  This morning I started thinking about it, and can't understand why this is so hard.  And my appointment is now only 2 months away.  Yikes!  SO I got out the scale stepped on it and prepared for the worst.  To my surprise, my weight is the same!  Okay that's a lie, I gained back 1lb, I'm at 164.  So I still have a 7lb weight loss.  I'm slightly inspired again, I'd love to just get back in the grove now that the kids are in school all day, and the weather has cooled. 

So really, is weight only a number? I like to think so, I mean how hard can it be to go from 164 to 159?  Apparently, much harder than I thought it was.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Do you 'Groupon'?

By now you must have heard of Groupon.  Its collective buying power.    When you sign up for Groupon, they send you a daily deal to your inbox each day. The more people that purchase the groupons, the more likely they will send out more and better deals.  The more that buy, the higher the discounts.  If you have checked this out, this is something you need to get in on!  You never know what might come through your inbox.   Its completely FREE to join, you only pay when you purchase the groupon.

Today's deal of the day for Hartford groupon is a $10 ticket for entrance into Old Sturbridge village.  A regular ticket costs $26, so this is a savings of $16! I think you can purchase more than 1.  This is a deal that can not be missed!  Don't forget to check it out!

If you do plan on joining and purchasing this groupon, please do so through THIS LINK.  I get $10 for each person I refer that purchases their first groupon.  Once you join, get your own referrals and get $10 each time they purchase groupons as well. 

Have a great day!!

Friday, September 10, 2010

My Grocery Budget

Have you ever sat down and wondered, really wondered what you spend on groceries each month?   Do you think you could do better?  Should you spend more?   I decided to put myself to the test and see how much I spend this month and how much I actually SAVE using my coupons. 

For me, I'm a stocker upper, meaning I buy what I can for a super low price then put it away for when its needed.   So sometimes my bill is a bit on the high side, but I'm buying ahead. It evens out as sometimes I'll have a really low bill, just buying what I need because I've bought ahead previously.

I havn't had a huge shopping trip yet, but I've a few little ones.  Some I spent cash, some I used my debit card.  So here are my totals so far:

On Sept 1, I went to Better Valu and bought 2 steaks, a package of chicken drumsticks, a lb of grapes, 1 container of Hood Sour cream, and 2 packages of Bologna. My total was 17.68. I didn't use any coupons.

On Sept 6, I went to Walmart and bought several items I needed.  My total there for 8 items was 15.58. I didn't use any coupons on this trip either.

Yesterday, I did my weekly shopping, I went to Shoprite.  I had a bunch of coupons, some really great ones that got me a bunch of items for less than $1.  Love those! I usually only shop sale items too, you'll find that when you do that, alot of the items you need are cheaper than Walmart! For instance, Shoprite has loaves of enriched white bread for .99!  Yesterday, they were on sale for .88.  Thier 'regular' price  for certain items is better than those big box stores, and its worth the trip!  SO I spent $52 there (I don't have my reciept in front of me), and I think I save around $45 with coupons and store sales.

Finally, I popped into Walmart to get a few items I needed there.  I got lunch meat, yogurt, cat food, litter, and a few other items, my total there was 35.39.  I saved .50 with one coupon.

So far my total spent for the month of Sept is  $120.65.  I am on the 10th day of Sept, I've got 3 more weeks to go.  How much do you think I will spend for the month?? How much do you think I can save???
Let me know what you think!

Have a great day!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

FYI Counterfiet Coupons

Hey folks!!

Just a quick heads up that if  you printed a coupon from RAYOVAC's Facebook page, it is probably fraudulent. 

I just got back from Shoprite where the coupon would not scan, and the manager identified it as a fraudulent coupon.  I ended up returning  the batteries I was going to buy, the only reason I was getting them was because they were free after coupon.

Be careful out there folks!!  Can't even have coupons without someone ruining it for everyone!!!

Have a great day. ;)

Check Shoprite this week for some great cereal deals!

This week shoprite has select General Mills cereals for 1.99.

Cinnamon toast crunch
Reece Puffs
Apple cinnamon or Honey Nut Cheerios
Cocoa Puffs or combos

Print these coupons for .55 and after doubling, the coupon value is 1.10, making your cereal .89!

This one let me print 2 Bricks coupons for Cinnamon Toast Crunch, click HERE.

Get .55 off Reece's Puffs (before doubling) HERE

This one might help too:Save $1/2 GM cereals

So GO stock up on cereal today! 

Enjoy! Have a great day!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Earl, you were nothing but a big wind

:oP~~~~~ That's me blowing raspberries at 'Hurricane Earl',   he was a whole lot of nothing. He gave us a big threat, but in the end proved to be nothing but a big wimp, a nothing, a nobody. LOL

We saw him coming up the coast.  On Tuesday, they told us to prepare for a major hurricane, he was a Cat 5.  He was expected to come right over Connecticut.  I posted on Facebook to all my local friends," please make sure you prepare NOW.  If you wait until the storm is right on top of us, you will be out of luck, the stores will be sold out". I even told them what to buy, batteries,  water, nonperishable food, and make sure they had working flashlights.  I myself ran to the store and bought a few things I knew we needed, minus the batteries cuz I wasn't sure   what I needed, sometimes my husband buys them ahead and puts them away for me. I checked, the rayovac batteries were .97 and with my $1 off coupons, they would be FREE. 

By Wednesday evening, they were telling us he was downgraded, but we would still get a pretty big storm. It wouldn't be a direct hit, but we would get the 'frindge effects' of the nasty wind and rain, be prepared for outages.    

 By Thursday, the weather bureau issued a Tropical Storm watch.  We were no longer waiting for a hurricane, but now waiting for a rather large tropical storm.  Power outages were predicted.  Lots of rain, and lots of wind.   I remember the batteries, and ran down to Walmart on Thursday night only discover they were sold out of everything.  I ran to the back to get some more  water, completely sold out as well.   Then I ran into the candle isle, luckily, I was able to get candles.   I ended up running into Home Depot next door and got the last 12 pk of batteries, they ended up not being FREE, but $11!  ACK!   But at least I had them, that's what I get for waiting till the last minute. 

Our area prepared.  Kids were sent home early from school, it wasn't even raining yet.  The weathermen kept saying it wouldn't be as bad as they thought, but the tropical storm watch stayed in effect.  We cleaned up the yard, making sure all patio chairs and toys were put away so they wouldn't blow into the neighbors' yard.   The rain finally made its grand appearance around noontime, it was just a drizzle.  The 'real' rain didn't even start until after dark, so around 8pm, but there was hardly any wind. 

You talked a big talk Earl, but you ain't nothing!  We aren't afraid of you! 

Today's weather, Beautiful, sunny, breezy, and 75 degrees.   We beat YOU, Earl!!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

End of summer....

Hello!   I truly hope that everyone has had a terrific summer!  Ours ended at 6am Monday morning, when I got my oldest daughter up to go to her first day of middle school.  My girl started 5th grade and in our town they run on the high school schedule.   We are on day 3, and she is still doing good at getting up, because she knows that if she doesn't or gives me a hard time, its bedtime at 7 for her! LOL  My 2 younger ones don't have to get up for another hour, but they seem to enjoy getting up earlier and I wish they could start earlier too.  They  get up and get going, eat their breakfast, get dressed, check their backpacks and they are ready to go LOOOOONG before its time for the bus. 

I really am enjoying my new life as a sahm with no kids during the day.  I've gotten so much accomplished, my house stays clean  for longer than a few minutes.  I love not having to issue time outs for fighting, I can watch my story uninterrupted. LOL   I have a feeling I'm going to be bored soon so I have thought about going to look for a pt job, but I'm not sure where I want to apply.  My schedule is very restrictive, I really can only work for a few hours during the day when my kids are gone and I can't work evenings or weekends.  My husband does not have a 9-5 work schedule like normal people so that leaves me hanging quite a bit and I can't rely on him.  He does have Sundays off all the time, but we have got to be a family at some point so I will not work that day.  I'm considering checking into Walmart or Target just for Mother's hours, if they will have me.  We'll see!  LOL

I will miss summer 2010. It was a hard one, financially for us, but we made it work.   Thanks to Swagbucks, I was able to even use some of the free money I earned to do stuff with the kids, such as take them to the beach, or the zoo.     Summer is God's gift to us for getting through these miserable New England winters, and we must always use it to the fullest.  I really enjoyed cookouts with my family, swimming in my mother's pool, going to the beach with friends, and enjoying walks and bike rides with my children.  Now as summer winds down and the madness of school and fall sports begin,  we'll always look back on these special days with fond memories.   Thanks for everything.

Have a great day!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Talapia with Buttery Crumb Topping

This is my 'Almost' Frugal supper tonight.  I was able to get Talapia  for 5.99 for a 2lb bag of frozen fillets.  With my girls gone tonight, I'm only cooking four of the them.  I'm matching this meal  up with fresh zucchini and yellow squash that I threw in a can of diced tomatoes.  YUMMY!

To make the squash, I just chopped them up into slices.  I added olive oil and basil to a skillet.  I put in a chopped onion first, and cooked them about 5 minutes. Then I added the squash.  Right before it was done, I added a can of diced tomatoes. 

I paired this meal with Minute Rice Ready Rice, Brown rice.  Precooked rice that cooks in the microwave for 1 minute.  Just add butter! 


Have a great night!!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Impossibly EASY Cheeseburger pie

OMG  I have taken an extended break from blogging, I don't know why! 
Things have gotten pretty crazy here, school starts for us in one week, soccer has started, cheerleading has started, and my fall mind loss has started.  SO I need to keep my meals FRUGAL and EASY.  Anything that requires me to use too many ingredients and have too many steps, I just don't have time for right now.  SO here is one of my favorites, and my old stand bys.  (Note to self: I'm out of Bisquick! Make sure I put some on the grocery list this week!)

Bisquick recipes are great, they use minimal ingredients, and are usually fairly cheap to prepare.  This one I changed just a bit, I added some green peppers when my meat was browing, and then I threw  a can of diced tomatoes  just before it finished.
Click this link:

1 lb lean (at least 80%) ground beef

1 large onion, chopped (1 cup)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese (4 oz)

1/2 cup Original Bisquick® mix

1 cup milk

2 eggs

1.Heat oven to 400°F. Spray 9-inch glass pie plate with cooking spray.

2.In 10-inch skillet, cook beef and onion over medium heat 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until beef is brown; drain. Stir in salt. Spread in pie plate. Sprinkle with cheese.

3.In small bowl, stir remaining ingredients with fork or wire whisk until blended. Pour into pie plate.

4.Bake about 25 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean.
Enjoy and have a great night!

Monday, August 9, 2010

My EBAY Listings!

These auctions will be ending in the next 24 hours!  Please take a peak and let me know what you think.  I'm offering FREE shipping right now, so you can't miss this.  Free shipping is only a limited time thing, so if you see something you like, bid now!

Thanks for looking!!

Click on sugar*spice*puppydogtail.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


Its time! 

I am finally listing some things on eBay.  My husband expects me to get a 'real job' next month once all 3 kids are in school full time, I really don't want to.  I'm hoping that I can make some money this way, and possibly, if this goes well, sell for others too.   Back 'in the day', I used to be a very avid eBay buyer and seller, I have gotten out of that quite a bit and literally haven't used eBay in over a year. 

I've been trying to get my basement cleaned out, and realize I'm sitting on SO much money down there with my children's outgrown clothes.  they are taking up SO much room, and its ridiculous  that they are just sitting there with no use.  If I sold them and got them out of here, its a win-win.  I've just got to do it.

I spent yesterday taking pictures, and uploading  so now I'm looking forward to spending today getting everything listed and launched.  Here's hoping to big sales and lots of money! My seller name is Sugar*Spice*puppydogtail so look for me.  I have 100% positive feedback,  and do my best to make sure everything is accurately described.   If you are looking for something specific, please let me know and I'll see what I can do.

Have a great day, and Happy Ebaying!!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Free Money??

Search & Win

Well you have heard me talk about Swagbucks before, now I get to brag about how it saved the day!

We are always broke, its just a fact of life.  I don't work, I don't bring in any income, I am frugal and I do my best to save money and conserve what we have.  I don't get to do a lot with my kids that require me to pay for them because I just can't afford it.  It stinks.   This week, we got invited to 2 different beaches with friends.  I could go to the little state park beach Hopeville, its pond water that was recently closed by the DEP due to excessive bacteria in the water, OR I could go to the RI state beach, Misquamicut for some awesome waves and fun in the sun.  That was a tough choice.  HOpeville is free and less than 2 miles from my house.  Misquamicut I knew I'd have to pay for parking, and its about 30 miles from my house.  What to do?? 

Then I remembered.... Swagbucks!  What? you say, Swagbucks???   How did that save the day??  Well I'll tell ya!  Instead of taking the $5 Amazon Gift cards lately, I've been spending the higher amount on Paypal cash, 700 swagbucks gets you $5 of cold hard cash at a time.  I had earned $25!  SO I took my Paypal Debit card to the local ATM machine and took out $20 in cash.  I went to Misquamicut and had the best day we have had all summer!!   It cost $12 to park my car, we stayed ALL day.  Then I spent the last $8 for gas to get home.    It was FREE MONEY!  I didn't do anything to get it, other than sign people up for swagbucks, do my searches, and get codes.     All in the  comfort of my own home, on my own couch.    So you say  you can't get something for nothing anymore? I say you can! I did!  I had a 'FREE' day at the beach with my kids!  We had the best day!

SO I tell you, Join Swagbucks, Get Cash!!  I promise you won't regret it, its not a waste of time or a scam program. It really works! 

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Our Ds Game arrived

I had posted a couple weeks ago about how my kids won a Nintendo DS game from Kellogg's.  It was quite impressive!  You can refer to this link to read about it.   They selected Zelda and we were told it would arrive in 4-6 weeks.  It arrived in 3 weeks!!    We never win anything, that was quite the windfall for us.  


Enjoy the rest of your day!

Frugal Freebie Back to School Roundup!

Happy Tuesday Morning! 

One of the things about frugality, I always say "if its Free, its for me!"  There are some really fun freebies to have and they are important to staying frugal.  Here is a list of some great freebies for this week.

Free 'Kitchen Basics' Cookbook
I think people will really enjoy this one.  Lots of instructions on what to do with some basic kitchen items that are commonly stockpiled.  Enjoy!

How about some FREE Bic Pens from Target? 
Bic Pens are on sale for .99 this week, print this coupon for $1 off and your pens are FREE

Don't forget about the FREE backpack this week from Staples. Go to Staples this week and purchase  any backpack and get a rebate for the FULL amount of the backpack.  I'm tempted to go get one just for this deal!  Never hurts to have an extra, and it can be donated if need be. 

Free Child Safety Kit
Get this kit to help keep your kids safe.
Which strangers to ask for help when no trusted adults are available.

How to recognize dangerous situations.
How to respond to those dangerous situations correctly.

Thats it for now.

Have a GREAT day!!

Monday, July 26, 2010

FREE Backpacks at Staples

Don't miss out on this deal this week! 

Staples  has backpacks on sale this week.  After you fill out the rebate form and send it in, they will give the cost of the backpack BACK to you in the form of a Staples Gift Card.  That's basically FREE.  Hurry up and get this deal!!  THIS week only!  You can order online, by phone, or in store, but hurry!! 

Look back at the last week

I can't believe its been almost a whole week since my last post! I guess I just haven't had much to say. LOL 

Monday starts a new week and I'm hoping a BETTER week.  Not that last week was horrible, just hectic, lots going on with several dentist appoints and kid activities.  My kids went to VBS every night (Vacation Bible school) at the local Congregational church and they loved it.  The theme was Galactic Blast, and each night was a new activity dealing with space.  My youngest was thrilled with this, he got out of the house, and I got 2 hours by myself every night for a whole week!  That was the best, I opened my laptop to Facebook, opened up a Barcadi Mojito, and just chilled by myself for 2 straight hours.  Okay, a few nights I actually got productive and went out for the walk I desperately needed, and one night my girls had girl scouts, but the other nights were JUST for me. :)

They ended the week with a cute little program, all the kids put on a little performance of singing.  They had little moves to go with each song.  My middle daughter is a born performer, she loves every part of it and I think she will eventually be  in the entertainment field.  The teachers all remarked to me how she was one of the best singers they had, because she really got into everything and was happy to do as asked.  That's my baby girl!  My oldest is not so much in the spotlight, she is like me where she would rather just stand back and let everyone else shine.  She is kinda shy and really not into the idea of everyone watching her.  So she barely moved her mouth and totally looked like she was not enjoying herself AT all.  Ugh. My little guy was great, he just enjoyed everything and was so funny to watch when his group went up.  His best little buddy was also in his group, I'm sure they drove the teachers crazy trying to keep the 2 of them calm.   Oh to be 6 again and find joy in everything and get so excited to see your buddy and hang out, even if its only Bible camp.  

At the end of the program, they asked the kids if they would like, to come on Sunday and perform their songs for the church.  Of course my middle daughter was thrilled and begged me to take her to church  so she could do it, we were happy to do it for her. It was nice to see her get excited about something having to do with religion.  I was surprised to get there and there was almost no one in that church.  Its one of our oldest buildings in town,  but almost no members.  I wasn't quite sure what to make of that.  We are Catholic and usually attend the Catholic church,  so we weren't sure what to expect as far as the service went.  It was a small church, but the nice thing about that was that everyone knew each other, and they were able to speak to each other by name.   At the beginning, there was someone asking "Does anyone have any announcements?" , then later on, they asked "Does anyone have any prayer requests?"   Everyone in the church either had a prayer request or a Thanksgiving.   One of the Thanksgivings was that their Bible Camp was successful, at one evening they had 28 kids. 

I'm back on the wagon for a great week, hoping to lose some more weight, and keep on being frugal.  Shoprite is having a great sale this week, I can't wait to get my coupons together and plan out my attack. I've already seen a few freebies.  For a full list, check out 4Hats and Frugal, or Hot coupon   and see where you can save. And be sure to congratulate  her on her brand new baby girl!  She's a beauty!

Have a great day!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Frugal family Fun: Memberships!

One of the things I suggest for a fun family time is memberships to such places as museums, zoos,  clubs etc. 

You will pay more in the beginning, but in the end, you are SAVING money.  If you purchase a zoo membership, it will usually pay for itself within 2 visits, and then you can visit any time you want.  If you live close enough to a place the kids will love and enjoy, use it to your advantage to keeping them entertained this summer.  

Yesterday, I took my kids to the Roger Williams Park Zoo, we went in a large group of moms and kids, looking to do something fun for the day.  We all had memberships, except for 1 mom, and because I had purchased the 'family plus' membership, I am allowed to take guests in on my card,  I was able to get her in for free.  Her baby is less than a year old so he was free anyway.    Our kids have a great time, there is a brand new baby giraffe at the zoo, he is only 2 weeks old and adorable!!  For something so 'big', compared to the rest of the giraffes, he was tiny! (Pictured above)  He was laying on the ground with his mom,  and we enjoyed watching him for a few minutes.    Going with a large group of young kids is always a bit hard because they run from exhibit to exhibit, but  when the rest of the group went home, we  stayed behind and went through the zoo again by ourselves to see more stuff. 

I will admit I wasn't prepared as I should have been snack wise.  I only have a small hard igloo cooler that I packed waters, juice boxes and yogurts in.  I had to leave it in the car because I didn't feel like carrying it around all day.  All the rest of the moms had brought these great soft sided coolers , like this one:

This was so much more convenient for what we were doing for the day, and they were able to sling it over their shoulders. I NEED to get one of these!  I did not have enough snacks for my kids for the time we spent there.

By the end of the day, my son was having a meltdown, so I knew it was time to leave.  That's the sign of a good day, when one of them has a tantrum about leaving. LOL   But we had a full day, we were up early, we stayed for 5 hours, it was HOT, it was time to go.   But we will do it again soon!

Have a great day!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Celebrating Sunday

I love Sundays.

Today is 'my' day off.  My oldest daughter spent the night at her friend's house, and my other 2 went off with Daddy today to go swimming.  I'm sitting here in my air conditioned house, drinking my coffee, enjoying the peace and quiet, and just relaxing.   I spent so much time being Mom, this was a hard week for me, and I found myself wishing for school to start, then feeling guilty because I should be enjoying my time with my kids.  All year long we rush rush rush, and spend no time together, summer is supposed to be our time to reconnect, and I spend most of it yelling at them to stop fighting and to pick up after themselves.

SO here I sit, I'm not going to clean up after anyone, I'm not cooking, I'm not breaking up fights, I watching the Teen Mom marathon on MTV, without lame comments from my husband.   I'm not spending money, I'm not eating, (except for my Yoplait delights Caramel yogurt and coffee).   I got my paper, but havn't gone through my coupons yet.     I'm hoping to get a bit of time this day to make up my shopping list and go out early this week.   This is so much easier to do without everyone clamoring for my attention. 

Enjoy your Sunday and have a great day!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Quotes for Friday

Just some things to ponder for this wonderful Friday, the weekend is upon us!!

A bank is a place where they lend you an umbrella in fair weather and ask for it back when it begins to rain.  Robert Frost
Empty pockets never held anyone back. Only empty heads and empty hearts can do that. Norman Vincent Peale

He who loses money, loses much; He who loses a friend, loses much more; He who loses faith, loses all. Elenore Roosevelt
If money is your hope for independence you will never have it. The only real security that a man will have in this world is a reserve of knowledge, experience, and ability. Henry Ford


Shoprite Freebie this week!

I guess I'm late with this! LOL!

If you shop Shoprite, like I do, you can get Bailey's Coffee Cream for FREE this week after coupon.  Go HERE and print coupon for $1 off.  Cream is on sale for .99 so its a freebie!!   And a nice treat for your coffee. :) Enjoy!!

Thanks to the heads up at 4Hats and Frugal!  I enjoy her weekly posts about the best shoprite deals.  I can usually find some myself, but she can help me find the pritables that go with some of the deals I didn't see.  Love that!!

Have a great day!!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Swaptree - trade books, CDs, DVDs, and video games for free

Swaptree - trade books, CDs, DVDs, and video games for free

Check this out! Sign up for FREE, and Trade things with others for FREE. All you do is pay shipping. You can clean out your basement and trade stuff you don't need or want and get something you DO need or want. This will work great for books, and video games, check it out!

Have you ever been really broke?

This is an old post over at, but its just as relevant today as ever.

Have you ever been flat out broke?

It really makes you stop and think to a time when you were really truly broke.  When was that time for you?  For me, I have to stop and think.  I'd like to say its now,  but I think broke can be a whole bunch of different ways. When we were first married,  we were broke,  neither of us understood frugality, or the importance of saving, so we didn't.  We found out quickly that there was no way we were gonna survive that way. 

About 1 year and a half into our marriage, my husband lost his job,   and we were living off credit cards, among other things. I worked, but it certainly wasn't enough to pay our rent.  Looking back now and knowing what I know now, I wish I had done things so much differently.  I remember thinking it just couldn't get any worse, how could it?  Eventually, my husband found a job, and our first daughter was born.  I took a better paying job and we bought our house.  Things were looking so bright.

Fast Forward to today.  I can't work due to the fact that I have 3 children that need me at home right now.  My husband works hard and long hours, putting up with so much, and we do pay the bills each month, but there are usually some things that we have to sacrifice paying to get by for the month. This month its the dentist bill.  Next month I'm praying the oil bill will be all set.   Its a never ending cycle, and I sit and stress, wondering, can this get any worse?  I feel like I get creative with the bill paying,  I clip coupons, I do free stuff with my kids, but how much more can I do??  Frugal fatigue at its heart, especially  when you feel like there is no return on the investment of all the hours I spend being a frugal person.

But I know in the long run, we aren't broke.  We still have our house, we still have food in our pantry and fridge, and we still have each other.  I have to remind myself of this sometimes, even during my darkest days.  Is anyone really truly broke??  When it comes to money, maybe.  But with everything, we have to evaluate and put it all in perspective and understand why we are broke, and how to fix the broke.  

So have you ever been flat out broke?  How do YOU fix it?

MORE Amazon Christmas deals!

Continue to check Amazon all this month for Christmas deals your kiddos might be interested in! Here are a few more:

And remember that if you spend $25, your Amazon order ships for free.  Keep checking back with me for updates to these deals!

Have a great day!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Whats for supper tonight: Homemade Pizza

The kids were wanting pizza tonight and my original intention was too cook it on the grill tonight, but not possible with all the storms moving through the area.  Its one of those weeks where money is tight, payday isn't till Friday so I went looking for a recipe for the dough.   I found one and its not half bad. 

The next time you make pizza, try this recipe for Garlic and Herb No yeast dough.  One tip: Make sure you follow the directions and measure the dry ingredients to the specification or it just won't come out.  It will be too sticky and you won't be able to roll it out.   

Another tip for this dough,  you can make small little tiny 4 inch rounds, bake them off then save them for 'Home made Lunchables'.   Throw them in your kids' lunch boxes with a little container of sauce, and some shredded cheese and you have a treat that will be a hit.   Walmart has some terrific Ziplock  sectioned containers that are perfect for this.

Have a great night!!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Kohl's 30% off Code!!

Thanks to AMY for the heads up!

This just in, hot hot hot!!!

Shop at Kohls, with your Kohl's Charge card, online only, with the code:

July 14th through July 21 2010 with Kohl's charge

This can not be used in store unless you have a physical paper coupon. 
Huge Savings can be had with this code!  Shop the clearance section and get some great deals for BTS or next winter! 

Taco Skillet Meal

Here is my 'too hot to cook', 'I'm not turning on the oven', frugal meal for today.
I took a recipe that I enjoy and have used in the past and tweaked it to become a 'skillet' meal. I have an electric skillet that I use several times a week, especially in the summer in an effort to avoid turning on my oven and heating up the house. I love my skillet! LOL

Here is the original recipe in case you would like to try it as is.

Taco Bake (Serves 6)
1lb ground beef
1 half green pepper, diced
1half onion, diced
1packet taco seasoning (any kind)
1 14oz package of Mac and Cheese (any kind)
1/4 cup sour cream
1 cup salsa (any kind)
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Brown ground beef with the diced onion and pepper.  When browned, season with taco seasoning  as directed on package. In another pan, make mac and cheese as directed.  Add the sour cream to the mac and cheese. Grease a casserole dish, and layer the mac and meat mixture, alternating layers. Top with  salsa and cheese and bake at 325 until cheese is melted and slightly browned.

Here is my variation to not use the oven:

In a skillet, brown ground beef with onions and pepper, season with taco seasoning. In another pan,  made mac and cheese as directed, but instead of milk, just add the sour cream.  Pour into skillet with meat mixture.  Pour  salsa on top, then sprinkle cheese on top.  Cover then turn off heat and let cheese melt for about 5 or 6 minutes. 

And whats the perfect veggie to serve with this?  Why Mexican corn, of course!  Heat up some frozen corn, but to that add some diced green and red peppers, some butter and season with salt and pepper. 


Have a Great Night!!

Good Monday Morning!

Mondays are usually crazy and this one is no exception.  There is so much to do and the day just started.  Not a big fan of Mondays!

Among other things, I'm in the middle of laundry that hasn't been done since Friday,  oldest dd has a dentist appt this am,  I promised them a trip to the library today to turn in their reading logs for prizes, AND  I need to pick up a few groceries.  Who said these were the lazy days of summer?? 

I plan on spending this week decluttering, and hoping to get some good deals out of here via Craig's list. We have a  Dora kitchen
 a Dora Castle,     Geo Trax ,  a play kitchen, clothes, and a bunch of other things that need to get out ,of my basement. My husband actually got a whole corner of the basement cleaned out this week, and challenged me to try and do the same.   I would just toss it all in a yard sale, but I did that last year and it just didn't work out the way I wanted it too.   So I'm going to list it all individually and hope for the best.

So tell me, do you get deals on Craig's list?  What sort of things do you like to buy, and look for?  Do you sell on Craig's list?  How does that go? 

Have a great day!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Amazon Shopping: Christmas in July!

Right now Amazon is running their 'up to' 50% off sale on toys, so NOW is a great time to start stocking up on those Christmas presents! There are some great deals to be had  right at this minute, you can get some things that your kids might have been wanting for next to nothing.  With Amazon, you get free shipping after you spend $25.  With this sale, you can get 4 to 5 items in your cart before you reach the $25.  And remember, if you have been doing Swagbucks,  and you have earned a $25 Gift Card, these items are FREE.  Just remember  when you are browsing and adding stuff to your cart, they must be shipped by Amazon and say they are 'elegible for Free shipping.'

So here are some ideas to get you started. 

Bakugan Special Attack Turbine Helios Color Varies  Price: 3.13

I'll be back later to update this list.  Have a Great Day!!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Firework Shows: Frugal fun for your family!

Remember growing up and looking forward to the great fireworks shows all summer long?     Here in  Connecticut,
we have a fantastic show that always falls in the second weekend in July, in New London.  They call it Sail fest and its a weekend long festival featuring music, crafts, artists,  and food.  Its always a great time.   The end of the Saturday night always culminates with a large fireworks display sponsored by Foxwoods, but  created by the Grucci Brothers. 

In this economy, more and more communities are doing away with their annual fireworks display.  Its is just too costly for towns and cities to continue these traditions for the people and many have cancelled.  In Norwich, the annual July 4th fireworks were moved to Dodd Stadium and you had to have a ticket to get in.  People showed up early in the morning to make sure they got their tickets, even though they were free,  but it was a first come, first serve basis.    Many weren't willing to live without seeing the fireworks, even if you had to make a plan to get there.

If you live  in Connecticut, or are planning on visiting, make sure you go to Mohegan Sun in Uncasville every Wednesday for a  Free Fireworks display. They also feature a car show, a Farmer's Market,  Native American Dancing, a DJ, and a live band.  They also serve free popcorn and water.   This is not to be missed and has become a summertime tradition in our fair state.

Families enjoy Fireworks.  The  best way to view them is to arrive early.  Bring a picnic supper.   You don't need to be close, you can sit where ever you want and its always the best seat in the house.  Bring your blanket,  and games for the kids to pass some time while they wait.   I have found that Free Fireworks displays are some of the best frugal family fun time our family has had.   Now remember the fun you had as a kid, and  make those memories for you own kids.  All for free.  Sometimes the best memories don't have a price.

Have a Great day!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Stocking up!

We just covered how to get coupons and use them, but now we want to know how to use them effectively. If you are continually getting items for free, or nearly free, consider stockpiling them. It may cost you a bit more in the beginning to build up your stockpile, but once you get going and have a decent stock, you'll see your grocery bills go WAY down.

I have had people ask me, since I use alot of coupons, do I buy alot of items I don't need? The answer to that question is NO, I buy stuff I will USE, not stuff I need or don't need. There is a difference. View these 2 scenarios:

Scenario 1: You are hosting a party and realize, you have no ketchup. You think quickly, 'I'll just run to Walmart and grab a bottle, its only $1.' So you spend time you don't have, gas you really can't afford to waste, and battle that crowd on a Saturday. You grab the ketchup, then say, 'hmmmm, while I'm here, I better grab some mustard and relish too...', but the time you leave, you have spent $40.

Scenario 2: You are hosting a party and realize, you have no ketchup. No worries! You have 2 more bottles in your pantry you got for .50 a piece matching the last coupon with a sale. Phew!  And mustard and relish also.   No need to leave the house, continue getting ready for your party.

Which to you makes more sense?
I have found stockpiling groceries has been an absolute lifesaver for me.  Last year the bank made an error with our checking account and we had no access to money for about 5 weeks.  The LONGEST 5 weeks of my life.  However, I had created such a stock pile in my basement that it was able to hold us over that long.  I had lunch meats, cheese, breads  and roasts in my freezer.  I had cereals, oatmeal and snacks stocked up for the kids.  I had side dishes, and veggies stocked up  for meals.  And I had enough salad dressings and condiments stocked up, we are STILL trying to go through them.    I admit that since I went through that period, I have had a hard time getting back to that point, but it got us through a very difficult point in time so I was so glad I had it.  The only thing I couldn't get  was fresh  produce and that was difficult, and we had family that would help keep us in milk and anything else we might need.    But we made it and it was my shopping to fill my stock pile that got us through.  

We joke alot around here, "If the bomb falls, go to Melissa's house!"  You are all welcome to my house if the bomb falls. ;)

Have a great day!!